If there’s one thing about the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s that it’s really brought the quacks, cranks, antivaxxers, and conspiracy theorists to the fore. Their bad takes and pseudoscience are everywhere. Worse, antivaxxers have allied themselves with COVID-19 deniers and cranks in a way that surprised those who thought that fear of a potentially deadly virus tearing through an immunologically naive world population and causing hundreds of thousands of deaths would mean the death knell for the antivaccine movement but surprised none of us who’ve actually followed the movement for a long time. So when I saw that “wholistic psychiatrist” (and antivaxxer) Kelly Brogan had teamed up with Sayer Ji and Ali Zeck to ask why we stay asleep when COVID-19 is trying to wake us up, I was expecting a lot of nonsense. I got even more than I had bargained for, which is why I’ve dubbed this article a product of the Brogan-Ji braintrust.
Before I dig in, I must first note that I can’t recall having ever encountered Ali Zeck before, which is why this isn’t the Brogan-Zeck-Ji braintrust. (I go with whom I know, and Ms. Zeck will have to earn her way into the name with more pseudoscience.) Apparently, if her Twitter feed is any indication, Ms. Zeck is someone who is a trauma survivor who was, if you believe her, “misdiagnosed and abused by psychiatry” and claims that her bipolar disorder, which had led her to suicide attempts, was healed holistically by Brogan. (Her story was featured in the quack series What Doctors Don’t Tell You.) Many supplements were involved, of course.
Also, I noticed from her Twitter feed that she’s an all-purpose conspiracy theorist:
And antisemitic as well:
Oddly enough, she also follows me on Twitter. Perhaps that will change if she sees the Tweet with a link to this post.
Now, let’s dig in. The article starts out with a whole bunch of things about COVID-19 that, to the Brogan-Ji at least, “don’t make sense.” Consider it a long list of questions that are nothing more than JAQing off. You’ll see what I mean immediately:
There’s a phrase we all keep hearing: It doesn’t make sense. We’ve heard it from citizen journalists, from hospital and police force whistleblowers, and from otherwise compliant and law abiding self-quarantiners whose personal, lived experience simply isn’t adding up to what they are being told is happening by mainstream media. So what is it that doesn’t make sense? Is it:
- that many medical experts have actually downgraded the potential threat of Covid-19 from initial projections by orders of magnitude, including Dr. Anthony Fauci himself, in a New England Journal of Medicine report where he wrote that “the overall clinical consequences of Covid-19 may ultimately be more akin to a severe seasonal influenza (which has a case fatality rate of approximately 0.1%) …” yet we are seeing unprecedented, draconian style control measures being implemented by executive order?
The article they cite is, unsurprisingly, from late March, and we knew a lot less about COVID-19 back then. Of course, what the Brogan-Ji brain trust ignores is the fact that, even if the overall infection fatality rate of COVID-19 is nearly that low, it could still kill many hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people, given that, before the virus emerged, the entire human race was immunologically naive to the new coronavirus.
But let’s move on to the conspiracy mongering:
- that there were staged planning events in October 2019 including Urban Outbreak and Event 201, nationwide CDC Quarantine Program job postings from November of 2019, a coronavirus patent, World Bank pandemic bonds, well in advance of when this pandemic supposedly started, and spontaneously erupted and disseminated globally in a manner that could never be explained through person to person contagion?
This is a favorite of conspiracy theorists, the insinuation or outright claim that, because there was a planning exercise modeling a pandemic event and the government response to it in 2019, that must mean that the COVID-19 pandemic was not an accident, that it didn’t arise naturally, that—yes, this is the implication—it was, as so many cranks have called it, a “plandemic,” the intentional release of virus (engineered, of course!) for the nefarious purposes of (take your pick) the World Health Organization, Bill Gates, CDC, or the Illuminati. Heck, pick all of them, because they’re obviously working together!
- that doctors are being told to code all deaths as covid without so much as the facade of testing when up to 99% of case fatalities are in individuals with multiple pre-existing conditions, the vast majority of them elderly?
