• Aisling Salisbury

All that Matters Is Name Calling, Attacks and Cancellation

Updated: Feb 16

Sun Tzu's The Art of War stated that you must know thy self, know thy enemy.

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

Well, I don't consider the "ISTANDWITHDAN" crowd (or as some elements of the media call it, a cult) the enemy. However, I was curious about learning what supports the movement. It seems that the "battleground" is on Twitter so I opted to get on the platform to see the comments and data that they were using to support their argument that it simply was "unfair" and "conspiracies" against him. In my short time on it, personally. I want off it. I can clearly see now why people are running away from the platform, it's a very toxic environment.

The scariest thing I have seen is that facts no longer carry merit. Opinions are simply considered an attack. Even the most neutral posts will be attacked. It seems that arguments aren't factual but based on fear and emotion. I never believed the "keyboard warriors" and "trolls" terminology but it's there. Many politicians, even now journalists are posting comments and views about COVID and usually providing a link to the article they are using to form the opinion. The articles also cite the data they are using and where it comes from. The majority of replies are negative and any replies to the post that are positive or even neutral are immediately pounced on. A stereotype is immediately played that they are either deniers, insensitive, granny-killers, conspiracy theorists or brainwashed by NewsCorp. Quite simply the biggest thing I believe is occurring is that it's only the Headline that is read.

If the article is actually quoted word for word in either a comment or the post then it's a case of "don't believe everything you read." I agree, don't believe everything you read. But you shouldn't just be rehashing things either. Open your mind and learn both sides of the coin. One thing that I am recognising is presenting facts to support your argument is also hashed as simply you're using facts that match your opinion.

Well, isn't that what debating is? Being versed in your topic and your view and using sources to support the argument? Seriously what is wrong with the world now?


When you quiz someone to provide their facts or stats for their argument it's based on emotion and usually one single argument or a number. Such as when it comes to COVID.


Now, these deaths are shocking. I also think it's appalling that we need to discuss mortality rates. But it's needed in order to get some perspective on the whole topic, is it not?


If we look at the USA the mortality rate is less than 1% of the population. I have previously posted that I agree that in the early days we didn't know what we were up against. But the figures that are coming in is surely a big enough sample size to realise that it's not the Doomsday Virus. In an article in the 'Sydney Morning Herald' which is owned by Fairfax, the centre-left publication house of Australia. Chris Uhlmann, who is also Fairfax's National Political correspondent on their Television network Channel 9 has posted a number of opinion pieces for the 'Sydney Morning Herald'. In an article on September 19th he stated:

“Because now we know much more about the disease and, while it is a serious illness, it is a whole lot less frightening than it is made out to be.”

Previous to this he wrote an opinion piece on the disaster this was in the grand scheme of things. Especially when it came to the economic damage it's causing. He was attacked on Twitter by many for effectively being a "denier" and, well, "anti-Andrews" in fact I'm confident I saw a few posts that were referring to the fact that he was auditioning to work for NewsCorp? Folks, he wrote an opinion piece backed with facts to support his argument. The argument that on the other side of this pandemic will be far worse due to the economic damage that is being done.

There are many now who are seeing the truth and are wanting choice in their lives. As for some of the things I have seen when it comes to COVID in Australia and Victoria there are some frequent arguments or trends that I have seen as common.


Quarantine is a Federal Government responsibility because of International Borders

This appears to be the new one, in that it's the Federal Government's fault especially with the fact that Australian's are struggling to get home now. The Federal Government is also copping flak now for the Victorian programme because the second wave came from the facilities in Victoria that housed returning Aussies from overseas. Well for starters, I agree it's the Federal Government's responsibility to be quarantining all international travellers. The international airports fall under the Federal Government's jurisdiction. On March 27th though it was agreed by the National Cabinet, which includes the State Premiers and Chief Ministers, as too the Prime Minister, that the States and Territories would run and be responsible for it. The Federal Government offered staffing numbers via the use of the Australian Defence Force (ADF). So it's not as if the Federal Government said to the States and Territories "you deal with it entirely on your own." Therefore to start shifting all the blame to the Federal Government is lunacy. If the States and Territories want to return the responsibility to the Federal Government and they are refusing, well that's another story. But that's not the case. The cap on returning Australians is also based on the restrictions the States and Territories have on the arrivals, this is what is choking the incoming opportunities for Aussies, not the Federal Government saying "no". Nor is the Federal Government responsible for the mismanagement of Victoria's programme. Considering a number of emails that have come out lately that suggests the Federal Government were even trying to force their way in to assist as things were getting out of hand.


Dan Lied, People Died

This hashtag has been labelled as a "NewsCorp evil". It's origins come back to the fact that Victoria has had the highest cases of COVID of any state or territory of Australia and 90% of the deaths. The reason why the virus got into the community was that the 'Hotel Quarantine' programme was poorly run. The Australian Defence Force was offered to assist with the programme. Yet Daniel Andrews said to a Parliamentary enquiry:

"I don't believe ADF support was on offer. It's been provided in limited circumstances in New South Wales, not to provide security as such but to provide transportation from the airport to hotels. I think it is fundamentally incorrect to assert that there was hundreds of ADF staff on offer and somehow someone said no."

