Sunday, 31 December 2017

The Mind of Donald Trump

Let us look at three things that concern Donald Trump and speculate about his mental health.
First there is EZRA KLEIN on Trump's interview with the New York Times.
Klein asks whether he is a liar or delusional. What Klein does not do is to relate what Trump says to his age. He is quite old for a politician particularly  for one so inexperienced in politics. For those of us who have watched our parents descend from their lofty heights as parents to at times doddering people needing our help just to do basic things it would seem Trump's behaviour is very much of an aging man who is gradually losing his faculties. Remember Ronald Reagan had many anecdotes he thought was about  real life when in fact it was from a movie he starred in.

Second there is Jennifer Williams on examining Trump and Foreign Affairs.
What she misses IMHO is two aspects about Trump that stands out like a shag on a rock.
He is socially awkward. This is very unusual for a man as old as Trump.At his age he should know how to behave in public. Also he is almost obsessively self centered.
Notice how some of this  this relates to aspects of  Aspergers.
 Lastly let us examine how Trump believes cold weather means there is no global warming.Peter Sinclair almost anticipating this blows this argument apart. It is people not understanding the difference between weather and climate.Only people of an unsound mind would  fall for such a facile diagnosis. ( Notice how there is no similar statement when we have uncommonly hot weather.)

What we have is a man in clear mental decline. We do know he clearly was not like this 10 or 20 years ago.Indeed what does seem to rile him the most is when people criticise him for being stupid.
He clearly understood how to use the legal system to boost his business interests.
There are plenty of anecdotes about Trump which shows him socially awkward some time ago.

I wouldn't be surprised if the reason he doubles down all the time is to ensure people do not start talking about how many times Trump has a 'seniors moment'.

I am highlighting this because this is a recurring pattern. I fully expect this year and next to be of increasing articles about Trump's mental health.

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Around the Traps 29/12/17 New Years Edition

It is time for Around the Traps again. Smallish given the season!
Andrew Gelman obviously has not taken any time off over Christmas!

Northern America

Andrew Gelman ( mainly stats)
Genial Dave Giles ( econometrics)
Dianne Coyle (quirky + book reviews)
Vox Wonk

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Trump's worst act?

Donald Trump is easily the worst US President we have seen.

He clearly has lost a lot of his cognitive skills probably through age, He is authoritarian and a bully. In this we see his attitude to the media.

This plays through to other countries. Whereas Trump is hamstrung by the constitution other countries leaders are not. Their attitude to the press is to put them in gaol on 'trumped up' charges
( pun intended).
Peter Grestor an Australian journalist noted this recently.  The charges levelled against him in Egypt were laughable but a compliant judiciary did their job and he was put in gaol. He was only let out in part by pressure put on Egypt by the then President Obama.

Thus Trump has allowed dictators  (and democratic ones such as those in Malaysia, Singapore, Turkey and elsewhere) not only  to put journalists in gaol but also he has leverage to get them out. Indeed he would probably agree with them in gaol.

This is one of the ways Trump is dangerous. This all comes about because he feels he has to lie and thus attack the media on an unprecedented scale.
It also shows how much prestige the US has lost since Trump became leader.

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

TV Shows I have enjoyed and perhaps not over the Year

I watched The Good Doctor and enjoyed it. It is about a young man who is both autistic and has savant syndrome. The actor who plays him is brilliant as is Richard Schiff of West Wing fame.
As might be expected few people wanted him on the staff but he gets on  and eventually gets accepted. All the main characters of the series are strong. Some likable and others not just like in an office. The last episode has us on emotional tenterhooks.
I am still trying to work out how a kid who left home got to be a trainee surgeon.
It is a good series but not a great one.

Madam Secretary is still going. It is really the poor man's ( or should I say woman's) West Wing.  A small sexist point. She used to be a babe but in the current series she has aged. Still attractive but no babe. Wears glasses as all wonks do.
 The Characters all work EXCEPT her family. Her husband not only flew jets  but has a PhD in Theology. He is also in intelligence. nor are the kids believable.

It was a good series going to merely competent.

DCI Banks was an absolute pearler. All the characters were strong with Caroline Catz absolutely shining. It has now finished with Annie dying . She was the love of Alan Banks life. The series could no longer go on without her.
This was a great series.

