Saturday, November 27, 2021

Omicurmudgeonliness

STOP me if you've heard this before.

Every few months, there's a news report about some "scary new variant" of SARS-CoV2, the virus that causes COVID-19. This variant, discovered in a "far off, distant land" (and they're always in "far off distant lands") is seen by someone the press describes as an "expert".

This expert "gets really, really scared" when he (and they're almost always a "he" if you haven't noticed) sees that this variant has "a large number of mutations" including "some we've never seen before" with "many appearing on the spike protein targeted by the vaccines".

Because of all this, this expert "sounds the alarm" because he's worried this "super scary variant" will "evade the vaccines" and render all the work we've done trying to contain SARS-CoV2 useless, meaning we'll have to "start from scratch" all over again.

Predictably, the media runs with this fear mongering for about a week, and the wider public gets scared because of how traumatic the COVID-19 experience has been.

So we lose our minds and again run around like Chicken Little and declare that "the sky is falling"...only for a week later to realize that this "scary new variant" really isn't as harmful as we thought it would be and/or has fizzled out into irrelevance.

Rinse, repeat.

So when the news came out about the variant we're now calling "omicron" (we're apparently skipping a letter in the Greek alphabet, as "nu" should be next) I was a little cynical about the sensationalism that arose because of it.

Don't get me wrong- I'm not dismissing the seriousness of the emergence of the omicron variant. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt, and the fact that people smarter than me in their fields are concerned about it means I need to take their words seriously.

I'm not downplaying any of that.

However, excuse me if I'm starting to feel like our health officials are starting to sound like they're crying "Wolf" a little too much, and I'm concerned they're not fully appreciating the impact of what they're doing.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

"Reactionism" is no way to solve the pandemic crisis

FOR months, after a brief jump in reported cases of COVID-19 in August, the Canadian province of Ontario has seen a slow, but steady, decline, with hospitalizations and severe cases remaining extremely low. Much of that was attributable to our vaccination coverage, which is north of 80% and now nearing 85%, which allowed the province to loosen almost all restrictions by the end of October, albeit with a "vaccine passport" requirement needed in places the province deemed "high risk".

However, as October turned to November, the reported case count began to creep up a little. As what usually happens in these cases, there were howls for the province to "do something" even though there was no evidence that anything needed to be done- the booster program is underway, vaccine coverage will be expanded to children and, more importantly, hospitalizations were still very low.

On November 9th, Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said that "Ontario was staying the course" in its reopening plan, reassuring nervous Ontarians that when Ontario mapped out its reopening, it took into account this rise in cases.

Should be "case closed", right?

Well, on November 10th, Ontario announced that the next step in its reopening plan- removing capacity restrictions at nightclubs, strip clubs, bathhouses and sex clubs- will not happen as planned on November 15, with the earliest it can happen being December 8. The province said this was "data driven" but then provided no data to support this conclusion.

Worse, the flip-flopping from "we're staying the course" to actually changing course is no way to reassure the public that the province's administrators have a clue that they know what they're doing.

What it really is, though, is yet another example of the old staple of politics- "reactionism"- and that's no way to solve a crisis. A year and a half into the pandemic, we ought to be better than this.

Sunday, August 8, 2021

The pandemic of false promises

THE COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted almost everyone on Earth ever since it began in late 2019. Many agree it is a significant problem, but few ask the question if one of the biggest problems are the actions and the thought processes of those actually tasked with solving the problem.

In this real-world commentary, I argue that the pandemic "strategy" by our powers that be to do little but enact "temporary" half-measures, throw around blame and indulge in their most nonsensical of their nightmare scenarios has had just as deleterious an affect on the public as the actual pandemic has itself. In this article, I call on those who are consist of the powers that be to end the games, end the nonsense and start doing what we, your taxpayers, are paying you to do- come up with real solutions.


Tuesday, April 27, 2021

The Great American Swindle







Pictured (L-R): Cat Andrews (assistant to the President), Australian President Derek Andrews, Byzantine Empress Alexia Comnenus, North American President Kimberly Barhaven, Roman Emperor Erasmus. At the Queen City Waterfront Park, Buffalo, Roman New York

BUFFALO, NY- The Roman "experiment" in North America has officially come to an end, but it's not the good news the continent was hoping for.

In a stunning development, Roman Emperor Erasmus, Australian President Derek Andrews, North American Union President Kimberly Barhaven and Byzantine Empress Alexia Comnenus- the de facto leader of the Virtue Federation- announced publicly here today that Rome and Virtue have essentially agreed to "trade" the NAU from Rome to Virtue in exchange for Australia.

The deal sees no actual transfer of territory between Rome and Virtue, as Rome gets to keep the North American territories it has directly annexed to its Empire (Roman Columbia, Roman New York, southern New England, Texas, the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, Florida and Alaska). Furthermore, the actual day-to-day administration of the NAU and Australia will be maintained, as the agreement pledges to maintain of the levels of autonomy the NAU and Australia currently enjoy.

The only difference will be that instead of a Top Protector and a Roman Prefect overlooking Australia and the NAU (respectively), the roles will be reversed, with a Top Protector overseeing the NAU and a Roman Prefect will oversee Australia. It is not known when both will be formally appointed, but it's expected that the transfer of military bases between the two continents will take months at the very least.

On the surface, the deal looks good for all sides. Though the Australians never clamoured for the Romans, Australia's acceptance of the Virtue Protectors was lukewarm at best. On the other hand, the people of the NAU had been very vocal about joining Virtue, and Virtue never shied away from reciprocating their interest.

