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.

Complex problems? Here’s Lisa Slams to save the day

As we’ve previously observed;

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

This week’s orally-lopsided (has she had an undiagnosed stroke?) monologue is “exposing” facts about gun crime in the USA in the wake of a tragic school shooting in Texas. Ooh, look at the big Lisa Slams mic drop.

Lisa Slams’ facts:

  • Texas lowered the age for owning a handgun to 18.
  • There are 120 guns to every 100 people in the US.
  • The pandemic saw more guns sold (nearly 40M) than at any time in US history. Gun deaths rocketed.

The greatest thing about being Lisa Wilkinson is that it’s not part of the job description to make logical sense or suggest solutions. Your job is to simply point at problems and shake your lopsided mouth on national TV, whilst demonstrating you are one of the few people who care. It’s a bit like being Megan Merkel but without the racism and pussy-whipped ginger mentalist.

If only we all could have such a job.

Bill’s Opinion

It shouldn’t need to be said, but we will anyway; America isn’t Australia. Gun ownership is the second oldest amendment to their national Constitution, a document at least 50% of the country hold nearly as dear as The Bible or Torah. These people believe the First Amendment requires the Second Amendment otherwise it is meaningless.

In addition, the fact there are more guns than people should give a fairly large clue to the possibility a rather large ratio of the population want to and actually do own a gun. Unless, of course, Lisa Slams thinks the gun ownership is concentrated in the hands of a ridiculously well-armed 1%.

Lastly, if one to were scratch a little deeper into those “rocketed” gun deaths, Lisa Slams might find some uncomfortable truths; the vast majority of gun murder victims are black men, murdered by other black men. Mass shootings get the headlines but are a drop in an ocean of human tragedies.

Also, most deaths by guns are suicides.

I don’t know what the solution is to America’s problem with gun crime, but I’m not going to sit here in another country and lecture them on how to solve a problem I have zero expertise in. I imagine that’s as patronising as people asking the citizens of Northern Ireland, “why can’t you all just get along and respect each other’s religions?

Good on Lisa Slams though for demonstrating there isn’t a complex problem in the world she feels unqualified to deliver a four minute monologue to camera about with a follow up Tweet.

Next week, Lisa Slams solves P vs NP and persuades Depp and Heard they still love each other and should have a baby together.

The unintended consequence of not confronting transgender kids

The trans nonsense became very real for my family recently. Fortunately my family are all sane and safe, but a peer of one of my children took her own life last month.

Anyone who has experienced a suicide will know the incredible reach of utter devastation it delivers to everyone touched by it, regardless of family connection or closeness of relationship to the person. Everyone in the wider community is impacted and left with unsettling questions and emotions.

I will try to keep the details as generic as possible; it’s going to help nobody if this random corner of the internet can be traced back to the dead child.

The child who committed suicide “identified as transgender” from the age of 12. She changed her first name and required use of grammatically incorrect pronouns.

Her parents, the high school, and the medical professionals went along with this charade for two years.

In fact, in a private conversation with the High School Principal last year, I realised it was a source of professional pride that the high school had a “trans” student. Let me stress that; rather than expressing sympathy for a young person in their charge who was clearly demonstrating mental illness, the School Principal was happy to boast about the situation as if it was progress.

This is the same High School Principal who, in an email to me, suggested I give one of my children a mobile phone to take to school as “it’s not great for kids to stand out as different” when I complained that my child was annoyed there was nothing to do at lunch and break time because all their peers were glued to their phones (most of which had completely unrestricted access to every possible internet site), so wouldn’t talk or play.

Around this time, the school LGBTQ Pride Club was established, with a teacher supervising the lunchtime meetings and free biscuits on offer to those who attended.

Shortly afterwards, other pre-pubescent girls in the school announced themselves to be transgender.

Now, the tragedy has occurred and everyone is running for cover.

