Follow by Email

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Pre Fireworks Considerations


So, what? 
  It's the serious question regarding the end of the postwar western capitalist economic world, which gradually corrupted into neoliberal financial capitalism, which showed "GDP growth", while real economy was hollowed out, and pension contracts were invisibly looted to become overt lies.
  The power elites are not in one camp. They are in several conflicting camps, none of them willing to give up any power or prerogative, as current economy shrinks, and future economy is in massive negative numbers compared to obligations of debt-service and retirements/pensions.
Somebody, some large group of people needs to be dispossessed, and it can't be the actual elites. 
This is not going to work. That's obvious, but not necessarily so to billionaires.
  We can see that this systemic crisis has been pushed into the present by coronavirus, and a response by the system, which includes lies, lack of material resources, denial, and failures of serial retreats of public policy in a variety of directions. "Nobody is in charge."
  The economic model of neoliberal capitalism has a fatal flaw. It says that "money can replace anything". An implication of the money-is-enough principle is that "if it doesn't cost much, it is not very important to the economy". Provision of food is an example, and so is the provision of power. They are cheap, which allows the rest of the economy to boom and get big numbers, but everybody dies without food...
  We can't really ignore the rioting and destruction of historical symbols taking place in the US. It is anti-system, but it is also funded by certain financial elites. 
  If it continues on its' current trajectory, America gets left-totalitarianism, and certain people will be dispossessed, due to their sins. That group will need to keep growing, as it did in France, Russia, China and Cambodia.
  If there is a big enough backlash, then America will get more of a right totalitarianism, dispossessing "socialists", who already don't have much at ground level. 
  People feel the fracture in the world, but things are not actually, physically bad yet. There is food, air-conditioning, TV and internet service. Facebook works. 
  There is not yet widespread visceral desperation. The elites are trying out some models and seeing what "we" resonate with, what tools may manipulate "us" most readily to kill each other until we are worn out, and they present us with some slave deal with an end to the mass murders. Everybody accepts those deals.
  Let's not let ourselves be driven into that chute, OK?

Charles Hugh Smith, who is also the source of some other links today:
​  ​Globalization has optimized profits at the expense of everything else: ecological sustainability, the security of food and energy sources, etc., while financialization has gutted the real economy in an extraction process that concentrates all the gains into the hands of the few at the top of the financialization/globalization pyramid: a winners-take-most economy that has corrupted and distorted the political and social orders.
​  ​All the critical dynamics--energy, currencies, globalization, debt and financialization--have reached extremes that made destabilization--i.e. a tumble into collapse--inevitable.
​  ​What happens when the naive hope that the brittle, fragile extremes of the global economy could be completely restored to mid-2019 levels dissipates and is replaced by the sober realization there not only will there not be a recovery, but there can't be a recovery, as those brittle extremes have been lost for good?
​  ​Since the authorities have no Plan B, uncertainty, risk and volatility could reach extremes few anticipate as Plan A--push extremes to even riskier extremes--generates increasingly consequential unintended consequences.
​  ​The unstable, brittle edge of the precipice is giving way, and there is nothing but air below.

​CHS sent this story: Can The World Get Along Without Natural Resources? 
The neoliberal ideological answer is "yes".
The definition of "property" is also explored in depth. Take heed!​
Property, Nitzan and Bichler observe, is an act of exclusion. If I own something, that means that I have the right to exclude others from using it. It’s this exclusionary power that defines private property. Here are Nitzan and Bichler describing this act:
​  ​The most important feature of private ownership is not that it enables those who own, but that it disables those who do not. Technically, anyone can get into someone else’s car and drive away, or give an order to sell all of Warren Buffet’s shares in Berkshire Hathaway. The sole purpose of private ownership is to prevent us from doing so. In this sense, private ownership is wholly and only an institution of exclusion, and institutional exclusion is a matter of organized power.

​About various climatic-economic models, and the assumptions mentioned above, and the "conclusions". Thanks Ilargi.
The Stakes of Losing this "DICE" Game are Enormous:
​  ​My favorite example of an early predictive climate model comes courtesy of scientists at ExxonMobil who published a paper in 1980 that forecast temperature increases caused by increasing CO2 concentrations that are amazingly accurate compared to actual temperature increases in the intervening 40 years and current state-of-the-art climate models.
​ Here is a quote from that report:
​  ​“The most widely accepted calculations carried on thusfar on the potential impact of a doubling of carbon dioxide on climate indicate that an increase in the global average temperature of 3+1.50C is most likely. Such changes in temperature are expected to occur with uneven geographic distribution, with greater warming occuring [ sic] at the higher latitudes i.e., the polar regions. This is due to the presumed change in the reflectivity of the Earth due to melting of the ice and snow cover (See Figure 3). There have been other calculations on a more limited scale by a number of climatologists which project average temperature increases on the order of 0.25oC for a doubling of C02. These calculations are not held in high regard by the scientific community.

