Monday Message Board

Back again with another Monday Message Board.

Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please. If you would like to receive my (hopefully) regular email news, please sign up using the following link You can also follow me on Twitter @JohnQuiggin, at my Facebook public page   and at my Economics in Two Lessons page

35 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. Ah, something to do during the “Monday morning meeting” that somehow my boss forgot about 🙂

  2. After TECOTP…

    Will DeepMind render economic analysis – by humans – quaint not quant. Or reveal every bias?

    In economics, what would be a protien fold?

    And will some smart Professir of Econ hold a “Critical Assessment of Structure Prediction” challenge in economics / finance / markets please. JQ, another ARC proposal? We could then fir example, run those “n economists said…” surveys in the conversation, and predic the best predictions!  (scenarios) outcomes or show up which policy / market failure / perverse incentive was hindering equality & fairness. 

    ‘It will change everything’: DeepMind’s AI makes gigantic leap in solving protein structures

    “Google’s deep-learning program for determining the 3D shapes of proteins stands to transform biology, say scientists.

    “DeepMind’s program, called AlphaFold, outperformed around 100 other teams in a biennial protein-structure prediction challenge called CASP, short for Critical Assessment of Structure Prediction.

    “Lofty claims for methods in published papers tended to disintegrate when other scientists applied them to other proteins.

    “Moult started CASP to bring more rigour to these efforts. The event challenges teams to predict the structures of proteins that have been solved using experimental methods, but for which the structures have not been made public. Moult credits the experiment — he doesn’t call it a competition — with vastly improving the field, by calling time on overhyped claims. “You’re really finding out what looks promising, what works, and what you should walk away from,” he says.

    “DeepMind’s 2018 performance at CASP13 startled many scientists in the field, which has long been the bastion of small academic groups.”…

  3. Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions: June 2020 quarterly update
    Business NOVEMBER 30, 2020

    “Australia has beaten its 2020 greenhouse gas emissions target by 316 million tonnes, according to latest Quarterly Update of Australia’s National Greenhouse Gas Inventory.

    In the year to June 2020, emissions were 513.4 million tonnes, down 3% or 16.1 Mt CO2-e on the previous year. This is the lowest level since 1998…” yes, but —

  4. The more things change the more some stay the same. More from the always undisclosed vested interest double dealing AWU mongrels:

    Life DECEMBER 1, 2020 11:31 AM AEDT
    A manufactured outrage – Op-ed by Daniel Walton, AWU National Secretary

    The hard switch to renewables being pushed by green activists would decimate our ability to make things.

    If you reached for the airconditioning over the weekend and it mercifully kicked in straight away, you can thank the Tomago aluminium smelter.

    The energy-hungry factory in the Hunter sucks up about 10 per cent of the total power used in NSW. On a scorching weekend, that doesn’t sound like it’s being much of a help.

    But by ramping its power usage up and down to respond to the grid’s demands, Tomago plays a vital role in smoothing the peaks and troughs, which prevents power outages.

    Tomago is a great example of how the energy truth can be more complicated than your gut might initially indicate.

    It’s a lesson those agitating for a hard and immediate switch to renewables would do well to consider.

    A rapid mass transition to renewable energy is an attractive idea. In practice, however, such a switch would not only be a disaster for jobs and the economy – it would also be a shocker for the environment.

    How so? Well, it’s another case of reality failing to conform to a moralistic ideological position….

    …and so on spewing old rubbish anew at length goes Dan Walton, National & NSW Secretary of the Australian Workers’ Union, with never a word about the kickbacks.

  5. What are the chances that Mick de Brenni, Qld Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen, is in the AWU dominated faction of the Qld AWU? This press release today starts out sounding ok, but then is it just announcing more subsidising of vested interest fossil fuel fired electricity generators who happen to employ many workers covered by the dirty fossil AWU?

    Queenslanders win half-billion stake in renewable revolution
    Politics DECEMBER 1, 2020 5:52 PM AEDT

    Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen and Minister for Public Works and Procurement
    The Honourable Mick de Brenni

    Queenslanders will own a stake in the renewable revolution with the 2020-21 Budget investing $500 million to support the development of renewable energy projects.

    Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen Mick de Brenni said the transition to renewables in Queensland was in full swing, and Queenslanders would now reap the rewards of owning their clean energy assets for years to come.

    “An affordable, reliable energy supply underpins our economic plan for post-COVID recovery, and renewables will play a central role,” he said.

