Monday, 31 August 2020

Victoria's belt and road initiative

There is a little noise concerning Victoria being part of China's belt and road initiave.
I really do not understand what all the noise is about.
Victoria is not a third world country who has limited access to capital markets. This means two things.
firstly any boost to infrastructure is unlikely to be developed by China. All China will do id finance the venture presumably at rates better than Victoria would get on capital markets.
Victoria can easily pay the loan back so there is no question of China getting ownership of the venture through the back door.

All in all it appears a win-win situation.

If the Federal government vetoes this it is simply because of Chinese financing. The thought of a Chinese 'propaganda' victory.

This is simply stupid. Really really stupid

Sunday, 30 August 2020

A few different things on the USA

Me thinks the main reason for the riots is the also f faith in the political process. Too many Yanks do not think politicians will change anything for the better thus black people will continue to be killed by policeman.
If you do not think the political process wil do anything then rioting in some way makes sense.
It follows if this is the case the 'Trump solution' is no solution

Andrew Gelman is teaming up with some people to provide a model and thus forecasts for the economist. Hence reading florida-comparing-economist-and-fivethirtyeight-forecasts  is very interesting as are some of the comments.
And this more-on-that-fivethirtyeight-prediction-that-biden-might-only-get-42-of-the-vote-in-florida

The FDA has been very naughty. Andrew Gelman has things to say

Thursday, 27 August 2020

Around the Traps 28/8/20

It is time again for Around the Traps.

Northern America
Andrew Gelman ( mainly stats
Retired but still retired Dave Giles ( econometrics)
Dianne Coyle ( quirky + book reviews)
Vox Wonk

Wednesday, 26 August 2020

Bill Shorten

If anyone had the right to being depressed and not knowing what to do now after the last election it was Bill Shorten.

He was the ALP leader when all the polls had a shocker.
It is important to note this not only relates to quantitative polling but also to qualitative polling of focus groups as it more commonly known.
He, like Scott Morrison, has no idea why he lost and Scott Morrison won. Al the pundits and commentators have simply ignored all the polling failures and carried on as usual.  The only problem they have nothing to back up their opinions.

So put yourself in Shorten's shoes. you are immensely deflated after the election. most people would have expected him to go through the motions.

He hasn't.
He has been possibly the most impressive politician following the election.
He was very good in prosecuting the case against robo debt.  Plenty of effort, plenty of passion, plenty of detail. He won .

On aged care he again has been very good in an area that is not his responsibility.

If only he had been like this in the last election then who knows!!

Tuesday, 25 August 2020

Google is arrogant

This is a google blog. I cannot remember why I chose it but choose it I did.

Google now wants  everybody who uses google blog to use a new system. It is horrible. Let me out source this to David Appell.  Hotwhopper agrees

Google there is an old saying. If it aint broke don't change it.

Change your mind now!

Monday, 24 August 2020

Paul Frijters and Gigi Foster are wrong

Both Paul and Gigi are to the forefront of adopting herd immunity as a policy not  lockdowns.
This can be seen here.
Why are they wrong?
Well to start with they are allowing for lives to end for that is what occurs in herd immunity. That is the philosophical answer but let us ]now examine the practical.

  • You cannot adopt herd immunity. People and organisations have legal obligations. hospitals cannot say to those with corona virus go away. Employers cannot allow those with the virus to be at work. they are but two examples. Then we have people's behaviour. Will they willingly accept getting the virus? I think not.
  • Thus the choice is between a formal lockdown or an informal lockdown which Sweden had. Let us be perfectly clear. Sweden did not adopt herd immunity. People wore masks and used social distancing. Indeed google statistics showed little difference between people in Germany and Sweden. Having said that we should not attempt to copy Sweden as I have shown.
  • Suicides were widely predicted to rise like a rocket as they did in our previous two recessions. They did not. This is possibly because of the large government payments.
  • When will the hospital sector be under pressure so crowding out occurs. In a lockdown when those having the virus are falling or when there is no lockdown and those with the virus are rising exponentially.  Yep you guessed right but Fritjers and Foster have it the other way round.
  • Does herd immunity work? You can get the virus more than once.
  • What about the benefits of the lockdown. I will take but one. The flu season is here but hardly anyone has it. Guess why
I should have added another thing.
Foster thinks you can have a policy where there is a large campaign so people understand certain people are vulnerable to the virus and so will be protected.

