Cor baby that’s really free

Man assaulted in the street and subsequently arrested after shouting, “Andrew, you’re a sick old man” at Prince Andrew.

The report is silent on what happened to his attackers.

That’s probably ok though, shouting at someone at their mother’s funeral is beyond the pale and should have the full force of the law applied as a consequence.

Similarly, it’s right that this woman, arrested for holding a sign saying, “Abolish the Monarchy”, should face the legal consequences.

What about this one, then?

Man required to give details to police after holding a blank piece of paper at the Queen’s coffin procession.

Are we happy with these police interventions?

Which one was the overreach of the state, in your view, and why?

Bill’s Opinion

The slippery slope fallacy may be a logical mistake, but one can slide a long way before the descent is halted.

All three of these examples are unacceptable restrictions of freedom of speech and expression.

In the UK, the legal standard restricting free speech used to be “grossly offensive” – repeatedly posting pornographic images to somebody, for example.

Now, the standard has not only been reduced to merely offensive, but there doesn’t need to be an identified victim of the offensiveness either.

From nearly 21 years ago:

……why do they hate us? They hate what we see right here in this
chamber – a democratically elected government. Their leaders are
self-appointed. They hate our freedoms – our freedom of religion, our freedom of
speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other.

I’m not convinced.

Could G K Chesterton please report to the office?

…and bring fence repair tools.

There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, “I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.” To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: “If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.”

For example, lengthy clinical trials before rolling out new medicines, sometimes lasting 7 years. That kind of “fence”.

Why do we bring this up? Well, the UK Government just quietly changed its policy regarding mRNA vaccines and pregnant or breastfeeding women (aka “pregnant people” and “chestfeeders”, in the vernacular).

Specifically:

Ok, well that’s a bit of a minor change with no negative implications, isn’t it. because previously, there was a significant amount or urging going on. In fact, there were urges everywhere, no corner of Great Britain and Northern Ireland was spared the urge.

Northern Ireland was urged:

England was urged:

Wales was urged:

I couldn’t find the Scotch urge, but it’s probably covered by this catch all:

And this urging:

Don’t forget, they were being urged and put on the priory list:

Let’s not forget, if you weren’t already scared shitless, pregnant people and chestfeeders who definitely had no comorbities could die with of Covid:

Finally, here’s the BBC (mission statement: “to act in the public interest, serving all audiences through the provision of impartial, high-quality and distinctive output and services which inform, educate and entertain“) telling you it’s perfectly safe for the aforementioned pregnant and breastfeeding people to take the vaccine.

Fully vaxxed? Fully tested, natch.

Bill’s Opinion

I sincerely hope you and nobody you hold dear suffered any negative consequences as a result of taking a brand new medicine during pregnancy before the clinical trials had completed.

Someone must certainly have though, else why has this policy been changed now?

How many miscarriages and how many and how severe birth defects are we talking about, I wonder?

The shoes keep dropping.

How many shoes will drop?

Let’s count them, shall we?

Transitory inflation.

Not so much.

Vaccines stop the spread?

Not so much.

Scientific evidence supported the lockdown approach.

Not so much.

The human lives saved were worth the cost of lockdown.

Not so much.

Shutting down schools and teaching online is a good substitute for classroom learning.

Not so much.

Bill’s Opinion

What are the next shoes to drop, do we think?

How about:

There were no existing therapeutic treatments we could have used.

The vaccines are perfectly safe, especially for your children.

Lockdown legislation was legal/constitutional.

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.

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.

Freedom – Technical analysis

Technical Analysis is a method used by some to make investment decisions. From Wiki:

A core principle of technical analysis is that a market’s price reflects all relevant information impacting that market. A technical analyst therefore looks at the history of a security or commodity’s trading pattern rather than external drivers such as economic, fundamental and news events.

Or as my financial adviser puts it, “follow the market”.

A key aspect of Technical Analysis is to look for patterns and trends over time. For example, a pattern of higher highs is thought to indicate an upward trend, such as this one:

Conversely, lower lows suggests you’re going to lose heavily betting on that stock.

Using that simple logic, how are your freedoms looking these days?

Taking Australia as our case study, what has the trend been over the last few decades?

In the chronology below, I’ve tried to show key moments for and against individual freedom and liberty, making a purely subjective justification for each item. For example, Responsible Service of Alcohol legislation could be argued as a positive for freedom because it might assist those who don’t want to be beaten up by drunks, but in my view it’s an unnecessary imposition on the rest of us, if only for the additional cost overhead (training, enforcement, regulation, dedicated government departments) applied to our drinks.

