Weekly salon 16/2

1. Trump acquitted??!!

Trump is back in town having been exonerated from impeachment by the Senate.

The ABC has a detailed account of what went down and why. It seems the Republican Party is cowed by Trump with only a few willing to show dissent. The article ends with this:

    Finally, Mr Trump claimed exoneration from a “witch-hunt”, maintaining his reputation as the Teflon president.

    “Our historic, patriotic and beautiful movement to Make America Great Again has only just begun,” Mr Trump said in a statement issued just moments after the Senate vote.

    “In the months ahead I have much to share with you, and I look forward to continuing our incredible journey together to achieve American greatness for all of our people.”

    He may launch a rival political party, or start his own social media network, or get his own show on Fox News.

    But as his old ally Mitch McConnell warned on the floor of the Senate, real courtrooms are now probably waiting for him.

    “President Trump is still liable for everything he did while he’s in office,” he said.

    “He didn’t get away with anything yet.”

2. Trump criminal probe in Georgia

Meanwhile down in Georgia Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis will probe whether Trump and Senator Lindsey Graham violated state law in the course of Trump’s attempt to overturn the election results in Georgia following the 2020 presidential election.

A letter by Willis:

    indicates that her investigation will take a broad look at possible criminal violations involving the Georgia election, including “the solicitation of election fraud, the making of false statements to state and local governmental bodies, conspiracy, racketeering, violation of oath of office, and any involvement in violence or threats related to the election’s administration.”

    Neither Trump nor Graham are mentioned by name in the letter, but Willis has signaled that prosecutors will look into actions by both men. According to the New York Times, the investigation will also encompass election fraud conspiracies spread by Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, as well as the ouster of Byung J. Pak, then the US Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia.

The penalty if convicted would be between one and three years in the slammer.

In addition, as told on npr there is legal action concerning possible bank, insurance or tax fraud in New York, and:

    the District of Columbia AG is looking into whether Trump’s inaugural committee violated charities laws when it paid hefty sums to Trump’s hotel. And there are multiple civil suits, so there’s a lot of litigation.

3. Our vaccine strategy is bound to fail

Zoë Hyde, Epidemiologist at the University of Western Australia, in Herd immunity is the end game for the pandemic, but the AstraZeneca vaccine won’t get us there says that we should be aiming for herd immunity, but our strategy can’t get us there.


We are using three vaccines – AstraZeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech and Novavax.

For herd immunity we’d need to vaccinate almost everyone, including children, using the AstraZeneca vaccine alone.

With Pfizer/BioNTech we’d perhaps only need to vaccinate 63% of the population, or with Novavax around 67%. This is achievable, but we are not going to do it.

    The federal government plans to begin vaccinating groups at high risk with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, then use the AstraZeneca vaccine for the remainder of the population.

    The Novavax vaccine may be used at a later date.

In this ABC explainer:

    Chief Health Officer Paul Kelly said most Australians would receive the AstraZeneca drug as part of the Government’s strategy because “we are making it here”.

Also, the Pfizer vaccine requires storage at below minus 70 degrees Celsius, so will only be available from hubs.

The roll-out will have five phases. It looks as though only Phase 1a will get Pfizer, which madkes up of 678,000 people, including quarantine and border workers, frontline health workers, and aged care and disability staff and residents.

To meet the aim of getting all adults vaccinated by October will require about 200,000 jabs a day.

The I expect we’ll have an election, if not before.

On virus variants, AstraZeneca’s efficacy dropped to 22% in South Africa. We are told that Pfizer and Novovax are likely to be better, but we don’t know.

In these circumstances border control and internationally trusted Covid vax passports are going to be critical.

4. Quarantine agony

When the UK strain infected a cleaner at the Chancellor Hotel in Brisbane and her partner in early January, the Queensland Government suggested unnamed mining camps, which turned out to be in Calliope, a four-star facility with 1,392 air-conditioned rooms with balconies and facilities include a swimming pool, tennis court and gym. I suspect it was set up to house skilled workers who built the LNG gas facilities in Gladstone and reshaped the harbour.

Gladstone is a city of over 33,000 souls, about an hour from Brisbane by plane and I believe has an 83-bed hospital.

Calliope is about 20 minutes drive SW of Gladstone, an hour an 20 minutes from Rockhampton. If someone really gets sick Queensland has an excellent medevac system, whereby as soon as you are in the plane you are in an ICU.

It’s not dongas in woop-woop.

Nor is the proposal to build a 1300-bed facility at privately-owned Wellcamp Airport in Toowoomba woop-woop – 1000 rooms for travellers, and 300 rooms for staff within city boundaries. The Wagner Family were approached and responded positively, seeing a longer term opportunity to house or quarantine foreign students.

John Wagner said the could do the whole thing using the quarantine fees paid by returning travellers.

A lot of pointless, uninformed words were spoken by ‘experts’ and pollies, mostly south of the Tweed. There are pros and cons, but probably both will fail because there is a NIMBY feeling and the PM most likely doesn’t want to upset anyone in the regions.

Yet Howard Springs where “life is like a holiday” near Darwin is a big success.

Part of the original reason was to make the quarantine experience less claustrophobic.

