Monday, January 27, 2020

If No Travel Ban and No Compulsory Expulsions - We've Been Targetted for Die-Off

CDC |  Situation Summary
CDC is closely monitoring an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus (termed “2019-nCoV”) that was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China and which continues to expand. Chinese health officials have reported more than a thousand infections with 2019-nCoV in China, including outside of Hubei Province. Infections with 2019-nCoV also are being reported in a growing number of international locations, including the United States, where 5 cases in travelers from Wuhan have been confirmed in four states (AZ, CA, IL, WA) as of January 26, 2020.

Source and Spread of the Virus
Chinese health authorities were the first to post the full genome of the 2019-nCoV in GenBankexternal icon, the NIH genetic sequence database, and in the Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAIDexternal icon) portal, an action which has facilitated detection of this virus. On January 24, 2020, CDC posted in GenBank the full genome of the 2019-nCoV virus detected in the first U.S. patient from Washington state. The virus genetic sequence from the patient in Washington is nearly identical to the sequences posted from China. The available sequences suggest a likely single, recent emergence from a virus related to bat coronaviruses and the SARS coronavirus. The available sequence information does not provide any information about severity of associated illness or transmissibility of the virus.

Early on, many of the patients in the outbreak in Wuhan, China reportedly had some link to a large seafood and animal market, suggesting animal-to-person spread. However, a growing number of patients reportedly have not had exposure to animal markets, and there is evidence that person-to-person spread is occurring. At this time, it’s unclear how easily or sustainably this virus is spreading between people. Learn what is known about the spread of newly emerged coronaviruses.

Illness Severity
Both MERS and SARS have been known to cause severe illness in people. The complete clinical picture with regard to 2019-nCoV is still not fully clear. Reported illnesses have ranged from infected people with little to no symptoms to people being severely ill and dying. Learn more about the symptoms associated with 2019-nCoV.

There are ongoing investigations to learn more. This is a rapidly evolving situation and information will be updated as it becomes available.

Confirmed 2019-nCoV Cases Globally

Risk Assessment

Outbreaks of novel virus infections among people are always of public health concern. The risk from these outbreaks depends on characteristics of the virus, including whether and how well it spreads between people, the severity of resulting illness, and the medical or other measures available to control the impact of the virus (for example, vaccine or treatment medications).

Investigations are ongoing to learn more, but person-to-person spread of 2019-nCoV is occurring. Chinese officials report that sustained person-to-person spread in the community is occurring in China. Person-to-person spread in the United States has not yet been detected, but it’s likely to occur to some extent. It’s important to note that person-to-person spread can happen on a continuum. Some viruses are highly contagious (like measles), while other viruses are less so. It’s important to know this in order to better assess the risk posed by this virus. While CDC considers this is a very serious public health threat, based on current information, the immediate health risk from 2019-nCoV to the general American public is considered low at this time. Nevertheless, CDC is taking proactive preparedness precautions.

What to Expect

More cases are likely to be identified in the coming days, including more cases in the United States. Given what has occurred previously with MERS and SARS, it’s likely that person-to-person spread will continue to occur. It would not be surprising if person-to-person spread in the United States were to occur. Cases in healthcare settings, like hospitals, may also occur.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Han Ruling Elite Stuck Between N-1 and N+1 Hardplace - WEE PHUK YU!!!

Quartz |   In the past several weeks, a biting joke has been widely shared on Chinese social media: The new coronavirus is patriotic, so it goes, because it infected only one of China’s 33 provinces and municipalities before venturing outside of the mainland.

Then, people this week woke up to official announcements of a shocking surge of confirmed new infections, and of the virus’s spread to more than a dozen provinces and municipalities. As of Thursday, there are more than 550 confirmed cases, 17 people have died and Wuhan, where the outbreak started, is on lockdown.

Beyond mainland China, Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, the US and Hong Kong have confirmed cases, and more countries could report cases as China’s biggest travel season gets underway: Chinese Lunar New Year.

