Melbourne’s lockdowns finally ending: No gratitude, no pride, no relief … just quiet seething

Melbourne’s lockdowns finally ending: No gratitude, no pride, no relief … just quiet seething. By Gideon Haigh.

For the past 18 months, I have been taking the same walk through the same Melbourne ­suburban streets …

I’d note the emptying shopfronts, the increasingly bedraggled gardens, the looks of fellow pedestrians …

“It must be unbearable in Melbourne,” friends from interstate would say. No, I’d tell them. It was, just, bearable. You could get by, providing you expected nothing good to happen, everything to take twice as long as it should, and no useful end to be served.

Like a body adapting to starvation, you rationed expectation, postponed pleasure, concentrated on the little you could control in your unkempt lethargy, and thought sympathetically of the worse-off, if in an abstract sense.

For best not to think too much about the businesses being ruined, the proudly independent people being reduced to mendicants, and the volunteers battling on, with nothing to see for their efforts.

Best not to brood on the educations being undermined, the married couples buckling, the elderly dying alone, the debts being accumulated for future generations to pay for.

Best not even to enquire too deeply into how others were faring, lest you touch on a sore spot or pick a disagreeable theme. …

Oh the language:

I grew hypervigilant around language, especially the technocratic bullshit of measures (always broad), steps (always targeted), exposure sites (always that place you had just been to) and community transmission (people living).

Remember when they were suburbs rather than LGAs? Remember when we had not “road maps” but just plans? Alas, the self-inflating propensities of bureaucratic language now preclude anything so simple.

Milestones? Always grim. Deaths of nonagenarians? Always tragic. “The science”? Always guiding. Except for the weird ­anthropomorphism of the virus, variously “cunning”, “clever”, “wicked”, “evil” etc. And who could forget crowd pleasers like “creeping assumptions” and ­Unified Security? …

Leader Dan, who presided over easily the worst-managed state in Australia … yet did nothing wrong, he says. How unlucky!

Premier Dan Andrews … conducted the same press conference 200 times, replete with abundances of caution, people working incredibly closely together, and instructions so full of qualifications, exceptions and caveats that one ended up feeling capable of nothing. Did anyone else try the government’s Covid helpline? I’m still on hold. But, of course, this was not the point. The standard Andrews press conference was not a public health message but a political message. Dan good. Dan strong. Dan win.

And it worked. If largely for their own partisan reasons, people bought the idea of one masterstroke after another. There would follow the ritual hoisting of the #DanYay pennant to the top of the Twitter mast for the choreographed mass salute, the denunciation of “traitors”. …

Life in lockdowns that went too long:

Let’s just say that these past two years in Victoria haven’t been a vintage period for empathy. But perhaps that goes to Covid’s harshest sting, which has been reversing the standard dynamic of crisis — an instant, by convention, for rushing to one another’s aid, for arms round shoulders, for the sharing of time and belongings.

Instead, the Newspeak of working together by staying apart, unification in isolation, anathematising every visible gathering, however innocent, however necessary. Thus possibly the nadir of lockdown, August’s playground ban, imposed under the guise of protecting children, but later justified by chief medical officer Brett Sutton as because attending adults might “hold de facto meetings” — ie, talk.

Playground equipment was wrapped in crime-scene tape as police patrolled nearby — try explaining to your children that this was in anyone’s best interests, that their very swings and slides were a source of community endangerment. …

This, sealed up in our homes, suffered in private, is lockdown’s ugly secret: how disciplines around screen use collapsed; how dependence on social media deepened; how kids further absorbed the message of the world being a dangerous, frightening place; how kids already anxious about body image were exposed to it daily on their Zoom screens.

These were the hardest, most exhausted conversations of lockdown, with parents of children reaching the end of Grade 1 having hardly been at school, with parents of screen-deadened teenagers now about to be whirled into VCE exams. …

Even the vaunted “end” of lockdown is more of a tentative first step: basically involving not much more than a few restaurant seats inside, the chance of a haircut, the repeal of a pointless curfew. More dreary days of screen-based busywork await my 11-year-old until school resumes full-time. I still can’t see my mother, in regional Victoria, or my partner, in another state. It also means suffering Andrews’ pivot from tedious admonition to old-fashioned political oiliness. He’s so proud, so thankful, so grateful, so sickening.

