Tag Archives: Politics

The wrong experts

What is it with believing in mathematical models? Modelling is great for certain purposes like fluid dynamics and airflows where most of the variables are known and can sometimes help find out where the modelling is lacking. I’m not saying mathematical models are useless, but if they are incomplete or worse still, written in spaghetti code, they’re probably worse decision making guides than playing pin the tail on the donkey.

Let’s take for example the mathematical models for Covid-19 mortality from Imperial College. They have been way off by orders of magnitude. And when I say way off, the models predicted tens of millions of deaths. We were all going to be dropping like flies and have our worthless cadavers thrown into ditches. The reality is, at the time of writing, well under three hundred thousand deaths globally. Current public data here. Add to that little snippet that we are past the yearly peak for respiratory illness in the Northern Hemisphere.

The Imperial college models have failed time and time again. Their stochastic methodology is deeply flawed and has led to several public policy disasters, the current protracted UK lockdown being but one. Another was the foot and mouth epidemic that decimated UK agriculture in the 2000’s leading to kilometre long pyres of dead cattle burning in British fields. The one before that, Creutzfeldt Jacobs disease variant (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy) that was going to see millions of gibbering and senile zombies lurching around Britain if anyone so much as looked at a British sourced beefburger. Total deaths over the last three decades? Under three hundred and fifty. A number of those being vegetarians who had never so much as sniffed animal protein. The vast majority of cases from sources like contaminated human growth hormone and badly sterilised implants, but none via blood transfusions, as the mathematical models from Imperial predicted.

They call the UK Governments advisory body SAGE. What form this sagacity is supposed to take makes you wonder. Perhaps SAGE could do with some better experts.

Monday is coming…

Mrs S and I were discussing this on the journey out to the accountants today. For the UK I think that the lockdown will shortly be coming to an end. Our reasons for thinking this? Bojo, the UK’s suspiciously unclownish PM is back in the saddle on Monday morning. He has to make a show that he is back in control and what better way than to take advantage of the shrinking death rate by beginning to lift the ‘stay at home’ restrictions and let certain businesses open, declaring that “Britain is back in business.”

He’s had time away from the political firing line to gather his thoughts. He’s had time to risk assess, to consider. Now he has a very small window in which to react. Seven days, tops.

If the NHS is anything like over here it’s understressed. Which is quite likely given the reports of primary health workers, including Doctors and Nurses, having time to rehearse dance routines for Tik Tok.

According to this web site, we on Vancouver Island (at the time of writing) only have one person in ICU and five hospitalised with the dreaded lurgi. Seventy one cases (81%)have registered as recovered. For the more densely populated Metro Vancouver, they have fifty in hospital and eighteen in ICU. Out of a population of two and a half million. The worst is past. See screen shot below.

He should also really let Ms Patel off the leash to discipline those Police Commissioners forcing the UK Police to do all the cringeworthy stuff they’ve been observed doing during the lockdown. Not to mention direct the courts to strike down all those quarantine tickets that were, in my view, highly counter intuitive.

We could do with something similar on this side of the pond. Break time is over. Time to get back to work. Oh, and to stop buying cheap stuff from China.

Update: Watch the video below. Yes it’s long, and Ferguson was wrong about BREXIT, something he later conceded he was wrong about. But, on this occasion I think they’re right, the sluggish big state got us into this mess, but it’s individuals and smaller, private groups that can get us out.

I disagree on how to handle ‘climate change’, but that’s another discussion.

General weirdness

Went to get a takeout this evening. Phoned in my order and turned up at the appointed time. Well, so far so good young Bill. You did something mundane. Good job, give yourself a pat on the back, go to the top of the class and jump off.

Yes, but I found the whole experience, as I remarked to Mrs S over a modest curry, somewhat surreal. Light traffic. Hardly anyone to swear at. Not to mention the oddness of wearing a surgical mask and being the only one in the queue. A simple trip to the curry house had a distinct feeling of ‘The last man on Earth‘ or ‘The Omega man‘ to it. It’s like ninety percent of the population has just gone away without leaving any bodies.

Then there’s the sudden banging of saucepans outside at around seven pm, which is one of those ‘clap for our carers’ things. And I thought, “Why clap for them? At least they’ve got jobs, and no-one is asking them to take a pay cut.” Yet we hear elsewhere in the world that they’re already lifting their lockdowns and using effective treatments tested by other nations. While our own Prime Minister openly flouts the rules the rest of us are meant to live by and tells us the lockdown will continue until a vaccine is approved. Which will take until May next year at the very least.

I know that useless part time drama teacher has to live over the shop (And 24 Sussex is a very nice shop indeed), but at least he could hold the fort and do the duty he’s paid very well for. The rest of Canada having to work away from home has to teleconference to see their families. But Trudeau the hypocrite can’t make that sacrifice, oh no. Then he has the bought and paid for sycophants of the Canadian Press running interference on his behalf. Frankly the whole spectacle is nauseating.

If only Andrew Scheer had the spine to say he’d cancel all the politically correct bullshit, he’d win the next election in a landslide. Can we send our current crop of politicians back to their makers? A lot of Canada wants to make a claim on the warranty.

Another day

Elderly friend is phoning us at least six times a day from her care home bed, she’s fretting over trivialities because she’s got nothing better to do. Contrariwise I hear Bojo, the UK’s suspiciously unclownish PM has been admitted to hospital and thence ICU. Hope it’s for a treatment that works. I may not like absolutely everything he’s done, but he’s a lot better than many alternatives. That said, he’s in for a rough ride. Good luck to him. Looks like he’ll be hors de combat for the next week or two.

We’re okay. Just hunkering down and weathering the storm like any sensible people. We get out on the deck whenever the sun shines and work allows. I’ve had a minor morning cough, but nothing much. Just a seasonal snotty nose. No other symptoms. Mrs S says I need a haircut because I’m looking a bit shaggy around the edges and has threatened to stake me out on the lawn while she gives me a quick run over with the lawnmower. Unfortunately all the local barbers are shut, so it may well come to that. Am I afraid? Good God yes.

