Links 3/22/2020


The Diversity of Tropical Forest Carbon Sinks Is More Complicated Than We Thought Science Alert (The Rev Kev)

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

Bigger Brother New York Review of Books


The Middle East doesn’t deserve Trump and his troop ‘repositioning’ – at least have the guts to call it a retreat Independent. Robert Fisk.

The battle for the Saudi crown is raging even if it is overshadowed by the coronavirus pandemic. Independent. Patrick Cockburn.

Hong Kong

Tear gas fired as Hong Kong rally marking eight months since Yuen Long attacks leads to protesters blocking streets, starting fire SCMP


Your biggest questions about coronavirus, answered MIT Technology Review

COVID-19: the biology of an effective therapy Ars Technica

COVID-19 treatment might already exist in old drugs – we’re using pieces of the coronavirus itself to find them The Conversation

COVID Transmission Graphic The Spinoff (chigal)

Italy, Pandemic’s New Epicenter, Has Lessons for the World NYT

Australia coronavirus: Sydney and Melbourne to shut down BBC

How the Coronavirus Became an American Catastrophe Atlantic (chigal)

China Is Not the Hero of the Pandemic Slate

Is Our Fight Against Coronavirus Worse Than the Disease? NYT (david l)

Taking stock of strange days: The week that America changed AP

Coronavirus: UK panic-buyers urged to think of frontline workers Guardian

How Are the Rich and Famous Jumping the Test Queues? In England, by Paying $425 WSJ

‘Oh Hell No’: DOJ Using Coronavirus Crisis to Push for Expansive Emergency Powers 
Common Dreams

Hollywood Celebrities Are Psyops Wrapped In Human Skin Caitlin Johnstone

The US military would be superb at fighting coronavirus. Let’s use it The Guardian (The Rev Kev)

As a medical professional, what is your biggest concern about the COVID-19 coronavirus? Quora (RH)

Cuomo: Javits Center on list to become coronavirus field hospital The Hill (pq)

L.A. County gives up on containing coronavirus, tells doctors to skip testing of some patients LA Times (furzy)

Why Indonesia has world’s highest Covid-19 death rate Asia Times

Are Hospitals Ready for the Coming Wave of Corona Cases? Der Spiegel

Coronavirus: How many cases will India see? Here’s one expert’s best-case prediction India Today

Coronavirus: Why is India testing so little? BBC. Compare with the Atlantic article about the US above. I understand that India has far smaller resources, but it seems they are nonetheless making a similar mistake.

India to observe ‘Janata curfew’ on Sunday amid spurt in Coronavirus cases Economic Times

Coronavirus: Why India’s busiest rail network is being shut down BBC

Coronavirus: Prison inmates in Bengal clash with guards after denied meeting with families Times of India

Prosecutors: COVID-19’s threat to millions of incarcerated people needs to be addressed now AlterNet

Guidance for Sheriffs and Jail Officials in Responding to the COVID-19 Crisis>The Center for Health and Social Policy, LBJ School of Public Affairs. Recommendations of Michele Deitch.


Germany to raise €356bn in new borrowing to fight coronavirus impact FT

Norway’s Workers Insisted They Shouldn’t Pay for Coronavirus — And They Won Jacobin

Gibson Guitar Forces Its Factory Workers in Nashville to Work During COVID-19 Payday Report. Mike Elk.

Stop the Coronavirus Corporate Coup Matt Stoller

Trump: ‘I don’t know’ if my businesses will receive coronavirus assistance CNBC. Words fail me.

Stephanie Kelton: Congress Can Do for People What the Fed Did for Banks NYT

Tlaib proposes minting two $1 trillion platinum coins to finance monthly coronavirus debit cards Washington Examiner. Note that the Coin came from the MMT community, was thoroughly vetted by wonks, and made it all the way to the desk of Trump’s predecessor – who,  naturally, did nothing.

Amazon raises overtime pay for warehouse workers  Reuters


Connecticut governor moves primary from April 28 to June 2 AP (PA) Connecticut’s change makes it mathematically impossible for Joe Biden to clinch the nomination before May.

‘Not Done Yet’: Bernie Sanders Campaign Mobilizes Donors for Coronavirus Relief and Raises $2 Million Common Dreams

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. jackiebass

      Orwells book 1984 hits the nail on the head concerning war. We will have never ending war. Enemies become friends and friends become enemies. What did we have before the War On Terror. Does The War On Drugs sound familiar. Once proper lose interest and get bored with a certain war, a new war is invented. And the band played on.

      1. Ignim Brites

        Now we have the war on the coronavirus. It is over the top but not since Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge pummeled Phnom Phenn and its citizens has the modern urban world endured such an assault.

      1. Carey

        Such an important distinction, with the ruling class typically getting off scot-free.
        Should be an interesting week for the news, this one..

  1. funemployed

    I’m not keen on giving up habeas corpus to any Democrat or Republican admin these days, regardless of consequences, b/c I don’t think they’ll give it back, but still…

    1) I don’t have to try very hard to imagine a lot of situations where the right to due process and public health might conflict during a pandemic.

    2) I’m pretty sure the President doesn’t need to ask Congress (nor do I think Congress has any more right to just take it away, for that matter). My laymans understanding of constitutional law is basically that stuff just has to be bad enough that when the Executive is like “yup, emergency now,” everyone else is like “ok yeah fair enough.”

      1. The Historian

        I’m not sure it will get that bad, but perhaps we should reread Naomi Klein’s “Shock Doctrine”. There might be some lessons there for us to consider in this current crisis.

        1. jsn

          I agree, I expect something more like the epic looting of the late Yeltsen years in Moscow. All of the grifters are in an ecstatic panic together in Washington DC with the lightbulb of fiat money creation having just gone off over their heads!

          The scrum for cash is beyond unseemly, but real opposition has been completely disenfranchised from both electoral politics (see the shenanigans of the Democratic Primaries) and broadcast media: the only story is the corporate story.

          Plenty of decent people are watching this go on, making efforts at self sacrifice and trying to help, only to end up close enough to see the complete amorality of our “leaders”. I still hope it’s not too late for this election cycle, but it looks like it is. It will be a very interesting next few years.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Non-rich people who are in a position to invest in anything might do best by investing in personal survival subsistence and also find like-minded people within community reach to co-invest in community subsistence-survival.

            Perhaps think about paying debts off to zero before a deflationary depression makes the same-number-of-dollars-denominated-debt as before actually worth ten times as much as before, needing ten times as much work as before to earn the fewer heavier ultra-deflationized dollars needed to pay it back.

            Or one can gamble on an Official Jubilee or on a Mass Bankruptcy so fast and surprising that the System cannot keep up and cannot run down all or any of the bankrupted non-payers. But gambling on that is taking a chance.

    1. notabanker

      Of course governments are going to seize more power, it’s what they do. It’s just going to get darker and darker. These clowns cannot be voted out, they’ve taken control of the election system now too. The dystopia isn’t coming, we are firmly living it, right now.

      1. mpalomar

        Governments or corporate owned and controlled governments?
        Getting hard to distinguish and that of course is a big part of the problem.
        There’s always been a strong reprise that ‘the business of America is business,’ with a ‘New Deal’ libretto winding through.
        Could be a ‘sh!t hits the fan’ moment when the Woody Guthrie anthem rises above the commercial din.

        “As I went walking I saw a sign there
        And on the sign it said “No Trespassing”
        But on the other side it didn’t say nothing
        That side was made for you and me

        In the shadow of the steeple I saw my people
        By the relief office I seen my people
        As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking
        Is this land made for you and me?”

        “lyrics were written by American folk singer Woody Guthrie in 1940, based on an existing melody, a Carter Family tune called “When the World’s on Fire”, in critical response to Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America.” When Guthrie was tired of hearing Kate Smith sing “God Bless America” on the radio in the late 1930s, he sarcastically called his song “God Blessed America for Me” before renaming it “This Land Is Your Land.” – Wikipedia

        1. zagonostra

          >Guthrie’s most famous student

          Ah, get sick, get well
          Hang around an ink well
          Ring bell, hard to tell
          If anything is gonna sell
          Try hard, get barred
          Get back, write Braille
          Get jailed, jump bail
          Join the army, if you fail

          Look out kid
          You’re gonna get hit
          By losers, cheaters
          Six-time users
          Hanging ’round the theaters
          Girl by the whirlpool is
          Lookin’ for a new fool
          Don’t follow leaders
          Watch the parkin’ meters

          Johnny’s in the basement
          Mixing up the medicine
          I’m on the pavement
          Thinking about the government
          The man in a trench coat
          Badge out, laid off
          Says he’s got a bad cough
          Wants to get it paid off

          Look out, kid
          It’s somethin’ you did
          God knows when
          But you’re doin’ it again
          You better duck down the alley way
          Lookin’ for a new friend
          A man in a coon-skin cap
          In a pig pen
          Wants eleven dollar bills
          You only got ten.

          Of course being Dylan, there is another 100 verses…

            1. Taleb

              And what value does having a scummy mediocre poet, degenerate, child molester standing in the background add?

              Claiming to have joined the organization “in defense of free speech”,[99] Ginsberg said: “Attacks on NAMBLA stink of politics, witchhunting for profit, humorlessness, vanity, anger and ignorance … I’m a member of NAMBLA because I love boys too—everybody does, who has a little humanity”

              1. mpalomar

                Thanks, I’m not sure what I think about that. Do we know he was a coercive predator of boys?
                Human sexuality is a source of never ending confoundment.

                Jowett cleaned up Plato’s work when needed, the Symposium et. al.

                And Whitman had baggage too,
                “O, it is passing wondrous, how in the hurried walks of life and business, we meet with young beings, strangers, who seem to touch the fountains of our love, and draw forth their swelling waters. The wish to love and to be loved, which the forms of custom, and the engrossing anxiety for gain, so generally smother, will sometimes burst forth in spite of all obstacles; and, kindled by one, who, till the hour was unknown to us, will burn with a lovely and pure brightness.” -Whitman

                Ginsberg was, besides being something of an imp and possibly a perv, a generational icon of the resistance. His poetry never grabbed me but now I’ll go back and read it to see if I agree with your assessment.

          1. Carey

            Couldn’t ask for better words now, than those from Dylan. I will listen
            to Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues tonight, for good measure..

        2. hunkerdown

          According to Tainter and Veblen, leisure classes in general do that. Corporations are just the timeless game of recreational predation aka unidirectional class war, in a synthetic person.

    2. David

      I started reading the comments on the Common Dreams story, and gave up in despair. It’s all The Government Always Lies They Lied about WMD in Iraq So They Are Obviously Lying about Coronavirus and Anyway Cui Bono so QED. But this is the inevitable result of two generations of unthinking reflexive anti-government conspiracy theory generation, and it’s too late now. Millions may well die around the globe because they have been conditioned to think that “every government is run by liars and nothing they say should be believed.” Thank you for that helpful piece of guidance Mr Stone. I take it your ghost is even now advising your descendants to shrug the whole thing off as government propaganda. When all this is over, conspiracy theorists will have some explaining to do.

      1. mpalomar

        Stone said all governments lie not that governments lie all the time. Hard to dispute and helpful advice when suggesting a course correction for official policy that has gone wrong.

        It was probably a reminder for pentagon reporters trying to overcome their predisposition to act as stenographers rather than try to decipher what was coming out of the imperial war machine during the Peace with Honor Vietnam era.

        The actual quote was, “All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out.”

        1. MLTPB

          Is the government lying or not here, when it comes to platinum coins?

          Will it use them for other adventures? Will it coin more?

          1. mpalomar

            platinum coins?
            -Was that the question or expansive emergency powers?

            To some extent depends on what other adventures you had in mind.

            I thought M Blyths article linked yesterday had a related interesting idea of creating a wealth fund for the American people, buying up stocks on the dip for funding future adventures and one would hope those adventures would be investments in the welfare of citizens.
            That plan had the benefit of appealing to Wall Street in free fall while helping to main street.

            It will always be a struggle, just seems like the oligarchs have been racking up all the wins recently.

            1. MLTPB

              To some extent, we have to trust the government.

              Trust that the adventures they having mind are worthy of our trust.

              Trust that the wealth find will be always run to do what it’s set up to do.

        2. David

          No, Stone really did say this, or at least is widely reported to have done so, including here. It’s a comment his that is fluently cited, including here. Perhaps he really meant to say “sometimes” or “you never know”. But that would have made a less striking quotation. Too late now.

          1. skk

            I checked that “here”. Its brainyquote. brainyquote names an author but don’t give the source for their quote. I looked at some other quotes in brainyquote. They didn’t give the source. Their “Quote(s) of the Day ” page names authors but not the source.

            The New York public library has an article on how to research for quotations –

            In addition to their own resources they also list some non-nyl web resources. Brainyquote is not on that list.

          2. cripes


            Oh yes, the problem is that people are too skeptical of a government that has a proven record of lies, disinformation and propaganda used to wage wars across the planet bringing death and destruction to millions and imprisoning those with the courage to expose their crimes.

            I certainly agree that more people must believe the MIC and their media stenographers more than they already do.

            1. David

              I do hope you survive the virus. Of course if you don’t believe in it it can’t hurt you. Must be the biggest conspiracy in history though – at least a hundred governments involved.

            2. Yves Smith

              One more like this and you will be blacklisted. Coronavirus isn’t official propaganda. Agnotology is against our written site Policies. You might as well be a climate change denier.

          3. mpalomar

            Kafkaesque levels of frustrating; one of those ‘two fers’ employed by those who discredit government for their own benefit; along with the death spiral of underfunded agencies criticised for poor performance and slated for privatisation; the drown it in the bathtub stuff. Thatcher and Reagan propounded the last iteration.

            Build a security state with a vast classified archive of secret documentation and leave the press and populous at large to speculate about what’s ‘really’ going on: Secret bombing of Cambodia, Iran Contra, the attack on the Liberty or WMD or the Gulf of Tonkin, Fort Dietrich, the NSA surveillance, Clapper’s testimony to congress, Russia gate or any of a thousand other events until coherent information is shattered into meaningless fragments.

            Stone was not the culprit only one of the messengers describing the mighty wurlitzer. Though I maintain a healthy skepticism I haven’t given up on government because it’s all we’ve got to keep the corporate wolves at bay.

          4. Carey

            What I’ve seen repeated here is I.F. Stone’s comment that “all governments lie”; and they do. Let me know if you need examples.

            Don’t recall anyone claiming
            that that’s all they do.

          5. Oregoncharles

            I don’t think Stone’s remark had nearly as much effect as the barrage of actual lies.

            Critical thinking is what this site is about – along with a great deal of enlightening, if not useful, information. Certainly led me and mine to take the danger very seriiously. It’s more the government that hasn’t been, and they’ve changed their tune. Now we have to watch out for them misusing the crisis.

            You come to a pandemic with the gov’t. you have, not the one you wish you had.

      2. cm

        I recommend reading John Barry’s _The Great Influenza_ — which features lying from the government, media, and doctors.

      3. Olga

        While ideally, one should trust one’s government, this is not an easy thing to in the US. We’ve just come off a three-year russia-gate hoax; DOJ just dropped a case against a Russian company because its allegations could not be supported by any proof; in a 1999 court case, lies about MLK’s murder were exposed; the truth about JFK is still hidden; W did lie about WMDs; and who can forget incubator babies and Atta’s passport (miraculously found, intact, in the burning rubble). And there are, unfortunately, many others – with momentous consequences. This is almost a classic example of the boy, who cried wolf too many times. The actual surprise is that there are still people, who continue to trust the govt. And yes, this is a real problem, when a serious crisis arrives.

          1. Mike

            To not believe is not the same as to be vigilant. We often use the liar argument to stop thinking, which is a pandemic the USA still has no handle on.

          2. Bsoder

            How to verify. Concept sounds good, but how to do. Even FOIA requests depending on the Gvt.

            1. MLTPB

              Verify as much as possible.

              If not, remain skeptical, even of people wise and praised up to now, because induction does not guarantee.

        1. Lambert Strether

          > This is almost a classic example of the boy, who cried wolf too many times.

          Yes, now Maddow is crying about the virus. But’s she’s done a lot of crying (and already made up a fear-driven and extremely profitable narrative out of whole cloth). She clearly has no integrity at all as a journalist, any more than (say) FOX does as a network.

          Why “believe” her this time? I can’t think of a good reason, absent checking out all “the science” for myself in company with NC readers. So where is Maddow’s value add? Where is the media’s value add? Pretty hard to tell.

          “I know, let’s put Judy Miller on the case!” (for those who came in late, the NYT embed who wrote a great many stories supporting Bush’s fake WMD narrative. Miller is now persona non grata, because she was, in essence, just a spear-carrier. The real perps are the generals, like David Frum, who coined “the axis of evil,” and is now editor of the Atlantic and a Hero Of The Resistance™).

          1. Cuibono

            Did I say that?
            No , they are lying to me about pretending they care about me and my community.
            They are using old tricks to increase power and wealth

            If someone cant see that I have no help for them

            1. Librarian Guy

              All correct.

              And as plain as the noses (that we should be careful of touching) on our faces.

      4. Jeremy Grimm

        I would divide your comment into three components. Should citizens in the U.S. believe what their government tells them without question or disbelief? Should citizens believe the CoV-19 [Corona] virus is nothing to worry about because our government tells us we should be worried? Should the government be given “sweeping emergency powers” — supposedly to deal with the ongoing outbreak of the CoV-19 [Corona] virus?

        1) I believe the pronouncements of the U.S. government should be esteemed with all the credibility they have so well earned and deserve — which is to say little or none.

        2) Should citizens believe there is nothing to fear about the CoV-19 [Corona] virus because the government claims that they should worry. One of the notable characteristics about liars is their lack of consistency and the self-interest oozing from their pronouncements. Which is say that it is not wise to believe the opposite of whatever a liar tells you. All you can conclude is that they believe — correctly or otherwise — that whatever they are telling you probably serves their interests. So should citizens Should citizens believe there is nothing to fear about the CoV-19 [Corona] virus? That hardly seems wise, and certainly seems very unwise based on the many other quite varied sources of information indicating that if anything the government’s statements about the CoV-19 [Corona] virus could very probably greatly understate the true dangers to health and the public welfare.

        A further difficulty with the government’s pronouncements is what they do not say — both in terms of Truth but also in terms of the implications of their pronouncements and the actions which the government will take to deal with the CoV-19 [Corona] virus. If you are young and have no healthcare, student loan payments, credit card debt, rent, and little or no money in the bank — you might have a very strong personal bias toward CoV-19 [Corona] virus procurement that close your places of work and leave to the mercy of loan collectors and landlords.

        3) Even believing all the government tells us about the CoV-19 [Corona] virus — are the measures for “sweeping emergency powers” warranted by the threat, and warranted regardless of what threat or threats we face? It is fun to watch my DVDs of “24” but I don’t see why the morals and actions those morals drive should have any place in a democracy — even one so weak and ailing that in the U.S.

        [What comments to what Common Dreams story are you commenting about? I read both Common Dreams stories and scanned the first twenty-five or so comments to both stories. I didn’t see anything about Mr. Stone or “The Government Always Lies They Lied about WMD in Iraq So They Are Obviously Lying about Coronavirus”. I don’t see how this statement follows:
        “When all this is over, conspiracy theorists will have some explaining to do.”

        Conspiracy theorists always have a lot o’ ‘plainin’ to do — but does that mean there are no conspiracies — or collusions arrived at independently by a lot of players with common dreams of gain or grabbing power? And is collusion truly so rare or inconceivable a crime?

        1. skk

          re: [What comments to what Common Dreams story are you commenting about? I read both Common Dreams stories and scanned the first twenty-five or so comments to both stories. I didn’t see anything about Mr. Stone or “The Government Always Lies They Lied about WMD in Iraq So They Are Obviously Lying about Coronavirus”. I don’t see how this statement follows: “When all this is over, conspiracy theorists will have some explaining to do.”
          ============ end-re============
          Yeah me too. I just decided its somebody who’s got a nutty conspiracy theory about conspiracy theories since like the game “Mornington Crescent”, the narrative had to end in “conspiracy theory” and one had to take disjointed leaps in ideation and story line required.

          Interesting stuff. At a meta level, is this a facet of the anxiety people have about the impact of coronavirus. I’ve already read some stuff from psychologists about its manifestation. More to come I’m sure.

      5. Carey

        Wonder for how long they’ll be able to keep up the manu-drama. At least until the massive, massive corporate bailout(s) are passed, I’m guessing.


    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      The relevant article claims that the Democratic majority House “could” vote these Barr Department proposals down.

      If the Department of Barr proposals are killed in their entirety and stay dead for the rest of Trump’s term, then I will re-vote for my DemParty Representative IF that Representative voted to kill the Barr Plan. Because of the Rotating Villains and Heroes scam, it is not enough for my Rep to vote against the Barr Plan if the Barr Plan wins in the House anyway. That would only show that my Rep was a “designated hero” for this inning.

      No. To short-circuit the “Rotating Villains and Heroes” scam, the Barr Plan must be killed AND my Rep must have voted to kill it in order for her to get any credit from me.

      No more “fighting for” . Only winning counts.

        1. BillC

          If I understand Dr. Wodarg’s argument correctly, he’s saying that as far as we can determine with precision, the current epidemic falls within normal rates of seasonal flu infection and mortality. It’s only because specific tests were developed to deal with the Hunan epidemic that make visible which of those deaths are due to THIS PARTICULAR strain of corona virus, it seems like it is more widespread and dangerous than usual. Moreover, only having historical data of equivalent specificity (which do not exist) could we really know that is true. So, the whole world is overreacting and causing unnecessary social and economic damage.

          OK, maybe SARS-CoV-2 isn’t really unusually bad. But here in northern Italy two things suggest strongly we are NOT overreacting:

          1. The count of caskets heading from hospitals to crematoria is at least 10 times the normal rate — to the extent they’re having to use Army staff and vehicles transport them to crematoria in less-stressed regions to keep up with the traffic.

          2. The quarantine around the first two Italian COVID-19 clusters (Codogno with 10 surrounding small Lombard municipalities and Vò in Veneto) stopped the infection in its tracks in those two areas, and it has not yet recurred there. It is not unreasonable to extend the same measures to other affected areas.

