Judgment Day in Latin America

(CNBC)

Good morning. Yesterday’s quote was the Food and Drug Administration on the perils faced by those with Alzheimer’s. Today Twitter banned Rebekah Jones; Chris Harrison is out for good; the US missed on jobs again; and El Salvador becomes the first country to approve Bitcoin for general use. Here is today’s quote:

        A room full of books is not a small space.

COVID-19

Rebekah Jones fraudulently blew the whistle on Florida, claiming that she was forced to manipulate the state’s coronavirus death tolls. As Charlie Cooke at National Review uncovered, she never had access to such information. Moreover, Jones only had a problem with the way those deaths were tabulated—a problem, Cooke says, which plagues every state in the Union. Jones was later fired for insubordination and lagging performance, which she claimed was part of this broad conspiracy to suppress Florida’s death count. Confronted with her personnel file, she later admits as much. Earlier this week, she was banned on Twitter—just not for her COVID-19 smear campaign. The platform banned her for “platform manipulation,” meaning Jones was caught either purchasing followers or otherwise fraudulently obtaining them. In any case, the cancellation pendulum seems to have swung the other way.

Culture

In March, then-Bachelor Matt James broke off his engagement and slung allegations of racism around Bachelor Nation. Targets included his ex-fiancée (and current girlfriend) Rachel Kirkconnell and the host himself, Chris Harrison, for saying that we ought to hear the rebuttal. ABC pushed full episodes of the show lambasting Kirkconnell while claiming that any defense of the 24-year-old was itself racist. Harrison remained ominously silent on the allegations and stepped away from the show. Having led the franchise since 2002, he certainly had leverage to extract a large golden parachute. As such, Deadline is now reporting that Harrison is out for good. With a mid-eight-figure payout, it looks as though Harrison will be silent on his laundry list of complaints against the ABC hit.

Economy

On Friday, the Department of Labor reported jobs-added figures for the month of May—it wasn’t great. Our so-called Jobs Report, posted weekly in this column, measures layoffs as opposed to jobs added. This monthly report shows the other half of the story. In April, the United States missed estimates by some 750,000 jobs, adding just 266,000. That’s a far cry from the 1,703,000 layoffs by my estimates, judged by weekly initial UI benefit claims. May’s jobs-added figures were likewise less than ideal, when the United States still missed estimates by 100,000 jobs. Nonfarm payroll added just 559,000 jobs last month, sinking to 7.6 million fewer jobs than pre-lockdown February 2020.

World

If Tesla won’t do it, El Salvador will. Yesterday, the Latin American nation became the first country in the world to adopt Bitcoin as a national currency. That means El Salvadorians may pay taxes with the largest virtual currency by market capitalization. A supermajority—62 out of 84 legislatures—approved the measure, extending traditional financial services to 70 percent of its population for the first time ever.

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