the fake news and Rudy Giuliani… from Bill Kerr blog

Bill Kerr has asked me to share this from his blog ‘Viral Metamorphosis’…

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Did you think that the Trump legal team presenting their opening statement of their preliminary findings and goals about the Presidential election on November 3rd would be reported objectively?

What we received from the main stream media was a shit storm of abuse directed mainly at Rudy Giuliani. Here are some of the headlines:

The Washington Post: Rudy Giuliani’s post-election meltdown starts to become literal

CNN: Fact-checking Giuliani and the Trump legal team’s wild, fact-free press conference

Politico: Giuliani and fellow Trump lawyers crank out conspiracies as legal challenges implode

Financial Times: ‘Crazy’ allegations by Trump legal team prompt Republican rebukes

The Western Star: Trump lawyers’ wild, sweaty press conference

A few of the reports drew attention to Giuliani’s hair dye running down his face. Imagine the mindset of reporters who focus on that when evidence of massive election fraud is being outlined.

Back home one of the ABC News 24 “informative” pop ups reads “Donald Trump maintains false claim he wins the election”.

In my opinion the main problem is not Donald Trump. The attempts by the main stream media to manipulate our thinking is a much bigger problem. Rudy Giuliani is far, far more credible in the way he presents information than they are.

I invite you to watch the 90 minute presentation by the Trump legal team and make up your own mind: Rudy Giuliani and Trump Campaign Officials Hold News Conference at the RNC

How will this play out over the next few weeks? The most credible source I’ve found so far is Scott Adams, the Dilbert guy, who runs a daily entertaining / analytical podcast mainly (but not only) about this issue: here

covid-19 Update mid-November 000

I am still reading and not yet able to write a persuasive article.

But here’s my tentative view on current developments.

Victoria having zero “mystery cases” over fourteen days is a significant milestones achieved earlier than hoped for in the original “Roadmap”. Far more significant than the other two zeros – daily average cases and deaths. But 000 is still an “emergency”, although no longer a “disaster”.

The problem is that while things remain “as good as it gets” and even after the numbers start to rise, more and more people will act as though the emergency is over and ignore the monotonous repetion of official advice that it isn’t.

I did not expect zero “mysteries” over 14 days would be reached at all, because partially lifting restrictions in October would slow down the reduction in transmission prolonging the lockdown until it was abandoned without having actually eliminated community transmission.

I still think that happened – the restrictions were lifted too early so that the risks were not minimized. If lockdown had been maintained until 28 days with no “mystery cases” we could be significantly more certain of having eliminated community transmission.

But it is now plausible that 28 days could be achieved despite opening up. Even if 28 days was achieved there would still be some risk but it would be reasonable to describe as “minimal” in a context where the risk of outbreaks seeded from elsewhere would be much more important.

I still don’t expect that we will reach 28 days. But they have certainly achieved what they setout to do with an “aggressive suppression” strategy far closer to New Zealand’s elimination than the national framework.

The risk is now minimal in the sense that outbreaks that end up in a third wave that needs another lockdown are more likely to start in other Australian States than from residual local transmission in Victoria.

That may well be “as good as it gets”.

Certainly it is a good time to enjoy the opportunities available outdoors. (I have even had my annual haircut and beard trim!).

But precisely because people will indeed do so and opening up will accelerate, it is reasonable to expect that any residual transmission chains will become much harder to suppress when they eventually do become visible. It won’t get better over time.

While it is possible there may currently be none at all, I think it is far more likely that the remaining transmission chains would simply be harder to detect.

For example asymptomatic cases among school children could continue for quite a few generations before eventually some older person such as a parent or teacher becomes ill enough to get tested. If it happens to be a household in precarious employment, living in a community with a high proportion of other such households, it could be a few more generations before anyone gets sick enough to turn up at a hospital where they would certainly be tested. Because nobody has turned up at a hospital or other testing in 14 days we can be reasonably confident the numbers out there are quite small. With small numbers the stochastic character can either result in transmission dying out completely or exploding to higher numbers. The more the small numbers are in contact with others because restrictions have been lifted the higher the chances of transmission exploding.

Contact tracing works very well during lockdown because people have few contacts and know who or where they are.

After opening up it becomes a repeated game of “whack a mole” as in the “gold standard” of NSW. Note also today’s “mystery” in South Australia.

With greatly upgraded contact tracing and testing efforts, as well as slowly decaying compliance with physical distancing, registration etc, it will be quite feasible to deal with occasional, sporadic outbreak with a minimal risk of it spreading.

Then it is simply a matter of how many weeks you repeat taking that “minimal risk” before you end up needing to go into “surge” mode after more than 4 new confirmed cases (not in quarantine) per day per million population. Then how many times you repeat that risk of a surge before ending up exceeding surge capacity at 10 times that rate of new cases (40 per day per million) and having to go back into lockdown. See targets in:

https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/national-contact-tracing-review

I don’t think there is much risk of Australia ending up in the same situation as Europe or North America, let alone the rest of the world. When an Australian surge gets out of control at 40 cases per day per million, there should still be plenty of time before hospitals become overloaded for another lockdown to prevent that. (Victoria came nowhere near hospital overload despite delay in locking down resulting in 800 deaths from a peak of 750 cases per day).