          Perhaps Dr. Wodarg is right, it’s not really just COVID-19 at work, but it is unmistakable that there is some agent or combination of agents that is causing a rate of very serious respiratory disease and death unprecedented since 1918-19. I wonder if Dr. Wodarg’s position is shared widely by the folks in Germany compiling their amazingly low COVID-19 mortality stats, and they attribute a death to COVID-19 only in the absence of any other comorbidity?

      1. Lambert Strether

        > The relevant article claims that the Democratic majority House “could” vote these Barr Department proposals down.

        1) Does anybody know if these proposals are sunsetted?

        2) This is a very good test for where the Democrat Establishment really stands on a once-slow but seemingly accelerating slide into fascism, better even perhaps than the bailout proposals, which I think everybody expected to be crooked as hell, though not, perhaps as crooked as they turned out to be.

      1. Lambert Strether

        Thanks, Obama!

        Adding, it looks like the NDAA is for worldwide military detention; this new bill is for “top judges.”

        So it’s good to know we’ve got a back-up plan.

        Most of those top judges, statistically, will be creatures of the Federalist Society. So it will be interesting to see if the Democrats squawk about that.

        Narrator: They didn’t squawk.

    4. Procopius

      My opinion, based on a wide-spread but shallow reading of history, is that giving up habeas corpus is equivalent to voting for Trump forever, long after Trump is dead. Of course the Supreme Court might very well effectively take it away from us anyway, but if there were a conflict between habeas corpus and public health, then public health is going to have to suffer, for the long term good of the people.

    1. divadab

      The article highlights the lack of testing, which is apparently continuing. I have a young friend, a teacher and mother of two young boys, who has a fever of 104 and other covid-19 symptoms. She saw her doctor over a tele-visit, and the doctor told he to assume she had covid-19 but NO TEST WERE AVAILABLE. WHat kind of flipping third world country is this? Korea has free drive through testing and the USA can;t even test a teacher with a family who has classic symptoms?!?!

      1. Jen

        Our governor was calling around to universities in our state on Friday, trying to scrounge up RNA kits. State testing facility is overwhelmed. Our local academic health center is now testing…and overwhelmed. They’re trying to keep the docs, nurses and first responders going – so they get first priority for testing.

        And this is in rural NH. Can’t imagine NYC or Seattle right now.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Better be careful that you don’t have US Air Force cargo planes take off from New Hampshire full of test kits and masks for delivery to NYC or Seattle. I am not kidding. They did it to Italy so why would they not do that to fly-over America?

          1. Shonde

            “Meanwhile, Gov. Tim Walz on Saturday night announced an order activating the Minnesota National Guard to transport personal protective equipment needed by health care workers, as the state awaits deliveries of supplies from the federal Strategic National Stockpile related to COVID-19.”

            I wondered why that was necessary. Maybe it was to prevent the supplies being diverted to Seattle?


          2. Bsoder

            Because NH being only 60 miles to the north of Boston, means Massachusetts as in all things has already done it. Honestly, NH as a ‘flyover’, is funny.

            1. wilroncanada

              I’ve read that supplies are being ordered from almost everywhere in the known world (that excludes the unknown world of China, Iran, Russia, etc, but not Italy, Switzerland, Mexico, Indonesia and others). It is an open market system, though. Sometimes the states are being outbid by the US government. I presume that’s so the Feds can add a markup to the states. Trumpmart–corner the market and then blame the states for being in short supply (He’s already done that) and gouge the states with a Trumpmart price. Trumpazon!!

          3. Procopius

            I found it interesting that the spokesperson for the company that manufactures those swabs (it was 500,000 of the swabs used to take a sample to be tested, not test kits) said (a) there is no shortage in Italy of swabs (he/she called them ‘tampons’) and (b) that a military aircraft was used because there were no commercial aircraft available. I want to hear who authorized this use of military aircraft. Given that there are areas where the problem is they have test kits but not swabs, I’m OK with both the purchase of swabs and the use of military aircraft for high priority cargo, but I want some transparency.

        2. A Farmer

          I was told by a nurse in a large Ohio city that they weren’t bothering to test the medical staff because it was considered a waste of resources. Her supervisor told them all that they should expect to get it. In other words, they are gearing up to assume every person in the hospital already has it.

          1. A Farmer

            However, she said they only had 5 patients who tested positive so far, and they may have rethought that policy as tests have become more available.

          2. Young

            I recommend that everybody to avoid that hospital for testing since ALL staff are assumed to be infected. One should not knowingly expose themselves.

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              But we can’t know “what” hospital unless someone tells us the hospital’s name. Right here in the threads of Naked Capitalism would be a good place to tell us all.

          3. Bsoder

            As of 12 noon yesterday NIH decided and CDC is following the order that no gets tested unless it is to be used to admit someone to the hospital. All testing at the hospital is outside in temp setups. The issue is C-19 has spread too far, and there is a dire lack of protective gear for all those that work in any hospital, not just medical staff. We are as Italy.

        3. Jules

          Im in illinois, i heard the governor mention, i think it was a slip, that they were preparing for several weeks. Yet , yesterday , the governor was asking recently retired doctors and nurses to consider coming back immediately to join the war effort.

          Amazing how all the State (federal, state) institutions seem to have done as little as possible in preparation. Makes one think decisions were made in favor of a strategy for a partial herd immunity without a vaccine. Im hoping thats not the case, but as i mentioned in a post yesterday after reading that nyt article on Italy (todays links) i find myself reconsidering my optimism.

          So i see all this outrage over the chinese state covering it up and costing the world vital time. Fine, agreed, kind of. The crimes of the Chinese state are the problem for the Chinese population to address. But rest of the world, at least the “developed” world had ample time. Example, s korea, singapore , taiwan. So if China informed WHO on dec30,2019. No doubt u.s national security state knew what was happening at that point. And we know the political establishment was briefed soon thereafter.

          Am i missing something ? Is the anti Chinese hysteria beginning to really kick off a diversion from the “failures” of our institutions? Im hearing some rather liberal minded friends voice some, frankly, bigoted nonsense.

          1. MLTPB

            Preparing for weeks?

            What scenarios were considered?

            The one eventually arrived, what options were available when they looked at this, weeks ago? A while back, the WHO said the health care systems around the world were not prepared.

            Also, what do we aim to achieve? About the same cases per million as Wuhan, coping with the first strain? Their fatality rate is what we aim for? Do we aim based on the numbers of the second strain, on a per million basis? Italy or Iran would be the countries to look to, to set up what we hope to accomplish.

            1. Jules

              “Preparing for weeks?

              What scenarios were considered?”

              He let the phrase “we have been preparing for several weeks” slip on radio. Wbez, npr. Amazingly the journalist did not follow up. Well they certainly did not have any plans for widespread testing. I suppose they can argue they were waiting on the feds to deliver on the tests. Without the tests I cant imagine what the states could have done to mitigate the spread several weeks ago. But i would have thought they would have been working on getting the necessary medical equipment and staff quietly without panicking the public. Since that ultimately will determine size of the human tragedy. The more beds , and icu’s, proper medical equipment and staff, the fewer the deaths , lower the mortality rate. But it sure does not seem like it, as we see NY struggling to get just the basics. And if iL governor is just now asking retired doctors and nurses to come back, it does not seem like they were actually doing much preparing.

              Im sorry , but how can you set your expectations so low? Iran is a country in dire economic troubles before the virus hit. It was already incredibly stretched thin due to its involvement in syria and of course most importantly decades long sanctions crippling their economy.
              They can have potentially millions dead from this.
              If China can contain it in 2.5 months by locking down at different times roughly 80-500 million people down. And only lose , at this point a few thousand people, and keep it from spreading to rest of china. Whats our excuse, how are Americans so easily willing to sacrifice 250,000-1million of its fellow citizens just so we can restart the economy. I suppose enough will be convinced it was too late , the Chinese screwed us, if only they would have told us sooner.

              Clearly we will not let it run freely through the population and kill 2+million people. The state governments are clearly doing what they can at this point.

              1. MLTPB

                Italy or Iran.

                We look at them to see what we hope to achieve. There I meant looking at them in contrast with the first strain. The second strain may be more difficult to cope. And by hoping to achieve, looking at Italy or Iran, I was thinking the numbers will be higher than Hong King’s, for example, who dealt earlier with the 1st strain, and we will realistically have to adjust our expectations as we are facing the second strain mostly. I did not mean we hoped to have Iran’s numbers.

                Sorry for not being clear on that.

            2. Harvey

              Just reading Michael Hudson on the GFC. It appeared as if Obama was doing nothing. But that was wrong, his Goldman Sachs(Sacks?) advisors and officials were planning how to foreclose on as many homes as possible and choke all help to homeowners in a measured way so that homes were foreclosed in an orderly fashion.
              So there could be parallels here. What looks like inaction is probably not. So we all have to work out the strategy by looking at the actions of government. Actions are the only things that count.

              1. drumlin woodchuckles

                In other words, Jackpot Design Stealth-Engineering. But this Jackpot disease appears to be reaching into the upper middle class and even the upper-class, thankfully.

          2. Bsoder

            Yes, you are missing something. No we are not we prepared at all for a pandemic. Why? Same reason everyone doesn’t have healthcare. Which if I understand all that’s been said here @NC is on one hand we have neoliberalism and all that entails. On the other, basic welfare now equals communism. Still there is the lack of acceptance of MMT and a debt jubilee – common sense ideas. You get the gist.

            1. Lambert Strether

              > we have neoliberalism and all that entails

              Rule #2 (though I confess I didn’t know how close to the bone that would cut, back in 2014).

              The analytical principle here would be some corollary to Occam’s Razor along the lines of “Who needs conspiracy when you’ve got ideology?”

      2. Zamfir

        If you have the symptoms, act as if you have the virus. Testing can’t improve on that. The entire world does not have enough tests for everyone who suspects they might be infected.

        1. Oh

          If you do that you’ll esxpose yourself to the virus by going for the test. Who knows if the testing team has enough PPE and procedures to ensure that patients don’t become contaminated. Leave well enough alone. Don’t go looking for trouble.

          1. MLTPB

            That picture of testing in a booth – do they deep clean and cycle in 100% new air between tests?

          2. Bsoder

            Not exactly. If you don’t call ahead and aren’t screened and cleared you will find you are not welcome at hospitals. You will be turned away, no nonsense allowed.

        2. Lambert Strether

          > If you have the symptoms, act as if you have the virus.

          No. If you do not have the symptoms, act as if you have the virus.

          That’s because

          1) The virus can spread asymptomatically

          2) Protecting others from yourself is a healthier mindset than protecting you from others (social duty vs. individualism).

      3. Katniss Everdeen

        How would her situation change–what would she do differently–if she did test positive, or negative for that matter?

        Hint: The answer is Not / Nothing At All.

        1. AllTogetherNowPeople

          Yours is an underappreciated point. Everyone acting as if they have it already is all we have now. But testing is crucial to spot asymptomatic transmission, which is a gamechanger with an invisible stalker like COVID.

        2. divadab

          Yes clearly. But the issue is rather this – for public health reasons, we need to know how many people actually have the virus and to track its spread. It’s not just about the individual person.

      4. lyman alpha blob

        A relative was recently at an international sailing event in Florida. She returned home and had flu-like symptoms and that, in additional to the fact that there had been a bunch of Italians there with whom she had been in close proximity, led her to do the responsible thing and go to the hospital. She was told she didn’t exhibit enough symptoms to be tested for COVID-19 and was turned away.

        1. JP

          What’s wrong with this picture? Not that they wouldn’t test her, but that given the circumstances of travel and Italian contagion vector, she should have been able to call and be tested at home without going out in public.

          1. ChiGal in Carolina

            or, as Zamfir suggests, ACT LIKE YOU HAVE IT, stay home, and those you live with should stay home.

            and if this was Wuhan, you wouldn’t go out even for groceries. The govt would have mobilized an operation whereby essentials are left at everyone’s door by people in full PPE.

      5. Tomonthebeach

        Given the article’s length, I had hoped for a more comprehensive litany of serial screw-ups, but it only focused on the worst one from a public health perspective – testing.

        After testing, the TSA (abetted by airport customs), ensured national virus spread by locking arriving overseas passengers in long airport corridors and halls, shoulder-to-shoulder for up to 8 hours, then sending them out into the world to infect us all.

        1. Lambert Strether

          > Given the article’s length, I had hoped for a more comprehensive litany of serial screw-ups

          I’m still waiting for the name of the contractor that screwed up the CDC reagents. That does not seem to be forthcoming, for some reason. Big donor?

      6. Larster

        After reading this sobering article, I can only sit here and wonder why we are listening to Trump lie his way through the daily presser. Surely we have somebody more competent, more knowledgeable available, be he or she in or out of the administration.

        This article should be cross posted under Imperial Collapse Watch.

          1. Lambert Strether

            > Gov. Cuomo seems willing to take a shot at that role

            Liberal Schwärmer are already calling him Presidential material — “A little month, or ere those shoes were old” — presumably not having been sufficiently “led” by Biden. (Bonus points: Cuomo worked tirelessly with Repubicans to stymie progressive reforms. So there’s that.)

    2. Carolinian

      Given how long it took for China itself to announce the disease isn’t it likely that CoV was already widespread in the US by the time any sort of mass testing might have taken place, assuming the tests were availabe? This finger in the dyke asumption that all the diseased could have been identified and the epidemic thereby quelled strikes me as a stretch.

      1. Chris

        Yes, that’s correct. There are models showing that if China had perfect foresight and acted at the start of this like it is now, instead of punishing whistleblowers and destroying early data collection attempts, then as much as 95% of the cases we’re seeing would not have occurred. But that’s asking a lot of any country and is not practical to assume. One more positive feature for autarky and less globalism. Because we can’t ever count on another country we have to have redundant systems in place in the US to handle crises like this.

        1. Carolinian

          But it was China that provided the information about the disease that allowed tests to be created. So what systems could we have had in place, absent them, that would make much difference? For sure the health care setup in America is less than ideal but then it’s not going so well in Europe either. Surely the important thing now is to deal with what is and these shouldn’t be off the cuff decisions.

          1. Chris

            China provided the information after they ruthlessly quelled any information. Until they couldn’t anymore. China is also saying that they won’t do serological surveys to confirm how many people got it and how many people have recovered. They’re going with the story that everything is good again and will only get better.

            The answers to your questions aren’t going to make anyone happy. As far as the US are concerned are we arrange for airports and other social systems to have much more rigorous controls for things like fevers and such. It means we use blood banks and sewer systems as check points too. And maybe it means we have in home tests for all kinds of things in order to get a pass to leave your house during a pandemic. But that’s all a lot of what if.

            What isn’t speculation is that we knew this could be a problem for years. We didn’t even try to figure out how to set up stock piles or model responses. This wasn’t a black swan. We were just foolish.

            1. MLTPB

              I think we knew there would be many potential problems, and not just this one.

              Could we have prepared for all? I don’t know.

              How many more doctors would be needed, not for this one but for different cases as well?

              Two times more? Five? Ten? Twenty?

              1. Chris

                How about a simple question of how much copper filament do you need in a face mask to have reliably anti viral effects? How about we have FEMA designs for modular phone booth style testing centers? Forget about doctors. There are basic plans we could have had in place to help if we cared. We didn’t and now were suffering the consequences for our willful ignorance.

                1. MLTPB

                  Not familiar with the copper filament in the face mask issue.

                  Up to now, I read about whether to wear one or one, and about making more, and governments taking over stocks and production facilities.

                  If the face masks we have do not work, we should not be asking for more.

                  As for FEMA designing both style testing, i read here that people should be able to test at home today. Earlier, drive thru was mentioned. Is booth style much preferred?

                  1. drumlin woodchuckles

                    If the face masks we have do not work, then we should ask for a redesign to get face masks which work. And then ask for more.

                    Also, if the face masks we have reduce the spread of corona virus FROM Typhoid-Mary corona spreaders, then that would reduce the spread-around of corona virus. In which case, we should have more of those masks for corona spreaders and possible corona spreaders, which might well be many millions of people at this point. Put masks on them all, slow the spreadaround.

                    1. MLTPB

                      I agree, if they dont work, redesign and produce the new design.

                      Is it a worldwide issue, as I have not heard of it before, and would welcome more information.

                    2. Bsoder

                      A few questions, just what kind of material do you need to stop a virus? Something you need an electron microscope to see. How does the material work with regard to over pressure of a sneeze or cough? How to keep the mask off the noise, the mouth? (With leaves the eyes unprotected). How to deal with the water vapor and CO2 that the inside of masks are exposed to and how long can such a mask be exposed to such? Are these easy or hard to make? Is out of a batch made 80% up to spec good enough. 6Sigma is 6 defects per million on average.

                    3. Lambert Strether

                      > If the face masks we have do not work, then we should ask for a redesign to get face masks which work.

                      I’m really unclear on whether disposable facemasks are the way to go (ok, ultimately). It seems another instance of the virus reinforcing our worst tendencies. (What about flushing and landfilling them, e.g.?)

                      I’ve seen face shields that would protect, if not from aerosols, at least from splatter. Further, they are re-usable by definition and can be cleaned. That, or spherical bubble-type space helmets would seem to be the way to go.

            2. Mike

              Stockpile how? Much of these supplies deteriorate over time. The Bigger question is how much of our GDP should be consumed preparing for this or any kind of once in a hundred year event? On top of that, this crisis is hitting the whole world simultaneously. There was no way, nor will there ever be a way, for the world to stockpile enough supplies to deal with a world wild crisis like this. While we are at it. How many resources should be saved for a potential solar storm which wipes out the electrical grid or an EMP attack?

                1. ian

                  Small correction: Book is pub. date 2017 . Also, interview is excellent. Thanks for the link.

          2. drumlin woodchuckles

            Credit where due, and same for blame.

            Good of the Communist Occupation Regime to give us serological data when the globalitical pressure to do so was irresistable.

            Bad of the Communist Occupation Regime to persecute watchdog doctors for at least a whole month which gave the virus a whole month to run amok and infect everybody in reach with wild abandon.

            1. Bsoder

              Why? One supposes if your a communist of the China variant, isn’t world wide domination still a goal? We think in America we are the land of the brave & home of free. Others view on that – not so much & who cares. Why in fact – key word – “should” China do anything but for China? Lincoln said we were (America) the best best hope of world – meaning freedom. Seems freedom is overrated these days.

            2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              We do know a few things. That the virus originated in humans in Wuhan. That Wuhan is the site of China’s only declared Level 4 bio lab. And that lab was working with corona viruses. I’m not prepared to think they were weaponizing it, but rather that it just escaped the lab. I do not buy that the wet market, conveniently located just 7 kms away, was the ultimate source. And I do believe they suppressed information about the original outbreak and that caused many more deaths and problems globally.

              The outrage at Trump stating the obvious by calling it a “Chinese” virus is clarifying to me. Comes from the same place as people saying that sending all our manufacturing and supply chain to China was good because kumbaya, globalism, free trade, that the “global interest” stands somehow above the national interest.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            my 14 yo son…about a week ago(time? what is time?) when we laid it all out on the table for them, said “Man! F55K that bat eating guy!!”

            physical therapist in waxahatchie(sp-2-outside of DFW) texted that the national guard has been deployed to lock down Dallas.
            haven’t seen it in news, yet(although i am just now finding time to rummage on intertubes)
            the weight of it all is starting to sink in around here.
            stepdad’s nurse says that there’s drive through testing in the county to my north, but only if you have symptoms.
            she is visibly worried…and angry that we weren’t better prepared, as a civilisation.
            she says “it’s in the wild, now”…as in in the population.

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              apparently a mere rumor:

              I’d welcome such action, though.

              rain is ending this afternoon(finally!), so tomorrow’s task for the boys and i is the first attempt at bamboo toilet paper.
              I’ll endeavor to video it, and send it to lambert if it works.
              i did exactly this about 15 years ago…made a small batch. soft, springy feeling, and very absorbent,lol.
              but it tears up rather easily.
              we’ll see what happens.
              cousin’s son’s project is building an ash hopper(from a picture in one of the Foxfire books), to make wood lye(potassium hydroxide), in case we need soap.
              I’ve ordered all cooking oils…including bacon grease…to be stored in jars for this eventuality, too.
              (mom and i are both habitual jar-savers)

              trying to obtain some goats…for milk, initially.

              milk, bread, TP(and all paper), and soap-like substances are what’s still missing from the stores, out here.

            2. Suzie Alcatrez


              No lock down in Dallas. Very impractical if not impossible given the huge geographical layout of the city.

              1. pretzelattack

                no lockdown, but i feel we are heading toward shelter in place pretty soon. many businesses closed, or in the case of grocery stores out of stock.

                1. pretzelattack

                  shelter in place order issued for dallas county, to take effect at 11:59 p.m. March 23rd–I’m not sure if they meant March 22d or not.

              2. Amfortas the hippie

                yeah. i’m much more familiar with houston, austin and san antonio…and if i were given the task of “shutting them down”, i have no idea where to even begin to begin,lol.

                the highway…a mile thataway…was super busy last night…like on a holiday.
                this morning, nada…not one other car going into town, 2 coming out. similar to new years day or something.
                town itself was less busy than it has been…but there’s little to do on any sunday,lol.
                and the atm’s are running out of cash, which i’ve never seen before…are people hoarding that as well?

                people i’ve talked to in houston area…the wealthy areas get restocked, apparently…but other places do not.
                purely anecdotal!
                still, i’d like to see hard data on that.
                full shelves at the store allows brother’s so far cavalier attitude, and likely that of others.
                I dread my trips to town…I’m the only one leaving the farm.

                yesterday, the head of the local emt sent out a text in the clear, to everyone who lives here(didn’t know they had my number,lol)
                essentially said “we’re on it…and don’t do stupid s^it, because we’ll be very busy…so try not to fall off a ladder or get snakebit”
                i made sure the boys read it, and wife and i made certain to strongly encourage such practical mindfulness and situational awareness.
                we were doing that any way, of course(a rare thing, it so happens), but teenage boys have difficulty in this regard.

          2. Shonde

            So maybe we better stop eating deer meat before it is tested for Chronic Wasting Disease. Per Minnesota epidemiologist Michael Osterholm, that disease may also pass to humans with a few more mutations. Big worry in Minnesota epidemiology circle.

