Oct 032020
 


René Magritte Le Cri du Coeur 1960

 

Trump Checks Into Walter Reed Medical Center As Precaution For COVID19 (JTN)
From Gloating To Tears (LA Times)
CNN Thrills With Airing Of Secret Taping of First Lady (Turley)
Just Before Obama Left Office, US Officials Feared Burisma Paid 2nd Bribe (JTN)
Media Willfully Ignore Hunter Biden Scandal (Hemingway)
Michigan Supreme Court Rules Governor Exceeded Her Lockdown Powers (CT)
40% of Seoul Residents Have Mental Health Issues Due To COVID19 (KT)
Why Is The Assange Case Unloved By The Media? (Crikey)
Reps. Tulsi Gabbard, Massie Call For Charges Against Assange To Be Dropped

 

 

Europe is getting out of control.

 

 

This made me laugh so hard. The Trump campaign should turn it into a TV ad and play it 100 times a day.

 

 

Seems a bit more than just precaution.

Trump is taking Regeneron’s experimental polyclonan antibody cocktail, zinc, vitamin D, famotidine, melatonin, a daily aspirin, and Remdesivir. But no HCQ.

Trump Checks Into Walter Reed Medical Center As Precaution For COVID19 (JTN)

President Trump is being transported to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center roughly eighteen hours after he announced that he and the First Lady had tested positive for COVID-19, the White House said in a statement. The president was seen departing the White House late Friday afternoon, wearing a suit and a face covering while walking to an awaiting helicopter on the South Lawn. “Out of an abundance of caution, and at the recommendation of his physician and medical experts, the President will be working from the presidential offices at Walter Reed for the next few days,” White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement late Friday afternoon.


The president “remains in good spirts, has mild symptoms, and has been working throughout the day,” she added. The president received an experimental antibiotic “cocktail” after his diagnosis with COVID-19, White House physician Sean Conley said earlier in the day. In a memorandum released on Friday afternoon, Conley said Trump had received “a single 8 gram dose of Regeneron’s polyclonan antibody cocktail.” He is also taking “zinc, vitamin D, famotidine, melatonin and a daily aspirin,” Conley added. “As of this afternoon the President remains fatigued but in good spirits,” Conley continued, stating that the president is “being evaluated by a team of experts.”

Read more …

So many people on Twitter wished for Trump to die that the company issued a statement saying such Tweets will be removed. In other words, as someone also tweeted, Twitter will have a busy weekend.

From Gloating To Tears (LA Times)

In Atlanta, property appraiser Leslie Sublett cried as she discussed his diagnosis with co-workers, suspicious that it was a lie to minimize the pandemic and to manipulate the battle around the election and the U.S. Supreme Court. Sublett, a 50-year-old Democrat, could not shake the feeling that the United States was collapsing. “I’ve had it up to here,” she said, raising her hand above her head. “If we can’t depend on the basic tenets of our democracy, we’re Rome in the end stages. We will cease to be. Gosh, it sounds so dark and terrible, but that’s what I’m crying over.” In Lake Charles, La., Republican Kevin Lavergne was anxious too — not about the pandemic, which he still believes is exaggerated, but about election security, the U.S. Postal Service and the economy, especially since Hurricane Laura devastated his town in August.

“People are losing their lives, committing suicide because of the stress,” said Lavergne, 48, a construction worker who’s been unemployed since the pandemic effectively shut down the local economy. “If we don’t have it up and running and people making money, how are we going to survive?” The president’s diagnosis came as the coronavirus continued its relentless spread, as did protests over police brutality and complaints of voter suppression and election fraud. Americans across the political spectrum were unnerved and grappling with more upheavals than they have since marches over civil rights and the Vietnam War decades ago.

“We used to call the 1960s tumultuous. The ’20s are looking to be a nation unspooling. We’re losing the threads of our democracy, busting apart,” said professor Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian at Rice University. “It’s been probably the hardest American year since 1968. It’s been one day of bad news after another.” Concern about whether free and fair elections are possible is particularly acute, he said, especially after the first debate between Trump and Joe Biden this week devolved into “a grotesque carnival.” “As a country, we’ve had hard times before,” Brinkley said, but now America feels divided along party lines as they wage a “neo-civil war.” “Everybody is spinning and there’s a kind of depression and our traditional optimism is gone,” he said.

Read more …

How this can be turned into another scandal is beyond me. Melania “bashed” Christmas Decorations! Details at 8! She tried to help the children, but was told she couldn’t. She gets upset that the press question her but not the Obama’s. That’s was she’s addressing when she says “Give me a f****** break.” That Obama separated children too. But by cutting it off there, they can make it look like she doesn’t care about the children.

“OK, and then I do it and I say that I’m working on Christmas and planning for the Christmas and they said, ‘Oh, what about the children that they were separated?’ Give me a f****** break. Where they were saying anything when Obama did that? I can not go, I was trying get the kid reunited with the mom. I didn’t have a chance — needs to go through the process and through the law.””

CNN Thrills With Airing Of Secret Taping of First Lady (Turley)

Years ago, American politics left all notion of decency behind in our age of rage. That was evident when the media and liberals celebrated the disgraceful conduct of Maryanne Trump betraying her aunt’s confidence in secretly recording her talking about her brother. The same people reveled in the unethical conduct of former Trump attorney Michael Cohen who not only secretly recorded his client, President Donald Trump, but has been violating any notion of confidentiality in pushing his own tell all book. Now, CNN’s Anderson Cooper has been reduced to shilling for Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, the former assistant and friend of Melania Trump who secretly recorded their confidential chats and is now selling a book by playing embarrassing snip bits.

What is incredible about these people is that, while currying favors as false friends or counsels, they were actively taping people who trusted them in case they wanted to later cash in on their access. In the latest example, CNN ran an entirely valueless significant in primetime to simply show the First Lady swearing and complaining about Christmas obligations. Melania “bashed” Christmas Decorations! Details at 8! This used to be the network of figures like Bernard Shaw. As Melania Trump unburdened herself to her friend, Wolkoff kept recording and hoping for something juicy. What she got was this line “I’m working… my ass off on the Christmas stuff, that you know, who gives a fuck about the Christmas stuff and decorations? But I need to do it, right?”

That thrilled Anderson Cooper, who once would have become physically ill at the notion of running such ill-gotten tripe. Instead, he exclaims “Talk about a war on Christmas! It’s funny that she would be leading that.” Talk about a war on journalism! CNN is now trafficking in material that would make the National Inquirer blush. By the way . . . funny? Is that the most descriptive term for this story. What about pursuing the utter betrayal and dishonesty shown by Wolkoff in setting up a friend and boss? There is nothing “funny” about CNN leading with this type of matter, of course. The most newsworthy aspect of this story was the one largely untouched: the despicable level of dishonesty that motivates this type of banking of secret recordings by people like Wolkoff.

It is the very reason that viewers are abandoning the network and media has plummeted in polling in terms of perceived accuracy and honesty. I still view Cooper as an insightful and intelligent journalist but this is an example of how corrupting the current environment has become for many. There is a new sense of an absolute license to engage in any attack or distort any fact for the greater good. Indeed, we now have leading journalism professors denouncing the very concept of objectivity in journalism.

Read more …

The usual suspects: Yovanovich, Victoria Nuland. And both Bidens. Note how the mood and message changed the moment Obama left.

Just Before Obama Left Office, US Officials Feared Burisma Paid 2nd Bribe (JTN)

Twenty-two days before President Obama left office, the U.S. ambassador to Kiev wrote top officials in Washington that she feared Burisma Holdings had made a second bribe to Ukrainian officials — shortly before a corruption probe against Hunter Biden’s natural gas employer was abruptly closed before Donald Trump took office. The concerns are detailed in new memos belatedly released to Just the News under a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the State Department. The suit was brought on behalf of the news organization by the public interest law firm the Southeastern Legal Foundation.

Then-Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch’s concerns were first raised in a Ukrainian news story about a Russian-backed fugitive lawmaker in Ukraine, who alleged Burisma had dumped low-priced natural gas into the market for officials near Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to buy low and sell high, making a bribe disguised as a profit. The scheme was confirmed by U.S. officials before Yovanovitch alerted the top State official for Ukraine and Russia policy in Washington at the time, Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, the memos show. “There are accusations that Burisma allegedly had a subsidiary dump natural gas as a way to pay bribes,” Yovanovitch wrote Nuland on Dec. 29, 2016, noting the story “mentions that Hunter Biden and former Polish President Kwasniewski are on the Burisma Board.”

The alert was the second in two years in which the embassy alleged Burisma had paid a bribe while Vice President Joe Biden’s son served on its board. Back in February 2015, then-embassy official George Kent reported to the U.S. Justice Department evidence that Burisma had made a $7 million cash bribe to Ukrainian prosecutors before those prosecutors killed a separate corruption probe in the United Kingdom by failing to produce required evidence. The second alleged bribe in December 2016 was brought to the attention of Yovanovitch and Kent, then a top aide to the ambassador, shortly after the Christmas holiday when a story appeared in the Ukrainian press. “Lots of accusations/innuendo,” Yovanovitch was told in an email. “Mentions Biden’s son and Kwasniewski are on board of Burisma, which allegedly had a subsidiary dump natural gas recently as a way to pay bribes to P2 inner circle.”

P2 was the shorthand State officials in the U.S. embassy in Kiev used to refer to Petro Poroshenko, the Ukrainian president, who was close to Vice President Biden. Because the allegations were first raised by Oleksander Onyschenko, a fugitive in Ukraine who was tied to Russian sources, as well as Radical Party Leader Oleg Lyashko, embassy officials checked them out and confirmed them before telling Nuland. “The dumping part is true,” the embassy’s deputy economic counselor wrote Yovanovitch a few hours after the story surfaced and before Nuland was alerted. The official told the ambassador a major Ukrainian figure close to Poroshenko was “photographed meeting with [Burisma founder Mykola] Zlochevsky in a Vienna restaurant over the weekend, and Zlochevsky may have handed over a suitcase. You can’t make this up.”

Read more …

He shall not be named has also not been seen in ages.

Media Willfully Ignore Hunter Biden Scandal (Hemingway)

Last week, a Senate Intelligence Committee report detailed how the son of a major presidential candidate, who has an extensive history of shady foreign business dealings, received a $3.5-million wire transfer from the wife of a Russian politician. The New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC, and most major media outlets didn’t cover the story at all. Four years ago, not reporting such a story was a possibility too absurd to even contemplate – but then again, no one would have predicted the candidate with the shady Russia ties is not Donald Trump, but Joe Biden. People often talk about how Trump is responsible for destroying political norms, and that’s a valid concern.

However, one of the truly frightening things about the Trump era is how institutions have exploited a perceived crisis in truth-telling to justify abandoning their own standards by blaming it on Trump. Increasingly, we see major stories break where the media establishment decides on a collective omertà because the story undermines its own credibility or might sway voters in directions it doesn’t approve of. When that happens, no news is good news. The problem with hiding the truth is that you can’t suppress it forever, let alone a week, in this news environment. After the initial blackout, we are finally starting to see some coverage of Hunter Biden’s suspect wire transfer – but only after Trump himself raised the issue in the recent presidential debate and forced the media’s hand. The little coverage the issue has received is instructive, and not in a good way.

When Trump raised the issue at the debate, Joe Biden responded by saying the claim was “Totally discredited. Totally discredited.” Given that it’s a direct allegation in a government document and Biden is flatly denying it, you’d think this would be a perfect opportunity for the media to dig in and sort out the truth of the claim. Instead, they have essentially punted on the issue. According to PolitiFact, which refused to rate the claim either true or false, the facts are in dispute because “Biden’s lawyer says he did not co-found the partnership [that received the money] and had no stake in it,” and “Democrats say they reviewed the Republicans’ documentation but did not find a specific link to Hunter Biden.”

[..] So why does the Senate intel committee report that Biden was a “co-founder” of the firm in question? Well, one clue might be that committee members read it in the media. A lengthy New Yorker profile of Hunter Biden from last year, which clearly had extensive cooperation from the Biden team, reported the following: “In June, 2009, five months after Joe Biden became Vice-President, Hunter co-founded a second company, Rosemont Seneca Partners, with Christopher Heinz, Senator John Kerry’s stepson.” That was 15 months ago. For the Biden camp to be disputing this key fact now seems awfully convenient. Further, in that same magazine article, Hunter Biden admits to taking an $80,000 bribe from a Communist Chinese Party-connected tycoon, in the form of a 2.8-carat diamond delivered to his hotel room.

[..] For Joe Biden to tell the American people this accusation is “totally discredited,” when the media hadn’t even touched the story, well, honest fact-checkers would tell it like it is: Joe Biden stood up in front of tens of millions of Americans on Tuesday night and told a self-serving lie – a lie that would have been called a four-alarm trouser conflagration if Trump had said it.

Devin Nunes

Read more …

“..the governor is obligated to terminate the state of emergency or state of disaster after 28 days..”

Michigan Supreme Court Rules Governor Exceeded Her Lockdown Powers (CT)

The supreme court in Michigan has ruled that Governor Gretchen Whitmer exceeded her constitutional authority under state law in the arbitrary enforcement of her unilateral decrees to mitigate the COVID-19 virus. [pdf here] As the court wrote in the opinion rebuking the governor: “The people of this state have been denied a voice and a seat at the table in decisions that have impacted every facet of their lives and their futures over the past eight months. They deserve to have their representatives bring their voice and their concerns into this decision-making process.”

At the heart of the governor’s legal argument was a 1945 law allowing the governor to declare a state of disaster or emergency if she finds one to exist and it remains in place for 28 days, unless the Legislature extends it. The legislature did not extend the declaration, yet the governor continued to restrict the citizens without any representative voice. “MICHIGAN – […] In the 4-3 ruling, the court determined the governor did not have the authority under state law to issue any additional emergency declarations pertaining to the pandemic after April 30. That was the last date when the legislature allowed the governor to declare an emergency. “The governor’s declaration of a state of emergency or state of disaster may only endure for 28 days absent legislative approval of an extension. So, if the Legislature does nothing, as it did here, the governor is obligated to terminate the state of emergency or state of disaster after 28 days,” said the majority opinion, written by Judge Stephen Markman.

[…] “Put simply, and our criticism is not of the Governor in this regard but of the statute in dispute — almost certainly, no individual in the history of this state has ever been vested with as much concentrated and standardless power to regulate the lives of our people, free of the inconvenience of having to act in accord with other accountable branches of government and free of any need to subject her decisions to the ordinary interplay of our system of separated powers and checks and balances, with even the ending date of this exercise of power reposing exclusively in her own judgment and discretion,” the majority wrote.

Read more …

People need people. Quelle surprise.

40% of Seoul Residents Have Mental Health Issues Due To COVID19 (KT)

The prolonged coronavirus pandemic has seen the mental health of Seoul citizens deteriorate more than their physical health, according to a recent survey by Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG). According to the survey results released on Monday, 1,489 of 3,983 respondents -almost 40%- said their mental health has deteriorated since the start of the pandemic, whereas 22 percent felt it has worsened their physical health. A total of 3,983 Seoul residents aged between 10 and 90 took part in the survey. The poll, organized in cooperation with IBM, was conducted via chatbots.

The main reasons offered for declining mental health were refraining from outdoor activities under social distancing measures, economic hardship, discomfort from wearing face masks, overall lethargy in daily routine, and the absence of human interaction. The survey also revealed that people feel more stressed about isolation than unemployment or decreased income. One third of the respondents stated that restricted leisure activities including travel bans were the main reason for mental stress. It was followed by lack of social interaction, chosen by 26 percent, followed by job loss or pay cuts, which was selected by 24 percent of respondents. “It is normal for people to easily become depressed when they lack physical activity, as physical and mental health are deeply connected.

Engaging in indoor activities such as home workouts or yoga will help,” said Lee Dong-gui, a professor of psychology at Yonsei University. “As COVID-19 has become a part of our daily lives, it may be better for our brains to view the pandemic as a marathon and prepare for it, rather than hoping it will soon come to an end,” advised Lee. Regarding the government’s social distancing measures, a vast majority -92%- consider the measures necessary and effective in containing the spread of the virus..

Read more …

View from his homeland.

Why Is The Assange Case Unloved By The Media? (Crikey)

A former employee of a Spanish security firm has told Julian Assange’s extradition hearing of a plan to abduct and even poison the Australian as part of a widespread surveillance operation said to have been ordered by an associate of US President Donald Trump. This revelation, concerning an Australian citizen who is facing 175 years in jail on espionage charges, made it to page 23 of The Sydney Morning Herald. In The Australian, it was given a small corner on page nine in the world news section, beneath a page of analysis on the first presidential debate. Yet the story would appear to have everything. Witnesses fearful for their lives alleging a conspiracy, tangentially involving the US president, to poison or kidnap a significant Australian figure.


Reports on the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexander Navalny, allegedly by the Russian government, got higher billing than Assange in the SMH (on top of an opinion piece declaring Navalny a hero). This is typical of the coverage of the Assange case. You can’t accuse the mainstream media of exactly ignoring the case, but it generally comes “mid-paper” (in print and online). It’s just another thing that’s happening in the world. But isn’t the trial of a Walkley award winner a case about press freedom? Compare this to the blanket front page coverage that followed the Right to Know campaign, where mainstream media outlets talked about the impediments they themselves regularly encounter on account of national security laws they otherwise cheer on.

Read more …

Go Tulsi!

Reps. Tulsi Gabbard, Massie Call For Charges Against Assange To Be Dropped

Today, Reps. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) and Thomas Massie (KY-04) introduced H.Res.1175, a resolution that defends the freedom of the press, noting that newsgathering activities and news organizations ability to acquire and publish information are protected under the First Amendment. The resolution calls for the United States to drop all charges and efforts to extradite Julian Assange.

“Freedom of the press is a vital function of a free democracy in which the government is accountable to the people. Julian Assange published information that exposed lies and abuses of power at the highest levels of our government. His indictment under the Espionage Act sends a chilling message to every member of the media and all Americans,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. “U.S. government prosecutors now claim that any journalist or news organization that publishes classified material is liable to prosecution under the Espionage Act — which would have led to the indictment of the Washington Post for the publication of the Pentagon Papers. The Federal government’s prosecution of Julian Assange sets a dangerous precedent. All extradition efforts and charges under the Espionage Act against Julian Assange must be dropped now.”

“At a time when government officials claim the right to perform warrantless surveillance upon all American citizens, there is an urgent need to zealously guard freedom of the press and to demand government transparency and accountability. The ongoing attempts to prosecute Julian Assange threaten our First Amendment rights, and should be opposed by all who wish to safeguard our constitutional rights now and in the years to come. I join my colleague, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, in calling for an immediate end to all charges against Mr. Assange,” said Rep. Thomas Massie.

Read more …

 

 

We try to run the Automatic Earth on donations. Since ad revenue has collapsed, you are now not just a reader, but an integral part of the process that builds this site.

Click at the top of the sidebars for Paypal and Patreon donations. Thank you for your support.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in virustime, election time, all the time.

 

Sep 262020
 
 September 26, 2020  Posted by at 5:42 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  20 Responses »


Dora Maar Model in swimsuit 1936

 

 

I’ll try one more time, if only to show you that me heart’s in the right place. Yes, lockdowns work, and so do facemasks. But that doesn’t mean all lockdowns or facemasks or requirements for either work all the time. The UK was very late with its first lockdown, and let in a million people through their airports without testing them. After they did lock down, another 100,000 came in, no testing.

And now people there say lockdowns don’t work. Have you seen this report, or that report? Sorry, but I don’t have to. A virus spreads by jumping from host to potential host. Keep them apart and it can’t spread. I don’t need a “scientific” probe to figure that one out. The principle of a lockdown works, but that’s still only half the story.

The facemask thing is a little more complex perhaps. But it’s complicated only because various governments have neglected to do the one thing they should have: make sure they have the best facemask ready for everyone, the one mask that is proven to be effective, preferably mass-produced in their country/state/territory. But have you seen N95 facilities being erected where you are?

Now the entire world is walking around with masks that they all can see offer little protection, and mostly where they have little effect. Moreover, I see lots of people here in Athens who washed them with their underwear and wear them again the next day, because they’ve been told they have to cover their face with something anything. But that’s not how this works. What little protection those blueish masks that are everywhere offer, is gone once you wash them. What’s left is merely symbolic.

And as for the well-meaning crowd that make their own masks, stop trying, those things don’t do a thing and they make you look stupid. There are actually norms and data and whatnot for this, and putting your panties on your face does not comply with any science whatsoever. It’s just scaring people, and we have enough of that, thank you. Non-woven masks work best, that mean anything to you?

The droplets that the virus hitchhikes on to get from one host to another are way too small to be stopped by granny getting creative with her bathroom curtains. But it’s not you, it’s your government which should have had an N95 mask production facility in place months ago.

They should also have mass-produced vitamin D, and zinc, because these cheap elements would have decreased the new cases, and the severity of them, by probably half. But no western government that I know of has even mentioned the role of these cheap supplements in the COVID story.

How odd is that? It appears to be in line with the hydroxychloroquine story, which went from “It will kill you!” when Trump first mentioned it in public, to “It’s not effective” in Fauci’s terminology. But medical doctors I’m talking to still maintain it works, and perhaps more importantly, continue to treat their infected patients with it.

Sort of the same thing goes for the western Big Pharma attempts to get a vaccine, there were 239 of those trials last time I counted. But there’s never been a vaccine for any of the many coronaviruses, and not for lack of trying. Unless you count the Russian Sputnik V, developed in a fundamentally different way from the western ones, but that wouldn’t make Big Pharma any profits, so we all choose to just ignore and discard it.

 

It’s “funny” to see how all those politicians like the power to tell people what to do, lock them down etc., but when their measures don’t work, and that’s the case all over Europe, they blame their people and never themselves. I haven’t seen even one say, I’m sorry, I failed, I step down. Instead they all talk about doing more of what didn’t work. More lockdowns. Hey, you failed, move over!

In countries like Britain and Holland, they’re so busy trying not to explain how and why they still didn’t have enough PCR testing capacity 9 months into the pandemic, that they completely fail to see that PCR is the wrong testing method to use on a grand scale. Holland has “identified” 5 rapid testing options and needs until November for their “experts” to find the best one.

Meanwhile they have a “rapid test test” facility where doctors and nurses apply the tests, which should cost perhaps €1 a piece max, but which set you back a very reasonable €225. Good lord. The incompetence is not going to stop here and now, it’s engrained in the political and societal brains and structures.

And it’s not just the politicians, the “experts” also refuse to see and acknowledge that they are utter failures. They, too, blame the people. But just like they should have all secured access to 100 N95 masks for every individual, and Vit. D and zinc, and HCQ if people still get sick, they should have made rapid tests available for everyone to use at home, twice a week or so, if only just to ease the pressure. But health care has been institutionalized, so that will only happen when things get terribly out of hand.

