Tuesday, March 31, 2020

The numbers as I understand them.

With a fully functional healthcare system that is not overwhelmed, 1% of people with Covid, die. 

With a system that is overwhelmed, that number rises. It's unclear how high, but a ceiling is 10%. 

2/3rds of those who die from Covid would have died at some other point in 2020 from other health issues.

The rate of ICU care per case is relatively stable across the world, and can be used to estimate the amount of undertesting and underreporting.

Every location will differ, as, start times were different; but we will reach the inflection point on or around easter.

If everyone behaves and sticks to social distancing, we can be out of this by early may

Everyone is not behaving

If you are under 65, your chances of dying from Covid are low.

Things with low chances still happen.

Things with low chances still have low chances to happen even if they happen sometimes.

China has under-reported. 

Italy has under-tested.

Iran seems to have managed to do both.

When all is said and done, the US will have been the worst impacted, both in terms of actual infections/deaths and reported infections/deaths.

Remember. This is just my understanding of what I read. I am not a doctor. I am not even a mathematician. Don't take health advice from a political blog. 

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Some Israel clarity

The new Bibi-Benny coalition seems to be forming up, and the numbers are getting a bit more solid. Here is what I've determined based on media reports:

36 - Likud (Netanyahu)
17 - Blue and White (Gantz)
9 - Shas
7 - UTJ
6 - Yamina
75 - government

17 - Yesh Atid-Telem (Lapid)
15 - Joint List
7 - Yisrael Beiteinu
6 - Labour-Meretz

If I understand all the moves...

Yesh Atid and Telem are leaving Blue and White, and forming their own coalition.
2 Telem members are leaving Telem to create Derech Eretz, and sit with Blue and White.
1 Blue and White member is leaving to sit with Yesh Atid.
1 Yesh Atid member is leaving to sit with Blue and White.
1 Gesher member is joining Blue and White.

If I understand the new Cabinet, it will have
9 Likud members
1 Shas member
1 UTJ member
1 Yamina member
12 Blue and White members
which doesn't seem quite right, so, I will continue to try to nail down this number.

Lastly, it's unclear what Labour is going to do. There are some reports they too would want to join the Government; if so, it would almost certainly be under the Blue and White umbrella. Politically, however, it would make more sense for them to join with Yesh Atid-Telem. If Meretz could be brought on board, the 4 parties could create a broad progressive opposition coalition.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Places without covid-19

North Korea, East Asia, 25.5 million.
Supposedly free of the virus, yet, also, supposedly had one or two imported cases. It is generally thought that their outbreak started near the same time as in China, and their lockdown measures have flattened the curve there. There may have been as many as 10,000 infected, but this is a wild ballpark guess on my part.

Turkmenistan, Central Asia, 5.8 million
Along with Eritrea (which has a confirmed case) and North Korea, this is one of the three most repressive dictatorships in the world. They claim to be covid free, but have shut all borders and clamped down on the media. Additionally, internal travel control measures have been reported.

Tajikistan, Central Asia, 8.9 million
The poorest former soviet republic, Tajikistan may not be as authoritarian as Turkmenistan, but they also report no cases. Unlike the above two, that claim as at least somewhat credible, even if doubtful. The lack of any social distancing may mean that should any clear and confirmed cases pop up, it would spread quite fast.

Yemen, Middle East, 28.5 million
In the midst of a civil war, its almost impossible to think that Yemen has 0 cases, but, quite probable that its broken health system has simply yet to register one. Regardless, the movement restrictions imposed by the civil war situation likely means any spread would be localized and somewhat slow.

South Sudan, East-Central Africa, 12.6 million
Like Yemen, this country faces civil war, and, like Yemen, is officially reporting 0 cases.

Western Sahara, North-West Africa, 500,000 people
Like South Sudan and Yemen, this is a place of civil strife, with most of the country administered by Morocco. Like Sudan and Yemen, they officially claim 0 cases.

Antarctica, South, 1,106 people
Our first entry on the list from a place we can fully trust the numbers. All below entries have numbers that are also trustworthy. Little travel is done to/from the continent, especially in the southern winter, which just started.

Botswana, Southern Africa, 2.3 million
Like most other entries on the list below, there's simply not much to say about this country at this time.

Lesotho, Southern Africa, 2.2 million
Surrounded by South Africa, which does have cases

Malawi, Southern Africa, 18.6 million
Slowly increasing worry about Covid, as the country is in an election process.

Burundi, Central Africa, 10.9 million
One of the poorest countries on earth.

Sierra Leone, Western Africa, 7.5 million
Last non-island on our list.

