Control is a form of Bullying

A commentary on censorship

The Guardian this week had a news article titled: Facebook and Twitter restrict controversial New York Post story on Joe Biden. The article says Twitter blocked tweets that contained links or photos to the New York (NY) Post’s report on alleged emails that show that Hunter Biden offered to introduce then Vice President Joe Biden, and now Democrat presidential candidate, to an executive of a Ukrainian gas company. Joe Biden’s son has faced accusations of corrupt behaviour from both Democrats and Republicans. Users attempting to share the story were shown a notice saying: “We can’t complete this request because this link has been identified by Twitter or our partners as being potentially harmful.”  My question is: Harmful to who?

Facebook also took steps to limit the spread of New York Post—a newspaper that is part of the mainstream media—article placing restrictions on posts linking to the article, saying: “This is part of our standard process to reduce the spread of misinformation.”  The article goes on to say that Republican senator Ted Cruz wrote Twitter saying: “Twitter’s censorship of this story is quite hypocritical, given its willingness to allow users to share less-well-sourced reporting critical of other candidates.”

Are social media companies censuring? I (#blogger #blog #somseason #YA #authors) personally have had Facebook posts that I shared declared “misinformation,” and YouTube videos which I saved to watch later to discover them removed from YouTube.

According to the NY Post’s article; Ted Cruz slams ‘unbelievable’ Twitter censorship of another Hunter Biden story, Twitter locked down some accounts of people who shared the report, forcing them to delete the story from their feeds. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany refused to delete her tweet and remains locked out of her personal account, which has 1 million followers. The article also reports that Twitter blocked Ted Cruz from sharing the article. President Trump has had many tweets blocked by Twitter, and the company has even temporarily blocked the Donald Trump`s re-election campaign Twitter account (see US Election 2020).

A September 29th study uncovering global perspectives on online censorship using citizens in the United States of America, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Russia, Norway and Sweden, showed large segments of people in each country do not trust the integrity of information they find online, and many suspect censorship is at play. The study reveals 37% of Canadians and 54% of Americans feel that they’ve experienced internet censorship. The Toronto Sun has an article: BIG TECH CENSORS: Social media continues to gag conservative voices, stating YouTube nixed thousands of videos under the pretense it was removing hate speech.

Are we being controlled? If we aren’t being controlled, then why are so many users unable to speak their truth without being censored? New Zealand-born writer, Juliet Marillier, says,  There is no truth on this island of yours. Rather, there are as many truths as there are stars in the sky; and every one of them different.” American photographer, John Szarkowski, says, “Because we see reality in different ways, we must understand that we are looking at different truths rather than the truth and that, therefore, all photographs lie in one way or another.” We all like to think we hold “the truth.”

We need to ask questions, such as: Have we been controlled and manipulated with the use of fear tactics to keep us silent and out of our truths? Let’s face it, if we are being controlled and manipulated, then we are being bullied. Bullies (#bullying #antibullying) intimidate and torment others to control them. Start asking questions. First ask yourselves: Who is doing the censoring? Why are social media CEOs censoring? Who is telling them to censor? Secondly, ask yourselves who and what are they censoring? Are they censoring people who are speaking truths that are not the truths of those doing the censoring? Are they censoring truths that they don’t want us to hear? I have to wonder why the social media giants are attempting to prevent a New York Post article about the possible illegal dealings regarding the Biden family from being read? I guarantee that if a similar article about Trump came out, it would not be censored. We’ve seen lots of examples of that. The third question to ask yourself is: What are those doing the censoring afraid of? After all, censorship is the voice of fear. What are they hiding? Who are they not censoring? Could it be they are not censoring individuals that have the same agenda as them? Are they allowing the truths to be spread that are their truths? I am merely asking the questions while remaining neutral as best I can. Do some research to find the answers to the above questions if you feel called to.

I was under the illusion that everyone had freedom of expression or freedom of speech in the ‘free wold.” The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects our rights and freedoms, including freedom of expression and the right to equality. It is part of the Canadian Constitution. The First Amendment of US Constitution guarantees freedom of expression by prohibiting Congress from restricting the press or the rights of individuals to speak freely.  

So, ask yourselves are we manipulated and controlled? Have we always been? An article titled: Fear-Based Manipulation: How Politicians, Marketers and the Media Create Panic to Control the Masses, explains how this could be done. Another article: How the Media Controls Your Reality explains how media could control our lives. I encourage you to read them.

American singer and songwriter, Jim Morrison, once said, “Whoever controls the media, controls the mind.” Soviet politician, Nikita Khrushchev, said, “The press is our chief ideological weapon.” Malcolm X, an African American Muslim minister, says, “The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.”  British television writer, novelist and non-fiction writer, Dresden James, once said, “When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses over generations, the truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker a raving lunatic.” Could that be true?

If we really do have freedom of expression, which our constitutions say we do, then we must respect and tolerate everyone’s truth. As German-born physicist, Albert Einstein, once said, “We must not only learn to tolerate our differences. We must welcome them as the richness and diversity which can lead to true intelligence.” We must remain neutral, no matter how difficult that may be, and stop labelling things as right or wrong. Really, there is no such thing as right and wrong. As Ufuoma Apoki, founder of Petra Ministries, says, “Right or Wrong, most times, merely depends on perspective. It takes humility (not necessarily logic) to let go of our egos to see through the other person’s eyes. But I guess even I, myself, can’t let go to see why you’d object.” In other words, right and wrong are relative.

Some people might claim there are absolute truths, meaning a truth that is true at all times and in all places; a truth that is always true no matter what the circumstances. Perhaps there is, but that would require more study.  

If we are ever going to live in peace and harmony, then all truths need to be respected and tolerated, and the use of censorship to control others needs to stop. Let’s face it, we live in a diverse world; a world with an infinite number of truths, and that is okay. I don’t have to accept your truth, nor do you have to accept my truth, but we do need to understand and accept that your truth may be different from my truth. When you attempt to impose your truth onto someone else, then you are acting as a bully.

Is the Cure Worse Than the Virus?

A commentary on COVID restrictions.

