TRIGGER WARNING - AND EXTREMELY LONG!
I had to take a break from the internet for a while last week as I was so sick of thinking about things that I knew would do my head in if I didn't. I suspect this post is going to be pretty long so if any of you can't sleep stick around - I'll have you asleep in no time. Thing is, once I start not being able to sleep and moithering in my head I know that the only way to get things to calm down is to get it down in writing - in order to empty my head! Anyway, here goes!
I suppose what has been a big contributing factor to my (and most other people's) funks is this god-awful weather. It has been rain, rain and more rain, non-stop, with today's high temperature hitting a whopping 16°C (60°F). And that's how it's been for weeks! They may be talking about global warming but if it is happening it sure ain't happening anywhere near here. Add to that that both my immediate neighbours each have two pumps running in their basements 24/7 to keep water out - and the guilt trip (and relief, admittedly) that my place has stayed dry has been bothering me quite a bit! In all honesty, I truly believe that the fact that they have been getting flooded for the last several years is probably down to my immediate neighbour's handywork - or lack thereof. The area where I live, in French, is called Fields of Song, which refers not to birdsong but apparently the "singing" of the many underground streams as they make their way down the mountains. When my house was built they apparently placed a large drain towards the left-hand edge of my garden to deal with these springs - I can tell by the location of extreme dry patches in the lawn during normal summers. Additionally, a few years ago, a few of us neighbours got together to put extra piping in further up the gardens to channel excess water down to the drains on the main road. What I think happened is Mr. Handyman next door cut into the slope of the garden behind my hedge to build what turned out to be a very pretty small BBQ and seating area - and I reckon ended up diverting spring water into their two basements. So one of the upcoming tasks is to get professionals in to redivert water away from their homes (not at my expense of course, but still a hassle), but this bloody non-stop rain isn't making getting this done any easier!
So yeah, I guess this bloody weather is having a huge effect on everyone's general malaise right now. But the malaise seems to be never-ending doesn't it! And I've been thinking more and more about what a nasty, spiteful world we seem to be moving towards, whichever side of any particular argument you choose to be on. Take the US elections and the never-ending fall out from them. Whether you are on Team "Trump is the only one who can save us" or Team "Watch out for the lunatic at Mar-a-Lago", the downright hate and violence it has engendered has to be seen to be believed!
And of course, 31 December was the "final" date for Brexit, the date by which those of us who are expats had to be legally resident in our E.U. country of choice before we lost our Withdrawal Agreement rights. Again, it was Team "Rule Britannia and now we get to control our own borders" v. Team "How ya liking not being able to get your harvest in fellas?", and while here the nastiness has calmed down a little - perhaps - Brexit engendered divisive hatreds, often between family members which it has sometimes not been possible to patch over. Anecdotally, someone on our FB Brexit group recently posted that he ordered a £95 kilt from the U.K. to wear to a wedding here in France and ended up paying €53 in import duty on it!!! So how ya liking the prices of them apples now folks? I never order anything from the UK anymore for that reason, but why anyone should be surprised that this kind of thing would be one of the consequences of Brexit is beyond me! It for sure isn't all sunshine and daisies in the E.U. and the pandemic has probably muddied many of the issues - good or bad on both sides anyway - but it's just one more thing that has had my head spinning!
I ended up watching the final of the Euros the other night, with England playing (and losing against) Italy. I can't really say I'm particularly interested in football. Oh it would have been nice if they had won, but in the end pfft, to me it didn't really matter. What really upset me though, was at the end when it went to penalties, and the three young English players that took - and missed - the penalties were all black, my immediate thought was "oh my God, I wish that hadn't happened". Because, of course, had they won they would have been "wonderful examples of fine upstanding English lads", but because they lost they were subject to what I assume is more than the usual amount of racist abuse that they normally have to put up with! When did that ever become acceptable - to hurl racist abuse at someone because of the colour of their skin? What the hell is the world coming to when "oh she's a Karen" is easily understood to be an offensive bigotted woman (with apologies to all the non-Karen Karens out there - I'm sure you're lovely)? I don't know, it just all got to be a bit too much for me last week so I decided to get off the internet for a while to give my mind a break!