All these failures have cost a lot of lives, and will continue to do so, and do a huge amount of damage economically and mentally. The idea of second lockdowns is insane, given that no N95 masks, no Vit. D, no zinc, no HCQ were ever made available. But the lockdowns will come regardless. Because the politicians and experts can and will blame it all on you.

In an event like this, people’s worlds get much smaller, and they only know what their “local” media tell them, and those media are in line with the respective political systems. In crisis times, you as a journalist don’t attack the leading party, no matter how badly they fail, because they will deflect any criticism right back onto you, and say it’s your critical reports that made people behave badly.

It’s circular logic at its finest. And since all these fine people in all these fine countries got it all wrong in the same way, they can use each other for cover. France can point their finger at Spain, and they at Italy, and all hail the King of Sweden. BTW, has anyone ever seen an explanation for why so many countries and states sent infected elderly people back into care homes? That one puzzles me.

 

The next threat is hidden right in that finger-pointing. Because they all want to keep their borders open, and that has consequences. Should have gotten it right the first time, guys, because Lockdown 2.0 was always going to be much harder. What you will see now is groups of people in various countries saying they will not do 2.0. While borders are open.

And what then? You’re going to lock them all up (instead of down), in virus-infected prison cells? You guys have no idea what’s coming at you. There is even talk in several places of engaging the army to make people obey. But it’s the politicians and experts who have failed, not the people who have lost faith in them. And those people have had 6 months now to educate themselves on COVID19, so they’re not so easily fooled anymore.

I still don’t believe in the big conspiracy themes. I see a sea of incompetence, of people not up to their jobs who insist on hanging on to those jobs anyway. That’s true, too, for the blunt refusal to even consider N95, Vit.D, zinc and HCQ. They’re just not smart enough. They were not selected for being smart, but for fitting into, and being servants to, the existing system. And then something unexpected happens. And they have no idea what to do.

Many people will not accept Lockdown 2.0. Not because they’re stupid, or suicidal, or they want to kill their neighbors and friends, but because they understand that what they’ve given up over the past 9 months has been of no benefit to them, or their neighbors and friends. And then on top of that they themselves get blamed for things getting worse. That’s the breaking point, right there.

Our “leaders” simply have no clothes on.

 

 

 

We try to run the Automatic Earth on donations. Since ad revenue has collapsed, you are now not just a reader, but an integral part of the process that builds and maintains this site.

Click at the top of the sidebars for Paypal and Patreon donations. Thank you for your support.

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in virustime.

 

Sep 162020
 
 September 16, 2020  Posted by at 9:54 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  16 Responses »


Dorothea Lange A Family Of Mexican Migrants, On The Road In California 1936

 

UK Testing Shortage Could Lead To ‘Lockdown By Default’ – Teaching Union (G.)
Silenced Chinese Virologist Says COVID-19 Intentionally Released (ZH)
Democrats Shoot Down $1.5 Trillion Pandemic Stimulus Compromise (ZH)
Reconsidering the Presidential Election (Saker)
The US Will Not Recover Pre-Crisis Jobs Copying Eurozone Policies (Lacalle)
Down-to-Earth Aspects of the US Economy in Near-Real Time (WS)
NY Lawmakers Launch Bill to Allow Criminal Investigations for Presidents (GR)
Witnesses At Trial: Assange Could Spend Rest Of His Life In Prison (Gosztola)
Joe Rogan Experience #1536 – Edward Snowden (YT)
How Blowing Up A Transit Van Wiped Out £1 Million Of Debt (G.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jim Rickards

 

 

I said the other day in Lockdown 2.0: 2nd lockdowns are going to be hell to pay, for governments, for their citizens, for their economies. And here we go.

When people understand that they are told to lock down only because their government hasn’t build enough testing capacity after 9 months(!!), many will disobey. And what then? You’re going to mass arrest them? I’d pay to see that!

UK Testing Shortage Could Lead To ‘Lockdown By Default’ – Teaching Union (G.)

It is often assumed that Johnson promised a “world-beating” system in an off-the-cuff response at PMQs, but in fact he first used the phrase in his Sunday night TV address to the nation on 10 May. He said: If we are to control this virus, then we must have a world-beating system for testing potential victims, and for tracing their contacts. So that – all told – we are testing literally hundreds of thousands of people every day. Ten days later at PMQs, when Sir Keir Starmer said he would settle for one that was just “effective”, Johnson repeated the promised with an added timescale, telling MPs: “We will have a test, track and trace operation that will be world-beating, and yes, it will be in place by 1 June.”

That hasn’t quite materialised, and this morning the consequence were vividly highlighted when a teaching union said the unavailability of tests could lead to a “lockdown by default”. Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), told the Today programme that headteachers were being forced to decide that the “bubble has to stay at home” if a pupil or teacher in a year group had shown Covid-19 symptoms and could not get a test to prove they were negative. He went on: “This will feel I think like lockdown by default – it will be more frustrating for parents because you can’t predict whether it is going to happen. And similarly from the headteacher’s point of view, if my year 4 teacher today shows symptoms, will he or she be in school tomorrow, will they be here for the next 14 days?

“As soon as you start to get that with six, seven, eight teachers, it becomes unsustainable to be able to run things.” Barton also quoted from a head teacher who had emailed him overnight to say they felt “hoodwinked” by the government. Barton summarised the message from the head in the email as this: “I feel that everything we put in place – the one-way systems, the bubbles and all of that, we have done – but now we are being tripped up by the fact that, whether it’s a child or a member of staff, they simply can’t get a test and it’s leaving us in a position of me not know whether I can staff some of those lessons tomorrow, or indeed for the next two weeks. It’s infuriating.”

Read more …

Frankenstein.

Silenced Chinese Virologist Says COVID-19 Intentionally Released (ZH)

Hours after her unceremonious Twitter ban for, we assume, presenting evidence that SARS-CoV-2 was created in a Wuhan lab, Chinese virologist Dr. Li-Meng Yan appeared on “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” where she told the Fox News host that the virus is a “Frankenstein” which was designed to target humans which was intentionally released. “It could never come from nature,” she Yan – an MD/PhD who worked with coronavirus at the University of Hong Kong “There is evidence left in the genome” – which Yan detailed in a 26-page scientific paper co-written with three other Chinese scientists. “They don’t want people to know this truth. Also, that’s why I get suspended [from Twitter], I get suppression. I am the target that the Chinese Communist Party wants disappeared.”


When Carlson asked her why she believes the virus made it’s way out of the Wuhan lab, Dr. Yan said “I worked in the WHO reference lab, which is the top coronavirus lab in the world at the university of Hong Kong. And the things I got deeply into such investigation in secret from the early beginning of this outbreak – I had my intelligence through my network in China, involved in the hospitals, institutes and also government.” “Together with my experience, I can tell you – this is created in a lab.” Dr. Yan fled Hong Kong on April 28 on a Cathay Pacific flight to the United States. She believes her life is in danger, and that she can never go back home.

Read more …

How popular is Pelosi in her own party?

Democrats Shoot Down $1.5 Trillion Pandemic Stimulus Compromise (ZH)

Update (1425ET): In what should be a surprise to nobody, House Democrats have completely shot down the $1.5 trillion bipartisan compromise for pandemic relief, arguing “When it comes to bolstering the public health system, supporting state and local governments, and assisting struggling families, the Problem Solvers’ proposal leaves too many needs unmet.” “… The health and economic crisis demands action. That will require President Trump and Republican leaders to come back to the table and work with Democrats to save lives and livelihoods,” the Democrats continue.

A bipartisan group of 50 House lawmakers will release a $1.52 trillion pandemic stimulus proposal, in the hopes of breaking a months-long deadlock over the next round of relief, according to Bloomberg. The Problem Solvers Caucus, which has negotiated for weeks with the knowledge of the White House and party leadership will announce detail their plan in an 11 a.m. news conference. Notably, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin hinted at the discussions last month – noting that the White House could accept a $1.5 trillion deal. “The caucus proposal offers key compromises on the two thorniest issues in the stalled talks between congressional Democrats and the Trump administration. On aid to state and local governments, the group is backing about $500 billion, splitting the difference between the $915 billion sought by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and the $150 billion put forward by the White House”. -Bloomberg

The group is proposing a $450 per week unemployment insurance extension for eight weeks, which would then convert to a formula to cap payments at 100% of wages or $600 per week, whichever is lower. Democrats have lobbied for $600 per week, while the White House has sought $300 per week – arguing that more money would discourage people from seeking work. What’s more, a $1,200 direct stimulus payment is included in the new proposal – along with a $500 per child benefit. “The “March to Common Ground” framework, led by Caucus co-chairs Tom Reed, a New York Republican and Josh Gottheimer, a New Jersey Democrat, also contains money for Covid-19 testing, schools and childcare, small business relief. It would also link relief to economic metrics, reducing aid if the pandemic abates or extending it if it worsens.” -Bloomberg

Read more …

“..we roughly have, on one hand, what I would call the “Trump Party” (which is not the same as the GOP) and the “deplorables” objectively standing for law and order. On the other hand, we have the Dems, some Republicans, big corporations and the BLM/Antifa mobs who now all objectively stand for anarchy, chaos and random violence.”

Reconsidering the Presidential Election (Saker)

In early July I wrote a piece entitled “Does the next Presidential election even matter?” in which I made the case that voting in the next election to choose who will be the next puppet in the White House will be tantamount to voting for a new captain while the Titanic is sinking. I gave three specific reasons why I thought that the next election would be pretty much irrelevant: • The US system is rigged to give all the power to minorities and to completely ignore the will of the people. • The choice between the Demolicans and the Republicrats is not a choice at all. • The systemic crisis of the USA is too deep to be affected by who is in power in the White House. I have now reconsidered my position and I now see that I was wrong because I missed something important:

A lot has happened in the past couple of months and I now have come to conclude that while choosing a captain won’t make any difference to a sinking Titanic, it might make a huge difference to those passengers who are threatened by a group of passengers run amok. In other words, while I still do not think that the next election will change much for the rest of the planet (the decay of the Empire will continue), it is gradually becoming obvious that for the United States the difference between the two sides is becoming very real. Why? This is probably the first presidential election in US history where the choice will be not between two political programs or two political personalities, but the stark and binary choice between law and order and total chaos.

It is now clear that the Dems are supporting the rioting mobs and that they see these mobs as the way to beat Trump. It is also becoming obvious that this is not a white vs. black issue: almost all the footage from the rioting mobs shows a large percentage of whites, sometimes even a majority of whites, especially amongst the most aggressive and violent rioters (the fact that these whites regularly get beat up by rampaging blacks hunting for “whitey” does not seem to deter these folks).

True, both sides blame each other for “dividing the country” and “creating the conditions for a civil war”, but any halfway objective and fact based appraisal of what is taking place shows that the Dems have comprehensively caved into the BLM/Antifa ideology (which is hardly surprising, since that ideology is a pure product of the Dems (pseudo-)liberal worldview in the first place). Yes, the Demolicans and the Republicrats are but two factions of the same “Party of Money”, but the election of Trump in 2016 and the subsequent 4 years of intense seditious efforts to delegitimize Trump have resulted in a political climate in which we roughly have, on one hand, what I would call the “Trump Party” (which is not the same as the GOP) and the “deplorables” objectively standing for law and order. On the other hand, we have the Dems, some Republicans, big corporations and the BLM/Antifa mobs who now all objectively stand for anarchy, chaos and random violence.

Read more …

But the euro is still very strong.

The US Will Not Recover Pre-Crisis Jobs Copying Eurozone Policies (Lacalle)

In April I wrote a column stating that “The U.S. Labor Market Can Heal Quickly” and the improvement has been positive. Very few would have expected the unemployment rate at 8.4% in August after soaring to almost 15% in the middle of the pandemic. This means that the unemployment rate is in August 2020 lower than what analysts projected for the end of 2020. Even the measure of underemployment (U-6) has fallen from 22.8% to 14.2%. In August, the number of persons who usually work full time rose by 2.8 million to 122.4 million, or ten million below the level of August 2019, and the number of persons not in the labor force who currently want a job declined by 747,000 to 7 million, which is still two million higher than in February. This means both incredibly positive news and that there is a lot left to do.

Few would have expected full-time employment to be as close as last year’s level by now. Since the reopening, the US has recovered almost eleven million jobs, continuing jobless claims have fallen rapidly from 25 million to 13.25 million and full-time employment is rising strongly, while the Atlanta Fed median wage growth tracker remains at 3.9% for 2020. It is true that the good jobs data of August includes part-time workers hired for census activity, but the truth is that those accounted for less than one out of every six new jobs created. Even acknowledging that there is a lot of work to do to recover the record levels of employment in February 2020, at this rate the United States would be able to return to all-time high levels of employment by the first quarter of 2021, instead of 2023 as the Federal Reserve estimates.

We must remember that the track record of the Federal Reserve in estimating unemployment has been to err on the side of pessimism, particularly in the past three years. What the United States needs to do to recover jobs and return to real wage growth and the path to full employment is both easy and challenging. The United States needs to cut red tape and bureaucratic burdens to new business creation, lift regulatory and fiscal burdens that prevent small and medium enterprises from growing into large companies, maintain an attractive tax system that incentivizes investment, capital repatriation, and supports job creation.

Anyone can understand this. Why is it challenging, then? In the middle of election year, there are too many misguided proposals from the left demanding higher taxes, more government interventionism, and more regulatory burdens. It seems that many politicians cannot learn from the mistakes of the eurozone. Higher taxes and more interventionism will not deliver better public services and stronger finances. The eurozone is proof that higher taxes still drove most countries to historic high levels of debt and unemployment while public services did not improve. Deficit spending is not solved by raising taxes, but by cutting unnecessary spending. With a rising tax wedge, growth is weaker, job creation is poorer, and the deficit remains stubbornly high because expenditures rise in growth and crisis periods significantly above receipts.

Read more …

Wolf Richter thinks things remain pretty bad.

Down-to-Earth Aspects of the US Economy in Near-Real Time (WS)

The US economy is completing the sixth month of the Pandemic. So how is the recovery going, as seen by the near-real-time indicators that have sprung up as a result of the Pandemic? The raw unadjusted data of these indicators compare daily or weekly data this year to how it was just before the Pandemic, or how it was at the same time last year. There is some roughness in this data. For example, this year, Labor Day fell on September 7; last year, it fell on September 2 (prior week). So there are some wild fluctuations as Labor Day data gets compared to non-Labor Day data. Independence Day was similar. But that’s raw data.


Restaurants, “seated diners”: -49% Online reservation service OpenTable provides daily data on “seated diners” – how many people actually sit down in restaurants to eat and drink compared to the same weekday in the same week last year – including walk-ins and those who made reservations online or by calling. This data is based on thousands of restaurants in the US that share that information with OpenTable. I used a 7-day moving average to smoothen out the day-to-day fluctuation. The date-mismatch of Labor Day caused the spike in the chart below. Currently, after six months of Pandemic, “seated diners” are still down 49% through September 14, from where they’d been last year at this time:

Airlines, Airports, & Related Businesses: -68%.
The air passenger count entering the security zones of US airports is still down over 68% (-69.7% on September 14), according to TSA airport screenings. Airport operations, restaurants and shops at airports, airport rental cars, and the rest of the airport ecosystem are on a similar trajectory. Beyond the date-mismatch around Labor Day, demand has improved only slightly since early July:

Going to the Office. This is a measure of the shift to work-from-home mixed with employment reductions of office workers, and sheds light on what all the businesses face that cater to office workers, such as cafes, restaurants, shops, barbershops, hair saloon, and the like. And it sheds light on what the office segment of commercial real estate is facing. The data from Kastle Systems, provider of access systems for 3,600 buildings and 41,000 businesses in 47 states, represents a large sample of how many people are entering offices each day. Its “10 City Average” of office occupancy is currently at 24.6% of the pre-Pandemic level in early March, and has not significantly improved in over the past few months, meaning it’s still down by 75.4% (the available average data only goes back to June):

Read more …

Why do I have to read this from a Greek source?

NY Lawmakers Launch Bill to Allow Criminal Investigations for Presidents (GR)

New York legislators introduced on Monday a bill that would thwart all efforts by any sitting US President to impede on-going criminal investigations. The New York No Citizen is Above the Law Act, (S.8973/A.10905) was introduced by Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris and Assembly Member Nick Perry. Last week a federal court granted President Trump yet another delay in his on-going legal maneuverings and stall tactics to keep hidden his subpoenaed tax returns from the Manhattan District Attorney. This bill ensures laws are equally applied to all citizens, even the President of the United States, the lawmakers said in a press release. “This President and any who follow should be held accountable for their illegal acts,” said Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris.


“We must close the loophole that allows Presidents to exploit statutes of limitations coupled with Presidential immunity to forever escape culpability for malfeasance.” “Clearly the privileges of the office of President were not intended to make the holder of the office above the law, and was not intended to empower a President with the ability to thwart and sabotage an active, legitimate investigation as New York prosecutors have accused the president of doing,” said Assemblyman Nick Perry. “Enactment of the New York No Citizen is Above the Law Act, will ensure that this tenet holds true in New York as it should in the entire United States. Tolling the statute of limitations for the full period a president’s tenure will ensure that if the president did participate in any of the numerous criminal activities alleged by his former counsel to have occurred, he like every other New York citizen will be held to account for all crimes against the people and state of New York.”

Read more …

Pretty scary.

Witnesses At Trial: Assange Could Spend Rest Of His Life In Prison (Gosztola)

During an extradition trial, witnesses for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s legal team said he could spend the rest of his life in a federal prison in the United States if convicted of all the offenses he faces. Judge Vanessa Baraitser, the presiding British judge, also heard testimony related to how authorities in the U.S. government would likely pressure Assange to plead guilty instead of going to trial. Assange, who is 49 years-old, is accused of 17 counts of violating the Espionage Act and one count of conspiracy to commit a computer crime that, as alleged in the indictment, is written like an Espionage Act offense. The charges criminalize the act of merely receiving classified information, as well as the publication of state secrets from the United States government.

It targets common practices in news gathering, which is why the case is widely opposed by press freedom organizations throughout the world. Eric Lewis, a U.S. defense attorney, said the “base level” for a sentence if Assange was convicted of all the above offenses would be about eight to 10 years. However, Assange pled guilty to 24 charges in a case brought against in Australia for allegedly hacking into Nortel, a Canadian telecommunications company. That criminal history could potentially increase his sentence. Often the U.S. government requests “adjustments,” or that a judge applies factors to the sentence, which can alter the length of the sentence. “If the defendant was the organizer or leader of criminal activity that involved 5 or more participants that was otherwise expensive,” Lewis said, an adjustment could be imposed.

He faces conspiracy charges, where this could be applied, making the sentence at least 12 to 15 years in prison. The most recent indictment involves Sigurdur “Siggi” Thordarson, who worked as an FBI informant and was convicted of multiple crimes in Iceland. But he was a minor when he became involved in acts Assange allegedly committed so that could increase the sentence to 15 years and eight months on the low end and 19 years and seven months on the high end. According to Lewis, there is an adjustment “commonly added to people who seem to have special abilities that help them commit the crime.” “I would think that Mr. Assange’s technical proficiency,” would qualify, Lewis said. So, prosecutors could increase his sentence to 19 years and five months on the low end or 24 years and five months on the high end.

Two other enhancements might be applied. They relate to obstruction and the naming of U.S. “human intelligence sources,” as well as U.S. officials who worked in State Department embassies who may consider themselves “victims.” If an enhancement was added for attempting to elude the investigation of a crime, the sentence would increase to 24 years and four months on the low end and 30 years and five months on the high end. An enhancement for exposing the identities of intelligence sources or embassy officials would lead to a life sentence. However, Lewis indicated this would exceed what the statutory maximum allows so it would likely be reduced to a 175-year sentence.

[..] The federal court system, as Durkin testified, imposes a “trial tax.” A defendant, especially one accused of jeopardizing US national security, is penalized if they go to trial. Someone who pleads guilty before trial can benefit from an adjustment that reduces a sentence considerably. Assange could quickly go from a 24-year sentence to a 17-year sentence. This could be the difference between seeing his partner Stella Morris and his children outside of prison before he dies and never having a private moment with them again. Former CIA Director Leon Panetta, who was part of President Barack Obama’s administration, appeared in a documentary from the German public broadcaster ARD called, “The USA against Assange.”

Panetta revealed the game that government officials in President Donald Trump’s administration are playing. “All you can do is hope that you can ultimately take action against those that were involved in revealing that information so you can send a message to others not to do the same thing,” Panetta declared. As with the war on whistleblowers waged by the Obama administration, the Trump administration, and those who support this prosecution, encourage the expansion of a front in a war on journalism.

Read more …

Transcript by Suzie Dawson.

Joe Rogan Experience #1536 – Edward Snowden (YT)

“Julian Assange, right now, today is in court in the UK fighting an extradition trial…” “…to the United States. For those who don’t remember, this is the guy who is the head of @wikileaks. And he really fell out of favour in 2016 because he published the Hillary emails and everything like that, the Podesta emails, but he’s not being charged with that…” “…the extradition trial has nothing to do with that. Actually the US Governement under William Barr, the current Attorney General, is trying to extradite this guy & put him in prison for the rest of his life for the best work that @wikileaks ever did that has won awards in every country basically around the planet, including the United States, which is the Iraq & Afghanistan War Logs.

Detainee records in Guantanamo Bay.. things that are about explicit war crimes & abuses of power, torture & people who were killed who shouldn’t have been killed, violations of use-of-force protocols and all of these things. And this could all be made to go away if the Attorney General William Barr would drop the charges. Why isn’t he?” 1:02:38: Rogan says Assange has been tortured; calls the torture of Julian “disturbing”, says “he exposed horrific crimes!”; talks about the threat to freedom of the press; calls the trial a “kangaroo court”, decries attack on 1st Amendment & MSM silence

Snowden: “I think a lot of this comes down to the fact that they see Julian Assange – by this I mean a lot of the mainstream media, the broadcast outlets – as a partisan figure and it’s really sad. Because the most dangerous thing about the charges against Julian Assange…is if they extradite Assange and if he is convicted, he’s charged under the Espionage Act. The same thing I’m charged under, that all these whistleblowers are charged under. But he is not a source. As abusive as these Espionage Act charges have run in the last 50 yrs…” “…is the government had sort of a quiet agreement, they never charge the press outlets. They never charged the New York Times, they never charged the Washington Post, they don’t charge the journalists they charge their sources…”

“..They charge the Chelsea Mannings right? They charge the Edward Snowdens, they charge the Thomas Drakes, the Daniel Ellsbergs. But the press, they’re left alone. They are breaking that agreement with the Julian Assange case. Assange is not a source. Merely a publisher..”

Snowden Rogan

Read more …

Nice story about the making of a film: “The irony is that we only needed to raise £20,000 to buy out £1m of debt.

