March 4, 2020
There is at this point no difference between Trump and the Republican party. Super Tuesday seemed to reveal that perhaps Joe Biden will win the Democratic party’s nomination. If he does, it will be because of South Carolina and the African-American vote. And if he does win his party’s nomination, then he would in many ways be fulfilling and carrying out Obama’s legacy as it pertains to the Democratic party.
- Super Tuesday results: follow the votes live | US news (Guardian)
- Super Tuesday: Biden seals comeback with string of victories (BBC)
- Opinion | Super Tuesday gave Joe Biden the historic surge he needed (WaPo, $)
- The resurrection of Joe Biden is almost complete: the race is his to lose | Richard Wolffe (Guardian)
- Mike Bloomberg’s Super Tuesday results show buying a presidency is hard (Vox)
“Character is like a tree and reputation its shadow. The shadow is what we think it is and the tree is the real thing.”
“The best way to predict your future is to create it.”
― Abraham Lincoln
Kevin Frayer via Getty Images
Biological Warfare in the Middle East
The vast majority of the 90,000 reported coronavirus cases worldwide — and the 3,110 deaths — have been in China. While some speculation has arisen about the accuracy of information coming from Beijing, what’s happening in Iran is perhaps much more troubling.
Iran’s leaders have been slow to respond to the crisis, even taking little personal precaution. A top Iranian health official who had contracted the virus addressed an audience, without a face mask, while visibly sweating and coughing.
On Monday a close adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei died from the virus; prior to her death she had met with President Hassan Rouhani and his cabinet, potentially exposing the entire senior leadership to the disease. To date several other senior Iranian officials have tested positive for Covid-19, as have twenty-three of parliament’s 290 members.
To combat the virus’s spread in crowded jails, Iran temporarily released more than 54,000 prisoners officials said had tested negative for the disease. It isn’t clear if Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian charity worker jailed in 2016 for espionage, will be furloughed, and the status of her health is in question.
At Tuesday’s World Wildlife Day ceremony, the Ayatollah urged the public to observe hygiene guidelines, then added the country’s outbreak “will not last long….” Meanwhile Iran’s health ministry reported 835 new confirmed cases of coronavirus, raising the number in the country to 2,336, with 77 deaths in less than two weeks. The real number is thought to be much higher. Cases linked to Iran have been reported all over the Middle East and in Canada.
- How Deadly Is The New Coronavirus? China Offers Some Intriguing Clues : Goats and Soda (NPR)
- What is coronavirus: Symptoms, how it spreads, how to avoid it (WaPo, $)
- Coronavirus Is Causing Panic but Not Lawlessness (New Yorker)
- Gunnison, Colorado: the town that dodged the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic (Guardian)
- South Korea seeks murder charges as coronavirus kills more than 3,000 worldwide (Reuters)
- How to Prepare for Coronavirus Outbreak If You’re Very Rich (Bloomberg, $)
- Avoiding Coronavirus May Be a Luxury Some Workers Can’t Afford (NYT, $)
- Coronavirus: What are the chances of dying? (BBC)
- Coronavirus: health experts concerned US hospitals are not prepared (Guardian)
- Coronavirus: Eight charts on how it has shaken economies (Guardian)
- Coronavirus: Tokyo 2020 could be postponed to end of year – Japan’s Olympic minister (BBC)
Photo via Getty Images
Nattering Nabobs of Overoptimism
- Superlatives describing a potential trade pact between Britain and the US were flying when Prime Minister Boris Johnson and President Trump met at the UN last September: “Massive;” “Fantastic;” “Enormous;” “Magnificent.” Trump doesn’t seem to have dialed back his rosy rhetoric. Johnson, however, has, now that both economic and political reality have set in.
- On Monday the PM laid out his government’s objectives for the negotiations with Washington. Instead of playing up the Texas-sized windfall Britain would get from a deal, as he did when selling it as a lucrative fringe benefit of Brexit, Johnson emphasized points Britain would not give up in a negotiation, like food safety, and the sanctity of his country’s National Health Service.
- The toned-down approach reflects the sobering realization that getting a great trade deal with the EU stands to be much more important to Britain than having one with the US. Predictions are that even if negotiations go very well with Washington, an American deal would expand the British economy 0.16 percent, at best, by 2025.
- Not to mention that this year’s presidential election means Congress is highly unlikely to approve a trade deal with Britain, even if one is signed before November. (NYT)
- Boris Johnson says he will be taking paternity leave this summer (Guardian)
Killing The Wrong Thing
- Illegal cattle sales, deforestation of native forests, invasion of indigenous reserves of conservation, rural violence, land feuds, child labor, and murder. It’s all happening in Brazil, and according to a new investigation, it’s more than tangentially linked to two of the world’s biggest meat companies: JBS and Marfrig.
- Valdelir João de Souzais and four others are charged with homicide and forming or being part of an illegal paramilitary group. Prosecutors said de Souza ordered the brutal massacre in April 2017 of nine men in what became known as the “Colniza massacre.” The men were attempting to protect remote forest land in the state of Mato Grosso. De Souza has eluded arrest, but in 2018 two adjacent farms covering 2,600 acres in nearby Rondonia state were registered in his name.
