No Minister

Posts Tagged ‘Covid-19 Lockdown

Control your soul’s thirst for freedom

with 15 comments

Over the years I’ve read and seen a bunch of dystopian SF books and movies, stories that paint not a wonderful, sunny future enabled by miraculous technology, but a grim, dark, almost inhuman future where the technology oppresses us rather than freeing us.

Neuromancer, Bladerunner, Battlestar Gallactica (2003 reboot), Aliens, A.I., Gattica….

Yet somehow I never thought I’d get to see it.

That’s in Shanghai, one of the largest cities in the world: twenty five million people locked down by the Chinese government in pursuit of Covid Zero, which they still believe is possible even after two years of dealing with General Tso’s Syphilis. It feels like a repeat of the autistic focus on goals during the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution.

Between that and drones flying around apartment buildings broadcasting warnings while people scream from their balconies for food, plus beating corgies to death in the street and wrapping up cats in mesh bags on the sidewalks where they are collected to be killed, it’s safe to say that China is not a place anybody would like to be – and absolutely not a society we want to emulate, even though we increasingly do, starting with the concept of lockdowns.

I’d already covered a story about the CCP’s approach to pets in Time ran out for Pudding, where a little boy in Hong Kong had to hand over his pet hamster to be killed by the authorities. The cats in bags is another echo of the recent Chinese past:

Even China’s feline population suffered as Red Guards tried to eliminate what they claimed was a symbol of “bourgeois decadence”. “Walking through the streets of the capital at the end of August [1966], people saw dead cats lying by the roadside with their front paws tied together”

If you wish you can find videos of the cats in bags but I found the images too upsetting to put here, despite being not gory.

It’s not just events like this that have made me doubt the claim that the 21st century will be China’s. For various fundamental reasons arising from China’s history and culture I’ve long held the opinion that the current CCP control of the nation differs little from other dynasties stretching back 3000 years. A massively centralised, technocratic State government under which peace and prosperity increase for the population for a long time – followed by a decline in competence due to that centralised technocracy having no governing checks and failing to be refreshed with new minds and ideas, in-turn followed by peasant rebellions, the rise of feudal states and war. In the past the periods of peace might last for centuries, and the decline too, but today’s world moves faster.

Some of these problems are outlined in this article, Red Dusk, which discusses the problems of a declining working age population, the lack of state institutions that address health and retirement, and the growth of class divisions. I was especially amused by this:

Communist officials have been put in the awkward position of cracking down on Marxist study groups at universities, whose working-class advocacy conflicts with the policies of the nominally socialist government.

For all the talk of what their centralised goverment can achieve (and has achieved) – admired by the likes of Bill Gates, Justin Trudeau and Paul Krugman, among many other of the West’s ruling class – I see no evidence that the CCP has real answers to any of those problems. Worse still, their economic success has seen a rise in the old chauvinism that it’s all down to their superior culture, ignoring the fact that as recently as the 17th century, Europe ranked below China in almost any measure of power, but that it was the Western culture of allowing a diversity of ideas across a range of culture, from art to business to politics, that enables Europe to rise in power far beyond China.

That has not changed, despite some pretty awful excesses that have developed recently in the West – excesses which mirror aspects of China under the CCP, primarily conformism and control. But those have their limits, as Nazi Germany, Imperialist Japan, the USSR, Mao’s China and a host of smaller nations have found.

We need to uncouple ourselves from China, although economically that may not be possible because we’re too far gone ourselves. But perhaps just focus on nothing but economic trade with them and dump everything else about the “relationship”. Twenty years ago the Free Trade people argued that we would be exporting our values to Communist China (I was one of them), but it’s become obvious that we’re not and instead are importing their values into our society.

Perhaps I’m too pessimistic about the Chinese situation? In a small way the fact that the CCP is using a phrase that acknowledges the human soul’s desire for freedom is perhaps a tell. I don’t recall any Chinese communist campaign of the past that even used the word “freedom”, let alone the idea of it being tied to an individual human soul.

In other words I’d have expected the drones to be shouting communist boilerplate propaganda in commanding tones – “No person and no force can stop the march of the Chinese people toward better lives!“, or some such shite – rather than making what almost feels like a spiritual appeal to the people.

Written by Tom Hunter

April 14, 2022 at 8:50 am

Stamping on a human face forever

with 13 comments

As we slowly crawl toward freedom and away from the mandates and restrictions surrounding General Tso’s Sickness pandemic, it’s worth knowing that there will always be a part of the population that loved all this and are feeling bereft.

You see it with people still wearing masks outdoors and while driving cars alone, or who still hold their phones to scan in before entering shops.

It turns out that not everybody likes freedom, and based on my everyday observations the percentage is too high for comfort in (supposedly) freedom-loving democracy.

So the following cartoon seems appropriate.

I’d forgotten about this survey from the USA.

