Socialist Demands for the COVID-19 Crisis

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blindpig
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Re: Socialist Demands for the COVID-19 Crisis

Post by blindpig » Sat Mar 28, 2020 11:16 am

Red April
What happens on the first of the month when residents, restaurants, and retail stores don’t pay rent?
Image

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Weirdly enough, the April rent strike is being led by Bolshevik institutions like Mattress Firm, Subway, and the Cheesecake Factory. On March 18, Cheesecake Factory CEO David Overton asked landlords for patience and help—and announced the restaurant would not be paying rent in April. Mattress Firm has told its landlords the same. And Subway declared the pandemic a force majeure, a legal term for an unforeseen event that voids contract obligations.

snip

In Chicago, a Tenants United organizer told me that the city will see widespread nonpayment of rent, in part through organized actions begun by tenants themselves. “We expect to see rent strikes, not just on the South Side where we can expect more people in distressed housing situations, but also people on the North Side in more affluent neighborhoods who make up the service worker economy in those neighborhoods. That’s thousands of people, and we have hundreds of people organizing.” The push is happening on digital platforms like Facebook and occasionally on the back staircases of three-flats. (Face-to-face interactions, in rent striking as in all things, are not advised.)


snip

Rent strikes are relatively rare in the U.S. and are mostly reserved for slumlords who don’t provide services like heat or extermination. But they have an important history: A wave of rent strikes in New York beginning after the First World War led to the nation’s first rent control law. That those strikes were a political and practical success, the historian Robert Fogelson observed in The Great Rent Wars, was thanks to strong support from the then-powerful Socialist Party, as well as the role of women whose domestic social life was perfect for daytime organizing.

https://slate.com/business/2020/03/coro ... yment.html

Could get interesting. If this is truly a thing, and it should be tho who gives a fuck about them 'big boys', the reaction of our Rentier in Chief will be choice, as he takes everything personal. The most outrageous verbal abuse I ever received was from a landlord who I shorted cause I had to fix his broken-down furnace. This is the kind of precedent that no Owner wants set.
"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

chlamor
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Re: Socialist Demands for the COVID-19 Crisis

Post by chlamor » Sat Mar 28, 2020 2:15 pm

Flu deaths reality check

Kelly Crowe · CBC News · Posted: Nov 25, 2012 5:14 PM ET | Last Updated: November 25, 2012

Official figures on flu deaths in Canada might not mean what you think they do, since they are based on scientific models, not body counts or autopsies.

Do thousands of Canadians really die every year from the flu? The flu folks keep saying so. I've already heard it repeated several times this year and flu season has just started. This is what the Public Health Agency of Canada said in a recent press release: "Every year, between 2,000 and 8,000 Canadians die of the flu and its complications."

In a CBC interview a few weeks ago an editor of the Canadian Medical Association Journal said: "Four thousand to 8,000 people die every year of influenza."

It comes directly from the desk of Canada's chief public health officer. "The flu is serious," he tells us from his website. "Every year, between 2,000 and 8,000 Canadians die of the flu and its complications."


Flu's winter companions include coronavirus, adenovirus and Streptococcus pneumonia. (Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters)
Did you ever wonder how they know that? The fact is, they don't know that. "This is a scientific guess. This is not the truth," Dr. Michael Gardam, director of the infection prevention and control unit at the University Health Network in Toronto and a longtime flu watcher, told me.

The fact is, no one knows how many people die after being infected with the flu virus. The death estimates are not based on body counts, lab tests or autopsies.

"I think people may have the misconception that every person who dies from the flu is somehow counted somewhere, and they're not," Gardam said.

The "2,000 to 8,000" numbers are based on computer models — a statistical guess that comes out of the end of a mathematical formula that makes a range of assumptions about death and flu.

"They're tossing it into a big computer and they're churning out estimates," Gardam said as he scribbled numbers on a white board to show me how the models work.

One model counts all respiratory and circulatory deaths — that's death from heart and lung failure — as flu deaths.

"As an upper limit, they are looking at everybody who died of a heart and lung problem," Gardam said. "So you could imagine this could include people who died of a heart attack that had nothing to do with flu, but the feeling is that anybody who died of flu should be captured in there, plus a lot of other people."

At the lower end of that model they count the number of deaths officially listed as "influenza" on the death certificate, plus all deaths from pneumonia — even though not all pneumonia is caused by flu.

"That is going to include obviously people who died specifically of those, but it might miss people who died of influenza but who didn't get tested, for example," Gardam said.

Data can include deaths by poison
Another model assumes that every extra death that happens in the winter is a flu death. At the risk of oversimplifying, this is the basic formula of that model: winter deaths (minus) summer deaths = death by flu virus.

That includes winter deaths from slippery sidewalks, snowy roads, freezing temperatures, plus all the winter heart failure, lung failure and deaths from cancer. In the language of the computer model, all excess mortality in winter is considered "death by flu."

The model extrapolates that the flu virus will cause more deaths across all causes, including "disorders of the nervous system," stroke and "disorders of the digestive system." Which means that according to the model, flu causes 33 more "accidental falls" every year, 18 more "accidental poisonings," and 68 more deaths from "psychotic conditions." But what does flu have to do with deaths from accidental poisonings or accidental falls?

