Denial, not a river in Egypt or India

I have been travelling extensively for the last two weeks. My travels have taken me through various Asian hub airports and around the Indian sub-continent.

Through observation, I can confirm the petty bureaucrats and rule-givers across Asia are as illogical and stupid as their counterparts in Australia.

In a message exchange to a good friend I expressed the sentiment that I have accepted the lunacy. He congratulated me on reaching the fifth stage of the Kubler-Ross rubric.

The fact that I may have reached acceptance still doesn’t make any of this madness right though.

For example, I must wear a mask on the train to Sydney airport. I can remove it in the airport. I must replace it on the Malaysian Airways flight, except whilst sipping on a drink or eating (I can nurse a drink for a loooong time).

The mask must remain on at Kuala Lumpur airport unless I am in the Business Class Lounge. It must go back on the moment I leave the lounge, of course.

I must also wear the mask on the Indian domestic flights. The pre-flight announcement requests us to maintain anti-social distancing between our fellow passengers, seemingly oblivious to the sardine-tin we are sharing. Officially, we must wear our masks in the airports, unless proving our identify but the local security staff nearly all use theirs as chin-warmers so are not enforcing the rule on the public anyway.

The day prior to a visit to a supplier’s office, a test kit was delivered to my hotel room with the request that I use it and bring the negative result with me the next day. This wasn’t requested at all during the visit.

Trying to make any sense of this results in a headache. Questioning why this still is going on is a fool’s errand; there is no consistent thread of logic holding any of this together.

In the meantime, my colleagues chuckle behind their hands at the ineffective and leaky Indian airport security checks as we remove shoes and belts, take laptops out of bags, display our power adaptors for inspection, etc. and make disparaging remarks about how silly it all is.

We don’t comment on the inconsistency of the masks though. There’s a code of silence as we put them on, take them off, rinse, repeat.

This is either a deadly disease that can be prevented by the addition of a knitted woollen barrier over the mouth and nose, or isn’t and it can’t.

That we are all continually living like this makes me wonder if we have become fully house-trained. What else might we quietly and compliantly accept now in the future?

Bill’s Opinion

I can think of only two possible reasons for this bio-security theatre to remain in place;

1. The process to remove the rule has far more steps and gatekeepers than the process to impose it. We must participate in the Holy Communion to the god of Covid until eventually a person in authority decides we can stop, or

2. It’s about the love of power and control. The gatekeepers preventing the removal of this ridiculous charade from our lives know it serves no purpose. They know we know it serves no purpose. They know we know they know we know it serves no purpose. But yet they keep the rules in place.

Aaaaand exhale.

Please define “projection”

This is delicious from the Sydney Morning Herald’s Osman Faruqi, Culture News Editor and Columnist:

Diverse representation is important, but so is what people stand for.

Remember kids, everything before the word but is bullshit.

When the eight candidates in the running to replace Boris Johnson as leader of the Conservative Party were officially revealed on Wednesday, one thing immediately stood out.

Four of them – former chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak, his replacement Nadhim Zahawi, Attorney-General Suella Braverman, and Kemi Badenoch – are not white. With Sunak considered the favourite, it’s probable that the UK will soon have a person of colour as its prime minister for the first time.

Tugendhat is Jewish, but that’s not a ethnic minority in Osman’s mind, presumably? Wrong kind of minority?

Sunak’s grandparents were born in British India before migrating to East Africa (what is now Kenya and Tanzania) and then eventually making their way to the UK.

So what? So was Gandhi and Cliff fucking Richards. Also, British India? Who on earth calls it that in 2022?

Despite this, Sunak has embraced policies that would deny that same benefit to thousands of other potential migrants.

No. He embraced a policy that would deny that same benefit to people who travelled across (checks the map) at least 4 countries in the EU to then cross the English Channel. Sunak’s family filled in the appropriate form and waited to be invited. Let’s compare apples with apples, eh?

