June 25, 2022

It’s no use going back to yesterday: a news digest from the new normal

“‘I could tell you my adventures—beginning from this morning,’ said Alice a little timidly: ‘but it’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.'” – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll.

Digital ID a threat to human rights, new report says

Digital ID systems can lead to a wide range of urgent human rights issues, including limiting access to healthcare, food and social security, a new report warns.

A new report from the Centre for Human Rights and Global Justice at the New York School of Law warns of deep human rights implications in the adoption of digital ID systems.

Paving a Digital Road to Hell is also a call to action to civil society and human rights organisations to establish collective action to contest the global network of powerful proponents, including foundations, consulting firms, governments, and other entities who are collectively shaping the future of digital ID systems – both technically and legally.

“Evidence has shown that digital ID systems can lead to a wide range of urgent human rights issues, including but not limited to: the violation of the right to nationality; limiting access to health care, food, and social security; a multitude of concerns about privacy and data protection, surveillance, and cybersecurity; and fundamental changes to models of democracy, participation, and citizen-state relationships. The human rights consequences can be severe and irreversible. In India, for instance, exclusion from the Aadhaar system has resulted in numerous starvation deaths and countless other examples of deprivation, exclusion, and harm,” the report says.

In New Zealand, The Economic Development, Science and Innovation Committee has examined the Government’s Digital Identity Services Trust Framework Bill – which would establish the legal basis for a statutory trust framework for digital identity services – and recommends that it be passed. There were 4,500 submissions made, with around 3,600 made in the few final hours before submissions closed.

The committee suggested this was due to misinformation on social media that this bill would be linked to vaccination passes.

“The Digital Identity Services Trust Framework Bill has no bearing on vaccination passes. Mandatory vaccination passes have since been phased out. Many submissions also compared this bill to social credit systems, centralised state control of identity (for example, the removal of physical driver licences), and moving to a cashless society using digital currencies. None of these ideas are related to the content of this bill. This bill seeks to put a framework in place so that, when New Zealanders choose to disclose their private information to online companies, those companies protect that data appropriately,” the committee says in its commentary on the Bill.

SADS: a new category of sudden death in adults (because they think you’re stupid)

The eloquent Neil Oliver gives his blistering take on the syndrome in the video above.

Sudden Adult Death Syndrome is on the rise, according to news reports. Young healthy adults are just dropping dead for no reason, all of a sudden.

You will already know about SIDS – sudden infant death syndrome, and perhaps the broader category, SUDI sudden unexplained death in infancy.

“A strange new medical anomaly has doctors baffled as it sweeps across the country. Sudden Adult Death Syndrome (SADS) is on the rise, and it’s tragically claiming the lives of healthy young adults, sometimes in their sleep,” The Australian Spectator reported. The Herald has also been reporting about SADS.

Yet, no-one in the media has been asking if this could be linked to the roll out of an inadequately tested novel technology to the entire global population.

Pathologist Dr Ryan Cole spoke to activist group Voices For Freedom recently in a wide ranging interview about his observations during the pandemic. When asked about SADS, he said:

“To be that blind to what’s happened …’Shaking your duvet too hard can cause blood clots and heart attacks’, ‘Shovelling your snow in Canada can cause heart attacks’, ‘Setting you clock forward or back an hour can cause heart attacks’…

“What is new in society? An experimental shot with a lipidnanoparticle and a gene. This uptick in sudden death … we need to treat it like the old French legal system. Guilty until proven innocent. We need to assume every bad side effect is from them until proven otherwise,” Cole said.

Study shows kiwis don’t understand what the covid jab does

A study published on 23 May shows that there is widespread misunderstanding about how the covid injection was tested in the trial that underpinned its approval.

More than 95% of the voting age public in New Zealand believes that the injections were tested more stringently than they were, and as a result their expectations about what the injections can do are probably inflated. Read the abstract here.

The study author, economics professor John Gibson of Waikato University, says that public misunderstanding could lead to a the continuation of vaccine mandates, the cost of which likely exceeds any benefit.

The participants were asked, based on their understanding, what the Pfizer covid vaccine trials were designed to test:

a) prevent infection and transmission of SARS-Cov-2

b) test if the vaccine reduced the likelihood of getting symptoms of covid-19

c) test if the vaccine reduced the likelihood of getting sick and dying

d) or all of the above

The only correct answer is (b). Yet 96% of the adult population in New Zealand believed the trials also tested for protection against infection, and/or for lowering mortality risk.

