Archives For COVID-19

Nine news political editor, Chris Uhlmann has launched an MSM broadside into the self-sabotaged, and slowly sinking, Victorian government.

Uhlmann took aim at the Victorian Premier, labelling the Andrews’ government’s oppressive COVID-19 response as ‘panic-stricken.’

In the piece published by the Sydney Morning Herald, Uhlmann accused Daniel Andrews of ‘destroying the village in order to save it,’ writing

‘nowhere in [Australia’s] often-opaque democracy has a less transparent court system, bureaucracy, police force or government than Victoria.’

Adding,

‘The people there have been badly served, even as some revelled in the servitude. Its systems of power have combined to deliver the wanton destruction of its vibrant society. Its government has condemned its people to a poorer future, to higher unemployment, more poverty and less opportunity.’

He reasoned that since most deaths have occurred in nursing homes, nursing homes should be better protected: ‘If you are going to throw a ring of steel around anything it should be around aged care homes, not Melbourne.’

Uhlmann also predicted a ‘global reckoning of governments,’ arguing that COVID-19 countermeasures were ‘doing more damage than the disease.’

He explained that ‘economic destruction imposed by governments will deliver millions into poverty, driving internal and external conflicts.’

Subsequently, poverty-stricken states ‘turning inward’ will push the world towards ‘more division, anger and polarization.’

Also worthy of note was Uhlmann’s damning, critical assessment of modern Australians,

While the ‘disease has revealed the character of our leaders’, it has ‘hammered home some uncomfortable truths about us as a people. As a nation we seem comfortable with authoritarianism and too many relish the role of prefect.’

Caldron Pool’s editor-in-chief, Ben Davis, applauded Uhlmann, stating,

“The whole situation highlights, not only just how dangerously deaf we can be if the narrative frightens us enough, but how willing we are to part with our freedoms and rights in exchange for the promise of safety, whatever devastating impacts may follow.”

Davis added,

“While it’s great that people are slowly beginning to ask the same questions Caldron Pool’s writers were asking six months ago, the real questions at this point are, how much damage has been inflicted and to what extent can we actually recover? Questions we might not have had to ask if the MSM had the foresight of our writers, and our warnings had been taken seriously.”

Uhlmann’s Sydney Morning Herald piece is a criticism of the bureaucratic caste’s COVID-19 disregard for civil liberties.

It vindicates the concerns of discerning citizens who, from the start of the lockdown craze, raised awareness about the lack of assurances from politicians concerning the preservation of civil liberties.

Caldron Pool have been asking these same questions, and positing the same warnings about the consequences of dubious anti-CV-19 authoritarian measures since March. We were behind the eight-ball from day one, while “fact-checkers,” and Leftists dismissed us as right-wing conspiracy theorists spreading misinformation.

As we’ve said from the beginning, there’s two sides to the coronavirus. The actual crisis, and the crisis manufactured by bureaucrats for the cameras.

Andrews’ COVID-19 response emulates Sisyphus.

The Victorian Premier is determined to keep going in one direction, applying the same damaging, flawed methods over and over again, despite (as Uhlmann pointed out) there being other options, and more information about the virus available than there was in March.

There is also a thin line between governments waging a war against the crisis, and governments waging a war against people caught up in that crisis.

Uhlmann is right. Andrews and other ‘will-to-power premiers’ have crossed that line, and the majority of Australians let them do it.

#Democracydiesindarkness


First published on Caldron Pool, 16th September, 2020.

Image: ABC Australia.

Background image: Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash

©Rod Lampard, 2020.

It might surprise the self-righteous, Covid-1984 surveillance and speech police, that Australia’s Healthy Minister, Greg Hunt, has been funding research into the “controversial” drug hydroxychloroquine.

According to an article published by the Sydney Morning Herald in early June, ‘the federal government was increasing funding for research into hydroxychloroquine, announcing that it was giving $170,020 [sic] as part of a $66 million dollar investment into a range of research projects to fight COVID-19.’

Contra to many a Soc-Med armchair expert, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute director Professor Doug Hilton ‘defended the research, stating ‘what we’ve learnt is that if you provide hydroxychloroquine to very sick patients, you have to do so carefully. I think there is still a huge amount of scientific debate on the usefulness of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment, and I think there is absolutely required to be more clinical trials.’ (SMH)

Professor Hilton doesn’t consider the drug a cure, or a treatment, but said that ‘if you look at the scientific evidence, and if you read the papers rather than simply reading the tweets about hydroxychloroquine, I think the consensus is it could well be an extraordinarily-useful preventative.’ (ibid)

Hunt backed the research despite the WHO halting its own study, as a result of safety concerns, which were raised in a Harvard affiliated study published by The Lancet medical journal, claiming to have ‘conclusively proven’ that hydroxychloroquine was risky and ineffective against COVID-19.

