Josh Frydenberg should let Dan Andrews call the shots in Victoria. His commentary does nothing to help

Appearing on ABC television, Frydenberg attacked Andrews saying:

“Grandparents are not seeing their grandchildren. Families can’t go to work. Businesses have their doors closed. We’re subject to curfews in Victoria. You can’t move more than 5km from your home.”

Josh Frydenberg joined the chorus of Liberal party critics of Dan Andrews none of whom have contributed anything to Victoria’s campaign against Covid-19

Yes, Josh, we all know that. The vast majority of Victorians understand what Stage 4 restrictions are and they agree with them. Mainly because they are working.

“We haven’t seen a definite plan from the Victorian Premier, and just yesterday, he said it’s too early for that,’’ Mr Frydenberg said.

Victorians also understand that we need to get infections well down under 20 to start easing restrictions. Now Josh Frydenberg might not understand that, but most Victorians do.

So this is what Victorians are really interested in

It is, by world standards, a stellar performance. And people should have the good grace to acknowledge it.

Soon, the Treasurer all be able to put his performance up for public scrutiny

Australian’s gross debt, for which the Treasurer is partly responsible

I hope Dan Andrews has good grace not criticise the Treasurer’s performance

Netflix miniseries “Unbelievable” is a compassionate and compelling narrative of the impact of sexual assault on two young women.

The miniseries is based on the 2015 news article “An Unbelievable Story of Rape“, written by T. Christian Miller and Ken Armstrong.

This is a stunningly good series.

It spells out in graphic detail the pain and terror that women suffer as result of sexual assault.

It also spells out in the cascading effects of the lack of belief and insensitivity of male police officers when young women make complaints of sexual assault in a system which is meant to protect them which then fails them.

It also shows what a couple of determined kick-arse detectives can do when they put considerable forensic skills to solving a series of crimes that their male colleagues have simply put in the too hard basket.

The series begins with the stories, three years apart, of two young women who have been raped.These two stories run in parallel through the series and only cross over in the final episode.

The first Involves Marie Adler, played by Kaitlyn Dever.

After the assault, she is interviewed by the unsympathetic Detective Parker who then interviews Marie’s foster mother and, as a result, forces Marie to retract her complaint. Worse still, he tips the media off, that Marie has made a false complaint and they then begin to hound her, launching a social media campaign against her.

Her story traces the consequences that his actions have on an isolated and powerless young woman who is caught in a system where nobody believes her story.

The second story is that of Amber played by Danielle Macdonald.

Like Marie, she is a victim of sexual assault but she is, in almost every way a totally different character: strong, resilient and determined to get justice. She is also interviewed by the first of the duo of detectives who are the centre of Unbelievable, Det. Karen Duvall.

Her interview with Amber is in absolute contrast to the way that Parker has interviewed Marie. It’s sympathetic, it’s professional and above all, Karen makes it quite clear that she believes every word that Amber is telling her.

In the course of her investigations, Karen realises that there may be a serial rapist at work and she meets Det. Grace Rasmussen is investigating a similar case. Together, through sheer hard work and forensic skill they track down the rapist, who is finally sentenced to  327½ years.

UNBELIEVABLE stars Merritt Wever as Det. Karen Duvall and Toni Collette as Det. Grace Rasmussen

Marie too gets a measure of justice.  She successfully sues the city of Lynnwood.

The final scenes show have bought a new car and a new bike and heading off for a new life. You feels she deserves it.

But before she goes, she stops by at the police station to confront Parker, who now has come to realise he has perpetrated a huge injustice, who apologises. It’s a genuine apology. His colleague who has been part of the whole shameful process, stands in the background and says nothing.

“Next time,” Marie tells him, “do better.”

When the President’s son’s girlfriend speaks at the Republican National Convention and the Republican ex-President George W Bush doesn’t even turn up, the American people should ask why.

The answer, of course, is obvious. Republican ex-President George W Bush is not going to stand up in public and endorse Donald Trump to be president of United States in 2020. And neither is his father, who was also not at the convention.

But Kimberly Guilfoyle, the President’s son’s girlfriend, attended and spoke “In President Trump’s America, we light things up, we don’t dim them down,” she shouted. “We build things up, we don’t burn them down. We kneel in prayer and we stand for our flag.”

Donald Trump’s support within the Republican Party, at least the more traditional part of it, is rapidly eroding. That may not translate into a massive decline in his electoral support. It may lead to a significant decline in his funding support, but that remains to be seen.

Trump is relying on a rerun of his successful 2016 slogan: Make America Great Again, MAGA. The trouble with this Allis that it translates into Make America Great Again Again, which doesn’t quite the same kind of punch.

