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.

Sic monui

dixit.

…..twenty months ago.

I turned from being concerned about the virus to realising it was “only” as serious as relatively bad ‘flu back in April 2020.

Shortly afterwards, I realised we were stuck in a destructive cycle of policy driven by unfalsifiable computer models.

Good news! The UK government might finally be exiting that phase of insanity.

Due to some unrelated political difficulties, Boris Johnson ignored the “experts” last month so we could finally get to compare their predictions with reality.

Whoops.

Bill’s Opinion

The very next time somebody claims a need for action/inaction based on a computer model, defenestrate them from the third floor immediately.

At the very least, apply no credibility, none, zero, to their predictions unless and until they share the coding and assumptions applied.

Also, bear in mind experts with models can’t predict within a factor of ten the hospitalisation rate of a virus one month ahead but we know for certain the climate will be 4 degrees warmer by 2030.

It’s almost as if, I dunno, multi-variable systems are almost impossible to forecast.

It’s long past the time we have learned to never drive government policy by opaque and unfalsifiable computer models.

Expressed and revealed preferences

This is a lesson to teach your children early and often; watch what people do, pay less attention to what they say.

Listening to people’s expressed values and preferences is far less effective as a predictive tool than observing their revealed preferences.

Examples are everywhere:

Diane Abbott – The state school system is excellent and perfectly acceptable for your children, and we shouldn’t allow schools to become more independent. My son? Oh he went to an independent private school.

Leo DiCaprio – We’ve only got nine years to halt climate change. Can someone carry my bags from this helicopter to this private jet?

Jeremy Corbyn – We need a kinder politics with no personal abuse. Anti-semitism? I see no anti-semitism.

Peter Fitzsimons – A 13 year old girl should be publicly reprimanded for a racist comment. I also made a racist comment but give me the benefit of the doubt.

(side note: Fitzsimons’ hypocrisy could fill pages here. A project for a rain day, perhaps).

Anna Palaszuczuk – Domestic and international borders shall close and open at my command. I’m off to Japan on the public purse to “win” an Olympic bid with only one bidder.

G7 leaders (and an unelected Belgian man and an unelected German woman) – We must socially distance, because this virus is terrifyingly dangerous.

A few glasses of Chateauneuf du Pape with a couple of nonagenarians is perfectly acceptable behaviour.

Bill’s Opinion

We could write a list like this all day.

To be fair, we all struggle daily with internal consistency. I imagine it’s a constant worry as a public figure that some random person with a camera phone is going to snap you doing the opposite of your public statements.

A suggestion if this describes you and your life – simply stop offering the plebians moralistic advice you have no chance of following.

On a related note, Boris is having minor difficulties as details of multiple Downing Street parties catered work events have emerged.

I mention this, not because of the hypocrisy; an expectation of 100% hypocrisy is always baked into my view of all politicians and I like a drink and a chinwag as much as the next person. No, what is more interesting is the expressed/revealed aspect to this.

Ponder for a moment the fact these parties took place in the heart of the UK government focused almost exclusively with dealing with “the worst pandemic since 1919“, handing out increasingly authoritarian, petty, illogical laws and fining people for going about previousy legal activities, preventing people from providing comfort at the bedside of dying relatives, halting education, cancelling cancer treatments, preventing travel outside a small radius from home, etc.

All of which was fully justified by the data, right?

The data.

These people had access to the most accurate and immediate data available domestically and internationally, describing humanity’s best knowledge of the danger posed by this virus. Hence the British population’s lives and livelihoods being, at best, put on hold for two years, but in many more cases hugely negatively impacted. People died as a consequence of the governmental response.

That statement isn’t meant as a “blood on their hands” accusation – government decisions or non-decisions always have consequences, but those decisions still have to be taken, so they must be taken seriously and soberly.

Those Downing Street party animals had that data at their fingertips and yet ignored their own advice, rules and emergency legislation.

Revealed preferences.

The Australian Royal Commission into the handling of COVID19

….will never happen.