Since the 2001 September 11th attacks, you can be detained without trial for 14 days.

The government can keep your “metadata” (I bet nobody knows what that means without searching) and you can have your citizenship revoked, even if you were born here.

You can’t write or publicly speak about an alleged disconnect between the people profiting from Aboriginal grants and employment perks and their ancestry or skin pigmentation.

Your right to employment, travel, entry in to shops and restaurants, and to protest can be revoked immediately without parliamentary debate or approval but on the word of an unelected Chief Medical Officer.

You must take an experimental treatment to remain employed in a huge number of jobs in a wide range of occupations. The source of this may be State government legislation OR private employer mandates, but the freedom to choose has been revoked either way.

On the plus side, Uber rideshares are legal (although you had to bail out the taxi licence speculators).

Bill’s Opinion

If freedom was charted, I reckon it’d look something like this:

(That’s Bitcoin for the last month, if you were curious).

You might get some temporary wins, and these should be cheered, but it’s just lipstick on a pig.

We’ve been losing rights and freedoms at an increasing pace for quite some time. It’s an interesting question to ponder; when did it start?

My guess is we were most free probably just prior to the First World War. The government interfered in our lives to such a minimal degree, you could go through a day without interacting with its officers. In fact, a passport with a photo was only introduced by the UK (and by extension, Australia) in 1915.

However, there’s a pragmatic aspect to the answer too; “freedom” isn’t worth much without access to dentistry, penicillin, clean water, power, affordable protein, etc.

It’s just an opinion, but I think the rot set in when the Berlin Wall fell. We bought a lie that we had the best system so what’s the only logical action from that conclusion; MORE of that system. Let it take care of us from cradle to grave.

I hate it.

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).

Brave soldiers holding out in the Pacific theatre of war

What is it about the Pacific Ocean and soldiers hanging on in denial of the catastrophic loss their side suffered in the war?

Take for example, Sergeant Shoichi Yokoi:

Still hoping the 17th booster will be the charm

Sergeant Yokoi lost contact with his unit (and reality) a few weeks before the ceasefire and, in the absence of any news from the real world, bunkered down in his Melbourne foxhole. He stayed there, popping up only to take the occasional shots at his former platoon (and voters).

Eventually, news from the real world filtered through and he was unable to live in his fantasy one man war movie any longer. His final act before surrendering was to lob a grenade at some visiting Serbian UN Blue Berets.

Private 1st Class Kinshichi Kozuka.

“Hands up! Don’t shoot! Blackface Lives Matter!”

Private Kozuka found himself stranded on the other side of the Pacific from his platoon after riding a really gnarly point break left hander from the Marshall Islands all the way to the north of the 49th Parallel.

After removing his facial camouflage make up to better assimilate with the natives, he quickly installed himself as Emperor, demanding hot and cold running maple syrup, never ending Tim Horton’s donuts and the world’s biggest collection of Wayne Gretzky souvenir hockey pucks, all of which were duly delivered to Ottawa in 50,000 trucks.

Lieutenant Hiroo Onoda

De-Nile is the river running through Perth (previously known as The Swan)

Lieutenant Onoda commenced his campaign in the Pacific, in New South Wales, but quickly realised his minor talents would be hidden in such a buzzing theatre of war as Newcastle, so volunteered for duty in the Indian Ocean campaign, basing his activities in the sleepy villages in that remote and strategically irrelevant coastal area.

Despite the frequent messages dropped from passing planes, Onoda managed to avoid reality for several years. Multiple possible breakthroughs after exhortations from his commanding officer ultimately failed and he is currently in discussions via field telephone for a potential surrender in mid-winter, just as the seasonal respiratory illnesses usually arrive. As his commanding officer has explained, “Onoda was never the sharpest knife in the kitchen drawer and this isolation has dulled whatever cognitive edge he may once have possessed. Why on earth did I get him instead of John Rambo?”

Private Teruo Nakamura

The ability to eat fallen fruit through a chain fence proved invaluable whilst evading capture

The last of the holdouts, Nakamura is still bunkered down on two poxy islands in the Pacific. Repeated calls to rejoin the world have been rebutted and the international community have now agreed, using the North Sentilenese People as a precedent, to leave Nakamura alone to pursue his dream of creating a caring, loving and kind society by demonising and imprisoning anyone who has an alternative opinion on any subject whatsoever.

Bill’s Opinion

Yeah, unusually ad hominem for me but, hey, it’s just a bit of fun.

I mean, it’s not like anyone has got hurt by any of this multi-year nonsense is it?

Oh.