​Renewable energy comes when the sun shines or wind blows, or rain fills the reservoir, and takes oil, coal, copper and iron, among other inputs, to create. The industrial society we know can not be modified to run on it, nor can enough ever be created. What else would we give up to do so? It's nobody's decision to make, now.
​  ​For all the guff about a faster switch to renewable energy, the BP announcement is more grounded in the realities of the post-pandemic economy than the nonsense being spouted in the establishment media.  What BP is actually saying is that the collapse in discretionary spending which is only now beginning will lead to a crisis of affordability across the economy which will render oil deposits which require a return of more than $50 per barrel uneconomical.  This does not preclude prices occasionally spiking into triple digits when post-pandemic supply shortages hit.  Rather, it is an acknowledgement that such spikes will be short-lived because the economy as a whole cannot bear the cost.
​  ​If oil was just another consumer product that we could take or leave, the BP announcement would be no more troubling than various airlines claiming to be on the verge of bankruptcy – the world would be largely better off without them.  But oil is still the life-blood of the economy; powering 90 percent of the world’s transport, including all of the heavy machinery used in agriculture and the extractive industries.  Wind and solar – the great green hope of the metropolitan liberal class – meanwhile provide just four percent of the global energy mix; all of it as electricity which is next to useless for replacing most of the essential primary sectors of the economy (the parts that kept going while everyone else was in lockdown).
​  ​Forget about your dreams of a green new deal or the establishment media versions of the happy-clappy “new normal” and think instead about an energy-constrained future; a bit like the oil shock in 1973 or the fuel protests in 2000 but with no “normal” to go back to.  What the BP announcement actually means is that in the course of the next decade a large part of the discretionary economic activity that occurred prior to 2020 will not be coming back. Instead far more of our efforts will have to go to maintaining essential goods and services.​ ​​ 
(Can we? Who decides?)

​I surely did not expect this high correlation between flu-vaccination and COVID deaths in the elderly, but it appears that vaccination against influenza actually makes people more susceptible to coronavirus infection. 
This was "known", but not by me. Thanks Ilargi and friends at The Automatic Earth blog..

​  ​A randomized placebo-controlled trial in children showed that the influenza vaccine increased fivefold the risk of acute respiratory infections caused by a group of non-influenza viruses, including coronaviruses. 1, 2
​  ​A study of US military personnel confirms that those who received an influenza vaccine had an increased susceptibility to coronavirus infection. The study concluded “Vaccine derived virus interference was significantly associated with coronavirus.” 3, 4, 5

​1918 Influenza,The Mother of All Pandemics​:
(Look, we're tracking that curve, but nobody knows how it turned out that way!)
An external file that holds a picture, illustration, etc.
Object name is 05-0979-F1.jpg

Compared to $3000 remdesivir that saves ZERO lives and has 10 times the adverse side effects. 
Take Zinc, too, please.
  Hydroxychloroquine alone decreased the mortality hazard ratio by 66 percent and the anti-malarial with the antibiotic decreased the ratio by 71 percent, researchers said.
The vast majority of patients were given the drug within 48 hours of admission.  

Widespread Use Of Face Masks Could Save Tens Of Thousands Of Lives, Models Project
​  ​But public health professionals lament that trust in face masks is hampered by the government's earlier recommendation against them.
​  ​Fauci told TheStreet mid-June that he did not recommend face masks at the beginning of the outbreak to conserve supplies for healthcare workers. On Thursday Fauci told NPR that the administration's initial ambivalence towards face masks was 'detrimental in getting the message across.'

​Take a minute and a half to review what Anthony Fauci MD actually DID say in March about delusional people wearing face masks in public, and how he derided them with an air of smug superiority. 
Impressive Acting!​  
We now know he was just worried for vulnerable healthcare workers and patients who really needed them. 
He hid it so well, so convincingly.

Hmm, "Implicit Bias" can actually be studied pretty well with left-right paired-response time, which tests separate what's mentally easy, from what takes a little longer. It's not universal. It is common. It varies by ethnicity in the US. 
Thanks again, Charles.
How widespread is implicit bias?
  That particular implicit bias, the one involving black-white race, shows up in about 70 percent to 75 percent of all Americans who try the test. It shows up more strongly in white Americans and Asian Americans than in mixed-race or African Americans. African Americans, you’d think, might show just the reverse effect — that it would be easy for them to put African American together with pleasant and white American together with unpleasant. But no, African Americans show, on average, neither direction of bias on that task.
Most people have multiple implicit biases they aren’t aware of. It is much more widespread than is generally assumed.

Here is a historical reminder about what happens when totalitarian/identitarian regimes have to make some examples and nationalize some farms. Peasants take the brunt of it, because there are lots of peasants. Thanks again CHS.
​  ​In an important note appended to the first chapter of volume 2 of The Gulag Archipelago (“The Fingers of Aurora”), Natalia Solzhenitsyn pays tribute to the seven-volume History of the Stalinist Gulag, published by the Moscow publisher Rosspen in 2004 and 2005.  Prefaced by Solzhenitsyn and Robert Conquest, this work shows precisely what the official documents revealed about the camps during the Stalin period: between 1930 and 1952, 800,000 people were shot, twenty million people passed through camps, colonies and prisons during this period, “special populations” (kulaks and deported peoples) constituted not less than six million people. Over five million people were detained in camps or “special villages” under the surveillance of the MVD at the time of Stalin’s death in 1953. But this does not begin to tell the full truth about the extent of Soviet repression after 1917. As Oleg Khlevniuk documents in Stalin: New Biography of  Dictator (Yale University Press, 2015), eight million people died in the Russian civil war. Five million people died in a famine largely caused by Lenin’s draconian policy of “War Communism.” Whole peoples like the Don Cossacks were subjected to what can only be called genocide. At least five to seven million peasants perished in southern Russia, the north Caucasus and the Ukraine (a war against the independent peasantry and not just ethnic Ukrainians) in 1932 and 1933. Another million or two starved to death in 1946 and 1947. And during the great Patriotic War, millions perished or were punished for retreating from the advancing German army. Khlevniuk writes that “On average, over the more than twenty-year span of Stalin’s rule, 1 million people were shot, incarcerated, or deported to barely habitable areas of the Soviet Union every year.”  

