The Melbourne Syndrome

The Covid pandemic has brought on our modern version of The Stockholm Syndrome: “feelings of trust or affection felt in many cases of kidnapping or hostage-taking by a victim towards a captor.” We now have the Melbourne Syndrome, which I come across versions of every day:

Feelings of trust or affection felt during a lockdown by its victims towards their most authoritarian political leaders.

Since Melbourne has now implemented the hardest lockdown at the hands of the dumbest and most incompetent political leader in the world, I believe that Melbourne should have the honour of bearing the name of this widely observed form of insanity.

And just for contrast, let me note what is simultaneously going on in Stockholm: Destroying Western Media’s “Swedish Public Health Disaster” Narrative In Two Simple Charts

In the top chart, when we compare the mortality rates of covid19 in Sweden v. the US, including all data until the end of July, the US’s mortality rate of covid 19 in the age group of less than 39 years of age was 0.58%, more than 1,230 times greater than the 0.00047% mortality rate of Sweden. Furthermore, in the age demographics of 40-59 and 59-69, the death rate in the US from covid19 versus Sweden was respectively 215 times and 211 times greater than Sweden.

In the bottom chart, I compared Sweden’s mortality rate for different age demographics compared to the US mortality rate for the common flu. For the comprehensive age group of all ages less than 60 years of age, the Swedish mortality rate of covid19 is less than 1/3rd of the American mortality rate for the common flu. Clearly, as can be easily observed in the bottom chart, the overall covid19 mortality rate forSweden’s population was greatly skewed by nearly all covid19 deaths occurring in the above 70 year old demographic, with the majority of Sweden’s covid19 deaths occurring in those older than 80 and 90 years of age!

Go to the link and have a closer look. [THE LINK HAS BEEN FIXED.]

Only when it’s all over and years from now will we reach some kind of consensus on what ought to have been the right approach. As for the worst approach, we here in Melbourne have been able to observe it for ourselves. But the thanks Daniel Andrews and the rest of them are getting for this disgusting botch needs to be memorialised even as so many amongst us bless him for his efforts.

Was it worth it? How many lives did we save?

Letters from friends.

Of the first one, I can see how that might be true if things are looked at from within the United States. Looking at things from within Victoria, it doesn’t stand up, mostly because I think Daniel Andrews is too stupid to get to that conclusion. And I mean really dumb, not just that he is a fool. There are plenty of fools everywhere. The universities are filled with people who are high-IQ morons. They can reason and read. They can research and write. They can do a crossword and a sudoku. That is the kind of conclusion one of them might reach. But not DA. He is a union thug who just likes to push people around. He never discusses. He never debates. He never explains. And I think it’s because he works on some low-grade principle of capitalists-bad, workers-good. Lockdowns simply reflect his nature and intellect. Force is something he understands.

I will, however, say now that he has postponed the results of his Inquiry to November 6, I am beginning to see some reason to believe what you see below may be true, since the results of the Inquiry will be released following the end of the election in the United States. After that, according to this note, what happens to the Corona Virus will no longer matter. Almost certainly just a coincidence.

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Speaking for myself, from very early on I have entirely thought of the Covid-19 “pandemic” as a hoax that has been seized upon by the left in the United States as a means to engineer the Democrats to a win in the election in November. The origins were in China and occurred either by chance or design, but once it had occurred, the dangers were seized on and amplified by the left to create the panic we now see. Everything else the left has tried had come up a bust, the American economy has performed better than possibly at any time in anyone’s memory, the Deep State and its media cohort have been exposed, and at long last there has been some kind of border protection put in place. Trump was in an unloseable position whereas now it is no better than 50-50.

As for conspiracy theories, that is all there are in politics. Every political strategy requires all kinds of people to do their part with no scripting or instructions required. Every so often there are lone players, such as Lee Harvey Oswald. The rest of the time, however, there is a general theme that is played out where everyone on both sides understand the agenda, with those promoting the agenda all making up their own means of contributing towards its fulfilment, and those on the other side doing what they can to push back. So the theme on the left was – We must do everything we can to limit the spread of death and destruction from this deadly virus. For Trump, there was no serious choice but to take this hysteria seriously, and whatever he may have personally believed, to do all he could to limit the spread of the virus. So he stopped the borders, supported lockdowns and put Dr Fauci out in front to call the shots. The rest of the world, either because they too had no choice but to play along, which in all cases required them to do something, or because they were on the left and understood the game in play, amplified the horrors by working out their own response to highlight how bad things were and how Donald Trump had screwed up the response. Meanwhile in Democrat states, everything was done to make the pandemic appear as dangerous as possible. The actions taken in New York by Andrew Cuomo were not errors of judgement but undertaken to raise as much concern as possible.

