2:00PM Water Cooler 3/16/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51

“They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.” –Frank Herbert, Dune

“They had learned nothing, and forgotten nothing.” –Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord

Key dates coming fast now, so I added some counters:

Some of the next primaries. (I picked the major dates; here is a complete calendar.)

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We encourage readers to play around with the polling charts; they are dynamic, and there are a lot of settings, more than I can usefully show here. Here is a link to alert reader dk’s project. You can also file bug reports or feature requests using the same contact process as for Plants, below. Thanks — but no promises!

Today we have one national poll from NBC, and no state polls, as of 3/16/2020, 12:00 PM EDT. The empire strikes back:

And the numbers:

Pretty much the same story everywhere. Earlier in the year, we often had occasion to comment on the mysterious strength of the Biden Juggernaut, on display here; but it’s also true that Biden’s ups and downs have been of much greater amplitude than other candidates.

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No detail today. My filters are clogged. Back to normal tomorrow.

The Ballot

Biden and his Democrat Establishment team seem not to know that the SARS-CoV-2 virus can be spread asymptomatically:

What the CDC says about large gatherings:

“Recommendations for Election Polling Locations” [CDC]. “Clean and disinfect voting-associated equipment (e.g., voting machines, laptops, tablets, keyboards) routinely.” • What does “routinely” mean? After every vote? (Note that this shows what is needed to make polling places safe. It does not say they are safe, as I have seen some Biden supporters say.)

“Poll Workers Are Resigning Over Coronavirus and States Are Scrambling” [Vice]. “Poll workers, the volunteers that actually run elections across the country, have been resigning in droves as fears of exposure have grown dramatically in recent days. That’s put a huge strain on local election officials, which heavily depend on volunteers, many of them aging retirees, to run smooth elections. More than half of poll workers in 2016 were over age 60, according to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. It’s always a struggle for local officials to find enough volunteers to run elections — but finding last-minute replacements has been especially tricky this year.”

Lambert here: So, voters in the next round of primaries will likely face long lines (“large gatherings”), whether due to pol volunteers resigning, or through Democrat Establishment voter suppression tactics, as in CA, TX, and MI. Note also that touchscreen machines must be shut down to be cleaned (too lazy to find the link). Let me know how this works out…

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Michigan 2020 Democratic Party Primary” [TDMS Research]. “Election results from the computerized vote counts of the 2020 Michigan Democratic Party presidential primary differed significantly from the results projected by the exit poll conducted by Edison Research and published by CNN at poll’s closing. The large discrepancies greatly exceeded the margin of error for the exit poll projected differences between candidates. In this election candidate Sanders underperformed his exit poll projected proportions by 15.4%. Sanders consequently received 105,000 less votes than projected while others (mainly Biden and Bloomberg) received 111,000 more than projected by the exit poll. Of concern is Michigan’s destruction of the ballot images, that could have been used to greatly facilitate a recount, that were created by their scanners for their counts. This destruction appears to violate both federal and state laws. This large vote shift is made more remarkable by the fact that Edison Research had almost an hour’s access to Michigan’s rapidly accumulating vote totals from almost the entirety of the state that closed an hour earlier than the small sliver in the central time zone, to alter, as is their normal practice, the exit poll to conform to the vote totals. After this hour’s adjustments the exit poll used herein was published. Undoubtedly candidate’s Sanders exit poll proportion was much larger than the proportion first published and Biden’s much less. Conceivably, given the large discrepancy remaining after alteration, the pre-adjusted original exit poll may have shown a Sanders’ win. The same can be said for Sanders’ and Biden’s vote-count-adjusted exit polls for Texas, New Hampshire, and next Tuesday, Florida. ” • Hand-marked paper ballots, hand-counted in public.

Stats Watch

At reader request, I added some business stats back in. Please give Econintersect click-throughs; they’re a good, old-school blog that covers more than stats. If anybody knows of other aggregators, please contact me at the email address below.

Manufacturing: “March 2020 Empire State Manufacturing Index Crashes” [EconIntersect]. “Key elements significantly declined – it seems we are in a recession. Econintersect reminds you that this is a survey (a quantification of opinion).” • Reacting to #COVID-19. “Noisy survey,” though.

Housing: “Home Prices: While Up In Most Areas, Some Places See Decline” [Econintersect]. “The national CoreLogic Home Price Index increased by more than 3% in 2019 and is forecast to rise by about 5% in 2020… And while prices have risen in most places, the U.S. index masks the fact that many cities have had a dip in values over the last year and some will experience declines in 2020 as well.”

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Commodities: “China Is Now Shipping Coronavirus Test Kits and Masks to the U.S.” [Vice]. “Jack Ma, the billionaire founder of the online giant Alibaba, posted two pictures of supplies being loaded onto a China Cargo Airlines flight on Monday morning…. The Jack Ma Foundation tweeted that the shipment contains 500,000 testing kits and 1 million masks. The supplies will be handed over to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week.” • That’s nice. How about some ventilators?

Retail: “There Is Plenty of Food in the Country” [New York Times]. “The aisles and aisles of empty store shelves give the appearance that the United States, improbably and alarmingly, is running out of food. But the nation’s biggest retailers, dairy farmers and meat producers say that isn’t so. The food supply chain, they say, remains intact and has been ramping up to meet the unprecedented stockpiling brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. Even so, shoppers can most likely expect to see empty shelves intermittently…. Food suppliers and retailers are now not only struggling to satiate crushing demand for canned soup and oat milk, they are battling a perception that the scary scenes at the grocery store reflect a fundamental breakdown.” • Oh.

Retail: “U.S. grocers are changing some of their fundamental operations as coronavirus stockpiling threatens to overwhelm their supply chains. Retailers including Kroger Co., Publix Super Markets Inc. and Walmart Inc. are shortening store hours to give workers more time to restock and disinfect their sites…. [B]usinesses are grappling with stronger-than-anticipated shopping surges and that contingency plans developed for natural disasters are running up against a nationwide emergency” [Wall Street Journal]. “Some supermarkets are running low on items like bottled water, and others are setting purchase limits on staples. Albertsons Cos. is narrowing its selection of goods to speed up the restocking process, and says some products simply aren’t available. Stores expect demand to tail off as consumers fill their pantries, but companies will likely make more adjustments over the long term in case of deeper threats to supply chains.”

Retail: “China’s success at keeping stores stocked at the height of the coronavirus lockdown may provide only a limited lesson for U.S. supply chains. Central authorities pushed into commercial supply chains during the outbreak… working with private companies like Walmart Inc. to reroute trucks, locate supplies and keep goods moving” [Wall Street Journal]. “They also banned price gouging and released more than 300,000 tons of pork from strategic reserves. Technology was key, with an emergency commodity database gathering information about supplies and connecting buyers with sellers. Some farmers sold goods on shopping app Pinduoduo Inc.’s online marketplaces, while JD.com Inc. turned to local businesses to fill online orders when its own inventories got tight. But strict travel limits aimed at containing the outbreak also hampered distribution. And China’s playbook could be tough to replicate in the U.S., where shoppers are emptying stores amid patchwork state and local responses.”

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 3 Extreme Fear (previous close: 5 Extreme Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 3 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Mar 16 at 12:42pm. Haven’t ever seen the needle pinned at zero….

Rapture Index: Closes up one on Oil Supply/Price. “The sharply decline in oil prices is causing unrest in financial markets” [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 182. Remember that bringing on the rapture is a good thing. It certainly is odd to see the Fear and Greed index in Freefall, and an index that measures the likelihood of the Apocalypse is stable in the midst of what, in Biblical terms, should surely be a plague. The Rapture Index should pin the needle in the other direction from the Fear & Greed Index. If indeed Evangelicals think #COVID-19 is fake news (some don’t), their megachurches are going to get hit, just as in Korea.


“Esports Leagues Are Only Game in Town After NBA and NHL Go Dark” [Bloomberg]. “But one form of competition is still going strong despite the coronavirus pandemic — esports. Unlike basketball or hockey, the billion-dollar world of competitive video games doesn’t require much, if any, social gathering. And as sports fans, betting houses and TV networks stare at a calendar devoid of traditional sports, there may be an opportunity for esports to attract a new audience.” • Go long social distancing.

Health Care

“Copper kills coronavirus. Why aren’t our surfaces covered in it?” [Fast Company]. “When influenzas, bacteria like E. coli, superbugs like MRSA, or even coronaviruses land on most hard surfaces, they can live for up to four to five days. But when they land on copper, and copper alloys like brass, they die within minutes. “We’ve seen viruses just blow apart,” says Bill Keevil, professor of environmental healthcare at the University of Southampton. ‘They land on copper and it just degrades them.’ No wonder that in India, people have been drinking out of copper cups for millennia. Even here in the United States, a copper line brings in your drinking water. Copper is a natural, passive, antimicrobial material. It can self-sterilize its surface without the need for electricity or bleach… In the face of an unavoidable future full of global pandemics, we should be using copper in healthcare, public transit, and even our homes. And while it’s too late to stop COVID-19, it’s not too early to think about our next pandemic.”

They get tested:

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“New York Times Magazine editor Jake Silverstein attempts to slither away from central 1619 Project fabrication” [WSWS]. Scholarly controversy:

The Times editor is attempting to palm off a minor change in wording as a sufficient correction of a historically untenable rendering of the American Revolution. Hannah-Jones’ passage now reads, with the changed phrase in italics:

“Conveniently left out of our founding mythology is the fact that one of the primary reasons some of the colonists decided to declare their independence from Britain was because they wanted to protect the institution of slavery. By 1776, Britain had grown deeply conflicted over its role in the barbaric institution that had reshaped the Western Hemisphere.”

This passage is still false. Protecting slavery could not have been a significant cause of the American Revolution, because, far from posing a threat to slavery, the British Empire controlled the slave trade and profited immensely from its commerce in people, as well as from its Caribbean plantations which remained loyal during the war for independence.

