Links 3/8/2020

Jerri-Lynn here.  Yves had a draft post on McKinsey that she started months ago and had scheduled for a future date, which is what the site writers often do with pieces in progress. But that future date arrived and Yves had not kicked the auto-launch time back.

The unintended posting has impelled Yves to get the piece done, and she intends to run it Monday.


Rats avoid harming other rats. The finding may help us understand sociopaths. National Geographic

Like a Ball of Fire London Review of Books. Andrew Cockburn on hypersonic weaponry.

Know yourself Times Literary Supplement. Will Self.

Physicists Think We Might Have a New, Exciting Dark Matter Candidate Science Alert (chuck l)

Curcumin is the spice of life when delivered via tiny nanoparticles Medical Express (furzy)

How the humble potato changed the world BBC

Royal Opera House cancels performances by Placido Domingo amid allegations he sexually assaulted more than 20 women Daily Mail


Nonstop Acela trains between Washington and New York suspended due to coronavirus (MR). This makes sense. makes sense. Cancel the ones with no stops, don’t cancel the ones with stops. And I still don’t know if they disinfect after every run. Readers?

Momento Mori – Unpopular Thoughts on Corona Virus Craig Murray

Coronavirus: quarter of Italy’s population put in quarantine as virus reaches Washington DC Guardian

Coronavirus: European borders likely to remain open despite crisis in Italy, observers say SCMP

Democrats introduce bill to guarantee paid sick leave in response to coronavirus The Hill

Coronavirus Update: NY State Of Emergency Declared As Outbreak Jumps To 89 Cases CBS News

Never mind China, look to the US for the next big coronavirus crisis SCMP

eBay bans sale of masks and hand sanitizer over gouging concerns Ars Technica

When Purell is Contraband, How Do You Contain Coronavirus? Marshall Project

Coronavirus ‘highly sensitive’ to high temperatures, but don’t bank on summer killing it off, studies say SCMP

You Might Be Buying a Hand Sanitizer That Won’t Work for Coronavirus ProPublica

Top Biogen execs were present at meeting where attendees had Covid-19 Stat

Coronavirus: The psychology of panic buying BBC

Health Care

Class Warfare

The Bleak Job Landscape of Adjunctopia for Ph.D.s NYT (david l)

Palliative Liberalism Can’t Cure Our Ailing Working Class American Conservative

How Working-Class Life Is Killing Americans, in Charts NYT (re Silc)

Yes Minister Fan Fiction Craig Murray. UserFriendly: “I had no clue what this was about until recently.  It looks like Nicola Sturgeon framed up a Me Too claim to get her current position.  That’s unfortunate, I liked her.”

Waste Watch

Patagonia will teach you how to repair clothes TreeHugger

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

This Small Company Is Turning Utah Into a Surveillance Panopticon Motherboard

Rand Paul looms as wild card in surveillance fight The Hill

Google tracked his bike ride past a burglarized home. That made him a suspect. NBC (The Rev Kev)

737 MAX

The Boeing 737 MAX Nightmare Keeps Getting Worse Daily Beast


Trump Beats Biden Jacobin

Don’t expect a Democrat president to simply roll back Trump’s disastrous Middle East policies – particularly if it’s Biden Independent. Robert Fisk.


Chris Cuomo Is A Fucking Shitbag Caitlin Johnstone (The Rev Kev)

Joe Biden’s Success Shows We Gave Obama a Free Pass NYT

Biden warns against primary bloodbath as Sanders sharpens attacks ahead of key contests Guardian (The Rev Kev)

Column: You paid off your student loans. You should still support canceling them for others LA Times


Delhi Riots, the Aftermath: The Tyranny of Majoritarian Politics Is on Full Display The Wire

Muslim women of India rising Qantara


China exports plummet by 17% as coronavirus takes its toll FT


Saudi Arabia detains king’s brother, nephew in crackdown: Reports Al Jazeera

Trump Transition

Trump’s Harsh Iran Policy Helped Hardliners Win Iran’s Elections TruthOut

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. PlutoniumKun

    How the humble potato changed the world BBC

    I think the following is an overlooked quality of potatoes:

    Villagers in the war-ravaged European plains, by conflicts such as the War of the Austrian Succession and the Seven Years’ War, quickly discovered another advantage of planting potatoes: they were really hard to tax and plunder. “If you have a field of wheat, it’s really visible. You can’t hide it”, said Earle, who claims tax collectors can visually measure their size and return in time for the harvest. But underground potatoes are well hidden, and you can dig them up one by one, as needed.

    In 18th Century Ireland, potatoes meant a healthy workforce to grow cash (and taxable) crops such as wheat for export. But come the 19th century when cheaper grains flooded in from the US, and Europe went back to peace (and growing things) after Waterloo, suddenly the peasantry in Ireland had no value, either for landowners or taxation authorities, and were not trustworthy enough as cannon fodder for empire. So when the crop failed, they were content to let a million die. So being self-sufficient can be a double edged sword for a peasantry.

    1. WheresOurTeddy

      Was it economics and landowners that did that, or a conscious decision by the government in London who is and always has been morally indefensible?

      Asking for some of my relatives who died in 1846.

      1. Laughingsong

        The answer to that, as I understand it, is “Never let a crisis go to waste.”

      2. chuckster

        In that same vein, is the government’s response to coronavirus just another way of “cleaning up” those Social Security and Medicare deficits?

        Just asking for some of my relatives who are going to die over the next 12 months.

        1. Which is worse bankers or terrorists

          Let’s all admit that the market’s recent crisis/nosedive must be due to the recognition a possibility exists of a Biden presidency. It’s like taking Castor oil.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Hadn’t the most Irishly-Irish been somewhat driven into the lowest-fertility parts of Ireland? The parts of Ireland where only potatoes would grow? At least in part?

      I have read that the England-oriented authorities over Ireland kept sending Irish butter, beef, grains, etc. to England all during the potato famine. That would make it appear that the English authorities and their England oriented co-operators in Ireland were taking advantage of the potato blight to engineer a jackpot for the Irish-Irish of Ireland. Had another million Irish not been able to escape through emigration, that other million would also have died in Ireland. And the English authorities would have been well pleased with that outcome.

      ” Irish out of Ireland! one way or another . . . “

      1. The Rev Kev

        There was another famine I think about 20 years previously but the authorities forbade the export of food crops and so it was not so bad. By the 1840s mercantile interests were taking over the government in England from the landed gentry so when the big famine hit, the British insisted that food contracts be fulfilled. This explains why food was exported while starvation prevailed. Markets before people. Sound familiar?

      2. JBird4049

        IIRC, a big problem was that the native Irish were either inheriting ever smaller farms because of laws mandating that farms would be split equally as inheritances and increasing population, or they were sharecroppers who had to give most of their crop to the managers of the absentee landlords’ estates.

        The various repressive laws were repealed some decades before the famine, but nothing was done to reverse something like 150 years of land confiscations especially of the best land, unequal treatment under the law, and the denial of most occupations if you were Catholic.

        There were plenty of people, including English politicians, who screamed loudly and pushed hard for effective aid, but the supporters of the libertarian dogma of unregulated capitalism and free trade won. It was framed as the surplus population of the unvirtuous, lazy, dirty Irish being removed by the benevolent hand of Providence. Better that they die than live such miserable lives. An entire nation labeled as the undeserving poor.

  2. PlutoniumKun

    Curcumin is the spice of life when delivered via tiny nanoparticles Medical Express (f

    This seems to be a classic case of overthinking a problem. Its been well established for years that turmeric can be made bioavailable by taking it with black pepper, this has been demonstrated in numerous trials. Sounds like some researchers were looking for a method that could be patented for BigPharm.

    1. EMtz

      It’s also fat-soluble and heating further increases its bioavailability. Hence the ancient Ayurvedic drink of “golden milk”: 2 cups fresh whole milk, 2″ coin of turmeric root, pinch of black pepper. Gently boil for a few minutes, stir, cool, drink.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        One wonders how well turmeric and black pepper heated in pure ghee or other pure oil would work?

    2. polecat

      Why not just cook up a fine spicy curry, from scratch. No nano needed !! Experts ….. always trying to take the fun outta life …

    3. Cuibono

      yes and besides these animal studies for alzheimers have not worked well in the past
      That doesnt stop me from enjoying turmeric in many forms, usually fresh from my garden

      1. polecat

        As I said previously, turmeric, in a curry .. within all their various iterations* – full of spices and condiments, does a body good ! Like chicken soup ….. but wayyy spicier.
        Now tell me, How can that NOT be therapeutic ??