The Washington Times has a September 15th opinion piece titled, America’s pandemic: Why the cure has become worse than the virus. I (#blogger #blog #somseason #YA #authors) happen to agree with the commentator. Especially for young people, the cure is worse than the virus. The mainstream media (MM) continues to tout the dangers of COVID-19, instilling fear by constantly telling us that COVID numbers are on the rise. Yet, the article states that coronavirus COVID-19 has killed 0.058% of the U.S. population, assuming they were actually COVID deaths. As I stated in previous posts, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has admitted that 94% of people said to be killed by the virus had two or more other health conditions which likely contributed to their deaths. The opinion piece goes on to state that the Associated Press, for months has said: “For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up in a few weeks.” 

I intend to remain neutral, not pointing fingers or judging the decisions that our leaders have made. Instead, I carefully analyze the information available to me, asking questions, drawing my own conclusions, and speaking my truth. It may not be your truth and that is perfectly fine.

I recently saw a September 23rd Calgary Herald article titled, Opioid deaths more than double in Alberta during COVID-19 pandemic.  This article states that more than twice as many Albertans died of opioid overdoses in the second quarter of 2020 than the first, an increase of 28%, according to new data. Finally, the MM and the province’s government are starting to talk about the effects of COVID restrictions. Alberta’s associate minister of mental health and addictions, Jason Luan, stated, “The past few months have led to increased fear and anxiety, isolation, disruption to in-person services, job uncertainty and more.” He admitted that these problems are not unique to Alberta as the Canadian provinces of British Columbia and Ontario have seen a similar rise in overdose deaths since the start of the pandemic.

The Huffpost’s September 24th article, Statistics Canada Reports Record High Level Of Youth Not In School Or Work, reveals that Statistics Canada found that 24% of Canadians aged 15 to 29 were “NEET” ― not in employment, education or training ― as of April of this year. That’s double the rate in February, before the pandemic. The article also states that the jobless rate for youth was 23.4% in August, compared to 10.2% for Canada as a whole.

Are our youth affected by COVID restrictions more so than adults? The information suggests so. I would even go so far as to say our youth, more so than any other demographic, are being bullied (#bulling #antibullying) because of COVID restrictions. I have to wonder if COVID restrictions are really necessary?

CTV has an August article titled, How deadly is COVID-19 for children? Here’s what we know. According to the article, one death out of 7,888 cases in children and teenagers means that less than 0.013% of young COVID-19 patients in Canada have died. In the US, only about 0.2 % of patients under the age of 17 have died, according to the article. A study of 100 children who contracted the coronavirus in Italy, a country touted is one of the worst affected by COVID back in March, found that no children died. In China, a study reveals only one of the first 2,135 pediatric patients to have contracted the virus later died. Research from Ontario concluded that it is “rare” for children to die after contracting COVID-19 in high- or middle-income countries.

I have to ask: If our children and teens have a less than 1% death rate because of coronavirus, then why are there such harsh COVID restrictions placed on them? Are these restrictions—forced masking, social distancing, insisting they sanitize their hands before entering school rooms, and fear mongering affecting their mental well-being—a too high of a price?  Shouldn’t our youth’s mental health be priority? The cure—at least for our young people—is far worse than the threat of the virus.

The Daily Signal—not a MM source—has an September 29th article titled, COVID-19 Linked to Rising Suicide Rates Among Teens. The article states:

Many experts say that the stringent social distancing measures put in place to combat the spread of COVID-19 have significantly worsened teen mental health. Because teenagers are social by nature and developmentally reliant on their peers, the pandemic has exacerbated mental health issues among an age cohort already vulnerable to begin with. 

I can tell you as a retired teacher who worked with children and teens for over 35 years, that our youth are emotionally fragile at the best of times. The most important thing for a teenager or child is being with their friends, and with COVID restrictions, this is being taken away from them. It seems to me that decisions concerning our youth are being made out of fear of the virus when decisions should be made from the perspective of what what the data says and what is best for young people.

The New York Post has an August 13 article titled, One in four young adults in the US contemplated suicide during pandemic.  The article sites a CDC study that states:

The percentage of respondents who reported having seriously considered suicide in the 30 days before completing the survey (10.7%) was significantly higher among respondents aged 18–24 years (25.5%)

In another article by Health News Florida titled, The Pandemic Has Researchers Worried About Teen Suicide, it states:

“Teenagers are in a developmental space where it is critically important that they have regular contact with their peers and are able to develop close and ongoing relationships with adults outside the home, such as their teachers, their coaches, their advisers,” says Lisa Damour, an adolescent psychologist.” And I worry very much about what it means for that to be disrupted by the pandemic.”

Are COVID restrictions, said to be implemented to protect our children and teens, worth damaging their mental health when the death rate of the virus is less than 1%? Forcing kids to wear masks and social distance is harming them more than the virus threatens them. The cure has become worse that the virus for our youth. That is bullying. In one of my May posts, I suggested a simple definition of bullying, which was; ‘when a person is made to feel threatened or unsafe by another person.’  Now I would define bullying as: ‘When a person, or group of people, are made to feel threatened, unsafe, or restricted by another individual, group of people, or authority.’  COVID restrictions are affecting young people’s mental well-being, so they are being bullied. The question remains: Is protecting our children and teens from a virus where less than 1% are said to have died from COVID worth causing 25% of young people to consider suicide because of COVID restrictions? I say NO. It is illogical. The data says NO. And most of all, NO because it is bullying. That is my truth!

We’re All in this Together

A commentary on the need for hope.

I saw a video recently which made a lot of sense. The video was talking about our chaotic world which every human is experiencing; a world facing an apparent pandemic, the Black Lives Matter protests, protests against Covid restrictions, mask confusion, human trafficking, missing children, ever changing messaging, and the list goes on. Here is the essence of the video.

The video emphasized that we’re all enduring this storm together no matter what our beliefs and personal truths are. Everyone has their own truths and beliefs, but we are all navigating these confusing times together as best we can. For many, it may feel like we’re divided, polarized, and fighting against one another. Many feel confused and frightened about what is going on. Despite this, the speaker says to pay attention to how you react and respond to other humans, to your knee jerk reactions, and to avoid asserting that someone is wrong. There is no right or wrong. Practice being neutral.

