I Can Do This
May 6, 2020
“It’s not a question of whether you will hurt, or of how much you will hurt; it’s a question of what you will do, and how well you will do it, while pain has her wanton way with you.”
“It doesn’t matter how many times you get knocked down,” he told his daughter, Marilynn. “What matters is how many times you get up.” (Additional movie reference: Captain America : I can do this all day)
“It takes energy to get angry. It eats you up inside. I can’t waste my energy like that and expect to get ahead.”
Alex Wong via Getty Images
Big Worries, Mate, Crikey Blimey America’s Not Alright.
America and Australia are extremely close allies. But Australia has watched in abject horror as its closest ally has vacillated in its efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic, and foundered in a government’s most fundamental task: to keep its people safe.
The pandemic has uncovered deep fissures in America that reveal the extent to which its institutions have been hollowed out and decayed by neglect or partisan maneuvering. Cracks in its federalist system have left states’ capacities weak and uneven, and highlighted the absence of a social solidarity. Critically, the lack of a broad-capacity public healthcare system has been brutally exposed.
Dr. Michael Fullilove, Lowy Institute’s executive director, says crises like Covid-19 are “stress tests” for nations, and the US is failing. “The US appears to be seriously unwell… somewhat febrile and ineffective. [It] was self-isolating before Covid-19 under Donald Trump’s presidency, what Covid has done is magnified the worst elements of the Trump administration. His personal response has been one of the worst in the world….” One knowledgeable observer says US prestige has been damaged by its inchoate response to Covid-19 and its inability to protect its citizens. “For all its wealth and all its might, the US has not been able to bring down fatality rates.”
Trump is neither popular nor trusted in Australia, but a great majority of the country still believes the US alliance is in the national interest. The Australian public, Fullilove says, separates the person of the president from the institution of the alliance. But a former prime minister notes that while presidents come and go, Trump has abandoned America’s global leadership role for the first time since 1945. He warns a second Trump term will strain the relationship even further.
Defenestrations of Moscow
- Coronavirus infections are growing rapidly in Russia. The country has posted more than 10,000 new Covid-19 cases for the past three days, giving it the highest rate of new infections in Europe. One of the reasons cited for mass infections is the lack of personal protective equipment.
- For weeks paramedic Dmitry Seryogin had warned about the lack of coronavirus testing and inadequate PPE that he and his colleagues were given in Oryol, a city about a four-hour drive south of Moscow. If a patient didn’t explicitly warn they had coronavirus, teams handled likely infections in simple masks and gloves. Now more than a dozen of his colleagues have contracted the virus.
- Elsewhere hotspots with hundreds of infected people have been discovered at far-flung oil and gas fields and regional hospitals. Moscow’s mayor has warned that as many as 2 percent of the capital’s residents may be infected — some 250,000 people — roughly four times the official tally.
- Medical staff have been hit especially hard; hundreds of Russian healthcare workers have been quarantined alongside their patients. Officially, 1,451 people have died of Covid-19 in Russia, far fewer than in countries with similar confirmed cases; unofficial statistics raise questions about how the government is counting the numbers of its people who have died from the disease. (Guardian)
- Russia domestic violence cases more than double under lockdown (Guardian)
- A ‘Breakdown of Trust’: Pandemic Corrodes Church-State Ties in Russia (NYT, $)
- Three Russian doctors fall from hospital windows, raising questions amid coronavirus pandemic (CNN)
- Additional reference: Defenestrations of Prague
Additional World News
- One billion people will live in insufferable heat within 50 years – study (Guardian)
- Hurray for good news! Malaria ‘completely stopped’ by microbe (BBC)
- Leading Philippine Broadcaster, Target of Duterte’s Ire, Forced Off the Air (NYT, $)
- Taliban not living up to commitments, U.S. Defense Secretary says (Reuters) This is the least surprising news of the day and helps explain why Afghainstan is such a quagmire. There’s no easy exit strategy.
- Additional quote: “So this is hell. I’d never have believed it. You remember all we were told about the torture-chambers, the fire and brimstone, the “burning marl.” Old wives’ tales! There’s no need for red-hot pokers. Hell is—other people [or terrorists]!” ― Jean-Paul Sartre, No Exit
- The coronavirus has mutated and appears to be more contagious now, new study finds (CNBC)
- ‘Not the World’s Number One’: Chinese Social Media Piles On the U.S. (Politico)
- Internal Chinese report warns Beijing faces Tiananmen-like global backlash over virus (Reuters)
- China’s Coronavirus Vaccine Drive Empowers a Troubled Industry (NYT)
- Rick Bright, Former Top Vaccine Scientist, Files Whistleblower Complaint (NPR)
- When will we start traveling again? Here’s what experts are saying (CNBC): “It could be 18 to 24 months before travel picks back up, they say. Air travel in particular will be slow to recover.”