        *I’m partial to southeast asian recipes.

  3. GERMO

    And I still don’t know if they disinfect after every run. Readers?

    I clean light rail trains for a living that are used in a mass transit system. What we have are completely out of touch executives in a total panic to appear to be disinfecting the vehicles — it’s total PR and of course it doesn’t involve spending any money or hiring more people. It’s just so they can send out a press release claiming the trains are being disinfected. What we are actually doing is beyond pointless.

    I assume that Amtrak is like this but a thousand times worse. Managerialism is concerned with appearances not results ya know.

    1. chuckster

      Cleaning the trains? LOL. Most of us are living our Third World, fourth class lives in America and quite happy about it. (The kind of world where Joe Biden is considered a solution, not a problem.)

      I was on an AMTRAK train from Tucson to New Orleans for 36 hours. The toilets stopped working about 6 hours out from New Orleans for lack of water so the conductor had to add 15 minutes to each stop so people could disembark and use the local train station facilities. It was the last time I was ever on AMTRAK.

      If they couldn’t do the basics, do you really think they are taking any extra steps?

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        I have read that because Congress is starving Amtrak of sufficient subsidy funds to perform well, that Amtrak is looking to exterminate the highest-cost lowest-return longest-distance routes. Routes like Tucson to New Orleans, for instance. A little strategic sabotage under cover of “neglect” may make those long distance routes so unpleasant that people won’t miss them when they get abolished.

        I have never had that problem on an Amtrak, but I haven’t taken that kind of super long trip for many years.

        If people want an Amtrak that works, people have to invade Congress and conquer Congress and staff Congress with a supermajority of Congressmanwomans who are willing to fund Amtrak enough to be a viable transportation system.

        1. carl

          I’ve taken several long Amtrak trips (San Antonio to Tucson, San Antonio to New Orleans, Oakland to Chicago) and on every one, I thought “we need to spend more money on trains.” It’s a lovely way to get somewhere, and if we spent a modicum of money on our passenger train system, it would be a real benefit to everyone.
          But you already knew that.

    2. MLTPB

      With trains and airplanes, you get assigned seating, often (though not always).

      And we can speak of cleaning, disinfecting.

      But with buses or subways, disinfecting a seat would have to be each time a new passenger takes it, no?

  4. PlutoniumKun

    When Purell is Contraband, How Do You Contain Coronavirus? Marshall Project

    Anecdote here – a colleague told us that on her long walk home she tried to buy hand steriliser for her family – she stopped off at every convenience store and pharmacy to be told they were sold out, apart from one, where she bought a few bottles. On getting home, she was shocked to find that the seals were broken, and the contents clearly watered down.

    One more anecdote:

    In Dublin, the traditional market street Henry Street, is regularly patrolled by dubious characters selling tax free cigarettes. While walking down last week I was approached by one. He offered to sell me ‘genuine medical’ facemarks.

    1. Hopelb

      You can make your own sanitizer! Lambert helpfully provided a link on this.
      2/3 isopropyl alcohol (rubbing). Get 91% not 70%.
      1/3 aloe vera (found in the sunscreen section at Riteaid)
      Mix and bottle.

        1. inode_buddha

          Why is that? I would think that anything over 50% basically kills everything.

          BTW I tell people who need bulk alcohol to get denatured, in the paint stripper section at the hardware store. Usually around 80%, they cut it so its undrinkable. (poison) A certain percentage is methanol, the rest is ethanol and some poisons.

          On a more practical level, I’m routinely using trichloroethane (brake cleaner) on a near daily basis as part of my work habits.
          Never seen anything survive that, and yes it gets things *very* clean.

          1. Brooklin Bridge

            If you look up the material safety data sheet for most brands of denatured alcohol sold at paint or hardware stores, you will find the alcohol content is somewhere between 30 and 50%. They won’t give exact figures. The rest is methanol, the poison pill, which, regardless of it’s various names (wood alcohol, etc.), it is not mentioned as appropriate for CV disinfectant. Even 50% (and you can’t be sure of that) is under recommended levels for disinfectant.

            Be happy to be wrong.

            1. Brooklin Bridge

              Penultimate sentence should have been: “And even 50% alcohol (and you can’t be sure of that) is under recommended levels for disinfectant.”

            2. Yves Smith

              Ethyl alcohol is actually more effective than isopropyl alcohol, but IPA apparently does the job. I’ve never seen methanol recommended either.

          2. Yves Smith

            You have been making stuff up and chewed out for that. Don’t make more uninformed comments. You can use a search engine like everyone else. Coronavirus is way too important a topic.

            Several people, including me, have ALSO explained that 60-70% alcohol is effective against viruses (when you let it sit >10 seconds) and 90+% is not. I’m not about to repeat the reasons as to why. You can always dilute the 99% or the 91% versions to the desired strength.

            Trichloroethane is a carcinogen. You are utterly reckless to recommend its use. And you should try using something else.

            The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) considers trichloroethylene to be a known human carcinogen. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified trichloroethylene as carcinogenic to humans. The EPA has characterized trichloroethylene as carcinogenic to humans by all routes of exposure.


            1. rtah100

              Yves, trichloroethane and trichloroethylene are different compounds. The former is C2,H3Cl3, the latter is C2HCl3, i.e. missing two hydrogens, one from each carbon, because the carbons are joined by a reactive double bond.

              Trichloroethane is probably not an optimal choice for disinfection and washing but it’s not as bad as trichloroethylene!

              1. Yves Smith

                Please do not argue with me when you haven’t done your homework.

                inode-buddah referred to brake cleaner. Tetrachloroethylene is an active ingredient in brake cleaner:

                Health and Safety Risks of Tetrachloroethylene
                Exposure to this chemical is through skin contact and breathing in evaporated fumes. Both of these exposure routes are almost inevitable when using it as a brake cleaner spray. … The chemical has been linked to oesophagal cancer, cervical cancer, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.


        2. judy2shoes

          The 70% version is a better disinfectant than the 90%, but cheaper .

          Yeah, but Hopelb is diluting the 90% alcohol with aloe vera gel, so the 2/3 to 1/3 ratio of alcohol to aloe vera gel wouldn’t work with 70% alcohol. Too dilute.

          1. Yves Smith

            PLEASE STOP MAKING STUFF UP! I am getting tired of this and am going to be blacklisting more people. You are asking for it with comments like this.

            I do not have time to waste cleaning up coronavirus disinformation.

            60% or greater alcohol concentration kills viruses.

            2/3 of 91% is >60%.

        3. drumlin woodchuckles

          And doesn’t mixing 90% with a third of volume of aloe take the percent down to 70% anyway?

    2. rd

      The obvious solution is to fix the sinks and provide soap. But that is probably viewed as “rewarding” prisoners.

      This is a good article looking at the science about why hand-washing with soap and water is better than alcohol-based hand sanitizers for addressing viruses. The first line of defense needs to be soap and water, not hand sanitizers.

  5. PlutoniumKun

    Google tracked his bike ride past a burglarized home. That made him a suspect. NBC (The Rev Kev)

    This is certainly a good reason why cyclists should be cautious about having their phones on while cycling (yes, I know there are good reasons otherwise). A few years ago, it was reported that bike thieves were using Strava to identify the owners of homes with expensive bikes (they could tell they were expensive because the owners were publishing the fastest times). The police in the UK advised cyclists after that to only switch on Strava when well away from your own house.

  6. PlutoniumKun

    Patagonia will teach you how to repair clothes TreeHugger

    Yes, I know Patagonia have a ‘Patagucci’ reputation and seem to be worn by plenty of wannabes and so on, but I think they do deserve kudos for going well beyond what any other clothing company do. I have had the good fortune for years to live close to what was an outlet store (now, sadly, just a mainstream store), and I used to regularly comb through their bargain buckets for myself and for Christmas presents for siblings and their offspring (so much so that it became a family joke that everyone wore my christmas presents for family get togethers).

    The quality of the clothes really is outstanding, they outlast any other brand I know of (I’m very hard on clothes, especially cos I cycle so much in all weathers). And whenever there has been an issue they’ve replaced without question. A friend of mine destroyed one very nice Patagonia jacket due to her annoying habit of carrying an old backpack over one shoulder, it piled and tore at one side of her jacket. But they replaced it without question, despite it being obviously her fault.

