Links 3/21/2020

‘Nature is taking back Venice’: wildlife returns to tourist-free city Guardian (furzy)

Geologists find a lost fragment of an ancient continent filled with diamonds that formed part of Earth’s continental crust 2.7 billion years ago in Canada’s North Atlantic Daily Mail (Kevin W)

Scientists May Have Discovered The Shape of The Very First Proteins That Started Life ScienceAlert (David L)

Greenland’s Melting Ice Raised Global Sea Level By 2.2mm In Two Months Guardian

Using Apple CarPlay Impairs Driver Reaction More Than Alcohol, Study Shows AppleInsider

Read the full thread (hat tip Dan K):


Man “Walks” Dog With A Drone While In Quarantine FunnyorDie (David L)

How to Watch Broadway Shows Online for Free Right Now Prevention (David L)

Twitter crackdown on coronavirus ‘misinformation’ includes censoring jokes Life Site News


Coronavirus: Young people are not ‘invincible’, WHO warns BBC

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health Says It’s Receiving Protective Equipment, But Still Needs Donations Vermont Public Radio. Martha r: “Proactive quilting and sewing groups in NH and VT. ‘They’re telling us they can make them by the thousands.'”

Mapping the Coronavirus Outbreak Across the World Bloomberg

COVID-19 coronavirus epidemic has a natural origin Science Daily (David L)

What Is Trump’s Coronavirus Drug? Is It Safe? Does It Work? Bloomberg

Be sure to read the full thread:

Carnival offers to turn its cruise ships into makeshift hospitals during coronavirus The Hill. Kevin W: “Probably not a good idea. Infections spread too easily aboard a ship and where would they get the spare doctors and nurses to staff it anyway?”

What Taiwan Could Teach the World About Handling Coronavirus Time (resilc)


Coronavirus Is Growing Faster In The United States Than Any Other Country In The World Forbes

U.S. state coronavirus curves show many could be close behind New York USA Today (Dan K). California looks to be the only one somewhat flattening the progression.

Number of coronavirus cases among troops jumps more than 31 percent Military Times

Coronavirus in N.Y.: ‘Deluge’ of Cases Begins Hitting Hospitals New York Times

New York hits ‘pause’ to try to slow coronavirus spread Financial Times


Brawling monkeys fed by Thai villagers as tourism dries up Reuters (furzy)

Where Is Coronavirus Explosion Expected in Japan? Bloomberg


‘Sacred ignorance’: Covid-19 reveals Iran split Asia Times (Kevin W)


In Coronavirus Financial Crisis, No More Bailouts Benefiting Wealthy Insiders Foreign Policy. UserFriendly: “Mark Blyth on point as usual.”

Marriott CEO says coronavirus is worse than the Great Depression and World War II Daily Mail (BC)

Over 500 Contracted IAD, DCA and BWI Airport Workers to be Laid off and Demand Coverage from $60 Billion Airline Industry Bailout. SEIU, via e-mail.

Democrats balk at $1,200 rebate checks in stimulus plan The Hill. UserFriendly: “Is there a lesser evil?”

Senate unable to reach coronavirus stimulus deal before Friday deadline The Hill

We Tracked the Last Time the Government Bailed Out the Economy. Here’s What to Know About the $1 Trillion Coronavirus Plan. ProPublica (UserFriendly)

Joseph Stiglitz: Trump’s “Trickle-Down” Economic Plans Are Not Enough to Meet Coronavirus Challenge DemocracyNow!

New York Bookstores Weathering Coronavirus Outbreak (BC). Stockpiling books.

Powell’s Closes for Eight Weeks as Laid Off Employees Fire Back Publishers Weekly (Larry G)

US Meat Plants Change Policies For Sick Workers Bloomberg (resilc)

Peace Corps fires 7,300 volunteers because of the coronavirus Washington Post

Killer Of A Cure USW

The Very Real Prospect Of $5 Oil OilPrice. As in depression and deflation.


Saudi Arabia’s Weaponization of Oil Abundance Middle East Research and Information Project (Thomas R)

Imperial Collapse Watch

Cause and Effect with Max Blumenthal Historicly (UserFriendly)

Trump Transition

Trump Uses Coronavirus Press Conference to Confirm He’s an Actual Sociopath Vanity Fair

Trump is exploiting coronavirus pandemic to ram through union-busting policies Salon

It’s Time For Networks to Stop Televising Trump’s Daily Briefings Esquire (resilc)

Frank Rich: Trump Lies His Way Through a Pandemic New York Magazine


Bernie Sanders Is Trying to Rescue America’s Frail Democracy Thomas Piketty, Jacobin (Kevin C)

One-Party Dominance Extends to Statewide Elected Offices Sabato’s Crystal Ball (UserFriendly)

It’s Not Over 34justice (UserFriendly)

Judge extends deadline for Wisconsin residents to register to vote electronically CNN

NTSB cites drivers in fatal Tesla Autopilot crash, and photos tell the harrowing story Autoblog. EM: “Uh, it seems to me Autopilot – both based on the name and the function – was designed precisely to encourage driver inattentiveness.”

Ex-Uber Engineer Pleads Guilty To Stealing Trade Secrets From Google CNET

Privatized Pushbacks: How Merchant Ships Guard Europe New York Times (furzy)

Guillotine Watch

World’s Richest Spend $1 Billion on ‘Bargains of a Lifetime’ Bloomberg

Class Warfare

Goldman chief David Solomon enjoys 20% pay rise Financial Times (BC)

Antidote du jour. Tracie H: “The red poolde Sparkler as a puppy”:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Tom Stone

    Gosh, more violations of the Espionage Act by HRC come to light, I wonder if she will get Chelsea Manning’s old cell?
    In other HRC news she is scheduled to be deposed under oath in regard to her EMails by Judge Royce Lamberth which should provide some wonderful entertainment…just as she was hoping to snatch the Nomination from Creepy Joe Biden..
    Enjoy the show!

      1. pretzelattack

        i’ll believe somebody that powerful is held to account when i see it. everybody else gets the julian assange chelsea manning treatment.

        1. Tom Stone

          Pretzelattack, what I’m hoping for is that she will start foaming at the mouth and totally lose it.
          She’s been acting more and more unhinged as time goes by and it’s a real possibility.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Epstein was not murdered to “punish” him. He was murdered to silence him. His murder was designed to proTECT the upper class and overclass perverts , ghouls and fiends who used his service to meet THEIR desires.

      2. kiers

        …please……it’s a vaudeville distraction. Do you REALLY believe one arm of the power structure will truly attack the other? It’s all a joke. Neither side loses sleep. Certainly not the clitons.

    1. D. Fuller

      Here’s a quip I reply with,

      Laws are for little people. Policy is for the wealthiest and powerful; they determine who policy and laws apply to.

      When rich and powerful people commit crimes against other rich and powerful people? Laws may apply. Not necessarily, however. Jon Corzine and his fraud is a case where laws did not apply.

      People say, “The government doesn’t care about me.” That is, until a police officer violates your rights. Who determines how the police respond, to no small measure? The people who write the laws, the politicians. Agents of government – because government does nothing without people who are its agents – are very concerned about everyone. Those who write and enforce the laws determine everything from taxes to business (good luck getting that business loan) to employment (don’t have a criminal record for possession of marijuana, etc) to whether or not police wrongfully arrest people.

      We see that in how Wall Street firms are treated differently than from individuals who commit financial fraud. One is more likely to go to jail for writing a fraudulent check than any Wall Street trader or executive committing billions of dollars in fraud.

      1. anon y'mouse

        your example is why i don’t favor “plans” put forward with no democratic input. just because some politician is able to produce “plans” means nothing about whom they favor, or what their long-term effects will be, nor that We the People even wanted whatever was in it in the first place. “plans” lock one into a certain headspace and mark off territory from the off. what if the best action is in none of the sacred plans?

        democracy=the people produce the plans, and the politicians fight over getting them through and done.

        but that isn’t the system we have, alas.

        1. D. Fuller

          Democracy is technically, mob rule in its purest form.

          As for a representative democracy which we live in, a republic? North Korea is technically a republic also. So was the German Democratic People’s Republic.

          Government can do nothing. It exists on paper. Its name is used by agents of government who do the real work. Congress Members. The President. Every Administrative department. State governments composed of people.

          We call them “agents”. The act in the name of government. So when someone on the street is saying, “Government is bad”. Most are really PERSONIFYING government. A mental trick and self-deception on their part.

          When the real culprits are REAL people, who are agents of government acting in the NAME of government that we all subscribe to. When there is a problem with government? There is no government personification to blame. The blame rests with real people.

          As for elected officials? The voter is responsible for that. Too many people running around lambasting Government (a personification that is wholly erroneous) when they voted for the agents that are the REAL Government (real people).

          democracy=the people produce the plans, and the politicians fight over getting them through and done.

          Remember Iraq when most of the public supported going to war? You and I both know that money talks, and b***s*** walks; with Congress Member and The Administration and President. As for people producing plans? Would I want an American with an 8th grade education producing plans? Especially a million of them all with their own opinion, given the fickle nature of opinion being substituted for informed facts in The US?

          Politicians are to be referees among the various competing interests in those situations. There are winners and losers. That has gone so far off base that our politicians only act at the barest minimum in the public’s interest who often end up being the losers – Main Street consistently losing to Wall Street on a regular basis.

          1. anon y'mouse

            in this country, we have no idea whether the person that was “voted for” is the one acting as an agent.

            the entire system doesn’t function the way it purports to.

            also, no “blame” can rest with voters who have no recourse to be rid of faulty agents in this system.

            we don’t actually get what “we” vote for, even if we do bother.

            also– no matter what the education level of someone is (which barely tracks to discernment, btw), they are citizens the same as you and as such have rights.

            obviously, you think the lowest of democracy.

            1. D. Fuller

              Think the lowest of democracy?

              I was talking about juries and specifically the idea of “the people produce the plans”.

              The latter would work if enough people agreed on ONE THING, intelligently. Which requires an informed, EDUCATED populace. When those conditions are met? Democracy IS THE BEST SYSTEM.

              Otherwise, democracy is quickly subverted as we have lived it over the last few decades.

              You assumed… wrongly.

          2. Bsoder

            “Democracy is technically, mob rule in its purest form”, is this supposed to a definition of what is? An ideal of concept in purest form? Demos in Greek does not mob, it means “the people”. Even if we go back to beginning, indeed in Greece the Demos was a limited class of men. But no mob. No. As to rest, what a novel form of political science theory. I’m afraid the evidence as presented is not persuasive.

            1. D. Fuller

              I could use “mob” as a collocation or any number of slang terms not necessarily using the meaning of American English. Arguing semantics is a dead end. The meaning, which is the most important, is conveyed.

              Technically, Athens was not a democracy as most would understand it today; instead being a patriarchy with rights limited to the few.

              As for Demos? The origination is a political unit at a certain geographic level (deme), which then came to mean “the people”, specifically those Athenians who had rights. IIRC, male and of majority age. The establisment of deme (or demos) was used to break the power of the aristocracy in Athens.

              Political violence existed in Greece also. Mob action was not unknown in that “democracy”.

          3. drumlin woodchuckles

            Your theory no longer applies in our current age of pervasive digifraudulent elections and pervasive mass-mind-molding propaganda and information operations. For example, just in the last primaries, how many ” Biden votes” were really votes for Biden? And how many Sanders votes were digi-flipped to Biden, or pre-erased before counting, or pre-suppressed by stopping likely Sander-voters from voting at all?

            The flip side of that is that people who think they want something different from what they are getting may have to shift their efforts from the digi-fraudulent electoral sphere to the culture-counterculture combat-by-conflicting-actions sphere.

            For example, the current corona recession combined with the oil price-war of mutual destruction between Russia and Saudi Arabia provides a Perfect Storm opportunity for several hundred million people to strangle back their own oil use even under and below the strangulation imposed by corona . . . . so as to exterminate several oil company and country players once and for all. Are several hundred million people prepared to do that by culturally-co-ordinated personal use-and-purchasing/extermicotting actions?

            1. D. Fuller

              People count the votes. They are agents of whomever employs them to flip the votes.

              And just how did we get e-voting? Democratic and Republican politicians. Passing the laws that allow for e-voting. Lack of enforcement to prevent fraud? Congress, agents of government.

              My theory is cold, hard fact. Indisputable.

              Government is not the problem. Ultimately? The voters are. They elect the agents that make it possible for current conditions.

              About your oil war? American shale is the ultimate target. Debt-ridden American shale production. What happens when all those American companies can no longer sustain their debt (The Fed and Congress will be there to bail them out, most likely)?

              Big hit for America. And at anything less than $70 a barrel? American shale is not profitable. Any profits are mere accounting gimmicks.

              1. drumlln woodchuckles

                Your theory seems like a merely circular tautological eye-diddy-ology to me.

      1. ambrit

        Until the Status Quo Elites are held to account for their crimes, there will be no #Bern.
        The only #Burn I can see, going forward from here is the sizzling bonfire of the Elite Institutions going up in smoke.

        1. ewmayer

          Paul, perhaps I should’ve added a /sarc tag – I was razzing on Bernie’s line for the 2016 debates in which he gave HRH HRC a free pass on the e-mails.

  2. Steve H.

    > New York Bookstores Weathering Coronavirus Outbreak (BC). Stockpiling books.

    I picked up a stack of Pratchett. I’d been wondering when I’d get to him. But I also got a couple tons of concrete blocks to while the time away…

    1. Tom Stone

      Steve, try Larry Correia’s “Monster Hunter International”.
      Over the top B movie action from a CPA who used to be co owner of the “Fluffy Bunny” gun shop in Utah.
      It has the best “Hook” I have encountered in a decade or more.

      1. BobW

        The Monster Hunter series is available as ebooks at Baen, I got the complete set. Untouched by human hands. A pretty good (and funny) read.

  3. Livius Drusus

    Re: ‘Nature is taking back Venice’: wildlife returns to tourist-free city

    On a somewhat related note, apparently air pollution declined in China due to the lockdown, perhaps saving thousands of lives.

    The coronavirus is making the case for degrowth and localization stronger. For example, I wonder how much frequent air and ship travel is responsible for the current disaster by making it easier and quicker to spread diseases. There is also evidence that unrestrained growth is helping to increase the number of diseases transmitted from animals to humans due to things like habitat loss.

    Then there is the very scary possibility of ancient diseases being released from melting permafrost due to global warming.

    1. MLTPB

      1. Melting permafrost/Siberian Flu-Russian Flu?

      More naming controversy.

      2. Back in the early 80s, I thought the same about air travel when HIV appearedd.

      3. Nature…Venice. kind of like Angkor Wat, and Banyan trees.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      I’m not really sure modern interconnectedness really makes a difference in spreading disease, it simply makes it faster, and not by as much as you might think. Flus travelled around the world very fast in the 19th Century and earlier – the Russian Flu of 1895 took just four months to spread across the northern hemisphere. The old Annals of Ireland recorded many plagues even in remote parts of the country in medieval times, many of which match with known plagues in continental Europe, so even being a very remote island with no cities to speak of and only very intermittent ship connections with Europe was no protection.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I was looking at the names of notable deaths on that Wikipedia page and one name popped out. That of William Allen – one of the 11 men who picked up a Victoria cross at Rorke’s Drift. I’ll have to check my books on the subject for more info here.

        1. MLTPB


          I’ll check that Wiki page out, even though some people frown on Wikipedia, from time to time.

      2. MLTPB

        It’s more pronounced before the 1800s, probably before the age of exploration.

        At that time, it would have been difficult for any to jump from Asia to Seattle.

        1. Procopius

          I’m not so sure. It turns out there was a lot more commerce between East and West than school history books would have you know. I’m thinking of Braudel’s massive three-volume “Civilization & Capitalism 15th-18th Century,” which is surprisingly readable although repetitive. Probably better for ordinary readers is Peter Frankopan’s The Silk Roads: A New History of the World. Even as far back as the Roman Empire (and probably the Republic) Rome was importing silk that originated in China. Archeological sites from thousands of years ago have found minerals that must have been mined hundreds of miles away from where the objects were found, so there has always been commerce going on. As you say, though, the movement of goods (and people) would have been slower than it has become since the 18th Century.

          1. MLTPB

            You are right.

            Roman coins were found in Funan, in what is the southern tip of Vietnam.

            The Book of Later Han records an embassy from the west, likely sent by emperor Markus Aurelius.

            But but harder, going to the Americas.

            1. The Rev Kev

              I have often thought that there is a great film or novel to be made about a Roman delegation appearing in the Chinese Court. There are also stories of the Legionary survivors of a Roman force being captured and sent on east to fight on the frontiers for the Chinese. Jackie Chan made a film called “Dragon Blade” back in 2015 with this theme of the Romans meeting these eastern forces-


    3. xkeyscored

      It doesn’t look too encouraging. Governments are already planning on rescuing airlines, for example, meaning getting those GHGs up there as soon as possible.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Possibly, although I wonder if this is necessarily the case. There will of course be a lot of pressure to rescue ‘national’ airlines, but it would be tough to justify rescuing the Ryanair or Easyjets.

        It might well be that if governments find themselves with major airlines back on their hands, they may find it better to let the discount airlines die – specifically to make the major airlines profitable again. It could be that pure financial pressure might bring back the days of heavily regulated and expensive national airlines.

        Mind you, if that happened and there was a glut of surplus 737’s and A320’s on the market as smaller airlines are sold off, this would surely be the absolute death of Boeing. Could we see the US government buying up and scrapping nearly new aircraft just to keep Boeing going?

        Whichever way you look at it, the aviation world in 2 years time is going to be unrecognisable.

          1. xkeyscored

            Or high speed undertakers? The MCAS system on all those unsold MAXs could come in handy for mass burials at sea.

  4. fresno dan

    Man “Walks” Dog With A Drone While In Quarantine FunnyorDie (David L)

    As preventative measures against COVID-19 are increasing around the world, more and more folks are staying inside. This is especially fantastic news for pets. They have no idea what’s going on, but suddenly their humans are home all the friggin’ time. Literally pet heaven.
    Maybe…but I would like to see the pet poll that confirms that…

    1. Off The Street

      Our dog loves it, and the cat didn’t respond to the survey until prompted by the laser pointer.

    2. Mark Gisleson

      I think it’s The Onion that currently has an article up about cats being pissed about getting so much attention.

      1. xkeyscored

        Maybe you mean the Mash?

        Roy Hobbs, a five-year-old cat living in Wimbledon, said: “How long is this meant to last for? Because it’s already bugging me.

        “I’ve got a back wall to walk along, I’ve got mice to catch, I’ve got a dump to take in the kids’ sandpit six doors down. I can’t stay here being petted all day.

        “Though it was nice of you to say if you died of the virus I could eat you. That really is the spirit of the Dambusters.”

    3. Oregoncharles

      Actually, when I was out today I saw a gratifying number of people out walking, often with their kids – schools are closed. Of course, it was a beautiful day, with rain due on Monday.

      OTOH, like southern Cali we’ve had too many of those – I’m told Feb. was the driest on record. The river is shockingly low for this early in Spring. I did get to see the first butterfly (I don’t count cabbage butterflies), the day after the equinox. Small, orange with black markings; don’t know what it’s called, but thrilling to see. The Asian plums are in full bloom, as are the peaches. Good pollination weather, so I might even get a good crop this year on the Elephant Heart plums. They’re my favorites, but very shy bearing. The neighbor’s bees are appreciating them, so I have hope.

  5. Dean

    Re: Carnival offering ships as floating hospitals…

    Hey U.S…we’re willing to let you lease our excess (and idled) capacity. Give us a call!

  6. Jen

    From the Hill article on Dems balking at $1200 rebate checks:

    “What I want is income, not one check. I want you to get a check you can count on every week, not one week,” he added. “Here’s what I’m focused on: You have unemployment insurance that is totally inadequate, let’s beef it up.”

    Who said that?

    Lindsey [familiy blogging] Graham

    It has come to this. I’m about to call my democrat senators to tell them that Lindsey [family blogging] Graham is right about unemployment insurance, and they should support the same thing.

    1. MLTPB

      Another way to rectify that – think of that check as income, and either work hard, as in calling senators to 1. Improve UI, or 2. Make the one time check once a week income.

      I read there was a proposal to give $2,000 a month. In this light, obviously that is not progressive enough.

      In either case, we still have landlords looking to convert the additional UI, higher min. wages, or UBI to higher rents, whether universal or only a few millions, because money is money, when extracted.

      1. carl

        I’m a landlord with several rentals, and my main worry is my tenants being able to pay any rent at all. To think of raising rents at this point would be setting them up for failure, not to mention greedy and stupid. You can put your broad brush down now.

        1. John

          Why is Washington talking about giving Americans money when it’s just going to go the landlords of people who rent? (read mortgage payments are being put on hold)

          So I, Joe Taxpayer, will be paying rent to landlords who just expect to get their rent as usual?

          Make the landlords take a rent cut.

          Are they sacrosanct?

          1. carl

            Why is Washington talking about giving Americans money when it’s just going to go to the big grocery chains? Maybe the grocery stores should give coronavirus discounts?
            Are they sacrosanct?

              1. Synoia

                Landlords have Mortgages and Taxes to pay

                Big fleas have little fleas upon their backs to bite then
                Little fleas have lesser fleas and so on ad finitum.

                1. Aumua

                  I think you’ll find that NC is generally hostile toward landlords, and not without good reason either. I suppose there are always exceptions to be made.

                2. Yves Smith Post author

                  Most landlords in America are institutional investors, like private equity, insurers, and public pension funds. Or in a few cities like NYC, big developers (Steve Ross of Related Companies, the Rudins, etc.). Private equity hoovered up single family homes after the crisis. And in Brooklyn, 70% of the real estate sales in one year (2015 or 2016) was to foreign investors, and I guarantee few of them were buying them to occupy.

