2:00PM Water Cooler 3/19/2020

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 no new polls, whether national or state, as of 3/19/2020, 11:00 AM EDT. So for grins, I thought I’d pick one state from the next tranche of primaries. As I keep saying state polls are irregular, have small sample sizes, and are bad. Herewith, from February 20 (!!), New York, which is all that:

(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. As will happen shortly, when New York, after this long hiatus, is polled again, now that, after Obama’s Night of the Long Knive, Democrat loyalists have been given the word who to vote for.

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Gabbard (D)(1): “Tulsi Gabbard ends 2020 campaign and endorses Joe Biden” [CNN]. “Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard on Thursday ended her presidential campaign and endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden. ‘I know Vice President Biden and his wife and am grateful to have called his son Beau, who also served in the National Guard, a friend,’ Gabbard said in a statement. ‘Although I may not agree with the Vice President on every issue, I know that he has a good heart and is motivated by his love for our country and the American people.'” • Oh.

UPDATE Sanders (D)(1): “Sanders Supporters Have No Plans to Relent on Biden as Nominee” [Bloomberg]. “I think Biden on that very human level is in a much better position to connect with Bernie, and I hope that they do,” [Tad Devine] said.” • I think this whole discussion is ridiculous. Sanders has power because of his small donor base (who are not “fans,” but supporters. It would be more fair to use a sports metaphor like “fan” to describe the Democrat Establishment voters who flocked to Biden’s banner only when their leaders made it clear to them who they should follow). Presumably the pundits and strategists pushing this unity line would be orgasmic were Sanders’ funding to dry up, as it would have had Sanders, for example, gone the Warren route on cripppling #MedicareForAll, since deflating Sander’s base of small donors would leave Sanders powerless. The same thing will happen if Sanders supports Biden with anything other than an explicit and large quid pro quo (which I would urge be in detailed, in writing, public, and include personnel — say, Jayapal for HHS, with the power to choose all her own subordinates — since Biden is obviously not agreement-capable, as his serial fabulism on his own record shows). Both liberals and left face a dilemma, then. Liberals want above all to destroy Sanders, and the best way to do that is to cause his fund-raising to dry up by suckering him into a obviously bad deal with Biden. However, Sanders funding will only have dried up if he is seen to have betrayed his movement, and those betrayed voters will never vote for Biden; they will stay home, or join the DSA (or the Greens). On the left, Sanders faces his own dilemma. On the one hand, he gave his word to campaign for Biden (and I don’t know if he’s devious enough to make that a poisoned chalice for Biden). On the other, he needs — even from a straight power perspective, leaving principle aside — to keep his movement whole and intact, and therefore directed actively somewhere, and (I assume) doing good in some way. Sanders has a lot to think about in the next three weeks. Meanwhile, if Trump manages to write me a check for $2,000, that will be a hell of a lot more than liberal Democrats ever did for me, and don’t @ me on ObamaCare.

Lambert here: I want to expand on the mini-essay I wrote yesterday on the Sanders campaign, on the three institutionallly unique aspects of the Sanders campaign: The list, the media operation, and canvassing. Of the Sanders canvassing operation, I wrote:

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 coaliation, 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 are most definitely not “FDR Democrats,” and do 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, which overwhelmed 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 organized 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.) A second idea: You can’t win a working class vote with an identity politics staff, and that’s what Sanders had. (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 Establisment is, of course, doing everything it can to confirm them in their views. Door-knocking and canvassing simply aren’t enough to overcome these beliefs.

I want to add another idea, from labor activist Bill Fletcher, Jr. on the Ear to the Pavement podcast. (Fletcher seems to think the Warren was never a spoiler, and that the media is not a political (and partisan) player, down to the tactical, day-to-day level, so I don’t agree with everything he says, but this is good.) So herewith:

A sixth idea: Sanders lacked a Southern strategy. Fletcher urges, I think correctly, that the South Carolina debacle was predicted and predicted — even if Obama’s Weekend of The Long Knives was not. After all, the “Southern Firewall” is a well-known phenomenon, one that give us Obama (sigh) but also Clinton (and hence, from both, Trump). Sander did win Black youth with a policy- and celebrity-based strategy of Killer Mike and Cornell West, but for Sanders to win the old folks, he would have had to engage with the Black political class at least a year before the primary. He needed, in short, a Chuck Rocha for that community. I don’t think that implies kissing Clyburn’s ring; I think it would have involved contacting more congenial, and hence marginalized, figures in the South. The left in the South is not strong, but left individuals in the South are very strong, because of the crap they have to put up with. I do not for a moment believe that all Black leaders are misleaders, like Clyburn. Sanders needed to find those leaders, and elevate them.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Trump backs allowing federal government to take equity stakes in firms that receive coronavirus bailout” [WaPo]. “But Democrats have their own issues to work through — including how to put their own stamp on what is emerging as the centerpiece of the Republican-led plan being drafted in the Senate that could be unveiled as soon as Thursday: the estimated $500 billion plan to deliver checks directly to Americans over the next 90 days.” • Allow me to run this hardy perennial:

“Pelosi urges Trump to tap emergency war powers immediately” [The Hill]. • I thought Trump was Hitler? And won’t there be a time lag while Hitler checks with his handler, Putin?

UPDATE “Dealing With Coronavirus Requires Bold Action. The Democratic Leadership Won’t Take It.” [Jacobin]. “[C]entrist Democrats are also in the process of bungling the rapidly evolving debate around direct cash transfers — set to become urgent over the next few weeks, amid layoffs and the inevitable slowdown of economic activity, and already being floated by the Trump administration. Though House Democrats like Ilhan Omar and Ro Khanna are touting more ambitious proposals, there has seemed little appetite for direct, no-strings-attached cash transfers among the Democratic leadership thus far. Yesterday, Politico reported that none other than Nancy Pelosi ‘essentially shot down’ the idea at a private caucus meeting last week — potentially positioning the leadership of America’s liberal opposition to the right of former Republican presidential nominee Senator Mitt Romney. A statement released by Pelosi’s office yesterday that, among other things, makes reference to ‘expanded refundable tax credits,’ suggests the conservative posture currently favored by the Democratic leadership is unlikely to change any time soon.” • Tax credits. BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!!! However, I reject the whole framing of Trump “outflanking Democrats from the left.” The left puts the working class first, by definition. There is no way in God’s Green Earth that Trump, or the Republican Party, will do anything like that. I confess I do not have better framing. Paging Gregor Strasser?

UPDATE “Democrats sue over Wisconsin election as state debates next steps” [CNN]. “Wisconsin Democrats asked a federal court Wednesday to block voting laws that Democrats say force individuals to make an “untenable choice” between their safety and the right to vote as the coronavirus outbreak spreads in the US. In a lawsuit filed in the Western District of Wisconsin, Democrats seek to extend the deadline for online registration, to ease new requirements so that voters can upload photos of their voter IDs with absentee ballot requests and to extend the deadline for when absentee mail-in ballots can be received ahead of the April 7 primary election.” • Good. I’m still reeling from the fact that Biden sent out his voters to infect themselves and others in gatherings greater than 50, against CDC advice (and when the voting was well underway, the DNC called for mail-in ballots). I’ve seen a lot of cynical maneuvers in my time, but that one takes the biscuit. Makes it clear, if that wasn’t clear already, that the Democrat Establishment is playing the dirtiest game possible. If only they fought so hard for #MedicareForAll, or against the Republicans!

Stats Watch

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

Manufacturing: “March 2020 Philly Fed Manufacturing Survey Hit By The Coronavirus” [Econintersect]. “Overall, this report was much worse than last month’s report with key elements declining and in contraction. This is a very noisy index which readers should be reminded of is sentiment-based. The Philly Fed historically is one of the more negative of all the Fed manufacturing surveys but has been more positive than the others recently.”

Employment Situation: “14 March 2020 Initial Unemployment Claims Jumps Due To Coronavirus” [Econintersect]. BLS: “During the week ending March 14, the increase in initial claims are clearly attributable to impacts from the COVID-19 virus. A number of states specifically cited COVID-19 related layoffs, while many states reported increased layoffs in service related industries broadly and in the accommodation and food services industries specifically, as well as in the transportation and warehousing industry, whether COVID-19 was identified directly or not.”`

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Retail: “Walmart stock wins second upgrade of the week as shoppers flock to grocers amid coronavirus” [MarketWatch]. “Walmart Inc. was upgraded to outperform by Credit Suisse on Wednesday, earning its second upgrade of the week, as the coronavirus pandemic drives shoppers to their local grocers to stock up on food and necessities. Credit Suisse analysts led by Seth Sigman said there’s more to it that a temporary benefit. “We see this unfortunate period accelerating structural changes in consumer shopping, possibly by five-plus years, as they are introduced to new retailers and new shopping methods including online grocery and delivery, and further consolidate purchases at multi-category, multi-channel retailers,” the analysts wrote in a note to clients. Long term, they are expecting a shift to more food being consumed at home.” • “This unfortunate period….”

Finance: “BlackRock to Intensify Efforts to Hold Directors Accountable” [Bloomberg]. • I could have stopped at the headline, but: “While BlackRock has faced criticism from activists and other investors for not doing enough to take companies to task on their environmental records, Chief Executive Officer Laurence Fink said in January that BlackRock will be “increasingly disposed” to vote against management and board directors when companies are not making sufficient progress on sustainability-related disclosures.” • “Increasingly disposed.”

Shipping: “Coronavirus could deliver 17 million-TEU blow to container shipping” [Freight Waves]. “The impact on container shipping lines from the coronavirus pandemic could total about 17 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), according to Lars Jensen, CEO of Copenhagen-based SeaIntelligence Consulting. That amounts to about 10% of global volumes in a normal world, Jensen told wealth management firm UBS. Jensen did say he expects a strong volume rebound in 2021.” • In the long run…

Shipping: “Truckers are raising alarms about growing operational challenges from restrictions tied to the coronavirus pandemic. Efforts to hold back the spread are reaching truck stops and loading docks… adding new hurdles for truck drivers racing to meet surging coronavirus-driven demand for consumer staples and medical equipment” [Wall Street Journal]. “One operator says some customers are restricting movements of truckers at their facilities and Pennsylvania recently closed rest stops that provide significant parking space for truckers in critical logistics corridors. The state is reopening some of those sites for truck parking alone but operators remain concerned that restrictions on the movement of people could snarl the flow of goods. Federal highway regulators are trying to provide more capacity by expanding a suspension of hours-of-service driving limits for critical goods, extending the waiver to carriers of fuel and some raw materials.”

The Bezzle: “Blue Apron Extends 1,100% Surge to Highest Level Since 2018” [Bloomberg]. “The meal-kit delivery company opened above $25 a share for the first time since the fall of 2018, as investors flock for safety from the coronavirus-driven rout. The optimism comes as Americans prepare for a potential “shelter-in-place” order that would restrict their ability to leave their homes.”

The Bezzle: “Tesla to limit workers at California factory with virus lockdown order, county says” [Channel News Asia]. “Tesla Inc’s vehicle factory in California appeared to be operating normally on Wednesday despite an order by local officials to comply with a three-week lockdown in the San Francisco Bay Area to rein in the spread of coronavirus….. Tesla Inc has agreed to reduce the number of active workers at its California vehicle factory, but remains in talks over other measures to comply with a regional lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus, a county spokesman said on Wednesday,” • I love Tesla. You’ve got to be “in talks” with them to get them to decide to obey the law.

Tech: “Invisible Censorship” [The Intercept]. “The makers of Tik Tok, the Chinese video-sharing app with hundreds of millions of users around the world, instructed moderators to suppress posts created by users deemed too ugly, poor, or disabled for the platform, according to internal documents obtained by The Intercept. These same documents show moderators were also told to censor political speech in TikTok livestreams, punishing those who harmed ‘national honor’ or broadcast streams about ‘state organs such as police’ with bans from the platform. These previously unreported Chinese policy documents, along with conversations with multiple sources directly familiar with TikTok’s censorship activities, provide new details about the company’s efforts to enforce rigid constraints across its reported 800 million or so monthly users while it simultaneously attempts to bolster its image as a global paragon of self-expression and anything-goes creativity. They also show how TikTok controls content on its platform to achieve rapid growth in the mold of a Silicon Valley startup while simultaneously discouraging political dissent with the sort of heavy hand regularly seen in its home country of China.”

Manufacturing: Wheeeeeeeeee!

Supply Chain: “The coronavirus pandemic is confounding supply-chain strategies usually put into motion in natural disasters. Hospitals across the U.S. are running out of the masks, gowns and other equipment they need to protect staff against the coronavirus… in a stark sign of how the pandemic has upended emergency-response logistics” [Wall Street Journal]. “Normally, hospitals carry enough reserves to tide them over until new shipments can arrive. But the shortage is overwhelming commercial operations from production to distribution, with suppliers unable to shift goods from one region to another because the pandemic has reached across the globe.” • In a crisis, things correlate.

Transportation: “COVID-19. By the end of May, most world airlines will be bankrupt” [Center for Aviation]. “Cash reserves are running down quickly as fleets are grounded and what flights there are operate much less than half full. Forward bookings are far outweighed by cancellations and each time there is a new government recommendation it is to discourage flying. Demand is drying up in ways that are completely unprecedented. Normality is not yet on the horizon…. [T]he post-coronavirus environment has all the makings of a geopolitical standoff. The last thing the world needs post-coronavirus is a nationalistic aeropolitical confrontation. A conflict along nationalistic lines would have colossal implications for the entire aviation supply chain, airframe and aerospace manufacturers, lessors and financiers. It would be greatly reduced in size and would be catastrophic for many satellite activities. That is, even before the impact of the lack of flying undermines the tourism and travel industries, which account for hundreds of millions of jobs around the world and underwrite global business activity.” • This is a must-read.

