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This Week in the New Normal #15

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. Unvaxxed banned from Jury Duty

A Canadian judge has published his finding on unvaccinated people being removed from the jury pool. The original decision was made in October, for trial of Cory Smith in Nova Scotia. In the finding, Judge John Bodurtha wrote that:

Both Crown and defence agreed that allowing unvaccinated jurors could potentially impact the accused’s right to be tried within a reasonable time by increasing the probability of the trial being disrupted or delayed due to a COVID-19 outbreak among the jurors and other court participants,”

No thought is given to the potential impact, say, on an unvaccinated person being tried by a jury made up of only vaccinated people, but given the current climate that should be a very real concern.

You can expect more of this in other countries around the world, as lawyers in New Zealand are already warning of an “Enormous juror vaccination dilemma”. It’s also being used to further undermine the jury system in general, which is coming under constant fire recently.

This is yet another instance of literal segregation and unpersoning of the unvaccinated. Or, for the less civic-minded, a really good reason to not get vaccinated.

2. Trevor Noah steps out of line

Very interesting little situation here. Last week we covered the CEO of Moderna claiming that the Omicron variant would mean we need to buy – sorry, “use” – more vaccines. Clearly, there’s a very obvious conflict of interest there.

Where it gets interesting is that Trevor Noah, the host of the Daily Show, made a joke about it:

As you can see, it’s not hard-hitting stuff. Just the merest implication that the CEO of a Big Pharma vaccine manufacturer might have an interest in boosting his company’s profits.

Nevertheless, he was roundly criticised for the bit. Articles accused him of “switching lanes” on vaccines, with the most interesting reaction being below-the-line.

Twitter commenters lined up to lay into Noah for expressing, at worst, the slightest doubt as to the sincerity of Big Pharma. The phrases “not a good look” and “bad take” made frequent appearances.

The question is then: are these people real?

Because if they are, then it’s a depressing reminder of how brainwashed people have become.

But if they’re not – and I think that’s more likely – then we have a fascinating insight into the way “influencers” and celebrities are kept in line by a fake “audience” reaction designed to corral their talking points, without ever directly telling them what to say.

Look out for this, because I think it happens a lot.

3. OffG’s Ukraine Flashback

A lot of talk this week about Russia preparing to “invade” Ukraine. Again. By our count Putin has “invaded” Ukraine at least a dozen times since 2014.

In a startling act of insane political theatre, the G7 have warned Russia they may increase their sanctions in response to Russia’s “troop build up” on the Ukrainian border. Russia will ignore them, obviously, because no nation is going to allow other nations to tell them where they can station their troops inside their own border.

The very idea Putin would order an invasion of Ukraine is insane. There is nothing to gain strategically or in terms of resources, except 20 million very poor people, a few hundred thousand neo-Nazis, and a war with NATO. Even supposing Russia wanted to start a full-on war with Ukraine, the idea they would do it in the middle of Winter is totally crazy.

Nevertheless, our old buddy Luke Harding is out there writing retrograde puff-pieces about the Ukrainian military, as if they haven’t been shelling civilians for seven years. Belching out emotive tosh like “nobody wants to be Putin’s slave”.

It’s a situation we are more than familiar with here at OffG, it was trying to inject some realism into the Ukraine coup/Crimea annexation narrative that directly lead to the creation of this website. You can read a lot of our old Ukraine material here. It may even be time to do a quick reference summary.

When Russia agreed to play their part in the covid narrative, they probably thought they were done with all this nonsense.

Considering the pressure being put on Germany to sanction the Nordstream 2 pipeline, it’s possible this is about increasing energy prices, forcing the EU to buy American gas, and just generally making poor people suffer through the cold months.

Good times.

BONUS: Cringey TV of the week

Hillary Clinton went on morning television this week, and gave the speech she would have given if she had won in 2016

There are tears too. I’m not sure if they’re real tears or not, and I’m not sure which is more embarrassing…but not as embarrassing as the people who claim to have cried watching it, or the talking heads calling it a “lesson in resilience”.

Hopefully not a sign she’s planning to run again in 2024.

It’s not all bad…

Good news this week comes in legal form. A federal judge has issued a nationwide injunction, putting a halt to Joe Biden’s federal vaccine mandate, finding the President probably “exceeded his authority” in issuing the order.

Similarly, in New York, a judge has put a temporary stay on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s city-wide vaccine mandate.

In Europe, the group of MEPs who oppose vaccine passports and mandates gave another press conference this week, in response to Ursula von der Leyen’s statement on compulsory vaccination.

Christine Anderson MEP made a powerful speech, including this nice line: “Pharamceutical companies are as interested in your health as arms dealers are in world peace.”

Also, for those in the UK following the “Downing Street Christmas party” scandal, this is just funny…

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All told a pretty hectic week for the new normal crowd, and we didn’t even mention New Zealand outright banning smoking or the latest batch of crazy hysterics ruining their children’s lives because they like the drama.

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.