Daily Digest 9/19 – What BP Got Wrong About Global Oil Demand, How Long Does COVID Immunity Last?


US billionaires’ wealth grew by $845 billion during the first six months of the pandemic (Adam)

Chuck Collins, director of the Institute for Policy Studies’ Program on Inequality, said: “The difference is stark between profits for billionaires and the widespread economic misery in our nation. Clearly, the priorities of our elected officials in Washington, DC are completely upside down.”

Ranked: The World’s Richest Families in 2020 (000)

This graphic, using data from Bloomberg, ranks the 25 most wealthy families in the world. The data excludes first-generation wealth and wealth controlled by a single heir, which is why you don’t see Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates on the list. Families whose source of wealth is too diffused or opaque to be valued are also excluded.

Intergenerational wealth is a powerful thing. It often prevails through market crashes, social turmoil, and economic uncertainty, and this year has been no exception.

Army National Guard major told Congress feds requested heat ray and stockpiled ammunition before clearing DC protest (tmn)

In the letter, DeMarco wrote that the Defense Department’s head military police officer for the National Capitol Region emailed him and others on the day of the protests asking if the DC National Guard had “a Long Range Acoustic Device,” which can blast walls of sound at protesters, or “the Active Denial Systems,” which feature “a directed energy beam that provides sensation of intense heat on the surface of the skin.”

DeMarco wrote that he responded saying that the DC National Guard had neither device, and that to his knowledge, no such acoustic device was used at Lafayette Square. When he looked into getting the acoustic device the next day, the DC National Guard told him “that they were no longer seeking” it.

Charles Hugh Smith: This Is Why Inflation Will Rip Everyone’s Face Off (CleanEnergyFan)

Not only is capital not available to boost production, neither is the expertise or labor. A great many of the people with the hands-on experience needed to build stuff and manage complex production processes have retired or will soon retire, and there isn’t a second team ready to take the field.

If production is absolutely necessary, then Corporate America will have it done on the cheap overseas. Sure, the quality is terrible but the American consumer will buy without question; that’s why corporations went to all the trouble of establishing a heavily moated monopoly or cartel: the consumers have either no choice or a false choice between members of a cartel offering the same lousy quality and high prices.

Mises Institute: Inflation as a Tool of the Radical Left (CleanEnergyFan)

That said, it becomes clear that ramping up inflation is actually a proper tool for those political forces that wish to overthrow the existing economic and social order—to get rid of what little is left of the free market system, as desired especially by those inspired by Marxist or Neo-Marxist ideas.

In a nutshell, militant Marxism wants to topple capitalism by means of a bloody revolution. Neo-Marxism follows a different strategy. It wants its ideas to attain “cultural, moral and ideological hegemony.” Once this is achieved, people will have no other choice than adopting socialism.

‘There’s not a comparable year’: Homicides are up 52% in Chicago amid COVID-19, with majority involving people of color (thc0655)

Demeatreas Whatley, a violence interrupter with the organization Cure Violence in the South Side neighborhood of Grand Crossing, which has historically seen high rates of shootings, said that his community feels “on edge” this year.

He said that because bars and lounges are closing earlier than usual due to COVID regulations, people are congregating on blocks late at night, making them easier targets for retaliatory shootings, where bystanders have been caught in the crossfire.

Murders Have Soared While Other Violent Crime Declined, FBI Finds (tmn)

Nationally, the murder rate increased 14.8%, with the largest increase of 26% in cities with a population of 250,000 to 500,000. Arson rates increased about 19%, with a surge of 52% in cities with more than 1 million residents.

Incidents of rape fell almost 18% over the six months, while property crime and burglary rates each fell almost 8% and robberies declined about 7%. Violent crimes fell by nearly 5% in the Northeast, the most of any region in the country.

A Progressive Prosecutor Faces Off With Portland’s Aggressive Police (000)

But there was a more fundamental consideration at stake, Schmidt noted. The Portland protests came in the midst of a historic reckoning over systemic racism in the country, and the criminal justice system was under particular scrutiny. In many states, officials have increased the stakes for those arrested in connection with protests, charging them with felonies and in some cases terrorism. “To be in the system that is being protested the most, and to have the capability to use that system to stop people’s protest is inherently a conflict of interest,” Schmidt told me. “It just seemed like some of the arrests we were seeing really had the potential to chill speech, and we wanted to make sure we weren’t complicit in that.”

Armed Oregon Residents Set Up Roadblocks After Fire Was Ignited Intentionally, Police Say (thc0655)

“We started receiving reports of local residents establishing roadblocks in East Multnomah County,” Reese said in the tweet.

“Deputies responded to reports some people were armed and asking for identification of the folks they stopped. We told people engaging in this behavior that roadways are open to all users, and their actions are illegal and they could be subject to citation or arrest.”

C.D.C. Testing Guidance Was Published Against Scientists’ Objections (tmn)

The document contains “elementary errors” — such as referring to “testing for Covid-19,” as opposed to testing for the virus that causes it — and recommendations inconsistent with the C.D.C.’s stance that mark it to anyone in the know as not having been written by agency scientists, according to a senior C.D.C. scientist who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of a fear of repercussions.

US reinfection case raises question: how long does Covid immunity last? (000)

Virologists largely expected reinfection could occur. But experts said the US reinfection case highlights the enduring mysteries of the coronavirus, including how long a person’s immune system protects against the virus after an infection and the virus’s interaction with individual biology. Reinfection cases are important also for the development of vaccines and assessing their impacts as the world’s medical community races to develop them.

What BP Got Wrong About Global Oil Demand (Michael S.)

The second reason to be skeptical of this report is an economic one. Demand for energy and electricity is growing, not in OECD countries but outside, mainly in India, China, MENA, and Africa. These fundamentals are unavoidable. The economic and trade disruptions caused by COVID could even boost oil and gas demand, as a possible redistribution of regional production centers from the current China focus could increase the energy demand for transportation.

Why There Are So Many Wildfires in California, but Few in the Southeastern United States (thc0655)

This was precisely what economist Jairaj Devadiga pointed out in a 2018 FEE article that examined why California’s wildfires historically have been much worse than those of Baja California, where fires are allowed to burn naturally at low intensity, regularly clearing out forest floors and limiting the spread of large conflagrations.

Though the Times doesn’t mention Baja California, the paper does endorse the Mexican state’s strategy of allowing fires to burn naturally to eliminate vegetation, pointing out that experts attribute the tactic to the more successful fire prevention approach found in the Southeastern United States.

New studies confirm weakening of the Gulf Stream circulation (AMOC) (000)

A long-term AMOC weakening should lead to a cooling in the northern Atlantic. Such a regional cooling in the middle of global warming has been predicted by climate models for a long time. And indeed, the evaluation of data on sea surface temperatures shows that the northern Atlantic is the only region of the world that has escaped global warming and has even cooled down since the 19th century (see graph). In addition, one can see a particularly strong warming off the North American coast, which according to model simulations is part of the characteristic “fingerprint” of a weakening of the Gulf Stream circulation.

UPDATE: Toxic ‘Forever Chemicals’ Likely Contaminate More Than 700 Military Sites (000)

Defense Department officials have understood the risks of AFFF since the early 1970s, when Navy and Air Force studies first showed the firefighting foam was toxic to fish; since the early 1980s, when the Air Force conducted its own animal studies on AFFF; and since the early 2000s, when the maker of PFOS, the main ingredient in AFFF, exited the market. In 2001, a Defense Department memo concluded that the main ingredient in AFFF was “persistent, bioaccumulating and toxic.”

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