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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
 
 
Friday 15th of May 2020
 
Afternoon,
Africa

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The Latest Daily PodCast can be found here on the Front Page of the site
http://www.rich.co.ke

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Paul Tudor Jones on CNBC: "Gold is going substantially higher." Store of value for 2,500 years. taking out the peaks of the 70s and 80s! @EconguyRosie
Africa


Production growth of bullion is 1% annually while the Fed is creating
money supply at a 30% pace -- taking out the peaks of the 70s and 80s!

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24-FEB-2020 :: The Viral Moment has Arrived #COVID19
Africa


At this point I would venture Gold is correlated to the #Coronavirus
which is set to turn parabolic and is already non linear and
exponential ~

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The Way we live now #COVID19
Africa


Don DeLillo wrote "Everything is barely weeks. Everything is days. We
have minutes to live."

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Al Khidr is associated strongly with dreams and dream divination. @aaolomi
Africa


There are various popular folk prayers used to invoke a visitation
from him, or to ascertain the answer to a question

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I am asked a lot recently: Will a war break out between China and the US? @HuXijin_GT
Law & Politics


I am asked a lot recently: Will a war break out between China and the
US? My answer: The two countries increasingly dislike each other,
various conflicts are rising, therefore, risk for a military clash is
increasing. But meanwhile, they both don't want a war. Am I right?

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Asked in a Fox Business Network interview whether he had spoken to Xi recently, Trump said that they have “a very good relationship” but “right now, I don’t want to speak to him. I don’t want to speak to him.”
Law & Politics


Unprompted, he said that “we could cut off the whole relationship. If
we did, what would happen? You’d save $500 billion,” an inaccurate
reference to the volume of trade between the countries.
Trump has sought to blame China for the coronavirus pandemic as public
confidence in his handling of the U.S. outbreak has sunk.
There have been more than 1.3 million cases of Covid-19 in the U.S.
and at least 82,900 deaths, the most in the world. China has reported
only about 4,600 deaths from the disease.

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Inside @realDonaldTrump’s coronavirus meltdown #COVID19 @FT
Law & Politics


When the history is written of how America handled the global era’s
first real pandemic, March 6 will leap out of the timeline. That was
the day Donald Trump visited the US Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention in Atlanta. His foray to the world’s best disease research
body was meant to showcase that America had everything under control.
It came midway between the time he was still denying the coronavirus
posed a threat and the moment he said he had always known it could
ravage America. Shortly before the CDC visit, Trump said “within a
couple of days, [infections are] going to be down to close to zero”.
The US then had 15 cases. “One day, it’s like a miracle, it will
disappear.” A few days afterwards, he claimed: “I’ve felt it was a
pandemic long before it was called a pandemic.” That afternoon at the
CDC provides an X-ray into Trump’s mind at the halfway point between
denial and acceptance. We now know that Covid-19 had already passed
the breakout point in the US. The contagion had been spreading for
weeks in New York, Washington state and other clusters. The curve was
pointing sharply upwards. Trump’s goal in Atlanta was to assert the
opposite. Wearing his “Keep America Great” baseball cap, the US
president was flanked by Robert Redfield, head of the CDC, Alex Azar,
the US secretary of health and human services, and Brian Kemp,
governor of Georgia. In his 47-minute interaction with the press,
Trump rattled through his greatest hits. He dismissed CNN as fake
news, boasted about his high Fox News viewership, cited the US stock
market’s recent highs, called Washington state’s Democratic governor a
“snake” and admitted he hadn’t known that large numbers of people
could die from ordinary flu. He also misunderstood a question on
whether he should cancel campaign rallies for public health reasons.
“I haven’t had any problems filling [the stadiums],” Trump said. What
caught the media’s attention were two comments he made about the
disease. There would be four million testing kits available within a
week. “The tests are beautiful,” he said. “Anybody that needs a test
gets a test.”

Ten weeks later, that is still not close to being true. Fewer than 3
per cent of Americans had been tested by mid-May. Trump also boasted
about his grasp of science. He cited a “super genius” uncle, John
Trump, who taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and
implied he inherited his intellect. “I really get it,” he said. “Every
one of these doctors said, ‘How do you know so much about this?’ Maybe
I have a natural ability.” Historians might linger on that observation
too. What the headlines missed was a boast that posterity will take
more seriously than Trump’s self-estimated IQ, or the exaggerated test
numbers (the true number of CDC kits by March was 75,000). Trump
proclaimed that America was leading the world. South Korea had its
first infection on January 20, the same day as America’s first case,
and was, he said, calling America for help. “They have a lot of people
that are infected; we don’t.” “All I say is, ‘Be calm,’” said the
president. “Everyone is relying on us. The world is relying on us.”
America is first in the world in deaths, first in the world in
infections and we stand out as an emblem of global incompetence
William Burns, former US diplomat He could just as well have said
baseball is popular or foreigners love New York. American leadership
in any disaster, whether a tsunami or an Ebola outbreak, has been a
truism for decades. The US is renowned for helping others in an
emergency. In hindsight, Trump’s claim to global leadership leaps out.
History will mark Covid-19 as the first time that ceased to be true.
US airlifts have been missing in action. America cannot even supply
itself. South Korea, which has a population density nearly 15 times
greater and is next door to China, has lost a total of 259 lives to
the disease. There have been days when America has lost 10 times that
number. The US death toll is now approaching 90,000. What has gone
wrong? I interviewed dozens of people, including outsiders who Trump
consults regularly, former senior advisers, World Health Organization
officials, leading scientists and diplomats, and figures inside the
White House. Some spoke off the record. Again and again, the story
that emerged is of a president who ignored increasingly urgent
intelligence warnings from January, dismisses anyone who claims to
know more than him and trusts no one outside a tiny coterie, led by
his daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner – the property
developer who Trump has empowered to sideline the best-funded disaster
response bureaucracy in the world. People often observed during
Trump’s first three years that he had yet to be tested in a true
crisis. Covid-19 is way bigger than that. “Trump’s handling of the
pandemic at home and abroad has exposed more painfully than anything
since he took office the meaning of America First,” says William
Burns, who was the most senior US diplomat, and is now head of the
Carnegie Endowment. “America is first in the world in deaths, first in
the world in infections and we stand out as an emblem of global
incompetence. The damage to America’s influence and reputation will be
very hard to undo.”

