Sunday, May 22, 2022

"Caring for Others" as Psy-Op

I trust that you all do indeed care for others. But I'd like to talk about how “caring for others” can be used as a Psy-Op. Please let me explain.

The US is less than 1/23 of the world’s population, yet we consume almost 1/3 of the world’s energy and almost 1/3 of the world’s manufactured products. And we have consumed this for many decades.

The US has the 6th worst debt-to-GDP ratio out of the 100 most populated countries in the world. And a good portion of our GDP is of the porn, video games, and soda pop variety, if you know what I mean.

The US’s debt-to-GDP ratio is on the verge of being at the level where the IMF would come in and force austerity measures onto a country (discontinuing public services such as Social Security and Medicare, and forcing the private sale of public property).

Of course, what has kept this from ever happening to the US is the reality of the Petrodollar, the US Dollar’s global reserve currency status, our roughly 750 foreign military bases, our 11 nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, and the interrelationships between all of the above.

But never mind all of that. There is no need to educate ourselves about any of these complex realities, nor of their effects on so many people in this world.

The key thing here is for us to keep demonstrating our care for others by towing the official line. Whatever the official line happens to be in the moment.

For the last couple of years, the official line focused mostly on Covid-19.

Never mind that we hastily released and then quickly mandated jabs of a novel gene-therapy (that had only been rarely used before, and only on terminally-ill patients) in order to treat a respiratory virus.

Never mind that those jabs trick human cells to produce toxic spike proteins.

Never mind that coronavirus spike proteins, ACE2 receptors and furin cleavage sites are all in the world's patent literature predating the emergence of Covid-19.

Never mind that Uttar Pradesh, a state with 2/3 the population of the US in an area smaller than Oregon, had a huge and well-publicized “spike” in Covid cases, but then became Covid-free before they ramped up their vaccination program - conclusively proving that vaccination was clearly not the only way through the pandemic.

The key thing here is for us to keep demonstrating our care for others by towing the official line.

Never mind that nobody has a time machine that can return to us from 10 years in the future to tell us how all-cause mortality, all-cause hospitalization, and all-cause illness played out in the jabbed versus the un-jabbed. Never mind that absolutely no one can therefore conclusively say whether or not those jabs were “safe and effective”. Maybe they were. Maybe they weren’t. Never mind that despite not knowing the long-term effects of the jabs, that we jabbed children and pregnant women. Never mind that we forced these jabs on many millions of people.

Never mind that some of the poorest and least vaccinated countries in our world are the ones that had the least health problems with Covid.

Never mind that all the world’s countries are now signing treaties with the WHO agreeing to hand over their sovereignty to the global pharmaceutical complex during the next pandemic. Never mind that this is the same pharmaceutical complex that just a few years ago everybody knew could not be trusted.

The key thing here is for us to keep demonstrating our care for others by towing the official line.

And now the official line focuses mostly on Ukraine.

Never mind that Ukraine has a deep and complex geopolitical history, and is guaranteed to have a complex and pivotal geopolitical role well into the future considering its location on the world island.

Never mind that Russia has had a naval base in Crimea for longer than the US has been a country. Never mind that after the US-backed Coup in Ukraine in 2014, roughly 95% of Crimean residents voted to be part of Russia rather than stay part of Ukraine.

Never mind that the two provinces (oblasts) in the Donbass (Luhansk and Donetsk), after the 2014 Coup, have been engaged in a civil war with Ukraine after they voted to become republics independent of Ukraine, and for the last 8 years have been officially and openly requesting Russia’s help in their struggle to gain their independence.

Never mind that the whole East and South of the Ukraine has strong and deep ties to Russia (not just the Crimea, Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts, but all of the oblasts along the entire Black Sea coast all the way into Odessa and beyond Ukraine’s borders into Transnitria in Moldova). Never mind that the majority of the population in all of this region are ethnic Russians who speak Russian.

The key thing here is for us to keep demonstrating our care for others by towing the official line.

Never mind that NATO is not just a defensive alliance, but is also an invasive alliance - for example, its invasion of Libya in 2011. Libya posed no threat to any NATO country. NATO said it invaded for “humanitarian” reasons. Before the NATO invasion, Libya had one of the highest per capita incomes in Africa. One of the lowest levels of income inequality. One of the highest literacy rates. One of the best health and education systems. Since the invasion, Libya has had open-air slave markets. Libyan parents have placed themselves and their children on rubber rafts with only their clothes on their backs, to make their way across the Mediterranean to foreign countries who speak foreign tongues, because they knew that was their best option for their future.

The key thing here is for us to keep demonstrating our care for others by towing the official line.

Never mind that the Ukrainian war that began with the US-backed 2014 Coup could have been ended at any time by doing 3 simple and very reasonable things:

1) Recognizing that Crimea is part of Russia

2) Recognizing that Luhansk and Donetsk are independent of Ukraine

3) Agreeing that Ukraine never joins NATO

The key thing here is for us to keep demonstrating our care for others by towing the official line.

Never mind that Zelensky was elected as Ukrainian President by overwhelming majority primarily because of his campaign promise of peace, to end the ongoing Ukrainian Civil War. He chose not to follow through on these campaign promises which originally got him elected.

Never mind the Minsk Agreements

Never mind the $54 Billion dollars the US has spent mostly sending arms to Ukraine since Feb 24th, 2022. Never mind that this is over 2/3 of the annual Russian military budget. Never mind that it would have cost nothing to simply encourage Ukraine to abide by the Minsk Agreements.

Never mind that despite all of the weapons delivered, and all the corporate and social media assurances that Russia is losing this war, that dang, Russia will likely win this war regardless of what anybody says or how much money we spend. So the longer we prolong the war, the more people will die for nothing.