He’s had his shot at making America great, and currently things are too great at all: 180,000 dead from Covid-19 for which he takes no responsibility with the pandemic showing no signs of slowing, 30 million Americans are claiming unemployment benefits, and the President has billed the American taxpayer $140m for visiting his golf course 94 times during his presidency.

Kimberly Guilfoyle is asking the American people to vote for more of the same.

Trump’s acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention was an avalanche of lies, half truths and fabrications

This Is a summary of the fact checking by the Washington Post

When Donald Trump accepted the presidential nomination from the Republican Party in 2016, he declared to the nation: “I alone can fix it.”

Four years later, as he accepted the nomination for a second term on Thursday night, he delivered a speech that in effect told the nation: “I don’t take responsibility at all.”

Trump really did utter that latter quote in March, of course, while evading any responsibility for what turned out to be only one of many disastrous failures on coronavirus. But Trump’s speech is the moment that converted this quote into doctrine. It should convince us to treat “I don’t take responsibility at all” as an unmistakable declaration of what to expect from a second term.

Trump’s speech contained countless big lies and distortions. Some portrayed Joe Biden as radical and destructive: Trump falsely suggested Biden would open the borders and defund the police, and absurdly claimed his “socialist agenda” would “destroy” the “American way of life.”

Other lies and distortions whitewashed Trump’s record: He falsely claimed he would protect preexisting conditions, even though he has tried to destroy the Affordable Care Act and continues to do so. He absurdly exaggerated his toughness on China and his revamping of trade deals.AD

But Trump’s biggest deception of all concerns what he didn’t say and what he didn’t acknowledge. In his telling, the depths of the current coronavirus crisis and the economic disaster it has unleashed simply don’t exist at all.

Trump’s acknowledgment of the existence of the virus essentially treated his handling of it as uniformly a success story, one in which it has largely been defeated. This began with a concerted effort to disappear all the ways his failures led to the current moment:

Trump vastly inflated our testing, while claiming he marshaled a massive “national mobilization” via the Defense Production Act. This memory-holes the fact that he didn’t utilize the DPA to even remotely the degree needed and didn’t come anywhere near marshaling any such mobilization.

Trump again hailed his travel restrictions on China. This memory-holes the fact that his depraved dithering over many weeks allowed the virus to rampage wildly out of control here after that ban.

Trump absurdly vowed to hold China accountable for the coronavirus. This memory-holes the fact that early on he spent weeks propping up China’s claimof control over it to sustain his sociopathic lie that we didn’t have to worry about it here, which also let it rampage.

Trump absurdly vowed to hold China accountable for the coronavirus. This memory-holes the fact that early on he spent weeks propping up China’s claimof control over it to sustain his sociopathic lie that we didn’t have to worry about it here, which also let it rampage.

This magical act continued with an extraordinarily deceptive depiction of the present:

Trump falsely claimed the United States the lowest fatality rate of any major country. Even as we’ve seen nearly 180,000 deaths and we continue to see approximately 1,000 daily deaths

Trump’s reference to ongoing bereavement was limited. And you don’t get any empathy points if you’re lying in our faces.

Trump hailed “over 9 million jobs” gained in the last three months, which insultingly memory-holes that over 22 million jobs were lost and we’re still 13 million jobs down. As Paul Krugman details, the current spread unleashed by Trump-urged reopenings has produced another economic pullback.

Trump hailed his backing of previous economic rescue packages for getting the economy to roar back (it isn’t). This memory-holes the fact that help for small businesses and the unemployed is in limbo because he won’t agree to another generous package, a potential disaster for millions.

Trump essentially tore an enormous hole out of the reality that we all experience every day and have experienced for many months, and didn’t even acknowledge the existence of the hole itself. Obviously this rendering also memory-holes his role in creating the reality that he tried to expunge.

Trump’s strategy is clear. He will try to consolidate his voter base. It may not be enough to get him re-elected.

As the Republican National Convention draws to a close, Trump’s strategy is emerging. The heavy reliance on his family has shown that he has very few political allies to draw on.

The current living ex-Republican presidents are conspicuously absent from the convention. None of the Bush family have turned up.

With a line-up of speakers drawn from family, political cronies, party members and diplomats this lack of political allies and support from within the party shows that he has little or no chance of broadening his political appeal beyond what he was able to rely on in 2016.

The message of the convention is pitched directly at his existing voter base: people who believe he is not responsible for the tragically high number of coronavirus deaths, the people who will believe Mike Pence when he says Trump has made America a land of opportunity despite unemployment being 10.2% and many businesses going broke.

