Hitting Rock Bottom

In the middle of last week Melbourne had its biggest earthquake on record. It was the first time in my life I’ve experienced an earthquake. It only lasted about fifteen seconds at my house but that was certainly enough to get my attention. Up until corona, I wouldn’t have thought twice about the symbolism of such an event but nowadays I am not so sure. The literal earthquake came just two days after a metaphorical earthquake which made headlines around the world in the form of a mass protest by construction workers in the Melbourne CBD followed by days of police violence the likes of which we haven’t seen since this country was a prison colony. In a post back in May I predicted that Australia was going to have a severe political and cultural meltdown before corona was over. Boy was I right. It was fitting that the meltdown happened in Melbourne; the epicentre of our corona earthquake. On the day of the real earthquake, Melbourne equalled Buenos Aires as the most locked down city in the world a record we now hold by a comfortable margin. Melbourne used to call itself the world’s most liveable city. Turns out we are also the world’s most lockdownable city. Who knew? With the events of last week, I think Australia has finally hit rock bottom in our corona story. We are heading into summer now, vaccinations rates are up and governments are finally talking of getting back to normal. Nothing is certain in these times, but it would take something special for things not to be back to some kind of normality by Christmas. The long-term effects of corona will then become apparent and it is here that I think the earthquake may be symbolic. Things have happened here in the last year and a half that will not be forgotten and are going to need to find some kind of resolution. What that looks like is too early to tell but a political earthquake is certainly one of the options.

What was key to the Melbourne protests last week was that they were carried out by union members against a Labor state government. To know how significant that is you have to know that the Labor Party in Australia was built on union power which is still very strong in Australia. Like its counterparts in Britain and the US, Australian Labor abandoned its traditional economic platform in the 90s to get on board the neoliberalism train. However, that shift was carried out far more successfully in Australia than other countries and in the last few decades the working class here have not economically suffered anywhere near as much as in Britain and the US which is part of the reason why Australian politics has been a snooze-fest while Brexit and Trump happened. Although the Australian Labor Party is now also the party of the inner-city intelligentsia, it has still kept its working-class base. Until now. The first signs of the loss of that base came during the last federal election where the Liberal-National Party picked up an increasing share of the working class vote and won a surprise victory. I think that trend is now set to go into overdrive. With corona, the unions around the country have failed to stand up for their members in the face of vaccines mandates. Starting last week, the construction union became the latest one to sell out its members. The Victorian construction union is the most old-school in the country and is notorious for both its violence and its willingness to flout the law to achieve its aims. The membership was quite willing to turn those capabilities on its leader and let him know what they thought of his agreeing to mandatory vaccinations for construction workers. In fact, the CFMEU is probably the only institution in the country that could have carried out a protest such as the one that happened last week. The fact that a Labor politician was unable to know that is quite telling. It was an incredible political miscalculation. The important point in the medium term is that the union movement is going to face a political crisis and that crisis should directly impact the Labor Party. The 20-30% of the union workforce who did not want to take the vaccine but who have been forced into doing so are not going to forgive either the unions or the Labor Party. That should have a direct impact at elections in the years ahead.

In normal course of events, that should help the other side of the political spectrum except the Liberal Party has also betrayed its supposed values and its base during corona. The liberal Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, gave an absurd address to the United Nations general assembly last week in which he decided to highlight the fact that Australia was one of the few countries involved in the drafting of the universal charter of human rights. Not only that, Morrison stated that Australia puts its belief in human rights into practice right here at home. Really, Mr Morrison? Article 13 states that everyone has right to freedom of movement within their own country and also the right to leave and return to that country. Australia has been blatantly in breach of this article for most of the last eighteen months. Why would the Prime Minister make this a point of his speech at this time? You could argue it was just a slip up. But this dissociation from reality has been a feature of the Morrison prime ministership. He was famously on the beach in Hawaii during the massive Australian bushfires of 2019 and seemed genuinely not to understand why he needed to break his holiday and, y’know, lead the country during a time of emergency. During covid he has been little more than a cipher often just missing completely from the public view. He appeared unable to foresee the political consequences of not securing enough vaccines and he has been unable to bring State leaders together to agree on, well, anything. That he should get up and blab on about freedom and human rights while there were “anti-terrorism” police firing rubber bullets on unarmed civilians on the streets of Melbourne is stunningly naïve at best. This is the same Prime Minister who changed the words of the national anthem to “we are one and free” at a time when states borders were closed. You get the impression Morrison just hopes that if he ignores such problems long enough they might go away.