        2. Bandit

          I am also a landlord with several rentals. Before the virus hysteria even became an issue I notified my tenants that there would be no rent increases this year even though property taxes, insurance and HOA fees all increased, as they do every year. My thought: I wish I had lots more rentals so I could not raise the rent on them. Corporate landlords are the worst, parasitic f*ckers who have given all landlords a bad name.

          I was a tenant once long ago, and my landlord was an ex-Navy destroyer captain who owned lots of rentals in my town. He was the nicest guy and had a sterling associate that made sure to respond to any issue in a timely fashion, day, night or weekend. They would both stop by once in a while just to say hello and check things out. They set a wonderful example both as a landlord and a human beings. I am pleased to be able to follow his example, albeit, on a much more modest scale.

          1. carl

            Exactly. I get how people dislike landlords (and a lot of them, corporate or not, deserve it), but what’s the alternative to renting? The folks I rent to may never be able to buy a house, and especially now with the real estate bubble we’ve been in the last few years. I personally believe the government should do much more with public housing, but “not my circus, not my monkeys…”

            1. John

              There are landlords who own tens of millions and hundreds of millions of dollars worth of buildings. Into the billions.

              Start with these landlords. Rent cut now!

            2. notabanktoadie

              but what’s the alternative to renting? carl

              If you believe the Bible (e.g. Leviticus 25), the norm for citizens should be land OWNERSHIP.

              So not only do we need reform of our inherently corrupt finance system, we need land reform too per the Bible.

              1. montanamaven

                when the Soviet Union collapsed, at least the people had places to live mortgage and rent free, or so I read. Maybe from Dimitry Orlov? They might be crappy apartments but they were theirs. And isn’t it Belize where every citizen has a small plot of land? In “A Short Introduction to Anarchism”, Colin Ward explains that the difference between left libertarians and right libertarians is on private property. Left libertarians believe in personal property but not owning a lot of property.

                1. notabanktoadie

                  Left libertarians believe in personal property but not owning a lot of property.

                  In the Old Testament, all the agricultural land was to be roughly equally owned by all citizens with provisions in the Law to KEEP it that way.

                  It’s a disgrace that so-called “Christian” churches IGNORE the Bible when it comes to economic justice, preferring instead the “wisdom” of agnostic or atheist gold worshipers.

                  1. norm de plume

                    Housing was a large part of Orlov’s argument that while the economic shock Russia experienced post-communism was fierce, it was manageable for a population that yes, owned its own houses and didn’t owe mountains of debt, but also:

                    had continued, given the regular uncertainty of supplies, to grow vegetables and fruits, keep chickens, etc
                    had continued, given the regular breakdowns of Soviet vehicles and machinery, to be able to perform basic mechanical maintenance
                    had continued, given the relative lack of wealth and access to credit, to see themselves as part of a community, not the atomised hyperindividualists we now are in the West
                    had continued, given all of the above, to be able as a population, to laugh at their leaders (Soviet jokes are the best), honing already excellent bullshit detectors, so that they were impervious to being propagandised and gulled as we have been, leading to lower expectations of government than we have, hence a long-standing realisation that ‘we have to rely on ourselves to survive’….

            3. Dave

              I just got a call from my landlord asking how I was doing. I have medical issues and she is worried about me. Not all landlords are axxholes.

          2. MLTPB

            Bandit and Carl, I wrote responding to the argument presented to me whenever I mentioned UBI.

            Probably will hear that argument now. And we should let all a chance to present theirs.

            I hope I’m not wielding a broad stroke.

          3. skk

            exactly. We are ‘accidental’ landlords ( wife wanted to keep one foot in CO when we moved back to CA for a better job for me ) – we’ve again told the property manager that if the tenant asks we are quite ok with a rent holiday.

            Like you we were tenants once – of the appalling large scale shitty slum landlord L.I. Rubin in Liverpool, UK – a cousin-like of the London slum landlord Rachman after whom the term “Rachmanism” was coined.

            We’d never behave like that. Besides, we’ve had the same tenant for 8 years and I can do the arithmetic on the rentier profits – with depreciation (which is really deferral, but still ) – the rent itself, tax deductions for taxes, insurance, uncletomcobleyand all.

            Forgoing some for a while is an easy call, if one is prepared to confront the truth about how one is making money and not evade it by circumlocutions.

            1. MLTPB

              I think Lee is also a good landlord, and I mentioned that before.

              Hard to generalize that with UBI, all or most landlords will hike rents. There are many decent, individual landlords.

              1. Paul

                This varies not only individual to individual, but the norms in different towns/areas/cities seem also to vary rather widely. I had a wonderful landlord living in Chicago who fixed problems, did regular maintenance, and rented the apartment at a very reasonable rate despite the neighborhood rapidly gentrifying (a Whole Foods came in, etc). I moved back to my unwalkable deindustrialized hometown in flyover country, where you can literally buy a livable dwelling for sometimes as low as 15,000, and the landlords here are charging the same or more for shoeboxes. The average income is in the low 20,000s and normal rent for a 1br is at least 650 now, many times a lot more, and the very aged buildings are often eyesores, like the landlords just buy them and do only the most superficial and short term fixes on problems, and forget about things like repairing exterior aesthetic damage, even when the place looks like a haunted house. I did the calculations and they are charging 3-4% of the purchase price of my current unit in rent each month. Almost none of the other landlords seem to be any better; most are out of state or at least county and just trying to suck as much money out of the captive population as possible while putting no money back into the town. It’s infuriating.

              2. Michael Fiorillo

                Speaking as a NYC tenant who, along with half of my neighbors, attended my landlord’s memorial service (talk about counter-intuition, but he was a very decent man) the argument isn’t about the personal character of individuals who own rental housing, but about landlords as a class.

                1. MLTPB

                  There are caring landlords just like there are decent politicians, or candidates.

                  Do we lump the office seekers all in one class?

                  1. montanamaven

                    We live in a neo feudal system but don’t call it that. So all you can hope for is that your feudal lord is more benevolent than his feudal lord. And now we are finding out who is a jerk and who isn’t. But how does somebody with no income, pay any rent let alone reasonable rent?

                  2. Michael Fiorillo

                    I acknowledged the existence of decent landlords in the very first sentence of my comment (followed by why that’s largely irrelevant.

                    And yes, as a matter of fact, we do lump them together; that’s why we speak we speak of “the political class.”

                    Are there decent elected officials? Of course, but their numbers are small – take a look at the Senate and the House, where fewer than 10% are even remotely worth the space they take up – and overwhelmed by the behavior of their peers as a class.

                2. skk

                  exactly- landlords as a class is where the conversation should be, imo. The same with individuals – individuals have roles – as a worker when working in their day job, but also, for those with a 401K, or an interest bearing account have a role as capitalists.
                  For those in IT, one can understand this by looking at roles based security models eg from the oracle docs : A security role is an identity granted to users or groups based on specific conditions. Multiple users or groups can be granted the same security role and a user or group can be in more than one security role. Security roles are used by policies to determine who can access a WebLogic resource
                  Certainly in the Marxist analysis of capital , one should understand that he has defined roles and is working thru the interactions of those roles. At that level, its nothing personal.
                  In terms of “what to do”, then of course, for those who have these roles in various proportions in their personal lives there may come a time when they have to choose – having to directly answer the “which side are you on ?” Or even on a day to day basis they are living and acting in a messy mix of actions in proportions to the roles they live.

                3. Aumua

                  Right, it’s about the phenomenon itself which is this: one person, who only needs one home to live in, owns multiple homes instead and makes money off other people (who have to work for their money) simply for allowing them to stay in one of their multiple homes temporarily. Meanwhile many people have no home at all, and must live outdoors. If you are a landlord then in that capacity at least you are acting as part of the problem. Do the landlords here not see your own hand in the ‘housing bubble’ you point at to explain why people can’t afford to buy homes?

        3. EGrise

          To think of raising rents at this point would be setting them up for failure, not to mention greedy and stupid.

          I genuinely mean no offense, but have you ever met a landlord other than yourself? You are definitely a minority, because that description fits most of them to a T.

          This UI/payment/whatever will only work if we also freeze rents, and freeze any mortgage and interest payments the landlords have to make so they’re not going broke too.

        4. Librarian Guy

          My landlord’s fairly shitty, not even sure who it is, as they use a corporate management service.

          Have lived in the same apartment building, south of Oakland a bit, for the past 11.5 years . . . the place has been better off when there’s a property manager, and we have a good one now, I have consulted with him on problems & he’s pretty much always been reasonable and helpful. We had one some years back who was ex-military and had some authoritarian tendencies.

          Weed’s been legal in California for several years, it was never prohibited in the lease, though cigarette smoking indoors was, rightly, imho. At one point around 2013 this guy got obsessed smelling the evil weed in some parts of the building, 3 stories and 69 units, started bombarding my area of the hall with big WARNINGS, irregular “inspections” like 3X over a coupla months’ period . . . annoying, I believe (naively) I should have a right to privacy as a reliable tenant, but that’s renting!! Anyway, he disappeared one day with no notice, took a couple months until another one came in. She was very negative, apparently was told to harass veteran tenants so they’d move out and they could “upgrade” the units and charge more. She shared with a neighbor that she quit for that reason.

          So why is my landlord shitty? Living in the bay area, regular rent raises EVERY year due to (Our God) the Market. Last one was a bit over 5%, pretty much expected . . . AND they tried to soak me with a 35% boost to park in the underground garage, which is at best 2/3 full, not even that (so nothing to do with “supply and demand”). I opted out of the additional parking fees this year, and now park on the street outside, which is no problem so far (2 months and counting . . . )

          Anyhow, though I make a decent paycheck on paper (a lot goes to my corrupt CALSTRS pension), just south of low 6 figures after decades as a civil servant, even with opting out of my parking I’m now paying just a bit more than the recommended 1/3 of my income on rent (+ small storage space, + pet cat fee). It’s a shitty system, but at least I do have a roof over my head, and no rent raise until 10.5 months from now– or maybe not given COVID f/x on the economy?

      2. marym

        There are people in Congress who recognize the need for more than one-time or monthly checks. There are at least 3 plans that call for a variety of measures including rent assistance, eviction and foreclosure bans, medical care, expanded unemployment and paid leave, debt relief, and requiring businesses to continue paying workers.

        I don’t know how or if this relates to the what powerful figures like Pelosi, Schumer, or any Republican who occasionally says something useful will ever put on the table, or if anyone other than Sanders is willing to “fight for” the proposals.

        Sanders, House Financial Services (Maxine Waters) and Progressive Caucus proposals:

        1. mle detroit

          This, available in the lobby of your local post office for those who can’t “just click” at home:

      3. Kurtismayfield

        It’s not the landlords fault that he has to pay the mortgage.

        We need a mortgage holiday, with the feds covering interest.

        We need Social security for all until this blows over.

        1. a different chris

          No it is not.

          However, I will say that somebody has good enough credit, somehow, to mortgage a million dollars worth of property. He/She takes some risk, or course, but basically they get enough rent to cover the mortgage and make a profit. Meanwhile their renters are having a harder time, being you know, renters.

          At some point the mortgage is paid off, and the place may not be in scintillating condition but it’s still worth a million plus inflation.

          So my tears aren’t really that blinding.

          1. griffen

            Yes in another 13 to 14 years my mortgage is paid off. Along the way I’m paying annual taxes and annual insurance costs.

            Quit speaking to the fact it’s easy money, cause it’s not always the case.

          2. Billy

            Don’t forget the depreciation allowance. Resets for the new owner every time a commercial property changes hands. If a 1031 exchange is used the depreciation never gets paid back to the government. Profits in the sale are “capital gains.”

            “When you spend money for business purposes, the cost can generally be “written off” or deducted from the business’ profits for tax purposes…. the IRS gives guidelines on the useful life of many assets for depreciation purposes. There’s no way to know exactly when an asset will be “used up,” and different assets in the same category can have different useful lifespans. …The same concept applies to real estate. There are poorly constructed buildings that need to be torn down after 10 years, and there are commercial buildings that have been in service for hundreds of years.

            To create a universally applicable process, the IRS has set depreciation periods for real estate. For residential properties, the depreciation period is 27.5 years. For commercial real estate, it’s 39 years.”


            Paraphrasing Sinclair Lewis:
            “When Socialism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the tax code.”

        2. Michael

          “It’s not the landlords fault that he has to pay the mortgage.”

          Yes it is! They signed the contract and assumed the obligations and probably have no sinking fund for vacancies, repairs or acts of god.

          Maybe they paid too much for the property to keep up with the Jonseys. Put too little down cause my mortgage broker told me I could. Was gonna sell it for a fat profit soon anyway.

          Maybe they thought Air BnB was a license to print money. Which reduces supply, drives up prices and therefore operating expenses like property taxes. And cities are reluctant to enforce existing laws regarding “USE”? RE is a cash cow for local govt.

          I’ve been in this industry since the 70’s. Seen it all before, multiple times.

        3. jonboinAR

          It seems like a mortgage holiday and a rent holiday need to be implemented together in some way.

        4. Billy

          If Trump is serious, he will declare an interest free holiday covering credit card bills. Or, reinstate Usury Laws at the federal level. For example,
          Credit card companies, owned by banks, may charge no more than X points above the interest rate that banks borrow their money from the taxpayers via the federal reserve bank.

          1. Librarian Guy


            And pigs will fly!! (no disrespect to your comment, just me being serious)

            Trump is never serious nor committed to anything but his precious little ego, so I don’t think this is remotely possible. The people who manage him, Mnuchin etc., would never allow this– nor would the people who manage Biden allow it if that shuffling one-foot-in-the-grave Dementiacrat is installed in the WH. Trump fulminates against “the Deep State” all the time, but that feature remains in governance, & will do so until something beyond even Sanders’ ideas of revolution occur.

            I agree with everyone whose pointed out the Old Testament/ Koranic anti-usury, and even 7 year Jubilee traditions would be wonderful for the community and future prospects. But they will never even be seriously considered for a second by the ruling class. AND all those stupid Fundies care a great deal more about policing the nasty lady parts than they do in economic justice or community, probably are unfamiliar with this part of “the scriptures”, as I’m sure pretty much everyone reading & commenting at NK recognizes.

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      to me, GOP New Dealism is the craziest thing happening right now.
      my family and friends and numerous folks in our community i run across in my foraging forays all admit that i’ve been talking about the fragility of civilisation…and thus the need for local self reliance…forever.(the warm fuzzies i derive from this belated acknowledgement are almost unwelcome, given that fever is the thing to watch out for)
      so i’m pretty unsurprised about everything else, from the emergence of a pandemic, to all the ways we fail as a society to confront it.
      but the growing number of right wingers/austerian repubs calling for damn the torpedoes levels of direct fiscal stimulus and giant public works is astounding.
      I did not expect that.
      told my high school buddy in houston the other night that if trump implements M4A or a GND that I’ll likely vote for him(assuming ability/opportunity—8 or 9 months is a long time in pandemics)
      he just about shrieked: “damned straight!!!”.
      and we arrived at what amounts to chomskyist Libertarian Socialism together, 30 years ago,lol.
      what a crazy old world.
      I have one more trip to town to make(I’m the only one leaving the farm, now)—need a wax toilet seal to get the quarantine trailer a functioning toilet(instead of current ad hoc latrine nonsense(!))…and ice.
      no point in trying for flour, etc…new truckloads get snatched up fast, before i can get to town.
      and the risk is getting to be too much.
      our isolation as a community has likely worked in our favor up til now…but this cannot be counted on.
      every time i’ve gone somewhere, i am less and less likely to be the only one with mask and gloves.
      someone beat me to the last leftover wheat and oat seed at the feed store….guys there idly talking about how “we don’t do those until fall”(for forage for cows)…then the wheels turn behind their eyes, and they realise why I’m even asking.
      thursday, wife and i go to san antonio for chemo…not looking forward to that at all.
      and if somebody goes there who shouldn’t, that trip will be off…and it’s unknown at this time if there’s an alternative for wife to get the treatment she needs.
      a week ago, i asked the oncologist if i could be trained quickly to access the port and administer the drugs.
      definitive “No!”.
      I wonder if that will have changed….
      (i’ve paid close attention every time they’ve done it, and routinely do the de-access at home…and i’m smart and resourceful and reckon that given the situation, I may as well, if there’s not some other safe alternative)

      1. KB

        Amfortas, I have followed your wife’s and your personal story. My husband has stage 4 lung cancer diagnosed last June. Because he is a Vietnam Veteran and asbestos related diagnosis he has been getting all of his care at the VA hospital…Yesterday he had to go to get this last round of 3 infusions. His oncologist told him this would be the last visit with him in person. Moving to tele-medicine…?..It makes me very nervous for him to be anywhere even for this treatment. However the entryway had 3 stations for check in, the halls were empty but for janitors cleaning and they kept him in an isolated infusion room…..He too has a PICC line and we were able to get his home nurse to draw blood for blood test and drive it over to them a day earlier, thereby possibly avoiding a visit for nothing if his labs were too abnormal.
        We have been basically living social distancing for almost a year now ourselves. But, I am now starting to get anxious about food insecurity. Our once reliable amazon prime has been out of too much food. Instacart is slow and laborious…getting scary on the safe food delivery part.
        Hang in there…that’s all we can do…let’s hope these hospitals keep it very safe for those of us needing to continue cancer care and the food supply will continue to sustain us safely.

        1. jonboinAR

          My comment just disappea’ed. Meant to say prayers and best wishes to the KB and Amfortas families.

          1. GramSci

            Seconding this. It’s heart-wren Hong to watch the good suffer while DC giggles obscenely offstage.

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              I dont think the Boss Class is giggling overmuch.
              given that they’re the target audience for all this(60+, etc)
              (that’s how we know it’s not some engineered pandemic…unless it’s peter thiel)
              I mean….pelosi insisting on means testing, while lindsey graham yammers about a more generous bailout of The People?
              didn’t she write PAYGO into the rules somewhere?

              I picked and cooked(on the woodstove) a mess o’ turnip greens…seasoned with green onions and a mess o’ garlic greens.
              and some bacon grease from this morning.
              simmered for 4 hours on the main woodstove, then boiled the hell out of them for an hour.

              pinch of kosher per bowl, and a squirt of tabasco(I’ve been to Avery island), and it’s all good.
              all 3 boys and my cousin ate them without complaint.
              oven fried chicken and 2 uneven halves of a spaghetti squash…both with butter…but one savory, and the bigger one sweet with brown sugar and molasses.
              most of the meal, including “seasoning”, from this place.
              (spaghetti squash is from last summer. keeps pretty well in the dark coolness of my closet)

              1. drumlin woodchuckles

                Amfortas the hippie,

                If you have reached, or will reach, the point where self-harvestable wood is the only fuel you have; would efficient and super-efficient ways to cook be of any interest to you?

                I once experimented with my own home-made version of “haybox cooking” and it worked for me at the time. Rather than spend a burner-hour simmering something with the heat escaping the pot as fast as I injected heat into the pot, I spent 5 minutes bringing the pot to a hard boil, let it boil hard for another minute or so to make sure all the things in the water were also at hard boil temperature, and then put the pot in the “haybox” to sit passively cooking on its stored heat for the next few hours.

                After 6 hours it was still too hot to comfortably touch. Black eyed peas were mush-soft yet still visually intact.

                One wonders if a pot full of turnip greens could be boiled hard for 5 minutes and then put in a haybox to default-simmer for several more hours on their own trapped heat.



                Many other links are findable under the phrases haybox, haybox cooking, haybox cooker, etc.

                1. Amfortas the hippie

                  yeah. I’m familiar with that.
                  but it was cold, so we had a fire already/any way.
                  my youngest and i also built a solar oven from scrap about 2 years ago, which is currently in storage.
                  might need that to be deployed.
                  but we have gobs of available wood around here.

          2. Oregoncharles

            Yes, indeed, and thanks for beating the rest of us to it. We’re grateful fo rtheir stories, too.

      2. xkeyscored

        i asked the oncologist if i could be trained quickly to access the port and administer the drugs.

        Have you looked for online tutorials in such matters? Not just Youtube, but stuff intended for nursing and medical students. If it comes to it .

        1. Joey

          Would need a pharmacy able/willing to dispense. Most iv drugs come from institutional pharmacies that dispense to medical agencies, through Medicare B or private/Medicaid equivalent. If a small compounding pharmacy COULD provide, insurance likely would balk and the wholesale on those meds is astronomical.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            like $4K a pop.
            it’s insane.
            (don’t quote my price…top of head with a brownie and a few beers in me)
            and FOLFURI(?) is old drugs…well out of patent.
            free market, my shiny white a$$.
            more like legalised extortion.
            give me those elites especially…i have recipes prepared, particularly, for them.

            1. Joey

              I haven’t had brownies, but enough beers to fantasize that Trump, not beholden to anything- suddenly sees M4A in the summer of COVID as way to 2nd term.

              I’ll probably have a hangover.

      3. TroyIA

        Phase 1 of GOP new Deal coming to a bank account near you.

        Kudlow: Coronavirus Relief Package Could Total More Than $2 Trillion

        Topline: The massive fiscal stimulus package under negotiation in the Senate to stem the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic will double, now amounting to more than $2 trillion, White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow told reporters on Saturday.

        As lawmakers continue to negotiate the terms of the forthcoming coronavirus relief package, Kudlow estimated that the wide sweeping stimulus measures could total “about 10% of GDP,” Reuters first reported.
        When asked if that amounted to more than $2 trillion, Kudlow said: “That’s correct.”
        His comments suggest that negotiators have doubled the size of the coronavirus stimulus package, even as Democrats and Republicans continue to dispute several of the finer points of the agreement.
        That’s a major escalation from the size of the relief package originally requested by the Trump administration several days ago, which was expected to amount to $1 trillion.