Health Care: “These 15 companies are working on coronavirus treatments or vaccines — here’s where things stand” [MarketWatch]. “A mix of legacy drugmakers and small startups have stepped forward with plans to develop vaccines or treatments that target the infection caused by the novel coronavirus…. In the U.S., many of the companies that are initiating development have received funding from two organizations: the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), which is a division of the Department of Health and Human Services, and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a division of the National Institutes of Health. Some companies have also received funding from Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), a global organization based in Oslo. Other companies are funding trials by themselves or through partnerships with other life sciences companies.” • So, who owns the IP then?

Bailouts: “Opinion: Airlines and Boeing want a bailout — but look how much they’ve spent on stock buybacks” [MarketWatch]. “despite a history of rough patches during unforeseen events, such as the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and the volcanic eruption in Iceland in 2010 that disrupted air travel, large U.S. airline companies spent most of their free cash flow over the past 10 years on share buybacks, propping up their quarterly earnings-per-share results…. Analysts, investors and corporate executives often call buybacks a “return of capital” to shareholders. This isn’t necessarily the case if the share price declines, despite the buybacks, or it eventually becomes clear the company was underinvesting in its ability to deliver competitive products and services.”

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 6 Extreme Fear (previous close: 5 Extreme Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 2 (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. Up from 4 yesterday. In percentage terms, that’s a lot!

The Biosphere

“China’s Climate Pledge in Question on Virus Response, Report Says” [Bloomberg]. “China’s response to the coronavirus outbreak is raising uncertainties about its ability to meet 2020 emission goals that it has been well on track to accomplish, according to a new research report. Before the virus hit, China was close to meeting 2020 pledges toward increasing clean energy and reducing carbon intensity that it agreed to by signing the Copenhagen Accord in 2009, according to a report published this week by Rhodium Group, an independent research provider based in New York. It would have been the first international climate commitment that China has demonstrated it could meet. Now that’s being thrown into flux by the coronavirus outbreak. So far the economic slowdown brought on by government efforts to slow the spread of the disease has reduced emissions. But if China decides to stimulate an economy heading for its worst quarter on record by investing in pollution-intensive industries — the playbook it followed after the 2008 financial crisis — emissions could come back with a vengeance.”

Health Care

“Review of Ferguson et al. “Impact Of Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions…” (PDF) [Chen Shen, Nassim Nicholas Taleb and Yaneer Bar-Yam, New England Complex Systems Institute]. This is the report that got Trump’s attention, for whatever reason. Extremely important:

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.

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]. The outbreak can be stopped completely with no resurgence as in China, where new cases were down to one yesterday, after excluding imported international travelers that are quarantined.

Their assumptions are equivalent to ergodicity, as they consider new infections to be a function of infected fraction and immunity, and not influenced by where in the trajectory of the outbreak they are, distinguishing going up from going down.

However, in what I’m guessing is a fine example of reflexivity, the very “ergodicity” [that’s a head-scratcher for me] of the Ferguson model, assuming that this led to alarmist conclusions, may have been the very thing that prodded the Administration into taking the measures that Taleb urges that science would have included. Should one always give wise policy advice to fools? Don’t @ me, Nicholas!

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“Coronavirus strikes Congress” [Politico]. “Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) and Ben McAdams (D-Utah) became the first known members of Congress to test positive for coronavirus, raising fears about the deadly virus spreading through the halls of the Capitol. Lawmakers who closely interacted with the infected individuals are now under self-quarantine, including House Minority Whip Steve Scalise and several other members of the GOP whip team. Both Diaz-Balart and McAdams voted on the floor last Friday with hundreds of their colleagues and started experiencing symptoms Saturday, and there’s no telling how many other people they may have interacted with — though the Capitol physician is attempting to map it out. The pair of positive tests underscores the predicament facing Congress: lawmakers need to be in the Capitol to pass legislation to fight the pandemic, but being clustered together is a huge health risk for members, who tend to be older and more vulnerable. This is only going to increase pressure on leadership to cancel in-person voting.” • I wish I had an income breakdown of #COVID-19 infections. If air travel into the United States was the vector, I’m guessing the breakdown would be different from China, and Italy. Still waiting on that Acela Cluster.

Millenials are ruining the pandemic. Thread:

News of the Wired

“Free Medicine for Everyone” [Four Thieves]. “People are disenfranchised from access to medicine for various reasons. To circumvent these, we have developed a way for individuals to manufacture their own medications. We have designed an open-source automated lab reactor, which can be built with off-the-shelf parts, and can be set to synthesize different medications. This will save hundreds of thousands of lives.” • Need a product review. I do note this group is funded by Shuttleworth, so they are legit, whatever that might mean these days. (I should give a hat tip to a reader for this link, but I’m too lazy and rushed. Please raise your hand in comments!)

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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):

Of these second crocuses, 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…”

Bonus project trial balloon. Yesterday I wondered out loud whether any members of the commentariat had undertaken knitting projects. (The connection to les tricoteuses was entirely unconscious, I assure you. Alert reader Katiebird responded:

Katiebird writes:

[Here is] a pair of mittens. All I have left is weaving in the ends (this is a Fair Isle joke.) I love the construction of these mittens with the insulated cuff (the red ribbing). The big lesson (after figuring out how to knit with two colors – I hold one color in each hand and Continental style with my left hand and English Style with my right) Is to understand Color Dominance. That is, which color do I want to POP and how to make that happen.

I had a cousin who did a lot of knitting, and the conclusion I came to was that knitted goods were complicated and interesting data structures. (And I didn’t even underline the words Katiebird used I couldn’t understand.) My thought was that in the current crisis, gloves would be useful for touching surfaces (yes, they’d have to be washed, but that they’re not disposable is good).

So thanks to Katiebird, and if you have undertaken projects, do feel free to send them in to the address above. (I liked the model train layout on the piece of plywood; if watching the trains run is your thing, have at it, say I!)

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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. katiebird

    Speaking of washing gloves, I bought some white archivist gloves and they are washable. Somewhere in this house is a silk mask also washable. I have been going through drawers but haven’t found it yet.

    I wouldn’t use wool mittens for casual washing. They take forever to dry.

    Not that I am going out. I am too old and have asthma. We have been hunkered down for a week

    I didn’t define knitting terms because I thought it would bore people. But I’d be happy to answer any questions.

    1. Billy

      Katie, Moist items can be jammed against inside of windshield, windows closed, facing the sun, the fastest way to dry anything without paid energy inputs. UV is blocked by the car glass, so it won’t kill germs, except by drying.

    2. Louis Fyne

      in Korea one of the types of mask that they use cotton masks into which you can insert a store-bought “KF94-certified” filter


      I have zero idea if this would work—-but I wonder,given the scarcity of actual masks and no KF-94 filter equivalents in the US, you can take a cotton mask and insert a cutout from very high-MERV furnace air filter.

      (again this is a crazy idea and will never be as good as a factory-made hospital-grade mask, but something is better than nothing).


      1. Darius

        As Scott Gottlieb said, the point of wearing a mask isn’t for your own protection. It’s to protect others if you’re asymptomatic, as many thousands now surely are. It should be mandatory to wear a mask if you’re out in public. Again not for your protection, but for everyone else’s.

        This would make it easier to allow some resumption of normal activities.

        You can make them from old shirts if you have to. I’ve ordered them from eBay and am expecting them any day.

        1. Bsoder

          Sorry, but all of these masks, given how small a virus actual is, is like using chicken wire to stop dust. Na ga happen. 99% of masks being worn are in fact to stop those wearing them to stop touching their noise, mouth, and eyes. At NIH we use basically space suits with are positively pressured. It is both truth and stupid beyond belief that every ICU doesn’t have one of these per healthcare workers and those adjacent to them (eg, people who clean). Hospitals can not become the source of continued infections. Or I should say must stop. As to people at large, these masks don’t give you super powers. If they remind you not to touch, wash up, and relieve stress – well that is good but that is all.

          1. Darius

            A mask reduces the virus-laden spray a virus-positive sneezer or cougher broadcasts into the nearby air. Their function in lessening face touching also may be a factor. It’s all about probabilities. Widespread use of face masks reduces the probabilities of transmission.

            Again. You don’t wear a mask to protect yourself, but to reduce the rate of spread. This concept seems foreign to many Americans.

            1. Bsoder

              Not for a virus. But I don’t need this argument. What’s needed are facts particular to C-19, the specs for the masks, and how well they actually protected anyone. I’m looking at what data we have to date as I write this. What was used in 1918 was 100% infective.

              1. Darius

                Are they measuring protection of the wearer or prevention of the wearer from spreading the virus to others? My understanding is that masks are ineffective at protecting the wearer, but that’s not at issue.

                Even if masks are just 50 percent effective at reducing the discharge from an infected person, that’s significant.

              2. Darius

                Or the concentration of the discharge or the area it covers. These questions need definitive answers, but the Asian experience suggests we should be wearing nonprofessional masks in public. What is the harm?

                1. HotFlash

                  Indeed! I mask when going out. As with climate change, I don’t need to wait until *all* the evidence is in and peer-reviewed.

          2. JL

            If your mask is n95 respirator, then they absolutely WILL filter out small particles size of viruses


            Brownian motion increases the SMALLER the particle gets, and once they hit the filter they will stick due to electrostatic forces.

            95% filtration at 0.3 micron is quoted NOT because it cannot filter particles smaller then this size, but because it is the particle size where the filtration performance is WORSE for this technology.

            I hate this misinformation. I have even seen doctors repeat this “small particle” nonsense.

            1. Yves Smith

              Hardly anyone is using an n95 since they require training and special fitting to be used properly, and are so difficult to breathe through that most people can tolerate them for an hour before they need a break to breathe without the mask.

              So you are providing disinformation by misleadingly implying that n95 can be readily used.

              1. c_heale

                Nearly everyone in Korea is using a Korean N94 mask which is equivalent to a Western N95 mask.

        2. clarky90

          Expert: Imagine you already have coronavirus


          “An infectious disease professor has gone viral on Twitter for sharing some advice regarding coronavirus; it is tipped to be “the best”.

          Professor of infectious disease modelling at the University of London’s School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine Graham Medley told BBC Newsnight people should act as if they already have coronavirus.”…..

          This simple is a life saving change of Point of View. Instead of protecting ourselves, we are protecting others. This framing has made it more comfortable, for me to change my usually, gregarious behavior.

        3. HotFlash

          You can make them from old shirts if you have to. I’ve ordered them from eBay and am expecting them any day.

          Whoa, there, Amazon delivers old shirts?

      2. Stillfeelinthebern

        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2440799/ Professional and Home-Made Face Masks Reduce Exposure to Respiratory Infections among the General Population 2008 study on Influenza.

        “It is also clear that home-made masks such as teacloths may still confer a significant degree of protection, albeit less strong than surgical masks or FFP2 masks. Home made masks however would not suffer from limited supplies, and would not need additional resources to provide at large scale. Home made masks, and to a lesser degree surgical masks, are unlikely to confer much protection against transmission of small particles like droplet nuclei, but as the reproduction number of influenza may not be very high [14] a small reduction in transmissibility of the virus may be sufficient for reducing the reproduction number to a value smaller than 1 and thus extinguishing the epidemic”

        1. Bsoder

          “May”? I don’t think so. C-19 & flu are not the same at all, as C-19 has an R value of anywhere Between 1.9% and 9% (Italy), (the flu- .1%) Short of proven anti-virals or vaccines, the one proven method to contain or slow C-19, is extreme isolation. Today’s data show that severe cases among 20-55 year olds is 38%. How these numbers hold up who knows, but being very careful until one knows for sure by people that understand what they are talking about is vital. I think the posts here at @NC are excellent source of good info, but the situation is not just medical but political. Try never to underestimate stupidity. Also things are happening quickly so things we thought we knew may change.

          1. FluffytheObeseCat

            This: “a small reduction in transmissibility of the virus may be sufficient for reducing the reproduction number to a value smaller than 1 and thus extinguishing the epidemic” may be impossible to achieve with SARS-CoV-2 if we were to rely solely on face barrier methods. Isolation is the optimal, and as you indicate, the only currently proven method of reducing R0 enough to extinguish the epidemic (maybe).

            However, you have given no evidence, no links to peer reviewed literature, to support your harsh condemnation of posters who are suggesting that masks help reduce R0 to some degree. Your ‘masks are worthless’ assertions certainly contrast starkly with standard public practice in the east Asian littoral. Where people have years of experience with SARS-inducing coronaviruses, and where the current transmission rates for the current coronavirus seem to be currently lower than in western Europe and possibly the U.S.

            Until it is well and repeatedly proven via peer reviewed assessments that normative public masking practices in South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan are utterly pointless I will try to follow them to the extent that I can in the U.S.

            Try to remember, BSoder, a large minority of the U.S. population cannot self-isolate entirely. Any techniques that reduce transmission – even if they are not so perfect as to quench the epidemic – should be promoted. If you are on an anti-mask use rant because you want the very limited U.S. supply secure for front line health care workers……. then f*cking say so. Do not make bankrupt, implicit arguments that they don’t matter because they cannot, alone, end the epidemic.

            1. Geo

              Very well said. Dude seems to have a vendetta against masks for some reason. If a link is provided I’m half expecting it to be about how surgical masks don’t protect against chem-trails.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I didn’t define knitting terms because I thought it would bore people.

      Not saying you should have! The language was quite vivid, but it might as well have been some coding language I didn’t know! (Nor would I have thought wool would not dry fast. I guess I thought of seven pairs, each washed and dried after use.)

      1. katiebird

        7 pairs!! Omg. Actually, that’s not a bad idea. But I think my archivist gloves will work better especially as it warms up. Again. I am not going anywhere (except on daily walk) so I won’t have to use them till we run out of potatoes and apples and grapes. And bread. And …..

        It is very like a new coding language. I was amazed when I started working on complex projects how similar patterns are to code. And then it turns out that LOTS of designers are programmers.

          1. HotFlash

            Here is a link to the results from a Swiss Cows search for beginner knitting. I have checked out a few, don’t know your level/learning preferences, but you should be able to find something useful there.