Will they go away? There is actually a possibility they will. The NSW state premier yesterday released a road map that she said was definitely not about “freedom day” but that included the dropping of all restrictions even against the unvaccinated on 1 December, which kind of makes 1 December just like freedom day except it’s definitely not a freedom day. This came just a week after stories started circulating about how the state’s vaccine passport app was not going to be ready in time for the easing of restrictions. Given that the passports are apparently only going to be in place for a month and a half, I’d say that means the government won’t even bother to roll the app out. This was certainly an about face on the rhetoric of the last few months and a clever bit of politics. If the Premier can pull it off, the other states will almost certainly have to follow suit and drop all restrictions too. That would mean life goes back to some kind of normal just in time for the start of summer. If things go well in the northern hemisphere winter, it may just be that the Australian government can bring The Plague Story to an apparent end . The vaccines were provided just in time for the summer off-season. Any corona surge won’t happen until the following winter by which time I’d say everybody will be over the whole thing. If that happens, it may be that things barely change and life goes on as normal. It’s far too early to say whether this will happen but it is now an actual possibility.

Another possibility is that Australian politics is about to receive a big shakeup. Both major parties have betrayed their base and their ostensible ideals in the last year and a half. Indeed, it is plain that there really is no discernible difference at all between the two parties; a fact which was also clear in the recent Canadian elections. Like Canada, Australia may just vote on party lines again. However, there is now a sizeable demographic ready to vote for an alternative. The only question is whether there is a politician with the smarts to win them over. In any case, I’d expect to see the minor parties do very well in the next federal and Victorian elections. There are a lot of unknowns moving forward. How bad is the damage to the real economy in particular the tourism and higher education sectors? What will be the mindset of people who think the vaccine will stop them getting infected when they do inevitably test positive? What happens if things get really bad next flu season? What if things get really bad in the upcoming northern hemisphere flu season? If the Melbourne earthquake is an omen for any of these things, we may see something seismic in the year ahead.

59 thoughts on “Hitting Rock Bottom”

  1. I very much doubt the northern winter will go well. COVID may or may not be much of an issue this winter, but other respiratory viruses are coming back with a vengeance. It is perfectly possible that the flu will be a bigger problem this winter than COVID. I fear a flu-induced lockdown.

    And that’s before you get to degenerative disease. Have you noticed that there’s been more and more noise in the media about the delay in cancer diagnoses caused by the lockdowns and COVID fear mongering? (And now they’re trying to estimate the number of excess deaths that this will cause.) Looking beyond the next few months, we will see an actual increase in degenerative disease. You don’t get to park your entire population in front of the TV with junk food as the only company without consequences! And it remains to be seen if the Second Coming of the Holy Smallpox Vaccine actually causes degenerative disease (heart disease, cancer) at significant rates.

  2. Irena – I saw a stat indicating Scotland is already having something like 25% excess death this year and the rest of the UK is not far behind. I’m pretty sure that as long as it’s not “covid” killing people then it won’t result in lockdowns. After all, if governments start locking down for the flu they will be locking down every winter for the rest of time. Similarly, nobody will want to know if the vaccines are causing death so, unless it gets too big to deny, it will be covered up.

  3. See, rationality went out of the window some 18 months ago, which makes it rather difficult to predict how governments will respond. There are only a few rational ways a person (or a government) can respond to a crisis. Ah, but the number of irrational ways is, for all practical purposes, infinite and infinitely varied.

    There are two problems here: (1) it’s all COVID, all the time, never mind everything else (even if it’s cancer); (2) I am very far from convinced that TPTB are thinking more than three months ahead. They are in such deep doo-doo at this point, that they’re just trying to keep their heads above water (politically speaking) a little bit longer, and so “we can’t lock down because of the flu, because that would mean locking down every winter” might not even cross their minds.

  4. Irena – you could be right. I saw a story out of the US where there’s now events where you have to be vaccinated AND you have to wear a mask AND you have to social distance etc. It’s like a big long list of things that don’t work. So, maybe we will add lockdowns to the list and spend the next years hiding under the blankets at home. Or maybe, fingers crossed, we all learn from Sweden and Norway etc. They’re pretty smart up there in Scandinavia. So, I hear.

  5. What seems to be happening is that countries that initially had similar strategies are slowly starting to diverge. The United States is going particularly crazy, and they probably won’t get themselves out of it until Fauci and perhaps Biden get thrown under the bus. I don’t know when/how that’ll happen. Anyway, Fauci only seems to be able to think about three months into the future, and Biden probably can’t even think beyond his next speech.