5. JobKeeper ends

The Morrison Government generally won plaudits for JobKeeper, deserved if you overlook the fact that at least 2.1 million people missed out. Now Josh Morrison says JobKeeper will not be required after March 31. Here he is saying it:

JobKeeper number fell as the year progressed:

The latest information is:

    New Tax Office figures showed 1.54 million workers remained on JobKeeper at the end of 2020 – down from 3.6 million in September 2020 – while about 520,000 companies have stopped receiving the payments as their trade recovers.

That’s a lot of people, Josh.

He says that the budget will address sectors of special need including tourism. That’s a long time to hold your breath – like waiting for bushfire relief money. Many companies ware unlikely to survive.

The Greens and others are accusing the Government of “plain cruelty” in delaying an announcement of an upgraded JobSeeker rate. The $40 per day rate would have to be doubled to reach the poverty line.

It seems our government policy favours having poverty in Australia.

Frydenberg actually got a bit nasty over Premier Palaszczuk’s request for help. He quoted Alan Joyce from Qantas saying 200,000 people cancelled their bookings to Queensland when Palaszuzuk closed the borders for three days in early January.

If Frydenberg and his mates were running the show, and we had open borders all the way, chances are they never would have made the bookings.

6. Remote worker boom starting to squeeze locals out of their home towns

    A planning expert says popular regions are facing impacts akin to a mining boom as a remote-worker influx pushes up house prices and rents, potentially forcing out locals.

    But, unlike the traditional mining boom, this period was unlikely to be followed by a slowdown or bust.

    Urban planner and Griffith University lecturer Tony Matthews said the new arrivals were able to work remotely, bringing with them highly-paid roles from major centres.

    Matthews said communities would benefit from the sort of economic growth seen during the mining boom 10 years ago — but there would be consequences.

    “Locals were horribly priced out of the areas they grew up in,” he said.

    “They were suddenly competing with people who were earning mining wages.

Houses are being bought unseen here in Qld by southern buyers.

One Sunshine Coast home attracted 50 buyers.

One buyer offered $770,000 for a home listed at $720,000, but was not successful.

And still the poor are desperate for affordable housing.

90 thoughts on “Weekly salon 16/2”

  1. Brian, I think “exonerated from impeachment” is a misstatement.
    Trump is still impeached, he has merely escaped the consequences of his impeachment. (Much the same as Bill Clinton.)

  2. Brian: Howard Springs primary school is 25 km from Darwin International airport. Suggests that the logistics are very different to those required to get people from Brisbane International to Calliope.
    Keep in mind that the dongas would be designed for a single person. The better class of dongas I have used could take more by adding a second bed and/or using double bunks. A small fridge, microwave and jug would be part of the deal. It should also be possible to link dongas to give more space for families.
    Would have to say that building a quarantine station at Toowoomba sounds a bit dicey. Would take time to set up and the assumption would be that international flights would all go to Toowoomba.
    Logic say use the accommodation that loses its business during a pandemic. We should be using our learning so far to work out what places are suitable, what modifications are needed and how they are manned and supplied.

  3. Brian: “Houses are being bought unseen here in Qld by southern buyers…….
    And still the poor are desperate for affordable housing.”
    The Conversation said “Has COVID really caused an exodus from our cities? In fact, moving to the regions is nothing new.” and backs this statement up with figures. https://theconversation.com/has-covid-really-caused-an-exodus-from-our-cities-in-fact-moving-to-the-regions-is-nothing-new-154724? “The net loss of 11,200 people from capital cities is only 0.06% of the total population – 17.2 million – living in these cities. This is comparable to recent years.

    While net loss – those arriving less those departing – is interesting, it is also important to consider the actual numbers of people who are moving to or leaving capital cities. The growth in the net loss of population from capital cities in the September quarter was not the result of a city exodus. What happened in 2020 was that fewer people moved into capital cities.”
    The gentrification of the NSW coast has been going on for a long time. It is a logical place to retire to and a logical place to live for someone who works from home. Ballina airport is claimed to be the most active regional airport in NSW and Coolongatta airport is within a one hour drive.
    In terms of accommodation for the not well off developers can make more money by building big, expensive houses on largish blocks instead of smaller, lower cost housing. They can also make sure the blocks are biggish and put covenants on land purchase aimed at protecting the upmarket status of the places they are developing.
    Holiday rentals create another problem for the not well off. The poor can afford the rent in the off-season but the leases are set up to run out so that the house is freed up to chase the lucrative holiday market.
    There is a need for public housing and a sufficient much lower cost housing to meet the needs of service workers and people who struggle to get jobs.

  4. JohnD,

    Good that you are looking at affordable accommodation, but I have to say that I am disappointed that people here (Jumpy being the exception) haven’t shown any interest in understanding the CGRPT concept which provides a permanent solution to housing affordability for low income people.

  5. Trump was Acquitted ( not exonerated) of the Dems trumped up charges, twice. That said, it’s a political process and not legal. Pelosi and Chucky have double the egg on there faces.

    If someone had told me that Donald Trump would have the mother of all microscopes shoved up every orifice for 5 years to prove illegal activity, and found nothing, I would have called them crazy.
    Turns out he’s either as clean as the driven snow or the prosecution is so incompetent that should never hold any position of credibility.