Written by Tom Hunter

April 13, 2022 at 10:27 am

A young Maori Speaks

with 4 comments

If you spend any time around blogs like those of Chris Trotter or The Standard, you’ll know that one of the Big Things the Labour Party and their activists push is … anything Maori – as well as constantly bemoaning the terrible situation of Maori in NZ, but without actually changing anything meaningful that might help, like a healthcare and education system that works for Maori at the coal face. The basic drive is to constantly reinforce the point that they’re not racist, but everybody else is.

I should note that Trotter does get the vapours about things like He Puapua, but only to the extent where he think it might hurt Labour, which is why he’s flip-flopped from worrying about Nasty National using it as a wedge to win in 2023, to thinking that Labour needs to get on with it pronto before 2023. If that doesn’t strike you as particularly coherent well, welcome to Trotter-world, where a love of florid language beats coherence every time.

Instead what we get is a whole bunch of cosmetic, bureaucratic shit that’s merely designed to keep Maori voting for Labour by pretending to care about them. The current blathering about changes to the Healthcare system that will “give Maori a greater voice” is just one example, with “problems” about the Maori uptake of the vaccines constantly given as one of the reasons for such changes.

But in fact Maori vaccination rates for those aged 65+ were right up there with Pakeha and even Asian figures for the same age groups. Sure, extra effort had to be applied in remote regions of NZ, like Northland and the East Coast, but it was done and it worked.

Where it didn’t work was in the younger Maori age groups. Their vaccination rates continued to lag those of the older group, and other racial groups, quite significantly. That doesn’t seem to be racial to me, but more a product of young Maori feeling that they weren’t particularly at risk from the Chinese Xi Snot virus. Whether that was based on them looking at overseas stats, or whether it was just the usual bullet-proof feeling of youth I don’t know but again – given the vax rates in older Maori – I can’t see how it could be claimed to be down to systemic racism in our healthcare system.

And then there’s young Maori guys like this. If his attitude is anything to go by then Labour may find themselves losing the Maori vote a couple of decades from now. His impressions of Jacinda are brutal.

Written by Tom Hunter

March 22, 2022 at 2:53 pm

Failed solutions, Moral Cruelty and Advertising

“the perceived level of personal threat needs to be increased among those who are complacent, using hard-hitting emotional messaging. Without a vaccine, psychology is your main weapon.You have to restrict ways in which people mix and the virus can spread… You need to frighten people.”

Those words were part of the response from the SPI-B (Scientific Pandemic Insights) group that was advising the British government on dealing with the C-19 pandemic, and that response was a specific answer to the government’s question, “What are the options for increasing adherence to the social distancing measures?” 

As the Great Chinese Xi Snot pandemic finally grinds to an end after two years there are a lot of people digging back into the measures that were taken to combat it, and one of those people is  Laura Dodsworth, who has written a book about SPI-B and the larger science group they advised, SAGE (Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies). The book is A State of Fear, and her essay is The Moral Cruelty of the Pandemic Response, which examines the tensions between the individual and the collective that bubbled up during the pandemic. She has many examples of this played out in light of the government’s decision to follow the advice of SPI-B and terrify people, but none better than this:

As she points out about that Labour Party tweet:

The intention was to shame the Conservative party for ‘Partygate’, but instead it revealed how morally adrift and lacking in compassion people became. Jenny followed the rules, but maybe she shouldn’t have.

But that was merely the fear created in the individual vs. collective struggle over just one tactic, lockdowns, whereas the same thing happened for masks and ultimately the vaccines.

This and other solidarity-based messaging stemmed from the advice of behavioural scientists that appeals made to the collective conscience are more effective than appeals based on the threat to ourselves.

Science in general took the lead, and still does as countless people (many of whom dumped science at the age of 14 in high school because it was too tough) continue to scream “But The ScienceTM, when in fact decisions were made everyday that were not connected to the science. Here in NZ, the sudden reduction in weeks between the first and second shot was a classic example, done not because of a change in science but because the government found itself well behind on vaccinations when C-19 Delta hit in 2021.

Dodsworth points to Carl Jung’s famous book, The Undiscovered Self, and his take on science in our society:

“…one of the chief factors responsible for psychological mass-mindedness is scientific rationalism, which robs the individual of his foundations and his dignity. As a social unit he has lost his individuality and become a mere abstract number in the bureau of statistics.”

The whole essay is as much about philosophy as anything else (hence Jung) but, like him, she points to the weak spots of our modern society that will enable this to happen again:

Religion did not save us. Churches closed their doors at Easter, when Jesus Christ’s resurrection is remembered. Some of the faithful died without last rites…. Going further, the Archbishop of Canterbury told Christians it was immoral not to be vaccinated. “Vaccine Saves” was emblazoned on Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro. People sat spaced 2 metres apart in cathedrals awaiting vaccination, both medical miracle and ritual act of biomedical transubstantiation. Masks were more than totems in the latest culture war, they became the vestiture of the faithful, signalling belief and obedience. They emblemised a moral code based upon extending life, not securing your place in the afterlife.