Out in the neighbourhood, every day looks like Sunday. It all looks so peaceful. Neighbours doing chores, mowing lawns, fixing odd bits and pieces, cutting wood. We’ve even sighted a couple of the older deer looking a bit unkempt, but the usual bucks, fawns and yearlings are conspicuous by their absence.

Oh well, another day, another crisis, another fix. This afternoon I was playing around with four man sized Kleenex, a bit of plastic packaging wire, some sellotape and a little twine. Result; twenty minutes later one perfectly adequate limited-use four layer pleated face mask. Not up to Operating Theatre or Intensive Care Unit standard, but good enough to keep the worst of the dreaded lurgi contained or at bay when out and about or in a shop. And comfortable enough to wear for a couple of hours.

Talking of the dreaded lurgi, a clue has surfaced regarding misleading Covid-19 figures from China. Now cell phones are used for everything over there. Even small transactions. Apparently even the smallest street vendor uses them. This being the case, a stat poked it’s head above the parapet recently saying that twenty one million cell phones have gone inactive in mainland China over the last three months.

Now AP says that this is a bit of fake news as it’s all about cell phone users with multiple accounts cancelling unwanted phone plans. Which on the surface makes perfect sense. Okay, it’s rather a lot to happen all in a relatively short time frame, but it’s probably mostly down to their travel ban. People are obviously rationalising multiple SIMs and cell phone accounts, but still, that’s a very high figure. We don’t cancel our phone SIMs just because we’ve had to miss a trip. What is actually interesting is that a total of 840,000 landlines went dead in the very same period. Which is also, upon first examination, a high figure. I have no idea what the usual phone line turnover is, so cannot draw any solid conclusions.

However, other news keeps popping up about mass deliveries of cremation urns being delivered within China, which look, and I’m choosing my words with caution here, look like there are a lot more deaths than official figures would indicate. Then there are the people who are just dropping off the grid in mainland China. The usual crop of dissidents, but still, it’s a lot more than would be expected, so maybe a fraction of those dead cell phone and landline accounts reflect a higher death count than we’re being told. It’s hard to make an assessment with such limited information but enough to flag up on the old bullshit detectors.

What might be useful, as a way of compiling a predictive model, is to reverse engineer the Covid-19 stats from Northern Italy which would give a better idea of what is happening behind the bamboo curtain and great firewall of China. Not that it matters. No doubt the Chinese Communist leadership will be reaping the gales of wrath behind their polite smiles in the very near future, as voices are already calling for a boycott on anything made in the PRC.

For my own part I’m watching the disease stats closely, as they may well impact the travel plans we have for September. We may even need some kind of permit to travel involving getting some sort of ‘we’re immune’ documentation that is recognised on both sides of the pond. That will be when the restrictions are lifted and a decent antigen test becomes available, not those shoddy ones currently emanating from mainland China.

A Chernobyl moment

Mrs S and I went out to get a small treat today from a Tim Hortons drive through. Also to have a general chin wag and to set the world to rights as we often do. Something she said touched off a memory flashback which took me all the way to a rainy UK midlands industrial estate in 1986.

That day I was outside, bareheaded in the rain with water trickling past the collar of my sodden heavy wool coat, doing the job the new foreman had sent me out to do. This new foreman hated my guts for some reason. No idea why, some people are naturally ill disposed to others and there seemed no obvious rhyme or reason to it. My previous boss had been booted upstairs for being too efficient and we were stuck with a new ignoramus who did all the petty things low level managers are not supposed to do, like play favourites and take out his frustrations on his most junior subordinates. Of whom I was one. We got all the shit jobs. Me because I was (and remain) reasonably well spoken and modestly educated, traits which will always get you into trouble with a certain sort. This particular task was something he’d given me because my face offended, so outside I was sent. I think I was checking serial numbers or something, sorting out gear in the yard for bringing inside the workshop later. It’s not important now.

I heard that specific foreman died of a heart attack in the early 90’s. Don’t ask me to be sorry about that because I’m not. He was a very unpleasant man.

On that afternoon the air tasted of something like burning tin, but I thought nothing of it at first since there was a flame cutting shop over the way and we used cutting discs and plasma cutters a lot, so I was used to that kind of smell. But you get to know the taste in your mouth when hot metal is being cut. After a while you can tell which material is being cut and what it’s being cut with, be it copper, steel, or aluminium by flame / laser or plasma cutter. They’re like power chords in a heavy metal number, brash but distinctive. Once you know what they are, some of that gets hard coded into your senses and it never leaves you.

This was different. It was akin to the harsh stink of galvanised steel being cut with a flame cutter, but not quite. I remember sniffing and glancing curiously at the workshop over the road where the guys were busy setting up a jig for a new contract. Their cutting gear was cold so it couldn’t be them. So I sniffed again, then licked rain off my top lip and spat it out. The smell was in the downpour.

I remember looking up at leaden clouds, which seemed to have an odd yellowish tinge to them. The sun, where its shape shone through, was a parody of a badly poached egg. The rain felt heavy, the kind of steady, solid English downpour that soaks you to the skin no matter what you wear. At the time I couldn’t get any more miserable than I was and I’d catch hell if I didn’t complete the task, regardless of the weather. And it wasn’t until watching the news at ten that evening that I realised what I’d seen that afternoon was probably the radioactive fallout cloud from Chernobyl passing overhead.

Just over seven years later I was under the knife, having a growth in a lung removed. Took me six months to recover. I used to wonder if that was because I’d breathed in something nasty on that afternoon in 1986.

Doesn’t matter. Shit happens and we have to adapt.

What really struck me this afternoon, and it’s been going around in my head ever since, is this one thought;

This is Communist China’s Chernobyl moment.

Never mind anything Trump or Johnson are doing in response to this event, that’s irrelevant. A chain has been set in motion and the world is changing before our very eyes. This is fall of empires stuff where not quite all the major players die at the end. Governments will fall. Two empires will collapse. I’d tell you whose heads I expect to tumble, but that would spoil the surprise. Although I’m sure my one remaining reader can hazard some reasonable guesses.

I believe the regional economic fallout will last as long as the ban on Welsh and Cumbrian Lamb after Chernobyl. Perhaps much, much longer.

Now that’s a very sobering thought and I now need a very large whiskey to counter it.

