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.

Give me back the Berlin Wall

….Give me Stalin and St. Paul
Give me Christ or give me Hiroshima
Destroy another fetus now
We don’t like children anyhow
I’ve seen the future, baby
It is murder

At some point in the last few decades, we seem to have lived through what Leonard Cohen predicted in the song quoted above, The Future: There’ll be the breaking of the ancient Western code.

One important aspect of that ancient western code was that children mattered more than any other demographic and we should sacrifice for them, not the other way around.

But consider three significant points of evidence in the argument this is no longer our code:

1. Abortion.

It’s always happened, true. From secret potions to beating of bellies to coat hangers and back street arrangements. In countries where it was made legal, the argument was that, if it no longer carried a criminal offence it might be made safe, early and rare. Those words were much used in the campaign during the original Roe vs Wade ruling.

Early and rare seem to have been dramatically forgotten in subsequent years, however.

Approximately 1 million abortions are performed annually in the USA of which, up to 18,000 are in the third trimester. Let’s hope they were at least safe.

2. Lockdown.

For two years, most countries went through several phases of closing the schools and shutting their children away in bedrooms to be educated remotely. School and community sport was banned, as was playing in the parks or even meeting with friends.

We all knew this would impact the most vulnerable kids, those without computers and parents at home, those with abusive family members, those with emotional and mental health issues. But we did it anyway.

Why? To save them from a disease we knew didn’t pose any material risk to the young. We sacrificed those at the start of their lives for the sake of those at the end of theirs.

3. Transgender.

We’ve accepted fiction as fact and figures of authority have presented this to children.

Quite reasonably, many children have now acted upon this lie and genuinely believe they are born in the wrong body and, worse, this unhappy situation can be ameliorated by a mixture of powerful drugs, life changing permanent surgery and the rest of society going along with this charade.

A study of 81,000 teenagers discovered 2,200 thought they were a different gender to the one everyone in the world would have said they were if asked about 10 years ago.

A not insignificant proportion of these confused kids are going to physically act upon these thoughts by taking drugs, slicing bits off themselves and acting out a cosplay fantasy of their new gender.

We can be bloody certain this will not improve their happiness at all.

Well done, everyone. Seriously, well done.

Bill’s Opinion

Golda Mier famously said of the Arabs;:

“We will only have peace with [them] when they love their children more than they hate us.”

I believe that quote is relevant today but it needs a slight modification to reflect our pathological self-loathing:

We will only have peace when we love our children more than we hate ourselves.

Which cat killed curiosity?

You’d be forgiven for not paying attention to the “election” of the new Leader of the Conservative Party (AKA “The Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland”) in the UK right now.

As some wag put it on the socials yesterday, it’s rather like having to choose your favourite Covid vaccine. Except you’re not being asked to choose.

There have been a series of press conferences and televised debates. Plenty of opportunity for our media class to pose the hard questions. One topic notably absent from the mouths of any of the candidates, not even the otherwise great Kemi Badenoch, and certainly not asked by the journalists is “whither lockdowns?”.

As in, were they a good idea, should we even consider them again, how did the cost/benefit analysis play out two years down the track, etc.?

Complete silence.

I have to check myself in my surprise at this. Am I wrong in thinking what we just lived through was without precedent in peace time? That the speed at which basic civil liberties and rights were cast aside was shocking and brutalising for huge numbers of citizens?

It seems more than strange that a single question hasn’t been reserved about it during the dozens of hours of candidate scrutiny. Is nobody interested in whether any of the candidates would use these powers again on us. Just me?

Bill’s Opinion

Many of us state a belief we are living with a fiction of choice, that our “democracy” is nothing more than a unaparty, a single party of government.

I would love to hear a counter argument to that view in the context of a political and media consensus to completely avoid discussing what’s just happened.

And when you finished explaining that, have an attempt at describing to me how an Epstein and a Maxwell can be convicted of crimes involving possibly hundreds of other co-criminals but no other investigations or prosecutions are apparently underway?

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.

Panem et circenses

The shortest national government term in the democratic world has expired again. Despite it being only about ten minutes ago when Australians were forced (yes, forced; there’s a fine for not voting) to choose between the Candidate for Corporate Welfare or the Candidate for Union Welfare to be this month’s Prime Minister.

