No Minister

Posts Tagged ‘Police State

A superior vaccine passport

There seems to be a lot of chatter on Social Media and blogs as to what form our new vaccine passports will take.

I’ve posted about this before and using the online game Papers Please, (You can start practicing now)

But over at the blog, Bassett, Brash and Hide, I see Rodney has a post on the subject, “Papers”:

That demand is now a fait accompli. Before the year’s out we will need to carry our papers or digital ID everywhere we go. The police will be empowered to demand to see official documentation of who we are and our status. We could be innocently enjoying a cup of coffee when the police arrive for a spot check. “Papers!”

Is there anybody now willing to argue that this is hyperbole? For those who are demanding vaccine passports but saying they don’t agree with mandates I would simply point out the one is useless without the other.

Given that this incompetent government has often been caught spending millions of dollars on crap that goes nowhere it remains my hope that such incompetence will save us from totalitarianism.

I do hope that nobody in Wellington will take up this man’s suggestion, given that it would be cheap to implement, while bolstering our economic ties and eternal friendship with The Red Dragon:

On this front I was interested to read a recent article from Rod Dreher, who published a book called The Benedict Option several years ago:

“Today, a new post-Christian barbarism reigns. Many believers are blind to it, and their churches are too weak to resist. Politics offers little help in this spiritual crisis. What is needed is the Benedict Option, a strategy that draws on the authority of Scripture and the wisdom of the ancient church. The goal: to embrace exile from the mainstream culture and construct a resilient counterculture.”

The Amish were way ahead of him on that front.

Anyway, his latest piece is titled, The age of the Anti-Christ is here, and while I’m not big on that whole theme it does have some interesting things to say about where we are and where we are going. I was especially interested in a non-theological series he refers to called, You Are Harvest, by an Irishman named Paul Kingsnorth, which unfortunately is on a subscriber Substack forum. Judging by Dreher’s excerpts I might consider subscribing, as I have for Leftist Matt Tabbi.

Many people see few problems with the march of the digital machine through every aspect of our lives. Many people have simply forgotten what it feels like not to be pulled and pushed and tugged and directed every hour of the day by the demands of the glowing screen.

Many people are not paying attention.

Well, books aside, there are many people who might not have made it this far through lockdowns without their glowing screens, but I see his point:

A couple of friends came to visit us from England. We hadn’t seen them for nearly a decade, and they hadn’t travelled anywhere since the pandemic began, so they were blinking excitedly in the sunlight. They had taken the ferry across the Irish Sea, which had necessitated them performing a particular technological ritual, one which went beyond even the longstanding norm of scanning their digitally-enabled passports and sitting on a boat full of CCTV cameras.

This time they had to have their photo taken, and show their digital proof of vaccination. They also, for some reason they didn’t understand, had to recite a string of numbers into a recording device. If I were being paranoid – and these days I usually am – I would guess that this was part of the creation of an embryonic digital voice recognition system, which will be used in future to supplement the eyeball scans, passport chips and smartphone-enabled health certificates which are already forming the basis of our glorious future of freedom and plenty.

I also appreciate, amidst the cries and the jokes about Stalin, Nineteen Eighty Four and the like, Kingsnorth’s take on how this develops, via another, earlier writer named Ellul:

But then, if Ellul is right, this is the direction in which the reign of technique will ultimately take us: towards the dictatorship of the Machine. Claiming in 1964 that technique had already ‘rendered traditional democratic doctrines obsolete’, he suggested that the new way of seeing would overcome any democratic objections, and would always tend towards total control. ‘Efficiency is a fact’, he wrote wryly, ‘and justice a slogan.’ Technique, through sheer dominance, would accrue power to itself until there could be no rational argument (the only kind of argument now accepted) against controlling the minutiae of our lives for the greater good.

By using the word ‘totalitarian’, Ellul was not suggesting that all nations would become dictatorships, let alone adopt an ideological framework like Nazism or Marxism to guide them. In fact, he said, such ideologies interfere with the direction of technique, which seeks efficiency rather than ideology. ‘Totalitarian’, in this context, simply meant that it would be impossible to escape the Machine and its assumptions. Everywhere you looked, there it would be: staring you in the face, directing your actions, digging into every facet of your life, giving you fewer and fewer escape routes each year.

Closer and closer I hear that rough beast slouching towards us, but it has reigns and they are held by kindness.

