"Leading psychologists explain how Trump’s self-delusions make him stunningly effective at predatory deception." by Daniel Kriegman, Robert Trivers & Malcolm Slavin, APR 6, 2020 RawStory.com
Trump doesn't want coronavirus testing: His instinct is always to hide the truth "His whole life, Trump has lied about the numbers: From the beginning, he's tried to deflate the coronavirus count." by Amanda Marcotte, APRIL 22, 2020 Salon.com
Is Trump killing people on purpose? By Chauncey Devega, April 25, 2020 Salon.com
Necropolitics by Achille Mbembe
We are preoccupied with the novel coronavirus and its global wake of death.
Today is Earth Day and our environmental problems have been overshadowed by our woeful unpreparedness to face this pandemic which we have been warned about for years.
"Here are 11 people who seemingly predicted the coronavirus pandemic." APR 2020 BusinessInsider.com
The chart to the left is from the new Biological Conservation paper which outlines four broad, global problems leading to insect loss.
In FEB 2019 Vox.com abbreviated the report: "When insects go extinct, other species follow.
The researchers in the new Biological Conservation paper outline four broad, global problems leading to insect loss. They won’t surprise you. Habitat loss as a result of human development, deforestation, and the expansion of agriculture. Pollution, particularly via pesticides, fertilizers, and industrial wastes. Parasites and pathogens like the viruses that attack honeybees and invasive species. Climate change. In summary: Human activity is to blame."
And if we don’t act, the researchers give a stark warning: "The repercussions this will have for the planet’s ecosystems are catastrophic to say the least, as insects are at the structural and functional base of many of the world’s ecosystems since their rise at the end of the Devonian period, almost 400 million years ago."
Earth Day 1970 - 2020: 50th Anniversary
American Museum of Natural History
Time Will Tell
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. In the ensuing years, our population has doubled. We eat more meat, fly more often, use more energy, and produce more stuff. Fortunately, our understanding has also changed. Decades of careful observation have given us a detailed picture of how Earth is responding to our habits. The past is clear. What will the future look like? It depends on the choices we make today. Watch our Climate Change Playlist (from the American Museum of Natural History) to understand what and how we're learning about anthropogenic climate change.
Some of My Easter Reading in Order of Publication Date
MAR 23, 2020 The Atlantic
What the Great Plague of Athens Can Teach Us Now
Disease changed the course of the war, and shaped the peace that came afterward, planting the seeds that would destroy Athenian democracy.
MAR 27, 2020 History.com
How 5 of History's Worst Pandemics Finally Ended
While some of the earliest pandemics faded by wiping out parts of the population, medical and public health initiatives were able to halt the spread of other diseases.
MAR 27, 2020 New York Times
The Religious Right’s Hostility to Science Is Crippling Our Coronavirus Response
Trump’s response to the pandemic has been haunted by the science denialism of his ultraconservative religious allies.
APR 6, 2020 The New Yorker
The Truth About Isaac Newton’s Productive Plague
The idea that the bubonic plague woke the brilliance in Isaac Newton is both wrong and misleading.
APR 10, 2020 Vanity Fair
The Art of Making Art About a Plague
How will coronavirus inspire writers, filmmakers, and other creatives? Expect more stories about inequality—and maybe the end of superhero mania
APR 10, 2020 Vox.com
Coronavirus is not just a tragedy. It’s an opportunity to build a better world.
Coronavirus is a great moral drama taking place before our eyes. And the script has not yet been written.
The Search For Nijinsky's Rite of Spring (2004 Documentary)
A 2004 documentary on Millicent Hodson's and Kenneth Archer's attempts to recreate the original choreography by Vasclav Nijinsky and original sets and costumes by Nicholas Roerich for the original production in 1913 of Igor Stravinsky's ballet, The rite of spring. The full reconstructed ballet, Sacre du printemps = The rite of spring : pictures of pagan Russia in two acts (Joffrey Ballet ; Orchestra of the National Theatre, Prague ; Allan Lewis, conductor) follows the documentary.
