Apr 122020

Helen Levitt New York 1939


DOJ Threatens Action Against Pandemic Crackdowns On Religious Ceremonies (JTN)
Can Trump Reopen The Economy On May 1? Not Really (LATimes)
California Gov. Newsom Praises Trump Admin’s COVID19 Relief Efforts (JTN)
Hundreds Of US Meat Workers Have Tested Positive For Coronavirus (LATimes)
New York Hospital Approved To Use COVID-19 Experimental Treatment (JTN)
EU Borders May Close Till September Due To US COVID-19 Threat (F.)
China Chasing Coronavirus Praise From Germany (UrduP)
USA Keen to Learn from Greece’s World-Leading Response to COVID-19 (GR)
UN Seeks To Lease Hotels, Ships To House Refugees On Greek Islands (Amna)
Coronavirus Isn’t Really Dangerously Lingering On Surfaces For Weeks (F.)
Is The Next Great Depression Here? (VT)
Economist Destroys China – Calls Coronavirus An Act of War (VT)
Turkish Court Accepts Indictment For Khashoggi Murder Suspects (DS)
Use and Abuse of MMT (Michael Hudson, Dirk Bezemer, Steve Keen, T.Sabri Öncü)
East Africa Locust Plague Up To 20 Times Larger Than Last Wave (Ind.)
Julian Assange Fathered Two Sons While Inside Ecuadorian Embassy In London (DM)



US records 1,920 deaths related to the #coronavirus over the past 24 hours, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University as of 8:30 pm Saturday (0030 GMT Sunday)



Cases (+ 1,790,573 from yesterday’s 1,710,152)

Deaths 109,654 (+ 6,148 from yesterday’s 103,506)




From Worldometer yesterday evening -before their day’s close-



From Worldometer – NOTE: mortality rate for closed cases is at 21% !



From SCMP:



From COVID2019Info.live:





A number of graphs from FT for your viewing ‘pleasure’:









And one extra, which focuses on Belgium.





The Pope may close the Vatican, but not my little church. Two week quarantines for all.

DOJ Threatens Action Against Pandemic Crackdowns On Religious Ceremonies (JTN)

The Justice Department signaled Saturday night it may intervene against local governments that are cracking down on religious ceremonies during the pandemic, warning that action could come as early as next week. Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec used her Twitter account on the eve of Easter to announce that Attorney General William Barr was monitoring efforts to stop Easter religious ceremonies. “During this sacred week for many Americans, AG Barr is monitoring govt regulation of religious services,” Kupec tweeted. “While social distancing policies are appropriate during this emergency, they must be applied evenhandedly & not single out religious orgs. Expect action from DOJ next week!”

The statement comes as numerous municipalities across the country have been reportedly taking actions to stop churchgoers from celebrating Easter together, including in Louisville where the mayor threatened to track license plates and fine anyone who attends a public ceremony. A federal judge Saturday actually blocked Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer from enforcing his ban on drive-in church services on Easter, calling it unconstitutional. “An American mayor criminalized the communal celebration of Easter,” U.S. District Judge Justin Walker wrote while issuing a temporary restraining order. “That sentence is one that this Court never expected to see outside the pages of a dystopian novel, or perhaps the pages of The Onion. ”The Mayor’s decision is stunning. And it is, ‘beyond all reason,’ unconstitutional,” the judge added.

Read more …

Odd friends: Trump and Gavin Newsom.

Can Trump Reopen The Economy On May 1? Not Really (LATimes)

President Trump says he hopes to be able to begin reopening the nation’s shuttered economy on May 1. But ultimately, nervous governors, mayors, school boards and families across the country will determine when to resume normal life. With more Americans out of work than at any time since the Depression in the 1930s, Trump is eager to ease the stay-at-home guidance he issued on March 16 and later extended through April 30 in an effort to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. The president and his top economic advisors have floated plans to restart economic activity in phases, with some regions given greater leeway than others. Privately, White House officials concede the approach will have little effect on the larger economy, but hope to at least let some small businesses begin bringing back employees.

Speaking at the White House, Trump said he would consider the advice of his public health advisors, who have urged caution in lifting restrictions too quickly. Outside public health experts say another month or more may be necessary to keep the U.S. death toll from the coronavirus under 100,000. “I’m going to have to make a decision, and I hope to God it’s the right decision,” Trump said Friday. “I would say without question it’s the biggest decision I’ve ever had to make.” Asked what metrics he would use in deciding, Trump pointed to his head. Trump also said he would probably include governors from both parties in a council to advise him on the issue and hinted that California Gov. Gavin Newsom may be among them.

The president wields tremendous influence over the national response to the pandemic, and many local and state leaders, especially fellow Republicans, would weigh his advisories heavily in deciding their own policy. Although Trump asserted Friday that he has “absolute authority” to order the country open, the guidelines are not mandatory but recommendations. Governors, mayors and business owners have the ultimate power. Many issued their own guidance before Trump did, and some already have announced plans to restrict commerce and public gatherings beyond May 1 no matter what Trump recommends.

Read more …

Newsom is starting to shine a bit in his own right. Not exactly Trump’s best friend before this started.

California Gov. Newsom Praises Trump Admin’s COVID19 Relief Efforts (JTN)

California Governor Gavin Newsom is offering strong words of praise for President Trump, stating that the president, through his administration’s effort to help fight the coronavirus in that state, has met “every single direct request that he was capable of meeting.” Newsom made the laudatory remarks in an interview Friday with CNN’s Anderson Cooper. “I have to be complimentary, otherwise I would be simply lying to you,” he said of the Trump administration’s relief measures. California has had one of the more significant coronavirus outbreaks in the United States, logging over 22,000 infections and 630 deaths as of Saturday night. Newsom put his state under an extended, near-total lockdown last month.

