Australians can’t/won’t read data

The Australian government has published data about mortality in 2020.

It’s barely got a mention in any of the media outlets. That’s fair enough, there’s probably nothing of interest to most people anyway.

Despite this, let’s have a quick look, shall we?

Cherry-picking their own words:

Key statistics


In 2020 there was a decrease in mortality in Australia.

COVID-19 was the 38th leading cause of death (898 deaths).


The five leading causes decreased, with a significant reduction in respiratory diseases.


Rates from suicide, drug overdoses and car crashes decreased.


Alcohol-induced death rates increased by 8.3%.

Some other nuggets from the summary:

(The) median age at death (from/with covid) was 86 years. (The usual median age of death in Australia is 79).

Dementia was the most common pre-existing condition (of Covid deaths).


Chronic cardiac conditions, hypertension and diabetes were also commonly reported comorbidities (with Covid).

Influenza and pneumonia mortality had the highest proportional rate decrease of all respiratory diseases with a drop of 45.8% from 2019.


There were 55 people who died from influenza. This compares to 1,080 in 2019.

Bill’s Opinion

It’s a modern medical miracle; we’ve cured the ‘flu.

Also, we’ve locked up all the kids for two years to save grandma and grandad from a disease that has a median age of death (86) that’s 7 years older than the national median age of death.

Well done everyone, seriously well done.

Farewell vaccine passports – thank you CDC

Australian politicians and media (for they are in agreement on all things) have engaged the Nudge Department to convince us to get vaccinated.

One of the pieces of rhetoric is a future where so-called vaccine passports will enable a bio-security state of Apartheid. “Get doubled jabbed and you can go to the pub, otherwise it’s drinking alone with home delivery beer for you people on the naughty step”.

It’s highly likely this will be challenged through the courts soon. What might the government defence be, do we think?

There’s possibly two lines of defence here:

Firstly, that the unvaccinated are risking others’ health by spreading the virus.

Secondly, that the unvaccinated are at too great a risk of the virus so must be excluded for their own health.

I can’t think of a third defence, but if you can, please add it in the comments.

Point two is the weaker reason, protecting people who are personally at risk of injury by a virus has no legal precedent, otherwise we would have laws banning dangerous sports, excessive drinking, consuming sugar, or preventing people with heart conditions from jogging. People take their own risks in life, or at least that’s how it worked in 2019.

The first defence seems to be the key reason for the segregation by vaccine status. How might our plaintiff counter this?

Perhaps by printing a copy of this CDC report from August 26th (highlight, mine):

Fully vaccinated people with Delta variant breakthrough infections can spread the virus to others. However, vaccinated people appear to spread the virus for a shorter time: For prior variants, lower amounts of viral genetic material were found in samples taken from fully vaccinated people who had breakthrough infections than from unvaccinated people with COVID-19. For people infected with the Delta variant, similar amounts of viral genetic material have been found among both unvaccinated and fully vaccinated people. However, like prior variants, the amount of viral genetic material may go down faster in fully vaccinated people when compared to unvaccinated people. This means fully vaccinated people will likely spread the virus for less time than unvaccinated people.

In plain English; Vaccinated people are as likely to transmit the Delta variant as unvaccinated people.

What about the suggestion they remain infectious for longer? The report has several sources linked at the bottom of the article. I challenge you to find any information in those studies supporting the that statement. I couldn’t.

Bill’s Opinion

I’m certain the minor talents and over promoted bureaucrats who are State Premiers and Chief Health Officers will push ahead with the next upgrade of the phone app to include vaccine status. The sunk cost fallacy applies in both money and political capital expenditure.

There will also be several legal challenges as soon as it is launched.

The case should be straightforward to decide; does not having the vaccine offer the general public any greater risk of transmission? The CDC says no.

Of course, in this “late stage democracy” world, trust in institutions has collapsed. We know we can’t trust politicians, we know we can’t trust the media, we will soon learn whether we should still trust the legal system.

Enough. Really, enough now

The modellers have been modelling.

Some idiot gave a laptop with Microsoft Excel installed to researchers at the University of Melbourne with, sadly, the predictable result that we now have yet another bunch of unprovable predictions and what/if scenarios to scare our politicians with.

They even got a WordPress website registered and set up, bless ‘em.

The website allows one to plug in whatever assumptions you’d like and spits out a result demanding MOAR lockdowns, masks and mandatory 17th booster shots of whatever vaccine the government procurement department managed to buy on eBay this week.

The Melbourne University report addresses some of the gaps in the Doherty modelling but it also points out the uncertainty around several factors that could make a big difference to results.

