There’s a contradiction Fergal Keane suffers from Post-Traumatic-Stress Disorder (PTSD) but he’s in Ukraine. He’s on the frontline. He’s been there before. Cutting his teeth in the sectarian violence in Northern Ireland. He’s been in South Africa and Rwanda.
The British journalist, Linda Melvern (2000) A People Betrayed, outlines the role of the West, NATO, and the international community, which stepped aside in 1994 and Rwanda’s genocide with over a million dead. She outlines here reports of victims from a peace-keeping mission:
‘They left the Bangladeshi crew with the Armoured Personnel Carrier, and walked into the church gardens. It was there they found the bodies. Whole families had been killed with their children, hacked by machetes. There were terrible wounds to the genitalia. Some people were not dead. There was a three-month-old baby, the mother raped and the baby killed with a terrible wound. There were children, some with their legs and feet cut off, and their throats cut. Most of the victims bled to death.’
Keane witnessed this genocide. We saw footage of children in the back of a truck fleeing and being stopped at checkpoints by murderers with machetes. They were waved on. The cameras and Keane’s presence probably saved them. He sought a reunion with a child refugee from that convey in London. He should have perhaps asked her what she thinks of Boris Johnson’s latest publicity stunt—away from Ukrainian war washing of his reputation—of sending refugees to Rwanda.
Keane admits booze helped him over the next hill and the hill after that. He had nightmares of being trapped under bodies. His body too was shot with anxiety; yet, the next high of war work was addictive as any drug. That was his job. That was who he was. Working for the BBC was a blessing and a curse. He was suicidal, but he was treated with dignity and courtesy. All of the middle-class job virtues we wish poor people were allowed. He met with his therapist in The Priory. Her treatment was unconventional and involved mimicking deep-sleep patterns by rubbing and tapping his hand. But then too so was Rivers in Pat Barker’s first-world-war trilogy (The Ghost Road). His therapist’s treatment worked for Keane, but he could never be cured, and only hope was to stay sober and grounded.
There was an interesting aside about stress patterns being inherited, from generation to generation. His grandmother taking to the bed as the Black and Tans committed murder in the name of preserving law and order. Fergal Keane as a special correspondent was there when duty called. He’s put himself back in the line. For many others with PTSD the choices are narrower. And there are no easy answers that don’t involve investing more money in health care.
Jon Ronson has the kind of job I’d like. He meets interesting people and writes books that are worth reading. Here over eight episodes and around four hours he investigates the culture wars in American where he lives. They’re happening here in Britain too, with the little Trumpet Boris Johnson lying about Brexit to get elected and pretty much lying about everything else. But this is America, where the lies are bigger and more stupid. What strikes you when listening is the power of the Christian Evangelic movement. And how such nasty fuck-ups have come to represent the life-affirming words of Jesus Christ, taken off the cross and his face rubbed in shite. No vision of a risen man, but attempts to keep others down where they belong with the other wretched strangers, carrying no luggage, the fathers of the nation in exile. About suffering, Christ was never wrong. William Blake, the strangest of men, but in his poem suggested Every Thing That Lives is Holy, but that was written before the father of lies was born, Donald J. Trump and elected President. Politics is one of the oldest tricks in the black books of history. But there is bitter black hope. Tammy Faye Bakker did perform a minor miracle. Jon Robson reported he received his greatest feedback after that Podcast. My notes are below. Don’t bother reading. Listen to the broadcast. But I know from experience those that listen to the broadcast are those that don’t need to listen to the broadcast. I’m tired of that wretchedness and repetition. Things fall apart.
William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) The Second Coming.
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosened and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction; while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi.
[Spiritus Mundi>World Spirit]
Cultural Wars: everything people yell at each other.
Buffalo, New York.
1960-70s. Switzerland. Fundamentalist commune Frank Schaeffer. Francis (father). Shelter. How Christians should engage with modern art. Eric Clapton. Billy Zeoli, Christian channels. Evangelical. Directed niche documentary. How Should We Then Live?
Satre’s relativism: help an old woman across the street or run her down (slippery slope argument)
Human fetus, unborn baby. Roe v Wade 1973, unborn child considered not to be a person. Ear shift. Christian evangelic not-yet-in the field of abortion.
Make last two episodes about abortion. Me and Jeannie were teenagers. We’re having the baby. We love her.
Showed to audiences of 15-20 000 eg Madison Square Garden.
Mass audio-cassette machines. Francis Schaeffer sensation in evangelic word. My da’s book selling 5-1 of contemporary fiction.
Frank take what the evangelics didn’t want to think about. Give me a piece of family business.
Second series, all about abortion. Ghost children. 1000 dolls anti-abortionist doctor standing in the Dead Sea. Slaughter of the innocents.
Dad’s last books sold a million.
Second tour, no one came. Launched a crusade. Out of ego and belief. Trying to get abortion on the agenda. Editorial board of Christian magazine. We’re not pro-life.
New York Post. Strange avante-garde film. Picketed by anti-feminist movement. Turned up and picketed by evangelical women, not because they were pro-choice, but because they other. Local news also turned up.
East Coast snobs. Us v Them.
Muscling in on their issue.
Pickets and protests became enormous. Abortion clinics bombed. Shot. Kopp.
The man who killed my uncle, Barnett (Bart) Slepian, was Kopp.
Part of the job. I know we’re not taking care of children we do have. They stopped doing it. No way is a bunch of idiots bullying me out of my job.
They followed his kids to school. Amanda, October 8th 1998.
All of them began with Scaefer documentaries. Jim Kopp, supposed to be a doctor. Schizophrenic by 17, became religious. Couldn’t become doctor.
Fan, Kopp travelled to Switzerland. Francis Christian manifesto. If you’re a Christian, act like it.
Oct 1998. Travelled to Buffallo New York. Went to Synagogue. There was this ping. I think I’ve been shot. Bullets. Children between ages of 7 and 15.
Frank long gone from the movement. Jerry Falwell. The Moral Majority. I’d just take them out the back and shoot them. (Homosexuals).
So uncool and so ugly.
Cut 20 minutes, show-reel. Agent, off and running. 1982-1986 directed 4 films.
Ripples, Last 30 years trying to undo the damage.
Publishing memoir, Crazy for God.
My father and I have blood in our hands. I have no words…I am ardently pro-choice.
Rev Rusty Thomson. Operation Save America. We go to exposed areas where child sacrifice and
I believe it is more of a man’s issue, to protect, guide and care for children.
All that changed with Donald Trump’s election 2016.
Installed 3 judges to Supreme Court.
Activists joined ‘Stop the Steal,’
Some of our leaders were there. A great opportunity. Set up a powerful sound system.
Abortion. Culture wars. Ambitious kid wanted to make it in Hollywood.
Sept 2021. Texas allowed to cut off abortions after six weeks. Schaffer ripples.
2) Dirty Books.
A writer living in America.
Origin stories. Pebbles causing ripples.
Complicted interesting people stripped of nuance and weaponised
US, Spring 1968.
Martin Luther King protesting racism and Vietnam war. Rejected conformity of 1950s.
Alice Moore moved with 5 children to West Virginia, St Albans, most churched place in US. Pastor husband. School having sex-education programme. Cut-away of woman and man. Complained to Superintendent of Schools. Nothing you can do about it. We’ll see about that. They needed something in the inside. Signed up for school board. Focussed from the start.
June 1974. New school textbooks. None of us had read and reviewed them. Had 325 delivered to my house and started reading them.
Christian Evangelics tended to live separate lives. 2000 came to the meeting. Their children were being taught angels didn’t exist.
Everything about war was negative.
Contextual ethics. That’s there’s no answer. Jim a pastor. She took over. It was all black and white. God said it> I read it.
Suspicions. Why did publishers introduce them in Virginia? Conspiracy theory.
She was invited on local tv.
Poem about making love on a bus. Roger McGough. Moral sentiment, you can’t just give way to your feelings. BBC colleague.
Special thanks to Roger McGough. For her ambiguity, nuance, didn’t matter.
That’s what really woke things up. Alice’s following grew. Boycott of schools. Picketed businesses.
Textbooks removed. They won.
Jim Lewis, Pro-text-book pastor.
Eldridge Cleaver. Black Panther movement, who has been convicted of rape.
But he was featured in one book. His misdeeds didn’t explain why other black author’s books were rejected. Langston Hughes.
Ron English asked to represent black authors.
Her support came mainly from poor white communities. The Hollers. What you heard rather than what you heard.
Twitter prompt, read an article before sharing.
Not being heard. Respected. It could have built common ground.
Why would some
Dick Gregory. Was committed to non-violence. Former comic. Flatfoot. Sit down. Sensation. Appeared on Tonight Show 1960s. Full time activist. Not OK for him to be OK sitting in a hotel room and simply sending a cheque. Struggling with how white his world had become. Sat down and told us the family came second to the movement. You’re taking me off the front line.
1964 wrote memoir. Contentious language. ‘Nigger’. Memoir, 10 years later on her list.
I can’t remember specifics. Where the BPanthers were talking about killing the pigs
1974, KKK, Rev Marvin Horn, on steps with them.
I never saw a Klan member.
Alice getting death threats.
Shot fired. Bill fired a weapon. Who survived.
Oct 18th, 5 shots fired at school bus. No children aboard. Bombed school.
Midway Elementary School. Dynamite before sunrise.
Levity in Alice’s voice. Skip first shot by pro-text book advocate.