Bill’s Opinion

When we send our children to school, we do so with the primary expectation they will be physically safe and the secondary expectation they will not be subjected to experiences negative to their mental well-being.

Receiving an education in core subjects such as Maths, Science and English” seems to have become a far distant third priority these days.

Increasingly, it seems not even these two basic expectations are being met. if this were the case, perhaps a grown up might have said, at any time in the last two years, “no, you aren’t transgender; you were born a girl, will remain a girl throughout your life and, if an archaeologist digs your remains up a thousand years from now, they will immediately recognise your body as being female”.

Language has been bastardised too. Forget the current pronoun lunacy; “suicide” is now a verb, as in, “to suicide” or they “suicided”.

What was it before? “To commit suicide”. Why? Because it is a sin; someone has sinned and the result is a lost life. It is a failure of some kind, not simply an inevitable consequence of announcing one’s new pronouns and gender. We should not accept this premise and we should not accept the false logic that confrontation with reality will harm people living a fantasy; we have the proof neither route works perfectly, so choose truth.

Throughout the last two years, several people with a duty of care have failed to divert this child’s attention from negative opinions on the internet, otherwise the 12 year old wouldn’t have randomly discovered the concept of transgender and wouldn’t had found a route to sell nude photos of herself online to fund puberty blocking drugs.

The clues were there should the activist teaching staff had bothered to have looked. They might have heard about Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria and realised that more than one trans child in a school of 1,000 students is a statistical improbability. There were none in my school when I was growing up, as I’m sure there weren’t in yours either. There were plenty of kids who later turned out to be homosexual and very happy in their adult lives, however.

There are people in our community who are culpable for these failures. Let me list the main failures so, should they read this, they can assess whether they own any:

  • Unrestricted internet access for children.
  • Unrestricted use of screens in break time and at lunch at school, rather than physical interaction.
  • Treating mental illness as trivial and “going along with” unrealistic world views as if they were based on fact.
  • Establishment of a school club for 12 year olds based on sexuality and unrealistic opinions on gender when there are another four years until the age of consent for any sexuality, gay or straight.

If you were involved in this person’s short life, perhaps ask yourself the question, “Consider the possibility that, rather than being kind, you made things worse by agreeing with rather than confronting her fantasy. What if she was just gay? Or even maybe a David Bowie Ziggy Stardust era fan who’d eventually evolve to The Let’s Dance album?

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).

Hi ho Silver! Away!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Specifically:

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

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

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

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

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

Bill’s Opinion

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

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

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

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

I’m every woman

The 2022 version of the classic false premise question, “when did you stop beating your wife?” is:

What is the definition of ‘woman’?

Hilariously, it’s catching out all sorts of people. To be fair to the left wing politicians and Supreme Court nominees, it is an absolute gotchya question, designed to trip you up.

The two popular answers are, “adult human female” and “anyone who identifies as a woman”, and either will get you into huge trouble on social media and neither are particularly satisfactory.

The first is somewhat circular as it relies on another inferred definition, “female”. What’s a woman? It’s a female. What’s a female? It’s a woman. Turtles all the way down.

The second makes the usual error of the left-leaning in that it assumes we can over-rule or or completely discount human nature and response to incentives as a factor. Probably a billion family trees have ended abruptly due to that mistake and several women have been raped in female only prisons in the last few years for the same reason.

The husband and wife biologists on the Dark Horse podcast have an interesting discussion on their latest episode where they explore the underpinning biological reality of sex in our species and others. It’s an educational chat and debunks some of the more insane hot takes to be found on the digital Beldam that is social media. But it still misses the mark.

What we need is a pithy, definitive reply to the question. One that deals with the existence of the extremely rare genetic mutations we class as intersex and the increasingly vocal category we used to categorise as gender dysphoria but now call “stunning and brave” and invite into primary schools to read stories to pre-pubescent children.