If news of the date of the annual election has passed you by, this is likely to do with the fact the office of PM in Australia is increasingly a ceremonial position, analogous to the Lord Mayor of London or the wife of CNN’s Brian Stelter.

It was already a relatively pointless job prior to the Covid over-reaction but Scott Morrison’s lethargic approach to the State Premiers’ unconstitutional power grab in 2020 resulted in the continued slide into impotence.

The Unaparty have offered us two choices this year; the incumbent, Scott Morrison, and the Labor (sic) leader, Anthony Albanese.

If you can find a difference between what they are likely to do if elected, I’ll be impressed. They’re both planning to be profligate with our taxes, they’re both going to do nothing to wind back the authoritarianism of the State premiers, they’re both going to speak in a mealy mouthed way about China while desperately hoping it doesn’t impact trade.

Plus ça change, plus c’est la ça même chose, in other words.

Usually, I refuse to play the game at Australian elections. I register for a postal vote, to save me having to change my daily routine on the various polling days, and then return my voting slip with a rude picture and the words “none of the above”.

This year, however, I shall be voting. The third candidate most likely to win the most votes in my constituency will be receiving my vote (no not you Greenies, sit down), regardless of how batshit crazy they might be.

Bill’s Opinion

Previously, my vote had a net neutral impact on the Unaparty. From now on and forever, it will be cast against the Unaparty.

Regular readers here will understand why but if you can’t work it out, pick a combination of the following;

Mindless aping of the Chinese policy of highly damaging lockdowns.

Lying about the ridiculous claim of scientific backing for the majority of Covid laws, for example, mandating face masks.

Mandates or standing by when employers imposed them on people to bully them into taking medical procedures against their will.

Profligacy to bribe people to accept the above catastrophic errors.

A protest vote is a pathetic response to what we’ve had to suffer, but it’s a start. I’m still considering what else can be done.

Coerced consent

No plan survives contact with the enemy.

My employer unilaterally made vaccination a condition of employment.

I thought I’d anticipated this well by obtaining a vaccine exemption certificate from a sympathetic doctor, which was duly accepted by my employer.

However, the doctor would not load this on the official immunisation register, presumably so they (deliberate neutral pronoun to obfuscate) could remain under the radar.

I now have to travel internationally for business and the immigration department requires the record on the register.

So, I ran out of road and excuses.

Bill’s Opinion

This government coercion for what should be a very personal medical decision is morally wrong.

It’s also medically wrong – the injection won’t prevent me catching the virus or passing it on. In fact, some studies are now suggesting a higher infection rate amongst the vaccinated.

It’s also an abuse of human rights, as documented by the /checks notes/ Australian government’s Human Rights department in 2019.

There will be a consequence to this, at a minimum a protest vote at every future election, perhaps there’s more tangible actions I can take. Suggestions below, please (and no, I’m not planning to go “postal” on anyone).

Hi ho Silver! Away!

The Lone Ranger famously used a cunning disguise in the form of a mask over his eyes, causing such confusion that bad guys had no chance of ever discovering his real identity of Texas Ranger, John Reid.

As you can see in the photo above, this was completely effective and not at all a rubbish cinematic device which required the complete suspension of belief by the audience to enjoy the show.

Similarly, in those jurisdictions where we’ve “been given our freedoms back” (and what a godawful phrase that is to utter in a country governed by Common Law and a history which includes the various iterations of Magna Carta) there are still plenty of not so Lone Rangers walking amongst us with the flimsy light blue paper over their mouth and nose.

Unusually for these times, I’m of the view people are allowed to make their own health choices, and my opinion of the efficacy of these decisions is and should be entirely irrelevant to them.

If only others would afford me the same courtesy, heh?

My opinion may be irrelevant to these mask wearers and I’d never be so gauche as to confront anyone over these facial nappies (“diapers” if you’re from the former colonies).

But it does leave me with some unanswered questions though. I genuinely would like to learn the answers, so if you are still performing the Covid holy communion of applying a face mask when you are out and about, I’d appreciate it if you could comment below.