The psychology behind Trump’s inaction on Covid-19 was on display that
afternoon at the CDC. The unemployment number had come out that
morning. The US had added 273,000 jobs in February, bringing the
jobless rate down to a near record low of 3.5 per cent. Trump’s
re-election chances were looking 50:50 or better. The previous
Saturday, Joe Biden had won the South Carolina primary. But the
Democratic contest still seemed to have miles to go. Nothing could be
allowed to frighten the Dow Jones. Any signal that the US was bracing
for a pandemic – including taking actual steps to prepare for it – was
discouraged. “Jared [Kushner] had been arguing that testing too many
people, or ordering too many ventilators, would spook the markets and
so we just shouldn’t do it,” says a Trump confidant who speaks to the
president frequently. “That advice worked far more powerfully on him
than what the scientists were saying. He thinks they always
exaggerate.”

Stephen Moore of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think-tank,
who talks regularly to Trump and is a campaign adviser, says the mood
was borderline ecstatic in early March. “The economy was just steaming
along, the stock market was firing on all cylinders and that jobs
report was fantastic,” says Moore. “It was almost too perfect. Nobody
expected this virus. It hit us like a meteor or a terrorist attack.”
The CDC has led the response to every disease for decades. Now it has
vanished from view Laurie Garrett, former senior fellow at the Council
on Foreign Relations People in Trump’s orbit are fond of comparing
coronavirus to the 9/11 attacks. George W Bush missed red flags in the
build-up to al-Qaeda’s Twin Towers attacks. But he was only once
explicitly warned of a possible plot a few weeks before it happened.
“All right, you’ve covered your ass,” Bush reportedly told the
briefer. At some point, Congress is likely to establish a body like
the 9/11 Commission to investigate Trump’s handling of the Covid-19
pandemic. The inquiry would find that Trump was warned countless times
of the epidemic threat in his presidential daily briefings, by federal
scientists, the health secretary Alex Azar, Peter Navarro, his trade
adviser, Matt Pottinger, his Asia adviser, by business friends and the
world at large. Any report would probably conclude that tens of
thousands of deaths could have been prevented – even now as Trump
pushes to “liberate” states from lockdown. “It is as though we knew
for a fact that 9/11 was going to happen for months, did nothing to
prepare for it and then shrugged a few days later and said, ‘Oh well,
there’s not much we can do about it,’” says Gregg Gonsalves, a public
health scholar at Yale University. “Trump could have prevented mass
deaths and he didn’t.”

