2:00PM Water Cooler 3/23/2020

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!

We have a new national poll from Emerson, and no state polls, as of 3/20/2020, 11:00 AM EDT.

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.

Just for grins, I thought I would compare the profiles of the two campaigns:

It’s evident that the voter bases of Biden and Sanders are quite different. Sanders, in blue at right, has been rising steadily, almost inexorably; to me, it looks more like he ran out of runway than that he reached a ceiling. And notice that his support has not collapsed, although post-#COVID-19, everything is scrambled. Biden, by contrast, depended on a 30-point swing (!) generated for him by the Democrat Establishmen on Obama’s Night of the Long Knives before California. This shows both the strength and weakness of the Establishment: On the one hand, they showed impressive tactical dexterity by firmly giving Biden front-runner status (would that they showed similar form when “fighting for” the rest of us); on the other hand, they didn’t take any votes away from Sanders, and so he remains a force.

* * *

“Tensions boil over on Senate floor amid coronavirus debate” [The Hill]. “Collins also walked over to directly confront Schumer while he was still on the floor, leaning toward him and pointing her finger at him. ‘You are objecting to my speaking? This is appalling!” she said.” • That’s not all that’s appalling. See NC here for the blow-by-low on “Bailout Shenanigains.”

Biden (D)(1): Post-Night of the Long Knives Funders. Thread:

Biden (D)(2): “‘There’s no playbook for this’: Biden trapped in campaign limbo” [Politico]. “Because Sanders won’t quit, Biden can’t fully pivot to the general election. He can’t truly unite the party’s warring factions. Nor can he begin stockpiling the vast amounts of money he’ll need for November. His momentum has effectively been stopped cold. A source familiar with the Democratic National Committee’s discussions says the party offered both the Biden and Sanders campaigns the opportunity to open joint-fundraising accounts. But since Sanders declined, the party is reluctant to enter into one with Biden because of the bad optics of seeming to help one candidate. [BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!!!!] ‘That’s going to eventually hurt Biden with financing if the DNC doesn’t go ahead with this,’ the source said. Stuck at home because of coronavirus precautions, Biden also can’t meet with donors at fundraisers — which, in turn, may become less lucrative with an economy that’s sinking into recession or perhaps worse.” • So Biden disappeared for days…

Cuomo (D)(1): “Cuomo panel recommends $400M in hospital cuts as coronavirus pandemic rages” [New York Post]. “A panel appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo backed a plan that would slash Medicaid spending to New York’s hospitals by almost $400 million as the facilities scramble to address the coronavirus epidemic. The Medicaid Redesign Team overwhelmingly backed the slate of proposals at its Thursday meeting, which aim to slash spending on NYC Health & Hospitals — the Big Apple’s public hospital system — by $186 million in the fiscal year beginning April 1. The vote was unanimous with three abstentions. It will be forwarded to state lawmakers and Cuomo for consideration. The governor’s budget director, Robert Mujica, told the commission beforehand that implementation of some of the proposed cuts could be delayed thanks to federal aid for coronavirus. These are the latest in a two-decade-long pattern of budget cuts and insurance overhauls that played a key role in the Empire State losing 20,000 now-badly needed hospital beds to fight the coronavirus.” • Just to push back a little on the rapidly inflating Cuomo trial balloon…

Klobuchar (D)(1): “Amy Klobuchar says her husband has been hospitalized with coronavirus” [Axios]. “Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) announced Monday that her husband, John Bessler, tested positive for coronavirus and has been hospitalized. The Minnesota senator said that she has not seen her husband for the last two weeks because of his illness — and, as a result, will not be tested or self-quarantine.” • Oh.

Sanders (D)(1): Sanders should listen to Richard Nixon:

The Shadow Government idea is brilliant. Do it. Much better framing than town halls and round-tables.

UPDATE Sanders (D)(2): “What Joe Biden understood about Black voters that Bernie Sanders didn’t” [The Grio]. “I’ve been traveling to the U.S. South quite a bit as of late and cannot begin to count the number of establishments and homes who have added a framed photograph of former President Barack Obama to their wall next to the pantheon of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jesus Christ at the last supper, and Malcolm X (or JFK depending on where you are). Biden’s connection (and loyalty) to Barack Obama still matters. His solid identification as a Democrat still matters, and his role as ‘the establishment’ does matter to many…. Black support of Biden is not blind worship of the former vice president or lack of information as some have suggested. Black voters are strategically weighing their odds and many are choosing who they think is palatable not only for themselves but also their communities. They are making a strategic calculus of the voting behaviors of whites and others who tend not to factor in Black needs and opinions when making their voting decisions.” • I’ve written elsewhere on the strategic failures of the Sanders campaign with the Black political establishment in the South. What I don’t buy with this picture of older black voters as Wypipo Whisperers is that (a) it can’t give an account of why young Black voters prefer Sanders, which they do, or (b) the Southern Firewall gave us Clinton in 2016, with disastrous results.

UPDATE Sanders (D)(3): “How It All Came Apart for Bernie Sanders” [New York Times]. • Worth reading if you can factor out the evident glee of the writers and generic insider back-biting (campaigns always have conflict, and if you want to see real campaign in-fighting, read Shattered and Chasing Hillary). But definitely an insider, horse-race perspective: “In the weeks before Super Tuesday, Mr. Sanders had indeed refused to yield to critics who were searching for gestures of accommodation. In Nevada, leaders of the powerful Culinary Workers Union Local 226 were frustrated that Mr. Sanders did not speak out more forcefully when his supporters heaped abuse on predominantly female union leaders over their opposition to ‘Medicare for all.'” • Oddly, or not, the article never mentions that Sanders in fact won the Culinary leaders, because the leadership was out of touch with the rank and file. More on “Mr. Biden’s roaring comeback,” “a tectonic shift against him by the party’s moderate wing” (tellingly lacking in agency). “‘What the establishment wanted was to make sure that people coalesced around Biden and try to defeat me,’ Mr. Sanders said. ‘So that’s not surprising.'” • Sanders is correct, unless you believe that sudden endorsement of Biden after South Carolina and before California was some sort of spontaneous event. But this is also a strategic failure by the Sanders campaign; if this was anticipated, why did it happen? In fact, as I argue here, theory of change aside, in practice the Sanders canvassing operation was insufficient to bring enough discouraged/disengaged working class voters to the polls, at least in time. The Times, of course, does not mention this; the working class is not in their Rolodexes, I guess.

UPDATE Trump (R)(1): “Lawsuit: Trump Admin Using Coronavirus as Political Weapon to Punish California and ‘Reward’ Red States” [Law and Crime]. “City leaders in Costa Mesa, California are currently engaged in a volley of words and legal briefs with the Trump administration in general–and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in particular–over a plan to move several dozen Coronavirus patients from a military lockup facility to a civilian-run facility. Local officials there are backed up by their counterparts in Orange County, as well as state and federal officials representing California. … The plan from Trump’s HHS to transfer the 50-plus patients out of military custody to a state-run facility have been vociferously opposed from the start–but the latest filings add an entirely new political dimension rife with themes of reward and retribution. The struggle in the Monday filing paints the choices and preferences of HHS Director Alex Azar–seemingly acting on Trump’s behalf and/or in order to please his boss–as a tribal and partisan battle between red states and the bluest state in the nation.” •  As Mike Duncan remarked:

UPDATE Warren (D)(1): “Silicon Valley Megadonor Karla Jurvetson Fueled Elizabeth Warren’s Super PAC with $14 Million Donation” [The Intercept]. “In a campaign finance filing late on Friday, Persist PAC, the super PAC that attempted to revive Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign finally disclosed its donors. Karla Jurvetson, a Silicon Valley megadonor, who made over 500 donations over the last year alone, provided 96 percent of the super PAC’s financing through a $14.6 million donation. Barbara Lee, a prominent Democratic donor in Massachusetts, and Women Vote! — the super PAC affiliate of EMILY’s List, a pro-choice group previously financed by Michael Bloomberg, among other wealthy donors — also provided significant funding for Persist PAC.” • Warren does seem impressively…. nimble in her ethical and policy commitment, doesn’t she? More on Jurvetson here. Warren also relied on Jurvetson to purchase her voter file, which would make a paranoid and cynical voter wonder how far back Warren’s role as a spoiler was calculated.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Coronavirus Spurs Vote-By-Mail Push, But Barriers Remain” [Time]. “But there are no magic fixes in a country where the rules governing elections make up a confusing patchwork from state to state. Expanding universal vote-by-mail options for November’s election will require either the passage of federal legislation or a series of changes to state laws, especially in the states that now require an excuse for absentee ballots…. Money and momentum matters, though states would still quickly have to make a series of decisions governing how such ballots would make their way into voters’ hands and be returned, handled and counted securely; the deadline to return ballots to be counted; as well as how to verify them and give voters the chance to address problems — questions different states answer in different ways.” • What I am not seeing is a prohibition on either privatized or party counting.

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.

Employment Situation: “U.S. Jobless Rate May Soar to 30%, Fed’s Bullard Says” [Bloomberg]. “Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard predicted the U.S. unemployment rate may hit 30% in the second quarter because of shutdowns to combat the coronavirus, with an unprecedented 50% drop in gross domestic product…. ‘This is a planned, organized partial shutdown of the U.S. economy in the second quarter,’ Bullard said. ‘The overall goal is to keep everyone, households and businesses, whole’ with government support. ‘It is a huge shock and we are trying to cope with it and keep it under control.'” • If Bullard things a one-time $3000 bridge payment is going to make American households whole, he’s out of his mind.

* * *

Manufacturing: “China’s Factories Work 24/7 to Build Ventilators for Milan, New York” [Bloomberg]. “For companies like Beijing Aeonmed, though, it’s roaring business as orders pour in from dozens of countries, many of which are chartering planes or using military aircraft to pick up the machines. Aeonmed isn’t the only Chinese company racing against the clock to build ventilators. ‘All the ventilator factories in China have reached their maximum capacity, occupied fully by foreign demand,’ said Wu Chuanpu, director of supply chain at Vedeng.com, one of the main platforms in China connecting medical equipment suppliers and buyers. The factories have orders to keep them at full capacity until May, according to Wu. Vedeng is still getting more than 60 to 70 new orders every day, each asking for hundreds or thousands of such machines, he said. Many are from governments.”

The Fed: “Fed, saying aggressive action is needed, starts unlimited QE” [MarketWatch]. “Saying ‘aggressive action’ was needed to soften the blow to the economy from the coronavirus pandemic, the Federal Reserve on Monday announced it would purchase an unlimited amount of Treasurys and securities tied to home and business mortgages to ward off a credit crunch. The Fed said it would buy assets ‘in the amounts needed’ to support smooth market functioning and effective transmission of monetary policy. The Fed had previous set a $700 billion limit for asset purchases. In addition, the Fed announced several new lending programs worth $300 billion to support all corners of the financial markets. Economists said the Fed action was big. ‘The only parallel that comes to mind is with [former ECB chief Mario] Draghi’s ‘whatever it takes’ moment, except that these are not just words,’ said Robert Perli, a former Fed staffer and now an analyst with Cornerstone Macro.” • Swell. Now about that one-time bridge payment of $3000, sick leave for everbody, and free treatment….

* * *

The Bezzle: AirBnB bubble bursts:

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 9 Extreme Fear (previous close: 8 Extreme Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 3 (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. Last updated Mar 23 at 12:23pm. Still moving up, albeit slowly.

Rapture Index: Closes up two on Unemployment. “The Great Job Crash of 2020 will leave million jobless” [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 182. Remember that bringing on the rapture is a good thing. It certainly is odd to see the Fear and Greed index in Freefall, and an index that measures the likelihood of the Apocalypse is stable in the midst of what, in Biblical terms, should surely be a plague. +2 is a big jump, for the Rapture Index.

The Biosphere

“Everyone, everywhere: the global challenge of climate change” [Nature]. “Climate change demands action: humanity must shift from persistent destruction to intentional regeneration. So, how best to make that happen? Two new books give very different answers. In one, the solution lies exclusively with nation states and their protection of security and self-interest. The other expects a global-scale spirit of shared endeavour to harness the collective power of governments, corporations and individuals.”

“National monuments and economic growth in the American West” [Science]. “Our results using a rich longitudinal micro-dataset and quasi-experimental econometric methods suggest that national monuments provided a boost to local economies in some ways and in other ways had no effect at all. We estimated an increase in the average number of business establishments and jobs in areas around the monuments, an increase in the establishment growth rate and no effect, positive or negative, on the number of jobs in businesses in operation at the time of designation, average wage incomes, or the net job growth rate. We also found no effect on the natural resource industries that rely on public lands and that detractors claim are hurt by monuments—namely, mining, forestry, and livestock grazing. Several service industries and the construction industry exhibit positive effects from monument designations. An important previous study of monument designations found no change in per capita income at the county level after designations (23). Our findings for average wage income at the ZCTA level are consistent with these results.”

Health Care

I mentioned the stress — ok, privilege alert — of monitoring my body constantly, each cough, each twinge, to alert reader dk, who responded with the following useful advice:

You don’t have to check your body constantly. Just before bed, in the morning sometime, and during the day or after a physical task (like an errand) is completed. Relax in a standing position and take a couple of deep breaths with an erect but relaxed posture (loose belly). Pay attention to the breaths. It takes a few seconds, if something is unusual you’ll notice right away. It’s called “listening to the body” and one notices aches and pains which are normal for an aging person. Those are to be expected, and we shouldn’t let our brains overthink them. This is the much inflated and hucksterized idea of holism. It’s simple, not mystical or spiritual: we’re the product of millions of years of evolution, a little faith in our own biology’s fairly robust processes is warranted. The brain isn’t in charge, but it can help monitor the situation.