How reliable are the computer model estimates? "I don't think they're reliable at all," Dr. Tom Jefferson told me. He is a Rome-based researcher with the Cochrane Collaboration, and he spends his days reviewing all the research on acute respiratory infections and vaccines. He said hard data on flu deaths "are difficult to get hold of for obvious reasons. So enter modelling, which is nothing more than guesswork, highly sensitive to the assumptions you feed into the model. 'Give me a model and I will make it say whatever you want,' a colleague of mine always repeats."

The models are only as good as the data sets that are fed into them. And death can be complicated. If someone already extremely fragile with heart or lung disease is tipped over the edge with a flu infection, is that a flu death, or a heart death or a lung death? Which database gets to claim it?

"The only mortality estimates which have any credibility are those based on post mortem examinations and tests which were done before death," Jefferson said.

Flu death statistics not collected
In a perfect world, the flu death statistic would be based on an actual count of confirmed deaths after infection with the flu virus. But that's difficult to do, because autopsies are almost never done, lab tests for the flu virus are rarely done, and someone could die from the complications of flu even though the virus is no longer detectable in their bodies.

The numbers we do have don't even come close to the computer estimates. In Statistics Canada's "deaths and mortality" table, under "cause of death: influenza," there were only about 300 deaths a year between 2000 and 2008. Public health officials don't trust that number. They believe it underestimates the true death toll from flu.

But Jefferson believes the models overstate the risk from influenza. "There are no real figures on deaths from influenza. They don't collect that information," he said. "So if they don't collect that information, how do they know it's a threat? And if they don't collect that information, how do they know that their policies will work? This is called faith-based medicine, not evidence-based medicine."


Dr. Michael Gardam, an infectious disease expert at Toronto's University Health Network, says estimates of the number of flu deaths each year "vary a great deal depending on which research paper you read." (CBC)
"Could the deaths be being caused by other pathogens? It's an important question," Dr. Kumanan Wilson told me. He holds the Canada Research Chair in public health policy at the University of Ottawa. He's also a hospital clinician who has seen many flu seasons.

"We see lots of people coming in with upper respiratory infections and we don't know what causes it. Sometimes if they are really sick, we'll test for influenza. We rarely test for anything else."

One of the few attempts to check the accuracy of the models in assessing flu deaths was done by one of Wilson's master's students, and her thesis is interesting reading.

Using data from three Ottawa hospitals over seven flu seasons, Tiffany Smith did two things. First, she counted the patients who died from flu, according to a doctor’s diagnosis. Then, using one of the official flu modelling methods, she ran a computer model to see how close the actual body count matched the statistical estimates. Her result? The statistical model predicted eight times as many deaths from flu as there were actual clinical cases.

"I have found evidence to suggest that point estimates of influenza burden generated using statistical models may not be reliable," she concluded, "and that more research is required to understand the limitations of this methodology."

Remember, that's an unpublished thesis, not a peer-reviewed study. But Wilson said it was a well done paper that posed some important questions.

Health Canada resists queries
Just as an aside, I tried to contact Tiffany Smith to ask about her thesis, because she is one of the few people to attempt to validate the models. It seemed that she wanted to talk to me. Here's her response to my email:

Hi Kelly, I would love to talk to you about my thesis! However, because I work for the Agency, I'm obliged to engage media relations even if it's just for background info.

The "Agency" is the federal government, specifically, the Public Health Agency of Canada, a branch of Health Canada. My request for permission to talk to Tiffany about her student thesis was directed all the way up to the chief of media relations for Health Canada. Here is my email to him:

Hello. My name is Kelly Crowe and I am the medical sciences correspondent for CBC National TV news and I would like to talk to Tiffany Smith about her graduate thesis, as background research for a story I am doing. She is interested in talking to me, but she has been told that she needs to get permission, and she forwarded me your email address and suggested I contact you.

It would be a phone conversation about her master's thesis, and I will not be asking her any questions about her current work. I would not be speaking to her as a representative of a government agency, but only as the author of a student thesis.

Thank you, Kelly Crowe

He wrote back, declining on Tiffany Smith's behalf, although he did offer me a chance to ask about the official government point of view. His email:

Hello, Kelly.

Please accept my apologies for not getting back to you yesterday. I was out of the office with a bad cold. I've spoken with Tiffany and she would prefer that you quote from her written thesis as her current workload doesn't leave her a lot of extra time these days.

That being said, if you have any questions for PHAC on the subject matter I am happy to have one of our media relations officers get in touch with you. I understand that my colleague Blossom Leung is working with Marijka Hurko already for your piece that is to air this Sunday.

Regards, Alastair

As a further aside, despite Alastair Sinclair's offer to answer questions, we were refused an on camera interview with anyone from Health Canada about any of this. All we received was a written response to our questions, which I have included at the end of this article.

Flu models versus counts
Getting back to the question of how deadly influenza really is, fate did offer up a chance to check the model predictions when the flu pandemic hit in 2009, and the world faced a new influenza threat called H1N1.

Back then a flu expert told me that the pandemic would be a rare opportunity to check the true death toll from flu, because, for the first time, there was widespread lab testing, a national reporting system, and all eyes were on potential flu-related deaths. The final count: 428 deaths, which is much closer to the seasonal average of around 300 recorded in the vital statistics tables than to the 2,000 to 8,000 deaths estimated for the average flu season by the computer models.