Martin Horn jailed for 3 years. School returned textbooks.
I had to remove books and they were all burned up in basement. Unused. You have to get rid of them.
27% take the bible as the word of god.
One book on banned list still causes turmoil. ‘Nigger’, Dick Gregory. These were from my own collection and she was fired.
Textbook wars. Causes more uproar.
Just like Alice wasn’t interest in intention, but impact. To dominate social justice.
3) A Miracle.
Watershed and harmony in brutal cultural war.
20th Century, Evangelics kept away from mainstream society. 1970s Francis Shaffer and Jerry Falwell. Satellite TV Old time gospel hour. Vast audience. Jimmy Swaggart.
They didn’t try to entertain. Until one did. Pzzas. Tammy Faye Bakker. Steve Peters.
Odd and awkward and surprising.
Tammy Faye Bakker. Poor. No movies. Son James. Met Jim at Bible college. Eloped and preached. Children’s puppets. Fans of modern trends. PTL. Jim and Tammy show. Only network.
Jerry Falwell wanted to rule the world.
They were on all the time. Mum 10 broadcasts. Dad 6 broadcasts. TV pledge drives. Heritage USA. Theme Parks. Christian Walt Disney. Passion Play every night.
Evanagelists appalled. Telly Tubbies supported gay agenda because Tinky Winky’s antennae was like a gay pride symbol.
Tammy anxious and upset. Feeling of not being enough. Overdose on medication. Jay was 11 then. He knew what to do. He rebuked her hallucinations. ‘I rebuke you in the name of God’.
Brooklin schoolteacher died of unknown disease. Rare form of ‘cancer’ AIDs. End of 1981 131 died. End of 1982 12000.
Aids and herpes, Jerry Falwell. Reagan silent to please his political action group. The Moral Majority.
Mum did interview with somebody that had aids. Sept 15th 1985. Steve Peters.
What a brave thing. Now you’re going to show you’re an openly gay pastor with AIDs. Given Rev Steve Peters, still alive 2021.
What brought him? Christian pastor’s worst were Jerry Fallwell and Jimmy Swaggart. They’d talk as if homosexuals were paedophiles. They’d come and take your children.
1982. All manner of disease. 1984 full-blown AIDs Near Death Experience. They revived me. 2 weeks before Tammy Faye interview.
Try to reach an audience more of us LGBT couldn’t reach.
‘Tammy is sick and is cancelling the show’. I later learned that was a lie. Camera crews fears. Satellite hook-up. Both ear-pieces keep popping out.
Have you ever had a sexual experience with a woman?
I’ve necked. But my orientation was towards men.
When she started in with haven’t you given women a chance?
When you found out you’ve had AIDs. I’ve experienced remission.
Did you feel lonely? Everybody so deadly frightened. Same air.
Asked not to use toilet. Served on paper plates. Steam-cleaning cups I’ve used.
I remember after the interview was done. I hadn’t done very well. I thought nothing would come of it.
I knew she was doing something radical. (her son)
Steve got home and forgot about the interview. Troy Perry. 1000 people stood up and cheered. Steve heard from Tammy’s people too. Apparently, people phoned up and said she had a son that she thought was going to hell, but now she knew he was going to heaven.
She sent me this song. Don’t give up on the brink of a miracle. Don’t give up. Remember you’re not alone.
I’d sing along and got my miracle. I was blind and now I see.
I dunno, I know a lot more faith than me, that didn’t survive. One in a million chance, why not believe and act accordingly. I set out and did all the right things. Laughter therapy, diet, etc.
I am one in a million.
Two years and the Tammy empire crumbled. Jim jailed for financial theft.
She took Jay, her son, to hospices and to gay parades. Extraordinarily helpful. Same-sex marriage.
Emily Johnson, aural history, it had a huge impact. A more accepting world.
Tammy showed you could be gay and Christian.
Tammy died 2007. I knew she was getting an eviction notice from her body, because I’d been there. How ironic she’s the one to die first.
Steve heard the enemy talk in a calm cultured environment.
4 Believe the Children.
We can lose all reason.
What happened to turn so many Americans so irrational during the 1980 and 1990. There is a cultural war for the soul of America.
Anathemas of Pat Buchanan, Republican Party.
The idea that gay men and women can have the same rights…
Discrimiation against religious schools. We must take back our culture and our country.
Bob Erdogan The left had won. And taken over the media.
Cultural running away from them.
Bob Larson. Arizona. Death Metal bands, blood lust and…
Culture war and liberals they should be left alone.
Is there some diabolical scheme, plotted in hell himself. Radio show from listeners. Killing babies. Eating human flesh. Secret cabals abusing children. Dead cats nailed to pulpits.
I saw myself as a reporter. Bob wanted to spread the warning and novel ‘Dead Air’.
You had intergenerational occult. Passing a woman or child through a dead horse and takes away from…
QAnon, derived from same spring.
Bob Larson. Numbers of people telling me the same story. You can’t go to a ceremony. They’d do things so bizarre. You’d not been
John Trott critic v Bob Larson on Larry King show. If it’s true. Where’s the evidence. 90% US population, Christian.
Ramarez, report on Satanism. Highest ever ratings.
Police: we have kids being killed, cattle mutilated. Child abduction.
Kelly Michaels live in Pennsylvania. 1985.
Just out of college. Artistic bent. Lived 20 minutes from New York.
Where you aware of Satanic panic?
I was aware of some case in California. McMartin case were satanic case where children claimed underground tunnels and…
Daycare centre. Took the job. Stepping stone for life. WeCare DayCare. Accountants. Lawyers> Moderately affluent.
Better paid, and different job in another daycare centre.
3 detective. Investigating child abuse in WeCareDayCare.
Complaint about mother, doctor’s office. That what happened at school. But not with thermometers. Good cop. Bad cop.
We can take care of this if you admit it. They seemed satisfied and drove me home. I thought it was wrong. A reasonable if bizarre event.
One child told them about making poo-poo and pee-pee cakes and then they were all at it.
Six-year old taken from school.
Frequent talk of abduction and satanic rings.
Mothers that used to stay at home and now at work.
They said I’d played the piano naked and making them drink urine off the school floor for 150 days. It took two years. It took that time to convince parents that this could have happened. Maybe I wasn’t paying enough attention.
Guilt about abandonment to centre and guilt involved. Horrified about lack of awareness. 245 accounts of abuse against over thirty children.
All over America this happened to different carers.
‘We Believe the Children’ movement.
Children very calmly answering questions. Absence of trauma, meant more trauma.
August 1998. First charge. Taking temperature rectum. Thrown out. Then the guilties began. Sentence 47 years in prison. Aged 27.
I was taken to punishment wing. I couldn’t process of crimes that no only I didn’t do, but didn’t happen.
2 years later. Harper’s Journal. Kelly Michael innocent.
Journalists who prided himself
Case overturned. Ambiguously
Parents faded back into life. No apologies to Kelly.
Bob Larson, I didn’t have an axe to grind.
The world’s most foremost expert in the occult. I do exorcism.
I survived this..I was accused of abusing children. It’s so injust, but I can’t do anything about it. I’m this nice little church lady. And they can’t believe it.
Professional people, but under certain conditions, they can succumb to moral panics (more easily). And the media. I was shocked. Surely The New York Times will say something.
Social Media shaming. When something terrible happens. Steamroll reality and facts.
We’re all primitives.
Escalators of cultural wars, Christian right. With the internet it moved online.
5 A Scottish Jewish Joke.
A war who the internet belong to?
1980s before the World Wide Web. Brad Templeton. Epiphany, use computer to talk to other people. Usenet.
Central square. Your computer calls other computers.
Brad Software company. He was in his 20s. Audience, more elite (needed to access through colleges).
Brad, 1982, Full stops in email address. That shows how it begun.
Set up own message board.
Rec.Humour. Funny. 24 K subscribers. Jokes. One a day.
Automated programmes. Approved joke. Pick one at random and send it out. First person to be publicly shame because of something he did online
Kristlnacht. Night of Broken Glass.
Scotsman and Jew having dinner. And the Scotsman pays for it. The next day, headlines, Scottish ventriloquist found strangled?
Jonathan < shared flat with Amir. He clearly was affected by. Something important about the date. But the date was set at random.
LookingGlass Software. But running my own software company.
Next turned to the Usenet Community. But almost nobody took his side.
Amir my parents emigrated from the UK.
If something like that was left unchecked…
We hatched a plan. Hit the University of Waterloo through bad press.
Lousie…I thought this was a very important story. I read these jokes and I heard my stomach turning. In traditional media you can go to someone.
The way I described that joke…University of Waterloo system used to send racial jokes.
1980s, Italian and Jewish and in a struggle to be taken seriously. Made me feel marginalised and denigrated.
Brad: An actual Nazi contacted me.
University suspended Brad Templeton account.
Brian Reid. What a fool, they think they can ban? It was uncensorable. Built into design. Brad’s page, up right away.
Campus in 80s. Progressive. Conservative. Eric Charles. Conservative. I don’t understand why anyone would join the military. And I was in the military.
Are you a conservative that wants your voice heard?
Peter, quiet (cold and calculating). Lamenting political correctness.
Do you believe in freedom of speech of not.
Jean Genus? Scottish Jewish joke. I thought it was funny. Then the whole hoo-ha. John Sack. Director of Stanford Data Centre.
How Stanford respond? Ban the joke or let it stand?