While we wait for the March housing data to be released, here is an updated Confirmed Cases and Deaths by Country, Territory, or Conveyance of the "top" 19 countries from WorldoMeters.info.
Canada at this time of writing (MAR 31, 2020, 11.45am PST) reports the following:
We should of course be "physical distancing". We can still socialize electronically and in person in our virus free local environments. In these two photos I am shopping for a digital thermometer and isopropanol which I did manage to find and buy.
Understanding the Virus that Causes COVID-19, Animation
Bill Gates makes a prediction about when coronavirus cases will peak
Covid-19 MAR 27, 2020
The incubation period (time from exposure to the development of symptoms) of the virus is estimated to be between 2 and 14 days. A very long incubation period could reflect a double exposure. 24 days represented an outlier observation that must be taken into consideration in the context of the main finding of the World Health Organization study.
The February housing data for Calgary shows that the average price of a condo is trading at prices from nearly 15 years ago and two and a half years before the July 2008 WTI Crude Oil peak.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business released their March 2020 "Business Barometer" suit of charts:
"The index now stands at a record low 30.8, well under the previous lows near 39 recorded in both the 2008 and 1990 recessions. The scale of the negative perspectives appear pretty consistent across industry groupings..."
Earlier this year, Jason Kirby via Macleans.ca released their 6th annual "Most important Canadian economic charts to watch in 2020." Note the Calgary trend changes unfolding since February 8, 2016 when WTI Crude Oil prices hit USD$28.49.
Alberta’s Double-Dip Recession?
"Oil producing provinces have faced a difficult five years. Low oil prices cut into revenue, investment, employment, wages, and overall economic activity. Government budgets are increasingly strained, unemployment is stubbornly high, social assistance enrollment is at record highs, and the end is not yet in sight. In fact, a second recession might (just might) be in Alberta’s future. As this graph illustrates, my index of monthly economic activity in Alberta has been negative for most of 2019 – signalling a possibly contracting Alberta economy. A worsening economy in Alberta affects employment and growth throughout Canada, but the ripples go far beyond the dollars and cents. Rising frustration and disappointment are increasingly directed at perceived failures of the federal government and Alberta politicians are happy to oblige. A second recession may exacerbate these tensions and further strain Canada’s confederation. For these reasons, and more, this indicator will be one to watch in 2020." Chart above thanks to Trevor Tombe, associate professor of economics, University of Calgary and research fellow at The School of Public Policy.
CANADIAN EMPLOYMENT RATES
in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Montreal and their Provinces
See also my previous posts with charts related to DEFLATION and what to expect:
Asset Prices Drop
Investment Spending Drops
The Savings Rate Rises
Debt Delinquencies Rise
The Credit Boom Turns to Bust
ITEM: "People are hitting the wall’:
Delinquency rate highest since 2012 GlobalNews.ca MAR 5, 2020
"Canada’s so-called 90+ day delinquency rate on non-mortgage payments climbed to 1.2 per cent in the final three months of 2019, an 11 per cent jump compared with the same period in 2018, Equifax data shows... Delinquency rates had been “marching higher” for much of 2019 and will likely keep going up in 2020... The trend is strongest in British Columbia, Ontario and Alberta, where delinquencies are now back above their 2016 level."
Canada sees rising numbers of consumers defaulting on their debts even amid a healthy economy and solid job market. Consumer insolvencies were up more than 10 per cent in January 2020 compared to the same month in 2019, according to the latest figures from the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy.
Scott Terrio, manager of consumer insolvency for Hoyes, Michalos Licensed Insolvency Trustees said "much of the debt he sees from clients filing for insolvency is much older than two years... "We’ve run up debt for most of a decade... Some borrowers are simply getting to the end of the runway... That may be especially true among renters, who, according to Terrio, made up more than 90 per cent of debtors who filed for insolvency with Hoyes Michalos over the last couple of years... While sky-high home prices allow many homeowners in expensive cities to keep borrowing against their home equity, renters have fewer options to keep borrowing and consolidate debt."