Self governing Islands, Island-nations, and Island territories, that are supposedly covid free, are as follows:

Indian Ocean:
Comoros (800,000)
Kerguelen (130)

South Atlantic:
Sao Tome and Principe (200,000)
St. Helena and Tristan da Cunha (5000)
Falklands (3000)
South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (30)

North Atlantic:
Bonaire (20,000)
St. Pierre and Miquelon (6000)

Pitcairn Islands (67)
Tonga (100,000)
Niue (2000)
American Samoa
Samoa (55,000)
Tokelau (200,000)
Wallis and Futuna (15,000)
Tuvalu (10,000)
Norfolk Island (2,000)
Vanuatu (300,000)
Solomon Islands (600,000)
Nauru (15,000)
Marshall Islands (55,000)
Kiribati (120,000)
Micronesia (100,000)
Northern Mariana Islands (55,000)
Palau (22,000)

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Israel update

There appears to be an unexpected deal on government.

After s constitutional kerfuffle about the Speakership of the Knesset (the Israeli Parliament) it seems Benny Gantz has been sworn in to that job on an interim basis. He, his party, and 3 others from Blue and White, are joining the existing pro-Bibi bloc in a coalition government. This means Blue and White are splitting apart, as the remaining members join the opposition.

As such, Parliament will look like this:

36 - Likud (Netanyahu)
17* - Resilience (Gantz)
9 - Shas
7 - UTJ
6 - Yamina
75 - government

15 - Joint List
13 - Yesh Atid
7 - Yisrael Beiteinu
6 - Labour-Meretz
3 - Telem
1 - Gesher

* = Includes one Independent, and two Telem members of Blue and White that are following the Resilience party into Government.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

What I would do (covid)

Some have been asking me what I would do in place of some of the big decision makers. While part of that answer is based on exactly which decision maker I'm replacing, the general rules are the same:

Everything that's now being done plus...

Lock down everything by law. Only allow the standard exceptions to continue to run (grocery stores, pharmacies, drug stores, gas stations, car mechanics, and the like) I would look at things like restaurant delivery staying open, but, until I'm done looking, they close like everyone else.

Arrest hoarders who refuse to donate their supply, and confiscate their supply. (specifically Masks, and Hand Sanitizer in particular) Have charged [with new laws if needed]

Reduce maximum group size to 1. The only exception is if you are already locked down with the individuals in question.

Remove the exemption to go out of your house for exercise. This is being abused and causing spread.

Reduce transit to meet the new level of demand by essential workers.

Instruct people who report symptoms but where those symptoms are not life threatening to shelter in place for 14 days. Testing, if there is any capacity for it, will come to them as opposed to the opposite.

Accept clinical diagnosis, and redirect testing to stopping the spread VS testing people we are already pretty sure are positive.

Immediate payments to all Canadians ages 18 and up of $300 to help with the crisis, to be paid out Monday the 23rd, or, at the latest, Tuesday the 24th. This would replace any GST top up.

Begin the process of mobilizing the army. Consult with the Generals as to the best way to ensure army members remain safe (IE, social distancing) and allow the Generals free reign over military base property to ensure social distancing is done.

Once mobilized, use military logistics to bolster food delivery. The ideal scenario being nobody stepping foot out of their house for 14 days straight while military brings all the items you need to your door for free.

Set the start date for all of this to be tomorrow (Monday the 23rd) with an enforcement grace period, ending the 24th.

Set the end-date for the lockdown to be April 30th, with the note that if we are able to get control of the virus, the end-date could be pushed to an earlier date.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Quick update on politics

Politics is effectively frozen in most countries. Poll changes that occur now may not stick. I do want to note that there was a single poll where M5S touches FdI, but, I will look into that more when things begin to normalize.

Two countries are still forming a government, Ireland and Israel. Ireland looks set for a FF-FG coalition, possibly with Independent and maybe even Green support. Israel is looking like a B&W-Likud coalition is possible with Gantz as Prime Minister. If there is movement on either, I will post.

Note as well that Elections around the world are changing their schedules.

I've compiled a list of Elections that were scheduled before September that we would or could have covered, and their current status:

Elections that have been delayed:
French municipal elections (2nd round) on March 22nd
Italy Referendum on March 29th (Reducing seats in Parliament)
Sri Lankan elections on April 25th (Parliament)
British council elections on May 7th (some regions)

possibly could be delayed:
South Korea's April 15th elections (Parliament)
Russia's April 22nd Referendum (Putin's Constitutional changes)
Bolivian Election on May 3rd (General)
Italy's regionals on May 31st (Some regions)
Australia's Northern Territory election on August 22nd (Parliament)

possibly not delayed (due to lack of infections in area):
Falklands Referendum on March 26th (Electoral Reform)

Thursday, March 19, 2020

two approaches, and why take the other

There are those who are saying we should reduce the measures we've been using to manage covid. In short, that we should simply let people get sick.

