Tuesday, 28 December 2021

I was, of course, completely wrong - we seem to be beating Delta

 A few weeks ago the government of New Zealand did something that seemed so egregiously stupid it spurred me out of my blogging lethargy and got me posting again.  I was furious at how they had decided to give up - as I saw it - in the face of the Delta outbreak and just let us 'take it on the chin' in Johnsonesque style.

Turns out I may have been wrong as we seem to be - perhaps, perhaps - about to squash Delta.

Just on time for Omicron.

Get boosted, people.

(And yes, I'm aware most people probably don't bother getting tested over Christmas, even when they feel sick, and this will have reduced the identification of cases.  But the over all trend has been indicating the virus  has been struggling to find purchase, in spite of the government's move away from elimination.  We'll probably see a spike in cases in a few days as people who would have been tested in the last few days come forward; we should try not to panic too much when that happens.)

Sunday, 19 December 2021

Conservative peer wants us all dead

 Says it all, really:

Lord Frost, who has led negotiations with the EU, is reported to have handed in his resignation letter to Boris Johnson last week. But the Mail on Sunday reported he had been persuaded to stay on until January.

The newspaper reported it was the introduction of plan B coronavirus measures, including the implementation of Covid passes, that prompted Lord Frost’s decision. It also said he had become disillusioned by tax rises and the cost of net zero policies.
He's essentially resigning because he's opposed to trying to stop people dying from COVID, having to pay more tax because of the costs associated with COVID and climate change response / mitigation.

In other words, he's happy for us all to suffer and die if it means his 'liberty' (i.e. wealth and associated privilege) are not impinged upon.

Because generally the wealthy will not have as rough a time of COVID - or climate change - as the rest of us.  Their privilege will insulate them from - more or less - from the ravages of the pandemic, in either the economic or health spheres.  They won't be stacked up in NHS hospitals, or struggling to find mney to pay rent, or worrying about their businesses collapsing.  Their main concern will be wether the bloody lockdowns or travel restrictions or - shudder - vaccine passports will affect their God given right to do whatever they bloody well choose.

Nor will climate change hurt them too much.  Again, wealth, power and privilege will insulate them and the won't be sweltering in poorly ventilated housing, or made homeless by flooding, or face the prospect of their home becoming worthless in the face of coastal erosion.  And they obviously aren't too bothered about the likelihood of it harming the prospects of their grand children or great grandchildren - so much for wealth cascading down the generations.  Because they are absolutely selfish.

Saturday, 18 December 2021

Eric Clapton and the Impoverished German Widow

 So, Eric Clapton - estimated worth in the hundreds of millions of pounds - has successfully persecuted (sic) a German widow so hard up she was reduced to selling her dead husband's CDs on EBay.  One of which happened to be a copy of a bootleg recording of a concert - even though the widow says it was purchased legally from a music store.

A multi-millionaire suing a widow is very unpleasant, but as the Guardian notes, it is not the only unlikeable thing Clapton has done recently:

Clapton has made headlines in the past 18 months for taking a staunch stance against Covid-19 protective measures such as lockdowns, vaccines and vaccine passports.

He claimed to have experienced a severe physical reaction to his first dose of the AstraZeneca jab, and referred to scientific research – which has found vaccines to be safe and life-saving – as “propaganda”. 

 In December 2020, he collaborated with another noted vaccine sceptic, Van Morrison, on the song Stand and Deliver, which likens adherence to government restrictions to slavery. 

The song prompted the Black blues musician Robert Cray, who was born in segregated Georgia, to withdraw from supporting Clapton on his US summer tour as planned, the Washington Post reported. 

On that tour, Clapton was photographed posing with Texas governor Greg Abbott, who signed into law the country’s most restrictive abortion legislation and a measure to limit who can vote in the state.

I don't have a dog in the fight - I am not a German widow and I am of the opinion most of Clapton's musical output can be described as hateful and unpleasant, but that's subjective.  So let's not worry about the eternal crappy noodlings of Layla and I Shot The Sherriff.

