Saturday, August 15, 2020

Kevin Vincent Tweet - Our Local Family Run Criminal Enterprise

John Wright is a Scottish sports journalist who specialises in boxing, but he is also a political commentator and writer. He recently tweeted about his early life experiences which had made him a lifelong socialist. His story was similar to mine, so I tweeted it, but he was the only person who gave it a like, and then he followed me too.

I thought I would put my tweet out here. 

I came from a council estate in South London. We were very poor as my dad had multiple sclerosis and eventually became too ill to work, so we were put on benefit. My mum was very house-proud, and to get a bit more money so we could have "nice things", my mum worked long hours sowing keyrings for the "Keyring Man". We had to pull the curtains three quarters closed because she said if the neighbours saw us they report us to the police and would put her and my dad in prison. I couldn't understand why they would report us, because I didn't think we were doing anything wrong, but she said people get jealous. 
At one point my whole family was making keyrings: My dad, my brother, and myself were all gluing them for my mum to sow. We weren't allowed to tell anyone, not even our friends. I felt shame! 
Our whole house had become a factory, with leather fobs, industrial sized cotton reels, medallions, and latex glue all over the place, with my mum all day on the sowing machine, and with the rest us all gluing the fobs together, along with their medalians.
I only did it for a few months, because I would put in loads of hours but only ever get paid about a fiver (£5.00) for a week's work, and even though I had no money, I didn't think it was worth it in the end. But my mum slogged away sowing them for years, though, with my dad gluing them together for her. But we were able to afford a colour TV set, and have fitted carpets downstairs, although my mum had to fit them. 
I ended up becoming a lifelong socialist, but nowadays I understand how life was tough for the Keyring Man as well. A competitive world. 

Our council estate was not as bad as some in London, and we were on the outskirts, by the countryside, which was nice. Children were allowed out to play without adult supervision in those days, so we had a fabulously time getting up to all sorts of mischief.

This photo was taken at about the time we were making the keyrings. This is my dad, Bill, with me. 

My mum, Dawn, with me and our dog, Peppy 

Peppy: A bit of a rough diamond, this one. 

Friday, August 14, 2020

Xinjiang Local Tour

I can't understand what the women are saying, but it's a video about China by the Chinese themselves.

I converted the YouTube commentary into English and it said it was an official Xinjiang channel. Yes, I know, it might not represent the real situation at all, but still, it's interesting. I'm checking more out.

Why the West Needs to Stop its Moralising against China, Kerry Brown

After the American led wars in the ME, which may have over half a million people dead, and the financial collapse in 2008, where it bailed out the bankers only, the US is hardly in a position to take the moral high ground, says Kerry Brown.

 The Great Financial Crisis of 2008 only reinforced the message that the capitalist world was not even able to supply answers to the very things it still maintained the strongest claims to leadership on. As historian Adam Tooze has shown in clinical detail in his 2017 book `Crashed’, mismanagement in the first place was more than supplemented by greed, protection of vested interest, and immorality. Even more devastating, it was the Chinese and their growth after 2009 that stabilised much of the global situation. Unlike with the Gulf War debacles, however, almost none were held to account for the loss of livelihood and wealth that flowed from the collapse of markets and growth around 2008. On top of the moral collapse in geopolitics, there was an even more damaging one in the world of finance and the economy.

In all of these issues, China in particular, despite many accusations levelled at it, is not guilty. It did not remotely have a role in the reasons for the US and others getting sucked into the War on Terror – and nor did it want to see 2008, despite some economists blaming its own economy for bringing about the distortions that led to the whole event. China’s main issue, as has become clear since, is that, in both these historic areas, it was largely able to move through without any detrimental effect to itself. In fact, by accident rather than design, as the US and other powers harmed themselves, China simply carried on economically, growing stronger.  

Why the West Needs to Stop its Moralising against China, Kerry Brown

Unmasked Chinese fake quits HK - but keeps phony persona

An American who posed as a Hong Kong, Chinese man - who wrote anti-China articles - has been outed by Grayzone. 

The Grayzone said that Twitter user Kong Tsung-gan first emerged in 2015, with commentaries about the Occupy Movement. Until late last year, a black-and-white mugshot of an unknown Asian person was used as the account's avatar.

In one blog post, he claimed he attended a Band 1 government school - which led readers to believe he was a Hong Kong native.

"Kong," the author of Liberate Hong Kong: Stories From The Freedom Struggle, was popular with Western media who often referred to him as a Hong Kong writer and activist.

But Blumenthal questioned if people were aware that it was in fact a Chinese persona adopted by an American man.

The Standard 

Eric Campbell and Hagar Cohen - The power of Falun Gong

They’re a familiar sight exercising and meditating in suburban parks. A joint Foreign Correspondent-Background Briefing investigation delves into the world of Falun Gong and its mysterious leader.

ABC looks into the Falun Gong, a group that disproves of both interrace marriage and homosexuality. Anna was brought up as a mixed race child in the Falun Gong, who later discovered that she was gay. She says her experience in the organisation caused her to suffer long lasting mental problems.

The leader of Falun Gong claims that race mixing in humans is part of an alien plot to drive humanity further from the gods,” says Anna. “He says that when a child is born from an interracial marriage, that child does not have a heavenly kingdom to go to. 

Shani, another young woman, believed that Falun Gong was indirectly responsible for the death of her mother, as they discourage the use of medication, which her mother needed. Shani worries that thousands of other people are having their lives ruined by this organisation.

ABC also looks into Falun Gong's links to right-wing organisations and the American Republican Party.

Australian Broadcasting Corporation

The power of Falun Gong

reign Correspondent-Background Briefing investigation delves into the world of Falun Gong and its mysterious leader.

Someone Replaced All The Wands In The First ‘Harry Potter’ Film With Guns And It’s Very Funny

But, in a world of magic where there’s talking snakes, floating brooms, jumping chocolate frogs, horcruxes and all that other fun stuff, guns probably are the least of any wizard’s worries.

Someone Replaced All The Wands In The First ‘Harry Potter’ Film With Guns And It’s Very Funny

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Is Sweden's coronavirus strategy a cautionary tale or a success story?