This is not a viewpoint I support.

I want to explain why some people have this viewpoint. It's actually quite simple.

The worst case scenario is that no matter what we do, we can't actually contain Covid. That even if we lock down every city in every country on the face of the planet, that it will continue to spread, and, in the end, the number of fatalities will be the same. The only difference, in this worst case scenario, is that the economy could implode to "civilization ending" levels.

Again, I do not support these ideas. I am explaining why some people hold them as I've seen confusion from the majority as to how some people could think this way.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

How to Parliament without infecting everybody

Given the title, some might be expecting a long, drawn out, complex and complicated post, detailing the byzantine procedures needed. That's not the case.

Instead, look at how parties, right now, present bills to the floor that all of their members agree on. Simply, they discuss it beforehand.

Normally, just their caucus will. That means a Liberal bill will see all the Liberal MPs discuss it, offer ideas, suggestions, improvements, and so forth, and finally settle on a bill that all, or at least most of them, are happy with.

I am, of course, grossly over-simplifying. That's part of what I do on the blog, give you the basics. The fact remains, however, that this same process is how you can draft a bill with multi-party support.

We've seen this in Federally already, as Parliament shut down earlier. We've seen this in provinces that have needed quick legislative action. We've seen this around the world. In short, governing parties are inviting opposition parties into those discussions before the bill is even finished. The result is that the bills presented already have all-party support. And as such, the actual floor vote becomes less important.

This brings me to Quorums. BC is looking at this. The Quorum in the House of Commons is 20. That means any time 20 MPs are in the commons, they can pass legislation. You do not need all 338 seats filled.

In fact, if you keep 1 out of every 8 MPs home, you can have the following:

19 Liberals
15 Tories
4 Blocquiests
3 Dippers
1 Green

This mirrors the current party makeup in the house, but at a 1/8th ratio. It has 42 members, more than enough to ensure 20 are on the floor in the event someone has to use the restroom. It allows for MPs to present the concerns they have and get it on the record, and it gives them plenty of physical room between one another for social distancing.

In short, we do not need to abandon either our Parliamentary System or our Social Distancing recommendations. We can do both, if, with some perhaps strange modifications.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Go watch this video (gov reactions to covid)

Everyone should go watch this video by CGP Grey: Rules for Rulers

It will help you understand government reactions to Covid. 

To oversimplify, in a Democracy, your "keys" are your voters.

That means, for Justin Trudeau, his "keys" are the 5.9 million people who voted for the Liberal Party of Canada. For Doug Ford, it is the 2.3 million who voted for the Ontario PC Party. For Donald Trump it is the 63 million who voted for him to become President. 

Keep in mind that this is all in the context of government reactions to covid. These may not be the "keys" in other contexts, but in this context, it is. 

Remember that voters of all sorts vote for candidates of all sorts. Trump had a roughly 10 point advantage among senior citizens, but that means million upon millions of senior citizens voted for his opponent. Poor people, Rich people, Men, Women, The Old, The Young, Single people, Parents, Minorities, Immigrants, Catholics, Hindu voters, etc etc etc, all end up voting for all candidates in differing amounts. You may end up with only a small portion of these voters, but, your voters will include some of all of them.

And it is to their voters that these politicians speak.

When Boris Johnson does a press conference on Covid, he is speaking primarily to the 14 million people who voted for him. The reason he can do this, is simply, that while their priorities may differ, those 14 million do indeed represent the full population, but, not in the same quantities. 

This is why an announcement from Trump will sound very different than an announcement from Trudeau. Both will suggest the same things - IE wash your hands, social distancing, do not hoard - but they'll phrase it very differently. Neither is wrong, or right, they are simply both speaking to their voters. 

Beyond that, keep this in mind:

All governments are listening to the experts right now.

That is why the UCP's Jason Kenny, the NDP's John Horgan, the CAQ's Francois Legault, the PC Party's, Doug Ford, and the Liberal's Stephen McNeil, all are telling their voters and thus their citizens to do very similar things. 

No man rules alone. All around the democratic world, experts are making the big decisions with the approval of elected representatives. The only difference here is that because different voter bases have different priorities, the reactions, while similar, will still differ in specific ways. Many asian countries, for example, are explicitly limiting families to having only one person allowed out a day, while western countries have not done much of this.

Opposition parties around the world are doing the exact same thing; generally supporting the government's plan, but also offering some soft criticism of things they feel the government isn't quite getting right. This includes opposition parties from all across the spectrum, responding to governments from all across the spectrum. It is simply the nature of politics. 