Seriously, what’s he got to be grateful for? We did as we were told, to avoid draconian fines for non-compliance. You might as well thank us for obeying the law of gravity.

He sure nails that bureaucratic language our new ruling class loves to use. The propaganda is so strained.

Putin Warns Wokeness Is Destroying The West: It Happened In Russia

Putin Warns Wokeness Is Destroying The West: It Happened In Russia. By Ryan Saavedra.

Russian President Vladimir Putin slammed … the far-left woke ideology that he said is causing societal ills throughout the Western world, saying that it is no different than what happened in Russia during the 1917 revolution. …

“We see with bemusement the paralysis unfolding in countries that have grown accustomed to viewing themselves as the flagships of progress,” Putin said during an event where he spoke for a few hours. “… Some believe that aggressive blotting out of whole pages of your own history, the affirmative action in the interest of minorities, and the requirement to renounce the traditional interpretation of such basic values as mother, father, family, and the distinction between sexes are a milestone … a renewal of society.”

Putin said that Western nations had a right to do whatever they wanted to do but that “the overwhelming majority of Russian society” rejected these new ways of thinking. …

Been there, done that, won’t do it again:

“The recipes they come up with are nothing new. Paradoxical as it may seem, but this is something we saw in Russia. It happened in our country after the 1917 revolution, the Bolsheviks followed the dogmas of Marx and Engels. And they also declared that they would go into change the traditional lifestyle, the political, the economic lifestyle, as well as the very notion of morality, the basic principles for a healthy society. They were trying to destroy age and century long values, revisiting the relationship between the people, they were encouraging informing on one’s own beloved, and families. It was hailed as the march of progress. And it was very popular across the world and it was supported by many. As we see, it is happening right now.”

The Chinese have a special word for it:

California Drove Truckers Out of Business. Now Store Shelves Are Empty

California Drove Truckers Out of Business. Now Store Shelves Are Empty. By Daniel Greenfield.

The massive supply chain mess that’s leaving stores empty and orders unfulfilled doesn’t have a single point of failure, but dozens of them. China’s energy shortages, the overhyped predictive powers of Big Data, the fragility of the global economy, fuel costs, and welfare state worker shortages are all players. But California’s truck bans are a key link in the great failure chain. …

2019 was described as a “bloodbath” for the trucking industry with 640 trucking companies across the country filing for bankruptcy in just the first half of the year. Thousands of truck drivers were left unemployed. …

The left mandated unionism — no more contracting:

But California truckers and businesses had their own special woes. Two years ago, Governor Newsom signed the Democrat supermajority’s Assembly Bill 5 into law. While AB5 was billed as a crackdown on Uber and Lyft, forcing the companies to treat l freelance contractors as employees, the gig economy companies pushed Proposition 22 so that they were the only ones exempt from the law. …

AB5 however was less about Uber than it was about outlawing freelance employees in order to force them into unions. The union power grab inconvenienced Uber and Lyft, but crushed freelance workers in a variety of fields including journalism. One of the fields was trucking. …

The left mandated going green:

Last year, the California Air Resources Board issued a press release boasting that it had taken a “bold step to reduce truck pollution”. The bold step required switching to electric trucks.

“We are showing the world that we can move goods, grow our economy and finally dump dirty diesel,” Jared Blumenfeld, California’s Secretary for Environmental Protection, sneered.

Jared and California certainly showed the world something.

While the ultimate truck ban was scheduled for 2045, an initial phase-in of 5% to 9% begins in 2024. Last year, California’s DMV began refusing to register thousands of trucks with an estimated 100,000 trucks under threat. With “green” trucks costing $70,000 more, this was a non-starter for already troubled independent owner-operators and even larger companies.

That was part of the plan.