What about the economy? “This has never been done to save the economy. It’s been done to save public health,” says Tegnell. And that means public health in a broad sense, he adds, not just the coronavirus.

That said, Sheridan’s spending comparison suggest that the economic impact was only slightly reduced by not imposing a more effective compulsory lockdown. “It’s very little in economic costs for saving a larger number of lives,” he says.

New Scientist

Is Sweden's coronavirus strategy a cautionary tale or a success story?

Now This News - Here's What Goes on Inside America's Wet Markets

Here's what really goes on inside America's wet markets, where live animals are sold on the spot (warning: graphic imagery).

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Xinjiang: From the eyes of an Australian British who cycled across China

Ex British policeman cycles across Xinjiang and finds no evidence of Uighur oppression at all. He was never restricted from going anywhere he wanted. Uighurs seem happy, he says.

As home to 47 ethnic minority groups, Xinjiang is a colorful land boasting diverse cultures and landscapes. It was once plagued by terrorist attacks, killing innocent people. But what is it like now? What's the life of local people like? British-Australian Jerry Grey, who has traveled to Xinjiang five times and bicycled across several provinces of China, shares his journey and observations of Xinjiang with CGTN

China’s Uighur terrorist problem

Tyler Cohen - Not Even Herd Immunity Can Fully Protect Us

If some areas get immunity against Covid-19 sooner than expected, the world still faces huge challenges.

Opinion by Tyler Cohen, professor of economics at George Mason University,

Herd immunity relies on the superspreaders becoming immune, but new superspreaders are likely to arise.

But there are caveats. First, many herd immunity hypotheses invoke the idea of “superspreaders” — that a relatively small number of people account for a disproportionate amount of the contagion. Perhaps it is the bartenders, church choir singers and bus drivers who spread the virus to so many others early on in the pandemic. Now that those groups have been exposed to a high degree and have acquired immunity, it might be much harder to distribute the virus.

That logic makes some sense except for one issue: namely, that the identities of potential superspreaders can change over time. For instance, perhaps choir singers were superspreaders earlier in the winter, but with most choral singing shut down, maybe TSA security guards are the new superspreaders. After all, air travel has been rising steadily. Or the onset of winter and colder weather might make waiters a new set of superspreaders, as more people dine inside.

In other words, herd immunity might be a temporary state of affairs. The very economic and social changes brought by the virus may induce a rotation of potential superspreaders, thereby undoing some of the acquired protection.


Tyler Cohen - Not Even Herd Immunity Can Fully Protect Us

Stop Trying To Make ‘Herd Immunity’ Happen: Sweden’s Attempt At Covid-19 Herd Immunity Failed, by Misha GajewskiC


They went for herd immunity in Sweden, but one problem, no one wants to be part of the herd.

It will be a few years before we know if whether Sweden’s approach was the right one or not.

While most countries went into lockdown as Covid-19 spread rapidly across the world, Sweden took a different approach and allowed the controlled spread of coronavirus among the population in attempts to achieve herd immunity.

They relied on individuals to responsibly social distance and slow the spread of the disease, but, according to a new study published by the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, this decision has been a failure.

"It is clear that not only are the rates of viral infection, hospitalisation and mortality (per million population) much higher than those seen in neighbouring Scandinavian countries, but also that the time-course of the epidemic in Sweden is different, with continued persistence of higher infection and mortality well beyond the few critical weeks period seen in Denmark, Finland and Norway," said, lead author Professor David Goldsmith.


KV - Fashion in China

Western fashion has led the world and people from different ethnic backgrounds have sometimes even had plastic surgery to get that Western look, but I've always wondered how much of it was actually driven by the attraction to the wealth, power, and status which can make people look important and cool.

Chinese people were once having plastic surgery to get more European looking eyes, but could the trend ever reverse?

The bassball cap became fashionable in Europe, even though we did not play much bassball, but people thought they looked really cool. Good looking, confident, dashing stars wore them in Holywood films making them look great.

During the Roman Empire the toga became all the rage in Europe, and elsewhere, and wearing one could make you look very important and cool during that period.

But now China is rising and finding its own identity, so could it also become a leading trend setter in the World of fashion? I think so.

My new podcast episode is out. Payroll taxes and Social Security. How Biden, Bernie and the Dems are blowing it. Plus, Covid and media ignorance.

MoA - 'Western' Media Falsely Claim That Russia's Covid-19 Vaccine Is Ready To Go

More anti-Russian fake news in the Western media. Putin's daughter has tried the new vaccine, and Duterte says he will try it to show Indonesians it's safe.

After President Vladimir Putin announced that Russia's Covid-19 vaccine candidate had gained an approval from its regulator, 'western' media went into a anti-Russian frenzy to sow fear and doubt about it.


MoA - 'Western' Media Falsely Claim That Russia's Covid-19 Vaccine Is Ready To Go

Greyzone - US gov regime-change plot in Nicaragua exposed

A superb discussion about the US foreign policy in Latin America. The US claims to support human rights and democracy but its actions are the complete opposite.

Red Lines host Anya Parampil speaks with Ben Norton of The Grayzone about his latest report "Document exposes new US plot to overthrow Nicaragua’s elected socialist gov’t". The leaked document from the US embassy in Managua reveals how Washington seeks to bring a free market to Nicaragua as well as purge Sandinistas from public life. Ben discusses the disturbing details as well as the document's frightening implications for working people in Nicaragua.

Kevin Vincent Tweet - Playing on the Bombsites in London, 1964

When I was five I was allowed to go out and play with my mates on the bombsites in London (1964). We would be out for hours playing. One day we met a gang of boys and one was carrying an unexploded bomb. They said they were taking it to the police station. We looked at it in deadly silence and kept our distance. 


The police must have ducked and dived under their desks when those boys came in with that bomb. 

Imagine when they put it on the counter? 

"look what we found?"

Good boys, hey!?

A small unexploded WW2 bomb

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

John Wright Interviews Professor Tim Anderson About Covid-19

Podcast: Tim Andersen and John Wright hold my views on Covid-19. They talk about the neoliberals, the conservatives, and the populist liberals who believe their individual rights are being taken away during this pandemic.

Markus Balázs Göransson says the Swedish middle class, the young, and the fit have abandoned the poor, the vulnerable, and the old. 