Virtue, you may recall, was formed in response to Rome establishing the NAU in the first place following the collapse of the United States of America in 1994.

So, for Virtue, being able to formally accept the NAU into the Federation is a major political win.

For Rome, they never seemed comfortable with establishing themselves in North America. They only pursued the arrangement as they were longtime allies of the USA, but, as soon as they arrived, they found the institutionalized morass was far deeper rooted than they had anticipated. The Romans spent their 27 years in charge of the NAU trying to find the right balance of integration and autonomy and never quite got there.

In the meantime, Roman officials across the Atlantic continually questioned the wisdom of the operation, with the growing sentiment in Roman circles that the NAU was nothing but a "money pit".

This is the real reason why Erasmus so easily gave up on the NAU and instead went for the far more lucrative Australian lands. Don't be fooled by the rhetoric where Erasmus claimed this deal "corrects a historical wrong" (since Australia used to be a Roman possession before being booted out by England, now a Virtue member, and vice versa for North America)- the Romans saw dwindling value in the overpopulated mess that is North America, so they're more than happy to let Virtue, their archrivals, have a crack at it.

If anyone thinks Virtue is going to be any better handling North America, think again. Looking at their track record in Australia should be enough proof.

Throughout Virtue's 27-year tenure in Australia, the Virtue Protectors- who were supposed to be "peacekeepers"- established themselves as bullies over the entire Australian society, but especially so over Australia's marginalized groups, the Australian Irish and the Aborigines.

Just by its estimate alone, Global Citizens has counted 738 reprisals against Irish or Aborigine communities committed by the Protectors since they arrived in Australia, an average of 27 per year. Those are just the ones GC can verify- the total is much higher.

Furthermore, the Protectors used their legal right to remove the Australian President as leverage on numerous occasions, even though they never had to follow through. In 2002, President Scott Levine resigned rather than bow to pressure by the Protectors to allow British Leyland to build a factory on environmentally sensitive land near Brisbane. Levine's successor- Tom Mullock- immediately allowed the factory to go through.

Then there's the question of Derek Andrews' election to the Presidency in 2018. Virtue's Ensurers certified the results- a resounding 78% of the vote going to Andrews- and claimed there were "no reports of fraud or interference". However, Andrews' opponents documented thousands of cases of voter intimidation (no doubt committed by the Protectors) and faulty voting machines, including reports of pre-registered votes for Andrews.

For those who questioned Barhaven's election to the Presidency, Andrews' story will hit far too close to home- and there's a stronger case of a conspiracy there.

Lastly, the Byzantine flu. There's no way to talk about the Virtue Federation and not talk about the Byzantine flu.

By now, it's an open secret that Virtue uses the "Byzantine flu" strain of the norovirus as a means of keeping its populace in check. It's why the Federation does nothing substantial to get rid of it despite the fact there are now ample treatments that can deal with it.

Treatments they don't want to approve because it means losing control.

Australia is a textbook example of how Virtue uses the Byzantine flu for abusive purposes, usually in the form of "phantom" cases. The real pandemic hit Australia in February 2012, but cases didn't subside until May of 2014, with allegations made that Virtue extended Australia's misery through faulty reporting as a way of executing another round of electioneering. In March 2016, a reported outbreak in Perth just so happened to coincide with Aborigine protests against the construction of a highway through sensitive Aborigine lands. In August of 2017, similar protests by the Irish community were quelled when a reported outbreak just happened to occur the day after the murder of Tommy O'Vincent by Australian police officer Carla Murton. The subsequent lockdown allowed Murton to destroy evidence and eventually escape conviction.

Then there was the most famous "mockdown" of all, when on September 28, 2019, the city of Darwin was ordered shutdown after a reported case. The day before, a group of Torres Strait Islanders had blockaded Darwin's precious ports over fishing regulations, a blockade that might have continued for months had the city not shut down. Despite the fact the patient that produced the case was never identified and that- strangely- no other cases of the Byzantine flu arose out of this case, Darwin had to endure a draconian lockdown until the following February.

Let that sink in.

Let it all sink in.

Because the Virtue Federation are not the heroes you think they are. If you really think they're going to run North America better than the Romans did, think again.

...but, go ahead. Celebrate in the streets. Be happy that the "big bad Romans" are gone from the NAU.

Just be careful of what you wish for.

Friday, April 23, 2021

A word on police corruption

 

Part of the Vicendum Project. To learn more, read the The Virus eBook collection, available at Payhip.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

The Limit to Power Is...

Picture adapted from "Nymph Wars" by Sonia VerdĂș. To see more of her work, visit http://www.soniaverdu.es/.

The Virus is a part of the Vicendum Project. To learn more, click on "Learn More" at the top of the Facebook page at fb.com/thetruevirus or visit the Payhip page.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Premise

Link to eBook store: https://payhip.com/vicendum/collection/the-virus                        

In an alternate Earth, the Roman Empire soldiers on as the modern day megapower. The Cold War saw the collapse of Rome's last major threats, the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, allowing for the Romans- for the first time in centuries- to rule the world unopposed.

However, while the world has by and large benefitted from this new era of the Pax Romana, it is not all roses. Democratic values, in sharp decline since World War II, are now threatening to fade into oblivion as more countries embrace the Roman style of government, a claimed "hybrid" of democracy and monarchy called "the hero king".

This has meant the marginalized are thrown further and further into the periphery. With their governments failing them, the people must to turn to other means to get what they need, with devastating implications for the entire world.

The Virus tells their stories. To read them, read The Virus collection of Vicendum eBooks, available at Payhip.