            BTW, if you are a beginner, I would recommend something simpler than mittens. Maybe a nice mask? knitting a CoViD mask site:youtube.com

            And an Old Knote from an Old Knitter; if you can manage to “knit on” rather than “cast on”, you will not have a problem with a too-tight beginning row. Worth knowing early in your knitting career.

      2. montanamaven

        I was having trouble finding cotton gloves, like the work gloves we use on the ranch. Finally found 2 pair of jersey brown gloves at Ace Hardware in Upstate NY. Easy to wash. Up until then was wearing wool. Just longer to dry than cotton which can be dried in a dryer with the rest of the clothes.

      3. Hana M

        Somehow this brings back a favorite Harry Potter moment: ‘I was merely reading the Muggle magazines,’ said Dumbledore. ‘I do love knitting patterns.’
        Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

        PS I’m doing a comfort reread of the entire Harry Potter series. Even though I know the incantation and wand motion to make an object fly, I have yet to figure out a muggle knitting pattern.

        1. Judith

          My comfort reading authors are Susan Cooper, Philip Pullman, Jane Austen, and Michael Ondaatje. Each of them provides comfort of a different sort.

          1. richard

            my comfort reads have always been gore vidal and pg wodehouse
            wodehouse certainly seems another world at this point, but maybe not that much more than he intended it to be :/

              1. The Historian

                I’ve pretty much stopped reading heavier tomes – too stressed out to concentrate – so I’ve been reading Jules Verne. I’ve always loved his novels. Harry Potter sounds good right now too! So does Ursula LeGuin!

                My TV watching is limited to cozy mysteries like Poirot, Miss Marple, etc – I really don’t want to watch all the disappointing things I hear on the news anymore – at least not for a while.

            1. C

              Reading Dante’s La Vita Nuova, amongst other things.
              Escapist maybe, but I’ll take it right now, along with
              another shot of whiskey.

    4. Stillfeelinthebern

      Katiebird, I love your mittens! that cuff makes for a really good fit at the wrist. You inspired me to send Lambert a pic of the mittens I’m working on. I use the magic loop circular method. I’m curious to hear what methods others use. I always found 4 needle knitting clunky and I was always losing the needles (I knit constantly, especially when I travel), magic loop changed everything for me. I highly recommend it. AND you can knit two socks at once, so I never have to worry about finishing the second one or that they are different.

      I knit my mittens and gloves with wool sock yarn. It has a small amount of nylon so it is totally machine washable and dryer friendly.

      So delighted to find knitting friends here:)

      1. katiebird

        The cuff is really nice and cozy. This is a Ysolda Pattern and knitted with fingering yarn. Pattern is MĪLĒT and I got it in a kit.

        I knit mittens, gloves, and socks with 2 circulars. I think 4 needles are too fiddly but sometimes I like fiddly. I never took to magic look. It is hard for me to control ladders. I have techniques for dealing with it. But 2 circulars work better for me.

        I almost like the new Addi FlexiFlips but the cable between them is too short and they should have an extra needle. They just come with 3. How does that even work?

        I keep thinking I should learn the 2 at once technique. Maybe this year is the time to try.

        My email is katiebird@gmail.com. Send me note if you would like to talk more knitting!

      2. CallMeTeach

        Hello fellow knitters!
        The mittens are fantastic. I just finished Ysolda’s “Cairngorm,” will add “Milet” to my project list. I’m a 2 circs or DPNs, myself. Are y’all on Ravelry?

      3. Pat

        Love the mittens, so more kudos to Katie Bird!
        Spent more time crocheting growing up so not at the Fair Isle skill level nor up to mittens, I stick to slippers.
        Thinking it is time to go back to learning the continental method during this period.

        I think we will find that old school hand work of many types are not only helpful skills to have, but good for mental health as days go by.

    5. Oregoncharles

      That’s odd – in my experience, wool dries quickly (mittens might just be too thick – but hang them by the open end, so they’re open; also helps with socks). Not as quickly as synthetic, of course, but faster than cotton.

      Of course, they can’t be put in the drier, so there’s that. We have a string over the washer/drier for that purpose.

      Very handsome mittens, anyway.

  2. Carolinian

    As some may have heard this morning Trump endorsed the use of chloroquine against CoV based on foreign studies and said the FDA had approved although they say not. Apparently some US doctors are prescribing it however. It is said to show promise in the initial stage, not necessarily in the pneumonia stage.

    Since the side effects of this long standing drug are mild why not approve it? Not that anyone is asking me….

    1. urblintz

      It’s so odd… the talking heads were screaming about a diagnostic test, the search for which and manufacture of – although they already exist, I think – was quickly public/privatized and from which people are already making money while pushing back against the “regulations” which Fauci and others admitted were slowing the process. But here we have a drug, long known, already in use and as you say with rather mild side effects that has shown effectiveness in treating covid but suddenly Dr. Gupta is terribly concerned that “regulations” limiting its use must be followed until more “studies” prove that it is safe and effective. I’m not suggesting it is a miracle cure… I am merely commenting on the dangerous ridiculousness of the opinion makers.

      1. Lemmy Caution

        Perhaps TPTB don’t like chloroquine because it is cheap, widely available and has no patent on it. That isn’t how disaster capitilism is supposed to work!

        1. Geo

          Maybe they can patent a chewable version or something so they can upsell if for a few grand a dose?

        2. mtnwoman


          Hydroxychlorquine (Plaquenil) is even better, and safer. Esp if with Azithromycin (antibioitic)

          Very inexpensive. Used for 40 years.

          Thus it will be ignored so Pharma can push a $500/pill “cure”.

      2. trya

        In the United States, once a drug has been approved for sale for one purpose, physicians are free to prescribe it for any other purpose that in their professional judgment is both safe and effective, and are not limited to official, FDA-approved indications. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Off-label_use)

        I can say definitively that ICU doctors in the US are discussing the use of hydrocholoquine.

      3. Phacops

        Gupta, as a md should know, physicians who see a study from a reliable source may decide to use a drug for therapy in an “off-label” use without penalty.

    2. Oregoncharles

      From the description I saw, chloroquine is an ameliorative, not a cure – it only addresses symptoms. But then, so are ventilators.

          1. mtnwoman

            Aren’t there gouging laws for this kind of situation?

            Not if they are buds with GOP lawmakers.. Wonder if Jared has invested in the company.

        1. Aumua

          It’s hard to say for sure, but it seems to me that what the tweet author claims (100% cure of 6 COVID-19 patients) is not what the study actually says. I could be wrong, but so far I’ve only read talk of in vitro laboratory tests. I welcome any evidence that I’m wrong here.

    3. jashley

      The side effects of this drug are not MILD given other medications one maybe taking.

      The people most at risk and possibly most in need of a drug cocktail are also the most likely to be on other medications.

    4. Kfish

      Fits nicely into Trump’s persona as the lone voice of truth, fighting against a corrupt bureaucracy.

    5. lordkoos

      The side effects are not mild for some people, some have been rendered blind by this drug.

    1. katiebird

      Thank you, Kevin! I think I am a pretty good knitter but I was following a pattern here…. I didn’t design it.

      I am always amazed when people say they just made this pair of socks or that sweater from their own pattern.

      1. fresno dan

        March 19, 2020 at 2:27 pm

        I’m pretty sure that the only thing that can really save us is knitters…

  3. Billy

    Shelter in place or not, lawnmovers are mowing and leafblowers are blowing around us in The Bay Area as the gardeners try to survive. Word from them is, many a pickup truck, driven by single males, loaded with household goods and tools is heading south of the border, probably never to return.

    California “Governor” Newsom is turning out to be an ineffectual figurehead, inserted into the meaningless sinecure of state office as a place holder/puppet for the development, lending, demographic stuffing, taxation complex, now all on hold.

    I hope a vast political purging and housekeeping is going to occur when this pandemic is over. Please don’t let the incompetents survive politically, but do highlight examples where federal, state or local government is doing what it is supposed to, or better yet, innovating and creating solutions. Regretfully, I have nothing to report, so far.

    Keep a list of who is doing what at your local level. The Good are the public officials and institutions that deserve our further electoral support and our tax payments. The Bad, at best, deserve public shaming, non-election, and at worst…fill in the blanks.

    1. clarky90

      COVID-19 The neutron bomb wrecking the global economy by Bernard Hickey


      “We should start thinking about how to deal with a global depression, starting with massive public works projects and an NZ Super-style Universal Basic Income for all funded by the Reserve Bank buying of Government bonds.

      This is an article I hoped never to have to write, but now is the time.

      The world economy is going into a Covid-19 lockdown that could last up to two years, causing a global depression that we won’t avoid without unprecedented Government action to support incomes and activity. The Government here is expected to announce tougher social isolation measures and borders are closing all over the world.

      There is about to become a new normal that requires us to throw out all our assumptions…..”

      ….”Meanwhile, everyone should prepare for a multi-decade period of global turmoil and help renew the communities and government tools needed to stabilise and rebuild.”….

      1. Billy

        “without unprecedented Government action to support incomes and activity.

        And seizure of the equity and firing of officials like those behind this greed grab at Boeing?:

        “Having sparked public outrage after demanding for a $60 billion bailout earlier this week after repurchasing tens of billions of its own shares over the past decade…resulting in record corporate leverage…”


        1. The Rev Kev

          Maybe there should be string attached for bailouts this time around. How about if a corporation gets one, no dividends, no stock-buybacks and no executive bonuses and the like for a 10-year period. Either that corporation accept it or they are not really serious about the whole deal. If they start to go down, then nationalize them and fire the management team and board for incompetence.

          1. cm

            Why not clawback 50% of C-level salaries and bonuses for the past five years if the company wants to take a bailout?

            Alternatively, shoot one of the C level officers and no clawbacks required.

      2. Jeremy Grimm

        This flu — the Corona flu — is NOT the flu or disease we need to fear! The Corona flu is like a test for our existing capability for dealing with a real disease epidemic — think a Black Plague flu combining long periods of little evidence of symptoms enabling the spread the illness with an illness possessing high levels of fatality. We are NOT ready. But the Corona flu is only the test.

        Closing the economy all over the world is insane. We are learning the WRONG lessons from this test. Global trade is not inherently bad. But global trade should NEVER have been allowed to serve as a way of profiting from labor arbitrage. Global trade should NEVER have been allowed to destroy the in-country capacity to produce critically needed goods and services — like food, medicines, and generally all manufactures of ‘mature’ goods. [I include among ‘mature’ goods those goods whose manufacture is well-known and well optimized — such that only labor costs, subsidies, and Market consolidations both domestic and foreign serve to constrain producer competition. — I realize this is an unrealistically limited description … but this is a just a comment and I am not ready, able or competent to elaborate very much further.]

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          “Labor arbitrage” and “differential conditions/laws/regulations arbitrage” are the sole and only purposes of Global Free Trade. Global Free Trade is inherently evil and should be destroyed.
          Its destruction would be a beneficial side-effect of this disease.

    2. Oregoncharles

      I’m a semi-retired landscape gardener – still work for some old friends. Unless you’re on a large crew, it’s a pretty solitary occupation. You can’t get covid-19 from plants, and clients will understand, I hope, if you keep a distance. In aid of which, I have to stop commenting and go to work. Promises to keep.

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      I hope the advice of your comment is taken to heart as the true lesson of the Corona flu. If you keep a list I hope you will share the list of those who “deserve our further electoral support”. As far as I know that is a very short — empty list — for my local and state governments and as I view our Federal government the list has become a list of those who MUST go — if our Society is to survive the spread of a REAL disease.

      1. Procopius

        I just have to object to your calling it “Corona flu.” It’s not an influenza. For one thing it tends to affect older people, while influenza does not discriminate by age. For another thing, COVID-19 (the correct name for the disease) causes permanent damage to the lungs, while influenza does not. I don’t mind calling it “Wuhan virus,” or even “Chinese virus,” because those names were in use before the WHO announced the official names (the virus’s name is “SARS CoV 2”). Please do not refer to COVID-19 as any form of “flu,” and be sure to get your flu shot every year.

      1. Copeland

        Yesterday I was forking compost into the raised beds and from inside the compost bin, up popped the head of a rat to see what was going on. This happens every time I move compost, so this time I was ready…rat is deceased.

        1. Oregoncharles

          they make good fertilizer. I caught (traps) a couple, buried them in the compost – didn’t even find the bones.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        A pitchfork won’t stop .50-caliber machine gun fire. Or even the LRAD hearing-destroyer or the Raytheon portable Microwave Torture Ray machine.

        1. The Rev Kev

          How many rifles with telescopic sights are there in America? And people that know how to use them? Human wave attacks are so 20th century.

  4. Ignacio

    Italy surpasses Hubei in the number of reported fatalities associated to Covid-19. Proof that some numbers are more fabricated than others IMO.

    1. What?No!

      I’ve gotten to the point where all the Covid-19 numbers appear useless for assessing where we’re at. All jurisidictions are testing and reporting so differently. If we had an accurate number of cases admitted to hospital related to Covid-19, that might be helpful in deciding who’s flattening the curve and who’s simply panicing in place surrounded by toilet paper.

      1. Michael Fiorillo

        FWIW, Jimmy Dore recently interviewed Dylan Ratigan, who recently returned from Italy. Ratigan said that, given the paucity of information, the only sound metric was ICU beds in use. If I remember correctly, he said the John’s Hopkins Medical School site was a good place for relevant data.

  5. Ignacio

    Health Care: “These 15 companies are working on coronavirus treatments or vaccines — here’s where things stand” MarketWatch

    To be sure there are several more attempts around the world and the burdens to reach clinical assays have been set lower. This is important because the very well funded and connected Big Pharma nearly has the monopoly to reach this stage and IMO this has been a drag for innovation, particularly when innovations bring solutions other than very expensive and chronic treatments.