        1. TroyIA

          And Germany joins the party.

          Germany eyes 156 billion euros of new borrowing, 200 billion euros in debt authorisation

          Germany is readying stimulus measures requiring about 156 billion euros (143 billion pounds) in net new borrowing and additional debt authorisation of up to 200 billion euros to fight the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak, according to a draft law and senior officials.

          The package will include a supplementary government budget of 156 billion euros, 100 billion euros for an economic stability fund that can take direct equity stakes in companies, and 100 billion euros in credit to public-sector development bank KfW for loans to struggling businesses, the sources said.
          The combined sum of possibly 356 billion euros in new debt would represent roughly 10% of Germany’s gross domestic output.

            1. TroyIA

              The UK says hold my beer and watch this.

              UK government to pay 80% of wages for those not working in coronavirus crisis

              The government is to pay the wages of millions of workers across Britain to keep them in jobs as the economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak escalates.

              In an unprecedented step for the British government, the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, said the state would pay grants covering up to 80% of the salary of workers if companies kept them on their payroll, rather than lay them off as the economy crashes. The extraordinary payments will be worth up to a maximum of £2,500 per month, just above the median income.

              Coming just days after the government announced a business bailout package worth £350bn to help firms cope with the lockdown of large parts of the British economy as the disease spreads, the chancellor described his revamped plan as one of the most comprehensive in the world and “unprecedented in British history”. City economists said the new plan would cost an additional £78bn.

              1. Fíréan

                The UK government will pay 80% of the employees’ salaries if the employer keeps them on ? Does the employer still have to cover the other costs of each employee ?

                Is the intent to reduce costs to the government of these workers becoming unemployed and burden the employer with the extra costs ( which the emploer can’t afford anyway, hence would lay staff off) ?

                And to prevent an unpreceedent rise in the unemployed numbers ?

          1. PlutoniumKun

            The last few weeks have proven:

            There are no libertarians in a pandemic.
            There are no free marketeers when financial markets are crashing.

            Now we also know that there are no ordoliberals when the car industry is about to collapse.

              1. Librarian Guy

                And as another saying goes, I will believe it when I see it.

                Is any of this beyond the rhetorical stage yet?

                Yes, it would be a supreme irony if the GOoPers reboot New Deal style socialism for the masses and not for the 1% . . . but this is all aspirational, let’s see if panic “pragmatism” or their Dogma wins out.

                I’d bet on their Dogma winning, and palliatives going only or mainly to the fortunate, little or nothing to comfort the afflicted. After all, if it’s bipartisan, Pelosi, Schumer, inside trader DiFi and that whole crew will need to be on board, right?

                1. skk

                  I’m checking the bills list introduced in Congress – the link to that is a search link and its huge so I won’t insert it here.

                  I can’t see any bill that’s relevant.

                  I’m looking for the bills to see what’s hidden in there to bailout Boeing, cruise companies, airlines and any other Tom Dick and Harry. I want to see what those thieves have snuck in.

                  I’ve emailed the Congress Rep about this.

        2. TroyIA

          Australia says don’t forget about us.

          Australia to pledge additional $38 billion in economic stimulus, third package expected

          Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison will on Sunday pledge an additional A$66.4 billion ($38.50 billion) in fiscal stimulus in a bid to shelter the country’s economy from coronavirus, according to excerpts of a speech seen by Reuters.

          Australia’s conservative government last week said it would pump A$105 billion its economy, supplementing Canberra’s original stimulus worth A$17.6 billion.

          But as the number of coronavirus cases in Australia tops 1,000, Morrison will say that his government will spend another A$66.4 billion to safeguard jobs, while a third economic stimulus package is likely.

          “There is a lot of pain coming but we’re going to cushion the blow as best we can,” Morrison will say when he announces the second economic package.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Apparently Scotty from Marketing has had a light on the road to Damascus moment and decided that deficits don’t matter nor does having the budget in the black. This must be causing a lot of heartburn among the conservatives in government right now.

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              only things i know about aussie politics, i learned from Rake(a show…during the binging , i thought about you, Rev.)

              so the sudden “Righties evolving into New Dealers”-Thing is going global.
              does the fact(afaik) that the disease seems to target people of a certain age figure into that?
              even my kids are calling it “the Boomer Plague”.
              (benevolent spying is part of my job description)

              1. The Rev Kev

                The 1% ers maybe able to isolate themselves in bunkers, panic rooms and converted missile silos but not the 20% of their enablers. The bankers, healthcare administrators, university admin types and all the rest of them are also sitting ducks for Coronavirus like the rest of us peons. Their walled community may not save them.

                In very, very broad brush strokes, the salary earners that make their living off the 80% of the population that are wage earners doing the work of the 1% have discovered that they are also vulnerable. Their gold-plated healthcare plans, they realize, may not mount to a hill of beans in the present pandemic and that they too are threatened. Since their necks too are on the chopping block, they have suddenly gotten religion and say that, oh yeah, healthcare and money for all.

            2. Foy

              And he’s just doubled the Newstart allowance (dole) . Funny how it was sufficient before but insufficient now. Scomo even used the term ‘automatic stabilisers’ which were irrelevant before when he was chasing a surplus. To steal Lambert’s phrase pandemics are wonderfully clarifying.

              1. The Rev Kev

                Yeah, I was just reading that a minute ago. I think that he wants the economy to keep going but when you give the money to rich people, it ends up in an investment fund overseas. You give it to poorer people and it goes into the local economy in the way of food, drink, bill paying, etc. But as you say, wonderfully clarifying-


                Heard a joke some time ago that said that if you want your money spent but for it to stay in Oz, you would have to spend it on garage sales, prostitutes and tattoos. But with Coronavirus, all three options are now out.

        3. Billy

          Phase 1 of GOP new Deal coming to a bank account near you.

          “The massive fiscal stimulus package under negotiation in the Senate to stem the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic will double, now amounting to more than $2 trillion, White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow told reporters on Saturday…”

          Two trillion is all we the American people and taxpayers deserve to restore our lives and economy? That’s it?

          5.9 Trillion tax dollars have been spent on two losing wars. What did we get for our money again?
          Like the hundreds of millions of Americans that love their insurance plan, maybe Joe Biden can explain what he voted for?

      4. Michael Fiorillo

        When Trump was elected, I suggested to those in my circle that if he had the political acuity to do a Nixon-goes-to-China with M4A, it would create a political re-alignment that would keep the Repugs in power for decades. We’ll see…

        1. workingclasshero

          Everything being done now will be walked back within 2 years in the form of social security and medicare reform/cuts in the last 2 years of trumps 2nd term.hope i’m wrong.the repubs and dems for that matter will never be the party of Mmt for domestic programs.

          1. Michael Fiorillo

            Quite possible/plausible/likely, but given the internal forces paralyzing the Democrats – confirmed by the total absence of Uncle Joe during the current stage of the crisis – the Republicans may still get that realignment, with Josh Hawley perhaps following Trump…

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              Hawley will be president in 2025.
              if this sticks.
              it’s been brewing for a long while…the footsie with things the Demparty left by the side of the road.
              now it boils over.
              GOP, and the people behind them, care about Power.
              the ideology is contingent.

          2. drumlin woodchuckles

            Democrats will obstruct a Republican President from being the one to cut/destroy Social Security and Medicare.

            Democrats want a Democratic President to be the one who “goes to China” against Social Security and Medicare. They want the historical credit to go to a Democrat.

            As long as that remains true, we should prevent Democrats from getting a President. Till the political elites catch on to our understanding of this round of the game. Then we will have to think of another way to stop the Depublicrats from destroying our Social Security.

            Perhaps inventing a submachine gun that frail old people can handle, and giving millions of them , plus billions of round of ammo for them, to frail old people.

      5. JBird4049

        “…we arrived at what amounts to chomskyist Libertarian Socialism together, 30 years ago,lol.
        what a crazy old world.”

        It is quite fascinating how quickly a man will change his views once reality smacks his nose, isn’t?

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          to be clear:
          I’m still a Chomskyist Libertarian Socialist, and so is my buddy.
          we didn;t have the language for it, but there we were any way.
          if it takes trump and a pandemic to actually do it, so be it.
          I would have preferred that the party of Jefferson had done it.
          but, sadly, they had been sold to the GOP by the time i was eligible to vote.
          neither my buddy nor i have gotten anything but more angry in all these years, proportional to what we’ve learned and experienced….being almost totally unrepresented in that time.

      6. Lambert Strether

        > but the growing number of right wingers/austerian repubs calling for damn the torpedoes levels of direct fiscal stimulus and giant public works is astounding.

        I think we should wait for the actual bill to see….

    3. Henry Moon Pie

      In my neighborhood, if you want children to be cared for and fed, the feds need to get money to SS recipients who do not file tax returns because they don’t work. No one, not even Bernie, seems to notice this group that numbers in the millions. Around here, they’re the lynchpins of the social structure, and if they can’t cope with the increased demands on them because of children being home and not getting school lunches, breakfasts, etc., things can get nasty fast.

      Full disclosure: I’m talking my book here. ;) But I do think I’m representing the situation fairly.

      1. judy2shoes

        Bernie’s plan calls for $2000/month payments to everyone in the country for duration of the emergency, which would include the group you mention, as well as the people working who don’t make enough to file tax returns.

        1. pricklyone

          What will that do to Medicaid eligibility? In IL, where I am, the upper limit for “ACA adult”
          is around 1300.00 mo income. I will be getting 1200 in SS retirement starting April.
          if the Gov. hands out checks, I go from staying alive to “Pain City” on the open exchanges, with no hope of ever affording a doctor visit again.
          All the ramifications of just writing checks have to be considered BEFORE you hand out those checks.
          Can I opt out of the payment? Not bloody likely…

          1. Oregoncharles

            You’re not on Medicare yet?

            Your dilemma is right there in the law they wrote, so they should be able to foresee and prevent it. To work, the bill has to be one exemption after another – probably, the emergency check won’t count as income, at least outside your tax bill. But you might want to write your Congressmembers, just to make sure. “Should” is bearing a heavy load there.

    4. Lemmy Caution

      From the Hill article on Dems balking at $1200 rebate checks:

      “I couldn’t believe that they were talking about lowest income people getting $600 and somebody making $75,000 getting twice as much as that, $1,200,” she said. “Those numbers don’t make any sense.

      “One-time payments are not what people need. What people need is a paycheck. They need ongoing income until this is done. That’s what they need,” she said.

      Who said that?

      Debbie Stabanow

      The headline of the article is misleading. Democrats are arguing that the rebate checks don’t go nearly far enough.

      Cory Booker also responded to the GOP rebate plan in the article:
      Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) on Friday afternoon hit the GOP rebate plan for “skipping over” people who need the most help.

      “The current proposal would exclude exactly the people and households who actually need it most,” he said. “By creating an income requirement and phase-in, this plan currently proposed would be skipping over the most vulnerable people.”

      Chuck Schumer argued for a massive expansion of unemployment benefits in the article:

      “There are many, many who have lost their jobs and one check when they may be out of their jobs for three, four, five months isn’t going to be enough. Unemployment insurance gives money the whole period of time the crisis exists at your present salary level and covers just about everyone,” Schumer said.

      Blindly following the lead of a deceptive headline and teaser is B.S.

        1. Lemmy Caution

          Difficult to get all the details in one place, but here’s another take on the unemployment benefits component of Schumer’s proposals:

          The Democratic leader instead is offering a plan to provide “unemployment insurance on steroids” while modifying federal programs so that workers won’t have to be fired to collect benefits. Schumer is proposing unemployment benefits to allow employers to furlough workers and then bring them back to their jobs once the health crisis has passed.

          He said every worker who is unemployed should get a paycheck equal to what they were earning before the crisis, paid for by the federal government.

          “That way business, small, medium, large can put them on furlough and then when the crisis is over, they’re back but there’s money in their pockets,” he said.

          1. Fiery Hunt

            And not one fricking penny for the self-employed. No paid leave, no unemployment.

            Fvck the Pelosi Dems.

            1. katiebird

              When I was listening, Schumer mentioned expanding Unemployment to people in nontraditional categories. I think it might have even been said in relation to self-employed people

              I can’t quote it though.

              1. Amfortas the hippie

                so there IS a downside to being a Black Market Farmer….
                I ain’t “on record” anywhere.
                and I have no experience with “Unemployment”, since i always made a point to fire my boss before they could fire me.
                (ie: i always had less tolerance for their BS than they did for mine)

                I like the idea(in the American Conservative, no less!!!) of a Fed account for everyone, instead of checks in the mail.
                Call it a dividend for putting up with the PTB’s Bullshit for 50 years.

      1. CallMeTeach

        The problem with unemployment benefits is that too many people don’t qualify for it, like gig workers and self-employed, and employers are stating that workers are not laid off, they just have zero hours, which renders them disqualified.

        1. Lemmy Caution

          Schumer is proposing a furlough idea to get around that:

          Schumer is proposing unemployment benefits to allow employers to furlough workers and then bring them back to their jobs once the health crisis has passed.
          “That way business, small, medium, large can put them on furlough and then when the crisis is over, they’re back but there’s money in their pockets,” he said.

          1. hunkerdown

            As a dependent contractor, can I put myself on furlough and collect in case my client is too crunched to pay me? I think Schumer and the rest of the catfood Dems think the point of the exercise is to allocate and distribute moral valence rather than money.

      2. Michael

        “Unemployment insurance gives money the whole period of time the crisis exists at your present salary level…”

        Not in CA, not sure if anywhere!

        1. Lemmy Caution

          That is one of the differences that Schumer is proposing for the emergency package — that the actual amount of the benefit is greatly increased.

    5. Carolinian

      Speaking of SC politicians–Nikki Haley has resigned from the Boeing board because she said Boeing’s requested bailout violated her high moral standards. Or somethin’.

      Shorter Nikki: the chair warmer Boeing board position was fun and lucrative while it lasted, but now this Titanic is sinking it’s time for four legged stowaways to jump ship. After all she has a future presidential campaign to think about.

      1. Samuel Conner

        I immediately read Haley’s resignation in the same way — posturing and positioning in order to not be associated with the inevitable bailout. But as she seems to be a Mellon-ian “liquidate everyone” kind of policy advocate, I feel reasonably confident that she will not do well in her future run for high office.

          1. Chris

            Heh. What are the odds is Trump and Pence are too sick to run in the general someone like Haley gets drafted?

      2. Robert Hahl

        This is good news. Everyone who doesn’t know a lot about airplanes should resign from Boeing’s board – assuming there are some who do – and the sooner the better.

    6. lyman alpha blob

      Also from that article –

      “One-time payments are not what people need. What people need is a paycheck. They need ongoing income until this is done. That’s what they need,” she [Stabenow] said.

      And she is not wrong. Lots of Democrats quoted in that article criticizing payouts but they are very light on the specifics of what they would do instead. We’re just supposed to believe that whatever it is would be better than Republican plans.

      And yet there’s this from yesterday’s links –

      Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)* has presented a bold $2 trillion plan including direct monthly cash payouts of $2,000 to every household, 100% payment of unemployment benefits for everyone who loses their job as a result of the crisis as well as moratoriums on evictions, foreclosures, utility shutoffs and loan payments.

      Wow, lots of specifics there! That proposal sounds like it would keep the vast majority of people current on their rent and able to buy food as we ride this thing out.

      I wonder why we’re not hearing more about these ideas…?

      *Interesting that In These Times still chooses to label Bernie an Independent.

      1. jefemt

        Bernard Sanders is a Senator from Vermont, elected with no party affiliation, or Independent.

        He is running for President in 2020 as a Democrat. Nuanced.

          1. Billy

            Getting his latest transfusion of fetal cord blood and memorizing flash cards and rehearsing the teleprompter roll.

                1. ambrit

                  Wait until Hillary sends “Great Seal Team 666” looking for him.
                  (And this time, no crashed helicopters.)

          2. Jonhoops

            Hidin’ Biden is my new favorite moniker for Uncle Joe.

            Meanwhile Bernie has bee using his list to raise money for charities, holding round table discussions, fireside chats, proposing sweeping legislation, and just being a leader.

            The question is, where is Joe? Taibbi is right, Uncle Joe is just inherently sloppy, lazy, a serial liar and a shite candidate.

            1. Chris

              He’s also “the candidate” according to everyone and the media and the DNC. If Bernie really wanted to be president he needed to do more than be a LARPer on the trail and not complement his enemies. But now there’s a story that he’s already lost. I don’t see how Bernie changes that without help from the institutional opponents who desperately want him to go away.

              1. Aumua

                I don’t think Bernie does change the narrative without some kind of divine intervention, but it’s still amusing to watch how he does the right thing while “the candidate” does diddly.

    7. D. Fuller

      Since the amounts would range from $600 (earned at least $2,500 in 2018) and $1,200 if married to…

      …or a single filer, income must be at least about $23k to get the full $1,200… For married couple filing jointly, [adjusted gross income] must be about $47k to get the full $2,400.

      1. The poor don’t vote.
      2. The more money one earns, the greater the likelihood of voting in elections.

      The “stimulus” is a vote-buying operation to predispose voters to voting for Trump. The Corporate Democrats in Congress want to target the stimulus more to their consituency. If Corporate Democrats even know who their constituency is anymore – which is unlikely. Hence, Pelosi & Schumer’s response is nothing more than weak tea, allowing Republicans to seize the progressive point.

      Both parties are simply un-American given their partisan motivation. Or perhaps, TOO AMERICAN.

      1. carl

        I don’t expect the leopards to change their spots until people are dying in the streets, and even then, there’ll probably be a means test.

        1. clarky90

          Re: “People dying in the streets”, (or heroic HCWs falling in hospital corridors)

          Wendell Potter
          NEW: I just got off the phone with doctors in Bergen County, New Jersey who told me their hospitals are saying doctors & nurses will be *disciplined* for wearing protective gear, including masks. This is dangerous and may be illegal. And their stories are alarming… (1/5)
          Wendell Potter
          Hospital physicians tell me this is happening across the state. Nurses worry they could be fired if they wear protective gear, but worry if they don’t they’re putting themselves & patients at risk. It comes as NJ has an explosion in COVID cases, particularly Bergen County. (2/5)
          Wendell Potter
          , please immediately investigate this, and order a ban in New Jersey on such a dangerous practice. No hospital should threaten doctors and nurses with disciplinary action for wearing masks. This is not complicated. (3/5)
          Wendell Potter
          I’ve heard other hospitals nationwide are enforcing this policy, too. Who knows how rampant it is? Some internal documents we obtained suggest certain federal restrictions by the CDC may be guiding this decision. (4/5)
          Wendell Potter
          If that’s the case,
          should immediately intervene & prohibit public hospitals from being able to threaten their staff for wearing protective equipment during this crisis, including gloves and masks. This is urgent and common sense. And it will save lives. (5/5)
          Wendell Potter
          Folks have been asking for what the “explanation” is for this decision. We’ve been told the hospital administrators are concerned patients & visitors would be unduly alarmed & fearful if they saw health care workers wearing protective clothing & masks. (6)
          Wendell Potter
          Of course the other reason for this policy might be the shortage of this equipment. But obviously these front line personnel need it. Here’s an excerpt of a document one hospital sent to medical staff: (7)

          1. rd

            We clearly have a Third World medical system lurking inside the world’s most expensive health profit extraction system:

            The doctors and nurses will soon start dying after being sent in as the “Forlorn Hope” to stem the crisis.

            I think that is when we will see the tide turn in public opinion on the health coverage debate in this country as it will be clear that the system is not about delivering services but delivering profits instead.

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              Only if the entire doctortariat goes on unanymous strike.
              And maybe only if the entire nursetariat goes on strike with them.

          2. mnm

            If you get a waiver for the flu vaccine they make you wear a mask at all times while at work to protect others. When healthcare workers want to protect themselves, they get punished. They don’t care where I work for now.
            We are required to wear N95 and a surgical shield with COV19 patients. So, I am not even sure if wearing the surgical mask we use with cold & flu patients would even help. we had to keep the PPE locked up because visitors were stealing them, but now we are on lock down.

        2. D. Fuller

          Me niece works at a nursing home. There is a suspected Covid-19 case. The took the patient to the hospital, did what they have to do for testing… and then sent the person back to the nursing home where they are in “isolation” (that really is not). Test results are not in yet.

          Mom & Pop convenience stores are all closed. Except for chain convenience stores. I recently went to a grocery store in town where they are talking about “keeping your distance”, etc. Only to have to check out with my debit card and touching the keypad – because I can’t swipe for credit – that another few hundred people have touched in the last few days.

          Never mind that having no plan and no clue, that continuing on with business as usual which concentrates the public into a few big box stores… is a severe hazard. More people are being funneled through fewer locations. Perfect for spreading any disease.

          No one should be surprised when people start dying in the streets. Everything done til now with almost no exception has been window dressing. Every action taken is done with one interest at heart:


          Business people occupy the levers of power. Their entire lives have been about business. And the response we get is BUSINESS.

      1. pricklyone

        Like the “Trump Checks”, this would put me over the “ACA adult” income limit, and I would lose health care, with no hope of replacing it until I reach Medicare age 3 years from now.
        Walking dead man.
        I’m not wearing any mask, even if I had one. Death is my only hope at this juncture.

        1. Chris

          Oh my goodness. The ACA is just a cancer, isn’t it? I hadn’t even thought about that angle. Our complex system just keeps screwing our citizens.

