This Week in the New Normal #12

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.Beware the symptomless variant

The COVID narrative took one more step into self-parody this week, when it was announced that the Delta variant has a new mutation – the “symptomless variant”.

That’s right, medical professionals that the latest version of Covid is “even more infectious than Delta”, but doesn’t produce symptoms. They are concerned that this new variant could “push Covid back to January levels”.

Yes, literally millions of people are in danger of being exposed to the symptomless variant, which is dangerous because you can be sick and not even know it. Leaving you wide open to spreading the symptomless variant to other people who never even know they’re sick.

Before you know it, everyone in the country has Covid, and nobody realises it because none of us have any symptoms.

What a nightmare vision of the future.

2. President Harris

Speaking of nightmarish visions of the future…

The world got its first taste of President Kamala Harris this week, when the VP briefly took over running the country while Joe Biden underwent a colonoscopy. Her reign lasted just one hour and twenty-five minutes. Take that glass ceiling.

Given the how brief the term of office was, you might be surprised by just how much it was mentioned in the news. Presumably the VP “takes over” in this way quite regularly. I don’t remember it ever making the headlines before.

…it’s almost as if we’re being softened up for Kamala Harris taking over on a more longterm basis.

The colonoscopy was just part of a five-hour physical Biden was taking in the run-up to his 79th birthday. And while the reports on Biden’s health don’t say he’s sick, there’s definitely an angle to them.

Sky News headlined Biden is “healthy” but “showing some signs of aging”. Bloomberg mentions his “stiff gait”. While neither of these are Earth-shattering revelations for a man almost 80 years old, it is perhaps interesting that the MSM should suggest anything about Biden deteriorating due to age at all.

In the real world, outside the mirror-world of the media, it has been apparent to anyone paying any kind of attention that Joe Biden is suffering from some kind of dementia. He muddles his words, loses his train of thought, gets his wife and sister confused, and puts peoples fingers in his mouth for no reason.

The idea he could run for a second term is ludicrous, and if he makes it all the way through this one I’ll be very surprised.

The US rules regarding terms of office state that if the Vice-President takes over from an elected president within the first half of their term, then that counts as the VP’s first term of office. If the term is more than half over, it does not.

Meaning that if Kamala takes over before February 2023, she gets at most 7 years in office. If she takes over after, she has potentially a decade in the White House.{note}

So be on the lookout in February 2023. We might see a Biden heart attack, or perhaps a tearful resignation because his “health is failing”, combined with a speech about being replaced by a “woman of colour more qualified than I ever was” or something equally absurd.

3. Austria doubles down

Just a week after enforcing a lockdown of only the unvaccinated, Austria has decided to just lockdown everybody instead. Rather more worryingly, as of February 2022, Covid “vaccines” will be compulsory for everyone. In Vienna one brothel is offering people “30 minutes with the lady of your choice” in exchange for getting the Vaccine. The country has gone insane.

In solidarity with the Austrian people, yesterday in London protesters gathered outside the Austrian Embassy to chant “shame on you”. Neil Oliver of GBNews made one of his routinely eloquent speeches on the matter:

BONUS: Dystopian video(s) of the week

Australia has so quickly gone from a perfectly normal country to total Brave New World insanity that its quite dizzying. Every week it seems some new horror is presented to us, and every week we think “well, that’s the worst thing we’ve ever seen”…and then the next week it gets worse again.

Our awful videos this week are presented without further comment, and include the morning news discussing whether or not you should invite unvaccinated family members to Christmas Dinner…

…and the worst advertisement in the history of the world:

It’s not all bad…

We already covered the weekend’s protests in our discussion thread yesterday, so no need to repeat it here. Suffice to say, they were widespread and huge.

In other not-so-bad news, Washington DC is dropping its mask mandates as of tomorrow morning. As part of a protest over Tesco’s Christmas advert, which featured Santa using a vaccine passport, shoppers have started filling trolleys with shopping, lining up to pay, and then just leaving the store. Small, perhaps, but fun.

A small independent cinema in Swansea, CinemaCo, refused to take part in the vaccine passport scheme, with the owner saying it was “none of their business” if people are vaccinated or not.

They have been temporarily closed down by the council, but a crowdfunding drive has been started to keep them operational. You can follow them on Twitter here, or donate here.


All told a pretty hectic week for the new normal crowd, and we didn’t even mention the report from the Scottish government which (accidentally) shows vaccine passports don’t work or Simon Tisdall in the Guardian, ranting about Putin, shaking his fist at clouds like it’s 2014 again.

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.


CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Biden leaving office before his term was half-way over would trigger a new election. It has been amended to accurately cite the electoral rules.


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