Responsibility of the Swedish left for Sweden’s COVID-19 tragedy, by Markus Balázs Göransson

Why have the Swedish authorities not taken more vigorous steps to slow the spread of a virus that has taken such an unequal toll?

US threatens Germany with sanctions over Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline | DW News

A dispute between the US and Germany over Russian gas is likely to come to a head this week as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo embarks on a European tour. The US believes a new pipeline makes Germany too dependent on Russia. There is already one pipeline running under the Baltic Sea. Now a new one, Nord Stream 2, is nearing completion. It's expected to pump some 55 billion cubic meters of gas from Russia to Germany every year. The project has been a major bone of contention between Berlin and Washington. Just last week, US senators threatened to slap sanctions on a Germany's Mukran Port, where essential building materials for the pipeline are stored. That has caused outrage in the port.

Monday, August 10, 2020

Finally President Trump Signs Executive Orders On Coronavirus Stimulus

Trump announces sweeping reforms for drug pricing. And Right to Try: if someone has a terminal illness and an experimental drug could save them, then they have the right to try it, but they can't sue anybody if it harms them.

Sunday, August 9, 2020

The Undoing Of Illusions: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix — Caitlin Johnstone

Quick summary: Turn on your crap detector, tune in to what is really going on, and drop out of the matrix of lies that spins the illusion. 

Caitlin Johnstone — Rogue Journalist
The Undoing Of Illusions: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix
Caitlin Johnstone


Zero Hedge
"Somebody Needs To Go To Jail": Graham Erupts After Document Reveals FBI Lied To Congress
Tyler Durden


How the 1971 Stanford prison experiment prophesied America's authoritarian backslide
Matthew Rozsa

Who profits from the Beirut blast? Making the case that the explosion resulted from an attack — Pepe Escobar

A major problem in approaching this is that Lebanon is a snake pit, and so is the region as a whole. So the presumption is that one or some of the snakes did it. As usual Pepe provides insight based on insider sources. Lots of suspicions but no firm conclusion.

The one sure thing is that further destabilization will result as a consequence.

Asia Times
Who profits from the Beirut blast? Making the case that the explosion resulted from an attack
Pepe Escobar

Who Sets The Yield Curve? — Brian Romanchuk

There was a debate on my Twitter timeline whether or not the Fed sets the entire yield curve. Since I am in the midst of writing a MMT primer, the party line is bubbling up in my mind: the yield curve is a policy variable. However, the exact mechanism is not entirely obvious, and the situation is arguably ambiguous.
Bond Economics
Who Sets The Yield Curve?
Brian Romanchuk

Are they really this clueless? — Scott Sumner

While I disagree with Scott Sumner's (Austrian) economics, I think he is pretty good social commentator.

The Money Illusion
Are they really this clueless?
Scott Sumner | Ralph G. Hawtrey Chair of Monetary Policy at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University

The Sweet Spot Between Laissez-Faire and Centralized Planning — David Sloan Wilson interviews Tim O’Reilly

This is a must read carefully to the end, even though it is longish. while it is not about MMT specifically, it has implications for the development and application of MMT in designing a socio-economic system capable of seizing emergent opportunities and approaching emergent challenges of fast-changing times owing to technological advances.
Also note that the third way between laissez-fair and central planning does NOT refer to the political "third way" of the corporate Clinton-era Democratic Party establishment. It is based on evolutionary theory applied to systems design and entrepreneuring in the digital age in order to create value for all rather than extract value for some.

Tim O'Reilly has really thought this through and presents an outline based on system design (open) instead of management (closed) as the chief organizing principle. He gives many good examples to illustrate his point.

The thesis of the Third Way is that when it comes to positive social change, all three ingredients of an evolutionary process—the target of selection, variation oriented around the target, and the identification and replication of best practices–must be managed at a systemic scale. This is in contrast to the two dominant models of social change, laissez-faire and centralized planning. Laissez-faire doesn’t work because it simply is not the case that the lower-level pursuit of self-interest robustly benefits the common good. Centralized planning doesn’t work because the world is too complex for a group of experts to formulate and implement a grand plan.
The Sweet Spot Between Laissez-Faire and Centralized Planning
David Sloan Wilson, SUNY Distinguished Professor of Biology and Anthropology at Binghamton University and Arne Næss Chair in Global Justice and the Environment at the University of Oslo, interviews Tim O'Reilly, founder and CEO of O'Reilly Media.

‘This is unstoppable’: America’s midwest braces itself for a Covid-19 surge

Experts predict an increase in deaths across the region, made significantly worse by lawmakers who question the value of face coverings

Parson said the worst of the pandemic was past and the economic impact of the shutdown was worse than the virus. As for masks, the governor dismissively claimed “there was a lot of information on both sides” over whether to wear one so he wasn’t going to require people to do so.

Three months later, Covid-19 is surging in Missouri and in many other parts of the midwest that imagined they had escaped the worst of the pandemic.

The Guardian 

Sweden's Covid expert warns UK: opening and closing schools would be disastrous

State infectious disease specialist says changing the rules harms public trust

Sweden’s state epidemiologist, Anders Tegnell, says he doesn't know if Sweden's approach was the best one. 

While Sweden’s steady-as-you-go strategy is starting to look more sensible as Denmark, Norway and Finland see a resurgence in cases, Tegnell said he now doubted if there would ever be a definitive answer over which strategy was best.

“It will be very difficult to to achieve any kind of really clear-cut answer as to what was right and what was wrong,” he said. “I think we’re talking years into the future before we can get any kind of consensus on how to deal with this in the best possible way.”

The Guardian 

Leonora Risse - Think shutdowns hurt the economy? You should see what pandemics do

This question of "what would be the damage if we didn’t get the virus under control?" is what economists call opportunity cost.

University of Michigan economist Justin Wolfers sums up this parallel universe thinking neatly: “If you think shutdowns hurt the economy, you should see what pandemics do."

His observation is based on an analysis of the effects of restrictions imposed in the US during the 1918 Spanish Flu. The study found that letting a pandemic sweep through the community is what causes most damage to the economy – not the effects of the restrictions themselves.