Endeavour is still going on. It is about the young Chief Inspector Morse. Only in this instance Sean Evans really nails the character in which John thaw much early on didn't. You can see trying to protect vulnerable young women. You can see although unsure how women would find him given his honesty. He is also a topnotch detective. Helped a lot by Joe Thursday. Magnificently played by roger Allam. All the characters work as well. They also change as people do.

A Great series.

 Inspector Morse is a let down.  It is a let down because quite simply John Thaw is not believable as an intelligent classical music lover who is a dab at crosswords. how any woman could find this man attractive is beyond belief. What makes the series somewhat watchable is the support characters. His boos ( for most of the time) , Lewis all the time, and the male pathologist.

Poor series

Lewis was a revelation to me.It was far superior to Morse. Lewis is a very likable character.  Hathaway  his'sidekick' is what Morse should have been like in many ways. Again the characters are strong.

Wallander is sorry was a superb series. A great cast headed by the great Kenneth Branagh. It is a very dark police series. There is also the bonus of David Warner playing Wallander's father.
A young Tom Hiddleston is in it for a time as well. I never tire of watching this.

A great series

A Touch of Frost is the oldest series but is still enjoyable to watch.  The characters are strong and change. Frost has good and bad points but why does he always have two pens in his coat pocket?

A good series

Inspector George Gently is over finally. It started well. this is the only show where Martin Shaw acts well in but it got bogged down. his offsider changes way too much for my liking.

A good series that went to competent.

There are a few things that stand out her.
Firstly an outstanding series must have chemistry between their characters
Secondly it seems crime dramas needs to be based on a set of novels. This gives the writers something to think about when starting out. There is a basis for what the episode is about.

You can always watch great series no matter how dated they are!!

Monday, 25 December 2017

19 things we learnt from the US election.

Andrew Gelman and Julia Azari wrote on this very topic.

We can not only read their paper but also  accompanying comments from other people the Journal editor obviously asked as well as the authors  rejoinder. Add in the comments and you have excellent and educative reading in the holiday season.


Andrew Gelman is obviously a top bloke. I made a comment on this superb article at his blog. Just something like what a great article or something like that.

It went into the ether.

I e-mailed him at his Uni e-mail account on boxing day. He replied on his boxing day and rectified the error.

Just goes to show a great blog  run by a great bloke!!

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Around the Traps 22/12/17 Christmas Edition

It is time for Around the Traps again

Northern America
Andrew Gelman (mainly stats)
Genial Dave Giles (econometrics)
  • nuttin.  too much christmas tucker😁
Dianne Coyle (quirky + book reviews)
Vox wonk

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

The myth behind the Tax cuts

According to the Treasury Secretary of the USA the tax cuts are self financing. Imagine that. you can  cut taxes but receive all the revenue lost back by increased taxation via a stronger economy.

That occurred under Reagan, and Bush the son and here in OZ under Howard. Yes I am joking but I do member Sinclair Davidson goebelsising about the Reagan tax cuts to this effect. It was as you might expect poor research and attempting to argue black was white.

What occurred in all three cases as anyone literate in economics might expect is the structural budget deficit rose substantially.  It will here as well.

There are other effects which have been well documented. It will boost inequality. Trump gets a large tax cuts which his Press Secretary quite obviously lied about.ere as well.

The tax cuts benefit quite the opposite of people Trump 'campaigned for'. When will these people wake up and realise they have been wood ducked? your guess is as good as mine.

The Republicans will be in a bind. It will not take much time to see the line the tax cuts pay for themselves is entirely false.
This means they either allow the budget to blow out when close to full employment or implement spending cuts. The spending cuts would be in the usual areas which again would boost inequality. moreover taking away benefits always leads to electoral back lash.

So Republican have to chose what will have the least effect on their electoral chances next November. blowing the deficits or spending cuts to people who clearly cannot afford it.

Republicans have always been deficit hawks in opposition and not caring about the deficit in government so the odds favour the budget  blowing out ( for not much gain.)

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

A Cabinet reshuffle goes awry

A Cabinet reshuffle is an opportunity for a free-kick for the government.  We hear such claptrap as the government has so much talent. , the Ministry is refreshed with the new blood etc.

It is a bipartisan deal the ALP is as bad with the claptrap as the LNP.

On a day where the government should have good news about it  in the media instead we have news Barnaby Joyce possibly the most over-rated politician in Parliament has punted two nationals from the ministry because one he hated his guts and the other had the temerity to think some-one else was better suited to be the Deputy leader of the Nationals than the person Joyce wanted.