    1. Kurt Sperry

      Leave it to the private sector and they will develop a treatment that is extremely expensive, patented and locked down so scarcity can be enforced to prop up prices, and— in their fondest dreams— also must be taken over and over for years, lest the symptoms quickly return. An extortion scheme in other words, the usual big pharma extortion scheme. A one-dose cure would be for-profit pharma’s worst nightmare scenario, they would probably suppress one if they accidentally found it looking for a long-term rainmaker.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I’m really sick of anonymous briefings from the intelligence community. I don’t believe any of it, on principle. They’re expertly trained liars and manipulators. That is what they do, and are doing.

      1. JohnnyGL

        1) You forgot their skills in @ss covering, blame-shifting and bureaucratic infighting. This looks like an effort to get ahead of the finger-pointing and questions of “why weren’t you out there early on this issue?” that is likely to get underway.

        2) It sounds like they weren’t even ahead of what you could find in the news. Lambert and Yves at NakedCap were giving solid round ups at least as early as 1/23. It’s not clear they were even any better informed that our gracious hosts were by doing news round ups.

        1. Kurt Sperry

          It’s been an open secret for at least decades that the most highly classified, top secret stuff is far less reliable and accurate than intelligently made analyses solely using open sources. It makes sense too, because the secret handshake spook woo woo stuff can’t ever be fact checked. Spooks are paid to lie, anyone trying to keep official secrets is *duty-bound* to lie. Nobody should pay the slightest attention to anything anybody within the “intelligence community” says— even on the rare occasion they are willing to go on the record.

          1. KLG

            Indeed. Way back in the 1970s when research university science libraries had a “New Arrivals” table for scientific journals, one only had to read the Russian language journals (in translation) every few weeks to understand that the Soviet Union was no real threat, except to blow up the world, either by accident or if/when provoked by US. The collapse of the Soviet Empire 15 years later was no surprise, based on perfectly open sources. I wonder what similar sources will say about the collapse of the American Empire?

          2. Synoia

            top secret stuff = telling the boss what he wants to hear

            analyses solely using open sources = Cold hard truth.

        2. richard

          Yes, looking at the dates when burr is supposed to have given this briefing, it was nothing i wouldn’t have already read about here

      2. jonboinAR

        Is not the point that if Burr could either be informed of the seriousness of this, or figure it out from the information that was presented to him as an important public figure, why couldn’t the President?

        1. jonboinAR

          …Or is it that they all knew the truth and were deliberately keeping us hoi polloi in the dark until they could dump their stocks,… or something.

    2. doug

      Yes, my vile scum bag of a senator.
      Actually not fair to vile scum bags, but it is all I can muster.

  6. zagonostra

    Tulsi endorses Biden…such a disappointment.

    A pox on all their houses. A battle for the “Soul of America” indeed…all I know is that that battle won’t have me on the side of the corrupted vile leaders proffered.

    Innumerable force of Spirits armed,
    That durst dislike his reign, and, me preferring,
    His utmost power with adverse power opposed
    In dubious battle on the plains of Heaven
    And shook his throne. What though the field be lost?
    All is not lost—the unconquerable will,
    And study of revenge, immortal hate,
    And courage never to submit or yield:
    And what is else not to be overcome

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > And study of revenge, immortal hate,

      The Democrat Establishment is all about hate and fear (see Rachel Bitecofer). Perhaps there should have been more hate in the Sanders campaign. Better luck next time, I suppose.

      1. Chris

        Assuming there will be a next time…

        What this will do even more effectively than the virus is keep people home. The manipulations in the primary were so obvious that it really is hard to see how votes matter. And would you wait in line for hours to have your votes not matter? I certainly won’t.

        I hope this is Bernie’s last dance with the DNC. I hope the Democrats enjoy what this gives them. It’s time to give up on the national political scene and walk away.

      2. Jermy Grimm

        Next time? I wish the Sanders campaign had raised visiability for at least a few worthy candidates to take up his mantle. Otherwise Bernie will be a one-of as we race to our destruction.

    2. John k

      Tulsi was never a progressive.
      End useless wars, yes, but public doesn’t care bc all volunteer.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        The public cares. But who in power cares what the public cares? [I seriously doubt the effectiveness of the protests in in the 1960s and 1970s in ending the War in Vietnam.]

        1. Oregoncharles

          The ongoing, quiet mutiny in Vietnam was probably a bigger factor, but that was inspired in part by the resistance at home. There was a very conscious effort to reach out to the troops, which I don’t see now.

    3. thoughtful person

      The word has gone out that the choices are endorse Biden or endorse Biden. For voters it’s vote Biden and we’ll count your vote…

      I’m planning on going to polls and demanding to vote on a paper ballot that will be counted in public. If that’s not on offer (and it won’t be) I’m heading back home.

      1. Oregoncharles

        You might want to communicate that to your county clerk/elections administrator NOW, not later.

        There is a movement to go to mail voting (paper ballots) nationally by November. Got an email about it from Wyden (don’t like Wyden, but he’s good on a couple of things). How it’s counted is usually up to your county. It’s a local issue.

    1. crittermom

      Very, very disappointed by her endorsement of Biden. Shame on her. Does she aspire to be VP if he wins?

      1. 3.14e-9

        Implausible as it seems, that was my first thought, too, and troubling — but not for long. Initially, it seemed like a terrible dilemma, until realizing that being willing to turn so quickly against everything she has said she believes in to endorse a liar of Trumpian proportions speaks volumes for what she would do once in office.

        1. Monty

          Maybe she looked at the tremendous crisis looming over the nation, and realized there are bigger fish to fry than who wins the DNC primary?

          Make no mistake, Trump’s un-presidential behavior is not ideal, but it really pales into insignificance when compared to the worst case prospect of losing millions of American lives to this new disease. They need to come together and focus everything on beating that virus, rather than each other.

      1. Carolinian

        So how will you feel when Bernie endorses him? It would actually be a lot easier for Sanders to burn his bridges than a young woman like Gabbard.

        1. 3.14e-9

          But Bernie “Joe is my friend” gave us advance warning. Tulsi’s endorsement was a shock out of left field.

          1. Carolinian

            She never attacked him during the debates did she? I didn’t watch.

            After all the crap Gabbard has taken for the brave stands that she did take I don’t think she has to apologize for anything.

            1. 3.14e-9

              Biden is diametrically opposed to everything she has said she believes in. Taking crap for brave stands and then suddenly abandoning those principles is commonly known as “selling out.” If there’s ever been a politician who admitted to it, much less apologized, it’s not coming to mind. So I don’t see it as wanting or expecting an apology. In the immortal words of 43, ” ‘Fool me once, shame on … shame on you. Fool me… You can’t get fooled again!'”

              1. Carolinian

                So Bernie endorses Hillary who surely opposes everything he stands for and four years later all is forgiven. However Tulsi is not entitled to the same benefit of a doubt. I’d say they were both always running as issue candidates–not expecting to actually go the distance–and there’s not that much difference between the two. If Gabbard is supposed to leave in a huff and start a third party then surely Bernie should join her. They both have caved to lesser evilism albeit in different elections.

                In any event consider me not outraged. IMHO all things Dem are kabuki theater.

                1. pretzelattack

                  i’ve never read anywhere that she was required to endorse anybody in order to run as a democrat. therefore, she doesn’t get the same benefit of the doubt. sanders also has decades of working for good causes, in order to get that benefit of the doubt.

                  1. anon in so cal

                    I supported, donated to, and voted for Tulsi in the primary. It’s awful that she endorsed Biden. It undermines everything she supposedly stood for, with one exception: she is just as bad as Victoria Nuland when it comes to Ukraine and Russia. That Tulsi’s one major failing and it prevented many from supporting her. So, she’s on the same page as Biden, who participated in the Obama Nuland putsch in Ukraine in early 2014.



                2. HippoDave

                  Did Bernie endorse Hillary when half of the primary was still to be contested and he had a shot? That’s the comparison, right now when Sanders still has a chance to win. Especially against a weak foe in Biden.

                  Gabbard’s endorsement affected the ongoing primary and is indefensible according to her supposed leanings.

            2. John Wright

              Why did she have to endorse anyone?

              “No Comment” is a standard response to a question one doesn’t want to answer.

              or maybe.

              “vote for whomever you think is better, I will not endorse anyone”

              Falling in line behind the lessor evil has not served this country well.

                  1. ambrit

                    Warren would be a ‘loose cannon’ and a general election liability. Her core constituency was always going to vote the “Party Line.” So, evidently, no ‘decent’ offer was made to her. Gabbard and Sanders, on the other hand….

                  2. pretzelattack

                    and i suspect she will be rewarded for that, she has been very useful to the dnc with the course she has chosen.

                1. John Wright

                  Can Tulsi be certain the offer(s) will be honored?

                  Is the Democratic party leadership agreement capable?

                  If Gabbard ends up with nothing, she has damaged her image with supporters for nothing in return.

                  If she gets a tangible something, then she may look “bought” even if it is somewhat positive (Gabbard as new head of veterans affairs under Pres Biden)

                  She just endorsed one of the politicians that promoted the Iraq War.

                  Perhaps political endorsements are only signaling to party elites that one will not “rock the boat”.

                  Endorsements may do little in the way of actually motivating voters.

                2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                  I suspect like many people when faced with unemployment she made a choice she’d rather not. Her Congressional term will run out and unlike Hilary she did not kiss the ring so is not rich. Occam’s, really

                  1. Carey

                    Why did Gabbard, with a for the moment ultra-high profile, not run for re-election to her Congressional seat?

                    Most interested to see where she resurfaces
                    in a year or so.

            3. BobWhite

              “Apologize”, maybe not… but she owes an legitimate explanation to her supporters at a bare minimum.
              (“I was offered a cabinet post”, “the CIA has too much dirt on me”, etc.)
              Those would be honest at least… not holding my breath, though.

          2. Kurt Sperry

            Bernie will endorse Joe, just like he promised he would. And as he almost must. If he didn’t want to endorse the eventual candidate, he should never have pledged to.

            I probably think as little of Joe Biden as anyone here, but I’d think less of Sanders if he broke his pledge.

            Doesn’t mean I as a Sanders supporter have to vote for Biden though. I’m not voting for *anyone* who doesn’t believe and publicly affirm that universal healthcare is a citizen’s right. Under any circumstances.

            1. Aumua

              God this is all just so familiar, isn’t it? Everyone in this spin-off seems to be reprising their roles from the original series (2016).

        2. pretzelattack

          i expected sanders to endorse him all along, based on what i’ve read on nc. the only bridges she would burn is the elizabeth warren memorial span, leading to political irrelevance but no doubt some money somewhere. i thought she was antiwar, then she endorsed someone what has supported the wars she purports to criticise for decades.

    2. crittermom

      Very, very disappointed in her endorsement of Biden. Shame on her. Does she aspire to be VP if he wins?

    3. FreeMarketApologist

      I think she’s making poor Beau do a lot of work that he’s not up to. But she’s not alone in this to date. And they should all be ashamed.

    4. Dr. John Carpenter

      I don’t think she was ever the progressive a lot of people thought she was. To be fair, I don’t think she claimed to be either. I think having anyone willing to hit back at the establishment in any manner and publicly express anything close to criticism of the military (even if she wasn’t exactly an anti-war candidate either) led a lot of people to assumptions.
      I know a lot of people feel betrayed, but I’ll always value her takedown of Kamala regardless.

      1. 3.14e-9

        > To be fair, I don’t think she claimed to be either.

        At the bottom of all her emails:

        The truth is that email is one of the most important tools we have to update supporters like you. It is one way we come together as a community of progressives to make change in this world.

      2. BobWhite

        In addition to her email signature, every time she was on Jimmy Dore, she would claim being progressive…
        Will be interesting to see his response to this, as he not only had her as a guest several times, he was a donor.
        She definitely owes JD an explanation… but, will she?

      3. drumlin woodchuckles

        If she or someone can get Clinton served with those lawsuit papers, her libel and slander suit against Clinton will also be a good thing.

      1. Carey

        Maybe someone(s) recently helped Gabbard get her Mind Right.
        That submission email from her was nauseating.

      2. Carolinian

        I wonder how many here who are outraged by Gabbard actually voted for her. Probably none? Perhaps she’s not that worried about “betraying” people who, when the chips were down, didn’t support her or her message anyway. Certainly her foreign policy stance is to the left of Sanders who calls Maduro a thug and doesn’t seem all that interested in the topic. I heard him speak and it never came up.

        1. Randy Middleclass

          Gabbard was my one and only second, alternative choice. Now there’s nobody again. What a failure of leadership and politics in this country.

        2. cm

          Wonder no more. I voted for her in the Washington primary.

          I’m disgusted Sanders didn’t stand up for her when the DNC shafted her in the Phx debate.

          I’m now disgusted she supports Biden, who loves 3rd world wars.

          I guess I’ll be voting for Trump in November. Haven’t heard squat about the Green party.

          1. Oregoncharles

            there are Washington Greens – one attended our last (Oregon) convention, to set up a joint campaign training. It works differently in Washington, because you don’t register by party,and I’m not familiar with your system.

            There’ll be a big campaign to get the Green candidate on the ballot there. Best place to start is probably the national website, gp.org; they can direct you to the state party.

    5. Stormcrow

      Bad timing. She should not have endorsed until Uncle Joe secured the nomination. Then she should have set conditions for endorsing him. Significant conditions, like appointing her to the Biden cabinet. Or whatever.

      1. Daryl

        It seems like right now, when there’s still a race on, albeit not much of one, is the time to secure favors.

    6. Geo

      It’s funny to see all the people who called her a Russian agent and closet Republican flip on a dime and embrace her now. From Neera on down they’re all “yaaas qweeen!” With her now. Kinda hilarious really.

    7. Daryl

      Seems like a pretty odd leap for someone who called Clinton “the queen of warmongers” not that long ago to support somebody who as done as much if not more to keep this country in endless war.

      1. Geo

        Definitely not more. No fan of Biden but in war he’s nowhere near as bad as Clinton. Even Robert Gates says she was the biggest war hawk in the Obama Admin (including himself) and that Biden was a relative dove.

