Devil and the Dark Blue Sea

The political choices faced by the UK at the last election: a socialist utopia that would cause taxes to increase and suppress innovation and progress while looking after those who were unable to look after themselves, or a slogan. The complex algorithms that the Left proposed were hundreds of pages of promises that were perceived as not feasible, with window dressing of economically destructive ideas such as making the internet a state owned utility devoid of the advantages of competition. That final act of the overreach probably was not the main problem: it was simply not believable. Only those with two doctorates in social science and statistical economics had a hope of understanding the ultimate effect.

Not overwhelmingly, but with some more votes and 80 more MPS the electorate went for the simplistic slogan, instead. The Government has an unassailable majority it does not really deserve. The majority of the citizens are given a future they do not want but was a viable alternative being offered?

Faced with an experienced and solid litigator who stood behind one of America’s most successful presidencies, until his moral compass betrayed him, the woman he betrayed was voted for by the majority of Americans. But the political system – where the ‘electoral college’ decides – sometimes contrary to the voting intention of each state to throw their weight behind a candidate. Trump has highlighted how fragile the American Constitutional democracy is, the fathers of the nation drafted a basic for all laws but in a way that can be litigated and argued endlessly. The Constitution is treated like a religious text, meaning it may not examined in itself, but all law is evaluated against it. It is an interesting system – base all laws on the assumptions made when a war was won in 1776 and in 1787. It has resulted in the most successful federation of states, and in itself is a noble document that must be respected. Or is it the reason that the legal system produces weak opposition and political dishonesty? Could a better political system exist than these two old binary (two party) systems?

OK, so China and Russia have autocratic totalitarianism dressed up to feature elections that seem to be democratic but in name only. Independent thinking in North Korea is rewarded with concentration camps, and the internment of Uyghur Muslims in China, the poisoning of opposition politicians in Russia, military police and the weapons of the state against difference or protest characterise a lack of freedom, but does this suppress innovation? Evidently, not.

The we have real attempts at democracy: proportional representation in New Zealand, Germany and variations of it in Australia and France. These systems are more representative of the majority but result in fragmented parliaments who go off in many directions and are perceived by the ‘first past the post’ systems in UK and USA as less decisive. It is not an argument that they are winning, however, as strong governments are leading these once great nations over the edge. The tragedy of Covid-19 death rates in the UK and USA are testament to the prejudices and ridiculous lack of talent at the top levels of Government.

These once great democracies are now stuck between the devil and the dark blue sea. There is no viable alternative to signing a pact with Satan. Like the rise and fall of the great Empires spawned by Europe and then Britain – the current model of Government is going to fall. It may not happen in the near future. It may be a long journey down. Unless there is a massive war, or, a more deadly pandemic. Or something else provides a new enemy and the Governments as fragile and inept as they are, find an enemy other than their own working class.

Many think socialism is the answer. The only problem is that every time a country tries to implement socialism it finds itself resorting to heavy handed tactics to suppress dissent and it ends up being totalitarian. Socialism is seen as an impossible dream, or is that just a myth promoted by the capitalists who do not want to end up paying for it?

Political leadership appears these days to have more to do with control and deception than growth and hope for the future. Civilisations are comprised of people and activities such as business, means of fairness such as economics and law, assets and liabilities, arts and science provide contributions of shared values.

But what I wonder is, why does politics require the opposite sides of the argument to be in perpetual war? Why does a society need to swing Left and Right? Why do we not just work out the best way to live together and adopt a set of laws we all agree with? Because human society is not even. Different lands have different advantages and opportunities, dangers and problems.

The idea that human civilisation could adopt one system of Government of the world is both seen as utopian and the ultimate threat. There is no single answer to the needs of 8 billion people. Or 12 billion. Or 100 billion. With unrestrained growth, the human virus continues to consume its opportunity of a future. Our collective intelligence counts for nothing if our destructive instincts are the underlying definition of our drives.

What is the real goal of power? Is it enrich ourselves at the cost of others? Or is it to benefit everyone?

America needs a new hero

America used to be the bastion of democracy and freedom. No more.

The actions of the Republicans are not merely hypocrisy. It is not just politics. It is the destruction of the American ideal, the dream of freedom and progress that inspired the world of the twentieth century after Hitler and Stalin and Mao explored mass murder, repression and ruthless military police enforcing absolute power and rewriting constitutions in wars against their own citizens.