But the real humdinger for us here in France this week has been President Macron's introduction of a draft law (to be approved by Parliament) which we are referring to as the pass sanitaire (PS). Under this new law, if approved, a PS can be obtained by anyone who has either been fully vaccinated or who has a covid test less than 48 hours old (about €50 and not reimbursable). As from 21 July, anyone not in possession of a PS, can not go, for example, to the cinema, the swimming pool, museums, cafés and restaurants (whether sitting inside or outside on the terrace), shopping malls or to any place where more than 50 people might be expected to congregagate. So, for example, you won't be able to attend your son's junior school football match, for instance. NOR WILL THEY BE ABLE TO ENTER MEDICAL/HOSPITAL FACILITIES!!!!!! Moreover, young people from the age of 12 up will need the PS in order to be able to attend school in person! Anyone who comes into regular contact with the public will need to be fully vaccinated - so McDonald's workers, restaurant workers, train drivers, ticket collectors, bus drivers and all medical personnel! I'm not going to go into all the details because to be honest I'm sick of thinking about it, but it will mean if you don't have a PS you cannot catch a bus, a train or a plane! Doesn't bother me too much as I can live without all of that, but what about those that need to have a PS in order to work? Sieg Heil, Mr. Frickin' Macron, can you guess the last time anyone issued that kind of edict?
Whichever way you lean regarding the vaccine, a person's fundalmental right is to the freedom to exert control over their own body (as defined at the Nuremberg trials), a right which is not superseded by the "greater good of society"!
To be forced to ingest something into your body against your informed consent is considered a crime against humanity - the Nuremberg Code still stands!
So that is why instead of celebrating Bastille Day on 14 July, the French were out protesting in cities all over the country. And they were peaceful protests, apart from the usual small band of professional rioters in Paris. But what happened on 14 July will be nothing compared to what is going to happen this Saturday, as the "real" protests will in no way be a celebration, and if not heads, then at least hopefully a President and wannabe dictator will be brought down!
I saw an interview on TV with Loïc Hervé who - and I didn't know this - is actually the Senate representative for Haute Savoie (this region) and he was saying that despite being vaccinated himself, he intends to vote against this law as a complete infringement of people's human rights - you know, what Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité is all about! I'm paraphrasing here but if, for the greater good of mankind, mandatory vaccination is enforced, well won't that be all well and dandy folks! All in the name of freedom. But then what happens in a couple of years' time when they find out that too many disabled children are being born? How about we just enforce abortion/euthanasia for these children for the greater good of mankind and in the name of freedom? Won't that be fine and dandy as we'll all be beautiful and free. But then, in a few years time, what about the gay people, or the ..... you get the gist of it. If we allow our rights to be infringed for the greater good of mankind and in the name of freedom - well then we will never be free will we! (On a side note, I wrote to his office and congratulated him on his stance - wonder if he'll write back)!
Also on Wednesday, I was invited to lunch with some friends (who are all vaccinated) in Switzerland, so I called the restaurant and said that I didn't have a pass sanitaire (not vaccinated yet and not going to pay €50 for a test) and should I not come? His reply "Madame, this is Switzerland, such things as the pass sanitaire law would have to be submitted to the people's vote (they vote on everything in Switzerland) so you will never need a pass sanitaire here, ever. We look forward to seeing you!" (I could have cried). If that ain't a democracy I don't know what is. Oh, and of all the United Nation Member States guess which two countries have imposed similar pass sanitaire laws? Can't guess? Norway and Denmark? Nope. Portugal tried to impose it and was forced to withdraw it after just one day. Still can't guess? Well, the answer is Pakistan and Saudi Arabia - so ya see, we're in good company!
