By Jefferey Jaxen
As Covid fears recede, the ‘agenda’ crowds are busy attempting to squeeze the last remaining drops of blood from the stone.
Which ‘agenda’ crowds? Well, first up is the global warming crowd, who want the economy to stay shuttered in perpetuity. Then there’s the vaccine religionist crowd, who want to inject the world with a product that isn’t on the market yet, but is being fast-tracked through safety testing at “warp speed.” And of course our big brothers, the surveillance crowd, who are attempting to hang technological millstones around Earth’s communal neck.
These agendas are, of course, all being done for our own communal good. So best to stay home, stay quiet and accept them. Right?
The climate change crowd has been relegated to background noise for the time being, facing the daily news cycle of Covid-related headlines. Meanwhile, a someday/maybe Covid vaccine magic unicorn looms in the near-future…with vast swaths of the population potentially being branded ‘anti-vaxxers’ when they reject a rushed shot with a highly questionable safety profile. Donald Trump last week suggested a vaccine may not be needed.
Present focus and debate surrounds tracking, surveillance, contact tracing and social distancing. Government and health officials, aided by corporate media, have presented the topic as a foregone conclusion: It’s inevitable, and in many cases already here, news media matter-of-factly “reports.” The citizenry [you!] just need to choose what type of tracking you are comfortable with, and don’t ever mention going back to normal…it’s a “new normal” from here on out.
With the American economy crashing, and several states’ citizens protesting, the governors are struggling to keep their populations locked down. Law enforcement is scrambling to implement limited, ham-fisted solutions serving to further erode civil liberties and privacy.
The current media narrative presented for public buy-in is a trap. Low-tech, outdated and barbaric techniques are spotlighted in a public feint to spin that officials are “trying their best.” Law enforcement departments are given the impossible task of executing the initiative, while the media watches intently to report on every misstep.
The narrative coming hard and fast on the backend will be “Hail, technology!” It will be wielded by new intrusive brigades and bureaucracies with ‘special’ clearances to operate outside the Constitution and sidestep civil liberties as the proper way forward.
In Tennessee, so far 32 county sheriff’s offices and 35 police departments are receiving, on a daily basis, a list of names and addresses of people in Tennessee who have tested positive or are receiving treatment for COVID-19. Hedy Weinberg, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee stated, ”Even in the midst of extraordinary circumstances like the COVID-19 pandemic, privacy rights should be protected. Disclosing the names and addresses of individuals who will never have contact with law enforcement raises fundamental concerns about privacy.”
Meanwhile in Kentucky, a judge is ordering coronavirus patients and others who have not tested positive to wear GPS ankle monitors for refusing to stay home.
New York City is being criticized as it scrambles to enforce social distancing. In April, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s authoritarian-leanings were spotlighted when he tore into the Jewish community and ordered arrests during the funeral of a prominent rabbi.
Videos have since emerged of what some are calling the new ‘stop and frisk’ policies gone awry. One video depicts a hoard of cops tackling a Brooklyn teen. Another taken in Manhattan shows a police officer repeatedly punching one New Yorker to enforce social distancing.
Internationally, other governments aren’t treating their citizens much better, as the National Post reports.
Belgians have been told to pick four relatives or friends who will be allowed to visit them at home, as the country prepares to further ease its coronavirus lockdown. “The edict is ripe with potential for social embarrassment and the brewing of simmering resentments, as citizens make their selections, which they cannot change,” writes the Post.
UK’s PM, Boris Johnson, has addressed the country on its future direction following the historic failure of the Imperial College of London’s model used to instigate the lockdowns. At the same time, ‘immunity passports’ may be only months away according to a report by The Guardian.
“Facial biometrics could be used to help provide a digital certificate – sometimes known as an immunity passport…as a possible way of easing the impact on the economy and businesses from ongoing physical distancing even after current lockdown measures are eased,” writes The Guardian.
In the U.S. researchers at the University of Southern California, Emory University, and the University of Texas Health Science Center are jointly working on the system after receiving federal grant funding. Summit News reports:
“Like the Chinese social credit system, the scheme will consist of a mobile app for contact tracing the virus, and promises to track the real-time location and symptoms of individuals to calculate “personal risk scores”.The score would be used to determine the need “for quarantine and decontamination,” according to the report, with “aggregate risk scores” also assigned to “locations like your neighborhood grocery store.”
Should we expect more federal grants to build tracking systems? On May 1, a bill was introduced in Congress asking for $100B to authorize the Secretary of Health and Human Services, working through the U.S Center for Disease Control and Prevention, to award grants to “conduct diagnostic testing for COVID–19, contact tracing through mobile health units and, as necessary, at individuals’ residences.”
Waiting in the wings are everything from government-mandated Covid phone apps, facial recognition biometrics to trace your every move and enforce social distancing all the way to digital human markings, and chips and dyes to monitor vaccine compliance for a someday, maybe unicorn vaccine. Will these dystopian measures gain traction as current shutdown orders are baulked at?
The road to the ‘new normal’ is being paved on the backs of our ancestral ideals of liberty, freedom and truth. States still experiencing lockdowns and paralyzed economies are seeing swelling numbers of protests.
What do you believe is the best way forward individually, as a state and as a country?