The Trump administration dispatched the Naval hospital ship USNS Mercy to Los Angeles last month in order to provide overflow hospital beds to assist with the state’s expected surge of coronavirus patients. Newsom said the ship was sent to the city “because of [the president’s] direct intervention.” The governor also noted the administration’s deployment of 2,000 federal medical stations to the state. Remarking on his praise of Trump, Newsom told Cooper that it is “a wonderful thing to be able to say, and I hope that continues.”

Read more …

Including 300 at just one plant.

Hundreds Of US Meat Workers Have Tested Positive For Coronavirus (LATimes)

There’s been a spike in coronavirus cases at meat plants in the U.S., with hundreds of reported infections in just the last week. That’s adding to questions over the fragility of the food-supply chain and raising concerns about worker safety. As many as 50 people at a JBS SA beef facility in Colorado’s Weld County tested positive, adding to more than 160 cases at a Cargill Inc. meat-packaging plant in Pennsylvania, union officials said Friday. South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem on Friday reported 190 cases at a Smithfield Foods Inc. pork facility, the Associated Press said. The Cargill and Smithfield plants are being closed, while JBS said it will continue operations. Workers are also starting to die. Two more deaths were reported by union officials on Friday, one at the Greeley, Colo., meat plant and one in Pennsylvania.

Both those facilities are owned by JBS SA, the world’s top meat producer, which didn’t confirm the deaths. “As our communities and our country collectively face the coronavirus challenge, JBS USA has had team members impacted by COVID-19,” the American unit of the Brazilian meatpacker said in an emailed statement. “We are offering support to those team members and their families. Out of respect for the families, we are not releasing further information.” WH Group Ltd. acquired Virginia-based Smithfield, the world’s largest pork producer, in 2013 for $6.95 billion. As Smithfield can’t export sausage, ham and bacon from its U.S. factories because China prohibits imports of processed meat, WH Group opened a $116-million factory in Zhengzhou that will produce 30,000 metric tons of those meats when it reaches full capacity next year.

While it’s unclear whether the deaths and other cases have anything to do with the workplaces, the news exposes the vulnerability of global supply chains that are needed to keep grocery stores stocked after panic buying left shelves empty. President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence both addressed the sudden jump in cases at meat plants when speaking to reporters on Friday. Pence said as many as 300 people have been “impacted” by the coronavirus at the Colorado meat plant. It’s unclear what that figure was referring to, whether it was people who have been quarantined, or possible cases. Trump also referred to the outbreak at Colorado meat plants on Friday. Neither Pence nor Trump specified which plant they were talking about. Greeley is about 65 miles northeast of Denver.

“We’re looking at this graph where everything’s looking beautiful and is coming down and then you’ve got this one spike. I said, ‘What happened to Denver?’” Trump said. “And many people, very quickly.” [..] The deaths reported Friday bring the total reported for JBS employees to three. On Tuesday, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, which represents thousands of poultry workers, said two of its members working at a Tyson Foods Inc. plant in Camilla, Ga., died from the virus.

Read more …

So in your headline you say “Experimental Treatment”, and then in your article you say it was already used when George Washington’s troops were fighting small pox. That’s one way of doing it, I guess.

New York Hospital Approved To Use COVID-19 Experimental Treatment (JTN)

The Albany Medical Center in New York has become one of the first hospitals in America to gain Federal Drug Administration approval to conduct a new method of treating COVID-19, using antibodies from surviving patients. If a recovered patient has been diagnosed with the coronavirus then the hope is that that patient may be able to donate their blood plasma to help create immunity for others who are more critically ill, officials said. “As the region’s only academic medical center, Albany Med participates in many cutting-edge clinical research trials.

We are honored to have the ability to administer this experimental therapy as we fight this global pandemic and hope that it can provide the life-saving treatment these patients inflicted with COVID-19 so desperately need,” Dennis P. McKenna, the hospital’s president and CEO, said. The so-called convalescent blood plasma therapy is not a novel idea. It was not only used during the 1918 flu pandemic but as far back as when George Washington’s troops were fighting small pox during the Revolutionary War. It also was used as recently as 2014’s ebola outbreak.

Convalescent plasma therapy is simple. Patients become inflicted with COVID-19 and then recover completely and that immunity enables them to donate their plasma to another critically infected patient. Albany Medical Center is serving as a center for other COVID-19 patients who will donate their plasmas. A donor must be fully recovered and have no symptoms for at least 14 days. Convalescent plasma has been used effectively during earlier recent virus outbreaks: the 2002 severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) under George W. Bush’s administration and during the H1N1 and Middle East respiratory syndrome under the Obama administration.

Read more …

Irony: US cases primarily came from Europe.

EU Borders May Close Till September Due To US COVID-19 Threat (F.)

Europe’s Schengen zone may keep its borders shut until September, to defend itself against the threat of COVID-19 from U.S. and other travelers. French President Emmanuel Macron has reportedly raised the possibility of the usually border-free countries staying shut to most foreigners for six more months. During a videoconference last Friday with trade unions, Macron said the idea is being considered by Schengen members, according to French media reports. The reason he gave was the fact that the pandemic is evolving at a different pace around the world, and “did not affect all countries at the same time” BFMTV reported. So the implication is that Europe needs to protect itself from the threat posed by travelers coming from high-risk countries.

According to the TV station, “Emmanuel Macron notably cited the example of the United States, where the coronavirus crisis is delayed by several weeks and which will therefore reach its peak later. But also that of Africa, where the situation is developing differently. In Asia, a second peak may occur.” Macron’s comments came two days after the Élysée Palace confirmed the French lockdown, in place since March 17, will continue beyond April 15. They also came on the heels of a call by European Union officials for member states to extend the border closure for another month at least, until mid-May. The EU says it needs more time to battle the health crisis, of which Europe is the global epicentre. Despite seeing “encouraging first results”, it wants to extend the closure of its external borders until May 15.

