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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
Monday 16th of November 2020

Macro Thoughts
World Of Finance


I think the Vaccine News has created a Head Fake level whipsaw move which will entirely reversed. 

Look at the Daily #COVID19 numbers they remain exponential and the Vaccine is not a near term Silver Bullet by any stretch of the imagination. 

The Virus exploited weaknesses which had been building since 2008 and these have not been resolved.

Therefore, recent market moving moves are in my opinion overdone overcooked and will be reversed.


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Negative rates are the next major gold discovery. And if you are sitting there befuddled. Buy eurodollar futures. Buy lots of them. Assuming you already own gold. @hendry_hugh
World Of Finance

The absurdity of it all brought us Trump and Brexit. Let's learn the lesson second time around. Negative rates are the next major gold discovery. And if you are sitting there befuddled. Buy eurodollar futures. Buy lots of them. Assuming you already own gold.

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The Way We Live Now
World Of Finance

It certainly is a new c21st that we find ourselves in. There is a luminous and Fairy Tale feel to life in quarantine and as you know most fairy tales have an oftentimes dark and dangerous and unspoken undercurrent. 

I sit in my study and its as if my hearing is sharpened. I hear the Breeze, birdsong, Nature in its many forms and the urban background noise which was once the constant accompaniment to daily life has entirely retreated. 

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How Do You Know When Society Is About to Fall Apart? @nytimes

When I first spoke with Joseph Tainter in early May, he and I and nearly everyone else had reason to be worried. A few days earlier, the official tally of Covid-19 infections in the United States had climbed above one million, unemployment claims had topped 30 million and the United Nations had warned that the planet was facing “multiple famines of biblical proportions.” George Floyd was still alive, and the protests spurred by his killing had not yet swept the nation, but a different kind of protest, led by white men armed with heavy weaponry, had taken over the Michigan State Legislature building. The president of the United States had appeared to suggest treating the coronavirus with disinfectant injections. Utah, where Tainter lives — he teaches at Utah State — was reopening its gyms, restaurants and hair salons that very day.

The chaos was considerable, but Tainter seemed calm. He walked me through the arguments of the book that made his reputation, “The Collapse of Complex Societies,” which has for years been the seminal text in the study of societal collapse, an academic subdiscipline that arguably was born with its publication in 1988. “Civilizations are fragile, impermanent things,” Tainter writes. Nearly every one that has ever existed has also ceased to exist, yet “understanding disintegration has remained a distinctly minor concern in the social sciences.” It is only a mild overstatement to suggest that before Tainter, collapse was simply not a thing.

If Joseph Tainter, now 70, is the sober patriarch of the field, it is not a role he seems to relish. His own research has moved on; these days, he focuses on “sustainability.” But even in his most recent work his earlier subject is always there, hovering like a ghost just off the edge of each page. Why, after all, would we worry about sustaining a civilization if we weren’t convinced that it might crumble?

After I spoke to Tainter, I called several of these scholars, and they were more openly alarmed than he was by the current state of affairs. “Things could spin out,” one warned. “I am scared,” admitted another. As the summer wore on even Tainter, for all his caution and reserve, was willing to allow that contemporary society has built-in vulnerabilities that could allow things to go very badly indeed — probably not right now, maybe not for a few decades still, but possibly sooner. In fact, he worried, it could begin before the year was over.

For nearly as long as human beings have gathered in sufficient numbers to form cities and states — about 6,000 years, a flash in the 300,000-odd-year history of the species — we have been coming up with theories to explain the downfall of those polities. The Hebrew Scriptures recorded the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, and divine rage has been a go-to explanation ever since. Plato, in “The Republic,” compared cities to animals and plants, subject to growth and senescence like any living thing. The metaphor would hold: In the early 20th century, the German historian Oswald Spengler proposed that all cultures have souls, vital essences that begin falling into decay the moment they adopt the trappings of civilization.

The question of collapse also haunted archaeology, but it was rarely studied directly. In the field’s early years, archaeologists tended to focus on the biggest and most wondrous structures they could find, the remains of monumental architecture abandoned for centuries in deserts and jungles. Who made these marvels? Why were they left to rot? Their mere existence suggested sudden and catastrophic social breakdowns. Yet at the height of the Cold War, when the real possibility of nuclear war took modern societies closer than they had ever been to the brink of destruction, the academy lost interest in the subject. Scholars tended to limit themselves to understanding single cases — the Akkadians, say, or the Lowland Classic Maya.

In 1979, he and a co-author wrote a report for the Forest Service that shows early signs of the concerns that would come to dominate his professional life. It was an overview of the “cultural resources” present in the area around a dormant volcano called Mount Taylor, a site sacred to the Navajo and several other tribes. (The mineral division of Gulf Oil Corporation was mining the mountain for its uranium deposits.) The bibliography alone stretched to 37 pages, and Tainter included an extensive section on the Chaco Canyon complex, which was more than 100 miles from Mount Taylor. The civilization at Chaco Canyon thrived for at least five centuries until, beginning around 1100 A.D., its sites were gradually abandoned. In a text destined for a government filing cabinet, Tainter bemoans “the lack of a theoretical framework to explain the phenomenon.” Scholars, he complains, “have spent years of research on the question of why complex societies have developed,” but had devised “no corresponding theories to explain the collapse of these systems.”

It would take him most of the next decade to develop that theory, which became the heart of “The Collapse of Complex Societies.” Tainter’s argument rests on two proposals. The first is that human societies develop complexity, i.e. specialized roles and the institutional structures that coordinate them, in order to solve problems. For an overwhelming majority of the time since the evolution of Homo sapiens, Tainter contends, we organized ourselves in small and relatively egalitarian kinship-based communities. All history since then has been “characterized by a seemingly inexorable trend toward higher levels of complexity, specialization and sociopolitical control.”

Larger communities would have to be organized on the basis of more formal structures than kinship alone. A “chiefly apparatus” — authority and a nascent bureaucratic hierarchy — emerged to allocate resources. States developed, and with them a ruling class that took up the tasks of governing: “the power to draft for war or work, levy and collect taxes and decree and enforce laws.” Eventually, societies we would recognize as similar to our own would emerge, “large, heterogeneous, internally differentiated, class structured, controlled societies in which the resources that sustain life are not equally available to all.” Something more than the threat of violence would be necessary to hold them together, a delicate balance of symbolic and material benefits that Tainter calls “legitimacy,” the maintenance of which would itself require ever more complex structures, which would become ever less flexible, and more vulnerable, the more they piled up.

His second proposal is based on an idea borrowed from the classical economists of the 18th century. Social complexity, he argues, is inevitably subject to diminishing marginal returns. It costs more and more, in other words, while producing smaller and smaller profits. “It’s a classic ‘Alice in Wonderland’ situation,” Tainter says. You’re “running faster and faster to stay in the same place.” Take Rome, which, in Tainter's telling, was able to win significant wealth by sacking its neighbors but was thereafter required to maintain an ever larger and more expensive military just to keep the imperial machine from stalling — until it couldn’t anymore.