    I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Central and Eastern Europe (the former Eastern Bloc) will imitate Scandinavia and not (say) France. But I think that for a great many countries, it’s really not clear which way they’ll go. Germany will certainly be interesting to watch (and what happens there may, in particular, have an outsized influence on CZ).

  6. Yeah, corona has now become the continuation of Trump Derangement Syndrome in the US only now they have an excuse to punish the deplorables directly. That could go on for years. As for Europe, there’s now everything from Sweden/Norway/Denmark to Lithuania to choose from. Same virus but radically different approaches. But it’s all based on “science”, right?

  7. Hi Simon,

    I also took the earthquake to be an omen. And incidentally, I did hear your prediction, and mate the chips will fall where they will fall in that regard. The construction industry thing caught us out. And it hasn’t been lost on me that all we’ve been allowed to do for a long while now is to either: stay at home, work, or shop for essential items. And then some tool decided to take away the ability to earn a buck. Oh well, I’m not keen to return these numpties.

    Way back last century, my lady and I visited the lovely country of Cambodia. It was not a popular tourist destination at that time for all sorts of issues, and in relation to westerners, it was just us and a few hardy backpackers. To this day I still don’t know why exactly we decided to go and see the killing fields for our own eyes. But we did. It was a pretty raw experience to stand in that otherwise pleasant looking place and have a huge glass lined pagoda full of human skulls to one side, whilst the remains of clothes were poking up out of the ground. The cries of the dead could be heard echoing whenever the wind rustled the nearby trees.

    Anyway, that was morbid, but on a more practical note, I learned that day that if a gobarmint wants you dead, well, they seem pretty well practised at the art. History bears this lesson out.

    There are many issues converging upon our civilisation right now, so I have the odd notion that things may possibly get weirder. But time will educate us in this regard.

    One possibility which most people don’t consider is that as the months and years go on, the ability to use technology to produce the sort of outcomes we are experiencing today, will become far harder to do. That’s the silver lining there. It will be something of a relief.

    Cheers

    Chris

  8. Chris – yeah, in the long run these kind of schemes won’t even be able to get off the ground. Unfortunately, before that happens there’s plenty of room for all kinds of stupidities. Will be interesting to see what happens over summer here. In theory, we should see exactly what happened in Israel. That would be very bad. But if the flu gods smile on us and we get a few months of normality there’s a chance that it could be over no matter how bad it gets next winter. Yeah, time will tell.

  9. Hi Simon,

    Err, what exactly has gone on over in Israel? Mate, I’m doing my utmost to avoid the news. Can you point to any good summaries of the situation over there? Last I heard they were up to their second booster, or something crazy like that.

    It does look as if NSW has bowed to the realities of the situation.

    Cheers

    Chris

  10. Chris – I haven’t been paying much attention but saw this one recently – https://www.covid-datascience.com/post/what-do-new-israeli-data-say-about-effect-of-vaccines-boosters-vs-death-critical-severe-disease

    I’m not too worried about the health stats myself. I think they’re mostly noise. What I’m concerned with is how it plays out politically. Israel currently has its highest ever number of “cases” and are already on boosters. Our Dear Leader has been talking about boosters too so it’s not hard to imagine us falling into the same trap.

  11. Australia has not hit rock bottom, a world energy crisis is next.

    Also, the anti-jab argument needs to get beyond “Covid-deaths” and just focus on deaths. Taking the jab is a trade-off with a limited, short-term benefit weighed against an long-term unknown risk, the only measure of its worth is in the mortality rate.

  12. Nate – fair point. I’m talking specifically about the corona event rather than any of the other problems brewing on the horizon and I’m also assuming that a) we won’t go back into lockdowns because it would be political suicide; b) nothing like ADE pops up in a way which is seen to be caused by the vaccine. It definitely could get worse, I just think it’s unlikely.

  13. I guess we’ll see if energy decline & the covid story are closely linked within the next two months. If ADE or some other deadly ailment befalls the northern hemisphere, then I will assume so. If the mortality rate does not skyrocket while energy prices continue to shoot to the moon then I’ll toss what I believe has really been going on, covid as a means of demand destruction, into the CT trash bin.

  14. The mortality rate already seems to be skyrocketing. There’s article appearing now which go something like “people are dying but it’s not because of covid”. From a public relations/public panic point of view, the question is whether those deaths will register in the consciousness of people. I doubt it. All the psychological and political pressure will be to ignore them.