      2. rd

        I don’t think this should be the priority. People receiving SS benefits are already receiving significant benefits. The gaping hole is the people losing jobs, or losing hours without losing jobs that have suddenly gone from being receiving pay to not receiving pay. A major focus on unemployment insurance, including upping its weekly value is necessary. The puritanical approach to pulling oneself up by their bootstraps means that the unemployment insurance system is generally designed to make it unpleasant and inadequate.

        1. John

          Is this “bailout” or corporate giveaway bill the congress critters are chewing over as bad as it looks for us proles?
          Did Marx not say something like the revolution would come when the monopolists had hoovered up everything leaving not even subsistence?

  7. The Rev Kev

    ‘”Coronavirus in N.Y.: ‘Deluge’ of Cases Begins Hitting Hospitals”

    I have been watching the reports from Italy as well as film clips and they are grim. Churches filled wall to wall with coffins, army truck convoys at night taking the dead away to crematoriums, crematoriums themselves overwhelmed by the number of dead. Friday Italy reported the deaths of 628 people in just one day. So when I read this article I ran the numbers for an equivalent death toll for the US based on population. The figure I got was about 3,500 deaths in America. In one day. And I regret to say that this is what you will be hearing in just a few weeks.

    1. skookum red

      From a newsletter I just recieved…The results of the public records request will be interesting…

      “As you have probably noticed, we are obsessed with algorithms here at The Markup. And we have good reason: Algorithms are how we encode our political decisions into machines and protocols.
      And nothing is more political right now than who gets tested for the coronavirus and who does not. Given the shortage of tests, and the lack of federal coordination, each state’s health department is setting its own rules about who is eligible for testing.
      So this week The Markup reporter Colin Lecher filed public records requests in all 50 states and the District of Columbia for the algorithms they’re using to determine who gets tested for the virus. “

      1. cm

        Seems to me simply tallying up deaths nationwide would be a number less able to be “gamed” and if there is in fact exponential rise in deaths, would show up early enough to be useful.

        There are a number of problems with the testing, such that we don’t know the denominator of all people who contracted the virus, and won’t be able to unless we adopt Korean-level blanket testing (which isn’t possible due to critical shortages of a variety of items, including swabs).

        I have also heard rumors of high false positive on the (US) tests themselves.

        1. Cuibono

          High false negatives too. Nasal sawbs second best to lavage but still roughly 70% sensitivity

      2. ChiGal in Carolina

        had a long convo with my ex last night. he is a cell biologist in Birmingham, AL and has not been out of the country, exposed, or sick. He decided to get a test anyway and went to a drive-through facility that was super-quick, no contact, and he got his result the next day.

        because he is a scientist however he observed that it was not a test developed by the CDC and since they are fast-tracking the tests he doesn’t necessarily have confidence in its accuracy.

        he further told me something that kind of shocked me: he doesn’t know whether alcohol-based hand sanitizer is effective against this particular coronavirus because it hasn’t been sufficiently researched. he reminded me that viruses are not living organisms and said it is whether alcohol weakens the bond between virus and protein that impacts its ability to replicate. apparently in some cases alcohol strengthens the bond.

        finally, he is a skeptic as to the efficacy of partial quarantines on the spread. In China when people isolated there were no exceptions to go to the grocery store for food, there was a centralized operation that delivered food to people’s doors.

        personally I still think it isn’t a bad idea to lay low but I get what he’s saying: we are Italy.

        now I am debating whether I should mandate teletherapy for my clients rather than offering it as an option—about half of them opted to come in last week and we are practicing social distancing and disinfecting surfaces etc but after talking to him I think it’s kind of nuts.

        though actually I guess the takeaway should be the opposite: unless people are truly under quarantine, as long as we have this half-assed system in place they might as well come in. Therapy in person is infinitely preferable.

        oh, he also said at the grocery stores there they don’t let customers touch the carts to clean them—kids in protective gear wipe your cart before they give it to you. nothing like that happening here…

        1. MLTPB

          One centralized operation to deliver food?

          One case, and we have a super spreader, on containers, bags, vehicles, etc.

          1. ChiGal in Carolina

            it’s what they did in China and it worked. this is no kind of quarantine, with people leaving home all the time. According to my ex a team from China came to advise the Italians and basically told them what you’re doing is a joke.

            the GOVT is running this, the people processing and delivering look like they’re wearing hazmat suits.

            think about it

            1. katiebird

              The grocery thing is the weak spot. One wY or another, people need them eventually.

              And there are so many ways for it to go bad. I was just telling my husband that I could make a coverup out of old sheets for us when it s time to go out. Who know, maybe I will?

              1. MLTPB

                We can look at Singspore, HK, Taiwan etc when it comes to grocery shopping, to get a rough idea.

            2. MLTPB

              I remember seeing pictures of brand name fast food chains delivering as well. Not wearing hazmat suits, if I recall corretly.

        2. rd

          This is a good article looking at the molecular science behind viruses, hand-washing, and alcohol. It is a good explanation why old-fashioned hand-washing with soap and water is doubly effective.

          The alcohol-based hand sanitizers are likely reasonably effective, but not as effective as 20 seconds or more washing with soap and water. Its just that soap is now sold with numerous marketing claims, but generally not “sanitizing” so people assume something sold as “sanitizer” is better than soap..

          1. MLTPB

            Soap versus homemade or artisanal soap.

            Are they simliarly effective, or do we look for certain ingredients to make sure?

          2. ChiGal in Carolina

            good explanation even I could understand, thanks!

            of course it doesn’t address the point that the research to determine the impact of alcohol on the replication of this particular virus has yet to be done

            1. MLTPB

              I dont think one can over wash these days.

              Its just that I notice my hands are really dry. May have to look for a different kind of soap.

    2. MLTPB

      Italian or Chinese lives are as precious as others.

      Equivalently, 47,000 Italian cases, as of recently, equate to roughly 230,000 American cases. We are at 20,000 approx recently., or equivalent to 4,000 Italian cases, which occurred around 3.5.2020. Italy locked down some towns in Feb. On 3.7.2020, their N. Region was locked down, and on 3.9.2020 the whole nation.

      In this light, the US is not worse, perhaps slightly ahead, but its a long war, and be diligent.

      On a cases per million basis, other nations might be worse than the US. When only the total numbers are reported, it is misleading. For example, 5 cases in a small Ural city could be worse than 100 in Australia, depending on the populations.

      All those nations deserve to be forewarned, to be given lurid but well reasoned projections, and not just one or two nations. No one is that exceptional.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Fully agree that all lives are equal. You will get no argument from me there. I only gave the US projection as most readers here are US based and would be more relatable. My take away lesson from this is to StayTheHellHome. What I will also say is that the past two months has taught me that the Coronavirus Pandemic is in a way a numbers game and that you cannot ignore the numbers.

        You have to look at the numbers to learn what lessons you can before it hits. Things like number of sick, numbers needing hospitalization, the capacity of local hospitals and especially ICU beds. It seems that the best way to deal with this pandemic is to understand the numbers and get ahead of the curve in how you prepare and react.

        In my own country, statistician Megan Higgie, from James Cook University has worked the numbers to show that we will run out of ICU beds be early April. So my lesson from those numbers is also to StayTheHellHome-

        1. MLTPB

          A big number is 2, as in the second wave.

          Whether HK or Taiwan has done a good job or not will be tested as the second strain hits them, not directly from ‘travel restricting China, including HK & Taiwan’ Italy, but via intermediary countries.

          It’s natural and for most people, we are more important than outsiders, which is nor all bad, if it’s in the sense that we are more critical of ourselves, and we get stressed out more over losing even one person here, demanding our government to respond, when far away, more lives have been lost and we are not as vociferous of their government’s faults.

          Maybe we should, but the counter to that is we shouldn’t, as ours is not perfect either. So, maybe we should or maybe we shouldnt. (Here, we could be USians, Chinese, Russians, Canadians, etc.)

      2. ptb

        keep in mind also that the number-of-cases statistic measures a combination of: (1) number of people who are infected (2) number of people symptomatic (3) number of people severely symptomatic, in localities where only the severe get tested (4) total availability of tests, where the testing capacity is maxed out

        so it is easy to get confused. severe hospitalizations and deaths may be a more robust measure under today’s conditions, but unfortunately with a much longer time lag.

        1. MLTPB

          The US fatality total is about 260, around now.

          At 5 times more populous, that is like 52 cases in Italy (actual Italian number is about 4 000 today), which occurred on March 2, 2020 (italian timeline, Wiki), compared to the March 5, 2020 date above.

          That would give us a little more time and room to maneuver.

          1. Monty

            95% of US places in are not comprable to a busy, dense European places. When I used to commute to Central London, I expect I passed more people on foot in a day, than I passed in AZ these last 20 years in total. Outside if a few major cities, the density just isn’t there.

      3. ChiGal in Carolina

        but see my comment above: mostly, we are NOT locked down, so long as we are still going out for food

        1. Darius

          The only way out of this is testing, tracking, and isolation of positives. Korea and China did it and brought things under control. This is a good outline on Medium.

          1. ChiGal in Carolina

            clearly it is already too late for that; at this point the virus is so widespread we have unwittingly opted for the herd immunity approach.

            pretty soon we will surpass Italy in number of cases, then on to China and we’ll be sitting on top of the world.

            can we sue Trump for malpractice?

            1. Cuibono

              It is NOT clearly too late for that! It is NOT an all or nothing equation here.
              BEND THE CURVE!
              Look at Korea and China for examples.

              Dont trust me? ASk the Director Genral of WHO

              1. MLTPB

                On a per million basis, the US has many ahead of us.

                And outside of NY, WA, NJ, MS maybe, the per million number is even lower.

                Moreover, 1 case per million in a large area is not the same as 1 case in a miilion in a small city state. And this is a big country, not as large as Russia, but still vast.

                Spanish lives, for example, are not cheaper, and they have it much worse.

                  1. MLTPB

                    We may pass Italy or Spain in number of cases, but we also have more people, and they are spread over a bigger area.

                    Though we have a few hot zones. NY is one.

              2. ChiGal in Carolina

                wow, clearly you didn’t read my comment above. we are NOT doing what China did to contain the virus so please don’t reference them as an example.

                what we are doing is called mitigation, not containment.

                and I wish it wasn’t so but by the time we actually do containment, my guess is the disease will be so widespread it will not be possible.

                my guess is the ONLY reason we have so few cases is cuz we aren’t testing.

                I am taking all precautions but thinking critically that doesn’t mean the science supports any serious benefit, the cat (or bat) is so far out of the bag. WE CANNOT SLOW THIS THING DOWN TO SOMETHING LESSTHAN A CATASTROPHIC LEVEL FOR OUR HEALTH CARE SYSTEM, which is what I care about, not any one particular individual.

                i hope I’m wrong, but again: we are Italy, not China

                1. Cuibono

                  If you think we can do noting than please crawl back in your bunker. (oops, that would be effective)

                  As I said it is NOT all or nothing.. Yes a catastrophe. How big you want that to be?

              3. Darius

                Not too late. We are in a hole and get deeper every day. But, it just means we have further to go to get out. Not to do it condemns hundreds of thousands to death and everyone to an unprecedented depression and massive social upheaval.

                Let’s not take the Yes Minister approach.

            2. Jules

              On npr, I heard some national security state bureaucrat from obamas admin mention that whenever all the heads of the various security state agencies are in a room, these kinds of viruses are on the top 3 or 4 national security concerns.

              We now know that various elements throughout the state were aware of what was coming months ago. Yet here we are.
              I can rationalize trumps response. And the response of some of congress critters that used the intelligence to play the markets for their gain, while assuring us all is well. But its hard for me do imagine how the whole state machinery that operates smoothly regardless of who the president is utterly failed the population here.
              I just a read an article from nytimes that describes a similar criminal “bungling” early on in Italy by the central government. They refused to face what was coming , the article argues, out of concerns for the markets and business.
              Yet , where was the rest of the Italian State apparatus, all the lifers who run these institutions despite the political party in power? I mean are these states so completely rotten to their core?

              Damnit , i missed the meeting on herd immunity.

              1. Cuibono

                My personal experience here is that so much of government has become wholly directed at compliance (not by accident either, this was in part a strategy to undermine our faith in govt) that this sort of thinking simply has no room to breathe.
                Personal agency is not something that we encourage by and large in our society as a whole esp. not in govt.

              2. drumlin woodchuckles

                Much of the whole state machinery has been carefully defunded and semi-dismantled. Effective people have been driven out or demoralized out and political commissars put in in their place and in charge of much of the state machinery.

  8. fresno dan

    BREAKING: Judicial Watch released 80 pages of new emails recently found by the FBI that further document how former SecState #HillaryClinton used her unsecure, non-government email to transmit classified and other sensitive government information (1/3).
    Yeah, Clinton got away with security violations that put others in prison. Obvious back than. Funny who gets investigated, PROSECUTED, and convicted…
    But for all the talk about secure communications and redaction, its hard not to conclude that all the communications were essentially a$$ covering about what to say about Benghazi politically.
    Of course, the real controversy should have been, AFTER IRAQ, how the US government decided that the Iraq “liberation” had worked so well we should overthrow Libya too.

    1. xkeyscored

      And what the hell Gunrunner Stevens was doing in Benghazi in the first place, running a consulate that provided no normal consular services, instead of all the fuss about how he met his come-uppance.

    2. Jabura

      Wasn’t there a kerfluffle about Ivanka, Jared and siblings using non-secure email as well?

      1. Katiebird

        I am not at all for insecure government email. But the big issue with Hillary Clinton’s was the email server in her basement. And that was so shocking, I still can’t believe it was allowed.

        1. JBird4049

          “…I still can’t believe it was allowed.”

          In these United States, the rules are for the precariat like you and me, not for TPTB; of course, a big reason for us being the precariat and the others not is because we have to follow the rules, but they don’t.

  9. The Rev Kev

    I’m looking at the map to see where I’m going this weekend.

    Been looking at that map of the house plan myself and decided that you only need a bit of imagination to go on a quest, so-

    Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to visit every room in your house without touching the floor but using door frames, furniture, counters, etc. to do so.

    Remember – the floor is lava!

      1. pretzelattack

        there’s some urban sport, people bouncing off walls and such. not buildering, though that’s related.
        i would just calvinball it, claim my flip flops are lavaproof and win on a technicality.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I’ve just been to the gym, and I’m going to the pub tonight. Fortunately, both are just two steps from each other.

      1. polecat

        My home is my pub, while supplies last (making a batch of ginger berry mead next week) .. and my yard is my gym !

        Tis time for polecat to plant moar po ta toes, carrots, and greens, before the next bout of rainy weather arrives. Cherries & berries looking good to go .. bonkers !

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      I have never been more thankful that i don’t live in the city(or town, or village)
      we have 20 acres to wander on…and a good 1000 belonging to neighbors, as well.
      main neighbor’s fee for wandering is surveillance…especially for coyote tracks.(and always closing gates behind you)
      but it’s wet, and around 45 degrees until tomorrow morning…hard to get teenage boys motivated for anything outside atm.
      so i’m letting them sleep in today, and then sending them to mom’s for more gardening activity.
      today’s challenge, should you choose to accept(there’s no choice,lol): figure out how to make trellises for the grapes using bamboo, but without allowing those fresh cut bamboo poles to grow roots.
      tomorrow, with sunshine and warmth, it’s gonna be : “lets organise the shop!”..
      then it’s back to working on the goat barn and wood shed and more planting, weeding and compost management.
      their eyes hurt from the rolling.

      1. MLTPB

        Maybe LA’s urban or suburban sprawl is better than high density living.

        Even here in the Southland, more cases are being reported in high density places than sprawling areas.

      2. AndrewJ

        Amfortas, I personally treasure the view in to your life, growth, and habits that I get through your NC commentary. Here in the big smoke, water security is very low on the list of threats, but if The Big One hits and the pipes break, I know I’ve got a hundred gallons of water in my very own cowboy pool, assuming the house doesn’t fall on it. (And it’s such a great way to make hot summer days in the pacific northwest something to look forward to instead of dread). Do you have a blog, or instagram, or anything like that?

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            “At some point, the Business Class…the Uber-Rich….1% who run everything, will be forced to make a Choice(heretikos).
            If they see outright Fascism, with a decidedly Handmaid’s Tale-bent, as a thing they could live with, and even use to their advantage, that’s which side they will choose.
            Hyper-Militant, Xeno-Phobic, Racist, with a visceral Hatred of Muslims, Immigrants, and everybody else.
            Subject to Jingoism, they will fling themselves on any enemy presented convincingly to them…the Boil is on the verge of popping.
            All it will take is a Singular Event, of sufficient size and emotional content, to prick that membrane.”

            the thing i didn’t predict is how utterly corrupt the Demparty is.

      3. Billy

        Suburban “sprawl”, every home with distance between it and its neighbor, a backyard to grow food in, no shared heating/ventilation/air conditioning, like apartment houses, is looking pretty good right now. The people jammed onto elevators, into laundry rooms, staircases and community gyms, in the promoted alternative to sprawl, Transit Oriented Development, Condos, Walkable communities, or, those without cars, riding mass infection transit, they are all in a petri dish.

      4. Tom Bradford

        Amfortas, we had what you have (save it was only 10 acres) until 3-years ago. We could go days without seeing another person.

        We also had a tenuous power-supply and ‘phone, lousy dial-up internet and were a 3.5 hour, half-tank, drive from doctors, hospitals, pharmacies &tc. It was this that decided us, as we approached our 70’s, to move into town. Now we’re two minutes on foot from the Supermarket, five from our GP and twenty from the hospital. Perhaps more importantly we’ve become part of a small group we can look out for and help if needed, and who will look out for and help us if needed.

        To clamp down on hoarding Supermarkets here have introduced a two-item max rule, which makes life very difficult for folk who live out in the sticks and compensate for a long drive by doing one every 2-3 weeks and stocking up.

        Yes we were a lot ‘safer’ from the virus where we were before, but we had a great many vulnerabilities too and I’m not sure we aren’t better off where we are.

        But if the center really cannot hold I still have the .22 I had for rats, rabbits and possums before!

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          there’s definitely downsides to being way out in the hinterlands.
          i’m not sanguine about all that at all.
          but i cannot live comfortably in even a small town.
          I belong, if anywhere, on a dead end dirt road, where i can do my naked joint-walks at 5am and garden neked and skinnydip in my cowboy pool.
          (there’s a pattern, there,lol)
          Like Whitman, I love Mankind…but i can only tolerate you all in small doses.
          Uncle Walt:
          “do i contradict myself…verily, i contradict myself!
          I am Large, I contain Multitudes!”

          (paraphrase, from(inebriated)memory.)

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            and, unlike my wife, i’ll not seek treatment when whatever’s gonna kill me, comes to kill me.
            I’m rather satisfied with my life, so far.
            Amor Fati, and all.

            (Quantify THAT!, Mr Market!)

  10. pretzelattack

    weekend plans–show up at trader joes when they open to score some veggies and fruit. get my car inspected if auto service shops are open. watch politicians pretend to be concerned about anything but protecting themselves from the virus. exercise if parks/jogging tracks still open.

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      Pick up some guaifenesin (Mucinex) while you are out and about. If you get CV, it will help you keep your lungs clear. I remember MLTPB suggesting it a while back, thought it a very good suggestion, and grabbed a bottle of generic that same day.

        1. WobblyTelomeres

          Don’t bother with cough suppressants. Totally the wrong thing to take when one’s lungs are filling up.

          1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

            My Mother with us often snotty or bunged up kids preferred to use the old method of inhalation with head over a bowl of hot water & a towel over the head, which my daughter uses & it always makes me feel much better – here’s a fancy version that my Mum would not have sniffed at :


            1. ambrit

              My Mom swore by the same method with Vick’s VapoRub melted in the hot liquid. I can still ‘smell’ that eucalyptus scent.
              I must get some. Add it to “The List.”

      1. BobW

        Thanks Wobbly. I have COPD and am extremely worried. Ordered guaifenesin, zinc, and some vitamins after reading your comment. Will be delivered by an agent of the federal government. Covered by Medicare Advantage, no charge to me (other than the fees already paid, that is). I have not been a vitamin fan, but do drink Ensure.

  11. Howard

    Does anybody else think the government should suspend US capital market trading? I feel that we are in a viscous feedback loop ( a la Soros reflexivity) where price discovery will lead to unnecessary economic pain.

    2008 is not a good template for the 2020 COVID-19 panic. The FED and the ECB have implemented numerous emergency programs as in 2008 but it can be no match for statewide lockdowns. Shut the markets down and bail out the workers.

    1. Eric

      Good comment Howard. I’ve been wondering the same thing as I consider whether to dip my toe back in the market. Agree with Soros reflexivity at play except when it comes to the FANG’s.

      There is a divergence between
      the FANG’s and the rest of the market to my eye. Little correction in the FANG’s while the rest of the market gets decimated. This is due to the under appreciated power of cap weighting.

      So, if the markets get closed, we get locked into this price divergence. I suppose the FANG’s would be allowed to gobble up a few competitors with their inflated stock prices while the markets remain closed. Who knows. It’s the wild west.

      The market is a power structure that much favors the likes of Gates and Bezos. Interesting too that
      Dalio supposedly got this one wrong.

      I would be more interested in the market if the FANGS were “acting
      right” as Jesse Livermore would say. Or maybe they are acting right
      for the .00001%

      1. m

        I think the FANGs were somewhat mistakenly thought of as good as Treasuries. Liquid, pay a small divvie, have reliable cashflows and not burdened by a lot of debt. That is, on the way to the market peaks.

        Now they are down with the rest of the market, altho not as far as the worst cases like Boeing.

        I think restoring the “uptick rule” would help stop the algos from driving a stock down so quickly. Also, share lending policies associated with margin accounts could be tightened to reduce the availability of more fuel to burn down the house. Say on retirement accounts.