Town and gown. Birth of Silicon Valley. Navigation of shoals of how much to do for people. Engineers of the internet. Steering the ship?
Brad’s page, banned. Rationale. Stanford’s freedom of expression…
John McCarthy. Founder of Artificial Intelligence.
What kind of man was he, I’m not going to answer that. He attacked my mother. Eugenics. Personal. Speech codes online
Gathered 100 000 signatures online.
John Sacks> John McCarthy’s argument (break things and move) we’re reaching the limits of free speech, lets run into it and test it.
2012 Free Speech wing of the Free Speech party (i.e. Twitter).
Brad, because of this kerfuffle. One of the mostly widely read on the internet.
Peter> went off to Wall Street. Thiel. Started PayPal.
Dave Ruben report. Peter Thiel.
Louise De Amato. White lives matter? March? Torn apart on Twitter. What happened to him, happened to me.
John Sack, who tried to get Brad’s jokes banned, thinks he was hemmed in by binary thinking.
6 Many Different Lives.
She asked if I was a woman? And I said, yeh. And she said Michigan is for women born women only. And you have to leave.
Nobody in this story intended for these things to lead to hatred.
Rebecca. Mixed race babies, unfamiliar. Race of familiar black. Race white. Mother black. wrote The Colour Purple (Alice Walker).
Alice and Melvin’s goal to embody ideas. Vagaries of marriage. She moved to San Francisco and two years in Washington. My mum partnered with afroAmerican. Father, Jewish woman.
Wizard of Oz, auditioned and was given the part of the wicked witch of the North. I fancied a white boy. Brian North.
Back in black life. More accepting on the whole. Black relatives call me a ‘cracker’. Demonic, based on their horrendous treatment of black people. Part of whiteness. Moving from world to world like different planets.
Gloria Steinem was her godmother. New wave of feminism. 2nd phase of feminism. Betty Friedman’s book. 1963. Women had been struggling alone. Protesting for change. Equal rights. To have a job. To have respect. Won Roe v Wade 1973.
I had grown up in very feminist community. Propaganda against feminism incredibly strong. Called lesbians. Wouldn’t shave their legs. Whether lesbians should be included etc. Extremist movements. Post-feminism.
UCLA, intersectional feminists.
How can we re-define what the movement is? I am not a post-feminist. I’m third generation feminism. Third wave.
They accused us of matricide. As if we had been replaced (murdered). We’ve been talking about this forever. This is not new.
One is not born a woman. One becomes one. Simone de Beauvoir.
Isn’t tied to societal facts, but women’s movement should open up these categories.
Mitch fest? Michigan fest. 1981 Overwhelming impression was breasts. Women removed their tops and shirts.
Lying on small bamboo mat. And smiling
Campsite for and built be women. Some partying. Some overthrowing patriarchy.
Nance Barcholder? Mitchfest 1991.
I’d been cross-dressing over the years, but I knew I wasn’t gay. I went to see a therapist. I want to be a girl. Gender reassignment 1983.
I wasn’t go to come right out as trans. Went next year. Nancy’s friend, went away. A couple of women came up and they said we need to talk to you. This festival is for women only. Are you a women?
I said yes.
She asked, if I was transsexual. And I said, it was none of her business. I had a driving licence. I had a work record. And here I was being rejected.
Laura comes back and we drive away. We fly back to New Hampshire Bay Window, Boston magazine.
Acknowledged there were other transsexuals. But they didn’t ask gender.
Janice conducted survey. 75% felt they would have been very happy to be there. Following year, where we set up camp, across the road. Went back next year. Camp Trans. Hundreds of people came out.
Most festive goers are open-minded. Atmosphere of love and joy will bring us together.1995 Camp Trans escorted onto the land.
Camp trans and Mitch Fest under own group.
Pre-op, shouldn’t they be allowed into Mitchfest, because they couldn’t afford it? Point of division.
Mitch Blyh? Angry emails about Mitch fest no allowing trans into their festival. They wanted a name. Trans-Exclusionary-Radical-Feminist.
How TRANS people should be recognised. Self identify. Not having the medical establishment in Britain for example have you live as a woman for two years before gender reassignment surgery.
Mitchfest shut down. 1992. Became associated with exclusion. Third wave become fourth wave.
Rebecca? All experiments need to be rigorously accessed.
Tone set by both sides, Alienation?
7 A Secret Behind a Fake Wall.
Edges of Hollywood. Isaac Kappy.
Filled with people imagined they’d been abandoned. Takes us
Wendy Kappy, mother born New Mexico.
Best friend ross. Hung out. Get on our bikes, cruise around. Monster Pools. Champagne Bikeride. Picked up.
Breaking Bad. Thor. Paid pet-store clerk.
He wanted to be a star and famous. Saw himself that way. Looked like could happen. 2011, Albuquerque industry died. Left and went to LA. Competing with 100 times number of people.
Issac struggled to find work. New best friends. Paris, Michael Jackson’s daughter. MacAulay Caulkin. He’d been a conspiracy theorist. About 9/11 being an inside job.
2016, during primaries.
He was a Bernie Sander’s supporter. They did all they could to stifle him. Felled by conspiracy. Took steps down rabbit hole.
Pizza Gate, secretly sex headquarters delivered children for sex and to eat.
Alex Jones, Pizza Gate is real.
December 4th 2016, family Pizza joint and opened fire. Admitted there were no dungeons. Intel. Not 100%
Then something happened.
Ross: I don’t know if I got the whole story. It’s a little uncomfortable, to talk about that. The incident. Tallies with March 2017. Confided with them, that certain people in Hollywood part of world-wide conspiracy. They told him he was right. And if he wanted to become a famous man. He had to come and rape the child behind a fake wall.
I got asked to join the Illuminati.
During the weeks that followed. Hollywood friends disturbed him further. He truly believed they had a child in a dungeon.
Came to Albuquerque. Stayed for a month. Breakdown.
After sitting on his secret for 8 months. On Alex Jones. Names his well-known friends. After that experience I tried to black it out. This is not a media stunt. I believe it.
When you go on Alex Jones and even he debunks your information.
Started posting periscopes online. Life links. QAnon. Trump had a masterplan to eliminate the Illuminati and Satanist child abusers. Narcissists.
Diagnosed with being a narcissist. Posted online. Paranoia. In LA asked a group of police officers to arrest him for his own safety.
Naming with no evidence, continuing names of Hollywood stars, with zero evidence. Went online. QAnon started re-posting his videos.
Ross: He got worried and stopped going out.
Answering questions from QAnon fans. Once I found out about PizzaGate…Maybe I’ll be back later.
Set off to visit his parents. He went over a bridge and died. Flagstaff, Arizona. Two men tried to save him. Fell backwards.
Ross talked to him last time. He apologised for things he’d done.
Incident happened around 7.30am. We were informed about 4.30pm.
Lowest things, people obtained pictures of his corpse and posted them online. YouTube refused to remove them.
May 13th 2019.
But this isn’t where his story ends.
Lin Wood said he’d been murdered. John Ziegler writing about him for decades.
Been deformation Covington Kentucky, as if they were taunting native American, wearing Trump hats. Racists. Outrage.
Other videos questioning narrative. Lin Wood got settlement for kids.
They were out there going after those young boys. Cause celebrity among Trump world.
I though he was fantastic. Very logical. But in 2020, after Trump went overboard. Avalanche of insanity.
Bush, Clinton, Obama involved in child sex abuse and murder.
Kappy was about to heroically deliver the tape to Trump before he was murdered.
He’d been working to try and get the election changed.
Trump’s official lawyers told zero chance of getting elected.
Outside lawyers. Came in. Insane solutions. Lin Wood. Online elements. Read the same stuff online. Information silos.
Jonathan’s story inside Trump’s head.
Sidney Powell, information conspiracy. Trump puts her on mute. Then unmutes and asks her what are we going to do? Sometimes we need a little crazy. So what are we going to do?
Insurrectionists, support Stop the Steal.
Lin Wood any attempts to connect them to insurrection are nonsense.
It’s good v evil.
Trump allowed this destabilising farce because sometimes you need a little crazy.
8 A Mock Slave Auction.
How the school text book wars have become so pervasive we can’t escape them. So You’ve Been Publically Shamed, Jon Ronson.
Traverse City, Michigan.
Naeve Walston? aged 16. Last April 2021. Hey, Snapchat? my friends trying this group. Late at night. texted. This is really bad. You were in it. You were sold?
Invite only. SnapChat.
92% Travis City White.
Auctioned for $100 but went for $3.
Some of the stuff being said. Good for cotton. Cherry picking. All blacks should die. Eugh and gross.
1.2million slaves sold 1760 -1860.
I’ve lived a sheltered existence. Kinda tension when slavery was mentioned. Never experienced racism in LA. Wow, this town isn’t a friendly as I thought.
Scheduled school board meeting. Just regular meeting. 7 school board meeting sit in circle. 3 minutes questioned by public.
Not an isolated incident. Paul Sinclair, educator. Mr Sinclair, but as soon as I walk out the door, black man. Stopped 13 times in a month by police.
2 page draft resolution. Immediate opportunities to learn about racism. Anti-hate learning.
School board meetings no longer modestly attended.
Identical scenes across America but fundamental change.
‘God loves you, but I’m not judging you’ (but I am).
Let’s look under the hood…CRT (Critical Race Theory) shorthand for all racist ideas. Tucker Carlson. Robin DiAngelo White Fragility.