    “Right now, renewables make up approximately 20 per cent of Queensland’s energy mix, and that figure will more than double over the next decade as we aim for 50 per cent by 2030.

    “Queenslanders emphatically support more manufacturing and growth and that means we need cheaper power to support jobs growth in these emerging industries.

    “We’re backing this by backing cheaper, cleaner, reliable energy sources.

    “Across our entire state-owned fleet, we are investing over $2 billion into our energy assets to keep delivering the lowest wholesale electricity in Australia for industry.

    “Our publicly owned energy businesses Cleanco ,Stanwell, CS Energy, Energy Queensland and Powerlink now have the opportunity to get their piece of the half-billion dollar fund to build own and operate renewable assets and transmission infrastructure that will drive jobs in the clean energy sector.”…

  6. I think most people understand the need to source alternatives to polluting fossil fuels, but once again, why have things been so badly over the last twenty or thirty years on this and other aspects of enviro?

    Some of the dog in the manger stuff has been deliberate. Does it extend to shutting down old power before new inputs are operative?

    The last decade has seen outages across the board during hot bush fire seasons or in mid winter.

    How do advocates for the new convince the public that change is a necessary thing without harmful side effects if done properly, when real problems develop because old sources were not replaced before hand by new tech?

    Isn’t it the realisation that “gouge” seems to go with privatisations and artificially induced markets and their interminable shortages and breakdowns?

    Why wasn’t gas reserved to ensure short term solutions ahead of renewables? Surely this would have obviated brown outs through continued reliance of coal used by obsolete power generators and avoided shaggy dog projects like the Pilliga rampage?

    why does the press and media talk about coal seem gas as “natural” gas when it is clearly NOT what the gas rigs produce, lasting supplies from deep sources without damage to the water tables?

  7. If people were serious about saving the climate, ALL coal mines and ALL gas wells, fracking etc. would be closed down “tomorrow” (meaning by 2025 to be feasible), no new ones would ever be approved from now on and people would suck it up and wear the pain of a more austere lifestyle. But people aren’t serious about any of this. They really aren’t. They want to keep everything they have now plus have more growth. more people and more wealth per capita. Such equations don’t add up. The real biosphere system will refute our unreal expectations. In fact it is refuting them right now. The Barrier Reef is dead, the Murray-Darling basin is dead and our main breadbasket areas are about to collapse, worldwide.

  8. “Forest carbon sink neutralized by pervasive growth-lifespan trade-offs ” *

    Merchant banker says ‘1-10-100’ ruke – to get to one you need 10 and to get 100 you need 1,000.

    Same with trees as carbon sinks it seems. We plant 100, but for a fully mature carbon sink we need 1,000 as some will die, some productive as wood, and it seems some dying younger than faster they grow due to climate change.

    Once did a slighlty better than back of envelope calc for a forest from Katherine NT to Alice Springs. We wanted rain in Tennant Creek! Trees by the millions, huge swathes of unsuitable land w various pre tree species (weeds) to set up conditions for trees but – how to get them to be without need of support – water – to get to self supported growth? Eg for mining reveg rehabilitated reseeded mine sites may sit for years before sprouting as rain too unreliable. Lucky the mines paid while they waited.

    * “Forest carbon sink neutralized by pervasive growth-lifespan trade-offs ”
    “Across the world, trees are growing faster, dying younger – and will soon store less carbon

    “Trees take carbon from the atmosphere and store it – until they die.

    As the world warms and the atmosphere becomes increasingly fertilised with carbon dioxide, trees are growing ever faster. But they’re also dying younger – and overall,  the world’s forests may be losing their ability to store carbon. That’s the key finding of our new study, published in the journal Nature Communications.”…

    “One simple hypothesis is that trees die once they reach a certain maximum potential size, and the faster a tree reaches this size the younger it dies. Other possible explanations are that fast growing trees simply make cheaper wood (in terms of energy expenditure), and invest fewer resources in fighting off diseases and insect attacks, or are more vulnerable to drought. Whatever the cause, this mechanism needs to be built into scientific models if we want to make realistic predictions of the future carbon sink and thus how much CO₂ will be in the atmosphere.”

