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Celerity

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Gender: Female
Hometown: London
Home country: USA/UK/Sweden
Current location: Stockholm, Sweden
Member since: Sun Jul 1, 2018, 07:25 PM
Number of posts: 12,274

Journal Archives

Week in charts : The pandemic's relentless advance





It is astonishing how rapidly the pandemic has spread, despite all the efforts to stop it. The world is not experiencing a second wave: it never got over the first. Texas, for example, has become the centre of a viral wave sweeping America’s South and West. Worldwide, more than 10m people are known to have been infected. It took more than three months for global cases to reach a million; the last million came in less than a week. But even as the virus is rampaging through developing countries, people in the West are worried about a second wave. Data from the first wave show how important it is for governments to respond quickly. In many countries, including America, Brazil, Russia and Iran, politicians have lost the trust of their people through their handling of the pandemic. A vaccine remains the best way out of the emergency. To find one, governments are pouring money into what has become a more urgent version of the space race. Oxford University seems to be ahead.



In America the relentless spread of covid-19, added to nationwide protests and an unfolding economic calamity, have pushed Donald Trump even farther behind in opinion polls on voting intentions in the presidential election in November. Much of course could change before then. But at the moment, Joe Biden, his Democratic challenger, is in landslide territory. The Democrats may even secure a majority in the Senate, opening up the chances of a highly productive presidency. Reassuring and popular, Mr Biden boasts a more ambitious policy agenda than is often realised. He stands a good chance of being a surprisingly activist president. But his party is changing. In primary contests, self-proclaimed progressives (many of them African-American) are ousting moderate incumbents all over America.



Vladimir Putin, too, seems to be shaking the faith of some of his supporters. Russia’s president has been able to stage a rigged referendum, declare victory with 78% of the vote and secure constitutional backing to stay in power well into the next decade. It was less brazen than rolling tanks into Red Square and declaring a coup, but only just. Abroad, Mr Putin is suspected of sowing mischief, most recently in an alleged scheme to pay bounties to Islamic militants to kill American and allied soldiers in Afghanistan. But at home the economy is tanking, not helped by a world of low energy prices which, in America, have brought the bankruptcy of a pioneer of the shale-fracking revolution.



China, in contrast, has become a big international creditor. It lends more to many poor countries in Africa and elsewhere than all rich Westerm countries combined, even though new research suggests its total lending is smaller than had been believed. Some critics accuse China of creating unsustainable debt burdens as a way of accruing power. But its experience in Pakistan, an “all-weather friend” and neighbour lurching from one economic crisis to the next, suggests the limits to this approach. And abroad as at home, China’s Communist Party has shown again this week how it would rather be feared than admired. The new security law China has imposed on Hong Kong is more sweeping even than feared. The territory has already felt the chill.

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Covid-19 is here to stay. People will have to adapt



The world is not experiencing a second wave: it never got over the first

https://www.economist.com/leaders/2020/07/04/covid-19-is-here-to-stay-people-will-have-to-adapt



It is astonishing how rapidly the pandemic has spread, despite all the efforts to stop it. On February 1st, the day covid-19 first appeared on our front cover, the World Health Organisation counted 2,115 new cases. On June 28th its daily tally reached 190,000. That day as many new cases were notched up every 90 minutes as had been recorded in total by February 1st. The world is not experiencing a second wave: it never got over the first. Some 10m people are known to have been infected. Pretty much everywhere has registered cases (Turkmenistan and North Korea have not, though, like Antarctica). For every country such as China, Taiwan and Vietnam, which seems to be able to contain the virus, there are more, in Latin America and South Asia, where it is raging. Others, including the United States, are at risk of losing control or, in much of Africa, in the early phase of their epidemic. Europe is somewhere in between.