    1. JacobiteInTraining

      I have a Patagonia polypro pullover that I’ve owned for…jeez….25 years by now, maybe longer? Its got burns in it, a re-stitched sleeve I accidentally cut once, and though its certainly not what you would call ‘fluffy’ anymore…its still warm. I haven’t bought any other Patagonia products that i recall…but it would seem they have not been crapified as-yet.

      Reminds me of any of the boots I have purchased from Danner over the last 40 years – all of which I still have (cept for one pair I burnt away in a ‘viking funeral’, more because of vodka then any actual need to retire them) At least based on my last logger-boot purchase from Danner 2 years ago — they remain un-crapified.

      I would like to think Filson is also in that skookum category though I haven’t gotten a new one of their signature Mackinaw jackets, since the last one made it to ~30 years of age before I stored it improperly and the moths ate it.

      What are some other confirmed non-crapified ‘last forever’ outdoor products peeps like?

      1. foghorn longhorn

        Wrangler jeans and Muck boot rubber boots.
        Carhartt jackets are pretty indestructible also.

      2. furies

        Danner *has* been crapified. The soles on mine cannot be replaced other than by taking the entire sole off and replacing with materials that can hold a bond.

        I’ve had this particular pair since circa 2007, have tried to repair the soles that were separating into layers and flapping around three times now and the last cobbler told me the only way to fix them was to replace the entire sole…that Danner had changed the recipie.

        I hope to have these boots until I die…

        1. JacobiteInTraining

          oh no…say it aint so! :(

          My most recent boots purchased from them were specifically chosen for their ability to be re-soled, and being ‘logger boots’ might have been in a category Danner is a little more reticent to crapify…yet. *gnashes teeth in anger at MBAs*

          1. jo6pac

            I’ve worn Danners for over 30yrs. You can send them back to Danner and have them returned the boots to new at half the original price.

      3. Deltron

        If you take your old Patagonia pullover to a Patagonia store, they will likely give you store credit for it and you can pick out a new one. I had a Patagonia shell that I purchased in 1998, and the rain/wet proofing flaked away inside the zipper pockets in 2014 so I took it into a Patagonia store to see what they would say…they gave me store credit for its original purchase price (which they had in their computer). Not many brands do that type of thing anymore. I ended up getting a new winter coat using the store credit.

      4. lordkoos

        I’ve had some lightweight Patagonia thermal underwear tops for over 25 years and they still work great. Have a pair of the bottoms which I bought around the same time, but the elastic is finally wearing out on them. Also have some old polypro sock liners which still keep my feet warm, have had them for at least 25years.

        As far as clothes in general, I’ve had remarkable luck buying from ebay. Expensive running shoes, merino wool sweaters, etc barely used (if at all) for a fraction of the cost of new.

      5. Amfortas the hippie

        “What are some other confirmed non-crapified ‘last forever’ outdoor products peeps like?”
        Pea Coats
        (mine’s a “Bridge Coat, which is longer. I’m not very cold-tolerant)

        …and, i don’t think ive ever been into a patagonia.
        and only once to REI.
        I was an army surplus guy before i was a warmups guy.(that stuff lasts forever, if it’s old enough)
        I have some things from Duluth Trading Co that are at least 25 years old.

        1. lordkoos

          Why does military surplus stuff now seem scarce? Growing up post WWII, surplus stores were all over the place, now I don’t think I know of any nearby. Does the US military no longer bother to bring that stuff back? After over a decade in Iraq and Afghanistan I’d think there would be some around..?

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            my immediate thought is that the stuff produced for the MIL for the last 20 years or more is simply crap, and doesn’t last long enough to make it into what are, essentially, military themed thrift stores.
            i have no data to support this at all.
            it could also have to do with demographics(age) and the “character” of different war periods….and of the people involved in them.
            Col, Bubbie’s in Galveston closed, for instance, because he died.(Korea, I think)
            and the one such place i’ve been to in the last ten years, in san antonio, last year, was decked out like the GAP, but with K-Bars and BDU’s.
            almost metrosexual,lol.
            I don’t readily give up on a garment.
            a homeless Vet I knew in Austin 25+ years ago(came over for bbq and showers, but wouldn’t stay the night) traded me an old bdu for a spare peacoat i had.
            that became my light farm jacket when i got out here: big closeable pockets, scotchguard, etc.
            and it lasted til last year….hence going to the military Gap…whence i procured a replacement.
            we’ll see how long this one lasts, like a slow motion consumer reports.
            the only bad thing about this method of clothing myself is people at the hospital, etc sometimes thank me for my service(!), which makes me pretty uncomfortable, while at the same time setting my eyes a’rollin’.(i never served. wouldn’t have me, apparently)`
            I walk with a broomhandle stick and look like i sleep in a hollow tree…maybe it’s a profile or something.

            1. epynonymous

              Armies are technological now.

              In WWII, the manpower did the work.

              Today, it’s a very different game.

              No draft since Vietnam, etc.

              Even the ‘surge’ in Iraq was 20K troops.

            2. Procopius

              I can remember the Army ending sales of uniform items through the Clothing Sales Stores. They used to inspect the material to make sure every item met mil spec. They then required all troops to purchase uniform items through the Army, Air Force Exchange System, and quality immediately went downhill. Been trying to remember exactly when that took place — think maybe 1973. I’m afraid that if we ever have to fight a war against another nation state again we’re going to find out that creating more complex and expensive weapons systems was not a good idea.

            3. Wukchumni

              When the USSR et al went kaput, all of the sudden there was incredibly cheap ammo emanating from there @ gun shows, which kind of coincided with the gun mania which followed.

              The supply lasted quite a long time, and it would’ve been ammo that was 10 or 20 years old, in sealed metal boxes.

              I understand the price of ammo has since gone up substantially, which makes sense.

          2. Turing Test

            There US has 12 million people in uniform at the end of World War II, and only 3 million a year later. That created a massive glut of surplus gear that took many years to draw down. Add to that boosts from the Korean and Vietnam wars, and the fact that until the 1990s most European countries had conscription, and it was a buyer’s market for gently used kit.

            Today the US only has 1.3 million active duty personnel, one third to half less than during the Cold War, and most of it’s allies have abolished conscription. The net effect is that there’s less supply entering the secondary market.

    2. marieann

      I have only heard of Patagonia recently and we don’t have one close by and I don’t care to shop online.

      My husband has winter jacket that he got at sears about 40 years ago, I have replaced the zipper a couple of times and mended and patched when needed. Sears products used to be really good, and it’s always a plus when you have a live in seamstress

    3. ewmayer

      Perhaps Patagonia has improved in recent decades, but I recall working in the local outdoor store back in college in the mid-80s, the era when they first acquired the “Patagucci” moniker, and there was massive crapification underway. Example – popular line of fleece jackets & vests, they decided to replace metal snaps with plastic ones, for some fanciful reason, “when you’re preparing to summit Mt. Everest and it’s a 100 below, you don’t want to be losing body heat via metal closures”, that sort of Seinfeld-J-Peterman-catalog-worthy thing. Problem was, the snaps were attached to the garment by way of some kind of heat-fusion process, and would start breaking off into their 2 component pieces, often as soon as the first wearing. Another example was the Capilene brand thermal underwear, marketed as superior to polypro and cotton in every conceivable way – perhaps on the thermal side that was so, but for whatever reason, the stuff was a huge B.O. amplifier. We took to calling it “Stinkilene”. Still have a couple of the more durable jackets I bought on the employee discount, but have not bought anything since.

      1. lordkoos

        It’s not limited to capilene, a lot of clothing made from artificial fibers has the property of getting stinky after just one wearing if you’re exerting yourself. Some of the newer products have some kind of odor-fighting element in the fabric but many still do not.

    4. Voltaire Jr.

      I’ve have Patagonia wear for 25+ years. Capiliene 1, 2, 3, 4 layers. I wash them frequently [cold] and change the layers based on temp [all year bicycler]. I use a NF outer shell and couldn’t be more delighted.

  7. allan

    This Small Company Is Turning Utah Into a Surveillance Panopticon Sounds Like the Next Theranos

    Just for starters, the founder claims to have served two tours of duty in Operation Desert Storm.
    Operation Desert Storm lasted 42 days, and even the combined Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm
    lasted less than 7 months.

    But it’s nice to see the former head of the Utah GOP lobbying for this stuff.
    Oh, those prickly sagebrush rebels. Keep your government hands off of my police state.

