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Cough Cough

You better watch out
You better not spy
Don't go out
I'm telling you why
Dominic Cummings is coming to town

He's taken a test
And ignored it twice;
COVID19'll take him in a trice
Dominic Cummings is coming to town

Doesn't care where he's sleeping
He just knows he's exempt
He doesn't care if he's being bad
Pandemic lockdown can go and get bent
So stay in for goodness sake!
O! You better mask up!
You better not cry
Better not cough
I'm telling you why
Dominic Cummings is coughing
Dominic Cummings is coughing
Dominic Cummings is coughing on you

(To the tune of Santa Claus is comin' to Town)

1412 Comments

1:

"Those rules we say you're to follow are for you, not us giant Boltzman Brain political advisors to the Hairpiece-in-Chief. Filthy proles! What do you think you're doing out and about, anyway? Get back to work!"

(No, I'm not mad or anything: just going slightly stir-crazy from being indoors for (counts) 76 days now.)

2:

I don’t get what all the fuss is about. Isn’t that the famous „spirit of the Blitz“ everybody was invoking? The plebs can stay in London and die, while the gentry sits safely in their country homes?

3:

The extra-special sauce is that Cummings:

a) Drove 270-odd miles while feverish/in respiratory distress (which almost certainly qualifies as a road traffic offense -- it's certainly not safe)

b) Broke lockdown

c) Went to see his 70+ parents, thereby recklessly endangering a couple of folks who are in the age range where the risk of death goes through the roof

I consider (a) and (b) to be naughty. It's arguably a resignation matter for someone who is a government advisor on the committee that belatedly called for the lockdown policy to go ahead -- he can't claim ignorance. But they're not imprisonable offenses: the specified punishment is a fine/driving license points, and other apparatchiks have gotten to stay on after being caught out doing worse. (Just look at Priti Patel.)

But (c) is a total WTF. I mean, was he trying to murder his own parents?!?

(This is without going into the matter of half the cabinet lying like rugs to the press, the business being covered up for weeks, and now it turns out Cummings went on sundry other trips for no approved/justifiable reason ...)

4:

Surely to lie like a rug should require that one lie competently.

5:

Accountability isn't that hard.

Here's NZ's Health Minister's response to a much more trivial cock-up, David Clark offers to resign after revealing he took a trip to beach during Covid-19 lockdown. He went 20k while the rules said "local".

"Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said under normal conditions she would sack him but to avoid disruption she would be demoting him instead."

All it requires is an expectation that no-one is above the law. So there's your problem.

6:

We don't have a general social construct of incompetence by reason of deficiency of imagination, but we should.

There's a certain personal history in which you've never been responsible for anything in the functional, operant sense that makes the captain responsible for everything that happens aboard the ship. You grow up with the sense of consequence appropriate to the Lord's anointed (if that could actually materially be the case, which it can't).

It leads to people who cannot imagine bad consequences for them. It's apparently not correctable in adults; they're like that, it's a cognitive deficit which cannot be amended. It's heavily encouraged by the general pattern of grift that goes "you deserve great things". It's so much easier there's a strong short-term selection pressure in favour of it; not so much prosthetic conscience as prosthetic obliviousness.

So, no, not precisely trying to kill his parents, but also not competent to make decisions.

7:

'But (c) is a total WTF. I mean, was he trying to murder his own parents?!?'

Well, a couple of months back the Sunday Times reported that Cummings described what might laughingly be called government policy as “herd immunity, protect the economy and if that means some pensioners die, too bad" - so he might be practicing what he preaches.

8:

Bozo will do his damnedest to preserve his external brain, because he knows what being shown to be not-totally-in-control will mean. If Cummings goes by the end of June, I predict a new PM by March 2021 - the feuding, er, feeding frenzy would be amusing, if it weren't also playing with our future and diverting from tackling the real problems the country faces.

9:

I'd invoke the idea that the purpose of the system is what it does. Distracting from the real problems is the objective; there's no way to address the real problems and keep "bring hither the money" capitalism, everyone in the offshore-assets class knows this, and their sole concern is to keep anybody from trying to do something that works in some general systemic sense.

10:

I have the mental image of the capitalist elite trying to collectively gnaw it's own leg off to get out of the late-stage trap

11:

I feel a strange urge to offer a G and T (using a recipe no younger than 150 years) to wash down the hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin he's doubtless taking.

Is it a pity that he wasn't part of the 1% in regards to Covid-19 outcomes?

12:

mvalkenberg
EXACTLY WRONG - that's waht people in the USA do.

HOWEVER

There was a famous ( INFAMOUS ) advert in WWII, which went:
YOUR Courage / YOUR Cheerfulness / YOUR Resolution....
Will bring US Victory ...

Oops, as the saying goes.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

I have long equated Scummings with The Mekon
But now, I think that's grossly unfair to The Mekon, actually.

Jez Weston
an expectation that no-one is above the law. So there's your problem - In a nutshell.

EC
As late as that? ( March 2021 )
I would say late October - in time to fuck over the Brexit terms talks even more than they are already ....

13:

Second thoughts
Look, the script for "the "20th Century" was crap, that for the "21st Century" is even more improbable & I don't know who ( oe what ) they've got in for episode "2021" - but they need sacking RIGHT NOW & a new lot engaged, to be up-&-running before Midsummers' Day!

14:

Sounds like you're thinking that maybe the best course of action is to set up a traditional Wicker Man on Primrose Hill? Who would go in it, I wonder?

15:

At least, a sizeable proportion of the Tory leadership, along with Murdoch, the Barclay brothers, Farrago, and sundry other high-level turds. It would need to be a pretty big one, really.

16:

I still like the suggestion that the Tories are trialling a new Track and Trace system, to find out where Boris is.

17:

It would need to be a pretty big one, really.

The curse is only lifted in sight of the burning, so the on a hill part is important. You distribute the wicker men so the burning's visible over the whole of the country.

Which one to light first is probably graph theory rather than tradition in these days, and you find a sorrowful urchin of broad heritage to light that one.

18:

Now there is a purpose for a space program. Wicker Men in Orbit. Would that hill be high enough?

Enjoy!

Frank.

19:

Orbit may be too high for visibility and spectacle. But dirigibles per Graydon’s graph could work. Using methane as a lifting gas, positioned close enough that one going off will set off the next. HF is lighter than air too, but there could be other negative consequences that detract from the spectacle.

20:

Today's comments all seem to be along the lines of: "One rule for us, lots fewer ( or different ) rules for THEM"
Meanwhile BoZo is still defending Scummings & Peter Bumley came on the radio with Ad hominem attacks as a supposed defence.
Couple this withthe utterly bonkers proposed restrictioons of foreign travel from 1st June or thereabouts & the show of arrogant, bullying xenophobic incompetence just gets worse & worse.

Come next January - what?
Will we crash out completely, or will BoZo swerve?
I suppose that the actual conditions will determine whether we get an "extra" economic crash or not, or "merely" a slow decline.
Oddly enough, the sharper & sooner a crash occurring, the better.
Because that would mean a Starmer govmint, A possible holding of the Union & most important of all ... much better terms between us & the remainder of the EU - we can't, unfortunately, re-join on our old terms, but a lot could be done to improve matters.
A slow crash or worse a very slow, steady decline woiuld see us replicate Rome 395 - 410, or more appropriately 455 - which is the one that really wrecked the place.

21:

I think that he will survive the loss of Scummings (good one!), but badly weakened, and the next fiasco will do for him.

22:

As dead cats go, Cummings flouting the quarantine regulations, at least twice, is hard to beat. For now. Next week we'll all go "Cor - this makes Cummings' road trip look positively benign!"

Meanwhile, Cummings' paymasters in the Taxpayers' Alliance continue to carve up government and pocket all the profitable bits.

If anyone has any better ideas on what to do about this other than just keep notes for future historians (I've given up on the idea that there will one day be a Committee for Truth and Reconciliation, and really don't want a Committee for Public Safety - see Iain Banks comment on "Fuck any cause...") I'd love to hear about it.

23:

Forget a wicker man; you'd need a wicker Borg Cube to hold all the guilty parties.

Low Earth Orbit ... we get fairly visible passes by the ISS and Skylink clusters from time to time—naked-eye visible even to someone with fucked retinas that prevent me focusing a single bright dot on my fovea, for example. So maybe LEO would be viable?

24:

Look, the problem with burning people on the heath is that that is where the farmers market is on Saturday mornings. The good burghers of Hampstead are purchasing cruelty free meat and the occasional organic mustard leaf. Do not disturb them in their self regard.

I'd say, burn in the Cotswolds instead, except even that feels excessive for the merely unfathomable incompetence of the purged Tory party. Trump & Pence et al, in contrast, should contract the virus as soon as possible. Every day they are alive they harm tens to hundreds of thousands of new people. Evil by any metric.

25:

Shurely birth registrations with no father listed would suffice to track Boris, albeit with a nine month lag.

26:

For a wicker Borg Cube, perhaps a Low Sun Orbit would be more suitable?

27:
We don't have a general social construct of incompetence by reason of deficiency of imagination, but we should.

Yes to this. Lets try and get it started. What should we call it?

How about "flat-headed"? As in "That flathead should never have been appointed!".

(Having said that, try reading Cummings's blog. Lack of imagination does not seem to be a deficiency of his).

28:

There's a difference between delusions and imagination - nothing I read there isn't SOP in the spiels of snake oil salesmen and the beliefs of the gullible.

29:

I think I have discovered what the problem is. Civil Servants are appointed according to the Civil Service Code. That requires the staff are appointed "on merit" and are "impartial" and "objective".

By contrast, the Code for SPADs explicitly removes those requirements. So you end up with the talentless in positions of power purely because they were mates of Ministers and/or shared their viewpoint.

The way Cummings ran from No.10 that afternoon should have told everyone he had just gone into full mindless panic/chicken mode. The world had bitten him, and money and power couldnt help him, so he ran home to Mummy. He subsequently rationalised it as protecting his son - but that could have been better achieved by ringing his brother and sister-in-law who live in London. Getting his wife to write an article in The Spectator obfuscating the situation was merely the sort of thing I expect from a child.

30:

EC
There's a difference between delusions and imagination
As can be seen in the pages of "Mein Kampf" of course .....
Or any of Stalin's "writings" either.

31:

Dom C is famous for dead cats; bringing a (hopefully metaphorical) dead cat to a meeting, the journalists start to ask about government policy(1), excess-deaths in care-homes, world-leading bad-figures etc Whoosh....Suddenly there’s an ex-moggie on the table, and the meejah jerk their knees, Dom C is a master....did he leak his bad behaviour himself?

(1) https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8347317/amp/Who-actually-charge-Head-research-lab-tears-Boris-Johnson-coronavirus.html
[2-days ago Nobel prize winning geneticist Sir Paul Nurse asked serious questions, now apparently forgotten]

32:

Two links from an apparently unlikely source:
Total loss of credibilit - now what?
And ...
the tores WANT economic damage? - or not, or maybe or ....

33:

Charlie Stross @ 1:

"Those rules we say you're to follow are for you, not us giant Boltzman Brain political advisors to the Hairpiece-in-Chief. Filthy proles! What do you think you're doing out and about, anyway? Get back to work!"

(No, I'm not mad or anything: just going slightly stir-crazy from being indoors for (counts) 76 days now.)

Don't y'all at least get to go outside for exercise?

Even the worst hell-hole prisons in the U.S. let prisoners in solitary go outside (caged area) for an hour a day. The U.S. Supreme Court says to do otherwise would be "cruel and unusual punishment".

34:

Graydon @ 6: We don't have a general social construct of incompetence by reason of deficiency of imagination, but we should.

There's a certain personal history in which you've never been responsible for anything in the functional, operant sense that makes the captain responsible for everything that happens aboard the ship. You grow up with the sense of consequence appropriate to the Lord's anointed (if that could actually materially be the case, which it can't).

It leads to people who cannot imagine bad consequences for them. It's apparently not correctable in adults; they're like that, it's a cognitive deficit which cannot be amended. It's heavily encouraged by the general pattern of grift that goes "you deserve great things". It's so much easier there's a strong short-term selection pressure in favour of it; not so much prosthetic conscience as prosthetic obliviousness.

So, no, not precisely trying to kill his parents, but also not competent to make decisions.

If that's the case, he needs to be locked up in a room with mattress wallpaper where he can't hurt himself ... or others.

Although it does suggest his aged parents may not be completely innocent bystanders if they raised him that way.

35:

Heteromeles @ 14: Sounds like you're thinking that maybe the best course of action is to set up a traditional Wicker Man on Primrose Hill? Who would go in it, I wonder?

If you made it big enough you could probably fit all of 'em in there.

36:

You can't get off a local maximum without loss.

So, in geography terms, if you're on the peak of a hill and want to be on the peak of a higher hill, you can't continuously increase your elevation; you have to go down hill for awhile. You're all out of up where you are, and have to go somewhere there's more up to be had before things can improve.

The 20th century, in terms of economic norms and social power, starts when Winston Churchill guarantees an oil supply sufficient to switch the Royal Navy's capital ships from coal-fired to oil-fired boilers. It should have ended around 1970, as a structural dependence on fossil carbon across the economy becomes an obvious route to a worse future.

Two other things happen; the VLSI surprise produces an unexpected increase in capability in the materials and biological sciences. This infusion of capability significantly masks a real loss of prosperity as the real prices of some things drop and there's a superficial skills reorganisation affecting the working population.

The other thing is you get increased capture of the mechanisms of government to maintain the cash flow channel around fossil carbon, and by extension all other open loop, extraction industries. That's an excessively abstract way of saying "loss of democracy" and "genocide as a construction of economic necessity."

Boris is the hired help for the second part. The difficulty is running off the end of the plausible pretence; a pandemic has a way of running "let's say..." into things-as-they-are with an awful splat. So it's not so much that the Tories want economic damage, it's that the Tories have convinced themselves that the reason for society is to keep them in the cash flow to which they have become accustomed. When the correct response is "major structural change", they're going to go "risk to the existing cash flow", reject the possibility, and settle on some other response. Pretty much all of the "some other response" responses cause economic damage by being structurally incorrect.

(The other thing is that supply chains have half-lives and nobody involved at a policy level seems to recognise this, so there's another source of economic damage.)

Plus the carefully created public delusiveness, meant to support the loss of prosperity through false assertions, has gone feral and turned into a full-on belief in materially efficacious magic; that you can get the world you want by wishing for it, and nothing else. This makes any material improvement much more difficult.

37:

Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.

The hounds are now off the leash, and this is definitely a sport to watch with interest.

38:

You Brits are complaining? I'll trade you Trump and Pence for a pair of
old shoes.

39:

Perhaps someone would like to run a model which will tell us:

- about how many people died because of this (because they definitely did not drive all the way to Durham with a small child without stopping at service stations and taking said small child to the loo, spreading CV19 throughout the service station);

- and about how many people now will die because they think 'oh, well, if he can do this, so can I'.

Neil Ferguson would be the obvious choice.

And, of course, Johnson can't sack him: how can you sack your own brain?

40:

Don't y'all at least get to go outside for exercise?

Nope.

We can in theory, but I live in an upper-floor apartment in the middle of a city. No garden, the nearest green space is half a mile's walk away -- uphill at that -- and I'm trying to minimize my exposure to other people.

So I'm going out twice a week, on shopping trips.

(The car? Don't be silly, driving in Edinburgh is like driving in Manhattan -- even under current conditions, if I drove to a supermarket I'd lose my space when I got back.)

41:

Re: Your 'Science - Translational Medicine Blog link'

Just in case some folk don't like to click links, the gist of that article is below. The Control group did NOT receive any of DT's fave drug. And each group had a very generous (statistically testable) sample size plus tons of sampling/methodology controls. From my POV, hard to come up with a stricter study design.

https://blogs.sciencemag.org/pipeline/archives/2020/05/22/hydroxychloroquine-enough-already

'Judge for yourself. The mortality in the control group was 9.3%. The mortality in the chloroquine group was 16.4%. The mortality in the chloroquine plus macrolide group was 22.2%. The mortality in the hydroxychloroquine group was 18%. And the mortality in the hydroxychloroquine plus macrolide group was 23.8%.'

DT, BoZo and their respective advisors and supporters should be read this article aloud (with cartoon illustrations and captions, as necessary) and then take a quiz to check what they understood/did not understand. Once it's been verified that they understand the consequences of pushing these 'therapies', i.e., doubling to tripling the fatality rate. If after all this they continue to push these therapies then charge the lot of them with mass murder/inciting mass murder.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuremberg_Code


'The Nuremberg code, which stated explicit voluntary consent from patients are required for human experimentation was drafted on August 9, 1947.[6] On August 20, 1947, the judges delivered their verdict against Karl Brandt and 22 others.[7] The verdict reiterated the memorandum's points and, in response to expert medical advisers for the prosecution, revised the original six points to ten. The ten points became known as the "Nuremberg Code", which includes such principles as informed consent and absence of coercion; properly formulated scientific experimentation; and beneficence towards experiment participants. It is thought to have been mainly based on the Hippocratic Oath, which was interpreted as endorsing the experimental approach to medicine while protecting the patient.[8]

The ten points of the Nuremberg Code

The ten points of the code were given in the section of the verdict entitled "Permissible Medical Experiments":[5]

1- The voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential.

2- The experiment should be such as to yield fruitful results for the good of society, unprocurable by other methods or means of study, and not random and unnecessary in nature.

3- The experiment should be so designed and based on the results of animal experimentation and a knowledge of the natural history of the disease or other problem under study that the anticipated results will justify the performance of the experiment.

4- The experiment should be so conducted as to avoid all unnecessary physical and mental suffering and injury.

5- No experiment should be conducted where there is an a priori reason to believe that death or disabling injury will occur; except, perhaps, in those experiments where the experimental physicians also serve as subjects.

6- The degree of risk to be taken should never exceed that determined by the humanitarian importance of the problem to be solved by the experiment.

7- Proper preparations should be made and adequate facilities provided to protect the experimental subject against even remote possibilities of injury, disability, or death.

8- The experiment should be conducted only by scientifically qualified persons. The highest degree of skill and care should be required through all stages of the experiment of those who conduct or engage in the experiment.

9- During the course of the experiment the human subject should be at liberty to bring the experiment to an end if he has reached the physical or mental state where continuation of the experiment seems to him to be impossible.

10- During the course of the experiment the scientist in charge must be prepared to terminate the experiment at any stage, if he has probable cause to believe, in the exercise of the good faith, superior skill and careful judgment required of him that a continuation of the experiment is likely to result in injury, disability, or death to the experimental subject.'


This code while not legislated 'law' in the US nevertheless has considerable ethical/legal clout:

'The Code is considered to be the most important document in the history of clinical research ethics, which had a massive influence on global human rights. The Nuremberg Code and the related Declaration of Helsinki are the basis for the Code of Federal Regulations Title 45 Part 46,[13][14] which are the regulations issued by the United States Department of Health and Human Services for the ethical treatment of human subjects, and are used in Institutional Review Boards (IRBs). In addition, the idea of informed consent has been universally accepted and now constitutes Article 7 of the United Nations' International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. It also served as the basis for International Ethical Guidelines for Biomedical Research Involving Human Subjects proposed by the World Health Organization.[9]'

42:

Ah, OK. So it's like whatsisname's poem about the beacons. Twelve fair counties saw the blaze on Malvern's lonely height and the ruddy glare on Skiddaw roused the burghers of Carlisle, etc. And the ignition of all the ones in Wales can be treated as a lumped event, which probably simplifies things.

I'm not clear whether the various aerial/orbital variations would work. Given that the protocols were developed when that option was not even available for consideration, it's quite likely that there could be an implicit "in contact with the ground" that nobody bothered to take specific note of. Maybe tethered balloons would do the trick, but I think we should check the point experimentally before going live. Set fire to a selection of minor Tories located at various altitudes (including zero) by various different methods (eg. fixed support, buoyancy, dynamic lift, ballistic trajectory, orbit) and see which variation gives the most effect, or something.

43:

I've got it!

We take the subsidies the Tories have been paying to their cronies and pay them to Elon Musk instead, to:

1. Put all the Tories on the Moon. Nearside, for preference.

2. Douse the Moon in oxygen.

3. Set fire to the Moon Tories. (aka Lunatics.)

Do it at night while the Moon is new so they're extra-visible and they can serve a valuable public service as street lights! Street lights of stupidity!

(Where the oxygen for the Lunar atmosphere comes from is left as an exercise for Grimes' baby to sort out.)

44:

As an American, I am watching this higher-tech Wicker Man discussion with great interest; thank you. :-)
In the US we have to be careful about such talk because MiBs (Secret Service, +) are known to visit people who talk carelessly about such matters, so I've had to limit myself to (hypothetical![1]) Trolley Problems involving political figures, and notes that among 10s of millions of people personally angry at the incompetent[2] Death Cult controlling the US Executive Branch (and Senate and Supreme Court), some might eye the 2nd Amendment and start practicing with their scoped rifles. (Sadly, given the large numbers involved, this will happen. Hopefully not at scale, or with RW death squads involved too.)

[1] [redacted]
[2] If they were competent Death Cultists, they would have killed a lot more people.

45:

Sadly, the best direction I got for the treatment of depression was 30 minutes outside walking, daily.

If you can find a way to do that, it does help immeasurably. Indeed, I think we'd all be happy to pitch in for a decent supply of proper masks if that will help.

46:

Another thought, if someone happens to know a djinn with an untapped wish. This one would not hurt anyone:

My wish would be that all people who claim to own or control more than US$10 million in assets would be jumped forward in time a period equal to one minute per dollar equivalent of assets under their control, and that they would arrive after their time jump in perfect sanity and perfect health, and that they would arrive in a safe place on land on the surface of the Earth, and that if the amount they controlled was unclear, that it would be based on what they believed to be under their control.

So that you don't have to check, there are 525,600 minutes in a year.

The effects would be interesting. I don't think anyone would be actively harmed by this, so the person wishing it might even not lose their soul over it.

47:

"Don't y'all at least get to go outside for exercise?"

Mostly...

A significant number of people (maybe ~ 1.5 million ?) have been asked to "self-isolate" for up to 12 weeks as a result of being especially at-risk of serious consequences if they catch the virus - e.g. one of our neigbours is elderly and undergoing later stage cancer treatment so has to stay at home, with regular visits from a district nurse. OTOH, if you're lucky enough to have a garden then you're encouraged to use that if you can.

For everyone else its ok to spend some time outside for exercise (in addition to 'essential' shopping etc). In Scotland you're not expected to drive 50+ miles before/after said exercise, although apparently this is ok in England.

48:

Will we crash out completely, or will BoZo swerve?

My suspicion - Boris no longer has the authority to swerve.

Boris is the proverbial dead man walking at this point - his illness provided the opportunity for opponents both in cabinet and the media to start openly contemplating his replacement. He has done nothing to stop that since returning from his Covid absence.

The only real question at this point is if he behaves like a good poodle, in which case they oust him after Brexit is done so when things go bad they can point fingers at Boris and con at least some of the voters.

But he attempts to delay, water down, or do anything but a hard Brexit they will replace him before.

49:

Indeed, I think we'd all be happy to pitch in for a decent supply of proper masks if that will help.

Masks only help if everyone else is wearing them. They don't help you. (Look at the full medical PPE! and even in conditions of abundant supply, so PPE gets changed at the recommended rate, medical staff still get infected through that multi-layer defence.)

I mean, yeah, duty requires; wear a mask when you go out. But it doesn't make you safer unless and until you're living somewhere with the sort of social consensus where you WILL wear a mask, correctly, so everyone does. Then it's the single most effective response to the pandemic.

Right now, best information we've got involves three observations: your vulnerability is a function of any pre-existing circulatory system issues (high blood pressure, cardiac anything, age-related blood vessel wall thinning, etc.); current treatment protocols are inappropriate (the medical types are labouring to fix them as fast as humanly possible, but today, they're inappropriate); the degree of systemic damage may be down to your innate immune system.

Charlie's high-risk on the first one; most of us-as-post are relatively high risk just on age.

Nothing to be done about the second one on a personal scale; science is trying to cram several centuries of knowledge into six months, and of course it's not going to happen. Maybe eighteen months. (there are strong analogies with AIDS and Ebola, here.)

The third one is idiot random chance; roll save vs death or maiming. In a year, what makes someone high risk in this sense might be known and testable. In a year, there might be a glimmer of a vaccine or an effective treatment. Treatment protocols will nigh-certainly be better.

This is the beginnings of the pandemic, and reaching for normalcy or minimal disruption of one's regular life is not on the odds the sensible way to behave.

50:

If I wanted to spread a conspiracy, I'd ask what Cummings has over Johnson that is preventing him being sacked. In particular what happened to that report on Russian interference in politics that so conveniently did not get published before the election? Didn't Cummings spend a lot of time in Russia?

Now I'm sure it's not true (I mean, the report clearly was suppressed, but Cummings isn't a Russian agent: Boris just can't sack him because you can't sack your own brain), but it would make an entertaining theory.

51:

I agree completely with this. If I can motivate myself to actually do anything at all when I'm seriously depressed, getting on my bike and riding is the single best thing I've discovered. The bootstrap problem is hard to solve though.

52:

I know you like to argue, but here's the thing:

they do help, in multiple ways.

One way is that they decrease the amounts of droplets reaching your noise and mouth. There's an ongoing fight over whether SARS-COV-2 can be spread via microdroplets. If you're trying to filter those, you need N95 (which filters about 95% of them).

Thing is, no one's fighting over the problem caused by people coughing, sneezing, singing, or otherwise spraying ordinary droplets, and that's where even a simple bandana makes a difference.

The four-fold bandana plus coffee filter setup I use should filter over 60% of the stuff anyway. That's not good enough for someone working in the ICU with heavily infected people, but on a windy street it's probably overkill.

The other thing is that a lot of people around here have stopped wearing masks outdoors (the idiots). When they see me mask up, they move away, because I'm obviously either fearful or contagious. Since my wife works in a hospital and we're both at risk, I think it's perfectly reasonable to mask, and most people are polite enough to give me space when I do it.

That said, I'm not in congested urban areas, so my greatest risk at the moment is my wife.

However, I'd hazard a guess that Charlie's as much at risk from depression right now as Covid-19 exposure, so if there's a way to balance risks and go outside every day, it would probably decrease his overall risk of death.

And that would be a good thing, IMHO.

If getting some N95 masks would help with the anxiety associated with going outside, we should maybe help find some for him.

53:

Re: ' ... since returning from his Covid absence.'

Anyone know whether Boris got an MRI or CT scan as a follow-up post hospital discharge? Some very small brain lesions/micro-strokes show up only days after the event. Ditto for associated cognitive/behavioural changes.


54:

If getting some N95 masks would help with the anxiety associated with going outside, we should maybe help find some for him.

I figure Charlie -- numerate, medical background, knowledgeable about local conditions, etc. -- is making appropriate decisions.

In all cases, avoiding the risk is preferable to mitigating the risk with respect to that specific risk. I wear gloves and a non-medical N99 mask to go grocery shopping, but that's much less important than going grocery shopping as infrequently as I can arrange. Better odds on the die roll isn't as effective as not having to roll the dice more often.

55:

Depression has its own set of risk factors, so the point is not to just minimize one risk, but to find a way to function while minimizing multiple risks.

56:

After a few weeks of doing nothing but moving about the house a bit with lots of sitting 5 or 6 days a week I gained 10 pounds. So I started walking on days without rain and when I didn't mow the yard or such.

Just now living in suburbia has an advantage of the sidewalks/streets are not that crowded and since I don't live in a gridded street system I can get in 1 to 2.5 miles via a dozen or more routes. So as to not get totally bored.

57:

Georgiana
YES we are ...
Because IF you get DT out of that oval office in November, you will recover.
But, If BoZo is still "in charge" in January, we are utterly fucked
The UK will fragment/explode, the £ will crash & the tories will blame it all on the evil EU, the same way the SNP blame it all on the evil English.
It could get very, extremely bad indeed.

mdive
You are of the opinion that BoZo is merely a puppet for some seriously unpleasant righjt-wing, if not actually fascist people?
Not Gove, obviously, because he's even more incompetent, but whom do you suspect of this...
So that we can make a list for later ( See also "Wicker Man" discussion )

Graydon
Also masks are only of use if you are close to other people.
So, in my trips to the Plot(s) I donlt wear one - zero point - I'm in the open air & my conversations with fellow gardeners are a couple of metres ( or more ) apart.
If/when I can catch a trin, or even more significantly a "tube" - then wearing a mask might be a very good idea.

tfb
If I wanted to spread a conspiracy, I'd ask what Cummings has over Johnson that is preventing him being sacked.
Yes, this - I asked the same Q this morning ....

58:

If I wanted to spread a conspiracy, I'd ask what Cummings has over Johnson that is preventing him being sacked.

Hypothesis: it's not what Cummings has on Johnson that's keeping him from being sacked -- it's what Cummings has on everybody else. If Cummings is Johnson's ratfucker-in-chief, then he's BoJo's biggest weapon for intra-party fighting. If he's forced to sack Cummings, BoJo will be rendered defenseless and will be taken down by the wolfpack in short order.

Remember, the Tories have four and a half years in office unless they screw the pooch really badly (to the point of civil unrest/rebellion). So any ambitious shitweasel with their sights on Number 10 can have four years to bed in before facing an election if they can get rid of Boris at this point, and Boris has been badly weakened by his personal bout with COVID19, not to mention his mishandling of the pandemic response and Brexit.

Before COVID19 he was relatively secure because the would-be replacement alpha wolves all wanted him to take the fall for the no-deal Brexit at the end of the transition agreement, which meant keeping him in the hot seat until December 31st at the earliest.

But COVID19 has caused so much economic disruption that it's the perfect cover for all the chaos that no-deal will cause. So they don't need to hide behind Boris any more.

What's holding the rebellion back, given the Murdoch press openly turning against Boris and backing Gove?

That's where Cummings comes in ...

59:

Absolutely true.

I don't figure it's any of our jobs to be managing Charlie's risks, though.

60:

Also masks are only of use if you are close to other people.

Which is why you wear one before setting foot out of the house, and it stays on until you return. Other people will do what you don't expect, and pop up in touching distance.

I mean, yes, of course they shouldn't. But given time, they will.

61:

I'd gently suggest that, given that our main identity here is as ravening consumer's of OGH's computer bandwidth and publications, it might behoove us to make sure that Our Generous Host can remain a generous host for a very long time to come...

62:

I am trying to decide if I think that the launch of two US gov't employees on top of a lightly tested privately built rocket on wednesday is going to be important or not.

In case of success, it will help cement the "government cannot do anything right" meme further, which will probably be the penultimate nail in NASAs coffin, the final being Musk putting boots on the Moon before NASA gets around to it (of course if he buys NASA from Trumolino, that doesn't matter.)

In case of moderate failure, (ie. nobody dies), everybody will want to know what the guy who quit this week knew, but Congress will probably not care enough to start an actual investigation.

Those are pretty easy to predict I think.

I am having a much harder time with the case where the two gov't employees do not survive.

Thoughts ?

63:

So I started walking on days without rain and when I didn't mow the yard or such.

We've been under a strict stay at home regime since late March and have been unable to take our usual daily walks. There are indoor walking videos that somewhat make up for that, at least work up a sweat and get the heart rate up for 45 minutes or so. I wouldn't say we actually *like* doing that, but it serves the purpose.

One we use fairy often:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DYuw4f1c4xs

64:

>fairy often

Make that "fairly often".

65:

This is the beginnings of the pandemic, and reaching for normalcy or minimal disruption of one's regular life is not on the odds the sensible way to behave.

Which didn't stop 10,000 (estimated) idiots* from crowding Trinity-Bellwoods Park yesterday.

It would have been "impractical" to enforce physical distancing with thousands of people in the park, said city spokesperson Brad Ross on Sunday.

Police issued tickets to people who were urinating and defecating on private property, said Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders.

"When you've got an elderly woman opening the door and seeing someone defecating, it's quite bothersome," said Saunders, who also condemned the public drinking.

"Yesterday we were enforcing, but unfortunately the numbers were huge."

The city had 10 bylaw officers assigned to the park on Saturday, which increased to 28 on Sunday, "starting at staggered shifts," a spokesperson said.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/bylaw-officers-downtown-party-trinity-bellwoods-1.5582399

From the pictures I've seen they all looked young — teens and 20s. Just like Florida's spring break crowd. And I suspect that just like then we're going to see a large uptick in cases in a week or two.


*Estimated number. Definitely idiots.

66:

So I started walking on days without rain and when I didn't mow the yard or such.

I've taken to going out on the days when the weather isn't so good. On a nice sunny day like today the walking trails are crowded and too many (mostly younger) people don't give room. On a rainy day (I have rain gear) I have the paths almost entirely to myself.

The other option is heading out at sunrise (before 6 AM) but that requires either waking to an alarm clock or having the neighbourhood yahoos not hold the final conversations in their get-togethers on the street. (I have trouble sleeping when someone's shouting 5m from my bedroom window.)

67:

So, when does the 1922 Committee meet?

68:

getting on my bike and riding is the single best thing I've discovered. The bootstrap problem is hard to solve though.

Transport. An ex discovered that once they had a bicycle and had got used to the convenience suddenly "not riding" wasn't an option. I was (un)fortunately present when that crystallised, said ex got home late, tired, wet and grumpy... they'd taken the bus home because it was bucketing down, the bus had been slow, they'd missed the second bus so had to stand in the rain for 20 minutes waiting for the next one, then had to walk (walk!) in the rain from the bus stop to home. And tomorrow they would have to walk (walk!) back to the bus stop for the reverse journey.

Still, better that than being depressed (I told myself while the above was explained to me).

But yes, if you have to go anywhere and riding your bike is the obvious option, that does seem to solve the bootstrap problem.

69:

Firefall.

64 000 very bright, geometrically spaced, synchronised lights.

Whoosh.

70:

And I suspect that just like then we're going to see a large uptick in cases in a week or two.

It will be interesting to see if there is given that it was all outdoors and no opportunities to later congregate in bars and restaurants.

But even if there is it may get lost in the noise given we are already seeing an increase in cases.

71:

Charlie Stross @ 40:

Don't y'all at least get to go outside for exercise?

Nope.

We can in theory, but I live in an upper-floor apartment in the middle of a city. No garden, the nearest green space is half a mile's walk away -- uphill at that -- and I'm trying to minimize my exposure to other people.So I'm going out twice a week, on shopping trips.

