Daily Digest 9/21 – The Psychology of Inequality and Political Division, COVID-19’s Long Shadow


Here’s How The Supreme Court Will Function With Eight Justices Leading Up To The Election (tmn)

The Supreme Court has already acted on several stay requests related to how states handle voting during the pandemic. As the Washington Post reported in late July, the court’s more conservative justices so far have largely joined together to rule in favor of state limits on mail-in voting and other in-person election activities. Ginsburg, along with some members of the court’s liberal arm, voted in favor of leaving in place court orders that allowed more flexible election practices.

Buzzfeed: The Fincen Files (Adam)

Money laundering is a crime that makes other crimes possible. It can accelerate economic inequality, drain public funds, undermine democracy, and destabilize nations — and the banks play a key role. “Some of these people in those crisp white shirts in their sharp suits are feeding off the tragedy of people dying all over the world,” said Martin Woods, a former suspicious transactions investigator for Wachovia.

Laws that were meant to stop financial crime have instead allowed it to flourish. So long as a bank files a notice that it may be facilitating criminal activity, it all but immunizes itself and its executives from criminal prosecution. The suspicious activity alert effectively gives them a free pass to keep moving the money and collecting the fees.

Keith Payne: The psychology of inequality and political division (Lee H.)

“If we want to fix our politics, we have to do something about inequality,” says social psychologist Keith Payne. Showing how economic inequality changes the way people see and behave towards one another, Payne helps explain the rise of the political polarization that’s slicing up society — and challenges us to think twice the next time we dismiss someone for the sake of politics.

The Bill For America’s $50 Trillion Gluttony Of Inequality Is Overdue (Don R.)

That this level of incendiary outrage is now seeping into the mainstream media tells us that the bill for America’s $50 Trillion gluttony of inequality is long overdue and the pendulum of reckoning will swing to political, social and economic extremes equal to the extremes of wealth and income inequality engineered by America’s Financial Aristocracy and their toadies / lackeys in government, the Federal Reserve, Wall Street, Silicon Valley and the media.

$2.50 a Year in Interest? That’s What $5,000 in Savings Gets (Adam)

Nor should savers count on an improvement anytime soon. The Federal Reserve has signaled that it expects to keep interest rates near zero for the next couple of years, as it manages the economy through the pandemic and its aftermath.

“The Fed has signaled that these low rates are going to be here for a while,” said Jonathan Clarke, an associate professor of finance at Georgia Tech’s Scheller College of Business.

1920: The Crash That Cured Itself (CleanEnergyFan)

What had happened? What did the government do to push the economy out of the ground? The answer is: nothing. Or better still: it cut spending to balance the budget and reduce public debt. There were no massive liquidity “bazookas” shot by central banks, no giant stimulus programs from the Ministry of Economy, no price or profit margin controls. President Wilson had suffered a severe stroke at the end of 1919, which left him practically disabled for the rest of his presidency, while his successor, Warren G. Harding, declared the following in his 1920 acceptance speech for the Republican presidential nomination…

Bitcoin & The Tragedy Of Monopolized Fiat Money (CleanEnergyFan)

Hard money regimes are abandoned in wartime, because the debasement of money is a prerequisite of most wars. An honest currency system backed by Bitcoin (BTC) or gold would require Americans to explicitly consent and confirm their willingness to pay for military aggression, as well as all other routine functions of government and the private sector.

An honest currency demands that, when we go to war, we have skin in the game. It’s a small sacrifice to write an IOU for other people’s money, but people more carefully reflect upon the cost and benefits of a purchase when they see their budget shrink in real time.

Strategic Culture: Kennedy’s U.S.-Russia Joint Space Vision Must Be Revived (westcoastjan)

Everyone knows that Nikita Khrushchev, who frequently battled leading figures among Russia’s politburo during his last years in power, was deposed in a coup in 1964. But it is worth asking: how did he respond to Kennedy’s final call to cooperation? As far as this author can tell, history largely remained silent on this point for many years, until Sergei Khrushchev (Nikita’s son) delivered a revealing interview to Space Cast magazine on October 2, 1997.

Covid-19’s long shadow: ‘The light at the end of the tunnel just isn’t there’ (Downunder Bound)

Medinger’s struggle to do basic activities is one of various debilitating signs of post-viral illness. Fatigue, headaches and cognitive problems are his main concerns.

During the night he has insomnia and “unbelievable nocturnal thirst”. After falling asleep, he’s often jolted awake with a desperate need for water, at times drinking two litres of water overnight.

‘It didn’t have to be this way’: Nurses describe brutal toll of treating coronavirus patients in America (Adam)

At that point, Valenzuela added, “we had to quickly scramble and were able to find another nurse who had an N95 so that they could go save the patient. I’ve been a nurse for 13 years, and I have never experienced this before where everyone’s safety is at risk because we can’t easily retrieve a respirator when we just simply need one.”

Housekeepers Face a Disaster Generations in the Making (tmn)

So in mid-August, when a once-regular client — a pair of professors from the University of Pennsylvania and their children — asked her to come and clean, she was delighted. No one was home when she arrived, which seemed like a wise precaution, given social distancing guidelines. What struck her as odd were the three bottles of Lysol on the dining room table. She had a routine at every home, and it had never involved disinfectant.

Ms. Del Carmen started scrubbing, doing laundry and ironing. After a few hours, she stepped outside to throw away some garbage. A neighbor spotted her and all but shrieked: “Maria, what are you doing here?!” The professors and their children, the neighbor said, had all contracted the coronavirus.

ProPublica: What the Photos of Wildfires and Smoke Don’t Show You (jdargis)

“So another photographer and I had been at this little complex of apartments. This was right when the LNU Fire really burned — within the first, like, two or three hours of it really getting angry. So we were at this little cul de sac, this little complex of like bungalows, and we were kind of waiting for them to burn. And then some residents came up and put out the flames, which is awesome. And then firefighters came up, and they saved this whole complex. And then, just as I was walking out, I saw this sign across the street. And actually, I shot it more, because there was another sign that said ‘Healdsburg This Way’ and I was kind [of] looking for a place-setter image. And then I saw that senior center sign next to it.”

Earth Observatory: Record Flooding In Sudan (000)

The images above show flooding in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, on September 2, 2020 (right), compared to a more typical rainy season in September 2016 (left). These false-color images, acquired with the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on the Landsat 8 satellite, use a combination of infrared and visible light (bands 6-5-4) to make it easier to see the boundary between water and land. Water appears navy blue and black; clouds are white or cyan; and vegetation is bright green.

Opinion: Neonicotinoids pose undocumented threats to food webs (000)

Seeds coatings (i.e., seeds coated with imidicloprid, clothianidin, or thiamethoxam, nitroguanidine neonicotinoids which are absorbed after germination) are the most common use of neonicotinoids and are used annually in the United States over more than 150 million acres of corn, soybeans, canola, cotton, wheat, and other crops. Plants from neonicotinoid-coated seeds have toxic neonicotinoid concentrations that last two to three weeks.

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