I found the attitude of priests and pastors on that last point particularly evil given the overwhelming reason for the existence of their Christian faith, of which the last rites are supposed to be more than just a symbol. What must those dying people have thought awaited them, given their beliefs about the need for last rites? You can laugh at them as being insane to believe in such a thing, but would you be happy to torture an insane dying person precisely on the point of their belief?

Our societies not only did but got religious leaders to do it for them, enabling the rest of society to create the required social pariahs, when the Christian church was built upon the rock of appealing to social outcasts. This was perhaps the most obvious marker of how the secular world has triumphed over the religious in the West; the Church’s reason for existence was to save souls, not bodies.

I am not confident that her final call will be met either:

Lockdowns and restrictions squashed exactly what we need to flourish as human beings in order to counteract a psychic epidemic. As that crisis recedes, other dangers endure. Bad actors and paternalistic libertarians alike lack humility when they brazenly exploit our nature. We are buffeted by nudge, propaganda, and our passions. For the good of the collective, we must recapture meaning and values as individuals. 

Aside from re-thinking the morality involved it seems that some scientists who were in the middle of dealing with it have also begin to question their scientific analysis and conclusions, starting with Professor Mark Woolhouse, a member of SPI-M, the modelling group on SAGE, who has also written a book, The Year the World Went Mad. As he describes things in The Telegraph:

“We knew from February [2020], never mind March, that the lockdown would not solve the problem. It would simply delay it,” Woolhouse says, a note of enduring disbelief in his voice. And yet in government, “there was no attention paid to that rather obvious drawback of the strategy”.

Instead, lockdowns – which “only made sense in the context of eradication” – became the tool of choice to control Covid. The die was cast in China, which instituted ultra-strict measures and, unforgivably in Woolhouse’s book, was praised by the World Health Organisation for its “bold approach”. “The WHO,” he suggests, “got the biggest calls completely wrong in 2020. The early global response to the pandemic was woefully inadequate.”

Watching on, the rest of the world found itself following the same template, even though no work had been done to assess the costs of lockdowns. After swine flu, modellers had studied the knock-on consequences of many elements of infection control, but they had never envisaged “an instruction for most of the population to stay at home”.

But a big part of why they got it wrong was that they felt that organic fear of the disease was not enough. Back to Dodsworth:

The doom-mongering modelling which catalysed lockdowns does, by its nature, treat humans as social units. But by depriving us of individuality the modelling also deprives itself of accuracy. Professor Graham Medley who chairs the modelling group SPI-M reported to MPs that it is impossible to predict human behaviour and therefore the most pessimistic outcomes were offered to government….

According to Professor Woolhouse the doom analysis was only on one side of the lockdowns:

What he does know is that while extremely detailed modelling was being done “on what the epidemic itself might look like and the harms that novel coronavirus would cause… on the other side of the scales, we had pretty much nothing at all. There was never at any stage, even by the following year, any form of analysis of the harms caused by lockdowns. Were they even considered? I haven’t seen any evidence that they were and that is very, very troubling.”

But the article points out that the SAGE itself got a report in April 2020 that assessed how many years of quality life would be lost to lockdowns. The best guess was that suppressing the virus would cost three times more years than the disease itself. At the same time similar calculations were done here in NZ by Economics Professor John Gibson from Waikato. In addition the Swedish epidemiologists had already made clear that lockdowns were not an option for the same reasons. Even by late April there was analysis of the specific lockdowns used in France, Italy and Spain that showed they didn’t work.

Feeding into the doom models was, as Woolhouse says, a “fact” about the virus that was already known to be wrong:

Woolhouse, from his position on the inside as government policy was formed, saw something very different: the disease being described as a universal killer, when it was clear from the beginning some were very much more at risk than others.

“The first good data on this started to emerge in late February 2020,” he says. And as Britain endured the first Covid wave, this data was borne out in the facts. Those over 70 had at least 10,000 times the risk of dying as those under 15 years old. “This is a highly discriminatory virus,” Woolhouse says, still exasperated today. “It’s ageist, it’s sexist, it’s racist. And we certainly knew [that] before we went into lockdown.”

Yes. Known. So why did the government’s go for lockdown and the other harsh measures? Dodsworth’s analysis echos again:

Yet the Government decided that telling half the population that they were at extremely low risk would dilute adherence to the harsh rules it was imposing, and instead ramped up the threat warnings. “We are all at risk,” noted Michael Gove in March 2020. “The virus does not discriminate.” But it did then, and it does now.

Exactly. Science got trashed, even as we were being screamed at every day that politicians were following the science. I almost feel sorry for Woolhouse and I will read his book, but frankly I’m in no mood yet to forgive sinners, even deeply repentant ones.