The worst is to come. Based on research in 84 countries, a team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology reckons that, for each recorded case, 12 go unrecorded and that for every two covid-19 deaths counted, a third is misattributed to other causes. Without a medical breakthrough, it says, the total number of cases will climb to 200m-600m by spring 2021. At that point, between 1.4m and 3.7m people will have died. Even then, well over 90% of the world’s population will still be vulnerable to infection—more if immunity turns out to be transient. The actual outcome depends on how societies manage the disease. Here the news is better. Epidemiologists understand how to stop covid-19. You catch it indoors, in crowds, when people raise their voices. The poor are vulnerable, as are the elderly and those with other conditions. You can contain the virus with three tactics: changes in behaviour; testing, tracing and isolation; and, if they fail, lockdowns. The worse a country is at testing—and many governments have failed to build enough capacity—the more it has to fall back on the other two. Good public health need not be expensive. Dharavi, a slum of 850,000 people in Mumbai, tamed an outbreak (see article).



Treatments have improved, thanks to research and dealing with patients. Although mass vaccination is still months away at best (see article), the first therapies are available. More is known about how to manage the disease—don’t rush to put people on respirators, do give them oxygen early. Better treatment helps explain why the share of hospital patients who went on to be admitted to intensive care fell in Britain from 12% at the end of March to 4% in mid to late May. And economies have adapted. They are still suffering, of course. J.P. Morgan, a bank, predicts that the peak-to-trough decline in the first half of the year in the 39 economies it follows will be around 10% of gdp. But workers stuck in Zoom hell have discovered that they can get a surprising amount done from home. In China Starbucks designed “contactless” ordering, cutting the time customers spend in its coffee shops. Supply chains that struggled now run smoothly. Factories have found ways to stagger shifts, shield staff behind plastic and change work patterns so that personal contact is minimised. Now that nationwide lockdowns are done, governments can make sensible trade-offs—banning large indoor gatherings, say and allowing the reopening of schools and shops. Sometimes, as in some American states, they will loosen too much and have to reverse course. Others will learn from their mistakes. The problem is that, without a cure or a vaccine, containment depends on people learning to change their behaviour. After the initial covid-19 panic, many are becoming disenchanted and resistant.

Masks help stop the disease, but in Europe and America some refuse to wear one because they see them as emasculating or, worse, Democratic. Thorough handwashing kills the virus, but who has not relapsed into bad old habits? Parties are dangerous but young people cooped up for months have developed a devil-may-care attitude. Most important, as the months drag on, people just need to earn some money. In the autumn, as life moves indoors, infections could soar. Changing social norms is hard. Just look at aids, known for decades to be prevented by safe sex and clean needles. Yet in 2018, 1.7m people were newly infected with hiv, the virus that causes it. Covid-19 is easier to talk about than aids, but harder to avoid. Wearing a mask is chiefly about protecting others; the young, fit and asymptomatic are being asked to follow tedious rules to shield the old and infirm. Changing behaviour requires clear communication from trusted figures, national and local. But many people do not believe their politicians. In countries such as America, Iran, Britain, Russia and Brazil, which have the highest caseloads, presidents and prime ministers minimised the threat, vacillated, issued bad advice or seemed more interested in their own political fortunes than in their country—sometimes all at once. Covid-19 is here for a while at least. The vulnerable will be afraid to go out and innovation will slow, creating a 90% economy that consistently fails to reach its potential. Many people will fall ill and some of them will die. You may have lost interest in the pandemic. It has not lost interest in you. ■

House passes massive infrastructure bill, Senate Majority Leader calls it 'nonsense'

The $1.5 trillion package includes investing in clean energy, public lands, and transit systems and focused less on building new roads.

https://www.nationofchange.org/2020/07/03/house-passes-massive-infrastructure-bill-senate-majority-leader-calls-it-nonsense/



While the climate-friendly infrastructure bill that would upgrade the United States’ crumbling infrastructure passed the House of Representatives in Wednesday, it has little chance of making it through the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed the bill will “die” upon arrival.