People are panicking. When a new disease is discovered, it’s undeniably hard to identify and inform the public about it quickly. Yet China is making the problem harder to solve, even though it should have learned from the SARS outbreak in 2003, when the government admitted to underreporting cases in the initial stages. Nearly 800 people died in that epidemic, which saw desperate people emptying shops for Chinese herbal medicines and vinegar that would turn out to be ineffective.

That frenzy was driven by the lack of accurate information and rumors because of a vacuum in top-down communication. The idea of wei wen, or maintaining stability in China’s political system made “conceal as many as possible and keep it at the local level” a natural immediate response to a crisis like this. That approach to information might work on other kinds of issues, but not when it comes to a potential epidemic. Trying to control information in that case becomes a kind of shackle in the face of something that can progress and change swiftly beyond one’s control.

Of course, there is one thing that’s different than 17 years ago: WeChat. A tool connecting more than a billion users in China should be one the government can use to help keep the public up-to-date, and to debunk false information. Yet it too has become a hotbed for both rumors and information suppression amid China’s broader regime of online censorship honed over the past decade. Already, a focus of social media discussion about the current virus crisis has been on how hard it’s been to get correct information, and whether officials were slow to respond in the early stages, at least in Wuhan. While some international public health experts have commended China’s information sharing as superior to 2003 in the face of a quickly evolving situation, others have expressed doubt that the country is being as transparent as it should be.


What Does the Coronavirus Do?

bbc |  The death toll from a newly-discovered coronavirus in China has risen to 41 on the day of the Lunar New Year.

Another 15 deaths in Hubei province, where the outbreak began, were announced on Saturday.
Health officials are struggling to contain the outbreak as millions of people travel for the Chinese new year, one of the most important events. Many festivities have been cancelled.

There are now more than 1,200 confirmed cases in China.

The virus has also spread to Europe, with three cases confirmed in France. The UK is investigating a number of suspected cases, with officials trying to trace around 2,000 people who have recently flown to the UK from Hubei province.

Australia has also confirmed several cases in Melbourne and Sydney, joining a handful of countries treating patients.

The coronavirus, previously unknown to science, causes severe acute respiratory infection with symptoms including a fever and cough. There is no specific cure or vaccine.

Based on an earlier report of the fatalities, when just 17 were dead, most of the victims appeared to be older people, many with pre-existing medical conditions.

But one of the dead in the most recent update was a doctor at a hospital in Hubei, China Global Television Network reported.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Precarity - Neofeudal Slave Nouveau

nakedcapitalism |  precarity is the result of the shift in the last couple of generations of business revenues away from workers and towards profits, or capital, if you prefer. And that most people are far too complacent about that because they have deeply internalized prevailing market/neoliberal ideology.

Robert Heilbroner identified this tendency in his 1988 book, Behind the Veil of Economics. A major focus was contrasting the source of discipline under feudalism versus under capitalism. Heilbroner argues it was the bailiff and the lash, that lords would incarcerate and beat serfs who didn’t pull their weight. But the lord had obligations to his serfs too, so this relationship was not as one-sided as it might seem. By contrast, Heilbroner argues that the power structure under capitalism is far less obvious:
This negative form of power contrasts sharply with with that of the privileged elites in precapitalist social formations. In these imperial kingdoms or feudal holdings, disciplinary power is exercised by the direct use or display of coercive power. The social power of capital is of a different kind….The capitalist may deny others access to his resources, but he may not force them to work with him. Clearly, such power requires circumstances that make the withholding of access of critical consequence. These circumstances can only arise if the general populace is unable to secure a living unless it can gain access to privately owned resources or wealth…
The organization of production is generally regarded as a wholly “economic” activity, ignoring the political function served by the wage-labor relationships in lieu of bailiffs and senechals. In a like fashion, the discharge of political authority is regarded as essentially separable from the operation of the economic realm, ignoring the provision of the legal, military, and material contributions without which the private sphere could not function properly or even exist. In this way, the presence of the two realms, each responsible for part of the activities necessary for the maintenance of the social formation, not only gives capitalism a structure entirely different from that of any precapitalist society, but also establishes the basis for a problem that uniquely preoccupies capitalism, namely, the appropriate role of the state vis-a-vis the sphere of production and distribution.
The bygone decade is marked by a radical change in relations between employers and employees. According to recent research by the Bank of England, the labour share of income in the last thirty to forty years significantly fell in the USA and in other advanced economies as well. The decline of influence of labour as well as new technologies adopted by big corporations have led to new forms of employment: mostly flexible, low-payed, unstable jobs that are underregulated by labour legislation.