How Blowing Up A Transit Van Wiped Out £1 Million Of Debt (G.)

Edelstyn was also inspired by anthropologist David Graeber who, as part of the Occupy Wall Street movement, devised the “We are the 99%” slogan. Graeber died earlier this month but his work will doubtless live on. “His writings are mindblowing,” says Edelstyn. “Think about how many lives are dedicated to working in meaningless jobs to pay off endless debts.” Graeber’s 2011 book The First 5,000 Years urged a revival of the Biblical notion of a society-wide cancelling of debts. His Bullshit Jobs: A Theory, published in 2018, argued that society was harmed by meaningless jobs. While Edelstyn imagined himself as the Debtonator, righting economic wrongs, Powell had other ideas. A performance artist who has collaborated with the Royal Opera House choir, she imagined Bank Job as Wagnerian Gesamtkunstwerk, or a total work of art.


“We also wanted to become involved in our local community and to involve them in our art,” she says. “We wanted to get to know our neighbours a bit too,” adds her husband. The couple took over an old Co-op bank out in Walthamstow, east London. They renamed it Hoe Street Central Bank, whose initials teased the branch of HSBC opposite. Inside, they decided to print money, just like the Bank of England, although their quantitative easing was aimed at reducing debt burdens rather than filling bank coffers. Instead of the Queen, Charles Darwin or Jane Austen on their notes, HSCB’s currency celebrated local heroes.

Their fiver was known as a Gary, after Gary Nash of the Eat or Heat food bank. The tenner was a Saira, honouring Saira Mir of soup kitchen PL84U Al-Suffa. The 20 was a Steve, celebrating Stephen Barnabis of the Soul Project youth service. The 50 was a Tracey, named after primary school headteacher Tracey Griffiths. The money was issued by Powell, Guv’nor of the Bank. It was made from old £10 notes that had been recalled by the Bank of England, shredded, then turned into briquettes, ready for incinerating. The team took them instead and turned the blocks into pulp, from which paper was made. This was then printed on site by volunteers and students, before being dried on washing lines suspended from the ceiling. They were sold to collectors around the world, and the proceeds funded cash-strapped local causes – and bought up more than £1m of payday loans in E17, the 35th most indebted postcode in Britain.
.
“The irony is that we only needed to raise £20,000 to buy out £1m of debt, because bad loans are often written down to a fraction of their value in the secondary market. So we wrote to people telling them the debt had been paid off.” In the film, we see Edelsytn dropping the letters into a pillar box. “It was a very emotional moment,” he says. “I’d been reading a book arguing that loading debt on to ordinary people is the biggest constraint on a free citizenry in modern times. And here we were cancelling some of that.”

Read more …

 

 

We try to run the Automatic Earth on donations. Since ad revenue has collapsed, you are now an integral part of the process.

Thank you for your support.

 

 

Biden has one thing to say

 

 

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in virustime.

 

Sep 062020
 
 September 6, 2020  Posted by at 7:03 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  12 Responses »


Joel Meyerowitz/Beetles + Huxley New York City 1978

 

 

Of course, because I’m a dreamer, I start off an essay like this with the idea that I should do an all-encompassing idea of COVID19, all around the world no less, for the rest of 2020, and beyond. Only to find that nobody, including me, even if I have a few advantages over most, could possibly do such a thing. So of necessity there’ll be this essay and many more to come. As the US elections set the world on fire.

I did make a list of what every government, every society and community should be ordering by now (and that would be already very late) Here they are: A billion rapid tests, a billion doses of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), a billion doses of zinc, a billion doses of Vitamin D, and a zillion N95 facemasks. (I am not a doctor, but we do have doctors on this platform.)

Rapid tests: these things have been available for months, but have been obstructed by guidelines that say every test must be PCR, which take a long time to produce results, which test positive on dead virus etc. etc. Whereas rapid tests (there are several options) detect a virus load when it’s most likely to infect a third person (the no. 1 thing you want to find!, and moreover show a result in minutes and cost a few pennies each (don’t fall for the $5 a test thing!). You can do a paper test for everyone every single day.

We have this, we got this, but we’re not doing it. The answer from the politicians who have failed to grasp this reality will be: another lockdown! But there won’t be another lockdown. Or, there will be in some locations, but what good is that if neighbors don’t lock down? More on that in a bit.

Hydroxychloroquine (or ivermectin) and zinc -combined if you will with an antibiotic- for those who are infected or close to it, combined with a substantial increase in everyone’s vitamin D levels in your population -right now, you already lost half a year!- will bring down death and suffering enormously. Don’t listen to your doctor, listen to us.

A bit of -potential- harsh reality came to us today through a report from Washington University’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. They predict total deaths to triple globally, and double in the US, in less than four months from today.

 

Total COVID19 Deaths Projected To Double In US, Triple in World By Jan. 1

U.S. deaths from the coronavirus will reach 410,000 by the end of the year, more than double the current death toll, and deaths could soar to 3,000 per day in December, the University of Washington’s health institute forecast on Friday. Deaths could be reduced by 30% if more Americans wore face masks as epidemiologists have advised, but mask-wearing is declining, the university’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation said. The U.S. death rate projected by the IHME model, which has been cited by the White House Coronavirus Task Force, would more than triple the current death rate of some 850 per day.


“We expect the daily death rate in the United States, because of seasonality and declining vigilance of the public, to reach nearly 3,000 a day in December,” the institute, which bills itself as an independent research center, said in an update of its periodic forecasts. “Cumulative deaths expected by January 1 are 410,000; this is 225,000 deaths from now until the end of the year,” the institute said. It previously projected 317,697 deaths by Dec. 1. The model’s outlook for the world was even more dire, with deaths projected to triple to 2.8 million by Jan. 1, 2021.

No, I won’t take back one word of what I’ve been saying about the best ways to tackle COVD19 over the past 8 months, for instance in April 15’s The Only Man Who Has A Clue about Nassim Taleb. He was still right, and that’s not going to change. But that doesn’t mean nothing has changed. Actually, a lot has.

Taleb’s approach, and that of his “co-conspirators” Yaneer Bar-Yam and Joe Norman, is as valid as it ever was, but that validity doesn’t last forever if it is not applied by those in charge of policy. It hasn’t been and today we’re way past the best-before date. Which, as we will see going forward, is highly unfortunate, because all the alternatives are -much- worse.

We’ve seen an entire world, and tons of governments in that world, caught with no blueprints and no playbooks for a coronavirus pandemic, despite having been warned about such a pandemic coming, for decades. And so they all went into “make it up as you go along” mode. With very little knowledge of what was going on, and what to expect.

With predictable failures as a result. But because the pandemic has largely played out on a national level, not international, they manage to keep their failures hidden behind a facade of “we listened to the best science”, “nobody could have seen this coming”, and “if only people had listened to (obeyed)” what we said all along.

As I explained in the Taleb piece, the first, the initial, scientists to refer to in a case like SARS-CoV-2 are not epidemiologists, because they are backward looking; they compare the little they know about a new virus with what they know about earlier ones. Even if it’s all essentially a mismatch.

Instead, the first people you consult are risk specialists; yes, like Taleb. To know what the -necessarily basic- steps are to take against something you know very little about, other than it is contagious and potentially lethal. One of the obvious steps is close your borders.Another is a lockdown. But a lockdown is not a lockdown is not a lockdown. If you don’t get it right, it’s useless, oppressive and even harmfully counterproductive.

That’s why blueprints and playbooks, written well before a pandemic happens, are so important. You should never leave those things up to politicians, who don’t understand the matter at hand, who will always have other interests in mind (the economy), and will therefore assemble a bunch of local epidemiologists in order to declare: we’re listening to science!

Most of these people mean well, but that’s not enough. And with that, we’re moving out of the summer time and into, what?, COVID 2.0? With Lockdowns 2.0? There is no need. Here’s what you do: Order a billion rapid tests, a billion doses of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), a billion doses of zinc, a billion doses of Vitamin D, and a zillion N95 facemasks.

Not the crappy bluish masks everyone’s wearing today, that’s just a symbolic thing, but get the real thing, for everyone. How many has your government offered to you to date, while spending billions of trillions on the effects of the virus? Really, politicians are always useless when it comes to emergencies, because that’s not what they get elected for.

And no, face masks are not useless, but they certainly are outside. The risk of you getting infected -or infecting someone- are infinitesimal on the street. Unless someone spits or coughs in your face, but if that happens, that bluish mask won’t do much good anyway. So when I see a photo like this, of Japanese girls en masse wearing almost useless masks (only because the others do it too), I can only think: why don’t we teach people what works and what doesn’t? (I see the same thing here in Athens a lot too)

 

 

But so, yeah if your government won’t protect you with a billion rapid tests, a billion doses of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), a billion doses of zinc, a billion doses of Vitamin D, and a zillion N95 facemasks., they’re going to be thinking Lockdown 2.0. And that is going to be a huge problem in many places. There are very big problems in Melbourne as we speak:

 

Melbourne Lockdown Extended By Two Weeks

A strict lockdown in the Australian city of Melbourne has been extended by two weeks, with officials saying new Covid-19 cases had not dropped enough. Victoria State Premier Daniel Andrews said the restrictions would be in place until 28 September, with a slight relaxation. A gradual easing of the measures will be implemented from October. The state has been the epicentre of the country’s second wave, accounting for 90% of Australia’s 753 deaths. Australia has recorded a total of 26,000 cases in a population of 25 million. The greater Melbourne area entered a second lockdown on 9 July after a rise in cases. A 5km (3 mile) travel limit and night time curfew was imposed while shops and businesses were closed. The current stage four lockdown was originally set to end on 13 September.

2nd lockdowns are going to be hell to pay, for governments, for their citizens, for their economies. And they don’t have to be. If just everyone gets out the Fauci, “experts”, mood., and their potential connections to Big Pharma. Vitamin D and zinc and HCS look very promising. So does the Russian vaccine, but we don’t want it because, well, it’s Russian, and even more because it would deprive Gilead et al of huge potential profits furnished by western governments.

No, not all lockdowns are terrible. But a lock down should last maximum 2 months, or you will needlessly destroy your economy. Thing is, you must make sure it’s real, effective and short, not some Swedish or Dutch half-lockdown, or any of the half-assed US ones. A lockdown is either a lockdown or it’s not. But we’ve already passed that fase. Lockdowns in most locations will simply no longer be accepted.

Facemasks can have a real potential, but just as with lockdowns, only when applied appropriately, at the right time and under the right circumstances. I don’t subscribe to the right wing US idea that it is all just a bad joke and a means to oppress people. But if you order people to wear masks outside, where the infection risk borders on zero, and you order churches closed but not demonstrations or Target, you just show you understand neither the virus not your people. And then try and claw that one back.

Once again: tell your government to order – and have available ASAP: a billion rapid tests, a billion doses of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), a billion doses of zinc, a billion doses of Vitamin D, and a zillion N95 facemasks. You may not be perfect, but your prospects are going to be a lot better than they are now.

 

 

 

We try to run the Automatic Earth on donations. Since ad revenue has collapsed, your support is now an integral part of the process.

Thank you for your ongoing support.

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in virustime.

 

Aug 252020
 


Robert Capa Model wearing Dior on the banks of the Seine, Paris 1948

 

Pelosi Calls Republicans ‘Domestic Enemies Of The State’ (ZH)
UK Lockdown Was A ‘Monumental Mistake’ And Must Not Happen Again (Exp.)
Let’s Follow the History of Science Instead (AIER)
New York University To Implement Racial Segregation In Student Dorms (WSWS)
Is The Euro Living On Borrowed Time? (Brown)
Powell Set To Deliver Speech Changing How The Fed Views Inflation (CNBC)
Exxon Mobil Dropped From The Dow After Nearly A Century (CBS)
1 In 3 Cars Worldwide Is Produced In China (ZH)
Greece, Turkey Heading For New Crisis (K.)
Biblical Travails (Jim Kunstler)
UN World Food Program Seeks To Prevent ‘Famine Of Biblical Proportions’ (ZH)

 

 

Calling your political opponents “enemies of the state” is not done even in 2020 America.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Way over the line. There are still things you can’t say even in the 2020 US.

And you thought Biden was dementing…

Nancy, you’re 80. Call it a day.

Pelosi Calls Republicans ‘Domestic Enemies Of The State’ (ZH)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) raged against President Trump and Congressional Republicans on Monday, telling MSNBC that they’re “domestic enemies” of election integrity and “enemies of the state.” Pelosi was speaking right after President Trump’s speech at the Republican National Convention, according to the Daily Caller. “We take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic. And sadly, the domestic enemies to our voting system and honoring our Constitution are right at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue with their allies in the Congress of the United States. But again, let’s just get out there and mobilize, organize, and not let the President deter anybody from voting. And again, support the postal system which is election central,” said the 80-year-old Democrat. “They’re doing everything they can; suppress the vote — with your actions, scare people, intimidate by saying law enforcement will be there, diminish the role of the postal system in all of this. It’s really actually shameful. Enemies of the state,” she continued.

Read more …

Perhaps this guy means well, but to conclude from the UK’s botched version of a lockdown that NO lockdown can work, takes away all his credibility. Phrasing matters.

And besides, buddy, you’re the government advisor here. Own it.

UK Lockdown Was A ‘Monumental Mistake’ And Must Not Happen Again (Exp.)

Lockdown will come to be seen as a “monumental mistake on a global scale” and must never happen again, a scientist who advises the Government on infectious diseases says.Mark Woolhouse said lockdown was a “panic measure” but admitted it was the only option at the time because “we couldn’t think of anything better to do”. But it is a crude measure that takes no accounts of the risk levels to different individuals, the University of Edinburgh professor said, meaning that back in March the nation was “concentrating on schools when we should have been concentrating on care homes”. The professor of infectious disease epidemiology said that the Government must now focus on increasing testing and striving to unlock society safely rather than restricting it further.

Prof Woolhouse OBE, a member of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviours that advises the Government, said: “Lockdown was a panic measure and I believe history will say trying to control Covid-19 through lockdown was a monumental mistake on a global scale, the cure was worse than the disease. “I never want to see national lockdown again. It was always a temporary measure that simply delayed the stage of the epidemic we see now. It was never going to change anything fundamentally, however low we drove down the number of cases, and now we know more about the virus and how to track it we should not be in this position again.

“We absolutely should never return to a position where children cannot play or go to school. “I believe the harm lockdown is doing to our education, health care access, and broader aspects of our economy and society will turn out to be at least as great as the harm done by Covid-19.” He said that Sage, the government’s advisory board on dealing with Covid, needed to have members from a wider range of fields.

Read more …

And here’s another genius: “..our descendants will mock us for believing masks slowed viral transmission.”

No they won’t, unless they’re as stupid as he is. Lockdowns and facemasks prevent transmission, no science is more basic than that. But you do have to use them wisely.

If you send people out into the street with mandatory masks on, then yes, they don’t prevent anything. Because there is no risk of infection there. But put them in a cramped room for a period of time, and they are very effective.

What is it with these people, is it all just about hearing their own voices, credibility be damned? Some virus got to their brains?

I’m seriously starting to wonder where the virus causes the most damage. And it doesn’t appear to be either in care homes or classrooms, but in much smaller spaces.

Let’s Follow the History of Science Instead (AIER)

Democratic Presidential hopeful Joe Biden is only the most high-profile politician to promise voters that he will “listen to the scientists,” mandate masks, and shut down the economy again if they so advise. Even the humble members of the city council of Milledgeville, Georgia invoke “science” in four pages of “whereas-es” designed to justify a largely toothless mask mandate that directly contradicts a Georgia law against wearing masks in public (except for certain holidays, presumably to deter real crime) and the enforcement of which in some places in the city of 50,000 apparently hinges on the font size of a door notice. Strange times indeed, these. One wonders why we need to elect politicians at all if they will simply defer to “the” scientists. Ah, but there be the rub. Which scientists? They don’t agree on much, especially when it comes to the novel coronavirus and masks and such.


Should we listen only to “the” scientists on the government payroll? But then wouldn’t they essentially be unelected, unaccountable dictators? That sounds vaguely undemocratic. Sticky, this wicket! Plus, last time I checked, “the” scientists have no policy expertise in economics. Perhaps that does not matter as many economists also have no policy expertise in economics. Is that the role of politicians, then? To decide which type of scientists get to dictate in different policy areas? Perhaps Biden will listen to “the” economists on spaceship design or military tactics? I would pay good money to see that! (Seriously, it would be a horribly expensive boondoggle certain to raise my taxes.) Why is it so important to “listen to the scientists” anyway? Are they suddenly less fallible than previously? Is there any science to support that belief? Because let’s face it, “the” scientists have a pretty poor track record overall.

Read more …

I’m afraid I simply don’t understand the reasoning. Black students don’t want to explain about racism? But isn’t that sort of the whole point?

New York University To Implement Racial Segregation In Student Dorms (WSWS)

Since late June, the Office of Residential Life and Housing Services at New York University (NYU) has been working closely with a small, student-led task force to make racially segregated housing a reality in undergraduate student dorms. On July 20, Washington Square News, the weekly undergraduate student newspaper of NYU, published an article titled “Student-Led Task Force Calls for Black Housing on Campus,” in which it reported on the university’s willingness to help implement residential communities open solely to “Black-identifying students with Black Resident Assistants.” Since then, the university has officially given the project a green light, aiming to have NYU’s first segregated residential floor established by Fall 2021.

A little over two months ago, a recently organized advocacy group called Black Violets created an online petition demanding that the university “implement Black student housing on campus in the vein of themed engagement floors across first-year and upperclassmen residence halls.” In its petition, the group argues that “Too often in the classroom and in residential life, black students bear the brunt of educating their uninformed peers about racism.” African American students, the group states, desperately require a “safe space” where they can escape from students, staff and faculty of other races. There are over 20 Themed Engagement Communities at NYU, with themes ranging from film, literature and theater to technology, science and foreign languages. All floors are open to all students, who request residency on a specific floor prior to the start of the academic year.

The approval of a Themed Engagement Community open to students based on their race is new at NYU. However, it is not the first time that the Office of Residential Life and Housing Services has considered such a proposal. In 2002, an NYU senior submitted a plan to develop race-based housing for African American students, claiming that “such a housing program would unite African American students on campus” and better combat racial discrimination. This proposal was eventually rejected by the university after a brief review and discussion.

Now, despite signs of minimal support from the undergraduate student body—the online petition has garnered a mere 1,105 signatures out of the 26,733 total undergraduates currently studying at NYU—the proposal for race-based housing has been warmly welcomed by the university administration. There is nothing progressive about the establishment of racially segregated housing at NYU. It is irrelevant whether the segregation being implemented is voluntary or mandatory. Racial segregation, in all forms, is entirely reactionary. The vile argument advanced in the proposal is that all non-African American students, staff and faculty are, to varying degrees, hostile and dangerous to African American students. Their animosity stems from an inherent antipathy towards individuals of different races.

Read more …

“Investors” gamble on gold, they gamble on the euro. And they feel confident they’ll be able to get out on time. Basic, really. Pump trillions into “markets” and this is what happens.

Is The Euro Living On Borrowed Time? (Brown)

Given the way the euro has been rallying in the foreign exchange markets over the past three months, you would be forgiven for thinking the currency has become a beacon of stability in uncertain times. You couldn’t be further from the truth. The rebound in the euro is simply the flip side of the US dollar being undermined by growing uncertainty about the upcoming US presidential election in November and how the US authorities are coping with the coronavirus crisis. Global investors are simply taking time out from long dollar exposures, and euro bulls are simply filling a temporary void. It won’t last long. The euro is living on borrowed time and the deepening monetary muddle in Europe won’t help the currency once the dust settles on the US elections.

The euro looks overvalued and a prime target for an ambush later this year. Europe’s monetary pacesetter, the European Central Bank, seems to be fighting a losing battle, struggling to keep the European economy from slipping into a deeper recession. The more policy stimulus the ECB throws into the ring, the greater the damage to its monetary reputation, and to little avail so far. Despite close to 3 trillion euros of assets purchased so far under the ECB’s quantitative easing programme and interest rates steeped in negative territory, the economy of Europe is showing precious few signs of a return to normality. Europe’s three biggest economies, Germany, France and Italy, are all stuck in recession with little chance of output reaching pre-pandemic levels until 2022. Rumblings about throwing too much good money after bad are no surprise. The ECB’s defence is that it has no alternative, otherwise Europe might suffer an even worse fate.

Germany has given up the ghost on trying to control the ECB’s monetary excesses. There seems to be a palpable sense of “if you can’t beat them, join them” for the sake of presenting a united front and avoiding a damaging public row. In the pre-euro days, tough Bundesbank policies and the strong Deutschmark were solid anchors of the European monetary system, implacable yardsticks which helped other European countries govern their own performances. [..] The worry for markets is that the triple-A-rated ECB’s vaults are bursting with a surfeit of lower-quality debt from nations like Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece and Ireland, countries which have required support in times of market stress in the aftermath of the 2008 crash. Like in the US subprime crisis, it’s fine while the charade lasts, but once confidence begins to wobble, that is where the danger lies.

Read more …

The Fed is going to try its hand at Abanomics?! Didn’t work for Japan. Remember, to raise inflation you need to raise the velocity of money. Which today meanns you have to raise the velocity of trillions of added dollars. Good luck with that.

Powell Set To Deliver Speech Changing How The Fed Views Inflation (CNBC)

History will remember Paul Volcker and Jerome Powell as standing on the opposite ends of the inflation canyon, with the former taking desperate actions to try to tamp it down and the latter expected this week to announce an unprecedented effort to crank it back up. Volcker, the Federal Reserve chairman from 1979-87, ushered through a series of inflation-busting interest rate hikes that dragged the country into recession but won the fight against pricing pressures and spurred a powerful economic recovery. Powell, the central bank chief since 2018, is likely to detail a set of measures aimed at pushing inflation higher amid a coronavirus pandemic that has dragged the U.S. economy into one of its darkest hours.

While the average consumer might find it absurd to want to raise the cost of living, central bankers and economists see too little inflation also as a problem. It often reflects a slow-moving economy with a low standard of living. On top of that, the accompanying low interest rates give policymakers little wiggle room when crises happen and there’s a need to loosen policy. That’s why Powell, who will speak Thursday during a virtual version of the Fed’s annual Jackson Hole, Wyoming, conference, will outline what could be the central bank’s most active efforts ever to spur inflation back to a healthy level. The speech is titled “Monetary Policy Framework Review” and wraps up a yearlong examination both among central bank officials and with the public, during a series of open events, on what policy should look like in the future.

“The expectations are pretty high to get something meaningful on Thursday,” said Tom Graff, head of fixed income at Brown Advisory. “This is probably a historic speech.” One phrase Powell is likely to use is “average inflation” targeting. Simply, it means that the Fed, which has pegged 2% as a healthy level, will let inflation run higher than that for a while if it has spent a considerable time beneath that level. The Fed’s preferred inflation gauge has stayed below that level for all but two years since the Great Recession ended in mid-2009. It’s a mirror-image reversal of Volcker’s inflation-busting and sets the stage for a pivotal policy move.