Somewhat Biased

Surplus Energy Economy

Energy ​Dissipation Structures,

 Charles sent this excellent primer on thermo-economics, energy economics​, which is our actual economic structure. Energy is becoming more expensive, and has been doing so, but paying the price causes economic recessions/depressions, so the price has been borrowed, but that has also reached a saturation point, so economic depression has arrived.
​  The embedded energy​ in things like concrete slabs in existing buildings may be undervalued now, compared to future costs. The economy may not support building new structures at all in 2030. I don't know.
  In the near term, we will find that nobody is above suspicion when the question is whether they will be able to service debt, so borrowing will freeze-up, or the government will have to lend to people, knowing that debts can not be serviced, just edging the debt-deflation bomb a little farther, another week or month. That seems to be in a very late phase.
​  The inflection we may expect is ​debt deflation, where prices drop, because credit-money dries up, but it will be transient and uneven in asset-classes, because of financial manipulations. It will be followed, or overlaid, with massive currency value evaporation, especially of the $US, especially when the rest of the world decides to change to something like the old gold-standard.
​  You and I don't need to look for "return on investment" in the form of getting paid interest on a loan. We should look for bargains that we can use for the rest of our lives. Houses with good soil and weather conditions gardens, fruit trees and titanium-frame bicycles are some of the things that fit that description in my life. Look for current stability in a community, low costs of provision of services, low intrinsic city cost overhead, now and going forward, and an economy that can provide for that. (Not Chicago, not Detroit, not Phoenix, not Las Vegas)
​  I've got to go finish off the lawn-mowing, a 5 hour task on 0.8 acres, with a good little Honda push-mower, then get some breakfast.​

The Surplus Energy Economy, An Introduction​
​  ​The first principle is that all forms of economic output – literally all of the goods and services which comprise the ‘real’ economy – are products of energy...
175-1 Population & energy
​  ​Second, whenever we access energy for our use, some of that energy is always consumed in the access process. We can’t drill an oil well, construct a refinery, build a gas pipeline, manufacture a wind turbine or a solar panel, or install a power distribution grid, without using energy, and neither can we operate or maintain them without it. The energy that is consumed in the supply of energy therefore comprises both a capital (investment) and an operating component.
​  ​This principle is central to the established concept of the Energy Return on Energy Invested (EROI or EROEI), in which the consumed, cost or invested component is stated as a ratio. In Surplus Energy Economics (SEE), the cost element is known as the Energy Cost of Energy or ECoE, and is stated as a percentage...

​  ​Understood in this way, any given quantity of energy divides into parts. One of these is the cost element, known here as ECoE. The other – whatever remains – is surplus energy. This surplus drives all economic activity other than the supply of energy itself. This makes surplus energy coterminous with prosperity.​  ​We can, of course, use this surplus wisely or foolishly, and we can share it out fairly or inequitably. But what we can not do is to “de-couple” economic output from energy or, to be more specific about it, from surplus energy...
Where, though, are we now, on the evolution of ‘surplus energy, prosperity and money’?

​  ​If you want a succinct answer to this question, it is that ECoE (the Energy Cost of Energy) is rising, relentlessly and exponentially. The exponential rate of increase in ECoE means that this cannot be cancelled out by linear increases in the aggregate amount of total or gross (pre-ECoE) energy that we can access...
​  ​In the period immediately preceding the coronavirus crisis, the consensus assumption was that total supply of energy was going to carry on rising at rates not dissimilar to those of the recent past.
​  ​Three authoritative suppliers of forecasts agreed that, by 2040, consumption of oil would be 10-12% greater than it was in 2018, that the use of gas would have grown by 30-32%, and that even the use of coal would not have decreased. Along with this would go an increase of about 75% in global vehicle numbers, and of about 90% in passenger aviation.
To those of us who understand the energy economy and the trends in ECoEs, these were never realistic projections...
​  ​SEEDS modelling indicates that prosperity turns down at ECoEs of between 3.5% and 5.0% in the advanced economies, and between 8% and 10% in the less-complex EM countries (see fig. 8 at the end of this report). The likelihood is that the ECoEs of renewables may fall no further than 8% (at best, with 10% more probable). This would certainly make REs competitive with FFs (on a straight ‘ECoE to ECoE’ comparison), but it wouldn’t be low enough to stem, still less to reverse, the decline in prosperity that is already taking place...
​  ​In the period preceding the 2008 global financial crisis (GFC), the emphasis was on ‘credit adventurism’, which involved making debt ever cheaper, and ever easier to obtain. The result was that, though the economy appeared robust, what was really happening was that apparent activity was being inflated by increases in credit. At the same time, world debt grew far more rapidly than reported GDP (see fig. 5), whilst risk not only increased, but became ever more diffuse and opaque.

175-5 World Fig. 2
​  ​When these trends triggered the GFC, the authorities set their faces against any kind of “reset”, opting instead to enact various forms of ‘monetary adventurism’. This hasn’t worked either, which is why the world entered the coronavirus crisis with (a) the financial system dangerously over-extended, and (b) no available policies, than those which have already failed so spectacularly...
​  ​Unfortunately, this process creates a tension between liabilities and incomes which must result in one of two things happening. Either borrowers default on debts which they can no longer afford to service (let alone repay), or the authorities have to push so much new liquidity into the system that the value of currencies collapses in an inflationary spiral which constitutes ‘soft’ default.
 ​  ​Along the way, the collapse in returns on invested capital has played a major role in creating enormous gaps in pension provision, a situation that has rightly been dubbed a Global Pension Timebomb. ...
​  ​The latter course involves the calculation of underlying or ‘clean’ output by adjusting for the GDP distortion induced by credit and monetary adventurism. On this basis, we can identify clean growth, which averaged only 1.7% (rather than the reported 3.5%) between 1999 and 2019 (see fig. 6).  