        2. Jules

          Please correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t the u.s , s Korea, and Italy have their first cases detected around the same time. Wildly different responses from the respective governments and we are seeing the results.

          I accept China waited longer they should have but it seems to me we had plenty of time. And how much earlier could they have informed us? By two weeks? Would that have made a difference, considering the u.s has had its first confirmed case on jan 20 or 21 and has taken minimal effort till now?

          1. Eclair

            According to Trevor Bedford, the Seattle-based computational biologist, there have been five CoVid19 cases confirmed in the US during the week of January 19. One in Snohomish County, Washington, on January 19; one in Chicago, also on January 21; one in Orange County, California, on January 22; one in Arizona, on January 22; one in Los Angeles, on January 23. All of these cases were exposed in Hubei. Then, flew to the US, where, undetected for only a couple of days before testing, they set off a chain of community infections.

            1. MLTPB

              The dates of when they came in are relevant here.

              Earlier lockdown and travel bans would have impacted those events.

              Could they have come in had those events happened 3 weeks sooner?

          2. MLTPB

            The first wave was pretty contained.

            Except roughly Iran, Italy and Seatlle.

            The first patient in N Italy returned there in mid January, the last time I read.

            The same with the first patient in Seattle.

            Wuhan lockdown was Jan 23, 2020.

            Two or three weeks would have made a lot of different. Our travel restrictions on China was effective Feb 1. Three weeks earlier, or around Jan 10, 2020 would have been a good time for travel restrictions. The same with Italy, which followed us by a day or two.

            My guess is 2 to 3 wks would have made a difference.

            And Seattle, Italy, and NY via Italy would not have happened.

            1. Jules

              Well china informed the wHO on dec31, 2019 that they were dealing with some viral outbreak. They mapped the genetic makeup of the virus on jan2 and did not make it public, Xi supposedly gets involved on jan 7, and they make the genome available to the public on jan9.
              So there is a lost week there.
              Yes , couple of weeks would make a difference for the Chinese. But what im questioning is the lack of a proportional response to the massive challenge on the horizon from u.s authorities at all levels even after we first detected these cases.

              Again italy and skorea had their outbreak at the same time. You are right italy should not have happened . The Italian state failed miserably to respond in time. The s koreans mobilized immediately. There are plenty of other reason as well . You should read the story on Italy from nyt in the links. Id like to know how you think the Italian response and situation would have unfolded differently even if they had known two weeks sooner. The central government sat on its hands, ignored it, downplayed it. Look where they are. Compare to s korea, singapore, taiwan.
              What am i missing?

              1. MLTPB

                If the Italians had known 2 weeks sooner?

                That would put their travel restrictions on China, including Taiwan, HK, (both included under China by Roma), around Jan 17 or three about, instead of Feb 1 or 2.

                The first N Italian patient is thought to have returned around the same time. I think that makes a difference, for Italy.

                As for S Korea, they have had their problems. Without Italy for comparison, they would look shaky.

                Taiwan ironically had benefited from being classified in a way she denies.

                For Singapore, some patients just moved on and returned to their home countries. I haven’t read about centralized food delivery, drive through or booth style testing. Dont know if they track phones. Dont think they mass tested, though in a small city state, it would be more feasible.

                1. Cuibono

                  Downplaying the success 3of these countries does a huge scientific disservice. What is your agenda

                  1. AllTogetherNowPeople

                    Thanks for calling this comment out. The desire to blame and reinforce stereotypes about Western and US dominance and competency is sad.

                    1. MLTPB

                      It’s about drawing appropriate lessons from others, including non western nations.

                      Are the lessions

                      1 centralize food delivery
                      2 drive through testing or DIY home testing
                      3 phone location surveillance for movement restriction violators
                      4 letting families out once every 2 days
                      5 police enforcing mandatory testing
                      6 any successful strategies being tested by both strains
                      7 warmer weather
                      8 refusal to dock cruise ships nearby
                      9 mask wearing
                      10 early travel restrictions, by Italy or other nations
                      11 facial hair, lack of
                      12 namaste or bowing instead of hand shaking

                  2. MLTPB

                    Is it downplaying or seeing what is, trying to draw appropriate lessons?

                    Is Taiwan facing the second wave now, and the second strain?

                    What have been keys to Korea’s success? Is phone tracking part of it, etc?

                    My agenda is to advocate not over or under reacting. If I see over reacting, I will write about the other direction, etc.

          3. Keith

            I agree with this. It seems S. Korea took it seriously and the US and Italy didn’t. But then S. Korea had a somewhat recent bad experience with MERS. The US hasn’t had to respond to a domestic pandemic crisis since the polio epidemics that ended in the 1950s. We haven’t really had a botched response since the 1918 flu.

            The problem in the US at least is that the people in charge always work to dismantle services and reallocate resources when the bad experience that caused a nation to develop the existing services and resource allocation fades in the collective memory. I think this dovetails nicely with Minsky’s work on financial crises and how he noted the increase in the tendency to dismantle financial regulations the further you get away from those crises.

            Trump wouldn’t have worked to dismantle the pandemic response capability if the US had had a recent disease response failure. The funny thing is that he, and a lot of his voters, are old enough to have had first hand experience of the polio epidemic or to have come into contact with the victims of it. You’d think they would have thought more of the need for the capability to respond to such problems.

            1. Jules

              I agree with the much of you are saying.
              The only issue i have is trying to explain away, even if only in part, the disparity of response between korea and italy or u.s to their experience with recent past pandemics. I mention this because the u.s national security state supposedly considers these viruses top 3 or 4 national security threats. Supposedly when the heads of these agencies get together this topic is always discussed. The u.s has conducted many mock exercises just for this type of outbreak. Yet, it seems they ignored much of what they learned to stop and outbreak quickly. I do agree that the Koreans and others in the region certainly learned from past outbreaks and took serious measures to prepare which have led to early success in containment, even if the future is uncertain. Needless to say , they too made some mistakes in the very early stages, but none so egregious as we are witnessing from our institutions in the u.s.

          4. drumlin woodchuckles

            If the local ChiCom Regime’s branch office in Wuhan had not spent weeks persecuting and silencing the doctors who first warned of a new virus pattern, the medical authorities could have suppressed it quickly and contained it to within the first few patients.

            And a worldwide warning might not have been needed at all.

            It has been noted that this kind of persecution is a feature of the ChiCom system. It will happen again for every disease that breaks out there, every time. That is one reason among others that America’s long range goal should be zero economic or social contact with China in particular. The two countries should be sealed off from eachother with water-tight naval bulkheads.

            1. Jules

              Yet they managed to keep considerably more of their people alive than “free” and “democratic” Italy. I guess it must be a feature of the Italian State?
              Yes , a new cold war , and polarizing the world like that will not lead to a certain nuclear holocaust. Brilliant !!

              My apologies to the commentariat for the glib comment. Will be last of this kind.

              1. ambrit

                Don’t worry. No apologies needed. Many of us here do quite well being glib and worse. (See my recent “from the hip” disparagement of another commenter’s quite good sarc. I displayed both tone deafness and over reactionism.)
                Keep up the good work.

              2. drumlin woodchuckles

                Given that free and democratic South Korea did so much better than free and Democratic Italy, yes . . . it is a feature of the Italian state. And if we have an Italian outcome here, that would be a feature or at least a downstream result of the American state.

                If the ChiCom regional regime in question had not actively persecuted and silenced doctors who SAW the problem EARly and TRIED to get government to NOtice the problem, it would not have reached the level of heroic measures needed across all China. ( And now beyond).

                And pursuit of American survival through zero trade or contact with China is not war. It is survival. The ChinaGov may feel warlike about being denied access to the huge wonderful New Tibet they imagined they could turn us into, but that is their moral failing, not ours.

                Free Trade must die, that humanity might survive.

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        Not to mention all the staff and reportedly scarce PPE resources required to massively increase testing. Wouldn’t all that staff time and supplies be better utilized caring for the critically ill patients or allowing the healthcare workers to rest and replenish, particularly when a non-critical, symptomatic positive can only be advised to care for him/herself at home anyway?

        It’s called triage.

        1. urblintz

          It’s not a difficult concept, is it Katniss? I’ve stopped trying to explain the obvious.

          1. divadab

            So a dependancy like South Korea can organize free drive-through testing but you excuse the USA for not having the competence to do so? If we don’t test we have no idea how many people have the virus, right? HOw can any public health strategy be organized if we have no idea how widespread the virus is?

            PLease explain this obvious thing you seem to have overlooked in your desire to be superior.

        2. divadab

          If the Koreans can organize free drive-through testing centers why can;t we? It seems to me that all your sniffy attitude is merely excusing a scandalous failure to get enough testing kits made and available which other, poorer countries seem to have been able to do. If we don’t know how many people are infected, how on earth can we ever get a handle on this thing.

          Triage, eh? More like incompetence.

          1. Katniss Everdeen

            Of course you’re right. There’s no more significant epidemiological data point in a global pandemic than what percentage of overwrought americans who own a car, have a home and email address, and are healthy enough to drive to a testing station and queue up for hours to have their nose swabbed, test positive for the corona virus.

            We can learn so much more about disease distribution and severity that way than we could if we concentrated resources testing statistically significant cohorts that are representative of the population at large and evaluated the results with some level of expert data analysis.

            But…but…South Korea!

            It’s like the people who always demand antibiotics for anything and everything without ever worrying about the bigger superbug picture, and threaten a bad Yelp review if they don’t get it.

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              But our governmental epidemic early response teams have been carefully defunded and destaffed in order to stop them from being able to do the things which you suggest. So we would have to re-upfund them and re-upstaff them to even be able to do what you are suggesting.

              Maybe we can still do that in an emergency way and be less-behind than we otherwise will be. It might help us learn how to get the new-cases rate below the cure/recovery/death rate of the cases we already have.

            2. Observer

              Statistically significant cohorts? It’s a virus, not a marketing plan. You don’t target it, it targets you. Singapore’s approach was correct and obviously effective, by testing as many potential cases as possible and isolating them, allowing epidemiological information to be gathered and used to help predict virus behavior.

      3. AllTogetherNowPeople

        The earlier testing starts, the more asymptomatic infected people can be fully quarantined. It’s the stealth transmission by these people that ramps up the spread rate. So, yes, starting testing a month or two ago at full force would not have magic eradicated COVID, but it absolutely have saved a huge percentage of lives that will be lost.

        1. jonhoops

          Because of the distributed nature of the epidemic, which is occurring at different locations in both time and space, testing and contact tracing needs to continue to be used to contain and isolate the clusters as they appear. The only thing that will work is a comprehensive approach. Of course whether the US even has the ability to do any testing and contact tracing is being called into question based on the response so far.

        2. Cuibono

          May i quote the Director General of WHO for you :
          “It is rare for the WHO to criticize member countries that are among its largest donors, but director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was unequivocal when he said last week: “The idea that countries should shift from containment to mitigation is wrong and dangerous.” He added: “You can’t fight a virus if you don’t know where it is. That means robust surveillance to find, isolate, test and treat every case, to break the chains of transmission.”
          But I suppose you know more than he does.
          By the way, what are your credentials?

          1. MLTPB

            I happen to agree with having containment and mitigation.

            And commented about nested containment before today.

            Is something insufficient about contact tracing is important in the early phases?

            Do you want to change it to, contact tracing is important in the early phases, later, having enough resources for treatment is also important, as cases mount?

            I can do that.

            Unfortunately he also said health system of the world will be overwhelmed.

      1. ambrit

        Nothing yet about if there really are two primary strains of the Dreaded Pathogen circulating about in the public. This could be important. Are the West Coast and East Coast outbreaks based on different strains, with different levels of severity and outcomes? What happens as the two strains cross each other’s paths in the American Heartland and mix and match? A Third strain? Then what is to be done?
        This is now “out and about.” The Corona Jinni will not be put back in the Brass Bottle.
        Interesting times.

        1. MLTPB

          Up in Seattle, it is likely the 1st, mostly.

          Here in the Southland, relatively few cases in areas with many Asians. Don’t know how long ago those cases were first reported. Many many more cases are in the west side, beach cities, and San Fernando, where one might expect to have travellers recently back from Italy, and Europe, meaning the second strain.

          1. Cuibono

            please share a link to good scientific evidence about two different strains and virulence

            1. MLTPB

              I only know there are different strains, and dont know if it’s necessarily more virulent for the second one.

              The point is some places are only seeing that now. And that’s their challenge to cope with this second wave.

              As for places dealing with both, it bears watching how they play out.

              1. Cuibono

                Again, links please. Otherwise change what you said from ” I only know” to “Only I know”

                1. MLTPB

                  I’m not the only one to know there are 2 strains.

                  Bsoder says below there are 3 strains.

                  Ambrit above says there are 2 strains.

                  Not sure why I would want to say only I know there are different strains.

                  And Bsoder says below the the L strain is more virulent.

                1. Kurt Sperry

                  Sorry for the assignment. I found this at New Scientist in a quick search-

                  “There do appear to be two different strains,” says Ravinder Kanda at Oxford Brookes University in the UK. “[The L-type] might be more aggressive in transmitting itself, but we have no idea yet how these underlying genetic changes will relate to disease severity,” she says.

                  “I think it’s a fact that there are two strains,” says Erik Volz at Imperial College London. “It’s normal for viruses to undergo evolution when they are transmitted to a new host.”

                  It is vital to know how many strains of the virus exist. Around the world, multiple groups are working on a vaccine for the virus. Any vaccine will need to target features that are found in both strains of the virus in order to be effective.

                  The differences between the two identified strains are tiny. In fact, they can’t really be considered to be separate “strains”, says Jones. And many of the genetic differences won’t affect the production of proteins, and so won’t change the way the virus works, or the symptoms it causes, he says. One is not more deadly than the other.

                  “In all practical terms, the virus is as it was when it originally emerged,” says Jones. “There’s no evidence it is getting any worse.” The sentiment is echoed by the World Health Organization. The study by Tang and colleagues only suggests there is some genetic diversity of the virus – it doesn’t mean it is changing, a representative told New Scientist.


                2. MLTPB

                  The story first showed up about 2 weeks ago, that Tang Xiaolu of Beijing University identified 2 strains, and was reported widely.

                  Some experts disagreed and as well, the WHO was skeptical.

                  None of the skeptics is from China, I believe.

                  At the minimum, there is a second wave, the same or another strain. And China is reporting some days of no domestic cases, but some imported ones.

                  Bsoder may have more info on the 3rd. I have not heard of it.

                3. MLTPB

                  The paper itself, according reports, was published in the National Science Review, the journal of the Chinese Academy of Science.

                  More follow up studies of larger data sets to be needed to better understand its evolution, according to the authors.

            2. Brooklin Bridge

              Here is a discussion of the only significant Mutation I’m aware of based on a reputable Chinese study. It is somewhat dated, March 5, but is pretty detailed. The same individual, Dr. Campbell, has not mentioned any other significant (infectious) mutations since.

              1. Brooklin Bridge

                Adding I’m not any sort of authority which is what I should have added when I said, “that I’m aware of.”

              1. ambrit

                The vagaries of the Internet Dragons. When I posted the above comment, the earlier comment by Mr Sperry was not seen. Apologies all.

        2. Bsoder

          There are three strains of C-19. Two of which are important at this time – ‘S’ and L. 99% of cases in the US based on yesterday’s verified date set (+200k) is ‘L’. L is deadlier in several ways more then ‘S’. The two strains can’t cross but each will with 100% certainty mutate again. On the good news side the whole SARS family of viruses which have 20 proteins making them up (not to be confused with its’RNA) are subject to an antiviral that stops reproduction inside a human cell (lungs cells are the most vulnerable) of C-19. Similar to what is done in treating HIV. The inside a cell works better then going after the virus itself, as the virus mutates. But, the proteins C-19 uses inside a cell to take it over are always the same. Stop even one of those proteins and no more C-19. The issue it picking which protein(s) is whatever drug you come up it can’t also kill the cell itself. Will this work, yes.

          1. MLTPB

            I don’t claim the second strain is more virulent, though I might have thought perhaps it is, or more specifically more difficult to cope with (because it appeared when the focus was on East Asia).

            Cuibono’s is question above is more in your area, if you say L is deadlier in several ways.

    3. Carey

      Has the “American Catastrophe” already happened, as said in the headline; or will that
      be this coming week, or..

      unified hysteria to whose benefit

      s/ confused

  2. timbers

    The Middle East doesn’t deserve Trump and his troop ‘repositioning’ – at least have the guts to call it a retreat Independent. Robert Fisk.

    I always appreciate good news and US withdrawing in the face of U.S. casualties is good news.

    The headline almost scared my away from reading because it was confusing. The writer tries to hard to criticize Trump even when something good is happening.

    I agree with assessments, that the only way to get U.S. troops out of nations they are not welcome and don’t belong, is for the unjustly occupied to cause casualties amongst US troops.

    1. jackiebass

      It’s not good for the citizens of the countries that our actions have destroyed. What happened to when you start a war you own?

      1. Astrid

        The US is not in a position to fix anything, including itself. 20 years of recent history and really everything since 1970 makes that very clear. The sooner it leaves, the sooner the locals can try and salvage the situation themselves without the USian presence to blow it all up again.

        1. Dirk77

          +1. Ten years ago, a friend thought we should just pull out and never look back. I argued we needed to stay in to fix things. I was wrong. If only we had taken his advice then.

        2. John k

          Since 1970…
          I would say since jfk, after he went mic was free to ramp up the disastrous Vietnam war, worse than all the ME wars not just bc the loss of lives but also bc it destroyed us faith in gov.

          1. Kilgore Trout

            Kennedy was planning to pull US advisors out of Vietnam, and signed a directive in October of 1963 to that effect. He was also in back door conversations with both Kruschev and Castro to tamp down and end the Cold War, and to end the arms race. We know how that ended for him.

        3. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Before Ron Paul had the Repub nomination stolen from him he stated the obvious, back when it would have mattered. In a debate he said he would bring all of the troops home right away. When pressed to ask when he would do it he responded “as soon as the boats can get there”. Correct answer. We need them at home, not off in some country you can’t even name trying to make billionaire Raytheon and Halliburton shareholders even richer. Sigh.

      1. xkeyscored

        Or, as other nations might phrase it, send the US gangsters back to their own s**thole.

    2. John k

      Reposition vs surrender…
      Since we won’t be allowed to do the latter, by all means let’s do the former. And now is much better than later.

      1. ambrit

        Now, the Government has the Fig Leaf of the Coronavirus as excuse for the “repositioning.”
        Don’t let a disaster go to waste.
        Mr Cynic says that those troops will be needed this fall on the Homefront to “maintain order” during the Pandemic.

    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      The writer hates America and wants America to keep suffering casualties there. Even if it means more Afghan and Iraqi casualties too, at American hands.

  3. Henry Moon Pie

    The “negotiations” going on in DC are infuriating, and their inevitable result, combined with the trillions being fire-hosed into the banks and the rest of corporate America, will be rage-inducing, but this attempt to prop up the house of cards yet again while treating the people like disposable diapers (I bet they’re hard to find) will fail. Our betters have the idea that it’s the number of zeros in their bank accounts that give them their power, but they’ll soon find that two of their main sources of the rapidly dwindling consent of the governed–their promise to “keep us safe” and their offer of a place of comfort (i.e. “American dream”) to those who do their bidding–are about to be completely shattered.

    There’s a lot of music from the 60s that resonates these days, some from surprising sources like Steppenwolf:

    1) For Nancy Pelosi–“Move Over

    Things look bad from over here
    Too much confusion and no solution
    Everyone here knows your fear
    You’re out of touch and you try too much

    Yesterday’s glory won’t help us today
    You wanna retire?
    Get out of the way

    2) An Invocation–“Monster

    And though the past has it’s share of injustice
    Kind was the spirit in many a way
    But it’s protectors and friends have been sleeping
    Now it’s a monster and will not obey

    The spirit was freedom and justice
    And it’s keepers seem friendly and kind
    It’s leaders were supposed to serve the country
    But now they won’t pay it no mind

    ‘Cause the people got fat and grew lazy
    Now their vote is like a meaningless joke
    You know they talk about law, about order
    But it’s all just an echo of what they’ve been told

    ‘Cause there’s a monster on the loose
    It’s got our heads into a noose
    And it just sits there watchin’

    …America where are you now?
    Don’t you care about your sons and daughters?
    Don’t you know we need you now
    We can’t fight alone against the monster

    1. Dave


      Ain’t what it used to be
      Ain’t what it once was
      Ain’t what it ought to be
      Nothin’ right no more

      Not that I’m an old guy, but I’m listening to these songs on original vinyl while I’m writing this.

      1. Bsoder

        Pharaphase of Rev. King. When he said it, his last line was ‘but thank god, we ain’t what we was”.

        1. Dave

          I didn’t realize Steppenwolf borrowed that from Rev King. It’s one of my favorite songs.

          Thanks, and be safe.

  4. Steve H.

    A note on hospital staffing in the US:

    1) Staffing is optimized for about 2/3 capacity. When the hospital is at capacity, a 40-hour a week worker would have to work a 60-hour week to cover the man-hours.

    2) Workers are already quitting. For example, I know of a health care worker with three co-morbidities who quit this last week, citing risks. Age over 49 is a co-morbidity. The average age of a RN in the US is 50.

    3) Hospitals running at 200% capacity in Italy. In the US, beds in parking garages are set up, and college dormitories are being readied for extra capacity. Where will the extra staffing come from?

    4) A milemarker to look for: nursing students being certified early. This will decrease the average experience level of staff.

      1. Steve H.

        Montreal?!? Really!?!

        In the US, nurses understand as well as anyone the catastrophe of the health insurance system. They talk to the sufferers.

        Neoliberal Rule#2: Go Die. Our system is designed to extract your vital fluids before tossing aside your husk. Hospital bills you can never pay. Denial of survice, out of network. (For over 50-year olds, cancer survivorship is about 85%, but bankrupts nearly half of those.)

        Once more, unto the breach, dear friends,
        and close the wall up with our nursing dead

        And I see the wall the Spartans build in “300.”

    1. griffen

      I’ve a niece who just finished her CNA, and in between starting again on her nursing studies. Maybe this crisis foments we need more nurses, support personnel and MD as opposed to financial engineering MBA students ?