    September 9, 2020
    Roel Brienen, Emanuel Gloor, University of Leeds

    “Forest carbon sink neutralized by pervasive growth-lifespan trade-offs

    …”Thus, current tree growth stimulation will, inevitably, result in a lagged increase in canopy tree mortality, as is indeed widely observed, and eventually neutralise carbon gains due to growth stimulation. Results from a strongly data-based forest simulator confirm these expectations. Extant Earth system model projections of global forest carbon sink persistence are likely too optimistic, increasing the need to curb greenhouse gas emissions.”

  9. “Global Crop Failures Continue: In Australia This Is Going To Be The WORST HARVEST Ever Recorded.”

    “Australia’s hottest and driest year on record has slashed crop production, with summer output expected to fall to the lowest levels on record, according to official projections released Tuesday.”

    “The country’s agriculture department said it expects production of crops like sorghum, cotton and rice to fall 66 percent — the lowest levels since records began in 1980-81.”

    “”It is the lowest summer crop production in this period by a large margin,” Peter Collins, a senior economist with the department’s statistical body ABARES told AFP.”

    Soon, the energy you are going to be most worried about is the food energy to keep your body going. Or, paying for it as food costs eat up a bigger and bigger proportion of your budget.

    Worrying about power for your homes and cars is going to be the least of your concerns. Just getting enough food and water, at affordable prices, will become your most serious problem, and likely so within the next 5 years, even in Australia.

    See “Food Hoarding Expected in 2021 as Prices Continue to Soar.” – Bloomberg.

    More and more nations will place limits on food exports to ensure (expensive) domestic supplies. Nations without food self-sufficiency will be in serious trouble very soon.

  10. Better late than never! Money -now, That’s What They Want, not an appointment in a year.

    Give money, not psychological bandaids.

    “The Comparative Impact of Cash Transfers and a Psychotherapy Program on Psychological and Economic Well-being

    …” In contrast, the psychotherapy program had no measurable effects on either psychological or economic outcomes, both for individuals with poor mental health at baseline and others. The effects of the combined treatment are similar to those of the cash transfer alone.”

    Had to post.. love the jungle drums & ‘off beat’ beats…Barrett Strong – Money (That’s What I Want) – 1959

  11. Scott Morrison has a magic Teflon coating .He effortlessly escapes blame for bungling Australia’s relationship with China. The Coalition has been in government for a while now and he has been PM for years. Our grovelling mindless reactionary relationship with the US doesnt even rate a mention in this context. It is the cause that dare not speak its name .If pressed it seems better to simply speak in vague terms of freedom v’s authoritarianism. Trump gave Morrison the red carpet treatment and he gleefully lapped it up ,doubling down on his tiny Trump deputy sheriff He Man approach to China. Superpowers are bound to punish nations they dont like ,this shouldnt be a surprise to anyone. You would think a marketing guy would have a better grasp of international relations. China doesnt like having its face slapped by us. They arent yet behaving entirely as the US has ,we would be under heavy sanctions ,suffering electoral interference or undergoing regime change by force. I am tempted to go with an accelerationist approach and hope things get much worse rapidly.

  12. It takes two to have an undignified and nasty fight. I am no moral supporter of Morrison (or the USA) in light of their many crimes against humanity . Equally, I am no supporter of China in its current guise as a totalitarian dictatorship perpetrating, if anything, worse crimes against humanity. If there is any fundamental difference in our systems it is that we can still get rid of a Trump or even a Morrison. China cannot get rid of Xi Jinping (dictator for life) anywhere near as easily. No matter how bad we are (and we are very bad) China under the Communist Party of China is worse. The surveillance deep state of China is worse. It oppressions are worse. This soft left liberal love affair with China is deeply misguided and frankly makes about as much sense as supporting the Nazis in 1939.

    In pragmatic terms, it is not easy to change alliances (ie. to leave the US and Western alliance) and it is even harder for cultural reasons. At the geostrategic level it also makes no sense. The problem with soft left liberals is that they lack all realism. I say this as a “Left Realist” as I term it. Since China has become entirely state capitalist / oligarchic capitaliist AND totalitarian it is not at all to be preferred to the USA as a model or an ally or even as a trading partner. Given the open rifts, opend debate and partisanship in the still nominally democratic USA , the likelihood of a democratic socialist revolution, by ballot or other means, in the USA (or the EU for that matter) is still markedly greater than in totalitarian China.