A nation is what a nationalist cares about? A nation is not its accumulated wealth. It is the people. It is not its military power or its ability to crush opposition. It is an evolving entity, one that can make choices that respond to changes in the environment it lives within. That is what made America great. It evolved in a mad mad world. It was never perfect, but racism was defeated. Science won the war against false faith. But then, the twentieth century, the most destructive and wonderful century, was over. And now the public are being fed nonsense and lies. And they believe them. Freedom is under threat from within.

The acts of Donald Trump undermine democracy. His intention is to bypass the election and maintain power by playing the system like a casino boss. The house always wins even if it takes a bullet. That the “leader of the free world” has publicly announced plans to impose his own prejudices on the future by rigging the election and the supreme court means he threatens to become the “dictator at the end of the world”. He observes how Putin maintains a grip on power by poisoning his opposition leader, and tries to outdo him by destroying the very decision making process that grants power.

His rallies infect his loyal followers with his death wish. His death wish for America and his death wish for them. A large number of his supporters will die but does he care? If he can use the courts to maintain his power, then of course he does not care if the audience he entertains and who cheer for him in large numbers dies in large numbers.

It is the end of the United States of America? Protests are already being confronted by thuggery and jack booted military police. A rigged election is what he is now promising. Democracy no longer matters to a large number of Americans. It will cause America to fail, badly.

What comes next is a dark chapter in World history. The alliance of the USA and Russia, against China?

Joe Biden is a better option for President. But is he the new American hero that will save Democracy? Once again, the two party first past the post system has failed to offer an alternative to a modern version of Hitler, Mao or Stalin. Many more people will die. America is rapidly falling for an authoritarian regime that will be more extreme and destructive to American values.

It makes world conflict more likely.

How Immigration has helped Germany

In 2015 Germany opened its borders to a million refugees. Angela Merkel suffered criticism from the Right who disagreed.

By 2017, there was a prevalent view that Wir schaffen das would be Merkel’s undoing, a “catastrophic mistake” as Donald Trump said in January that year. “The worst decision a European leader has made in modern times,” Nigel Farage told Fox News. “She’s finished.”

That quote from this article, illustrates the criticism of her policy, Wir schaffen das – which means “We will manage” but she has been proven right. A million refugees are now settling and starting companies, not all, but some. There have been no terrorist attacks in three years.

Merkel has advanced the German economy and her approval rating has returned to where it was before it took a hit from reaction to this policy. Germany becomes a beacon of hope for world peace, as settlement of refugees is a large part of bringing peace.

The other side of that coin is the defeat of authoritarian regimes, the most serious one is in Syria. The Government has been at war with a number of factions, including ISIS, not all aligned with ISIS. It has used chemical weapons and that civil war has destroyed many of Syria’s cities. It has produced many refugees and Germany took many.

It is instructive to the nationalistic shutting off that infect the UK and the USA. Rampant nationalism is the cousin of racism.

The Covid Economy

It is not the virus vs the economy. That ridiculous idea has guided the USA and UK into the most unnecessary deaths. Italy was hit without any real precedent except China who controlled the virus after trying to suppress information at first, they locked down severely and halted its inexorable exponential climb up graphs. Italy realised what it had to do to deal with its severe outbreak, and although it took time, it managed to “flatten the curve” before it destroyed the Italian economy.

Armed with slogans and incorrect assumptions the UK Government lumbered into terrible mismanagement of the virus, led by a PM who ignored any medical advice and self infected shaking hands of virus victims while his chief advisor flaunted the lockdown (which was called late, with full knowledge of Italy’s plight) after calling for allowing what he called ‘herd immunity’ but is a human culling. The crimes of this government appear to be lapses of thinking but in retrospect you have to assume it is deliberate acts taken to excise care for the weak and frail from the economy, to take this opportunity to destroy the lives of those who were in its care.

The use of slogans acted as euphemisms for causing death. “Flatten the curve” is misleading to most as it refers to the growth curve. If a farmer places a single grain of rice on a chessboard and doubles that number for the second square, proceeding with the same pattern of doubling on every square, how many grains of rice will be required? The sequence is familiar to most computer programmers: 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128 (that is one row of 8 squares), the rice store has hardly noticed the demand. But by the end of the second row 256, 512, 1024, 2028, 4096, 8192, 16384, 32768 – and the visits to collect the grains of rice are starting to raise eyebrows. But the curve starts to appear on the next two lines: demanding 4 billion grains for the 32nd square bankrupts the country. But before the end of the next row the world does not have enough rice to satisfy. That is the effect of a growth curve and to flatten it means to return to a slower growth in numbers before we return to normality. Except that another growth curve will start and that is the terrible mistake that the idiot in the White House made – when the growth in the curve stopped – the number of new cases was still high but not growing. It did not take long for it to start growing again.