Is (diversity) just about having a room full of people from different backgrounds, genders and sexualities to tick a box and make everyone feel good, regardless of what those people actually do with their power? Or is the goal really about leveraging people’s lived experiences to ensure policies take into account the needs and desires of groups that have been historically marginalised?

Or it is about everyone agreeing with me, Osman Faruqi, sole holder of the Sacred Compass of Truth?

Undoubtedly, there is something seductive about the narrative of a “first non-white” or “first female” prime minister, because of the supposed signal it sends about social progress. But without interrogating the ideology behind those firsts, and the kinds of policies they intend to implement for the groups they represent, the signal doesn’t mean anything.

Or, “you’re not really black if you don’t agree with me”.

Bill’s Opinion

Osman likes diversity but not that kind of diversity. See also; people who like freedom of speech except for speech they dislike.

Maybe, and I’m just going to put this out there, the colour of your skin doesn’t matter as much as the content of your character?

The NSW IQ test results are in

The New South Wales technocrats are suffering from attention deficit syndrome, so we’re back to press conferences with meaningless statistics.

The Brad and Kerry Show yesterday resulted in a statement from the state’s most senior doctor with this as its final paragraph (bold mine):

Finally, I am urging everyone to continue to do the little things that will make a big difference, including staying home if unwell, testing if you have symptoms, and practicing good hygiene by washing your hands or sanitising regularly.

This statement was spoken by a medical doctor whose entire working day for over two and half years has been to be across all things Covid.

My job is nothing to do with Covid but I know that there have been multiple studies confirming the virus is exclusively airborne with minimal evidence of surface transmission.

Kerry Chant must surely be aware of this too.

Bill’s Opinion

What are our possible explanations?

1. Kerry is utterly rubbish at her prime responsibility.

2. Kerry doesn’t write this stuff and feels compelled to speak it, whilst knowing it’s incorrect.

3. Kerry knows it’s incorrect but doesn’t think it’s good for us if she updates the message based on new knowledge.

4. A bizarre alternative reason I’m not imaginative enough to think of.

None of these reasons are going to help Kerry convince anyone who has been paying attention to listen to a damn word she or her colleagues say ever again.

Line up peeps for your 4th jab of a 95% effective vaccine that prevents the spread so well that everyone you know has had the disease already.

Race ya!

We have a classic good news/bad news tale for you today.

Good news: the number of Australian Aboriginal people on the national census has doubled in 20 years.

Bad news: it’s probably not because there’s many more Australian Aboriginal people.

First of all, as with all surveys, the question asked is critical:

Rather than the current question – which asks respondents whether they are of “Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin” – he wants the ABS to ask: “Are you a verified or authenticated Aboriginal person?”

Verified or authenticated. Is it just me, or does anyone else feel mild discomfort at the thought of having to prove one’s ethnicity and receive an offical confirmation?

I feel certain we’ve seen that in the past and it never really ended well.

There’s a few contradictions the linked article chooses not to discuss.

An obvious one springs from these two paragraphs (bold, mine):

Bronwyn Carlson, the head of Indigenous Studies at Macquarie University, said there was no need for a “fury of panic” about the increase in Indigenous self-identification.

….It was only later in life, after researching her family history, that she wholeheartedly embraced her Aboriginal identity.

Am I reading that correctly? A person who didn’t previous realise they were Aboriginal now heads up an academic department studying matters Aboriginal? Was there no suitable applicant who was actually, y’know, raised in an Aboriginal family?

Not to labour the point, and I know one doesn’t need to be Greek to study the ancient Athenians, but it does feel like Macquarie Uni missed a golden opportunity for affirmative action in recruiting that job.

Another contradiction is the often raised subject of the historic and, sometimes claimed, ongoing genocide of this group of Australians. It’s hard to reconcile this with a doubling in 20 years of the same demographic. Perhaps this is explained by the third contradiction;

If being Aboriginal is to guarantee a life of persecution and discrimination, why are so many more people identifying as such?

Bill’s Opinion

Incentives matter. Ask Bill Pascoe.