The speaker goes on to talk about neutrality. She says you can navigate through the chaos with neutrality. You can still have your opinions, beliefs, and your own truths, but see and respect other people’s truths as well. That is what neutrality is. We are all experiencing our own human journey together amongst the chaos, so pay attention to your response to others, having more compassion for them since we don’t know what other people have experienced or what they’re going through. How kind can you be to others? We can be unified with our differing thoughts, beliefs, and still retain our individuality. Be kind, as everyone is doing the best they can.

The message in the video resonated with me. My beliefs about what is happening have not changed. However, I’ve realized that I may have failed to be sensitive to other’s perspectives and beliefs, pushing my perspective without considering other perspectives and beliefs out there. I may have forgotten that many people are fearful; fearful of the virus, or afraid that something sinister is happening in our world. The video reminded me that every human is navigating the chaos as best they can and that now is a time for kindness. If ever there was a time for unity and hope, it is at this time.

Having said that, the speaker did talk about the importance of considering other perspectives, to question everything, and to be skeptical about what we are being told. Be a truth seeker!

In May, I (#blog, #blogger, #YA, #authors, #somseason) wrote a post titled,  An Opportunity, Or Back to the Same? In that post I quoted the author, poet, speaker, educator, humanitarian and social justice activist, Sonya Renee Taylor, who said:

“We will not go back to normal. Normal never was. Our pre-Corona existence was not normal other than we normalized greed, inequity, exhaustion, depletion, extraction, disconnection, confusion, rage, hoarding, hate and lack. We should not long to return, my friends. We are being given the opportunity to stitch a new garment. One that fits all of humanity and nature.”

From the very beginning of this alleged pandemic, I’ve always felt strongly that the world is going through an awakening or reset; that the Universe, God, Yahweh, Allah, Creator, or some greater power is orchestrating this, and awakening us to  the “greed, inequity, disconnection, confusion, rage, hoarding, hate and lack” that is on a global scale; awakening us to racism, bullying (#antibullying, #bullying), misogyny, and tribalism. I believe this now more than ever.

Recently, I saw a post on social media that said:

Don’t Give up on this year.

Keep fighting for the good.

Keep showing up.

Keep loving.

Keep giving back.

Keep being kind.

Keep being brave.

Keep caring.

Keep trying new things.

Keep showing grace.

Keep on.

This world needs you to believe in the good.

How true that is. The fact is, it doesn’t matter if we believe that the mainstream media is imparting fear causing a steep rise in suicides and drug overdoses (see Opioid deaths double) or not. It doesn’t matter if we believe our governments are taking away our rights. It doesn’t matter, as we are free to believe what we want. What does matter is for humanity to be united, to believe in good, and to practice kindness.

Idowu Koyenikan, in his book, Wealth for All: Living a Life of Success at the Edge of Your Ability, said: “There is no denying that there is evil in this world but the light will always conquer the darkness.” Author, Ken Poirot, says, “Light can devour the darkness but darkness cannot consume the light.” In John 1:5 of the Christian scriptures it says, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

Several major religious festivals use light to acclaim the power of spiritual hope. Christians decorate Christmas trees with lights to symbolize Jesus Christ as the light of the world. During Diwali, a Hindu festival, fireworks displays and candles are used to celebrate the hope of spiritual victories. The Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, or “Festival of Lights,” is a festival of hope, that teaches us that there is no limit to what we can accomplish when we let God—or the Universe, Yahweh, Allah, Creator, or whatever you want to call it—be our guiding light. The festival encourages everyone to shine light in the darkest places of our lives and in our world.

Science tells us that light overpowers darkness since the photons (small packages of light) can dispel darkness, but darkness cannot dispel light. This principle can be seen simply by entering a dark room and turning on a flashlight. The light is visible in the midst of the darkness, even if there’s just only a small amount of light in a great amount of darkness. This same principle applies spiritually, as the light of hope is always stronger than the darkness of discouragement, fear, despair or even evil. I choose to believe we are living in a time of hope; a time where light is overtaking the darkness in our world, even though it doesn’t feel like it at times or even if we don’t believe it.

The South African Anglican cleric, Desmund Tutu, is known for his anti-apartheid and human rights work. He said, “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.”  What the world needs most, right now, is for humanity to have hope that there is light entering our dark world.  To believe we are experiencing a cleansing; a time of light entering our world. Perhaps we’ve been living in darkness—“greed, inequity, disconnection, confusion, rage, hoarding, hate and lack,”—and we didn’t even see it. The world needs to have hope that what we are all experiencing will end and that we will end up with a better world. Perhaps this experience will create a strong desire to build a better world instead of returning to what was. I choose to have hope and to no longer live in fear. You should too.

Are We Being Bullied? (Part one)

A commentary on the covid restrictions.

On August 29, hundreds of thousands protested around the world objecting to the covid restrictions. Recently, I (#blogger #blog #somseason #YA #authors) saw a Facebook post with about 300 pictures and videos of these protests. Of course, that post disappeared like others that disagree with the Mainstream Media (MM) and government’s messaging. I guess free speech is gone. The biggest protest was in Berlin, Germany. Other protests took place in other German cities, London,  various British cities, India, Canada, Iran, Ireland, China, and many other cities I can’t remember. Now here is a ‘birds’ eye’ view of the Berlin protest. One of the  posts estimated 4 million protesters, but you be the judge. You can view the video by clicking on: Berlin Protest video.

BBC’s article Germany coronavirus: Hundreds arrested in German ‘anti-corona’ protests, says there were 38000 protesters. I can only speak for myself, but the crowd I see in the video far surpasses 38000. The BBC article claims there were hundreds of arrests because stones and bottles were thrown, yet  the video shows a peaceful protest. Is the Mainstream Media (MM) misleading us and trying to minimize these protests?