The UK has fared better than the US in terms of flattening the curve, and reducing the number of deaths perhaps, but it has also opened up before the number of new cases had been properly quashed so that controlling the spread of any virus lurking in the community becomes possible (still expensive and requiring stringent measures). The daily new cases got down to one or two hundred and then the government said ‘time to open up’ and now it is back over a thousand. Fortunately the quality of medical care in the UK and the USA reduces the death count.

But the policy of balancing the economy vs the virus is not the best way to manage it.

And now the USA, India and Brazil have become massive virus factories, breeding mutations which have dire potential. The UK, Spain and Italy are similar but the UK had a chance where Italy and Spain were early adopters of the difficult to digest virus control policy demonstrated by South Korea and China. The lax thinking of the UK Government meant we experienced just as much economic damage and death – at least half of which were completely unnecessary. If the government had acted three days earlier. But which chess square did they reach in their gamble? It was about two to three weeks delay between when it became evident that it was possible to control the virus and lockdown steps being taken. With a doubling rate of about 3 days, that is square 6 or 7: meaning they could have been on the ball and reduced the number of infections by 50 times. But they did not. And then they only got new infections down to about 100 – 200 per day before opening up again. Hovering at over 1,000 infections per day may seem manageable but it is always a few days away from 2,000, then 4,000 infections. The death rate has reduced but the number of active and recovered cases is not available. And the statistics are not fully representative of the real scope of the infection and it’s spread.

Trump’s USA is so much worse, alongside India and Brazil – still on square 15 – and with policies that are too little too late to control the virus without halting the economy. A full two month lockdown would remove the virus from the equation. If people respected it, and if the President or the PM and his chief advisor flouts the rules and ridicules the cautious, then there is no possible unity in already badly divided democracies that have evolved into two sides bitterly out to destroy the other.

The disturbing trend is the collapse of liberty in the West and the rise of a more aggressive and controlled culture. It is quite predictable that America sleepwalks into electoral deceit and four more years of Trump seal the deal. America will become a third world superpower. A very dangerous aggressive and capable adversary to freedom. The Constitution is being eroded by this insane criminal pretending to be the best president when he is considered worse than Hitler according to Norm Chomsky. According to the chessboard theory: Trump could destroy America. He is over halfway there.

i voted sticker lot

Why Voting Matters

Do not listen to the poison.

Donald Trump seeks to undermine your voice, sideline you as he flushes your part of the US economy away for the sole benefit of the very rich, pretending it will all be wonderful again if only you do not vote for the Democrats.

How hollow the promise from the President tweeting from the golf course, cheating on his wife with paid off pornstars, selling the future of America – the hopes and aspirations of children – to benefit his already rich friends and huge business – pumped up the stock market with false value, sold-out American soldiers to Russian interference, is guilty of collusion with Russia in the 2016 election, accused by family members of being cruel and indifferent which he has proven himself as he sells poison as a cure for Covid, a crisis he has mismanaged so badly as to endanger all human life as the virus has now genetic information of over 5 million Americans while billions is spent looking for a vaccine that risks not being effective due to the irresponsible madness of Trump’s executive actions, the death of 180,000 Americans.

And yet his ‘base’, the greedy and ill-informed 40% of voters are convinced his is either of economic benefit ranging to being ‘the saviour’ – this man who poses with a Bible instead of ever attending a church (unless there are cameras), this man who lost a billion dollars through bad management of his companies, this man who takes delight in firing his executives, this man who is a self confessed narcissistic ‘very stable genius’, this man who had lied, cheated and hurt other people, he got impeached for electoral cheating and corruption, he has lied about his role inviting foreign interference in the voice of Americans. His base have faith in his ‘promise’. What he promises will destroy America. He has demonstrated that he wishes to undermine the Post Office, the mail delivery delays threaten the lives of many. Callous, cruel and calculated to benefit his electoral chances by denying your ability to vote.

He limits the future for all children on Earth as he destroys nature’s reserves to burn more fossil fuel and pumps up the military so he can destroy the constitution with heavy handed secret police dragging protesters into unmarked vehicles.

40% of Americans buy this shit? How far into their obesity do you have to dig to find their heart? How sick do you have to be to be so greedy it threatens your health and life? How crazy is the latest Republican craze: QAnon? Nothing but an attempt to smear his enemies (real people) – this latest cult phenomenon has been adopted by several GOP candidates. It is a sad reflection of a fallen society. 40% of Americans believe anything. The disinformation campaign by Russia has murdered democratic choice in America along with its soldiers. It is information war. Russia is proving how the greed that bred this stupidity has infected America.