John McWhirter. Nobody
Robin DiAngelo white role in systemic racism. Death threats. Single mum. Living in car. Feed of clothes of house us. Mom became sick. Cancer. Don’t tell anyone. She died when I was 11.
Went to college when she was 28. Career centre. Divesity training. Go out into field. Typically, 100% white. Meanness. Any suggesting racism was systemic.
Origin moment. Essay. Then book.
Fragility how little it takes to cause offence.
2018. Black Lives Matter. Books sold in droves. New York Times bestseller. George Floyd’s murder. That’s the narrative. But it had already been in the top 10.
I signed up for one of Robin’s workshops. Bowled over for couple of hours. Seas of white faces. Statistics. 93% white what shows we see. 82% school teachers.
Unsure, living in car. I knew it was better being white. How can you measure that? White priviledge. Eg Opiod addiction
Robin. How are we going to help people with opioids? How are we going to criminalise these (black) crack addicts?
If you are white your opinons are going to be superficial and ill-informed. Devote years to study and practice. Everyone’s opinion aren’t equal.
Dick Gregory ‘Nigger’.
Dean fired/suspended. Student pushing for dismissal. All that mattered was the impact.
Robin: I think intentions irrelevant? What we’ve got to focus on impact.
We emailed her, the gist of what I offered that student.
Dick Gregory, where the willing to engage in academic discourse?
I tell Robin about Traversee sister.
‘Yes, our ancestors made mistakes…’
Let’s move on.
Robin, oops. I made a mistake…
Being silenced. I’m going to go the biggest elephant in the room. People with investment in the status quo.
Anger, in Traverse City, people being told they need to be good in a different way.
Isn’t Robin’s fault. 1300 CRT mentioned on Fox News.
Trump mentions it again and again. Something to rally against.
Naeve. We acknowledge racism and we’re going to do everything we can. No teaching of CRT.
Fudge. Appease divided community. Many echoes of past repetitions pulling more and more things into its orbits.
So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed?
How we should be more empathetic. Fleeting mentions of bestiality and porn-shoot. As with Roger McGough, an optional book.
Two teachers suspended for putting the book on the reading list.
Biggest ambition, culture wars not becoming culture wars. After Tammy’s episode, so many messages of support.
I was hoping Joe Hart would have a halo effect on our defence. We’ve been here before, of course, with Shane Duffy. The Irishman came in and scored a goal on his debut and we thought, great—we’re sorted. Hart conceded two goals and made a couple of bog-standard saves. John Hartson, on Sportscene, got agitated at the goals we conceded here. ‘Sunday League defending,’ he called it.
In a game we dominated and scored four goals, which could have been quite easily six or eight—I should be happy. We seemed destined to play AZ Alkmaar in the play-off round of the Europa league. But if we fail to beat the Dutch we drop into the Conference league. I’m not sure what that is or means, but we’ll stick with what we know. I hope I don’t have to find out, but kinda thing I will.
Kyogo Furuhashi’s movement looks good. He looks to get in behind the defence. His link up play is excellent, best of all he looks a finisher. He scored the second of Celtic’s goals tonight after taking a pass from Bitton and dinking it over the keeper. Edouard did not start. That’s a bonus. The sooner the French man is away, the better.
I’ve been critical of Liel Abada’s inability to dribble past players. But his goal to game and shoot on sight ratio is brilliant. He netted our first. Greg Taylor whipped a ball. The Israeli drifting in from the wing, and in behind Furuhashi. He hit it first time. The keeper palmed it up and back out to him and he scored on the second attempt.
Five minutes later, Furuhashi hits a second.
Two minutes later, it’s 2—1. Dreadful defending. Looped ball over the top and Vaclav Pilar ran through a static central defence before firing past Joe Hart.
It remains 2—1 in the first-half. Turnbull had another shot, which he put wide.
Jablonec had a ten minute spell in which they dominated possession, without creating much. Nir Bitton with slack passing lost the ball and Vojtech Kubista with a chance, hooked it well over the bar.
Abada, in a breakaway, carried the ball forward and cut in to the edge of the penalty box. His shot was saved, but James Forrest followed up to finish.
Less than twenty minutes to go, and Ange brought on fresh legs and made three substitutions. Tom Rogic, Ryan Christie and Odsonne Edouard. Furuhashi, Turnbull and, man-of-the-match Abada go off.
But with Celtic comfortable in possession and with a few minutes remaining they do that shoot themselves in the foot thing they’ve become so adept at. With any kind of ball into the box with this backline it’s going to be dangerous. Tomas Malinsky turns Carl Starfelt inside out with a dummy, before dinking a ball over Joe Hart and in off the post and into the net. Hart got a finger to it, should he have saved it? Emmmmmmm? Here we go again. Let’s be positive and say he made a save at the end of extra time.
Ryan Christie, just before the end of the match, put a sheen back on the score line. He ghosted in front of the defender and scored with a header from a Forrest cross. Christie, unlike Edouard, can rightly feel hard done to. He’s been one of our best players in every game he started. Ironically, it’s Abada—who is doing a Christie of two seasons ago—and scoring and creating chances that’s keeping him out of the team. But if Turnbull doesn’t turn up soon, it’s his place he’ll be taking. James McCarthy can take Soro’s shirt and place in the team. But to be fair to Soro, he was pretty good tonight. The whole team played slick, attractive football. The downside remains a defence that there is no defence for. Better teams will tear us to shred. With little evidence, I think Starfelt can get better. I’ve seen enough of Bitton to know he won’t. Let’s hope Hart brings out the best in our team.
Darren McGarvey from Pollock admits he’s lucky, incredibly lucky. And he’s right to do so. He’s on a roll after Poverty Safari. The go-to man when the BBC, or any other media organisation, wants to signal that they’re doing the right thing. Giving the working class a voice. The equivalent of a black woman in the moron moron’s cabinet of his 45th American Presidency debacle. The alternative view. The Fool in Shakespearian plays, such as King Lear, who is allowed to speak truth to power. Invisible, but a place holder. Greta Thunberg addressing delegates at the United Nations, patted on the head, before they get back down to adult business of maintaining the status quo. Class War?
Not in my lifetime. Capitulation would be a better word. All the post-war gains since the second world war taken away. Marxism, is like liberalism or capitalism, difficult to summarise, but Marx argued that the point wasn’t to philosophise or interpret the world, ‘but to change it’.
The crudest formulations of class are clichéd. If I working class man throw dice and keep throwing double sixes. Then the dice are taken to be loaded. The system flawed. He’s regarded as a crook. But if an upper class man throws six after six after six. Dice aren’t taken to be loaded. The capitalist system not flawed. When actors such as Darren pop-up they are pointed at as the exception to the rule-rule. They show how fair the system can be. The end of history. The end of theory. The triumph of capitalism.
But clichés are also reservoirs of meaning. Darren flings out a few ideas and asks various characters—one of whom looks out of his face—what their thinking is on particular topics. ‘Buckfast’, for example, brought a satisfying chortle. Lower class, of course. But hey, it used to be a tonic wine, for middle-class folk.
I like the parody of class that features in The Frost Report: John Cleese, Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett.
The first thing to be noted is height. The upper class with better diet and access to proteins lived longer. Literally, walk taller. Those that own the land, own the people on the land. Windfall profits of billons for our monarch who also owns large tranches of our offshore sea, where windfarms will be situated. If you need to work for money, you’re in the wrong game. Money for the richest one-percent makes money by investing capital. After reaching a certain mass it’s a no-lose gain. It’s in all of Belzac’s books. And try a bit of Jane Austen. I’m a fan of Emile Zola, although he has a tendency to assume the working class get more sex and are sexually active earlier. Maybe they are. I must have missed that bit.
Darren gets pulled up about his posture. Watch any programme about long-lost families. You’ll find those that went abroad, including those transported to Australia, are taller, more muscular. Fish and cheap cuts of meat for the less well off at home. Starvation is back in fashion in Old Blighty. Food banks as a solution to hunger. In Shakespeare’s day people that got to around thirty-eight were the equivalent of our old age pensioners. Thirty-nine was ancient. Gladstonian liberals allowed for a pension for those aged over 65 in 1909. Less than a fraction of one-percent of the population was expected to live that long to collect it. We know now that is no longer the case and pension age has risen to over sixty-eight. But for the first time since records began the average age of British citizens has stopped increasing annually. It’s a class thing. A working class thing. Our babies die first and in greater numbers than their middle-class or upper class cohorts. A negative impact that carries on throughout life. Like those infected with Covid-19 we’re dying off quicker and pulling down the average age of our general population.
The second thing to be noted is dress. Darren plays that dressing up game too. All of our characters wear hats. The upper class character wears a bowler. A marker of rank. Bowler hats were a useful tool in preventing directors, such as Stevens of Steven’s shipyard, knocking his head. His father would have worn a top hat. Workers in the yards didn’t wear hats. Their heads were thicker. They wore overalls.
Winston Churchill wore a top hat to his public school. Accent speaks of breading. Churchill was regarded as a bit of a thicko. But he had the right kind of accent, Received Pronunciation. He famously barked at an opposition Labour MP to take his hands out of his pockets. And as a reflex action to the upper-class demands the MP complied. Here a butler is brought in to give Darren the once over when he’s dressed as a toff. The butler demands he take his hands out of his pockets and pull his socks up. Ho-hum, bit of playing to the camera.