The key thing here is for us to keep demonstrating our care for others by towing the official line.

Never mind that despite all of the economic sanctions against Russia made with the express intention of crippling the Russian economy and bringing about Regime Change in Russia, that Russia has increased revenues from energy sales despite selling less volume, and that the Russian Ruble is stronger today than before the invasion. Not to mention the fact that Putin enjoys more popular support in Russia now than any present Western leader does in their own country.

The key thing here is for us to keep demonstrating our care for others by towing the official line.

Never mind that all of the economic sanctions against Russia will continue to blow back harder onto the West. This increasing blow back will inevitably lead to much cold and potentially famine next winter for many millions, but least of all for Russians.

The key thing here is for us to keep demonstrating our care for others by towing the official line.

I certainly don’t want Ukrainians to die in a stupid war. We had an easy and reasonable way to prevent that war, by encouraging Ukraine to follow the Minsk Agreements. We missed that chance. We had an easy and reasonable way to stop it soon after Russia began its full-on invasion in February 2022. We missed that chance too.

I don’t know how to take seriously any Western leader that keeps blowing these chances, and instead keeps escalating this conflict so that we can fight to the last Ukrainian, just to show them how much we care.

Is supporting the economic sanctions against Russia really the best way to demonstrate care for others? Or is it a slow and convoluted way for the West to commit civilizational suicide?

Is escalating this complex Ukrainian conflict into World War III and/ or global thermonuclear war really the best way to demonstrate care for others?

Let’s all just sit and meditate on that last question.

How insane are we if we even have to ask that last question?

Is “caring for others” one of the most effective Psy-Ops of all time?

How about we all care for others in our own way?

How about we stop demonizing others who care in different ways?

I love you all, and trust that you care for others. Whether or not you agree with me on any of the above does not affect my love for you at all.

P.S. For decades I said that the only difference between the USSR and the USA was that the USSR started out being run by just one company (the Communist Party), while here in the USA, we were simply taking longer to get there. In my opinion, that’s mostly why the USSR collapsed first.

This is also a large part of why WE are collapsing now. (The dancing in this linked video is a genius way to get around the Tik-Tok algorithms, and get the message out that we are now essentially being run by one company.) But never mind - well..., you know the drill by now.

P.S.S. We can choose to have an American Evolution where we reel our Empire back in before it collapses, and do so in a responsible way that promotes world peace and stability into the future.

Or we can choose to continue to follow the Neocons while they stumble from one foreign-policy debacle after another as they desperately try to maintain US uni-polar hegemony over the world.

It’s embarrassing really. But remember: the key thing here is for us to keep demonstrating our care for others by towing the official line!

Watch how much these folks care: TV War Experts are Paid Shills for Weapons Manufacturers

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Exit Strategy

Part of the horrible tragedy that we unleashed on Iraq stemmed from the lie that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. While another part of that horrible tragedy stemmed from the fact that when our leaders began the conflict, they had no realistic exit strategy.

As the corporate media keeps pushing the narrative that the escalation of the Ukrainian conflict is the only possible path forward, I pray that everyone is paying close attention to what our leaders are stating the “exit strategy” is this time around.

So what are our leaders saying is our exit strategy in this conflict with Russia?


I want to build on an analogy started by Lee Camp: imagine you oversaw a boy egging on his younger brother, who is just a toddler, to yank the family cat’s tail hard over and over. At some point, the cat turns around and gives the toddler a good clawing that he won’t forget. 

As an adult, what do you do? In addition to soothing the toddler, you also need to impress upon the toddler how he needs to stop yanking the cat’s tail. But the biggest thing you need to deal with is the older brother who started the whole mess.

Hold on. That’s us.

I realize that every day it becomes harder and harder to simply admit that Russia has legitimate national security concerns. It becomes harder to admit that we assisted a coup in Ukraine in February 2014. It becomes harder to admit that we have been providing military assistance to a civil war in the Donbass region of Ukraine, right on Russia’s border, for the last 8 years. It becomes harder to admit that we refused to take Ukraine’s membership in NATO off the table. It becomes harder to admit that both the US and NATO have a history of attacking sovereign countries.

It becomes harder to remember such basic wisdom from the movie, The Princess Bride:  “Never get involved in a land war in Asia.”

My favorite quotes of last two weeks:

“The U.S. is f’d because they think windmills are oil. Solar is oil. Gas is oil. Gas is propane. Diesel is gas. And all run through the same pipelines that take up no land corridors and are run by magic elves who live in a money tree.”

- by Dr. D., a regular commenter on The Automatic Earth, on 3/25/2022

“We’ve heard of suicide by cop. This is suicide by WWIII.”

- by Gottlieb, a commenter on Moon of Alabama, on Ukraine Open Thread 3/24/2022

Oh! Maybe that’s our exit strategy. Civilizational suicide by WWIII. The final exit.

I guess that will take care of it.

Take care everyone.

P.S. I tried to keep this blog short this time. But if you're looking for more depth, please see Scott Ritter's March 23rd interview by the Grayzone: Grayzone- Ritter
(Remember, Ritter was the one that told the truth that there was no credible evidence for Iraqi WMD. He deserves a listen.)