The most common intellectual mistake is to “power through,” I always think of Jim Henson of Muppet fame, who keeled over from a six week walking pneumonia. The opposite is hypochondria, which can lead us to overuse medications and needlessly harass doctors+nurses. But using simple home remedies early is a way to address nervousness and test a theory of illness onset.

Somewhere in the middle is hmm I’ve had a scratchy throat for 4 hours, I’ll gargle with warm salt water (or similar) until it feels better. If that doesn’t work, analyze surrounding circumstances and consider a more aggressive remedy (chicken soup? epsom salt bath?) or (and eventually) medical assistance.

Useful, I think (though personally I gargle honey). Readers?

* * *

“Chloroquine for COVID-19: Cutting Through the Hype” [The Scientist]. “While some of the hype has been fuelled by a document generated outside the scientific literature, chloroquine’s potential in treating COVID-19 is gaining traction in the medical community. The drug has a long track record in medicine, having been used since the 1940s as an antimalarial. The modern drug is made from the bark of the Cinchona plant, which was taken as an herbal remedy by indigenous Peruvians four centuries ago to treat fever. And there are some early indications it could work against SARS-CoV-2 infections…. Small-scale experiments in which chloroquine has been given to COVID-19 patients in China and Australia have also shown encouraging results as far as shortening the course of the disease. Larger clinical trials will be necessary to determine how effective the drug is. Larger clinical trials will be necessary to determine how effective the drug is.” • This is a level-header survey, well worth a read. Understandably, some dont want to wait. (It would be helpful if Trump stopped flapping his big mouth on treatment; and it would also help if the Maddows of this world didn’t feed The World’s Greatest Troll™. The noise, er, both sides generate makes it all that harder to sort what can really help, which a lot of us need to do in real time.

“Can a century-old TB vaccine steel the immune system against the new coronavirus?” [Science]. “Researchers in four countries will soon start a clinical trial of an unorthodox approach to the new coronavirus. They will test whether a century-old vaccine against tuberculosis (TB), a bacterial disease, can rev up the human immune system in a broad way, allowing it to better fight the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 and, perhaps, prevent infection with it altogether. The studies will be done in physicians and nurses, who are at higher risk of becoming infected with the respiratory disease than the general population, and in the elderly, who are at higher risk of serious illness if they become infected….. Vaccines generally raise immune responses specific to a targeted pathogen, such as antibodies that bind and neutralize one type of virus but not others. But [bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG)] may also increase the ability of the immune system to fight off pathogens other than the TB bacterium, according to clinical and observational studies published over several decades by Danish researchers Peter Aaby and Christine Stabell Benn, who live and work in Guinea-Bissau.”

“Prolonged presence of SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA in faecal samples” [The Lancet]. “Our data suggest the possibility of extended duration of viral shedding in faeces, for nearly 5 weeks after the patients’ respiratory samples tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 RNA. Although knowledge about the viability of SARS-CoV-2 is limited,1 the virus could remain viable in the environment for days, which could lead to faecal–oral transmission, as seen with severe acute respiratory virus CoV and Middle East respiratory syndrome CoV.2 Therefore, routine stool sample testing with real-time RT-PCR is highly recommended after the clearance of viral RNA in a patient’s respiratory samples. Strict precautions to prevent transmission should be taken for patients who are in hospital or self-quarantined if their faecal samples test positive.”

“Dating and Coronavirus: Can You Still Kiss, Have Sex, and Go on Dates During Social Distancing?” [Teen Vogue]. “Even if you’re a teen or young adult, ‘you should stop to consider your other contacts—not just the person you’re in a relationship with, but your family, your grandmother or grandfather,’ says Michael Chang, MD, an infectious disease specialist at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. ‘The effects go beyond just the two of you at this point.'”

“Area megachurch holds Sunday services despite coronavirus concerns” [Journal-News]. “While other congregations across Ohio are encouraging their worshipers to stay home and worship online to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Solid Rock Church held in-person services Sunday morning and evening in Warren County…. ‘We are open!’ the church posted this morning via Facebook, publicizing its 10:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. services. ‘Thankful the governor hasn’t placed restrictions on churches. Join us today! If you can’t make it or aren’t feeling well [(!!!!)], watch us online at www.solidrockchurch.org…. The church is known nationwide for its iconic ‘Lux Mundi’ statue of Jesus, and its predecessor, which was struck by lightning in June 2010.Supporters of Solid Rock commented on Facebook that Bishop was ‘fearless’ and asked that ‘God bless him with boldness.'” • Solid rock…

“NTNU in Norway Warns about Coronavirus, the United States’ Healthcare and Infrastructure” [Truth or Fiction]. Yes, they said it: “On March 14 2020, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) advised students abroad to return home in the face of a global COVID-19 pandemic. The warning was for ‘countries with poorly developed collective infrastructure, for example the USA, where it can be difficult to get transport to the airport if you don’t have a car’ and ‘the same applies if you don’t have health insurance.'”

“‘A mess in America’: Why Asia now looks safer than the U.S. in the coronavirus crisis” [Los Angeles Times]. “In Asian countries that initially faced the gravest risk from the coronavirus, the shambolic U.S. response to the pandemic has elicited confusion, horror and even a measure of pity. Suddenly, it seems, the U.S. is the basket case, an aloof, inward-looking power that had already weakened its alliances, failed to lead on global emergencies such as climate change and shrunk in a crisis.” • Democrats abroad seem to agree:

“‘I’m going to keep pushing.’ Anthony Fauci tries to make the White House listen to facts of the pandemic” [Science]. Well worth reading in full. Pertinently:

Q: Big picture: We’ve had all this pandemic preparedness. Why did this fail? What went wrong?

A: I think we’ll have to wait until it is over and we look back before we can answer that. It’s almost like the fog of war. After the war is over, you then look back and say, “Wow, this plan, as great as it was, didn’t quite work once they started throwing hand grenades at us.” It really is similar to that. Obviously, testing [for the new coronavirus] is one clear issue that needs to be relooked at. Why were we not able to mobilize on a broader scale? But I don’t think we can do that right now. I think it’s premature. We really need to look forward.

As Mike Tyson (apocryphally) said: “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth,” a less subtle version of “No plan survives contact with the enemy.”

“Your No-Panic Guide: What We Do (And Don’t) Know About The U.S. Medical Stockpile” [LAist]. “About $8 billion worth of vaccines, pharmaceuticals, protective gear, ventilators and other kinds of medical equipment are housed in warehouses that are strategically located around the United States. From the outside, these warehouses look ordinary. Inside, however, armed guards stand watch over a vast collection of materials. Giant freezers keep certain products cold. Locked, caged-off sections of the warehouses store controlled substances like painkillers. Rows of ventilators, which can support people who are having trouble breathing, are kept charged-up and ready to roll at a moment’s notice. When the stockpile started, back in 1999, the goal was to get prepared for unusual, unprecedented national threats, says O’Toole, who chaired an advisory committee on the stockpile for the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine… The stockpile can fill gaps in supply chains or respond to sudden surges in demand caused by emergencies, says O’Toole, but ‘it is not big enough, and it can never be big enough to replace the supply chains.’ ‘It’s a bridge,” she says. ‘It’s not a replacement for the private sector.’ That means there could still be shortages of critical items, as it will take time for manufacturers to ramp up production.”

We love our insurance:

Feral Hog Watch

The next dominant species?

Class Warfare

The weak suffer as they must. Important thread:

Quite right:

As the Hamptons will find out in two weeks, and Blaine County in Idaho, home of Sun Valley, already knows.

News of the Wired

“Le Show For The Week Of March 22, 2020” (podcast) [Harry Shearer, Le Show]. “Harry is back stateside and stuck inside like the rest of us for this week’s Le Show.” The show “where self-isolation is not a mandate, it’s a lifestyle.”

Sheltering in place:

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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 (RB):

RB writes: “Spring is here in Puget Sound. Flowering cherries, apple trees, and my pear tree are starting to bud. A snap frost last week made me fear for the trees. Which reminded me… a couple of winters ago we had a snap frost that interrupted the melt-off of a late winter snow. The result was this. I took pictures – driver’s seat looking out of my car to the left in my driveway. Through the window: that is a Monterey pine that gives me occasional grief with branches breaking from the weight of snow.”

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. urblintz

    don’t mean to jump the comments but the Dems grew a spine and stopped the scam relief bill from advancing

    1. Hepativore

      Perhaps because the Democrats did not think that the corporate bailouts were big enough, and that the bill did not include any means-testing for private individuals like Biden, Pelosi, and Schumer wanted.

      1. russell1200

        I am guessing that it is over who got control over the corporate business portion of the bailout. There didn’t seem to be any restriction on business owners just running off with the money.

    2. Jen

      I stopped just short of suggesting to my (D) delegation that they be flayed alive if they voted for it when I called.

      1. Procopius

        I sent an email to my Senator thanking her for demanding expanded unemployment insurance. I wouldn’t mind a $200 increase to my Social Security, but I think that needs careful thought to avoid depleting the Trust Fund. Remember, Social Security benefits DO NOT come from the General Fund, so do not affect the deficit, but the Republicans pretend they are the biggest driver of the deficit because they want to end the program.

    3. Glen

      Even some Repub Senators would not vote for it. Lets start rewarding good where it happens, and slam evil where it happens. This is NOT a party line split.

      1. jashley

        A political own goal by DIMS.

        They will regret stopping this no matter what is in it.
        The optics were set once the cash giveaways were floated.
        It seems the Dims want one to believe that once this is passed or fails that there will be no other attempts.
        OWN GOAL MAX.

        Avg joe is not going to be happy when that doesn’t show up.
        Avg joe sees that the fed is giving away the store already but he doesn’t get any help there either.

        Never let a good/bad disaster go to waste.
        Both of the criminal party seem to have that at the fore of their efforts.

      2. Bsoder

        Some? 3 Republicans can’t, one Rand is C-19 sick, the other two, who sit next to him were ordered to stay at home.

        1. Procopius

          I haven’t heard Rand Paul “is C-19 sick.” He said he tested positive for the virus but presently has no symptoms. He was able to get tested when people in ICUs with severe symptoms can’t.

    4. Painted Shut

      This is really moreso about who gets the credit,given that it’s an election year.

      Then again, if not for the election, it’d be a 100% corporate bailout and already approved by both parties.

    5. BoulderMike

      But, this is the same old play book. Democrats act like they will fight, then later today, or some evening, late, they will agree to the heinous bill and say” it isn’t perfect, but …..”. I don’t know why anyone is fooled by this charade anymore. It has been done so many times it is beyond predicatable. I am scared for sure.

    6. Lambert Strether Post author

      > the Dems grew a spine and stopped the scam relief bill from advancing

      We’ll have to see what the outcome is. For example, the checks need to be continuous, not one-time, and the coverage needs to be universal. And the $500 billion slush fund had to be control. (To be fair, IIRC, Warren did a good job auditing the last bailouts, so whatever they did in 2008 should be the baseline for this time.)

      1. urblintz

        absolutely and I think they know it. Gillibrand was on CNN and she sounded very serious, was not hedging her language and said we can’t do what we did in 2008 when the rich were bailed out while the the rest were left to rot. She did say the Dems also wanted to save business and was a bit too enthusiastic on that part for my taste but I assume it was a bone thrown not so much at the business community but at the Democratic voters who had been convinced through Dem mis-leadership that they should love the Chamber of Commerce. There are no centrists in a pandemic and all those centrists who hadn’t figured that out are left staggering at the failure of their ideology.

        1. notabanker

          Wish I shared your optimism. The Dems are going to do the same thing they did in TARP. Posture, rollover and claim victory.

          1. urblintz

            the paradigm has shifted entirely. this is completely new territory. of course they’ll save big business – but this is capitalism’s moment to prove it’s the best system and there will be nothing left if people are not somehow made whole as wel, if they can not afford the “saved” economy. Henry Ford, not a nice man, understood this much at least.
            Even Lindsay Graham sounds like he understands it and is saying exactly that: save the people or lose it all…. maybe I don’t know what he means by save the people yet but the fact of those words coming out of that mouth matters.

            1. Carey

              >Even Lindsay Graham sounds like he understands it and is saying exactly that: save the people or lose it all….

              Yep, making nice noises, for now. I think notabanker, above, has it right.
              Elites and their minions to the 90%: “we hear you, and we’ll be right there…”

              show me

      2. polecat

        All I see are glass spines, down BOTH sides of the Purple co-joined twins !! Same goes for their jaws ..

        Fucking bunch of wankers .. giving their essences to their corporate corpse donors.

      3. Darthbobber

        Is it just me, or is it really the initial passivity of the Pelosi-led house that puts the democrats where they are? NOW they’re going to come out with their own bill, having stood and watched as the Senate one rolled on to this point?

        Had they gotten off the dime first, with what they supposedly prefer, it would already be waiting for conference, and the whole “stalling/blocking” onus, such as it is, would be on Mitch and company. What’s her model? McClellan’s peninsula campaign?

  2. Steve H.

    > We have to seriously restrict the movement of rich people because they don’t make good choices.

    No finer target for monkeywrenching than private jets…

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Private jets falling out of the air is too painfully obvious. Don’t do that.

      Now, I would NEver Ever suggest putting coronavirus on all the private jet surfaces that the rich people touch. That would be nasty, and illegal too. And all the more insidious because so hard to trace.

      1. ambrit

        Well, one basic requirement of ‘Justice’ is that it be seen to be carried out. In that regard, the more “Diving for Dollars” airframes we see, the better it is for the public morale.
        Just a bunch of richies coming down with the Dreaded Pathogen and then hogging a disproportionate share of the medical system resources in hopes of surcease of care is not any particular ‘Sign From Above’ that ‘Justice’ will prevail.
        Make it obvious to all that there are consequences for “Exceptional Behaviour.”