The state of things in capital-labour relations with constant redistribution of wealth and power to capital owners is without exaggeration class warfare (an expression, with a good reason, constantly used by Bernie Sanders). Ideology is ready as a powerful weapon in this class war. Media, internet, books and experts strive to persuade workers that this state of insecurity is necessary, normal or even desirable. And the defenders of flexible and unstable jobs claim that this is objective logic of economy which has nothing to do with political decision-making.

Citizen My Ass - You are an Indebted Tenant of the Sovereign

theamericanconservative |  The REAL ID Act has been intensely controversial since its 2005 enactment in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, and fiercely opposed by both conservatives and liberals. Twenty-five  states passed resolutions objecting to the law or signaling that they would not comply. The Electronic Frontier Foundation declared in 2007,  “A federal law that aims to conscript the states into creating a national ID system… is precisely the kind of scheme that the framers expected that federalism would guard against.” 

But the Department of Homeland Security has compelled submission by announcing that the Transportation Security Agency will prohibit Americans from flying unless they have either a REAL ID Act-approved driver’s license or a passport.  The Supreme Court ruled in 1999 that the “‘constitutional right to travel from one State to another’ is firmly embedded in our jurisprudence.” But REAL ID Act policies have routinely scorned both the Bill of Rights and Supreme Court rulings. 

Most Americans do not possess passports, so federally-approved state driver’s licenses are becoming de facto internal passports. Almost a hundred million Americans do not have REAL ID-compliant identification, according to the U.S. Travel Association. In Minnesota, 11 percent of drivers still have licenses that will be rejected at TSA checkpoints starting on October 1. States and individuals are chaotically scrambling to meet the law’s shifting demands. Twitter is echoing with howls of people who spend hours at motor vehicle administration offices only to have their paperwork rejected because of picayune quibbles. 

But the REAL ID law poses perils far beyond the airport entrance. Maryland began issuing REAL ID driver’s licenses in 2009. In 2017, the Department of Homeland Security notified the state that its REAL ID licenses were invalid unless Maryland snared more documents for each driver. More than half a million drivers remain at risk for losing their licenses.  

TheWashington Post reported in August that 8,000 Maryland licenses have been suspended. Three months earlier, MVA announced that 66,300 people were at risk of having their driver’s license or identification cards revoked for failure to comply with MVA demands.  As Maryland ramps up enforcement, the number of suspended licenses is probably far higher now but MVA spokespersons failed to respond to repeated press inquiries seeking the latest number. Maryland police are seizing the license of any driver who they stop whose only offense was failure to hustle to show Maryland bureaucrats their birth certificate, passport, utility bills, Social Security card, or other proof of their identity. 

Since the 2005 enactment of the REAL ID Act, the federal government has helped bankroll the license plate scanner networks  that permit tracking any driver on the roads in many parts of the nation. If Maryland decides to target people who received cancellation notices, there are almost 500 license plate scanners deployed in police cars and elsewhere in the state that compile almost half a billion scans of driver’s per year. If the order is given to use the scanners, a thousand people a day could be stripped of their licenses and potentially arrested. MVA spokespersons failed to respond to inquiries about whether license plate scanners may be used for enforcing REAL ID compliance demands.

Friday, January 24, 2020

U.S. Foreign Policy: Weaponizing Fascism for "Democracy"

yasha.substack |  When I launched Immigrants as a Weapon back in September, I argued that America had done more to promote the far-right around the world than any other country on earth. I wasn’t exaggerating. America really is the biggest and most active player in the field — the biggest by far. 