This is, of course, a distortion of what was ordered that relies on a misunderstanding of how deaths are coded on death certificates. Death certificates actually do list underlying conditions that contribute to death. However, if you have, for instance, congestive heart failure and then get pneumonia from COVID-19, while the congestive heart failure contributed to your death, it wasn’t the overall cause. Similarly, yes, the pneumonia caused your death, but what caused the pneumonia? COVID-19! Similarly, basically all deaths other than brain deaths in patients on ventilation and other life support result from cardiac arrest as the most proximal cause, but saying that is trivial. What caused the cardiac arrest is the more important issue. As for that last bit about 99% of the case fatalities being in the elderly with pre-existing conditions, first of all, that’s from a cherry picked report from Italy published nearly three months ago. More importantly, even if that were true, it’s an example of a “screw the elderly and sick” attitude that is very prevalent among COVID-19 deniers.
- that hospitals are supposedly full to the brim with intubated patients when hospital staff are being laid off or furloughed, and whistleblowers are speaking to iatrogenic harm and death (including through intubation) being systematically committed by physicians?
It wasn’t so much hospitals that were full to the brim but ICUs and emergency rooms, at least in hard hit cities like New York and, yes, my hometown of Detroit. I guess those stories of refrigerated trucks being used to store and transport corpses in New York and of bodies placed in unused sleep lab rooms in a hospital in Detroit when morgues ran out of room are fiction, too. As for the claim that intubation and mechanical ventilation are actually causing harm in COVID-19 patients, that’s a distortion of a scientific argument over what’s the best way to manage COVID-19 patients going into respiratory failure, including when to institute mechanical ventilation and how to manage ventilator settings. It’s also a controversy that was ginned up by the press, allowing COVID-19 cranks to trumpet “vEntiLAtorS R kiLlInG peOpLE!!!”
As for why hospitals were furloughing staff, the sad fact about our healthcare system is that hospitals rely on high margin elective procedures, such as total hip replacements, for much of their revenue, and, to maintain capacity to handle an expected wave of COVID-19 patients, hospitals stopped doing those elective procedures. The bottom line is that taking care of COVID-19 patients, even in ICUs, just doesn’t generate as much revenue as elective procedures. It’s a huge defect in how our healthcare system is financed.
Unsurprisingly, 5G gets a couple of mentions:
- that the plan for “return to normal” is being dictated by an unelected software technocrat who happens to also fund GMOs (including non-meat synthetic products), 5G, all of the labs currently working on the vaccine, implantable tracking devices, and the WHO?
- that 5G networks are being installed during a time of “essential work only” in every major metropolitan area while we are quarantined in our homes?
Yes, conspiracy theories about 5G supposedly making people more susceptible to COVID-19 (or even outright causing it) are a staple of COVID-19 cranks and conspiracy theorists, and apparently the Brogan-Ji brain trust is no exception.
Of course, the Brogan-Ji brain trust express doubt about masks as a preventive measure:
- that mask-wearing has been enforced when the Surgeon General, the WHO and even Fauci say to not wear them, and elected officials congregated on television have never worn them?
Amusingly, the YouTube video the Brogan-Ji brain trust links to is old. It’s dated May 6 on YouTube, but is really from an interview he did with 60 MINUTES in early March. He’s long since changed his mind on that one, based on evidence, and in early April the CDC recommended wearing masks. As for the WHO, guess what? Its recommendation was not that you shouldn’t wear masks, but rather that you should wear a mask if you are around anyone who has or is suspected of having COVID-19. It was also an old recommendation that was never updated. Oh, wait. It was updated last week. The WHO now says to wear a where there is widespread transmission and physical distancing is difficult, “such as on public transport, in shops or in other confined or crowded environments.” In fairness, the Brogan-Ji brain trust wrote this before the WHO updated its guidelines, but even the WHO never said don’t wear masks; it also said that you should follow whatever guidelines your local health officials recommend, including wearing a mask.
Speaking of masks:
- that facial coverings ranging from a scarf to a reused surgical mask with mm pore sizes are going to “keep out” what we are calling a virus which is nm in diameter?
As (ostensibly) a physician, Brogan should be very embarrassed to have put her name to a statement this medically ignorant. (But, then, she’s an antivaxxer and HIV/AIDS denialist) As pretty much all physicians know (or should know) respiratory viruses don’t just float around in the air by themselves. They’re spread in respiratory droplets of varying sizes, and it is those droplets that masks can effectively stop. It’s also amusing to see someone who’s promoted germ theory denial as part of her antivaccine views to be so concerned about a virus. Come on, Kelly! Viruses can’t hurt you, given how healthy you are! Why don’t you go to the COVID-19 ward and help take care of patients there without personal protective equipment? (That’s sarcasm, in case anyone wondered.)
