The Weekly Watch
Past the Peak or a Second Wave?
Let's conduct an experiment with our kids and teachers. Put them back in school and see if there is more spread of COVID-19. As a retired teacher, I suggest the teachers are the ones holding the bag. In my old district they are offering three options...regular class attendance, on-line distance learning, or a hybrid blend of the two. Guess who has to organize and prepare for all three approaches...not to mention cleaning the classroom between groups of students? Lots of talk about student safety and not a word about staff. And it's the coaches who have matriculated to the central office that are calling the shots with claims of following state guidelines. We'll know in a couple of months (before the election) how successful this strategy is. A Georgia student was suspended this week for posting a picture of crowded hallways and no mask wearing. (2.5 min)
A Georgia student named Hannah who posted a shocking photo of her high school’s jam-packed hallways says she was called to the principal's office and suspended for five days. The school principal came on the PA system and warned students not to post negative content on social media, warning that “there will be consequences.”
Young people need to learn early that we punish truthtellers. Just ask Julian...
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is imprisoned in the high-security HMP Belmarsh in London as he faces extradition to the United States, where he has been indicted on 18 counts for obtaining, possessing, conspiring to publish and for publishing classified information. With the first-ever use of the Espionage Act for a publisher, the indictment represents an unprecedented attack on press freedom around the world. For Julian Assange, who could face up to 175 years in prison, a conviction could be a death sentence.
Here's the report from the local schools near me:
Chattooga County School Superintendent Jared Hosmer released a “Weekly COVID-19 Report” Leroy Massey Elementary, Lyerly Elementary, Menlo Elementary and the county office have not reported any positive cases. The reports include staff and students at each school.
In the adjoining county teachers are not happy about the return to the classroom...
Several Walker County teachers spoke to the School Board about their concerns with opening schools under the threat imposed by COVID-19. At a meeting on the millage rate Thursday night, teachers told the board they fear taking the virus home to family members who may be vulnerable due to pre-existing health conditions.
One of the four who spoke said the current re-opening plan does not do enough to protect students and staff. Another said social distancing is not possible under the current plan – and asked the board to consider mandating face masks at all times.
A LaFayette High teacher told the board she feels that her life is “expendable”.
Those speaking also mentioned concerns that teachers were not asked for their input on the school opening plan… and suggested on-line learning until infection rates begin to drop.
School starts next Thursday in the Walker County school system.
Texas attorney general orders in-person education as state cases top 500,000
Demonstrating the bipartisan support for the campaign to reopen schools in the US, New York’s Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo gave the green light for all school districts in the state to resume in-person instruction in the coming weeks. Making the blanket announcement, Cuomo declared, “Good news, all schools can reopen.”
WTF? We've lost our collective minds.
Oh, I know, you may SAY you’re mostly eager for schools to reopen to benefit the poor kids, the kids from single-parent homes, the foster kids and the kids on the wrong side of the “achievement gap.” And I believe that you believe that this is why (some of) you are arguing so vehemently that we should open the schools “as soon as it is safe” (which is pretty much an unknowable moving target at this point, for much of the country).
I would like to be hopeful, but we will have to wait and see how things evolve. Chris proposes the X,Y,Z hypothesis in this video which suggests we may be close to herd immunity. (40 min)
Currently it is the South that is facing the biggest challenge in the States. Looking at COVID hospitalizations is a good metric to see regional differences.
In a Dutch study of 9400 COVID cases age and comorbidity are again the primary complicating factors.
Figure 3. Heatmap illustrating mortality among SARS-CoV-2 PCR positive cases, specified by age and number of comorbidities. Total number of comorbidities is assessed as the total number of any of the following conditions: Chronic lung disease, hypertension, ischemic heart disease, heart failure, atrial fibrillation, stroke, diabetes, dementia, cancer, chronic liver disease, hospital-diagnosed kidney disease, alcohol abuse, substance abuse, major psychiatric disorder, organ transplantation, overweight and obesity, and rheumatoid arthritis/connective tissue disease. Mortality was defined as all-cause mortality within 30 days from the index date.
