Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 24, 2020

The MoA Week In Review - Open Thread 2020-41

Last week's posts at Moon of Alabama:

> In Brazil, 15 percent of deaths have been people under 50 — a rate more than 10 times greater than in Italy or Spain. In Mexico, the trend is even more stark: Nearly one-fourth of the dead have been between 25 and 49. In India, officials reported this month that nearly half of the dead were younger than 60. In Rio de Janeiro state, more than two-thirds of hospitalizations are for people younger than 49.
“It all points to social economic status and poverty,” Gray Molina said. <
> Let's see what the Washington-backed Hong Kong democracy really looks like. The man beaten in the video is a lawyer named Chan Tze-chin. He was attacked by the rioters because he did not support them on the street today. Hong Kong must rebuild the rule of law. < (video)

> The Hong Kong rioters vandalised a shop and steal a tee shirt from inside at causeway bay today < (video)

> Absolutely sickening. The West's beloved "freedom fighters" in Hong Kong stalk, surround and beat a defenceless young woman. While the West denounces China's new national security law, they are silent on the countless acts of such brutal violence. < (video)

Other issues:



Electoral College:

Must read:

Use as open thread ...

Posted by b on May 24, 2020 at 13:59 UTC | Permalink

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thank you, and I'm glad you can see positive effects from the various degrees of lockdowns we've been subject to. I'm not denying that there won't be any good that comes from this, but it's hard to see past not being employed along with 36 million fellow out-of-work citizens. I don't have unemployment because I chose to leave my employment right before this pandemic got going to pursue a creative project.

your perspective on kids out of school doesn't seem to include the need for kids to be with their friends to develop their social skills. online zoom meetings don't cut it. and kids absorb the added stress they see their parents experiencing, just look at any studies that correlate ACEs (adverse childhood experiences) to developing chronic illnesses later in life. having worked at a homeless shelter for many years I saw up close the after-effects of wrecked lives from not getting the support early on in their lives.

maybe consciousness will get a jump start, or maybe the dystopian transhumanist horror show being developed by such altruistic entities as DARPA will be unveiled in some end-times scripted LARP show, I dunno. I'm going to do my best to live my life and minimize fear as much as possible in order to tell some stories that need to be told. cheers!

Posted by: lizard | May 25 2020 18:55 utc | 101

@vk | May 25 2020 15:19 utc | 83

Please understand that communism is a utopia, a religious dogma, completely discredited by the history.

While Marx critique of capitalism and the idea of class struggle survived the test of time, the idea of communism with its central postulate about future hegemonic role of proletariat proved to be false. Which means the communism is yet another utopia, a religious cult, if you wish.

Bolshevism as it existed in the USSR in a form of Stalinism and than "Brezhnev developed socialism" was really a cruel and bloodthirsty religious cult (less bloodthirsty in the latter form, but still). No questions about it.

Although I do not understand details, it look like China Communist Party also degenerated into hypocritical religious cult, not that dissimilar from CPSU. That might well makes Chinese society somewhat unstable and vulnerable to the color revolution. As soon as intelligence services change flag like KGB did, that would be it.

On the contrary Neoliberalism (which probably should be understood as Trotskyism for the rich -- financial oligarchy of all countries unite) is the only derivative of Marxism that survived as a widespread social system. It managed to survive the major crisis of 2008 as a social system almost intact, despite the fact that the neoliberal ideology was completely discredited. Its resilience after 2008 is simply amazing.

Moreover, Neoliberalism does enjoy unweaving support of probably 20% of the USA society -- PMC or "professional and managerial class" which IMHO includes a part of brainwashed working class and small business owners. Which is a factor that essentially guarantees its longevity and survival after the current shock, despite all our wishes for the contrary. In other words, class struggle does exist, but it is almost always uphill battle, and the max achievable are some watered down reforms. That essentially the idea of social democracy and the specific USA for of it -- The New Deal.

As Warren Buffett aptly said "There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

And we should not mix Trump "national neoliberalism" with fascism. It is a completely different social phenomena, a social system that does not require mass mobilization and a mass Party. It does has some common features (the role on intelligence agencies, the role of propaganda, etc,) but still the differences are more pronounced then similarities. Sheldon Wolin called it "inverted totalitarism" ( )

Wolin lays bare the realities of our bankrupt democracy, the causes behind the decline of American empire and the rise of a new and terrifying configuration of corporate power he calls “inverted totalitarianism.”

Wendy Brown, a political science professor at UC Berkeley and another former student of Wolin’s, said in an email to me: “Resisting the monopolies on left theory by Marxism and on democratic theory by liberalism, Wolin developed a distinctive — even distinctively American — analysis of the political present and of radical democratic possibilities. He was especially prescient in theorizing the heavy statism forging what we now call neoliberalism, and in revealing the novel fusions of economic with political power that he took to be poisoning democracy at its root.”

Wolin throughout his scholarship charted the devolution of American democracy and in his last book, “Democracy Incorporated,” details our peculiar form of corporate totalitarianism. “One cannot point to any national institution[s] that can accurately be described as democratic,” he writes in that book, “surely not in the highly managed, money-saturated elections, the lobby-infested Congress, the imperial presidency, the class-biased judicial and penal system, or, least of all, the media.”

In other words Neoliberalism will probably survive the crush of the American empire.

Posted by: likbez | May 25 2020 18:58 utc | 102

@101 lizard

You are prioritizing the ceaseless nature of socialization above the need for quiet introspection that public school does not provide and can not by its nature.

I struggled in public school mightily and my workaholic divorced parents provided very little support but was exacerbated by my inability to articulate any kind of cry for help.