Sunday, March 13, 2022

One Big Backstory Behind Everything

The modern economy in a nutshell

1) Debts are spiraling out of control everywhere 
2) Modern economies work by servicing debts – paying back investors in full, plus a profit
3) Cheap & Profitable Energy is required to service almost all debts in modern economies
     (Specifically - Energy that is both Cheap to consumers and Profitable to producers)
4) Cheap & Profitable Energy is slowly and inexorably depleting. More and more so every day
5) Debts are spiraling out of control everywhere

Let’s pretend that in your factory, 25 people are responsible for executing one process. You can buy a machine for $5 million that will replace those workers. You don’t have $5 million. So you borrow $5 million to install the machine and fire those workers. You pay back your investors over time with interest (their profit) and you also profit from not having to pay over $1 million every year in employee costs. Your workers lost their livelihoods. But you and your investors profit over time. That’s the modern economy in a nutshell.

The iron ore to make the steel for the machine was mined and transported using Cheap & Profitable Energy (C&PE). The ore was turned into steel using C&PE. The Steel was transported and then made into the Machine using C&PE. The Machine was transported and installed in your factory using C&PE. The Machine runs everyday on C&PE. The products the machine makes are transported to your customers using C&PE. At every step of the way, C&PE is required to service the debt.

We are not running out of energy, per se. We are running out of Cheap & Profitable Energy which is critical for modern economies to function. The lowest hanging fruit has mostly been picked over. This spells conflict.

This is, of course, an overly simplistic account. For more in depth analyses about how critical C&PE is to all modern economies, see Tim Watkin’s Consciousness of Sheep, or Gail Tverbergs’ Our Finite World. Chris Martenson, John Michael Greer, James Howard Kunstler, Richard Heinberg, and a host of others have also been talking about these issues for decades.

The dependence of modern economies on Cheap & Profitable Energy - and its decline as debts simultaneously spiral out of control everywhere - is one big backstory behind everything. Our media, our academic institutions, and indeed our entire culture are failing us by not informing us of this critical backstory.

Food, Fertilizer & Russia

C&PE is also required for producing fertilizers for industrial agriculture, to grow the food most humans eat. Specifically, almost all fertilizers for industrial agriculture are produced using Natural Gas.

Regarding fertilizer, we need to talk about Russia. Some say it has a small economy, no bigger than Spain’s in terms of GDP. However, this only confirms how useless GDP is for understanding geopolitics.

The modern global economy works by undervaluing the most valuable things in life – Energy, Food, Fertilizer, Timber, and Human Labor. This is how we get more things! (In our backwards modern economy). These are much more pivotal than GDP for understanding geopolitics.

What does Russia produce for the global economy on a massive scale? 

You guessed it. Energy, Food, Fertilizer, and Timber. Russia’s input to the global economy only looks small because we have trained ourselves to economically undervalue the most valuable things in life.

For example, Russia produces over 60% of the world’s ammonium nitrate, a primary nitrogen (N) fertilizer. Russia is also a major producer of phosphate (P) and potash (K) fertilizers. NPK are the three primary plant nutrients that make up our food.

No fertilizer. No food. No fertilizer. Famine. 

The Winter Wheat harvest throughout the Northern Hemisphere looks to be very bad this year. Argentina’s Corn harvest looks to be very bad this year. Argentina is the world’s second largest Corn exporter.

Planting time in the Northern Hemisphere for all major crops except next year’s Winter Wheat is during the next few months. Fertilizer and Natural Gas prices are sky high right now. Too high, perhaps, to even justify planting.

Heck, they were already high before the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

Russia, Ukraine, and the Corporate Media

Is Corporate Media highlighting that 
the continuing conflict in Ukraine brings with it the huge potential for food price hikes and/or global famine that are unprecedented in the modern world?

Does corporate media (including NPR) say anything that doesn’t benefit the Military Industrial Complex that Eisenhower so famously warned us about in his last presidential address to the American people (linked here)?

If nothing else, why is Scott Ritter not on the news every night to, at the very least, debate the dominant Military Industrial Complex narrative with all of the numerous Pentagon-appointed talking heads? Who is Scott Ritter? He was the UN's Chief Weapons Inspector during the build up to the Iraq war. He told the truth then that there was no credible evidence for Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq. He has a wealth of information and insight into the present Ukrainian tragedy.

I highly recommend watching this interview with Ritter (linked here). He gives some important historical Ukrainian backstory 15 minutes in. He references the Cheap & Profitable Energy cards Russia has yet to play in this conflict 31 minutes in. If nothing else comes from you reading this blogpost, I pray that you find time to listen to the last 8 minutes (from the 31 minute mark until the end). Note how emphatic Ritter is about how important energy is to this conflict. And he's not even delving into fertilizer and its outrageously important role in this conflict.

History has proven that if we had listened to this man 20 years ago, we could have prevented untold tragedies in Iraq and throughout the Middle East. And now corporate media can't give him a hearing?

We need a mainstream news that regularly interviews people like Ritter, instead of just more generals who sit on boards of weapons manufacturers who stand to profit from the escalation of this conflict. We need a mainstream news that informs us of crucial historical information such as the fact that Russia has had a naval base in Crimea for longer than the US has been a country. But don't hold your breath on the corporate media actually informing you of such crucial information.

No amount of low-quality alternative media can justify this state of affairs in our mainstream news - the corporate media. Alex Jones does not justify this state of affairs. On the contrary, I will argue that the abysmal quality of corporate media is what gives rise to so much low-quality alternative media. People are desperate to hear media that simply acknowledges a few things they know to be true. In that justifiable desperation, so much low-quality alternative media is born.

But let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater. If you are looking for alternative views on what’s happening in Ukraine, you could do a lot worse than the following:

Moon of AlabamaAutomatic EarthThe Saker,  

Reminiscence of the Future          Gold, Goats 'N Guns

All of these sites reveal many important facts and perspectives not aired in corporate media about the unfolding Ukrainian tragedy.  This isn’t to endorse any or all of their opinions, but simply to highlight perspectives you’re almost guaranteed to miss on corporate media.