The Age

Leonora Risse - Think shutdowns hurt the economy? You should see what pandemics do

Gideon Meyerowitz-Katz - As Covid-19 persists around the world, death is not the only outcome to fear

Know one knows for certain what letting Coronavirus running uncontrolled through our society would do? One scenario it could fizzle out after it has killed about 30% of very old people who were about to die anyway. 

It is said that if Lockdowns damage our economies too much, then many more people would die than Covid-19 would ever kill, which may be true, but we don't know for certain. I tend to share the view of Mr. Kashkari, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, that coronavirus running amok in our society would do far more damage to our economies than the Lockdowns would because people would panic, but again no one knows for sure.

Perhaps, although it’s worth noting that in Australia and the UK a death rate of 1% would imply hundreds of thousands of deaths before the virus burned itself out. Moreover, those who are hospitalised – a significant proportion of Covid-19 patients – will certainly suffer. And even those with more mild disease may not be exempt from long-term harm. While government restrictions are starting to feel onerous, the fact is that we simply do not know enough about this disease to be sure that even the lowest risk is acceptable. We’ve got a handle on short-term, acute issues – the things that we see in a hospital – but we’re still only just discovering what the long-term issues that this disease causes might be.

Unfortunately, the damage that Covid-19 causes is almost certainly not confined entirely to the death rate. We may not know for some time exactly what else it causes, but even now we have enough evidence to know that there are other problems out there. Letting everyone get infected is a strategy that, even ignoring the enormous death toll, could leave us much worse off as a society.

The Guardian 

Nike Sweatshops: Behind the Swoosh

Much of the US propagation about China is on the alleged Uighurs slave camps. But American companies run slave camps all over the world, which is a well known fact. People are not forced to work in these sweatshops, but the people who work in them had no choice.

It's chilling to see the white Nike management working in their plush surroundings with no concern for the Nike workers or their terrible living conditions.

The hero in this film exposes the hipocrisy of neoliberalism.

Nike Sweatshops: Behind the Swoosh is the ultimate video for exploring the sweatshop issue. Using Nike as a case study, the film documents first hand the widespread and oppressive and exploitative labor practices in the developing world.

Used as a resource by faculty members and community leaders across the country, Behind the Swoosh is appropriate for use in classrooms, libraries, conferences, churches, community centers and union halls.


Police stop RT as we investigate the controversy of migrants living in UK hotels

The RT channels I like are very liberal/ left, but some people accuse RT of being racist, promoting right-wing populism and anti immigration sentiment in Europe.

RT is certainly diverse, with some sections promoting climate change denial and neoliberalism. These are the smaller channels that hardly ever turn up in my YouTube feed.

This video is very interesting as it's starts off sounding pretty bad by saying how the immigrants in Britain our housed in 3 to 4 star hotels, something the British detest, but a third of the way through the journalist gives an Iraqi/ Kurdish man all the time he needs to explain why he became an immigrant in the UK, and it's pretty damning of the Western policy on the ME.

Then the last part of the video is very interesting too. The reporter interviews some British people, asking them about the immigrants, and yes, they were a bit hostile, but they were just concerned about their community changing too much, a concern I also hold. Although these people seemed very unhappy about the immigration, I could see that if they sat down and spoke to the immigrants they would soon become more understanding, change their minds, and want the immigrants to stay.

It's good to see ordinary people on TV being able to express their views. These were not Tommy Robinson type people, just everyday folk.

The problem in much of the world, I think, is neoliberalism destroying the livelihood of people. I also think effort being put in to control population, through contraception, improved living conditions, more women's rights, a welfare state, needs maximum priority.

Saturday, August 8, 2020

The Paradox of Individualism and Hierarchy — Blair Fix

Interestingly, the quantification of culture seems to support this view. People in developed countries tend to be more individualistic than those in less developed countries. WEIRD [Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich and Democratic] people also tend to be more skeptical of autocracy and more receptive to norm-shirking behavior (behavior that economists would call ‘innovation’). This evidence seems to support the narrative (cherished by economists) that economic development is a product of the free market.

A paradox

Although WEIRD psychology fits well with the free-market narrative, it’s not clear that this narrative is actually true. In fact, there’s good evidence that economic development involves not the spread of the market, but rather, its death.

Industrialization is associated with the growth of large institutions — big firms and big governments. (See Energy and Institution Size for a review of the evidence.) Look within these big institutions and you won’t find a free market. Instead, you’ll find a chain of command that concentrates power at the top. In an important sense, then, economic development involves not the spread of the free market, but the growth of hierarchy [entailing market power resulting in monopoly and monopsony]. (For details, see Economic Development and the Death of the Free Market.)

If industrialization involves the growth of hierarchy, we’re left with a paradox. Developed countries are both more hierarchical and more individualistic than their less-developed counterparts. How can this be true? 
I explore here an interesting possibility. What if individualism does the opposite of what we think? Rather than promote autonomy, might individualism actually stoke the accumulation of power? This idea sounds odd at first. But I hope to convince you that it’s plausible.

Hierarchical organization implies social stratification and class structure, and asymmetric power and distribution. 

Economics from the Top Down
The Paradox of Individualism and Hierarchy
Blair Fix

Here’s How to Crush the Virus Until Vaccines Arrive

To save lives, and save the economy, we need another lockdown.

By Michael T. Osterholm and Neel Kashkari
Dr. Osterholm is director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. Mr. Kashkari is president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.

Steve Keen has been advocating this for months, but to eliminate covid-19 within 6 to 8 weeks. 

In just weeks we could almost stop the viral fire that has swept across this country over the past six months and continues to rage out of control. It will require sacrifice but save many thousands of lives.

We believe the choice is clear. We can continue to allow the coronavirus to spread rapidly throughout the country or we can commit to a more restrictive lockdown, state by state, for up to six weeks to crush the spread of the virus to less than one new case per 100,000 people per day.

That’s the point at which we will be able to limit the increase in new cases through aggressive public health measures, just as other countries have done. But we’re a long way from there right now.

The imperative for this is clear because as a nation what we have done so far hasn’t worked. Some 160,000 people have died, and in recent days, roughly a thousand have died a day. An estimated 30 million Americans are collecting unemployment.