California Democrats and their environmentalist special interests had set out to crush the state’s ports and trucking industry. Had everything gone as planned, this would have been a slow and gradual process. Costs would have crept up and deliveries would have fallen off without an immediate catastrophic impact. But then the pandemic and its consequences arrived. …

The pandemic upended their plans:

Business at California’s ports dropped during the pandemic. The loss of traffic convinced trucking companies and owner operators who were already battered by AB5 and the green truck ban that it was better to just downsize or pull out entirely. And when port activity rebounded, there was a huge hole in the delivery infrastructure that backed up the entire system.

Biden called for ports to operate around the clock, but that’s not going to magically bring back thousands of trucks or truckers. California Democrats still haven’t changed their regulations and without that, there’s no incentive or even legal structure that would allow trucks to operate.

The resulting disaster is likely to accelerate the ongoing shift of shipping from California ports. Democrats imposed their green shakedown not only on truckers, but on shipping. With companies moving to Texas, Houston was already becoming a more appealing alternative. It’s now at capacity as everyone is looking for alternatives to the California economic disaster area.

But much of our imports and exports still depend on the California bottleneck that begins with Communist China and ends in Communist California. The red-to-red pipeline has savaged our economy and wrecked imports and exports. Newsom’s survival and the Dem legislative supermajority which passes more extreme leftist regulations every session means that things will only get worse. A radical party that actively seeks to dismantle the economy is in power in Sacramento and its regulations have the ability to hold our entire economy hostage.

Big left government runs into the reality of unintended consequences. Doh!

hat-tip Stephen Neil

Indoctrinating students for fun and profit: Australian Education Minister tries to hold back the tide

Indoctrinating students for fun and profit: Australian Education Minister tries to hold back the tide. By Alan Tudge, the Education Minister in the Australian Government.

I am disappointed by the draft national curriculum published by the independent Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority. …

Learning the times tables was pushed back to year 4 from year 3. In other countries it starts in year 2. …

Evidence-based content, such as phonics, was minimised.

The biggest problem, though, was in the draft history curriculum. It gave the impression nothing bad happened before 1788 and almost nothing good has happened since. It downplayed our Western heritage. It omitted significant figures in our history such as Menzies, Howard and Whitlam. It almost erased Christianity from our past, despite it being the single most important influence on our modern development, according to our greatest living historian, Geoffrey Blainey. It introduced ridiculous concepts such as asking year 2 students — seven-year-olds — to ask whether statues could be deemed racist.

History matters. The left use false versions to steer the ignorant to their policy positions, and thus to installing lefties into well-paid positions of power:

I remain particularly concerned when it comes to the history curriculum. These are matters core to who we are as a nation. We should expect young Australians leaving school to understand how our nation is one of the most free, wealthy, tolerant and egalitarian societies in all of human history, and a magnet for millions of migrants.

Our Western political institutions are not always perfect but think of what they have given us: democratic government; equality before the law freedom of association and speech; universal education; strong human rights.

These are very precious and very rare institutions. If students don’t learn this, they won’t defend it as previous generations did. Lowy Institute polling shows 40 per cent of young Australians say that non-democratic government may be preferable or that it does not matter what kind of government system we have. That is a catastrophe.

Just as Indigenous Australians (and other Australians) celebrate and fiercely defend Indigenous culture and heritage, we should all celebrate and fiercely defend our Western liberal culture. Students should leave school with a love of country and a sense of optimism and hope that we live in the greatest country on earth. …

The influence of authoritarianism and communism is growing in the world, particularly with the rise of an assertive China. Fundamentalist Islam remains a dominant force in many countries, as we are seeing in Afghanistan. There has not been a more important time since the 1940s to teach children the origins, values and singular greatness of liberal democracy.

Dumbing down and indoctrinating students. How progressive!

The bureaucracy will get their way, however. If necessary, they will simply wait-out the uncooperative minister. The bureaucracy and the modern left are joined at the hip — it’s hard to say who took over whom.

An Activist’s Guide to Online Privacy and Safety

An Activist’s Guide to Online Privacy and Safety. By CyberGhost.

The fight for all causes has become fully digital, and this means everything you do online — from organizing rallies or protests, sharing campaign materials, or just expressing your opinion — could now be monitored or even be used against you by those who oppose your cause. …

As an activist, you’re likely attracting attention in the name of your cause. This means you could often land yourself on the radar of government officials or law enforcement agencies — and you might also be monitored by your opponents, rival groups, and informants.