Class Warfare

“Coronavirus Shows Capitalism Is a Razor’s Edge” [In These Times]. “The systems that are breaking down in this crisis were already broken before it began, and a radical reimagining of what could replace them is the best and only option—for this public health crisis, and for the ordinary, everyday crises that go unremarked. Universal income, Medicare for All, an immediate end to the brutal sanctions regime worsening the outbreak in Iran and around the world, a moratorium on evictions, the freeing of prisoners: Anything less than full social mobilization in the name of solidarity will leave us falling without a net. Or biking without health insurance, to a job that could evaporate.”

“The Economy of Evil” [Historic.ly]. “Before the rise of Fascism, both Italy and Germany had a robust social safety net and public services. In Italy, the trains were nationalized, and they ran on time while serving rural villages in 1861. The telecom industry was nationalized in 1901. Phone lines and public telephone services were universally available. In 1908, the life insurance industry was nationalized. For the first time, even poor Italians could ensure that their family could be taken care of if they died a premature death…. In 1934, Nazis outlined their plan to revitalize the German economy. It involved reprivatization of significant industries: railways, public works project, construction, steel, and banking. On top of that, Hitler guaranteed profits for the private sector, and so, many American industrialists and bankers gleefully flocked to Germany to invest. The Nazis had a thorough plan for deregulation….”

“Banking on Bullshit” [The Nation]. “”Too big to fail,” the authors write, “is a classic sabotaging technique.” And what do the authors mean by sabotage? They derive the concept from an early 20th century radical economist, Thorstein Veblen. He studied the behaviors of businesspeople of his time and noted that the economy was defined not by, say, the laborer or the inventor but by the businessperson, whom Veblen thought of as an actor who specialized solely in buying and selling. The businessperson was someone like the financier J.P. Morgan, who established expansive trusts that controlled numerous companies but who wasn’t an expert in any of them. He was successful, Veblen said, solely because he found ways to totally dominate his markets, in ways that allowed him to set whatever prices he wanted for customers and demand whatever wages he wanted from workers. This ensured profits. For Morgan, his enemy was any kind of competition. When competitors could freely underprice him or workers could freely bargain for wages, profits would tend to be minimum. (The authors argue that this argument is essentially the same as Eugene Fama’s famous efficient-market hypothesis from 1970, which suggests that in free and transparent markets, profits tend toward zero because participants in highly profitable activities are underbid by hungry upstarts.) Veblen maintained that in fair and transparent markets there was no way to accumulate profits, which explained why businesses engage in “something in the nature of sabotage,” which he thought of as the process of hampering others so one could get ahead.” • Funny to think of Veblen anticipating Fama!

News of the Wired

“The Killing of a Colorado Rancher” [The Atlantic]. • Grindingly sad, though (and?) well-reported.

“EU sewage tests show ‘ecstasy is no longer a niche drug'” [BBC]. “The EU’s drug monitoring body analysed sewage samples from 68 cities in 23 European countries in March 2019. Sewage was tested for traces of four illicit drugs: amphetamine, cocaine, MDMA (also known as ecstasy) and methamphetamine. The tests showed an overall rise in the four drugs compared to previous years. More than half of the 42 cities where wastewater was tested reported an increase in ecstasy residues compared to 2018, the study found. The agency said the increase suggested ecstasy was no longer ‘a niche or sub-cultural drug limited to dance clubs and parties,’ but was now ‘being used by a broader range of young people in mainstream nightlife settings.'” • And speaking of ecstasy–

“The World of Wodehouse” [Current Affairs]. “Wodehouse had a spectacular, possibly unequaled, talent for writing interesting sentences. It is hard for a writer to be truly original, to avoid drawing from the common stock of prefabricated cliches. But a page of Wodehouse overflows with original and memorable phrases.” • Correct. I won’t quote any of the phrases; read the article or pull a Wodehouse book off your own shelves (or heaps, or whatever you have).

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Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant (Grantham Ecologist):

Grantham Ecologist: “[T]he tiny red female flowers of hazel with the much larger, more prominent male catkins visible in the background.”

Bonus project trial balloon. Two readers mentioned that one thing they would be doing during their coming period of self-isolation would be working on their models trains. (I had model trains when I was young; see NC in 2013 and 2015.) So, in solidarity:

However, if you have projects you are undertaking during your period (if any) of self-isolation, do feel free to send in pictures, whether your project be painting, or knitting, or contruction outdoors, the Great American novel, learning to play the bongos, or whatever. You can use the same email address as for sending in plants, above.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Productive Citizen

    Biden runs against his record.
    Creepy Joke Biden was, IMO, impressive last night. He channeled his inner Trump very successfully. He lied as well and as often as Trump. His strong-man act was nearly equal to Trump’s bluster. To me, he looked like he’s ready to take on Trump in a debate that’s stage-managed in his favor as well as last night’s debate was. MSM looks like it’s ready carry his declining creepy (family blog) to victory.

    MSM is to be congratulated.
    American primary season has an excellent feature that it starts in small states where voters get to see the candidates up close and personal. Retail politics. They get to see the real candidate. The verdict from those states was: Biden is trash. Unfit for task. Look at who trounced him. A short gay small-town mayor with a dubious resume, no platform, and with a CIA stink all over him crushed Biden. A straight-talking socialist crushed him. Even the waffling feminist beat him.
    Yet, MSM, with many millions of $ of free publicity carried that Creepy Joke Biden to victory in states where voting is money-soaked wholesale politics. That has been impressive. If MSM can do it once, it may be able to do it again in the general election.

      1. Tvc15

        Agree with your comment PC. Let’s not forget to include the exit polling discrepancies Lambert posted today and to parrot his mantra, until we have “Hand-marked paper ballots, hand-counted in public”, then I’ll assume they are cheating at the ballot boxes too. It’s odd how we have to use electronic voting machines from private companies with proprietary software.

        1. Samuel Conner

          I continue to wonder if HMPBHCiP could be implemented “from below” by referenda at state level. It seems certain that the parties will not voluntarily go along with this “from above”.

          Perhaps an agenda for “Our Revolution” and the millions who support Sanders after the end of this primary season.

        2. Le Incal

          Who said exit polls are reliable? And two, hand-counted in public, what? To destroy chain of custody and introduce ballot-theft and ballot-alteration at the source during the two weeks it takes to tabulate the hundred different metropolitan races, often ranked, on four-sides of 11×17-inch ballot paper in various stages of completion? Not to mention plain human error. Hand-marked, serialized ballots, machine time-stamped, and mechanically placed in a locked vault for auditing. In the meantime, results reported in real time, SHA hashed, and the exact number voters tallied. Air gap the machines if you must. Unfortunately, election results themselves are resistant to fraud detection techniques, such as Benford’s law of anomalous numbers, but the two “seconds” digits of time codes can be screened for unnatural sequences. Provenance of the ballots is key: invisible watermark serial coding or “yellow dot-ing”.

          The idea that a losing candidate would try to win by ballot-stuffing numbers is not as likely as the losing candidate nullifying polling stations by introducing error through false ballots, especially false ballots cast for opponents in their safe districts. Injecting error and doubt makes the race winnable through courts alone, i.e. FL 2000 hand-counting making the process seem less reliable as time went on.

          1. dcrane

            The problem with FL wasn’t the hand-counting. It was that the race was so incredibly close it may well have been impossible to confidently determine a winner – all methods have too much error when the difference is hundreds out of millions. The ballot design didn’t help, however.

            Electronic recording/counting allows for large fraud effect with relatively simple input (software/hack). Compared to the efforts needed with physical ballots.

            Preliminary counts are, if anything, undesirable because they can be used to set a narrative. See also the way the Bolivia coup was facilitated by claims of irregularities when preliminary count was interrupted. Better to take our time counting thoroughly the first time. We don’t need instant results for democracy, just accurate and credible results. We’re nuts to allow electronic recording and tabulation of votes.

          2. Grachguy

            Exit polls are statistically highly reliable (95% confidence) within the reported margin for error (usually 2-3%). In terms of who uses them as a robust detector of election fraud, well… it’s just about every democratic organization on earth – including USAID (https://bit.ly/33lrkiA), who has launched regime change coups against other countries for much lower discrepancies than those that have existed in our country since electronic systems are implemented. What’s more, exit polls have always been considered highly reliable – the media and establishment only began to question them AFTER electronic voting was implemented and significant discrepancies appeared (always favoring the right). This rightward shift is a demonstrable historical event. I would encourage you to read about electronic vote rigging. The truth is that it is proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that there is a group (more likely multiple groups) in the US that take advantage of black box voting systems to rig elections (I find this article helpful, along with the many links it contains: https://caucus99percent.com/content/election-fraud-study-authors-respond-critics). Elections security experts overwhelmingly conclude that hand marked ballots hand counted in public are the way to go.

          3. curious euro

            Most/all of Europe votes with hand marked and publically counted ballots. We have the first projections ~20-30 minutes after the polling places close, preliminary official result the next morning or already in the papers, official result a few days after. I doubt the US can get it done much faster.

            There is no ballot theft or alteration, cause it’s PUBLIC duh! After the count is done IN PUBLIC directly after the polling place closes (no queues with ~80% of the eligible voters actually voting! station closes 18:00, no “running out the clock” needed), there is no point in alteration. Afterwards, the ballots are put in storage for possible auditing, no change to what the US does with their computer falsified “paper trails”.

            The Florida hand counting of “hanging chads” is an especially good reason why any sort of machine in the election process is utterly stupid. The area I have to mark on the election bill is at least 2-3 cm high. Even someone with Parkinson or similarly disabled can hit this with a marker.

      2. David Carl Grimes

        Why don’t we employ some Roy Cohn/Roger Stone tactics: scare older voters into not showing up for the primaries. After all, teens are now calling Covid-19 a “boomer remover”.

        I get the sense that Bernie’s case for Medicare For All, Jobs Guarantee will be ultra obvious in June when the hospitals are overwhelmed, job losses pile up, and there are dead bodies everywhere. Only then will people realize that we need a great reset and restructuring of our entire economic system.

        1. curious euro

          None, really none of the former crises or pandemics have ever changed the economic system. Why should a relatively minor one (so far, but the results of china or korea give hope) do that? Note how many deaths there are in China. Nothing will change there. Even if the US with their infamous healthcare system has 10 times more deaths, it won’t change.
          The spanish flu did not change the economic system anywhere. Neither did the plagues in medieval times, cholera or typhus in various countries, etc.