How likely such a third wave is depends on how long before a vaccine has sufficient impact on transmission to eliminate the risk. (It also depends on many other factors, many hard to model).

Recent announcements suggest Australia could achieve herd immunity from vaccines by the end of next year.

It will certainly take a lot longer than that before the whole world has achieved eradication. I will discuss that and other issues such as testing etc in later articles.

I am certainly not in a position to estimate the probabilities of a third wave and lockdown in Australia better than the public health advisors who have been doing so.

But from what I have seen published about the models, I seriously doubt that they are in a good position to estimate either. Certainly their commitment to “stay open” hinders accurate estimation of when it becomes necessary to lockdown again.

That will also have to be for a later article.

Meanwhile, it is worth remembering that we are much less than half way through if it ends by the end of next year.

Some reduction in risk of transmission would result from the first tranche of vaccines targeted at Health and Aged Care workforces and others likely to be exposed and to expose others. But don’t assume a production line for vaccine and vaccine imports will produce a steady output of vaccine imports until herd immunity is achieved by the end of next year.

In fact the pilot plants for phase 3 testing have already continued production and some supplies may be available (elsewhere) as soon as approval is rushed through, perhaps even this month. The first mass production plants will also come onstream shortly after. But the requirement is for literally billions of doses.

I would assume there would be a classic “acceleration” as plants are first built to produce machines (bioreactors etc) and raw materials and train high tech workforces for new plants. Risks of a third wave might be significantly reduced when only half the population has immunity.

But don’t assume that occurs half way through next year. If the exponential growth doubles output each month then the half way point could be November next year with 100% following a month later.

Priority in deliveries should go to the poor countries that will be in a desperate situation by then. Australia with relatively few cases has major reponsibilities to assist others far worse off in our region, such as Papua New Guinea and Indonesia.

More likely the queue will be allocated supplies according to capacity to pay rather than need. Certainly individuals who can pay premium prices will be vaccinated before those given free supplies as a public health measure. There will be free distribution as a public health measure within capitalism, but there won’t be fully prioritized distribution according to need.

But the plants located in Europe and North America will have plenty of demand from local States that have far greater need than Australia and also have the capacity to pay for what they need.

covid-19 – Notes on Trump 52 – “platitudes matter”

After predicting a landslide against Trump and getting a 10% increase in his vote as well as a reduction in the Demcrat majority in the House, the mainstream media has now officially given up on Trump voters.

Trump disputing the election and challenging it in the Courts (as announced in advance and expected) is being described as a fundamental assault on democracy.

In fact it is so outrageous for a candidate to dispute the results of an election and go to Court that his “baseless” claims must not even be reported.

This stuff should not be surprising from the people that reacted to Trump’s original election by denouncing him as a Kremlin agent and demanding that the intelligence agencies summarily remove him in a coup d’etat.

That went on for literally years, but the same clowns seem to imagine soothing platitudes about “healing” are going to prevent large numbers of people who voted against the swamp remaining hostile to it.

Here’s an explanation of the grave responsibility the media has taken on itself to protect the American people from Trump’s “baseless claims”.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-11-07/conversation-to-stay-or-cut-away-as-trump-makes-baseless-claims/12859062

Here’s a good rendition of the way the adoring media has portrayed the new healer:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-11-09/joe-biden-us-election-donald-trump-reality-check-stan-grant/12862038

[…]

And with that, Donald Trump suddenly seemed like yesterday’s news.

The appearance of Joe Biden as president-elect flanked by his vice-president Kamala Harris has immediately swept away the Trump years.

Not that Trump disappears or that his followers no longer matter — they do as much as ever — but the spell has been broken.

Donald Trump alone with his petulance and lies now looks small, like the Wizard of Oz — just a little man behind a big microphone.

Biden, dismissed by many — the man who had failed in two previous presidential campaigns — now looked and sounded presidential.

In Kamala Harris — the first female vice-president, African-American and the daughter of an Indian immigrant — Biden announces the next generation of the Democratic Party.

Moments matter and this was a moment: an historic moment.

Words matter, and these were words of healing and unity.

They are just platitudes but they are what a battered country needs to hear right now.

Stan Grant goes on to say that the platitudes the media thinks “a battered country needs to hear right now” are unlikely to work.

Another surprisingly perceptive article from the same ABC journalist is here:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-11-08/us-presidential-election-trump-biden-divided-democracy-in-action/12855936

Both are well worth reading in full.

So is the full text of the platitudes from Biden and Harris.

The 76 million who voted Democrat are congratulated because:

“You chose hope and unity, decency, science and, yes, truth”.