(The car? Don't be silly, driving in Edinburgh is like driving in Manhattan -- even under current conditions, if I drove to a supermarket I'd lose my space when I got back.)

That sux. I hope you can at least work in a little bit of relief from cabin fever on your shopping trips.

72:

Charlie Stross @ 43: I've got it!

1. Put all the Tories on the Moon. Nearside, for preference.

2. Douse the Moon in oxygen.

3. Set fire to the Moon Tories. (aka Lunatics.)

Do it at night while the Moon is new so they're extra-visible and they can serve a valuable public service as street lights! Street lights of stupidity!

(Where the oxygen for the Lunar atmosphere comes from is left as an exercise for Grimes' baby to sort out.)

Can we send Newt Gingrinch along? He's a big fan of moon colonies.

73:

Bill Arnold @ 44: As an American, I am watching this higher-tech Wicker Man discussion with great interest; thank you. :-)
In the US we have to be careful about such talk because MiBs (Secret Service, +) are known to visit people who talk carelessly about such matters, so I've had to limit myself to (hypothetical![1]) Trolley Problems involving political figures, and notes that among 10s of millions of people personally angry at the incompetent[2] Death Cult controlling the US Executive Branch (and Senate and Supreme Court), some might eye the 2nd Amendment and start practicing with their scoped rifles. (Sadly, given the large numbers involved, this will happen. Hopefully not at scale, or with RW death squads involved too.)

[1] [redacted]
[2] If they were competent Death Cultists, they would have killed a lot more people.

Under the 1st Amendment to the Constitution, you have an absolute right to wish any and all kinds of bad things might befall Trumpolini. You have the absolute right to express the hope that Trumpolini will catch Covid-19 and die. In fact you have the absolute right to suggest it would be a good idea if the "2nd Amendment People" should take care of the problem.

Just ask Sarah Palin or Gabby Giffords or even Donald Trump himself.

What will bring the MiB down on you is suggesting you are going to do it yourself.

I hope "god" does cut him down, but I won't be wielding the axe and I won't be providing axes to other people. Any plotters would be fools to try to recruit me for that kind of conspiracy because I'd rat 'em out to the cops in a heartbeat.

OTOH, should some future government put him on trial for his crimes, I'd be proud to do my civic duty and sit on a jury. THEY probably wouldn't want me on that jury, but that's their loss because I would base my verdict on whether the prosecution had presented sufficient evidence to PROVE his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. I am capable of putting aside what I "know" and basing a decision solely on the evidence presented at trial.

74:

tfb @ 51: I agree completely with this. If I can motivate myself to actually do anything at all when I'm seriously depressed, getting on my bike and riding is the single best thing I've discovered. The bootstrap problem is hard to solve though.

My little doggy gets to go outside at least twice a day. I have to go with him to clean it up.

Come rain or shine or dark of night, I got the bootstrap motivation covered. You want some fun, try manipulating the plastic bag so you don't get anything on you while not dropping the umbrella or the flashlight or lose your grip on the leash, since HE is finished and ready to move on to greener pastures (as it were).

OTOH, I haven't had any bouts of depression since he came along. I don't even remember having the blues since then.

75:

My uninformed speculation based on this understanding -- PM Johnson has an unassailable level of support in the House of Commons for him to remain Party leader and PM. The faint-of-heart on the subject of Brexit have been purged, deselected and otherwise written out, the new crew of shiny-brained Tories that make up his 80-odd majority worship him as the Great Brexiteer. He will not face any sort of a challenge to his leadership from that quarter and the average Daily Mail reader and Tory Party member thinks he's doing a spiffing job.

Thank you, Dom for making all of this possible.

Now, Dom has become a Problem thanks to his "can't read the atmosphere" genius-level intellect which led him to go on a 260-mile jaunt to visit his parents during a Government-ordered lockdown. Boris pretty much said on TV today "It's time to go, Dom. Write a nice letter of resignation which I will unwillingly accept for the good of the country and the Party and I'll sort you out with a sinecure somewhere you can play with data sets and Excel to your heart's content". Unfortunately Dom doesn't understand Borish, or people-speak generally so he can't grasp that

a) he's been asked to fall on his sword and

b) he should actually fall on his sword because he's been a berk and

c) he is no longer indispensable to Boris Johnson personally.

My prediction -- Boris will praise him with more faint damns with no result until he either has to actually fire the Dom for damage-limitation reasons or Dom finally gets the message, possibly written in green crayon (or on a spreadsheet using macros).

76:

It will be interesting to see if there is given that it was all outdoors and no opportunities to later congregate in bars and restaurants.

They didn't all walk, and the whole TTC has closed-cycle air conditioning. At ~30 C, it was on, too.

Plus "outdoors" only works if it's "and distancing"; from the photos, there was a general lack of distancing.

It's a real limitation of voluntary quarantine efforts; the ~third of the population who isn't responsible won't.

77:

It's a real limitation of voluntary quarantine efforts; the ~third of the population who isn't responsible won't.

Partially true, but the bigger problem is that chronic case of leaders ignoring the rules they are implementing - they need to lead by example.

78:

Charlie
Come on it's (VERY approximately - AND using straight-line distances, not alomg the actual roads ) ....
500 metres to the Calton Hill open space
400 metres to Queen St Gardens &
225 metres to the Drummond Place parklet ...
Surely you can go to those for a tiny bit of "Open Air" ????

79:

Which is why you wear one before setting foot out of the house, and it stays on until you return. Other people will do what you don't expect, and pop up in touching distance.

When you live in an area, like I do, where you can see people coming from 100' to 300' away, I just keep it in my back pocket.

When out in the car THEN I put it on as I exit and if the next stop is close just leave it on.

80:

There are indoor walking videos that somewhat make up for that, at least work up a sweat and get the heart rate up for 45 minutes or so.

Not so strict here.

MY wife can do an indoor loop in our apartment where she is stuck. And can go outside and walk the complex when the weather cooperates. Not a real issue with crowds as it is very new and not fully occupied. Plus only 3 story buildings with 2 parking places per unit so there's a lot of space.

As to me, my house would need a serious furniture re-arrangement for me to have an indoor walking path. And still be a bit of a weave and dodge. But my neighborhood is very non-linear grid street and hilly so my watch tells me I go up and down 300+ feet on most walks. And can do a dozen or so different routes without repeating most of the route. If I want to do a 2.5 mile loop I can order a take home meal from a few places. Plus just mowing my yard means 2 hours of exercise give or take.

81:

You are of the opinion that BoZo is merely a puppet for some seriously unpleasant righjt-wing, if not actually fascist people?
Not Gove, obviously, because he's even more incompetent, but whom do you suspect of this...

Not a puppet as such, rather a useful idiot (and not the first - see Nigel and DUP).

Boris got the job last summer not because he would be a great PM, or because he is a true Brexiter, but because the combination of the rabid Brexiter wing of the party and the rest of the party all decided he was the best chance at winning an election.

This was important, because while Parliament wasn't able to come up with a consensus on an alternative to hard Brexit, the danger was they would keep punting the issue or, when facing the brink, come up with something.

The problem for Boris is that, when combined with a Labour Party determined to self-annihilate themselves, he did too well at the election.

The solid majority he achieved has had 2 bad side effects for Boris.

One, it made it impossible for Corbyn to continue on as leader of the Opposition. While I currently have no opinion on what policies Starmer will decide to run on it is clear that he will humiliate Boris in Parliament and reveal him to be what he actually is.

Two, it has removed the risk of a couple of defections costing the majority. This has created room for the hard Brexit faction to force their desire without the risk of losing the government, aided by the fiscal austerity group who are likely horrified at his spending.

Now add in a pandemic, disastrously handled by Boris, and the people behind the scenes - the foreign owned media, the European Research group, and all the other hard Brexiters both within and outside the Conservative Party, are emboldened. They no longer need Boris as a scapegoat for the economic harm, because Covid and China are now in play to take all the blame. Instead, they are worried about what other damage he may do to their plans - as noted previously, the surge in public support for the NHS have made it even harder to sell off to the Americans in exchange for a trade agreement.

Hence their moves to dethrone Boris when he came down with a bad case of Covid. They wouldn't have been so open about it if they still needed Boris.

Further evidence is the lack of cabinet cleaning when Boris returned - if he was safely still in power the traitors to his government would have been booted. That they haven't, that Grove is still in his position, is proof that the Brexiters are in charge, and that so far the only thing keeping Boris at the head of the table is whatever Cummings has on them (as OGH indicated).

So Gove and others will for now lick their wounds and return to the waiting and plotting.

But a weakened Boris has lost the ability to play games with Brexit, and if he and Cummings attempt anything other than a hard Brexit (with the usual theatrics of pretending to negotiate with the EU) then the hardliners will force the issue.

(and as usual, I hope I am wrong and that despite all appearances Boris somehow comes up with a good solution to the Brexit mess - but I just don't expect it).

82:

NHS have made it even harder to sell off to the Americans in exchange for a trade agreement.

This phrase, sell off the NHS to the Americans" gets tossed around a lot here. Would someone eliminate my guesses as to what people in the UK mean by this?

83:

Moving to Australia the whole idea of "ambulance insurance" was bizarre to me, but here that's how it works. Ambulances are apparently owned and run by the government but on a fee for service basis.

Ambulance Victoria responds to over 800,000 calls for medical help from Victorians every year. That is over 2,200 calls a day. Emergency medical transport services are not free and not covered by Medicare Ditto in NSW

Note the .gov.au domain and apparent monopoly.

Sure, the maximum fee is only $6000 or so, but that's still an ugly bit of money for most people. In NZ there's now a fixed $100 fee because the government only funds 80% of the overall cost (provider is St John's ambulance, a charity) but when I left it was still a government-funded free service.

In the UK ambulances are still free, as is hospital care etc etc. Medical bankruptcies only happen when people spend long periods in hospital or become disabled and the support payments from the government aren't enough to keep them going or in some cases, alive (this is by design).

84:

It will be interesting to see if there is given that it was all outdoors and no opportunities to later congregate in bars and restaurants.

Well, better outside than inside, but that park was pretty packed (usually considered crowded with 4000 people in it). I also wonder how many of those people took the TTC to get there.

And very cynically I wonder what the police would have done if it had been 10,000 young black people drinking, not social distancing, and peeing in people's gardens. Somehow I suspect that there would have been more consequences than 14 tickets…

However, I think that it's just the most visible sign that lots of people have decided that they are done with distancing. People on my street have started having guests around for dinner. Fewer people are giving space on the walking trails. Read the comments on almost CBC article to see people claiming it's a hoax, saying they will refuse to comply, that it's time to restart the economy, etc. Although some of those may well be bots, given how almost half the Twitter comments calling for the economy to be reopened are from bots.

Of the top 50 influential retweeters, 82% are bots, they found. Of the top 1,000 retweeters, 62% are bots.

Many factors of the online discussions about “reopening America” suggest that bot activity is orchestrated. One indicator is the large number of bots, many of which are accounts that were recently created. Accounts that are possibly humans with bot assistants generate 66% of the tweets. Accounts that are definitely bots generate 34% of the tweets.

https://www.cs.cmu.edu/news/nearly-half-twitter-accounts-discussing-‘reopening-america’-may-be-bots

85:

FWIW, one really ugly part of the ambulance system in Australia is that anyone can *call* the ambulance but it's the person who gets treated who is liable. Which is a real incentive to GTFO if there is a problem and you think someone might have called an ambulance.

Last time I got knocked off my bike I did that - got the driver's details as fast as I could, de-taco'd my front wheel and rode to the hospital to have my injuries seen to. Not only is the bicycle a problem for the ambulance, the fee for the ambulance ride is a problem for me. So I left before any potential ambulance arrived.

And it varies between states... FFS.
If you live in either Queensland or Tasmania, your state government has you covered

86:

To me (US person that I am) that is not what "sell off" means.

Or is this another way of saying the sick must start paying for services?

87:

I was assuming it meant allowing American medical corporations to buy NHS hospitals and clinics at knock-down prices, then charge what they wanted to either the government or patients (or more likely both) for medical services.

88:

This phrase, sell off the NHS to the Americans" gets tossed around a lot here. Would someone eliminate my guesses as to what people in the UK mean by this?

Not in the UK, but.

The various American health care firms, always looking for ways to boost their share price, seem to frequently look at either the UK or Canada as places to expand to.

They look at all the services currently providing by the governments, and wonder why some/all of it couldn't be privatized so they can collect some nice fees.

The drug companies don't like how the governments either bulk buy or negotiate in advance prescription drug fees, because the governments are bigger than them.

At the more extreme end, you might have some wondering why they can't run entire hospitals.

At the most extreme, you have the insurance companies who would like wholesale move to a US style system, though that is unlikely (for now).

And while some of it can be considered paranoia, when one considers the changes that have been made in the last 10 years as outsourcing has started, and the health system starved of funding, it does make one wonder what the governments are attempting.

89:

Or is this another way of saying the sick must start paying for services?

Exactly.

It's very hard for US corporations to compete with free, so the obvious solution is for any trade treaty to prevent "free" and there's evidence that's what they want to do. And more importantly, that they have instructed their servants to do so. Forget what Trump/Bozo says, you can pick-a-quote for anything, but there have been credible suggestions that "of course" medicine is to be included.

You can also look at US efforts to destroy the healthcare systems in places like Australia and Aotearoa for further evidence. Destroy? Sorry, I mean "introduce a free market*".

* use the violence inherent in the system to enforce monopolies**
** patents are explicitly state-enforced monopoly rights

90:

it does make one wonder what the governments are attempting

They're Mammonites. Someone is getting something for which they could not personally pay. This is a major sin. It must not be allowed.

That's all. It's not complicated.

Throw in the class insecurity over climate change -- these are the people to whom Lord of the Flies/mass cannibalism scenarios are the obvious outcome, and they don't really understand why no one has started trying to run the guillotines again yet -- and the general loss of prosperity, and you get authoritarian mammonites, who want to make sure it's impossible for the wrong people to accumulate capital. And everyone who isn't them is the wrong people.

91:

Another way to look at it is asking how the UK could possibly benefit from sending pure profit to the USA. Forget any payment for actual goods or services, focus on the profit element. How does that benefit the UK compared to what they have now? Which *exact* parts of the US medical system are so much better for everyone than what the UK has that it would be worth paying a profit margin on top to get them in the UK?

The thing is that that caveat renders any comparison irrelevant because there isn't any part of the US medical system that even tries to work "for everyone" (even if you limit that to for "everyone lawfully in the country").

People in the UK also look at what has happened to bits of the NHS that have been subject to outsourcing and other free-market* reforms. AFAIK none have resulted in better services or lower costs, let alone both of those things as generally promised.

The film focused on Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Cambridgeshire, the first hospital to be handed to a private management firm.

Circle Health took operational control of the 276-bed hospital trust in 2012 on a 10-year contract, but handed the contract back to the NHS in 2015 after the hospital was rated as inadequate in 2014 and put into special measures by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

* free as in "do this or we fire you and put in place someone who will"

92:

But health care in most places isn't free, it's paid for in taxes.

The American health care system is an example of what happens when you disintermediate the government between the people and the health care providers, and do it with a mix of public funding and non-profit, and for-profit business. As one might expect, it's an effing mess, but enough people are getting hugely rich off of it (owners of insurance companies, among others) that it takes something like a pandemic to dislodge it.

I'm in favor of nationalizing health care because the US experience shows that having a single big entity setting prices keeps prices down, and it turns out to be cheaper to pay for this entity through taxes than to require businesses to pay for health insurance as a prerequisite for full time hiring.

The reason it's cheaper is that the price of health care in the US generally isn't known until after it's delivered. At that point, it's either charged full rate to the uninsured patient, or it's negotiated with the insurance company, with the patient held hostage and/or bankrupted. And if the patient can't pay and has no insurance, the hospital eats the cost, leading to loss of hospitals in poor areas. Replacing that with the government covering everything and negotiating the costs with the suppliers really is simpler and easier.

93:

But health care in most places isn't free, it's paid for in taxes.

I shall be careful to use the US phrasing in future "free at the point of consumption".

Many things considered free are actually paid for through taxes and often even regional variations are minimal (free speech, for example). But yes, from the US point of view all those things must always be referred to as "paid for by taxes"

"you have the right to be killed, unless it is done by a policeman or aristocrat"... who knew they were singing about le président des États-Unis.

(Also, does Trump know that the French consider his country feminine?)

94:

(*not* to be killed, dammit)

95:

the ambulance system in Australia

In Victoria, a family (parent 1 + parent 2 + n children) subscription is AUD96.70 per year, for a single it's AUD48.35, and you can purchase up to five years at a time.

If you can't scrape up that much per year you're already covered by the Health Care Card side of things.

So what exactly is your problem with the frightening cost of Ambulance Subscrriptions in the various states?

BTW, some aren't government run.

96:

Meanwhile, my VP of an investment bank brother has announced that he intends to visit my 80 year old mother with his wife and child in the next few weeks and wants to meet with me as well on his trip from the northeast to the southeast. He works in an office, of course, and has numerous outside contacts with the elite class of investors on a regular basis. He even admits his local environment is a high-risk area in the email he sent me a couple of days ago.

As much as I want to tell him "You're insane, stay at home for a few more months," I know he'd just ignore it and proceed as he wishes anyway. What can I do? She's in an assisted living situation, a cottage in a facility which has locked down all access except for family, but that won't do any good when he wants to bring himself, his wife, and his daughter to visit.

I don't want to meet with him and his family. I don't want him to go on this trip. I don't want to risk the chance of infection. But I don't see how I can tell him this without him taking offense.

Blagh.

97:

Well, I don't know you nor your relationship with your brother, but I'd consider whether it's worse that he is offended or your mother (and possibly other people) are put at risk of COVID-19.

I know it's possible that you offend him and he still does what he wants, as you say. I still think it'd be better to tell him that anyway.

98:

Might be worth at least having a word with the old bill.

99:

David L
Some crooks have clearly noticed the vast profits made by US "insurance" companies & the similar profits to made from medicine - but only to the rich.
The Mud People ( all of us ) can fuck off & die, same as in the USA, right?
The only way thay can gett their thieving paws on that huge pile of moolah, is to destroy/dismantle/fragment the NHS & quite literally SELL the bits to the US corporations.
Asset-stripping Disaster Capitalism at its worst.

And, yes, we would start having to pay, spearately & more money.
THEFT - see also Robt Prior & mdive & Moz, all of whom are correct.

Heteromeles
AAARRRGH! - dont, please, do that!
That is th exact phrase used by the US right & crooks & theives about why & how all state-provded healthcare is evil & COMMONIST & WRONG & you should be gouged, individually & separartely, because that's the wonderful free market, isn't it?

100:

But health care in most places isn't free, it's paid for in taxes.

No, it's paid for by the government raising debt in the form of printing money and using that to pay rent, wages, buy stuff etc. for the health services. Taxes are used to prevent rampant inflation by destroying money circulating in the economy in a balancing act (plus growth which allows governments to spend more than they "raise" in taxes since the growth = extra wealth = more money).

The US tax system is a Chthulhuoid mess of itsy-bitsy ringfenced taxes for this and that, each tax tuned to "fund" a particular part of the economy but at its root it's still balancing government debt in terms of the dollars they print. In the UK there's only the Exchequer which gets all of the taxes (on a national basis, local councils are something else) and it prints the money/debt which it disburses to fund various parts of government like the NHS. It's a simpler process (no gargantuan spending bills every few weeks requiring legislative approval, for example) but it's impossible under the UK taxation system to clearly show that Those People are getting Free Stuff from Our Tax Dollars, unlike in the US where who gets what is a perennial debating point.

101:

I know it sounds like my previous comments about chainsaws, but the masks I see used are the wrong ones for personal protection. If everyone wore masks, then yeah, surgical masks are probably fine. N95 masks generally have unfiltered exhausts, so they are not right for public health. They don't filter everything, and when you're basically dealing with a very toxic dust, they're not the right choice.

The right choice is a full face positive pressure supplied air mask.

In ICU the staff should be wearing them inside a hazmat suit.

There's not enough of them, but that's the right equipment.

102:

what exactly is your problem with the frightening cost of Ambulance Subscrriptions in the various states?

In NSW it's $150/year for a single person.

My objection is twofold: firstly, ambulances should be part of the healthcare system and paid for by the government, largely to avoid situations like my second objection: the stupidity of making me legally liable for something I did not ask for and do not want, should someone decide to call an ambulance and point it at me.

Yes, in some situations it makes perfect sense for the victim to be liable for the cost. But often it's just a way for someone to punish a member of a group they dislike with zero possibility of suffering for it. "someone fell off a bicycle, see I knew those idiots shouldn't be allowed on the road. Ha, I will fine them $400"... so an ambulance turns up and duly observes that the minor grazes don't justify medical attention, charges me $400, and disappears.

The ambulance system is predicated on universal "membership", the idea being that anyone can call an ambulance at any time for someone they think might need one. Even better, they can do so via the universal emergency phone number (000,999,911 or whatever). Outside the USA the cops or fire brigade don't turn up and say "that will be $XXX", why is the ambulance different?

Oh, it's part of the government's push to make us all take out private health insurance? Fuck that scam.

103:

(in the USA many police forces make significant money from taking valuable items, especially cash, from anyone they come in contact with. The difference between that and organised crime is technical rather than behavioural. It partially explains why some people in the USA regard the police as brigands rather than helpful members of their communities)

104:

You're not required to pay if an ambulance is called for you. At you have to do is refuse to go. They'll give you the "we can't leave you here, we have a duty of care" but you're under no obligation to go with them.

I'm with HCF and it's 56 dollars a year. Basically in case I need a helicopter transport.

105:

I don't know what is satire anymore.
"Trump urges Americans to stand beneath giant anvils suspended by a thread"
http://www.newsbiscuit.com/2020/05/23/trump-urges-americans-to-stand-beneath-giant-anvils-suspended-by-a-thread/
-Naah. Trump would not provide money for any anvils!
.
Britain: "Keir Starmer censured for ‘unsporting’ use of facts"

106:

There is another possibility, or perhaps a variation on that. My wife (who is very good at reading body language) believes that Bozo has not yet fully recovered - and, given what we know about what a serious bout of COVID does to people, that seems very likely. So who else could he trust to watch his back while he is still vulnerable?

107:

You're not required to pay if an ambulance is called for you. At you have to do is refuse to go. They'll give you the "we can't leave you here, we have a duty of care" but you're under no obligation to go with them.

Concerned chap in uniform saying "we can't leave you here, we need to take you to the hospital" would have a lot of people thinking they had no choice. Especially once shock kicked in. So it really depends on whether the paramedics explained the choices clearly

And if paramedics are held personally liable if you refuse to go and it later turns out that was the wrong medical decision, they will be doing their best to persuade you to go — and the temptation to imply (by omission if nothing else) that you have no choice will be high, because that's what their incentive is.

108:

Or write you a ticket…

After a police officer killed an unarmed black teenager named Michael Brown five years ago this month in Ferguson, Mo., protests there rocked the nation, leading to a public outcry over race and policing. People were outraged to learn that municipalities throughout St. Louis County had been issuing traffic tickets to finance city services — and jailing drivers who could not afford to pay — with black residents bearing the brunt of those policies.

In an effort to curb excessive ticketing, state lawmakers passed Senate Bill 5 with broad bipartisan support in 2015. The law capped the percentage of revenue that municipalities were allowed to earn from their courts at 20 percent, among other things.

The results have been stark. Municipal courts statewide collected $60.5 million in fines last year, a 45 percent decrease from 2013. The number of warrants issued statewide fell by 18 percent to 545,484 over the same period.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/06/us/black-drivers-traffic-stops.html

109:

Hey Moz

I ride too and like you I have done the bolt when knocked off my bike so I don't have to pay the ambo bill when I can't afford to and don't need to.

Having said that (I'm in WA right now)the system is a bit more nuanced - a couple of years ago I was driving across the causeway and blacked out intermittently until I got to the end) (In Sydney terms it's kinda like stacking it on the harbour bridge :( )

I was less than 1km from RPH the major trauma centre in WA and the bill was $949 - and was taken to hospital on blue lights as the health funds would say it. At the time I was employed on good money and could afford the bill and if I was on income support it would have been half that but still too expensive on the dole in Oz.

Having said that, it was homeless people who called the ambos on my phone plus a Perth parking inspector who drove my car into the part of the carpark where I wouldn't get towed away (the tow fee is $850 compared to the $949 ambo fee). The ambo dudes spent 30 minuted 'stabilising' me before they even drove back to RPH, less than a km away. They also sent a second backup ambulance as the homeless dudes and the parking inspector thought I was having a heart attack. All for $950.Would you really want homeless people and parking inspectors not to help because they were too scared they might have to pay the ambo bill? (Happy days, it turned out after about 5k of medical tests to be some exotic virus without a cure which took me 6 months to get over)

I 100% agree with you on how unfair it is that the patient has to pay without calling or agreeing to it. In a perfect world, no-one should pay. If I had had health insurance at the time, I wouldn't have had to pay a cent as it was an emergency. But we are where we are and if we changed that to the person calling in the emergency had to pay for the ambo if the patient didn't agree, then no parking inspector or passer by would ever call an ambulance

110:

Sorry Gasdive, but sending ambos away in Aus does not absolve you from the bill. And not only that in many states, they send the bill to creditcorp within a couple of months if you haven't paid it. (the same creditcorp who have been in front of the federal court for threatening pensioners with bankruptcy. :/

111:

In a perfect world, no-one should pay. If I had had health insurance at the time, I wouldn't have had to pay a cent as it was an emergency. But we are where we are and if we changed that to the person calling in the emergency had to pay for the ambo if the patient didn't agree, then no parking inspector or passer by would ever call an ambulance

Well, I haven't yet seen a perfect place, but many countries seem to have free or almost-free ambulance service.

Here, the ambulance rides are mostly free or cheap enough (like maybe 20-30 euros) that most people don't think about the costs. The problem with the costs obviously is that people don't necessarily call the ambulance themselves, which can be more costly in some time.

Here in Finland, the city of Helsinki (the capital) did away with the payments collected at the health centers for visits, to lower the bar to get to a doctor. It saved money in the long run, as more problems got handled when they were just starting to show up instead of waiting until it's a real and expensive problem. This of course means that the serious problems are treated anyway immediately without considering if the person needing the care can pay. (Mostly.)

Of course my home city of Espoo, bordering Helsinki, first said that they would look at how the zero payment works for Helsinki and consider it for Espoo, too, but when it was clear that it saved money, they just closed their eyes and we still have to pay. It's not much (and I get healthcare paid basically by my employer's insurance), but it's still too much for many poor people.

112:

(in the USA many police forces make significant money from taking valuable items, especially cash, from anyone they come in contact with.

Ah, nope.

Civil forfeiture is a big issue. And a big problem. But it does not operate the way you portray it. At all.

113:

The right choice is a full face positive pressure supplied air mask.

They do have them in some NHS locations and they look weird -- there's an inflatable helmet that forms the pressure seal around the face and an integral soft transparent face shield. They're expensive, complicated, difficult to put on and take off, usually requiring the help of trained assistants and they're not disposable so they need to be thoroughly cleaned between patients instead to prevent cross-contamination. My guess is they're only used on the COVID-19 ICUs where they're working in a heavily virus-laden environment, guaranteed.

Back when this mess kicked off I was looking at PPE from my local hardware store -- the dust masks and basic respirators had been pillaged and all they had left, pretty much was the positive-pressure asbestos-removal helmets, 300 quid and up, the sort that needed a training certificate to buy (and before you ask, this was to prevent some numpty deciding they would do their own asbestos removal and disposal and save a few thousand quid by not having to hire professionals to do the job).

114:

I know, how hard is it to throw some preventative health money in the mix. It should be a no brainer all across the world. Every single health study I have ever seen (like the Lancet studies) always say 'lower the bar for the Dr so they can pick up the nasty stuff' and fend them off before they occur.

eg. Preventative screening for bowel cancer costs about $20. Treatment when not diagnosed 100k plus in the early stages. If you are lucky. While our ambo service needs a lot of work, we still get some of the screening stuff right.

115:

Assuming the Wikipedia article is accurate…

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_forfeiture_in_the_United_States

Civil forfeiture in the United States, also called civil asset forfeiture or civil judicial forfeiture, is a process in which law enforcement officers take assets from persons suspected of involvement with crime or illegal activity without necessarily charging the owners with wrongdoing. While civil procedure, as opposed to criminal procedure, generally involves a dispute between two private citizens, civil forfeiture involves a dispute between law enforcement and property such as a pile of cash or a house or a boat, such that the thing is suspected of being involved in a crime. To get back the seized property, owners must prove it was not involved in criminal activity.

(Emphasis mine.)

According to The Washington Post, federal asset forfeiture in 2014 accounted for over $5 billion going into Justice and Treasury Department coffers, while in comparison, official statistics show that the amount stolen from citizens by burglars during that same year was a mere $3.5 billion.

And there are apparently incentives for police to do it:

In the middle of the night in March of 2012, NYPD officers burst into the Bronx home of Gerald Bryan, ransacking his belongings, tearing out light fixtures, punching through walls, and confiscating $4,800 in cash. Bryan, 42, was taken into custody on suspected felony drug distribution, as the police continued their warrantless search. Over a year later, Bryan’s case was dropped. When he went to retrieve his $4,800, he was told it was too late: the money had been deposited into the NYPD’s pension fund. Bryan found himself trapped in the NYPD’s labyrinthine civil forfeiture procedure, a policy based on a 133-year-old law which robs poor New Yorkers of millions of dollars every year; a law that has been ruled unconstitutional twice.

"The NYPD uses confusion about the code to take money from people who didn't do anything. There is a cash incentive for the NYPD to take the money—it goes to their pension, it can even be used to buy equipment, to throw parties. You see a nice car parked outside of a precinct? That's the result of civil forfeiture. Now it's theirs."

In June 2013 Bryan finally got a check for $4,800 from the city. However, the money returned to him was not deducted from the police pension fund. It was taken from the city's general fund. Mr. Bryan was paid back in taxpayer money.

https://gothamist.com/news/how-the-nypds-use-of-civil-forfeiture-robs-innocent-new-yorkers

116:

I am prepared to believe BoZo and Penfold believe he has the best political antennae of their crowd based on the referendum and playing through the EU stuff last Autumn to the election and thus want to keep him. We may deplore the tactics and/or disagree with the result, but they were effective.

They therefore have decided to burn up political capital in keeping him around in a manner reminiscent of John Major defending David Mellor back in the 90s.

However, on a purely tactical basis what are they thinking? I was wondering whether Raab was showing dumb insolence by deliberately making the position worse by how he defended Cummings, but it appears that it was the plan. It seems that they had 12 hours to think about the first response (albeit most of those when sensible people would have been sleeping) so they clearly went all in on this approach.

The tone of the defence seems misjudged and has made it worse than Major/Mellor in burning up political capital - it comes over as how dare you plebs challenge this epitome of perfection and that the elite can do as they want. Not addressing the day trip to Barnard Castle and the knowledge at 10 DS means it will carry on running.

It would have been better have gone with a more apologetic response as Danny Finkelstein said, if only to avoid pissing off the police, medics and constituency activists. Certainly would have been better to say that there was a conversation with the police and no action was taken as opposed to implicitly saying the Durham police were lying.

They seem to have now moved to blaming it all on remoaners which just risks adding to the outrage which people feel. Telling people that they are not entitled to be angry or that they are being useful fools for political opponents seems to be a high risk strategy to say the least.


117:

but when it was clear that it saved money, they just closed their eyes and we still have to pay.

If you admit the logic -- that the goal is to minimise costs to society as a whole, and that market interactions should be restricted to areas where they're a net social gain, rather than a net social cost -- you wind up with not-for-profit banking. You wind up with a nationalised internet backbone. You wind up with a very different means of providing housing than the notional "housing market". You wind up decarbonising with the full force of state power behind it.

Lots of people are entirely able to figure that out, and as are a result very much against either paying attention to net social cost or preventative medicine, depending on how you look at what they do.

118:

Greg, the mapping tool you're using doesn't show gradients, does it?

With the exception of Drummond Place, your proposed destinations are both steeply uphill. And Queen Street Gardens is then in a valley which requires another steep uphill to get out of.

Drummond Place is tiny; King George V Park would work better, but is the exact opposite of steeply uphill (until it's time to go home).

119:

from anyone they come in contact with.

Not true at all.

As I said it IS a problem. But not in the manner protracted by that comment.

There IS a process for how it operates. But still it sucks.

I think it should be outlawed. But it does not have any champions who can push it over the hump in Congress.

120:

So what exactly is your problem with the frightening cost of Ambulance Subscrriptions in the various states?

Welp, here in the UK I have called an ambulance precisely ... twice? ... in the past 30 years.

So your subscription fee would work out at AUD725 per ride, if we had an ambulance subscription fee in Scotland.

Thankfully, we don't: ambulance service is free, and while there are some time-wasters, more importantly folks who are broke and in need of emergency care don't hold off dialling 999 or try getting a bus to the hospital A&E unit while suffering from a heart attack or stroke.

Fees at point of service deter people from seeking emergency healthcare. And in the long term, it trains the public not to seek healthcare at all, which is a really bad precondition for trying to survive a lethal global pandemic.

121:

But I don't see how I can tell him this without him taking offense.

At this point, all you can do is risk giving offense and tell him, bluntly, "if you visit mum and she subsequently dies of COVID19 I will never speak to you again."

If she's 80 then there's a roughly 15% mortality rate from the coronavirus.

Your brother is literally playing Russian Roulette with his/your mother. You have a duty to warn him. Unless he's hoping to inherit? In which case maybe it's restraining order time.

122:
But yes, if you have to go anywhere and riding your bike is the obvious option, that does seem to solve the bootstrap problem

That's not quite the bootstrap problem. The bootstrap problem is that depression means there just isn't anywhere you have to go that much. Not work, not to get food, not anywhere.

I like the suggestion in another comment about having a dog. But we travel, in normal times, and dogs & hotels don't mix.

Fortunately I've not had a big episode since 2018, when we changed various things, so I can hope.

123:

My mother (who used to work in the health service) pointed out to me both that he may not be recovered yet, and that he may not recover: who knows if he got enough oxygen?

But if I wanted someone to watch my back in a world of politicians I'd pick someone who had more social awareness than a tapeworm.

But perhaps Cummings is all he has? Perhaps he has something over Cummings & can therefore trust him? For instance 'not sacking him for massive quarantine violations'.