    P.S. watch the defence teams short submission, there are reality checks galore for the media (D) brainwashed individuals.

  6. That sad, trump is not the Leader of the Free World, Biden is.

    Any commentary on his performance thus far or are the distractions too distracting?

  7. Jumpy, I am doing a cut and paste of your 7:06 comment to have ready to shove up your orifices as Trump is torn apart by real court action for his multiplicity of totally offensive crimes.

    I doubt that he will still be alive in 12 months as he now has real enemies and only minor protection. He may have 70 million “supporters” today, but as he bleeds them for everything he can, that will transition to 70 million enemies some of whom will have lost enough to see revenge as being their only path forward. “Greed breeds competition (in the market), and enemies (through extortion)”

  8. Turns out he’s either as clean as the driven snow or the prosecution is so incompetent that should never hold any position of credibility.

    Why do you persist in trying to bullshit us? We are not members of your cult so you won’t convince anyone here.
    An unindicted co-conspirator is neither clean nor the result of prosecutorial incompetence.

  9. Jumpy doesn’t seem to realise he is arguing that Bill Clinton is also as clean as the driven snow.

  10. And as for how Biden is doing, so far he hasn’t fellated Putin or Kim so I would judge he’s ahead.

  11. Just stumbled over this (basically meaningless) statistic:
    The 57 Senators who voted to impeach Trump represent 61.6% of Americans (202,119,286 people) while the 43 Senators who voted to acquit him represent 38.2% of Americans (125,414,488 people)

  12. zoot, I think jumpy is right. I’ve changed it to “acquitted”.

    He is still a public disgrace, and I can’t think it will end well for him.

  13. John, I forgot to put in the link to the Calliope story. It’s a a four-star facility with quite spacious rooms. The link shows a double bed fitting comfortably.

    I’ve only ever seen one donga, the one my brother has near his house, which is prime accommodation for guests, but the Calliope facility is in a different class.

    Certainly it is a plane ride away from an international airport, but I think the proposal fell over because staffing would have been an issue, and their was local concern about community safety, Gladstone being a fly-in fly-out hub for mining workers.

    Wellcamp in Toowoomba is an entirely different proposition. It’s nearly half an hour west of central Toowoomba, which is a bit further than I thought. Google gives the road trip 1hr 50 mins from Brisbane International Airport, which I would think is doable. However, normally Wellcamp has direct flights from Melbourne, Sydney and Townsville.

    The Wagner Family are competent in whatever they do, and this Brisbane Times article shows local support:

      Toowoomba’s mayor, Paul Antonio, said last week that while it was a matter for state and federal governments to approve, “I have great faith in the Wagners’ capacity to deliver a secure and comfortable facility for returning overseas travellers.”

      Mr Wagner said such a facility could also assist the university sector by providing an additional route into the country for returning students. He said he’d received a flood of emails from Australians trapped abroad who want the proposal to go ahead, while cautioning it was a matter for the state government and the Commonwealth.

      “The reality is the international borders are not going to open without any quarantine issues for years,” he said. “So we should get in and build it now, it will pay for itself over and over and keep the community safe … my only regret is that I didn’t think of it back in March.”

    The idea is that staff would live in for an extended shift (12 day?) like mining FIFO. John Wagner says they can have the first 500 ready in three months.

    ScoMo has said “no” to Calliope, but is on board with Toowoomba. Seems Dan Andrews is going to do it at Tullamarine of Avalon, towards Geelong whether or no.

    ScoMo is right in saying that over 200,000 have returned using the hotel system, but he was slow to pick up that the new variants have changed the ballgame.

  14. I don’t have a link, but claims are being made that the AstraZeneca is 82% effective when spaced by 12 weeks. Please consult your own doctor.

    The local company CEO was very definite yesterday that it was 100% effective in preventing severe illness and death.

  15. A quarantine facility need be no further than 2 meters from anyone else if the “ science “ is being followed. Plus masks and staff stay on site.

    Every airport I know of has an Ibis hotel for the big money ballers like Tom Hanks and Novak the Whinger.

    It still amazes me that the Fed aren’t taking responsibility for international quarantine. Has no one read Our Constitution?

  16. On the Vax front, Switzerland won’t use the AstraZeneca yet.
    They’re not bound by EU dictates fortunately.

  17. Not sure we should follow the Swiss, jumpy.

    In practical terms, I think virus quarantine is better managed by states, as it needs coordination of health and police.

    The states learn from each other (mostly) at the CMO/CHO level, and to some degree at the political level. I have about zero confidence in the Feds doing it.

  18. We are missing the point when we talk about “Trumpism.” Trump could die tomorrow and the GOP would still be facing serious problems. The underlying problem for the GOP is the combination of the “Tea Party” and the primary voting system which has allowed Tea Party supporters to register as Republican voters and dominate some selections of candidates.
    The Tea Party is a loose association of that was set up with the help of the likes of the Koch brothers and Murdoch to attract the large numbers of white working class people who have been the losers in the transition to free markets and the reduction in the unequal treatment of Afro Americans and women. Trump seems to understand this source of discontent and exploited this understanding to become the GOP candidate and ultimately win the presidency.
    I would suggest that part of the reason many Republican Senators voted against impeachment was the fear that the Tea Party would kill their next attempt to become a candidate.
    Preference voting in primaries may make it easier for the GOP to avoid being taken over by Trump and the crazies

  19. Brian
    Quarantine of state lines, for everything else, is done by the states. Federally, ScoMo made his political bones on Federal border security. International quarantine procedures are in place. The Fed is responsible for Ports. I can’t believe the left are letting him get away with this dereliction of Constitutional duty.

