Cheer up!

Switching on the news and browsing the media websites this week is unusually depressing. Without perspective and a wider source of information and analysis, one could be excused for thinking the world is going to hell in a handcart. I’m not going to list the reasons why one might be feeling low, the media do a good enough job of running “if it bleeds, it leads” stories. 

In any case, I’m not convinced it’s true. In fact, I think the reality is almost 180 degrees the other way; there are far more signs things are going well and what we’re being served as news is simply a mixture of confirmation bias and a logical reaction to incentives. A regular browse of the good news stories on Human Progress is a useful counter to the media confirmation bias.

I don’t say this lightly…. I have become convinced, via conversations with friends, family and colleagues that the media business model, what is left of it, has become detrimental to the general mental health of the world.

Technological advances have resulted in a proliferation of volume (24 x 7 updates) and sources (you’re reading a personal blog, but it’s still “a source”) of news. Our old friend, Pareto distribution, drives eyeballs and clicks to those presenting the most compelling new information.

Not much bad stuff happened today” is not a headline we’ll continue to tolerate on consecutive days for very long.  

Let’s lighten the mood a little today then. Because it’s human nature to take pleasure at others’ mild misfortune (after all, that describes the basis for all comedy), today’s blog post is simply a bunch of happy predictions I am prepared to make and the timeframe within which I expect them to occur. 

If you share my optimism and outlook, they might cheer you up immediately. If you don’t, you might experience the even greater pleasure of delayed gratification when the deadline passes and you can return to the comments section and have a chuckle at my expense. 

Either way, I will benefit from a warm feeling of selfless, righteous altruism….

Bill’s Opinion Predictions

Sports

The Bledisloe Cup match this weekend will be won by Australia and, if this prediction transpires, they will go on to draw or win the return match the following weekend and therefore finally win the Bledisloe Cup for the first time in almost a generation. This one is a long shot and is based more on a feeling New Zealand’s team has become fragile and somewhat “woke”.  

The 2019 Rugby World Cup will be won by a northern hemisphere team. My preference would be England but I could probably live with it being Ireland and, after a little introspection and professional counselling, even Wales. The important point is, it’s not going to be New Zealand.

Brexit

Britain will leave the EU on October 31st without a deal. Boris Johnson will be Prime Minister at the time, but will call a General Election in January and will be returned with a clear but not large majority.  

No material changes will occur to the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Britain will not experience significant disruption to trade or travel as a consequence to Brexit. Some luxury or highly-specialised goods or services might have a wobble but will be solved within a few weeks.

EU

As a consequence to the world not ending after Brexit, the EU will double down on their commitment to a European federal una-state, passing laws to ensure a single taxation code, a European military, centralised control of immigration and further adoption of the Euro.

Leo Varadkar will be ousted as Taoiseach by the Dáil before Christmas 2019 as a reward for being played by the EU with regards to Brexit.

USA

The Democrats will nominate Elizabeth Warren as the 2020 presidential candidate. Donald Trump will win a second term with an increased share of both the Electoral College and the popular vote. The presidential debates will comedy gold on a par with the best efforts of Monty Python and Ricky Gervais.

Media

Following the USA elections, there will be some high profile media casualties, with a consolidation or bankruptcy of several high profile brands such as CNN, MSNBC, The Washington Post and the New York Times.

In other countries, such as Canadia and Australia, several mastheads and broadcasters will be further subsidised or even nationalised.

Global Economy

Despite the continuing call for a global stock market crash, higher highs will be reached on the major indices. Gold and silver will see a 20% increase by the end of 2020.

China will “lose” the trade war with the USA. This will be spun as the opposite to save face but the trade indicators will show a material improvement towards the USA.  

Australian Economy

Flat as a pancake over 2019 and 2020 with a slight uptick in unemployment.

House prices in the two main cities will continue a slow atrophy with the occasional dead cat bounce for a month or two which will be lauded as signifying the “new bottom”. At the end of 2020, prices will be lower than today.

 

Flash! Flash, I love you…..

….but we only have 14 hours to save the earth.

We have good news and bad news.

Bad news; it’s no longer 12 years to save the planet, but 18 months.

Good news; by January 2021, we can finally stop reading how long we will have to save the planet as it will be too late.

Unless you’re utterly bored today, don’t bother clicking the link to the article on the BBC website as it’s clearly been written by their AI Climate Bot (tm).

Artificial Intelligence journalism articles are often indistinguishable from human-generated pieces but there are tell-tale signs to be found if one looks hard enough.

An intelligent human, for example, even one who was massively ideologically biased, would never write a statement such as,

Do you remember the good old days when we had “12 years to save the planet”?