You can see where my thoughts on public school and parenting arise.

Furthermore, the transitory nature of this lockdown will in effect provide a temporary balancing for the yin and the yang of socialization/isolation which every human being needs.

Home school parents adapt by involving other families and coordinating social get togethers. I admit some do not due to parents who underestimate the time and effort needed to properly home school their children. Children fall through the cracks in either public/private setting.

We are getting our daughter excited about seeing family and friends very soon. It will be back to socialization.

In the mean time, I hope this time was not squandered by families in the U.S.

Posted by: Nemesiscalling | May 25 2020 19:10 utc | 103

At the end of his essay today, Alastair Crooke asks a series of questions that many of us have already pondered and mostly written about:

"Have governments given any thought to the implication of the financial crisis spreading to the middle classes, for whom often their only cushion in life is the inflated value of the house in which they live, but whose price may collapse? And if not, do they imagine that their citizens will acquiesce to losing their homes because of Coronavirus? And that the middle classes will still side with the élites?

"So much hangs on the evolutionary course of the virus. But judging this wrongly, risks much. People will not so readily handover their homes and cars to the banks this time, as in they did the wake of great financial crisis of 2008. Why would they? It was not their fault [It wasn't their fault in 2008 either; it was massive Fraud that was never prosecuted and I'm getting rather tired of that fact not being aired]. Convulsions ahead? The decay of an era, and the inevitability of social and political mutation?"

IMO, within the Outlaw US Empire, the issue of state solvency will become paramount thanks to the massive unanticipated shortfalls in revenue, an issue Hudson talks about in the video I linked above. IMO, that issue has the power to cleave the states from the Union given the Union's complete lack of interest in the wellbeing of citizens. It's very much like an abusive marriage--When does the repeatedly beaten wife finally leave home or attempt to kill her spouse? Aside from the very meager benefits from Social Security and Medicare, what ties serve to promote loyalty to Washington, DC over your individual state? If the Union isn't going to work for the goals articulated in the Constitution's Preamble, then why support it any longer?

Posted by: karlof1 | May 25 2020 19:24 utc | 104

Posted by: likbez | May 25 2020 18:58 utc | 102

Please understand Communism is not a utopia just for the fact it exists in real form(even if outraged through the time)..Your point of view is dogmatic as communism is but this doesn't mean it's a utopia..If you don't understand(not such a rare thing nowadays) how the only possible and sustainable society is the one where the wealth is not owned by private hands...where cheap waged work doesn't make owners richer and richer..where welfarism is not the only thing that poor people can achieve in their life.if you don't understand this no problem ,just your thoughts,but even if difficult is not utopic.

Posted by: LuBa | May 25 2020 20:39 utc | 105

vk #84

You sum up fascism by defining it as "irrational".! What drivel, what a whitewash.
Try 'murderous, violent, treacherous and contemptible.

Slick language can't mask your propaganda dude.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | May 25 2020 22:05 utc | 106

Well a lot of alibis in that The Guardian article, so as to justify the disconnection with China.

As I read it I was becoming aware what all this of the pandemic could have been about.

Thus, it is now that Borrell becomes aware that all Paracetamol in Europe comes from China, and that they need to relocate automotive and other industries which they before outsourced to China because of advatageous cheap labor existing there...

The thing seems to be not that China was holding any bad intention towards anybody, or that the Belt & Road Initiative benefits did not seem to materialize as they tought in the EU, but that China was growing at two cyphers anually, while the EU and the whole West at simple cyphers close to zero.

According with an analysis made by a Spanish strategist, one of the most definitive events about to take place just before the pandemic was the imminent arrival in Europe of a four doors electric Chinese car with a great autonomy and space at the competitive price of 8000 euros...To this add that they were Chinese companies who were heading the IT market with sells around the 75% of world wide market...

Was it because of this, that the agonizing economies of the West needed to create an event which would create the unemployed army with which to compete with the Chinese giant where people use to work 9:9:6 ( from 9am to 9pm, 6 days a week...) so as to scratch from the Chinese some part of the cake they are enjoying as fast developing country?

Was the pandemic created to achieve equal conditions in widespread poverty so as to get people again overexploited with the goal that oligarchs renew and multiply nonstop their surplus value?

Posted by: H.Schmatz | May 25 2020 22:58 utc | 107

My comment at 107 was referred to the Sinophobe article by The Guardian

Posted by: vk | May 25 2020 15:43 utc | 86

Posted by: H.Schmatz | May 25 2020 23:02 utc | 108

vk #2

Looks like the HK liberal protesters lost support from their masters:

"Liberal protesters" my arse! These are thugees on a well defined mission to disrupt China using the chinese residents in HK as just mere dust before their broom.

You forgot to factor in the support they have from the Bannonite fascists from the USA. Just because the HK business elite is keeping their distance does not mean the USA will stay its dirty hand.

The USA fascist oligarchy has never tolerated competition for wealth or power. Read Howard Zinn and others. The USA fascists don't need no grand parade, no hitlerite expressions of glory - they need divided people, divided nations. And they have hollywood to pump out its glorification or soma. And they Have Trump and some deadsh!t from the Democrazis to whistle their tune.

The method that Bannonite fascists are promoting is one that obstructs nations from forming Unions of Mutual Benefit. That team of Bannonite global parasites is hell bent to maintain the division in South America, the fragmentation of the EU, the blockading of the OBOR unification across Eurasia. The wars without end where it may. Bannons recent Europe tour was likely closely monitored by the various state security apparatus in the event that he was establishing a vanguard of trusted thugs and snipers for when the time is right. Same model as in Ukraine etc, etc. Now the UK is witnessing how his methods are utilised from the top. Perhaps soon Cummings will be supported by violent street gangs searching for 'commies' that spread disease or some such vulgar fantasy.

