COVID-19 complacency escalated by conservative commentary

The escalation of COVID-19 cases in Victoria has been made even worse by the attitudes of conservative politicians and media, writes John Wren.

Due to the fact MY Previous COLUMN a fortnight in the past, Victoria’s COVID-19 disaster has escalated. A several times ago, we moved into phase 4 lockdown. How did we get to this?

Victoria, in fact the complete of Australia, was undertaking extremely nicely for the duration of the first nationwide lockdown. We did not get rid of the virus but we reduced the quantities down to what we believed at the time was a manageable amount. The initiatives have been led by the condition premiers by means of Key Minister Scott Morrison’s National Cupboard.

From the start out of the first lockdown, there were being phone calls from market, tiny enterprise groups, Suitable-wing believe tanks these as the IPA and, of study course, quite a few Liberal Get together MPs to close the lockdown as shortly as doable. The force on all state premiers was immense. Morrison was element of it — we remember him demanding faculties re-open up early. He even bought his Schooling Minister Dan Tehan to endeavor to bribe private schools to re-open early.

Hindsight is a superb thing but evidently, that force was way too significantly and the states, which includes Victoria, opened too shortly. Experienced we remained locked down at Level 3 for an more 2-3 weeks we could have removed the virus as NZ has accomplished.

Then the Ruby Princess debacle happened. There is minor doubt in most people’s minds that Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton dropped the ball on this episode. He was carrying out his utmost to avoid scrutiny on it this 7 days, forbidding his Border Force officers from remaining questioned at the inquiry. He even mentioned that he was not going to let his officers to be besmirched in an inquiry. Apparently, becoming held accountable is akin to remaining besmirched. If Dutton is so confident his officers would be besmirched by this kind of an inquiry, he is generally admitting their guilt as inquiries can also crystal clear people.

With the NSW hospitals filling up with Ruby Princess COVID-19 cases, a lot of incoming flights were diverted to Melbourne, putting speedy pressure on quarantine hotel assets. Accredited registered protection companies that currently experienced offer tenders in spot with the Federal Government have been hastily asked for to deliver team for the lodges.

These security firms experienced strict performance expectations in their contracts, nonetheless, in their haste to supply staff members they feel to have sourced untrained relaxed personnel who had been then thrown into the fray with tiny infection control education or individual protecting equipment (PPE).

The inevitable appears to be to have took place with these poorly-qualified guards breaching the performance requirements of their employers’ contracts. The guards became contaminated and took the virus again out into the Melbourne community where by asymptomatic super spreaders did the relaxation.

The everyday work of security guards is critical below. Casualised workforces have been the cornerstone of the bulk of infections in Victoria. The greatest preliminary clusters ended up all in workplaces with huge informal workforces — abattoirs, distribution centres and private (federally overseen) aged-treatment services.

Informal workforce have no unwell pay out and usually function shifts throughout various workplaces (spreading the virus more). Devoid of sick pay back, there is a solid economic incentive to ignore COVID-19 indicators and do the job a change. If they really do not function, they do not get compensated. Who among us has not long gone to do the job when struggling from a chilly?

Luck also performs a robust portion in this. Irrespective of the commentary in the legacy media, every single point out utilised private safety corporations in their quarantine lodges. The leaks in Melbourne could very easily have transpired anyplace.

Dutton misleads on his role in protecting public health

As pointed out previously, fundamental these gatherings from day a person was the frequent strain for the conservative aspect of politics and their media surrogates to re-open up the financial system. That pressure meant we re-opened far too early. Considerably of the commentary also downplayed the seriousness of the virus, saying it only actually has an effect on the aged or it is no worse than the flu.

This rhetoric encourages complacency. Complacency implies that social distancing constraints are ignored, recurrent hand washing is not carried out and bans on get-togethers with other individuals are overlooked. With the virus presently in the community, complacency distribute it additional.

It is not inconceivable that the informal protection guards employed in the quarantine resort were complacent because of the anti-lockdown messaging they read. Most likely without the need of that rhetoric ringing in their ears, they would not have been so complacent with their infection manage.