Specifically:

Do you have an underlying health condition requiring the mask, and if so, wouldn’t it be safer for you to stay home?

Do you use the medical standard N95 version? If not, why not?

What’s your best estimate of the marginal additional percentage protection your mask confers? 90%? 5%?

What data point would make you consider reverting to the mask free life?

Do you think that data point will ever be achieved or is this a permanent part of your routine now until the end of your life?

Bill’s Opinion

I don’t understand the reasons for continuing to wear the masks. Perhaps I would be persuaded by the arguments for it but these are presumably unique to the individual.

In my mind, it almost falls in to the category of neck or facial tattoos; I’m sure you have reasons, I just can’t think of what they might have been.

The critical question must surely be, what is the data point required to stop wearing them? I honestly hope they’ve thought about the answer to that question otherwise we would have to assume a terrible failure of cognition and agency by somebody whom we might have previously thought to be sentient.

Anyway, for the current time, we are back to a situation where personal choice is a thing again. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Security theatre

The term “security theatre” is credited to cyber and physical security expert, Bruce Schneier. His books and blog are highly recommended, by the way, even for people outside his industry, as he touches on the human aspect of subjects like airport security and online protection.

What is security theatre?

Remember a couple of decades ago when people other than politicians, elite sportspeople, multi-millionaires and Caitlyn Jenner were able to travel freely between counties? If your recall is accurate, you might remember being “randomly” selected to have your shoes checked through the X-ray machine.

Of course, it wasn’t random at all; each lane had a quota and that usually resulted in every, say, fifth person being selected. At one point in my career, I flew out of Heathrow so frequently, I could quite easily work out which line to join to avoid the footwear genuflecting ceremony.

Did you ever pause to wonder why this check happens? Supplemental question for you; how many shoe bomb attempts have there been in the history of aviation?

The answer to these generally unasked questions can be found on the wiki page of this Sarf Lahdan scrote.

Richard Reid was an utter loser at life who converted to Islam and became a wannabe terrorist (but I repeat myself.) Being from South London, he wasn’t the brightest candle on the menorah (hopefully that metaphor offends him), therefore he failed spectacularly in his attempt to bring down the Paris to Miami flight he’d hoped would be his last.

How many attempted shoe bombings have been thwarted since? Zero. We’ll come back to that statistic later.

The consequences of the failure of the Brains of Bromley include the ridiculous ritual of removing shoes at the airport. How effective do we think that is in reducing the threat of terrorism? Well, also from Reid’s wiki (highlighting mine):

As a result of these events, some airlines encouraged passengers departing from an airport in the United States to pass through airport security in socks or bare feet while their shoes are scanned for bombs. In 2006, the TSA started requiring all passengers to remove their shoes for screening. Scanners do not find PETN in shoes or strapped to a person. A chemical test is needed. However, even if the X-ray scanners cannot detect all explosives, it is an effective way to see if the shoe has been altered to hold a bomb.

In 2011, the rules were relaxed to allow children 12 and younger and adults 75 and older to keep their shoes on during security screenings.

So, we can’t actually scan for Reid’s preferred explosive type and we’re going to assume nobody is faithful enough to the tenets of radical Islam to use a child or a pensioner to bomb a plane. Sure, that makes perfect sense then.

Similarly, if you ever found yourself annoyed at the litter on the London Underground in the early 1990s, it was as a consequence of these two attacks by the IRA. As a Ben Elton stand-up routine at the time pointed out, “every piece of litter is a Pyrrhic victory for the cause of the Irish Republican movement”. A year or two later, a genius at the Met Police (words not normally found together) realised the problem could be solved with transparent bin bags.

The Good Friday agreement was signed later that decade. One likes to think it was the demoralising results of the litter countermeasure that forced the IRA to disarm…

On an unrelated subject, isn’t it fascinating how different jurisdictions are dealing with reality?

The UK has lifted the mandatory mask requirement and backtracked on no jab no job employment rules for healthcare workers.

Denmark and Sweden have dropped all covid measures.

Israel has binned its “green pass” vaccine passport.

Meanwhile, various locations are still trying to fight a war they lost long ago (as we parodied earlier.)

