MONOLOGUE WRITTEN BY CLYDE LEWIS
There have been many people that know about how my young life and my older life has always been influenced by science fiction, horror and dystopian movies, books and graphic novels. Many of these forms of media have been seen as models that forestructure a possible future, where the revelation of the method is seen as pretext to some future event.
Many of them are lessons in avoiding doom or how to handle it in the after math and you are asked to take heed of the precautionary tale that the prophetic writers spin.
Reality has this uncanny knack for imitating cinematic fiction. It used to be the prosthesis for memory and now it seems to be the vehicle for predicting the future or fore-structuring behaviors with the use of esoteric images and so called magical sigils that trigger programming mechanisms that exist in the unconscious mind.
The media, which now encompasses more than just reporting events, now provides a syntax for how we are to view these moments in reality and how they can forestructure future events.
Nothing goes out of date more quickly than films set in the future. Big-screen visions of tomorrow always reflect the era in which they were made; hence, the disco outfits in Flash Gordon that we saw in the 1980s or the fact that year month and year that Bladrunner took place has already gone by. Soon, most become silly relics rather than uncanny prophecies of the shape of things to come.
There is one dystopian story that was written over 40 years ago that I have reflected on since the announcement of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus and this Stephen King’s dystopian book “The Stand.”
When I was younger, I was not able to read the book in its entirety—I saw it as too large of a book to get through and it certainly had a terrifying plot where 99 percent of the world’s population succumbs to the perfect bioweapon that releases a virus called Captain Trips.
Those of us who were kids or young adults when The Stand was released had grown up in a sanitized, self-consciously innocent America. We lived in the times of disco balls and polyester, Kiss concerts and Star Wars, we were young and carefree.
However, our parents distrusted the government, they still didn’t trust the Russians, many that were religious were awaiting the fulfilment of the book or Revelation and my Dad was around the other guys at the barbershop swapping conspiracy theories.
It was not all that hard to wonder if trouble was brewing and that perhaps we would all not live long enough to have families, or homes.
What would America be like when we grow up?
Inflation ran rampant. A recession brewed. We’d seen our first gas shortages. Trouble roiled in the Middle East. American factories were moving jobs overseas and jacking up unemployment rates. Nuclear and environmental safety questions came up time and time again. We began noticing that the earth beneath our platform shoes was beginning to crack and shake.
We always had spikes and changes in the weather and climate but back then we thought that it was all a precursor to a mini ice age, not global warming.
Looking back, we never would have imagined what was coming.
Y2K, The World Trade Center attacks, where ash-covered Americans were running through the streets of Manhattan exactly like what we saw in the movie Independence Day a few years before.
There was Hurricane Katrina, The Fukushima meltdown, Ebola swine flu – you name it and while many people have died from all of these calamities there are a great number of us that have survived.
The Stand gave us a dark apocalyptic view as to how the population would dwindle after the release of a virus and how we would all wind up dead in some nuclear finality in Las Vegas of all places.
What makes The Stand so effective is its uncanny realism — the sense that King has devised not a far-fetched science-fiction scenario, but a credible account of how a terminal super-virus such as this might spread.
And while King’s influenza mutation is rather more fatal, the parallels between the disease of The Stand and the 2019 Novel coronavirus that emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December, and continues to circulate internationally are difficult to ignore. King correctly surmised the alarm and confusion that would surround the rapid expansion of a disease that isn’t well understood, and the panic that would seep into the hearts and minds of the public as they attempt to discern the seriousness of the threat. Most disturbingly, he predicted the air of secrecy that would obtain, by unspoken proclamation of an unforthcoming government.
King imagined drastic efforts to suppress the truth: reporters indiscriminately assassinated, bogus reassurances publicized, entire infected towns roped off and simply left to perish.
Well again, what was once hypothetical terror has now become very real with COVID-19 and we are told that even if you don’t catch the disease it will certainly disrupt your life and how you conduct your everyday affairs.
When we begin to see fiction become reality we do what we have always done when things get scary and we suspect they might get a whole lot worse: we plunge ourselves into dystopian worst-case scenarios.
However, on average, more people worry about these worst case scenarios than prepare for them because they often see themselves as immune to this type of stuff. We tend to rationalize that nothing like this happens in America because we have better health care and better hygiene.
Times have changed.
Medieval diseases are mounting a comeback, specialists say because of homelessness, especially in Western states like California, Washington, Oregon and Nevada, where more than half the homeless population is unsheltered.
Last year, there was certainly a concern about the spread of Typhus and the Shigellosis and Bartonella Quintana.
Typhus is caused by bacteria that can be transmitted to humans from insects like fleas and lice. While not typically life-threatening, it does cause significant discomfort. There were more than 160 cases diagnosed in the U.S. over the last year.
Heptatitis A is another disease posing a major threat to people who are homeless. The bacterial infection can spread through contact with feces, especially in crowded, squalid conditions.
The encampments are frequently contaminated by feces, which, paired with tight living space, makes conditions ripe for disease.
Not to mention the fact that there are some people on the streets that have no problem with defecating and urinating on the sidewalks.