Even a cursory look at modern American history shows that promoting nationalism and backing far-right emigre groups has been a major plank of American foreign policy going back to the very end of World War II. This mixture of covert and overt programs and initiatives was first deployed to fight the Soviet Union and left-wing political movements but has over the years touched down all over the globe — wherever America has some sort of geopolitical interest, including modern capitalist states like Russia and China. One of these nationalism weaponization initiatives — which targeted the USSR for destabilization in the 70s and 80s — was how a Soviet kid like me ended up in San Francisco as a political refugee.

This history is important. Without it, it’s impossible to understand the mechanics of our reactionary foreign policy today — whether in China or with our “strategic partner” Ukraine, a country that’s at the center of today’s impeachment show.

There are all sorts of possible entry points into this story. I guess I could go all the way back to America’s support for the White Russians against the Bolsheviks in the Russian Civil War. But for now I’d like to start at the very end of World War II — when this approach was just beginning to crystalize as a distinct strategy inside America’s foreign policy apparatus.

Uh.., Vote Counting Isn't Exactly Rocket Science

williammarble |  A surprising fact about the 2016 election is that Trump received fewer votes from whites with the highest levels of racial resentment than Romney did in 2012. This fact is surprising given studies that emphasize “activation” of racial conservatism in 2016—the increased relationship between vote choice and racial attitudes among voters. But this relationship provides almost no information about how many votes candidates receive from individuals with particular attitudes. To understand how many votes a voting bloc contributes to a candidate’s total, we must also consider a bloc’s size and its turnout rate. Taking these into account, we find that Trump’s most significant gains came from whites with moderate attitudes about race and immigration. Trump’s vote totals improved the most among swing voters: low-socioeconomic status whites who are political moderates. Our analysis demonstrates that focusing only on vote choice is insufficient to explain sources of candidate support in the electorate.

A surprising fact about the 2016 election is that Donald Trump received fewer votes from whites with high levels of racial resentment than Mitt Romney did in 2012. We estimate that, nationwide, Romney received 18.3 million votes from whites in the highest quintile of racial resentment (defined using the 2012 distribution of racial resentment), 8.2 percent of the2012 voting eligible population, while Trump received 12.4 million votes from individuals in the highest quintile, 5.4 percent of the 2016 voting eligible population.1This translated into fewer net votes for Trump: his advantage over Clinton among individuals with the highest levels of racial resentment was smaller than Romney’s advantage over Obama by 3.4 million votes.

Trump saw this decrease in support even though whites who turned out to vote and had high levels of racial resentment voted for Trump at higher rates than they chose Romney. But there was also a shift in attitudes: fewer whites had high levels of racial resentment in 2016than in 2012 (Engelhardt, 2019; Hopkins and Washington, 2019; DeSante and Smith, 2019)and there was an overall decline in turnout. As a result, there were fewer racial-conservative whites to cast their vote for Trump in the voting booth. So, even though these voters selected Trump at a higher rate once they turned out to vote, the higher rate of support for Trump was not enough to overcome the change in the distribution of attitudes and the change in turnout rates across elections.

This fact might seem particularly surprising in light of a social science literature that has focused on vote choice, conclusively showing that attitudes about race and ethnicity were the most “activated” in 2016 relative to 2012 (Sides, Tesler and Vavreck, 2019; Mutz, 2018;Reny, Collingwood and Valenzuela, 2019).2

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Hegemonic Han N+1 and N-1 Equals PHUK EVERYONE and Must Not be Tolerated...,

nature |  A laboratory in Wuhan is on the cusp of being cleared to work with the world’s most dangerous pathogens. The move is part of a plan to build between five and seven biosafety level-4 (BSL-4) labs across the Chinese mainland by 2025, and has generated much excitement, as well as some concerns.

