Sep 292020
 


Fred Stein Times Square at Night 1947

 

Rapid-Testing Drive Unveiled As Virus Deaths Pass One Million (Y!)
Young People Are At Risk Of Severe COVID19 Illness (NBC)
Putin To Be Among First To Receive ‘Controversial’ Sputnik Vaccine (ZH)
Seeing Through Pea Soup (Kunstler)
Biden’s Texas Political Director Accused of Illegal Ballot Harvesting (NF)
Alleged Ilhan Omar Cash-For-Ballot Transaction Caught On Tape (ZH)
New York Times Trump Tax Story Disappoints (Reilly)
Airlines Demand New $25B Bailout after Burning $45B on Share Buybacks (WS)
Ai Weiwei: ‘Too Late’ To Curb China’s Global Influence (BBC)
The Surreal US Case Against Assange (Mercouris)
Julian Assange Faces ‘Torturous’ Months In Parking Space-Sized Cell In US (PA)
I Lived Through Collapse. America Is Already There. (Samarajiva)

 

 

Ron Johnson

 

 

$5 a piece. Remember, Holland charges €225. But 270 million tests is nothing. You need 600 million a week just in the US.

WHO Unveils $600 Million Rapid-Testing Drive (Y!)

Coronavirus tests that deliver results in 15-30 minutes are to be rolled out across the United States and in scores of poorer countries, as health authorities worldwide try to get a handle on a disease that has now killed more than a million people. US President Donald Trump announced 150 million tests would be distributed in America, while the World Health Organization said 120 million more would be available for the developing world at $5 each as long as funding was secured. The testing push comes as the virus shows no sign of receding, with infection numbers climbing rapidly in Europe again and governments there clamping down on movement in an attempt to curb the surge.

Paris, London and Madrid have all been forced to introduce controls to slow infections, and on Monday Dutch authorities became the latest to tighten curbs, while the Czech Republic and Slovakia said they were preparing to declare a state of emergency. The WHO said its $600 million scheme to roll out the quick diagnosis kits across 133 countries in the next six months would enable low- and middle-income nations to close the gap in testing with the rich world. The kits are far faster, cheaper and easier to administer than regular standard polymerase chain reaction (PCR) swab tests but are less sensitive and more likely to return false negatives.

“This will enable the expansion of testing, particularly in hard-to-reach areas that do not have lab facilities or enough trained health workers to carry out PCR tests,” WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual press conference. Experts have for months been calling for widespread adoption of this low-cost technology so that people can test themselves several times a week. Harvard epidemiologist Michael Mina said the testing drive “is terrific and is a great start”. But the amount being distributed by the US government was “simply not sufficient” and production should be multiplied ten- or twentyfold, he added.

The tests are part of a limited toolkit available to governments as they seek ways to get the wheels turning on economies that have been crippled in recent months by lockdowns and other restrictions on people’s lives. A million Madrid residents are under partial lockdown, with the city and the surrounding region at the centre of Spain’s second wave. The national government on Monday warned the local authorities of drastic measures if the region failed to move decisively to slow the uncontrolled spread.

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“Young people should not assume they are immune to the consequences of this disease, and they should do everything they can to avoid it.”

Young People Are At Risk Of Severe COVID19 Illness (NBC)

New findings published this month further reveal how severely Covid-19 can affect young adults. A research paper published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that among more than 3,200 adults ages 18 to 34 who were hospitalized with the disease, 21 percent required intensive care, 10 percent required mechanical ventilation and nearly 3 percent — 88 patients — died. Of those who survived, 3 percent — 99 patients — had to be discharged to another health care facility to continue their recoveries. “While the vast majority of young adults who get Covid are not going to require hospitalization, those who do have really high risk for these adverse outcomes,” said the study’s author, Dr. Scott Solomon, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. “It is not trivial.”

