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Bruce Dowbiggin

Far From The Madding Covid Crowd

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“The pandemic will end not when some arbitrary government mandated goals are met. It will end when people decide it should end. Texas has decided”. Dr. Eli David

There’s a Terminator quality to the mandatory-vaccine resistance movement. Ridiculed, fired, forbidden from dining, prohibited from flying… they abide. The often-imitated but never-duplicated Media Party has demonized them, while police strong-arm them at the mâitre ‘d table.

And yet. Saturday there were 106,000 people gathered for the Alabama/ Texas A&M football game in College Station, Texas. Oblivious to the admonishments about masking, distancing, vaccinations and relentless PSA pounding they were in full-throated rapture about being jammed together like Hebrew National frankfurters.

They weren’t alone. The NFL featured a huge crowd in London, England, for the Jacksonville/ Atlanta neutral-site game. And now the NHL opens its schedule (with some vaccination restrictions) this week to largely open arenas— with the NBA on the way.

You’d almost think they’d been lied to about Covid-19 being stopped by hand sanitizer (never!) . What is going on here? Do they not understand this is risky behaviour according to Dr. Fauci? Haven’t they seen the un-vaxxed regretting their behaviour on TV from a hospital bed?

Or the texts that ask why Scotiabank Arena can host 16,000 screaming fans while families are told by the always-helpful Liberal shill Patty Hajdu to stay at home for Thanksgiving, tell the family not to come over and, egad, don’t travel to see Grandma and Grandpa. What a bunch of yokels they must be.

In fact, despite the attempts to portray them as Pappy Yokums, almost all these people are now cognizant of the risks. Despite Big Tech censoring opposing viewpoints, they grasp the data. But they have had enough of the pandemic mentality. Specifically, they’ve turned off the righteous and moral wrath of the expert class. They want their lives back.

They have had their fill of being told by the knowledge industry how dumb they are with their online “prohibited claims”. They’re not worrying every moment about a 99 percent chance of surviving the virus with nothing more than a scratchy throat or a blocked sinus. They’ve seen too many deadlines come and go.

As Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight observed,  “Low-probability risks are hard for our brains to compute, period. And after a year+ of having our brains rewired by (often legitimately very scary) COVID risks, it’s even harder now.” Author/ cartoon list Scott Adams notes, “Dear government, What level of virus risk do we need to reach before ending all mandates and restrictions? If you don’t have a target, don’t expect compliance.”

Right now they only see word salads about certainty from laptop experts and disgraced politicians. And so the football fans in Texas are deciding the next move in the pandemic progress.

Or perhaps it’s the employees of Southwest Airlines— whose work-to-rule campaign this week in protest of the mandatory vaccine policy of the airline— who have decided (United Airlines employees are said to be replicating the walkout). Or what look to be longshoremen unions and employee groups who resent being the whipping post for authoritarian behaviour. They are threatening to grind the economy to a near-halt to convince Biden to cease his demonization of anyone who has a different opinion.

It’s a demonization that targets Biden’s critics, says author Steven Pinker. “There is a myth that ‘cancel culture’ is a myth. But literally hundreds of scholars have been targeted, & a majority of the attacks result in punishment, often firings.” To say nothing of Biden celebrating the firings of airline, rail and automobile industry workers in his latest tele-prompter ramble.

The crisis he’s inviting, in case you didn’t know, is caused by just 775 people in Canada who have serious or critical Covid-19 infections. And that, in a country of 38 million, has crippled our healthcare system. Here’s Canada “overflowing with Covid” situation: 96,000 hospital beds; 2,700 allegedly with Covid-19. Ergo, 2.8 percent of hospital beds in Canada are reportedly Covid patients.

This is a Healthcare® fail not a virus problem. And Patty Hajdu, whose government can’t sell ice cream in the desert,  wants you to shelter in place. Fans in football stadiums are united in saying “stuff it”.

Apparently the public has computed the unreliability of the media, and— like MLB hitters turning down the shift to accept the easy bunt—are taking steps to reclaim their lives from the Fear Merchants. As long as fear won, the entrenched interests sought to exploit the observation of Canadian psychiatrist J.T. MacCurdy. “We are all of us not merely liable to being afraid. We are also prone to being afraid of being afraid.”