Or consider Chaco Canyon, which had so puzzled Tainter. At its height a thousand years ago, Chaco was the hub of a network of communities stretching throughout the arid San Juan Basin. Thriving in such unforgiving terrain, Tainter argues, depended on an intricate web of “reciprocal economic relations” that took advantage of the landscape’s diversity. In hot, dry years, lower elevations suffered, but communities at higher altitudes still received enough rain to grow and harvest crops. In colder, wetter years, the reverse held: The lowlands produced more than they needed while the growing season shrank in the highlands.

Complexity rose to meet the challenge. Tainter speculates that the administrative center in Chaco Canyon was able to coordinate exchanges of resources between so-called “outlier” communities at varying elevations, none of which could have survived in isolation. As always, solving one problem created new ones. With Chaco Canyon’s success, populations grew. Outlier communities multiplied until, Tainter argues, the diversity that allowed the system to function was diluted as “proportionately less could be distributed to each community experiencing a deficit.” Outliers began to drop out of the network. Over the next two centuries, the stone-walled towns that dotted the San Juan Basin would be gradually abandoned.

This is how it goes. As the benefits of ever-increasing complexity — the loot shipped home by the Roman armies or the gentler agricultural symbiosis of the San Juan Basin — begin to dwindle, Tainter writes, societies “become vulnerable to collapse.” Stresses that otherwise would be manageable — natural disasters, popular uprisings, epidemics — become insuperable. Around 1130, a severe, half-century-long drought hit the desert Southwest, coinciding with Chaco Canyon’s decline. Other scholars blame the drought for the abandonment, but for Tainter it was the final blow in a descent that had already become inevitable. Chacoan civilization had survived extended dry spells before. Why was this one decisive?

The fall of Minoan civilization has been attributed to a volcanic eruption and the subsequent invasion of Mycenean Greeks. The decline of the Harappan civilization, which survived in the Indus Valley for nearly a millennium before its cities were abandoned in about 1700 B.C., coincided with climate change and perhaps earthquake and invasion too — and, recent research suggests, outbreaks of infectious disease. The ninth-century desertion of the cities of Southern Lowland Classic Maya civilization has been ascribed to war, peasant uprisings, deforestation and drought. But haven’t countless societies weathered military defeats, invasions, even occupations and lengthy civil wars, or rebuilt themselves after earthquakes, floods and famines?

Only complexity, Tainter argues, provides an explanation that applies in every instance of collapse. We go about our lives, addressing problems as they arise. Complexity builds and builds, usually incrementally, without anyone noticing how brittle it has all become. Then some little push arrives, and the society begins to fracture. The result is a “rapid, significant loss of an established level of sociopolitical complexity.” In human terms, that means central governments disintegrating and empires fracturing into “small, petty states,” often in conflict with one another. Trade routes seize up, and cities are abandoned. Literacy falls off, technological knowledge is lost and populations decline sharply. “The world,” Tainter writes, “perceptibly shrinks, and over the horizon lies the unknown.”

A disaster — even a severe one like a deadly pandemic, mass social unrest or a rapidly changing climate — can, in Tainter’s view, never be enough by itself to cause collapse. Societies evolve complexity, he argues, precisely to meet such challenges. Tainter doesn’t mention it specifically, but the last major pandemic makes the case well: The Spanish Flu killed 675,000 Americans between 1918 and 1919, but the economic hit was short-lived, and the outbreak did not slow the nation’s push for hemispheric dominance. Whether any existing society is close to collapsing depends on where it falls on the curve of diminishing returns. There’s no doubt that we’re further along that curve: The United States hardly feels like a confident empire on the rise these days. But how far along are we?

Scholars of collapse tend to fall into two loose camps. The first, dominated by Tainter, looks for grand narratives and one-size-fits-all explanations. The second is more interested in the particulars of the societies they study. Anxiety about the pandemic, however, bridges the schisms that mark the field. Patricia McAnany, who teaches at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has questioned the usefulness of the very concept of collapse — she was an editor of a 2010 volume titled “Questioning Collapse” — but admits to being “very, very worried” about the lack, in the United States, of the “nimbleness” that crises require of governments.

McAnany points to the difference between the societies of the northern and southern Maya lowlands during the first millennium A.D. The southern region — what is now Guatemala, Belize and parts of southern Mexico — was more rigidly hierarchical, with “pronounced inequality” and a system of hereditary kingship not as evident in the Yucatán Peninsula to the north. Around the time a devastating drought hit in the ninth century, the southern lowland cities were abandoned. Communities to the north were not.

The apparent collapse of the Southern Lowland Maya, McAnany cautions, is better understood as a dispersal. For the upper classes — who appear to have been the first to flee — it was probably experienced as a world ending, but most people simply “voted with their feet,” migrating to more amenable locations in the north and along the coast. That is no longer so easy, McAnany says. “We’re too vested and tied to places.” Without the possibility of dispersal, or of real structural change to more equitably distribute resources, “at some point the whole thing blows. It has to.”

Peter Turchin, who teaches at the University of Connecticut, follows Tainter in positing a single, transhistorical mechanism leading to collapse, though he is far more willing than Tainter to voice specific — and occasionally alarmist — predictions. In Turchin’s case the key is the loss of “social resilience,” a society’s ability to cooperate and act collectively for common goals. By that measure, Turchin judges that the United States was collapsing well before Covid-19 hit. For the last 40 years, he argues, the population has been growing poorer and more unhealthy as elites accumulate more and more wealth and institutional legitimacy founders. “The United States is basically eating itself from the inside out,” he says.

Inequality and “popular immiseration” have left the country extremely vulnerable to external shocks like the pandemic, and to internal triggers like the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. He does not hesitate to predict that we can expect to experience far more of the kind of unrest we’ve seen this summer, “not just this year but in the years ahead, because the underlying conditions are only getting worse.”

When I last heard from Turchin late in the summer, he — and more than two million others — had lost electricity in the wake of Tropical Storm Isaias. His internet connection had been out for days. “There are a lot of ironic angles,” he says, to studying historical crises while watching fresh ones swirl and rage around him. Having been born in the Soviet Union and studied animal-population ecology before turning to human history — one early work was “Are Lemmings Prey or Predators?” — Turchin is keenly aware of the essential instability of even the sturdiest-seeming systems. “Very severe events, while not terribly likely, are quite possible,” he says. When he emigrated from the U.S.S.R. in 1977, he adds, no one imagined the country would splinter into its constituent parts. “But it did.”

Turchin is not the only one who is worried. Eric H. Cline, who teaches at the George Washington University, argued in “1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed” that Late Bronze Age societies across Europe and western Asia crumbled under a concatenation of stresses, including natural disasters — earthquakes and drought — famine, political strife, mass migration and the closure of trade routes. On their own, none of those factors would have been capable of causing such widespread disintegration, but together they formed a “perfect storm” capable of toppling multiple societies all at once. Today, Cline says, “we have almost all the same symptoms that were there in the Bronze Age, but we’ve got one more”: pandemic. Collapse “really is a matter of when,” he told me, “and I’m concerned that this may be the time.”