I still like, abstractly, the Russian idea better.

124:

My point is that Cummings IS probably all he has! Bozo is a treacherous little sod, and almost certainly believes that the whole cabinet is like him, or worse, and he is probably right; in several cases, we know that for certain.

125:

Re: '... bootstrap problem ... depression means there just isn't anywhere you have to go'

I find that anything that can get me moving or laughing gets me over the inertia. Paul Simon's original cover is a favorite but the Muppets version is the one that gets me on my feet. Used this for a while as an exercise warm-up. Of course, music is all personal preference but chances are there's some upbeat/fast tempo/funny tune from your youth to put that first chink in the gloom.


Kodachrome | Muppets Music Video | The Muppets

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_01zRwJOPw


The first time I saw it, the Muppets cover of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody also got me laughing. Later found out that they had approached Brian May for permission to do a parody and he (and the other remaining band members) not only said yes but also sent Sesame Street the original master track trusting that they could create an audience-appropriate artistically original cover. They did. (Also this was the first hi-def YT video when it came out which is apt. Kinda 'history repeats itself' feel. Queen's BoRap changed what music videos could be: visual layer/interpretative story-telling vs. bunch of head-shots of singers mouthing lyrics.)

Bohemian Rhapsody | Muppet Music Video | The Muppets

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tgbNymZ7vqY


Or, discover other countries' TV comedy shows. Of course, there's also bread baking, re-organizing closets, finally doing all the tedious little fix-it jobs around the house, growing plants, sewing your own home-made masks, brushing your cat every hour, etc.

126:

What can I do? She's in an assisted living situation, a cottage in a facility which has locked down all access except for family, but that won't do any good when he wants to bring himself, his wife, and his daughter to visit.

Options are sadly likely limited.

If you are willing/able to deal with the family fallout you obviously can forbid him to visit you entirely - or as a compromise refuse to let him into your house and have a visit outside (obviously wouldn't advise a 3rd party indoor place for an extended visit).

In terms of your mother, at least make sure the facility she is in are aware that he is planning to visit, and that he isn't local and thus can be considered higher risk. There may not be much they can do, but they should at least be aware of the higher risk.

127:

The Mammonites aren't really looking for a free market, they spend a lot of time attempting to isolate their businesses from market forces, what they seem to want is a cycling path that's downhill both ways, IOW, sharply dressed welfare applicants.

128:

Outside the USA the cops or fire brigade don't turn up and say "that will be $XXX", why is the ambulance different?

Sadly not true.

In Ontario an Ambulance is not free - it is $45 if medically necessary (as deemed by ER doctor) otherwise you pay $240.

http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/public/publications/ohip/amb.aspx

(it is difficult to argue with a fee of some sort for medically unnecessary ambulance service - about 20 years ago it became popular opinion (though false) that by going to the ER by ambulance you got treated faster than if you arrived by your own means, so people were calling an ambulance when it was needed)

Fire Departments have long billed for calls to false alarms, particularly an issue for high rise apartment buildings - but more recently they have started billing to attend motor vehicle incidents (sometimes with a qualifier that they only bill non-residents of the city/town.

https://www.toronto.ca/community-people/public-safety-alerts/understanding-emergency-services/fees-related-to-fire-prevention-fire-rescue/

A lot of this is the natural consequence of society's desire for tax cuts / tax freezes (which are hidden tax cut given inflation) which have encouraged/forced all levels of government to move from the idea of taxation to user fees.

129:

They seem to have now moved to blaming it all on remoaners

I suspect it will amuse many that the Daily Mail is now a mouthpiece for remoeners.

https://www.bbc.com/news/blogs/the_papers

130:

Indeed not; the Mammonites want all the money.

The value of money arises from exchange; if you had all the money, it would be worthless.

But before the system collapses, the Mammonites have greater relative social standing than would otherwise be the case, so no amount of reasoned explanations about the construction of value will ever put a dent in this axiom of their faith. It's not all that likely that the general banking collapse is going to do that, either. It's a simple and robust faith.

An actual free-market advocate (in the unlikely event you can find one!) will be all about optimising the conditions of exchange. They'll be anti-monopoly and to a certain extent pro-regulation. (Standard weights and measures, for example.)

131:

@Graydon 130
" the Mammonites have greater relative social standing than would otherwise be the case"

Precisely. It has never been about money, it is, and it always was about power. Money is a mean to an end and that end is power.

As in power to tell less fortunate people to do humiliating things, power to crap on them.

This is the reason why the same kind of people had absolutelly no problem living in a bureaucratic "communist" paradise, they had they same capacity to enjoy their abuse of power.

A billionaire do not need another 100 million, except it may give him an edge against some of his peers, so he wants it because it is a power game, as old as monkeys : ever seen these pictures of japanese dominant male monkey sitting in alone the middle of a large pool of hot water while the rest of the band freeze on the border in the snow ? With one or two croonies allowed a little space occasionally?

I'm not the only one to think that, much better said than i can do :

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/11/opinion/dollars-cents-republican-sadism.html

"But is it really about the money? No, it’s about the cruelty. Over the past few years it has become increasingly clear that the suffering imposed by Republican opposition to safety-net programs isn’t a bug, it’s a feature. Inflicting pain is the point."

132:

Dom has stepped in front of a hot mike and is currently explaining to everyone what he did wrong and why it was right for him to do because special, bless.

In other news the ongoing train wreck has just ploughed through a burning orphanage and is heading for the oil refinery gates. More later.

133:

the mapping tool you're using doesn't show gradients, does it?

Google Earth Pro (FREE!) has a very useful feature that kind of does that. Select the PATH|SHOW ELEVATION PROFILE option in the measuring tool and then click out the path you're interested in. A window will open showing the elevations along the path, total distance, maximum and minimum elevations plus maximum, minimum and average ascending and descending slopes.

134:
However, on a purely tactical basis what are they thinking?

That's your mistake, right there. They weren't thinking: they can't thinking.

The current government is dominated by people who think brexit-at-any-cost is a good idea, and who apparently look up to Cummings – someone who has 'taught himself maths to postgraduate level', or in other words, a crank – as some kind of genius. These are not smart people. Thinking is not what they do. Thinking is what they have Cummings to do for them.

135:

David L @ 79:

Which is why you wear one before setting foot out of the house, and it stays on until you return. Other people will do what you don't expect, and pop up in touching distance.

When you live in an area, like I do, where you can see people coming from 100' to 300' away, I just keep it in my back pocket.

When out in the car THEN I put it on as I exit and if the next stop is close just leave it on.

I don't carry mine when I go out to walk the dog. Maybe I should start doing so as things open up.

When I go out with a purpose, e.g. my every other week shopping trips where I try to aggregate all my necessary errands into a single trip, I put it on before I leave the house and take it off in the car once I've made my final stop (usually upon leaving a McDonald's drive-thru for a coffee to drink on the way back home).

136:

Agreed, although according to Private Eye the current editor is rather less of a true believer than Dacre. It also seems ill advised to use this against conservative MPs and activists.

Again on tactics what they did this afternoon should have been what they did at the start while now it risks appearing to be a self serving reinvention of events. Also digging in with attacking the press for forcing him to give a full reply seems rather entitled to me.

Also people more likely now to concentrate on the contradiction between we could travel because we did not know we had Covid 19 but needed to travel because we thought we had it.

Based on conversations with friends who have young children am rather sceptical of a 260 mile drive without a service station toilet break.

137:

_Moz_ @ 83: Moving to Australia the whole idea of "ambulance insurance" was bizarre to me, but here that's how it works. Ambulances are apparently owned and run by the government but on a fee for service basis.

Ambulance Victoria responds to over 800,000 calls for medical help from Victorians every year. That is over 2,200 calls a day. Emergency medical transport services are not free and not covered by Medicare Ditto in NSW

Note the .gov.au domain and apparent monopoly.

Sure, the maximum fee is only $6000 or so, but that's still an ugly bit of money for most people. In NZ there's now a fixed $100 fee because the government only funds 80% of the overall cost (provider is St John's ambulance, a charity) but when I left it was still a government-funded free service.

In the UK ambulances are still free, as is hospital care etc etc. Medical bankruptcies only happen when people spend long periods in hospital or become disabled and the support payments from the government aren't enough to keep them going or in some cases, alive (this is by design).

That's pretty much the way it works here in Raleigh. Ambulances (other than a few private units for NON-emergency patient transfers) are run by Wake County Emergency Services. They send around a flyer every year telling you to subscribe to the service for an annual fee (~ $150 IIRC) warning that otherwise a trip for non-subscribers can result in a bill for $10,000 or more.

Thinking about it now, I'm amazed ambulance service hasn't been privatized like the local hospital was (built at taxpayer expense & then sold off to private investors). Maybe it's because the ambulances are scattered out around the county at the fire stations & they haven't figured out how to sell those yet.

138:

Rbt Prior
a law that has been ruled unconstitutional twice.
And it's STILL being used?
W.T.F?
Does this mean civil forfeiture is uncontitootonal - everywhere, or just in NY state?

AdrianD
They seem to have now moved to blaming it all on remoaners ... which they are going to continue doing, until after we crash out with no deal, when additonal blame will be pointed at both C-19 & the evil EU.
It's pathetically obvious & at least 35% of the population are stupid, gullible & brainwahed enough to swallow it, I'm afraid ...

Charlie, I'm quite aware of the E-W ridge-&-furrow physical geog of central Dunedin ...
The last time I was there for any time, I spent a very enjoyable week in re-rented sudent accommodation, halfway between the Greyfriars Booby statue & the Elephant House cafe ... which isn't a long way ..
IIRC, you live close to the location, probably somewhere inside the picture here
Having walked up & down Broughton St, yes, it's a hill, but it's not THAT steep, surely?
[ When last there I went to Roslin Chapel - totally wierdout, & also got the bus out to Balerno & walked back in, parallel to the Water of Leith, using the footpath that is basically the Ex-Caley branch line from there ... ]

[ Allen Thomson @ 133 - read the above ... ]

@ 120
The USA-ians REALLY DON'T GET IT, do they?

tfb
I find that even more frightening ... that BoZo has C-19 after-effects, including clots, blood clots, faulty memory ( Besides remembering who helped him in the past ) & other short-circuits.] Oh shit.
Later.. You have to remember that ( Up until now ) Scummings is (was? ) a superb tactician - he has bamboozled the press & the public, usually by some combination of : Bait-&-switch, Whataboutery, or flinging a "dead cat" on to the conference table - in other words distraction & diversion.
NOW: He & BoZo are up against an experienced Prosecution Lawyer, whoi simply won't be fooled by this crap any more.
Oops.

Michel2Bec
THAT reminds me of Tberius, Caligula, Nero, Domitian.
Oh shit, again.

139:

blackanvil @ 96: Meanwhile, my VP of an investment bank brother has announced that he intends to visit my 80 year old mother with his wife and child in the next few weeks and wants to meet with me as well on his trip from the northeast to the southeast. He works in an office, of course, and has numerous outside contacts with the elite class of investors on a regular basis. He even admits his local environment is a high-risk area in the email he sent me a couple of days ago.

As much as I want to tell him "You're insane, stay at home for a few more months," I know he'd just ignore it and proceed as he wishes anyway. What can I do? She's in an assisted living situation, a cottage in a facility which has locked down all access except for family, but that won't do any good when he wants to bring himself, his wife, and his daughter to visit.

I don't want to meet with him and his family. I don't want him to go on this trip. I don't want to risk the chance of infection. But I don't see how I can tell him this without him taking offense.

Blagh.

Fuck him. He sounds like a real asshole! Tell him he's being a piece of shit and you don't want him murdering your 80 year old mother. Don't worry about offending him any more than he worries about murdering your mom.

... and I would call it murder in your communication with him (or at least attempted murder). Maybe if you're blunt enough with him it will act as a clue-by-four upside the head.

If he's still stupid enough to show up after that, consider using a real 2x4 upside his head. But I wouldn't worry about offending him.

140:

NOW: He & BoZo are up against an experienced Prosecution Lawyer, whoi simply won't be fooled by this crap any more.
Oops.

NOW: thanks to the millions of people who thought Jeremy Corbyn was a baby-eating Ultra-Marxist Boris Johnson is Prime Minister and leader of the Tory Party with an overall majority of eighty in the House of Commons, a large majority of them totally loyal to the man who made Brexit happen.

Scoring points at Prime Minister's Questions is just that, scoring points. The average Daily Mail reader watching the smarmy ex-lawyer browbeating their lovable moppet-haired hero are not going to be persuaded to fire him, the government will not change. The right-wingers in the Labour Party might well applaud the Second Coming of Tony Blair as he eviscerates Boris verbally but once the Speaker of the House moves on to Other Business, Boris Johnson will still be PM and Leader of the Party.

141:

Again on tactics what they did this afternoon should have been what they did at the start while now it risks appearing to be a self serving reinvention of events. Also digging in with attacking the press for forcing him to give a full reply seems rather entitled to me.

I suspect the problem is that Boris/Cummings didn't read the tea leaves correctly, and thus have been surprised by the attempts to remove them from power.

Thus they are totally unprepared for the reality when the establishment is not longer protecting you...

142:

So Cummings has said that he drove to Bernard Castle (having previously lied and said he didn't I think) to test his eyesight.

Because that's what you do if you're worried about your eyesight: you get in a car, with your wife and young child, and you drive 30 miles.

I can't work this out. If he's lying then he could at least make up a lie which doesn't make him sound dangerous, dangerously stupid, or both: this is the kind of lie a child might make up. On the other hand, if he actually did what he's claimed then he clearly is dangerous and/or dangerously stupid.

What the fuck is wrong with him?

143:

feymary @ 110: Sorry Gasdive, but sending ambos away in Aus does not absolve you from the bill. And not only that in many states, they send the bill to creditcorp within a couple of months if you haven't paid it. (the same creditcorp who have been in front of the federal court for threatening pensioners with bankruptcy. :/

I've heard of lawyers chasing ambulances, but I think this might be the first time I've ever heard of ambulances chasing lawyers. 8^)

144:

I am not a diagnostician but I'd say he's at least an Asperger's if not full-blown autistic (and may Ghu forgive me for throwing terms like that around about someone I don't actually know personally).

He really truly doesn't think he's done anything wrong, not in his own mind. Sure he was told repeatedly, Stay Home but that was other people telling him something he didn't want to listen to so Mister Toad's Wild Ride eventuated. He was asked, did he go anywhere else, well no was the answer because the side-trip wasn't really going somewhere else, not in his judgement which supercedes everything else. He is even more lacking in Clue than I am, and I have a black belt in Faux Pas.

145:

don't want to meet with him and his family. I don't want him to go on this trip. I don't want to risk the chance of infection. But I don't see how I can tell him this without him taking offense.

Taking offense is one thing, getting sick and dying is another. The two are not equivalent, despite how it feels.

What I'd suggest:
1. Document, document, document. Save communications. They can always be thrown out later, if it doesn't matter, but if on the rare chance it does, they may matter (in court, for example).
2. Find out what you're Mom's will, durable power of attorney, etc. say. Charlie's right about this. If you have a duty to protect her or your immediate family, you need to that.
3. Find out what the Covid-19 policies are for your Mom's home. Tell them about the situation you're in, especially if you've been the more active caregiver. They have a duty to care for your mom too. Will they make sure he's masked and gloved? Take his temperature? Ask about symptoms?
4. Feel free to not meet with your brother. For all I know, you're an asymptomatic carrier, and it's not worth making your brother sick. If he argues, tell him it's your choice, not his, about who you choose to risk, not his to force you to expose him.

Good luck!

146:

tfb @ 122:

But yes, if you have to go anywhere and riding your bike is the obvious option, that does seem to solve the bootstrap problem

That's not quite the bootstrap problem. The bootstrap problem is that depression means there just isn't anywhere you have to go that much. Not work, not to get food, not anywhere.

I like the suggestion in another comment about having a dog. But we travel, in normal times, and dogs & hotels don't mix.

I'm finding that less true here in the U.S. than it used to be. There are LOTS of pet friendly hotels. I was looking for a little dog in the first place because they can travel better than cats.

My last cat died a little over a year ago (21 years old which is a pretty good age for a captured feral kitten). Whenever I had to travel I had to take her to a pet hotel here in Raleigh. She went to stay with my Mom when I had to go overseas and my Mom didn't want to give her back when I got home, but she came back to live with me after my Mom passed away.

I decided to get a dog because he could ride along with me in the car & most places nowadays have at least one pet friendly hotel/motel. He likes his little crate & puppy pads are a lot easier to handle than a litter box.

The thing about depression is there are places you need to go, you do need to go to work, you do need food, but you just don't have whatever it is that makes the effort worthwhile.

147:

SFReader @ 125:

Re: '... bootstrap problem ... depression means there just isn't anywhere you have to go'

I find that anything that can get me moving or laughing gets me over the inertia. Paul Simon's original cover is a favorite but the Muppets version is the one that gets me on my feet. Used this for a while as an exercise warm-up. Of course, music is all personal preference but chances are there's some upbeat/fast tempo/funny tune from your youth to put that first chink in the gloom.

Kodachrome | Muppets Music Video | The Muppets

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_01zRwJOPw

That certainly is a toe tapper. I always enjoyed playing in rock bands when we could have a good horn section. That's a GREAT horn section.

By the time they did take the Kodachrome away I was fully digital. But ... I got a chance to take a trip to China in December 2010. Picture me as the adult supervision for a bunch of college kids.

I knew the last day for processing Kodachrome was going to be Dec 30, 2010., so I found a my last two rolls of Kodachrome in back of the fridge and took them with me.

We got back to Raleigh at something like 3:00am on Dec 23 and I already had my ExpressMail envelopes pre-addressed & pre-paid, ready to go in the box at the USPS processing center right near the airport, so they got to Kansas in plenty of time.

148:

Nojay
Totally agree, unfortunately ...
But whose fault was this?
The Labour party's for picking a complete utter total incompetent like Corbyn as "leader" - mind you, there's worse - his brother, Piers C, whom I have had the very unfortunate experience of meeting, a v long time ago.
"Bonkers" doesn't even begin to describe it.

149:
I am not a diagnostician but I'd say he's at least an Asperger's if not full-blown autistic (and may Ghu forgive me for throwing terms like that around about someone I don't actually know personally).

I think he's a psychopath, in the technical sense. He certainly seems to have the characteristics you'd associate with one.

150:

Yes, not for piling on, but my limited knowledge of Aspergers doesn't suggest someone who'd bullshit at the drop of a hat. Psychopath? here's a test for psychopathy, for what it's worth. There's been at least one pop-sci book on what "for what it's worth" means, and long story short, being rated a psychopath doesn't automatically mean you're evil, any more than scoring low on the test doesn't make you a Renfield-caliber enabler.

From what little I know about Cummings, he does score rather high on this 12 question test. Harder to tell how he scores on the Levenson Test though. Perhaps someone wants to take it for him, for educational S&Gs?

151:

One cannot avoid placing a considerable amount of blame on the British electoral system, which can manage to grant a party an 80-seat majority for the same fucking number of votes that left it barely able to function the previous time round.

(Piers Crowman has a website; indeed, he is quite unmistakably a looney.)

152:

Not to mention that in this caronavirus catastrophe, the vast majority of the federal funds that were supposed to go to all hospitals went to private, for-profit corporate owned hospitals -- that were already sitting on many billions of cash cushions, unlike the public hospitals.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/25/business/coronavirus-hospitals-bailout.html

] "Wealthiest Hospitals Got Billions in Bailout for Struggling Health Providers
Twenty large chains received more than $5 billion in federal grants even while sitting on more than $100 billion in cash." ]


153:

One cannot avoid placing a considerable amount of blame on the British electoral system,

It's easy to say it's the systems fault, or the voters fault, because that way those who created the mess can escape the blame.

The British electoral system didn't put Trump, Putin, Bolsonaro, Duterte, Áder, your choice of Italian leaders, etc. into power.

Any system can result in a terrible leader/terrible party getting power.

The reason Boris got into power, and got his 80 seat majority, is because the Labour Party (and their current puppets behind the scenes in the one union and Momentum) could not accept the reality that the UK was not going to make Corybn the PM.

And thus they decided Corbyn was more important than winning, and now the UK pays the price.

(and the UK isn't unique - the Federal Liberal Party in Canada went through a similar phase where the party elite, deciding they knew better than the voters, insisting on putting into place a thoroughly incompetent candidate with the resulting disastrous results).

154:

Via cstross twitter (and riffing on a tweet), some of you may have seen today's D.J. Truump's tweet about "Transition to Greatness". He's been warning us for a while about this Transition to Greatness.

TRANSITION TO GREATNESS! Get ready, it is already happening again!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 25, 2020

Obviously, He is talking about Cicada Brood IX. [2][1][0]
They're Back: Millions Of Cicadas Expected To Emerge This Year (May 23, 2020, Jason Slotkin)
In parts of southwestern Virginia, North Carolina and West Virginia, it's nearly time for a brood of the insects to emerge for their once-in-17-year mating season. As many as 1.5 million cicadas could emerge per acre.
...
Periodical cicadas — unlike annual cicadas — emerge every 13 or 17 years, depending on the species. Brood IX, as this grouping is dubbed, last emerged in 2003.

They last went into hiding in 2003. Four molts underground, the last into pupae, that then emerge and molt to adults when the soil temperature reaches 18C. DJT is excited about this last life phase. :-)

[1] Old informal powerpoint presentation I did for Brood II 7 years ago - 150 MB warning: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0lmVD1ZN9bGTV9JQ1E4d0pHREk/view?usp=sharing - just skimmed it and it seems to still be valid. I am not a biologist.
[2] Brood IX might have special significance for His Kind.
[0] If it ever leaks that this is what he's really talking about, I will accept earned DJT interpretation points.

155:

Hmmm?

I figured he was tweeting about how Covid19 cases in Brazil and perhaps Russia might eventually surpass the US. Leaving us as the world's #2 (sarcastic pun intended) if not #3.

There's something about lying authoritarians which just doesn't work well with pandemic control. I don't get it. You'd think that, given how good they say they are at their jobs, they'd have everything under control, no problem. Instead, it's almost like they're afraid of having competent underlings, and go out of their way to be the only person in charge, even when teams would work better for them (/more sarcasm).

Anyway, go cicadas! One of the world's great nitrogen cycle transfers will be screeching into the woods near you this summer!

156:

There’s also the issue of two classes of ambulances now - the paramedic someone broke get them help ones which should definitely be free, and the “I provide medical transport to from a to b” ones, which I have no objections to paying a fee for.

In London although the GP service was free, I regularly had two week delays to see a GP, which is absurd - in my mind seeing a doctor is a time sensitive issue otherwise why are you going?

By contrast in NZ there was traditionally a small fee to see a doctor, which was originally brought in to weed out the hypochondriacs and bandaid brigades and make people value the service more, which meant you could readily get same day bookings. Apparently though the subsidy market has been deeply skewed in the past decade and the old subsidy card scheme no longer helps, so fees are all over the place.

157:

Worryingly, the Orange One is planning to be at the SpaceX Dragon launch on Wednesday. Suspicions that there is a lot of work going into how best to say "No, we don't care who you are, you are *NOT* shaking hands with the crew before they suit up".

158:

Apparently though the subsidy market has been deeply skewed in the past decade and the old subsidy card scheme no longer helps, so fees are all over the place.

You can't effectively ration health care with money.

At all. Ever.

Any attempt inevitably goes pear-shaped.

Money is taken as a proxy for agency but it isn't; it's highly contextual. (All that stuff about the relative utility of ten bucks, time urgency, and so on.) A "but not them" provision -- we don't actually want to deny anyone care, we want them to get care, we just want to make it expensive to be annoying -- cannot treat the context as information (information causes change) because the context isn't known.

(If your goal is not rationing but outright denial, money works great. How sensible a policy stance this might be considered I leave as an exercise for the socially distanced.)

You deal with clogging behaviour by a combination of empowering the health care providers, relying on/mandating quantified diagnostics, and adequate funding.

159:

Boris got into power simply because a plurality of the electorate voted for him. We are all responsible for our own choices and their consequences. The UK isn't Syria, no one was holding a gun to your head, "they made me do it" doesn't hold water even if the other guy was Hitler. Stop blaming Boris and put the blame squarely where it belongs, all those responsible for his elevation, through action or inaction.

160:

Anyway, go cicadas! One of the world's great nitrogen cycle transfers will be screeching into the woods near you this summer!

My wife and I were driving across Pennsylvania back around 87 and apparently a brood had emerged. We could barely talk even with the windows rolled up. Sounded like a dozen cars were next to us driving with the emergency brakes on and the pads were gone so down to metal on metal.

161:

By contrast in NZ there was traditionally a small fee to see a doctor, which was originally brought in to weed out the hypochondriacs and bandaid brigades and make people value the service more, which meant you could readily get same day bookings.

I have been on that side of the argument due to my mother. She was a hypochondriac and a huge natural herbal self medicater so her systems were always messed up.

But I also do not want to discourage the dirt poor to avoid going when they need it.

162:

[ COMMENT DELETED, COMMENTER BANNED ]

Don't go advocating ditching public health measures in the middle of a pandemic just because keeping people from dying in windrows will hurt the little tin god of the economy. And especially don't do it when your host is one of the folks likely to suffer severe complications from COVID19.

At least, don't do it here, on my platform.

-- Charlie

163:

No, we don't care who you are, you are *NOT

I understand the crew and launch pad personnel have been in group isolation for 2 weeks or so.

But you know he will say "but I've been tested and am clean"
[eye roll]

164:

"There's something about lying authoritarians which just doesn't work well with pandemic control. I don't get it. You'd think that, given how good they say they are at their jobs, they'd have everything under control, no problem. Instead, it's almost like they're afraid of having competent underlings, and go out of their way to be the only person in charge, even when teams would work better for them (/more sarcasm)."

They are good at climbing the ladder and ripping people off. The people who are good at getting things done are handicapped, and IMHO would tend to top out in middle management.

165:

Small steps can really help reduce spread to more manageable levels

That would be "unfortunately not"; viruses disdain philosophy and preference.

We can all spend a couple-three-five years being seriously careful until effective treatment of some kind is available, or we can accept something between 3 and 5 percent mortality. (Current WHO estimate is 3.4 percent.) There isn't any in-between, because the sort of reasoning that decides quality of life is more important than not killing your neighbours and relatives will find excuses to be stupid.

166:

Herd immunity wasn't a bad idea

Herd immunity has never happened without a vaccine, even for diseases like smallpox or measles where you get it once and if you live you never get it again.

There is absolutely no basis to suppose even a severe case of COVID-19 confers lasting immunity. You're then into tricky modelling, but it isn't obviously possible for enough people to get the disease in a sufficiently narrow time window for the herd immunity strategy to work -- if it could work -- without crashing the health care system in the process. (And thus running the death rate way up, and including all the other things the health care system can regularly handle.)

Treating the health care system as ablative shielding for the economy is most profoundly unwise. It's not easily replaced and it's necessary to the effective functioning of many things.

We have absolutely no basis to suppose that the prompt crude mortality rate accurately reflects the long-term total mortality rate; how many of the people with kidney damage die in two, three, and five years? How many of those with blood clots stroke out? The current mortality numbers, already rather grim, represent a floor.

The trade consequences of being some place with a known circulating disease reservoir while your trading partners have extirpated the disease are not likely to be what one would best desire.

None of this is the least bit difficult. It's not what one would best prefer, but the appropriate response isn't just known it's been demonstrated. I suspect Churchill's remark about the US eventually doing the right thing after trying everything else first will apply.

167:

Charlie, this NERVA guy sounds like a bot.

168:

(I won't reply to NERVA... directly)

His comment about Sweden is dead wrong.
Denmark, Norway and Finland are doing far, far better.

169:

Or, to translate, the lock downs and restriction worked well enough that we didn't(*) overwhelm the health care system, thus some can now come out and claim the cure was worse than the disease.

I suspect the people of northern Italy would disagree, and sadly I suspect as time marches on and the virus continues its spread other less fortunate places will disagree.

And of course we all could end up paying the price if a second/third/etc. wave comes and enough people decide like the poster it was all a hoax.

As for Sweden, no it is not working. Last week Sweden had the highest death rate in Europe per capita, and has seen 4029 people die and so far no herd immunity to at least justify it. End of April only 7.3% of Stockholm's population had Covid-19 antibodies vs a prediction of 25% by the public health body.

Worse, while most of the world is seeing infections fall on the right side of the bell curve Sweden and the US aren't getting the fall on the other side. So the unecessary deaths are going to continue in Sweden.

Or how about deaths per million to date - Norway 44, Finland 55, Denmark 96, Germany 98, and then a whopping big jump to Sweden at 376.

Oh, and Sweden did do some lockdown stuff - schools for over 16's closed, no gatherings over 50, and a "request" to avoid non-essentials stuff.

Another comparison (because another right wing population looking to Sweden as salvation), Alberta vs Sweden. Between March 1st and May 18, per 10k people Sweden had double the number of cases and 12 times the deaths.

I mean, if it wasn't so dangerous and the Swedes apparently do docile they should be taking pitchforks to the government.

Oh, and their unemployment is expected to be 10.4% with a GDP drop of expected of 7%-10%, similar to the rest of Europe - so they aren't even saving the economy either.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/21/just-7-per-cent-of-stockholm-had-covid-19-antibodies-by-end-of-april-study-sweden-coronavirus

https://www.theguardian.com/world/commentisfree/2020/may/23/sweden-covid-19-policy-model-for-right-also-a-deadly-folly

https://globalnews.ca/news/6983637/sweden-versus-alberta-covid-19-restrictions/


* at least not yet - given the rise of bots and other nonsense to con people into believing it is all a hoax if/when a second wave arrives people may not respond to instructions, thus risking the health care system.

170:

They are good at climbing the ladder and ripping people off. The people who are good at getting things done are handicapped, and IMHO would tend to top out in middle management.

Remember when Obama lost 90,000 Americans to Ebola in 2014? Neither do I, because he was a competent leader and there were 2 deaths, not hundreds of thousands.

It took most of 45 years for the Republican party to get so corrupted that they could be hijacked by Trump. That in a country where those who hold the rural states hold a natural advantage due to the way the Constitution is written. There was nothing inevitable about what's happened since 2016--it's taken a lot of work and hasn't been pulled off as well as the plotters might have wanted.

The point is that authoritarian leaders tend to congregate on states that have been weakened by external or internal manipulation. Who's doing the manipulation in the US? That's your answer right there.

171:

Likewise, I won't respond to NERVARestarted. Too irritating.
[Wrote down these thoughts elsewhere, just now lightly edited; US-focused but could be applied to the UK. Does the UK have a mandatory indoor mask order? Appears not? Does a society have a culture of compliance (plus some altruism), or is it full of willful (sometimes selfish) normbreakers (perhaps a severely polarized society) who need to be coerced by laws if high compliance is needed?]
I'd be OK with limiting measures to mandatory masks/face coverings indoors in public places (and outdoors if physical distance is not practical), plus physical distancing wherever possible. Plus cheap, easy testing, including antibody testing if the test is high accuracy. Plus contact tracing/monitoring, but without giving the state another panopticon toolset. This while waiting for a vaccine or a genuinely good treatment. These measures are cheap, have a low freedom-impact, and would allow the economy to slowly rebuild, with monitoring and aggressive feedback to reverse incremental relaxation measures if they appear to be not working (Oh yeah, make sure people are not vitamin D, vitamin C or zinc deficient; there is initial science showing that vitamin D deficiency in particular is associated with COVID-19 severe cases and mortality.)
Indoor places would be given procedures for auditing their airflow/ventilation and given guidelines for optional remediation. (Re the already documented indoor cluster case studies.)

Restaurants are an issue (where/when indoor seating is required) because eating and masks don't cooperate. Everything else (not in a similar category e.g. pubs) could reopen. Churches too, but churchgoers and clergy must wear masks/face coverings. (Gyms and similar studio venue with heavy breathing would need careful analysis.)
Concurrently reduce the emphasis on all the surface cleaning/hand washing stuff; unless it is shown to prevent significant numbers of infections relative to the numbers caused by breathing droplet-contaminated air, it is largely theatre. (But train away face touching.) And de-emphasize anything else intended to protect against hypothetical modes of SARS-CoV-2 transmission. If the science changes, change the guidelines, quickly and publicly. (I have seen no science showing significant indirect-contact based infection by SARS-CoV-2. For other viruses, yes. There is a study of hand-washing and endemic coronaviruses, but it needs to be replicated; weak statistically.)

---
Oh, and newish (preprint) paper about masks, with nice figures. Mechanical argument for masks, fairly convincing.
Face Coverings, Aerosol Dispersion and Mitigation of Virus Transmission Risk (arxiv preprint, University of Edinburgh, 21 May 2020 (?))
Small scale, focused on coughs rather than e.g. loud talking, and too much focus on aerosol transmission IMO, but useful work.
For coughs (not breathing/talking):
We found that all face covers without an outlet valve reduce the front flow through jet by more than 90%. For the FFP1 and FFP2 masks without exhalation valve, the front throughflow does not extend beyond one half and one quarter of a metre, respectively. Surgical and hand-made masks, and face shields, generate several leakage jets, including intense backward and downwards jets that may present major hazards.

172:

You're not required to pay if an ambulance is called for you. At you have to do is refuse to go.

That has not been my experience. I was chased down by the fine-collecting machine and forced to pay despite refusing treatment as well as transport. They DGAF, ambulance went out, police had my details, the fine "fee for service" was collected. Now, it may be that if I had known what to say and who to say it to I could have avoided that, but I did not know and no-one bothered to tell me.

And the only rationale for this stupidity that I'm aware of is to punish people without private health insurance (with the side effect of punishing people who don't know that they "need" to buy ambulance insurance).

I think it's a stupid system, because it leads to people running away from ambulances or refusing to call one, and thus increases the rate of serious injury and death. Ambulances should be part of the healthcare system, and should be paid for by taxes (or however you want to describe that).

173:

if we changed that to the person calling in the emergency had to pay for the ambo if the patient didn't agree, then no parking inspector or passer by would ever call an ambulance

I have not suggested that, because I agree that it would be stupid. I keep saying that ambulances should be free because I think that that is how they should be. If "we can't get there from here" then "we" are a bunch of fucking muppets, but I don't believe that it's as impossible as you seem to think it should be.