Conclusion: In this first nationwide population-based study, increasing age, sex, and number and type of comorbidities were closely associated with hospitalization requirement and death in SARS-CoV-2 PCR positive cases. In the absence of comorbidities, the mortality was, however, lowest until the age of 80 years. These results may help in accurate identification, triage and protection of high-risk groups in general populations, i.e. when reopening societies.
Chris discusses this Dutch study and more
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cp0hiFVm1U8 (40 min)
So the bottom line is older folks, especially those who have health issues should remain at home with minimum exposure. My concern with school openings involve the grandparents these students will encounter, as well as the many many students, staff, and teachers with pre-existing conditions like obesity and diabetes.
Doctors Mark Hyman and Aseem Malhotra suggest only 12% of us are metabolically healthy which might explain the severity of COVID-19 in the US....and it is because of the way we eat. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r__rOU2G_P8 (1 hour)
As we continue to learn more about COVID-19, we see a pattern in those more at risk. People who aren’t metabolically healthy (think obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension) are much more likely to experience severe complications if they are to get the virus. And to put that in perspective, only 1 in 8 Americans are considered metabolically healthy. That means a lot of us are at risk during this already alarming time.
The US isn’t the only place dealing with an epidemic of obesity and other metabolic diseases. On this episode of The Doctor’s Farmacy, I’m joined by Dr. Aseem Malhotra to talk about the impact COVID-19 is having on the UK, the risks that metabolic diseases pose with the virus, and much more. Dr. Aseem Malhotra is a founding member of Action on Sugar and was the lead campaigner highlighting the harm caused by excess sugar consumption in the United Kingdom, particularly its role in type 2 diabetes and obesity. His first book, co-authored with Donal O' Neill, The Pioppi Diet, has become an international bestseller.
*For context, this episode was recorded on April 24, 2020
Our poor dietary habits have been re-enforced by a corporate food system whose products are designed to be addictive. Have you seen the documentary, Food Inc.? (1.5 hours)
Given all that we know after our months of intensively tracking the coronavirus pandemic, what are the best ways to prevent & treat it?
1) Everyone should invest in boosting the "terrain" of their own body's health.
2) Everyone should wear a mask, practice social distance, and get tested asap if exposure or illness is suspected. At-risk people deserve extra precautionary protections.
3) If exposed or in initial sickness stages, administer HCQ + zinc within 2 days or sooner of symptoms onset.
4) If symptoms progress, administer MATH+ cocktail.
5) If symptoms worsen further, deliver advanced therapeutic support, ideally in a hospital setting.
I was surprised Chris list didn't include ivermectin which appears to show promise.
The real issue is 40% of infected people are asymptomatic unknowingly spreading the virus.
3M is developing paper COVID-19 test with goal of giving accurate results in minutes.
They are being offered for free in some Texas locations, as well as Hawaii Some universities are trying these tests with their students as well.
So these saliva (spit) tests could be used at home and only take 30 minutes for results. As you can imagine many universities and companies are rushing to release them. They could be a game changer for those in the workplace or in school...testing every morning before going out. Then we could safely open schools.
Instead the pandemic continues to enrich the oligarchs...
America’s largest and richest hospital chains rushed to the front of the COVID-19 bailout line this spring to pull $15 billion from the government’s emergency fund. They pocketed the taxpayers’ money despite sitting on tens of billions of dollars of their own cash reserves.
Many economists in the US and Europe argued that the next time the banks failed, they should be nationalized – taken over by the government as public utilities. But that opportunity was lost when, in September 2019 and again in March 2020, Wall Street banks were quietly bailed out from a liquidity crisis in the repo market that could otherwise have bankrupted them. There was no bail-in of private funds, no heated congressional debate, and no public vote. It was all done unilaterally by unelected bureaucrats at the Federal Reserve.
Max and Stacy think escaping fiat currency is the answer...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dyaJD6bxhZg (25 min)
Max and Stacy chat to precious metals and bitcoin investor Mark Valek of Incrementum.li. They discuss the ‘FREE MONEY’ cover story on the Economist magazine and how that money printing has caused the rise in gold and bitcoin prices. The conversation turns to the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency and whether or not Goldman Sachs is correct in their forecast that this exorbitant privilege will soon end. They look at what role bitcoin and gold will play in a post dollar world and whether or not Elvira Nabiullina will be seen as the Charles DeGaulle of central bankers.