      2. Jackson

        I know of one private jet flying from LA to Sun Valley Idaho to their vacation home. The county has since been locked down since it has the highest COVD-19 rate in the state. Guillotines should be in order since public shaming does not work.

    2. Kurtismayfield

      Wait until the Hamptons runs out of food.. they don’t have the same delivery infrastructure during the off-season, nor do the markets have the personnel. IGA’s must be getting cleaned out.

      Friend of mine told me that PC Richards has sold hundreds of freezers out there.. they must be thinking they can squirrel away everything.

      1. Tvc15

        “Wait until the Hamptons runs out of food”. I know what houses will have stockpiles and freezers for the proles to search.

    1. zagonostra

      I used to enjoy TD, but something changed. The quality of the articles seemed to have taken a turn to the neoliberal Dem side and less a critique of Power. Also the quality of the comments was/is very low, it certainly never rises to the level of NC.

      Unfortunately when I talk to friends and compare where we get our news, when I recommend NC, they tell me it’s overwhelming. I think the capacity/ability to read through and parse information has been greatly diminished. People are only looking for a short 2 min digestible story that re-affirms their beliefs so they can go back to their own life.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > when I recommend NC, they tell me it’s overwhelming.

        That’s interesting. Do you suppose you could elicit from them what they would prefer? We are not untalented or uninventive bloggers…. I don’t think “2 min digestible story” is precise enough.

        1. Romancing The Loan

          People I have recommended it to have said similar things and, when I asked, said that it’s just the sheer volume of daily links that intimidates them.

          I have told them I read the headlines, dive into a couple of the most interesting-looking articles, and then read the comments for a good overview of daily news in a very manageable amount of time but it doesn’t seem to have stuck with others.

            1. farragut

              Just to be clear, I appreciate the number & diversity of links provided in the morning & afternoon sessions. My concern (mentioned below) was only about the layout of the top of the page.

              1. Oregoncharles

                OTOH, I find the top of the page well designed – but then, I’ve forgotten what it was like the first time or two.

            2. ambrit

              I do the same as Romancing the Loan. When I recommend NC to newbies, I describe it as a smorgasbord of truth, justice, and the original American Way. If time constrained, chose one from Column One, one from Column Two, and so on.
              Many people in this iPhone corrupted society confuse choosing articles from within a site with choosing sites from the wrack and foam of the Internet’s Shore.
              What are these young’ns learnin in school today?

              1. Foy

                A smorgasbord of truth! I love that, my new go to line for describing NC.

                My working friends (typically 52+yo with teenagers) just don’t seem to have the time to read NC (kids sport and commitments, working hours etc). Also their business ideology doesn’t help – many accountants with neo-liberal views. They experience a level of cognitive dissonance in the first instance that makes it hard for them to keep with it. They would rather read a novel on the train than scan NC.

                But I am slowly getting them on board one by one, the more open and curious ones first who actually see the problems facing their kids and that their kids will be worse off than they are and wonder why.

                I sent a NC post on Matt Tiabbi’s “Manufacturing Fear and Loathing” to friend in Canada the other day that I hadn’t spoken to for a long while and he replied “good old naked capitalism LOL”. So he remembered the site. Gently drip feeding good links/posts to my friends I find is building up the brand recognition.

                But yep the problem is most have now been trained for 2 minute articles, not something that requires a little bit of thought. I tell them to scan links for what interests them each day and that I don’t need much other news.

                1. ambrit

                  Good methods. I equate reading NC with sitting back on a Sunday morning with week old copies of the old Times, (both sides of the pond,) and digging in. I could occasionally do that as a teen back when the local library had Sunday hours. When I aged a bit, I would scrounge the back issues of good newspapers from “high end” doctors offices and coffeehouses.

            3. Oso

              i would say NC fits both the two minute digestible and deeper analyses perspectives. when i’m in a hurry i’ll note something of particular interest and skim it. Water Cooler is prime example of shorter digestibles. there are always plenty of in depth posts for those who have some time to read and think things over. imho keep on doing what you’re doing.

            4. curlydan

              I’d recommend to tell people that NC is like the newspaper. Are you going to read every single article in the Links from beginning to end? Are you going to read every single post? Probably not.

              Readers need to pick, choose, and skim the links, the longer posts, and the water cooler and read a few comments as well.

            5. Darius

              I usually only get around to reading the headlines in Links and Water Cooler, but I still feel better informed than I would if I relied on established publications. Yours and Yves’ comments also provide perspective and wit upon which I have come to depend.

              If anything, I think the stark difference in perspective and news judgment from that of “liberal media” creates cognitive dissonance for newbies. For them, it’s like a foreign and disorienting language. Not much you can or should do about that.

            6. ChrisPacific

              I agree that the site is optimized for regular readers and possibly not that newcomer friendly. I think the main missing element is some kind of ‘New Readers’ link, perhaps a welcome message and canon of frequently-referenced articles (a Greatest Hits, if you will). Captain Awkward (the ‘New Here?’ link) and Ask A Manager (‘About’ page and the link to favorite posts) both do it well.

              A decent analytics provider should be able to supply a list of most-linked pages as a starting point on this, or allow you to generate one yourself.

              1. urblintz

                I think one of the biggest obstacles is attention span. I honestly do not believe a majority of people can easily, and with focused interest, absorb even a small part of any one article anywhere about anything, not just NC… assuming they are reading it to begin with. They’re not. I rec NC all the time to very smart people and when I try to speak with them about the issues examined here it’s as if the conversation can not even begin. I try to make a point and the response is either non-sequiter or entirely absent… crickets. And it’s clear they have even less an inclination to check it out after such an incident than before the non conversation. Interest un-piqued…

                in their defense, it takes a lot of time which most don’t have.

                Corona may well change that…

                1. ChrisPacific

                  I would not want to lose the depth that we have here, but I think it could scale better for newer readers who aren’t up to speed yet.

                  For example: Yves is very good at long form dissections of a problem. She is also good at short pithy statements that sum up the whole issue in a memorable way. The current ‘About’ section strikes me as a little too heavy on the former (“That approach had entrenched the position of powerful and often predatory large international financial institutions and exacerbated income inequality via stealth bailouts to crippled firms, which have the side effect of perpetuating the use of asset bubbles to compensate for stagnant worker wages”) and light on the latter (“… that the official narrative was a crock.”)

                2. drumlin woodchuckles

                  If they grew up on digital input, their brains have been neuronally molded around fast-paced ever-changing input.

                  If they were raised from birth on a diet of attention-spanocidal media, it is not surprising that their attention span is short today.

                3. Amfortas the hippie

                  i don’t tell any of my family about NC, because I prefer to speak freely with y’all.
                  none of them would be much fun/use here any way.
                  wife reads many of the articles and posts i send her, though.
                  given where we are, i doubt that her posting them to FB would make a difference.
                  my boys occasionally read over my shoulder(especially in the last week), but neither of them cares much for newsgathering, and seem to be satisfied with drive bye’s and asking us.

            7. Terence Dodge

              Darwin, as in self selection, those who cannot “spend” the time to learn at their own pace, they have ingested so many short attention “calories” of news items that they cannot cope with un-predigest fact, datum. NC is perceived as “fiber” rich and may either “go down” roughly or perhaps is perceived as producing embarrassing “gas” in public after exposure.

            8. NotTimothyGeithner

              For me, the Bold subsection titles could be bigger, and the subsections such as Biden(D)1 could be Bold but kept the same size.

            9. Craig H.

              If it isn’t broke then don’t fix it.

              Update: if it breaks because you didn’t do the scheduled updates for three years buy a new one. This might be more expensive. Also it might be cheaper.

            10. Prodigalson

              Stay the course. All the links is why I read and there’s nothing else like it outside maybe consortium news or antiwar.

            11. richard

              I’ve always liked the layout; I prefer to browse by headline, then read Lambert’s or Yve’s or Jerri’s little comment underneath (if they’ve provided one) to get a sense if I want to dive in.
              I wouldn’t prefer a much longer scroll down to get to comments, which never fail to teach, persuade and entertain. I definitely would not like a lot of fancy graphics and a super busy page with things trying to get my attention (I’ll decide for myself where to put my attention, thanks very much), and I’m grateful that NC combines excellent analysis/writing with a layout that doesn’t treat me like I need to be guided somewhere. If you know what I mean. Anyway, there’s my 2 cents.

            12. Copeland


              Before I started reading here religiously, about 1.5 years ago, I too stopped by from time to time at the suggestion of others online and found it overwhelming. I do not feel that way anymore!

              Of course most people will not be able to get to all of the links, or read all of the comments, but that’s fine, one or two of the most interesting links and as many comments as ones other commitments allow is enough to have ones eyes opened, or hair blown back, as the case may be.

              I remember being intimidated by some of the coded language and terms here, the use of a lot of ACRONYMS, and little things like why does the meaningless word “resilc” show up so much. After a bit of a learning curve I can usually follow along well enough now.

              NC is really the best there is now. Perhaps a page for beginners to come to first, to learn how to use this place? Actually you might already have created that page, I don’t know, not enough time to keep up with comments:-)

              Cheers from Cascadia, where the sun weirdly continues to blaze all day long (WTF?)

              1. Oregoncharles

                We’re well into drought, I’d think. Don’t know how much snowpack there is, but our little river is approaching early-summer levels. Neighbor says Feb. was the driest on record. We had a little rain today, but much less than the forecast. Maybe tomorrow. If we don’t get late rains, which screw up some of the fruit, we’re in trouble.

                The beautiful weather sure has been nice, though.

              2. Oregoncharles

                The acronyms and special lingo can be a barrier, yes. I remember that from getting started; still encounter one or two I don’t get. Someone (Yves and Lambert don’t need anything else to work on) should compile an NC dictionary.

                I think I just gave myself an assignment. Would our hosts be willing to post it?

                1. Procopius

                  I’ve found most of the acronyms and abbreviations can be resolved by Google. Often I can just enter the obscure initials, but if that doesn’t return a clear enough answer I add the keyword “meaning.”

                2. HotFlash

                  Me too, I search on, say, MMT acronym, sometimes MMT acronym economics. Although I once did have to ask about PBR, since the search result did not seem correct — turns out it was!

            13. integer

              IMO NC is not a website one can passively consume, and getting the most out of NC requires what might be described as second-order thinking. For example, Links contains articles with different viewpoints on the same topic, and in order to properly synthesize the information presented in seemingly irreconcilable articles, one must factor in the ideological leanings of the publishers of those articles.

              FWIW I started reading NC in late 2012, IIRC, and it took a couple of years for me to gain a basic understanding of the kinds of topics covered here. I’m not sure how, but I knew NC was worth persevering with, even though I was very much out of my depth at the time. So, as someone who came in green, my experience is that NC has a fairly steep learning curve, however the rewards are great for those who persevere.

            14. ObjectiveFunction

              For my own take on the matter, I’ll quote Scott Galloway from a recent blog piece:

              Rookie marketers make the mistake of thinking choice is a good thing. Choice is a tax on your time and attention. Consumers don’t want more choice, but more confidence in the choices presented. Customers want someone else to do the research and curate the options for them.

              As many others are noting, the stellar quality of the curation here, both by the operators and the commentariat, is the value add. Just never stop being consistent, thoughtful and also willing to change course and take due note of that. It’s long been clear too that you read the comments carefully and incorporate the gems into the ongoing conversation, which is also highly uncommon. The site is therefore a living entity (I was going to say organism, but hmm)

              New readers only gain that trust in the NC curators over time, by persisting. (They must truly wish to see 5 lol, but there is no Room 101. MOFA!)

              I know there’s a very real incentive to grab eyeballs and chase clicks, but let the lazy stay in their echo chambers where they really want to be anyway. You wouldn’t want to pay the price to have such people on board.

            15. Procopius

              I use the same strategy as Romancing The Loan. I skip over most links and rely on reading as many of the comments as I can. Some days I get so far behind I have to skip Water Cooler. I really hate having to do that, because the business statistics and Lambert’s commentary on them seem to me to be the most likely accurate news available to me.

            16. sj

              Links and water cooler are my daily “go to”, followed by the comments in each. I use essentially the same pattern that Romancing The Loan does. As for the layout, I like how clean it is. The only sort of irritant is that the lack of “parent” link means that sometimes I have to choose between ignoring an interesting reply or do a lot of scrolling to get the reference.

              But overall? Well done, y’all.

        2. farragut

          For Yves & Lambert, please don’t hear this as criticism; NC is a critical part of my news day. You (and the NC commentariat) provide an amazing service. But, when I first stumbled upon NC years ago, I couldn’t get past the Recent Items section. Visually, the top of the page looked ‘complicated’, cluttered, and it didn’t seem user-friendly. I left for a few months, then returned on a slow day and it looked exactly the same, but maybe I was more adventurous on that day or maybe I finally ‘understood’ the layout. Regardless, I’ve been a steady reader since.

          I’ve tried on numerous occasions to get my wife & friends hooked on NC, but they report similar initial experiences and none (to my knowledge) have stuck with it.

        3. Bsoder

          On the other hand everyone I recommend it to, finds it @NC to be excellent and I get many “I never knew that”. NC is very unique both at journalism (ie, Boeing), slightly long form articles of fact, intelligent speculation, Yves’ no nonsense, and Lambert’s take on things and world class snark. Then the commentariat. World wide, blisteringly insightful and it seems knows the wiki and more by heart. Perhaps it is an acquired taste. Perhaps one just has to slow down, be present, & enjoy it. I only wish I could order a double shot of my favorite bourbon. Maybe with all things being delivered a button could be coded to do just that. I’d pay double proceeds to @NC.