Some scientists outside China worry about pathogens escaping, and the addition of a biological dimension to geopolitical tensions between China and other nations. But Chinese microbiologists are celebrating their entrance to the elite cadre empowered to wrestle with the world’s greatest biological threats.

“It will offer more opportunities for Chinese researchers, and our contribution on the BSL‑4-level pathogens will benefit the world,” says George Gao, director of the Chinese Academy of Sciences Key Laboratory of Pathogenic Microbiology and Immunology in Beijing. There are already two BSL-4 labs in Taiwan, but the National Bio-safety Laboratory, Wuhan, would be the first on the Chinese mainland.

The lab was certified as meeting the standards and criteria of BSL-4 by the China National Accreditation Service for Conformity Assessment (CNAS) in January. The CNAS examined the lab’s infrastructure, equipment and management, says a CNAS representative, paving the way for the Ministry of Health to give its approval. A representative from the ministry says it will move slowly and cautiously; if the assessment goes smoothly, it could approve the laboratory by the end of June.

BSL-4 is the highest level of biocontainment: its criteria include filtering air and treating water and waste before they leave the laboratory, and stipulating that researchers change clothes and shower before and after using lab facilities. Such labs are often controversial. The first BSL-4 lab in Japan was built in 1981, but operated with lower-risk pathogens until 2015, when safety concerns were finally overcome.

The expansion of BSL-4-lab networks in the United States and Europe over the past 15 years — with more than a dozen now in operation or under construction in each region — also met with resistance, including questions about the need for so many facilities.

The Wuhan lab cost 300 million yuan (US$44 million), and to allay safety concerns it was built far above the flood plain and with the capacity to withstand a magnitude-7 earthquake, although the area has no history of strong earthquakes. It will focus on the control of emerging diseases, store purified viruses and act as a World Health Organization ‘reference laboratory’ linked to similar labs around the world. “It will be a key node in the global biosafety-lab network,” says lab director Yuan Zhiming.

What Dirty MF's DO DO With Today's Surveillance Technology

commentarymagazine |  Obama’s FBI and former intelligence-community leaders kept open an investigation into Trump after that investigation yielded exculpatory evidence. Following Trump’s election, Comey, Brennan, and a host of Obama national-security officials weaponized the allegations against Trump by becoming pundits themselves on cable news channels and suggesting by their very presence that they had inside information about the Trump-Russia conspiracy—information they did not have. With few exceptions, members of Congress and the press who should have scrutinized their false assertions acted as an echo chamber to amplify them.

Is it any wonder that no Republican voted to impeach Trump in the House on the Ukraine matter? This cannot just be explained away as political and moral cowardice. It’s a response to the failure of the party leading the impeachment to acknowledge the falsehood of its initial conspiracy theory about Russia.

But it also must be said that this debacle is not evidence of a deep-state coup, as so many on the right have alleged. There are two important reasons for this. First, there is no singular “deep state.” 

Horowitz also showed in his report that there were FBI agents at the New York field office who were rooting for Trump. Certainly the key deep-state figure here would be James Comey—and if he were, why would he have mortally damaged the campaign of Trump’s rival 10 days before the election by briefly reopening the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private server? In any case, the “deep-state” theory suggests there is a governmental hive mind, an unelected bureaucracy that runs things while officials like Comey sit on top, clueless and imagining themselves powerful.

You can see how the “deep-state” theory might let the actual saboteurs off the hook. Comey, McCabe, Brennan, and others had a mix of motivations for making the decisions that they did. To say they were acting on behalf of an unelected bureaucracy is to absolve them.

The deep-state theory also leads those who espouse it to overreact. If the institutional rot is this profound, then why not eliminate the FBI and CIA altogether? But that’s a bit like calling for the abolition of a police department after a brutality scandal. The country needs spies and lawmen to protect us against real foreign threats. The problem with the Trump-Russia investigation is that at the moment the investigators were receiving exculpatory evidence, the false collusion theory became the hottest story in the world. And that happened because the most important evidence the FBI leadership believed was true was also briefed to media.

