Covid-157

Dan O'Heirity

The Insanity That Is Trump’s Campaign Continues Unabated

I just came across a most telling interview on CNN Jake Tapper speaking with Georgia’s Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan a Republican. You can read the backstory to this interview from Australia News. In short, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger have signed off on certifying Mr Biden’s victory. This happened despite Trump phoning Brian Kemp to pressure him into calling a special session of Georgia’s legislature to overturn the popular vote. Kemp refused. Trump also pressured Kemp order a full audit of mail-in ballot signatures despite the fact that there have been three counts of the votes in Georgia. Again, Kemp refused. Soon after Trump held a rally in Georgia and called out the Governor saying that Kemp could easily “stop the steal” if he chose to do so. The video opens with the aforementioned fact that Trump called the Georgia Governor to try to persuade him to overturn the election result in Georgia. Tapper asks Duncan what he makes of Trump’s phone call and Duncan responds that Georgia will continue to follow the law with respect to the election results.

Duncan also comments on a recent rally that Trump held in Georgia, referring to mountains of misinformation and he expresses concern about the transition to the Biden administration saying that he can not recall when a “worse playbook” was handed over to the incoming administration. Damning words. I will make one more point and then you can watch the video for yourself. Tapper essentially says that Trump is fuelling violence in the United States and that, for example, there have been death threats against election officials. Duncan responds that the, and many of his colleagues have increased security, and that what he is seeing “disgusts” him. I imagine that he would be even more disgusted by the fact that the Arizona Republican Party’s official Twitter account shared a tweet from a Trump supporter Ali Akbar, who posted: “I am willing to give my life for this fight.” The Republican party asked, “He is. Are you?”

However, Trump and his team are still not giving up. According to ABC News, the US state of Texas has drawn support from 17 other states in a bid to have the US Supreme Court overturn President Donald Trump’s election loss by throwing out the voting results from four other states. The states named in the appeal are Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. My goodness. Georgia has counted its votes three times and yet Trump is still try to have the result chanted in his favour. I know nothing about the law but according to the ABC news story, law experts have called the Texas lawsuit “absurd” and “laughable”. One law expert has gone further in saying, “The idea that a state could complain about another state’s processes is just absurd”. Meanwhile, The Supreme Court of Nevada has rejected an appeal from Donald Trump’s campaign to overturn the result in that state and Biden has been confirmed as the winner. I am reminded of a news story that I read the other day that said, roughly, that Trump is the best at losing. Trump hates to lose and so one can only imagine how he is feeling in the face of some many of is legal challenges being thrown out of court. Or, perhaps he has not registered this fact, believing instead that there is some vast conspiracy to remove him as president. Anyway, as far as I can see the popular vote will be certified on December 14th and so Trump really has very little time, and even fewer avenues, to contest the election result.

If You Ask Questions Then You Are a Conspiracy Theorist

I’ve written before on how asking legitimate questions about Covid-19 is linked by news reports to stories of conspiracy theory. Here is another example related to the Covid-19 vaccine. I’m reasonably intelligent and I’m looking at the speed at which the various vaccines have been certified for use and I’m thinking, “Man, that was quick. Did they actually test them properly”. This seems to me to be a perfectly legitimate question. Enter SBS News with a story which reports that “many [people] have expressed unease at the speed at which companies have developed the drugs to tackle it, and about possible side effects”. So far so good except that the this unease is reported in the context of a story about conspiracy theories surrounding Covid-19. So, legitimate questioning is contextualized in a report on conspiracy theory. The report continues saying that, “Based on published vaccines trial data generated so far this year by Moderna, the BioNTech-Pfizer partnership and AstraZeneca, side effects have not been serious or long-lasting“. OK, but a year ago we had never heard of Covid-19 and now we are seeing vaccine doses being widely distributed in the United Kingdom and other countries around the world. Over to another story from SBS News which reports that people have experienced allergic reactions to the virus. Apparently that’s OK because the reactions have not been “serious” or “long lasting”. I would make two points here. First, should laboratory trials have picked up something as basic as allergic reactions to the virus? Secondly, what can we really know about the longer term effects of the vaccine given that it has been produced and released in double quick time. Me, I’ll be waiting for 12 months before I even think about getting vaccinated.

China’s Outdated Cultural Mores Mean We Should Pay Respect

Anyone who has been watching the world news and / or reading my posts will know that relations between Australia and China have deteriorated to an all time low during 2020. You can read the details in this story from BBC News. The BBC News story is also useful in providing figures for Australia’s trade dependency on China. In summary, China buys more than a third of Australia’s exports, and accounts for 27% of two-way trade. Basically, we’re stuffed because we’ve been economically lazy and placed far too much reliance on China for both exports and imports. However, today I see a couple of reasons to be a little more optimistic. Firstly, Trade Minister Simon Birmingham has been speaking out about China “targeting” Australian exports. In other words China’s actions – placing huge tariffs on barley and wine for example – have come not for legitimate reasons but because China is trying to punish Australia. Now, China is angry with Australia for a whole host of reasons. We called for an independent inquiry into the origins and spread of Covid-19 and we have been critical of China’s human rights record. However, to focus on these details misses the point. The real reason China is angry with Australia is that Australia has not, as far as Beijing is concerned, shown China enough respect. It’s as simple as that fact. China wants Australia to bow and Australia will not do so. Go Australia. Tiny country with around 25 million people and we’re defying Beijing. How embarrassing for Xi Jinping.

The second reason to be cheerful is that the Australia Federal government has just passed a law that will enable it to cancel deals such as Victoria’s Belt and Road agreement with China. There’s a few points to understand here. First, the Federal government is the government of Australia. The different states and territories also have their own governments headed up by premiers. The Premier of Victoria is Daniel Andrews. The Federal government was approached by China to sign up to their Belt and Road Initiative. The Federal government said that they wanted nothing to do with the initiative. However, Daniel Andrews went his own way and signed a memorandum of understanding with China relating just to the state of Victoria. There are many reasons why Andrews is referred to as “Chairman Dan” and this is just one of the reasons. With this new law in place, “Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said on Tuesday that Victoria will have at least three months to explain to the federal government why its Belt and Road agreement is in Australia’s national interest under the terms of the new legislation“. I am sure that Andrews will argue passionately that the Memorandum of Understanding is in the economic interests of Victoria. However, in my view he is simply being naïve. China does not do anything unless it is fundamentally in the best interests of China. Other countries are a secondary consideration if, indeed, they are given any consideration. Also, signing up to the Belt and Road Initiative presents Australia as being fragmented with a state premier defying the prime minister. Overturning the Memorandum of Understanding would send a strong signal to China that Australia cannot be dictated to by Beijing.

First Published December 10th, 2020

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