Then we have the big reveal. The butler reveals he’s one of us. He’s working class. But he worked harder than everybody else at learning to be a butler. He got up to bed earlier. Went to bed later. He’s using Thatcheristic language reiterated by George Osborne in his debate about ‘strivers versus shirkers’. The universality of a Dickensian appeal to an imagined past that never existed. One hand destroying the welfare state, and the other clapping NHS workers, before crashing the economy into Brexitland and calling it a triumph.
Darren does cricket. I’m working-class enough to hate it. Just a little reminder here, wasn’t that the Malcolm Rifkind that was caught selling access to our British Parliament for ready cash? Cash for questions? Like the whisky priest in Father Ted I can’t help jumping out my chair and shouting ‘Tory Scum’, and for good reason. In a propaganda war they set out to destroy us, and largely succeeded.
Darren touches on it with the seeming contradiction of the ever-shrinking working class. Two-thirds of the population at the end of the nineteen century to around a third today. A mix and matching of definitions of what is meant by the working class relating to income. Weberian definitions as opposed to Marxist definitions where those that need to sell their labour are authentic working class. The proletariat. Academics toyed with these ideas in the sixties, the embourgeoisement thesis. Luton car workers because they were so well-off were the new middle class. Yet, when interviewed they claimed still to be working class despite having enough money to be considered bourgeoisie. Ronnie Corbett instead of wearing a bunnet would wear a flat cap and vote Tory. Corbett’s working class character, ‘I know my place’. You hear that kinda crap all the time, rich folk have money and they must know how to manage it. The answer is simple. By claiming working class origins, the middle (or indeed, upper) class gain greater kudos for achieving what they have achieved. They’ve rolled more sixes in life because of their skill. Look how far I’ve come, narrative.
Funny, until you consider 170 million Americans voted for the moron’s moron, and ‘red wall’ constituencies in deindustrialised areas such as Yorkshire voted for the equivalent here and for Boris Johnson and Brexit. Racist, dog-whistle politics, triumph. Eugenics is back with a bang, but dressed up in the clothes of morality.
In short, follow the money and the stories of machismo. Boris Johnson shouting through a microphone about returning £165 million a week to the NHS, while pedalling the same old bullshit as the moron’s moron, the other side of the Atlantic, about making America great again.
Marxism follows the evidence. Going against the grain. Prejudices are so engrained they need to step back and look at them.
Gramsci’s view of popular culture. Class is ideology in action. Pattern recognition of narrative the stories we’ve been told again and again until they have substance. Truth is relative.
Cul-de-sac of boring, often impenetrable theory to develop ideas of what is meant be class. Premises, methodology, perception. Examining the ideas behind our assumptions. We better be quick talking about class before we all become middle class tomorrow.
Darren examines the idea of marrying outside our class. It happens less often. Money becomes concentrated in fewer and fewer hands Remember 7:84, The Cheviot, the Stag and the Black, Black Oil? The history of Scotland in Brechtian theatre. How our sovereign wealth went to pay for Unemployment Benefit in Thatcher’s Britain in the mid-80s. Eighty-four percent of the land owned by seven percent of the population. We’d expect that figure to be a lot higher, now. And with green energy relying on having access to land, we can also expect those that hold the people to ransom, the capitalist and rentier class to become even richer. Thomas Piketty Capital in theTwenty-First Century documents this process. To be working class is to be powerless and treated as expendable scum. I’m not sure I learned anything here. But it’s a reminder of how far we’ve fallen. More of a hotchpot rant than a review. But this class stuff gets in my wick.
River of Fire is a book about before and after The Clydebank Blitz. Those who died in the aftermath of Luftwaffe bombing of Clydebank on Thursday 13th March 1941 and the following night. Those who survived the bombing and fled the town. Those who stayed. Others that came through a sense of duty and solidarity to help the victims of the bombing. John MacLeod looks at the aftermath, the thousands, who did not return to Clydebank after March 1941.
The facts are listed, the dead and injured, but juxtaposed with the way they were framed at the time.
When 528 were (with some revision) listed as dead over the two nights of bombing. The first wave of German bombers, largely unchecked, converging over Clydeside around 9pm and following Luftwaffe radio transmission beams. Around 236 Junkers 88 and Heinkel 111s that came from bases in northern France, Holland and Germany, and hugged the coast. Saturation bombing took place in a British city. Explosions could be heard at Bride of Allan in Stirlingshire.
Such was the ferocity of bombing that one worker who had been there and experienced the bombing, when told over 500 died, remarked, ‘What street?’
The town of around 42 000 people was levelled. From one geographically small community 528 people were dead; 617 seriously injured. Hundreds—perhaps thousands—more were superficially hurt and cut. Of some 12000 dwellings—including tenement blocks as well as villas and semi-detached homes—only 7 were left entirely undamaged. Four thousand homes were completely destroyed: 4500 would be uninhabitable for months.
Those that died in the Clydebank Blitz on March 1941 are listed in the back of the book alphabetically, street by street, but in a changing burgh and districts are knocked together. Further complications are that many did not die in their homes. The Rocks’ family are listed as having lived at 78 Jellicoe Street.
Ann Rocks, Age 1, At 78 Jellicoe Street, 13 March 1941.
Annie Rocks, Age 54, At 78 Jellicoe Street, 13 March 1941.
Elizabeth Rocks, Age 28, At 78 Jellicoe Street, 13 March 1941.
Francis Rocks, Age 21, At 78 Jellicoe Street, 13 March 1941.
James Rocks, Age 4, At 78 Jellicoe Street, 13 March 1941.
James Rocks, Age 32, At 78 Jellicoe Street, 13 March 1942.
John Rocks, Aged 19, At 78 Jellicoe Street, 13 March 1942.
Joseph Rocks, Age 17, At 72 Jellicoe Street, 13 March 1942.
Margaret Rocks, Age 2, At 78 Jellicoe Street, 13 March 1942.
Patrick Rocks, Age 6, At 78 Jellicoe Street, 13 March 1942.
Patrick Rocks, Age 28, At 78 Jellicoe Street, 13 March 1942.
Theresa Rocks, Age 25, At 78 Jellicoe Street, 13 March 1942.
Thomas Rocks, Age 13, At 78 Jellicoe Street, 13 March 1942.
Thomas Rocks, Age 5 months, At 78 Jellicoe Street, 13 March 1942.
Many of us are will be familiar with the story of Patrick Rocks, who swapped shifts with his son at Beardmore’s. MacLeod uses fiction to dramatize his homecoming.
‘It was still not dawn when the planes retreated and bombers faded away, he picked his way to Jellicoe Street thorough what was left of Dalmuir. Wedged between the blazes at Singers and Old Kilpatrick, this sturdy community had been pummelled through the night… Rocks meandered through wreckage with mounting alarm. When he rounded the corner, his heart lifted to see the light through the window of his flat. Then, a few steps on, he realised it was but the moon, and the glow of flame, through one tottering gable.’
This would be a thin volume charting the rise and decline of shipbuilding on the Clyde, with some questionable assumptions, you’d expect from the son of the manse, such as Thatcherism being a necessary corrective to the British and Scottish economy. (Here’s a hint, we didn’t vote for Thatcher or Johnson and we didn’t vote Brexit. We didn’t vote Scottish Independence either – not yet).
MacLeod also seems to be conducting a vendetta against a left-wing shop steward in the Daily Mail, a newspaper where he was once a reporter. (Nobody much in Scotland read the Daily Mail, not then, not now, not ever).
MacLeod is also quick to correct what he believes are the failings in Meg Henderson’s book about a fictional family set during the era of the Clydebank Blitz, The Holy City. (I just thought Henderson’s book about a matriarchal and feisty working-class family was pretty crap, whereas Henderson’s Finding Peggy was a Scottish masterpiece. I guess this is a matter of taste and I’ll tackle TheHoly City again.)
MacLeod also seems to have a bugbear against nuclear disarmament.
His chapter, The Bombing of Ethics (which is a convoluted way of saying the ethics of bombing) looks at the German experience of being firebombed. Hamburg and Dresden.
In Hamburg, for example, MacLeod quotes:
‘freak air currents spread a storm of fire across a four-square mile radius. People on the streets flashed into flames, while those huddled in shelters died asleep as the fresh air was replaced by lethal gases and smoke. Others were transformed into fine ash. By the time air raids ceased, 45 000 had been killed and a further 37 000 injured. 900 000 had lost their homes- up to two-thirds of the population of Hamburg fled the city.
Kurt Vonnegut’s novel Slaughterhouse Five, begins with the narrator explaining, ‘all this happened, more or less’.
MacLeod’s account of the bombing of Dresden 13 February 1945 is more of a turkey shoot, Lancaster bombers stacked on top of one another dropping 4000 pound and 8000 pound bombs. In comparison, no bomb bigger than 1000 pounds fell on Clydebank. And they dropped only four of that weight.
Air-Marshall ‘Bomber’ Harris wanted 5000 strategic bombers. 244 Lancasters flew over Dresden. They created a firestorm.
Temperatures rose to 1000 degrees Centigrade, jets of flame fifty-feet high hissed across streets…Dresden burned so bright, night became day.
Reap what you sow is MacLeod’s argument. There was a qualitative difference between what the Allies were trying to achieve by firebombing than the Nazis. What we did was right. What they did was ideologically and morally wrong. Them and us.
A quip (and perhaps apocryphal story) from Bomber Harris sums it up. Stopped in his car one night for speeding, the policeman warns the Air Marshal, he might kill someone with his driving.