Read more …

Merkel won’t like the press getting involved in this.

China Chasing Coronavirus Praise From Germany (UrduP)

Chinese representatives tried to influence German government officials to give positive comments about Beijing’s management of the coronavirus outbreak, Germany’s Die Welt newspaper reported Sunday. The virus first emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December and Beijing has been criticised by some — most notably US President Donald Trump — over its initial handling of the crisis. Senior officials and staff at German government ministries were invited “to speak in positive terms about China’s management of the coronavirus,” Die Welt said, citing a confidential foreign ministry document.

The foreign ministry recommended that all German governmental departments reject such approaches, the newspaper added. The ministry has declined to confirm or deny the report. However a German intelligence source told Die Welt that “Chinese officials are pursuing an intensified information and propaganda policy with regard to the coronavirus”. Beijing has sought to counter the narrative that the outbreak began in China and highlighted its assistance to Western countries “in order to present the People’s Republic as a trustworthy partner,” Germany’s Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution said.

Read more …

From Greece with love.

USA Keen to Learn from Greece’s World-Leading Response to COVID-19 (GR)

Over 200 policymakers in the US Congress, the White House, State Department and other thought leaders and officials in Washington, DC were briefed about Greece’s impressive, world-leading response to the COVID-19 pandemic., announced Manatos & Manatos, a lobbying firm in DC. “Once again, in times of tremendous difficulty and challenge, little Greece has become a role model for the rest of the world. This speaks to the legacy Greece has shaped over centuries – a legacy of courage, creativity and perseverance,” said Andy Manatos and Mike Manatos, the two Greek American executives of the lobbying firm who spoke to the officials.

Furthermore, US Ambassador to Greece Geoffey Pyatt in a message to the American Hellenic Chamber of Commerce also praised the Greek Government and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis for realising the gravity of the situation and his realistic approach in containing the virus. He also highlighted the compliance of the Greek people to the strict measures imposed. Indeed, major newspapers and news websites have praised Greece for the way it is dealing with the deadly virus and the low figures of cases and deaths recorded. Much more so because the country is now only shyly emerging from a crippling 10-year-long economic crisis that caused cutting of healthcare resources by 75 percent.

Characteristically, on April 10 Bloomberg ran an op-ed with the title “Greece Shows How to Handle the Crisis”. The article notes the immediate and bold response of the Greek government to the coronavirus threat: “Athens closed down all non-essential shops only four days after reporting its first Covid-19 death. In contrast, Italy and Spain did so after 18 and 30 days, respectively. A ban on non-essential movement in Greece came only a week afterwards — faster than in either of the other two countries.” Compared to the two Mediterranean countries, Greece’s difference in the horrifying figures is staggering: Greece currently counts 2,011 cases and 91 deaths, while Italy reports 147,577 cases and 18,849 deaths and Spain counts 158,273 cases and 16,081 deaths.

One would argue that Greece’s population is 10.74 million while Spain’s is 46.75 million and Italy’s population is 60.3 million, but proportionately Greece’s figures are hugely lower. Compared to countries with populations similar to Greece, still, the difference remains large. Netherlands with 17.1 million population reports 23,249 cases and 2,511 deaths; Belgium with 11.4 million population counts 26,667 cases and 3,019 deaths; Portugal with 10.2 population reports 15,472 cases and 435 deaths; Switzerland with 8.57 million population counts 24,551 cases and 1,002 deaths. On April 5, a New York Times story titled “The Rising Heroes of the Coronavirus Era – Nations’ Top Scientists” also praised Greece’s Chief Scientific Coordinator of Medical Response, Professor Sotirios Tsiodras:

“In Greece, which has so far been spared a major outbreak, everyone tunes in when Prof. Sotirios Tsiodras, a slender-framed, gray-haired man, addresses the nation every day at 6 p.m. His delivery is flat, and he relies heavily on his notes as he updates the country on the latest figures of those confirmed sick, hospitalized or deceased….The head of the Greek government’s medical response to the coronavirus and a churchgoing father of seven with a long career studying infectious diseases at Harvard, M.I.T. and elsewhere, Professor Tsiodras is not one for embellishment.”

Read more …

Note: the UN, not the EU.

UN Seeks To Lease Hotels, Ships To House Refugees On Greek Islands (Amna)

The UN High Commission for Refugees has issued a call for hotels and ships that can be leased to house vulnerable groups of asylum-seekers on the Greek islands, who might be affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The move was approved by the Migration & Asylum Ministry, it said, and would be funded by the European Union. Hotels are being sought for asylum applicants and refugees on the islands of Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Kos, Leros and those of Rhodes and Crete. Availability must be immediate and the lease a three-month one. Ships must be able to accomodate 300 passengers and tie at the docks of Lesvos, Chios and Samos or 100 people and tie at Kos and Leros. They must include cleaning services, supply cabins with electricity and provide a meal three times a day. Leases must go into effect on Monday, April 13 and cover 15 days, with the option of extending it to two months.

Read more …

Primarily about different testing methods, thereby explaining their deficiencies.

Coronavirus Isn’t Really Dangerously Lingering On Surfaces For Weeks (F.)

RNA viruses, like the one that causes COVID-19, make a lot of mistakes when replicating their genomes, and sometimes these mistakes result in viral genomes containing fatal mistakes, or mutations, that render a critical viral gene non-functional – meaning they won’t infect people who come into contact with them. (In fact, these kinds of mistakes are why plants, animals, bugs, people – basically anything more complicated than these viruses – store genetic information in DNA instead, because far fewer mistakes are made when DNA replicates.) But when you run a qRT-PCR test, those viral genes with mistakes are indistinguishable from the ones that aren’t. And either way, the cellular machinery that makes more viruses will package up both functional and non-functional RNA. The RNA inside these packages, called virions, is what the qRT-PCR test is looking for.