Let’s examine this even further. When nations experience disasters or other existential threats this sort of as bushfires, terrorist assaults or war, normally politics is put apart and the population strives jointly to prevail over the function. There are quite a few illustrations — NZ’s Christchurch earthquake and mosque shooting, the September 11 terrorist attack in New York and London in The Blitz. In Australia’s circumstance, bushfires are the most typical example.

For the duration of our bushfire seasons, there are no men and women additional reviled than arsonists. They act in opposition to the typical great and in lots of situations their actions kill men and women, demolish home and disrupt life and livelihoods. There are serious penalties in spot for this sort of individuals.

Pandemics are rare, so the present scenario is (so considerably) distinctive in our lifetimes. But as it rolls on, we have seen a equivalent sample to other calamities these types of as terrorist situations and bushfires — the extensive greater part doing the job jointly to battle it.

Coronavirus unveils all: Aged care and the Victorian crisis

But we have also observed a range of politicians and their media surrogates actively undermine community well being messaging — they have downplayed the lethality of the virus or reported “it’s a substantial defeat up” or “it’s all a electric power journey for the premiers”. This irresponsible commentary undermines the attempts of our healthcare industry experts and the public, in precisely the very same way that arsonists undermine the endeavours of our fireplace expert services in the bushfire period. We really don’t tolerate arsonists, why do we tolerate these pro-plaguers?

As said above, substantially of Victoria’s resurgence is because of to complacency that has been encouraged by these commentators. The time has come for our federal and state governments to legislate in a identical way to prohibit messaging that undermines public health all through a pandemic. We have legislated in opposition to arsonists and terrorists — why not these men and women? They also destroy indiscriminately.

And right before the squeals of “free speech” get started, take into account this — it is presently illegal to boost terrorism or to compel someone to self-damage or gentle fires. Professional-plaguers are each bit as dangerous as terrorists and arsonists and should be handled appropriately.

Had we all pitched in as one particular, as “Staff Australia”, to paraphrase former PM Tony Abbott, we would have locked down in March and April for lengthier and eliminated the virus. We would now have a travel bubble with NZ and businesses would have the certainty to invest and employ. AFL would not be confined to Brisbane, lifetime would be mainly back to standard, sans abroad holiday seasons and tourism — but it would have been a lot better than wherever we are now and for that, conservative agitators who put quick-time period earnings about people’s life will have to be condemned. out?v=WExOS1Yat1w

You can indication the petition to have John Wren reinstated on Twitter right here.

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Trump threatens to close social media companies to ‘protect conservative voices’ | US News

Donald Trump has threatened to “strongly regulate” or close down social media companies after Twitter linked to fact-checking pages on two of his tweets.

The US president tweeted that Republican supporters felt social media platforms “totally silence conservatives voices” and that he would seek to “close them down before we can ever allow this to happen”.

However, it is not clear whether he has authority.

The president would be likely to need the support of Congress or the Federal Communications Commission to take such action.

Mr Trump then referred to the 2016 election, and said: “We saw what they attempted to do, and failed, in 2016. We can’t let a more sophisticated version of that…Clean up your act, NOW!!!!”

The threats were the latest in a series of angry tweets directed at social media platforms in the last few days after Twitter linked two of his posts that falsely said mail-order votes were “fraudulent” to a fact-checking page detailing his unsubstantiated claim.

“Twitter is now interfering in the 2020 Presidential Election,” Mr Trump snapped back in a tweet after he had seen the links.

He added: “They are saying my statement on Mail-In Ballots, which will lead to massive corruption and fraud, is incorrect, based on fact-checking by Fake News CNN and the Amazon Washington Post….”

Twitter and Facebook declined to comment on the president’s tweets, but shares in both companies fell following Wednesday’s posts.

The former has tightened policies in recent years following criticism over the negative effects misinformation can have when spread across social networks and left to its own devices.

:: Listen to Divided States on Apple podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and Spreaker

Facebook, Apple, Google and Amazon are facing anti-trust investigations by the US Justice Department, the Federal Trade Commission, state attorneys general and a US congressional panel as the tech industry comes under accusations of anti-competitive practices.

Some of Mr Trump’s allies have alleged tech companies exert biases and have questioned whether some networks should be treated like publishers – allowing them to face lawsuits over content – rather than as platforms.