In fairness, other democracies, notably the UK, Italy and Spain, also
wasted time failing to prepare for the approaching onslaught. Whoever
was America’s president might have been equally ill-served by
Washington infighting. The CDC has been plagued by mishap and error
throughout the crisis. The agency spent weeks trying to develop a
jinxed test when it could simply have imported WHO-approved kits from
Germany, which has been making them since late January. “The CDC has
been missing in action,” says a former senior adviser in the Trump
White House. “Because of the CDC’s errors, we did not have a true
picture of the spread of the disease.” Here again, though, Trump’s
stamp is clear. It was Trump who chose Robert Redfield to head the CDC
in spite of widespread warnings about the former military officer’s
controversial record. Redfield led the Pentagon’s response to HIV-Aids
in the 1980s. It involved isolating suspected soldiers in so-called
HIV Hotels. Many who tested positive were dishonourably discharged.
Some committed suicide. A devout catholic, Redfield saw Aids as the
product of an immoral society. For many years, he championed a
much-hyped remedy that was discredited in tests. That debacle led to
his removal from the job in 1994.  “Redfield is about the worst person
you could think of to be heading the CDC at this time,” says Laurie
Garrett, a Pulitzer Prize-winning science journalist who has reported
on epidemics. “He lets his prejudices interfere with the science,
which you cannot afford during a pandemic.” One of the CDC’s
constraints was to insist on developing its own test rather than
import a foreign one. Dr Anthony Fauci – the infectious disease expert
and now household name – is widely known to loathe Redfield, and vice
versa. That meant the CDC and Fauci’s National Institutes of Health
were not on the same page. “The last thing you need is scientists
fighting with each other in the middle of an epidemic,” says Dr
Kenneth Bernard, who set up a previous White House pandemic unit in
2004, which was scrapped under Barack Obama. Advising Trump was like
‘bringing fruits to the volcano . . . You’re trying to appease a great
force that’s impervious to reason’ An administration official The
scarcity of kits meant that the scientists lacked a picture of
America’s rapidly spreading infections. The CDC was forced to ration
tests to “persons under investigation” – people who had come within
6ft of someone who had either visited China or been infected with
Covid-19 in the previous 14 days. Most were denied. Few could prove
that they had met either criterion. This was at a time when several
countries, notably Germany, Taiwan and South Korea, gave access to
on-the-spot tests, including at drive-through centres – an option most
Americans still lack.  “You’ve been commuting by train or subway into
New York every day, you show up sick in the clinic and they refuse to
test you because you can’t prove you’ve been within 6ft of someone
with Covid-19,” says the former adviser. “You’ve probably been close
to half a million people in the previous two weeks.” Restrictions on
testing narrow the options. “Once you get to one per cent prevalence
in any community, it is too late for non-pharmaceutical interventions
to work,” says Tom Bossert, who created the since-disbanded White
House pandemic office before he was ejected in 2018 by John Bolton,
Trump’s then national security adviser. By March 11, just five days
after Trump’s CDC visit, the reality was beginning to seep through. In
an Oval Office broadcast, Trump banned travel from most of Europe,
which expanded the partial ban he put on China in February. Two days
later, he declared a national emergency. Even then, however, he
insisted America was leading the world. “We’ve done a great job
because we acted quickly,” he said. “We acted early. Over the next 48
hours, however, something snapped in Trump’s mind. Citing a call with
one of his sons, Trump said on March 16: “It’s bad. It’s bad… They
think August [before the disease peaks]. Could be July. Could be
longer than that.” Eleven days later, Boris Johnson, Britain’s prime
minister contracted Covid-19. The disease nearly killed him. That was
Johnson’s road-to-Damascus. Many hoped Trump had had a similar
conversion. If so, it did not last long. The next week, he was saying
that America should reopen by Easter on April 12. “I was one of the
ones advising him to make it ‘Resurrection Sunday,’” says Moore. “I
told him then what I think now, that this lockdown is causing more
deaths and misery than the disease itself. Trump’s mindset became
increasingly surreal. He began to tout hydroxychloroquine as a cure
for Covid-19. On March 19, at a regular televised briefing, which he
conducted daily for five weeks, often rambling for more than two
hours, he depicted the antimalarial drug as a potential magic bullet.
It could be “one of the biggest game-changers in the history of
medicine”, he later tweeted.  The president’s leap of faith, which was
inspired by Fox News anchors, notably Laura Ingraham, and his lawyer
Rudy Giuliani, none of whom have a medical background, turned
Washington’s bureaucracy upside down. Scientists who demurred were
punished. In April, Rick Bright, the federal scientist in charge of
developing a vaccine – arguably the most urgent role in government –
was removed after blocking efforts to promote hydroxychloroquine. Most
clinical trials have shown the drug has no positive impact on Covid-19
patients and can harm people with heart problems. “I was pressured to
let politics and cronyism drive decisions over the opinions of the
best scientists we have in government,” Bright said in a statement. In
a whistleblower complaint, he said he was pressured to send millions
of dollars worth of contracts to a company controlled by a friend of
Jared Kushner. When he refused, he was fired. The US Department of
Health and Human Services denied Bright’s allegations. I was one of
the ones advising him to make it ‘Resurrection Sunday’. I told him
then what I think now, that this lockdown is causing more deaths and
misery than the disease itself Stephen Moore, campaign adviser Other
scientists have taken note of Bright’s fate. During the Ebola outbreak
in 2014, when Obama’s administration sent 3,000 US military personnel
to Africa to fight the epidemic, the CDC held a daily briefing about
the state of progress. It has not held one since early March.
Scientists across Washington are terrified of saying anything that
contradicts Trump. “The way to keep your job is to out-loyal everyone
else, which means you have to tolerate quackery,” says Anthony
Scaramucci, an estranged former Trump adviser, who was briefly his
White House head of communications. “You have to flatter him in public
and flatter him in private. Above all, you must never make him feel
ignorant.” An administration official says advising Trump is like
“bringing fruits to the volcano” – Trump being the lava source.
“You’re trying to appease a great force that’s impervious to reason,”
says the official. When Trump suggested in late April that people
could stop Covid-19, or even cure themselves, by injecting
disinfectant, such as Lysol or Dettol, his chief scientist, Deborah
Birx, did not dare contradict him. The leading bleach companies issued
statements urging customers not to inject or ingest disinfectant
because it could be fatal. The CDC only issued a cryptic tweet
advising Americans to: “Follow the instructions on the product label.”
 “I can’t even get my calls returned,” says Garrett. “The CDC has led
the response to every disease for decades. Now it has vanished from
view.” A former senior Trump official says: “People turn into wusses
around Trump. If you stand up to him, you’ll never get back in. What
you see in public is what you get in private. He is exactly the same.”
America’s foreign partners have had an equally sharp reminder of
Trump’s way of doing business. Few western leaders are as
ideologically aligned with Trump as Scott Morrison, Australia’s prime
minister. Early into the epidemic, Morrison created a national cabinet
that meets at least once a week. It includes every state premier of
the two main parties. Morrison’s unity cabinet projects an air of
bipartisan resolve in a country that has lost just under 100 people to
coronavirus in three months. Some days, America has lost more people
to it every hour. Trump, by contrast, plays US state governors against
each other, much as he does with his staff. Republican states have
received considerably more ventilators and personal protective
equipment per capita than Democratic states, in spite of having far
lower rates of hospitalisation. Trump says America is fighting a war
against Covid-19. In practice, he is stoking national disunity. “It’s
like saying to the governors that each state has to produce its own
tanks and bullets,” says Bernard. “You’re on your own. It’s not my
responsibility.”