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          Those teens didn’t think up “boomer remover” all on their own. They channeled it from the anti-boomeritic MSM antiboomerites.

          But if enough of them say it long enough, bitter boomers with terminal corona virus will try their hardest to get into crowds of such teens and go Typhoid Mary Postal on their asses.

          1. swangeese

            Eh I first encountered “boomer remover” on Reddit regarding boomers that are able to stay home and self-isolate, but refuse to do so. The thread was about a retirement community in Florida that was still holding social gatherings. It’s a combination of denial and the media malpractice that is Fox News.

            Now my retired dad isn’t a Fox News watcher, but getting him to stay home is a full time job for my mom and I. He knows and understands the importance of staying home and the seriousness of the virus, but he likes going out to run errands. And seeing the grandkids that live in the same town. He can’t do any of those things right now and it sucks, but it’s temporary.

            At least using the term ‘boomer remover’ to his face jolted him enough so that my mom and I don’t have to hide the car keys. That and loading him down with deferred various and sundry home projects.

            I suspect that most of the people using the term are dealing with an aging obstinate parent/relative like me and are frustrated.

    1. curlydan

      Biden may be ready to take on Bernie but not Trump. I think Biden knows Bernie well and knew that he could be the “jock” to Bernie’s “nerd”–sorry to get my inner-high school on here, but that’s what it looked like to me.

      Trump will give Biden a good punch in the mouth, and then Biden’s game is up. Strangely, I think Bernie could take Trump’s punches a lot better than Biden will.

      Bernie probably could slay Biden as well, but he won’t forcefully attack “his friend” or criticize Obama–both of which are required to take Joe down.

      1. Tvc15

        Great video, and it disgusts me too that bald faced lies from the chosen establishment candidate are A-OK! Unfortunately no one that needs to watch that video will do so and it’s only seen by our bubble which is depressing. Trump v Biden will feature two pathological lying psychopaths vying for the keys to the kingdom so that they can continue looting the empire in decline.

      2. Tcv15

        “…don’t know how people don’t vomit with disgust at CNN.”

        Me either, other than acknowledging the propaganda has worked well. The video is great. Too bad only people that already realize biden is a corrupt pathological lying sociopath just like trump will be the only ones to see it.

    2. Big River Bandido

      Every flaw of Donald J. Trump is matched by a comparable one in Joe Biden. One is an open racist. The other is a surreptitious one. One grabs women below the waist, the other fondles them above. Each is corrupt in the classic sense of the term, and each uses that corruption to load up his family and friends. Each one is closely tied to the nexus of capital that strangles American life.

      There is not a single advantage that Biden brings to this contest. Trump will win in a walk.

      1. pretzelattack

        biden’s great advantage is he wasn’t president when the virus hit. so anybodybuttrump gets a huge boost. assuming we have an election. it’s like the chimp, but at least obama was competent; biden won’t be.

    3. Chris

      I’m so disappointed in Bernie’s performance last night. He’s losing. Why not hit at Joe on all the policy fronts? Why not point out that he’s a serial fabulist? Why not ask him what Barack was doing while The Mighty VP was off saving the world and doing everything according to his recent testimony? Why not refute comments about Italy’s response to the pandemic with South Korea’s (also a single payer system)? Why not ask Biden why so many bankers never went jail for 2008 and what he would do to the repeat offenders at Wells Fargo?

      I’ve seen the faithful rally around Bernie today and tell me that he’s a once in a lifetime candidate. If only. I think the liberals like curb stomping the left so much because the left never fights back :(

    1. Userfract

      There are so many US/Canada dual citizens, and snowbirds returning from the Southern states at this time of year, that even closing the Canadian border to US citizens would still mean tons of people crossing into Canada from outbreak areas in the US (like my parents, who just cut short their holiday to South Carolina). Announcing a full border closure would absolutely mangle the economy, so Trudeau’s probably trying to hold off on doing that for as long as possible. Closing the border would also cause a fair bit of havoc at the entry points as people are turned away, so even if your intent is to close it, it might make sense to wait a day or two until most people have had a chance to repatriate themselves. There might also be considerations related to supply chains. If we can’t accept US truckers, then who will bring up food (and return with badly needed TP)? Considering the integration of the two peoples and their economies, it’s a tough thing to untangle. Our fates thus entwined, we’re watching with apprehension up here since the US public health response does not seem up to the challenge at all.

    2. mle detroit

      A lot of Canadians come over the river to work in Metro Detroit, many of them nurses. I don’t know how many USians go the other way, but if border-closing happens reciprocally, we’d be in (even more) trouble.

    3. clarky90

      I may have re-discovered a helpful, life saving technique. Are you all ready to read/comment?

      A few minutes ago, I scratched my itchy nose and eye with the back of my wrist, not my finger!

      Not scratching an itch is possible, for the disciplined, stoic and aware. I find it difficult. Maybe still scratch, but use back of your wrist, knuckles, forearm……..?

      1. clarky90

        The same way that a cat cleans it’s face with the back of it’s paw. (However, don’t lick the back of your wrist first!)

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        Why not buy a thick little piece off a slab of copper at an old-fashioned hardware store which still sells such things . . . . and fashion it into a Face Scratcher? A corona-virus killing Copper Face Scratcher?

  2. lyman alpha blob

    So Biden is recommending people go out to vote despite warnings about large gatherings.

    Say it ain’t so, CoronaJoe!

    1. urblintz

      CoronaJoe!!! Make it stick!.. and tell everyone you know there ain’t no vaccine for that illness!

    2. dk

      And he needs that senior cohort too. Use ’em in the primary but lose ’em before the general?

      1. Matthew

        Well it would tend to confirm what so many people are saying about the Dems’ true goals in this election.

    3. Youngblood

      The people most at risk (elderly) are mostly Biden voters. If they stay home, the DNC will have to rig the vote even more egregiously. If exit polls show that only Bernie’s demographic groups show up to vote but Biden wins big…well let’s just say that they may not be ready to explain that miracle…

      1. lyman alpha blob

        I was wondering why he’d be encouraging people to vote in the first place knowing everything was already rigged in his favor. Now it all comes together !

        1. JBird4049

          You can only rig the election so far until it loses all credibility and support even among supporters of the “winners.”

          Power might come from the barrel of a gun or a pen’s ink; it is only maintained with the agreement of, or at least the acceptance by, the general population. Iowa, Michigan, California, and Texas already threatens it.

          Once lost three results are possible. The first is passive acquiescence, the second is the complete collapse of public support and participation with an almost certain massive reform movement, and the third is civil unrest or even war. The first means that the good times keep rolling on while the last two means that the party is over within the next 2-3 presidential elections.

          The establishment is trying to get the first result by getting the level of fixing the votes down to an acceptable amount. Since the voters really do not matter having them die to get that amount is acceptable.

          Biden and company really are cold hearted conscienceless, and pragmatic when it comes to maintaining their positions.

        2. John

          With all the mentions of discrepancies and potential vote rigging, best hope the election is not close or we could have a nasty catfight before andafter the electoral votes are cast.

          1. Oregoncharles

            I think it’s extremely likely. 1968, anyone?

            “Things fall apart, the center cannot hold,
            The falcon cannot hear the falconer.”

          2. drumlin woodchuckles

            If a nasty catfight would strip away the illusion of legitimacy from the illegitimate, then a nasty catfight is the best thing that could happen.

        3. Chris

          Nope. I think this can be rigged all the way to the end. I still a number of “Vote Blue No Matter Who” types telling others that there’s no such thing as a conspiracy to control a narrative. And if you believe that, I have a bridge made of Corona bottles I’d like to sell you. But it really is true that people are so desperate for what a return to “normalcy” promises that they will swallow anything.

  3. lyman alpha blob

    So the guy who was hoarding all the hand sanitizer is now donating it all now that he can no longer sell it and has been buried under heaps of opprobium-


    “It was never my intention to keep necessary medical supplies out of the hands of people who needed them,” he said, crying. “That’s not who I am as a person. And all I’ve been told for the last 48 hours is how much of that person I am.”

    But also from the article –

    “I’ve been buying and selling things for 10 years now. There’s been hot product after hot product. But the thing is, there’s always another one on the shelf,” he said. “When we did this trip, I had no idea that these stores wouldn’t be able to get replenished.”

    Um, if he thought the stores would be replenished anyway, there would be no value in buying it all up and reselling it. So it sounds like by his own admission this is exactly the kind of person he is – a greedy sociopathic capitalist who doesn’t give a [family blog] about anybody else.

    Might make a good VP pick for whatever neoliberal gets the nomination once Biden is done with the placeholder gig.

    1. Monty

      Publicly shaming the little guy for what hospitals do every day. Check the price the medical cartel charge for a tissue, a Tylenol or a cough drop during a hospital stay!

    2. FreeMarketApologist

      There are people who are just fundamentally broken.

      Their first instinct is not “how can I help?”, but “How can I make a buck off this shortage?”

      Could he not overcome a terrible upbringing and become a better person than his parents and friends? Or did he ignore their entreaties and examples?

      Nature over nurture, or nurture over nature?

      I’ll publicly shame this guy, as well as the organizations who act the same way.

    3. Alfred

      I would not say the man is a capitalist. From his self-characterization, I’d say he is just a peddler. A “reseller” is what I saw him called on marketwatch.com; a euphemism, I suppose, for a retailer who buys his stock at retail rather than wholesale prices.

  4. carl

    RE: grocery stores
    My local behemoth chain has instituted all of the mentioned policies over the weekend: shorter operating hours, limits on purchases, etc. I’m wondering, though, isn’t this what’s called pulling demand forward, to some extent?

    1. Katy

      Like how “limit 5 per customer” encourages people to buy 5 of that thing when they might otherwise have bought 2?

      1. roadrider

        Well my local grocery had no limits on purchase and the shelves are about as empty of most things as they could be. So I would say the limits need to be set low to stop the idiot panic buying.