Jon Berroya, the Internet Association’s interim president and chief executive, has dismissed the idea that social networking platforms have a political bias, saying they offer “more people a chance to be heard than at any point in history”.

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Google Joins Facebook in Banning, America’s #1 Conservative Webzine

After several months of record-breaking traffic our alternative media webzine suffered a sharp blow when it was suddenly purged by Facebook at the end of April. Not only was our rudimentary Facebook page eliminated, but all subsequent attempts by readers to post our articles to the world’s largest social network produced an error message describing the content as “abusive.” Our entire website had been banned.

Facebook publishes a monthly report cataloging its actions to eliminate “improper content,” and although our publication was probably one of the largest and most popular ever so proscribed, the explanation provided was remarkably cursory, with our name mentioned in only two scattered sentences across the 47 page document.

Our investigation linked this network to VDARE, a website known for posting anti-immigration content, and individuals associated with a similar website The Unz Review.

Although the people behind this operation attempted to conceal their coordination, our investigation linked this network to VDARE, a website known for posting anti-immigration content, and to individuals associated with a similar website The Unz Review.

As I’ve previously discussed, characterizing our alternative media publication as an “anti-immigration” website “similar” to VDare seemed utterly bizarre considering that only about 0.2% of our 2020 content was republished from that source and many months had elapsed since we had last featured a piece on immigration. So I strongly suspected that the claim merely served as an excuse.

I don’t use Facebook or other social networks myself, and noticed little reduction in our daily traffic following that purge, which seemed to underscore our lack of reliance upon social media. But a week later, this abruptly changed, and our regular daily readership dropped by a significant 15-20%, hardly a crippling blow but quite distressing, setting us back many months of previous growth.

This puzzled me. Why would the Facebook ban have had such limited initial impact but then suddenly become so much more serious? Eventually I discovered that a second even more powerful Internet giant had also banned us, which explained the sharp drop. Our entire website and all its many millions of pages of serious content had been silently deranked by Google, thus eliminating nearly all our incoming traffic from search results. A few quick checks confirmed this unfortunate situation, best illustrated by a particularly striking example.

Just over a decade ago, I had published an important article entitled The Myth of Hispanic Crime, and for ten years it had always placed extremely high in Google searches, generally being ranked #2 across the 52,000,000 results for “Hispanic crime” and also #2 among the 139,000,000 results for “Latino crime.” The impact of my analysis on the heated public debate had also been quite considerable, and a few years ago a leading academic specialist even asked me to blurb his book on that subject. But my article had now vanished from all such Google searches.

Although Google holds an overwhelming monopoly for web searches across the Western world, comparable products using similar technology such as Bing and DuckDuckGo do exist, and these still list my article near the top of their results, with Bing ranking it at #2 for “Hispanic crime” and “Latino crime,” while DuckDuckGo places it #4 in each. But no one would ever find it using Google.

The other pages of our website have been similarly blacklisted, effectively eliminated from all web searches courtesy of Google’s information monopoly. This even included the periodical content library that I had built during the 2000s, containing the near-complete archives of hundreds of America’s most influential publications of the last 150 years. Millions of these important articles are available nowhere else, and their disappearance represents a tremendous loss to academic scholarship.

Google still does contains all these pages, and if the additional specifier “unz” is added to the search, the results come up, but for anyone not knowing where to look, our entire website and all its content has completely disappeared. This explained our sudden 15-20% reduction in regular traffic.

Internet law is obviously quite murky, but it seems a great shame if Google has decided to use its software monopoly to severely manipulate search results and deliberately hide important information. The notion of Google “disappearing” an entire website and all its material is surely fraught with peril. Should Google’s executives be allowed to “disappear” whichever politicians or candidates they dislike? Should wealthy individuals or powerful groups be able to pay or lobby Google to have their critics removed from all search results?

During 2018 Google employees themselves took a very strong public stance on exactly these issues, protesting their own company’s willingness to produce a “censored” version of their search engine for use in China, a controversy that reached the national headlines, and soon forced executives to abandon the project. But although Google censorship of content within China still remains an inflammatory topic, Google censorship of American content has now apparently become so routine and accepted that it took me more than a week to discover that our entire website had been thrown down the Orwellian “memory hole.”