For reasons that are not fully understood, patients that have recovered from a viral infection have cells that can continue to produce viral RNA without actually making infectious virus particles. That means it is not only possible but common to detect viral RNA without there being any infectious virus present. Virologists use other tests to detect infectious viruses – the ones we need to worry about actually making people sick. The most classical of these, plaque assays and 50% tissue culture infectious dose (TCID50) assays, are based on the ability of viruses to kill infected cells in culture. These methods are much better for assessing how much potentially transmissible virus would be “shed” from recovered patients or in the environment. (“Shed” is a bit of a jargon term virologists use – but it’s a good metaphor for thinking of viruses moving out of you and into the environment when you cough or sneeze.)

So why don’t we use these tests all the time? The problem with them is that they are also more time-consuming to perform and require specialized biocontainment. So they’re not practical for performing clinical diagnostic testing or broad surveillance. qRT-PCR can be performed in hours in standard laboratory conditions (biosafety level 2, or BSL-2), while plaque and TCID50 assays for SARS-CoV-2 take several days and must be performed in BSL-3 containment. Working in BSL-3 containment labs requires specialized training, and many clinical sites are not near a BSL-3 lab. So, most of the studies you read in the news about viral shedding and environmental contamination is just measuring the amount of viral RNA – but they’re not necessarily saying much about whether the virus is still contagious.

Fortunately, two studies have investigated the ability of virus to remain infectious on different materials in the environment. Although the length of time that virus on a surface remains infectious is dependent on environmental conditions such as temperature and humidity, no virus remained infectious on surfaces for anywhere near 17 days. Furthermore, in both studies, the amount of infectious virus was greatly reduced after several days. This suggests that risk of infection from virus on objects or surfaces in the environment can be minimized by diligent cleaning and disinfection practices.

Read more …

Two versions, short and long.

Is The Next Great Depression Here? (VT)

Economist Danielle DiMartino Booth talks about the correlation to the great depression and today in a sit-down with Patrick Bet-David.

Read more …

The full version of the interview above.

Economist Destroys China – Calls Coronavirus An Act of War (VT)

Economist Danielle DiMartino Booth Destroys China – Calls Coronavirus An Act of War in a sit-down with Patrick Bet-David.

Read more …

But not MbS.

Turkish Court Accepts Indictment For Khashoggi Murder Suspects (DS)

A Turkish court on Saturday accepted an indictment on the 2018 killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. The 117-page indictment prepared by Istanbul prosecutors accusing 20 Saudi nationals of involvement in the gruesome premeditated murder was accepted by Istanbul’s Heavy Penal Court No. 11. Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post, was killed and dismembered by a group of Saudi operatives shortly after he entered the country’s consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, 2018. His body was never recovered. Khashoggi, according to reports by the U.N. and other independent organizations, was very likely killed on orders of Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman (MBS).

The indictment states that suspect Mansour Othman M. Abbahussain, working as a major general and intelligence officer in Saudi Arabia, was tasked in the office of MBS and was instructed by Ahmed Bin Mohammed al-Asiri to bring Khashoggi back to the country and to kill him if he resisted. It added that Abbahussain assembled a 15-man hit squad, including himself, for the murder.

He also distributed tasks among the squad, separating them into three groups: intelligence, logistics, and negotiation. Abbahussain also determined the place to meet Khashoggi as the working office at the Istanbul consulate and made plans for all contingencies before, during, and after the deed. The indictment accuses al-Asiri and Saud al-Qahtani of incitement to deliberate killing through torture and seeks aggravated life sentences for both. It also accuses 18 other Saudi nationals and recommends aggravated life sentences for each. These accused individuals were in consensus over killing Khashoggi if he refused to return to Saudi Arabia and acted mutually to commit the crime, according to the indictment.

Read more …

Too long for me to properly summarize here. But it should be obvious that MMT and UBI get attention in today’s world, if only because the Fed’s rapacious “stimulus” policies.

America is fast on its way to new breadlines, and there is no excuse for that.

Use and Abuse of MMT (Michael Hudson, Dirk Bezemer, Steve Keen, T.Sabri Öncü)

Money is debt. Government money creation for public purposes – to pay for employment and output – spurs prosperity. But in its present form, private-sector debt creation has become largely extractive, and thus leads to the opposite effect: debt deflation. Governments can pay public debt without defaulting, as long as this debt is denominated in their own domestic currency, because the governments can always print the money to pay. To the extent that public debt results from spending that supports output, employment and growth, this process is not inflationary. The government gives value to money by accepting it in payment of taxes. So the monetary system is inherently bound up with fiscal policy. The classical premise of such policy has been to minimize the economy’s cost structure by taxing mainly unearned income (economic rents), not wages and profits in the production-and-consumption sector.

The problem nowadays is private debt. Most such debt is created by banks. This bank credit – debts owed by bank customers – tends to increase faster than the ability of debtors to earn enough income to pay it. The reason is that most of private debt is not used for productive, income-generating purposes, but to finance the transfer property ownership (affecting asset prices in proportion to the rate of credit growth for such purposes). That use of credit – not associated with the production-and-consumption economy – leads to debt deflation. Instead of providing the economy with purchasing power (as in running government budget deficits), private debt works over time to extract interest and amortization from the economy, along with servicing fees.

Read more …

The bigger threat.

East Africa Locust Plague Up To 20 Times Larger Than Last Wave (Ind.)

A locust plague up to 20 times larger than a wave two months earlier is threatening to devastate parts of East Africa. January and February saw the worst locust outbreak some countries had seen in 70 years, with crops and farmland ravaged across much of Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia. But now, amid a global coronavirus pandemic, a second, much bigger round of the voracious insects is arriving. Billions of the young desert locusts are winging in from breeding grounds in Somalia in search of fresh vegetation springing up with seasonal rains. Millions of already vulnerable people are at risk. And as they gather to try to combat the locusts, often in vain, they risk spreading Covid-19 – a topic that comes a distant second for many in rural areas.