May we all choose to understand different views and risk learning something new, versus tacitly supporting censorship of dissenting views. 

Please realize that whatever perspectives you may read on the above linked websites, and whatever view you may have about those perspectives, may very well turn out to be completely irrelevant -  relative to walking blindly into a global thermonuclear war, or having millions upon millions of people starve over the next year or so.

All wars are hell. 

An Exercise in Empathy

Our empathy should, of course, be extended to the citizens of Ukraine in this tragedy.

And as we sit on the edge of WWIII and/or an unprecedented mass starvation event, it would also serve to empathize with our so-called “enemy”.

So let’s turn the tables for a moment with a little thought experiment in which Russia and the US switch roles, and in which Canada takes on the role of Ukraine. I ask here, "What would we have done if we were in Russia's shoes?"

Imagine that in 2014, Canada switched to a Russia-friendly government. This did not happen at the ballot box, but came from an uprising backed by force of arms. Since then, Canada has had a small but very deadly civil war between the new Russia-friendly central government and some Canadian provinces on the US border with American-majority populations. 

Imagine that an Agreement was reached between the US and Canada to end the Civil War in the American-majority provinces, an agreement in which Canada agreed to officially recognize the independence of those provinces. But then Canada never officially recognized their independence, but instead continued the war against the American-majority provinces, right on the US border.

Imagine that there was increasing talk during the last 8 years that Canada was going to officially join a Russia-centric international military alliance. Regardless of the talk, Canada indeed received substantial military training and weaponry directly from Russia and their military alliance throughout.

Imagine that during the last 8 years, US presidents had used every opportunity to announce to the world that they would not tolerate Canada joining the Russia-centric international military alliance, that Russian weapon sales to Canada must stop, and that the civil war must end and the American-majority provinces be recognized as independent.

Imagine that all diplomatic efforts to stop the deadly civil war against the Americans living in Canada had failed. All diplomatic efforts to stop Russia’s flow of arms into Canada had failed. All diplomatic efforts to get Canada to agree to not join the Russian military alliance had failed. And to the contrary, Canada kept openly requesting to join Russia’s military alliance, which Russia openly supported.

Imagine on top of all of the above, that on February 19th, 2022, the Canadian Prime Minister gave a speech at an international security conference saying that, in effect, Russia-friendly Canada was considering pursuing the development of nuclear weapons.

What would the US do in such a situation? Answer honestly.

I personally have not been able to figure out how the US would effectively stop such a provocation without the use of force, if we stood in the same shoes as Russia did throughout the last 8 years.

Likewise, I have not yet heard anyone explain how Russia was supposed to have effectively stopped such a provocation without the use of force. 

I am open to someone explaining that clearly.

There is no shame in recognizing that Russia, a country that was invaded by and then repelled both Napoleon's Grand Army and Hitler's Wehrmacht, has legitimate national security concerns. 

That recognition, by no means, requires ignoring any of Russia’s past or present atrocities. It simply admits that a country we are inclined to now view as an “Enemy” does indeed have legitimate concerns. And that the horribly tragic situation on the ground would be dramatically improved by acknowledging those legitimate concerns. More than likely it's the single most effective thing we can do to keep from escalating this horrible tragedy into an even worse one.

“Biological Research Facilities”

You probably have seen by now the infamous clip of the Senate conversation between Senator Rubio and Victoria Nuland? (Nuland was the US representative on-the-ground during the Ukrainian 2014 Maidan Revolution)

There has been an incredible amount of digital ink spilled over this conversation already, but I feel like the key question here keeps getting obscured in all of the hub-bub online. So let’s highlight that again.

Nuland stated unequivocally that Ukraine has “Biological Research Facilities” which “we are now concerned that Russian forces may gain control of”. 

It is deeply fascinating to watch Rubio and Nuland walk the tightrope of dismissing “Russian propaganda” about how Russia “has uncovered a plot by the Ukrainians to release biological weapons in the country with NATO’s coordination” while simultaneously openly acknowledging that, indeed, Ukraine did have “Biological Research Facilities” that are of serious concern if they fall into Russian hands.

This is the key question: Why would there be any “concern” if these “facilities” were only conducting “biological research”? Such “concern” only makes sense if there was some dangerous offensive-in-nature, bio-warfare, or gain-of-function research going on. 

If all that was being researched was simply defensive in nature, let’s say, then wouldn’t it be the same as what every regional country was also researching? Then Russia wouldn’t be coming across anything they didn’t already have in their own labs, and would know perfectly well how to deal with it. 

Do people think that Russia doesn’t also have its own biological labs researching dangerous pathogens in their region? That they don’t already have samples of every potential biologic concern in the region, and know perfectly well how to deal with them? Really? This is the country whose rockets transport US astronauts to and from the International Space Station. 

I hope you see what I’m getting at. My central worry isn’t just that there are numerous Pentagon funded “biological research facilities” in the Ukraine, per se. It’s certainly possible that all of this could very well be benign and/or beneficial. My central worry is that Nuland has a “concern” that the research material in those labs might fall into enemy hands.

What is in those Pentagon-funded labs that’s so dangerous that it causes such “concern”?

I certainly don’t know. I sure hope someone at the UN Security Council with access to actual evidence can get to the bottom of this, as they are now reviewing the matter. If Russia is lying out their teeth, well then this is their “Iraq has Weapons of Mass Destruction” moment.

