Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

And where lies the truth about Ukraine?

March 29, 2022

I believe very little of the ridiculous propaganda narratives either from the Western media or from the less accessible Russian sources.  The narrative in the Western media dominates the media space that is accessible to me. The counter-view is not politically correct and is largely ignored but the politically correct story that I am being bombarded with lacks somewhat in credibility.

What I do observe is the real oil and gas prices (spot price rather than futures), the real prices of food in the markets and the real performance of the world stock markets. Asia and the Middle East are resisting the wholesale acceptance of the NATO propaganda and are making their own nuanced judgements. And what I observe suggests that the Western media narrative which is flooding the air-waves is heavily (probably intentionally) flawed.

The Guardian’s view is utterly predictable and just a little too sanctimonious. The counter-view published by ANI may also be rather biased but is a necessary balance for the childish narrative peddled by the bulk of the Western media.

Well, time will tell, but I suspect that the end-game will include further “autonomous”, Russian speaking regions established in Eastern Ukraine and that Ukraine will be forced to give up its aspirations for any membership of NATO for the foreseeable future.


 

Vaccinations may have helped against severe illness but neither masks nor vaccinations have shortened the pandemic

February 10, 2022

For almost 3 years, epidemiology and rock-star epidemiologists have been flailing their way through the pandemic. Ridiculous modelling and constantly changing and contradictory advice have become the norm. 

At least there are some few who are beginning to be self-critical about all the mistakes that  epidemiology – which is no science – has made. Even fewer are willing to admit that blindly “following the science” means also following the 90+% of scientific research which goes down the wrong path. 

  • It was first thought that the infection would spread like influenza. But instead it spread in clusters which negated all hopes for achieving some kind of herd immunity.
  • the pattern of mutations of the corona virus was not as predicted (more hope than prediction) and that made specific vaccines less useful and for shorter times than expected.
  • vaccination has probably helped more in preventing serious illness than in preventing any spread of infection.
  • Infection was first thought to be air-borne. Then it was thought to be liquid-borne. In fact it is both and neither. These assumptions led to confused advice about the use of masks and types of masks. In fact, the use of masks may have helped in preventing a few of the infected from infecting others but has had little effect in stopping the mask-wearers from being infected.
  • even if the WHO had not tried to avoid blaming China and had raised the warning flag two months earlier than they did, no country had any useful plans for preventing the spread of infection in place.
  • Travel restrictions were never introduced fast enough to prevent the entry of a virus into a region.

The response to the pandemic will be studied for a long time yet and all the mistakes made will be the subject of many PhD theses to come. The social “sciences” are going to have a field day.

I believe in vaccines. I am sufficiently scared of serious illness to have taken all the vaccinations and boosters as they have become available. No doubt I will also take the 4th shot if and when it becomes available. It has generally been forgotten that for an effective vaccine to be useful and do its work, a vaccinated person needs first to be infected. But it is perfectly clear to me that, of course with the best intentions, vaccines have been grossly over-hyped as a means of preventing infection. Uncertain and bad science has also been used to justify the introduction of authoritarian and mandatory measures by governments. It may even be that the over-reliance on over-hyped vaccinations has prolonged the effects of the pandemic for longer than necessary. The purpose of mandatory vaccinations has misguidedly been the prevention of infection (not the prevention of serious illness) but the stark reality is that vaccinations have not been, and cannot be, very effective in preventing infection. The various mask mandates introduced in many countries have been both ridiculous and ineffective.

 


“Minor incursion” by Russia allowed by Biden

January 20, 2022

It is fairly obvious that Sergei Lavrov and the Russian strategists are making a very precise calculation of what they can get away with with Joe Biden. I suspect that they have been surprised that Biden is even more risk averse than Obama and at how far they can push. They were fairly accurate with the multitude of red lines drawn by Obama in Syria which they knew could be crossed with impunity. Now that Joe Biden has confirmed that “minor incursions” by Russia into Ukraine would be acceptable, it only remains to define what a “minor” incursion is. They would have received some further proof from the German Foreign Minister recently that Europe will do little without firm backing from the US and that this backing would be very lukewarm.

It now remains to make a case for “minor” including all the clearly Russian speaking areas of Ukraine.

Line of acceptable minor incursion?

The G7 rule by the minority

June 13, 2021

The G7 nations are meeting in Cornwall. Several terms come to mind:

  • Minority rule
  • Oppression by the minority
  • Redefining democracy
  • Undemocratic
  • Realpolitik
  • Non-violent, economic coercion

Source: Nationmaster.com

Oppression by the minority is self-evident. But we can rest easy since they are a virtuous lot. And we can be sure of that since virtually every press statement is about what good guys they are!