‘Young man, I kill thousands of people every night.’
Perhaps it’s more instructive to look at the grandiose behaviour of General MacArthur in the Far East in 1945.
‘No Radioactivity in Hiroshima Ruin’ was a New York Times, front page, report. Most of the world remained ignorant of what radioactivity was.
The diminutive Australian reporter, Wilfred Burchett, armed with a typewriter, travelled by train through Japan after their surrender to witness what had happened after the A-bomb, Enola Gay. He called out President Truman and General MacArthur.
The Atomic Plague was his report.
‘I became very conscious of what would happen in the event of a new world war. From that moment on, I became active on the question of nuclear disarmament…It was not possible to stand by.’
Burchett was on the winning side. He was on the side of right. Them and Us. What he was saying is there is no them and us. Just common humanity. We sometimes lose that in the small print. Mass murder is mass murder. And nuclear weapons will tip the planet into permanent winter. Lest we forget in the scramble to claim the moral high ground. .
Before Covid-19, the coronavirus, Salisbury was briefly in lockdown in the winter of 2018 after two Russian agents poisoned former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal (Wayne Swann) who worked for MI6 (allegedly) and his daughter, Yulia Skripal (Jill Winternitz) with polonium, a highly toxic and deadly nerve agent. This might have been a hard sell.
Now we’re au fait with the whole situation. As soon as Sergi and Yulia start spewing up, and people crowd around them, you’re shouting that the telly, get away from them, ya numpty. Don’t you know anything about the R number?
Then DS Nick Bailey (Rafe Spall) who’s leading the investigation wades right into the infection zone and, when he starts sweating and mopping his brow, you just know he’s got it. He goes to the hospital for a check-up. They send him home, as hospitals sent tens of thousands of elderly folks into care homes, to empty acute-care beds for sick people, malingerers, with a bit of flu, without testing them for Covid-19. We knew the DS would be back and it would be intensive care. We’re up to date with all that stuff.
You’d be sneering, when rooking police turn up at Sergei Skripal’s home and a neighbour with a spare set of keys offers to let him inside. Lucky for them, DS Nick Bailey tells them to stand down, ‘Do not go in that house!’ No personal protective equipment, we’re saying. What kind of bungling amateurs employed by Boris Johnson are we dealing with?
The hero, Tracy Daszkiewicz (Anne-Marie Duff) a civilian, director of public health and safety, needs to take charge. Which is quite a mouthful. She’s got to give the police, council and traders the bad news. We’re shutting you down. She’ll also need to employ trace and track. Salisbury city centre and the places were the Russian dissidents had visited would need to be locked down. All of this is so familiar; we wonder why anybody bothers arguing with her.
Of course, there are the couple that got away. Dawn Sturgess (Myanna Buring) and Charlie Rowley (Johnny Harris). They’ve also been poisoned, but they’re invisible to the public eye, portrayed as alkies, so they don’t notice, while flinging back the booze. It’s not as if they’re real people. I’m sure Tracy Daszkiewicz will find them, but won’t be able to save them.
We’re ahead of the curve here too. Not everybody is saved. It’s not all happy endings. But this is worth watching. Now we’re all experts, it’s easier. We’re more informed and that’s not a good thing. The price has been too high. I wonder who’ll play the weasly windbag Boris Johnson in the Covid-19, mini-series.
20 Jan 2020 – USA has first confirmed imported case – From China.
20 Jan 2020 – COVID-19 included in Statutory Report of Class B Infectious Diseases and Border Health Quarantine Infectious Diseases in China – Measures to Curtail: Temperature Checks, Health Care Declarations, Quarantines – Instituted at Transportation Depots – Laws of China – Wildlife Markets Closed – Captive-Breeding Facilities Cordoned Off.
22/23 Jan 2020 – WHO decides not to yet declare the outbreak a PHEIC.
23 Jan 2020 – China observes Strict Travel Restrictions.
24 Jan 2020 – First Report of case in Europe – France.
30 Jan 2020 – WHO declares 2019 nCov (former name of COVID-19) outbreak a PHEIC – under International Health Regulations (2005).
11 Feb 2020 – The Virus and the Disease it causes officially named – The Novel Coronavirus named ‘Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)’; The Disease it Causes named ‘COVID-19’.
27 Feb 2020 – WHO updates case definitions for COVID-19 for Suspected, Probable, Confirmed – Worldwide Surveillance Continues.
28 Feb 2020 – Nigeria reports first case of COVID-19 in Sub-Saharan Africa.
11 March 2020 – WHO upgrades the COVID-19 outbreak to a Pandemic.
A mother in a Lorrie Moore short story People Like That Are the Only People Here, jokes, ‘Healthy? I just want the kid to be rich’. We know what happens next.
Writers are readers. If they’re no readers they’re not writers. Here’s the story: We’re all in it together. In Burlington Care Home in Glasgow, thirteen elderly residents died in a week. Two of the staff test positive for Covid-19. All over the world Covid-19 has been behaving in the classic hockey-stick manner of epidemics plotted on a graph. We sit on the side-lines and clap our team, the NHS, care staff, all those on the front line. There’s good reason for this. Wearing gloves and a face mask doesn’t mean you won’t get sick – viruses can also transmit through the eyes and tiny viral particles, known as aerosols, can penetrate masks, but it does make it five times more unlikely.
With no football on, we’ve all become expert analysists, pitting our team against other countries. We know from the SARs 2003-4 in South Korea, most of the cases were in health workers. The pattern is repeated with Covid-19. Those who spend more time treating victims are more likely to become victims, especially if they don’t have proper protective equipment.
Other armchair experts claim it’s no big deal, no worse than seasonal flu. Herd immunity sounded feasible. This was the positon the moron’s moron President Trump took. Now he’s saying 200 000 American deaths would be a good score. The side of the Atlantic, Boris Johnson took the same position as his senior partner in the Oval Office. Johnson is now settling for 20 000 British deaths after the first wave of the Covid-19 has passed.
Do the math. If borne out by further testing, this could mean that current estimates of a roughly 1% fatality rate are accurate. This would make Covid-19 about 10 times more deadly than seasonal flu, which is estimated to kill between 290,000 and 650,000 people a year worldwide. The population of America is around 250 million so if Covid-19 hockeystick trajectory continued as epidemiologist modelled with over 80% of the population becoming infected over 2 million Americans would die. In Britain that would be around 600 000 deaths.
As we’ve seen, even with these lower numbers our health services are working beyond full capacity with apparently mild cases overlooked and hockey-stick numbers growing exponentially. This is important because as Chinese scientist have confirmed these cases DO contribute to transmission and need to be socially isolated. Health Care workers such as those in Burlington Care Home did go into work. Tens of thousands of Care workers face that same dilemma.
Employers, until now, have created even more ways of punishing and sacking low-paid workers and depriving them of their rights. Care staff as disposable as bed-pans. Classed as self-employed. No holiday pay. No pension. Zero-hour contracts. Minimum wage is the maximum wage and ways such as not paying for travelling costs being used to deprive them of even that. Classified as agency staff and their minimum wage reduced by a third by paying their employers for employing them. Take it or leave it.
The future looks like the past. Imagine the Queen, Prince Charles and Camilla residents of Burlington Care Home. We’re all in it together. Under new NHS guidelines in England (this is Scotland you might argue) rationing or triage needs to take place. The Queen because of her age would not qualify for Intensive Care Unit (ICU) or qualify for a ventilator. Charles might get into ICU but because of a shortage of ventilators doesn’t receive incubation. Camilla qualifies for both. Are we really all in it together?
Let’s look at the league tables and cheer. Singapore is top of the table. China has flat- lined, it no longer has hockey-stick growth in numbers. Italy is doing most testing, but has the highest fatality rate. Spain is catching up with Italy in terms of casualties and testing. Germanic efficiency, doing everything by the book. It has been doing widespread testing of suspects with symptoms and contact tracing in the WHO-recommended fashion from the beginning of the epidemic. We’re at different stages of the epidemic. The UK death toll is currently higher than Italy’s at the same stage, reinforced by another showing that by this stage of the outbreak. Italy had begun to flatten its curve while in Britain the line keeps rising, the number of deaths doubling every three days. We’re not even looking at Third World Countries. Trump boasts he’s testing more than Britain, more than China. Those without healthcare or the capacity to treat victims know what to expect. We’ve all seen it before. More of the same.
When it ends, when it really ends, we’ll be back at the beginning, waiting for the second wave of the Covid-19. The golden bullet of vaccines, optimistically, look about a year away. Only about five major drug companies have the resources to manufacture the golden bullet if it was found today. Scaling takes time. First world countries would be first. Even the moron’s moron in the US has woken up to the need to test – and is telling companies that export, America must come first. Trump tried to buy a German company bio-tech company. Third world countries third, because you can’t go any lower. But here you create a reservoir population, ready to infect the rest of the world. Using an economic axiom, ceteris paribus: Changing the number of people tested, or who is being offered tests, will also affect the number of reported cases.
Moving forward to when, or if, we flatten the hockey-shaped curve, people need to return to work in stages. In Britain one effect of government rhetoric is the NHS is safe, even under the Tories that have been selling it off piecemeal, and depriving it of funds. Any hint of depriving the NHS of much-needed resources would be political suicide, but this is short-term.