            1. Anon

              I would think Yves does. The nice thing about digital is one doesn’t need space to read below the fold. NC is “crowded” with ideas and that probably is daunting to newbies. NC is like a fine red wine; you need to let it sit on the tongue.

        4. zagonostra

          I don’t know what they would prefer. I don’t know that they know what they would prefer. They have been fed information/news via a Media that is image driven (It’s amazing that Boorstin’s book, The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-events in America was published in 1962) and that is not what NC is about – thankfully.

          When I ask friends where they get their news, on source they mention is Facebook. I don’t know what that means since I thought that was a social media aimed at sharing photos and personal experiences and I’m not on it.

          Anyway, you are right “2 min digestible story” is not precise. An attempt to be more precise, would take me far afield of the confines of this text box…thanks for your important work here…

      2. Oregoncharles

        My chief problem with NC is that there’s so much of it, esp. including the comments. I could easily spend the whole day reading it, but also have things I need to do (I don’t know how someone like Amfortas manages – and indeed, we’ll be hearing less from him). So I’m selective; I assume most of us are. But given that I’m a compulsive reader, it’s something of a challenge.

        Of course, in a time of relative isolation, the community formed by the regular commenters is valuable in itself, but I also worry about groupthink – too much community. A dilemma, that, but I think a constructive one. We do need to be respectful of those who raise uncomfortable questions, though.

        1. Dan

          but I also worry about groupthink – too much community.

          Nah, there’s none of that here. By the way, how do you feel about MMT?

          1. Oregoncharles

            Funny you should ask; I think I’ll just bury this here.

            I suspect this is the situation MMT warns us about, when “resources” (in this case, workers) are a limiting factor. When that happens, adding more money is pushing on a string; the resulting pileup is called “inflation.”

            I am nonetheless in favor of sending out checks as long as the emergency lasts, so people can get by and we don’t have too many bankruptcies. EG, it would be really nice if our tenants can pay their rent, so I can pay the insurance – just got two bills. If people aren’t working, then everything they would normally pay for has to be frozen, too. Like the water bill. At this point, we have food for a month, so I’m not extremely worried about that.

            If we get a bout of inflation when it’s all over, so be it.

      3. GramSci

        Don’t change a thing. NC is for opinión leaders, not the general public. Of course, as a long-failed opinión leader, my opinion
        on this topic could perhaps be discounted, but IMHO grinding the Truth into pablum will serve the planet poorly.

    2. barefoot charley

      An email came out a couple of weeks ago, signed by most staffers, saying that the publisher wanted to go mainstream neoliberal, and editor Scheer had refused. Recently the editor sent a letter explaining this was all an unfortunate misunderstanding, so presumably the neoliberals got nested–but the site is ‘on hiatus,’ meaning staff is resolute on Scheer’s side. I guess I got those emails because I’m a donor. The most corrosive force known to man is money.

      1. barefoot charley

        Hmm, this previous should have posted way up high, but here on the down-low I’ll add to the NC appreciations that we must recognize how fulfilling it is to have a silo of our own! We certainly disagree and instruct, but share basic assumptions and recognitions that must scare off mainstreamers, to say nothing of such nuggets in the weeds as MMT, M4A Duh!, Misleadership Classes, et al. I too have been disappointed that more friends can’t share my continuing education. Could there be a glossary, or a condign admission that we’re disproportionately self-hating Democrats?

        1. ObjectiveFunction

          Nope, there are plenty of self-professed conservatives here!

          Here, let me murder some metaphors for your amusement:

          1. True, we have no more faith in the benevolence and impartiality of state bureaucrats than we do in that of bankers. Age and the evidence of our eyes teaches us that the same posturing turds float to the top of either cesspool.

          2. However, we do share with our old school socialist brethren a core concern, that our social contract, that is:

          * how we reflexively treat one another, and expect to be treated,
          * both acquaintances and strangers,
          * our laws of hospitality, comradeship and outlawry

          is the hull of our common ship.

          3. That hull is weakening and now leaking, both from wilful neglect and now, the opportunistic gnawing of rats. The ship is listing, noticeably. We are the creaking of the timbers.

          4. There is ample room to quarrel about how the ship should best be powered and fueled and, as noted, it’s going to be much the same smug good hair types and clever dicks in charge whichever way. But if the ship sinks, we are all literally doomed. Being king rats floating on our own planks won’t save us.

          5. And if a cranky old Brooklyn socialist or a New Agey Hindu soldier-surfer are the only ones who seem willing and able to tackle the rot and the rats, then that’s who we’ll follow!

          Beat to quarters!

  3. Carolinian

    Re Maddows of this world–Groucho had a song for it (“Whatever you’re for I’m against it”). She could try the fake glasses, nose and mustache for the Trump segments.

    And re listening to your body–down here in the Southland we are undergoing major hay fever season which may worry some. The Ars Technica article linked this morning said the most consistent CoV symptom was elevated temperature.

    1. Oregoncharles

      I mentioned a while back that I have a persistent dry cough with no apparent cause. Finally tried taking antihistamine (loratidine), and Presto! I no longer sound like a plague carrier. Oddly, it doesn’t help some other nuisance symptoms that I thought were also allergy.

      Seems to be wearing off a little, so I’ll try some other non-drowsy antihistamines, probably in rotation. Hate to be medication dependent, but seemed important just now – not that I’m going out much.

      No clue what I’m allergic to, other than life. It’s year-round. Willamette Valley is hay fever central, too, but don’t have much of that. Might actually be air pollution, as a doctor suggested.

      Sorry about the implicit plug, but sometimes life is like that.

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        ACE inhibitors can also cause a “persistent dry cough”. Do you take a blood pressure medication?

      2. urblintz

        as someone who took loratadine for much too long I have finally found a product that works for my allergies and migraines… it’s a nasal spray made of cayenne pepper and horseradish called sinus plumber. the first use is as you might expect… WOW!… but the results are more than satisfying and one gets used to the initial sting, don’t mean to rec a product here just relaying my success with it.

        1. Oregoncharles

          Dynamite for the sinuses. My wife and son have tried both ingredients, separately. My wife took cayenne tea, son took aerosol horseradish, so: grate fresh horseradish (which we have growing – get it in the right place the first time) into a box, stick nose in box, inhale. Roto-rooter for the nose.

          Both worked, but neither has done it since.

          My cough is nowhere near that bad.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > it’s a nasal spray made of cayenne pepper and horseradish called sinus plumber

          That’s what I need! OTOH, Darwin gave us snot for a reason, so maybe I should just leave my nasal plumbing right like it is.

      3. GramSci

        I believe I had SARS-CoV-1 last Spring. Of course my doctors never thought to test for it, but loratidine did help. NSAIDS, albuterol, and prednisone were useless.

    1. diptherio

      Do you mean “boar”? That is certainly not a bear (and I should know, as I’ve had one literally knock…well, scratch…on my front door).

      1. New Wafer Army

        That’s nothing. One day I was out in the yard playing with my kids when 30-50 feral hogs attacked us. Luckily I had my always present AR15 set to full auto.

      1. Bsoder

        Boar or hog, I wouldn’t annoy the piggies they have quite the temper. My mom has some, why I’m not sure, she’d never hurt one. I like to put an an apple or two in my jeans. They love to get them out, it can very funny. Very smart too.

    2. The Rev Kev

      With whole cities under lockdown, can we expect to see more wildlife come into the streets not only at night but even the daytime? A long time ago I was staying in London and late at night while on my way back home, was startled by a fox – in the middle of one of the biggest cities in the world. We may be seeing more of these clips but not only for individual animals but with small packs as well.

    3. jhallc

      Think it’s a Tapir. Saw one in Costa Rica a few years back. Not very agressive if I recall.

  4. antidlc

    “Useful, I think (though personally I gargle honey). Readers?”

    FWIW, here is what Snopes has to say:

    Will Gargling with Salt Water or Vinegar ‘Eliminate’ the COVID-19 Coronavirus?

    While gargling some combination of warm water, salt, and vinegar has long been used as a means of relieving symptoms related to colds and flus, such as sore throats, there’s no evidence that it can help ward off or drive out infections from the COVID-19 coronavirus disease. And although the virus is said to replicate in the nose and nasal secretions, we’ve found nothing documenting the notion that the current coronavirus “remains in the throat for four days” and can be effectively expelled at the conclusion of that time period to keep it from reaching the lungs. (The incubation period for this virus, which is the time between when a person is exposed to the virus and when they start showing symptoms, has been estimated at about five days on average.)

    The World Health Organization’s (WHO) website offers a page offering COVID-19 coronavirus disease advice for the public which addresses the substance of this rumor in an item about rinsing nasal passages (which are connected to the throat) with saline:


    There is no evidence that regularly rinsing the nose with saline has protected people from infection with the new coronavirus.

    There is some limited evidence that regularly rinsing the nose with saline can help people recover more quickly from the common cold. However, regularly rinsing the nose has not been shown to prevent respiratory infections.

    I am not a medical professional. Just passing along the link from Snopes and WHO, fwiw.

    1. Darius

      Total speculation, but under the circumstances…

      Regular flushing out the nasal passages clears viruses and other pathogens that haven’t yet adhered to cells. Not surefire, but perhaps provides some measure of additional protection?

      One thing that probably is true: It couldn’t hurt.

        1. sd

          In case you are not being sarcastic, water used in flushing nasal passages should be distilled or boiled and cooled for 15 minutes and usually includes dissolved salts

          I had a bad sinus infection a few years back and was using a nasal syringe to help move it along. Ultimately, I felt it was the steroids the doctor gave that really helped.

      1. urblintz

        there is a russian doctor on video saying that keeping the muscous membranes clean and moist is important, that the virus has trouble with moisture laden cells and that fundamental hydration is a key factor to fighting the virus. i am sorry but can not find the link, pretty sure it was posted here maybe over a week ago or longer.

        1. GramSci

          Add some baking soda to your gargle? CV survives longer in diarrhea because of the lower pH.

    2. Bsoder

      I am (scientist/engineering (or was for a long while) side). At NIH, we have a group (some people work for NIH, some are fellows who aren’t paid but conduct research as part of work we do outside of NIH) that does evidence based medicine. We do meta studies, sometimes up to 50,000 studies including papers, mds reporting things, fda findings etc., on a given disease, condition, or syndrome.

      The setup of how we do the analysis of each is very boring, but it is very exacting. Then we step back and look at the “forest” if you will. A piece of advice if one is going to go reading in the NIH database one can find just about anything that some doc said ‘worked’, almost always with the word “might” in there. Ususally the n=size is very low. I’d strongly suggest reading the evidence based studies and precision medicine guidelines. The FDA database contains acceptable procedures for mds to follow and for the most part are adopted by state medical societies and specific practice areas, i.e., infectious diseases, e.g., HIV.

      As to: “Will Gargling with Salt Water or Vinegar ‘Eliminate’ the COVID-19 Coronavirus?”. No, it won’t. Why would it? Salt, water, and vinegar, have to be looked at bio-chemically at how those chemical elements could destroy or render the virus inert. Does it effect the viral receptors – no. The corona covering of the rna – no. The rna itself no. The proteins the rna creates when it takes over a cell no. Bacteria- maybe, but bacteria is alive a virus is not. Have experiments been conducted in the lab to confirm, yes. With animals yes, in humans yes. Does it work – no. I’m sure gargling with bleach would, but it would kill you. That’s the whole problem. Kill the virus not the host. TO BE CLEAR DO NOT GARGLE WITH BLEACH IN ANY FORM, DILUTED OR NOT. SERIOUS INJURY OR DEATH WILL RESULT.

    3. ChiGal in Carolina

      gargling with salt water to mitigate a cold is what I grew up doing and still do; knock on wood it really seems to head ’em off at the pass: I rarely get a full-blown cold (and haven’t had flu since forever).

      I don’t think the claim was that salt water is effective against coV but it is likely more effective than honey against whatever germs are hanging out in your throat when you’re sick with a cold.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > I don’t think the claim was that salt water is effective against coV but it is likely more effective than honey against whatever germs are hanging out in your throat when you’re sick with a cold.

        Quite right. It’s right there in the post:

        But using simple home remedies early is a way to address nervousness and test a theory of illness onset.

        Nobody is saying flushing one’s sinuses, or whatever, cures CoV. But CoV’s symptoms overlap sigificantly with the common cold and flu. So if you want to rule those out, try some home remedies.

    4. divadab

      ALso not a medical professional but I am gargling 2 drops of rosemary essential oil in warm water as an anti-viral.

    1. PKMKII

      I’ve seen theorizing/fretting that they’re going to find a way to have Biden drop out at some point after securing the nomination, I think after the convention would be easiest but I don’t know that level of by-laws arcaneness, and have Cuomo appointed the replacement.

      1. ambrit

        Woah there pardner! Don’t you know that “It’s Her Turn Again!”
        Biden can play Gabby Hayes to Hillary’s William Boyd.

        1. Big River Bandido

          I fail to see any difference between them. Biden might actually be a nicer guy. I would certainly never vote for either of them. Three times I have already refused to vote for Andrew Cuomo, it wouldn’t be hard to do that again.

      2. Gregorio

        I think they will put Michelle Obama in. She comes equipped with banksters who can pick her cabinet for her. I think she doth protest too much and has been plan “B” since it became obvious that no one was buying what Bloomberg was selling.

    2. Dan

      The most important paragraph in the article:

      He also emphasised that they would have to agree with his fundamental view on policies, including healthcare, education and the need for expansive US influence in the world.

  5. Hepativore

    Meanwhile, Biden had some sort of livestream after being in hiding for weeks without a peep. It looked like a complete dumpster fire as Biden spoke in empty platitudes and it was completely bereft of any sort of policy proposals. Yet, somehow, this is the man who wants to be president and is the most “electable” for the job.