The research is worrisome because the incidence of Covid-19 in the United States is now highest among young adults ages 20 to 29, who from June to August accounted for more than 20 percent of all confirmed cases, according to the latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reported Wednesday. Adults ages 30 to 39 made up the second-largest group of cases. As young adults return to college campuses — and parties — multiple outbreaks already have been reported across the nation. Doctors are concerned about the spreading infections and the serious cases that can result. “We’re seeing a really rising incidence of Covid-19 in young people, and that’s in part due to activity over the summer, and obviously we’re all very worried about this as they come back to colleges,” Solomon said.

“It’s unfortunate, but I think that we are likely to see an increased percentage of young people who experience these bad outcomes as the number of infections in this group goes up,” he said. Solomon and colleagues used a large health care database to look at serious Covid-19 illnesses in young adults hospitalized in April, May or June. Of the more than 1,000 U.S. hospitals in the database, which treated a total of 63,103 Covid-19 patients during the study period, 3,222 patients, or 5 percent, were young adults admitted to 419 hospitals. Overall, 58 percent of the young adult patients were men, and 57 percent were Black or Hispanic. More than a third were obese, including 25 percent who were morbidly obese (with body mass indexes of 40 or higher), 18 percent had diabetes, and 16 percent had hypertension. [..] Results also showed that the risks of dying or needing mechanical ventilation were more than double in young adult patients who were either morbidly obese or had hypertension.

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He should offer a free jab to Fauci. And Trump.

Putin To Be Among First To Receive ‘Controversial’ Sputnik Vaccine (ZH)

After previously touting that his own daughter was among the first to take the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, standing in as a prominent early ‘guinea pig’ of sorts vouching for its safety, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he plans to receive it soon, according to a story in Newsweek on Monday. Without specifying precisely when he would receive the vaccine, which was met with approval by government regulators in August, Putin reportedly indicated it would come before his next trip to South Korea. “Putin has not yet committed publicly to receiving the vaccine—the development of which has been financed by the state Russian Direct Investment Fund—but told South Korean President Moon Jae-in by phone Monday that he would have the shot before a planned visit to Seoul, Newsweek reports.


Moon personally invited Putin to come to South Korea during a call upon the occasion of the 30th anniversary of establishment of the Russian-South Korean diplomatic relations. According to a summary of the call, Russian media sources indicate that Putin told Moon: “I will come to South Korea… I will personally take the Russian vaccine and go.” Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine was developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya research institute with help from the Russian defense ministry. It was tested at Moscow’s state medical university. Initially met with broad global skepticism, Russia’s health ministry last month announced it expects to begin mass anti-coronavirus vaccinations by October, with the first rounds to be administered to front line medical workers as well as teachers.

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“Then wait to see if he pulls the mask down under his chin as though he was acting the role of Abe Lincoln in a middle school history pageant.”

Seeing Through Pea Soup (Kunstler)

If Joe Biden does show up at Tuesday’s debate, it will be under at least one severe disadvantage: the contest happens at night. Through the preceding weeks, Mr. Biden’s handlers have “put a lid” on his campaign activities at ten o’clock in the morning more days than not, and sometimes at eight-thirty a.m., before the press pool has even digested its oat-milk honey lattes. “A lid” means the candidate makes no appearances nor is available to the media that day. You have to wonder whether Ol’ White Joe can even function after sundown. Senile dementia typically presents more vividly in the evening. The Biden team may seek to counter that with doses of Adderall, an amphetamine.


The side-effects are interesting: “mental / mood changes (such as agitation, aggression, mood swings, abnormal thoughts) uncontrolled movements, continuous chewing / teeth grinding, outbursts of words / sounds, prolonged erections (in males).” Watch for these. Also watch to see whether Mr. Biden steps onstage wearing his trademark black mask. (Mr. Trump, of course, will not mask himself.) The optic will be two-fold: 1) Mr. Biden has something to hide, and 2) Mr. Biden is a weakling for playing up Covid hysteria. Then wait to see if he pulls the mask down under his chin as though he was acting the role of Abe Lincoln in a middle school history pageant. That will be a visual-to-remember! Also, wait for Mr. Biden to deliver a self-knockout punch to himself when he attacks the President’s Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, for being a Catholic.