Cast your mind back to 2010 to the unfunny Laurel and Hardy of Cameron/Osborne government, before their slapstick act of economic stupidity and self-mutilation called Brexit. Note the four doctors to have died so far are BAME doctors. Britain had to pay higher than other EEC countries for ventilators, for example, because they’re no longer part of the EEC and the pound is plummeting. Fifty percent of our food comes from imports. Crops will rot in the fields without immigrant workers. We import more than we export. Quite literally, we can’t go it alone. Our government knows this. But the then outgoing Labour Chief Secretary of the Treasury Liam Byrne left a jokey written message to his incoming colleague, the Liberal Democrat (remember them) David Laws: ‘there’s no money left’.
We all know what happened next. A detailed assessment showed that public spending was to increase in five Whitehall departments and to be cut in seventeen, beginning with welfare. What we used to call social security was gone. As over 1 000 000 people newly registered for Universal Credit have found out. Living on less than £100 per week is the new norm. While the British economy was flatlining in 2010, in the way we hope the Covid-19 will in 2020 the Tory government pursued a policy of taking money from the poor and giving it to the rich. Tax cut. Tax cut. Tax cut. Privatise and cherry pick our NHS, stealth by the back door such as Virgin Health running mental health services. Yes, the same Richard Branson asking for a bailout for his airline. Private profit and dividend and tax cuts, whilst domiciled elsewhere. How does that add up with we’re all in it together? Those were also the words used by George Osborne and leave a familiar taste in the mouth.
Austerity was imposed on the poor in 2010, but not on the rich. They bounced back very quickly to 2007-2008 levels of capital wealth and an increased share of the GDP. The gap between rich and poor matched that of the Great Depression. Wages never recovered. Those in work and claiming benefits grew and grew. The working poor, those that work in, for example, care homes as carers were mocked as the scum of the earth. Junior doctors were labelled greedy. Nurses were chastised for demanding a pay rise. Loans instead of grants were the new norms for nurses training and numbers dropped.
Austerity in the twenty-first century. Covid-19 is a dress rehearsal for climate change, but one is now, the other deferred. In the same way, the $2tn US coronavirus relief package is doling out $60bn to struggling airlines and offering low-interest loans that are available to fossil fuel. Britain has in the words of the Chancellor Rishi Sunak effectively nationalised the economy. 10% of Britain’s GDP of debt and growing, £435 billion in Quantitive Easing (printing money) £200 billion up front to keep the economy temporarily afloat.
Writing in the Guardian, the economist David Blanchflower, professor of economics at Dartmouth College in the US and a member of the Bank’s interest rate-setting monetary policy committee during the 2008 financial crisis, said unemployment was rising at the fastest rate in living memory. UK unemployment could rapidly rise to more than 6 million people, around 21% of the entire workforce, based on analysis of US job market figures that suggest unemployment across the Atlantic could reach 52.8 million, around 32% of the workforce.
“There has never been such a concentrated business collapse. The government has tried to respond but it has no idea of the scale of the problem it is going to have to deal with. We make some back-of-the-envelope calculations and they are scary,” he said.
Unemployment looked to be at least 10 times faster than in the recession triggered by the 2008 financial crisis.
The Great Depression of the hungry thirties was ended not by fiscal stimulus, although that helped, but by the second world war. During the Depression years rich monopolists chaffed at government intervention in the economy and called for a return to lassez-faire economics. Sounds familiar. Listen to Thatcher’s ‘let poppies grow tall speech’. Reaganomics was just Thatcherism wrapped in a different flag. We’ve seen the same effect under Osborne/ Cameron. At some point in the aftermath of the pandemic hard choices will need to be made. Simple choices if you’re a Tory, you take money from the poor and give it to the rich. After all under Thatcher dogma, ostensibly, they are the creators of wealth. The keepers of our economic good health, but just don’t ask them to share. Trillions can be wiped from stock market shares, ten, twenty, fifty, seventy percent, yet a tax increase of 1% is met as if Armageddon has occurred. Then it did begin to unfold.
Ironically, the moron’s moron may well win an election not for anything he did or said, but because he’s a leader on TV screens and his popularity remains high especially among white, male, Republican supporters. Those most likely to die from the Covid-19 virus. Here Johnson is in social isolation. He has the virus. He is a viral infection. But he’s never been more popular. As an old Etonian when it comes to making hard choices of who gets what and why, well, that is easy, Thatcherism. Survival of the fittest. Tall poppies, like Branson. Survival of the richest. Poor people are there to be applauded, every Thursday, but not helped. There to be used and discarded. The backlash is coming and it’s coming soon. Expect no mercy from Tory scum. Don’t say I didn’t tell you so. If you think we’re all in it together you’ve been living on the moon and probably would vote Trump if you lived in America. People Like That Are the Only People Here. A choice between being rich, or being healthy, few of us get to choose. I choose life, but not stupidity.
Piety, as we all know, is a quality of being reverent. We usually associate it with religion. Etymologically, it comes from Latin and is related to dutifulness. It’s not often I’ve seen ideology in action. People coming to their front doors and clapping their hands and supporting the NHS. Our NHS and the support workers. Care workers and what we used to call auxiliaries. Only to find we’re all auxiliaries. A writer’s job (even a would-be writer) is when we look along the line of common humanity and listen to the cheering and the clapping to take a step back and shut our ears and look for the cross beams and the creaking of the gallows.
I’m not alone in remembering the vacant eyes and the Oxbridge braying of the Conservative elite when their backbenchers cheer when it’s announced that nurses that will not receive a pay rise. Or an invocation of the Thatcherite spirit, when the Tory Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt branded junior doctors greedy because new contracts were even worse than the non-contracts they had — in which they agreed to work a squillion hours unpaid. Why now the halo of heroism for largest sector of the economy, largely female carers, where the minimum wage is the maximum wage and there’s no time for caring?
Humiliation after humiliation should be branded on our forehead like the tattooed numbers of the women in Auschwitz—work makes you free—those of us that dare to be poor and keep having the wrong kind of children – poor children.
We’ve retreated from politics, squabbled among ourselves and let our so called betters like Boris Johnson get on with it. After all Boris is one of us. He battered his girlfriend, the police were called, but he denied it. Got her pregnant and went on holiday when he should have been at work. Now he’s got the Covid-19 virus and is still working away in his bunker that will allow him to come away with more Winston Churchill quotes about us ‘all being in it together’.
When we’re clapping, we’re not clapping him, or his ilk. We’re clapping ourselves on the back. We’ve came through 30 years of Tory dogma and 10 years of bleeding austerity. It’s not just Covid-19 that makes us sick, but Tory promises fill us with a rich sense of foreboding. Covid-19 isn’t going anywhere. Boris recognised the business-as-usual model would lead to tens of thousands of—mainly old folk (with a higher proportion of men, for some unknown reason, unless god really is a woman)—and he rejected that model. The moron’s moron is quite willing to take that risk, but had to be pulled back from the brink of stupidity, which for him is as high as a three-year-old boy’s knees.
The business as usual model is based on taking money from the poor and giving it to the rich. A increasingly widening gap between those that start their day in debt and those that finish the day in more debt and those that hold all the debts and all the cards and tell you to clap. That’s successful ideology for you, the sullen recognition you’ve been used. You’ve been dehumanised, treated as something that needs reined in. And you’ve embraced that choke collar as a necessary evil.
Keep clapping, but when the clapping stops, you’ll know what to expect. You’ll know who the enemy within will be. It’ll be you that’s being unreasonable. You that isn’t listening. You that need to be locked up. Keep clapping. But watch yourself. Look for the cross beam and listen for the creak of the gallows.
When we talk about the coronavirus it’s the virus part we need to pay attention to. Corona, from the Latin, means crown and is associated with the aurora that surrounds the sun, moon and stars. We also get the word coronary from corona, a constriction of the arteries around the heart. But here Covid-19, coronavirus, is a simple nametag to differentiate it from other viruses, in the same way that ship number 736 in John Brown’s yard was later tagged The Queen Elizabeth 2, to differentiate it from other ships under construction and its predecessor the Queen Elizabeth 1.
What is a virus?
The science of viruses is a field of study in microbiology, the investigation of very small objects, organisms a fraction of the size of a living cell. Viruses mutate and are as old as the rocks. But the human body also mutates and adapts and produces antibodies which fend off most viruses. Viruses can be thought of as the jamming of cellular DNA code. The most common virus is the flu virus. It too mutates and is always lying, waiting somewhere in the world for its next victim. Viruses also have reservoirs in other animals and organisms that make the species jump to humans as did the ‘wet market’ in Asia. But let’s not forget John Gummer, over twenty-five years ago, feeding his daughter a prion burgher to disprove the mad-cow-disease scandal.
A virus is a study in large numbers.
A virus one of the smallest of living things, over time, produces an exponential effect. We know how this works. 1…2 …4…16…infected cases (and since my arithmetic is crap I’ll leave it there). Here is a more entertaining account from Hollywood’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers, of how transmission of the disease occurred in fifties America, obviously it didn’t affect black or Chinese people. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYrcyROSjl0
The 1918 influenza pandemic (also called Spanish flu, so we could blame Spanish people for it, so Covid-19 should in the interests of fairness be called Chinese flu) infected at the beginning of the twentieth century around 500 million worldwide and around a quarter of the world’s population of around 1.8 billion. For those of you good at arithmetic, divide the world’s current population of around 7 billion by 4. That would be our high-water mark in the twenty-first century.
The Gates Foundation (billionaires have to do something with their money) ran a simulation in 2018 of how an extraordinary flu virus would grow exponentially: 28 000 victims after one month; 10 million after three months; 33 million after six months.