So I guess finally it comes down to which team you are on, yet again. Team "it's everybody's civil duty to get this wonderful vaccine" or Team "ya ain't gonna stick anything which is a trial therapy and for which there is no recourse against the manufacturers if (when) everything goes tits up in two years" into my arm! Again, on a side note, legal efforts have been made to obtain copies of the contracts between the drug companies and the E.U. governments (all to no avail so far). But one thing is for sure, in each contract there is most definitely a "no recourse" clause in the event this trial therapy has to be withdrawn in two-three years. And just as a BTW, I saw it mentioned that "you might want to look at your mortgage insurance small print for anything referring to your insurance being nullified if you participate in 'trial' anything". My house is paid off and I couldn't be bothered to look but, that was something else I guess most people hadn't thought of. Or how about the fact that the SARs (I think it was) vaccine trial was called off after around 53 deaths were linked to it, and yet, worldwide there are already thousands of deaths and "adverse vaccine reactions" to this trial therapy and yet they are still pushing it!
Well done Sen. Ron Johnson for at least saying these people need to be
listened to. (The original video is over an hour long)!
Sure covid kills, but then so does this "therapy" (it isn't a vaccine apparently, but they started referring to it as such because it's something they stick in your arm)!
Anyway, and finally, I promise I will shut up afterwards, but I was always leaning towards not dashing out to get this "vaccine", mainly because, even though it has indeed been in the works for many years, it is still in trial phase, and will remain so until around May 2022 unless they withdraw it beforehand. No, I reckoned my lifestyle of being pretty insular, with the highlight of my week being grocery shopping and walking in the mountains, it was easier for me to say "nope, don't want it"! That being said, I do keep an eye on the official statistics for our local town - which have been at "less than 1" for positive tests for ages and 11% of hospital beds in Haute Savoie being occupied at this point in time! I know many of you won't agree with me, but two days ago I saw a presentation by a Canadian doctor indicating that 62% of his patients having received the vaccine within the last seven days, show indications of blood clotting. He pointed out that these effects are cumulative with each successive shot, and explained why he feels that deaths as a result of right-sided heart failure caused by pulmonary hypertension will start to skyrocket within two to three years because of this. He isn't the only one saying this and these are experts - not Sean Hannity from Fox News either. I'm pretty sure you can find an expert for whichever side of this particular fence you sit, of course, but this video in particular, ending with him talking about the deaths from right-sided heart failure, sent ice through my veins!
When I went to lunch with my friends there was only one (friendly) comment about me not being vaccinated (yet) but all I could say was "you're vaccinated, so surely I'm the only one at real risk here"! But you know, I don't want to get into this with my friends. It's something we're gonna have to agree to disagree on. In a way I hope I end up with egg on my face in a couple of years as my belief was wrong, because honestly the opposite just doesn't bear thinking about! And by the way, I'm not an anti-vaxxer. My kids and I are all vaccinated with all the required vaccines that have been in use for decades. I just don't see being used as a human guinea pig in somebody's clinical trials and against whom I have no recourse if something goes drastically wrong! (If you're interested, the video was of Dr. Charles Hoffe on the Laura Lynn show. There are plenty more, including regarding the lawsuits being prepared by the team that took down Volkswagen in the "Dieselgate" case. They are preparing "Nuremburg crimes against humanity" lawsuits as we speak)!
