Links 3/31/2020

Ferocious Raptor Discovered In New Mexico Was A Speedy Hunter Gizmodo (Kevin W)

Comet Atlas could be the brightest comet in decades The Next Web (Alan T)

Tree rings could pin down Thera volcano eruption date PhysOrg (Chuck L)

First Antarctic heatwave recorded at Casey research station (Kevin W)

Amateur team builds ultra-efficient electric car in a barn Yale Climate Connections

Huge ecosystems could collapse in less than 50 years The Conversation

Are Thousands Of Game Farms In The U.S. Spawning A Generation Of Disease-Carrying Zombie Deer? Animal Wellness

Blood test detects wide range of cancers, available to at risk individuals in clinical study MedicalXpress (Chuck L)

Sometimes the most powerful act of resistance is to do nothing aeon


4 tips for staying connected during coronavirus, from migrants who live far from family The Conversation

Authors, Publishers Condemn the ‘National Emergency Library’ As ‘Piracy’ NPR

Van Gogh painting stolen in raid from museum closed due to coronavirus Yahoo (Brian C)

Yuval Noah Harari: the world after coronavirus Financial Times (David L). Unintentionally making the case for dumbphones or burner smart phones.


FDA Issues Limited Emergency Use For Two Drugs Used To Treat Malaria CNN. This is bizarre and comes off like a Trump-pressured PR stunt. Any MD can prescribe these meds as an “off-label” use. Even worse, this authorization does not contain a requirement to submit data to the FDA. It does allow for the release of supplies from stockpiles to hospitals and does provide for a fact sheet to be distributed. However…..

There’s scant evidence so far for chloroquine as a COVID-19 drug — but there’s already a shortage MarketWatch


Coronavirus: Leeds woman put message in window to ask cat’s name BBC (Clive)

Protective equipment being diverted from care homes to hospitals, say bosses Guardian (Kevin W)

Sweden says no to quarantine – is this the most reckless or the most proportionate Covid-19 response in the West? RT (Kevin W)

The fiscal consequences of the pandemic Bruegel

From Politico’s European newsletter:

TOO MUCH, EVEN FOR THE DUTCH? Politicians and economists in the Netherlands, meanwhile, have accused Prime Minster Mark Rutte’s government of going too far in rejecting corona bonds to help countries hit hardest by the coronavirus, and by calling for the EU to probe why those states don’t have the financial buffers to cope better with the economic shock, write Hans von der Burchard and Eline Schaart.

HOW DO WE GET DOWN FROM HERE? The most pressing question in European politics now, as it so often is when a policy debate gets this emotional, is how the combatants will manage to climb back down from their perches among the tree tops. The dispute over the right economic answer to a downturn of an unknown size and course — one dip, or two, for example? — will continue for a while, certainly beyond the end of next week, when finance ministers are due to file their aforementioned homework.


Coronavirus: India’s ‘super-spreader’ may have infected 15,000 people Gulf News

Coronavirus: How Dubai, Saudi returnees slipped under radar, leading to spike in cases Times of India (J-LS)

Latin America

This is the time to waive sanctions on Venezuela Financial Times. Editorial. As a cross-post suggested a while back…

Bolsonaro threatens to sack health minister over coronavirus criticism Guardiann (UserFriendly)


US coronavirus death toll tops 3,000 with more now dead than in 9/11 as health experts predict the worse is yet to come Daily Mail

Coronavirus: Three out of four of Americans under some form of lockdown BBC

World’s busiest border falls quiet with millions of Mexicans barred from U.S. Reuters

Coronavirus Slowdown in Seattle Suggests Restrictions Are Working New York Times (UserFriendly)

Virginia Gov. Northam Issues Stay-at-Home Order NBCWashington

No running water. No electricity. On Navajo Nation, coronavirus creates worry and confusion as cases surge Los Angeles Times (Glenn F)

Coronavirus: Hospital worker shares video of bodies being loaded into huge trucks in New York as state death toll passes 1,000 Independent (Chuck L)


Trump administration in talks with India to avoid U.S. drug supply shortage NBC. Ahem, pretty much all the active ingredients come from China.

Illinois governor says feds sent wrong type of protective medical masks CNN (furzy)

Political Responses

America’s Diseased Politics New Republic (resilc)


Saudi Arabia to raise oil exports to record high DW

Could Oil Really Fall To $0? OilPrice

General Electric Workers Launch Protest, Demand to Make Ventilators Vice

Trash Industry Braces for Potential Deluge of Coronavirus Waste Wall Street Journal (resilc)

Debt Collection Deems Itself Essential Amid Coronavirus Crisis Intercept (Chuck L)

Gulf faces recession as oil deluge meets Covid-19 Asia Times (Kevin W)

Why it matters that Boris Johnson thinks ‘there is such a thing as society’ The Conversation (Kevin W)

Unsanitized: Covidien’s Story Is Corporate America’s Story American Prospect

Guillotine Watch

David Geffen Assures Us He’s Isolating on His $590 Million Yacht TMZ (Brian C)

Serfs Revolt

Amazon Worker Who Led Strike Over Virus Says Company Fired Him Bloomberg (martha r)

Whole Foods workers to stage national ‘mass sick-out’ strike over coronavirus concerns

FAQ: What to Do on April 1 Housing Justice For All


Saudi Arabia’s Dwindling Influence American Conservative

US Repositions Troops in Iraq, Preparing for Fight Against Iran

Trump Transition

Trump Administration, In Biggest Environmental Rollback, To Announce Auto Pollution Rules New York Times


Reality Has Endorsed Bernie Sanders New Yorker (martha r)

Bernie Sanders won’t leave the presidential race and some Democrats have a problem with that. Washington Post. UserFriendly: “These people are so stupid. They treat voters like brain dead zombies.”

Tom Perez Put Corporate Lobbyists in Charge of the DNC’s Budget Sludge (UserFriendly)

Boulder County Wants Insurance Companies To Ditch Their Fossil Fuel Investments Colorado Public Radio

CalPERS allocates $375 million to emerging manager real estate fund Pensions & Investments (Kevin W)

Antidote du jour. Leroy: “Macaws on balcony, Caracas”:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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  1. CBBB

    “These people are so stupid. They treat voters like brain dead zombies.”

    Because a majority of Democratic Party voters ARE brain-dead zombies. Why else for the surge in votes for Biden following South Carolina. Many voters just do whatever MSNBC tells them to.

    1. notabanker

      Many voters just do whatever MSNBC tells them to.

      Yes, the electronic voting machine tabulations would seem to indicate that.

      1. John

        Electronic voting machine tabulations may – just may – have a passing resemblance to the final 536 (?) votes from Duval (?) County that gave “Landslide Lyndon” victory over Coke Stevenson in the 1948 Texas senatorial Primary. Those voters each and every one signed in green ink and remarkably similar, if not identical, penmanship. The Duval returns came in late and provided Johnson with an 87 vote margin.

        This astounding result should give you some idea of the depth of my trust of unverifiable electronic tabulations. (If there are errors in the above, I was only 12 years old at the time and it was 72 years ago.)

        1. Alex morfesis

          Voting does not matter…the Lyndon “bains knoll” Johnson “victory” in the 1948 “$pecial” election was when the Supreme Court officially ruled voters share “their thoughts” but the private business partnership commonly known as the “Democrat” party decides who wins it’s ($elections) for nominee…most history books tend to overlook the ruling by Justice Black and the per curiam affirmation by SCOTUS…

          The ballot stuffing you speculate on was found to be factual but irrelevant by a finding of the court.

      2. marieann

        Years ago in Scotland my brother in law used to say “they could run a monkey for the Labour Party and it would get elected”

        1. Massinissa

          I mean they have a monkey with blonde hair for the tory party. I think its a two way thing.

    2. timbers

      I don’t know what the data shows specifically for SC, but have read the margin of variance between exit polling vs votes cast, frequently exceed the 4% threshold by large margins. The 4% is used to indicate possible election fraud, with Bernie’s exit polling showing consistently higher results and his opponents favored by DNC showing lower results, than those reported by the DNC.

      Just like 4 years ago, this was a rigged election.

      While it can not be proven, IMO Bernie won the nomination 4 years ago, and won it again this year…had the votes been counted fairly and accurately, and Bernie supporters allowed access to voting.

      Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

      I done with the Democratic Party.

