Willem de Kooning Gotham News 1955
Just spent an entire morning filled with RNC videos and Kenosha riots. Be careful with that country of yours.
US daily new cases are holding on to their downward trend. But total cases are set to pass 6 million.
The mechanics—of the brain reaching a Shannon Limit of bandwidth processing.
We see a universe in the spin.pic.twitter.com/XlmNqF0o2F
— Brian Roemmele (@BrianRoemmele) August 25, 2020
When is it going to stop? Not on November 4, that’s for sure.
• Wisconsin Governor Declares State Of Emergency (ZH)
Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers declared a state of emergency on Tuesday, after the second wave of violent protests that rocked the city of Kenosha and the capital of Madison, after a video of police officers shooting an African American man named Jacob Black went viral on social media. The order proclaims a state of emergency in Wisconsin, directs state agencies to continue assisting the state response, and calls to state active duty additional elements of the Wisconsin National Guard to support first responders and protect critical infrastructure and cultural institutions. Evers first called in the national guard to respond to the looting and violence on Monday, and he delivered a statement on the situation earlier today.
In order to try to signal to the public that he’s ‘doing something’, Evers earlier called for a special session for the state legislature to consider police-reform bills that will hobble law enforcement in the face of riots and unrest, and as small business owners are forced to watch in disbelief as their livelihoods are destroyed, with no authorities there to stop it. Meanwhile, a petition demanding Evers “charge the cops who killed Black” has garnered half a million signatures.
What use are elections when nobody accepts the results?
• Hillary Clinton Says Biden Should Not Accept Results Of The 2020 Election (ET)
Former first lady and 2016 Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton said Joe Biden shouldn’t concede the election because the final results of the election will likely drag out due to mail-in ballots. “Joe Biden should not concede under any circumstances because I think this is going to drag out, and eventually, I do believe he will win if we don’t give an inch and if we are as focused and relentless as the other side is,” Clinton said in an interview on Tuesday. “I think that [Republicans] have a couple of scenarios that they are looking toward. One is messing up absentee balloting. They believe that helps them so that they then get maybe a narrow advantage in the Electoral College on Election Day,” she claimed.
“So we’ve got to have a massive legal operation, and I know the Biden campaign is working on that.” She went on: “We have to have our own teams of people to counter the force of intimidation that the Republicans and Trump are going to put outside polling places,” Clinton said, urging people to become poll workers in November. And even if you do concede, always blame the Russians? President Donald Trump said Monday that mail-in voting access is a politically motivated plan hatched by Democrats. “What they’re doing is using COVID to steal an election,” Trump said at the Republican National Convention. “They’re using COVID to defraud the American people, all of our people, of a fair and free election. We can’t do that.”
“Eighty million mail-in ballots they’re working on, sending them out to people that didn’t ask for them,” Trump added. “And it’s not fair and it’s not right, and it’s not going to be possible to tabulate, in my opinion.” Some political observers have said that a winner of the presidential contest might not be declared on Election Day due to mail-in voting delays. The mail-in voting push is designed to curb the spread of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus. Trump, in recent months, has criticized mail-in voting efforts, accusing Democrats of trying to steal the election. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) earlier this week asserted in an interview that Trump is trying “to scare people from voting, to intimidate them by saying he’s going to have law enforcement people at the polls.” “But ignore him,” she said, “because his purpose is to diminish the vote, to suppress the vote.”
The laws are not crystal clear.
• US Spy Plane Enters No-Fly Zone During Chinese Live-Fire Naval Drill (SCMP)
The US has sent spy planes over a live-fire Chinese military drill – including a U-2 which entered a declared no-fly zone – triggering a protest from Beijing and heightening the risk of an armed conflict. The development followed weeks of increased US activity in the region, with numerous military jets and vessels deployed to keep a close watch on Chinese activity. The Beijing-based think tank South China Sea Probing Initiative said a US air force reconnaissance aircraft RC-135S flew across the South China Sea on Wednesday, during the Chinese military drill. But it said it appeared the plane was on a transfer, rather than a reconnaissance mission.