Let's delve deeper into Clapton's personal history here.  I've been reading London Calling by Barry Miles, a history of London's counter-cultural underground.  It isn't quite as good as it should be (tldr: Hippies were good, punks were a bit crap really, there were some painters and artists and everyone drank too much, and Alex Trocchi was perhaps one of the worst human beings to ever exist) but it does include a recommendation from one Boris Johnson on the back ("I devoured this wonderful cultural history" - no you didn't, Boris.)

And it does mention a particularly pleasant episode in the Life And Adventures Of Eric Clapton, a sort of musical Lara Croft (though less buxom and unfortunately real) shamelessly raiding the graves of the Blues legends.  On the 5th of August, 1975, Clapton exhorted a crowd at a concert in Birmingham to vote for racist provocateur Enoch Powell:

Do we have any foreigners in the audience tonight? If so, please put up your hands. So where are you? Well wherever you all are, I think you should all just leave. Not just leave the hall, leave our country. I don't want you here, in the room or in my country. Listen to me, man! I think we should vote for Enoch Powell. Enoch's our man. I think Enoch's right, I think we should send them all back. Stop Britain from becoming a black colony. Get the foreigners out. Get the wogs out. Get the coons out. Keep Britain white. I used to be into dope, now I'm into racism. It's much heavier, man. Fucking wogs, man. Fucking Saudis taking over London. Bastard wogs. Britain is becoming overcrowded and Enoch will stop it and send them all back. The black wogs and coons and Arabs and fucking Jamaicans don't belong here, we don't want them here. This is England, this is a white country, we don't want any black wogs and coons living here. We need to make clear to them they are not welcome. England is for white people, man. This is Great Britain, a white country, what is happening to us, for fuck's sake? Throw the wogs out! Keep Britain white!

Just take a moment to read that again and consider, this man has continued to enjoy a career as a revered (by people who like endless guitar wankery) musician.  Whatever your views on 'cancel culture' or separating the artist from the work, you have to admit, Clapton probably deserved just a tad more opprobrium than he received.  This is a man howling racist hate a crowd of thousands - who had come to hear him masturbate his guitar, now expound his political beliefs - and he's never been adequately censured for it.  Nowadays, he'd be shunned by fans, dropped by his record company and find it hard to book venues - and quite right too.

(After manually typing in the quote from the Miles book I discovered I could just have copied it from Wikipedia.  The Wiki version is even longer and more disgusting, so I have done just that.)

Clapton has, as far as I am aware, not apologised for his comments, merely trying to excuse himself by saying he didn't know what came over him and that whatever came out as a "garbled thing."  Eric, it wasn't garbled.  It was pretty clear what you were saying.  You wanted people to vote for Enoch Powell because you wanted foreigners - sorry, wogs - sent 'home.'

Clapton performed at a Nelson Mandela freedom concert (again, per Barry Miles) in 1988.  Jerry Dammers, from The Specials, reminded him of his comments from 1976 and suggested he could use this as an opportunity to balance the books: "You know, this is your chance to formally apologise for what you said."

Clapton declined the chance to show he is a decent human being, telling Uncut magazine, "I thought, "You must be fucking joking."  And I wouldn't do it.  I was so insulted."

Yeah, how insulting, holding someone accountable for their words and actions.

Eric has aligned himself with almost every reactionary political position going, defending the right of the aristocracy to tear foxes to pieces for entertainment, and of people in general (a true democrat!) to spread COVID-19 (on the day I write this, Britain set a new record for cases, almost breaking the 100,000 new cases barriers.  Eric must be proud of our efforts!)

Sadly, Eric's forthright positions have led to people ... not wanting to know him so much.  It's a bit late, and very disappointing it wasn't his unapologetic racism that led to people shunning him, but he is finding it harder to meet up with his old mates and buddies: 

In October, Clapton told a site run by a prominent anti-vax campaigner: “Over the past year, there’s been a lot of disappearing, you know – little dust around with people moving away quite quickly. And it has, for me, refined the kind of friendships I have. And it’s dwindled down to the people that I obviously really need and love.”

