2:00PM Water Cooler 3/18/2020

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 YouGov, as of 3/17/2020, 11:00 AM EDT. The empire strikes back:

(Note small sample size.) And the numbers:

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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Biden (D)(1): “National Primary Results Map: Where Biden and Sanders Have Won” [New York Times]. With handy map:

What’s remarkable is that Biden has built his lead on states that the Democrats are unlikely to win in November (unless suburban Republicans turn out en masse for Biden, in which case the Democrats will have turned into the Republicans in any case.)

Bloomberg (D)(1): “Coronavirus Update: Michael Bloomberg pledges $40M to fight COVID-19” [ABC]. • So, 10% of his advertising spend in the Democrat primary?

Sanders (D)(1): “An Emergency Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic” [Bernie Sanders]. For example:

• Cover all health care treatment for free, including coronavirus testing, treatment, and the eventual vaccine. Under this proposal, Medicare will ensure that everyone in America, regardless of existing coverage, can receive the health care they need during this crisis. We cannot live in a nation where if you have the money you get the treatment you need to survive, but if you’re working class or poor you get to the end of the line. That is morally unacceptable.

Normally, I wouldn’t print direct campaign literature, but since this won’t get any coverage…

Sanders (D)(2): “Sanders to ‘assess his campaign’ after Tuesday losses” [The Hill]. Faiz Shakir: “The next primary contest is three weeks away. Sen. Sanders is going to be having conversations with his supporters to assess his campaign. In the immediate term, however, he is focused on the government response to the coronavirus outbreak and ensuring that we take care of working people and the most vulnerable.” • And but:

Lambert here: I haven’t had the time-slot or the mental bandwidth to write up my thought on the Sanders campaign, but there are plenty of other hot takes, so let me at least try to put some preliminary thoughts together. (In fact, there are so much that is urgent in the political news flow, and so little that is important, that I’m thinking of converting the Politics section to include more short essays like this one, and not so many snippets.)

My view of the Sanders campaign has been that it was — is — uniquely interesting because it was institutionally unique, for three reasons: Sanders owned his list, which meant he was not dependent on the donor class; Sanders had an independent media operation, which meant he would be insulated from the coming assault of oppo and smears from the usual suspects; and Sanders had the canvassing operation, which meant he could expand the Democrat base into the voting-averse working class, which both the Republican and Democrat parties have resolutly refused to do.

The list. Importantly, the Sanders fundraising was a wild success; it took the entry of a billionaire spending his personal money to beat it. This is an extraordinary accomplishment, far moreso than Warren’s half-hearted and pissant effort, which is naturally being erased and forgotten even as we speak.

The media operation. It is true that Sanders did not succumb to oppo; Peter Daou said there wasn’t any, but that wouldn’t have prevented the usual suspects from making something else. Since I live on the Twitter, the operation seemed effective to me; but I think the absence of successful oppo speaks to its success. (The operation didn’t prevent Obama’s pre-California Night of The Long Knives, but what could have?)

The canvassing. The canvassing operation was the key to the Sanders campaign theory of change: Draw new and/or discouraged working-class voters into the Democrat base, thereby dragging it left (and changing the composition of the base to Sanders’ advantage). Leaving aside the policy appeal, the technique was “relational organizing” (electronic appeals, mostly through an app, but also through text; laudatory article here). The canvassing operation, in campaign terms, was an unprecedented success: It took the fifth-largest economy in the world (California) from the claws of the vicious liberal Democrat oligarchy that has claimed it; in Nevada, it beat Harry Reid and the union leadership. In demographic terms, the canvassing operation destroyed the myth of the Obama coalition, by taking both the Latin and the youth vote, overwhelmingly. It is extremely hard to see how the Democrat Establishment can bring those demographics back into the fold by running Joe Biden; and the new Democrat base is composed of fear-crazed, loyalist PMCs + converted suburban Republicans + voters controlled by the reactionary Black Misleadership class. This seems like a narrower base than Clinton’s, and certainly Obama’s “coalition of the ascendant”. (Ideologically, it’s clear that this new base is most definitely not composed of “FDR Democrats,” and does not wish for a return to those days.) However, the canvassing operation failed, in its own terms, because it did not draw in enough new working class voters to counter the wave of reaction from the new Democrat base, whose turnout overwhelmed the increased turnout generated by the Sanders campaign. (After seeing Biden falter through IA, NH, and NV, get a boost from reactionary Southern kingmaker Clyburn, and then — after Obama (presumably) organized the Night of The Long Knives, making it clear that Biden was the Establishment choice — win overwhelming victories in states where he didn’t even campaign and in some cases did not visit makes me feel like I’ve been hit on the head with a sack of wet sand. Bitecofer has a point when she regards American politics as a team sport.) I don’t know why relational organizing failed. One idea I had was that “relations” don’t necessarily cross class lines. If you start out with college kids, you end up with them; no matter how many degrees of separation you try, you don’t reach the Walmart workers. (Not true for Latin votes, however. What did Rocha do?) A second idea: You can’t win a working class vote with an identity politics staff, and that’s what Sanders had, and they shape all the messaging. (It’s unconscionable, for example that Sanders lost rural areas.) A third idea: Door-knocking is not enough; after all, the people knocking on doors go home at night; they have no skin in the game. A fourth idea: The candidate himself. Did Sanders’ reluctance to chop his opponents off at the knees lose him the working class vote? Perhaps a real brawler would have done better. A fifth idea: Most non-voters believe their votes don’t matter. The Democrat Establishment is, of course, doing all it can to confirm them in those beliefs. Door-knocking and canvassing simply aren’t enough to overcome that.

Finally, the big question nobody — I can’t imagine why — is asking: What will happen to Sanders’ army of small donors and activists? It’s very hard for me to imagine that it will be easy for Sanders to “sheepdog” them, even if he wishes to do so. It’s quite clear that the Democrat Establishment wants no part of Sanders or Sanders voters. All you need do to see this is look at the extraordinary measures they took to defeat him. So what now for them?

Realignment and Legitimacy

“We Were Warned” [The Atlantic].

We were warned in 2012, when the Rand Corporation surveyed the international threats arrayed against the United States and concluded that only pandemics posed an existential danger, in that they were “capable of destroying America’s way of life.”

We were warned in 2015, when Ezra Klein of Vox, after speaking with Bill Gates about his algorithmic model for how a new strain of flu could spread rapidly in today’s globalized world, wrote that “a pandemic disease is the most predictable catastrophe in the history of the human race, if only because it has happened to the human race so many, many times before.” If there was anything humanity could be certain that it needed to prepare for to prevent the deaths of a lot of people in little time, it was this.

We were warned in 2017, a week before inauguration day, when Lisa Monaco, Barack Obama’s outgoing homeland-security adviser, gathered with Donald Trump’s incoming national-security officials and conducted an exercise modeled on the administration’s experiences with outbreaks of swine flu, Ebola, and Zika.


When the virus was first detected in China, [Eric Toner, a senior scholar at the Center for Health Security at Johns Hopkins University] told me, a more prepared U.S. government would have immediately begun bracing for the “inevitable arrival of the disease” by bolstering hospitals and helping state and local governments implement the social-distancing and other mitigation measures they are now scrambling to put in place. “It would have been much easier to do those things with more time than we have now,” he explained.

The irony is that this is all occurring in a country, the United States, that for decades “has been a leader in pandemic preparedness,” Toner said. “We were better prepared than others,” he acknowledged, “but no one, no country, is prepared for what we’re seeing now.”

The political implications of all this — and the usual presentation of intelligence community officials as the “adults in the room” — do make my Spidey sense tingle a bit. The implicit promise of a Biden restoration is that competent professionals will once more be in charge, and had they been in charge, the administration response would have been better and more timely. There are reasons to doubt this: These are the people who ran the Clinton campaign; who launched the ObamaCare website, after which it immediately collapsed; who cut CDC funding on their watch and left it as a single point of failure; under whose stewardship life expectancy consistently declined; and who butchered the response to the Crash, in all respects, causing untold human suffering (and incidentally creating the conditions for Trump). I’m sure the public relations would be much better, but permit me to doubt that the concrete policy response would have been. Hurrican Sandy, after all, happened on Obama’s Watch, and what a debacle that was.

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.

Construction: “February 2020 Residential Building Growth Slowed” [Econintersect]. In summary, the rolling averages say this sector is slowing with construction completions significantly slowing. We consider this report worse than last month except for construction completions.”

Housing: “January 2020 CoreLogic Single-Family Rent Index: Rents Increasing At Double The Rate Of Inflation” [Econintersect]. “The Single-Family Rent Index (SFRI), which analyzes single-family rent price changes nationally and among 20 metropolitan areas shows a national rent increase of 2.9% year over year, down slightly from 3.2% year-over-year increase in January 2019. Rent prices are now increasing at double the rate of inflation, presenting affordability challenges among current and prospective renters.” • “Affordability challenges.”

Tech: “Internet Traffic Surges As Companies And Schools Send People Home” [NPR]. “More people are shifting to the digital world as life outside the home is put on hold. That’s putting a lot of pressure on companies to keep connections up when all their employees are trying to telework at the same time. It’s also posing challenges for Internet video conferencing…. Visits to news sites went up as much as 60%. And people are spending more time playing online games. A similar pattern is emerging in the U.S. Cloudflare says Internet traffic jumped 20% on Friday, after President Trump declared the pandemic a national emergency. In hard-hit Seattle, Internet use was up 40% last week compared to January. As video chats replace face-to-face meetings, peak Internet use is happening in the middle of the workday.” • If only we had universal broadband, like South Korea, a First World country.

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Shipping: “U.S. commercial distribution channels are increasingly being turned toward the demands driven by the coronavirus outbreak. Amazon.com Inc. is taking the strongest step yet in adjusting its supply chain to the changing landscape, locking down part of its distribution operations to save room for items that are in exceptionally high demand during the pandemic” [Wall Street Journal]. “The action highlights the sharp divide between businesses that are struggling with lost sales and those that are swamped as consumers hunker down in their homes and turn to delivery services. Amazon’s move suggests high demand may be creating bottlenecks, and could slow delivery of critical goods like medical supplies.” • Bottlenecks because the MBAs optimized the supply chain so that there’s no slack at all.

Manufacturing: “Manufacturers in the U.S. are improvising to keep factories running as the coronavirus pandemic threatens far-reaching disruption across industrial supply chains” [Wall Street Journal]. “Factories are staggering shifts, banning visitors and installing barriers between workers… even as officials across the country advise more people to stay home, and schools and day-care centers shut down.” • Those bans and barriers are gonna make organizing hard. Who wants to bet they stay up?

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 4 Extreme Fear (previous close: 5 Extreme Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 4 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Mar 18 at 12:56pm. Haven’t ever seen the needle pinned at zero. I wonder if the formula permits that.

The Biosphere

“Prominent U.S. climate denial group fires president amid financial crisis” [Science]. “The Heartland Institute is undergoing its second leadership change in less than a year. The group, which rejects climate science, is ousting its president, Frank Lasée, after being buffeted by financial turbulence that led to significant layoffs, according to two sources close to Heartland. Heartland has received millions of dollars in funding from the energy industry over the years, but many of those contributions have dried up as major players in the oil and gas industry, like Exxon Mobil Corp., backed away from denying climate change. Other funders, such as Murray Energy Corp., have gone bankrupt.” • Well-deserved, but late.

“Poultry through time” [Nature]. “Birds can be divided into crown-group birds (all living birds plus all relatives of their most recent common ancestor) and stem-group birds, which fall outside this group but are closer to it than they are to other major related groups, such as the dinosaurs ancestral to birds. Fossils of stem-group birds include specimens of Archaeopteryx, Enantiornithes, Hesperornithes and Ichthyornithes. Such stem-group creatures had wings, but lacked some hallmarks of crown-group birds. Field et al.1 report the discovery of a 66.7-million-year-old crown-group fossil bird that they call Asteriornis maastrichtensis. This fits on the tree near Anseriformes (duck- and goose-like birds) and Galliformes (chicken- or quail-like birds), but the fossil remains are insufficient to determine whether it is closer to the Galliformes than to the Anseriformes, or whether it is outside the group formed by Galliformes and Anseriformes. Regardless of this, the fossil reveals that the duck and chicken lineages, together with the mostly flightless birds called ratites (such as ostriches) plus other living bird lineages, had evolved by at least 66.7 million years ago.”

Health Care

“Trump Pushed Aides to Seek a Trillion Dollars in Virus Response” [Bloomberg]. “President Donald Trump encouraged aides to enhance an $850 billion stimulus package to address the coronavirus crisis, telling them to go big and bump the number up to a trillion dollars, people familiar with the matter say.” • Assuming it’s true, this is in great contrast to Obama’s behavior in 2008; and even if it’s not, it shows the Republicans know what message to send.

“Trump invokes Defense Production Act as coronavirus response” [The Hill]. “President Trump announced Wednesday he will invoke the Defense Production Act, which would allow the administration to force American industry to ramp up production of medical supplies that are in short supply in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. ‘It can do a lot of good things if we need it,’ Trump said during a White House briefing with reporters.” • If the supply chain provides the raw materials… .

“MSNBC Legal Analyst: Trump Must Be Investigated For Negligent Homicide And Manslaughter” [Jonathan Turley]. “The courts have long recognized that discretionary actions by public officials is not the subject of civil, let alone criminal, liability. The Federal Tort Claims Act waives sovereign immunity for negligence with the express exception for discretionary functions. Such functions generally mean under cases like Berkovitz v. United States , 486 U.S. 531 (1988), that public officials are protected in making choices that are based on public policy or priorities. As the Supreme Court reaffirmed in United States v. Gaubert, 499 U.S. 315, 325 (1991). the federal law protects decisions that are based on policy choices and courts will not second guess such choices. Seeking criminal charges is even more difficult with a higher burden of proof. Bad policies choices are not crimes. The government has killed millions of people through bad choices from lax environmental protections to health care choices to the failure to act upon various crises. Obviously, the federal government is unlikely to bring such a charge criminalizing federal decisionmaking. Moreover state prosecutions on such theories have failed.” • I say let’s impeach Trump again.

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“Does disinfecting surfaces really prevent the spread of coronavirus?” [Science]. “According to a variety of local news reports from cities including Shanghai and Gwangju, South Korea, the disinfectant most commonly used outdoors is a diluted solution of sodium hypochlorite, or household bleach. But it’s unclear whether bleach destroys coronaviruses outside, and if it does kill them on surfaces it’s unclear whether it would kill viruses in the air. Bleach itself breaks down under ultraviolet (UV) light. Then again, Leon says, UV light seems to destroy coronaviruses as well. And coronavirus exposure from outdoor surfaces may be limited already: ‘Nobody goes around licking sidewalks or trees,’ Leon says. There may even be downsides to widespread overzealous disinfection with bleach, notes Julia Silva Sobolik, a graduate student in Leon’s lab. ‘Bleach is highly irritating to mucous membranes,’ Sobolik says. That means people exposed to sprayed disinfectants—especially the workers who spray them—are at risk of respiratory troubles, among other ailments.”