In Australia, for whatever reason, nothing happened. No major pandemic, no deaths beyond the normal seasonal total for the flu, and no real contribution to add to the hysteria other than to suggest there was no need for it.

Which brings me to Daniel Andrews who has not for nothing been called the Andrew Cuomo of Australia. It’s not as if he blundered. Everything he has done has been deliberately aimed at creating as much media-driven alarm as possible in the midst of absolutely nothing statistically of significance. But the media are also playing along to the fullest extent they can as one would expect so you would think we were back to the Spanish flu once again.

I cannot therefore promise you that you will survive the Covid panic without some kind of damage to yourselves or families, but that is far far more likely than that you or anyone you know should come to any serious harm. The harm you should worry about, and this is much more serious than anything else that might happen, is that Joe Biden should become President. That you have had the possibility you might die within the next twelve months raised by 0.005% is hardly worthy of a moment’s thought.

And this is the second letter. This is about the cost and benefits of the efforts made to contain the CV-19. Was it worth it? he asks. How will we even be able to tell and by what date can we know? Lives interrupted everywhere.

Most of the decline in output from COVID is from shutting down the economy, not from the disease itself. What would have been the economic impact of C0VID if governments had not shut down our economies? Well, we have to make some simplifying assumptions – lets try …

  • With no government shutdowns, half the population gets covid over a period of about a year, half of those are asymptomatic. I’ve seen the asymptomatic ratio ranging from 40% to 80%.
  • Of the symptomatic quarter of the population, assume mortality is 5% (Worldometer.info estimates New York State mortality rate from verified and estimated infection is only about 1.4%. It was higher in Europe).
  • Of those deaths, most occur in the elderly cohorts. So labour force mortality (18-65 years) is less, lets say 2.5% (18-65 years). (New York State estimate would make labour force mortality under 2%). Impact on labour input is 50% infection rate x 2.5%mortality = 1.3%.
  • The symptomatic but recovered portion of the labour force, is off work for a month on average, worth 1/12 x 50% infection rate x 50% symptomatic ratio = 2.1%  of labour input.
  • So total reduction in labour input is only about 2.1 +1.3 = 3.4% for a year (assuming full employment).
  • There would be some substitution of capital for labour – about 0.5 elasticity in the long run (Knoblach et al, Oxford 2019) and less but still positive in the short run. Also some overtime and informal work accommodation.
  • On a micro/sectorial level, high mortality among the elderly would generate actuarial gains for defined benefit pension funds and actuarial losses for life insurance companies. For health plans there would be short-term losses and long term gains. Hard to say what the overall impact would be. There would be stress (even higher output) on health systems.
  • Another imponderable would be the impact on risk premia and liquidity in financial markets if there was a pandemic panic.

Bottom line: its hard to see an impact on global GDP of more than about -3% from the disease itself (-3.4% labour input with some capital and technology offsets). The forecast decline in world GDP of –5.2% this year (World Bank) means a total gap of about 8.5% (+3.3% potential growth less WB’s –5.2% forecast 2020). The global GDP decline is mostly the result of shutting down much of the global economy. Was it worth it? How many lives did we save?

Was Andrew Bolt got at?

At the same time as I was writing this yesterday:

Andrews is the most vile premier this state has ever had. We have had incompetence before, also immense waste and hideous policy formation. But if he is really forbidding the use of HCQ on people who will otherwise die, this man is actually evil.

Andrew Bolt was publishing this:

This won’t please many people. But we should thank our political leaders — even Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews — for how they’re fighting like hell to stop this virus.

I asked my friend who had written to me about the HCQ ban in Victoria why they cared so much and he replied:

Lefties acting in sympathy with their US counterparts. If the drug is seen to be working here it would undermine the narrative in the US.

Which now leads to this just now: Tougher NZ-style lockdown looms for Victoria.