    3. Bandit

      Stating the obvious; of course the same can be said for repubs, but, since the article’s exclamation is made about the demos, this became abundantly clear in 2016 and thereafter. However, nothing says “brain dead” like Russiagate. If this isn’t evidence enough, the majority of these zombies still think Obama was a good president even after he sold them down the river to bail out the banks, won the nobel peace prize and then drone-bombed the shit out of the ME. Now it is Trump’s turn. So, one can easily come to the obvious conclusion that the entire amerikan electorate are soulless, mindless and deliberately ignorant.

    4. xkeyscored

      The article is obviously trying to say Sanders should just go away and leave the USA to choose between Trump and Biden. Personally, I don’t see that much to choose between the two. Both, in their different ways, would make rotten presidents for a rotting, but still dangerous, nation.
      But Sanders appears to agree that he should and will leave voters with that choice if he loses the Democratic nomination to Biden. If, as the article says, he ends up endorsing Biden, won’t he simply be telling the USA and the rest of the world to put up with four more years of the same economic and political system?

      “Sanders has long pledged to do all he can to help the eventual nominee defeat President Trump”

      Or is now the time for some genuine alternative organisation, outside the president/congress/Wall Street/etc model? I see little hope for the world, other than the USA’s demise as a world hegemon, without it.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Interesting parallels to Israel, another rotting, but still dangerous nation. they’ve got a rigged political system too. And enough Israeli citizens (not inducing the disenfranchised Arabs living there) keep buying the Likud line that Netanyahu has once again snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. Lucky guy, the virus pandemic gives him cover and a “get out of jail free” card on pending corruption charges.

        And the worst parts of both countries operate out of the same playbook. There’s some argument over who writes the plays, but still… And both countries squat atop a large number of nuclear weapons.

        Yes, dangerous, indeed.

        1. J.k.

          The vassal state Does not get to write the playbook for the empire.
          Recent history would give you a glaring example, when obamas admin decided it was time for detente with Iran. Despite Israels strong protestations. Ultimately, at least in the short term, the vassal state was put in its place by the empire very openly. I remember the impotent rage and bigotry from segments of the Israeli political class, towards Obama in particular.

    5. Clive

      Frankly, after spending a merry couple of hours, off and on, reading through various sources (sources of sorts, anyway) on mainstream media, social media, alt-news blogs, alt-alt-news blogs, public i.e. government information and much, much more, I can only say that — after all the gibberish I’ve just had to endure — cable news channels don’t seem so bad after all.

      I’ve had tweets from people who pen themselves “doctors” who aren’t medical doctors but doctors of philosophy (so if I wanted to know anything about Homer, I’d be sure to ask them, but I am perhaps less eager to have their views on viral pandemic management). I’ve had tweets from genuine medical doctors who nevertheless were also political party activists (do you, as I did myself, wonder if they might have an angle to peddle? It is a risk I think…). I’ve had so-called star newsprint reporters shouting at me in BLOCK CAPITALS (so what they’re writing is obviously true, isn’t it). I’ve seen on TV news “reports” from “sources” in the “lab testing” / “research” / “top government departments” (take your pick; I resorted to picking my nose) telling me this- or that- is “happening” but “they can’t go on the record” (oh, okay). I’ve seen, like a battle scene in a Star Wars movie, massed ranks of Twitter mobs assemble, fight a campaign the purposes of which, I am assuming, is to win over people’s hearts and minds yet are run as echo chambers who’s proprietors mute anyone who wanders into their skirmishes of self-absorption and says anything to the contrary.

      Oh, and I’ve seem more bizarre and inscrutable emojis, hashtags and animated GIFs than I can shake a stick at, all of which has me looking for some kind of modern media Rosetta Stone so’s I can maybe work out what it all means.

      In short, I’ve read, seen and listened to more complete rubbish in a very short space of time that I — or anyone who would like to keep hold of their sanity — can possibly absorb. And I’m a glutton for punishment.

      So, collectively, as a body of humanity, we’ve completely trashed our various sources of information, totally and utterly, on every channel, every platform, everywhere.

      And you wonder why people watch MSNBC?

      1. xkeyscored

        Nature Briefing remains sane and informative, and you can sign up for a daily email.
        They (or Nature? They’re ‘editorially independent’, I think) have a continuously updated coronavirus news thing.

        Both have news from not just a purely science but also public policy viewpoint, with plenty of links to original studies for the more technically minded.

        Nature Briefing (long URL, doesn’t like me truncating it)

        Continuously updated coronavirus thing

      2. Tomonthebeach

        In Defense of PhDs

        CLIVE, it looks like you are one of those people who think that MDs are “real doctors” and all the other people calling themselves doctor are just egghead dreamers. MDs are healthcare providers who depend mostly on pharmaceuticals to alleviate symptoms – thus the sobriquet doctor of medicine. Most PhDs are research scientists; not full-time philosophers. Although, scientific research does require most of the tools of philosophy such as logic, reasoning, theory formulation, and hypothesis testing. Some PhDs are even “Health Economists” who help determine if a treatment approach is “worth it” or not.

        The majority of stuff your physician knows s/he learned from PhDs who study things like biology, chemistry, behavior, botany, etc. and who discover how the body behaves normally and abnormally in reacting to its environment. It is the PhDs who usually find the right neurotoxin to fool the body into ignoring pain, lowering body temperature, relaxing muscles, etc, or they find ways to make our cells fool the body into producing more or less amounts of cells that feed/starve cancers, kill bacterial infections, stop internal bleeding, tell viruses to get lost, etc. Even surgical procedures often hinge on what the PhDs discovered about how organs in the body interact.

        So, next time you want to make a distinction between “real doctors” and those “other doctors” keep in mind that the Ph.D. is, in one sense, the “real doctor” as it predates the M.D. by 6 centuries. The PhD was first awarded in 1105 whereas the Medical Doctorate was first awarded in 1703. Most other “practice doctorates such as, nursing, law, dentistry, science, engineering, etc. are 21st-century inventions to clarify the distinction between what those doctors do and what research scientists with PhDs do.

        1. JTMcPhee

          With all the “contacts” my wife and I and other family members have had with MDs, especially over the last few years, and years my wife and I spent working as nurses, I’ve come to learn just how limited are the knowledge and wisdom of a whole lot of MDs. There are of course really good MDs, though most of those excel in small areas, out of necessity, given the vast amount of information, growing exponentially, is out there on physiology, disease and treatment. Quite a few, sadly, are money-grubbers, or should not be practicing at all given the many bad outcomes from their contacts.

          One hopes that enough MDs and Ph.Ds of good will and depth of knowledge will pool their skills and figure out curative and preventive remedies for what ails our bodies in this plague. And not too many help the Looters to monopolize and monetize the products of their intelligence…

          Not holding my breath, though.

        2. Clive

          Which goes to show why I’m besieged to both listen to the experts (on whatever the crisis de jour happens to be) and all the while told you can’t trust experts.

          Both statements are true although context, as usual, is everything. And explains our current lamentable state of affairs.

        3. Alternate Delegate

          Thank you for your defense of science, Tom.

          Calling people who do science “not genuine” is anti-science and harmful. It is okay to object to credentialism, especially when it appears outside relevant areas of expertise, but you have to be very careful to protect fact-based conversation.

          That conversation has to include all of us. Saying only MDs are “genuine” is highly counterproductive.

    6. Carla

      I know a retired librarian who reveres “science” and “research,” yet insists that CNN is a reliable news source, people either to the right of her (not many) or to the left of her (they are legion) are stupid, and will tell you til the cows come home why we can never “afford” M4A. She adores Joe Biden, but I suspect she’s also warming to Cuomo…

      1. CanCyn

        Unusual politics for a librarian! I am also a retired librarian and worked with and knew more lefties, progressives, social justice types, etc than I encountered in other areas of my life – unless they’d made their way up to administration…is she management? They’re more classic PMC in my experience. I don’t know another practicing/frontline librarian who would call CNN a reliable source of information.

        1. MLTPB

          For people not familiar with the earlier events in NY, two more recent observations stand out.

          1. Other counties and states implemented shelter in place sooner, though the situation around the time seemed more critical in NY.

          2. Unlike Hubei, NY is not quarantined. If Hubei was sacrificed, mainly for the rest of China, it’s not an option for us.

          1. mnm

            aren’t the areas hardest hit full of the essential workers? I wonder how many homeless are part of those numbers? The police would often drop them off but then we would find they had pneumonia/bronchitis, yrs ago when I worked up that way.