What we now are— perhaps— seeing is an epidemic of people casting off fear. It might be the most healthy thing they’ve done since March of 2020Bruce Dowbiggin @dowbboy is the editor of Not The Public Broadcaster (http://www.notthepublicbroadcaster.com). The best-selling author of Cap In Hand is also a regular contributor to Sirius XM Canada Talks Ch. 167. A two-time winner of the Gemini Award as Canada’s top television sports broadcaster, his new book with his son Evan is called InExact Science: The Six Most Compelling Draft Years In NHL History is now available on http://brucedowbigginbooks.ca/book-personalaccount.aspx

 

BRUCE DOWBIGGIN Award-winning Author and Broadcaster Bruce Dowbiggin's career is unmatched in Canada for its diversity and breadth of experience . He is currently the editor and publisher of Not The Public Broadcaster website and is also a contributor to SiriusXM Canada Talks. His new book Cap In Hand was released in the fall of 2018. Bruce's career has included successful stints in television, radio and print. A two-time winner of the Gemini Award as Canada's top television sports broadcaster for his work with CBC-TV, Mr. Dowbiggin is also the best-selling author of "Money Players" (finalist for the 2004 National Business Book Award) and two new books-- Ice Storm: The Rise and Fall of the Greatest Vancouver Canucks Team Ever for Greystone Press and Grant Fuhr: Portrait of a Champion for Random House. His ground-breaking investigations into the life and times of Alan Eagleson led to his selection as the winner of the Gemini for Canada's top sportscaster in 1993 and again in 1996. This work earned him the reputation as one of Canada's top investigative journalists in any field. He was a featured columnist for the Calgary Herald (1998-2009) and the Globe & Mail (2009-2013) where his incisive style and wit on sports media and business won him many readers.

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Bruce Dowbiggin

We’re Listening: How Unhappiness Went Big Time

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“For all practical purposes, a revolution has occurred in the private lives of Americans, who increasingly find themselves depressed and alone.”— Ronald W. Dworkin 2021

The unquantifiable in Covid madness is the psychological impact from its lockdowns, masks and social isolation. The stress on the population— especially the young— created by the harsh medicine of governments and health authorities has only been suggested at for most of the disaster.

But the hints of stress are there. “@EWoodhouse7 Covid-19 did not increase the normal respiratory disease morality burden for teens age 13-18 in 2020. But alcohol- & drug-induced deaths nearly DOUBLED. A 50% increase in this age group, w/this kind of death, is a massive indictment of lockdown & school closure policies.”

Domestic assaults and murders are other byproducts of isolation and fear. According to the CDC the U.S. murder rate is up 30 percent during the pandemic, the highest one-year rise ever. In a recent poll 23 percent of those polled describe themselves as unhappy— the highest such reading since 1972.

Society clearly rests on a knife’s edge as the traditional bonds of friend and family are eliminated by pandemic panic. Coping mechanisms have disappeared. People quake in fear of an impending truck armada from the West. Whom to trust?

Hence the vulnerability and hopelessness in so much of pop culture. And the stigmatizing of traditional strength and self confidence. “Thank you for your service” to military and health workers is a compliment but also a recognition how far much of society has drifted from the notion of personal risk and sacrifice.

This coincides with the radical left pushing to replace police officers with members of the care industry as first responders. While the practicality of sending untrained counsellors on domestic calls— facing deadly weapons— is fraught with danger there are city councils moving in this direction in a number of large urban areas.

The outcome of this policy is still uncertain, but the fact that it is even being considered is testament to inroads the caring industry has made in society. This week’s extensive Let’s Talk campaign on depression and mental illness underlines how the caring industry has largely overtaken the traditional family and friends— inaccessible in the lockdowns— who used to form a support group. It is ubiquitous.

Aiding in this transformation was the 2010 U.S. Affordable Care Act which established parity between mental and physical health in the insurance-reimbursement context. So everyone from credentialed psychologists down to life coaches is now a paid part of the health industry.