Why soap:

Department of Feline Felicity

Because of course:

Something to look forward to!

The Carceral State

“Inmates in Ohio being released due to concern of coronavirus spread” [WJHL]. “The Cuyahoga County Court in Ohio is looking to release hundreds of inmates from the Cuyahoga County Jail Saturday morning due to coronavirus concerns, according to our sister station WJW in Cleveland. Judges concerned about the virus spreading through the jail. Cuyahoga County judges are holding a special Saturday morning session to try to settle cases with guilty pleas, release inmates or send them to prison, or release them on house arrest.” • Jail, not prison.

Guillotine Watch

“Defying Virus Rules, Large Hasidic Jewish Weddings Held in Brooklyn” [New York Times]. “As city and state officials warned on Tuesday about the danger of large gatherings amid the coronavirus outbreak, hundreds of revelers celebrated at a Hasidic wedding in Brooklyn and huddled together in the street after the Fire Department broke up the celebration. ‘Everything was exactly how it would have been if there hadn’t been any kind of a pandemic,’ said a musician who played at the event, which he said drew more than 200 people.”

“Fleeing to Hamptons, Buying Beans: NYC Virus Fears Trace Wealth Gap” [Bloomberg]. “A group of industry professionals banded together to create a “bond” program to support trendy restaurants. Others are focusing on following wealthy clients with offers of specialized services at their second homes. The Major Food Group, whose restaurants include Carbone, Dirty French and the Lobster Club, sent an email offering catering and home-chef services to customers in the Hamptons.” • That’s nice:

Class Warfare

UPDATE Equity? What’s that?

UPDATE Hey, maybe this dude can file a lawsuit or something:

UPDATE “Get Ready, A Bigger Disruption Is Coming” [Bloomberg]. “The opening years of the 20th century, too, were defined by a free global market for goods, capital and labor. This was when, as John Maynard Keynes famously reminisced, ‘the inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth.’….. The First World War not only brought the period of friction-free globalization to a gruesome end. It also cruelly exposed an intelligentsia which had believed in irreversible progress…. As with our own crisis, the seminal crashes of the 20th century — the First World War followed by the Great Depression — were harder to grasp because their principal causes were set in motion decades before, and largely neglected by mainstream politicians and commentators…. Once the series of economic shocks that began in the late 19th century climaxed in the Great Depression, the elevation of the far-right to power, and intensified conflicts between states, was all but guaranteed. In our own conjuncture, all ingredients of the previous calamity are present, if ominously on an unparalleled scale.”

News of the Wired

“The OODA Loop and the Half-Beat’ [The Strategy Bridge]. “What does it mean to get inside an opponent’s OODA (Observe-Orient-Decide-Act) loop? The answer for a whole generation of Western military officers is to cycle through a decision-action framework quicker than the adversary, orienting to situations and acting faster than they can adapt….. The reality is that speed is only one component of a fight. What is lost in a focus on faster decision-making is another equally important component, timing. Indeed, by definition, speed is derived from time, yet poor timing has prevented success in battles from Napoleon at Borodino to General Lee’s offensive at Gettysburg.[5] While speed is undoubtedly important, the key to interrupting an opponent’s OODA loop lies not in acting faster, but in acting at the right time.”

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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 (Skookum Red):

Skookum Red writes: “From Valentines day: on the edge of my driveway we have yellow, white and purple crocus planted. When they pop up I know spring has come and in another week the birds will be arriving to stay or pass through on to Canada…” My mailer builds and displays photos from the top down, so at first I thought I was seeing clouds!

Bonus project trial balloon. Since model railroading is — no offense meant, here — mostly for old codgers like myself, here’s an alternative: Knitting:

If you have a knitting project underway, please feel free to send in photos to the address above. To encourage the others. (Gloves looked complicated, so I chose mittens instead.)

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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. urblintz

    I watch so you don’t have to… CNN has taken to interviewing Joe Manchin as the dem point man

    1. urblintz

      well bust my buttons… up pops Cory Booker detailing the SANDERS coronavirus action plan, which he co-sponsors I guess, and the name Joe Biden, whom he endorsed, never came up…

      he also didn’t say anything about “party unity”

    2. JohnnySacks

      Since he made the promise, at least we won’t be seeing Joe Manchin as the VP candidate, but Kyrsten Sinema is certainly available. But being a third rate gaslighter wannabe relative to the king, who knows what he’ll actually do.

    3. Tom Doak

      His state was the last to get a case of the coronavirus, until yesterday. He’s a natural leader.

  2. Lee

    Is Trump evolving? He seems to be at last taking Covid-19 seriously and deferring to those to whom he should defer. He says we are on a war footing and making noises that sound suspiciously like the beginnings of an industrial policy as well as running to the left of traditionally Democrat positions on concrete material benefits for the general population. Maybe he’ll end up being the next FDR.

    1. Glen

      I’ve noticed. And if they do the right things, they will have my vote, up and down ballot. And I am a fifty year Dem voter, but the Dems seem to be pandering to the elites which is SO last century.

      1. JohnnyGL

        Yeah, things are happening on the right….Romney, Marco Rubio and Josh Hawley floating some decent ideas. Pelosi still gaslighting and twisting herself in knots with means-testing idiocy.

        Dem establishment may have won the election year battle, but it doesn’t seem like they’re winning the war.

      2. Pelham

        I believe Biden is a good deal more corrupt and generally awful than Trump in ways that matter most to me and, maybe, the average voter. I too was contemplating a vote for Trump over Biden — and even before the virus calamity. I’m still tending that way.

        1. John Wright

          I view Biden as potentially more dangerous than Trump because he has done such a great job of normalizing his corruption.

          People of the “progressive” persuasion that I have spoken with are suspicious of Trump, while they seem to believe Biden’s heart is in the right place.

          The media pushed back against Trump via Russia, Russia, Russia and impeachment.

          Meanwhile, blue-collar Joe gets a media pass on his various efforts that serve to harm non-elite America (Clarence Thomas, bankruptcy bill, Iraq War, school busing undercutting).

          If Trump pushes for war with Iran, there might be some serious pushback, while Biden might get a pass.

          Trump is almost a caricature of a self-aggrandizing, insecure, corrupt politician.

          Aw-shucks Biden wears his corruption in a far more palatable manner, perhaps making him more dangerous than Trump.

          I’d hate to see Biden elected with a mandate, so voting for someone else, even Trump, makes sense to me.

          1. Am Expat in Mindanao

            If only a Republican Nixon could go to China, then only a Democrat Biden can gut Social Security and Medicare.

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              Clinton tried it, and would have succeeded if not for the Lewinski affair.

              Obama tried it, but Republicans disliked him personally so they didn’t want him to get the credit for it.

              You have just given me a very good reason to vote for Trump.

              ” Vote Trump! Don’t let the Democrats ” go to China” on your Social Security.”

              1. Pelham

                And of course Biden himself was right on board with entitlement cuts — four times, by his own count. Entitlements cuts are now synonymous with bipartisanship.

                Another commenter here noted some interesting ferment in the Republican Party from the likes of Josh Hawley and Marco Rubio, something that might be credited to the Tucker Carlson effect. I’m interested but suspicious. What’s curious, though, is the little evidence of institutional rethink among the Dems. Oh sure, they have AOC and the squad, but the party as a whole appears to reject them as nuisances.

                Also and more importantly, the AOC types appear to have no interest in expanding their appeal as they persist with their strident insistence on every last detail of identity politics and the like as part of their progressive package.

          2. lambert strether

            > I’d hate to see Biden elected with a mandate

            Again, the realpolitik is that the liberals will assault the left, and conservatives will assault liberals. All this “unity” malarkey is the scorpion softening up the frog.

            My mind could change with some sort of concrete offer, in writing, on both policy commitments and personnel (like Jayapal at HHS with free choice of her own deputies), but little short of that. The debate showed that Biden’s word is not good.

    2. neo-realist

      If he gets re-elected, we’ll look back and see if such keynesian policies were an act of short term pragmatism to get re-elected while we go back to right wing austerity for the 99% and Keynes for the MIC and the 1%.

      Or maybe it will be a wake up call for the elites to give us more crumbs.

      1. ajc

        Your observation relies on the pretty big assumption that we will overcome this pandemic when the history of modern pandemics suggests otherwise. And it’s not a money problem as much as it is a basic science problem — humans don’t understand their biology or the natural world as well as we think.

        I mean, we might get lucky with a vaccine, but I really doubt that there will ever be a vaccine given the literature on all other coronaviruses.

      2. lambert strether

        The administration seems to have had no problem “printing money” so far, fortunately. I think that’s their natural tendency. Of course, they’re also trying to destroy public goods, but that’s bipartisan. How is Pelosi’s ludicrously inadequate sick leave proposal not austerity?

    3. Deschain

      Tucker Carlson convinced him if he wants to get re-elected, he actually has to govern effectively

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Name another president where before inauguration day the entire mainstream media and the losing opposition party have done nothing but try and get him out of office? In the face of all that he has attempted to govern according to the mandate the people gave him. Would that we could have said the same about Barack Hussein Obama.

        1. lambert strether

          The New Yorker article in Links this morning presented the national security personnel briefing the Trump administration as disinterested professionals (because that’s what the PMC believes). I assume that was after Clapper showed him the horse’s head in the bed (the Steele Report)* so it’s doubtful that the Trump had the same view.

          * Again, Trump comes from New York real estate, so he knows a shakedown when he sees one. History will not look on Clapper, et al., kindly, assuming they don’t get to write it, of course

    4. clarky90

      I agree. The cancel culture forgets that people do change. As the years go by, more “rodeos”, more “pennies drop”. What is real? What is unreal?

      For instance, Paul of Tarsus was a blood thirsty, apparatchik! He participated in the stoning to death of Stephen.


      “….Devout men buried Stephen and made loud lamentation over him. But Saul was ravaging the church by entering house after house; dragging off both men and women, he committed them to prison.”

      But then…

      “….As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?…….”

      Saul became Paul……

      Perhaps Donald had “a light flash around him?”

      1. Late Introvert

        But, um, you don’t actually believe that do you? Other than the first part about being blood thirsty.

        1. lambert strether

          I don’t believe the light from heaven part. But — biblical scholars please correct me — the letters of Paul are well-attested for ancient documents, and they present Paul as a very effective, er, organizer who changed his mind. Rather like Wendell Potter — or Daniel Ellsberg — on a grander scale. So in that sense, I believe in Paul’s conversion experience, yes

    5. Geo

      No he won’t. We had a choice: Democratic Socialism or Nationalist Socialism. Dems rejected the first option so the GOP is instituting the second.

      Trump won’t be a new FDR but possibly like another well known leader (over in Germany) during that era.

      1. Massinissa

        More like the funny man in Italy, honestly. Comparisons to Hitler simply are not apt. But make no mistake, a Mussolini can be almost as dangerous as a Hitler, albeit in different ways.

        1. Geo

          Mussolini, Hitler, even Stalin… lots of leaders that capitalized on hard times with tragic results. We luckily had FDR. Looking at the GOP’s policies and values, and their support base of evangelical End-Timers, militias, and torch-wielding “Blood & Soil” types, I’m not optimistic about which direction they’ll go.

          1. Massinissa

            They might end up deciding to kill all the socialists.

            Which would include me. Seeing as how, living in semi-rural Georgia, I’m one of the few socialists around for miles, I’d probably be the first on the menu.

            I guess its a good thing I don’t know any of my neighbors? Speaking of, a couple years ago one of my next door neighbors had a confederate battle flag displayed…

        2. lambert strether

          Well, it’s not like we’re instituting a system combining a complete lack of free association with massive surveillance or anything. Oh, wait….

          To be clear, I understand the necessities. The issue is whether all this machinery will be sunsetted, or left in place and repurposed. “The State finds its own uses for things,” to slightly modify Gibson’s aphorism.

    6. Amfortas the hippie

      “Maybe he’ll end up being the next FDR.”

      My Dog!
      luckily, i took the time, long ago, to print out those emails to various Demleaders(sic) wherein I warned them of exactly this…gop picking up bits of FDR/New Deal(even socialism!) when the $hit came down the mountain.
      They were warned, and they ignored it all.
      I’m sure i wasn’t the only one who saw it.
      They couldn’t believe that the $hit would ever come rolling down the mountain…”everythings fine”…and Progress is Eternal.
      “we did all the heavy lifting in the 60’s, so just relax and enjoy it”
      I look forward to my bailout money….although i’m unsure at this point what i’ll be able to spend it on.
      should i start cooking down the bamboo for TP…or is it too soon for all that?

        1. Massinissa

          …. No. I see next to no similarity. Long was a good man. Don’t confuse him with opportunistic hucksters like Trump. Trump has no political ideology besides making sure he comes out on top.

          Do some of his individual actions seem Long-ish? Yes, but only insofar as any fast acting populist policies do. But that sort of behavior isn’t uncommon during points of historical crisis, you could see similar actions from other leaders in the 30s (in Europe at least) who were most definitely not of a similar moral caliber compared to Long.

          1. Late Introvert

            Thanks Massinissa.

            Nobody is perfect and neither was he, but yet another effective left leader who got killed.

          2. Bugs Bunny

            Thanks for this comment. Part of my political thinking (and I guess, other things) was developed by reading Huey Long’s biography when I was about 12 years old. He fought hard for working people and understood their travails.

        2. lambert strether

          I don’t think we can fall into our own trap of binary thinking and regard Trump as better than Biden (except, possibly, strategically, depending on your realpolitik calculations).

          Trump and Biden are not “the same.” And, since this is a family blog—

          *** WARNING *** Scatology ahead *** WARNING ***

          Trump is like an enormous, solid, compacted turd, nearly impossible to pass, requiring multiple flushes, and clogging the pipes once flushed.

          Biden is like an enormous, loose, gaseous turd, nearly impossible to pass, requiring multiple flushes, and clogging the pipes once flushed.

          You can make sandwiches out of either kind, but picking your sandwich is solely a matter of taste.

          *** RESUME NORMAL READING *** Scatology ended *** RESUME NORMAL READING ***

  3. doug

    Everyone at the Whitehouse Teevee(tm) show was breathing and coughing all over each other like they have never heard of social distancing.