Here we go again. Repeat after me, children; multi-variable situations are almost impossible to predict. It’s an incredibly idiotic mental feat to convince yourself otherwise. Some of our worst human decisions are made as a consequence of thinking we can calculate complex probabilities.

This includes the proportion of people who get Delta that are asymptomatic and can spread the disease without knowing, and how effective the vaccines are at stopping vaccinated people from spreading the virus.

Oh, do continue…..

For example, the Doherty report assumed vaccination reduces the infection rate by 65 per cent but Melbourne University researchers believes this is too “optimistic” and they used a figure of 25 per cent on average.

And that’s it, right there. It’s over, folks. Go back to the office, open the schools, book your overseas holidays; the vaccines only reduce transmission by one quarter.

We are stuck with this thing forever. Get vaccinated if you want, take your chances if you don’t, but stop pretending this virus is not going to be around if only we could convince everyone on the planet to get the jab.

As for the fucking modellers:

“It is best practice for Governments and decision-makers to take a ‘many models’ approach to decision-making support,” the report says.

Well, they would say that, wouldn’t they. Remind me again, how do they get paid?

Bill’s Opinion

This is a mind virus now. Perhaps it always has been.

As commentator Liberator pointed out, Charles Mackay’s book Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds has the perfect quotation for where we are, “Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, one by one.

Happily, some of my friends are slowly recovering their senses. I suspect we will never speak openly of what happened to them.

Jessica Irvine, single mum battler

Life comes at you fast when you’ve got a brain the size of a planet. Content generator and Mumsnet poster Sydney Morning Herald economics writer, Jess Irvine is dipping a Rubenesque toe into the property market again.

She starts today’s masterclass in gonzo economics writing with a flashback to the halcyon days when she first set out on her real estate journey:

….A few days after my unsuccessful bid, I bit the bullet and inspected a few properties in a suburb one out from my preferred location. I found a unit I liked, of similar size and age to my unsuccessful bid. I made an offer the same day of $870,000. It was accepted. I found my forever home.

Forever” is doing a lot of work in that paragraph; she bought an entry level tiny apartment 10km from the Sydney CBD, not some grand estate in the Home Counties or a bijou apartment in the Eighth Arrondissement. It shows a lack of life ambition or understanding of the English language if that’s where she thinks she’ll retire.

Flush with the success of that canny investment, she’s quietly abandoned her previous public decision to show everyone how to make a fortune in the stock market, and has now decided to stick with just a single asset class, real estate.

Amongst the Dear Diary teenage girl writing style, she makes a serious point; the financial incentives are weighed against true investment and rewards property speculation.

T’was ever thus in Australia though. The amazing thing is that it’s taken an “economics journalist” 41 years to notice.

What’s more interesting through is how we are quietly informed she’s now a single Mum. This is a bit of a shock, frankly, particularly after all those Instagram posts and column inches dedicated to telling us how awesome she is at life. This one, for example, where she explains she can lose weight because she’s clever and you’re not.

But then there’s this fiction. My bullshit radar is flashing red:

“Fixed income sources”, for example. Most of us would call that line “salary”. It’s uncharacteristic of our Jess to not overshare, what’s being hidden in that number do we think? Cough, child support, cough.

“Mortgage interest” suggests a little less financial canniness too. So, she’s renting from the bank, in effect. Interesting that the “mortgage principle” line item is classed as “savings” and counts to her smug 31% of income saved each month.

Someone less kind than me might suggest the “food” line item seems a little short too. Good to see she’s teetotal though.

Bill’s Opinion

Don’t take financial or life advice from someone who pays union fees, has a love/hate relationship with their weight and has been rejected by every single man in the Greater Sydney area.

Harsh? Maybe.

True? Of course it is, that’s just unconscious knowledge.

I don’t want to give them any more ideas, but….

Imagine you were the supreme leader of a dictatorial superpower country, currently engaged in a de facto but undeclared cold, sometimes warm, war with another superpower and its allies.

One day, a trusted deputy brings you a plan which would result in massive disruption to the society of your enemy, dividing its population, driving a wedge between friends and families, weakening societal trust and inducing huge levels of fear in day to day interactions.

An added bonus of this fiendish plan is it would utterly ruin their economy, sending them into a series of recessions and economic slowdowns.

One assumes, as it’s highly unlikely a moral actor would have ever made it to the top job in a dictatorship, you are a sociopath or at least have sociopathic tendencies. Therefore, this awful plan would be given some consideration, you’d want to hear more about it, you may be very tempted by it.

Completely unrelated to this hypothetical scenario:

Last year, in the early days of the pandemic, pictures and video footage were broadcast around the world, showing people dropping dead in the streets of Wuhan. This one for example:

Footage emerged of authorities welding people inside their houses and of massive amounts of bleach sprayed around the streets of the city.