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Ballot harvesting was never NOT going to be a story. Let’s see where it goes.

Biden’s Texas Political Director Accused of Illegal Ballot Harvesting (NF)

The Joe Biden campaign’s Texas Political Director has been formally accused of helping to run an illegal ballot harvesting operation, according to two separate affidavits filed Monday at the Texas Supreme Court. Two private investigators, including a former FBI agent and former police officer, testify under oath that they have video evidence, documentation and witnesses to prove that Biden’s Texas Political Director Dallas Jones and his cohorts are currently hoarding mail-in and absentee ballots and ordering operatives to fill the ballots out for people illegally, including for dead people, homeless people, and nursing home residents in the 2020 presidential election. The affidavits were filed as part of the class-action lawsuit against Harris County and the state of Texas, filed by citizens, called Steven Hotze, M.D. et al. Journalist Patrick Howley of NATIONAL FILE has exclusively obtained this testimony and much more evidence will be coming out in the case. Dallas Jones was named the Biden campaign’s Texas Political Director in early September.

HERE IS THE AFFIDAVIT OF PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR AND RETIRED HOUSTON POLICE OFFICER MARK A. AGUIRRE, SUBMITTED UNDER OATH.: AFFIDAVIT OF MARK A. AGUIRRE “My name is Mark A. Aguirre. I am above the age of eighteen years and am fully competent to make this affidavit. The facts stated in this affidavit are within my personal knowledge and are true and correct. “I am a retired captain with the Houston Police Department I am now a private investigator. “I am currently involved in an investigation related to a wide-ranging and fraudulent ballot harvesting scheme in Harris County intended to rig the elections in the Houston/Harris County area. This scheme involves voter fraud on a massive scale.

“Based on interviews, review of documents, and other information, I have identified the individuals in charge of the ballot harvesting scheme. These individuals includes political consultant Dallas Jones who was recently hired by the Joe Biden for President campaign to oversee their Harris County initiative. District 13 Texas State Senator Borris Miles, who is the handler of Mr. Jones, political consultant Gerald Womack, and Precinct 1 Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis. One of the companies these individuals are using as a front for this operation is AB Canvassing, although there are others that have been identified that we are investigating.”

“I have in my possession video-taped interviews of witnesses attesting to the aforementioned people having groups of people completing thousands of absentee and mail-in ballots, including completing ballots for deceased individuals; illegally going into nursing homes, with the complicity of the nursing home staff, and filling out and forging the signatures of nursing home residents; signing up homeless individuals to vote using the ballot harvester’s address then completing the ballot and forging the homeless individual’s signature.

Tulsi Gabbard Ballot harvesting
https://twitter.com/i/status/1307067070283218952

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There’s also a police investigation into this case. Again, let’s see where that goes.

Alleged Ilhan Omar Cash-For-Ballot Transaction Caught On Tape (ZH)

Update (2338ET): Following an appearance on Fox News’ “Hannity,” James O’Keefe released a second ballot-harvesting video featuring an apparent purchase of a ballot from a Somali resident of Minnesota. The video then features several allegations made by local Somalis regarding the alleged scheme – including Rep. Ilhan Omar’s direct involvement. “She’s [Ilhan Omar] the one who came up with all this [pay-for-vote],” said one source who added. “She’s [Ilhan Omar] the one, somehow. Nobody knew, but, yeah, this is something like new with Ilhan [Omar].” “Jamal Omar said cash for votes is an open secret in Minneapolis. “The techniques that he [Ali Isse] uses to exchange money for vote — that’s not a secret. It’s, it’s open, and everybody knows about it,” he said. “$200, $300 per ballot received!” -Project Veritas


“Nobody would say that Ilhan Omar isn’t part of this,” said Omar Jamal – a Somali community insider and chairman of the Somali Watchdog Group. “Unless you’re from a different planet, but if you live in this universe, I think everybody knows it.” According to Jamal, senior Ilhan Omar staffer Ali Isse Gainey is at the center of the vote-buying scheme. Jamal also said that Ilhan Omar operatives would accompany Somali residents to the voting booth and do the actual voting for the person. “They help us at the voting booth. They allow them to help us,” said one Minneapolis ballot harvester recorded on hidden camera. “They go inside with us and help us, and they actually do that inside there.”