The bill, H.R. 2, the Moving Forward Act, passed 233-188 as Democrats “did not try to garner Republican involvement in crafting the bill because they said they were convinced that Republicans would not go along with the emissions reductions measures they wanted, which are sprinkled throughout the bill,” Politico reported. The $1.5 trillion package includes investing in clean energy, public lands, and transit systems and focused less on building new roads, Sierra Club said in a press release.

“This bill offers much-needed modernization of our infrastructure, from transit systems to our energy grid, to create millions of good jobs, reduce pollution, and build a more accessible and sustainable public transportation system,” Michael Brune, executive director of Sierra Club, said. “Its investments in public lands would spur job creation where it’s needed most and ensure cleaner, more accessible landscapes for all. And it finally begins to address the lead pipe water crisis that communities across the nation—particularly communities of color—have been fighting for years.”

The bulk of the money, $494 billion, would go to “re-authorization of surface transportation programs like roads and bridges,” Politico reported. The bill will also dedicate money to building schools, hospitals, housing, broadband, drinking water, storm water, the energy grid and vehicle safety. McConnell called the bill “nonsense,” “absurd,” and “pure fantasy,” while collectively, Republicans said it’s a Democratic wish-list. The Trump administration said it would veto the bill if passed by Senate.

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Archie Bell & The Drells - Strategy [The Reflex Revision]



Label:
Philadelphia International Records ‎– 428 3701
Format:
Vinyl, 12", 33 ⅓ RPM, Single
Country:
Jamaica
Released:
1979
Genre:
Funk / Soul
Style:
Soul, Disco







Tinie - Whoppa (feat. Sofia Reyes and Farina) [Official Video]



• Premiered 8 hours ago


Do Americans Understand How Badly They're Doing?

In France, where I live, the virus is under control. I can hardly believe the news coming out of the United States.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/07/america-land-pathetic/613747/



I returned to Paris with my family three months after President Emmanuel Macron had ordered one of the world’s most aggressive national quarantines, and one month after France had begun to ease itself out of it. When we exited the Gare Montparnasse into the late-spring glare, after a season tucked away in a rural village with more cows than people as neighbors, it was jarring to be thrust back into the world as we’d previously known it, to see those café terraces overflowing again with smiling faces. My first reaction was one of confused frustration as we drove north across the river to our apartment. The city had been culled of its tourists, though it was bustling with inhabitants basking in their reclaimed freedom. Half at most wore masks; the other half evinced indifference. We were in the midst of a crisis, I complained to my wife. Why were so many people unable to maintain even minimal discipline? Glued as I am to the news from the U.S.—where I was born and grew up and travel frequently— I couldn’t shake the feeling that France was also opening up recklessly early. But I was wrong to worry. As Donald Trump’s America continues to shatter records for daily infections, France, like most other developed nations and even some undeveloped ones, seems to have beat back the virus.

The numbers are not ambiguous. From a peak of 7,581 new cases across the country on March 31, and with a death toll now just below 30,000—at one point the world’s fourth highest—there were just 526 new cases on June 13, the day we masked ourselves and took the train back to Paris. The caseload continues to be small and manageable. America, however, is an utter disaster. Texas, Florida, and Arizona are the newest hubs of contagion, having apparently learned nothing from the other countries and states that previously experienced surges in cases. I stared at my phone in disbelief when the musician Rosanne Cash wrote on Twitter that her daughter had been called a “liberal pussy!” in Nashville for wearing a mask to buy groceries. That insult succinctly conveys the crux of the problem. American leadership has politicized the pandemic instead of trying to fight it. I see no preparedness, no coordinated top-down leadership of the sort we’ve enjoyed in Europe. I see only empty posturing, the sad spectacle of the president refusing to wear a mask, just to own the libs. What an astonishing self-inflicted wound.