        1. jo6pac

          Yep no limits in my store but there was nothing on the shelves. I was able to get most of what wanted salsa, wine, rum, frozen one person meals. The manager told me to come back on Wed and I will do that for some veggies and salad mix.

          1. NoOneInParticular

            Observations from a grocery shopping excursion today in Brooklyn, where I normally go to two different local markets, one that has an excellent selection of produce, and the other that’s a basic NYC out-in-the-borough grocery store: the produce place had everything in stock, but there was an unusually long line. There were signs declaring item limits for a couple of things, such as pitas. The grocery store looked normal until I hit the pasta aisle. The sauce-in-jar section was decimated, the canned tomato product section less so, and the pasta section had approximately three bags of large lasagna noodles and a few packages of non-wheat pasta left. Nothing else — all gone. I had never seen such an empty pasta aisle before. The cheese section also took a hit. I didn’t look much further. Today was the first day I saw anything approaching shortages in my neighborhood (contrary to the social media pictures of runs at Trader Joe’s and such in the wealthier, whiter neighborhoods). The chit-chat I heard in line at the produce place was people tsk-tsking at panic buying elsewhere. I was also in midtown Manhattan — no shopping, but observed the crowds on the streets and in the subway. At midday there were clearly fewer people around. It was not deserted by any means but the difference was notable. Faces on the subway were grim. A small percentage of people were wearing masks. A few wore latex gloves, which strikes me as a better idea than the mask, especially on the subway where one might at any moment have to grab the pole for support.

            1. MichaelSF

              Here in S.F. my wife found that she got sick much less often once she started wearing gloves when commuting on the streetcars. If you have to stand, you get to share the same vertical or overhead bar to remain standing as the previous thousands of riders.

  5. WobblyTelomeres

    Trains. Sigh. The trial balloon train video is why I won’t be submitting any photos of my very modest train (sheet of plywood, n scale, a few switches and side tracks). Too many stellar setups in the world. All I do is run a small Kato Zephyr in a loop while I sit in a lazy boy listening to jazz through some nice headphones, thinking of my favorite vacation, which is, duh, riding the Zephyr across the plains and through the Rockies, listening to jazz through some nice headphones, and discretely nursing some edibles and a flask of irish.

    1. Bill Carson

      Do the n scale trains still have that particular burning-electrical smell that they had when I got my first train at age 6?

      1. Billy

        Ozone, I believe, from the sparks between the brushes and rotors of the cheap electrical motors the N, O and half O or, H.O. locos use. Industrial motors are sealed, so one doesn’t smell that in many larger scale situations.

    2. Jason Boxman


      Growing up I had BRIO trains. I’d play with those for hours. Classic stuff.

      Wow, they still make them. And the stuff looks legit.

    3. ewmayer

      It’s not a competition, WT – I often relieve stress by pulling out the box of wooden Brio-style train track pieces I bought for the nephews to play with when they’re at my place. They’re now 11 and pooh-pooh such kid stuff, but I, not having to look cool and more adult than my years, still enjoy ’em. Key to topologically interesting layouts is to buy an add-on set of specialized short same-sex connectors. :)

      Long-term I have even more ambitious plans than allowing same-sex marriage in my layouts – bought a set of specialized router bits from Rockler Corp. which allow one to cut one’s own wooden track.

  6. Rockford

    Ha! Another model railroader here … and I’m contemplating several projects to keep me occupied for the duration.

  7. Nealser

    From Irish Times….the Centre for Aviation, a respected aviation consultancy, warned that by the end of May most airlines would be bankrupt due to the unprecedented travel restrictions that are being rolled out by governments around the world.

    “Many airlines have probably already been driven into technical bankruptcy, or are at least substantially in breach of debt covenants,” Capa said in a report. “By the end of May 2020, most airlines in the world will be bankrupt. Co-ordinated government and industry action is needed — now — if catastrophe is to be avoided.”

    1. skk

      Sure, bail them out, but the stock must go to zero, the debt takes a huge haircut and the newly resolved company is not owned by the govt but stock in it actually handed out, handed out not sold to the general populace and employees equitably. Now perhaps we have a co-op model. The modern day Robert Owenites and Kings can work out all the caveats needed to make these sustainable enterprises.

      1. GF

        Matt Stoller has a good pice on how the corporate bailouts should be structured:

        ” – No bailouts for shareholders. Shareholders took the risk and upside, they should get the downside too. A bailout means the stock value goes to zero.

        – No more buybacks ever, and no more dividends for five years. It’s time to stop asset-stripping, and restore the cushion inside corporations so they can invest in production.

        – Strict executive compensation limits. No more get rich quick schemes and golden parachutes. We need long-term leaders focused on building institutional strength.

        – No more lobbying and limits on public relations spending. The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 killed the ability of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to lobby, and that killed their political power. By contrast, Wall Street got bailouts with no strings attached, so they largely wrote the Dodd-Frank bill. (I was there, I saw it). Don’t repeat this.

        – No more mergers and acquisitions for five years. If you get bailouts, you have to run your business as a business, not as an acquisition target. I can imagine an exception if the business fails as a stand-alone, but exceptions need to be very narrow.”


        1. skk

          Thanks. I like it. Particularly the additional conditions – additional to stock goes to zero.
          I do get his emails but I hadn’t got to reading his email today.

      2. JTMcPhee

        How long before another Rockefeller comes along and plays his or her magic conglomerate an privatizes it all again?

      3. FreeMarketApologist

        Time for a national minimum income. The article below says that the airlines ’employ more than 700,000 people directly’. Let’s say that’s undercounting by a factor of 3, so 2.1 million people directly affected by the airline industry. You could take the $50bn, and directly hand each of them a check for nearly $24,000. Perfect, no, but it will put the cash where it’s needed.


  8. Mark Sparky

    ‘Working’ from home in Seattle here. I do have the pleasure of more time for long reads such as Yves’ missives and the comments sections. I’m happy to see that our local news outlets are focusing on inequalities and the common man, showcasing stories like: ‘Coworkers pitch in sick leave for an immune-suppressed coworker who wasn’t allowed to work from home’, and ‘Man quits job to avoid putting ill wife at risk.’ I wish national media would keep such topics in play to remind the pols who’s actually hurting, instead of focusing on the ‘poor’ airline CEOs.

  9. Gary

    What about providing single use gloves for sanitary voting? Just a thought…

    I also read a funny comment that all the people stockpiling TP and water should also stockpile condoms so they don’t produce any more idiots.

      1. Carolinian

        BYOG. I recommended here the other day that people start using a touch stylus. This would have worked on my SC voting machine but you still have to sign in beforehand on a germ laden piece of paper. For that you could bring a used plastic bag for an improvised glove while signing in. We’re going to have to increasingly think outside the box.

      1. Wukchumni

        UPS driver was here last week, and I asked him what was happening, and he said TP, everybody is ordering it online, to which I had to make the only reply that made sense of the matter:

        Shit Happens…

          1. Arizona Slim

            I was in the food co-op on Saturday morning. And there wasn’t a roll of toilet paper to be found.

            To that revoltin’ development, I had this to say:

            Sh!t just got real.

          1. Wukchumni

            There was apparently fisticuffs over shopping carts @ Costco in Visalia on Saturday, as a couple of gents put up their dukes.

      1. montanamaven

        Veblen maintained that in fair and transparent markets there was no way to accumulate profits, which explained why businesses engage in “something in the nature of sabotage,” which he thought of as the process of hampering others so one could get ahead.”

        that’s also the definition of a sociopath .

          1. John

            Maybe by its very nature capitalism is sociopathic and thus attracts sociopaths and psychopaths, if so it cries out for regulation since in its rawest form it cannibalizes society.

  10. Wukchumni

    Housing: “Home Prices: While Up In Most Areas, Some Places See Decline”
    Who goes out and looks to buy a home in the middle of a pandemic?

    The housing market has collapsed, the prices just don’t know it yet.

    1. Toshiro_Mifune

      Im assuming these would be for completed sales, which would have gone into the contract phase at least a month ago if not longer. So this is a lagging indicator.

      1. urblintz

        my cell phone has been inundated for days with calls and texts from the insurance industry inquiring if I “still” need coverage… haha… hahaha…HAHAHAHAHA…

    2. Tim

      The market is shut down, it has not collapsed.

      Nobody wants to move right now except some poor soul with no current job, relocating to get a new job. If they tank the prizes it will be a temporary dislocation.

      A tanking economy might collapse the housing market eventually though.

    3. OIFVet

      My place is under contract right now, it has been since Feb. 29th. It’s a cash transaction, but I will not relax until closing.

  11. emmajane

    I would think a lot of the food hoarding is about exposing yourself to lower levels of possible infection early, thereby eliminating future shopping trips before it spreads more.

    1. russell1200

      It’s so that if you get sick, you will have food in the house for your family. And while is may not be ‘safe’ in a grocery store, it is ‘safer’ than when the virus is even more widespread.

      For some people, being able to put it on a credit card while they still have credit, may be an issue. Probably a lot of people with little safety cushion wondering how they are going to make it.

      1. Wukchumni

        I mentioned the other day, a lady (with 2 kids and a husband) was in front of me in a line of 30 shopping carts, and her ‘prep’ was all in one hand, I estimated she was going to buy $6 worth of food, and we had a nice chat and I fished out a Jackson from my wallet, to triple her buying power.

    2. roadrider

      So [family-blog] everyone else who can’t get to the store at the same time or is single and can’t have one person go to the store while the other is occupied?

      This ridiculous panic-buying is just more of the typical American “everyone for him or herself” BS that has no place in a national emergency where the greater common good needs to be the focus.

      Besides, these idiots are buying out perishable items just like they do when even a single inch of snow is forecast.

      1. blowncue

        I work in parking enforcement during special events. People are by turn selfish and rational.

        The hoarding is rational behavior. Rational because it makes more sense to buy as much food as you can in the early stages of an outbreak as opposed to later. Rational in the face of a complete lack of clarity as to the resilience of the supply chain.

        Selfish, yes. but no different than a bank run.