    7. D. Fuller

      When I was in Oregon in 2016 running around with a State Senate candidate attempting to get his name on the ballot, the local Democratic Party nominated a Republican to put on their ticket. When we asked them why they voted to place a Republican on the ticket? The leadership said, “Because that is who we were told nominate by the State Democratic Committee.”

      In Oregon, for a party to nominate a candidate for the ballot, the rules are far easier for a party than a Non-Affiliated Voter candidate. The latter is what we chose to pursue. Even then, the State Democrat apparatus pulled some dirty tricks to keep any other candidate, NAV or other than Democrat or Repoublican, off the ballot.

      The local Democrats for that State Senate district, when we went to their meetings, mostly consisted of over-40.

      When people say that “there is no difference between the two parties”, they are not far off the mark. Lets look at that Corporate Bailout bill masquerading as a Coronavirus relief bill. In there is a tax break for real estate developers. Trump and his family will benefit from that, as well as corporations such as Blackrock and other real estate firms worth billions of dollars. How could Congressional Democratic leadership miss that? There are several possible answers or combination of answers. However, there is one “coincidence” in which I will use Nancy Pelosi as but one example.

      Paul Francis Pelosi Sr. is an American businessman who owns and operates Financial Leasing Services, Inc., a San Francisco-based real estate and venture capital investment and consulting firm.

      Yes, it could be coincidence. Yes, Pelosi would not be the only Congress Member to benefit – considering how many have ties to real estate or are invested in such. The tax break is worth $170 billion over 10 years.

      The unofficial response is one of non-containment. That the economy is more important than people dying. Billionaires and their money are more important than the average worker in America. Despite the fact that the “little people” ARE THE ECONOMY. No matter how Wall Street attempts to eliminate the “worker variable” in their designs to generate risk-free profits as they pursue a fantasy economy based on shuffling paper. Part of the pursuit of that fantasy economy is speculating in foreign markets which has a far greater potential than continuing American prosperity. Thus, as the American economy declines? Wall Street pursues paper-shuffling speculation concerning foreign markets that in the future, based on number of potential consumers. US Government policy does concern itself with opening up foreign markets to US-based speculators. After all, the potential number of consumers – looking into the future – of China and India dwarfs the tapped out consumer in America. It is not to the point where Wall Street can dispense with America. Yet.

      The threat of Covid-19 is far greater than 9/11. The test of leadership is how one responds in a crisis. This is a once in a generation test of leadership. The verdict is one of unquestioned failure.

      I am in lockdown. It is a joke. Other than businesses being closed and the ones that remain opening closing their doors at 6p.m.? There is no lockdown.

    8. Altandmain

      Because a majority of Democratic Party voters ARE brain-dead zombies. Why else for the surge in votes for Biden following South Carolina. Many voters just do whatever MSNBC tells them to.

      Worse I would argue. Many are in the upper 10 percent and fighting to protect their class interests.

      Bernie would not just close the gap between the 1% and 99% – he would lower the gap between the upper 10-20% and the bottom 80-90%.

      The upper middle class professionals sense this and vote accordingly.

  2. Wukchumni

    Tree rings could pin down Thera volcano eruption date PhysOrg

    There’s no shortage of fallen Sequoias that are a few thousand years old, and lots of cross-cut sections are around, and yes you can tell what happened @ different epochs that practically scream at you-there was a 200 year drought HERE, notice the 1 1/2 inch blur where you can’t make out any tree rings from around 1,000 years ago?

    Something as significant as Thera would show up in Sequoia tree rings, no doubt.

    Now for another tree story, this one from Chaco Canyon. Last time we were there, 7 of us in our group had the Pueblo Bonito great house all to ourselves for 45 minutes. I urge you to visit, as it’s one of our country’s most amazing historical ancestral locations, and like us-the Anasazi were a post-peak culture when climate change came calling in the guise of a 50 year drought.

    A majestic ponderosa pine, standing tall in what is widely thought to have been the “center of the world” for the Ancestral Puebloan people, may have more mundane origins than previously believed, according to research led by tree-ring experts at the University of Arizona.

    A study published in the journal American Antiquity provides new data that calls into question the long-held view of the Plaza Tree of Pueblo Bonito as the sole living tree in an otherwise treeless landscape, around which a regional metropolis in New Mexico’s Chaco Canyon was built.

    Combining various lines of evidence, the study is the first to apply a technique called dendroprovenance to a sample of the plaza tree that uses tree-ring growth patterns to trace the tree’s origin. The data revealed that the tree did not grow where it was found, and is therefore unlikely to have played a role as significant as various authors have ascribed to it ever since it was discovered in 1924.

    According to the study’s first author, Christopher Guiterman, who is an assistant research scientist at the University of Arizona’s Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, “the tree goes back all the way to the birth of tree-ring science – a supposedly living tree growing in ‘downtown Chaco’ during the height of its occupancy – which would make it the only tree of its kind that we know of in southwestern archaeology.”

    The largest of the buildings known as great houses in Chaco Canyon, Pueblo Bonito is considered widely as the center of the Chaco world, which spanned the four corners region all the way to the edge of the Colorado Plateau. Pueblo Bonito’s significance has been likened to Stonehenge in Great Britain and Machu Picchu in Peru. According to the National Park Service, the cultural thriving of the Chacoan people began in the mid 800s and lasted more than 300 years.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Dendrochronology is fascinating – in Ireland peat bogs preserve wood going back many thousands of years and so allows for very precise dating. A bog road made of timber discovered a few years back could be dated to within a few months (May 148 BC), as the trees had been felled in early summer.

      I think there are candidates within Irish bog oak for dating the Thera eruption, there were several sequences of bad years during that approximate period (its complicated by the number of Icelandic eruptions in ancient times) – in fact, I think there is a correlation between Arizona bristletoe pine and Irish oak – both record a very cold period around 1626AD.

      1. MLTPB

        Caligula was said by Suetonius to have declared war on Neptune, and ordered his soldiers to collect sea shells.

        In fact, he might have built forts and supply depots near the mouth of the Rhine river, close to Lugdunum, that Claudius used later to invade Britsin.

        Dendrochronology was used on wooden fragments, and was precise enough in dating them, to support Little Boots’ fort building.

        1. Kurt Sperry

          The mouth of the Rhine in The Netherlands is nowhere close to Lugdumum, which is present-day Lyon, situated on the Rhône, which empties into the Mediterranean.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      Odd – I’d thought the dates for the Thera explosion were pretty well settled. There is a layer of volcanic ash from Thera all across the Mediterranean which I have seen with my own eyes while excavating on Crete. Lots of existing methods to date materials from the stratigraphy just below and above the ash layer. Not really sure how you can pinpoint the date with any more certainty than they already have.

  3. John A

    Kick Hungary out of EU says US ambassador. Can there be a more blatant sign of how the US treats the EU as its vassal pawn? The EU should grow a pair and throw the US and its troops and bases out of Europe. The world would then be a far safer place.

    1. urblintz

      Kick Susan Rice off the planet at the same time… they both need to go somewhere else, far far away.

    2. Alternate Delegate

      This is actually a very serious problem with the structure of the EU. They can kick out one country by unanimity, but not two that support each other. I’m looking at you, Hungary and Poland.

      If the Europeans were to choose to take what Orban has done seriously, they can and should expel Hungary. If it were not for the fact that Poland is on a similar authoritarian course and everyone knows it.

      Unanimity may very well be the technicality that ends the EU. It would be ironic if it isn’t the Euro currency that does it in the end!

      1. WJ

        Arguably the EU currency–and the entire fiscal system in back of it–is a prime cause of right populist movements in places like Hungary and Poland.

        1. Olga

          Neither Hungary, nor Poland have the euro. They both chafe under the EU diktats (not quite the same thing, though certain causes and effects are common). Seems ironic – but what made them rebels under the socialist structure, also makes them rebellious under the EU. (Remember, even under the Hapsburgs, Hungarian gentry did not rest until they got a semi-equal position, as in Austro-Hungarian empire.) What is that saying about a tiger not changing his stripes? No matter what ism wags his tail…

          1. Susan the other

            Even for the core EU (basically only Germany and France), the new EU bonds are too little too late. And, imo, only initiated by Germany who finally decided they needed to deficit spend asap. “No matter what ism wags its tail…” exactly. And what better argument for believing that problems are best solved locally than when appeals to the (capricious?) federation are pointless? We know Germany is panicked because Daimler is on the BBC explaining how they are cutting way back on costs while they perfect their no-petroleum cars – if they can’t do this, all is lost for Germany. And if they can the competition will kill them anyway.