In “The Collapse of Complex Societies,” Tainter makes a point that echoes the concern that Patricia McAnany raised. “The world today is full,” Tainter writes. Complex societies occupy every inhabitable region of the planet. There is no escaping. This also means, he writes, that collapse, “if and when it comes again, will this time be global.” Our fates are interlinked. “No longer can any individual nation collapse. World civilization will disintegrate as a whole.”

When I ask him about this, the usually sober-sounding Tainter sounds very sober indeed. If it happens, he says, it would be “the worst catastrophe in history.” The quest for efficiency, he wrote recently, has brought on unprecedented levels of complexity: “an elaborate global system of production, shipping, manufacturing and retailing” in which goods are manufactured in one part of the world to meet immediate demands in another, and delivered only when they’re needed. The system’s speed is dizzying, but so are its vulnerabilities.

The coronavirus pandemic, Tainter says, “raises the overall cost, clearly, of being the society that we are.” When factories in China closed, just-in-time delivery faltered. As Tainter puts it, products “were not manufactured just in time, they were not shipped just in time and they were not available where needed just in time.” Countries — and even states — were shoving to get at limited supplies of masks and medical equipment. Meat production is now so highly centralized — so complex — that the closure of a few plants in states like Iowa, Pennsylvania and South Dakota emptied out pork aisles in supermarkets thousands of miles away. A more comprehensive failure of fragile supply chains could mean that fuel, food and other essentials would no longer flow to cities. “There would be billions of deaths within a very short period,” Tainter says.

Even a short-term failure of the financial system, Tainter worries, might be enough to trip supply chains to a halt. The International Monetary Fund’s most recent “World Economic Outlook” warns of “wide negative output gaps and elevated unemployment rates” in the short term, “scarring” in the medium term, “deep wounds” and a level of uncertainty that remains “unusually large.” If we sink “into a severe recession or a depression,” Tainter says, “then it will probably cascade. It will simply reinforce itself.”

Recently, Tainter tells me, he has seen “a definite uptick” in calls from journalists: The study of societal collapse suddenly no longer seems like a purely academic pursuit. Earlier this year, Logan, Utah, where Tainter lives, briefly became the nation’s No. 1 Covid hot spot. An outbreak in June at a nearby beef plant owned by the multinational meat giant JBS USA Food, which kept operating even after more than a quarter of its workers tested positive, had spread throughout the county. In two and a half weeks, cases there leapt from 72 to more than 700. They have since more than quadrupled again. At the same time protests sparked by George Floyd’s death were breaking out in thousands of U.S. cities and towns — even in Logan. The only precedent Tainter could think of, in which pandemic coincided with mass social unrest, was the Black Death of the 14th century. That crisis reduced the population of Europe by as much as 60 percent.

Scholarly caution may prevent Tainter from playing the oracle, but when he was writing “The Collapse of Complex Societies,” he recalls, “it was very clear that what I was realizing about historical trends wasn’t just about the past.” The book’s Reagan-era roots are more than subtext. He writes of visions of “bloated bureaucracies” becoming the basis of “entire political careers.” Arms races, he observes, presented a “classic example” of spiraling complexity that provides “no tangible benefit for much of the population” and “usually no competitive advantage” either. It is hard not to read the book through the lens of the last 40 years of American history, as a prediction of how the country might deteriorate if resources continued to be slashed from nearly every sector but the military, prisons and police.

The more a population is squeezed, Tainter warns, the larger the share that “must be allocated to legitimization or coercion.” And so it was: As U.S. military spending skyrocketed — to, by some estimates, a total of more than $1 trillion today from $138 billion in 1980 — the government would try both tactics, ingratiating itself with the wealthy by cutting taxes while dismantling public-assistance programs and incarcerating the poor in ever-greater numbers. What happened on a national level happened locally as well, with police budgets eclipsing funding for social services in city after city. “As resources committed to benefits decline,” Tainter wrote in 1988, “resources committed to control must increase.”

When I asked him if he saw the recent protests in these terms, Tainter pointed again to the Romans, caught in the trap of devoting a larger and larger share of their empire’s resources to defense even as it ceaselessly expanded, chasing ever-more-distant enemies, until one day, they showed up at the city gates.

The overall picture drawn by Tainter’s work is a tragic one. It is our very creativity, our extraordinary ability as a species to organize ourselves to solve problems collectively, that leads us into a trap from which there is no escaping. Complexity is “insidious,” in Tainter’s words. “It grows by small steps, each of which seems reasonable at the time.” And then the world starts to fall apart, and you wonder how you got there.

There is, however, another way to look at this. Perhaps collapse is not, actually, a thing. Perhaps, as an idea, it was a product of its time, a Cold War hangover that has outlived its usefulness, or an academic ripple effect of climate-change anxiety, or a feedback loop produced by some combination of the two. Over the last 10 years, more and more scholars have, like McAnany, been questioning the entire notion of collapse. The critical voices have been more likely to come from women — the appeal of collapse’s sudden, violent drama was always, as Dartmouth College’s Deborah L. Nichols put it, “more of a guy thing” — and from Indigenous scholars and those who pay attention to the narratives Indigenous people tell about their own societies. When those are left out, collapse, observes Sarah Parcak, who teaches at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, can easily mean erasure, a convenient way of hiding the violence of conquest. This is not to suggest that once-populous cities have never been abandoned or that the kind of rapid social simplification that Tainter diagnosed has not regularly occurred; only that if you pay attention to people’s lived experience, and not just to the abstractions imposed by a highly fragmented archaeological record, a different kind of picture emerges.

Part of the issue may be that Tainter’s understanding of societies as problem-solving entities can obscure as much as it reveals. Plantation slavery arose in order to solve a problem faced by the white landowning class: The production of agricultural commodities like sugar and cotton requires a great deal of backbreaking labor. That problem, however, has nothing to do with the problems of the people they enslaved. Which of them counts as “society”?

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the total net worth of America’s billionaires, all 686 of them, has jumped by close to a trillion dollars. In September, nearly 23 million Americans reported going without enough to eat, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Whatever problems those 686 billionaires may have, they are not the same as those of the 23 million who are hungry. Insisting that they should not be allowed to blur together puts not only “society” but also collapse into a different sort of focus. If societies are not in fact unitary, problem-solving entities but heaving contradictions and sites of constant struggle, then their existence is not an all-or-nothing game. Collapse appears not as an ending, but a reality that some have already suffered — in the hold of a slave ship, say, or on a long, forced march from their ancestral lands to reservations faraway — and survived.

“What do you do if you’re still here after the story of failure has already been written?” asks the Native American scholar Michael V. Wilcox, who teaches at Stanford University. The cities of Palenque and Tikal may lie in ruins in the jungle, a steady source of tourist dollars, but Maya communities still populate the region, and their languages, far from dead, can be heard these days in the immigrant neighborhoods of Los Angeles and other American cities too. The Ancestral Pueblo abandoned the great houses of Chaco Canyon sometime in the 12th century, but their descendants were able to expel the Spanish in the 1600s, for a little over a decade anyway. The Navajo, nearby, survived the genocidal wars of the 19th century, the uranium boom of the 20th and the epidemic of cancer it left in its wake, and are now facing Covid-19, which hit the Navajo Nation harder than it did New York.