        I savaged my Facebook feed for its persistent finger-wagging. If I wag my finger at every scofflaw who parked in a handicap spot or spot reserved for a student going to a medical appointment do you think that would be effective?

        To be American is to be selfish.

        911 and Katrina are the narratives that we wrap ourselves in.

        How many people on this site vow to never for Biden? Kids in cages but do they care?

        None of the hoarding stops until there’s rationing with armed enforcement.

        1. roadrider

          Oh please. There’s nothing rational about hoarding perishable items. And I am NOT voting for family-blogging Joe family blogging Biden!!! Kids in cages? How many migrant kids did Obama/Biden deport and mistreat? Biden lies about his entire sordid history. Voting for Biden is only rational if you subscribe to the Dim-o-craps hypocritical, self-serving neo-liberal narrative.

          Armed enforcement is not needed at the grocery stores – only sensible limits on what you can buy at one time.

          But I do agree with you that Americans are, by nature, selfish (not to mention greedy and stupid).

        2. Temporarily Sane

          Once a run on something like toilet paper starts it inevitably becomes a self-perpetuating process.

          The person who starts out sitting at home thinking… “ha ha ha look at these silly fools giving into a knee-jerk hoarding instinct running to the store to panic buy toilet paper!”…

          …quickly becomes that person running to their car thinking…“omg hoarders are buying up all the toilet paper, I better get to the store and stock up before it’s all gone!”

          Humans are weird.

      2. emmajane

        Sorry, can’t totally agree with you. While I don’t understand buying what seems like years worth of toilet paper, I can understand people wanting to get enough food to hunker down for a few months.

        If I am being told that the safest thing to do was self-isolate, I would want to make sure I had enough food to get me through a long stretch. Self-isolation is done to protect both for yourself and for those around you, and trying to get the shopping done before the curve starts to climb is just common sense.

        I haven’t heard about a rush on perishables, didn’t see that when I was shopping.

      3. MT_Bill

        At least some people realize it is every man (woman, child) for themselves. To believe otherwise in a time of crisis in this country is contrary to the observable evidence. There will be pockets of hope in local jurisdictions that have some sort of cultural identity and financial security. It’s Lord of the Flies for the rest of us.

        A link I read today said that 100,000 of the 1,000,000 million kids in NY City schools were homeless. They are certainly on their own, and have been for a while. Guess nobody noticed.

        This will only get worse over the next few months. Government responses from federal to county will generally be too little, too late.

        Took a look at ammo online today, talk about scary. It’s all gone in the commonly used stuff. Many people out there seem to lack confidence in their neighbors. And police and local government.

        Self>Family>Friends>Tribe. We’re going right back to primal loyalties. Don’t let yourself get caught on the wrong side of it.

        Wash your hands, stay safe, and good luck.

        1. Pat

          It has been noticed. One of the reasons for the delay closing NYC schools was the knowledge of the number of homeless and poor kids who depend on school meals along with having a place to go. They have instituted something for the meals along with childcare for first responders and emergency workers. This still leaves other people who are essential or must work leaving their kids home alone.

          Not to say that those demanding closure were offering any solutions to the problems of the homeless, the poor or the desperate.

        2. Temporarily Sane

          A link I read today said that 100,000 of the 1,000,000 million kids in NY City schools were homeless. They are certainly on their own, and have been for a while. Guess nobody noticed

          This tells us a lot about why our society is failing and on the brink of falling apart.

  12. John Anthony La Pietra

    Like other fabulous fabulists, Wodehouse can make us believe his created world is real partly because it is so recognizably like our own. His particular technique for doing this centers around his turns of phrases and sentences — he’s one of the best at that in the history of the English language. Two others (IMO) of somewhat more recent vintage are the not-quite-so-late Sir Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams. A third is the late-this-side-of-the-bally-pond Donald Westlake, but I’ve recently offered a longish tidbit of his — perhaps a small todboat? — and one or two from Pratchett as well . . . so on this occasion I will content myself — and I hope some of you — with a favorite phrase from the first volume of his exceptionally-expanded Hitchhiker’s Guide trilogy.

    Our hero Arthur Philip Dent has just been rescued from the demolition of Earth by his friend Ford Prefect — who is from the vicinity of Betelgeuse, not Guildford after all, and has hitched them a ride on one of the spaceship that did the job. Ford warns Arthur that the ship is about to jump into hyperspace, and says hyperspace travel is unpleasantly like being drunk.

    Arthur asks, “What’s so unpleasant about being drunk?”

    “You ask a glass of water.”

    1. ChrisPacific

      Nobody can equal Wodehouse when it comes to the delightfully unexpected metaphor or simile (not even Pratchett, though I’d probably rate him as a better author overall).

    2. ewmayer

      My favorite bit of Wodehouse (no, not the Patwick Swayze movie :) is his description of Bertie Wooster distaff-side bête noire Honoria Glossop.

      (BTW, my older nephew was a huge fan of House during his college days, and was agog when I told him that I had fond memories – and a DVD set – of Hugh Laurie playing Bertie opposite Stephen Fry’s Jeeves in the BBC series. Laurie also did a brilliant upper-class-twit-of-the-year stint as the Prince of Wales in one of the Blackadder seasons. I still laugh whenever I pciture him doing his trademark eye roll when encountering something he finds remarkable – say, that stockings come in pairs so you end up with one for each leg, as opposed to one leg going without – and commenting to effect “I say,…”.)

    3. witters

      One could put together a Reader of fabulous fabulists.

      Everyone has their own favourite PGWitticism. Mine: “He had just about enough intelligence to open his mouth when he wanted to eat, but certainly no more.”

  13. Tom67

    About the economy of Nazi Germany: it is way to facile even downright misleading what the authour wrote about Fascism and the economy. He also makes things up. Case in point: the railways of the Reich. Where in the world did he get the idea that the railways were privatised in Nazi Germany? In fact the opposite is true. In 1937 the Reichsbahn – which had heretofore been neither a State nor a private entrerprise but a strange in between entity to service the Versailles debt – was completely nationalised.
    Nazi Germany meddled much more in the economy than Weimar Germany ever did. Case in point are Volkswagen (a state enterprise) and the Hermann-Göring Werke (the biggest steelmaker also state owned).
    How the Nazis tamed the strong unions? This is a very interesting story. I will give only one but very glaring example: the stevedores of the Hamburg port. There were 30 000 stevedores in Hamburg which with reason was called the second reddest city in the world after Moscow. The strongest union of the port was the communist Einheitsverband. The Nazis did two things: first they arrested hundreds of communist union members and put them into improvised concentration camps. If they didn´t get someone they arrested their wife and kids until their communist father and husband showed up to be arrested. After a few month of total horror the majority was left out ot the camps.
    When they got out they were confronted with the fact that their co-workers were no longer as dissatisfied as before. To wit: work in the harbour was never steady. A ship came in and then suddenly there was a terrific rush and hundreds of stevedores were needed. During the Weimar republic the unions had always demanded that the stevedoring companies should not be allowed to select the workers themselves. During the depression when the port was at 60% capacity that meant that 60% of the workers had full time jobs and 40% nothing. That was due to the fact that the stevedoring firms would always hire the same people. The Nazis fulfilled this demand and forced the stevedoring firms to accept the workers that the newly founded labour service selected for them. Now 100% of the stevedores had work 60% of the time.
    I have seen with my own eyes the secret letters of communist union men where they informed their comrades abroad that the stevedores could not be agitated anymore as the Nazis had fulfilled this oldest of union demands. By the way: together with the right to work for the stevedores there was now a duty to work: if you did not the penalties were very harsh.
    Just as important was the fact that the Nazis got the wives on their side. Alcoholism was a great problem among the workers. Known alcoholics didn´t get their pay anymore so they couldn´t drink it away. Their wifes got it. And if they stopped working there were special horror labour camps for so called “Asoziale”.
    No the Nazis were not some sort of rabid free marketeers. The true story is much more complicated.

    1. Adam Eran

      Good to know. I’ve even heard Hitler anticipated Keynes’ writing about reviving an economy with government (military) spending.

      The historic.ly author does not talk about Germany privatizing trains though. That occurred in Italy under Mussolini, if memory serves, along with privatizing state-run insurance programs, and removing rent control in Rome, after which homelessness and living in catacombs increased.

      So some of the neoliberal “get the state out of private business” stuff was certainly part of the fascist ruling principles.

      1. BillS

        If you read Primo Levi’s accounts of his time in Auschwitz, one gets the feeling of a neoliberal world taken to its hellish extreme with references to how it was impossible to survive unless you could show yourself “useful” in some way. In Levi’s case, being a chemist at the Buna plant played a large role in saving his life. Otherwise, you were “ein unnützlicher Esser”, and sent immediately to the gas. The camp officials would make everything scarce in a camp: shoes, clothes, food; and watch the inmates fight each other for what little there was. It seemed a form of entertainment to them. Is this what our oligarchic overlords think of us?

        Oh- i forgot to mention: the camps were supposed to be profit-making enterprises!

        1. Adam Eran

          This is an extreme form of what Kalecki calls “labor discipline.” The message: “You had better take whatever crappy job is on offer, or suffer the indignities of poverty, homelessness, even starvation…and if you’re extra ornery, we’ll incarcerate you.”

          George Orwell also observes populations (not necessarily in concentration camps) are kept on the edge of survival so even the tiniest reward is an effective motivator.

    2. russell1200

      Nazi’s really are hard to pin down to our current ideologies.

      The tribal identities have shifted too much. They were clearly anti-communist. But they were big on organizing, both at an economic level and at a social level.

  14. Samuel Conner

    This would be a great time to rebroadcast old episodes of “The Victory Garden”

    Perhaps intersperse with new episodes calibrated to the exigencies of the current situation.

  15. dcrane

    “Michigan 2020 Democratic Party Primary” [TDMS Research].

    Been seeing these exit poll stories for a couple weeks now. Is there any other benign explanation besides “people who voted for [Biden/whoever] lied to the pollster and claimed to have voted for Sanders”?