It merely is another example of the government fighting within it self.

Whilst the dumping of both the Misters will not have the consequences of the snipping that Abbott clearly does I do think we will hear in the future of 'poor choices' made by Joyce from time to time.

Monday, 18 December 2017

We retain the Ashes

As I forecast we have retained the Ashes. this prediction was not hard to predict.
I am unsure whether I made it here or at Aftergrog blog Cricket.

England was always going to lose because they never had the attack to get 20 Aussie wickets. They had no fast bowlers at all. Okay the other Overton was injured ( he is faster than any of our bowlers). Wood had an injury cloud and then we come to Stokes. Either he cannot play any form of cricket or he can play test cricket. They certainly missed him. ( I rate him a better all rounder than Botham or Flintoff)

I thought Cook was in his declining years but was not prepared for such a large decline. I did not think Root would go through such a bad patch ( by this stage he should have scored at least one ton).

Add to this Ali's inability at bat and ball here and you are looking at a 5-0 whitewash.

What is truly astonishing is every man and his dog knew there would be plenty of short balls yet all the batsmen , the tail enders in particular seemed surprised by this and had no idea on how to bat.

It is not hard to coach such people on how to bat yet this seems not to have occurred.

However even a 5-0 does not mean we shall retain the Ashes in in two years time. Our batsmen showed in Adelaide they are all at sea against a moving ball. Moreover we have an attack for Australian not English conditions.


We have another MYEFO again.

For comment see Saul Eslake and  Ross Guest. Lets add Ross Gittins

What is extraordinary that in the whole time the government has been in office they have not decreased the structural budget deficit at all.  All that has occurred is that the Cyclical improvement has hidden the problems of the structural deficit.

Indeed if the talk of tax cuts prove correct this structural deficit will increase if there is no commensurate cut in spending!!

One little thing. On an accrual accounting basis which is the only way to look at the budget the deficit is only about 0.5% of GDP in other words it is in balance!

Sunday, 17 December 2017

The Royal Commission gets it wrong

The Royal Commission into Child Abuse has said there should be changes to the Catholics confession and that catholic priests should no longer be celibate.

This is badly wrong

First confession. does anyone out there imagine a paedophile will confess their sin in a confession to a priest? The RC had no evidence of this at all merely an academic question. It is absurd. Paedophiles see nothing wrong with their actions

We should note the Roman Catholic denomination response has been as silly. If a person confesses then they will take responsibility for their actions. A persons who confessed such a crime but would not go to the police has not confessed at all

Secondly getting rid of celibate priests would not make one iota of difference to paedophiles. They want sex with children. Being ',married! would make no difference at all.  I call this Soony's folly.
Getting rid of celibacy would reduce fornication and adultery but not paedophilia.

We should also note that the Pastoral epistles has a minster MUST have a reverent wife and obedient children. I do not think any denomination obeys that all  and of course celibacy is a compete contraction to this.

The Bennelong Result

There has been a lot of hooey being made of the Bennelong result.

It was a most unusual by-election. ( If the Court of Disputed returns had ordered it like in New England it would have been a re-election.

It was the first time that the member had re-nominated for the electorate. Usually people resign, retire or die. Also important was people knew that a change in voting would mean a change in numbers in parliament that could well mean something.

In other words comparing this result to previous by-elections is completely worthless.

Could I also in Andrew Elder fashion try to get Journalists not to write about 'internal party polls' unless they can see all the results of said poll. Parties very rarely poll one marginal seat. it costs far too much for a start and as we saw form the two poling companies that tried to survey Bennelong it is very problematic. Getting the basics right is very hard. It proved almost impossible in Bennolong where a significant proportion had poor english speaking skills for example!!

What parties usually do is poll maybe 4 marginal seats and go from there.

Clearly most voters did not care how lackadaisical Alexander was with regard to his father's birth. The same could be said for Barnaby Joyce.

I thought the two candidates were poor. Alexander look old, tired and bored. Kenneally although having plenty of energy made a number of gaffes. I hope she does not go to the Senate.

As if to show us the result was highly problematic Newspol on the same weekend shows us the Government is still losing and losing badly.

We do not know if voting intentions changed over time in Bennelong and if so why.

It still is the case that the government is highly likely to lose the next election

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Around the Traps 15/12/17

It is time again for Around the Traps.