“Outside of mortgages, we have seen a significant pullback in demand for credit,” Johnston noted. Consumers, Terrio said, are “entering a period here of self-policing.”
ie: DEBT REVULSION
"Deflationary Spiral" - The Khan Academy
"EMPLOYMENT DRIVES DEMAND"
TEXT FROM VIDEO ABOVE Created by Sal Khan: So in a normal economy we know that employment will drive overall demand. If we have high employment or low unemployment, then people are going to have more jobs, and they're going to have higher wages, and that will have higher demand. Or if the other way goes around, if they lose their jobs, demand is going to go down, wages will start to go down, and people aren't going to have money in their pockets. So employment drives demand. And we can view the demand-- and I'm making a huge simplification here-- demand will drive production. Or maybe we could think of it as supply. It'll drive supply, and it can also be a driver of price. And of course, there is a little bit of a negative feedback loop for both of these things. If the demand is high and the price goes high, that might produce a little bit of negative feedback on the demand. Instead of an arrow, this line here means negative feedback. I'll put a little negative sign here. And let's say the demand is high and then the supply goes high. Well actually, the supply going high would drive the price going down. So maybe I should draw a negative feedback like here. High supply would mean lower price. But that's not what I want to focus on in that video. And we could keep adding more lines here. But this is roughly simple take on it. But the general idea is supply and price will then drive corporate profits, or just profits in general, even for an individual business owner. And then profits are going to drive employment.
Now, let's imagine a scenario. We are in a bad economy, maybe a depression-like economy. So in that situation, you could start really at any point in this circle. I'll just start at employment. So let's say employment is really low. That's going to make demand really low. And if demand is really low, then supply is going to go down, and price is going to go down. And then that's going to make profits go down. And that's going to make employment even lower. And so what we find ourselves in this kind of recessionary or depression area environment, this would be called a deflationary spiral. And it's a spiral because a bad economy is driving lower prices, which is in turn driving a bad economy. And to make matters worse, if this continues long enough, or if these price declines are severe enough, you could imagine people saying, look, I have this dollar in my pocket. I'm not going to spend this dollar because, one, I might lose my job at any moment, and I know that that dollar is becoming more powerful, that I can buy more every minute that I wait. So as the price goes down, so as all of this scary stuff happens-- so the employment is going down, profits are going down, prices going down-- this makes people not hoard goods the way that they would do in an inflationary spiral. But it makes them hoard money.
And why it's ultra scary for central bankers or for governments is they start to not have as much control over the economy. They can't just run the printing press and try to stimulate the economy in this situation, because if they did people are so conservative right now-- You could imagine maybe a depression is going on for years and years and years. And let's say that they take some type of a helicopter-- And this isn't how you actually distribute money to the money supply, but it's just to show an extreme example. So they take a helicopter, and they start dumping cash on people. They print cash, and they start dumping it on people. So every man, woman, and child in the country gets a $10 bill. Well, if people are really scared and really afraid, they're just going to take that $10 bill and stuff it into their mattress, and it's not going to change anything. That dollar isn't going to actually enter into the money supply. The velocity on it will be 0."
Today we see fear in the headlines. Fear in the Party of Trump (Bolton's book is leaked), fear in the contagion pipeline ("At this time, it’s unclear how easily or sustainably this virus [Coronavirus] is spreading between people...” the CDC says. [2700 confirmed case and 60 million Chinese residents in lockdown provinces] via CNN JAN 27th) and fear in the stock market indexes (1st chart left).
The second chart to the left shows the "un-growth" of Canadian Labour Productivity since the peak in the 1980's punctuated by two major global stock market selloffs (fear). In OCT 1987 "Black Monday", every major world market experienced a decline. Measured in USD, 8 declined by 20-29%, 3 by 30-39%, 3 by more than 40%.
In OCT 2007 through MAR 2009 (17 months) during the Global Financial SubPrime collapse, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 53%.
Chuck Schumer speaks following leak of Bolton book excerpt
History, Charts & Curated Readings
"Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement; and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." George Santayana Vol. I, Reason in Common Sense
Balance Of Trade
Rent Or Buy