Finally there’s this article looking at another aspect: the massive advertising campaign launched by the US government to promote the vaccines:

So, the federal government decided to market vaccine acceptance, but not by distributing information through the official pathway of public health departments.  Instead, the U.S. government hired the media to become their marketing agencies to sell vaccine acceptance to the US population.

According to Blaze Media’s Chris Pandolfo’s report on March 3rd, “The federal government paid hundreds of media companies to advertise the COVID-19 vaccines while those same outlets provided positive coverage of the vaccines.”

That advertising was spread across a huge range of media companies: ABC, CBS, and NBC, as well as cable TV news stations Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC, legacy media publications including the New York Post, the Los Angeles Times, and the Washington Post, digital media companies like BuzzFeed News and Newsmax, and hundreds of local newspapers and TV stations.

As the article bluntly states:

The entire media apparatus of the United States became the Voice of America to sell a positive, COVID-19 vaccine image to Americans. Congress appropriated $1 billion to buy the ads and obtain the placements of “influencer” personalities to appear in the media to sell the program.

Under this arrangement, the questioning of whether vaccines were effective or safe disappeared from the official narrative seen by Americans. Only the outlets that were not part of the marketing effort continued to cover the reservations of the academics; and these were then almost universally labeled as “fake news” by social media censors.

Most of these outfits never informed their viewers of this bought-and-paid-for work. For the average consumer of the MSM – for the average consumer of Fox News – it all would have seemed like normal news coverage or at worst “Public Service Announcements”.

Time ran out for Pudding

The Four Pests Campaign of 1958-1962 was insane enough, even if most of the birds were not pets. Mao and the other Central Planners and Controllers had decided that there were too many birds in the country, and their numbers needed to be greatly reduced so that The Masses could be fed:

Sparrows were suspected of consuming approximately four pounds of grain per sparrow per year. Sparrow nests were destroyed, eggs were broken, and chicks were killed. Millions of people organized into groups, and hit noisy pots and pans to prevent sparrows from resting in their nests, with the goal of causing them to drop dead from exhaustion.In addition to these tactics, citizens also simply shot the birds down from the sky. The campaign depleted the sparrow population, pushing it to near extinction.

It takes something pretty extraordinary to drive sparrows, of all birds, close to extinction, but if you have enough fanatics it’s doable. The result was entirely predictable: with the sparrows who ate the insects gone, the numbers of insects exploded, ravaging crops. It was a contributing factor to the Great Chinese Famine. Warnings from ornithologists (or anyone else) that this might happen counted for little against a government that had mobilised the people to march towards a public health goal that could be defined in one sentence.

And so we come to this sad story out of Hong Kong:

Time was running out for Pudding.

The hamster, a new addition to the Hau family, was to be given up to Hong Kong authorities for culling after rodents in a pet shop tested positive for coronavirus — leaving Pudding’s 10-year-old owner wailing in grief.

“I don’t want to, I don’t want to,” the boy cried, his head buried in his hands as he crouched next to Pudding’s pink cage, according to a video shown to AFP by his father.

But the older Hau, who would only provide his last name, said he was worried about his elderly family members who live in the same household.

“I have no choice — the government made it sound so serious,” he told AFP, shortly before entering a government-run animal management centre to submit Pudding.

Hamsters and Guinea Pigs are frail little creatures at the best of times and not long-lived, and as a meat eater I’m obviously not averse to killing animals, but that little boy will remember his pet being taken away for the rest of his life, and all for nothing.

I could understand if there were any serious evidence that the cull would achieve anything for humans. But there is none and in any case evidence and science is not really the point here, any more than it was during the great bird kill campaign.

No, as then there is a single policy goal. A healthcare policy goal: Zero Covid, and nothing was going to be allowed to stand in the way of progress towards that goal. In fact, now that the PRC has dropped the bullshit of “One country, two systems” with regard to Hong Kong, it’s entirely desirable that the people of Hong Kong be made aware, down to the smallest details of their lives, that their new masters are in total control. That little boy will know for the rest of his life, what his masters are capable of: let him and other children cry, so long as they know themselves to be powerless. That perfect state.

Actually it’s not the first time that the communists have made it clear what they think of such Western-influenced bourgeois sentimentality:

Even China’s feline population suffered as Red Guards tried to eliminate what they claimed was a symbol of “bourgeois decadence”. “Walking through the streets of the capital at the end of August [1966], people saw dead cats lying by the roadside with their front paws tied together”

The less contact we have with these bastards the better. We already imported the idea of “Lockdown” from them so who knows what’s possible tomorrow.

Written by Tom Hunter

February 18, 2022 at 8:53 am

Death questions for the everyday actuary

Something rather strange is happening with death in the USA. There has been a huge increase in deaths of people in the 18-64 age bracket.