Eric, if one person think's you're a dick and cuts you off, maybe it's them that has the problem.  But when lots of people are doing it, maybe its you.

Wednesday, 15 December 2021

Living history

 Boris Johnson is fond of history - the boyish, fun bits about wars, Empire and plucky Brits winning against the odds and what not.  He particularly fond of Winston Churchill and really, really fond of matching himself up against Winston Churchill.

Only, he is comparing himself to the wrong World War 2 Prime Minister.

Today over a hundred of his MPs voted against him, on the absurdly important issue of How We Stop People Dying Of COVID.  Which - since we're talking about Johnson here, never one to miss a chance point to history and claim he's somehow being Churchillian - smells a bit like the Norway vote.  Though Chamberalin won the vote, the rebellion undermined his authority and he felt he could not continue as Prime Minister.  So he resigned which resulted in Churchill becoming PM.

Only, of course, Johnson is in the role of Chamberlain here, not Churchill.  Though it is doubtful that he has the wit, honour or decency to follow Chamberlain's lead and step down when faced with the reality that he is not up to the job.

Sunday, 12 December 2021

British Labour take a 9 point poll lead

From Opinium, reported in the Guardian.  This, the Guardian is at pains to point out is the biggest lead the party has enjoyed since 2014 or (as they might have preferred to put it since Before Corbyn.

You have to wonder how Labour might have done in 2017 or even 2019 if the right wing of the party had not spend four years trying to assail the hapless and affable Mr Corbyn, and instead directed their energy towards getting a Labour government elected.

Also described by the Guardian, the Lib Dems (remember them?) are threatening a Ribble Valley style upset in the absurdly conservative seat of North Shropshire.

I am horrified to realise I am old enough to remember Eastbourne and Ribble Valley - two glorious by election victories of thirty years ago, where the Lib Dems overturned massive Tory majorities in traditional Blue seats.  The Conservatives were at the wrong end of a decade in power, seen as being in office but barely in power, lurching from crisis to crisis and facing a Labour Party that had replaced its worryingly leftwing leader with a younger, more media friendly person - in this case Neil 'father of Stephen' Kinnock.

You'll remember Stephen Kinnock as the chap who was so delighted at Labour's gutsy performance in 2017 he almost looked unhappy.

Unrestrained Joy on the faces of Stephen Kinnock and his coterie as they absorb the 2017 election result.

With self control like that, he should play poker.  No indication of the internal celebration undoubtedly going on under that worryingly smooth pate.

Of course, one should be cautious.  Following the humiliations of Eastbourne and Ribble Valley, the Conservatives won the subsequent election in 1992 and remained in power for another six years.  Neil Kinnock went off to enjoy a long career of doing obscure, but probably well remunerated, jobs in Europe, so he can probably be blamed for Brexit as well as losing the 92 election.  Starmer has a lot of work to do to convince people - on the left as well as the right - that he is worth voting for.

There is a chance of a Labour government in 2024.  It's a long road.  But the process needs to start now.  Corbyn's tenure was derailed by factionalism.  Starmer has shown himself very unwilling to heal rifts.  That will mean labour going into a future election still licking the self-inflicted wounds of 2019 and risk returning another five years of Conservative misrule.

He needs to restore the whip to Corbyn and start acknowledging the left are a valid and legitimate part of the party.  He needs to remember the galvanising effect of the 2017 manifesto, with its clarion calls for social democracy and progressive policies.  He needs to reject the bland managerialism and unconvincing attempts to portray 'quiet competence' that won't 'spook the markets.'  That's not worth voting for.  Whatever it is that made Starmer want to be a Labour Party member and fight to become Labour leader, he needs to find it again.

Saturday, 20 November 2021

I'll take the masks and vaccines, thank you

From Stuff:

I don't want to be pedantic, but I'm pretty sure neither masks nor vaccines figure much in the Gospel of Saint John; nor has Jesus shown much efficacy in protecting people from anything.