        Of course these are cash cow positions for Wall St.

        I’ve heard of shortening the trading day also which seems reasonable.

    2. Monty

      Those that would be in a position to make that decision, got out at ATHs, whilst pretending it was a non issue. They probably made billions so far, courtesy of everyone else’s 401ks… why stop it, when it’s going so well for them?

    3. Pelham

      Yes, shut down the markets for the duration. No question. But then why not consider keeping them shut down?

    4. Ignim Brites

      Soros’ reflexivity is just an inelegant term for normal market action based on surprise and disillusionment. It is called momentum on the way up. Sounds like someone is talking his book.

    5. cnchal

      Would preventing price discovery stop unnecessary economic pain?

      Or put another way, on the way up Mr Market was drunk and stoned with stawk buybacks, and now that the folly of the executive class looting their own companies and returning “price” to shareholders is exposed, it is proposed that as Mr Market sobers up, the solution is to throw him in the drunk tank.

  12. PlutoniumKun

    ‘Nature is taking back Venice’: wildlife returns to tourist-free city Guardian

    It would be lovely if this could lead to a reconsideration of mass tourism. There are other models – such as Bhutan, which strictly limits the number of tourists and regulates their spending (only permitting locally owned guesthouses and restaurants and guides, etc). Its obviously harder for a city than a country, but maybe somewhere like Venice could be allowed implement a type of tourist visa system to make it far harder to enter, or at least prevent daytrippers and tour groups (the latter two generate most congestion while spending least locally).

    1. curious euro

      or at least prevent daytrippers and tour groups (the latter two generate most congestion while spending least locally).

      So you want to keep us poor were we belong, in our slums?

      PS: I was in Venice once, 40 years ago. I saw a lot of stone, a lot of brackish water but no wildlife unless one calls all the sellers of various things so.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        I think PK makes a good point. I live in a city that over the last decade or so has moved towards catering to tourists at the expense of the locals. All dwellings are now potential illegal hotels (aka Airbnb), driving up the cost of living and driving the locals (ie the poor) right out. But we have plenty of tourons eating at restaurants the locals can’t afford.

        Huge cruise ships come through, unload a few thousand people for a few hours who descend on the city like locusts and then leave. A pet peeve of mine – we have a few hotdog carts on the streets in the summertime and I’d often get my lunch there. After the upswing in cruise ships, cruisers would clean them out, leaving me bereft of the tube steak. Booooooo!

        But on a more serious note, if tourists are with a tour group or cruise ship, a lot of the money they spend locally does not stay local but goes right back to the cruise ship corporation. I’ve only been on one cruise – my parents took the family for their retirement – and noted all the expensive excursions one could take when the boat landed. One was a $100-$200 trip to the local zoo. I thought the zoo would be nice but not for $200, so instead of paying for the tour-sponsored excursion, we paid the $1 fare for the local bus which took us right to the zoo where the admission was around $10. No cruise ship nannies and yet we lived to tell the tale and saved a bunch of money to boot.

        I’ve found the best way to really get to know a place is to live there, which is a lot cheaper than coming in as a tourist for just a few days. I realize not everyone can pick up and move at the drop of a hat, but as a younger, single person I was able to really get to see a few different locales by moving there for a few months or more, getting some roommates and a service industry job. I didn’t have much money but I did have a blast.

        Personally, the day I sign up for a tour group of any kind is the day everyone else will know I’ve finally lost my mind.

      2. PlutoniumKun

        You completely misunderstood my point. They don’t spend less because they are poorer, they spend less because they are not staying and eating in the locality. Day-trippers buy souvenirs and snacks. Longer term tourists spend money on dinner, on hotels, on local services.

        1. Billy

          Pay cash for everything you buy locally to save the merchant and the waiters the credit card transaction skimming, plus to “simplify” their tax accounting and reporting situation to a federal, and often state government, which has proven itself absolutely useless.

          1. ambrit

            Sounds suspiciously like stories an old high school friend told about the “Black Market” in Poland when he studied there during the “Bad Old Days of Communism.” (I personally prefer Tito’s description of the old Soviet system as “State Socialism.”)
            Cash was King, especially western currencies like Marks and Dollars.

    2. xkeyscored

      Not that I disagree with your idea, but they do say backpackers spend the most locally, which chimes with my experience. I don’t see many super-rich tourists eating street food, for example.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        It kind of depends on the circumstances. I can’t find the link right now, but I recall reading research into tourism which did reveal lots of counterintuitive facts about the benefits or otherwise. In general, certainly day-trippers and second home owners are the worst, as they usually simply buy their food and other things on their way to the destination. Tour groups can bring a lot of money, but it tends only to go to the biggest business – say, the hotel they are emptied into for dinner or lunch. But tour groups can also put a lot of strain on local infrastructure (because they all arrive at once), so its questionable sometimes whether they are worth it.

        Backpackers do spread money quite well, but I think in overall terms they spend so little as to be largely irrelevant in many areas. Yes, they eat street food, but in overall financial terms they are a rounding error compared to ‘conventional’ tourists, which is why most tourism authorities hardly bother with them.

        I remember one German research that found that the best tourists of all were touring cyclists. Because they can’t carry much, they simply buy as they go and they tend to eat a lot. Plus they are more likely to buy at very local places away from core attractions. Likewise, trekkers/pilgrims/long distance hikers can disproportionately be very beneficial in very remote areas (day tripping hikers do little to help, they buy their trail mix at home). The Bhutan model is very important here – by banning international companies they ensure that every cent spent goes to local communities. Contrast it to trekking around Nepal (especially around Everest) where only a local elite (the Sherpas) benefit, while most money goes to various international tour companies.

        Another issue is timing – very seasonal tourism can be very damaging, while tourism that is year-round can sustain far more jobs. Even quite a minority sport like mountain biking can be very beneficial to rural communities simply because mountain bikers tend to do it all year round, unlike skiers, etc.

        1. xkeyscored

          Years ago, I tried to interest people here in the idea of ex-Khmer Rouge soldiers doing survive-in-the-jungle stuff for wealthy westerners. To no avail.
          This smallish town gets few tourists, but a fair proportion of those who do pass through are cyclists on their way to or from Thailand, who behave much as you describe. I never went in for that, cycling along main roads side by side with heavy and unruly traffic, but I used to fling my bike in the back of a pick-up (standard way to travel 20 years ago) and use it to explore when I reached a town. I was often the first foreigner many a village stall had served. Age and failing eyesight keep me from it nowadays.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            I rode east to west across Cambodia back in 2001. They were upgrading the main road in 10km chunks, so I had 10km of smooth tarmac followed by 10km or dust and rock hell, repeated 10 times a day for five days. luckily there wasn’t so much traffic back then. The back roads were great, except for the regular dog attacks. I was told it was better years before, when all the dogs were on the menu, not on the road.

            1. MLTPB

              Saw a documentary of two motorcyclists riding from Vietnam through Laos, Cambodia, Thailand to Malaysia.

    3. Harold

      Venetian Republic lasted over a thousand years — until Napoleon. Venetians are still smarting from the loss, and I think they would be glad of and deserve more autonomy.

    4. Kurt Sperry

      I love Venice, but I know few people who share my love. Most write it off as a tourist hell, which I understand, but in the off-season (Carnival included as part of tourist season), parts of the old city are hardly touristed at all. The Spring passeggiata on Via Guiseppe Garibaldi in Castello before cruise season is almost a normal Italian one, and I’ve had the huge Campo San Polo almost to myself that time of year. Hardest place in Italy though to find a good bite to eat, but still better than most other non-Italian places. This right now would ordinarily be the perfect time of year to visit Venice.

      1. Mel

        I saw a foodie documentary about Venice, and the hinterland (including the home of balsamic vinegar — Modena, it might have been.) It all looked delicious and lovely. I guess if one has close personal and business connections with the restaurants, suppliers, and chefs, and if one has a film crew, one can get treatment like that. I wouldn’t count on it, myself. But it looked friendly and wonderful.
        Then in a shot out the restaurant window, across the canal, a huge thunderhead blanked the sky, only it wasn’t a thunderhead, it was the decks of a cruise ship towering over the buildings. It dwarfed the city.
        You just can’t manufacture fun on that scale without mass production, like Adam Smith’s pin factories. That’s it.

  13. Dita

    Re Trump press conference, I prefer reading news to t.v. so didn’t see this charming inciden t. Certainly heard about it from friends who are still democrats and the reaction is, we’re scared and need hope and the media, not Trump, is being negative. Just tossing this anecdote out there because I notice the beginning of a change in attitude toward Trump, as an effect of media fatigue.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Calling him a traitor for three years, producing no evidence, moving the goalposts, and then backing Joe Hiden, seems like it might not be the best idea.

        My guess is Biden has sent out a demand to his team for a policy that is “revenue neutral, doesn’t raise taxes, increases defense spending, and gets money to those who need it but not the undeserving like welfare queens (Biden will really emphasize this).”

      2. John

        60% approval rating? You got to be kidding me.

        Is there a vises spreading that kills off brain cells?

        Don’t even answer that. After watching those videos of those spring break kids in Florida saying they need to party like there’s not tomorrow while this is going on I know the stupid genes are winning in America.

        Who’s paying for those kids to party anyhow? Most of them don’t work while they go to college.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          People are scared and they want the illusion of security. That’s all. Biden has moved from biding his time to hiding. Pelosi is a menace. Schumer is woefully out his depth, even if he can be brought along in time. The Democratic elites just endorsed overwhelmingly Biden and have no clue what to do other than they didn’t want to be forced to vote “no” on M4All.

          I hate to do this, so I’ll assume this was more Rob Reiner than Sorkin:

          Television is a problem because it can make a confident liar look “Presidential”, but is a good summation of why Trump might weather the political storm. Attacking Trump won’t work as a strategy as he has already weathered three years of “Treason” charges.

          1. Hepativore

            Most likely the plan is to replace Biden during the convention with a surprise candidate, as everybody then pools their delegates to give to the next useful idiot the green light.

            I do not think that there would be anything that would stop the DNC from doing this from a legal standpoint, and even if there was, the DNC has shown that it is perfectly willing to break election laws with impunity as there will be little consequences from doing so, anyhow.

            People will be outraged of course, but the DNC does not care.

            I am almost tempted to vote for Trump as an act of defiance against the mendacity of the DNC. However, I will not, and so I will throw my vote away by voting third party in the presidential election rather than let the next Democratic zombie candidate have it.

            It is all a wash, really, as Trump’s popularity seems to be unaffected, and if he does seem to get some sort of emergency universal basic income bill passed it will open up the Biden/Schumer/Pelosi wing of the Democrats for attacks from the left by Trump as the former are still insisting on means-testing stipulations.

            Trump 2020 here we come!

        2. integer

          After watching those videos of those spring break kids in Florida saying they need to party like there’s not tomorrow while this is going on I know the stupid genes are winning in America.

          The fact is those kids don’t have much to worry about, at least regarding cv (they do have things like student debt, unaffordable housing, and shitty job prospects to worry about). Even if they get it they’ll almost certainly be fine. Yes, there are outliers, but they are the exception rather than the rule. The main reason they are being encouraged to refrain from social activity involves protecting the elderly, and I doubt attitudes like yours are going to help convince them it’s a worthwhile endeavor.

      3. rd

        I think his approval numbers will be like Lyndon Johnson’s that fell about 10% for every order of magnitude increase of deaths in Vietnam. Once US COVID-19 deaths go above 1,000, it is likely that Trump’s approval numbers will never recover unless there is a remarkable turnaround.

    1. John

      More and more when I watch Trump in action, I am reminded of this passage near the end of Fitzgeralds’s The Great Gatsby.

      They were careless people, Tom and Daisy—they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made. . . .

      1. Billy

        On The Road With Tom, Daisy & The Joads
        a nice novel title to summarize our current situation.

    2. ewmayer

      I noticed something similar a couple nights ago, when one of the local news broadcasts had a blurb about a “first lady Melania trump offers a message of hope” clip, without the previously-obligatory smug liberal “catalog bride” and “plagiarist!” mockery. In retrospect, the shameless MSM Melania-is-a-plagiarist campaign abut some silly hopium-heavy stock phrasing she used 3 years ago seems especially rich, given how the MSM have been busily manufacturing consent for Biden!2020 while assiduously avoiding mention of Biden’s infamous plagiarism of UK Labour member Neil Kinnock’s “my father was a coal miner” speech during Biden’s ill-fated first run at the presidency back in 1987.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Number of coronavirus cases among troops jumps more than 31 percent”

    I suspect that Coronavirus is causing chaos in the US military. The Army had to close all their recruiting stations as six recruits showed signs of Coronavirus at their initial military training. Can you imagine an infected recruit in a barrack? The U.S. Army Recruiting Command is now shifting to mobile and virtual operations to limit in-person contact.

    In addition, all troop movements in and out of both Iraq and Afghanistan have been halted for a fortnight so they can sort out who is infected. In Europe, about 2,600 troops are in self-isolation due to infection fears and training and exercise are being cancelled left, right and center.

    And for the icing on the cake, there may be problems with the defense industries which supply the military and recently production for the F-35 had to be stopped for awhile in both Japan and Italy. In short, suppose they gave a war and the troops were too sick to attend-

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I wonder what impact its going to have in Syria – its hard to believe that its not going to rip through all the main groups (assuming its not already happening). An army could well find itself with half or more of its soldiers out of action for several weeks. History is full of military campaigns coming to a jarring halt because of disease.

      1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

        I was wondering a little while back about the Chinese PLA, which is around 2 million strong in relation to Covid – 19, but have not come across any reports on it or anything regarding their air or naval forces, which I suppose is not surprising.

        In this world if I were in charge of China or even Russia I would want these forces to stay fit & well.

    2. xkeyscored

      China and Cambodia bucked the global trend of event cancellations this week by starting joint military exercises as a way to show the world they’re over the coronavirus outbreak [hmmm] and getting friendlier despite apprehension in other countries.  

      The two old friends that often chafe against neighboring Vietnam and the United States began their fourth annual joint military drill on Sunday [15 March]. The activities in Cambodia’s Kampot province will focus on humanitarian rescue work and counterterrorism work before ending April 1, the Chinese official Xinhua News agency reported.  

      Officials in Beijing hope to show the world they are reemerging now politically and economically after the outbreak, which is still spreading in Western countries, while Cambodia wants to show solidarity so it can get more Chinese aid, analysts say.

        1. xkeyscored

          There’s also the issue of the Chinese buying everything. I was pooh-poohed by a few high-ups when I first mentioned this; now Sihanoukville is locally nicknamed Sinoville, and nobody I know, Cambodian or not, wants to go there. Meanwhile large stretches of the country have become ‘economic concessions’ and other such euphemisms, with Chinese armed guards to keep prying eyes from finding out what goes on there.

          Interestingly, Pol Pot’s wife Khieu Ponnary went mad, and one of the few symptoms I’ve seen in print was imagining the Vietnamese were coming, something her husband did a lot to ensure eventually happened. The current government does quite a good job of maintaining relations with the US, China and Vietnam, to some extent playing them off against each other without provoking them too much.

          1. John

            “…large stretches of the country have become ‘economic concessions’…” Do they actually use the word ‘concession’? The concessions for 100 years were despised yet sources of wealth. So now the “colonized” has become the colonizer, for some definition of the words.

            1. xkeyscored

              Tell me more! I didn’t know this, but it sounds very apt. Do post a link, please.
              And yes, that is the word used in English. Frequently run by a mystery company traceable to an unresponsive phone number.

              Economic land concessions Cambodia
              An economic land concession (ELC) is a long-term lease that allows a concessionaire to clear land in order to develop industrial-scale agriculture, and can be granted for various activities including large-scale plantations, raising animals and building factories to process agricultural products.

              Concessions | Open Development Cambodia (ODC) › topics › concessions

      1. MLTPB

        Their prime minister was there to greet the cruise ship passengers, and so far, the country seems to have avoided any serious consequences.

        Hope they are not as casual now, as lady luck is fickle.

        1. xkeyscored

          Nowhere near as casual. Samdech Techo the Prime Minister does have a knack of dodging bullets, and I think the Westerdam was one of them. Now all schools closed, and streets much much emptier than usual. Still hoping high temperatures and UV will slow the virus’ progress, but the signs from elsewhere aren’t encouraging.

    3. Michael

      Another benefit of missiles and drones. Operators are already in the Q.

      Would not be surprised to see terror attacks on oil production and delivery systems or…?
      What would OsamaSunTzu do? Last time we were not very imaginative!

  15. chuck roast

    Yep, the same hit just keeps on comin’…headline in Monday’s pink paper:

    “Fed Begins Purchase of Low-rated Corporate Bonds”

    It’s like predicting my death. It’ll come sooner or later. Simply extrapolate. Check out Wolf’s post for the charts from hell. He likes to say the world doesn’t go to heck in a straight line, but I think he would have to relent on this trip.

  16. Kasia

    I was talking to a friend last night in California and he is a fairly well-off guy but his company can only last a month like this and will have to shut down. He is very soon going to be unable to meet his mortgage payment on a house he has very little equity in. I imagine he is not alone. Defaults are going to skyrocket. I don’t even know if the price of housing will go down much since given the current situation it is really not possible to sell a house! I was telling him to consider stopping payments but stay in the house. The banks will not be able to foreclose for years if this virus lasts say a year. In the UK they are talking about giving homeowners a three month mortgage vacation, which will probably be extended. In Hungary they are suspending all loan repayments of any type for the duration of the crisis.

    1. xkeyscored

      The banks will not be able to foreclose for years

      I thought they were able to foreclose with ease after the last financial meltdown, with illegal foreclosure procedures being ignored. Wasn’t Mnuchin involved in something like that? And I believe he’s Treasury Secretary now, so what reason is there to think he and his kleptocrat buddies aren’t salivating over the next round of trickle-up economics?

        1. John

          I agree. The didos that Congress and their owners got away with in 2008 are not going to fly this time and any financial genius hovering over his computer screen and imagining that is a reality that he understands and can manipulate is in for a shock. Remember the movie Network and “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.” Think of that as the first faint whisper of what will be coming.

      1. Kasia

        I was suggesting that market conditions would not allow them to foreclose in that there will be so many people in default and the economy in either limbo or a real depression that they will not be able to sell the houses and so will allow the people who defaulted to continue to occupy them free for a couple years before the banks will get around to kicking them out.

        1. xkeyscored

          With all the liquidity injections and near-zero interest rates and so on, won’t companies borrow to buy up foreclosed houses? It might all go belly-up and backfire on them, but I think it’s more or less what they did post 2007/2008.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            I wonder what would happen if the waves of to-be-forclosed-upon all carried out plans to slo-mo sabotage their houses when the foreclosure came. Push concrete down the toilet way down into the connector-sewer. fill the hot water heater with concrete. Fill all the pipes with cement. find a way to fill the furnace with concrete. Fill the refrigerator with concrete. Unscrew all the electric socket faceplates and put a couple of pieces of fish or shrimp in the cavity and then screw them back on. Figure out how to create a very slow pinhole leak designed to wet down enough hidden in-wall insulation to foster a huge black mold colony.

            etc. etc.

              1. drumlin woodchuckles

                Only slightly. I never had to do any of these things.

                But I am thinking more of the next and coming conspiracy to foreclose or otherwise seize a further round of millions of houses. People who spent decades building up physical value in their homes and yards should feel morally sanctified in getting revenge against those who steal those homes and yards.

                If a whole foreclosetariat of millions were to sabotage the not-theirs-anymore houses and yards on their way out the door, the System and its Police would not be able to enforce anti-sabotage laws against everyone.

                And thinking ahead to the copper-strippers, it would sure be nice to find a way to radioactivate all the copper in the house so that the strippers get the cancer they deserve. That should be done even if ( esPECially if) one doesn’t sabotage the house otherwise. If you have no radioactive material available, cover all the copper with poison ivy oil or pure capsaicin oil , preferrably mixed with dimethyl sulfoxide . . . so the poison ivy oil or capsaicin oil enters the body and acts inSIDE the body. Copper strippers are barbarians from below just as financial raiders and perpetrators are barbarians from above. Both deserve to die screaming in Level 10 pain.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        They hid behind Obama who attacked the left basically as proto-Bernie Bros and promised to do a better job in his second term. I just assume his lies were so obvious at the time people don’t want to admit they were swindled.

        What is Biden going to do? Attack me for being an anti-papist then look confused when I ask him a question in Latin (which I could do? Not a hard question).

    1. steve

      “The Ancient Knowledge will again rebound, and overflow, as water upon the Earth.
      The remains of this knowledge are everywhere about us, in everyday use and perfect.
      Its revival will point to the restoration of the period prior to the confusion of lip.”
      Prophecy: The Source of Measure

  17. The Rev Kev

    Homer Hickam
    At the POTUS news conference today, much was made about Chloroquine. When I was in Vietnam 1967-68, we took 300 mg of Chloroquine once a week for malaria prevention.

    Most people would not recognize that name but he is with NASA. In fact, an article appeared in Links back in 2018 where an intern lost her position with NASA by using vulgar language in tweets directed at him and NASA took notice. Here is his Wikipedia entry and his early life story was made into the film “Rocket Boys”-

    1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Rocket Boys the book AND film are both excellent. They made me appreciate rockets and sh*t.

    2. ewmayer

      I was wondering why that name sounded so familiar! Loved the movie, especially the real-world home movie clips they worked into the credits (or maybe it was the DVD extras, I forget).

      1. xkeyscored

        Perhaps the people could take control of both. I think the word democracy has some relation to this.

        1. John

          You would have the government take control of the Fed? You would give control of credit and money to the Trump Administration? The Fed may not be perfect but it is at least somewhat insulated from the self-serving ways of politicians.