    No doubt, the mainstream media sources are going to call this a stunning display of leadership on Biden’s part, like they usually do.

          1. Left in Wisconsin

            Also, lots of speculation that it took many takes just to get one this good. And some speculation that, because a) he seems to be wearing the same clothes as his previous online appearance a week ago, b) obvious green screen background, and c) he said nothing of substance, that this may have actually been taped back then but just released today.

            1. Big Tap

              I’m speculating Biden is on something to calm him down hence the slurring. No more “wait wait wait” moments when he’s blurting out jibberish. They need to adjust his drug cocktail.

          2. Daryl

            Remember the headlines from two…was it three weeks ago?

            “Stock markets soar on news of Biden victory.” Something like that.

        1. Skip Intro

          According to the twitter, and then my own semi-professional analysis, it looks very much like Joe’s performance was shot over a green screen/bluescreen background and digitally composited over a static background photo of a den. I asked a colleague with more professional experience and they immediately said it was a digital composite…

          There are some glaring (heh) problems with the mismatch of lighting, artifacts around joe’s edges, and the static appearance of the noise in the background. Also the scale of foreground and background seems to be off.
          Additionally, the video was not live streamed, so they had the opportunity to reshoot any flubs. Either no one realized this, or that was the best take they had.

          Some have speculated that, due to the matching clothing, the video was actually shot on 3/17, so the question Where’s Joe is, perhaps, still unanswered, and the attempted answer is more troubling even than silence.

          1. WobblyTelomeres

            They were talking up a morning show appearance for him tomorrow. We may see more. We may not. If not, I am still going with him being intubated.

          2. Big River Bandido

            Based on the background images and the artifacts you describe, I wonder if they might have just been using Zoom. The program does have an option for a different background or green screen. And when you use a background photo there are weird artifacts especially around the hair.

    1. Otis B Driftwood

      that wasn’t a livestream. it was pre-recorded.

      whatever his condition, it’s worsening.

          1. curlydan

            I’m agnostic, but I feel a prayer is coming on after seeing that and our current President “in action”… or lack thereof.

          2. Jeff W

            This event might have been filmed in one take in advance and then broadcast on YouTube as a livestream.

            Of course, they could have filmed multiple takes in that case but maybe this one is the best Joe Biden could do (or was thought he could do).

            He is in terrible shape—if this one 10-minute appearance following a long absence during an unfolding pandemic was meant to inspire confidence, it did anything but. But I don’t think it was meant to do even that—it’s a cynical, empty attempt to quell the very legitimate questions of “Where is Joe?”

            1. Carey

              >if this one 10-minute appearance following a long absence during an unfolding pandemic was meant to inspire confidence, it did anything but.

              I don’t think that’s what this Biden apparition’s appearance was intended to do. One really can’t be cynical enough, per L. Tomlin.

      1. nycTerrierist

        if it was pre-recorded, one wonders why no do-over?

        is he is such poor shape, he couldn’t run his lines again?

        1. Otis B Driftwood

          It was in fact live, so I was wrong about recording. But all he does is read a prepared script (badly) and then takes no questions at the end.

          So what’s the point of a livestream if there is no opportunity for interaction? Was this just to show that he could read from a teleprompter for ten minutes? That he was, in fact, still alive?

          Good grief, I can’t believe the dems are actually going to run this guy against Trump.

            1. Samuel Conner

              The backdrop looks slightly off (maybe it’s the color balance) to me. I suspect it was green screened.

            2. Skip Intro

              Look at the bright glare on his forehead. I expect a light like that would also be reflected in some of the background items… is there glass in front of the folded flag in the box? It should be reflecting or in visible shadow.

              Also look at his edges, particularly when he waves to the teleprompter, there are weird attifacts that don’t seem to blend with the background.

              1. petal

                The sizing/perspective doesn’t match, either. The background seems fuzzy to me, the edge/outline around him stands out like a sore thumb, and the colours in him and the background don’t match. Nothing matches. It’s awful. There are probably middle schoolers out there who could do a better job. Sorry, I’m not an artist, so I probably didn’t use the right terms, but I know it when I see it.

          1. richard

            It’s all very sad. If however we take the point of view of aliens observing earth, it’s extremely funny, and I recommend taking that POV whenever neccessary. I will be following my own advice.

          2. chuck roast

            Oh ye of little faith…you have such weak hearts! The day will come my friends…around eight years from now…when we will recognize President Joseph Biden as The Great Helmsman.

            Yes, yes, I can almost hear the snickering…I can see the sneers. But I can also see President Biden navigating our dangerous shoals with ease and aplomb. You think that he has completely lost his mind and is on auto-pilot…he is stumbling around at the helm. A great captain does not stumble around at the helm!

            I myself have a Raymarine auto-pilot boosted by Sea-talk. I works good. It is very clear to me, a coastal cruiser whose steering blunders are not a part of any log (no lies), that Vice President Biden’s auto-pilot will never put him in irons or land the ship of state on some unseen ledge. Looks to me like his auto-pilot is working great.

    2. Samuel Conner

      Is this the statement?


      JB sounds to me a great deal like DJT did on that volte-face statement mid-day March 11. Sounds a bit unwell.

      He seems to be slurring and mis-pronouncing

      “ofizzles” for “officials”

      “personal productive equipment” for PPE

      a bit of grammatical chaos:

      “money being given to them by taxpayers’ money”

      dropping prepositions at times, dropping syllables,
      dropping articles (or slurring them into the following syllable): “this is the United States America”

      Perhaps he’s having trouble reading the teleprompter?

      mention of “the troops” as the last thing before “Thank you”.

      Is that a real physical backdrop or a green screen?

      More of a smoldering dumpster than a fire, IMO; not a bang but a whimper

      That’ll get people to the polls!

    3. clarky90

      Re; “…sudden endorsement of Biden after South Carolina and before California was some sort of spontaneous event”……

      …..I am sensing, “book publishing deals” spontaneously being offered! It’s just how they roll.

  6. jashley

    “Understandably, some dont want to wait”

    I will not bother to post any of the massive amount of evidence that the drug plus others in combination could and has made a difference. In fact, some of the countries that are being praised for handling the pandemic used variations of these drug types.

    If you are deep in the timeline of the disease and given no contra-indicators then being denied the choice to try it would be the same as throwing you out in the street to die.

    Trump has no effect on the choice if it is between that or certain bad outcomes.
    Would you refuse to take a shot if Sanders or AOC came out against your choice?

      1. jashley

        YES, nice dodge, but the aim was clearly to trash trump for daring to speak of the drugs and using the false idea that more and more approved trials were needed as the linked b.s. story clearly states.

        Understanding doing the how does it go, “heavy lifting”.

    1. Bsoder

      Could I suggest some doing some good investigating but trying to find and cite authoritative sources for “massive amounts of evidence”, “some countries”, “the drugs in combination”, “has made a difference”, “countries being praised”, “no contra-indicators””, “being denied the choice”, alas “the same as throwing you out in the street to die” is hyperbole, maybe due to anxiety. I can’t find any fact based sources for those claims.

      Quinine, aside from malaria is used to treat lupus. If those with lupus can’t get it they will get very sick, need hospitalization and many will die. Not good. In China whose data comes with a lot of “ifs” and add that most got sick had the “S” variant of C-19, & n=24, & drug administration was by day four, (after that no reported effect), & said patients simply they “felt better”. Felt better is not the same as works. South Korea used a combination of hiv/Ebola antivirals n=103. This approach as its destroys C-19 in cells is promising (sorry Lambert the certainty isn’t there yet). Why. The virus is mutating and a vaccine will only work for one variant. C-19 only has 20 proteins in any variant. All the same. Stop one from working in a cell and that’s it no further replication. This is how HIV drugs work.

      Understand C-19 gets into the blood then unlocks a cell, gets inside, then C-19 rna takes over the protein making functions of cell to make proteins to make a copy of Its rna and continues to do so until the cell explodes, releasing more copies of C-19. Lung cells have many more receptors on their cell membranes that can be unlocked thus become more infected then other cells. These cells will explode to, meaning die. Dead lung cells can not pass oxygen into the blood. By any means. They cannot fixed. At some point too little oxygen to the rest of the body means the the rest of the body dies. Virus aren’t alive. You either get them out of the blood or stop them from working in the cells. You can not use something that kills the virus and host.

      Now tell me who is doing what. I know. But why believe me? If you stick to facts by which I mean science you will least know what the status of “all these drugs” are. Third hand information is not information at all. Mds right now will try anything because they hate to say “no”. However that’s one reason we have MRSI (google it), and saying taking these drugs won’t hurt, is false. Maybe not you, but to people who have lupus, and HIV and can’t get them, it means the likelihood they will die.

  7. fresno dan


    Getting vaccinated against the flu is important because a coronavirus outbreak that strikes in the middle of a flu epidemic is much more likely to overwhelm hospitals and increases the odds that the coronavirus goes undetected. This was probably a factor in Italy, a country with a strong anti-vaccine movement, he said.
    My own bete noire is how many of my old (literally) friends do not get flu vaccines.
    A seat belt is not 100%, but your risks are far lower if you wear it…

    1. Jackson

      I am allergic to all flu vaccines since i was 8 years old. I have not had any adverse reactions by not submitting to annual flu/pneumonia shots. I am not an anti-vaccine, I still have not had the mumps and was vaccinated for everything else. Go figure…

        1. JBird4049

          This is the reason to be vaccinated as not everyone can take vaccines, or at least some without bad, even lethal side effects because of health or age.

          I have to admit that I don’t always get a flu-shot because I am a procrastinator and I hate needles. Plus I rarely ever get the flu. After seeing current insanity, I think I need to get over my lifelong loathing of them. If for for no other reason than other people’s health.

        2. JBird4049

          This is the reason to be vaccinated as not everyone can take vaccines, or at least some without bad, even lethal side effects because of health or age.

          I have to admit that I don’t always get a flu-shot because I am a procrastinator and I hate needles. Plus I rarely ever get the flu. After seeing current insanity, I think I need to get over my lifelong loathing of them. If for for no other reason than other people’s health.

  8. Olga

    Things must be bad…
    “The EU Economic and Financial Affairs Council approved the proposal of the European Commission to suspend for the first time the Stability and Growth Pact – the baseline document of the Euro zone – for economic support measures in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the EU Council says in a statement released on Monday.”
    I guess it is never too late.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      First it came for the Libertarians…. then it came for the neoliberals. Now the virus is eating ordoliberals.

    2. Foy

      Pandemics are wonderfully clarifying as Lambert would say. Notice all the rules that get abandoned…

  9. Lee

    Health Care
    I mentioned the stress — ok, privilege alert — of monitoring my body constantly, each cough, each twinge….

    Whinge Alert!

    Since I have a chronic condition that makes me feel like I’m coming down with the flu much of the time, monitoring my body is a complete wast of time. But since fever is not one of my typical symptoms, I am taking my temperature a bit compulsively.

    And as for Harry Shearer’s “where self-isolation is not a mandate, it’s a lifestyle”, welcome to my world. Fortunately I have pets, helpful family and friends as well as good days when I compensate for my periods of being home-bound with brisk walks, bombing around town on the motorcycle, and gardening. I do miss grocery shopping and outings to the local café.

    1. Krystyn Walentka

      I am with you there Lee. I am pretty sure I have Neuro-psychiatric Lupus and I frequently have very bad fatigue. So when they say one of the signs of COVID19 is fatigue I can only shrug. I also tend to have GI issues, another sign. But I do tend to know when I am getting the flu unless it an oral lesion I get in my mouth from time to time.

      But yeah, my mental illness has meant people have kept their social distance from me for a long time.

        1. Carey

          >Have you tried Seroquel? Transformed my life.

          Watch those serum glucose levels with Seroquel, Zyprexa, Topomax, + any SSRI, SNRI..

  10. xformbykr

    “monitoring my body constantly”
    agree with reader dk very much. i learned from jon kaba-zinn also. meditation by being conscious of each in- and out-breath. it also helps one to fall asleep, so the natural time to practice the aware-breathing is upon retiring for the night.
    i monitor my pulse rate. for me, in good health, it’s consistently around 61-62. if it goes to 70 something is amiss.
    in case my pulse is higher, or i feel some soreness in the throat, an early response is to drink loads of water, in hopes of flushing away additional germs and virus particles, to decrease the load on my immune system.

    1. Krystyn Walentka

      Just on the “flushing away with water” part. There are ACE2 receptors in the colon so the virus will just enter the body at that point, so you are just practicing some magical thinking.

      1. Duke of Prunes

        Assuming it survives the stomach acid bath. The stomach is a an often overlooked part of the immune system.

      2. divadab

        Well it is good to be hydrated. And bad to be dehydrated. Especially when infected with a virus.

  11. Krystyn Walentka

    I rented an AirBnB for a week last week and once I was established in it I told them my story. The agent working for the owner of the several-unit AirBnB went behind the owner’s back and is willing to rent to me for a month for $700, through the rentals non-AirBnB page. About a 50% discount. I see people coming and going in other units and my only response is what the hell are these people doing?

    The housing in this university town consists largely of 4 bedroom units that the kids are trying to dump right now. No one is taking them because no one wants to share a space. Plus they want $700 for a room in a four bed, one bath unit. No thanks. These kids are going to have a crash course on demand side economics.

    I used the Zillow website and checked the listing like that other guy did. 23% of the listings came on the market in the last week. But only 6 of the 523 are for $800 or less. That is the number i am going to watch.

    1. Krystyn Walentka

      Yes, and thanks! It’s good to not have to be scrambling all the time. Although there is not really a kitchen here, just a hotplate and a microwave and a small fridge, it beats being in my van with no showers and no bathrooms anymore. And that the agent snuck behind the owners back made me feel good about humanity for a change.