So how did the models rate after a real life test? "The predictive models of 2009 of influenza have actually been a complete failure," respiratory-infection expert Jefferson said.

"Ranges like 2,000 to 4,000 or even 8,000 influenza-related deaths a year are thrown around each flu season, and policy decisions and flu shot campaigns are based on these numbers," Michael Gardam told me. "I think it is important for us to remember that these numbers are estimates and certainly not written in stone. These numbers vary a great deal depending on which research paper you read."

There's another point to consider here. Using death estimates is the scariest way to talk about the risk from flu, because 8,000 thousand sounds like a lot of deaths. But if you ask, "8,000 deaths out of how many people?" suddenly the risk seems much smaller. In fact, it would be 8,000 deaths among 35 million Canadians. In other words, in a normal flu season, about 0.02 per cent of Canadians are in danger of dying from the flu, using the highest estimate. Another way to look at it is this: 99.98 per cent of Canadians will not die of flu this year.

Undermining flu campaigns
So are the statistical models exaggerating the death toll from flu? "Not enough people have been asking these questions," the University of Ottawa's Wilson said. "These are complicated models. There are multiple ways to calculate the information. Five different analysts with the same data can come up with five different estimates. It depends on how they calculate base line risk, how they define when the season begins, how to run the model. There are lots of potential variables in the model that will influence your answer."


Influenza prevention has become an industry fuelled by poor science, says Dr. Tom Jefferson. (CBC)
For proof of how models keep changing their estimates, look back at Canada's flu files. More than a decade ago, flu was estimated to kill about 500 to 1,500 Canadians every year. But in 2003 Health Canada changed models, and the estimates jumped to "700 to 2,500 per annum." The 2,500 deaths at the upper end of that range quickly became the lower end, when an even newer model was tried in 2007, pushing the upper limit to 8,000 based on the severe flu seasons of 1997 to 1999.

"Influenza prevention has become an industry fuelled by poor science and propelled by conflicted decision makers," Jefferson said. "This is the significance of the upward creep that you have been witnessing and the chasm that now exists between policy makers and evidence.

"The proof of what I am saying is in the answer to the question: How many die every year? Answer: maybe 300 or maybe 9,000. We are not sure. If you do not know, how can you have such a costly policy and most of all how can you evaluate it?"

When I asked him if there are consequences from over-stating the mortality impact of flu, Jefferson answered: "Yes. Scaring people justifies evidence-free policies. Yes, no one knows exactly what the threat is. The only certainty are the returns for industry."

Wilson is concerned that overstating deaths could undermine the annual flu campaign. "I think this is a potential risk," he said. "It's a good idea to try to capture the number of deaths. People just need to reflect the fact that there is a lot of uncertainty in these numbers and that has not necessarily been conveyed. Even if the estimate is 1,000 or 2,000, it’s a big number. A more conservative approach might be better to convince people it’s a real disease that we have to take seriously."

One expert I talked to suggests that at least some of the cost of the annual flu campaign should be directed at finding out how much death the virus actually causes every year, by using a system of doctors and hospitals to track laboratory confirmation of flu infections and flu mortality.

The flu virus has lots of ugly company in the winter — less famous viruses such as RSV (respiratory syncytial virus); the ubiquitous cold bugs, including the coronavirus and the adenovirus; as well as Streptococcus pneumonia and all of its bacterial friends. Influenza is certainly one of the nastiest viruses in the group. It also happens to be the only one with a vaccine.

"You’ve got to wonder: The stuff we’re attributing to influenza, how much of that is actually true and how much of that is other viruses? We don’t know because they haven’t been studied," University Health Network's Gardam said.

Just 1 death this year
For the record, how many official deaths from flu have been reported so far this year? One.

And finally, as promised, here’s the official response I received from the Public Health Agency of Canada:

Q1. How are the numbers derived? (i.e., how is it counted? are there any statistical models?) The number of flu related hospitalizations and deaths is not a straightforward estimate, given that influenza is such a non-specific illness and its diagnosis is under-reported. Patients with influenza complications or an exacerbation of their underlying chronic medical condition are often not reported as influenza related.

PHAC has taken data collected by Statistics Canada and hospital discharge records from the Canadian Institute of Health Information and applied statistical techniques to provide an estimate of influenza related deaths.

Q2. Are the numbers an average over the last 10 years? Have the numbers stabilized?

As previously indicated, it is difficult to assess the true burden of influenza in terms of incidence, deaths and hospitalization. However, it is estimated that, on average, the flu and its complications send about 20,000 Canadians to hospital every year, and between 2,000 and 8,000 Canadians die.

Q3. Why is it important to inform Canadians about these death statistics?

Reporting on these death statistics informs Canadians that infection with influenza can be severe and in some cases result in death. Hence, Canadians should get their seasonal flu shot to prevent infection and to practice infection control measures such as hand washing, cough etiquette and staying home when sick to prevent spread.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/health/flu-deat ... -1.1127442

chlamor
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Re: Socialist Demands for the COVID-19 Crisis

Post by chlamor » Sat Mar 28, 2020 2:29 pm

Not sure about this author but some relevant questions are asked.

