Programming note: On Tuesday, I'll be joining James Golden, aka the one and only Mr Snerdley, live at 4pm Eastern on New York's radio powerhouse 77 WABC. This is now a weekly radio date for yours truly, and one I thoroughly enjoy. Nothing against any of the various "successors" to Rush, but to me James is the heart and soul of the old EIB network, and it's a privilege to check in with him each week.
~As we approach the dawn of Covid Year Three, things that might once have attracted a wee bit of attention from the media now pass all but unnoticed. For example, last week the President of the European Union, Ursula von der Leyen, called for the compulsory vaccination of half-a-billion people and, in order to facilitate it, the dumping of the Nuremberg Code on medical experimentation - whose first clause would appear to be dispositive:
The voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential.
"President" von der Leyen is one of those figures most people have never heard of but who decides everything that matters. Once upon a time, in the early dues-paying phase of her career on the lower rungs of the ladder, she had to get elected to parliaments and whatnot, but she's way beyond that now. That's her smooching at top right with the head honcho of Pfizer. Mandatory vaccination of a half-billion here, a half-billion there works out pretty sweet for him.
On the other hand:
The world has stockpiled more Covid jabs than it can use, according to the globe's largest vaccine manufacturer.
Adar Poonawalla, chief executive of the Serum Institute of India, warned that stocks may go out of date because demand has dipped below supply.
Hey, relax: Another fortnight or so, and Joe, Boris, Ursula et al will be scheduling mandatory "booster" shots every six weeks.
As I noted on Friday's Mark Steyn Show, in Greece the unvaccinated are now being fined; in Austria they will face gaol terms; in New York City they will be ineligible for private-sector employment; in Slovenia they can't gas up; in Australia's Northern Territory they're being carted off to government camps for two-week incarceration.
But don't worry: if you haven't lost your job over the first vaccine, you'll soon be able to lose it over the new one:
The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Sunday that federal regulators are in talks to fast-track the authorization process for an Omicron-specific vaccine.
In Western Australia, policemen who failed to have their first jab by December 1st are being stood down. Senior Constable Ben Falconer is taking his bosses to court on the grounds that mandatory vaccination is "disproportionate or not rationally connected to its stated aim".
That would seem to be undeniable. The vaccines have failed by any reasonable measure. Even the fallback position - sure, you'll still get the Covid and you'll still pass it on to your loved ones, but it won't be as severe - is belied by the continuing excess-mortality numbers:
Despite more than 99% of the elderly population being reported "vaccinated," and 87% being reported as "fully vaccinated," the elderly population in the United States have been dying at nearly the same rates as the pre-vaccine stage of the pandemic. In fact, the elderly population from ages 65 to 74 has been dying at a higher rate.
As have the late middle-aged, 45 to 64. Whether they're dying of Covid, or dying of the Covid vaccine, or dying of diseases untreated because the medical system is focused on Covid to the exclusion of all else, or dying of stresses caused by the Covid lockdown, or dying in urban chain-store shootings caused by Covid, I leave for another day. But in the most basic sense the vaccine mandate is "not rationally connected to its stated aim".
At the White House press vaudeville, Fox's Peter Doocy reminded Jen Psaki of Joe Biden's assertion that "anyone who is responsible for that many deaths should not remain as President of the United States of America". After which he promised: "I will end this."
Biden said that back when Trump was "responsible" for 220,000 deaths. Since January 20th 2021, Biden has been "responsible" for over 360,000 deaths. So does Joe's standard still apply?
Ms Psaki was obviously prepared for the question, so presumably that's the best she can do. Setting aside the specious (Trump ordered America to chug bleach, etc), it boils down to:
Sure, nothing we do makes any difference, but my guy gives the air of taking it more seriously.
But, if he's "responsible" for killing Americans at a significantly higher rate than Trump, so what?
As we approach the second anniversary of "two weeks to flatten the curve", the pronouncements of western leaders are ever more detached from reality: we need to repeal the Nuremberg Code; we need to rush through new mandatory vaccines for a variant that has barely any discernible impact on anyone; and we need to fire, fine and gaol anyone who does not comply. The Permanent Emergency must be kept going by any means necessary.
"I will end this": So far the only world leader to end Covid is - oh, go on, take a wild guess...
Yes, everyone's favorite public-health genius, Chairman Xi!
By April 23rd last year, China had reported a cumulative total of 4,636 Covid deaths.
On April 24th 2020, the daily total fell to zero deaths, and amazingly there has been not a single Covid fatality since.
What is the secret of China's stunning success in licking Covid? A healthy diet? Torturing Uighurs? Threatening Taiwan? Disrupting the global supply chain? Taking over the Commonwealth island by island?
Our first seasonal Tale for Our Time this December was Stephen Leacock's Merry Christmas, from the first Yuletide after the end of the Great War and with a shellshocked Father Christmas. It feels tonally appropriate for this cheerless Christmas. The great difference, of course, is that our governments are waging war on their own peoples - and letting the actual enemy off scot free.
~It was a busy weekend at SteynOnline, starting with the weekend edition of The Mark Steyn Show on GB News with Kathy Gyngell on the culture of death and Dr Aseem Malhotra on excess mortality from the Covid vaccines - and Google's determination to keep all that kind of talk off the Internet. For his weekend movie date Rick McGinnis considered And Lee's chilly take on Seventies swingers: The Ice Storm. Our Sunday song selection offered a postscript to last week's telly interview with Mike Batt: Tim Rice discussing their Number Two hit, "A Winter's Tale". And our marquee presentation offered a different kind of wintry tale - the first of this year's Christmas Tales for Our Time: a different kind of Yuletide story and strangely relevant to our world a century later, the aforementioned Stephen Leacock's Merry Christmas.
If you were too busy buying your child an empty shelf for her amazingly lifelike doll's department store this weekend, I hope you'll want to check out one or three of the foregoing as a new week begins.