There are so many more tropes in her JAQing off, but I can’t resist this one before moving on to the rest of the post:
- that the list of the virus’s associated symptoms have grown and changed, all the while without there being unequivocal evidence of the virus’s point-of-origin in isolation in Wuhan or proof of global contagion?
No proof of global contagion? Seriously? As for the list of the virus’s symptoms growing and changing, well, that’s just science in action. In December 2019, we knew next to nothing about this new virus. By January 12, the virus was isolated (it’s now named SARS-CoV-2), and its genome was sequenced by January 24. That’s pretty damned fast. Then, as unfortunately more and more and more people were infected with the virus, we saw more and more manifestations of the disease, including the less common ones.
I did a double take at the section after the JAQing off, when the Brogan-Ji brain trust actually takes a germ of a good point and then runs straight off the cliff with it:
This is operative for so many right now who feel the irrepressible tension between what we are being told is happening (a deadly virus is spreading that we need protection from) and the sense that there is more to the story. But so many minimize, dismiss, or otherwise defend the mainstream narrative because to do otherwise would require truly cutting the umbilical cord connecting them to mommy medical system and daddy government. It would require stepping into their adult authority which is their own, individual truth and sovereign power…a terrifying initiation to self that can feel like the world as you know it must end in order to accommodate this new truth and perceived reality.
If we want to feel free, then why would anyone continue to trust and obey an authority that is not here to protect but rather to control and enslave?
It is not unreasonable to be concerned that some will use the pandemic as a pretext to increase authoritarian control. Hell, the Chinese government did just that! However, there’s a difference between reasonable concern and outright conspiracy theories. Guess which side of that divide the Brogan-Ji brain trust falls on?
First, they liken our reaction to authority to children with unhealed trauma from abuse:
How does a child stand up to a parent that is abusing them when they are powerless to defend themselves? They don’t. They acquiesce, submit and align with the reality of their abuser in order to stay safe.
But what happens if we never reclaim ourselves from this imprint? What happens when the feelings that surface when we reconsider allegiance to those big, looming authorities that we imagine could crush us if we don’t comply? This is the pattern of intergenerational trauma we see running through the lineage of humanity now, where unexamined trauma leads to a fugue state of dissociation from self and intuition in service of a preserved trust and loyalty to parentified authorities.
And this is how and why world citizens told to go to their room lest the boogie man get them, dutifully comply, stay inside of their homes, and await further orders, welcoming in the “new normal” for themselves and their children.
This sounds like pure Brogan, given all the psychobabble and fancy jargon thrown around to impress, to make you think the Brogan-Ji brain trust actually knows what it’s talking about. Naturally, they can’t resist going beyond this, to liken people’s relationship to medical authorities to the Stockholm syndrome. She does it, however, while tipping her hand to her true purpose, the promotion of quackery:
There is a name for the psychemotional dynamic of defending the parentified aggressor and we are seeing this surface en masse. It is called Stockholm Syndrome. It refers to a positive bond of attachment formed between a victim of abuse and the abuser. It’s why women defend their right to birth control, antidepressants and medicalized birth, without perceiving the dangerous shadow side of these technologies. And it’s why, today, all around the world, people are shaming, judging, and otherwise deputizing themselves to coerce dissenters into compliance. “Wear a mask! You’re killing people!”
When the wounded and traumatized child is pulling the strings behind the curtain, she says that you can’t handle the emotions that might surface if you choose to relinquish trust and dependency on an outside authority. She says that you will be abandoned, rejected, and may even die. So, if you are feeling powerless, then bully someone else and diffuse some of the discomfort. On an individual level and on a collective level, these dynamics keep us divided against the true oppressor — the authority we unduly empower.
Guess who that authority is. Actually, it’s basically all conventional and especially medical authority. It’s any public health authority recommending science-based approaches to COVID-19 (or any other public health or medical issue, for that matter). here’s what I mean:
In this way, propaganda can be delivered as a mass public relations campaign, hidden in plain sight to manufacture consent. At this point, every single consensus narrative — on climate change, 9/11, the suffragette movement, war, HIV/AIDS, vaccination, and yes, today’s pandemic — is a smokescreen for deeper agendas that we have been strategically manipulated to accept. Strategic marketing campaigns are also behind the transformation that Bill Gates has enjoyed from a corrupt software engineer to a global philanthropist. It has been through philanthropocapitalistic infusion of hundreds of millions of dollars into the global media (including NPR, and even seemingly impartial “fact checking” organizations), that this reputation has been manufactured out of thin air generating a shared public perception that is divergent from if not antithetical to a lived private reality.