I searched the MM about the protests and found few news articles . NBC News’ article titled, QAnon supporter join thousands at protest against Germany’s coronavirus rules, mainly focuses on the protesters failing to follow covid restrictions. Its use of “QAnon supporters” implies that the protesters were crazy conspiracy theorists. Press TV’s article, Tens of thousands protest coronavirus bans in Europe, mainly talks about the Berlin protests, but does make mention of protests in London, Paris, Vienna and Zurich. This article, like the NBC article, primarily focuses is on the government’s concern for the spread of covid. CBC News’ article, Global rally against COVID-19 safety measures comes to Parliament Hill, and again, its focus is concern for the spread of the virus.  What is interesting is that there wasn’t that much concern about the spread of covid during the Black Lives Matter protests, nor did the numbers spike. I don’t know about you, but I see a pattern here. In my last post, What is Really Going On? I suggested the MM is intentionally promoting fear of covid as a way to distract us, and it seems that hasn’t changed.

In yet another MM article by the Guardian titled, Coronavirus sceptics, conspiracy theorists and anti-vaxxers protest in London, it says “18,000 coronavirus sceptics” protested in Berlin, a much lower number than the BBC article. This article describes the anti-covid restriction rally saying,

The event, which began at noon, drew a broad coalition including coronavirus sceptics, 5G conspiracy theorists and so-called “anti-vaxxers.

Now talk about an agenda; an agenda to make the protests sound like a bunch of crazies. Why are the numbers of protesters being down played? Why is the MM attempting to discredit the protests? Why is the MM relatively silent on most anti-covid restrictions protests?

I know, some of you think I’m just another one of those conspiracy theorists, but I remind you that a “Conspiracy Theory” was a term coined by the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) in order to prevent disbelief of official government stories.

Why would the MM and governments want to instil fear in the masses by creating the illusion that this is a serious pandemic? The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is supposed to be where the experts are. If this virus is so deadly, then why did the CDC quietly update their website  under the title of Comorbidities. Comorbid means existing simultaneously with and usually independently of another medical condition.  The (CDC) website says:

For 6% of the deaths, COVID-19 was the only cause mentioned. For deaths with conditions or causes in addition to COVID-19, on average, there were 2.6 additional conditions or causes per death.

In plain English, that means only 6% of all covid deaths were actually caused by the covid virus. The other 94% may have been deaths caused by some other condition, since on average people had  2 – 3 other medical conditions. Canada, as of Sept 2, has 9132 covid deaths, but only 554 out of a population of 36 million we know for sure died of covid. The US, with a population of 331 million, is said to have 189 922 covid deaths, but only 11 395 we know for sure died of covid. Does sound like a deadly virus to you?

In the Question and Answers section on the CDC website, it says this about testing:

A positive test result shows you might have antibodies from an infection with the virus that causes COVID-19. However, there is a chance a positive result means that you have antibodies from an infection with a virus from the same family of viruses (called coronaviruses), such as the one that causes the common cold.

In another place on the CDC website, it says:

The Food and Drug Administration has not authorized antibody testing to diagnose COVID-19, and the CDC does not currently recommend using antibody testing for diagnosis of any infection.

What this means is a positive antibody test says the person has antibodies from some type of coronavirus, including those that cause the common cold. If an antibody test was used to determine a covid case, then we, the public, are being mislead.  Covid-19 is just one of many types of coronavirus. Are we being intentionally mislead to believe we are living in a pandemic?

Global Research has an article, Manufactured Pandemic: Testing People for Any Strain of a Coronavirus, Not Specifically for COVID-19. Here is what it is saying about the covid PCR test—the test done using a swab.

Coronavirus has been around for years and years, is incredibly common, and there are a variety of forms. The vast majority of the earth’s population will have pieces of coronavirus DNA in them, even if they are perfectly healthy. When a PCR test is done, health workers are looking for partial viral DNA sequences of  the covid-19 virus, but these sequences could be from any type of coronavirus. Here is what the article says about the PCR test:

It’s only looking for partial viral sequences, not whole genomes [an organism’s complete set of DNA], so identifying a single pathogen is next to impossible even if you ignore the other issues…It uses ‘amplification’ which means taking a very very tiny amount of DNA and growing it exponentially until it can be analyzed. Obviously, any minute contamination in the sample will also be amplified leading to potentially gross errors of discovery.

In conclusion, the PCR test is unreliable and gives misleading data since it could be finding a DNA sequence from any type of coronavirus.

Back in March, we were told to quarantine to “flatten the curve,” so as to not overwhelm the health care system. Then the “experts and top doctors” said we may have covid restrictions until a vaccine is developed. Now, we’re told that even with a vaccine we may have covid restrictions, at least that is what Canada’s “top doctor” is saying (see Even if there’s a vaccine, pandemic may persist for years to come: Tam).  Then there is the headline; Wear a mask while having sex, suggest Canada’s top doctor. The latest headline: A second coronavirus lockdown in Canada? Experts discuss the likelihood. What is going on? Do these top doctors know what they are doing?

Dr. Jeffrey I. Barke, MD, a family practice physician based in California spoke out about the COVID-19 madness. This is part of what he said:

My name is Dr. Jeff Barke, and I’m here representing thousands of physicians across the country whose voices are being silenced because we don’t agree with the mainstream media and the experts who are telling us what to do. Never in the history of this great republic have we quarantined the healthy…Yes, this virus is dangerous. But as we see the statistics come in, we’re realizing that the fatality rate of this virus is in the ballpark of a bad seasonal influenza. What we’re also knowing is that just like other respiratory viral illnesses in the past, we get over this virus by achieving herd immunity. We can never achieve herd immunity by keeping the herd quarantined  (source: Dr. Jeff Barke Criticizes).

The evidence I’ve seen indicates that Dr. Barke is right, and if he is, then we are being bullied (#bullying #antibullying) by our governments. Authorities have taken away many of our rights and freedoms under the guise of keeping us safe. Are we being bullied by our governments?

I saw this in a post.

Imagine a man who forced his wife to stay away from her friends, family, and job. Imagine he also told her she should not leave the house unless absolutely necessary and to cover her face and avoid people if she does go out. Imagine he threatened her with punishment if she didn’t submit. Would you call this abusive [or bullying]?

It does not stop being abuse [or bullying] when the government does it ! (author unknown).