Since publication that ‘study has had its validity’ challenged ‘after [two] corrections were published with the journal taking the unusual step of putting an ‘expression of concern’ on it.’

According to the SMH, ‘Australian scientists poked holes in it, pointing out that the study seemed to include more Australian deaths than have actually occurred. Along with a range of other issues that have now been identified, with almost 200 scientists signing an open letter raising concerns about the study.’

This was supported by the New York Times in mid-June, which added that ‘the experts who wrote The Lancet also criticized the study’s methodology and the authors’ refusal to identify any of the hospitals that contributed patient data, or to name the countries where they were located.’

In a rejection of the scientists concerns of the study’s claims against hydroxychloroquine, as of today, there is, and has been no independent review of its data, methodology and source material.

To add insult to the potentially massive injury the study has done across the globe, it remains live on The Lancet’s website.

The Australian Health Minister has been interested in hydroxychloroquine as a probable treatment or preventative for COVID-19 since March.

9news’ A Current Affair stated in April that Hunt had imported a ‘large supply’ of ‘hydroxychloroquine for doctors to use them with patients who are in hospital.’ Noting that ‘the advice Mr Hunt and the government have received is that experts are “cautiously hopeful” hydroxychloroquine can have an impact.’

Quoting from the same interview, Medical Republic dropped Donald Trump’s endorsement of the drug next to side-affects reported by French political magazine Le Point, and blamed Trump’s endorsement for ‘disastrous off-label use’, while stating in the same article that medical professionals were ‘prescribing hydroxychloroquine for themselves, other doctors, and their families.’

The implication that thousands of highly educated medical professionals are prescribing hydroxychloroquine, based squarely on Donald Trump ‘endorsing the drug’ is ludicrous.

Taking all this into account, it’s not a stretch to say that the politicisation of hydroxychloroquine isn’t the handiwork of Donald Trump, it’s the result of Leftist bureaucrats, and spin-doctors looking to deny Donald Trump a fair go at seeking re-election.

Look at how increasing anecdotal evidence is being suppressed by Silicon Valley as part of Big Tech’s ongoing support of The World Health Organisation.

Note well how Big Tech are supporting the same organisation that cheered on people calling Donald Trump and Scott Morrison’s travel bans on China, “racist”.

This is the same organisation that was more concerned about giving the Chinese virus a politically correct name instead of backing quarantine procedures that would have saved lives and livelihoods.

The same organisation that issued an authoritarian fiat back in February/March, with the justification that naming the virus from its point of origin – as has been tradition across the globe – was now apparently “racist”.

The same organisation that ‘kow-tows’ to the Communist Chinese Party, as Executive Director of UN Watch Hillel Neuer told Sky News in May, by running interference for the CCP in ‘a fight against any attempt to hold the CCP accountable.’

The Australian Government’s early move to supply hydroxychloroquine, and their funding of research into the drug as a weapon against COVID-19 is a condemnation of those suppressing anyone mentioning the word.

Hunt’s backing is justifiable. The sacrifice of medical professionals, patients, and freedom of speech isn’t.

Lives are riding on the research into hydroxychloroquine. The suppression of any data that could help speed up this research betrays a catastrophic contempt for human life.


Additional references:

The BBC: Hydroxychloroquine being ‘discarded prematurely’, say scientists

Note:

This is the third in a series of articles I’ve written on this subject. Social Media Companies have shadow banned each one.

First published on Caldron Pool, 10th August 2020.

Photo by Halacious on Unsplash

© Rod Lampard, 2020.

In his latest fireside chat, Dennis Prager addressed the politicisation of hydroxychloroquine.

The founder of PragerU said he was “disturbed by the mockery of Doctors who believe hydroxychloroquine and zinc can help people in the very earliest stages of covid.” He also stressed the importance of zinc, in its use alongside HCQ, noting a series of interviews with at least one Doctor talking about his experience working with COVID-19 patients.

The opposition to HCQ, “which is overwhelmingly on the Left, is political,” he said. Powered almost entirely by an hysterical hatred of Donald Trump, who recommended it early on.

According to Prager, “we’re going from hysteria to hysteria all based on a lie.”  He pointed to Russian Collusion, which turned out to be a hoax, and the contradiction between the message and practice of apocalyptic climate change advocates, who claim the sky is going to fall if we don’t revert back to stone age existence within twelve years.