It is the locusts that “everyone is talking about”, said Yoweri Aboket, a farmer in Uganda. “Once they land in your garden they do total destruction. Some people will even tell you that the locusts are more destructive than the coronavirus. There are even some who don’t believe that the virus will reach here.” Some farmers in Mr Abokat’s village near the Kenyan border bang metal pans, whistle or throw stones to try to drive the locusts away. But mostly they watch in frustration, largely barred by a coronavirus lockdown from gathering outside their homes.

A failed garden of cassava, a local staple, means hunger. Such worries in the village of some 600 people are reflected across a large part of East Africa, including Kenya, Ethiopia and South Sudan. The locust swarms also have been sighted in Djibouti, Eritrea, Tanzania and Congo. The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has called the locust outbreak, caused in part by climate change, “an unprecedented threat” to food security and livelihoods. Its officials have called this new wave some 20 times the size of the first.

Read more …

How does she explain to her kids later why their father was murdered by the government?

Julian Assange Fathered Two Sons While Inside Ecuadorian Embassy In London (DM)

Julian Assange secretly fathered two sons while holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, The Mail on Sunday can reveal. Gabriel, aged two, and his one-year-old brother Max were conceived while their father was hiding out to avoid extradition to America, where he faces espionage charges over the leaking of thousands of classified US intelligence documents. At the time, Assange, 48, was also wanted in Sweden where he was accused of rape. He has always denied the sex allegations, which have now been dropped. The boys’ mother is 37-year-old South African-born lawyer Stella Morris, who fell in love with the controversial WikiLeaks founder five years ago while visiting him to work on a legal bid to halt the extraditions. The couple have been engaged since 2017. [..] It is understood the couple also managed to keep their relationship and the birth of their children secret from Ecuadorian diplomats and officials who had given Assange refuge.

[..] At the time that Gabriel was conceived in 2016, Assange had been inside the embassy, close to Harrods, for four years and was believed to be under constant surveillance by American security services. [..] It is understood the couple also managed to keep their relationship and the birth of their children secret from Ecuadorian diplomats and officials who had given Assange refuge. [..] She is pleading for her fiance to be released under Government plans to free thousands of prisoners to quell the spread of the deadly virus between bars. Miss Morris says Assange is doubly vulnerable because he suffers from a chronic lung condition exacerbated by his years inside the embassy and has mental health issues which become more severe as a result of isolation. She said last night: ‘I love Julian deeply and I am looking forward to marrying him.

‘Over the past five years I have discovered that love makes the most intolerable circumstances seem bearable but this is different – I am now terrified I will not see him alive again. ‘Julian has been fiercely protective of me and has done his best to shield me from the nightmares of his life. ‘I have lived quietly and privately, raising Gabriel and Max on my own and longing for the day we could be together as a family. ‘Now I have to speak out because I can see that his life is on the brink. ‘Julian’s poor physical health puts him at serious risk, like many other vulnerable people, and I don’t believe he will survive infection with coronavirus. ‘Mentally, I do not think he will survive further enforced isolation either. ‘He is effectively in solitary confinement, in a cell for up for 23 and a half hours a day with no access to us, his family, or the psychiatric help he needs.’

[..] Miss Morris had an international upbringing with her theatre director mother and urban planner father. The family spent time in Sweden meaning she was a fluent Swedish speaker, able to help defend Assange against the allegations, which were rescinded last year. She is also a fluent Spanish speaker, a skill which would become equally critical when Assange sought asylum in a South American embassy the following year. She has a degree in law and politics from London’s prestigious School of Oriental and African Studies and took her MSc at Oxford where she was a noted scholar. She became a member of Assange’s inner circle in the embassy, officially changing her name from Sara Gonzalez Devant to Stella Morris so she could maintain a lower profile while researching and drafting legal documents for WikiLeaks.

Read more …

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Home Forums Debt Rattle April 12 2020

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    Helen Levitt New York 1939   • DOJ Threatens Action Against Pandemic Crackdowns On Religious Ceremonies (JTN) • Can Trump Reopen The Economy On M
    [See the full post at: Debt Rattle April 12 2020]

    V. Arnold

    Helen Levitt New York 1939…
    WTF? It’s interesting, especially the one back in the shadows; But no Idea in the end………

    Economist Danielle DiMartino Booth talks about the correlation to the great depression and today in a sit-down with Patrick Bet-David.

    Great video; she’s very savvy…


    The Plague the Torah Refers to Must’ve Been Fungal?… Revisionist Religious Conspiracy Theory


    Who has that much power?
    Why would someone expend that much power against Assange?

    The virus has done more political, economical, social damage than anything that Assange and Wikileaks could have done.

    Dr. D

    Speaking of lies from my comment yesterday (okay, a few minutes ago), Financial Times: Fake, just ‘cause. ‘Cause always, ‘cause we can’t say any words UNLESS they’re lies, “Death toll is climbing ever faster in NY and London.” No, “ever faster” means the rate is accelerating. That curve is above 45deg. Their curve is still rising, but at an decreasing rate. And why? “Numbers are rising” is still a dramatic headline. The numbers are bigly, so that sells papers anyway. But no, they have to lie, then print it right above their own chart that shows it’s false, they’re lying. Ugh. No one notices. No one cares. The very next thing they say we all believe. “Assad gasses his people.” “RussiaRussiaRussia” “Iraq has WMDs.” Iran, the foremost Shia state, has ties to Al-queda, their opposite and arch enemy, the furthest Sunni Wahaabists. Every word, every day.