Steve Drazkowski

Hannity Project Veritas

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I don’t have the impression that many people understand the details. And then it’s easy to shout: SCANDAL.

New York Times Trump Tax Story Disappoints (Reilly)

The main story, Long-Concealed Records Show Trump’s Chronic Losses And Years Of Tax Avoidance, is kind of disappointing. In some ways, the headline shows the problem with their perspective. “Long-Concealed”- As a CPA I am fanatical about protecting confidential client information. I have nightmares about inadvertently letting something out. But I don’t think of that as “concealing”. More to the point they are disclosing that it appears that President Trump has flat out been losing a lot of money – hemorrhaging cash-, which we are supposed to be shocked at. And he has not been paying much if anything in the way of taxes which if the previous is true is not that shocking. In a side highlight piece by David Leonhard, there is a sort of odd comparison.

“In 2017, the average federal income rate for the highest-earning .001 percent of tax filers — that is, the most affluent 1/100,000th slice of the population — was 24.1 percent, according to the I.R.S. Over the past two decades, Mr. Trump has paid about $400 million less in combined federal income taxes than a very wealthy person who paid the average for that group each year.” Presumably that .001 % group is not static. I really don’t see the point of the comparison. Maybe there are a few people who were in it every year for decades, but I doubt it is many. On the underpaying tax theme the reporters seem to be on something of an Easter egg hunt trying to find little tidbits that will excite us.

Even while declaring losses, he has managed to enjoy a lavish lifestyle by taking tax deductions on what most people would consider personal expenses, including residences, aircraft and $70,000 in hairstyling for television. Now they tell us that they have obtained “tax-return data extending over more than two decades”. The graphs show 2000 to 2018, which is odd because they say they did not get the 2018 return. Regardless, apparently somebody went to the trouble of digging the hairstyling for television out of that morass and toting it up to be $70,000. Is that a lot? Trump was in The Apprentice for 14 seasons and he is on television in a lot of other contexts. If the hairstyling is just for The Apprentice, that works out to about $400 per episode.

I reached out to my filmmaker friend Jonathan Schwartz of Audacious Media. He told me that if the styling was taking place on the set with union stylists, it is perfectly reasonable. The fundamental problem with the main story is that it is presenting two contradictory narratives. One is of a very successful person who is managing to not pay any income taxes. The other is of someone whose fortune is melting away.

$0 in taxes

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Fire the CEO. Easy.

Airlines Demand New $25B Bailout after Burning $45B on Share Buybacks (WS)

October 1 is the day US airlines that accepted their portion of the $25-billion bailout under the CARES Act can start involuntary layoffs of their employees. They’ve been shedding large numbers of employees since March but through voluntary buyouts, early retirements, and other programs that induced employees to temporarily or permanently leave. Now the airlines are engaged in a desperate lobbying effort to get legislation signed into law that would provide the next $25-billion bailout package. Threats have been flying, so to speak, to motivate Congress to get this done. American Airlines CEO Doug Parker told CBS News on Sunday that if there isn’t a new bailout program, “there are going to be 100,000 aviation professionals who are out of work, who wouldn’t be otherwise.”