I'm quite angry at the stupid Australian "private healthcare", which like the "private schools" is heavily state-subsidised and woefully inefficient compared to the public version. But we have both because that allows the ruling class to get better of both while painting a bit of equality rhetoric over the thick layers of bullshit. "anyone can buy them"... sure, and "anyone" can buy a harbourside mansion or be arrested for sleeping under a bridge.

I support private healthcare, and private schools, private roads, private houses, private whatever you want except violence/coercion (no private police, prison, army etc). But I think they should *be* private. Not "state pays..." any bloody part of it. Yes, their taxes go to the public option they're choosing not to use *and* they have to pay again for the private version. That's only fair an reasonable, because you can guarantee that the very instant their private option doesn't suit them they will be back in the public system. Which thus must be provisioned to allow for that. (most obviously with "private hospitals" that lack emergency departments and intensive care units).

174:

It is increasingly looking like the death toll from cancelled medical procedures, and the rising mental health crisis, and associated reduction in life expectancy, caused by this kneejerk lockdown, not to mention life expectancy reduction due to unemployment which will soon be hitting so many so hard, will far outweight the damage that the blasted virus can do.

The blasted virus, if it infects e.g. 70 percent of the population, can do a lot of damage. Not just deaths; also long term and sometimes lifelong damage to the survivors. Kidney damage, damage to the brain from strokes (and perhaps directly), etc.
It is fairly well established that life expectancy increased (in the US at least) during the Great Depression[1]. There are papers being circulated on the right about suicide rates (e.g. Pete Navarro, a notorious paper cherry picker in the DJT admin), but there are other effects to mortality, both +/-. Missed screening procedures for illnesses best caught very early are perhaps the most significant concern. A let-it-burn-through-the-population pandemic response, even if attempts were made to protect the older population, would kill hundreds of thousands in the UK, plus long term health damage to some of the survivors. (The US, a lot more. 330M population.) Too bad people don't remember polio epidemics; they killed a lot fewer people, but people took them pretty seriously.

I only have experience with the US lockdowns, which really are not; e.g. travel is still allowed. My state, New York, has has a mandatory mask/face covering order for indoor public places since April 17 and the rate of new infections is down by a factor of two or more starting about 10 days after the order. (Statistical analysis still need to be done though.) Prior to the mask order, compliance was maybe 50 percent (or less); needs to be mandated by law.
My personal rule is anyone unmasked, no customer. If Gov Cuomo drops the mask order, I will basically stop shopping retail.

[1] Life and death during the Great Depression (José A. Tapia Granados and Ana V. Diez Roux, October 13, 2009)
For most age groups, mortality tended to peak during years of strong economic expansion (such as 1923, 1926, 1929, and 1936–1937). In contrast, the recessions of 1921, 1930–1933, and 1938 coincided with declines in mortality and gains in life expectancy.

175:

preventative health money in the mix

There's also preventive education. There's really solid studies saying that early childhood education is almost as effective as early childhood medical care at saving money. Back when I studied it the minimum earn was over 5:1 over 20 years but it was easy to pick specific interventions with 20:1 or higher payoffs (vaccination!).

Problem is the 20 years part. That's, like, more than a whole electoral term!

Which means that some neoliberal fucktard will inevitably get elected, kill the programmes, pocket the savings, then leave before the problem becomes evident. It'll never be obvious, because "more crime" and "more disabled and unemployed" are problems that can be solved immediately by more vigorous beatings. Going back in time to prevent people becoming ill, unemployed or turning to crime is hard, and there's no immediate benefit to even vaccinating an infant, let alone teaching it to read.

I've mentioned before the absolute classic in that genre: the state of Victoria in Australia cut early childhood education funding in order to pay for construction of a private prison*.

* which also makes clear the absolute bullshit of calling it a "private prison".

176:

Fire Departments have long billed for calls to false alarms

There's a subtle difference between a charge for "wasting official time" and a charge for "telling relevant officials of an emergency". I'm sorry that's not obvious to you.

177:

On a completely different topic, Our Rupert's minions are pushing the "Nazis were left wing" garbage right now for some reason. I guess because "nazis are bad" and to Rupert anything less capitalist than Reagan is the devil. But it's kind of interesting to see far right revisionism in supposedly "mainstream" media.

https://www.abc.net.au/religion/nazism-socialism-and-the-falsification-of-history/10214302

That's gotta make it hard for people who argue when I call the Murdochracy "far right"...

178:

I have a relative that likes to pull out the "They were socialists! It's right in the name!" garbage every once in a while. I point out that words can a) change meanings and b) not be the correct label to begin with. They're reasonable enough (or don't have a rational retort that still supports their point) to back off at that point... but not enough to not bring it up just about every time there's a notable news story relating a political farce to Nazis.

179:

It seems like anyone carrying a large amount of cash is vulnerable. Here's a case where someone eventually got their money back, but they had to sue: https://reason.com/2020/01/16/family-sues-dea-and-tsa-after-elderly-mans-life-savings-were-seized-at-airport/

I've also read stories about problems encounter by people flying to cut flower markets where, for obvious reasons, transactions are in cash and there are no returns. If it's a really lot of money, it makes sense to sue, but for under $10K - $15K, you're probably just out the money.

180:

Victoria apparently will charge you for the call out regardless, but we were discussing NSW.

NSW ambulance certainly didn't charge of you refused treatment. That policy may have changed, but they're keeping very mum on their website about when the flag falls. I can't figure it out.

I did find a lawyer blog who thought it was probably worth taking to small claims and saying you weren't provided with informed consent at to the charges. It's not actually legal to sell you a service without mentioning that there's a cost.

(imagine someone on the street handing out food samples and then telling you that they were 20 dollars after you'd eaten them. That's against the law)

What does seem clear is that if you accept treatment you've eaten the sample.

Along with the "we have a duty of care" line, there's also "can we just check you out". That's a chargeable service. 380 dollars to take your blood pressure and shine a torch in your eyes.

You have to refuse *everything*.

Note, there's no law to say you have to give the ambo your name.

However, there very much is a law against leaving the scene of an accident and not assisting, and it's interpreted very very very very broadly in Australia.

There's a guy in Victoria, who by all accounts is unsavory, but he left the scene of an accident that destroyed his parked car, that he wasn't driving, and wasn't even sitting in and he's currently in jail awaiting trial. A trial that's indefinitely delayed by covid-19.


https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/may/11/eastern-freeway-crash-more-charges-for-melbourne-porsche-driver-richard-pusey

181:

I've emailed nsw ambulance for clarification.

182:

there's no law to say you have to give the ambo your name.

Is there any penalty to the Police if they pass it on? Because if any injury, no matter how minor, results from a crash names have to go to the Police. In my case one was present and that was that.

While I appreciate you trying to discover the theory behind this, I'm going to run with my actual experience. Which includes watching people who try to dispute debts the government has sold to collectors, when those debts are made up out of thin air.

183:

Oh I agree. It wasn't rationing so much as the idea that people don't value what they don't directly pay for, even though they pay for the services in taxation. So by adding a nominal fee (at the time iirc it was $10), they switched the mindset from "I can bother them at any point" to "I'll bother them for a reason" but not push it all the way to the American "I'll only go if I'm dying". They also had a Community Services Card, which was for lower income and generally needy people, including students, which set your doctor fee at a blanket $5, and set all prescriptions at a nominal $3 per script, for the same reason. It was tied to the person or family, regardless of who or where your doctor was.

Then over the past 15 years the National government scrapped that whole idea, set up a bunch of arbitrary subsidies in designated areas, and fees now range from $12 to $68 for a doctor visit, depending on the postcode lottery. It actually drove a lot of GPs out of business, because they couldn't compete with heavily subsidised over the road in a different postcode, while needy people in the wrong postcodes can't afford to see their local doctor. But someone is making money off it so it's all good, right?

184:

And so how are rats dealing with the lock down in the UK?

theguardian.com/world/2020/may/25/us-city-lockdowns-rat-aggression-lack-food-waste

In the US it seems "Lord of the Flies" meets hungry rats.

(Yes I know the real situation for LotF didn't work out that way.)

185:

Well they're supposed to be.

The police are bound by the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998.

17 Limits on use of personal information
A public sector agency that holds personal information must not use the information for a purpose other than that for which it was collected unless—
(a) the individual to whom the information relates has consented to the use of the information for that other purpose, or
(b) the other purpose for which the information is used is directly related to the purpose for which the information was collected, or
(c) the use of the information for that other purpose is necessary to prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to the life or health of the individual to whom the information relates or of another person.

So if they collect your information for the purpose of investigating a motor traffic offence, they shouldn't be disclosing it to anyone else unless they're involved in the investigation. Good luck with holding them to account...

186:

Good luck with holding them to account...

It's not just the plod, I had a complaint upheld by the media council after the Daily Terror wrote an inflammatory article that included my name and phone number. I weeks of got death threats (etc) and had to change my phone number. Result of complaint? Nothing. Result of mention on Media Watch... more death threats.

Result of going to police about the death threats, including the ones SMS'd from apparently-valid phone numbers? They suggested I come back if someone actually did something. Yes, they did literally tell me to fuck off and die.

Fiona Campbell (now the head of bicycle stuff at Sydney City Council) once managed to get a complaint about a motorist acted on by Police. She said it took more than 40 hours work, and a lot of using her contacts in government. But the main thing was just persistence and willingness to complain all the way up the tree. Lay complaint with officer in station, recording all relevant details. Follow up complaint. Repeatedly. Complain about officer (same process). Complain to NSW HQ about lack of progress on complaint about complaint. Process again. Complain to ombudsman about lack of progress on complaint about complaint about complaint about motorist....

187:

It's not actually legal to sell you a service without mentioning that there's a cost.

This is much closer to calling a taxi for someone else then claiming that it's that person who's liable for the cost... when you don't know who that person is and they don't want a taxi. Or me having a pizza delivered to your place and trying to claim that by opening the door you've agreed to pay for the pizza.

188:

It seems like anyone carrying a large amount of cash is vulnerable.

Not defending, just explaining.

In the US for a while now anyone with over $10K (or a bit less see below) is considered to be up to no good. Basically it comes from the drug trade and how it operated in the 80s. And people taking cash to other countries to deposit into banks with, ah, lax reporting rules. Anyway, so now if you do a transaction involving cash at a bank in the US that is $10K or more you have to fill out paperwork explaining why. Which also leads to people with $9800 or similar on them being assumed to be trying to avoid said banking rules and thus up to no good.

Also for a few years now in the US there is something banks get to deal with called "Know Your Customer". In other words if you open an account and start running lots of money through it (even under $10k at a time) your banker will likely put a hold on the funds till you explain how your business works.

The intent is to fight money laundering and things like sex trafficking/prostitution or any other "businesses" which are illegal and thus tends to operate on a cash basis.

There's that proverbial Long Island / Staten Island pizza parlor where anytime someone walks in the guy half asleep behind the counter will tell them the oven is broken and they are not cooking that day. But the oven is never working. And it generates and pays taxes (which after all the fake expenses isn't all that much) on the cash that flows through it as in the past small restaurants and pizza deliveries in the US were many times cash only. The rise in credit/debit cards has removed this specific way to wash cash. See the movie "The Accountant" for a more modern equivalent way it might be done. And read this:
whitecollarfraud.com/crazy-eddie/
If you want a real life example of how this could all work before credit cards became king.

189:

mdlive 88:

> And while some of it can be considered paranoia, when one considers the changes that have been made
> in the last 10 years as outsourcing has started, and the health system starved of funding, it does
> make one wonder what the governments are attempting.

I don't think it's fair to say that the NHS is starved of funding - its budget this financial year is £140.4 billion. That's hardly a small amount. It's a sizable fraction of the UK's GDP. Could you spend more on it? Yes, you could. Should you spend considerably more on it and less on something else? I don't think that's as easy a decision as people think.

People are not rational. Everybody always thinks that their current issue du jour should be funded at a level that would make them happy at that moment in time. They don't stop to think what the implications are of providing that funding and what would need to be impacted to do so. Also, by definition, their issue du jour changes on a very frequent basis, so you would be trying to hit a moving target anyway. Think capitalists. Almost always they say they don't like paying taxes because taxes impact profit margins, and the world would be a much better place if they didn't have to pay taxes because, IDK, tickle down, blah blah blah. But then something like COVID-19 comes along and they are right at the front of the queue crying for the government to "do something Muttley, you have to save us!" Where's the rationality in that? Also, think about the population's reaction to general taxation not specifically relating to business? No rationality there either.

The role of government is not to fund anybody's pet thing to the level they think it should be funded to. The role of government is to try and find as fair and equitable distribution of the resources available to it amongst it's law-fully mandated and discretionary spending areas as it can. That's a compromise. Some say the best compromise is when nobody is happy.

The real problem, that nobody mentions, is that healthcare is essentially a bottomless money-pit. As the healthcare profession has solved problems, it continually targets new problems to try and solve. It offers more and more services, which require more and more money to provide. Also, as provision has widened and improved, people's expectations have been raised astronomically. Finally, people don't like being told that their life/health or that of their loved ones has a price tag associated with it. When someone they know and love is threatened by a healthcare problem they think no amount of money is too much to try and "help/save" them. None of this is conducive to fiscal responsibility.

There are problems with healthcare being perceived to be free at the point of use - time wasters/hypochondriacs etc. A relatively small proportion of the population can/will consume a disproportionate share because there is no direct charge to them for doing so. You have the same problem with having a social safety net - the people who are happy to rely on the net and have no incentive to sort themselves out. I'm not making a judgement on this, I'm just saying that you need to be aware that there are problems.

Healthcare's situation is not helped by the fact that the modern sedentary lifestyle is not conducive to a healthy population and we're busily poisoning our air, water, food supplies etc.

Trying to work out what you can do about all of that is a non-trivial problem. Potentially the best solution is one where nobody is really happy...

190:

Moz @ 179
Ohe Noe ... not that deliberate lie AGAIN?
"They had the word "socialist" in their name" - like N Korea has the word "Democratic" in it's name, yes?

David L
Well, THIS RAT seemed quite happy. ( You Tube clip )

Scummings ....
Actually, it's a TEST ... in Trumpism.
"We've got away with it, what are you going to do about it, little people?"
And it's beginning to look like its working, especially with the backing of the Murdoch press & the Barclays & other fascist bastards.

I'm suprised it took me this long to realise what was actually happening.

191:

The role of government is to try and find as fair and equitable distribution of the resources available to it

My impression is that in the UK there is broad consensus that the elites don't need as much support from the government as they get, and the poor need more. Which is apparently irrelevant to the government but quite important to the poor, especially those dying for lack of money. The situation in the USA is broadly similar in that regard.

If only we had a system of government where the proletariat also go a say.

192:

Adjacent to this is the eternal problem with control measures - how to minimize fraud in benefits systems/health care etc.

I know that behavioural experiments repeatedly shows that most humans are more than willing to accept punishments for cheaters that also negaatively affects (presumed) innocents too (including themselves) but people have a very hard time to accept that sooner rather than later the control apparatus becomes more complex and more expensive than the problem it was put in place to fix.


And no, I'm not suggesting we remove any and all control mecanisms but I have yet to hear about someone in responsible position at least put it to the public that "Yes, we can fix this loophole these cheaters are using BUT the control mechanisms we will put in place will cost ten times the estimated loss per year to maintain. Your choice..."

193:

I agree with your metaphor.

The one I created was inspired by this lawyer


https://emergencylaw.wordpress.com/2014/10/04/paying-for-ambulance-services/

To extend your metaphor, you order me a pizza. I open the door, say I didn't order it don't want it. Pizza guy says "well, it's just going to be thrown away if I take it back, would you like it anyway?" then build me for it later.

Either way it's not ethical.

They may be the most trusted profession, but they can erode that.

As the lawyer put it:

"...they didn’t ring for an ambulance or even ask for the service, but a paramedic was on scene, offered to check them out. Most people would feel some moral pressure to accept what appears to be an offer of concern from a uniformed member of Australia’s most trusted profession. But they may take a different view if they were told ‘Do you want me to check you out, but it will cost $481 if I do?’"

194:

And it varies between states... FFS.
If you live in either Queensland or Tasmania, your state government has you covered

Well of course it does: health services are provided at the state level. There is a sort of harmoinisation of policy especially around standards, but the states fund their services as they see fit. The Commonwealth funds some things in specific ways that are the same at a national level, but ambulance services are not included. Remember when Kerry Packer paid to have all ambulances in NSW equipped with a defib unit?

There is historically a bit of legal wrangling whenever the Commonwealth attempts to do something in the heath service delivery space, largely centred on section 51(xxiiiA) of the constitution as amended following the 1946 referendum:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1946_Australian_referendum_(Social_Services)

Please note that the parenthetical "civil conscription" clause is why we can't have an NHS (the AMA *will* take any government that tries to introduce one to the High Court and win).

Queensland used to have a sort of quasi-subscription. When electricity was a state monopoly, there was a small "tariff" applied to your power bill that funded the ambulance service... though you didn't need to have an electricity account to use ambulances.

If you think it is confusing for us with our 8-10 separate ambulance service organisations across the country, please spare a thought for our American friends. There are over 21,000 entirely separate emergency medical response services in the USA, with a complex mixture of public and private. There is every variation of scale you can imagine present in some way, from small volunteer organisations with one vehicle (or one they share with another group) up to large (and potentially for-profit) services with hundreds of response teams. It doesn't even make sense to talk about "policy makers" who pursue harmonisation over there, it's more like a loose collaboration between research organisations, health organisations and agencies like the CDC, only it's all cats and no cat herders.

195:

Followup to my previous comment about full-face respirators -- there's an article on the BBC website now about this new design of healthcare respirators designed by University of Southampton engineers.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-52613399

They're intended for intensive-care situations with high risk of propagation of COVID-19 but they have a number of advantages over simple disposable masks.

196:

Statistics again - now in pretty pictures, and with extra results. Don't expect anything to clarify before the end of June.

https://imgur.com/vUwfKxy

197:

Administrative note

NERVARestarted gets a Red Card for being an egregious fuckwit, to wit, the medical/epidemiological equivalent of shouting "fire" in a crowded theatre.

I note that they posted relatively sanely during April, so I'm tentatively saying not a bot, and may let them back in on future discussions. But not here, not right now, and not advocating policies that would set fire to our healthcare infrastructre in the name of re-opening businesses.

(Reminder: the healthcare infrastructure is fragile, and if we burn it out it takes a lot longer to rebuild than a Great War era infantry army. Sure, cancer surgery and other treatments are falling behind and people are dying. But the alternative? We burn out our entire medical/nursing facility and all currently treatable conditions become potentially fatal.)

198:

There are over 21,000 entirely separate emergency medical response services in the USA, with a complex mixture of public and private.

As featured in the documentary "Mother, Jugs and Speed".

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKY6xVHMr78

199:

Bugger the proletariat - it would help a lot if the intelligensia had a say!

200:

The real problem, that nobody mentions, is that healthcare is essentially a bottomless money-pit. As the healthcare profession has solved problems, it continually targets new problems to try and solve.

This is largely true, but it is another way of saying that the increasing cost of healthcare can be partly attributed to improving healthcare outcomes achieved with new and typically more expensive therapies. There are other factors: aging population (and more and more life prolonging therapies), climate change, in some jurisdictions with a lot of privatisation, inherent (and inevitably increasing) administrative inefficiency.

Most OECD countries have grown their healthcare expenditure from all sources (private and public) as a proportion of their GDP per capita since 1980 by roughly 1.5. The best performing countries (in terms of a broad range of metrics but mostly in terms of "value for money"), the UK and Australia (usually) are currently at around 9-10% up from 5-6% in 1980. The USA is the outlier, currently around 19% up from 11% in 1980. That figure means what it says: 19c of every dollar earned in the USA is spent on healthcare in some way.

It gets frustrating talking with health system managers about the contribution ICT can make to healthcare. They are mostly always interested in the improved individual outcomes, which usually comes down to DaVinci robots and other amazing things that cost a fortune and can service a few dozen people a year. The greatest cost impacts in things like cancer care are not necessarily the treatments, but the sheer volume of contacts and consultations the patient needs with so many different teams, potentially hundreds of hospital visits and the co-ordination of this is elaborate and extremely complex. But the health service CEO is always going to be more interested in surgery robots than in scheduling customer experience management tools.

201:

Bugger the proletariat - it would help a lot if the intelligensia had a say!

*waves beer glass* Rah!

202:

Powered filter respirators like that are fine for nuisance dust. In an ICU they're dealing with dusts that are a threat to life or health at nanogram levels.

No other industry would tolerate this kind of absurdly inadequate PPE.

Yes FFM have to be sterilised after each use in a medical setting. But they have to be sterilised after each use in *every* situation. You don't think commercial divers just throw the gear in a bin for next time. They get dumped in a sterilisation solution, swooshed around, then fresh water and hung up to dry (or immediately used by the next person, they work fine wet).

They're expensive, but so are doctors. Each one you kill, you've flushed about a 600 thousand pounds worth of training.

203:

I dunno wot dat word mean, but I got a arseh opinion as good as the next guys!

204:
I find that anything that can get me moving or laughing gets me over the inertia.

I think the paths out probably vary. In my case what would happen is that I'd eventually get up and practice the guitar (or just tinker with musical electronics, but I think the physical act of playing helped), and usually play quite well, but very sad music, and this would eventually somehow turn the depression into sadness, and then I could go cycling, listen to music, eat and the rest, and it all cleared up eventually.

So I think the physical act of playing and remembering that I could actually make this bit of wood and electronics make sound which was not actively awful helps somehow.

However this is all now more than two years ago, since all of my serious episodes were always triggered by external events – they weren't rational reactions to them, but it was always some external thing which knocked me off the cliff – and we've stopped the external thing which was causing it, at least until another one comes along, which I hope it won't.

And also: I do think it varies! What works for me probably does not work for other people.

205:

These units have very-highly rated filters (N100-class or better) in the belt-mounted blower units. Since they're positive-pressurised it's possible to force air through a really restrictive filter matrix, something that would probably be impossible to breathe through using your lungs to provide a pressure differential and still manage five litres of air a minute or more.

As for decontamination, they are Personal Protective Equipment, they don't get swapped around from person to person. One of the pics in the BBC article shows a name scribbled in Sharpie on one of the hoods, to help identify who owns it if it's not being worn. Decontamination of these sorts of hoods is meant to protect other patients and staff, mostly.

Generally work-related PPE for dusty or other situations is also Personal, you don't swap full-face respirators, face masks etc. around in in a work team but it's up to the individual wearer to clean and disinfect their own kit.

206:

Oh yes. But it's not just false positives - the people you're giving "free" help to that don't need/deserve it. You also have the problem of false negatives - the people who do need/deserve help but are prevented by your control means one way or another.

Whenever you have a system, people are going to try and game it. It's a social conscience issue as to where you should draw the line. Certainly since Thatcher, the overwhelming message has been that everybody should be out for themselves. Funnily enough, that's not a great message for social cohesiveness.

Inevitably there are always going to be winners and losers. The "elite" rationalise that everybody could be the CEO of FTSE 100 company if they worked hard enough. They're too dumb to realise that by definition there can only be 100 FTSE 100 company CEOs at any one time... When you have a population of ~67 million that doesn't leave much FTSE 100 CEOness to share around, even if you exclude notional "foreigners" ever getting those positions.


207:

Yes, I know that sort of frustration. Potentially the next big revolution in health care provision is when that community realise that in order to keep doing what they're doing, they need to greatly reduce the cost of delivery of what they can already do to free up cash for the next improvements.

208:

Let's see....

Doctors are the wrong unit of provision; ~provinces are the wrong unit of control; the notion of a GP is completely whack at present levels of medical knowledge; discontinuous is an actively harmful idea with medical care; medical associations have de-facto control over the rate of doctor production most places and their incentives and society's incentives are not just mis-aligned but opposed.

Plus a disastrously bad institutional culture that still assumes sleep deprivation can be overcome through holiness or authoritah or something, plus general resistance to quantified diagnostics.

All of these things are well-understood and pretty straightforward to fix in a technical sense. You have to solve "a secure records system" (not actually that tough) but also "taxation" and it's on taxation -- the bitter blunt mindless refusal to be taxed -- that the whole thing founders.

209:

> Low Earth Orbit ... we get fairly visible passes by the ISS and Skylink
> clusters from time to time—naked-eye visible even to someone with fucked > retinas that prevent me focusing a single bright dot on my fovea, for
> example. So maybe LEO would be viable?

So, would dropping them from orbit in a way that would be an accurate application of the term 'meteoric' run the risk of a 'Day of the Triffids' effect?

210:

Re: We can all spend a couple-three-five years being seriously careful until effective treatment of some kind is available, or we can accept something between 3 and 5 percent mortality.

That's an overstatement. While the odds of a good vaccine are currently declining (i.e. recent suggestions that immunity may only last for about 6 months), treatments are improving. It probably won't be over a year before the treatments are dramatically better, and quite possibly an infection after the vaccine (or initial case) will be a lot milder. Already there have been significant improvements, though groups are still arguing about the details (e.g., how much of what blood thinner to use when).

211:

Re: The point is that authoritarian leaders tend to congregate on states that have been weakened by external or internal manipulation. Who's doing the manipulation in the US? That's your answer right there.

But that's not a simple question. There's *LOTS* of different groups manipulating the US to their own advantage. There are foreign states, esp. Israel, Russia, and China, but there are also multinational corporations and groups of clandestine financiers and... well, lots. You'd be better off asking who isn't trying to manipulate the US.

N.B.: Do note that this is not a claim that the same thing isn't happening in other countries. I really doubt that it's a coincidence that Britain got Johnson at the same time the US got Trump.

OTOH: This is not to discount changed social factors. Rapid communication between previously isolated communities is certainly inducing stresses and reactions not previously encountered.

The whole thing is a real mess, which is what should be expected during the run up to the technological singularity. Just don't believe ANY of the scenarios that are proposed as to how that will work out. Especially don't believe either the overly optimistic or the overly pessimistic ones. Chaotic seems to be the appropriate model.

212:

Addition to what I said @ 190:Actually, it's a TEST ... in Trumpism.
"We've got away with it, what are you going to do about it, little people?"
And it's beginning to look like its working, especially with the backing of the Murdoch press & the Barclays & other fascist bastards.

I'm NOT saying it was a deliberate test ... but seems to be what has happened to this incident.
Especially the We've got away with it, what are you going to do about it, little people? part of it ...
BoZo & his minders & the other extreme Brexiteers have realised that this is an opprtunity, actually.
I note a junior minister has resigned ... big deal.
I predict a SECOND purge of the tories coming along soon.
After sensible civilised & old-fashioned ( i.e. grandees ) were kicked out by BoZO [ People like Ken Clarke & Nicholas Soames & Hammond, etc .... ]
Now those who were prepared to go along with BoZo for the time being are now going to be pushed out, or completely marginalised. As happened to the "left" ( *cough* ) wing of the US Repubs.
Eventually, only the grovellers, system-servers & out-&-out fascists ( I'm lookimng at you, Patel ) will be left - & they will have until December 2024 to wreck & re-mould the country, as DT & his cronies have done in the USA.

Comments - PLEASE?

213:

As the old thread is fizzling out, I'm taking the liberty to follow up with a question here:

OGH wrote (in the previous thread):

Scotland will keep the monarchy around -- after all, England only "borrowed" the monarchy in 1606, they can bloody well give it back. (At least, that was official SNP policy in 2014: on independence it'd become the Kingdom of Scotland and a constitutional monarchy, unless and until a separate referendum on becoming a republic happened.)

Any guesses as to who would be offered the crown? QE2 (or would she be known as QE1 of Scotland?) / Charlie / William? Or some descendant of the house of Stuart (provided there is one suitable)? Or someone else entirely?

214:

Note I said available, not exists. Whatever the treatment is will need to exist in units of $COURSE_OF_TREATMENT x several billion, and it'll need to be available in that quantity every year for awhile. And it's inherently medical, so clean room precision manufacturing requirements are inescapable. Those add cost and time.

I will be unsurprised if an known-effective treatment exists in duly tested form by the end of 2021. I will be flat astonished if it's available in sufficient quantity by then.

215:

re: On a completely different topic, Our Rupert's minions are pushing the "Nazis were left wing" garbage

That's not total garbage. There were ways in which they were left wing authoritarians. There were other ways in which they were right wing authoritarians.

Expecting every group to fit into an oversimplified categorization is a recipe for distortion. You can't even reliably map left-wing and right-wing onto all the groups current at the same time in the same country...well, *possibly* you could for Luxembourg or Grand Fenwick. A small enough population will tend to have a restricted range of views. But you couldn't do it for, say, San Francisco or New York City. And I assume not for London or Edinburgh.

216:

There are public videos out there of ERII arriving at Balmoral and the whole in-residence ceremony, pony-mascot, pipers, the works.

I would not want to be the Scottish politician who proposed that the first monarch of the newly recognised Kingdom of Scotland was anyone other than ERII while she yet lives.

(There are, in law, no Stuart heirs. And despite all the stirring and vigorous songs, Bonnie Prince Charlie was for the party of landlords. Modern Scotland is not.)

217:

Something I tripped over in the course of events, real steampunk computing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8aYkow-Fv8

(TL:DW -- it's a small part of Babbage's Difference Engine powered by, what else? Steam.)

218:

There's a guy in Victoria, who by all accounts is unsavory, but he left the scene of an accident that destroyed his parked car, that he wasn't driving, and wasn't even sitting in and he's currently in jail awaiting trial. A trial that's indefinitely delayed by covid-19.

Well, you do have to take into account that he filmed himself laughing at a dying policewoman after the truck ran into them all, and he was speeding and driving erratically before he crashed his car.

He's probably a bit safer in remand, but I know quite a few people who might be wondering if they could get a quiet word to someone...

219:

Re: Rats - COVID-19 era

Silly but serious question: Can rats eat cicadas?

2020 is the year that billions! and billions! of cicadas are expected to emerge. I remember the last time this happened - everywhere you looked/stepped was coated with crunchy insects. If rats can get adequate nutrition from eating cicadas then they might return to their less aggressive pre-COVID-19 lock-down behaviour.

Opportunity for some interesting observational science given that most cities and larger buildings have CCTV monitors almost everywhere:

1- record how and where cicadas emerge/arrive
2- record when, whence, where and how rats arrive
3- record whether/how rats select/capture/consume cicadas (incl. dead and/or alive)
4- record which parts of town/types of buildings, plus access ways v-a-v sewage lines, power lines, plus any/all sorts of other infrastructure rats use/stay away from even when starving and there's free food lying around
5- record rat population bump pre vs post cicadas - I'm wondering whether an excess of cicadas might help/hurt rats via some sort of biochem imbalance from over-ingestion.

Info like the above might help municipalities and residents better plan and implement their pest control strategies.

How are the feral urban cats doing? Ditto raccoons esp. in Toronto*, NA's raccoon capital? Ditto mice, foxes, gulls, etc. Raccoons apparently eat dead rats, not sure whether feral cats do but if 'yes' then these animals might also start dying off on city streets.


* Because all construction was stopped for a few months now, I'm guessing many of these unfinished buildings are currently occupied by raccoon families. Mother raccoons are very aggressive and protective of their kits; even the professional pest removal companies refuse to do anything until they've moved out of the nest. Wonder if any of the major newspapers that feature 'human interest' stories will look into this. I don't like the idea of raccoons even though they can be real PITA pests being killed off to extinction. Plus, how would such construction companies get rid of these critters: poisons (what kinds/strengths/risk to humans and other life, risk to municipal and surrounding water), cage-and-release traps, or what?

220:

"driving erratically before he crashed his car"

No one has accused him of crashing his car.

He's certainly made himself very unpopular with the constabulary. It's not clear that he's done anything illegal after the truck crashed into the roadside meeting. There's no requirement for bystanders to render aid. On one hand he's accused of being full of drugs, and on the other, they're mad that he didn't help. So apart from the fact there's no requirement to help, if he had shouldered the doctor out of the way, what is the legal position of rendering medical aid while intoxicated? The good samaritan laws exempt actions done in good faith. Would actions done while knowingly intoxicated be "in good faith"?

221:

And I've finally realised what the whole 'I drove to test my eyesight' thing was probably about.

Yes, it's a lie, and yes, it's an obvious lie that anyone could see is a lie. But really, it's an insult: what he's saying is

You little people matter so little that I can tell this lie, which will be transparently obvious to all of you as a lit, and yet there's nothing you can do, because you are so much less than me.

It's the linguistic equivalent of the Salisbury nerve-agent attack: he said it so everyone would know that he could say something like this and there would be no repercussions, except for a bunch of little people getting all cross, somewhere far away where the little people live.

222:

Thought that some folks here might be interested: topical, hi-techie and free (webinar).

https://afm.oxinst.com/outreach/applications-of-atomic-force-microscopy-in-virology-research

223:

Further trouble for Boris - at least one poll has his numbers dropping dramatically (and he is dragging the government numbers down with him and Cummings).

With Starmer's numbers going up it could be an interesting time for political intrigue.

https://savanta.com/coronavirus-data-tracker/#approvalratings

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/boris-johnson-approval-rating-opinion-poll-dominic-cummings-lockdown-coronavirus-a9532471.html

224:

And so how are rats dealing with the lock down in the UK? theguardian.com/world/2020/may/25/us-city-lockdowns-rat-aggression-lack-food-waste In the US it seems "Lord of the Flies" meets hungry rats.

I read that Edinburgh has happy bees, believed to be due to reduced road traffic and less human everything in the parks.

225:

Silly but serious question: Can rats eat cicadas?

It is my understanding that rats can/will almost any form of protein. It's one reason they survive most anywhere.

If anyone wants a new rabbit hole to go down there are lots of web sites dedicated to cicadas. Just do some Google searching. Broods are named/numbered with past and projected emergence years tracked plus their ranges noted.

226:

There's a subtle difference between a charge for "wasting official time" and a charge for "telling relevant officials of an emergency". I'm sorry that's not obvious to you.

I'm sorry that you chose to cherry pick the beginning of the paragraph, because that was the only part that agreed with your belief, and ignored the remainder of the paragraph that proved your belief false.

As I said, Fire Departments in Canada have been billing for responding to vehicle incidents for a while now.

Further, some have also started billing (where there is an insurance policy) for house fires, thus increasing insurance premiums.

https://www.tbnewswatch.com/around-ontario/sudbury-man-upset-with-4k-firefighting-bill-he-got-after-house-fire-858544

And while I can't find anything indicating that it happens in the UK, there is a story about the Blair government trying to push fire brigades to charge for vehicle incidents. Even if they aren't yet, it is likely only a matter of time - particularly if the fallout from Covid is budget cuts.