And now for other news...
I heard a fun discussion with Thomas Frank, Matt, and Katie. Thomas tells a great story about reporters and food in the first 5 minutes. It is mostly a discussion about populism.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvxyEta01EU (1.2 hours)
Cornel West was so good in this interview. I think you'll enjoy it.
Prof. Cornel West: Joe Biden a Neoliberal Disaster, Donald Trump a Neofascist Catastrophe!
He discusses the 2020 election of Donald Trump vs Joe Biden, Joe Biden’s role in the rise of mass incarceration, US imperialism and foreign policy in the Middle East, the explosion at Beirut port in Lebanon, why Donald Trump’s opposition to Middle East intervention is farcical, the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic and the Trump Administration’s response, the loss of Bernie Sanders in the democratic primary, the murder of George Floyd and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement and the challenging of neoliberalism within the black community, why the US is an empire in decline and much more!
The first episode of "The Con" came out this week. It looks like a prediction of what is about to happen again. Deja vu' all over again?
Trump is going after all public services.
Government watchdogs, Democratic lawmakers, and pro-democracy advocates declared it a "Friday Night Massacre" for the U.S. Postal Service after news broke in a classic end-of-the-week dump that Louis DeJoy—a major GOP donor to President Donald Trump and the recently appointed Postmaster General—had issued a sweeping overhaul of the agency, including the ouster of top executives from key posts and the reshuffling of more than two dozen other officials and operational managers.
In the wake of what was dubbed a "Friday Night Massacre" at the U.S. Postal Service—compounded by news that first-class postage rates, as opposed to cheaper bulk rates, would be charged for processing mail-in ballots in November—calls overnight and into Saturday have gone out for people across the U.S. to rise up in a coordinated fashion to end what many observers warn is a blatant effort by the Trump administration and the GOP to sabotage the federal mail delivery service ahead of this year's elections.
And now openly admitting Social Security and Medicare are next on the chopping block...
President Donald Trump on Saturday afternoon openly vowed to permanently "terminate" the funding mechanism for both Social Security and Medicare if reelected in November—an admission that was seized upon by defenders of the popular safety net programs who have been warning for months that the administration's threat to suspend the payroll tax in the name of economic relief during the Covid-19 pandemic was really a backdoor sabotage effort.
Does he really think that is a good election strategy? I'm sure it will increase his donations from the oligarchs, but I don't see how that buys votes...or maybe he's already rigged the game as Greg Palast suggests. Chris Hedges discusses the potential for voter fraud in the 2020 US presidential election with investigative journalist, Greg Palast.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCEEFaP39K0 (28 min)
Russiagate will not die...
Yesterday the mislabeled U.S. 'Intelligence' Agencies trotted out more nonsense claims about foreign interferences in U.S. elections. The New York Times sensationally headlines:
Russia Continues Interfering in Election to Try to Help Trump, U.S. Intelligence Says
“,” says Mary Trump, President Trump’s niece, a clinical psychologist and author of “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man.” She describes his upbringing in a dysfunctional family that fostered his greed, cruelty and racist and sexist behaviors — which he is now inflicting on the world. Mary Trump also discusses the president’s mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic, his long history of lies and misrepresentations, and the dangers of his reelection. “I believe that this country is on the knife’s edge, and I don’t want anybody going to cast their vote in November being able to claim that they just don’t know who they’re voting for,” she says. (video or text)
This week marked the 75th anniversary of the first use of atomic weapons.
History Professor Exposes One of America's biggest History Myths - Part 1
In the first part of our video series with author and Professor of History at American University Peter Kuznick, we examine one of the biggest myths in American history, which states that the use of atomic bombs in Japan in August of 1945 were necessary to save American and Japanese lives.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8QGZmPNbhKs (22 min)
The Actual Reason Why America Dropped 2 Atomic Bombs on Japan - Part 2 with Prof. Kuznick
In the second part part of our video series with author and Professor of History at American University Peter Kuznick, we dive deeper into the topic of why the United States actually used atomic bombs against Japan in World War II. In addition, we discuss why it is important to educate people on this issue and what significance it has on our collective future.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZVIuvxIZ84 (23 min)
A major reason to use the new bombs was to demonstrate to the Soviet Union - already selected as the next enemy - that the U.S. had superior weapons. But it did not take long for the scientist in the Soviet Union to catch up and to test their own nuclear device.