- The farms are in an area set aside by the government for low-income agricultural workers; satellite images show extensive deforestation on one of the farms. Government records reveal cattle from one farm being sold to another farm, and minutes later the same cattle being sold to JBS meat company, a scheme known as “cattle laundering.”
- Acquiring “laundered” cattle gives meat companies cover to claim they’re upholding their commitments. JBS and Marfrig had both signed agreements vowing to not buy cattle from suppliers involved in illegal deforestation, land grabbing or rural conflicts. (Guardian)
Additional World News
- A Global Struggle For Democracy Is Lacking Leadership (NPR)
- In Argentina’s north, indigenous children sicken and die from malnutrition (Reuters)
- Russia committed war crimes in Syria, finds UN report (Guardian) & Russia’s Putin wants traditional marriage and God in constitution (BBC)
- European commuters still choose cars and congestion over public transport (Guardian)
- Thomas Piketty Goes Global (New Yorker, $)
- Israel election: Netanyahu begins coalition talks | World news (Guardian)
- World’s beaches disappearing due to climate crisis (Guardian)
Tragedy In Tennessee
- Tennessee’s governor declared a state of emergency after three tornadoes ripped through Nashville and other counties of the state after midnight Tuesday morning, flattening homes, crushing buildings, tossing airplanes and downing powerlines. Winds reached at least 155 mph — EF-3 tornado level — in Mount Juliet and Donelson. At least twenty-five people have died and dozens more are missing.
- Entire neighborhoods were destroyed; survivors said the debris and wreckage left behind looked like a war zone. Some Super Tuesday polling stations were impacted; alternative locations were offered, and a judge ruled that all Tennessee polling stations would have to extend their voting hours. Nashville schools were closed Tuesday and Wednesday. (ABCNews)
“How Dare You!” – Greta Thunberg
- The Department of the Interior performs scientific work that is the basis for critical decisions about water and mineral rights affecting millions of Americans and hundreds of millions of acres of land. Around the start of the Trump administration in 2017, a long-time Interior Department employee, Indur Goklany, was promoted to the office of the deputy secretary and given the responsibility of reviewing the agency’s climate policies. Soon afterward Goklany began inserting climate denial language into the agency’s scientific reports.
- He also instructed department scientists to add to their reporting that increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere — the main force driving global warming — is actually beneficial because it “may increase plant water efficiency” and “lengthen the agricultural growing season.”
- The misleading and inaccurate wording, known internally as the “Goks uncertainty language,” appears in at least nine reports, including environmental studies and impact statements on major watersheds in the American West that could be used to justify allocating increasingly scarce water to farmers at the expense of wildlife conservation and fisheries. (NYT)
Additional USA News
- Katie Hill, After the Scandal (The Cut)
- California Had Its Driest February on Record. Here’s How Bad It Was. (NYT, $)
- Supreme Court Eyes The President’s Power To Say ‘You’re Fired!’ (NPR)
- Why So Many Americans Don’t Talk About Money (Atlantic, $)
- For Growing Numbers of Struggling U.S. Cities, the Downturn Has Arrived (WSJ, $)
- 2020 Elections
- When the Billionaire Family Behind the Opioid Crisis Needed PR Help, They Turned to Mike Bloomberg (ProPublica)
- The Man Behind Trump’s Facebook Juggernaut (New Yorker, $)
- Inside Mike Bloomberg’s 2020 Presidential Campaign (NY Mag)
- Why Buttigieg Dropped Out (Five Thirty-Eight)
A Hard Dose Of No Dose
- After decades of drug research involving hundreds of medications and dozens of clinical trials, nothing has really proven effective in preventing, arresting or curing Alzheimer’s. But what happens to the volunteers when a drug study abruptly ends? A participant might have committed months or years to a drug trial, only to have it vanish overnight with no advance warning.
- The commitment is often particularly arduous, involving frequent, long visits, with in-depth testing, blood draws, MRI and PET scans, even spinal taps. And when pharmaceutical companies discontinue their clinical trial of an experimental drug, participants often learn the news via social media, leaving some to describe it as “akin to a trauma” and “[like] a kick in the stomach.”
- In one case last year, two companies suddenly ended their trial of a drug they had deemed ineffective. But seven months later, with reanalysis and using additional data, it was determined that at high doses, the drug appeared to reduce cognitive decline after all. (NYT)
- Apple to pay users $25 an iPhone to settle claims it slowed old handsets (Guardian)
- Can YouTube Quiet Its Conspiracy Theorists? (NYT, $)
- Can we save the bees that feed the world? (BBC)
- Why hasn’t AI changed the world yet? (BBC)
- Why the Coronavirus Seems to Hit Men Harder Than Women (NYT, $) & Mystery of lifespan gap between sexes may be solved, say researchers (Guardian)
- Is It Better To Rent Or Buy A House?: Life Kit (NPR)
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