Wednesday, 17 November 2021

Thank you very much for your kind contagion, thank you very much ...

Good to see the government - after a stunningly successful Round One with COVID - has decided to  simply offer us all up to the virus so Ardern can keep her hare-brained promise to open up the country for Christmas.

First we were going to eradicate Delta, just like we did last time Covid showed its face here.  That was the best policy and we were probably only a couple of weeks from success.  But the government's constant spineless shifting of lines and the stupid arrogant selfishness of some made it harder and kept pushing out the eradication horizon.  It was and is and always will be outlandish to hear people complaining about how lockdowns are damaging the economy or people's mental health or social relationships; and then advocating the sort of stupid ideas that make things even worse.  Tired of sitting about at home?  Try having COVID and see how you like that.  Think your business is suffering?  See how it goes when you are continually losing staff and customers and not able to run a supply chain as COVID devastates every aspect of the economy.

The solution was, of course, getting people vaccinated and so it seemed sensible to set a target; when the government announced we were going to open up when we got 90% of the population double vaxxed,  I could live with that.  It would have meant punishing ongoing economic and health problems, a steady stream of deaths and sicknesses.  But a highly vaccinated population would have meant only long term misery, not catastrophe.

Now we're looking at the government shrugging its shoulders and giving up, apparently because of a slight shift in the polls and because they are afflicted by the strange delusion that anyone listens to Judith Collins.  Not even Judith Collins listens to Judith Collins.  But for some reason the government do and decide to adopt what ever random spluttering she produced on Morning Report three weeks ago.

Given the critical lack of spine in the government, they'll probably relent on the ban on unvaccinated workers in health and education, and let them all back in, bringing their virus spreading super-potential with them.  Nice.

It isn't how you run a country.  It isn't how you look after people.

Tuesday, 16 November 2021

Ansell / In Hell

So it turns out John Ansell - the marketer whose racially rank Iwi/Kiwi billboards almost made Don Brash Prime Minister - is now one of the luminaries of the anti-Vaxx movement.

You are killing people ... you are killing people ... and it is not misinformation, it is missing information that we want.  You are participating in a genocide.  The question is, what should be the punishment?  Some say, as per Nuremburg, it should be hanging.  I don't, I respectfully disagree with that.  I think it should be lethal injection.
Just savour that for a moment.

I heard a discussion the other day about how we should not talk about the 'anti-vaxx rabbit hole' because that makes it sould innocent and fluffy.  But the term comes from Lewis Carrol's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, and Alice goes down the rabbit hole to a place where the normal rules don't apply, where nothing makes sense and everyone is mad.  So I think it has merit.

We're expected to take seriously someone who thinks a vaccine that may have killed one person (after five million odd doses) is 'genocide'; who would rather we did not use it in the face of a virus that will soon have killed 1 in 300 citizens of the USA.

There have been 47 million cases of COVID in the USA.  There have been 750,000 deaths.  That's a shocking 1.6% death rate, or 1 in every 62 cases resulting in death.  World wide, it is worse - about 1 death per 50 cases.  If there is a 'genocide' happening it isn't in New Zealand, but less fortunate parts of the world.  That's the sort of information you are missing, John.

It's said people drift to the right as they age, abandoning youthful idealism as they confront the harsh realities of life.  But it would seem if you start on the right you perform the same drift, and end up somewhere very strange and troubling indeed, deep down the rabbit hole.

You have to wonder how someone like Ansell, or Sue Grey, or Simon Thornley ends up where they are.  Given Ansell's past associations you can see a pathway from the libertarian fringe to where he is now - lockdowns, state over reach and now compelling people to have vaccines at risk of losing their jobs.  But it is a hard, long path, and you'd have to really, really want to get there - or be driven there by your own inner demons.