This information is not coming from the US government but something much more trustworthy, the life insurance companies who are paying out and who therefore very much have an interest in finding out why this demography of death has increased so much:

Speaking recently at a virtual news conference held for the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, Scott Davidson, the CEO of OneAmerica Insurance, told the group that reported deaths in the 18-64 age range were up 40% in Q3 of 2021 over pre-pandemic levels and that the trend was continuing in Q4.

We are seeing, right now, the highest death rates we have seen in the history of this business – not just at OneAmerica…. The data is consistent across every player in that business.  Just to give you an idea of how bad that is, a three-sigma or a one-in-200-year catastrophe would be 10% increase over pre-pandemic.  So, 40% is just unheard of

But as yet they don’t know why. That article notes that while the US MSM seem uninterested in this news, over in Britain The Guardian, was – and claimed that it meant deaths from General Tso’s Sickness were being undercounted.

Yeah… nah. We know enough about C-19 after two years to know that it’s not a big killer of this demographic.

Since we don’t live in a linear world, the death rates are not increasing at the same rate across the country.  At two ends of the spectrum, we have New Hampshire with no increase in the mortality rate for the 18-64 ages group and then we have Tennessee with a 61% increase!  I don’t know what explains the variations between states and regions, but neither does anybody else and somebody ought to be looking!

Weird. My guess would be that this huge increase in death rates among the working population is related to C-19, not in the way the Grundian claims, but arising from multiple factors related to a loss of health care access due to the various lockdowns, mandates and other strategies and tactics used to combat the virus.

Written by Tom Hunter

February 15, 2022 at 9:29 am

The US Left loses Maher

Bill Maher will never vote Republican – but at the rate he’s going he may never vote Democrat again either. Judging by the polls he’s not the only one.

The Left in the US, and in many parts of the English-speaking world, have loved the US comedian and late night talk-show host for a couple of decades.

Unlike his staid and controlled competition on the broadcast networks, Maher’s cable show has allowed him to be “edgy” in topics and language. As a self- confessed, drug-using Libertine atheist with no kids who supports all the classic socially liberal causes like abortion, LGBT rights, etc, Maher has been very much the enemy of the Republicans and Social conservatives, especially Christians and has been celebrated for ripping them in his acerbic style. Now it’s the Democrat’s turn.

[I’ll] break out my coach hat and try to point the Democrats in the right direction. That’s all I can do. Point you in the right direction. I’m like Deep Throat. Cause the way this party is running for office is making me gag.

But it’s wider than the Democrats. When it comes to the US Left in general, Maher appears to have hit his limits and after some confusion his audience of clapping seals seems to be moving with him on a number of issues. Herewith some quick takes.

“I’m just asking how much wrong do you get to be while still holding the default setting for people who represent – ‘the science?’”

On the feckless twat of a Canadian PM, Justin Trudeau.

This one’s a doozy on the $800 billion Paycheck Protection Bill and where that money went – almost 3/4 of it went to the top 20% of income earners in the USA.

But all this has been building for a while. In January, Maher absolutely destroyed Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor:

“I mean, that’s really ignorant for a Supreme Court justice. So don’t be the ‘We’re the people who believe in science,’ but you don’t have the facts!

I read this before, like 41 percent of Democrats last year thought that over 50 percent of people who got COVID were hospitalized. It was less than one percent!

This is I think where Democrats look bad. Like, ‘We’re the people of science’ and then a lot of what they do has nothing to do with science like suggesting you wear masks outside. There’s no science to that.

Or that the virus can get me when I’m walking in a restaurant but not when I’m sitting down. There’s so much mindless bureaucracy! [NBA star and anti-mandate] Kyrie Irving can play on the road but not home games!’ That— it’s just stupid!

To be fair, Sotomayor wasn’t chosen for the Supreme Court as anything other than a “Wise Latina”.

In September of 2021, in a truly beautiful beatdown, Maher ripped Socialist Barbie™ Democrat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.) and the entire Democrat Party a new one, this time over wokeness:

“[AOC rejected Carville’s analysis, claiming ‘wokeness’ is a term] almost exclusively used by older people these days … so that should tell you all you need to know.”

“What?! This is a term folks like you brought out very recently, had been proudly displaying it every march since. Just last year, The Guardian declared ‘woke’ the ‘word of our era.’ I guess they didn’t get the memo from the Mean Girls Club.

“What a great strategy, never missing an opportunity to remind voters how lame and clueless and hopelessly cool they are, especially since those are the ones who actually vote.

But OK, fine. What word would you like us to use for the plainly insane excesses of the left that are not liberalism but something completely different?”

Finally, there was his classic takedown in October 2021 of Biden’s ill-fated “Build Bolshevism Better” monstrosity, in addition to the disastrous Biden Border Crisis™.