        Now, apologize for making me defend Biden! I feel dirty. :(

      2. Carey

        I had wondered from time to time (including here) if Gabbard was merely a grandstander, with a quite different agenda than her a-little-too-smooth public one.


    8. richard

      i am poleaxed
      i don’t think i’ve ever so misjudged a person
      her announcement, the 45 seconds of it i could stomach, was a bunch of content free unity-themed horseradish
      Sanders has made some big mistakes (Biden can win? Answer it ANY way but that and it turns out better) and has also been cheated in every way possible, and is too polite to point that out (would FDR have held his tongue? And of course LBJ would have been doing the cheating) because he still “wants to work with these people” sigh
      but at least you always kinda knew it with bernie, that unless he swept in with a big majority, he would have problems – if cheated (which he was certain to be), he was never going to make any noise about legitimacy
      gabbard’s character i totally misread
      what on earth can she get from these people that would matter this much?
      Well, chapo will certainly derive some sick pleasure from this
      they have been suspicious/dismissive of her all along

      1. Carey

        >Well, chapo will certainly derive some sick pleasure from this
        they have been suspicious/dismissive of her all along

        Rightly so, I think. Way too smooth of a camera-ready package.
        I see Rep. Ocasio-Cortez has already rolled over for Biden, too.

        soo-prize, soo-prize, soo-prize… puh

        1. richard

          j. dore is going to FLIP HIS LID
          not that craven betrayal is funny, of course not, but it might be a little humorous to see jimmy’s reaction, he and steph were so in for gabbard
          okay, i’m going to approach it as funny, because what else is left?
          I’m out of ammo

          1. Carey

            >i’m going to approach it as funny, because what else is left?

            You are not wrong, richard. Drinking games, I guess..

    9. Anarcissie

      ‘What to think about Tulsi Gabbard?’

      I did not expect much, and I was pretty sure she would not get anywhere. Nevertheless, because she was willing to profess at least a mild anti-war and anti-imperial stance, which none of the other candidates would do, I gave her some money, which I do not regret. However, that was then.

      1. Carey

        >because she was willing to profess at least a mild anti-war and anti-imperial stance, which none of the other candidates would do, I gave her some money, which I do not regret. However, that was then.


        TINA’s the meta-message, I think.

    10. John Beech

      She’s no fool. If you want a political future – and she’s young and does – then you emulate Republicans and fall in line. Honestly, I don’t blame her. Grow up folks, this is political life on full display. Way of the world stuff.

        1. John Wright

          From https://www.politico.com/news/2020/03/19/tulsi-gabbard-ends-white-house-bid-137242

          “But Gabbard, long a controversial figure within the Democratic field, had little to lose after declaring in October that she would not seek reelection to a fifth term in Congress, a prospect complicated by a formidable primary challenger and thorny relationships with other Hawaii politicians.”

          Maybe Gabbard is trying to secure a job at a thinktank or in the DNC?

          The prospect of unemployment can be a motivator.

          We’ll have to see where she lands..

          1. Carey

            >We’ll have to see where she [Gabbard] lands..

            Indeed! as with that Troy Price™ fellow from Iowa..

    11. Lobsterman

      I sincerely hope that her endorsement of Biden ends all the absurd hagiography she was enjoying here.

    12. deplorado

      She is an opportunist. That’s who she is. A different brand of Warren. Can’t be trusted. I have not been disappointed – just suspicions confirmed.

      If Bernie endorses Biden too – that would be bad and his supporters myself included would not give two hoots about it but I would see it as some flawed compliance with party discipline, which for Bernie in the senate I suppose is still a policy vehicle. So not opportunistic – just part of his job.

      With her, her whole brand was non-compliance, so this endorsement shows she’s opportunistic and maybe reckless.

        1. QuarkfromDS9

          Keep in mind Michael Tracey was basically a unpaid propagandist for Tulsi for months. He seems completely unable to utter even a mild criticism of her, and seemed to think she’d be a major candidate even when she was getting zero traction. Much like a lot of Tulsi stans, he’s really bitter towards Bernie. The mental gymnastics he has displayed since she endorsed Biden are pretty amusing, and nonsensical.

          Underneath all the smarminess and aspergers he can have some good takes, but on Tulsi he just doesn’t.

    13. Big Top

      I think her endorsement of Biden was to stick it to Bernie Sanders. Don’t see what she has in common with Biden. Bernie, except with the Clinton comment, never defended Gabbard with the constant attacks she received. Never once did he mention her during a debate or speak in her defense such as why she was excluded from the last debate she initially qualified for.

      Bernie never made alliances with other campaigns that he had commonality with and received no endorsements from people I thought he might get like Yang, Warren, and now Gabbard. Wonder why? That hurt him bad while Biden was rolling in endorsements. In the primaries endorsements matter.

      1. QuarkfromDS9

        Ehhh Bernie and Yang have very little in common. Yang is a free market libertarian and opposed many of Bernie’s signature policies like abolishing public college tuition and Medicare for all. And Warren is a mega narcissist who was spiteful that Bernie eclipsed her. She was stupid for thinking she’d be able to compete with him on the left lane anyway.

    1. Billy

      What if the Democrats gave a convention and no one but corporate donors came?

      I’m wondering if the Republican Party, that happens to be in power now, might not be the appropriate vehicle to rectify the disaster that is Third World America?

      As a supporter of Bernie and Tulsi and having voted for losing candidates, except Obama, ha!, all my life, after the latest, I’m thinking of registering Republican, the Party of Lincoln, to try and effect change. F. the Democrats!

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        “What if the Democrats gave a convention and no one but corporate donors came? ”

        No one would know. Who would tell the tale into any Media heard by more than a very few?

      2. Geo

        Why would you join a further right party? Either push for a leftie Tea Party like takeover of the Dems, or support a leftie third party.

        Sure, third parties may not have much hope for the national level elections but they can do well in local. And, there’s a reason Sanders has been and Independent his whole career.

        My opinion: Go indie and support candidates you believe in without regard for party.

        Side note: we need to push leftie third parties to band together to take on the establishment. They’re all too fractured and ineffectual in current form but possibly united they could accomplish more.

        1. Billy

          Third Parties don’t and can’t get elected nationally. Maybe obscure local races, like the Richmond, Ca, mayorship, but on a bigger scale? Forget it. I think support of LOCAL Republicans toward populist measures might be the way to channel, control and direct one’s energies, leading up to *more* progressive state governments.
          California is a failure, Gov Newsom and the state senators have 6 constituencies:
          1. Illegal aliens/future Democrat voters, 6% of state.

          2. Land developers surfing over local regulations and popular will to build “solutions” to the “rental and homeless crisis” that the Democrats created in part, see #1,

          3. Mortgage banks profiting off #2. i.e. Wells Felon FarGo,

          4. Transgenderistas fighting for bathroom equity and other such ridiculi,

          5. Silicone Ally and it’s billions in potential payoffs,

          6. Trumphaphobic knee-jerk reactionaries that see anything with a D in front of it as a solution to problems that never get solved.

  7. judy2shoes

    As many of you who have followed the links to mask patterns may have noticed, there are plenty to choose from. I’ve been looking at two and think I can combine the ideas. They both are pretty simple, but one is designed with a pocket to insert some kind of filtration medium. The other covers a larger area of the face, has no pocket for replaceable filter media, but does incorporate an inserted twist tie to snug it down like the N-95 masks I’ve seen. I was intrigued by the mention of non-woven fabric for filtration, so I looked at my vacuum cleaner bags, which are made from electrostatic material that should work. I also thought of trying rip-stop nylon because of its water-repellant features (makes it harder to spray germs when you sneeze, etc), but I’m not sure I could breath very well with it. I’m going to do a trial with it, too. Here are the patterns:



    Will post photo when I have prototype done.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I already posted a design for a Corona mask as a comment in links:
      I found instructions for making a Corona mask appropriate to the U.S. handling of this most recent flu: [https://www.instructables.com/id/Plauge-Doctor-Mask/]. A tyvek hazard suit would make a nice modern update to this classic design.
      What more do we need? You could pack the ‘nose’ section with whatever.

  8. Code Name D

    UBI will not work! Here is a better way.

    Actually, the privet sector may have already figured some of this out. They just lack the resources to make it happen.

    The point of UBI is to replace income so workers can continue to buy food and other necessities. As Yves has already pointed out, there are huge logistical challenges in the way of this happening fast enough to be any good. The problem is that this idea is born from the “rugged individualism” ideology. We help the individual, rather than the collective.

    If keeping the population fed is the goal here, then simply throwing money at it is not a good idea.

    Restaurants are already trying to adapt by shutting down their dining areas and running drive throughs and deliveries. Perhaps this is where energy needs to be focused.

    Pay the restaurants! The restraints can then buy food, workers, and delivery drivers. Even better, you can use scares resources such as surgical masks and test kits to keep this work force protected, slowing the spread of the virus even as food and necessary goods are distributed. And this can be done faster than the UBI approach.

    1. cripes

      Code Name D

      And this will help people pay rents, mortgages, medicine, or gasoline, how?

      And Upper East siders will eat lobster quiche so Bronxers can eat pigs feet?

      Or maybe you jussst don’t trust people to know what they need to buy?

      1. Code Name D

        The idea is to keep people fed, You know, to not starve? I don’t think you appreciate the gravity of this situation.

  9. ChrisAtRU

    Sanders: A Sixth Idea

    “He needed, in short, a Chuck Rocha for that community.”

    Yep. I very much agree with that. Sanders had a team there for months it was said, but perhaps as pointed out, not the right people to win over (enough of) that older black vote. He didn’t need to win per se, just make it close … but it was a blowout.

    1. Chris

      Bernie needed to fight like he was up against people who meant to do him harm. Instead he called them friends. And here we are…

        1. Chris

          I agree fellow Chris! I want a benevolent gangster to run against the establishment. Someone who brings concrete material guns to a Clinton knife fight.

          1. Carey

            >I want a benevolent gangster to run against the establishment. Someone who brings concrete material guns to a Clinton knife fight.

            Agree. S/he better be bulletproof, though.

    2. urblintz

      Bernie needed to have had the votes counted accurately and for his voters to have been allowed to vote where they were supposed to. Biden would still have won but “blowout” was the desired DNC result. Call me CT…

      1. Carey

        >Bernie needed to have had the votes counted accurately and for his voters to have been allowed to vote where they were supposed to.


    3. Geo

      A second idea: You can’t win a working class vote with an identity politics staff.

      Sixth idea: Older Black voters need their identity on staff and surrogates/endorsements from Jessie Jackson, Rev Barber and Cornell West aren’t enough. Nina Turner is too young and Killer Mike is too urban. Clyburn is out? Who then? Clarence Thomas? No, he’s Biden’s Pal. Oprah? No, she’s a billionaire. Obama? No, he’s hanging with Richard Branson in Martha’s Vineyard. Who could have better pitched him to the older black community?

      I’m sorry but I’m not sold on that one. This election came town to fear. Fear of Trump. Media said Biden was most electable. Dem establishment all said Biden was most electable. Heck, even Bernie said Biden was electable. No amount of outreach could sway diehard Dems. They want to “return to normal” and ignored what our own eyes and brains were observing with Biden and bought the narrative.

      Curious to see what “normal” looks like in the next six months.

      1. Carey

        My three strongest impressions from Sanders 2020:

        1) oddly diffuse messaging, not making the obvious (FDR!!!) points
        2) idPol
        3/ money-grubbing, with a top-down vibe

  10. PlutoniumKun

    On the subject of China and pollution, covid-19 and the economy, Michael Pettis and others on twitter are suggesting that there are anecdotes to suggest that many Chinese industries that are supposed to be getting back up to steam are finding that they have no more customers. Quite simply, orders from the west have dried up. Plus it looks like the long awaited ‘correction’ to the Chinese property bubble is underway (not a bad thing, as he points out, if you are young and desperate for a home). Add them up, and you can see huge problems for China, without much evidence that they know how to overcome this by anything but yet another huge injection of debt and infrastructure spending into the system.

  11. clarky90

    I am listening to Radio NZ. They are reporting from NZ garden centres. There has been “panic buying” of vegetable seedlings. Apparently, any seedlings still on the shelves, are tiny.

    Government is telling us to social distance. People are taking-up gardening, en masse, in order to provide food for their families and communities. Also, gardening is an helpful, interesting pastime for the coming months.

    1. aletheia33

      some food for thought re: food sources.

      a friend of ours who has relied on his garden for food for decades is very upset that he may not be able to buy his sets, and that the farmers market may not open in april. though not at all well off, he can afford to buy all his food if he has to.

      but many people rely on alternative food sources for their health–coops, farmers’ markets.

      and we do know that most of what is available in the inner aisles in supermarkets is bad for your health. some of it really, really bad.

      growing everything from seed is possible but may be a leap for people who have health issues to begin with.

      plus if your growing season is short, there are foods you can’t grow at all. “localvores” here in vermont have encountered great difficulty with grains.

      1. clarky90

        Time to plant winter vegetables

        “Now is a good time to plant winter vegetables including; cabbages, cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts, kale, spinach, silverbeet, broccoflower. Broad beans can be sown from now on. A last crop of carrots and swedes can be sown now also, but not too much later as germination will be patchy.”

  12. marku52

    Kevin Drum posts something useful, for a change. Vacuum cleaner bag material is almost as good as surgical mask material.


    1. Billy

      Missing ‘h’ at the beginning of their URL. Many browsers self correct, emailing it to friends might not.

      Also, HEPA vacuum cleaner filters, IF you have a choice, are better:

      “High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA), also known as high-efficiency particulate absorbing and high-efficiency particulate arrestance, is an efficiency standard of air filter.”

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        If individual virus particles and smaller clumps of spray matter from sneezes and coughs are sources of infection — then they should also be sources of infection for those alreaady infected and confined to breath their sneezes, coughs, and exhalations. It could not hurt and might help them recover if they were confined to very well ventilated rooms — either HEPA filtered forced air or open windows. I would also suspect it might be beneficial to run an air purifier with a HEPA filter in their rooms. These practices might also be of benefit to their well-masked [one can hope] caregivers.