Chinese defence ministry spokesman Wu Qian said a U-2 reconnaissance jet flew without permission over the no-fly zone in the PLA’s northern military region, where the live fire drills were taking place. “It seriously interfered in normal exercise activities. It seriously violated the code of safe behaviour for air and sea between China and the US and international norms. It easily leads to misjudgment, or could even cause accidents in the sea and air,” Wu said. “The move was an obvious provocation. China firmly opposes such provocative actions and has lodged solemn representations with the US side.”
A source close to the Chinese military said the U-2 high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft came from a military base in South Korea, and flew over the Bohai Gulf where China’s aircraft carrier the Shandong was taking part in the exercise. China’s Maritime Safety Administration said live-fire exercises were being conducted in waters off the country’s northeastern coast, stretching from the Bohai Gulf to the Yellow Sea. In a statement, the US military said the U-2’s flight was “within the accepted international rules and regulations governing aircraft flights” and that Pacific air force personnel would “continue to fly and operate anywhere international law allows, at the time and tempo of our choosing”.
Navalny is important only for the Russiagaters.
• Poisoning Navalny ‘Would Not Benefit’ Moscow – Russian Foreign Ministry (RT)
Moscow does not stand to benefit from the alleged poisoning of anti-corruption activist Alexey Navalny, the Russian Foreign Ministry has said, noting the haste with which Western media and governments made the insinuation. The ministry issued a statement on Tuesday evening, following a meeting between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun, during which the subject of Navalny was raised, among other issues. Lavrov pointed out the “suspicious haste” with which the narrative about Navalny’s alleged poisoning was picked up in Washington and Brussels and instantly compared to the “poisonings” of Alexander Litvinenko and the Skripals – which were blamed on Moscow before any investigations happened.
The question inevitably arises – who benefits from it? The Russian leadership clearly does not. The ministry added that accusations of a ‘cover-up’ made against the Russian doctors who first treated Navalny were untrue. “We consider deeply offensive the accusations of ‘covering up the truth’, directed from some Western capitals to the doctors in Omsk, who immediately rendered highly professional aid” to Navalny, the ministry said. “They gave the patient’s complete medical history to the team of German doctors,” the statement continued. “We hope that the German doctors will show the same professional approach and will not allow the results of their laboratory tests to be used for politicized purposes.”
[..] The European Union has already called for a “comprehensive investigation” of Navalny’s alleged poisoning. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo seconded that on Tuesday, saying that “Navalny’s family and the Russian people deserve to see a full and transparent investigation carried out, and for those involved to be held accountable.” Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, told reporters the German doctors were “rushing” to use the term poisoning, and that an investigation was premature. “There must be a reason for an investigation. At the moment, all you and I see is that the patient is in a coma,” Peskov told reporters. He added that any suggestions Putin was involved in Navalny’s condition were “hot air” and the Kremlin would not take them seriously.
The most distorted market around these days?!
• San Francisco “Pent-up Supply” Turns into Record Glut of Houses & Condos (WS)
We’re going to look at San Francisco’s housing market in two ways: The Case-Shiller Home Price Index released today, which lags months behind but provides good price-movement data for houses and condos; and near-real-time indicators. First the near-real-time indicators: “Active listings” in San Francisco skyrocketed by 137% year-over-year to 1,995 homes for sale in the week ended August 16, based on weekly data compiled by real-estate brokerage Redfin, from Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and Redfin’s own data. This is the biggest highest most stunning amount of inventory for sale since the very peak of Housing Bust 1 (chart via Redfin):
Note the normal seasonal surge in active listings after Labor Day through late October. But halfway into August, normally a slow time of the year when supply declines, supply instead exploded. This was “pent-up supply” that is now suddenly coming on the market. Redfin’s data set doesn’t go back to Housing Bust 1. But according to MLS data, the number of homes for sale in August now exceeds the peaks in August 2009 and August 2010 by about 10%, according to local real-estate site SocketSite. The number of condos for sale (1,160 condos, based on MLS data, net of all new sales and contract activity) is up by 230% from a year ago; and the number of single family houses for sale (390 houses) is up 110%. New listings jumped 124% from a year ago to 260 in the week ended August 16, according to Redfin data (chart via Redfin):
How capitalism killed itself.