If, and this is a HUGE “IF”, it turns out that the Pentagon helped to conduct gain-of-function research in those Ukrainian labs, as Anthony Fauci’s NAIAD, with grants funneled through Peter Daszak’s Eco-Health Alliance, helped fund gain-of-function research in the Wuhan labs, all of which happened during a time when the US had placed a moratorium on all gain-of-function research - well, any shred of credibility that the US still has on the world stage will be destroyed for the foreseeable future. I’m not even sure any psy-ops by corporate media and/or WWIII could keep the lid on that one. 

We Americans need to acknowledge that this “evidence” for “bio-weapons labs” on Russia’s borders, as vague, murky and questionable as it all is, is at least as good as any of the “evidence” the US presented the UN Security Council in 2003 to justify our invasion of Iraq. May we therefore refrain from getting on a moral high horse, potentially hindering any real resolutions, especially when so much is at stake.

How to Stop the War in Ukraine

I support Ukraine by suggesting that they end this conflict by simply agreeing to Russia’s demands, that Ukraine:

1) Amends their constitution to prohibit them from ever joining NATO
2) Officially recognizes Crimea as part of Russia
3) Officially recognizes Luhansk and Donetsk as independent

If Russia would still except these terms, I do believe this would be best for Ukraine and for the world.

What exactly makes these demands non-negotiable? This war would be over if they were agreed to.

What, or who exactly prevented Ukraine from agreeing to these demands BEFORE the Russian Invasion? The Russian invasion would very likely not have happened if they were agreed to.

What, or who exactly prevents Ukraine from agreeing to these demands right now?

As we are pondering these questions, may we keep in mind that regardless of what happens, as world events increasingly go haywire, we need to remember two crucial things:

1) That there is a big backstory behind everything - debts are spiraling out of control simultaneously with Cheap & Profitable Energy depleting. We only scratched the surface here in this post of how relevant this backstory is to the unfolding Ukrainian tragedy. Let alone how relevant it is to so many other tragedies washing ashore.

2) That corporate media cannot be trusted to give the full story. 

The future will likely not make any sense without keeping these both in mind.

My Favorite Quotes about the Ukrainian Tragedy

I’ll finish by sharing my two favorite quotes since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. One came from commenter “Black Cloud” on an article the Saker published on March 3rd, 2022:

“The Russians are playing chess. The West is playing with itself.”  

I’m not convinced of the first part of that quote. The second part appears pretty solid though. 

The second quote is from Caitlin Johnstone:

“It’s 2022, and people still believe that the US is pouring weapons into a foreign country to protect freedom and democracy. That’s like being 57 and still believing in the Tooth Fairy.”

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Paul Kingsnorth's "The Vaccine Moment, part one"


I was on the verge of writing another blog post this last week, "inspired" (if it's possible to use that term in this context) by the unfolding events in Northern Territory, Australia. However, I recently came across this beautifully written piece by Paul Kingsnorth: "The Vaccine Moment, part one".

It says just about everything I was hoping to say at this moment, so I am very  thankful for the author taking the time and beating me to it. He does a much better job at it than I could have done.

I highly recommend it. If you can find the time, please check it out. 

Note: It's come to my attention that many people cannot access the essay, as it is behind a paywall. Usually, Substack allows visitors to access and read an article before committing to subscribe to a writer. Which, of course, makes sense. For some reason, that isn't working for this article, or at least not for numerous people that have contacted me about this.

So I'm going to openly commit a huge party foul here and copy and paste it here below in its entirety. If you like the post, I strongly encourage you to support Paul Kingsnorth through Substack and otherwise. I just don't want anyone to be forced to pay to read a controversial post with which they may disagree.

You can also take this as my act of civil disobedience against Substack - which, for the most part, I wholeheartedly support. I find it frustrating that while Patreon allows a minimum pledge of $1/ month to writers, that Substack's minimum pledge is $5/ month. I guess that many people would rather support 20 writers at $1 a month, than 4 writers at $5/ month. (Or the equivalent to whatever people's monthly budget for supporting independent voices may be).

Once again, if you find the post valuable, please support Paul Kingsnorth. So here it is:

The Vaccine Moment, part one

On the days of revelation

This is the first installment of a two-part essay on the virus and the Machine. Part two follows next week, after which normal service will be resumed.

Perhaps it’s because I’m English, or perhaps it’s my age, or perhaps it’s just blind prejudice, but when I wake to the news that the Austrian government has interned an entire third of its national population as a ‘danger to public health’, a chill runs down my spine. 

Austria, I think to myself. Ah.

I look at the news photos of armed, masked, black-clad police stopping people in the streets to ask for their digital papers, and I read stories of others arrested for leaving their own house more than the permitted once a day, and I hear Austrian politicians intoning that those who refuse to accede to the injection are to be shunned and scapegoated until they acquiesce. Then I watch interviews with ‘ordinary people’, and they say that the ‘unvaxxed’ had it coming. Some of them say that they should all be jailed, these enemies of the people. At best, the ‘anti-vaxxers’ are paranoid and misinformed. At worst they are malicious, and should be punished.

A few days later I wake up to some more news about Austria: from next year, everyone in the country will have a covid vaccine forced into them by the state, overriding their right to what certain people, who have gone very quiet recently, used to call ‘bodily autonomy.’

Then I look across the border at Germany. I see that in Germany, politicians are also considering interning the ‘vaccine hesitant’, and are currently discussing forcing vaccination upon every citizen. By the end of the winter, says Germany’s refreshingly honest health minister, Germans will be ‘vaccinated, cured or dead.’ There is apparently no fourth option. 