Victoria has mandated a booster shot for hundreds of thousands of workers.

New Zealand has decided 23 days isolation is what der science requires of people who waved in the street at someone who ever said the word “covid”.

Austria has police roaming the streets with throwback powers their predecessors would have recognised to stop people and demand, “papier bitte”.

Even New South Wales, a jurisdiction with a marginally better track record than most, still requires masks to be worn indoors for reasons yet to be explained.

Bill’s Opinion

We’ll be enduring the covid security theatre for years, long after anyone can remember the reason why or when it started.

Nobody seems curious as to the justification or the actual effectiveness of the measures. Yes, another study emerged this week claiming lockdowns caused more harm than good, but anyone with a brain worked that out years (yes, years) ago.

Look at this data from the NSW health website:

Remember when we needed to get vaccinated and wear masks to “stop the spread”? Well, 95% got the jabs, nearly everyone complied with the masks and still one in every 7 people in New South Wales have caught the virus. Can you imagine how widely spread it would’ve been without all those highly-effective measures? It doesn’t bear thinking about.

Coming back to those shoe bombing statistics:

My aunt and uncle drink a lot of gin and tonic, “because the quinine protects against malaria”.
“Has there ever been a case of malaria in Kent, Uncle Dave?”
No. See how effective it is!”

Lisa says….

….. that it’s allright
When she meets me alone at night
Lisa says that she has her fun
And she’ll do it with just about anyone
.

Once a week, there’s a sub-headline on a story in the Australian media which solely consists of reporting on the opinion of someone else working in the Australian media. It’s Australia’s version of an “inside the beltway” story, in other words.

The person who gets the dull column inches is Lisa Wilkinson. The headlines usually start with “Lisa slams…” or, in today’s example, “Lisa fires up…”. Presumably, subeditors know the lyrics to the Velvet Underground song above, hence avoiding the more slanderous, “Lisa says”.

My claim of this being a weekly occurrence is no hyperbole either; put the words “Lisa slams” in a search engine and you’ll be presented with pages of results referencing Wilkinson. It’s a similar tale for “Lisa fires up“. Obviously the headline writers’ lack of originality and access to a thesaurus is not Lisa’s fault, but it helpfully presents us with an easy opportunity to check her consistency and prescience…..

The latest “Lisa slams” is regarding the decision by several Australian health authorities to halt elective surgeries because, well, for the same reason everything from having a cup of coffee, educating your children, buying a decent cut of meat, burying your deceased parent, getting married to visiting Machu Pichu, is currently an utter pain in the arse or a shit experience; der ‘rona.

We can agree with Lisa, it would be great if the healthcare system was a little more focused on those with decades of life in front of them as well as protecting those most at risk from Kung Flu who, as we should all know by now, are mainly in their late 80s or have shown an ability to constantly avoid the salad option in Maccas for decades.

With our common ground confirmed, let’s take a look at some of Lisa’s recent topics of “slamming” or “firing up”;

Exhibit 1 – December 2021, Lisa slams not being in lockdown yet again.

Exhibit 2 – August 2021, Lisa slams not having a “hard” lockdown earlier in the year.

Exhibit 3 – August 2021, Lisa slams apologises to the entire State of Victoria on behalf of New South Wales’ residents because we didn’t lock down “properly” (not that we were consulted about our opinion in advance.)

Bill’s Opinion

What a fucking great job it is being Lisa Wilkinson; you get to give a monologue to camera once a week, complaining in your side-of-mouth idiom about whatever it is your PR people think will resonate with the viewers, safe in the knowledge you’ll never put yourself in the situation where anyone can take you to task about your previous opinions and predictions.

In the real world, life is a little less precise, a smidgen more complicated, and not as black and white. This may come as a shock to those zero covid, lock us down hard cheeleaders, but life is a series of difficult to balance trade offs. You close down one important section of the economy and society, you discover unintended consequences appear somewhere else. Which, in Lisa slams thinking, looks a little like, “Lock us down NOW! Wait, hospitals have stopped treating patients?

Anyone who still believes, like Lisa slams did until at least last month, that there’s little or no consequence to lockdowns, has proven to us all they are not capable of thinking and acting as a grown up.