Read more …

“In the 1980s, energy companies made up as much as a quarter of the Dow. After Exxon’s exits on Monday, energy will account for just 2% of the index.”

Exxon Mobil Dropped From The Dow After Nearly A Century (CBS)

Exxon Mobil, which joined the Dow Jones Industrial Average in 1928, is being removed from the blue-chip stock market index. Its replacement: enterprise software company Salesforce.com. Also leaving the index are drug company Pfizer and airplane and defense contractor Raytheon Technologies. They are being replaced by biotech Amgen and manufacturing conglomerate Honeywell. S&P Dow Jones Indices, the company that administers the index, announced the changes, which will take place August 31, on Monday. The index provider said the changes were necessary to make up for Apple’s impending stock split, which becomes effective the same day.

The Dow Jones is a stock-price-weighed index. Apple’s stock split, which will take the company’s shares to roughly $120, from $500, would have cut the Dow’s exposure to the technology sector. Monday’s changes would also help the Dow “add new types of businesses that better reflect the American economy,” the index company said. Energy giant Exxon Mobil joined the Dow 92 years ago as Standard Oil of New Jersey, and it’s the oldest member of the index. The Dow’s last original member, General Electric, was removed in 2018. Exxon Mobil was the most valuable company in the United States for much of the early 2000s and as recently as 2011, when it hit a market value of just over $400 billion. Apple overtook Exxon in 2012, and much of the technology sector followed.

Earlier this month, Apple’s market value topped $2 trillion, making it the first U.S. company to reach that milestone. Meanwhile, Exxon’s market value has sunk to $175 billion. The company has been plagued in part by claims that it deliberately concealed the damage that the oil it has long extracted and refined into gasoline was doing to the planet. [..] In the 1980s, energy companies made up as much as a quarter of the Dow. After Exxon’s exits on Monday, energy will account for just 2% of the index.

Read more …

A loss of 40% in 5 years. Wow.

1 In 3 Cars Worldwide Is Produced In China (ZH)

Almost one in three – or 32 percent – of all cars produced worldwide in 2019 came out of China. As shown in numbers by the automobile manufacturers’ association OICA, the world manufactures less cars than it did in 2014, but, as Statista’s Katharina Buchholz notes, several Asian markets actually were able to grow their production volumes. India exhibited one of the biggest increases – almost 15 percent in five years to 3.6 million cars annually.


The biggest decrease in production hit the ailing U.S. car industry, which lost 40 percent of its domestic production between 2014 and 2019. Germany also make less cars at home, but German manufacturers like Volkswagen are a part of the rising Chinese production. In 2019, the Chinese market accounted for around 39 percent of Volkswagen’s total sales. Shifting production sites are only one aspect of the internationalization of the car industry. Know-how also migrates with production [..]

Read more …

Erdogan has ever less to lose. His popularity at home is decreasing fast, with the lira in the gutter. Greece’s friends better start raising their voices.

Greece, Turkey Heading For New Crisis (K.)

Just when it seemed that Greece and Turkey were entering a phase of de-escalation, the two countries appeared on Monday to be heading for another crisis in the Eastern Mediterranean. The decision by Ankara for an extension of the duration of exploratory activities by the Oruc Reis survey vessel in areas within the Greek continental shelf prompted a response by Athens with Tuesday’s aeronautical exercise that begins on Tuesday at dawn over a large area from the south of Kassos to the south of Kastellorizo. The exercise will take place in areas included in the navigational advisory, or Navtex, issued by Turkey for the Oruc Reis within the Greek continental shelf. The exercise will last until Thursday night.

Turkey’s move to extend the activities of the Oruc Reis essentially raises obstacles to the German mediation effort which continues on Tuesday with visits to both Athens and Ankara by German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. Meanwhile, tensions were further augmented on Monday night by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who issued direct war threats against Greece, which he said is being “deceived” by other countries into pursuing the course of action it is taking. “When an issue arises in the future, then these forces will disappear and Greece will be left alone,” he said, adding that “from now on, Greece will be responsible for all conflicts in the region and it will be at a disadvantage.” He also described the aeronautical exercise announced by Athens as “useless” and dangerous for navigation.

Shortly before Erdogan’s remarks, Ankara announced new exercises off southern Crete for Tuesday morning, in an area several miles south of the prefecture of Lassithi. The area is located approximately on the borders described in the Turkey-Libya maritime borders memorandum. At the same time, Athens is building a network of important military collaborations, as joint exercises are also expected with French Rafale jets based in Cyprus.

Read more …

Conflicting stories about the violence. Kenosha was a hellhole again last night. At some point, Trump will have to act. And that’s what the Dems are hoping for.

Biblical Travails (Jim Kunstler)

Could the country even stand another full-on political convention after the Democrats’ nauseating extravaganza last week? The nation is so marinated in agitprop, disinfo, and straight-up mendacity that all the intelligence has been leached out of population, perhaps even the will to live. A Republican convention complete with the usual showboating might deplete the remaining oxycontin supply across the land as unemployed millions, mulling over rents overdue and unmet car payments, resort to vodka, Xanax, cough syrup, and airplane glue to quell the pain induced by unbridled political bullshit. As BLM might put it: “Know whum sayin’?

Speaking of BLM, Sunday one Jacob Blake, 29, was apparently shot in the back by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, while getting into a car. The incident inspired a night of BLM rioting and looting in downtown Kenosha, with excellent prospects for violence to spread to other cities. Mr. Blake was hospitalized and survives, so far. He was not complying with police instructions in the process of his arrest. He had been previously arrested in 2015 and charged with brandishing a gun in a barroom. Upon his arrest then, the gun was found on the floor of his car. In the latest incident, Kenosha police were responding to a domestic abuse complaint. There was an active warrant out on Mr. Blake.

Also over the weekend, police in Lafayette, Louisiana, shot and killed 31-year-old Trayford Pellerin outside a convenience store he was entering while brandishing a knife. They had followed him from another convenience store in the vicinity where he “created a disturbance with a knife.” Mr. Pellerin apparently refused to comply with police orders to get on the ground. Ben Crump, a civil rights lawyer hired to represent the Pellerin family during the investigation into the shooting, said, “His family believes that he was suffering a mental illness crisis and what he needed was a helping hand. But what he got was what looks like 11 bullets.” His mother told the Associated Press that Mr. Pellerin had sought therapy for social anxiety.

Read more …

A line used so much people have become immune to it.

UN World Food Program Seeks To Prevent ‘Famine Of Biblical Proportions’ (ZH)

While virus cases and deaths dominate headlines, other humanitarian crises also need attention, that is, an emerging “famine of biblical proportions” that threatens much of the world, United Nations World Food Program (WFP) Director David Beasley told TASS News last weekend in an interview. Beasley said the WFP is requesting $5 billion in emergency funds within the next six months that will help in the effort to thwart a global famine. “All the data we have, including WFP’s forecast of an 80% increase in the number of food-insecure people – from 140 million before the pandemic to 270 million by the end of this year – points to a real catastrophe, a famine of biblical proportions, “he said.

The dramatic rise in the number of people who don’t have the means to feed themselves because of depressionary unemployment, supply chain breakdowns, and crop failures is set to cause long-term economic damage that could prevent a vibrant economic recovery. Beasley said, “it is clear that social tensions will escalate, migration will increase, conflicts will expand, and hunger can affect those who have not experienced it before.” Even in the US, a developed world economy, tens of millions of folks have gone hungry, now relying on government aid and food banks for survival. He noted that countries in the 2008 financial crash with a “stronger social protection system” were less impacted by famine.

WFP projections show significant increases in malnourished people in Latin America, countries in Eastern and Central Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa, had a doubling of the number of people going hungry in a short period. “World hunger is already sky-high, and if we do not act immediately, many will die, children will suffer the consequences of malnutrition for many years to come, and the whole world will be thrown back, having lost all the gains in the fight against hunger of the last decade. Will be incredibly high, we need to act quickly and wisely, balancing immediate relief and long-term recovery,” Beasley said. He added: “WFP’s mission is to provide food to 138 million people in 2020, the largest humanitarian operation in history. And this unprecedented crisis requires an incredible amount of money.”

Read more …

 

 

We try to run the Automatic Earth on donations. Since ad revenue has collapsed, your support is now an integral part of the process.

Thank you for your ongoing support.

 

 

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in virustime.

 

Aug 202020
 


Pierre-Auguste Renoir The Return of the Boating Party 1862

 

Clinesmith Pleads Guilty In First Criminal Case Arising From Durham Probe (Fox)
Clinesmith Gets The Wolfe Plea Deal… (CT)
You Would Never Get The Deal That Clinesmith Got (SAC)
Operation Legend: Over 200 Charged With Federal Crimes, 1,000 Arrested (Fox)
Judge Orders New Election In New Jersey Race Cited For Mail-In Fraud (Hill)
Iraq War Cheerleaders Front & Center At Last Night’s DNC AC)
You Don’t Have To Be Excited (Sirota)
History Is On Edward Snowden’s Side (Hill)
New Zealand Lockdown Unlawful For First Nine Days, High Court Finds (NZH)
Gold Pressures Empire (Brown)
Germany Launches Universal Basic Income Experiment (ZH)
Brilliant Trump Puts Himself On All Postage Stamps (Babylon Bee)
Biden: ‘I Don’t Have Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Or Alzheimer’s’ (Babylon Bee)

 

 

US new cases now remain consistently lower than they’ve been since the last week of June. Surely a positive sign.

But the global trend looks very different.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grenell LBGT issues

 

 

There’s a feeling that people in the DOJ conspire with the FBI to single out Clinesmith, paint him as a lone wolf, and leave his superiors, which also include Mueller and Weissmann, alone.

That constitutes an enormous risk for the credibility of the DOJ, the FBI, and the entire US judicial system. For better or for worse, the right will simply not accept it.

Clinesmith Pleads Guilty In First Criminal Case Arising From Durham Probe (Fox)

Former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court to making a false statement in the first criminal case arising from U.S. Attorney John Durham’s review of the investigation into links between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign. U.S. District Judge for the District of Columbia James Boasberg accepted the plea. Clinesmith’s sentencing date has been set for Dec. 10 at 11 a.m. ET. Durham’s office on Wednesday said that Clinesmith’s guilty plea was to “one count of making a false statement within both the jurisdiction of the executive branch and judicial branch of the U.S. government, an offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of five years and a fine of up to $250,000.”

Clinesmith was referred for potential prosecution by the Justice Department’s inspector general’s office, which conducted its own review of the Russia investigation. The inspector general accused Clinesmith, though not by name, of altering an email about former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page to say that he was “not a source” for another government agency. Page has said he was a source for the CIA. The Justice Department relied on Clinesmith’s assertion as it submitted a third and final renewal application in 2017 to eavesdrop on Page under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

During the plea hearing, Boasberg asked Clinesmith to affirm that he “intentionally altered an email, and added language” that “individual number one” was “not a source…and you knew that statement was in fact not true.” Clinesmith replied, “At the time I thought the information I was providing was accurate, but I am agreeing the information I inserted was not originally there, and I inserted the information.” Boasberg went on to ask: “You intentionally altered the email to insert information that was not originally in the email?” “Yes, your honor,” replied Clinesmith.

Read more …

Looks like he got a sweetheart plea deal without giving up anything for it.

Clinesmith Gets The Wolfe Plea Deal… (CT)

As noted in the DOJ press release: “Former FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith, 38, pleaded guilty today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to a false statement offense stemming from his altering of an email in connection with the submission of a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (“FISA”) application.” Despite the falsification of court documents within a FISA document; and despite the likelihood of an intentional conspiracy to commit fraud upon the court in order to obtain a Title-1 surveillance warrant against the Trump campaign – via Carter Page; the DOJ entered into a plea agreement on a single count of lying to federal officers. The agreement holds a maximum penalty of zero to six months in federal prison and a $250k fine.

This is the same plea agreement the DOJ (DC U.S. Attorney) previously gave to the Senate Intelligence Committee Security Director James Wolfe, who leaked the SAME, earlier, top-secret classified FISA application to the media on March 17, 2017. Judge James Boasberg noted early in the phone hearing that he is “currently the presiding judge for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court,” but that “this case, however, is a criminal case, it is not a FISC case, and it is a case that was randomly assigned.” As anticipated Boasberg said the FISA court could be seen as a “victim” in the case, but also said he would preside over the case fairly without recusing himself. He stated if either the defense or prosecution wanted him to recuse, then he would. Neither party requested.

Judge Boasberg noted the maximum penalty for a single false statements charge was five years in prison but the sentencing guideline calls for zero to six months. Sentencing is scheduled for December 10, 2020, after the election, at 11am. [..] From the nature of the plea, and the defense arguments in court and public, it is obvious there is no arrangement for Clinesmith’s assistance or cooperation on other investigative matters. This does not bode well for the proper administration of justice….

Read more …

How dumb is Clinesmith?

You Would Never Get The Deal That Clinesmith Got (SAC)

Judge James E. Boasberg of the federal district court in Washington, D.C.who oversees the case reminded Clinesmith that he had the right to a trial by jury, which Clinesmith declined. Boasberg accepted his guilty plea Wednesday and scheduled a Dec. 10, sentencing hearing. Clinesmith’s lawyers reiterated that their client deeply regretted his actions which were not intentional but none-the-less were in violation of the law. What? Let’s talk about what Clinesmith did and think about what would happen to you if you lied on a document like a FISA warrant? Wait, look at what happened to Trump friend and advisor Roger Stone who was accused of lying to Congress (by the way, former CIA director John Brennan, former DNI James Clapper and a litany of others blatantly lied to Congress and are now selling books on Amazon).

Clinesmith didn’t just tell a small lie, he specifically omitted information that allowed the FBI to spy on a presidential campaign for political reasons. He had worked at the FBI for four years and was a subordinate that was made the fall guy by FBI leadership. He altered an email he received from the CIA in 2017 that showed Page was in no way a Russian asset and that he was an asset for the CIA. The Judges at the FISC court approved the application to wiretap Page, according to court records and numerous investigations. He altered an official government email indicating that Page wasn’t “a source” for the CIA, when it originally said he was. WOW! Folks, that is no small crime.

More than 100 participants listened in to the court ‘plea agreement hearing’ Wednesday and listened as Clinesmith waived his right to a trial by jury. He is expected to get only six months or less for altering the FISA application, which is considered one of the most classified documents pertaining to national security and its contents must be validated thoroughly by the FBI before being submitted to the court. “Mr. Clinesmith you understand we’ve already talked about your jury rights,” said Boasberg. He then said do you understand your decision to waive your rights to a jury?” “Yes, your honor,” said Clinesmith.

What about all those above Clinesmith, who absolutely ordered him to operate the way he did and who tacitly approved his omission in the FISA application. Clinesmith is nothing more than the fall guy. He’ll serve a short sentence for a massive crime against our nation and duly elected president.

Obamagate

Read more …

Peaceful protesters one and all.

Operation Legend: Over 200 Charged With Federal Crimes, 1,000 Arrested (Fox)

At least 217 people have been charged with a federal crime, and more than 1,000 arrests have been made in major metropolitan cities since the Department of Justice launched Operation Legend in July, U.S. Attorney General William Barr announced on Wednesday. Nearly 400 firearms have been seized by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Barr launched Operation Legend on July 8 as “a sustained, systematic and coordinated law enforcement initiative in which federal law enforcement agencies work in conjunction with state and local law enforcement officials to fight violent crime,” the DOJ said in a release.

It was named in honor of 4-year-old LeGend Taliferro, who was shot and killed while he slept in the early morning of June 29 in Kansas City, Mo. Last week, a Jackson County prosecutor announced second-degree murder charges against his suspected killer, 22-year-old Ryson Ellis, who was being held in Tulsa County Jail. “LeGend is a symbol of the many hundreds of innocent lives that have been taken in the recent upsurge of crime in many of our urban areas,” Barr said at a press conference in Kansas City. “His life mattered and the lives of all of those victims matter. His name should be remembered and his senseless death, like those of all the other innocent victims in this recent surge, should be unacceptable to all Americans.”

Barr said the federal government has dispatched to nine U.S. cities more than 1,000 additional agents from the FBI, ATF, Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Marshals Service to work shoulder to shoulder with state and local partners on homicide and assault squads to crack cases. The government has also allocated $78.5 million in grants to support additional police positions, hire more prosecutors and improve technology to solve firearms crimes. “We saw one result of those efforts last week when Kansas City Police arrested the suspected murderer of LeGend,” Barr said. “This arrest will not bring LeGend back but it will make his case an example of how we can come together to take violent criminals off the street and to make our communities safer.”

Read more …

Election result in August 2021?

Judge Orders New Election In New Jersey Race Cited For Mail-In Fraud (Hill)

A New Jersey judge on Wednesday ordered a new election for a Paterson City Council seat whose apparent winner has been charged with voter fraud. State Superior Court Judge Ernest Caposela ruled Wednesday that the new election will be held in November, The Associated Press reported. Alex Mendez appeared to have won the May 12 special election, but the U.S. Postal Service’s law enforcement branch said hundreds of mail-in ballots had been found in a Paterson mailbox. The Passaic County Board of Elections ultimately discounted 800 ballots. In June, Mendez and Paterson Council Vice President Michael Jackson were charged with voter fraud.


Officials also charged two other men, Abu Rayzen of Prospect Park and Shelim Khalique of Wayne, according to the AP. Lawyers for Councilman William McKoy, Mendez’s opponent, secured an injunction against Mendez being sworn in. All four defendants have denied the charges. President Trump has seized on the case, saying allowing nationwide mail-in voting in the fall election will lead to a similar scenario. In June, he cited the case, saying that comparatively, “Absentee Ballots are fine,” although many states make no such distinction between absentee and mail-in voting. The president’s reelection campaign on Tuesday sued the state in an attempt to stop plans to conduct the election predominantly by mail.

Read more …

The virtual war party. Why AOC was snubbed: a giant move to the right is how the Dems see themselves win. They feel they have BLM and #MeToo in their pocket, so now they can leave them behind.

Iraq War Cheerleaders Front & Center At Last Night’s DNC AC)

Democrats want to woo disaffected Republican and independent voters. But the degree to which the DNC convention prime time speaking slots favored defecting Republican neocons like Cindy McCain, John Kasich and Colin Powell over upstart fresh-faced Democrats like Julián Castro, Rep. Pramila Jayapal or Rep. Ayanna Pressley, was jarring; unabashed support for the Iraq War seemed to be the main thread that connects these erstwhile Republicans with Democrat speakers like Hillary Clinton and John Kerry. On the first night, in a speech recorded at a literal crossroads in Westerville, Ohio, former Ohio governor John Kasich, said, “I’m a lifelong Republican, but that attachment holds second place to my responsibility to my country. That’s why I’ve chosen to appear at this convention. In normal times, something like this would probably never happen. But these are not normal times.”

Kasich was followed by former Gov. Christine Todd Whitman (R-N.J.), former Rep. Susan Molinari (R-N.Y.) and former Hewlett-Packard and eBay CEO and failed Republican gubernatorial candidate, Meg Whitman. Ostensibly, the purpose of this procession of former Republicans was to solidify Biden’s ranking with independent voters on the fence, but activists on the left were quick to notice the snub given their own compatriots’ positions. “The party should be focused on energizing Democratic voters rather than using their convention to reassure billionaires, corporate donors and Republican lobbyists that they won’t actually try to challenge the status quo,” said David Sirota, a former speechwriter for Senator Bernie Sanders and editor of Jacobin magazine.

While the left’s rising star Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) was given just a minute to speak, wherein she endorsed Bernie Sanders, Iraq War supporters and cheerleaders were prominently featured: failed Democratic presidential candidate and Obama’s former Secretary of State John Kerry unabashedly intoned that Joe Biden “knows you can’t spread democracy around the world, if you don’t practice it at home.” Gen. Colin Powell, chiefly remembered for his 2003 speech to the United Nations packed with lies about WMDs to justify the U.S. invasion of Iraq, said Biden would “restore… values to the White House.” Sen. John McCain’s widow Cindy McCain also endorsed the long-time Delaware Senator, while former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will endorse him Wednesday night.

Read more …

Sirota is sticking out his neck, and it won’t be appreciated that he tears into his own party, but he’s also still stuck in “but Trump is so much worse” mode.

You Don’t Have To Be Excited (Sirota)

I’m wondering because this isn’t how it’s supposed to be. I’m told I should be bouncing up in the morning, uplifted by the Democratic convention and its promise of a new era soon — 75 days. But at least for me, watching the cable TV snippets, the convention speeches and the celebratory Twitter dunks has left me with that feeling you get after eating junk food — full, but not nourished, bloated, tired and vaguely nauseous. I’ve worked on a lot of Democratic campaigns, wins and losses. I’m literally married to a Democratic elected official. Over 20 years, I’ve put in an almost embarrassing amount of time working to support the Democratic Party.

So these feelings are somewhat new for me, and I don’t think I’m having them just because Democratic officials decided to turn this year’s convention into a promotional platform for Republican icons who attacked unions, laid off thousands of workers, promoted climate denial, endangered 9/11 survivors and lied us into a war that killed hundreds of thousands of people. I’m also not glum just because the Democrats’ presidential standard-bearer is often an uninspiring mishmash of incoherent here’s-the-deal colloquialisms that mean nothing. I think the despair is deeper — and has something to do with the now-yawning gap between social expectation and reality.

Right now, if you are following politics at all, you are asked to feel chipper and energized. We are expected — no, required — to conjure 2008-level enthusiasm during this even darker time than the financial crisis, all so that we can move into a new, glorious moment of Hope™. Enthusiasm, though, comes from the assumption that the process is authentic and that what we’re told by our leaders is real. But that feeling has waned, because there is no pretense. For all the high-minded rhetoric, everyone on all sides of this situation — and I mean literally everyone — knows that Democratic politics today is more about brand and pantomime than about power and legislative action. You may not say it out loud, you may not like thinking about it — but I’m not telling you anything you don’t know, because somewhere deep down in there, everyone senses the fraudulence at hand.

Minds are wiped and Iraq War architects become Resistance heroes and Democratic convention speakers. Memories are scrubbed and Wall Street thieves become Democratic economic gurus and treasury secretaries. Amnesia takes hold and the Democratic governor of Mount Covid becomes a pandemic mancrush. Democrats lose a presidential campaign to Donald Trump by defending the Washington establishment — and now four years later they are running the same Washington valor campaign again, telling themselves they’re too legit to quit, baby.

Read more …

If someone can explain the logic to me of pardoning Snowden but not Assange, I’m game.