Calling the hysteria over HCQ “phony”, he said “I believe this, because I’ve been taking hydroxychloroquine and zinc as a preventative.” He added, that HCQ has been around for fifty years, and there’s people who’ve been taking it for decades. For instance, “when anybody who goes to a place where there’s Malaria. It’s side-affects, such as heart arrhythmia, are rare occurrences.”

Highlighting the irony of the “Left, who hate Big pharmaceutical companies” being in agreement with big pharmaceutical companies over HCQ, Prager illustrated that Left’s position was hypocritical. The hatred for Trump, seems to have trumped the hatred for Big Pharma. Since it’s “big pharma who’s really against HCQ, because it’s unbelievably inexpensive.”

This unholy alliance appears to based on a mutual hatred of the president. Trump has said that Big Pharma ads against him are retribution for lowering the price of drugs, and being the first president to do so. Trump tweeted, “Big Pharma is taking ads against me because I am MASSIVELY lowering your drug prices, which is obviously not good for them; Medicare premiums will also be going down.”

Fox news reported that the PhRMA trade association said it was willing to talk to the Trump administration about lowering the cost of drugs, but refused to sign on to policies that “allowed foreign governments to set drug prices.”

‘This refers to a component of one of the president’s executive orders, known as the “favored nations” policy, which would require Medicare to purchase drugs at the same prices paid by foreign countries, which the president said would prevent the U.S. from continuing to subsidize the cost of research and development for the entire world.’ Fox added.

This supports Prager’s point, not just about the weaponisation of medicine, but also the “corruption of science.” In a bold follow up he stated that the Left’s “hatred of Trump has perverted their ability to see reality. I believe that there is blood on the hands of all the doctors, all the media people, who are keeping people, who are in the early stages of COVID-19 from taking HCQ”

The fireside chat recalled how doctors have been removed from their posts, and had posts removed from social media for advocating a second medical opinion on HCQ. It recounted how those doctors are being ridiculed unprofessionally, by professional colleagues.

Echoing the sentiments of anyone up to date on the HCQ saga, Prager said, “I’m angry. I’m angry because people are dying because of the Left; people are dying because of the New York Times, The Washington Post and CNN. People are dying because of doctors who’ve decided to politicise science. I’m not for HCQ becuase Donald Trump recommended it. I’m for it, because it works.”

As for evidence, Prager cited the Times of India, saying “the second largest country in the world in terms of population, more than 5,000 Indian police officers in Mumbai were given a prophylaxis drug meant to prevent COVID-19. They’re giving it to health workers. All the people on the front line in India are being given hydroxychloroquine. India doesn’t care about Donald Trump. India doesn’t care about Left and Right, it cares about saving lives.”

Prager then outlines magazines who’ve been pressured into publishing negative studies of HCQ, and questions the long term affects of precedents involved in using science as a veil to censor anything that challenges Leftist ideology.

His 30 minute fireside chat can be viewed here.

He’s right and he inadvertently backs everything I’ve written on this subject in the past two weeks.

In case you missed those – (and it’s likely you have, because Social Media platforms are shadow banning Caldron Pool’s HCQ content) – here are the links:

1. Big Tech Spin Doctors Ban Viral Video of Real Doctors Offering a Second Opinion on COVID-19

2. Using the COVID-19 Crisis For Political Gain Has Precedent

3. Australia Increases Funding of Research Into ‘Controversial’ Anti-COVID-19 Drug

If November produces a Democrat president, don’t be surprised if COVID-19, the Marxist Black Lives Matter political party rallies, and Antifa thugs showboating for the media – as they tear up Democrat run cites – completely disappear from view.

Lives are riding on the research into hydroxychloroquine. The suppression of any data that could help speed up this research betrays a catastrophic contempt for human life.


© Rod Lampard, 2020

It’s not baseless to suggest that people with vested political interests are using third party operators to suppress information about an alternative treatment to COVID-19 in order to win an election “costs be damned”.

Precedent exists.

At least one leading Democrat is on record for seeking the help of a Communist nation to stop the re-election of a duly elected President of the United States.

Edward Kennedy sought out Soviet intervention in American politics, with the goal of removing Reagan from office and undermining the Carter administration.

Michael Reagan (Ronald Reagan’s adopted son), writes that

‘Former intelligence officer Herbert Romerstein dug through the Soviet archives after the fall of the USSR and uncovered secret documents written by KGB agent Victor Chebrikov. The documents revealed that Senator Edward “Ted” Kennedy had sent a friend, former Senator John Tunney of California, to contact the KGB.

