Q & A about Big Brother and COVID-19: drones, snitches and bills numbered 666

By Guy Page

Concerns about “Big Brother” watching Vermonters have been popping up in social and traditional media ever since March 13, when Gov. Scott signed Executive Order 1-20 declaring a State of Emergency. Here are several examples of their concerns, and what’s actually happening.

Are police using drones for surveillance? No.

At a recent press conference a reporter asked if (as is happening in other states) police are using drones to monitor social distancing. The answer was an emphatic “no,” the same response Vermont Daily received from Vermont State Police spokesperson Adam Silverman to this April 21:

Vermont law (Title 20, chapter 205) says ‘a law enforcement agency shall not use a drone or information acquired through the use of a drone for the purpose of investigating, detecting, or prosecuting crime…..(b)(1) A law enforcement agency shall not use a drone to gather or retain data on private citizens peacefully exercising their constitutional rights of free speech and assembly.’ However, the powers of the executive expand considerably during a SOE. Are state police using, or prepared to use, drones to monitor activity forbidden by the executive orders – including but not limited to political gatherings, activity in parks and on trails, and patronage of local businesses?

Silverman, a veteran editor/reporter at the Burlington Free Press before going to work for the State Police, gave a firm, one-word answer: “No.”

Are citizens informing on fellow citizens? Yes.

Vermonters concerned about others’ lax personal protection and social distancing are reporting supposed infractions are another matter. They’re ratting to both police and to the media. Monday’s VT Digger reports on the numerous emails it has received from concerned citizens. Apparently this behavior is intertwined with their fear of death. Editor Colin Meyn quotes a social psychologist Liz Pinel:

“I do think that that has a lot to do with…why people are calling who are not following social distance guidelines. Because we’re living in a time when mortality is incredibly salient for people,” [Pinel] added. “This is what we need to do to be good members of our worldview, and people who aren’t doing that are challenging our belief system and they are sort of laughing at it, and that makes us feel more vulnerable.”

Pinel pointed out that Covid-19 showed just how quickly rules for good behavior can change, and the lengths people will go to maintain our psychological “dam” holding back the terror. “You know, and if other people are saying, ‘Well, no, we don’t have to do that.’ Then that is, that’s like a little hole, a little leak, in your dam that you need to stop.”

To police, Vermonters have complained about their neighbors via the Vermont State Police Executive Order Reporting Tool. As of  April 17, 130 people had used the tool to make complaints, referred to in a Caledonian-Record editorial as a “rat line.” The current number is unknown. A question emailed today to the Vermont State Police received this response: “You can send a request for information under the public records act to Department of Public Safety Records & Alarms Administrator Heidi Storm by email at heidi.storm@vermont.gov.” Asked the same question at the governor’s press conference today, Gov. Phil Scott and his officials also did not have the answer but promised to provide it.

Is the press being controlled? No. Absolutely not.

If anything state officials have been more responsive than ever. Gov. Scott has set the tone by meeting with the press three times a week for up to two hours a session, answering with relevance and grace the questions posed by a score of reporters. Administrators and legislators also have been even more forthcoming than usual, perhaps because they, too, are moored to their computers and check their email frequently.

Will protective facial masks become mandatory? Probably not. Will the State of Vermont mandate the wearing of masks in public? Gov. Scott made it clear today he is not in favor of mandating masks – at least not right now. “If we’re having difficulty with compliance rates, we’ll take more steps,” Scott said. “But that’s not my preference.” Nationwide, mandates seem to put people at odds, he said. But he added that “if the Legislature decides to take additional steps to make this mandatory….that’s their prerogative as well.”

There’s nothing on the weekly legislative committee schedule specifically about masks. However the House and Senate health care committees will hold a joint hearing via Zoom Tuesday at 10 AM to discuss “an act relating to a health care emergency State plan.” Might such a plan require masks? Stay tuned. Many grocery stores already require shoppers to wear masks. Guidelines for reopening the economy also require it of some employees.

Is the government considering oversight legislation numbered 666? Yes. (But does it matter?) 

This sounds like an internet rumor, but it’s not. Whether the number is of any significance is a matter of opinion. Two recent federal bills calling for more government oversight include the sequence of 666 — the number signifying an oppressive world government’s “Mark of the Beast” in the Book of Revelation. On May 1 a Democrat-led bill, HR6666, was introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives seeking $100 billion for the current fiscal year “to conduct diagnostic testing for COVID–19, and related activities such as contact tracing, through mobile health units and, as necessary, at individuals’ residences, and for other purposes.” Rep. Peter Welch was not a co-sponsor.