Perhaps George Carlin explains what is happening the best. He was an American stand-up comedian, actor, social critic, and author who died in 2008, and is regarded as one of the most important and influential stand-up comics of all time. Have a listen.

If our governments are so concerned about our safety, then why are they preventing us from gaining immunity from this virus? Do they have a hidden agenda?

Selective Pandemic Attention

Rajneesh (born Chandra Mohan Jain, also known as Acharya Rajneesh, Bhagwan Shri Rajneesh, and later as Osho, was an Indian mystic, and founder of the Rajneesh movement. He was asked about 40 years ago during AIDS: How do I avoid an epidemic [pandemic]? “You’re asking the wrong question,” Osho replied, “the right question should be: How to avoid the fear of dying caused by the epidemic [pandemic]? Because it is very easy to avoid the virus, it is very difficult to avoid the fear in you and in the world. People will die more from this fear than from the epidemic (pandemic). There is NO virus in this world more dangerous than FEAR. Understand this fear, otherwise you will become a dead body before your body dies. It has nothing to do with the virus. The scary atmosphere you feel in these moments is collective madness…It has happened a thousand times and will continue to happen. And it will continue if you don’t understand the psychology of crowds and fear. You usually keep your fear at bay, but in the moment of collective madness, your consciousness can be completely lost. You won’t even know when you lost control of your fear. Then fear can make you do anything. In such a situation you can also take your own life or the lives of others. So much will happen in the coming times: Many people will kill themselves and many people will kill more. Attention, be mindful. Don’t watch news that triggers fear. Stop talking about the epidemic [pandemic], repeating the same thing over and over again is like self-hypnosis. Fear is a kind of self-hypnosis. This idea will cause chemical changes in the body. If you repeat the same idea over and over again, a chemical change is triggered that can sometimes be so toxic that it can kill you. During an epidemic [pandemic], energy around the world becomes irrational. This way you can fall into a black hole anytime. Meditation then becomes a protective aura into which no negative energy can penetrate.” (Source: Journalist Eye)

Osho’s answer to the questions makes a lot of sense. Are we being ruled and controlled by fear of this pandemic? I wrote about this in my last post The Real Pandemic. The mainstream news media is solely focused on the pandemic, instilling fear into the masses. As Osho said, “Don’t watch news that triggers fear.” My question is: Is this intentional? Are there people who want to keep us in fear? That is the question that needs answering.

It reminds me of something I (#blogger #blog #somseason #authors  #YA) used to do with my students when teaching about the brain. Watch the video below and follow its directions.

The first time I saw this video, I failed to see the gorilla, and the majority of my students did as well. When we focus exclusively on one thing, we fail to see what is really happening. Could people be so focused on Covid; so caught up in the fear of dying from Covid, that they miss things? When we’re solely focused on Covid, we fail to notice that more people are dying of suicide and drug overdoses than Covid deaths. Isn’t this what Osho said, “Many people will kill themselves…” I mentioned in my last post, the US director for the Center for Disease Control, Robert Redfield, says,

“We’re seeing far greater suicides’ and ‘deaths from drug overdose’ than deaths from COVID, and prolonged school closures may be more dangerous than coronavirus.”

Interestingly, the mainstream media is relatively silent on this topic. Why is that? Do they want us fearful? I’m merely asking the question.

When we exclusively focus on the pandemic, we fail to notice that our rights and freedoms are slowly being taken away from us. We no longer have the freedom to gather in large groups. We no longer have the freedom to enter many places without having to wear a face mask. We no longer are able to run our businesses and schools as usual. Numerous countries have suspended fundamental democratic rights such as freedom of assembly, freedom of movement and protections against warrantless searches and warrantless arrests (source Forbes).

When we’re solely focused on Covid, we fail to notice that our democracies are threatened. In my province (Alberta) the government passed Bill 32 which reduces picketing rights, limits arbitrators’ discretion, lowers the legal age of work to 13 years old, and provided employers with opportunities to evade paying overtime premiums. According to research from the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, at least 56 countries have delayed national or regional elections due to the coronavirus pandemic (source Infogaphic). Here in Canada, the House of Commons voted to suspend full parliamentary sitting until September. The argument is the virus is too dangerous for elections and for parliament to sit. Is this pandemic so dangerous that democracy has to be suspended, or even removed?

When we exclusively focus on the pandemic, we fail to notice that humanity is more divided than ever; pro-maskers verses anti-maskers, pro opening the economy verses keeping it closed, those who believe the media verses those who are accused of being conspiracy theorists, and pro police verses those who advocate defunding the police. TMZ reports that the pro-police group, Back the Blue, and some Black Lives Matter protesters brawled in Fort Collins, Colorado. It reports the Back the Blue crowd went after the BLM protesters. If ever there was a time for humanity to be united and working together, it is now.

There is something else we’re missing when we solely focus on Covid; something that I have been reading a lot about recently, and once again the mainstream media is silent about it. What I’m referring to is human trafficking and missing children. According to The National Crime Information Center (NCIC), 448 090 people under 21 and 161 108 over 21 went missing in 2019 in the US.  In Canada, with a much smaller population of 37 million (2019) 40, 425 reports of missing children in Canada was reported by the RCMP using numbers provided by the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) in 2019. (source the Missing Children Society of Canada). One child missing is too many as far as I am concerned.

Fact Retriever’s article, 56 Little-Known Human Trafficking Facts, says:

  • According to United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), over the past 30 years, over 30 million children have been sexually exploited through human trafficking.
  • Nearly 80% of human trafficking is for sex, and 19% is for labor exploitation.
  • Human trafficking around the globe is estimated to generate a profit of anywhere from $9 billion to $31.6 billion. Half of these profits are made in industrialized countries.
  • Human trafficking is one of the fastest growing criminal enterprises because it holds relatively low risk with high profit potential. Criminal organizations are increasingly attracted to human trafficking because, unlike drugs, humans can be sold repeatedly.
  • Human trafficking is estimated to surpass the drug trade in less than five years.