On June 26, a day when the U.S. notched some 45,000 new cases—how’s that for “American carnage”?—the European Union announced that it would loosen some travel restrictions but extend its ban on visitors from the United States and other hot-spot nations. On Tuesday, it confirmed that remarkable and deeply humiliating decision, a clear message that in pandemic management, the EU believes that the United States is no better than Russia and Brazil—autocrat-run public-health disasters—and that American tourists would pose a dire threat to the hard-won stability our lockdown has earned us. So much for the myth that the American political system and way of life are a model for the world. We didn’t stay long in the city. Although the chance of contagion in Paris is minimal, the thought of unnecessary risk unnerved me, and so we left again for another round of self-imposed confinement. But this was a choice. I think of my mother and father trapped in New Jersey, in their 70s and 80s, respectively, and at the mercy of a society that is failing extravagantly to protect them. And it is failing to protect them not from some omnipotent enemy—as we believed in March and perhaps even as late as April—but from a tough and dangerous foe that many other societies have wrestled into submission.

I think of my father, whom I realize I may not see this calendar year or possibly even the next, and I picture him housebound indefinitely, unable to experience a pleasure so anodyne as bookstore browsing. I think of my mother, who is missing her grandchildren’s birthdays and watching them grow tall through FaceTime, and I imagine her leaving the house at dawn to arrive at the grocery store during its early hours for seniors. I am infuriated. I am also reminded once again of the degree to which so many other countries deliver what is, in real terms, a palpably higher quality of life by any number of self-evident measures. America is my home, and I have not emigrated. I have always found the truest expression of my situation in James Baldwin’s label of “transatlantic commuter.” I have lived in France off and on since the early 2000s, and it has been instructive over the decades to glimpse America’s stature reflected back to me through the eyes of a quasi-foreigner. If the country sparked fear and intense resentment under George W. Bush and mild resentment mixed with vicarious pride under Barack Obama, what it provokes under Trump has been something entirely new: pity and indifference. We are the pariah state now, but do we even see it?

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Maldini of dogs

https://twitter.com/TrollFootball/status/1278280244147847168
We could use him after the horror show our centre backs had versus West Ham.

Catholic Indiana Priest Slammed For Calling Black Lives Matter Protesters 'Maggots And Parasites'

https://percolately.com/catholic-priest-blm-maggots-parasites/



During his latest weekly message to parishioners, a Catholic priest in Indiana called anti-racism protesters “maggots and parasites,” according to the Indianapolis Star.

Father Theodore Rothrock of St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Church in Carmel, Indiana compared the group to animals during a longer written denunciation of the ongoing protests across the United States. The anti-racism and anti-police brutality protests began over a month ago with the May 25 killing of George Floyd.

The wording of Rothrock’s written message implied specific animosity toward Black Lives Matter, a decentralized social justice organization dedicated to supporting efforts to end systemic racism in local communities across the United States.

Rothrock used colorful language to launch his attack.

“The only lives that matter are their own and the only power they seek is their own. They are wolves in wolves clothing, masked thieves and bandits, seeking only to devour the life of the poor and profit from the fear of others.” “They are maggots and parasites at best, feeding off the isolation of addiction and broken families, and offering to replace any current frustration and anxiety with more misery and greater resentment.”

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Greg Palast : Killer Lines, Killer Cops, and Trump's Vote-Heist Dress Rehearsal

https://www.gregpalast.com/killer-lines-killer-cops-and-trumps-vote-heist-dress-rehearsal/

Jerry Thomas got his Georgia Primary ballot on June 10. The Primary Election was June 9. Getting shafted out of your vote is not unusual for an African-American like Mr. Thomas. What’s unusual is that Mr. Thomas's wife, Andrea Young, is the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia. Young knows that her husband’s story was repeated thousands of times in Black households. And she is raising hell about it. And that's how Trump stole the 2020 election. Because what the press calls the “meltdown” in Georgia (and in the Wisconsin and Kentucky primaries) was very much a dress rehearsal for the plan for minority voting hell in November, not only in Georgia but in a slew of other GOP-controlled swing states. Don't pull out your hair: this ballot burglary can be busted—as long as we understand the crafty new mechanisms of the vote heist caper that the GOP took for a field test in Georgia.