227:

Heteromeles @ 150: Yes, not for piling on, but my limited knowledge of Aspergers doesn't suggest someone who'd bullshit at the drop of a hat. Psychopath? here's a test for psychopathy, for what it's worth. There's been at least one pop-sci book on what "for what it's worth" means, and long story short, being rated a psychopath doesn't automatically mean you're evil, any more than scoring low on the test doesn't make you a Renfield-caliber enabler.

From what little I know about Cummings, he does score rather high on this 12 question test. Harder to tell how he scores on the Levenson Test though. Perhaps someone wants to take it for him, for educational S&Gs?

Those tests are kind of fun, but I wouldn't put too much faith in the results. My favorite is still the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory where they asked you questions like "Would you rather have ice cream or be Forest Ranger?"

228:

Heteromeles @ 155: There's something about lying authoritarians which just doesn't work well with pandemic control. I don't get it. You'd think that, given how good they say they are at their jobs, they'd have everything under control, no problem. Instead, it's almost like they're afraid of having competent underlings, and go out of their way to be the only person in charge, even when teams would work better for them (/more sarcasm).

Competent underlings are a threat to "lying authoritarians", because they ARE competent and there's always the chance someone might notice and want to put them in charge instead.

229:

Apparently Neil Gaiman flew from New Zealand to Scotland (by way of Los Angeles International Airport) in order to "self isolate".

https://news.sky.com/story/coronavirus-author-neil-gaiman-defends-11-000-mile-trip-from-new-zealand-to-skye-11989965

230:

Barry @ 164: The people who are good at getting things done are handicapped, and IMHO would tend to top out in middle management.

A lot of things would work better if they were able to climb even that high.

231:

Greg: I think your prediction has already come true. It happened in the run-up to the 2019 general election: did you notice UKIP/BXP entryists in constituency conservative parties working to deselect anti-Brexit MPs and actual ministers?

Reminder that Soames, Clark, et al were happy to work under Thatcher and Major (who continued to pursue Thatcherism-Lite). They were by no stretch of the imagination moderates: they just weren't crazypants objectivists and disaster capitalists.

Eventually, only the grovellers, system-servers & out-&-out fascists ( I'm lookimng at you, Patel ) will be left

I see nobody else on the Conservative government front bench. Anyone who doesn't support their mission has been relegated to the back benches already, or de-selected. The coup within the party happened in 2015-17: this is now the British equivalent of a Trump-led Republican government, minus the constitutional checks and balances.

232:

mdlve @ 169: Worse, while most of the world is seeing infections fall on the right side of the bell curve Sweden and the US aren't getting the fall on the other side. So the unecessary deaths are going to continue in Sweden.

They're going to continue in the U.S. as well. Probably just not as concentrated in the major metropolitan areas so they'll be "under the radar".

233:

Heteromeles @ 170: It took most of 45 years for the Republican party to get so corrupted that they could be hijacked by Trump.

Trump didn't hijack the Republican party. He's the logical heir to their corruption.

234:

Graydon
Nor was the area we now call "The Central Belt" which had become largely early-bourgeois - entrepreneurial etc ... From 1845 to the start of The New Town was only 22 years, after all.

tfb
Exactly - like Novichok in Salibury - or DT saying he could shoot someone in braod daylight & no-one would do anything.
THIS is what we have sunk to.

JBS
More bullshitting psychobabble, eh?

235:

Charlie @ 231
I half agree with you.
I suspect it's worse than I first said, but not (yet) as bad as you say.
But we agree what direction & what ploys are being used.
I wonder how long before even some brexiteers wonder what's happening - but by then, it's goping to be too late. This is our 4.5 years of Trump-equivalent.
Buckle up & batten down, it's going to be very nasty, I think we can agree?

236:

_Moz_ @ 177: On a completely different topic, Our Rupert's minions are pushing the "Nazis were left wing" garbage right now for some reason. I guess because "nazis are bad" and to Rupert anything less capitalist than Reagan is the devil. But it's kind of interesting to see far right revisionism in supposedly "mainstream" media.

https://www.abc.net.au/religion/nazism-socialism-and-the-falsification-of-history/10214302

That's gotta make it hard for people who argue when I call the Murdochracy "far right"...

That's been around for a while. The right-wingnuts get confused because in German "Nazi" was the National Socialist German Workers' Party and they don't understand the irony of the name. Despite their name, the Nazis were no more socialist or representative of workers than the various "People's Republics" around the world were little 'd' democracies representing the people.

237:

There's an account of a conversation between Barry Goldwater and Bob Dole in 1996 in Why the Right Wnt Wrong, by E. J Dionne. The two old conservative Republicans were talking to reporters and Dole said, "Barry and I--we've sort of become the liberals." And Goldwater agreed. "We're the new liberals of the Republican Party, can you imagine that?"

238:

Any guesses as to who would be offered the crown? QE2 (or would she be known as QE1 of Scotland?) / Charlie / William? Or some descendant of the house of Stuart (provided there is one suitable)? Or someone else entirely?

If Scotland magically became independent tomorrow (spoiler: it can't -- it'd be a multi-year process), then it would automatically be QE2, and then her successor (reminder: QE2 is 94).

The Stuarts got their asses kicked and their claims voided in 1688-90, and then in 1725 and 1745. They have zero recognized claim to the thrones of the various currently-united Kingdoms.

It is possible that an independent Scotland could hold a referendum on handing the crown to the Grand Pumpkin, or becoming a republic -- the latter is far more likely, but will only gain traction if QE2's successor makes a royal mess of things, which is really quite hard because the job mainly involves shaking hands, opening parliament once a year, formally rubber-stamping legislation (on pain of not being monarch any more), and various public celebrity appearances like opening hospitals, sponsoring charities, and so on.

239:

I will be unsurprised if an known-effective treatment exists in duly tested form by the end of 2021. I will be flat astonished if it's available in sufficient quantity by then.

I've seen reports of reasonably good clinical trials of remdesivir that show it reduces the average recovery time from COVID-19 from something like 15 days to 11 days.

This is better than nothing. However, 2S)-2-{(2R,3S,4R,5R)-[5-(4-Aminopyrrolo[2,1-f] [1,2,4]triazin-7-yl)-5-cyano-3,4-dihydroxy-tetrahydro-furan-2-ylmethoxy]phenoxy-(S)-phosphorylamino}propionic acid 2-ethyl-butyl ester is a bit of a beast to synthesize, meaning it's expensive AF, and it has nasty side-effects.

So we can scratch it out as a magical miracle cure, which is probably why Trump isn't snake-oiling the hell out of it right now.

240:

David L @ 188: Also for a few years now in the US there is something banks get to deal with called "Know Your Customer". In other words if you open an account and start running lots of money through it (even under $10k at a time) your banker will likely put a hold on the funds till you explain how your business works.

The intent is to fight money laundering and things like sex trafficking/prostitution or any other "businesses" which are illegal and thus tends to operate on a cash basis.

OTOH, if you're a big deal real-estate developer with golf courses, casinos, condos & sky scrapers with your name on them no one gives a shit where the money came from.

241:

The Edinburgh New Town was 1760s, not 1860s.

(Signed: A. Resident.)

242:

Rocky Tom @ 327
Only too easily, hence my comments about Ken Clark etc...

Charlie
@ 239 - &, quite frankly, not if, but when other palliative treatments for C-19 come along - & this WILL happen, then it will still to be feared, especially if you are overweight / diabetic / have heart or other circulation problems, but then "WE" - society - can live with that, if the death rate amongst those seriously affected goes below half-a-percent & everybody else has something like a bout of 'flu, down to asymptomatic....
Not "all's well", but a hell of a lot better then now. I'll take those odds.
@ 241 ,,,,
Ah, you spotted my typo, obviously - after all, I said "22 years" - which from 1745 is 1767, the official founding of the "NT"
Never mind ....

243:

grs1961 @ 218: [replied to this comment from gasdive@ 180:]

There's a guy in Victoria, who by all accounts is unsavory, but he left the scene of an accident that destroyed his parked car, that he wasn't driving, and wasn't even sitting in and he's currently in jail awaiting trial. A trial that's indefinitely delayed by covid-19.

Well, you do have to take into account that he filmed himself laughing at a dying policewoman after the truck ran into them all, and he was speeding and driving erratically before he crashed his car.

He's probably a bit safer in remand, but I know quite a few people who might be wondering if they could get a quiet word to someone...

I had to search back to find the comment you were replying to and reading the linked article about the accident it doesn't appear to be an overly broad interpretation of that law.

He was involved in the crash even if he was stopped at the time. To imply that he wasn't is just fuckin' stupid. The officers wouldn't have been there to be run over by a truck if they hadn't had to stop him for flagrantly speeding & driving under the influence (drink driving and/or drugs), so he's not just some innocent bystander who didn't want to get involved.

There was one bit in the article I didn't quite understand:

"He had tested positive to drugs including cannabis after being pulled over on the Eastern Freeway just before the fatal crash, police alleged.
Pusey left the scene carrying a lunch bag with the drug ice inside it, the court was told."

Does that mean he stole the drink driving/drug test results (evidence) from the dying officers when he fled the scene?

He sounds like an absolute shit.

244:

Well, by deductive logic:
--Rats will eat almost anything humans will eat.

There are lots of yummy recipes for cicadas ("they're low calorie and gluten free").

Therefore I think we can infer that rats would eat cicadas if given a chance. Especially if the delicious cicadas were blanched, boiled, or candied first.

Bon apetit!

245:

SFReader @ 219: Re: Rats - COVID-19 era

How are the feral urban cats doing? Ditto raccoons esp. in Toronto*, NA's raccoon capital? Ditto mice, foxes, gulls, etc. Raccoons apparently eat dead rats, not sure whether feral cats do but if 'yes' then these animals might also start dying off on city streets.

* Because all construction was stopped for a few months now, I'm guessing many of these unfinished buildings are currently occupied by raccoon families. Mother raccoons are very aggressive and protective of their kits; even the professional pest removal companies refuse to do anything until they've moved out of the nest. Wonder if any of the major newspapers that feature 'human interest' stories will look into this. I don't like the idea of raccoons even though they can be real PITA pests being killed off to extinction. Plus, how would such construction companies get rid of these critters: poisons (what kinds/strengths/risk to humans and other life, risk to municipal and surrounding water), cage-and-release traps, or what?

Construction hasn't stopped around here. Maybe slowed a little, and not as many new projects starting up, but it's still going on. The sites are not abandoned, so no raccoon families moving in. Ditto for feral cats.

Poison is not a good idea. Catch & release is good for raccoons, opossums & squirrels and catch, neuter & release does seem to work for cats too feral for rescue & adoption. But many of those feral cats are more suitable for adoption than most people think.

246:

Apropos of nothing, but a real unicorn turned up in a listicle on my Facepalm feed.

It was an Elasmotherium, a single-horned ice age rhinoceros from the steppes of central Asia.

Here's my question. I know OGH has had a bit of fun with unicorn lore. Has any writer used an elasmotherium in the role of literary unicorn? I'm thinking that a Denisovan maiden riding an Elasmotherium might be quite the sight. Or perhaps such a unicorn might pop up in some parallel to Ryhope Wood, possibly out around Kazakhstan.

247:

Geezer #192. I've seen some examples of this at the municipal level, but not much higher. In Vancouver the issue of 'fare evasion' on the trains was a hot topic for awhile. I remember watching an interview with an otherwise execrable councillor who stated quite simply that the local authority lost about $2M/year to fare evasion, and it would cost >$4M/ year to operate turnstiles, plus the installation costs.

I agreed with him on that single issue and literally none other (he was actively hostile to cyclists, housing activists and any enviros of any kind). He lost the next election, a good thing.

Of course, 20 years later we now have turnstiles - somewhere along the way the innumerate fear of cheaters overcame the rational.

248:

I'll help with Murdoch. Please....

249:

Further regarding that "innocent bystander" down in Australia locked up for not rendering assistance after an accident ...

How big a douchebag do you have to be for your Mom to call up a radio station and publicly disown you?

On Monday a woman claiming to be Pusey’s mother contacted Melbourne radio station 3aw. She said the family was estranged from Pusey and were ashamed of his alleged actions.
"We would like to say that we are truly devastated by the tragic events that unfolded … we extend our deepest heartfelt sympathies to the families, friends, and colleagues of the four offices that tragically lost their lives."
"We as a family have been estranged from Richard for some period of time. We learned of the horrendous accident on Wednesday. We were incredibly shocked and deeply ashamed by the events that unfolded surrounding the accident and thereafter … And all we can say is we feel the same sense of devastation as the community at this time."
He also allegedly tested positive for ice and cannabis and was urinating on the side of the freeway when the truck smashed into four officers impounding his Porsche 911.
Pusey allegedly fled, before asking a witness for a ride to his home suburb of Fitzroy. He was arrested the next day.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/apr/27/truck-driver-charged-with-culpable-driving-over-melbourne-crash-that-killed-four-police-officers

250:

"And while I can't find anything indicating that it happens in the UK, there is a story about the Blair government trying to push fire brigades to charge for vehicle incidents."

There was something during the Blair period about sort of charging for ambulances. "Sort of" as in you got sent a bill for some fucking huge amount of money but you could just ignore it and nothing would happen. I guess they stopped doing it because everyone did just ignore it.

I got caught by it myself once in much the same manner as Moz describes. I have a disproportionate reaction to some kinds of injury or pain; I get a "warning period" of about 30 seconds to try and wrap something around the hole and find a good place to lie down, then I pass out for a few minutes (and have been told I sometimes have a sort of fit while I'm out), and when I come round I'm still completely fucked for a good half hour or so, have to remain lying down and don't have a lot of idea what's going on. There isn't actually anything wrong and all I need to do is rest for a bit, but it tends to freak the fuck out of anyone who sees it happen.

So one day the woman who goes around Bedford driving into the side of people on two-wheeled vehicles and then dissolving into a whining blob of jelly drove into the side of me. It didn't break anything or make any holes but it did trigger the above reaction; I used the 30 second warning period to haul the motorbike out of the roadway, then passed out on the pavement. Left to my own devices I would have just lain around until I recovered in my own time, but someone or other did the usual freakout and called an ambulance, and I ended up being carted off to the hospital while not exactly unconscious but certainly not in any state to have any say in the matter. Then a few weeks later I got this sodding huge bill for it.

(It also meant that the bike was left lying unattended on the pavement. Fortunately some kind person from one of the nearby buildings picked it up and hid it round the back in their car park until I came and got it.)

251:

N. Taleb is an author, so you know what to expect. He's (they're) not wrong though, especially about use, for planning/decision-making, of epidemiological models that don't properly weight worst case scenarios.
Tail risk of contagious diseases (25 May 2020, Pasquale Cirillo & Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Nature Physics)
This sort of thing, plus maths:
By analysing data for pandemic outbreaks spanning over the past 2500 years, we show that the related distribution of fatalities is strongly fat-tailed, suggesting a tail risk that is unfortunately largely ignored in common epidemiological models.

252:

Re periodic Cicada irruptions, I've read (and observed personally, one year) that Wild Turkeys are known to do better in (local) irruption years. Original link broken in Europe, so here are a few related papers. (Also see my links at #154; sure, it's metaphor(s), but they're real links.)

Effects of periodical cicada emergences on abundance and synchrony of avian populations (2005-07-01, Ecology, Koenig, W D, Liebhold, A M)

Periodical Cicadas as Resource Pulses in North American Forests (2004, paywalled, Yang, L.H.)
This study shows that resource pulses of 17-year periodical cicadas (Magicicada spp.) directly increase microbial biomass and nitrogen availability in forest soils, with indirect effects on growth and reproduction in forest plants. These findings suggest that pulses of periodical cicadas create "bottom-up cascades," resulting in strong and reciprocal links between the aboveground and belowground components of a North American forest ecosystem.

253:

Nassim "Black Swan Theory" Taleb is very much not just a popular author, indeed. I'd give him some respect for not just writing about his topic, but making (apparently) a fair amount of money off using it in financial situations.

Anyway, thanks for the link. I'm not surprised, just annoyed that I didn't think to look. The shape of the curve is one of Taleb's specialties, and if epidemiologists are using normal statistics when the data aren't normal, things can get rather...interesting.

254:

"Remember when Obama lost 90,000 Americans to Ebola in 2014? Neither do I, because he was a competent leader and there were 2 deaths, not hundreds of thousands."

And note that the GOP quite successfully put the USA into political anaphylactic shock over him, along with the majority of the US 'liberal' media.

It was like a sane country's reaction to a Trump - 'never again!'.

255:

Poison is not a good idea. Catch & release is good for raccoons, opossums & squirrels and catch, neuter & release does seem to work for cats too feral for rescue & adoption. But many of those feral cats are more suitable for adoption than most people think.

NYC has been using fist sized balls of dry ice (frozen CO2) for a while. Drop it into a rat hole where there is nothing people might be in below and they suffocate and are already buried. I suspect other areas might pick it up or already have.

Feral cats. Most people who want a cat want one which will exist politely inside the house and sit on their laps at times. And never go out. This is NOT what feral cats have in mind. They will stick around for a food source but expect to go out a night and hunt (because that's what they do) and sleep during the day. And if pissed piss in the corners of your house. Or just because.

People who work with cats say the best thing to do with a feral cat is sterilize it (they've gotten so they can do it in the field in a few minutes), notch the ear (so you know it has been sterilized), and release it back. If you remove it from an area other cats will just move in. The downside to this is you haven't solved the issue of them eating birds.

256:

The reason Boris got an 80 seat majority while the previous government got so little they were barely able to function is that the British electoral system is a pile of shite that grossly fails at being representative.

For both the Boris election and the previous one, almost exactly the same number of people turned out to vote at all, and almost exactly the same proportion of them voted Tory. Therefore, if the electoral system worked properly, both elections would have put almost exactly the same number of Tory MPs in parliament. ("Exactly the same" as in within a percent or so.) That we in fact got two grossly different outputs from almost the same input is entirely down to, and a straightforward demonstration of, the system being unfit for purpose.

It's nothing to do with Corbyn or Labour or any of that. While the proportions among the votes for other parties were different, the proportions of people voting for "the Tories" vs. "not the Tories" were the same. What we should have seen was fewer Labour MPs, more MPs who are neither Labour nor Tory, and the same number of Tory MPs as before. What we actually got was a crapload more Tories and correspondingly fewer of all the other parties purely as a consequence of the unrepresentative nature of the system.

The point is that the publicity machine is deliberately refusing to point this out, and instead is reinterpreting the failings of the system as a massive increase in support for the Tories. Whereas the reality is that there has been a massive increase in agency for the Tories but no increase at all in public support for their having that agency. That is the point that should not be forgotten, but all the publicity is aimed at obfuscating it and not so much getting people to forget as ensuring that they never even notice in the first place. It is doubly unfortunate that the Labour collapse made it so easy for people to just assume "Labour collapse, Boris majority, duh" and not bother to look closely enough to see that this "obvious" connection does not actually exist.

257:

Re periodic Cicada irruptions

I've learned that oak trees (at least around here) have cycles. Every 5 to 10 years my huge oak in the yard goes nuts and drops huge amounts of acorns. Just to clean up the ones on the sidewalk takes 8 trash cans. So there is also an explosion in the squirrel population. And they go nuts burring the acorns.

OK. I'm cool with all of this. But as best I can figure the pine seeds from my last 4 100' pines get buried due of being all over the ground by the squirrels. So the next spring I have literally 1000s of pine seedlings in my front yard. And you really don't want to mow them. As all you've done is allowed the roots to grow stronger. So you wait till the seedlings are about 8" to 1' tall and pull them up so you get the roots. That gets old. Quickly.

It's been over 5 years or so since the last round of fun so I'm expected the cycle to occur soon.

258:

Before I get started commenting, I'd like to offer some good stuff: this past weekend was Balitcon. Now, since we had a) two months to figure what to do, and b) BSFS, which puts on Balticon is a *large* club (we even own a building to meet in, and hold the club's library (12k books, I think) we have a *lot* of resources to call on.

So, it was the Virtual Balticon, online. Free, but registration required for attending some things (like most panels). Panels were via zoom; the consuite, virtual bar, chats and kaffeeklatches, etc, were via discord. We had a twitch channel, so if you missed a panel that ran the same time as another, you could watch.

In general, it went *really* well. People were agreeing that, short of being able to be together, it was good.

I know Ellen, my SO, who's out almost not at all, given her high risk (fibromyalgia, type II diabetes...) was really happy to see and talk to people (other than me, and her daughters who call all the time).

Some stuff could have done better, but we had over 500 attending - don't have the real numbers yet - panels had overflows, people came from all over - Canada, the West Coast, a *LOT* of folks, including local, who've never been to a con before (and got blown away).

Still looking forward to in-person, but...

259:

Musk can take the GOP as well, and go there himself.

260:

Simple: ask him if he's prepared to pay 100% of all additional medical bills, and, if necessary, for any funerals resulting from his visit.

For example, a nice coffin cost me about $1300 to effectively *RENT* in 1997 (my late wife's body was going to be cremated, but this was for the viewing).

261:

"Recently"?

In 2000 or 2001 - I forget which year, my son was driving out car, coming back from the Chicago 'burbs, when the engine caught fire. My insurance company had to pay (car was too far gone by the time they got there) for the firetruck.

262:

Does that mean he stole the drink driving/drug test results (evidence) from the dying officers when he fled the scene?

Search online reveals "ice" is the/a name for crystal meth in Australia, so I guess the answer is no - he was taking his drugs with him.

263:

The obvious answer is to make two kinds of money: plebian money, and Real People money. Give them all the Real People money. With them in a large valley, and the money dropped on top, by the ton. With pallets, shrink-wrapped, the way they shipped in $6USD to Iraq when we conquered it.

264:

"Piers Crowman"? A search gives me some TX country singer, Mike "Crowman"...

265:

Life and Death in the Great Depression - sounds like a lot of people were being worked to death, and in utter terror of losing their jobs.

266:

The few times I've most $10k or more, I never had to fill anything out. However, there's a 10 day, I think, period were you cannot access the money, while they investigate.

Money laundering, y'know.

267:

No, the worker-student-academic alliance!

(needs a bheer).

268:

Of course, 20 years later we now have turnstiles - somewhere along the way the innumerate fear of cheaters overcame the rational.

They also help to give the illusion of better safety, which is important to certain segments of society at off-peak times as well as keeping certain members of society off the system (well, those who can't/won't bypass the turnstiles).

And sometimes, even though it doesn't make sense logically, you need to spend the extra money to shut up the critics who threaten your funding - spending $4 million to catch $2 million in cheaters makes sense if it makes it easier to get $100 million in capital funding...

269:

Yes, Taleb deserves credit and the subject deserves more widespread attention; just wish he was more willing to acknowledge that many others think (some informally) in similar ways about risks (and about positive possibilities including opportunities). (He's a good speaker, FWIW.)
(The string "Swans of unusual colours" has one hit in google; it was a nod to Taleb.)

Epidemiological models are currently an active fight. It's not just conceptual biases (the inability to see fat tails); it's also highly motivated propaganda, mostly by death cultists, taking advantage of manufactured (partisan) susceptibility to conceptual biases.

270:

Sorry, I'll take my old family practice (GP) in Chicago over any of your "primary care providers".

Of, course, he started doctoring in the late eighties/early nineties, in the middle of the HIV epidemic....

271:

I think I've said before: vaccine is "riiiight, one of these years". I want *effective* treatment.

272:

I was going to respond that my favorite, when I was around 12, was the baluchotherium... but a princess riding an elasmotherium...

Sorry, I see someone in opera-style valkyrie clothes... it's a WABBIT....

273:

According to D.J Trump, the Transition to Greatness has started, ahead of schedule!!! (Narrator: He's wrong. On multiple levels.)

Stock Market up BIG, DOW crosses 25,000. S&P 500 over 3000. States should open up ASAP. The Transition to Greatness has started, ahead of schedule. There will be ups and downs, but next year will be one of the best ever!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 26, 2020

Noise warning as cicadas emerge from 17-year sleep (Will Pavia, May 26 2020)
They emerged into the spring sunshine in Virginia and North Carolina and soon their plaintive cry sounded on the air as millions of males clamoured for a female who was free and willing to mate.

274:

>I see nobody else on the Conservative government front bench. Anyone who doesn't support their mission has been relegated to the back benches already, or de-selected

Don't want to blow my own trumpet here but I pretty much figured this before the election; think in the early days just *who* bozo chose for his cabinet. Just take a look at any members now though of the front bench and they have *all* done something. For example wasn't it patel who had dealings with israel and who then had to step down and resign? And resigning dosen't seem to matter these days. How can you be forced to step down and resign and then a few years later be back in cabinet?

At the end of the day people were warned about what boris johnson and dominic cummings were like; the liar and the crook if you will. But people still voted for them.

I just wonder what will happen if we should get a second wave of CV19 (ample oppertunity to pass the virus around think of all those people lying on the beach *not* social distancing just recently). And there'll be a lot more by then of "Well, why should I self isolate and social distance, if cummings dosen't have to why me, screw it".

Random prediction for what is to come next (I'm thinking of brexit here); >50% of no deal for sure.

ljones

275:

I've learned that oak trees (at least around here) have cycles. Every 5 to 10 years my huge oak in the yard goes nuts and drops huge amounts of acorns.
Spruce are also know for that (informal article. North American red squirrels (aggressive!) involved):
Spruce mast events: feast or famine (August 15, 2014, Matt Bowser)
In fact, masting events can extend over the spatial scale of sub-continents, with seed production in phase across 500 miles! Multiple tree species can be in synch including paper birch and other conifers like mountain hemlock.

276:

Re leaving the scene, the prosecution must prove all of the following:

you were driving
there was an accident
if there was damage or an injury, you failed to stop and exchange names and addresses.

It fails on the first. There's no need to prove you're so horrible that even your mother couldn't love you. To deny someone bail who's charged with something that, by the police's own evidence they're not guilty of is pretty dreadful. Beyond that he had already given his name and address. So it fails on the third.

The lunch bag he took from the scene, he says it had sandwiches. The police, who never saw the bag, let alone tested the contents say it contained crystal meth/ice. On the balamce of probability, it probably did contain ice, but there is zero evidence. Again, to hold someone indefinitely without trial on charges where the police say there's no evidence....

And they've charged him with destroying evidence. They allege he deleted some of the video that he took at the scene.

The newish law is:

"A person who knows that a document or thing is or is reasonably likely to be required in evidence in a legal proceeding and either:

destroys or conceals the document or thing... "

His video was of after the crash. So it doesn't have any bearing on the events of the crash which a reasonable person would think might be the subject of legal action. He would have no reason to think that it might come up in a case against him for leaving the scene because any reasonable person would have no reason to think that they might be charged with that offence. Because he wasn't driving. The whole reason he was there was because he'd been stopped from driving.

Which speaks to my initial point. Which was that legging it to avoid an ambulance charge after an accident, if the police take a strong dislike to that, could result in you having to defend yourself in court, even if it's perfectly obvious to everyone that your not guilty.

277:

For both the Boris election and the previous one, almost exactly the same number of people turned out to vote at all, and almost exactly the same proportion of them voted Tory.

Such a wonderful word "almost"

1.2% seems such a small number, when in reality is hides such big things. Like a gain of 457,000 votes in England.

Therefore, if the electoral system worked properly, both elections would have put almost exactly the same number of Tory MPs in parliament.

Except in any riding/district based system it's not the total number of votes, but rather where those votes are.

And the reason Boris got his majority was the combination of a very bad result for Labour/Corbyn (down 8%!), and ironically enough a very good result for the SNP (because with Labour having been effectively eliminated from Scotland, the SNP gains came at the expense of the Conservatives).

The Conservatives took 47.2% of the vote in England, and in any multi-party riding based system that is going to give you a lot of seats.

It's nothing to do with Corbyn or Labour or any of that. While the proportions among the votes for other parties were different, the proportions of people voting for "the Tories" vs. "not the Tories" were the same.

It's everything to do with Corbyn and Labour.

The polling was not secret, the results were clear. And Corbyn and the Labour Party knew it - it's why he stopped going to all those trendy festivals.

Labour/Momentum/the one union, as I said, decided Corbyn purity was more important than winning. And when one of the 2 major parties in a multiparty system decide it is better to lose you don't get good results (unless you support the other party).

Because regardless of the problems of the system, you have to play with the system you have. And Labour decided they didn't want to play to win.

Those on here who live in Scotland will be able to comment better, but Labour has 2 inherent problems - first, they have managed since Blair to lose Scotland. Second, the results seem to indicate, much of England isn't as left-wing as many in Labour (and many on here I am guessing) would like. And to form a majority government Labour needs to appeal to a bunch of those non-left wing leaning seats.

278:

According to D.J Trump, the Transition to Greatness has started, ahead of schedule!!! (Narrator: He's wrong. On multiple levels.)

Depends - next year could indeed be one of the greatest ever if he loses in November (perhaps someone should suggest that to him?)

279:

At the end of the day people were warned about what boris johnson and dominic cummings were like; the liar and the crook if you will. But people still voted for them

Because he stood for something - Brexit, and lots of spending.

As opposed to Corybn, who couldn't make up his mind and came across as indecisive, which when combined with a poor showing inside the Commons made it clear he was not PM material.

The fact that Boris was all a charade mattered little, because many voters can't see through charades.

I just wonder what will happen if we should get a second wave of CV19 (ample oppertunity to pass the virus around think of all those people lying on the beach *not* social distancing just recently). And there'll be a lot more by then of "Well, why should I self isolate and social distance, if cummings dosen't have to why me, screw it".

I won't say Cummings and his antics haven't hurt the cause, but the combination of an out of control social media(*) combined with many world leaders and subordinates flouting the rules, poor government messaging, combined with success in round one means many have decided it may not be as dangerous as made out to be. And if a second wave comes in the summer, it will be very difficult to convince people to give up their summer in the northern parts of Europe and North America.

* - it would take an extraordinarily good/competent government to overcome a world where 50% of the Covid data online is coming from bots spreading false information.

280:

I had noticed your mention of Balticon before and I was really tempted to give it a go as I hadn't been to a con since a Minnicon several years ago, mostly due to my not wanting to travel into the USA anymore. It was even more tempting as I knew people from Minnstf who would be attending (including one very dynamic TAFF winner from a few years back) but I never got my act together.

The first con I attended was the Worldcon in 1983 which was eyeopening. The next was the first Keycon which was... somewhat less.

I suspect we know, only vaguely in my case these days, some of the same fen who have Twin City connections.

281:

I think we need to pass laws, that abt demonstrably false advertising in a political campaign, or by elected officials, is illegal, and the persons using it are liable, including, if it goes over a clear line in the sand, the punishment includes immediate removal from office.

Right now, the orange piece of shit is tweeting about some guy who lost his wife 15 or so years ago, claiming that she had been having an affair with Scarborough, the newscaster that turned on him a year or two ago.

282:

By the bye, has Bojo & co increased the NHS budget by, what was it, 154#, or 354#?

283:

next year could indeed be one of the greatest ever if he loses in November
Yes, though efforts to make that Transition more likely have been proceeding for a while. (As have efforts to make it less likely; interesting times will get more interesting.)
But DJT is asserting that something happened roughly 25/26 May. If not Cicada Brood IX, what? :-)

284:

The left REALLY, REALLY needs to go full-bore aggressive, and jump down the right-wing media's throats with hobnail boots... AND LIBEL LAWSUITS.

285:

it would take an extraordinarily good/competent government to overcome a world where 50% of the Covid data online is coming from bots spreading false information.
More effort should be devoted to early spotting then spiking of these influence operations. (That means everyone capable (who is not already doing so), not just social media companies, who are mostly the enemy anyway.)

286:

Re ambulance fees. Got a reply, they're refusing to answer. I've asked again.

287:

My inquiry has been passed to the finance team (where I expect it to be put in the round file)

288:

Right now, the orange piece of shit is tweeting about some guy who lost his wife 15 or so years ago, claiming that she had been having an affair with Scarborough, the newscaster that turned on him a year or two ago.

You do know that when this first happened that the Daily Kos and Michael Moore were spreading/promoting the same rumors.

Fanaticism seems to be an equal opportunity rumor monger.

289:

(where I expect it to be put in the round file)

You might get lucky. Although the reply is likely to be "if you're that concerned buy ambulance insurance".

Which I found cheaper through bupa, $50-odd a year. It's almost worth paying the fraudsters their tithe just for avoidance of the whole "fined by the emergency services" problem.

290:

How lovely to be living in Wellington (Aotearoa), where the ambulance service is run by a charitable trust, the Wellington Free Ambulance, financed largely by donations. This does include significant amounts from corporates and wealthy donors burnishing their image, and also a fair bit from grateful former clients, including my wife who needed them a couple of years ago and has been donating a small but regular amount ever since.

Not perfect, overly sensitive to the vagaries of the economy, but pretty good.

JHomes.

291:

gasdive @ 276
Re leaving the scene, the prosecution must prove all of the following:

you were driving
there was an accident
if there was damage or an injury, you failed to stop and exchange names and addresses.

It fails on the first

No, it doesn't - this is how it works in Victoria, YMMV elsewhere.

If you are responsible for a vehicle involved in any form of accident, not necessarily driving, but responsible, (e.g.: the supervising driver with a learner at the wheel, you halt the the vehicle (possibly legally) exit it and it gets run into, and so on), leaving the scene is a what gets you done.

This was all pretty much covered when I got my L's back in the 1970's, and was not noticeably different when my daughter got her L's last year.

292:

I've learned that oak trees (at least around here) have cycles. Every 5 to 10 years my huge oak in the yard goes nuts and drops huge amounts of acorns...

According to this article the trigger conditions are unknown but it's not a simple chronological cycle. Poorly timed frosts can prevent an acorn-rich mast year, this guy writes.

The term 'mast year' was new vocabulary to me, so thanks for bringing that up.

293:

The references are, I believe, to Piers Corbyn, brother to Jeremy of that Ilk. He's a Climate Change Denialist amongst other things.

294:

Before I get started commenting, I'd like to offer some good stuff: this past weekend was Balitcon.

On a related note: I just accepted my first SF convention guest of honour invite since COVID19.