    There is no covid in Australia unless it comes in from overseas, and spreads are from State incompetence because , partly, they don’t have the infrastructure and expertise. What the fuck is Duttons Border Force doing about this ?

  20. Jumpy: ” What the fuck is Dutton’s Border Force doing about this ?”
    They find it easier to bully people needing refuge instead of dealing with elusive virus.

  21. No John, it’s supposed to stop entry into Australia without permission.
    From what I can gather the China Virus is something we don’t want to give permission to.

  22. Jumpy: “From what I can gather the China Virus is something we don’t want to give permission to.” Nor the UK virus and….
    What is the border farce doing about either virus?

  23. Facebook has blocked the Australian unions.
    It has also blocked the page of the WA Liberal opposition while not blocking the Labor government page!
    This discrimination is a scandal no matter which way the discrimination is working.
    Facebook should be banned from Australia.

  24. John, Facebook also blocked BOM and government health sites, which have all set up FB sites.

    I gather it is all being sorted as we speak.

    I still think the govt is playing our big MSM playbook, but hopefully it will all settle down.

  25. John

    Nor the UK virus and….

    Are you speaking of a UK variant of the China Virus that more likely escaped the Wuhan biotech facility initially ?

  26. Jumpy: “Are you speaking of a UK variant of the China Virus that more likely escaped the Wuhan biotech facility initially ?” We don’t really know where the virus originated.
    I guess by your logic the human plague should be described as the “African plague” if you ignore the mutations that made us what we are now.
    May be good Trumpspeak but a questionable bit of science.

  27. “We don’t really know where the virus originated.”

    No we don’t, but where do you think the logical probability would lead you.
    I’m thinking not Australia for one. Does “ da science “ tell us that much in your view?

  28. I’m thinking not Australia for one.

    That’s a safe bet.
    And it didn’t originate in a Wuhan biotech facility either.
    The smart money is on pangolins or/and bats.

  29. Jumpy: I am critical of the Chinese for shutting down information in the early stages. Ditto the reaction of China to Morrisons clumsy call for a thorough investigation.
    Also critical of Trump the famous Covid fighter for coining the term “China Virus.”
    To their credit it didn’t take long for the Chinese to start sharing information with Taiwan and the rest of the world.

  30. I think bats, pretty much certainly, and probably not the Wuhan market, and very possibly outside Wuhan.

    Bats via an intermediary, and very likely a pangolin, because they are so widely traded, and a mammal, but I don’t think there is any certainty.

    Wuhan lab is Trump-speak.

  31. To their credit it didn’t take long for the Chinese to start sharing information with Taiwan and the rest of the world.

    As noted here:

    On 11 January, however, Chinese scientists handed the world an invaluable clue. On the day the first death (of a man who regularly visited the market) was reported, their genetic sequence of the novel virus was published.

  32. Brian

    Wuhan lab is Trump-speak.

    Really? I didn’t listen that intently to him ( or blindly follow the media (D) narrative)

    No I was persuaded by a couple of very prominent, politically left, Evolutionary Biologists from Portland.

    Just consider a hypothetical scenario.

    You are walking down your local street and notice a bear like creature killing people.
    You also have a genetic bear research facility in your town.

    What is logically more likely?

    A) the bear like creature spontaneously occurred naturally from other creatures interacting.


    B) the bear like creature escaped from the genetic bear research facility co-run and co-funded by the WHO.

    [ Not claiming any nefarious intent, merely possible incompetence and a weak cover up perhaps]

  33. No I was persuaded by a couple of very prominent, politically left, Evolutionary Biologists from Portland.

    Yet you don’t reveal their names or provide a link to the information which persuaded you.
    Are you afraid it’s not persuasive enough to convince us?

  34. No, I’m rather disturbed by the doxing, pile ons and cancel movement by vindictive leftist individuals like you zoot.
    Either the argument and logic stands or it doesn’t, no matter who states it.

    What say you of the ball, not the player ?

  35. ( PS, it’s highly unlikely zoot will answer honestly any question I ask because it never has. The questions were for anyone wanting to engage in forthright, honest conversation. That rules zoot the Racist out )

  36. Either the argument and logic stands or it doesn’t, no matter who states it.

    If you are relying on your “what is most logical” argument you haven’t got a leg to stand on. Your analogy is rubbish, with only a tenuous relationship to the situation regarding severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2.
    My request for information, which you have so politely declined, is so that I may assess the evidence which so persuaded you. As it is, I’ll stick with the overwhelming consensus of the scientific community. Sorry if that hurts your delicate feelings.

  37. Nope, didn’t even come close, again.

    argumentum ab auctoritate , I believe, is the argumentative fallacy employed here.

    Do you have a functional brain zoot or just a “ useful idiot “ parrot tongue?

    Actually, don’t bother answering that. You’ll just crowd out the adults again.