Listening to Ansell fulminating about genocide I don't feel fear (though I might if it was me he was advocating being executed); nor do I feel hate, or even contempt.  I feel something like pity, because whatever made him walk all that way clearly wasn't something good; and it hasn't brought him any happiness or peace.

Sunday, 14 November 2021

Where's my $60?

 According to some website analytics thingimibob called 'prostats' (if it was really that pro it probably wouldn't feel the need to say it was) my humble blog should be generating a mighty $60pa in revenue:

I don't have it, so which of you lot has nicked it?

Quacks like a duck

 Another examination of anti-vaxx tactics by the apparently indefatigable Charlie Mitchell (and Katie Kenny) who may be my new crush.

So, an academic has produced a paper which suggested that 80-90% of pregnancies of women who were vaccinated early in their pregnancy resulted in a miscarriage.  The academic happens to be Simon Thornley, described by Mitchell and Kenny as "a founding member of Covid Plan B, and remains a member of New Zealand Doctors Speaking Out With Science" (like countries that showcase the word 'democracy' in their national name, there is more speaking than science going on with that lot) who acted "as an expert witness for several legal challenges that would impact the rollout of vaccines".  So, track record seems pretty clear.

Thornley tries to demonstrate there is a hidden menace in the vaccine for pregnant women, by analysing an older study and revealing the aforementioned shocking rate of miscarriage among women vaccinated in the first or second trimester.  But since the study focused on 'completed pregnancies' (i.e. those ending in birth or miscarriage) and only focused for a three month period, of course the only 'completion' a women in the first or second trimester is going to experience is a miscarriage or a premature birth.  You can't do a  complete nine month pregnancy from conception to birth in three months.  Any first or second trimester pregnancy 'completing' in the period is likely to have been a miscarriage.

Thornly uses a very familiar defence - essentially claiming he was misrepresented and his data misused and all he was actually doing was trying to highlight the flaws in the original study by performing a reductio ad absurdum.  That's a line often used by climate change deniers and Holocaust deniers - "I'm just asking questions" or "I'm playing with the data" or "It's just a thought experiment / piece of intellectual performance art."

But when all you "thought experiments" tend towards the same conclusion, and slot neatly into a wider pattern of behaviour, that defence becomes laughable.  Why are you spending so much time "asking questions" casting doubt on climate change, and never doing anything that shows it is a reality? Why spend all your time and energy trying to show the Shoah did not happen, unless you harbour a deeply held conviction it did not?

When it walks, talks and quacks like a duck, then it is hard to argue it isn't a duck.  Or as a child might put it, if it quacks like a quack, it's probably a quack.

Monday, 8 November 2021

Whatever a man soweth, that also shall he reap

 A prominent member of Destiny Church, one of the organisers of the anti-lockdown protests, has tested positive for Covid 19:

A Destiny Church member charged with organising a massive anti-lockdown protest in Auckland has tested positive for Covid-19.

Paul Craig Thompson, of Papatoetoe, is isolating at home after testing positive for the virus in recent days. He refused to reveal his vaccination status when contacted by Stuff.

The 57-year-old Destiny Church member, along with Destiny leader Brian Tamaki, were arrested and charged with organising a mass gathering in breach of Covid-19 alert level restrictions last month.

I do not wish for Mr Thompson to die of this dreadful illness; that would be evil.  I want him to get better.  

But I do think it would be useful for him to have a brutal, unpleasant encounter with Covid 19 so he would learn this virus is not to be fucked with; and stop telling his flock to refuse to vaccinate and to flaunt public safety measures.  Covid changed Boris Johnson's mind in fairly short order.

Hopefully a brush with it will have a similar effect on Mr Thompson. 

One might be tempted to recall his boss ('Bishop' Brian Tamaki I mean, not God) is prone to saying very stupid things about major disasters, linking the Christchurch earthquake to homosexual law reform (one has to wonder, if God didn't want gay rights to be a thing, why he'd smite cities with earthquakes, rather than spelling out a disapproving message in the clouds or something like that; it all seems a bit roundabout for an all powerful divine presence.)