They have been busy in Germany. Recently they put up fences in Hamburg to separate the Bad Unvaxxed from the Good Vaxxed at the Christmas markets. Outdoors. Perhaps they will also provide the Good people with rocks to throw across those fences. When I see cartoons like the one at the top of this page, which recently appeared in a mainstream German newspaper, I think that this may not be far off. Here, the man on the sofa has bought himself a first-person shooter game in which he can having fun killing unvaccinated people. It will be, says the cartoonist, ‘a big hit under the Christmas tree.’1

Ha ha ha, I think. Germany. Fences. Internment. Forced injections. Armed police. Scan your code. Kill the unvaxxed.

Ha ha ha.

I am watching all this from Ireland, the country which has the highest adult vaccination rate in Western Europe, at over 94% of the population. At the same time, curiously, we have some of the highest covid infection rates in Western Europe too. The government has not been able to explain this fact, but it is a trend that has recently manifested in some other highly-vaccinated places too: Gibraltar, Israel, West Flanders. High levels of vaccination do not seem to correspond with low-levels of disease; often quite the opposite.

In other parts of the world, strange things are happening too. Africa, for example. Africa’s population is the largest, fastest-growing and materially poorest of any continent. Few governments there can afford to supply their people with the pricey corporate vaccines which we in the West have staked our nations on. Only 6% of Africa’s population is vaccinated, and national healthcare systems barely exist in many places, yet the WHO describes the continent as ‘one of the least affected regions in the world’ by the virus. In fact, the richer, more ‘developed’ parts of the world seem to be suffering worst from the pandemic.

Nobody seems to be able to explain any of this, but that hasn’t changed the official direction of travel. Certainly in Ireland, the script remains the same. For six months we have been living with vaccine apartheid, with the ‘unvaxxed’ excluded from much of society, but it hasn’t worked. Rates of infection are shooting up as winter arrives - as you might expect with a respiratory virus. We were all told recently to work from home, and another lockdown is on the cards. A midnight curfew has recently been imposed on pubs and nightclubs. This is odd, as only vaccinated people have been allowed into them for months, and we have repeatedly been assured that vaccinated people are safe to be around.

In an honest society, all of this would have been subject to robust public debate. We would have seen scientists of all opinions openly debating on TV and radio and in the press; views of all kinds aired on social media; journalists properly investigating reports of both vaccine successes and vaccine dangers; serious explorations of alternative treatments; public debates about the balance between civil liberties and public health, and what ‘public health’ even means. But we have not seen this and we will not see it, for debate, like dissent, is out of fashion. The media here in Ireland has not asked a critical question of anyone in authority for at least eighteen months. Google’s algorithms are busy burying inconvenient data, while the social media channels from which most people receive their worldview are removing or suppressing critical opinions, even if they come from virologists or editors of the British Medical Journal. 

Day after day, I have been waking and wondering: what is going on?

Internment. Mandatory medication. Segregation of whole sections of society. Mass sackings. A drumbeat media consensus. The systematic censoring of dissent. The deliberate creation by the state and the press of a climate of fear and suspicion. What could possibly justify this? Perhaps the combination of a terrible pandemic which killed or maimed large percentages of those it infected, and the existence of a safe and reliable medicine which was proven to prevent its spread. This, of course, is what we are said to be living through. This is the Narrative. 

But it is clear enough by now that the Narrative is not true. Covid-19 is a nasty illness which should be taken seriously, especially by those who are especially vulnerable to it. But it is nowhere near dangerous enough - if anything could be - to justify the creation of a global police state. As for the vaccines - well, let's just acknowledge that vaccination has become a subject which it is virtually impossible to discuss with any calmness or clarity, at least in public. As with almost every other big issue in the West today, opinion is divided along tribal lines and filtered through the foetid swamp of anti-social media, to emerge monstrous and dripping into the light.

Often, in an argument, what people think they are arguing about is not the real subject of disagreement, which is deeper and often unspoken, if it is even understood. So it is here. The divisions that have opened up in society about the covid vaccines are not really about the covid vaccines at all: they are about what vaccination symbolises in this moment. What it means to be 'vaxxed' or 'unvaxxed', safe or dangerous, clean or dirty, sensible or irresponsible, compliant or independent: these are questions about what it means to be a good member of society, and what society even is, and they are detonating like depth charges beneath the surface of the culture.

This is not to say that the surface disagreements don’t matter. They do. There are plenty of good reasons to be concerned about these medications and their enforced use. Here we have a novel technology, never before used at scale or for this purpose, used to create a series of vaccines which have been rolled out to millions before their clinical trials are even complete. This is an unprecendented situation - as is vaccination for a respiratory virus in the middle of a pandemic, which some people with serious expertise warn may worsen the sitution rather than end it. The companies manufacturing these things are making equally unprecedented hourly profits, and their long histories of dishonesty and cover-ups, plus the fact that they are legally immune from any liability for problems arising from these vaccines, makes it impossible to take seriously their assurances of safety. And when we witness an active state/media campaign against early treatment of a disease - the precise opposite of what every doctor is taught at medical school - along with a refusal to report any of the mounting evidence of short-term side-effects, it ought to be clear that something is happening which cannot be explained by the story we are being told.

For all these reasons and more, I have not been vaccinated against covid, and I don’t plan to be. This does not make me ‘anti-vax’ - a category that is designed to feed into the ongoing culture war narrative which separates the good from the bad people, and leads both sides in that war to demonise the other. I am not against vaccination, and I certainly wouldn’t imagine I had a right to tell others what to do with their bodies. I don’t believe that the available covid vaccines are ineffective - though they do not do what they were sold to us as doing - and I can see plenty of reasons for people, especially vulnerable people, to take them if they choose.