In theory they're running a national SF convention in Eastern Europe next April. (Can't say who until they announce it officially.) In practice, I said, I'd like to be there in person if it's safe, but most likely it'll be a day of multiple Zoom/Skype talks from home. (Unless they postpone it until 2022 or 2023.)

It kind of sucks to have my normal excuse for gratuitous tourism truncated (hey, I'm working -- why can't I take a couple of days vacation time afterwards?) but I guess this is the new normal.

Meanwhile, I am available for panels, interviews, etc. at virtual SF conventions while this is going on.

295:

Speaking specifically to Scotland:

Those on here who live in Scotland will be able to comment better, but Labour has 2 inherent problems - first, they have managed since Blair to lose Scotland. Second, the results seem to indicate, much of England isn't as left-wing as many in Labour (and many on here I am guessing) would like. And to form a majority government Labour needs to appeal to a bunch of those non-left wing leaning seats.

Firstly, Thatcher lost Scotland to the Tories from 1979-90, by making the electoral calculation that by stiffing voters in the North she could pick up more seats in the South. She was correct, but the loathing directed at her in Scotland is visceral and very much still alive -- she's probably more hated than Hitler. (And I'm trying not to exaggerate. Hitler was a long time ago and far away, but Thatcher is well inside living memory.)

Secondly, Labour inherited Scotland by default, but then Labour lost Scotland too. They did this by (a) taking Scottish voters for granted, and (b) triangulating rightwards under Blair.

(Opinion polling repeatedly suggests that while the hard right in Scotland is about the same proportion that it is in England, there is a much larger hard left demographic, and the centre of politics in Scotland is considerably to the left of England.)

The SNP were originally "Tartan Tories". Then, from the mid-1980s onwards, under Alex Salmond's leadership they redirected their policies leftwards, emphasized civic nationalism over narrow ethno-nationalism (to make themselves more acceptable to the left/center of Scottish public opinion at the expense of the small right-wing rump), and focussed on local and then Scottish-level national government.

By roughly 2005 the SNP had successfully mutated into a respectable centre-left party that could compete for voters with Labour, but with an emphasis on national pride -- which prevented UKIP from gaining any traction in Scotland. (Prior to the Brexit referendum and their collapse, UKIP peaked at up to 25% of the vote in England. They never passed 2% in Scotland.)

It is hard to see how a union of nations where one is increasingly prone to hard right-wing populism and nationalism, and the other is strongly social democratic and with a diametrically opposed nationalism. The fault lines are deepening rapidly, and my gut feeling is that Sturgeon expects a crash-out Brexit to be the trigger that fires the starting gun for the next drive towards independence, by delivering a bunch of pro-union but also pro-EU voters to her on a plate.

But in Westminster, Labour can't form a partnership with the SNP, because in Scotland the SNP are an existential threat: they compete for the same votes, and Labour would be entering coalition from a subordinate position.

296:

You fanatical Corbyn-haters are getting up my nose with your (to be over-polite) gross and malicious misrepresentations. Corbyn is the only potential PM we have had since Thatcher who was (a) honest and (b) actually stood for doing something for the country. You may not AGREE with his politics (I don't), but they were the ONLY serious attempt to reverse the drift of the Overton window in the direction of monetarism, fascism and foreign control (*) of our politics since then - the second-best contender was Brown, who wasn't really PM material (and eventually realised it). Blair didn't just maintain the sodding Overton window, he moved further in that direction (*) than Major, Cameron, May and Johnson (so far).

Corbyn's problem was that he was poor at dirty politics, and was facing a barrage of malicious and false propaganda largely originating from abroad, not just non-doms but foreign oligarchs and even foreign governments. While he was not really PM material, he was essentially the UK's last chance to avoid that (*) for a generation or more - and, no, I am NOT joking. I am NOT saying that he would have resolved the issues but he MIGHT have done enough to restore some attention to public benefit to our politics.

The jury is still out on Starmer - if he carries on as he is proceeding, Cthulhu help us all - be might JUST be pretending to be a less slimy Blair until he gets elected, and then do something beneficial, but (a) that's damn hard to pull off and (b) it gets you a reputation for being deceitful. What he has done so far (except skewer Johnson) makes me think that he won't be any better than Brown, at best.

(*) To avoid repetition.

297:

Obviously, I was excluding the SNP from my previous post - there is no chance the next PM would be one of them!

"But in Westminster, Labour can't form a partnership with the SNP, because in Scotland the SNP are an existential threat: they compete for the same votes, and Labour would be entering coalition from a subordinate position."

I disagree. They would have to bite the bullet, and accept multi-party politics more along German lines than English, and there's no way they would be subordinate in a Westminster government given the relative number of seats, unless they had a leader who REALLY couldn't negotiate. What they probably would have to do is (at least) either commit to enable (and not sabotage) a referendum for independence, or to establish a commission to design a federal structure for the UK (and I am doubtful the SNP would accept the latter).

But I fail to see why, at least with electoral reform and in the medium term, they couldn't work together, as parties of the centre-left. I agree that they WON'T - tribalism is deeply entrenched within Labour, perhaps even more so than in the Conservatives.

298:

I would be grateful if Greg Tingey (comment 57) could stop lying about the SNP.
Thank you.

299:

Federalism is dragged out occasionally as an argument against Scottish self-determination. Nothing has materialised as yet.
Starmer has mentioned it too.
If he stays the course as Labour leader, if he escapes the media pasting that Foot/Kinnock/Salmond/Miliband/Sturgeon got, if he is elected in 2024 and if he was sincere - lots of ifs there - how could it work?
National parliaments in Belfast/Cardiff/Edinburgh/London and a federal upper house perhaps. To make the federal parliament meaningful, its inbuilt English majority (approx 85% of UK population) would need constitutional fetters otherwise English interests would dominate the federal UK.
This would entail a radical decentralisation of power (NI, Sco & Wal with a power of veto over UK federal actions) that I can’t see the power centres of the current British state accepting.
If there were no constitutional brakes on English majoritarian dominance? Then federalism would be no more than a tweak to what we already have.
Far from it not happening because ‘the SNP wouldn’t accept it’, it wouldn’t work because meaningful federalism would be an anathema to the British state. Meaningless federalism meanwhile wouldn’t be worth the bother.

300:

Heteromeles @426: elasmotherium

An elasmotherium makes an appearance - under that very name - in L. Sprague de Camp's The Unbeheaded King. The two main characters land their temporarily-aerial copper bathtub in a royal game park. They have to hastily climb a tree when an elasmotherium shows up. Unable to get the annoying humans, the elasmotherium batters the bathtub to flinders.

IIRC, the heroes are let off with a caution and a fine.

whitroth @261: when the engine caught fire

Obligatory xkcd reference here.

301:

Realistically, England would need to be federalised into regions, too; a small number of wildly disparate federal components never works in the long term, and veto powers always cause trouble. I believe that it could be made to work, but that CAN'T be done by doing the hack-job that was Blair's devolution, as was pointed out by the not-clueless at the time.

My point was that, even if Starmer offered a commission to propose such a solution, the SNP would reject it - and I am pretty sure that they would. Whether he could implement the recommendations of such a commission is another matter, which I did not address.

302:

@62: the launch of two US gov't employees

That's a mighty cavalier way of referring to veteran NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley as they break the eleven year Russian monopoly on manned space launch begun when the U.S. terminated the [massively inefficient] Space Shuttle program.

It made sense, of a sort, in the 1950s/60s/70s for NASA to provide all U.S. civilian space launch capability. Indeed, the Eisenhower administration established NASA in large part to keep space launch capability from being an ongoing internecine competition between the U.S. Army, Air Force, and Navy. But the rapid growth in commercial use of space led to a market where Boeing, Lockheed-Martin and Arianespace could continue booster development without depending on NASA and ESA handouts.

Elon Musk is a crank and somewhat of a jerk, but he did create in SpaceX a company that's brought real innovation and genuine competition to the other space launch companies. His emphasis on reusability is driving the cost of launch way down to the point that the barrier to the commercialization of low earth orbit is feasible for more than just nation states and megacorps. There's no real justification for NASA continuing to be in the booster business, as shown by the SLS boondoggle.

So yeah, for many of us, this launch is important. So sorry it's not for you.

303:

I mean, if it wasn't so dangerous and the Swedes apparently do docile they should be taking pitchforks to the government.

They should, but, nope.

The Swedes are Authoritarian by nature and they do like all things to be centrally planned and placed in their proper container by the relevant authorites and experts.

Thus in Sweden, the old peoples homes are the "People Die Here"-container, so if they are dying a bit faster recently then it is not really a biggie because Order is Preserved.


And if someone maybe helped this along by not provinding PPE to the carers, sending untested people back form hospitals and making sure that carers have zero-hour contracts with no sick-pay, well, that was just one of these very unfortunate things that those self-professed, totally world-leading Swedish pandemic expertise gobbing on TV every day could totally not predict!

Also, the way the Covid-19 is being sold on TV here Every Day by those clowns Anders Tegnell and sidekick Johan Giesecke, it is Only: The Old (a.k.a. as econoically useless people), The Fatties, The Diseased (lumped under pre-existing risk factors) and finaly (they don't say this) Ghetto Residents who gets it badly - So, Everyone who gets it badly kinda asked for it by not being Swedish enough!

They are basically handling Covid-19 like they did the gang shootings. As long as it doesn't happen to 'proper people', reality is stable and all is well, when it spills over into 'proper people' or where 'proper people' live - THEN it is a disaster and THEN they will do something - by which time the virus have mutated into Dog Knows What and is doing whatever it likes, pretty much like the gang-bangers did, btw.

304:

"But in Westminster, Labour can't form a partnership with the SNP, because in Scotland the SNP are an existential threat: they compete for the same votes, and Labour would be entering coalition from a subordinate position."

Why not, if Labour is in such trouble? If the choice is partnering with SNP and remaining the Loyal (but Powerless) Oppostion, why not?


Asking as a Yank.

305:

Right now, the orange piece of shit is tweeting about some guy who lost his wife 15 or so years ago, claiming that she had been having an affair with Scarborough, the newscaster that turned on him a year or two ago.

Last week I picked up my copy of Paul Linebarger's* 1948 masterpiece Psychological Warfare, which for years was the standard US Army manual about how to do this stuff. It's obviously outdated, but I wasn't particularly interested in the mechanics of dropping leaflets over Japan. Rather, I wanted to see if he had much useful advice about fighting psychological warfare.

He didn't, really. The US did a pretty good job shutting down fascist propaganda back then.

We're not doing as good a job now. Ahem.

Speaking of psychological warfare, one thing to realize is that the POTUS routinely practices some fairly effective psychological warfare tactics against pretty much everybody. I guess he doesn't have any friends, only tools and enemies?

Anyway, his favorite anti-media tactic is to stir up controversy as a simultaneous attack and diversion. Then the media dutifully spend a week on his controversy, and whatever he was trying to distract us from disappears from our radar.

Unless your goal is endless time wasting, it's kind of not worth repeating any part of Trump's pscyhological war. Just let his dead cat tweets slip by. If you want a game, try to figure out what he wants you to not see today.

*Linebarger's an interesting character. His father was a political activist who worked in Asia during Linebarger's youth, and his godfather was Sun Yat-Sen. Before WWII he had a PhD in political science and was teaching at Duke. During the war he served inthe army and helped organize the psyops section. After the war, he went on to teach East Asian studies at Johns Hopkins. However, you might know him better under his SF pen-name: Cordwainer Smith.

306:

Labour, that is the UK Labour Party based in England has regarded Scotland as 'theirs' for a generation and more, ruling most local councils as well as holding a large number of Parliamentary seats. It was said in my home constituency in Central Scotland last century that two short planks would win the overwhelming mandate of the working people if they stood as the Labour candidate.

Labour still think that way although what they believe hasn't been true since the right-wing Blairite revolution and the New Labour makeover a generation ago. Now they've got Tony Blair Mk 2 in charge while PM Johnson has a bomb-proof majority in the House so their chances of upsetting the SNP's hold in Scotland are non-existent but they can't accept this reality hence their detestation of the SNP which exceeds in many ways their mild dislike of their Tory opponents. In part it may be that the left-wing SNP is actually achieving things within Scotland and its devolved Parliament whereas the Parliamentary Labour Party is reduced to scoring points at Prime Minister's Questions every Wednesday to great applause and no effect.

307:

Me @302: eleven year Russian monopoly on manned space launch

My error - nine year monopoly, last Shuttle launch 2011.

308:

"Cordwainer Smith" was one of my favorite authors. I know where my copy of Norstralia is, and I think I'll go look for my copy of his collected short stories.

309:

Charlie & Keith Davidson ( 298 )
Pretended to empahsise civic nationalism, whereas they are actually a NATIONALIST party, with all that that usually implies, unfortunately.
They are still blaming everything on the evil English - even in areas in which that have had full control since Holyrood was set up ....
The Wee Fishwife brings me out in spots - only Thatcher & Patel have affected me quite so badly, though one or two others have run close

OTOH It is hard to see how a union of nations where one is increasingly prone to hard right-wing populism and nationalism, and the other is strongly social democratic and with a diametrically opposed nationalism. The fault lines are deepening rapidly, and my gut feeling is that Sturgeon expects a crash-out Brexit to be the trigger that fires the starting gun for the next drive towards independence, by delivering a bunch of pro-union but also pro-EU voters to her on a plate.
Is very unfortunately, correct, oops.
"The Conservative & Unionist Party" no longer exists, except in name - they have become an even more unpleasant mirror-image of the SNP - "English Nationalists" - who actually want to institute a sort of Trumpism in the UK.

- however ... GOTO #299 below ...

EC
GROW UP: J Corbyn was & is hopeless & useless, even if he wasn't/isn't 3/4 of the way to Marxism.
"Corbyn's Problem" is that he is a fuckwit
He & his followers inside Labour have been hounding perfectly good Social Democrat Labour MP's, like mine - they tried to deselect her the utter, total, complete idiots. - as if they WANTED a tory to win?
She was one of the few Labour MP's to INCREASE her majority.
Who is out of touch, then?

#299
"Federalism" - a "Union of the Isles" - my political wish-dream.
Unfortunately, with the Brexshiteers going full pelt, using C-19 as every excuse for their wrecking programee, i think it's going to be too late, more's the pity.

Hetreomeles
You mentioned ... CORDWAINER SMITH!
Anyway, his favorite anti-media tactic is to stir up controversy as a simultaneous attack and diversion. Then the media dutifully spend a week on his controversy, and whatever he was trying to distract us from disappears from our radar.
Just happened here ... we've had massive distraction over the Scummings & Sir Paul Nurse's interesting questions have been conveniently lost ....

Nojay - longer than that
Labour regarded Scotland as "theirs" from about 1920, certainly 1930 onwards - that's THREE generations, at least

310:

My error - nine year monopoly, last Shuttle launch 2011.

Actually a not-quite-four year monopoly, last Chinese manned mission to their space station was October 2016 (Shenzhou 11). But you were nearly right.

311:

Ohh, don't get me wrong, it's a Big Deal.

My point was actually that it is probably a bigger deal than most people realize, success or failure.

My question was precisely along that line: Considering how emotionally unstable USA is these days, I think there is much more riding on that rocket than just two gov't employees...

312:

"1.2% seems such a small number, when in reality is hides such big things. Like a gain of 457,000 votes in England."

Are you being deliberately obtuse? The absolute number of votes doesn't mean a blind thing on its own. It's the number in relation to all the other numbers which matters. And that number "seems such a small number" not because it is "hiding big things", but because it is according the appropriate significance to things which are not big. As you very well know, and indeed I am surprised that you think anyone on here would fall for such a crassly transparent and elementary piece of misdirection.

"Except in any riding/district based system it's not the total number of votes, but rather where those votes are."

Yes, that is one of the reasons why the system is fucked. It does not excuse the fuckedness merely to name one of its causes.

"It's everything to do with Corbyn and Labour."

Only in the eyes of those who are so keen to bash Corbyn at the slightest opportunity that they don't bother to worry about whether the facts support their argument. Or whether the point was even about Labour in the first place.

The Labour result is irrelevant. You even quoted the reason why - "While the proportions among the votes for other parties were different, the proportions of people voting for "the Tories" vs. "not the Tories" were the same." - but apparently without actually reading it. The large reduction in votes for Labour was almost entirely compensated for by the increase in votes for parties neither Tory nor Labour, so you can blather on about it all you want but it does not alter the fact that it did not result in any significant change in the Tory vote.

There was no significant change in the Tory vote. Elections are not considered to be accurate to better than a couple of percent anyway. But the percentage of Tory seats went up an order of magnitude more than the percentage of Tory votes. Boris's huge majority is noise, not signal, massively exaggerated by built-in systemic failings such as its crappy quantisation method.

313:

Perhaps... but the real point is that this is FIFTEEN (or so) YEARS LATER.

He's using it to attack Scarbourough (who I think accidentally killed that aide).... but for the Orange Scum, collateral damage is a nothingburger.

314:

I shall not respond as you deserve out of courtesy to OGH. For the record, I did not approve of Momentum's attempts at deselection, but they were an attempt to restore some socialism to the party after it had been largely purged during the Blairite years. I have far more loathing for Blairites than I did for Thatcher, because they regard politics all about 'winning' and not at all about doing anything for the country, or even minimal decency. Your MP is still too wet behind the ears to judge, but looks horribly Blairite (as does Starmer). As I said, Corbyn was the ONLY potential PM since Thatcher who was any different.

316:

Oh, by the bye: one of my favorite columnists, Marinna Hyde, has a column in today's (Wed) Guardian. One cmt, referring to Bojo and Cummings:
Or to put it in the complex intellectual terms it deserves, some street heckler once shouted at David Hasselhoff: “Oi! Hasselhoff! You’re nothing without your talking car!” Cummings is the talking car to Johnson’s Hasselhoff.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/may/26/dominic-cummings-boris-johnson-terrified-sack-him

317:

EC
Be very careful.
I happen to be fortunate enough to have met my MP several times - she is extremely hardworking, an actual Social Democrat & has been repeatedly attacked by one of the vilest right-wing orgs around ( The Xtian anti-abortion rightwing nutters ).
Hardly wet behind the ears - she's been an MP for 10 years.
And are you so enamoured of "True Socialism"TM that you would apparently prefer Gove, BoZo & Scummings, eh? The exact same idiocy that momentum pursued. Maybe not, but the trend is there.
So: "It looks horribly Blairite" - so fucking what, if the alternative is fascism?
Really, seriously, you would, like idiot Corbyn, rather be ideologically pure, even if it means losing to what wiil certainly morph into fascism ... some of the "tories" are mostly there already, of course.
WINNING MATTERS.
Like I said: GROW UP.

318:

whitroth
From that Grauniad article
can only direct you to the slogan flyposted all over Paris during the 1968 civil unrest. “DO NOT ADJUST YOUR MIND – THERE IS A FAULT WITH REALITY.”
You can say that again ....

319:

So, honest question.

I have far more loathing for Blairites than I did for Thatcher, because they regard politics all about 'winning' and not at all about doing anything for the country, or even minimal decency.

Which is more important - being "pure" left wing and remaining on the opposition side of the benches, or winning?

320:

"winning" has to have a context to be useful.

If you define "winning" as "political control, as long as you change nothing important", that's not obviously worth having. (We're in a time of mass extinction and immense peril we could be not causing ourselves, if system change could be achieved; "change nothing important" is not an acceptable constraint under the circumstances.)

Blair as PM did a lot of war crimes and made it harder to change anything important. That may have been a win for someone, but not for me or thee.

321:

England is generally majority small-c conservative and right-wing -- sometimes the Labour Party can swing right like in Blair's time and win a majority, especially if the previous Tory government has done something egregious and unforgivable like depress property prices or encourage non-white immigration but any party with a political stance slightly more socialist than Attila the Hun will not get a majority in the House of Commons these days.

322:

If you define "winning" as "political control, as long as you change nothing important", that's not obviously worth having

No, the question didn't have caveats - the question was which was more important - winning or left wing purity.

Blair as PM did a lot of war crimes and made it harder to change anything important.

I won't argue Blair was a great PM - he absolutely did bad stuff.

Though I suspect if anyone actually looked at the complete record of his government they would find some good things that were done.

But if he made it more difficult to change anything it is only because a portion of Labour voters continue to obsess about him, and project him onto any potential PM other than Corbyn.

At some point Labour needs to get over Blair and get back to the goal of forming a government.

323:

Today's Crew Dragon launch is scrubbed for weather. Next launch window 30 May.

324:

A government to do what?

Politics is supposed to be the art of the possible; if the possible doesn't include the prospect of survival for a majority of the electorate, one gets something that isn't politics.

Not going there -- a collapse of legitimacy for the civil order -- is important to the possibility of having politics at all, and one would hope politicians would recognise this. (Most of the problem with the Mammonites is that they recognise no such thing.)

325:

It may be unfortunate, but Labour tends to win when people can not take the commissar accusations seriously. (which is also why the remoaner stuff now is going down badly). Atlee was the epitome of middle class respectability (a Kipling admirer as was, if you read him carefully, was Orwell) and even Churchill's subordinates winced at the gestapo comments. Wilson was in the era when the middle ground was being looked for and Blair did not frighten the horses (the red eyes going down as well as Churchill's Gestapo comments).

326:

Re: ' ... lots of yummy recipes for cicadas ("they're low calorie and gluten free").'

Can hardly wait for you to personally confirm that cicadas are as tasty as described! :)

Meanwhile other critters making news - and making people smile:

https://twitter.com/VroegeVogels/status/1262331156818771973

These owlets are enormous balls of fluff. Wonder what Mama owl feeds them.

327:

I don't live within the 17-year cicada orgy zone, so I won't be able to partake. Were I there, I'd happily chow down on them. Probably far away from my wife, who sadly likes meat to be from either vertebrates with fewer legs or decapod crustaceans with more. People have the strangest food prejudices...

328:

A government to do what?

Got it - your not willing to acknowledge it as such but everything you are saying is ideological purity is more important than winning.

Which, incidentally, is the same as saying you are happy with whatever government does get elected.

Politics is supposed to be the art of the possible; if the possible doesn't include the prospect of survival for a majority of the electorate, one gets something that isn't politics.

Politics is many different things, to different people.

The unfortunate fact of the matter is that the voters are not at this time taking climate change seriously, and thus running on such isn't going to get you anywhere - people are still far too addicted to their carbon consumption.

The problem with people who value ideology over winning is that they forget 2 important points:

1) even a middle of the road "Blairite" Labour government is going to be better than what the Conservatives have become - and want to become now that they have found an excuse to rid them of their Boris problem.

2) one of the benefits of being the government is that you can put in place the building blocks for where you would like to take the country long term - things that look insignificant but can have long term potential.

329:

My late ex was, as she put it, an ovo-lacto-seafoodo vegetarian. Her thing was "didn't like meat", and also all the resources to raise meat.

Lobster - she was also a master diver (that's a certification), and had gone hand-to-claw with them buggers.

330:

David L @ 255:

Poison is not a good idea. Catch & release is good for raccoons, opossums & squirrels and catch, neuter & release does seem to work for cats too feral for rescue & adoption. But many of those feral cats are more suitable for adoption than most people think.

NYC has been using fist sized balls of dry ice (frozen CO2) for a while. Drop it into a rat hole where there is nothing people might be in below and they suffocate and are already buried. I suspect other areas might pick it up or already have.

I wonder how well that would work in Raleigh?

Feral cats. Most people who want a cat want one which will exist politely inside the house and sit on their laps at times. And never go out. This is NOT what feral cats have in mind. They will stick around for a food source but expect to go out a night and hunt (because that's what they do) and sleep during the day. And if pissed piss in the corners of your house. Or just because.

People who work with cats say the best thing to do with a feral cat is sterilize it (they've gotten so they can do it in the field in a few minutes), notch the ear (so you know it has been sterilized), and release it back. If you remove it from an area other cats will just move in. The downside to this is you haven't solved the issue of them eating birds.

I did mention "catch, neuter & release" for dealing with feral cats. Their lives tend to be fairly brutal and short.

But many "feral" cats are not that feral. They're abandoned house pets who would love to have a home and someone's lap to sit in. They will make good pets if you can catch them before they've been abandoned for too long.

Some of my neighbors have outdoor cats. I don't believe in it because it's not safe for them out there.

Just this week I've seen posters up on all the telephone poles in the neighborhood because someone's pet cat disappeared off of their front porch and the owner is decidedly distraught.

331:

whitroth @ 270: Sorry, I'll take my old family practice (GP) in Chicago over any of your "primary care providers".

Of, course, he started doctoring in the late eighties/early nineties, in the middle of the HIV epidemic

Family care GP IS what they mean by "primary care providers". Which doctor do you see for preventive care (like checkups or flu shots)? Which doctor do you call when you've got a cold or need "routine" care? That's your "primary care provider".

332:

Got it - your not willing to acknowledge it as such but everything you are saying is ideological purity is more important than winning.

Perhaps I'm not interested in the reductive binary? Especially when it's false to fact?

Years of "oh god not them" politics has left Canada with a federal NDP platform significantly to the right of Brian Mulroney's government -- the government, not their platform! -- rather than, you know, progress. Or indeed anything except wealth concentration.

The idea that I have to buy into the inevitability of this system, its certain mass extinction, its probable human extinction, its entire failure of civilisation (if you die on the odds by starvation or violence it's not civilisation, and that's where we're nudging into) or be somehow morally frivolous is not one I accept.

(Neither is the idea that I have to treat the public as somehow neutral; repetition creates belief. A whole lot of money has gone into creating belief.)

So, nope. Not some sort of Randian superman; I can't figure out how to fix it. Still not obliged to regard "might not starve until 2030" as "winning".

333:

Some of my neighbors have outdoor cats. I don't believe in it because it's not safe for them out there.

Over here it’s mildly popular for people who really love their cats to completely enclose their yards, or a portion of it, in netting. You get discounted registration in LGAs where it isn’t actually mandatory, and there’s a small commercial ecosystem supplying services to do this work to a spec. It is not universally mandatory however, and many people ignore it (or don’t even register their cats).

I imagine the netting does wonders for keeping critters out of the fruit trees too, but you have that trade off between cats and birds.

334:

whitroth @ 272: I was going to respond that my favorite, when I was around 12, was the baluchotherium... but a princess riding an elasmotherium...

Sorry, I see someone in opera-style valkyrie clothes... it's a WABBIT....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJI_gygXsfs

335:

They will make good pets if you can catch them before they've been abandoned for too long.

I'm not convinced. Based on experience I think about 1/2 of the cats just don't want to be a "house" cat. And they tend to get tossed and become feral. So you're starting with a group that more than likely was either born feral or abandoned as not suitable for being a house/lap cat. A minority were decent house cats who got tossed.

We don't have a cat or cats at this time. But there have been cats in my life for over 1/2 of my life. The last 2 were literally German barn cats that my wife picked up long before I met her. One was a very very mild / friendly lap cat. The other continually pissed that the world didn't belong to it. We had to put it down when it in no uncertain terms decided that our second child would not be allowed. Truly.

Now I'll likely never have a cat again. My son in law tears and swells if someone who has been NEAR a cat gets near him.

336:

Cats.

To me they are up there with deer in terms of we've altered the ecosystem by flooding it with a species that doesn't play fit well with others. Deer because we got rid of wolves. Cats because we like what they do on farms and now mostly because we want a warm cuddle thing for our laps.

337:

mdive
Also - being "Pure" means allowing fascism to take over.... NOT ACCEPTABLE

Nojay
HALF CORRECT
Rural & outer-suberban Engalnd is certainly conservative
NOT necessarily rioght-wing, unless you are viewing from the perspective of momentum, however.
A huge number of pepolpe are, actually Social Democrat - who do they vote for?

SFR
CUte!
Reminds me of, before the big Elm trees opposite were chopped down ( Had to go, hollow, dropped a big branch, in a gorl's school ...
Said trees were inhabited by Tawny Wols ...
Daddy Owl, 3 balls of grey fluff, mummy Owl, all bobbing up-&-down & going "woo!"

JBS
Please do't ... I once went to "Bugs Bunny on Broadway, with those L-T clips & a LIVE Orchestra - my sides were hurting when I staggered out on to the S bank ...
Of course, the whole point is that you have to know your Wagner to appreciate the jokes....

338:

NYC has been using fist sized balls of dry ice (frozen CO2) for a while. Drop it into a rat hole where there is nothing people might be in below and they suffocate and are already buried. I suspect other areas might pick it up or already have.

I wonder how well that would work in Raleigh?

Don't know. Chicago, Boston, Phili, etc... sure. Hugely dense areas where the folks doing the dry ice don't have far to go. The Raleigh area, while around 41st in the country in size is still a very suburban town.

But lets toss it at our city council and see what they say.

339:

Rural & outer-suberban Engalnd is certainly conservative

Like I said, that makes a English majority of small-c conservatives who will only vote Labour if they think the current version of Labour is sufficiently pro-property prices and anti-immigration. If the party isn't Blairite/Progress that right-wing majority will vote for the Tories outright like they did in 2019, getting Brexit done just as that nice tousle-haired man promised. Some of them might vote Conservatives-in-exile aka the Lib Dems in an election or two if the current lot have done something really bad but they'll always come home to the True Blues because Socialism, ewww!

340:

gasdive @ 276: Re leaving the scene, the prosecution must prove all of the following:

you were driving
there was an accident
if there was damage or an injury, you failed to stop and exchange names and addresses.

It fails on the first. There's no need to prove you're so horrible that even your mother couldn't love you. To deny someone bail who's charged with something that, by the police's own evidence they're not guilty of is pretty dreadful. Beyond that he had already given his name and address. So it fails on the third.

That sounds like Sovereign Citizen bullshit BINGO to me. He was driving. He was driving erratically & speeding before the cops stopped him. He would have kept on driving if the police hadn't impounded his car.

That accident would not, could not, have occurred if he had not been speeding and driving erratically enough to be stopped by the police. Claiming he was not driving is disingenuous at best.

The bail thing is completely separate from his violation. They don't want to let him out because he's likely to RE-offend. The impression I got from the article is he already had cases pending for drink driving and speeding. There also seemed to be some question whether he would show up for his court date. He's a flight risk.

The latter would be a valid reason for denying bail even here in the U.S.

. . .

Which speaks to my initial point. Which was that legging it to avoid an ambulance charge after an accident, if the police take a strong dislike to that, could result in you having to defend yourself in court, even if it's perfectly obvious to everyone that your not guilty.

You should find a better example with which to make your point. What's "perfectly obvious" in the case you cited is that he's a scofflaw who's GUILTY as sin.

341:

Charlie Stross @ 294: It kind of sucks to have my normal excuse for gratuitous tourism truncated (hey, I'm working -- why can't I take a couple of days vacation time afterwards?) but I guess this is the new normal.

Which brings up whole new flights of fancy.

If you're your own boss and it turns out that your boss is the kind of a****** who won't let you take a couple days vacation after attending a work related conference, what can you do about it?

342:

I know. [shakes head] "Oh, we have to come up with new names", partly I think they went to "primary care" because it allows large practices (esp. when owned by hedge funds) and insurance companies in the US to make them sound like replaceable parts, not people.

343:

My late ex and I had two cats, and lived in the exurb in an immobile home. The big one, we decided was going to be an indoor cat after the second $200+ vet bill in six months (fights). The other, well, when we got to Chicago, there's far too many assholes who speed up to run down small furry critters.

344:

And it *stops* in the middle!

Ya bum, Can you see that as an elasmosaurus?

345:

Bottom line: Boris and Cummings are going nowehere for at least 4.5 years. We will "crash out" of the EU and nobody will notice given the economic damage the lockdown has caused, and all the magic money conjured out of thin air.

346:

"political control, as long as you change nothing important"

As you hint, there are two competing views of what politics is for that are hard to reconcile. On the one view politics is about direct exercise of power and without that you have nothing. Thus it is better to rule as a hard right Thatcherite Labour leader than to sit in opposition. In the extreme, better to maintain your position in the hierarchy even if that means doing horrible things, in the hope that you can prevent or at least mitigate even worse things.

Another view is that politics is the extension of principles to larger groups. Decide what you want and persuade ever-larger groups of people of your ideas. From this perspective gaining power at the expense of abandoning principles defeats the whole point of having power. As a radical communalist said "what good it is for a man to gain the whole world but lose his soul". Hence perhaps the common tendency from this side of politics to label the other side as soulless abominations.

Of cource there's a third view that regards politics as bread and circuses for the masses while the important stuff happens elsewhere.

347:

whitroth @ 313: Perhaps... but the real point is that this is FIFTEEN (or so) YEARS LATER.

He's using it to attack Scarbourough (who I think accidentally killed that aide).... but for the Orange Scum, collateral damage is a nothingburger.

Unless you can produce some actual evidence to support your supposition, you're just as guilty as Trumpolini in spreading a hateful & hurtful lie.

Lori Klausutis worked in one of Joe Scarbourough's offices, an "annex" office offering constituent services in Ft. Walton Beach, FL. She died a month or more AFTER Scarborough had announced his intention to leave Congress. When she died Scarbourough was working at his Washington, DC office. The two offices are about 800 miles apart (straight line distance measured on Google Maps).

She apparently had an undiagnosed heart condition & fainted at work, striking her head on the edge of her desk when she fell. Hitting her head caused a blood clot that killed her.

"Lori Klausutis died as a result of the injury sustained when she struck the desk in an unprotected fashion. However, the etiology of the fall was most likely as a result of a sudden cardiac arrhythmia from her undiagnosed floppy mitral valve disease. In that all other reasonable causes of sudden death and injuries to cause fatalities have been excluded by autopsy and toxicologic studies, this leaves only the logical conclusion that the floppy mitral valve is the only visible remaining etiology that would have caused Lori Klausutis to, in essence, drop in mid stride. The manner of death is thus ruled as accidental. The above findings are rendered within a reasonable degree of medical certainty."

https://www.washingtonpost.com/context/medical-examiner-s-report-on-the-2001-death-of-lori-klausutis/4d82c16d-d9c5-4022-9580-2325b9774cf2/

I apologize for the Washington Post link, but it was the only one I found that has the actual Medical Examiner's report.

348:

People who work with cats say the best thing to do with a feral cat is sterilize it (they've gotten so they can do it in the field in a few minutes), notch the ear (so you know it has been sterilized), and release it back.

That's the avoidance strategy very well described. They're trying to keep the problem from being so bad that people complain, while also not doing anything to the problem that causes people to complain.