The first step in a solution: close all US embassies and reduce the USA presence to strictly monitored trade missions and keep that in place until long after Bannon and his successors is dead.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | May 25 2020 23:07 utc | 109

karlof1 #104

"So much hangs on the evolutionary course of the virus. But judging this wrongly, risks much. People will not so readily handover their homes and cars to the banks this time, as in they did the wake of great financial crisis of 2008. Why would they? It was not their fault [It wasn't their fault in 2008 either; it was massive Fraud that was never prosecuted and I'm getting rather tired of that fact not being aired]. Convulsions ahead?

Thank you, that was a good read and on that issue of renewed vigilance and perhaps unity I wonder if we will see the formation of home protection Unions in the USA and direct challenge to this ugly thieving situation.

I guess there is little chance of leadership coming from organised labor unions (and no reason to really trust same) but such a home protection wave could perhaps sweep those weak unions up.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | May 25 2020 23:18 utc | 110


three kids: 11, 9 and 4. quiet introspection is not a phrase I associate with the madhouse we're navigating ;)

since you appreciate rhymes, here's one I just wrote up a few hours ago:


monkey man can be improved
attributes can be enhanced
listen up, you dumb baboons
time to wear your dancing pants

some of you won’t make the grade
junkie monkeys, fatties, flakes
but some of you know the game
a spot in time before Yellowstone shakes

monkey armies, we play both sides
merrily popping champagne corks
important only that you die
while we eat foie gras on golden forks

monkey man, don’t looks so glum
spider silk makes goat milk strong
and if you play your cards correctly
you might strap on our golden dong

Posted by: lizard | May 26 2020 0:50 utc | 111

@ Posted by: likbez | May 25 2020 18:58 utc | 102

We must put the things in their due place before starting any significant discussion on such serious subject.

First things first: socialism and communism are both theoretical constructs. Marx developed a theory of human history which, in order to be valid, induced the existence of a period that would represent the End of History (the true one, not the Francis Fukuyama version). This period of "End of History" he called "communism".

However, in his studies he concluded that capitalism wasn't the last stage of human history. In order for capitalism to go to communism, a turbulent, revolutionary period would have to take place. This interregnum he called "socialism". Socialism must happen because, if we analyze History, we hardly see peaceful and automatic transitions between an old mode of production to another one.

After the Paris Commune, he speculated this abstract revolutionary period should, in broad lines, be composed of the proletariat taking the means of production and making all the necessary societal reforms for the extinction of a class-based society. He assumed it would be the proletarian class that would bring the end of History because the proletariat is the direct producer of wealth. In an hypothetical society where the proletariat would be the dominant class, there would be nobody of it to exploit, as there's no possible social class to be exploited by the class which directly produces all the wealth.

But a transition would be necessary either way, as, either way, capitalism wouldn't simply disappear in a single event. How this would take place exactly, Marx didn't know - he died long before he could even sketch a theory of communist mode of production. The only thing he knew is that it would be a turbulent period, which would necessarily have to culminate with the proletariat victory, and thus, the creation of a dictatorship of the proletariat. He also knew communism wouldn't be born by default: a revolution or series of revolutions would've to happen and would've to be victorious. He was aware societies could collapse and never come back again.

In the Capital he throws some obvious features any communist should have (e.g. it wouldn't have money-capital). But those are obvious things that can be easily deduced by logic, and he uses those examples just to illustrate the capitalist mode of production, not to delineate a communist one.

So, you're wrong communism is an utopia. It's an abstract scientific model. In science, models are just approximations of the real, not the real itself. That reality itself is real (thing-in-itself) is self-evident: the goal of science is to transform it, as Marx well put.

About the USSR: it is very natural that the first ever experiment of socialism failed. No new mode of production is born ready. Capitalism failed for many centuries before panning out in tiny England - a very surprising historical event, by the way. History is not a straight line, but a maze.

There's simply no evidence the USSR degenerated into a theocracy or into a giant personality cult. You're simply 100% wrong. I don't know what else to say about that.

Posted by: vk | May 26 2020 1:12 utc | 112

@ Posted by: uncle tungsten | May 25 2020 23:07 utc | 109

Fascism is a variation of liberalism.

Posted by: vk | May 26 2020 1:12 utc | 113

@uncle tungsten 104

"The method that Bannonite fascists are promoting is one that obstructs nations from forming Unions of Mutual Benefit. That team of Bannonite global parasites is hell bent to maintain the division in South America, the fragmentation of the EU, the blockading of the OBOR unification across Eurasia."

yep except that is the strategy regardless of which party is running the US govt. Divide and rule, as one would expect of any halfway content empire. The CFR set are very much aware of it.

Among other things, it means that the biggest competition to US power (soft power, but hard power too*) is not China or Russia, but the EU.

Keeping the EU split is the #1 imperial priority, not China, IMO. The only thing is this is not particularly hard to do, so it is not discussed much.

Keeping Russia apart from EU was apparently priority #2, and one that takes more effort because of the natural economic synergies.

This was the story of the Obama admin. But it may have been a miscalculation. Forcing Russia toward China (and therefore add in most of central asia too) looks like a non recoverable error.

The Bannonites, in addition to being obnoxiously nationalist, are coming into a situation where they inherited this mess. They have big ideas, to be sure, just like the BushII-Cheney group. But the Trauma of Trump's election removed to many of the semi competent people, what's left are third rate wannabe imperialists - not unlike the early 2000s.