In short, everything that's happening is happening for a reason, and it's impossible to say, right now, who has got it "wrong" and who has got it "right". Different countries are reacting at different speeds with different methods. The curve of cases and infections in Japan is drastically different from that in South Korea, and both are drastically different from China; and these are three countries with - compared to the west - similar cultures, and which - compared to the US and EU - border one another. Once this is all said and done we'll be able to see who did what right, and, in hindsight, it will be clear who should have acted but failed to. 

Simply; this is not the time for politics. There will be plenty of time for politics later.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Covid 19 and the curve

I made a graph:

This was done by hand, but, it shows what I consider some important "pivot points" in the 'curve' of infections of coronavirus.

I hope this will help people understand why certain things are being done. With the graph in mind, I'm going to write this post in the form of Questions and Answers.

Q: Why close schools and sport events and other meetings?

A: To keep the explosion as flat as possible, which, in turn, reduces the mountain climb, and thus, greatly reduces the total number of cases. Even a single day saved during the ramp up can reduce total cases by 40%. In China's case, a 40% drop would mean 32,000 of the 80,000 never get sick.

Q: Why does Pivot Point 1 matter?

A: It tells us a good time to start social distancing. Considering the exponential growth, a 40% reduction of two days could have saved china an additional 19,000 on top of the 32,000 they already saved from above.

Q: Why does Pivot Point 2 matter?

A: It tells us the current methods are working. Pivot Point 2 will not be reached until either the current methods work, or, such a massive number in the population are infected that there are simply not enough uninfected humans left to keep things going. Reaching Pivot Point 2 means this will eventually be contained so long as current measures are kept in place.

Q: Why does Pivot Point 3 matter?

A: That is the "peak" of the "curve" that people want to "flatten". Note how it falls roughly in the middle of the outbreak. When you see that 'flatten the curve' diagram, Pivot Point 3 is right at the tippy top of both curves.

Q: Why does Pivot Point 4 matter?

A: In a way it does not, but it does indicate a virus effectively under control. Once you reach this stage you might look at loosening some restrictions, but keep your eye out that you don't end up with a new outbreak.

Q: Where are all the countries on the graph?

A: Hard to say, but from what I can gather, it is as follows:

Plateau: China

Slow Down: South Korea, Sweden*, Denmark, Japan

Mountain Climb: Italy, Iran*, Switzerland, Netherlands,

Explosion: Spain*, Germany*, France*, Norway*,

Ramp Up: Ontario, potentially Quebec, as well as the United States, United Kingdom,

Long Tail: most canadian provinces

These are the 15 most infected countries by number. You can roughly gauge whee your country is by looking at your national stats and comparing them to the above.

* = Numbers are so close, they could actually be one stage up or down pending how things go over the next few days.

Q: What can I do to help?

A: What you are doing now, likely. Don't hoard, wash your hands, share any supplies you do have with those in need, and be considerate. Also go out less. a lot less.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Potential break due to covid 19

Note that as more and more places get shut down due to coronavirus, politics in many places is being put on hold. As such, there may be a break in posts due to the spread of covid 19.

The only thing I'm currently keeping my eye on is Israeli negotiations on a government. Be aware that it may come down to having a small number of MKs from Pro-Gantz parties end up supporting Bibi and giving him a majority.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Malaysia Drama

Thursday February 20th. 2020. Malaysia.

Key Players:

Mahathir Mohamad. Current Prime Minister. Member/Chairman of BERSATU, part of PH.

Anwar Ibrahim. Expected Successor. Member/Leader of PKR, part of PH.

Azmin Ali. Current Economic minister and Deputy leader of PKR, part of PH.

Muhyiddin Yassin. Current Minister of Home Affairs, and President of BERSATU.

The King AKA The Tang di-Pertuan Agong. Abdullah of Pahang. In office for 13 months.

Ismail Sabri Yaakob. Current leader of the opposition. Leader of UMNO, part of BN.

Key Parties:

BN Barisan National, "governing alliance" In government from 1955-2018

PH Pakatan Harapan, "opposition alliance" formed in opposition to BN, currently government (2018-2020) as of the 20th of February, 2020.

UMNO Pertubuhan Kebangsaan Melayu Bersatu (United Malays National Organization) - lead party of BN. Excepting the monarch, all key players were once members of this party.

BERSATU Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Malaysian United Indigenous Party) - prominent party in PH, party of Mahathir Mohamad and Muhyiddin Yassin.

PKR Parti Keadilan Rakyat (People's Justice Party) - Anwar Ibrahim's party.

GS Islamic party. formerly allies of PKR. Currently (as of Feb 20th 2020) a 3rd party, in neither the PH government or the BN opposition.