    3. John Beech

      John A states the EU should grow a pair and kick US troops out. Fair enough, but what would a Russian general say to this? I’m thinking it would be something like, “Yippee, Fulda Gap here we come!”

      Folks, while everybody is entitled to their own opinion, it strikes me that some people don’t have the best interests of the western world in their hearts. Ponder what this respondent is suggesting as a prudent course of action; do these words sow discord? Would pulling our troops mean war on the continent? I posit more than little green men, such a thing would signal a green light to the Russians and to see them posted without challenge saddens me. Sigh.

      1. km

        Russia has a military budget smaller than either France, Germany, or the UK. If Russia is itching to invade, they apparently plan to do so on a shoestring.

        Russia boasts a “vast” fleet of 15 air to air tankers. The United States has something like 450. If Russia is planning to pour through the Fulda Gap, they apparently aren’t planning on having any air support.

        Russia has no territorial claims on any EU country. As to why Russia would want to launch an unprovoked attack and incur all manner of headaches, well, the idea is too silly to contemplate.

        1. WJ

          It is funny how, even with Russia’s comparatively shoe-string military budget, Russian electronic warfare and defensive ballistic and advanced hypersonic weapons systems are the best in the world by a fair margin.

          NATO countries’ defense purchases, however, definitely create more profits in the private military-industrial sector, which is basically the point of NATO in the first place.

      2. :D. Fuller

        Quite frankly, Russia could invade a neighboring country. However, the expense of occupation is not one that Russia could bear. Even projecting power into other regions such as Syria requires Syria’s support – infrastructure and other.

        Given the virulent hatred of Russia, by Poles… Russia would not find a docile Polish population. Perhaps the Russians would have more success in Latvia, Lithuania, or Estonia. Small countries, small populations, on the periphery of NATO, with Kaliningrad enclave situated favorably. Those countries would be conducive to a Russian occupation.

        There are three ways Russia could occupy a neighboring country such as Poland:

        Invitation with possibility of local unrest. Afghanistan comes to mind, however.
        Docility of local population. The nation mostly consists of sympathizers.
        Occupation, with gains secured by the threatened use of nuclear weapons.
        Lack of NATO or Western response. Signalling agreement.

        Green lighting would be more of what former Ambassador April Gillespie gave to Saddam Hussein, prior to Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait. Russian aggression and occupation of a neighboring country and any lack of response or a timid response, would be a greenlight to further Russian designs, after the fact. The Donbass and Crimea are a poor example giving their special circumstances (that most are not aware of).

        Folks, while everybody is entitled to their own opinion, it strikes me that some people don’t have the best interests of the western world in their hearts.

        Wall Street and politicians in both parties supported the hollowing out of industry, shipping jobs overseas. America can no longer even produce the equipment and medications necessary to confront Covid-19. Who needs enemies like Russia, when we have Wall Street and our politicians? Though I would hesitate to call the latter two, enemies. They are just doing what Americans are conditioned to do – make money through whatever means necessary. Even if it means rigging the system against other Americans.

          1. Olga

            To suggest that Russia would attack the EU – with or without air support – is just plain laughable. ‘Nuf said (other than, perhaps, the propaganda slip is showing).

          2. D. Fuller

            In answer to to your question? They wouldn’t. It is laughably absurd that any of the four ways, I mistakenly listed three, would ever occur. Not impossible, however. Laughably absurd.

            Russia has air bases and missile coverage for Poland and most of The EU. How effective and to what extent Russia can sortie, remains to be seen.

            As was pointed out in the post, However, the expense of occupation is not one that Russia could bear.

            Which you correctly identified. Russia requires host infrastructure when projecting power to regions such as the Middle East. Russia would also consider violating Ukrainian air space.

            Your question of expense is already answered. As for airpower, see Russian air force and air base while including their missile bases (air defense through nuclear). Any suggestion that Russia does not have an air force that can provide air support?

            The more correct question is: at what rate can Russia sortie from their air bases in Russia and Kaliningrad? My guess would be that they are far less effective than they present. With the cavaet, we could be underestimating Russia.

            They have had some recent practice in Syria to hone their skill set. Let’s not forget about that.

            1. MLTPB

              The crude war between Saudi Arabia and Russia is not a conventional one.

              What do you think will win?

              1. John k

                I guess saudi is more dependent on imports than Russia. And Saudi has only one export, whereas Russia is somewhat diversified.
                The proportion of the pop dependent on state jobs and subsidies is far higher in saudi… do they continue supporting their thousands of princes or the population at large?
                And many powerful princes already pissed.
                No doubt saudi has financial assets it can use…

              2. drumlin woodchuckles

                Didn’t NaCap itself host a few days ago an article claiming that Saudi Arabia’s long range goal is to fill up all the world’s constructed storage for oil to the point that Russia is so deprived of anywhere to sell its oil and physically move it . . . . that it is forced to physically stop pumping from its Arctic fields.
                If that were to happen in winter, the theory goes, the oil would congeal and it would be impossible to de-congeal it and restart flow through the pipelines.
                A whole new set of pipelines would have to be built.

                Or so this article claimed.

        1. MLTPB

          America can no longer produce masks, gloves and medications…covid19?

          Not many nations can.

          The nations that can…one of them is having quality issues, another can not make enough…glove factories at half capacity (LATimes, 7 days ago).

          In that sense, we are not that exceptional.

      3. Massinissa

        News Flash: The soviet union was disbanded decades ago.

        Also technically Russia is part of the ‘western world’ now. I mean, they’re more democratic than EU member Hungary now. At least they still have pretend elections.

        1. Pelham

          Good point.

          Also, it’s rather rich that the EU — which is profoundly non-democratic and designed primarily to thwart democracy in its member states — is upset over the lack of democracy in Hungary. I suspect that if the EU does take any action, it will be motivated primarily by the challenge Hungary presents to the union’s authority rather than Orban’s authoritarian antics, troubling as they are.

        2. The Rev Kev

          Pretend elections? Are you kidding? I was reading the account of an American that was with a international observation team going around and following Russians elections at the poll stations in Crimea. It is virtually gold standard with a combination of low and high tech. It would never be tolerated by the Democrats or republicans. In fact, when the usual international observation teams wanted to do the same in America, several States threatened to arrest them on sight.

      4. ObjectiveFunction

        Sorry to pile on, as I appreciate many of John’s perspectives here as a businessperson, but hell’s bells mate! did you doze off reading Tom Clancy in 1985 or something? and just wake up?

        Fine, there might well be one or two nostalgic Russian generals who still bellyfeel the ‘Third Rome’ idea. Some soldiers can be odd that way. But who’s going to be their patriotic cannon fodder as they wheel the T90s back west? Chechens? For all its people’s considerable talent and energy, Slavic Russia remains an aging, falling birthrate society, and is also suffering a serious brain drain of its young educated. Non-Slavs are now 1/5 of the population and rising.

        The Rodina and its professional army is going to have all it can handle for the next 30 years keeping Siberia from slipping into the orbit of China. Geography has decreed they play defense most of the time.

        1. MLTPB

          I don’t think Beijing mind too much Siberia slipping into the orbit of China.

          In fact, many there might see it as ‘slipping BACK into China’s orbit.’

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Well, it would be one more environmental tragedy on top of the ones we already have.
            A Siberia back under Chinese control would become China’s ” New Northern Tibet”. It would be sacked and pillaged down to abandoned strip mine level and left as a sterile asteroid-scape for near-geologic time.

      5. ambrit

        Sorry Mr “Beech.” (Perhaps you could substitute another tree species for a last name. Something in the Betulaceae family.) As ‘km’ mentions, Russia would be foolhardy to the extreme to “pour through the Fulda Gap.” Given their history, I would not characterize Russia as being self destructive.
        Besides, it is often noticed that the American military presence “on the Continent” can be viewed as more of an occupation force than a defense force.
        Finally, the advocacy of the “best interests of the western world” would depend on how one defines “western world.” Who’s western world, and to what gods does it bend knee?

      6. New Wafer Army

        Dear John,

        It’s not me, it’s you. I can no longer live with you. I am leaving you.



