Many decades ago, a mentor taught me an important lesson in persuasive writing for business; keep asking yourself “so what?”.
“Sales revenue has remained flat quarter on quarter. So what? This means we’ve lost market share because the market has increased by 10% in that time. So what? We will need to rapidly review our product line and makes changes to improve the situation.”
Sadly, this isn’t taught in Jernalism these days, otherwise this article would have been written very differently.
San Francisco: An unvaccinated, unmasked California primary school teacher who came to school even while visibly sick infected a dozen students with the coronavirus, all too young to be immunised, according to a report published by the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
Most of the students sitting closest to the front of the class were infected. A minority of those sitting at the back of the class were infected. The teacher reportedly read aloud to students while unmasked, despite rules requiring teachers to be masked indoors.
The teacher’s students began falling ill on May 22. Four parents of children in the class were later infected in the outbreak. Of the infected parents, one was unvaccinated, while three were vaccinated. Vaccinated parents in the outbreak experienced symptoms including fever, chills, cough, headache and loss of smell.
No one identified in the outbreak required hospitalisation.
Our institutions are no longer fit for purpose. They have been captured by a mob composed of the mendacious, the weak-minded and the cowardly.
We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men – not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate, and to defend causes that were, for the moment, unpopular”. Edward R. Murrow
Australia is going to start vaccinating 12 year olds.
The UK will be vaccinating the same age group, most likely when they return to school next month. For the purposes of consent, 12 year olds have been deemed to have Gillick Competence, so are judged legally able to agree without their parents’ knowledge (for details on this plan, listen to the Daily Telegraph Planet Normal 26th August podcast from the 10 minute mark).
I will attempt to “steel man” the argument in favour of vaccinating 12 year olds.:
Argument 1 – this will protect the young from serious harm from the virus.
Argument 2 – this will increase the wider community safety through reduced transmission.
I believe I have repeated in good faith the two main arguments for the policy.
What’s the data say?
Argument 1 doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. CDC data summarised by the Spectator here shows a 0.002% chance of kids dying from the virus. That’s significantly lower than the regular seasonal flu, against which we don’t currently vaccinate kids.
Argument 2 relies on an incorrect assumption the vaccines prevent, or at least massively reduce transmission. This is not borne out by data from heavily vaccinated countries.
They know of this data, of course they do. It’s freely available and reported by reputable media and government departments.
Yet they are forging ahead with the unethical and pointless policy of vaccinating young people with minimum risk from the virus in the false promise it will protect the elderly. As Sir Andrew Pollard, head of the Oxford Vaccine Group states, herd immunity is not possible.
Day one of the ridiculous mandatory outdoor mask law in New South Wales.
An equally unscientific poll whilst driving around the local area suggests two thirds of the population don’t know about the new law or know about it and are ignoring it for the petty authoritarianism it is.
Mick Fuller and Gladys Berejiklian, it’s your move.
There must be nothing quite as terrifying for a State Premier and a Chief of Police than going through the process of creating a new law, publicising it and then trying to police it only to be met with the collective middle fingers of two thirds of the citizens.
What would you do at that point? A blitz of fines? Apologise and repeal it?
On balance, I think I’d try for a face-saving approach; “The medical advice has changed and we’re always following der science, innit”.
That’s nice. More powers, fewer controls, checks and balances. Accountability is clearly not a priority. Who wouldn’t want a job description like that?
This weekend, however, things have been kicking off a little. A violent protest in Sydney yesterday and, today, a pop up protest on the border with Queen’sland. I particularly enjoyed the report of the protestor asking the police who they thought they worked for.
All this is just before the new law kicks in requiring people to wear masks outside. What percentage of the population is going to ignore that unscientific restriction, do we think? Not insignificant, I suspect.
That will pose a conundrum for Mick. Quite how many arrests and fines will he and his police force be prepared to hand out before it becomes apparent they’ve lost the consent of the public?
If you’re not policing by consent, what type of police force are you, Mick? For a clue, have a look at some of the shittier places in the world, particularly the ones with the colour green on their flag.
The case count in the two major states of Australia are growing greater by the day. New South Wales will hit 1,000 a day by the end of next week.
Let me repeat that, good. It’s great news.
Why? Because the faster this outbreak gets out of reach of the authoritarians and petty rule makers, the sooner they will be forced to come to terms with the concept of trade offs and individual risk management.
We are in desperate need of some light relief in these scary times at the end of the western experiment with civilisation.
Watching mediocre career politicians such as Dan Andrews, Gladys Berejiklian, Scott Morrison et al having to come face to face with their failed strategies and brutal tactics is going to be a very pleasant diversion over the next few weeks.
As for Mick Fuller, Sir Robert Peel is turning in his grave.
