The harsh reality – the COVID-19 unemployed

Australia has suffered its single largest monthly fall in the number of people holding a job, with a record 594,000 drop in the number of workers during April.

Figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Thursday showed the unemployment rate spiking a full percentage point to 6.2 per cent last month. It’s the highest jobless rate since September 2015.

It actually gets worse … read on.

This weekend we get some freedom

How the media reports on us being naughty will dictate our freedom.

Remember when the media dobbed on us being naughty?

Quick question: why did nothing happen? Where was the cluster?

Still better than New Zealand

Saint Jacinda seems to be a little tarnished. Nevermind, the media will protect her:

A bill giving police sweeping powers to potentially enter homes without warrants while enforcing Covid-19 alert level rules has passed.

The Covid-19 Public Health Response Bill was rushed through Parliament in time for alert level 2 but came under intense scrutiny from the Opposition.

The law sets up the legal framework for future alert levels as there is no longer a State of Emergency. It effectively allows the Health Minister to issue an order that would make alert level rules legally enforceable.

That might include, for example, the ability for police or “enforcement officers” to close certain premises or roads, ban certain types of travel or congregations, or require people to be physically distant or to stay at home in their bubbles if necessary.

It also would allow warrantless searches of private property if there was a reasonable belief that the alert level rules were being broken

Listen to the experts … ummm … she lied

This profile of the Queensland Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young is scary:

On Saturday, January 25, Australia confirmed its first case of COVID-19. Three days later, the virus invaded Queensland, and by March, the state was recording dozens of new cases a day.

“To be honest with you, I was really worried. I thought, ‘this is the start and it’s going to be a nightmare’,” Dr Young said.

“So my advice to the Premier was, ‘we have to throw everything at this, absolutely everything and anything’.”

Dr Young told Ms Palaszczuk to shut down schools on March 26.

She says while evidence showed schools were not a high-risk environment for the spread of the virus, closing them down would help people understand the gravity of the situation.

“If you go out to the community and say, ‘this is so bad, we can’t even have schools, all schools have got to be closed’, you are really getting to people,” Dr Young says.

“So sometimes it’s more than just the science and the health, it’s about the messaging.

“So my advice to the Premier was, ‘we’ve got to do it. It’ll be awful, but we’ve got to do it’.

“But that was critical, decreasing the number of kids who go to school.”

Dr Young has backed the Premier’s decision to hold off reopening classrooms until May 15 while the Education Department works out how to keep students, parents and teachers away from one another.

Sure … but what about this bit:

“If you go out to the community and say, ‘this is so bad, we can’t even have schools, all schools have got to be closed’, you are really getting to people,” Dr Young says.

“So sometimes it’s more than just the science and the health, it’s about the messaging.”

Do these people realise they are screwing with people’s lives?

What China wants

Daniel Tobin teaches at the National Intelligence University (NIU) which is part of the Department of Defense (DoD).

His analysis of what China wants is a fascinating take:

The challenge Beijing represents is not to Washington’s status in Asia, but to the nature of the global order’s predominant values, and the vehicle for that challenge is an effort to build both the physical and intellectual infrastructure underpinning the next phases of globalization. China is not exporting violent revolution as in the period of high Maoism. Rather, it is seeking to rewire the global order from a position of connectedness to it.

He concludes:

In prior decades, my impression is that the United States refrained from taking more stridently competitive positions towards China owing to concerns that our allies and partners would be reluctant to “choose sides.”

Over the last few years, however, Beijing’s ham-fisted actions domestically and internationally have made the contrast in values clearer and the dangers to our allies’ and partners’ interests of their adopting a naïve view of the Party’s intentions more evident.

In some cases—New Zealand and Australia on the issue of Beijing’s influence operations—our allies have led first.

The United States must continue to take bold action where warranted. We also need to both build broad coalitions of countries in “the free world” that share our values and interests and to compare notes and coordinate actions. Instead of echoing Beijing’s frame of “the United States vs. China” we should emphasize that it is the Communist Party of China that is imposing a “systemic rivalry” on the Free World by contesting groups.

China of Xi Jinping’s new era? The Joint Force and the U.S. intelligence enterprise have been oriented for almost two decades toward combating violent extremist groups, not an adversary that is the number two economy in the world and the number two military (aspiring to be number one in both categories), whose economy and institutions are intertwined with our own, and whose leaders purport to offer an alternative route to modernity.

Are our present institutions built for 21 century global rivalry with the its values and pushing for alternatives in multiple domains for each democracy to compete or negotiate with Beijing alone. Defending the post- Cold War preeminence of democratic values in the international order is a team sport. Congress can play a huge role here in outreach, education, and exchanges with legislatures in our allies and partners that are seeking to defend and stand up for our common values.

Dr Paul Bright

Dr Rick Bright – the latest whistleblower who hates Trump – is not the saint the media says he is … here’s the truth.

Pauline Hanson has a sense of humour

Who knew?

Utah Phillips (b 1935)

He was a communist but this is a lovely song:

June Carter Cash (d 2003)

A spectacular voice who never got the credit she deserved:

Watch Hurt from 2003 – the year they both died. June appears for mere seconds. And despite his frailty, Johnny outlives her by months.

It is a truly heartbreaking and spectacular video clip. When Justin Timberlake beat Cash for the MTV video award the next year he decried it as a disgrace. He was right.