Containment

I’ve been hearing rumours that the Covid-19 figures from China are not kosher. There are clues, nothing conclusive, but enough to raise a sceptical eyebrow at the ‘no new cases’ claim coming from the PRC. Maybe even that the death count from Wuhan and other cities is being under reported by at least a factor of three. I mentioned this to Mrs S this morning, and she said she had seen similar stories from outlets with differing agendas, so, okay, not clear evidence but definitely something that makes my bullshit detectors twitch.
What can I say? Doctor, Doctor, I’m suffering from a nasty suspicious mind?
Doctor; Sorry Bill, there’s no cure for that.

Then the ugly fact pops up that this is the fourth(!) and most major pandemic / global virus to come out of that region in the last fifteen years. I checked the WHO’s historical stats available here. First there was SARS, then H1N1 (Swine flu), H7N9 (A form of Bird flu), now there is Covid-19. That is a lot of infections from one region in such a relatively short time frame. One might even be forgiven for thinking there’s something deliberate going on. Either that or they have some serious public hygiene / health issues.

Africa for example has issues with diseases we in the modern west left behind in the 1950’s and latterly the deadly Ebola and Marburg viruses. Cholera, Polio and various other diseases etc are endemic but nothing like the disease output of China. There’s also the point that all the four Chinese originating viruses are zoonotics, as are Ebola and Marburg (originating from wild animals). There was also talk of Covid-19 looking like it was born in a lab and let out into the wild by poor containment protocols.

Which begs the thought, why did we in the west outsource so many manufacturing jobs to the PRC? We may get cheaper consumer goods in return, but the downside of this globalist approach is the rapid spread of virulent and fatal diseases with their associated problems. As we are seeing.

The answer of course is lower manufacturing costs and cheap labour. Apple for example wouldn’t be able to make such vast profits otherwise. Nor would other large multinationals.

As an investor I am less than comfortable using Chinese equipment simply because of the well known issue of state slavery in China. Specifically political prisoners used to produce consumer goods. Other countries in the region; Korea, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, have less of an issue and can and do take up the slack when multinationals switch their production. These alternatives do have their public health issues but are are not such sinks of widespread infection. Despite my brokers urging, I have to date refused point blank to put my money into companies who use the PRC as their primary manufacturing and distribution hubs, like Apple for example.

Okay, you might say, some of this is all conjecture on my part, but I say given the actual evidence perhaps it is time to rethink this relationship? Trump, the globalists bête noire and villain in chief (I wonder why?), has set great store in repatriating manufacturing jobs to the USA. Maybe now is the time for other western nations to increase their efforts in this direction? Before the next Chinese-born pandemic rolls around.

As for Gordon Brown, the UK’s biggest failure as Prime Minister, he can fuck right back off to a well deserved obscurity and take his ‘one world government response’ with him. This pandemic is mostly the globalists fault anyway.

Happier news

On the line with elder sibling in the UK the other day. We were both having a bitch about this quarantine business and how it has impacted us personally. Our respective pension funds have taken a serious hit, but the markets will bounce back so we’re not panicking. Yet. The travel restrictions are a pain, but fortunately not a game changer for us at present. He reports that there are fewer episodes of the dreadful long running soap operas Eastenders and Coronation Street, also the musical abortion called the Eurovision song contest has been cancelled. Which can only be a good thing for the mental health of all UK residents.

‘South’ a.k.a Eldest and I did some over the phone bonding in one of the longest talks we’ve ever had on Monday. Her Australian permanent residency does not give her access to social funds if she’s laid off, so I offered her a sum of money to tide her over, but bless her cotton socks she demurred. She told me she has saved some money of her own and already has a plan to make a few pennies on the side. She’s hunkering down and has a bolt hole with Brother and sister in law up in Cairns if everything goes further south than at present. So thanks Boss, she reported, but she’s all good.

‘North’ a.k.a. ‘Youngest’ is in a high transmissibility situation down in the Smoke, but she and her flatmates are hunkered down, and she has a solid contract, so her money stream has not been cut off. She’ll be fine. Smart kids. We keep in touch and let them know we will help out if called upon. Even though we’re all thousands of miles apart Mrs S and I can get financial help to them inside twenty four hours. If nothing else, knowing family has your back no matter what gives confidence, which is often of far more use than just money.

Mrs S and I have rebuilt our slightly scorched personal bridges through careful discussion this morning. We’re all good again, Kind of. I acknowledged that she’s not been sleeping as well as necessary and that her job and the Covid-19 lockdown had stressed her out. But I said that I forgave her emotional blowout and hoped that she would forgive my undiscussed investment actions. After I had time to explain why I needed to move as fast as I had, and that maybe she had her head filled with all the issues of her day job too much to appreciate what I thought I’d previously told her, and how my investment would benefit us both, she saw the sense of it. But in the heat of the moment she’d lost track of where she was, and in that lost moment, lashed out at me.

Apologies and explanations have been accepted, hugs have been exchanged and now we’re able to talk reasonably again, sharing affection and having those long rambling philosophical conversations she says keep her alive. Bit touch and go for a moment there, but like I said, we’re all good again. I think. Of course I could have held on to my anger, but anger is destructive, it corrodes the spirit and weakens reason. Blind anger makes people irrational and erodes their decision making faculties. I choose not to be angry if I can possibly help it. Cool heads, I find, tend to prevail in troubled times.

Speaking of which, I was called a ‘raaacist‘ on a YouTube comment thread today, which is an accusation a number of my old workmates and friends would find highly amusing. I had posted a comment critical of Trudeau for trying to buy a seat on the UN Security Council with Canadian taxpayer dollar, which as a Canadian taxpayer (Regardless of my race, religion or social construct) I have severe reservations about. Said lefty nonsense merchant even accused me of having a poorly adjusted tin foil hat. To which I had to respond that he brought race into the argument and that my tin foil hat was perfectly well adjusted thank you, which seemed to anger my correspondent even more, who was too busy spitting venom and projecting his own inner frustrations onto me to notice that he (possibly, but how is one to know anyone’s gender online?) was having the urine royally extracted. People like that are almost too easy to mock. They get so riled up they don’t notice they’ve lost. I could almost hear his arteries hardening. I do so hope he doesn’t suffer from an aneurysm. Not.