  8. PlutoniumKun

    Rats avoid harming other rats. The finding may help us understand sociopaths. National Geographic

    The obvious takeaway from this is that our ruling class are quite literally, less empathic than laboratory rats. Who’d have thunk it?

    1. The Rev Kev

      It might be worse than that. You don’t see rats trying to screw each other over for a buck.

      1. MLTPB

        Makes eating rats even more questionsble.

        (See Rat Meat, Wiki, for example, or do your own search).

      2. Ignacio

        This article is great in the sense that puts humans, who tend to think they are unique, in the right place. Not so special are humans, and not particularly better than rats

          1. polecat

            Errata: Disney owns NGS… for some reason, I thought it was bought out by R. Murdoch ..

            my apologies to any ‘richer-than-god’ rats that may have been offended.

    2. lordkoos

      In the piece they mention “anti-social populations”. I bet they weren’t thinking of bankers.

      With the rats that stopped pulling levers when they saw a neighbor in distress, the neighboring rats were right next to them… but with human society it’s out of sight, of out mind.

  9. paul

    Craig Murray has already recieved a warning shot from the procurator fiscal over his discussion of the moorov doctrine.

    This despite the press repeatedly listing the lurid, and often ludicrous, allegations before the trial.

    His artful elaboration may well enlighten people regarding this trial, but the quite extraordinary restrictions around reporting it, mean the wider public are quite unlikely to learn the truth of the matter.

    The SNP have certainly lost their way, which is a shame as they have done many good things,but the current hierarchy is almost wilfully dysfunctional.

    1. paul

      A local rag, the herald,has helpfully juxtaposed the Salmond fit up with those of, amongst others; Brady and Hindley, Jeremy Thorpe, Charles Manson, Fred West,Peter Sutcliffe and Dennis Nilsen.

      But they will not be able to properly report the case.

  10. PlutoniumKun

    Like a Ball of Fire London Review of Books

    This article makes the convincing argument that the arms race isn’t one sided:

    The notion that the Cold War was a nuclear ‘arms race’ with each side developing systems to counter the other’s increasingly deadly initiatives is generally taken as a given. Today, hypersonic weapons are depicted as products of a similar competitive impulse. But when you look more closely at the history of the Cold War and its post-Soviet resurgence, you see that a very different process is at work, in which the arms lobby on each side has self-interestedly sought capital and bureaucratic advantage while enlisting its counterpart on the other side as a justification for its own ambition. In other words, they enjoy a mutually profitable partnership.

    Contrary to what some people think, Russia and China have had plenty of their own defence spending disasters and internal vested interests (just look at their expenditure on copycat weaponry and in China’s case, useless aircraft carriers). Hypersonics have been around a long time, even longer than the article claims (I remember reading a detailed article on it in the old Omni magazine back when I was a teenager in the early 1980’s).

    From the Russian point of view, the great thing about hypersonic nuclear weapons is that they don’t have to make them work – they just have to persuade the US that they might work. And so tens of billions will be thrown at counter investments for something that may, or may not, exist. I strongly suspect that for the reasons set out in the article, the Russian Avangard missile is almost certainly as useless as an F-35. But that doesn’t matter to the Pentagon. And it doesn’t really matter to the Russians either, so long as it leads everyone on a wild goose chase.

    1. David

      Cockburn’s argument isn’t wrong as such, but it is incomplete, and in particular it rather trivialises what was a very dangerous period of fear and uncertainty. (I was there).
      There’s no doubt that the political and military leaderships of both sides in the Cold War felt themselves to be threatened by the other, and were deathly afraid as a consequence. Each side, of course, was unable to comprehend the fear on the part of the other and it was great shock to Western visitors in the early 90s to discover how terribly afraid the Soviet leadership had been of attack, and the extraordinary mobilisation of resources and personnel it had carried out as a result. Among other things, running an essentially wartime economy for 45 years after WW2, and giving the military absolute priority, largely wrecked the civilian economy. The best forces (such as those in East Germany) were held at a very high level of readiness and training. The Group of Soviet Forces in Germany was permanently at two hours’ notice to move out, and the first Western visitors found tanks fuelled and fully armed, kept in heated sheds ready to go. Soviet doctrine held that a surprise NATO attack could be launched with only a few hours’ warning. They expected and feared a surprise nuclear attack on Moscow: the ABM system deployed around the city was intended to soak up the first wave of US missiles and give the Politburo, if it survived, the time to order a retaliatory strike before the second wave took them out.
      Western governments sort of “knew” this, in the sense that information was available, even from open sources. But because western states, after the 1950s, had no serious intention of starting a war, they disbelieved it. Effectively, both sides were haunted by memories of the 1930s, and WW2, and had fashioned myths around them. For the West it was the failure to “stand up to” the Nazis in the 1930s, and the disaster that followed. For the Soviet Union it was the memory of being unprepared in 1941, and trusting in the good intentions of other states. The next war, Moscow was clear, was going to be fought on the territory of others. For their part, European leaders were less afraid of the Soviet Union as such than of the US leaving them in the lurch in a crisis: thus the decision to deploy cruise missiles in Europe in 1979. It was common to hear at the time that “we need to make sure that the first NATO soldier killed in the next war is an American.”
      This all produced a “worst case” mentality, which is still influential today. Nobody really knows for sure, for example, how ballistic missiles would actually perform in practice. Nobody knows how effective anti-missile defences will be in ten years, or twenty years’ time. Nobody knows how effective early warning and decision-making systems would be in a crisis. So the temptation is to assume the worst: the Russians probably don’t think the US will have an operational ABM system any time soon, but are they going to take the risk of a repeat of 1941, however small that risk is?
      In the end, bureaucratic interests of the kind described always play a part, even in the middle of an actual war. But the reductivist economic explanations of a neoliberal age tend to miss what’s most important, and for that matter what’s most dangerous.

      1. Olga

        I mostly concur. Cannot remember the name of a Soviet defector, but it took him telling the CIA handlers that USSR was taking Reagan’s tightening grip/escalation (just to scare them a bit) very seriously and was preparing for a defensive war big time. Apparently, the US never considered that its extreme tactics would provoke a counter-reaction. (Plus, they never learn – i.e., the Iran policy.)
        And having a US president be killed only five months after he said that the US needed to work with the USSR on a forward peaceful path was certainly not perceived as a good omen in Moscow.
        (Oh, and as for the comment that after the 1950s, the west did not consider a war against the USSR – that is wrong: one only needs to read the minutes from JFK’s meetings with the Joint Chiefs of Staff!)

        1. roadrider

          one only needs to read the minutes from JFK’s meetings with the Joint Chiefs of Staff!

          But is was the JCS not JFK that was in favor of a pre-emptive attack.

          1. Massinissa

            Yes, that is why he said that there were indeed some Americans (The JCS) that were in favor of agressively attacking the USSR. Neither of you are saying anything that contradicts the other.

            1. Procopius

              Funny, I thought that was Hillary’s policy, too. Along with the other neocons, of course.

              1. pretzelattackd

                kennedy ran to the right of nixon on the “soviet threat”, lying about a missle gap.

        2. David

          We can debate precise dates, but the point is that after the 1950s (or the early 60s if you prefer) the idea of waging an aggressive war against the Soviet Union had pretty much disappeared from western government policymaking. (There were always idiots who favoured, or at least contemplated it, but they were marginal to policymaking ). My point is that the Soviet leadership must have “known” this, in the sense that it had pretty good information about what western governments thought, but their preconceptions were so strong that they overpowered actual information. Gordievski (who may be the defector you’re thinking of) said that among other things he was told to drive down Whitehall at night, and count the number of windows in buildings like the Ministry of Defence that were lit; this being a warning indicator of an attack. In such a situation, then as now, facts are essentially irrelevant.

          1. pretzelattack

            it flared up again during the reagan administrtion. see the book “with enough shovels”. star wars was a scam but some believed in it, not least because the idea of having a first strike capability was so attractive to them.

          2. Olga

            There is a great distance between what the Soviet leadership thought/knew and what westerners think “they must have known.” My point is that the US rhetoric and even actions at the time were so extreme, that there was no room for (even marginally) benign interpretations.
            They could not afford ‘must haves” because the preponderance of evidence pointed to excessive belligerence (remember the U2 flight at the time Eisenhower planned a meeting with Khrushchev designed to sabotage it?). Not to mention accidental triggers of war…
            The western posture was (and still is); we’re gonna scare you to death, but hey, you should know we don’t really mean it…. Yeah, right.

