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July 11, 2020

The MoA Week In Review - Open Thread 2020-55

Last week's posts at Moon of Alabama:

The School of Medicine of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) has posted a series of videos in which Department Chair Bob Wachter and various medical specialist discuss specific aspects of the Covid-19 epidemic. Yesterday's grand round was about The State of the Pandemic, Opening the Schools, and the Outbreak at San Quentin State Prison. Top first hand knowledge without politics.

This will probably have foreign policy consequences: Dozens of US Marines in Japan's Okinawa get coronavirus - Yahoo

[I am off for a family day.]

Use as open thread ...

Posted by b at 16:35 UTC | Comments (165)

July 09, 2020

The Pandemic Reveals The Real Disease Of Our Societies

This morning I saw this map on the Washington Post homepage.

Reported cases per 100,000 residents by county since last week

bigger

I immediately remembered that I had earlier seen a map with a similar pattern.

It was in my April 2 Moon of Alabama post. Here is the section as posted three months ago:

Cont. reading: The Pandemic Reveals The Real Disease Of Our Societies

Posted by b at 17:32 UTC | Comments (193)

Open Thread 2020-54

News & views ...

Posted by b at 14:35 UTC | Comments (125)

July 08, 2020

The U.S. Has Surrendered To The Pandemic. Protect Yourself.

Yesterday the United States registered more than 60,000 new Covid-19 cases. As the number of new cases continues to increase unabated about two weeks from now it is likely to reach hundred thousand new cases per day.


Source: 91-divoc - bigger

The increase of testing is not the cause of higher new case numbers. The rate of people among those who were tested and were found positive has also increased. In Florida, which yesterday had nearly 10,000 new cases, the positive test rate has reached nearly 20%. That means that the epidemic is still accelerating.

This did not need to happen. Yesterday Germany, at a quarter the size of the U.S., had 279 new cases. It does 1 million tests per week and the positive rate is decreasing. China has defeated a new local outbreak in Beijing by testing more than 10 million people. The last two days it reported zero new cases.

Many of those who test positive, especially the younger ones, will not fall ill with severe symptoms. But some 10-15% are estimated to need medical support. How many of them will die depends on the quality of care that can be given to them. Some thirty hospitals in Florida have already run out of space in their intensive care units. That is the point where the real emergency begins.

Cont. reading: The U.S. Has Surrendered To The Pandemic. Protect Yourself.

Posted by b at 17:55 UTC | Comments (257)

July 07, 2020

The Latest 'Russiagate' BOMBSHELL Took Just One Week To Be Exposed As Dud. Who Was Its Source?

Within just one week the recent attempt to revive 'Russiagate' has failed. It was an embarrassing failure for the media who pushed it. Their 'journalists' fell for obvious nonsense. They let their sources abuse them for political purposes. 

On June 27 the New York Times and the Washington Post published stories which claimed that Trump was informed about alleged Russian bounty payments to the Taliban for killing U.S. soldiers and did nothing about it:

A Russian military spy unit offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants to attack coalition forces in Afghanistan, including U.S. and British troops, in a striking escalation of the Kremlin’s hostility toward the United States, American intelligence has found.

The Russian operation, first reported by the New York Times, has generated an intense debate within the Trump administration about how best to respond to a troubling new tactic by a nation that most U.S. officials regard as a potential foe but that President Trump has frequently embraced as a friend, said the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive intelligence matter.

The story ran on page A-1 of the paper version of the NYT.

We immediately called it out as the obvious nonsense that it was:

Now the intelligence services make another claim that fits right into the above ['Russiagate'] scheme.

Reporters from the New York Times and the Washington Post were called up by unnamed 'officials' and told to write that Russia pays some Afghans to kill U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. There is zero evidence that the claim is true. The Taliban spokesman denies it. The numbers of U.S. soldiers killed in Afghanistan is minimal. The alleged sources of the claims are criminals the U.S. has taken as prisoners in Afghanistan.

All that nonsense is again used to press against Trump's wish for better relations with Russia. Imagine - Trump was told about these nonsensical claims and he did nothing about it!

Others likewise dumped on the shady reporting:

Cont. reading: The Latest 'Russiagate' BOMBSHELL Took Just One Week To Be Exposed As Dud. Who Was Its Source?

Posted by b at 17:08 UTC | Comments (105)

July 06, 2020

Choices

Secretary Pompeo @SecPompeo - 12:16 UTC · Jul 5, 2019

Today, #Venezuela’s Independence Day, we are reminded of the country’s prosperous past – and the future the Venezuelan people deserve. The U.S. stands with @jguaido, @AsambleaVE, and all Venezuelans yearning for a return to democracy and a brighter future. #EstamosUnidosVE

---
Joe Biden @JoeBiden - 21:10 UTC · Jul 5, 2020

On this Venezuelan Independence Day, my thoughts are with Venezuelans who continue to work tirelessly for the cause of democracy. It’s time for free and fair elections so that the Venezuelan people can turn the page on the corrupt and repressive Maduro regime.

 

h/t Syricide

Posted by b at 4:28 UTC | Comments (174)

July 05, 2020

The MoA Week In Review - Open Thread 2020-53

Last week's posts at Moon of Alabama:

[Sorry for postings this little during the last week. I had to take care of some repair issues I had to put off during the lockdown.]

---
Other issues:

Covid-19:

This is only the second described case in which an infection was likely caused by fomites:

More than 99% of all new infections are caused by air transmissions. Washing your hands all the time is mostly unnecessary. We told you to #MaskUp. So do others:

Prozac as prophylaxis or early treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infections?

> We see the role of Fluoxetine in the early treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infected patients of risk groups. <

The Cocid-19 economic decline is fear drive:

Not astonishing when one reads stories like this one.