A few problems with this.
  1. This sounds similar to what Sweden did and that was an  unmitigated disaster.
  2. People in Victoria must have surely know this but the Aged care industry was too an  unmitigated disaster
  3. such a campaign has mixed messages which always dissipates the message
Herd Immunity means at least 70% of the population getting the virus.
That means assuming 1% die ( very conservative given the pressure on hospitals for a start) 175,000 people die of the virus and there is no guarantee the economy does not tank!

I agree thus with John Quiggin

Sunday, 23 August 2020

Tenet Film Review

I went to see Tenet the latest Christopher Nolan film yesterday with high hopes. His last film Dunkirk was magnificent. Kenneth Branagh was in it so it looked good.

It was unmitigated rubbish was start to finish. Even now I am not sure what the film was all about. Perhaps it was inverted.( in joke).

The only decent thing was Branagh's magnificent performance as a Russian billionaire cum gangster.

That was a  little over 2 hours I will never get back.

My sons loved it but could not explain it!

HERE is someone else who loved it.

Thursday, 20 August 2020

Around the Traps 21/8/20

It is time again for Around the Traps.

Northern America
Andrew Gelman ( mainly stats)
Retired but still genial Dave Giles ( econometrics)
Dianne Coyle ( quirky + book reviews)
vox wonk

Wednesday, 19 August 2020

State Governments

Deary me the State governments have stuffed things up.
Take NSW School sport is too dangerous to continue but those same pupils can play on the weekend in community sport as it is not.

We have a record grain harvest but it may not be harvested. Why you ask. The contractors cannot travel between states!!

What about hospitals near borders. Some are having trouble about getting staff. Those damned closed borders again. not to talk about people attempting to get in as patients. Add kids who go to school over the border and you have a mess.

How in the hell is Canberra a problem when they have no cases at all?

It is not hard to avoid such problems.

Tuesday, 18 August 2020

China is playing with fire

The 'wolf warrior' diplomacy is seen in full bloom in the specious claim of Australian wine producers dumping wine in China. how highly priced premium wine can be dumped more so when they are giving producers better profits than they gain from sales in Australia is simply luxurious.

This is now the second of such 'policy actions' by China.

China is playing with fire by using this policy.

Everybody wants a piece of the action in China. It is a huge market and the middle class there is growing all the time albeit more slowly tin these days of corona virus.

The main problem is trading in China relies on WHO you know not what you know. This is not uncommon in developing counties. Corruption is if not rife reasonably common.
however companies can put up with this.

What they cannot put up with is the 'rules' changing overnight because of political whims.

What is the point of  being in a market when everything can change overnight?  All that time and effort has gone to waste.

The wolf warriors either do not understand the key tenets of capitalism or believe their market is so large they can do what they want.

All this could lead companies to believe the china market is simply not worth it.

Monday, 17 August 2020

Austerity and the Nazis

Yet another article on the relationship between fiscal austerity and the rise of the nazis.

A few points if I may.

If austerity works then Bruning would go down as the German Roosevelt. He didn't. ( He wasn't a great supporter of democracy).
The Nazis was essentially an asterisk in electoral terms until the Great Depression. fiscal austerity made them a large mainstream party. A magnificent advertisement for classical economics.
At least even Hayek recanted and even advocated increased public works spending!

Hitler was such a madman that if Germany did not achieve dominance then it did not deserve to stay a country. This is why they shot people who wanted to surrender in 1945.

Sunday, 16 August 2020

Kamala Harris

I always thought Harris the only option Biden had. She ticks of all of the boxes.
Attractive. intelligent, eloquent, aggressive. She has all of the qualities you would want in a vice President.
She like Biden is ideologically malleable which is both a positive and a negative.

Clearly the Trump camp was caught wrong footed. Their reaction has been incoherent and contradictory with Trump giving support to another birther conspiracy. ( more evidence of a lack od intelligence,

The Lowy Institute podcast on Harris.

Andrew Gelman on the 'differences' between his and 538's model.

We should not forget the Australian's racist and sexist treatment of the choice. Daughter aping dad!

Thursday, 13 August 2020

Around the Traps 14/8/20

It is time for Around the Traps.

Northern America
Andrew Gelman ( mainly stats)
Retired but still genial Dave Giles (econometrics)
Dianne Coyle (quirky + book reviews)
Vox Wonk

Wednesday, 12 August 2020

Living with the virus in Sydney

Okay what is it like living in Sydney right now given the virus.

