Friday, March 5, 2021

Israeli Election Guess

 Just a quick post; jpost had a quick little predict the election game, and I wanted to share the results I put in.

25 - Bibi
23 - Lapid
14 - Haredi
12 - Sa'ar
12 - Bennett
10 - Arabs
7 - Lieberman
5 - Avoda
4 - Gantz
4 - Otzma
4 - Ra'am
0 - Meretz

Bennett would then get to pick who the new PM is. Bibi, or either Sa'ar or Lapid leading an anti-bibi government, made up of their two parties, Bennett's party (subtotal 47 seats), Lieberman, Avoda, and Gantz (total of 63). My money is on him picking Sa'ar; but the new Sa'ar lead government only lasting long enough to see Bibi get out of politics; followed by an election to decide who (Sa'ar, Bennett, or the new Likud leader) will be "the" leader of the right. 

Monday, March 1, 2021

March 2021

 It occurred to me that putting out a schedule/game plan for each month may be wise. As such, lets look at this month. 

March 5 - Counting begins in the Newfoundland election. No results are likely to be released

March 12 - Counting may start to be released in Newfoundland, target date for post on said election

March 13 - Election in Western Australia, target date for post on said election

March 14 - Province-level elections in Baden-Wurttemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate (Germany)

March 17 - Dutch Election. Target to make a post that morning, with prelim results that evening

March 19 - Final Israeli Polls

March 20 - Target date for final pre-results post on Israeli Election

March 23 - Israeli Election and Exit Polls, target date for post on said election

March 24 - Israeli Election results more clear, target date for additional post

There will, of course, continue to be additional posts from time to time.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

New Australian online news bill passes

 After amending the bill to address facebook's concerns, the online news bill that I mentioned earlier, has passed. The amendment appears to impact facebook's ability to reject working with any random organization claiming to be "news". 

Unfortunately, this is all I can write at this time. I've been having horrific internet problems over the past week, and am currently tethered to my new cell. As you may know from previous posts, I live on disability, and have little money to spare. My cell is new, bought only on the 4th of this month. It's also a very cheap plan, 1GB of data; but with 2GB bonus for signing up to chatr; but that runs out after a few months. So I am not used to typing on the phone (hence the tether) and do not want to use my limited data. As such, I'll have to address this in detail later; likely after the first deals are worked out between facebook and australian media companies, and after I see how such deals impact posted links. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Covid is the 9th deadliest pandemic in human history

According to Covid has now passed 2,500,000 deaths. The Wikipedia/John Hopkins number is still about 12,000 deaths away from this number, but is gaining about 5K-10K deaths a day. I've used the worldmeters number for one reason and one reason only: I wanted to get this post out sooner rather than later (for a reason that I make clear at the end of this post). The more trusted Hopkins number will pass this mark in a day or two.

You may have seen this table before, as I've been posting and updating it on twitter. I wanted to address that table in a more full context on the blog, where I can explain things that are difficult to explain in 280 characters. 

As you may know, I built this with data from this Wikipedia page. You will note that the page includes a share of population lost, but, that I've not included that data in my table. Why? Simply, I want to work with uniform figures. As such I'd need all 10 of the pandemics listed to include world, and not local, population shares. Additionally, that brings up a good point; not all of these pandemics were worldwide. The Plague (in particular, the black death) was, more or less, worldwide. The Spanish Flu was as well. As is AIDS. There's a reason I bring them up. 

They are terrifying. AIDS? Spanish Flu? The freaking Plague!?

Covid can, in a way, be added to the list. 

The whole "point" of the table, all this time, was never to "compare deaths". It was to compare the psychological impact that Covid will have, on us (humans), vs the way previous pandemics (like SARS) had. 

In that respect, I feel this table does a somewhat good job of explaining exactly where Covid is going to end up in our collective memory. One important datapoint that is not on the table is the case fatality rate. That means, if you get sick, what are the chances you will die. Covid seems to have a rate of around 1% to 2%. The Asian Flu, which had a similar death toll as the Hong Kong Flu, had, as far as I can tell, a rate of closer to 0.3%. AIDS is difficult to quantify as it kills slowly. Spanish Flu seems to have had a rate somewhere around 4%. The Plague's rate is much closer to 33% from what I can find. 

I said when all of this started that we are very lucky that Covid seems to kill so "few" people. I still maintain that a 2% death rate is better than a 33% death rate. I also said that we are very lucky that Covid seems to spread poorly; and while I can't find exact figures, it would seem a good 2/3rds of the world was impacted by Plague, and  maintain that under 125 Million cases is better than 5.5 billion. Had this been "it", "the" "one", we could have lost 3 billion people in the past year. 

That this could happen - a pandemic happen in the modern era that kills 3 billion - is far less likely. In fact that - the idea that a massive pandemic killing 3 billion people is now less likely - has been the entire point of this exercise. 


Covid is the 9th deadliest pandemic in human history.

Look at how it compares to past world pandemics, it is 9th. Look at how many people it infected. How many it killed. Look how we reacted to it. Both in countries with lockdowns, and those without. And look what happened in those without, and how many more people died VS how much less money was lost from the economy. Do you want to be the one literally putting a price on lives? I certainly don't. 