175-6 World Fig. 3
...The left-hand and centre charts show a situation that will, by now, be familiar, with reported GDP deviating ever further from the underlying situation (C-GDP), whilst debt escalates, and rising ECoEs drive a widening wedge between C-GDP and prosperity. When, as in the centre chart, we calibrate debt, not against (increasingly meaningless) GDP, but against prosperity, we see how financial exposure, with its growing component of excess claims, has become totally out of control...
175-7 world prosperity debt tax
...It is hoped, though, that this resumé summarises the logic, methods and conclusions of the Surplus Energy Economics approach in a comprehensive but convenient form. As a final reminder of how energy economics (and ECoE in particular) connect with prosperity, fig. 8 shows the relationships between the two, identifying the levels of ECoE at which prosperity per capita has turned down in the United States and worldwide and was, pre-coronavirus, poised to turn down in China.
175-8 ECoE prosperity 2
​ ​Essentially, once trend ECoEs rise above a certain point, the average person starts getting poorer – a trend which no amount of financial tinkering can alter.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Prepare Fall Garden

Summer Vegetables,

  Here in central Texas we peer over the precipice into super-summer, our next season, a season that you may not enjoy where you live. We have had good June rins, and clouds hang in the sky, reflecting and diffusing the strong sun. When these clouds go away, and the rains stop (next week, they say) it will get hotter. Super-summer persists until late August and early September rains come to break it, which didn't really happen last year. It was a long summer last year.
  This year, prepare early for fall-planting in September. That is the most versatile time to begin a garden in central Texas. Here is my strategic-gardening post from 7/4/16, 4 months before the 2016 election,
This cycle seems even more critical to me. Prepare your beds for war! (Not mere political circus while your pocket is picked.)

Jim Kunstler:
​​  Everybody will have a harder time making a living. Everybody will endure shocking losses in wealth, status, and comfort. And, sadly, everybody will be too perplexed and bamboozled by the rush of events to understand why.
​  ​The short version of that story is we’ve overshot our resources, especially the basic energy resources that all other activities require.
​  ​This mystifies the public, too, but you can boil it down to the cost of getting oil out of the ground being too high for customers and not high enough for the oil producers to cover their costs — a quandary.
​  ​One result has been the rapid bankruptcy of the shale oil industry. Another is the incremental impoverishment of what used to be America’s broad middle-class​.

​British court refuses to return Venezuelan gold to Venezuela, "because"...
​Mossad asset, Ghislane Maxwell has been arrested. It looks like they want to wrap all of this up and encapsulate it in concrete now. It has been hanging over a lot of powerful heads, like the sword of Damocles, for way too long.
​ ​Multiple senior law enforcement officials reportedly said the British socialite and heiress was arrested in New Hampshire on Epstein-related charges and is expected to appear in a federal court later today.
​ ​The long-time friend and confidante of Jeffrey Epstein was alleged to have helped Epstein groom teen girls for sex with the rich and powerful.

​Ghost of French Empire repelled by ghost of Ottoman Empire off Lybian coast:
​  France has notified NATO command that its military is suspending involvement in an ongoing Mediterranean operation called Sea Guardian in protest of a June 10 incident wherein Turkish warships off Libya's coast "engaged" a French frigate via radar. This means the Turkish ship essentially had missile lock on the NATO allied ship.
  The AP detailed in the days after the hostile encounter between two NATO members that "the frigate Courbet was 'lit up' three times by Turkish naval targeting radar when it tried to approach a Turkish civilian ship suspected of involvement in arms trafficking." The Turkish military ships were allegedly escorting the smaller civilian ship, suspected by the French of illegal gun-running.

The Comedian-in-Chief can only start illegal wars, not withdraw from them. It's unconstitutional and stuff.
 The House Armed Services Committee voted Wednesday to put roadblocks on President Trump’s ability to withdraw from Afghanistan, including requiring an assessment on whether any country has offered incentives for the Taliban to attack U.S. and coalition troops.

"Israel First" Congressman Elliot Engel lost his Democratic primary in New York; quite an upset.
 ​  ​Recent opinion polls suggest that a majority of Americans do not support either Israeli expansion or its form of apartheid.
​  ​Israel is feeling somewhat vulnerable. Its Lobby stalwarts in the media and in politics are working hard to disengage the current anti-racism turmoil in the U.S. from any mention of Israel, which trained American police in their “anti-terror” tactics. The Jewish state also practices a far more virulent and brutal racism than anything prevailing in America, something that is becoming increasingly clear to the public​.

​This virus attacks the blood vessels in any organ of the body. I personally have to wonder if it smolders at some low level, keeping the body exhausted, like AIDS does.
‘It’s frightening’: Doctors say half of ‘cured’ COVID patients still suffer

Paul sends this article about a screening device that uses RF resonances, at the particle size of SARS-CoV-2 virions, to detect exhaled virus in the breath. It takes 20 seconds. My analysis is that this screening tool could be small and mass produced, like pulse oximeters are. It would be useful in airports, high-rise buildings in New York, American submarines and aircraft carriers... The possibilities are endless. This principle could be independently engineered quickly, like in China. It's not a complicated concept.

