On keeping time

I place great value on time. I am one of those people who makes sure that all the clocks in my home are kept right on time. When it comes time to change clocks due to the absurd practice of Daylight Savings Time, I go round the previous night and do so so that there is no danger of my doing something at the wrong time the following day. I am baffled by those who are not bothered that their clocks are wrong and find even more incomprehensible those who deliberately set their clocks fast in order to help them avoid being late for things. Having to constantly mentally adjust the time makes no sense to me.
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Bolivia, lithium, and Elon Musk

Oligarchs tend to be jerks in general and Elon Musk is clearly one of the biggest jerks. One of his big jerk moves was in blackmailing Alameda county where the city of Fremont is the city of Oakland that if they did not lift their covid-19 restrictions, he would move his Tesla manufacturing plant out of the city. So it should be no surprise that he is also an example of the arrogance of US imperialists.

Recall that the US was an enthusiastic supporter of the coup last year in Bolivia that overturned the election results that had socialist Evo Morales winning easily. Morales has speculated that one reason that the US wanted him out is that, in addition to his policies that benefited the long-neglected poor and indigenous people of his country (the kinds of policies that the US absolutely detests), he had also made a deal with China for the export of the element lithium. It appears that Bolivia has great reserves of this element which is an important component of batteries.
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John Oliver on the WHO

As usual, he gives a clear explanation of what the World Health Organization does, why it is such a valuable organization, and why it is madness for the US to withdraw from it. Currently Trump has given the one year notice of withdrawal which will go into effect in July 2021, which is another reason to elect Joe Biden who can reverse that decision.

Denying science can kill you

The US has long had a strain of anti-intellectualism, with some viewing science and expertise with suspicion and as somehow of less value than ‘common sense’ or folklore or one’s own intuition or what your friends tell you or what you read on social media. That attitude can kill as Derek Thompson writes in his examination about why some countries have managed to keep death rates from covid-19 low.
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How the CDC was subverted by Trump

ProPublica has another explosive report, this time about how the Centers for Disease Control, once highly admired all around the world for the skill and expertise of its scientists in dealing with global health problems, has become a shadow of its former self, with career scientists dismayed at how the Trump administration has undermined and belittled its efforts. The feckless leadership of Robert Redfield, a Trump appointee, has been ineffective in defending its institutional honor. ProPublica bases its article on internal emails and reports and interviews with CDC officials.
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Covid cases are rising again in the US and Europe

In the case of the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918, most of the deaths occurred during the second wave of the disease that occurred towards the end of that year and it was feared that the current pandemic might follow a similar pattern. That fear may be coming true. This graph tracks the number of new confirmed cases per week in the US for the current pandemic.

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The tragic consequences of believing that the coronavirus is a hoax

A man from Texas was convinced that the coronavirus was a hoax and hosted family gatherings that violated the guidelines. You can anticipate what happened. Fourteen of his family members, including him, got infected and two of them died. He too was hospitalized. He now regrets his behavior, saying that he feels like drunk driver who killed members of his own family and he cautions others against acting like him.
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Should we criticize Trump if we think he is deranged?

Just recently, after the fiasco of the first presidential debate, I got an email from an old friend of mine whom I had not heard from in years. In it, he gently chided me for ‘Trump bashing’ (his words). It is not that he is a Trump supporter. His reason is different and because it was so thoughtful and raised an important question, I am bringing it up here for discussion.

My friend wrote:

I don’t think that all the Trump bashing is warranted. It’s pretty obvious that he has a mental disorder. It’s not fair nor reasonable to have a go at the behavior of a person whose behaviour is due to a mental condition. Will anyone criticize the behaviour of a person who is suffering from Alzheimer’s, dementia or even a person who is bipolar?

I am no psychiatrist but I think Trump suffers from a form of Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

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