"I don't believe ADF support was on offer" well on March 27th the day the Quarantine programme was announced your own press release said:

"It has also been agreed that the Australian Defence Force will be engaged to support the implementation of these arrangements"

You also said in an interview with the ABC that same day the programme would be:

"A true partnership between Victoria Police, our health officials as well as Australian Defence Force"

Now let's look at "It's been provided in limited circumstances in New South Wales, not to provide security as such but to provide transportation from the airport to hotels". On August 18th Lieutenant General Frewen explained to a Federal Senate hearing that in New South Wales when it came to the ADF

"Our support was broad-reaching."

Further, he added:

"We have received people into hotels, we have done concierge-type services if you like in hotel foyers. We have been involved in checking people are not trying to sneak out of the hotel or people are trying to sneak into the hotel."

Also that ADF members were:

"Involved in distributing of food and other sorts of welfare supplies inside the hotel as well."

As for "I think it is fundamentally incorrect to assert that there was hundreds of ADF staff on offer and somehow someone said no." Well as early as March 21st the ADF were being deployed to assist the States and Territories in any form they were required. Lieutenant General Frewen stated the Department of Defence had:

"Augmented each of the state and territories with additional personal both liaison staff and planners to get ahead of what requirements the states and territories may have with anything related to COVID".

When the Lieutenant General was asked if on March 27th if there was at least 100 ADF personnel available for Victoria he simply replied "yes"


All of the above is backed up by the Defence Minister Linda Reynolds as well. In the last couple of days the Inquiry into the Hotel Quarantine we are also seeing at various points since March the ADF was offered to Victoria and as I mentioned appearing to be almost wanting to be "forced" on Victoria when things were beginning to get out of hand. Yet Daniel Andrews refuses to acknowledge this and instead on September 16th when asked if he could still stand by that statement his response was:

"All can I can say is the statements I‘ve made are accurate."

Well, they're not. If in the rush to organise the programme you were unaware as to what the ADF could offer in terms of support, then just say that. Don't lie. We'll see what happens in the Inquiry when he fronts it next week. However, if he can lie to the Parliament, then it would be amazing if he did opt to tell the truth to an Inquiry that could potentially spell the end of his tenure as Premier.


In regards to the 'People Died' part of the hashtag. Well, yes this is just the dramatic part of it. However, it is a sad accuracy. The Inquiry and the Chief Health Officer of Victoria have stated that Victoria's second wave was caused by the breaches in the Hotel Quarantine programme.


The Federal Government also needs to cop a lot of flak for not protecting Aged Care Facilities and being prepared for an emergency if an outbreak was to occur. As for Mr Andrews, if you want to gain the respect of everyone, besides your apparent following then be upfront. It might feed fuel to the Opposition but the average person on the street will at least cut you some slack and instead would be attacking the Opposition for simply politicising it. The constant denial just makes you more and more unaccountable to the electorate and adds fuel to the fire that you have a lot to hide.


COVID Numbers and Opinions Don't Matter Unless It's Full on Shut it Down

Exactly what Chris Ullmann said. In the early days, we didn't know what this was. We now do. We have some treatments showing promise, a few vaccines in testing phases and more importantly we have awareness. At the start of this pandemic, the US CDC was trying to tell people to simply practise hand hygiene, don't touch your face etc. Well, a lot of people didn't take note of this. Now they do. You can't go to a store, supermarket, cafe, bar or restaurant without people and the business taking some form of precaution. I went to one Supermarket the other day and the "Welcomer" was ensuring that all customers were using the complimentary hand sanitiser before they entered. If they didn't want to, there were free gloves available, if you didn't want that either then you were asked to go elsewhere.

Like any illness the awareness people have and how they can take precautions is vital and in my opinion, is the reason that despite case numbers going up, the mortality rate is nowhere near what it was at the start of this. However, anyone who simply suggests that plans now need to be made to reopen the economy as safely as possible is labelled under the hashtag of being a "COVIDIOT" which is defined as:

“An insulting term for someone who ignores health advice about COVID-19."

Well the health advice from the WHO in regards to COVID-19 is:

You can reduce your chances of being infected or spreading COVID-19 by taking some simple precautions:

  • Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.

  • Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and others. Why? When someone coughs, sneezes, or speaks they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain the virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person has the disease.

  • Avoid going to crowded places. Why? Where people come together in crowds, you are more likely to come into close contact with someone that has COVID-19 and it is more difficult to maintain a physical distance of 1 metre (3 feet).

  • Governments should encourage the general public to wear a fabric mask if there is widespread community transmission, and especially where physical distancing cannot be maintained. Why? Masks are a key tool in a comprehensive approach to the fight against COVID-19.

  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth. Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and infect you.

  • Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately and wash your hands. Why? Droplets spread the virus. By following good respiratory hygiene, you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.