Notwithstanding, the peace of our home has been restored, our Irish travel plans are still in place and anger has been banished to the black pit from whence it arose. My little Grapefruit plant is still blossoming and I can breathe again.

Next crisis please. We’re finished with this one.

The upside and the downside

Many moons ago I learned the basics of SWOT analysis. SWOT standing for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Every situation is full of them and even the hazardous have an upside. What might seem a showstopper from one perspective will be a positive boon in another. So it is with this Covid-19 pandemic.

Because one thought does rear it’s curious little head among all the panic over the Covid19 pandemic; it’s a real crisis. A one hundred percent genuine, accept-no-substitute global crisis. Whole countries are in quarantine, tourism has slowed to a trickle and we’re all being encouraged to participate in ‘social distancing’, which I’m actually beginning to enjoy.

The thought is this; given that this is a real crisis, not a largely imaginary one cooked up by grant hungry academics, what is going to happen to all these imaginary crises? Man made climate change for example. Seems to me that St Greta of the Thunderous bum has slipped off the headlines. Gender awareness and alphabet soup ‘rights’ likewise have fallen off the saddle of the high media-political horse they once occupied.

With whole countries in lockdown, all the research money going to find a treatment or ‘cure’ and NGO rent-a-mobs confined to their student digs, how will anyone have any time for these previous headline grabbers which were nothing more than academic fakery anyhow?

How intriguing…..

I’ll mull this over a glass or two of wine.

A little levity

In these depressing days when the world seems like it’s going to hell in the proverbial handcart. Where doomsters gleefully spread their misery on and offline, the rest of us try to get on with life as best we can with a little humour.

The best gag I saw this morning was about the latest high risk job, which I quite fancy having a go at myself if truth be told; rear gunner on a toilet paper (Andrex) delivery truck. Now where do I submit my CV? I’ll pay for my own body armour.

There’s also something I’d like to introduce my one remaining reader to; taken from the canon of the late, great Sir Terry Pratchett; the zombie socialist in the form of Reg Shoe. For the uninitiated, Reg starts life as an action socialist type who rather reminds me of the notorious Guardianista and lefty drama queen, Owen Jones. Always banging on about how things will be so much better ‘after the revolution’, then after dying (In ‘Night Watch’) is so fired up with his ideology that he becomes a zombie after being shot through with crossbow bolts. Which is how I view Owen Jones. Well, not shot through with crossbow bolts, but so dim that he doesn’t realise he’s flogging a zombie horse in the form of Socialism.

Anyway, it’s common knowledge that Socialism was dreamed up by a couple of rich kids (Marx and Engels) with well off parents and it seems the only socialists nowadays are similarly well off and privileged youth. They know little of those they call the working class.

This is where I see all these, what we used to call during my college days ‘Action Socialists’, latterly SJW’s. They are the people whose belief is so strong it won’t let go, even if it is only a warped parody of real life. The Reg Shoe’s (Undead yes! Unperson NO!) of this world. Doesn’t matter that their ideology has been tried and found wanting so many times at so great a cost, they are so busy virtue signalling in a vain attempt to achieve worth that they forget the best way to make a better world is by doing the grunt work of day to day living. They are the pigs of Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’.

One a personal note, I’ve picked up a mild seasonal cold. Nothing much, just a little snottiness, catarrh and mild cough which is hardly noticeable by mid morning. It’s not Covid19. I’ll be fine in a day or two.

Covid19 is not the ‘Boomer remover’. Which is just plain insulting and inaccurate – only complete assholes could come up with such a meme. Covid19 is no respecter of age. Anyone with an underlying illness like Diabetes, any of the myriad genetic disorders, or a pre-existing illness automatically drops into the ‘High risk’ category. As does anyone who works in health care. Healthy 50-80 year olds (There are many such) likely will not die from this affliction. So there.

These are trying times. Just trying to find something to laugh at while living day to day is hard, but we should inject what levity we can into the desperately ill body of life. It isn’t a cure, but it does make the bad times more bearable.

Anyway, it’s a beautiful day outside, if a little brisk. So while I’m waiting for the powers that be to get their shit together, I’m going to wrap up warm and go outside to read.

At least my Lemon plants are doing well.

Important update: Might be a good idea to leave off non-essential NSAIDs and Steroids according to a French neurologist. See Dr Campbell’s video below.

Even more important update: One of my little Grapefruit plants has put out a tiny, pea sized pale yellow flower. Awww.

Ask not….

5d6855908ac2ce910fd91a63186d10dafa7708b7fa34298a0f1988c31ac045a8
Updated 15th March. The funniest thing I’ve seen in this whole Covid19 business was found on a Tim Pool comment thread. So I ‘borrowed’ it.

But seriously, what is the deal with toilet roll, bathroom tissue a.k.a the humble bog roll? It is most definitely a female thing because even though I told Mrs S that we have at least a months supply as I tend to buy one jumbo pack every three months, she was still asking me about it during Friday’s afternoon foray into the stores.

She was the one who wanted to venture out on Friday. I’d already done my thing shopping wise, and the stores will be restocked next week. There might be stocking problems because grocery store sales volumes are most definitely up, but when the initial panic is over next week, things will be much easier.

Even if the Sticker clans current Canadian domicile get hit by a nasty bout of gastric flu we won’t run out for over a month, yet the shelves were being stripped of paper goods. As well as canned vegetables and suchlike, which I won’t use because with the possible exception of sweetcorn they are uniformly vile. BTW; Baked beans are not, at least in my culinary milieu, counted as a vegetable.

As far as entertainment goes; the news is all doom and gloom, so I’ve switched off and am following my own advice this weekend. I hear other people are doing the same. For example, I heard several people while we were out and about yesterday say they were turning off the news channels because they were heartily sick of hearing gleeful news anchors claim this mess is all Trumps fault.

Similarly in the UK, during a transatlantic Whatsapp conversation ‘North’ was blaming Bojo for not doing more, to which I responded that I thought the UK government response had been very measured. Locking down the whole country at this juncture is rather like locking up the henhouse after the fox has gotten in. This virulent disease is already within the UK’s, indeed everyone’s borders and all anyone can do is take sensible precautions. Containment will be very much down to the individual.