It then dawned on some in Washington that a world with nuclear weapons is less secure than one without them. For 75 years they tried to stop the race for more nuclear weapons and to create a path to their total abolishment. But the hawks were more numerous - they still are - and they won out each and every time.
Larry Wilkerson suggests a war with China is inevitable
And China is probably right now, I won’t say probably they are, all my contacts tell me they are embarked on a review, thorough review, of their own nuclear policy, the result of which will probably be a much more robust Chinese nuclear stockpile, one that can, as much as we used to say in the old days, ride out a first strike and respond massively. That means lots more nuclear weapons for China.
Most people don’t understand that China doesn’t have very many nuclear weapons at all. Mao Zedong thought they were stupid weapons, they didn’t make any sense. But if others had them, he ought to have a few just so he could threaten those others in case. They’re getting ready to change that, I think, and become a full up, “I can strike you and get away with it power”, which of course is nonsense, nonsense for Russia, nonsense for the United States, nonsense for anyone to think that they can strike first and get away with it, as you intimated, we will have started a cycle of environmental change that added to the climate crisis will put us out of action as human beings probably 50 years earlier.
Writing this week in the prestigious US-based journal Foreign Affairs, former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd warns that the danger of armed conflict between the United States and China is higher than at any time since the 1950s. His essay, titled “Beware the Guns of August—in Asia: How to keep US-Chinese tensions from sparking a war,” recalls the extreme geo-political tensions in August 1914 as the world was plunged into a catastrophic war.
Don't worry, if nuclear war doesn't end the species, climate chaos will.
The latest data tells us that if we reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, then between one-third and one-half of glacier ice will be lost by 2100. If not, and we carry on with business as usual, then two-thirds of Himalayan glaciers will vanish by the end of this century.
Glaciers around the world are melting — and for the first time, we can now directly attribute annual ice loss to climate change.
We analysed two years in which glaciers in New Zealand melted the most in at least four decades: 2011 and 2018. Both years were characterised by warmer than average temperatures of the air and the surface of the ocean, especially during summer.
Our research, published today, shows climate change made the glacial melt that happened during the summer of 2018 at least ten times more likely.
'It's Disintegrated, Basically': Last Fully Intact Canadian Ice Sheet Collapses
The formation was the final survivor of its kind in the nation's Arctic
Have you seen the documentary "Chasing Ice"? It came out several years ago.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cbdi76Gz98w (1.25 hours)
Stuart has cancer. He has spent years working to limit climate disasters. Here he gives a message of hope which I want to feature...
a song made famous by Bette Midler, but actually written by Julie Gold, and here performed in New York City in 2011 at a celebration of singers, songwriters and performing artists, a song with a deep message performed by the woman who wrote it. Enjoy, and as always, please subscribe and share it widely, along with our channel, and our message that, as Greta says, "When we act, hope is everywhere."
and the snow-capped mountains white.
From a distance the ocean meets the stream,
and the eagle takes to flight.
From a distance, there is harmony,
and it echoes through the land.
It's the voice of hope, it's the voice of peace,
it's the voice of every man.
From a distance we all have enough,
and no one is in need.
And there are no guns, no bombs, and no disease,
no hungry mouths to feed.
From a distance we are instruments
marching in a common band.
Playing songs of hope, playing songs of peace.
They're the songs of every man.
God is watching us. God is watching us.
God is watching us from a distance.
From a distance you look like my friend,
even though we are at war.
From a distance I just cannot comprehend
what all this fighting is for.
From a distance there is harmony,
and it echoes through the land.
And it's the hope of hopes, it's the love of loves,
it's the heart of every man.
It's the hope of hopes, it's the love of loves.
This is the song of every man.
I'm not so sure of the god or goddess saving us from ourselves, but I love the hope part of the message. I'm convinced nature is healing, and in these unsettled times it does wonders to walk or bike through our beautiful natural systems. Absorb the growth and peace of nature and find hope that we can change our destructive course of aggression and consumption, and transition to a world of cooperation, peace, and mutual respect. It is darkest before the dawn. Be well my friends.