The people who will believe Melania Trump, Donald’s third wife who said “Donald will not desert you.” People who don’t understand irony.

There is no doubt that there is a solid base of support for Trump and that it will turn out and vote for him.

But the numbers are not good.With roughly half of the American public voting in the last election, Clinton got more of the popular vote while he won the crucial electoral College.

It looks unlikely that you will be broadening his repeal with his current strategy.

Indeed, if the current polls are an indication it is likely that his support is eroding.

Biden and Harris will be adopting a different strategy. They will be endeavouring to get more people to vote than voted in 2016 on the assumption that you voters will not vote for Trump.

That is their great strength. Because, this be honest, Joe Biden is hardly an inspiring candidate. His great advantage is that he is not Donald Trump.

And that is why he is probably going to be the next President of United States of America and after him Kamala Harris.

Melania’s message to the American people and in particular to Donald’s three previous wives: “Donald will not desert you”

Why the US may never be free of Covid-19 and why Victoria and NZ probably will be.

It all starts with this very simple little diagram. It’s called a stock – flow diagram.

It shows new Covid -19 cases flowing into a stock (or accumulation) of Infected and Isolated cases. They remained there until they flow out of that stock as Recoveries.

Some people find it useful to think of a bath tub with a tap flowing in, water building up, and plug hole with pipe leading out.

The information that we focus on in the daily media is this:

In particular, we are concerned with the number of new cases, because once infections have dropped to zero, quarantine restrictions will begin to be eased.

But it’s not quite as simple as first diagram. In the best of all possible worlds, people who are infected in the total population are immediately isolated and stay isolated until they recover.

This is what the model of the best of all possible worlds looks like.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite work like that.

We don’t have the best of all possible worlds.

Unfortunately, there is a large pool of infected people all around the world, who are not isolated who transmit the disease to other people in their community.

The feedback loop shown in red between the infected people in the community and infection rate is where the problem exists

The problem for the US is that the pool of infected and un-isolated cases is very large and extremely resistant to conforming to the rules that will lead to controlling Covid-19.

This means that the feedback loop between the pool of infected people and the rate of infection is extremely strong and the exponential rate of growth of infections continues.

So instead of seeing this kind of picture

People in Florida are seeing this

Because of this

Miami has half the population of Melbourne and has 65,000 Covid-19 cases, Melbourne has 3,700.

Will Florida be able to recover?

Given infection rates of virus, it appears extremely unlikely.

The ABC has been weakened by the departure of Emma Alberici

The first and most obvious way is that the ABC has lost a highly talented and independent voice. The people who watch it will miss her for her fearless and relentless probing of politicians of all complexions.

It’s not as if they’re going to replace her with someone who is equally as good. There isn’t anyone around to replace Emma Alberici.

No disrespect to Leigh Sales, but it’s a bit like the departure of Kerry O’Brien.

A bit of the bite, the mongrel, has gone. I know I’m getting old but I still remember what Wallaby Peter FitzSimons said of All Black great Sean Fitzpatrick (and I paraphrase) You’d look at him and you know he’d bite your ear off if you let him.

Sean Fitzpatrick

But I digress, is just a parallel. But an interesting one. About people you respect in sports and politics.

Only this time, it’s about political pressure. Sustained pressure, over an extended period of time. It started with Malcolm Turnbull that getting his knickers in a twist over the fact Alberici had temerity to say that she didn’t believe that corporate tax cuts would bring about increases in wages.

It’s a reasonable point of view to argue. Many economists believe that the best way to increase wages is to stimulate the economy and a general increase in spending, not by the corporations, but by the general population is a better policy lever. This means increasing welfare payments and increasing tax cuts to the lowest tax brackets.

So, instead of arguing the that point, Turnbull started nitpicking about points of fact and accounting errors in her report and started complaining to the chairman of the ABC board and the CEO. There were dark mutterings that everybody would be tarred with the same brush if she kept criticising the government and funding would be jeopardised.

Emma Alberici had not been afraid to comment on, and criticise government policy, which is exactly what I would expect from the ABCs current affairs programs. I would also expect ABCs current affairs programs be commenting critically on the Opposition’s policies, which it does.

But now, it’s been made quite clear that journalists who have the temerity to be critical of government policy will come under incredible pressure, direct or indirect, and are highly like to lose their jobs.

It is also clear that the government will put direct pressure on the ABC board and its chairman and this will be subtle and that the public will often not know about it.

One of the distressing aspects of Alberici’s departure is that Ita Buttrose has not come to the defence.

And this is why the ABC has being weakened and undermined.