This should never happen again. And, in normal times, it would not have happened. Journalists would have maintained their initial skepticism about the dossier. FBI lawyers would have been more vigilant about including exculpatory information in the Page surveillance warrant. Congressional leaders would have been more restrained in publicly questioning the loyalty of Americans who worked for a rival political campaign. Former intelligence officials would not have deployed innuendo to imply that the legitimately elected president of the United States was a traitor.

But Trump was perceived to be such a threat to the republic that resistance was required. That resistance became a permission structure to break longstanding rules and norms. Just consider Clinesmith, the FBI attorney who altered an email from the CIA to make it appear that Carter Page was not assisting the agency when he really was. In a footnote, Horowitz quotes an instant message from Clinesmith to a colleague the day after Trump won the election in 2016. “I am so stressed about what I could have done differently,” he wrote. Two weeks later he tapped out a message that ended with “Viva le [sic] resistance.”

It’s rare that law-enforcement scandals involve officials who acknowledge bad motives to themselves. They are almost always the result of cops and lawyers who justify their infractions and misconduct as a necessary means to a more noble end. From Comey to Clinesmith, the investigators responsible for the Russia investigation really believed that Trump was a unique threat to the republic and that they were justified in taking the steps that they did. The problem is that their theory about Trump and Russia was wrong, and the shortcuts they took to prove the theory true blinded them from seeing their folly sooner.

That folly has deformed our politics. Now, in 2020, voters are faced with a choice between two parties led by conspiracy theorists and gaslighters. Instead of saving America from Trump, the Resistance may have reelected him.

Imagine if These Dirty MF's Had Had Today's Surveillance Technology at Their Disposal

commondreams |  After the FBI took to Twitter Monday with a message that allegedly aimed to honor "the life and work" of Martin Luther King Jr., a chorus of critics promptly urged the bureau to "sit this one out," pointing to its history of spying on King and trying to convince the civil rights leader to kill himself.

Each year on the national holiday dedicated to King, progressives criticize and work to counter the whitewashed public narrative of a man who, particularly in the years leading up to his April 1968 assassination, passionately condemned the "evils" of capitalism, militarism, and racism.

The FBI, during both the Obama and Trump administrations, has provoked a wave of criticism for posting shoutouts to King on social media, given the bureau's past treatment of him. Monday was no different.

Some critics expressed anger and disbelief. Rewire.News senior legal analyst Imani Gandy wrote in response to the FBI, "You've got to be fucking kidding me."

Journalist David Corn posed "a sincere question," asking: "Has the FBI ever apologized to King's family for wiretapping King, blackmailing him, and trying to get him to commit suicide?"

Crawford also noted that "the FBI's surveillance of black Americans isn't just history. [In 2018], we learned the FBI has been spying on black activists, labeling them 'Black Identity Extremists.' The feds also use powers obtained through national security laws like the Patriot Act to target people in the racially biased drug war."

"More disturbing: The FBI that spied on King and today classifies Black civil rights activists as 'extremists,'" Crockford continued, "is now partnering with Big Tech to amass unprecedented surveillance powers that history has taught us will be used to target communities of color, religious minorities, dissidents, and immigrants."

FBI director Christopher Wray testified before Congress in July 2019 that the bureau has stopped using the term "black identity extremism." However, some groups and individuals on Monday shared critiques of the FBI's current practices alongside denunciations of the bureau's past behavior.

The London-based advocacy group CAGE, which works to empower communities impacted by the War on Terror, tweeted Monday that the FBI still tries "to suppress dissent" and uses "dirty tactics that would make Edgar Hoover proud. But [is] happy now to co-opt MLK to try to cover up the above."

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Only the Hard and Strong May Call Themselves Spartans, Only the Hard, Only the Strong...,

Summit |  Drag queen Kitty Demure posted a viral video in which he expressed his amazement at why ‘woke’ parents are allowing their kids to be around drag queens, asking, “Would you want a stripper or a porn star to influence your child?” 