New York Times 

A day at the beach in 1896, France, colourised

This has been digitally remastered with new audio, the film grain removed, the speed standardised, the colour added. The @BFI has a brilliant collection of films from 1896-1901, recently remastered, but they didn’t look like this originally

Links — 8 August 2020

The Analysis (collision course)
The Danger of War With China is Real and Insane
Paul Jay interviews Col. Larry Wilkerson

Ian Welsh (Sterling Newberry comments also)
America Is About To Feel Like A 3rd World Nation

Zero Hedge (V-shaped recovery or L-shaped depression?)
2020's Economic Depression Is Becoming An Endless Nightmare For Millions Of Americans
Tyler Durden

RT (If things get bad enough, could be a new New Deal)
Covid-19 pandemic will ‘bring socialism to US’ and transform the world – Nassim Taleb to RT

Fortune (some interesting numbers inside)
69% of Americans think the way they work has changed forever
Lance Lambert

econintersect (China is run like a US mega-corporation)
The U.S. vs. China: Meritocracy
Frank Li | Chinese ex-pat, Founder and President of W.E.I. (West-East International), a Chicago-based import & export company, B.E. from Zhejiang University (China) in 1982, M.E. from the University of Tokyo in 1985, and Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University in 1988, all in Electrical Engineering

SouthFront (censorship watch)
Globalists Declare Fierce War On SouthFront

Zero Hedge (Looks shocking, but it doesn't really mean anything)
US Dollar Devalues By 99% Vs Gold In 100 Years As Gold Price Crosses $2,067
Tyler Durden

Thomas Piketty's Blog at Le Monde (reconciling internationalism with national sovereignty, ending neoliberal globalism)
Reconstructing internationalism
Thomas Piketty | Professor at EHESS and at the Paris School of Economics

Sputnik International (Allan Lichtman foresees Trump loss)
Will History Repeat Itself? Professor Who Has Called Every Election Since 1984 Names 2020 Winner

Sputnik International (Bamboo curtain rising)
Hong Kong Government Will Consider Response to US Sanctions, Commerce Secretary Says

Sputnik International (Richard Nixon's "secret plan" for peace in Vietnam redux?)
Trump Says if He Wins Election US Will Make Deals With Iran, North Korea 'Very Quickly'

Putin and Trump DW Documentary

I didn't know how this would go, but it has been fairly unbiased so far. It will be interesting to see how Part 2 goes next week.

China Becomes First Major Economy to Rebound After Coronavirus

I put out a video here recently where a psychologist said that lockdowns and social distancing may cause so much stress that it could have a bigger negative effect on the economy than Covid-19. But it needn't be so, as China shows, and wearing masks may mean we never need to ever lockdown again.


China became the first major economy to grow since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, recording an unexpectedly strong 3.2% expansion in the latest quarter after anti-virus lockdowns were lifted and factories and stores reopened.

China Becomes First Major Economy to Rebound After Coronavirus


Coronavirus: Chinese economy bounces back into growth

China's economy grew 3.2% in the second quarter following a record slump.

The world's second biggest economy saw a sharp decline in the first three months of the year during coronavirus lockdowns.

But figures released on Wednesday show China's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) returned to growth during April to June.

The numbers are being closely watched around the world as China restarts its economy.

Coronavirus: Chinese economy bounces back into growth

Friday, August 7, 2020

MMT – technique exposes purpose — Peter May

Thinking about the two recent reviews of The Deficit Myth, I am coming to the view that these rather lightweight critiques are simply designed to sow seeds of doubt in readers minds. But there is no very serious argument against the facts of the case.
It's about narrative control.

Progressive Pulse
MMT – technique exposes purpose
Peter May

MOSCOW: US Global Deployment of Land Missiles Will Prompt Russia’s Quick Reaction, Non-Nuclear Attack Could Trigger Nuke Response — Drago Bosnic

“Any missile attack will be considered nuclear, because there is no possibility of identifying what type of the warhead it carries, and will trigger a nuclear response,” Russia’s Defense Ministry said in its official newspaper Krasny Zvezda (Red Star).

The ministry added,
“Once radar has detected the launch of ballistic missiles attacking Russian territory, the military leadership will be automatically informed and will determine the scale of nuclear weapons’ use.”
Fort Russ
MOSCOW: US Global Deployment of Land Missiles Will Prompt Russia’s Quick Reaction, Non-Nuclear Attack Could Trigger Nuke Response
Drago Bosnic

See also

And likely by the CIA.

Moon of Alabama
The 'Russian Coup' Plot In Belarus Was Faked By Ukraine


Evidence Surfaces Of Ukrainian Special Services Orchestrating Arrest Of ‘Russian Mercenaries’ In Belarus

Sputnik International
Russian General Staff Outlines What Kind of Attack on the Homeland May Spark Nuclear Retaliation

Got my Covid-19 test results back

 Just got my Covid-19 test results back. Fast, too, in less than 24-hr turnaround even though they said it would take an average of 11 days.

I tested negative for antibodies, but my girlfriend tested positive, which is weird because we're together like, 24/7.

Dr Michael Greger - Will You Live Longer if You Take Vitamin D Supplements & How Much Should You Take?

The optimum daily dose of vitamin D, based on studies quoted by Dr Michael Greger, is around 2000iu a day, but 3000iu or 4000iu a day may be required depending on how overweight you are.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Some Data. — Andrei Martyanov

Reminiscence of the Future
Some Data.
Andrei Martyanov

Remdesivir Priced At More Than $3,100 For A Course Of Treatment

When people will pay anything. 

Your money or your life? 

Let the market decide. 

In the United States, Gilead Sciences will charge $520 per vial for patients with private insurance, with some government programs getting a lower price. With a double-dose the first day, that comes out to $3,120 for the five-day treatment course. For governments in developed countries outside the U.S., it will cost $390 per vial, or $2,340 for the five-day course. How much uninsured patients would pay is still unclear.

Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, called the price "outrageous."

"Without a taxpayer investment of $99 million, this drug would have been abandoned. It would be on the scrap heap of failures," he tells NPR. "So it's the taxpayer who's really taking the risk here and ought to get the reward of the angel investors that taxpayers are."

 Remdesivir, made by @GileadSciences, has now set the price ➡️ $2,300 to $3,100 per patient.
So how much does it cost to produce each vial? 
➡️ Just $1. 
US taxpayers also had paid for the drug’s NIH trial. 


