Skeptic News: Protesting for Dummies

NZ Skeptics Newsletter

 

Protesting for Dummies

 

Happy New Year!

I can’t help but wonder what 2021 is going to bring us, given that we’ve already started the year with the US Capitol being invaded by right wing extremists and QAnon conspiracy theorists. Closer to home, Billy TK’s Public Party appears to be coming apart at the seams, with staff members taking over the party’s website to detail Billy’s financial mis-management.

The new COVID strains - both the UK and South African variants - are looming large around the world, and we can only hope that we are able to keep ourselves protected against them here in NZ. Thankfully we have trusted science advisers to help protect us, rather than homeopathy, prayers and wishful thinking.

Mark Honeychurch

Auckland Lockdown Protest


Billy TK held an anti-lockdown rally in Auckland on Saturday. The rally was accompanied by a variety of interesting flags, signs and chants:

The flags were a mix of Trump 2020, the United Tribes of New Zealand and one picture of an assault rifle with the words “come and take it” underneath.


The signs covered a wide range of conspiracy and pseudoscientific beliefs - here’s just a sample of what was on view (complete with spelling mistakes):

 

“Take your mask off your eye’s”

“No mandatory vaccines”

“No more Lies. No more lockdowns”

“Certificate Of Vaccine ID”

“Do your own research”

“Noah was a conspiracy theorist, then it started to rain”

“Wake up New Zealand”

Agenda 21 = Slavery”

“Sick of cover ups, sick of lies. Ban 1080”

“Masks kill lives”

“Socialism distancing”

“Rise up NZ”

“Sunshine save lives”

“We do not consent to scumbbaggery”

“Blood & organ harvesting, modern day slavery”

“MSM-FB and this Muppet Show government are hiding the truth”

“No No No. Lockdown. Forced Vax. 5G

“We are sovereign

“Stop stealing our freedom, Comrade Jacinda”

“NZ has been subjected to socialist brainwashing”

“Children are being tortured, Pizzagate should be investigated not ignored”

“Close the media for 30 days and watch 80% of World Problems go away”

“I will not be muzzled, tested, tracked, chipped or vaccinated to support this orchestrated lie”

and my favourite:

“COVID-19 is a manipulated UN/World/Media Instalment of a ‘Global Reset’ for Socialist/Communist Totalitarian Control By the 1% Elite. We Do Not Consent“

Billy and a couple of other local crackpots spoke for a while, and then Billy’s phone was held to the microphone while cranks from around the world (including “Dr” Rashid Buttar) phoned in to talk to the crowd. One of the warnings given was that Billy has been told, via “military insiders”, that another lockdown is coming on January 15th.

Vinny Eastwood led the chanting during a march held after the rally, which consisted of pretty much what I’d expect from him - an onslaught of weirdness and conspiracy nonsense:

“We do not consent”

“No forced vaccines”

“No 1080, no fluoridation, no chemtrails, no Agenda 21”

“No more Labour, no more Greens, they’re corrupt”

“No 1080, no chemtrails, no mass surveillance”

“No more scumbaggery, no more corruption, shove it up your bum”

“No AI, controlling our lives”

“No more COVID, it’s a fricking hoax”

“Disobey the lockdown, January 15”

“No more Jacinda, no more Cindy, ruling our lives”

“You can stick your New World Order up your ass”

“No World Economic Forum, they’re bad and we need to destroy them”

“COVID-19, a hoax can’t you see”

“No radiation, destroying our nation, while people play playstation”

“No more Jacinda, she’s just a sinner, no more Jacinda, she just wants to skin ya”

“No more Jizzy, Jizzy in your face”

I feel sorry for those who were on Queen Street at the time and had to listen to this drivel.

Maybe we should be thankful that our parliament is in Wellington, and that the Auckland march after the speeches wasn’t able to storm the Beehive - instead just meandering down Queen Street and back again. Having said that, there was an announcement at the end of the march that the next Public Party event will be on the 6th of February (Waitangi Day) in Wellington. I’ll be there, and will report back on how things go.

For those of you with enough intestinal fortitude that you can digest conspiracy nonsense without feeling sick, you can watch the entire 2 hours of nonsense on YouTube courtesy of Vinny Eastwood.

Beware of JP Sears

I’m sure many skeptics have enjoyed JP Sears’ parody videos of the wellness industry, such as How to Become Gluten Intolerant and How to be Ultra Spiritual. It was a surprise to me, just before Christmas, to read that despite poking fun, JP Sears has for a long time been a seller of nonsense. An article from the Office for Science and Society at McGill University in Canada details JP Sears’ history of selling unregulated therapy sessions and useless supplements, and sadly also his recent descent into COVID-19 science denial.

The article talks about “conspirituality” - a mixture of conspiracy and spirituality. We’ve seen this recently in NZ, with some of the weirder summer festivals embracing conspiracy thinking, hosting conspiracy lectures and workshops, etc. At least it’s been good to see that some in the local spiritual community are concerned enough about this shift that they’re actively trying to combat it, both in the media and at the festival events.

Musical Vaccine

An image that has been making its way round the internet recently purports to be a circuit diagram for a 5G chip which is inside COVID vaccines. However, those who are technically musical minded have pointed out that the image is actually that of a guitar effects pedal called Metal Zone from company Boss.

This slip up reminds me of the time Uncensored (a conspiracy magazine in NZ) purchased the rights to a short video of an alien autopsy, blissfully unaware that the footage had been lifted from an Ant and Dec movie literally called “Alien Autopsy”. Jonathan Eisen, editor of the magazine, said at the time:

“The magazine's technical people did a frame by frame analysis prior going to press with it and determined that it was legitimate in every respect.”

Back in 2015 it took me a couple of hours to source a copy of the movie, a few minutes to confirm that the footage Uncensored bought was just a copy of part of the movie, and another hour or so to learn how to use a video editing suite and line the two videos up to show they were identical. I’m not sure what these “technical people” did, but they certainly didn’t certify the legitimacy of the video they were buying!

The video that Uncensored bought can still be found on their website, under the headline “Roswell Original Footage of Dead Alien Discovered by Uncensored Editor”, without any kind of retraction or footnote to let people know that the footage is fake.

A Faraday Cage to protect you from WiFi


On the popular tech news YouTube channel Linus Tech Tips, Linus has evaluated a couple of small faraday cages that are sold in the US as a way to protect home users from the harmful radiation coming from their WiFi base stations. At around NZ$120 a piece I’m not sure which of the findings I think is the funnier - that they do a really bad job of blocking WiFi, or that they turn out to just be repurposed wire paper trays with a couple of modifications to allow wires to be inserted, and that they cost less than NZ$10 each to buy from China.
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