Ah well!


Vaccine philanthropy is only possible if you first have vaccine nationalism

January 23, 2021

There have been a number of sanctimonious platitudes about the dangers of vaccine nationalism from the usual suspects (UN Sec Gen, WHO Dir Gen, …). This has been virtue signalling at its worst. Any national government which did not first secure its own citizens would be failing in its primary task. It is again a case of people forgetting that international is not possible without first securing the national. Philanthropy between countries cannot happen unless there is first nationalism.

And so it is between India and Brazil.

Covishield is the brand name of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India. So far India has despatched over 3 million doses of Covishield to Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Seychelles, Mauritius and Brazil. Brazil receives 2 million doses today. President Bolsanaro has invoked images from the Ramayana in his message of thanks. Sri Lanka and Afghanistan are to also receive vaccines in the next despatch. This vaccine can be transported and stored at between +2 and +8 degrees Celsius and has a shelf-life of 6 months. This vaccine philanthropy by India is only possible because sufficient stocks, greater than the rate of vaccination, are available for its own citizens.

The EU has not yet approved this vaccine but this approval is expected on 29th January. Neither has the US approved. I have my own theory that the EU delay in approval is not unconnected with protecting some market for the other, more expensive, more difficult to transport vaccines. Not quite a conspiracy theory but at least some unconscious collusion.



Losing sleep

August 24, 2020

I have yet to find a political party which represents my views.

But of all the various parties from left to right, I find I am diametrically opposed to the various green parties on almost every issue. They have almost cornered the market on stupidity.


 

Lamenting Modi’s absolute win is more phobic than rational

May 25, 2019

The point about phobias is that they are all irrational fears. A phobia is not removed by rational argument but by addressing and removing the underlying fear(s). “Phobic” assertions are futile then in a rational discussion just as “rational discourse” has no impact on reducing a phobic fear.

I have been hearing many people lamenting the absolute win that Narendra Modi and the BJP party have just achieved. They believe themselves – in the main – to be of the educated middle classes; to be liberal, secular and rational. Nearly all of them believe themselves to be atheists (conveniently forgetting that their atheism is existentially dependent upon others’ beliefs) and they are all generally contemptuous of those who profess themselves to be religious. They generally claim a monopoly over “reasoned argument” and dismiss nationalistic or religious claptrap out of hand.

But what strikes me is that their lamentations about the Modi win and the rise of dark, nationalistic and religious forces are more manifestations of a Modiphobia or a BJPphobia than the exercise of reason. It is not unlike the Trumpophobia that now dominates the Democrat discourse in the US. But just as in the US, the apparently “rational arguments” are subordinated to irrational fears and only carry the appearance of rationality. They end up being phobic assertions and lose rationality along the way.

Following the Indian elections the BJP, by itself, now commands a comfortable majority in parliament. The BJP with its allies now have almost two-thirds of the seats in parliament (353 of 543). Narendra Modi is unchallenged as Prime Minister and is perhaps the first to to have transcended some of the traditional block-voting patterns of caste and religion.

Back in 2014, I posted:

If Narendra Modi manages to break – or even to weaken – the debilitating stranglehold that caste and clan have on Indian life, he stands some chance of releasing the huge potential that is still buried deep in the country. Paradoxically, his brand (now mellowing) of Hindu nationalism may allow him the freedom not only to challenge the shackles of caste and clan but also to keep in check the extravagant expectations engendered by the pampering of minority groups (which was unavoidable with a coalition government).

I find the lamentations now lacking in reason:

  1. There was not a single individual among all the opposition parties who realistically aspired to be or (or was capable of being) the Prime Minister.
  2. There was no majority coalition of any kind remotely feasible without the BJP.  The option of the BJP not being in government did not exist.
  3. A parliament having a party with an absolute majority is more likely to be effective as a parliament and less likely to be disrupted than a minority or a coalition government. A BJP minority government or a BJP led coalition (and since BJP is in a minority in the Rajya Sabha) would have given India an impotent government.

India will have at least 5 more years of Narendra Modi and the BJP. From 2020 the BJP will likely have a majority even in the Rajya Sabha. The subcontinent is awash with fractures and fissures. My reason tells me that the chance of Indian potential being unified and harnessed is far greater now than it has ever been since independence in 1947. It is greater now than it was under Nehru and his phobias, and greater than it was under Indira Gandhi’s Emergency. I may not like some of the fanatics riding the BJP wave, but paradoxically, a strong Modi has a better chance of keeping them in check than a weak Modi.