      1. Billy

        There’s going to be a lot of quiet cash transactions from now on. Skip the apps and the paperwork, help relieve our overworked government of all that onerous paperwork.

    2. Foy

      Well done Krystyn.

      I have a friend (with his wife and 2 teenage daughters) in Sydney who rents out 2 bedrooms in his house long term. But they were rented by hospitality workers (one was an overseas chef on a temporary working visa) who both got laid off on the weekend. He has dropped their rent from $450 a week to $150 so they don’t end up out on the street as they now have no income and are unsure of what the overseas chef can get in the way of support, not even sure if he can get back to his home country. And yep $450 a week for just a bedroom is criminal.

  12. Billy

    “U.S. Jobless Rate May Soar to 30%”

    That’s based on the newer Trump era metrics of what “Unemployed” means, right?

    I read Shadowstats for years. John Williams claims (paraphrasing because shadowstats.com is “down”} Message on it:
    “Your PHP installation appears to be missing the MySQL which is required for WordPress.”. )

    -‘that if unemployment were measured the same way it was in the beginning of the Bill Clinton presidency, the true number would be around 20%’. {End paraphrase}

    So, IF Shadowstats were correct, that would mean post Covid, unemployment may soar to 45%? [Shadowstats 20%, Plus 30% theoretical rate minus, the pre Covid 5%~ Trump unemployment rate.]

    1. JTMcPhee

      Was the pre-Clinton unemployment number measure the same one in use during the Great Depression, when I believe unemployment peaked at 24.9%? My guess is that real actual unemployment, people with no jobs and no hope of jobs, is more likely to go to 50%. I saw Krystal Ball and Enjeta hyperventilating about a government-rate possible figure of 30%. One of any reasons why direct payments on a regular basis to individuals are mandatory if there’s any hope of weathering this crisis.

    2. JBird4049

      I am wondering about those unemployment statistics, too. Also, if they are the official U-1 rate almost always used by the news media and government, and not the much more accurate U-6 rate. As long as the politicians keep behaving as if this is just another opportunity for profitable corruption, if it is the former, bluntly we’re just screwed. A good rule of thumb the more accurate U-6 is usually twice the rate of the U-1. If the now normally inaccurately counted U-1 is going to be 30%, than the U-6 is likely U-6 60%.

      For comparison, the highest level of unemployment during the Great Depression is usually given as 25% so a lower U-1 of 30% is very bad, and they were worried about revolution then. Our Ruling Class is trying to Darwin itself.

      1. LifelongLib

        Many decades ago I quoted that 25% figure to my grandmother, who went through the Depression as an adult. She thought it was way too low, saying that where she lived literally everyone she knew was out of work. Most likely unemployment was very unevenly distributed (even if the figure was accurate overall).

        1. JBird4049

          25% is likely the floor not ceiling rather like how for decades the consensus was that the Black Death of the 14th century killed 25% to 50% of Europe with 30% most likely. Now, it starts at 30% up to 60%.

          Or the American Civil War. Every fifty years or so historians bump it up. From as low as 300,000 to now one million casualties from all causes military and civilian.

          However, where the historical deaths are hard to measure because of time as well as the chaos and destruction done by those events, the current economic figures have been massaged into lies. Not until some economic historians spend a few decades going over the numbers will I trust the numbers. I might still be alive.

  13. diptherio

    Cooperative Vermont convened a video call with some local co-op folks a couple of days ago. Nico Lustig of Dunkiel Saunders has some really useful information for all business owners about unemployment law changes, insurance claims, etc. A lot of good stuff here:


  14. marym

    Bernie Sanders @BernieSanders
    We must suspend rent and mortgage payments, evictions, and foreclosures across the country. We cannot abandon our people and allow families to be thrown out of their homes during a pandemic.
    12:39 PM · Mar 23, 2020

    This is an interesting tweet, because suspending rent payments isn’t in his original emergency plan which says:

    Place an immediate moratorium on evictions, foreclosures, and utility shut-offs, and suspend payment on mortgage loans for primary residencies and utility bills. No one should lose their home during this crisis and everyone must have access to clean water, electricity, heat and air conditioning. And we must restore utility services to any customers who have had their utilities shut off. We must also provide funding for states and localities to provide rental assistance for the duration of the crisis.

    AOC was calling for it on cable and twitter and (I think, I didn’t closely listen) on the Sanders livestream yesterday.


    1. Billy

      IF this is true, it serves as an inspiration and nose rubbing in doo-doo metric for Trump, and congress:

      The Venezuelan government has suspended rent payments and assumed the salaries of small and midsize companies for the next 6 months in attempts to protect the population from the economic impacts of the coronavirus.


  15. tongorad

    Biden came out of hiding and looked terrible.
    How did they put him together for the debate performance?

      1. OIFVet

        To me, Biden had a bewildered, lost look. He didn’t seem to have grasp of what it was that he was trying to say. It’s like he didn’t read his lines in advance, or if he did, he couldn’t remember the basics even. It’s quite obvious that his cognitive abilities are not up to the task. And if this was indeed prerecorded, that tells me that physically he is not up to par either, if they couldn’t do another take or three. I am honestly beyond scared if this is the candidate that the Dems are going with.

        1. curlydan

          slurred syllables, too. Not drunk slurring–almost seemed like a lack of will to enunciate at many points.

          1. Samuel Conner

            sometimes completely skipped syllables or entire words:

            “United States America”

            toward the end.

            He’s reading a teleprompter; is he having trouble keeping up with it?

            1. Arizona Slim

              If he’s having trouble keeping up, then slow the prompter down. ISTR reading that they’re adjustable.

        2. Darius

          I think Joe’s too lazy to prepare. He’s a “just wing it” type of guy. Therefore his staff needs to compensate, but they didn’t. He was hand signaling to the staff to advance the teleprompter. It looks like they didn’t have experienced people running it. Poor staff work.

          You would think Tom Perez or the other Dem establishment geniuses would have made sure stuff like this gets done right, but they think their work is done. Bernie is vanquished. Now they’ve just reverted to the Democrat default, complacency. Just another sign that the mission isn’t to defeat Trump but to kill off Bernie.

          1. Geo

            To be fair to whoever was operating the TelePrompTer, Joe got totally flummoxed on point #1 before asking them to skip to point #2. How was any operator supposed to know that word salad was actually what’s joe’s brain had gathered from the TelePrompTer? Unless the TelePrompTer text literally said: “And I believe in Um… America … duh, um, uhh… (stare blankly)”.

        3. christofay

          Sounds worse than McCain Sept 2008 when he called a halt to the campaign as the neo-liberal economy crashed.

    1. albrt

      Perhaps Sleepy Joe is hung over from the massive custom drug cocktail his handlers gave him for the debate.

  16. Rod

    Re: Sanders winning the ex-pat vote—clearly seeing something from a distance that is obscured on the mainland.
    Saw that on my homepage several lines below several articles of how his wheels came off. Funny that.
    Saw him speak on the C-19 last night with others and was reassured that he was addressing an emergency with vigilant policy and not politics.
    That’s good because, as Richard Nixon/ Krystle Ball and others are seeing—maybe Bernie; the challenge parallel to the Medical Crises is how to Not Let This Crises Go To Waste.

      1. HotFlash

        We know what it’s like to live in a country with, for instance, working healthcare, livable minimum wage, 4% vacation pay for everyone, even part-time and temp. We can’t figure how USians put up with the sorry system you have, and we’d like you to have what we have.

  17. JohnMc

    TB vaccine

    Apparently the knowledge that vaccines have positive non-specific effects is not new. i’m guessing it’s kept quite since they can also have negative effects as well and they fear giving ammunition to the anti-vaxxers. here is a TED talk that discusses the issue: https://youtu.be/_d8PNlXHJ48

    1. furies

      The blind belief in vaccines as pure agents of all things good has got to be challenged.

      Whether you like it or not, ‘vaccines’ *DO HARM* some people–not a lie!

      In my short career as an RN I *saw* it…rare but it does happen. And drug companies are indemnified from having to pay out compensation for the harms they cause….it is known(!)

      Just like many drugs sold by pHarma, not everyone reacts the same. Genetic differences are a real thing.

      I myself am dealing with damages from prescribed drugs…for years now my life has been limited by that damage that isn’t *recognized* by most MDs. Lots of us tho at support websites — thousands and thousands of us.

    1. notabanktoadie

      And Jesus answered and said to him, “It is said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST.'” Luke 4:12

      Apparently the time of many Christians would be better spent reading the Bible themselves rather than blindly following what their pastor or denomination says.

      1. Geo

        If they actually read the book they’d know they shouldn’t be in some temple anyway. I seriously wonder if any church-going Christians have ever read the Bible.

        “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” Matthew 6:5-8

        1. Foy

          Yep, that is one of the great lines: “don’t be like the hypocrites in synagogues…go to your room and close the door…..what is done in secret…and do not keep babbling like the pagans”.

          My Latin Mass Catholic dad who has read the bible and other religious books incessantly for years was not aware of it, most church going Catholics aren’t.

          They definitely do not promote the more important lines.

          It’s almost like “go sit by yourself, be silent and meditate!” Maybe that’s how you really find out that the “kingdom of heaven is within you” Luke 17:21.

          1. WobblyTelomeres

            I’ve often wondered if Jesus was the product of the slow march of Buddhism across the hills, valleys, seas, and plains, eventually intersecting with traditional Judaism. Communication was far slower then. Perhaps it took Alexander and many years for the ideas to co-mingle.

            1. Foy

              Yep fair chance, lots of similarities. If you look at the words from a mystical perspective then you find the underlying essence very similar. The mystics express themselves very similarly, Plotinus etc. Don’t know how much success you’ll have finding those essences sitting in church pew!

              I tend to view all the great founders as mystics but their words got hijacked and misunderstood afterwards

    2. The Rev Kev

      ‘Nearer my God to Thee.’ Yeah Synoia, and about to get a lot closer. Good observation.

  18. antidlc

    Didn’t Trump declare it a “war” on coronavirus and that he’s a wartime president?

    Then why is it up to the states to decide whether to “shelter in place”?

    Is each state supposed to fight its own “war”?

    Just asking for a friend.

    1. Samuel Conner

      Maybe it’s like the occupation of Iraq, where some National Guard units saw more combat than many regular army units.

    2. lb

      In regard to a President waging a “war on” something that is not a nation, I always think of this Get Your War On comic:

      “God, if only the War on Drugs hadn’t been so effective! I could really use some fucking marijuana right now!”

      Just a bit of gallows humor. Humor is in short supply lately, and it does help a tiny bit.

  19. coats & linen

    Re: “Cuomo panel recommends $400M in hospital cuts as coronavirus pandemic rages”

    Cuomo is an amazing showman/media manipulator—the ratio of actual evil to public perception is maybe unmatched in contemporary politics. I organize with DSA in New York, and I can say with confidence that he is the biggest hurdle to every single progressive goal you could think of. I will spare you the tedious details, but the NYS constitution gives the governor too much power – specifically through the budget process — and he sure knows how to use it. Right now he is looking to use his newfound hero status to smash through a deep austerity budget. He’s also refusing billions in federal aid to NYS because it comes with the strings of… not cutting Medicaid. He’s a monster, folks! As a friend of mine said, “Trump but make him a tough guy divorced dad“

    1. urblintz

      i made a qualified but favorable comment here about Andy the other day…

      i must have been high…

    2. WobblyTelomeres

      Care to compare him with his dad? I never followed NY politics, but always assumed it was as grubby, brutish, and mean as it is here in the south.

      1. urblintz

        Mario was an enigma. I admired him for his stance against capital punishment and his eloquence at voicing progressive ideas. Then again he was gov of NY, a position which can not be attained without treachery, I’d imagine.

      2. coats & linen

        I was a young kid when he was Gov so I never got much of a feel for him. People tell me he built an awful lot of prisons…

    3. prodigalson

      More details if you please. Living outside of NY I know i’ve heard negative things but none of them stick in the long term memory and I can’t recall specifics now. The austerity and medicaid cuts are already terrible.

      Is he Rahm Emmanuel bad, Terry Mccaulif bad, Tony Blair bad, or Maggy Thatcher bad?

      1. bob

        So very important to point out that his children are Kennedy-Cuomo’s. He married a Kennedy and got all the media horny

        He was HUD secretary during the clinton reign

        He then disappeared for a while. After Spitzer’s hookers got shoved out of the closet, we walked into the state AG office and found some cases left behind in the drawers.

        The rest, as they say…


        That’s a great picture of him with his parents. He used to be the driver for his dad.

      2. bob


        That’s Cuomo’s first big achievement. The Moreland Omission. Setting up the commission, letting fitz root around in Albany’s underwear drawer, then closing it down.

        He went on to NOT get charged when his former bagman got caught taking bribes-


        There’s also the IDC, which is just levels and levels of filth and disrepute. The whole set up gave cuomo and the Republicans very effective control the the democratic majority legislature


        1. bob

          Lis Smith, of Pete Buttigieg fame, ran the IDC. The wikipeida sums up her role well


          In 2016, she was spokesperson for Marisol Alcantara’s State Senate campaign. After winning the election, the candidate joined the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC), and Smith became a consultant for the group as well as the spokeswoman for Jeffrey Klein, the leader of the IDC. Critics of the IDC have questioned Smith’s loyalty to the implementation of progressive policies and candidates.[6][7] In 2018, Smith became spokeswoman for Andrew Cuomo’s re-election campaign, who had endorsed the political entity.[2][6]

  20. Andrew

    Boris Johnson just announced a 3 week lockdown for the UK. I lost my job today as well because the company i work for have had a massive drop in orders the last ten days and had no choice but to let a bunch of us go. There’s a lot of other people in that boat too right now. Fun times ahead!