If we legislate by ethnicity, we will eventually have to have the uncomfortable discussion about definitions of race. That will lead inevitably to definition of gradients of the ethnicity and creation of methods to prove it.

Play that movie to the end for me, please.

Bass motivation

Bill Wyman (no, not Mandy Smith’s ex) has smuggled another “Dear Diary, I wish the world was different” piece past the Editor again. He even got it into the Editor’s Picks category.

If his last one wasn’t bad enough, this one unravelled in 24 hours. Ironic, given his sub-headline:

“But the testimony delivered by an assistant to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows made it clear something more disturbing was going on. It will likely be an inflection point.

Here’s the assistant he’s referring to:. Cassidy Hutchinson:

What she claimed, under oath, you can read for yourself. The important part is it nearly all started with words to the effect of, “somebody told me that someone else said or did something”.

Ok Klass, who can tell me what the legal term is for that?

That’s right, Mylene; “Hear’Say”.

All it took was a few hours and a couple of phone calls to the people Hutchinson made claims about to debunk her testimony.

In fact, it was debunked before Australia went to bed last night, so why the Sydney Morning Herald went ahead and published Wyman’s latest fantasy is anyone’s guess.

Bill’s Opinion

The writers and editors in the news media are just not very good at their jobs, are they?

The entire column is anchored on an “inflection point” that was discredited before they even went to print, yet still it went on record.

There’s only two explanations; incompetence or mendacity.

Let’s be kind and say their intentions were pure but their intellectual ability is somewhat simple.

Can you name the crime?

If the Sydney Morning Herald editors want to outsource some work to me, I believe I can evaporate ridiculous columns like this one down to just the facts with a simple question, such as today’s title; can you name the crime?

Don’t bother reading the piece, the alleged crime isn’t described. Just a lot of Orange Man Bad guff.

To be fair to the bloke with the unfortunate name, he smuggled of a lot of this filler past the editors over the last few years, so he’s not been given any opportunity to learn from the grownups in the room:

Can you see a theme emerging here?

Bill’s Opinion

Imagine being this obsessed with Donald Trump. What must the inside of that head be like?

He gleefully tells us this one-sided process (when will the case for the defence be heard?) in Washington will result in Trump’s impeachment, but doesn’t complete the sentence, “…for the crime of <insert the name of a broken law>”.

It’s terrible to see a person captured by an obsession to the point their personal case of mind projection fallacy bleeds in to their professional life.

Accepting that how you want the world to be isn’t how the world probably is is an important step towards achieving inner calm.

Je suis un a former arts editor and assistant managing editor of National Public Radio in Washington.

Je avais un residence. Je habiter la A la south of France. Voulez vous partir with me?

1st world lethargy

Lethargy (noun)
A lack of energy or vigor; sluggishness.
A lack of interest or enthusiasm; apathy.

Seems apt for a first world country facing power cuts.

This, in a county with 2 million tonnes of uranium sitting under the soil. Or about 3.000 years’ worth of energy at today’s rate of annual demand.

But here we are, facing the risk of power cuts in a country claiming to be close to the peak of technological development and collective intelligence.

Surely there’s a typographical error, the sub editor must have missed an auto-correct replacement of “Australia” for “Afghanistan” or “Angola”.

Regular visitors to these infrequently-updated pages (yeah, I know; life has been busy) will know I don’t want or expect much from my governments; secure borders, rule of law, national defence and, if the government feels it must interfere in the provision of the utilities of water and power, keeping the bloody lights on.

If the government can’t even do that, what is the point of having one?

Seriously, if you one day find yourself with the job title of Prime Minister or Premier and the lights go out on your watch, perhaps consider firing every Diversity and Inclusion Officer, cancelling the budget for every Christmas party and closing every department not focused on the aforementioned core business of secure borders, rule of law, national defence and keeping the fucking lights on.

Bill’s Opinion

Australia is likely still 10 years away from breaking ground on its first nuclear power plant. So brace yourself for eye-watering energy bills, wearing a lot of layers in the winter and sitting around in air conditioned shopping malls in the summer.