  15. @Nate
    @Simon

    I believe that what caused politicians to panic was the possibility of hospital collapse (which is, after all, a form of institutional collapse). It was never about how many people were or weren’t dying; it was about how many people hospitals would have to turn away. From that point of view, X people dying, some of whom are turned away by hospitals, is far worse than 2X people dying, none of whom are turned away by hospitals. The problem with COVID was that too many people (relative to hospital capacity, that is) were winding up in the ICU for weeks and weeks, neither recovering nor dying. In Italy, this led to hospital collapse, and it scared political leaders in other countries poopless. So, they were willing to try almost anything to avoid it. If their efforts led to an increased cancer or overdose or whatever death rate, that was okay, as long as those people weren’t spending weeks and weeks in the ICU.

    In that sense, it was demand destruction, but of a very particular kind: destruction of the demand for hospitals. It ended up being deadly, but that’s okay, because hospitals didn’t get overwhelmed.

  16. Irena – that explanation never made much sense but in any case the makeshift hospitals that were built in the UK and the US never got used, so the whole hospital overwhelmed explanation was already out of date in April 2020. Here in Australia we are still hearing how the hospitals are going to be overwhelmed any day now. The Premier of Victoria made a promise in April 2020 to build 4000 ICU units. It appears none got built probably because, based on overseas experience, they weren’t going to be needed. It’s weird that in Australia now we are still rehashing the March 2020 rhetoric. At least in the US they have updated the rhetoric so it’s clearly now about punishing the unvaccinated for their sins.

  17. @Simon

    I’m not sure what you mean by “that explanation never made much sense.” Do you mean “that’s clearly not the reason they did it” or “it was a really stupid reason for doing what they did”? I’m pretty sure it *was* the original reason they did it (and then, of course, one thing led to another, and now it’s about this, that, and the other thing, including the punishing of deplorables, who must be punished because they’re deplorable). That doesn’t mean it was a good reason.

  18. Irena – it was a logical reason in and of itself but did not to correspond to reality. The fact that they rehashed the same reason last European winter and that we are still hearing the same reason in Australia says it all. We’ve had a year and a half to prepare so if you want to use that reason your very next question must be why the government has apparently done nothing in that time to prevent the hospital system collapsing. Either they are criminally negligent or the idea is simply wrong.

  19. Simon: “We’ve had a year and a half to prepare so if you want to use that reason your very next question must be why the government has apparently done nothing in that time to prevent the hospital system collapsing. Either they are criminally negligent or the idea is simply wrong.”

    Ah, yes. Two problems.

    (1) Back in March 2020, they really seemed to think that COVID would go away if they just locked down for a few weeks. (I have no idea why they thought this. It was obviously not going to happen. But it appears that that’s what they thought.) And then when COVID failed to go away, they kept telling themselves it would simply take a couple more weeks. And then a couple more weeks. And that continued for months, during which they did nothing to prepare.

    (2) By now, it’s no longer about hospital collapse. The whole thing has turned into one gigantic mess. The PsyOp was more successful than they had planned (apparently, quite a few people think we have smallpox on the loose), and those people are ready to cry bloody murder should their government suddenly decide to act rationally. And then they (TPTB) are dealing with a massive legitimacy crisis of their own making. Do you actually expect them to say “Oopsie, silly us, shouldn’t have done that”?

  20. Simon,

    I saw your comment on one of your earlier post asking about the situation here in Israel. I am sorry I did not reply, a large part of the reason being that I decided to follow the example of my ancestors, and leave the center (Tel Aviv and it’s suburbs where most of the population and corona policies reside), for the north of the country, where historically at least dating to the Romans people were largely left alone from centralized governments. As a result, I spend more time out with people and less time in front of screens.

    To answer your original question, we have had a short period when it seemed all restrictions are being lifted because the vaccine saved us, followed by a period when the third booster shot appeared. Your prediction about how the tests will start as free but will cost money is spot on: In the past I could get a PCR test from my healthcare provider for free. Such tests are is still available, but it can not count as a temporary green passport. Ironically what can be counted is a relatively expansive antigen test, which out health establishment don’t mind admitting is even less accurate that the PCR. The only silver lining is that it seems there are more false negatives than positives in the antigen test.

    The general population up here in the north is mostly fed up. Many policies such as masks in stores are enforced in only some stores, and many times you can tell it’s just for show. In general I can spend weeks and months without putting a mask on, seeing someone with a mask, or anyone asking about my vaccination status. In the center things are different. Going into a store without a mask is the norm, and in order to come to a friend’s wedding I had to pay for an antigen test.