I expect that readers of this essay could argue with me about my decision if they felt like it, and I expect I could argue back. This is what much of the world has been doing sine these vaccines arrived on the scene. We could all throw peer-reviewed studies that we don’t really understand at each other, and they would all miss the mark because the vaccine is not the point. The point is what it symbolises - and what it is being used to build.

I am a writer. I know how to construct stories. I know what makes them succeed or fail, and I have a nose for when a story does not hang together. The covid Narrative is just such a story. It doesn’t fit together, even on its own terms. Something is wrong. The surface tale does not reflect what lies beneath. And what lies beneath is what interests me now.

We live in an apocalyptic time, in the original sense of the Greek word apokalypsis: revelation. What is happening on the surface is revealing what has always lain beneath, but which in normal times is hidden from view. All of the action now is in the underworld. Beneath the arguments about whether or not to take a vaccine that may or may not work safely, glides something older, deeper, slower: something with all the time in the world. Some great spirit whose work is to use these fractured times to reveal to us all what we need to see: things hidden since the foundation of the modern world.

Covid is a revelation. It has lain bare splits in the social fabric that were always there but could be ignored in better times. It has revealed the compliance of the legacy media and the power of Silicon Valley to curate and control the public conversation. It has confirmed the sly dishonesty of political leaders, and their ultimate obeisance to corporate power. It has shown up ‘The Science’ for the compromised ideology it is.

Most of all, it has revealed the authoritarian streak that lies beneath so many people, and which always emerges in fearful times. In the last month alone I have watched media commentators calling for censorship of their political opponents, philosophy professors justifying mass internment, and human rights lobby groups remaining silent about ‘vaccine passports.’ I have watched much of the political left transition openly into the authoritarian movement it probably always was, and countless ‘liberals’ campaigning against liberty. As freedom after freedom has been taken away, I have watched intellectual after intellectual justify it all. I have been reminded of what I always knew: cleverness has no relationship to wisdom.

I have learnt more about human nature in the last two years than in my preceding forty-seven. I have learnt some things about myself too, and I don’t especially like them either. I have noticed my ongoing temptation to become a partisan: to judge and condemn those on the other side of the question - those sheeple, those malicious enemies of Truth. I have noticed my tendency to seek out only sources of information which confirm my beliefs. Revelation is never comfortable.

Most of all, though, what the covid apocalypse has revealed to me is that when people are frightened, they can be easily controlled.

Control: this is the story of the times. Across the world we are seeing an unprecedented claim to control staked by the forces of the state, in alliance with the forces of corporate capital, over your life and mine. All of it converges on the revealed symbol of our age: the smartphone-enabled QR code that has, with frightening speed and in near-silence, become the new passport to a full human life. As ever, our tools have turned on us. Another revelation: they were never our tools to begin with. We were theirs.

Amongst the vast flock of contested facts that wheel around this virus like a murmuration of starlings, darkening the skies and addling the mind, one stands out. It is the single fact that blows a cathedral-shaped hole in the strategy being pursued by governments at present, and which offers a glimpse into the crypt. It is the fact that these vaccines, whatever their efficacy in other areas, do not prevent transmission of the virus.

This single fact - which has long been known but is barely ever mentioned - blows apart the case for vaccine passports, segregation, lockdowns of the 'unvaxxed' and all such similar measures. Even if you believe (or pretend to) that this virus is dangerous enough to justify the radical new forms of authoritarianism which have emerged around it - and I certainly don’t - those forms will fail anyway if both vaccinated and unvaccinated people can spread it; which we know they can.

What, then, can be the justification for the system of technological control and monitoring which has arisen around us with curious speed and smoothness over the last year? And what could explain the strangely similar language in which the world's governments explain and justify this system, which so many have adopted in similar ways with similar technologies in similar timeframes? That the 'unvaxxed' are a danger to society, and that the 'vaxxed' must be protected from them is the pretext. But as we are seeing on the ground in Ireland, the pretext is baseless.

If we were operating, as we pretend to be, from the ground of reason - if we really were 'following The Science' - then we would be dismantling these systems at this point. Instead we are moving deeper into them. We are being herded into a future in which scanning a code to prove you are a safe and obedient member of society will be a permanent feature of life, as unquestioned as credit cards and driver’s licences. We are moving towards enforced mandatory vaccination of entire populations - including children - and prison sentences for those who refuse. By winter’s end, we could be living in a world in which the state has taken full charge of our bodies, and our only chance of remaining active members of society is to submit to their every instruction, and agree to permanent digital monitoring to prove our compliance. 

Eighteen months ago, anyone suggesting that this would be the direction of travel when this virus arrived in town would have been dismissed as a paranoid David Icke fanboy. But over that eighteen months we have moved smoothly from ‘two weeks to flatten the curve’ to ‘mandatory injections to avoid prison.’ We have normalised this, and accepted it. We have not asked questions. Those who have dissented have been censored, silenced, bullied and abused.

Even as I was writing this essay, the situations in Germany and Austria were eclipsed by news from Down Under. This weekend, the Australian army began shifting covid-infected people into state-run camps. Parts of the Northern Territories of Australia have entered a ‘hard lockdown’, in which nobody can leave their house for any reason at all except for urgent medical treatment. Those who have contracted the virus, or simply been in contact with someone who has, will now be forcibly ‘transferred’ by soldiers to a government-run camp where they will be held until the state decrees they are safe enough to be released. 

These ‘mandatory supervised quarantine facilities’ have been used to quarantine incoming travellers for the last year. Now they are being used to 'contain' Australian citizens. You can watch this measure being announced by the government here. You can see another Australian politician fulminating about the ‘unvaxxed’ and what he would like to do to them here. If after this you are not filled with foreboding, then I don’t know what to say to you. 