Trump’s dog-eat-dog instinct has been just as strong abroad as at
home. A meeting of G7 foreign ministers in March failed to agree on a
statement after Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, insisted they
brand it the “Wuhan virus”. America declined to participate in a
recent summit hosted by Emmanuel Macron, France’s president, to
collaborate on a vaccine. You don’t turn off the hose in the middle of
the fire, even if you dislike the fireman. This virus threatens every
country in the world and will exploit any crack in our resolve Dr
Bernhard Schwartländer, chief of staff at the WHO Most dramatically,
Trump has suspended US funding of the WHO, which he says covered up
for China’s lying. The WHO confirms that Trump met the then
director-general designate, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in the Oval
Office in June 2017, shortly before he took up the role. Trump
supported his candidacy. Other critics say the Geneva-based body was
too ready to take Beijing’s word at face value. There is some truth to
that claim. “They were too scared of offending China,” says Bernard,
who was America’s WHO director for two years. But its bureaucratic
timidity did not stop other countries from taking early precautions.
Trump alleged the WHO’s negligence had increased the world’s death
rate “twenty-fold”. In practice, the body must always abide by member
state limits, especially the big ones, notably the US and China. That
is the reality for all multilateral bodies. The WHO nevertheless
declared an international emergency six weeks before Trump’s US
announcement. WHO officials say Trump’s move has badly hindered its
operations. “You don’t turn off the hose in the middle of the fire,
even if you dislike the fireman,” says Bernhard Schwartländer, chief
of staff at the WHO. “This virus threatens every country in the world
and will exploit any crack in our resolve.” The body, in other words,
has fallen victim to US-China hostility. Blaming America’s death rate
on China and the WHO could well help Trump’s re-election campaign.
Many voters are all too ready to believe the US is a victim of
nefarious global forces. Garrett, who is a former senior fellow for
global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, cites Inferno, a
lesser-known novel by Dan Brown, author of the best-selling Da Vinci
Code, in which the WHO plays a dastardly role. One of its leading
characters is a biologist at the CFR. During a pandemic, she kidnaps
the head of the WHO and puts him in the think-tank’s basement. He is
rescued by a WHO military team that swoops in on the body’s C-130 jet.
In reality, the agency has no police powers at all.

“We are not like Interpol,” says Schwartländer. The WHO can no more
insist on going into Wuhan to investigate the origins of Covid-19 than
it can barge into Atlanta to investigate the CDC’s delay in producing
a test.  Both the US and China have spread outlandish rumours about
the other. Some Chinese officials have circulated the groundless
conspiracy theory that the US army planted the virus in Wuhan at an
athletics event last year. Trump administration officials, including
Pompeo, have repeatedly suggested Covid-19 originated from a
bat-to-human transmission in Wuhan’s virology lab. Last month,
Australia called for an international inquiry into the disease’s
origins. “Australia’s goal was to defuse conspiracy theories in both
China and America,” says Michael Fullilove, head of the Lowy
Institute, Australia’s largest think-tank. Days later, Australia’s
Daily Telegraph, a tabloid owned by Rupert Murdoch, ran an apparent
scoop that the “five eyes” – the intelligence agencies of the US, the
UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand – had concluded the disease came
from the Wuhan lab, whether by accident or design. It appears the
story had no substance. Fauci and other scientists say the pathogen
almost certainly came from a wet market in Wuhan. No “five eyes”
dossier existed. According to a five eye senior intelligence officer
and a figure close to Australia’s government, the Daily Telegraph
story probably came from the US embassy in Canberra. There was no
chance after its publication that Beijing would agree to an
international probe. The report damaged Australia’s hopes of defusing
US-China tensions. “We used to think of America as the world’s leading
power, not as the epicentre of disease,” says Fullilove, who is an
ardent pro-American. “We increasingly feel caught between a reckless
China and a feckless America that no longer seems to care about its
allies.” So where does the American chapter of the plague go from
here? Early into his partial about-turn, Trump said scientists told
him that up to 2.5 million Americans could die of the disease. The
most recent estimates suggest 135,000 Americans will die by late July.
That means two things. First, Trump will tell voters that he has saved
millions of lives. Second, he will continue to push aggressively for
US states to lift their lockdowns. His overriding goal is to revive
the economy before the general election. Both Trump and Kushner have
all but declared mission accomplished on the pandemic. “This is a
great success story,” said Kushner in late April. “We have prevailed,”
said Trump on Monday.  Economists say a V-shaped recovery is unlikely.
Even then it could be two Vs stuck together – a W, in other words. The
social mingling resulting from any short-term economic reopening would
probably come at the price of a second contagious outburst. As long as
the second V began only after November, Trump might just be
re-elected. “From Trump’s point of view, there is no choice,” says
Charlie Black, a senior Republican consultant and lobbyist. “It is the
economy or nothing. He can’t exactly run on his personality.” Steve
Bannon, Trump’s former chief strategist, had a slightly different
emphasis: “Trump’s campaign will be about China, China, China,” he
says. “And hopefully the fact that he rebooted the economy.” In the
meantime, Trump will probably continue to dangle the prospect of
miracle cures. Every week since the start of the outbreak, he has said
a vaccine is just around the corner. His latest estimate is that it
will be ready by July. Scientists say it will take a year at best to
produce an inoculation. Most say 18 months would be lucky. Even that
would break all records. The previous fastest development was four
years for mumps in the 1960s. We used to think of America as the
world’s leading power, not as the epicentre of disease. We
increasingly feel caught between a reckless China and a feckless
America Michael Fullilove, head of the Lowy institute For the time
being, Trump has been persuaded to cease his daily briefings. The
White House internal polling shows that his once double-digit lead
over Biden among Americans over 65 has been wiped out. It turns out
retirees are no fans of herd immunity. Friends of the president are
trying to figure out how to return life to normal without provoking a
new death toll. After an initial rally in March, Trump’s poll numbers
have been steadily dropping over the last month. For the next six
months, America’s microbial fate will be in the hands of its
president’s erratic re-election strategy. There is more than a whiff
of rising desperation. “Trump is caught in a box which keeps getting
smaller,” says George Conway, a Republican lawyer who is married to
Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s senior counsellor. “In my view he is a
sociopath and a malignant narcissist. When a person suffering from
these disorders feels the world closing in on them, their tendencies
get worse. They lash out and fantasise and lose any ability to think
rationally.” Conway is known for taunting Trump on Twitter (to great
effect, it should be added: Trump often retaliates). Yet without
exception, everyone I interviewed, including the most ardent Trump
loyalists, made a similar point to Conway. Trump is deaf to advice,
said one. He is his own worst enemy, said another. He only listens to
family, said a third. He is mentally imbalanced, said a fourth.
America, in other words, should brace itself for a turbulent six
months ahead – with no assurance of a safe landing.