This day ends without incident.

To better understand what happened and how we need to go back in time, to...

Historical Events.

In 1955, UMNO, as part of the Alliance party, won the first elections in Malaysia, which had recently become an independent country; previously, it was a UK colony. The Alliance would win that election with near 82% of the vote. In the following election, and the one in 1964, the alliance would take over half the vote. In 1969, they'd retain a majority of seats, but be reduced to 48.4% of the vote. As such the Alliance would merge itself into BN, along with some opposition parties. BN would then win the next 8 elections in a row with over half of the vote, having a low of 53.4% in 1990. 

Mahathir Mohamad served as UMNO leader and Prime Minister from 1981 to 2003. From 1993 to 1998, Anwar Ibrahim served as his Deputy Prime Minister. Anwar and Mahathir ended up butting heads, and Anwar ended up being removed from office and charged with corruption and sodomy. It is widely considered, including by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, that this was a political set-up. 

Anwar's conviction would later be overturned by the courts in 2004, with his ban on running for office ending in 2008. Anwar thus planned to run in the 2008 elections, however, the date of the elections was moved up so that Anwar could not run. As a result, his wife lead PKR into the election. 

The results were the worst ever for BN. 51.4% of the vote, and slightly under 60% of the seats. Only the Alliance's election in 1969 was worse. When Anwar's ban on office ended, he entered Parliament in a by-election and became Leader of the Opposition.

This would lead to the Prime Minister resigning in April of 2009 and being replaced with Najib Razak. 

Sunday May 5th. 2013. Malaysia.

The election would see BN win a majority of seats, 133 in the 222 seat chamber. BN, however, would only take 47.4% of the popular vote, while PKR and its allied parties (PKR, DAP, GS) would take 50.9% of the vote. This would be followed by protests and accusations of gerrymandering. Najib would thus remain Prime Minister. His Deputy Prime Minister, Muhyiddin Yassin, would also remain in office. 

Najib would later become embroiled in the 1Malaysia scandal, and during the scandal, in 2015, Muhyiddin would criticize his response. Muhyiddin would be dropped from cabinet, and a year later, would be removed from the UMNO party. Mahathir, despite having been retired for over a decade, also strongly criticized Najib. Muhyiddin would then work with Mahathir to set up a new party, BERSATU. 

As a result, BERSATU joined with the PKR, along with the DAP (PKR's ally in the 2008 election) formed PH, a new opposition alliance.

Wednesday May 9th. 2018. Malaysia.

For the first time in its history as an Independent country, the UMNO and its alliance, BN, lost a general election. PH, with its many members parties, formed the new government. PH won 48.3% of the vote compares to 33.8% for BN. Mahathir Mohamad thus again became Prime Minister. Unlike in 2013, Anwar could not run as he had again been charged with sodomy. This was quickly pardoned when the new government took office and it was announced that after a year fears - widely expected to be 2 years - Mahathir would step down and let Anwar become Prime Minister. This brings us back to...

Friday February 21st. 2020. Malaysia.

Anwar and Mahathir meet along with other high-ranking members of PH to discuss the timeline of Mahathir's handing over of power to Anwar. The meeting got quite heated and it was agreed Mahathir would hand power over after the APEC 2020 meeting in Malaysia in November. Mahathir however, had other plans.

Sunday February 23rd. 2020. Malaysia.

As with any insider clash, there are factual disputes. What seems to be emerging is that Mahathir had planned, in November, to step down, but, then form a coalition with UMNO and remain in power. This would have bilked Anwar out of the Prime Ministership that he had been promised. It seems that given the current crisis, Mahathir decided to move the date up from November, to now.

On the morning of the 23rd, 3 important meetings were held. (Top members of) BERSATU met at their HQ. Part of (the top members of) UMNO and (top members, etc) of PAS in Pahang, while the UMNO's legal brass met Kuala Lumpur. PAS' MPs would later meet in the Parliament. Rumors started to spread that an alternative government was in the works. Anwar himself released a statement on facebook accusing the plotters of treachery. 

Monday February 24th. 2020. Malaysia.

Azmin was tossed from PKR. He has been important at one of the meetings, in particular noe with Ismail Sabri Yaakob, the UMNO leader. 9 other MPs joined Azmin who created a new political bloc in Parliament.

Mahathir, meanwhile, announced his resignation, and resigned from his position within the BERSATU party. The party itself, now under Muhyiddin, withdrew from PH. Mahathir was appointed Interim PM. The King then announced he would meet, individually, with every single MP in Parliament, to see who had support to be Prime Minister. This would take two full days, the 25th and 26th. 