History Is On Edward Snowden’s Side (Hill)

It is an addictive tendency in politics to feel a sense of history about what it is one is fighting for. Everyone wants to believe that their heroes from ages past are smiling down on them while simultaneously rolling in their graves at the sight of whatever the opposition is doing. But the fact of the matter is that the vast network of scandal-ridden government agencies, clandestine secret courts, and diabolically unconstitutional statutes trying to destroy Snowden hails from a particularly dark, shameful chapter of America’s past. Snowden stands accused of violating the Espionage Act of 1917, championed by then-President Woodrow Wilson. Passed just two months after America’s entrance into World War I, the law sought to silence criticism of the war effort and crush dissent within the ranks of the armed forces.

In his State of the Union address just two years earlier, Wilson begged Congress to pass it, declaring, “Such creatures of passion, disloyalty, and anarchy must be crushed out… they are infinitely malignant, and the hand of our power should close over them at once.” Now the law has withstood over a century of criticism and legal challenges from civil liberties advocates, and the misery it has inflicted on countless Americans has proven painfully obvious. In 1918, antiwar activist Charles Schenck was arrested for distributing flyers encouraging men to resist the draft. That same year, socialist Eugene V. Debs was sentenced to ten years in prison, deprived of his citizenship, and disenfranchised for life over nothing more than a speech he made criticizing the war. In January 1919, however, the Supreme Court dealt a devastating blow to freedom of speech by concluding that neither’s arrest constituted a violation of the First Amendment.

And these are far from the only people to have been victimized by the very law being used to terrorize Snowden today. A search for just a few of the more well-known cases will yield the stories of journalist Victor L. Berger, activists Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman, former U.S. Army soldier Chelsea Manning, and former Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) employee Henry Kyle Frese. Discussing recent events in an April 2020 interview with journalist and constitutional lawyer Glenn Greenwald, Snowden warned, “Now, the only thing we have left — our rights, our ideals, our values as people — that’s what they’re coming for now, that’s what they’re asking us to give up, that’s what they’re wanting to change. And remember that, from the perspective of a free society, a virus is a serious problem… but the destruction of our rights is fatal — that’s permanent.”

Read more …

Unlawful but the right thing to do. Yeah, you’re really helping.

New Zealand Lockdown Unlawful For First Nine Days, High Court Finds (NZH)

The first nine days of lockdown were unlawful, a High Court decision says. New Zealanders were not actually required by law to stay at home in their bubbles until April 3, more than a week into lockdown, today’s ruling has found. “Even as this country returns to a state of semi-lockdown, there is one thing on which most commentators are agreed. The decisions taken by the New Zealand Government in March this year to “go hard and go early” were the right ones,” said the High Court decision, released this afternoon. “Even in times of emergency, however, and even when the merits of the Government response are not widely contested, the rule of law matters.” That was why Wellington lawyer Andrew Borrowdale sought a judicial review of the lockdown decision, asking for declarations of illegality in relation to three aspects of the Government’s initial Covid-19 response.

Read more …

People like to blame the rise of gold on the demise of the dollar. But is it really the weakest horse in the glue factory?

Gold Pressures Empire (Brown)

Before COVID and since the repo crisis of 2019 the stability and safety of the US financial system has increasingly come into focus. The US financial system has been forced to lower real interest rates to real negative territory, causing gold to look more attractive than holding increasingly worthless US dollars, since gold has intrinsic value when the US dollar has none. Instead of a classic store for inflationary dollars, the new demand for settlement in real bullion threatens the existence of the US gold exchange (COMEX) and threatens serious financial loss for the largest global players, including HSBC, JP Morgan, and UBS. Even Goldman Sachs has warned of this threat.

So… what has changed? It appears that some new element is at work. As explored in a prior article, the US regime’s new cold war versus China has caused that country to re-assess its relationship to US assets. China began divesting itself of US debt instruments in 2019. And, seldom reported in the west, China has recently escalated its effort to divest itself of US public debt (Treasury) holdings in 2020. In tandem with improved convertibility of the yuan (CNY) intel sources indicate that China may be the second largest holder of gold globally. Likewise, China may be using gold as a medium of exchange to avoid the aforesaid weaponization of the US dollar so favored by the current US regime. Even so, the foregoing does not fully explain the events we are seeing.

Traditionally the Federal Reserve and their dealers have controlled gold to limit central bank losses and prevent gold from effectively competing with or displacing the US dollar as a primary trusted monetary medium. But someone or some entity somewhere is now battling the US central bank for that control. Bottom line, monetary realists as observers still don’t understand why the historic central bank market manipulation of gold is presently failing. The US Central Bank must suppress the price of gold or face catastrophic losses that will cause an escalating downward spiral in the standing of the US dollar. [..] Regardless, argue, ignore, or deny it… the golden rule, “He who hath the gold rules” is as true now as it has ever been. The problem arises when that being of real value is supplanted by illusion. And it is only the illusion we have seen since August, 15th, 1971.

Read more …

One “experiment” with a group of 120 people, the other with 668. The term “universal” is apparently very hard to understand. But it’s in UBI for a reason.

Germany Launches Universal Basic Income Experiment (ZH)

Germany is about to try their hand at a universal basic income (UBI), after 1,500 people signed up for a three-year study to observe the effects on the economy and the wellbeing of the recipients, according to Business Insider. Of those who signed up, 120 individuals will receive the equivalent of US$1,430 per month for three years – just above Germany’s poverty line. Their lives will be compared to the remaining 1,380 people who will not receive the payments. The participants will be asked to complete questionnaires about their lives – including their emotional state and their work status, to see if UBI has had a meaningful impact.

Of course, as we and others have noted over and over and over, UBI experiments typically end in disaster. That said, it really helps if you’ve got a giant printing press and happen to be the world’s reserve currency during a pandemic (and for how long?). The study will also seek to determine whether UBI is a disincentive to work, or whether people will continue to ‘do fulfilling work, become more creative and charitable, and save democracy,’ according to the study’s lead investigator, Jürgen Schupp. Germany’s experiment has been funded by 140,000 private donations, and is being conducted by the German Institute for Economic Research.

“Universal basic income is the idea that a government should pay a lump sum of money to each of its citizens, usually once a month, regardless of their income and employment status, effectively replacing means-tested benefits. Its proponents argue that it would reduce inequality and also improve public wellbeing by providing people with more financial security. Its opponents say it would be too expensive and discourage people from going to work. The idea has gained traction in recent years amid recent financial crises and growing inequality in some Western countries.” -Business Insider

“A pro-basic income lobby group called Mein Grundeinkommen is funding the experiment. The group has used donations from its supporters to fund monthly €1,000 ($1,194) payments of for 668 people since 2014. Finland experimented its with own form of Universal Basic Income for nearly two years between January 2017 and December 2018 but concluded that while it led to people out of work feeling happier, it did not lead to increased employment, the BBC reported. During the experiment, 2,000 unemployed Finns received €560 ($667) a month.” -Business Insider

Read more …

“..forcing the Democrats to reverse course and abolish the USPS once and for all.”

Brilliant Trump Puts Himself On All Postage Stamps (Babylon Bee)

..Forcing Democrats To Push For Abolishing USPS


Sources are reporting that Trump has dealt a killer blow in his ongoing war against his sworn enemy, the U.S. Post Office. In a move of sheer, mind-blowing brilliance, Trump directed the Post Office to put his face on every single stamp, forcing the Democrats to reverse course and abolish the institution once and for all. The new stamp, dubbed “The Trump-Stamp,” to be used on all pieces of mail features a smiling Donald Trump, with the caption “GREATEST PRESIDENT EVER.” Don Lemon broke the news in a tearful address to the nation last night. “Our democracy is over,” he said. “It doesn’t exist anymore. I will never send another piece of mail ever again, and neither should you or else you’re a racist.” Antifa and BLM responded by marching on local post offices and burning them down. Enthusiastic Trump supporters quickly bought up all the stamps. They are now selling for $3,000 apiece online.

Read more …

“Oh, and he also cleared me of Alzheimer’s.”

Biden: ‘I Don’t Have Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Or Alzheimer’s’ (Babylon Bee)

In a recent live stream, Joe Biden proudly declared that his physician had cleared him of Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Alzheimer’s. “My doc says I don’t have Alzheimer’s, dementia, or Alzheimer’s,” he said confidently. “Oh, and he also cleared me of Alzheimer’s.” Aides could be heard scrambling around to try to cut the video feed. “Yep — completely clear of Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Alzheimer’s,” he said. “Wait – who are you people? What are all these cameras doing here? Who am I? WHO AM I!?!?!” At the end of the video, after aides finally calmed him down but before they were able to cut the feed, Biden added, “My doc says I don’t have Alzheimer’s, dementia, or Alzheimer’s.” The Press quickly praised the speech as one of Biden’s most coherent.

Read more …

 

 

We try to run the Automatic Earth on donations. Since ad revenue has collapsed, your support is now an integral part of the process.

Thank you for your ongoing support.

 

 

Video Carl Jung

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in virustime.

 

Aug 072020
 


W.H. Bartlett and J. Appleton The port of Beirut 1838

 

Minimizing Economic Costs For COVID19 (NECSI)
UK Shoppers Steer Clear Of High Streets Despite Lockdown Lifting (G.)
US State Dept: Russia Pushing Coronavirus Conspiracy Theories Online (JTN)
Trump Issues Executive Orders Against Chinese Owners Of TikTok And WeChat (F.)
Tencent Stock Plummets After Trump Announces Plan To Ban WeChat (CNN)
TikTok Sparks National Security Concerns (Japan Times)
Think ‘Sanctions’ Will Trouble China? You’re Stuck In The Past (Ai Weiwei)
NRA Files Countersuit Against New York AG Letitia James
Judge Calls For Assange Testimony In Fox News Civil Suit Over Seth Rich (JTN)
Almost Half Of UK Charities For World’s Poorest Set To Close In A Year (G.)
Canada’s Last Fully Intact Arctic Ice Shelf Collapses (R.)

 

 

Johns Hopkins reports over 2,000 US deaths in 24 hrs for the first time in 3 months. Worldometer says 1,203.

The US passed 5 million cases.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nomiki DNC funds

 

 

New England Complex Systems Institute means Yaneer Bar-Yam.

Making trying to save your economy more important than fighting COVID is set to backfire. Don’t flatten the curve, crush it. That so many countries have failed in that regard doesn’t just mean they will get second and third waves, more importantly it means their economies will be hurt more than they already are.

Minimizing Economic Costs For COVID19 (NECSI)

It is often claimed that there is a trade-off between containing COVID-19 and minimizing disruption to the economy, and that eliminating COVID-19 (by which we mean getting to no community transmission—i.e. no cases from unknown sources) is too costly to be worthwhile. Here, we examine the validity of these claims.


We consider a space of policy action in which a country (or state) decreases its number of cases per day by reducing the reproductive number R below 1 for a duration of its choosing and then maintains thereafter a constant number of cases per day. The question is what is the right level at which to maintain this constant number of cases per day. The essential idea is that there are two strategies: 1) an elimination strategy in which R<1 is maintained until there is no more community transmission and after which the country reopens (save for targeted responses in specific locations to combat cases that are imported), and 2) a steady-state strategy, in which R<1 is maintained for some period of time but not long enough to eliminate community transmission and after which R=1 is maintained nationwide.

The elimination strategy requires a greater upfront cost, since R<1 is maintained for a longer duration, but requires lower costs thereafter since economic activity in the country can largely return to normal, with the exception of targeted measures in specific locations in the event of a second outbreak caused by an imported case. The steady-state strategy, on the other hand, requires the costly maintenance of R=1 nationwide in order for cases not to rise; if community transmission is not eliminated and R=1 is not maintained, a second wave will occur sooner or later, as has already occurred in many countries that have not yet chosen the elimination strategy. Because of the long time during which a country must maintain R=1 under the steady-state strategy, it is worthwhile even from a purely economic perspective for a country in almost all cases to instead choose the elimination strategy, despite its greater short-term costs.

Read more …

As reported numerous times, it’s not the lockdowns that hurt economies most, it’s people being afraid to get infected. Look at the Swedish GDP graph: no lockdown, but a huge fall.

UK Shoppers Steer Clear Of High Streets Despite Lockdown Lifting (G.)

Shoppers continued to stay away from UK high streets last month despite the reopening of non-essential shops, pubs and restaurants following the lifting of lockdown measures. The number of visitors to UK retail destinations dropped by 39.4% in July compared with the same month a year ago, according to figures from Springboard, a data company that tracks footfall at consumer hotspots. Despite an improvement of almost a fifth from June, in the best month for visitor numbers since February, the figures suggest intense pressure remains for the high street as people continued to stay away from town and city centres amid the ongoing health risks from Covid-19.

Non-essential shops began reopening in England and Northern Ireland in mid-June, and in Wales and Scotland later that month. Hotels, pub and restaurants in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland followed suit in July, though customers were only allowed back inside Welsh pubs and cafes this week. With social distancing measures in place, consumers are now gradually returning to towns and city centres. However, Springboard said that during the first full month without tough lockdown measures, bricks and mortar destinations only managed to attract six out of every 10 people who visited last year.

The latest snapshot comes after growing numbers of big high street names announce a raft of shop closures and job losses, as retailers, pubs, hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions face a sharp decline in income caused by the pandemic. Consumers are increasingly spending online, while a lack of tourists from overseas and office workers venturing into town and city centres has had an impact on visitor numbers. The figures precede the launch of the government’s eat out to help out restaurant discount scheme, which has led to a sharp rise in visitor numbers since the start of August. However, coronavirus infections are starting to increase in some parts of Britain, leading to local lockdowns and fuelling concern among consumers.

Read more …

Of course they do. And they’re stupid and ugly too, all 150 million of them.

But look on the bright side: at least they give both sides of America, who are ready to start shooting each other, that one elusive thing they can agree on.

US State Dept: Russia Pushing Coronavirus Conspiracy Theories Online (JTN)

U.S. officials contend that Russia is employing an online operation – including the disseminating of conspiracy theories and disinformation – to create confusion about the coronavirus, according to a new State Department report. The report described a Russian-based misinformation cycle that peddles sensationalist information via U.S. social media conversations and proxy websites. The department found that the Kremlin has focused its most recent efforts on conspiracy theories about the pandemic. The sites appear as standard-seeming news outlets, but in reality are tied to the Kremlin and Russian state-funded media. State-funded media outlets in Russia often publish similar stories to the ones seen on these deceptive sites.


Furthermore, officials in China and Iran, in addition to Russia, often share the claims found on these sites on their social media feeds, the report found. The head of the State Department’s Global Engagement Center, Lea Gabrielle, told AP that what makes the Russian disinformation strategy effective is that “it’s difficult for the average person online to look at these sites and know the Russian affiliation.” Most of the sites examined by the State Department were directly connected to the Kremlin in one way or another. One site, Canadian-based Global Research, frequently publishes articles written by fabricated authors created by the GRU – Russia’s military intelligence service. A different site, NewsFront, is registered to the Russian government.

Read more …

Remember that Facebook, Google et al are banned in China.

Trump Issues Executive Orders Against Chinese Owners Of TikTok And WeChat (F.)

President Trump signed a pair of executive orders on Thursday prohibiting Americans from doing business with Beijing-based ByteDance, the company that owns TikTok, as well as transactions related to the app WeChat with its owner, the Chinese tech giant Tencent, beginning September 20, in an effort to bar the social media platforms from the U.S. due to national security concerns. Both orders are set to take effect in 45 days, though they will likely be challenged in court. Microsoft is in talks to purchase the operations of TikTok in the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand, a deal that Trump says he would support after initially expressing disapproval, and the two sides are hoping to complete a deal by September 15, which is before the 45-day deadline (at least three other companies are also vying to purchase TikTok).


The Trump administration had been threatening such a move for weeks over national security concerns, and on Friday the president told reporters on Air Force One he would “ban” the video-sharing platform from the U.S. In the orders, the president accused the companies of providing the Chinese government with access to Americans’ data and personal information, “allowing China to track the locations of Federal employees and contractors, build dossiers of personal information for blackmail, and conduct corporate espionage.” The White House also alleged that the Chinese government is monitoring WeChat messages to keep tabs on Chinese nationals in the U.S. WeChat, a messaging and payments app that has over a billion users, is one of the crown jewels for Tencent, which also has investments in American companies such as Epic Games, the maker of Fortnite, and Reddit.

Read more …

Tencent is huge, it passed the $500 billion valuation back in 2018. WeChat has a billion users, all outside of China.

Tencent Stock Plummets After Trump Announces Plan To Ban WeChat (CNN)

Tencent stock plunged on Friday after US President Donald Trump moved to ban WeChat, a social media app owned by the Chinese tech giant. Shares in Tencent plummeted as much as 10% in Hong Kong, before paring back some of those losses — though the stock was still down nearly 6% in afternoon trade. Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng Index (HSI) fell 1.8%. The fall came after Trump issued executive orders that would ban WeChat and TikTok, the short-form video app owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, from operating in the United States in 45 days if they are not sold by their parent companies.

Trump had already said that he would ban TikTok if a deal for the app is not reached with an American company, but the inclusion of WeChat indicates that Washington is broadening its efforts to restrict some Chinese apps from operating in the United States. The moves to ban the apps represent an “unprecedented intervention by the US government in the consumer technology sector,” according to Paul Triolo, head of geotechnology at Eurasia Group, a political risk consultancy.It also marks the first time the government “has attempted to ban a software application running on millions of mobile phones” in the United States, Triolo wrote in a note on Friday.

A WeChat ban would be a blow to the Chinese diaspora, students and others in the United States who rely on the app to communicate with family, friends and business partners in China. WeChat is the overseas version of Tencent’s widely popular Chinese messaging app Weixin. The app provides a range of services, including instant messaging and the ability to send money to other users. According to the order, a ban would apply to “any transaction that is related to WeChat” made by any person or “any property” subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.

Read more …

View from Japan.

TikTok Sparks National Security Concerns (Japan Times)

Maybe it is a generational thing, but I don’t get TikTok. The social media app allows users to share brief (15-second) videos — as if I need more opportunities to shorten my attention span. I must be an outlier, though: It is one of the most popular apps of the last two years, with a reported 2 billion downloads, and has 10 million users in Japan, 110 million in the United States and 200 million in India (before it was banned in that country). That extraordinary growth has turned its parent, ByteDance, which acquired the app in 2017, into one of the world’s most valuable startup companies, with a value approximating $150 billion.

Its popularity reflects the creativity it nurtures — and a user’s ability to monetize his or her audience. Followers can send money to video creators they like: Tens of millions of dollars have been “gifted” in the U.S. alone in the last two years. [..] In theory, TikTok poses three distinct risks. The first is that the app is a Trojan horse that can surveil users. That theoretical concern became real a few months ago when researchers discovered that the app accessed users’ clipboards, which could expose sensitive data, including passwords. The company blamed anti-spam features in the software and quickly disabled them. Strike 1.

The second concern is one now raised with every piece of Chinese information technology, whether it’s hardware or software: Because the company is subject to Chinese law, Beijing can and will gain access to all user information it has. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that people should download the app only if they want their “private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.” Again, researchers examined the app and concluded that TikTok’s data collection is consistent with that of similar applications. Will Strafach, an iOS security researcher, was cited in Wired magazine saying that “in context, TikTok appears to be pretty tame compared to other apps.”

Read more …

Ai Weiwei is a unique voice on China. “In the 1960s Mao said: “Cut us off? Go ahead – eight years, 10 years, China has everything.“

Think ‘Sanctions’ Will Trouble China? You’re Stuck In The Past (Ai Weiwei)

The Trump administration has floated the idea of sanctioning Chinese officials and members of the Communist party of China. Before we ask whether this is a good idea, let’s ask how Sino-US relations got to this stage. The US cold war with the Soviet Union was over ideology, but today’s standoff with China is different. The Chinese state has no ideology, no religion, no moral agenda. It continues wearing socialist garb but only as a face-saving pretence. It has, in fact, become a state-capitalist dictatorship. What the world sees today is a contest between the US system of free-market capitalism and Chinese state capitalism. How should we read this chessboard?

The post-Mao dictatorship in China has lived by the principle of “repress at home and be open to the world”. It has imported knowhow from abroad. There are an estimated 360,000 Chinese students currently enrolled who have come through America’s open door. Over 40 years, at least a million have returned to China and fed their new technical knowledge into the existing authoritarian structures that have built the dictatorship. It might be the most momentous personnel transfer in history. [..] But did capitalist competition, that ravenous machine that can chew up anything, change China? The regime’s politics did not change a whit. What did change was the US, whose business leaders now approached the Chinese dictatorship with obsequious smiles.

Here, after all, was an exciting new business partner: master of a realm in which there were virtually no labour rights or health and safety regulations, no frustrating delays because of squabbles between political parties, no criticism from free media, and no danger of judgment by independent courts. For European and US companies doing manufacture for export, it was a dream come true. Money rained down on parts of China, it is true. But the price was to mortgage the country’s future. Society fell into a moral swamp, devoid of humanity and difficult to escape. Meanwhile, the west made their adjustments. They stopped talking about liberal values and gave a pass to the dictatorship, in which Deng Xiaoping’s advice of “don’t confront” and Jiang Zemin’s of “lie low and make big bucks” made fast economic growth possible.

[..] Are sanctions the way to go? A foreign ministry spokesperson in Beijing recently remarked words to the effect that the US and China are so economically interlocked that they would amount to self-sanctions. The US, moreover, would be no match for China in its ability to endure suffering. And there he was correct: in dictatorships, sacrifices are not borne by the rulers. In the 1960s Mao said: “Cut us off? Go ahead – eight years, 10 years, China has everything.” A few years later Mao had nuclear weapons and was not afraid of anyone.

Read more …

No love lost for the NRA here, but c’mon, less than three months before the elction, the Democrat DA for New York squeezes Deutsche to fork over Trump’s tax records and the Democrat AG of New York all of a sudden goes after the NRA?! Both cases couldn’t have waited a few months? And nobody mentions election tampering?

NRA Files Countersuit Against New York AG Letitia James

The National Rifle Association sued New York Attorney General Letitia James on Thursday — the same day she brought a case to break up the pro-gun group — claiming she has misused her office to go after the organization for political reasons. “There can be no doubt that the James’s actions against the NRA are motivated and substantially caused by her hostility toward the NRA’s political advocacy,” the Albany Federal court lawsuit alleges. James made a campaign promise to investigate the NRA’s legitimacy as a non-profit organization and carried that torch after she was elected for the AG post because she disagrees with its politics, the suit charges. James “maligned” the group “without a single shred of evidence, nor any sincere belief, that the NRA was violating the New York Not-For-Profit Corporation Law, or any other law,” the court documents allege.