…without at least a little introspection on how many times a deadline had been previously given that had subsequently been passed without obvious consequence.

As a persuasive technique, it’s a terrible strategy to ask the question, do you remember when we only had 12 years left, as it prompts several unhelpful answers in the mind of the reader.

Such as;

Bill’s Opinion

Depending on your age, health, genetics and lifestyle, you probably have somewhere between zero and seventy years left.

I strongly suspect the earth, humanity and most of the other species will still be getting along just fine long after you’re gone.

Claims of this being our “last chance” are, at best, delusional, but more likely motivated by a desire for a combination of wealth, power, fame and attention.

That our media agree to publish this spoonfed nonsense without critical analysis tells you everything you need to know about how much else of their content can be trusted.

It’s no game

Well, this isn’t very good for “the narrative”, is it?

And, being commercially astute, some of the snow resorts in Australia have opened early, one of them has made it a free weekend for skiers and even those snowboarder scum.

Something’s not quite right here. After all, here’s a scientific, peer-reviewed prediction from 2005;

Modelling for 2020 and 2050 shows that the resort with the most remaining snow will be Perisher, in NSW, followed in order by Falls Creek, Mount Hotham, Thredbo and Mount Buller. The smaller resorts of Mount Buffalo, Mount Baw Baw and Lake Mountain become marginal for skiing at 2020, even in the most optimistic scenarios.

Awkwardly, 1 year from doom and Mount Buller has opened a week earlier than normal, which is a shame as some of us were expecting to go there for a camping and mountain bike holiday next weekend. Imagine our surprise to learn they’ve had a blizzard, despite the predictions of the taxpayer-funded CISRO.

But this is surely a one off, an anomaly, an outlier on the hockey stick of doom?

But wait, what happened last year?

Oh, they extended the season;

Bill’s Opinion

Climate change is both a religion and an industry.

As Mencken said;

The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false-face for the urge to rule it. Power is what all messiahs really seek: not the chance to serve. This is true even of the pious brethren who carry the gospel to foreign parts.

Never ascribe to mendacity

…that which can be explained by incompetence.

Let’s be honest, we all have a secret place in our hearts for the occasional conspiracy theory. Some people believe the moon landings were faked, others think the Jews are the secret rulers of the world, some poor deluded souls even believe Kylie Minogue can hold a tune.

The fire that destroyed the Notre Dame cathedral has set off a plethora of conspiracy theories. My favourite is that the fire was set by Muslim terrorists and has subsequently been covered up by the dhimmis in the French Government.

As I wrote over at Tim Newman’s gaff, “because that’s what terrorists do, isn’t it; destroy a cultural icon and then not tell anyone”.

This is why William of Ockham’s razor is so useful; the explanation which requires the fewest number of assumptions to be correct is likely to be the truth.

This podcast is the best example of the conspiracy mindset. Stefan Molyneux is a famous YouTube and podcaster, and like the proverbial stopped clock he sometimes gets things right.

This is unlikely to be one of those occasions.

As I understand it, the evidence suggesting an arson attack and subsequent governmental over up is as follows;

– The fire started after workers had left the site.

– Other churches in France have been attacked.

– A brown man was seen smiling nearby

Bill’s Opinion

Perhaps some terrorists set the fire, didn’t call Le Monde to claim responsibility and the French authorities have hushed it all up.

Or, perhaps sloppy work practices by the renovators resulted in a spark lighting a fire in a church with plenty of dry wood.

New Zealand’s Princess Diana moment

Mass hysteria is an incredible phenomenon to observe.

These women are not Muslim and are living in a western democracy with a thousand year history of the freedoms of Common Law;

As with the public hysteria following Princess Diana’s death, it’s not clear what percentage of the Kiwi population are quietly seething at this virtue signalling compared with those who are playing dress up.

That’s the story the press are not reporting, the “dog that isn’t barking”. It was the same in the weeks following the tragic death of Princess Diana; perhaps 2% of the population of the UK went utterly insane while the other 98% of us quietly got on with our lives hoping our friends and relatives would soon return to normality.

There’s a confirmation bias at play in these situations; you can see the women in headscarves pointing an index finger upwards. What’s less obvious are the thoughts going through the minds of everyone else who isn’t wearing a scarf.

The upwards-pointing index finger in the picture above is interesting too. One wonders whether much research and contemplation had gone into these ladies’ decision to perform what is, in effect, the gang hand signal of choice of the murderous beheading jihadis?

When ISIS militants hold up a single index finger on their right hands, they are alluding to the tawhid, the belief in the oneness of God and a key component of the Muslim religion. The tawhid comprises the first half of the shahada, which is an affirmation of faith, one of the five pillars of Islam, and a component of daily prayers: “There is no god but Allah, Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.” 