    That will show the rest of us how to behave…

  4. Toshiro_Mifune

    At what point do we see a trading holiday, as opposed to a complete banking holiday, given the crisis?

    1. Lee

      Or perhaps financial markets will come to be regarded as obsolete, not fit for purpose, and counterproductive to meeting the material needs of the people.

      1. Toshiro_Mifune

        Longer term, possibly. This has the feeling of an epoch ending event and I don’t know what comes next.

        1. Synoia

          True, so do I.

          Next: I see the end of the current economic policies, because there are too many single points of failure in the current system, many of which are now glaringly obvious (All manufacturing coming from China being a major policy issue).

          I suspect we will return to every product being manufactured in more that one location, and more that one set of executives, while Individual countries trying to be mostly self-sufficient.

          Leading to some inefficiencies, and a much more resilient set of economies.

          The Anti Trust and customs barriers are well known and are easily activated. All it takes is will.

          1. lambert strether

            > All manufacturing coming from China being a major policy issue

            Hysteresis is gonna be a big, big problem.

    2. Anon

      Bank lobbies are already closed to foot traffic, so for people using public transit and no online access to accounts, it’s already a bank holiday

  5. jo6pac

    . Maybe he’ll end up being the next FDR.

    Answer to Lee
    That’s humor right?

    I’m waiting to see how they pay for it, cuts in taxes for the 1% of course and for us on Main Street deep cut in SS, Medi-Care, and anything else we little people use.

    1. Lee

      It’s too early to tell for sure, but this pandemic could end up being as powerful an agent of change as was the civil war, a world war or the great depression. If it is, as Trump said, the equivalent of a war, it will be a war fought on our own soil with the enemy in amongst us. For good or ill, It could change a lot of things very drastically and quickly.

      1. MLTPB

        We are in a rare position that he succeeds, we do too.

        So we might have to root for him, in a war.

        But this is a democracy, imperfect, and many question that, but that fact is we are all here criticizing, and others elsewhere in or through the media.

        Still, in times like this, the person at the top is empowered greatly.

      2. Geo

        What do we get when a Nationalist party adopts Socialism?

        Dems rejected Democratic Socialism. Looks like we’re gonna get the right wing version instead. A “Nationalist” Socialism… I think there’s a historical precedent for how that turns out.

        Thanks Democrats. I hope keeping Bernie from the presidency was worth it.

          1. Geo

            From “Individual & Mass Behavior in Extreme Situations” by Bruno Bettelheim (1943)

            Upper classes segregated themselves as much as possible. They seemed unable to accept what was happening to them. They expressed their conviction that they would be released within the shortest time because of their importance. This conviction was absent among the middle-class prisoners. Upper-class prisoners remained aloof even from the upper classes. They looked down on all other prisoners nearly as much as they despised the Gestapo. In order to endure life in the camp they developed such a feeling of superiority that nothing could touch them.


            1. lambert strether

              Funny how rapidly The Big Sort got all scrambled up again. Still, one must temper one’s schadenfreude at the comeuppance of the PMC by considering the nature of the forces that brought it about…

            2. Adam Eran

              Oddly enough, I’d suggest Trump’s vulgarity actually takes the place of the “common touch” for many of his fans. They console themselves with “He’s not like those hoity-toity-nose-turned-up snobs!”

      3. Adam Eran

        I’d suggest if you’re looking for historical rhymes, our current election matches up well with the post-civil-war “cross of gold” campaign of William Jennings Bryan..who ran multiple times as a populist, supported by the People’s Party and the Farmers’ alliance. The point of his campaign was to make credit easier to obtain (“free silver”), and to ease the debt burden of particularly farmers…who were susceptible to tenant farming’s “crop lien,” manipulation by unregulated transportation (“Ship with us, or your crop rots in the silo!”), etc. The crop lien was a pre-condition for buying goods on credit, and was payable regardless of price variations or weather. See Lawrence Goodwyn’s The Populist Moment for the complete story.

        Bryan lost, and remains a figure of fun for being the prosecutor in the Scopes Monkey Trial (see Inherit the Wind where Spencer Tracy plays his opponent, Clarence Darrow), but many of his measures remained viable policies, even if watered down. So re-constituting the Central Bank (“The Fed”), regulating transportation, trust-busting… all those were policies responding to this movement.

        Third parties, or outsiders, don’t have to win an election to be influential.

    2. Late Introvert

      I’m good at gauging fear, in myself and others.

      If I were a wealthy person in a big house with lots of cars and other fancy stuff, I would be feeling particularly vulnerable about now. That could cause a quick shift in GOP policies right there. No shift in ideology needed.

      np: Tool “Fear Inoculum”

  6. Alfred

    On the distributuion map of Biden vs. Sanders voters: To my eye, the salient feature is that Biden has all but swept the old Confederacy, together with the former Indian Territory of Oklahoma (the Confederacy’s ally); one of the ‘border states’ (Missouri), two states that in the early to mid-20th century received large numbers of African-American emigrants from the South (Illinois and Michigan), thus to some extent ‘southernizing’ them; and two additional states whose cultures have become markedly ‘southernized’ in more recent decades (Arizona and Idaho). Biden himself, of course, comes from a southern state (Delaware), at least in the sense that it lies south of the Mason-Dixon line. From the image that the map projects of him, I’d say he looks like a latter-day Woodrow Wilson. (And I don’t mean that as a compliment.)

    1. TMoney

      Same as Hillary save MI and OK. The “Southern Strategy” is a way for the neoliberals to get their “man” to the top of the ticket. MI suggests (weakly) that Biden has a better shot than Hillary – if he makes it to November w/o conking out from infirmity.

        1. Norge

          “So neoliberalism is a plot coming out of Dixie and not, oh say, Wall Street? Please”

          I don’t think that’s what TMoney is saying. The DNC (aka Wall Street) is using Dixie to accomplish Wall Street’s ends.

          1. lambert strether

            And not for the first time.

            Carolinian has the power relations (and the timing) reversed

        2. Synoia

          Treatment of workers under Neo-Liberalism really appears to have roots in slavery.

          For example Amazon or Tesla Workers.

          1. Carolinian

            Roots in slavery–so the Roman Empire is to blame?

            It’s quite true that Southerners these days lean conservative and pro business but that could be because our current fake left proponents in the other party keep calling them deplorables. Sanders chose to run in that party even if he doesn’t say such things himself.

            Personally I think Dukakis had it right when he said “the fish rots from the head” and these days that part of the national anatomy is located nowhere in the South. We are just along for the ride like everyone else. And honestly blaming the current situation on black Dem voters–North and South–is flirting with prejudice. BAR has given a good analysis of this and says that those elderly black voters didn’t buy that Bernie would “get it done.” Since Sanders wasn’t even willing to take down the feeble Biden were they wrong?

            1. lambert strether

              > BAR has given a good analysis of this and says that those elderly black voters didn’t buy that Bernie would “get it done.” Since Sanders wasn’t even willing to take down the feeble Biden were they wrong?

              That’s a fair argument, but I think it’s also a self-fulfilling prophecy that stems from turning every voter into a pundit, and every election into a Keynesian beauty contest, a complete — and media-driven — perversion of democracy.

              We might also remember, if we are taking the view that black voters swayed by the reactionary South Carolina Democrat establishment have some special insight into wypipo and their voting habits, that they gave us Clinton, and thus Trump, in 2016.

              1. Adam Eran

                Clinton legitimizes sexual predation (remember when a divorced person couldn’t expect to be a presidential candidate?) and Obama legitimizes criminality… Who else will succeed them than someone like Trump?

                Tell this to a committed Democrat, and expect push-back (Trump is extra disgusting, not like those elegant, eloquent Democrats!).

    2. Mark Gisleson

      That’s in keeping with Republican crossover votes for Joe. Assuming my friends in Illinois voted yesterday, I know of at least two moderate Republicans who crossed over to save us from Trump by voting for Biden.

      When Republicans are more comfortable voting for the Democratic candidate than I am….

  7. John

    The way this is shaping up the private sector is not going to be able to handle it and there will needs be direction from the government. Call it ‘war footing’ or ‘industrial policy’ it is necessary. FDR was pushed to the left by events, by his advisors, and by his wife. Wilson’s government took control of the economy once war came. Trump wants to be re-elected. If this is a means to that end, he will use it. Trump has been consistent in that he acts in his self-interest. If his self-interest happens to coincide with the will and needs of majority, so be it, even if you do not like the man

    1. Massinissa

      Its just, its impossible to predict what, exactly, Trump will do.

      He could end up being a great president, or a terrible one, depending on his actions from here on out. The possibilities are strangely all over the place, which is most unusual. Its hard to predict anything for certain about Trump at this point.

      Its like playing Spin the Bottle: Trump could end up pointing in any direction.

  8. We're all better off when we're all better off

    Lambert: Bottlenecks because the MBAs optimized the supply chain so that there’s no slack at all.

    Twenty-or-so years ago, you could tell by traffic patterns in Detroit that the Ford engineers on the Southfield freeway had absorbed “The Goal” and GM and Chrysler folks on I-75 had not.

    Commuters’ rule of thumb: keep one car-length back of the vehicle in front for every 10 mph of speed. You’ll be “wasting space” but if drivers don’t jam, all travel faster.

  9. BobW

    About bleach – I knew a germaphobe that could not be convinced she was at greater risk from spraying bleach solution everywhere than she was from not so very dirty countertops.

    1. ewmayer

      You’d need to spray wildly to cause serious throat irritation – and better for household use is to spray just enough to soak a folded paper towel and then wipe stuff down with that. And this part of the article struck me as bizarre:

      “But it’s unclear whether bleach destroys coronaviruses outside, and if it does kill them on surfaces it’s unclear whether it would kill viruses in the air. Bleach itself breaks down under ultraviolet (UV) light.”

      So the possible reason bleach would be less effective outside is breakdown due to UV? That doesn’t happen instantaneously. And anyway, one would think that it would be quite easy to test the hypothesis:

      1. Prepare 2 test surfaces with indentical Covid-19-simulating benign RNA virus preparation;

      2. Wipe subpacthes of indoor surface with various-strength dilutions of bleach to identify minimum strength needed for effective virus killing;

      3. Repeat [2] on outdoor surface, compare results.

      It ain’t rocket science!

      1. Synoia

        Two questions:

        Risky? Prepare 2 test surfaces with identical Covid-19-simulating benign RNA virus preparation.

        Hazmat Suit?

        1. ewmayer

          Hence the “benign RNA virus” bit – there are tons of RNA virus families known, including harmless-to-humans Coronavirus strains.

      2. Yves Smith

        I do not agree based on actual experience. Wiping with bleach isn’t that effective. Better than nothing but go read the literature on the length of contact time required for bleach to kill pathogens. From the NIH, emphasis mine:

        Bleach is a strong and effective disinfectant – its active ingredient sodium hypochlorite is effective in killing bacteria, fungi and viruses, including influenza virus – but it is easily inactivated by organic material. Diluted household bleach disinfects within 10–60 minutes contact time (see Table G.1 below for concentrations and contact times), is widely available at a low cost, and is recommended for surface disinfection in health-care facilities. However, bleach irritates mucous membranes, the skin and the airways; decomposes under heat and light; and reacts easily with other chemicals. Therefore, bleach should be used with caution; ventilation should be adequate and consistent with relevant occupational health and safety guidance. Improper use of bleach, including deviation from recommended dilutions (either stronger or weaker), may reduce its effectiveness for disinfection and can injure health-care workers.


        I’ve been using 70% isopropyl alcohol in a spray bottle to nuke things, IPA has to sit on a surface for 10 seconds more (maybe more but most sources say 10 seconds) to kill viruses. So I have been spraying the car wheel, controls, door handles (home health care aides who go shopping use the car) as well as pretty much everything I touch at the gym when the gym was open (save a few things I grabbed using a paper towel).

        Within a week, I had irritation in my trachea. It’s still there even with my being way more careful. Mere disinfectant wipes will now set it off. And I’ve never never never had respiratory issues. I can count on one hand and have fingers left over the number of times I’ve had chest colds.

        Any scientific writeup on alcohol v. bleach as a disinfectant says:

        1. Bleach is irritating and they caution against using it as a disinfectant.

        2. Bleach has to sit on a surface way longer to kill pathogens than alcohol. The NIH excerpt above is typical on both points.

        A friend of a friend (aspiring Olympic swimmer) got COPD from having her main training pool be over-chlorinated and indoors. One of my former cleaning women always used a surgical mask when cleaning to protect herself from the irritating sprays (some of the bathroom tile ones are nasty).

  10. Jason Boxman

    I gave it some thought, and as it happens, with the primary unfolding in the midst of this pandemic, unless Sanders had a majority of delegates, Biden Our Savior in Time of Crisis would surely have been chosen by the Democrat Party on a second ballot anyway.

    So this likely would have played out similarly, barring a huge surge in new voters, which sadly did not happen as far as I have read. So, this hasn’t been such a near thing at all. I don’t feel guilty, having not donated more money or actually phone banked. It was never that close.

    That Sanders has done as well as he has is nonetheless astonishing and somewhat encouraging.

    1. urblintz

      That the obvious and massive electoral fraud does not factor into your comment suggests it is mostly a guess

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        It’s very hard for me to regard the entire Democrat primary as legitimate, looking only at the balloting process. The Biden campaign urging people to violate CDC guidelines and vote in person, and then after the vote was taken, the DNC encouraging people to vote by mail, is vile beyond description. In the midst of a pandemic ffs.

        1. OIFVet

          I have been thinking about what happened with the DNC and the establishment basically taking Sanders out using all means at their disposal, and how it relates to the pandemic. Something I have been warninng my liberal friends about is already becoming a fact: the republicans and Trump are moving to the “left” vacated by the establishment Dems, their fake conciliatory noises notwithstanding. We have seen again that Pelosi, Schumer, and the rest of the Dem establishment is hopelessly captured by the corporate interests. So I think that the movement, with or without Sanders, needs to seize the moment and relentlessly hammer home the message that symbolic aid to everyday Americans, while corporations and industries have their hand in the cookie jar will simply not cut it. A thousand dollars will not be anything but a stealth bailout of banks and rentiers in the absence of complete forbearance of all consumer debt, combined with a sizable temporary UBI along the lines of Sanders’ proposal, is the very least we will settle for, and then only as an emergency measure to be followed by more complete structural changes once the worst of the crisis is over. I believe that we need to reach across the populist right and simply agree to put aside other difference and work together on this for the time being so that regular people have a chance. The popilist right is raging against many of the same things that we are, and the instinct for self-preservation should win out. We will have the added bonus of making the establishment Dems looking as useless as they really are. I hate to say this, but we shouldn’t waste this crisis by thinking small and simply being upset about what happened.