          1. barefoot charley

            The evidence for that was slim-to-none under Obama, before it was tweet-trashed by Trump beyond even plausible deniability. Who cares whether Trump can fire Mr/Ms Fed-Head? He doesn’t have to.

      2. Billy


        “Nationalize The Bank Owned Fed!
        100 Years of Inflation’s
        Already Paid For It.”

    1. Dan

      Sure, give the bankers total control. That’s what they want after all. Going straight to the Fed is tantamount to admitting that bankers create wealth. It’s saying we don’t want or need messy civil institutions to initiate or manage our economy. It’s exactly what they want.

      Remember David Rockefeller’s speech in Baden Baden in 1991.

      1. hunkerdown

        No, we don’t want private oligarchs managing OUR (not your) money for THEIR benefit.

    2. Ignim Brites

      Andrew Cockburn published in TAC? Does this strike anyone else as strange?

      A FED account for everyone is a good idea. And a law that the FED can only use these accounts to create “liquidity” should accompany it.

  18. Hamford

    What’s truly scary right now is more Q.E. The institutions at the top get access to that liquidity long-long before any small business have a fleeting chance.

    With more top-down relief, we will see massive consolidation and financial extraction. Toys-R-Us and Sears on a grand scale. American business right now is crippled, and nothing is more scary than Blackrock, Bain, et al., with some more access to leverage.

    Bottom-up relief is paramount right now, but if it is paired with copious Top-Down relief and more Q.E. the outcome will still be unfavorable to the American worker.

    1. Jesper

      But the cynic is me is expecting to see lots of liquidity coming which will enable consolidation and once the consolidation has been done then (and only then) the bailouts of the few left standing might come (and then done to save the workers of course…)
      And I expect to see the ones who have both private and public pensions to be bailed out by the ones with only public pension. That divide was a strategic master-stroke by the ones who benefits by dividing the 90%

    2. xkeyscored

      The consolidation and financialisation might be somewhat slowed by our elites worrying more about their own personal safety, hoarding in the Hamptons or bricking up their boutique bunkers.
      Only somewhat slowed, I fear.

  19. Eureka Springs

    I have 20.00 for a Naked Capitalism corona fund – a betting pool on what date and hour the first 75 million individual checks or transfers have actually gone out.

    While pondering I’m narrowed down to:
    Late April
    Late June

    A cough, on all three Branches.

  20. The Rev Kev

    “Saudi Arabia’s Weaponization of Oil Abundance”

    I actually see this as really bad news. There is no doubt that the years of easily recoverable oil is more or less coming to a close. Logic dictates that we should demand a higher price for oil as it gets more expensive to pump. A higher price would also encourage more investments in energy alternatives to reduce the eventual shock as it starts to get harder to get it to market. And yet here we are – talking about selling oil for $5 a barrel as if it will last forever. #EpicFail

    1. Leroy R

      Saudi Arabia is Wahabi; also an arch enemy of the Shiites, thus Iran. I have to wonder if logic (or MMT) directs their thinking.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I had mapped out a bit in my head for the specific years and family dynamics, but the long term consequences of the Saudi tribe uniting with the Wahabiist and not having democratic institutions is an abundance of violent, radicals who need to be exported before they start to realize the Saudi royals aren’t particularly necessary. Dumping them in the West is too high risk, but I think the goal is to export them to parts of Central Asia and around the Middle East. They are also scared of a modern 21st (nee 20th century) Muslim led country existing and giving ideas. Oil is their primary weapon, but their secondary weapon is being perceived as “responsible” compared to the alternatives. They will seek to destabilize to be the winners on the other side.

        1. Leroy R

          “on the other side” – very good! By then, water will be the ultimate resource, not petroleum, I suspect. How much better off are we with Trump consolidating political support among American evangelicals: Secretary of State Pompeo is an evangelical, as are VP Pence and the head of CDC Dr. Robert Redfield.

          1. Leroy R

            And Dr. Deborah Birx: “Redfield and Birx are both evangelical Christians who have been associated with HIV research for many years, going back to the 1980s. Birx runs PEPFAR, George W. Bush’s global AIDS initiative, and both she and Redfield have been involved with Children’s AIDS Fund International, which lobbies for abstinence-only sex education around the world.”
            From Salon

    2. Bugs Bunny

      Diesel is down 0.35€/l at the pump in France. No big change in petrol/gasoline prices yet.

  21. Martine

    RE: What Are The Best Materials for Making DIY Masks? From yesterday, but as LS would say, “Still germane.”

    It seems to me that this chart exposes a key flaw in scientific thinking in a consumerist culture. A dishtowel is not a thing, per se. It is a cloth made of some kind of fabric. Most of the fabrics that are combined to make “dishtowels” are seen lower in efficacy in the chart, e.g., cotton, cotton blend, pillowcase (also not a “thing,” but usually a cotton blend), linen, etc.

    Also, and importantly, most cotton blends are cotton and polyester, effectively a plastic. (See the article on aerosols and surfaces re plastic surface transmission, also from yesterday.)

    The more I look at the chart and think, the more it looks like utter nonsense.

    1. Carolinian

      That was a great article. It said the closest to actual mask material in efficiency was vacuum cleaner bag material (paper not cloth I assume). But the more efficient it is the harder it is to breathe through. This is doubtless why more advanced masks have a flap valve so exhaling at least won’t be hard and moisture will be more thoroughly scavenged from inside the mask. I have a cartridge mask that looks like something out of WW1 but seems to be fairly efficient for fumes or dust. You could probably take off the cartridges and use tight elastic to mount disposable filter material instead. Needless to say this wouldn’t earn you any friends at the grocery store. Lambert has suggested fashion masks which may be the way to go.

      1. Lee

        I’ve been wearing my P-100 mask that I got during last year’s fire season. I assume it’s better than nothing when I have to go to the market. As to the reactions of others, I could care less. One of the attitudinal advantages of old age.

        1. BlakeFelix

          I think that a P100 is the best, to my understanding the n95s catch 95% and the p100s stop 99.97% of incoming 5? Micron particles. But if you exhale through a vent I don’t think that it would protect others from you.

    2. Bugs Bunny

      Your loyal rabbit has tried to stay in as much as possible but this information was invaluable.

      My kind wife went out yesterday in a ski mask, wraparound, sealed glasses and a dishtowel doubled around her nose and mouth. She went to a local farm and scored us chicken, eggs, cheese and duck filets. We threw all the clothing in the wash after she got back and cleaned all the packaging with alcohol. Not so surprisingly, there were other (mostly elderly) people hanging around chatting while she ducked in and out like a ninja. It’s hard for people around here to stop their normal social interactions. I pray for them because they’re mostly elderly in this very rural part of France, abandoned by TPTB in Paris.

      With my pre-existings, I am terrified.

      1. WillyBgood

        I feel for you. Myself and friends have preexisting medical conditions putting us in the high risk category and are starting to think going outside is just like playing Russian Roulette with a 10 cylinder revolver! We also are just trying to do our best for ourselves and those around us, sounds like you are too. Keep up the good work!

      2. HotFlash

        Dear M. Bunny, as a fellow member of the Rabbit Clan, I have always followed your comments with interest. Stay well, enjoy your duck fillets (duck fillets! I only scored sknl/bnls chk brsts and smoked salmon, although I, too, wore a ninja mask). May El-ahrairah watch over you, Mme Bunny, also Fresno Dan of the Bunny Slippers, and all others, whether of the Rabbit Clan or not.

        Maybe no atheists in foxholes, but more than a few animists in mine :)

  22. John

    Why the hell can’t we get alcohol, masks, hand sanitizer and gloves restocked in the stores?

    Been weeks.

    Greatest country on earth my you know what.

    1. HotFlash.

      Two weeks is plenty of time to make alcohol, or another fine disinfectant, vinegar. Windex is a pretty good disinfectant, dunno what effectiveness for this particular virus (don’t think anyone actually *knows* …), it is 1 part ammonia, 4 parts rubbing alcohol, (some small amount) dishwashing liquid, 27 parts water
      32 parts total.

      Except for the dw liquid, all ingredients naturally occuring. Eg, kitty litter for ammonia, fermenting apples or grains for alcohol, water falls out of the sky in many places.

      Interesting, too, is ChiGal’s info re alcohol possibly strengthening bonds betw virus shell and protein? Interesting times indeed!!!

  23. verifyfirst

    This seems like a much better idea?

    UK government will pay 80% of all wages due to job loss from coronavirus

    And they are also

    The Chancellor also pledged £1 billion of support for renters by increasing housing benefit and Universal Credit.

    He said the welfare payments’ “generosity” would be increased to allow the local housing allowance to cover at least 30% of market rents.

    1. xkeyscored

      Cambodia, not usually considered an advanced economy, was onto this a month ago. Admittedly not much mention of the country’s huge informal sector, but that goes for the US and UK plans. And this country’s GDP is only around $20 billion/year, with up to $2 billion allocated for COVID-19.

      “Prime Minister Hun Sen said Monday [24 February] the government will help factories pay 60 percent of workers’ minimum wage for up to six months and offer exporters tax breaks in an effort to mitigate effects of the COVID-19 outbreak and revocation of EU trade privileges.

      For the payments to garment workers, the government would pay for 20 percent of the basic minimum wage, while factory owners will pay 40 percent of the wage. Additionally, factories will get tax breaks for six to 12 months.

      On account of a sharp decrease in Chinese tourist arrivals, Hun Sen announced that hotels and guesthouses in Siem Reap will also get tax breaks to mitigate a fall in tourists on account of COVID-19.” (and other sources, VOA is not my go-to!)

    2. ewmayer

      “UK government will pay 80% of all wages due to job loss from coronavirus” — Not to sound like a Brexiteer, but having kept their sovereign currency when they joined the EU certainly helps in terms of having flexibility of stimulus planning now.

  24. Lee


    Hydroxychloroquine is an inexpensive generic drug used for decades as a treatment for malaria as well as for Lupus, arthritis and other conditions. It’s actually free under my Medicare Part D plan. Given the premiums I pay, it should be.There are some preliminary indications that it may be effective in treating Covid-19.

    My Chronic Fatigue Syndrome doctor has prescribes hydroxychloroquine for some of his CFS patients with good results.

    We CFS patients tend to be willing and fully informed guinea pigs in the search for treatments that will provide relief from our symptoms, often with good effect. I’m currently taking a cocktail of off label medications that work well for me. But hydroxychloroquine is one medication I haven’t tried yet. There are some possible untoward side effects, particularly for older patients such as myself, if they take it over a long period of time, so my doctor and I previously decided against it as a maintenance medication for treatment of CFS in my case.

    With the news that it might be effective on a short term basis for Covid-19, both as a treatment and possibly even as a preventative if taken prophylactically, he prescribed it for me. I am in my seventies with underlying health problems that put me at high risk of dying from Covid-19.

    The dosage he specified is a bit lower than that being used clinically to treat Covid-19 and well below dosages that have proven acutely toxic in some cases.

    The current theory as to cause of CFS subscribed to by Stanford researchers, which my treatments are based on, is that it is a chronic low grade inflammation of the central nervous system usually triggered by a severe case of flu. Lethargy, mind fog, and hypersensitive pain receptors are principal symptoms that are worsened by physical or mental exertion. That’s why reading Naked Capitalism is so often tiring, but well worth the effort.

    1. xkeyscored

      Good, but on the other hand, what can happen in less educated or regulated places:

      Coronavirus: Nigeria reports chloroquine* poisonings after Donald Trump touts antimalarial drug as treatment
      Health authorities see long queues at pharmacies in wake of US president’s remarks
      Surge in interest raises concerns about people ‘self-medicating without guidance’

      *almost the same as hydroxychloroquine

      1. Lee

        Thanks. I’ve read about such cases too. Fortunately, I do have physician guidance.

        As I noted, We patients do a fair share of guinea pigging at the CFS clinic. There are no medications specifically designated for CFS. All the medications we take are prescribed off label. I’ve had non life threatening adverse reactions to several. But I’ve also received a lot of relief from those that work for me. Different meds work for different patients, further complicating things.

        One of the most dramatic benefits was when we replaced opioids with low-dose naltrexone to treat moderate to severe chronic low back pain.

        1. lordkoos

          Have you ever tried D-Ribose powder for CFS? At one time in my life I was having fatigue off and on and it did help.

    2. Wyoming

      A cautionary tale.

      Back in the day me and a lot of my coworkers spent extensive time in Africa and were required to take the various anti-malarials. Most of us hated them due to the side effects to such an extent that after a time (from months to a year) we ended up refusing to take them at all. We decided from seeing lots of people with malaria that we would take our chances with getting malaria vice putting up with the side effects of the drugs.

      I mentioned this in a conversation with a friend this morning who is a MD and he laughed and said that the side effects of those drugs are much worse than the media is reporting on today. So buyer beware.

      1. Lee

        Thanks. Even if I tolerate the drug well, the plan is not to take it long-term because of the risk to eyesight and other adverse reactions that generally affect older, long-term users. The drug is not typically used as an anti-malarial in regions where the pathogen has developed resistance to it.

        1. xkeyscored

          It’s not much used here for the opposite reason. Malaria has developed resistance to newer drugs and lost some for chloroquine, so now it’s only available in hospitals and kept for cases that don’t respond to other stuff.

      2. Bugs Bunny

        I take Malarone whenever I’m in a red risk area and have never had any side effects. Mefloquine is the one that is full of side effects.

      3. lordkoos

        We took a few courses of an anti-malarial drug with us when we went to Thailand for an extended stay, as per doctors’ recommendation, but never ended up using them. After reading the list of side effects of the medications I would avoid them if at all possible. Looking it up last week I saw one testimonial online from a person who lost 80% of his vision after taking chloroquine.

        1. Jonhoops

          Noticed on eBay that Chloroquine tablets for use in aquariums had jumped in price from a couple of bucks to into the hundreds.

    3. johnd

      I normally dont comment but religiously follow NC. My wife and mother in law have taken plaquenil for 7 and 20+ years respectively for seperate autoimmune diseases. There are some rare complications but not in their case. If i get covid it is the first thing i will take. There is a tendency to be critical of trump in the media regardless of the issue but i believe this could save lives. There has been over 10 trials across 3 continents as detailed in the nature website which is far more than any other drug. I understand they were positive to varying degrees. Here’s hoping that it is ramped up in production. Its also off patent and produced by over 6 companies so it should be cheap as chips. It is in ireland at least.

  25. Samuel Conner

    Gotta love the framing of this item:

    specifically this bit:

    “Trump has already signed two coronavirus stimulus packages that combined cost over $100 billion. The third stimulus bill being negotiated by senators will cost roughly $1 trillion.”

    Some day perhaps the shapers of public opinion will grasp that dollars, created by the Federal government, are as plentiful as we are willing to make them. What is potentially scarce is real physical objects (like test kits and hospital beds) and skilled people.

  26. HotFlash

    For anyone looking for some real information on corona virus, the Province of Ontario has some quite detailed information on one of its web pages:

    I was heartened to see that they list method of transmission, where known. Seems a lot of cases are in people who have traveled abroad, incl cruises. I was disheartened to see so many cases with all info ‘pending’, this looks like reporting procedures not being followed and one wonders why. Bad training? Bad execution? Staff overloaded?


    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      it’s the same at the CDC website, which I have stopped checking since JHU and the Guardian are more up to date.

      since we aren’t doing contact tracing, most of that is community spread but yet to be verified, is my guess

  27. The Rev Kev

    “The Peace Corps isn’t just bringing home 7,300 volunteers because of the coronavirus. It’s firing them.”

    Just spitballing it here but could the ultimate reason be that this as done is because under a Trump administration, there is no worth attached to the Peace Corps because there is no profit involved? Seriously. I could almost hear Trump say that ‘It costs us a lot of money. We are being taken advantage of. Where is the profit for us? No more. I’m bringing them home.’

    1. ambrit

      I’m surprised that the “Intelligence Community” is allowing this to go through. The ‘Peace Corps’ has been a powerful ‘Soft Power’ weapon for America for decades. Plus, if even a small part of the rumours are true, the Peace Corps has been a fertile breeding and training ground for decades for “Company Employees.”

    1. Carolinian

      Very much worth a read. And the interviewer is like a cartoonish version of everything Carlson is talking about. All this guy’s questions boil down to “but don’t you think Trump is incompetent?” Part of Carlson’s point is that the media are so obsessed with imaginary threats that they themselves ignored the real one coming from China.

      1. montanamaven

        Very worth the read.

        And when you live in a country where everything is political and people are seeing, you know, every development through an ideological lens, either as a way to gain advantage or as a threat to their current advantage, it’s very hard to tell a straightforward story.

        The Vanity Fair guy just doesn’t want to see the point Tucker is making. The media reporting was all about Trump tweeting all the time. They were like rabid dogs about the stupid Russia meddling and weren’t doing their jobs and reporting about other news and so Tucker was one of a very few who saw the Chinese coronavirus story as huge. But no one would pay attention to him, not even the opinion or news people at Fox. He makes the point that he tries like crazy to report on important stories and not just about Trump.
        And now we have stories about how “Trump dismantled the pandemic unit in the NSC”. But where were these reporters when that happened two years ago. It’s easy to report on it now and point fingers and stomp up and down. What if they had called attention to it then?
        Important interview.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          The reporters were probably too stupid to know at the time. They are probably too stupid to know what the pandemic unit really was . . . even today. They only know that it is something they can accuse Trump of closing.

  28. Ignacio

    Today, only for today and the day is not over, have been reported 517 Covid 19 fatalities in Spain. A big jump! I know one of them, former Professor of Microbiology. In my quarantine (8th day) I have two thinkings:

    1) One for all those that not long ago were saying that Covid 19 was crying wolf and we should still focus on flu.
    2) The authorities in Spain have been warning that next will be a bad week. This strongly suggests they know epidemiological data that is not shared with the public. My guess is they are using something like the FluNet to track real disease incidence.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      As for (1), don’t hold your breath. I’ve already seen some of the ‘its just a bad flu’ people wriggle around to pretend they never said that (MoA, I’m looking at you). Fox News has already done a 180degree about face without the slightest embarrassment. And the entire UK government completely changed its policy while pretending not too.

      As for (2), yes, going by the body language, the private projections that politicians have been briefed on are pretty horrifying. I’ve been struck here by how quiet some normally very loquacious Irish Politicians have been. The desire not to promote panic is understandable, but I think there is significant downplaying of the likely impacts by governments everywhere.

      Here in Ireland the ‘old’ government is staying in power for the duration. The Green Party is trying to insist that there must be a government of national unity for 3 months – i.e. every major party should be part of the government. But they are not getting anywhere with the message. The irony is that the government, having gotten badly spanked by the electorate just a 6 weeks ago, is getting generally praised for doing a good job of handling the issue. They are helped of course (as with Brexit) by the fact that Irish people can see UK news all the time, so no matter how bad our government is, they will always look like models of integrity and competence when compared to the Tories.

      1. furies

        Didn’t Yves imply many times that masks were ineffective?

        We all make mistakes…some more deadly than others.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          I don’t mind people making mistakes, we all do. What I do mind is people who refuse to own up to them.

        2. Ignacio

          I don’t use masks and yet have avoided infection (so far to my knowledge). I am in charge with buying the necessary stuff at home and I still think people is badly using masks. Using masks in the street is wasting them for nothing and they should be reserved to use in closed spaces with human traffic like spmkts. I make my “casual” mask with cotton napkins tied to my ears with gums when in the supermarket. Stop. Put it on just before entering and take it of when exiting to a plastic bag. I reserve true masks for the case someone at home gets sick (should be me).

        3. Yves Smith Post author

          Do not straw man what I said. And far more important, do not mislead readers on such an important issue.

          Standard surgical masks ARE ineffective in preventing getting coronavirus, which is what people were buying them for. They are intended to prevent medical professionals from infecting others. We’ve had LONG discussions of n95 and n99 masks (which ARE effective but require training and fitting to use and can only be used for short period of time because is very hard to breathe with them).

          Surgical masks fit too loosely to stop from breathing in airborne droplets. Surgical masks typically do not cover the lower face fully. Fiddling with them could easily result in touching skin on your face, which is a major contagion vector (that is why you are supposed to wash your hands all the time…because most people find it impossible to inhibit the impulse to touch your face).


          1. You can mock up a full face mask. They prevent you from touching your face. That potentially is very useful. And making one yourself means you aren’t depleting medical supplies.

          2. A mocked up mask would greatly reduce your transmission to others if you are incubating the coronavirus or in the “mild cold” phase.

          But neither of those reasons above were the reason for panic buying of surgical masks.

      2. MLTPB

        Against taking in others = not wanting to share glory, assumption : there is victory to be had.

        For taking in other parties = assumptim is defeat, this desire blame sharing.

        That’s my first reaction.

        Maybe they who have inside info believe in the optimistic case, and do not want to share glory.

    2. MLTPB

      Stay safe.

      I look at the numbers from Spain…

      And around 1,000 in Africa now. I know, early on, that that was the place people mentioned to watch.

  29. The Rev Kev

    “A Coronavirus Explosion Was Expected in Japan. Where Is It?”

    Seems very suspect. Almost if the Japanese had something to hide. Bloomberg has said that if the Olympics are cancelled, then Japan would suffer a slump for several years so that is a lot of pressure for them. At the moment there is still pressure from some administrators to go ahead with the Olympics and I have seen this for both the US and Oz. They are almost defiant about what is happening in the world and how Japan will fare in the months to come. To add another complication, the Olympic Torch has just arrived in Japan. I hope that they disinfect that Torch as it bounces around Japan like a pinball machine ball. Otherwise, handing that Torch from hand to hand would infect whole new regions in Japan.