Which leads me to the reflection that when there’s nothing you can do, perhaps the best you can do is nothing. Read a book. Plan a holiday for when this is all over. Take a walk around the house. Do some neglected chores like clean the garage or check the car. Stay away from the TV. Phone a friend. Which is what we’re doing. Filling the unforgiving minute.

Outside life hasn’t completely ground to a halt. Cars pass by. There’s still shipping in the Juan De Fuca heading out into and back from, the broad Pacific. Buses, albeit with very few onboard, grumble up and downhill. This is a hiatus, nothing more. The rent is paid. There’s money in the bank, spare cash, gas in the tank. We’ll be fine, providing big government doesn’t put it’s foot in it, although I’m told all the local facilities, schools, libraries etc are shutting down for the duration. Maybe if the politicians go into hiding it might not be so bad.

In the midst of the slow-motion horror of a world wide pandemic a happier thought does occur. Following Remainer / rejoiner gloating about Covid19 killing off Brexiteers as they’re all old farts don’cha know, everyone with an active brain cell knows that disease is no respecter of political opinion. Maybe Greta whatserface will catch a dose and spread it all through the UN and those clowns of Extinction Rebellion. Perhaps she already has and the viral timebomb is already ticking amongst their ranks like with the Ayatollahs in Iran. Over here it’s already gotten to Trudeau, so maybe he’ll learn the signal lesson that there are greater threats out there other than the largely imaginary man made climate change and hurt feelings.

One thing we’re not told is what particular demographics are being the hardest hit. Men certainly. But what men? Does ones genetic inheritance give one a greater or lesser immunity to this nasty bug? Geographically speaking the Mediterranean basin and Middle East seem to be taking a pounding. Maybe the 7% death rate in Northern Italy has a cultural component? I can hear the pens of academics scratching even now.

By way of a metaphor, one one of my desks there is a little travel alarm, which has been dumped there for no other reason than that it has a loud and annoying tick. In the silence of my little workplace sounding preternaturally loud. Even ominous. For me it is just counting off the seconds until this whole charade ends.

There’s a lot of political capital being made by certain political factions, but I would say this to them when they breathlessly announce that the Pandemic clock is ticking and they wish the worst effects on their opponents;

Ask not for whom the clock ticks; it ticks for thee.

Time to go

The last few weeks have been a bit frenetic what with one thing or another. Elderly Friend is languishing, saying that she must have done something wicked to have fallen and broken her arm. So this weekend we sped up Highway one to see what we could do. Lighting was adjusted, books provided and instructions given to staff so that she doesn’t regress into the fugue she’s been in. For my part I responded to her repeated moans that she must have done something bad to be sitting up in a cosy bed in a nice safe and warm room with a busted wing thusly; “So you reckon you did something bad. Really? Do tell. Come on, out with your deepest darkest secrets. Spill the beans.” Well, it raised a bit of a smile from her.

Seriously though, Elderly friend is not a secret serial killer or ex-war criminal in hiding, just a lonely centenarian lady we have the dubious privilege of being POA’s for. We do our best, but we have jobs and there are only so many hours in the day. She’s just bored and a bit depressed. So we talked to the staff of the very nice care unit she’s in, told them to leave the doors of her room open so she can see what’s going on outside and laid on some reading material. She never has the TV on because even she is fed up with all the attention seeking doom and gloom that spews out of it nowadays.

On the work front, there’s a reorganisation due. My current contract might not get renewed, so I’m going to get myself on an online book keeping course over this Summer prior to our forthcoming Irish trip. I look at it this way, I have a faculty with numbers, so maybe there is part time work online as a book keeper. Just as a backup. Something to keep the cashflow going. Another string to my bow, so to speak. Things are going to get tougher up here in the not so frozen north, Mrs S has voiced a need to move on, so that is what we are going to do.

We’ve spent our free time making lists of what we’re going to keep, what we’re going to get rid of and who we need to talk to. It’s all tiny stuff. Baby steps. On the plus side I look on our impending move as an opportunity to get rid of stuff we no longer need.

We’re talking about being out of Canada in twelve months time. It’s not the place we thought it would be, too much big government. The encroachments and enforcement of ridiculous hate speech laws. And the worst thing is that there’s not a credible opposition to the paternalistic oppression that benefits a tiny minority. The electorate haven’t got a viable alternative. The Scheer led conservatives pander to the same clique as the Liberals and NDP, and no one apart from grumpy old sods like me will vote for the radical change Canada needs to break out of it’s protectionist bondage. I’ll remain a member of the PPC of course, and keep throwing the odd hundred bucks their way, but I’m feeling rather pessimistic. Canada is potentially a very, very rich country, but it has a problem, a system of government which is too tightly bound to Quebec and Ontario. The Trudeau Liberals being part of the problem. They only care about their petty differences with Quebec and forget that they have an economic powerhouse in the Midwest, one which they seem determined to stifle. Which to me simply does not make sense. Nor does the attitude of the majority of suburban Canadians, who keep voting for dimwits like Trudeau who have about as much economic sense as a stunned chipmunk. Even if he does have nice hair. It’s what’s under it that counts, and that isn’t saying much.

To illustrate the current economic slowdown by observation; driving up and down Highway one the other day, we saw over a dozen big bulk carriers parked in the waters off Victoria, Ladysmith and Nanaimo. Ships which should be actively shifting cargo are simply parked off local harbours racking up the harbour fees. Normally you might see four or five in total if avalanches have shut down the trans Canada transportation routes. And all because the Federal Liberals want to have “A dialogue” with a few professional protesters and a tiny minority of disaffected first nations who are claiming to act for five out of thirteen ‘hereditary’ chiefs, in total disregard of the wishes of the majority of their own ruling band councils. Yet no one is telling these bozo’s to stfu and get with the program. They’re the problem, and if they don’t wise up, all the freebies the first nations get will dry up because if Canada really does get shut down, there won’t be any money left to fund their welfare payments, free University educations and tax exemptions. Before that happens, the Government will have to raise even more taxes on the already hard pressed middle and working classes of Canada. Then that will tip the country into a gravity hole debt spiral which will make a large black hole seem minimalist.