Again, what Gilead does not want anybody to know, hydroxychloroquine was more effective and much safer in a large French study, which excluded people with heart problems from this treatment.

Taking Vitamin D

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Wanna Revolution

Considering Things,

Real Revolution Means Expanding Consciousness, Both Outwardly And Inwardly  , Caitlin Johnstone
The inward and outward expansions of consciousness exist on the same continuum, and neither is more important or more valuable than the other. People who are more interested in politics and government might see the exploration of the inner dimensions as airy fairy bullshit, and people who are more interested in spirituality and enlightenment might see the exploration of international power dynamics as deluded nonsense for muggles.
  But objectively they hold the same value. Someone engaged in relentlessly honest self-enquiry is doing something that is just as valuable as someone who is engaged in investigative journalism. Going to therapy and having transformative personal breakthroughs is as valuable as making a viral video exposing the reality of police brutality. All expand consciousness, so all are facilitating the revolution.
  In this particular sense, there’s no fundamental difference between someone like Julian Assange and someone like Eckhart Tolle. You might object that one of these men is in prison and the other is enjoying what appears to be a fairly cushy and unmolested life, but there’s a reason for that: our rulers don’t understand just how threatening the expansion of inner consciousness is to their empire. If they did, old Eckhart would be rotting in a prison cell just like Julian.
  Sociopaths don’t understand the inner dimensions. They don’t really have the cognitive software for it. They have an acute understanding of how to manipulate language and information in order to get what they want, but the notion of honest introspection with the goal of truth for truth’s sake is wholly alien for them. Someone who sees the world as a field of potential assets to be exploited will never think to look inside themselves and consider how they might be misinterpreting reality, but they will see attempts to interfere with their toxic agendas in the world as direct threats to their ability to get what they want. Which is why Julian Assange is in prison and Eckhart Tolle is not.

Jim Kunstler says Biden for President is "Bait and Switch" (That was Sanders-for-Clinton & Sanders-for-Biden already)
​  ​This Joe Biden thang is being set up as some kind of  bait-and-switch, but the scheme is a little too obvious, dontcha think? Mr. Biden has obliged himself to choose a “woman-of-color” as his running mate, of course, and so it is assumed that about twenty minutes after the swearing-in on January 20, 2021, Stacey Abrams (or Val Demings, or Kamala Harris, or Tawana Brawley) will become de facto president, and we’ll be off to the races, so to speak. It’s a cute gambit, but I don’t see it playing out. You may be unaware of this but the Democratic Party is actually owned, lock-stock-and-barrel, by the Clinton Foundation. It has something else in mind. Due to the unfortunate last minute discovery of Joe Biden’s incapacity to serve, She Whose Turn Was Thwarted in 2016 will perforce be the party’s nominee for an epic rematch with the Golden Golem of Greatness. Let’s face it: everybody wants to see that contest. And an election with mail-in ballots will cinch her victory.  
Racism and anti-racism as lies, ​by Thierry Meyssan
​  ​In reality, racism and anti-racism are two sides of the same coin. Both are based on the fantasy of races that we know do not exist. In both cases, it is an outdated conformism. The racists corresponded to imperialist and colonial ideologies, the anti-racists to financial globalization. Their only common political utility is to occupy the ground to mask authentic social struggles.

On "White Fragility", Matt Taibbi​
 ​ ​DiAngelo isn’t the first person to make a buck pushing tricked-up pseudo-intellectual horseshit as corporate wisdom, but she might be the first to do it selling Hitlerian race theory. White Fragility has a simple message: there is no such thing as a universal human experience, and we are defined not by our individual personalities or moral choices, but only by our racial category.
​  ​If your category is “white,” bad news: you have no identity apart from your participation in white supremacy (“Anti-blackness is foundational to our very identities… Whiteness has always been predicated on blackness”), which naturally means “a positive white identity is an impossible goal.”
​  ​DiAngelo instructs us there is nothing to be done here, except “strive to be less white.”

​Strip club owners, I suspect... ​
  Hoping to block Gov. Greg Abbott’s Friday decision ordering Texas bars to close due to a rise in coronavirus cases, more than 30 bar owners filed a lawsuit Monday challenging Abbott’s emergency order.

"This Is Not Just Accidental", How one Coronavirus Mutation Helped the Virus Conquer the Globe 
  Neville Sanjana, a geneticist at the New York Genome Center and New York University, was trying to figure out which genes enable SARS-CoV-2 to infiltrate human cells. But in experiments based on a gene sequence taken from an early case of the virus in Wuhan, he struggled to get that form of the virus to infect cells. Then the team switched to a model virus based on the G variant.
​  ​"We were shocked," Sanjana said. "VoilĂ ! It was just this huge increase in viral transduction." They repeated the experiment in many types of cells, and every time the variant was many times more infectious.
​  ​The mutation in question is known as D614G, or just "G" for short. So far, the "G" mutation has been found in roughly 70% of the half a million or so samples that have uploaded to a shared database for scientists around the world. This has convinced many scientists of its significance, especially because the mutation occurs in a part of the genome that governs the infamous "spike" protein that gives the virus its name ("corona" = crown in Latin) and is believed to enable it to infiltrate human cells.