How deadly is the coronavirus? It’s still far from clear: There is room for different interpretations of the data
From magazine issue: 28 March 2020


In announcing the most far-reaching restrictions on personal freedom in the history of our nation, Boris Johnson resolutely followed the scientific advice that he had been given. The advisers to the government seem calm and collected, with a solid consensus among them. In the face of a new viral threat, with numbers of cases surging daily, I’m not sure that any prime minister would have acted very differently.

But I’d like to raise some perspectives that have hardly been aired in the past weeks, and which point to an interpretation of the figures rather different from that which the government is acting on. I’m a recently-retired Professor of Pathology and NHS consultant pathologist, and have spent most of my adult life in healthcare and science – fields which, all too often, are characterised by doubt rather than certainty. There is room for different interpretations of the current data. If some of these other interpretations are correct, or at least nearer to the truth, then conclusions about the actions required will change correspondingly.

The simplest way to judge whether we have an exceptionally lethal disease is to look at the death rates. Are more people dying than we would expect to die anyway in a given week or month? Statistically, we would expect about 51,000 to die in Britain this month. At the time of writing, 422 deaths are linked to Covid-19 — so 0.8 per cent of that expected total. On a global basis, we’d expect 14 million to die over the first three months of the year. The world’s 18,944 coronavirus deaths represent 0.14 per cent of that total. These figures might shoot up but they are, right now, lower than other infectious diseases that we live with (such as flu). Not figures that would, in and of themselves, cause drastic global reactions.

Initial reported figures from China and Italy suggested a death rate of 5 per cent to 15 per cent, similar to Spanish flu. Given that cases were increasing exponentially, this raised the prospect of death rates that no healthcare system in the world would be able to cope with. The need to avoid this scenario is the justification for measures being implemented: the Spanish flu is believed to have infected about one in four of the world’s population between 1918 and 1920, or roughly 500 million people with 50 million deaths. We developed pandemic emergency plans, ready to snap into action in case this happened again.

At the time of writing, the UK’s 422 deaths and 8,077 known cases give an apparent death rate of 5 per cent. This is often cited as a cause for concern, contrasted with the mortality rate of seasonal flu, which is estimated at about 0.1 per cent. But we ought to look very carefully at the data. Are these figures really comparable?

Most of the UK testing has been in hospitals, where there is a high concentration of patients susceptible to the effects of any infection. As anyone who has worked with sick people will know, any testing regime that is based only in hospitals will over-estimate the virulence of an infection. Also, we’re only dealing with those Covid-19 cases that have made people sick enough or worried enough to get tested. There will be many more unaware that they have the virus, with either no symptoms, or mild ones.

That’s why, when Britain had 590 diagnosed cases, Sir Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific adviser, suggested that the real figure was probably between 5,000 and 10,000 cases, ten to 20 times higher. If he’s right, the headline death rate due to this virus is likely to be ten to 20 times lower, say 0.25 per cent to 0.5 per cent. That puts the Covid-19 mortality rate in the range associated with infections like flu.

But there’s another, potentially even more serious problem: the way that deaths are recorded. If someone dies of a respiratory infection in the UK, the specific cause of the infection is not usually recorded, unless the illness is a rare ‘notifiable disease’. So the vast majority of respiratory deaths in the UK are recorded as bronchopneumonia, pneumonia, old age or a similar designation. We don’t really test for flu, or other seasonal infections. If the patient has, say, cancer, motor neurone disease or another serious disease, this will be recorded as the cause of death, even if the final illness was a respiratory infection. This means UK certifications normally under-record deaths due to respiratory infections.

Now look at what has happened since the emergence of Covid-19. The list of notifiable diseases has been updated. This list — as well as containing smallpox (which has been extinct for many years) and conditions such as anthrax, brucellosis, plague and rabies (which most UK doctors will never see in their entire careers) — has now been amended to include Covid-19. But not flu. That means every positive test for Covid-19 must be notified, in a way that it just would not be for flu or most other infections.

In the current climate, anyone with a positive test for Covid-19 will certainly be known to clinical staff looking after them: if any of these patients dies, staff will have to record the Covid-19 designation on the death certificate — contrary to usual practice for most infections of this kind. There is a big difference between Covid-19 causing death, and Covid-19 being found in someone who died of other causes. Making Covid-19 notifiable might give the appearance of it causing increasing numbers of deaths, whether this is true or not. It might appear far more of a killer than flu, simply because of the way deaths are recorded.

If we take drastic measures to reduce the incidence of Covid-19, it follows that the deaths will also go down. We risk being convinced that we have averted something that was never really going to be as severe as we feared. This unusual way of reporting Covid-19 deaths explains the clear finding that most of its victims have underlying conditions — and would normally be susceptible to other seasonal viruses, which are virtually never recorded as a specific cause of death.

Let us also consider the Covid-19 graphs, showing an exponential rise in cases — and deaths. They can look alarming. But if we tracked flu or other seasonal viruses in the same way, we would also see an exponential increase. We would also see some countries behind others, and striking fatality rates. The United States Centers for Disease Control, for example, publishes weekly estimates of flu cases. The latest figures show that since September, flu has infected 38 million Americans, hospitalised 390,000 and killed 23,000. This does not cause public alarm because flu is familiar.