    Of course, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. The Chinese elites are now drunk on power and think that their power is unlimited globally and that they can do whatever they like. This attitude is generating a huge consensus for a global alliance against Chinese totalitarianism and this alliance is forming rapidly. I can refer to the USA, EU, Japan, India, Canada and Australia for start. The Chinese elites have nobody but themselves and their colossal arrogance and expansionism to blame. Russia at best is sitting on the fence. They too have much to fear from China which wants to take the Russian East and Mongolia just like they have taken and/or want to take the entire South China Sea, Tibet, Xinjiang, Taiwan and territory from India along the Line of Actual control, not to mention incursions and claims in Nepal and elsehwere. They tried to take a buffer zone of Vietnam ( Sino-Vietnamese War 1979) but the Vietnamese repelled them. The have been involved in wars with India too before. No evidence in either case that these nations wanted to take territory from China.

    China is an expansionist and revisionist power which does not accept or respect the international system. Of course, great powers never do accept the status quo. The USA is no longer the preeminent great power economically speaking and it is soon to be eclipsed militarily too. The USA has vast problems of its own, is declining and may even be collapsing. To remain fixated on the USA as the main aggressive capitalist power is to live in the past. China is now the main aggressive capitalist power and the most inimical to world peace and any prospects for genuine green democratic socialism in the future.

  13. Wonkish yet in the ball park.

    Potential vax rates and herd immunity in USA. My call … Continuing disruptive Covid outbreaks in US for 5yrs at least. Herd immunity – guess! 

    US popn. 330m
    ^1. Minus nurses! “roughly 330,000 — are either pregnant or are breastfeeding a baby, the CDC estimates.”..

    Minus children Under 18 years – 24.0% (2010)[4] wikipedia.

    ^3. “Krammer said. “I think at some point, we’ll think about vaccinating children. And I think that might not be possible with those vaccines.”
    330m*0.25= 82.5m

    Minus maybe after some time vaxxers approx 10% = 33m

    Minus antivaxxers = 42% or 138m
    (“Fifty-eight percent of Americans in the latest poll say they would get a COVID-19 vaccine, up from a low of 50% in September. (“^2.)

    Potentially 115m US popn NOT getting vaccine until 2022, and 138m delaying potentially forever. 

    No ethics panel would have allowed such a study, but hey! Thanks US exceptionalism! 

    Long detaild article…
    “The Covid-19 vaccines are a marvel of science. Here’s how we can make the best use of them

    “While health care workers are going to be at the front of the line for vaccines in the United States, three-quarters of them are women, and most them are of childbearing age. A significant number of them — roughly 330,000 — are either pregnant or are breastfeeding a baby, the CDC estimates.

    “Are Covid vaccines, and especially these first two vaccines, safe for this subset of health workers? There are no data upon which to answer that question. There aren’t even data that could be extrapolated from previous experience. The Pfizer and Moderna products will be the first mRNA vaccines to be authorized for use.

    Vaccinating children
    “Another pothole: kids.
    Regardless, researchers agree not vaccinating children is not an option. The problem is that the frontrunner vaccines may not be the best options, warned Florian Krammer, a professor of vaccinology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.

    “Those vaccines — from Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson — are, in the language of vaccinology, quite reactogenic. They carry a kick, sometimes inducing fevers, aches, and malaise.

    ““If they’re very reactogenic in adults, they [will be] super reactive in children,” Krammer said. “I think at some point, we’ll think about vaccinating children. And I think that might not be possible with those vaccines.(”^3.)

    “He wasn’t suggesting the vaccines would be dangerous for children. But when kids feel miserable after vaccination, it fuels parental concerns — which could give rise to vaccine hesitancy.”…

    “Grady is not so sure. She noted that asking people in another country to agree to be part of a placebo-controlled trial — when the world knows an effective vaccine exists — would typically be seen as exploitation.”…

    “More Americans Now Willing to Get COVID-19 Vaccine
    NOVEMBER 17, 2020

    “WASHINGTON, D.C. — Americans’ willingness to be vaccinated against COVID-19 rebounded a bit in October, as seen in Gallup polling conducted before Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna made promising announcements about the likely effectiveness of their coronavirus vaccines. Fifty-eight percent of Americans in the latest poll say they would get a COVID-19 vaccine, up from a low of 50% in September. ”