      Ha, not enough money in the former.

    2. MLTPB

      More than respirators, testing kits, the narrowest bottle neck is health care workers, it seems to me.

      Getting the flow to move faster elsewhere, the process is still constrained here.

      1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

        Particularly ICU medical staff who are the equivalent of highly trained military Special Forces & cannot easily be replaced.

        1. rtah100

          Not true. To continue the military analogy, if you need to fill large numbers of roles in a hurry, break-down the training. Reserve the fully trained experts for second level support; fill the frontline roles with grunts who can strip a rifle blind, i.e. do one thing and do it well. Aircraft carriers divide the flight deck personnel into specific micro-roles.

          An example is the Danish polio epidemic in the 1950’s (?), where the medial director had a medical student sit at each bedside, physically pumping a ventilator bag to keep the patient alive.

          1. Yves Smith

            This also happened in WWI with manufacturing. Former journeymen, who knew all the aspects of production in a shop, were promoted to supervise new, minimally trained hires who performed narrow tasks.

      2. GF

        Bring the troops/spooks/contractors home and put them to work. No experience necessary. Cannon fodder for a different war. Their job is to keep us safe from aggression – this virus is pretty aggressive.

        1. Massinissa

          Just tell them its a Chinese bioweapon (even though that isn’t true) and they should be ready and willing to throw themselves into the breach.

      3. urblintz

        one can bet that if pundits on CNN etc are screaming about something they deem “important” they are misdirecting attention from that which is more important.

        So let’s talk about hospitals and how they are run under the neoliberal model…

      4. Observer

        I am a nurse. We have been issued one N95 mask each and told to re-use it up to 5 times, against manufacturer recommendations. Hand sanitizer is on backorder. There are not enough gowns or surgical masks. The CDC is now recommending bandanas and scarves where no PPE is available. Health care workers are at greater risk of becoming sick. The US response to this crisis has been unacceptable and abysmal, and the virus is now out of the bag. Throwing inexperienced people at the problem without proper training and essential protective equipment will not solve this, it will merely get more people sick. Brace yourselves – this has only just begun.

  5. The Rev Kev

    “Is Our Fight Against Coronavirus Worse Than the Disease?”

    Umm, no. The author – David L. Katz – mentioned that they considered this idea of herd immunity in the UK but dropped it. He does not mention that the reason why Boris dropped it was because the cost of that approach was about 250,000 dead voters, errr people. Such an approach in the United States would involve the deaths of several million with no guarantee that herd immunity would work if the Coronavirus mutated. Being curious, I thought to check out Katz’s Wikipedia entry and what I found does not give me confidence as to his qualifications in talking about this subject-

    1. Lee

      Even if herd immunity were to develop and the virus didn’t mutate, that immunity could well be, as with other Coronaviruses, only temporary. Imagine people getting Covid-19 as often as they get colds.

      Furthermore, as people age and develop other health problems, those who previously survived infections would become more vulnerable to the virus’s more virulent effects. This would likely reduce average life expectancy considerably.

      1. Synoia

        Imagine people getting Covid-19 as often as they get colds….

        I believe that’s called “culling.”

            1. ambrit

              Another example of business methods being applied, incorrectly, to politics and society. It’s called “downsizing.”

      2. Chris

        I had discussions with several people yesterday which boiled down to their firm belief that in order to “save the economy” we’re going to eventually have to accept higher casualties. To which I say, are you volunteering?

        I also don’t see how this “rip off the bandaid” approach helps. We’d overwhelm the health system. Also, using rough numbers in just the US, you’d put somewhere between 50 – 80 % of the US population that don’t die from exposure on sick leave for a month (2 weeks sick plus 2 weeks to confirm recovery) which would also tank the economy. So why not just keep everyone home for a month and save lives?

        We’re going to see a lot of sacred cows get slaughtered over the next month. My only hope is treating the economy as if it were a living thing instead of a concept designed to serve living people will be one of them.

        1. Carla

          I agree with much of what you say, but I think we Americans will be staying home much longer than a month.

          1. pretzelattack

            i’m really afraid you’re right. i don’t know how we will deal with it, as a society/economy and as individuals. i guess i’ll find out, can’t walk out of his show.

            1. MLTPB

              I agree, and will include the whole world in the ‘we.’

              The world doesn’t know how we will deal with it.

        2. Astrid

          I would disagree that the economy is treated like a living being. The economy treated like the one and only God, with roles of priests and whatnot assigned to CEOs, government officials, and bankers. It’s a good lens to view monetary and fiscal policy of the past 50 years. Also puts the true meaning of “doing God’s work” into perspective.

          1. Carey

            >Also puts the true meaning of “doing God’s work” into perspective.

            That is a really good catch.

        3. QuarterBack

          The balance of quarantine is the great dilemma – and a global one. It will probably be decades before historians can sort out ultimately how effective our individual and collective responses were. One thing’s for sure, we are having to go through it.

          What makes this so unprecedented, is (Thanks to modern transportation technology) that the virus is being exposed to the whole world nearly simultaneously. There are no safe regions where resources can be drawn from. The economic “advances” of globalism have diminished “excess” capacity of production and warehousing of goods. Our embrace of Just-in-Time approaches have diminished our emergency reserves, and the disaster firewalls they support. We can have all the contingency contracts in place for emergencies that we want, but if a disaster is ubiquitous, it is “every country for themselves”. The fact is, we are learning the true costs of exporting our manufacturing and skills overseas. Our supply chain is overly dependent on China and they are not likely to keep up in the short-term. Before we go blaming them, if the roles were reversed, we would be limiting exports of critical items to focus on our domestic emergency needs.

          If we loosen the quarantine too far, we risk overwhelming hospital capacity (as in Italy, which by the way has one of highest population densities in Europe) and not only will CORVID-19 deaths rise, but so will every other life threatening conditions dependent on emergency medical care.
          However, a lockdown that is too aggressive can risk crashing the supply chains for nearly everything, but most importantly, food, and medicine. An extended shutdown could quickly lead to a global economic collapse with unimaginable numbers of bankruptcies for individuals and businesses. This will create an arguably necessary global implementation of martial law just to keep public order and to keep production and delivery moving. What concerns me most is such a condition could very difficult to reverse, and could result in much more dystopian results than the worst case virus tolls.

          We need to be vigilant and participatory in considering our collective futures. What we end up choosing is likely to effect our way of life for generations to come.

          1. Kurt Sperry

            The wholesale government takeover of every aspect of economic life during WWII is maybe a model of how large imposed changes are not only possible, but reversible given the necessary will to.

        4. MLTPB

          That’s a very good point about the same 4 week time, approximately, in either case, each involves its own uncertainties.

        5. hunkerdown

          Jesus. Sacrifice people to the Big Imaginary Friend of Numbers? What income level are these people? Are they too posh to reach into someone else’s chest and extract their beating heart, Aztec-style? If so, they’re definitely volunteering.

        6. drumlin woodchuckles

          If you have this discussion again with the same or other people, you could try suggesting that you agree if the deaths all start with the billionaire class and when every billionaire is dead move down to the half-billionaire class and then down to the quarter-billionaire class and so on down the class ladder from the top.

          See if they accept your agreement on those terms.

          ” Yes, I agree that it would be good for the economy if Cornonavid 19 kills all the social class enemies of the people.”

    2. Carolinian

      the cost of that approach was about 250,000 dead voters

      Could I lightly suggest that worst case scenarios–even by medical experts–are being treated as facts even though they too are just guesses about a disease where so much is still not known? It’s not unreasonable to question how this is being handled or whether politicians are more centered on CYA than on making the right decision. Shutting down entire cities is pretty drastic. Doing this for a couple of weeks out of an abundance of caution is one thing but after that what happens? I’d say it’s dangerous to treat hypotheticals as hard and fast realities when so much is at stake economically.

    3. Maxwell Johnston

      Regardless of his qualifications, Katz makes some important points. Gail Tverberg wrote in late January about the danger of overreacting to coronavirus:–politics/it-is-easy-to-overreact-to-the-chinese-coronavirus?post=248986
      It’s one thing to lock down for 2-3 weeks, but I don’t see how we can shut down the global economy for several months without massive negative consequences. Doing nothing is not an option, but deploying the military to keep people at home is overkill (sorry, couldn’t resist) for a disease which is not exactly the Black Death.

      1. urblintz

        “deploying the military to keep people at home is overkill..” thank god that’s not happening

        1. Zagonostra

          Don’t be so quick…this morning I saw three squad cars at local park where I walk. fortunately only rest rooms were closed but it’s the first time I saw police force out on a Sunday morning .

      2. tiebie66

        I expect that eventually some revolving pattern of 3 weeks lock-down, one week free will be adopted until the outbreak has run its course. As more people become immune, each successive curve (i.e. after the week with relaxed constraints) will be flatter and the periods of lock-down can then be commensurately shortened. The only way out is through.

        1. Carey

          >I expect that eventually some revolving pattern of 3 weeks lock-down, one week free will be adopted

          “one week free.” Sounds great- who’ll be calling the shots?

          #sohosed (not by the virus)

  6. Martin Oline

    We have free access to Showtime for a few weeks here and I have been watching Oliver Stone’s interviews of Vladimir Putin. I would recommend it to all who have access and the time. I have seen short clips of his news conferences in the past and was impressed with the mans mental acuity. He was trained as a lawyer and was never a career ‘public servant’. Some are born to greatness and others have greatness thrust upon them.
    It makes me deeply ashamed of the “leaders” we have. I include both of the parties, if you can find a difference between them. We have a group of shallow grifters who are intent on enriching themselves and their relatives at the expense of the country they were born in. Perhaps this epidemic will finally create a change for the better.

    1. carl

      I’ve always been impressed with Putin. Extremely intelligent, runs rings around US “leadership.” Maximizes what small leverage his country has. Sorted out that Syria thingie.

      1. judy2shoes

        Completely agree with you. I have immense admiration for Sergei Lavrov , too. Their measured approach to diplomacy has shown time and again that their U.S. counterparts are incompetent clowns.

        1. ewmayer

          Yes, Lavrov is true old-school *diplomat* worthy of the term. Apparently he was (secretly) appalled by some of HRH HRC’s childish antics during a few of their face-to-faces during her stint as SoS. But like a true diplomat, and like his boss, the man is impossible to ruffle publicly. All I can say is, those late-night Kremlin poker games, if they play poker there, must be something else. (But I suspect they mostly stick to chess, where feinting and bluffing are also things, just not as starkly as in poker.)

          1. judy2shoes

            Apparently he was (secretly) appalled by some of HRH HRC’s childish antics during a few of their face-to-faces during her stint as SoS.

            Not hard to believe at all, especially after some of the things she’s said or done here in the US. Would that I could have been a fly on the wall at some of the late-night Kremlin gatherings after HRH HRC’s visits.

          2. Carey

            Larvov strikes me as somebody who’s taken some knocks, and is ok
            with a few more.. admirable man.

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          We have people that smart here. But they are rigidly excluded from leadership. How to get Putin-Lavrov grade Americans into leadership in the teeth of an Overclass and a Minion-class designed to keep them out?

          1. Carey

            Agree with that, but IMO it has to do with more than smarts.. an Ali-level ability to take a punch and still function, for one thing. Some call it

            Mr. Pompeo (the Last Guy, Kerry, Clinton) doesn’t/don’t seem that type.

        1. judy2shoes

          I’ve watched some of those press conferences, and Putin really has a command of geopolitical issues. He was in stark contrast to Obama, who, as far as I could tell, would not be able to pull something like that off without teleprompter answers. Or maybe he could write the answers on the palm of his hand, like Sarah Palin.

          I also watched the ceremony in which Putin signed the agreement with representatives from Crimea to bring Crimea back into Mother Russia’s fold. One of those men was so ecstatic he practically floated into the room. A look of pure joy was all over his face. His happiness was palpable, and I’ve never forgotten it.

    2. The Historian

      “and was never a career ‘public servant’.”
      Putin was KGB – I don’t know how much more of a career ‘public servant’ any Russian could get.

      As far as his leadership, I don’t think a man who sold off Russian assets to his friends, whose detractors always seem to end up dead, who has a stranglehold on Russian government to even trying to get constitutional amendments passed that will keep him in office until 2036, etc., is the kind of “leadership” we need.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Do a thought experiment then. Imagine that Russia stayed on the same trajectory that it had in the 1990s and Putin never achieved power. What would Russia be like now? How many millions more dead would there be? Would Russia have been broken up by outside force like some western countries wanted? How much more unstable would the Middle east be without their presence? When I think of the possibilities, there is a lot to be grateful for that we never had to find out.

        1. The Historian

          Or maybe it would have worked the other way with many needed changes that made it better for Russian citizens. Gorbachev had many ideas to make Communism work, but as we all know from history, the most dangerous time for repressive governments is when they try to make reforms.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Are you kidding? At what cost? “In the seventeen years between 1992 and 2009, the Russian population declined by almost seven million people, or nearly 5 percent—a rate of loss unheard of in Europe since World War II.”


            The billionaire oligarchs had brought up Russian industries for pennies on the dollar and were selling them off to foreign companies. It was only Putin that stopped an oligarch selling off Russia’s oil to an American company which would have crippled Russia forever more.

            Society had also collapsed and gangsters had free reign. Putin said that during this era he had to sleep with a shotgun in his bed. If you get the chance, get Orlov’s “The Five Stages of Collapse” to get a taste of what hell they went through.

            1. The Historian

              I think your timing is off. Gorbachev was out of office by 1991.

              Yes, there was an increased death rate, AFTER Gorbachev left office, probably due to the bad economic conditions and the lack of healthcare when the Soviet Union began falling apart, but Gorbachev didn’t do this.

              As far as Putin protecting Russian assets…….yea. Look to see who the six richest men are in Russia and look at what their connections are to Putin. In fact, many sources say Putin is the richest man in the world, although it is hard to know for sure.

              1. OIFVet

                No, Gorbie didn’t do this. Yeltsin did, and the US did, by way of the Harvard boys and interfering in the 1996 election. You know, the one Time magazine bragged about on its cover. We are just so darn exceptional, it’s almost cute.

                PS I have come to believe that fetishizing Gorbie is a dead giveaway of those who have drunk the establishment koolaid.

              2. chuck roast

                As a casual observer it is my understanding that when Putin came to power he was faced with a phalanx of oligarchs that had all the economic power and wanted the political power too. When Putin faced off against Kodorkovsky and put him in the can, he sent a message to the rich guys that they could keep their cash but political power out of bounds. So, Putin has become the Godfather and put leashes all of these sub-geniuses. He seems to run a modified Mafia with the requirement the people are not screwed. Trump sees a soul-brother, but he will always be a Putin stooge because no matter how many times they play chess, Putin will never even have to sacrifice a queen.

                1. MLTPB

                  Chess grandmaster Putin?

                  Reading widely, he probably knows this from his Chinese allies, a Chinese proverb that three cobblers working together can better even Zhuge Liang (I assume people know him).

                  He is likely to say, it’s not about me.

                  1. ewmayer

                    Never heard of the 3-cobblers aphorism, but the Chinese do have an interesting twist on the western “too many cooks” bromide: “three monks can carry no water.” I’ll let my fellow readers try to puzzle that one out. :)

                2. drumlin woodchuckles

                  ( I remember reading in the eXile, possibly in a Mark Ames article, that one reason Mr. Putin moved so fast and hard against Khodorkovsky is that Khordokovsky was preparing to sell “his” entire oil company { whose name I forget} to Exxon. And Putin was not going to let one of Russia’s principal resource sources fall into Exxon hands.)

          2. OIFVet

            To most Russians today, Gorbie’s name is a four-letter word. NATO. Do not underestimate the ingrained scars to the collective psyche from having had to constantly fight off invaders, at great collective costs, only to have Gorbie come along and give away defensive depth on a handshake and America’s promise not to expand NATO eastward.

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              It was a promise ” on our honor” from Reagan and Elder Bush. And I do remember that when the Ukraine was preparing to have its referendum on Independence or not . . . that President Elder Bush gave a speech about how Independence for Ukraine was maybe a bad idea and he hoped Ukraine would vote “no”. It was derided as the “Chicken Kiev” speech.

              I don’t think that Reagan-Bush would have predicted a President like Clinton who had precisely zero honor at all. It was precisely and exactly Clinton who pushed the agenda of NATO moving East and of looting Russia through various clever tricks.

              1. Carey

                >It was a promise ” on our honor” from Reagan and Elder Bush.

                That still strikes me as truly bizarre that Gorbachev/Russia would accept that.. nothing on paper? There has to be more to that story..

                “we promise.”

                1. drumlin woodchuckles

                  There might be. I never heard of anything being written down. But maybe something was.

              2. pretzelattack

                reagan had no honor at all, so i don’t see why, assuming he was still in his right mind, he would have had trouble predicting a clinton.

      2. Astrid

        He’s a good Caesar, not a saint. And a good Caesar knows he needs to reward his friends and legions to maintain his position. What the populace benefit from is effective governance, for a little while, since the strong man model is usually unstable.

        Assuming you are not just concern trolling, which a lot of your comments tend to sounds like…good luck applying your purity test to… anything,

        1. divadab

          Yes. And a damn sight more competent than the gang of self-dealers we have “in charge”.

      3. OIFVet

        At the risk of offending most people, Russophobia is in the Anglos mothers’ milk. And in the classrooms and on TV. The only good Russia is a Russia that seizes to exist. “Russia cannot be understood with the mind alone,” a Russian poet wrote, and it’s true. Those who only “know” Russia from afar, those who only “know” Russians from reading about the likes of Khodorkovsky or from having met a Russian emigre on campus, can never hope to understand Russia. To Russians, “Mother Russia” is not a cliche, it’s something so deeply felt that it’s part of their being. It explains how tenaciously they fight no matter how grim and hopeless the fight might seem to the mind, why they fight on even when the likes of Stalin ruled the land. For those who want to try to begin to understand Russia even a bit, Listen to DDT’s Rodina, read the translated lyrics.

        1. The Historian

          Or better yet, read some good histories of Russia. There are a number of them out there. Even Great Courses Plus has two good histories of Russia.

          I came across a quote somewhere – I don’t remember who said it – that in times of troubles, people look for a strong dictator to save them from themselves – but the cure is often more painful than the original problems.

          1. OIFVet

            I have read many a good histories, thank you. I also grew up with many Russians in the Eastern Bloc. My motherland exists because Russians spliled their blood for it. It exists in its current geographical borders because Russia refused to heed Churchill’s desire to have it broken up in pieces and those pieces gifted to its neighbors. Thank you, but I will stick to the history of my people’s relationship with Russia, it goes back 10-11 centuries. Longer than the US might ever exist.

            1. montanamaven

              Thank you for that wisdom OIFVet. I don’t put much stock in “histories” especially about so called “great men”. I do like to read about real people. “Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking” by Anya Von Bremzen gives a glimpse into how ordinary people lived together during the Soviet Union. Though fiction, Chekhov’s short stories are very instructive as to middle class and peasant lives in Russia prior to the Revolution.
              The Stone Interviews with Putin are quite fascinating. He’s super smart and a very agile brain. He comes up with original ideas so is the opposite of any of our politicians. Naomi Klein’s chapter on Russia in her 2007 book “The Shock Doctrine” is a good intro to what happened in the 1990s. I would then follow that with “How Harvard Lost Russia” which can be found online. It’s a pretty detailed account as to how “economists” and bankers from the US (Larry Summers and Co) went over and plundered Russia in the 1990s. Dimitry Orlov, of course, is a must read. He recently gave a dire warning about poking the bear. Yasha Levine has a new series called “Immigrants as Weapons” about our saving Nazis after WWII rather than help our ally, the Soviet Union. Oh, it goes on and on.

              1. Martin Oline

                Thank you for your recommendations here, especially Dimitry Orlov’s Five Stages of Collapse in another comment. Although my local library is closed, perhaps I could stream it. I believe that this country will be markedly different in a few years because of the experience we are all going through right now. A change no one could have predicted but now seems inevitable. Perhaps this book can shed some light on this for me.

                1. GF

                  Our libraries are closed too but the closest one allows holds to be placed online for books and DVDs that can be picked up in the parking lot while not leaving your car. And they have extended the check out period to 8 weeks from 3.

                2. montanamaven

                  I don’t suppose you live anywhere near upstate NY where I am hunkered down right now instead of the Montana ranch. I have an extra copy of Orlov’s book. Maybe I could send it to you through Lambert? Orlov is an amazing thinker and funny to boot. An engineer and a linguist. OFIVet is right. Our elites are terrified of the Russians for many reasons and they should be because the Russians have a long long history and a long long memory. Trump’s instincts were right. They should be our most valuable allies as they have been in the past.
                  Imagine if we were attacked by Aliens (and the virus is kind of like that). Who would you pick to lead the Earth Force?

              1. OIFVet

                Shipka Memorial is where the fallen Russians and Bulgarians (and for that matter Finns, Ukrainians, and many other nationalities that fought under the Russian flag) rest forever together. No Bulgarian can ever forget that, excepting those few who take 30 pieces of silver to do so. Politics and politicians come and go, but for the average Bulgarian that memory is not for sale at any price. That’s history that will survive all attempts at revisionism. Every March 3rd, throngs brave the mountain winter to climb the peak and to remember.

                Putin is many things, but first and foremost he is a Russian leader, and a damned good one in comparison to our so-called leaders. He saved Russia, and I think that this is his one “unforgivable” offence as far as the West is concerned. Given how many ruthless dictators the US has supported and installed around the world, the whole Putin hysteria amongst the ruling class and edumacated credentialed liberals is unbelievably hypocritical. Their “principles” are so flexible that I have nothing but contempt for them. Especially today, after having wasted 4 years on anti-Russia hysteria, and still failing to offer any governing principles other than the same warmed over neoliberalism while the ordinary people here and worldwide are facing complete financial annihilation.

                PS Thank you all for the kind words.

            2. chuck roast

              I was walking down Second Street today and someone had put a box of books on the curb. Badly needing a good read, I checked them out. I found a hardback Tales of the Don by Mikhail Sholokhov. It looks like a winner.