Once in office, James began “to deliver on her campaign promises to retaliate against the NRA for constitutionally protected speech on issues that James opposes,” the court documents allege. The NRA alleges it was forewarned by former AG Eric Schneiderman about a possible investigation into the group, prompting the organization to undertake “a top-to-bottom compliance review of its operations and governance.” And now its “finances are more robust than ever, and it operates to a high standard of compliance” with the law, the court papers claim. This ruffled feathers with some connected to the NRA, who were “discontented with the principled path it had chosen” and it even prompted litigation against the NRA’s former advertising agency Ackerman McQueen, the court papers charge.

And when James then launched her investigation of the NRA in April 2019, three months after taking office, the NRA says it cooperated, providing documents and testimony from employees. “Despite hopes that playing by the rules would procure a just outcome, the NRA has not been treated fairly by James’ office,” the suit says. “James’s threatened, and actual, regulatory reprisals are a blatant and malicious retaliation campaign against the NRA and its constituents based on her disagreement with the content of their speech,” the lawsuit alleges. “This wrongful conduct threatens to destabilize the NRA and chill the speech of the NRA, its members, and other constituents.”

Read more …

What’s in it for #julianAssange?

Judge Calls For Assange Testimony In Fox News Civil Suit Over Seth Rich (JTN)

A U.S. federal judge has asked the U.K. to assist in facilitating the testimony of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange in a civil suit against Fox News brought by the parents of slain Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich. U.S. Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn said in a filing on Wednesday that Assange’s evidence “cannot be secured except by the intervention of the English courts,” and that such intervention “would serve to further the international interests of justice and judicial cooperation.” At issue is a civil lawsuit brought by the parents of Rich, who worked in the DNC’s voter expansion division. Rich was shot and killed in July 2016 in Washington, D.C., in what police suspect was a botched robbery.

Conspiracy theories following Rich’s murder alleged that he had been involved in the hacking and subsequent leaking of DNC emails prior to death. The emails were published in part by WikiLeaks. After Rich’s death, Fox News reported that he had had contact with Assange prior to his death. The cable news network subsequently retracted the article, claiming it had not been properly vetteed prior to publication. The following year, Rich’s parents brought suit against Fox over the article, claiming the network had perpetrated intentional infliction of emotional distress against them. Fox in turn has argued that, retraction notwithstanding, the article was not a “sham” as alleged by the plaintiffs.

In her request Wednesday, Netburn said that “evidence regarding the source of the leaked DNC emails and the communications (if any) between Seth Rich and WikiLeaks will be highly material to Fox’s contentions.” “Mr. Assange, as founder of WikiLeaks, is exceptionally suited to provide testimony that will be highly relevant to these issues,” Netburn wrote.

Read more …

The only charisties that will be left are the ones run like global corporations. With a CEO who makes $1 million a year and volunteers who do all the work. That’s bad news for the people who rely on them.

Almost Half Of UK Charities For World’s Poorest Set To Close In A Year (G.)

Nearly half of the UK’s small charities working with the world’s poorest people expect to close within the next 12 months due to lack of financial support, a survey has found. Despite most of them seeing a spike in demand for their services during Covid-19, 15% of the charities will be forced to shut their doors within the next six months, and 45% within a year, according to data from the Small International Development Charities Network (SIDCN). The pandemic – predicted to force one in 10 UK charities into bankruptcy by the end of 2020 – has delivered a triple whammy to smaller overseas charities, according to SIDCN. British charities working abroad have not been eligible to apply for the UK government coronavirus community support fund, and many British funders have amended their giving criteria to donate to projects based solely in the UK.

The Department for International Development (DfID)’s merger with the Foreign Office and the subsequent £2.9bn cut to the 2020 overseas aid programme have left little room for small charities to function, said CEO Rita Chadha of the Small Charities Coalition, which supports more than 100 small NGOs. “There are over 10,000 small international charities with an income of under £1m in the UK,” said Chadha. “Their work rarely gets noticed beyond those that they directly work with, but their impact is huge. Helping young girls get an education, providing micro grants for businesses, and investing in clean drinking water is what makes us collectively safer and better. Covid-19 has proven we can no longer afford to think just local.”

[..] SIDCN, which surveyed 53 small charities/nonprofits working overseas with a maximum annual income of £1m, found that 72% had seen an increased demand for their services during the pandemic, with 57% having had to postpone programmes or projects. “The lack of any support for international charities has been debilitating,” one charity head told researchers. “We have had to close the office and cut staff and staff hours but the demands on our now-reduced team have only increased. The amount of funding for immediate partner Covid needs is paltry,”

Read more …

While you weren’t looking.

Canada’s Last Fully Intact Arctic Ice Shelf Collapses (R.)

The last fully intact ice shelf in the Canadian Arctic has collapsed, losing more than 40% of its area in just two days at the end of July, researchers said on Thursday. The Milne Ice Shelf is at the fringe of Ellesmere Island, in the sparsely populated northern Canadian territory of Nunavut. “Above normal air temperatures, offshore winds and open water in front of the ice shelf are all part of the recipe for ice shelf break up,” the Canadian Ice Service said on Twitter when it announced the loss on Sunday. “Entire cities are that size. These are big pieces of ice,” said Luke Copland, a glaciologist at the University of Ottawa who was part of the research team studying the Milne Ice Shelf.

The shelf’s area shrank by about 80 square kilometers. By comparison, the island of Manhattan in New York covers roughly 60 square kilometers. “This was the largest remaining intact ice shelf, and it’s disintegrated, basically,” Copland said. The Arctic has been warming at twice the global rate for the last 30 years, due to a process known as Arctic amplification. But this year, temperatures in the polar region have been intense. The polar sea ice hit its lowest extent for July in 40 years. Record heat and wildfires have scorched Siberian Russia.

Summer in the Canadian Arctic this year in particular has been 5 degrees Celsius above the 30-year average, Copland said. That has threatened smaller ice caps, which can melt quickly because they do not have the bulk that larger glaciers have to stay cold. As a glacier disappears, more bedrock is exposed, which then heats up and accelerates the melting process. “The very small ones, we’re losing them dramatically,” he said, citing researchers’ reviews of satellite imagery. “You feel like you’re on a sinking island chasing these features, and these are large features. It’s not as if it’s a little tiny patch of ice you find in your garden.”

Read more …

 

 

We try to run the Automatic Earth on donations. Since ad revenue has collapsed, your support is now an integral part of the process.

Thank you.

 

 

Beirut August 2020.

 

 

Carl Sagan 1995

 

 

Let all souls here rest in peace; for we shall not repeat the evil.

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in virustime.

 

Jul 142020
 


DPC The Wizard Tree, Cathedral Woods, North Conway, White Mountains, New Hampshire 1900

 

Pandemic May Get ‘Worse And Worse And Worse’ – WHO (RT)
US Kids At Higher Risk From Coronavirus Than Kids In Other Countries (CNBC)
Hong Kong To Impose Most Severe Social Distancing Restrictions (R.)
Italian Doctors: Effects of COVID-19 Worse Than First Thought (Sky)
Japan Has Long Accepted COVID’s Airborne Spread (CBS)
California’s New Lockdown Dims Outlook For US Growth In Pandemic (R.)
Federal Reserve’s $3 Trillion Virus Rescue Inflates Market Bubbles (R.)
Goya “Boycott” Becomes “Buycott” (ZH)
FBI Believed Michael Flynn Was ‘Forthcoming’ And ‘Telling Truth’ (Solomon)
Trump Doesn’t Rule Out Pardoning Michael Flynn (CNBC)
Roger Stone Judge Demands To See Trump Clemency Order (ZH)
Weissmann To Publish Insider Account Of Trump-Russia Investigation (G.)
Top Mueller Aide Weissmann Calls For Roger Stone To Face Grand Jury (Turley)

 

 

Well, I did warn about those second lockdowns, and said they would be much harder than the first ones. Never let a lockdown go to waste, they’re against human -social- nature, no matter how needed they may be. It’s also stunning to see how unprepared everybody is for entering one. There’s no organization anywhere. There should be playbooks for these things, it’s not improv theater. You need to be able to identify the weakest people in society, and look after them.

And in the present day US, where everyone is hellbent on not listening to one another anymore, this can only lead to big trouble. Increasingly, the virus is becoming a political attribute, even if that is about the worst idea imaginable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But who still listens to the WHO?

Pandemic May Get ‘Worse And Worse And Worse’ – WHO (RT)

The Covid-19 pandemic is set to get “worse and worse” if countries do not stick to strict healthcare guidelines, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned. The disease has already killed more than half-a-million globally. Speaking on Monday during a press briefing from the agency’s headquarters in Geneva via videolink, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus gave an alarming prognosis on the pandemic’s course. “Let me be blunt. Too many countries are headed in the wrong direction, the virus remains public enemy number one,” Tedros said. “If basics are not followed, the only way this pandemic is going to go: it is going to get worse and worse and worse.”


The grim prognosis comes after the WHO registered a record daily increase in active coronavirus cases worldwide since the beginning of the pandemic. On Sunday, the global health watchdog registered some 230,370 new cases of the virus. The Covid-19 death rate remains steady, claiming around 5,000 lives on a daily basis. The global coronavirus tally for confirmed infections has risen above the 13-million mark, according to Reuters’ figures for the pandemic. Over 560,000 people have succumbed to the disease. The US, Brazil and India remain the worst-hit nations, accounting for nearly a half of all cases.

Read more …

“.. young people in the U.S. are generally sicker than young people in Sweden, for example. ”

US Kids At Higher Risk From Coronavirus Than Kids In Other Countries (CNBC)

Children in the U.S. are more likely than kids in other countries to have underlying conditions that place them at an increased risk of becoming severely sick with Covid-19, complicating the U.S. debate over how and whether to reopen schools this fall, former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said Monday. President Donald Trump has been pressuring U.S. schools to reopen this fall, tweeting last week that schools in “Germany, Denmark, Norway and Sweden, along with many other countries” were “open with no problems.” But Gottlieb said Monday it’s difficult to compare the U.S. to most of those countries because they were able to bring the level of daily infection down to a manageable degree before reopening schools.

The outbreak in the U.S., in contrast, continues to set daily new records as the Trump administration ramps up pressure on local officials to commit to reopening schools. The U.S. is suffering from the worst Covid-19 outbreak in the world with more than 3.3 million confirmed cases so far and at least 135,200 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. “The only country that had schools open against a backdrop of a fair degree of spread was Sweden, and that’s what everyone extrapolates from,” he said on “Squawk Box.” “We didn’t study that systematically. We don’t know how many kids were really infected.” [..] Another concern that ought to be considered when deciding whether and how to reopen U.S. schools, Gottlieb said, is that young people in the U.S. are generally sicker than young people in Sweden, for example.

Regardless of age, other underlying conditions more prevalent in American kids puts them at a greater risk of a severe Covid-19 infection. “We have more co-morbid illness among young people in this country — more asthma, more obesity, more diabetes — so there is going to be higher risk with our school age population,” Gottlieb said. Those so-called co-morbidities have resulted in more severe illnesses and even death in Covid-19 patients across all age groups, scientists have found. The CDC says 18.5% of U.S. children between the ages of 2 and 19 suffer from obesity, or about 13.7 million children. About 6 million children under the age of 18 have asthma, according to the CDC, and the agency notes that Black children suffer from asthma at more than double the rate of White children.

Read more …

A lot of places see fresh outbreaks. People are eager to call them a second wave, but given how strongly that term is linked to the 1918 flu, I’d be careful with that.

Hong Kong To Impose Most Severe Social Distancing Restrictions (R.)

Hong Kong will impose strict new social distancing measures from midnight Tuesday, the most stringent in the Asian financial hub since the coronavirus broke out, as authorities warn the risk of a large-scale outbreak is extremely high. The measures dictate that face masks will be mandatory for people using public transport and restaurants will no longer provide dine in services and only offer takeaway after 6 pm. Both are new rules that were not implemented during the city’s first and second coronavirus waves earlier this year. If a person does not wear a mask on public transport, they face a fine of HK$5,000 ($645). Chief Executive Carrie Lam said on Monday the government would limit group gatherings to four people from 50 – a measure last seen during a second wave in March.


Twelve types of establishments including gyms and places of amusement must shut for a week. “The recent emergence of local cases of unknown infection source indicates the existence of sustained silent transmission in the community,” the government said in a statement late on Monday. The Chinese-ruled city recorded 52 new cases of coronavirus on Monday, including 41 that were locally transmitted, health authorities said. Since late January, Hong Kong has reported 1,522 cases and local media reported an eighth death on Monday. The government said it is very concerned about the high number of imported cases and planned to impose further measures on travellers from high-risk places, including securing mandatory negative test results before arrival.

Read more …

“Psychosis, insomnia, kidney disease, spinal infections, strokes, chronic tiredness and mobility issues..”

Italian Doctors: Effects of COVID-19 Worse Than First Thought (Sky)

The long-term effects of COVID-19, even on people who suffered a mild infection, could be far worse than was originally anticipated, according to researchers and doctors in northern Italy. Psychosis, insomnia, kidney disease, spinal infections, strokes, chronic tiredness and mobility issues are being identified in former coronavirus patients in Lombardy, the worst-affected region in the country. The doctors warn that some victims may never recover from the illness and that all age groups are vulnerable. The virus is a systemic infection that affects all the organs of the body, not, as was previously thought, just a respiratory disease, they say. Some people may find that their ability to properly work, to concentrate, and even to take part in physical activities will be severely impaired.

The physicians warn that people who do not consider themselves in a vulnerable group and aren’t concerned at contracting the disease could be putting themselves in danger of life-changing illnesses if they ignore the rules to keep safe. They stress that the need for social distancing, hand washing, and masks is as important now as it ever was. The warnings come amid growing concerns in northern Italy that a second wave of the virus could be imminent. Doctors in two of the main hospitals in the region have reported a handful of new cases of severely ill people with respiratory problems. Dr Roberto Cosentini, head of emergencies at Papa Giovanni XXIII Hospital in Bergamo, oversaw the response to the virus that swept through this alpine province claiming the lives of at least 6,000 people.

He gave Sky News unprecedented access to the hospital’s emergency rooms in March when the first shocking effects of the virus were broadcast around the world, changing perceptions of the scale of the problem. Now he is leading efforts to again send a warning across the globe that COVID-19 is a lethal killer that affects the whole body, and is not going away. “At first, initially, we thought it was a bad flu, then we thought it was a bad flu with a very bad pneumonia, it was the phase when you came here, but subsequently we discovered that it is a systemic illness with vessel damage in the whole body with renal involvement, cerebral involvement,” he told me in the now silent COVID-19 emergency room that was overwhelmed a few months ago.

“So we are seeing other acute manifestations of renal failure that require dialysis; or stroke, and then acute myocardial infarction, so a lot of complications or other manifestations of the virus. “And also now we see a significant proportion of the population with chronic damage from the virus.”

Read more …

Which the WHO still halfway denies.

Japan Has Long Accepted COVID’s Airborne Spread (CBS)

Under pressure from the scientific community, the World Health Organization acknowledged last week the airborne transmission of “micro-droplets” as a possible third cause of COVID-19 infections. To many researchers in Japan, the admission felt anti-climactic. This densely populated country has operated for months on the assumption that tiny, “aerosolized” particles in crowded settings are turbo-charging the spread of the new coronavirus. Very few diseases — tuberculosis, chicken pox and measles — have been deemed transmissible through aerosols. Most are spread only through direct contact with infected persons or their bodily fluids, or contaminated surfaces. Still the WHO has refused to confirm aerosols as a major source of new coronavirus infections, saying more evidence is needed.

But scientists are keeping the pressure on. “If the WHO recognizes what we did in Japan, then maybe in other parts of the world, they will change (their antiviral procedures),” said Shin-Ichi Tanabe, a professor in the architecture department of Japan’s prestigious Waseda University. He was one of the 239 international scientists who co-wrote an open letter to the WHO urging the United Nations agency to revise its guidelines on how to stop the virus spreading. Large droplets expelled through the nose and mouth tend to fall to the ground quickly, explained Makoto Tsubokura, who runs the Computational Fluid Dynamics lab at Kobe University. For these larger respiratory particles, social distancing and face masks are considered adequate safeguards.

But in rooms with dry, stale air, Tsubokura said his research showed that people coughing, sneezing, and even talking and singing, emit tiny particles that defy gravity — able to hang in the air for many hours or even days, and travel the length of a room. The key defense against aerosols, Tsubokura said, is diluting the amount of virus in the air by opening windows and doors and ensuring HVAC systems circulate fresh air. In open-plan offices, he said partitions must be high enough to prevent direct contact with large droplets, but low enough to avoid creating a cloud of virus-heavy air (55 inches, or head height.) Small desk fans, he said, can also help diffuse airborne viral density. To the Japanese, the latest WHO admission did at least vindicate a strategy that the country adopted in February, when residents were told to avoid “the three Cs” — cramped spaces, crowded areas and close conversation.

Read more …

Maybe you shouldn’t target growth in a pandemic?!

California’s New Lockdown Dims Outlook For US Growth In Pandemic (R.)

California Governor Gavin Newsom’s decision Monday to reimpose restrictions on bars, restaurants, gyms and even ordinary office work to tamp down a surge of coronavirus infections is dimming economic growth prospects for the nation as a whole. Darkening the outlook further was the decision by California’s two largest school districts – Los Angeles and San Diego – to conduct only online instruction when classes resume next month, a move that will make it challenging for parents of more than 825,000 students to return to work. The Golden State, with 40 million people, employs more workers than any other state in the nation, and its production of goods and services is about equal to the combined output of Florida and Texas, two others states that have also seen resurgences of the virus.

After the Great Recession, California was the nation’s inarguable job growth engine, creating about one in every seven jobs, more than any other state. By comparison, over the course of the 12-year post-financial crisis expansion Texas created one of every eight U.S. jobs, and Florida, about one of every 11. In March, after becoming the first U.S. state to impose a stay-at-home order in response to the coronavirus pandemic, California also became the nation’s job-loss leader. Some 2.6 million jobs disappeared in March and April, about equal to the combined job losses in Texas and Florida. Many states began to reopen in May. California allowed businesses to resume activity at a slower pace than many states did.

That shows in the most recent state-by-state jobs data: during the course May, California added just 141,600 jobs, versus 182,000 in Florida and 237,000 in Texas. Since then, the virus has resurged in much of the country, with the biggest increases in Florida, Texas, Arizona and California, forcing governors in all of those states to reimpose some restrictions. But none has gone as far as Newsom did on Monday; and none of those states has near the footprint of California when it comes to economic heft on a national scale. Before the coronavirus crisis, the state accounted for about 14% of the whole U.S. economy.

Read more …

Article gives a few examples, I bring my own. There is no better example of a Fed manufactured bubble than Tesla.

Federal Reserve’s $3 Trillion Virus Rescue Inflates Market Bubbles (R.)

The Federal Reserve’s $3 trillion bid to stave off an economic crisis in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak is fuelling excesses across U.S. capital markets. The U.S. central bank has pledged unlimited financial asset purchases to sustain market liquidity, increasing its balance sheet from $4.2 trillion in February to $7 trillion today. While the vast majority of these purchases have been limited to U.S. Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities, the Fed’s pledge to bolster the corporate bond market has been enough to spur a frenzy among investors for bonds and stocks. “COVID-19 is now inversely related to the markets. The worse that COVID-19 gets, the better the markets do because the Fed will bring in stimulus. That is what has been driving markets,” said Andrew Brenner, head of international fixed income at NatAlliance.

Read more …

Brilliant idea. And no, I don’t think a boycott is in place just for talking to the president.

Goya “Boycott” Becomes “Buycott” (ZH)

In what is turning into a spectacular backfire, Goya products are being cleaned out of grocery store shelves in what is being dubbed the “Chick-Fil-A” effect by The Daily Wire. Namely, leftists have called for a boycott over the brand after its CEO publicly praised President Donald Trump. Instead, conservatives took matters into their own hands and are reportedly buying more Goya products than they normally would to show support for the company, its CEO and the President. It’s being called a “Buy-Cott”. It began when radio host Mike Opelka began encouraging people on Twitter to buy $10 worth of Goya products to turn around and donate to their local food bank.


He Tweeted: “My brother came up with a terrific idea and I am encouraging all to join me in purchasing $10 worth of Goya Foods products and donating them to your local food bank. Let’s push a BUY-cott, not a boycott. Let’s show the #Goyaway people what compassion can do.” And this weekend a GoFundMe effort was launched to feed the hungry using only Goya products. It has raised over $43,000 so far. Casey Harper, who started the GoFundMe, said: “I’m not surprised we have raised so much because people are tired of having to walk on eggshells in political discourse. Also, Americans are fundamentally generous people, so a chance to feed the hungry and stand up to cancel culture was an easy win.” Recall, three days ago, we reported that the Goya CEO “refused to apologize” for his comments praising President Donald Trump. As a result, many liberals announced they were boycotting his company. By last Thursday evening, “Goya,” #BoycottGoya and #Goyaway were trending topics on Twitter.

Read more …

“..the FBI planned on Jan. 4, 2017 to close down its investigation of Flynn but then reversed course.”

FBI Believed Michael Flynn Was ‘Forthcoming’ And ‘Telling Truth’ (Solomon)

Months before Michael Flynn was charged with the lying to agents, the FBI told the Justice Department the Trump national security adviser was “very open and forthcoming” in his interview and believed he was telling the truth about his contacts with Russia, according to long withheld government notes that sharply contrast with the criminal case Robert Mueller eventually filed. FBI agents told senior DOJ officials at a Jan. 25, 2017 meeting that Flynn was “telling truth as he believed it” and that he “believe[d] that what he said was true,” according to handwritten notes taken by then-Deputy Assistant Attorney General Tashina Gauhar that were belatedly turned over to Flynn’s defense this month.

The agents also believed Flynn was “being forthright” during his interview and simply didn’t remember some facts from his calls with the Russian ambassador during the post-2016 election transition, Gauhar wrote in the notes. A separate DOJ memo described Flynn as “very open and forthcoming” during the interview. Copies of the notes from Gauhar, former FBI agent Peter Strzok, who led the Russia collusion case, and former DOJ and FBI official Dana Boente were made public in a court filing over the weekend, adding to a large body of belatedly released evidence that suggested the FBI did not believe it had grounds to charge Flynn with a crime as news media were reporting at the time. In fact, Boente stated in handwritten notes dated in March 2017 that the FBI had concluded Flynn wasn’t an agent of Russia. “Do not view as source of collusion,” Boente wrote.

Likewise, the notes show DOJ did not believe it could prosecute Flynn under the Logan Act, lone of the laws that was leaked as a possible Flynn liability in the media. “No reasonable pros to Logan Act,” one of the entry in the notes declared. The notes also confirm previously released evidence showing the FBI planned on Jan. 4, 2017 to close down its investigation of Flynn but then reversed course. Remarkably, the FBI claimed to DOJ the reason it kept the Flynn probe open and interview him was because a news media leak of a classified transcript of his call with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. The “media leaks” about the calls being intercepted brought the “investigation in the open” and “changed the dynamic,” the notes quote FBI officials as saying.