​Vitamin-D won't roll over for remdesivir and big money yet...​
​  ​This is a retrospective cohort study which included two cohorts (active and expired) of 780 cases with laboratory-confirmed infection of SARS-CoV-2 in Indonesia. Age, sex, co-morbidity, Vitamin D status, and disease outcome (mortality) were extracted from electronic medical records.
​  ​The aim was to determine patterns of mortality and associated factors, with a special focus on Vitamin D status. Results revealed that majority of the death cases were male and older and had pre-existing condition and below normal Vitamin D serum level.
​  ​Univariate analysis revealed that older and male cases with pre-existing condition and below normal Vitamin D levels were associated with increasing odds of death. When controlling for age, sex, and comorbidity, Vitamin D status is strongly associated with COVID-19 mortality outcome of cases.

​Hydroxychloroquine and zinc prospective study from France was well run. They did not give it to people with heart disease. It helped a lot.  (Give zinc too, sez I.)​ Thanks Marjorie!
In our institute in Marseille, France, we initiated early and massive screening for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Hospitalization and early treatment with hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin (HCQ-AZ) was proposed for the positive cases. 

UK regulators have approved the resumption of a global trial aimed at determining whether hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine are effective in preventing COVID-19 infections in healthcare settings, according to Reuters.  

H​ow treating humans as cheap commodity labor to be manipulated for profit spreads viral pandemic in America:​
​  ​This treatment of an essential workforce is in keeping with what the economist Michael Perelman has called the “farm worker paradox” in which he asks, “why those whose work is most necessary typically earn the least” (in pandemic-time, we can add, “…and are most compelled to risk their lives and their families’ lives.”)
​  ​The paradox exists, observes Perelman, because of the circular logic of capitalism. Economists argue that farmworkers earn low wages because they are not highly “productive”; that is, collectively, they generate low profit per worker. But that’s because everyday food sells cheap, and it’s cheap largely because many of those who produce it earn near-starvation wages.

​   ​Fear in the JFK Assassination, Part 2​  
(The weird faked military autopsy with somebody else's brain)
​  ​Texas law required the autopsy to be conducted in Texas. Dr. Earl Rose, the Dallas Medical Examiner, insisted on conducting the autopsy immediately upon Kennedy’s death. An armed team of Secret Service agents, brandishing their guns, refused to permit that to happen and forced their way out of Parkland Hospital. Operating on orders, their objective was to get the president’s body to the airport, where Vice President Lyndon Johnson was waiting for it. His objective: to put the autopsy in the hands of the U.S. military.
​  ​In the 1970s, the U.S. House of Representatives opened up a new investigation into Kennedy’s assassination. During and after those hearings, a group of Navy enlisted men came forward with a remarkable story. They stated that they had secretly carried Kennedy’s body into the morgue at Bethesda Naval Medical Center in Maryland about an hour-and-a-half before the body was officially brought into the morgue.

​My friend (Hi, Lindsay!) said that Afghanistan was paradise when he trekked there in the 1970s. 
Here are some pictures from that era. Sorry I missed it.​

(pictured at dawn 6/29/20 with vegetable garden and young fruit trees)

Monday, June 29, 2020

Not Sick, Just Busy

Mortal Humans,

After a long, busy Friday at clinic, and swabbing a lot of noses for virus, Jenny and I drove 4 hours to Dallas, arriving to help our son Steve pack and move the next day, which started early. The brown cloud of African dirt got worse and worse as we headed north from Austin. Saturday morning began early with a few hours of mowing the hayfield into a lawn, then packing and moving with sons Steve (movee) and Jim (mover). After an early dinner, Jenny and I drove another 6 hours down to Yoakum, noting the African sand fading as we made our way closer to the gulf of Mexico, arrived late at night again, and sacked-out. We had only Sunday to do the work, so only 4 hours of mowing and weeding got done, though we spent about 4 hours picking and shelling fresh blackeyed peas into freezer bags for a massive New Years Day luck -bolus project we're working on.
 Arising before dawn, we hit the road to Austin at 7AM today, to get Jenny to her doctor's appointment and me to cook some brunch and get to work. Those missions were accomplished. Lots more noses swabbed and human bodies examined. Lots of tasks performed, then got home to have some okra and blackeyed peas with Jenny.
It's our 35th wedding anniversary today. We have been training for our Machu Picchu trek since September, last 2 weeks of July... We're officially not doing it, because we had not counted on Texas COVID cases shooting up like this. Peru is doing ok, especially Cusco and mountain trails.
Instead, we're going to try to get 8 hours of sleep.
Bedtime.... Early work-day tomorrow.
See photo below in Austin garden before sunset.