I hope Mr Tamaki will be consistent and will acknowledge that the visitation of this plague upon Destiny Church is a judgement for transgressing God's will.  The Epistle to the Galatains advises: Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.  Paul Craig Thompson and Brian Tamaki invited Covid to have its merry way with them, and may now reap a bitter harvest.

Speedy recovery, Mr Thompson, both of your physical well being and your common sense.

Sunday, 7 November 2021

Anti-Vaxxers subjected to cruel ridicule in Palmerston North

 So, while I wandering about town on Saturday afternoon, I happened to chance upon a (rather thinly populated) anti-vaccine rally in the Square.

By chance, as I moved closer to see quite what was going on the speaker - a very energetic fellow who seemed unsure what nation - or even hemisphere he was in - asked his audience (about 100 people, I reckon) if the wanted "Socialism or freedom"; to which I could not restrain myself from bellowing "socialism" though I don't think anyone noticed.

I didn't linger, because being around large groups of unvaccinated people in a pandemic is Really Stupid (and both Covid and Stupid as easily caught - as Charlie Mitchell described in Stuff the other day)  But I did hear more.

After presenting his audience with the false choice between "socialism" on the one hand and "freedom" on the other the speaker then led his enthused listeners (most of whom would have benefited from New Zealand's milquetoast socialism at many points in their lives) in a vigorous chorus of "The Bill of Rights is ours!" which most of them joined in with cheerfully, though perhaps wondering what the Bill of Rights is, and why they were meant to be excited about it.

A few days ago Hone Harawira described the so-called "Sovereignty Hikoi of Truth" (which seemed to fail to live up to any of the of the words in its name, except perhaps the 'of' part) as being taken over by "Pakehā anti-vaxxers" and this claim seems to be borne out by fulminations of the gentleman in the Square.  "Socialism" isn't something most New Zealanders get very worked up about, though I suppose if you are the sort of person who considers Jacinda Ardern a "Pretty little communist" and thinks it would be an clever idea to put that thought on a placard, then there are some.


Which suggests a lot of the intellectual apparatus (sic) of the anti-Vaxx movement is being imported from overseas.  This makes sense.  New Zealanders don't tend to get passionately upset about sensible medical ideas and the link between the anti-Vaxxers and the evangelical churches is pretty well known - and the curious blend of intolerance, conservativism, libertarianism and fleecing of the congregation propagated by some of those sects is a direct import from the fundamentalist churches in the USA.

But I am curious about the people behind the people gathered in the square.  Who thinks it would be a splendid idea to import American or Australian anti-Vax lunacy into Aotearoa and encourage people - generally the people who are highly vulnerable to Covid and likely to be worst hit by it as it seethes past the Pretty Little Communist's half-hearted attempts to stop it?

As a childish aside - if only Ardern had been properly Stalinist and actually made us all stay home and watch Netflix instead of vaccilating and worrying about whether people might be starting to listen to the irrelevance formerly known as Judith Collins.  Then we might be back to smirking insufferably at the rest of the world and wondering what all the fuss was about, instead of bracing ourselves for Delta's full onslaught.

And not just who, but why?  Anti-Vaxxers are big on conspiracies.  They love the idea this is planned - though they disagree what 'this' is - it might be the phoney virus, or the not-phoney virus that has been deliberately unleashed, or the not-phoney virus that wasn't deliberately unleashed but whose emergence is being exploited by the Powers That Be to achieve some nefarious end.  From Charlie Mitchell's piece, mentioned earlier, we learn of the anti-Vaxxer fixation with the idea there are Dark Forces behind it all, whatever 'all' might be:
An article, published on the group’s website and authored by the “NZDSOS Steering Committee”, claims the pandemic is ushering in a totalitarian society and refers to “undeniable evidence that the Covid pandemic is in fact a planned criminal operation”. It likens unvaccinated people to victims of 20th-century dictators such as Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin and Pol Pot.

