Foot fault

Djokovich has done the Australian people a service. The cancellation of his visa after arriving in Australia for the Australian Open tennis grand slam will attract a lot of media attention globally. At this stage, global attention on Australia’s COVID19 rules is welcome.

Clearly, there has been a stuff-up of major proportions. Nobody gets on a plane in Europe to fly half way around the world to Australia without believing their paperwork for entry is in order. In Djokovich’s case, the question over his ability to play in the Australian Open has been openly discussed in the media for months. Tennis Australia has repeatedly said it was working in the background with Djokovich and Australian authorities to get the correct visa and necessary vaccination or medical exemption status in place. Yet after arriving in Melbourne around midnight, Djokovich was detained by Australian authorities and around 9 hours later it was announced his visa was cancelled and he would be deported.

Watch as fingers are pointed, bottoms are covered, politicians duck and weave more than an English opening batsman facing the Aussie fast bowlers on a green SCG wicket. What a debacle.

Djokovic is the victim.

Tennis Australia is in the sights. How is it possible that it worked behind the scenes for months and failed to advise Djokovich that he hadn’t met the entry requirements? Djokovic would have relied heavily on Tennis Australia for assistance in the process.

The border force officials are in the sights. Ordinarily, experiencing the pettifogging mistrustfulness of paid officials (as Kenneth Grahame wrote about in another context) is frustrating but not normally this serious. Yet media reports that other players have already entered Australia on the same basis as Djokovich tried to are worth keeping an eye on. Are some officials more mistrustful than others? If true, what will happen to those other players? (Update 7/1/22: Border force officials confirmed two other players are being investigated.)

Mostly, the politicians and bureaucracy are in the sights. Rules are rules, and they should apply to everyone is the current politician’s cry. Yes, but only if those rules are reasonable, easy to understand and clearly communicated. Do the rules meet any of those provisos? Clearly not, otherwise we wouldn’t be here.

Sunlight disinfects. Global attention on this debacle is to be welcomed by Australians. It will help show the chaos of Australian political leadership and will also demonstrate the utter pointlessness of requiring vaccinations as COVID cases skyrocket. The vaccines don’t prevent infection or transmission. Pointless rules, badly applied – this is Australia. 

Predicting what won’t happen in 2022

It is normal around this time that people consider the upcoming year and even make predictions about what may happen. This year, I’m not going to do that. Instead, I will make predictions about what won’t happen in 2022.

We won’t enjoy 15% or more stock market returns. Despite chat in some quarters about pent up consumer demand from excessive constraints related to COVID19 being ready to unleash a bumper year, don’t get too excited. Firstly, it is arguable that such pent up demand actually exists. Many people have been damaged so severely by constraints on their ability to earn income, they may take years to recover. The wealthy may have been frustrated by not being able to travel, but they amused themselves in other ways by changing consumption patterns, not stopping consumption. In any event, consumer demand does not create economic growth. Yes, it is a component of GDP but that only shows the inadequacies  of using GDP as a measure of growth. Only production through ever improving efficiencies creates growth. Before the industrial age, people weren’t poor because they did not demand products and services. They were poor because the production capability of the economy was poor. How will productivity fare in 2022? Given various on-going supply side constraints, not to mention wariness to commit new investment in these times, I think growth will be weak in 2022. Some stocks will do well, of course, but the broader market will be weak. Not one to give financial advice unless you pay me, my portfolio recommendations are available privately.

We won’t see interest rates reduce. Interest rates are going up. They would have gone up in 2009 had central banks around the world not undertaken a massive policy action to artificially suppress them. The natural rate of interest is not zero, can never be so or even close to zero. (This is because of an inherent human characteristic that if you want something, you would prefer to have it sooner rather than later – if there is interest in this topic, pun intended, I can do a separate post.) That interest rates have been kept so close to zero for so long indicates an eventual spring back will occur as the ability of central banks to manipulate the market wears out. 

We won’t see the demise of coal. In the production of energy coal, gas and nuclear are the grown-ups in the room. Vain billionaires, green dreamers and rogue rent-seeking snake oil salesmen would try to have you believe wind, solar and and hydro power are cheaper, just as effective as fossil fuels and will save the planet. They are wrong. Pure and simple. Ask Xinping or Putin if you don’t believe me. That said, until the population realises the green con, political leaders in the woke West, including Australia, will continue the green madness. Don’t expect energy prices to fall.