It is because of our unexamined traumas that we fail to critically think, question deeply, and see what is for the seeing. And the fear that these traumas keep active in our present day leads us to abdicate freedoms in exchange for the illusion of safety. We may never question whether the perceived danger originated with the very authority to which we have sacrificed our freedoms. This is why today, we see citizens self-quarantining, policing their neighbors, and begging for a vaccine. Create a problem, agitate the public, and offer a solution that would not have been easily introduced without the previous two steps.
Fortunately, I had just swallowed my coffee when I read that. Otherwise, Brogan would owe me a new keyboard. The Brogan-Ji brain trust is accusing everyone of failing to think critically? Truly, it is a good thing that my last irony meter was destroyed by another crank lacking self-awareness and I haven’t replaced it yet! Otherwise, it might have blown up my house, as she destroyed it. The Brogan-Ji brain trust wouldn’t recognize critical thinking if it bit them on the posterior. To them, “critical thinking” means rejecting anything that doesn’t align with their mistrust of medicine, their embrace of quackery, and their belief in pseudoscience and mysticism.
I’ll show you what I mean. In the very next section, the Brogan-Ji brain trust misconstrues critical thinking to mean embrace of some of the battiest conspiracy theories you can imagine:
We slide down the rabbit hole of critical thinking, and we see a the mainstream orthodoxy as reflective of agendas that are highly designed, intentionally deceptive, and strategically organized, whether by extraterrestrial vampires, the deep state elite, or the medical or military industrial complexes, and that reality is anything but what we have been told it is. In this narrative there is a deep conviction that morality has no place in politics and that power and advancement should be sought using any means necessary, no matter the lives lost or people harmed, the overall agenda of the ruling is the objective. There are layers and layers of information and ever deepening realities that begin to reveal a plan hidden in plain sight as in the widely accessible “possible scenarios” Lockstep 2010 document and Agenda 2030, that reveal an intent to subjugate the human species into a new global governance structure (i.e., new world order), welfare state dependencies, real-time total surveillance and tracking, and biomedically delivered slavery.
This is real Alex Jones/Mike Adams/QAnon conspiracy territory. Tinfoil hats aren’t enough to keep out the mind control rays for our Brogan-Ji brain trust! Lockstep 2020 is a conspiracy theory based on a 2010 Rockefeller Foundation document Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development. The document mapped out various possible scenarios that could influence future technological breakthroughs over the next 10-15 years, among which was “Lock step,” envisioned as a “world of tighter top-down control and more authoritarian leadership, with limited innovation and growing citizen pushback.” (Other examples included “clever together,” a world in which highly coordinated and successful strategies emerge for addressing both urgent and entrenched worldwide issues, and “smart scramble,” an economically depressed world in which individuals and communities develop localized makeshift solutions to a growing set of problems.) The Rockefeller Foundation used a fictional global influenza pandemic in 2012 that infects 20% of the world’s population and kills 8 million people, mostly young adults, in order to plan out the various reactions in different political, economic and industrial sectors, and the issues that might arise as the pandemic spreads. Obviously, the Brogan-Ji brain trust thinks it was more of a plan, rather than one scenario of what might happen in response to a pandemic.
As for the WHO 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, it’s simply an agenda with 17 goals for 2030, including ending hunger, protecting the planet from degradation, increasing prosperity, and maintaining peace. It’s hard for me to see anything so horrible in the document, but, then, I’m not a conspiracy theorist. On the other hand, Goal #5 is “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”; Goal #10 is “Reduce inequality within and among countries”; and Goal #13 is “Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.” There’s lots of grist for the conspiracy mill there.
Unsurprisingly, the Brogan-Ji brain trust concludes with a call to “wake up” and “expand your awareness” (after quoting Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous quote, “For evil to succeed, all it needs is for good men to do nothing, naturally”). With all the woo in about suppressed childhood trauma and the Stockholm syndrome being the cause of people submitting themselves to the agenda of the “parentified authority” in medicine and government, I can’t help but suggest that the central idea of the entire article could have been expressed much more succinctly as, “Wake up, sheeple!”
And, yes, I do appreciate the irony of my telling someone else to make it brief!