    1. shtove

      Cadenza by Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji – the score resembles either a sea battle with some ships sinking, or a virus’s-eye view of a pandemic:

  13. Barbara

    About Sanders’ ground operation failure: I have been giving a lot of thought to this.

    (Ideologically, it’s clear that this new base are most definitely not “FDR Democrats,” and do not wish for a return to those days.)

    How could they be “FDR Democrats”?

    I was born in 1939, right smack dab in the middle between the Great Depression and the Second World War. I know I’m probably unusual, but I grew up with my father talking at the dinner table about how people suffered during the depression – and I only had to look at the older generation in my family to confirm it. My parents were young when they married in 1932. Like struggling young adults, the coped. It was my grandmother’s generation that suffered, that lost everything they saved for – and you could see it in their faces.

    My father’s dinnertable chats included how FDR had changed everything. He talked about economics, and my sister and I had to somehow keep up. Of the first generation born here, he was immensely proud of being American and also talked about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. He talked about ethics and justice.

    In addition to that, I lived through WWII with rationing, air raid drills. My sister came home from school one day with her new shoes ruined in the rain. The soles were made of glue and cardboard and they just dissolved. It was the 2nd pair of allowed ration of 2 pairs of shoes a year. It wasn’t just the rationing. Product quality was sacrificed to the war. So even though we didn’t live during the depression, we did have an idea of hardship.

    But people born just 10 years after me, 1949, were born into a day when the New Deal was established and working, with no idea at all of the depression. The war and rationing was over. Shoe soles didn’t melt in the rain. No more air raid drills. Television was in with shows like “Father knows best” to demonstrate how you behaved in the Middle Class.

    We have the idea that later generations know what we know. So I was bowled over in talking with someone much younger than me and found that his concept of the world started with Bill Clinton.

    So that’s my reaction that later generations could even possibly be an FDR Democrat. That’s something that, if you don’t live it, you have to be curious enough to seek the information out.

    On another issue, I get the impression the Bernie thought that if he laid out the issues that he, quite rightly, thought were affecting the lives of most people, that they would “get it” and come aboard.

    Unfortunately, people are complex and have a whole bunch of things that affect their decision making outside of logic. Getting through that is a long term project and in some cases may be impossible. I have a friend in that category and she’s older than me. She has an image of herself in a specific category and how people in that category behave. She vacillates back and forth – for Bernie when she’s thinking of her shrinking resources, but the minute something appeals to who she thinks she is, then she’s for Michael Bloomberg. It makes no logical sense to me or to anyone looking at it objectively. But emotions and sense of self have very little to do with logic.

    I have more ideas on this, but it would make this already long post way too long.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I believe your insights are very valuable. I was born somewhat later than you but I was well schooled by my grandparents about their times. That schooling is something I could not give my own children — much to my sorrow.

      “On another issue, I get the impression Bernie thought that if he laid out the issues that he, quite rightly, thought were affecting the lives of most people, that they would “get it” and come aboard.” That is a reasonable assessment but I believe the problem is more complex than Bernie’s or your analysis — which is most unfortunate and a very real demerit to our species.

      We approach the end-times as if they were the tomorrow of our dreams.

      1. Barbara

        Thank you for commenting. I agree with you that my analysis does not address the actual complexity. How could anyone address this in a comment post? But if others recognize that you just can’t present a cogent argument and expect people to just “get it”, then maybe if people with a more complex understanding of how humans operate consider the issue, we might find, not a definitive answer for all time, but maybe an inspired work-around.

        Dreaming, perhaps, but I’d rather be that than a doomsayer.

        1. Tom Bradford

          My paternal grandparents lived through WW1 (my grandfather was at Passchendale – his brother died there), the Great Depression and WW2. They never spoke about any of it. Only recently have I come to understand (I think) their seeming contentment with a very modest life-style, my grandfather’s extensive and cracklingly neat vege garden and allotment, and their indifference to trivia and fripperies. They even maintained their Anderson shelter at the rear of the house until well into the ’70s because of ‘the bomb’.

          I wonder if we, now, are about to find out that there’s more to life than trivia and fripperies. And find out the hard way.

          1. Carey

            Thanks very much for this comment. Very old memories of my stoic great-grandfather coming back into focus, now.

    2. martell

      I think FDR was in a significantly different situation. Internationally, there appeared to be two viable options to liberal (capitalist) democratic society: fascism and, more importantly, socialism. The USSR seemed to be a rapidly industrializing, actually existing socialist society. Domestically, the US had strong, often quite militant unions and a growing socialist or even communist movement (at least during his presidency – organized labor was only just beginning to revive prior to 1932). Both of the dominant political parties, moreover, seem to have operated much differently than today. These days, I believe those parties are sometimes described as “transmission belts” for communicating directives from national level party elites to a largely atomised, mostly passive mass membership. See, for example, Lambert’s account of the Super Tuesday wipeout. I believe in FDR’s time power in both parties was far less centralized (there were still very powerful political machines in major American cities), and while it would be pure fantasy to imagine that either party was a vehicle for democratic, popular will formation, I have the impression that rank and file members were much more active than they are today. In short, the US has undergone a process of centralization and “hollowing out” where power is concerned. That’s the country that Sanders has had to work with and it presents organizational difficulties. In a sense, he’s been trying to conjure power out of nothing, forming what amounts to a nationwide club of like-minded people, some of whom (but not all) have very similar material interests. This group is clearly very effective at taking actions directly connected to political institutions: canvassing, fund raising, agitprop. But they can’t shut an industry down or bring a major city to a standstill. So, aside from political action (narrowly conceived) which has now, once again been blocked, what can they do together to further their common interests? And why shouldn’t elites within the Democratic party just kick the Sanders people to the curb after destroying their candidate in the primaries? How can Sanders supporters “pay back” those elites and the interests they serve?

      1. Michael Fiorillo

        With just a few exceptions such as the West Coast longshoremen, “militant unions” didn’t come into being until Roosevelt’s second term, with the advent of the sit-down strikes, the CIO unions in basic industry, and the Wagner Act giving unions legal protections for the first time.

        Prior to that, there was a great deal of industrial conflict – the Battle of Blair Mountain, the Ford Massacre, the Auto-Lite Strike et. al. – but there were few formally recognized unions involved. There were small independent industrial unions operated by the Communist Party that had experienced trade unionists and organizers, and later went on to play crucial role in building the CIO unions, but they had very small memberships and no legal standing in the pre-NLRB years.

    1. Phillip Allen

      Yes. You will lose some efficiency given the gaps created by the tubes, but it will be better than using no mask at all. With a ‘procedure’ mask the fit isn’t that tight anyway so you would effectively lose nothing with them.

  14. Carolinian

    No new BBC In Our Time podcast this Thursday. Is Melvyn “sheltering in place”?

    Some may not know what a storied career Melvyn Bragg has had at the BBC. He wrote scripts for Ken Russell’s biographical teleplays in the 1960s.

  15. Acacia

    Re: the framing of Trump “outflanking Democrats from the left.” The Democrats aren’t left, and they’ve abandoned the working class for the donors and PMC, so isn’t it fair to say that, at least on this one issue, that Trump is going to their left?

      1. Daryl

        Genghis Khan was quite the forward thinker. Certainly saw the value of having an effective postal service in running an Empire.

    1. Milton

      Yea, I’ve given up on my “Liberals are not the Left” mantra. No one seems to grasp or simply don’t care about political alignment and such. Actually, those that don’t care probably have the correct view in that there are so many cross-alliances and inter-incestuous cross-party relationships that the regular folk just sees a morass of money, open trade intrigue, and IDpol whirling about the halls abutting the swamp that all one can do is simply shrug and sigh
      I give up, why can’t they… X.

    2. ewmayer

      Exactly – just because T is not as left as the actual Left, doesn’t preclude him from being left of the dismal Ds, which he very clearly is on the aid package. Now sure, he’s probably just doing it by way of vote-buying, but I say, if that yields actual material benefits to the bottom 90%, please, buy my vote, dude!

    3. tongorad

      Trump is not ceding power to the Left, but he is implementing, in a limited way, populist economic policies that benefit the working class.
      Something Obama wouldn’t do with the Presidency, House and Senate.
      Seems to me that Bernie should be dominating now. I’m heartbroken.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      There are some fun issues coming. Two of our biggest institutions of social control–the “job” and school–are closed down for most people soon. Having millions of hungry, anxious, maybe sick people with no required place to be is not the greatest idea. De Blasio admitted that’s why he wanted to keep schools open. Trying to funnel helicopter money through either (soon to be former) employers like airlines or the welfare bureaucracy (UI and SNAP) is an attempt to retain some more local control over these folks; Otherwise, I think our elites figure it might be tough to cut off that payment once it’s started, especially if the “solution” to our long-term situation is to wear a mask and gloves and head back out into Coronaland if you want to eat.

      Formerly core members of the elite are turning out to be redundant or even obsolete. Some newer members are moving to grab even larger shares of power through filling the huge gaps in a JIT neoliberal economy in collapse. And millions upon millions are losing their connection with any institution. It’s a hell of an opportunity to organize, but that’s a little tough in a pandemic. If groups like DSA can figure out how to interact with people in a safe and helpful way, it might give them a bigger say in the shape of things to come. The efforts of some Occupy remnants when Sandy hit provides a good example.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        Your comment is pregnant with possibilities. I most prefer the idea of DSA and similar organizations finding a way to further organize and consolidate their supports. I am less sanguine the discovery that “core members of the elite are turning out to be redundant or even obsolete”. There are plenty of candidates ready and working to take their places.

        Our elites have found many ways to cut off payments from our welfare bureaucracy to those in need. Do you really believe wearing a mask and gloves is sufficient to undermine the already effective means for decreasing welfare payments?

        “And millions upon millions are losing their connection with any institution” — is that new or consequential? Those millions are and will be the faceless millions of homeless and destitute we already ignore as we push our way to the workplace. What change will make these millions visible?

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          My perception is that our elites are quite aware of the danger to even their interests of tens of millions of people with no boss or teacher, no income, limited entertainment options and either sick or with a serious illness looming over them. With an estimated $4T missing from the economy next quarter, it’s not a question of whether they’re going to spread helicopter money. The issue is what mechanism of control will be used to distribute it: the old boss on the pretense that the employment will resume; the welfare bureaucracy with Pelosi’s forms and targets, or the postman.

          The only way to get the money out as fast and wide as possible is the postman, but the implications of that and how it will change the structure of society in a fundamental way has hung things up. A side point: in my neighborhood, if you want to get money to people so that kids will be fed, you need to give the SS recipients some cash too. They’re often the ones who have been feeding the kids, and those who don’t go down with Covid-19 provide the core support network around here. Of course, I’m talking my book here. ;)

          As for redundant or obsolete elites, how about shale drilling company CEOs, hotel chain COOs, airline CEOs, and a myriad of base level, local bosses whose businesses are going under? They’re being shoved aside by Bezos by virtue of his supply chain power and Walmart by virtue of their political power and omnipresence. Pharma execs and teleconference providers are feeling pretty good right now too.

          My comment about working with a mask and gloves is a hunch that while we’re now moving toward a point where people are not asked to work in unsafe conditions outside of essential functions, that can change. The top may get impatient with their loss of return and want to see the service economy start up again after the first wave crests most places.

          1. ewmayer

            Just curious, where do you get your “$4T missing next quarter” figure? Even a Great-Depression-level hit points to something more like $1T per quarter. I mean all those folks still working-even-if-from-home and in the supply chain furiously restocking store shelves as new product becomes available are still contributing to GDP, no? And all the pulled-forward demand from the hoarding and stocking-up actually likely provided a big boost to current-quarter GDP.

            1. Henry Moon Pie

              Oops. Upon re-checking, here’s the info. It’s $4T in corporate losses from Covid-19, and while the largest quarterly losses are expected in the next quarter, the four trillion would be spread out among more than that quarter alone. And while that $4T number is just for the U. S., the world total is $12T.

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          If some of the millions of future homeless had guns and ammo when they still had homes, and if they take their guns and ammo with them into homelessness, then they might have a way of getting attention.

  16. JohnnyGL

    Re – early retrospectives on lessons to be learned from Sanders campaign

    First off, thanks for the very good insights from lambert. I’m adding my own here:

    1) High Turnout was overly romanticized
    a) turnout in Iowa was lower than 2016 and Sanders basically won (a lot like AOC’s win). But, in that state, youth turnout was up quite a bit. This didn’t scale on Super Tuesday (or at least didn’t scale enough).
    b) turnout from older people in Iowa was down quite a bit. I think the Sirota-style attacks on Biden over Soc Sec really landed and left PMC-electability voters scattered and confused. Some went to Mayor Pete, others stayed home, Biden got punished. Similar story in NH, but with higher turnout and more votes for Amy Klobouchar.
    c) More focus on Soc Sec in South Carolina could have kept some voters home, or maybe gotten them to scatter towards different candidates, besides Biden.
    d) Zaid Jilani said the TV ads the Sanders campaign ran in SC were too much ‘fight the power’ type stuff and not enough on kitchen table issues. It seems there was a disconnect there.

    2) Not enough effort was made to peel off a bigger piece of the establishment.
    a) The exception to this was NV, where keeping Harry Reid on the sidelines was key. How this wasn’t done in SC, with Clyburn seems unconscionable.
    b) More phone calls to friendlier figures in the establishment should and could have been made. Post-NV, Sanders was in the driver’s seat. At that point, a couple of endorsements would have been key. Instead, all they had after NV was Bill DeBlasio. Could they have grabbed endorsements from a few more House members or Senators? It would have helped to blunt Obama’s whipping for Biden.
    c) Why does this matter? It makes Sanders seem ‘acceptable’ to normie dem voters. If other dems are gathering around Sanders, it helps make skittish voters more comfortable that Sanders is a ‘unifier’ who can beat Trump. Sanders was winning the argument around electability by putting up wins in early states, but he didn’t quite seal the deal. I think a few endorsements would have helped. He still looked way too much of an outsider going into SC, which left him vulnerable.