          3. Olga

            Actually, let me be even more blunt: the claim that the west gave up on a war against the USSR is fundamentally wrong. It did not.
            Instead, this is what happened – right after those JCoS meetings with JFK, when the US military proposed to strike the USSR because they believed they were stronger (they were), US got bogged down in Vietnam. We know how that ended… the US army went home in 1973 and 1975, licking its wounded pride. Then came an alternate solution: subterfuge known as Afghanistan. Ten years later, it became clear the USSR would soon be no more – and there was no need for a war.
            Confusing this history with the west not wanting to pursue a war ag the USSR is fundamentally to misunderstand what really happened.

            1. Procopius

              The US Army had more than its pride wounded. One of the reasons the US finally agreed to the North Vietnamese terms was because the Army was nearly broken. It took years afterward to rebuild the NCO corps, I would bet they are in similarly bad shape now, after 18 years of constant deployment.

      2. mpalomar

        It may have been a time of fear and uncertainty but it was from the outset an American construct that eventually became a MIC hall of mirrors that distorted the politics and the perceptions of intent on both sides, as well as the efficacy and extent of the weapons systems.

        If FDR or Wallace instead of Truman had presided over the post war US relations with our WWII ally the USSR, the country that played the most significant role in defeating the Reich, it is worthwhile considering whether the Cold War would ever have happened.

        C Wright Mills coined the very apt description, ‘crackpot realists’ to describe the ‘thinkers’ who led the world into an avoidable ‘cold war’ predicament that the current so called realists still will not concede is in fact mass insanity.

    2. Carolinian

      Andrew Cockburn is a great writer and undoubtedly correct about the limitations and difficulties of hypersonics. But I agree that his notion that Putin is doing this to boost his own defense industry doesn’t convince. From what I read what really concerns Putin is not the notion that ABMs will work. Rather it’s that that the ones we installed in central Europe can be repurposed for offensive nuclear weapons that are close enough to Russia to be used for decapitation strikes. Therefore the newly announced weapons are a kind of FUD to make the Pentagon and neocon think tanks reconsider their winnable nuclear war idea. Those hypersonics may be the equivalent of Patton’s inflatable tanks but the point is to keep the aptly named MAD alive.

      1. Olga

        I’ve given up on the remaining Cockburn brothers.
        “Putin’s bellicose claim, Russia is a threat again, Russia’s MOD is the most corrupt…” – sure reads to me like Nato’s talking points, and not a thoughtful analysis. Last I checked, Russian bases were not surrounding the US, nor were Russians stirring trouble in neighbouring countries. The lame misdirections in the article were a waste of time.

        1. Carolinian

          Hey you’re picking on Olivia Wilde’s dad.

          Obviously I’m not defending this particular article but he’s done lots of good stuff in the past. I don’t think he pretends to be a Russia expert.

            1. MLTPB

              In general, you can expect hawks here, and warmongers in Russia or other countries.

              That’s just human nature.

          1. epynonymous

            They’re still learning. The new battle is social, since nukes, etc. make non-proxy conflict deeply suicidal and un-winnable.

            An inside walk of Moscow’s new indoor theme park. (featuring all western intellectual property and dual-language English signage…) Only one face mask to be seen, btw.


  11. Tinky

    re: “Patagonia will teach you how to repair clothes”

    Patagonia was the first company to which I was truly “brand loyal”. I was an early user of their coats in particular, having been attracted to their apparent quality and design. I also took note of the company’s remarkable lifetime guarantee, though didn’t give it much thought initially. I have six or seven of their jackets now, the first having been purchased, I believe, in the early 1980s. That particular one had a zipper fail about 10 years ago, and, true to their word, they repaired it for free.

    I was in New Zealand a few years ago with a large version of their wheeled duffle bags. The telescoping handle froze, rendering the bag very difficult to use in a comfortable manner. I contacted Patagonia, was given the name of a local man (I was in Wellington) who picked the bag up from my airbnb, repaired it, and returned it the following day. The charge was ~$25. Had I been in the U.S., I could have returned it to a store for a free repair.

    I also noticed when the company began to use recycled plastics, etc., to manufacture their new lines. It was long before there was broad awareness of deep issues involved.

    All of this is meant to say that the linked article should not be construed as any sort of gimmick on behalf of Patagonia. My long experience with them suggests that it is one of the most thoughtful, honest, and environmentally aware companies in the fashion world, if not the broader business world.

    1. Wukchumni

      Most of my Patagonia gear dates from the 90’s, and a good amount of it was made in the USA…

      Everything has little rips, fraying seams, the odd puncture mark or small burn hole here & there, and other little nothings you’d expect from having worn them for over a quarter of a century in the back of beyond, where the duds have never failed me, a hunter green ‘Storm’ jacket probably my favorite, in the ensemble.

      A blue ‘Puffball’ down vest is also near & dear to me, the color has faded from being washed repeatedly, and there might be a little loft left, but not much.

      I suppose I could ‘fix’ them to make them look better, but I prefer them just the way they are.

      1. Off The Street

        I got started with Patagonia via the rock climbing route. Meeting heroes like Yvon Chouinard and Royal Robbins at presentations about their lives and accomplishments was quite a thrill. Those memories last like their clothing, durable and evocative.

    2. tegnost

      I started in the ’80’s as well. I don’t buy new clothes much, but as a bike commuter and exercise enthusiast from way back I spend on gear what I wouldn’t spend on clothes, if that makes sense. I have patagonia items that literally don’t wear out. I’ve found capilene in the thrift store for a buck and gone home with an ear to ear grin. More recently though I’ve become fond of organic cotton, my mom bought me one of their flannel shirts for xmas 3 or 4 years ago. It’s totally my fave so this xmas I decided to buy another for myself and my college student. I’m an american so I waited with trepidation for my stuff to arrive and when it did he very first thing I did was compare the three shirts (2 new 1 old) for crapification. Lo and behold there was zero difference same weight, same quality after years gone by. this happens like never, especially for things ordered online.. I even signed up for their website after that. Please don’t change!

      1. Wukchumni

        The last Patagonia goods of mine came from Vertical Limit and later a Hollywood thrift store that a friend haunts, The studio had donated the entire wardrobe to said store, and they were afraid to price anything more than $10, so he made many friends happy on the cheap with the largess.

      2. carl

        I wish that were true about their Baggies shorts. I had a pair for about 15 years before I lost it in the airport. The new ones I replaced it with stretched so much after about a year that they grew two sizes up, and I’m not an XL in the waist. Sadly…

    3. flora

      I’m still using a Patagonia jacket at least 30 years old that’s still going strong, if a little sun faded.

  12. Jane

    Re: Coronavirus in US

    It may end up being more widespread than Americans think given that Ontario Reports New COVID-19 Case in Toronto from a man just back from a conference in Vegas. Given the wide cross section of people who go to Vegas every day have to think it is close to covering the country or soon will be. Ditto for Canada given the border hopping.

    1. Wukchumni

      Its a mixed bag as far as stopping people from mixing, the SoCalist see me-dig me movement not denying the LA Marathon* from happening today, nor the Coachella Festival, or Disneyland, of which the happiest place on the Earth has been on the full side as of late.

      None of these are all that necessary, but if we didn’t amuse ourselves, it’d be the death of us.

      * runners will keep their distance from one another, who trains for that?

      1. MLTPB

        In a CNBC article from March 6, it says:

        When that first patient in Washington state presented himself for testing, Compton-Phillips said the hospital took an “overkill” approach.

        “We will presume it’s COVID-19 until proven otherwise, so we’ll put a mask on them and put them in an isolation room,” she said. She added that when transporting that first patient to an appropriate isolation room, “we had him in this special gurney with plastic around it, so he wouldn’t contaminate anything

        According to the article, this was over one month ago.

        I don’t know if all hospitals made such conservative (as in, just to safe, not conservative vs progressive) assumption.

          1. MLTPB

            I though more should have had the same ‘play it safe ‘ approcah mentioned by (Dr?) Compton Phillips.