After 723 new cases and 13 deaths — including 10 in crisis-hit nursing homes — on the worst day of the pandemic, the national medical expert panel is understood to have considered the need for sweeping new restrictions to further ­reduce movement.

Are we really going to shut down the whole state because old people are dying in our mismanaged age-care homes?

Cultural inappropriation

Maine Coon - Cat Lovers Show Melbourne

Must say, when I arrived here from Canada back in 1975 I was quite astonished then to find Coon Cheese on sale. A North American impossibility both then and now but an absolutely nothing-at-all here in Australia. It is just the name of a cheese, named after the man who invented the blend, and a cheese that I happen to like very much. Different words in different cultures. You just get used to boots and bonnets. It’s the Australian way, which means it is our way. I could add that the main clothing brand in Canada is Roots, which definitely would not work out in Australia.

Let me go even further. When our latest pussycat joined our household – eight years ago – turned out she is a “Maine Coon” which is a breed of cat whose name no one seems to bat an eye at, neither here nor in North America. She is, after all, a Maine coon. Let me continue with three letters to the editor at The Oz the other day.

I fail to understand why Dr Stephen Hagan would spend so much time and effort on an issue such as Coon cheese (“Era ends as Coon cheese name cut”, 25-26/7). As a person who has worked in outback NSW and Queensland as well as living and working out of Port Augusta in South Australia and travelling to site work in the Northern Territory and Western Australia, I have seen the plight of remote Aborigines first hand. There will be no Aborigines in Port Augusta doing high-fives or cartwheels over the renaming of Coon cheese.

Hagan spent the first seven years of his life in a camp outside Cunnamulla in southwest Queensland before moving to a new house in town. Being a high achiever, he attended boarding school in Brisbane and, among other things, went on to become one of Australia’s first indigenous diplomats. He then became a lecturer at the University of Southern Queensland — good on him, a great career. It would seem, though, that Hagan’s circle of fellow activists and like-minded colleagues are not in sync with the real needs of Aboriginal people in the areas I have mentioned.

Shane Porter, Elanora, Qld

Ignoring the merits of the decision by a Canadian company to change the name of a well-known Australian product, it is worth noting Aboriginal activist Stephen Hagan’s ironic call not to let “conservative social commentators dictate their narrative on what is right and wrong”. Arguably, this name change is an example of another, and ascendant, brand of activists dictating their narrative on what is right and wrong.

David Finch, Forestville, SA

According to the genealogy website Ancestry, there are several origins of the name “Coon”. Anglicised Gaelic — “O’Cuana; Anglicised German – “Kuhn”; Anglicised Dutch — “Coen” or “Koen”. A whole lot of people to chase down because of perceived racist names. Then, of course, we have the 35 people listed in the Australian White Pages with the name “Coon”, plus their families.

Racism is a sad blight on civilisation and should not be accepted in any form. Sadly, I think pursuing dreamed up racism is counterproductive and aligned with the conjured up targeting of statues and monuments because someone thinks that these commemorate things that today we regret.

Peter Strauss, Mt Eliza, Vic

It is why I think Australia is the last sane place left in the Western world. As a dinky-di Aussie-Canadian, let me just suggest the name should be left as it was.

Why is it legal for a state to order a lockdown?

Can this be legal? Why is this incompetent fool, Daniel Andrews, allowed to shut down an entire state on his own say so?

Here’s the latest rumour: Australia Victoria is considering Stage 4 coronavirus restrictions.

Melburnians have been put back under Stage 3 restrictions, but what would Stage 4 look like?
Melburnians have been put back under Stage 3 restrictions, but what would Stage 4 look like? Source: AAP

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Mandatory mask-wearing, additional testing, and forcing businesses to close their doors are just some of the potential restrictions on the cards if Stage 4 were to be introduced.

Seriously, how insane is this?

But after a fifth day of new case numbers over 200 since the second outbreak began, authorities have flagged these rules could be tightened.

200 new cases in a state with 6.5 million people. That is approximately 200/6,500,000 which is 0.003% of the population of Victoria.

Dan Andrews is an hysterical fool. He is a blight on the population of Victoria. Virtually everything that has gone wrong since CV began has been Daniel Andrew’s own personal responsibility.

