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Posts Tagged ‘Covid-19 Masks

The Mask. Always the Mask.

with 5 comments

There’s growing evidence around the world of increased mental health problems, especially among the young, resulting from two years of lockdowns, social isolation, school closures and masking.

However, amidst this problem is the fact that we may also have created a new group of people who now can’t imagine living any other way. This likely includes the fringe of hypochondriacs who have always been with us, but this doesn’t feel like a fringe when you see stuff like this on Twitter and other places.

The final comment surely must be mockery. At least I hope it is.

Written by Tom Hunter

May 19, 2022 at 1:00 pm

No mas. No masquerade

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The wheels of justice grind slowly but grind exceedingly fine.

Frankly I don’t believe that famous quote, having observed too many instances of the gap between the law and justice yawning exceedingly wide and never being reconciled in any time frame that mattered to people. The only saving grace being that it applies to when justice is served and when it is not, although even then there are cyclical periods of time for each.

In this case a couple of days ago US District Court Judge Kathryn Mizelle, ruled that the CDC failed to properly explain its decision to impose the mandate or follow proper rule making procedures and that therefore the Federal mask mandate could not be legally imposed in airports, planes and other transport:

Almost immediately, Alaska Airlines announced that masks would be optional for travelers and employees alike. United Airlines quickly followed suit, announcing that masks were no longer required on domestic flights and select international flights, depending upon the arrival country’s requirements. American Airlines, Delta Airlines, or Southwest Airlines — the three carriers with the most passengers pre-pandemic — also made masks optional on Monday night.

You can get a sense of the reaction with the announcement being made mid-flight in some cases. Nice to see the reaction of the crews as well…

Now the news is not all good. Some individual states are continuing with the insanity in the public transport systems they control, and while the Biden administration immediately announced a cease fire they have not surrendered and may appeal the decision to a higher court. To which my response is Lose Harder In November, Assholes. Also, Judge Mizelle accepted the CDC’s argument that masks may help prevent infection, despite them having accepted that the common, disposable cloth masks do not. In which case she may wish to read this article on the failure of masks and look at these graphs from it:

The [left] graph tracks the results of a natural experiment that occurred nationwide during the pandemic. Eleven states never mandated masks, while the other 39 states enforced mandates. The mandates typically began early in the pandemic in 2020 and remained until at least the summer of 2021, with some extending into 2022. The black line on the graph shows the weekly rate of Covid cases in all the states with mask mandates that week, while the orange line shows the rate in all the states without mandates.

As you can see from the near identical trajectories of the lines, mask mandates made no difference, and certainly did not control the virus. The article waspishly notes the early triumphant squawking of the MSM for states with extremely high mask compliance – that went on to suffer terrible C-19 case and death surges.

[The right graph] compares Germany with Sweden, the media’s Covid villain for refusing to lock down or mandate masks. Sweden’s initial Covid surge was blamed on those lax policies, but Sweden stuck to them and actually discouraged masks in most situations. As indicated on the graph, surveys during the pandemic showed that fewer than 10 percent of Swedes bothered to wear masks. In Germany, by contrast, more than 80 percent did so, but look at the similar trajectories of the daily Covid death toll in both countries from the summer of 2020 through March of this year.

I’ve already covered much of this ground in previous posts (The Mask Narrative crumbles contains links to other such posts), including graphs for places like Hawaii as far back as 2020 that showed the futility of masks.

The article notes that a resistance to mask mandates went back even further and very much included Public Health bodies.

In their pre-Covid planning strategies for a pandemic, neither the Centers for Disease Control nor the World Health Organization had recommended masking the public—for good reason. Randomized clinical trials involving flu viruses had shown, contrary to popular wisdom in Japan and other Asian countries, that there was “no evidence that face masks are effective in reducing transmission,” as the WHO summarized the scientific literature. The pandemic planners at the United Kingdom’s Department of Health had reached a similar conclusion: “In line with the scientific evidence, the Government will not stockpile facemasks for general use in the community.”

In going with politics instead of science they’re hardly alone. If you’re a subscriber to the NYT (and we know some of our readers proudly are) then you’ll probably be shocked and surprised to find that the following Tweet…

… actually resulted in a NYT reporter, one Victoria Kim, trying to contact him about the horror, only to be informed that it was satire. Ms Kim was raised in Seoul and is a Harvard graduate in history.

She is also an utter fucking moron.

But as usual she and the NYT were running with the Left’s narrative, in this case masks, and you can see why in The 5 Most Unhinged Responses to the End of the Travel Mask Mandate, although I prefer humourist James Lileks list and his takes on them:

I know, I know, my mask protects you, your mask protects me. If you are wearing a mask, the virus cannot pass through it. But if you are not wearing a mask, the virus can float over to where I am, and pass through my mask.