IMO, if they actually get full control of foreign policy, they are going to make a spectacular mess that will make Iraq/Afghanistan look like a warmup.

What would be maybe more interesting is what would a Biden Administration do.

* consider for example if Germany simply spent the NATO recommended %GDP on military (and didn't waste it on sh#t from Lockheed) it would be more than Russia right there

Posted by: ptb | May 26 2020 1:34 utc | 114

Did I just 'hear' that the W.H.O. is canceling their definitive test of the efficacy of HCQ for the coronavirus? Who is/are major funders of the W.H.O.? Who is majorly invested in Moderna? Hmmmm.... " Would they, if they could? "

Posted by: Nancy E. Sutton | May 26 2020 2:04 utc | 115

"outsourced to China because of advatageous cheap labor existing there"

Posted by: H.Schmatz | May 25 2020 22:58 utc | 107

"Cheap labor" set up automated facemask production lines in days while the rest of the world were desperately sewing by hand. Most of the Western manufacturing so-called "talent" won't qualify for cheap labor over there. Also Chinese labor isn't cheap by SE Asia standards for a long time.

Posted by: JW | May 26 2020 2:38 utc | 116

Nancy E. Sutton | May26 2:04 @ 115

Yup. Pretty clear that the fix is in.

Big Pharma is looking forward to huge profits from expensive anti-virals like Remdisivir and a vaccine that may not actually work.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 26 2020 3:53 utc | 117

Is this (me @115) so blatantly obvious, right in our faces, that one can smell the desperation? Do they think this is their one and only, last chance to pull off their long-planned take-over... now-or-never? Or .... do they think 'we' are so utterly stupid and/or self-destructive that we won't notice/will ignore the examples of HCQ early-treatment successes? I think the frog is about to boil to death unless it jumps (yes, I know that example is false, but the point isn't.) PS - this could be the death knell for any faith in 'Science', i.e, Scientism.

Posted by: Nancy E. Sutton | May 26 2020 4:24 utc | 118

China's rise has little to do with cheap labour & everything to do with using carrots rather than sticks to get an entire society pointing in the same direction while they strive to achieve common goals.
for example when the lockdown began to be lifted & many enterprises were desperate to find suitably qualified staff, primarily because so many had already gone 'home' to their village for New Year when the lockdown hit, and couldn't yet return, the 'going rate' for a capable manufacturing worker was USD $400 per shift.
That wage is far in excess of what a semi-skilled worker in any western nation has been able to obtain for decades.

e.g.Back in the early 80's I had a part time job labouring at a plastic bottle factory that paid $360 for a shift of 12 hours, I did it for a few months prior to travelling.

The next time I was back in Aotearoa (circa 1986) after the trade unions had been castrated thanks to a neolib 'labour' government, a process worker at the same plant was taking home less than that for 40 hours.

When China began industrialising under Deng post the Nixon/Kissinger visit, low wages was an initial attraction, but that was 50 years ago! Wages had little to do with the attraction of China for manufacturers in the 1990's & noughties.

The biggest bait was the ability to standardise production for a global market in a country where environmental controls were shall we say 'avoidable'. Although that is no longer the case the fact remains is that China is one of the few manufacturing bases where scaling up to change from making a few thousands widgets a day, to making tens of millions a day of those same widgets is achievable within a short time frame. That is China's attraction for the corporate set. Remember the coronavirus hospital that was a hole in the ground one day but less than two weeks later was a thousand + bed hospital? Sure england & new York attempted an imitation but they used already existing buildings unlike the Wuhan effort which was absolutely from scratch.

Lower comparative wages played some role initially but we must remember that Chiina's manufacturing expansion coincided with the shift to neoliberalism globally.
Under neoliberalism costs are determined by 'the market', the cost of inputs is completely disconnected from the sale price or value of goods.

'Market share' a particularly nebulous concept, is what determines a corporation's value, for those of us who fail to believe in market share's primacy buying market share through selling below cost appears to be lunacy - yet the biggest corporation in the world, Amazon somehow got into the black by trading in the red for more than a decade.

IMO this demonstrates better than any treatise on marxist theory could, exactly how fatally flawed the capitalist model is.

Posted by: A User | May 26 2020 6:51 utc | 119

Odiferous Science at the Lancet

Did the good doctors of the recent Lancet study of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine suddenly lose their sense of smell while treating patients with Covid-19? It sure seems like it, since their study has a phishy media smell to it. This is particularly serious given that the World Health Organization has decided to suspend their testing of hydroxychloroquine based on this rather flawed retrospective "observational" study.

Take it as you will, I’m not a doctor or a medical researcher, but it sure seems to me that the authors of the study would make better lawyers than healers or scientists. If I was to tell you that more than 70% of the deaths they reported in their study were among the control group, leaving less than 30% of the overall deaths to be divided among the four treatment groups they selected, I would be no less honest than the signers of the study. Indeed, using just the data reported in their study, it seems that 7530 deaths occurred among patients in their control group out of 10698 overall deaths, which comes to approximately 70.4% if you do the math yourself.

How can that be, you may wonder. Well, it seems there were more than 10 times the number of patients in the control group than there were in either of the four treatment groups. The authors apparently think it’s to their credit that they included 96032 patients in the study distributed among 671 hospitals in six continents. But among those 96032 patients, only 1868 received chloroquine without "macrolides", 3783 chloroquine with "macrolides", 3016 hydroxychloroquine without "macrolides", and 6221 hydroxychloroquine with "macrolides". The macrolides used in the study were either azithromycin or clarithromycin. So while they were at it, why didn’t they use six treatment groups instead of four, separating out the different macrolides among groups receiving the antimalarial medications chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine? Surely they had the data. Could this be hiding something? If there were more unpleasant outcomes in groups receiving one of the antibacterial macrolides versus those receiving the other macrolide, might that not have been an interesting observation? They make no comment about this.