  14. Iko I agree with you but we wouldnt have many trading partners at all if we were only prepared to trade with democracies. Functional democracies are a tiny minority of the world community. I am not sure I would even count Australia as a functional democracy. The Democracy Index says there are 10 full democracies. Those called democracies have much in common with surveillance capitalist despotic regimes which might be a majority of countries now. There arent many countries which conform to the old top down (1984 or Gilead) brute force type of despotism ,they are many and varied and have learnt much about voluntary servitude from democracies and usually have broad public support. They have adopted democratic features. Democracies have moved toward despotism and vice versa. Despotic regimes work together and also with democracies. Despotism is not necessarily a bar to coordinated international action and I am not sure China looks like it doesnt want to play by the rules . I dont mean to sound like I am advocating authoritarianism or excusing Chinas human rights abuses or that we should dump the US altogether .You are right that democracy, although failing, is the best threat that we have to the international capitalist class .We should be more independent ,there is no point in making a punching bag out of ourselves on Americas behalf.

  15. Looking up the mid-range estimate of infectiousness, I see about 66% of people will need to receive a 95% effective vaccination for us to be more likely than not pandemic proof. Of course, unvaccinated people will be at risk if they travel to places where there is still community transmission, but vaccination will, of course, be a requirement for overseas travel.

    Thanks to good progress we hopefully will have two-thirds of the population vaccinated by the end of the first quarter next year.

  16. Actually, Australia should consider donating all its vaccine to the United States. If the delay is expected to kill an average of 100 Australians but the act of kindness reduces the risk of Trump Mark II nuking us by 50% then, depending on what you think the odds are of Trump Mark II gaining power and attacking us are, it could be worthwhile.

  17. Ronald,

    I can’t see a safe and effective vaccine being rolled out that fast in Australia. We can be almost certain that several more serious things will go wrong globally: a rushed vaccine error, a rapid mutation of covid-19 to a new, dangerous strain not covered by a current vaccine, etc. etc, We will likely be playing catch-up with covid-19 and its mutations for years to come yet.

  18. Iko, it is a remote possibility that a vaccine’s distribution will be halted. But that is very unlikely for the ones that have passed phase 1 & 2 testing. We will start distributing them at least a month after the UK and other countries begin so we will have warning if unexpected effects crop up.

    Of course, people who want to claim perfectly ordinary and expected heart attacks, brain tumors, strokes and so on are due to the vaccine will have a month or more to spread lies, so there is that.

    A strain developing that is both more dangerous and unaffected by multiple vaccines is unlikely.

  19. “Better late than never! Money -now, That’s What They Want, not an appointment in a year.
    Give money, not psychological bandaids. ”

    That’s not really fair. The short term psychotherapy was immediate as well :-). More seriously, that money can be more useful than therapy is not really news. The empirical record, at least for behavioural therapy is still pretty good. The negative results of this short term program in rural Kenya are fortunately unlikely to travel to a western setting.

    Still true that there is a strong authoritarian tendency in dealing with mental health issues. At least here in Germany, extra money just ain´t a thing, while throwing 1000+ Euro a month at you on top of welfare for years over years, if you agree to programs that pretend to turn you into a functioning work drone again very much is. To complicate things, reforms with “individual health budgets” are not unconditional transfers either, rather for the most part just neoliberal bs adding extra layers of bureaucracy and corporate profits onto the same old.

  20. Ronald,

    Don’t get me wrong. I am not an antivaxer. However, I also know vaccine science is complex, these vaccines have been rushed (some by untrustworthy private-for-profits) and we don’t yet know enough about the SARS-CoV2 virus and the reaction of the immune system to it and the vaccines.

    Australia is in the far better position compared to the UK. We don’t have to rush a new vaccine rollout because we controlled the novel coronavirus disease covid-19 by the correct method: lock-down to near elimination. The people who want to rush out the vaccine are the capitalists behind certain unsustainable, climate destroying industries like tourism, commercial flights, cruises, sports and entertainments. Undue haste could yet cause more problems. The virus also very likely has more nasty surprises in store for us. It’s a very adaptable virus with a significant mutation rate (though not as high as flu virus mutation rates).

    Of course, modern people in the West seem unable to live without traveling long distances every second week and going to a pub, restaurant or venue every second night. I am not sure why this is. Actually, I am sure why this is. They are spoilt, lazy, greedy, selfish and self-indulgent. Instead of exercising a little self-restraint, or even exercising their brain and body at all in simpler, more environmentally sustainable ways (books and long walks from home base anyone?) they want a pill, a jab and a traveling upright chair for every desired sensation every week of the year.