I’d always taken great pride in having my Hispanic Crime article spend a decade ranked #2 among nearly 200,000,000 Google results for that important topic, and was dismayed that Google “disappeared” it. But in fairness, I’d have to admit that individuals who make themselves disagreeable to ruling political elites sometimes suffer far worse retaliation. For example, my Saturday morning newspapers carried the latest developments in the unfortunate story of Jamal Khashoggi, the dissenting Saudi journalist whose critical writings in the Washington Post so irritated his government that they had him killed and his body dismembered with a bone-saw. Compared to that, having my articles deranked by Google hardly seems a major complaint.

For years our website has published a great deal of extremely controversial material, and many readers are probably much more surprised that Google and Facebook took so long to purge us rather than they finally did so.

Consider, for example, my own American Pravda series, which together with related articles totals 280,000 words and has drawn about 3 million pageviews, while attracting over 25,000 comments containing another 3.5 million words. Many of these articles candidly address some of the most controversial aspects of the JFK Assassination, the 9/11 Attacks, and the history of World War II, topics so touchy that a couple of years ago the redoubtable Israel Shamir described me as the “Kamikazi from California,” and suggested along with numerous other observers that our website might soon be annihilated as a consequence. But aside from a rather lackluster rebuke from the usually ferocious ADL, absolutely nothing untoward happened.

Yet now we have been almost simultaneously banned by both Google and Facebook, America’s leading gatekeepers to the Internet, such concerted action hardly seems likely to have been coincidental, especially coming as it did after years of apparent equanimity. So what had prompted this sudden purge?

I think the obvious answer was my most recent American Pravda installment, which attracted more early readership and social media interest than anything I had previously written, and which appeared just eight days before Facebook’s ban.

My article noted some important facts that are less widely known that they should be, and are quite embarrassing both to our own government and its overly subservient mainstream journalists.

For decades, the American media has regularly denounced the Chinese government for its notorious 1989 slaughter of the student protesters at Tiananmen and shamed its leadership for continuing to flatly deny that historical reality, with China’s demands for censorship of the massacre being a leading source of conflict with Google. However, I pointed out that more than twenty years ago the former Beijing bureau chief of the Washington Post, who had personally covered the events, published a long article in our most prestigious journalism review admitting that the infamous “Tiananmen Square Massacre” had never actually happened, and was just a concoction of incompetent journalists and dishonest propagandists. Yet for decades the promotion of that debunked hoax by our elite media has continued unabated.

As another example, I noted that back in 1999 our warplanes had bombed the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, killing or wounding dozens of Chinese diplomats. At the time, our media uniformly reported the attack as a tragic accident, while ridiculing China’s government for alleging otherwise. However, just a few months later, many of the leading newspapers in Britain and the rest of the world revealed that the bombing had indeed been deliberate, quoting numerous NATO intelligence sources to that effect. But since the American media completely boycotted this major international story, very few Americans have ever discovered that the Chinese had been telling the truth all along and our own government lying.

Although these historical items were noteworthy, they merely set the stage for a far more explosive analysis. The bulk of my 7,400 word article presented the very considerable circumstantial evidence that our current Coronavirus national disaster was entirely self-inflicted, being the unintended blowback from an extremely reckless American biowarfare attack against China (and Iran), presumably organized by the Deep State Neocons or other rogue elements in our national security establishment.

This ongoing disease epidemic has already killed 100,000 Americans and wrecked our economy, so we can easily understand why the guilty parties would do all they could to prevent this information from getting into general circulation, pressuring Google and Facebook to suppress the crucial evidence. Since my long article has now been banned by America’s Internet giants, I’ll repeat some of the most important excerpts:

As the coronavirus gradually began to spread beyond China’s own borders, another development occurred that greatly multiplied my suspicions. Most of these early cases had occurred exactly where one might expect, among the East Asian countries bordering China. But by late February Iran had become the second epicenter of the global outbreak. Even more surprisingly, its political elites had been especially hard-hit, with a full 10% of the entire Iranian parliament soon infected and at least a dozen of its officials and politicians dying of the disease, including some who were quite senior. Indeed, Neocon activists on Twitter began gleefully noting that their hatred Iranian enemies were now dropping like flies.