Thursday, June 25, 2020

No Individual Initiative

Problem Solvers,

I'm starting with a reply I made on The Automatic Earth Blog. 
Boscohorowitz said:
“Regarding the benefits of community: the inability of a deeply hypnotized populace to do anything but what they’re told (and as little of that as possible) precluded the inability of most people to adjust to covid in any but a bipolar way: run inside and hide from the Black Death! vs. Fuck that shit, I’m going swimming!”
​I said:
​This evokes the conundrum of what to do with people who have no gainful work to do, or what they may decide to do themselves, as well as what those who lose their employment may choose to do​,​ or whether they will remain idle and decay over time.
​ ​People don’t necessarily RETURN to productive work, nor do they necessarily make the transition from paid compliance tasks to innovative and creative production of real food, goods or services.
​ ​The pandemic of measles and smallpox, which destro​y​ed native populations of the Americas and the Pacific Islands opened the door for immigrants to fill the gap, and immigrants did.
If many people ​in ​North America are unable to make the transition to something like subsistence farming without air conditioning, then history says the neighbors who grew up like that will take their places.
​ ​It’s well underway in ​Austin, ​Texa​s. I did grunt work summer jobs in the 1970s, and there were other young college and high school students and young and middle aged b​l​ack guys doing basic warehouse, kitchen and construction work then, too​. There were a few native Spanish speakers in Austin, then.​
​ ​Not lately… Austin got a makeover. All of the producti​on​ and blue collar jobs have gone to Spanish speakers, who went through hell and high water to get here and work for less than Americans​. They​ work hard, and do good work. We’re putting a serious drain on Mexican talent.
​ ​In a little over 40 years, there has been a wholesale transition in the local labor force, and it has been pretty steady for the past 10 – 20 years, just some older backhoe operators retiring, and forement retiring, being replaced by native Spanish Speakers.
​ ​Is this “white fragility” or “black fragility”? The children of these immigrant workers are pretty similar in their work proclivities to the white and black kids they attend school with. Some work with Dad; not so many.
​ ​The demographic transition in the US was offshoring of productive work and blue-collar initiative, and it’s replacement with private prisons for the masses who had no work, and slipped into crime. (YOU, Out Of The Gene Pool!)
​ ​Those who could jump through more and more and more hoops, and keep complying with more and more and more detailed regulations, could maintain their employment, even in fields, such as medicine, which used to be dynamic, full of talent and initiative, and competition to find the new best cure, treatment or solution.
​ ​The way the AIDS pandemic was engaged was very innovative​ and​ fast moving​. T​he most talented doctors got big followings of patients by constantly advancing the “cutting edge” of diagnosis and treatment to keep the gays alive for a cure th​a​t would ​eventually ​come. It basically did come, and some of those guys from the 1980s are still alive on their highly effective antiretroviral treatments.
​ ​The difference today is that Dr Fauci is running the whole US response to this leaked bioweapon, which the US, China and Canada, so presumably the UK, too, all had.
​ ​No individual medical initiative will be systemically tolerated, even if treating doctors all across the world, even in the US, are ​breaking-ranks​, and there is substantial evidence of benefit.
We may just be subject to replacement if we can’t aggregate​-​our​-​collective​-​feces.

I​t's the end of an error... :-)​
The Depression Dominoes Are Topplin​g​, Charles Hugh Smith
​ ​Once you allow your economy to become dependent on extremes of debt, leverage, inequality, legalized looting, monopoly, pay-to-play politics and speculative asset bubbles, a depression is inevitable.
​ ​The pandemic lockdown will be blamed for the Greater Depression, but the lockdown only toppled all the dominoes that were already lined up. The lockdown would have been survivable if the economy hadn't been over-indebted, over-leveraged, burdened by insanely high costs, stripmined by greedy monopolies, dependent on stock market fraud, destabilized by extreme inequality, corrupted by political pay-to-play and addicted to speculation.​..

 It's worth recalling that every dollar of debt is someone else's asset and the source of their income. So when the defaults and bankruptcies sweep through the financial system, they'll obliterate all the "wealth" of those holding bundled student and auto loan securities, mortgage backed securities, corporate bonds, and destroy the income streams these trillions in debt generated.​..
 Once you allow your economy to become dependent on extremes of debt, leverage, inequality, legalized looting, monopoly, pay-to-play politics and speculative asset bubbles, a depression is inevitable. The only question is "when," and that's been answered, though nobody wants to hear it: 2020 and beyond.

​Defund the messenger:
COVID Testing Sites to Lose Federal Funding Even as Fauci Calls for More Testing
​This article fails to comprehend that needing a vaccine twice per year is twice as good for business!
Chinese study: Antibodies in COVID-19 patients fade quickly  

​File under: "All bleeding stops": 
(Governor Abbot is keeping bars and strip clubs open but advising hospitals to stop doing elective surgery because they are getting too full.)
Texas is on the verge of a Covid crisis: Houston's largest hospital's ICU is 97% full as daily cases surge to record highs and expert predicts 'herd immunity may be the only way to stop the virus'
​ ​Texas Medical Center in Houston said 97% of its ICU beds are occupied, and its normal occupancy rate is 70% to 80%
It has an emergency plan to increase the number of ICU beds from 1,462 to 2,649, but expect they will all fill up in just two weeks

​New York wants Texans to quarantine for 2 weeks, now.

"The Despair Is Smoldering in Society"
​  ​Millions of Americans have seen their wages stagnate for decades, even as the wealthiest have grown fantastically rich. Economists Angus Deaton and Anne Case believe the health-care system is partly to blame, and the coronavirus is highlighting the broader dangers American society is facing.

​The Onion, ​ MENLO PARK, CA—In an effort to curtail the organization’s outsized influence, Facebook announced Monday that it would be implementing new steps to ensure the breakup of the U.S. government before it becomes too powerful. “It’s long past time for us to take concrete actions against this behemoth of governance that has gone essentially unchecked since its inception,” said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg  

Iran is, somehow, not destroyed yet... Pepe Escobar
Islamic Republic has weathered the Covid-19 storm and is on the cusp of a US-defying manufacturing revolution  

​The Arctic Screams with Siberian peat fires and forest fires.
​  ​Guido Grosse, head of the Permafrost Research Unit at the Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research in Germany, said the fires were stripping away peat and vegetation that normally would form a protective blanket over the permafrost.​..
​  And “as the peat burns … its neighbor next door gets warmer, and their neighbors get warmer,” McCarty said. “We’re burning up these ancient pools of carbon.”