So Mrs S and I are planning to move before the inevitable rain of shit happens. Lock, stock and both smoking barrels. Some will call me a coward, others will accuse me of common sense and foresight, because I know I am in a minority who can see the globalist UN planned endgame for Canada and it ain’t pretty.

An amusing idea

Was struck with some of the suggestions in the comment section of the video below. The whole idea of the outrage mob harassing a company, just because their product has been seen in use by someone the mob don’t like is ridiculous. Why does this innocent activity, even if it is by a politician, seem to enrage a certain group of Twatterers?

It seems to me that the left wing outrage mob will get their panties in a bunch over the least little thing. They ‘go after’ people online, trashing their reputation and in some places costing the object of their ire careers, livelihoods, relationships and in a few sad cases, lives. The vicious nature of these lefty hate mobs is quite astonishing. As is their hypocrisy. Frankly me deario’s, if it weren’t for double standards, these crazy online haters wouldn’t have any. The cognitive dissonance they display is often so staggering, that after reading their nonsensical outpourings I often need to go and lie down in a darkened room, close the curtains and doors before bursting into hysterical laughter.

Now you know and I know chums, that certain things may be perfectly innocent, like Yorkshire tea. Even if a UK Tory politician professes to like it. It’s just tea, right? Good tea, but just tea no matter who drinks it. Tea is very useful stuff for all sorts of reasons. See below.

However, it’s given me an idea to use against these knee jerk twatter hate mobs. Mildly suggest that anything the twitter hate mob like or admire is “Just a teensy bit right wing.” or “Like enjoyed by religious hate mobs. You know, like those Westboro Baptist nutcases.” One could also point out that all the things they like “Sound a little bit, you know, fascist.” One might even opine, if one comes across an acquaintance you know to hold these views in a queue at a coffee shop, “Oh, hello. Didn’t think I’d find you at one of these places. Not after they were denounced by (Cite famous lefty academic here; If at a loss, say Noam Chomsky)” Which is probably true. Lefty academics denounce so many things that it’s hard to find anything they haven’t come out against. Such sayings will flag up in Google searches, which might well be enough for said unhinged acquaintance to flounce out, to be seen outside later with a placard denouncing said coffee shop as a “Tool of the oppressor.” These knee-jerk haters are not the sharpest tools in the box.

One might also suggest that things like the following list are “A bit right wing” or “Not very working class.”
Smashed Avocados on toast (A bit too, you know metropolitan)
Eggs Benedict (Very posh – Not working class at all)
Vegan / Vegetarian diets (Far too middle class)
Coffee shops (All of them – not just Starbucks)
Pret A Manger (And any other ‘right on’ company who does ‘grab & go’ sandwiches)
Breathing (It’s worth a try)

Then watch the fun begin. Try not to laugh too hard.

This post was updated from the original as the first paragraph made no sense. I think it’s the Alzheimers kicking in. That or the insomnia.

All for vanity

Canada’s Prime Minister has just returned from swanning around Africa, brown nosing for votes to give Canada one of the currently vacant seats on the UN’s insecurity council. This is nothing more than a vanity project, especially when Canada is being brought to a grinding halt by little more than a handful of Tides-funded fake nations protesters. Now he wants to engage in a dialogue? Do I hear someone laughing? Soros, is that you? Again.

The majority of real first nations are standing on the sidelines going “WTF?” They want pipelines. They want prosperity. I get the sense that they’re very pissed off about these fake nations taking their name in vain.

The Police appear to have been given stand down orders because they do nothing when main highways and rail lines are blockaded, yet will arrest any public spirited citizens who attempt to clear up the mess. Then there are the handful of activists who blocked the Legislature in downtown Victoria. Not sure if they’re still there. Perhaps they’re lecture dodging.

Protests are fine, but physical blockades? No, that’s a step on the road to anarchy. Not acceptable. It could even be described as terrorism. Not that there’s any terror involved for anyone above the level of total wuss.

There’s something going on beneath the surface because even the politicians are getting harassed yet the RCMP and local cops are doing nothing apart from jumping on any people who object to the blockades. Or are the Canadian Police simply doing this in mute protest at being given a big ‘hands off’ by their superiors when it comes to these blockades? By their forced inaction are the lower ranks making a political statement about enforcement? As political as they are allowed to be that is. Maybe they’re so fed up that they’re going to let things go down to the wire. Or are their upper echelons so subsumed by PC culture that the rank and file are ordered not to intervene? I have no idea.

As far as the first nations are concerned, the RCMP are damned if they do and damned if they don’t so maybe they’re simply choosing the least worst option, at least as far as they are concerned. If the country’s economy is heading toward lockdown, they don’t care. Or at least they’re not being allowed to care.

All the time the Federal Government refuse to allow the Police to do their job. All because the vanity of Trudeau wants a seat on the UN Security council, thinking that a worthwhile achievement. Even if the country he is supposed to be head of is slipping into deeper economic trouble. Even if Trudeau’s mate and sponsor George says things will be fine. Well, perhaps fine for someone who profits from the economic chaos engendered by the many NGO’s his Tides foundation gives money to, but not so good for the ordinary Canadian in the street.

I know it’s not all Tides, there’s the Rockefeller foundation and a few others as well as the Saudi’s funding these anti-oil NGO’s. The Saudi’s because they want to keep selling their oil to Canada, Rockefeller and similar US interests because the oil sands directly compete with their interests. Funding these NGO’s is just business, even if it does sabotage Alberta, and by proxy the rest of Canada.

For an informed commentary of what is currently going on, see video below. Max Bernier is right. It is a circus, and all for vanity.

On a personal front, life and work trundle on. These blockades will have little direct effect on me personally because my commute to work measures under ten metres to my windows on the world of finance and business. Which as far as Canada is concerned, look a bit sick. The Trump inspired USA continues to boom with no underlying issues that might cause a step change in the markets. Which is good for me because most of the companies I invest in have significant cross border interests.