A conversation with a friend yesterday prompted us both to the realisation there will never be a retrospective inquiry into the role of government and media during the 2020/21 pandemic.

Why?

Because of the potential answers to the following questions, and the fact they will be uncomfortable for leaders of all political hues AND the mainstream media who might otherwise call for such an inquiry:

Severity

When did you know the infection fatality rate was no worse than previous recent flus?

When did it become clear the impact was clearly stratified by age and co-morbidity and what discussions were had at Cabinet level in response to this?

Modelling

What Cabinet discussions occurred regarding the data models presented compared to the subsequently observed data? What conclusions were drawn and what actions taken?

How many non-covid (such as cancer) patients have so far died as a likely consequence of missed appointments? What did the modellers predict?

After the initial infection spike, have the hospitals ever been close to being “overwhelmed”? How many beds in the emergency “field hospitals” were used?

The Law

What percentage of public health fines have been subsequently appealed and overturned?

What legal advice was received by Cabinet on the legality of vaccine mandates and coercion (no jab no job) to receive vaccines?

When was it decided no parliamentary scrutiny or approval was appropriate for the emergency public health measures?

Vaccines

When did it become clear the vaccines didn’t prevent transmission, and what discussions were had in Cabinet about changes to messaging and public health measures as a consequence?

What knowledge did you have, and by when, of the difficulty of obtaining vaccine exemption certificates from GPs and what action did you take when you became aware of this?

Public Health Measures

What data did you review when deciding to make masks mandatory outdoors?

When did you realise the Covidsafe app was a white elephant? What contractual measures are place to reclaim the development costs from the supplier?

How many small businesses have closed over the last two years and how does this figure compare with previous years?

When do you anticipate removing the covid-related legislation from the statute books?

Roughly how many times do you estimate you have personally broken the rules?

Borders

What constitutional legal advice was received regarding domestic border closures?

Are there any plans to build an Olympic size swimming pool, bars and a nightclub at the Toowoomba quarantine camp and will it be possible to book stag and hen weekends there?

Bill’s Opinion

These questions will never be asked.

I can confidently state this, because the official Opposition and mainstream media weren’t curious enough at the time to ask questions such as these. Their motivation to do so now must only be measurable with an electron microscope.

Anyone who still believes a damn word leaving the mouths of politicians or the pen of journalists after the last two years has failed the world’s largest scale IQ test, should be avoided where possible and treated with extreme distrust if one has to engage with them.

If you feel you must vote in future, rather than simply drawing a rude picture on the ballot, please consider an independent candidate.

If you feel you must still consume news media in future, spend the time to go to primary sources rather than outsourcing your thinking to those who have demonstrated they are unable to think.

Have you got it yet?

According to Waters, Barrett came into what would be their last rehearsal session together with a new song. He was calling it, “Have You Got It Yet?,” and the first couple times they ran through it, it seemed simple enough. Soon the band realized that the song wasn’t simple at all – Barrett would change the melody and the arrangement constantly with each new practice run – slightly at first, but more and more each time they played it. Barrett would play it again for them, with the capricious structure changes, and each time he would ask, “Have you got it yet?”

Exhibit A: you’d better have 3 vaccines or you can’t earn minimum wage in Victoria. Meanwhile, please come and play in our world class tennis event, no need to have a single shot.

Exhibit B: rare, rare, rare, rare, rare, rare side effects. Meanwhile, it’s perfectly safe, so safe we have to threaten you with losing your income to ensure you take it.

Exhibit C: your three year old son is a threat to the State’s health so you can’t be reunited with him. Meanwhile, I’m flying to Tokyo and back for a taxpayer funded jolly to ink a deal with only one bidder.

Exhibit D: if you thought breathing through a face nappy was difficult, try it with a hand around your throat. Meanwhile, we pulled the science behind those rules out of our arse.

Bill’s Opinion

As Syd Barrett once asked, “have you got it yet?”.

If this ever was about public health, it stopped being based on fact or logic a very long time ago.

Now, it’s about remaining in power because losing it might mean criminal prosecutions or worse.