          1. Carolinian

            Only Nixon/Trump can go to China/M4A? It might just happen. I suspect Trump cares a lot more about the fate of Trump than about Republican ideology. The Dems seem too hopelessly weak to accomplish anything. They are a played out party when it comes to pushing new ideas or approaches. Lesser evilism is all they’ve got.

            1. Carolinian

              Just to add–what Trump has done re Venezuela or Iran is appalling and perhaps that alone is reason to give him the boot. But when it comes to Latin America Biden is just as bad as Trump is and when it comes to the Middle East Biden says Israel is his number one concern. Perhaps on the domestic front if not the foreign Trump can carve out some space to be a bit of a leftie.

        2. urblintz

          I agree completely, lambert. Absent corona I think there might have been a moment to spotlight this and for it to have mattered… it’s just so obvious to me. But that moment will never happen now.

        3. JohnnyGL

          We knew they were willing to burn the party to the ground to stop Sanders. They’re doing exactly that. Even after they’ve won, they’re still burning things, just in case. They are who we thought they were. Maybe even worse.

          1. montanamaven

            Worst comment that I’ve heard from a “liberal” to date came today on a phone call:
            “Somebody said that this [the pandemic] is God’s way of getting rid of Trump.”
            And he said it like a punchline expecting me to laugh, I guess. I was so dumbfounded, I honestly didn’t have a snappy retort. I just sputtered a bit, mumbled something to myself about that kind of God being a total jerk. Then said I’d see him later and hung up. Can’t get it out of my mind. What awful people Democrats have become. Really a mean bunch willing to take us all down with the ship. I decided not to see him later, but may see him tomorrow by which time I will have composed myself.

            1. Jen

              Up until about a week ago, I was hearing that kind of talk around the office. It’s stopped completely now that realization has settled in that millions really could die. I’m going to be charitable and hypothesize that this realization has not dawned on everyone, just yet.

              I work out with a small group and the guy who runs it emailed yesterday to say he was cancelling until “this sh*t settles down – hopefully in a week or two.” I stopped going a week ago. He still thinks everyone is over reacting. I sent him a link to the Johns Hopkins data visualization. Haven’t heard anything further. Sadly, he also has a parent and a good friend who are both starting chemo.

              I’m thankful to NC for keeping me ahead of the curve on COVID-19 as well as many other things.

              1. montanamaven

                I am grateful too for NC and Tucker Carlson more recently for keeping me way ahead of the curve on most things.

              2. judy2shoes

                I ran into one of my neighbors when I was walking the dog the other day, and when I commented that everything was feeling pretty strange and surreal to me, she said with supreme confidence that she wasn’t buying into all the hype. I said it wasn’t hype, and she said CV was just like seasonal flu and that there always have been plenty of deaths due to that. Then she said to look at what was going on in Italy; it’s just old people dying. I was so shocked on so many levels that all I could do was raise my arms and flail them about a bit because there I stood, an old person. The look on my face (must have been horror) got her attention, and she started saying she wasn’t trying to minimize what was happening in Italy Like montanamaven, I could not get that interaction off my brain, and it’s taken a couple of days for me to get my equilibrium back. By the way, my neighbor is somewhere in her late 50s – early 60s.

                1. lambert strether

                  Hard to forget Democrats calling for the deaths of working class people after 2016. This when life expectancy for working class people had been falling for several years.

                  Then Biden lies about CDC advice to maximize his turnout in an election, putting his own voters (!) at risk of infection, and the DNC corrects him but only in time for the next election.

                  I hesitate to deploy the term “death cult,” but holy moley

        4. jsn

          The delta between exit polling and reported vote count in all the electronic voting states calls into question everything that happened from South Carolina onward.

          With Iowa and New Hampshire, dirty tricks were everywhere on display, it only got worse from there as technology took over the fraud.

          It may be wishful thinking, but I suspect Sanders canvassing did a lot better than reported numbers indicate. The modest hope I take from this is that scales have fallen from lots of localy party operatives eyes and they may defect to something other than the Democrats in future.

          1. Carolinian

            Was Sanders ever ahead of Biden except for a few of weeks there after Iowa? All those months of Biden leading in the polls seem to say something unless you think those polls were rigged as well. Perhaps this just wasn’t Bernie’s year. That would have been 2016.

            1. jsn

              It could never be Bernie’s year. Panicked by his popularity after 2016, State Democratic Parties moved in mass to electronic voting.

              In the fall, we’ll see who’s back door is really in back, the Democrats who bought the machines, or the Republicans who own the companies who made the machines.

              I personally believe the media is largely corporate controlled except for sites like this where you know authors and editors. By extension the polls are to some extent controlled as well. Lambert has been pretty good at flagging odd hiatuses and low sample sizes in the ongoing Biden Juggernaut at the polls along with a number of out-and-out manipulated ones. The Biden Juggernaut beforehand was necessary to legitimize the electronic voting discrepancy from exit polls and it’s working just fine.

              1. Carolinian

                Yes but in the polls Biden wasn’t just a little ahead. He was typically double digits ahead. Since Biden was pretty much as goofy back then this suggests a strong “return to normalcy” current as opposed to a “let’s have a revolution” current.

                The conspiracy you are suggesting is fairly vast. Undoubtedly the establishment is thoroughly anti Bernie but the truth is that the barely paying attention general public takes its clues from the press. The primary election results don’t need a hidden cause to explain.

                1. jsn

                  Not a conspiracy, a confluence of interests and a shared, enabling ideology.

                  The voting machines are a conspiracy, no other reason to use them than untraceable vote manipulation.

                  1. Carolinian

                    no other reason to use them than untraceable vote manipulation.

                    Remember when we had mechanical voting machines with the little switches and the lever that pulled the privacy curtain? Was there no reason to use those either? Elections cost governments money even when they use volunteer poll workers (hard to come by lately). A machine that saves some of that labor does indeed have a reason and a purpose beyond mere “vote manipulation.”

                    1. Pat

                      But electronic machines allow for wholesale vote theft, and yes that is what the euphemism ‘vote manipulation’ means. At least the mechanical machines had to be tampered with individually.

                      And we have lots of evidence that wholesale theft can be done easily and from a distance. One thing that hasn’t changed is he who counts the votes has the power.

        5. Left in Wisconsin

          We knew they were going to pull out all of the stops to prevent Bernie from winning the nomination. And they did. I’ve seen all the evidence that voting machines can be hacked. But I haven’t seen anything convincing about who is doing it and how. And so I don’t have reason to believe that, given the normal, every day voter suppression and manipulation of news and support, Bernie was or is in a position to get past the 35-40% barrier of the Dem electorate, even if he would be a better candidate against Trump than Biden will be. And Bernie is by far the most electable candidate we have put forth in my lifetime.

          This is tragic because 2020 was a rare opportunity and it seemed possible that the Dems would be just feckless enough to fail to stop Bernie from winning the nomination. But even if he had, we have no idea what the next phases of the “stop Bernie at all costs” program would have been.

          As far as what comes next, I would argue for concentrating effort on M4A. Of course it seems implausible that Biden or Trump would get behind it. But we know now that a clear majority of Dems support it and the recent crisis has only demonstrated to average Americans both how insane it is that we don’t have it and that all arguments about what is and isn’t impossible to do, including Biden’s phony “pay-for,” are out the window.

          All the Dems want to know how Biden and Bernie reconcile at this point. Bernie should demand Biden’s support for M4A and Biden’s explicit recognition of BS as his point person on the subject.

            1. Left in Wisconsin

              What was different about 2020 vs 2008 was Bernie. Opportunity is more than circumstance.

            2. Massinissa

              In 2008 we were screwed: Obama, Clinton or McCain? Three flavors of neoliberalism. Its like picking what flavor of teeth whitener you want when getting a teeth cleaning at the dentist…

              This time we actually had a plausible alternative out of the three, but with the twilight of this primary we are left to choose between Neoliberalism Biden and Changes-His-Politics-Moment-To-Moment-Donald.

              We’re probably better off with Trump, but only because we have no idea what we are getting. Again.

              I’m going to either vote green like the last two elections, or stay home to not get the virus… Not like it will make much difference either way…

              1. Pat

                Edwards. Sadly flawed, but with help from his wife he was pointing out how divided between have and have nots our country had already become. Two Americas might not have been so starkly obvious before the crash and the one sided bailout, but it was still very real.

                Not one of the others even got it as a talking point until he did well in the first primaries.

          1. Carla

            It’s actually conceivable that Trump would institute M4A — but he would never, ever CALL it that.

            This does not mean I support Trump! But the Democrats have left everything on the left on the table for any populist to scoop up.

            1. richard

              whether it’s m4a or something else
              trump will pivot left in the general and annihilate biden
              If anyone thinks that bernie’s endorsement and even campaigning for biden will help give the melting old dog some lefty cred- I point you to our handy 2016 test case that shows the opposite
              chickens will come home, and they will roost
              it’s guaranteed

              1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                If Trump institutes UBI (looks like he is) and M4A4C (Med For All For Corona, seriously considering steps to that effect) maybe Bernie should endorse…wait for it…Trump!

            2. Left in Wisconsin

              I don’t see it but I’m all for pushing him. Has he done anything as President to suggest he would take on large corporations?

              1. GramSci

                Well, he did take on and decimate the Republican establishment in 2016. But that was pure spite on his part for not being admitted to the Harvard-Yale Club.

                So who does Trump hate more? The banks who have bankrupted several of his “enterprises”, or everybody who looks anything like the Central Park Five?

                I don’t know, and I doubt he does either.

            3. neo-realist

              If Trump gets re-elected, with no concern of re-election, he goes with a free market bromide solution that he frames as M4A: Insurance for all via competing high cost private insurance companies.

              I don’t see a publicly funded M4A solution coming from Trump. You think the likes of Mitch McConnell and John Cornyn would vote for an M4A of that kind?

              1. GramSci

                Yeah, he won’t go that far. *He’s* got *his* doctor; he doesn’t give a family blog about *yours*.

            4. lambert strether

              > It’s actually conceivable that Trump would institute M4A — but he would never, ever CALL it that.

              I think you mean LibertyCare™️ :-)

              And you can be sure there would be some horrid twist to own the libs — not means testing, but maybe no immigrants (legal or otherwise). All forms only in English.

          2. polecat

            Were I Sanders, I would NEVER support the likes of Biden. ANY credibility he has would instantly go poof.
            He would be looked upon as a disingenuous fake !

            1. ambrit

              I am already beginning to wonder if Sanders hasn’t been “played” by the Establishment. If Sanders “bends knee” to the DNC candidate this time, as happened in 2016, then I will reluctantly have to conclude that he is suffering from Political Stockholm Syndrome.
              I am reminded that the French Revolution of 1789 was “primed” by the effects of a natural calamity and it’s ensuing food shortages in Europe.
              See: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/apr/15/iceland-volcano-weather-french-revolution
              This coronavirus looks capable of creating similar conditions worldwide.
              Interesting times.

            2. a different chris

              He’s nearly 80 years old. Do you think he cares? He never seemed the sort to worry about his “legacy” to me.

          1. Geocrackr

            Came here to say this. “I don’t know why relational organizing failed.” The one thing he doesn’t list as a possibility is that relational organizing worked perfectly, but the Dems took their Staling to heart: “Those who vote decide nothing. Those who count the vote decide everything.”

      2. a different chris

        >That the obvious and massive electoral fraud

        Not obvious to us reality-dwellers. You can keep saying that, it doesn’t make it true.

        1) People are stupid.
        1a) the old ones vote for “ol Joe”.
        1b) the new ones don’t vote at all

        2) Have you ever studied fraud? This is *not* how it is carried out.

        When you want to rig an event (a sportsball upset, for example) you are careful to not crush the odds. You just barely squeak thru, so you can argue “preparation” and “weak points” and even “luck”.

        Biden crushed the vote. All the conspiracy theorists need to explain that. If there was fraud it was unnecessary in any case, see point 1.

    2. Phacops

      I just hope that Sanders will not ask us to support Biden as, I think, such a call devalues the policies he has been fighting for and shows a lack of respect towards us.

      1. JohnnyGL

        Oh, he will. It’ll be as visible as it was in 2016 that his heart won’t be in it as much, but he’ll do it.

        He’s made a lot of progress, and he’ll remain very influential post-election, regardless of who wins.

        1. JohnnyGL

          If you are skeptical that progress has been made, I think the exit polls are showing something important.

          Dem voters in every single state have favored single-payer by ~20pt margins. The question was phrased pretty badly, too

          Bernie himself has the correct take when he says, “we’re winning the war of ideas, but losing the argument around ‘electability’.

          I think it may line up nicely where a Biden loss in Nov finally kills off the cable news narrative of centrist-dem electability.

          1. richard

            we’re also losing the battle of ballot control and fair, transparent elections
            Bernie will not mention that, and to be fair we lost that battle before we ever took the field
            but still, without paper ballots, counted in public, lefties will find themselves constantly losing elections mysteriously, with 15% exit poll discrepencies
            I know no one wants to seem like a bad loser. But think about it for a second. Did hillary worry about that? Would trump? Would any one of the thousands of grasping sociopath liars who run things around here worry about how they would sound? If they were being robbed, if there was even a suspicion of it, the shrieks of protest would deafen us all. It is time for a serious rethink about strategy and tone. Tell the f*&^ing truth and be merciless about it.

          2. Aumua

            Unless Sanders does “bend the knee” and all his supporters follow suit, shut up and do their duty for the Democratic way of life then we already know what the narrative will be, the same one as before: Bernie and his Bros sabotaged the general election.

            Which although it wouldn’t be the truth, wouldn’t also be that far from the truth, just from looking at the comments on NC from Sanders supporters, and my own feelings as well.

            1. ObjectiveFunction

              I guess the question is: at this point does one really give two [family blogs] about the opinions of those narrators and the sheep (‘NPCs’) who graze in their echo chamber?

            2. lambert strether

              > we already know what the narrative will be, the same one as before: Bernie and his Bros sabotaged the general election.

              “‘Tis better be vile than vile esteemed.”

              So, since the Democrat Establishment will say what they say regardless of what Sanders does, perhaps it makes more sense to sabotage the general anyhow.

              What if Sanders did as much for Biden as he did for the previous horrid candidate but, say, under “Our Revolution” branding?

      2. Arizona Slim

        He asked me to support Hillary. I didn’t. If he asks me to support Biden, I won’t.

        I’m from PA. I know what kind of a crook Biden is.