There is now even a Victorian version of the virus that has been detected in Sydney. It should be named after Daniel Andrews which is all the immortality he deserves as the most incompetent Premier Victoria has ever had.

How can such an order be challenged? If under the present constitution we can do nothing, then we must amend the constitution. Does no one any longer care about their personal freedoms? Is Labor now the party of tyranny?

You are almost certainly not going to die from the Corona Virus but you might yet be bankrupted.

LET’S ALSO NOT FORGET THIS: Conroy ‘s ‘red underpants’ comments.

Federal Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has defended a comment he made about Australian telecommunications bosses wearing red underpants on their heads.

Senator Conroy made the remarks in a presentation he gave in New York earlier this week.

A scratchy recording has emerged of Senator Conroy talking about telecommunications and the cost of broadband in Australia during the presentation.

“I’m in charge of spectrum auctions and if I say to you everyone in this room, ‘if you want to bid next week in our spectrum auction you better wear red underpants on your head’, you’ll be wearing them on your head,” he said.

“I have unfettered legal power.”

Senator Conroy made the comments comparing the Government’s position in the telecommunications industry in Australia to that in the United States.

“Not many regulators have quite that much power,” he said.

“But we don’t just have the power, we believe we have the responsibility to do something.”

So the Feds can tell us to wear whatever they like. Can the States? And can we do anything about it?

Even if you already understood Daniel Andrews is an incompetent fool wait till you read this

Johannes Leak 20200707

I do have to say I am pleased to learn there is still an Opposition party in Victoria. The following is from Tim Smith, the Liberal member for Kew. There is an awful lot there that you normally never hear about that really is sickening. From The Oz, in full because you need to read it all to believe it.

Victorians are officially the pariahs of the nation, with NSW closing the state border. We Victorians are literally banned from the rest of our country. The border closure is a stiff economic penalty for regional communities along the Murray River, which are being punished for the negligence of Daniel Andrews and his ministers to manage hotel quarantine.

We also have 3000 residents of nine public housing estates under house arrest and the rest of our suburbs and an adjoining shire back to stage-three lockdown because Andrews decided to use bouncers who fraternised with returned travellers in quarantine and spread the virus into the northern and western suburbs of Melbourne. The government proposes replacing private security with a mixture of prison officers and laid-off staff from Qantas and Jetstar to manage the mess. You couldn’t make this up.

The commonwealth offered the deployment of the Australian Defence Force, for free, to the states for the task of managing hotel quarantine. Every state that accepted this offer has not had one single transmission of the virus.

For ideological reasons Andrews’s gang-of-eight COVID cabinet refused the commonwealth offer, instead hiring private security. This turned into a fiasco with national implications and the three ministers responsible — Martin Pakula, Jenny Mikakos and Lisa Neville — should all have lost their jobs. It goes without saying that the Premier should resign.

In any case, why was Pakula, the Jobs Minister, and his department put in charge of co-ordinating hotel quarantine? Here’s a clue: many of the untrained and ill-equipped private security guards are members of Pakula’s union, the NUW/United Voice.

Equally odd was a sequence of events from June 25 when a panicked request was sent by the Victorian government to the ADF for immediate assistance with hotel quarantine. The next day Defence Minister Linda Reynolds told Melbourne radio: “Last night we received a request from the Victorian government … we’re looking to rapidly mobilise 1000 ADF personnel to be on the job from tomorrow in support of Victoria.”

By the following day, that request had been rescinded. A ludicrous turf war had erupted between the Police Minister and the Health Minister, and finally Andrews caved in. Yet on July 1, when Neville fronted Neil Mitchell’s 3AW radio program, he asked if “at any stage early, was it ever discussed, the possibility of bringing in the Australian Defence Forces to run quarantine, as happened in NSW?”. She said “no”. Surely she knew this was not correct, and if she has misled voters she should resign or be sacked.

Senior Department of Health bureaucrats, including Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton, were warned of problems with hotel quarantine as far back as April but Sutton distanced himself from it.

“It (the decision) wasn’t mine, I haven’t been involved in the governance and operation,” he has been quoted as saying. “But it was jointly oversighted by emergency management within the Department of Health and Hum­an Services, Emergency Management Victoria and Department of Jobs Precinct and Regions.”