    3) The lack of a Southern Strategy is worth echoing. It seemed when Sanders went to a union drive at a Nissan plant right in late-2016 to early-2017 that he understood there was a problem here. What happened in the ensuing 3 years? Not enough, apparently. It seems he’s barely doing any better than he did 4 years ago.

    1. Stillfeelinthebern

      My biggest beef with all of these campaigns is they are not using their resources efficiently. Here is an example. How many of you were receiving texts and emails daily or multiple times a day? How many of you had decided long ago that you would only back Bernie? So an efficient campaign would not be spending the money constantly contacting those who are in the choir. I believe the campaigns spend too much (those emails and texts cost $$) on those who are already with them. A dear friend of mine, dedicated Democrat once publically complained about the silly GOTV phone call she got asking her if she had a “plan” to vote. Too many people quickly piled on her about the “research shows” blah, blah, blah. THAT was a campaign inefficiently using its resources. You should not annoy your dedicated voters.

      With all this VAN and data, it doesn’t get use well, it is just data. We certainly saw that in 2016. You have to use the data to help you spend and deploy your precious resources effectively. That just doesn’t happen. You have to have a pathway for all the different voters and make your contacts efficient and effective. They don’t do that. I heard here that you wanted to give, but then you would get the annoying emails and so you would unsub. That was a big fail.

      For all the new digital tools, there is a lack of sense of what information the tools bring you and how to act differently to make your campaign work better.

      I was one of the first to download the Bernie phone app. It didn’t work on my phone, which was 6 months old. It took 2 days for me to get a response (email) and then they told me it was my phone. Even if it was my phone’s fault, they should have been on that to figure it out. Did they ever wonder how many people would never let them know that it didn’t work on their phones? They didn’t know how many people I would characterize for them (hundreds, maybe even thousands) and they didn’t care. I would do their work for FREE. New tool, BIG fail.

      Dems and Progressives in general, they just do not have the sense of how to build the relationship and be effective in their contacts.

      1. Bill Carson

        I just received a text message from Bernie—“Bernie 2020: Can you split a $30 donation between five charities helping people deeply impacted by the coronavirus crisis? Link here: …”


        1. Stillfeelinthebern

          I got that text too. It came in while I was writing. My first thought was as far as I know campaigns cannot donate to charities, but I looked again and it is actblue charities (which I had never heard of). I appreciate using your power, but would feel better if they just gave you the link to go directly to the organization. It gives that organization your name and that is a gift to them as well for their fundraising in the future. We all know they are going to need it because the “family blogging” rich won’t step up.

          1. nippersmom

            Actually, I prefer not getting on the mailing list for 5 more charities. I can always find them to make additional contributions should I have the ability and desire to.

        2. nippersmom

          I got that, too, as well as a email earlier today. Glad to see him using his campaign network for such a good purpose.

    2. Youngblood

      All such observations have to be taken with at least a grain of salt, given the apparent cheating by the DNC in multiple states. The app in Iowa, the slow and hidden count of mail-in ballots in CA, electronic voting, thumbdrives full of e-votes missing and reappearing in TX, the wild differences between exit polls and voting tallies, especially in places like MI. This aspect of the race seems worse rhan in 2016.

      I wonder if the DNC has a better grip on some States than others…could that explain why they want to punish OH for postponing,per governor’s order, but are in no hurry for WI to vote?

      Bernie no doubt expected some cheating, and was ready to catch it in Iowa. But his campaign was not able to fight it everywhere. I wish for his campaign to call out the shenanigans jo matter what course of action they choose (keep going, call it quits, defect to Green Party, etc.).

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Sorry to say but I believe in 20 years we will know that TPTB stole this one electronically, the swing “to” Joe was simply much too large and much too fast to be believed, couple that with caucus versus electronic results, the Iowa app, massive exit polling discrepencies, plus the regular everyday suppression stuff, students waiting in line 7 hours in Texas.

        Sorry, Mr. Franklin, we couldn’t keep it.

      2. Carey


        The post-mortems on the Sanders campaign that do not address this ring hollow.
        Biden was in nowhereLand; then, suddenly, the SC miracle and juggernaut..


        1. Yves Smith

          Lambert had a comment to that effect yesterday, that he underestimated the institutional power of the Dems when they decide to mobilize. Also bear in mind they can do more in low-turnout primaries than the general. There is also the theory that Republicans in open primary states voted for Biden, seeing him as the weaker challenger to Sanders. The R theory isn’t enough to explain the Sanders losses but it could have contributed to their magnitude.

        2. Aumua

          Hey it’s good to do some introspection, and consider carefully where we actually did go wrong, if anywhere. That shows maturity and real potential for growing. But the elephant still remains squarely in the center of the room, and we haven’t even mentioned yet what is surely the single biggest factor in Sanders’ defeat: Manipulation of public opinion by the big media. If the extremely wealthy heads of those organizations had decided for some reason to portray Sanders as a winner at any point in the process, or even simply given him fair treatment in the debates they hosted, I can’t help but believe that he would have CRUSHED.

          A large part of the American population is still very susceptible to what is truly high tech mind control. The Internet phenomena has disrupted that in some ways I can’t really quantify yet, but for the ‘older voters’ especially, they still dance to the tune of the Wurlitzer.

    3. ewmayer

      I prefer mine short and sweet: “You can’t have a revolution without offending *someone*.”

      Whether Sanders & co. have actually learned that, of that I am extremely doubtful.

      1. Carey

        >I prefer mine short and sweet: “You can’t have a revolution without offending *someone*.”

        You can’t have a revolution from the screen of a smart™phone

  17. cnchal

    > Transportation: “COVID-19. By the end of May, most world airlines will be bankrupt” [Center for Aviation]

    The fear is that, as a collapsed airline system is reconstituted, similar national self-interest will prevail. That’s important because the aviation industry is about much more than airline health. It is crucial to global communications and trade.

    What is crucial to understand is the airlines are the super spreaders, so the exact opposite of the self serving claim by the marketing arm of the airline industry. How did people get to the cruise ships? Swim?

    What do they airlines really want? Consolidation across national boundaries, or never let a crisis go to waste is the operating principle.

    If the will is there, finding the right directions will require leadership and a recognition that there is no place for nationalist attitudes in this most international of all industries.

    Leadership my ass.

    It get’s worse from there. Think of the money that can’t be lavished on the poor tourist servers in exotic locales, won’t you?

    A Boeing 747 ready for takeoff on a twelve hour flight to go halfway around the world weighs nearly a million pounds and during that flight uses 300,000 pounds of fuel, and deposits almost what the plane weighs on takeoff, a million pounds, of CO2 into the atmosphere during that flight.

    The stawk buybacks whereby the corporate elite looted the companies they manage is just another ugly facet to the flying debacle.

    Still flying = Total Fail

  18. antidlc

    A question for the group…

    If you get food delivered, what containers can you wipe down with the Lysol wipe?

    It says not to be used on porous surfaces.

    What is considered a “porous” surface in terms of food packaging?

    There was a link previously posted on how the virus can stay on cardboard.

    Since someone at the warehouse (or store) picked the order and someone else may have loaded it on the delivery vehicle, how do you protect yourself from any (possible) contamination?
    Would appreciate any info.

    1. Billy

      Our experiences: For sealed refrigerated food containers, wipe down everything hard like glass or plastic milk, yogurt, juice, liquid containers with 5X folded small pieces of paper towel to preserve the rubbing alcohol,or bleach water. Then, run cold water with dish washing liquid to rinse off alcohol and hopefully rest of virus. Mark the container’s label as clean with whatever symbol you choose, with a sharpie, refrigerate.
      Cardboard egg cartons, or food containers, Plastic bread bags, impossible to disinfect, Wash hands, remove food to other clean containers, or zip lock bags, write date on them w. sharpie, discard cardboard, bread bags, wash hands.
      Be anal about this. Those products were handled by cashiers, who handled money, we on rubber belts in markets and are probably seething with virus. Refrigeration doesn’t kill the virus, only slows it down a little.
      I’m wondering about the efficacy of microwaves to kill viruses on meat or to steam hand and face towels? Any thoughts on that?

      1. thoughtful person

        Standard food processing says to let alchool or bleach solution air dry. Don’t rinse it off. If you need it dry fast use alchool, it drys off quickly.

        1. Bill Carson

          It seems to me that if washing your hands with soap kills the virus, why wouldn’t the same be true for food containers or anything else?

          1. Youngblood

            Does soap kill the virus on contact? I thought hand washing was just to remove the virus particles from your hands.

          2. richard

            yes i had the same thought
            it does take a good 20 seconds of lathery process over every inch of your hands though
            and doing the same thing on a bigger, flat surface is more time consuming than most people are used to doing with counter wipe up
            i may be wrong of course, but i don’t get how it could work on your hands and not a countertop, provided you got every square inch, probably best achieved working in a grid

      2. Oregoncharles

        Soap is supposed to be quite effective on coronavirus – disrupts the envelope. Works for anything waterproof.

        Cooking should do the job. Microwaves not so much, unless they cook the food.

    2. Phillip Allen

      From a Wired magazine article:

      “[A]ccording to a preprint published this week by researchers at the National Institutes of Health, Princeton, and the University of California, Los Angeles. The researchers exposed various materials to the virus in the lab. They found that it remained virulent on surfaces for a lengthy period: from up to 24 hours on cardboard to up to two or three days on plastic and stainless steel. It also remained viable in aerosols—attached to particles that stay aloft in the air—for up to three hours. That’s all basically in line with the stability of SARS, the coronavirus that caused an outbreak in the early 2000s, the researchers note.”

      The preprint is available at

        1. WobblyTelomeres

          Stays aloft for three hours? Puts the lie to social distancing of 6 feet, doesn’t it? Also suggests masks of any sort might be justified for forays into public spaces.

          1. MLTPB

            I think kings, not sure if everywhere or just some regions, used to have servants fanning away before them, to blow away unhealthy air, I suppose.

            And in some churches, I recall dignitaries parade behind others swinging censers.

            Maybe we can use shoulder mounted fans to scatter those aerosols.

  19. anotherguy

    Illinois will go to stay in place tomorrow.

    Maybe for the whole state, but for sure Cook and Sangamon counties.

      1. Carey


        No, “she” is way more useful as a distracting news-item, and there she will
        remain. Notice how “she” gets trotted out every week or two?


  20. Oregoncharles

    ” and those betrayed voters will never vote for Biden; they will stay home, or join the DSA (or the Greens)”

    We can hope. Technical point: the DSA are not a political party, nor are they cohesive enough to become one, so they and the Green Party are not alternatives. Quite a few people are both.

    At this point, it’s perfectly clear both that the severely shrunken Dem membership is quite conservative – AND that the potential new recruits are quite aware (correctly) that their votes make no difference – certainly, IMHO, as long as they stick with the duopoly. (Granted, this is a long-standing Green strategy, which so far has borne very little fruit. Maybe they’re just really discouraged. With reason.)

    Another technical point: what does Bernie need all those small donors for, if he isn’t going to run for Pres.? He shouldn’t have any trouble staying in the Senate. Last time, he passed them off to Our Revolution, who mostly haven’t been heard from.

    And incidentally: ” the Sanders campaign theory of change: Draw new and/or discouraged working-class voters into the Democrat base” is exactly what is meant by “sheepdogging.” A more polite term would be “trying to save the Dem party from itself.” I didn’t include the part about “dragging the party to the left,” because I see no sign it’s really happening, aside from some rhetoric. The Overton Window is nothing without real policy.

    And it’s still the Republicans’ turn. The deal holds, unless we have a catastrophic recession.

    “Things fall apart” may be our best hope.

  21. griffen

    While my time isn’t free, working from home permits to follow CNBC and the quickly shifting news. So the airlines and Boeing are supposedly lined up for a bailout, or its very hard to discern they won’t be.

    Do tell, reading that above article – what is the purpose of stock buyback programs when you really don’t plan for a bad month / quarter / travel outcomes turn to shi*e ? Bad outcomes never happen to airlines lol..bad outcomes never hit an executive suite lately either, so cue up the vitriol and hyperbole.

    Free markets my eye socket.

    1. Tom Doak

      The Boeing stock chart above shows that Boeing’s share price has only slipped back to where it was in 2015 . . . when they still had a thing like solvent customers. Seems like it should be far lower than that, so Wall Street must be pricing in the bailout.

      None of those 737 MAX passengers got a bailout..

      1. The Rev Kev

        I think that Lambert made a mistake using that chart. That is not the Boeing stock chart – that was actually the flight profile of a Boeing 737 MAX using MCAS.

      2. Samuel Conner

        > when they still had a thing like solvent customers

        And cash on hand.

        That bump cost $43 billion. How much will it take to bail them out?

      3. griffen

        If you click thru that link to the tweets in reply, there is a video replay on CNBC worth watching. He’s the CEO of Social Capital, and I don’t recall his name but you could imagine the anchors head exploding. Remarkable what he was saying ( not the CNBC anchor ).

    2. Carey

      The virus and our already long-overripe economy sure brings to mind some egg-chicken questions.

    3. The Rev Kev

      And in related news, Nikki Haley is resigning from the Boeing Board because she opposes government aid. Like hell she does. I am calling her out for trying to buffer her resume in a future political bid as in being able to say “Hey, I am the political candidate that is against government bailouts for corporations. That is why I took a moral stance and resigned from Boeing!”-


        1. Carey

          Adding: I can imagine other reasons than the one she provided for not wanting to be on Boeing’s board right now.

          Nimrata’s a Classy One, though.. ;)

  22. Jane

    Just came across this temperature map by a company that makes “smart” thermometers. They are tracking people’s thermometer readings around the US. The atypical map doesn’t look good for Floridians especially given the number of kids still having beach parties.