    For that to be true, there would have to be some sort of peer/community pressure to appear to have voted Sanders. But in this case the opposite seems likely – the media and Democrat party buzz about Sanders has been negative (not a real Democrat, risky choice for beating Trump).

    1. Lil’D

      We haven’t seen much from TDMS on methodology to verify their claims, however. I’m in favor of understanding the true vote… and if tdms is accurate, then it is disturbing (but not really surprising…).
      Hand marked paper ballots counted in public…

      1. Zar

        I can vouch for the fact that the exit pollster adjusts its numbers after the initial results come in. I played along at home when the MI polls closed, and my figures match TDMS’s.

        That isn’t particularly a secret. The pollster itself says that it “weights” results, albeit opaquely. But it’s odd that the pollster is unable to perform that weighting until well after the election results start coming in, and that they don’t feel the need to provide the exact results of their poll. It’s almost as if the poll adjustments are based on the election results, rendering the poll worthless for verifying the results.

        If the pollster can’t be trusted, then trying to estimate the truth from extrapolations of their early results is almost pointless, since those results can themselves easily be “adjusted.” (TDMS says as much, though that hasn’t stopped their tabulation efforts.) But it’s at least intriguing that the exit polls are presented in such a misleading fashion.

    2. Acacia

      “Of concern is Michigan’s destruction of the ballot images, that could have been used to greatly facilitate a recount, that were created by their scanners for their counts. This destruction appears to violate both federal and state laws.”

      Doesn’t this mean the Michigan Primary results are simply invalid?

      1. John Anthony La Pietra

        Well, in Michigan, after an election there’s supposed to be a bag or box for each batch of ballots, with a numbered seal. If that precinct is the subject of a recount request, but it turns out when the local clerk brings out the the ballot box or bag the seal tag isn’t there, or isn’t fastened . . .

        . . . by law, those ballots cannot be recounted. Even if the recount request is on the race for the clerk who had custody of the ballots. (Unless one can prove misconduct.)

        The good-starting-point section of state law is probably MCL 168.871.

  16. Wukchumni

    Good news dept:

    Since no business is happening and the export trade looks shaky, we’ll have an awful lot of food grown here to distribute to our citizens, I hope they like almonds & soybeans.

    1. Glen

      We may need it. The restaurants and bars got closed and my wife is reporting that the stores are full. She said mobbed, but I don’t want to overreact.

      I have been working from home, but had to go in to work on hardware today.

  17. richard

    r.e. Michigan exit polling
    if 4% is an indicator of fraud, 15% has to be an alarm signal
    i don’t believe the final vote totals there i said it

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Do they don’t care? Or do they don’t know?

        If they don’t know, are they supposed to know? How are they supposed to know? The MSM won’t tell them. Fox won’t tell them. NPR won’t tell them.

        Let them read Naked Capitalism? How are they supposed to know about Naked Capitalism?
        The MSM won’t tell them about it. Fox won’t tell them about it. NPR won’t tell them about it.

    1. Tom Doak

      If just once the error was in Sanders’ favor instead of Biden’s, then it would cast doubt on exit polling. But the errors always run in one direction . . .

  18. Samuel Conner

    Started listening to NPR at 4PM; big press conference. DJT starting to speak like there is a real problem.

    Per Fauci, public accommodations at which people congregate should, in states with evidence of community spread, close for the next two weeks. Not yet ordered at Federal level; guidance to the governors.

    We are heading toward Italy; hopefully (IMO; perhaps I am wrong, but I think not) we reach the response level before we reach the degree of community spread that stimulated Italy’s response.

    1. urblintz

      I apologize for not knowing her name but the woman who spoke about the AIDS epidemic and extreme measures now finally said something that might get people to notice. She also gave gay men credit for taking it upon ourselves to speak up and agitate for attention to the problem while protecting ourselves and others by altering our behavior.

        1. urblintz

          Thank you… not much of her background attracts me to her politics but she spoke straighter than anyone I’ve heard.

    2. MLTPB

      Italy, initially towns, then the north region, then the whole country.

      We will likely see hot spots, like Seattle and maybe NY, first, and not wide open areas in the west, initially. My guess.

      Regarding public accommodations, are we talking about primary elections tomorrow, congressional sessions, Supreme Court appearances, etc?

      How will eviction notices be served? Do we have the manpower? Do they yield to more prioritized needs? Will members of the police want to do that?

      1. Samuel Conner

        Italy’s appalling #died/(#died + #recovered) ratio is in part due to the exceptional “greyness” of tis population; second oldest in the world after Japan.

        It’s impossible to gauge US ratio at the moment. Only 12 recovered nationwide and the ratio with these small numbers, even excluding Washington State, is gruesome.

        I am encouraged that public officials are getting off their a**es.

        Hopefully the people staying at home will plant gardens, where possible.

        1. MLTPB

          Italy is a not an Anglo Saxon country, and even with its older population, I recall the attention about a hospital not following guidelines by the media.

          Is it justifiably the hospital’s part for what has happened? Haven’t followed up on it.

        2. lambert strether

          I have also heard the theory that in Italy many adult children still live with their older parents. Um….

    3. Henry Moon Pie

      So looking at the different infection curves for the two towns in Italy, it appears that earlier imposed social restrictions can bend the curve down locally even if shut down was not practiced by neighboring localities. If that’s true. while Boston-DC and Seattle-San Diego may already be screwed in terms of exceeding hospital capacity, these Midwestern states that are imposing gathering bans before their hospitals begin to get slammed may have some luck in avoiding the worst in the first wave. On the other hand, states with idiots for governors may get hit even worse than the coasts.

      Who knows what happens after that?

      1. MLTPB

        I can see MA at 1/6 of CA pop., 200 cases there is like 1,200 in CA, though the actual cases in CA is around 350, now.

        I can see why Boston is on your list.

        Haven’t looked DC or San Diego yet.

        I’m only aware of hotspots like Seattle, NY and maybe the SF Bay Area. Appreciate if others will correct me on this.

      2. MLTPB

        Los Angeles county has roughly 10 million with 94 cases around now, versus New York city with about 9 million and 463 cases, roughly, about 2 hours ago.

        SF Bay Area at 7.8 million people has about 300, a few hours ago. It’s close to New York.

        Foxla has case locations around Los Angeles county. This is helpful, as this is getting from far away global to local, for many, many people.

        Long Beach 5
        Tarzana 5
        Boyle Heights 5
        West Hollywood 3
        Granada Hills 3
        Manhattan Beach 3
        Encino 3
        West Hills 3

        Not areas with many Chinese, as far as I know. Likely from travelling in Europe…most of those above are well to do places.

  19. Donna

    As a Sanders supporter, Lyin’ Joe Biden taking Bernie down last night was nothing short of depressing. Now seems like the narrative that the press drove Biden’s comeback requires a rethink if the DNC stole Texas and Michigan. So no democracy then. Got it.

    1. MLTPB

      The next 2, 3 weeks will be critical.

      Not easy, but keep China in mind.

      Hopefully short term.

      Good luck to all of us.

      1. Fiery Hunt

        Neighbor down the hall was sick all last week…
        I’m pretty damn sure it’s too late here in the Bay Area.

        Stay frosty, people.
        Stock up on booze and smoke ’em if you got ’em.

        1. MLTPB

          None of the articles I read mentions whether going to work is permitted.

          Apparently no work, except essential ones.

          1. Fiery Hunt

            With all but essential businesses closed, there aren’t going to be too many people going to work.

            I will but I have to if I want to get paid anytime in the next 2 months…I’m self-employed craftsman who works alone..
            If nothing else I’ll get to finish projects in peace and quiet while the shop is closed to the public. We’ll see if I get hassled for coming in…

        2. MLTPB

          I read the SF mayors release, and it says markets are open, but nothing about working ar a wholesale produce, for example.

          How will grocery chains get their dry goods, ramen, pasta, vegetables, etc, except from these wholesalers, which I have so far not been able to find on the press release?

          1. Fiery Hunt

            My working assumption is that delivery/supply line will be considered “essential”. My UPS guy says they got the pep talk from management this morning…”When the history books are written about this time, you guys will be considered the heroes!”

                1. Chris

                  Sadly many of our friends in Ohio are experiencing this right now. Their small businesses are closing and there’s else for them. I’m hoping this all passes quickly.

                  1. cnchal

                    Trump, in a singular moment of honesty, figures July or August before it’s finished “washing over” the country.

                    1. Fiery Hunt

                      Yeah, the self-employed don’t get “paid sick leave”.

                      Fvck the Pelosi Dems.
                      Ain’t gonna help me, just gonna screw me.

  20. BobW

    From a comment on Language Log site.

    “You should only call it ‘quarantine’ if you are actually doing it in the Quarante region of France. Elsewhere, you should call it Sparkling Isolation.”


    1. EricB

      Such is not the case. The origin of the word Quarantine has nothing to do with the pretty village of Quarante. Rather with the word ‘quarante’ (fourty) which was the number of days people suspected of carrying a disease were isolated for.
      Sorry if pedantic… And thanks to Yves and team for the sterling work.

    1. flora

      He has succeeded in postponing the primary. The Ohio Health Director has declares a public health emergency.


      “For real this time: There is no Ohio primary Tuesday.

      “Health Director Dr. Amy Acton is ordering the polls closed as a health emergency.

      “During this time when we face an unprecedented public health crisis, to conduct an election tomorrow would would force poll workers and voters to place themselves at a unacceptable health risk of contracting coronavirus,” said Gov. Mike DeWine in a statement.”

  21. Bill Carson

    At what point is the CoV crisis in America bad enough that we get P*rnhub premium for free? Asking for a friend.

