Wednesday, March 25, 2020

From BC (Before COVID-19) to the Roaring 2020s




From BC (Before COVID-19) to the Roaring 2020s




Many of us worldwide are stuck at home, which means it's the perfect opportunity to escape with a great travel book. Our first selection? Aldous Huxley's "Along the Road."

CHRISTOPHER DICKEY


Published Mar. 23, 2020 

As Germany imposes border controls, the gravity of the situation and the threat it poses to the EU are clear. The consequences on this crowded little continent could be fatal.

FLORIAN ELABDI,

ITXU DÍAZ,

CHRISTOPHER DICKEY


Published Mar. 15, 2020 

The two highest-ranking officials in the European Union said Trump's decision was made "unilaterally and without consultation."

CHRISTOPHER DICKEY

Published March 12, 2020

*******************************************************************

But mainly I have been editing stories focused on the spread of the plague. I would encourage you to follow developments large and small and sometimes even darkly amusing under the Coronavirus heading at The Daily Beast:
https://www.thedailybeast.com/keyword/coronavirus


You can also follow my desultory Paris Lockdown Diary on Facebook and Instagram.

 

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Friday, February 28, 2020

Some useful coronavirus / #COVID2019 insights from The Atlantic and Bloomberg.Com

From The Atlantic - 

COVID-19 is already reported to have killed more than twice that number [1,000 killed by SARS and MERS respectively]. With its potent mix of characteristics, this virus is unlike most that capture popular attention: It is deadly, but not too deadly. It makes people sick, but not in predictable, uniquely identifiable ways…the new virus may be most dangerous because, it seems, it may sometimes cause no symptoms at all….

The Harvard epidemiology professor Marc Lipsitch is exacting in his diction, even for an epidemiologist. Twice in our conversation he started to say something, then paused and said, “Actually, let me start again.” So it’s striking when one of the points he wanted to get exactly right was this: “I think the likely outcome is that it will ultimately not be containable.” … Even with the ideal containment, the virus’s spread may have been inevitable. Testing people who are already extremely sick is an imperfect strategy if people can spread the virus without even feeling bad enough to stay home from work.

Lipsitch predicts that within the coming year, some 40 to 70 percent of people around the world will be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. But, he clarifies emphatically, this does not mean that all will have severe illnesses. “It’s likely that many will have mild disease, or may be asymptomatic,” he said. As with influenza, which is often life-threatening to people with chronic health conditions and of older age, most cases pass without medical care. (Overall, about 14 percent of people with influenza have no symptoms.)

Lipsitch is far from alone in his belief that this virus will continue to spread widely. The emerging consensus among epidemiologists is that the most likely outcome of this outbreak is a new seasonal disease—a fifth “endemic” coronavirus. With the other four, people are not known to develop long-lasting immunity. If this one follows suit, and if the disease continues to be as severe as it is now, “cold and flu season” could become “cold and flu and COVID-19 season.”



From Bloomberg.com 

Coronavirus Mismanagement

One nasty coronavirus side effect seems to be that it makes government officials forget how to act. Like the bug itself, this epidemic of shaky leadership is spreading quickly around the world.
As with Covid-19, the clumsiness began in China, where authorities spent the contagion’s early days denying anything was wrong. They got their act together soon enough, enacting drastic quarantine measures, but too late to stop the disease. By then, the World Health Organization had caught China’s overly optimistic attitude. It still won’t call the virus a pandemic, though it increasingly walks and quacks like one. The WHO’s desire to mollify China, a major donor, and avoid a panic have outweighed its need to protect public health, writes Therese Raphael. It’s got to get its priorities straight.
President Donald Trump too has overindulged in coronavirus denialism, with optimistic promises his health agencies, and events, almost immediately contradict. He had a chance to get everybody singing from the same hymnal last night in a news conference, in which he could have reiterated that the disease isn’t the end of the world, while also urging Americans to prepare. Instead, he rambled and ranted at his enemies and gave Vice President Mike Pence the keys to Virus Busters HQ while immediately undercutting his authority, writes Jonathan Bernstein. It was not reassuring.
The administration does seem closer to embracing reality, at least, Max Nisen writes. But its messages remain too mixed, and there’s still not enough action being taken. The disease will quickly test Trump’s claims it’s all under control.
The real poster child for irresponsible coronavirus leadership must be Iran, though, writes Bobby Ghosh. Its deputy health minister, who was caught feverishly sweating on camera even as he tried to downplay the disease, infected who knows how many people all by himself. The regime has been too blithe about the illness; and given how widely Iranians travel throughout the region and the world, this carelessness is a global health problem. It probably won’t be the last.
Further Dubious Virus Response Reading: Hong Kong’s stimulus seems designed more to boost already overinflated property values than to fight virus effects. — Andy Mukherjee