Read more …

He won’t have to. Flynn got Sidney Powell.

Trump Doesn’t Rule Out Pardoning Michael Flynn (CNBC)

President Donald Trump on Monday did not rule out granting a pardon to his first national security advisor Michael Flynn, just days after commuting the 40-month prison term of his longtime ally Roger Stone. But Trump said “I don’t have a decision to make” about a potential pardon for Flynn “until I find out what’s going to happen” with Flynn’s efforts to get a dismissal of his conviction for lying to FBI agents. “I think he’s doing very well with respect to his case,” Trump told reporters. “I hope that he’s going to be able to win it.” The Justice Department has asked that Flynn’s conviction be tossed out, but Judge Emmet Sullivan so far has not ruled on that request. A federal appeals court panel ordered Sullivan to dismiss the case, which relates to Flynn’s discussions with a Russian diplomat in the weeks before Trump’s inauguration.


But Sullivan last week asked the appeals court’s full line-up of judges to reconsider that decision. Flynn’s lawyer Sidney Powell said in an email, “As I have said from the inception of my representation, the government has long withheld evidence of Mr. Flynn’s innocence.” “The FBI and [special counsel’s office] made up this prosecution and coerced his plea by multiple means. The result for which we have steadfastly and relentlessly worked is his complete exoneration by the Department of Justice and the judicial system,” Powell said. “We believe it is very important for the Rule of Law and the public’s trust in the system for his case to be dismissed according to the Government’s motion and because of all the newly disclosed evidence of government misconduct and his innocence.”

Read more …

Judges questioning their superiors. It’s quite the fashion.

Roger Stone Judge Demands To See Trump Clemency Order (ZH)

US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson demanded more information concerning President Trump’s decision to commute the prison sentence of Roger Stone – a longtime ally who avoided a 40-months in prison sentence for making false statements to special counsel Robert Mueller’s team during the Russia investigation. According to AP, Berman Jackson ordered the parties to provide her a copy of Trump’s executive order commuting Stone’s sentence, as well as clarity for the scope of the clemency – including whether Stone’s two-year supervised release is covered by the decision. To answer Berman Jackson’s question, Trump commuted “the entirety of the two-year term of supervised release with all its conditions.”

“The president told reporters on Monday that he was getting “rave reviews” for his action on Stone and restated his position that the Russia investigation “should have never taken place.” Democrats lambasted Trump’s decision as having undermined the rule of law, and Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, the only Republican to vote to convict the president during his impeachment trial, called the clemency decision “unprecedented, historic corruption.” Mueller himself defended the Stone prosecution in a Washington Post opinion piece in which he said Stone “remains a convicted felon, and rightly so.” Although presidents have broad authority to commute prison sentences and issue pardons, the brief order from Jackson — who presided over Stone’s trial last year — made clear that the judge still is seeking information and clarity about the clemency, including the actual executive order from the White House. -AP (via WTOP)

The order was entered into the docket several hours later.

Read more …

Oh, and Mery Trump is now free to speak.

Weissmann To Publish Insider Account Of Trump-Russia Investigation (G.)

Andrew Weissmann, an attorney who played a leading role under Robert Mueller in the investigation of Russian election interference, will release a book about the special counsel’s near two-year examination of links between Donald Trump and Moscow. Where Law Ends: Inside the Mueller Investigation will be published by Random House on 29 September. The publisher promised “a meticulous account of the Mueller team’s probe and its ongoing battles with the Trump administration”. It will be the latest in a lucrative stream of books about Trump, his presidency and the Russia investigation. In court in New York on Monday, the president’s niece, Mary Trump, will find out if a temporary restraining order will be lifted so she can discuss her book, Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created The World’s Most Dangerous Man, which will be published by Simon & Schuster on Tuesday.

In a statement, Weissmann said: “I felt it was necessary to record this episode in our history, as seen and experienced by an insider. “This is the story of our investigation into how our democracy was attacked by Russia and how those who condoned and ignored that assault undermined our ability to uncover the truth. My obligation as a prosecutor was to follow the facts where they led, using all available tools and undeterred by the onslaught of the president’s unique powers to undermine our work.” Weissmann was active on Twitter over the weekend, after Trump announced the commutation of a prison sentence awaiting Roger Stone, an aide and ally, arising from Mueller’s work.

Stone, 67 and suspected of being the link between Russian intelligence, WikiLeaks and the president himself, was convicted on counts of lying to Congress, obstruction of justice and witness intimidation. He had been due to report to prison on Tuesday, to serve a 40-month sentence. [..] Weissmann agreed with the Republican senator Mitt Romney’s description of an instance of “unprecedented, historic corruption” and advocated that Stone be brought in front of a grand jury. There, Weissmann said, Stone would have “three choices: lie and risk prosecution, refuse to testify and be held in civil and criminal contempt, or tell the truth. Let’s do what we can to get at the truth.”

[..] Weissmann said: “I am deeply proud of the work we did, and of the unprecedented number of people we indicted and convicted – and in record speed. “But the hard truth is that we made mistakes. We could have done more. Where Law Ends documents the choices we made, good and bad, for all to see and judge and learn from.”

Read more …

Talking about Weissmann, here’s a video from Jan 2019 of Flynn lawyer Sidney Powell talking about Weissman’s role (he was appointed to it by then FBI director Robert Mueller) in the demise of Arthur Andersen.

 

 

You’d think the Special Counsel never fell flat on his face.

Top Mueller Aide Weissmann Calls For Roger Stone To Face Grand Jury (Turley)

One of the most controversial figures selected by Special Counsel Robert Mueller for his investigative team was Andrew Weissmann. While some criticized Weissmann for perceived bias, many of us focused on his record of prosecutorial excess. Now a law professor at New York University, Weissmann appears eager to fulfill both criticisms. After the commutation of Roger Stone, Weissmann called for Stone to be pulled in front of a grand jury. It did not matter that there was no crime under investigation or likely criminal charge based on the use of a presidential power that is virtually absolute. Weissmann seemed to call for the use of the grand jury for a fishing expedition — precisely the type of alleged excessive use of prosecutorial power that he faced at the Justice Department. Weissmann is reportedly writing a book on the investigation with the reported titled “Where Law Ends: Inside the Mueller Investigation.”

Weissmann wrote “Time to put Roger Stone in the grand jury to find out what he knows about Trump but would not tell. Commutation can’t stop that.” That is certainly true. A commutation does not bar someone from being called into a grand jury. However, ethical prosecutors generally require more than an interest in finding out stuff. Grand juries usually come after an investigation finds probable cause for a crime. There is supposed to be more than a hope and prayer that a grand jury may find a crime. Indeed, this is precisely the type of untethered pursuit that led some of us to criticize the Flynn investigation. In this case, Mueller did not find evidence showing that President Trump or his campaign conspired with the Russian government to obtain hacked emails from the Clinton campaign or Democratic National Committee.

There was no allegation of a crime by Trump linked to the Stone false statements or threats. Stone was convicted on seven counts including one count of obstruction of an official proceeding, five counts of false statements, and one count of witness tampering. The government proved that Stone had lied to Congress to hide his efforts to contact WikiLeaks. However, he was not accused of lying about knowledge or actions by President Donald Trump. [..] The grand jury is not a device for prosecutorial whim or curiosity. It is a powerful tool that demands a modicum of restraint. Conversely, Weissmann seems to follow Oscar Wilde’s famous observation as a virtual prosecutorial mandate: “I can resist everything except temptation.”

Read more …

 

 

We try to run the Automatic Earth on donations. Since ad revenue has collapsed, your support is now an integral part of the process.

Thank you.

 

 

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in virustime.

 

Jul 072020
 


Unknown No Dog Biscuits Today 1939

 

China’s Yuan Policy Has Made Hong Kong Redundant (Nikkei)
China Shares Rally, Asian Stocks Take A Breather (R.)
New Security Law Starts To Break Down Hong Kong’s Pro-Democracy Economy (R.)
TikTok Says It Will Exit Hong Kong Market Within Days (R.)
China Slams US As It Joins Global Arms Trade Treaty At UN (R.)
US Restrictions Drove Deutsche Telekom And Huawei Closer Together (Pol.eu)
US To Force Out Foreign Students Taking Classes Fully Online (R.)
South Korean COVID-19 patient Recovering After Double Lung Transplant (R.)
Hospitalizations Jump 50% In California As Coronavirus Infections Soar (R.)
Six Week Lockdown For Melbourne As Record 191 New Cases Reported (Conv.)
Brazil’s Bolsonaro Says Lungs ‘Clean’ After Coronavirus Test (R.)
US Supreme Court Curbs ‘Faithless Electors’ In Presidential Voting (R.)
California Short on Firefighters as Prison “Slaves” Under Lockdown (MPN)
Assange Lawyer Named French Justice Minister (AAP)

 

 

And all of a sudden (well, not that sudden) there’s so much stuff about China. I started off today reading an article in Nikkei entitled “China’s Yuan Policy Has Made Hong Kong Redundant”, and I thought: that is absolute nonsense. The idea seems to be that Shanghai would take Hong Kong’s place, as the renminbi (yuan) turns into a global currency.

That’s just wishful thinking. Or maybe a reaction to America’s new attitude towards China. The main sticking point for Beijing is a conundrum it cannot solve. The CCP wants to have BOTH a global currency AND total control over that currency. It will have to choose between the two, and cannot make up its mind. So it pretends it does’t have to choose.

Sure, there has been some advancement for the yuan, but I bet most of that is on the back of the Belt and Road (BRI), and that will turn out to be one of the main victims of the coronavirus. The BRI is China’s very clever way of exporting its overproduction, but potential buyers have other things on their mind today.

Meanwhile, even with that, the yuan is used in only 1.8% of cross-currency payments. So the claim that the yuan is used in 30% of China’s trade needs to be taken with a huge salt shaker.

And yes, it may be true that the yuan is now the sixth most used currency in international payments, but that’s only because there is no competition for the USD, and what competition does exist come from the euro.

The sudden, and rushed, take-over of Hong Kong with the new security law will not help China’s plans to be accepted internationally. US big tech is withdrawing, and even some Chinese tech is moving away.

The world’s large investors will not put their money into something that Xi Jinping can declare devalued by 50% on a rainy morning when he sees fit. He will have to cede that kind of control.

And reading through all this, why am I getting the feeling that China does not feel well, that its leaders perhaps have fallen victim to bouts of insecurity?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“You can tell someone’s case for the mythical global yuan is not serious when they write “the yuan is now the sixth most used currency in international payments” rather than “the yuan accounts for about 1.8% of cross-currency payments..”

China’s Yuan Policy Has Made Hong Kong Redundant (Nikkei)

Many have claimed that the national security law China has imposed on Hong Kong will be the death of the city, stifling free speech and driving away businesses. But 10 years ago, China made Hong Kong part of a plan which, even more certainly than the national security law, is rendering the city redundant. For years, Hong Kong has been the entrepot for China’s trade in the region — it accounts for 6.3% of China’s total trade — and a leading international financial center. It has provided the infrastructure for the West to invest in mainland China: about two-thirds of foreign direct investment into and from there goes through Hong Kong.

In 2010, China made Hong Kong a critical component of its policy aimed at developing the yuan as an international currency that non-Chinese residents could hold as an asset or use to pay for international transactions. Before 2010, the yuan had almost no international use or circulation, with less than 1% of China’s trade settled in it. The Chinese monetary authorities had to balance the need to have an international currency and the risk of allowing capital to flow freely in and out of the domestic market. In principle, international currencies need to be fully convertible, but for China this was not a viable route.

Hong Kong’s “one country, two systems” principle provided the solution to China’s conundrum and has been pivotal to the emergence of yuan-led finance, underpinning rising demand and facilitating the yuan business. Hong Kong’s judicial institutions, independent from mainland China, were at the heart of its role as a bridge between the Chinese planned economy and the Western market economy. The move worked, and although the international use of the Chinese currency remains limited, it has undergone significant growth. The yuan is now the sixth most used currency in international payments and is used for settling approximately 30% of China’s trade. Yuan-denominated financial instruments are used more in projects that are part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

Yuan activities now account for a large chunk of Hong Kong’s trading as an international financial center, according to estimates by market participants. But rather than making Hong Kong stronger, this increases its dependence on Beijing — and hence its vulnerability. By becoming part of the yuan strategy, a policy-led initiative where Chinese policy makers set the pace and guide the market, Hong Kong has been following Beijing’s lead. A bigger, but related, problem for Hong Kong is that by strengthening the yuan trade, it is also strengthening one of its mainland rivals and making itself less important. Around the time it launched its yuan policy, China also put in place a plan to develop Shanghai as its top international financial center by 2020. According to the latest Global Financial Centres Index, Hong Kong at sixth now ranks lower than Shanghai at fourth. Ten years ago Hong Kong was the most important financial center in Asia and in third place globally after London and New York, while Shanghai ranked 11th.

Read more …

Just yesterday, Beijing talked about “fostering a healthy bull market”. And what the Fed can do, the PBOC can too. Buy buy buy.

China Shares Rally, Asian Stocks Take A Breather (R.)

The Chinese share market extended its positive run on Tuesday, in line with the mainland government’s push for a stronger market, while the rest of the region turned cautious on equities. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan see-sawed during the local session and was down 0.2%, after it briefly traded in positive territory. The negative performance on Tuesday came after the index rose 7% which took it to a 4-1/2 month high in the past five trading sessions. Japan’s Nikkei gave up 0.7% while U.S. stock futures shed 0.25% in Asia after hefty gains on Monday in the wake of surging Chinese shares.

In China, Shanghai’s blue chip CSI300 index and Shenzhen shares, which had gained more than 13% in the past five sessions, rose a further 1.5%, led by rises in the tech sector. Ample Finance Group director Alex Wong said while Chinese market sentiment was positive, investors remained cautious to the risk of that being short-lived. “The mood is still quite strong…and I think people will be willing to hold on for a while as we absorb some of the positive news in the world,” Wong told Reuters in Hong Kong. Analysts said jawboning by the Chinese government through a state-sponsored journal on the importance of “fostering a healthy bull market” published on Monday had spurred the buying binge in mainland Chinese shares.

The current China rally has echoes of the past, especially during 2007 and in the buying binge that followed the crash in 2015 that was largely driven by Chinese retail investors. “Shades of John F. Kennedy’s ‘Ask not what your country can do for you’ inauguration speech here and as close as you might get to a Chinese government ‘put’ as anything the Fed has done to date vis-à-vis the U.S. stock (and credit) markets,” said Ray Attrill, head of FX strategy at NAB, in a research note.

Read more …

The rich can leave if they want to. The rest cannot.

New Security Law Starts To Break Down Hong Kong’s Pro-Democracy Economy (R.)

As soon as Hong Kong’s new national security law came into force last week, Ivan Ng removed all the protest-themed paintings, posters and flags from the list of items for sale at his Onestep Printing shop. Sandra Leung at Wefund.hk, which sells protest-themed artwork and accessories, said she has suspended sales of protective gear worn by protesters, flags with the slogan “Liberate Hong Kong,” and other items carrying popular chants. Jeffrey Cheong, owner of Hair Guys Salon, said he closed his shop down for a few days last week to remove pro-democracy decorations. Ng, Leung and Cheong are three of the 4,500 or so small businesses in Hong Kong’s “yellow economy,” which supports pro-democracy protesters and vice versa. That circle of support is showing signs of weakening in the face of the new law.

“We took down all the protest-related products right after the law was implemented, because the law doesn’t have very clear boundaries of (what constitutes) subversion,” Ng said. In the past week, he said his overall sales are down as much as 80%. Leung said she had withdrawn items for sale she described as “sensitive,” such as gas masks used by protesters and items with anti-police slogans. The new law prohibits what China describes broadly as secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces, with up to life in prison for offenders. It came into force late last Tuesday, about an hour before the 23rd anniversary of China taking back control of the former British colony.

The Hong Kong government went further on Friday, declaring the popular protest slogan “Liberate Hong Kong! Revolution of our times” illegal. Public libraries have started to review books written by pro-democracy activists to see whether they violate the new law. Hong Kong and Beijing authorities insist the city retains a “high degree of autonomy” but critics say the law effectively brings Hong Kong under the control of China’s Communist Party and violates China’s promise to safeguard Hong Kong’s freedom for 50 years after the 1997 handover. Some businesses told local media they had been visited by the police who warned them that pro-democracy decorations were against the new law.

Read more …

Which side of The Great Firewall do you want to be on?

TikTok Says It Will Exit Hong Kong Market Within Days (R.)

TikTok will exit the Hong Kong market within days, a spokesman told Reuters late on Monday, as other technology companies including Facebook suspend processing government requests for user data in the region. The short form video app owned by China-based ByteDance has made the decision to exit the region following China’s establishment of a sweeping new national security law for the semi-autonomous city. “In light of recent events, we’ve decided to stop operations of the TikTok app in Hong Kong,” a TikTok spokesman said in response to a Reuters question about its commitment to the market. The company, now run by former Walt Disney Co executive Kevin Mayer, has said in the past that the app’s user data is not stored in China.


TikTok has also said previously that it would not comply with any requests made by the Chinese government to censor content or for access to TikTok’s user data, nor has it ever been asked to do so. The Hong Kong region is a small, loss-making market for the company, one source familiar with the matter said. Last August, TikTok reported it had attracted 150,000 users in Hong Kong. Globally, TikTok has been downloaded more than 2 billion times through the Apple and Google app stores after the first quarter this year, according to analytics firm Sensor Tower. The source said the move was made because it was not clear if Hong Kong would now fall entirely under Beijing’s jurisdiction in light of the new law.

Read more …

Easy pickings.

China Slams US As It Joins Global Arms Trade Treaty At UN (R.)

China on Monday joined a global arms trade treaty spurned by the United States, taking a swipe at U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration by accusing it of bullying, unilateralism and undermining efforts to combat global challenges. China’s U.N. ambassador, Zhang Jun, said he had deposited China’s instrument of accession to the treaty, which regulates a $70 billion global cross-border trade in conventional arms and seeks to keep weapons out of the hands of human rights abusers. China, which announced its plans in September, becomes the 107th party to the pact, approved by the U.N. General Assembly in 2013. Then-U.S. President Barack Obama signed it, but it was opposed by the National Rifle Association and never ratified by the U.S. Senate.


Trump said in April last year that he intended to revoke the status of the United States as a signatory. In July 2019, the United States told U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that Washington did not intend to become a party to the treaty and that it had no legal obligations from its 2013 signature. Without naming the United States, but amid escalating tensions between Beijing and Washington, Zhang said in a statement that a “certain country … walked away from international commitments, and launched acts of unilateralism and bullying.” [..] China was the fifth-largest global arms exporter between 2014 and 2018, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, although China itself does not publish figures for how many arms it exports.

Read more …

A comment on Twitter about an article in German in Handelsblatt:

”Deutsche Telekom has doubled down on Huawei even as concerns rose, including discussions w/Chinese firm about how to get around US sanctions & “tactical” announcements to get T-Mobile/Sprint deal in US approved..”

US Restrictions Drove Deutsche Telekom And Huawei Closer Together (Pol.eu)

Global telecoms giant Deutsche Telekom strengthened its strategic partnership with Huawei last year despite growing defiance toward the dominant Chinese 5G vendor, documents reviewed by POLITICO show. The internal company records describe how Deutsche Telekom and Huawei agreed on a deal in mid-2019 that said the Chinese supplier would take measures to avoid supply chain disruption caused by U.S. measures, as well as cover the costs of potential damages and delays. The deal was struck just weeks before the U.S. administration imposed restrictions on businesses dealing with the Chinese firm in May 2019 — a milestone for Washington’s efforts to push back against Huawei’s dominance on 5G equipment.

It laid the groundwork for a partnership between the two companies for the early rollout of 5G networks in Europe, despite national lawmakers’ efforts in key markets like Germany, the Netherlands and Poland to reduce the use of Chinese equipment. In the months after the deal, the companies underlined mutual commitments to treat each other in preferential ways. Deutsche Telekom executives described Huawei repeatedly as a “strategic partner” that is “key for our 5G plans,” according to the internal documents. On Huawei’s end, Deutsche Telekom was described as a “preferred customer” for its 5G equipment. Deutsche Telekom has repeatedly declined in the past to disclose how much of its networks consist of Huawei equipment.

But in its internal communication, it has likened the scenario of not being able to use Huawei in its broader 5G rollout to “armageddon,” a recent report in German paper Handelsblatt showed. [..] At the core of the mutual agreement is a commitment by Huawei to shoulder the burdens and costs of the U.S. restrictions that have bogged down the Chinese vendor in the past year. “This pledge by Huawei to pay for any disruption adds to that incentive to stick with Huawei,” said Thorsten Benner, director of the Berlin-based Global Public Policy Institute, calling it a “care-free package” offered to Deutsche Telekom.

Read more …

Targeting China once more?!

US To Force Out Foreign Students Taking Classes Fully Online (R.)

Foreign students must leave the United States if their school’s classes this fall will be taught completely online or transfer to another school with in-person instruction, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency announced on Monday. It was not immediately clear how many student visa holders would be affected by the move, but foreign students are a key source of revenue for many U.S. universities as they often pay full tuition. ICE said it would not allow holders of student visas to remain in the country if their school was fully online for the fall. Those students must transfer or leave the country, or they potentially face deportation proceedings, according to the announcement.


Colleges and universities have begun to announce plans for the fall 2020 semester amid the continued coronavirus pandemic. Harvard University on Monday announced it would conduct course instruction online for the 2020-2021 academic year. The ICE guidance applies to holders of F-1 and M-1 visas, which are for academic and vocational students. The State Department issued 388,839 F visas and 9,518 M visas in fiscal 2019, according to the agency’s data. The guidance does not affect students taking classes in person. It also does not affect F-1 students taking a partial online course-load, as long as their university certifies the student’s instruction is not completely digital. M-1 vocational program students and F-1 English language training program students will not be allowed to take any classes online.

Read more …

Pretty amazing story. But scary too.

South Korean COVID-19 patient Recovering After Double Lung Transplant (R.)

After a record 112 days on a specialised life-support system, a South Korean COVID-19 patient is recovering from double lung transplant surgery, doctors say, in only the ninth such procedure worldwide since the coronavirus outbreak began. The 50-year-old woman was diagnosed with the disease and hospitalised in late February and then spent 16 weeks on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) support, which involves circulating a patient’s blood through a machine that adds oxygen to red blood cells. That’s the longest that any COVID-19 patient in the world has spent on ECMO support, her doctors said.

Various drugs such as the anti-malarial hydroxychloroquine, the HIV treatment Kaletra and steroids failed to stop her pulmonary fibrosis – scarring in the lungs – from worsening, said Dr Park Sung-hoon, professor of pulmonary and critical care medicine at Hallym University Sacred Heart Hospital. That left few options other than a lung transplant. “The probability of success in lung transplants on ECMO patients is 50%, and fortunately, our patient was well prepared before the surgery when we found the donor,” said Dr Kim Hyoung-soo, director of the hospital’s ECMO programme, who was in charge of the surgery.