New hospitals were built in days, to both the shock and awe of international observers.

Stories emerged of mass cremations, perhaps up to 50,000 dead within the first two months of the outbreak.

The rest of the world took notice and, understandably, geared up for something similar to happen in their countries. Emergency field hospitals were built, temporary morgues were set up.

They were never needed. The UK’s “Nightingale” hospitals treated just 54 patients before being closed down and converted into vaccination hubs.

What if there was an element of deliberate misdirection and mendacity in the initial reports coming out of China in early 2020?

With the luxury of hindsight, many of those photos and videos seem a lot less believable than they did when we were all shitting our pants in fear in February last year. Several of those “man falls down dead in Wuhan” stories and footage look somewhat suspicious today. Do an internet search and have a look for yourself, ask yourself how credible they look now?

We have also since learned this was not a naturally-mutated virus, but likely to have had its evolution helped along in a laboratory in Wuhan.

So, what just happened?

What happened to us, what did we just put ourselves through to protect ourselves from a disease we now know has a infection fatality rate well below 1%, making it less deadly than several recent iterations of the seasonal influenza?

Bill’s Opinion

My nascent hypothesis is this; once the Chinese authorities realised they had a leak from the Wuhan laboratory, they made a decision to not let a good crisis go to waste.

It didn’t require the virus to be deliberately created or leaked but, once it was out there, a little elaborate kayfabe was all that was required to send their enemies into a hugely damaging state of national panic.

Of course, this is just another conspiracy theory written on a minuscule blog in a brackish internet backwater.

However, even if there’s not a shred of truth in this theory, everyone in the world, good faith actors and bad, have just learned it is possible in the future. A bad virus, correctly publicised, will result in most nations’ governments destroying economies and freedoms previously thought to be ancient and sacrosanct.

With that fact now known, what can we in what we still laughingly call the free world do to prevent this provoked self-harm happening again in the future?

Some possible solutions I can think of are listed below, perhaps you can think of others:

  • When a new deadly virus emerges, call a referendum to put the solution to the populace, “do you want an enforced lockdown or would you prefer support to take your own personal risk mitigation?
  • Call a general election, assuming there’s a difference of policy between the major parties (sadly, generally there wasn’t; we have unaparties in most countries).
  • In advance, publish a national policy based on differing infection fatality rates. For example, “we will never close our borders and prevent people going about their lives for a disease that kills no more than, say, 0.5% of those it infects and certainly not if the average age of fatality from the disease is greater than the average age of death in a normal year”.
  • Stop electing career politicians with no courage, imagination or real world experience.
  • Pass legislation requiring all journalists to have achieved a high school level of competency in mathematics and statistical analysis.

Regardless, well played President Xi. Well played sir.

(Hat tip, Ezra Levant’s recent podcast on “feelings”)

Let’s apply the “So what?” test

Many decades ago, a mentor taught me an important lesson in persuasive writing for business; keep asking yourself “so what?”.

For example:

“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.

So what?

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.

So what?

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.

So what?

No one identified in the outbreak required hospitalisation.

Oh.

Bill’s Opinion

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

The banality of evil

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.

Israel, for example:

Bill’s Opinion

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.

So why?

One can now only conclude this is a tragic example of the Banality of Evil.

We are now living in the terrifying reality of the bio-security Fascistic state.

What is measured is managed

Just as the UK’s “envy of the world”, National Health Service became the National Covid Service in 2020, failing to keep millions of potentially life-saving appointments, the Australian media-political class has become a single issue organisation.

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?

Meningitis.

What was the narrative in the media and politics?

Covid.

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?

Bill’s Opinion

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.

“Why is this lying bastard lying to me?”

Famously, this question was Jeremy Paxman’s inspiration when he had to interview politicians.

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.

Mandatory wearing of face masks outdoors is another questionable imposition.

According to the USA’s CDC, there’s little to no evidence of outdoor transmission.

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?

Bill’s Opinion

Never before in the history of humankind has The Gell Mann Amnesia Effect done so much heavy lifting.

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.

Can Robert Cialdini please come to the office?

….we’ve got a situation, Mr. Cialdini.

Mr. Cialdini famously wrote in his work, Influence, The Psychology of Persuasion, of the six main principles behind persuading other humans.

They are summarised here:

  1. Reciprocity
  2. Commitment and Consistency
  3. Social Proof
  4. Authority
  5. Liking
  6. Scarcity

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.

Bill’s Opinion

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:

Pericarditis usually impacts 27.7 people per 100,000 and has a 30% recurrence rate (so not quite the “usually doesn’t lead to complications” Georgia claims).

Journalists; they’re like regular people but with the maths part removed.