Tuesday, 31 August 2021

The government's two faces on welfare

 If you apply for unemployment benefits then you have to make an estimate of how much income you will make in that financial year.  If you underestimate your income you will be faced to pay back monies to the government. Robodebt was easily the most incompetent attempt at this.

When Job Keeper was first thought of companies had to make an estimate of their income for the forthcoming financial year. They got the money and there was NO legal obligation if their estimate turned out to be wrong. Yes I agree this legislation was incompetently written and companies who got government money can keep the money although some clearly did not need it.

Thus the government goes after people who owe perhaps a thousand usually a lot less yet does diddly squat about companies which owe them millions.

This is a huge double standard and another reason why the government should go.

Monday, 30 August 2021

the unreliability of coal fired power stations

 I was reading as-the-world-battles-to-slash-carbon-emissions-australia-considers-paying-dirty-coal-stations-to-stay-open-longer which proved quite interesting when this link jumped out at me.

aep-elical-assessment-of-ageing-coal-fired-generation-reliability. Yep interesting reading or what.

This confirms they are very vulnerable when it gets quite hot and only minimal capital expenditure is involved when the plants are in their last 7-8m years.  Both of these events exacerbates their unreliability.

On a related here is aemos-improved-reliability-forecast-is-damming-indictment-of-taylors-coalkeeper-push

Sunday, 29 August 2021

Was Biden right to leave Afghanistan

 Before I start and if you have the time then listen to THIS which is late night live special on the Taliban.. ( the first 15 minutes is talking to a afghani journalist who has fled the country and then we have three people talking about the taliban now. did you know NGOs have led education programs for girls under the taliban!

Now read THIS.  Only small on ISIS-K.

Now to the topic. I am baffled why no-one has brought up why Afghanistan which had a legal basis for invasion and not Iraq which did not. Are the US scared of leaving Iraq because it's relationship with Iran. no US forces would not mean a vassal state but it would mean a much closer relationship. A sanctions busting relationship?? 

Thus I am of the opinion the US should get out of Iraq before Afghanistan.

In terms of Afghanistan the original basis was fine. Al Qaeda which produced 9/11 ( 11/9 actually) had its bases and organisation there. Indeed it should have been utterly destroyed except for incompetence.

When you invade a country then you have a responsibility to build a nation. This is a secular response. A Christian response goes even further. No President took this responsibility seriously. Thus we can say no President ever gave a stuff about ordinary Afghanis. They made no attempt to build institutions which are necessary for democracy and capitalism to flourish.

The next problem is if you say you are leaving then leave cover for the Afghan army which relied on air superiority. It is no surprise if you provide no air cover and the soldiers are not getting paid they do not want to fight.

The USA should have build up Afghanistan so the government would never be toppled. Biden and the three Presidents before him all  bear responsibility for this. The policy has always been incoherent.

I should have added I hope the taliban is not treated like Hamas. Hamas easily won an election but Israel refused to recognise them. Israel influenced other governments to do the same thus the 'real politik' faction lost all credibility and Hamas simply turned into the organisation they are today (and what Israel wanted.)

If you listen to the audio then you will know the Taliban has a similar 'real politik' faction. Add to this they crave international recognition then the best option is to help them at present. They are not good guys but they need certain skills, money etc . Help them and see what occurs. After all if the taliban do not change then you  can impose sanctions etc

Thursday, 26 August 2021

Around the Traps 27/8/21

 It is time again for Around the Traps.


Northern America






Andrew Gelman ( mainly stats)


Dianne Coyle ( quirky + book reviews)

Vox Wonk

Wednesday, 25 August 2021

Tuesday, 24 August 2021

Learning from Israel

 Raina McIntyre has a great article which looks at whether we should live with covid by essentially looking at Israel.

Well worth a read

THIS is related.

Monday, 23 August 2021

We should be generous with Afghanis

 Australia should be very generous with people fleeing Afghanistan. After all we are partly to blame for what is going on.

However the Defence Minister Peter Dutton has stated we should be very careful because son=[me could be terrorists. Should he be taken seriously? In a word no.