    Politically, our prime minister at least seems to recognize a lockdown has too high of economic and social cost, but he seems to enforce the three (and counting) shots of the vaccine. Some people are following suit, I for example was told two days before I was supposed to start a new job that unless I take the shots I am not welcome. In that regard, I read on your post about how the Australian labor union fails to protect its workers. So while I know of friends who were forced to take the vaccine under the threat of getting fired, recently our labor union voiced it’s resistance to a law the government wanted to pass under which not only will you be shown the door if you do not take the vaccine, but you will also be denied your benefits including unemployment. So at least they, unlike their Australian counterparts seem to try to do something for the workers.

    If you have any specific question I’d love to answer them.

  21. Irena – the “psyop” started at exactly the time when we knew the hospitals weren’t going to be overloaded. For me, that’s when the archetypal takeover occurred. We can also call it a psyop or a demonic possession or the overwhelming desire to show the power of “progress” through the vaccine. So, I’m not surprised that the excuses don’t make sense although it is still disorienting that we are hearing the exact same nonsense here a year and a half later. It’s a lot like being trapped in a real life zombie movie.

    Bakbook – good to hear from you and thanks for that update. It’s interesting that even in a geographically small country like Israel there is such a difference between city and country. I’m curious about the high number of “cases”. If getting tested now costs money, I would have assumed less people would get tested and cases would go down but it seems that is not happening in Israel. Is it possible the antigen tests really are throwing a lot of false positives? Also, what rhetoric is the Prime Minister using to justify the booster shots? “Just one more booster and then it will be over”? I assumed a lot people would turn against the government politically if the booster was tried. Is there evidence of that or are people just following along?

  22. Actually, I’d much prefer Dictator Dan to follow suit. Sadly, there appears to be no chance of that happening.

  23. Who is Gladys? Is that the crazy woman who said you should refrain from talking to your neighbors? Or is that someone else?

  24. Helen – I had a skim read over the spartacus doc when it first appeared. Looks very well researched to me and is very clearly explained. Would be nice if our governments weren’t doing exactly the opposite of what it recommends.

    Irena – Gladys is the now former Premier of NSW. The woman you are referring to is the Chief Health Officer of NSW. Believe it or not, she’s not actually the dumbest one here. That award goes to the South Australian chief health officer who has said some things during corona that would make your average village idiot blush.

  25. As a South Aussies I can second that.
    Her delivery style in the press conferences, the few Ive glimpsed anyway, is to talk to you like your about 5 years old.
    She’s a classic bubble bureaucrat.
    I’d imagine she lives in the Eastern suburbs and hasn’t ventured very far north, where we plebs live 😁
    Of course as per everywhere, she is the voice of the Oracle 🤦

  26. Helen – there’s living in a bubble and then there’s the “I’ve heard there’s this thing called football” bubble.

  27. Bubbles within bubbles…
    Perhaps someone who is making decisions which affect ordinary people, so much more than the fabled PMC should be a bit more in touch.
    Stating the obvious, I know.

  28. Hey mate,
    I hope you’re right about rock bottom. Here in QLD the ‘chook certainly seems reluctant to call another lockdown. Word on the street is, she’ll lock us up after the grand final, but i wonder if that would be politically palatable. We’ll have to see.
    But the folks here still believe the narrative. As long as that’s the case we have a problem. And i wonder what would a way out look like from a branch covidian who has a massive psychological investment in the current situation. They won’t just say “i guess we were really a bit stupid there, let’s just forget about it”. And these people are the majority.
    Many moving parts here.
    Tings will remain interesting.

  29. Helen – one of the interesting things about having these CHOs wheeled out is that they clearly aren’t politicians and don’t seem to even know how to make their speech relatable to the average person. Hence the never ending line of absurd statements. But, yes, a quick look at the CV of any of these people and you can see they are well and truly part of the swamp.

    Roland – I expect we’ll get into an Israel-style quagmire here but I pretty sure we won’t be able to go back into lockdowns. That should be political suicide. Although, the big unknown, as you point out, is what are the people who think the vaccine stops them getting infected going to do when they inevitably test positive? I’ve assumed that they should start to turn against the narrative but if enough of them double down then who knows what will happen at that point.

  30. How did people get out of their madness after WWI? I don’t know enough history to understand how the madness discharged in 1917.
    One would need to be a historian as well as a psychologist. Above my pay grade, but maybe someone smarter had something to say about it?
    Although maybe things were so bad that they simply had no choice but to return to sanity.
    In this case we might still be far from rock bottom.
    Hope you’re right though.