          2. Astrid

            Good grief! Great Courses lectures?
            For real? Next you’ll be pointing to Wikipedia entries to demonstrate your expertise in the War of Triple Alliance and Chinese racial characteristics that make them consume pangolins and dogs.

          3. urblintz

            “you’re full of sh*^t” as the leading Dem candidate might say…

            and you need a new name.

            1. divadab

              AH now I get it – Astrid and Urblintz are just in it to cavil in a superior way. Trolls, sort of, maybe not as smart as a real troll more like the troll’s catamite.

            2. ObjectiveFunction

              Wow, thanks for adding nothing to the discussion. You’re normally better than this, mate.

        2. MLTPB

          OIFVet, a good point.

          In general, no other nations can really understand another nation.

          Russians can’t understand China, nor can Chinese Vietnam, etc.

        3. drumlin woodchuckles

          Someone should do a forensic history on how deep and far-back Russophobia goes in America. I would like to actually know rather than take somebody’s cliche’ for an answer.

          Is Anglo’s mother’s milk really as Russophobic as the antirussianitic racist antirussianite Zbigniew Brzhezinski, for example? Are there examples of it?

          I know I remembered reading that when Kruschev visited Iowa, a lot of Iowan farmers enjoyed his presence and his company. I know that a lot of midwestern farmers were happy about Soviet grain purchases in the 1970s. Mere exceptions which prove the rule?

          1. OIFVet

            It goes back to the Great Game, ever since Russia and Russians have been portrayed as this hostile, Asiatic other, often in ways that were indistinguishable from what the Nazi’s would use later. Sure, it started in Great Britain, but do ask yourself, how did the US go from Oliver Wendell Holmes writing, “Thrilling and warm are the hearts that remember Who was our friend when, the world was our foe,” to all Russophobia, all the time? And if you take a turn of phrase so literally, well, that’s your problem, not mine. Sure, many Anglos do not fall prey to the propaganda, but many more do. So I reserve the right to use “in their mothers’ milk” for rhetorical purposes, at least it makes russophobes defensive, and gets the ones with brains thinking. Better than nothing.

              1. OIFVet

                I took a perverse pleasure when, during the heights of “Russia Russia Russia” I posted that verse on my faceborg feed with no context, and my liberal Maddow-swilling friends liked it en masse. Afterward I revealed what prompted Holmes to write it, and the silence was deafening. I am a bit of an ahole like that :)

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              If I ask myself how we got from the Oliver Wendell Holmes poem to all Russophobia all the time, all I can tell myself is that I don’t know.

              That is why I said I hope someone would do a detailed forensic history of how and when it happened, and who happened it and how they happened it.

              Your rhetorical phrase adds precisely zero value to any effort to understand just how this Russophobia was engineered into existence. That is the problem with thinking in clever beautiful phrases. Your own sentence ” sure, many Anglos do not fall prey to the propaganda, but many more do” indicates that you understand that there was some kind of Information Operation designed to Russophobify the anglo segment of American society. If you understand that as well as that sentence indicates that you do, why would you use such a perfectly worthless useless a-historical counter-analytic phrase as mother’s milk?

              Also, when did the Great Game start and when did Oliver Wendell Holmes write that poem? Knowing those timepoints along a timeline would be part of the forensic historical audit of how Russophobia was engineered into existence in America.

              Did it start before America’s most Evil President, the Evil Woodrow Wilson?

      4. Martin Oline

        Ah yes, Newsweek, the magazine (then) that was always saying we were turning the corner in Vietnam. They were prescient in their understanding of the world and a wonderful source for accurate information. Do I have to put in an Irony icon here, or can you figure that out for yourself? They have not changed.
        Putin went to Moscow from Leningrad in 1996. How was it that he managed to sell Soviet assets to his ‘friends’ when that had occurred years previously? He put a stop to the looting and as a result has earned the enmity of western vultures. He talks at length about Snowden in the second part of four. He would have surrendered him to the United States if our government was willing to sign an extradition agreement, but we refused. We decided protecting refugee Billionaires who fled here was more important and more profitable. I think he said in 2002 the average income for Russians was about 2,000 rubles. In 2012 it was 29,000. He has done poorly.

      5. Oh

        While you’re busy bashing Putin, our “leaders” are busy giving away billions to the banksters, increasing “defense” spending to help their buddies, doing insider trading and taking away our freedoms, increasing domestic surveillance, jailing anyone who exposes their war crimes and killing abroad etc. etc. Newsweek will love you for linking their story but I daresay that they’re one of many propaganda artists who selectively make up stories to distract the common man.
        I’m more concerned about the shysters, grifters and crooks here than those that work in other countries. Right now the Congress is getting ready to throw billions towards their benefactors with a pittance going to the people who really need help.

      6. Productive Citizen

        Putin’s leadership
        My first recommendation to you, Historian, is IMMEDIATELY quit reading and citing trash MSM reporting/propaganda. Instead, if you’re interested in Russia, I highly recommend the blog Russia Observer. It’s written by a Canadian ex-intelligence officer, Patrick Armstrong, who’s focus is Russia. It’s very balanced, analytical and chocked full of cites to original sources.
        Second. I particularly recommend his post from January 8, 2020, “Twenty Years Later – How Did Putin Do?”
        Third, saying Putin is from the KGB, while true, is very misleading to western audiences. It makes him appear a thug from an unsavory police department. In fact, he’s very much the opposite. Saying he’s from the KGB is like saying your favorite historian graduated from college. Which one? University of Phoenix? Putin came out of the top elite division of the KGB that had a focus on foreign relations. He had first rate mentors. That elite division selected its members from the best of the best candidates. Putin was selected by his elite peers as best among the elite. It’s sort of like you saying your favorite historian graduated with top honors from Harvard. That KGB label, as its used in western propaganda, is a standard demonization tactic. It’s B.S. the way it’s used in MSM.

          1. barefoot charley

            Obama was a gentleman, who only assassinated by remote control between the hours of 10:30 and noon on Tuesdays–except for the occasional emergency murder, and of course his seven wars on civilian populations. And his murderous state sanctions, but they don’t count.

            Now Trump, Trump is a thug! But he plays golf. Take that, Putin!

            1. John

              You are suffering from what-aboutism. Doesn’t change what Putin is.

              I’m no fan of Obama.

              In fact, I had the good sense to not vote for him because I saw through him from the start.

              Can you say the same?

              1. Carey

                Interested in this “what-aboutism” that you mention.
                AFAIC anyone invoking the term gets to do all the talking..


          2. Productive Citizen

            Let’s see. What country has gratuitously slaughtered about a million brown people over the past twenty years. What country is responsible for leading the destruction of at least five or six countries, and responsible for displacing or ruining the lives of millions of brown refugees. Well, that would be the US. How many countries and millions of lives has Russia destroyed in the past twenty years? That would be very close to zero. Now, which country is the thug in this picture?
            You say “get real?” That’s absurd. You must be a troll. Are you a paid troll? You’re mindlessly repeating MIC propaganda.

          3. hunkerdown

            “Thug” = “isn’t getting out of the way so I can get promoted within the Party”

            I mean, let’s be clear about what the courtier class REALLY thinks about, and the REAL reason they’re bringing it up, rather than treat them as beings capable of empathy, compassion, or discretion for anyone outside their own class.

            Shorter: the Democrat Party is a terrorist organization and you’re posting their agitprop. Stop that.

      7. Astrid

        What right do USians have on imposing purity tests on other countries? This is a country that, right and “left”, supports Guiado and MBS and Bibi and headchoppers in Syria. And when given a candidate with a track record of decency and kindness to people, opted for Joe Biden instead – yeah DNC cheated, but enough voted for Biden to cover the cheating.

        So even if your view of history wasn’t wrong, what makes you think you have any standing to criticize the domestic behavior of any other country’s government?

        1. judy2shoes

          Thank you, Astrid. USians don’t have the right to apply purity tests; the US is one giant glass house.

          enough voted for Biden to cover the cheating

          We will never really know if that’s true because of the extensive and documented voting “irregularities.”

      8. Foy

        Putin came to power in 1999. GDP had been falling under Yeltsin for 10 years since the fall of the wall and bottomed in 1998. Most of the looting by the oligarchs was done by the time Putin came to power. And when Putin came to power GDP started rising again, which was why he had a very high popularity rating for a long time with the populace.

        GDP chart

        1. John

          There’s plenty of other evidence Putin is what I just stated.

          Cited the book because it’s an interesting read.

          I’ll spare you my emoji reply.

          1. OIFVet

            Thanks. Putin is what he is, and it’s really none of my concern. My concern is what is happening in the US. “None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free” just about sums up what I think of USians who are just so darn concerned about Putin.

            1. curlydan

              Putin seems like an autocrat, and we know he has other bad personality traits like being a homophobe at points in his life. But frankly, he always and unfortunately seems like the adult in the room when flanked by a U.S. president. If someone showed me a room of Putin plus the last 4 U.S. presidents and asked which one I would pick to solve a major problem, I’d quickly pick Putin.

              1. montanamaven

                Yes, Martin Oline brought up these interviews with Putin because they can shed light on our current crisis and how to handle it. Just like Orlov’s “Five Stages of Collapse” was written as a warning to us about our forthcoming collapse. The Russians have gone through repeated “challenges”. What worked and what didn’t work? Putin gave a speech at the UN in 2015 where he said that the Russians had learned from their Soviet Union experiment that you should not try to impose your ideology on the rest of the world. He coined the term “sovereign democracy”. Each nation has a right to determine its own form of democracy. The Russians have now dug in and are in defensive mode. Because of sanctions they are now producing their own food again instead of importing. Their military spending is all on defense. They are buying up gold. They have very little debt anymore. I dunnaknow but I too would pick Putin as the adult in the room. And I love Maria Zakarova, their Foreign Ministry spokesperson. Yes, I believe this is the time to very much study Russia and also seek them as allies.

                1. John

                  The big difference between the collapse of the Soviet Union and what a collapse would look like here, as Orlov always pointed out, was that the people in the former Soviet Union “owned” their homes and apartments. They weren’t kicked out because they didn’t have money for the mortgage or the rent.

                  That’s is what is going to make this so devastating here.

                  Putting evictions on hold for a few months just means that by fall and into the winter millions of people are going to be homeless. People can’t make up for the lost work time and come up with months of back rent once the economy starts up again. They make too little money.

                  1. drumlin woodchuckles

                    Maybe the thought of that many people all facing eviction or foreclosure at once in a few months time might scare the elite into
                    granting some kind of back-rent forgiveness and back-mortgage payment forgiveness.

                    To be made-up-for to the non-recipients of all those unpaid payments by “make-you-whole” payments from our government to the affected lenders and landlords.

    3. griffen

      I bet chess grandmaster Kasparov has a decidely opposite viewpoint of Putin. Just saying.

      So would the jailed ex-CEO of Yukos Energy.

        1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

          Democracy is a very variable thing & for the ancient Greeks they would call what we have an oligarchy. Often the many budding Democracies which were not reserved to Athens only served a very few & were often corrupt before being overthrown by a tyrant who had the support of the people who then sometimes did a better job.

          Perhaps in the case of Putin it is just one of histories many rhymes – Peisistatus has perhaps some similarities of whose rule Aristotle described it as being a golden age.

          A brief rundown :

      1. Laughingsong

        I don’t know a lot about Russian history and am not widely read. I will only say the following, which is only informed by my own experience, right or wrong:

        1) more generally, I am not certain that books about a country, fact or fiction, can really tell outsiders ALL about that country, at least to the level of being confident in one’s understanding…

        2) Putin: as someone said above, not a saint. Maybe he’s a thug. Maybe he’s a consummate statesman. I’ve certainly heard good arguments for both. The only thing that I feel certain of is that whichever he is (both perhaps?), our leaders consistently look terrible by comparison. So what does that say?

      2. griffen

        I recently began to work with a native born Russian, so I’ll be sure to ask for pointers on where to start. My knowledge of Russia historically is limited (dynastic monarchy rule, 1917, Stalin, etc ) but better than some.

        I’m an idiot but try to be informed on my idiocy. Putin has ruled for 20 years, with a brief spell that he wasn’t PM. So he appears to be a strongman in the mode of Stalin absent the genocidal tendencies.

      3. pretzelattack

        kasparov should stick to chess. afaik, he has mostly avoided jail except for a brief stay when he was arrested at a protest. his political views, from what little i know of them, are unpleasant.

      4. ewmayer

        I bet the late chess grandmaster Bobby Fisher had some decidely interesting viewpoints of Jews and the Holocaust. Just saying.

  7. verifyfirst

    Both Taiwan and Canada reported their first presumptive cases of COVID-19 within days of each other, but their experience of life with the pandemic has been quite different. Children in Taiwan are still in school, restaurants are open and there’s no shortage of protective supplies.

    No mention of testing in this article. So all it takes to control the virus is masks, sanitizer, a compliant/cooperative population and strong government intervention on masks and sanitizer???!!!

    Economic effects must be vastly less in Taiwan so far as well?

    1. MLTPB

      1. Taiwan was on Italy’s early Feb travel restrictions on China, which Roma insisted Taiwan was a part of, despite Taibe’s protests. Later in Feb,Taiwan banned Italian pork, in retaliation. Probably anger still lingered. Thus, the second wave, the second strain did not arrive in Formosa until weeks later, ie about now, indirectly via visitors of nations other than Italy.

      2. Taiwan tracks citizens phones to make sure they stay indoors. (The Independent 2 days ago).

    2. Jules

      Same with S Korea. From what i have read the u.s. and s korea had detected their first cases a day apart.
      Skorea mobilized immediately. Build its tests almost immediately. Identified the the biggest cluster , the religious cult, tested and quarantined. Increased testing capacity very quickly. Testing and strong contact tracing. From what i have read they managed to keep most businesses open , and did NOT shut down any major cities, not even the worst hit. Last week there was talk about opening schools in a few weeks. But they are going through a spike in new cases, so we’ll see. Really hoping they can contain it.
      Again compare this response to ours in the u.s.
      Especially when the fist cases are detected a day apart.

    3. HotFlash

      We in Canada have a very large land area and correspondingly large perimeter. We have a diverse population and many, many recent and first-gen immigrants. Securing our borders, *ESP* the one with the US, is difficult for many reasons (NAFTA, anyone?). I find it interesting that Cuba once again is weathering this storm due to the self-sufficiency engendered by the persistent US sanctions and, later, collapse of the USSR. Oh, and the good fortune to have had a ‘benevolent dictator’.

      I do not see how any country can survive when it can only plan in disjointed 4-year increments, absent good will and genuine concern for the people.

      1. Carey

        Is diversity good, other than in a *real* ecosystem? Seems to me that it only benefits the Few.

    4. YY

      Taiwan due to the political fortune of having brought on Mainland China’s visitation ban prior to the Wuhan mess was spared great deal of infection by business and tourist visitors. Hong Kong aside from their immediate neighbors being far from Wuhan also managed to close its “border” very early. Japan did not close its border but the Chinese cancelled all group tourists fairly early. Japan also went through a simulation exercise with the Diamond Princess very early on in the process. Korea had the misfortune of having a large religious cult with silly practices that happened to have Wuhan connections. It is notable that many of the origins of the infections are traceable to specific events persons and groups in these countries.

      All these countries and areas have had close and real time connections even with the delayed reporting of events in Wuhan. They’ve all been through previous SARS/ MARS/ etc and have reasonable medical governance infrastructures. And the press/TV reporting, however inaccurate, was very immediate to the populace. So the diseases were identified early, regardless the existence of a testing regime (some like the drive thru non-sense make things worse). Europe and the Americas thought that the events on the other side of the world were indeed something far away. This unawareness caused not just second hand but third hand infections to occur which effectively made the route of the infections untraceable and uncontrollable.

  8. The Rev Kev

    ‘Joseph Kim
    Tomorrow’s Sunday and Protestant churches in South Korea are adamant they will hold services, despite the coronavirus outbreak. Some pastors even say the virus is spreading because people aren’t worshipping enough and that you’ll be cursed if you don’t’

    Sure, let them go ahead. Why not? But when they go in just nail up the doors, pass food in for a fortnight, and only then let them out after testing each and every one of them for Coronavirus. I bet that the South Koreans remember the main reason that they nearly had a national disaster was the members of the Christian Shincheonji Church spreading the virus out into the general community.

    Had a recent problem with another Christian church here in Oz – the Greek Orthodox Church. They were refusing to stop serving parishioners wine from the same cup and spoon saying the chalice used during Eucharist couldn’t spread the disease. They finally backed off and are now suspending services-

      1. The Rev Kev

        The Nib has a wicked sense of humour and they absolutely demolished that South Korean Christian church. I like it. Guess that I will have to bookmark them now. Thanks.

    1. Tomonthebeach

      Until recently, I thought it was only radical Muslims who believed that they had to risk death to affirm their belief in God.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “China Is Not the Hero of the Pandemic”

    Thank you Slate for this article. And so does Donald Trump. Must be time for the next regime change I guess. Hmmpphh! You want to know what the difference between the Democrats and the Republicans is? The Democrats are always shouting Russia!Russia!Russia! while the Republicans are always shouting China!China!China!

    1. xkeyscored

      The USA is certainly not going to emerge as the hero. It’s tried to corner a potential vaccine in Germany, and used its military to get swabs for testing flown
      out of Italy in the midst of their crisis. And what is it doing for its own citizens? Weeks to prepare and it can’t test and doesn’t have enough of anything except bailouts.
      China, with hindsight, could have managed things better. The US could perhaps have managed things worse, but even my demented imagination has trouble seeing how.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Agreed. The Italians are going to remember the fact that in their hour of need, while the Chinese were flying in medical advisors to help out, the US Air Force were flying out medical supplies from the middle of a disaster zone. And now the Russians have offered to send in eight mobile teams of Russian medical virology specialists and doctors, automotive aerosol disinfection systems for transport and territory, as well as medical equipment-

        Just to put the boot in, the Chinese are also sending in medical experts to Iraq. Is the US doing the same?

        1. xkeyscored

          The US is pulling its troops out of various bases in Iraq, which I expect will be spun as their great humanitarian contribution to rival China’s.

          Cuba is also exporting medical staff and stuff as part of its evil scheme for full spectrum dominoes.


          This is the sixth medical brigade Cuba has sent in recent days to combat the spread of the new disease abroad. It has sent contingents to socialist allies Venezuela and Nicaragua as well as Jamaica, Suriname and Grenada.
          and within Cuba
          Thousands of doctors and medicine students are also going door-to-door monitoring their local communities.

          1. judy2shoes

            Cuba, the little Island that could. They sent medical teams to Africa during Ebola outbreak, too.

              1. judy2shoes

                Interestingly, just about every video I tried to look at today regarding making homemade face masks defaulted to a “video not available” error code.

          1. MLTPB

            I read of a private group from the US stting up some sort of moble hospital in France to help.

            Not sure if there are other imilar groups in other countries.

      2. MLTPB

        I think, as far as this is concerned, China is starting from minus 40,000, if we say, for example, Australia is starting from minus 100..

        1 every nation is to blame to various degrees, as Nature has been degraded. So, no one starts from zero.

        2. China has more to make up, if that is even possible, seeing its early cases. Can Beijing ever do enough to overcome that feadt of 40,000, or suppression of Dr Li?

        3. People privately floating theores is not the same as having official spokesman talking about it.

        4. There will be no heroes in this. Humans have much to self reflect uopn.

        1. Astrid

          Is suppression of early medical opinions going to look so bad compared to a POTUS who dismissed the whole thing as a hoax and not his problem. And didn’t quarantine himself after multiple Coronavirus exposures? And members of the “opposition” party encouraged voting and rallies long after it was clear this thing was getting out of control. And those multihour airport quarantines with thousands waiting shoulder to shoulder with no protection? And frontline hospital workers being sent in without PPE for the foreseeable future and threatened with termination if they resisted?

          China had bought the world time. And if all the countries treated it as seriously as Taiwan or Singapore or Koreans did, this would be yesterday’s news. Yet here we are.

          I think USA will absolutely be #1 on this, when all is said and done.

          1. MLTPB

            I think so.

            The hoax comment was later said to mean politicizing the outbreak. Bad choice.

            Suppressing the doctor was a big deal, for the people of China. Look at how they reacted when he succumbed.

            China bought time, after a late start, to save the rest of China, first, and rightly so. That was Beijing’s duty number one.

            1. Jules

              So the president ignoring the intelligence reports in January and effectively refusing to mobilize the nation in herculean task of containing a potential world wide pandemic, and then later calling it a hoax, was to you just a “bad choice”?

              When the Chinese bought time to save rest of china, it also bought time for the rest of us which our mis-leaders squandered.

              1. MLTPB

                Bad choice, using the word, instead of saying people are politicizing it.

                What was squandered was not when we first put travel restrictions on China, but too late on Italy. Here, the whole world squandered, except those places Italy imposed travel restrictions, on, actually Jan 27, 2020, and not Feb 1 or 2, as I had previously though and wrote. Here, 3 weeks head start would have prevented the situation in Italy, as we discussed above.

          2. drumlin woodchuckles

            Since Communist persecution and silencing of those crucial first doctors beFORE the new disease beCAME an epidemic is what first allowed the disease to beCOME an epidemic and then a pandemic, that initial Communist persecution and suppression of attempts to stop the disease early will be understood as the pushing over of the first domino.

            People who take pride in showing off how guilty they can feel about their own countries can have a debate about whether anti-medical/anti-science Communist persecution in Hubei Province was the Worst domino or not. But they will have trouble trying to hasbarify away the fact that the Communist persecution in question was the First domino.

              1. drumlin woodchuckles

                This was a result of whatever kind of blackmail and extortion and pressure and threats the NaziCommunist Occupation Regime in China was exerting against the WHO. I wonder how the pressure was delivered and what exact threats were made.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      The USgov has better sense than to try regime-changing China. And Slate magazine is not a spokesmouth for the USgov so far as I know.

      Pointedly reminding people of the first several weeks when the regional Communist regime authorities actively persecuted doctors trying to get people aware of an emerging disease and actively suppressing knowledge of that disease is a useful corrective to all the pro-Communist hasbarists trying to cover up that basic fact.

  10. Chris

    Boosting the signal for materials describing the uS government exercise in 2019 called “crimson contagion” in which the a Trump administration ran exercises that were eerily similar to what’s happening, showed that the US was incapable of handling it, and then did nothing. Tragic.