Tunney’s mission: undermine then-President Jimmy Carter. On March 5, 1980, as Kennedy was challenging Carter in the primaries, Tunney met with the KGB and urged the Soviets to sabotage Carter’s foreign policy efforts.’

In addition,

‘the closing days of the 1980 presidential campaign, while trailing Ronald Reagan in the polls, Jimmy Carter sent a political ally, industrialist Armand Hammer, to a secret meeting with Soviet ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin at the embassy in Washington. Hammer asked the Soviets to help Carter win votes in key states by allowing [persecuted] Jewish “refuseniks” to emigrate to Israel.’

According to Reagan’s son, in 1984, Carter, made a similar move with the hopes of derailing Reagan’s re-election.

To add, Reagan stated that ‘then Speaker of the House Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill privately told Ambassador Dobrynin that it was in everyone’s best interests if the Soviets would help the Democrats keep “that demagogue Reagan” from being re-elected.’

John O’Sullivan (President, Pope & Prime Minister) supports this rundown of events. He describes how the best Reagan’s opponents could do against him was build up support from distorted interpretations of ‘peace through strength.’

The red herring ‘warmonger’ political narrative pinned to Reagan overlooked the back-door diplomacy of the Reagan administration, which was pulling open closed doors, creating a never before seen understanding between the USSR and the United States, along with the subsequent nuclear treaties which followed.

Based on Soviet documents uncovered by Tim Sebastian in 1991,  Kennedy  did approach the Soviets, and did so ‘several times in attempts to advise the Soviets on the best way to outwit Reagan.’

O’Sullivan discusses how, through the KGB, Yuri Andropov was approached by Kennedy ‘requesting a personal interview with him, on the grounds that it was “in the interest of world peace.”

This is backed by Forbes in an article headlined, ‘Ted Kennedy’s Soviet Gambit’, which states that “Kennedy proposed an unabashed quid pro quo. Kennedy would lend Andropov a hand in dealing with President Reagan. In return, the Soviet leader would lend the Democratic Party a hand in challenging Reagan in the 1984 presidential election.”

The official defence for Kennedy comes from two contradictory angles. The first is that he was trying to head of the ‘militaristic policies of Reagan,’ (O’Sullivan). The second, that ‘KGB files weren’t to be trusted’ (PJ), so it’s all KGB fiction.

As predicted, self-described, “non-partisan”, Left-wing “fact-checker”, PolitiFact, disregarded the evidence, and flat-out ruled the event “false!”

It’d be a deliberate denial of the events leading into 2020, to say that The WHO (which has proven itself to be happy to serve the interests of the Chinese Communist Party. Trump has opposed both, and pulled back U.S funding) aren’t politically aligned; or that a Leftist led, Democrat-Big Tech-Mainstream media cabal, aren’t actively doing what they can to win back power in the U.S. November election, at-all-costs.

All these groups have clear motive, and all these groups benefit from not allowing people access to a second medical opinion on treatment for COVID-19, by shutting down Doctors and other experts who seek to do so.

Jacques Ellul, writing on the formation of men’s minds, wrote that ‘propaganda justifies [self-centred] rationalisation; it also eliminates anxieties giving man and woman assurances formerly given to them by religion. Everything can be explained, thanks to propaganda. It gives them special glasses through which they can look at present-day history and clearly “understand” what it means. There is no tolerance for its being questioned. The man or woman who justifies themselves and unconsciously plays this farce not only believes it, but also has the need for others to believe it.’ (1965:156-159)

Taking into account the propaganda surrounding the Wuhan Coronavirus, it’s naive to think that the mass silencing of doctors over their assertions about hydroxychloroquine is about “saving lives.”

Observe the way in which those Doctors are being banned, vilified and misconstrued. Look at how anyone who steps in to support those doctors with a well-reasoned argument, are accused of “putting lives in danger”; and are called “deniers of the science”, “conspiracy theorists”, and “fake news”.

These “approved”, pre-scripted labels are an attempt at moral justification – self-centred rationalisation – for dismissing an opposing viewpoint without having to engage in thinking about it rationally.

Such a rejection involves simple slogans, clear put-downs, and demonisation, regardless of how false and far removed from reality those accusations actually are. Questioning the narrative filtered down through authorised channels isn’t tolerated.

Don’t be misled. There’s a pattern of propaganda at play which serves one narrative and the interests of those behind it.

As I wrote last week, denying people the right to a second medical opinion, hurts the medical profession, and harms patients.

The only real reason for doing so has to be political.