  31. Helen – wow. There is hope. Maybe I’ll start praying 🙂 . This is also noteworthy – https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/exodus-from-premier-s-private-office-as-staffers-look-past-election-20210813-p58iia.html

    Roland – what happened in 1917? I thought Germany was running out of oil so it was only a matter of time before they lost the war. Hence the mutiny in Hamburg. I think in this case we’ve now got the example of Sweden, Denmark and Norway which are pretty powerful. Once enough countries return to normality the rest should follow. That’s what happens in a smaller scale psychosis too. You surround the people with normality and they just come round by themselves. Unfortunately, we’ve got Biden in the white house who looks like he’s gonna push the nonsense as long as he can. And then there’s Canada which is just a nut house. In theory, we would follow suit but I think the psychological scarring from the lockdowns will make it politically impossible. I may be wrong.

  32. Another fascinating possibility in Victoria is that the current state of emergency is set to expire on 21 October. Andrews needs the support of cross benchers to extend it. If any of them want to throw him under the bus, they just have to refuse. If that happens, all his power disappears in a puff of smoke and life would go back to normal immediately. (woops – apparently the real end date is in December at which point parliament must approve again.)

  33. The chief of staff looks a bit “Uni Woki” if you get my drift.
    Yeh, I know, shouldn’t judge by appearances…
    I linked to another article regarding a court challenge to the jab which referenced alternative treatments such as Vitamins and the dreaded anti vitals that shall not be named
    I read some of the comments, all disparaging and turning the plaintiff into a pariah, quack, idiot etc wasting taxpayer money and not worthy of interacting with society.
    IE the usual tone from the clever jabs.
    It always makes my eyes roll when they talk about the financial burden the outcasts will impose on society.
    I wonder how many overweight, smokers, work from homers, unhealthy eaters, and of course pensioners with their guaranteed government pay check are among those commenting?
    Lots of shadow projection methinks!
    My dad and my brother who lives with him and is his career, both got the jab last week.
    He didn’t want the ‘unsafe AZ’ one, was waiting for the ‘safe’ Moderna or Pfizer, I don’t know which one, I haven’t asked him.
    Anyway yesterday he started getting a stabbing pain in the heart region and is currently in ER undergoing tests. Apparently it’s not the heart and has dissipated somewhat.
    But is that the end of it, or is there worse to come? Time will tell I suppose.
    My two sisters and I are absolutely not getting it. I have a well stocked vitamin cabinet. I weigh about 58kg so obesity is not a problem. I walk, exercise, garden and eat reasonably well.
    I’m staying in the control group..

  34. Helen – I’m sorry to hear that. I hope it works out ok for him. This is a story that is not being told in the MSM, of course. Here’s a snippet from talkback radio in Melbourne where a nurse says they are getting 20 patients an hour(!) in the ER with complications from the vaccine and it’s that which is maxing out the hospitals at the moment – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=arz5YbfgcF8

  35. I had a very close personal experience with vaccine side effects here in NZ and the most striking thing about the event was the look of forlorn sadness and exasperation the faces of the otherwise extremely calm and competent paramedics when they were told that the person received the second jab a couple of weeks prior. The mask slipped for a moment – and my biggest regret of the encounter was not asking the paramedics directly what else they had seen. Or perhaps it’s simply better I don’t know.

    Thankfully so far the person is doing alright. The event was diagnosed as a stroke and discharged the next day – but the discharge itself was odd too. The doctors in the hospital very obviously did not have any idea what they were dealing with, and just followed the stroke playbook mindlessly.

  36. Daniel – hope it turns out well. I’ve now got close family members dragged into this saga with the latest dictates from our Dear Leader. Makes me sick. Apparently we now have a thing called an “authorised worker” in Victoria. So, now the government gets to tell you the conditions under which you can work. Another blatant violation of the human rights charter.

  37. We are now (for the next few months) at a crossroads: either they’ll abandon “vaccine” mandates, or they’ll double down, and they’ll require regular COVID (and quite possibly flu and who knows what else) boosters in order to earn a living and participate in social life. Y’know, like in Israel. It could go either way. But what I do *not* see happening is something like this: come summer 2022, people who got their second shot back in (say) May 2021 get privileged treatment compared to the “unvaccinated.” It wouldn’t make any sense whatsoever, and within a few months, that much will be clear even to “geniuses” such as Macron and the do-not-talk-to-your neighbors lady. (Biden might struggle to understand, but he has a legitimate health excuse for not understanding.)

  38. Dad came home late morning, no heart or lung issues, thankfully.
    They’re not really sure what caused the stabbing pains he had.
    Who can say? Hopefully that’s the worst of it, if it was a reaction to the jab.
    But, as I said before, only time will tell.