This would include the 18,000 employees American Airlines has threatened to lay off. So airlines have been lobbying hard. “You know, we have everyone putting us in every bill they have,” Parker said. “We just need the bills to be laws. We need laws not bills.” American Airlines was also the airline that blew, incinerated, wasted, and trashed more than any other airline on share buybacks. Buybacks ceased in the second quarter, but from 2013 through Q1 2020, American Airlines incinerated $13.1 billion in cash on share buybacks. That cash would now come in very handy. 2013 was also the year Mr. Parker became CEO of American Airlines.

Delta blew, wasted, and incinerated $11.7 billion in cash on share buybacks over the period; Southwest Airlines, $10.9 billion (starting in 2012); and United $8.9 billion. In total, the big four airlines blew, wasted, and incinerated $44.6 billion in cash on share buybacks from 2012 through Q1 2020, and now the airlines want an additional $25 billion bailout, for a total of $50 billion, much of it in forms of grants, from taxpayers (data via YCharts):

In terms of the numbers of passengers entering airports in the US, over six months into the Pandemic, the business is still down nearly 70% from last year, according to TSA airport screenings. The interesting thing is how the recovery is not happening, and how the strong seasonal patterns have disappeared. Normally, the passenger count drops sharply in the weeks before Labor Day from the summer peak in June, July, and early August. But after Labor Day, business travel picks up, and older folks with kids out of school start traveling, and the passenger count rises sharply in September. But none of that is happening this year. The chart below shows TSA checkpoint screenings per day, as a seven-day moving average through September 27, last year (black) versus this year (red):

The airline industry invented a new metric during the Pandemic: “daily cash burn.” The purpose is to give investors a feel for the progress in implementing the airlines’ survival strategies. Every airline now cites this metric. The idea is to make this number as small as possible by cutting capacity, shedding employees, and reducing costs wherever possible. Investors who’ve been coddled over the years through share-buybacks, have helped fund the airlines’ daily cash burn by buying the newly issued bonds and shares. They have done so because they counted on support from taxpayers and the Fed. Investors should continue to step up to the plate and fund that daily cash burn. But taxpayers – they’re already sitting on billions of dollars in tickets they can’t get refunds for though they can use the “credits” or whatever in the future – shouldn’t be shanghaied into funding airlines. That’s Wall Street’s job.

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“The official government slogan was: “Hide your light and bide your time”.

Ai Weiwei: ‘Too Late’ To Curb China’s Global Influence (BBC)

The leading Chinese dissident, the artist and filmmaker Ai Weiwei, says China’s influence has become so great that it can’t now be effectively stopped. “The West should really have worried about China decades ago. Now it’s already a bit too late, because the West has built its strong system in China and to simply cut it off, it will hurt deeply. That’s why China is very arrogant.” Ai Weiwei has never minced his words about China. “It is a police state,” he says. The artist famously designed the Bird’s Nest stadium for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but ran into serious problems after he spoke out against the Chinese government. Eventually, in 2015, he left China to come to the West. He lived first in Berlin, and last year settled in Cambridge. Mr Ai believes that China today uses its immense economic power to impose its political influence.


It’s certainly true that China has become much more assertive in recent years. Until around a decade ago, China presented a modest face to the world. The official government slogan was: “Hide your light and bide your time”. Ministers insisted that China was still a developing country with a lot to learn from the West. Then Xi Jinping came to power. He became secretary-general of the Chinese Communist Party in 2012, and President the following year. He introduced a new tone. The old modesty faded, and there was a different slogan: “Strive for achievement”. In some ways China is still a developing country, with 250 million people below the poverty line. Yet it is already the world’s second-biggest economy, and is on course to overtake the US over the next decade or so. China’s influence in the world is becoming more and more obvious, at a time when America’s authority has visibly declined.

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Very good and long explanation of what is going on. We’re in the 4th and last week.