        1. Carla

          To know what kind of a crook Biden is, all you have to do is pay attention. Americans don’t pay attention, and don’t know. He’s “likeable.” That’s what most of our compatriots “know.” And they also know they hate Trump, whom they are convinced is the root of all evil.

      3. Jeremy Grimm

        I think Sanders support for Bidden would only show whatever promises he was compelled to make allowing him to run as a Democrat. Sanders can go stumping for Bidden for all it matters to me. When the primary finally arrives in my state I am voting for Sanders, on the line or as a write-in — whatever it takes. In the final election I am voting for Sanders — on the line or as a write-in. I want potential candidates to following after Sanders to know they have a solid base of support waiting for a new Sanders to take up that support and lead it to a victory in the future.

        1. GramSci

          Please consider voting Green. If they’re on your ballot they’ll need every available vote to maintain their ballot line status.

          1. Massinissa

            I dunno, I might just stay home if the Virus is still around (I did early voting for Bernie this election)

            Proud voter for Jill Stein both damn times, but we have no idea what November is going to look like.

          2. Jeremy Grimm

            Between my impressions of Jill Stein and the machinations of the Green Party politics as revealed in their debates … I think I will pass this time around. I voted for Jill stein in the last election and was appalled when she used the limited Green funds to question the votes in Michigan. The DNC had far more funds and reason to pay for that exercise in futility.

      4. Jen

        It will certainly be interesting to see how this plays out. One of the things that struck me during the debate, was how often Bernie seemed completely astounded that Biden would lie so viciously and brazenly.

        The events of the past week have also been, as Lambert would say, wonderfully clarifying.

        1. David Carl Grimes

          What I get is why didn’t Bernie call him out on those lies. He could have said that Biden has a 40 year history of adopting and advocating for those positions like cutting Medicare and Social Security, Iraq war, Bankruptcy bill.

            1. ambrit

              And right there is one of the “mysteries” of the modern political landscape. Sanders says somethiong loud and clear and the general public end up thinking that he either said nothing, or the exact opposite. “Control the Narrative.”
              The ‘Emperor’ may have no clothes, but he still has a d–n big army to enforce the “dress code.”

          1. Yves Smith

            Go look at my CalPERS posts and see how much effort it takes to debunk a lie. No less than 10X the words of the falsehood. Sanders could not do that effectively in a debate format, at least not consistently enough to convince viewers who don’t know Biden’s history.

            1. Aumua

              This is a great point. Trump has proven that confidently lying is a winning strategy in American politics these days. The people see the confidence, and not the lie. They don’t really want the truth, if they have to work for it at all.

            2. lambert strether

              Trump, Biden, and Warren are all serial fabulists. Perhaps Lies have, as it were, a higher R0 than Truth, and that is why it’d adaptive for candidates to lie

      5. drumlin woodchuckles

        Just because Bernie asks us to support Biden or Clinton or whomever gets nominated does not mean that we have to do it. We are free to make extermination of the Catfood Wing of the Democratic Party into our Prime Directive and our Job One.

        If it is legal for a citizen movement to put a name on the ballot for President without that name’s permission, then the BernieBackers can go right ahead and do it. It might draw off enough votes to get Biden defeated in the general.

        At the same time, Tulsi Backers can try doing this for Gabbard.

        If Republicans want to ratfuck the process, Republicans can also work to get Sanders AND Gabbard onto the ballot. At this point all that matters is getting them onto all 50 state ballots by hook or by crook. That way, we can take the Biden down this November.

      6. a different chris

        I wish we could resurrect Steve Gillard for these arguments. *I* did not really agree with him, and probably do now even less.

        But he made strong points, which as a privileged white guy I have a hard time refuting, about people on the bottom rungs needing the best they can get *now* and not in some perfect future for which they will be dead.

        At some point you have to abandon ship… I think this may be the point. But I’m not sure he would agree.

    3. Late Introvert

      Not to mention that if he had won there would be his mysterious death in the near future. Let’s be glad he’s in the Senate.

  11. Carolinian


    There are reasons to doubt this

    Has Europe done any better than we have? Arguably worse? I think trying to turn this into a political football–now–is tiresome. We should all hope that he handles it well. If he doesn’t then the election is still months away. It can be addressed then.

    1. MLTPB

      Regarding bolstering hospitals quoted just above that, what concrete steps should have been taken? Is the bottleneck doctors and nurses? Additional respirators can be ordered, domestically, I think, if not all the parts are abundant.

      Then implementing social distancing at the local and state levels, helping when needed.

      I believe a balance is called for. Too soon, it will cause people to panic. I dont think we are weeks too late in governments calling for that. Individuals can and have acted out of precaution. Because you dont want to cause panic. I think some states or counties/cities are attractive most a few days late.

      1. Carolinian

        Mandatory testing is not something that would go over well in the USA. The testing thing is overplayed IMO as a factor that would have made a difference.

        And yes panic is what we should really fear.

  12. Daryl

    > “Trump Pushed Aides to Seek a Trillion Dollars in Virus Response”

    And just like that, the Washington deficit hawk (s. Democratus buthowarewegonnapayforitus) is an endangered species.

  13. h2odragon

    The “OODA loop” link is good. Everything that breathes has that tempo imposed on all their physical actions. Taking advantage of that makes things like catching striking snakes possible, or tripping a quadruped with a sneaky foot.

    Humans have a tendency to recognize and match these rhythms without conscious effort. If you stand with a grroup of people, notice their breathing; it will probably not be synchronized but syncopated. If you can keep off the beat for a couple minutes, you’ll annoy them and likely break the group without anyone ever realizing what was wrong.

  14. Wukchumni

    Talking to my sister, a friend of her in tony La Jolla (that sounds like a mobster’s name) has had her hopes dashed that their 14 year old soccer player son won’t be able to attend a tournament in Stockholm in July, but she’s not giving up all hope, this thing might be over by May Day.

    I’m so glad to see it go away, the rich see me-dig me lifestyle.

    1. ambrit

      Be careful Wuk. As “things” continue their inexorable slide to Perdition, you will begin to see ‘refugees’ from the flatlands show up in your region, all seeking an upper class level of ‘hardship.’
      Even though the Sierras are a defensible position, determining who to defend them against will be a difficult decision.
      Ye Subitil Serpent didn’t corrupt Eden by force, but with guile.
      Protect your Eden.
      I can well imagine the dismay of the Denizens of Dilmun when, placidly expecting the advent of a civilized Gilgamesh, along comes a rough and ragged Enkidu. (I know it’s not in the original, but, what else is “Poetic License” for?)

  15. Toshiro_Mifune

    For those playing along at home. The spike in trade volume just before the circuit breaker kicked in was absolutely absurd. MDP (below) reported roughly 35 mil msgs per sec. The previous all time high, if I remember right, was 21-22 mil. Just the difference between the previous high and today’s high would have been a noticeable spike itself 2 months ago.


    1. ewmayer

      I enjoyed watching the oh-so-predictable last-few-minutes ramp-into-the-close job. They didn’t manage to push the DJIA back above 20,000, but down a ‘mere’ 1300 points (6%) still looks much better than the -2,300 intraday low. But none of these short-term index manipulations will be able to stave off what’s coming.

      1. Leroy R

        With no NBA or NHL the financial channels are the best game in town. It was a battle all day today.

  16. Cuibono

    Sorry if this was already posted but important:

    “Menachery found the older mice’s fatalities were strongly related to not just weakness in their immune systems but also a “disregulation” that caused their immune systems to overreact to the SARS coronavirus. That’s similar to how humans die of infections from the new coronavirus, called SARS-CoV-2.

    “It’s the aggressive response from their immune system that is damaging them, even more than the infection itself,” Menachery said. “It’s like police responding to a misdemeanor with a SWAT team crashing through the door.”

    As I have been pounding the table about since January.
    If this is true, it is possible vaccination will kill

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Are there survivals among the immune response challenged that further validate this over-response claim?

      1. Cuibono

        I dont think it is quite as simple as that. In fact Steroids seem to exacerbate illness at least in early phases.
        I think it is more IMMUNE DYSREGULATION. Abberant immune responses…
        but frankly no one knows for certain. Except that we do have well documented examples of it; Dengue fever comes to mind

    2. Phacops

      There is insufficient data on the dysregulation to come to such an incindiary conclusion. I have yet to see any data on whether or not the dysfunction is a Cytotoxic one mediated by complement or cytotoxic T cells or if somehow, it is a type I sensitivity mediated by IgA caused by prior antigen exposure.

      Infections initially cause the antibodies in the form of Immunoglobulin M to be produced. There is no “memory” for IgM production. Once there is sufficient circulating antigen, then there is a switch of immunoglobulin class to IgG and a memory cell line is created. A secondary response can also be the production of IgA which binds to mast cells and waits there to mediate massive histamine release (in the lungs this would have several nasty outcomes).

      Whatever. But the morbidity and mortality rates are far greater than the presence of individuals in the population that exhibit Type I or Type II hypersensitivity. I am curious to understand more, but am unconcerned at this time about hypersensitivity to any proposed vaccine.

        1. Cuibono

          to be clear not talking about heypersensitivity to the vaccine. I am talking about the vaccine possibly leading to problems with related strains that emerge

    3. Bsoder

      Right now based on about 300k of infected people data, this in the 20-30 age group have a 14% need of hospital care, and those – 65-75 is 18%. Mortality rates minus co-morbidity are anywhere from 3.9% to 9%, for all groups, which makes sense given once one develops a serious lung infection and scarring starts that’s it.

      Pharcops makes excellent points.

  17. Damon A Harris

    RE: “Internet Traffic Surges As Companies And Schools Send People Home”

    That surging traffic is also leading to choppy calls as millions of folks dial in using VOIP for that 9:00 AM conference call. Related but separate (I think) ATT users are frequently receiving the “your call cannot be completed at this time” prompt for outgoing calls.

    Minor inconveniences to be sure but another sign of our fragile infrastructure.

      1. fajensen

        And that all traffic has to pass some datacenter in a secret location for analysis, which crimps the bandwidth. Peer-to-Peer VOIP and Video works wonderfully, until these services are centralised ala Skype or shut down like Appear.In!

        We have 100 MB/s fibre both ends here, and yet Skype, FaceTime and Facebook Messenger are as crap as they were in the ‘naughties, because the traffic still goes over the Atlantic for some reason.

      2. fajensen

        And that all traffic has to pass some datacenter in a secret location for analysis, which crimps the bandwidth. Peer-to-Peer VOIP and Video works wonderfully, until these services are centralised ala Skype or shut down like Appear.In!

        We have 100 MB/s fibre both ends here, and yet Skype, FaceTime and Facebook Messenger are as crap as they were in the ‘naughties, because the traffic still goes over the Atlantic for some reason.

  18. kevbot9000

    The OODA loop article was interesting, had never considered the idea in terms of half beats. There’s a biography of the creator, “Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War” by Robert Coram that goes through the formulation of his ideas. It is also a good portrayal of the air force, and military at large a few decades ago. My admittedly brief experience recently points to nothing having changed in the meantime.

    1. Wukchumni

      Wouldn’t that be something if the only people as a group ready for a food shortage, lost it all to one of those Zion temblors, a 9.9 to come?

    2. Utah

      The aftershocks have also been pretty scary. Hope you and yours are okay! I was gonna do another grocery run today to get gluten free baking things to pass the boredom, but I decided that given the quake, the grocery stores would have panic lines again. Oh well. Maybe tomorrow.

  19. Michael

    “Michael Bloomberg pledges $40M to fight COVID-19”

    I’ll see your $5M and raise you $35M Mr Gates.


    1. Cuibono

      Wake me up when one of them pledges a BILLION

      Sheesh 5 million for Gates is like me giving 25$

          1. Massinissa

            I mean, I’m not even convinced we know how much wealth Gates probably has stored overseas, so it may be even more negligible than we can tell just by official numbers.

  20. Jomo

    I rarely comment here, but I do have some honest questions concerning the response to the crisis. For one we do have an unemployment compensation system in every state, which can be supplemented during National emergencies, the purpose of which is to give unemployed people money. Why not use this system to give people money who need it instead of sending $1000 – $2000 to everyone. People can file for these benefits electronically and not risk virus exposure. Second, read numerous articles this morning about corporations spending billions on stock buybacks last year and now they are asking for relief. Why not have these corporations issue stock to raise money they need. Just asking. I can’t engage in any give and take on this cause l have to work. I will check back for any responses. Sorry if this has been previously addressed.

    1. Samuel Conner

      Regarding the working capital requirements of stressed public corporations, I would hope that whatever aid is offered comes with some intrusive strings attached that disincentivize future destructive practices.

      I suspect that at some point, the Federal Reserve will become “asset purchaser of last resort” in classes of assets broader than those purchased up to the present, including in equities. Provided that these ownership interests are stewarded in the public interest (readers may snort into their beverages that I consider this even a remote possibility), for example through representation of public interests on corporate boards, I think that this outcome would be preferable to simply letting “nature take its course.” The great danger, of course, is that we will see a reprise of the 2008-9 bailouts, which left the governance and practices of the bad actors essentially unchanged.

      It is conceivable to me that DJT could adopt a Rooseveltian stance of opposition to the “malefactors of great wealth.” It would be a path to a resounding landslide in November, something that I think might be worth hoping for in terms of the humiliation it would be to the unrepentant D Party establishment.

      In saying this, I am not expressing support for the President. I’m expressing hope that Senator Sanders’ policies will be implemented by someone or other. We know that Biden won’t implement them. DJT might, if it is in his own political interest to do that.

      1. marku52

        Excellent. Agree wholeheartedly. Witness the useless Pelosi shooting down sending checks, only to have it embraced by the administration.

        Using war powers to fix production is another possible winner, assuming they find someone competent to run it. Maybe steal a logistics guy from Walmart.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Deming would be hounded to death by the Wall Street type abetted by the main stream media. His work should be at the heart of a real industrial policy.

      2. lambert strether

        > I’m expressing hope that Senator Sanders’ policies will be implemented by someone or other. We know that Biden won’t implement them. DJT might, if it is in his own political interest to do that.

        I think that if and when Trump does such things, he or his advisors will make sure to also make them “poisoned chalices” for liberals, partly out of ideology, partly to “own the libs.” You can be 100% sure that a Trumpian #MedicareForAll would have such provisions

    2. Eureka Springs

      What, half the country can’t take a $400 shock? Many aren’t just unemployed, but between off the grid (taking care of children or elderly, living under a bridge or section D) and or underemployed with one or two part time jobs.

      Nope, if you have a pulse right now, you should automatically qualify. It all trickles up eventually anyway. Though it would be nice if the super rich had to eat nothing but derivatives.