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'This is a great success story,’ said Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and adviser, of the US coronavirus response in late April. © Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post/Getty Images #COVID19 @FT
Law & Politics


Kushner’s advice to avoid alarming the markets is said to have had
more influence on the president than the warnings from scientists ©
Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post/Getty Images

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A reality TV star botched the response to a global pandemic and now we are all imprisoned in our homes and forced to watch him daily. @JenaFriedman #COVID19
Law & Politics


What is thriving, however, is all that ridiculous ―Red Culture &
nauseating adulation that system heaps on itself via shameless
pro-Party hacks who chirrup hosannahs at every turn #COVID19

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The virus may be the most dangerous adversary America has ever faced. It's like the US was invaded. Tweeted @balajis #COVID19
Law & Politics


The normal defenses fail. It can't be bombed. Bank accounts can't be
frozen. Unbreakable morale. No supply chain. Lives off the land.
Infinite reinforcements. Fully decentralized.

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words of one epidemiologist ''sacrificing the vulnerable on the altar of the economy in truly vast numbers”. @StefSimanowitz
Law & Politics


Protecting the economy is vital, but those arguing against a "herd
immunity without vaccine" strategy make clear that it would involve,
in the words of one epidemiologist ''sacrificing the vulnerable on the
altar of the economy in truly vast numbers”.

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Baker says Cummings uses controversy to keep things in the news, but crucially he’s also using it to keep other things out of the news. @StefSimanowitz
Law & Politics


Bizarre as it sounds, does Cummings want our focus to be on testing,
PPE, care homes, airports etc in order to distract us from something
else?

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Is Cummings trying to turn UK into a “managed democracy” like Surkov attempted in Russia? We may never know. @StefSimanowitz
Law & Politics


Adam Curtis says: “It's a Strategy of Power that keeps any opposition
constantly confused, a ceaseless shape-shifting that is unstoppable
because it is indefinable." /34

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OCTOBER 30, 2014 BY DOMINIC CUMMINGS The Hollow Men II: Some reflections on Westminster and Whitehall dysfunction
Law & Politics


Mistah Kurtz—he dead.
A penny for the Old Guy
We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats’ feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar
Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion…
… Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow…’
The Hollow Men, T.S. Eliot.

‘You’re a mutant virus, I’m the immune system and it’s my job to expel
you from the organism.’ DfE official re Gove’s team.
1. Complexity makes prediction hard. Our world is based on extremely
complex, nonlinear, interdependent networks (physical, mental,
social). Properties emerge from feedback between vast numbers of
interactions: for example, the war of ant colonies, the immune
system’s defences, market prices, and abstract thoughts all emerge
from the interaction of millions of individual agents.
Interdependence, feedback, and nonlinearity mean that systems are
fragile and vulnerable to nonlinear shocks: ‘big things come from
small beginnings’ and problems cascade, ‘they come not single spies /
But in battalions’. Prediction is extremely hard even for small
timescales. Effective action and (even loose) control are very hard
and most endeavours fail.
Blofeld: Kronsteen, you are sure this plan is foolproof?
Kronsteen: Yes it is, because I have anticipated every possible
variation of counter-move.
Political analysis is full of chess metaphors, reflecting an old
tradition of seeing games as models of physical and social reality. A
game which has ten different possible moves at each turn and runs for
two turns has 102 possible ways of being played; if it runs for fifty
turns it has 1050 possible ways of being played, ‘a number which
substantially exceeds the number of atoms in the whole of our planet
earth’ (Holland); if it runs for eighty turns it has 1080 possible
ways of being played, which is about the estimated number of atoms in
the Universe. Chess is merely 32 pieces on an 8×8 grid with a few
simple rules but the number of possible games is much greater than
1080. Kronsteen’s confidence, often seen in politics, is therefore
misplaced even in chess yet chess is simple compared to the systems
that scientists or politicians have to try to understand, predict, and
control. These themes of uncertainty, nonlinearity, complexity and
prediction have been ubiquitous motifs of art, philosophy, and
politics. We see them in Homer, where the gift of an apple causes the
Trojan War; in Athenian tragedy, where a chance meeting at a
crossroads settles the fate of Oedipus; in Othello’s dropped
handkerchief; and in War and Peace with Nikolai Rostov, playing cards
with Dolohov, praying that one little card will turn out differently,
save him from ruin, and allow him to go happily home to Natasha.
A) The people at the apex of political power (elected and unelected)
are far from the best people in the world in terms of goals,
intelligence, ethics, or competence.
B) Their education and training is such that almost nobody has the
skills needed to cope with the complexity they face or even to
understand the tools (such as Palantir) that might help them.
Political ‘experts’ are usually hopeless at predictions and routinely
repeat the same sorts of errors without being forced to learn. While
our ancestor chiefs understood bows, horses, and agriculture, our
contemporary chiefs (and those in the media responsible for scrutiny
of decisions) generally do not understand their equivalents, and are
often less experienced in managing complex organisations than their
predecessors. Traditional politics collides with markets and
technology: ‘a combustible mixture of ignorance and power.’
b) Traditional politics over six million years of hominid evolution
involved an attempt to secure in-group cohesion, prosperity and
strength in order to dominate or destroy nearby out-groups in
competition for scarce resources.
c) Our civilisation now depends on science and technology underlying
complex interdependent networks in the economy, food, medicine,
transport, communications and so on. The structure (topology) of these
networks makes them fragile and therefore vulnerable to nonlinear
shocks.
d) Markets and technology enhance the power of individuals and small
groups (as well as traditional militaries and intelligence agencies)
to inflict such shocks in the physical, virtual, or psychological
worlds.