“Canada is much more to the right than we are on immigration. You have to have a skill — that’s mostly what it’s based on. Ours is mostly based on family [and race]. And it’s odd because we still can’t find enough workers in this country.”

“It’s interesting. Because I keep reading about the Build Back Better bill. They want — we can’t — we don’t have enough workers, even if we passed it tomorrow. And because of all these supply chain problems, we don’t have building supplies. So, how are we going to build back better if we have no workers and no supplies?”

Bill Maher will never vote Republican – but at the rate he’s going he may never vote Democrat again either. Judging by the polls he’s not the only one.

Written by Tom Hunter

February 14, 2022 at 9:15 am

Has something happened here in NZ?

I ask because I encountered some news about this country while doing my morning reading of US blogs and news sites.

Something about all of NZ going to “Red” – whatever the hell that means. The person writing the post was laughing about it, which I thought rather mean but then they’re living in Florida so understandable.

Anyway, my kids will fill me in on the news, which they get from their friends. Don’t know the details yet but since the criteria for what we’re about to enter has been ignored (health system under massive strain) then I figure all the prescribed restrictions also mean shit and we just live as if we’re in L4 Lockdown again?

I must admit that at times like this I’m very grateful for the lifestyle I’ve been leading for some years now, in that it makes very little difference to me. Oh well. Onward with Omicron.

Make sure you’re N95 mask is properly fitted at all times (especially when you’re outside), carry hand sanitiser at all times – and get your second booster shot asap.

Just a reminder of what all these health and safety precautions are saving us from, courtesy of the CDC in the USA.

Written by Tom Hunter

January 23, 2022 at 1:20 pm

Sad Stats and a world of unending fear

Perhaps scary would be a better word. These being from the USA: Ten Statistics to Ruin Your Day.

Obviously there are pragmatic things like the $28 trillion debt of the USA and the increasing problems of getting military recruits because of obesity, other health problems and 10% of the pool (17-24 years old) having criminal records.

But these were the ones that I found sad:

1. The nuclear family fades in the USA:
According to a Pew Research study, the United States has the highest number of children living in single-parent households.  Almost one-fourth (23%) of children in the U.S. under the age of 18 live with one parent and no other adult, which is the highest in the world.

3. Tens of millions can’t read:
More than 30 million adults in the United States cannot read, write, or do basic math above a third-grade level.

5. We’re not having kids:
America’s total fertility rate fell in 2020 to just 1.67 births per female, the lowest in history, and well below the replacement level of 2.1.

Given the fading of the family that last is not surprising. But then there is perhaps the saddest of all – which feeds right back in the 1st.

8. But we’re lonely: A poll of 1,254 adults aged 18 and older found that 27 percent of Millennials have no close friends, 25 percent have no “acquaintances,” and 22 percent — or 1 in 5 — have no buddies at all.

Lindsay Mitchell addressed some aspect of this in her post, “Millennial Fetal Contentment”:

When enough Millennials reached young adulthood in the 2010s they cried out in pain. The real world wasn’t like the highly structured environments of their daycare centers or schools. Suicide, self-harm, depression, deviancy, drugs, self-mutilation (eg tatooing,) shock-hair colouring, and piercings became epidemic. When enough young Millennials had the chance to be an influence they promoted ‘Safe Spaces’ and Feminism and Gender Pronouns and Climate Change Catastrophisation and Racism to try to change their uncomfortable world into a place they felt at home.

When the world hurts you, and especially when you find you can’t control everything about even your small part of that world, you withdraw from it. The online world has the best safety since it is the most controllable by you. Lindsay finishes her piece with this:

The Millennial dream is everyone else’s nightmare.

She means in terms of control but what those stats above tell us is that another nightmare will be upon us before long where we don’t have enough young(ish) people, especially enough capable people, to power the world forward.

There are more than a few in the West who perhaps rather like that idea.

This slow destruction started decades ago:

In March of 1970, Anne Bernays penned a piece titled “What Are You Supposed to Do if You Like Children?”[1]  Her target was the Women’s Liberation Movement that was ushering in ideas that “men are sexual vampires, [and] marriage is stunting and exploitative.”

Those women who are “willing to acknowledge the remotest emotional obligation to husband and children, especially to children during their fragile first five or six years of life … can’t summon the time, physical energy, and psychic equipment to do two jobs simultaneously.  You can’t split a woman’s life down the middle and expect each half, like a severed worm, to go happily crawling off, to survive and function in perfect health.”

Yet that is exactly what has been demanded of most women as they valiantly try to raise a family and work outside their homes.  Or they simply decide that children are not worth their time or effort, or some other agency is left to the care and development of their children.

What I find incredible is that this feminism I grew up with in the 1980’s, that every one of my female friends supported, has not made women happier, as it was supposed to do.