If a better example can be found than this, I’d love to see it; yesterday, a 15 year old boy tragically died in hospital.
What did he die of?
What was the narrative in the media and politics?
A little later in the morning, the sub headline was added which at least mentions the mild and irrelevant condition the poor kid also had whilst he was suffering with Kung Flu.
They can’t help themselves though. In the body of the report, this quote stands out:
“It is unclear exactly when Osama contracted Covid-19.”
The article has been re-written from earlier today, making it clearer the cause of death wasn’t Covid but the initial impact of the headline and article was that a 15 year old died of/with Covid.
Nowhere in the earlier or later version of the report was a statement or even speculation of the cause of his meningitis. Mere details, one supposes, compared to a seasonal respiratory virus he otherwise would have had a 0.002% chance of dying from.
What, then, should parents of teenage kids in Sydney be more concerned about; Covid or meningitis?
The media and our politicians are not fit for purpose. They probably haven’t been for decades but this is really the moment we need to realise it.
It’s a great starting point, regardless of jurisdiction or political hue.
For example, this statement today by NSW’s Chief Health Officer, Dr Kerry Chant (bold highlighting mine):
“Vaccination is part of the solution. It helps us because if the person is vaccinated, there is less chance that they get the disease particularly if they have had two doses. And therefore, it means are less likely to pass it to others. And also less likely to need hospital care and admission to intensive care.”
Really? It’s just that the reports coming from the almost completely vaccinated Israel, Iceland and Gibraltar seem to totally contradict that.
While we’re referencing the CDC, what do they say about the evidence of transmission from surface contact? You know, the reason behind all the billions of gallons of hand sanitiser being poured in to the water cycle?
In their own report, it’s low risk. If the CDC state it’s low risk, I think it’s a safe assumption the chances of catching it from a door knob or shopping trolley handle are trending close to zero.
We could devote pages of this blog to listing all the statements made during this epoch of incredulity we now know to be lies; quarantine is racist, masks don’t work, it didn’t leak from a lab, flatten the curve, herd immunity, lockdowns work, vaccine passports won’t be required, vaccines won’t be mandated, etc.
The laundry list of lies is not really the point, is it?
The question we aren’t seeing anyone in the media ask is why the fuck are we still listening to these liars?
We learn almost daily that we’ve been lied to and yet, the following day, we unquestioningly accept more statements as fact from the very same lying liars.
Fool me one time, shame on you. Fool me two times, shame on me.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.
Apparently, Australians will soon have a new series on their TV screens, a remake of the long-running popular genealogy and ancestry show, Who Do You Think You Are?.
As we’ve seen with Bruce Pascoe, incentives matter. If there’s a benefit to be had by claiming a particular ancestry, regardless of whether or not it’s true, a minority of people will claim it.
The new Australian version has a subtle twist, however. It’s been “Pascoed”, instead of looking for one’s real relatives, the show will invent a family tree based on whatever the relevant incentives reward.
In Bruce’s delightfully entertaining episode, he learns he has 3 Aboriginal parents and 7 Aboriginal grandparents. The researcher even helpfully “discovered” Maori and Aztec great grandparents, thus expanding Bruce’s lucrative future career options.
Completely unrelated (literally and figuratively), last year Australians across the country celebrated the arrival of their first Indigenous neurologist. Despite the pandemic, street parties were held, speeches were given.
Let us hear her story:
Dr Dos Santos grew up in Nambucca Heads on the NSW mid-north coast, also known as Gumbaynggirr country, and her Indigenous heritage stretches back to her great-grandfather.
It must have been tough, growing up in the racist environment that is Australia. We can only imagine the systemic disadvantages she encountered and overcame in her school and subsequent journey to qualifying as a neurologist.
Dr Dos Santos said she lost touch with Indigenous culture after a series of family splits, and because she attended a Christian high school and did not encounter any other students of Aboriginal descent.
“When I was at university I realised that I’m an Aboriginal person and I should be really trying to reconnect with that,” she says.
I know what you’re thinking, and it makes you a bigot. Of COURSE one doesn’t need to know what race you are to suffer systemic and ongoing racism because something something lived experience, my truth, etc.
For example, whilst being unable to give a single example of being personally discriminated against (otherwise one would assume she’d say so in an interview specifically about the subject), she did witness lots of subtledigs about other people. Which I think we can agree, is analogous to Apartheid and lynchings:
It’s the casual racism and subtle digs that Dr Dos Santos picks up on, often coming from people who don’t know about her Indigenous connections.
“Sure, my skin colour is not the stereotypical Aboriginal skin colour,” she says matter-of-factly.
“So I would hear racial slurs that would be said to me, but not about me. They wouldn’t have said it if they knew that I was Aboriginal.”
Dr. Angela Dos Santos, a proud Gumbaynggirr woman.