  38. No, I’m not looking for an authority to support your argument (or mine). I am looking for, in your charming expression,
    There is E…Vid…Ence that the virus originated in other species and there is no E…Vid…Ence that it originated in the Wuhan laboratory. If the couple of very prominent, politically left, Evolutionary Biologists from Portland convinced you with the analogy you quoted you have been well and truly conned by argumentum ab auctoritate (and grasshopper, congratulations on using DuckDuckGo to find that term.)

  39. My own search of the web indicates that Jumpy is most probably referring to husband and wife Heather Heying and Bret Weinstein who appeared on Bill Maher’s show.
    Since they have both resigned from Evergreen State College in Washington State and Weinstein is currently a Visiting Fellow at Princeton University (New Jersey) I’m not sure why they are described as “from Portland”.
    And the fact that they inhabit the intellectual dark web doesn’t actually make them “prominent” or “politically left”.
    But you cling to your two authorities Jumpy.
    I’ll continue to accept the consensus.

  40. Assuming the “evolutionary biologists” proposed Jumpy’s hypothetical (and laughable) “bear like creature” the rebuttal of their fanciful proposition can be found in this article in Nature magazine.
    Warning: it contains E…Vid…Ence.

  41. jumpy, zoot is a person, with a brain, and intelligent. Please refer to him as a human.

    Raina McIntyre, from memory, said she had an open mind on the origins. She said that whatever theory you came up with had to explain the outliers, and there were cases of the virus before the wet market in Wuhan, even on different continents.

    I’ve spent time I didn’t have on this issue.

    This BBC piece explains how the Wuhan lab, which is probably the best in the world on coronavirus research, was collecting batshit in Yunan from 2013 when three workers died after contracting an infection.

    It’s plausible that it could have escaped the lab, but there is no evidence it did.

    Trump said it did and blamed the Chinese, who he said could have/should have stopped it.

    That politicised the issue and Marise Payne and ScoMo threw fuel on the fire.

    The BBC article says the Chinese will have had a red hot go of finding the truth and possibly already know.

    Apparently there are close to 100 species that could have plausibly served as the intermediary.

    Finally, the work the Chinese are doing in Wuhan is important for the human race. It’s obvious that we should be working with them, and, the way things are, that is likely to happen with the US and the EU, but not in the foreseeable future with us.

  42. Brian, I’m quite content for dispassionate observers to judge the validity of Jumpy’s arguments and evasions vis a vis my comments. His childish name calling is like water off a duck’s back.

  43. Brian
    “Please refer to him as a human.”

    Is that a universal standard for this little blog or is it subjectively requested?

    Never mind, the answer is clearly evident.

    You’d be a terrific referee for a Broncos game but a terrible referee overall.

  44. Jumpy, most of the time I allow adults to sort themselves out.

    However, I continually ask myself whether we would be better off without you on this blog. When you are sailing close to the wind I let you know.

    As you would know, you get sent off in rugby league for criticising the ref, so it’s not the best analogy.

  45. Jumpy: I am interested in anthropology and, for this reason, find the insights you give to Jumpy, Trump and related worlds both interesting and disturbing.
    Keep up the good work.

  46. Today I did some work for a bloke who is Professor Emeritus of Veterinary Science. His specialty is mammalian toxicology, but I know he knows about genetics and a lot of other relevant stuff because we’ve talked before.

    I asked him if the coronavirus came from the Wujan Lab.

    He said, dunno. He said labs can and have leaked, but he thought it unlikely the scientists could have altered the genetics in the exact way to make it jump species. So, dunno.

    On the Health Report, Norman Swan talked to Prof Dominic Dwyer, who was on the WHO team that just visited Wuhan:

      Norman Swan: What’s the hottest theory that you are exploring moving forward?

      Dominic Dwyer: Look, I think the hottest theory is the one about transmission from bat to some sort of intermediate animal, be it a pangolin or a ferret badger or a cat or whatever, into the population. Whether that occurred first at the Huanan [sic] market or whether it had occurred beforehand is hard to tell.

  47. See I wouldn’t have looked all that information up and posted here what I heard if Jumpy had not made a bald statement without evidence or links about scientists in Portland, and then come up with a crude (stupid, really) analogy about bears.

    So good on jumpy.

    Zoot does the main job of holding jumpy to account on this blog, and I thank him for that.

    The problem was this comment and the next two you made, which were pure ad hom.

    Anyone new to the blog would not stick around to comment if that was what we put up with here.

  48. You are walking down your local street and notice a bear like creature killing people.
    You also have a genetic bear research facility in your town.
    What is logically more likely?
    A) the bear like creature spontaneously occurred naturally from other creatures interacting.
    B) the bear like creature escaped from the genetic bear research facility co-run and co-funded by the WHO.

    Jumpy’s analogy is rubbish because it completely ignores the reality that we have sequenced the genome of SARS-CoV-2.
    So his fairy tale should have included the element that genetically the bear like creature in the street is completely unrelated to any of the bear like creatures in the lab.
    Now ask, “What is logically more likely?”

  49. Not “ exactly “ at all I’m sorry to tell yas.

    Firstly, it’s not my analogy, didn’t claim it was.
    Secondly, how the fuck would zoot know what was or wasn’t in that lab controlled by the CCP and partially funded by the WHO ( that should recuse themselves under conflict of interest).