But back to the numbers please. How many of the 671 hospitals reported patients using antimalarials. Was it 671, 67, or even fewer? Where were those hospitals located? We can’t really know without the raw data. Does it make sense to compare treatment groups in New York state or Hubei province against control groups in say Vietnam or Cambodia, where 0 deaths have been reported, or in Bahrain or Djibouti where only up to 14 deaths have been registered within the timeframe of the study. It doesn’t even make much sense to compare hospitalised patients between New York and Utah or Kansas unless the proportion of the treatment and control groups in those locations are similar, since the strains of the coronavirus and the treatment conditions in those locations are very different. The viral load of the predominant coronavirus strain in New York and New Jersey has been reported to be many times greater the viral load of the predominant strain in other US locations, and it seems safe to assume the conditions in the ICUs of New York and New Jersey are more hectic and stressful than conditions in the ICUs in the rest of the country.

The study authors claim they use data from patients who were hospitalised between December 20, 2019 and April 14, 2020. How many patients could they have included from 2019? I suppose we can guess from which hospital those would have been taken. But since the Covid-19 virus was not really identified until early January 2020, why did they decide to go back that far? Presumably those patients weren’t treated with antimalarials, but the authors do not tell us that.

There is no mention of zinc supplements in the study. Were they given to patients with the antimalarial treatments? The latter act as zinc ionophores, facilitating zinc uptake across cell membranes. It is the antiviral action of zinc that is presumed to be the main mechanism of the antimalarials against the coronavirus. Were zinc supplements given to the control patients with other zinc ionophores such as Quercetin or EGCG? If this information is not in the multinational registry used for the study data, the authors of the study do not tell us this.

The authors do mention mean daily dosage levels of the antimalarials, but they are a bit higher than the daily dosages recommended by other studies for coronavirus treatment (for example, 597 mg of hydroxychloroquine in the treatment group with macrolides with a standard deviation of 128 mg versus 400 mg recommended by doctors advocating hydroxychloroquine usage). Could this have caused the higher toxicity of the antimalarials noted in the study? Although the number of days treatment groups received antimalarials was apparently not significantly different from the standard treatment course of five days recommended by pro-hydroxychloroquine doctors, the mean reported was almost a day less, for example, 4.2 days in the group receiving hydroxychloroquine alone (without macrolides) with a standard deviation of 1.9, which gives a range of 2.3 to 6.1 days. Could those patients at the low end of the range really be said to have had a full course of treatment? Would the study results have been the same if these patients were excluded? The authors do not seem to think this is worthy of discussion.

Another interesting question is why patients with cardiac issues were included in the study results. It is well known that the antimalarials chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are contraindicated for patients with heart failure and presumably arrhythmia, yet patients with existing "comorbidities at baseline" included 12137 patients (2061 in the treatment groups) with coronary artery disease, 2368 (419 in the treatment groups) with congestive heart failure, and 3381 (520 in the treatment groups) with arrhythmia. Since presumably the antimalarials should not have been given to these patients, does it really make sense to include them in the study unless you want to prove their toxicity? It would be nice to know how removal of these patients from the study might have changed the overall conclusions. The authors do not tell us.

Unfortunately the Lancet study has a distinct odor of Big Pharma propaganda, hardly hidden. The lead author notes, in what are considered "competing interests", his receipt of personal fees from Abbott, Medtronic, Janssen, Mesoblast, Portola, Bayer, Baim Institute for Clinical Research, NupulseCV, FineHeart, Leviticus, Roivant, and Triple Gene. Isn’t it amazing how easily bad science can be used to discredit a potentially helpful treatment for persons suffering from the current coronavirus epidemic?

Posted by: dabizi | May 26 2020 7:54 utc | 120

ptb #114

What would be maybe more interesting is what would a Biden Administration do.

* consider for example if Germany simply spent the NATO recommended %GDP on military (and didn't waste it on sh#t from Lockheed) it would be more than Russia right there

Thank you ptb: 1/ what would Biden do? Make new wars. Trump is currently caretaking current wars and avoiding making new ones - just sabre rattling. Once Biden beats Trump (?! :{ ) he will start new, fresh exciting wars here and there to add to the war surplus in the USA economy.

2/ I would love to see Germany try that. Bannon is rooting for the AfD so if the Merkel maddies tried to tell any USA military supplier to shove off, there would be a sudden colour revolution about something, anything, maybe immigration? :o

Posted by: uncle tungsten | May 26 2020 9:13 utc | 121

Thanks for taking the time to explain it at lenghth.
The french (incl health minister) have been (media) lynching Raoult for 2 days because of the Lancet study, unable as they are to read even the summary.
One is immediately surprised to read that the sampled patients start as early as... 29 december! the day the Chinese announced the epidemy had started.
Raoult rightly said yesterday that he has no reason to discuss a fool study based only on big data, while he has the files of 4000 in situ patients and the 10,000 xrays taken from them.
Of course, he has never said one should wait to be in hospital with pulmonary problems to take it; he also notices that the study does not even mention the dosage given to the so-called 90,000 cohort.
Big Pharma is one of the few sectors that is not going bankrupt in the current "managed demolition" crisis, and one can bet the Fr governement is entirely as its feet more than even -and that was already big and for decades.

Posted by: Mina | May 26 2020 9:16 utc | 122

Just to add, the best treatment seems to remain plants/spices and whatever human wisdom knows to have a better immunity. An example: 9000 Renault factory workers in Casablanca were tested a couple of days ago. Out of them, only 32 were found positive, and all asymptomatic.
Enjoy your mint tea! Enjoy the sun!