Sightings of human feces on the sidewalks are now a regular occurrence; in San Francisco, which just recently was the first city in the United States to declare a State of Emergency because of the threat of COVID-19.
Although there are zero confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in San Francisco residents, health officials say the global picture is changing rapidly and they need to step-up preparedness.
The California governor says the state is “monitoring” 8,400 for Coronavirus; 33 have tested positive; In New York, 700 have been asked to “Self-Isolate.”
A patient contracted novel coronavirus in California and the CDC now reports that the person had absolutely no contact with anyone from China.
Earlier in the outbreak, CDC guidance to doctors in the United States was that a patient had to have a travel history to China or be a close contact of someone who had been there before being tested.
According to a letter from UC Davis Health, the patient “did not fit the existing CDC criteria for Covid-19, a test was not immediately administered.” After doctors persisted in their request for the test, on Sunday, CDC went ahead with testing.
That patient became the first US case of unknown origin, according to the CDC. It could be the first US case of “community spread” of the virus, when the source of the infection is unknown.
Now the CDC has to start testing people with unexplained, severe symptoms of what looks like a cold or flu. California is now reporting that the state has an “inadequate” supply of testing kits.
Dozens of staffers at UC Davis Medical Center who treated the coronavirus patient with the untraceable coronavirus case are reportedly being ‘monitored’ for symptoms, according to media reports.
Robert Redfield told Congress that the CDC revised its definition for “persons under investigation” for Coronavirus. In other words, the US is possibly taking a play out of China’s playbook to limit the numbers of people declared to be “under surveillance’’.
Facebook announced that they are cancelling a company event in San Jose, California because of outbreak fears.
The conference was scheduled to take place at the McEnery Convention Center on May 5 and 6. Last year, the event attracted more than 5,000 developers, creators and entrepreneurs from all over the world.
It is also interesting to note that stories about the COVID -19 in the news no longer have a dateline associated with Beijing or Shanghai.
We now see that the virus has now spread to other countries and we are watching the virus spread and kill people all over the world.
Iran’s former ambassador to the Vatican died from Coronavirus this morning. Khamanei also appears to be ill. The mayor of Tehran, two city council members, three members of parliament, the head of the Revolutionary Guard, the Deputy Minister of Health, and one of Iran’s Vice presidents have all tested positive for the virus.
Pope Francis cancelled a church service after he was struck down with illness.
The Pope is 83 years old and was not well enough to attend the mass, although there is no suggestion at this stage that he has coronavirus even though the outbreak in Italy topped 500 cases.
The Pope shakes many hands of the faithful that visit him in St. Peters square some of them wearing protective masks.
Francis stopped to shake hands with worshippers in the front row and kissed a child during his popemobile spin through the square.
He also greeted visiting bishops, but they appeared to refrain from kissing his ring or embracing him as they normally would.
The Argentine pope has generally enjoyed good health.
But he lost part of one lung after suffering TB as a young man in Buenos Aires, and suffers from sciatica, which makes walking difficult.
Saudi Arabia has now suspended entry visas for pilgrim’s wishing to visit Mecca.
Given approximately a whopping quarter of world’s population identifies as Muslim, and each adherent is supposed to make the trip as a “religious duty” at least once in their lives, the latest coronavirus news out of the Middle East is almost unprecedented and hugely disruptive to travel patterns into the gulf region.
Though millions visit Mecca and Medina throughout the year, the surge of pilgrims reaches a peak during the 10-day Hajj, which is this year set for late July into early August. Spread of disease has always been a major concern, given the extremely “close quarters” during the major religious event.
Back in the United States, President Trump has appointed Mike Pence as Coronavirus Czar.
So far according to Pence the government’s “best estimate”, is the virus threat remains low.
There are many people that aren’t very confident about what Pence and the President have said about the virus as it has been disrupting the lives of people around the world.
Meanwhile, Mike Pence has added Larry Kudlow, Steve Mnuchin and Surgeon General Jerry Adams to the White House’s Coronavirus Task Force.
What is most interesting is how the task force is more apt for assessing an economic disaster rather than the overall health impact.
Mnuchin is Secretary of the Treasury and Larry Kudlow is the Director of the Economic Council.
Again, this is an example of how President Trump improvises
We all know where the concerns lie here – a memo was issued by Pence and Health and human services director Alex Azar, a former pharmaceutical lobbyist who has been criticized for being unfamiliar with key details of coronavirus during a recent hearing.
In 2018, the Trump administration fired the government’s entire pandemic response chain of command, including the White House management infrastructure.
In 2005, I wrote an article that appeared in the Idaho Observer called “The Harm Principle.” I wrote it in response to a threat of biological attack against the United States after 9/11 and FEMA’s response to those who were hit by Hurricane Katrina.
I included in the article Ronald Reagan’s Directive 52 authorizing the mass detention of 400,000 people in the event of “civil unrest” protesting a U.S. invasion of Central America. It was part of a plot, code-named Rex-84 Alpha, created by the National Security Council under the direction of Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North. It called for suspending the Constitution, placing the nation under martial law and canceling the 1984 election.