With surveillance technology more widely available, such bad-faith actors can easily gain a complete picture of your online and offline activities. In other words, what you do online can have serious real-world implications.

Belarusian example:

Take the rather extreme case of Roman Protasevich — the exiled, Belarusian activist — who used Telegram to coordinate protests in opposition of the Belarus government in 2020 and 2021. In May 2021, Protasevich’s Ryanair flight from Greece to Lithuania was forced by a Belarusian fighter jet to divert and land in Minsk, Belarus. Protasevich was arrested upon landing.

The following day he appeared on Belarusian state TV confessing to “organizing mass unrest”. He had marks on his body, leading to the widespread belief that Protasevich had been tortured. He has since been confined to house arrest in Belarus.

Belarusian authorities were able to track Portasevich through his online presence, follow his travels, and then pursue his arrest. The lesson is: if you post something on social media that is critical of those in power, you’re likely being noticed by more than just your followers. …

Many governments do it, apparently:

This is not limited to countries with authoritarian regimes, however. Thanks to Edward Snowden’s 2013 leaks, we’ve learned the extent to which governments of all types circumvent privacy protection laws to monitor their citizens’ online activity. Worryingly, you don’t have to have done anything wrong to be the subject of targeted surveillance. …

Governments in at least 25 countries have implemented large-scale surveillance programs, since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. There has been an unprecedented increase in digital surveillance, including mobile data tracking, apps to record personal contact with others, tracking of medical records, and CCTV networks with facial recognition. …

Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) knows a lot about you:

Your ISP can collect enough personal data on you to link your various activism activities, possibly helping authorities to build an incriminating case against you. ISPs claim they don’t send your data to third parties, but they can be compelled to hand over your data to law enforcement and government agencies.

In Australia, for example, ISPs have been ordered to provide federal police with user browsing history. Some of that data is stored for up to two years.

To combat the intrusiveness of ISPs, your best bet is to consider investing in a trustworthy VPN (Virtual Private Network). A VPN will help anonymize your internet activity and provide you with a private, secure connection when you go online. VPNs are quite easy to set up and use multiple layers of protection …

If you live in a country with strict online censorship, you’re probably unable to access certain news websites, apps, or social media. A robust VPN allows you to connect to servers in countries where those sites and apps aren’t subject to censorship.

By changing your digital location, you can access geographically restricted content, access unbiased resources, and even organize your activism online. …

Tor (The Onion Router) is a great way for activists to get online securely and anonymously. When you’re connected to the Tor network, none of your internet activity or data can be traced back to you because it’s all encrypted several times.

We recommend using a VPN and Tor together for maximum privacy and protection. You should connect to a VPN first and then to Tor (VPN over Tor). …

Using public Wi-Fi is risky – the traffic that flows through an open Wi-Fi network is usually unencrypted, meaning it’s an easy target for online snoops. …

Your browser:

Your standard web browser routinely collects and retains information about your connection and internet activity. The information your browser shares with the websites … may seem trivial, but the combined data creates a unique digital fingerprint that websites use to identify you and track you online.

Search engines:

Google and other search engines…  record a vast amount of data to create targeted ads and personalize your web browsing. …

Most search engines can be compelled by law enforcement or government agencies to hand over your search and browsing data

We know that Google is the go-to search engine for most people. But it’s one of the worst when it comes to tracking and mining user data.

Lots more info at the link.

By the way, Google started downranking the Wentworth Report (that is, pushing it way down the search results that Google displays) a few days after the 2020 US election, resulting in a 99% drop in traffic coming from Google. The bulk of our traffic from search engines now comes from DuckDuckGo.

Indonesia proves ivermectin works

Indonesia proves ivermectin works. By Joanne Nova.

In June, [Indonesia] had a controlled rolling caseload of 5,000 a day. It was not rising thanks to a philanthropist called Haryoseno who had been arranging for ivermectin supplies at low cost to help people.

But in a fit of modern-medicine, in line with the deadly WHO recommendations, the Indonesian government banned ivermectin on June 12th. Cases took off. Mayhem ensued. And about 90,000 people died in the following surge.