Mail-in voting: more than “Pick and Lick”

Question: Why did Black voters Atlanta wait hours in line and risk catching a fatal virus? Answer: You can't mail in your ballot unless it's mailed to you in the first place. According to an MIT study, a breathtaking 22% of all mail-in ballots are never counted. Mostly, absentee ballots don't get counted because they were never received in the first place or, as for Mr. Thomas, sent late. However, the “un-count” is huge because some states are simply refusing absentee ballots to hundreds of thousands of registrants—or, not sending cards that allow the voter to ask for the mail-in ballot. Georgia is one of the GOP's ballot-refusing champs. The state refused to send mail-in ballot requests to over a quarter million voters on their so-called “inactive” voter list. An “inactive” voter is a citizen who chose not to vote in a couple elections. In America, you have a right to vote—or not to vote. Indeed, the National Voter Registration Act says in crystal clear terms, that a state “shall not remove any person from the official list of voters registered to vote… by reason of the person's failure to vote.”

But, Georgia's Republican Secretary of State chose not to send an absentee ballot request forms to this mass of voters. Georgia was simply following the lead of swing state Ohio where another GOP Secretary of State refused over one million absentee ballot request cards to “inactive” registered voters. Why? Here’s a possible explanation: Inactive lists, filled with young voters, are roughly two-to-one Democratic. Then there’s the much bigger list of citizens also denied ballots: The Purged. In 2018, Georgia purged, that is, erased the registrations of, over half a million citizens on the grounds they'd left Georgia or moved from their home county. Seems reasonable: you shouldn't vote in Savannah if you don't live there. But there's more than a wee problem with this list of “movers”—they didn't move. The Palast Investigative Fund retained John Lenser and company, the nation's top “advanced address list hygiene” experts—the folks used by Amazon and Ebay to confirm your address. The experts determined that 340,134 Georgia “movers” who lost their vote had, in fact, never moved from their registration address.

A deep evil of this purge of “movers” is that they don't know they've lost their registration. I was with voter Christine Jordan in November 2018 when the 92-year-old was given the heave-ho from an Atlanta polling station. Jordan had voted there in every election since 1968—the year her cousin Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered. Those lines of African-American voters you saw in Atlanta this month waiting five hours were not the result of poor local planning. The deadly line disaster was directly tied to thousands of Georgians, according to Atlanta NAACP attorney Gerald Griggs, not receiving their absentee ballots—”The Purged,” the “Inactive,” and the many Mr. Thomases whose mail-in ballots were fatally delayed. Without their ballots, voters had no choice but to wait those hours in humid rain. Then, at the end of the wait, many are, to their surprise, told to scram (as Ms. Jordan had been)—or given a “provisional” ballot.

The provisional dumpster

A better name for provisional ballots would be “placebo ballots”—because they let you think you've voted, but you haven't. In 2016, the Elections Assistance Commission reported that of 2.5 million provisional ballots cast, 925,973 were rejected, nearly a million votes tossed in the electoral dumpster. And who is given these back-of-the-bus provisional ballots? Obama's Presidential Commission on Elections reported that Black and Hispanic voters are more than twice as likely as other voters to get the provisional ballot. Asian-Americans fare even worse. And young voters? Eighteen to 24 year olds are more than twice as likely to be shunted to a provisional ballot. In Georgia, I saw the racial provisional ballot game in action. Just before Ms. Jordan was given the heave-ho, Raheim Shabazz was also told he'd been purged. Shabazz demanded a provisional ballot—but he knew that, by Georgia rules, his ballot would be tossed out, uncounted. But the nice ladies at the polling station did given Shabazz an “I VOTED” lapel sticker which is printed on a drawing of a peach, the state fruit. “What do I do with this?” said the radio host. “Eat it?”