Posted by: Mina | May 26 2020 9:36 utc | 123

Posted by: uncle tungsten | May 25 2020 22:05 utc | 106

It depends from the point of view you see it..for me reactionary movements are irrational in their they express the anger and desperation of people in the way bourgeoisie wants.

Posted by: LuBa | May 26 2020 9:52 utc | 124

BM #77

Thank you for the mindfulness with breathing reference. That was caring.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | May 26 2020 10:02 utc | 125

Re: Russ | May 25 2020 5:44 utc | 66

Russ, having failed miserably in his attempt to convince the rational portion of humanity that vaccination causes autism, has now embarked upon another, different crusade. He wants us all to believe that the procedures employed by China to bring Covina19 under control in that country, if adopted here in the US, will cause – what? Chillblains? Increased continental drift? Mass conversions to Scientology?

Well, we don't know for sure. All we know is that Russ wants thousands of young, healthy adult carriers to spread the virus as far and as wide as possible, infecting thousands upon thousands of elderly and immuno-compromized persons, and dooming them to long, slow, agonizing deaths.

So c'mon folks, let's ramp up those fatality numbers as fast as we can, and one fine day we'll be able to join our voices in unison with Russ, and shout aloud to the world “We're number one! We're number one! We're number one!”


Posted by: AntiSpin | May 26 2020 12:29 utc | 126

China is its own worst enemy: Beijing's response to pandemic-related criticism has undermined the country's interests

This is already the third opinion piece in The Japan Times I've seen touting the same narrative: if China had agreed to an "international investigation", everything would've been fine, but, as it refused, it is evidence it is guilty, which hurt its soft power.

This is the classical "Free Will Illusion" trap, widely used in propaganda warfare. It is aimed to create the fallacy that your enemy actually wants what's better to you, and that all the hostilities and damage it is doing is because it loves you, not hates you.

The Free Will Illusion is such an efficient weapon that many pro-China western intellectual have fallen from it, and agree that China is losing the ideological war.

But that's not the case, and it's easy to demonstrate.

Imagine the opposite scenario: that China caved in to Western pressure and allowed an "international investigation". We already know - from the Iraq WMD, the OPCW circus fiasco and WADA's Russia witch-hunt - what the result would be: a forged report stating China is not only guilty, but guilty of many more evil things. The anti-China conspiracy theory would then not be restricted to the West, but the whole world.

China avoided the worst scenario. It correctly adopted the tactic of "let's do the right thing" and support the WHO as the institution for international wealth policy affairs.

In the real world, most of the time it is about avoiding the worst scenario. This is not a Hollywood movie.


US biotech firm Novavax begins Covid-19 vaccine trials on Australian volunteers after getting $388mn from Bill Gates-backed fund

Meat industry struggles to return as more workers get sick

More than 11,000 virus cases are tied to three major processors and more than 60 people have died throughout the industry, illustrating the challenge of reopening the country even for essential businesses.

Damn Stalin! Killing his own people on the altar of the economy! That evil genocide dictator! That communist ideologue!

Oh, wait, it's Bill Gates and some capitalists of the meat processing industry in the USA.

Posted by: vk | May 26 2020 13:33 utc | 127

Slaughterhouses in France, the UK and The Netherlands are doing tests and finding cases, but not closing, of course. They now blame it on "Eastern European workers" although there is still far fewer cases in Eastern than in Western Europe.

Posted by: Mina | May 26 2020 14:06 utc | 128

uncle tungsten @110--

That would be an excellent use of the organization known as Neighborhood Watch, which is supposed to deter crime. On the other Big Issue, it's very difficult to get an accurate picture of the American Mood thanks to the lack of credible media reporting. The NY Times item that drew the ire of the Pentagon Spin Doctor is linked and is quite powerful in its indictment and deserved to be republished, but the one republished in my local paper this morning while decidedly a hard news item, not an op/ed, showing racism to be alive and well within the Outlaw US Empire's military as a "cement ceiling" exists for people of color and women when it comes to getting promoted to full colonel and general, was of a markedly different tone. I read the first item to see if it was directed at Trump as I'd initially presumed, but IMO it's clearly an attempt to change the Military's culture as this excerpt illustrates:

"As the official Defense Department history [Link at original] of this period now acknowledges, the federal embrace of the Jim Crow system undermined the country’s readiness for war and destroyed morale, introducing black recruits to a brand of hard-core racism many had not experienced in civilian life. As the military opened more and more such bases across the country, the history notes, it 'actually spread federally sponsored segregation into areas where it had never before existed with the force of law.' In other words, the base names were part of a broad federal sellout to white supremacy that poisoned the whole of the United States."

Then there's the conclusion:

"Military installations that celebrate white supremacist traitors have loomed steadily larger in the civic landscape since the country began closing smaller bases and consolidating its forces on larger ones. Bases named for men who sought to destroy the Union in the name of racial injustice are an insult to the ideals servicemen and women are sworn to uphold — and an embarrassing artifact of the time when the military itself embraced anti-American values. It is long past time for those bases to be renamed."

That a Pentagon spin doctor got upset at the Truth of his institution actually says quite a lot about the entrenched nature of racism within it as he was clearly repeating its previous protests about the linkage between White Supremacy and the US Military. It's too bad the editorial--it was written by the Times Editorial Board--wasn't republished in every local newspaper as such is clearly justified. I suppose I an offhanded manner it could be seen to be directed at Trump. But given the rhetorical tone, which is harsh and doesn't obfuscate, the charge that the #1 publicly supported government institution continues to promote--embrace--"anti-American values" tells me it was aimed at the heads of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 26 2020 17:26 utc | 129

Mory Kante, Manu Dibango, Tony Allen, Jimmy Cobb, Little Richard, Lucky Peterson... some politicians have better docs than the average musician.