    If it were a privately owned lab make a difference, Monsanto or some such, perhaps partially funded by Rupert Murdoch ?
    How’s ya trust level now eh ?

    Lastly, zoot trolls anyone not fully committed to Marxism, people concerned about CO2 don’t need to be Marxists or communists or socialists ( basically the same end result with all 3 )
    That’d be the “ account “ he’s trying to hold me to. So intolerant of diversity of opinion is what keeps potential commenters away.
    Plus you Brian protecting him like a sock puppet.

  50. Secondly, how the fuck would zoot know what was or wasn’t in that lab controlled by the CCP and partially funded by the WHO ( that should recuse themselves under conflict of interest).

    He knows because he read the Nature article which lays it out in great detail.
    Your experts also made a category error when they used multi-cellular mammals as analogies for viruses. They are in no way comparable. The analogy is shite and your bloviation can’t repair it.

  51. A few more comments

    Firstly, it’s not my analogy, didn’t claim it was.

    It’s the analogy you used to support your use of Trump’s racist term China Virus. The fact that you were persuaded by it merely demonstrates your gullibility.

    Lastly, zoot trolls anyone not fully committed to Marxism,

    Once again, argument by assertion and a fairly solid indication you have no idea what constitutes “trolling”. Either provide examples of my trolling or put up with being known as a mini-Trump who thinks that if you spout a lie enough times it will suddenly become true.
    And for the record (again) the only Marxism I have any time for is that practiced by Groucho, Harpo, Zeppo and Gummo. Karl’s analysis of capitalism was spot on but his cure for its ills was way off.

  52. From the Nature link

    SARS-CoV-2 is the seventh coronavirus known to infect humans; SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 can cause severe disease, whereas HKU1, NL63, OC43 and 229E are associated with mild symptoms6. Here we review what can be deduced about the origin of SARS-CoV-2 from comparative analysis of genomic data. We offer a perspective on the notable features of the SARS-CoV-2 genome and discuss scenarios by which they could have arisen. Our analyses clearly show that SARS-CoV-2 is not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus.

    (My emphasis added)

  53. It has no idea it validated my comments if One uses an ounce of objectivity.

    No wonder walls of trollery from zoot have reduced this blog to maybe 4 humans, 7 at best mostly.

    Who pays the Nature articles authors ?
    Have a guesstimate and then look it up.

    Anyway, fuck zoot, its worthless for progress purposes in honest discussion.

  54. Sorry, my ounce of objectivity is in my other pants.
    Which particular comment did I validate?
    No need to exert yourself, just let us know the date and time you posted it.
    Should be a doddle for a stable genius like you.
    (No, insulting you is not trolling you.)

  55. My selection from the Nature article:

      Although the evidence shows that SARS-CoV-2 is not a purposefully manipulated virus, it is currently impossible to prove or disprove the other theories of its origin described here. However, since we observed all notable SARS-CoV-2 features, including the optimized RBD and polybasic cleavage site, in related coronaviruses in nature, we do not believe that any type of laboratory-based scenario is plausible.

    Jumpy you are swinging wildly with hay-makers and missing badly. On the bear analogy, I suggest you put ‘what are viruses?’ and ‘are viruses alive?’ into your search engine.

    As to Who pays the Nature articles authors ? I looked it up.

    One is from Scripps in LA, one from the Univ of Edinburgh, one from Columbia Univ NY, one from Univ of Sydney, and one from Tulane Univ in New Orleans – a mixture of public and private institutions in three countries.

    You call for an honest discussion, but on this one you appear to be incapable of holding your end up.

    You have done better in the past and at times provided useful links.

  56. From Dominic Dwyer – I was the Australian doctor on the WHO’s COVID-19 mission to China. Here’s what we found about the origins of the coronavirus:

      Our investigations concluded the virus was most likely of animal origin. It probably crossed over to humans from bats, via an as-yet-unknown intermediary animal, at an unknown location. Such “zoonotic” diseases have triggered pandemics before. But we are still working to confirm the exact chain of events that led to the current pandemic. Sampling of bats in Hubei province and wildlife across China has revealed no SARS-CoV-2 to date.


      The market in Wuhan, in the end, was more of an amplifying event rather than necessarily a true ground zero. So we need to look elsewhere for the viral origins.

    On the Wuhan Institute of Virology:

      We looked at the closest virus to SARS-CoV-2 they were working on — the virus RaTG13 — which had been detected in caves in southern China where some miners had died seven years previously.

      But all the scientists had was a genetic sequence for this virus. They hadn’t managed to grow it in culture. While viruses certainly do escape from laboratories, this is rare. So, we concluded it was extremely unlikely this had happened in Wuhan.

  57. John, hydrogen production is mainly through natural gas fracking right?
    Dan Andrews wants to ban fracking for hydrogen, and even had the nerve to put that ban in Victoria’s Constitution !!

    If that stupidity goes viral then hydrogens part in “ battling “ global warming is over.

    Don’t you agree?

  58. John, hydrogen production is mainly through natural gas fracking right?

    I’m sure John will have a better reply but according to Wikipedia that is not the case.