Perhaps no thought went into it at all.

Bill’s Opinion

If you wanted to convince murderous white supremacist crazies that western democracy and freedom isn’t currently experiencing an existential threat which justifies taking up an armed response in defence, this would be about the absolute worst method of persuasion.

Similarly, if you think pulling Jordan Peterson’s book out of bookstores is going to help, consider the possibility that your analysis is deeply flawed and you don’t understand human nature at all.

Fortunately, we have a word which adequately describes what is occurring in New Zealand:

Dhimmitude

Longbowmanship over Christchurch

As suggested earlier, in the wake of a major atrocity or tragedy, it’s safer to steer well clear of all forms of social media. There’s likely to be some truth available and even some cool heads but finding it amongst the virtue signalling and calls for further limitations to freedom will be nigh on impossible.

Some of the rubbish washes up on the shore regardless of how little time one tries to spend on websites and apps where it lives.

Blame is being directly thrown at a wide range of targets.

Let’s be clear; The person responsible for the decision to murder 50 unarmed men, women and children last week, was the same person who stockpiled the weapons and fired them.

Nobody else.

It’s a shame I feel the need to have to state that axiom, but it seems like a day doesn’t go by without a serious commentator claiming other sources of blame which, utterly coincidentally, reflect their previously-stated biases.

Examples follow;

1. Trump – the go-to blame focus for all that is bad in the world. The shooter’s own manifesto states that he likes Trump because of his ethnicity but can’t stand his policies. On that basis, anyone in the Whitehouse who was white might be blamed. Trump’s actions, words and opinions have been documented in detail for decades, yet there’s nothing we can point to encouraging violence against Muslims. Longbow.

2. Candace Owens – anyone who took the shooter’s claims that she was his greatest influence at face value is clearly not paying attention and has not read or listened to her opinions. The shooter is trolling the media and they’ve taken the bait. Longbow.

3. CNN – on a recent podcast, Scott Adams suggested CNN have contributed to the misinformation by focusing on race and identity. Longbow.

4. Facebook, Twitter, etc. – various political figures are stating the platforms are responsible because live-streaming functionality enabled the shooter to have a far wider audience. Do we think he wouldn’t have murdered anyone if he was unable to live-stream? Longbow.

5. Gun laws – The NZ parliament is bound to pass stronger gun legislation in the next few weeks. New Zealand’s gun laws are far looser than Australia’s, however, despite there being far more guns in circulation per capita, the ratio of guns deaths was (prior to this incident) about the same. Do we really think the legalities of gun ownership are a factor in a murderous extremist’s decision to slaughter 50 people. Longbow and, unless there is a massive search and confiscate programme, pointless virtue signalling.

6. “Islamophobic” comments by politicians – Waleed Aly seems to conflate criticism of a violent interpretation of Islam with taking a gun to kill unarmed citizens. Longbow.

And then there’s this;

Internet service providers and mobile phone network operators took the decision to block a group of websites, ranging from a financial discussion forum (Zerohedge) to the home of those crazy 4Channers. Curiously, the ISPs all decided to do this together at the same time, almost as if they were instructed to do so.

As the screenshot above points out, these smaller players had a minimal percentage of the traffic of the killer’s video compared to Facebook or YouTube, yet these didn’t get banned.

I checked this for myself and can confirm that, for a while, the block was in place but could be bypassed by use of a VPN. The block has since been lifted.

In other more ridiculous news, there’s a push to rename the local rugby team, the Canterbury Crusaders, to something less offensive to the residents of the holy land circa 1095 to 1492. May I suggest The Canterbury Cucks?

Perhaps while they’re at it should they rename Saracens to something less offensive to people living in Spain in the 12th century and the Barbarians to a name that won’t upset the residents of Rome living there in the year 410?

Bill’s Opinion

Shutting down speech, particularly the blocking of internet discussion forums (I want to write “fora” but I know that makes me pretentious) is not a road we should travel any farther along.

The New Zealand government has already been tacitly involved in the de-platforming of Stefan Molyneaux and Lauren Southern and the Kiwi media were clearly incredibly biased in their interviews.

The Australian government has had three positions in as many weeks on whether or not Milo Yiannopolous would be granted a visa, despite allowing him to visit 2 years ago and, as far as I am aware, he’s not committed any criminal offences in the meantime.

Gavin McInnes and Tommy Robinson remained banned.

You don’t have to agree with anything these people say to question whether it’s a smart move to prevent the people who would want to listen to their views from doing so on Australian or Kiwi soil. They can still consume their output via the internet.