Young people today might believe that the caring industry has long been in society. Not so. As Ronald W. Dworkin notes in The Politicization of Unhappiness , “Although the general population of the United States has only doubled since the mid-20th century, this industry has already increased 100-fold… With the old authority figures belittled and real friends and family spread thin or even non-existent, the only people left who can fill the void — and who have the prestige to compel others to follow them down a new road — are caring professionals.

“This industry has emerged as the post-revolutionary successor to our broken social system. As is typical of a revolutionary political party, the caring industry’s components have replaced those of the old order: Its organization has replaced the previous social system, its ideology has replaced traditional culture, and its professionals have taken the place of real friends, relatives, and authority figures.”

As the Let’s Talk policy emphasizes, confessing anxiety or depression to total strangers is now seen as positive. So is acting as a freelance caregiver. Gone is the trusted family member or friend in a private setting. Often the afflicted’s confession is delivered in a group setting where the person must unburden themselves before a cohort indoctrinated in the catechism of caring.

Individuals may respond, writes Dworkin, “but not as individuals, or even as individuals with unique titles, as much as representatives of professional caring, each having been trained in roughly the same way to talk a person through a problem.”

In short, the caring industry has become a political movement with its own orthodoxy and loyalty. With a vested stake in perpetuating itself and its patients’ distress— a process jet-fuelled by the media’s Covid paranoia campaign. Does it help people? In the short term, absolutely. Long term? The jury is still out.

This confessional model has been carried into the political realm through diversity seminars. “Group therapy for addiction — an old caring-professional technique — has become the format for today’s “struggle sessions” and diversity seminars in corporate settings.” White privilege and gender bias must be shed to make progress to “happiness”.

But don’t dare question its purity. Propaganda is crucial to reinforcing the brand, says Dworkin. “Because everyone knows in advance that self-help books are written in conformity with existing prescriptions and rarely contain a single fresh idea, people who seek out these books often buy many of them, and they keep consuming them — not to learn anything new, but to bolster their conviction to act.”

In the end the message is that traditional sources of compassion— family, friends, the church— have failed. You are right to feel alone. And the caring industry— the collective of rehearsed people— is the only thing there to rescue you.

Like the movement to divert students’ education from parents and toward the public education gulag, the end game is a social revolution, one tried with lamentable effect in socialist nations in the past. As Vladimir Putin noted last year, “This is something we saw in Russia. It happened in our country before the 1917 revolution; the Bolsheviks followed the dogmas of Marx and Engels. And they also declared that they would go in to change the traditional lifestyle, the political, the economic lifestyle, as well as the very notion of morality, the basic principles for a healthy society.

“It is with puzzlement that we see the practices Russia used to have and that we left behind in distant past.”

So yes, let us commend the outreach of the caring industry. Let’s Talk has noble goals. But let us also hope people separated from loved ones and friends the last two years rediscover that the greatest unit of strength and nurturing is still the personal one of family and friends.

 

Bruce Dowbiggin @dowbboy is the editor of Not The Public Broadcaster (http://www.notthepublicbroadcaster.com). The best-selling author was nominated for the BBN Business Book award of 2020 for Personal Account with Tony Comper. A two-time winner of the Gemini Award as Canada’s top television sports broadcaster, he’s also a regular contributor to Sirius XM Canada Talks Ch. 167. His new book with his son Evan Inexact Science: The Six Most Compelling Draft Years In NHL History is now available on http://brucedowbigginbooks.ca/book-personalaccount.aspx

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Bruce Dowbiggin

Corporate Capture & Youth Checkout: The Covid Scorecard

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The decade past has witnessed a Great Realignment. (Mind we said realignment, not reset.) The election of Barack Obama through Donald Trump and Covid-19 has seen a tectonic shift in the plates beneath society. Alliances have been broken. Power has shifted. Loyalties have disappeared.

The result is a new coalition, a cult alliance of tech, knowledge-based industry, culture and corporatism. Under cover of social unrest and virus paranoia these former antagonists found common cause in punishing the middle and lower classes of society for not acknowledging their elevated, superior status. (Translation: they voted for Trump.)