The pound is stable, trading up on it’s pre-January 31st value despite the failure of the EU to be even remotely sensible when trying to strike a post Brexit trade deal. The EU want it all their own way and have no real idea about how to handle a proper negotiation. They want something but don’t seem to want to give anything substantial in return. Which will be the EU’s downfall. The UK holds all the aces. Links to global markets, restored fisheries, a veritable queue of negotiating teams including the USA lining up at the door. The EU is still working on the failed model of central banks, imploding economies and quantitative easing.

The only thing that can go wrong for the UK is if Bojo embraces the Green policies being discussed and sends the UK down a fiscal rabbit hole. HS2? Rail links? How very 19th Century. Never mind trying to power them with more wind farms and (derisive snort) solar farms in a cooling climatic phase. Better by far to go down the route of small scale nuclear and hydro than ‘renewables’.

Perhaps it is worth mentioning that Hydro power on a small scale can have the secondary benefit of local flood management whilst churning out stable base load, as well as being able to react quickly to upticks in demand. There are quite a few old UK mill sites that could have their networks of sluices and ponds rebuilt and a modest turbine installed. There’s also the possible added benefit of running trout farms in the mill ponds. Food and power together? Now there’s a project worth considering.

Trying to run a nation on whizzy little battery cars powered by wind and solar ‘renewables’ won’t do any good. Renewables are simply inadequate for farming or industrial use, apart from for subsidy farming. For useful power generation there’s just not enough energy density, even with the up and coming generation of battery technology. Better, and much cheaper to invest in Internet bandwidth, cabling and local distribution hubs. Now there’s an enabling 21st century technology that works. And it’s relatively cheap and flexible compared to building and maintaining railways.

If like me, your desk is at home, all you need to do is log on, hook up your comms and you’re away. Which is what I do. No scabby trains or traffic jams. No aggravation from thoughtless soccer moms or texting titheads. Add to that the advantage of not having to share an office with people I don’t really like or trust. Win-win I think.

Travel plans for 2020 are Southern Ireland this Autumn for a couple of months where we have rented a cottage in the South so that friends and family can pop over for a visit. The flights and accommodation are all now paid for, with a short hotel stay in Dublin for when we stumble thoroughly jet lagged off the plane yet to be organised. Oh my aching wallet. Car hire has yet to be booked and I’m not sure what will happen to my Lemon tree plants while we’re away, but I’m sure they’ll cope.

So, the game’s afoot and we will be gracing the Emerald Isle with out dubious presence this year.

Could be interesting.

On the wagon

I’ve given up alcohol for a while. I’m on the wagon, but will be skipping merrily off it at a juncture of my own choosing. Not because I’ve been hectored into it by any campaign or other, but just because I wanted to. Just to make sure I’m seeing the world as it is without any chemicals fogging things up and to give my taste buds a time out. After four more weeks, perhaps less, I will resume my habitual imbibing of a modest whiskey every other evening or perchance a glass or two of Malbec, Carmenere or Cabernet Sauvignon to end the working day.

Which might beg the question do I want to live forever? To which I would answer, no, I’d only get bored. Variety is life’s spice, and drinking all the time is like permanent sobriety, it’s okay, but gets a bit tedious after a while. A little wine is good for you anyway, and permanent sobriety has been proven not. Alcofrolic beverages might not be the elixir of immortality, but a glass of three don’t half take the edge off the worst that living can throw your way.

What else? Lemon Tree plants looking good, the tallest has just topped thirty inches tall with lovely green waxy leaves. Mrs S and I are going to Ireland this September for a while and are busily booking our big time out. Our tax advisers are discussing possible tax exile with us and stepkids are making plans to come stay whilst we’re in the emerald isle. Things proceed.

Our festive season was relatively quiet, with only the existential sound of elderly friends marbles slowly continuing their rattle out of her head. Poor old thing has now completely lost track of what day it is and has taken to phoning us at all hours because she’s not even sure of what time of the day it is, or even that we live over a hundred kilometres away and not on the next floor down in her care home, which we will never be. Which can get a bit disconcerting. She’s not how she used to be and we’re getting resigned to the probability that she won’t see out the year. Such is life. Sure as it begins, thus it must end.

On that topic of lives ending, am watching how the big man down south is handling the ever-present irritation of Iranian sponsored terrorism. The news that he’d had the head of yet another terrorist organisation droned brought a grim smile to my face and the word “Good.” Popped into my forebrain. Mrs S of course, was concerned with the inevitable terrorist backlash. However, a head has been cut off the Hydra. No doubt it will regrow at some stage, weaker, but still there. It took Solemani from 1988 to build up his current network of militias. That’s right, over thirty years of misery for the Iranians and their neighbours at his hands.

This is why we put mad dogs down. They can’t bite any more when they’re dead. His owners might be all of a lather and threatening dire things, now their attack dogs pack leader has been put down I have a sense that a cold wind is blowing through their spavined souls. Trump has drawn his line in the sand. The attack on the US Embassy in Iraq was the impetus. It was a direct assault on US territory under international law, and the Iranian organisers therefore put themselves at direct hazard. Not that they’re all that popular in Iran.

There are rumours circulating from Iran of brutally suppressed protests and internal economic woes that are nothing to do with the USA and more to the fact that the current ruling elite of Iran aren’t as clever as they might think. That and it should be plain to them that they’re not dealing with Obama now. No more Danegeld. No more payoffs. Hunker in your bunker boys, because you just stepped over the line.

This version of ‘The Great Satan’ has decided to react to the Iranian regimes serial provocations, regardless of the fact that Russia and China say they have Iran’s back. They know the Iranians have gone too far, but will be content to sell them the arms while quietly backing away into the shadows. Say what you like about the Russians and Chinese, but they are not stupid. It doesn’t matter how many cocaine-addled celebrities want to ‘apologise’ to the Iranians. World War Three isn’t going to happen because the casus belli isn’t strong enough.

There might be a stand off, but Trump’s a savvy negotiator and I don’t think will blindly send more US forces into harms way without good reason. He’ll target the top dogs and send over a few GBU-57A/B‘s. There aren’t that many of these bunker busters in the US stockpile so I’m told, but it won’t take many. I wouldn’t be surprised if there weren’t three or four already in theatre ready for a decapitation strike if necessary. Then there are the drones like the one that took out Solemani. Yet the average Iranian (or Iraqi, or whatever) in the street is not the enemy. It’s the extreme regimes. Get rid of them and the conflict goes away, kind of. Although as Mahyar Tousi points out, it’s not all black and white.