Dani Oliver @DaniOliver - 20:49 UTC · Jul 3, 2020
Hey, so, I got #Covid19 in March. I’ve been sick for over 3 months w/ severe respiratory, cardiovascular & neurological symptoms. I still have a fever. I’ve been incapacitated for nearly a season of my life. It's not enough to not die. You don’t want to live thru this, either. 1/
... thread

Russiagate:

Max Abrahms @MaxAbrahms - 16:07 UTC · Jul 3, 2020
RussiaGate stories follow a predictable pattern:
1. Explosive allegation
2. Media goes nuts
3. Evidence disproves or at best weakly supports allegation which is much less damning than sold
4. Media moves on to next explosive allegation without apology

Point 5. The intended aim was reached:

Wrongly accusing Russia started way before 'Russiagate':

> For five years, the sporting world has been gripped by Russian manipulation of the anti-doping system. Now new evidence suggests the whistleblower who went into a witness protection program during the scandal may not have been entirely truthful. <

Israel:

Right conclusion but the argument made is superficial:

Libya:

Last week Turkey brought two MIM-23 Hawk air defense systems to the al-Watiyah Airbase. Last night they were bombed by either French,  UAE, Egyptian or Russian mercenary airplanes. Officially the LNA (Hafter) has taken responsibility for the bombing. Whoever did this had a message to Turkey: Stop trying to break our red lines.

Elections:

Use as open thread ...

Posted by b at 14:32 UTC | Comments (176)

July 03, 2020

On Its Way Into Poverty Lebanon Is At The Crossroads

Lebanon is drifting towards hyperinflation and armed strife.

The main reason is the deflating of a Ponzi scheme with which the governor of the Central Bank enriched Lebanese business banks and politicians.

Since December 1997 the rate of the Lebanese pound has been fixed at 1507.5 pounds per U.S. dollar. The country needed dollars to import food, fuel for its electricity plants and pretty much everything else. As Lebanon exported little but some hashish and ran a large budget deficit it needed other ways to continuously acquire dollar. Tourism from the Gulf states brought some foreign currency and a large number of expatriates sent parts of their incomes home. But neither was enough to pay for everything Lebanon imported.

The Central Bank started to increase its interest rate for dollar holdings to attract more of them. The business banks set up dollar accounts for their customers and offered some of the highest rates around the globe. Money came in. The business banks lent those dollars to the Central Bank at ever higher interest rates.

Importing companies went to the Central Bank and exchanged their Lebanese pounds into dollars so they could pay for the goods from abroad. Whenever their were too few dollars in its vault the Central Bank increased its interest rates to attract more of them. It ended up offering above 20% for U.S. dollar accounts.

In the normal economy it is the Central Bank that is paid interest by the business banks. In Lebanon the scheme reversed and insanely  enriched the owners of the banks. Meanwhile the local manufacturing and farming economy could not compete with the steady stream of cheap goods that came into the country. It remains underdeveloped.

The war on Syria and Saudi discontent with Hizbullah's role in Lebanon hit the tourism business. Some people started to ask questions about the high interest rates. In August 2019 the scheme broke down. A parallel market rate developed. Continuous financial pressures from unsustainable sovereign debt, a high trade deficit and deposit outflows had become too much.

Finally the truth came out. There were no more dollars in the Central Bank's vaults. The dollar loans from the business banks to the Central Bank can not be paid back - at least not in dollars. The dollar denominated saving accounts with the banks can only be paid out in Lebanese pounds. The banks simply deny people access to their dollar accounts. Their current worth is now some 15% of their original value.

In 2018 the much lauded Lebanese banks had nominal assets in excess of 360 percent of Lebanon’s GDP. Today hardly any are left.

The Lebanese pound has crashed to today's exchange rate of 1 dollar for 9.500 pounds. Hyperinflation has set in. Today a chicken cost double as much as 10 days ago. Many people are ruined. Their life savings are gone. Crime has already increased. There will soon be hunger.

But the Lebanese bankers and politicians are still in denial:

Cont. reading: On Its Way Into Poverty Lebanon Is At The Crossroads

Posted by b at 17:03 UTC | Comments (94)

July 02, 2020

Open Thread 2020-52

News & views ...

Posted by b at 14:36 UTC | Comments (303)

July 01, 2020

New Law Liberates Hong Kong From U.S. Interference

After the U.S. instigated riots in Hong Kong last year the central government of China saw a necessity to intervene. In sight of other anti-China measures the U.S. has taken the reputational costs of doing so had become less important.

Yesterday the Chinese parliament, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, added a national security law to the Basic Law that governs Hong Kong's special status. The law is designed to end foreign interference in Hong Kong.

The Basic Law already had an article which stated that Hong Kong's independent parliament, the Legislative Council or Legco, must create such a national security law on its own. But 23 years after Hong Kong again became ruled by China, Hong Kong's parliament had still not done so. The foreign instigated violent riots last year, which had paralyzed Hong Kong's economy, demonstrated that such a law is necessary. The central government finally acted and did what the Legco was supposed to do.

The new law, which was put into effect today, is banning secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with a foreign country or external elements to endanger national security. Its 66 articles also ban support in any form for such acts. The offenses are punishable in several degrees up to life in prison. The law includes guarantees for human rights and due legal process.

A mainland 'Office for Safeguarding National Security' will be set up in Hong Kong to take care that the law is followed. While regular cases against the law will be handled by a new national security department within the Hong Kong police, significant cases, like those including foreigners, can be taken over by the mainland office and can be prosecuted by mainland courts.

The law has some extraterritorial power. It does not matter where the crimes are committed:

Cont. reading: New Law Liberates Hong Kong From U.S. Interference

Posted by b at 18:17 UTC | Comments (172)