Health Minister Mikakos and Pakula — jointly responsible for this fiasco — should resign, but no one in the Andrews government is willing to take responsibility for this recklessness. There is an inquiry being undertaken by a former judge — a political tactic to deflect questioning, and the findings won’t be known for months.

The Jeff Kennett-led Liberal Party won the 1992 state election with the slogan the “Guilty Party”. Back then Labor had bankrupted the state and trashed its reputation. Fast-forward 28 years and this state Labor government has done it again. It is guilty of this second wave of COVID-19 and Labor’s negligence will set our economy back years.

And as hard as it is to believe, the Daniel Andrews lot is even worse than the last lot. And the damage will be even greater this time than last time.

The dumbest kid in his class

I’ve just started writing a children’s book whose first line reads:

“Daniel was the dumbest kid in his class.”

From there it just seems to roll along. My aim is to immortalise incompetence. Victoria may be one of the few jurisdictions in the world that has had to ramp up its restrictions. Certainly no one else in Australia has had to. What an unbelievable buffoon! And so far as I can tell, he accepts no responsibility for any of it. He should at least say something along the lines of how sorry he is. No chance of that!

But what remains worst of all, most people seem grateful.

LATEST NEWS: Victoria lockdown may cost $1bn a week! How do such people get elected?

“Time for a class action by the people of Australia against Daniel Andrews”

This may be the longest letter to the editor I have ever seen at the Oz. And it’s right on the money.

History may be repeating itself. According to the National Museum of Australia, the 1918-19 flu pandemic started in Australia in Melbourne, in January 1919, and then spread to the rest of the country after the Victorian health authorities were slow to react.

Why have things gone wrong this time? It is hard to go past the conclusion that, encouraged by their Government, people in Victoria Health have not been paying attention to what should be their core duties.

If we start with Brett Sutton, the Chief Health Officer, we find that he was the main author of a paper in the Medical Journal of Australia published in May. Did this, for example, deal with ways of shortening long waiting lists or preventing people with psychiatric illness becoming homeless? Not at all. Instead, the hospital system was seen, not as a place to look after the sick, but a big polluter: “In 2018–19 every occupied bed-day in a Victorian public hospital generated on average 120kg of carbon dioxide equivalents and 3.65kg of waste, and used 630L of water.”

And it’s not just Australia’s sick contaminating the planet: “If the global health sector were a country, it would be the fifth‐largest greenhouse gas emitter on the planet.” And the plan to improve the hospital system? “It requires all public hospitals and health services to have an environmental management plan and report publicly on their environmental performance.”

Then we have Dr Annaliese van Diemen, Deputy Chief Health Officer (Communicable Disease), sending a tweet in the midst of the pandemic to the effect that James Cook was “an invader from another land, decimating populations, creating terror”.

It may be said that people in Victoria Health are intelligent people who can do two things at once, but the evidence does not support this. How do we prevent this happening again? Make people do their job and not grandstand. If the virus does now take hold, it might also be time for a class action by the people of Australia against Daniel Andrews and the Victorian Health Department, run by Maurice Blackburn, of course.

Paddy Grattan-Smith, Matraville, NSW

Andrews is the most incompetent political leader I have ever witnessed in all the years since I arrived in Australia. He has ruined Victoria’s economy, and with his role in “the National Cabinet” he has done much to wreck much else as well. What do we know about his agreements with the Chinese? What is the actual off-the-books level of debt in still uncompleted road and rail constructions? He can talk the talk, but is so far out of his depths in everything he deals with that had he set out to deliberately ruin the place he could not have done a better job.

Led by donkeys

I did the same analysis confined to just Victoria. Here is the same, this time for the whole of Australia.

There are 25.0 million people living in Australia.

If 10% of the population had the CV-19, that would be 2.5 million people.

If 1% of the population had the CV-19, that would be 250,000 people.

If 0.1% of the population had the CV-19, that would be 25,000 people. That is one person in 1000.

If 0.01% of the population had the CV-19, that would be 2500 people. That is one person in 10,000.

The actual number of people in Australia who now have the CV-19 is 538. That is 0.002% of the population, one person in 50,000.

The number of Covid-19 deaths in Australia in the year to June, 2020: 102.

Number of road deaths in Australia in the 12 months to April 2020: 1135 which for the last four months comes to around 378.

The largest crisis we have in Australia is a crisis of political leadership.