The current pandemic has already given many of us a taste of what happens when a society fails to meet the challenges that face it, when the factions that rule over it tend solely to their own problems. The climate crisis, as it continues to unfold, will give us additional opportunities to panic and to grieve. Some institutions are certainly collapsing right now, Wilcox says, but “collapses happen all the time.” This is not to diminish the suffering they cause or the rage they should occasion, only to suggest that the real danger comes from imagining that we can keep living the way we always have, and that the past is any more stable than the present.

If you close your eyes and open them again, the periodic disintegrations that punctuate our history — all those crumbling ruins — begin to fade, and something else comes into focus: wiliness, stubbornness and, perhaps the strongest and most essential human trait, adaptability. Perhaps our ability to band together, to respond creatively to new and difficult circumstances is not some tragic secret snare, as Tainter has it, a story that always ends in sclerotic complexity and collapse. Perhaps it is what we do best. When one way doesn’t work, we try another. When one system fails, we build another. We struggle to do things differently, and we push on. As always, we have no other choice.

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Political decision-making is now driven by often weaponized babble. @FukuyamaFrancis
Law & Politics

Cognitive hierarchies along with other hierarchies, and political decision-making  is now driven by often weaponized babble.

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At this point, Trump’s White House has a late April 1945 bunker feel. @CarlMinzner
Law & Politics

At this point, Trump’s White House has a late April 1945 bunker feel.  Complete with his ranting in the face of subordinates unwilling to tell him the truth, but who are privately trying to plot their exit from the capital.

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‘He’s psychologically incapable of processing this loss’: @MaryLTrump @Independent
Law & Politics

More than 72 hours after statisticians examining election returns independently reported that there is no mathematical pathway by which he could retain the presidency, Donald Trump remains in denial. 

The president appears to have largely abandoned his day-to-day responsibilities, while at the same time deploying governmental authority to prevent Biden from preparing to assume office.

The 45th president has not had an intelligence briefing on his public schedule since 1 October 1; has not attended a meeting of the White House Coronavirus Task Force in months; and aides say he has spent the days since he lost the election vacillating between despondency and rage. 

Today, Trump emerged from five days of isolation within the White House complex – an extraordinary amount of time spent largely incommunicado for a man who constantly demands attention from the press and public – to mark the Veterans Day holiday with a wreath-laying at Arlington National Cemetery.

Meanwhile, the man who will become the nation’s 46th president – President-elect Joe Biden – plans to spend Veterans Day huddled with transition advisers who are helping him formulate a plan for when he assumes responsibility for the entire executive branch at 12.01 pm on January 20, 2021. 

In the days since it became clear that voters had chosen him over Trump, Biden has spoken with heads of government from France, Germany, Ireland, the UK, and Canada, and has received congratulatory messages from many more.

“The Biden-Harris transition is moving forward with preparations so that President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris are ready to lead our country on Day One and meet the pressing challenges facing our nation,” said a Biden-Harris transition spokesperson.

Yet even as the world has accepted Biden’s ascent to the nation’s highest office as a fait accompli, Trump and his allies remain firmly in denial. 

And because Trump still controls the executive branch, he is using that power to deny Biden the official recognition he needs to begin the formal transition process.

That recognition ordinarily comes from the Administrator of the General Services Administration, a little-known federal agency which runs government buildings and handles purchasing for most of the government. 

According to a memorandum of understanding between the Biden campaign and the agency, the administrator – a Trump appointee named Emily Murphy – is responsible for “ascertaining” the “apparent winner” of the 2020 election. 

This is usually a formality which unlocks millions of federal funds and other resources available to the president-elect and his advisers.

Usually, such paperwork is quickly signed within 24 hours of the presidential race being called for one candidate or another. 

This year, however, GSA press secretary Pamela Pennington said in an email that the agency would only move to unlock transition funds and other resources “once a winner is clear based on the process laid out in the Constitution”. 

The only “process laid out in the Constitution”, however, takes place when the Electoral College presents its votes on 14 December.

Dr Mary Trump, the President’s niece and the author of Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man, said it was “a given” that the president would never accept the results of any election in which he was not declared the winner.

“He’s psychologically incapable of processing this kind of loss,” she said, adding that losing an election is “a unique experience” which her uncle is “constitutionally incapable of dealing with, processing, or moving on from”.

Dr Trump explained that she was hoping for her uncle to lose in the kind of landslide that would have not given him or any other 

Republicans room to dispute the election results in any meaningful way. 

The tacit acquiescence of Congressional Republicans could give him cover for yet more malfeasance between now and Inauguration Day, she added.

“Interfering with a peaceful transfer of power is obviously bad, as is undermining the legitimacy of the incoming administration… but who knows what other kind of smash-and-grab activities he’s going to engage in? If it was just him doing those things, it would have been starkly obvious that it was just him doing those things, and they would only serve to humiliate him further and delegitimise him,” she continued. “But it’s not just him, and they are helping him undermine a process that has been in place for over 240 years, and they’re doing it in a way that will have lasting damage no matter what happens.”

But Dr Trump did predict that unhinged behaviour on her uncle’s way out of town will have consequences for him post-presidency – even if he tries to carry on the delusion that he was the true winner of the 2020 race and establish himself as a sort of president-in-exile at Mar-a-Lago: 

“I think that the longer this charade goes on, the longer he is leading the charge to undermine the United States – which is what he’s doing, we need to be really clear about this – the less likely it is that prosecutors are going to be inclined to back off, because he’s just proving every minute this goes on that he needs to be held accountable.”

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“If personal meaning, in this cheer leader society, lies in success, then failure must threaten identity itself.”
Law & Politics

I’m tired to the death. The flute has faded away. He sits on the bed beside her, a little numb. I couldn’t make it. I just couldn’t make it, Linda.

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All the forces of darkness cannot stop what God has ordained. (Isaiah 14:27) @DiamondandSilk
Law & Politics

From Propaganda To Ego, All Our Major Problems Are Due To Misperception @caitozhttps://j.mp/3lv1FfG

“There's another word for master narratives: it's called history,” Stengel said

“Basically every country creates their own narrative story. My old job at the State Department was what people used to joke as the chief propagandist. I’m not against propaganda. Every country does it, and they have to do it to their own population. And I don’t necessarily think it’s that awful.”

the American people, are so aggressively propagandized. An entire empire rests on their closed eyelids.

All our major problems are due to misperception, and that misperception is deliberately engineered.

From the smallest level to the largest, all our problems are due to the obfuscation of a clear image of reality. 

Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman could easily have called their influential work Manufacturing Consent "Manufacturing Reality" instead, because as far as experience is concerned perception is reality. 

In fact a lesser-known work on the same subject came out two years earlier by Michael Parenti (widely regarded as the Tesla to Chomsky's Edison in some circles) called Inventing Reality: The Politics of News Media.

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Whoever Controls The Narrative Controls The World
World Of Finance

"Men respond as powerfully to fictions as they do to realities [and] in many cases they help to create the very fictions to which they respond."

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Law & Politics

Mistah Kurtz—he dead.

A penny for the Old Guy

We are the hollow men

We are the stuffed men

Leaning together

Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!