  39. Irena – Japan just ended its state of emergency. The numbers there look really low. Apparently they’ve had 1.7 million “cases” in total and are now only getting 2,000 cases a day. Doesn’t make a lot of sense for a population that size and density, although they aren’t doing much testing in Japan and low number of tests = low number of cases. I can’t for the life of me see how they are going to administer vaccine passports and booster shots. It will almost be funny to watch them try [emphasis on almost].

    Helen – that’s good news. Fingers crossed that’s the last of it.

  40. Simon – Our prime minister mainly justifies the need for the booster as something that became necessary due to the “delta variant”. So the rhetoric seems to be largely “get the booster to be protected from the more deadly delta”.

    I think the high number of cases may be due to the high percentage of people being forced to get the tests. In the past I managed to all but avoid them, but this month alone I had to get no less than three tests, largely because my current employer expects me to get a test every week. This policy also applies to the vaccinated. More tests equal more cases.

    As for the effect of the booster shot, it was available for a while, yet only 30% of the population took it, in contrast to the 60% who took the two original shots, that alone says something. Today was the first day of the “new green passport”. Anyone who took the two shots no longer enjoys the rights we all used to take for granted unless they take the booster. On addition, in the past it was enough to simply show your green passport app at the door, of buisnesses, but now businesses are required to scan the QR code to verify it. Most small businesses lack the necessary equipment and manpower, and they were struggling with the burden of the COVID measures from the start as it is. I know a state wide demonstration was organized today and major traffic routes were supposed to be blocked. I was occupied by picking apples to tell if it happened, but it so happens that our mainstream media is now running articles about how our health ministery is now considering the partial cancellation of the green passport. Maybe someone’s been panicking?

  41. Bakbook – what happens if you test positive? Do they still make you stay at home? Even if you are vaccinated? Here in Australia we already have the QR codes but I have faith in the government’s inability to build the system to make the vaccine passport work. There’s signs they may back away from the idea. We will know in the next couple of months whether that is true. It’s a ridiculous burden to impose for no economic or health benefit whatsoever. I’ll be interested to hear how things go in Israel. I assumed things would fall apart if they tried the boosters. I guess we are about to find out.

  42. So WWI ended, because it simply wasn’t possible to continue. A short breather and with renewed enthusiasm right into the next madness. Not sure if this is really comparable to what happens today, but one could make a case that WWI did not end until 45.
    I wonder if our generation would even be able to understand what rock bottom looks like. We never missed a meal and most of our problems are self inflicted. I hope that you are right and I am wrong, but my prediction is that over the next decade we will learn a lesson new to us. And it won’t be nice. I think we might be about to find out what hardship means. The pretext might be covid or climate change or some flavour of the month rubbish for a bit longer, but once reality really starts to bite, no narrative will be required anymore.

  43. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that it’s all over and we’ll go back to normal now. Just that the worst of the corona BS is over. That’s not saying much. How much worse can it get really? The only thing left is to drag people from their homes and strap them to a chair to get the shot. Now we have to start facing reality and all the other problems we’ve been ignoring for the last year and a half. Europe looks to be a good precursor there. Empty supermarket shelves, can’t organise truck drivers any more, can’t source energy anymore, struggling even to make beer.

  44. I think that is spot on. This will go to the next level now. So far the causes were psychological and political. Now a new factor seems to have entered in the form of real, narrative independent problems.
    But i think there’s a lot of room for further oppression.
    The next level will create the need for scapegoats. This could go into a full blown witch hunt.
    Shelves are empty?
    Blackouts?
    ADE?
    Best to blame the filthy unvaxxed.

  45. I haven’t seen any evidence for that yet but then again I haven’t been looking for it. Britain will be the one to watch there as they are having some pretty big problems at the moment but I haven’t seen anybody blaming the gas shortage on the unvaccinated yet.

  46. Simon – Unless you either display the symptoms of a respiratory illness or were exposed to a corona positive person, there are no consequences.

    Your question got me thinking that maybe at least some of the new “cases” are people who wanted to do something that requires them to produce a negative result, and kept getting tested until they got the negative result they needed. That’s a very Israeli approach but if you simply count positive tests as cases, it can look like a lot of cases.

  47. Bakbook – yeah, it’s amazing that a year and a half into this and we are still obsessing over “cases” based on meaningless test data. Garbage in, garbage out was never more appropriate.

  48. BTW, if you have the time, watch this interview with Jay Bhattacharya (one of the Great Barrington Declaration people).

