This Week in the New Normal #13
Off-Guardian, Nov 28 2021

Our successor to This Week in the Guardian, This Week in the New Normal is our weekly chart of the progress of autocracy, authoritarianism and economic restructuring around the world.

1. Australia Declares War On “Trolls”

Seemingly unhappy with how the internet can twist their totally normal “public health policies,” and somehow make it look like the government is turning the nation into a fascist hellhole, the Australian parliament is pushing new legislation that would outlaw online anonymity … in a not-at-all fascist way. Mirroring similar policy goals in the UK and US, the bill would define social media companies as “publishers”, and therefore make them legally liable for anything that appears on their platform. The totally non-fascist bill would force social media companies to log personal details of all accounts, and allow courts to compel them to hand over these details to the government. Responding to questions concerning free speech, Prime Minister Scott Morrison set about neatly redefining what “free speech” actually means, as is the modern way:

Free speech is not being allowed to cowardly hide in your basement and sledge and slur and harass people anonymously and seek to destroy their lives. In a free society such as Australia where we value our free speech, it is only free when that is balanced with the responsibility for what you say.

Free speech is only free when you use it “responsibly.” You do you, Australia.

2. “The Thanksgiving Bouncers”

That’s the title of this article, published by Axios, detailing all the ways you can make sure your Thanksgiving was Covid-free. They stop short of suggesting actual bouncers, I think, but instead suggest rapid antigen testing at the door. I honestly didn’t get through the whole thing, it made me sad:

If you’re hosting, let your guests know ahead of their arrival that you’ll be testing everyone at the door for their own safety. If you’re a guest who’s anxious about attending without testing, talk to your host now about their plans and how you can help.

It goes on to suggest everything from symptomatic people having to eat alone in a bedroom, to charging your guests for the testing if your budget is tight. The good news is that people apparently didn’t listen, as a poll found the majority of thanksgiving hosts didn’t bother with tests, vaccines or masks. I really hope that’s true.

3. Masks Still Don’t Work

Yesterday Boris Johnson announced masks would be “compulsory” on all public transport and in all shops, this is a response to the “Omicron Variant.” We thought we should take this chance to remind everyone again that masks do not work to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, and here are twelve academic papers that say so: One meta-analysis published by the CDC in May 2020 found “no significant reduction in influenza transmission with the use of face masks.” Another study with over 8000 subjects found masks “did not seem to be effective against laboratory-confirmed viral respiratory infections nor against clinical respiratory infection.” There are literally too many to quote them all, but you can read them: [1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10] Or read a summary by SPR here. This is taken from OffG’s Covid Cribsheet. If you wanted, you could print off a couple of these studies, and show them to people who challenge you for not wearing a mask. Just an idea.

Bonus: Foreboding Sign Of The Week

Note this sign, posted on the streets of Dublin by the Irish government:

There’s a lot to unpack here. Firstly there’s the boosters laid out like a Starbucks loyalty card, with six – count them, six, implied booster shots. Then there’s the description of basic human rights as “privileges.” And, most tellingly of all, there’s the evolving definition of “fully vaccinated” and Covid passes becoming void if you turn down a booster. Show this to people who are embracing the “vaccines,” and you might open a few eyes.

It’s Not All Bad…

In our weekly protest bulletin, huge marches took place in Italy, Guadeloupe, Germany and Australia in the last few days. All against mandatory vaccination. Non-protest-based good news this week comes from Missouri, where a judge has struck down the state’s anti-Covid “public health measures,” finding that empowering unelected public health officials to set policy violated the principles of representative government. Judge Daniel Green wrote in the verdict:

This case is about whether Missouri’s Department of Health and Senior Services can abolish representative government in the creation of public health laws, and whether it can authorize closure of a school or assembly based on the unfettered opinion of an unelected official. This Court finds it cannot.

Also, this was sent to us and is good for a cathartic laugh:

All told a pretty hectic week for the new normal crowd, and we didn’t even mention tearing down statues of Thomas Jefferson or the totally unnecessary sexualising of Santa Claus. There’s a lot of change in the air, a lot of agendas in the works, if you see a headline, article, post or interview you think is a sign of the times, post it in the comments, email us or share it on social media and we will add it to the next edition.

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