References:

[i] O’Sullivan, J. 2006. The President, The Pope & The Prime Minister, Regnery Publishing Ltd.

[ii] Ellul, J. 1965. Propaganda: The Formations of Men’s Attitudes

[iii] Kengor, P. 2006. The Crusader: Ronald Reagan & The Fall of Communism, Harper-Collins

[iv] Letter: Kennedy Offer to USSR

First published on Caldron Pool, 4th August 2020.

Photo by Hush Naidoo on Unsplash

© Rod Lampard, 2020.

It has to make you wonder who the Big Tech Companies are taking their cues from, when they ban, block and boot professionals for publicly announcing a valid opposing viewpoint to the prevailing theory about how to treat COVID-19.

Most honest professionals encourage a second medical opinion, and most honest doctors welcome it. Find a Doctor willing to use all the available practical data alongside all the available theoretical data, and you’ve found a medical professional who will go above and beyond in his or her fight for you.

This makes the overt silencing of Doctors providing a second opinion on how to treat COVID-19 extreme, immoral and medically irresponsible.

The aggressive, coordinated “no” to any second opinion on the treatment of the novel coronavirus with hydroxychloroquine raises some big red flags.

This was no better expressed than in the mass silencing of a group of Doctors who’d formed a united front in an attempt to dispel fears, and communicate their experience treating COVID-19 patients with the politically controversial malaria drug hydroxychloroquine.

Their video was banned-by-big-tech almost as soon as it was uploaded to social media platforms on Tuesday.

Dr. Simone Gold, one of the group’s lead speakers broke down their shut-down on a recent Twitter thread,

‘We organized a group of practicing physicians, many of whom have personally treated COVID-19 patients, and we spoke directly to the American people about our experience and understanding of the virus and it’s treatment options…
As a result: Facebook removed the livestream of our conference that had 15 million+ views. Twitter forced us to delete video testimonials from our physicians. Our web host removed our website and claimed a “violation of their TOS”. The media smeared us with lies & falsehoods.’

Dr. Gold added,

Why are social media company employees with no medical degree or clinical experience censoring the perspectives of practicing physicians? Why are journalists claiming hydroxychloroquine is ineffective when there are numerous studies showcasing its efficacy against COVID-19?’

In May, The Brisbane Times reported that Queensland’s Labor government have threatened to fine ‘doctors $13,000 if they prescribe hydroxychloroquine, effectively banning clinicians from prescribing the malaria drug to treat COVID-19.’

The Public Health Order was approved by Qld’s Chief Medical Officer, Jeannette Young, and was ‘designed to stop pharmacies and GP clinics from stockpiling the medication.’

The same article acknowledged that while there is “no solid evidence” there is research that indicates hydroxychloroquine is affective against COVID-19. Citing infectious diseases expert Professor David Paterson, the Brisbane Times said that ‘the drugs proved highly effective when first used against the virus in test tubes.’

A Queensland Government information page reads as follows:

This is despite the U.S Library of Medicine stating that ‘Chloroquine is a potent inhibitor of SARS coronavirus infection and spread’; and a ‘professor of epidemiology at Yale, stating categorically that hydroxychloroquine has shown to be highly effective, especially when given in combination with the antibiotics azithromycin or doxycycline and the nutritional supplement zinc.’

Knowing there’s potential benefits, why haven’t bureaucrats explored this option further?

The short answer is political capital.

In a strange turnaround, after telling the public to listen to the medical professionals, bureaucrats are now telling the public not to listen to medical professionals.

Why? To deny Donald Trump a political victory. He advocated the use of hydroxychloroquine, and if found to be the key weapon in fighting back against the virus, it’s highly likely Trump would be re-elected in an absolute landslide win.

As YouTube contributor, Anthony Logan said, ‘The Ivory Tower elite and mega corporations look like they are joining forces to benefit themselves either financially or politically…it’s clear that the media and the left have an agenda. And it’s a crying shame because people are dying as a result.’

Similarly, Binary director, Kirralee Smith tweeted:

‘Cancel culture is more dangerous than COVID. If these doctors are so wrong, prove it with facts instead of censorship. The term “experts” seem to be applied politically instead medically. Who decides which expert we should listen to? I certainly don’t trust mainstream media!’

Of importance, Dr. Gold and her colleagues never mentioned Donald Trump, or his advocacy of hydroxychloroquine. Yet, take a stroll down many a comment section on people harassing these Doctors, and an anti-Trump theme emerges.