Which is fine if your goal is "not having complaints" and you're willing to ignore the fringe lunatics who want birds, lizards, small mammals etc not to be made extinct. As per the politics discussion, large-scale death of the other is a price some people are willing to pay for power.

To me "other pest animals will move in once you kill the current ones" is a feature not a bug. It means that I can do pest control over a much wider area than I control. In Aotearoa I was doing that with possums and goats, possibly also pigs. Wipe out the local population in order to let my new trees survive, when enough outsiders have moved in wipe them out too. It means my property acts as a sink for pests and noticeably reduces the pest load over an area wider than the range of any single pest animal.

If I could do that with cats around my current house I would, but trapping cats is hard and I'm not allowed to poison them.

349:

mdlve @ 322: No, the question didn't have caveats - the question was which was more important - winning or left wing purity.

Maybe a bit of both and neither at the same time? What good is winning if you can't use the win to move your announced policy agenda forward? What use is "purity" if it means you can't win?

350:

whitroth @ 344: And it *stops* in the middle!

Ya bum, Can you see that as an elasmosaurus?

It was the best I could find. I did hope it would have the complete "kill the wabbit!"

This one seems to be complete: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2bilTTzO-g

Maybe. I'm afraid dinosaurs don't have the same meaning for me since I found out there never really was a brontosaurus.

351:

I think mdive's point is that it's you that has to change. Want what you can get, rather than wasting time trying to get what you want.

Which means that any of us can become very powerful indeed, we just have to decide to use our power to make the world the way it already is. It's kind of Trumpian "I made this hurricane happen, see how awesomely powerful I am, even the weather obeys me".

I had a scout leader who joked about that being how you train dogs. "the trick is learning what the dog wants to do, then tell it to do that".

352:

Sometimes, winning is a means of preventing the other side from moving things significantly in what you think is the wrong direction. Once you win, there may be other ways of encouraging things to move in the direction you want without direct government action. Whitroth may disagree with me.

353:

I suppose I was somewhat put off that by the Lange/Douglas Labour government that gave NZ a good vigorous dose of Thatcherism. For all that I do accept that after the "National" centrally planned economy experiment it was necessary to reform a lot of things, I think "more noeliberal than thou" was a bit of an overreaction.

The point is that a nominally left wing party gained government and fell completely for the "third way" or "middle path" and shafted a lot of people for a generation at least. Saying that "oh well at least they had power and could change things" (the nuclear free stuff, for example) doesn't take away from the fact that when they lost power the following National government seemed almost moderate by comparison.

So the idea that it's better to have a hard neoliberal Labour government than a neoliberal rightwing one doesn't wash for me.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourth_Labour_Government_of_New_Zealand
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruthanasia

354:

Also, FWIW, the idea that you should stay inside the party when it loses its mind also doesn't work. It's worth noting that under Lange we still had a significant environmentalist grouping inside Labour, and to a smaller extent National (that's when, for example, the Maruia Society was active, an early right-green group). In both cases they were told to STFU, support the party, and one day if they were good there might be some environmental progress.

IMO Labour were a whole lot better than National on this, and it's kind of hard to distinguish generic "like the outdoors" "Aotearoa is special" kind of sentiment that supported National Parks and the like from "climate change is a problem" activism, except in the sense that the latter was a hard fail then just as it is now.

I think The Greens have had a whole lot more wins than the environmentalists inside Labour have since the split. There's a degree to which the bitterness inside Labour about "their" green votes being stolen feeds that, but a much bigger problem is the hard brown wing inside Labour. They argue for chasing farming and mining votes, and they are definitely part of the mammonite cult.

Right now I'm almost hoping that The Greens manage to hold the line and let Winston First bring the government down. Not because that would be a good thing in itself, but because being the party who always compromises, never blows up when they get screwed over (again), and can be relied on not to support the other side just leads to the doormat bullshit we're seeing now. They have to draw a line *somewhere*.

355:

"So, nope. Not some sort of Randian superman; I can't figure out how to fix it. Still not obliged to regard "might not starve until 2030" as "winning".


"It goes without saying that I won't break through such a wall with my forehead if I actually don't have the strength to break through it, but I won't make peace with it either just because I have a stone wall here and lack the strength'. (Notes from Underground)

It's hard to know how to proceed with such large problems, I honestly don't have the answers. I vote as best I can, often holding my nose and voting against. I really have no idea how to unmake the Mammonite cult, or even to begin in many ways.

That doesn't mean accepting it or being at peace with it.

356:

I plagiarised a Victorian legal aid website.

The act includes some stuff about being the responsible party, and gives the example of allowing your parked car to roll onto the road causing an accident.

I still can't see how this particular guy could be considered the responsible driver in a crash involving his stationary parked car *after* his car has been impounded. Which underlines my point which is that the police are prepared to interpret "leaving the scene" very very very very broadly.

Still, it's clear who isn't responsible. The people who trained these new police officers that it's ok to set up an adhoc worksite in the emergency lane of a highway. Despite the practice providing a steady stream of fodder for "world's wildest police videos" and a steady stream of similar incidents.

357:

I know that New Zealand forests do the same. I read somewhere the theory was that if the trees produced the same seed quantity every year, something would evolve to use that food source, so all the seeds would be eaten. If instead the trees 'saved up' for a few years and then produced a burst there would be no way that anything could last years without food and then fully utilise the huge quantity of seed, so some would be left to germinate.

https://www.doc.govt.nz/news/media-releases/2019/mega-mast-confirmed-for-new-zealand-forests/

358:

It seems to me the reason people who have more to gain from a left wing government perversely vote for right wingers, comes down to simple psychology. People put more value on stuff they have (and not losing it) then on stuff they don't have but might get. Plus people are optimistic. So the calculus is: if I have bad luck and need help the government will provide for me, but if I work hard and have good luck the government will take away so much of my hard-earned savings - and I don't want to lose that money!

359:

How does he do on the Voight-Kamph test.

(Please tell me that nobody else has made that joke!)

360:

That's what masting is, pretty much by definition. And it's not eventually they might have seed predators.

In the local oaks (which do mast), most years, most of the acorns have weevils in them, mast or not. The local Indian tribe reportedly burned the litter around the oak, just to kill the weevils in the acorns so that there would be more intact acorns for them to eat.

361:

"winning or left wing purity"

Left wing purity. That is if you want to achieve something.

The right has gone way hard right. Way way over the far edge. If you think to yourself "I can't do anything unless I'm in power", well the answer is obvious. Move right. Become the enemy. Become everything you hate. Then you'll force the right further right. You get to pick up the voters that, by this logic, they'll leave behind, and you'll be in power on a platform exactly opposite your goals and you'll get to "achieve something".

Several things are wrong with that.

1st their voters won't get left behind. They'll go right with their party. It's not about ideology it's about tribalism. Congratulations, you've shifted the window right.

2nd if you get power you'll either do the horrible things you promised, or you'll backflip and be abandoned for a generation as a bunch of lying scoundrels.


The other possibility is to go left and be honest. Now you're not forcing the right further right, there's a chance that the more moderates in that party might get a voice. You can move the window a bit left.

You can be an honest and effective loyal opposition. Soon you'll be considered a voice of reason rather than Tory lite. You might even manage a bit of bipartisan support of something reasonable. One day you might win an election and get to do what you've promised. People will like it. They'll like having a job, something to eat, a house, some rights. They might even get the idea that electing politicians who do what they promise is a real possibility.

362:

I think The Greens have had a whole lot more wins than the environmentalists inside Labour have since the split.

It's hard to know what to make of that comment.

The NZ Greens were never in Labour. We formed as a rename and rebranding out of the ashes of the Values Party.

You may be thinking of The Alliance, which Greens were part of from 1991 to 1997, along with New Labour and Mana Motuhake.

363:

Not to mention that the environmentalists in Lange's government had some pretty big wins at the time what with the forming of DoC and the Ministry of the Environment. Especially since DoC was historically considered to be biased in favour of the environment over the economy. It took decades for National to change that.
I'd say Richardson was the real Thatcher in NZ, that particular government has a lot to answer for, especially since they were elected on a platform of stopping the economic reforms and instead doubled down on them.
Although they did pass the RMA, which is hated by *everyone* on all sides, so I'm not sure whether to praise or blame them.

364:

The NZ Greens were never in Labour.>/i>

I never said they were. I said environmentalists rather than greenies quite consistently in an effort to make the distinction. A decent chunk of MMP-era Greens members were ex-Labour. Ask your friends in the Labour Party about it and I suspect you will get told. Possibly even politely now a bit of time has passed.

I'm not sure how to describe "Labour losing a chunk of its members in one hit, and they all went to a new political party" as anything other than a split. Just because there was no official "Green Party caucus" inside Labour doesn't mean they weren't there, they didn't leave, or they didn't go to The Green Party.

365:

Nojay
Still only half right.
Huge numbers would like a Social Democrat government, but we were not being offered the choice.
Reminder that the tories did not actually win back in 2010 - Labour half-lost it, because of Blair's Iraq adventure
I'm certain that if that had not happened, Labour would have been returned again, though with a reduced majority ...

Dirk @ 345
Unfortunately correct, unless something realy remrkable happens!

366:

The act includes some stuff about being the responsible party, and gives the example of allowing your parked car to roll onto the road causing an accident.

You are confusing "responsible for the accident" and "responsible for a vehicle involved in the accident."

His vehicle was involved in the accident while he was present, he left the scene, he's in the wrong.

367:

Oh, and I should add, particularly leaving the scene of an accident which involves a physical injury, without the permission of the police called to the scene.

368:

Pigeon 312 said:

> ... that they don't bother to worry about whether the facts support their argument. Or whether the point was even about
> Labour in the first place.

It's been known since ancient Greek times that facts and logical argument, elections do not win. One of the big things that wins elections are emotions. In late-stage democracy that's all been turned up to 11 with all the other knobs.

We no longer really teach rhetoric and logic as foundational subjects at school and haven't done for several generations. Most people don't have their attention drawn to the fact that people are often trying to mislead you and the techniques they use to do that. The cynic in me wonders if this is almost deliberate...

369:

Well it didn't end up in the round file.

I got a response to my question: so you get billed if you didn't call an ambulance, didn't need an ambulance, refused assessment, refused treatment and refused transport.

"Everyone receives a bill regardless of the circumstances."


Since the bill is 6% of my annual income and about half my annual disposable income, I'll be taking your advice and legging it from now on.

370:

PS, many thanks for setting me straight on this literally unbelievable situation.

371:

You are confusing "responsible for the accident" and "responsible for a vehicle involved in the accident."

I don't think so. But even if I was, which ever way you cut it...

The truck driver has been charged with causing the crash. So according to the police the Porsche driver wasn't responsible for the crash. Note that what I plagiarised doesn't mention fault. Fault doesn't matter.

If it's not "driving" but rather being in control of the position of the car, it had been impounded. He had no control whatsoever over the position of the car.

He may be a horrible horrible horrible person, but the law isn't supposed to determine guilt based on likeability.

372:

About the only thing he hasn't been charged with is "escaping lawful custody". So he hadn't been arrested and was free to leave.

373:
The other possibility is to go left and be honest. Now you're not forcing the right further right, there's a chance that the more moderates in that party might get a voice. You can move the window a bit left.

How does this theory explain what's happened in the UK, where we had a fairly left-wing labour party under Corbyn and ended up with Johnson with an unassailable majority and the license to fuck the country for ever?

(Note this isn't a rhetorical question: I think your idea is reasonable, but it seems not to have worked for us.)

374:

Federalism is dragged out occasionally as an argument against Scottish self-determination. Nothing has materialised as yet.

Federalism can't happen in the UK short of a civil war or actual peripheral independence arriving first, because it would strip the executive in Westminster of most of its power. And it's almost inconceivable that a sitting government would stand for that.

Without the horrible precedent of the Brexit vote a PM might have approved a federalization referendum to kill the idea, then run into a "what happens if the voters vote the wrong way" scenario (like Brexit), but that's not possible now.

And demographics: we'd really need federal state status for Cornwall, London, the Midlands, Yorkshire/Humberside, Manchester/Liverpool, the north-east, the north-west, and sundry others -- probably about 10 former "English" regions -- or Wales, NI, and Scotland would be swamped demographically. But then the English states would fall into 2-3 blocs with common interests in voting in lockstep, so we'd be right back to square one.

Really, the UK as it stands isn't likely to achieve equitable representative government as a single structure.

375:

Why not, if Labour is in such trouble? If the choice is partnering with SNP and remaining the Loyal (but Powerless) Oppostion, why not?


Asking as a Yank.

Because Labour still see themselves as a primary party of government. Coalition as a junior partner would put them in the position currently occupied in Holyrood by the Scottish Green Party, who are clearly a minority party, whose primary electoral goal for the foreseeable future is to provide a corrective steer/sanity check to the actual government (because they have roughly 1/15th the membership and maybe 10% of the votes). Disclaimer: I'm a member.

If a party capable of forming a majority government as recently as 2003 tacitly admits it has fallen to pressure group status by 2020, then they lose the credibility to say they intend to form a government at the next election. Which would cede the battlefield to the Conservatives, who are not doing as well against the SNP as the English press seem to believe.

376:

Greg: Pretended to empahsise civic nationalism, whereas they are actually a NATIONALIST party, with all that that usually implies, unfortunately.

Eye roll.

If they're "pretending" to be something other than what they appear to be -- as a collective organization with many members, over a period of 30+ years -- then they're probably the most successful conspiracy this side of a technothriller.

A thing is what it does, and going by that rule of thumb the SNP nationalist playbook appears to be missing several chapters -- the ones on flag-waving, jackboots, shutting down freedom of speech, bashing the gays and shoving the womenfolk back into the kitchen -- which we see playing out in e.g. Poland and Hungary.

377:

I don't know.

My experience is with the Australian system.

Labor (spelt the American way) was our left wing party. Over the past 4 decades it's drifted right for these exact reasons. It can't be effective unless it's in power. It's sees the right get votes, so just drift a bit right and pick up all those voters. To the extent that our 'left' party is now far far right of where the liberal party was. To the point that in 2012 (last time they were in power) they established concentration camps.

Moreover that's empowered the right of the rightwing party. The prime minister before the current one was a climate change believer. He wanted strong action on climate change, a transition to renewable energy and a strong renewable economic growth for Australia. He achieved none of it. He wasn't supported by the left, who should have backed a bipartisan plan and he wasn't backed by his right-wing hardliners. He was rolled by the hard right who then changed the rules to stop the party swapping back.

The Labor party is popularly called "Liberal Lite". So there's a feeling in the electorate that you may as well vote for the real thing.

As well, the Overton window has shifted so far right that the right wing Prime Minister from 40 years ago was considered charmingly mad with his constant ineffectual beating that we should treat people as fellow humans.

By 2013 he was endorsing the Greens (left of the Labor party). In other words the Labor Party was so far right that the former leader of the right wing party had more in common with the Greens.

So was the faustian bargain worth it? Did selling out everything and becoming worse than your enemy deliver the expected electoral success?

Labor has had power for six of the last 25 years.

378:

Actually a not-quite-four year monopoly, last Chinese manned mission to their space station was October 2016 (Shenzhou 11). But you were nearly right.

Not to worry, they just flight-tested (without humans on board) a much larger next-generation capsule, comparable to Crew Dragon (up to six passengers, reusable by design) with a heat shield capable of taking re-entry from trans-Lunar flight.

I'm sure that if US government policy towards China wasn't mired in Vietnam War era paranoia they'd be happy to sell y'all a few seats to -- and a couple of spare modules for -- the ISS. But if anyone gets to take credit for the eventual Chinese moon base it'll have to be George W. Bush, who really totally banned NASA from any cooperation with China in space (thereby giving them no alternative to going it alone).

379:

For the reasons I gave in #296, most especially the malicious and mendacious propaganda campaign waged largely from outside the UK, with huge budgets behind it. Any hope of avoiding monetarism, fascism and foreign control has been lost to the UK for at least a generation, probably two.

The 'New Labour' alternative is to cooperate with those, thus assisting in ratcheting the Overton window towards them, and I strongly suspect that (if Starmer gets in) he will do the same. But, as I said, Blair was actually MUCH worse, in that he actually moved towards those, including by trying to purge the Labour party of socialism even in the general sense, and moved us further to fascism than all other PMs since Thatcher (mainly, but not entirely, the (3) terrorism acts).

The fanatical anti-Corbynites have difficulty with English comprehension, as well as in recognising that they are supporting those three harms, bigotry and more. Bugger ideological purism - I said EXPLICITLY that I don't agree with Corbyn's politics. But there is another aspect.

The only decent purpose of politics is to support and improve society as a whole. Thatcher (initially) genuinely did try to do that, whether or not you agree with her approach, though she went off the rails later. Corbyn was the ONLY potential PM we have had since her who has even PROPOSED doing the same. Every single one of the others (*) has been out to benefit themselves or their tribe at the cost of the others, and often going out of their way to tread those down. And, yes, I include Blair.

(*) Kinnock was never a potential prime minister, and it was hard to tell WHAT he believed in because of his verbiage.

380:

When it comes to shutting down freedom of speech, Blair was where it was at, as I know you know. And it hasn't been the SNP that has introduced all other aspects of fascism that we now have, such as imprisonment and cancelling citizenship without trial, concentration camps, the ability of TPTB to create crimes on the fly and without judician oversight, and so on.

Incidentally, I agree with #374, except that I can envisage a viable federal system, by including radical electoral reform - which would have NO chance of being adopted, for the reason you say.

381:

Describing the first minister in crass, misogynist terms is exactly the kind of behaviour that could get you suspended from Twitter, quite correctly.
Responding to a point by shouting 'nationalist' in block caps is no answer to anything.
Backtracking on one of your assertions by claiming you meant something other than you said in the first place is pretty poor.
Maybe in real life you're a reasonable individual Greg but your persona on this blog is anything but. There will be no more interaction from me.

382:

The NUTS1 Regions make pretty good federal subdivisions, IMO, and they were even heading that way under Blair & Brown. Unfortunately pretty much all the embryonic region-level government was binned by the coalition.

383:

I blame Kim Beazley for a lot of what is wrong in Australian politics. His attempt at out Liberaling the Liberals in 2001 (vote for me, I'll lock up more refugees than the next fellow!) stuffed Labor for years (two elections). Why vote for Liberal-Lite, when you can get the real thing? If the Labor Party had have taken a principled stand, they might still have lost the election, but they would have had the moral high ground (relatively speaking).

Of course, the Labor Party are the ones who sold the National Airline (Qantas), the National Bank (Commonwealth Bank), and miscellaneous state assets (including part privatisation of Landgate in Western Australia, this is the state land registry, which says who owns what; for those not in the know, look up Torrens title on Wikipedia). Even Gough didn't mind the Indonesians taking over East Timor. They haven't been saints, well ever.
Admittedly, they also introduce compulsory superannuation, which is well liked on the left. The Liberals were talking about dismantling some parts of it a few years ago.

I was going somewhere with all this. Something about the Overton window and how the Labor Party are a bunch of so and sos.

Not that the Greens are much better. They too have followed the Overton Window right, particularly on economic policy.
Of course, they are also terrible at government. In almost every case I know of where the Greens joined a government, they stuffed it up somehow, and subsequently lost seats. Tasmania is a classic case. After the 2010 state election they had 21.61% of the vote and 5 of 25 seats (proportional representation works!), with the two other parties each having 10 seats (receiving between 35% and 40% of the vote). Rather than saying "whelp, the people voted for you lot, form a grand coalition or something and we'll be the opposition", they joined the Labor Party. They subsequently tried to close a bunch of schools (among other things). In 2014, they went to 3 seats, with 13.83% of the vote. In 2018, 2 seats, with only 10.3% of the vote.

I had a point somewhere, I seem to have lost it.

384:

envisage a viable federal system, by including radical electoral reform

I’m pretty sure this was a plot point in a Yes Prime Minister. Even the meddlesome independent recognised she had as much to lose as the major parties if a certain (and frankly quite refreshing sounding) electoral reform proposal got at all close to implementation.

385:

I'm sure it's deliberate, given how many aspects of the beast depend on it being easy to tell people a pile of arse and have them believe it. It's of a piece with the information dilution techniques which enable the modern nine o'clock news to have less content in its whole length than John Craven's Newsround used to present in five minutes without people noticing that they're not actually saying anything. The ignorant are supposedly easier to control, and even the randomly unexpected disconcerting results you get from such a situation, like the result of the referendum on the EU, merely result in a different group with the same philosophy taking over the role of controllers of the ignorant, and being just as happy for the situation to continue.

(As a not entirely unrelated aside... it would be kind of neat if purely acoustic scenes could be given written captions. Outside my window, some wood pigeons and some collared doves are having an impassioned argument over whether the long version or the short version is better. The soundscape would go well with the caption "someone is wrong on the internet".)

386:

You can't really pin that all on Beazley. Remember this is the Labor party that gave us the spectacle of Penny Wong* voting for Howard's nobbling of the Marriage Act** and Mark Latham*** as a serious alternative PM. Also the ALP that was strange enough to regard Rudd as a progressive compromise, but still managed to give us the brief interlude of sanity afforded by the Gillard government (which frankly quietly achieved more genuinely beneficial, relatively non-controversial but nonetheless substantial reform than any other since Hawke-Keating). The post-2019-election ALP is an odd creature, Albo by necessity making nice with the CFMEU but juggling burning chainsaws while walking a narrow line in an attempt not to lose everyone else (especially now), which (in some ways fortunately) currently means staying as quiet as possible.

If acknowledging that fiscal policy is an actual thing means drifting to the centre, then sure, the Greens have done that a bit. There's always been a tension between the strategy of protest, where you measure success in terms of disruptions and awareness raising and the strategy of pursuing meaningful negotiations form a position of modest influence to draw the policy direction you'd like to see from the existing power structures. Frankly we need both, much as there will always be a bit of contention about that. The thing people blame the Greens for most is the failure of Rudd's ETS, as the argument goes if the Greens had supported it then Liberal Party acquiescence would not have been required and this would not have triggered the Abbot-led change of leaders and subsequent wave of counter reform. But counterfactuals are always a bit iffy and given the way things were, it seems likely that something else would have triggered that. Some things are just in the water.

* Openly gay Asian woman Senator for South Australia
** Which led to the subsequent "need" for a plebiscite to change it back.
*** Who later re-entered politics as a One Nation candidate.

387:

Sure, not everything wrong in Australian politics post 2001 is Beazley's fault. However, he did start the policy of Labor giving up, rather than be seen as "soft" -- leading to no alternative narrative in the media, or in the minds of much of the population on refugees and "terrorists"*. I'll leave it as an exercise to the reader for other areas where the Labor Party toes the Liberal line.

As for the Greens, you are welcome to them. (I don't have an opinion on the ETS and the Greens, as I'm not informed enough about the affair, not paying much attention to it at the time.)

* The fight against has lost us a myriad of generic personal rights -- e.g. see 'Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Act 2015' -- the you can't say you have received, and you can't say you haven't received, a warrant Act -- and 'Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Act 2018' -- I think this is the laws of mathematics has no place in Australia Act. Both Acts passed with the Labor Party for them.

388:

Albo by necessity making nice with the CFMEU but juggling burning chainsaws while walking a narrow line in an attempt not to lose everyone else (especially now), which (in some ways fortunately) currently means staying as quiet as possible.

Albo... Albo... Short for Albonesie? I'm sure I heard that name a couple of years ago. I'm trying to picture who we're talking about. Not Shorten. I can picture him, but Albo is someone different I'm sure.

389:

The ETS was pretty terrible, and they were probably right to vote against it. It was basically a huge subsidy scheme for fossil fuels masquerading as a carbon reduction program. They were sort of proven right a couple of years later when Labor's much better scheme got up, which it probably wouldn't have if the ETS was in place. Of course the Liberals tore it all down as Liberals are wont to do. They are the party of wrecking things after all.

There's a good 4 corners episode that covers it that aired about a week ago, so it should still be on iview. Lots of senior civil servants nearly in tears about what has been lost.

390:

Bottom line: Boris and Cummings are going nowehere for at least 4.5 years. We will "crash out" of the EU and nobody will notice given the economic damage the lockdown has caused

Worse: they'll blame the economic damage on lockdown in order to claim Brexit was a "success".

COVID19 provides cover for all kinds of unsavoury political malfeasance (see also: China stomping hard on Hong Kong, Bolsanaro pursuing ethnic cleansing of indigenous people in Brazil, etc).

391:

Charlie @ 378: I'm sure that if US government policy towards China wasn't mired in Vietnam War era paranoia they'd be happy to sell y'all a few seats to -- and a couple of spare modules for -- the ISS.

Having two geopolitical rivals controlling your access to your space station is not materially better than having one, but it's true I neglected to mention the Chinese space program.

But if anyone gets to take credit for the eventual Chinese moon base it'll have to be George W. Bush, who really totally banned NASA from any cooperation with China in space (thereby giving them no alternative to going it alone).

Not George W. alone; there was considerable Congressional pressure to sanction the Chinese based on their (ongoing) habit of stealing any tech that isn't thoroughly secured. Also, based on the description of the Chinese space program in Wikipedia, the PRC from the outset planned an independent space program in competition with both the West and Russia. Their program, reportedly delayed from a beginning in the 1970s due to the Cultural Revolution, has been both ambitious and remarkably successful to date. The success of the Chang'e 4 lunar probe's mission to the far side of the Moon is quite impressive. But in terms of international cooperation, I'd note that the Chinese do not appear to have engaged any other nation in space cooperation, including their neighbors Russia, North Korea, and Japan.

The U.S. and USSR were able to begin joint space missions during the height of the Cold War in the 1970s, which laid the groundwork for cooperation on the ISS up to the current day. It'd be nice if we could continue and broaden this cooperation to include India and China, though having both on a single project might be, er, awkward.

393:

How does this theory explain what's happened in the UK, where we had a fairly left-wing labour party under Corbyn and ended up with Johnson with an unassailable majority and the license to fuck the country for ever?

I've seen some accounts that theorize that Labour activists on the right of the party made extensive facebook/twitter targetted ad purchases aiming to gaslight Corbyn and his advisors into thinking they were doing better than was in fact the face. In other words, that elements within the leadership of his party threw the election in order to sack him.

The Blairite/Brownite wing of the party evidently considered Corbynism to be a greater threat in the long term than Tory brexiteers -- partly because they really hate their own left wing that much, but also because they didn't want there to be any sign of Labour complicity in Brexit when the shit [inevitably] hits the fan some time down the road.

This is, however, ridiculously hard to prove: nobody in power in Labour now has any reasonable incentive to rake through the ashes looking for a bloody shirt (to mix a horrible metaphor).

394:

The only decent purpose of politics is to support and improve society as a whole. Thatcher (initially) genuinely did try to do that, whether or not you agree with her approach

Thatcher, today, would be seen as far too left-wing and collectivist -- not to mention international in outlook -- to fit in the Conservative party front bench today. Hell, she'd have difficulty getting past selection by a constituency party: she'd be seen as a dangerous left-wing entryist.

395:

Interesting. What I do remember was a significant number of such people making (semi-)public comments damning Corbyn, the left wing of the party, and even socialism, even during the election campaign. But I still believe that was insignificant compared to the (mostly foreign) black propaganda campaign.

Re #395: yes, Cthulhu help us all! It's a moot point where Blair was with regard to Thatcher in those three respects.

396:

Re: 'I had a point somewhere, I seem to have lost it.'

Based on what you and Damian are saying: there's been both too much and too little 'drifting', things are going to/have gone to hell.

And there's no way that Murdoch and ilk control that much readership/news/uninformed/uneducated, this easily swayed electorate, so what else is going on that's screwing up effective representational gov't in so many countries? (Seriously. Some more/new ideas might help sort through this mess.)

397:

But in terms of international cooperation, I'd note that the Chinese do not appear to have engaged any other nation in space cooperation, including their neighbors Russia, North Korea, and Japan.

The Chinese seem to have a long memory of not winning and thus now play to win. Period. Cooperation is a means to that end.

398:

Thatcher, today, would be seen as far too left-wing and collectivist -- not to mention international in outlook -- to fit in the Conservative party front bench today. Hell, she'd have difficulty getting past selection by a constituency party: she'd be seen as a dangerous left-wing entryist.

I feel the same way about Reagan and how current R's revere him. They like him on the pedestal but would never put up with his compromises and talking with the enemy these days.

399:

proportional representation works

Have you looked at Israel lately?

Seems to have a terrible failure mode. As do the rest of our setups.

400:

gasdive
That is almost a definition of theft
What happens if somoene challenges the obvious illegality of this?
Or is it simply cheaper to take out insurance?

tfb
Because, apart form all the OTHER issues & Corbyn's standing-out-like-a-sore-thumb total incompetence & that his political views crytallised some time before 1973 & like the Bourbons has learnt nothing & forgotten nothing .....
Last year's election was about Brexit, yes?
The leader of the tories pretends to be a rabid Brexiteer & was operating under that banner.
Labour, are, by-&-large a "remain" party, except for Corbyn & a few equally utterly out-of-date ultra-lefties, who STILL believe that the EU is a giant "capitalist" con trick, designed to crush the "workers" - yes, really.
Corbyn had his arm twisted to support "remain" & did so in such a hal-hearted fashion as to persuade no-one & AT THE SAME TIME tried to make the best of both worlds & needless to say got neither.
Yes, BoZo is a serial liar & cheat, but he knew what he wanted & what the great majority of his party then wanted ( Having conducted a purge ) - he "won" - still very largely by default.
....
and ... gasdive
Yes, but, we do not have a Social Democrat party. The right & centre of Labour are the nearest we now have since the Lem-0-Crats imploded [ I'm an ex-member, who left, disgusted by their incompetence & hypocrisy ]

Charlie @ 376
Maybe
They've got the flag-waving & blaming everything on foreigners, though. Maybe they got a shock when their attempt to put an official spy on to any family with children was stamped on.
Have they learnt?
- & @ 390
ALL TOO TRUE, I'm afraid.
Poland & Hungary & Turkey are also examples of disease-using.
BUT - looking at EC's comment @ 393 ....
BoZo trying "Do as I say" to people ... isn't going to go down well, from now on - even if he gets things through Parliament ( & he will ) people will start to emulate the army camels in Kipling's poem ...
And this is our marching-song:
Can't! Don't! Shan't! Won't!
Pass it along the line!
Somebody's pack has slid from his back,
'Wish it were only mine!
Somebody's load has tipped off in the road--
Cheer for a halt and a row!
Urrr! Yarrh! Grr! Arrh!
Somebody's catching it now!

@ 394
Don't believe it
Though I was told, on separate occasions, by both S Creasy & C Creasy ( her mother ) that they despaired of Corbyn's tactics in very late Nov 2019 - they were fairly certain that S Creasy was going to retain her seat ( And how! ) but realised that Labour wwas going to be wiped out nationally.
@ 395
That bad - really?
I suppose, for all her many faults, the madwoman was an internationalist, so maybe.

EC
I'll give you the "mometarism" & the foreign ( mostly US ) control, but not the fascism.
If it goes on like this, then people will be disgusted by how Brexit turns out to be "Sell the country to the US & China" & Starmer will wipe the floor with BoZo in 2024.
But the damage will have been done by then.
YET AGAIN - Corbyn could never have won, should never have won, for reasons given above - the Labour party committed electoral suicide by picking him.
The only decent purpose of politics is to support and improve society as a whole. Thatcher (initially) genuinely did try to do that, whether or not you agree with her approach, though she went off the rails later.
No - she was bonkers well before 1979, it only became screamingly obvious to most people much later.

Keith Davidson
Oh dear ... You ARE AWARE I was quoting a Female Scottish Politician, who first called Sturgeon that?
All too obviously not. I will go on quoting her.
Backtracking on which assertion, please? May need clarification.

Pigeon
No "Suppose" about it.
The ignorant ARE easier to control.
Look at religion.
And the appalling bullshit & fake "arguments" used to support same.

401:

Competely off-topic
Between 6 & 7 percent of people have been infected with C-19 - a much larger number than previously thought, I think.
AND
Proxima Centauri has an "Earth" circling it - apparently in the habitable zone ....

402:

in terms of international cooperation, I'd note that the Chinese do not appear to have engaged any other nation in space cooperation, including their neighbors Russia, North Korea, and Japan.

From the PRC's point of view -- even before the authoritarian lurch rightwards of the past decade:

* Japan is a former colonial occupier (1931-45) who committed war crimes and atrocities against the Chinese

* Russia ... they've only been actively at war with Russia for seven months out of my lifetime, but it ended with an armistice, not a peace settlement: Russia is a territorial rival (the 1950-1969 alliance was born of short-term expedience: the long term history of the Russian and Chinese empires is not friendly)

* North Korea has fuck-all to contribute to the Chinese space program, but is an unpredictable and dangerous neighbour: nominally an ally, but that can change in a flash. Why would China transfer ICBM-applicable technology to NK?

The logical partner would be Taiwan -- high tech, developed, able to pull their weight -- but oops.

In hindsight, the US/USSR cooperation that got started with Apollo-Soyuz was a milestone. It gave us the ancestor of the current ISS docking system (an international standard shared with the EU and Japan), formal mechanisms for cooperation, and an end to the grandstanding competition. Went chilly during the late 1970s/1980s, but was alive enough to revive post-1991. If China has hatched a coop project with the USSR before things went sideways in 1969, maybe things would be different today.

403:

My understanding is that Thatcher publicly rejoiced when Tony Blair ended up in Downing Street.

It meant the Other Side™ had accepted her legacy: Blair was acceptable to her, even though she'd have preferred a Tory (but not the crapsack on offer after the Major government's scandal-ridden demise).

404:

Between 6 & 7 percent of people have been infected with C-19 - a much larger number than previously thought, I think.

Great!!!

Based on current deaths, we can expect to hit herd immunity and 70% infection rate (in the absence of a vaccine) with only 600,000 or so dead and 6 million injured!

It won't even be as bad as the first world war!

/sarcasm

405:

Re: 'Between 6 & 7 percent of people have been infected with C-19 - a much larger number than previously thought, I think.'

And the death rate is also higher than initially anticipated.

Maybe someone in the UK might consider a similar memorial and grim reminder of what's still going on. Simple, direct and poignant. Scrolling down and seeing the 'markers' along with the final roll call numbers by date really rammed home just how many have already died.

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/05/24/us/us-coronavirus-deaths-100000.html

406:

Anyone need protection from the 5G menace?