Our dried voices, when

We whisper together

Are quiet and meaningless

As wind in dry grass

Or rats’ feet over broken glass

In our dry cellar

Shape without form, shade without colour,

Paralysed force, gesture without motion…

… Between the idea

And the reality

Between the motion

And the act

Falls the Shadow…’

The Hollow Men, T.S. Eliot.

‘You’re a mutant virus, I’m the immune system and it’s my job to expel you from the organism.’ 

1. Complexity makes prediction hard. Our world is based on extremely complex, nonlinear, interdependent networks (physical, mental, social). Properties emerge from feedback between vast numbers of interactions: for example, the war of ant colonies, the immune system’s defences, market prices, and abstract thoughts all emerge from the interaction of millions of individual agents. Interdependence, feedback, and nonlinearity mean that systems are fragile and vulnerable to nonlinear shocks: ‘big things come from small beginnings’ and problems cascade, ‘they come not single spies / But in battalions’. Prediction is extremely hard even for small timescales. Effective action and (even loose) control are very hard and most endeavours fail.

Blofeld: Kronsteen, you are sure this plan is foolproof?

Kronsteen: Yes it is, because I have anticipated every possible variation of counter-move.

Politics therefore suffers from a surfeit of narcissists.

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Global cases increased 561,737 yesterday to 53,918,372. Average cases per day increased 17% past 2wks to 581,239/day. Average deaths per day up 32% past 2wks @jmlukens

Global cases increased 561,737 yesterday to 53,918,372.  Average cases per day increased 17% past 2wks to 581,239/day.  Average deaths per day up 32% past 2wks to 8,548/day with total deaths now at 1,310,935.

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Salvation through vaccination would be dangled like a cat toy in front of fearful populations, each vaccine proving futile— @MichaelPSenger

Salvation through vaccination would be dangled like a cat toy in front of fearful populations, each vaccine proving futile—but a great excuse to bill national governments for mandatory vaccine programs, another milestone in the end of human rights. @MichaelPSenger 

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No-one has ever produced a safe and effective vaccine against a coronavirus. Birger Sørensen, Angus Dalgleish & Andres Susrud

What if, as I fear, there will never be a vaccine. I was involved in the early stages of identifying the HIV virus as the cause of Aids. I remember drugs companies back then saying there would be a vaccine within around 18 months. Some 37 years on, we are still waiting. Prof ANGUS DALGLEISH @MailOnline

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The coronavirus’s origins are still a mystery. We need a full investigation #COVID19 @washingtonpost

AFTER SO much death and illness, a mystery from the first days of the novel coronavirus has yet to be solved. We still don’t understand its origins or how it became a global killer. The answers lie in China, and quite possibly beyond. 

The world needs a credible, impartial investigation to better prepare for future pandemics.

Most likely, the virus was a zoonotic spillover, a leap from animals to humans, which have become more common as people push into new areas where they have closer contact with wildlife. The facts are still extremely sparse. 

The closest-known relatives to this coronavirus were collected from bats in China’s Yunnan province in 2012 to 2013 and in 2019. The first one matches the virus genetic sequence by 96.2 percent, and the second one by 93.3 percent. 

But with a genome size of about 30,000 nucleotides, the closest bat virus is still nearly 1,200 nucleotides distant.

Moreover, the first outbreak was reported more than 1,000 miles away from Yunnan in Wuhan, Hubei province. How did it cross time and distance? Was there another animal intermediary? 

David A. Relman, a Stanford University microbiologist, writes in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, “the ‘origin story’ is missing many key details,” including a recent detailed evolutionary history of the virus, identity of its most recent ancestors and “surprisingly, the place, time, and mechanism of transmission of the first human infection.”

At first, it was suspected that Wuhan’s Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market was the location of the infection. The market was large, with 653 stalls, selling seafood but also fruits and vegetables, meat and live animals. 

Trade was carried out in chipmunks, foxes, raccoons, wild boar, giant salamanders, hedgehogs, sika deer, snakes, frogs, quail, bamboo rats, rabbits, crocodiles and badgers. 

The market was closed right after the outbreak began, and in the rush to disinfect, no samples were taken that might prove a virus connection. 

However, some environmental samples from the market contained virus matching those in patients who became ill. 

A study of 41 confirmed human cases from Wuhan showed that nearly 70 percent had a link to the market, but 30 percent did not, including three of the first four cases. 

The data are insufficient to settle whether the market was the contamination source, or whether it served to amplify the virus for human-to-human transmission, or both, or neither.

The questions will probably not be solved by physical samples. More likely, the answer will come from using genetic sequencing to chart how the virus moved from one animal species to another, and to humans.

The identity of the animal intermediary — if there is one — remains a puzzle. A coronavirus found in pangolins is close, genetically. 

Pangolins are used for traditional medicine in China. Some scientists have suggested in recent months widening the hunt for an intermediary to Southeast Asia, where other animal species may have been the host. 

The recent outbreak of the virus among mink in Denmark underscores the need to think broadly about zoonotic spillover.

Last December, when the outbreak began in Wuhan, China silenced eight doctors who were alarmed by the mysterious illness that was spreading fast. 

Then, during critical weeks in January, provincial and central governments kept the lid on public information as the virus spread. 

These early coverups were telltale symptoms of China’s authoritarian party-state in action. The secrecy has left legitimate questions about whether China will ever be open about the virus origin

President Trump hammered China over this during his reelection campaign, seeking to distract voters from his own failings.

Beyond the blame game, there are troubling questions in China that must be examined, including whether the coronavirus was inadvertently spread in an accident or spill from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which had previously carried out research on bat coronaviruses. 

The institute collected samples from the Mojiang mine in Yunnan province in China in 2012 and 2013. 

Earlier in 2012, six miners at Mojiang exposed to bats and bat feces were hospitalized suffering from an illness similar to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), and three died. 

The disease was similar if not identical to covid-19 and may have been a previously unrecognized parent virus. 

Conspiracy theorists have proposed more outlandish scenarios of a deliberately created pathogen, but they do not hold much water.

The Lancet Commission, formed by the British medical journal in July, has made a primary goal identifying the origins of covid-19 and averting future zoonotic pandemics. 

The journal declared “the evidence to date supports the view” that covid-19 “is a naturally occurring virus rather than the result of laboratory creation and release.” 

But the commission says, “The possibility of laboratory involvement in the origins of the pandemic should be examined with scientific rigor and thoroughness, and with open scientific collaboration.”

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization has launched a Global Study of the Origins of the virus. 

Early visits to China by the WHO did not explore virus origins, but instead focused on the urgent issues of viral transmission and pandemic response. 

Now, 10 Chinese scientists and 10 from elsewhere around the globe have begun to pursue where the virus came from. 

To be successful, they must have Beijing’s full cooperation. Nothing can be off limits, no possibilities ignored. 

It is in everyone’s interest, including China’s, to find the answers and prevent the next pandemic. If there is one lesson from this year, it is that no nation lives in isolation from a raging disease.

The WHO is a member organization that can appeal to China and persuade, but it lacks regulatory power to give orders. But it will be stronger with the United States rejoining, as President-elect Joe Biden has promised to do. 