Rex 84 is short for “Readiness Exercise 1984.” It was originally a classified plan by the United States federal government to accommodate the detention of large numbers of American citizens in case of massive civil unrest or national emergency.
FEMA, in association with 34 other federal civil departments and agencies, conducted civil readiness exercises in April, 1984. It was conducted in coordination and simultaneously with a Joint Chiefs exercise, Night Train 84 and Garden Plot, a worldwide military command post exercise including Continental U.S. Forces or CONUS.
The drills and operations were based on multi-emergency scenarios operating both abroad and at home. In the combined exercise, Rex-84 Bravo, FEMA and DOD led the other federal agencies and departments, including the CIA, the Secret Service, the Treasury, the FBI, and the Veterans Administration through a gaming exercise to test military assistance in civil defense.
The exercise anticipated civil disturbances, major demonstrations and strikes that would affect continuity of government and or resource mobilization.
Another directive was the possibility of extracting American citizens from their homes in case of a viral outbreak.
During the Iran Contra hearings, Colonel Oliver North was questioned by Texas Democratic Representative Jack Brooks about the REX 84 program. Sen. Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, chair of the hearings, reminded Brooks that it was a classified operation and that the hearings were not the place to discuss it.
There are over 600 FEMA camps in the United States, all fully operational and ready to receive detainees. There are other facilities that can be converted into detainment areas if the military and/or FEMA decide to seize the property for operations.
The city of Costa Mesa, Calif., has gone to court to block state and federal officials, at least temporarily, from placing dozens of people evacuated from Asia in a state-owned residential center in their community.
Alabama officials equally reacted with alarm to news that coronavirus patients could be sent to a Federal Emergency Management building on a former army base in Anniston, Alabama about 90 miles west of Atlanta.
While it was reported the President Trump intervened, many Ground Zero listeners informed me that people were being put in these camps for observation.
As I wrote back in 2005, the REX 84 camps have been on the ready for a long time.
There was also a proposal that was made during the George W. Bush presidency that would guarantee continuity of government if there was a biological attack on the United States,
The policy was originally called the Model State Emergency Health Powers Act. The proposal was first recommended as a means to help states protect citizens against bio-terrorist attacks and deal with national defense issues.
It was certainly a proposal that would put the country under a quarantine which would be eerily similar to Martial law, calling for new police powers all in the name of controlling epidemics of infectious diseases during public health emergencies.
Under the Model State Emergency Health Powers Act, upon the declaration of a “public health emergency,” governors and public health officials would be empowered to:
1) Force individuals suspected of harboring an “infectious disease” to undergo medical examinations.
2) Track and share an individual’s personal health information, including genetic information.
3) Force persons to be vaccinated, treated, or quarantined for infectious diseases. This includes arresting, imprisoning and forcibly examining, vaccinating and medicating you and your children without your consent. The government will not be held liable if these actions result in your death or injury.
FEMA camps would be used to quarantine and use as examination facilities.
Literal colonies of sick individuals would be placed in camps far from civilization. The government could mandate that all health care providers report all cases of persons who harbor any illness or health condition that may be caused by an epidemic or an infectious agent and might pose a “substantial risk” to a “significant number of people or cause a long-term disability.”
Pharmacists would be required to flag or report any unusual demand or any increased prescription rates that may be caused by epidemic diseases.
All existing state laws, rules and regulations, including those relating to privacy, medical licensure, and property rights, would be suspended. The government would then have the right to seize your house, car, telephones, computers, food, fuel, clothing, firearms and alcoholic beverages for their own use. Once again, they will not be held liable if these actions result in the destruction of your personal property.
The military, working with of FEMA and Homeland Security, could be authorized to control public and private property during a public health emergency, including pharmaceutical manufacturing plants, nursing homes, other health care facilities and communications devices.
The military would be used as a police force to enforce the state’s order, asking for the surrender of any firearms or survival supplies, among other commodities. The state government would then have the right to impose fines and penalties to enforce its orders.
Much of what was proposed was actually taken from a playbook known as the “Seven Revolutions” a blueprint for the future and how to combat challenges that governments of the world will face through 2025.
The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a think tank run by Henry Kissinger and the late Zbigniew Brzezinski among others, produced a list of seven trends that will challenge world leaders and cause change until 2025.
Called the “Seven Revolutions,” it lists as priorities one and two, population growth and resource management.
Listed in full, The Seven Revolutions are:
1) Population Control
2) Resource Management
4) Information and Knowledge Flow
5) Economic Integration
“Each of these revolutions,” wrote the CSIS, “embodies both promise and peril and it is up to every one of us to determine the trajectory that these revolutionary forces will follow.”
We all know about population control agendas and the National Security Study Memorandum 200 where Kissinger proposed population reduction for global sustainability.
What we don’t about know about coronavirus has made it more frightening. In the absence of transparency, it’s easy to imagine anything could be true, including that a challenging but ultimately manageable new disease has extraordinary destructive power.
Perhaps our alarm is overblown. Or perhaps it’s worse than we fear.
No matter what happens, this virus will disrupt lives before it takes them and even though the survival rate is still relatively high at the moment it is best be prepared for anything that has not been foreseen.