This Week in the New Normal #52

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.Climate panic reports ahead of COP27

Next Sunday is the beginning of the UN’s climate summit COP27 in Cairo, and this week the media have been busily laying groundwork ahead of some inevitably alarmist speeches and policy announcements.

For example, the Guardian is running with:

World close to ‘irreversible’ climate breakdown, warn major studies

Which warns:

All three of the key UN agencies have produced damning reports in the last two days. The UN environment agency’s report found there was “no credible pathway to 1.5C in place” and that “woefully inadequate” progress on cutting carbon emissions means the only way to limit the worst impacts of the climate crisis is a “rapid transformation of societies”.

“Rapid transformation of societies”, what does that mean?

Well, we already know, because it’s the same things we did to “fight covid”: Lockdowns, travel bans, digital passports. Alongside the new facets of a “climate lockdown” which would involve limitations on energy usage, among many other awful things.

In another possible warning sign, Al Ahram, Egypt’s largest newspaper, ran an opinion piece this week headlined:

Climate change and international law

Which argues that international legal agreements need to be stronger to protect the environment, concluding with this little nugget:

Moreover, in recognition of the dangerous consequences of climate change, a number of international law experts have recently suggested amending the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and adding the crime against the environment to the other crimes over which the Court has jurisdiction. A number of states have already begun supporting that proposal.

Yes, that’s the next stage – making pollution a crime against humanity, punishable by the International Criminal Court.

2. Global trial on cross-border CDBCs

Last month marked the end of a six-week, $22 million trial of using Central Bank Digital Currencies for cross-border payments.

According to this week’s report from Reuters, of all the CBDCs involved in the trial it was China’s digital Yuan (or e-CYN) which stood out.

Interestingly, Reuters reports that China is pushing its CBDC as a defensive measure designed to guard against sanctions from the US.

In other CBDC-related news, the “election” of Rishi Sunak as the UK’s Prime Minister means Britcoin won’t be far off. The UK’s version of a CBDC has been a pet project of Sunak’s since his earliest days as Chancellor.

In fact, that was a section on our first ever TWitNN, and in a neat bit of symmetry it’s almost exactly a year to the day since the release of this hilariously terrible video:

Yes, of course, all the G7 are behind CBDCs too, which is weird because they certainly aren’t worried about sanctions.

Isn’t it strange when everybody is doing the exact same thing for apparently totally different reasons?

BONUS: Bullsh*t of the week

Nancy Pelosi’s husband Paul was allegedly attacked with a hammer during a home invasion in San Francisco on Saturday. The suspect, David Depape, is said to be a “Janaury 6th fanatic” whose intended target was Nancy Pelosi.

And if you believe that, you’ll believe anything.

The press is already reporting that this “attack” could be a “warning sign for something much worse”, while authorities are issuing “violent extremism” warnings ahead of the elections. Won’t that be fun.

Look for some new “domestic terrorism” bill to drop, maybe even the “Paul Pelosi Act” or something equally cringe.

It’s not all bad…

Another potential legal win for America’s unvaccinated this week, the New York Supreme Court found that the state had no authority to fire workers for refusing the vaccine, and any employees let go under those circumstances should be re-hired, with back-pay.

As this forbes article points out, this could be a very important precedent moving forward:

A New York Court Just Reinstated Fired Unvaccinated Workers – What That Could Mean For Workers Across The Country

OFFG Recommends

It’s Halloween weekend, and we wanted to end this edition of TWitNN with some movie recommendations for scariest weekend of the year.

The Haunting – The original, and unsurpassed, haunted house movie. Robert Wise’s adaptation of Shirley Jackson’s novel The Haunting of Hill House is a masterclass in atmospheric horror.

The Blair Witch Project – The parent of the “found footage” genre, oft-imitated but never equaled, Blair Witch is a fascinating watch and study, both as a movie and on a meta level as a benchmark in movie making and the history of viral marketing.

The Woman in Black – The made for television version of Susan Hill’s novel from 1989 captures some of the most truly chilling moments in the history of the medium. The remake with Daniel Radcliffe is okay, but never quite reaches the same terrifying level of atmosphere. Watch the original if you can find it.

MR James stories – MR James is the father of the ghost story, and if you want some reading – either alone for a solo scare or out loud to friends and family – you can’t go wrong with his work. The audio book of his complete works read by Derek Jacobi is brilliantly done, and the BBC adaptations of his works are all excellent too, most especially A Warning to the Curious.

For the kids – If you have children and want a safe-scare for them Tim Burton’s classic Nightmare Before Christmas or the eternally rewatchable Ghostbusters (1984, NOT 2016) are great fun for all ages. And on a personal level, I have fond memories of Hocus Pocus and The Tower of Terror…although having not seen either since I was small…they’re probably not as good my memory paints them.

A short and far from exhaustive list. Feel free to add your own recommendations in the comments below.

Enjoy everyone, and happy Halloween.


All told a pretty hectic week for the new normal crowd, and we didn’t even mention Russia getting in on the edible insects action or Elon Musk buying twitter.

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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