  22. martell

    Yes, this is consistent with what I’ve read from Mandel, Polanyi, and Poulantzas. In Polanyi’s view, economic liberalism regularly leads to crisis, largely because laborers and natural environments don’t tolerate being treated as commodities for very long without there being trouble: unemployment, precarity, lack of affordable housing, lack of medical care, malnutrition, and ruinous crossing of ecological thresholds. Communities respond to these regular effects of “self-regulating markets” with self-defense measures: price controls, free at point of service health care, government supported job creation programs, state ownership of industries providing essential goods and services, etc. Thing is, these measures can be taken from both the left and the right. They can be taken with an eye towards permanent, institutionalized, democratic control over the market, or as a way of establishing and securing authoritarian rule in the long-term interests of capital. The left in Germany dropped the ball for various reasons. Conservatives, in their infinite wisdom, handed power to the Nazis, who knew what to do with it. The result was military Keynesianism that reduced unemployment from about 30% to nothing, increased real wages, and crushed unions, all while creating a very business friendly environment, especially for large enterprises connected in one way or another to rearmament. Hitler was popular, and though his main base was in the so-called petty bourgeoisie, he also had the support of a good many capitalists and much of the working class.

    The takeaway: it looks like we’re in for at least four more years of neoliberal rot and ecological ruin. The two political parties have a stranglehold on the state. The progressive neoliberal party cannot be reformed from the left (Sanders has shown as much). But it seems like the reactionary neoliberal party is open to takeover from the far right. If history repeats itself, the Democrats have set us up for rightwing, authoritarian rule. Preventing palliative measures, if not cures, from the left, they’ve opened the door to the nightmare they’ve been yelling about these past four years. Wide open.

    1. Jessica

      Hitler had very little support from the working class. Small shop keepers and farmers, yes. Actual working class, no.

      1. martell

        Yes, it looks like I overstated the level of working class support. Some is not the same as much. According to Poulantzas, the working class tended to be underrepresented in fascist organizations, and members of the working class in Germany remained loyal to their traditional parties up to the point of the final free elections. Working class support, such as there was, also varied by period: more during the period of successful state efforts to reduce unemployment, but less later.

        But I think the point holds that the Nazis were anything but classical liberals, as far as economic policy goes, and their break from such liberalism accounts for the broad (but not uniform) popular support that they had early on.

  23. LaRuse

    Thought I would share an anecdote from Central VA. Took my daughter for a follow-up at her pediatrician’s office today. Pediatrician was asking her basic wellness questions and heavily focused on how she was managing with the stress of C-19. I expressed my sincerest hope that while this was tough, it was maybe only short-term and the kids will be back in two weeks. No, says the doc. She says they are just sort of easing us into the reality that kids are going to be out of school for a long time – 8+ weeks. And in fact, she said “In 2 weeks is when I think things will be really rough.”
    The pediatrician’s practice is dividing cases – sick kids to one location, well kids to another, and the staff being sent to work at the sick location is being chosen for their social and personal wellness factors (no comorbidities, no kids at home, no elderly family in their homes).
    That was the most sobering well-kid checkup we have ever been to.

    1. Fiery Hunt

      I think that’s right…i really, reaally don’t want to be out in public with other people later this month. People just have not been taking this seriously. Hell, my brother and his wife were planning to go up to Tahoe this weekend for their birthdays.

      Fvcking morons. And they’re not alone.

    2. Jen

      My primary care practice just sent out an email advising against social gatherings of any size. I’m already down with that. Planning a brief excursion to work tomorrow and then hunkering down. My colleagues do not take this stuff seriously enough, and i work for a medical school.

  24. Ranger Rick

    I kind of regret reading that article in The Atlantic about the unfortunate rancher. As I scrolled down the page to the quiet but tragic ending, I was greeted with headlines about how America is doomed. I glanced from the article to the headlines and back: an example of people not giving up juxtaposed with people surrendering to fear and panic. And it’s the latter group who gets to write the headlines.

  25. danpaco

    With all this spare time and edibles now legal in Canada I have been playing “Election 2020 What Ifs”! This is the latest.
    Biden becomes the Dem nominee.
    Trump, who has nothing left to lose, Proposes M4A as his policy using corona to convince the libertarians. If anyone has the power to bring the GOP on board with this its him.
    Once reelected, suddenly it will be “too hard” to enact.

    1. MLTPB

      He is urging no gatherings larger than 10 people (dogs excluded?).

      No going down to get a passport now, I suppose. No lines shorter than that, I would imagine.

    2. Samuel Conner

      If DJT adopts M4A as a rhetorical strategy, it might produce unstoppable momentum — surely Biden would add this aspect of Sanders’ proposals to his platform in response.

      And I’m not confident that DJT hates M4A. I read, back in the heady 2017 “repeal/replace the ACA” days, that DJT asked in a big meeting “why not simply enroll everyone in Medicare?” Of course, it went no-where then, but it might go somewhere now.

      I hope the Parties don’t succeed in sawing the rungs of the “chaos ladder” that we seem to be ascending.

      1. John

        DJT likes what aids re-election. If that happens, its a brave new world. Previous statements subject to revision.

        1. Bill Carson

          Don’t forget that, per Alan Derschowitz, whenever he does to aid in his re-election is per se in the best interest of the country.

      2. danpaco

        The GOP is already offering up a basic UBI although probably temporary. The GOP is going to outflank the Dems!

    3. ocop

      I’ve been wondering along these lines as well. Probably still unlikely, but the sort of thing that could have happened if Bannon still had his ear. Only Nixon could go to China, etc etc.

      Trumpcare, brought to you by the same sadistic jokers that put Rick Perry in charge of Energy and Ben Carson at HUD.

          1. Barmitt O'Bamney

            I believe the Official channel is officially called “CNN.” Or at least that’s where all the checks get mailed to anyways.

      1. xformbykr

        yes, it’s the local tv call sign for the commercial station for the champaign-urbana in central illinois;

    1. John Anthony La Pietra

      There are occasionally reports like this — and at least sometimes the explanation is that they were *testing* the displays and using test-only numbers.

      Is that what’s really happening? Film at 11.

      1. Samuel Conner

        If the Fed is prepared to lend reserves freely to banks that need them to make payments (and presumably the interest rate on these loans will be negligible), then the reduction in this regulatory constraint should not endanger bank function.

        Might it encourage risky behavior? I don’t see a whole lot of demand for new bank lending, with working capital requirements, if anything, declining. Banks won’t be lending to enterprises that can’t generate earnings.

        Why do this at all? Perhaps banks are chary of lending to each other and so some banks are finding it harder to reach their regulatory minimum ratios.

        That’s all speculative. What do I know?

    1. John

      I could see myself selecting Amy Klobuchar, Stacey Abrams, or any one of the tens of millions of women perfectly capable of pulling off this no-show gig. I don’t really care what her politics are, and anyway it hardly matters.

  26. dearieme

    far from posing a threat to slavery

    It was decisions in the English and Scottish courts that demonstrated the rise of abolitionist sentiment in Britain. WKPD:

    “Somerset v Stewart (1772) is a famous judgment of the Court of King’s Bench in 1772 on labour law and human rights, which held that chattel slavery was unsupported by the common law in England and Wales.”

    “The case of Knight v Wedderburn in Scotland began in 1774 and was concluded in 1778, with a ruling that slavery had no existence in Scottish common law.”

    “The Somerset case was reported in detail by the American colonial press. In Massachusetts, several slaves filed freedom suits in 1773–1774 based on Mansfield’s ruling; these were supported by the colony’s General Court (for freedom of the slaves) but vetoed by successive Royal governors. As a result, some individuals in pro-slavery and anti-slavery colonies, for opposite reasons, desired a distinct break from English law in order to achieve their goals with regard to slavery. Historians Alfred W. and Ruth G. Blumrosen suggest that this case increased support of the Southern colonies for independence, as they particularly wanted to protect slavery.”

    So, apparently not false then. Why don’t Americans meet this stuff in history lessons at school?

    1. Carolinian


      the British Empire controlled the slave trade and profited immensely from its commerce in people, as well as from its Caribbean plantations which remained loyal during the war for independence.

      is not true? It would take decades for slavery to be abolished in England despite those court rulings.

      Undoubtedly many planters in the southern states wanted to be free of British control just as they later wanted to be free of US government control but that doesn’t make this a primary cause of a Revolution which, after all, largely started in New England.

    2. JBird4049

      Not quite right. This is more of a footnote. Useful to know, but basically having little effect. The movement towards civil war and independence essentially started in 1765 with the dispute over taxation as well as the British government policy of mercantilism.

      Both sides’ partisans were spread throughout the Thirteen Colonies, but the Patriots were concentrated in the north and the Loyalists in the south; this is the reason for the opening battles being Concord, Lexington, and Bunker Hill(Breed’s Hill) in the north, and the decisive battle being the Siege of Yorktown in the south after General Cornwallis was trapped in 1783. One of the reasons he was in the Loyalist stronghold was to try to enlist the local Loyalists.

      The British Abolition Movement was founded in 1783. The same year that an entire British army surrendered for the second time to the American (and now French) forces. IIRC, Parliament only passed the legislation abolishing slavery in 1803 and the last slaves were bought and set free in the Caribbean in 1833.

      So between the first battles in the relatively free north and legislation being past 28 years passed. 58 years if actual abolition is counted.

      American history is dark and often vile enough. There is no reason to hammer on slavery as a strong reason, or even a weak one, for the war because it was not. Furthermore, the Abolitionist Movement in both countries got a huge push by the American Revolution. After all, the Colonies managed to beat the British Empire and the preamble of one of its founding documents is the phrase “…that all men are created equal.”

      The reason for my rebuttal is my belief that some people in our Credential Class are trying to create a historical narrative that makes some Americans, and perhaps the United States itself, as not only disposable but irremediably poisoned by racism. Thus all our complaints about corruption and poverty are of no consequences. Indeed they are lies spoken by the Disposable People. It is all hatred, greed, and racism. All the lives of all the Americans over the last four centuries mean nothing. As does the 245 year existence of these

      United States.

      These are the tactics of people like Joe Biden and the publishers of the 1609 Project. A smidgeon of fact or truth to make the big lie believable.

  27. cripes

    So if older people will not vote in tomorrows primary to avoid Covid 19, that means Bernie will sweep all the states when his young, committed followers do vote?


  28. Wukchumni

    Watching the President’s Covid-19 presser, and its quite sober and saying this thing will pass through in 4 maybe 5 months tops!