In an opinion piece about the study, published in Frontiers in Public Health, Gibson also takes aim at public health experts who did not communicate this information to the public.

“The general public rarely read the BMJ, JAMA or other medical journals and instead their understanding of the covid-19 vaccines, and the criteria they were trialed against, comes from statements made by politicians and health bureaucrats.

“These statements are often buttressed by health advertising and subtle public relations campaigns that co-opt seemingly independent commentators. It is therefore of interest to measure what the general public understand of the covid-19 vaccine trials, to see if their understanding matches the reality.”

You can read a brief article he wrote about this at The Brownstone Institute.

Covid response criticised in new report – and gets media attention

The Maxim Institute, a right wing think tank that describes itself as “working to promote the dignity of every person in New Zealand, by standing for freedom, justice and compassion”, produced a report called Covid and Our Constitution: How a pandemic affected our body politic and culture.

The report argues that the covid response weakened constitutional safeguards.

From the unlawful order that imposed our first lockdown in 2020—which the High Court moved on too quickly from—to applying guidance from a website as if it were the law and getting caught up about whether you can use the toilet at a picnic. There was a lack of debate around increasingly accelerating laws which undermines legitimacy and trust.

“Some division is inevitable in a situation like we’ve been through. However, a recent survey found that 72 percent of New Zealanders think we are more divided now than we were a year ago. The Government made this sense of division worse by leading with a lack of empathy, particularly around a ‘two-tier society’ and their ‘constitutionally unsound’ Vaccines Bill. The Government, ‘spared little thought and even less empathy for the plight of those who… were hesitant or unwilling to comply with Government decisions’.”

It was good, and frankly surprising, to see Stuff publish an op-ed from Alex Penk, research fellow at the Maxim Institute and the report’s author. Some of us still like a plural media.

It contained this statement: “Last year, two different High Court judges made extraordinary name suppression decisions to protect people involved in vaccine mandate cases, due to the ‘public condemnation’ and risk of ‘bullying, harassment, and vilification’ directed at anyone differing from the majority view.”

That should alarm everybody, especially people on the left who claim to care about an inclusive society.

But there was a predictable social media backlash from the left, criticising the report because it was produced by a conservative organisation, despite any constitutional crisis affecting all of us.

Justice system becoming more draconian on freedom and rights issues, says lawyer Sue Grey

Watch Sue Grey talk about changes she’s observed in the justice system.

Lawyer Sue Grey says the legal system is becoming more draconian, after tougher sentences were called for in the case of a woman arrested for breaking a lockdown order last year.

Tracey Livingston is a board member of the Freedom and Outdoors Party, of which Grey is co-leader. Livingston was arrested for breaking a lockdown order last year when protesting outside the Tauranga police station on the morning that the August 2021 lockdown came into force. The catch is that Livingston was not aware of this at the time.

Speaking outside the Tauranga District Court after the case review, Grey said the authorities were calling for stricter penalties in this case. Livingston’s new bail conditions were set at the review. The police opposed bail for a second time, because her son, rather than Livingston answered the door at 2.30 am after she was released from 24 hours in the police cells.

As a result a curfew was put on Livingston between 8pm and 6am. Livingston could have pleaded guilty, but did not, because she was not aware of the order coming into effect. If she had pleaded guilty, she would have gotten off without a penalty as a first time offender.

“I’ve never seen such a draconian response before to a freedom and rights type situation where normally … the court gives you a lot more leniency … This is the first time that the courts and police say people should get additional penalties,” she said.

Grey noted in a Facebook post: “Her son didn’t want to wake up Tracey because she desperately needed sleep. Since when was it ok for Police to visit in such circumstances? The Policing Act s8 recognises that ‘principled policing services’ are a cornerstone of a free and democracy society and it requires policing services to be provided ‘in a manner that respects Human Rights’.”

A two day hearing will be held, with Grey intending to subpoena the Minister for the Covid Response, Chris Hipkins and Head of Police Andrew Coster.

In related news, last week, Grey received more than 900 votes at the Tauranga by-election for the Freedom and Outdoors Party, but was beaten by National Party candidate Sam Uffindell who received more than 10,000 votes.

Grey has commented that minor party candidates were largely excluded from public debates and media coverage in the lead up to the vote, making it difficult for such candidates to gain any traction. Uffindell attended more than 50 media interviews, public meetings and debates, according to a National Party press release.

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