    This whole shebang (modern world civilization) is not sustainable. People need to learn learn that and also learn that this virus is actually showing them how they should live: modestly and without the excessive travel, consumption, gathering and contacts which promote epidemics. But they won’t learn. They will continue on with their mad orgy of blind consumption until catastrophic collapse. The chances for that are now about 90% and rising rapidly.

  21. I can note that I earlier predicted that the Thanksgiving / Xmas / New Year Period in the US, with most people ignoring pleas to stay at home, would lead to collapsing hospital systems in the US (meaning collapse in the capacity to admit and treat all COVID-19 and other cases) in the new year. I was wrong by about a month. The collapse is occurring right now. The US is entering a critical disaster period and humanitarian crisis. Hospital systems are collapsing across the USA.

    This US health and economic collapse will probably be of the proportions of the Russian collapse after the end of the Soviet Union. IIRC those numbers correctly, that would look like a 40% to 50% reduction in US GDP over the coming decade. The difference will be that there will be no recovery. Scraping along will be the new normal for 90% of US citizens. The reasons for there being no recovery will be mainly;

    (a) not enough resources left in the nation or world to drive the recovery in the old BAU paradigm; and
    (b) the near impossibility that US citizens will understand or be permitted by the elites to understand the crisis properly and implement the necessary democratic socialist and statist methods to save the people.

    Meanwhile, the only solidly statist major nation on earth, China, is sailing through this crisis with ease. But it is not democratic statism and there lies the rub.

  22. Thanks hix. “that money can be more useful than therapy is not really news..” Yet it doesn’t seem to have been provided to the authorisors of cash.

    “Still true that there is a strong authoritarian tendency in dealing with mental health issues.”. If you are depressed and mention drugs, the ‘client’ is told to fix drug problem first. I advise those with first tume mild mental health issues to not mention drdrugs at gp other than ‘social’. Otherwise they do not get psychological health suppoort until after running ‘don’t do drugs’ gauntlet. Yet gp, psychol/ iatrists push drugs – ssri’s etc – hard.

  23. Go Joe.
    Joseph Stiglitz DECEMBER 2 2020
    ” Australia is trying to blaze the way on tech regulation with a new code that would require Google and Facebook to pay for the news they circulate online. Plunging in where France and Spain have failed, Australia’s News Media Bargaining Code aims to lessen the power imbalance between quality media outlets and social media.

    “The information provided by the media is a public good, from which all society benefits.

    Maybe Joe hadn’t heard of The ABC?
    “Stiglitz went so far as to suggest nationalising them or creating a “public alternative platform”.

    “Australian gives coal eight pages
    “Readers of the Australian could be forgiven for wondering why there were so many positive articles about coal in Friday’s paper. From page 25, the News Corp paper ran eight full pages of articles and ads about coal.

    “Australia has a large vested interest in the health of the coal market,” the lead article said. The only indication it may have been paid content were the words “Australian Coal Special Report” on the first page. We’ve asked the Australian to clarify if it was editorial or advertorial.”

  24. I cant remember the origin, and Duck Duck doesnt help but – There was recently a comparative study of different nations media quality .Nations with independent national broadcasters had better quality media overall. The presence of a national broadcaster seems to lift the standard of the local commercial operatiors.

  25. Slick Willie, GW, and Obomber all say that once approved they will take a covid vaccine in front of a camera, have it filmed, or do it live on tv to encourage people to take it.

    The New Daily has it that: “As Mr Trump continues to ignore the crisis, CNN reports that George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama have stepped into the leadership void.”

    What public credibility would such a cheesy three mouseketeers outfit have?

    Slick Willie? The name says it all. There can be no misunderestimating GW’s legacy of lies, dishonesty, and cheating of right wing evangelicals. Obomber, if nothing else, notably faked drinking from a glass of toxic Flint water at a town meeting in Flint and lost the election for Killary.

    Many people who would have got a jab will join with large swathes of the public will surely smell a rat.

  26. Iko, I’ve never seen anything that makes me think you’re against vaccination.

    While you’re right the development of COVID vaccines was rushed, it was medical researchers doing the rushing. Donald Trump wasn’t in the lab transcribing RNA. He didn’t even offer to wash the test tubes. The very large majority want to help people and are not going to keep their mouths shut if there is evidence a vaccine is not safe. A lot of people work on these things and it’s not likely they are all going to keep their mouths shut, cash in their stock options, and escape to a non-extradition company before people realize the vaccine causes some monsterism.