The data on Covid-19 differs wildly from country to country. Look at the figures for Italy and Germany. At the time of writing, Italy has 69,176 recorded cases and 6,820 deaths, a rate of 9.9 per cent. Germany has 32,986 cases and 157 deaths, a rate of 0.5 per cent. Do we think that the strain of virus is so different in these nearby countries as to virtually represent different diseases? Or that the populations are so different in their susceptibility to the virus that the death rate can vary more than twentyfold? If not, we ought to suspect systematic error, that the Covid-19 data we are seeing from different countries is not directly comparable.

Look at other rates: Spain 7.1 per cent, US 1.3 per cent, Switzerland 1.3 per cent, France 4.3 per cent, South Korea 1.3 per cent, Iran 7.8 per cent. We may very well be comparing apples with oranges. Recording cases where there was a positive test for the virus is a very different thing to recording the virus as the main cause of death.

Early evidence from Iceland, a country with a very strong organisation for wide testing within the population, suggests that as many as 50 per cent of infections are almost completely asymptomatic. Most of the rest are relatively minor. In fact, Iceland’s figures, 648 cases and two attributed deaths, give a death rate of 0.3 per cent. As population testing becomes more widespread elsewhere in the world, we will find a greater and greater proportion of cases where infections have already occurred and caused only mild effects. In fact, as time goes on, this will become generally truer too, because most infections tend to decrease in virulence as an epidemic progresses.

One pretty clear indicator is death. If a new infection is causing many extra people to die (as opposed to an infection present in people who would have died anyway) then it will cause an increase in the overall death rate. But we have yet to see any statistical evidence for excess deaths, in any part of the world.

Covid-19 can clearly cause serious respiratory tract compromise in some patients, especially those with chest issues, and in smokers. The elderly are probably more at risk, as they are for infections of any kind. The average age of those dying in Italy is 78.5 years, with almost nine in ten fatalities among the over-70s. The life expectancy in Italy — that is, the number of years you can expect to live to from birth, all things being equal — is 82.5 years. But all things are not equal when a new seasonal virus goes around.

It certainly seems reasonable, now, that a degree of social distancing should be maintained for a while, especially for the elderly and the immune-suppressed. But when drastic measures are introduced, they should be based on clear evidence. In the case of Covid-19, the evidence is not clear. The UK’s lockdown has been informed by modelling of what might happen. More needs to be known about these models. Do they correct for age, pre-existing conditions, changing virulence, the effects of death certification and other factors? Tweak any of these assumptions and the outcome (and predicted death toll) can change radically.

Much of the response to Covid-19 seems explained by the fact that we are watching this virus in a way that no virus has been watched before. The scenes from the Italian hospitals have been shocking, and make for grim television. But television is not science.

Clearly, the various lockdowns will slow the spread of Covid-19 so there will be fewer cases. When we relax the measures, there will be more cases again. But this need not be a reason to keep the lockdown: the spread of cases is only something to fear if we are dealing with an unusually lethal virus. That’s why the way we record data will be hugely important. Unless we tighten criteria for recording death due only to the virus (as opposed to it being present in those who died from other conditions), the official figures may show a lot more deaths apparently caused by the virus than is actually the case. What then? How do we measure the health consequences of taking people’s lives, jobs, leisure and purpose away from them to protect them from an anticipated threat? Which causes least harm?

The moral debate is not lives vs money. It is lives vs lives. It will take months, perhaps years, if ever, before we can assess the wider implications of what we are doing. The damage to children’s education, the excess suicides, the increase in mental health problems, the taking away of resources from other health problems that we were dealing with effectively. Those who need medical help now but won’t seek it, or might not be offered it. And what about the effects on food production and global commerce, that will have unquantifiable consequences for people of all ages, perhaps especially in developing economies?

Governments everywhere say they are responding to the science. The policies in the UK are not the government’s fault. They are trying to act responsibly based on the scientific advice given. But governments must remember that rushed science is almost always bad science. We have decided on policies of extraordinary magnitude without concrete evidence of excess harm already occurring, and without proper scrutiny of the science used to justify them.

In the next few days and weeks, we must continue to look critically and dispassionately at the Covid-19 evidence as it comes in. Above all else, we must keep an open mind — and look for what is, not for what we fear might be.

https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/The ... s-we-think

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blindpig
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Re: Socialist Demands for the COVID-19 Crisis

Post by blindpig » Sat Mar 28, 2020 4:17 pm

Again, pertinent questions. GIGO, apples & oranges, modeling itself ain't the last word in anything. OTOH, the writer makes the blythe assumption that governments are actually trying to do their best for their people and we know that is seldom if ever the case for non-socialists. That ain't class analysis. If the US gov sez no big deal then I am immediately suspicious. It seems with these daily briefings we are getting the old, "on one hand, on the other hand ' liberal jive, always a set-up. And it seems that the motivation for minimising the effects of #19 are considerable, get them profits rolling, get the rents paid and 'the economy' can probably limp through this. And if the herd gets culled of i some 'expensive & non-productive' members hurray!, maybe Social Security can be saved without taxing the rich. One thing for sure, it is the capitalist and their hirelings who are promoting this view.

What would be the advantages for the ruling class of pumping this up? We've seen in Russia & Chile employers using this as an excuse to cut wages but that kind of raw capitalism wouldn't set wellin the West, not right away anyway. Further reduction of civil liberties is another effect but that's been going on for quite a while and they can gin that up with another 'terrorist threat' any old time. An acceleration of the atomization of Western society is another effect but their techno-toys seem to be doing a bang-up job of that.

