Sunday, September 26, 2021

Pardon My Obsession

If you have grown weary of my regular posts about the willful ignorance and stupidity of the anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers, please skip the following.

A Texas bar and grill does not hold with those timid citizens who insist on wearing masks. Apparently, the patronage of Hang Time is limited to those who are made of sterner stuff, like all red-blooded citizens of the Lonestar State, I guess.

And if that doesn't convince you that there is something deeply wrong with people, take a look at this, an invasion of a Staten Island food court by an anti-vaccine mandate horde:

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Not So Special After All


Given their passionate intensity, anti-vaxxers must be finding this week's ruling by the Ontario Human Rights Commission deeply galling. The long and short of it: they are not so special.

People who choose not to get the COVID-19 vaccine due to personal preferences or “singular beliefs” do not have a right to accommodations under Ontario’s human rights law, the province’s rights watchdog says.

While human rights law prohibits discrimination based on creed — someone’s religion, or a non-religious belief system that shapes their identity, world view and way of life — personal preferences or singular beliefs do not amount to a creed, the commission said, adding it “is not aware of any tribunal or court decision that found a singular belief against vaccinations or masks amounted to a creed within the meaning of the Code.”

Furthermore, even if someone can show they have been denied service or employment over their creed, “the duty to accommodate does not necessarily require they be exempted from vaccine mandates, certification or COVID testing requirements,” the commission said. “The duty to accommodate can be limited if it would significantly compromise health and safety amounting to undue hardship — such as during a pandemic.” 

It is a setback for the truly fervid, those who have made it quite clear that they don't give a damn about  anyone but themselves in this pandemic. But I have no doubt that they will continue their senseless crusade, even if it requires finding doctors with no integrity or falsifying vaccine certificates.

Consider this miscreant, Dr. Christopher Hassell:

The Richmond Hill physician has apparently grant exemptions, at $50 per pop, to hundreds of people, apparently unconcerned that what he is doing contravenes regulations and ethics.

Ministry of Health spokesperson David Jensen said Health Minister Christine Elliott is aware of the incident and ministry officials alerted the registrar of the province’s college of physicians. Jensen said if the allegations are true, it is a “serious offence and we expect the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) to conduct a full review.”

Medical exemptions must align with definitions and parameters outlined in the ministry’s guidance, he said, adding it is an act of professional misconduct to sign or issue documents that are false or misleading. Potential sanctions range from fines to the revocation of a physician’s certification of registration, he said.

Investigations, as they say, are ongoing. 

Then there is the avenue of fake vaccination certificates.

"There are no security features present on these documents. These documents are basically PDF documents," said Dr. Shabnam Preet Kaur, a forensic document examiner with Docufraud Canada, a Toronto-based company.

Kaur said different kinds of software can be used to manipulate PDFs. "It only take five minutes to make changes," she added.

There is no doubt that the most fanatical of the anti-vaxxers will resort to any ruse available to thwart the existing system. All the more reason that this profoundly selfish and willfully ignorant cadre of miscreants has my deep, abiding contempt.





Friday, September 24, 2021

Designed To Fail

H/t Theo Moudakis

In his column today, Bruce Arthur offers the opinion that Ontario's vaccine passport is a half-hearted effort by Doug Ford that seems almost designed to fail. the Star’s award-winning Rosa Saba reported in one of several essential pieces this week, existing vaccination PDFs can be altered after downloading using a rare hacking program known as … Microsoft Word. 

What about the QR code system slated to come into effect next month?

…software industry experts estimate it would take approximately four months to build an adequately secure and stable system, which is what happened in Quebec. Ontario got three weeks. And while there is a paper/PDF option in Quebec, that province built both a QR reader and a business-side system to connect data to the database, so QR codes are secure and difficult to forge. Ontario is skipping that.

Oh, and Ontario’s QR app will be, uh, voluntary.  

So after watching Manitoba create a plastic immunization card that fits in your wallet, and watching Quebec take four months to build an app that could be secure, Ontario decided on one month of easily faked documentation, followed by an option for more of the same. It’s not that this is the kind of system you would design if you knew and sympathized with people who didn’t want to be vaccinated, but it does seem like that kind of system, doesn’t it?

Hmm, is there a pattern emerging here? Well, the Premier has left little doubt where he stands.

let me be very clear, this is a temporary and exceptional measure. We will only use these certificates for as long as they are needed and not one day longer.”

Many appear to be putting the clues together.

...some businesses are already signalling they won’t enforce the passport. At a sad, pitiable hospital protest in Toronto last week, one anti-vaxxer told me they anticipated businesses would signal to the community on the channels that anti-vaxxers use, like Telegram. And some hardcore anti-vaxxers are so feral that some restaurants closed their dining areas in anticipation of trouble.

Premier Ford likely has his eye on next year's provincial election which, in so many ways, will be  referendum on his handling of the pandemic. Given the poorly designed nature of the vaccine certificate, he is clearly hoping that his base, much of which includes the crank crowd of anti-vaxxers, will turn out in force, understanding that he has done the minimum possible to try to placate those who place a high value on public health, at the same time offering a big wink and a nudge to his 'people'.



Tuesday, September 21, 2021

This And That

Too tired to write after a night spent watching election returns, I opt for an easy way out today: the thoughts of others.

H/t David Parkins
H/t Theo Moudakis
H/t Graeme MacKay

And on a related theme …

Monday, September 20, 2021

An Inspirational Story

While I am an avid newspaper reader, much of it online (NYT, The Guardian) and one a physical journal (The Toronto Star), I limit my intake of television news to one hour per night, the local news at 6 o'clock and NBC Nightly News or Global National at 6:30. Both of the latter have in common how they end their newscasts, almost always with an inspirational story to counterbalance the day's bitter events.

Last evening the final story on Global News was especially heartening, profiling Josh Vander Vies, the Liberal candidate in Vancouver East. As you will see in the following report, his fortitude and determination would clearly make him a welcome addition to Parliament.

Please start the video at the 18:25 mark.