      2. maurice

        In my opinion it has to be. If you compare the number of deaths to the number of reported cases, the US is really an outlier. Other countries report a far smaller mortality rate.
        If I look at my own country, the Netherlands, we are currently at 3 deaths on 265 confirmed cases compared to 19 deaths on 440 confirmed cases in the US. And I know that the number in the Netherlands is under reported in that only people with real sickness symptoms (especially a high fever) are being tested. Everyone with only light symptoms is requested to self-quarantine without contacting the health authorities. They won’t be tested. One of the main reasons given is that the tests are not reliable enough if you don’t show clear sickness symptoms, leading to a false sense of safety if the test is negative and/or confusion if you later prove to be infected after all.
        Note that the authorities are open about this, it is not done to cover up the numbers. But assuming the virus will be more or less as deadly in the US as over here, there have to be a lot more infected people in the US.

        1. MLTPB

          If a country’s cases are mainly from cruise ship evacuees and if they happen to be older , it could distort the rate.

          Not sure if that is the case here, but every country is unique, at the beginning stage, when numbers are low.

        2. Ignacio

          Bear in mind that fatality rates may vary for other reasons like Covid reaching a group of susceptible people in a hospital or a nursery home. This occurred in WA.

          1. MLTPB

            Also, about numbers. The cases of a nation can be

            1. Community spread
            2a. From those returning from abroad (airport screening may help or may not).
            2b from people evacuated from abroad.

            Depending on which, we can say much about that nations containment.

            If we count 2b, and if they are properly isolated, it may be misleading.

        3. Bill Carson

          You shouldn’t compare number of deaths to the number of known cases—-just because you know someone has COVID doesn’t tell you whether they will recover or die.

          The correct measure is the (number of deaths) divided by (number of deaths plus the number of recovered).

          This gives you a better measure. The weakness is that without testing we can never really know the number of people who were infected and recovered. But on the other hand, without testing, we can never really know the number of people who have died from the disease.

          1. MLTPB

            Early on, with Italy, we heard people in other countries getting sick, from having been in N Italy.

            One person returning from a few days stay in Milan for a fashion show came down with it.

            My hunch then was that is must been widespread there. I commented here.

            There were many such reports, from neighboring European countries.

            So far, I have only read of one case of a person in either S or N Carolina, I think, who got it visiting the state of Washinton.

            I have read of Australians, Chinese and maybe others getting it after returning from Iran.

            Curiously, I have not read of cases of people coming back from S Korea. Admittedly I haven’t read all the coverage there.

            In any case, watching for foreigners catching it after returning from the US.

            That will be one indicator. I believe.

          2. chuck roast

            You are beginning to understand the difference between a “bug” and a “feature.”

        4. Brooklin Bridge

          Correction (in the few hours since you posted that comment): 440 -> 497 cases (John Hopkins U data).

        5. skippy

          Regional or National age percentages, as 10 year groups, has to be reconciled with death to infected ratios.

          Populations with higher above 50s will skew the ratio.

          1. MLTPB


            The next question is if the person got from a known patient? Or from an unknown source after a short stay in Colorado?

            If the person simply drove through that state and caught it, I think we would all likely to assume its widespread, or at least worth further investigating.

            1. Aloha

              Just a reminder that all Corona virus19 information reported to the public in the US has to be approved by Pence now. (including CDC public announcements) Seeing how trump has stated that everything is under control and there is no need to worry about it spreading etc… are we really going to get true info?

              1. MLTPB

                At the federal level, I think.

                State and local officials still talk to the public, no?

                In Canada, they can ask this person questions.

                1. Anon

                  State and local officilals are going to be circumspect about How they report their data; they know that Trump controls federal reimbursements to local officials.

                  (See Washington State Governor Inslee response to Trump’s taunting.)

                  1. MLTPB

                    They can leark to the Washington Post, if necessary.

                    I read of plenty of vigorous media coverage and criticism of the federal response.

      1. VietnamVet

        There may be a more lethal strain of the Wuhan Coronavirus but the number of deaths in Washington State is likely due to time, it had one of first cases in the US, test failures, shortage of tests, lack of surveillance and the virus being introduced into nursing homes.

        What is clear is the extraordinary failure of the federal government from Donald J Trump on down. Secondary is the failure of experts and the media to see what is really happening and report the facts. The governments of China, Singapore, South Korea, and Italy don’t impose quarantines unless they are facing an existential crisis. Craig Murray and the rest of the “stay calm and carry on” are missing the point of the Diamond Princess debacle. On the quarantined cruise ship with 3700 passengers, 696 were confirmed cases and 410 (59%) had no symptoms, 7 died. For every confirmed case in America there is around twice as many people out spreading the virus with no symptoms. The Wuhan Coronavirus is highly contagious. “Killer Cold” is appropriate.

        Tonight’s TV news finally reported that the real problem facing the USA is the collapse of the nation’s healthcare system. ERs will be swamped with sick old folks and those with a comorbidity who must get into one to stay alive. The death rate will skyrocket when the precariat in the NYT chart “How working-class Life is Killing Americans” catch the Wuhan Coronavirus; which they will, and they receive no medical aid at all because it is unaffordable and unavailable.

  13. xkeyscored

    Curcumin is the spice of life when delivered via tiny nanoparticles Medical Express

    There’s a rather significant error in this article.They “developed a nano formulation which changes curcumin’s behaviour to increase its oral bioavailability by 117 percent.” Which’d basically make it only twice as effective as plain turmeric, meaning what’s the big deal?

    I turns out it’s 117-fold:
    “Pharmacokinetic studies demonstrated that the oral bioavailability of CUR was increased 117 and 17-fold” [2 formulations, 2 numbers]

  14. Henry Moon Pie

    Good piece by Craig Murray. That we’re not immortal may come as quite a shock to some of the movers and shakers that have been exposed to this virus.

    A word to the wise from the darkest corners of the Dark Web: a Bernie yard sign works for coronavirus the same way that lamb’s blood on the door worked for the malakh ha-mavet in the Passover myth.

    1. Maurice

      Must say I completely agree with Graig Murray. The world (and this blog ;-) ) is overreacting. Last week I asked my mother (77) whether she was afraid of the virus. She wasn’t. If it was her time, it was her time. She has no death wish, but is well aware that you have to die at some point.

      And just to be clear, I don’t say that we should do nothing, but the aim should be at keeping the outbreak under control so that people who need care still have access to it.

      1. Ignacio

        We are overreacting in general, I agree. But we are underreacting regarding protection of the part of the population that happens to be at highest risk.

        1. Brooklin Bridge

          And we, US, are way under preparing for this. We have no idea, even if the CDC wanted to share it, of the extent of actual cases and thus no idea of how to deal with them. We can still only test at a 10th of what they can do in South Koera and we seem to be building non testing into our treatment mentality. This is quite possibly going to explode in the US in the next two to three weeks if not sooner.

          It’s one thing to avoid panic, but quite another to drive over the cliff while poo pooing nervous nelle.

          1. MLTPB

            Should Seattle be under lockdown?

            Daegu has been, since a few ago, though not the extreme Wuhan lockdown.

            N. Italy is seeing one. Again probably not like Wuhan.

            Who has the authority here, regarding Seattle or the whole state?

            1. Brooklin Bridge

              I don’t know. We probably should make huge efforts at isolation and that means lock downs. Does the Federal Government have that authority in a national emergency? I imagine it could do so in conjunction with the state (putting a lot of pressure on the state to go along). But it would seem regardless that California should be in front of this and asking for assistance from the US.

              Trump’s approach is the exact same as Kim Jong-un’s. Basically, COPD-19 better watch out or else…

              1. MLTPB

                Banning entry of Italian passport holders is one of the things to look at..this would be similar to what he did with China.

                Or those with S Korean passports.

          2. Bill Carson

            Yep. As far as I can tell, there has been very little reaction in the U.S., other than people buying out toilet paper and paper towels. Traffic is still busy, restaurants are full, and people are going to large events.

            I wonder how long the candidates will continue to hold large rallies? I think it is only a matter of time before we have some high profile cases, which may include a present or past candidate for office.

          3. lordkoos

            A friend of mine who is a retired physician says that we could be in “a whole new world” by April if the virus spreads as projected. Every doc he knows thinks that hospitals and clinics in the US will be overwhelmed in a month’s time.

            1. Brooklin Bridge

              Have you read Leroy R‘s link @ 4:15 pm of a doctor’s experience in Italy? It’s nothing short of hair raising and heart breaking at the same time. The US -business as usual- is on course to make that nightmare look trivial by comparison.

              The MSM will block it for all it’s worth, but I doubt that will suffice.

              1. Wukchumni

                I agree, and feel as if i’ve been shown the future in a crystal ball of what’s coming in the next 2 to 6 weeks here.