It is good to ask these questions but we must question the questioner too.
"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

chlamor
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Re: Socialist Demands for the COVID-19 Crisis

Post by chlamor » Sat Mar 28, 2020 11:45 pm

Again, pertinent questions. GIGO, apples & oranges, modeling itself ain't the last word in anything. OTOH, the writer makes the blythe assumption that governments are actually trying to do their best for their people and we know that is seldom if ever the case for non-socialists. That ain't class analysis.

Of course you are not going to get class analysis from this author or from anyone in such a position.

If the US gov sez no big deal then I am immediately suspicious.

If the US gov't says it is a big deal then are you also suspicious? I have no idea what the daily briefings are like as I don't watch television. There are many advantages to the ruling class in the US pumping this up. We just saw one yesterday- 6 trillion dollars worth- more on the way. WE could speak to some others- pharmaceuticals for starters.

Meanwhile in the last two weeks the excess mortality throughout Europe was nil. How is that possible during such a "pandemic?" One exception- Italy- and only one area of Italy- the Lombardy region which accounts for a full 70% of the entirety of Italy's "excess deaths." And Italy (this region) has been experiencing exactly this since 2013- 7th year in a row- it can no longer be considered an anomaly. Why is that? The answer is up thread.

The US is experiencing a spike in infections of COVID- why- they are testing more. And who are they testing- the symptomatic- exclusively. That is not an acceptable methodology by any standards- that matters a lot.

The capitalists and their hirelings are also promoting the view that COVID is a massive global pandemic- perhaps that will turn out to be the case- at present the statistical evidence does not back that up. There is no one unified front on this from our benevolent leaders though from what I have seen those that promote the lock down and the theory that COVID is truly a pandemic far exceeds the other.

I'm open to seeing further evidence and will be seeking it out as you know.

solidgold
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Re: Socialist Demands for the COVID-19 Crisis

Post by solidgold » Sun Mar 29, 2020 4:05 am

chlamor wrote:
Sat Mar 28, 2020 11:45 pm
If the US gov't says it is a big deal then are you also suspicious?
Depending who you ask, the US gov't thinks both. I'm not sure it's wise to draw any conclusions from these people--doesn't seem like anyone really grasps what's going on.

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Re: Socialist Demands for the COVID-19 Crisis

Post by kidoftheblackhole » Sun Mar 29, 2020 9:37 am

chlamor wrote:
Sat Mar 28, 2020 11:45 pm
Again, pertinent questions. GIGO, apples & oranges, modeling itself ain't the last word in anything. OTOH, the writer makes the blythe assumption that governments are actually trying to do their best for their people and we know that is seldom if ever the case for non-socialists. That ain't class analysis.

Of course you are not going to get class analysis from this author or from anyone in such a position.

If the US gov sez no big deal then I am immediately suspicious.

If the US gov't says it is a big deal then are you also suspicious? I have no idea what the daily briefings are like as I don't watch television. There are many advantages to the ruling class in the US pumping this up. We just saw one yesterday- 6 trillion dollars worth- more on the way. WE could speak to some others- pharmaceuticals for starters.

Meanwhile in the last two weeks the excess mortality throughout Europe was nil. How is that possible during such a "pandemic?" One exception- Italy- and only one area of Italy- the Lombardy region which accounts for a full 70% of the entirety of Italy's "excess deaths." And Italy (this region) has been experiencing exactly this since 2013- 7th year in a row- it can no longer be considered an anomaly. Why is that? The answer is up thread.

The US is experiencing a spike in infections of COVID- why- they are testing more. And who are they testing- the symptomatic- exclusively. That is not an acceptable methodology by any standards- that matters a lot.

The capitalists and their hirelings are also promoting the view that COVID is a massive global pandemic- perhaps that will turn out to be the case- at present the statistical evidence does not back that up. There is no one unified front on this from our benevolent leaders though from what I have seen those that promote the lock down and the theory that COVID is truly a pandemic far exceeds the other.

I'm open to seeing further evidence and will be seeking it out as you know.
The world is on fire and you're..challenging the parameters of the inferno. Again. Did you know they just released a four year study from the University of Alaska Fairbanks concluding that it was impossible that WTC 7 collapsed from fire?!

Yes, there are many irregularities based on the information that is presently available. Many, many things don't seem to add up at all.

But..what exactly are we aiming to prove? Certainly not a "plot" -- the moron capitalist leaders can't even read from the right book most of the time let alone follow a coherent plot. Or are the *Shock Docs* at work again?

Meanwhile, back in reality:

The precarious social safety net -- in one capitalist country after another -- is revealed to be as thin as the paper masks they're pawning off on hospital workers. It is beyond plain that Just In Time delivery refers first and foremost to workers' paychecks; equally, it is entirely unclear whether their global financialized extortion scheme can continue to be propped up -- even by the injection of unchecked money in the trillions. In comparison, workers who are essentially locked out are given the barest pittance. This is a very important point to emphasize -- most on the left seemed confused on "when did they get so generous?". They didn't -- more like "so desperate" and *so miserly*

Meanwhile, imperialist slaughter continues apace everywhere. You understand this as well as anyone and have done much to document and preserve the record of their crimes. As death tolls become a featured news item, drawing the comparison is even more important.