Demure questioned why drag queens had attracted so much “respect” from the left given that they’ve done little more than “put on make-up, jump on the floor and writhe around and do sexual things on stage.”

“I have absolutely no idea why you would want that to influence your child, would you want a stripper or a porn star to influence your child?” he asked.

Demure went on to point out that drag queens perform in clubs for adults and that backstage “there’s a lot of sex, nudity and drugs, so I don’t think this is an avenue you would want your child to explore.”

“To get them involved in drag is extremely irresponsible on your part,” Demure told parents, adding that many went along with it to appear “cool” or “woke” to their leftist friends.

“You can raise your child to be just a normal regular everyday child without including them in gay, sexual things,” said Demure.

Calling Things By Their Real Names

charleshughsmith | In last week's explanation of why the Federal Reserve is evil, I invoked the principle of calling things by their real names, a concept that drew an insightful commentary from longtime correspondent Chad D.:
Thank you, Charles, for calling out the Fed for their evil ways. We have to properly name things before we can properly address them. I would add that the Fed's endless creation of "money" to hand out to connected bankers (not all bankers) is just one facet of the evil. The evil also manifests itself as extraordinary political-economical power in a system that allows legalized bribery disguised as free speech.
One does not need money to speak/write to convey one's thoughts, but what money does allow is the drowning out of speech of those without money by those with a lot of money. In essence, the ultra-rich (i.e. the top .01%) get a huge megaphone to blare their thoughts, many of which are deliberately used to disorient and confuse the common man through the major media and so-called higher institutions of learning. Hence, we get common folk actively fighting for policies and laws that are against their own personal interests, such as promoting "free trade" agreements that are really managed trade agreements, whereby domestic workers are forced to complete with workers in other countries who make a pittance and are not protected by labor or environmental laws.
These agreements are part of a legal, yet unjust, framework that gives unfair, competitive advantages to large, multinational businesses at the expense of their smaller domestic and international competitors, which includes the abridgment of basic rights to settle disputes in a real court of law, not some kangaroo arbitration process with biased "judges".
And we must not forget the bailouts, lack of prosecution for economic crimes, such as fraud and monopolistic and deceptive trade practices, and tax loopholes, all of which are bought in one way or another from the compromised "representatives" and "public servants" within the system.

Trump Impeached for Interfering with A System of "Woke, Self-Serving, Lying and Looting"

mattstoller.substack |  If the goal of economics were to ascertain truthful views about the world, if economics were as its proponents offer, a ‘science,’ then one would remark on the lack of self-policing within the profession. Of course, given that there is limited self-policing at best and the top practitioners in the field are routinely wrong about fundamental questions, we can conclude that uncovering truth may be an incidental outcome of the practice of economics, but it is certainly not the goal of the discipline.

Methodological Biases in Economics
There are three main problems with economics as a ‘science’ that can guide public policy choices. The first is that it is a post-mortem discipline. Economists often assert we need data before drawing conclusions. Economist Thomas Phillipon noted this in his book on the institutional basis of markets that an economist was like that of Sherlock Holmes, asserting ‘data data data, I cannot make bricks without clay.” And yet, there was no data in 2000 when the U.S. changes its policies vis-a-vis China, because the consequences were in the future. There’s nothing wrong with being a study of the past that has a specific quantitative framework, as long as there is a genuine acknowledgment that there’s no science here and projections have no scientific validity whatsoever. 

The second is that using economics to make judgments about the world can be extraordinarily costly and exclusionary. This may or may not be a big deal when considering macro-economic forecasting, but when economics becomes a key part of institutional legal arguments it shades who can use the law to protect their rights. For example, showing that someone robbed me by breaking into my house requires evidence and common sense. But bringing an antitrust lawsuit showing someone robbed me by excluding me from a market often requires millions in economics consulting services. If you don’t have that money, the law becomes meaningless.