Technology can inflict huge physical destruction and help manipulate
the feelings and ideas of many people (including, sometimes
particularly, the best educated) through ‘information operations’.
Further, technology makes it easier to do these things potentially
without detection which could render conventional deterrence obsolete.
Robert Trivers, one of the most influential evolutionary thinkers
ofthe last fifty years, has described how evolutionary dynamics can
favour not just deception but self-deception: conflict for resources
is ubiquitous; deception helps win; a classic evolutionary ‘arms race’
encourages both deception detection and ever-better deception; perhaps
humans evolved to deceive themselves because this fools others’
detection systems (for example, self-deception suppresses normal clues
we display when lying). This is, perhaps, one reason why most people
consistently rate themselves as above average. They think they are
prepared to ‘run the country’ but many cannot run their own diaries.
Politics therefore suffers from a surfeit of narcissists.

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He is right, traditional media has been disrupted and the insurgents can broadcast live and over the top.
Law & Politics


From feeding the hot-house conspiracy frenzy on line (‘’a constant
state of destabilised perception’’), timely and judicious doses of
Wikileaks leaks which drained Hillary’s bona fides and her turn-out
and motivated Trump’s, what we have witnessed is something remarkable
and noteworthy.

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Only 4.4% of French population infected by coronavirus: Pasteur institute
Law & Politics


A study led by the Pasteur Institute says a mere 4.4% of the French
population - or 2.8 million people - have been infected by the novel
coronavirus, much higher than the official count of cases but way too
low to achieve so-called “herd immunity”.
“As of a consequence, our results show that, without a vaccine, the
herd immunity alone will not be enough to avoid a second wave at the
end of the lockdown. Efficient control measures must thus be upheld
after May 11”, researchers say.

Global cases trend up. >10%: Guatemala⁸⁹ >5%: Brazil⁶, Peru¹³,
Chile¹⁹, Qatar²⁵, Bangladesh³⁰, South Africa³⁹, Afghanistan⁵⁷, Oman⁶²,
Bolivia⁶⁶, Cameroon⁶⁹, Honduras⁷⁴, Somalia⁹⁰, DRC⁹², Mayotte⁹³, El
Savador⁹⁴, Gabon⁹⁵
https://twitter.com/video4me/status/1261171822864863234?s=20

Global cases trend up. >10%: Guatemala⁸⁹ >5%: Brazil⁶, Peru¹³,
Chile¹⁹, Qatar²⁵, Bangladesh³⁰, South Africa³⁹, Kuwait⁴⁰, Bahrain⁵⁵,
Afghanistan⁵⁷, Oman⁶², Bolivia⁶⁶, Cameroon⁶⁹, Honduras⁷⁴, Somalia⁹⁰,
DRC⁹², Mayotte⁹³, El Savador⁹⁴, Gabon⁹⁵

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10-MAY-2020 :: #COVID19 and the Spillover Moment
Law & Politics


''They fancied themselves free'' wrote Camus, ―''and no one will ever
be free so long as there are pestilences''
―In this respect, our townsfolk were like everybody else, wrapped up
in themselves; in other words, they were humanists: they disbelieved
in pestilences.
A pestilence isn't a thing made to man's measure; therefore we tell
ourselves that pestilence is a mere bogy of the mind, a bad dream that
will pass away.
But it doesn't always pass away and, from one bad dream to another, it
is men who pass away, and the humanists first of all, because they
have taken no precautions

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The coronavirus problem that India had feared is becoming reality in Mumbai. @Nytimes
Law & Politics


It is India’s most densely populated city, a scraggly peninsula framed
by the Arabian Sea and other waterways, a metropolis of towering
apartment blocks and endless slums, a city of oversize dreams and
desperate poverty, all sandwiched together.
This is where Asia’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani, built a 27-story
single-family home. This is where “Slumdog Millionaire” was filmed and
set. Indians call it Maximum City.
As the coronavirus gnaws its way across India, Mumbai has suffered the
worst. This city of 20 million is now responsible for 20 percent of
India’s coronavirus infections and nearly 25 percent of the deaths.
Hospitals are overflowing with the sick. Police officers are exhausted
enforcing a stay-at-home curfew. Doctors say the biggest enemy is
Mumbai’s density.
Particularly in the city’s vast slum districts, social distancing is
impossible. People live eight to a room across miles and miles of
informal settlements made of concrete blocks and topped with sheets of
rusted iron.
As the temperatures climb toward 100 degrees Fahrenheit, many can’t
stand to be cooped up anymore and spill into the streets.
Police officers prowl the main roads. Hundreds have tested positive
for the coronavirus, and several have died. More than 70 Mumbai
journalists have also tested positive.

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Service at a Shincheonji church A single person, Patient 31, caused over 5,000 cases @Medium @tomaspueyo #COVID19
Law & Politics


At this church, thousands of people sit close to each other for long
periods of time, forbidden to wear eyeglasses or masks, singing and
praying loudly.
The church doesn’t allow them to miss the service, even if they’re
sick. That’s why patient 31 went two Sundays in a row to a service
while sick.