Northern America
Andrew Gelman ( mainly stats)
Genial Dave Giles (econometrics)
Dianne Coyle (quirky + book reviews)
Vox Wonk

Wednesday, 13 December 2017


The Bennelong re-election appears to be going to the wire. The latest poll is here. The margin of error is ion the largish side.

I have never seen so many pollies.

John Alexander appears very old and tired.I have never liked voting for candidates older then myself. Perhaps it is the drive from the Eastern Suburbs from where he lives!!
I have said previously how unimpressive he was as a candidate. KKK on the other hand appears a ball of energy and in the complete opposite to Alexander she has a personalty. I stand by my claim there were better candidates for the ALP than her.

My vote will be a changed vote as in the end the ALP will be getting my vote after voting Liberal twice . In my time honoured tradition I vote to change a Government after two terms and continue to do so until they are defeated.

Showing just how incompetent the Liberals are I have received a flyer from them in CHINESE. Yeah my name sounds chinese doesn't it!

I also got a robocall from Alexander on my mobile. Obviously political calls are allowed if you are on the do not call register.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Evangelicals and Jerusalem.

It is said one of the reasons Trump recognised Jerusalem is because US evangelicals strongly supported this.

Gary Burge shows how bad their understanding of the bible is.

A few short points.

1) Modern Jews are not heirs of Abraham. Christians are. The heirs are those who had the faith of Abraham. It is not genealogical.
2) It follows that modern Jews can not gain entry into Heaven as they refuse to recognise Jesus. There is no-one to  bear their sins.
3) it seems a lot of 'evangelical' do not understand this. voters.

Monday, 11 December 2017

In defence of Sam Dastyari

I cannot believe I am about to write a defence of someone I detest but so be it.

I have written previously about him and said like Graham Richardson before him he was very good at self promotion at gullible journalists but in practice he, like Richardson before had no political skills and was hopeless at political strategy.

This is borne out by Richardson's departure from politics and Dastyari latest political immolation.

Any person with even a modicum of political nous would realise the political implications of a chinese businessman paying his expenses. Not our Sam.

However the implications of our same being a double agent is simply absurd. It shows Peter Dutton is a politician that goes over the top. Does he even understand what a double agent is? Our Same is employed both by ASIO and the chinese intelligence service?

What has he done. He has asked a lot of questions of what Australia's role is within the south China sea. So? Are people actually saying the chinese intelligence services are so bereft of knowledge they ask Our Sam to ask the tough questions so they know?  Yes you can see how stupid that line of thought is. When you examine his questions you can see Our Sam is trying to imitate Robert Ray and John Faulkner. He doesn't come within cooee of that.
He gets no information and more  importantly he doesn't show a shifty government as Public Servants squirm in evading questions. In short Our Sam does not know how to ask questions.

Next we have him asking Mrs Coutts Trotter not to meet certain people in Hong Kong. Let us get one thing straight. no-one has ever said Our Sam has much foreign affairs expertise. Also Mrs Coutts trotter and Our Sam are long time factional enemies sometimes bitter enemies. Why would she take any notice of Our Sam's suggestions???

Our Sam should get out of politics but that is because he is hopeless at it not because of allegations that have no evidence.

He will resign and Parliament and the ALP will be far the better for it.

(Yes I was using our sam in a sarcastic vein.)




Who leaked what Our Sam said to his Chinese friend/benefactor?

I very much doubt it was ASIO. I very much doubt if it went to the National Security committee so I go for the Minister responsible for ASIO.

People are not in severe pain when they die

A very interesting article on whether people are in pain when they are facing death.
A great pity those who debated that dreadful bill in Victoria of state authorised killing did not know this. Indeed the bill's supporters said quite the opposite.

I do hope Ken Parish reads it as well.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Trump and the Stockmarket.

The inestimable David Glasner examines the performance of the Stockmarket and the effect Trump has had on it.

Result not much different to what occurred under Obama and the permanence is less so considering stocks on other counties.

He also notes how people such as those on the Wall Street Journal editorial page has changed opinion almost 180 degrees ( my words not his)!!!

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Around the Traps 8/12/17

It is time for Around the Traps again.

Northern America
Andrew Gelman ( mainly stats)
Genial Dave Giles (econometrics)
Dianne Coyle (quirky + book reviews)
Vox Wonk