And now women are being erased from many spaces by the transgender movement, to the horror of feminists, even though it was their ideas that started the ball rolling:

… it was Shulamith Firestone in the 1970s  who wrote that it has “become necessary to free humanity from the tyranny of its biology” and “eliminate the sex distinction itself [so that] genital differences between human beings would no longer matter culturally.”  Ultimately, Firestone asserted that the “blood tie of the mother to the child would eventually be severed,” and the “disappearance of motherhood” would follow.

Wish fulfilled, as the article points out by noting the steady legalisation of eliminating or marginalising oppressive words like father, mother, parents, son, daughter, and so forth: replaced by “gender-neutral language”. And the “legal” aspect is nasty, as this article noted:

Whereas the gay rights movement was about demanding more freedom from the state for people to determine their sex lives unconstrained by the law, the transgender movement demands the opposite: it calls for recognition and protection from the state in the form of intervention to regulate the behaviour of those outside of the identity group. Whereas in the past, to be radical was to demand greater freedom from the state and institutional authority, today to be radical is to demand restrictions on free expression in the name of preventing offence.

Exactly. With force of law.

Going back to the sad stats of the Millennials, many of whom are driving the Woke movement, the question must arise of how this has been affected by our two-year Pandemic Panic? There have been a couple of occasions where huge blackouts in New York City have led to baby booms nine months later, but I’ve yet to see the same from our lockdowns anywhere in the Western world. What’s different this time aside from a longer period of “nothing else to do”? Over at the NYT, David Brooks does not have an answer to any of this but points out that:

Not only is reckless driving on the rise, Yglesias pointed out, but the number of altercations on airplanes has exploded, the murder rate is surging in cities, drug overdoses are increasing, Americans are drinking more, nurses say patients are getting more abusive, and so on and so on. … Teachers are facing a rising tide of disruptive behavior. …

What the hell is going on? The short answer: I don’t know. I also don’t know what’s causing the high rates of depression, suicide and loneliness that dogged Americans even before the pandemic and that are the sad flip side of all the hostility and recklessness I’ve just described.

Well the massive increase in the murder rate is down to the sort of Democrat cities that Brooks loves, the hangovers from the Antifa/Burn Loot Murder riots of 2020, and idiot theories of law enforcement. But the rest of it probably has a lot to do with the response of TPTB to Chinese Xi Snot.

Sadly these effects may not go away anytime soon in our “post-Covid world”, at least judging by this argument from Commentary magazine, The Atlantic’s Nervous Breakdown:

The Atlantic reader who visits the website rather than simply journeying there through social-media links is turned into a doom-scroller, confronted time and again as she journeys down the homepage with headlines like this one: “America Is Running Out of Time.” Note how the title lacks specificity; it doesn’t need specificity, because this is what nearly every article in the Atlantic is about. (A recent feature in the January/February print issue of the magazine was titled, simply, “Are We Doomed?”)

“Bring Back the Nervous Breakdown,” urged a 2021 article. And so Goldberg’s Atlantic has. An astonishingly large number of stories in both the print and online versions of the magazine now focus on the irrational feelings of a very particular and privileged class of people—elite, left-of-center, educated people who ironically believe themselves too sophisticated to be emotionally manipulated like the unwashed Fox-viewing masses they abhor.

Pieces like Ian Bogost’s essay “I’m Starting to Give Up on Post-Pandemic Life” typify the Atlantic’s panic porn—the titillating personal account of a distorted negative emotional experience described lubriciously with no observable larger social purpose.

I read that last article. My advice is that you should not. A godawful piece of existentially painful navel gazing from a self-absorbed twat, who just happens to be “an American academic and video game designer.” He’s not alone: the article looks at another Atlantic writer, Alexis Madrigal, who caught Covid at a wedding despite being fully vaxxed, and promptly had a meltdown:

“The life disruption—the logistical pain you cause those around you—is now a major part of any bad scenario. As I write this, I’m now 10 days past my first symptoms, but I continue to test positive on antigen tests, and so I have not returned home. I haven’t hugged my kids for 10 days.”

He experienced only mild illness, his kids never got sick, and yet:

Madrigal’s conclusion isn’t that he might have overreacted in his risk assessment. He doesn’t even entertain that possibility. Rather, he doubles down on the idea of living in permanent emotional lockdown because of COVID: “Things aren’t likely to change that much for quite some time. Even after however many kids get vaccinated, there will still be breakthrough infections. Other variants could spread. Maybe we’re in this space for another year or two or three.”

Christ! What a hideous fate for a grand old American magazine that made its name during the US Civil War and was still an excellent read just twenty years ago.

FFS, we’re certainly never going to have a “post-pandemic world” if it’s heavily influenced by people like this, and while it’s tempting for me to make scathing observations about the modern writers of The Atlantic, the terrible truth is that there are apparently millions of people in Western nations that have been driven as insane as this – including New Zealand, judging by the frightened hordes lining up this week to get their little kids jabbed.