      7. Oregoncharles

        A Russian attack – “Fulda Gap” – was always an imaginary threat – Russian, under whatever name, has quite enough problems of its own without taking on the rest of Europe – and now is even more so. The EU is about 300 million; Russia, 100 million; the economic disproportion is far greater. Making stuff up, John.

        1. hunkerdown

          Are you saying there is a Fulda Gap gap? We’d better get to work on catching that up immediately!

  4. zagonostra

    >Cultural dendrochronology and the coronavirus

    Trees grow in accordance with the conditions of their local environment. Each year, trees produce a new layer of concentric growth, called a tree ring, which can record information about rainfall, temperature, wildfires, soil conditions and more. Trees can even record solar activity as it waxes and wanes.

    People live in accordance with the conditions of their local environment. Each year, people produce a new layer of cultural effluvia, called history, which is recorded information about, economic activity, music, and most importantly viruses. People can even record the increasing ozone hole in the Arctic as activity waxes and waxes, until there is no one to record anything anymore.

    1. MT_Bill

      I’ve always thought that there is a lot that could be learned about paleontology by doing experimental digs at landfills. For instance just examining popular music and the changes in formats over the past 80 to a hundred years. I assume we have information on what was produced, potentially even by region, and could see if the recovered distribution matches the new distribution.

      1. xkeyscored

        “The Archaeology of Contemporary Landfills”
        W. L. Rathje, W. W. Hughes, D. C. Wilson, M. K. Tani, G. H. Archer, R. G. Hunt and T. W. Jones
        American Antiquity, Vol. 57, No. 3 (Jul., 1992), pp. 437-447 (read online free)

        “The Garbage Project has excavated eight sanitary landfulls [sic] from California to Florida and analyzed 6.71 metric tons of refuse deposited between 1952 and 1988. While the ultimate goal of this continuing endeavor is to collect archaeological data on contemporary discards using a methodology that will link our society to the past, this initial report relates Garbage Project data to three issues of current public concern. This first applied archaeology of landfills has identified: (1) the contents of specific landfills and possible refinements for “national” estimates of U.S. landfill contents; (2) a link between moisture level and rate of refuse decomposition; and (3) part of the pathway of migration for heavy metals.”

  5. petal

    I met him in August. So glad I got to.
    Author Tomie dePaola dies at 85

    “CONCORD — Tomie dePaola, the prolific children’s author and illustrator who delighted generations with tales of Strega Nona, the kindly and helpful old witch in Italy, died Monday at age 85.

    DePaola died at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, according to his literary agent, Doug Whiteman. He was badly injured in a fall last week and died of complications following surgery.

    He worked on over 270 books in more than half a century of publishing, and nearly 25 million copies have been sold worldwide and his books have been translated into more than 20 languages.

    1. ddt

      Strega Nona a fave of my kids. Even tho they’ve outgrown it, they won’t let me pass it on. RIP

  6. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Greenwald’s biden tweet

    O. M. G., just plain O. M. G.

    I’m sure I speak for the entire nation when I thank james clyburn for his “service.” I’d like to hear clyburn’s thoughts on the “way forward” on corona virus so that we can do the exact opposite.

      1. Samuel Conner

        Envisioning the first JB “State of the Union Address”.

        It might be more of an “undress”, revealing the scantiness of the new president’s mental furnishings.

    1. D. Fuller

      The current leadership of America reminds me of the geriatric leadership of The Soviet Union, from late years of Leonid Brezhnev to Konstantine Chernenko. Some Soviet party member once remarked upon seeing former Central Committee party members, “These are the people who once ruled The USSR?” (paraphrasing). That observation was made when he saw them shuffling about Moscow, after being retired. Complete with various ailments such as dementia.

      Another former Soviet General, after the fall of The USSR, made the observation that the Soviet Union’s greatest enemy was their own military-industrial complex. The example used by the Soviet General consisted of, the costs of maintaining five seperate tank designs funneled needed resources away from industries lacking resources, to maintain the military design bureaus (literally, corporations). Thus draining the civilian sector of the Soviet economy.

      It seems that the Roman Republic is not the historical analogy for use in the decline of The US. Perhaps the latter years of The USSR would be a more fitting analogy. Instead of East Germany and protests, perhaps it will be the replacement of SWIFT and the pursuit of policies not of the US, that will be the result.

      Of course, oligarchs during that time cemented their control of Russian politics with the aid of Western financial “bureaus”. Resulting in Putin who ended quite a few neoliberal economic Western designs on Russia; enemity of Putin ensued. Culminating in the latest Russia!Russia!Russia! hysteria.

      The fall of the Soviet Union took place over three to four years. A sudden action with the fallout playing out over the last years.

      1. Olga

        There may be some similarities with the USSR (e.g., old, white guys in power, mostly) – but not enough to make broad generalisations. Inhabitants of the USSR had cheap housing, no collection agencies, jobs, free health care, free education, early retirement, secure pensions, subsidized cost of almost everything (food, energy, transportation, cultural events, etc.), and so on. While the first 10 years after the dissolution were hellish (didn’t have to be, we know the culprit), a similar crisis in the US would lead to a far serious destruction of life as we know it now.

        1. D. Fuller

          All excellent points, thank you.

          I should limit the scope to similarities in leadership and defense spending which reminded me of The Soviet Union.

          There were shortages in The USSR. Nothing was “free” since The USSR still used money. However, the burden of costs was not apparent to the Soviet citizen, instead being born by the State. Also, barter was common among the populace.

          Subsidized costs of food. The joke in Poland was (and still is): We gave The Soviets are coal and in return they let us give them our ham. The Soviet Union relied on client States to support The Soviet Union, with raw materials and goods.

          As for the dissolution of The Soviet Union? That was their own fault. What happened afterwards was realized with the help of such institutions as The American Enterprise Institute and Western neoliberal economists and Boris Yeltsin along with quite a few newly minted Russian oligarchs.

          There is almost no doubt that a similar event would do far more serious harm. Perhaps that is the point of Western neoliberals? Get rid of the last super-power, perhaps? The only bull in their fine china dinnerware shop.

          1. The Rev Kev

            ‘The Soviet Union relied on client States to support The Soviet Union, with raw materials and goods.’

            I saw a chart some time ago that showed in spite of the raw materials that went to the Soviet Union, all those external countries acted as a severe drain on the Russian economy. More went out than went in and when the system collapsed, the Russian economy was relieved of a massive drain on their budget.

  7. zagonostra

    >Nevada homeless COVID-19 “housing ”

    The proper measure of a state or nation’s health in any given time is how said state or nation treats its poorest and most vulnerable citizens. And by this metric the most powerful and richest country there has ever been is also a contender for the most barbaric, despite the ocean of propaganda to the contrary…

    You can’t understand what’s going on in Mississippi if you don’t understand what’s going on in the Congo.”

    [quote from Camus in the same linked article below]

    “However, you think, like Paneloux, that the plague has its good side; it opens men’s eyes and forces them to take thought?” The doctor tossed his head impatiently. “So does every ill that flesh is heir to. What’s true of all the evils of the world is true of plague as well. It helps men to rise above themselves. All the same, when you see the misery it brings, you’d need to be a madman, or a coward, or stone blind, to give in tamely to the plague.”’

  8. o-o-o

    I have a question that has been bugging me, and this is the only place I know that intelligently discusses this topic:

    What if TPP had passed in 2016? What powers would be given to the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) process in the face of a global pandemic? My basic understanding is that investors/corporations can sue states for monetary damages if their investment is harmed by state legislation. Most states in the United States have now enacted a shelter in place order and closed non-essential businesses, effectively shutting down major portions of the economy (by the orders of the Governors as opposed to state legislation, but I suspect this distinction is minor). Could McDonald’s have sued the state of Indiana for lost revenues due to restaurant closures? Can ISDS actions be brought against individual states, or only the United States as a whole? I think we dodged a bullet back when the TPP talks effectively collapsed (thanks, Obama!), but now I am wondering what rights and powers it could have granted corporations in a global health emergency.

    1. John

      Very interesting question. We only ever saw that one leaked portion if I remember correctly since they kept it secret from us.

      Maybe we can ask Obama and Biden for the answer as the TPP was their baby.

    2. Samuel Conner

      IIRC, at the time there were concerns expressed that the ISDS system could become involved in matters as local as municipal zoning regulations. I think that subnational authorities were indeed vulnerable to attack in this way. One can readily imagine that it could have spawned a new law-practice “industry” of looting local treasuries and induced a global deregulatory race to the bottom — which it is not hard to imagine might have been the point.