By early July the anti-parasitic drug ivermectin was hot property in Indonesia, even if it was banned. A number of high-ranking politicians championed it, and people were flocking to buy it.

By July 15th the Indonesian government relented, and BPOM approved Ivermectin as Covid-19 Therapeutic Drug. By July 18th new daily cases peaked across Indonesia and now they are lower than they were before. During the surge, at least two million Indonesians were infected.

 

 

In epidemiology, proofs don’t come much stronger than that.

Greg Hunt could have managed the Covid debacle so much better if he’d just phoned up a pharmacist in Bali.

Australia, on the other hand, decided to vaccinate 15 million people or 70% of the entire population and still has twice as many cases as Indonesia does — even though Indonesia has ten times as many people and only on third of the government revenue. …

On a per capita basis today Indonesia is managing Covid about ten times better than Australia. Think about that.

To repeat from David Archibald’s earlier post:

Australia could end its covid problem anytime it wanted to at hardly any expense at all.

Our government would be aware of what the Indonesians have achieved. It also means that any covid deaths from here on are state-sanctioned murder. Anybody dead or crippled due to the vaccines is not an unfortunate, random side effect, but something done at the behest of the Australian Government, not unwittingly.

Please pass this along to the Australian Government, and any other government forcing its population to exclusively go down the vaccine route.

COVID outbreak aboard Britain’s Fully-Vaccinated Aircraft Carrier

COVID outbreak aboard Britain’s Fully-Vaccinated Aircraft Carrier. By DefenseWorld.net.

Around 100 cases of coronavirus have been recorded on the Royal Navy’s flagship, HMS Queen Elizabeth, even after all of the crew members had been vaccinated.

HMS Queen Elizabeth is about a quarter of the way through a 28-week deployment leading the Carrier Strike Group (CSG). …. Around 3,700 personnel are part of the CSG. Several other warships in the fleet accompanying the aircraft carrier are also affected, BBC reported today. .

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said all crew on the deployment had received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine and the outbreak was being managed.

This proves that the vaccinated can catch and transmit covid, and also that there will be outbreaks of covid even in fully vaccinated societies. These first generation vaccines are not good enough.

Devastating Poll Numbers for Collapsing Biden Presidency; Media Keeps Very Quiet

Devastating Poll Numbers for Collapsing Biden Presidency; Media Keeps Very Quiet. By Scott Whitlock.

The Joe Biden presidency is collapsing and the networks don’t want you to know about it. Two just-released polls have found the Democrat at record lows. But the evening newscasts on Tuesday and the morning shows on Wednesday offered zero coverage of the very bad news for Biden. …

 

Spot the Afghanistan leap in disapproval

It’s not as though there wasn’t time on Wednesday morning. Instead of polling, CBS Mornings devoted five minutes and 11 seconds to breeding cows that burp less and create less methane gas. ABC’s GMA promoted Amazon products for three minutes and 11 seconds and NBC’s Today offered six minutes and five seconds on a cute dog that went viral on the internet.

From the Newbusters pitch:

The media have abandoned all pretense of objectivity to become a pro bono ad agency for the progressive movement, infusing left-wing talking points into every issue, from the pandemic to the “cultural revolution.”

“Truth in journalism,” once a reporter’s credo, is now a relic of a bygone era.

Open borders activists are undermining Joe Biden

Open borders activists are undermining Joe Biden. By Mark Krikorian.

The conflict between the radical demands of these immigrant-rights groups and the White House desire to avoid political catastrophe broke out into the open over the weekend. …

The deeper problem is that, while the two sides agree on the goals of de facto unlimited immigration, the White House accepts the political necessity of boiling the frog slowly, lest Democrats lose control of both houses of Congress next year, and the presidency in 2024.

The president had net disapproval on immigration even early in his term when he enjoyed something of a honeymoon with the public. But as his numbers have gone down generally, immigration has led the way. A recent AP-NORC poll found just 35% of the public approved of the administration’s handling of immigration, while a Quinnipiac poll a few days later found just 25% approval on immigration.