Let us consider the implications of these facts. Across the entire world the only political elites that have yet suffered any significant human losses have been those of Iran, and they died at a very early stage, before significant outbreaks had even occurred almost anywhere else in the world outside China. Thus, we have America assassinating Iran’s top military commander on Jan. 2nd and then just a few weeks later large portions of the Iranian ruling elites became infected by a mysterious and deadly new virus, with many of them soon dying as a consequence. Could any rational individual possibly regard this as a mere coincidence?

* * *

For obvious reasons, the Trump Administration has become very eager to emphasize the early missteps and delays in the Chinese reaction to the viral outbreak in Wuhan, and has presumably encouraged our media outlets to direct their focus in that direction.

As an example of this, the Associated Press Investigative Unit recently published a rather detailed analysis of those early events purportedly based upon confidential Chinese documents. Provocatively entitled “China Didn’t Warn Public of Likely Pandemic for 6 Key Days”, the piece was widely distributed, running in abridged formin the NYT and elsewhere. According to this reconstruction, the Chinese government first became aware of the seriousness of this public health crisis on Jan. 14th, but delayed taking any major action until Jan. 20th, a period of time during which the number of infections greatly multiplied.

Last month, a team of five WSJ reporters produced a very detailed and thorough 4,400 word analysis of the same period, and the NYT has published a helpful timeline of those early events as well. Although there may be some differences of emphasis or minor disagreements, all these American media sources agree that Chinese officials first became aware of the serious viral outbreak in Wuhan in early to mid-January, with the first known death occurring on Jan. 11th, and finally implemented major new public health measures later that same month. No one has apparently disputed these basic facts.

But with the horrific consequences of our own later governmental inaction being obvious, elements within our intelligence agencies have sought to demonstrate that they were not the ones asleep at the switch. Earlier this month, an ABC News story cited four separate government sources to reveal that as far back as late November, a special medical intelligence unit within our Defense Intelligence Agency had produced a report warning that an out-of-control disease epidemic was occurring in the Wuhan area of China, and widely distributed that document throughout the top ranks of our government, warning that steps should be taken to protect US forces based in Asia. After the story aired, a Pentagon spokesman officially denied the existence of that November report, while various other top level government and intelligence officials refused to comment. But a few days later, Israeli television mentioned that in November American intelligence had indeed shared such a report on the Wuhan disease outbreak with its NATO and Israeli allies, thus seeming to independently confirm the complete accuracy of the original ABC News story and its several government sources.

It therefore appears that elements of the Defense Intelligence Agency were aware of the deadly viral outbreak in Wuhan more than a month before any officials in the Chinese government itself. Unless our intelligence agencies have pioneered the technology of precognition, I think this may have happened for the same reason that arsonists have the earliest knowledge of future fires.

Although criticism of the mainstream media has been the central theme of my American Pravda series, I always spend at least a couple of hours every morning carefully reading our leading newspapers, which I regard as unmatched sources of important information so long as their articles are treated with proper caution and rigor. Consider that most of the crucial evidence suggesting an American biowarfare attack was hidden in plain sight in such eminently respectable news sources as the NYT, the WSJ, and ABC News.

As our global confrontation with China has grown hotter, my morning New York Times has continued to provide invaluable information for anyone willing to read it carefully.

For example, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo probably ranks as the most prominent Deep State Neocon in the Trump Administration, and is a leading architect of our confrontation with China. Last week he broke quarantine to take a trip to Israel and hold important talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as reported in a 1,600 word NYT article. Although the majority of their discussion concerned American support for the proposed annexation of the Palestinian West Bank, a serious disagreement arose concerning Israel’s growing economic ties with China, with the piece noting that the Jewish State had “antagonized” Washington by allowing Chinese companies to make major infrastructure investments, some of them in sensitive locations. According to the three Times journalists, Netanyahu firmly stood his ground, determined to “push back” against Pompeo’s repeated warnings and refused to reconsider his government’s China policy.