    1. Ignacio

      Olympics are going to be cancelled. Or alternatively played with very few countries participating.

        1. urblintz

          if it isn’t canceled, the asterisk attached to the year 2020 in the olympic history books will not be about the absence of Russian athletes.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        If the games are not cancelled, the IOC-Media Industrial Complex will extort and terrorise all the athletes within its reach into going to the Olympics. Every Olympic athlete will be forced to weigh the career suicide of not going versus the physical suicide risk of going.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      I’m suspicious of numbers, but:

      -its early. So my guess is the worst of coronavirus outbreaks will be matched to other seasonal outbreaks or matching health risks, something that normally wouldn’t be noticed. Coronavirus isn’t in lieu of the normal situation. Its on top. People get sick normally. Even the Chinese outbreak coincided with the New Year and the stresses associated with travel and holidays.

      -Japanese natural social distancing might work to an extent to reducing viral load. Crotchety New Englanders might be most equipped to handle this. Look at the old people who keep getting checks, but never go out or are seen…

      -The spread has certainly gone through airports. Then I think about the people using Uber on long trips from the airport to home as an additional vector point. In the West, we kind of have this false image of Japanese people being loaded into tubules for work and play, but what is the real distance between people and air quality?

      Maybe, this will save everyone from the absurdity of the Olympics in general.

      1. Cuibono

        Social Distancing and Japan?
        Well yes handshakes and Hugs ar not part of the culture.
        But riding a 2 hour train ride packed literraly like sardines is.
        Yes with facemasks. Yes with handwashing.

        I dont think this can be just govt hiding true numbers…
        My friends in Japan do not suspect that on the ground.

    3. PlutoniumKun

      Yes, its astonishing that they haven’t done the obvious and just postponed them until next year. Its been pretty obvious for at least a month that there is no chance of them going ahead.

      I’m in two minds about the Japanese figures. There is little doubt that the Japanese are far better at the ‘basics’ of disease control than most countries. They don’t go for physical contact in ordinary life, and most public places are scrubbed clean at all times (apart from bar toilets, seemingly an exception). They wear masks at every sniffle. So if any country could be controlling it through relatively non-extreme measures, it’s Japan.

      But… given everything we know about the extreme infectivity of the disease. And that Japan failed to control people coming off the cruise liner. And the extreme political pressure in Japan to keep everything ‘normal’ in what is supposed to be Japans big year in the public eye. Its all very suspicious.

    4. Ignim Brites

      Hard to credit the idea that cancelling the Olympics would cause a slump for several years in Japan.

  30. MT_Bill

    I’ve seen plenty of comments on Garden prep and strategy past couple days so thought I’d add a random thought.

    Being Irish, I know the importance of potatoes, and also how plagued they can be by disease.

    If you’re lucky enough to have the space may be good practice to plant multiple patches on your property instead of just one. That way you have a choice for what to store for seed potatoes in case this really does become the long emergency.

    For those that don’t have the space, you might be able to do the same at the community level. Save the ones that look the best, share the ones you have to eat.

      1. lordkoos

        We don’t have a ton of garden space but my wife did grow a few heirloom purple potato plants a couple of years ago, I must say they were delicious and I’m not much of a potato person normally. The tires are a good idea, will have to try it.

          1. lordkoos

            Why would they be? Aren’t they just rubber with steel belts inside? And using old tires there shouldn’t be any off-gassing etc.

    1. polecat

      Potatoes do need to be rotation planted, if at all possible. Otherwise, scab .. or worse becomes problematic. But yes, variety is the spice of spud life !

    2. MLTPB

      Some worry about not having water.

      Here, in CA, when people dont have water, there isn’t much to grow.

  31. ptb

    Re: Covid19

    NY State, outside the city/metro-area: If you want to enhance your working model of the situation, I suggest following the news coming out of individual county health departments. The information made public varies greatly from county to county, so one’s own county may not be the best one. You can deduce some less commonly promoted information such as testing policy, lead times for tests etc, then apply the model to local case counts. I find Tompkins and Monroe County and especially useful – the former due to numerical detail and the latter due to the fact that it now has a statistically significant amount of “data” to work with. In the case of Monroe, there are nuggets in the press rather than the primary source of the county health dept. (especially in regards to testing policy… suspected-quarantined but asymptomatic are still triaged out of testing. see here, last paragraph)

    It fairly clear that case counts in NY state, throughout the state, are still limited by test capacity.

    Also on the testing front, internationally, below is a per-country resource that I think is extremely valuable

    You’ll need a little more numerical literacy to get anything out of it. I especially recommend spending a few minutes with the “per-million-people” scatterplot. Be aware that the data points are not synchronized in time (but you can mouse over them and the data-date is reported to the right).

    1. allan

      And now, NYC: Only test those that are hospitalized as protective equipment ‘extremely limited’ [NBC]

      New York City’s hospitals are sounding the alarm about a critical lack of Personal Protective Equipment, PPE, and are limiting tests of COVID-19 to those that are hospitalized in the “epicenter” of the coronavirus outbreak and to stop testing outpatients, documents obtained by NBC News show.

      NBC News has reviewed a letter from NYU Medical Langone Hospital which says that the capacity to test for COVID-19 at labs in the region remains “critically limited.”The letter says that as of Friday NYU has told staff that the testing of COVID-19 was to be restricted to hospitalized patients only. In part, the letter says, because supplies of test swabs and other necessary testing components remains low.

      NYU’s directives come on the heals of a sweeping memorandum from the New York City Department of Health. The directive says, “there is a national shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), collection swabs, and viral transport media supplies and it is critical that laboratory testing be prioritized for hospitalized patients.”

      The memo says that applies to testing first responders who aren’t hospitalized either and says, “outpatient testing must not be encouraged, promoted or advertised.”

      This is completely insane and an admission that the shortage of swabs and/or reagents is critical.
      Exposed but asymptomatic HCW and first responders who are not tested will inevitably lead
      to further infections as they go about their work. Infections of family members, patients and additional HCW.
      An utter, man-made disaster.

  32. urblintz

    I must say, as someone who once might have used the term “loathe” to describe my feelings for Andrew Cuomo, I’m impressed with his responses to and explanations of the covid19 crisis.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Until Katrina, people use to say this about Jeb! Bush, another product of nepotism.

    2. Katiebird

      Me too. I especially likes that he combines what he says with Power Point bullet points. So if my mind wanders, I can catch up by reading the display. Also, it seems clear so far that where NY goes, the rest will follow.

      As much as I have followed COVID19 since NC began posting links about it, I’m still not prepared for us to get where Italy is. I keep thinking, we’ll have to go shopping in 2 weeks. I’m sure glad they have senior hours at the store. …. But, what if we can’t go shopping without great risk? I am not ready for this.

      1. TXGramma

        Re: shopping. Trying to shop as seldom as possible, but then I think if I postpone food shopping as long as I can won’t the viral load be higher at the stores the farther into the future when I once again step into the stores? So does it make more sense to shop weekly rather than every 2-3 weeks? Stores in my area no longer have pick-up available. Staples are sold out on Amazon. Looks like Target will still deliver, but only if you use their $99/year Lifft app. We have stocked up as much as we could, but we will need more after a while. I don’t know how we can minimize our exposure and still get food.

        1. katiebird

          Exactly what I was thinking. Also my husband doesn’t think we should ask son to do it. Because dangerous for him too. Maybe I’ll make a couple of body masks from old sheets. We have masks (from an old experiment) and gloves (archive)

          I would take a daily movie of our walk. But no one except us walks outside so there won’t be any changes.

        2. skk

          Yup, I have to do my annual labs + followup with doc in the last week of April. I have several pre-conditions including being 65. But I’m quite well since I take my pills, exercise, watch my diet and weight.

          A doc’s waiting room has gotta have a higher risk than my home. What the risk in pushing out my lab tests to Sep though ? – I should be able to find proxy data for that.

          I’m trying to decide if I should do the doc +labs visit in end-April, push it out to Sep or whenever or bring it forward to the coming week? And of course I don’t know for sure what the state of play will at the end of April, or in Sep for that matter. Bayesian Stats and Probability guides me. If the doc agrees to see me I’m bringing it forward – right now my two nearby local cities have a case count of 5 and 2 – by end April for sure its gonna be way higher.. But what about in September or so ? OTOH what’s the risk in postponing the lab visit to that time ?

          An interesting problem. But first the doc has to agree to see me – if the appt lady just giggles when I ask for an early lab test appt for “routine labs”, I’ll have an answer anyway.

          1. katiebird

            I would do them as soon as they can get you in. Otherwise I’d put it off. I think April will be a bad time to go for a routine doc appt.

            My stuff is due too. I am going to see if my do will renew prescriptions without me coming in. Worth a try anyway.

            1. pretzelattack

              my annual physical is march 27th, i guess that’s still in the relatively safe zone.

    3. bob

      Height competition among midgets. He looks good compared to everyone else. That doesn’t mean he’s not also awful. He’ll be the Rudy Giuliani of this crisis.

      I’ve heard the aristocrats at the dnc might try to sub him in for biden after no one gets a delegate majority.

    4. Pat

      I am so so about it. I think it is better than most, but I will be blunt if tomorrow’s shut down is the right move, then DeBlasio was right and it should have been enacted days ago, at least for the city.

      My opinion is that he is still constrained by his ambitions. What I give him is that he does get that pissing off the powerful and his donors by doing the right thing is necessary faster than many of our leaders.

  33. Pelham

    Given the urgency, wouldn’t it make sense for the Dems in Congress to go ahead and vote through the GOP plan to send out checks (or direct deposits) just to get things rolling? Then they could come back with whatever convoluted, time-consuming means testing they like for additional stimulus.

    But I suspect their real motivation is simply to deny the GOP any “win” in the virus situation while sounding virtuous in the process. Meanwhile, actual people suffer.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Pelosi runs the caucus with an iron fist, and her first goal is to not let people see that government can work under any circumstance. She doesn’t care about GOP wins. She wanted to knock off six inches of Trump’s wall but keep all the environmental destruction. Pelosi is nothing short of an evil human being.

      1. John

        I concluded that way back in 2008 when she said,
        we have to look forward, not back about the Bush/Cheney crime regime.

        And then of course, her caving to Hank Paulson, and bailing out Wall Street.

      2. Jason Boxman

        And she gets an assist from the Right, constantly claim she’s an ultra liberal lefty. Ha, not exactly. It’s almost like a tag-team.

          1. Chauncey Gardiner

            Yep. Assuming we’re still here, it will be interesting to see who gets a place in the “We’re all in this together” lifeboat and who is privileged to “Look forward, not back.”

  34. John

    Tucker: Senator Burr sold shares after virus briefing Watch newly appointed Senator Kelly Loeffler of Georgia who is on the hot seat along with 3 other Senators, of insider trading for selling stocks before the market crash.

    To me, it looks like she’s lying. Watch her face. FYI: her and her husband, Jeffrey Sprecher, are worth $500 million and he is Chairman of the NYSE.

    United States Senate Financial Disclosures (eFD)
    You can look up the trades here.

    I don’t trust anyone on FOX news to be on the side of justice and the American people although I know a lot of people here give some credence to Tucker Carlson not being a lapdog Murdoch shill for the rich.

    I think the underlying motive for Carlson to want her out of that Senate seat is that Doug Collins, a right-winger who is a big Trump supporter, is challenging her for that seat in a special election this year. He lobbied for the seat but the Governor appointed Loeffler in December.

  35. Ignim Brites

    “One-Party Dominance Extends to Statewide Elected Offices”. Washington is listed as one of four states having a competitive party balance between Reps and Dems. I doubt many conservative Reps in WA would feel that way. The DP dominance of King County insures that the DP will dominate in all policy disputes. A Rep, even a conservative Rep, might get elected to a statewide office. But he will only be effective if implementing DP policies. So the national appeal of a Rep from WA will be very limited. Similiarly with the national appeal of a Dem from a dominantly Rep state.

    1. anonymous

      It does not reflect Iowa well, either. Iowa is under Republican control. There is no “genuine mix of party control”. The article doesn’t take into account the power of the various offices or the influence of the legislature and Governor on those offices, nor does it consider the influence of the judiciary.

      The recent election of a new, young, Democratic auditor was unusual and likely because he emphasized his religion and love of hunting when he campaigned extensively, and he had fantastic television ads – an atypical case. He doesn’t hide malfeasance, as did the previous Rep office holder (i.e., the cost and benefits of our privatized Medicaid program), but he only has limited power, as does the Treasurer.

      We have had a Republican governor and Republican control in the IA House and Senate since 2017, and 5 of 6 Supreme Ct judges have been appointed by Republicans. The Republican legislature this past year changed our judicial nominating process to give more power to the R Governor. We used to have a judicial nominating commission split between lawyers elected by other attorneys and citizens appointed by the Governor (which still gave a R majority, as the lawyers were a mix of parties), and now the balance has been changed to give the Governor a majority say in the nominating commission. Further, the Republicans have been able to limit the power of the Democratic Attorney General; he is no longer allowed to sign IA onto multi-state lawsuits without the permission of the Governor (and that was a compromise). Our Secretary of Agriculture had his campaign financed by the Farm Bureau and other corporate agricultural interests in order to prevent any meaningful action to improve water quality. The Democratic Treasurer and Attorney General are almost institutions here – the Treasurer has been in office since 1983, and the AG since 1995, after having held the same office 1979-91, so I don’t think they are predictors of what party would take those offices going forward.

    2. lordkoos

      I live in WA state, and I am thankful that the eastern part of the state (where I live) is dominated by King county Democrats, as opposed to the rabid Trump supporters of this part of the state. Our town has many Democrats and the city govt is fairly progressive, but the county government is the opposite.

      If not for the west-side population dominating WA state politics, we’d look like Idaho. ID is has lousy heath care, and is currently doing nothing to deal with the CV. In the latter case, Idaho is an outlier among western states, more akin to the non-response of Texas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, etc.

      1. ambrit

        Oh, be not afeared my lord. Mississippi does have a ‘response’ to the CV. It is rather low key and still in the public/private neo-liberal organizational image. Here, in the half-horse metropolis, the CV ‘response’ is to set up a dedicated clinic to ‘process’ the cases. It is a perfect design with which to enforce whatever social engineering scheme you wish through “triage.”
        The State has done the usual ‘learn from home’ shut down of the State University system. Including, bizzarely enough, to shutter the only non-metropolitan recycling system in town, which had been run on the University campus. Now, to ‘recycle’ your plastic, paper, etc., you have to sign up for the City service, for which you are charged, so far, $3.00 USD the month. Thus, even recycling has been neo-liberalized. Don’t let a disaster go to waste.
        So, when places like Mississippi and Idaho do start to enforce “measures” to ‘combat’ the pathogen, do look at who gets to run those programs. Then backtrack and the “truth” will become “less opaque.”

          1. ambrit

            Over in Louisiana, where we lived for years, the phrase “per million basis” referred to the number of “Favours” a politico was required to perform per million bucks of campaign contributions. (Naturally, not all of those ‘campaign contribution dollars’ were declared.)

      2. Ignim Brites

        The first thing that non-responding states like Idaho and Texas should do is close their border to people from New York, Washington and California, much as Canada clised its border to US citizens.

  36. urblintz

    completely bizarre observation especially in light of the circumstance but…

    watching DeSantis announcing the Florida cautions and closures, I am mesmerized instead watching the fellow next to him who is signing. The expressions on his face are just remarkable and so full of meaning, ranging from deadly serious and imperative to a touch of appropriate lightness even humor, which combined with the fluency of his signing inspires awe!

    I’ve a new stay at home project!

    1. Jack Parsons

      American Sign Language for the deaf has a strong element of play-acting.

      I suspect that deaf people find normies weird and cold.

      1. Steve H.

        I was recently overwhelmed with “Last of the Red Hot Lovers.” In my youth, I had done theater for the deaf in a deaf community, and picked up enough fluency to have dreams in ASL. For “Red Hot” I found I could prompt myself with sign language disguised as gesture.

        At least within that community, normies were mostly irrelevant.

  37. sd

    On the page regarding origins of corona virus

    New study on COVID-19 estimates 5.1 days for median incubation period

    The analysis suggests that about 97.5 percent of people who develop symptoms of SARS-CoV-2 infection will do so within 11.5 days of exposure. The researchers estimated that for every 10,000 individuals quarantined for 14 days, only about 101 would develop symptoms after being released from quarantine.

    1. ewmayer

      This was on here over a week ago, I commented to effect of “only about 101? And how many more poeple might those ‘only about 101’ infect?” Again, the math of exponentials – assume folks who are asymptomatic on leaving quarantine infect on average R others.

      R = 2: in 5 spread-generations that ‘only 101’ who slip through quarantine will infect over 3200 others.

      R = 3: in 4 spread-generations that ‘only 101’ who slip through quarantine will infect over 8100 others.

      R = 4: in 3 spread-generations that ‘only 101’ who slip through quarantine will infect over 6400 others.

      R = 5: in 3 spread-generations that ‘only 101’ who slip through quarantine will infect over 12,500 others, more than were initially quarantined.

  38. marym

    Mint the Coin!

    Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib @RepRashida
    I fully support the @FSCDems #COVID19 economic response proposal. I also want to encourage leadership to consider my truly universal relief proposal on behalf of #13thDistrictStrong.

    This includes the Treasury using its legal authority to create a new mint program to fund:

    ✅Direct payments via preloaded $2,000 cash cards to everyone.
    ✅Recharging with $1,000/month until a year after the economy recovers.

    1. Monty

      I like the card idea. One benefit “means testing fans” might enjoy is the ease of cancelling unspent card balances after the threat has abated. Use it, or lose it.

  39. TheHoarseWhisperer

    regarding Dartmouth Hitchcock – they posted the heart tugging – donate protective gear on the same day Amazon delivered a case of 1000 vinyl gloves to my door. my wife emailed them to say – hey take some money out of petty cash and order some gloves from Amazon – here’s the link (they had them in stock still at that point) . the reply was “thank you for your interest – here is how to donate”. this is the moment where i remembered that my child’s medical bills were 360k (mostly expensive medications) in 2018 and my sympathy for them died.

      1. lordkoos


        I was wondering the same thing.

        So, you and your wife are hoarding 500 pairs of gloves while hospitals are having trouble finding supplies?

        1. TheHoarseWhisperer

          bob, lordkoos –

          it is very easy to pile on someone that you do not know.

          go here:

          observe availability. i am telling you that the inventory is correct, since i got a case.

          from where i sit, it looks like the hospital has a competency problem, not a supply problem. no one bothered to look if they can order these over the counter – – instead they put the call out into the community. this is misuse of good will.

          1. bob

            I didn’t pile on anyone. I asked if you run PR for banks, oil companies and health insurers.

            I still didn’t get an answer. Just a lecture from the propriety police.

            Is it proper for you to not disclose your PR work? Or is asking that question violence?

          2. aletheia33

            do you know how many ICU beds they have? the population (and numbers of extra vulnerable) of the region they serve? some reason that they are any better prepared than all the overwhelmed hospitals around the world/USA to have sufficient PPE available to protect their staff for the overwhelm’s duration?

            until definitely argued otherwise, i’ll stick with they’ve decided to go for publicizing their anticipated need even if it scares the community, as opposed to remaining silent, not admitting vulnerability, and risking more lives. and, better late than never.

            a good number of people (including anyone in my town, as my local rural hospital has no ICU) are going to be taken to dartmouth when their covid19 infections escalate to needing ICU care. as i or my partner or a close friend or valued neighbor might be one of those people, it only makes sense for me to appreciate any help anyone provides to keep the dartmouth staff up and running. it’s not even necessarily concern for them, it’s self-preservation!

            it’s hunkering down to wait for that broken femur to heal, and tending it, when the person it belongs to is a major contributor to keeping their family and/or the tribe alive. every health care worker, even in normal times, serves numbers well beyond the patients they actually see.

            “ask not for whom the bell tolls” . . .
            american conditioned to my own atomization that i am, i confess i have a lot yet to learn of how to act out of a real understanding that all of our lives depend on all of us taking care of one another.

  40. urblintz

    looking at alternate situations: I wonder how many now un-employed workers at home with their kids who, in spite of the cloud looming and believing they may get adequate compensation, are now thrilled not to go back to jobs they hated.

    1. carl

      My thesis is that Bullshit Jobs is actually correct, and these people really aren’t needed at work. So…UBI, I suppose.

  41. Chauncey Gardiner

    Regarding the bailouts, over the last 10 years, airlines’ cumulative stock buybacks reportedly totaled $45.5 billion. Jeffrey Gundlach, an investment manager and commentator frequently featured in the financial media, noted in a tweet this week that the the airlines would essentially net a 10% gain from the distribution of cash to their shareholders on the share buybacks should they receive the proposed $50 billion airline industry bailout. As with many other companies, that was cash they clearly now need to weather the economic storm of this pandemic. Instead, they replaced that cash with debt as part of what has become sarcastically known as “the buyback economy”.

    As with many other large corporations and industry sectors who used their cash following the 2017 corporate tax cuts from 35% to 21% to increase their cash payouts to shareholders through stock buybacks and cash dividends, massive share buybacks were recklessly negligent financial management for private gain concentrated largely in a narrow segment of the population, particularly among CEOs who benefitted as a result of their stock options. Corporate boards should be held accountable for this practice, and buybacks legally outlawed.

    As William Lazonick has said, the record amounts of corporate stock buybacks have reduced investment in the economy, increased income inequality, and have had a corresponding negative impact on the nation’s prosperity. SEC Rule 10b-18 must be reversed. Lazonick’s article is well worth reading, particularly in our current context amidst the national conversation about corporate and bank bailouts to mitigate the harsh economic effects of the pandemic. Taxpayers and workers have claims on how corporate resources and profits are to be used and distributed, and as the suddenly popular media refrain goes, “We’re all in the together”:

    1. Billy

      Subject to the employees on board of directors and no stock buybacks, only give them money in direct proportion to federal taxes paid.