I suspect that 2020 – 2024 will see a period of unprecedented growth of not only the Indian economy but also of Indian infrastructure and social welfare.


 

Actually, Netanyahu has just had his best ever election result

April 10, 2019

I am no great student of Israeli domestic politics and my perceptions/knowledge of the Israeli elections are only what I have gleaned from media reports. However, I do try to also read reports from the Israeli media and not just from the western mainstream media. Over the last few weeks the “liberal” mainstream media have been supporting an anti-Netanyahu position and most of their reporting has been critical of Netanyahu and his chances in the 2019 general election.

Last night, just before I went to bed, the exit polls were showing a close race between Likud and Blue & White. The “liberal” press had started putting out headlines about a “setback for Netanyahu”. The New York Times – among others – has been hoping for a Netanyahu defeat.

NYT dislikes Netanyahu – and it shows

This morning, as exit polls are replaced by vote counts, I find that Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party narrowly won the Israeli election. With 97% of the votes counted former Israel Defense Forces (IDF) chief of staff Benny Gantz, led the opposition Blue & White party to a strong showing. Both parties will receive 35 seats (out of 120) in the next Knesset. Likud received 26.3% of the vote and only just exceeded Blue and White’s 25.95%. No single party has ever won an overall majority on its own. The right parties are expected to have 65 seats and the left parties 55. It is virtually certain that Netanyahu will form the next coalition government.

But the reality is that Likud have won more seats this time than they ever have under Netanyahu. Likud has won 5 more seats than in the outgoing Knesset.

Netanyahu’s record

The only time Likud have done better in an election was in 2003 with Ariel Sharon when they received 29.39% of the votes and 38 seats in the Knesset.

The “liberal” media have become peddlers of opinions and cannot be relied upon to be purveyors of facts. The Fake News phenomenon starts with their increasing presentation of opinion and wishful thinking as fact.


 

 

All the Democrats vying to lose to Trump in 2020

April 9, 2019

It seems that every new day brings a new Democrat into the race (or who says that he or she might enter the race) to be chosen as the Democratic candidate for President in 2020 to stand against Donald Trump (if he does indeed seek reelection).

Many of them are only doing so in a desperate attempt just to get themselves some free publicity. The media can no longer afford to ignore any one who might conceivably stand. They are still smarting from the ridicule they still enjoy for their gross miscalculation with Trump. They are too scared now to ignore or trivialise anybody.

At the latest count there are 25 potential Democratic candidates. The Rolling Stone ranking puts Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris at the top of the list. Hillary Clinton is not on the list (yet).

With ISIS almost eradicated, the N Korea threat apparently neutralised, the challenge to China on trade, the increasing isolation of Iran and with booming jobs and a strong economy at home, the indications are that Trump will return for another term.

as of April 2019


 

 

US Democrats have just lost the 2020 election

March 25, 2019

The entire Trump/Russia conspiracy theory was always a little far-fetched. But now as a major part of what turns out to have been a “spoiling exercise” has run out of fuel, the emphasis will shift to how the formal investigation into a nonsense theory first began. It certainly dates back to the campaign and long before Trump was elected. I suspect it was the Clinton e-mail flap which started it all. I am not convinced that the Clinton campaign was itself clever enough to have thought this up. “Deep State” Clinton supporters at the FBI probably started the whole thing as a way of both diverting from Clinton’s criminal incompetence (in which they succeeded) and of attacking their most hated candidate.

Of course they were aided and abetted by other Trump-haters (John McCain was a willing accomplice in spreading the fake dossier). The pro-Clinton media with CNN in the forefront and followed by WaPo and the NYT took Fake News to new heights.

It is unlikely that anybody will be held accountable for starting the Fake News conspiracy theory.

The Democrats are too heavily invested in the conspiracy theory to give it up easily. I suspect that continuing to beat this horse will only make it more likely that the investigation will turn to who started the fake collusion theory and make it more difficult for the Democrats to dig themselves out of their ever deepening hole. They already have the debilitating baggage of taking over the mantle of being the socialist, anti-Semitic, soft-on-crime, Big Government party.

Trump may not have won yet, but the Democrats could well have lost the 2020 election with the Mueller Report. Of course it doesn’t hurt Trump that

  • ISIS were beaten on his watch,
  • N Korea are a much reduced threat,
  • the Chinese tsunami is being contained,
  • that unemployment is low,
  • that the economy is booming,
  • that black and Latino employment has never been higher and
  • that legal immigrants don’t much care for illegal immigrants

 


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