Pulitzer confirms: there is “no such thing as good white people”

What are all those prizes for – especially the ones given in literature and journalism – that everybody covets? Oh, they have a number of important jobs to do. They
[1] act like a beacon in that they show which topics and styles are to be copied or developed;
[2] promote particular writers, journalists and poets who display world views approved by those who judge literary effort;
[3] give support to particular political or social causes by promoting authors who advocate such causes, and they
[4] create so-called authorities on moral, social and political issues in that if e.g. a Nobel-prize winner says something or opposes something or proposes something, then people tend to consider such issues seriously and tend to identify with them.

What makes ambitious men and women of letters yearn to possess a prize? The prize has a gravitational pull if it
[1] is of long standing;
[2] provides the winner with big material gratification; and
[3] is talked about by the mass media and respected by prestigious universities and similar institutions.

A prize is a powerful tool. A literary prize is the most powerful of them all because in literature the standards of quality are so variable and so numerous as almost non-existent, but the message conveyed in the works of art is conveyed in no uncertain terms even if the writer does his best to veil it.

This year’s winner of the Pulitzer prize in Poetry – or at least the present-day equivalent of this once noble literary genre – has been awarded to Jericho Brown. France 24 decided duly to delegate Eve Jackson to conduct an on-line interview with the laureate. A noteworthy interview because the interviewer is white and the interviewee is black and it matters a lot in this case. Eve Jackson is apologetic and submissive throughout the talk. Maybe that’s her genuine feeling, maybe through years of practice she has just learnt to keep a straight face.
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Gefira #44: In the aftermath of the pandemic

In Gefira #44 our analysts are pondering the world in the aftermath of the pandemic or rather the handling of it. From the dawn of history great disasters have been regarded as harbingers of great historical events and changes. We may incline to believe in it or denounce it, but the fact remains that before the Soviet Union collapsed, there was the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station spectacular failure. The pandemic is going to wreak havoc with the economies of many nations, so at least in this sense it will have had a far-reaching effect comparable to that of a world war. Between the two theoretical extremes that nothing much will change or that the world will be markedly or even strikingly different, the most probable development falls somewhere in between. The question is to which of the extremes it will tend more. As it is the case with hot war, also the pandemic will do more harm in some places, less in others; as it is the case with big crises in general, there are those who stand to win, and those who stand to lose. A kind of reset in international relations, alterations in world finances, re-evaluation of the role of technology, a large-scale redistribution of property, the death or a new life of globalism, the emergence of new or the intensification of some of the old social ills are among the many major phenomena that could be heaving in sight. Our readers are offered an insight into the possible scenarios across various sections of human existence so that they can make an informed decision as to which measures to take and what to expect in their businesses, professional careers and private lives.

 

Gefira Financial Bulletin #44 is available now

  • In the wake of the pandemonium
  • Second wave, third factor, toothless tiger and preparations for war

Social distancing or vitamin D?

Guest author: Koert van Rijn

It’s a vicious virus that is going around, with a mortality rate of about five times that caused by the flu. Most nations looked away initially, but were faced with reality when it hit them in the stomach. Almost every country waited till the hospitals had filled up and then totally panicked. The fear of the virus was wrongly increased by the WHO’s speculation of a 3.4% mortality rate, and Neil Ferguson, who conjectured about half a million deaths in England alone. A big blunder, but the fear was created and remained stuck even when the data were reassuring.

They had to do something, but what? There was a paper-thin theory that social distancing may stop this kind of influenza from spreading. If it works with the flu, why not with Corona? An ever increasing number of countries implemented this idea and they imposed a strict lockdown. Lo and behold, the infection rate has diminished. Three times hooray to all the leaders for their bold approach.

Unfortunately, there is increasing evidence that it’s not a 1.5-m distance that was the cause of the positive result. A comparison of the countries with a strict and not so strict lockdown show that the difference in deaths or infection cases is but slight.This is logical if you look at the information that is now available about the mode of transmission of the virus. On the one hand, there seems to be many superspread events.There are many well-described events in which an infected person has transmitted the virus on in a church or hall full of people, if the conditions were conducive. That is to say, low-humidity, low ventilation, with the affected person speaking or singing.

Furthermore, research has shown that in German households with one virus carrier only 18-44% of the members have become infected.No doubt, household members keep a shorter distance than 1.5 m. Why have they not all been infected? Research has also shown that there is barely if any form of outdoor corona infection, no matter how big the get-together has been.This means that the virus being extremely airborne is also easily blown away. Security can thus be improved by the avoidance of large gatherings held in poorly ventilated areas that are shut off from the outside world. The 1.5-m distance is no cure.
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No to the ECB madness

The latest ruling of the Federal Constitutional Court is a drop of bitterness in the idyll of the ECB’s excessive money printing. What Super Mario (Draghi) did and what the IMF-imported Christine Lagarde mercilessly continues – 2.6 trillion euros (since 2015), invested in government, corporate and other securities to boost the economy and inflation – are a blessing for financiers and their customers (plutocracy) and a curse for savers and future pensioners. Roughly speaking, the ECB is buying up the debts of banks and large corporations, but is not worried about citizens’ savings melting away as a result of the negative interest rate, while the bubble is growing in markets overheated by cheap money (including the property market). The owners of real assets are benefiting, while owners of financial assets are losing. Companies that would not have been able to survive under any other circumstances remain in the market as zombies, reducing productivity, the rate of return on capital in the eurozone and their competitiveness in the world.