They walk among us, and from my everyday observations I’d say we have a higher proportion in NZ.

Written by Tom Hunter

April 21, 2022 at 6:00 am

Hats Off to (Roy) Harper

with 2 comments

We’re not quite at the point of being able to not talk about the Chinese Lung Rot virus but it’s getting closer.

In the meantime I saw the claim over on Newshub while checking on today’s death count that, “A good rule of thumb is to wear a mask in indoor public settings as we know that mask use halves the risk of spread of COVID-19″

Well, actually it’s 53% according to that British study that Hipkins keeps referring to, which was not a Randomised Control Trial (the gold standard) but yet another observational study that was immediately pointed out as a claim that could not be made based on its own data. To be fair the authors acknowledged that RCT’s would have to be done. To be unfair fourteen RCT’s already have been done over the years, including one during Covid and the conclusions were that masks were useless against such a virus.

You have to wonder if our journalists even read things like the Washington Post, where even they recently concluded that “Mask Mandates Didn’t Make Much of a Difference”, or simply asked how “halving the risk” could be concluded when the case number growth on a chart was almost vertical in NZ, as it was elsewhere. Or looked at something like this:

Perhaps that should have been turned into a t-shirt.

Other data continues to accumulate.

On all aspects of the virus and the vaccination cure. The following is probably just a coincidence, one of those correlation vs. causation questions that pop up all the time in science.

On a different topic this one is a hoot.

If you assume that having a society that’s increasingly tolerant of LGBTQ+ folks is what’s behind the numbers of such people for Gen Z, you’d have to wonder why it’s not lifting the numbers in other generations as people come out of the closet, especially the next closest in time, Millennials. The reason is that Gen Z has been bombarded with this since they were young. The Jesuits once said “give us a child till he’s 7 and we’ll have him for life”, the Libs of TikTok have documented that trans teachers are fanatical about this stuff and…
Can’t.
Stop.
Talking about it.

Maybe that’s Why American Teens Are So Sad:

The United States is experiencing an extreme teenage mental-health crisis. From 2009 to 2021, the share of American high-school students who say they feel “persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness” rose from 26 percent to 44 percent, according to a new CDC study. This is the highest level of teenage sadness ever recorded

With the Disney-Florida shitstorm there was a sudden outburst of people complaining about the Right calling such teachers and their enablers “groomers”. Apparently it’s hurtful and nasty to compare groomers to people who want to talk to small children about sex while keeping that secret from the parents. I appreciated this response, although you have to be familiar with the theory of White Fragility to get it.

I think Disney have chosen poorly,

Especially given that this fight is coming up again, and this time I wouldn’t bet on GOP Senators and members of Congress being quite so friendly to a corporation.

But perhaps Disney doesn’t care about The Mouse anymore:

Disney isn’t for kids anymore. Its movie business is dominated by Marvel blockbusters. Half of Disney+ subscribers, its big bet on the home streaming future, are adults with no children.

What about the theme parks?

60% of Disneyland visitors were adults with no children. Only 36.7% of Disney World visitors had children under 18. The largest demographic for the theme parks, like the movies, are millennials. They are also members of the fandoms who are likeliest to spend money on licensed merchandise, and on toys and movie tie-ins that are Disney’s bread and butter.

Written by Tom Hunter

April 15, 2022 at 7:00 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

Failed solutions, Moral Cruelty and Advertising

with 11 comments

“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”.

It takes a crisis…

with 3 comments

… to finally put a stop to another crisis.

In this case the Russian invasion of Ukraine looks like it will be the final push needed to shove the Great Chinese Lung Rot Pandemic into history after more than two years of hysteria.

That and shitty polls (USA, more on that in a bit) – or banking problems (Canada), that caused Trudeau to dump the emergency powers about twenty four hours after Parliament granted them, clearly seeing a run on the banks as people feared they might be next to have accounts frozen for crossing him.

Like a lot of other things about the Pandemic, the damage to Canadian banks could be long-term; after all, why would you now risk having a Canadian bank account unless you have no choice?

Over in perhaps the worst European nation, Austria, the politicians went from a dark night of pushing through laws demanding 100% vaccine mandates, plus fines, in mid-February – to dumping them by March 5th. Even in NZ some cracks started to appear, as with this article about Ardern from a former fangirl, From saint to sinner:

No wonder I voted for her – twice. But times have changed.

Once saintly, Jacinda now appears merely silly, having led New Zealand to a place that looks more like a smug cul-de-sac than a nation wholly reliant on overseas tourism and trade. Then again, long-term strategic thinking was never a feature of her government’s Covid response, with “elimination” taking precedence over vaccination for much of 2021.  

Incidentally in the comments of that article I see that eternal Labour bootlicker, Russell Brown, had crawled out from whatever obscure rock he lives under nowadays, to fight for his beloved Wonder Girl who must be supported 100%, 24/7/365, and with the usual accusations of racism, natch.