Now I can only speak for myself, but these statistics are alarming! This is bullying (#bullying #antibullying) on a grand scale. What I don’t understand is why this is not being reported by mainstream media. I do not understand why there is not a huge outcry on this planet, like the one we saw with ‘black lives matter,’ over missing children and human trafficking. Black lives matter! Indigenous lives matter! Don’t Children’s lives matter? (#ChildrensLivesMatter #SaveOurChildren #ChildTrafficing)

The Real Pandemic

A commentary on the affects of pandemic fear

I (#blogger #blog #somseason #YA #authors) was recently sent a song video called ‘Covid 19’ that, in my opinion, speaks of the real pandemic.  There is a line in the song that says “fear is the real pandemic.” A line that jumped out at me is “Let’s kill the fear that the news spreads.”  Here is the song I am talking about.

What I find most interesting is that the mainstream media is focused on Covid and the alleged deaths caused by the virus, when there is a far worse pandemic happening. Covid restrictions and government control is mentally harming people. The truth is, fear is causing suicides, drug overdoses, alcohol and drug abuse, domestic violence, and bullying which all kill more people than the virus. The song refers to a pandemic of fear; that is the real pandemic. Let’s address how this media fear mongering  is affecting the masses.

First, there is a huge increase in bullying (#bullying #antibullying). I’ve written about this in previous posts. Most recently relates to the mask debate where masking is dividing people into two groups: Those who feel safe when they, and those around them, are wearing masks, and those who want the freedom to choose. The differences of views between these groups results in bullying. Check out some of my previous posts for further clarification.

Second, is the increase in drug overdoses. CBC News’ article, B.C. records highest number of fatal overdoses in a single month, with 170 deaths, reports that British Columbia’s (BC) Coroners said May had the highest total ever recorded for a single month in provincial history, and more people have died from drug overdoses than from COVID-19 in B.C. all year. The article has a graph comparing Covid deaths to drug overdose deaths in 2020. It is quite striking to see the comparison. Partnership to End Addictions’ July article, Drug Overdoes Increasing and Accelerating During COVID-19 Pandemic, says this about the US:

…suspected overdoses soared 18% in March compared with last year, 29% in April and 42% in May, according to the Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program, a federal program that collects data from ambulance teams, police and hospitals.

The US director for the Center for Disease Control, Robert Redfield, says, “We’re seeing far greater deaths from drug overdose that are above excess that we had as background than we are seeing the deaths from COVID.” (source)

Another CBC article, Pandemic worsens Canada’s deadly opioid overdose epidemic, says Alberta, BC and Ontario have all seen increases in overdoses. It makes sense. When the media spreads fear, people become stressed and anxious, and use more substances to cope.

Third, is the increase in drug and alcohol use during Covid.  Forbes’ article, Covid-19 Is Helping Make 2020 A Record Year for Cannabis Sales; a headline that says it all. The University of Southern California has an article, Pandemic drives alcohol sales — and raises concerns about substance abuse, which again isn’t surprising because fear perpetrated by the media drives people to use drugs to cope with the stress. 70 per cent of Australians report drinking more alcohol than usual since the COVID-19 outbreak in Australia (source). More than 1 in 5 Canadians who drink alcohol and have been staying at home report drinking once a day since the beginning of May (source). Clearly, Covid is causing a substance abuse problem, and substance abuse gradually kills.

Fourth, is the suicide problem. National Review’s article, Lockdown Suicides on the Rise, quotes CDC director Robert Redfield as saying,

“There has been another cost that we’ve seen, particularly in high schools. We’re seeing, sadly, far greater suicides now than we are deaths from COVID.”

Another article, Suicide deaths higher than COVID-19 deaths amid lockdown, CDC chief warns, says the same thing. Mr. Redfields is quoted saying, “We’re seeing far greater suicides’ and ‘deaths from drug overdose’ than deaths from COVID, and prolonged school closures may be more dangerous than coronavirus.”

New York Post’s, California doctor claims he’s seen more deaths by suicide than coronavirus, validates what the CDC director says.

An August research paper titled, Projected increases in suicide in Canada as a consequence of COVID-19, conducted an analysis of suicide and unemployment rates between 2000 and 2018 in Canada. Suicide mortality in 2019 was predicted using the 2019 unemployment rate of 5.7%. Suicide mortality in 2020 and 2021 were projected for three scenarios of change in unemployment rates: no change (i.e., 5.9% in 2020 and 6.0% in 2021 as published in the 2019 Federal Budget), moderate increase (i.e., 7.5% in 2020, 7.2% in 2021), and extreme increase (i.e., 16.6% in 2020, 14.9% in 2021). Clearly, with all the unemployment happening because of Covid lockdowns, Canada’s suicides will increase.

Fifth, is the increase in domestic violence. The Foundation for Economic Educations has an article titled, Domestic Violence More Than Doubled Under Lockdowns, New Study Finds. The National Bureau of Economic Research,  an American private non-profit research organization, released a paper which analyzed government-mandated lockdowns in India. It found evidence of a 131% increase in complaints of domestic violence in May 2020 in “red zone districts, which are those that experienced the strictest lockdown measures, relative to districts that had less strict measures (“green zones”). Canada’s Globe and Mail News outlet reports that at least nine women and girls were killed in domestic homicides in Canada during the pandemic as of May 12 (source). I’m sure that number has increased since.

From Flicker

The Medical Press says the COVID-19 pandemic has led to higher levels of depression, anxiety, suicidal tendencies, and psychological trauma among American adults during the early months of its spread; that’s according to three new studies published by University of Arkansas. The article also says;

“Fear is a pretty consistent predictor…What we found is that fear, coupled with a range of social vulnerabilities, consistently and significantly predict a range of mental health outcomes.”

The Star’s article, COVID-19 having ‘profound effect’ on Canadian lives, especially psychologically: survey, says Canadians have anxiety about their loved ones’ health, fears of Canada’s hospital system becoming overwhelmed, and an alarming number of women (one in 10) are afraid of violence erupting in their home.