These trillions of euros are therefore ineffective. After all, the eurozone economy weakened significantly much earlier, before the outbreak of the so-called pandemic. Now the bubble has burst on the stock markets and Lagarde immediately started to take new “measures” from her ivory tower in Frankfurt: money presses are running at full speed, markets are recovering, the economy is still at its worst since the end of the Second World War, unemployment rates very high everywhere, but never mind all that, “The show must go on”, until one day, oh, how unpleasant these German judges!
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Widerstand 2020

It is always a breaking point that is required. Not long ago in France it was enough that the government raised a petrol tax by a small amount to spark social unrest: the famous Yellow Vests movement. In Germany the bizarre decision taken by the Merkel regime to let in a million or so aliens induced citizens who were concerned about their country to found the Alternative fur Deutschland party. Recently, we have been witnessing the creation of Widerstand 2020 (Resistance 2020). What was the new civil movement occasioned by? By the restrictions imposed upon Germans because of the Corona pandemic, courtesy of the WHO. The party was established by Bodo Schiffmann, a physician, together with Ralf Ludwig, a Leipzig lawyer and Victoria Hamm, who introduces herself as just a human being. The trio became enraged by the panic that was caused by the authorities and by the fact that the government used the alleged epidemiological danger to suspend some of the constitutional rights, which in turn enabled the officials to abuse their power.

Widerstand 2020 has its website, where anybody interested can learn about who they are and what they strive after. They say to have tens of thousands of supporters, a claim that for obvious reasons cannot be easily verified. Judging by the reaction of the powers that be, they may be gaining in popularity and surely they must have hit the German establishment where it hurts because the people who are habitually at the establishment’s beck and call – all manner of journalists, scientists and experts – began mounting a counteroffensive, using the usual dirty tricks: dragging the opponent through the mud by a string of strongly negatively-charged associations. Widerstand 2020 can regard it as considerable success: The flak only gets heavy when you’re over the target.

Among the many mass media outlets, the Deustchlandfunk offers on its website an anonymous and lengthy text whose task it is to inform the readers about the evil and/or folly that radiates from Widerstand 2020, so beware. The tactics that the anonymous writers of the article who tout themselves as enlightened, reasonable researchers are the one used by former communist regimes. You do not attempt to kill your opponent directly: you rely on the ricochet effect. The founders of Widerstand 2020 cannot sue their accusers for calling them racist or anti-Semites because the movement’s accusers have never said that Widerstand 2020 members are racists or anti-Semites. The deutschlandfunk.de apparatchiki merely asked experts who deal with the problem of racism and Antisemitism what they thought about Widerstand 2020 and they merely mentioned that their interlocutors – authorities on social ills – professionally deal with the phenomenon of racism and Antisemitism.
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An Open Letter to Daniel Stelter

By a guest author

A few days ago I read an article signed by renowned German economist Daniel Stelter. There I learned – among other things – that Italians have an astonishing private wealth of 9.900 billion euro, making Italian families far wealthier than their average German or European counterparts. That’s practically 10 trillion euro in the coffers of Italians. I guess Stelter based his assumption on official data, which do not include the untold amounts of cash stashed away by thrifty Italians – especially older ones – who don’t trust banks and therefore keep their money in nooks and crannies. We know this by the amounts of worthless lire that still keep surfacing in homes where old folks pass away. Stelter’s inference is plain to see: why should the rest of the EU help Italy when Italy can clearly help herself with the money held by her citizens?

I kept on meditating about Stelter’s article as I was waiting for my turn, sitting – well distanced from others and wearing my mask – in a hall of a charity. I ended up in this place following instructions from the operator who answered the phone from the city office in charge of handling requests for aid. I thought I had to fill out some sort of forms stating that I had lost my job due to the current situation and had no other financial resources. None of that was needed as it turns out that the only thing city offices are actually doing – at least in a case like mine – is to send people to different charity organizations and, once there, “explain” why they were asking for food, practically reducing all of us – until now “normal” citizens with an income – to the humiliating status of beggars.

According to Stelter’s data – and simple math – I would be entitled, based on Italy’s current population of 60 million people, to the amount of approximately 166.000 euro, give or take a few cents. That would be like winning at the lottery to me. Since I have never seen such an amount of money, I wondered what went wrong. Actually, the first thing that came to mind while I was reading the article, by association of ideas, was a crude Neapolitan saying which, roughly translated, calls a wise guy someone who – while pretending to cry – engages in a sexual act. The Neapolitan language is unrivalled in its power of expression, which by the way reflects the local philosophy of life.
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Who is behind the WHO?

Perhaps for want of a more suitable object President Donald Trump has vented his anger on the World Health Organization, announcing that the United States is withdrawing its financial support because of the latter’s mishandling of the so called pandemic. The progressive world is enraged. All hell broke loose and the American head of state received his portion of flak. How inhuman, how selfish, how abominable!

The United States contributed in total the whereabouts of 400 million dollars in 2018 or 16% in round numbers for the biennium of 2018-2019.In order to have an idea of how much that is, we need to bear in mind that the WHO is also financed by entities other than states: non-governmental organizations, of which the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation according to the same sources contributed within the corresponding periods in round numbers 380 million dollars or almost 10%. GAVI Alliance contributes a little less than the United Kingdom but more than Germany. There are other private benefactors, like Rotary International or the Rockefeller Foundation.

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