The patient declined to be identified or interviewed. The doctors who conducted the eight-hour surgery described her destroyed lungs as hard like rock. She had an acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) when she came to hospital, Park said, and could not live without the ECMO machine’s help. ECMO is typically used on patients who need more help than ventilators can provide, and who are considered to have a 90% chance of dying. Half of patients recover in two to three weeks on ECMO, and a lung transplant is considered for those who don’t, Kim said.

Read more …

Stay home.

Hospitalizations Jump 50% In California As Coronavirus Infections Soar (R.)

New coronavirus cases soared in California over the July Fourth weekend, stressing some hospital systems and leading to the temporary closure of the state capitol building in Sacramento for deep cleaning, officials said on Monday. The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 has increased by 50% over the past two weeks to about 5,800, Governor Gavin Newsom said at a briefing. About a third of those hospitalized were in Los Angeles County, state and local records showed, with about 630 confirmed and suspected coronavirus patients requiring intensive care. And 25% of the hospitalizations in the county in July were among patients aged 18 to 40, health officials said, as new cases increasingly hit a younger population that may have been lax about safety precautions in recent weeks.


Farther north, nearly 1,400 inmates at San Quentin State Prison have been sickened by the virus, putting pressure on hospitals in Marin County, where the facility is located, Newsom said. All told, 271,684 Californians have tested positive for the virus, including 11,529 in the past 24 hours, state records show. About 6,300 have died. Determined to slow the spread of the disease over the holiday weekend, state alcohol regulators visited nearly 6,000 bars and restaurants to make sure they were complying with new rules banning indoor dining and closing bars that do not serve food, Newsom said.

Read more …

Turns out the 2nd wave concerns lockdowns.

Six Week Lockdown For Melbourne As Record 191 New Cases Reported (Conv.)

The Victorian government will lock down all metropolitan Melbourne for six weeks from Wednesday night, as a new wave of the coronavirus takes hold in the city. The lockdown will also cover the Mitchell Shire, north of Melbourne, which includes the towns of Broadford, Seymour, Kilmore, Tallarook, Pyalong and Wallan. Under the restrictions, people will only be able to leave their home to shop for essential goods and services, for care and compassionate reasons, exercise, and for work and study if it cannot be conducted from home. The dramatic action comes as the Victoria-NSW border closes on Tuesday night, amid some chaos in Albury-Wodonga, and follows the lockdown of suburbs in 12 Melbourne postcode areas, and the “lock in” of 3,000 residents in nine community housing towers.

Read more …

Brazilian media reports he tested positive.

Brazil’s Bolsonaro Says Lungs ‘Clean’ After Coronavirus Test (R.)

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said on Monday he had undergone another test for the novel coronavirus and his lungs were “clean,” after local media reported he had symptoms associated with the COVID-19 respiratory disease. Bolsonaro has repeatedly played down the impact of the virus, even as Brazil has suffered one of the world’s worst outbreaks, with more than 1.6 million confirmed cases and 65,000 related deaths, according to official data on Monday. CNN Brasil and newspaper Estado de S.Paulo reported that he had symptoms of the disease, such as a fever. Bolsonaro told supporters outside the presidential palace that he had just visited the hospital and been tested.


“I can’t get very close,” he said in comments recorded by Foco do Brasil, a pro-government YouTube channel. “I came from the hospital. I underwent a lung scan. The lung’s clean.” The president’s office said in a statement that the president is at his home and is “in good health.” [..] Over the weekend, Bolsonaro attended several events and was in close contact with the U.S. ambassador to Brazil during July 4 celebrations. The U.S. embassy in Brasilia said via Twitter that Todd Chapman, the ambassador, had lunch on July 4 with Bolsonaro, five ministers and Bolsonaro’s son, Eduardo, who is a federal congressman. The ambassador has no symptoms, but will undergo testing and is “taking precautions,” the embassy said.

Read more …

The Electoral College still exists because some people think it’s in their advantage.

US Supreme Court Curbs ‘Faithless Electors’ In Presidential Voting (R.)

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to free “faithless electors” in the complex Electoral College system that decides the outcome of presidential elections from state laws that force them to support the candidate who wins the state’s popular vote. The justices unanimously rejected the idea that electors, who act on behalf of a state in the Electoral College vote that occurs weeks after voters go the polls, can exercise discretion in the candidate they back. The decision erased a potential complicating factor in the Electoral College as President Donald Trump seeks re-election on Nov. 3 against Democratic challenger Joe Biden. The court sided with Washington state and Colorado, which had imposed penalties on several “faithless electors” – so named because they defied pledges in 2016 to vote for the winner of their states’ popular vote, Democrat Hillary Clinton.


Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson said the ruling “reaffirmed the fundamental principle that the vote of the people should matter in choosing the president.” State officials have said faithless electors threaten the integrity of American democracy by subverting the will of the electorate and opening the door to corruption. The plaintiffs had argued that the Constitution requires them to exercise independent judgment to prevent unfit candidates from taking office. “The Constitution’s text and the nation’s history both support allowing a state to enforce an elector’s pledge to support his party’s nominee – and the state voters’ choice – for President,” liberal Justice Elena Kagan wrote on behalf of the court.

Read more …

Only in America.

California Short on Firefighters as Prison “Slaves” Under Lockdown (MPN)

It is the height of California’s dangerous forest fire season. But despite blazes currently raging, the state’s fire department is dangerously understaffed. That is because many firefighters today are not the burly full time professionals of another era, but underpaid convict laborers risking their lives for pennies. Almost 40 percent of California’s firefighters are prisoners. But the state’s penitentiaries are themselves ablaze with COVID-19 outbreaks, leading to widespread lockdowns in what has become a routine for American’s dealing with competing crises. Jails have been among the deadliest hotspots for transmission of the coronavirus. At the notorious San Quentin State Prison just north of San Francisco, there are nearly 1,400 active cases.

Meanwhile, the state has announced the deaths from COVID-19 of 16 inmates at the California Institute for Men in Chino, San Bernardino County. In response to the crisis, prison authorities have enacted strict lockdowns, including at CCC Susanville, the home of the wildfire training program, where there are 224 confirmed active cases of the virus. This is severely hampering the fight against wildfires. Approximately 3,100 inmates work with the fire department tackling blazes, around 2,200 in the front line, and 900 in support roles. Only those with the least serious convictions are considered. Prisoners are paid between $2.90 and $5.12 per day (less than the average income of a sweatshop laborer in Nicaragua), plus $1 per hour of hazard pay during active emergency situations like the deadly fires that engulfed the state late last year.

They work alongside full-time firefighters making an average of $91,000 per year before overtime pay and bonuses but tend to do the harder, less desirable, or more dangerous tasks, leading to multiple deaths in recent years. This has led to widespread condemnation of the practice as akin to “modern slavery,” especially because inmates are effectively barred from even applying to the fire department once their sentences are over. In order to become a firefighter, an emergency medical technician license is required, something that is all but impossible to achieve with a criminal record. Despite this, prisoners still “volunteer” as the work is far more fulfilling than the alternative: more time locked up.

Read more …

“Eric Dupond-Moretti has been appointed as French Justice Minister. Earlier this year, he launched a campaign to grant the Australian asylum in France.”

Assange Lawyer Named French Justice Minister (AAP)

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s lawyer Eric Dupond-Moretti has been appointed as France’s new justice minister. Dupond-Moretti, a prominent criminal defence lawyer, was elevated to the ministry by incoming Prime Minister Jean Castex on Monday. The 55-year-old is known for a his record number of acquittals and led a push by European lawyers for French President Emmanuel Macron to grant asylum to Assange in February. “We consider the situation is sufficiently serious that our duty is to talk about it,” Dupond-Moretti said about Assange’s case at the time.


The Frenchman has said the case against the Australian is unfair, citing Assange’s poor health and alleged violations of his rights while in jail in London Dupond-Moretti’s team also warned of “consequences for all journalists” if Assange is extradited and jailed in the US. French members of Assange’s legal team said they had been working on a “concrete demand” for Macron to grant Assange asylum in France, where he has children. It’s unclear whether Dupond-Moretti will now use his position to grant the Australian asylum.

Read more …

 

 

We try to run the Automatic Earth on donations. Since their revenue has collapsed, ads no longer pay for all you read, and your support is now an integral part of the interaction.

Thank you.

 

 

https://twitter.com/i/status/1255245341886218241

 

 

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in virustime.

 

Jun 302020
 
 June 30, 2020  Posted by at 10:37 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  36 Responses »


Pablo Picasso The dream 1951

 

China’s Military Becomes First To Use Experimental Coronavirus Vaccine (SCMP)
California, Texas See Record COVID-19 surges, Arizona Clamps Down (R.)
Norwegian Air Cancels 97 Boeing MAX And Dreamliners, Claims Compensation (R.)
Europe’s Recovery Fund: An Instrument of Class War (Varoufakis)
We Digitized the Mob, and There’s No Place to Hide (Miele)

 

 

As we approach the end of the first half of 2020, I’m seriously rethinking how to cover COVID19 going forward. The past five months have been intense in that regard, and at a certain point you need to wonder how useful such time-consuming work still is. For a long time I had the hope and belief that “we” would be able to halt the spread of the coronavirus, if only because that was -and is- the only sensible way to deal with a new pathogen about which very little is known, other than that it is potentially deadly.

But despite a huge number of actions, including lockdowns in many countries and societies, the infection numbers only keep rising. And at this point is is entirely unclear how countries like the US and Brazil will ever be able to get rid of the virus.

The consequences will be grave, albeit different in different places. We will see overwhelmed healthcare systems in some countries and states, while others will remain relatively unscathed, at least for a while. Ironically, in a world used to so much travelling it’s even useful to wonder what good it does to do a lockdown well. How long can New Zealand keep its borders closed?

As for healthcare, there was a report that it will take four years for the UK’s NHS to recover from COVID19, and that based on what they have experienced so far, while there is still plenty room for second or third waves, and/or any unforeseeable extra pressure.

Tourism as we’ve known it will never recover, at least not on a timescale that is meaningful to us. That whole industry needs a great reset. That is of course also true for airlines, plane manufacturers et al. As it is for the entire hospitality industry. People will be cautious when going out, the fear of infection rules supreme, as demonstrated again by this report from NBER, Fear, Lockdown, and Diversion, which shows it wasn’t the lockdowns that did the most damage.

This paper examines the drivers of the collapse using cellular phone records data on customer visits to more than 2.25 million individual businesses across 110 different industries. Comparing consumer behavior within the same commuting zones but across boundaries with different policy regimes suggests that legal shutdown orders account for only a modest share of the decline of economic activity (and that having county-level policy data is significantly more accurate than state-level data).


While overall consumer traffic fell by 60 percentage points, legal restrictions explain only 7 of that. Individual choices were far more important and seem tied to fears of infection. Traffic started dropping before the legal orders were in place; was highly tied to the number of COVID deaths in the county; and showed a clear shift by consumers away from larger/busier stores toward smaller/less busy ones in the same industry.

But I have to admit, over the past few days, when I was silent, I’ve become ever more worried by the American political and societal situation than by coronavirus. The images of people with guns standing outside of their homes, the stories of police and mob violence, shootings in “police-free” zones, it all starts to smell like a civil war.

While I wasn’t writing, I was reading all the more from both sides of aisle, and whatever they may still have had in common appears to disappear rapidly. The hunt for Trump continues unabated with yet another anonymous and unsourced tale about RussiaRussia, while the right is organizing to counter what they see as lawlessness across the nation.

Frank Miele, in a article below, quotes Bobby Kennedy, speaking after MLK was shot:

“The victims of the violence are black and white, rich and poor, young and old, famous and unknown. They are, most important of all, human beings whom other human beings loved and needed. No one — no matter where he lives or what he does — can be certain who will suffer from some senseless act of bloodshed. And yet it goes on and on. Why? What has violence ever accomplished? What has it ever created? … No wrongs have ever been righted by riots and civil disorders. … [A]n uncontrolled, uncontrollable mob is only the voice of madness, not the voice of the people.”

That sounds like a voice of reason that is sorely needed by the country right now. But does anyone see any of those? Ideally, Trump and Biden would get together on live TV to ask their supporters to please calm down. But I don’t see that happening in the present climate either. It’s become too polarized, fed by media and their business models.

I’m just trying to make sense of it all. Trying to find a way out of the mess, a way forward. But right now I’m mostly just thinking that Independence Day could turn into an incredibly messy affair. Or any other day between now and the election.

 

 

 

 

US has fifth day in a row with over 40,000 new cases

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Key line: “The candidate is yet to start phase three trials, which would confirm whether it could protect recipients from infection.”

China’s Military Becomes First To Use Experimental Coronavirus Vaccine (SCMP)

China has approved military use of an experimental coronavirus vaccine developed by the People’s Liberation Army and a Chinese pharmaceutical company, in a first for the armed forces of any country. The vaccine, identified as Ad5-nCoV, was jointly developed by a team at the Academy of Military Medical Sciences, led by Major General Chen Wei, and Tianjin-based company CanSino Biologics. It is the first time that a vaccine candidate for Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, has been authorised for use for the military of any nation. CanSino said on Monday that the candidate had been through two phases of clinical trials, which indicated it was safe and there was “relatively high” immune response to the antigen.

The candidate is yet to start phase three trials, which would confirm whether it could protect recipients from infection. The military has approved its use for a year but it has not been authorised for civilian purposes. Adding Ad5-nCoV to the People’s Liberation Army’s catalogue of special drugs means that it can be deployed in major outbreaks. It is based on an Ebola vaccine that was developed by Chen but did not go into mass production. Scientists are racing to find an answer to the coronavirus that has already infected more than 10 million people and killed over 500,000. New cases continue to surge in the United States and India, with the US confirming more than 40,000 new cases for the third straight day on Monday.

According to the World Health Organisation, clinical trials are under way for 17 vaccine candidates, seven of which have been developed in China. One candidate developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca is in phase three studies. Phase one and two studies typically test if a candidate is safe and whether it can generate an immune response from the recipients, but vaccines must complete all three sets of trials to be licensed. CanSino said it completed phase two trials on June 11, but the company has not yet released data from the study. [..] Many Chinese candidates are planning phase three trials in other countries as the spread of the coronavirus in China is too limited to test the efficacy of the vaccine. CanSino reached an agreement with Canadian government to conduct phase three trials there but details of the studies have not been revealed.

Read more …

We’ll see anti-police protests and anti-lockdown protests all at the same time.

California, Texas See Record COVID-19 surges, Arizona Clamps Down (R.)

California and Texas both marked record spikes in new COVID-19 infections on Monday, a Reuters tally showed, as Los Angeles reported an “alarming” one-day surge in America’s second-largest city that put it over 100,000 cases. Los Angeles has become a new epicenter in the pandemic as coronavirus cases and hospitalizations surge there despite California Governor Gavin Newsom’s strict orders requiring bars to close and residents to wear masks in nearly all public spaces. “The alarming increases in cases, positivity rates and hospitalizations signals that we, as a community, need to take immediate action to slow the spread of COVID-19,” Barbara Ferrer, director of public health for Los Angeles County, said in a statement announcing the sharp rise.


“Otherwise, we are quickly moving toward overwhelming our healthcare system and seeing even more devastating illness and death,” Ferrer said. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced a “hard pause” on when movie theaters, theme parks and other entertainment venues can reopen. Los Angeles County is the biggest movie theater market in the United States. Los Angeles County said its beaches will be closed for the Independence Day weekend and fireworks displays will be banned.

 

Read more …

is there a better example of the future of tourism?

Norwegian Air Cancels 97 Boeing MAX And Dreamliners, Claims Compensation (R.)

Norwegian Air has cancelled orders for 97 Boeing aircraft and will claim compensation from the U.S. plane maker for the grounding of the 737 MAX and for 787 engine troubles that hit its bottom line, the Oslo-based carrier said on Monday. The airline cancelled 92 of the 737 MAX jets, five 787 Dreamliners and so-called GoldCare service agreements related to both aircraft, just as Boeing on Monday began a crucial set of flight tests of the 737 MAX in an effort to gain regulatory approval for it to return to the skies.


“Norwegian has in addition filed a legal claim seeking the return of pre-delivery payments related to the aircraft and compensation for the company’s losses related to the grounding of the 737 MAX and engine issues on the 787,” the airline said. Norwegian did not specify the amount it would seek to claim from Boeing, which it had been in talks with about compensation, and was not immediately available for comment. Boeing said it was working with Norwegian on a path forward in a challenging time as it was with other operators but it would not comment on commercial discussions.

Read more …

Nothing has changed in Europe.

Europe’s Recovery Fund: An Instrument of Class War (Varoufakis)

Europe was never the battlefield on which the frugal North clashed with the profligate South. Instead, every European country has been the battlefield where a vicious class war is fought by a transnational oligarchy-without-frontiers training its armour against the weaker residents of every country, every region, every community. COVID-19, and the European Union’s response to it, only magnifies the human costs of this unremitting class war. All talk of a North-South clash is founded on a gigantic lie, that is based on many small truths, conveniently hiding from Europeans’ gaze the class war that diminishes their life prospects.

The crisis of financialisation in 2008 intensified Europe’s class war massively, holding a majority of Northern and Southern Europeans behind and leaving Europe, including its capitalist class, much weakened in relation to the rest of the world — the United States and China in particular. Twelve years on, COVID-19 gives this crisis a new, violent spin. The weak are weakened much, much more while Europe as a whole falls further and further behind the United States and China. While the EU’s leadership and bureaucracy have been quite active in the past three months, producing one impressive-sounding policy announcement after the next, the sum of their actions boost the class war that enfeebled Europe over the past decade and weakened a majority of Europeans everywhere.

[..] Rumours that Covid-19 caused the EU to lift its game are grossly exaggerated. Good people who took heart from the news that, however reluctantly, the EU has embraced common debt in a bid to further the cause of pan-european solidarity, will soon be deeply disappointed. Behind the heroic pronouncements and the triumphant propaganda lurks a sordid truth: The class war against Europe’s weaker people is escalating. And so is Europe’s descent into global irrelevance.

It all began with the quiet death of the Eurobond. Eurobonds, as advocated by DiEM25, would perform a simple task: They would automatically convert any new Italian, Spanish or Greek public debt (due to the impact of the pandemic on public revenues and expenses) into European debt (in the same way that US Treasury Bills absorb the costs of a recession in Missouri and Wisconsin). But, once the Eurobond was killed off by the Eurogroup in early April, it is now a given that the gigantic increase in national budget deficits will be followed by equally sizeable austerity in every country — a euphemism for the intensification of the class war that depletes the already atrophied incomes of the majority in each of our countries.

Read more …

Excellent piece, what ever side you’re on.

We Digitized the Mob, and There’s No Place to Hide (Miele)

The most shocking aspect of the wave of rioting and destruction that has been unleashed on many of our American cities in the wake of George Floyd’s death is not that there is an underlying discontent with the rate of progress in racial equality. That is understandable. What is not is the way that mayors, governors and members of Congress have not just tolerated, but endorsed, mob violence as an acceptable weapon of social change. Growing up in the turbulent 1960s, I was given a very specific warning by my mother: If you ever get caught up in a mob, get out of it as soon as possible because a mob has no brain. It just has emotion — and whether that emotion is anger, hatred or even joyful exuberance, it cannot be controlled.

We saw that in Minneapolis following the death of George Floyd while in police custody. People with a brain were outraged by what they saw. They wanted to protest, to speak out, and to demand justice. But when they came together in the streets, they discovered how quickly protest can transform into riot, and how demands for justice can be used to justify injustice. The basic premise of justice, after all, is recompense, making sure that wrongdoers pay a price for their crime. Yet there was no recompense in burning the businesses of innocent bystanders. There was no justice in stealing TVs and PlayStations. This was just brainless mob violence. It was shameful and it should have been easily condemned by the politicians, news media and celebrities who were not part of the mob.

That’s what would have happened in the 1960s. When Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered, leading to riots across America in 1968, Bobby Kennedy appealed for peace amidst “this mindless menace of violence in America which again stains our land and every one of our lives.” The parallel is exact. A black man is unjustly murdered. The nation is outraged. Riots ensue. The only part that is missing today is a respected grown-up like Kennedy who would condemn the violence and recognize that “[i]t is not the concern of any one race.” As Kennedy said,

“The victims of the violence are black and white, rich and poor, young and old, famous and unknown. They are, most important of all, human beings whom other human beings loved and needed. No one — no matter where he lives or what he does — can be certain who will suffer from some senseless act of bloodshed. And yet it goes on and on. Why? What has violence ever accomplished? What has it ever created? … No wrongs have ever been righted by riots and civil disorders. … [A]n uncontrolled, uncontrollable mob is only the voice of madness, not the voice of the people.”

What a refreshing expression of common sense, and what a contrast it offers to the bleating appeasers from the Democratic Party today who have bent a knee in obeisance to the mob, to the rioters, to the monument defacers, to the statue topplers. But it’s not just the Democrats who have bowed to the “voice of madness.” Most Republicans are right there with them. So too are corporate entities such as Intel and Amazon, and sporting organizations such as the NFL and NASCAR. For their part, news outlets such as CNN and MSNBC are promoting the riots and the cleansing of American history that is being pushed by Black Lives Matter. The question is why?

It is easy to understand why someone surrounded by the mob surrenders to its power, but those corporate boardrooms are far from the fray and well-protected from the torches and Molotov cocktails. So why have they turned their backs on law and order and embraced the mob? What has changed since the 1960s that makes it so much harder for leaders in government, business and culture to condemn violence and lawlessness? The answer will not surprise you, but it should scare you. Somewhere along the way, we digitized the mob. The few dozen people surrounding a statue are not the problem. The few hundred people confronting police are not the problem. The few thousand people looting stores and throwing rocks are not the problem. The mob on the street is not the problem. The mob on the street is the symptom.

The millions of people acting without moral restraint, without reason and without fear of consequences on the Internet are the problem. Indeed, the digital mob is the unintended consequence of the Internet itself. Connecting the world via technology was supposed to encourage communication, understanding and a breaking down of barriers. Instead it has resulted in a world divided into silos, special interests, identity groups. We tend to seek out those we have the most in common with and to block, ban or troll those who are unlike us. We feel safety in numbers, and from that safety is often bred outright contempt for those who think differently.

Read more …

 

 

We try to run the Automatic Earth on donations. Since their revenue has collapsed, ads no longer pay for all you read, and your support is now an integral part of the interaction.

Thank you.

 

 

I’ll close today with a series of clips of an interview yesterday with Michael Fynn’s attorney Sidney Powell, who’s going to be an important voice in the run-up to November 3, whether you agree with her or not. Stay safe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in virustime.