Written by Tom Hunter

October 29, 2021 at 2:22 pm

Some proposed measures of totalitarianism and their application to an existing situation

Like a lot of ideology and politics there are terms thrown around with gay abandon which, sooner or later, descend into fights about definitions.

One of the oldest such fights is around one of the original forms of totalitarianism, “communism”. Starting with whether we’re talking the Upper or Lower-case version. Of course the failures of Communism, starting as soon as people tried to put it into practice in the USSR in the 1920’s, effectively chewed away any respect one might have had for the theory, especially as all the apologists were steadily revealed as either liars or fools.

The final renunciation came in 1991 with the collapse of the originator of Communism In Practice, the USSR. Moreover, since it was the vaunted People themselves who did the renunciation, who promptly uncovered decades of lies about almost everything the regime had done, and who revealed just how abjectly useless, cruel, stupid and clownish the whole thing had been, the best possible emotion that appeared was not disgust and condemnation (although there was that), but laughter and ridicule.

As a result almost nobody calls themselves a communist nowadays. Almost. There’s still North Korea of course, but Real Communists denounce that as State Capitalism, even as the Hermit Kingdom also castigates its huge neighbour, China, as having lost the faith.

Meantime, the same sort of definitional fights are happening all over again with things like “Woke” (“nobody over 30 should use it”), Cancel Culture, Trans-issues and Critical Race Theory. The latter – now that pushback is happening – is being argued as merely another theory from the halls of academia: take no notice of what it has been turned into for US K-12 schools and corporate HR departments, where “White = Racist” is taught to little kids and senior managers alike.

Such things can’t be totalitarian, can they?

Rather than wasting time getting into definitional arguments framed by the people pushing all these theories and making excuses for them, the famous US economist Thomas Sowell, in his 1996 book, Knowledge And Decisions (which I strongly recommend be read) proposed seven features by which totalitarianism can be identifed. Note that most, but not all, of these can apply in bodies outside of the State.

  1. “the localization of evil in Jews, capitalists, or some other group – so that comprehensive political solutions to age-old human problems seem feasible within a reasonable time horizon by surgically removing the offending group, leaving a healthy body politic intact”.
  2. “the localization of wisdom, to explain why this miraculous cure has escaped so many minds for so many centuries, as well as explaining the necessity for superseding democratic institutions and beliefs”
  3. “a single scale of values by which priorities may arranged in every field of human endeavor, to be achieved ‘at all cost’”
  4. “the presupposition of sufficient knowledge to achieve whatever goal may be projected”
  5. “the urgency of the ‘problem’ to be ‘solved’ so that ruthlessness is the lesser of two evils”
  6. “a psychic identification with millions, whose opinions may nevertheless be disregarded and whose lives may be sacrificed in the cause, without feelings of guilt”
  7. the creation of “a self-enclosed system, to exclude alternative views and visions” and “convert questions of fact into questions of motive”

So let’s apply this to our current situation in New Zealand.

Looks like a good fit, and I didn’t even mention the $110 million of government-funded MSM support.

Written by Tom Hunter

October 24, 2021 at 5:25 pm

You can start practicing now

Using this online version of the game, Papers Please.

Whichever side of the fence you’re going to be on, the one presenting the papers or the one examining them.

The NZ Police might like to consider letting their officers play this game so they can be ready for work on the Southern and Northern borders of Auckland city.

You play the role of a serious man – an inspector on the border between countries that are enemies. The events take place in 1982 in a fictional state Arstotzka. The main character gets the job on the border and controls the immigration process. All the migrants are trying to enter the territory of your country, but not all of them do. The reason is pretty simple – after the war ended, the enemies keep on trying to sneak on these territories. Each day, they will enter your office one by one, showing their documents, and trying to convince you that they can be trusted. Be careful – the task is to distinguish evil guys from ordinary people, keep the villains away, and let people enter. The more migrants you check, the higher you rating becomes. Not only you grow as a professional and get more chances to become the best worker. Also, you receive in-game cash for every session. This cash is spendable and you are the one to decide how to use them. The choice is yours!

Written by Tom Hunter

October 22, 2021 at 5:00 pm

I was informed that these were OTT comparisons to NZ

Vaccine certificate will be central to the new ‘traffic-light’ system – RNZ

It is that sort of comparison that causes the opponents of the current Lockdowns to be ridiculed. And no, you won’t be able to convince me that basically I am (and just about everyone I know) is just the same as the Nazi SS.