Remdesivir Priced At More Than $3,100 For A Course Of Treatment-3-100-for-a-course-of-treatment


Former Army Delta Force officer, US ambassador sign secretive contract to develop Syrian oil fields

The Trump administration has approved the first-ever deal for an American firm to develop and modernize oil fields in northeast Syria under control of the US-backed Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces.

The secretive contract, which has been in the works for more than a year and was signed in Syria last month, is expected to produce billions of dollars for Kurdish authorities in northeast Syria, none of which will be shared with the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, according to sources who spoke to CNN.

News of the deal drew an immediate rebuke from the Assad government in Damascus, which issued a statement Sunday saying the deal was an attempt to "steal Syria's oil under the sponsorship and support of the American administration," and that the agreement is "null and void and has no legal basis."


Former Army Delta Force officer, US ambassador sign secretive contract to develop Syrian oil fields

How scientists know COVID-19 is way deadlier than the flu

After months of study, scientists have better clarity on the coronavirus's lethal potential—which makes recent case surges all the more alarming.

Covid-19 could be 50 to a 100 times more deadlier than the flu.

What’s more, scientists today have a better sense of how to measure COVID-19's lethality, and the numbers are alarming. Using a more sophisticated calculation called the infection-fatality rate, paired with the past few months’ worth of data, the latest best estimates show that COVID-19 is around 50 to 100 times more lethal than the seasonal flu, on average.

This means that the U.S. and other countries seeing case surges need to brace for a very deadly summer and autumn if tactics don’t change.

National Geographic

How scientists know COVID-19 is way deadlier than the flu

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

The new episode of my podcast is out.

Gold flies. Is Neel Kashkari really that dumb? And Guuuuunnnnnddddlaaaaaacccchhhhhh!

Breakeven Inflation Unsurprisingly Low _ Brian Romanchuk

Breakeven inflation rates in the United States have recovered from their crisis swoon, but remained at depressed levels. This is in contrast to the rather feverish inflation predictions that are coming from the usual sources, like gold enthusiasts.

This article is brief, just commenting on what I see as the implications of current pricing. I am largely reiterating my views that appeared in Breakeven Inflation Analysis. I am seeing commentators discuss the implications of low "real" yields, which I think is the wrong premise. As I discussed in Section 4.2 of my book, the breakeven inflation rate is what matters. The quoted yield on inflation-linked bonds (in my view, "real yield" is a term to be avoided, due to the ambiguity in the definition created by economists) is just the residual of the two metrics that matter: the benchmark nominal yield, and the breakeven inflation rate. All the quoted yields are telling us is that the markets are predicting inflation to be somewhat lower than desired, and that New Keynesian central bankers at the Fed will be New Keynesians....
Bond Economics
Breakeven Inflation Unsurprisingly Low
Brian Romanchuk

United States Plans to Relocate Factories from Asia to Latin America — José Gregorio Martínez

This is kind of a no-brainer. The US should have been participating in a concerted effort to build a Western Hemispheric bloc rather than attempt to control Asia when China, India, Russia and Iran, and soon Indonesia, are the major players on the ground. Dumb strategy to overextend.

The US will always have a foot in Europe owing to the special relationship with Britain, even when NATO is history, which it should be already, after the collapse of the USSR. The attempt to keep it alive past its expiration date is pathetic. And dumb.

The US will also have a foot in Asia too, through Australia and New Zealand, and Israel.

This leaves Africa up for grabs, and in the latter part of this century, the major growth will come from Africa. Instead of competing for control, the world should cooperate in bringing Africa online as soon as possible. The old colonial powers need to butt out.

America’s Unholy Crusade Against China — Jeffrey D. Sachs

Last month, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered an anti-China speech that was extremist, simplistic, and dangerous. If biblical literalists like Pompeo remain in power past November, they could well bring the world to the brink of a war that they expect and perhaps even seek.
Jeffrey Sachs takes aim at the crazy.

The current campaign against China goes far beyond Wilsonian liberal interventionism, neoconservatism (neo-Trotskyism) spreading freedom and democracy, and embarks on quasi-religious fanaticism based on nuttiness. 

Why? Because China has refused to be a colony that supplies the core with its manpower and natural resources and a vassal that accepts neo-imperial diktat.

Jeffrey D. Sachs | Professor of Sustainable Development and Professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University, Director of Columbia’s Center for Sustainable Development and the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, and formerly Special Adviser to three UN Secretaries-General.

The language of modern monetary theory — Richard Murphy

This provocative (in the sense of thought provoking) comment was posted on the blog yesterday and I can only apologise to Andrew Sayer and Kevin Morgan of Lancaster University, who offered it, for not getting to read it until late in the day due to other commitments. I found what they had to say extremely useful, and I am accepting the challenge to think hard that they set. Comments are welcome, and today I may be around to moderate more often:
Worth a read.
The problem with understanding MMT is realizing what "a new and different lens" for looking at finance and the economy, as well as their relation to society through institutional arrangements, which are determined arbitrarily, and policy choices, which are political.

All thinking that involves understanding is model-based. A descriptive proposition is a conceptual model of a putative state of affairs that can be compared with the fact that it models to determine its truth value. Descriptive propositions that are elementary involve objects, properties, relations, and classes that are logical maps expressed in symbols that involve different levels of abstraction. In explanation, general propositions articulate developed models of systems. Science is a methodology for doing this rigorously, and formally to the extent practical. But everyone has an intricate model that entails a world view in terms of which information is gathered, processed and used.

While MMT is not a model that embodies a world view conceptually, it does entail a particular view of the world with respect to economics as a field and in relation to anthropology (creditary system as historical), sociology (economic value as a subset of social value), and politics (public purpose). MMT is chiefly an institutional model that is based on how a particular system is organized, that system being the modern monetary system based on chartalism and a floating rate regime, with all this implies.

This is quite a different foundation and starting point from conventional economics and the contemporary "common sense" (naïve) viewpoint. Hence, a revolution in thinking is required in order for MMT to be properly understood and fairly critiqued. Change a major piece of one's world view is a daunting transformation for many, especially when this has far-reaching implications for one's overall world view, including possibly one's ideology. Naturally, there is resistance. But reading comments on Stephanie Kelton's new book, The Deficit Myth, for example on Twitter, some people are experiencing a change in gestalt that results in their seeing the world in a new way, and sometimes this is opposite to their former way of seeing.