In terms of traffic the stats tell us the numbers are still not at the pre-virus levels although my eldest son who does a lot of driving in his job tells me he thinks traffic appears to be back at normal levels.  It certainly fells like that on the weekend!

I live at Eastwood and am about a 10 minute walk  (in summer) from the train station. In 'normal times my great problem is cars parking outside my house when the space can only accommodate a motor cycle. ( I have had station wagons and even trucks park there.)
At present there are very few cars parked in the street indicating people are not using the train to get to work.

The wearing of masks is mixed. Social distancing is only enforced when someone is doing the enforcing. When no-one is around people are within 1.5 feet  let alone metres!

Remembering as well we used private security  to enforce people in their hotel rooms when returning from overseas then we have been very lucky compared to Victoria.

Tuesday, 11 August 2020

hong kong is gone

Completely forget about Hong Kong being part of one country two systems.

The arrest of Jimmy Lai means  dissent will no longer be tolerated.
The mass exodus of well educated people and forein workers  who fear their arrest under the new laws will come.

It also shows well the large decline of the Chinese affairs establishment and the rise of the wolf warrior diplomacy.

It has failed utterly.  With Trump leading the USA well away from world leadership China had an unprecedented moment to this position despite not being the biggest economy in the world.
Instead they have aped Trump.

Might is right never works and merely leads to bad relationships. This has occurred.

The Chinese saying is correct we live in interesting times.

Monday, 10 August 2020

Bad spam

I have noticed I tend to get more spam when I renew our cars' insurance policies.

Then when I unsubscribe it continues.

 I then forward them all to my s spam folder until it eventually reduces!

Not happy!

Sunday, 9 August 2020

Bad Stats again

The inimitable Kaiser Fong puts the Moderna clinical trial to the sword.

Not good for operation warpspeed!

Will they cut statistical corners???

Thursday, 6 August 2020

Around the Traps 7/8/20

It is time again for Around the Traps.

Northern America
Andrew Gelman (mainly stats)
Retired but still genial Dave Giles ( econometrics)
Dianne Coyle ( quirky + book reviews)
Vox Wonk

Wednesday, 5 August 2020

The Axios interview with Trump

HERE it is.

Our own Johnathon Swan ( Swanny??) interviews Trump really well.
He is not deferential but respectful. When Trump insists on his defence he asks questions. although aggressive he is not behaving badly.

In the end the interview is a train wreck for Trump.
He shows in great detail his narcissism, his lack od intelligence, his lack of empathy, his lack of self awareness etc.

In the end Trump appears delusional in his attempt to spin every problem he has to overcome.

Yes Swanny is the son of Norman Swan and he certainly learnt the lessons from his first interview with the man.

I should have said A President can be briefed until the cows come home if he does not understand the brief it will show and it showed up in spades in this interview.

Tuesday, 4 August 2020

Some Shows I am watching

Too many serious issues so today I digress.

My wife and I  have been watching Anne with an E. It is a Canadian series about Anne of Green Gables.
It is on Netflix and I have watched the first two seasons.

It digresses for the books quit a bit sometimes and most of the time this addition does not work.
Season one is great but Season two is soso. Political correctness is part of the problem but not all of .
Anne of Green Gables is a feel good series and is something we need in these dire days.

I am hoping season three comes through.

The series uses the magnificent canadian landscape very well it has to be said.

I admit to being wrong. I have previously said NCIS  was over-rated  or words to that effect.
In my defence it was mostly about the more newish seasons.
It took two seasons for this season to really hit its mojo.

Once Season three starts the chemistry is there for all to see. It is very much assisted by Michael Weatherly ( acting like a modern day Doug McClure) and Cote De Pablo.

Although mostly serious the humour, mostly advance by Weatherly, is done well and minimal so not upsetting the overall plot. There are a number of recurring characters and they work in well as well. 

The only problem is Gibbs being married not once but four times. Simply not believable. you can live with the almost unlimited budgets that NCIS has but not the four marriages and engaged for a fifth time.
I should just add the amount of women he attracts is somewhat ridiculous and their ages vary from mid 30 to mid 60s. Why such women are attracted to man who had been married 4 times is something that NEVER comes up. The worst pairing was with Jamie Lee Curtis who looked quite old, whose character went 180 degrees and they had no chemistry whatsoever.
The director of the Agency is a problem until Rocky Carroll comes on board.

Watch this series from season 3 to 12. Once Tony and Zhiva are no longer agents together the series becomes somewhat boring.

A great shame.