    Steam reforming is a hydrogen production process from natural gas. This method is currently the cheapest source of industrial hydrogen.

    Fracking is a technique involving the fracturing of bedrock formations by a pressurized liquid and is used to extract natural gas.
    I would suggest Premier Andrews has banned the extraction of natural gas using this controversial method and the ban will have no effect on the process of extracting hydrogen from natural gas obtained by other means.
    Whether we should be pursuing steam reforming is a question I leave to John.

  59. jumpy, just leave fracking aside for the moment (it’s used in extracting tight coal seam gas, shale gas and shale oil) the chemical formula is CH4.

    So there is hydrogen in gas.

    However, the formula for water is H2O, which is what you would use in producing ‘green’ hydrogen. Plenty of that stuff about.

    Subject to correction by John or someone who knows.

  60. For what Dan Andrews is up to see:

    Victoria quietly lifted its gas exploration pause but banned fracking for good. It’s bad news for the climate

    Victoria lifts moratorium on onshore gas, but permanently bans fracking

    Gas is used in heating a fair bit in Victoria, not so much for electricity. I’d expect it is also used in industry.

    AFAIK there is a fair bit of conventional gas in Victoria, the second link says an estimated 128 to 830 petajoules of onshore gas reserves have been identified across Victoria.

    There are also proposals to import gas. Angus Taylor is trying to lock states into ramping up gas by giving them money, as in the Faustian deal with NSW.

    My hunch is that we should import gas if we need more until we can make it redundant except as a feedstock.

  61. Jumpy: “John, hydrogen production is mainly through natural gas fracking right?”
    The bulk of hydrogen in Aus is currently produced from natural gas. From memory the main reaction is:
    Renewable hydrogen can be produced by using electrolysis using renewable electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.
    Countries like Norway with renewable hydropower have been doing this for yonks.
    Fracking consists of pumping high pressure water into gas or oil containing rock to set up cracks that make it easier to extract gas or oil. Fracking has the potential for contamination of water tables by also allowing mixing of water from different levels. (Big problem if the mixing contaminates fresh water with saline water.)
    Coal fracking sometimes has the added problem of saline water coming to the surface creating a disposal problem. The Greens and farmers hate fracking with good reason.
    The renewable hydrogen the likes of Twiggy Forrest are talking about will use renewable power to electrolyze water.
    Hydrogen is not produced by fracking. Banning fracking will not stop all natural gas extraction or the production of renewable hydrogen.

  62. John

    The link doesn’t work.
    And secondly, that Democrat phrase is grounds for your cancellation nowadays.

  63. John, here’s the link:

    4 States Propose Harsh New Penalties for Climate Protesters. Sounds terrible:

      Minnesota’s bill is tougher than similar legislation proposed in other states, but it’s not unique. The legislation follows a model that’s been approved in 14 states and is also under consideration in Arkansas, Montana, and Kansas. The model designates—if it isn’t already so—any oil, gas, coal, or plastics facilities as “critical infrastructure” and adds aggressive new penalties for vague charges of trespassing or tampering.

      This special status is normally given to dams and nuclear reactors, and allows lawmakers to increase criminal penalties for commonplace protest at these sites, such as blocking a roadway, tethering oneself to equipment or even just rallying near a company’s property. In many cases, any person or organization associated with an individual activist convicted of breaking the law can be held accountable. What was once a misdemeanor is now reclassified as more severe crimes—in some cases, even felonies—with fines of tens of thousands of dollars, and convictions can sometimes carry jail sentences.

      The uptick in these proposals is a sign that state lawmakers are using the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riot to justify new restrictions on peaceful demonstrations that are meant to prevent protests in the first place, free-speech experts say.

  64. More:

      The legislation is based on a model bill that the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a right-wing policy shop funded by corporations and conservative billionaires, drafted and began promoting to Republican state lawmakers in the wake of the fight over the Dakota Access pipeline project. State disclosure records routinely show lobbyists for companies such as Enbridge, Exxon Mobil Corp., Koch Industries and Marathon Petroleum consulting lawmakers on the legislation.
  65. John, I got your links to work @ 2:56 and 7:18 by adding a space after the title and before the URL.

    I’m going to write to Viv again when I can catch my breath. Last time I emailed I didn’t get an answer. I know she’s alive and well on Twitter.

  66. So, it’s only taken 36 days for Joe Biden to be told to drop bombs on Syria.

    That’s actually better than I thought. I thought it’d be much earlier.

    Let us all rejoice in the empathy and peace of Democrats.

  67. Little tip, the news source that aren’t making a big deal about that may have a reason.

    The ABC and the Graudian have both reported this story.
    Can you explain how they could have made a “big deal” about it and why they should have?

    (Expect crickets)

  68. Best analysis I have seen of the Republican Party:

    Continuing to worship the guy who lost you the House, the Senate and the Presidency really is a special kind of stupid.

  69. Zoot: “Continuing to worship the guy who lost you the House, the Senate and the Presidency really is a special kind of stupid.”
    Not so stupid when it is combined with measures that make it harder for your opponents to vote.
    I noticed that McConnell (Senate Republican leader is now saying he will support Trump if he wins the primaries in 4 yrs time. That after condemning Trump’s incitement of the capitol invasion.
    I would like to think that this will further weaken the Republicans but, in the US who knows?