Hopefully, too, the international scientists who are taking part will push hard for a rigorous and penetrating investigation, including the possibility of a laboratory accident.

“Preventing the next pandemic,” wrote Dr. Relman, “depends on understanding the origins of this one.”

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’Zoonotic’’ origin was one that was accelerated in the Laboratory.

There is also a non negligible possibility that #COVID19 was deliberately released

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“If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers.” ― Origin of the #CoronaVirus #COVID19

“There's always more to it. This is what history consists of. It is the sum total of the things they aren't telling us.”

“A paranoid is someone who knows a little of what's going on. ”

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies


Dollar Index 92.603

Japan Yen 104.5760

Swiss Franc 0.911985

Pound 1.32067

Aussie 0.728070

India Rupee 74.5175

South Korea Won 1107.16

Brazil Real 5.4585

Egypt Pound 15.619620

South Africa Rand 15.48940

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Turning to Africa The Spinning Top

So far Africa has dodged the Virus from a medical perspective though it remains in my view a slow burning Fuse and we all know by now ''viruses exhibit non-linear and exponential characteristics'

The real challenge is the Economic Emergency.

The latest Regional Economic Outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa projects economic activity in the region to decline by 3.0% in 2020 and recover by 3.1% in 2021. @IMFNews

The IMF is so bright eyed and bushy tailed and I want some of whatever Pills they are popping.

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After decreasing slowly but steadily over a number of weeks, #COVID19 test positivity rate in #SouthAfrica has shown a significant increase this week @rid1tweets

Confirmed cases in SA starting to show a notable increase too 

This is driven mostly by a resurgence in Eastern Cape 

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Sudan Will Decide the Outcome of the Ethiopian Civil War @ForeignAffairs @japanizar @mkheirom

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia—While the world girded for the U.S. election in early November, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed launched a war against the northern region of Tigray. 

The region is home to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front—the party that dominated Ethiopian politics for decades and has since been displaced and sidelined as Abiy has sought to consolidate power and made peace with the TPLF’s archenemy, Eritrea.

But the TPLF has not gone quietly; in September, the regional government it leads held local elections that the central government refused to recognize in October. 

Then, on Nov. 3, following provocations by Abiy, it took control of personnel, military hardware, and equipment from the federal army’s Northern Command, prompting Addis Ababa to declare war against a region that remains home to a sizable portion of the Ethiopian federal army’s arsenal and forces, given its position along the long-contested and still undemarcated border with Eritrea.

Abiy has long accused the TPLF old guard of seeking to sabotage his government and his purported reforms. But now, facing all-out war against a formidable foe, the outcome will turn on the choices of Ethiopia’s neighbors—Sudan and Eritrea.

Although Tigray is small, it is well armed, and its forces are battle-hardened. 

Tigray’s regional special forces, which a senior Ethiopian diplomat estimates have grown to at least 20,000 commandos—led by senior Tigrayan officers forced into retirement by Abiy, plus a standing body of reserve special forces made up of military-trained militia and armed farmers—together have an estimated total of up to 250,000 armed fighters

Until recently, however, it lacked the heavy weaponry required to directly confront a fully-equipped division.

Since last week, the TPLF has taken control of half the soldiers from the five divisions of the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) Northern Command that remain in Tigray—meaning it has gained 15,000 soldiers, according to three sources: a senior Ethiopian diplomat briefed on the latest developments, a senior retired intelligence officer in Tigray who continues to work for the TPLF, and a source in Tigray monitoring the situation. 

But the seizure of Ethiopian military hardware and equipment has heightened the importance of logistical supplies for the TPLF, which will inevitably depend on Sudan’s stance.

Sudan has a number of strategic reasons to back—or at least to be perceived as supporting—the TPLF in the civil war against Ethiopia’s government.

While Sudan has officially closed the borders between Tigray and Sudan’s frontier states of Kassala and Gadaref—which are landlocked Tigray’s only logistical links to the outside world in terms of fuel, ammunition, and food—it could use the threat of support to the TPLF to extract concessions from Addis Ababa on the contested Fashqa triangle.

Fashqa is an approximately 100-square-mile territory of prime agricultural land along its border with Ethiopia’s Amhara state, which Sudan claims by virtue of an agreement signed in 1902 between the United Kingdom and Ethiopia under Emperor Menelik II and subsequently reinforced by various Ethiopian leaders, including the TPLF.

The dispute over Fashqa remains a major grievance for Ethiopia’s ethnic Amhara farmers near the border, who seek to till the land, and is an obstacle in negotiations over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). 

Like Egypt, Sudan has rejected Ethiopia’s proposal for guidelines that would enshrine Ethiopia’s future ability to manage annual flow of the Blue Nile on a discretionary basis and Khartoum is already using the issue as leverage to pressure Abiy on Fashqa, where Ethiopia and Sudan continue to maintain a military presence.

But if Sudan supports Tigray, which also borders Eritrea, the civil war will certainly become a protracted affair, and the strategic fallout in Khartoum’s relations with Addis Ababa and Asmara could be too high

Indeed, the region could quickly revert to the state of proxy conflict that preceded the rise of Abiy and the collapse of former Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir’s regime—or precipitate a wider regional conflagration.

Since last week, Sudan has already seen thousands of people flee from Ethiopia, including officers from the ENDF, according to a source who has spoken with Sudan’s civilian prime minister, Abdalla Hamdok, about the matter. 

While Bashir allied himself with Ethiopia’s former TPLF-led regime, the TPLF’s influence in Khartoum has become limited since Bashir fell from power, and because it no longer controls the Ethiopian state.

Sudan’s condition is already fragile, and it wants to ensure that it has at least minimal relations with its neighbors. 

For now, instructions from Khartoum have focused on not alienating either Addis Ababa or Asmara—a message that has trickled down in the Sudan Armed Forces, which has deployed to its borders with Ethiopia, said a senior Sudanese military officer.

Sudan is not the only neighboring country with a strong interest in the outcome of the civil war. 

Envoys of Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki traveled to Khartoum on Nov. 11 to see the chairman of Sudan’s transitional Sovereign Council, Lt. Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan—presumably to ask Sudan’s military, which holds the real power, to cut off any potential logistical support to the TPLF.

From the beginning, it was clear that Abiy was intent on provocation, but he did not anticipate the TPLF could supplant an entire military command

In late October, a week before the TPLF took control of the remaining Northern Command in Tigray, Abiy created a new regional command in Ethiopia’s Amhara state, with the two divisions of the Northern Command already stationed in Amhara slated to be transferred into its ranks.

The Northern Command comprises eight of the ENDF’s 32 divisions. Three of them have been stationed outside of Tigray for two years, since Abiy expanded the operational area of the Northern Command: a tank division in the north of Ethiopia’s Afar state and two divisions in Amhara. 

Military maneuvers against Tigray are now underway on three fronts: from Eritrea, Afar, and Amhara, with Eritrea and Amhara being used in an attempt to cut the TPLF off from Sudan.

On Nov. 1, a few days after Abiy created the new command, Burhan flew to see him in Addis Ababa with the director-general of Sudan’s intelligence service and the head of military intelligence.