    Document from the NYT here.

      1. xkeyscored

        Pretty explicit, isn’t it? Just doesn’t seem to have foreseen the testing snafus to add to all this.

        The U . S . lacks the ability to produce or source some of the inputs necessary to produce vaccine in sufficient quantities to respond to the domestic requirements of a severe influenza pandemic . Further compounding this challenge , global manufacturing capacity will also be unable to meet domestic demand for medical countermeasures , including personal protective equipment and ancillary supplies (i. e. , syringes ), and it is anticipated that countries will keep their own stockpiled supplies for their own citizens . The U . S. also lacks domestic manufacturing capacity for the production of sufficient quantities of personal protective equipment, needles, and syringes . Domestic supplies of on -hand stock of antiviral medications , needles , syringes , N95 respirators, ventilators , and other ancillary medical supplies are limited and difficult to restock , because they are often manufactured overseas .

        1. QuarterBack

          We have ourselves to blame for enabling the globalists and Wall Street mantras “Eliminate excess capacity, offshore manufacturing and jobs, collect your profit and bonus, buy a mansion and a yacht” rinse, lather, repeat.

          1. HotFlash

            Blaming ourselves for globalism, isn’t that like blaming the Balkans for enabling Attila the Hun?

            1. Clive

              Yes, we are all now — each and every one of us — dependent on the kindness of strangers. There’s no such thing as “the rest of the world”.

          2. Oh

            Very true and we as citizens have to be on the alert as to the kind of people we elect. Unfortunately, the system forces us to choose between one crook or the other and decent people don’t get a chance to run. This is true in all levels of politics although at the lowest level, i.e. local offices there may be some choices when party affiliation is not required.

          3. Carey

            >We have ourselves to blame

            No, that’s bullshit. No one asked me, or anyone I know, if globalism was what we wished for: it was simply rammed down our throats.

          4. drumlin woodchuckles

            “We, White man?”

            If you are personally a part of the Overclass Decider Class, then you are responsible for globalization, free trade, etc. But if that is the case, I have to wonder why you are spending your time on a blog when your time is worth thousands of dollars per second.

            As to the rest of us, no. We are not guilty of any of that. We did not support any of that. Most of us would like to see that stuff abolished. A few of us might even like to see the people who diddit and who supported it all carefully rounded up and sent to some out-of-the-way-place and all carefully killed there.

  11. Stanley Dundee

    Jeffrey Snider, he of the Eurodollar as global reserve currency trope, has 2008 post-mortem, crisis diagnosis and suggestions for the Fed:

    What needs to happen is something like a Discount Window – for collateral. A program that is open to financial counterparties all around the world, almost like combining dollar swap lines with a Discount Window except where US T-bills are being offered rather than stupid, inert, useless bank reserves. Forget using Primary Dealers; they are part of the problem, in many ways the biggest problem piece. Forget about lines with other central banks, too. The less central bankers involved the better. This needs to be wide open to the whole global system, inside and outside the US physical boundary.

    I’d love to hear the NC community respond to his analysis, which I find quite compelling.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Snider is top notch in my view. He takes a very clinical approach to analyzing what transpired in 2009. Global net Euro-dollar shortage: since the world operates on a dollar reserve currency and the CBs only model and “control” the “official” demand for dollars, not the massive massive untracked shadow bank supply and demand.

      But 2009 was a simple problem compared to this. The “problem” was bank-centered and the CBs are connected to the banks. (Very telling that of the $29 trillion required to heal that little dust-up, 2/3rds of it went to Eurozone banks and corporations). This time it’s the banks and their customers. The Fed can only do so much.

      One commentator called it a system of “deranged finance”. I agree: how dare they force everyone so far out the risk curve because they were so desperate for yield. 0% interest rates with 3% unemployment. Now they have reaped: the average stock in the US is already down 50% from the high.

      Leaving the creation of money to private financiers. If John who owns a factory does not rock up to a bank and say he wants to borrow $100K then money is not created. FDR opened The Bank of Reconstruction to solve the same problem, wresting control of the nation’s money from Wall St. Would that we could get a similar outcome.

      1. Stanley Dundee

        Thanks, OTPBDH! I have found Snyder to be the perfect graduate study since I undertook undergraduate study in MMT. You get to the heart of the matter:

        Leaving the creation of money to private financiers.

        The key to shrinking capitalism until it’s small enough to drown in a bathtub is democratic sovereignty. Or so it seems to me.

    1. griffen

      It’s well earned. Him and Rubin, and the like. Birds of a feather, enriched from the last 20+ years of their neoliberal ordering of the economy.

      I despise him above all others.

    2. cnchal

      Larry “pretty air” Summers is a troll.

      No one has pointed out the high functioning genius lost a few billions of Harvards endowment and is still being rewarded with millions for blabbing. And who can forget when Larry implied that altruism is a rare good that should be reserved for family.

      I would like to see the fat bastard do an oil change on his limo. Hey Larry, do you trust those chinesium jackstand? Of course you do. Making stuff is easy and done by stupid people.

  12. Krystyn Walentka

    I still do not know why such little attention zinc is getting through this pandemic. I have been trying to understand how it could seem to work.

    ACE2 uses zinc as a cofactor, so zinc would increase enzyme activity and lower levels of angiotensin-II so it might be that illness arises from an excess angiotensin II.

    If SARS-CoV inhibits ACE2 when it attaches to it, this would also lead to a rise in angiotensin II. It would act as an ACE2 inhibitor. So if someone has a zinc deficiency and gets hit with SARs-COv, double whammy.

    ACE inhibitors bind to ACE1, not ACE2. So ACE Inhibitors would also mean lower angiotensin II and help stop the illness which is what they find.

    I have been taking zinc for years to lower my blood pressure, it works by helping increase ACE2 activity and lowering my levels of angiotensin II.

    My thinking here is that when SARS-CoV binds to ACE2, ACE2 is inhibited, and that increases levels of angiotensin II and the angiotensin II wreaks havoc on the body. This would correlate with the higher risk for people with hypertension since they most likely have higher angiotensin II levels.

    ACE1 is express highly in the lungs so if ACE2 was inhibited this would mean higher angiotensin II in the lungs. And Hyponatremia was found in 77% of SARS-CoV patients and is also a sign of high angiotensin II levels.

    so yeah, just going to keep taking my zinc. I have genetic changes in my ACE (not ACE2) gene that I am investigating. I think they, among with some other genes, my my need of zinc higher.

    1. katiebird

      How much zinc do you take for high blood pressure? And how much would help against COVID-19?

      1. Krystyn Walentka

        It really depends, but I will at least take one Optizinc tablet a week which has 30mg of zinc. But I also eat a lot of oysters and they have about 247mg of zinc per can. Even doing this my serum zinc was on the low end. I think most people would need less.

        I also want to make clear I have reactive hypertension which is much different. It means my BP drops really low at night so I cannot take any BP meds. My sympathetic nervous system is out of whack.

        I also take P5P (B6) for my BP and there is a relationship between P5P and Zinc.

        1. Katiebird

          Thank you. reactive hypertension Sounds kind of frightening.

          I have some zinc tablets with 45mg and was told that was too much for daily but maybe ok weekly to ward off The Virus?

          1. Krystyn Walentka

            Yes, I have no opinions on anyone’s dose of zinc. Taking Zinc alone for a long while, well, pretty sure it gave me neutropenia, a low count of a certain white blood cell, from a deficiency of copper. Probably most people can wait until they get infected IMHO.

            Reactive hypertension is easier to control than other forms. You just need to stay away from idiots. Well, maybe that makes it harder to control. :)

          2. Carey

            I’m not that commenter, but I take a *max* of 45 mg/day zinc short-term. It’s self-limiting to some degree, with quick nausea if taking
            too much, IME. 15mg capsules come in handy.

        2. Treadingwaterbutstillkicking

          Have you ever been tested for pyroluria?

          Pyrolurics have and almost unconciounable need for B6 and zinc (multiple times per day in large doses as the body basically excretes most of the bound molecules as fast as you are ingesting them), as well as biotin and gamma-linoleic acid.

    2. ahimsa

      I think you might find a series of youtube videos by a Dr Roger Seheult from MedCram interesting. For example:

      Coronavirus Epidemic Update 32: Important Data from South Korea, Can Zinc Help Prevent COVID-19?

      Coronavirus Pandemic Update 37: The ACE-2 Receptor – The Doorway to COVID-19 (ACE Inhibitors & ARBs)

      I have found the videos really very imformative.

      1. ahimsa

        This one is also very informative:

        How Coronavirus Kills: Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) & Treatment

        Describes how 3 treatment breakthrough strategies for ARDS are quite recent developments: Low tidal volume ventilation, paralysis, and prone positioning.

        1. katiebird

          Thank you! I will try to watch. This subject is so new and strange to me, I am not sure how much I will understand!!

          1. Anon

            I just viewed it. It’s readily understandable. If you grasp the concepts of osmosis, oxygenation, and human anatomy you’ll come away better informed.

      2. Krystyn Walentka

        I have been thinking about these videos and I have seen that when the virus enters the cell it brings the ACE2 gene into the cell as well. I think this is how the zinc gets into the cell, since the ACE2 gene is a zinc finger gene and actually contains zinc. If one is deficient in zinc that would mean less zinc gets into the cell because the ACE2 structure would contain less zinc.

        So bringing the virus into the cell is not really the issue, bringing it in without a high level of zinc is the problem. This would mean that high ACE2 activity is actually a good thing.

    3. lordkoos

      We take zinc internally every day, and I keep a supply of lozenges on hand for when I’m ill, as zinc has been shown to reduce the length of colds.

    4. HotFlash


      You have described yourself on this blog as ‘unwanted’ in (current) society. But, damn, man, your knowledge is greatly appreciated here, and I stand (well, sit) in awe. Thank you for your service. I will fight teeth and nails for a Guaranteed Income for you and for everyone. As humans, our worth is *not* the same as our income, and most financially lucrative ‘jobs’ consist of activities that make us poorer as a society.

      And to the guy who said ‘men should be building high-speed rail’, I’d rather have Krystyn getting a livable income just for being alive, so he can tell me about ACE inhibitors, TYVM.

      1. ObjectiveFunction

        Amen, it would be so very nice to have something like monasteries or communes where scholars can live modestly, trading a certain amount of common labor for a spartan but steady life, trading material for intellectual or spiritual community.

        But unfortunately, mixed in among the honest scholars, you would also find clever sociopaths, con-artists, and pettifogging know-it-alls. Weeding out the latter, or turning a blind eye to bad behaviour, will bring down the institution in chaos, lawsuits and bankruptcy. Or else the sociopaths and bullies simply end up running the place.

        ….Oops, wait, I think I described the trajectory of just about every human institution the moment it ceases to have a strong leader.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “Gibson Guitar Forces Its Factory Workers in Nashville to Work During COVID-19”

    Should not be surprised. Gibson Guitars has been mentioned in several NC articles over the years. I suppose that they are waiting for their workforce to come down sick to close down the factory and then run around asking for a bailout as the Coronavirus shut down their business. Below is an example of one NC article on them-

    1. jonhoops

      Gibson Guitars and Guitar Center are two different entities. But I expect to be hearing about Guitar Center folding since they are owned by Private Equity and have been loaded the hilt with debt.

    2. lordkoos

      I find it odd that Gibson is doing this, as I assume that given the current situation not too many people are ordering new guitars. I doubt that most music stores are going to be open for business much longer, if any still are. (Guitar shops are an excellent way to spread contagion as well, with many different people handling the instruments.)

      So why the big push to force these factory workers to show up every day? Gibson says they have back orders to fill, but I doubt at this point that music shops care whether or not they are delivered since they will not be able to sell them. The only exception might be special orders of custom instruments, but those are a very small fraction of sales.

  14. xmoker

    This is heartbreaking, she seemed like a wonderful woman, Social worker, 39, who was ‘in good health’ is found dead by her boyfriend while awaiting coronavirus results after first turning test down to allow elderly to use them

    Among 508 American patients known to have been hospitalized between February 12 and March 16, 38 percent were between ages 20 and 54.

    And roughly 47 percent of 121 patients taken to intensive care units were under age age 65, the CDC found.

    Please all of you younger people take care.

  15. Carolinian


    This echo chamber is what led a group of self-quarantining celebrities to believe it would be an awesome idea to share a video compilation where they all badly sing lines from John Lennon’s “Imagine” from inside their mansions with a world full of people who’ve been laid off from their jobs and are terrified for their futures. The figuratively and literally tone-deaf video was universally panned and people have been mocking it on social media ever since its release, which probably would have come as a surprise to the celebrities themselves since nothing in their insulated day-to-day lives would have told them they could all be collectively rejected with such disgust.

    Meanwhile Savannah Guthrie is now doing the Today show from the basement of her house. It’s not exactly Murrow broadcasting live from the Blitz. The media have a message and it is “be very afraid.” And Sean Penn, who once starred in a searing condemnation of the US military called Casualties of War, now calls them a “humanitarian force.”

    1. skk

      And that Gal Gadot, her of the Israeli Defense Force as a combat ( murder ) trainer organized this, Of all people. Bob Hoffman, of “The Ad Contrarian” my goto for all things ad and marketing adds a line :

      “Imagine all these creeps with no possessions”

    2. Carey

      >The media have a message and it is “be very afraid.” And Sean Penn, who once starred in a searing condemnation of the US military called Casualties of War, now calls them a “humanitarian force”.


        1. Carey

          Probably just a little raw meat for us rubes, now that he has no power.

          Next week they’ll trot out Ms. Maxwell again.


    3. Carey

      I already commented on this, but the Sean Penn™ / military puffery is *really* giving me the creeps. As one of my kid’s books asked, way back when: “what happens next?”.

      big time not good

      1. Carey

        Thanks for that reminder- got those DVDs recently, to help me remember what to expect for the future™.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I kind of suspect he is fine but is woefully out of his depth. Shrub did much of the heavy lifting in 2008 when Obama showed up to look presidential.

      -the credit card industry can’t give advice
      -Clyburn and Pelosi are probably telling Joe different things
      -fundraising is an issue; he doesn’t have much money and many of his would be donors lost a fortune in recent days
      -his under 45 numbers are a disaster; it’s just across the age brackets
      -his surge in voting was probably due to non primary voters normally #resistin’, not an expanded electorate, in Florida, his support was probably shaped with absentee voting. It could be worse.
      -he has the spread Corona virus scandal
      -he’s not smart or a leader.
      -the “smart” Democrat, Obama, is retweeting a phrenologist, Andy Sullivan
      -the crisis at hand largely requires Biden to jettison what he said like five minutes ago
      -he’s never demonstrated an understanding of policy, so he is likely unsure of what to think of collapse in such a short time.
      -they can’t drone their way out of this
      -the economy is much weaker than advertised. Home valuation can’t fix the collapse of state and local revenues
      -he’s never demonstrated “vision” which implies he doesn’t think about the future except in narrow terms. He’s likely an “end of history” dimwit as well and can’t comprehend the rules changing.

      I suspect he’s hiding until he can come up with what her perceives is a “safe” thing to say. Trump’s approval going up is probably another issue. Long story short, Biden is simply one of the least capable men in the country and couldn’t manage being a caretaker President.

      Health or death aside, Biden wI’ll disappear whenever there is a problem without a clear voice telling him what to do such as Shrub.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Image too. So much of DC is image, so in the absence of Joe’s leadership, the people who are dealing with the crisis don’t have time with the rapidity of events to hold Biden’s hand through the process. Biden only acts in accordance with image not policy or practicality ( see his promise to cure moonshot cancer).

        For psychopaths like Buttigieg, Biden can probably talk horse trading for 2021, but the reasonably sane are discussing next week. Biden v Sanders wasn’t about vision but basic competence. Biden is a dangerous human being.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Biden has been promising a return to normalcy. Like George Costanza said, “its not a lie if you believe it.”

          His whole campaign to date has been about restoring honor…I mean the adults… I mean decency…or something. Change is an attack on his world view and how he has arrived here. He promised a return to simpler times, not the dark ages but a nostalgic time when “Blackwaterdog”, an Israeli poster at DKos, posted picture blogs of Obama.

          This is an “end of history” individual who is poorly informed and not capable of dealing with history unfolding. I wouldn’t be astonished if Biden and his team are trying to look like Bernie but not like Carter for their “fireside” chat.

          1. edmondo

            He’s in seclusion, sometime before the next primary starts, Joe will remind us that his son Beau died from coronavirus.

            1. WobblyTelomeres

              I almost laughed, but stopped just a bit short when I realized you might be right.

            2. chuck roast

              Seclusion? No wonder. I have been wandering around for days…I been feeling lost…it’s been very difficult…I need Vice President Biden’s leadership. Geez…I forgot to tie my shoelaces today…it’s been very difficult. I always feel full-filled when I see him huffing hair. It gives me purpose…direction. I feel like Flakey Foont without the guidance of Mr. Natural.

              “Where will it end Mr. Natural?”

          2. pretzelattack

            carter’s the one he knifed on the october surprise “investigation”. bernie’s the one he knifed on the debate stage with his lies.but if he can confuse his sister and his wife, he might try to look like clinton (either).

          3. ian

            Goddammit man. Your posts keep me sane. I finally realized that us USIANS we living in a Corporate-controlled Alternate Reality after 911. I wonder if the Pandemic will pull back the curtain for more folks. Keep on keeping on!

      2. DJG


        A brilliant summation of Hollow Man of the day (Biden) and Hollow Man of our golden yesteryears (Obama).

        I am not sure whether to praise you or to curse you.

      3. HotFlash

        Yeah, whatever. For instance;

        -the crisis at hand largely requires Biden to jettison what he said like five minutes ago

        Ya think he’d actually remember? I am caring for a BFF with dementia here, hers involves zilch short-term memory. I can get asked for coffee 5 times in 20 seconds. True! But, unlike Joe, she has excellent manners and thanks me profusely. I am so lucky :)

      4. Librarian Guy

        Thank you for the thoroughness of your Joe bio– it seems spot on.

        The meaningful question for Joe is who are his Svengalis, Rove-types manipulating the puppet? It is true that he was such an unappealing candidate he had little real support beyond corporate SuperPacs, no real “coalition” of followers except the worst kind of grifters and Disaster Capitalist sh*theads . . .

        Hillary was a very different “leader”, terrorizing and bullying her subordinates with her (self-hypothesized) greatness– as the Chapo Trap House folks have pointed out, she collected a zoo-full of sycophantic, psychotic needy Subs who would enthusiastically do as they’re told by Mother, folks like Mook (magic algorithms) & Huma Abedein, They just LOVED working for her and having their clammy little hands on the levers of POWER . . . Creepy Uncle Joe seems to have nobody like this running his show . . .

        He’s the “consensus” candidate of the Establishment, but kind of amazing that by this point they have been unable to put anyone seeming remotely competent in charge of his Circus Act.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Biden’s handlers are a bit iffy. I suspect there has been an influx from different groups.

          -inner circle Obama types divided between their perceived notions of electability and protecting Obama’s legacy, no one who can do better than Obama or tolerate someone doing better than Obama (not a high bar). These people all know the flaws with Biden, and my guess is Biden is likely snippy after all his BFF never helped him.

          -Hillary, DNC rejects who likely despise Obama and his cronies for usurping Mother in the first place among other problems they might have. Again, Biden might have been President if HRC had simply gone home with Bill :) I know.

          -doofuses who were aligned with Biden in the first place.

          -masochists who just want to be with the front runner. They always show up.

          -everyone who expects Biden to owe them after coming together, plus those who came late and want to get to the front of the line. Buttigieg and O’Rourke are probably doing magic tricks and hackey sack to ingratiate themselves with Joe.

          With the crisis, many of the people who might bring order are dealing with the crisis in some capacity. Reordering Biden’s campaign apparatus is not something they can deal with. The obvious plan was to win “moderate suburban republicans” and enjoy the fundraising that was the result of expectations Team Blue COULD NOT LOSE the White House. Between the current crisis and Trump actually being President, I suspect the money hasn’t rained down on the campaign apparatus, and Biden can’t rely on SuperPacs. My guess is everyone is arguing, and Biden again being woefully unfit for more than performative measures in times of relative of plenty can’t provide leadership to even reorient a campaign as a Vice President and front runner which is to be expected. Biden owes both Pelosi and Clyburn who my guess don’t have either Biden’s total respect and likely don’t agree on the path forward. Election shenanigans aside, his under 45 vote is abysmal in primaries.

          I believe this is a bit of a case where they simply can’t make a decision and keep putting it off.

      5. drumlin woodchuckles

        Between the nomination and the election, the DemParty will probably replace nominee Biden with someone else.

        Job One was to keep Sanders of the ticket. The DemParty has achieved that. I hope Sanders keep running through the primaries right to the bitter end to at least tear the party in two.

        Trump will win bigly.

  16. Dirk77

    Re the Matt Stoller article. I wish I could forward that to people I know, but the writing really needs to be tightened up. We are talking about people who don’t read NC and will stop reading if he doesn’t get to the point quick.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      The only hope is to get together a bipartisan group from the right and the left to oppose this charade.

      We could also “hope” that, when viewed under a powerful electron microscope, the corona virus resembles a microscopic guillotine with an affinity for politically-fossilized, geriatric humans wherever they cluster. Like washington, d.c. for example.

    2. marym

      I have a comment with a link in moderation, but check the @BernieSanders twitter account for a thread with some of what corporate lobbyist want.

    3. skk

      I wrote to my local ( Democrat ) Congresswoman on Fri. laying out, in my own words, the conditions under which cruise companies, airlines and Boeing should get tax-payer funded bailouts”. It wasn’t long – 6 or 7 sentences. It covered:
      1.I take an interest in this. Its tax-payer money. I’m watching very carefully.
      2. Bullets points of the financial and business practices misdeed of those three – HUGE buybacks, unsafe aircraft, treat us like cattle, 1% in taxes by cruise companies and their flags of convenience.
      3. The shareholders should share in the cost first – sell stock, preferred stock, bonds with warrants. Only after that should there be bailouts and that too with strict conditions.
      4. Alerting her that I REMEMBER what happened in 2008. Don’t do that again.

