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, I honestly didn’t get through the whole thing, it made me sad), but instead suggest rapid antigen testing at the door:
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.”
– 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.
UPDATE: Judging from the spelling errors some of you in comments have mentioned, it appears we may have fallen for a hoax sign (although the fact it was the spelling, and not the tyrannical policy, which gave it away is a condemnation of our times). By way of recompense, here’s a new bonus…
BONUs 2.0: Appalling conversation of the week
We’ve tangled with Jeremy Vine before, it’s all trash but this is an especially bad clip…
This is seriously disturbing.pic.twitter.com/Wo1KWH5Dky
— James Melville (@JamesMelville) November 22, 2021
This week they were positing mimicking Germany and Austria and putting a lockdown in place purely for the unvaccinated.
Not a single concern is raised about human rights or freedom, instead they worry only about how difficult it would to enforce. From countering “deranged anti-vax propaganda” to the need to rely on “snitches”, it’s all good stuff.
It’s not all bad…
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: