2:00PM Water Cooler 3/26/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, this will be an abbreviated Water Cooler, partly because I had to launch this year’s Water Cooler fundraiser (there is a tip jar on this page as well), but also because I must finish a post on #COVID19 and class. I will be back at full force tomorrow. –lambert


At reader request, I’ve added this daily chart:

The data is the John Hopkins CSSE data. Here is the site. I am using a linear, not a logarithmic scale, because the linear scale conveys the alarming quality of the multiplication better (don’t @ me, math nerds). I did not adjust for population, because it seems to me that the epidemics spread through a population in a fractal matter; within reasonable limits, the shape of the curve will be the same. Show me I’m wrong!


“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 no new national or state polls today. (Indeed, one might question what polling in the midst of a pandemic really means. It would seem that those who are willing to pick of the phone would increase, yes?

It does seem that the strategy of keeping Biden out of the public eye pays off. Earlier in the year, we often had occasion to comment on the mysterious strength of the Biden Juggernaut, on display here; but it’s also true that Biden’s ups and downs have been of much greater amplitude than other candidates. As today!

* * *

Cuomo (D)(1):

Cuomo (D)(2): “Cuomo Takes Jab At Trump’s Priorities: ‘Job One Has To Be To Save Lives. That Has To Be The Priority.'” [Forbes]. • Well and good. But see above.

Sanders (D)(1): I’m not impressed with Sanders getting better UI benefits, if indeed he did (I haven’t seen a paper trail of the amendment), because that’s a trivial benefit from handing the very worst sort of billionaires the power to remake the economy with trillions in free money. I’ve been impressed with the ability of the Sanders campaign to transition from rallies to digital events; and with using the list for fundraising. But he’s got the most dedicated, loyal, and active voter base in the country (and hitherto they’ve been willing to fund him). What’s he using his movement for, then? As Madeline Albright said to Colin Powell: “What’s the point of having this superb military you’re always talking about if we can’t use it?” Somehow, directing it at the New York primary seems beside the point; especially with Cuomo getting such good press.

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: Holy moley:

There seem to be a lot of “lines” like that just about now.

“Third Estimate 4Q2019 GDP Unchanged at 2.1%. Corporate Profits Improved” [Econintersect]. “The third estimate of fourth-quarter 2019 Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was 2.1 % (unchanged from the second estimate). I am not a fan of quarter-over-quarter exaggerated method of measuring GDP – but my year-over-year preferred method showed a moderate deceleration from last quarter.” • The Donald was cruising. And then…

* * *

Commodities: “Opinion: ‘There is no gold.’ Bullion dealers sell out in panic buying” [MarketWatch]. “‘There’s no gold,’ says Josh Strauss, partner at money manager Pekin Hardy Strauss in Chicago (and a bullion fan). ‘There’s no gold. There’s roughly a 10% premium to purchase physical gold for delivery. Usually it’s like 2%. I can buy a one ounce American Eagle for $1,800,’ said Josh Strauss. ‘$1,800!’ Major gold dealers have sold out of coins and gold bars amid panic buying as the U.S. economy plunges and the government agreed to a record $2 trillion emergency lifeline.”

Marketing: “For Influencers, Affiliate Revenue Is Next to Disappear” [Business of Fashion]. “Some large fashion and beauty retailers have paused affiliate link programmes as the coronavirus pandemic depresses sales, BoF has learned, throwing a cornerstone of the social media economy into turmoil. Macy’s, Dillard’s, T.J. Maxx and Ulta Beauty were among the chains to at least temporarily end the practice this week, denying influencers and media companies of the sales commissions they receive from posting links to products. These links have become a multi-billion dollar ecosystem, serving as the main source of income for many influencers and a lucrative revenue stream for media brands. But with stores closed in most major cities, and consumers cutting back their spending on fashion, retailers are slashing costs. Millions of US workers have been laid off across all industries in the last two weeks, and some economists are predicting a global recession as bad or worse than the downturn that followed the 2008 financial crisis. Dillard’s told its affiliate partners in an email that ‘the decision was made due to the impact of Covid-19 and the realignment of marketing strategy.’ Now, influencers find themselves scrambling to figure out how to supplement that once-reliable source of income.” • Rough business.

Retail: “Walmart Was Almost Charged Criminally Over Opioids. Trump Appointees Killed the Indictment.” [ProPublica]. “A fine would not be a sufficient deterrent, the DEA’s Dhillon added, since Walmart ‘has more money than it knows what to do with.’ ‘Not that there’s anything wrong with that,’ Rosenstein responded, according to five people familiar with the investigation. ‘We are all capitalists here.’ Rosenstein’s quip brought the prosecutorial team up short. They weren’t pursuing Walmart because it was profitable but because, in their view, the company had put its customers at deadly risk. Not long after, Rosenstein’s assistant entered the room to say he had a call. He left. The prosecutors’ push to persuade Rosenstein to revive the criminal case had failed.” • Wait, I thought Rosenstein was Hero Of The Resistance™?

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 21 Extreme Fear (previous close: 17 Extreme Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 7 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Mar 26 at 1:28pm.The chorus of “put American back to work” must be gratifying to Mr. Market. As is the likely passage of the stimulus bill.

The Biosphere

“International regulations have paused a jet-stream shift in the Southern Hemisphere” [Nature]. “[T]he authors’ results provide a clear signal that human actions can affect Earth’s climate: the Montreal Protocol has paused the climate change associated with ozone depletion. This is an object lesson in how the international community should react to global environmental challenges. Restricting dangerous emissions and changing business practices is also the way to combat global warming caused by greenhouse gases.”

Health Care

“COVID-19 needs a Manhattan Project” [Science]. “If we want to maximize the chances for success, however, and have enough doses to end the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, current piecemeal efforts won’t be enough. If ever there was a case for a coordinated global vaccine development effort using a “big science” approach, it is now. There is a strong track record for publicly funded, large-scale scientific endeavors that bring together global expertise and resources toward a common goal. The Manhattan Project during World War II didn’t just bring about nuclear weapons quickly; it led to countless changes in how scientists from many countries work together. The Human Genome Project and CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) engaged scientists from around the world to drive basic research from their home labs through local and virtual teamwork. Taking this big, coordinated approach to developing a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine will not only potentially save hundreds of thousands of lives, but will also help the world be better prepared for the next pandemic. An initiative of this scale won’t be easy.”

“Canada’s Coronavirus Response Shows Why We Need Medicare for All to Fight This Pandemic” [Jacobin]. “I’m a dual American-Canadian citizen, and over the past weeks, I’ve read countless stories on social media of exasperated American friends seeking coronavirus testing who describe a complex journey navigating between primary-care providers, hospitals, and local health departments. The fragmented nature of the US health-care system has made it difficult to coordinate a response or testing strategy, especially between completely separate health-care providers that often have different testing equipment and protocols. Meanwhile, in Canada, the provincial government is essentially the only financier of hospitals and health-care providers in each province, making it much easier to coordinate strategies. In Ontario, for example, anyone who suspects they have coronavirus is instructed to self-assess using an online tool, then either call a central Telehealth number, call their primary provider, or visit a dedicated assessment center. All three resources are receiving regular information from the provincial government and are able to determine what steps someone should take next: arranging testing, instructing the person to self-isolate, or providing reassurance. Each province has set up their own similar centralized system, and even before some of the newer resources were created, health departments at the local, provincial, and federal level were acting as central contact points for individuals and organizations. This coordination stands in stark contrast to the confusing and contradicting information provided by different levels of government in the United States, especially in the earlier days of the crisis.”

Class Warfare

“Thomas Piketty Takes On the Ideology of Inequality” [Marshall Steinbaum, Boston Review]. “The tendency in economics now—as well as in a great deal of public discussion—is to view the economy as a natural force, existing independently from our ideas about what it is and how it ought to work. This book systematically demolishes that self-serving conceit by charting in extensive detail how differently it has operated at different periods of time, and how its operation is conditioned by the ideologies with which it co-develops. ‘The market and competition, profits and wages, capital and debt, skilled and unskilled workers, natives and aliens, tax havens and competitiveness—none of these things exist as such,’ Piketty insists. ‘All are social and historical constructs’ that ‘depend entirely’ on the ‘systems that people choose to adopt and the conceptual definitions they choose to work with.’… An exhaustive assessment of Capital and Ideology would require more space and expertise than I have, but the basic contours of the book are easy enough to describe. ‘Every human society must justify its inequalities,’ the book begins. What follows is a comprehensive investigation of how different societies have done precisely that, ranging through what the book terms various ‘inequality regimes.'”

News of the Wired

“Jure Tovrljan redesigns iconic logos to reflect a world under coronavirus” [Dezeen]. “The overlapping circles of the Mastercard logo, as well as the iconic rings of the Olympic flag are reimagined safely spaced apart. ‘I tried to send a message for people to stay at home and if they really need to go out, act responsibly, keep your social distance,’ the designer explained.” • Apparently done by MacDonald’s Brazil:

Solidarity generally talkes a material form; as, fpr example, wages, sick leave and so forth.

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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 (MF):

MF writes: “I took this photo of Heteromeles arbutifolia, commonly known as Toyon, Christmas berry, or California holly, while hiking Mulholland Gateway Park in the Santa Monica Mountains.” I think we’ve got some fringing, but they are lovely berries.

I put out a call for reader projects suitable for a spell of isolation, including model trains. Alert reader RR responded:

RR writes: “Work has halted as my train room has been reassigned as my wife’s telework office. The beginnings of a tunnel can be seen on the right. My local library has a 3d printer that I used to print a portal. My rocket scientist did the rest during a telecon.” That’s super-neat about the 3D printing, and especially in a public library; how amazing! Do any other readers work with 3D printers?

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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. Billy

    Model trains are wonderful because it’s a world that one has absolute dominion over and can control, customize, elaborate on, play god in a way. Sort of the opposite of a garden where one temporarily surfs along with mother nature.

    Nasty reality:
    Mardi Gras disaster; people gathered, then carried virus back home.

    In Mardi Gras, social barriers fall. Mixed crowds of visiting co-eds, musicians, street people pass a bottle or joint around, cold sores, rotten teeth. “Party,” has become a synonym for suicide, be it lowlifes in New Orleans, or, Blue bloods in Westport.

    Prediction: Beside smokers and vapers, there will be an elevated Covid death rate among raw lung seared marijuana smokers, from not “Bogarding that joint my friend,” passing it from person to person.

      1. edmondo

        Interestingly, the only price gouging I’ve seen so far has been the marijuana dispensary who raised their prices 10% across the board the day after shelter in place came out.

    1. a different chris

      >hat one has absolute dominion over and can control

      Then why does my train go around the track flawlessly for like 20 minutes, and then I go upstairs just for a beer and when I come back it’s always planted smack dab in the middle of my little town with my little pretend plastic coal everywhere?

      1. Billy

        The rails heat up and expand with the current flowing through them and the friction, this causes their joints to lift up and throw the small car wheels into the air on curves. Suggest moving the town to the inside of the curve…

      2. fresno dan

        a different chris
        March 26, 2020 at 2:17 pm

        “just for A beer”
        un huh…
        I’d do a blood alcohol test on the engineer and get the NTSB on it

  2. Samuel Conner

    Re: 3D printing, I’ve done a teeny bit, relying on a local library (now shut). It’s not hard to get into for simple projects.

    Blender is a powerful freeware 3D modeling tool that can export printable models. The learning curve is a bit steep (I am only on the approaches to the foothills), but there are numerous tutorials available online in forums and at YouTube.

    Before purchasing one’s own printer — the prices keep falling — research the question of toxic fumes and airborne particles. It may be prudent to first set up a ventilated workspace that flows the fumes and particles outside. Sort of like a negative pressure isolation ward.

    The coolest thing I have seen re: printing is the creation of wax models to make aluminum castings in plaster molds.

    1. Screwball

      Before I retired I used a 3D printer at work. We had a small one we used for prototype parts. This was a small one that could make something about 8x8x8 or close to that if I remember correctly. Once you have a model of some sort, the software of the printer does most of the work. This was about 3 years ago and we bought the printer from Amazon for around 2 grand. It printed plastic parts. You could by different kinds of plastic (colors, makeup, etc) that came in spools that looked like line for a weed whacker.

      IMO, the model is the trickiest part. You need some sort of 3D modeling software to do make the model, and someone has to know how to run that. We had engineering level CAD program to make the models. That would be ideal IMO as they can make just about anything. Once a model is made, you can export it in whatever format (.iges, .step., .stl, or whatever). That’s the part I did, but I did run the printer a few times. It wasn’t too difficult. The modeling can be, depending on the complexity of the part.

      1. Greg

        The entry price for a reasonable 3d printer has come way down in the last ten years. I’ve got a prusa machine in the garage that I use for making small annoying plastic widgets when needed. It’s very good for doing things like building odd lego pieces as well, but my boy is still too smol to show need for such. I think the biggest thing I’ve done to date with it was printing glow in the dark surrounds to fit behind all our light switches, ie not very big at all. I’ve also made a bunch of different custom figurines, but as a filament based printer it’s not ideal for that compared to a much smellier and messier and higher finished quality resin based printer.

        Blender etc do have a very steep learning curve. I highly recommend Tinkercad (Autocads gateway drug) as a free, web based, easy to learn and use tool for throwing together precisely scaled parts in a hurry. It’s a snap-together solid-and-void based builder using regular shapes. Very straight forward for amateurs like me to pick up even after I’ve bounced off a series of cad softwares over the years.

        The prusa people make a very good piece of slicing software (the bit that turns a model into a print pattern) that is good at helping you identify the strongest way to print things so that the fiddly bits dont fall off, how much filler to use and in what patterns, etc.

        1. Greg

          Actually I remembered I made a knockoff camera mount for dad’s backpack (found 3d model of similar, imported and modified it) and scratch built a bunch of stevenson grills for some raspberry pi based weather stations that the father in law was putting together.
          And custom made plastic cases to fit another pi project for internal temperature and humidity sensors, which was fun because it involved modelling the circuitboard and components and then printing the cases to fit those precisely in the gaps inside.
          So uh yeah, 3d printers very handy for hobbyists. And accessibly priced, mine cost ~500usd incl shipping and a bunch of materials.

    2. Skip Intro

      I had a 3D printer for a few years, then gave it up when I moved to smaller digs, alas. There are some impressive public efforts in the 3D printing ‘community’ to produce masks and even ventilators. A central location for downloading and sharing designs for 3D printed models is thingiverse.com. There are a number of facemask designs with replaceable filter modules, though in general 3d printed surfaces are not really suitable for sanitizing because they are porous (unless coated…).

      Another effort has 3D printed the headband and holder for a clear plastic sheet for those spray masks that you see on surgeons and dentists.
      See for example:

      Easy 3D printed Face Shield


      COVID-19 Face mask

      I saw a SoCal hospital soliciting the 3D-printed parts for spray masks, they had sourced the clear plastic sheet inserts already. MatterHackers has set up a ‘hub’ for connecting designs, printers, and medical professionals. And a design for a 3D printed ventilator using a manual rubber-bag type ventilator is also making the rounds.

      Sorry for all the links moderators, but the pictures are pretty cool.

    3. Skip Intro

      Re: wax models, you can also print using filament with embedded metal particles. These models are baked/burned ’til the plastic goes away and the metal melts together, making a solidish metal piece. A company called Shapeways was printing these from designs you send in.

    4. HotFlash

      I have not printed 3d hands-on, but know several people who are really good at it. Site3.ca has one that is being set up to print masks — whoa! I personally am not sure about how the plastic filament (‘raw’ material of 3D printing) is not toxic, etc. Looks like we will find out.

      Another personal favourite ‘printer’, maybe not so useful for corona virus requirements, but should be fine for model RR, is the sand sinterer. Here is a 6min video on youtube. Uses just sand and sun. Would make fabulous mountain tunnels!

  3. diptherio

    Gordon “Zola” Edgar (“the Barbra Mandrell of the cheese counter”), a member of the Cheeseboard worker co-op in San Francisco has been writing about the experience on his blog.

    It’s almost unbelievable how quickly things have changed in day-to-day reality. Ten days ago I was crowd-sourcing info on how Italian grocery stores were handling the situation. I saw pics of people standing in lines six feet apart, heard they were metering customers into the store, read the phrase “social distancing” for the first time. My first thought: This just won’t work here. Ten days later it’s the norm.

    Limiting customers in the store has decreased the work stress 50% at least. In effect what we have done is transferred the check out line to outside the store. People wait outside (6 ft. apart) but, much of the time, can walk straight up to a cashier when they are ready to check out. We have the other stresses – our family, our friends, our community, our health — but at least our work environment is more peaceful and manageable than the previous two weeks.

    He’s got three entries in his “Diary of an Essential Worker” so far, and they’re all worth reading.


    1. amfortas the hippie

      i just experienced that for the first time
      second small heb trip today
      this on in a poorer section
      weirdness abounds
      we’ll hit the heb in fredericksburg on way home
      wealthy area

      but i’m shopping for bread and tp for 8 people
      one per customer doesn’t contemplate a small farm village
      everything is so far away from just 2 weeks ago
      and i’m more than ready to get the hell back to the wilderness

    2. Jonathan King

      AFAIK the only Cheeseboard in the Bay Area is in Berkeley. It is indeed a worker-owned co-op. This fellow works at S.F.’s Rainbow Grocery, which is also a co-op, though I don’t know how its ownership structure is organized.

      1. diptherio

        Oops. Indeed, I got the co-op wrong (so many to keep track of in the Bay Area). You are correct and he is a member of Rainbow Grocery which is one of the few worker-owned grocery co-ops.

    3. Tom Bradford

      The supermarket I use now has a 50 customer limit and a socially distanced queue outside waiting to get in. To speed things up they also now have four or five checkouts womanned as well as the self-checkout corral they formally ‘encouraged’ you to teach yourself to use by having only one womanned checkout available with a long queue, tho’ I refused to use the self-checkouts in a futile attempt to preserve the checkout operator’s jobs.

      Funny that now it’s in the owner’s interest to push you through as fast as possible they can ‘man’ the checkouts again.

  4. skk

    In addition to the John Ionnadis ( of the 2005 -“half of all scientific papers are wrong fame” ) article “A fiasco in the making? As the coronavirus pandemic takes hold, we are making decisions without reliable data” that was linked to in the comments a few days there is another article out there :
    “Coronavirus disease 2019: the harms of exaggerated information and non-evidence-based

    Now I rate John Ionnadis’ 2005 paper but I was in the process of critiquing the first article and sending it to him first but meantime separately Chris Martenson has done a critique and rebuttal of many points in a podcast:

    Pick it up at 19:00. At first viewing it sounds right. I wish I could get a transcript so that I can go thru the critique more thoroughly, but still, there’s the critique.

    1. Noone from Nowheresville

      Click on the three dots to the right of Save (far right) under the title info. Open Transcript. Google auto-transcript opens at the top right panel.

    2. annie

      tried to post link yesterday to a twitter thread by carl t. bergstom (debunking aaron gint) where, at the end, he dismisses that initial ionnadis paper making the rounds. ‘he has a hammer and has found a nail.’ won’t try to post again but easily found googling.

        1. Cuibono

          their are other Stanford Epi folks who are also in line with his thinking here…not sure if ther eis more than meets the eye to that or not…
          But i know whose side i would be on in an EPI debate…

            1. CuriosityConcern

              Authors only treat mortality rate, mortality rate is dependent on care, care is dependent on flattened curve. See Italy, Spain, New York.

                1. Cuibono

                  this paying attentionpart is interesting isnt it?
                  Like swine flu: how many here remember wide spread panic. Lots of people died.

  5. Max

    This seemed Water Cooler worthy. Hahnemann Hospital, a major hospital in downtown Philly with a Level 1 trauma center and something on the order of 500 beds, if my memory serves, was closed by its private equity ownership last June. Joel Freedman, the owner who is based in LA, has been negotiating with the City, which wanted to reopen the hospital to treat coronavirus victims. He refused to lease it at cost…

    Do you file that under Healthcare, Class Warfare, or Guillotine Watch?



    1. Samuel Conner

      Methinks that the concept of “eminent domain” must be even more relevant to this situation than to the typical displacement of home-owners for real estate developers.

      1. BlakeFelix

        I think that for eminant domain the government has to pay a fair market price, rightly IMO, and he has already offered them that but Philly says that they can’t afford it. He’s also offered to lease it for what sounded to me like reasonable terms, I don’t know what Philadelphia thinks “Cost” is for an empty building. Either way IMO they should quickly get to using it and fight in the courts about fair compensation later.

    2. Jen

      I vote for an entirely new category:

      Bring out the tumbrils

      And I agree with Samuel Conner – eminent domain would be entirely relevant here.

  6. Montanamaven

    Was Jimmy Dore’s interview with Dylan Rattigan posted here? I’m a bit behind in reading today. He makes the very important point that we cannot discuss this latest “theft” i.e. bailout without the context. The context being that the theft happened under Clinton and Bush and the coverup of the theft happened under Obama. This is phase two where the few will gobble up the rest of what was left after 2009. The fire sale begins. He points out that the medium will report the story but not give the context. Dylan on Jimmy Dore

    1. Grant

      I liked the interview, but didn’t like how Rattigan explained inflation. He said it was a function not only of the amount of money in the system, but also the “velocity of money”. It is actually more complex than that, as many posting here know He didn’t, for example mention how much stuff is produced, private money creation or money leakage impact inflation.

      1. Olga

        Also, he kept insisting that all countries are as corrupt as the US. Methinks not true… There may be some level of corruption everywhere, but the scale and the insidious nature of it is unique to the US. in Russia, for example, VVP used the crisis to increase taxes on the rich. Don’t think I’ve seen anything similar in the US either in 2008 or now.

        1. montanamaven

          I noticed that too and disagreed with him on that on a Facebook post. Putin makes sure that his oligarchs keep the money mostly in Russia. And they can be rich but not at the expense of the people. He is determined to end poverty. I did not know about his raising taxes. I wonder if he mentioned that at the meeting today with the G-20?
          Also Rattigan kept talking about taxes paying for things which isn’t how it works. But did like his emphasis on how the media won’t talk about crony capitalism and theft.

  7. Otis B Driftwood

    The United States will be the world leader in confirmed COVID-19 cases sometime tomorrow.

    The rate of increase should shame any state governors who have yet to issue a shelter-in-place order. It is essential to limit the rate of increase and relieve the burden on our ill-prepared healthcare system.

    Total cases reported globally just exceeded 500K.

    1. Carolinian

      Bearing in mind that a lopsided proportion of recent increases are coming from hotspots like NYC and New Orleans I don’t really agree that all regions need to be treated the same. In fact big city environments are just inherently going to be more prone to the virus than rural or suburban ones.

      Here in SC the schools have been closed, restaurant dining rooms, police have been told by the governor to break up gatherings of more than three people, cities have late night curfews. But while we now have several hundred cases there’s no indication that the medical system is being overwhelmed and that may continue to be true. I’d say every country and even region is different and any firm predictions of what is going to happen are way premature.

      And btw that “world leader” meme is very misleading in that the US simply has more people than most countries.

      1. Greg

        I think the population card is an interesting one to play given the participation in this competition of China and India. Also India might yet beat out the USA.

        1. MLTPB

          Italy population about 60 million?

          Hubei, 58 million?

          New York state, 20 million?

          It would be interesting to compare those three…the same order of magnitude, population wise.

          Hubei vs India, NY state vs China, etc, (except India vs China,) involve different orders of magnitude.

      2. bassmule

        Does a national lockdown seem extreme? I don’t know. Can someone from New York City fly to Cheyenne, Wyoming tomorrow? Why, yes they can!

        1. Carolinian

          Yes they can and while there they will presumably have a nicely sealed metal box to drive around in and a comfy hotel room for social distancing. I’ve lived in NYC and unless you have a chauffeured car it’s almost impossible to avoid being around a lot of people.

          Or maybe you are suggesting that Trump build a “beautiful wall” around Gotham. Think John Carpenter made that movie.

        2. chuck roast

          The skies over the south coast of New England were beautiful today. A blue I haven’t seen in many years. The metro bound 30,000′ Euro flights were absent along with the off-white sky. Not a contrail to be seen.

      3. What?No!

        The Kentucky vs. Tennessee graph is the best example of aggressive measures vs. yah we’re getting to it measures. The province of British Columbia is doing the same as Kentucky and getting the same results.

        Past performance is no guarantee, YMMV, but there really is (should probably say “was”) no substitute for getting aggressive early with this.

    2. hemeantwell

      The Johns Hopkins graph – agreed on the linear scale since you’re addressing a public unused to log scaling — is bad enough for the US. It would be worse if testing per hundred thousand were factored in.

    1. MillenialSocialist

      Weird, I thought it was Colombia that provided the lion’s share of cocaine from South America and Venezuela just had the 2nd largest proven oil reserves on earth. I’m sure I’m mistaken.

      1. Bill Carson

        The US is also naming Venezuela as a sponsor of terror. The war is coming. I think I saw some provisions in the Cruise Ship Relief Bill that could be used for an action against Vene.

        1. Olga

          This is straight out the Noriega playbook. But Venezuela is a bit bigger, so we’ll see. OTOH, good to see that the empire is not resting even during a pandemic. Those plucky guys!…
          And, of course, more sanctions on Iran.

      2. Carolinian

        Yes but we like Colombia so ixnay on that.

        Trump needs to lock Pompeo, Abrams etc up in a closet somewhere. Gosh knows why with all that’s going on he’s letting these doofs continue their deadly work

  8. chuck roast

    I cruised my marina today and the owner just came up from Florida to wake the place up. He was telling me that he has no summer dockage reservations from the rich guys. He has four spots for 80′-100′ boats, and this is the first time in 40 years that he has no commitments for the summer. He has a small yard, so the yachties are the butter for his bread. The bread would be the couple dozen schlubs like me who store for the winter and go off in the summer.

    Apparently, several fellow schlubs have called him and said that they probably won’t launch this spring and were inquiring about summer storage fees. Just a shore-side anecdote.

      1. Massinissa

        I can’t tell if this is serious or not, but if it is, its a term for the average joe.

        Was that \ supposed to be a /sarc tag?

      2. jonhoops


        schlub (plural schlubs)

        (chiefly US, informal) A person who is clumsy, oafish, or socially awkward, or unattractive or unkempt.

        Or in normal parlance a working stiff

  9. Wukchumni

    Regarding all that glitters…

    Sounds as if the real world is 10% higher than the spot price~

    I’m more interested in what tin ‘spot’ prices are on physically available cans of beans, soup, or any other foodstuffs in tins.

    The shelves are barren, what would it take to buy a can of soup that was available @ $2 a month ago?

  10. Jeremy Grimm

    If any doubts lingered regarding the Empire’s esteem for the Populous the advent of corona flu and recent events in the Senate should make everything crystalline.

    1. The Historian

      Wall Street is definitely thrilled today – 3 Million newly unemployed but that doesn’t matter – they got theirs !

      1. Tvc15

        Mnuchin said the unemployment numbers are “not relevant” because of our great presidents effort to send out $1,200 checks to everyone. I added “great” because trumps name should always be preceded by a complimentary adjective and was probably just an oversight by Steve.

        1. The Historian

          I’m always impressed by the elite’s great ability to rationalize what they think they need to earn to live on v. what they think the “little people” need to earn to live on.

          1. JBird4049

            I saw Sander’s last senate speech on twitch.tv. His description of what the Senate was and had been trying to do was more than just aggravating or enraging. It was confounding; so much so that I almost could not be angry.

          2. Procopius

            Minor quibble: I object to your misuse of the word “earn” as applied to the elite. See Thorstein Veblen’s Theory of the Liesure Class.

      2. Grant

        Workers have the capacity to bring this economy to its knees and should do so if these worthless elites continue on as is. There is a clear, decades long power differential between capital and labor and workers haven’t had this leverage in a long time. Those in power have for too long not been challenged. If those sociopath oligarchs push people back into work during a pandemic, there should be a general strike. I could care less about the damn stock market and they could care less about me. My interests and their interests collide, and working people have little to lose at this point.

        1. Billy

          Economics makes Strange Bedfellows Department:
          Brittany Spears is calling for a general strike.
          When the Hollywoodproletariate get wind of this it might catch on.

          What would a general strike look like?
          No services of any kind except food, medical and energy delivery.

          Who would strike? Anyone without a job, laid off or whose business has been crushed.

          What would be on strike? Anything having to do with retail, including online deliveries, banking, real estate, advertising, car sales or servicing, education, construction, entertainment, paying of bills, especially paying taxes,
          all comes to an end for say, two weeks?
          Or, until a reformed aid package is written into law by congress and signed by the president.

          1. Tvc15

            Terrific comment Grant and accurately articulates my thoughts too.

            Yes, who would have thought Brittany Spears would have good takes, kudos to her.

            1. ForFawkesSakes

              Britney Spears is a wealthy person in a unique position to understand the despair of the working class.

              She’s long been under a legal guardianship controlled by her father and her attorney. She has no control over her estate or assets. They book her and she must perform. She can’t spend any of her own [family blogging] money. She understands what it means to be exploited.

              She’s literally a slave to her own brand.

          2. montanamaven

            Can we do like Europe? Have our farmers and truckers drive their tractors and close down the interstates except for food delivery?

        2. Tom Bradford

          “Workers have the capacity to bring this economy to its knees and should do so if these worthless elites continue on as is.”

          Yes, of course. But I yesterday referenced in NC a Gallop Poll which apparently shows that 60% of Americans approve of his handling of the pandemic, and 49% of Americans approve of his presidency.

          The gulf between what American readers of NC think and what the ‘average’ American thinks is clearly vast, patently unbridgeable and to me, an outsider, utterly inexplicable.

          1. Daryl

            Most Americans have not yet had first hand experience with coronavirus.

            By November, almost all of us will have had it; known someone who has died of it; known many people who have had it.

            At that point, propaganda about how great! everything is going and how great! our insurance and healthcare system will have been obliterated by reality. I am optimistic about that, if nothing else.

          2. Grant

            Let’s poll them if the virus spreads, they are running out of money increasingly for a number of reasons (including more and more money going to the costs associated with the virus), family and friends are getting sick and dying, and he forces them back to work during a growing pandemic. Part of the poll results are a result of there being a power vacuum. The likely opponent of his is Joe Biden. Seen him around? Who, in the other party, has really led? The person Biden is currently beating in the primary is really the only one. The media is proclaiming him dead. The Democrats are so bad that Trump looks good by comparison. But, conditions aren’t going to get better, and Trump has done nothing but make things worse. If current trends continue and he follows through with his plans, I don’t see any logical way there isn’t going to be unrest. I am also not saying that they necessarily will, but they should and could. If they don’t, it will be a giant missed opportunity. But, my post, if you read it, was about what they could and should do.

  11. Mikel

    Unemployment numbers are going to be like gasoline prices: quick to rise, slow to fall. Very slow to fall. Record breaking slow to fall….

    1. MillenialSocialist

      Oh to have owned a gas station the past 3 weeks. The profit taking as panic buying commenced! In California many places are still above $3! Absolute disgrace, but what is to be expected in a country where 57 cent masks become $7 each in a pandemic?

      1. Wukchumni

        but what is to be expected in a country where 57 cent masks become $7 each in a pandemic?

        There’s interesting hyperinflation in selected products, the n95 masks experiencing around 1,200% inflation in just a few months time.

        Here’s another for you: We use MSR 8 oz Isopro isobutane cans when we go backpacking. They’re always around $6-7 per can, but not anymore. There are a whole 2 sellers on Amazon @ $26.43 & $39.95, which is about 400 to 600% hyperinflation. Every one of these-no matter the brand, comes from South Korea.

        I had wondered where hyperinflation would show up, and we’re just started as the supply chain falls apart.

        1. Grant

          And out will come the monetary cranks with their “more money equals hyperinflation” arguments.

          1. Wukchumni

            There hasn’t been an instance of hyperinflation using cyber money as of yet. The mechanism changed, and the old way where it was obvious that a government was printing way too much currency-and became obvious to the public, no longer mattered.

          2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Yes Virginia we have had hyperinflation: in investment assets. Witness how blindingly fast the air came out of them, it’s almost like there wasn’t anything there to begin with, ya know?

            Now in their wisdom it looks like we’ll be getting the goods and services kind. Oh goody.

            The state theory of money versus the barter theory of money. If we really had state money then maybe this question would resolve. We don’t.

      2. Darius

        I ordered two washable masks on eBay for about $7 each. They never came and I saw they ran out. I just ordered a different set of five for $20. In a pinch, you can make one with rubber band and a dish towel. All the rage in China.

        Incidentally, the Czechs have ordered everyone to wear a mask when they go outside. The Czechs are personalizing them and making them fashion items.

        On Twitter there is a Czech video about masks as solidarity with others. I wear it to protect you. You wear it to protect me. I hope it catches on everywhere else.


        1. Olga

          Impossible in the US, since masks were all bought out in January, and not replenished. So much for the free market… (In some countries, incl. Czech Republic, many women know how to saw. Not so much in the US, unfortunately.)

    2. Grant

      The Obama administration did a report on AI and automation in its last month in office. It noted the ownership of the enterprises once, it briefly said that if current trends continue that conflicts between workers and capital will intensify. That will be even more the case now.

      In regards to financial capital, isn’t one of the main arguments justifying profits in financial capital risk? You lend out money and get compensated for the risk you take. The state seems to be removing all risk in regards to the lending that private financial capital is doing, so what justification is there for profits within finance at this point? In addition to Tlaib’s idea about money creation through the Treasury (which could bypass the Fed doing open market operations and buying bonds at a markup from private capital), is public banking not in order? At least treating finance and money creation as a public utility?

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Really very uncomplicated, no “new ideas” required. See FDR and The Bank of Reconstruction.

        1. Grant

          I couldn’t disagree more. The environmental crisis is right around the corner. We have reached the limits of growth in regards to throughput, have to deal with that while acknowledging that the financial and monetary parts of the economy can grow forever, and we cannot realistically monetize most non-market impacts, which are increasingly dominating our lives. Private financial capital also makes investments while ignoring non-market impacts, and often profits from the externalization of those impacts. We do need new ideas, and we don’t have tons more time.

  12. clarky90

    China’s Mobile Carriers Lose 21 Million Users as Virus Bites
    By Shirley Zhao
    March 23, 2020


    “China Mobile leads drop with 8 million decline in subscribers
    China Telecom, Unicom have also reported drops in users.

    China’s wireless carriers are reporting drops in users as the coronavirus crisis cuts business activity, with China Mobile Ltd., the world’s largest carrier, reporting its first net decline since starting to report monthly data in 2000……..”

  13. Bill Carson

    A fake news story has been circulating that says Neil Ferguson, the epidemiologist who did the model showing 500,000 deaths in the UK was wrong about his calculations, and that it is only going to kill 20,000 instead, maybe less. So the climate/COVID deniers are saying that we shouldn’t have closed the economy and we can open back up ASAP.

    But this is an outright maliciously wrong interpretation.

    What Ferguson said yesterday was that he revised his estimates taking into consideration the restrictions the UK has just put in place, and that if the restrictions stay in place they could have as few as 20,000 deaths instead of 500,000, which assumed that no remedial measures would be taken.

    The fake news is coming from Fox and not the Russians.

    1. Samuel Conner

      FOX’s audience is disproportionately older, isn’t it? I would think that their corporate risk modelers should be quaking in boots. But perhaps the news division has editorial independence?

    2. MLTPB

      I think

      1. The earlier reports were the model showed 500,000, instead of reporting, without more measures, 500,000 would be the number.

      2. The current reports are the model now says 20,000, instead of saying, with measures, 20,000 would the number.

      The consistent oversight is the qualification regarding measures being absent or present.

      I see it as less fake, than sloppy.

        1. Carolinian

          And your agenda? You’ve greatly simplified the actual story. Here’s the New Scientist version


          And the suggestion of greater spread and therefore lower fatality rate comes from

          a team at the University of Oxford released provisional findings of a different model that they say shows that up to half the UK population could already have been infected. The model is based on different assumptions to those of Ferguson and others involved in advising the UK government.

          Oxford, not Fox news. It seems there are many flavors of cognitive bias. It’s going to be hard enough to deal with this situation without every study that goes against the quickly accepted narrative being labeled as a rightwing or capitalist plot. Without a doubt those groups are going to try to exploit what is happening just as the Dems in opposition often seem to be praying that this will be “Trump’s Katrina”–i.e. a disaster bigger than it already is.

          Enough with the scapegoating. Nature is simply showing us who’s boss and the best way of dealing with it has to found without turning it into a political football. Unfortunately in the current polarized climate that seems to be almost impossible.

          1. Montanamaven

            I can’t tell you how many times today I’ve said that we need to be united and not be unpaid propagandists for the oligarchs who want to keep us divided.
            Truthdig had an article a few years ago about propaganda.
            It got me thinking about these past unpaid propagandists with their followers and what our current unpaid ones are. It’s Facebook pages. A person links to a story in the NY Times and spreads it amongst his/her friends who then spreads it amongst their friends.

            1. Carey

              SLO County CA coronavirus statistics:

              As of 3/26/20 at 1:00 pm

              54 Confirmed cases
              39 Home
              10 Recovered
              4 Hospitalized
              1 ICU
              O Deaths

              Population is 270k.

              1. Bill Carson

                El Paso County Colorado

                As of 3/26/2020 at 4pm

                137 Confirmed Cases in County, 7 Deaths

                1,420 Confirmed Cases in State, 24 Deaths, 184 Hospitalizations, 0 Recoveries.

                Population of County 700,000
                Population of State 5.7 million

          1. Monty

            As time has passed, more data about the threat becomes known. Models get updated. Will overall mortality rise YOY? Maybe not by much.
            It’s important to be open to new possibilities, and not become wed to a particular story. A less catastrophic outcome would be welcome, if you ask me.

  14. Mikel

    Re:thomas piketty /ideology inequality

    From the review, I get the impression even Piketty is having trouble coming to terms with what he has discovered.
    Much of what he’s taken the time to discover for himself has been well-covered in the comments section of NC and other places that are outside academia.

    “Paul Krugman, reviewing the book in the New York Times, went so far as to call it, with thinly veiled exasperation, “what amounts to a history of the world viewed through the lens of inequality.” He winds up bewildered by the “sheer volume,” bemoaning the absence of a clearer “message.”

    Of course, liberal credentials aside, Krugman would have a hard time admitting he’s more priest of a religion than scientific analyst.

    1. Massinissa

      It has a damn message! The damn message is that inequality is NOT inevitable!

      Krugman doesn’t realize the hamptonite-style crowds he schmoozes with at fancy parties don’t stop being economic parasites just because they donate to Hillary Clinton or… well I would say Joe Biden but it seems noone is actually donating anything to him despite his being the presumptive nominee. What enthusiasm the donor class clearly has for him, eh?

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        One reason Obama and then Hillary did well in the funding department in the general was the presumption they would win and normally Republican donors would need to play both sides. Even in 2014, Pelosi basically went to fundraisers promising that Hillary would win in 2016 so money wasn’t being gifted to losers, knowing Team Blue wasn’t taking the House and probably would lose the Senate.

    2. mle detroit

      ‘Every human society must justify its inequalities,’ the book begins. What follows is a comprehensive investigation of how different societies have done precisely that, ranging through what the book terms various ‘inequality regimes.’”

      I’m reading Yuval Harari’s Sapiens at the moment. Harari makes the same argument in less than one chapter; the sources are online. Harari is an historian, not an in-the-weeds economist. His book is ridiculously physically heavy, but an interesting and amusing read.

      1. LifelongLib

        IIRC George Orwell thought inequality was justified in pre-industrial societies because it was the only way to free a small percentage of people from heavy farm labor to do other things. That justification no longer exists in industrial societies.

        1. The Rev Kev

          I think that that was what cities were for. Mostly innovations came out of cities as they were more free with their time and could support specialized occupations, including researchers. It was the labour of the countryside that supported them. Thus cities are a long-term investment for a society to develop with.

        2. BlakeFelix

          IIRC Keynes argued somewhere (probably “Economic Consequences of the Peace” that at low levels of civilization it had to oppress the many in favor of the few in order to maintain literacy and a specialized elite, but now that needs are met they had to “oppress” the rich in order to stabilize society. No one listened and we got the Depression and WW2.

      2. c_heale

        I read Sapiens a long time ago, and felt a lot of what he said was interesting but he made a lot of assumptions and is really weak and downright wrong on many specifics (for example, the origin of money being barter, and a laughable description of the Haber process for making ammonia).

  15. Skip Intro

    Bernie threatened to block the bill if the GOP ghouls didn’t remove their block to remove the UI benefits. Whether he wrote that part or not, his lone stand kept that part in the bill.

    1. Noone from Nowheresville

      I’ve moved on. Sanders proved he won’t be the person to lead the charge or even change.

      We need a different and better way.

      1. Mattski

        Says no one from Nowheresville? He already has made medicare for all and national healthcare issues embraced by every Dem candidate. Ten thousand people were watching when he did a very uplifting AND informative forum with The Squad online the other night. There’s so much empty jabbering. . . Two million volunteers have worked on his campaign, and the plan is to keep people together after the presidential campaign. In Tallahassee, we have already held four meetings with the 70 or so lefties who worked hard on the campaign. We’re already deep into the campaign of a socialist who we’re going to get elected to the city commission. Bernie got two socialist mayors elected in the Deep South last year while upper class Black people in Atlanta were complaining that he wasn’t kissing their rings. Tell us what you’re been up to while Bernie wasn’t leading? On second thought, spare us.

        1. Noone from Nowheresville

          I find him uplifting. I want him to succeed. But tell me, honestly, if you weren’t on NC and only listened to Sanders, would you even know that we got scraps for what we gave up in that emergency bill? Or that this bill will make 2008’s hijacking look like child’s play in comparison?

          This emergency bill was about power and transferring wealth up wholesale this time. Sanders isn’t about wielding power. He didn’t challenge power on this bill at all. What he did was raise a rally call for the scraps we might receive from this bill while talking about compromise. He even participated in the GOP Graham distraction hours.

          I’ll grant you everything you’ve said and more about Sanders triumphs and integrity over the decades. Highly impressive, consistently moral man. But this was the time that he had stand on his own, like he’s done throughout the previous decades and speak truth to the American people, especially since he’s still a presidential candidate. If only Bernie from the Iraq War era had been there last night.

          Do we need Medicare for All? Absolutely. Has he made his case? To the faithful yes. Will it be an earwig from this crisis? I sure as heck hope so. But when this is all over I expect that those receiving the Treasury’s blessing from the proceeds of this emergency bill will be buying up hospitals, medical supply companies, etc that go broke or become broken for chump change and then having the assets they just purchased re-inflated to the pre-crisis levels. Further consolidating power and wealth.

          Such was the nature and importance of this emergency bill. And Sanders, Warren, and whoever else you want from the Senate said absolutely nothing about what the real stakes were. Scraps. All they talked about were scraps. And they never even tried to leverage the power of the crisis to change anything of consequence.

          Will the Squad do anything different on Friday than what Sanders did? That will be the tell.

          ETA: sd, I have not a clue. This crisis has been clarifying. I expect that there’s a lot more coming down the pike.

          1. Jeremy Grimm

            People might notice when the checks take forever to arrive or because of some technicality don’t arrive where they were expected. People in the cities might also notice that the checks barely or don’t even cover rent and the rent is still due. I don’t know about Trump’s popularity numbers and what people think about the Senate giveaway package. Over the years, I have heard many people make some unkind comments about the previous giveaway package.

            I suspect this is just a brief honeymoon period like the love for Bush immediately after 9/11.

  16. Wukchumni

    Notes on a scarecard:

    Was told our food bank had a line about 100 yards long yesterday which is way out of the ordinary-usually there’s a dozen desirous, and quizzing the UPS delivery guy, I asked if many residents were buying enough food for the 4 month cruise going nowhere that he is delivering, and he told me 3 people are making such an effort, out of 2,000.

    1. Carolinian

      The empty shelves at my super markets are starting to show products again. Guess all those freezers at home are now full.

        1. Bsoder

          Till the power fails, and say you’ve got a generator? not any old backup generator will do, freezers have capacitor starts which require large in rush of current.

          1. BlakeFelix

            Bwhat? Most modern freezers don’t eat much power I don’t think. There probably is a starting surge but if your generator won’t run a freezer either your freezer is huge(possibly ancient) or you have the smallest generator that I have ever heard of.

            1. BlakeFelix

              My generator has a panel that estimated a refrigerator at 2200 starting watts, that is more than I expected but still not an awful lot, my littlest generator is about that big.

  17. MLTPB

    NYpost has a story about the thing can be on shoes for up to 5 days.

    Does it make a difference in countries where people leave them by the front door customarily?

    1. Wellstone's Ghost

      Taking off your shoes outside or in the garage is a great idea anytime. You walk on all sorts of gross stuff during the day. None of which you would want in your house. Customary in Japan and Hawaii too.

  18. MLTPB

    The Guardian reports that in Ireland, postal workers volunteer to check in elderly during their rounds.

    A bit of uplifting news.

    Many have reported about the 400,000 plus volunteers in the UK.

  19. Donna

    Here’s another uplifting story. Here in western North Carolina in 2 counties that I know of, school buses have been converted to Meal on Wheels for the students. The kids just show up at their bus stop 4 hours after the normal school pickup time and they will receive lunch and breakfast for the next day. Local communities pull together to help each other out. And then the Washington elites do everything they can to avoid making a difference in the lives of their voters.

    1. flora

      Thanks for this story. It’s important to support local food banks, local school meal assistance programs, rather than sending donations to a national clearinghouse charity right now, where it will have to wind its way thru hoops to be redistributed to the local area, imo. We’re all the 9th Ward.

      1. montanamaven

        I was disappointed to hear in the WH press briefing that corps were donating to “the American Red Cross” and “Feeding America” instead of going local.

    2. HotFlash

      the Washington elites do everything they can to avoid making a difference in the lives of their voters

      If only, if only!!! there was somebody running for president who would make that difference! The voters might just support that person.

    1. Roady

      The money quote:

      The Koch network, while pushing for businesses to stay open, is taking the opposite approach for its lobbying apparatus. AFP and its affiliates, including LIBRE Initiative and Concerned Veterans for America, are now working from home. “Out of an abundance of caution and to ensure the health and safety of our activists, staff, and voters, our staff are working from home and are utilizing digital organizing as one way to continue their grassroots engagement,” a spokesperson from AFP told CNBC.

  20. marieann

    While I totally agree that Canada’s Heathcare is so much better that in the US……many people here can’t get tested for Covid19 because there are not enough testing kits available.

    Basically only sick people are getting the tests as long as they have a travel history, even though it is in community now. Ontario announced today that after 14 days those who have tested positive will not be retested, so they will be assumed to no longer have the virus.This is being done because there is a limited supply of the kits.They do say they are working on it and hope to have a good supply soon.

    Of course as this is Canada our government will be helping many people financially….there is a new announcement practically every day. Here in our household because we are now “working” from home our electricity rates have decreased.

  21. Bugs Bunny

    Just a quick note. I’d have normally voted by mail in the Wisconsin primary. Because I’m confinement and don’t have a printer, I can’t vote. Sorry.

    1. HotFlash

      Similar happened to us, back in the MI primary. Applied for absentee ballot (as many times before), ballot never arrived, phone calls, emails, nada. Happenstance, coincidence, enemy action.

      SOOOOOOO) many ways to suppress the vote.r

    2. Stillfeelinthebern

      Bugs Bunny, that is not true. Go to my http://www.myvote.wi.gov. You can request an absentee ballot totally on line. If you are confined you do not need to upload any photo ID. Please, please go to the link and get your ballot.

  22. Expat2uruguay

    I just wanted to give a quick update on the situation here in Uruguay. This is a WhatsApp message from 25 of March that has been translated.:

    “We are only 3.5 million … elsewhere less than what they have in a city. Latin American country … “3rd world” or “development routes” for some, the “former Swiss of America” ​​for others

    March 13 – 1st case of Covid-19,
    Government-requested voluntary quarantine

    What happened in 12 days?
    – people organized popular pots [food donations] for those who have nothing to eat because they cannot go to work
    – University students and doctors developed tests locally to be able to make more diagnoses and at a lower cost
    – Doctors, students, and individuals develop respirators from old printer engines and windshield wipers
    – people organized to make face masks because they were no longer in the market for health personnel
    – the military began to make face masks for hospitals
    – Hotels and clubs offered their facilities for free or at cost for homeless people to sleep so they are not even more vulnerable
    – supermarkets added preference hours for older adults
    – supermarkets, pharmacies and food places add delivery so that people do not have to leave the house
    – the government generates subsidies for those who are unemployed and makes them more flexible
    – Doctors go to the home for both private services and public hospitals so that people do not leave the house and health does not collapse
    – public and private expand cti beds [not sure what this is, maybe ICU? CTI = Cama Tratamiento Intensivo??]
    – Individuals and companies raise funds for medical supplies and reach 31,000 tests in addition to gowns, respirators and more!
    – people organize to cook and bring food to the health personnel who are taking care of us, putting their own health at risk
    – Every night the people step out of their doors and applaud the nurses and doctors for their sacrifice, THANK YOU!
    – Schools and colleges give virtual classes so that the children do not fall behind
    – public and private give away the internet so that people can work from home
    – schools and picnic areas prepare meals for the children who need them, and food baskets for families who are having a difficult time
    And so many other nice things !!

    … all this in less than 2 weeks ❤❤❤
    Without anyone forcing us we get together to pull together ???
    According to forecasts for today we would have 8 dead and 960 cases
    – we have 0 deceased, and 217 cases as of 25 of March, luckily”

    Me: I have to say that the center-right government that was newly installed on March 1st is doing a good job of handling the situation. Unfortunately, the opposition party from the left is very critical, seeming to be more interested in scoring political points than in collaborating with the group in power to protect the interests of the people. And I say this as a socialist / communist, because what I support is a good government.

    We have a couple of good Facebook groups here for expats, places where people with language difficulties can develop a sense of community. Unfortunately, since the coronavirus came up, it’s kind of overwhelmed the groups. So a couple of days ago I started a new group specifically for discussing covid-19 in Uruguay. I anticipated the group would be volatile, but so far it’s going well and I’m turning out to be more diplomatic than I ever thought. I seem to be growing into the role. And I feel really good about giving us expats a place to discuss our pandemic concerns without overwhelming the existing Community groups. It’s great to feel a sense of purpose.

  23. Bill Carson

    Neil Ferguson clarifies his position—

    1/4 – I think it would be helpful if I cleared up some confusion that has emerged in recent days. Some have interpreted my evidence to a UK parliamentary committee as indicating we have substantially revised our assessments of the potential mortality impact of COVID-19.

    2/4 -This is not the case. Indeed, if anything, our latest estimates suggest that the virus is slightly more transmissible than we previously thought. Our lethality estimates remain unchanged.

    3/4 – My evidence to Parliament referred to the deaths we assess might occur in the UK in the presence of the very intensive social distancing and other public health interventions now in place.

    4/4 – Without those controls, our assessment remains that the UK would see the scale of deaths reported in our study (namely, up to approximately 500 thousand).

    1. c_heale

      What is apparent is the inward looking nature of the UK administration. There were many models from other countries and international organisations, but the UK seems to think that only models made by UK sources are valid.

  24. Mattski

    “Somehow, directing it at the New York primary seems beside the point; especially with Cuomo getting such good press.”

    With all due respect, this is a little bit lazy. Sanders is intent on reaching the convention stage with the most delegates possible. And reaching voters with his ideas along the way.

    1. flora

      The bailouts in 2008 and this bailout have eliminated price discovery in the markets. How do you have a functioning market – in capitalism’s terms – without price discovery? Whatever this is, it isn’t capitalism.

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