Posted by: Mina | May 26 2020 17:26 utc | 130

@tungsten 121

re (2), really a side topic, but it if it preceded EU integration, it would make EU integration harder. And an militarily stronger EU, or as individual euro nations without the EU, would undercut US influence in any context. Trump pushing for it was just him going to bat for US defense manufacturers, it actually makes no strategic sense. A successful empire requires that the most wealthy rival be dependent on it in some way.

re (1)... yeah. I have no illusions about Biden being any better (see for example the Obama admin's fine work). On the other hand, I disagree very much about Trump actually giving a fluff about avoiding wars. I think that he has thus far managed to do so is simply because his administration, esp. foreign policy, was paralyzed by Russiagate, and the national security blob just kind of kept it on autopilot while that got sorted out.

The national security folk were a key audience for Russiagate, of equal importance to the public and electoral politics. This is why the total humiliation of Steele and everyone associated with him, which is everyone, is relevant even if the public doesn't care. The guys in cubes who have to drink the kool aid do care, and they may yet end up implementing a more ambitious "global greatness" program from Trump or Kushner or Pence or Bannon or Bin Salman or Lockheed/Boeing, or whoever, if there is a second term.

What is clear regardless of Trump/Biden, I think, is that we're in for a series of proxy conflicts with China, instigated by groups of people who are collectively idiots (10 capable people in a room does not equal 1 capable room). Still the flavor would be different depending on who gets elected next.

Going out on a limb here, but I would think the goal of French/German policy is, not to prevent these, but to keep them happening at a safe enough distance.

Posted by: ptb | May 26 2020 18:15 utc | 131

Global Times editorial asks some hard questions related to reopening economies:

"Countries are gradually reopening. For many Chinese, the US and some European countries do not meet the conditions to ease social distancing rules. In the past few days, the US has seen a few hundred daily deaths and more than 10,000 daily confirmed cases. The situation is much more severe than China's worst times, but large-scale reopening still started....

"Obviously, these countries do not have the ability to organize strict social distancing to lower their confirmed cases to zero. Meanwhile, society needs to reopen. The two realities merge and force Western societies to reopen, which might make Western societies tolerant of more deaths.

"Most of those who died of COVID-19 are the elderly and the vulnerable, among whom the poor take up the majority. Setting aside humanitarianism, their deaths do not generate much loss to their countries, so people seem to have nothing to fear about economic reopening....

"First, according to China's standards, these countries are still pandemic areas. While they reopen to each other, China also faces the political and economic pressure to open its door to them, which will be bound to result in an increasing number of imported cases. What should China do?

"Second, Western countries are more tolerant of high numbers of confirmed cases and deaths than China. While the West has more discourse power, they may misinterpret China's humanitarian principle. China may not be able to stand on a high moral ground in the conflict with them."

China must continue to be vigilant, not tone-down its efforts and remain prepared; "It must always keep a sense of crisis and fight for the better." Trying to enter China from a "pandemic area" will likely result in an initial quarantine period. In his lengthy presser I linked, China's FM Wang Yi highlighted the extension of the "Health Silk Road" into Africa, and as this item notes greater cooperation and coordination with African governments in managing their debt and development situations in a vastly different policy from that imposed in the past by the West.

As for where China stands in the "Political Virus" confrontation, this long article on the topic reveals a lot, among which is this assessment:

"Li said the US is now unilaterally 'decoupling' with China, but in the post-pandemic world, 'it might find it is decoupling with the rest of the world.'"

And that's precisely what we see Trump and his gang of Swamp-bred Financial Parasites doing.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 26 2020 18:17 utc | 132

On the issue of state solvency within the Outlaw US Empire, we have this well reasoned article by Marshall Auerback, not the first he's written on this topic. I'm hopeful California's governor Gavin Newsome will invoke one or several of the ideas Auerback illustrates, several of which have historical precedent. Doing so would also provide a boost to the Public Banking Movement.

I'll also see if Typepad is still sending any comment with a VK related url directly into moderation.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 26 2020 18:43 utc | 133

Yes, I just confirmed that Typepad is still sending any comment with a VK related URL directly to moderation, a censorship issue b apparently has no control over.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 26 2020 18:46 utc | 134

Another pandemic unique to the Outlaw US Empire continues unabated and reveals the genuine beliefs of an extremely brutal nation when applying the Franklin Reality Model to this situation. The cop murders the man in cold blood, not showing one bit of humanity--he should hang from the neck until dead in public, and the other officers at the scene charged with accessory to murder for that's exactly what they were--I'd hang them too.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 26 2020 18:57 utc | 135

@Posted by: karlof1 | May 26 2020 18:57 utc | 134

That policeman has all the face of a nazi.

Attention that in case he is rightfully condemned, he will come Trump to pardon him, like the other SF assassine of Iraq.

Posted by: H.Schmatz | May 26 2020 19:09 utc | 136

@ 134 karlof1.... i just finished reading 'solitary' by albert woodfox... indeed there is one rule for the whites and another for the blacks.. the usa, especially when it comes to police and it's prison system is full on racist against black people.... no wonder organizations like the black panther party, or black lives matter 50 years later, continue to pop up... no one is addressing this shit in the usa mainstream! and it is rampant...