It is now more important than ever to exercise your voice. Vote for the only mentally stable candidate in this election. Joe Biden was America’s most successful vice-President. Barack Obama may be better at making speeches, but Joe Biden is an opportunity for quiet nobility and greatness. He could do a lot of good for the lives of normal Americans. And the children of the world have a better chance of a world that actually supports life.

The time to act on pollution, health and prosperity has arrived. It is time to take responsibility. Every vote counts. 40% of the voters will vote for a mentally unstable candidate. 60% of America must not be complacent.

“They’re dying … it is what it is”

What is the difference between an Elephant and a Swan?

Is this something that Trump think’s he has aced, on his dementia test? Yes, he can point at an elephant but in his Axios interview with Jonathan Swan, he demonstrated that he is prepared to filter statistics to tell a story to show how good he is. As if shuffling bits of paper with simplified big block graphics that prove to the President that he is responsible for the USA having ‘the lowest’ of the percentage of cases resulting in death, ‘better than the World!’ as he put it. That is not what it means.

Disingenuous. Stupid. Not his achievement!

His statement: “They’re dying, it is what it is.” That is his actual achievement.

The percentage of deaths in the USA from diagnosed Covid is a measure of the quality of care, the level of technology available and you would expect wealthy countries to have invested in better medical equipment. Trump ordered the USA to buy up equipment and drugs and wants any vaccine to be available to the USA exclusively. So this trends of USA having better treatment options than The Republic of Congo may continue, however is the USA the best in the world at research and keeping the suffering alive, at least, until the election? Probably. But that has absolutely nothing to do with Trump, and a lot more to do with how Obama widened medical care to more population before Trump started to limit access by repealing this. It is just that contracts and laws take time to unwind.

What statistic measures Trump’s performance in controlling the virus? The percentage of deaths per capita is one, that measures how quickly the government reacted. Or the number of cases per capita. Or the number of cases now compared to peak of the curve. The Government of the USA has really been awful, perhaps only exceeded in causing uncessary death by Brazil and the UK whose governments have been lamentable, also.

Let’s look at what it means: The USA has recorded nearly 5 million cases, and 160 thousand deaths. Of these five million cases 2,276,450 are still classed as ‘active’. How many of these are actually dead? It is not logical that half the cases in the USA were recorded in the three weeks, is it? It also has the highest number of serious/critical cases at 18,407. How many of the 2.276 million active cases are actually serious enough that they will add to the death statistic?

Yes, the USA has tested more people than most, and therefore has identified more cases, that is true. but what do they do? It takes over a week to get a result. There is no way to control the virus spread.

The tests per capita – the USA is the 18th in the world. Even the UK is ahead at 14th. As is Denmark, Singapore and the UAE. It is not statistically significant that Monaco has the best testing rate, with a population of 39,268. Ranking comparisons like these are misleading. What is more meaningful is that with all the testing (60 million tests, second to China with 90 million) they have managed to not arrest the curve of infection. It is a reflection of the push to open up too soon, of a President in denial, leading a culture of not wearing masks and even holding a rally in Oklahoma that has resulted in a massive surge in cases there, of a government clearly patting itself on the back while actually doing very little to stem the tide of an infection pool (that encourages the virus to mutate) far larger and unconstrained than anywhere else in the world. Compared to China, the USA has done a terrible job.

Trump has reversed the Regan trope – this time capitalism lost against the great totalitarian communist state controlled socialism. And he has lost his trade war by damaging productivity. The US economy has turned into a betting shop with 5 trillion dollars of slush fund propping up a vulnerable market. It already crashed once as investors were spooked by the Covid crisis. Why confidence has restored when the premature opening up of the economy will in fact damage it long term is a reason for investors to be nervous that their wealth is simply an excess of capital supporting a massive contraction in activity and uncertainty of the very survival of entire sectors. Who will wake up and blink first?

If the USA re-elects this Government it is only logical that it will suffer a terrible fate, starting with the collapse of the stock market bubble, the virus killing another half million and the number of cases being measured in the tens of millions. I do not think that the USA is that stupid or ridiculous but it is also possible that their electoral system has been infiltrated. It is inherently logical that Trump is more than a useful idiot for Putin. He is an unconvicted criminal who mistreats women, exacerbates racism, abuses power and has brought the USA to its knees with his terrifying record of mismanagement. It seems probable that the Russian influence that got him elected has not slept through his enablement. Does he oppose mail votes as the Russian infiltration machine can not influence it?