These woke apostles are unapologetic. Through censorship, cancel culture and financial, leverage they’ve created an oligopoly unabashed in bare-knuckled self-interest. And to constantly remind you that they’re in charge.

To understand how revolutionary this alliance is one need only recall the dirigiste fervour of the 1960s. While it seemed to everyone at the time that society might tip in the maelstrom of riot and protest, the corporate side never blinked. They viewed the Weathermen and the Red Brigade as fringe outfits that would never see power. They held to the status quo (or privilege in today’s CRT newspeak.)

That has changed, because of writers such as French socialist economist Thomas Piketty. Thanks to him Corporate America is now obsessed with Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG), not shareholder value. It is dominated by HR departments deeply committed to radical notions of social justice and racial equity. Inspired by the example of Michelle Obama, they’ve made Wall Street into Woke Street.

As we wrote in February of 2021 “the New Left now ruthlessly employs Big Tech, Wall Street and the media against its idealogical enemies— including some of its former allies… the Democratic Party of 2021 has morphed from brave to slave, dedicated to intellectual conformity, not contrary opinions. Gone are the civil libertarians like (William) Kunstler. In their place are AOC and her brigades of SJWs purveying hate-speech laws and attacking deniers of the “true climate religion”. First amendment rights have been replaced by cancel-culture indictments.”

Jordan B. Peterson, who recently resigned his tenured position at University of Toronto, describes the corporate submission: “What in the world is wrong with you? Can’t you see that the ideologues who push such appalling nonsense are driven by an agenda that is not only absolutely antithetical to your free-market enterprise, as such, but precisely targeted at the freedoms that made your success possible?

“Can’t you see that by going along, sheep-like (just as the professors are doing; just as the artists and writers are doing) that you are generating a veritable fifth column within your businesses? Are you really so blind, cowed and cowardly?”

While this corporate surrender has transpired, another schism has developed under cover of the Covid-19 pandemic panic. Its effect could be just as enduring. This one is based on age.

The group in society most vulnerable to the ravages of the pandemic is the 55+ cohort, the aging Boomers— the same one orchestrating the reaction to the virus. They are also the most afraid of its impact on them personally. It would be no exaggeration to say those health concerns have been reflected in the overbearing lockdown, mask, distancing and detention policies used against the virus. The generation that once worshipped free speech was quick to abandon civil liberties in its panic to save its own hide.

But younger generations who are far less vulnerable to the virus are tired of being participants in the psycho-dramas of aging the Boomers and their death phobia. And they’ve reached their end. They now flock to clubs, arenas and stadiums to see their friends. They know some of them will get sick, but 99.99 percent of them will be fine even if infected.

They are dismissive of the political shell game of their elders and the autocrats of Big Health. And, as we can see from one of the major sports, they’re headed in a new direction.

NHL players, God bless ‘em, have recognized that old people’s worries are not their worries. For months the league has gone with the Covid catechism to please politicians. Players were ordered to be vaccinated. Anyone testing positive from the wonky PCR test was sidelined. Even asymptomatic players. Games were played with undermanned rosters.

With 100 percent vaccinated, the league still saw 70 percent of players test positive. So the NHL now says “No more”. Only players who show symptoms will be removed from play. Excellent athletes are not 81-year-old U.S. senators shaking in their Depends.

With the accepted narrative now collapsing— Britain has abandoned the mask and lockdown mandates— more jurisdictions will do contrition for overshooting the mark. Dottering Joe Biden can talk about belatedly sending out 400 million masks, but he’s lost the room. Under 50s have moved on.

The only question is how long the ESG folks propping him up will wait before he’s sent overboard. While health is important, everything is second to their power.

Bruce Dowbiggin @dowbboy is the editor of Not The Public Broadcaster (http://www.notthepublicbroadcaster.com). The best-selling author was nominated for the BBN Business Book award of 2020 for Personal Account with Tony Comper. A two-time winner of the Gemini Award as Canada’s top television sports broadcaster, he’s also a regular contributor to Sirius XM Canada Talks Ch. 167. His new book with his son Evan Inexact Science: The Six Most Compelling Draft Years In NHL History is now available on http://brucedowbigginbooks.ca/book-personalaccount.aspx

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