Posted by: james | May 26 2020 19:11 utc | 137

Six mountaineering guides reached the summit Mt. Qomolangma and complete building route. Eight surveying team will follow tomorrow with equipments for the surveys.. Good Luck and bless them.

Source: Xinhua| 2020-05-26 20:07:36|Editor: huaxia

The six mountaineering guides reached the summit and finished installing facilities at around 4:35 p.m. Tuesday, becoming the first group to scale the peak this year. The Chinese survey team will climb to the top of the mountain on Wednesday.

The guide team has left the summit and the eight-member group of surveyors will start for the peak in the early hours of Wednesday, if the weather holds.

Posted by: JC | May 26 2020 19:28 utc | 138

karlof1 #132

Thank you for that link to Wang Yi's remarks. The steady, constrained language coming from China is much more constructive and believable than the idiocy from the USA. I guess decoupling from $US will be a long drawn out process but I feel certain that it is irresistible. Interesting that he identified Huawei and Hong Kong as the next conflict points.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | May 26 2020 21:50 utc | 139

james | May26 19:11 @ 136

... indeed there is one rule for the whites and another for the blacks.. the usa, especially when it comes to police and it's prison system is full on racist against black people ...

You might be interested in this:
The Black American Amputation Epidemic


Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 26 2020 22:02 utc | 140

Victory parade marking 75th anniversary of victory by the Red Army and Soviet people over the Nazi scum and allies, to be celebrated on June 24th, the same day the legendary historic parade was celebrated in 1945:

How much I would like to be there!

Wondering whether the Russians would be accepting visitors this year...

Posted by: H.Schmatz | May 26 2020 22:07 utc | 141

In his essay today, Brian Cloughley makes an important comparative observation between Trump and GW Bush:

"The pretentious panjandrum in the White House is full of self-importance and convinced that he doesn’t have to justify any of his actions. He is revving up tension around the world, energetically aided by the venomous Pompeo and the profit-hungry military-industrial complex."

Bush of course had his own suite of "venomous" vipers led by Dick Cheney, but the balance of power today is vastly different from 2002 as the Outlaw US Empire has arguably lost its superpower status since it no longer has any significant Geoeconomic power at its disposal aside from useless in the longrun financial hegemony that is about to be eclipsed. Like Bush before him, Trump ignores vitally important realities until he seemingly recognizes them at the last instant and exposes his bluster as bluff. The article focuses on the recent use of Taiwan to further escalate tensions with China, a conflict that Trump will lose. What makes the situation worse are the vipers surrounding Trump, although their actual Masters are unlikely to let them go much further as this article indicates--China's a huge source of wealth for the Money Power.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 26 2020 22:17 utc | 142

Crush the curve - a really sane measured website that goes beyond shaping curves to get to zero:

I am not sure if it has been posted earlier at MoA but I found it in an excellent post by Prof Steve Keen who is hanging out in Thailand and has written an excellent piece of their success here:

Posted by: uncle tungsten | May 26 2020 23:03 utc | 143

@ 139 jackrabbit... thanks for that.. it is very depressing and goes into what i was saying directly... so sad.. i have driven thru bolivar county in Mississippi... it is south of clarksdale and north of vicksburg on a secondary hwy.. i was driving that way on the one down to new orleans about 10 years ago... the injustice is so pronounced here..

@ 142 uncle t... thanks.. i enjoyed the article..

Posted by: james | May 27 2020 0:08 utc | 144

@142 uncle tungsten

Nice report from Prof Keen - thanks. Wonderful to hear of all the countries that are eliminating the virus from their borders. And daily life as he reports it: everyone wears a mask around other people outside of home, but within this discipline now comes the freedom for everyone to relax to a "palpable" degree.

That's a nuance of the necessary response that may be lost in the west, where community disciplines such as real-time contact tracing cannot be trusted by a populace living at odds with both government and corporate sector. As I noted when the virus first hit the shores of the US, it is a broken nation. And as we have seen, it could deal with the virus only in broken actions.

But happily, there is the rest of the world.

One can hear the relief in Keen's voice that he made it somewhere safe - Asia - and now feels he may never actually get the disease after all. It's good to be able to rejoice for the good news of others. The only comfort there is in the west currently is that much light shines elsewhere in the world, even if it darkens where one is.

Posted by: Grieved | May 27 2020 0:30 utc | 145

LIVE: Chinese surveying team reach summit Mt. Qomolangma

Congratulation, Good Luck!!

Posted by: JC | May 27 2020 4:00 utc | 146

According to Sputnik Trump calls on GOP to not reauthorize FISA.

Wow. Sure there's the "until blah blah blah Russiagate is cleared up thoroughly" (paraphrasing) although in a sense that part is perhaps even more important since it threathens to open so many cans of worms, and of course the systems won't stop anyway, law or no law, but to even say it.

Does the GOP have the balls? Will Trump go independent? Is some "outside the box"/lateral strategy brewing? Who is freaking out more than usual right now? Trump better have ironclad protection for saying something so "double-plus ungood" striking at the core of the USG version of America, this is far beyond anything Kennedy dared quibble about.

Well this spiced up my morning if nothing else :)

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | May 27 2020 6:44 utc | 148

thanks sunny runny burger.... your posts are always worth reading.. i was unaware of this until you mentioned it.. i am not tapped into the usa msm... cheers..

Posted by: james | May 27 2020 16:31 utc | 149

That's very kind of you James, thank you. Believe me I would be horribly bad if I posted more or with less inhibition lol XD

I don't follow any US MSM myself and rarely follow any links to it so I wouldn't have known except for Sputnik mentioning it.

I'm writing a small-ish follow-up comment with links to more that I'll post in the new Open Thread.

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | May 28 2020 1:08 utc | 150

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