Markets in Coronavirus

Stocks spent another day being slapped around by coronavirus headlines. All told in this sell-off, the major indexes have lost more than 10%, the technical definition of a “correction,” with the pain intensifying after news California is monitoring 8,400 people for the disease. This volatility is just going to be the norm for a while, writes John Authers.
John says these market declines are still orderly, but you can bet a certain president of the United States doesn’t feel that way. He probably agrees with Narayana Kocherlakota’s call for the Federal Reserve to cut rates immediately to fight the virus’s effects on sentiment and economic activity. It risks losing credibility otherwise, Narayana writes.
Ordinarily a rate cut, or simply the promise of one, would be enough to turn markets around. But in this case it would provide only temporary support, warns Jim Bianco. The market won’t truly bottom until it finally stops responding to negative news quite so negatively. And it won’t do that until we have a better handle on the scope of the crisis. And that could take a while.
Further Virus-Market Nexus Reading:

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Affairs of State




Affairs of State: From the Murder of JFK's Mistress to the Assassination of Soleimani




Among those haunted by the memory of President Kennedy's murdered lover, Mary Meyer, were the most powerful reporters—and spies—in America. What secrets were in her lost diary?

CHRISTOPHER DICKEY


Published Jan. 21, 2020 

He railed at Hillary over her "What difference does it make?" snap. But the president's impatience on Iran and Soleimani led to his own insouciance about some serious matters.

CHRISTOPHER DICKEY


Published Jan. 15, 2020 

By blowing away Soleimani, Trump wanted to show he is not a paper tiger. But his "disproportionate" actions may push North Korea and Iran to step up nuclear cooperation.

DONALD KIRK,

CHRISTOPHER DICKEY


Published Jan. 06, 2020 

Iran says it is done with the nuclear deal, Iraq's parliament voted to kick U.S. troops out of the country—and Trump is threatening a "disproportionate" response.

ERIN BANCO,

CHRISTOPHER DICKEY,

ASAWIN SUEBSAENG


Published Jan. 05, 2020 

The Iranian general was in American crosshairs before. But nobody could begin to be sure what would come next if Soleimani were killed, and no scenario looked good.

CHRISTOPHER DICKEY,

NOGA TARNOPOLSKY,

ERIN BANCO,

BETSY SWAN


Published Jan. 03, 2020 

The consequences may not come quickly or directly. But they could be enormous.

CHRISTOPHER DICKEY,

ADAM RAWNSLEY,

ERIN BANCO


Published Jan. 03, 2020 

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman knows how to keep his people happy by eliminating—and sometimes terminating—opposition. Trump must be envious.

CHRISTOPHER DICKEY


Tuesday, December 24, 2019

From Paris on Christmas Eve Morning




Every Day Has a New Dawn.


From Paris

Wishing You Holidays Full of Amazement and Delight


Copyright © 2019 Christopher Dickey, All rights reserved.
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I've been looking at Trump's instinct to pull the plug on U.S. allies




I've been looking at Trump's instinct to pull the plug on U.S. allies

One of my favorite things about the holiday season in Paris is the late-rising sun. No need to get up early. Dawn comes around 8:00 a.m., sunrise 30 or 40 minutes later. And some of the perspectives are unforgettable.

I'll be sending my Christmas and New Year's emails a little closer to the date, but here's wishing you a bit in advance amazing holidays full of life and love.

Meanwhile, these are some of the stories I've been working on over the last month.