But as usual it’s the USA I’m most interested in and, as I pointed out here, here, here and here, governments around the world would only start slacking off on their Chinese Lung Rot restrictions when polls began to turn against them. Back on February 11, one of the D.C. insiders, Politico, saw that the Mid-Term elections were coming hard and nasty – and for once was willing to call the bullshit of The ScienceTM that would be attached:

Democrats are making a U-turn on mask mandates, just in time for the midterms.

It’s happening among the party’s governors, several of whom are easing up their masking rules as Covid’s Omicron wave fades. And it’s happening on the Hill, where Democrats are suddenly lining up to call for rollbacks of the nation’s most noticeable pandemic-era rule.

People had fun with this:

Things became even more fun when Brandon’s very own pollster found out that his Covid Zero policy was hated by Americans and advised that it was time to declare victory and move on. See part of the pollster’s memo below:

That’s why President Oatmeal Brain went from this…

… to all that unity mush in his sad little SOTU the other day.

Even some factual stuff was permitted to see the light of day in more public media areas, starting with RealClearInvestigations:

Correction, Mr. President: This Is a Deadly Pandemic of the Vaccinated Too
Despite promises from President Biden and top health officials that COVID-19 vaccines would prevent severe illness, death, and perhaps even transmission of the virus, data indicate that thousands of Americans are dying from the disease even after having been vaccinated.

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla made the same point more bluntly in an interview with Yahoo News on January 10, 2022. “We know that two dose[s] of the vaccine offer very limited protection, if any,” he said. “The three doses with a booster … offer reasonable protection against hospitalization and deaths, and against deaths I think very good.”

That’s a very solid article, especially as it also takes the CDC to task for not releasing vast amounts of data lest it “be misinterpreted as the vaccines being ineffective.”  Yes, even at this stage we can’t have that.

Meanwhile CNN’s favourite TV doctor, Leena Wen, came out and started talking about the damage being done to kids with all the Zoom learning and mask-wearing, especially among pre-schoolers, citing a new study about major developmental delays in schoolchildren.

You.

Don’t.

Say.

But I thought kids were resilient? At least that’s what the American school teacher unions and their Democrat Party servants assured us. Moreover Wen should know about the outer limits of resiliency in children as she used to run Planned Parenthood. She’s got hands-on experience testing their physical resiliency.

But aside from polling, political and “new” medical analysis, the best example of how bad things are for the Democrats and how their supporters are gagging to get them turned away from General Tso’s Sickness mandates, there’s always Saturday Night Live.

SNL has been shit for two decades and I’ll warn you now that this one is cringe-worthy, even though it has the very funny John Mulaney in it (VPN may be needed to view it). It’s a dinner party skit about six left wingers discussing whether …. masks and vaccines were actually necessary, and the social reactions associated with raising such topics in the land of the smug and certain. Amazing how quickly the pivot has happened.

But that skit showcases one of the big problems the Democrats are going to have with this pivot, their own base can’t go back to normal – and not just on masks.

The question for New Zealand is when the same thing will happen here, especially given the steady slide of Labour in the polls to the point where the seats are Labour/Green 54/120, National/ACT 63/120.

I’ve said for some time that as useful to the government as this fear factor has been, driven both by them and our hysterical media, it would actually start to bite them in the ass when the inevitable return to normality began.

I reckon about 20% of our population continue to be scared shitless by this virus, despite Omicron’s well-established mildness, them being triple-vaxxed and so forth. I see it in people’s behaviour every day; you still see people wearing masks outdoors or while driving alone, scanning in (when the government has dumped the people who were tracking and tracing), and so forth.

I also look at examples like Chris Trotter’s petting zoo at his blog; they’re still pissed about Jacinda lifting the Level 4 lockdown late last year, convinced that it could have worked a second trick and obtained “Covid-Zero” with the Delta variant. If they still believe that in the face of their own political heroes giving up on it then what else will they have a hard time letting go of?

The Mask Narrative crumbles

with 4 comments

Anybody who has actually done research into the effectiveness of masks against the Chinese Lung Snot virus – whether that research is looking at medical papers studying control groups (Masquerade, The Hunger Masks, Mask Pornography), or the metadata of case numbers vs. mask mandates for entire nations and US states – will have known since at least mid-2020 that masks are bloody useless.

But for people who do nothing but read, watch and listen to the MSM, things like this headline from the Washington Post must come as a hell of a shock.

It is intuitive that a barrier ought to prevent germs from being emitted into the air. But if that’s true, why isn’t there more evidence for the benefits of masking two years into the pandemic? Experts associated with The Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota have laid out a more complex analysis: Given the current understanding that the virus is transmitted in fine aerosol particles, it’s likely an infectious dose could easily get through and around loose-fitting cloth or surgical masks.