It’s certainly time to re-visit this goodie, even if she has resigned, because luckily you’ll still be able to laugh without a vaccine certificate.

New Zealand is more frightened than Britain

I came across a fascinating, sad article today about the “post-Covid” world of Britain’s population, The Most Frightened Nation.

It lists a number of the things done in that country over the last two years in The War Against Covid-19.

First up are some examples of the propaganda used by the Tory government:

The most heavy-handed of the government’s several advertising campaigns—which together have constituted the real “blitz”—was “Look them in the eyes . . . and tell them you’re doing all you can to stop the spread of Covid-19.” Posters showed rheumy patients staring into the camera looking soulfully woeful while muzzled by oxygen masks. These images alternated with exhausted nurses in full PPE regalia.

No wonder other health care experts began getting worried about patients not turning up to hospitals, even when they had urgent problems.

The numbingly repeated “Stay Home/ Protect the NHS/ Save Lives” tagline chevroned each podium during the government’s televised Covid briefings…It took a surprisingly long while for media wags to observe that the purpose of the NHS is to protect the people, not the other way around. The government might as well have warned the populace to avoid expressing bellicose sentiments about foreigners so as to “protect the Army.”

Further into the pandemic, that monotonous coronavirus motto morphed to the catchily asonant “Hands/Face/Space”—a slogan that would be right at home in a nursery school and parallels the efficacy of “duck and cover.” By this point, viral transmission from surfaces allegedly accounted for only about one in 10,000 cases; real-world evidence that masks make any substantial contribution to the curtailment of infection remained conspicuously scant; and the virus was known to be communicated by fine aerosols that can circulate aloft for hours, making the government’s two-meter social distancing requirement arbitrary and unscientific.

Then there were the police actions, some of which I caught a year ago (The Police could be worse):

Derbyshire police drones photographed a couple hiking in the wilderness with their golden Labrador with no one else in sight, and then published the shot on Twitter with the strapline “WALKING YOUR DOG IN THE PEAK DISTRICT / NOT ESSENTIAL.”

In January, two women who had driven five miles to go for a socially distanced walk were surrounded by so many police that one of them “thought someone had been murdered.” The women were fined £200 each because driving out of your local area for exercise was “not in the spirit of the lockdown” and the hot drinks they were carrying were not allowed because they were classed as “a picnic.”

What if you’ve neglected to fill out a form at the airport or filled it out incorrectly? That’ll be another £10,000, thank you. A ten-grand fine is more than enough to destroy the average Briton. Fortunately, the courts, the last bastion of sanity and due process, have voided convictions for violating Covid restrictions wholesale.

Well yes, but the main driver of such things is that the process is the punishment. You may emerge with no charges, let alone convictions but The Powers That Be know they’ve hurt you, which will make you more compliant. It’s a form of psychological torture increasingly approved of by our Police and governments because it works and leaves no visible marks.

Of course none of this would work without the assistance of Inoffizieller Mitarbeiter.

Only three days into the first lockdown, the Northamptonshire force alone had received “dozens and dozens” of public reports about, for instance, neighbors who had been out for a second run in one day (more “guidance,” not law). By early April 2020, a full 11 percent of Derbyshire’s 2,300 daily calls were to rat out lockdown flouters. Last autumn, Johnson encouraged local councils to hire citizen “Covid marshals” to bully and harass the noncompliant.

The article also goes into the insanity of the rules that can lead to fines. My favourite being the debates over whether a Scotch egg counted as a “substantial meal”.

But here’s the kicker to all this, and it actually comes at the start of the article, where it quotes an Ipsos MORI poll conducted in July, which I’ll bullet point here:

  • 27% of Britons want to impose a government-mandated nationwide curfew of 10 PM—not then in force—“until the pandemic was under control worldwide” When will that be?
  • 19% would impose such a curfew “permanently, regardless of the risk from Covid-19.”
  • 64% want Britain’s mask mandate in shops and on public transport to remain a legal requirement for the duration of the global pandemic
  • 51% want to be masked by law, forever. 
  • 35% want to confine any Briton who returns from a foreign country, vaccinated or not, to a ten-day home quarantine—permanently, Covid or no Covid.
  • 46% would require a vaccine passport in order to travel abroad—permanently, Covid or no Covid.
  • 36% want to be required to check in at pubs and restaurants with a National Health Service contact-tracing app forever.
  • 34% want social distancing in “theatres, pubs and sports grounds,” regardless of any risk of Covid, forever.
  • 26% of Britons would summarily close all casinos and nightclubs forever.