As for the 70 million hopeless, disruptive, indecent, irrational liars who did not make that choice, it seems unlikely that they will be as impressed by the healing platitudes about unity.

We are again at a turning point that makes it impossible to predict how things will develop.

I still see no signs of a left emerging. But there is an opening for a movement that really does unite people against the populist demagogues on both sides.

I don’t claim to have much understanding of how things are developing in Australia, let alone America.

I won’t try to respond in detail to the points made here.

https://c21stleft.com/2020/10/31/understanding-america/

I don’t believe either the Universities or media were ever oriented towards telling the truth, nor that they have recently been taken over by some alien force antithetical to their previous orientation.

I think corporate liberals are just continuing to be corporate liberals.

Its just that this is becoming increasingly ridiculous.

A movement that expressed the same disgust that corporate liberals have for celebrity con artists like Trump and that Trumpists have for the corporate liberals should be able to form a very broad united front.

What’s still missing though is an actual program as to how things should be changed.

There are pressing issues in the USA that will come to a head quickly.

Biden has announced a task force to prepare an action plan to deal with both covid-19 and its economic consequences immediately on taking office on 20 January.

The epidemic will be much worse by 20 January. It would make sense to start implementing that plan immediately in Democrat States willing to accept his leadership and declare martial law and a national lockdown on taking office. But I would be surprised if that happened. I haven’t seen any sign of Biden proposing a lockdown at all.

Instead I expect that Trump will not be a “lame duck” President until January 20, but more like a “wounded bull”.

Majority control of the Senate will be determined by the outcome of two runoff Senate elections in Georgia, on January 5. The next day a joint session of both Houses presided over by Vice-President Pence meets to count and finalize the Electoral College results. That is the day the election results get finalized, not when the media “calls” them. If any disputes have not been settled by December 8 they may end up fought over then, during the height of an epidemic wave.

If all goes unexpectedly smoothly we will either be back to the usual Washington gridlock in which President Biden can blame the Senate for his inability to do anything just as Obama did for 8 years with Biden as his Vice-President. Or else Democrats do get both Houses and the Republicans and pseudo-left Democrats can blame Biden for his inability to do anything despite having control of both Houses and the Executive.

I would expect either of those to be an optimum situation for Trump, who will do far better posturing against the swamp from opposition than as President. I expect that Trumpists will still dominate the Republican primaries and could be swept back to a majority in the mid-terms if the platitudes continue as I expect they will.

It is all far too complex and murky to predict as opposed to just having vague “expectations”.

But for the record, I do predict that the Supreme Court will declare the Pennsylvania ballots that arrived after election day invalid. I haven’t seen any evidence either supporting or rebutting media claims that this won’t effect the result. If the numbers are as small as they say and if they were kept separate from the other ballots as ordered and as claimed, the court would not have an excuse to invalidate enough Democrat votes to affect the result.

But I would not assume the media claims are correct about that any more than I would be surprised at the rather notorious party machines in Democrat run cities encouraging voters dead or alive to vote often as well as early.

It is after all the plain duty of every red blooded American to do whatever it takes to prevent the monstrous Trump from continuing to pollute the White House. So why on earth would Democrat officials faced with the danger of a racist, fascist Kremlin stooge again disrupting national unity NOT rig the election, if they could?

The judgment I expect will be based on the Supreme Court reaffirming the well established principle that State legislatures have plenary power over Federal elections.

I do not expect that the Republican legislatures and Governors in Arizona and Georgia might take the opportunity to exercise that plenary power and decide to choose the State’s electors themselves and so reverse the results.

But the monotonous bleating from the media about how unpatriotic and undemocratic it is to dispute the media’s announcement of who won, suggests they are very worried indeed about something.

They are usually wrong but one cannot assume that they are always wrong.

Notes on Trump 51

Looks like the scenarios I mentioned in Notes 48-50 are becoming more relevant.

As I mentioned in Notes 50 the race tightened in the last week though not enough to be likely to change the expected outcome.

There never was any good reason to expect a big enough landslide for Biden for Trump’s defeat to be obvious on the night.

As expected, Trump has taken the opportunity to declare that he really won, that the election is being “stolen” and can only be saved by the Supreme Court.

But it was rather subdued for a claim of victory and Pence’s follow up was even less triumphalist. At present it does look like Republicans have retained a majority of State delegations in the House of Representatives. So it would still be theoretically possible for Pence and the Supreme Court to invalidate Democrat votes in Pennsylvania and throw the election to the House voting by States:

https://www.270towin.com/2020-house-election/state-by-state/consensus-2020-house-forecast

But that forecast of State delegations is itself uncertain. Final results for President and perhaps for Senate and House are unlikely to be known for at least a few days. Meanwhile Trump can only hope for riots against him to unite his very large minority. His injured rather than triumphalist tone is appropriate for maximizing support.

Trump does not have much hope of remaining President but it looks to me that his original 2016 intention of emerging as the leader of a large far right mainstream party posturing against the US “elite” will be spectacularly successful.