Despite this doom and gloom I will finish with this hopeful quote:

Human nature possesses an irreducible—or, if you will, an irremedial—capacity for resisting domination. We humans will not accept an harmonious arrangement of our lives that denies us all freedom to act as individuals. . . . We will not recognize as good any course of action that annihilates our sense of responsibility for the course of our lives. We cannot care for a world, however ostensibly good, in which we cannot recognize ourselves, or any whom we love.

Written by Tom Hunter

January 20, 2022 at 6:00 am

Advice to Kiwis returning home

As sorry as I have felt for the thousands of Kiwis stranded overseas, desperate to return home, but stymied by the MIQ lottery system, it seems that there are legal ways around it.

As far as I know the rather clever and wonderfully nasty lawyer, Cactus Kate, first put forward this argument back on November 18, 2021 with her post How To Get Home For Christmas…. Even then it appears she was piggy backing off a series of Mathew Hooton Tweets and judging from the comments there were more than a few people already aware of it. I can only guess that many people did not want it to be further advertised.

However, with yesterday’s announcement from the government that MIQ booking is going to be “temporarily” closed because of the approaching Omicron Terror (announced via Tweet), it appears that lawyers have decided to start publicising this method, starting with one Tudor Clee in a guest post at Kiwiblog: Are Kiwis too scared to come home? The border is wide open.

Tudor Clee is apparently an Auckland based Barrister who assisted 30 pregnant couples through the MIQ system including filing 8 Judicial Reviews pro bono to obtain MIQ vouchers.

The basic strategy is no different than that outlined earlier; you buy an airline ticket transiting through Auckland to somewhere else (Fiji, LA), then just change your mind after landing in Auckland and decide not to fly on. As a New Zealand citizen you can’t be deported or anything else, just escorted to your lovely MIQ waiting area.

But her article contains more detail on what’s involved here, especially the stunts pulled by the government on all this. As she says:

No citizen is stopped entering. Let me say this one more time, no citizen is stopped entering.

In other words, despite various claims, the Labour government is not breaching Section 18 of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 – being the right to enter New Zealand.

So how have they managed to avoid that, while also “stopping” thousands of Kiwis returning as is their right?

The first course of action was to provide misleading information on their own websites.

https://covid19.govt.nz/travel/international-travel-and-transit/transit-through-new-zealand/

This page discusses transiting in New Zealand. It states:

“You can only transit New Zealand through Auckland International Airport, where you must stay in the transit area of the airport. You cannot apply to enter New Zealand.”

It doesn’t provide an asterisk to advise New Zealand citizens that they don’t need to ‘apply’ to enter New Zealand and cannot be held in a transit area. The ambiguity helps maintain the falsehood that the border is shut to Kiwis.

The second course of action is to maintain the high level of fear for all travellers. One person told me her friend said the transit passengers were ‘escorted by armed Police’ as if to ensure no one make’s a break for it.  

Clever, clever. As she points out, most people just are not familiar with the law, but “armed Police” aside the simple fact is that the government cannot criminalise a citizen just for entering the country:

If a Police Officer of Immigration Officer attempted to ‘hold’ a citizen in a transit lounge they would at best only be sued for false imprisonment and likely fired – and at worst criminally prosecuted for kidnapping. 

She also deals to frightening threat of being fined $1000 for “infringing” the system – entering without an MIQ voucher:

A breach of a requirement where the worst potential outcome of the breach is a possibility of transmitting or spreading COVID-19 or limiting the capability of the public health response, which does not otherwise meet the description for low risk or high risk.

How this is arrived at is not explained.  Every single traveller has a ‘worst potential outcome’ of transmitting COVID as we have seen with foreign DJ’s who freely enter the country, break the rules and even then are still not prosecuted.

It also doesn’t ‘limit’ the public health response – it makes use of it.  MIQ was set up for overseas citizens returning – and these are overseas citizens returning.

In my view the infringement is challengeable in Court – paying a fine to enter your own country, or for the Government’s failure to plan a public health response 2 years into a pandemic, doesn’t seem like the kind of thing that would hold up in court.

Ms Clee has apparently decided that enough is enough in the wake of yesterday’s bullshit announcement and decided to start publicising this legal work-around as far and as wide as possible in the face of MSM and Social Media (meaning FaceTwit) indifference or compliance with silence on the issue.

Actually now that I think about it, don’t National and ACT have some rather clever lawyers working for them? Haven’t they figured this out yet, and if so, why haven’t they promoted this? A stick in the eye for the Labour government and the gratitude of thousands of returning Kiwis, plus their rellies here in NZ. Luxon and Seymour could even meet them when they’re finally released from MIQ: what a TV and photo opportunity that would be.

Consider this post as No Minister helping in that effort. If you have rellies stuck overseas, spread the word.

Written by Tom Hunter

January 19, 2022 at 11:44 am