      1. Montanamaven

        Wish I could find articles now on NAFTA and secret tribunals. I believe that a Canadian firm sued a Louisiana funeral home. And another Canadian firm sued California over their emissons standards. I did find this quote on commenting on a NY Times story in 2004 called “Review of U.S. Rulings by Nafta Tribunals Stirs Worries”.

        The part of Nafta that created the tribunals, known as Chapter 11, received no consideration when it was passed in 1993.

        “When we debated Nafta,” Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, now the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, said in 2002, “not a single word was uttered in discussing Chapter 11. Why? Because we didn’t know how this provision would play out. No one really knew just how high the stakes would get.”

        “No one knew how high the stakes would get.” !!!

        1. Olga

          This is like Samantha Power saying who could have foreseen that chaos would be unleashed once the Libyan state was destroyed. ‘We did not know their culture,’ or something to that effect. Those in power (pun not intended) are psychopaths or incompetents – most likely, both.

          1. skippy

            Would like to take all such bright thinkers and do a pre and post quiz having watched McNamara’s ‘Fog of War’ …

            Curious of what the data might suggest.

            1. Oregoncharles

              Too bad McNamara got off scot-free, aside from his conscience. If there’d been personal repercussions, the lesson would be much more pointed.

              1. drumlin woodchuckles

                Was he ever worried about his conscience? Or was he only ever worried about his public image and his reputation and his “place in history”?

      2. Oregoncharles

        @ Samuel Conner, My understanding at the time (I believe ISDS is not entirely gone) was that only the Federal Gov’t., the actual signatory, could be sued, albeit for state or local actions. And Federal Gov’t (which prints money, after all) would be on the hook for the penalties, even if a local government committed the “offense.”

        In fact, I saw an opportunity for civil disobedience from local governments: I don’t think the feds could recover that money from them, at least short of a major legal and political hoo-raw. Federalism has its uses.

        Maybe someone here can correct me, but I was deeply involved at one time.

    3. xkeyscored

      If I understood the proposed TPP correctly, semi-secretive panels composed mainly of industry representatives would decide if states’ actions had harmed corporations’ expected profits, and what reparations were due. I don’t recall any get-out clauses about ‘except in times of …,’ though that may be because nobody was focused much on such clauses or because they weren’t in the bits that were leaked.

      1. The Rev Kev

        And the people that judged a particular case could be the advocates for a corporation against a government in the next case. Countries that have signed up to this lunatic idea have come to regret it to their cost and a few countries have pulled out of such agreements. Technically, if all those Coronavirus victims are being sent to a crematorium, a corporation that had an interest in a chain of funeral parlors might sue the government for loss of business.

    4. cnchal

      > Could McDonald’s have sued the state of Indiana for lost revenues due to restaurant closures?


      McDonalds might have had a case if it set up their golem arches in Botswana — and if Botswana were a signatory to a treaty that has an ISDS contract — and Botswana decided french fries were a poison and declared that illegal. I know, a ridiculous example, but illustrates the point. Any corrupt ISDS lawyer out there can correct me if wrong.

      1. Painted Shut

        My thoughts are along these lines. Maybe US businesses could have sued China for virus-related losses?

  9. PlutoniumKun

    Saudi Arabia to raise oil exports to record high DW

    Could Oil Really Fall To $0? OilPrice

    I know it seems like a peripheral thing with all that’s going on in the world, but it looks to me like ultra low oil prices are now baked in for a few years – the Saudi’s and Russians are digging in, and demand is in freefall and likely to stay that way for months to come. I don’t even see a big surge back if the economy recovers, peoples habits have changed already I think.

    This really is unprecedented and will have huge implications – the oil industry in the US will be devastated and oil dependant countries from Iran to Venezuela to Nigeria and Iraq will find it very hard to recover (much the same of course applies to many commodities). I really don’t know what this will mean, but it seems certain to fundamentally change political dynamics all over the world.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      i see the same potential for fundamental change just about everywhere…including my usual hobby horse, local ag.
      people in line at the grocery store the other day, talking about global supply lines, and how stupid it was to send it all to china.
      in rural texas, and without any prompting from me.
      that’s a large shift, indeed.

    2. farmboy

      gonna kill ethanol which is 25% of corn usage in the US and Brazil which produces it’s feedstock from sugarcane so price impacted greatly by crude oil! Corn and wheat going in opposite directions price wise. Corn crop is around 93m acres with 19b bushels in production in the US, while Wheat is grown on about 50m acres with 82m bushels in production. Wheat is a world food crop though with China the biggest producer and with no exports. US, Australia, EU, Russia, Ukraine, and Kazahkstan biggest exporters with Egypt, Indonesia and maybe China now, and Japan, and other Far East and Near East countries along with Nigeria and other African countries. Comparative bushel prices can strain the $1.50 range until wheat runs off by itself like 2017 and 2008.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          aye. because we grow too much corn, and have to invent things to do with it all…like ethanol(net negative eroei), HFCS(diabetes, etc), and CAFO(antibiotic resistance, etc etc)…to say nothing of using it as a blunt soft-weapon.
          …all so conagra can more efficiently attach it’s maw to the government teat.

          “Auferre, trucidare, rapere, falsis nominibus imperium; atque, ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant.”-Calgacus

          1. John k

            It’s because Iowa caucuses, prompting pols to promise fealty to ethanol. Hopefully recent events stop this non swing state from going first,

      1. hunkerdown

        I guess we’ll just have to turn all that ethanol into hand sanitizer, and establish minimum consumption rates on pain of civil infraction and on-the-spot fines.

  10. The Rev Kev

    Susan Rice – ‘Kick Hungary out of the EU.’

    I haven’t been keeping up with her tweets lately as UN Ambassador. I must have missed the one where she heavily criticized Israel for giving Netanyahu so much power in that country in spite of being indicted in office on a series of corruption charges. As for Prime Minister Orbán, there are nearly 10 million people living in Hungary. They will work out a solution if Orbán goes too far with his new powers – one way or another.

  11. urblintz

    Have the Democrats responded to Trumps evisceration of the fake oversight they “demanded” be part of the corona giveaway bill? I heard Nancy say something on TEEVEE but I don’t listen to mummies…

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Oversight requires work. Besides Sanders, what members of the Senate caucus can be accused of doing any hard work? Warren on occasion. The two caucuses would probably send Trump a gift basket for telling them not to bother.

      I called my senators again, and Tim Kaine’s office assured me Tim was “working hard” during this crisis. My response was he’s a Senator of the United States my minimum expectation is he to be working hard all the time. Am I supposed to be impressed?

      They were never going to do oversight. Besides many of these Democratic elites are scrubbing their social media of “believe women” posts. They are very busy.

      1. Spring Texan

        You are very cynical. I agree with you.

        Disgraceful that both chambers are in recess while there is so much in so many areas that demands thought and consideration about the future . . . committees could be meeting . . .but they aren’t gonna work on it.

  12. Woodchuck

    So with Biden basically reading his notes (or failing to) in the interview, this would imply that they gave him the exact questions ahead of time.

    Out of curiosity, is this a general well accepted practice for these kinds of interviews? I honestly have no clue, I would assume no, but I could certainly be wrong and naive about that.

    1. Geo

      A friend of mine did an interview with a local NBC news station on Sunday as an “expert” on education issues and the day before I helped her rehearse her answers to the questions they provided. Not sure how common this is but I can now say from personal experience that they do provide questions ahead of time for at least some interviews. In my own esperience having done a few interviews on radio/podcasts/tv I’ve never been given questions in advance. But, I’ve never been interviewed as an “expert” on anything (rightly so).

      1. Wellstone's Ghost

        The radio host Thom Hartmann used to do an hour long live call in session on his show with Bernie Sanders every Friday for about ten years if I remember correctly. It was why I was such a strong backer of Sanders from that point forward.
        Thom would often say that Bernie was the only politician in Washington DC who would take live questions from the audience. Everyone else wanted to know in advance the topics being discussed and the questions.
        Nope, whatever we do, we can’t have Bernie. He actually can think on his feet.

  13. zagonostra

    >Wolf Street

    Some very good analysis by Wolf Richter. Reading through comments in the article linked below, people are looking for pitchforks; but alas, to paraphrase Lenin, their is no “Storming of the Bastille” in the days of the machine gun, or in our own times in days of the all pervasive security State.