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What are the odds that a SARS-like coronavirus with overlapping genetics from HIV mutated and crossed over into humans @scottburke777
Law & Politics


What are the odds that a SARS-like coronavirus with overlapping
genetics from HIV mutated and crossed over into humans, next door to a
laboratory which had been enhancing coronavirus with HIV for over a
decade? And conversely, what are the odds it leaked out of the
laboratory?

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies


Euro 1.0807
Dollar Index 100.286
Japan Yen 107.22
Swiss Franc 0.9730
Pound 1.2209
Aussie 0.6452
India Rupee 75.59
South Korea Won 1230.81
Brazil Real 5.8108
Egypt Pound 15.7394
South Africa Rand 18.48

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DEMAND HIT: @IEA has revised upward its forecast for demand For the whole year, it sees an average -8.6m b/d drop (rather than -9.3m b/) @JavierBlas
Commodities


DEMAND HIT:  @IEA has revised upward its forecast for demand, saying
peak consumption destruction in April was probably ~25m b/d (rather
than ~29m b/d estimated in last month’s report). For the whole year,
it sees an average -8.6m b/d drop (rather than -9.3m b/)

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Brazil is the global epicenter of the coronavirus. #COVID19 and the Spillover Moment
Emerging Markets


In Brazil we have a toxic mix of a „‟Voodoo‟‟ President @jairbolsonaro
and a runaway #COVID19
Brazilians aren‘t infected by anything, even when they fall into a sewer
“It‟s tragic surrealism ... I can‟t stop thinking about Gabriel García
Márquez when I think about the situation Manaus is facing.” Guardian
Bolsonaro rides jet ski while Brazil's COVID-19 death toll tops 10,000 EFE
https://j.mp/35O1o0o
The South American country with a population of 210 million reached
10,627 deaths after 730 fatalities were recorded overnight, while
cases stood at 155,939.
Viruses are in essence non linear exponential and multiplicative and
COVID19 has „‟escape velocity‟‟ in Brazil.
Brazil Real touched a Record Low of 5.884 May 7th

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There's something about this market that just intensely dislikes Brazil. March outflows from Brazil were a -6.0 standard deviation event, i.e. completely beyond anything ever seen before...@RobinBrooksIIF
Emerging Markets


There's something about this market that just intensely dislikes
Brazil. We flagged outflows from EM in real time back in March. Now
that official BoP data are in, March outflows from Brazil were a -6.0
standard deviation event, i.e. completely beyond anything ever seen
before...

Frontier Markets

Sub Saharan Africa

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The IMF has put some money to work but It is a Band Aid biggest African recipients of the #IMF's emergency #coronavirus funding
Africa


Amid the #COVID19 shock, lower commodity prices and regional
dependence on tourism & #remittances will push current accounts in
most Sub-Saharan African countries to deficit in 2020. @IIF
https://twitter.com/IIF/status/1258052709510496256?s=20
The Outliers are rolling over
 ZAMBIA On the brink of sovereign default @Africa_Conf
https://j.mp/2Lj65Wc
The government is getting no help from the IMF because it won't stop
borrowing unsustainably and covertly
After stopping payments on several commercial loans this year, Zambia
is set to default on its US$3 billion Eurobonds, now trading at
'distressed debt' levels, with yields over 50%, Africa Confidential
has learned.
Ratings Agencies are throwing in the Towel.
Another devaluation looms as Naira depreciates at forwards market, now
N570 to $1 @nairametrics
Nigeria‟s 5 years onshore Non-Deliverable forward contract posted its
biggest drop by plunging 27% from N413.36 to close at N569.69 a price
differential of N156.
The 1-year Non-Deliverable forward contract was down 5% from N394.29
to close at N421.22 a price differential of N26.93.
Regime Implosion risk in SSA is trending higher.

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Over 72,000 confirmed #COVID19 cases on the African continent - with more than 25,000 recoveries & 2,400 deaths. @WHOAFRO
Africa


30th March 350 cases
15th April 543 cases
30th April 1,900 cases
8th May 3,000 cases
13th May 1,800 cases

South Africa 12,074
Algeria 6,253
Ghana 5,408
Nigeria 4,971
Cameroon 2,800
Guinea 2,372
Senegal 2,105
Côte d'Ivoire 1,912
DemocraticRepublic of the Congo 1,242
Gabon 1,004
Niger860
Guinea-Bissau 836
Burkina Faso 773
Mali 758
Kenya 737

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02-MAR-2020 :: The #COVID19 and SSA and the R Word
Africa


We Know that the #Coronavirus is exponential, non linear and multiplicative.
what exponential disease propagation looks like in the real world.
Real world exponential growth looks like nothing, nothing, nothing ...
then cluster, cluster, cluster ... then BOOM!

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Kano in Nigeria for example • Western Cape growing at an alarming rate @sugan250388
Africa


Someone with close knowledge of the medical profession said it was
almost impossible to secure a hospital bed in several cities.
The Aga Khan hospital in Dar es Salaam had a well-equipped ward for 80
coronavirus patients, but several were dying each night, he said.
The Question for SSA is whether these Transmission Hot Spots expand
and conflate?