But read the whole article.

I wonder what such a poll would show about New Zealand. Judging from the comments I’ve seen here, on neighbourhood groups, and left wing blogs

I know that part of their concern is working alongside unvaccinated co-workers…I know many people who are very uncomfortable about the idea of travelling on airlines with unvaccinated people. 

… I think we’re at least in the same ballpark as Britain.

Part of me likes to think that, as with wartime regulations, censorship and the like, this too shall will pass. But the other part notes that, around the world, “victory” constantly slips away with this virus, leaving the masks and the lockdowns and the behaviour behind, vaccinated or not.

I also note the old adage that while you can replace governments you can’t replace a people.

==================

On the note of how the Police could be worse, here’s Australia, again. Muldoon and the Police of his time would have loved to have had this tech during the 1981 Springbok Tour protests.

Written by Tom Hunter

October 12, 2021 at 4:42 pm

The advantages of lagging the world

For more than a century New Zealanders liked to think of themselves leading the world, mainly as a result of employment and welfare reforms introduced by the late 19th century Liberal government.

But the attitude persisted long after the Second World War, and this was not solely the preserve of patriots but often people from overseas. I vividly recall reading the section on my country in the set of Encyclopedias I had as a child in the 1970’s. It was not the famous Britannica series but some competitor, rather US-centric and dated from the early 1960’s I’d guess. Lots of glossy colour photos (the fabulous one of the Mike H-Bomb test was there).

About New Zealand it said right up front that we were “perhaps the best governed nation in the world“. Even at a tender age I felt some pride upon reading that and the culture around me often reinforced the idea that we were world leaders in many ways, with Public Healthcare reforms in the 1930’s, the MOW, dam building, and stories of Hamilton jetboats, the flying farmer Richard Pearse, physicist Earnest Rutherford, and JPL scientist Bill Pickering. This cultural pride even continued with the Rogernomics reforms of the 1980’s; even though it was actually following in the trail of Reagan and Thatcher, we held ourselves to have been bolder and gone further, as revolutionary leaders do.

The funny thing is that a good chunk of New Zealanders suddenly decided that they didn’t like us being revolutionary and leading the world, at least when it came to reducing the size, power and control of government. People began to mutter that perhaps we should lag the world!

However, the World Leader stuff, especially from those opposed to Rogernomics, returned with things like Gay Marriage laws; it seems that reducing the size, power and control of government is acceptable only when it comes to bedroom issues of sex and drugs.

Everything else in one’s life is up for grabs by the government, as is increasingly the case with every passing year.

Which brings us to our government’s response to Covid-19. The local Left have of course gloried in the sunny praise that has poured down upon Jacinda from around the world as she danced with baby Neve at the news that our L4 Lockdown had “crushed” the virus.

But there was also, once again, vast and ongoing approval from the Left for increasing the size, power and control of government. Funny that.

Sadly for Jacinda and her acolytes, reality has caught up with the limits of government power and control, and in the second wave caused by the ever-mutating little beastie, the idea of “crushing” it has been officially scrapped. There has been much wailing (Dreams and their deaths), crying (Surrendering to the virus) and gnashing of teeth (Delta’s Week Of Doom).

But perhaps this is a good thing as it allows us to look around the world at nations that are ahead of us in moving through this pandemic and its consequences.

Sweden is back to normal, having departed from it very little. Much is made of their “thousands of Covid deaths”, but the politicians, epidemiologists, and most importantly the people of that nation don’t seem to think they did wrong (aside from not sufficiently protecting rest homes early on), and given the praise they’ve had over decades for their caring culture, society and welfare systems, it’s rather hard to say that they’re monsters who didn’t care if granny died.

Lithuania has shown us another possible Covid future and it’s a dystopia.

There are other stories of course.

Disruptive weather? ATC (Air Traffic Control) issues? The main focus was the airport of Jacksonville in Florida and people quickly established that temperatures there were in the mid-70’s (F) with sunny skies and winds at 5mph. Not likely a reason for cancelling 1800 flights. Southwest is possibly the best run domestic airline in the USA. Known for flying only Boeing 737’s (R&M and training made simple), staff and pilots who crack wise over the intercom with passengers, no seat booking (yet no fights as people board and grab what’s available), efficient, reliable and low cost.