Blocking the websites where these views can be read or heard is impractical, as proven by use of a cheap VPN last week.

But, if you wanted to disprove the widely-held belief of the crazies that there’s a global conspiracy against them, private companies blocking websites would be about the worst possible action you could take.

I want these violent crazies to have a public forum to spout their views, for two clear reasons:

1. People who are sane can argue with them and show the insanity of their claims, and

2. If they’re speaking this shite in public we at least know who they are.

The alternative is that they go deeper down their rabbit holes and end up communicating via in game messages on Fortnite, private Whatsapp groups or a range of similar covert technology solutions. The conspiracy would be easily-believed by newcomers if that were to occur.

Finally, in all this blame-chucking, I’ve yet to see a single suggestion that there has been a failure of the domestic intelligence services. The killer was apparently prolific on the various Internet forums and platforms, what monitoring is in place to alert the security services of the threat? For fuck’s sake, it was all there in plain sight to anyone with a computer, they didn’t even need the police state internet snooping legislation of recent years to view it.

We’ve always been at war with the Eurasia Group

The usually sound Ambrose Evans Pritchard regurgitates a press release from the Eurasia Group risk report in the Telegraph (Sydney Morning Herald paywall avoidable version here);

The answer to questions like this in headlines is almost always, “No, you’re just trying to get eyeballs“.

Oh, that’s worrying.

By that I mean, it’s worrying that the UN isn’t also in the list of global institutions past their sell-by dates that are in crisis. In the words of Saint Augustine, “Oh Lord! Make me pure, but not yet!“.

Bloody hell, we’re almost on the brink of another world war? There’s no way the government will allow that, just think what it would do to their plans for annual skiing holidays and the values of their Caribbean villas.

It all sounds very worrying though, whatever might be the cause?

Ah, it’s just another #OrangeManBad #LiterallyHitler article.

One of these political thinktank pieces isn’t compete without an economic prediction, of course;

Sure, the EU is going to have a few challenges ahead, especially if the UK is lucky enough to exit without a deal and gets to keep the £39bn ransom, but we’re heading for deflation, are we?

Given that the USA inflation figures for 2018 were 2.54% and projected to be ~2.44% this year, I wouldn’t go holding one’s breath for it to turn negative. Something like a meteor strike would have to happen in 2019 to turn that into deflation.

Oh goodeee, another article telling us the reason why we voted to leave the EU.

Personally, it was Magna Carta, 800+ years of Common Law, legislative sovereignty, the right to determine our own immigration laws and the fact that calling 73 MEPs for a population of 67m “democracy” seems like a sicker joke than anything Louis CK could come up with. But no, Eurasia Group, do tell us why we voted Brexit.

As for the problems between China and the USA, yes sure China is not running as hot as before (-16% sales of smartphones was an interesting recent data point), however, Xi looks to be trying to rapidly build bridges with Trump. It’s almost as if, I dunno, Trump’s strategy is working. Perish the thought.

So, after you’ve scared us half to death, what’s the chances of any of this happening?

“Muddle through”.

We do like a good old fashioned muddle.

Bill’s Opinion

As you were, platoon. We’ll be just fine.

Grandad, what did you do in the Culture War?

I took the battle back to them, laddie. They don’t like it up ’em.

What follows is meant as “open source” for people to tweak as they see fit. Find out what works for you and let people know the versions that are successful.

Also, it’s not a completely original thought; it was inspired by a line in a TV show I watched recently (Bodyguard on Netflix).

Part of my current working week involves a status discussion with a representative from an adjacent department. The particular representative is a young (just turned 30) female.

Some background colour I’ve learned about this individual; she’s a divorced single mother of two children, she’s vehemently anti-Trump (but, when asked which of his policies were offensive, struggled to name one), and she’s morbidly obese.

During our previous 2 meetings she has offered the opinion that I am a privileged, old, white, heterosexual, male. For reasons of courtesy, I’ve ignored these statements as they were irrelevant to the facts and purpose of our meeting.

It’s tempting to drop down a rabbit hole and try to become amateur psychologists based on those sparse facts, but we won’t.

Instead, here’s a summary of how I shut this annoyance down during our third meeting;

Angry Overweight Single Woman: “Blah blah blah, financial reporting, blah blah blah, programme governance, blah blah blah, you’re a privileged, old, white, heterosexual, man“.

William of Ockham: “Excuse me, but did you just assume my ethnicity and gender? Do you not realise I am mixed race and identify as non-binary?”.

Angry Overweight Single Woman: (silence for a full minute while she stared at me, blinking frequently, then changed the subject and never mentioned it since).