  • Stay home and self-isolate even with minor symptoms such as cough, headache, mild fever, until you recover. Have someone bring you supplies. If you need to leave your house, wear a mask to avoid infecting others. Why? Avoiding contact with others will protect them from possible COVID-19 and other viruses.

  • If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention, but call by telephone in advance if possible and follow the directions of your local health authority. Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent the spread of viruses and other infections.

  • Keep up to date on the latest information from trusted sources, such as WHO or your local and national health authorities. Why? Local and national authorities are best placed to advise on what people in your area should be doing to protect themselves.

Nothing about Lockdowns and shutting down society. If anything public events should be the only thing cancelled. So those going to Trump campaigns, Protests and Riots they are the real "COVIDIOTS" not someone who simply wants to go back to work or to find a better way than mass lockdown.


When it comes to Lockdowns though. In the medical journal, The Lancet, it states:

“Government actions such as border closures, full lockdowns, and a high rate of COVID-19 testing were not associated with statistically significant reductions in the number of critical cases or overall mortality.”

It has also reported:

"Full lockdowns and reduced country vulnerability to biological threats were significantly associated with increased patient recovery rates."

Utilising the above advice it would seem that Lockdowns might actually work when it comes to recovery rates but not the reduction in case numbers or mortality. However, is it wrong to attempt to find a balance? The longer Lockdowns go on then the increase in mental health issues will be far greater. The Lancet has said in regards to mental health:

"We identified several studies assessing the impacts of COVID-19 and lockdowns on socioeconomic and mental health outcomes in low-income countries using online tools to gather data and sampling through social media to access participants. These studies consistently showed a high prevalence of symptoms of anxiety and depression"

The report does believe that there could be a bias due to the selection criteria of the studies, however, it is clear that mental health and suicides are becoming the major factor in this pandemic now. Lifeline in Australia is massively receiving calls for help with an increase of over 20%. I have two friends who are paramedics in Victoria and they are attending suicides every day. I even know of someone that has decided to take their own life because their business failed and the financial pressures finally were too much for them.


The overall health advice now is to take precautions as much as possible. Effectively learn to live with it. Or as politicians call it to find a "COVID normal". Well, mass Lockdowns are not the complete answer. It's not a matter of choosing Economy over Health or prioritising one over the other, both go hand in hand. So when you see people in Victoria stating that they want Lockdowns to end, they aren't "COVIDIOTS" they are the ones who want a COVID normal found. They are the ones who ask these questions. They are the ones that say "why?" They aren't deniers or granny killers.

Seb has actually got off Twitter not long after this post. However, the fact is the longer you keep people locked away and going further into personal debt and those losing businesses that could be run in a COVID safe way then they have a right to ask "why?". Also, the longer Lockdowns go on the more likely you are to have people rebel and not follow the rules, even in a COVID Normal world. Because they will refuse to listen to anyone's advice, especially a Government that crippled them.


Double Standards

This is massive of late. Both with the US Presidential Campaign and the Protesters and Rioters. In Australia, it started with the arrest of Zoe Buhler. Here is a simple fact people. If Rules apply, then apply it equally to all, regardless of the cause. Standing up against racism is fantastic. But when 10s of thousands of people were in the streets not one mention was made that these people were "COVIDIOTS", in fact, many Politicians, Journalists and members of Social Media were applauding these people or were involved. However, now when people, in Victoria, are starting to want to protest against Lockdowns they are labelled as 'selfish' and 'morons'? Daniel Andrews in regards to the recent protests said:

"Go home and follow the rules"

I couldn't agree more with him and that's the first time I have agreed with him in a long time. But why weren't you using this phrase in June? Right now, in my view, anyone who is protesting in mass gatherings is selfish, but they are no more selfish now as they were back in June. It's a double-standard and it set a very dangerous precedence, end of story.

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That's my foray into Twitter, I may or may not keep the account. However, it's terribly scary the responses that people get for simply pointing out a fact or opinion. If the "Twitter-Verse" starts coming into real life, then help us all. More importantly, let's not turn on one another and apply stereotypes, that is how conflicts start.

I just have one message to people though. Ask why? Research deeper into a topic. Don't just sprew a scary headline, ask why and find balance in any issue to form an opinion. Every death is tragic and disastrous. At no point do I believe the virus isn't serious or is "just the flu". I know three people who have had it and despite recovering they took about two months, one took three before they were back to 100%. This included regaining their sense of taste and ending their coughing fits. Right now we know that the majority of those diagnosed do recover and aren't serious enough to require hospitalisation.


This is why I argue against the "death numbers" and "case numbers" let's start hearing about the recoveries and the rehabilitations. Start getting the world back on its feet again and people back to work. Let's allow people to make their own decisions.


It's also time to start planning for a more targeted approach of protecting those that are vulnerable, have comorbidities, investing massively into Health care, tracing teams and rapid response units to get on top of clusters plus support programmes both medical and financial to those that do become affected directly by this dreaded thing. This would be the far better fit when it comes to Government support for everyone involved besides the one size fits all approach.

Ash

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