It’s the end of 2022! Another year at this place. Man this year has seen a lot happen, or not happen. This thread will be a runover of every major notable thing that has occured over the last year which has gripped the interest of this blog. I’ll provide some brief commentary and perspectives on each one without going too in-depth.
The last gasps of Covidism: The Ottowa convoy, the failed Canberra convoy, Novak Djokovic barred entry into Australia
2022 was the year that Covidism finally died in the ass. ‘Covidism’ is a catch-all term in my view for the various ideologies that surrounded Covid-19 and its policy consequences, including the narratives skeptical and supportive of the idea that covid was a uniquely dangerous threat warranting the unprecedented level of control that was enacted worldwide in order to mitigate and/or eliminate it. The culmination of covidism, at least in the West, was the Ottowa trucker convoy, which started around January of this year. In reality it was more of a last gasp or dead cat bounce than an apex of interest in covid as an issue; the real beginning of the end for Covidism IMO was the emergence of Omicron around December 2021, when narratives surrounding covid vaccination and elimination/containment started falling apart, and people were clearly tiring of the whole thing.
Of course, Australia had its own last gasps; the embarrassing and disorganised Canberra convoy that occured on the back of the much more interesting Canadian one, and EZFKA politicians trying to wring a little more divisiveness by pointlessly blocking Novac Djokovic’s visa application in January. These both did attract interest and discussion, but it was clear the writing was on the wall here that this was a dwindling, dying issue. Covid cookers and neurotics provide a good example of horseshoe theory in action; both craved and probably still crave lockdown; cookers, because it gives them an opportunity for troublemaking and attention-seeking, and neurotics, because it gives them an opportunity for avoidance. I can guarantee you there’s one thing both ‘sides’ would be united on deep down, and that’s a return to the glory days of lockdown, where the streets were deserted, businesses were closed, FOMO wasn’t a thing and impromptu protest rallies being met with batons and tear gas were a regular weekend outing for many.
In all, covid was best understood as a giant fad, something of novelty for people living in an overly safe, boring workaholic society. It gave people with very few ‘real’ (relatively speaking) problems the opportunity to LARP and play SimCrisis irl, but eventually it got boring, and for no other plausible reason, died.
Discussion will still rage, as it seemingly does in every comment section of every thread on here, on the impact of the vaccines, their relative dangers and so on. But in general people have mostly moved on; within another year I can’t imagine covid will even have its own section on the ABC news site anymore.
The final formal end of Covid was the Albanese government eliminating the mandatory isolation period. A Labor government did this, and that says it all.
Ukraine: The elephant in the room: Russia waxes and wanes in the first year of the biggest conflict since Iran-Iraq, and biggest in Europe since WW2
I’ve written about this one quite a lot! As you know, I’ve had many predictions about this conflict with (thus far) seeming varying degrees of accuracy. To recap, in Feburary of this year the Russian federation recognised two breakway republics in western Ukraine, specifically Donetsk and Lugansk, as indepnendent, crossed over the border with a force of peacekeepers and then followed with what appeared to be a full-scale invasion of Ukraine with all of the Russian federation’s military resources being brought to bare against the country. The objectives, still unchanged: prevent Ukraine from acquiring NATO membership, de-radicalize and de-militarise the country, and secure the independence of the (now annexed) two republics.
As well all know though, military operations don’t always go according to plan, or seemingly at least they don’t. This couldn’t have been more true over the last year. At first it appeared Russia’s invasion was going quite well, but after about two or so weeks, progress seemed to stall. The rapid acquisition of territory had ground to a halt, and on some fronts, actually started to reverse. Russia had to withdraw from the southern port Nikolaev in the face of strong Ukrainian resistance, and then most shockingly, gave up on their attempts to capture the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, all but nearly abandoning the northern front of the war. Russia regained the initiative again shortly after, launching an offensive in Donbass that successfully culiminated in the capture of the city of Lysychansk in July, and the successful siege and capture of the city of Mariupol around the same time.
But then, suddenly Ukraine assumed an offensive posture again, launching an offensive against Russian holdings in Kherson and Kharkov at the beginning of September. The long awaited Kherson offensive went absolutely nowhere; Ukrainian soldiers were thrown into a meatgrinder, annihilated by long range artillery and effectively prevented from capturing anything other than a slither of villages and settlements along the Dneiper river.
However, what happened in Kharkov shocked the whole world. Ukrainian soldiers were able to roll up Russian positions across the occupied parts of the oblast, pushing the Russians back across the Dneiper river and recapturing the transportation hub of Izyum, a town the Russians fought very hard to capture themselves around March and April:
What seemed very clear was the Kharkov area was for the most part totally denuded of defenders; there were very few Russian soldiers in the vicinity to block the Ukrainian offensive, and what few there was were rapidly vacated across the Oskil river to the east to prevent losses.
Why was this all happening? Why did Russia fail to capture Nikolaev, Kiev and then had to evacuate Kharkov without a fight?
The most plausible explanation for all of this was a serious lack of manpower. I became clued into the lack of manpower around April or so, but did not consider it an insurmountable problem; Russia would simply have to capture Ukraine slowly and piece-meal with its small available force, I thought. Russia went into the conflict with only about 150K contract soldiers, not counting the militia groups raised by the Donetsk and Lugansk republics. If you knew anything about manpower densities, that means Russia had only about 40 men per KM across the entirety of the frontline, with obviously many concentrated in more contested areas and relatively fewer in others. I was not aware however that long term, this probably would not be a winning strategy.