• Sacrifice for Thee, Vast Wealth for Me (Ben Hunt)
Doug Parker, American Airlines CEO and Chairman of the Board, wrote a letter to his employees today that pretty much defines high-functioning sociopathy. [..] “Dear fellow team members, We respect and greatly appreciate the sacrifice these team members have made, and continue to make, for American and their fellow team members. Even with those sacrifices, approximately 19,000 of our team members will be involuntarily furloughed or separated from the company on Oct. 1.” [..] Know who’s not sweating the October 1 firing line? Know who’s surviving and thriving just fine, thank you very much? Doug Parker, that’s who.
Here are some fun facts about Doug Parker and his “leadership” of American Airlines since he became Chairman and CEO of the company in 2013, after its merger with US Airways. All of this (and more) can be found in a long note I wrote on the airline bailout back in March. From 2014 through 2019, Doug Parker pocketed more than $150 million in cash through his sale of 3.6 million shares in American Airlines. That’s in addition to the $50 million in stock he still owns (and net of the pittance that Doug has paid for all of these shares). That’s in addition to the $100+ million in cash salary and cash bonuses and deferred comp and stock options and incredible perks that Doug has received. Nope, cash comp and deferred comp are for suckers. Just ask Jamie Dimon.
These stock sales were particularly egregious in 2015 – 2016, where for a twelve month period Doug pocketed between $4 million and $11 million in stock sales per month, and again in 2018, when for a brief shining moment American Airline’s stock price went above $50. Wouldn’t you know it, Doug just happened to choose that moment to sell 437,000 shares of stock, more than twice as much stock as he had ever sold before and almost 5x the usual size of his stock sales. But surely, compensation like this is well earned. Surely, American Airlines has outperformed its competition, built a solid franchise, and delivered nice returns to its investors. LOL. Don’t call me Shirley. From 2014 – 2019, the same years that CEO and Chairman Doug pocketed $200 million in real money stock-based comp, American Airlines had *negative* free cash flow of $3.2 billion. And took on an additional $14 billion in debt. And bought back $13 billion of its stock.
• Dairy And Fat Could Save Your Life (Aus.)
You probably didn’t see that, a couple of weeks ago, a respected US scientific publication — the Journal Of the American College of Cardiology, no less — came out with a review of the literature saying there was no evidence that cutting saturated fats from your diet would help you live longer. And that eating more of the much-libelled lipids — found most abundantly in red meat and dairy — might help you avoid stroke. That you didn’t read about it is no surprise. It is one in a long list of trials, studies, reviews and meta-analyses that have found similar results and gone the same way — sunk without trace, ignored by the people who create our dietary guidelines.
This issue was brought into focus last month when eye surgeon Dr James Muecke, 2020’s Australian of the Year, wrote in the Canberra Times: “A flawed dietary guideline, which we have obediently and blindly followed for 40 years, is literally killing us. We’ve been encouraged to eat less fat and consume more carbs and yet we’ve never been fatter, our teeth never more rotten, and type 2 diabetes and its complications never more prevalent.” So what is Muecke talking about? Surely fat is bad, and saturated fat is worse. The JACC paper listed some of the recent papers to contradict these dietary certainties. There was the PURE (Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiological) study of 135,000 people from 18 countries on five continents.