    3. griffen

      My two cents worth on publicly traded , run for supposed profit corps. Fine you want help you got it.

      In return your execs and board are summarily relieved of duty. Its a free market so happy job searching. You get a few months severance not a golden goose for your lack of foresight.

      Bad things happen a lot, it’s the rank and file who pay the heavy cost.

      If they don’t agree, door #2 is Ch 13.

      1. BobW

        Do you think security will escort them from the building, cardboard box of personal items in hand, like they do the plebs? That would be a nice perp walk to see.

    4. Frobisher

      I have a friend in Colorado, a hairdresser who does a lot of 1099 work. That means the company that contracted with her rather than employed her has not been paying unemployment insurance premiums and neither has she. Is a result, much of her earnings during the eligibility period are not covered. Normally she would get over $600 per week but under this current arrangement she will get not much more than half of that. The Fair labor standards act is not enforced in resort country. They are asking their workers to use their personal time off pay….until it runs out.

  21. Glen

    I know I’m going to burst a lot of heads here today, but Trump would make a pretty good fake FDR. The Democratic party better get it’s act together or they are all going to look like Herbert Hoover.

    With regard to evictions, I heard Trump just STOPPED them. Legally, he may not be able to do this. It looks like checks will be in the mail. Heck, I think we need to see if we can get him to support M4A, and he can call it TrumpCare.

    Remember, only Nixon could go to China, this may be an excellent opportunity to push for real reform. I don’t CARE who does it.

    1. marym

      From The Hill:

      Re: Legally, he may not be able to do this.

      This may provide some indication of existing federal authority (ianal, just surfing the net)

      The moratorium will apply only to homeowners with mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration, a HUD agency that backs affordable home loans issued through private firms.

      The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) also announced Wednesday that it would suspend foreclosures and evictions for homeowners with mortgages backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

      From American Banker

      In their letter Tuesday to various agencies, 106 House Democrats called for the foreclosure and eviction freeze on properties backed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, HUD, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Housing Service. They did not specify a duration for the moratorium.

      They noted that policymakers instituted similar freezes in previous crises, including Hurricane Maria in 2017.


    2. Samuel Conner

      Agreed. DJT appears to be moving in the direction (if not there already) of governing to the left of the presumptive D nominee. What will JB say during the general election campaign?

      Things like:

      “I am pleased to announce tonight that I am incorporating President Trump’s policies into my plan for how I will lead the country.”


      1. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

        I can assure you that the Ayn Randroids on Twitter are in a bigger panic than the inhabitants of ou Elder Care homes because Mister ‘America will NEVER be a socialist country” is digging into the FDR book of solutions to economic colllapse.

        1. Massinissa

          “REEEEE PEOPLE SHOULDN’T BE ABLE TO GET TREATED FOR THE CORONAVIRUS IF THEY DON’T HAVE EXPENSIVE HEALTH INSURANCE!! I’m sure my expensive cadillac plan will protect me from all the super spreaders who can’t afford to get treated!”

      2. flora

        I watched T’s morning press conference with Pence, heads of VA and DoD, etc. Pretty good, really. He was clearly out of his presentation comfort zone of bluster and bravado. But, he’s finally done a lot of the right things and sounds like he knows why they’re the right things to do.

        Meanwhile, Democrats:
        Democrats have the soul of bureaucrats. They would rather sacrifice lives for the sake of doing things the same way they always did.



        What small business owners need right now to get through this crisis is bureaucracy.


        1. MLTPB

          Small business owners…and some landlords like pur poster Lee here.

          Not all landlords are bad.

          I hope Lee can survive not collecting rents.

          1. Lee

            Update from Lee’s house:

            The person that I evicted is happily living with her boyfriend, where she’d been staying half the time anyway when he wasn’t staying here. I’ve still got her dog, which she can’t keep over there. Her dog and mine are BFFs so that’s cool.

            As I previously indicated she had to move out because she wouldn’t take free rent and other support to quit a job which put her in face to face contact with a thousand bay area ferry commuters per day.

            Now, a week and a half later, due to our regional shelter in place order, she has been laid off and probably won’t go back because people aren’t taking the ferries much any more.

            Thanks for the good thought. I’ll be fine as long as I don’t catch Covid-19, which is likely to kill me. My renting out rooms in my house at considerably less than market rates isn’t a crucial source of income. I like the company and it seems wrong to keep so much space to myself.

            For now I’m buying almost all of the food and bearing the lion’s share of the expenses for those who decided to stay. the remainers are helping me a lot with the day to day as well as on deferred maintenance on the building.

            Everyone now here lives by the rules of best practice and social distancing because they agree its the safest and most pro-social course of action. America, we’re putting our eccentric shoulders to the wheel.

    3. urblintz

      I know I’ve written it before but…Trump is sooooo gonna get re-elected

      The whiglets just don’t get it.

      1. jsn

        As I’ve mentioned before, when Trump first entered the Republican Primaries 4 years ago, his position was that as an international business man he understood directly how US medical cost prevented US industry from being globally competitive.

        It will be absolutely hillarious to watch the Democrats have to campaign through the fall again against M4A, even as Bernie works the Senate to approve a Trump M4A bill.

        Trump looks after Trump. Period. Ironic how reality intrudes to align Trump’s interests with most peoples. I don’t yet believe this will happen, but reality is pushing very hard in this direction.

        1. Eureka Springs

          I said here four plus years ago we the peeps should promise Trump the largest mug, gold plated on Rushmore for all eternity if he gives the country M4A.

          1. Massinissa

            Think of all the gold miners and mountain sculptors we could put to work with that kind of stimulus plan! Sure beats digging up holes and refilling them.

    4. Richard_J

      Time will tell, but I don’t see Trump as FDR II. I think he’s merely throwing some cash to the base in an election year, when he knows he’s in trouble. That should get him a nice rise in the polls.

      Wait and see how much he gives to bail out Boeing, financial and insurance companies, and frackers. My guess is that it will be far more than he gives to ordinary Americans. Also, let’s wait and see if he endorses the GND, or some other version of a massive public works and job creation program. I will believe it if it happens, but not holding my breath.

      1. TMoney

        A quote I can’t find the attribution for “It’s best when self-interest and duty overlap”

      2. rowlf

        There was a time in the US past when the military made it’s own ships, airplanes, and armaments. Maybe unfair to the private sector but oh well. Tell Boeing and Lockheed-Martin to get patriotic and be nationalized too. Which is more important: national security or profits?

      3. lambert strether

        > Time will tell, but I don’t see Trump as FDR II

        FDR was said to have a second-class intellect, but a first class temperament,

        Trump has a second-class intellect, and a second-class temperament (both made worse by the billionaire’s bubble he lives in).

        What Trump has going for himself, personally, is:

        1) an absolute genius for sensing weakness

        2) luck. Napoleon liked his generals to be lucky, and Trump has been lucky, especially in his opponents

        1. jsn

          If you read Conrad Blacks biography of Roosevelt, which I highly recommend, Holmes quote was probably a statement to Franklin about Teddy.

          Franklin was brilliant and viscious, just viscious in service of a particular ideal of American power and governance that happened to make him incredibly powerful while making most Americans better off.

          Roosevelt was also incredibly self disciplined, particularly after his Polio. He played a shrewd political game from the start. Trump is but a turd that floated up as our politics went down the toilet.

  22. antidlc

    Why can’t I post links from wall street on parade?

    There are some interesting articles there.

    1. lambert strether

      I can’t recall detail, but if Yves says (crudely paraphrasing) they’re unsound on finance, then they are.


  23. antidlc

    What is being done to get more hospital beds and ventilators?


    Trump’s weeks of inaction and leading the public to believe this virus is “a hoax” will now cost millions of people their lives. Our hospitals are about to get slammed and overwhelmed on a massive scale. We will not have enough nurses and doctors. Many of them are already infected. We need 10 times the ventilators we have. We need millions of masks and gowns and other protective health care gear. This must all be up and running in the next 48 hours if we’re to stave off the onslaught.

    1. cuibono

      Well in China they stood up a hospital in days, Whatcha bet we could not pull that off?
      Still, we could take over some hotels: i hear there are some empty ones these days,..

      Finding vents a different matter but one would think some smart engineers might be able to get going on that one.
      Finding staff to man the vents?
      Calling Cuba now…

      1. MLTPB

        I believe we have two 1,000 bed hospitals ships.

        No other countries can saynthat.

        One is in the way to NY.

        FEMA also csn set up mobile hospitals. I don’t know the details.

        In ant case, ours and China’s may not be identical. They decided to build one, but no more than that, one hospitals, taking 7 days. Our NY bound ship is likely to get there sooner.

        1. antidlc

          FEMA also csn set up mobile hospitals. I don’t know the details.

          OK, so why aren’t they doing this now???

          We don’t have much time to prepare for the tsunami of patients.

          1. WobblyTelomeres

            Keep waiting for the cruise business to offer their liners, for a nominal fee. Wear and tear, maintenance, incidentals, that sort of thing.

          2. MLTPB

            I read about it around a month ago. I don’t know how many mobile hospitals, how many beds, how long to set up, etc.

            I have mentioned it a few time, about bringing FEMA in, with a declaration.

            The federal government did, a few days ago, I think. So FEMA can bring what they have to help.

            Should the declaration have been sooner? I don’t know. There is always the too-early-it-will-panic people risk.

            Right now, NY is first in number of cases, first or second in per capita of cases, it is the choice to send one of the two ships.

            I imagine as we see more cases elsewhere, and hospitals are running short if beds, though I dont know if they are completely, mobile hospitals will be set up, or the second hospital ship sent in, if it can reach the place.

            1. Anthony G Stegman

              I would be careful having FEMA get involved. Do you not recall the toxic FEMA trailers used post-Katrina?

      2. antidlc

        Well in China they stood up a hospital in days, Whatcha bet we could not pull that off?

        OK, we should be doing that NOW to prepare.

        We should be getting ventilators NOW.

        We don’t have much time.

        1. a different chris

          >Well in China they stood up a hospital in days,

          Didn’t it (or a similar one) fall down again in a few more days?

    2. Anthony G Stegman

      Your panic attacks are not welcome. It is highly unlikely that we will experience millions of deaths, even taking into account our highly dysfunctional health care system.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Population of the United States – approximately 335 million people.

        If there is a 60% infection rate, number of infected – approximately 200 million people.

        Assuming only a 1% death rate from all cases – approximately 2 million people.

        antidlc has right to be concerned.

        1. Cuibono

          i know everyone runs those numbers and maybe they will be accurate. so far however Hubei has how many thousand dead?
          65million people there…

          maybe when they ease up on the lockdown it explodes…
          lets pray not

  24. dcrane

    Back when Wuhan was going into lockdown, the Democrats thought it made sense to suck up all the media oxygen on a partisan impeachment everyone agreed was doomed. So no, I don’t think they would have done all that much better with this crisis.

    1. MLTPB

      After the Feb 1 travel restrictions on China, I thought this should be a key topic of the New Hampshire debate, laying out responses, to make later, as in now, criticisms convincing.

      And when cases started popping up in Italy, and people, like me, wondered if simliar restrictions should be put in place, again, there was a chance to step up and lead. Today, we are seeing many cases from the second strain, perhaps more than those caused by the first.

      1. Louis Fyne

        After Trump’s China-US travel ban (Jan 31), any Democratic candidate who would’ve called for an Italy/EU-US travel ban would’ve been tarred and feathered by the other candidates, the media, the immigration activists, and the Twitter left.

        Even the NYT’s Jan 31 reporting of Trump’s China travel ban was dismissive and labeled it as political grandstanding.

        Democrats (and the European Commission) got painted into a corner with their own rhetoric about the free movement of people and couldn’t even rationalize coronavirus as an excuse to tighten borders.

        Iran Air was operating flights into the EU for weeks after coronavirus went pandemic in Iran.

    2. lambert strether

      Funny, during the last three years I don’t recall House oversight of pandemic preparedness, either, and if it happened, RussiaRussiaRussia drowned it out.

  25. urblintz

    I had stopped watching all cable news decades ago but started watching CNN (NEVER MSNBC) during the primaries, becoming painfully aware again of the advertisement which is so blessedly absent on my Roku channels.

    Now, post COVID19, these advertisements are beyond ironic and very revealing, plugging lifestyles and products now seemingly so pointless, even for the wealthy (they just don’t know it yet)

    1. Lee

      My local PBS station is still running all kinds of boat cruise and travel ads while at the same time providing excellent coverage of Covid-19 developments. It’s a funny old world.

      1. urblintz

        even more cloying than the advertised products is the music used to promote them… I’m reacting the same way to movie soundtracks… the emotions, which music knows how to push, have changed in me and now the music sounds false. it seems to stand out now as wrong…
        the medium is the message writ different.

          1. Cuibono

            would surely like for our Moderators to host that conversation…

            today i received an email from my go to source of medical info on how to lower anxiety about Covid19. I opened it and was instantly bombarded by every imaginable horror story …
            strikes me as a bit odd…

            i can say that even i have had moments of ” Call in the Guard” the past 2 weeks. If they can do that to me, they can do it to most folks.

            Hence it is pretty easy to see where this might lead…

            1. Carey

              >today i received an email from my go to source of medical info on how to lower anxiety about Covid19. I opened it and was instantly bombarded by every imaginable horror story …
              strikes me as a bit odd…

              That, and the now-deluge of virus images pervading the interwebs.. how does that help, or whom?


          2. cnchal

            I’m not. Lots of garbage dressed up as satire out there.

            No, there is absolutely no doubt whatsoever that Covid-19 is the deadliest global pandemic humankind has ever faced . . .

            No one ever said it was the deadliest, so the premise falls flat on it’s ass, and CJ looks old enough to be one of the dead when he get’s it.

            Still flying = Total Fail

            1. CoryP

              CJ novel “Zone 23” was wonderful and well worth a purchase.

              He’s playing the long game here along with the folks at off guardian banking on this being overblown.

              I don’t believe them. But I’m glad the voices are out there and he’s a very entertaining writer.

  26. urblintz

    James K. Galbraith:

    “What Has Happened to the Economy?

    Very simply, a house of cards has fallen. An entire world of illusions, self-deceptions and sophistries has died. We’ve come to the end of a very long string.

    The string has been unspooling since the triumphs of Milton Friedman and Friedrich von Hayek, conventionally thought of as Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, but rooted equally in Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, in Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, and in the Bushes and Obama and many lesser figures. A binational, bipartisan coalition of catastrophe in the Anglo-Saxon realm of ideas. Donald Trump and Boris Johnson are consequences, not causes, of this mental failure.”


    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Reports of the death of Neoliberalism have been grossly exaggerated, and grossly premature.