"The 5GBioShield makes it possible, thanks to a uniquely applied process of quantum nano-layer technology, to balance the imbalanced electric oscillations arising from all electric fog induced by all devices such as: laptops, cordless phones, wlan, tablets, etc.," the company says, adding that the USB stick "brings balance into the field at the atomic and cellular level restoring balanced effects to all harmful (ionized and non-ionized) radiation."

A $5 USB stick with a sticker on it.
There really IS one born every minute.

https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2020/05/5g-conspiracy-theorists-sell-350-usb-stick-to-fight-electric-fog/

407:

Where can you get electric fog? I want some now. It sounds really cool. I suppose it's kind of like a ground level version of a cumulonimbus. Do you squirt it out of a cylinder or do you throw cryogenic electricity into a bucket of water or what?

408:

And now something that might be very useful.

Tracking Covid-19 infection rates via sewage treatment plants.

https://arstechnica.com/science/2020/05/pooping-for-public-health-coronavirus-in-sewage-could-warn-of-outbreaks/

409:

If immunity is possible. That still seems to be in doubt. I'm seeing studies that place it at 6 months and being non-sterile (reinfection possible but milder illness, if I understand the term correctly).

Also no data yet on long-term consequences of having the infection. We know about the blood clotting, but how does that change the risks of stroking out several years after being infected? Or after a mild (or asymptomatic) case? Are we even gathering the right data to be able to tell?

410:

but how does that change the risks of stroking out several years after being infected

My question is how many people with mild or no symptoms have lost 5%-50% of their kidney, liver, spleen, heart, lung, or other organ functions. Or maybe muscle.

5 months in is just to soon to figure out such things.

Does anyone know about studies on the clotting other than "we found a lot when we did an autopsy". Is it universal but varies in severity or is it some see it and some don't? And any numbers on any of this?

411:

literally unbelievable situation

Thanks for getting confirmation of it. I am still slightly bemused by your "that can't be right" response... incredularity is entirely the right response, but "ignorance of the law is no excuse" :)

I'm concerned by the gap between the minimum fee of $300 and the average of $1100.

I assume the minimum is like what happened to me in Wellington - someone pulled out of the emergency exit turning right and I was in the bike lane where they didn't look... splat. Ambulance crew ran ~20m across the carpark to me. I was fine, nurse that hit me just about died of embarrassment. Cop who saw it gave me and my bike a ride home coz the bike was a bit trashed.

412:

(to be clear: exit from the emergency area of a hospital. Left out the key word :)

413:

Can we drop this? I mentioned that it was my opinion, and had ZERO intention of going any further with it.

Oh, yes, the medical examiner's report... from a "medical examiner" who, a few years later, was found to have NO CREDENTIALS, had lied about his qualifications, and should never have been in that office in the first place.

414:

Ahem, ahem. Speaking as the former co-chair, and then the chair (retired) of the Committee To Save The Brontosaurus

"Although the type species, B. excelsus, had long been considered a species of the closely related Apatosaurus,[3] researchers proposed in 2015 that Brontosaurus is a genus separate from Apatosaurus and that it contains three species: B. excelsus, B. yahnahpin, and B. parvus.[4]"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brontosaurus

I was able, several years ago, to declare them saved, and scientist admitted the error.

Welcome back the Thunder Lizard!

415:

sanction the Chinese based on their (ongoing) habit of stealing any tech that isn't thoroughly secured

... an idea that they shamelessly stole from the USA. Bastards.

416:

For this whole thread...

Breaking even is preventing the other side from dragging us more towards fascism. Winning is beginning the long slog *back*.

Over here, if my Congressman were not good, I'd have run for this year. I have one friend, with some money, who told me a few years ago he'd happily throw the limit of $2000 toward me for the amusement value.

I have thought of suing the US Supreme Court for $1B USD, so I could have freedom of speech equivalent to Koch, or Murdoch.

I guarantee, if I were to run, it would be national news. What I see as *wrong* is
1. the Dems (and Labor) are simply terrified, or can't think of being aggressive. I would have ads calling Murdoch's coverage, and the dark money, LIARS, in so many words, sure, let's go to court (how many law schools would have whole classes who would *love* to support that pro bono?)
2. Tell 'em what you're going to do. The one I literally just came up with: the GOP is so hot on "means testing", fine: no one whose *income* is over $5M/year gets ANY DEDUCTIONS OR EXEMPTIONS. They pay the FULL AMOUNT.
3. I would shove in their faces, repeatedly, that 24+% of the US federal revenue stream, in '72, was from corporate taxes. Here's your blue book and pencil, explain why companies, esp. trillion dollar companies, should not be doing that again.

And I WOULD go to court for slander, libel, and lying dark money ads.

I could go on, but if I ran, the least best case scenario is one of the talking heads on Faux News would *die*, on the air, of apoplexy.

[DRAGON GRINS LARGE GRIN, WITH LOTS OF SHINY, POINTY TEETH]

417:

I'm lost: the greens, as opposed to the environmentalists? I would assume they're the same thing.

418:

I've yet to see *anyone* on the left (well, Liz Warren tried, but no one wanted to read or actually report on her plans) tell them not only what you're going to do, but why what your opponents are doing *hurts* their own voters.

419:

Charlie @403: Your evaluation of China's view of its neighbors, with which I agree, rather makes your comment about the Chinese space program being motivated by Bush 43's sanctions moot, don't you think? Those sanctions only confirmed for the Chinese Communist Party the wisdom of the path they'd already chosen.

David L @398: Huh? They're either playing to win OR cooperating. Perhaps you left the word "not" out of your second sentence.

Moz @416: Evidence please. I was referring to the extensive technology transfer (to use the polite term) program undertaken by the PRC government in cooperation with their industries, a program also executed by, among others, France and Israel. I am aware of no such program by the U.S. government.

420:

Me @420: technology transfer (to use the polite term) program

The not-so-polite term is state sponsored industrial espionage.

421:

I'm lost: the greens, as opposed to the environmentalists?

That's Greens with a capital G. The Green Party is a political party, environmentalists crop up everywhere.

Remember the context is environmentalists inside the Labour Party of Aotearoa, so I was trying, unsuccessfully, to distinguish between the environmentalists who are Labour Party members, and Green Party members. I thought that calling them all greenies would be confusing, but apparently saying that there are environmentalists in the Labour Party is also confusing. Those people don't find it confusing, and because Australia does formal factions there is LEAN - the Labour Environmental Activist Network.

422:

Hey, DaveP, you haven't produced any evidence either, not even secondary sources. But since we're going off heresy and anecdote, here's some ramblings from a US source on the topic:

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/why-us-government-brought-nazi-scientists-america-after-world-war-ii-180961110/

423:

Charlie
LURVE the sarcasm ... but - there's a serious point to this
One is that the infection rate has been seriously underestimated
Two is that many people have the disese & it "bounces"
And the third is that maybe your sarcasm is misplaced?
The figures from "Worldometer" are encouraging - in the longer term.

whitroth
THIS Breaking even is preventing the other side from dragging us more towards fascism. Winning is beginning the long slog *back*. Yes, I'll go with that....

424:

But in terms of more recent news:

https://news.cgtn.com/news/2020-03-08/CIA-s-cyber-espionage-scandal-says-a-lot-about-U-S-strategy-OGseOlV2da/index.html

https://www.counterpunch.org/2014/01/28/the-nsa-cia-and-the-promise-of-industrial-espionage/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=65WCKmzMfVg
From 1979 until 1985, the CIA ran an immensely productive spy in the heart of the Soviet military-industrial complex in Moscow.

I didn't realise that this was news. The US government often denies it, obviously, but the idea that anyone would accept their propaganda at face value is a surprise to me. "these Nazi scientists? Oh, they're just here as refugees helping wash the floors in our research labs"... sure, sure they are, I believe that. And those French people who left NZ after the Rainbow Warrior sank were just tourists.

425:

I think mdive's point is that it's you that has to change.

Yes/no.

My point is that there is a choice.

You can sit there, and be ideologically pure, and never form the government and thus never make even one of the improvements that you would like.

Alternatively, you can acknowledge the the world, and hence the voters, have changed and thus the pre-conditions to form a government have changed.

Another example would be coal miners in the US - they still live in the hope that all those coal jobs will return, refusing to acknowledge that the world has changed - that fewer customers want coal, and that the coal that is still mined doesn't need lots of coal miners anymore.

Which means that any of us can become very powerful indeed, we just have to decide to use our power to make the world the way it already is

You don't change the world sitting on the opposition benches...

Or, you need power in order to get the chance to change the world.

426:

Oh, come on, I thought I read that a year or three ago. And we know that there's life on it, and the planet's name, and how to get there: Rann, and just hop a zeta beam, right, Adam Strange?

427:

That's the best product I've seen since the $1k USD for the cryogenically-treated speaker cables.

428:

Maybe a bit of both and neither at the same time? What good is winning if you can't use the win to move your announced policy agenda forward? What use is "purity" if it means you can't win?

Exactly - no caveats means you can take your period in power and do what you can to advance your goals, in essence laying a foundation.

Yes, you may need to shelve some (or even a bunch) of what you would like to achieve. But at the end of 5 years achieving something is usually better than nothing.

429:

an idea that they shamelessly stole from the USA

I think in the Western hemisphere the French took the lead in this area.

430:

Note: all research done by the US government, and any contracts as work-for-hire, unless the contract says otherwise, is legally in the public domain, as it was paid for by my tax dollars.

431:

They're either playing to win OR cooperating. Perhaps you left the word "not" out of your second sentence.

When they cooperate it is with an end point in mind where they will be in charge and may or may not let others play in their field. Depending on if they can extract an advantage from said play.

432:

When people refer to the Greens with a definite article and a capital G, they are usually talking about a specific political party (capitalising the definite article emphasises this distinction even more). I’m not sure what you got from context but here Moz is talking about environmentalists within the NZ Labour Party who broke away (or didn’t) to join the NZ Green Party (aka the Greens).

Most Western democracies have a Greens party that has seats in its national representative legislature these days. My understanding is that in the USA for a long time, a two-party system was explicitly considered preferable to a mix of representation covering a broader range of perspectives: the former was deliberately promoted while the latter was deliberately suppressed, as the two major parties established their own conventions around how they would in theory be representative internally, thereby arriving at a sort of balance point through a somewhat abstract version of Aristotelian moderation. I suspect this was only possible because the USA’s robust written constitution made it so; other democracies whose constitutional law was (and is) based on convention could never truly abandon the forms of representative democracy as part of the electoral system. In any case, by the 80s when Greens parties started popping up around the West after the Franklin Dam protests in Tasmania, it might still have been possible for Ralph Nader’s Greens to get somewhere, though a lot of vested interest was clearly opposed.

Anyhow, it’s a pretty common convention these days, in most countries, to make a distinction between environmentalists in general and the local Green Party. Much like in the USA, the set of people who are not self-eroticised, jackbooted racist gimps is not the same conceptual set of people as members of the Democratic Party (although there is a possible overlap).

433:

Can we drop this?

As long as you have the last work?

Your conclusions/inferences don't fit the known facts.

434:

Re: 'so I could have freedom of speech ...'

Just how 'free' is the speech that you feel you should have?

Despite what the lawyers say in this piece, the degree to which some elected pols have snubbed social convention and even the due process of law, the unabashed willingness to hide evidence from the Press and electorate (i.e., SCOTUS confirmation hearing), the unwillingness to listen to evidence, etc. I think we need to take DT's rant about muzzling online media and their distribution channels seriously.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/28/us/politics/trump-social-media-executive-order.html

One item that makes zero sense to me is the DT/GOP claim that online media is anti-them (DT/the right). Weird considering that the biggest and most loudly proclaimed selling point about free markets and capitalism is that the best mousetrap always wins. There's nothing stopping some other media channel from showing up and capturing a significant share of the market including from the first-to-market. In fact, it's happened a lot esp. in the Internet age: anyone remember Netscape?

Seriously fascist move here ... I hope the sensible/sane 'experts' do not again underestimate the slime moves this combo can come up with and pull off. If DT/GOP pull this off in the US, from my non-techie POV, I think this would impact other countries just because of the way the Internet/online media work.

435:

I had to come back and address this briefly due to the rampant misrepresentation:

Of course, they are also terrible at government. In almost every case I know of where the Greens joined a government, they stuffed it up somehow, and subsequently lost seats

You’re referring to one of two instances in Australian political history where the Greens have shared power with Labor as a coalition government. The other is the ACT, which is still going strong strong after more than 8 years. The ACT has recently introduced light rail, reached 100% renewable electricity, legalised cannabis and achieved a raft of other advances.

I don’t agree with your interpretation of events in Tasmania either, but don’t have the energy to argue so I’ll just go along with your interpretation of 50% of all possible cases meaning the same thing as “almost every case”, shall I.

436:

You may have forgotten the caveat "that I know of" ("I" being Michael in this case).

It's a common caveat used in good faith by an awful lot of people, but it can serve to cover up selective memory as well as in bad faith. We naturally remember examples that have meaning to us and forget ones that contradict.

I have to remind myself that not all motorists are planet-raping murderous arseholes, despite the evidence I see every day when I'm riding my bicycle. It's a selection effect (in the actual Darwinian sense): I pay a lot more attention to the PRMAs than to the safe drivers and parked cars*, because the cyclists who don't do that tend not to spend much time posting on the internet (or reproducing, which Darwin was more concerned with).

* cars that are moving slower than my bicycle, whether or not there appears to be someone in the driver seat.

437:

@_Moz_ :425 Did you realize that your first source is entirely owned by the Chinese government? This is certainly possible, but I wouldn't give it any more credibility than I give to US government news outlets.

The second source is recounting actions by a particular individual that could very well have been off-the-books stuff done with personal connections

The third was part of the Cold War.

As far as German scientist go, the US and the USSR grabbed as many as they could and to the extent possible gave them their old jobs back. Again, relevant to the Cold War.

While working for an aerospace company, I was told that, in France if I left my laptop in my room, it would be copied. I seriously doubt that would happen in the USA to someone from say, Dassault.

Not saying that the US doesn't engage in industrial espionage. I tend to believe most of what Snowden had to say. At the same time, I don't believe that US industry DEPENDS ON US govt industrial espionage to the extent that the Chinese do. US industry does depend on US govt research, which has been badly funded in the last few years though.

Just my opinion.

438:

One item that makes zero sense to me is the DT/GOP claim that online media is anti-them (DT/the right). Weird considering that the biggest and most loudly proclaimed selling point about free markets and capitalism is that the best mousetrap always wins. There's nothing stopping some other media channel from showing up and capturing a significant share of the market including from the first-to-market. In fact, it's happened a lot esp. in the Internet age: anyone remember Netscape?

I think the logical fallacy here is that the people who support the free market are those who also support inherited wealth. Those concepts don't necessarily work well together. Those who are trying to acquire more wealth tend to favor the changes of the free market, because their better media channel/mouse trap will make them rich. However, if they want to hold onto the wealth they made, and not lose it to whoever comes along with still a better media channel/mouse trap, then their ideology should be protectionist, not free market.

I'm a political simpleton, but I don't think either party is particularly free market. In particular, I think the Republicans have abandoned free marketeering almost completely, except as a meaningless slogan on par with "The Party of Lincoln." They're a party that wants to protect the rights and privileges of white and/or wealthy Americans, so they're effectively more for socialism for well-off (whose wealth and privileges are protected by the government, especially if they are white) and anarchy for the super-rich, who can pay to make sure that the only laws they have to pay attention to are those that benefit them.

439:

Re: 'logical fallacy ... people who support the free market are those who also support inherited wealth'

Maybe I'm not understanding you but this comment seems internally inconsistent or contradictory.

About the 'meaningless slogan' bit - I find it very 1984 Ministry of Truth. (Don't kids read Orwell anymore?)

440:

Maybe I'm not understanding you but this comment seems internally inconsistent or contradictory.

Here's the question: would, say, a social media mogul's heirs want to have the technology surpassed, thereby forcing them to go into another field to keep their money, or watch income dry up and force them to live with decreasing wealth? Or would they be in favor of laws that make it harder for new social media companies to disrupt the existing status quo, so that they continue to enjoy their wealth in perpetuity?

This is a nontrivial question. If you read a book like Harrington's Capital Without Borders, you'll find that the super-rich have systematically rewritten laws around the world, not just to make it harder for them to be taxed by anyone, but to make it hard for others to join markets they already dominate. Or you can look at the behavior of Koch and Buffett when confronted with a surge in renewables. Rather than shift their industry to embrace the new technologies, they have sought a variety of legal strategies to make it as hard for renewables to compete with fossil fuels as possible.

Harrington makes an big argument in her book that the super-rich, by making systems that make it easier to hoard wealth for themselves, make markets less free.

Again, it's a case of looking at what Republicans say they want versus what they do, and what they tend to do is to protect the monied elites, even when such protection is anti-competitive.

441:

Or you can look at the behavior of Koch and Buffett when confronted with a surge in renewables. Rather than shift their industry to embrace the new technologies, they have sought a variety of legal strategies to make it as hard for renewables to compete with fossil fuels as possible.

Don't forget T. Boone Pickens who invested heavily in subsidised wind power in Texas. He owned a lot of gas production facilities and reducing the usage of coal in Texas meant that by embracing the new technologies he could sell a shitload more gas to cover intermittent shortfalls in wind generation using combined-cycle and open-cycle gas turbine plants.

442:

I’d argue that examples of its use in good faith that exist but might still be problematic. “Almost all the Catholics that I know of support the IRA”. Whatever the context, it immediately reduces the weight of the statement that follows, and potentially of other things the user has to say.

But wait, there’s more! It shows a casual dismissiveness of knowledge that is really the core of Dunning-Kruger. The conceit is that the thing I don’t know about already isn’t really worth knowing, therefore I know all that needs to be known about the topic. A good faith version might include some sort of parenthetical disclaimer, and I think Michael’s usage does contain that. Hence a straightforward (and relatively gentle) rebuttal. Almost everyone (that I know of) who wants to #SMASHTHESTATE tends to forget how much the state does for them, and forgets to make a plan for how all those things will be done in its stead.

So it goes
When we try to do
It, try to spell it out and
Do the acrostic
Thing.

443:

Maybe I'm not understanding you but this comment seems internally inconsistent or contradictory.

I have heard a related thing often when talking about taxes. Some people think that basically income (from various sources) taxes should related on how much work you had to do to earn the money: the more you (personally) have worked earning the money the less you should have to pay taxes. This is usually meant so that the income taxes should generally be lowered.

When this comes up in a conversation I usually ask them that they obviously then support larger inheritance and gift taxes (they are not that big here). The usual response is "oh no, when you have earned the money you should be able to decide what to do with it and taxing that would be bad." In my view the person who inherits hasn't really done anything for it except getting born, so according to that "work for your income" idea, the inheritance tax should be quite big. I haven't yet gotten a good response for that - usually the people I talk this with think of the money earned by the person leaving it behind instead of the person inheriting it. (Money here obviously meaning also property.)

Also pointing out that in this view taxing capital gains more than salaries would be logical hasn't made a lot of converts. Apparently the effort of earning money is for many people best indicated by the amount of money they earn, so large incomes should be taxed less. This is not my view.

I know that for regular people inheritance taxes can be annoying and in many cases harmful, and I think there should be a some kind of limit on what inheritance to tax. I don't know what it should be, but large inheritances (over a million Euros, perhaps) should be taxed hard. Still, even inheriting your parents' house or apartment here in Finland helps concentrate the wealth - not everybody owns one so their inheritors don't really inherit anything, but even a modest-sized apartment can be a good source of income for the inheritors.

444:

"work for your income" idea, the inheritance tax should be quite big

I don't think we should have inheritance taxes at all. Money given when someone dies is income for the recipient and should be taxed accordingly. And certainly, if it stays with the deceased there should be no further tax (obviously as part of "dead people can't do anything" which also includes "direct how that money should be spent" etc, so the property in dead people's hands needs to be sold and the resulting funds deposited with the government for safe keeping until such time as the dead person needs it).

I think it would be kind of amusing to have an "minimum wage times hours worked" tax offset rather than a zero-tax bracket. Also painfully stupid and regressive, but as a though experiment it's worth while, and possibly also as a "demonstrate that you can think" experiment to voice to the anti-tax types.

445:

I'm more used to the engineering or scientist type "the current theory of gravity seems to hold up, as far as I know, but I can't conclusively rule out MOND or some other development". That's kind of the other approach to limits of knowledge.


#SMASHTHESTATE people tend to be either idiots in general, reactionary, or quite nuanced. It can be quite fun as an approach to political discussions to bring it back to "but what is the point of a state" and "how do you justify the state doing ..." when faced with "we need a corruption inquiry" (do we? Or is the corrupt thing actually unnecessary and should be abolished?) or "state-sponsored paedophilia is wrong" (if the state does that should it exist at all?), let alone the "since we have a military we need to invade" (no, seriously put as an argument for how to avert military coups - Fiji is an example of this in practice. I mean, except for the *avoid* part)

446:

They've further responded to my follow up email (which expressed incredulity).

"If the 000 states Patient refuses the services and treatment and including in the medical records we could potentially close the account. We cannot stop a bill coming to the address"

I'm no less dismayed. Your summation sounds right. Currently I can't afford the insurance. I'm a filthy rentier. Last year I made 7299 dollars. This year one property has asked for a 100 dollar a week discount, which I've given them and the other one I had to put the tenant out during repairs, and the strata has now put the works on hold for a year. Taxes continue...

447:

That's kind of the other approach to limits of knowledge.

And that’s totally fair enough. But it’s also “this is as much as we know, and as far as we can reasonably find out it’s as much as anyone knows”. This is oddly an insight that Trump has had, even though it does no good for him: the idea that this form is actually reasonable. Because he claims this is the case for things that are clearly not: who knew?! But of course it’s quite different to something you could easily know if you took the trouble to find out: even just by consulting with someone who knows.

It’s actually a problem I come across reviewing design documentation, because the template usually has a section for assumptions somewhere near the start. The trick is that it’s only valid to make an assumption if you can’t reasonably find out whether it’s true or not. Yet people will write in things that they could have sorted out just by asking (often just by asking me... and it happened enough times when they *had* asked me, I told them exactly who to ask and they hadn’t done it). Or they put in things where the impact of the assumption not being true doesn’t really affect the design. But hey I’m not actually doing that sort of work right now (see above), and that in itself is pretty refreshing.

how do you justify the state doing ...

I think that is always a valid line of enquiry. What’s the value of doing this at a social level, is the service even needed and would it be better done by some other body? I guess I’m thinking in terms of stuff that no-one on the people’s revolutionary leadership committee has every heard of or imagined is a necessary function. Take, say, the national heavy vehicle register. I suspect that only an especially detail oriented revolution would establish a people’s committee on heavy vehicle regulation... in practice things would devolve to an extremely laissez faire approach for the foreseeable future. At some stage in the new regime, possible some years later, people may start to notice that there are some undesirable things going on as no-one’s been paying attention to any of the old safety standards (but comrade commissar, what standards are you talking about?). That bar they have on the backs of trucks to stop sports cars going under and beheading actresses, that’s not there anymore. Several beheadings have indeed occurred. And it took a while, but someone has noticed that none of the truck drivers have slept this decade, most of them believe that furry things with horns crawling on the roof and sides of their rig will eat their livers if they slow down. Eventually someone sensible builds a brand new people’s heavy vehicle committee. There’s a brief period where the value of expertise is once again acknowledged and pretty much the exact same org structure emerges, even perhaps with some of the same people in their old positions to help bring back the institutional knowledge. At the end of the process, the outcome is pretty much the same entity, just with some differences in overall policy, senior management and of course the political executive. No-one notices that the same thing happened across all the knowledge domains. Or that we had an existing way to effect the same overall change without having the revolution in the first place, by replacing the political executive via an election or something old fashioned like that. Doesn’t solve the electoral problems of course, but it’s the endgame scenario that should keep us a bit sober (disclaimer, I’ve had both a beer and a G&T already this afternoon and they have gone to my head) about stuff.

448:

Damian
"ACT" ? Clarify, please?

449:

I’m thinking in terms of stuff that no-one on the people’s revolutionary leadership committee has every heard of or imagined is a necessary function

With the proviso that I've spent way more time with anarchists than libertarians, and that the difference is really important:

My loose understanding of the statelessness proponents is that they're quite aware that local details matter, and that there's a lot that no central planner can even know, let alone usefully plan for. Many of them would in fact say that that is their main point.

At heart I think the idea is that rather than competitive models of organising we use cooperative or consensual ones. More citizen's jury, less parliament. Likely with a more inquisitorial judiciary (what is the truth) than adversarial (who has the better argument).

The more recent ideas that I'm aware of start about the time of "On Conflict and Consensus" which tries to help groups move past scared-minority-veto and bad actors to show how a small group can use consensus decision making. From that you get various clustering and spokes models for scaling up, and branch models for dealing with side issues (on a species scale *everything* is a side issue).

So specifically: you end up with a branch of society that's concerned with heavy (road?) vehicles, scaling up from neighbourhoods to global level (a truck manufactured mostly in India can be used in Argentina). Most probably within that will be people concerned about the impact trucks have on their neighbourhood, those focussed mostly on bigger trucks moving faster, others concerned about costs faced by truck owners, or the costs faced by society from having (or not having) trucks and so on. Over time there's an iterated deciding process that likely produces different outcomes in different places under an overall set of rules agreed (to some extent) by all.

And that works within a bunch of other, similarly agreed rules. Like, "you're not allowed to hang truck drivers (see: murder is bad, section 2.3.4.5.6a)" and so on.

Anarchy is just a different way to build a bureaucracy.

450:

any more credibility than I give to US government news outlets.

Are you referring to Voice of America, one of the military news services (for the troops), or is there another one I'm not aware of?

451:

I'm also slightly bemused by my response.

I thought I was pretty hip to the level of evil our governments get up to. No, actually I'm not.

Still, I'm pleased that I'm able to update my beliefs in light of new evidence. It's a skill I wasn't sure I had.

Oh, for anyone listening in, who's not aware of what our state government debt collection looks like....

If you get a debt, and it's not paid on time, the first thing they do is add a huge fee and send a letter of demand to your last known address. They won't email you, or text or call. Which for most people under 30 means they will never know they have a debt.

The next step is to cancel your driver's licence. Lots of young people have driving jobs. They'll be driving on a canceled licence without knowing. They'll also cancel your car registration, (which cancels your insurance). Automated plate readers see your car driving around. Automated processes fine you for driving unlicenced, uninsured and unregistered. That's about 2000 dollars in fines and a 6 month ban from driving. A workmate's daughter ended up with (slightly vague on the exact numbers) a several decades driving ban and some hundreds of thousands in fines without ever having committed a driving offence. She ended up spending I think about a year in jail.

It's basically designed to cause rich people minimal inconvenience and to comprehensively destroy the lives of poor people.

452:

While working for an aerospace company, I was told that, in France if I left my laptop in my room, it would be copied.

There is a tale told inside of IBM of when someone in was visiting France and while using an encrypted link while in their hotel room, the French barged in and confiscated the terminal and various notes.

May be an urban legend but many of those tend to get started based on a true story.

453:

Well said. My "conservative" relatives get really torqued when I point out that their complaints about various things don't align with their free market slogans.

454:

Did you realize that your first source is entirely owned by the Chinese government?

How is that relevant? And while you're setting standards, perhaps you could lay those out in public so I can avoid putting forward sources that don't meet them?

Have you noticed that you can't pick holes in DaveP's evidence... because he hasn't produced any?

455:
There is a tale told inside of IBM of when someone in was visiting France and while using an encrypted link while in their hotel room, the French barged in and confiscated the terminal and various notes.

May be an urban legend but many of those tend to get started based on a true story.

"If it could have happened it must have happened" -- AFU.

We will gloss over the fact that IBM was the largest computer company in France and did much of its research in France as that doesn't seem to fit this story.

456:

in France if I left my laptop in my room, it would be copied.

How terrifyingly primitive. The much more modern "Five Eyes" alliance pre-break the communication channels and copy everything in transit, or ship known-bad hardware so the laptop can be compromised regardless of where it is. That's why they object so vociferously to losing control of the hardware and operating systems... if they can't subvert or coerce the manufacturers they won't be able to do their jobs. Worse, someone else might do what they normally do and then where would they be?

I keep a loose eye on the antics of the Australian and New Zealand "intelligence sources" because especially the Australians do disastrously stupid shit* on a regular basis. Whereas the kiwis seem more inclined to let slip capabilities that they have access to via the USA... like the "you screw my spouse, I'll screw yours" deal where things they're not allowed to do internally they do to each other and swap results.

* like this: https://breakermag.com/australias-disastrous-new-encryption-law-throws-privacy-on-the-barbie/

457:

My "conservative" relatives get really torqued when I point out that their complaints about various things don't align with their free market slogans.

As a general rule, internal consistency checking is not a high priority in right wing mindsets. (This is more psych wonkery than some people want to hear about.) It does mean that people aware of the quirk can troll them by quoting the correct slogans and reasoning to some unexpected conclusion. Hopefully this power will be used for good, as when I pitched a universal income scheme by bringing up an Alaskan example of it working. If one leads the audience into confusion or outrage that's just JAQing off

458:

I side with _Moz_. I have witnessed this happening several times personally, have been told it by a good many people who were shafted by the USA, and I have multiple reliable reports of government involvement. Ideas that were invented in the UK or elsewhere were often stolen or unlawfully patented, and then used to extort money - often from the inventors.

459:

I was told that, in France if I left my laptop in my room, it would be copied. I seriously doubt that would happen in the USA to someone from say, Dassault.

Well, obviously not. The laptop from Dassault would have already been searched and copied at customs as the person was entering the USA.

460:

Indeed. This leads to an interesting constitutional question.

I note that Bozo has used only the Public Health Act 1984 for the lockdown, rather than the Civil Contingencies Act, and is facing a legal challenge - which, given the appalling looseness of the former, could result in enhancing the chaos and possibly force him to use the latter. As I read the CCA, it has some devolved aspects but is mainly a central power.

But the real issue is that England has a much higher death rate than Scotland, and it looks as if this will continue, given the actions taken by the two leaders. Now, if England's lockdown is relaxed enough to allow visiting second homes, hosting guests and limited tourism, Scotland's isn't, and the COVID level is much higher in the former, what would happen?

461:

How the pandemic is reshaping universities and the economy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FM5HkpyXxsQ

Under 20 minute interview with an NYU business professor from the US PBS show Amonpour and Co.

US oriented but I suspect similar but different things happening in Europe and maybe Aus.

462:

Moz
What's the state of play with that bonkers anti-security law, enabling hackers to get into anything?
Ditto the equally bonkers debt trap you mentioned?

463:

Australia's new law is catastrophic enough for commercial privacy that Microsoft has announced they will be opening a datacentre in New Zealand at last, mostly because otherwise they would be haemorrhaging key customers. A number of significant NZ government departments like the IRD had moved to Azure hosting, but they made some very loud noises when Australia announced that law and they weren't the only ones.
Up until now Azure data has been hosted in Australia, with the next nearest point being Singapore, and after that Thailand. It'll be interesting to see if Amazon follows suit, they're the only other player in this part of the world.

464:

Greg, the ACT is the Australian Capital Territory, a federal exclave surrounding Canberra and some neighbouring towns. It was created to ensure that the capital was independent of NSW and Victoria. Amusingly despite being a city and not much else, it still has a higher population than the entire Northern Territory, which is about a quarter of the size of the EU. Neither are legally states either, both have about the same amount of independence from Central Government as Wales.

465:

Given that the UN estimates lockdown will cause 1.6 billion people to lose their livelihoods, and 250 million face starvation there are going to be a lot of angry people about, and a lot of governments looking to distract their populations by generating external threats eg India blaming Muslims, China invading India etc. The cost of the lockdown is going to cost more lives than Covid-19 could ever have done.

466:

And on a related theme, a petition to allow in people from HK
https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/300091

467:

Mayhem
Got you ....

Dirk
I do hope you are wrong, but there are always idiot power-hungry politicos are there not?

Yes, well, I half-seriously suggested that the "Solution" to the HK problem at handover ( Because I knew the Han central government would renege ) was to transport the whole lot, all (then) 6.5 million of them ... to Northern ireland, to set up a "New Hong Kong" - & let the IRA & the INLA & the UVF work out what they were going to do next, apart from run away ...

468:

The cost of the lockdown is going to cost more lives than Covid-19 could ever have done.

That's awesome news, it means the worst case death toll from covid-19 is less than 6% (250M/8B=6.25%). Do you have a link to the research?

If nothing else some clarity around "face starvation" and how they distinguished between excess deaths due to covid with the lockdown, and excess deaths due to the lockdown, and how they estimated the uncontrolled death toll. Because to my limited understanding all of that is currently unknown and the last number is unknowable. Even the UK and Sweden have not avoided locking down to some extent, so we lack evidence that not locking down is even theoretically possible. Sure, the non-lockdown countries wouldn't face international travel restrictions if no-one else was locking down, but how exactly the USA would stop state or local government lockdowns is something I suspect your research doesn't touch on.

469:
Moz @416: Evidence please. I was referring to the extensive technology transfer (to use the polite term) program undertaken by the PRC government in cooperation with their industries, a program also executed by, among others, France and Israel. I am aware of no such program by the U.S. government.

"But it is desirable, in regard to improvements, and secrets of extraordinary value, to be able to extend the same benefit to introducers, as well as authors and inventors" -- Alexander Hamilton.

Compare industrialising country with industrialising country, and what do we find....
(China could argue we owe them: Europeans stole tea and porcelain production methods from them, after all.)

470:

Yes Greg, we're well aware colonialism is a go-to solution for when Britain has a population it finds awkward.

471:

... transport the whole lot, all (then) 6.5 million of them ... to Northern ireland, to set up a "New Hong Kong" ...

As I recall the joke ends, "Aye, but are they Protestant Chinese or Catholic Chinese?"

473:

SFReader@397
I've no idea. A guess would be that power corrupts...

David L@400
That comment was more about that if 10% of the population for a party, then they should get 10% of the seats. Sure it has problems, but if your goal is "representative" "democracy", then it's a better option than the alternatives. To be honest I could come up with all sorts of wonderful ways of making electing politicans "better", but they still couldn't represent me.
As for Israel, I haven't looked recently, but I did look a few weeks ago. Seems like a coup no?

mdlve@429
It's really interesting. The view point inherent in this com