    Noreda shows decent chart, though. U.S. rates are far lower, not higher. Because we’re ridiculously larger. That’s why we’re not as serious about lockdown, although actually amazingly cooperative, for us, and at great personal cost.

    The Justice Department signaled Saturday night it may intervene”

    That’s a heck of a hard call. Hamilton, Henry, didn’t write “you have the right to speak EXCEPT if someone is sick. You can believe what you want EXCEPT if there’s a pandemic, we can call, any time we like, either too early or far too late, and keep the “State of Emergency” “War on Adjectives” going on forever.” It wasn’t “Give me Liberty unless it’s inconvenient and someone might get hurt.” However, obviously now might not be the best time to congregate. Shows that they believe their God and are willing to die for their religion, however, which is why such hatred and scorn is put upon them. “Idiots! Chumps!” By people who believe in nothing, and cower in their basements hating principle and bravery.

    White House officials concede the approach will have little effect on the larger economy”

    Yeah, this guy lives on the coast. So, because YOU have trouble with medieval diseases and open sewers on every sidewalk from San Diego to Redmond, the guys in Tulsa have to eat s—t and die in a box, starving and unemployed. Oh wait, that was every other day for the last 30 years; This disease changes everything. Not. Not only is he dictating everything for the other 3,000 counties with almost no cases (of course!) but we have the MonoCulture, where one size fits all, regardless of if you’re a town of 300 in Wyoming or W. Virginia. ‘Cause I said so! I’m a Schmarty! Look upon me and my arrogant genius and despair! Abandon all hope, ye who read the L.A. Times.

    This is why we have Federalism, where one size does not fit all and we push the decisions down as far locally as we can. ESPECIALLY in INCREDIBLY large and diverse nations.

    More models. If Finland is right, why hasn’t everyone gotten it already? Clearly it’s impossible to leave your house without being contaminated according to their computer. A: because it’s a computer CGI we invented in our heads. Mostly, but not entirely devoid of reality. Why? Because we already know from the results their model cannot possibly be true. Great job over-hyping and scaring everyone to death though! Suicide rates are way up!

    I have to be complimentary, otherwise I would be simply lying”–Newsom

    Hell hath frozen over. It is the end of the world indeed. No about Trump, but that a politician opened his mouth and did not tell lies. That we know of. Yet.

    Hundreds Of US Meat Workers Have Tested Positive For Coronavirus (LATimes)”

    Along with tens of thousands everywhere. So? Did they stay home with kleenex for a day like everyone else? Getting it means NOTHING. It’s only people who need medical care that matters. Again, great job with wild, unfounded fear. And the deaths you cause from it you can’t go to jail for! So this article: “Two people in the entire U.S. meat packing industry died.” In four months. Wow.

    “also that of Africa, where the situation is developing differently”

    Now that’s interesting. Which is why they didn’t follow up or provide any facts, however vague, about it. How is it different? Guarantee it’s different in a way that doesn’t support The Narrative™. Not looking though because EVERYTHING I see doesn’t follow The Narrative™.

    Here’s the timeline of government failure.

    Answer: more government, more laws, more rules, more budgets.

    Greece: Exactly what I was going to say from their numbers. Greece is wildly smaller = fewer cases. But also because far smaller, far more rural and disperse. Adjust for those two and you’ll find, sure they were better, but how much? Probably mild. From this logic you could say Iowa was better, far smarter than NY. Not really. They just don’t have 67,000ppl/sq.mi.

    Is The Next Great Depression Here? (VT)

    We’ve been in it since ‘08, ‘01, or even 1994, your choice. They’ve done everything they can to keep it going and make it worse, just like FDR, in order to prevent a few wealthy people from finding fair market value and losing a small % of money. Now an entire generation has no houses, no children, no household formation, no retirement. So thanks for killing and eating your children, you cannibals. Right now they’re doing it via medicare while all the young are out of jobs.

    Turkish Court Accepts Indictment For Khashoggi Murder Suspects (DS)”

    I struggle to imagine what possible jurisdiction they would have over Saudi sovereign territory, affairs, and citizens, but law? What law? We just make it up.

    Government money creation … spurs prosperity.

    Done reading. If this were even SLIGHTLY true, then why does prosperity ALWAYS get WORSE every time they create money? Not just here, but everywhere in history? No one notices. Nods heads, “Oh you’re right, Mr. Expert, you’re so brave and strong to dilute the money –I– use, and thereby steal MY hard work for yourself to distribute to others, to your friends, to buy support.” So where does your bread, your cheese, your chair come from? From ME, getting up at 4am and W O R K I N G. Your money creation means NOTHING, has no purpose, no creation, no intelligence, no risk, no value, no worth. You’re just stealing to buy votes from the people who DON’T work. And by this I mostly mean Wall Street and they hand money back to you, D.C. to keep this theft and power rolling, and us all near-dead. Even in the odd and uncommon chance that you actually create a road or bridge that might have value, which hasn’t been done in my lifetime, all that money going to Google and Apple and every defense contractor that never built a plane that could fly, while more than half the nation dies in decay in Flint. But go ahead: no one will learn any other way. Do it until the nation collapses and the poor die most, like every other time and place in history.

    At the time, Assange, 48, was also wanted in Sweden

    Very clever to bring them up prominently fill space with them, knowing they are now quite provably false. Good job, Daily Mail, who cleverly prints all false things while technically being free of libel. “I didn’t SAY your mother was a whore, I said SOME PEOPLE said she was. Anonymous people we don’t know. And later retracted it.” See?

    Speaking of, wasn’t that “Worst Shift” nurse the one who made everything up, wasn’t on shift, and was totally discredited?

    P.S. CBS is still using the false footage from Italy. After being exposed for their fake news. Twice. Not. Helping.