Kharkov opened everybody’s eyes to the imminent critical need for more infantry. Very fortunately the Kremlins themselves also rapidly saw this, announcing (what will be the first of many, IMO) a partial mobilisation only a week or so after the shocking Kharkov offensive. As critically, Putin enacted referenda in the Russian occupied areas of Ukraine, specifically Kherson, Zaporizhia, Lugansk and Donetsk. All of these were successful (though whether they were legitimate or not is another story). As far as Russian law is concerned, these areas are now part of Russia, and legally Russia must do everything in its power to recapture and defend them from the Ukrainians 100%.
Also notably, Putin has elected General Surovikin to be in charge of the operation, and I think he has been demonstrating his competence. Surovikin has all but halted Ukraine’s incursions (and is now slowly reversing them) into Lugansk Province, built a series of seemingly impassable fortifications and trenches in order to prevent another potential Kharkov, and, more controversially, ordered a withdrawal from the Russian held (or legally Russian) city of Kherson, the only regional capital in Ukraine outside of the Donets basin Russia has managed to capture so far.
If you can remember my most recent post on that development I initially regarded it as quite shocking; and it was, as Ukraine was not even meaningfully threatening Kherson. As soon as Surovikin took the job back in September or so he specified that withdrawing from Kherson was a possibility; his argument, which I now see the reasoning behind, was that holding a position on the west bank of the Dneiper river (a 1KM wide river) was precarious and probabilistically could have resulted in various disasterous outcomes, such as Ukraine flooding the river and trapping the Russian soldiers in the city. Even if the probability of something like this occuring was low, according to Survokin’s logic, it wasn’t worth the risk of holding what was in effect a ghost town anyway. And to Surovikin’s credit, the withdrawal from Kherson was mostly faultless, leaving little behind (compared to the withdrawal from Kharkov), evacuating all civilians who wanted to leave, and carried out only within a day or two.
As of now half of the 300,000 mobilised are deployed, with about half of that half actively serving in front-line combat roles. If the Kremlins want to achieve their stated objectives in Ukraine they will likely need to mobilise more, but we will see. Currently all eyes are on the strategically important railway hub of Bakhmut, where a significant battle between Russian allied forces, spearheaded by the formidable Wagner Mercenary organisation, and the Ukrainian army has been waging for nearly four months. There have been mixed perspectives regarding Bakhmut’s significance, but surely if it did not matter, Ukraine would not be pumping its recruits into the city to prevent its collapse. As of today however it looks like the situation is degrading increasingly for Ukraine around the city, with Wagner and the Russian army opting to capture settlements adjacent to Bakhmut before initiating a direct assault. Bakhmut will likely be abandoned by the Ukrainians after a partial encirclement starts appearing likely, but what will follow this is still uncertain.
Brittany Higgins: An EZFKA reader favourite
Probably one of the most popular issues talked about on this blog all year, surprisingly, has been the Bruce Lehrmann trial, the LNP staffer accused of raping other LNP staffer Brittany Higgins in Parliament House in 2019. There were always questionable aspects about this whole thing from the start, as detailed by this post of mine way back last year. Why was Higgins being paraded around on TV as though she was most certainly a victim, even before there had been a trial of Bruce Lehrman (or he had even been charged, for that matter)? Why did Scomo (ever pathetically I might add) apologise to Higgins, effectively damning Brucey chances of recieving a fair trial? Why did the prosecution even agree to go ahead with this despite all of these obvious issues?
It only got worse when the actual trial started. Higgins turned out to be more unreliable than anyone had ever thought; throughout questioning she recanted stories, retracted testimony, clearly demonstrated herself to be more interested in media attention than facilitiating the legal process. A (semen stained?) dress she claimed she never wore actually was worn by her to a party several weeks after the alleged rape occured. Texts had mysteriously gone missing from her phone, and a photo of a bruise that she apparently recieved during the rape itself was actually a photo from two years after (or was it before? Eitherway, gay).
To make things worse Higgins started throwing a sook after being required to answer the defense’s questions, disappearing from the proceedings on the basis of ‘mental health issues’ several days into the trial. At this point the whole thing was such a transparent farce and political prosecution it wasn’t funny, even if Brucey did actually do it; deducing reasonable doubt here was all but impossible.
Seemingly the jury couldn’t agree either, with the whole thing being cancelled after a clearly pro-Higgins juror was caught smuggling feminist style sexology research into the deliberations. Never missing an opportunity, Higgins gave an indignant speech on the steps of the courthouse to the media afterwards, something she was going to do in the event of a not guilty verdict anyway. Afterwards the re-trial wascalled off due to phony concerns over Higgins’ mental health, which was AMAZINGLY predicted right here on EZFKA by our very own Aussie Soy Boy. This was a legendary prediction and I am not joking, anyone who knows how hard it is to predict the future let alone things that specific would agree.
Apart from the daily vaccination excess mortality wars that are waged on seemingly every thread here, this was probably the most popular subject on EZFKA all year, so I had to bring it up. I personally think she and the ACT prosecution should be charged in this case, as it seems more likely than not she made all of it up for career purposes at this point.
Other issues that have consumed this site have been the Bankman-Fried and crypto drama, and the seeming final slow comedown in EZFKA real estate prices. I don’t understand enough about the former to comment, and the latter has already been covered recently. I will say that I have absolutely no idea what is going to happen with EZFKA real estate and anybody who acts with any certainty about the future of it is probably full of shit. Otherwise that’s all I can think of; if I missed anything please let me know! I hope everybody has a good EZFKA new years because who knows what 2023 is going to bring. Nothing good more likely than not if 2022 is any indication!