One of Gold’s colleagues was smeared by click bait, tabloid news outlet Dailymail.co.UK who headlined an article on Dr. Stella Immanuel with: ‘homophobic preacher who wrongly says hydroxychloroquine can cure COVID-19.’

When you have people on the Left, including some leading Democrats on record saying Trump “is a threat to national security,” and that he must be beaten at all costs, you’re not dealing with a conspiracy theory, your dealing with a very real, belligerent group of people who’ll do anything to get what they want.

From recent speculation about Trump having to be removed from the Whitehouse by the military if he lost the upcoming election, to Joe Biden welcoming the idea of a violent encounter with Trump, stating in 2018, that if ‘they asked me would I like to debate this gentleman, and I said no. I said, ‘If we were in high school, I’d take him behind the gym and beat the Hell out of him.”

This rising tide carries with it an odious cloud of wishful thinking.

To restate Tucker Colson, COVID-19 is the Leftists best chance of taking back – as opposed to wining back by policy and merit – the throne the current line-up of Democrats think they’re entitled too.

Let me be clear. I’m not saying that the Democrats created COVID-19 to take down Trump. What I am saying is that the Democrats have hijacked COVID-19, and weaponised the crisis in order to take down Trump.

More and more we see Big Tech social media platforms, becoming less about the free exchange of ideas, and more a propaganda apparatus for would-be partisan totalitarians.

To quote IPA Director, Gideon Rozner,

‘Intellectual freedom and free speech are not antiquated notions. They are ancient and important rights, and “public institutions” that dispense with them are not [for the] public at all.’ (The Australian, 29th July 2020. Parentheses mine.)

Silencing doctors, and denying a patient, the right to a second opinion, does violence to the medical profession. It harms patients, and turns the fight against the virus, into a fight against the people.

Anyone slamming these Doctors for being Trump supporters or media hounds are projecting either their own professional jealousy, or acting dishonestly as part of an organized, well-funded political campaign to keep the actual Covid-19 crisis from being solved until after the November elections in the United States.

As I’ve said for a few months now, there are two side to coronavirus crisis, there’s the actual crisis, and the crisis being manufactured by bureaucrats for the cameras.

If November produces a Democrat president, don’t be surprised if COVID-19, the Marxist Black Lives Matter political party rallies, and Antifa thugs showboating for the media as they tear up Democrat run cites, completely disappear from view.


First published on Caldron Pool, 31st July 2020.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

© Rod Lampard, 2020

I took some serious heat recently, after raising questions about the usefulness, function, role and consequences of using the Australian Government’s recent COVDISAFE app. I outlined two areas of concern, then was forced to address a third. My primary point was about precedent. The second concerned emotional manipulation; peer pressure, and the third, data security.

Objections to this included asinine responses such as “it’s un-Christian not too”, that I wasn’t’ “loving my neighbor” and that “people will die if I don’t” sign up for the app. The more astute arguments included “Romans 13 and how it commands us to submit to the government as an institution put in place by God.” [i]

The less astute included an outright dismissal, saying my argument was “crap.”Another ridiculed my point about the app being almost on par with taking an ersatz Hitler Oath. (Not an irrational concern, given the social pressure and hostile responses.)

Most of the reactions only served to solidify the precedent and emotional manipulation points. Once we accept as the norm, governments labeling people, places or things arbitrarily as being “hazardous to public health”, how long will it be until this new normal is applied by less benevolent forces to the Israel Folau’s of the world? Or even those, like me, who share Margaret Court’s view of marriage as being the biologically compatible, God ordained union between a man and a woman.

An app that encourages people to potentially stigmatise, be suspicious of, and distance themselves from their neighbour, on the basis of that person having or (are being suspected of having?) an illness, isn’t all that conducive to Christian love, pastoral care or freedom.

Likewise, using emotional manipulation, regardless of how unintentional, to get people to sign up for the COVIDSAFE app by unfairly accusing them of not being a Christian, loving or Christ-like.

We’ve heard this same asinine, emotional manipulative non-sequitur before during the same-sex marriage debate, discussions about Islamic terrorism #illridewithyou, abortion, transgenderism, Apocalyptic Climate Change…really, any Leftist cause.

Speaking out against the potential abuse of power, manipulation, and manipulative political processes, in standing up for civil liberties, is living out a love for neighbour.

Since when did a no questions asked loyalty to politicians, or allegiance to an ideology such as Leftism, become a yardstick for being a Christian?

Starry-eyed supporters of the COVIDSAFE app seem more in tune with those condemning Jesus for liberating people designated by authorities as unclean, than it is supporting Jesus’ care for the wounded, vulnerable, downcast or outcast.