The Taliban are on the Stalinist side of Islam not the Trotskyist side i.e they are not internationalists. Neither did they do such things back when they were in power although they most certainly allowed other organisations to train would be terrorists. Given how eager they are for international recognition it is hard to envisage they would do either at present. Allow them offices etc but not training camps which are easy to detect.  Lastly the Taliban have been busily attempting top take over Afghanistan. They do not have the time nor the resources or for that matter the expertise to train terrorists. Until Afghanistan control is consolidated the opportunity cost to list one reason is too great.

Marl Willacy has written on why some interpreters changed sides and it wasn't to become terrrorists.

However I may be wrong what occurs if one or more would be terrorists slip in under the radar. Firstly they would be badly trained if at all. The next thing to know is badly educated would be terrorists are easy to detect by the security agencies. Lastly Afganis already here would recognise such people and inform on them.

Sunday, 22 August 2021

Should we continue with the Lockdown?

 There are mutterings about the current lockdown in NSW and we should simply do away with it.

Our freedoms have been curtailed and this will continue into the future. This is absurd. Our freedoms are curtailed in times of war such as WW1 and WW2 but we went back to 'normal' conditions  after it was over. It is no different during a pandemic where the problem is humans spreading the virus to other humans fast because it rises at an exponential rate. 

Covid is deadly in three ways to human beings.

  1. It kills 1 in 100 people directly
  2. It affects between 1in 3 and 1 in 8 people for long covid
  3. It kills 1 in 12 people indirectly as it exacerbates existing conditions usually either lung or heart.
To all this we must add the problems of hospitals An infectious disease such as covid would simply overwhelm the health system in two ways if nothing was done. 
  1. Covid patients would crowd out all other patients simply on volume
  2. As Jane Halton has stated the other problem is health workers getting covid and being unable to work. They cannot be replaced as they are highly skilled.
  3. Those working would be overworked to the point of exhaustion.
All this would mean greater deaths.

I was going to quote John Cochrane on his change on masks , Hassan Vally or Catherine Bennett HERE and HERE however I heard Marylouise Mclaws yesterday on the ABC News channel say WHO  now believes the delta variant RO is 5 8. This means the delta variant has gone to a new level. It spreads like wildfire. 
The important differences from the original covid is the death rate is more like 0.3% not 1%. We should add however this is based on UK experience where a lot more people have the vaccine than here. However the delta variant means more hospitalisations thus the pressure would be much greater.

We have seen the delta variant 'burn out' in places such as India so there is that hope.

All in all I think we can see if the NSW government simply abolished the lockdown then  the hospital system would 'blow up'. If only that occurred it would have a negative effect on confidence all round.
In other words we would be worse off in both economic and health terms.
We can also say lockdowns cannot eliminate covid as they have in the past if they are not implemented very quickly. 


Westmead hospital is now full up with covid patients and is now commandeered Westmead private for more beds. Remember this is a lockdown!!

Thursday, 19 August 2021

Around the Traps 20/8/21

 It is time for Around the Traps again.


Northern America






Andrew Gelman ( mainly stats)


Dianne Coyle ( quirky + book reviews)

Vox Wonk

Wednesday, 18 August 2021

Why did the Intelligence and Military failures occur

 When we look at Afghanistan two things stand out like a shag on a rock.

Firstly why the intelligence failures. how was the Taliban underestimated and the Afghani army overestimated. There were two red flags. The first was the attrition rate of the army. No sooner had the US and allies trained up the army when most resigned then they had to train a new lot of recruits. A high turnover rate tells you something is wrong and you should not need an MBA to understand that.

Secondly and related those in the Army had not been paid for times up to 9 months. Would you be willing to be killed for nothing?

Yet no-one anywhere thought to put the dots together.

Hence all countries were very slow in helping those who helped them escape Afghanistan.

The next is the military failures. the US had complete control of the air yet did very little to assist the local army. Why? Such actions would have slowed the Taliban advance considerably.

Trump announced getting out of Afghanistan last February yet everyone was caught flat footed.


Tuesday, 17 August 2021

Too Little Too Late

 The Government led by Scott Morrison is gaining a reputation for always  being too little too late.

Think bushfires, think vaccinations as a tiny subset of that think aged care people and staff and the Aboriginal population and now think Afghanistan.

all those brave Afghanis that assisted us in our operations or even aid projects should have been out of that country by now. Why the government closed our embassy before this occurred no-one understands. Then we have the problem of Afghanis in Australia who are refugees. Does anyone really think it will be safe to send any of them back.