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There's A Devious Way To Help Get Donald Trump Out Of Office

It's a highly effective and proven tactic that will make space for Joe Biden to smash Trump into oblivion in November.

https://thebanter.substack.com/p/theres-a-devious-way-to-help-get



By all accounts, Donald Trump’s bid for re-election in 2020 is in very, very serious trouble. So much trouble in fact, that Trump is openly talking about Biden becoming the next President, and may even be mulling quitting the race altogether if things do not turn around. His poll numbers are in the toilet and getting worse, the Coronavirus pandemic is surging under his leadership (again), and most sensible economists are predicting a prolonged recession with severe job losses. This is not a great record to be running on four months out from an election. There are several steps Trump needs to take to turn things around:



The problem is, Trump is utterly incapable of doing any of the above. He won’t wear a mask because he believes it is a sign of weakness. He won’t take the Coronavirus seriously because he views the economy as his key to victory and the pandemic a minor inconvenience he can pretend isn’t happening. He won’t stop engaging in conspiracy theories because his supporters love it, and he cannot stay on message because of his legendary inability to pay attention to anything for more than a few seconds at a time. Thus his campaign team is horrified about his re-election prospects.


A recent article in Politico laid bare just how bad things are in Trumpland. The article notably reported on his advisors desperate attempts to get him to focus on fighting Biden rather than everyone else: Trump advisers acknowledge that tearing down Biden will require a level of discipline he isn’t demonstrating. They have pleaded with Trump — who has used his Twitter account to vilify critics from MSNBC host Joe Scarborough to former National Security Adviser John Bolton — to stop focusing on slights that mean little to voters. Biden's low-profile during the pandemic has made it that much harder for Trump to land a punch, his advisers said. And this where the public comes in. Trump’s petty vindictiveness and non-existent attention span means he can be very easily thrown off course. The Never Trump Republicans Rick Wilson and George Conway founded the Lincoln Project to do exactly this. They have been creating astonishingly effective viral videos attacking Trump on a whole host of issues designed specifically to annoy Trump. They have questioned his health, accused him of being a traitor, and called him a racist — and they have made absolutely sure he sees their videos:

In the past few months, the Lincoln Project — a PAC with not much funding, as far as PACs go — has successfully established itself as a squatter in Trump’s mental space, thanks to several factors: members each boasting hundreds of thousands of social media followers, rapidly cut ads that respond to current events and a single-minded focus on buying airtime wherever Trump is most likely to be bingeing cable news that day, whether it’s the D.C. market or his golf courses across the country. And every time Trump freaks out — or every time the media covers his freakout — the Lincoln Project scores an incalculable amount of earned media, and millions of views online to boot. If regular Americans help amplify these efforts by forcing Trump to engage with these ads or any other celebrity/media figure’s negative comments about him, Trump will respond. And the more he responds, the less Joe Biden needs to spend time portraying him as a dangerously incompetent buffoon, and the more he can focus on campaigning and spreading a positive message for his Presidency. In other words, the job of every concerned American citizen is to now troll Trump at every given opportunity.

If you are not particularly good at trolling, then find those who are, spread their message or help fund their efforts. How low do you want to go? Given this is an all out emergency, pretty much everything is fair game. From his hairpiece to his bone spurs, marriage to Melania and weird relationship with his daughter, no topic should be taboo when spreading rumors and innuendo about the president on social media. Reservations should made at Trump events you have no intention of going to in order to deflate his crown size, and if anyone wants to make another Trump blimp, it should get funded immediately and flown over (or near) the White House. Celebrities, particularly ones Trump has singled out before, should coordinate attacks and get in as many spats with the president as possible. This might appear to be childish — and to a degree it is — but one has to remember who we are dealing with here. Trump is a child, and the more childish he becomes, the less likely he is to be re-elected. You are not trolling Trump for fun, but for the sake of American democracy and the health of the entire planet. So go forth and make the president’s life miserable.

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