    While there is some small risk to taking a vaccine, it is clear it’s worthwhile looking at what’s happening in the US and UK.

  27. Speaking about mis and dis information ,troll armies , fake news and conspiracy Phillip N Howard (director of the Oxford Internet Institute ) says ” …it is the far right ,ultra conservative groups … that get caught using such tools … only on rare occasions have we caught left wing populists and middle of the road politicians putting these tools and techniques to work for a political agenda ,and its usually only after someone else has used a lie machine to attack them .”

    I am beginning to wonder if the far or extreme Left even exists.

  28. The wokest and most holistic renewable energy project ever? Dutch company Oceans of Energy, working with another ?Dutch startup with the splendid title “The Seaweed Company”, has plans not only to string floating solar panels between wind turbines in the North Sea, but to grow carbon-negative seaweed under them. Igor, zees chust might vork., and

  29. Sunshine, a sizable portion of the US electorate has decided the virus should win. Clearly there is only “Chaotic Evil” and “Not Yet Insane”.

  30. Sunshine, Germany has followed
    ” left wing populists and middle of the road politicians putting these tools and techniques to work for a political agenda “.

    70+% definite rightwing/conspiracy.
    8-14% considered hard left.
    Balance uncatagorised.

    I’ll try to find study as it was a German tv news – in en.

  31. Ironic as Tooze shows US Fed report keeps away from the political – in a most political environment. And contrasts ECB with Fed “and a chapter on issues of financial risk and climate change, an issue which America’s Federal Reserve is only just daring to touch.”. Whereas ECB report “frankly political”. IMF report he states is “a true wonk fest, “. And mentions if 15% badn) apple banks in EU that may ” unleash a disastrous doom-loop.”

    “”What do the reports tell us about financial stability?

    “Chartbook newsletter #4 by Adam Tooze

    “Financial Stability Three Ways

    ” compare the reports issued by the Fed, the ECB and the IMF as documenting different points of view at this dramatic moment in the development of the world economy.

    “The Fed’s report breathes the air of 2008 and Dodd-Frank. It is an elegant, stripped down document that focuses on the essentials of financial stability … The commentary is sparse. The Fed presumably does not want to give too much away. Nor does it want to find itself in hot political water.”

    “The European Central Bank’s report is strikingly different in tone. It takes a much more comprehensive approach to evaluating the macroeconomic position of the Euro Area. It is frankly political, issuing warnings on fiscal policy and corona support measures. It is more adventurous in analytical terms than the Fed and more wide-ranging in its coverage, …

    “The IMF’s Financial Stability Report is a true wonk fest, written by economics PhDs for an audience that may include a high percentage of the same. … This issue highlights the instruments used by Emerging Markets to navigate the recent financial turmoil and a chapter on issues of financial risk and climate change, an issue which America’s Federal Reserve is only just daring to touch.

    “A weak tail of banks, accounting for almost 15 percent of assets in the baseline adverse scenario, might fail to meet minimum regulatory capital requirements in an adverse scenario.

    “That is an awful lot of bad apples. And in the EM in an adverse scenario, the numbers are very large indeed. More than a third of bank assets in the EM could be sliding towards the danger zone 2022. That would unleash a disastrous doom-loop.

    “For this reason, amongst others, at least some voices in the IMF are calling for governments to maintain spending, …”…

  32. It has been claimed that during the 20th century no authoritarian regime collapsed due to internal unrest only ?. Despotic regimes are more stable than commonly thought, they do not inevitably collapse under their own weight and modern regimes are more clever and adaptable – they make use of big data and social media . If change does happen it is likely to be for another form of authoritarianism ,democracy might not inevitably or naturally prevail if we just wait long enough. Also we need to guard against existing democracies becoming more despotic.

  33. Maybe I am late to this party. I am starting to dislike Mozilla Firefox ‘s “Pocket” intensely. It’s almost impossible to turn off too, without voiding the “Warranty” that Mozilla supposedly provides. Honestly, what warranty?

    It’s so much the way isn’t it? Everything is commercialized, monetized, financialized into the money nexus (as Marx predicted). It’s hard to find anything even in the open source, public access domain that isn’t rapidly contaminated or ruined by the tentacles of rampant capitalism.

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