      1. urblintz

        I dont know about that… it might be like the Roman empire which ended long before anyone noticed.

        1. MLTPB

          There was Constantinople, the eastern Roman empire, though for centuries till the end, Greek was spoken, and, I think, as the official language or one of the two official ones.

          That language change has always fascinated me. In a different way, it reminds of Chicken Masala becoming UK’s national dish.

          Back to Rome. There was also emperor Charlemagne, whose empire was an empire, or a Roman Empire, not Holy, as I think that was added later, long after..

    2. Kurtismayfield

      I know the supply-siders will have zero legs to stand on after this crisis, but it won’t stop them nor their corporate/Billionaire supporters. They will still spout off about job creators after this, blindly oblivious to the fact that without demand there is no economy.

      1. jsn

        Why shouldn’t he?

        Until they start throwing these people in jail, why should they pay any attention to the law at all?

        This is how an aristocracy installs itself.

    1. cnchal

      From https://www.investors.com/news/tesla-stock-gm-stock-fall-coronavirus-hits-production/

      The Big Three Detroit automakers — General Motors (GM), Ford (F) and Fiat Chrysler (FCAU) — are shutting down their factories amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis. Honda Motor (HMC) also is halting North America production. Meanwhile, Tesla (TSLA) continues to keep its Fremont, Calif., factory running despite an order to stop.


      Both Ford and Fiat Chrysler have had employees test positive for coronavirus in the past 24 hours.

      Hmmmm. Amazon is hiring 100,000 people to be tied to the whipping post in their petri dish warehouses and deliver packages, some of them, contaminated. A shutdown of that idiocy is inevitable. Ordering bumwad and soap on line is time limited.

      Is it a figment of my imagination that Amazon stawk is going up in this disaster? Cramer the clown – there is always a bullshit market somewhere.

      1. BobW

        “The lockdown order allows companies to continue minimum basic operations, defined as payroll, security, and preservation of inventory value. That list does not include car making, Kelly acknowledged, and said ‘it sounds like they’re still making cars.’ ”


    1. Toshiro_Mifune

      I should add it’s one of the guards and not apparently in direct contact with inamtes

  27. Tim

    I’m gonna say it. One of the reasons Bernie is staying in the race at this point is in case Biden were to get COVID-19 and not make it. That’s low odds, but it’s all relative. And politicians couldn’t do social distancing even though their lives depend on it, and Biden appears even older than his age suggests.

    1. Jen

      Three weeks until the next primary. I do wonder what the appetite for status quo will be in three weeks time, absent a major reversal of cranial rectal inversion amongst the Democrat leadership.

      1. rowlf

        Weapons of Mass Destruction NYtimes?

        The newspaper with the corrections section on page /dev/null?

    2. Aumua

      He could have it already and know it, but if that was the case they would never let it slip before Sanders capitulates, so it’s a moot point.

  28. GooGooGaJoob

    It’s quite clear that the Democrat Establishment wants no part of Sanders or Sanders voters. All you need do to see this is look at the extraordinary measures they took to defeat him. So what now for them?

    If the anecdotal threads I’ve seen on twitter are anything, Biden is going to crater right out in the general. I don’t have the threads handy on me at this time but the ones that have the theme of ‘it’s now time to unite’ are met with a flood of Bernie supporters advising the establishment to go pound sand.

    PUMA 2.0 I guess

    1. Billy

      Don’t forget the partisan photo editing:

      Latest wire service story has Bernie wiping his nose with a hankerchief
      Biden’s fire and brimstone look.

      WJ, every time Bernie opens his mouth about “women of color and black people”, he loses 100,000 white votes.

  29. WJ

    “A second idea: You can’t win a working class vote with an identity politics staff, and that’s what Sanders had, and they shape all the messaging. (It’s unconscionable, for example that Sanders lost rural areas.)”

    THIS. 1000x THIS.

    1. Bsoder

      Leaving hopeless people hopeless is in part what elected trump. The situation remains with C-19 and having no money at all thrown in. This is not conceptual a hard problem to solve. Republicans are ruthless and always act in their best perceived interest. Democrats seemed locked into a reality where everything ‘must’ get worse, but with better rhetoric than then Republicans. Both parties gotta go. Either the people step up and force the creation of government that is reality based or we get ‘The Road’. Why do we do this to ourselves?

      1. Dalepues

        Why do we do this to ourselves? Just because.

        I know that sounds like a smarty pants answer, yet it’s true. We are hardwired for failure.

        I didn’t always think this way, but about three years ago, when Morris Berman used to post here, he suggested a book titled “Immoderate Greatness, Why civilizations fail.“

        I read it, quickly; it’s only a hundred pages or so. William Ophuls, author, explains succinctly where we are headed and why.

        I don’t worry as much as I used to.

  30. Ignacio

    Roadmap for the fight against Covid 19: First quarantines on any country seeing logaritmic growth of casualties and when generalised testing has not been done. Second, when the number of casualties stabilizes in about 21 days after quarantine, start opening in a controlled manner. For this there must be massive testing available: Fever testing and Covid-19 diagnostic testing (preferably an immunological assay that can do fast tests with about 90% accuracy). Only those negative on both allowed to go back to work.

      1. Ignacio

        Next time I suggest you to argue directly what you see is wrong instead of just linking some confused and confusing article.

  31. tongorad

    In the 4 years since 2016, the Democrats have produced Russia-gate and Joe Biden. They deserve to lose. Badly.

    Trump stopping foreclosures and getting money to people – Something Obama wouldn’t do even with the Presidency, House and Senate.

    I imagine Trump will be keen to point this out in a debate.

    1. OIFVet

      Wait, do you think we should self-censor ourselves? Perhaps croon over Pelosi’s principled stand on behalf of large corporations, and be impressed by means-tested exercises in useless wonkery? Mark my words, Trump and the republicans will do very little, but in doing so they will still manage to outmaneuver the Dems to the left.

  32. Jeremy Grimm

    To get a little beyond everything Corona all-the-time I’ll offer a couple of science related links — a good-news / bad-news pair:

    Good news — the stellarator fusion reactor which began operation late 2015 is still progressing in its tests with no gotchas reported yet. AND — “Permanent magnets stronger than those on refrigerator could be a solution for delivering fusion energy” 11 March 2020, by John Greenwald [https://phys.org/news/2020-03-permanent-magnets-stronger-refrigerator-solution.html also the source paper is at https://arxiv.org/pdf/1907.01363.pdf%5D: “…allowing simple, non-twisted coils to produce the remaining part in place of the complex coils.” [Of course the headline should read “permanent magnets MUCH stronger”] (I would also like to see how the author’s son did with his high school science-fair rail-gun design and details of that design.) But there is also

    Bad news — (though not entirely ‘news’): “How a small nuclear war would transform the entire planet” … “As geopolitical tensions rise in nuclear-armed states, scientists are modelling the global impact of nuclear war.” This is not new information but the the models have been updated and the results are sobering: “This week, researchers report that an India–Pakistan nuclear war could lead to crops failing in dozens of countries — devastating food supplies for more than one billion people1. Other research reveals that a nuclear winter would dramatically alter the chemistry of the oceans, and probably decimate coral reefs and other marine ecosystems2. These results spring from the most comprehensive effort yet to understand how a nuclear conflict would affect the entire Earth system, from the oceans to the atmosphere, to creatures on land and in the sea.” [Nature 579, 485-487 (2020) doi: 10.1038/d41586-020-00794-y — this ref leads no where — but the PNAS source for the news blip is there and open access: https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2020/03/10/1919049117%5D

    “The surprising finding”, says Jägermeyr, “is that even a small-war scenario has devastating global repercussions”.

  33. Tom Stone

    Wuk, as our resident numismatist, what’s the “Official Beanie Baby Club” coin made of?
    One side is dated 1999 and has a pic of a beanie baby named “Peanut, the obvere has the initials “TY” in a heart.
    I’ve been doing some deep cleaning to stave off boredom and it turned up in a box of oddments…

    1. Massinissa

      The royal blue version of Peanut was the beanie baby that started the craze, because it was very rare and went for absurd prices back in the day. Only the Royal Blue version though, the common baby blue version is worth basically nothing.

      Royal Blue Peanut is not the rarest Beanie Baby at the moment, but it still goes for a good $2500 with tag. One of only a dozen or so beanie babies worth real bank.

      I have no idea what that coin is worth, could be nothing. I didn’t even realize there were beanie baby related coins.

      1. Tom Stone

        Thanks Massinissa, I think I picked it up at a garage sale a few years ago in one of those boxes of Miscallaneous parts you see from time to time.
        It’s about the size of a silver dollar and from the look and weight may well be silver.

        1. Massinissa

          So I looked it up. They apparently made silver versions of the coin, but also nickel-and-copper versions of the coin. I’ve heard you can tell the difference by hitting it on something and see if theres a ringing sound, which would mean its real silver.

          The nickel version is worth like 5-20 dollars or so, depending where you look. Probably more like 5-10, you know how collectibles are sometimes overpriced on the internet. As for the silver one, no idea.

          There’s also a gold version of the coin, apparently, but your’s obviously isn’t gold.

    2. Wukchumni

      Sounds like it’s worth a Quarter, Tom.

      I won a few stuffed toys in my day @ the carnival, but Beanie Babies weren’t my bag, man.

  34. lambert strether

    Forgot to say I finished my mini-essay on the Sanders campaign. Please refresh your browser

  35. Jeremy Grimm

    “Coronavirus: three things all governments and their science advisers must do now — Follow World Health Organization advice, end secrecy in decision-making and cooperate globally.” [https://media.nature.com/original/magazine-assets/d41586-020-00772-4/d41586-020-00772-4.pdf]
    I could not but entertain some conspiracy conjectures about the CDC’s pronouncements about face-masks … and secrecy around the decision processes did little to allay my concerns.

    1. Cuibono

      please do share. Folks seem so afraid of conspiracy theories…
      i mean we were supposeably prepared for pandemic flu.
      And guess what? Not any preparations wereactually made.
      From mwhere i sit it is because we all treATED IT LIKE A TICK OFF THE BOX COMPLIANCE EXERCISE TO GET THROUGH

  36. MLTPB

    SF reversed course, and weed businesses now deemed essential. (NPR).

    (No supply chain problems there? )

    1. urblintz

      the black market is thriving where most still need it, even where it’s rec legal too… they don’t need no stinkin’ supply chains… the community is self sustaining and doesn’t charge for the fancy packaging and advertisements… and I have seeds… boy do i have seeds.

        1. urblintz

          i agree it’s a shame that food availability is reliant upon on the supply chain and that no black market exists since food is certainly more important than cannabis. it’s a puzzlement…

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            I was called a “Pioneer” by Malcolm Beck for my efforts in the organic movement.
            I’ll happily be a pioneer in the Black Market Farming Movement.
            I was on my knees with a headlight at 5:30 this morning, pulling grass from around the lettuce and radishes and such.
            didn’t stop til a little while ago with planting and directing my boys, and my cousin and his kid…wife got to be a Tele-Teacher(gearing up for online classroom) and Farm Wife…making lunch for all us sweaty, dirty people.
            The utter lack of bread for a fifty mile radius really hit me where i live…and that was 2 days ago(i think,lol)
            cousin made a run to brady to essentially forage at walmart…masked and gloved.
            and i’m interested to see if there’s been a truck.
            —-and…he just called from the road home: only 2% milk, and few of those…no bread…no flour…and it goes on and on. I had instructed him to do a sort of walk through inventory…as an indicator.
            we’ll be ok here, on the farm…just unhappy without bread, tortillas, etc.
            I don’t yet grow that,lol.
            and mom put off getting new chickens for too long(drat!)…new chicks won’t be here(if at all) until late april.
            that’s a setback, to be sure.
            the feedstore in Kerrville has chicks in normal times…and i’m going there tomorrow to retrieve the golfcart from the shop…so hopefully they came in before all this near lock down began and are still available.
            we’ve been lax in the hatching side of things for a couple of years, what with cancer and all the other chaos.(i’d kick myself, but i can hardly move,lol)

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              we’re still in the primitive accumulation phase.
              haven’t sold a thing, just give surplus away to my neighbors…which has built a sort of potlatch/gift economy(folks out here are naturally amenable to this kind of thing…pioneer days loom large in the collective memory)

      1. hunkerdown

        Definitely essential. Marijuana has been shown to increase the comedic half-life of network television by weeks.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          If people start going crazy from “nothing to do”, recreational marijuana may be equally essential to keep people from running amok.

          ” Doctor, I need medical marijuana.”

          ” What for?”

          ” To relieve stress.”

          ” What stress?”

          ” The stress of not having marijuana.”

  37. MLTPB

    First dog to test positive passes away in Hong Kong.

    (First? I thought there was only one.)

  38. Geo

    Found out Adobe is offering two free months of their Creative Cloud to subscribers. A nice gesture but not as good as letting us just own the software like we used to. At least for now thats $120 I can put toward survival.

    If you have an Adobe subscription just go to cancel your account and before confirming they offer two free months.

      1. Geo

        Thanks! Unfortunately, I’m sorta trapped in Adobe’s web for video editing and graphics. :(

        1. Late Introvert

          Final Cut Pro X is now better than Premiere. $300 lifetime license.

          Resolve is free.

          Adobe? Please.

          1. CoryP

            Ugh screw subscriptions. I could have had Composer Cloud at $30 a month.

            No, sorry. I’ll just buy your terabyte hard drives of samples with a lifetime license during one of your annual sales. Wooooo!

  39. coats & linen

    “Finally, the big question nobody — I can’t imagine why — is asking: What will happen to Sanders’ army of small donors and activists?“

    As a very committed DSA person I’m a motivated commenter, but I think they should join DSA! Getting involved opened up a new world for me – the idea that you can do politics and contest for power without compromising your principles, that you can openly and proudly fight for the world we deserve. Because actually existing political institutions are so hollowed out, we can make a disproportionate impact relative to our size. We have a long way to go, but I have faith that we are laying down the roots for a more durable left power in this country.

    1. Geo

      I hope DSA is capitalizing on the moment. I see a lot of social media commenters saying they’re exiting the Dems and many joining the Greens. While I like the Greens in theory, they’re a fantasy-league party with no real infrastructure. DSA at least does real politics and tries to win more than just the quixotic presidential campaign every four years like the Greens. If the two merged that’d be ideal. The left needs to unite around a common enemy right now: The Establishment.