You might also want to watch here the late Robin Williams, playing the British neurologist Oliver Sacks, in Awakenings. The Spanish flu, unlike the Chinese flu, affected the most able-bodied, the young and fit. This may have been due to a cytokine storm. Cyto indicates a cell, a small room and kine is related to kinship. A storm inside the cells of young people whose immune response works against them (that’s one theory). The Chinese flu follows the more conventional pattern of the common flu, which has high tides and low tides in which the body count follows. Here it is usually those most vulnerable to virus infection and whose immune response is compromised. We’re talking about the young, who have not built up sufficient antibody resistance to fend off infection. And the old—whose bodies are knackered. These groups are most at risk from the coronavirus. I reminded my neighbour, when we talk about ‘those old folk’, we are included in that subcategory.
The best-case scenario
The coronavirus tide is already out. All those people that puff there chest out and say, ‘I told you so,’ are proved correct. It’s also instructive to see how presidents of the two major superpowers reacted. President Xi Jinping visited the hotspot, treating it as a war zone, and Chinese Communist Party Officials locked down Wuhan Province isolating those that exhibited symptoms of the virus. As antibodies fight the virus like any other flu virus this is shown in an increased body temperature, coughing and spluttering. Wuhan’s population is around the same as that of the United Kingdom. Imagine everybody in the United Kingdom being told by Boris Johnson to stay indoors. Imagine, constructing two hospitals the size of the £100 million building in Glasgow and Edinburgh (still shut for further work) in two weeks as happened in Wuhan. Imagine the Chinese have developed a vaccine for the coronavirus. Without having to imagine any of these things the number of cases in Wuhan has spiked and is dropping. The worst of the worst may be already over and other countries might not need to go into lockdown.
The coronavirus tide is beginning to roll in. Lock down as in Wuhan Province. We’re seeing similar measures in Italy, parts of Germany, Spain and most other nations. The moron’s moron in the Whitehouse has declared he doesn’t believe in it, therefore like United States senators preaching isolationism as Japanese bombs fell on Pearl Harbour being prepared is regarded as a trick of the mind. American First means pulling public funds, from example, organisations like the World Health Organisation that has the expertise to coordinate a multinational approach to Covid-19, which would be more effective over time. Being unprepared gives non-symptomatic carriers access to other victims and the virus continues mutating into a more virulent form. There’s no place of safety. We all live in 1950s America. We’re only as safe as we allow our neighbour to be whatever their skin colour, gender or class.
Keep your grubby hands off our NHS.
A small pathogen that we cannot see has shown us how everything is connected, everyone is connected. The first question dental staff asks us now is how are you going to pay for this treatment. Outside of the Windrush Generation we don’t—yet—hear that in the frontline of our National Health Service. Sure, parts of it are being sold off to private developers and bit by bit it is being dismantled, but even David Cameron couldn’t admit that he was doing it. Boris Johnson tells us he’s pumping even more money into our NHS. He’s a liar. He thinks by mussing his hair and rolling a large number such as £20 or £30 billion off his tongue, we’ll be duly impressed. Our NHS budget has shrunk from 5% of GDP to less than 4%, with an aging population and now the corona virus, the figures don’t add up. Public health is not just for the poor. That’s why we need a properly funded public-health system. The Americans used to come to us and see how we did it. Now we’re selling out to them. One of the most inefficient and expensive health-care systems in the world. Good luck with the coronavirus if you’re a poor American. Good luck with the coronavirus is your British and can’t afford a day off work.
When a just-in-time supply system breaks down there’s panic buying. That’s already happening. Supplies of masks, suits and other protective equipment for health care workers must be made available. There’s talk of hiring retired medical doctors and bringing them back to work. Perhaps the first thing the government should do is shut down those cruelty camps, centres in every major city that allegedly assess benefit claimant’s health and disabilities. Use the medical staff and facilities they already have as treatment centres for victims of the coronavirus. Children’s homes and Care homes will also need added staff and financial help. The coronavirus has meant that selling off our NHS has become overnight more of a political vote loser than any other issue. That’s got to be a good thing.
If you know any other idiots like me that require an idiot’s guide to the coronavirus, then share it with that idiot and you’ll look less idiotic. Be smart.
I was shocked—well, that’s the wrong word, but I can’t think of the right one—that Deborah Orr was dead. She’s the same age as me, or would have been— Motherwell: A Girlhood was a message from beyond the grave. She died in 2019. She came from Motherwell. The title is a dead giveaway. And there’s a whole stack of her achievements listed on flyleaf with a picture of her, a haunting picture, in retrospect. Look at the cover image and, in contrast, a picture of Deborah aged around seven or eight, long hair, smiling for the camera, crinoline dress, blue and white pattern, white socks up to the knees and shiny white shoes. A proper little girl.
Deborah Orr’s achievements, including writing and editing for The Guardian, which at the time was as novel as a woman Prime minister, not because of her background, but despite it. One of the commonest tricks played on the working class is to point at the exception to the rule and say there’s one there. There’s a black swan. Upward social mobility is possible for those that work. My message to you and I’m sure Deborah Orr’s would be too is – fuck off. We’ve been moving backward to the dark ages bit by bit since the Thatcher/ Reagan revolution. An era when Deborah Orr escaped to the glory of a London squat, roughly, when this book ends.
Deborah was named after the film star, Debbie Kerr, her mother Win, loved all the glamour and glitter of Hollywood, but the grim reality is here in this joke the author loved (and I do too) about a Yorkshireman on his deathbed.
‘Steven? Are you here?’
‘I’m here, Dad.’
‘Mary? Are you here?’
‘I’m here, Dad.’
‘Bethany? Are you here?’
‘I’m here, Grandad.’
‘Aaron? Are you here?’
‘I’m here, Grandad.’
‘Then why’s the hall light on?’
Here’s one of your markers if you want to apply for your passport to poverty. I laughed out loud, while recognising my da skulking in the hallway waiting to pounce because I was on the phone. ‘That’s no a piano,’ Dessy, my da said.
The memoir is structured around memento mori. ‘The Bureau, Baby’s First Haircut, The Wedding Clippings, The Dolls…The Dope Box, Letter to Crispin, Untitled, The Last Vestiges of John’.
‘I loved Win’s wide black velvet belt, so tiny that she kept for years, a reminder to herself of her lovely curvaceous figure, “before I had children”.’
John was Deborah’s dad, the centre of his world. He was the baby of a family of five, as was her mum, Win, who was English. Win was under five-foot small, but gorgeous, everybody said so. John was luck to have Win, Win was lucky to have John. They all lived happy ever after isn’t much of a story.
‘John and Win met, and had their miscegenated, cross-border romance because of the war. Without the war, I was always told I wouldn’t have existed.’
When Deborah recalls three increasingly brutal rapes by different men—the playful rape at University, if you don’t squeal, I won’t tell; to the accidental rape, you’re sleeping, so I’ll just fuck you because we talked earlier; to the hands on the throat and you might never live to tell the tale—and her mother’s surprise that sex could be pleasurable and not something done to you, then her mum sides with the rapists. She sides with women jury members that found rapists and murderers such as Peter Manuel not guilty because women shouldn’t have put themselves in such a positon to be bludgeoned.
The natural positon of women was to think of Scotland, or even England in her case, when John, a good man, forced himself on her. Her wee brother David was brought up with different expectations, he’d go on to make his mark on the world. John and Win were great believers in the natural order of things. No Catholics, no blacks, no dogs as landlords used to mark on the front door even though dogs couldn’t read.
John couldn’t read either, not really. Like many others he’d left school at twelve or thirteen to earn scraps of money. Motherwell was built on steel and coal. Ravenscraig once employed 14 000 men and was the most efficient steel makers in the world. He became part of the working-class aristocracy when he got a job in Colville, girder makers, prior to nationalisation at the age of fifteen. He even became a heroic figure to many hardened by the noise and daily grind, when he pushed a man aside and away from a red-hot girder that had slipped its chains and would have slipped through his body just as easily. Health and safety was still to be invented.
Deborah believes he suffered from post-traumatic-stress disorder and that’s what led him away from the life mapped out for him—to Essex and Win—and back again. John returned to Motherwell with his beautiful bride to working class life and the hope of a decent council house.
Win had a believe common to most rich folk, in what’s yours is mine and what’s mine is mine. Her father, John, as protector and saviour, aided her in this belief. His hates were his hates and vice versa. John, for example, had mates whom he thought ‘the sun shone out of their arse’, then it didn’t shine very much. Then it was them that was the arse. He ditched them. And he waged petty hate campaigns against his neighbours.
A conversation I heard today goes something like this, ‘They’ve just moved into the house for five minutes and noo they’re getting everything.’
I’ll translate. My neighbours are getting a new path. The same as other council house tenants. Imagine they were black, or homosexual or even worse English.
Deborah suggests her mum suffered from a narcissistic personality. She wasn’t a sociopath such as the moron’s moron Trump, or little Trump, Johnson, but she recognised the same self-centredness and hate. As long as Deborah remained a child and under her mother’s thumb, she was a good girl. Nobody hates so much and as well as the Scottish and we’ve got long memories. Win fitted right in. Win-win. But I couldn’t quite forgive Win and John for voting Tory. Voting for Thatcher. But I guess that makes sense. Deborah’s life ran in a separate trajectory to mine. The same, but different. RIP.