    From the article below :

    “Every patient I’ve prescribed it to has been very, very ill and within 8 to 12 hours, they were basically symptom-free,” Cardillo told Eyewitness News, adding “So clinically I am seeing a resolution.”

    Cardillo, CEO of Mend Urgent Care, says that the drug must be used in conjunction with Zinc, as the hdroxycholoroquine opens a ‘channel’ for the mineral to enter cells and prevent the virus from replicating.

    This is a very powerful statement. While it needs to be verified it gives a simple treatment which at least can be tried OUTSIDE of a hospital by ANYONE. There are some precautions needed, for example I take Metformin and this would need flushing from my system before the drug could be given.

    I read about how the elderly are being refused hospital admission, care homes where the staff are ill or self-isolating such that residents are being left dead in their beds.

    I read about hospitals being swamped, staff infected and dying. ALSO all the routine functions of hospitals such as surgery and treatment for other illnesses are being suspended, leading to further death and suffering.

    If the treatment above is remotely effective it should be given to those who start developing serious symptoms. It can be done in people’s homes and so help to stop the spread. It could mean hospitals actually being able to treat other people again.

    I do not know if this treatment just alleviates the symptoms and help the body fight off the infection, or whether it does actually stop the disease. Are people still infectious after treatment?

    Even so it does seem like a miracle cure with a drug which has been around for fifty years and whose side effects and problems are well known. It should be tried at every opportunity. While stocks are scarce due to hoarding fresh supplies from the manufacturers should be sufficient – it seems to be a ‘one-off’ treatment rather than ongoing, like its’ normal users. It would be criminal if this treatment was not used because of politics!

    One [sort of] amusing thought : If Trump haters refuse to take it because he mentioned it and die, while Trump supporters take it and live, well I am sure Trump would shed a few crocodile tears!



    Underdogs have default.
    Elites have jubilee



    Oracular Divination (title: The Sage Consults the Lightning Bugs)


    >UN Seeks To Lease Hotels, Ships To House Refugees
    Maybe cruise ships aren’t the best idea. Too many people, too close together.

    Figmund Sreud

    Shish! Proliferation of doctors – with an opinion and an advise – continues unabated. Here is one, Canadian, … a “spin doctor with a PhD in Centrifugal Rhetoric from the University of SASE”. Yes. This doctor, Dr. Steve, offers a handy guide to spotting the pandemic scamsters:

    Please Advise: Who’s Least Likely to Lie to Me about COVID-19?

    … read and take note.




    I just heard Cuomo say live on C-Span that Minnesota receives about $300,000 per Covid case.
    Hey- let’s put an economic incentive into a positive result! (app. 10:40 am cdt)

    Concerning Dr. D’s post from april 11:
    In the late eighties, my 82 yr old grandmother had a terrible stroke. Unable to speak or move, it was clear from her eyes she was terrified. She had a DNR order on her clipboard. A few days in, she had a heart attack. The attending nurse said the next day that she knew her daughters “weren’t actually bad people, and wouldn’t want to lose their mother”, so the nurse ignored the DNR and the hospital kept her alive for another six months.
    Death can be a blessing. My many nurse-friends always said “pneumonia is the old person’s friend.”
    I have a DNR. I dread hospitals. They buried my Gramma alive for six months.

    Eos forgot to ask for eternal youth for Tithonus, her beloved, when she begged for it from the gods. Eternal life withered him into misery. The gods took pity on him and turned him into a cicada.
    Death can be a blessing.
    I have too often seen my friends watch their love for their parents turn to a secret wish for finality.
    Death can be a blessing.


    Dr. D says: “The very next thing they say we all believe. “Assad gasses his people.” “RussiaRussiaRussia” “Iraq has WMDs.” Iran, the foremost Shia state, has ties to Al-queda, their opposite and arch enemy, the furthest Sunni Wahaabists. Every word, every day.”

    Don’t forget the Warren Commission’s Magic Bullet Theory, the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, and the NIST report findings that Building 7 fell straight down in its own footprint because of a couple of office fires.


    “crashing into an exploding shit show”




    Hey bosco. Plumbers are expensive. Take a handful of these next time, and maybe you won’t have to call one.



    I do it for the thrill, OMG.


    Mm ba ba de
    Um bum ba de
    Um bu bu bum da de
    Pressure pushing down on me
    Pressing down on you no man ask for
    Under pressure that brings a building down
    Splits a family in two
    Puts people on streets
    Um ba ba be
    Um ba ba be
    De day da
    Ee day da that’s okay
    It’s the terror of knowing
    What the world is about
    Watching some good friends
    Screaming Let me out
    Pray tomorrow gets me higher
    Pressure on people people on streets
    Day day de mm hm
    Da da da ba ba
    Chippin’ around kick my brains around the floor
    These are the days it never rains but it pours
    Ee do ba be
    Ee da ba ba ba
    Um bo bo
    Be lap
    People on streets ee da de da de
    People on streets ee da de da de da de da
    It’s the terror of knowing
    What this world is about
    Watching some good friends
    Screaming let me out
    Pray tomorrow gets me higher higher high
    Pressure on people people on streets
    Turned away from it all like a blind man
    Sat on a fence but it don’t work
    Keep coming up with love but it’s so slashed and torn
    Why, why, why?
    Love love love love love
    Insanity laughs under pressure we’re breaking
    Can’t we give ourselves one more chance
    Why can’t we give love that one more chance
    Why can’t we give love give love give love give love
    Give love give love give love give love give love
    ‘Cause love’s such an old fashioned word
    And love dares you to care for
    The people on the (people on streets) edge of the night
    And loves (people on streets) dares you to change our way of
    Caring about ourselves
    This is our last dance
    This is ourselves
    Under pressure
    Under pressure


    There’s some of this in all of us. Boogaloo referred to it obliquely when he confessed his “dark side”.

    When Prophecy Fails

    It’s the Blimp!