This is going to stay with us. Humans. Around the world. In our collective psyche. Sure, it will impact those of us in the more globalized part of the world more - IE, the impact in much of Africa, and parts of Asia - but this impact is going to stick around much longer than, for example, the Asian Flu did.

Weather or not we reach Spanish Flu levels of impact are unclear. Covid didn't kill anywhere near as many as the Spanish Flu, but, the Spanish Flu came in the context of the end of WW1 and all the various chaos that this causes. The world of 2021 is far more stable than the world of 1919, there is simply less to focus on, except Covid. 

On a side-note, this is the 1000th post on this blog! I find it fitting that our 1000th post focuses so heavily on numbers and what they mean. It's also an important milestone! As such I should remind people that we have a patreon, that I've started streaming gaming on twitch (where I am always happy to answer questions about politics) and that I have a twitter where I shout my opinions into the void. 

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Australia Vs Facebook - the heart of the matter.

This article by the CBC addresses the story. In it, they suggest teaming up to take down big tech may be the best way to do it. Canada is considering an Australian style law, and calls for regulation are increasing. The whole idea is to take down the control big tech has over the world. More and more ad revenue goes to them, and Google's deal with News Corp shows that such deals can indeed be reached. In fact, some are looking at making a "Digital Stability Board" that would help co-ordinate relationships between world governments and global big tech. 

But, let me tell you something about all of this that the media has ignored. The "thing" they want to stop and control, is you posting links to stories. They don't want you to do what I just did above. They want to stop you from being able to do so on facebook. 

But... after I summed up the entire article, is there any reason for you to go read it? Or will you simply stay here and give blogpost, and thus google, the view. The argument governments are presenting are not without merit, but they are approaching this from the wrong prospective. 

These laws are being written to purposefully obfuscate that their intention is stopping people, like you and me, from using facebook and google (and, probably later, twitter too) in ways that make people not need to read newspapers. 

This is a much larger issue, and one that the public needs to be educated on an involved in. We should not be telling facebook that they must stop people from posting links, we must tell the people that the law does that, and not depend on facebook to explain that to people. 

Regardless, the australian law is currently very poorly written. It would, for example, remove my control to moderate comments on this very blogpost (if I, or the CBC, were Australian) Why? How? Section 52S of this draft bill spells it out. This would allow news outlets like newsmax and oann to delete any factual content that disputes their biased reporting. It would also, by implication, mean that Facebook/Twitter would not be allowed to declare fake news content as fradulent. They'd be forced to abide by whatever deal they come up with, and, (looking at what happens when facebook is, as is current, refusing to deal with anyone) force them to make deals with everyone. 

This is big, and this is important, and neither the government, the media, nor facebook are terribly concerned in telling you how all of this would impact you

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

2021 is shaping up to be a good year for elections

 Just a quick note that this year will be a busy one for elections. Here are some of the elections I currently plan on following:

March 5th - Newfoundland
March 13th - Western Australia
March 14th - Baden and Rhineland (German provincial)
March 17th - Netherlands
March 23rd - Israel
April 4th - Bulgaria
May 6th - England, Local (county)
May 22nd - Palestine
June 6th - Saxony
June 6th - Mexico
September 13th - Norway
September 19th - Russia
September 25th - Iceland
September 26th - Germany
September 26th - Berlin, Mecklenburg, Thuringia

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Update - Israel Polling

This is a short update. The Candidate deadline for the Israeli election has passed. The Joint List, originally having 4 parties, now has 3. Ra'am has left. Ta'al, however, (lead by Tibi), will remain in the alliance. Ra'am is skirting the underside of the threshold; appears unable to make it, but, in some polls, does. Additionally, Gesher has joined with Likud, this means Likud will have a muslim on their candidate list for perhaps the first time, ever. The last note of interest is that Otzma, a party as far right as FdI/AfD, is part of the 'Religious Zionist' alliance, which is polling above the threshold. 

Polls show the following:

29 - bibi
17 - lapid
15 - haredi
13 - sa'ar
11 - bennett
9 - arabs
7 - lieberman
6 - avoda
5 - otzma
4 - left 
4 - gantz

Labor is now on the board. Both Gantz and the Left are skirting the threshold, and one (or both) may not make it in the end. 

61 seats are needed for a majority. The Haredi parties already back Bibi and will likely continue to do so. This gives him 44 seats. He would need 17 more for a majority. Lapid will not sit with him (unless he is as foolish as Gantz, which seems extraordinarily unlikely) meaning at least two other parties are needed. Otzma could well sit with Bibi, which would mean Bibi only needs 12 more seats. After leaving Likud, I can't see Sa'ar willing to sit with Bibi. Bennett may do so, and with a few more seats (the election is still over a month away, things can change) this would be a majority, if perhaps a bit unstable.

Sa'ar and Bennett have a combined 24 seats. If they tried to build a 'centrist' alliance with Lapid, they'd have 41. Such an alliance would likely include Lieberman and Labor, for a total of 52. They would need 9 more seats; the Left and Gantz could provide these seats, presuming they can boost their standing before the election. This, however, would be a massive and unwieldy alliance. 

As such, the polls currently favor Bibi's chances at re-election.