    Democrats in Congress made a big show of their supposed oversight of these programs; in reality, there is none. The final draft removed most of the SPV reporting requirements. Even the Sunshine Law that governs the release of Fed minutes has been waived for the duration of these programs…

    You cannot revive a consumer-led economy by depriving people who need money to survive while rewarding those who don’t need it at all. Even a cynic knows the math doesn’t work…

    THIS cure definitely is worse than the disease. It is a giant step towards the nationalization of US financial markets. Our policymakers have been moving in this direction for decades, as their interventions have grown in size and frequency.

    1. urblintz

      yes, that is a must-read!

      “capitalism without bankruptcy is like catholicism without hell.”

      1. New Wafer Army

        I don’t know where the idea that bankruptcy has anything to do with capitalism comes from. The aim of capitalism is to accumulate capital. nothing else. If that means cheating, stealing, lying, killing, so be it. Co-opting government, becoming a monopoly and driving out competition, buying economists…. there are no rules except he who has the gold makes the rules.

    2. MLTPB

      Where are we, or where is the nation in the nationalization of US financial markets?

      Do we, or does the nation own the stock exchanges yet?

      1. Geo

        The stock market should be relegated to a back room in Vegas casinos. Or, if not, for all the relevance it has to real life, we should base our analysis of the nation’s economic status on how well Aunt Janet is doing at the slot machines. And if she’s losing we should all be required to bail her out until she’s profitable again.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Only ever had two or three at a time on my balcony when I was renting in Sydney but they are lovely birds and I still sometimes catch a glimpse of some.

      1. xkeyscored

        They do seem to be practicing a macaw version of social distancing, all about one body length from each other.

      2. Paul O

        They do! I was in Caracas, oh, 25 years ago (it was a strange trip – I met the president at the time, at the palace, and I really am a very unimportant person). I had them on the balcony of my hotel room.

    1. Geo

      As of yesterday I had about $500 left in my bank account. My cat took a sudden and terrible turn with her health (won’t go into gory details but she was excreting bad stuff). One vet visit and prescription meds later I now have less than $100 in my back account. Seems I’m a willing accomplice in the demise of our civilization (or just my own little corner of it). I can’t help it though. They’re just so darn adorable.

        1. Geo

          So true. Watching her play and lounge in the sun today, when just yesterday I thought I was going to lose her, made it all worthwhile. :)

    1. Peter from Georgia

      I have a client with several H2A (like Trump’s H2B seasonal workers, but for ag) and they’re staying put on his isolated farm. They’ll work, but many would be coming now for summer planting – I’ll know more in a few weeks.

    2. xkeyscored

      “A food crisis looms as coronavirus forces farms to stay idle and countries hoard supplies”

      Restrictions on movements and “basic aversion behaviour” by workers could impede farming, said the FAO. Food processors, who handle the vast majority of agricultural products, could also be prevented from processing the farm products.

      “We are already seeing, however, challenges in terms of the logistics involving the movement of food (not being able to move food from point A to point B), and the pandemic’s impact on livestock sector due to reduced access to animal feed and slaughterhouses’ diminished capacity (due to logistical constraints and labour shortages) similar to what happened in China,” said the FAO.

      “Grain production in developed markets, usually done on large farms in low-density areas are less prone to contagion, but labour-intensive sectors such as plantations (palm oil) and manufacturing (meat processing) are more at risk of employee contagion and therefore of temporary lockdown measures,” said Fitch Solutions in a recent note.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Comet Atlas could be the brightest comet in decades”

    People don’t think about it nowadays but in the past comets were always a harbinger of disaster. During the winter of 1664 for example, a bright comet was to be seen in the sky over London – just before the Great Plague followed by the Great Fire. A comet was also sighted in 1345 which was just before the Black Death. And if I remember correctly, Halley’s Comet was found in the sky before the Norman invasion and which can be seen in the Bayeux Tapestry. So here we are in 2020 at the start of a great flu pandemic when right on time we get a visit from one of these things.

    1. DJG

      The Rev Kev: Yep. Astrologers have been trying to interpret the eruption of the coronavirus. There is some discussion of Pluto, the ruler of plagues, being in the right place. I am also seeing discussions of Uranus, ruler of money, being in the right place to cause financial disaster. Saturn also is in an ambiguous place. So the outer planets are signaling disaster. Yet Jupiter may help to get us through this.

      1. MLTPB

        Then there is Venus and Mayan star wars.

        From Wiki:

        The precise nature of the proposed link between star wars and astronomical events is unclear. It is possible that events such as eclipses may have stimulated star wars, prompting the Maya to launch star wars in the belief that they had received a favorable omen for military endeavors. They may also have had astronomical connections with planets other than Venus; many star wars appear to be correlated with the retrograde periods of Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.[7]

    2. Tom Doak

      I thought the same thing.

      But then I thought of all those other years we had comets and there was no disaster — other than the normal, everyday disaster of life on Earth nowadays.

    3. Samuel Conner

      Not to mention the great comet of AD66 (Comet Halley), that portended the war between Rome and the people of the province of Judea and the surrounding provinces, that culminated in the AD70 siege and destruction of Jerusalem.

      1. periol

        In the global scheme of things though, wouldn’t this be like saying this current comet portends the United States going to war with Puerto Rico? I mean, it’s not like the province of Judea was some massive and crucial cog in the Roman Empire…

        1. John k

          That’s the empire perspective. The judea view, certainly in the aftermath, was different.
          Seems whether it’s a disaster for the big or the little is somewhat random… in this case, the us is least prepared of all the great, and many of the not so great, powers. Hosp beds, icu, ventilators, foctors, even seemingly minor things like masks, gowns. And test kits.
          And the pop willingness to lockdown, or even pol willingness to ask for one.
          IMO if a state isn’t in lockdown the rest of the country should barricade their borders.

        2. BlakeFelix

          Although in that case the story would have a Puerto Rican prophet starting a cult that eats America. My grandfather always used to say everyone’s goodwill is worth something…

          1. periol

            More like if there was a Puerto Rican prophet who started a cult and then died 35 years ago, and everyone associated with that cult left Puerto Rico long before the USA destroyed it to get rid of an entirely different cult, and then in several hundred years that first cult that left the island ended up becoming the dominant religion of the US empire.

    4. Wukchumni

      Hale-Bopp (my wife and I would do ancient Roman salutes whenever we uttered the hyphenated name) was the brightest comet of my life, and I can’t remember a damned thing that happened in 1997, so much for that theory.

  15. Pelham

    I did some counting up and as an early ’50s boomer, I’ve lived through 8 recessions, 3 financial crises; 3 attempted presidential assassinations, one of which succeeded; 3 other major political assassinations; 9 wars; 5 pandemics, one of which is shutting down the country; 1 major foreign attack on US soil; at least 3 potentially world-ending nuclear war near misses that we know about, and 3 presidential impeachments. And I may have mistakenly left things out.

    Is this a stable country?

    1. urblintz

      Don’t forget our exceptional republic being penetrated by Russian evil in an effort to destroy the exceptional democracy we promote around the world by depriving civilians, young and old, of their lives, turned to mist, then doing it again when friends and family show up, looking for loved ones now separated from their bodies, all the while assured of and secure in our right, nay duty, to do so.

      USA *^#K Yeah!!!!!

    2. xkeyscored

      “1 major foreign attack on US soil.”
      Other nations might wonder what ‘major’ attack you could possibly be referring to.

        1. xkeyscored

          Operation Freedom Deal

          The USA was not at war with Cambodia at the time.
          “The number of deaths caused by U.S. bombing has been disputed and is difficult to disentangle from the broader Cambodian Civil War. Estimates as wide-ranging as 30,000 to 500,000 have been cited.” – Wikipedia

    1. Geo

      Can the employees count the employer as a dependent on their taxes?

      Seriously, some people seem to be vying for first in line at the guillotine.

        1. Geo

          “workers could instead spend $1,200 to build a guillotine” Ha! Perfect use for the hush money.

    2. D. Fuller

      When wealthy elite gathered in Hong Kong (or maybe it was somewhere in China) to discuss how they could control their employees (security, cooks, etc) in bunkers so that their employees would not turn on them, should a catastrophe happen. The wealthy elite discussed shock collars and other extreme measures. The consultant who gave a talk to them recommended, “treat them like family” if they want to stay safe in their bunkers.

      I wish I had the link to that story. It may have been featured on NC awhile back.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        How well do the wealthy elite treat their families? I think they might need to worry about strife from all corners when they lockdown in their bunkers.