As I said, this is not new. FFS, In April 2021 none other than Biden coronavirus advisor Michael Osterholm talked about the ineffectiveness of most of the cloth masks that people were wearing in regards to the virus.

Cosmetic, Virtue-signalling bullshit – but fully encouraged by New Zealand’s Public Health “experts”, who are apparently superior to any such others in the world, as are our epidemiologists like the fanatic from Otago, Professor Baker.

All those factors may explain why the states with mask mandates haven’t fared significantly better than the 35 states that didn’t impose them during the omicron wave. Rhode Island, where I live, has had a mask mandate since mid-December; nonetheless, we saw our January surge rise far higher than any other state. There’s little evidence that mask mandates are the primary reason the pandemic waves eventually fall — though much of the outrage over lifting mandates is based on that assumption.

Nothing like a personal experience to make you wonder if you’ve been bullshitted all this time.

Then there are the control fanatics who include in vast numbers, as you have guessed, school teachers like this creep.

To be fair there are any number of parents – especially mothers and especially in New Zealand from what I’ve seen – who are full on for vaccinating their young kids and masking them up at school.

Obviously there are lot like that in the US as well, but being the sort of people they are, there are also a lot of parents, even in Deep Blue states like New York and New Jersey, who are starting push back on this crap.

Many of them fully supported a lot of the mandates and are now rather shocked at the headwinds they’re running into from their (former) fanatical comrades, thus learning the lesson of collectives all over again.

She and others need to keep pushing. They’ll be rewarded by heart-warming scenes like this.

Written by Tom Hunter

February 18, 2022 at 12:26 pm

Personal Protest coverage from Lindsay Mitchell

with 6 comments

Obviously there’s a lot of coverage of the Wellington Anti-mandate protests on Social Media site like Facebook/Twitter, but I should have been checking out Lindsay Mitchell’s blog as she’s had quite a few posts with personal observations and links to social media.

From the parliamentary occupation site this morning, a row of caricatures. I guess to the protestors the parties are indistinguishable. Their response is uniform. ‘We want you to go away.’ By my first-hand observation and conversations with protestors, be assured. They will not.

To be amongst the protestors is both calming and exhilarating. There’s a strong sense of trust in one another which has been long denied by lockdown separations, physical distancing and masking. People are working together to overcome adversities thrown at them by nature or the state. They know here, they can talk freely. For the first time in ages they actually feel safe in a physical community beyond the internet. 

But MPs – all of them – want you believe the protestors are ‘unsafe.’ That the city streets are being made unsafe by their presence. Now the protest site is ‘unhygienic’ and ‘contamination’ lurks. Faeces has been spotted (so have many well-cared for dogs attached to the protestors.)

Those who long ago lost trust in government can recognise alarmist media reporting and political propaganda when they see it.  

I’d choose to sit with these people any day over a parliamentary select committee.

Or Protest Day 8: Answer me this:

Where is the Maori Party when so many of the protestors are their whanau?

Where is the ACT Party when so many of the protestors are pleading for our legislated freedoms?

Where are the Greens, the very party of protest?

Where is Labour with a list ranking full of so-called activists?

Any ideas?

Oh I’ve got at least a couple of ideas about all this:

Crystallization, Madness and Tyranny

It is a fascinating moment when this sort of crystallization happens in a mass culture like America’s, because seemingly overnight even the definition of legitimate speech (or thought or action) also changes. Tocqueville observed that quite abruptly a person can no longer express opinions or raise questions that only days before were acceptable, even though no facts of the matter have changed. At an individual level, people who were within the bounds can be surprised to find themselves “tormented by the slights and persecutions of daily obloquy.” Once this occurs, he wrote, “your fellow-creatures will shun you like an impure being, and those who are most persuaded of your innocence will abandon you too, lest they should be shunned in their turn.”

Freedom and other anti-government slogans

The US Left loses Maher

with 5 comments

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

Two crises, same response.

with one comment

It’s often said that a photo is worth a thousand words, but there are few photos that convey the same message about two different and vast crises afflicting humanity.

That’s Barack Obama, photographed talking with a bunch of construction workers about the work on his new multi-million dollar beachfront house in Hawaii. To be fair he’s probably fairly confident about the oceans not overflowing his mansion because of his ascension to the Whitehouse way back in 2008 – which is why he also owns another mansion at Martha’s Vineyard, about 1m above sea level in Massachusetts.

This was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.

The other thing about that photo is that Obama does not have a mask on while all the lowly construction workers and others do. He’s not alone in that.

Obama knows that the oceans won’t rise in any significant way over the next decades or even centuries, just as he knows he’s not at serious risk of dying from COVID.

But it’s very important that the little people be frightened enough of these and other things so that they can be more easily controlled, for their own good of course.