Posted on  UTC 2024-06-01 02:01

28.06.2024 – After that debate

Can there be any doubt after yesterday's debate that if Biden remains in the US Presidential race, Trump will win? Assuming of course that the election is run honestly – quite a big assumption, actually.

It is safe to assume, though, that Biden will not be a candidate. He is simply not up to it now and will certainly not survive the next four years. His defects are clearly visible and transcend party allegiances for those with eyes to see and ears to hear.

Don't forget that a second debate is scheduled for 10 September. It is inconceivable that Biden's faculties will have improved, meaning that we are in for another embarrassment as the leader of the free world disintegrates before our eyes.

Can there be any doubt that if Biden is replaced by anyone other than Kamala Harris, Trump might lose? Trump has his core of very passionate fans, but over the years polling suggests that a large number of Republicans are not only not part of the fan club, but actively detest Donald Trump. Supporters of Republican contenders such as DeSantis, Haley and big names such as Rubio and Cruz are still simmering at the brutal demolition of their favourites at the hands of Trump – taken together their supporters add up to quite a crowd. Some surely felt sympathy watching Trump getting beaten up in Democrat courts, but a sort-of sane Democrat contender would provide a welcome escape route for them.

Some observers see a long game being played behind the daily distractions. They point to a bait and switch strategy: the Biden catastrophe will continue to run until, at the last possible moment, an electable substitute will be found. That substitute will have an easy month or two to get through before the election, thus avoiding all the years of campaigning ding-dong a normal candidacy involves. The idea is suggestive at first glance, but the difficulty is finding a half-way normal person as a substitute who is not anathema to mainstream Republican voters.

The choice of substitute will be a test of the long-game conspiracy theory. If the Democrats choose the crazed Governor of California, Gavin Newsome, as their substitute, we know that the long-game theory is a dud: Newsome's record in turning the once gilded California into a basket case would make him completely unacceptable to a large number of Americans. No Machiavellian long-gamer would put in years of effort in order to end up with Newsome. Ditto Kamala, ditto Hillary. There are so many dittos, in fact, that it is impossible to think of a current Democrat with a public profile who would be acceptable to centre ground voters. This vacuum in itself invalidates the long-game theory: why would you play a long game without having a goal?

Nothing makes any sense in the current situation, even conspiracy theories. Our problem here is that we are trying to apply rational thinking to a situation that is utterly irrational and unpredictable. The only thing we can do is to repeat one of Donald's favourite utterances: 'We'll have to wait and see what happens'.

16.06.2024 – Not so obvious, Rod

Orthodox minds often assume that everyone they meet must share their opinions – that, after all, is what an orthodoxy is. The unorthodox, however, find it particularly annoying when someone takes their opinions for granted. A very good example of this occurred in Leipzig last Friday, 14.06.

Rod Stewart was giving a concert in his 'One Last Time' tour in Leipzig. Stewart has always struck me as a fairly grounded personality despite his decades of immersion in the entertainment business. The event was a sell-out.

During the performance his orthodox mind got the better of him and he performed his song 'Rhythm of my Heart' in the form of a tribute to Ukraine. Stewart was not only wearing a suit in the colours of the Ukraine flag, he introduced the piece with a dedication to the people of Ukraine and their army, ending with an expressive: 'Fuck you, Putin'. During the song a video containing images of war and destruction was shown. It concluded with an image of Zelensky, before which Stewart saluted.

It must have come as a shock to him when the song and the video display triggered a massive burst of booing from the audience. Had he read Figures of Speech more carefully he would have known that the AfD and the BSW are very strong in these parts and they are decidedly against the way in which the Ukraine is dragging the western powers into its conflict with Russia. Knee-jerk pro-Ukraine opinions are certainly not the orthodoxy hereabouts. At the concert in Berlin two days later his Zelensky-riff was cheered loudly.

It seems reasonable to assume that even the people in the Leipzig audience who were agnostic on the conflict or just didn't care resented know-nothings preaching at them when all they want is the music.

How to tick off your fanbase in a couple of minutes. That moment of assumed orthodoxy was not restricted to booing – it earned him some very negative media reports and a lot of criticism on social media. According to reports in the German media, only after a few more songs was the bad mood dissipated:

According to the 'Frankfurter Allgemeine', Stewart looked sadly at the crowd and murmured: 'Thank you for being so kind.' The entertainer needed a good half hour and 'a handful of of really big hits' before he got the audience back on his side.

Laut der »Frankfurter Allgemeinen« blickte Stewart nach dem Song traurig in die Menge und murmelte: »Thank you for being so kind.« Der Entertainer habe eine gute halbe Stunde und »eine Handvoll wirklich großer Hits« gebraucht, ehe er das Publikum wieder auf seiner Seite gehabt habe. Der Spiegel.

This is what happens when Western nations take sides and restrict reporting to only positive news from the favoured side. Unless citizens work hard to get alternative opinions, they are condemned to ignorance. The propaganda becomes the orthodoxy, which is rapidly followed by virtue-signalling intended to show how orthodox you are. Orthodoxies don't travel well: he would be well advised to drop the propaganda, since some of the locations on the rest of his tour may also have very different opinions to his on the Ukraine conflict.

A video of the moment has appeared on YouTube here.

At least he wasn't supporting Hamas…

[NB: this article was slightly extended on 17.06]

09.06.2024 – Mad dogs and Englishmen

News comes this morning that the body of the missing Dr Michael Mosley has been found. He was on holiday on the island of Symi in the Dodecanese.

All may become clear in the course of time, but at the moment it appears that Dr Mosley was strolling around in temperatures of around 40°C or more. The mystery of why an experienced medical doctor should do such a thing and that his wife, also an experienced medical doctor should let him do such a thing is still to be resolved. Which in turn is part of the greater mystery of why any sensible human at all would want to visit such a barren, searing place, particularly in midsummer.

The media outlets and their comments sections have by and large observed the appropriate pieties, but there can be no doubt that the gods – who are on their home territory here on Symi – are chuckling over the irony of his exit.

For Dr Mosley has made a good living over the years from enthusiastically and tediously advising his fellow Britons how to live longer, happier lives, whether by telling them to look after their gut bacteria or giving them tips and tricks on how to stave off dementia.

Unfortunately, the doctor himself only made it to the age of 67, despite all his healthy eating and prophylactic measures. Which goes to show … perhaps nothing. Or perhaps, if he had stuffed himself with pasties, pizzas and burgers like the rest of us, wandering around an inhospitable, rocky island in searing heat would have been the last thing he would want to do: 'Another couple of ouzos, Stavros, if you would, and have one yourself'.

It is not just the ridiculous irony of his passing which stems my tears, but, it shames me to say, a feeling of some satisfaction.

For it was the said Mosley who, a few years ago, told me that the best thing one could do to stave off the onset of dementia was to stand on one leg with eyes closed for as long as one could. I just missed the coffee table on the way down, which would certainly have prevented dementia by killing me on the spot. Since then, hoping for a few years more, I have kept well away from his advice.

His latest book is entitled Just One Thing: How simple changes can transform your life, which was certainly eerily prophetic in his case. Don't tempt the gods.

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