In this regard, things have come quickly into stark relief. The ruling class temerity to expect workers to sacrifice themselves at the altar of their gluttony is merely their natural expectation of continuing the status quo. How many lives are swallowed up daily by the inhumanity of capitalist production? They don't bother to even try to keep such records. How many have been offered up to their cherished watchword "austerity"?

Now, suddenly the money that "doesn't grow on trees" is magically available. Maybe the secret is instead of trees you have to pull it out of a hat. Wish we'd known.

Things are falling apart on every conceivable front along obvious fault lines that were readily identified in advance. Malign neglect was transparently obvious the entire time. Even now when the ruling class and their hangers on concede that "we are all in the same boat now" they can't help but ostentatiously brag that they have all the life rafts -- just in case this "same boat" isn't quite seaworthy.

There is so, so much to be done. Questioning the veracity of what they say -- they lie about EVERYTHING. If it was as simple as revealing the truth and exposing them for liars, thieves, and murderers, they and their horrendous edifice would have toppled long ago and we would spit at the mere mention of their names.

This is not a moment to waste with confusion or dithering; sowing confusion by drawing yourself and others off target is worse yet than dithering and deals self-inflicted damage at the time when we can least afford it. So let's someone else stand on the "This Isn't A Pandemic, People!" soap box for now.

solidgold
Posts: 53
Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2017 7:36 pm

Re: Socialist Demands for the COVID-19 Crisis

Post by solidgold » Mon Mar 30, 2020 5:02 am

kidoftheblackhole wrote:
Sun Mar 29, 2020 9:37 am
chlamor wrote:
Sat Mar 28, 2020 11:45 pm
Again, pertinent questions. GIGO, apples & oranges, modeling itself ain't the last word in anything. OTOH, the writer makes the blythe assumption that governments are actually trying to do their best for their people and we know that is seldom if ever the case for non-socialists. That ain't class analysis.

Of course you are not going to get class analysis from this author or from anyone in such a position.

If the US gov sez no big deal then I am immediately suspicious.

If the US gov't says it is a big deal then are you also suspicious? I have no idea what the daily briefings are like as I don't watch television. There are many advantages to the ruling class in the US pumping this up. We just saw one yesterday- 6 trillion dollars worth- more on the way. WE could speak to some others- pharmaceuticals for starters.

Meanwhile in the last two weeks the excess mortality throughout Europe was nil. How is that possible during such a "pandemic?" One exception- Italy- and only one area of Italy- the Lombardy region which accounts for a full 70% of the entirety of Italy's "excess deaths." And Italy (this region) has been experiencing exactly this since 2013- 7th year in a row- it can no longer be considered an anomaly. Why is that? The answer is up thread.

The US is experiencing a spike in infections of COVID- why- they are testing more. And who are they testing- the symptomatic- exclusively. That is not an acceptable methodology by any standards- that matters a lot.

The capitalists and their hirelings are also promoting the view that COVID is a massive global pandemic- perhaps that will turn out to be the case- at present the statistical evidence does not back that up. There is no one unified front on this from our benevolent leaders though from what I have seen those that promote the lock down and the theory that COVID is truly a pandemic far exceeds the other.

I'm open to seeing further evidence and will be seeking it out as you know.
The world is on fire and you're..challenging the parameters of the inferno. Again. Did you know they just released a four year study from the University of Alaska Fairbanks concluding that it was impossible that WTC 7 collapsed from fire?!

Yes, there are many irregularities based on the information that is presently available. Many, many things don't seem to add up at all.

But..what exactly are we aiming to prove? Certainly not a "plot" -- the moron capitalist leaders can't even read from the right book most of the time let alone follow a coherent plot. Or are the *Shock Docs* at work again?

Meanwhile, back in reality:

The precarious social safety net -- in one capitalist country after another -- is revealed to be as thin as the paper masks they're pawning off on hospital workers. It is beyond plain that Just In Time delivery refers first and foremost to workers' paychecks; equally, it is entirely unclear whether their global financialized extortion scheme can continue to be propped up -- even by the injection of unchecked money in the trillions. In comparison, workers who are essentially locked out are given the barest pittance. This is a very important point to emphasize -- most on the left seemed confused on "when did they get so generous?". They didn't -- more like "so desperate" and *so miserly*

Meanwhile, imperialist slaughter continues apace everywhere. You understand this as well as anyone and have done much to document and preserve the record of their crimes. As death tolls become a featured news item, drawing the comparison is even more important.

In this regard, things have come quickly into stark relief. The ruling class temerity to expect workers to sacrifice themselves at the altar of their gluttony is merely their natural expectation of continuing the status quo. How many lives are swallowed up daily by the inhumanity of capitalist production? They don't bother to even try to keep such records. How many have been offered up to their cherished watchword "austerity"?

Now, suddenly the money that "doesn't grow on trees" is magically available. Maybe the secret is instead of trees you have to pull it out of a hat. Wish we'd known.

Things are falling apart on every conceivable front along obvious fault lines that were readily identified in advance. Malign neglect was transparently obvious the entire time. Even now when the ruling class and their hangers on concede that "we are all in the same boat now" they can't help but ostentatiously brag that they have all the life rafts -- just in case this "same boat" isn't quite seaworthy.