​Emergency Blanket​

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Deep State Fixes Stuff

Vampire Squid Fodder,

 Ellen Brown calls the new, improved BlackRock Asset Management, which just got discreetly bailed out, and promoted to the "fourth branch of the federal government", "The New Giant Vampire Squid". It seems to have been placed above both the Treasury and the central bank.  "Must Support Retirement Valuations..."
  As Peter Ewart notes in a May 14 article on BlackRock titled “Foxes in the Henhouse,” today the economic system “is not classical capitalism but rather state monopoly capitalism, where giant enterprises are regularly backstopped with public funds and the boundaries between the state and the financial oligarchy are virtually non-existent.”
  If the corporate oligarchs are too big and strategically important to be broken up under the antitrust laws, rather than bailing them out they should be nationalized and put directly into the service of the public. At the very least, BlackRock should be regulated as a too-big-to-fail Systemically Important Financial Institution. Better yet would be to regulate it as a public utility. No private, unelected entity should have the power over the economy that BlackRock has, without a legally enforceable fiduciary duty to wield it in the public interest.

 Anthony Fauci, "bioweapons defense expert" is the third highest paid federal employee, in his position for 36 years (only matched by J. Edgar Hoover), directs massive money to friends, half a trillion in grants and contracts so far, and gets paid as much as half a million dollars by friends to talk at dinner. Don't displease him. You'll never work again.
Fauci helped bury the last 36 years of skeletons in public health, and he can turn a disaster like COVID into a gold mine for your company, especially if you make vaccines, but you're going to have to follow his lead. Even Trump does.

Fear in the JFK Assassination, Part 1 
(The mystery of how the USMC taught Lee Oswald Russian and Communism)
​  ​One of the fascinating phenomena in the JFK assassination is the fear of some Americans to consider the possibility that the assassination was actually a regime-change operation carried out by the U.S. national-security establishment rather than simply a murder carried out by a supposed lone-nut assassin.​..​
​  ​ Indeed, if you want a modern-day version of how the U.S. national-security state treats suspected traitors and betrayers of its secrets, reflect on Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, and Chelsea Manning. That’s how we expect national-security state officials to behave toward those they consider traitors and betrayers of U.S. secrets.
​  ​Not so with Oswald. With him, we have what amounts to two separate parallel universes. One universe involves all the Cold War hoopla against communists. Another one is the one in which Oswald is sauntering across the world stage as one of America’s biggest self-proclaimed communists — a U.S. Marine communist — who isn’t touched by some congressional investigative committee, some federal grand jury, or some FBI agent. How is that possible?
  Later​, when Oswald ended up in Dallas, his friends were right-wingers, not left-wingers. He even got​ a​ job at a photographic facility that developed top-secret photographs for the U.S. government. How is that possible? Later, when he ended up in New Orleans, he got hired by a private company that was owned by a fierce anti-communist right-winger. ​  ​Why would he hire a supposed communist who supposedly had betrayed America by supposedly joining up with America’s avowed communist enemy, the Soviet Union, and to whom he had supposedly given U.S. national-security state secrets, just like Julian and Ethel Rosenberg had?

​ ​According to the latest Goldman state-level coronavirus tracker, the prevalence of coronavirus symptoms is rising, with the share of patients seeking care with symptoms of Covid-like illness at 3.5%, up 0.4% from 2 weeks ago. Daily confirmed new cases have risen steadily over the past several days to 86 per million, ending a 2-month decline. A big part of this is due to increased testing: indeed, the volume of daily coronavirus tests has risen 23% over the last two weeks, while the positive test rate has risen by 1.3pp to 6.2%. On the flipside, fatalities have declined over the last two weeks (-12% to 1.9 per million), although fatalities lag new cases by multiple weeks  

​Epidemiologists respond to a poll of when they might "get back to normal" with various activities, like fetching the mail without a mask. Interesting...​ 

​It's hard to figure out some of these statistics, but higher-home-values probably relates to higher urban density, and high summer temperatures and low winter temperatures both make people congregate indoors. COVID-death-rate-Statistics:
​  ​Counties with higher home values, higher summer temperatures, and lower winter temperatures have higher death rates.  

​ Texas, California and Floriduh all have rising coronavirus cases, especially in some big cities like Houston, and particularly among summer-frolicing-young-adults, like in San Marcos, home of party-school TSU. Texas focus here:

Siberia, one of the coldest places that humans have been able to live and grow some food, broke 100 degrees F on the first day after summer solstice. This has never happened before, and it follows a record hot winter.
​  ​On Saturday, the thermometer hit a likely record of 38C – or 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit – in the Siberian town of Verkhoyansk in Russia’s Sakha Republic.  

​Egypt faces 2 wars at the same time. It needs to keep "friends"​ on the Libyan side of it's porous desert border, and it needs the Nile to have plenty of water for farmers, which it doesn't really have, already. 
Sudan, the Nile-next-door-neighbor is not going to block the flow of water, but Ethiopia, on the other side of Sudan, is about to start filling the vast area behind it's new dam, which will drastically reduce flow to Egypt for at least 7-10 years. Egypt just doesn't have the long term funding and it probably can't really prevent the flow reduction. Maybe Egypt and Ethiopia can work something out where both lose, but don't face the huge losses of a protracted war. 
Both already have a lot of bills to pay.

Is coronavirus better or worse if you drink RoundUp out of your faucet? Just askin':
Bayer Pays $10BN To Settle Thousands Of Monsanto Glyphosate Lawsuits