What is required for MMT to take hold is nothing less than a cultural shift. It will require a "popcorn" effect of "ah-ha" experiences as people change lenses. I well recall this happening to me one day in interacting with Waren Mosler on his blog when he was taking comments there and very kindly responding to them. At the time, I realized he was using a different lens and to understand MMT I had to "grok" that lens, which is used to create a conceptual model as a gestalt. This was not difficult, since being trained in philosophy, that is what I do as a day job. But I think for many this will be a stretch until MMT becomes a cultural meme. Unfortunately, there is also a lot of misunderstanding that is contributing to the construction of this meme.

Tax Research UK
The language of modern monetary theory
Richard Murphy | Professor of Practice in International Political Economy at City University, London; Director of Tax Research UK; non-executive director of Cambridge Econometrics, and a member of the Progressive Economy Forum

Bill Mitchell — MMTed Q&A – Episode 10

Here is Episode 10 in our weekly MMTed Q&A series. This is the last episode in Season 1. We are experimenting with new formats and will be back later in 2020 with some live shows (if the virus abates). In this episode, I continue my talks with special guest is Warren Mosler. We talked about the Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) approach to trade, which confounds a lot of people but is really quite straightforward. And, as usual on a Wednesday, we have some great music.
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
MMTed Q&A – Episode 10
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Rachel Lutz - Why Comparing Flu and COVID-19 Severity Is Not Equivalent

Why so many people think COVID-19 is no worse than flu, and why doctors are worried.

Comparing seasonal influenza (flu) mortality to the mortality rate of coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) is a threat to public health and demonstrates the lack of understanding about how the data is collected for each infection by varying agencies, according to a Viewpoint 

Authors from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Emory University School of Medicine outlined why the apparent equivalence of deaths from COVID-19 and seasonal influenza are not capturing the entirety of the situation.

They said that public officials continually draw comparisons between the 2 infections, “often in an attempt to minimize the effects of the unfolding pandemic.”

Contagion Live

Rachel Lutz - Why Comparing Flu and COVID-19 Severity Is Not Equivalent

Baby boomers show concerning decline in cognitive functioning, by Jeff Grabmeier ,

There were not enough late baby boomers (born in 1960 or later) to include in this study, but Zheng said he believes they will fare no better. The same might be true for following generations unless we find a solution for the problems found here, he said.

While many of the problems linked to lower cognitive functioning are symptoms of modern life, like less connection with friends and family and growing economic inequality, other problems found in this study are unique to the United States, Zheng said. One example would be the lack of universal access and high cost of health care.

"Part of the story here are the problems of modern life, but it is also about life in the U.S.," he said.

Baby boomers show concerning decline in cognitive functioning, by Jeff Grabmeier ,

Los Angeles 

Did they fail, or did the system fail them?

The Guardian - Beirut explosion destruction captured in drone footage

Aerial video captures the devastating impact of the explosion that left dozens dead and thousands injured in the Lebanese capital. The full scale of the blast is yet to be felt as rescue efforts continued the morning after the explosion flattened much of the city's port

‘Let the young get on with their lives’ says expert making ‘herd immunity’ case

Young people who are unlikely to be seriously affected by Covid-19 should be allowed to “get on with their lives” and the case for so-called “herd immunity” must be revisited, a Scots public health expert has said

The Scotsman

‘Let the young get on with their lives’ says expert making ‘herd immunity’ case


CNN: I can't shake Covid-19: Warnings from young survivors still suffering

Some young people are not getting better

As case counts among young people rise, Daniel and others in their 20s want to share stories of the wreckage Covid-19 has wrought in their lives.

Those patients can potentially experience permanent lung damage, including scarring and reduced lower respiratory capacity.


CNN: I can't shake Covid-19: Warnings from young survivors still suffering

Magnitsky Act: Behind the Scenes

It's on YouTube again, but last week it disappeared for a while and then turned up again. I thought I would post it before it goes again.

There was a website with associated with this film, but I can't find it today.

Global coronavirus death toll hits 700,000 as infections surge

                   "The Trump Curve."

The worst hit country, the United States, adds 1,300 new deaths in 24 hours

More than 18 million people worldwide have been infected with the virus was first detected in China late last year. 

The worst hit country, the United States, had added 1,300 new deaths as of Tuesday evening, bringing its toll to nearly 156,000, according to Johns Hopkins University. The caseload grew by 53,847 to nearly 4.8 million, it said

Countries in Europe are gearing up for stricter mask-wearing rules to fight the coronavirus as the global death toll from the pandemic passed 700,000. 

Nearly 5,900 people are dying every 24 hours from Covid-19 on average, according to Reuters calculations based on data from the past two weeks. That equates to 247 people per hour, or one person every 15 seconds.


Global coronavirus death toll hits 700,000 as infections surge

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

COVID vs Eviction

Morons running public health too as well as the Central Bank...

Antibody tests

From Abbott... I think they make the test equipment...

ARE COVID-19 ANTIBODY TESTS ACCURATE? The Abbott antibody test detects antibodies to the virus that causes COVID-19. In medical and scientific language, the Abbott antibody test has 99.63% specificity and 100% sensitivity at the time of detecting antibodies 14 days or greater, post symptom onset. This means that 14 days after the onset of symptoms, the test will identify an individual who has developed antibodies to the COVID-19 virus (SARS-CoV-2) 100 % of the time. This is called the sensitivity of the test. This means that if you have developed antibodies to the COVID-19 virus the Abbott test is able to detect them. The Abbott test also tells you that the antibodies the test detected are antibodies to the COVID-19 virus 99.63% of the time. This is called the specificity of the test. This means that if you have an Abbott test for antibodies to the COVID-19 virus that detected antibodies, there is great certainty that these antibodies are to the COVID-19 virus and there is almost no possibility that the antibodies the test detected developed in response to another virus that you were previously exposed to.


Comparison to flu:

Largest explosion on planet earth today...