The Surreal US Case Against Assange (Mercouris)

Following the Julian Assange case as it has progressed through its various stages, from the original Swedish allegations right up to and including the extradition hearing which is currently underway in the Central Criminal Court in London, has been a troubling and very strange experience. The U.S. government has failed to present a coherent case. Conscious that the British authorities should in theory refuse to extradite Assange if the case against him were shown to be politically motivated and/or related to Assange’s legitimate work as a journalist, the U.S. government has struggled to present a case against Assange which is not too obviously politically motivated or related to Assange’s legitimate work as a journalist. This explains the strange succession of one original and two superseding indictments.

The U.S. government’s first indictment was based on what was a supposedly simple allegation of computer interference, supposedly coordinated in some sort of conspiracy between Assange and Chelsea Manning. This was obviously done in an attempt to dispel the idea that the request for Assange’s extradition was politically motivated or was related to Assange’s legitimate work as a journalist. However lawyers in the United States had no difficulty pointing out the “inchoate facts” of the alleged conspiracy between Assange and Manning, whilst both lawyers and journalists in the United States and elsewhere pointed out that the facts in the indictment in fact bore all the hallmarks of action by a journalist to protect a source.

The result was that the U.S. government replaced its indictment with a first superseding indictment, which this time was founded largely on the 1917 Espionage Act, and was therefore closer to the real reasons why the case against Assange was being brought. However, that made the case look altogether too obviously politically motivated, so it has in turn been replaced by a second superseding indictment, presented to the court and the defence team virtually on the eve of the trial, which has sought to veer back towards strictly criminal allegations, this time of involvement in computer hacking. The allegations in the second superseding indictment have however faced major difficulties, in that they do not seem to concern the United States and may not even be actual crimes.

Also they rely heavily on the evidence of a known fraudster, whose “evidence” is inherently unreliable. The U.S. government has failed to make clear whether the additional allegations in the second superseding indictment are intended to constitute a separate standalone case. Initially they appeared to deny that they did; then they hinted that they might do; now however they seem to be acting as if they don’t. As if that were not confusing enough, the U.S. government and its British lawyers have floated confusing and contradictory theories about whether or not the British authorities can extradite Assange even if the case against him is politically motivated, and even if it is related to his journalistic activities.

Initially they seemed to be arguing that — contrary to all British precedent and the actual text of the extradition treaty between the U.S. and Britain — Britain can in fact extradite Assange to the U.S. on a politically motivated charge, because the enabling Act which the British Parliament passed, which made the extradition treaty between the U.S. and Britain a part of British law, is silent on whether or not individuals can be extradited to the U.S. on a politically motivated charge. This argument of course came close to conceding that the case against Assange is politically motivated after all. This threadbare argument, at least for the moment, seems to have been abandoned. At least nothing has been heard of it throughout the current hearing. Instead the U.S. government and its British lawyers have argued, in the face of the incredulity of a string of expert and factual witnesses, that the case is not politically motivated after all.

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It’s criminal to inflict this on anyone.

Julian Assange Faces ‘Torturous’ Months In Parking Space-Sized Cell In US (PA)

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange could be left “twiddling his thumbs” in a cell the size of a parking space if extradited to the US, a court has heard. The 49-year-old is fighting extradition to the US on charges related to leaks of classified documents allegedly exposing war crimes. Assange’s defence have claimed he is a “high” suicide risk, having already spent 16 months in top security Belmarsh jail in south London. On Monday, the Old Bailey heard from witnesses with experience of the Alexandria Detention Centre in Virginia, Assange’s likely pre-trial destination if he was extradited. The court heard that due to his high profile and his perceived national security risk, he could be placed in an administrative segregation (ad seg) unit.

Prisoner advocate Joel Sickler told the court there was a historical tendency of detainees with “some notoriety” or facing allegations involving national security to be placed in “ad seg”. Assange’s case involved “broad publicity internationally” and the US government allegation that he was a “national security concern, if not outright threat”, the witness said. Sickler added that there were issues over Assange’s safety from the “more sophisticated inmate population” and self harm. On conditions in an “ad seg” unit, he said: “It’s a very small confined space with a steel door and a small window, a little slot where meals are pushed through. “It’s a very small area – like a parking space.” Sickler said there would be limited contact with other inmates, saying the suggestion they could communicate between cells was “ridiculous”.