Bill’s Opinion

The correct answer when asked the question, “what is the definition of ‘woman’?” is, in the words of Justice Potter Stewart:

I know it when I see it”.

Remember our handy heuristic; If you find your inner voice saying something along the lines of, “Christ, that’s an ugly man/woman“, it’ll be because they aren’t.

Use that as the basis of your response. Trust the tools evolution has equipped you with. If someone wants to play language games with you, put it back to them; “show me a picture of someone whose sex is unclear to you and I’ll try help you work it out for that specific case”.

Of course, this answer is probably more helpful to those who’d normally answer, “adult human female” than the other answer, but I’ll put it out there for royalty-free usage anyway.

The first casualty of war

…is presumably the poor bastard who gets shot first.

Oh, sorry, “truth”.

Before we get into today’s topic, let me apologise for the low frequency of updates here. Life has been hectic, not in a bad way, but something had to give and discretionary time spent here was the loser.

Last week, someone who reads this blog asked me why I had nothing to say on the Russia/Ukraine situation? Here’s my reply:

Because I assume everything I read or watch on the subject is, at best, unintentionally false but more probably, propaganda and misinformation.

But Bill,” they exclaimed, “surely you can’t deny Russia illegally invaded an independent sovereign state and is committing war crimes? It’s right there on the evening news every day“.

I have three words in response; Gell-Mann Amnesia.

“Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect is as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward—reversing cause and effect. I call these the “wet streets cause rain” stories. Paper’s full of them.

In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.” 
– Michael Crichton (1942-2008)

We’ve just sat through more than two years being spoonfed absolute horseshit whilst being told it was the highest quality truffles and champagne; viruses that didn’t but then suddenly did originate in a Chinese lab, masks that didn’t work then worked so well you’d be arrested for not wearing them, vaccines that stopped the spread so well that nearly everyone you know has now caught the virus at least once regardless of the number of booster shots they’ve had, transitory inflation that seems intent on staying long after the last night bus, etc.

The paragraph above could be far longer, as I’m sure you’ll agree, but that’s enough to illustrate my my point; our governments, opposition parties, doctors, police, state funded scientists, news media and even the independent judiciary have been exposed as incompetent, mendacious and unfit to uphold the principles many of our ancestors were sent off to wars to defend.

Does that statement feel a little strong? Am I using hyperbole unnecessarily?

Do you know someone who lost their job when the government decided to stop the economy? Perhaps you know someone who had to watch the funeral of a loved one over a Zoom call? Or was handed a fine for sitting too close to a friend on a park bench? Or was slammed to the ground by a Melbourne policeman for protesting lockdown? Perhaps you know someone who has lost their job due to vaccine mandates?

These people might not see the paragraph as hyperbolic.

Regardless, you now KNOW we were told utter bullshit, were subject to creative new laws with no basis in logic or scientific observation. People who pointed this out contemporaneously were booted from the internet public square and became non-persons.

We were fortunate with the virus, and therefore the data about it, in that it was “democratic”; everyone with a phone or a keyboard could post new information. Some governments kept their fingers off the scales and published raw data, regardless of whether it agreed with other governments’ narrative. Put simply, some personal effort in searching for answers often paid off with information that better explained and predicted than any of the crap offered up in government press conferences or in the pages of our once trusted newspapers.

The war in Ukraine, on the other hand? It’s back to the old information model; gatekeeper media organisations “embedded” on one side or another and pure unadulterated propaganda from Russia and Ukraine governments or their supporters.

All we can do is select which fire hose to wrap our mouths around and get ready to unquestionably drink in everything we’re given.

Perhaps there’s some truth flowing in among the torrent, but it’s likely to be at a level of dilution even a Homeopathic quack would blush at.

Bill’s Opinion

Is Putin a dangerous sociopath who neutralises his political opponents with methods Stalin would recognise and approve of? Yeah, most likely.

Is Zalensky a hero who has made no misteps and has done nothing we’d consider beyond the pale. I highly doubt it.