Energy Giants Race For 'Green Hydrogen' Market Share — Haley Zaremba

Still not competitive against fossil fuel though —unless true cost is used, which includes negative externality rather than socializing it). But accounting does not as yet deal with true cost.

Energy Giants Race For 'Green Hydrogen' Market Share
Haley Zaremba

See also at Oilprice
China And The EU Vie For Hydrogen Supremacy
Vanand Meliksetian

Tesla Model 3 Ranked Top Quality Sedan In China
Charles Kennedy

Trump defends his record on Covid-19

Jonathan Swan: “Oh, you’re doing death as a proportion of cases. I’m talking about death as a proportion of population. That’s where the U.S. is really bad. Much worse than South Korea, Germany, etc.”

Donald Trump: “You can’t do that.”

Swan: “Why can’t I do that?”

MMT economist Steven Hail —— Gareth Vaughan interviews Steven Hail

Hail is a lecturer at the University of Adelaide School of Economics and a Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) economist. He spoke to in a Zoom interview.
MMT economist Steven Hail
Gareth Vaughan interviews Steven Hail

Bill Mitchell — Tracing the roots of progressive views on the duty to work – Part 1

Excellent post featuring – drumroll – Marx.

Note that "parasites" means free riders.

Bill Mitchell – billy blog
Tracing the roots of progressive views on the duty to work – Part 1
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Stephen Grenville - Modern Monetary Theory and mainstream economics converging

When MMT started to gain acceptance in some parts of the mainstream, the neoclassical economists fiercely fought back, but now it looks like they are finally losing the debate. More and more people are now prepared to give it a try because they think it looks feasible. 

7. Conclusion

MMT proponents must feel that their moment has arrived at last. The core elements of their proposal are being more widely accepted by mainstream economists and now, with COVID, being put into practice. Big deficits are being rolled out everywhere, partly funded by central bank money creation. Debt hawks and inflation alarmists have largely gone silent, and the bond-market vigilantes are no-where to be seen. The MMT promise of free funding for deficits has turned out to be almost true because interest rates are so low and expected to remain so for the foreseeable future. Their view that inflation is caused by running the economy ‘too hot’, rather than by excessive money creation, is now more widely accepted.

Eureka Report 

Covid-19 infections leave an impact on the heart, raising concerns about lasting damage

One study examined the cardiac MRIs of 100 people who had recovered from Covid-19 and compared them to heart images from 100 people who were similar but not infected with the virus. Their average age was 49 and two-thirds of the patients had recovered at home. More than two months later, infected patients were more likely to have troubling cardiac signs than people in the control group: 78 patients showed structural changes to their hearts, 76 had evidence of a biomarker signaling cardiac injury typically found after a heart attack, and 60 had signs of inflammation.

These were relatively young, healthy patients who fell ill in the spring, Valentina Puntmann, who led the MRI study, pointed out in an interview. Many of them had just returned from ski vacations. None of them thought they had anything wrong with their hearts.


Covid-19 infections leave an impact on the heart, raising concerns about lasting damage

DrcMonica Gandhi - Mask wearing may decrease severity of COVID-19

It's bizarre how the people who complained the most about the Lockdowns harming our economy are the very same people who are the most resistant to wearing masks, which could reduce further lockdowns. Mask wearing could mean we never need a lockdown again, according to Dr Monica Gandhi.

Covid-19 is different to the flu virus in that most people who get it will have mild symptoms or be asymptomatic. But in those people that are badly affected their immune system overreacts going into a cytokine storm.

Wearing a mask reduces the viral load which means the body is better prepared and doesn't go into this cytokine storm. The result is that masks wearers who get C19 are more likely to have mild symptoms or even none at all.

One More Reason to Wear a Mask: You’ll Get Less Sick From COVID-19

As more and more states promote face masks as a way to control the spread of COVID-19, the top-line message has been: wear a mask to protect others. While it’s true that most face masks are more effective in preventing you from launching droplets into the air than breathing in already dispersed droplets – that doesn’t mean masks offer no protection to the wearer.

It’s likely that face masks, by blocking even some of the virus-carrying droplets you inhale, can reduce your risk of falling seriously ill from COVID-19, according to Monica Gandhi, MD, an infectious disease specialist at UC San Francisco.

“The more virus you get into your body, the more sick you are likely to get,” she said.

In the latest wave of infections in the U.S., the wider use of masks may be one factor for the lower death rates – along with more testing, younger patients and better treatments – said Gandhi. A greater proportion of these new cases have been mild or asymptomatic, though more data is needed to see if they track geographically with higher rates of mask-wearing.

Worldwide, epidemiological patterns seem to provide a clue. In countries where mask wearing was already commonplace, such as Japan, South Korea, and Singapore, and in countries where mask wearing was quickly embraced, such as the Czech Republic, rates of severe illness and death have remained low, even with new cases. Countries with uneven rates of mask-wearing, like the United States, have fared more poorly.

These epidemiological observations are among the evidence that Gandhi and colleagues cite in a forthcoming paper in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, in which they propose that masks can lead to milder or asymptomatic infections by cutting down on the dose of virus people take in.

“Masks can prevent infection altogether, as was seen in healthcare workers when we moved to universal masking. We are also saying that masks, which filter out a majority of viral particles, can lead to a less severe infection if you do get one,” said Gandhi. “If you get infected, but have no symptoms – that’s the best way you can ever get a virus.”


COVID-19 is caused by an RNA virus dubbed SARS-CoV-2. The idea that viral dose, also known as viral inoculum, determines the degree of illness is not new, said Gandhi. Descriptions of a dose-mortality curve – how much of a virus is needed to cause death in an animal – were first published in 1938. And after all, the earliest vaccines, which were documented in 16th century China, involved exposing someone to a small amount of smallpox virus to induce mild illness and subsequent immunity.

Researchers have studied dose dependency experimentally with other viral infections, like the flu. In a study with healthy human volunteers, those who received a higher dose of the influenza A virus developed more severe symptoms.

Because the new coronavirus is potentially lethal, experiments on masking and disease severity have been necessarily limited to animals. In a hamster study, a surgical mask partition between the cages of infected and uninfected hamsters significantly cut COVID-19 transmission. Fewer hamsters caught the virus and those that did showed milder symptoms.