    1. bob

      They’re going to ram this through over the weekend and then run home. It could be the last time congress sits for a while.

      1. ambrit

        Cynic that I am, I will believe the “people” part when I see it.
        I expect to see something very much like the ‘smoke and mirrors’ “hope and change” scam that Obama ran on the American people. Lots of money, but almost none of it for “ordinary” Americans. the ‘best’ part about the “Straw That Breaks the Camel’s Back” phenomenon is that you do not know what it will be until it has already happened.
        Interesting times.

    2. OIFVet

      Check out the follow up tweetstorm. It’s all about taking care of the haves, and throwing a few crumbs to the have nots. And Pelosi is standing aside letting McConnell and Mnuchin set the parameters. I think the only hope to avoid this is to have the true populists on both sides work together on enlightening the masses, and a massive campaign to write to our elected sh!theads threatening civil disobedience unless people come first. It’s beyond messed up

    3. ewmayer

      “When Mitch McConnell rushes through legislation worth 10% of GDP, much of which grants power to big business and finance, that’s not a relief package. That’s a transfer of power from the people to financial autocrats.”

      Yeah, who does this McConnell clown think he is – Obama bailing out the banksters? Oh, but the latter bailouts were to ‘rescue the economy’, as the ProPublica piece in today’s Links so helpfully reminds us.

  42. richard

    I just heard on Chapo that 13% of ballots were thrown out in Washington state. Has anyone else heard this? I tried Duck Duck Go but absolutely nothing.
    I wouldn’t mind a suggestion on a better search engine either, come to think of it. DDG is the pits, especially for anything slightly controversial.
    We have state run media now. Flat out, we do. You just have to fully conceptualize “the state”.

    1. Samuel Conner

      this reports that 36,000 ballots were disqualified for voter failure to indicate party affiliation:

      That would be about 1.6% of total ballots, I think

      The declaration is not private and it appears that some voters declined to declare in protest.

      Perhaps other ballots were disqualified for other reasons

      1. lordkoos

        Yes, and adding that box to check was total BS, designed to suppress votes from independents. I’ve been voting here for decades and that was the first time I had seen that on a WA ballot.

  43. Tom Bradford

    In its round-up of world CV-19 news last night our TV news reported a poll claiming that 54% of Americans approved of Trump’s handling of the pandemic.

    Can this possibly be true? Can a majority of USAsians be that stupid or ill-informed? So blinded by bling and addlepated by wall-to-wall ads? So firmly convinced the US must by natural law/God’s will be destined always to be the best at everything? if so God help you as, even with the best of intentions, the rest of the world can’t.

    When New Zealand’s acerbic and often inebriated PM Rob Muldoon was asked what he thought of New Zealanders who went to live in Australia, he opined that it lifted the IQ of both nations. Seems to me the US badly needs a fresh infusion of our poor, our huddled masses yearning to breathe free, to increase its IQ and political awareness, which is probably why the Trumps of the US are so keen on their walls.

    1. Daryl

      Same thing happened for Dub after 9/11. We will see if it holds. Most people in the US still don’t have first or second hand experience with CVD. By November, nearly everyone will.

  44. ewmayer

    “Coronavirus Is Growing Faster In The United States Than Any Other Country In The World | Forbes” — The Forbes editorial staff appears to be confusing the much-delayed US ramping-up of testing with the actual spread of the disease. Next up from the same set of digital-inked-stained geniuses:

    “Cancer is Running Rampant Now That Diagnostic Tests for Cancer Have Become Widespread”

    And hard upon that, we have another “doh!”:

    We Tracked the Last Time the Government Bailed Out the Economy. Here’s What to Know About the $1 Trillion Coronavirus Plan. ProPublica (UserFriendly) — The last time, during the GFC, the govt didn’t bail out “the economy”, it bailed out same the Wall Street fraud cartels which brought us the GFC. Seriously, your-name-is-a-misnomer ProPublica?

    1. xkeyscored

      The Forbes editorial staff appears to be confusing the much-delayed US ramping-up of testing with the actual spread of the disease


      “It is no secret that coronavirus testing in the United States has lagged compare to other countries. Limited testing in the United States potentially downplays the numbers below, leaving the true number of cases unknown.

      In the past week, the number of tests conducted in the United States has increased, however, the data for the past couple days has not been compiled yet. This could skew the numbers to look like coronavirus is growing faster, yet we are simply testing more.

      Ultimately, it’s impossible to capture the true number of coronavirus cases at any given point. The numbers show the minimum number of COVID-19 cases and are highly dependent on two factors: population and rate of testing.”

      And whatever the merits of the Forbes article and its analysis, the headline may turn out to be right.

      1. MLTPB

        That faster growth than anywhere in the world – is it the total US number or per million?

    2. DJG

      ewmayer. The USA Today article likewise is a mess of chart junk.

      U.S. state coronavirus curves show many could be close behind New York USA Today (Dan K). California looks to be the only one somewhat flattening the progression.

      No state is flattening the progression. What is “flattened” (shortened, almost criminally) is the vertical axis in which the distance between 1 10 100 1,000 and 10,000 is the same. Pure junk. All of the states are now showing exponential growth.

      However, and a big however, the CDC graph in the middle of the article disagrees somewhat with your assertion. The USA looks to be ready to pass Spain tomorrow in number of cases. I’d say that the USA tops China in number of cases by Tuesday next. Whether you think it a fiction caused by increased testing or not, the USA is in for a very rough time of it. It is now time also to watch the exponential growth in deaths. Horrid, but required.

      1. ewmayer

        “Whether you think it a fiction caused by increased testing or not” — I perhaps chose my phrasing poorly. My point was re. the headline confusing the trajectory of the actual (unknown) case count with the count of identified cases, which is rising rapidly due to the combination rising actual case count and ramping-up in testing. The combination of the 2 trends *guarantees* that the rate of increase in identified-case count will be greater – quite possibly by quite a lot so – than the rate of actual-case count.

        IOW, I was making a technical objection re. the confusing of the 2 counts, not trying to downplay the likely-quite-dire trajectory of the actual case counts in the US.

        Apologies for my poor choice of initial-comment wording.

      2. MLTPB

        Sounds like you are describing a log scale.

        A straight slope means exponential.

        Curving upwards would be something faster.

        Curving downward, you have less than exponential.

  45. smoker

    All the wealthy Landlords need to be forced to – at a minimum at least temporarily – provide free washing and drying. 03/18/20 How Long Coronavirus Lives On Clothes, And How To Wash Them – The best precautions to take with your laundry, the right detergents to use, and more.

    Also, How to wash fruits and vegetables during the coronavirus crisis

    Lastly, let alone provide non toxic water to places like Flint Michigan and DC Ghettos – this country needs to reduce water bills (with the exception of the stunning over use by billionaires and millionaires, who should be far more penalized for their age old (read Truman Capote’s Hand Carved Coffins) water gluttony during this pandemic. The US can print its own fricking money, and has certainly spent trillions bombing the fuck out of innocent people.

    (Sorry in advance, I had to post this without scripting due to unaffordable access (thanks again Identitarian™ Ajit Pai and DemRat Identitarian™ Obama, also Clinton/VC Gore, along with DemRat California Governors: Jerry Jesuit Brown; and now, Gavin Newsom – all Nasty Republicans at Heart™), and may not be able to respond to any responses to my comment).

  46. Noone from Nowheresville

    Stoller 12 tweet thread. compliments bob’s link in the comments above

    1. Here’s a list of what’s been floated, either publicly or privately, for the #CoronavirusCoup. I am told that Pelosi will take whatever McConnell negotiates in the Senate on the corporate side. $50 billion for airlines. $150 billion for anyone Mnuchin wants, likely Boeing.

    1. Daryl

      So Pelosi’s primary function here is just adding in more means testing and ensuring individuals don’t get money?

      1. Jackson

        I called the local office for Senator Crapo- ID three days ago for a clarification on the R $1.0 trillion plan and have not received a response. Maybe he’s back on the G/T’s again(Snark).

  47. Eureka Springs

    Masks aside… Has anyone an idea of our nations total inventory of flu fighting antibiotics and or a reasonable estimate of how much the nation can produce each week?

    1. ewmayer

      Antibiotics fight bacterial pathogens, not viral ones – ITYM antivirals. And I donlt know offhand which if any of the latter have been shown effective vs Covid-19, so fellow readers can hopefully weigh in on that aspect.

      1. Grebo

        I have seen a number of NNRTIs (expensive HIV drugs) touted anecdotally as being somewhat effective, sometimes in combination with hydroxychloroquine (a cheap malaria drug).

    2. pricklyone

      Antibiotics are primarily for bacterial disease, not against virii. What drug did you have in mind?
      Anti-viral drugs seem to be a mirage, though I don’t even play a doctor on TV.

  48. Daryl

    Blech, I need to stop reading all this. I just stumbled into Woke Liberal twitter. Going to go disinfect myself now.

    1. richard

      not as many libs as you think fella.
      (shocked face) That name caller was largely inaccurate in his assertion! Unbelievable!
      bye now

      1. Daryl

        I’ve been posting here for years. Not sure why you think I was referring to people on this site.

    2. ambrit

      In the spirit of full disclosure; not everyone here is a “woke liberal.” H—. You will have a hard time finding a less “woke” crowd than this on the internet. I has something to do with the site’s emphasis on ‘thinking.’
      If you still feel the need to disinfect yourself, may I suggest Napalmolive soap?

      1. Daryl

        Sorry. I’ve been here for a while. I was not referring to this site, but to my misadventures on Twitter.

        1. Daryl

          Since my original comment was rather mean and pointless regardless of who it was targeted towards, I apologise. Have a nice weekend everyone.

          1. ambrit

            Oh H—. I counter apologize for descending into invective. The recent times have us all on edge.
            It is a sign of the times when usually level headed readers start seeing Reactionaries Under the Bed. (The descriptive phrase may not apply to me, I understand.)
            Time to ingest some Victory Gin. (Medicinal spirits and all that.)
            Go in peace; return the same way.

      1. Daryl

        If you’d like to know more, see the replies to Bernie Sanders’ tweets. Recommend not doing it though.

      2. Mel

        I said somewhere else: a Woke Liberal is someone who believes the oppressor class is not diverse enough. Need more women and minority oppressors. I could be wrong.

      3. griffen

        Someone who’s missing all the good times under Obama 44 but never realized how difficult the supposed recovery actually was for finding new meaningful work.

        Like replacing 2 jobs in 4 years difficult.

    1. ChrisAtRU


      Pretty damning Twitter thread on the donors to Joe Biden’s Unite The Country Super PAC.


    2. ChrisAtRU


      The other shoe drops on Warren’s SuperPAC (Glenn Greenwald Twitter thread).

      So basically, @ewarren — who mocked “wine cave fundraisers” — had her campaign crash when it was running on the fumes of venture capitalist oligarch wealth, delivered in the form of $14.5m dark money SuperPAC contributions from a single donor. Sounds like the right ending.

  49. integer

    Can I get COVID-19 twice? This Nobel prize winner is sceptical ABC (Aus)

    We are very likely to develop immunity to COVID-19, making re-infection unlikely and raising the chances of vaccines being highly effective, according to the Australian scientist who discovered an important way the immune system fights viruses.

    In 1996, Peter Doherty won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discovering how the immune system identifies cells that have been infected by a virus.

    He said reports of people contracting COVID-19 twice are unlikely to be true.

    “I would be sceptical. But you can’t say with absolute certainty,” he told the ABC.

    “I would think even if it was a reinfection, that your prior infection would give you very rapid immunity and you would recover very quickly.”

    Professor Doherty said it was more likely that the test results suggesting the patients were clear of the virus were wrong.

    That could happen if the virus was not infecting the part of the body where the swab was taken from but instead infecting deeper in the lungs, Professor Doherty said.

    “I suspect they’ve been infected all along. It’s just that this area that’s been sampled hasn’t been detecting it.”

    I expect this will be shown to be the correct take.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I am skeptical of the claims of this Nobel Prize winner. Consider – when you catch the flu, does it mean that you will never get the flu again for the following years? No, because the damn thing mutates. And so is Coronavirus. You might get it this year and be immune to that strain but what happens in the second wave when it mutates? Hopefully you will not be one of those whose lungs have been damaged by the first bout of Coronavirus before getting that second dose.

  50. Noone from Nowheresville

    Per Rob Ross (retweet by Stoller) interesting gifs on Dublin. Can anyone in Dublin confirm?

    64% rise in rental properties across #Dublin in midst of #Covid_19 crisis according to property website @daftmedia as landlords start withdrawing their rentals from short-term listing sites like #Airbnb and are offering them into the market instead. #HousingCrisis #CoronaCrisis

    I do wonder what this will look like in the US. Here’s the datasource he shares in the comments

      1. Billy

        “Migrants” heading south? Friend owns property in San Pablo, a working class town in the East Bay Area. She reports that a couple units are vacant and former tenants are just gone, leaving a few large household items behind, incommunicado, no expressed desire to get deposits back.

        Wonder if they will be allowed across the Mexican border southbound? Feel sorry for friends who went to get their teeth fixed in Guadalajara. They might be stuck there for a long time.

    1. marym

      “Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-Vt.) campaign said Saturday morning that it had raised more than $2 million in the last 48 hours for several charities that are working to combat the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S.

      The money raised will go to No Kid Hungry, One Fair Wage Emergency Fund, Meals on Wheels, Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund and the National Domestic Workers Alliance, the campaign announced.”

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              Or maybe the living-corpse electrification-drugs wore off and his handlers can’t get the mixture to work again.

  51. Noone from Nowheresville

    Behold the power of Amazon. Not even this article about delivery drivers and warehouse workers could put a damper on friends’ continued purchasing of non-essential items.

    Combine this with the grifting of the bailout bill. Bye bye small businesses.

    And I don’t want anyone to get sick but if it had to be someone, I think it should most definitely be people using online shopping as a pasttime while the first wave is just getting started.

    I fully get people who need to get essentials or have a compromised immune system etc. But there really is a line between crucially need and just want to have. Amazon and Walmart need the first and depend on the addiction of the later.

    We have a pandemic going on in this country but you really wouldn’t know it. I guess it has to be right at their front door for them to care. Sooner or later either the warehousing staff or the delivery lines crash and burn. It’s asking way too much of them.

    Sorry for the rant.

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      No problem. Rant away.

      I suspect Amazon, FedEx, WallyWorld, etc. are making the same calculation the Chinese made. Namely, that if they can survive the first few months, there will be enough workers who have recovered w/immunity to keep the entire mess rolling along. Some die, enough live, and are desperate enough to walk back into the machine.

  52. The Rev Kev

    Just heard on the TV that the Italian prime Minister is giving a press conference. He must have listened to that visiting Chinese medical team. Italy is shutting themselves down altogether except for pharmacies, food stores and bans. No more details at the moment.

  53. Woodchuck

    Was curious what people here think about Italy’s death rate. It seems ridiculously high. I know the population is older than usual, but currently the death rate would be close to 9%, which is so far above every other country. It’s hard to believe the older population is enough to explain this kind of discrepancies where they’re 3-4x higher than elsewhere.

    How is it being explained? Is it that they count every death of an old person that was positive as a COV19 death no matter if it was related or not? Bad treatment that could be detrimental? Hugely undercounting the actual number of cases? The fact that they overwhelmed their medical system to the point where they simply cannot give treatment to people that would otherwise survive if they had say a ventilator or some other support?

    I’m wondering what would lead to such a huge difference in the death rate to the point where they ended up with far more deaths (with no signs of it slowing down as the rate increases daily) than China already. Any insight is appreciated, I know how on top of things many here are!

    1. The Rev Kev

      Probably what you suggested. The fact that their medical system was overwhelmed. At that point it became triage and treatment was withheld from older people and given to younger people that stood a greater chance of surviving. At this point, you spend their resources saving those that can be saved.

    2. Steve H.

      With no testing providing no evidence, and false positives and negatives, and with categorization variation, the hard number is the all-causes death rate. That will include the secondary effect of non-CV who died from lack of treatment, but that is attributable to pandemic conditions.

      1. MLTPB

        On the other hand, the German rate seems low.

        Together, united, it will likely be closer to the average rate,

  54. VietnamVet

    The writing is on the wall. NYC is shut off. Government leaders are third string corporate stand-ins. They think that America lives in suburbia like themselves and the pandemic will be just like the last Trump government shutdown. That’s completely wrong. 175 million live in the suburbs. Amazon is collapsing. Getting food means being exposed to asymptomatic grocery workers and customers shedding virus through the stores if they happen to be stocked.

    China, Taiwan, South Korea are holding there own by doing basic public health measures, contact tracing, isolating infected and keeping them away from the uninfected, and working together as a society. The period of infection lasts thirty days. The only way to compress and shorten the pandemic is universal testing and a strict quarantine of the infected, asymptomatic and ill. Hospital beds, ventilators, healthcare workers, shelters and food preparation and delivery will be required to avoid mass casualties.

    The treatment of Peace Corp Volunteers is the pinnacle of the stupid heartless ideology of the current government and corporate leadership. They are federal employees, vetted, trained, emphatic and ready after a week back home to go to work doing contact tracing in their communities. Instead they are fired and told to find a way home to a developing Dante’s Hell.

    1. MLTPB

      1 contact tracing – one issue is that it is not the most efficient way in areas with a prevalence. Focused testing or screening maybe be more cost effective.

      Another issue is privacy, confidentiality and riskof stigma.

      As well, can anyone recall exactly whom they have been in contact for a few days? More so, if he or she had been on a bus, in a bar, a cafe, a restaurant, a concert, a club, or through an airport.

      2. In S Korea, and perhaps China and Taiwan, where you are located is monitored, for everyone. Maybe that is the key.

      3 I’m not aware of ny centralized food delivery in Taiwan or S Kores.

      1. VietnamVet

        The dearth of information in the USA of what Singapore is actually doing is telling. Half a century ago, my impression was that Chinese diaspora eat out or have food delivered. I expect there is a prepared food infrastructure for delivery by motorbikes already in place there. In isolated America Suburbia, there is Domino’s and the local Chinese restaurant but that is hardly enough if pandemic lasts more than a month. Likely it will extend beyond this because of new people getting infected going out and about for food resupply and imperfect isolation. To shorten the pandemic’s time frame there needs to be centralized food distribution and contact tracing to find out how the isolated got infected not to mention also to quarantine infected individuals in homeless encampments and other at-risk populations.

        1. MLTPB

          When a trip to grocery store is risky, it’s similar with food delivered by stores.

          Simply touch a shopping cart, or touching the food container at the front door. And you have it.

          China jusr saw at least one new domestic case. Did it evade contact tracing of imported cases?

          Hong Kong had 48 new cases a day ago. Adjusting for their 7 million population, vs our 320 million, or so, that’s about 2,000 new cases equivalently. The US saw 3,000 new ones recently. That’s the same order of magnitude. They are seeing this second wave, weeks later than most, due to travel restrictions by Italy on China, which included Taiwan and HK. The first time, Hong Kong kept it under control without centralized food deliver, I think. We will see this time.

          The key in China, it seems to me, was total surveillance state..foir us, it would mean everyone, including candidates, bypassing FISA, etc.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Touch the cart or the package and you have it? No. You do not have it. You have it on your fingers, not in your respiratory tract or eyes.

            So have or carry hand sanitizer with you and hand-sanitize your hands AND the object you touch/touched to kill virus there.

    1. Kurt Sperry

      This post is under investigation or was found in violation of the Medium Rules.

      That’s all I get now. I did read it and should’ve saved it. Down the memory hole, it looks like. It was skeptical of the real-world efficacy of extreme social distancing measures. Maybe that isn’t allowed anymore.

      I found a text-only cached version minus many charts and graphs on google here-

      1. Carolinian

        I picked up the link via ZH site where it is still available under the headline “evidence over hysteria.” I’m not pushing the author’s apparently libertarian point of view. But to me at least some of his quoted studies and information (not dissimilar from the Arstechnica article that Lambert linked days ago) sound plausible enough to be worth a look. The gist is his assertion that current reaction to the disease is based on inadequate data about the “CFR” and “R0” and that in China most people got the disease via close contact in confined spaces with people who have active symptoms. Further he says that many more people there likely were infected than were tested and therefore the “case fatality rate” is almost certainly much lower than said at first and could be closer to the regular flu. He pushes back against recent claims that the virus is a free air menace which might require us to wear masks even in wide open stores that aren’t full of coughing sick people.

  55. The Rev Kev

    Aaarrgghhhh! There is no vaccine for stupidity, especially when you are supposed to be intelligent. ‘A leading infectious diseases specialist in Russia’s southern Stavropol region endangered the lives of dozens of her colleagues and students by failing to self-quarantine after a holiday in Spain, where she contracted coronavirus’-

    What is the bet that her confinement is going to end up being for more than a few weeks?

    1. MLTPB

      Early on, there was a Great Escape attempt by two holiday makers who were being isolated after they returned from Hainan, I seem to recall.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      I’m sure there must be a technical explanation for this – but it is something I’ve seen quite often – the biggest experts in a subject being the least likely to apply their knowledge to their own lives. Just look at the number of doctors and nurses who smoke (and I know a chain smoking nurse who has worked in a respiratory ward) and so on. Some sort of weird cognitive dissonance gets to work with some people, the more they know, the less they think the knowledge applies to them.

      But as you say, she may end up with quite a long confinement and its hard not to think she deserves it.

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