This Week in the New Normal #9

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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. The Death of a War Criminal

2021 sure has been hard on blood-soaked warmongers behind the 2003 invasion of Iraq. First we lost Donald Rumsfeld, and now the world has bid goodbye to Colin Powell.

That’s right, a man who took an active part in at least four American wars has passed on. Leaving behind only a legacy of burned Vietnamese villages, irradiated Iraqi towns, a few million civilian casualties, and a photo of him holding a test tube full of Sweet-n-Low he felt the need to wave around on the floor of the UN.

It’s a terrible loss, not because the world is worse place without him – far from it – but because he lived out his life without ever seeing the inside of the dock at the Hague, or passing one moment in a jail cell.

Yet another surplus nail in the well-sealed coffins of Lady Justice.

However, if you really want get the old rage-fire burning, just read the mainstream media obituaries of the man.

John Major called him “one of the finest Americans never to be president”, presumably only just behind Martin Luther King, Jonas Salk and the hundreds of millions of people who weren’t complicit in crimes against humanity.

The media went out of their way to excuse him on Iraq, and lying to the UN.

The Guardian refers to his “reporting mistaken intelligence”. The Associated Press refer to “faulty information” that made Iraq a “stain” on his record.

The Wall Street Journal calls him a “reluctant advocate for the Iraq war”, adding:

He initially opposed the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and came to deeply regret his role building a case for it at the United Nations Security Council. “There can be no doubt that Saddam Hussein has biological weapons and the capability to rapidly produce more, many more,” he told the Security Council. The intelligence he cited turned out to be wrong.

It is all weasel-worded myth-making of the worst kind. Entirely predictable, but not less repulsive for that.

2. Pfizer accidentally invents the elixir of life

A study done by a US research center has found vaccinated people are less likely to die from any cause, than unvaccinated people.

The researchers from the Kaiser Permanente Center for Research & Evaluation wrote in the CDC’s weekly report:

Recipients of the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, or Janssen vaccines had lower non–COVID-19 mortality risk than did the unvaccinated comparison groups […] people vaccinated for COVID-19 had lower death rates than those who were not vaccinated, even when COVID deaths were excluded.

While some might conclude this could be an odd coincidence, that the study’s methodology was flawed, or even that it reflects a bias in sample gathering, the authors of the study have a different theory.

Namely that the vaccines aren’t just safe, they are super safe and just make you generally more healthy.

COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the United States have shown again and again to be safe. This study also confirms their safety […] The lower mortality risk after COVID-19 vaccination suggests substantial healthy vaccinee effects (i.e., vaccinated persons tend to be healthier than unvaccinated persons)

…which I guess makes sense to them.

3. The endless war on social media

We covered, earlier this week, how the David Amess attack was being used as an excuse to attack social media and introduce new regulations for the internet.

It’s not just David Amess though….this week alone we’ve seen stories detailing how social media is dangerous for elections, emboldens stalkers, creating eating disorders, and being used by Iranian hackers.

Not to mention the ever-present threat of “covid misinformation”, detailed by the Daily Mail.

Given how dangerous the internet can be, it’s no wonder MPs have decided they shouldn’t be allowed to police themselves, and that they should face financial “hammer blows” for allowing “dangerous content”.

I’m sure that could never lead to increased levels of censorship. It’s just about protecting people.

BONUS: Worst interview of the week

Generally speaking nothing good comes from watching Channel 5 in the UK, it’s ITV’s less-intellectual little brother. And the Jeremy Vine show is the worst of the worst – bleating out hot takes that would make the editor of the Sun think “Oof, that’s a little low-brow isn’t it?”

This week it played host to Lucy Beresford, a psychologist, former Agony Aunt and founder of something called the Kindness Club…

Lucy thinks the state should treat the unvaccinated as if they were disobedient children, and force them to conform via removal of their human rights.

…presumably “the kindness club” is named ironically.

It’s not all bad…

As much as Italy is responsible for setting many of the worst pandemic trends in March 2020, it’s become the model for civic resistance to state overreach as well. Whether it’s MPs denouncing lockdowns in parliament, or mass protests every week.

For regular updates on the situation in Italy, follow Robin Monotti’s telegram channel.

Switzerland had huge protests of their own this week too, below are the streets of Bern on Saturday…

In other good news, a groups Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) held a press conference on Friday called “Defending fundamental rights by opposing the misuse of Digital Green Certificate”. The MEPs expressed concern over the EU “green pass” program. Maybe some political resistance is growing.

All told a pretty hectic week for the new normal crowd, and we didn’t even mention how new age healing is secretly riddled with neo-nazi conspiracies or how some US states are legalizing child-labour to fill gaps in the job market.

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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