There is so, so much to be done. Questioning the veracity of what they say -- they lie about EVERYTHING. If it was as simple as revealing the truth and exposing them for liars, thieves, and murderers, they and their horrendous edifice would have toppled long ago and we would spit at the mere mention of their names.

This is not a moment to waste with confusion or dithering; sowing confusion by drawing yourself and others off target is worse yet than dithering and deals self-inflicted damage at the time when we can least afford it. So let's someone else stand on the "This Isn't A Pandemic, People!" soap box for now.
Yep. With COVID-19, I don't think we should mistake ruling class opportunism (in reference to blindpig) for anything more sinister than reckless jabs wherever and whenever they can get it. Things don't add up because 1. it's still developing and 2. there's disagreements in the ranks.

I'm pissed, unemployed, and broke. Bright side is instagram tells me social distancing is privilege, so I think I'm gonna start living my life again. :?

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blindpig
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Re: Socialist Demands for the COVID-19 Crisis

Post by blindpig » Mon Mar 30, 2020 11:15 am

CONFINEMENT AND THE LIMITS OF SOCIAL JUSTICE

Image
THE SPANISH LABOR MINISTER EXPLAINS TODAY THAT WITH THE SHUTDOWN OF PART OF THE PRODUCTION WITH A PERMIT THAT NEEDS TO BE RETURNED IN THE FUTURE TO DE COMPANY AS WORKING HOURS, "EVERYONE GIVES IN, BOTH COMPANIES AND WORKERS".

While the death and infection figures continue to rise, Spanish President Sánchez, who made “social justice” his banner during the last elections, announced last night the closure of non-essential production… although only for eight days and in the form of a “permit” redeemable as overtime from the workers by the company. In Italy, the decree “to close Italy” which promised a week ago to halt non-essential production in order to stop the spread of the epidemic at once, kept 40% of productive activities, which employ 10 million workers, open at the time of its application. In Argentina, the Peronist unions, that is to say “Justicialists”, reveal themselves by exerting pressure, hand in hand with the employers, to “flexibilize” the confinement and resume productive work. How far does “Social Justice” go?

Image

“Social justice” has been a misleading term since its inception: it represented the “social doctrine” of the Catholic Church which attempted, from concepts of feudal theology, to articulate its own version of social “harmony”. This is the idea that measures can be taken to avoid “abolishing the two extremes, capital and wage labor, at the same time, attenuating their antithesis and turning it into harmony”.

The slogan of harmony, “no one loses rights, all parties yield, employers and workers sacrifice themselves for the common good”, is the promise a thousand times repeated first by the “social democratic” petty bourgeoisie of the 19th century, then followed by the yellow unions – named after the color of the papal flag – and finally adopted as a “social program” by fascism, Falangism and Peronism – which is why Peronism calls itself “Justicialist”.

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SÁNCHEZ WITH THE LEADERS OF THE TWO MAIN SPANISH UNIONS

The “common good” does sound good, but when it comes to striking a balance between universal human needs and capital’s interest in sustaining accumulation, what kind of trade-off is possible? The new decree from the Spanish government proposes that workers reduce the risk of contagion for 9 days as long as companies do not have to pay for the hours not worked. That sounds more like sacrificing the salary of an involuntary leave – that is, the way to satisfy the basic needs of working families – in exchange for companies not losing money.

The same deceptive logic applies to the determination of sectors: mining, metallurgy, the chemical industry not related to medical supplies, glass not related to food or health, aerospace production or the defence industry are, among others, considered essential . Is manufacturing airplanes or tanks essential production? Essential for what? It is essential to the maintenance of major national capitals… but not to the fight against the spread. On the contrary, all these sectors are characterized by producing in factories of a certain scale. Factories which, like all concentrations of people, are potential sources of contagion to which hundreds of thousands of people go and return to every day from their homes.

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WORKERS AT THE ITALIAN “LEONARDO” MILITARY HELICOPTER FACTORY, CONSIDERED “ESSENTIAL PRODUCTION”.

Capitalism is definitely an upside-down world and “social justice” is the most cynical expression of this absurdity. Reducing contagion by closing factories is presented as being in the particular interest of the workers, while avoiding further damage to corporate profits would be the “common good”. The common sacrifice is thus, always and in any case, that of the workers: some “recovering” hours when the health crisis subsides, others going to work because their work is essential… so that the average profitability of national capital does not suffer.

In Italy new strikes break out daily to demand the closure of non-essential production beyond the very broad limits of the Conte government, which also considers essential, for example, arms production… a sector which is on strike right now . These are really strikes against a “social justice” that is as inhuman as it is impossible to harmonize saving investments and saving lives by making confinement more effective and at the same time guaranteeing the satisfaction of everyone’s basic needs. The prime need is to avoid catching a life-threatening disease.

http://communia.blog/confinement-and-th ... l-justice/

Can't be a Trot without gratuitous union bashing. Good points on 'social justice' tho.
"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

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blindpig
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Re: Socialist Demands for the COVID-19 Crisis

Post by blindpig » Mon Mar 30, 2020 12:39 pm

In a nutshell:

Image

Courtesy Roland Boer
"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

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