My own sense of foreboding is deepening daily. Beneath the surface, down in those depths, I am far from the only one who can see what is emerging. The Narrative does not hang together, the story does not gel, but it is doing its job nonetheless. It is being used to summon forth and justify an unprecedented authoritarian technocracy which is hemming us all in with no consent, no debate, and no right to opt out. 

In a short but momentous two years, this is who we have become. We in the West, who have spent decades, if not centuries, lecturing the rest of the world about 'freedom', and sometimes trying to bomb them into accepting it. We who invented this thing called 'liberalism'; we who are now burying it. It didn't take much, did it, for our words to be revealed as hollow?

Nearly a decade ago, I wrote an essay called The Barcode Moment. It’s collected in my book Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist, but you can also read the original version, in three parts, herehere and here. It was about the advance of intrusive technologies, and the question it posed was: where will you draw your line? I was trying to work out for myself the answer to this question, which has nagged at me for years. At what moment does the direction of travel of the Machine become so obvious, so intolerable, so frightening, that you can no longer acquiesce? What is the breaking point? For some people it was smartphones. For others it might have been social media. These days I think that the really smart people stepped off the carousel at dial-up modems and went quietly into the woods. 

That essay was easy to write compared to this one. Ten years ago, I shivered at the sight of Google’s new Glass technology, which in retrospect was an early shot at a prototype metaverse, and wrote about what it might portend. It turns out that it’s a dozen times easier to write about a future of technological control that might be around the corner than it is to write about it as it manifests around you. 

But this is what is happening today. Over the last six months I have been writing about the evolution of the vast grid of technological control that I call the Machine: where it came from, what powers it, how we manifest it in our culture and in our individual lives. Over the next few months, I was planning to write about how it manifests in the here and now, in our politics, society and culture. I will still be doing that, but I find myself being overtaken by events. By the time I finish writing these essays, we will be living in a very different world to the one we lived in when I started them. We already are. 

The covid pandemic has proven to be the perfect controlled experiment for the rollout of the next stage of the Machine’s evolution. This is the missing piece of the jigsaw puzzle without which the rest cannot be deciphered. The Narrative does not make sense until we understand that we are watching a new, radical form of techno-authoritarianism unfold before our eyes. It is not an accident, and it is not temporary. In the EU, Smartphone-enabled vaccine passes have been on the cards since at least 2018. The entire pandemic scenario was wargamed less than a year before it happened. The technology was ready, and the tightening of the ratchet long anticipated. All that was needed was a trigger event. As I wrote in my last essay here, the future in a collapsing society is a combination of both breakdown and clampdown. So it begins. 

No ‘conspiracy theory’ is required for this to be true. It doesn’t mean that the virus is not real or dangerous, or that Bill Gates wants to inject you with microchips (well, he might, but that’s a separate conversation ...) No hidden cabal of people needs to be in control. The people who are in control - or at least, who aspire to be - are out in plain sight, and have been for years, and most of us either don’t notice or don’t care. We are too busy playing with the toys they make for us. And what is the line between Them and Us, and how blurred is it?

What we are seeing is the Machine doing what it always does; what I have traced through its history for the past six months. It is taking advantage of events to cement its dominance. It is colonising our societies and our bodies and our minds. It is replacing nature with technology, and culture with commerce. It is making us parts in its operational matrix, and it is using our fear to justify its tightening grip. When we are afraid, we welcome control, we welcome authoritarianism, we welcome strong leaders who will save Us by excluding Them. We willingly give up our freedom for safety, and end up with neither. Our fear leads us by the hand towards the next stage of our long journey away from Earth and into artifice; away from human freedom and into the digital net.

Perhaps you think this sounds exaggerated. Hysterical, even. Just a few months ago I might have agreed. A year ago, I almost certainly would. But a year ago I had not seen what I have seen now. I had not seen the smartphone passports, the QR scanners, the meek public compliance, the deliberate whipping up of fear and hatred by political leaders. I had not seen the mandatory vaccination orders. I had not seen the camps.

Next week I will write more on what I see happening, and where it is heading. But for now, it is enough to say that my personal Vaccine Moment has arrived. Where once I was on the fence, now I am firmly off it. Even if I were to be convinced that these vaccines worked safely, I could never get myself a vaccine passport and acquiesce in the technological segregation of society. I could never scan my code without shivering. I cannot participate in this.

We all have a breaking point, and we all should, because this is the means by which our human intuition screams to us that something is wrong. This is mine. I will not go along with what is happening. I will not validate what is emerging. I will resist it. I will take my stand.

What has been interesting about just the last few days, as I have struggled with how to express myself here, is that huge numbers of people have taken to the streets to say the same thing: enough. As the pressure builds, the explosions begin. Following widespread walkouts and strikes in the USA in recent weeks, hundreds of thousands of people across Europe have begun to take to the streets to oppose the closing-in of the technium. Few of these vast demonstrations have been reported in the mainstream media - another of those facts which, if the world was what it pretends to be, would ring alarm bells, but which we have become inured to in the age of the Spectacle

But something is happening out there. It’s as if the Vaccine Moment is some kind of thoughtform, drifting through the air, settling on millions of us at once like soft rain. Or perhaps it is more that a fog has suddenly cleared. Perhaps more and more people are coming to see that what is happening now is the Rubicon of our age. Nothing will be the same after this, and it is not intended to be. If we don’t want the future to look like a QR code flickering across a human face forever, we are going to have to do something about it.

Thanks so much.
Take care,