The Winter Olympics in China next month will not be a COVID19 super-spreading disaster for China. I expect some pushing the idea that the games will unleash COVID19 and spread destruction across the world as the participants return to their home countries just want to have a go at China. No, the reason the games won’t be the world’s most massive super-spreader event is because COVID19 has already spread throughout the world. There are few places where it hasn’t emerged. It even emerged in Antarctica. 

We won’t see the end of wokism. It’s going to get worse before it gets better. The good news is that the worse it gets, the more normal people realise how bad it is and the more they start fighting back. I’d say it has a couple more years to run. As Andrew Breitbart said, politics is downstream from culture. As soon as the political elite sniff the wind and sense that popular culture has turned against this madness, they will drop it like a hot potato. Just look at how the narrative regarding COVID19 is rapidly changing as a good example. We now see the Australian PM and US health bureaucrat Fauci saying things such as hospitalisation data has overstated COVID19 numbers due to not recognising the difference between being hospitalised for COVID vs with COVID. Many normal people have been pointing that out for over 18 months only to be shut down, cancelled, ridiculed etc. Put enough pressure on and eventually the political class will fold.

The latest COVID strain

It’s the Omicron strain. Or as I prefer, the OMG strain. Viruses mutate, particularly so in response to mass vaccination. No surprises in this quarter. This strain is likely to consider both the vaxxed and the unvaxxed as fair game.

Update: increased government restrictions as a result of this strain apply to all people regardless of vaccination status. The UK has gone even further: to remain classed as vaccinated, booster jabs are now to required once every three months. (Cognitive dissonance alert for those readers who prefer government actions to be coherent.)

Australians should be grateful to the US founders

The Australian constitutional convention to establish the Federation in 1901 closely followed the US model that had been established in 1776. We should be grateful for the wisdom and foresight of both. A Federation of States has the advantage of internal constrained competition.

In both the US and Australia, interstate migration is increasing. Victoria is well on the way to self destruction due to decades of Labor government. Whether it’s deliberate or accidental can be discussed. Both are plausible. The end result is the same. Migration out of states like Victoria in Australia and California in the US after leftist government naivety, wilful stupidity or deliberate destruction is on the rise. That couldn’t happen in a one jurisdictional state, such as Austria, for example. The Austrian Government is trying to impose a lockdown on the unvaccinated citizens. Memories appear to be short in Austria. Not even long enough to remember what happened in 1939.

While certain Australian States are doomed, the country is not necessarily so. NSW looks to be a beacon.

About that modelling….

Readers may recall that I said the Burnet Institute’s COVID modelling from September 2021 should be revisited in late October to check the actual outcomes against the modelling predictions. It is now late October. The following actual data is sourced from covidlive.com.au

Predicted deaths: 964

Actual deaths: 280

Predicted hospitalisations: 1,666

Actual: 738

Predicted intensive care cases: 360

Actual: 130

What does this comparison of actual against expected prove? The modelling was wrong, of course. It was wrong by a factor of around 3 in these measures. Modelling is just a guess based on certain assumptions. Burnet’s modelling was clearly poor quality, but many modellers around the world have been proven to be just as bad or worse. The real lesson is that modelling is not gospel truth and should not be held up as justification for a government coercion on the populace. Nor should the modelling be used to prove how effective those coercive measures were: ‘See how much worse it would have been had we not imposed the lockdown?’ Modelling may have some uses, but should only ever be one input among many. Modellers that have a track record of dud predictions should be treated with scepticism or, preferably, ignored.

The dangers of cycling near the unvaccinated

I received an email today from Audax Australia with some details about rides being opened up again in Victoria. The pith of the missive is shown below.

To the eagle-eyed reader, the exclusion of the unvaccinated from certain rides will be noted. Plus, such exclusion has been made for two reasons: increasing participation rates and safety.

I may be able to clarify the rationale if I get a response from Audax to my two questions: on what basis did the Committee determine that banning the unvaccinated will increase participation and on what basis will it increase the safety of riders and families?

I’m expecting a response soon. It should be a hoot.

I received a response: because “The Science.”