- Coronavirus: The lure of mafia money during the crisis (BBC)
- What Google searches tell us about our coronavirus thoughts and fears (Vox)
COVID-19 & Money
- Europe’s leading global airline is losing $1 million an hour and needs a bailout (CNN)
- Disney suffers $1.4bn hit due to coronavirus (BBC)
- The Pandemic May Mean the End of the Open-Floor Office (NYT)
- Saudi Arabia, Hit With Oil Collapse and Coronavirus, Tosses Lifelines (WSJ, $)
- The Small-Business Die-Off Is Here (Atlantic, $)
- The layoffs at Airbnb cast a dark shadow over Silicon Valley (Vox)
- J. Crew Likely to File for Bankruptcy in Virus’s First Big Retail Casualty (NYT)
- Fake beef just might be what’s for dinner this summer: Demand for meatless meat is skyrocketing during the pandemic (Vox) & Beyond Meat plans U.S. discounts, hopes to replace beef on summer grills (Reuters)
Human Sacrifice To Appease Mammon
- A leaked internal White House report predicts the daily death toll from coronavirus will reach about 3,000 on June 1, almost double the current tally of about 1,750. Regardless, President Trump has scrapped daily coronavirus task force briefings, marginalized his medical experts, and had his economic officials flood the airwaves urging states to reopen for business.
- On Tuesday morning the president was to take Air Force One to visit a medical mask-making facility in Arizona for his first long trip since late March, when the outbreak escalated in the US. Before boarding, Trump weighed a predicted surge in deaths against economic revival. “There is no great win, one way or the other, but I will tell you where there is a win, we are going to build a country, I did it once, two months ago we had the best economy in the history of the world, but we are going to do it again and that’s what we’re starting … it’s going to happen pretty fast.”
- Critics warn that by effectively abandoning a public health strategy to halt the spread of the virus, Trump is showing a “clear willingness to trade lives for the Dow Jones.” (Guardian)
- Researchers double U.S. COVID-19 death forecast, citing eased restrictions (Reuters)
- Trump does not wear coronavirus mask at Honeywell factory that makes masks (CNBC)
- What Freedom Means to Trump (Atlantic, $)
- Additional reference: Mammon
Hagen Hopkins via Getty Images
Gotham’s Secret Vigilante Bruce Complayne Outs Non Bane Mask Wearing Citizens
- Last month a cardiologist in Wisconsin was seen in a photo on Facebook at a rally demanding the state lift orders that had shuttered businesses and schools. He wasn’t wearing a mask and wasn’t socially distancing. A member of the public who saw the photo was so angry he shared it on Facebook with an admonition about the doctor who boldly attended a rally amid a pandemic: Go to his hospital “at your own risk.”
- Dozens of people who saw the Facebook “report” contacted the doctor’s hospital and by the next afternoon, the 68-year-old physician who’d been practicing for 33 years had been suspended for a week. He’d become one of the most public casualties of a growing crowd of social distancing vigilantes — Americans frustrated by fellow citizens violating government orders to wear masks, close nonessential businesses, and refrain from gathering in groups.
- This month, with President Trump and Republican governors aggressively pushing to reopen the economy, such citizen action is being politicized, with liberals believing it’s their civic duty and a matter of public health to call out violators, and conservatives comparing it to the actions of informants in a totalitarian state. (NYT)
The Original Americans
- New Mexico Invokes Riot Law to Control Virus Near Navajo Nation (NYT)
- Native American health center asked for COVID-19 supplies. It got body bags instead. (NBC News)
- Irish Return an Old Favor, Helping Native Americans Battling the Virus (NYT, $)
- Covid-19’s Race and Class Warfare (NYT)
Additional USA News
- Americans are told to wash hands to fight coronavirus. But some don’t trust the tap. (WaPo, $)
- As the coronavirus spreads, U.S. military attempts to secure ‘no-fail’ missions (WaPo, $)
- Parking Lots Have Become a Digital Lifeline (NYT, $)
- How Kushner’s volunteer force led a fumbling hunt for medical supplies (NYT, $): “There’s an old saying in emergency management — disaster is the wrong time to exchange business cards,” said Tim Manning, a former deputy administrator at FEMA. “And it’s absolutely the wrong time to make up new procedures.”
- Baby driver: Utah police stop five-year-old on way to California in parents’ car (Guardian)
- Additional movie: Baby Driver Trailer (an entertaining movie that provides solid mindless entertainment)
- Additional song: Tracy Chapman – Fast car (A beautiful song)
Invest In Yourself
- With the coronavirus pandemic throwing tens of millions of Americans out of work and causing extraordinary stock market volatility, it’s a good time to rethink some traditional retirement rules of thumb. Here are five suggestions.
- Old rule: Make retirement savings your No. 1 priority. New rule: make paying off debt, especially high-interest debt, your priority. The longer you have until retirement, the more you should focus on paying down debt. If you want to retire at 65, and you’re in your 20s, 30s, and even 40s, you can afford to slow down saving for retirement to get rid of liabilities, especially high-interest debt. One caveat: If your employer offers to match your retirement savings up to a designated percentage, try to save enough to contribute enough to receive the match, but no more. Once the debt is gone, you can contribute substantially more to your workplace retirement account or an IRA. Time is still on your side.
- Old rule: Your home is a great retirement investment. New rule: Your home is not a great retirement plan. It’s an asset, but you can’t quickly access the equity if you need cash.
- Old rule: You’ll only need between 70 percent and 80 percent of your preretirement income. New rule: You may need to replace 100 percent of your preretirement income. Don’t underestimate your retirement spending.
- Old rule: Retirees should greatly reduce their exposure to stocks. New rule: Retirees shouldn’t shun stocks.
- Old rule: Save at least 10 percent of your income for retirement. New rule: Aim to save 15 percent of your income for retirement. One of the greatest financial risks for retirees is inflation. (WaPo)
- Why the Covid-19 economy is particularly devastating to millennials, in 14 charts (Vox)
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