But just a couple of days later, the Times then reported that Du Wei, the Chinese ambassador to Israel, age 57, had been found dead at his home, having suddenly fallen victim to “unspecified health problems.” The piece emphasized that he had become a leading public critic of America’s current policies toward China, and the juxtaposition of these two consecutive NYT articles raised all sorts of obvious questions in my mind.

According to standard mortality tables, an American male age 57 has less than a 1% chance of dying in a particular year, and given the similarity in overall life expectancy, the same must surely true of Chinese males. Recently appointed Chinese ambassadors are likely to be in reasonably good health rather than suffering the last stages of terminal cancer, but such causes together with obvious, visible injuries account for more than half of all fatalities at around that age. Thus, the likelihood that the 57-year-old Chinese diplomat died naturally within that two day window was probably far less than 1 in 50,000. Lightning does sometimes strike under the most unlikely of circumstances, but not very often; and I think that the unexplained deaths of ambassadors during international confrontations probably fall into the same category.

Thus, it seems exceptionally unlikely that the sudden demise of Ambassador Du was not somehow directly connected with the heated dispute between Pompeo and Netanyahu over Israel’s China ties that had occurred just two days earlier. The exact details and circumstances are entirely obscure, and we can merely speculate. But since speculation has not yet been outlawed by government edict, an interesting possibility comes to mind.

In sharp contrast to the elected leaders of America’s vassal-states throughout Europe and Asia, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu hardly regards himself as beholden to the American government. He is a powerful, arrogant individual who remembers the endless standing ovations that he enjoyed when he addressed our own House and Senate, receiving the sort of bipartisan public adulation that would be unimaginable for a Donald Trump, who remains deeply unpopular with half our Congress and nation. So faced with demands by a Trump envoy that he sacrifice his own nation’s interests by cancelling important Chinese economic projects, he apparently disregarded Pompeo’s warnings and told him to get lost.

The classic 1972 film The Godfather ranks #2 in the IMDb Movie Database, and one of its most famous scenes concerns a conflict between a powerful and arrogant Hollywood film mogul and a visiting representative of the Corleone family. When the polite requests of the latter are casually disregarded, the movie tycoon awakens to discover the bloody head of his prized race-horse in his own bed, thereby demonstrating the serious nature of the warning he had received and indicating that it should not be disregarded. Pompeo had recently served as CIA Director, and I suspect he called in a few favors with elements of the Israeli Mossad and had them take lethal steps to convince Netanyahu that our demands that he reassess his ties with China were of a serious nature, not to be treated lightly. I strongly suspect that the controversial Chinese-Israeli economic ventures will soon be curtailed or abandoned.

I had never heard of the unfortunate Chinese ambassador prior to his sudden demise, and under normal circumstances any such notions of American foul play might be dismissed as absurd. But consider that just a few months earlier, we had publicly assassinated a top Iranian leader after he was lured to Baghdad for peace negotiations, an act vastly more weighty than the plausible deniability of a middle-aged diplomat being found dead in his own home of unknown causes.

A few days later, my Wall Street Journal carried an article entitled China’s ‘Wolf Warrior’ Diplomats Are to Fight, beginning on the front page and running 2,200 words, by far the longest piece appearing in that day’s edition. Yet although the late Ambassador Du had been in the forefront of this ongoing Chinese campaign to challenge American influence, both in Israel and during his previous posting to Ukraine, and the sudden death of this particular “wolf warrior diplomat” was surely known to the journalists, his name appeared nowhere in the text, leading me to wonder whether it had been deliberately excised to avoid raising obvious suspicions in the WSJ readership.

For hundreds of years since the Treaty of Westphalia, the lives of diplomats have been almost always treated as sacrosanct, and a typical response to breaking such international conventions might be tit-for-tat retaliation. China’s leadership tends to be remarkably pragmatic, and recognizes that its national strength is rapidly growing even as our own society decays and declines, so perhaps they will forego any such reaction, at least for the time being. But if any American diplomats or other ranking officials begin to suffer strange fatalities, the explanation may be less than mysterious, though Google and Facebook will certainly do their best to keep it so.

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