“Behind every regime mentioned, investing in the death camps and gulags and perhaps now vaccines, have been sociopathic banking and corporate interests, as immune to the suffering of others as their chosen frontmen and women,” the article says.

In a post responding to the vaccine mandate for healthcare workers, the group’s Telegram account implied that US President John F Kennedy was assassinated due to his belief in natural immunity, a conspiracy theory so obscure I can’t find it referenced anywhere else. NZDSOS would set up “dream circles” for those affected by the mandate, it said in a since-deleted remark on its website.''

And: 

To get to that point required a lying propagandised media, a currency or other economic or societal collapse then centralised control, a persecuted minority blamed for all society's ills and, particularly in the communist regimes, you eliminate religion, control education and inflict regular doses of terror and persecution to keep the citizens obedient,” Shelton says.
That's grand stuff, particularly the bit about Kennedy.  I always KNEW it wasn't a cranky social failure exercising his 2nd Amendment Rights in an extreme fashion, or even a Communist stodge controlled by the microchips implanted in him during his sojourn in Russia (does this sound a bit familiar?)  Clearly, it was because Kennedy was an anti-Vaxxer. Probably many other people were as well, all martyred by Big Pharma in its quest to sell us pills and magnetise the population.

I often think there is an element of projection or unconscious self-description going on in the screeds of conspiratorially inclined.  Like a sort of self-created Rorschach test, the word salads they post revel what is going on inside or behind.  Bigger pictures can be glimpsed in the scribblings.

My pet theory is this is nothing to do with Covid, ultimately.  There is always a bigger game afoot.  And no, this is not saying Covid is not a Very Big Deal.  But when the anti-Vaxxers contend that Covid is being exploited by the murky Powers That Be to further some Sinister Agenda, I wonder if there is not some truth in this; only the Powers That Be are quite different from Jacinda / the Chinese / Hilary Clinton / the Feds or whoever the anti-Vaxxers would posit is behind it all.  And the goal isn't to turn us all into human fridge magnets but part of a long term strategy to break democracy by alienating people from the system, spreading paranoid ideas about the interventionist state and regulation.

The protesters are 'useful idiots' - a phrase often ascribed to Lenin and suggesting his scornful and cynical manipulation of gullible Western sympathizers (though it isn't at all clear he coined the phrase, used it in the manner usually described.  The whole thing may have been a ruse to make those sympathetic to communism feel they were being gulled by the Reds.)

They are being used in an ongoing process of democratic and social sabotage to people whose interests are completely at odds with their own and who don't really give a damn about the Bill of Rights or the freedoms of people in Palmerston North's square.

And who don't really care if these people live or die, as long as they do the important thing, which is stop voting.

If I was to be rallying the Square, I wouldn't be chanting "The Bill of Rights is ours"; I'd be chanting, "This is a deliberate attempt to convince people to disenfranchise themselves, allowing the further consolidation of rightwing ideology; a deliberate and cynical move top persuade people at the bottom of society - who rightly feel they have been neglected and let down - to opt out of protecting their own interests, resulting in the continuing and accelerating demolition of the state apparatus that could be used to help them, the very people whose acquiescence is allowing the rich and the privileged to further arrogate more power and wealth to themselves; and further permitting them to continue to lower tax rates privatise and deregulate, of environmental protection in pursuit of short term profit."

Or maybe I'd just yell "Socialism" again because it is shorter and easier to understand.

Saturday, 9 October 2021

Bollocks

It would appear we have an unwelcome presence in town.

Positive wastewater results had been detected in Hamilton and Palmerston North on October 6 and 7.

There are 26 cases in hospital, seven of these are in ICU or high dependency units (HDU).

One of the people in hospital is in Palmerston North. The other hospitalised cases are spread around Auckland and Waikato – three at North Shore, 13 at Middlemore, eight at Auckland City, and one at Waikato Base Hospital. 

Presumably, the hospital case is either Palmy's Case Zero - the luckless truckie - or a close associate.

Ah well.  It was fun while it lasted.