Do I have any chance of getting even close to the truth of what is going on, why and how it might play out?

Not a fucking chance.

So, I choose not to play their game. I minimise my consumption of news on the subject. Avoiding it totally would be unadvisable; if I had done that last year, I wouldn’t have managed to get a vaccine exemption certificate before my employer made it a condition of employment.

But I’m generally ignoring the articles offering explanations and predictions from the exactly the same people who got so much wrong, either by accident or design, in 2020 and 2021.

Wrap my battered flathead fillet and hot chips in it, that’s the only use I have for their paper. And don’t skimp on the salt and vinegar.

If jealousy burned calories

…we’d instantly solve quite a few people’s major life issues.

But sadly, the effort expended on envious feelings is neither material nor measurable. This is both good and bad news for Mary Madigan, freelance writer for Mammamia (now there’s a career path to infinite riches!).

Good news because she can get a couple of hundred dollars knocking out heartfelt columns about why we shouldn’t celebrate an obese celebrity losing a lot of weight. Bad news, because Mary is burning emotional energy being bitter over other people’s good fortune, and even more mental energy avoiding reflecting on poor life choices she has made.

The back story is a minor Australian celebrity (if that isn’t a tautology), Chrissie Swan, dropped a wheelbarrow load of weight recently and has been congratulated by lots of commentators. Her Instagram feed has a flood of positive comments, many of which are middle aged men who’ve suddenly decided she’s hot.

Our “plus sized” columnist takes issue with their sudden change of opinion. Chrissie was always attractive, she claims. It’s a backhanded compliment to suggest she’s now looking great, according to our self-appointed moral arbiter.

Context is everything, of course.

This is Mary:

This was Chrissie Swan:

This is Chrissie Swan now:

I’m sure we can all agree on what a terrible and destructive transformation she’s inflicted on herself.

The feedback from Mary’s syndicated article was predictable. By which I don’t mean lots of stupid people went on the internet and called her rude names but that she would feign shock and surprise at this reaction and then post a self-obsessed semi-naked picture on Instagram affirming to herself how gorgeous she is and her superiority in the victim olympics.

It’s been a very tiring week because my inbox got flooded with abusive messages after an article I wrote for Mamamia got picked up by The Sun & New York Post. Obviously, when men attack women on the internet the insults are always about your looks. Fat, unattractive, unfuckable…. It’s unoriginal but it did make me feel sad but then I remembered I’m gorgeous and now I’m back.

Bills Opinion

There is no problem with Chrissie Swan’s weight loss. We celebrate it because, as decent human beings, we give positive feedback to obviously good life choices made by others.

It’s a social contract; we tell each other what we’re doing well and try to kindly point out areas for improvement.

If Mary doesn’t like that social contract, it’s incumbent on her to describe the alternative system she would suggest we employ.

It’s always dangerous to attempt to diagnose mental illness from a distance but it’s clearly an unhealthy thought process to convince oneself being grossly overweight is somehow a positive choice.

Would Mary sympathise with 500 words written by a chain smoker trying to convince us it’s wrong to celebrate someone giving up the cancer sticks?

Perhaps it’s just the sunk cost fallacy to wish to convince other people of these illogical views. In addition, the editors of the publications paying for these columns are encouraging negative health outcomes by printing it. Perhaps the editors are analogous to the circus ringmasters introducing the freak show exhibit.

It’s as if we are being asked to casually put aside several million years of evolution and consciously ignore the instinctive mental rank order sorting of other humans by attractiveness. Perhaps that’s possible, but the clever money and every sexual interaction in the history of the planet suggests the exact opposite is more likely.

This denial of reality can be neatly explained by Sailer’s first law of female journalism:

The most heartfelt articles by female journalists tend to be demands that social values be overturned in order that, Come the Revolution, the journalist herself will be considered hotter-looking.

More chins than the Hong Kong phone directory…..