Already 17,000 people have signed a petition opposing HR6666 hosted on the petitions page of the White House website. The private citizen who created the petition laments, “This Act will allow government officials to enter ANYONE’S HOME and force Test them for COVID-19/ and or antibodies. Then the government officials would have the right to remove children from the home/ remove anyone testing positive from the home, etc.”

HR6666 does not yet appear as an incoming bogey on the ACLU’s radar screen. Instead, the national organization’s Covid-19 focus is on releasing inmates, pushing for voting-by-mail, and protecting abortion rights.

A 2017 Republican-sponsored bill, HR666, to “identify, prevent, mitigate, and respond to insider threat risks to DHS’s critical assets,” passed the U.S. House but died in the Senate. In the current Vermont Legislature, H666 would also increase government power, but in a less sinister way: it would allow judges to hold without bail people arrested for DUI with death or bodily injury of another resulting.

Read more of Guy Page’s reports.

Image courtesy of Public domain

8 thoughts on “Q & A about Big Brother and COVID-19: drones, snitches and bills numbered 666

  1. No one can be forced to wear a mask – it’s unconstitutional – unless work requires it. They are unecessary and harmful bc maskwearer is breathing in chemicals used in the manufacturing. Plus out and back in carbon dioxide rather than pure oxygen and has other adverse physiological affects. I cannot wear one bc I have asthma and cannot breathe thru it.

    It is being done to hoi polloi us and make us feel subjugated – our leaders and officials do not wear them off-camera. Looks like Comrade Scott’s a mere prop for photo-op. Tho Fauci-the-fraud has tested positive – says he will be in ‘modified’ quarantine and will be in and out of his office – in the White House – so iow he does as he pleases. One of us would be under house arrest and monitored for compliance and held against our will if necessary. IMHO he wants to keep the specter of ongoing compliance and illness. All about the optics and continue to make us believe this is necessary. It’s not it’s a theater of the absurd.

    • This is the cover of a single-fold pamphlet to share with your friends that shows how the official narrative of the coronavirus pandemic is based on eight myths. It’s purpose is to identify those myths, to restate them in terms of truth, and to provide documents and testimony to confirm the accuracy of our summaries.

  2. According to this story – between just 4/1-4/15 270 reports were filed – story includes the documents. We’re nearly one month hence so quite sure theres lots more.
    Wednesday, May 6, 2020
    Health / Law Enforcement
    Vermonters Are Watching Their Neighbors — and Reporting Them
    Posted By Courtney Lamdin on Wed, May 6, 2020 at 4:08 PM
    [..]Vermont has created an online reporting tool that allows people to tell on those that they suspect are violating Gov. Phil Scott’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order. It’s proven quite popular: More than 270 people filed complaints between April 1 and 15, according to a ream of redacted public records obtained by Seven Days.

  3. ‘Are police using drones for surveillance? No.’

    Really? It depends on how you define a drone. Every Vermont border crossing has a State official monitoring traffic into the State. Sometimes these monitors are sitting in VT Highway Dept. dump trucks.

    ‘Are citizens informing on fellow citizens? Yes.’

    And they’re being asked to do so.

    Vermont isn’t punishing Covid scofflaws, but citizen enforcers are on patrol

    What’s next? Yellow stars pinned to our jackets.

    I hope everyone realizes the pandemic is more than a ‘flu outbreak’. It’s an existential attack on the United States. Sure, sure… I can hear the conspiracy theory crowd howling already. Save it. Anyone who doesn’t consider, at least, that there is malign intent against our American Republic at foot is naive to the extreme.

  4. The press is not being controlled by government, that would be too obvious. The press is being controlled from within.

    • The New York Times, for example, is controlled by Carlos Slim, one of the richest men in the world with extensive financial ties to China.

      The Washington Post is controlled by Jeff Bezos (of Amazon fame), also with significant investments in China.

      Bloomberg L.P. is a privately held financial, software, data, and media company controlled by none other than Michael Bloomberg; who, you guessed it, has significant ties to China. Mike Bloomberg actually prohibited his Bloomberg press from reporting on anything about him during his run for President.

      P.S. Bloomberg’s campaign should dispel the claim that too much money corrupts our political system. If someone so wealthy and well-connected can spend half a billion dollars over a month or two, trying to ‘buy an election’, fails so miserably, clearly, the American people are smarter than these people give them credit for being.

    • If the ‘press’ march lockstep w/our government doing their bidding as stenographers for Democrat Party and its apparatchicks I’d say thats control.

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