He said: “You have to scream. There’s a lot of noise and a lot of screaming because from a mental health standpoint, people are angry and confused and there’s a lot of yelling.” On the issue of sensory deprivation, he said: “First of all you have very limited social interaction with any others. “You have little access to the outside world except from a rare few monitored phone calls and meeting with counsel. “You are twiddling your thumbs. You have access to reading material but otherwise your whole world is the four corners of that room.” Defence barrister Edward Fitzgerald QC asked: “If someone wishes to commit suicide in pre-trial detention would it be possible to stop that?” Sickler said: “Based on decades of experience, I have probably had a dozen or so clients commit suicide. I can say if they are intent on committing suicide, it can be done.”

Suzie Dawson

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Well written. But are things as similar as suggested?

I Lived Through Collapse. America Is Already There. (Samarajiva)

l Iived through the end of a civil war — I moved back to Sri Lanka in my twenties, just as the ceasefire fell apart. Do you know what it was like for me? Quite normal. I went to work, I went out, I dated. This is what Americans don’t understand. They’re waiting to get personally punched in the face while ash falls from the sky. That’s not how it happens. This is how it happens. Precisely what you’re feeling now. The numbing litany of bad news. The ever rising outrages. People suffering, dying, and protesting all around you, while you think about dinner. If you’re trying to carry on while people around you die, your society is not collapsing. It’s already fallen down.

I was looking through some old photos for this article and the mix is shocking to me now. Almost offensive. There’s a burnt body in front of my office. Then I’m playing Scrabble with friends. There’s bomb smoke rising in front of the mall. Then I’m at a concert. There’s a long line for gas. Then I’m at a nightclub. This is all within two weeks. Today I’m like, “Did we live like this?” But we did. I mean, I did. Was I a rich Colombo fuckboi while poorer people died, especially minorities? Well, yes. I wrote about it, but who cares. The real question is, who are you? I mean, you’re reading this. You have the leisure to ponder American collapse like it’s even a question. The people really experiencing it already know.

As someone who’s already experienced societal breakdown, here’s the truth: America has already collapsed. What you’re feeling is exactly how it feels. It’s Saturday and you’re thinking about food while the world is on fire. This is normal. This is life during collapse. Collapse does not mean you’re personally dying right now. It means y’all are dying right now. Death is sometimes close, sometimes far away, but always there. I used to judge those herds of gazelle when the lion eats one of them alive and everyone keeps going — but no, humans are just the same. That’s the real meaning of herd immunity. We’re fundamentally immune to giving a shit.

It honestly becomes mundane (for the privileged). As Colombo kids we used to go out, worry about money, fall in love — life went on. We’d pop the trunk for a bomb check. Turn off our lights for the air raids. I’m not saying that we were untouched. My friend’s dad was killed, suddenly, by a landmine. RIP Uncle Nihal. I know people who were beaten, arrested, and went into exile. But that’s not what my photostream looks like. It was mostly food and parties and normal stuff for a dumb twentysomething. If you’re waiting for a moment where you’re like “this is it,” I’m telling you, it never comes. Nobody comes on TV and says “things are officially bad.” There’s no launch party for decay. It’s just a pileup of outrages and atrocities in between friendships and weddings and perhaps an unusual amount of alcohol.

Perhaps you’re waiting for some moment when the adrenaline kicks in and you’re fighting the virus or fascism all the time, but it’s not like that. Life is not a movie, and if it were, you’re certainly not the star. You’re just an extra. If something good or bad happens to you it’ll be random and no one will care. If you’re unlucky you’re a statistic. If you’re lucky, no one notices you at all. Collapse is just a series of ordinary days in between extraordinary bullshit, most of it happening to someone else. That’s all it is.

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Upton Sinclair quote, from his 1927 novel “Oil!”.

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

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