So finally (if you're still with me here you've got quite the stamina), I don't feel that Herr Macron's law has a snowflake's chance in hell of going through. If it does, all hell will break loose. That being said, as a nurse Jen would be the only one amongst us who would have to get the "vaccine" and since she is following the same discussions as we are you can imagine how she is reacting. It will be a case of "get your vaccine or get fired". Since they need her salary to keep their home/family going she has eyes like a deer caught in the headlights. Already she knows of five nurses where she works who will resign if it goes through and they are preparing to take a photo in front of their hospital to post on social media saying "these are just some of the people you will lose because of this"! At a hospital north of Paris one doctor has said he will lose at least 40% of his medical personnel, not only because of this but also because last year's "heroes of the pandemic" have this year been told "here's your €20 pay rise, now get back to work"! Moreover, fire stations in France are usually manned by a few paid professionals, with the rest being made up of volunteer firefighters (these are actually the paramedics that would bring you to hospital if needed). Many of them have already indicated that they will resign if mandatory vaccination goes through. Hell, why would they stay? They are volunteers after all! Oddly enough, that crafty fox Herr Macron excluded the police and the military from mandatory vaccination requirements. Why? Surely the police, in particular, will be coming into contact with large members of the public when they are checking everyone's pass sanitaire (in addition to all the other stuff they have to do). Could it be because he knows they will also revolt if he tries to impose it on them and then he will lose control of the police and the military?
Anyway, yesterday after lunch I stopped in at Jordan and Jen's for a family powow (Jordan was off, it being Bastille Day). As we're very open about finances, I thought, let's get straight to it. I asked them how much they needed to cover their monthly expenses. They sat and worked it all out and on just Jordan's salary they come up way short (she earns more than him, although as a professional nurse and a qualified plumber, their salaries are disgustingly low)! It had been moithering me for ages and then it finally hit me that I couldn't in clear conscience keep putting money into my savings/holidays fund when my kids need help.To cut straight to the chase, if they insist on mandatory vaccination for Jen she will first take the final six months' parental leave (very reduced pay) to which she is entitled, and then she will resign. I told her I will give them the amount of money that used to go into my savings for as long as it takes them to get back on their feet (not far off the amount of her full salary). They will not lose their home. I also told them I was giving them this money, not lending it. I mean, what's the point in them inheriting any assets I have many years down the road (hopefully) when they need help now? Since I hadn't said anything about it beforehand (because I'd only just thought of it anyway), it must have come as a shock to both of them and Jen just put her head on Jordan's shoulders and cried with relief! But dammit, there was always going to be a solution (for them at least - not for some other poor buggers who have no other option but to keep their jobs). We had gone through worst case scenario - they sell the small home they had worked so hard to buy. Next best - rent out the apartment and move in with either André or me! Jen called me again this morning saying she couldn't believe I would do that, but then why the hell wouldn't I? So now she's got time to retrain and they can move forward without worrying about money. When she asked me what she could do for me, I told her to get me a bunch of flowers - or sneak into the cemetery late at night and nick a bunch - but not to forget to take the card off! I also told her Jordan should tell Max (his friend and boss) that he is looking for work in Switzerland. That gives Max a chance to up his wages to a level consistent with his skills, and since Max knows he'd be in the shit without Jordan because he has tons of work lined up and they can't find another plumber for love nor money, hopefully it should shake Max up a bit too. Damn, I don't get mad often but when I do I'm like a dog with a bone. I will not give up, especially if I think there is injustice. When I got home I starting looking at plumbing/central heating job offers in Geneva, and in less than a minute I came up with one just over the border which would already triple his income. I told Jordan the one thing he had to do for me was call that company - that was all I was asking - and in addition to talking about their requirements/his skills, to stress that he is bilingual - which is a big advantage in Geneva! We'll see what happens I guess. It may already be taken but there will be others anyway and at least it gives them some breathing space!
So there you have it, what's been bothering me this last week and why I haven't been online and commenting on your blogs. I don't want to argue with anyone about vaccination. God knows I hope I'm proved totally wrong and end up with egg on my face (assuming any of us are alive at the end of all this). But my feeling is you stand as much chance of dying from the vaccination as you do from covid (only it'll happen a bit later), so I'll take my chances with the virus!
Stay safe everyone, whichever way you choose to do that. And tomorrow something a little less "heavy" huh?