      1. coats & linen

        We’re doing our best! Given that our most powerful tool – pounding the pavement and talking to people – is out for the foreseeable future, we are working to come up with alternatives. Folks in NYC have been pushing demands on state government (via phone and social media) for things like an eviction moratorium, which we got (in coalition with many other groups). To me, the difference between DSA and the greens is contained in one word: power. The greens do not seriously contest for power. We do. Whether we win or not is another question, but that’s the only meaningful terrain to fight on!

        1. Geo

          Sadly, I cannot register as DSA in California it looks like. Will be non-affiliated for now and an ally in the effort. Thanks fr all you’re doing.

          1. Michael Paulson

            We’re not a political party (at this point), so you can’t register as us anywhere! But anyone is welcome to get involved, whether you’re a member or not. You can learn more on the national website and you should google whether there’s a local chapter near you!

        2. John Anthony La Pietra

          Greens have been building and maintaining infrastructure, while competing for power, for the past twenty years and more.

          And we do have candidates more than every four years, despite what you may not have heard from the corporate media to the contrary. Some of us even get elected — for example:


          Presidential campaigns are required in some of those states to maintain the ballot access that makes the Green Party a viable vehicle to power now and into the future.

          I hope DSA members can see their way clear to our being allies in the effort to build an eco-socialist party that counts grassroots democracy as one of its chief founding values — despite being independent from duopolists appropriating that word in their name.

          1. John Anthony La Pietra

            Excuse me — make that “. . . despite being independent from duopolists MISappropriating that word in their name.”

            1. Michael Paulson

              John Anthony La Pietra–I’m sorry, I overstated the case and for that I apologize. I understand the problem of ballot access; my main issue is that in our first-past-the-post system I question whether it’s the best use of organizing resources in the near to middle term. Speaking for myself, I absolutely welcome alliance and collaboration on the left. And I consider myself an ecosocialist first and foremost–that’s my main focus of organizing here in NYC.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      There may be some SanderBackers who are not that Socialist. What then shall they do? At least they should stay together with eachother. They might look into learning about all the intricate details of the New Deal and decide whether they want to start a New Deal Party. They might want to spend some energy getting revenge on the Democratic Party and start a party which they could call the Real Democrat Party.

      Something else SanderBackers of all sorts ” could ” do . . . would be to work independently to get Sanders’s name on all 50 state ballots. If the Sanders name were on all 50 state ballots, it might pull enough votes away from the “Democratic Ticket” to cause it to lose in all 50 states. And if such a loss were visibly attributable to millions of idealistic young SanderKiddies plus a few hundred thousand old Bitter Berners; then the MSDNC – Industrial Complex would have trouble spinning that outcome out of existence.

      The ” Never Again” voters would see themselves as having the power to destroy a thing ( in this case the DemParty’s presidential hopes. They might decide that having the power to destroy a thing might mean they can build the power to control a thing.

  40. russell1200

    “The OODA Loop and the Half-Beat’ overstates its case.

    The OODA Loop often sights the German military methods developed during the late 19th century and adopted, but particularly synthesized in the second half of WW1 with their Storm Trooper doctrine. A doctrine, which after adding radios and (some) mechanization, was very hard to beat in WW2.

    But the German’s in addition to their desire for pushing the point of the decision as far a possible down the chain of command (and thus speeding up their “Loop”, also had the concept of Schwerpunkt. Which literally means main emphasis, but is described better by saying the center of gravity. Avoiding a dispersion of effort, and primary effort where it will count. With the OODA Loop part of it allowing them to see fleeting opportunities and take advantage of them.

    The OODA loop is meant to signify the ability to take advantage of fleeting opportunities before an opponent can react. Timing would be part of this. So the piece only makes sense by making a Strawman of the theory.

  41. Wukchumni

    Was told our supermarket in town was down to around 6 or 7 gallons of whole milk-everything else got raptured, and that would be 60-70 gallons of moo missing.

  42. Toshiro_Mifune

    His entire job was to remove CGI buttholes that had been inserted a few months before.

    Wait – couldn’t they just have reverted back to the version before the buttholes were added?

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      Sounds to me like he’s got a guaranteed job for life.

      [Ring] [Ring] Hello, you’ve reached Acme Ahole Removal.

      Not a comedy writer, but it is there. Maybe he paints houses?

    2. Late Introvert

      Having engaged in film/video post-production my entire career, most likely said cat-butts were added after other crucial changes had already been baked in. At that stage it’s cheaper to tweak the master than go back and rebuild it from elements.

      But you are right to be skeptical.

  43. tongorad

    Corona virus updates –>>

    After invoking the Defense Production Act to help make up for medical supply shortages and deploy hospital ships to help mitigate the coronavirus pandemic, Donald Trump appears to be walking back the move.

    Trump tweeted that he’d only signed an executive order signaling he’d invoke the DPA “should we need to invoke it in a worst case scenario in the future.”

  44. Martin Oline

    I posted the tropical heat article for corona virus online and got some replies including a short film about heat treating for infection, the 5 minute 59 second version on the page below linked. It may be a good treatment and I am posting it here for anyone who feels they may have been exposed. I have not tried it but it is cheaper and possibly more pleasant than moving to the Sahara. The videos listed on this page will take you to YouTube videos. There are also testimonials here about the procedure. I have no idea if it is effective, but it beats suffering.
    Heat Treatment for virus

    1. GramSci

      Dan Dimke could be a quack, but GramShe and I are giving this a try. Wending our way back home from Spain this last weekend, we were (re) routed through Oslo, then the second-worst CV hotspot in Europe.

      We wash our hands compulsively. We wipe down doorknobs with hydrogen peroxide. We self-quarantine. What else can we do?

      This is the least onerous measure, even if it should be the least effective. It’s like a mini-sauna, almost refreshing. (Hint: use a face cloth instead of a spray bottle.)

      1. Yves Smith

        I tried it. Sinuses and back of my throat definitely feel better. I didn’t have any congestion or runny nose but was getting a worrisome intermittent scratchy throat.

        1. Martin Oline

          I think this is a preventative measure. Thank you GramSci for the face cloth hint. I will be sitting in the sun today here in Fort Myers, Florida, trying to acclimate myself to UV exposure. This might be the easiest for me as we are self-quarantining. From the link above:
          “Though a few types of coronavirus, such as the two SARS coronaviruses appear to be able to survive within the lungs of a very small percentage of patients, the initial infection always starts in the sinuses and usually lingers there for two days to two weeks, before progressing further. And, it is within the sinuses that the invading virus is most easily defeated.”

  45. dcblogger

    I have not received any solicitations for $ from Bernie since Tuesday. I notice he campaign people are no longer posting links to his auto dialer asking people to make calls. The DC primary is in June and I am voting for Bernie.

    1. Carey

      Yes, it’s been quite awhile since Sanders asked me for money… quite a change.

      “my good friend Joe”

    2. Samuel Conner

      I hope that Sanders does not suspend his campaign. There needs to be a platform fight at the convention (assuming that DJT has not by then so totally outflanked the Ds to their left that the nominee doesn’t matter, the general election being a foregone conclusion). Sanders will need all the delegates he can muster to pressure the D Party toward an “in the public interest” platform.

      1. John k

        He should follow the Hillary precedent.
        In 2008 she didn’t concede until the second day of the convention, and imo after maybe she was holding out for vp, finally settling for sec state. Furthering my spec, Obama, for all his many faults, not stupid, wouldn’t have been healthy.

  46. allan

    Review of Ferguson et al “Impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions…” [Shen, Taleb and Bar-Yam]

    Neil Ferguson and an Imperial College team perform detailed simulations of outbreak response \cite{1}. This is an important work because they model social/government response, not just contagion. They show suppression (lockdown so that R0 [less than] 1) is essential because mitigation (R0 [greater than] 1, “flattening the curve”) necessarily results in massive overload of hospitals and many dead. This is an important conclusion that should inform policy makers.

    However, they make structural mistakes in analyzing outbreak response. They ignore standard Contact Tracing [2] allowing isolation of infected prior to symptoms. They also ignore door-to-door monitoring to identify cases with symptoms [3]. Their conclusions that there will be resurgent outbreaks are wrong. After a few weeks of lockdown almost all infectious people are identified and their contacts are isolated prior to symptoms and cannot infect others [4]. …

    This seems to be on the level of `assume a spherical cow’ or `assume rational agents with perfect information’.
    In the reality of the U.S. in 2020, there aren’t enough tests to diagnose, underfunded public health agencies are incapable of contact tracing for an epidemic of this size, and door-to-door monitoring is a fantasy.

    1. Cuibono

      it is not.
      Do you know ho many RNs, PHNs, SWs and Care mangers show up to work at mamaged care companies to pursue mostly BS jobs of compliance montoring and droll regualtion following every day?? Many many thousands…redirect them to this task now!
      Testing problems: ship em to Korea to be run there? Hell knows they can do it.

      Look at Hong Kong singapore and Taiwan and tell me we can save lives like theycan

  47. Eureka Springs

    Was just talking with a friend about there being no eggs or chicken at the local grocery store. I live in Carroll County, Arkansas. Population 35k. A top producing county, in a top (no. 2) poultry producing state. Over a billion broilers (7 billion pounds of poultry meat) a year and 3.5 billion eggs.


    Yet there are no chicken or eggs in our local grocery stores. Something is terribly amiss. The people who produce and pluck them can’t even get them in stores a thousand yards to a few miles from the farm and processor.

    1. ambrit

      Time to “Nationalize” some chickens for “The Common Good.”
      Plus, as the “supply chain” breaks down, a lot of those eggs should be just sitting there, going bad. Time to set up some ‘Equal Opportunity Night Rider Commandos’ to swoop in and “liberate” some few millions of eggs.
      ‘Direct Action’ by the public. Something the Corporations never foresaw.
      If and when the local Sheriff’s Deputies show up to “maintain order,” be nice and offer them a choice. Either a hail of lead or some cases of eggs for the ‘home folks.’ All Politics being local, you would be surprised at how quickly the local Organs of State Security see the light. An even more cynical take on the preceding is that factions of the local Organs of State Security will be involved in the origination of the EONRCs. No “tense situations” need be contemplated.
      The neocons and ‘right wing’ groups have always made noises about the devolution of power from the Centre to the Periphery. Now, to see if they “walk the walk.”

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Aren’t these the petro-corporate chemo-toxic GMO-fed chickens from the large scale Chicken Mines? Is that chicken even worth the trouble it would take to liberate it?

    2. sd

      Fwiw, we are having better luck shopping in small local markets. For instance the local butcher shop for meat and a small market had eggs and milk. The big stores seem to be getting wiped out still with panic buying.

    3. lambert strether

      > Yet there are no chicken or eggs in our local grocery stores. Something is terribly amiss. The people who produce and pluck them can’t even get them in stores a thousand yards to a few miles from the farm and processor.

      Go in there and take them?

  48. drumlin woodchuckles

    The chicken may well be better, too. If so, it probably costs more. But for those who can afford it at all,
    it is probably worth it.

    Better luck, better chicken. And if the price is higher, well . . . maybe that IS the price of shinola chicken.
    Maybe ” always the low price, always” fellow-travels with “always the low quality, allways.” At least when it comes to chicken.

  49. Kurt Sperry

    Lambert, excellent and timely post-mortem on the Sanders campaign. Made some sense of it for me.

    I’m not sure Bernie wasn’t fortunate given the timing, just as I have a similar nagging feeling Corbyn dodged a bullet between brexit and Covid-19 in the UK. FDR ascended three years after the crash, and I think next election cycle will be more propitious for a unapologetically left-populist to make it stick. Four years is a long time in politics, let’s see what happens.

  50. Temporarily Sane

    Gotta say I am astounded that some people actually have faith in Trump changing his spots and meeting the present challenges with effective and enlightened governance. I mean have you been paying attention to this dude and how he governs?

    Yes, the Democrats and Biden are rotten to the core and, no, Trump is not the second coming of Hitler but that does not make him a competent president or mean he has the country’s best interests at heart.

    Anyone who believes Trump is an honorable guy who will do the right thing did not reach that conclusion using reason and examining the available evidence, that’s for sure.

    It’s no different than OBots convincing themselves post-bailout that Obama is gonna come around and show his man of the people side…any day now, just you wait.

    The term for this kind of “thinking” is willful self-delusion.

    1. Yves Smith

      I am more of your camp. Stoller has a tweetstorm on Pandemic Parasites (the grab it while no one is looking stuff Trump and his buddies are getting done).

    2. fajensen

      Sweden and the USA shares some important ideological ballast, one of which is an extraordinary Faith and Hope in that Leaders cannot really be as stupid, corrupt, ignorant, self-serving and malignant (evil just for the sake of Principles & Grand Ideas – like f.ex. Heard Immunity) as all of the current evidence and all of their well-documented past actions would lead a cynical non-believer to conclude!

      On the current trajectory, Sweden will become like Italy in about 10 days and then they will be all united, on-message, about how totally unavoidable the whole thing was and nobody’s fault really.

  51. ChrisAtRU

    Lambert’s View Of The Sanders Campaign

    Well, if lefty Twitter is to be heard, this point had been made many times:

    “A fourth idea: The candidate himself. Did Sanders’ reluctance to chop his opponents off at the knees lose him the working class vote? Perhaps a real brawler would have done better.”

    … and it’s not so much that Bernie isn’t a brawler, it’s just that he hasn’t gone for the jugular against Joe. I also think Bernie needed to speak directly to the constituency he is losing – ages 50+. I am reminded of the way Trump spoke directly to African American voters when he said, “What do you have to lose?” … it was blunt and in some ways brutal, but in that moment, he at least recognized that there was a singular group not open to his message – and he spoke to them.

    Bernie needs to do that with boomers. To the degree he wants to fight on, and perhaps pull off one of the greatest comebacks of all time (barring rigging of course), I really do believe if Bernie could get a town hall on CNN/Fox and that he had full reign to decide the “agenda”; and that maybe as a bonus he could get Stephanie Kelton (yes, I’m really piling it on here) … it could be a defining moment, not just for the campaign, but for the true left/progressive movement beneath him.

    In 2016, I think it was estimated that around 70 to 80 percent of Sanders’ primary voters went on to vote for Hillary. Well, in 2020, this will be closer to 50 percent if so much. Biden cannot win, and Trump currently out-lefting #YassQweenPelosi on the #CoronaStimlus is an early nail in any Biden general election campaign.

  52. Michael Paulson

    John Anthony La Pietra–I’m sorry, I overstated the case and for that I apologize. I understand the problem of ballot access; my main issue is that in our first-past-the-post system I question whether it’s the best use of organizing resources in the near to middle term. Speaking for myself, I absolutely welcome alliance and collaboration on the left. And I consider myself an ecosocialist first and foremost–that’s my main focus of organizing here in NYC.

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