Throughout this interaction I maintained an impassive poker face, giving as few visual clues as possible to indicate what I was saying might not be completely grounded in fact.

I have not subsequently told her it was a joke, untrue, or a social experiment, etc. I have no plans to do so either; my statement will not be reversed.

Amusingly, if I get a call from the HR Director, I could bring my ancestry.com DNA result that shows I’m only 27% ethnically British. The question they would then need to grapple with is, how do you define race? Good luck with that one.

It would also be interesting to learn how they would prove or disprove my claim of identifying as gender non-binary. Is there an objective test we can apply?

Bill’s Opinion

If the cultural Marxism disease has overtaken your employer, this passive aggressive approach, or a variation of it, might be a useful strategy to begin the process of remediation. It’s turning their own weapons of sentimentality for diversity back on them to demonstrate that the opposite outcome is being achieved; you can’t be truly inclusive if you are prepared to exclude and demonise an entire group of individuals based on immutable characteristics such as age, genital configuration, melanin levels and sexual orientation.

If you are prepared to take this step with me, there are several important points that you will need to commit to and practice;

– Poker face. This is a potentially serious step you are about to take with career-damaging implications if you get it wrong. Do not smirk or offer any visual or verbal clues that you are being in anyway insincere.

– Don’t back down. Saying, “Sorry, it was just a joke” is not going to end well for you. I repeat, saying sorry is going to result in very negative outcomes for you. There are enough examples of apologies only serving to embolden the cultural Marxists.

– Believe what you are saying. Everybody on planet Earth is mixed race, especially given there is no scientific definition of race, only generalisations based on bell curves of statistical distribution. As for the gender claim; remember that they believe there are far more than two genders, so you will need to see their definitions of each before you can, in good faith, confirm which one most closely matches the version you identify with this week.

Hopefully this helps you on your journey through the institutional insanity that is modern corporate life. Please do share this advice and report back in the comments how it went for you and any lessons from which we can all learn.

Prices are set at the margins – part 2

A 69 year old man wants to change his age to 49 to be able to trick younger women into dating him.

No, really.

Just when you thought an Irish bogtrotter with no known African relatives receiving a grant for “identifying as black” was insane, here comes the next marginal price-setting for the cultural Marxists;

A bunch of lawyers and at least one judge, presumably all funded by the generous Dutch taxpayers, are going to have to discuss this in a court of law. Intelligent, highly-qualified sane adult humans are going to stand up in court and argue for and against age being a social construct.

Stop laughing at the back, this is important stuff.

Bill’s Opinion

If gender and race are social constructs, why not age?

Indeed, why not species?

In fact, why not gravity? If we agree that gravity is a social construct and its oppressive requirement for us to stay permanently attached to the earth’s surface is a result of institutional patriarchal hierarchy, why can’t we sue the government for preventing us from swooping like the birds?

Alternatively, the future version of Edward Gibbon, when documenting the decline and fall of western civilisation, might point to moments such as these as being pivotal in the process of opening the gates to let the barbarians in and run amok.

What does “sorry” even mean

Another day, another national apology on behalf of someone else;

This month’s Prime Minister of Australia (c) apologised to victims of institutional sexual abuse.

As we’ve seen previously, Sorry is a very easy word to say when there are only positive consequences for the speaker.

These national vicarious apologies on behalf of perpetrators who are long dead or languishing in jail would be amusing if it weren’t for the seriousness of the situations they are describing.

Politicians who make these public statements seem to have missed the fact that “sorry” has two meanings;

The first is an expression of contrition and regret for an action you personally were responsible for undertaking. “I’m so sorry I ran over your cat on my driveway“.

The second is an expression of sympathy. “I’m so sorry you have been diagnosed with cancer, that must be devastating for you“.

These national apologies seem to fall into the second category whilst pretending to be the first.

Where might this all lead, do we think?

If we have a duty to apologise for historical crimes for which we have no responsibility but just have some vague connection to the criminal such as nationality, ethnicity or ancestry, what other crimes should we ask the jury to take into consideration?

Bill’s Opinion

Some time ago, I submitted my DNA to Ancestry.com to understand my ancestral heritage.

The summarised results are shown below;

it’s fairly clear to even the casual observer that, at a minimum, I should apologise for the following historic crimes;

– The Jallianwala Bagh massacre

– The Battle of Stamford Bridge

– The tyranny of the Danelaw

– The Reconquista

– The First World War

– The Second World War

– Child labour in the factories during the Industrial Revolution

– The reign of King John and the subsequent War of Independence

– Brexit

– James Corden

I’m so, so sorry*.

*not sorry