Tuesday February 25th. 2020. Malaysia.

Following the first interviews, UMNO announced that it would see dissolution and a new election. Apparently, the party rejected the terms Mahathir offered. 

Wednesday February 26th. 2020. Malaysia.

Mahathir addressed the nation, and announced his refusal to work with UMNO. Meanwhile, PH announced they were nomination Anwar to be the new Prime Minister. 

Thursday February 27th. 2020. Malaysia.

The King announced, through the Prime Minister, that nobody had majority support, and thus, on March 2nd, Parliament would vote on the matter. 

Friday February 28th. 2020. Malaysia.

A meeting of Monarchs was held. Malaysia is a Federation, and each state (though not every state) has it's own King. One of them gets selected to serve for a few years as the Federal King. This meeting was joined by the Chief of Defence and the Chief of Police. 

Meanwhile, the Speaker of Parliament announced that the supposed March 2nd meeting was not going to take place, as it did not adhere to standing orders. This was followed by an announcement in the evening by the King that he would meet with the leaders of all the parties to discuss who has majority support.

BERSATU then announced that Muhyiddin Yassin has majority support. UMNO and other parties would come out in support for this as well. Azmin and his allies, too, backed this. 

Saturday February 29th. 2020. Malaysia.

Muhyiddin announces the formation of the new PN alliance (Perikatan Natsional). Members of that alliance are UMNO and other BN members, BERSATU, and PAS. This would make the move similar to what happened when The Alliance became BN, with BN now becoming PN.

That evening, the King announced he too felt Muhyiddin had majority support, or, at least, was most likely to command it. Mahathir then released a list of 115 MPs (A majority) who he claimed supported him. The King however announced that this list was effectively void, and that the only way to overturn the decision was a non-confidence vote in Parliament. 

Sunday March 1st. 2020. Malaysia.

Mahathir announced that the King refused him an audience, and that he felt betrayed at the moved of Muhyiddin. Muhyiddin was shortly after sworn in as the new Prime Minister. 

Monday March 2nd. 2020. Malaysia.

Addressing the nation, Prime Minister Muhyiddin announced he had not planned to become Prime Minister, and that he thanked Mahathir for his service. 

Wednesday March 4th. 2020. Malaysia.

The Speaker of Parliament announced that at the request of the Prime Minister, the Parliament will next meet on May 18th, instead of March 9th as previously planned.

Tuesday March 10th. 2020. Malaysia.

While writing this post, Muhyiddin announced his new cabinet. Najib has congratulated him on the new cabinet, and seems pleased with it. Azmin Ali is the new most senior minister, in a cabinet without any Deputy Prime Minister. There are four senior ministers in total, including Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

So. What is...

Teddy's Take.

I believe Muhyiddin when he says he didn't plan this. From what I can gather and read, it seems on the 20th of February, he had no plans to become Prime Minister before the end of the year.

Instead, if I am reading between the lines properly, it seems Azmin Ali was 'supposed' to be the one to do it.

That Mahathir, in November, would announce that he's forming a new government, a national unity government, without UMNO but with nearly every other party, and, that this new government would need a new leader, and that person would be Azmin Ali. 

Azmin, however, seems to have gone off script. I think he smelled blood and realized he could take it all if he acted now, and did so with the blessing of UMNO. Azmin, however, ended up outplayed by Muhyiddin.

It seems Mahathir and Anwar both played a blocking role for Azmin, thus allowing Muhyiddin to stroll on by un-noticed. He then got all the puzzle pieces in order to take the job for himself. 

I don't think Mahathir ever intended to allow Anwar to become Prime Minister. All throughout this government, I think Mahathir always planned to betray Anwar. Frankly, I felt that when I covered the 2018 election. 

Monday, March 9, 2020

Thoughts - Economic consequences of Covid19

I'm quite surprised Oil has fallen as quickly and deeply as it did. The benchmark for Alberta oil is generally seen as Western Canadian Select, but that data is hard to come by (the best I could do was find a 13 hour delayed price). WTI, or West Texas Intermediate, is a fairly good benchmark that can be used in its place.

On Friday, WTI traded at $41.28

It opened Monday at $32.12. It fell to $27.72 before recovering and stands at $30.84 as of the writing of this post.

It is quite likely that once the virus passes, that prices will return to normal, but this could take months after the crisis ends, and even then, the virus could continue to spread for many months.

I'll be keeping an eye on all of this and how the impacts from it play out.

Note that my long post on the Malaysian drama is nearing completion, and should be up tomorrow morning.

Sunday, March 8, 2020


One thing I like to do from time to time here on this blog is to ensure people freak out about things at an appropriate level. As such I'd like to discuss Covid-19, the Coronavirus.