Biden is actually exactly what the USA needs. A New Deal for the eradication of the virus (a three week shutdown is what it would take). It also needs to repair its social coherence and end this pretence that it is doing okay when it is in fact in a terrible state, propped up by a confidence that is increasingly vapour, the breath of a con-man manipulating statistics to prove his point, statistics that when analysed show how terrible he is.

Trump is an anathema to the Republicans, he has ensured that his empire will crumble. The Republicans should reopen and enact the impeachment and remove him from office. Then run with Lindsay Graham who at least speaks truth.

The News Cycle

Keeping track of American news cycle is a very different experience to that of UK news. American news contains far more opinions, panel discussions and assertions which criticise the Government and Trump severely (MSNBC, CNN, CBS) while Fox News and Britebart support Right Wing thinking in America but more recently have also been critical of Trump’s undemocratic actions.

The News Cycle in the USA is short but focused. The news cycle in the UK – at least from the BBC which appears to be a Government mouthpiece pretending to be balanced but clearly is not, is more focused on the Government handling of the Pandemic and presents the Government without much commentary, simply reporting on the PM’s agenda and actions by Ministers. Which one is better?

American news has freedom of speech as its core value. The UK does not actually have freedom of speech and its main news channel, the BBC is hardly objective. In fact it would also be true to class all British Media as having a distinct Right or Left wing agenda.

American media has been attacked by Trump almost continuously. He called it fake news. However his record of lying is well documented and for him to accuse journalists of misrepresenting facts is a bit rich. It is sheer hypocrisy, but that is Trump’s method of spreading misinformation.

In the UK, the government speaks and it is reported. Only during PMQ (Prime Minister’s Questions) does there seem to be any challenge to the Government’s media projection. There are articles in papers like The Guardian and The Independent that are critical of the Government, but it is most challenged by the Leader of the Opposition and Labour Party – Sir Kier Starmer who regularly takes the PM Boris Johnson to pieces.

I think America is better served by its media. Fox News is owned by Australian magnate Rupert Murdoch who also owns the Wall Street Journal, plus, in the UK, The Times and The Sun. One is a sober and well respected fairly right wing paper, while the other is an awful tabloid with an extraordinarily high circulation and a ridiculous level of influence. It is said that it chooses the Government. I think that its grip on the nation is reducing. You need to have an IQ below 100 to bear it, in my opinion.

Does the media serve democracy? Or is it so bent by their own political agenda that they are not objective? I think the American media are better at being objective than the British media. And yet, American democracy is being killed by Trump and his cohorts.

Desperate Measures Trump

Donald Trump is taking desperate measures to ‘fire up the base’, from using Covid-19 Briefings as a political platform, illegally invading states with federal troops – basically declaring a civil war against the constitutional protections, and trying to convince people that he has ‘mental acuity’ by passing a dementia screening test with ‘flying colors’, to lying and self-congratulating in a sad way.

But how does he communicate to his ‘base’? I am lucky enough to own an email account that people with similar names sometimes use by mistake: hence a namesake in Oklahoma has subscribed one of my email addresses to Donald Trump’s election appeals for donations. I have so far received six emails in the past 24 – 48 hours. With increasingly sleazy appeals that my namesake could be the 2 millionth online donation if he just makes his donation soon. In the language employed by cult leaders, one email claims that the President would notice ‘your name’ with your donation, and even invites him to the donation hall of fame … ‘This is a one-time offer for YOU only. We can only hold your spot for the NEXT HOUR, so don’t wait.‘ and ‘President Trump really wants to see YOUR NAME in the Trump Donor Hall of Fame… He’ll be walking through the Hall of Fame again soon and we know he’ll look to see if you took advantage of this prestigious offer. Don’t let him down.’

Desperate stuff. Does his campaign seriously think anyone would believe that Trump will notice a name (amongst they say 2 million other names) and be so vain as to be sucked into the insanity of attacking scientists as the death rate from the virus exceeds 150,000 or supporting the undermining of the constitution and rule of law, effectively ending freedom and liberty for all, just so their name is plastered on a wall in a ‘Hall of Fame’? Evidentially, that is exactly what they think.

If a campaign treats its subscribers with extraordinary insults, they must realise that their followers have a very low opinion of themselves and no respects for liberty or freedom. They are expecting the voters supporting Trump to be un-American.