A RedState article says the head of CDC admits lockdown is killing way more Americans than COVID. This is the real pandemic. If this is indeed true, which seems to be the case according to my research, then why is the mainstream media solely focused on Covid numbers as opposed to the psychological trauma that Covid restrictions are causing. Do they have an agenda? Is there intent to spread fear, and if so, why?  Fear is False Evidence Appearing Real. Is that what is happening? One has to wonder if the virus is as deadly as the media wants us to believe. It seems to me that the real pandemic is one of fear; a pandemic that is killing and harming more people than the Covid virus.

As the song says, “Let’s kill the fear that the news spreads.”  It is very simple; STOP WATCHING THE NEWS,  because as long as the mainstream news spreads its fear–the biggest bully of all–society will continue to become more mentally unwell. That leads to more people experiencing bullying because people are pitted against one another, and some people die because of it. Suicides, drug overdoses, alcohol and drug abuse, and domestic violence are all on the increase, and even the CDC is admitting more people die from the fear spread by the news than the virus itself. Why aren’t we hearing more about this in the news? This is the real pandemic!

The Great Debate of 2020 Continues

A commentary on masking

The Washington Post recently had an article titled, Unlike the United States, more and more countries are making masks mandatory. The article says that France has made face coverings mandatory in all public enclosed spaces, and England is set to begin enforcing new rules that make masks compulsory inside supermarkets and other shops. Many cities across Canada are implementing mandatory mask bylaws. Many US states require mandatory masks in public spaces.

Along with those mandatory masking laws, I (#blogger #blog #somseason #YA #authors) am reading more and more reports of “covid mask bullying” (#bullying #antibullying).  In a Washington Post article,  a lady wearing a black mask is described who ambushed a California couple with a can of mace, scolding them for not wearing face masks and eating at the Dog Park. Another article by the Sun Sentinel describes a Walmart shopper who was charged with pulling a gun during mask dispute.  Newsweek reports on a Florida man, who wasn’t wearing a face mask,  who assaults a Walmart staff because he was denied entry into the store. Every day there seems to be a new article describing “covid mask bullying.”

The problem is the push for masking is dividing people into two groups: Those who feel safe when they, and those around them, are wearing masks, and those who want the freedom to choose. In my last post, I questioned the studies supporting masking. The data is pretty clear when it comes to physical distancing and frequent hand washing. They do reduce transmission. For masking, the data is not so clear. I wondered if I was wrong, so I set out to find definitive proof that masking is effective. I looked only at the most recent studies (June 2020 or later) and I only looked at the research papers themselves as opposed to the news article discussing them. News Media can misinform and mislead because of biases.

One study I looked at was updated June 15, 2020. It said in its conclusions:

Societal norms and government policies supporting the wearing of masks by the public, as well as international travel controls, are independently associated with lower per-capita mortality from COVID-19.

That sounds convincing, but then in its background it says:

There is wide variation between countries in per-capita mortality from COVID-19…Determinants of this variation are not fully understood.

I discussed in my last post the problems with comparing countries as every country uses different criteria for determining a covid death. This study’s background information seems to agree with me. For that reason, this study is not convincing.

In another study, dated August 2020, it says

The study suggests that community mask use by well people could be beneficial, particularly for COVID-19, where transmission may be pre-symptomatic.

There is one of those words again: ‘Could.’  That means possibly or might. That is not convincing. Moreover, at the bottom of the paper is a heading: Conflict of Interest. It says the researcher has received funding from 3M, an American multinational conglomerate corporation, more than 10 years prior for face mask research. For me, that makes the research bias and unreliable.

In yet another study published in June, it says:

In summary, our modelling analyses provide support for the immediate, universal adoption of face masks by the public.

It may provide support, but it hasn’t provided proof. Furthermore, this study uses mathematical modeling, a process of developing a mathematical model. A mathematical model is a description of a system using mathematical concepts and language.  According to Wikipedia, the complexity of a mathematical model involves “a trade-off between simplicity and accuracy of the model… While added complexity usually improves the realism of a model, it can make the model difficult to understand and analyze, and can also pose computational problems, including numerical instability.”  For me, that makes this study unconvincing.

In an article by Brigham Young University updated July 25, 2020 and titled, Making sense of the research on COVID-19 and masks, it says:

Researchers from hospitals, universities, the private sector, and government agencies have concluded that masks could be one of the most powerful and cost-effective tools to stop COVID-19 and accelerate the economic recovery. There is universal agreement, however, that masking alone will not be enough to stop the pandemic. Masking is most effective when combined with physical distancing, frequent hand washing, rapid testing, and coordinated contact tracing.

There is that word again: ‘Could.’  That means possibly or might. That is not convincing.

Furthermore, in a Health Cloud article titled, Are Statistics Reliable? it says most people think that statistics are truth. When you see a study that quotes a percentage in its findings, which many masking studies do, it is natural to believe it to be accurate. The truth is, statistics can be very misleading and are easily manipulated. Here is a simple example. Being bald increases your risk of cardiovascular disease by 70%! The risk of cardiovascular disease increases with age, and so does baldness.  However; this does not mean that baldness and cardiovascular disease are linked. That’s misleading!

I set out to find proof that masking works, yet, I am still no more convinced as I was before starting this post.  Studies saying masking may or could save lives simply are not convincing, and have no definitive proof. Mandating something without the proof that it is effective, especially when causing ‘covid mask bullying’  is wrong, plus it gives people a false sense of security. Enforcing physical distancing and insisting on hands washing makes sense because it has been shown to be effective. Any policy that pits people against one another, that is, those who feel safe when they and those around them are wearing masks, and those who want the freedom to choose should not be mandated.  It only escalates tensions between the two groups and causes ‘covid mask bullying.’

Before accusing me of being a conspiracy theorist, understand that I’m not saying masks fail to protect us. Of course they provide some protection since they are barrier to droplets released from someone. There is not enough convincing evidence that face mask decrease transmission to force people to wear them. Wearing a mask should be an individual’s choice.