    1. judy2shoes

      So sorry Andrew. I hope you have some resources to tide you over. Is the UK doing a better job than we are in the US getting help out to the people?

      1. Andrew

        I think so but the government is dragging it’s heels about how it’s going to help those who are self employed. They’ve said they’ll help pay 80% of companies wages but i’m not sure how long for. The UK benefits system is a byzantine nightmare too. No-one i know is looking forward to entering that particular labyrinth.

  21. Kevin

    I wonder how much of the Federal Govt.’s seeming lack of support is due to their not wanting it to look like Big Government is coming to the rescue?

    1. Monty

      What’s a few million dead vs. the damage of undoing 4 generations of brainwashing about “the magical money tree”?

  22. urblintz

    Can someone with knowledge explain what it means that NYC hospitals have been “ordered to increase bed capacity by 50%” given that there are not enough beds to begin with?

    1. Lemmy Caution

      One of the ways the administration plans to help NYC increase bed capacity is by sending the Navy hospital ship Comfort to dock in the NYC harbour. The idea is to use its 1,000-bed capacity to:

      “treat non-coronavirus patients, relieving the immense pressure on the city’s hospitals during the mounting crisis.”

      It won’t arrive until mid April, however, so hopefully there are other ways to increase capacity quickly. Another Navy hospital ship is on the way to Los Angeles to perform a similar role. It should arrive this week.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Got to ask, what happens when the first “non-Coronavirus patient” is admitted to the confines of the hospital ship, having been asymptomatic on presentation and not showing viruses in the testing regime (which will be tricky to apply to stroke and heart attack and similar critical patients before treatment needs to start)? Hospital ships are not cruise ships, but still…

        Yes, a situation at the margins, but still people are already dying “before their time” as the flood of CV critical patients overwhelms existing facilities and staff.

        For myself, I hope I go quickly and quietly in my sleep, not drowning in a soup of dead lung cells with a vent tube down my trachea and IVs sprouting from every available access…

      2. MLTPB

        I read that the Army will be setting up field hospitals, the largest with 248 beds, in NY & WA. (Per USAToday ).

        Earlier, I also learned that FEMA could put up mobile hospitals too. Don’t know if they are the same, being referred under different names.

        According to National Interest, an American medical charity has deployed a field hospital to Northen Italy.


        That seems like a bit of uplifting news, even though the US is in the midst of an outbreak ourselves.

        I guess, giving when you yourself are struggling is harder than giving when you don’t have many cases in your country.

        And a private charity giving is less to do with international political calculations.

        The charity being American Christian, and not from Putin, might dampen people’s enthusiasm. I don’t know.

    2. 3.14e-9

      “Increasing bed capacity” in this context essentially means rearranging the floor plan to fit more beds into the same amount of space.** Per public health regulations, hospitals have to maintain a certain amount of space between beds. So Cuomo temporarily suspended the regulations as part of the statewide health emergency, allowing hospitals to cram more beds into their available space. He requested that those able to do so double their capacity, but acknowledged that not all of them would be able to; thus, the 50-percent order and the request for Army Corps of Engineers and FEMA field hospitals (two different things, one of the main differences being that FEMA units come with staff and equipment, while the Army beds do not).

      Even though hospitals have been ordered to postpone elective surgeries, they’ll still have to treat non-virus medical emergencies. A contact who works in an ER in Syracuse told me last week that hospitals are being set up to segregate the coronavirus patients, to the extent possible; for example, by putting the extra beds in tents in the parking lot. A horrific scene to contemplate…

      ** Caveat: This is what I understood from listening to Cuomo’s daily briefings over the past five days. Regardless of what you think of the guy, these briefings are jam-packed with information. He follows a set agenda, starting with a sitrep, followed by case numbers, a report of actions taken by his team the day before, their plans for that day, and then personal reflections and suggestions designed to reduce panic. They’re actually pretty good and convincing, so even if it’s “just a performance,” a performance that reduces fear and anxiety and mobilizes people to prepare for the worst yet to come is a valuable public service. In this regard, I don’t see him as “least bad,” but actually as quite good. And FWIW, he does have a long-range plan with clear strategies, the overall goal being to flatten the curve while still preparing for the worst.

      I think you have to watch two or three of these briefings to understand the positive comments seeping into NC. One didn’t do it for me, couldn’t even get through the whole thing (they’re close to an hour long). Second one was interesting, primarily for the amount of detailed info. I went into the third one for more info, unprepared for the emotional response. It’s hard to reconcile that with my deep-seated loathing for a politician so embedded in corruption that the odor oozes out of the smart TV. I haven’t figured it out yet.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Worse case scenario they do what the Italians have been forced to do and put patients on floors.

  23. WobblyTelomeres

    Trump on TV. Apparently he has personally put the pedal to the metal on chloroquine, promising deliveries tomorrow, calling it a gift from god.

    For some reason, Dr. Fauci is absent, and has been replaced by Bill Barr. Maybe Barr promised not to jump in front of Trump at the podium?

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      super disturbing; Fauci has been a reassuring source of straight talk but Trump rolled out his plan tonight to move to phase 2—opening up the country in weeks not months and pulling back on social distancing—and Fauci’s absence was glaring.

      probably just talking to the Dow; when asked whether any of the medical experts on his team have endorsed this the answer was clearly not.

      scary stuff. thank god the governors have the authority to keep schools and people on lockdown in spite of him. though his base will likely disregard those orders following their fearless leader.

      jaw dropping incompetence

      1. marym

        It’s not just Trump. There’s a lot of push on the right to end social distancing for “the economy.” It’s horrifying. I posted this link


        with an overview of some of it in today’s Links, and there’s been more on twitter. Tonight Tucker Carlson interviewed a TX official who thinks there are lots of grandparents willing to take the risk so their grandkids can inherit America…. or something. Death panels.


        Before Trump called for reevaluating lockdowns, they shuttered six of his top-earning clubs and resorts

        Those closures have come as Trump is considering easing restrictions on movement sooner than federal public health experts recommend, in the name of reducing the virus’s economic damage.


        If there’s a paywall, the WaPo story is summarized here: https://twitter.com/Fahrenthold/status/1242227062028582915

        Carlson clip: https://twitter.com/ndrew_lawrence/status/1242245135129346050

        1. marym

          Politico 03/23/2020

          There is a brewing clash between public health experts and economic officials about when to lift social distancing measures.

          Rattled health officials are trying to fight off ascendant voices around Donald Trump pressing the president to restart the economy as soon as Monday to stem severe business and job losses.

          The prospect of resuming typical business so soon has horrified these public health leaders, who see the debate as premature amid a crisis that the administration is just beginning to wrangle, according to eight people with knowledge of the administration’s discussions about its coronavirus guidelines.


        2. WobblyTelomeres

          The video of the Spanish doctor in tears (twitter thread) is horrific. Words fail me at the moment.

        3. Carolinian

          Death panels.

          And all those people who have no income to feed their kids while the country grinds to a halt–no concern? This problem is a lot more complicated than Huffpo talking points.

          Those of us who don’t have to worry about such things should find a path to protect ourselves without victimizing the young. And to pretend that this is only about Trump and his hotels is quite silly really

          1. Grant

            Of course they are a concern. But, lets not pretend that there are no policies that can address their concerns. Those in power are not doing those policies because of their class and ideological biases, and their corruption. The structural changes that cold address this crisis are in opposition to their class and ideological interests, and if put in place, it will be hard to reverse. The economic impact is similar to the virus. If you do nothing, it will get worse. If you take drastic steps, which in economic policy involves large structural changes, you can limit the damage and set us on a different path moving forward. Obvious why they would rather kill people than do those things. Let’s not pretend you want to protect the young, by the way. We need far more radical changes in response to the environmental crisis, and the right broadly could care less if they are dooming the young with their rotten economic system. This is nonsense propaganda.

            The working class has not had this much leverage in a long time, and it should use it. It is workers keeping it all going. It could bring this entire economic system down tomorrow if there was a general strike. If these corrupt and sociopathic people in power force them into the workforce and doom people to their deaths, workers should refuse to return. Let the CEO of McDonalds get out of isolation and join them making and serving food. Let the CEOs of insurance companies go to hospitals and volunteer along with nurses and doctors.

            Denmark has done some things worth considering. If this system handles this crisis so poorly, why should anyone have any confidence it has any chance to deal with the environmental crisis? It doesn’t work, we need a new system, for the young people. Cause this one is set to doom them.

          2. marym

            Of course they are a concern. But, lets not pretend that there are no policies that can address their concerns. Those in power are not doing those policies because of their class and ideological biases, and their corruption.


            For example, it took a judge’s order to put a temporary stop to Trump moving forward with planned further restrictions on SNAP eligibility. (Link).

        4. Daryl

          The TX official is Dan Patrick, our lieutenant governor. The TX state government is currently putting this ideology into practice, refusing to order shelter in place across the state. (They are asking the previously hated federal government for help an awful lot, though).

        5. Oregoncharles

          This gives me an uneasy feeling. The dilemma might be real. Remember, a catastrophic economic depression has a death rate, too; I don’t have numbers to hand, but it’s substantial. To say nothing of a civil war.

          IOW, there’s a real possibility the mitigation measures are worse than the disease. How is it S. Korea managed this, again? Of course, they had plenty of tests, an important difference. And used surveillance technology to trace contacts and make sure people stayed in quarantine.

          Wife and I are in a high-risk category, as well as mostly retired, and we stocked up, so we’re staying home. Mostly – I had to go to the bank today because their phone teller system didn’t work (only the drive-up is open, and they’re prepared to maintain quarantine – but I still sprayed everything down), and I go to work where I won’t be near other people. We hired someone to do the last bit of shopping, for now. So the personal impact isn’t unbearable, though there’ll be a financial impact if our tenants can’t pay rent. I’ll get lots done around our place. Just planted potatoes.

          But a new Great Depression because of the pandemic will harm everyone. Someone I just read says it won’t be a recession, it’ll be an ice age: everything frozen.

    2. MLTPB

      He said, well see what happens, regarding public health restrictions.

      1. This relaxing in the future is not the most critical issue at the moment.

      2. Social distancing and shelter in place have been decided on county and state levels.

      3. Elsewhere from the presser- alternative care sites will be built, including additional 1,000 bed hospitals sites.

  24. Mikel

    Well, it’s too obvious that first plan is a big corpo bailout that leaves workers out so that they will take pay cuts to get jobs back. (and more than a few companies are going to spend that money on additional automation).
    Funny how all these emegergencies end the same way.

    And it’s a virus that allegedly has everyone scared, yet the majority of the money is not going to health care.

    No it’s not this pandemic that gets us, it will be the next one.

  25. Jessica

    Lambert, please don’t in any way dumb down Naked Capitalism. We need this oasis.
    Some people may find NC harder to jump right into because the variety of links requires some thought. They don’t all follow the same party line. That is a good thing for exercising one’s capacity for independent judgment.
    Cuomo = the more effective evil. Just say No. Friends don’t let friends……..

  26. bob

    “Cuomo = the more effective evil”

    That’s just the truth. I have mixed feelings on this. As a new yorker, I think they only chance we have to get rid of him in the next 20 years might be to run him for prez now.

    This often gets overlooked when talking about the Cuomo dynasty. His spawn are Kennedy-Cuomos! Does anyone have any idea how bad that can get? Nightmares

  27. bob

    Where did Onondaga County buy 60 ventilators to fight coronavirus? None of your business


    Where did they come from? He’s not saying.

    The equipment needed to fight the coronavirus pandemic is in short supply. McMahon does not want to invite more competition for fear it could drive up prices.

    “We’re not going to give away our supply chains right now because it is that competitive,’’ McMahon said.

  28. John

    Republicans on the Senate floor, “Wah wah wah. People won’t get their $1000 check because, Democrats.”

    Somehow the people seem to have already turned that one time $1000 check into a check every month so are very angry the Democrats are stopping what the generous Republicans are handing out.

  29. The Rev Kev

    ” ‘A mess in America’: Why Asia now looks safer than the U.S. in the coronavirus crisis”

    Maybe one reason is that they get it in Asia. For example, you see an effort to get face masks out and the people wear them as a matter of habit. Still, you do get the occasional d***head over there. One guy in Taiwan went out partying at a nightclub even though he was supposed to be under lockdown. So now they have slammed him with a $33,000 fine for his troubles-


    1. MLTPB

      Who else were in that nightclub?

      Why wasn’t there an order to prevent anyone from going to one?

      With new imported cases, it’s better to be conservative, not taking risks.

      In general, and if not right away, will people coming out of an experience like this, but not necessarily other traumatic events like war, likely become more risk averse, less willing to try new political, social, economical ideas/acts, etc, I wonder?

      After WW2, it was quite conservative, in the 50s, under Eisenhower, here, though post WW1, we got the roaring 20s.

      1. MLTPB

        A problem in Taiwan is overseas Taiwanese who have not lived there for years, only visit for a short time to abuse the system.

        It’s different if they go there out of filial feelings for their parents and incidentally need care.

    1. MLTPB

      Has Washington state issued a similar order yet? I thought they could use one before.

      Here, in LA, people flocked to the beaches the first weekend of shelter in place. The mayor forcefully closes them down today.

      In Long Beach, the mayor beseeched people to social distance, in his message released today, ‘Everyone, we need your help.’

      I don’t, but maybe some would say, you don’t see feeble leaders like that in an authoritarian country.

  30. Tom Stone

    I just got the bill for my latest Hospital stay ( Not covered by Medicare), $88,393.22.
    Gotta love that .22 cents at the end.
    They can whistle for it while walking past the graveyard.