                Have you read Leroy R‘s link @ 4:15 pm of a doctor’s experience in Italy? It’s nothing short of hair raising and heart breaking at the same time

              2. kareninca

                I keep looking and I can’t find the Leroy R post. Could you repost the link please????

                  1. kareninca

                    Thank you.
                    Wow. That is beyond horrible.
                    I don’t see how we avoid that.
                    And it is just starting, most likely.

        2. rtah100

          With respect, Ignacio, we are underreacting regarding protection of the whole population.

          The fatalism espoused by some people is a disguised egotism – I am OK with death, why aren’t you? – because once a healthcare system is saturated, it will not be coronavirus patients who due through lack if care, it will be anybody who needs treatment that is already at capacity. Especially if healthcare workers start to go sick – they cannot live in PPE 24/7 and Wuhan infections of heathcare workers were largely familial.

          If we take rigorous public health measures now, then based on studies of Spanish Flu we can reduce peak deaths by 40% (i.e. Keeping healthcare going and reducing indirect mortality)and total deaths by 20% *reducing mortality).

          This fatalism is the reason the US and UK governments are rolling over on containment without trying. If you look at the log graph if Korean cases, they are winning – the damn thing is nearly flat now.

          There is a moral public duty to act, not surrender to it in a private peace with our maker. Anything less than containment is decadent….

          1. Aumua

            Yeah well, spreading doom porn around is ego too. And between that and those saying it is nothing at all… a truly realistic perspective is hard to find lately.

            1. The Rev Kev

              I suppose that it is too late to point out that the last time the US had such a flu pandemic, average life expectancy for men and women dropped by 12 years in 1918.

              You watch for what is coming down the road, work out what is likely to result, and then plan accordingly. Remember that old saying? Hope for the best and plan for the worse.

              1. Aumua

                I can see what’s coming by looking where this thing has been. 3 months later new cases have declined sharply in China. Due to massive effort in part, of course. But I mean how virulent is this thing, really? Let’s say there have actually been 200,000 cases in China. Out of 1.6 billion people. That’s ~.001 percent of the population, out of which lets say 6k really died (cause everyone just knows the their numbers are massively understated). That is less than half the death rate of suicide, which is the 10th highest cause of death in the U.S.


                All I ask is that we try and maintain a little perspective. What this whole thing has shown me is that everyone is pretty much expecting the STHF any minute these days. Which of course it COULD. Comparing what is happening now with 1918 doesn’t seem valid to me.

                1. Monty

                  The big difference is they used extraordinary non pharmaceutical intervention. They locked the whole country down for a month or more so far at enormous expense. We have done nothing, except try to tell people it’s just a flu. I just don’t see what they can do there, the infrastructure, nor ideological inclination, to somehow support a national 2 month “time out” does not not exist. It’s going to be every man for himself. Extremely ugly and traumatic.

                  1. Aumua

                    I don’t think they locked the whole country down, just certain areas. And if they didn’t do that, then what would have happened? Who knows? It could have gone either way. No one knows the future, or what might have been on alternate timelines. I’m cool with taking precautions consistent with the attitude that we don’t know. Pretending that we do know it will definitely be some apocalyptic event if we don’t completely panic is what I take issue with.

                    1. The Rev Kev

                      I have an idea. Let’s continue this line of thought in May. Either it will disappear like Trump thinks it will or else there will be millions of infected people overwhelming the hospitals and medical services. Sounds fair?

        3. Aumua

          Look at the people here who are practically calling for martial law. I would say we are definitely overreacting, and I’ve been saying it. It’s almost out of control, the hysteria and another thing is, we’re hardly talking about the primary these days. Out of sight, out of mind.

          1. rtah100

            Closing schools, public events, gyms etc. is not martial law. It is Public Health 101 for infectious diseases.

            1. rtah100

              For Ignacio and others who are interested in what we can do, rather than, literally, washing our hands or straw-manning objective contributions with cries of “martial law” :

              Article discussing the effectiveness of early interventions by US cities in the Spanish Flu. Reductions in peak mortality (overall healthcare outcomes for everybody) and cumulative mortality (lives saved from Spanish Flu).

              Article discussing the effectiveness of the measures taken in Wuhan (reducing R0 from 3.5 to 0.3!, i.e. killing the transmission chain dead over the next three serial intervals!)

              What this means is that we can take public health measures now and still put this gene back in the bottle.

              And here is why you should not wish to let it out:

              Paper that models recurrence of COVID-19 in the US, based on post-infection immunity, cross-immunity with other coronavirus, season of onset, reductions in R0. ~30% of population infected in most scenarios. Only lifetime immunity wipes it out, otherwise it becomes endemic. Reductions in R0 make an real difference to peak infections (max % population per week infected in that period) and cumulative infections (% pop per year).

              So, if you don’t stop it, you will have to live with an endemic disease with 10% more healthcare burden than influenza, along with influenza. Why choose that public health outcome?

              1. Yves Smith

                I don’t think this is the best argument. We do not know if people can become reinfected. This is a known unknown at this point.

                The argument is that the only way to get the R0 down is via social distancing. We need to do that to avoid overwhelming the medical system, not just for coronavirus victims but for the public generally. If hospital staff get sick, how will anyone with an acute problem get treated?

                We don’t know yet if getting infected confers immunity. That is still a known unknown. There are diseases (like dengue fever) where getting infected makes you more, not less, vulnerable to future infections. There are reports out of China that China is faking the infection data (this from Caixin, which has a good track record on this and other topics).

                It’s not clear how quickly a vaccine might be developed.

                If people aren’t responsible enough to do enough social distancing on their own, then it will have to be imposed on them. This is not a pretty picture.

              2. Aumua

                I didn’t say we should do nothing, so don’t put words in my mouth. I’m referring to the talk of “locking down” U.S. cities. How exactly do you think we’re going to do that without military intervention? And for how long? What is the actual per capita death rate of this virus? It’s really far below most well known causes of death, is it not?

                1. MLTPB

                  We have lockdowns now in three countries.

                  I don’t remember one before this, except in the novel by Camus.

                2. Monty

                  Do you not understand the grim mathematics in play here?

                  PLease watch: Exponential growth and epidemics

                  Its not the amount of deaths, although they are going to be incredibly high, its the strain it puts on the health system with the massive numbers in ICU. Italian ICU cases are doubling every 2.5 days. Obviously unsustainable. Think what happens to all the critically ill people with some other condition when the hospitals are full and the staff is sick and over stretched.

                  This translation of an account by an Italian surgeon in the thick of it is alarming, and is what we can expect will be happening here in a few weeks time.
                  original italian version linked in there too.

                  1. Aumua

                    I do understand the math, and I understand that the growth curve is not and never has been exponential, and that it has a definite top end. I have also read the viral facebook post which has been linked here already. I’ve read most of the entire discussion actually, spanning multiple days.

                    I’m curious what makes you say that the number of deaths will end up being “incredibly high”. What is that based on? They certainly have not been incredibly high so far, and this has been around for 3 months.

                    1. Monty

                      The youtube video is excellent, I do recommend you watch it. It explains as a greater saturation of infected hosts is reached, the growth rate begins to flatten because you don’t meet as many uninfected people to infect. This leads to the curve changing from exponential to logistical as it flattens out. China forced the flattening early by keeping everyone home, what are we going to do about it? As far as I can tell most officials are saying its no big deal, don’t worry. We need people to worry, and hunker down so they aren’t acting as vectors for the virus to spread. It wont just get bored and stop on its own.

                    2. Aumua

                      Ok, let me rephrase that. The growth rate may be exponential for a time (with a rather low exponent), but as you said you can’t necessarily extrapolate eventual cases because the line will flatten out. And we don’t know where that will happen, either with or without intervention. Obviously it flattens out before extinction 100% of the time so far. Once again I have not said we should do nothing.

                      But looking at what’s happened so far, in China, the number of cases and the number of deaths, I think we might just be overreacting. I would still like to know why you think the number of global deaths will be incredibly high, when they weren’t incredibly high in China? And also how high is incredibly high?

                    3. Monty

                      Because it will just keep going and going. It can’t be bribed or swept under the rug. The key stone cops got nothing. Preparation for unlikely events is a highly inefficient use of money. So it wasn’t done.

                      I don’t know what gives you confidence they have got a plan to stop this before it runs out of hosts.