Incentives really do matter, don’t they?
If government largesse, media profiles and employment quotas are distributed on the basis of a concept so poorly-defined as “race”, there will be an increase in the identification of people as that race, regardless of where they sit on the Pascoe Scale.
The problem legislators and the well-meaning have failed to anticipate or grapple with is, at what fraction of ancestry does the negative impacts of systemic racism cease to be measurable?
Bigots might say it’s like a racist version of the sub-prime crisis of 2008, labelling people as 100% Aboriginal despite having only one Aboriginal ancestor 3 generations ago. If your DNA is no greater than 1/8th (perhaps even less if the great grandparent was mixed race), are you Aboriginal like the people living in squalor in Alice Springs or are you, in fact, a CDO bundle of sub-prime claiming to be Triple A?
Which of these do we think Georgia is hoping to leverage?
Reciprocity? Nah; it’s a very long bow to draw to hope that, because she took a hit for the team, we need to all run out and get jabbed.
Commitment and Consistency? Nope; if we’ve not already taken the jab, we’ve not committed so don’t feel the need to double down.
Social Proof? Possibly. There’s a chance that young Georgia thinks because she’s got a blue tick, we’ll do as she says. Good luck with that.
Authority? She’s a journalist. Pull the other one, it’s got bells on it.
Liking? I repeat; she’s a journalist.
Scarcity? They’re vaccinating newborns and long dead pets these days, I think the scarcity ship has already sailed.
It has been quite some time since I last read Cialdini but I’m fairly certain there’s nothing in the book which might suggest a selfie from a hospital bed describing life-threatening side effects of a vaccine would be an effective persuasion technique to encourage others to follow suit.
If Georgia were to read my opinion, I would recommend she do more research on persuasion techniques, starting with Cialdini.
However, it’s apparent the 27 year old is not a big fan of research, else she might have taken this data into consideration:
Things are going to get interesting in the Covid Culture War.
The what? The Covid Culture War.
Don’t pretend you haven’t noticed the continuation of the Brexit/Trump/BLM bifurcation of politics and the media on to the reporting and policies around the Kung Flu.
The schism continued once the vaccines started being delivered too, with the dividing line starting with attitudes towards the risk associated with taking a nascent vaccine and then morphing in to the competing camps of opinion on what restrictions and mandates are we prepared to enforce on those who choose not to take it.
Get ready for the next stage in the journey, and this one is going to be both hilarious and instructive.
Just think; an effective and cheap therapeutic treatment of the lethal effects of this virus, without the concomitant risk of a vaccine less than a year old and therefore with no credible data on the long term side effects.
That’s good news, right?
We’re about to learn quite how down the rabbithole our political and media class have fallen.
The rational response to this news should be to applaud it, ask for Australia to be included in the Phase III trials and monitor the results closely. After all, Australia is well behind the curve on vaccinations whilst staring down the barrel of the type of outbreak the rest of the world experienced last year.
Rationally, this could be an excellent component of a multi-pronged strategy to protect the population.
My prediction, however, is that this will not be widely reported in Australia and the Phase III trials will occur somewhere, anywhere else.
In the meantime, authoritarian restrictions will continue and increase until the magic number of vaccinations have occurred…..and long afterwards. Sorry, but if you were hoping to hug an overseas relative next year, you probably ought to reset your expectations. Severely.
Of course, the best thing about this treatment is that it was developed by the Israelis, so will annoy all the right people.
Aspiration is such an ironic word to use, given the utter destruction of the aspirations of so many people by the pursuit of this secret policy.
Some examples leap to mind from personal experience:
The aspirations of school age children to learn and achieve similar or better educational standards of those who preceded them. Any parent who has witnessed the standard of remote teaching delivered by the New South Wales high schools can confirm kids are currently in a bizarre day care on Zoom holding pattern. Any pretence they are learning the curriculum disappeared long ago.
The aspirations of small business owners, particularly those reliant on footfall or seasonal business. They’ve learned a brutal lesson that the government can destroy their livelihoods at the stroke of a pen and an 11am press conference.
The aspirations of people to visit family overseas, for happy or sad reasons. The university graduation ceremony for a child or to attend the funeral of a parent are two personal examples.
Aspirations are hard to measure but you damn well know when they’ve gone.
Let’s remind ourselves of the reason why this juggernaut of destruction has been driven through our aspirations (source):
As with the financial crisis of 2008, Grandad and Granny have been bailed out by their grandkids. Again.
Nobody was asked, nobody was consulted.
But far worse than that, not a single Opposition MP or “Independent. Always” journalist is asking questions about this ongoing transfer of aspirations from the young to the old at the 11am press conferences.
Speaking truth to power. That may have been a thing once, I recall.