I doubt my detractors would align themselves so quickly with any statement like, “Yo, Jesus, did ya get that app about lepers, mate? No. Why the bloody hell not? Do you want people to die!?”

If this is justifiable on a social distancing level, than why not develop an app to also report the threat of STD’s, AIDS, Hepatitis or HIV? The fact we don’t, and won’t, indicate that COVIDSAFE, and the general response to COVID-19 is more about politics, than science or authentic Christian living. [ii]

If this is justifiable, and in the interest of public health and safety, why not fund an app for non-smokers to ping off the phones of people who choose to smoke? If you wouldn’t support this, and yet are starry-eyed about the COVID-19 app, why wouldn’t you support it?

Let me be clear. I agree with responsible social distancing. I agree with temperature testing. I agree to a slow reopening. I agree with defeating this virus. I agree with better hygiene management, because this, to me, is showing genuine care for others, based on a basic common sense justified by objective morality.

Perhaps one of the silver linings of the Coronavirus is a return to more concern for our neighbour. Especially when it comes to manners, and personal hygiene – practising a level of care, long forgotten; one discarded by the inconsiderate, self-destructive abandonment of healthy Western traditions. I’d welcome this because it has to do more with collective and individual responsibility – people free before God, for God, and accountable to God, not enslaved to government-as-god ruling madly without accountability.

Contrary to the sentiment coming from most of those applauding the app, COVIDSAFE does not make people using it magically immune to COVID-19.

It does however make you susceptible to potentially being denied service and employment if you don’t have the app. The government admits this latter point in its 78 page COVIDSAFE information manual, and doesn’t appear to be discouraging any third party application from denying employment or service to anyone who doesn’t have the app.

“3.19.4 The Australian Government has also given clear indications that it will not be mandatory for any person to install or to use the App. However, there may be a potential risk of circumstances in which a particular individual does feel pressured to download the App (e.g. a supermarket insisting on customers showing that they are using the App before being permitted to enter the store; or an employer insisting that their employees demonstrate that they are using the App before being permitted to start or continue work).”

It’s worth noting a report published during October last year, where The World Heath Organisation concluded that “active contact tracing is not recommended in general because there is no obvious rationale for it in most Member States.”

We don’t need a nanny state to wipe our noses.

How long will it be until sneezing in a public space automatically triggers a COVID-19 alert? Or worse, individuals quickly come under suspicion for blowing their nose into a tissue, or simply coughing in public.

If this sounds ridiculous, look back at panic buying. Look at the irrational, ludicrous interpretations and enforcement of social distancing laws, based on hysteria, hear say, or presumption. See the mounting examples of neighbour spying on neighbour, and neighbor denouncing neighbour for suspected breaches of the COVID-19 lockdown.

Look again at the reaction against anyone opting out of getting the COVIDSAFE app. Look also at how Cory Bernardi was treated for refusing to sign up for the app. Bernardi, the only person on the Skynews panel giving a defence of civil liberties, was told by host Prue MacSween to “give himself an upper cut”, and drown his concerns about government overreach in alcohol.

On the same panel, Melbourne City Councilor, Nicholas Reece accused Bernardi of not living in the real world, of making lofty “high school arguments about liberty and privacy.” It doesn’t appear that Reece fully understood the implications of his rebuttal. By placing Bernardi’s concerns over liberty and privacy, in the realm of school boy fantasy, Reece confirmed Bernardi’s point.

On the subject of data security, signing up to the COVID-19 app is not the same as signing up for an in-store card, or in-store credit. Those involve companies that operate under strict laws concerning privacy and use of personal information. They are accountable to the government, whereas the government is accountable to no one, but their party, their political supporters, and last of all, you the people – in a very, very limited sense.

For those who think that our fuehrers always know best, and will thus follow them blindly:

As Bill Muehlenberg and Matthew Littlefield have pointed out:

1. “ACT Policing has admitted it unlawfully accessed citizens’ metadata a total of 3,365 times, not 116 as previously disclosed in an explosive commonwealth ombudsman’s report on Monday. The new disclosures include a total of 240 cases that resulted in information valuable to criminal investigations and one that “may have been used in a prosecution”.
2. “When Canberra introduced metadata laws a few years ago, we were told they would only be used to find terrorists. But greedy councils were soon demanding access so they could catch litterbugs. Facial recognition tool Clearview AI was allegedly misused by members of Australian police departments.”
3. “Governments routinely go wrong as power grabs become the norm, and technologies are regularly used for evil purposes. Indeed, one clear lesson of history is what is merely ‘voluntary’ today far too often becomes ‘mandatory’ tomorrow – all for the common good of course.”