    The Anasazi were a post-peak culture who built great houses @ Chaco Canyon, when a drought came calling and kept on going, and finally about 10 years into a 50 year drought, it was abandoned, and the Anasazi scattered and along the way and went cannibal on one another, as per the bones left with stew marks and other telltale signs.

    Our just-in-time world isn’t going to make it 5 months, lets be honest. I notice that gun & ammo sales are up quite a bit, and everybody is going to be incredibly hungry as anything edible is a delicacy, the ones with marbled fat in a pear shape, preferred.

  29. The Rev Kev

    “China Is Now Shipping Coronavirus Test Kits and Masks to the U.S.” • That’s nice. How about some ventilators?

    With the way that Trump has been treating China the past year and punishing them continuously, America is lucky that Jack Ma did not also include a container load of anvils.

    1. MLTPB

      I don’t think it’s time to go into what happened last year anywhere, or in markets around Wuhan last Novermber or maybe Decemver.

        1. MLTPB

          Do you advocate not selling masks, test kits and ventilators, thus depriving those in need, because of what he said? Politians and countries have learned to not be distracted.

          That will go down as another huge mistake for Beijing.

          1. The Rev Kev

            The Jack Ma Foundation just shipped out 500,000 testing kits and 1 million masks to the US. Trump could have been gracious enough to thank Jack Ma in a public tweet but having just written that and reflected on Trump’s character, yeah – that would have been a big ask that.

            We are way, way past the point where Coronavirus is a problem to be tackled by individual countries. It should be tackled in an international coordinated effort to send resources to each hot spot as it arises but I do not see this happening. Picking fights with the main supplier of medical gear is as stupid as it is pointless. Ask the Italians how they feel about both China and the EU right now.

            1. MLTPB

              It’s better not to be distracted.

              Anyone wishes to help the situation by acting can do so.

  30. allan

    Judge denies request to delay Ohio primary election until June over coronavirus [Cleveland.com]

    Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Richard Frye denied an attempt to delay Ohio’s primary election due to coronavirus Monday night.

    Frye was asked to preside over the case around 6:30 p.m. Monday — just hours after Gov. Mike DeWine and Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, the state’s chief elections official, said that they wanted the election delayed to June 2. Since they didn’t have the authority to do so, they were waiting for it to go before a judge.

    Frye said that he wasn’t going to grant a temporary restraining order to two Ohio voters who wanted the election extended to June 2, due to health concerns during COVID-19 outbreak. He said it was too late — 12 hours out from polls opening — to make such a momentous decision, especially since the state couldn’t guarantee that June would be any safer.

    The ruling — and DeWine’s and LaRose’s earlier statements — threatens to plunge the primary into chaos. Not only are people confused whether the election is tomorrow, state officials were adamant the election could put poll workers’ and voters’ health at risk.

    Election workers were already dealing with last-minute polling location changes and poll worker shortages. …

    So, tomorrow’s electorate will skew towards people who think COVID-19 is no big deal.
    This should work out well for progressive candidates.

    Insane or criminal? Yes.

    1. MLTPB

      The thinking that this working out for a particular campaign could be cited later to put an asterisk on the record. It’s hard to make the right call, I think.

  31. Jack Parsons

    About that 1619 project…

    The 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution exists specifically to reassure the southern slave states that they would be allowed to continue state-operated slave-catching militias. It was apparent that the Brits would eventually ban slavery (as they did about 25 yrs later). This either/or framing of the 1619 stuff is off- it was definitely the main reason for some, but not all.

    Thom Hartman: The 2nd Amendment was ratified to help preserve slavery

    1. JBird4049

      Sort of. The developing Southern Slavocracy did want armed slave patrols, which eventually became the genesis of much of American policing, although not all of it. (And doesn’t that explain somethings especially with the Southern policing style through the past 250 years. The slave patrols were also used against poor and working class whites.) There was also the ongoing Indian genocide.

      The American public had a strong fear of a standing army of any size. There was also the over glorification of the various state militias. They had been important, even crucial, but it was the Continental and French Armies that ultimately won the war with the help of the French navy.

      It was still accepted that there needed to be a military defense. So, the armed citizens organized into the various state militias. This meant that the people had to have the right to remained armed especially as many state militias required their members to supply their own weapons. So any efforts by future big, bad possibly tyrannical federal, or even state, to disarm the people and rule by force could be checked. The militias were also a counter to the ridiculously small professional army and any general with ambitions. This army and West Point was the frame on which to rapidly create a large army if ever needed.

      This sorta, kinda worked until the start of the Cold War and later the Korean War because as usual most of military had been demobilized. It was then finally understood that the United States could not mobilize an entire army fast enough anymore. And who wants to rely just on nuclear bombs for success? Military Keynesianism was also a cause.

      So really, a large permanent American military has only been a thing since about 1950. 174 years without and 70 years with. Too bad that the United States didn’t re-demobilize after the Cold War like it did in 1945.

  32. MLTPB

    From the Guardian, coronavirus live, today, 16:42, four hours ago, meaning it’s now 20:42 eastern standard time, as it is 17:42 Pacific standard now.

    Boris Johnson has been accused of shutting down the hospitality industry without any support when he advised people to stay indoors on Monday. UKHospitality, which represents pubs, coffee shops, nightclubs and other leisure venues said the effect would be “catastrophic for businesses and jobs”


    My guess that this is what democracy is like. The leader will be always openly criticized.

    It’s not like this under a dictatorship.

    1. notabanker

      State of Ohio has shut it down. No pubs, restaurants, coffee shops etc… can serve in house, only take away orders. UKHospitality is barking up the wrong tree. What they need to be doing is lobbying for economic relief, not posturing over a stupid position.

      Hard to make BoJo look responsible, but they are giving it a good go.

  33. Synoia

    Black Injustice Tipping Point

    “Conveniently left out of our founding mythology is the fact that one of the primary reasons some of the colonists decided to declare their independence from Britain was because they wanted to protect the institution of slavery. By 1776, Britain had grown deeply conflicted over its role in the barbaric institution that had reshaped the Western Hemisphere.”

    This passage is still false. Protecting slavery could not have been a significant cause of the American Revolution, because, far from posing a threat to slavery, the British Empire controlled the slave trade and profited immensely from its commerce in people, as well as from its Caribbean plantations which remained loyal during the war for independence.

    I believe you correct The Oxford movement, the anti-slavery movement got traction in the early 1800s, well after the US War of Independence.

    William Wilberforce is the name I remember as instrumental in ending the slave-trade in the early 1800s, and he was born in 1759, and was 18 in 1776.

    The Emancipation movement could have started in about 1750, but I don’t recall that it was very effective until the 1800s.

  34. MLTPB

    Amazon to hire 100,000 extra workers. (Saw it at the Guardian).

    Not sure how people will react to that.

  35. Daryl

    Mittens proposes giving people $1k/mo during Coronavirus outbreak.

    Republicans moving to the left of Democrats on economic issues.

    1. Carla

      So now Tulsi Gabbard, Andrew Yang and Mitt Romney are all calling for a UBI? And of the same amount?


      I still prefer the federal job guarantee as a long-term program, but we may have to have a form of UBI to survive the current socio-economic tsunami of Covid-19.

    1. Acacia

      In 2016, Sanders won the caucus vote but HRC the Washington State primary, if memory serves.

      This year, the Democrat Party ditched the caucus. And the ostensible rationale was (aside from riggability)…?

  36. Oregoncharles

    ““Poll Workers Are Resigning Over Coronavirus and States Are Scrambling””
    Makes mail-in voting look really prescient, doesn’t it? The rooms where they count the ballots will be crowded, but they can solve that by finding more rooms – counties usually have extensive buildings.

  37. Oregoncharles

    “Note also that touchscreen machines must be shut down to be cleaned (too lazy to find the link). Let me know how this works out…”

    Alcohol sprays, is my guess. Not sure how waterproof they are, though – 70% alcohol is 30% water.

  38. djrichard

    I was rereading some CJ Hopkins today and I was stuck by this bit as being an explanation for the Biden bid.

    “Capitalism is our religion. Like every religion, it has a cosmology.

    In the cosmology of global capitalism, “democracy” is capitalist heaven. We hear it preached about throughout our lives, we’re surrounded by graven images of it, but we don’t get to see it until we’re dead. … Denying its [democracy] existence is blasphemy, for which the punishment is excommunication, and consignment to the City of Dis, where the lost souls shout back and forth at each other across the lower depths of the Internet, their infernal voices unheard by the faithful …”

    Ultimately Biden is getting the bid of the faithful. They’re faithful to the democratic party and therefore they’re faithful to Biden.

    In which case, what to do about these faithful? I guess they need to be converted. But not to nihilism (which admittedly is where I’m at – a lost soul in the lower depths of the internet, shouting. Not that I’m not OK with that). But to some other religion. And this is where Sanders’ campaign for “Socialism” with-a-big-or-small-s finally begins to make more sense to me. As a new religion to displace the old one.

    Because until now I was thinking Sanders could have just run as an FDR democrat – it sells itself. Why risk a rebranding with “socialism”. Unless Sanders specifically wanted to move the faithful from the religion of “democracy” to the religion of “socialism”. Unfortunately, the faithful weren’t ready to go on that journey with him.

    But interestingly enough, coronavirus is the opportunity he needs to sell his new religion. Ask the people, what “religion” would cope better with coronavirus? Democracy? Or Socialism? That is an easy sell. In which case, do we need socialism episodically? For whenever a coronavirus event happens? Or do we need it more consistently? And if we need it more consistently, why?

    One way to pitch this is that coronavirus is not the end of it. That capitalism itself is a virus, or at least a parasite. So we need to be steadfast with socialism to defend ourselves. As if we’re always on a war footing. But I don’t see that getting traction.

    A different tact is to position socialism as having authority over (dominion over) capitalism. That socialism is the “good” and capitalism needs to be disciplined. [In contrast say to a virus, nobody would discipline a virus, you would eliminate it.] Anyways, essentially what FDR democracy was about. With maybe one difference. FDR never really went beyond the idea of disciplining capitalism (it seems to me). Bernie seems to want to go beyond that, to give shape to what is the “good” and the “authority”. Basically to give shape to this new “religion” of socialism.

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