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aw5hCjNdwok

    Among other things, he makes the point that the lockdown skeptics (such as Carl Heneghan and Sunetra Gupta) are, absurdly, being blamed for the failure of lockdowns. To wit: some people advocated lockdowns, others opposed them, the lockdown advocates won, their policy failed, and now they’re blaming their opponents (you know, the people who *didn’t* get to influence policy). It’s fascinating. The other point he makes is that we have been led into this mess by a bunch of unelected senior academics with huge egos, and those egos are now on the line. Interestingly, he didn’t say their jobs were on the line. And of course, he was right not to say it: they’re senior (tenured) academics, and so sacking them is extremely difficult. Oh, but those egos…

    Which brings me to… It’s probably pointless to try to get those people to change their minds. They can’t. They’d have to admit they were wrong. Well, good luck with that. The only way to get out of this mess is to shove them to the side, and it’s up to the political leaders to do that. That’ll be easier in some places than in others. If your elected leaders’ base is the meritocratic elite, then you’re basically screwed. (So, the US is likely to be a hot mess for quite some time, at least at the federal level.) Times like this call for a Trump-like figure who will cater to the needs of deplorables.

    Looking ahead, though, the Democratic Party over in the US may have committed a (delayed) suicide. Sure, its base is the meritocratic elite. But those people aren’t enough. They also need to be able to count on (for example) the African American vote. Now, will African American voters continue voting for a party that just banned a huge fraction of them from participation in public life due to their refusal to submit to an experimental medical treatment? I suppose we’ll have to wait and see.

  49. Irena – that’s also the point I was making in this post. Here in Australia, the Labor Party betrayed it’s working class base. They should suffer at elections as a result. Any half-competent demagogue should win in a landslide at the moment. The fascinating thing about the academics is not just that they were wrong, but 100% wrong and repeatedly so. The fact that anybody even listens to a word they say anymore is quite extraordinary.

  50. The thing is, Bhattacharya is also an academic. It’s that somehow, one (to state the obvious: unelected) set of academics seized the reins of power, successfully demonized their opponents (especially those within academia), and here we are now. What a horrible mess!

    Still, the basic points stands. When politicians abdicate power to academics (with their niche expertise and all that), the results are likely to be a mess. As we’ve seen. After all, those academics who realize that they only have niche expertise and some limited advice to offer are rather unlikely to accept the dictator role and then run us all into the iceberg.

  51. Irena – the abdication of power to academics/bureaucrats is the high modernist ideology. This is the first time in the west we have allowed a high modernist takeover of society. We saw in the 20th century what happens when you do that by watching what happened in Maoist China and communist Russia. Now we’re going to learn it the hard way ourselves.

  52. @Simon

    Re: high modernist ideology

    Right. You wrote about this before. Sorry, it’s taken a bit of time to click. But yes, it’s clicking.

  53. I really recommend the book Seeing Like a State. It has a number of very useful concepts which, sadly, are becoming more prevalent in the west these days.

  54. Simon, Irena, are you guys familiar with Adam Curtis’ work? In his documentary Hyper Normalization he makes the case that in the late stage of the Soviet Union, people lost faith in the story their government was trying to sell them. And yet, since they had no alternative, they kept going along with a system they knew was based on assumptions they knew were false from their every-day experiance.

    I see the sam thing happen in Israel. I go on a bus, and hear a prerecorded message reminding me to put on a mask. I put the mask on, say hello to the driver, pay him, go to the end of the bus, take the mask off. I make eye contact with the bus driver, he does not care, he can say he watched me enter th bus with a mask. I ask the cashier in the grocery store if she thinks we will get a second booster. She says yes, but I can tell she’s not happy about that, yet she knows it’s coming.

    I think the Hypernormalization may be a sign we are experiencing the same thing the Russians may have been going through.

  55. Bakbook – I hadn’t heard of Curtis but I think that’s an excellent way to think about it. All of this massive overreach of power could only ever have been justified if they could bring The Plague Story to an end. But they can’t. And now they have no backup story. You can’t run a society this way. Irrespective of any moral or legal considerations, it simply doesn’t work. We’re already starting to see the wheels fall off in Britain and other parts of Europe and the US. Either they keep pushing the nonsense and we collapse like the USSR or somebody with a clue grabs the reigns of power before it’s too late.

  56. @Bakbook

    I’m vaguely familiar with Adam Curtis. (Didn’t he have some stuff about learning to hug and cry in public? I watched something like that a number of years ago, and I believe it was his.) But I wasn’t familiar with hypernormalization. I agree with Simon, though: it makes a lot of sense. No-one believes the story anymore (not even the people telling the story actually believe it), but we have no other script, and so we keep going through the motions, even if obviously unenthusiastically.

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