I get the point of the COVIDSAFE app. It’s to inform people of areas that have been recently exposed to COVID-19, and tell people to get checked if they’ve been exposed. What I question is its usefulness, function, role and the consequences of handing bureaucrats more power.

It’s one thing to look out for others; it’s another to encourage a precedent where innocent, domestic citizens/places are deemed by the government to be “unsafe” based on a virus they are unsure about.

Romans 13 may carry weight in why we respect the need for good government, but it doesn’t hold us back from questioning government initiatives like the COVIDSAFE app. Nor does Romans 13 discourage us from pointing out how our politicians, on both sides, have spectacularly failed, and still are failing, to give any reassurances about civil liberties; including how they will be respected, and reinstated, after the coronavirus counter-measures can no longer be justified under the current crisis.

My point is ultimately about the precedence of citizens signing onto a Government program without question, emotive, even manipulative peer pressure to do so, and the danger it poses.

My point is about concern for people signing on to government program, run by politicians who haven’t bothered to reassure the people they represent that they are protecting civil liberties. Not one politician has done this, before or since the implementation of totalitarian COVID-19 countermeasures.

Break through the jargon, and the COVIDSAFE app is essentially an app that has the potential to monitor citizens. It allows third-parties to deny employment or service to anyone not carrying it on their phone. Throw in the reaction against those questioning it, and the fine print gives cause for real and rational concern.

We, the people are not the virus.

As I’ve said in the past, the warning of the 20th century to government’s and their people today is this: any justifiable counter moves against an enemy become unjustified if they make the government as tyrannical as the enemy it fights.


References:

[i] As far as Romans 13 goes, while I concede that it’s a fair point, let me say again, that there comes a time when it’s necessary to remind the government that they only have, because God gives.

[ii] See the brilliant briefing on COVID-19 by Dr. Erickson for more on this (Link). Unfortunately, YouTube has removed, and continues to remove all links to the Erickson briefing; more information here.

Image cropped and filtered from a photo by Fredrik Bedsvaag on Unsplash

©Rod Lampard, 2020

So I penned some quick thoughts today for an old friend concerned about the state of things in Australia. I’ll post it here as I have on social media, because it might help put some things into perspective for you the same way it has for us.

Remember Italy has the highest older population in Europe. It also didn’t close down it’s borders until late in the game. Whereas Australia, followed the U.S and banned travel pretty much right of the bat – smart decision.

Australia is also an island continent, meaning the cases we have here, shouldn’t increase much more than they have – despite predictions; it can be contained better, and those who are infected can receive better treatment.

I think the bigger concern for us, is trade, the economic impact – purely because we are an island continent and import a lot of goods. This could be a good thing, though for local producers, though, as demand for their product increases, simply because it cannot be sourced anywhere else.

I’m not saying the COVID-19 issue is going away anytime soon, or that it’s not serious, it is. I’m saying our ability, say as compared to Italy and Spain to contain, treat, and slow infection rates, is far greater. Due largely to decisive, unpopular action early on from Morrison, and his continued vigilance, through working with Labor, and state governments in a “war cabinet” in order to better serve the needs of Australians.

He’s clearly putting party divisions and politics behind him in this regard, which is good leadership.

So a) we are already, as a nation, socially distanced because of our geography b) we have a war chest, so we’re better positioned economically, thanks to good management of the economy c) we have a leader who has taken the reigns and pushed beyond petty political manoeuvring (such as the Greens are doing) in order to see us through.

Strategically speaking we’re doing well so far. Let’s hope and pray it stays that way.

I’m not sold on the “things will never be the same again”. Neither should you be. This was said after 9/11, and sure things did change regarding security etc. But we’re smarter and understand a lot more about our world because of the event – call it beauty for ashes (Isaiah 61:3).

I believe the same Biblical example applies here.

We can either learn from this and improve ourselves, both as a society and as individuals, or fail to recognise what generations before us have. That even ‘in suffering we should aim to affirm life’ (Dietrich Bonhoeffer).

We should recall that deliverance is the point of Easter. God cares for humanity, and has made Himself known through his covenant with Israel and in Jesus Christ. God redeems the irredeemable. We are not abandoned, though we may find Him silent from time to time. He isn’t beyond liberating in the present, having already proven Himself to be Our past and future liberator.


Bonhoeffer, D.2012.  God is On The Cross: Reflections on Lent & Easter, Westminster John Knox Press (p.52)

Photo by Ahna Ziegler on Unsplash

© Rod Lampard, 2020