  31. tegnost

    Washington now under stay at home for 2 weeks at least. Not sure yet what that means for me and my landscaping projects. It may be I have to stop in 48 hours. Still trying to find out.

  32. The Rev Kev

    You know why I like Naked Capitalism? Because stupid articles and stupid comments – some of my own included – get savaged through reason & logic instead of just being shouted down. What you will never see is an opinion piece like this posted on Sic Semper Tyrannis without it being properly mauled-


    Moon of Alabama fell down on the job too and their first article on this virus was called “The Coronavirus – No Need To Panic”. Some places either got it or they missed the quality of this threat and I am glad that NC got it from the get-go.

    1. Carolinian

      So your message is do panic? Try going to my local grocery store and finding a loaf of bread these days.

      I’m not a big fan of Larry Johnson but I’d say he’s right on this and anything but stupid. Panic and chaos is what we should fear far more than the virus. Unlike Europe or Australia lots of people here have guns.

      1. MLTPB

        Those in charge are more inclined to balance optimism and realism. You are more likely to see them urge people to stay calm.

        If you are not in charge, perhaps you feel more free to share the panic feeling. And ours nations are free. In a different country, you are not allowed to Express that. You will be censored, or suffer something worse.

        That is just one of the possible lessons we have to decide if we can use here..among the options, phone location surveillance and internet censoring, centralized food delivery, etc.

        Can we replicate their success here, doing all of what they did?

        How do we not acknowledge the fact that we are a democracy, relatively speaking, and our representatives will argue over things a supreme helmsman can decide all by himself, in an instant?

        1. Carolinian

          Well this is an economics blog and I’m hardly an economist so perhaps I shouldn’t even be discussing this. But you do wonder where all this is going if the assumption is that it may last weeks or months. In any case trying to extend a lockdown for that length of time isn’t going to work anyway–not in this country.

          1. Grant

            What does it mean it isn’t going to work? How is extending a pandemic good economics? At what point does it become plainly obvious that this economic system simply doesn’t work for anyone but the rich? Economic systems can be reformed. This one must be, rapidly, just to deal with the environmental crisis. The environmental crisis is us reaching the limits to growth in regards to throughput and it is a crisis largely outside the market economy, since we don’t monetize most impacts. Why just go forward with a system so utterly destroyed by decades of neoliberal destruction and utter corruption? There are things that could be done to keep things going, but if involves a march larger role for economic planning. Maybe we should call economists with expertise on economic planning. Plenty of those out there. An unplanned economy is a non-starter anyway if you want to get serious about the environmental crisis.

      2. The Rev Kev

        No, not going for panic. Just going for the “Five Ps” as in Proper Planning Prevents P*** Poor Performance. If I see that it is going to rain, I take my umbrella. When I get in a car, I do up my seat belt. When I look at the news to see how other countries – where it is more advanced – are dealing with the pandemic, I see what they will be doing in my own country next and try to plan accordingly.

        So it is hope for the best, but prepare for the worse.

        1. Carolinian

          So would you say all those empty shelves at my grocery store are just reasonable precautions or something closer to panic? Because from where I sit it’s looking kind of panicky. And it’s a bit more complicated than you fastening your seat belt if doing so takes away jobs from millions of people. Safety is all well and good if it’s only about you but of course it isn’t–not in this instance. Your analogy is flawed.

          And finally what’s happening in Italy or Spain doesn’t necessarily apply to the US with its younger average population, far lower population density and lack of public transportation. The death toll here is still in the hundreds versus thousands in far smaller Italy. I think what Johnson is really saying is that too many assumptions are being made about a situation where too little is still known.

          1. The Rev Kev

            I am in two minds as to those emptying shelves as I am seeing the same here for stuff like toilet paper, flour, pasta etc. Yes, it is bad but if you put limits to what customers can purchase, that would put a stop to a lot of that. Say, two items of any product for each customer. On the other hand, you would have to trust your government not to suddenly announce a lockdown of your community so if you do not have a deep pantry, you would be screwed. And based on decades of behavior, there is not a lot of trust in politicians at the moment.

            And sorry but with Italy, Spain, the US or Oz, we are all people. We will all be effected by this virus one way or another. Nobody is going to escape the consequence. I think that with the US healthcare system that your country will get it even worse as it undercuts public health. And young people get it as well as die from it as well too. I was reading about a South African Olympian swimmer earlier who got it but not to the point of having to go to a hospital. He cannot even go for a long walk now without being out of breath. Here is a video about what happened the last time this happened to the US, back in 1918-


            1. Carolinian

              Well yes nobody is going to escape if the economy collapses. Otherwise the vast majority of people will escape. The thrust of the Larry Johnson post that you attacked is that many are melodramatically treating this like the Black Plague (see various comments by “Grant”) and while we still don’t know nearly enough about CoV it simply isn’t that. Lots of people won’t experience any symptoms at all. And arguing via anecdote doesn’t work either (your SA example). Overwhelmingly the victims are going to be elderly people who mostly don’t have to worry about employment and have the luxury of being able to isolate and protect themselves.

              Let’s all take a deep breath on this because it is certainly a situation where hysteria and panic are waiting in the wings.

              1. The Rev Kev

                Melodramatically treating this like the Black Plague? I take it that you did not watch that video on the 1918 flu pandemic. You want to know what they called it at the time? The Blue Death – because so many turned blue before they died and turned black.
                And just old people? The brother of my step-son’s partner is in the ICU at the moment and is not expected to live the night. He is 30 years old. You do realize too that Coronavirus is one mutation from becoming one that targets young people like happened in 1918, don’t you? If not, then I cannot help you.

          2. Grant

            “And it’s a bit more complicated than you fastening your seat belt if doing so takes away jobs from millions of people.”

            Your comments are downright disturbing. You explain how a pandemic doesn’t result in millions of jobs lost, in the best case scenario. Explain how you isolate “healthy” people when they can carry the disease for weeks and not know it. If people have to spend tons out of pocket on healthcare, that money isn’t going to buy goods and services. Before the crash, only about 40% of the country could afford a $1,000 emergency, and we have offshored production to such an extent that we can no longer even produce domestically enough for basic things, without the state requiring business to make products they otherwise wouldn’t. Wages for most haven’t grown in decades, inequality is massive, huge infrastructure gap, systematic corruption in the political system, and or healthcare system was a disgrace before the pandemic. We not only are going to see people lose jobs regardless, because the negative economic impact of the pandemic is going to be huge regardless, but because our healthcare system ties people to their jobs in regards to healthcare, many will lose access to healthcare during a pandemic. If the capitalists and those in power try to force workers back and march many to their death, they should do a mass strike and bring down this entire rotten economic system. It has to be scrapped anyway to deal with the environmental crisis, so the workers should use their leverage and push for structural changes that can lead to a more equitable and democratic economic system to replace this system. It isn’t worth saving, wasn’t working well for most people to begin with.

            1. The Rev Kev

              Maybe it is time to admit that the present type of capitalism, aka crony capitalism, just does not work. It impoverishes ordinary people, hollows out a country’s industrial capability, estranges people from having a say in the political system and all the rest of it. The worse is that it does not even work. First sign of trouble they go all socialist and ask for trillions to make them whole, even if it is a direct result of their own incompetence. Even in normal times these companies still get money from the government and I fail to understand why multinational companies like the oil industry get billions from the government to help make them even more profitable. The whole system needs a total overhaul to even begin to cope with the realities of the 21st century landscape which means diminishing resources and environmental changes making for more fragile systems.

            2. Henry Moon Pie

              This “return to normalcy” fetish is a symptom of the terror that some feel, especially the well-placed, at the prospect of a new world. The hedgie Bill Ackman’s epic rant last week on CNBC was one of the first outbreaks of this malady, but the pressure to “get back to work” has been building among the financial types since then. I’m puzzled at their extreme urgency. It’s as if their power will turn into a pumpkin in 30 days. Whatever it is, the terror of the billionaires, combined with the desperation of PMCs and others comfortable with this system, is driving them mad.

              What they fail to see is that growing piles of dead people is what will finally cause their power to evaporate.

    2. cnchal

      Right above the comment window – “Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.”

      The last comment that was approved had a little bit of pushback. BY Upstater

      Always good to hear alternative perspectives. I look forward to Larry’s updated commentaries on this subject 2, 4 and 8 weeks from now. I cannot imagine why the CCP would shutdown 15-20% of their economy simply based on fear.

      What I never read is, what kind of economy are they expecting were the virus ignored and let rip through society. Does it go back to happy days as if it never happened or what? Crickets about that, and from all the corners of the web that have the view that, mathematically and statistically we should just forget about mitigation and party on, never mind the dead, we all die sometime.

      Now, the eclownomists surrounding Trump, the ones with their ass on the throne at the policy table, the ones that caused the disaster called globalization, are asserting themselves while the body count is set to skyrocket due to total incompetence. Tucker Carlson is a hero for corralling Trump and getting him to acknowledge that this isn’t a hoax, and should be taken very seriously. One of the points Tucker made in that interview linked here a few days ago was that for the most part, politicians are stupid. It shows.

      Michigan is shutting down for almost three weeks to try and get it under control, and it’s at least a month or more too late. They watched China shutdown an area with 60 million people, and here the politicians scratched their asses for months.

      Another thing that is stupid is Amazon. Really. The warehouses are a petri dish, and no matter what anybody else does, if they keep going there is not going to be an end to this. Same goes for the post office, UPS FedEx and all the big and small companies that are still going.

      It makes zero sense to shut down all the places that people go to willingly, like sports games, movies, bars and restaurants and have these sweatshop conditions forcing workers into a situation where the virus is guaranteed to spread. Forcing sick people to work so the captains of cruelty can collect profits is demented on top of being counter productive.

      It all needs to be shutdown or we are wasting time and lives. Or let it rip and really destroy the economy.

      Dead people are not good customers, unless one is in the funeral and graveyard business. That will not help the bars, where idiotic customers think the servant is their friend.

  33. Wellstone's Ghost

    I’ll tell you why this time is different.
    There is no March Madness(basketball speaking)
    There is no MLB baseball
    There is no NBA Playoffs
    There is no NHL playoffs
    The people who care about sports (millions of people) don’t have their usual distractions to “take their minds off of things”.
    The ultimate distraction that sports provides has disappeared.
    Sports play a very important role in society.
    Bread and circuses anyone.
    The longer this goes on, the more it will tear this country apart.
    I’m amazed more crazy stuff hasn’t happened already.
    Get to know your neighbors is all I can say.
    At least I can still go for a bike ride(with helmet of course).
    Bad time to need a visit to an emergency room.

  34. VietnamVet

    Donald Trump and Joe Biden won’t tag-team a victory over the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic. They need assistance to get into the ring and won’t even shake hands. Instead, HuffPost shouts “NIGHTMARE: TRUMP TALKS DEFYING HEALTH EXPERTS”. They will ignore the pandemic except for yelling platitudes to the absent crowds.

    Sheltering in place only partially mitigates the coronavirus while depressing the economy. Essential workers and scofflaws who are asymptomatic super-spreaders will keep igniting hot spots until the next mutant comes around. To keep nations from disintegrating in the 18 months or so until the Pharma jackpot vaccines or treatments are developed; contact tracers must be hired, universal testing required and the quarantine of all infected until two negative tests.

    The Western Empire is gone. Neither Joe Biden nor Donald Trump have the energy, charisma, intelligence, programs or empathy to keep the USA united.

  35. Roady

    Tressie McMillan Cottom’s tweet (“We have to seriously restrict the movement of rich people because they don’t make good choices.”) links to this article:

    Half of Uruguay’s COVID-19 cases can be traced to a single fashion designer

    Summary: Jet-setting fashion designer returns to Uruguay from her trip to COVID19-infected Spain, rolls straight into lunch with her 84-year-old mother, and later that same day attends a big wedding party where she spreads the joy amongst 500 of her wealthy pals. From the article, “There are currently less than 100 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Uruguay, although there are several hundred suspected cases. That number is expected to rapidly rise.” :(

    Wishing the best for a certain Expat there, and for anyone who becomes collateral damage from someone else’s extravagant and careless lifestyle.

  36. dk

    The WHO excerpt is correct. I don’t think I said that salt-water gargling (or nasal lavage) dislodges COVID19, although that kind of theory is roughly consistent with folk remedy approaches.

    A minor remedy may relieve mild conditions, it’s also probitive. If the problem persists, one escalates towards seeking formal care.

    We can be comfortable and oriented in these actions. Lambert gargles honey water (honey has anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25860226), below, Lee checks his temperature, xformbykr monitors his pulse, Krystyn Walentka has to negotiate lupus symptoms but notes some coincidence of oral lesion and microbial infection. We’ve been living in our bodies all our lives, we’re oriented in them and have some idea of our baseline “normal” condition, whether it be ideally healthy or not. We want to notice baseline changes and either recognize them (bumped the doorway now my knee hurts), or categorize them (sore throat? cold or corona?). It’s not medical diagnosis, but part of a self-assessment about whether and when to call a help line or go to a medical facility (or not). C19 is just a new element in an existing context which already contains unknowns. We’ve been dealing with that situation all along.

  37. Robert Gray

    The Rev Kev
    March 23, 2020 at 7:42 pm
    ‘Nearer my God to Thee.’ Yeah Synoia, and about to get a lot closer. Good observation.

    To this day, whenever I hear or read those words I can’t help but think of the ’60s classic ‘The True Story of the Sinking of the Titanic’.

  38. John Anthony La Pietra

    “Coronavirus Spurs Vote-By-Mail Push, But Barriers Remain” [Time].

    I wasn’t so sure about that initial byline myself, but when I clicked the link I saw the author was from the Center for Public Integrity and felt much better.

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