Not by only Malcolm Turnbull, also who has also lost his job, not because he was strong and capable and stood up for what he believed which is what Emma Alberici did.

Ironic, Isn’t it.

The ABC has being weakened and undermined by Scotty from Marketing and his minions for whom an independent voice that shines a spotlight on politics of all complexions is not something to be encouraged.

Unfortunately. It doesn’t look as if it’s going to work that way.

THE AGE reports “This time, though, the branch-stacking operation..implicates one of Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s own frontbenchers, Michael Sukkar, along with Kevin Andrews, a former cabinet minister and the longest-serving member in the House of Representatives.”

The Victorian strategy for controlling the pandemic appears to be working

This is the key graph that shows the Stage 4 restrictions are beginning to take effect.

The seven day average takes into effect lags and delays in reporting and smooths out the lumps and bumps that can be seen in the black vertical lines. The trend is consistently down and that is what Victorians want to see.

There is also a reassuring news from University of Melbourne Professor Tony Blakely, a leading epidemiologist, who has done a projection based the last 10 days exponential trend, which for the statistically uninitiated can be taken to mean “just keep drawing the line”.

Niels Bohr, the Nobel laureate in Physics and father of the atomic model, is quoted as saying, “Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future!”

So Professor Blakely rightly draws some distinctions between what a statistical model might predict and what may happen in the real world of aged care and unpredictable human behaviour.

But, it’s a trendline that everybody welcomes.

Except of course, Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien, who was complaining on ABC news that Dan Andrews should be laying down a timetable for lifting the restrictions.

Both Andrews and Chief Medical Officer Brett Sutton are understandably reticent to start making promises about when restrictions can be lifted for exactly the reasons that are pointed out in the article about Professor Blakely’s predictions.

What we don’t want is for restrictions to be lifted, for kids to go back to school, for pubs, cafés, gyms, playgrounds to be opened up again and to have a third wave overwhelm us and be put back into Stage 4 restrictions again.

And Dan Andrews knows that would be a political disaster.

At present, the numbers are trending downwards, probably faster than he expected and probably faster than the public expected.

So, Andrews has probably got some political capital that he can rely on to argue to keep Stage 4 restrictions in place for a bit longer to get the numbers down into single digits.

The war of words continues as Dan Andrews regains control of the hotel quarantine narrative.

Daniel Andrews was having a bad time for a while. The public debate about the fiasco of the hiring of the security firms responsible for the quarantining of travellers was not looking good for his government or for him.

Members of the Federal government were having a field day.

They were openly critical and his decision not to use the ADF rather than private security firms. This was being successfully portrayed, not only as the major cause of the spread of the virus in Victoria but also, as Dan Andrews’ fault.

But then came the news reported in THE AGE

Patient zero in Victoria’s calamitous second wave of COVID-19 was not a badly behaved security guard but a night duty manager at the Rydges hotel on Swanston Street, one of Melbourne’s busiest quarantine hotels.

It would appear that the responsibility for infection control in the hotels rested with DHHS and not with the security firms.

Until the enquiry by former state coroner Jennifer Coate returns its findings, we won’t know quite what happened.

But it would seem that the initial press coverage about the behaviour of the security guards may have been founded on rumour.

So expect a bit of to-ing and fro-ing between Jobs Minister Martin Pakula and Health Minister Jenny Mikakos to muddy the waters.

While Andrews continues to take the high moral ground was not getting involved in trivial detail and Scott Morrison has to dodge questions about why he won’t release documents to the Coate inquiry.

And he will always be on a winner with Brett Sutton standing next to him

Trump falls back on his old discredited strategy: Doubting that his political opponents are American citizens.

Trump has joined into an argument begun by a conservative academic doubting Kamala Harris citizenship. It’s a similar attack to that mounted on Barack Obama. It’s racist, sexist and wrong.

Numerous constitutional authorities have pointed this out.

Implicit in Trump’s argument is the tacit and racist assumption “If you don’t have a white skin, then you’re probably not an American.

He tried it with Obama and now he’s trying with Kamala Harris.

The BBC reports. President Donald Trump says he has “heard” Democratic candidate Kamala Harris “doesn’t qualify” to serve as US vice-president, amplifying a fringe legal theory critics decry as racist.

The president said: “I just heard it today that she doesn’t meet the requirements and by the way the lawyer that wrote that piece is a very highly qualified, very talented lawyer.

He went on, “But that’s a very serious — you’re saying that — they’re saying she doesn’t qualify because she wasn’t born in this country?” 

As the 2020 campaign goes on, Trump will realise to his increasing distress, that trying to score cheap shots is not going to work with Kamala Harris.

He can expect her to make considerable political mileage out of this issue.