Lets parse this article suggesting 1.9 MILLION people in Ireland could get sick.

Here are some key passages:

you need to be 15 minutes or more in the vicinity of an infected person, within 1-2 metres, to be considered at-risk or a close contact.


Around 80% of cases of Covid-19 are a mild to moderate illness

Now lets look at some numbers: This graph shows death rates in China from Coronavirus.

Note that while China has a highly developed healthcare system with quality care options, it still can not match the kind of care offered in North America, Europe, or other OECD countries. Keep in mind that studies have shown that youth malnutrition can impact health as an adult, and that 50-60 years ago, China was still recovering from the disastrous "Great Leap Forward"

In short; if you are under the retirement age, your chances of dying from Coronavirus are low.

If you are over that age, however, you need to take note.

This, however, does not only apply to the elderly, it applies to those who know elderly people, like you and me. I am 35, and while I have asthma, I am otherwise healthy when it comes to the Coronavirus and my potential to get sick. There has not been any link yet showing asthma carries a higher death risk (I looked for this yesterday) and I am confidant that even if I get a full on infection, I will still be here blogging a month later.

My father, however, is 75. I am much more concerned that if I get sick, I could pass it on to him.

So, what am I doing as a response?

For starters, I've looked up the actual symptoms. The two big ones are fever and a dry cough.

I've also looked up transmission. For example, yesterday I saw a man at the grocery store who was coughing a lot. Need I be concerned? In short; no. My biggest risk in that case would be him coughing on something directly. Short of that, unless I planned on having an extended conversation with him, the statistics show that my chances of being infected from him are extremely low. Additionally, in the previous week, 5,000 people in Ontario had the flu, minimum. The number with Covid-19 stands at 23, also a minimum. I also live 90 minutes north of Toronto. Ergo, this man almost certainly simply had the flu.

In short, the proper response is to do two things. First, to keep up to date on information, and second is not to panic - IE assume everyone around you will drop dead.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Israel Drama

Final results of the election are as follows:

36 - Likud*
33 - B&W
15 - Joint List
9 - Shas (Orthodox)*
7 - UTJ (Orthodox)*
7 - Left
7 - Yisrael Beiteinu
6 - Yamina*

The loss of 1 seat from the Bibi coalition is significant as it makes it much less likely that he can find a way to peel off the needed MKs to form a government. Additionally, there are now a majority of members from parties that support a new law that would make it impossible for someone charged with corruption - such as Bibi - to serve as Prime Minister. 

This both has the potential to solve the deadlock, by removing Bibi from the picture, which would likely lead to a Likud-B&W coalition, but it could also force Bibi's hand, making him want a 4th election to save his skin. 

This will likely take days, week, or even months to play out. Regardless, I will keep you all updates as news develops. 

Friday, March 6, 2020

Thoughts - I make google maps

I don't mean I provide the service, I mean, I draw lines on them.

This for example is my attempt at drawing the Trump Peace Plan for Israel. I was supposed to come back to it, to fine tune it, but I never did.

This was, more or less, the spanish proposal for the borders of the US during the Revolutionary war.

This is just me being silly and making an uber belgium for fun.

This is me trying to pin down the location of Indonesia's new capital.

Just wanted to share, as, this is sometimes what I spend my time on.

I'm working on two posts, one for Malaysia and one for Israel, as new information in both has shown that things have taken a dramatic turn.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Thoughts - US (Sanders/Biden)

Delegate estimate (Dem)
1749-2249 Biden 
1550-2050 Sanders 
120-240 Other 

General election estimate (EV and popvote for candidate)
Sanders 240-295 (47-51) 
Biden 200-255 (45-49)

In short; in the general election, the best Biden can do, is lose. He can get 255 EV's at most. 

Sanders can win (295) but, he could still lose (240).

Frankly I put the odds of Sanders winning the general at 40% or 33%, while Biden's chances are under 1%.


This depends on there being no major change. If, for example, US coronavirus cases hit 50,000, that'd be a major change. 

In short; Trump is very likely to be re-elected given how things are currently going. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Israel - late results

With 97% of ballots counted, results are as follows:

36 - Likud*
32 - B&W
15 - Joint List
10 - Shas (Orthodox)*
7 - UTJ (Orthodox)*
7 - Left
7 - Yisrael Beiteinu
6 - Yamina*

The fundamental math, however, does not change, with 59 pro-bibi members, out of a needed 61 for a majority. 

This result is devastating for the left parties. Labour is down to 3 MKs, Meretz to 2, Gesher to 1, and Tair Golan, member for the Democratic Union. 

If my understanding is correct, the Joint List will see 5 Hadash MKs, 4 UAL MKs, 3 Balad MKs, and 3 Ta'al MKs. 