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Cape Town Becomes Center of South Africa’s Virus Pandemic #COVID19 @economics
Africa


The coronavirus outbreak in South Africa has hit hardest in the
Western Cape, home to the city of Cape Town.
The province now has more than half of the 12,074 confirmed cases
nationwide and in recent days contributed about 90% of new infections
recorded by the Health Ministry.
Contrary to initial projections, infections and deaths have increased
at a much slower rate in the economic hub of Johannesburg in Gauteng
province.
The Western Cape and Gauteng together account for about 37% of South
Africa’s population.
The Western Cape has registered 117 virus-related deaths out of 219
nationwide, and Gauteng 24.
Most of the infections and deaths have been in Cape Town, one of the
world’s most popular tourist destinations.
While Western Cape authorities attribute the surge in cases to “a
rigorous approach to testing,” the province is facing clusters of
infections in households, work places and supermarkets.
That explains why the area also has a higher number of people who test
positive -- between 7% to 9%, compared to a national average of
between 2% to 3%, according to Tulio de Oliveira, a bioinformatician
with the Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine at the University of
KwaZulu Natal.
“Localized outbreaks are common,” De Oliveira said. “We’ve seen it in
nursing homes in the U.K. and recently in nightclubs in South Korea.
It’s the normal biology of the virus and it’s happening at a higher
frequency in the Western Cape.”
The rest of the country is unlikely to be spared.
“We may eventually see this in other parts of the country,” he said.
“The question isn’t why it hasn’t happened in Gauteng, but why it
hasn’t happened yet.”

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2-SEP-2019 :: the China EM Frontier Feedback Loop Phenomenon. #COVID19
Africa


This Phenomenon was positive for the last two decades but has now
undergone a Trend reversal. The ZAR is the purest proxy for this
Phenomenon.
African Countries heavily dependent on China being the main Taker are
also at the bleeding edge of this Phenomenon.
This Pressure Point will not ease soon but will continue to intensify

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09-DEC-2019 Time to Big Up the Dosage of Quaaludes.
Africa


Everyone knows how this story ends. When the music stops, everyone
will dash for the Exit

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We need to talk about burials: COVID-19 in Africa #COVID19 @africaarguments
Africa


As the death toll from the coronavirus continues to rise, communities
in Africa and elsewhere need to think seriously about how to safely
dispose dead bodies.
This is especially important after a recent study in Thailand found
that COVID-19 can spread from corpses.
The first set of risks arises from burial rituals, of which there are
countless across Africa.
Many communities believe it is the responsibility of the living to
ensure the transition of the dead to a better place and to prevent
spirits from coming back to haunt them.
In parts of West Africa, it is common for family members to wash and
clean the body before burial. Other practices include the “love touch”
whereby family members touch the face of the deceased.
If the person was prominent, like a traditional healer, mourners may
even lay over the corpse to acquire spiritual gifts.
These rituals all hold deep cultural meaning, but unfortunately they
can contribute to the spread of disease, as they did during the
2014-15 Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
The second set of risks comes after burial. Scientists have found that
fluid from decomposing bodies can contain pathogenic microorganisms
including viruses.
Researchers have shown that graveyards often contain vast amounts of
heavy metals that leach from coffin materials.
In a previous study, I was part of a team of scientists in South
Africa which found that graveyards can contain dangerous bacteria that
may contaminate groundwater.
In short, without precautions, burial grounds could become potential
environmental reservoirs for the coronavirus.
During natural disasters and pandemics when large numbers of people
die, bodies need to be removed and disposed of as fast as possible
before they start to decompose.
During the current pandemic, many countries have resorted to mass burials.
In New York, deceased COVID-19 victims have been buried at a mass
grave in Hart Island. In South Africa, the Cemetery Association has
called on municipalities to prepare sites for similar measures.
This is not the WHO’s guidance on burials in emergencies. It says that
“common graves and mass cremation are rarely warranted and should be
avoided” in favour of individual burials.

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Kenyan Banks Hoarding Cash to Cover Faltering Loans. @eombok @RichTvAfrica
Africa


Lenders snap up government debt as lending risks rise
Banks to hold excess reserves to brace for virus fallout

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23-DEC-2019 :: Kenyan lenders are the second most exposed to the government with almost 300 per cent of their equity lent out to the State.
Africa


However, Egyptian banks are even more exposed on lending Cairo 603 per
cent of their equity. What this tells me is that an important Source
of Buy Side Demand for GOK Shilling Paper is now ''limit Long''
If You are sitting on the Credit Committee of a Kenyan Bank and
exercising some degree of oversight, I would argue that then you would
be demanding a Hard Cap.
Therefore, given the fact that GOK issuance is not going to slow down
but will probably accelerate, I would be keeping a close eye on the
Curve.
Staying ahead of the Curve was a remarkable book by the renowned
Investor George Soros. It’s worth reading.

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Taps run dry in Kenya's capital as coronavirus spreads @ReutersAfrica
Africa


Heavy rains swept away the main water pipes running through forests in
the Aberdare mountain range north of Kenya’s capital a week ago. Soon
after that, the Nairobi Water and Sewerage Company shut down a
treatment plant feeding the city.
“Will we deal with water shortage or the coronavirus? How can we
survive without water when we are being told to wash our hands?” asked
Wanjiru, a mother-of-two who also needs water to wash the vegetables
she sells on her stall.
Nairobi’s water infrastructure was already creaking. At the best of
times, Nairobi Water and Sewerage Company could only supply 526,000
cubic metres out of a daily demand for 810,000, according to Nahashon
Muguna, the utility’s acting head.
Since the landslide, supplies are down another 20%, Muguna told
Reuters. “We have mobilised a contractor to do the repairs,” he said.
Normal supplies should resume in the next two weeks, he added.
That is too long for human rights activist Boniface Mwangi, who has
called on the government to make the supply of water free during the
COVID-19 crisis.
“For a city that is under lockdown due to the pandemic, there should
be water in the tap. There should be no excuse,” he said.

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by Aly Khan Satchu (www.rich.co.ke)
 
 
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May 2020
 
 
 
 
 
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