The Great Debate of 2020

A commentary on mandatory masking

I (#blogger #blog #YA #authors) have been away camping for the past two weeks, and so I wasn’t able to check the news. I have to say, it was nice to be away from the sensationalized news stories, especially about covid, and the stories of civil unrest on our planet. Upon my return to civilization, I’ve learned that a debate is raging over mandatory mask wearing.  I was struck by the CBC News headline, OPP shoot man dead hours after mask dispute leads to alleged assault. The story says a man refused to wear a mask,  allegedly assaulted a grocery store employee, and then drove away. A police officer saw the car, followed it to the man’s home, and outside the home the two police officers fired their guns after some sort of “interaction.”  Another news article reports that an Ohio county launched a hotline to report people spotted without masks (see hotline). There were numerous stories about wearing masks. These are really stories about bullying (#bullying #antibullying) in my opinion; stories about masks verses no masks.

All across Canada there have been protests against mandatory mask wearing (see CTV News). Protests are occurring in the US as well. “Experts,” whoever they are, are telling us masks  protect us and those around us. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that healthy people wear masks over their mouths and noses when leaving their homes and entering places where physical distancing is difficult. The World Health Organization (WHO) released a list of recommendations, in early June, suggesting the most appropriate types of masks to wear in a variety of settings, including the use of non-medical masks in crowded places and on public transport. Now I’m hearing of city councils debating whether mask wearing should be mandatory in enclosed spaces.

I’ve seen social media posts arguing that making the public wear masks is no different than making wearing seat belts mandatory. I disagree, as this debate is not that simple. Statistics clearly show that seat belts save lives (see Seat Belt Statistics). Regarding mask protection, the experts don’t all agree. In other words, the research on mask usage doesn’t provide definitive proof that they work.

The news media sites many studies claiming to show that masks are effective. One such study in The Lancet, a weekly peer-reviewed general medical journal, says in its findings that “transmission of viruses was lower with physical distancing of 1 metre or more, compared with a distance of less than 1 metre.” Now I can accept that as the data shows definitive evidence. Then it says “face mask use could result in a large reduction in risk of infection, with stronger associations with N95 or similar respirators compared with disposable surgical masks or similar.” The problem I have with this statement is its use of the word could. The word ‘could’ means ‘possibly’. That is not definitive proof.

In Science Focus’ article, Coronavirus: Will face masks reduce transmission? it says in a “study which looked at coronavirus deaths across 198 countries found that nations which had policies favouring mask-wearing had lower death rates.”  Now that sounds convincing, but when I did research for my post titled, An Opportunity, Or Back to the Same?  I learned that what counts as a covid death varies, depending on the country. In my opinion, that makes this study misleading and unreliable. 

In Wired’s article, The Face Mask Debate Reveals a Scientific Double Standard, it says, “There are no large-scale clinical trials proving that personal use of masks can prevent pandemic spread.”  It sites a study on influenza where it states in its findings,

These findings suggest that face masks and hand hygiene may reduce respiratory illnesses in shared living settings and mitigate the impact of the influenza A(H1N1) pandemic.

There is another one of those words: ‘may’. The word ‘may’ means ‘possibly’. Again, this is not definitive proof.  In another study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, it says:

We concluded that household use of masks is associated with low adherence and is ineffective in controlling seasonal ILI (influenza-like illness).

The data fails to show that masks are effective. Furthermore, one needs to look at how the study was done. How big was the test group? Was there a control group? Did the study follow strict scientific protocols? Who funded the study? As a retired science teacher, I taught the importance of doing science properly.

I’ve seen posts on my social media claiming masks may dangerously reduce oxygen levels. In USA Today Fact check, it quotes the Center for Disease Control (CDC) saying:

The CO2 will slowly build up in the mask over time. However, the level of CO2 likely to build up in the mask is mostly tolerable to people exposed to it … It is unlikely that wearing a mask will cause hypercapnia (Carbon dioxide toxicity).

There is one of those words again: ‘unlikely.” That means possibility. This doesn’t convince me.

The CDC told the international news organization, Reuters:

“The CO2 will slowly build up in the mask over time. However, the level of CO2 likely to build up in the mask is mostly tolerable to people exposed to it. You might get a headache but you most likely [would] not suffer the symptoms observed at much higher levels of CO2. The mask can become uncomfortable for a variety of reasons including a sensitivity to CO2 and the person will be motivated to remove the mask. It is unlikely that wearing a mask will cause hypercapnia.”​

There is that word again: ‘unlikely.” That means possibility. This doesn’t convince me either.

There are many arguments against mandating masks, such as, face masks can be uncomfortable. I haven’t worn them a lot, but when I have, I have found them to be uncomfortable. In fact, I tended to touch my face more with a mask on, which apparently is a “no no.” Another is face masks restrict airflow, or make breathing more difficult. That is true for me. Masks cause glasses to fog up, and I have personally experienced that. Masks force people to unintentionally draw closer to others during conversations. I would have to agree with this one as well, as I have a difficult time hearing what people wearing masks are saying as their words are muffled. Masks could foster a false sense of security. I have to agree, as I have yet to see a study saying masks are 100% effective against viruses and bacteria, but mask wearers may think they are 100% protected. Plus, people may think they are safe and take risks. Another argument is cloth masks could spread disease if unwashed. Let’s face it, walking around with a dirty face mask isn’t doing anyone any favours. Masks can cause skin irritation. I recall seeing lots of news articles showing health care workers with skin irritations back in March when covid numbers were raising, so that is true.

In light of what I have learned, do I think masks should be mandatory? No. I’ve not been convinced with what I’ve learned. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying masks fail to protect us. Of course, they would provide some protection since they are barrier to droplets released from someone. Will they slow the spread of a virus? Possibly. Many anti-maskers oppose it since it infringes on their freedoms, and it does. In fact, The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is closely watching the development of orders and regulations in some jurisdictions which mandate the use of masks in all indoor public places, saying “mandatory masking requirements represent an interference with personal autonomy” and may even violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms depending on the situation.

The truth is, making masking mandatory is not the same as making seat belts mandatory. Wearing seat belts have been proven to save lives. Wearing masks may or could save lives. That is not definitive proof! When mandating something without definitive proof causes bullying and divisiveness, it should not be done. Any policy that pits people against one another, especially when it is without definitive proof, and promotes bullying, is unethical and therefore shouldn’t be directed.