Contrast this with 13 seats for the Joint List in Sep 2019 and 2015, 10 seats for the arab parties in 2019 and 2006, 11 in 2013 and 2009, and 8 in 2003. Going back we get 10 (1999), 9 (96), 5, 6, and so forth (all equally small or smaller) and this is the largest win by arab parties in the history of Israel. 

Monday, March 2, 2020

Israeli election - early results

With 7% of votes in, it seems clear no party has come near the threshold, parties are either well past, or well below it. Exit polls suggest the following:

37 - Likud*
32 - B&W
16 - Orthodox Parties*
15 - Joint List
7 - Left
7 - Yisrael Beiteinu
6 - Yamina*

This would give Bibi's coalition, marked with Asterisks (*), 59 seats, short of the 61 they need for an absolute majority.

It is quite possible that parties will gain or lose a seat, or two in the cases of the larger parties, from the exit poll projections. Regardless, this is widely in line with my earlier projection from yesterday, including a final result for Bibi of 59.

As such my conclusion is the same as I presented there, it should be easy enough for him to find 2 other members to give him the majority he needs. There are a few ways he can do this.

The easiest is to peel off some constituent party from one of the coalitions. For example, the Joint List is, itself, made up of 4 parties. If he could convince one of them to sit with him and leave the Joint List, he gets his majority. Of course, the Joint List consists of Arab and far Left parties, none of its constituent members would ever support Bibi. Instead, he'd likely go after members of the Left parties (Labour, Meretz, and Gesher) and members of Blue & White (Lapid's Yesh Atid, Gantz's Resilience, Moshe Ya'alon's Telem, or Independent Gabi Ashkenazi) or he could simply try to appeal to individual members of those parties, or members of Yisrael Beiteinu.

Of these, the most likely is Telem. They should have 3 or 4 seats, pending the results, and the Telem party itself split from Likud. While Ya'alon does not seem to like Bibi, and vice versa, it is possible that Bibi can make an offer that is too lucrative for Ya'alon to simply turn down.

An alternative strategy, might be to try to form a government with minority support. He could do this by convincing some members or parties to simply abstain when it comes to voting in a new government. While this has never happened as a result of an election in Israel, it is possible.

The election result basically solves what has been the problem that caused 3 elections in a row by supporting Likud and its coalition. While they do not have a majority, it is somewhat clear that voters have indicated their willingness for Bibi to continue in government. Any 4th election would thus likely only strengthen Bibi's position be giving him and his allies additional seats.

I will follow this up later with the official final results as well as looking at what the results mean for the various parties.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Israel elections tomorrow

Israel goes to the polls tomorrow, and trends seem to favour Likud. 

Assuming the current polling trend prior to the polling blackout continues, we could be looking at a result something like this:

Likud - 37 
Blue & White - 32 
Orthodox - 15 
Joint List - 14 
Left - 9 
Yamina - 7 
Yisrael - 6

A note of caution, however, that we have indeed seen, in the past, the trend headed into the polling blackout, actually be reversed. As such, it could be Blue & White that comes out with 37 seats and Likud with 32. 

If Likud does come out ahead, this will; put Bibi tantalizingly close to his majority. 37+15+7=59. This would mean it would only take two people from other parties to peel off to support Bibi in order to get him a majority. 

Malaysia's new PM sworn in


The new Prime Minister, Muhyiddin Yassin, comes from the same party (BERSATU) as Mahathir Mohamad, the previous PM.

I'll make a short tangent here to explain something. Mahathir was PM previously, from 1981-2003. Anwar Ibrahim, who I mentioned in my previous post, was Deputy PM under him, and expected to be his successor. He was fired from that post and tossed from the party instead.

Anwar's successor was Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, He then became Prime Minister. His Deputy was Najib Razak, who then became Prime Minister. Until he was fired, and tossed from the party, Muhyiddin Yassin was his Deputy Prime Minister.

Due to being fired from the former ruling party, Muhyiddin Yassin is technically from Mahathir Mohamad's party, but it is not questioned that the former ruling UMNO fully endorses him now, at least, as Prime Minister (Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who was Deputy Prime Minister after Muhyiddin Yassin, now leads the party, and seems keen on keeping that job)

It is not clear just yet how the new numbers in Parliament will shake out. It seems the government is a coalition of 93 members, 39 from UMNO, 30 from BERSATU, 18 from PAS, and 6 others. There seems to be a C&S agreement from 19 members, mostly from the Sarawak parties, but there are some disputes about this. If all 19 back the government, this gives them a total of 112, contrasted with 110 opposition members, 94 of which are from the PH alliance.