The third is that an obsession with quantifying leads to political control by those who have access to data. A well-known example is famous economist Alan Krueger, who was paid by Uber and then wrote widely circulated scholarship based on internal Uber data about the corporation’s wage setting terms. But it’s broader than just one company, most of the big tech platforms work with economists, giving these powerful corporate entities a measure of political control over lines of research. Beyond tech, it’s actually quite hard to get information on a whole host of practices in the economy. For example, the Trump administration had to battle hospitals just to get them to disclose their official price list for different procedures (which isn’t even real considering the extent of secret discounts and rebates throughout the industry).

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Meanwhile, McClatchy Started Some McCarthy-ite Isht With My Favorite Local Radio Station...,

kansascity |  A Kansas City area radio station can broadcast Russian state-owned media programming, the type that U.S. intelligence called a “propaganda machine,” for six hours a day through a lease agreement struck by a local radio operator.

RM Broadcasting LLC, a Florida-based company that has agreements to broadcast the Russian state media program Radio Sputnik, reached a deal on Jan. 1 to lease air time through Alpine Broadcasting Corp. in Liberty. Alpine Broadcasting Corp. broadcasts on three frequencies in the Kansas City area: KCXL 1140 AM, 102.9 FM and 104.7 FM. 

The lease agreement lets RM Broadcasting air its programming from 6 to 9 a.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. seven days a week. KCXL’s website, which says that it’s the radio station that will “tell you the things that the liberal media wont (sic) tell you,” lists Radio Sputnik in its morning programming.

A 2017 report by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence that evaluated Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election described Sputnik as “another government-funded outlet producing pro-Kremlin radio and online content in a variety of languages for international audiences.”

Read more here:

Sputnik, along with Russian television outlet RT — formerly Russia Today — “contributed to the influence campaign by serving as a platform for Kremlin messaging to Russian and international audiences,” the DNI intelligence assessment said. 

Those descriptions were part of a larger set of findings by the Director of National Intelligence that said Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign during the 2016 elections that sought to undermine public faith in the U.S. election process, denigrate Hillary Clinton and promote Donald Trump.

RM Broadcasting is run in Florida by a man named Arnold Ferolito. He disputed the government’s assessment of Radio Sputnik.

“Ninety percent of the programming is generated right here in the United States,” Ferolito told The Star in an interview.

Read more here:

Read more here:

Spartans Showed Up in Athens Yesterday and Demonstrated Self-Discipline AHOO! HOO! HOO!

BaltimoreSun | Thousands of mostly white men — many decked out in camouflage and armed with assault-style rifles — packed Richmond’s streets Monday, circling the gun-free Capitol Square, where thousands more waved signs and listened to speeches, all wanting to make one point: They weren’t going anywhere, and their gun rights shouldn’t either.

“I think there’s an assault on the Second Amendment,” said 60-year-old Richmond resident Danny Tumer, who was standing in line to get into the grounds at 6:30 a.m.

Tensions have been building across the state since Democrats gained a majority in the legislature and vowed to enact tighter gun control laws following the May mass shooting in Virginia Beach. As lawmakers filed bills to limit handgun purchases and require universal background checks, gun owners packed local government chambers, demanding localities not enforce any legislation they considered an infringement on their Second Amendment rights.

Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, had placed Richmond under a state of emergency prior to the event, saying the annual Virginia Citizens Defense League lobby day and rally Monday — which was also Martin Luther King Jr. Day — had drawn the attention of militia and out-of-state groups who have come to “intimidate” and “cause harm."

He banned weapons from statehouse grounds, and anyone who wanted to be on Capitol Square had to pass through metal detectors and have their bags searched, causing lengthy lines. Many protesters wore orange stickers with the words “Guns SAVE Lives.”

Throughout the morning, the overwhelmingly pro-gun crowd, many from out of state, remained peaceful. There were only small groups of counter-protesters. Officials estimated 6,000 people were inside Capitol square, with another 16,000 outside the gates.

Only one person, a 21-year-old woman, was arrested, according to officials who ran the Twitter page VACapitol2020. She was charged with wearing a mask in public after police asked her multiple times to adjust the bandanna around her face.

Many of the participants left on charter buses by 2 p.m.