 

However the Afghan war ends, it's not going to smell like victory.

CHRISTOPHER DICKEY


Published Dec. 17, 2019 

There may be a reasonable way forward in Afghanistan—and Trump may even have signed on to it—but on all sides the people who need to believe him simply don't trust him.

CHRISTOPHER DICKEY


Published Dec. 15, 2019 

Trump and Macron are both right: NATO as we've known it is obsolete; NATO as it stands with Trump as president of its greatest power is, yes, brain dead.

CHRISTOPHER DICKEY


Published Dec. 04, 2019 

Newly released emails suggest that in 2017 the then-ambassador lost her password for classified communication, and so she used a different system.

CHRISTOPHER DICKEY


Copyright © 2019 Christopher Dickey, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this because you were on my personal mailing list, and this is in fact a personal account. But please do feel free to "unsubscribe."

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Monday, November 18, 2019

Notes on cause and effect when looking at Trump, Russia, Ukraine, Hong Kong, and Venice




Notes on Cause and Effect: Trump, Russia, Ukraine, Venice, and Hong Kong


We did not write about the yellow vest movement which celebrated its one year anniversary this week with some small but violent demonstrations. Most people ignored it. Paris was packed with shoppers. But as the notice at the Madeleine bus stop shows, a lot of public transport was shut down on Saturday. Elsewhere in the city, we saw the last of the fall colors, which you can take a look at on my Instagram feed.
 
***
One of the core purposes of reporting is to understand cause and effect. The actions we write about almost always are reactions to events that have gone before. But the truth of the matter is not always easy to discern as people try to impose their own one-sided narratives on known facts, or invent their "facts" altogether.

The stories we've published about world news over the last few days were all reported with an eye to understanding why we see what we see happening in various corners of the world:

It's much easier to understand the way Donald Trump thinks and acts, for instance, if one knows about his longstanding connections to alleged Russian mobsters.

ВОР В ЗАКОНЕ
The impeachment investigations will have as constant background Trump's most important and long lasting connections to Russia—through alleged mobsters.

Russian state media crowing over impeachment are less interested in the fate of the U.S. president than they are in the demoralization and weakening of Ukraine.

'TRUMP UNCHAINED'
Vladimir Putin could not possibly envision a sweeter gift than Ukraine falling away from the West into the welcoming—albeit bloodied—hands of the Kremlin.

The presence of the extreme nationalist right in Ukraine, including white supremacists and neo-Nazis, cannot be ignored, even if efforts by members of the U.S. Congress to get the Azov Battalion declared a foreign terrorist organization play into the hands of Kremlin propagandists.

WOLFSANGELS
In 2014, almost anyone who wanted to fight the Russians in Ukraine was more than welcome. But today one volunteer battalion is accused of white-supremacist terrorism.
CHRISTOPHER DICKEY


Despite Russia's denials, damning evidence continues to accumulate about the Kremlin's complicity in the downing of a passenger jet flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur in 2014.
DAILY CONTACT
Dutch investigators release damning audio that connects Russian authorities to the rebels suspected in the 2014 shootdown of a Malaysian jet with 298 people on board in Ukraine.

On other fronts: 


Much of the Hong Kong coverage the world sees has focused on telegenic flames, clouds of teargas, bricks thrown and shots fired. But the make or break moment may actually come at the ballot box next weekend—if elections are allowed at all.
 
SIEGE MENTALITY
Blood has been shed on Hong Kong streets and a university is under siege. But even the "black bloc" at the vanguard of the protests is looking toward the Nov. 24 vote.
BRENDON HONG


This story, which ran in our travel section, tells you why climate change and the full moon are not the only culprits in the destruction of one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
 
HELL OR HIGH WATER
La Serenissima has long struggled with flooding as it sank deeper and deeper, but the recent crisis has been exacerbated by all too familiar corruption.

 

Copyright © 2019 Christopher Dickey, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this because you were on my personal mailing list, and this is in fact a personal account. But please do feel free to "unsubscribe."

Our mailing address is:
Christopher Dickey
555 W 18 Street
The Daily Beast
New York, New York 10011

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