    The FT graphs are interesting. How you view them depends on one’s education and world view.

    The State of Washington deaths were jagged at the beginning. Likely did to imported infections that were not detected due to the testing debacle by the US federal government that let the pandemic spread undetected throughout the USA. Dr. Anthony Fauci admitted America did nothing until it saw what was happening in Italy and then the Washington DC issued guidelines and left it to the 50 States to do haphazardly lockdowns. This caused the differences in the graphs between Washington, New York and the other states.

    The top five nations for new cases were all members of the now defunct Western Empire. A global trade organization instituted to make the rich richer and the poor poorer. They succeeded. Government was drowned in the bathtub. Except unprepared, the Wuhan Coronavirus crashed the global economy totally. The differences in the number of each nation’s deaths are directly due to how well government dealt with the crisis. In the West it is horrific due to western plutocrats who put profit above human lives.

    All four nations at the bottom of the graph instituted strict contact tracing and isolation of the infected. Unless national governments are reconstituted in the West and strict testing regime, staffing and safe quarantines of the infected are set up, my prediction is the number of new cases will plateau and trail off very slowly as the herd is culled. A dark age will engulf the West until a treatment is found or democracy, government by and for the people, is restored. Only people working together can overcome the pandemic and reopen the economy.



    Dr. D

    Washington DC issued guidelines and left it to the 50 States to do haphazardly lockdowns. This caused the differences in the graphs between Washington, New York and the other states.”

    Well that doesn’t sound right. NY locked down first and is worst. Iowa hasn’t locked down and it’s untouched. Yes, NY has more world traffic but then why not D.C. or Miami, O’Hare or Atlanta?
    The lockdown is political, so that the Federal could only do it via martial law, which I hope we do not want. As the States are sovereign, they are in control. They have the power. And they’ve used it as they wished, for the first time in my lifetime as legally required, and only because the Feds didn’t. But although always legally having all the power they need, it won’t stop them from complaining and blaming the Federal level which does NOT have the power under our Federal system and the Constitution.

    As a Federal system should Billings, MT have the same draconian rules as Brooklyn, NYC? Of course not, but that’s what you get if you DEMAND a Federal-only response and complain about any other possible response. That’s part of what makes “tyranny”: that the system, the rules, account for nothing but are iron and ignorant. That and how we see everywhere rules apply to YOU and not them, yesterday with Chicago mayor getting her hair done and proudly clicking a selfie-hug with no masks. “Rules for thee and not for me, forever and ever, amen.” Pass on edicts. Pass on hypercentralization and a monoplan for a nation with 3.79M sq miles.

    A dark age will engulf the West until a treatment is found or democracy.”

    OMG people love drama. Shows just how light and laughable the “crisis” is that they have time for such rot and nonsense. There is no Dark Age. All information ever known is at your fingertips. All cell phones work from the Space Stations to McMurdo, Antarctica. Netflix has not been shut off. You can order food and clothes from anywhere worldwide and have them delivered to your door. Even book a transatlantic flight if you wish. How on God’s earth could that be misconstrued as a “Dark Age.” If there’s any dark age, it’s of the mind as well tell ourselves endless, tireless, ceaseless lies, life being so easy we’re bored and need invent things for entertainment.

    Government was drowned in the bathtub.”

    Government has been growing in a straight line for 100 years and has never been larger than now, as it controls $2T/year of a $12T (ha) economy. That’s 1/6th. It increased under every president, particularly Reagan, the only person under whom it supposedly shrank, but clearly doubled (?) an already large and essentially pointless ineffectual government as say under Carter. But it’s easy to tell as we claim to have 17 intelligence agencies, a half-dozen law enforcement agencies, FBI, SEC, CFTC, IG, yet not one of them can do a G-d d—–d thing except watch porn, not even stop world-wide child trafficking and rape, among the highest people everybody knew about for decades, not even get from behind a golf cart during a child shooting.

    At the same time, this government doles out money and enforces the most unjust and illegal monopolies the world has seen outside of Soviet Russia. Without a hyper-large, extremely active, and fundamentally capricious government, this level of income equality would be impossible. I wouldn’t say government was drowned in a bathtub, I’d say it was The Blob, growing ever larger, mindlessly crushing everything it touches, as right now it didn’t restock 5 million masks and unemployed 16M people.

    People talk about how the virus has shut down the economy. The virus did nothing. N O T H I N G. It was a rounding error. It was our CHOICE to voluntarily shut down everything worldwide that shut it down. WE did. It’s not an asteroid from space, we CHOSE it. And that may be wrong or it may be right but the virus had little to do with it. So we don’t have to cure or overcome anything to reopen it. We shut it down voluntarily because we felt like it, so we can re-open it in an instant because we feel like it. Much of America is in “quarantine theatre” that is so full of holes and exceptions it’s buying the worst of both worlds. A third isn’t stopping anything, and wouldn’t, except their bars are closed and people are cranky, so the only places they CAN go, they do. So essentially, they’ve been “open” all along except you put them out of a job and into desperate poverty with a lot of free time. What’s to re-open? Groceries, Wal-Mart, Amazon, Home Depot, Dr.’s offices, car parts, gas stations, pharmacies, pizza parlors, liquor stores, drug dealers, and prostitution are all open right now. Since almost nothing was shut down except (sit-in) restaurants and schools, what’s to reopen? What are we overcoming? Not the virus. Our own choice or fears. The virus has now killed 0.006% of the U.S., and that’s with bad accounting. They claim we’re at the peak.

    The virus isn’t in control. It’s not responsible for the economy. We are.


    FWIW- He misspoke. The number I think he meant was $39,000. It came from State Sen. Scott Jensen of Mn., referring to those who went on ventilators. Comment comment from 12 April 2020, amended 14 April 2020.
    Went back to the transcript and the tape. He said $300,000.

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