  70. Worth 52 minutes of your time, Jonathon Swan talks to Richard Fidler about Trump’s last stand.

    Swan has made a series of podcasts with the outfit he works for – Axios Media. His penetration of the Trump camp and sleuthing on what happened is extraordinary.

    Swan says that Trump’s base is white people without college education, which is a declining demographic. However, he is not confident the events we have just witnessed are a pivot point from which Republican party and American democracy will recover, or just a bump in the continued decline.

    It seems the GOP itself is heading down the road to perdition. Much will depend, I think on the mid-terms in 2022 and the next presidential election in 2024.

    The problem is that how all this works out in the US matters to all of us.

  71. Brian: The interesting question is what would have happened if a critical republican state government had decided to ignore the vote and award their electoral college votes to Trump? Or the Electoral college had done some equivalent or Pence decided to award the election to Trump or….
    Not clear how these decisions could be challenged. Some say that the was that the system had mechanisms that could allow a result to be other than what those irresponsible voters voted for.
    We had a similar problem with the Gough dismissal – which was possible because Askin and Joh had installed senators that did reflect the wishes of the voters.

  72. Not so stupid when it is combined with measures that make it harder for your opponents to vote.

    But John, all those measures were in place when Trump landed the trifecta. He had the system heavily weighted in his favour and he still managed to lose all branches.

  73. Stan Grant with a thoughtful article on the growth of Chinese influence: “The West’s leadership failure on coronavirus is only helping China usurp it.” https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-02-28/stan-grant-as-china-rises-west-moral-leadership-crisis-covid/13196824
    “While the West throws away food as others go hungry, it is also hoarding vaccine for the other world crisis: COVID-19.

    Just 16 per cent of the world’s population has bought up more than 60 per cent of the world’s supply of vaccine.

    Antonio Guterres says this vaccine nationalism is “wildly unfair”. He calls this the “biggest moral test before the global community”.

    But it isn’t a test of the “global community”, it is a test of the rich West, and it is a test the West is failing: looking after itself while poor nations suffer.

    Vaccine diplomacy
    Xi Jinping has sensed an opening. China is now exporting its vaccine to 27 countries: overwhelmingly developing nations. It represents a soft-power coup for Xi, extending China’s influence, but it is also doing something good for the world.
    From COVID to climate change to international trade and globalisation, Xi Jinping is trying to present China as a responsible global power. Of course he bends and breaks the rules to suit himself and abuses human rights in his own country — particularly what has been described as genocide or ethnic cleansing of Uighur Muslims — but criticism of Xi by the West is tainted by its own hypocrisy.”
    I think Xi is playing a game of GO. Unfortunately most people in the west don’t understand how GO works.

  74. Spot on, John.

    The US of course has a deep history of treating its First Nations people badly. The appointment of Deb Haaland as first Native American interior secretary has brought some uncomfortable commentary.

    I heard on the radio yesterday that Haaland’s mother was sent away to compulsory boarding school, where she was prevented from speaking her own tongue (English was her third language) and how tribes had been removed to less productive lands in Oklahoma as recently as Theodore Roosevelt’s time in policies that were basically genocidal.

  75. One wrong never makes another wrong lesser, no excusatory rhetoric from Stan Grant changes that.

    We can’t change what is done, we can change what’s happening right now and could tomorrow.

    Xi is far from winning anything other than crimes against humanity convictions..

  76. Jumpy: “One wrong never makes another wrong lesser, no excusatory rhetoric from Stan Grant changes that.” You must have go switched by your minder from the the one I was quoting.

  77. John said,

    You must have go switched by your minder from the the one I was quoting.

    I have no idea wtf that means.

    I’d like Mr A to translate. And also a bit concerned about him due to him not commenting for such a long time, hope he’s OK.

  78. zoot, I didn’t mention mao ( lower case because he’s a piece of shit doesn’t deserve a Capital ) at all.

  79. Mr A is OK, has matters to attend to.

    I miss him too, but I hope he will be back some day.

    As John said Stan Grant has written a thoughtful piece. I don’t see him as excusing Xi.

    However, IMO he is a bit too ready to write off Joe Biden:

      What leaders like US President Joe Biden offer is just more empty talk of unity and hope. It belies reality and the people no longer believe it.


    76 million Americans thought he was worth a go, and his current approval rating is 54.4/38.3. I don’t think Grant is in a position to say what Americans in general do or don’t believe.

    Actually Xi has a high approval rating internally, and I think you’ll find Vlad does too, FWIW.

  80. I didn’t mention mao

    But you did.
    As E…Vid…Ence to support your asinine assertion that Stan Grant was “excusatory” you linked to a page of “Mass killings under communist regimes”. So you effectively mentioned not only Mao, but Stalin and Pol Pot as well.
    Because I have a brain I immediately realised that since the story is about Xi Jinping’s political astuteness in supplying vaccines to third world countries it was unlikely you were referring to Stalin or Pol Pot. (But given your history, who knows?)
    However the link has no mention of Xi.
    Who or what were you referring to when you accused Grant of being excusatory?

    (More crickets?)

  81. Jumpy: Corrected comment: “You must have got switched by your minder from the link I was quoting.” Hope it makes more sense.

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