Still watching the Brexit situation from afar, and I still think no-deal is the default. The EU have faffed and fumed pointlessly while Bojo, the UK’s suspiciously unclowninsh Prime Monster holidayed on the Caribbean Island of Mustique, once favourite haunt of the late Princess Margaret and other celebrities. I think he’s going to sit on his hands and go full WTO at the end of January so the EU will lose that billion a month of taxpayer pound sterling they’ve been hoovering up so happily. Someone, somewhere in the EU infrastructure is going to have to think about reigning in their expense accounts. Having watched their privileged antics from the sidelines in Paris and elsewhere, I can’t help thinking that the EU pigs are watching the trough dry up and are panicking a little.

Terrorist leaders waxed? BREXIT happens? I’m beginning to like 2020 already.

The fear factor

While crunching numbers, as I am wont to do because it’s what I earn a crust doing, I was listening to a Timeline documentary on YouTube, where the narrator was telling the tale of the Black Death and the social changes it helped bring about.

The thing that resonated with me was the various fanatic cults that arose during those times, even before the plague arrived in their locale. Convinced that the plague was the wrath of God (Although God has told me he did try to tell them about having a good wash now and then, but no-one was listening – as usual), certain groups of people turned to that good old standby of, instead of trying to deal with their personal hygiene issues and stop killing the cats that kept the rats down, chose self flagellation. That’s right, they went about the streets crying “Woe, woe, we’re all doomed” whilst lashing their own backs with a knout, a nasty sort of cat of nine tails with metal bits sewn into the whip ends. It is said these groups of ‘Flagellants’ as they were known, whipped themselves so hard that their blood would spatter street walls as they passed. It did not save them. In their self-weakened state, most perished.

So it is that I see the “Not my Prime Minister” and anti BREXIT campaigners, driven by their own fear, choose to roam the streets crying “We’re all doomed!” and getting under everyone else’s feet. Rather like the silly ‘Extinction rebellion’ protesters. They achieve nothing and are wasting their own and everyone else’s time. Rather like the flagellants of medieval times. They lack the reasoning ability to connect cause with effect themselves, so in ignorance devolve into a hideously primitive groupthink.

Unfortunately, Youngest is counted amongst their number. Which is a disappointment. I thought she’d learned about people who keep themselves down by being the authors of their own undoing, and that there are no saviours our there. According to her, they’re all apparently terrified that those nasty mustachio-twirling Tories are going to go around gloating over all the “Aha! Some poor people to torment, har-har me proud beauties!” You know, the working people who the Limp Dems and Islington Labour don’t really care about. Except when getting their vote in to support a bunch of unemployables like Corbyn.

What I saw during the campaign was Bojo, the UK’s very unclownish Prime Monster, going around, getting his hands dirty on the shop floor. Which is something I can respect rather than the opposition whose sole electioneering approach was gladhanding activists and loyalists while mostly ignoring the electorate or beating them over the head with scare stories, earnestly trying to re-educate any recalcitrant voter and crying “Vote for us, or the Tories will eat your babies.”. That and calling anyone who didn’t agree with them immediately unpleasant names. Well done chaps. Did it work? No prizes for giving the correct answer.

The thing is that neither BREXIT nor minor variations in the Earth’s climate are going to be harmful. Now they could be, but only if people refuse to rise to the challenge of a bit of extra sunshine rain or snow, or cling to the notion that a bunch of people who have never worked in the private sector over the channel know better than local people with their noses to the grindstone, fixing problems as they arise. Seriously, the immediate future contains more opportunity than threat. At least for the UK.

All the public moaning and groaning from the defeated are like a bunch of mardy teenagers who Mum and Dad have finally called ‘time’ on are achieving precisely nothing. All the Slebs whining like kicked bitches instead of claiming a little grown up dignity and facing their mistakes likewise. Although Lily Allen’s tactic of bursting into tears and sobbing ‘vote Labour’ has given a lot of people a bit of a giggle. It’s not that we’re unkind, it’s just that it’s funny to see all these people who think because they are good at entertaining have any idea about how the world really works.

So all these British slebs who didn’t get their way are going to leave the UK? Yeah, right. But where to? Surely not to that hell hole the Trump-infested US of A? No? Well the Yanks just dodged a bullet there. To the cultural backwater that is Canada? Mm, only if they’re happy to play to the odd bilingual Moose and a couple of puzzled bears. Australia? Watch out for the big hairy spiders and the Salties, not forgetting the deadly drop bears and one extremely unfriendly sheep near Brisbane. Heaven forfend that these ungracious slebs might have to learn another language. Even if they had the brains.

The truth is, as I pointed out to our young companions whilst we were visiting London, despite the odd knife attack, the western world is safer than it has been for quite some time, if ever. Fewer deaths from disease, wars, and even extreme weather events (Explanation here). Fewer road deaths. Indeed, fewer deaths from everything, apart from those claiming a Darwin Award, (Sightseeing on erupting volcanoes and suchlike).

Most of us are living longer and healthier lives to the point where getting a message from HM Queen to centenarians now has to be semi automated. That’s right, more people than ever before in the western world are making three digits, elderly friend included. Even if her wits are somewhere west of their preferred location.

Indeed. it’s getting to the point where pension payouts won’t begin until you’re eighty. Not that it’s a bad thing. One of my cousins just picked up his last P45 at age 79. Wound up his business and was last heard of travelling eastern Europe. Similarly I expect not to officially ‘retire’ until 70. Not that I really mind. Even then I’ll find something to make a few extra bucks on the side. Trusting for state pensions to be your sole source of income in your frail dotage is not a brilliant idea. Personally, I have two pensions in the offing, Mrs S has three and that’s without factoring in our investments. Having lost three pension funds over the years, (2 pots raided by New Labour, one when the company I worked for went belly up big time) I’ve become very cautious about those Ponzi schemes and nowadays employ a broker, an accountant and a lawyer to keep my investments secure. They earn their money.

Oh well, it might not be such a short life after all, and we will have to find our merriment where we may.