What could possibly have gone wrong?

Airline travel blog, One Mile at a Time, had the inside scoop:

It seems that there could be something further going on. It’s my understanding that a huge number of Southwest pilots have called in sick this weekend, much more than usual. It’s anyone’s guess what the cause of that is, but it follows the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA) on Friday asking a court to block the airline from requiring vaccination, in anticipation of an upcoming federal mandate.

But if you think it’s just those shitty Southern parts of the USA (controlled by Republicans) well…

Oregon Nurses Get Ready to Walk Over Forced Covid Vaccines:

While [Oregon Nurses Association board president Lynda] Pond said more than 90% of ONA nurses are vaccinated, in recent weeks large health care systems like Kaiser Permanente and Legacy Health have put thousands of staff across the country on leave because of they don’t want to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

“85% of the nurses at OHSU have indicated that they are unable to use vacation time or take a mental health day because there are not enough nurses to cover for those requests. 92% of nurses at OHSU report experiencing mental exhaustion,” said Calzia.

Perhaps the most concerning statistic, Calzia said, was that 60% of OHSU’s nurses are considering leaving the profession. He said that percentage is reflected at the national and state levels too.

While the ONA union is likely using this argument to bargain for wage increases, there is no doubt that the departure of even 10% of nurses is putting a huge strain on the Oregon healthcare system, not to mention trying to entice people into the profession to replace those retiring. And it should be noted that the ONA is downplaying the number of Oregon nurses walking out and citing national figures so as not to show up their best friend, Governor Kate Brown, who imposed these mandates in August and is already facing consequences in her state’s police and firefighters.

Of the three futures, Sweden, Lithunania, and the USA, I regard Lithuania as the likely one for New Zealand because of our frightened, compliant people (aside from the criminals). Decades ago the historian Keith Jackson tagged us as “the Prussians of the South Pacific”, something the 60’s Left used as scathing disparagement. We’re about to find out how true that is and how much the same Left approve of it.

Written by Tom Hunter

October 12, 2021 at 10:26 am

They teach history, don’t they?

Crazier and crazier.

Perhaps it’s different when it’s a majority?

I’d say that if George Carlin were still around he might have to start thinking whether this famous line still applies:

When you’re born you get a ticket to the freak show. When you’re born in America, you get a front row seat.

Written by Tom Hunter

October 7, 2021 at 11:17 am

Throw another granny on the tarmac

That’ll be the new phrase for Australia, rather than the famous 1980’s line run by Aussie comedian Paul Hogan in US TV advertisements promoting tourism to The Lucky Country.

Those of course ran in the wake of the famous 1983 America’s Cup victory by Australia and the huge 1986 movie hit that made Hogan a global star, Crocodile Dundee.

But that was a long time ago. As the famous phrase has it: The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.

I’m tempted to find out if my three Lefty friends in Melbourne support all this. They almost certainly voted for Dan Andrews and his Labour Party, so it’s likely they do. A big part of me does not want to know.

Written by Tom Hunter

September 30, 2021 at 2:00 pm

“This is for your safety”

It seems to me that there are a lot of things that Police forces around the world have done in the last few years that have cost them the support of the one ideological side of the fence that had their back.

And of course when the Left decides to back the Police, you know it’s going to get bad. Think Okhrana (bad) to Cheka (good).

And so…

Written by Tom Hunter

September 29, 2021 at 9:18 pm

We’re never going back to normal

At least according to a senior Australian health official.

It won’t matter if you’re vaccinated, double-jabbed or whatever apparently, even to levels of 80% or more in the eligible population. The future will be one of Covid-19 booster shots forever, masks indoors and outdoors, social distancing, and with the occasional lockdown thrown in anyway – just in case.

We’ve had similar language used here in New Zealand by Professor Michael Baker

“University of Otago epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker told Stuff we may never return to level 1, with mask wearing becoming a feature of our lives for the foreseeable future.”

“Unfortunately this is the new reality,” he said.”

“There isn’t a utopia of living with the virus in the future. It may be quite grim.”

… so I guess the following could be our future as well.

What’s the limiting principle here? How much tyranny is acceptable in the name of “saving lives,” and where does it end?

Based on what I’ve seen and heard of our politicians here, our Public Health leaders, senior police and 75% of the voters, plus the uselessness of our Bill of Rights and the courts who make judgements on it, I think what we’re seeing in Australia is in our future as well.