It was announced that they would strengthen control of the Ethiopia-Sudan border, suggesting that Abiy was trying to completely encircle Tigray before a premeditated confrontation with the TPLF.

Both Abiy and Isaias—who went to war with the TPLF’s leaders two decades ago, leading to a bloody Ethiopian-Eritrean conflict that lasted, on and off, for 20 years—have a bloodlust for the TPLF. 

This shared hostility toward Ethiopia’s former regime, rather than any brotherly love, was the principal motivation for their commencement of diplomatic relations two years ago, for which Abiy was feted with last year’s ill-judged Nobel Peace Prize; the Norwegian Nobel Committee failed to see that the prize rewarded a peace process that really intended to end one war while laying the groundwork for another

According to sources in both Tigray and the Ethiopian government, soldiers in divisions of the ENDF Northern Command in Tigray have in the past week split into three groups: half aligned with the TPLF, one-quarter—Abiy loyalists and mostly ethnic Amhara officers—fled into Eritrea, and the rest refused to fight against the federal army and have been contained in barracks. 

The sources in Tigray were able to speak with us intermittently over satellite Internet, circumventing the telecommunications shutdown Abiy has imposed there.

While the TPLF had considerable success last week in taking control of personnel, military hardware, and equipment held by the divisions of the ENDF’s Northern Command, continued success in a protracted civil war will ultimately depend on support from Sudan.

Sudan has a long history of involvement in Ethiopian and Eritrean affairs. Even before the TPLF and Isaias came to power in the 1990s, Sudan clandestinely supported both the TPLF and the Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF) in allowing the passage of military and humanitarian logistics through its borders. 

(Isaias later split from the ELF, which has since formed a series of splinter groups). At the time, Sudan’s involvement was crucial to their success, but it would be difficult for Sudan to resort to the same tactics again.

If Khartoum does so, it has much to lose. Abiy could retaliate by supporting Sudanese rebel groups following unstable peace accords they signed with Sudan’s transitional government in October—for example, in Sudan’s Blue Nile state, which borders Ethiopia’s Benishangul-Gumuz state, the site of the GERD. Isaias could also support subgroups of the Beja—a group of tribes living between the Red Sea and the Nile—in a tactical alliance with him against the Beni Amer ethnic group in eastern Sudan and Eritrea traditionally aligned with the ELF, as well as seek to enlist discontented Sudanese opposition figures who were previously based in Eritrea from the mid-1990s to 2006. 

Since the fall of Bashir, tensions have erupted in eastern Sudan—including in Kassala, Gadaref, and Port Sudan—between groups aligned with Eritrea’s government and those opposed to it.

Meanwhile, Eritrea is getting involved; it is hosting the ENDF on its territory although it remains unclear if Eritrea’s own forces are involved in fighting

On Tigray state television, Tigray’s regional president Debretsion Gebremichael said forces aligned with Isaias bombed Humera—a strategic Tigrayan town on the triple frontier between Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Sudan on Nov. 9 with heavy artillery, that Eritrean and Tigrayan forces are fighting on the border, and that ENDF forces have otherwise been restricted in their movements. 

While Abiy’s government earlier claimed it had captured territory from Humera to Shire, about 160 miles east in Tigray, it quickly retracted that claim.

Despite initial successes, the TPLF may not have the backing of Sudan to keep going, especially if Abiy and Isaias can make compromises to enlist Sudan’s support

Although everyone from Sudan’s Hamdok and the African Union to Pope Francis and the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee is calling for a cease-fire and negotiations, Abiy will only call for talks if the ENDF and other security forces continue to fragment to a point of no return and fail on the battlefield

Without Sudan, it seems that the TPLF’s only remaining hope would be to overthrow Abiy’s government or seek to assassinate him with the support of his many other enemies.

Both Sudan and Egypt remain at odds with Ethiopia on the filling and operations of the GERD, which could eventually upend preexisting allocations of water resources to Egypt and Sudan. 

For now, Sudan is continuing to exploit its leverage in the Tigray conflict and the dam negotiations to secure official demarcation from Abiy of the Fashqa triangle—a formal transfer of a significant amount of territory to Sudan. 

Since the civil war began, Sudan’s transitional Sovereign Council has already announced that it will not compromise “on any inch of Sudanese territory” with Ethiopia, according to the Sudan News Agency.

Sudan could always use its official border closures as a pretext to supply the TPLF and deny the ENDF and forces loyal to Abiy the ability to attack the TPLF from Sudanese territory. 

Both Kassala and Gadaref states are awash with contraband weapons smuggling, which Sudan’s military could fully shut down—but only if it chooses to do so. 

If Ethiopia grants Sudan the concessions it wants when it comes to sharing the waters of the Nile and returning the Fashqa triangle, Khartoum could tip the balance.

Officials privy to private talks between Abiy and Sudanese officials earlier this year told us Sudan sought during the GERD talks to seek implementation of the 1902 border demarcation treaty; by that agreement, Sudan continues to seek full control over Fashqa. 

These sources told us that Sudanese officials were perturbed by Abiy’s pusillanimous approach on the issue and subsequent exchanges of gunfire between Ethiopian and Sudanese soldiers on their border following Sudanese protests that armed Amhara farmers were making further incursions.

If Sudan makes the formal transfer of Fashqa an explicit condition for refusing logistical support to the TPLF, that could prove fatal for Abiy, but it would be a risky move; several changes in regime over the last century in both countries pushed Fashqa to the back-burner and Bashir tolerated its unresolved status thanks to good relations with Ethiopia’s former TPLF-led government.

If Abiy were to concede, he would lose the expansive support he imagines he has among ethnic Amhara. Much like so-called ancestral lands removed from Amhara and attached by the TPLF to Tigray in the 1990s, Fashqa is an issue for which Amhara will lay down their lives; and if Abiy refuses, Sudan could respond by supporting the TPLF.

Since last week, scores of ill-equipped Amhara irregular forces along the Amhara-Tigray border have died fighting seeking to reclaim these ancestral lands, according to the senior Ethiopian diplomat. 

He said such unpublicized failures have both triggered Abiy’s reshuffle of the Amhara regional president (an Abiy loyalist who is now director-general of the National Intelligence and Security Service) and could deepen discontent there, leading to another Amhara insurrection to install hard-line regional leaders which could be more serious than an internal convulsion last year.

It is evident from Abiy’s latest reshuffling of his military, intelligence, security, and foreign-policy establishment that he depends increasingly on a small network of Amhara ostensible loyalists—and they could ultimately turn on him and take power for themselves if he does not continue to serve their interests against the TPLF and their designs to restructure the Ethiopian state in their image.

If the TPLF is able to drain personnel away from a war it is already fighting on three fronts—Amhara, Afar, and Eritrea—and invade Eritrea and bring regime change there, that could give it access to additional territory as well as logistics through the Red Sea. 

Tigray already hosts several Eritrean opposition groups as well as small military bases for them, but it’s a tall order.

The TPLF would face the challenge of defeating both the Eritrean Defense Forces and the ENDF in Eritrea, which hosts a naval and air base for the United Arab Emirates, with whom Abiy has built close relations. 