It found that increased consumption of all types of fat (saturated, mono-unsaturated and polyunsaturated) was associated with lower risk of death and had a neutral association with CVD. By contrast, a diet high in carbohydrate was associated with higher risk of death. And those who ate the most saturated fat had lower risk of stroke, “consistent with the results from meta-analyses of previous cohort studies”. A newly-published study of 195,658 Brits over 10.6 years found “no evidence that saturated fat intake was associated with cardiovascular disease. In contrast, the substitution of polyunsaturated for saturated fat was associated with higher CVD risk.”
These are examples of epidemiology which can only prove associations, not causation. For that you need randomised trials, which are expensive and difficult. There have only ever been eight of them into the question of whether saturated fat will cause heart disease. The authors of the JACC paper looked at the six most recent systematic reviews and meta-analyses of those randomised trials. They wrote that the “results showed that replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat has no significant effect on coronary outcomes or on total mortality.”
Hasn’t seen his own kids in 6 months.
• Assange ‘In A Lot Of Pain’ Says Partner After Prison Visit (IE)
Julian Assange’s partner has visited him in prison for the first time in almost six months, and said he looked much thinner than last time she saw him. Stella Moris took the couple’s two young children to meet their father, who is being held in Belmarsh Prison in south-east London, awaiting an extradition hearing on behalf of the United States government. Ms Moris and the WikiLeaks founder had to wear face masks and visors for the 20-minute meeting and were not allowed to touch each other. She told the PA news agency it was “incredibly stressful” but expressed relief at being able to visit him for the first time since March 22.
“We had to keep social distancing and Julian was told he would have to self-isolate for two weeks if he touched the children. “Julian said it was the first time he had been given a mask because things are very different behind the doors. “I could not see him very clearly because of the visors, but he looked a lot thinner. “He was wearing a yellow armband to indicate his level of prisoner status, and you could see how thin his arms were. “At least he got to see the children, even though he couldn’t touch them. The children were both calm – we all remained seated the whole time.”
[..] Gabriel, aged three, showed Assange how he could recite the alphabet and count, said his mother. Ms Moris said her partner is still suffering from a frozen shoulder, and had recently sprained his ankle. [..] “He is in a lot of pain,” she added. Ms Moris expressed concern about Covid-related health measures as Assange is transported to and from the court every day. She added that he has not had a face-to-face meeting with his legal team since lockdown began in March and only has limited access to the huge amount of paperwork generated by the case.
Just a few old friends. Hob gives you the feeling he’s looking down on you even if you’re taller than him. He’s one cool dude.
• Hob The Llama And His Alpaca Pals Take Regular Streetside Walks (Stuff)
Downtown Wellington might have Mittens, frolicking orca and a whale called Matariki – but one city suburb has a social-working llama on its Main St. Previously, Tawa was known for its women’s prison, a hedge crafted into the word ‘Tawa’ and its many churches. Now Stephen Mulholland, owner of Alpacas Rampant, has been taking his llama Hob for walks on a leash along Main St in the suburb – delighting and surprising locals. Mulholland said Hob, 14, a “laconic llama”, was brought in to keep his male alpacas in line. The naturally larger llama took the top spot in the pecking order, and prevented fighting. “When you have these testosterone-filled males, they can fight to the death … it keeps everything cruisy.”
Mulholland said he regularly takes Hob, “an exceptionally tolerant llama” for walks along Tawa’s Main St. The llama helped out with SPCA street appeals in the past, and has even worked with prison inmates, Mulholland said. “Hob the llama has actually been to Rimutaka Prison. He’s been places, done things.” Mulholland said one of the things he discovered walking his llama is that “a certain percentage of the population“ has no perception of their environment. “They walk right by a llama and don’t even notice. It does happen. I’m like, ‘how could you miss that?’.” But mostly he discovers people are truly delighted to see an out-of-the-ordinary animal trotting down the pavement. “I’ll take an hour in downtown Tawa and a lot of people will say ‘this has made my day’ … for a tiny amount of effort on my part, if I can make the day for a couple of dozen people, then that’s made Tawa, Wellington, a better place.”
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