It all smacks of incompetence. I am struggling to think on one competent minster at present.

In terms of politics we know the Government is on the nose because of the poorly run vaccination roll out. We simply do not know whether this is short term or long term as yet.

If the ALP can run with the above sentiments and thus the government is seen by most as doing too little too late then they will be home. It is a big ask however.

Monday, 16 August 2021


 Okay here are some diverse views on what has occurred.

A few points from me.

If you do not pay soldiers for a long time then no-one should be gasping for answers why they did not fight.
If Afghanistan only existed as it was because of Western forces then that was unsustainable 
How do you protect the many Afghanis who do not want the Taliban particularly women who wish to be educated and want top work.
What happen if terrorist organisation start to use Afghanistan as a base again?

Sunday, 15 August 2021

NSW goes from bad to worse

 It becomes increasingly clear on each day of our 'week ' long lockdown Our state government is incompetent to combat the delta variant.

I have spoken previously of the lockdowns. HERE and HERE.

I was prescient.  Chant making lubricous excuses why Gladys was not a close contact confirmed to me she accedes to authority way too easily. We started off with a claytons lockdown and have had additions to that lockdown almost every day. If we are all in in it together how cocme all restrictions do not apply to everyone.

Is it any wonder we have a compliance problem when from its origins people strut around beaches like nothing has happened.

Now we have the whole State in lockdown which we were told by twitter no less. If a significant number of aboriginals die there will be hell to pay.

How lucky is Chris Minns. He gets to be Opposition leader because the ALP do not understand basic statistics or politics and it appears everything is falling into his lap.

Our Gladys looks well out of her depth and I am thinking at this stage the cricket season is looking bleak. People do not mind lockdown provided the numbers falls after a lag. They are not!

Thursday, 12 August 2021

Around the Traps 13/8/21

It is time again for Around the Traps


Northern America






Andrew Gelman (mainly stats)


  • nuttin

Dianne Coyle (quirky + book reviews)

Vox Wonk

Wednesday, 11 August 2021

The best policies to fight Covid

 Curtesy of Vox wonk as I call it two French economists have an article best-policies-fight-pandemics-five-lessons-literature-so-far.

Really really interesting. 

Wingnuts will dismiss this straight away eh Paul

Tuesday, 10 August 2021

Polling roundup

 Kevin Bonham has it out now.

I just want to make two points.

1) This government is finished IF their mistakes with the vaccine etc are something they do not forget. If it is only transitory they will become favourites again. We will only know this next year.

2) The pressure will be on Morrison in the next election because most will expect him to win. there wil be little pressure on Albo. Morrison reacts badly to pressure and when questions are continually peppered at him.

Given the massive polling failures of the last election I expect most people VSP especially to discount anything in the polls.

Sunday, 8 August 2021

what is wrong with Sydney

 Here in Sydney our covid problem is getting worse not better and we ask ourselves why.

Before I launch into this first an answer out of our problems.

Now what is the difference between original covid and the delta variant? Well before you had to be around 15 minutes with someone carrying it to get it but you get the delta with only a fleeting greeting. It is much more virulent.

The Delta kills less 0.3% compared to 1% and in some countries has mysteriously almost gone after a period of time  ( see HERE for example) which the original covid never did. The delta variant has a greater impact on hospitals. That is  more people have to go to Hospital to recover.

It appears there are similar impacts both on long covid and people dying from other caused exacerbated by covid.

Now we ask ourselves why are the cases are not going down  pretty quickly? The answer is non-compliance ( by a small number of people.

)This can only be because of three reasons

  1. some people are ignorant of what they have to do on the lockdown.
  2. some people simply do not care
  3. some people need the money so much they will continue to work despite having covid even after having a test.
  4. some people have grandparents who need help to survive whilst still staying at home
My guess is number three is the major problem followed by four. This occurred in Melbourne and it is noticeable the people come from suburbs that are low income suburbs in Sydney as well..

Thursday, 5 August 2021

Around the Traps 6/8/21

It is time again for Around the Traps


Northern America






Andrew Gelman ( mainly Stats)


Dianne Coyle ( quirky + book reviews)

Vox Wonk