On Nov. 6, the Emirati foreign minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan noted the UAE’s “solidarity” with “friendly countries in their war against” terrorism—suggesting alignment with Abiy and Isaias against the TPLF. 

Abu Dhabi could use its significant clout with Burhan and other key figures in Sudan’s unstable government to achieve its objectives.

In Sudan, a retired senior officer who was a member of the ELF told us that Isaias has been drafting additional military conscripts since October in different parts of Eritrea. 

He said some Eritrean soldiers—principally from the Beni Amer and related tribes—have refused to fight and defected into Kassala state in Sudan. 

This may indicate the unreadiness of at least some groups in the Eritrean Defense Forces to fight. In Kassala, Beni Amer—who are also present in Eritrea—are being roiled up to fight against Isaias’s regime.

Both the TPLF and Isaias see Kassala as their strategic backyard. The TPLF built relations with anti-Isaias groups among the Beni Amer in Kassala after the 1998-2000 Eritrean-Ethiopian war, and Isaias knows that any challenge for control of western Eritrea can come from Beni Amer allied with the ELF.

But an overthrow of Isaias in Eritrea could only realistically happen if Sudan’s military provides support to Eritrean opposition groups in Sudan, and only if the TPLF simultaneously advances into Eritrea—also with tacit Sudanese support.

As the war intensifies, Abiy seems to be reading from the same script as his TPLF predecessors even as he seeks to depose them.

Although the previous governor in Kassala was a Beni Amer closely aligned with the TPLF as well as the Bashir regime’s army, Isaias may have already tilted the balance against the TPLF there. 

After Sudan removed military governors as part of the new regime’s reforms, another Beni Amer, Saleh Ammar, was proposed as governor, but his appointment was abandoned following protests led by Beja subtribes linked to Isaias.

Meanwhile, in Ethiopia, Tigrayan officers are being disarmed and Tigrayans across government structures are being targeted; in the federal police, serving officers told us, 

Tigrayans have been asked to take leave; and even in the African Union Mission in Somalia, which fights al-Shabab, two senior officers said that more than 200 Tigrayan officers have had their guns confiscated.

As the war intensifies, Abiy seems to be reading from the same script as his TPLF predecessors even as he seeks to depose them—organizing state sponsored support rallies for the war, jailing journalists, and labelling myriad opponents lashing out against his hypocrisy as terrorists.

There is more at stake in Ethiopia’s civil war than a Tigrayan rebellion. At worst, officers throughout Ethiopia’s ethnically based military will join a chaotic rebellion, and the military will find itself increasingly enmeshed in an already cataclysmic web of interethnic fighting across Ethiopia and at its borders—a regional catastrophe that will ensnare both Eritrea and Sudan, and possibly more actors.

War is already underway on the Eritrean front, with Ethiopian military commanders appearing on the Tigray-Eritrea border. 

And if the Ethiopian army fails to choke off the TPLF from the small slice of land between Tigray and Sudan—Abiy’s chief of staff claims it has, but senior sources say the battle there is still unresolved—Sudan will determine the outcome of Ethiopia’s civil war.

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@PMEthiopia has launched an unwinnable War on Tigray Province. The Spinning Top

Ethiopia which was once the Poster child of the African Renaissance now has a Nobel Prize Winner whom I am reliably informed

PM Abiy His inner war cabinet includes Evangelicals who are counseling him he is "doing Christ's work"; that his faith is being "tested". @RAbdiAnalyst

@PMEthiopia has launched an unwinnable War on Tigray Province.

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Egyptian, Sudanese air forces conduct ‘Nile Eagles 1’ military drill @ahramonline

Units from the Egyptian Air Force and special forces, ‘Thunderbolt’ have arrived in Sudan’s Marwa air base, to conduct a joint air exercise, dubbed 'The Nile Eagles 1' with the Sudanese Air Force.

According to an official statement on Saturday, Egyptian armed forces spokesman Tamer El-Refaie said the exercise, which runs until 26 November, is being conducted between the two neighbouring countries for the first time.

The joint exercise is set to include planning and managing joint combat activities that are to be carried out by both the Egyptian and Sudanese air forces.

As well as, multi-tasking fighter aircrafts from both sides that will execute offensive and defensive sortie on targets, stated El-Refaie.

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10 NOV 14 : African youth demographic {many characterise this as a 'demographic dividend"} - which for Beautiful Blaise turned into a demographic terminator

Martin Aglo, a law student from Benin, told Reuters: “After the Arab Spring, this is the Black Spring”.We need to ask ourselves; how many people can incumbent shoot stone cold dead in such a situation – 100, 1,000, 10,000?

This is another point: there is a threshold beyond which the incumbent can’t go. Where that threshold lies will be discovered in the throes of the event.

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SOME AFRICAN PRESIDENTS, Yrs in power @StatiSense

41yrs: Teodoro Nguema, E Guinea

38yrs: Paul Biya, Cameroon

36yrs: Yoweri Museveni, Uganda

30yrs: Idrissa Deby, Chad

27yrs: Isaias Afwerki, Eritrea

23yrs: Denis Nguesso, Congo

20yrs: Paul Kagame, Rwanda

20yrs = 5 tenures of 4yrs

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Money has been wasted.Roads commissioned at inflated prices (roughly 2X the African average per km), suggesting ample opportunities for the well-connected to take a cut. @tradingroomke

Money has been wasted. Adual carriage way north from Lusaka estimated to have cost $1.2bn stops on the out-skirts of the capital. Roads commissioned at inflated prices (roughly 2X the African average per km), suggesting ample opportunities for the well-connected to take a cut.

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Safaricom sees reduction in Ethiopia licence bid price without M-Pesa @BD_Africa
N.S.E Equities - Commercial & Services

Safaricom  expects a reduced bid price for the Ethiopian market licence on the news that only the locally owned non-financial institutions will be allowed to offer mobile money services.

The telco has disclosed that its interest in the market of 108 million people and about 50 million phone subscribers would only have been significantly enhanced and translate to higher bid price had the Ethiopian government allowed it to operate its mobile money platform M-Pesa there.

Disclosures contained in a transcript call covering events to end of July reveals that Safaricom sees a license without mobile money hurting profitability and lengthening the period of recouping the investment.

“A license that doesn't include a mobile money license will significantly reduce the level of profitability and therefore in essence, our bid price for the license but also our profitability and payback period,” chief executive Peter Ndegwa says in the transcript call.

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.@SafaricomPLC share price data
N.S.E Equities - Commercial & Services

Closing Price: 31.80

Market Capitalization: 1,274,080,610,400


PE: 17.283


I think the MPESA decline is a Blip because we are witnesssing a spectacular and even viral level acceleration with regard to Mobile Money obviously COVID19 related.

Data performed in line with the new COVID curve.

This remains a business optimally positioned to ride the New Post COVID19 normal.

Customer gain of +10.2% confirms the advantage of the Demographic dividend.

This is a resilient and muscular business wich has navigated the COVID19 circuit breaker and is a Buy on any reverse.

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Kenya Shilling versus The Dollar Live ForexPros
World Currencies

On an YTD basis, the shilling has depreciated by 7.7% against the dollar

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by Aly Khan Satchu (www.rich.co.ke)
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November 2020

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