      I personally dislike all this forwarding business and seldom “just” forward things or “just” offer links. Its just bloody lazy. I always do a summary – either by myself or by using text analytics software.

      1. Michael

        I also believe direct appeal is preferred.
        Did this in 2008…time to do it again.

    4. griffen

      Lots of minions getting both hands into the cookie jar of taxpayer “support” so the mega business corps don’t suffer like the little people are prone to do.

      Make do with less, no. I can make do with more please !

  17. The Rev Kev

    “Hollywood Celebrities Are Psyops Wrapped In Human Skin”

    Over the years I have come to regard liberals as guilty until proven otherwise. Sean Penn sounds like he would be quite happy to live under martial law. Rob Reiner works against progressives and rages over Trump. Morgan Freeman does a film promoting Russia!Russia!Russia! The list goes on and when you think about it, it is remarkable how they actually have nothing to do with the Left but take the neoliberal/neocon establishment viewpoint.

    Maybe under lockdown, people will be able to wean themselves from siding with everything that these celebrities say as they are boxed away in their mansions. We are now seeing these people as they are at home without the full makeup job and making idiots out of themselves as they try to stay in the public spotlight. That “Imagine” group song was one such example. Will the Kardashians fade away into obscurity by the time the pandemic is over for example? Time will tell.

    1. Jules

      I will add john krasinki from “the office” to the list. Did you see the video of him telling an audience about how he owes the CIA, and how we should all admire and respect them for the indispensable work they do for us all.
      I can never watch the office again.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Sure you can. Just watch how cruel he is to Dwight, a culturally isolated individual who overcomes his distinct disadvantages to become a pillar of the community.

    2. fresno dan

      The Rev Kev
      March 22, 2020 at 10:28 am

      The list goes on and when you think about it, it is remarkable how they actually have nothing to do with the Left but take the neoliberal/neocon establishment viewpoint.

      I agree a zillion percent – and it gives me conniptions. From the solution to every problem in movies being a gun, to the glorification of the US military, to the all pervasive propounding of the rugged individualism mindset, Hollywood extols the status quo as good. But I believe this incessant propaganda is important – is it any wonder so many people detest liberalism and leftism when these self appointed fake liberals/leftists are the most visible examples? Thre is a reason FOX labels these people as leftists.
      Hollywood celebrities are liberal/left to the same extent MSNBC commentators/pundits are – its simply a role they play, and it is in their interests to pretend to be left. Its certainly not a liberal/left that is in our interest. Their liberalism/leftism is as real as Ironman and Thor….

    3. lordkoos

      Most celebs are pretty useless. John Cusack, Susan Sarandon & Danny DeVito are staunch Sanders supporters, but yeah they are a minority.

      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        I gave Rob Reiner a free double glass of Meiomi Pinot Noir at the Saenger Theater in Nola. It was a Bonnie Raitt concert. He was in town filming LBJ. An exercise in self liberal gratification but he did do the Princess Bride

    4. ObjectiveFunction

      One can only hope Mister Spiccolli gets a stern lecture from Block Commander Comrade Kaprugina once 30 families are housed in his mansion.

      You’ve been listening to rumor-mongers, Doctor. There is no typhus in our city.

  18. griffen

    The employees of Gibson Guitar could stage a silent strike and just not show for work. Granted that has a risky outcome, but what are they gonna do? Hold a job fair…

    That’s serious tone deafness from their management and executive overlords. Pun intended.

    (Hopeful skynet doesn’t eat my comment)

  19. chuck roast

    “Bigger Brother”

    I recently had difficulty getting an apartment rental because I refused to hand over my social security number. Apparently, based upon the Fair Credit Reporting Act, a prospective landlord is entitled to get an SS# from a lease applicant. The applicant is not required to release the number, but neither is the lessor required to lease to the applicant. Of course the lessor needs only the SS# and name to run a credit check on the proposed applicant. But that’s not all.

    TransUnion, Equifax and the other credit bureaus know absolutely everything about each of us. They know names of extended family members, last known addresses for decades, loans outstanding, liens, bankruptcies, motor vehicle violations, criminal records and court appearances. The list goes on, and most citizens are OK with what amounts to a central registry (actually, a number of central registries) of all of their most private information. Indeed, as the article would have it, we all are living in our very own personal “Skinner box.” And by the way, who asked!

    I never gave these credit agencies permission to collect my most personal information. I refuse to tap the lever for the reward, but I can’t get out of the Skinner box. I don’t do Twitt/Face or any of that other “smart” s**t, but there is no getting out of this box. All I can do is put a freeze on my “accounts” and say, “Call my references.” We can begin fighting back by demanding not credit freezes but “opt-outs” from the credit agencies. Our personal information should be our personal information.

    1. divadab

      Yes well to do this you need to not participate in the credit economy – do all your business in cash, don;t have a bank account, credit cards, brokerage account, mortgage, cable teevee, cell phone, etc. It can be done – I know people who do this, who pretty much don;t exist to the credit world – but it is more than most can do.

      Good luck with that, the reason they accumulate and share the info is to make sure they will get paid back. It’s not personal – it’s business, jack.

  20. The Rev Kev

    “Coronavirus: Australia to close pubs, cafes and places of worship”

    Scotty from Marketing was on TV tonight announcing yet another raft of measures to take but it was very discouraging. The man talks like a bureaucrat instead of a politician. Two States are so rattled by what their own health officials are telling them they they are bolting for the door and are shutting down their borders, something unheard of. They say that they are closing the schools too, something that Scotty denied and emphatically says that the kids must stay at school. He said it with the same emphasis that he had about the budget being in the black until a month ago.

    What he and other politicians were also doing was nanny-scolding people going to the beach on a hot day just because there were more than 500 people present. Personally I could not imagine a more hostile environment for a virus than a hot sun, sea water and hot sand but what do I know. The thing is, he and the government are reactive than proactive They wait for something to happen and then announce new measures against the virus. They never really try to get ahead of the curve but wait on events. We are so going to pay for all these mistakes.

    1. HotFlash

      “Coronavirus: Australia to close pubs, cafes and other places of worship”

      Amended, to agree with Canadian usage (that other colony).

  21. Pelham

    Re Tlaib’s idea for the two trillion-dollar coins: That’s my idea, too! In fact, I’ve been thinking about it for years since it was initially proposed to get past GOP obstruction on raising the US debt limit.

    Didn’t that proposal, endorsed even by the usual highly respected numbskull economists, kind of let a very, very large cat out of the bag? If we could mint a trillion-dollar coin for an utterly stupid reason (see above), why not mint a few for good reasons? For instance, such as providing guaranteed jobs or helping the vast stretches of the country that have been deliberately subjected to a severe depression for the past 50 years due to our corporate, Dem and Republican elites offshoring every strategically vital manufacturing capability to hostile countries.

    1. carl

      I’ve thought that one of the secret reasons that the mainstream so firmly opposes MMT is the decoupling of taxes from spending. If you know that your taxes don’t fund spending, and government debt is essentially irrelevant, why pay them? A most dangerous idea to set loose among the hoi polloi.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I would hope people aren’t. This is largely performative, and its important to maintain communication. BUT, mortgage relief is good. What about renters? Whats the long term plan? These all have to come too, and guys like Cuomo are why we are so susceptible to not just the health crisis but the economic calamity as well.

      Biden and Trump are low bars. Lets aim for more.

        1. Leroy R

          Exactly: just like the repubs, dems know to never let a crisis go to waste. A wonderful spirit of bi-partisanship, in that regard.

          1. Carey

            My opinion is that it’s more “institutional”, but yes; and he’d be a Real Good Fit.

    2. 3.14e-9

      Absolutely! You took the words right out of my keyboard. Another commenter — I believe it was urblintz — made a similar observation yesterday, to a rather lukewarm reception with attendant cynicism. Haven’t seen today’s briefing yet (thanks for the link), but have watched past three days’. Yesterday’s was pure gold.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Cynicism would suggest Cuomo was an unknown commodity. Cuomo is a well known figure. Skepticism would be the accurate term.

    3. Treadingwaterbutstillkicking

      No. Being least-worst shouldn’t put you first.

      And, he was playing the fiddle while de Blasio was trying to shut down NYC and days were lost.

    4. bob

      What is his game?

      I’m hoping he runs for prez so that NY can finally be rid of him. He’s dug into this state like a tick.

  22. kareninca

    So, yesterday someone posted this:

    “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.”

    As part of a longer post about how stupid and loathsome so many Americans supposedly are.
    Claiming that we need new and different people, to raise the IQ of our stupid populace.
    I don’t think we need mean posts like that. It was really ugly.

    1. hunkerdown

      You cannot solve a self-regarding parasitic leisure class with the same level of thinking used to create them. Much better and easier to shut down and destroy/decommission the entire MSM, whether corporate or NGO, to alleviate the continuous wall of noise designed and propagated by said self-regarding parasitic leisure class in just about every restaurant, bar, and living room, with a rebuttable (but won’t be) presumption of intent to prevent Americans from thinking clearly.

      Or, to put it more bluntly, the self-regarding parasitic leisure class needs to stfu and sit down until they have restitution in their hands for everything they’ve ever done to us.

    2. Tom Bradford

      It was mine and I apologise for offending you – and I certainly didn’t nor would ever call Americans loathsome. Those I have met have been universally wonderful people.

      My post was triggered by a report on our local TV news that a poll was saying 54% of Americans approved of Trump’s handling of the pandemic. IF that is true – and I can’t believe it is yet the snippet must have come from somewhere – IF that is true what other explanation can there be than that the average American is at best hopelessly misinformed as to the effectiveness of the administration’s response, and to me that implies either a degree of self-induced stupidity given the seriousness of the problem, or a completely unjustified belief that the US is incapable of getting anything wrong. In either case the answer seems to me to be an infusion of fresh blood as envisaged by Liberty and refuted by Trump.

      I have no idea of what the average American on the street is thinking – not that he should be on the street, of course – but I have to say that I don’t believe the commentators on this site are representative. I’d love to be wrong.

      1. flora

        Because, ya know, with our current MSM, how could the average American possibly be misinformed? /s

  23. Petter

    Re; the Jacobin article on Norway- the current Norwegian government is neoliberal and prior to the current crisis was practicing a death by a thousand cuts policy when it comes to public services and institutions, or as it’s called here, “ostehøvel,” cheese grater politics. Cutting funding by 0,5% a year, with the goal of making the the public sector more effective and efficient and advocating more privatization in the name of “choice’. We all know this story and the rationale.
    A number of government ministers and civil servants have now come down with the Corora virus including the Business Minister. Today’s news is that one of The Prime Minister’s closest advisor’s is now infected, and while he isn’t sure where he got it, he was a cocktail party last week with a number of other people who are also now infected. Incidentally, this gathering was held two days before the Prime minister held a press conference on the criris, and may have been the press conference where she advised people to socially isolate. I can’t remember.

    Anyhow, the cocktail party was posted by the Civita Foundation, a neoliberal think tank which is part of the Atlas Foundation, an international network of free market advocates, what Philip Mirowski in his book _Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste_ calls as the “mother of all think tanks” when describing the growth of the Neoliberal Thought Collective. It has now remained itself to the Atlas Network.

    In other news, the Norwegian Krone is tanking – a week or so ago it was 9,50 or so to the dollar, as of today it’s about 11,80. Makes it a bit tough for importers – including my brother in law. Incidentally, he can get masks (the lowest quality) air freighted from China now ( he’s on the phone to China a lot). Former price US one cent a piece, now thirty five US cents a piece.

    The Health Minister was interviewed by the weekly newspaper Morgenbladet – an excerpt:
    Q: It took two months from the time the the virus showed up in China until it hit Norway for real. Why wasn’t more protective gear bought in those two months?
    Minister: A lot of protective gear was bought those two months, and Norway has warehouses. But Norway was effected like all other countries. The virus broke out in China and China is one of the countries that produces most of those products. That stopped access to those supplies.
    Q: So you [the government] tried to buy up everything you could:
    Minister: I wouldn’t describe it that way but it wasn’t like we didn’t buy equipment in that two month period. But once we’re through this crisis, we’ll have to do an evaluation and see what we can be better at next time. I’m not expending a lot of time evaluating this now.

    So, the Minister will evaluate sufficient supplies, etc later, before the next time. The next time a pandemic hits. Good to know. Very reassuring,

    Reality – there have public announcements from counties and municipalities begging anyone with protective gear on to store to please contact them if they have anything to sell. Employees are risking their health/lives working in groceries and pharmacies as are customers.
    The EU stopped deliveries of protective gear to any country outside of the Union and that included not selling to EAA countries of which Norway is one. I guess the EU has changed their mind now but I’m not sure.

    And the numbers of affected keep jumping. Exponentially.

  24. Skip Intro

    I can’t believe, in times like these, that NY cops have pot to waste incriminating suspects… maybe they have a moldy bag they just recycle from evidence to traffic stop over and over again.

  25. Skip Intro

    Just saw a tweet that says Andrew Yang was promised a cabinet position if he endorsed Biden, which is allegedly illegal. This seems to shed light on Tulsi’s endorsement, which was followed by a story from her brother (she has since denied) that Bernie rejected her first. If Biden offered her a spot in the cabinet, and she went to Bernie for a counter offer, and he properly refused to break the law, all the statements would make sense, as would her sudden abandonment of her policy principles. How she could trust Joe’s people remains inexplicable.

  26. Steve H.

    A Duty
    to remind
    that less than a month ago
    [Evidence suggests potential transformation of the Pacific Arctic ecosystem is underway]
    indicated “a sudden and dramatic shift” since 2017
    that make plausible changing oxygen concentrations by the mid 2030’s
    depending on the state of the Amazonian rain forest
    All of which goes to re*
    that a policy change in the US in 2024
    is too f*ing late
    to matter

  27. NotTimothyGeithner

    If Biden wins, he is going to inherit a Great Recession and no money to do anything. This time it only took them 4 years instead of 8.

    The excuses for Biden’s failed Presidency if he gets there have started already. Team Blue is bringing back the use of the word “inherit” for people who ran for President. The Romanovs inherited hemophilia, but they could always abdicate.

    1. urblintz

      and they’ve already brought back the words “means testing” to show us exactly how team blue will govern.

      1. NotTimothyGeither

        “Means testing” is just bad policy and generally shows a lack of compassion or critical thinking. “Inherit” in regards to any political job is one of the greatest absurdities possible. It removes agency from political actors and implies this all performative and not their responsibility. Like “belief” in science, it might seem small or subtle, but “inherit” is such a twisted word to apply to republican government. The President is the President because they agreed to the job.

        There is room to say there are problems or difficulty in achieving a goal, but the wholesale shirking of responsibility is one of the most reprehensible stances of the “centrists.” It crosses into their whole world view.

      2. pretzelattack

        the means testing kids are being produced as we speak, for the low low price of fill in blank by lobbyists.

    2. divadab

      Biden ain’t gonna be President. I’m for sure to forget to vote for the candidate from MBNA.

  28. Tom Bradford

    Just finished my weekly revaluation of our portfolio. Depressing of course but not as bad as I was expecting. Overall down 21% from the ATH of only four weeks ago, back to where it was on 30/12/18.

    Bonds and commercial property cos. have held up pretty well so the experts aren’t yet expecting big retail to go under, utilities, banks and one seaport down but not beyond normal swings for a week tho’ of course it’s the third straight week of it. Road transport and fast foods took a bigger hit and, predictably, our one airport badly dented.

    As per last week’s report,tho’, the biggest falls we experienced were in the rest-home sector. Clearly the experts and fund managers are expecting a Masque of the Red Death amid the quiet villas and apartments of the Ancients. That may have been the case in Italy where they were caught with their pants down but rest-homes in this neck of the woods are pretty tightly locked-down now with even close relatives unable to visit while the staff usually have at least minimal medical training and know how to scrub up, and why. So I’m hoping such fears won’t be realised. My wife does a volunteer stint at the local library part of which involves keeping half-a-dozen of the old dears in reading matter, but the library’s closing tomorrow for the duration and the home delivery service discontinued because of the chance the books might carry infection.

    Losses somewhat off-set by our one medical equipment co. which is up nearly 15%, and the drop in the $NZ.

    Of course whether we still have a portfolio to revalue in six months remains to be seen!

  29. Brooklin Bridge

    The New England Journal of Medicine has issued a study on the durability of the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) outside of the human body in aerosol form at 70 degrees F. The study was published March 17th. They found the virus can last (remain contagious) on hard surfaces such as stainless steel and plastic for 72 hours, in the air (inside small droplets) for 3 hours, on cloth and such for much less time than on hard surfaces depending on the material, and on copper for 4 hours. Among other findings.

    So copper isn’t so safe after all, though clearly, by comparison to steel or plastic, it is not a friendly environment to CV.

    Note also that colder environments the virus will last (remain active) longer and in warmer ones less long. The study was only done at 70 degrees F.

    Dr. John Campbell goes over the study:

    1. lordkoos

      I’ve started bringing in the mail wearing gloves and then running my UV wand over it just in case.

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        Unless your wand is very very powerful, I wouldn’t count on it. This was brought up in a thread on NC a week or so ago. The wand may provide a false sense of security.

        But thank you for bringing it up. I’ve been remis. I too wear gloves to open mail and particularly to sort the junk from valid, but then I’ve put the valid mail in the OK pile even though it might be “hot.” If muddled thinking is a sure sign of contagion, I’ve had this thing since 1960.

        From now on, I’m going to “quarantine” it for at least 3 days after reception. If I need to pay a bill or something where I have to reopen it (I keep it in the envelope), I’ll do so with gloves, be very careful about not touching any part of my face, and even then wash my hands after.

        The virus doesn’t last as long on paper as on metal or plastic, but then again why take risk?

          1. rtah100

            I have taken to cooking the post. Thirty minutes in the bottom oven of the Aga (simmering oven). Mary Berry, eat your heart out!

            Justification is that, according to the studies, SARS was inactivated by 30 minutes at 60degC or higher (it was actually inactivated quicker and at 50degC but only if there was no protein in the sample. There should not be protein on an envelope but there’s no point taking chances). The bottom oven is a reliable 100degC+. Post was all fine after thirty minutes, not even yellowed.

            I plan to tape up the letterbox and leave a roasting tin out for the postman to leave the post in, so it can go straight from depot to table, via the oven.

  30. Jeremy Grimm

    RE: “COVID-19: the biology of an effective therapy” Ars Technica — I appreciate the detail this link contains. There appear to be many possible avenues for finding an effective therapy for treating infections by the CoV-19 (Corona) virus. I can hope we might be better prepared for the next virus or the next outbreaks of the CoV-19 (Corona) virus once the present outbreak slowly dies down. But this Ars Technica story describes approaches for dealing with CoV-19 (Corona) virus in terms of drugs or similar measures based on the current reasonably extensive knowledge about the CoV-19 (Corona) virus and how it operates in a human cell.

    Is there some source that details how the CoV-19 (Corona) virus enters the human body and how the virus particles are spread inside and about a victim of infection? What about simple mechanical means for blocking and capturing the virus particles and the droplets carrying those particles? When were the currently available masks designed, for what purposes, and how were and are[?] they tested and evaluated for their effectiveness? Humankind lives massed together in cities — often housed in closed air spaces with ‘conditioned’ air. As viral infections and colds become more prevalent are there ways the air in these closed and ‘conditioned’ spaces might be better filtered to minimize the spread of air borne diseases and allergens? Are social distance, self-quarantine, and obsessive hand-washing the very best our public health services can do in the way of advice? Wisdom of that variety was available to the ancients — possibly excluding the hand-washing.

    1. Observer

      This may be too basic, but viruses enter the body through a portal of entry, such as a break in the skin, through the nose or mouth, or eyes. They then enter cells by attaching to the cell membrane, which folds the virus into the cell. Once inside the cell, the virus essentially co-opts the cell’s mechanics to incorporate the virus RNA or DNA, depending on the type of virus, into the cell’s nucleus. The cell then does the work for the virus by replicating the virus RNA or DNA. All viruses can survive on surfaces outside the body, but the period of time differs based on the virus, the surface, and the environment (wet, dry, temperature). So hand washing, not touching your face, staying 6 feet away from other people (the distance an aerosol particle can travel in the air), and wiping commonly used surfaces like doorknobs and shopping cart handles with a disinfectant are actually the best methods to avoiding viral illnesses. Droplets are larger than aerosols, and protective masks are different for each depending on the size of the particle they are designed to filter. N95 masks are designed to filter smaller particles like aerosols, and COVID 19 is both droplet and airborne. Viruses don’t necessarily live in air ducts; you breathe them in when someone near you coughs, or literally pick them up by touching a surface and then touching your mouth, nose, eyes, or an opening on your skin. There is no such thing as a 3 second rule; by touching something with the virus on it you instantly transfer it onto your skin.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        Sorry — but yes your information is basic and misses the point of my comment.
        Does the CoV-19 virus enter the skin through a break in the skin — like badly chapped hands and once a CoV-19 virus enters through nose, mouth, eyes, or skin[?] what tissue in the body does it infect and how does it reach that tissue? Does it travel via blood, lymph, air flow … ? How does the CoV-19 virus spread in the body — which is partly answered by the question about how it travels. What is the relative danger of infection from a single virus as opposed to viruses in a droplet or aerosol? Obviously viruses do not live in air ducts. To what extent do air ducts — forced air systems — spread the CoV-19 aerosols, suspended CoV-19 virus particles and clumps of virus particles? If N95 masks are only partly effective at filtering individual virus particles and still allow aggregates of virus infected particles to enter via the less than 100% fit characteristic of even properly fitted and worn N95 masks — would you suppose adding more umph and some finer air filters to the forced air systems in public buildings and conveyances might help diminish the risk of spreading viral … and bacterial infections? [Supposedly there are protocols for in-place testing of filters and filter systems — are the filter systems in hospitals, public buildings, and conveyances regularly tested and re-certified?] If someone has a CoV-19 infection of the mucus tissues of their nasal passages would you suppose the virus particles and aerosol masses that person exudes might re-enter ther body and lungs as the patient breathes the air they they have filled with virus particles and aerosol masses? Suppose you were a public health official with few tests available but you want to get a measure of how much and how far the CoV-19 virus has spread — do you suppose you might be able to test air filters collected from public buildings and conveyances to obtain that measure, perhaps using test methods similar to those developed to assess levels of pollution. My comment was intended to suggest that in addition to the kinds of therapy mentioned in the Ars Technica link there are other approaches to dealing the spread of this and future pandemics. (In searching around for information about air filters and filtration systems I ran across what appears to be a basic reference: “HEPA FILTERS”, Journal of the American Biological Safety Association,3(1)pp.33-42, 1998 available at [] — this reference appears to be the source for several Wiki articles on HEPA filters in addition to HEPA filter vendor literature)

  31. drumlin woodchuckles

    Robert Fisk clearly wants America to keep occupying Iraq and Afghanistan. Otherwise, why would he carp about Trump conducting stealth-retreats from these places?