    Not sure how reliable the data is, maybe someone with decent data skills can take a peek.

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      The NYT science reporter who has been on MSDNC lately (who seems very competent) was pumping this last night. Kinsa doesn’t claim to be able to identify where covid outbreaks are taking place. But they can identify where more people are reporting flu-like temperatures (for 3 days in a row) than historical flu data would suggest, and that covid could explain the discrepancy. (If you follow Jane’s link, click on the “atypical illness” button.) Apparently, the Kinsa data from weeks ago showed at least some neighborhoods in NYC that later came to be known at hotspots for covid earlier than the CDC data did.

      Of course. the Kinsa is a “smart” thermometer and who knows what you are signing away when you agree to link your temperature to their app. Not for me.

  23. pricklyone

    Seen in comments at Wolf R.site:
    >>”I see Musk as a visionary. Much along the lines of Elizabeth Holmes.”
    Gotta love it…

  24. urblintz

    A preview of the Biden government… tune in to CNN now and listen (if you can tolerate the noise) to the wisdom of….


    wait for it…

    Susan Rice

    plus ça change…

  25. Roald Fizzlebeef

    First, chloroquine is an anti-protozoan, it binds to protein, and is toxic to cells with lysosomes that break the molecule down [something viruses don’t have]. If there is a mechanism upon which it is anti-viral, it is not understood, but China probably has a ton of it; so it sounds like good news when said aloud. But on the topic of the economy, the heart of which are written promises to transfer magic from sellers to the buyers, we know what will happen. People will stop making promises. The markets will pause. It’s magic, the limits of which are the collective imagination.

    Poxes descending upon society is older than history. Our intelligence is evolutionarily hard won by living with dangerous pathogens. We know how authorities will react, as if by instinct. For a thousand years, the Church would decide how much original sin could lay on a typical parishioner’s conscience without breaking the system. After the second or third wave of the plague, survivors suddenly had a lot less original sin. A lot less taboos were needed to protect the flock. The Church simply waited. Today, our vocabularies will change to justify our circumstances, but the machinery of sellers and buyers, composed of the very same granules of which it produces, is the same.

    1. The Historian

      I’m not a doctor or even a biochemist, but MEDCRAM has a very good explanation of how chloroquine works.

      Scientists know that Zinc keeps the virus from replicating. The problem is getting Zinc inside the cell where the virus is. Just taking Zinc doesn’t work – you can’t get it into the cells that way. What they’ve found is that Chloroquine carries Zinc into the cells and so is a hopeful treatment!

  26. urblintz

    I understand corporate America has a not-so-secret motto which they cherish, particularly in times like these: “Capitalism without bankruptcy is like catholicism without hell”

    1. allan

      In an alternate universe, Burr (who also reportedly leaked to the WH information about the Mueller investigation), would be expelled from the Senate and have his hefty retirement benefits revoked.

      1. allan

        But wait, there’s more. Like turning on the lights in a NYC apartment kitchen at 2 a.m. :

        Sen. Kelly Loeffler Dumped Millions in Stock After Coronavirus Briefing [Daily Beast]

        The Senate’s newest member sold off seven figures worth of stock holdings in the days and weeks after a private, all-senators meeting on the novel coronavirus that subsequently hammered U.S. equities.

        Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) reported the first sale of stock jointly owned by her and her husband on Jan. 24, the very day that her committee, the Senate Health Committee, hosted a private, all-senators briefing from administration officials, including the CDC director and Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institutes of Health of the United States, on the coronavirus. …

        It’s illegal for members of Congress to trade on non-public information gleaned through their official duties. …

        No, it’s not illegal if the president‘s rubber stamp does it.

    2. Oregoncharles

      Insider trading is a perq of the office. However, I thought they supposedly outlawed it a few years back.

  27. urblintz

    Let’s force Biden out of hiding. I propose a “Where’s Joe?” meme. If he responds by showing up and reading a script in public he’s bound to expose, over time, the fraud…

  28. Carey

    San Luis Obispo County CA has gone to “shelter in place” as of 5pm today, with ten confirmed cases.

    Getting the oddest feeling..

    1. MLTPB

      If the population of SLO county is around 300,000, or about 1/30 of LA county, 10 cases there (or here for people in SLO) is like 300 here.

  29. Jeremy Grimm

    I have been drinking far more alcohol than I should. I wish my State were more open to other forms of escape from the stupidity and waste of our Society. Am I to supposed to resort to commercial opioids as a last resort!? This most recent exercise in the complete ineffectiveness of our present society — the Corona virus — leaves me without sufficient and suitable escapes.

    I did see some most interesting uses for containers: [“https://www.ledsmagazine.com/horticultural-lighting/article/16695602/grocer-uses-led-lighting-for-storegrown-produce-magazine”] Of course a nice crop of indica might be the best remedy for what ails this country and polity. Shrooms would require less light and might best guide my thoughts for the future.

  30. lupemax

    so disappointed in Tulsi Gabbard withdrawing and Sanders for that matter who will no doubt withdraw soon as well and support a candidate who could care less about the people or the world. We have no leadership for the 99% not only in the US but for the world. it’s all about the 1%, money, greed. I also feel it is game over for all of us and actually all living beings. I’m old but I feel so sorry for my kids and my grandkids.

    1. Samuel Conner

      I’m not sure that Sanders is ready to withdraw. At least some of his supporters must be spoiling for a platform fight at the convention.

    2. Bill McIntosh

      I’m a member of the lower 10% NOT 1%. I find the thousands of small donor supporters of Bernie Sanders refreshing but that’s where it ends. A story. I’m an expat. I sent my 17 year old boy from Peru back to the States to enlist in the Marine Corps. In the months between arrival and Parris Island I urged him to get a job to defray costs of putting him up in a Craig’s list room. At the height of the snow bird season it was nearly impossible. “Undocumented” workers could get jobs. Working stiffs like my son ( a US citizen) could not. Before she died my mother worked till 77 yesrs of age to make ends meet. I have another. My late cousin who fought in Vietnam had his body shattered. He died of Agent Orange/Blue induced bladder cancer and, prior to that, could NOT get full SSI despite over 15 surgeries. How does Bernie Sanders who wants to eliminate ICE and make it easy to legalize yourself (and create an obvious moral hazard sucking in millions more illegal immigrants ) bamboozle white & Hispanic kids into supporting him despite the obvious shaft to their own elders and they themselves? I mean how long do American kids want garbage can wages that are guaranteed when a hundred thousand new immigrants each month or more (illegal or not) push down wages? How long will American youth be foreign immigrants floor mat? Why are they so enamored with this old scoundrel from Brooklyn?

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        The question is . . . was Sanders against Open Borders and Illegal Immigrationism till recently? Does anyone have any genuine evidence either way?

        And if he was against Open Borders and Illegal Immigrationism till recently, did he give in to psychological and moral extortionism from the Social Justice Woketards to support Open Borders and Illegal Immigrationism?

      2. Larry Y

        ICE is extremely cruel and inhumane. They also primarily existed to keep the workforce inline, anyway.

        Now, if ICE had gone after the people who used and abused and benefited, including a particular employer of Costa Ricans in NJ, we’d all be better off.

        1. tegnost

          I’m in the workforce, what does ICE do to keep me in line? I’m guessing your “particular employer is trump? What about the millions of undocced workers serving libdems in cali? They’re not particular? One hand washes off the other hand. Open borders is a hillary/biden/goldman sachs position

    1. The Rev Kev

      Tell that kid that everybody is getting to live the Big Brother experience with being isolated in your own house – but without the cameras everywhere.

        1. Carey

          Not any time soon, I think: they haven’t been building that surveillance-police state for nothing.


  31. bwilli123

    “The only US drugmaker that makes a potential treatment for the coronavirus that was touted by President Donald Trump raised the price by almost 100 per cent in January, as the virus caused havoc across China.Rising Pharmaceuticals, a New Jersey based company, increased the price of chloroquine — an antimalarial, which is one of the drugs that is being tested against Covid-19 — on January 23, according to data from research firm Elsevier. The drug price rose 97.86 per cent to $7.66 per 250mg pill and $19.88 per 500mg pill. ”

    The company subsequently lowered the price back to its previous approx. $3.80 per tablet.
    The list price from one random retailer in India – 1.1 cents each.


    1. David Carl Grimes

      Tim Canova said that he requested to see the ballots but the ballots were illegally destroyed. Bernie has not asked to see the ballots. Can an outside group have legal standing to do a ballot audit?

  32. WobblyTelomeres

    So, is anyone, anyone at all, wondering how Grover Norquist is taking all this stimulus/relief legislation?

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      If Grover Norquist feels satisfied that it can be used to push the Government into the kind of comprehensive bankruptcy which can be leveraged to abolish Social Security and Medicare, then Grover Norquist is happy about it.

  33. Tvc15

    Re: Walmart’s “unfortunate period” of making money hand over fist during the crisis. I can confirm I was part of the data set that most likely led to the analyst to comment, “new shopping methods including online grocery“. I used their grocery pick up service for the first time recently as a way to mitigate my potential exposure to the virus and because I live in rural Maine where my options are very limited. I do not plan to continue using the service as soon as the virus risk subsides because I despise the companies business practices and Walton heirs…so I suppose I’m an outlier to the data and is my political choice as the article linked to yesterday said.

  34. John

    Trump is deferring to the governors. They should be supplying medical supplies. Does this s***heel ever take responsibility or it is always the other guy’s fault. Maybe its time for governors and mayors to simply do what is necessary and send the bill to the treasury. He is truly useless.

    Tax cuts for corporations; now there is a life saver

  35. Eureka Springs

    I see no logic, no consistency, in Tulsi Gabbard supporting both Biden and the DNC corporation who puts people like HRC/Biden in place by hook and crook.

    She left the DNC over DWS and HRC party shenanigans in ’16. She experienced them change the rules on her personally this year more than once. Aren’t top Dems running her out of her seat now? Top it all off with the fact Biden is a warmonger who puts troops in needless war with abandon and it’s all just boggling.

    And just an update. There are still no eggs in the local stores of my rural county (pop 35k) which produces untold millions of eggs every day. If you’re able, buy some yard chickens soon as you can. And maybe a whiskey still…)

  36. ambrit

    Bad news for gun nuts.
    The NICS “background check” system for firearms purchases has started to fall apart under the strain. Some states have signaled that gonne purchases are now on hold.
    Interesting times.

  37. VietnamVet

    The Imperial College’s outbreak response that ignored 1) Contact Tracing and 2) door to door monitoring for cases with symptoms is basic to its acceptance by Boris Johnson and Donald Trump. They will not and cannot fathom staffing and paying for thousands in a public heath cadre to do the work necessary to contain the pandemic. They will also not draft grocery clerks, truck drivers, butchers, farmers, and cannery workers necessary to feed the population stuck at home. The uninfected must, sooner or later, take the risk of infection in the search for groceries to feed themselves. The establishment will not bring the troops home to help with logistics.

    Their ideology and transactional view of the world are why the President and VP are not social distancing at the podium. There is a complete failure to acknowledge that universal virus lab testing is necessary to identify the asymptomatic and quarantine them. If not, the virus will simmer in the population infecting anyone who encounters people shedding the virus for months if not years. This is basis of UK’s estimate that 80% of its population will become infected.

  38. richard

    I like the new tallyrand quote
    well, not exactly new
    he’s been dead a number of years, you see
    (starts channeling Hank Gimbel, babbling to himself- inside too long!!)

  39. David Carl Grimes

    In a crisis, everyone’s for MMT. Even Ken Rogoff.

    “I mean, there’s never been a concern about our government’s defaulting. The concern is being able to borrow massively when you need to. That’s the whole point of saving for a rainy day. When it rains, you want to really open up the floodgates.

    And, here, I just — there’s no limit. We’re in a war. You have to win the war. I would have no problem with the government debt magically going up $5 trillion in the blink of an eye, if we could get out of this in two or three months healthily.”


  40. ambrit

    The local medium sized bank that we use has instituted new rules for service. The drive through tellers will remain open as usual, but the inside offices and tellers now require one to call ahead and set an appointment to be admitted into the bank building itself. Socio-economic distancing at work.
    I looked our area up on the interactive map linked to by a commenter to see the expected hospital bed usage rate, under various scenarios. The worst case scenario I could find was a 200% utilization rate. The local “authorities” have already set up a dedicated clinic to handle the suspected coronavirus cases.
    Our half-horse town is right up by a major military training base. National Guard units from all over the country come here for training prior to deployment overseas. Hopefully, those units will be able to assist the locals when “things” get really bad.
    Interesting times.

  41. Mike

    Quoting Lambert:

    Tax credits. BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!!! However, I reject the whole framing of Trump “outflanking Democrats from the left.” The left puts the working class first, by definition. There is no way in God’s Green Earth that Trump, or the Republican Party, will do anything like that. I confess I do not have better framing. Paging Gregor Strasser?

    OK, we have an historical parallel – Roman Emperors often gave out “gifts’ and “games” to the public to assuage discomforts and tamp down revolts. Oh, and FDR gave out government programs to employ and benefit those unemployed (before we decided to fudge the numbers and use them as PR for “all’s good” therapy). To contradict Jimmy Dore, this is definitely Not socialism or outflanking the Dems to the “Left” – rather, it recognizes the absolute weakness of Dem policy and pushes to demolish them. Nancy will balance a mythical balanced budget and lose her ability to represent the upper West Side aristocrats-in-the-making across the nation. Great trade there, Nance. Anybody here have an offshore account???

  42. HotFlash

    Hospitals across the U.S. are running out of the masks, gowns and other equipment they need to protect staff against the coronavirus… in a stark sign of how the pandemic has upended emergency-response logistics” [Wall Street Journal].

    (fixed it for then) in a stark sign of how the pandemic offshoring has upended emergency-response logistics.

    TPP — good things since 2008 (link to wikipedia article)

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