The activist groups don’t care. One of them told Politico, “backlash will exist regardless of what they do,” an implicit acknowledgement that the Democrats are going to lose anyway, so they should go for broke now. The activists are unwilling to boil the frog slowly and refuse to utter the usual soothing falsehoods — they want the borders opened, now. The statement they read before the virtual walkout included this telling line: “We refuse to be complicit in deterrence-based border policies” — what other kind of border enforcement is there?

The maximalist demands of the Left-wing immigration groups — backed by attention-getting pranks like blocking the Golden Gate Bridge and shaving their heads in front of the White House — mean there’s no way Biden will be able to satisfy them. And their central role in his coalition, along with the fact that open immigration has become an immutable value of the Left, means he also can’t distance himself from them. And thus the immigration issue will continue to be an albatross around Joe Biden’s neck.

The left want to rule the territory of the United States, by handing out its wealth to buy the votes of the poor and ambitious who turn up and want in. Seems to be working.

The Christians Who Mock Wokeness for a Living

The Christians Who Mock Wokeness for a Living. An interview by Emma Green.

The Babylon Bee, an online satire publication that launched in 2016, has become a popular destination for Christians disaffected with megachurch culture and right-wingers who crave clever commentary about the hypocritical left.

Kyle Mann, the website’s editor in chief, sometimes gives talks on college campuses. For conservative students, he told me, “It’s like they found their underground cabal of secret comedians who agree with them.” …

Emma Green: Do you remember the first Babylon Bee story you ever read?

Kyle Mann: … There was an op-ed from a Christian who says, “There’s a fifteen, maybe twenty percent chance I’ll remember to pray for you, brother.” It probably didn’t even do well on social media. But there’s something about a good joke where, even if only a few people get it, it just connects with their soul.

Green: What spoke to you about it?

Mann: A lot of good comedy has a kernel of truth in it. It’s an unspoken truth in Christian circles that everybody has this veneer of spirituality at church. That always bugged me — people who were like, “Yes, brother, I’ll pray for you. The Lord bless you.” You wonder if they’re being real or fake. “I’ll pray for you” just becomes this nicety. He’s saying what we all are thinking, and yet nobody’s really put it into words. …

There are a lot of college students who are maybe the only conservative in their class. In a lot of areas, being the conservative is punk rock, you know? For them, it’s like, “You guys are writing comedy that doesn’t hate me.” It’s like they found their underground cabal of secret comedians who agree with them. …

Green: … What if people did believe it was real? Do you worry about that, regardless of how many times you make it clear that you’re a satire publication?

Mann: Not really. Comedy has been mistaken for reality for years. We write for Facebook and Twitter. What makes the comedy work is that when someone’s scrolling through their newsfeed and they read a Babylon Bee headline, they’re not prepared to laugh. They’re prepared to consume a news article or an editorial or an op-ed. Then they do a double take and go, “Wait a minute …” …

What satire does is it takes this extreme position and exaggerates and stretches it to the point of absurdity. …

Green: Do you see your role as a comedian as standing up and fighting the left?

Mann: Not particularly. I don’t see us as culture warriors. There are a hundred Onion knockoffs out there. We could’ve come out with another one that makes jokes that Trump is bad and the right is racist. Nobody would know who the heck we were because there’s already a hundred sites doing that. For us to be the one site that punches the other way is where we really found our audience.

You have to make fun of yourselves. We do that fairly often. It’s just that there’s this huge need and desire for people to mock the left. Every single late-night show is run by a liberal. They’re all saying the same jokes every night. Why not joke in the other direction?

A Bablyon Bee classic: Motorcyclist Who Identifies As Bicyclist Sets Cycling World Record

In an inspiring story from the world of professional cycling, a motorcyclist who identifies as a bicyclist has crushed all the regular bicyclists, setting an unbelievable world record.

In a local qualifying race for the World Road Cycling League, the motorcyclist crushed the previous 100-mile record of 3 hours, 13 minutes with his amazing new score of well under an hour.

Professional motorcycle racer Judd E. Banner, the brave trans-vehicle rider, was allowed to race after he told league organizers he’s always felt like a bicyclist in a motorcyclist’s body.