      2. John k

        Yeah, but…
        Even if treating them like family works better, they’d rather use the collars.

  16. DJG

    Wow. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor in the New Yorker, the must-read self-esteem mag of the bourgeoisie. Who’da thunk it? She shreds our rickety social arrangements in the U S of A and shows how the economy has been set up to divide us and harm us.

    Worth reading. Definitely. I admit that it isn’t a light-hearted piece, but she pierces through so much bull that was being flung, including the solnitized discourse that Bernie was some crabby old white guy and agent of the patriarchy.

    Funny how race clarifies matters, too.

    1. urblintz

      It would seem a breakthrough moment for the New Yorker…

      40 years too late…

      I’m sure Remnick thinks he’s being radical in publishing it.. must be confusing for a lifelong red-baiter to acknowledge the value of a “socialism” which three weeks ago he was likely ridiculing as “nevah, evah going to happen” at the private parties he attends – the main function of his job – manufacturing the false and now-dead Democrat narrative of meritocracy and corporate virtue.

      But yes, it is a grim and important read, nonetheless, and there are a lot of neolib Democrat apologists like Remnick for whom “better late than never” is the best we can hope for even as we shouldn’t trust any of them as far as we can throw them.

      I know where I’d throw them if I could…

    2. curlydan

      It’s safe for the New Yorker to acknowledge reality once Biden virtually locked up the nomination. No way would that story come out in the New Yorker until that happened.

    1. Oregoncharles

      Delightful ambiguity in that headline – cryptozoology in N.M.? Previously undiscovered bird of prey? Actually, New Mexico is a logical place for it.

  17. Wukchumni

    Palladium is used mostly in catalytic converters and 30 years ago was around $100 an oz, and now its worth almost $2400, up a bunch in the past few days, and yet car sales will be in the tank for a year/years, what gives?

    1. Synoia

      The wealthy have heard that Palladium cleans out pollution. So they are eating it to clean out the peasants from their breakfast cereal.

      A diet high in the work of peasants is likely to cause a twitch to the left, a motion that must be suppressed by all means available. /s

  18. orlbucfan

    I read that David Geffen fled the c-virus pandemic by hiding in his yacht. It is my sincere hope that a rogue wave sinks the yacht and him.

    1. MLTPB

      I imagine Mars looks pretty attractive as a sanctuary these days.

      The billionaires can easily afford the one way tickets.

  19. flora

    Two things:

    The antidote picture is stunning! A Maxfield Parish painting in real life. Thanks for that.

    The Rising’s Saagar Ejeti had an excellent segment yesterday titled “Neoliberalism Kills”. He’s right.

    A example of his point is this:

    Exclusive: Captain of aircraft carrier with growing coronavirus outbreak pleads for help from Navy

    Our country can’t manufacture enough to supply even our military’s needs, because markets, because neoliberalism kool aid.

  20. edmondo

    See, there really is a difference between the political parties. While Republicans are trying desperately to give money to billionaires, the Democrats are looking after their base, the lowly millionaires.

    Nancy Pelosi is trying to eliminate the SALT limits on federal income taxes, thereby giving tax breaks to people with large local tax bills. According to the NYT, most of the benefit will go to people with assets of a million dollars or more. Thank God for the Democratic Party.

  21. John Anthony La Pietra

    The story of Inga and Karsten gets me thinking of the Spider Robinson short story “True Minds”. . . .

  22. Oregoncharles

    “Sweden says no to quarantine – is this the most reckless or the most proportionate Covid-19 response in the West?”
    We shall see – an extremely important test case, as this is not an incompetent gov’t. My understanding is that Sweden’s approach is more like S. Korea’s, although the latter had the disadvantage of a heavy initial exposure via a cult-like evangelical church. Some of those here, too, as well as in Brazil. Geographically, Sweden has very controllable borders given cooperation from its people. (Water border with all but Norway, a very mountainous border, and Finland, very short border in a lightly populated area.) And a fairly homogeneous, co-operative population.

    1. Wukchumni

      And a fairly homogeneous, co-operative population.

      Have you noticed the countries that have fared well in the Coronavirus derby, tend to have homogeneous populations. (SK, Taiwan & Singapore)

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        I think it is a mistake to emphasize “fairly homogeneous, co-operative population.” The people are co-operative because they experienced and dealt with SARS. Their governments designed standard protocols for dealing with pandemics based on what they learned from SARS. Their governments and public health officials — at least judging by Dr. Kim in the Korean interview in yesterday’s links — are much more honest and forthright than the U.S. Government. People — in both homogeneous and heterogeneous populations — tend to cooperate when they have reasonable confidence in the advice and good will of their government. I believe that is the chief contrast to be made.

  23. Oregoncharles

    “Ahem, pretty much all the active ingredients come from China.”

    Although that’s true, the discussion makes more sense than appears. For one thing, the subhead says India is the “top source” of generics; they have a large pharmaceuticals industry. And the discussions are to overcome an Indian ban on exports, presumably so as to break the Chinese monopoly. The two countries aren’t friendly, so India might well go for it once they’ve secured their own supply.

  24. Jeremy Grimm

    RE: “… Game Farms … Spawning … Zombie Deer?” —
    This story about zombie deer, elk, and moose is very disturbing. The link didn’t explain how and why the prion started up in the game farms. As I recall it got going from the feed the farmed deer were given. In the case of mad cow disease a cost-cutting measure in the way cattle feed was made resulted in spreading the prion from some initial case of the disease. [Of course the practice of adding remains from dead cattle into the feed for cattle isn’t too wonderful to contemplate.] If the deer prion got started the same way, which I suspect, I cannot understand how the Government could have let that happen. And as this disease spreads why has nothing been done to stop it? Many of the poor hunt deer for meat. If mad cow could affect humans how long will it be before the deer prion crosses species to humans?

  25. Jeremy Grimm

    RE: “Huge ecosystems could collapse in less than 50 years” —
    I think huge ecosystems are collapsing before our eyes — e.g. the Arctic. The link seemed surprised that the scale of an ecosystem doesn’t offer some slowing of the processes collapse. The scale of the collapse processes — changing climate for example — is at least as great as the scale of an ecosystem.

    1. polecat

      Huge ecosystems collapse all the time — on Gaia’s clock. The problem is humans bearing opposables, who, even in the best of times, rarely think in terms of longer then a year .. let alone decades .. rather then centuries. We’re just impulsive hominids aping greatness, with technologies we misuse, at every turn, to everyone’s peril. We have the minds. What we don’t possess, is neither the wisdom, nor the patience to stop destroying sh!t !
      Nature, even with extinctions, will carry on. Many of us won’t.

  26. The Rev Kev

    “My neighbor didn’t show up for work. His boss called the cops to do a “welfare check.” They shot and killed him.”

    This is so bizarre this. You can see two situations at work-

    “Open up, this is the Police! Come out with your hands up!”
    “You’ll never get me coppers! I’ll shoot the first one through the door!”

    Or with the same people in play-

    “Open up, this is the Police! Come out with your hands up! This is a welfare check!”
    “Oh my god. Please don’t shoot me. I give up. Look – my hands are up in the air and I am bare-naked to show you I have no hidden guns”

  27. Waking Up

    Does anyone know if there is a website keeping track of how various travel agencies, hotels, cruise lines, airlines, etc. are treating people during this pandemic? When I make future plans, I want to make informed decisions on how people were treated during this time.

  28. drumlin woodchuckles

    About Bolsonaro and COVID in Brazil, one hopes the Bolsonaro skeptics can practice social distancing and safe practices in the teeth of Bolsonaro’s possible upcoming attempts to force them all to mill about in huge tight-packed groups.

    One also hopes that all the Bolsonaro supporters will attend huge vast Bolsonaro rallies where they mill about in huge tight-packed groups. It would be another interesting experiment in different outcomes of COVID acceptance versus COVID denialism. The accepters would want to shun the deniers as much as possible, of course.

    And a clue to whether Bolsonaro secretly believes in secret what he publicly claims to believe in public . . . about COVID being a non-event, almost a non-disease . . . . is whether he secretly tasks his evil minions with spreading COVID to the Brazilian Indian Nations. If he or his creeple people secretly try to do that, it shows that they secretly believe in COVID.

    The Brazilian Indian Nations will want to hide as deep out of sight as they possibly can until COVID totally runs its course in Brazil.

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