Wednesday, 6 October 2021

COVID Clusterfuck

Well it has been fun living in the safest country in the world for a year and a half, but a combination of cynical politics from the right, and dithering incompetence from the left, and selfish sociopathy or ignorance on the part of the population , means New Zealand is very likely fucked.

Make no mistake. The economy - which we're being told is the reason we have to learn to 'live with' COVID - will be carpet-bombed because so many people will be isolating after contacts.  People will get sick.  People will die.  Hospitals will be smashed.

All this is known from experiences overseas.  All this can be confidently predicted.  All this could easily be avoided if people weren't willing to let themselves be duped by transparently stupidly false misinformation and if the government had the guts to stick to their sane and practical elimination strategy.

But hey, let's not worry, because we might all be rich by the middle of the week.

On Wednesday night, $23 million is up for grabs with Lotto Powerball. 

If won by a single player, the $23 million Powerball prize would be the largest prize won in New Zealand since February last year when two players shared a $50 million Powerball jackpot. The players, who were both from Auckland, each took home $25.1 million. 

According to Lotto, 15 New Zealanders have become multi-millionaires this year, including a man from Christchurch who won $22.5 million in February.

We all just lost big time.  Add the money and celebrity worshipping media to the list of shame above.  Wankers.

Unsurprising

Former rugby league star Manu Vatuvei has admitted importing methamphetamine. 
The Warriors icon was charged in December 2019 with possessing methamphetamine for supply and importing the Class A drug. 
He previously denied the charges and earlier this year said he would “fight for his innocence” after he outed himself as the sportsman behind the charges.
On Wednesday, Vatuvei appeared at Manukau District Court where he admitted a representative charge of importing methamphetamine. The remaining charges will be withdrawn, the Crown said.

When we treat grown adults who play games for a living as heroes and reward them with fame and stupid amounts of money - again FOR PLAYING A GAME - is it any surprise they act like spoiled, selfish, amoral knobs who think they are above the law?

It is only a shame they withdrew the other charges.  Sports professionals need to know they aren't above the law.

Sunday, 23 May 2021

I am still here.

 I am still here.  I haven't gone away.  I'm just trying to shame you all into better behaviour through my disapproving silence.

Tuesday, 5 January 2021

Johnson back in hospital

So, Boris Johnson has been footering about in hospitals again.
 

We should be grateful, perhaps, that on this occasion the Clown-in-Chief is only (probably) getting in the way and causing distractions, rather than taking up a bed, vital equipment and resources and adding more strain and danger to exhausted staff.

Look at him, trying to look doctory - hands placed authoritatively on his hips, shoulders back, belly sucked in, tie tucked in, staring intently at the Very Absorbing Spectacle of someone getting an injection.

(You'd have thought a man with so many children would be familiar with the process of people getting jags, but maybe he left all that to the various mothers of his various children.)

I wonder if anyone was impolite enough to remind Boris - enfolded in his slick black mask and socially distanced - of his earlier, more caviler approach:
“I was at a hospital the other night where I think there were actually a few coronavirus patients and I shook hands with everybody, you’ll be pleased to know, and I continue to shake hands.”

Hay, Johnson!  Here's something that'll really help.  Get back in your fridge, or your tent - or anywhere else far removed from places where real people are making a real effort to save lives - and stay there.

Monday, 4 January 2021

COVID 19 - Double+ Ungood

The situation in the UK is looking catastrophic:Eq1hdzn-XEAQVOv7-format-jpg-name-large

Hey, guys!  We've made another hockey stick!!

Note that the only bit where the trend line goes down consistently is during lockdown.

I wonder why? Did Covid get lazy? Or did closing down the economy for a few weeks, and restricting movement have a dramatic impact on the spread of the virus?

Comparison is an easy form of flattery. I mean, whoever would have thought we'd be looking back at the actions of the government in March and thinking, "They handled that pretty well, now you come to think about it."

Real royalty dying off

 Jean Luc Godard and Hilary Mantel within a few days of each other? FFS, 2022.  Juck fuck off already.