    As an American, I don’t have to care about what Robert Fisk thinks. If Trump can stealth-remove each and every American military person from Iraq and Afghanistan, that will further enhance Trump’s chances of a Nixonian landslide in 2020. And Robert Fisk will think even less of America and I won’t mind Robert Fisk’s poor opinion of us.

    1. HotFlash

      I respect Robert Fisk’s right to his opinion, and further suggest that he, personally, maintain the US occupation of Iraq. For the glory of the Homeland!

  32. judy2shoes

    Those rascally Democrats are managing perceptions with respect to their coming loss in November, making their new scapegoat the coronavirus. There’s so much to laugh about in the following excerpts, but I’ll leave it to the commentariat to rip them apart:

    The coronavirus pandemic could help President Trump win reelection because it has pushed Joe Biden out of the headlines, according to a former adviser to President Bill Clinton.

    “This crisis completely changes the presidential race overwhelmingly in Trump’s favor,” Dick Morris, who was Clinton’s political adviser and later campaign manager, told radio show host John Catsimatidis on Sunday.

    “There is no more oxygen left in the room for Joe Biden. … He can’t say anything. He can’t campaign. He can’t attack Trump. He can’t talk about [the coronavirus]. There is nothing left for him to say,” he added. “Biden is kind of an afterthought. He’s almost in the history books.”

      1. lordkoos

        #whereisjoebiden is doing pretty well on twitter.

        Keep in mind that the WA Examiner is a seriously pro-Trump paper.

        1. Carey

          Priors: I think the Dem Primaries have been an utter fraud from Iowa onward™, and that that’s been seriously underplayed even on the left.

        2. judy2shoes

          Thanks for the heads up. I’m not familiar with the WA examiner. I saw the story about Biden when I was following another link from NC, I think.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Nice image, not enough oxygen left in the room for Sleepy Joe to be able to think straight

    2. John Anthony La Pietra

      Is Dick Morris saying partisanship ends at the cell wall’s edge? And that’s why Biden can’t show leadership on the coronacrisis?

      (And how far is it from that to saying Sanders should shut up on that subject, too?)

  33. Oregoncharles

    “China Is Not the Hero of the Pandemic ” – the tone does not inspire confidence, but the point that autocratic governments are enemies of public health is important. In fact, the initial coverup in Wuhan probably directly reflects elements of Xi Jinping’s rule.

    1. Lambert Strether

      > In fact, the initial coverup in Wuhan probably directly reflects elements of Xi Jinping’s rule.

      Just as much as the West’s shambolic response directly reflects neoliberalism.

  34. Zagonostra

    Went by a plasma center near my home in Ft Lauderdale that had a long que of people, mainly African American and Latinos but others as well, waiting to get inside so they could get money. If checks are not distributed soon I would not hold it against anyone if they broke into to a grocery store to get food.

    I was on my bicycle coming back
    from the beach which was closed. People were still on the board walk, but police out in force. 90 percent or more of business closed, few that were open, you had to take out or pickup only for anyone wanting to make a purchase. Even during hurricanes in the 50 years I have been here have I not been allowed to step on the beach sand.

  35. OIFVet

    Yet another part of Putin’s evil plan falls into place. Following a phone call with the Italian PM, Russia is sending 100 medics and 9 plane loads of equipment and medicine to assist Italy in its hour of grave need. This follows China and Cuba sending medics and equipment. Meanwhile, Italy’s ally America has done what, exactly, to help?

    1. urblintz

      Hey careful pinko!.. USA is waaaaay carrying its weight in this global crisis by continuing to bomb Iraq, increasing sanctions on Venezuela, and Cuba… Love it or leave it, fella…

    2. John

      Maybe you can join with Newt Gingrich in calling for the U.S. to send a military hospital ship for Italy.

      1. OIFVet

        I won’t, on the condition that the ship is not used to save USians over Americans. Besides, we already sent a C-5 to Italy to help them get rid of surplus testing supplies. I think we can all agree that we have done enough for them already…

    3. MLTPB

      China is on the other side of the curve.

      Cuba seems to be fairly untouched. The same with Russia.

      Do we have enough to spare now? Did China in early Feb?

      I think Italy should closer its borders to many hard hit countries, people or goods.

        1. MLTPB

          Not at this time.

          To send out nurses now would be counter productive, as would China have been in Jan.

          1. OIFVet

            The Emperor can’t even clothe the nurses with PPE. I believe the reasons for the inability to do so have been covered here this week.

            1. MLTPB

              That is a different issue.

              And on that, when Wuhan was being overwhelmed in Jan and Feb, we heard similar stories of crying nurses.

              Per the WHO, the health care systems of the world will be overhelmed.

              And all of us humans are to blame for our roles in growth, GDP, and civilization.

              1. drumlin woodchuckles

                So after we get this virus stamped out or else at least domesticated, we should down-civilize, down-wealthify, and de-globalize.

                But of course we dry-market did not set this particular virus into initial motion.

                1. MLTPB

                  That is the hope, reversing globslism, more localism.

                  It’s a bit too early to say.

                  My guess is there will unexpected developments.

                  1. Carey

                    Soon, from Our Thought Leaders : reversing globalization = “coordinated inauthentic™ activity”.

  36. Late Introvert

    In reference to the news in yesterday’s links that the troop pullouts in Afghanistan are on hold due to the virus, I just began Chapter VII of the Complete Writings of Thucydydes, “Plague of Athens” last week.

    I never meant to read this book, and as a slow reader it will take over a year to finish, but what struck me when I picked it up was how current it all felt. Faulkner quote here.

  37. dcrane

    Stop the Coronavirus Corporate Coup Matt Stoller

    He mentioned Boeing but what really burns me is imagining them bailing out the frackers.

    1. OIFVet

      The latest gem is that McConnell’s bill includes money for abstinence-only sex ed. Simply speechless.

      1. Mel

        I believe that’s always been a thing with U.S. legislation. All the horse-trading that was needed to get votes for the bill gets written into the bill. It keeps all the quid pro quo in one place so someone can’t get you to vote for their quid then double-cross you by not voting for your quo.
        Another effect, IMHO, is that it lets your election opponents attack you for voting against apple pie when the same bill had a provision for poisoning the drinking water. I speak hyperbolicly, of course.

        1. Lambert Strether

          During the crash, after the first bailout bill failed (thanks to the right wing doing the Lord’s work against bailing out the banks, which they hated), Reid turned the bill into a Christmas tree — I would swear there was a literal provision for Christmas tree support, but due to link rot and Google’s decline I can’t verify that — and that got the thing passed.

          So I wouldn’t focus on the details of the sausage-making but on the sausage itself (or as one might call it, The Big Wienie).

    1. John

      What we should do with this crisis:

      Start building high speed rail across the country immediately.

      Take the property, hire the out-of-work men. (It will be men. Another project will need to be done to put women back to work. Just being real here. Not sexist.)

      Get it done. Don’t waste trillions paying people for doing nothing for months (years) on end that are never going to get their old jobs back.

      Do it right and build 3 or 4 lines East to West, and 4 or 5 lines North to South.

      What an opportunity! If only Washington wasn’t bought and paid for by the criminal rich.

      1. Carey

        >Start building high speed rail across the country immediately.

        Why this, inparticular?

        Remediated food / water / shelter / relationships would be my first choices. All will need to be in top shape, for whatever future we might have. Our Elites seem to have other

        1. John

          10 years of oil reserves left in America.

          And the frackers and the shale producers are about to be bankrupted. Well, if the American taxpayers don’t bail them out.

    2. John

      Please bring up a RENT CUT if anyone has communication with Sanders.

      These landlords can’t be sacrosanct like they always are or millions of people are going to end up homeless.

      And the American taxpayers’ money shouldn’t be going to make rich landlords whole.

    3. lordkoos

      Watching right now. Sanders is doing an excellent job illuminating the issues for average Americans IMO.

    4. Aumua

      A transcript of this is what’s needed, so we can repost parts of it. No one is watching this but Sanders supporters, tragically. Imagine how awesome it would be for this to be broadcast from the White House, though.

  38. cripes

    Increasingly, supply chain disruptions and shortages will become more threatening to people than the virus threat as they forced out of their homes to forage for basic necessities and expose themselves to contagion.

    So our market solutions to shortages of milk, meat, toilet paper etc are to let the healthy, wealthy, younger SUV driving, garage and basement-storing fortunates hoard everything while “seniors” (not disabled???) of unspecified age line up at 6:00am – 7:30am one or two days per week only to find empty shelves?
    And hobble back home on foot or bus to try again on their next “senior day?”
    And this failure is celebrated in the media as socially responsible corporate policy.

    If ration cards based on persons per household worked in WWII, why wouldn’t they work now?
    Hungary has suspended corporate and private debt.
    China delivered daily food rations to millions quarantined in their homes.
    We are advised to “check” on our neighbors and at the same time to stay away from everyone.

    The “can’t do” nation.

    1. HotFlash

      As MMT explains, a monetary sovereign can purchase any resource that exists by simply creating the $$ (or whatever) to do so. We are now beginning to understand the real constraints on resources.

    2. Samuel Conner

      If this drags on for many months (as seems likely), I can readily envision some sort of WWII style ration system being implemented to ensure equitable distribution of food. I think that there is no shortfall and the epidemic is not likely (I would think) to hammer the low-population density “bread basket” regions. But distribution could become a problem.

      1. C

        >If this drags on for many months
        I do not think so- they just need to pass a few bills.

        “Through our diligent work, the danger has largely passed..”


  39. Daryl

    Reporting in from Texas, the state which likely has the most cases outside of CA/NY/WA.

    Gov. Abbott gave another very small, incremental update. They are suspending elective medical procedures and some hospital regulations (to increase beds). They are also asking the federal government to increase production of tests and PPE (great, if that was something we could do here).

    Talked about how most counties don’t have coronavirus (ofc, those that do, Harris+Travis+Dallas and surrounding ones, probably account for over 50% of Texas population easily). Talked about how every county has the right to determine the strictness of their own regulations.

    My take: In two/three weeks, expect Texas to be the most impacted state. We are doing very little, very slowly to flatten the curve. To my fellow Texans (Amfortas & others) stay safe out there.

    1. Amfortas the hippie


      wife’s worried about going to san antone for chemo thursday…if we go at all(oncologist has been calling every other day to check in)
      she was looking at the Texas health and human services website, with the number of confirmed cases and what county.
      so she asks if we could do chemo in frederickburg, since they have no cases.
      of course, there’s no way we could know that…not enough testing, and all manner of folks still out wandering around, touching things.
      i was the first around here to brazenly go about masked and gloved…and it’s catching on, but there’s still lots of folks who still look at me like i’m crazy.
      none of the cashiers etc at the grocery store wear masks or gloves…and i have yet to see any hand sanitizers at the register.
      out of a 4500 population, 29% of our folks are over 65…and a goodly portion of the younger are in poor health.
      we have a clinic, that used to be a hospital, but now doesn’t have even a rudimentary ER.
      it ain’t gonna be pretty when it hits.
      the scanner is pretty quiet, at least.
      i reckon that’s how we’ll know of the first case.

      in other news: weed, if you can find it, is going for $120 per 1/4 Oz.

      1. HotFlash

        none of the cashiers etc at the grocery store wear masks or gloves…and i have yet to see any hand sanitizers at the register.

        E-yup. Including at the *drug stores* here (Toronto). Well, they call themselves drug stores, and there is a pharmacy counter and OTC and patent medicines, but there are also makeup, vitamin, grocery (incl petfood!), and dairy aisles. The *unionized* checkout people at our LCBO (province-run liquor stores, the only kind we got) are wearing blue gloves, the hours are cut back and people have to wait outside for some admission quota. New today: masking-tap-marked boxes to stand in when in line to maintain social distance. Asked about the impetus for this, suspect it is the union, but only got mumble mumble in response.

      2. Daryl

        I haven’t been out since Mar. 9, but I am running low on good food and don’t want to eat canned chili and tuna for the next few weeks. Probably going to have a supply run day this week and hit up as many stores as I need to in order to stock up, with a healthy spritz of 70% alcohol for packaging and high temp oven cooking for what I get.

        I have gloves. No masks, but am considering a bandana more for the ambiance than the protection.

        Really sorry to hear that you have to choose between not getting chemo and exposure. Hope you and your wife get in and out safely.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          I’ve been using a bandana on my town runs, and moving through the store with efficiency and elan. in and out in ten.

          and one pair of my ordinary work gloves are now my plague gloves.
          saving the real masks for wife and i in san antone.

          i really dread that trip. 130 miles one way.
          we’ll pack a lunch and water, etc…and a rudimentary bug out bag in case of car trouble.
          (touch wood)
          and a jug to pee in, since I’ll likely just wait in the car.
          wouldn’t want my allergies freaking them out.

          …and allergies!
          geez! as ive said before, everyone who lives out here long enough eventually develops allergies…starting with “cedar fever”, which i guess predisposes you to all the other things floating around(right now, oak and frelling mold)
          so everywhere i go, there’s sniffing and coughing and even sneezing. again, this is just a normal day,lol…but given the context, it’s pretty unnerving.

      3. divadab

        Wow up here in the Great WHite north mail order weed is readily available – at $85 Canadian for bargain oz’s and full oz’s of “Vancouver Island hash”, very potent, for $99 canadian. USA Americans need to legalize – what is up with Texas, anyway? Don;t they value freedom?

      1. Daryl

        According to the judge who issued that order, he expects Harris County (Houston) to do so as well shortly. Unfortunately, it seems to me like it will be much less effective than hoped given the heavily suburbanized population of Texas cities (much of the population that works in these cities lives in neighboring counties). We need a statewide order about two weeks ago, but now will have to do if the state gov’t is up to it.

    1. Leroy R

      This picture says so much… and Trump thinks these guys are his pals, like his lover in North Korea. Is it remotely possible that we have made some very determined enemies over the years that are not interested in making money but rather in striking back when the opportunity presents itself, especially kicking their opponent while he is down?

      1. wilroncanada

        First–It’s old.
        Second–It’s all just more BS. Those in the picture are his allies, along with Benny Nets. Kim and Vlad are just mannequins that he props up when he wants the Democrats and the MSM to go into paroxysms of snowflakeyness. Whether they are “friends” or “enemies” depends on what day of the week it is, or what Hannity has just signalled to him by osmosis on Fox. He has no genuine for anyone outside his family. They all rank 15th; the first fourteen are all himself.

        1. Leroy R

          Perhaps you’re giving too much credit to Jared. I suspect our leader is not playing 15th dimension chess. His recent behavior in front of the cameras daily does not betray a high degree of intelligence. That photo has always been a favorite.

    1. Carey

      San Luis Obispo County CA as of today:
      Positive case detailsDaily Case Count, Sunday 3/22/2020 at 1:30 pm:

      Total Positive Cases: 27

      Cases by Region – Coast (6), No. County (8), Central (1), So. County (12)
      Cases by Age – 0-18 (2), 19-64 (18), 65+ (7)
      Cases by Status – Home (23), Hospital (1), ICU (1), Death (0), Recovered (2)
      Cases by Transmission – Travel (17), Person to Person (5), Community (2), Unknown (3)
      Cases by Lab – PHL (16), WestPac (10), VRDL (1)
      Total people tested – our lab (275), other labs (unknown)

      Route of Transmission:

      Travel Related: 17
      Person to Person: 5
      Community Acquired: 2
      Unknown: 3

      1. MLTPB

        What is the pop of the county? About 300,000?

        LA at about 10,000,000 is about 30 times bigger.

        27 x 30 = 810. That gives a rough idea where each stands.

    2. Carey

      >6 cases in Fresno of Covid 19
      no deaths due to the virus

      Pretty substantial region there, and with a predisposition toward breathing issues, IIRC (lived in Bako as a kid). Good news so far.

    3. Carey

      Adding: seems to me that those Fresno numbers are good ones to keep an eye on..
      maybe Sacramento as well, because of Bay Area proximity + bad air combo.

  40. OIFVet

    PM Rutte of the Nederlands declared that their chosen plan of action is herd immunity. I had missed that earlier this week. I hope my Dutch friends can get out of Dodge

    1. chuck roast

      Maybe your Dutch friends can show up in my little sea-side community. Hell…the Mass, Conn and NY escapees have all showed up with their bags and their bug. It’s all good!

    2. Lambert Strether

      > PM Rutte of the Nederlands declared that their chosen plan of action is herd immunity

      Now they seem to be walking back the words. I don’t know what they’re doing on policy.

  41. John Beech

    Trump: ‘I don’t know’ if my businesses will receive coronavirus assistance CNBC. Words fail me.

    So because you hate his guts his business and workers shouldn’t get the help any other business gets? Words fail me at ‘your’ attitude, Jerri-Lynn! In any case, it was a cheap shot by the media, made worse by his not simply saying, “It’s too soon to be discussing this.” and leaving it at that. Nevertheless, I find the double-standard simply galling.

    1. marym


      Democrats have outlined a laundry list of objectionable provisions [in the GOP bill], arguing that the bill does not expand paid sick leave and actually caps how much employers have to pay.

      A source familiar with the GOP bill text also said Republicans are “refusing to add strong worker protections” and have included language requiring companies keep employees “to the extent possible.”

      Democrats worry the language is vague enough that corporations could take federal help and still fire workers.

      “Double standard”:
      Jimmy Carter had to put his peanut farm in a trust so blind that he didn’t know till he left office that it was being mismanaged and he was deeply in debt. Trump funnels taxpayer and donor money into his properties.

      1. General Jinjur

        From The Hill website, my asterisks:

        “Democrats have raised a long list of objections to the Republicans’ proposal, saying the bill does too little to protect the unemployed, feed the hungry, subsidize states and cushion students facing mounds of debt. ***They’re also up in arms over language to provide up to $500 billion in loans and guarantees for corporations, at the sole discretion of the administration.”***

        1. Lambert Strether

          I hate to be cynical, but it sounds like the trade will be a $500 billion slush fund for the administration in return for something time-limited, means-tested, and generally pissant for some workers. Because that’s how liberal Democrats roll.

        2. Fraibert

          Isn’t the simplest solution to all of the Democrats’ criticisms to increase the size of the cash distributions…?

    2. General Jinjur

      Are the Trump businesses above the 500 employee floor?

      You are fine with his deflection and his likening 450 thousand a year in salary (the foregoing of which he claimed didn’t elicit enough gratitude by people) to billions in bailouts?

      I had to stop watching when he was asked yet another ‘nasty’ question and proceeded to reply with yet another long rambling deflection. I logged off just when he was letting us all know of Melania’s popularity.

      Of course, it *was* good to know that we’re helping other countries because everything is working so well, here.
      Sigh. It’s going to be beautiful.

    3. wilroncanada

      John Beech
      Words ought to fail you that Mr. D. T. even mentioned his own businesses in the middle of any public statements about the current US situation. You should be ashamed of yourself for imputing “attitude” to Jerri-Lynn when the bad attitude she was pointing to was so obvious.

    1. integer

      Penn’s pretensions of being an investigative journalist led to the capturing of El Chapo. If I was him I’d feel a lot safer with the military out on the streets.

  42. Carey

    Coming limited-hangout TV Pilot: Consent Manufacturing- starring Sean Penn, Rob Reiner, Morgan Freeman, and most every-damn one else in H’wood..

    Hey, it’s hard work at the top of the foodchain!


  43. michael99

    Congress and Trump are still working on the economic rescue package. From the AP article:

    “Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who was leading a third day of nonstop talks on Capitol Hill, said the plan was meant to prop up the nation’s weakened economy for the next 10 to 12 weeks.

    Mnuchin said workers and businesses will get assistance to help cover payrolls for the next 10 weeks; unemployment insurance; and a one-time “bridge payment” of about $3,000 for a family of four. Hospitals, he said, will get approximately $110 billion for the expected influx of sick patients.

    The treasury secretary said a significant part of the package will involve working with the Federal Reserve for up to $4 trillion of liquidity to support the economy with “broad-based lending programs.”

    But Democrats have pushed for add-ons, including food security aid, small business loans and other measures for workers — saying the three months of unemployment insurance offered under the draft plan was not enough.

    They warned the draft plan’s $500 billion for corporations does not put enough restraints on business, saying the ban on corporate stock buy-backs is weak and the limits on executive pay are only for two years.”


    The Fed is ready to provide $4 trillion of “liquidity” I see, for “broad-based lending programs.” This is not what unemployed workers who have lost their paychecks and health insurance need. Are the banks shaky again?

    1. Lambert Strether

      > a one-time “bridge payment” of about $3,000 for a family of four

      “Gentlemen, I as leader will use power like a drum and leadership like a violin. Gentlemen, to make life whole, it’s as easy as a bridge! Now that we have obtained control, we must pull together as one – like a twin! All for one! And all for one!”

  44. Chris

    Well, Governor Hogan in Maryland is expected to give an update tomorrow at 11 AM. I’m guessing that will be the announcement our shelter in place orders have arrived :(

  45. dcrane

    Kudos to the moderators, with ca. 500 comments again today….it’s gonna be a long lockdown for y’all at this rate!

    1. Carey

      >it’s gonna be a long lockdown for y’all at this rate!

      Didn’t get the memo? “Lockdown” has been replaced by the cozier “shelter in place”. :)

    1. Lambert Strether

      Much as we love links at NC, given the volume of material we are now getting at NC, it would be really really helpful if well-intentioned readers didn’t simply dump links, but explained the qualifications of the source, and ideally gave a quote. This goes double for YouTubes and videos generally. Think of it as informational hygiene.

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