                    4. Aumua

                      I think it is not going to keep going and going until everyone’s infected. Not everyone will contact the virus, and not everyone who does contact it is going to get it. It’s far from a 100% infection rate. It will peter out at some point like every other virus does.

                      The data from Chine (if you believe it) would seem to indicate that it’s already petering out there. Nothing is a given, of course. We don’t really know yet either way.

                    5. pretzelattack

                      so what is the basis for your belief that it will not keep going? why is the growth curve going to flat out if there are lots of uninfected people out there?

                    6. Aumua

                      Well I’ll be honest pretzel, I don’t really know why. It just seems like common sense that any viral epidemic does not end up infecting every single person, or if it does then not everyone gets sick. I’ve never heard of any virus that infected every person in the world, or even in a particular country.

                      So, you tell me: why doesn’t every virus around circle the world and infect everyone in it? Or do they?

            2. MLTPB

              There will be many step up measures.

              For example, martial law is not required to bring in FEMA and they have their resources.

            3. jonboinAR

              I agree with you. The discussion here and in other internet corners is in no ways over-heated “fear porn”. The novel corona-virus outbreak is serious nearly on the level of mobilization of NATO and Russian forces in Europe, or something like that. We may not be on the brink of something world changing, OR WE MAY.

              1. Aumua

                The discussion here and in other internet corners is in no ways over-heated “fear porn”.

                Not necessarily here, but I would say in many places it is exactly that. A lot of people get off on apocalypse stuff, that feeling of impending doom. It’s pretty common I think, to some degree or another, and then you have those who just “want to watch the world burn”. There’s a lot of hopelessness going around and the end seems inevitable regardless.

          1. Aumua

            While there is a very high probability for humanity surviving a single such event, over time, there is eventually zero probability of surviving repeated exposures to such events.

            This seems to be one of Taleb’s main assumptions. My question is: ok, but over what time period? An infinite one? Then sure, there is a zero probability of surviving. Yet clearly no pandemic has wiped out humanity in the time that we have been around so far. I’m just saying that given a large enough time period, most possibilities will become probable, and we can’t possibly prepare for all of the possible extinction vectors that an infinite time span will eventually manifest.

      2. Oregoncharles

        I suppose it’s a feature of modern life, but it’s strange watching an epidemic bear down on us like a juggernaut. It certainly has an evil fascination.

        We’ve been stocking up on what we’d need to quarantine ourselves for two weeks or more. Quite a process, and expensive. I’ve been careful not to buy stuff we won’t ultimately use, but the up front cost is surprising. I think that level of precaution is fully justified – my wife and I are both past 70. Healthy otherwise, but old.

        There’s a caveat to Murray’s point: while it’s true that this would have been called “flu” a couple of decades ago (an unusually nasty flu), it’s more dangerous because it’s a new disease and we have no pre-adaptation to it, as we do to flu. It is odd (but fortunate) that children are so lightly affected; the explanation I’ve seen, an attachment point that increases with age, isn’t entirely convincing.

    2. LifelongLib

      His argument turns on there being a large number of mild, unreported coronavirus cases, making the death rate low. But I’ve seen other sources who say this is not true, that almost everyone who gets coronavirus is going to be very obviously sick. Who to believe?

    3. PlutoniumKun

      I’m a big admirer of Craig Murray, but he is way off base with this. Covid 19 is much worse than any virus we’ve faced since at least the Spanish Flu, and its probably worse than that.

      Two weeks ago Italy had 9 cases. This weekend Italy just shut down its industrial heartland.

      A computer model just predicted that in Ireland, a country of 5 million people, it will possibly face 1.9 million cases, with a worst case scenario of the main bulk occurring within just a 3 week period. No health system on earth can face this without complete collapse. There is no reason to disbelieve the WHO figure of 3.4% mortality. Do the math.

      Its not just the elderly. A good friend of mine, a very healthy and fit woman of 32, is currently undergoing chemo. A bad dose of Covid-19 could kill her, and the other patients she is with. Not to mention that she needs constant treatment in hospitals that will soon resemble a war zone. So the deaths won’t be just due to the virus, it will be due to health systems collapsing and unable to deal with ‘normal’ illness or accident.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        a part of me(the Little Vulcan in My Head) can’t wait to take wife to the oncology clinic on friday…to see what their prepping looks like.
        (I expect a full court press…because they’re that kind of place.)
        it’s not like we can just not go.
        so may as well make a fact finding expedition out of it.
        we’ll go loaded for bear…go-bag(rather, “go-home-bag”) at the ready, etc….because i don’t know what to expect any more.
        also, it’s spring break, here…which is perhaps fortunate.
        I’ll ask wife to call the school nurse for the skinny. They’re buddies.

        as for acceptance of death, re Craig Murray…yup.
        I’ve faced it/come real close a bunch of times…mostly during my Wild Years(buried alive, washed up on a beach, beaten with sticks, etc).
        you can either freak out about it, or go and re-read Marcus Aurelius, and remember that this, too, must pass, and if one does things well, you’ll live on in people’s memory, for a time.
        I consider the marrow pretty well sucked at this point.

      2. Yves Smith

        I’m only skimming the news, and there are two hospitalized cases in NY of people in their 30s.

        I believe 105 confirmed cases. NY seems to doing a decent job of contract tracking thanks to finding a super-spreader, a lawyer in New Rochelle, but they’ve found other vectors (people who had been to Italy, someone back from Egypt, someone back from Chile).

        Point is if you use the usual math, you’d expect ~15 cases to be serious and require hospitalization. 2 being in their 30s (and the story I saw was not at all complete as to # and demographics of people who were hospitalized) seems significant. I’ve been concerned that the level of diabetes in the US might lead to more young people getting severe cases than in the rest of the world.

    4. JTMcPhee

      Only problem with Bernie yard signs, my neighborhood has some rabid Reds. So every one I put out has been stolen. A lot of these folks were all in for JeB! and other such creatures. And of course if one asked them about their “health UNsurance,” by way of broaching Bernie’s national health plan especially in light of the current plague, and they just loves them their UNsurances…

    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      Thanks Rev! Fixed it. What would I do without you to catch my fat fingered errors?

  15. fresno dan

    Chris Cuomo Is A Fucking Shitbag Caitlin Johnstone (The Rev Kev)

    On a segment of Cuomo Prime TIme, Turner was first badgered by the show’s host with the typical antagonistic “how are you going to pay for it” talking points which get consistently leveled at Sanders and his supporters but never at proponents of costly military expansionism, and which are premised on the completely nonsensical assumption that America’s obscenely expensive healthcare system isn’t costing anyone a penny.

    Cuomo, who’d gone out of his way to silence Turner and make space for Rosen to speak while voicing no objection to Rosen’s incessant high-volume interruptions, then stepped in.

    “Hold on, alright listen,” Cuomo interjected. “Nina, Hilary, I’m out of time on this.”
    To me, the worst thing about the msm is that that they are described as “liberal” or “leftish” with both those adjectives used as an epiteth – and CNN and MSNBC deserves epiteths, but not for being liberal or leftish because THEY CERTAINLY are NOT, not truthful. The msm half heartedly will describe themselves as objective or non-partisan, but the reality is that the msm accepts the liberal BRAND, to get that audience and the profits thereof, while in fact NOT AT ALL being liberal or leftish. They are far closer to being republican, or perhaps more accurately, just toadys for their masters in the plutocracy.
    anytime anyone is well versed on the problems of the status quo democrats or the plutocracy in gerneral, CNN is out of time. Good f*cking grief, they are on 24/7, but they NEVER have time to get deeper than their approved narrative…

    1. Bill Carson

      Hence, the Repulicanization of the mainstream Democratic party. I was at a local Democratic precinct convention yesterday, and there was one lady in our group of four; she and her husband were retired college professors from a VERY conservative local college here in Colorado Springs and were career federal government employees. She was a proponent for the MOST centrist senate candidate and she was opposed to Medicare for All. Geez, I thought, she might as well be a Republican.

      It’s funny to me that people receiving healthcare from the government don’t think others want to receive their health insurance from the government, too. It’s almost as though they know they get better-than-average care, and if everyone else got it, too, then they would cease to be special.

      It was, as we say, a clarifying moment.

      1. flora

        Guess she hasn’t heard viruses, like Covid-19, infect ,if possible, everyone they contact , regardless of the the person’s status. Currently, there’s no vaccine or guaranteed cure for Covid-19. She’s in the age group (retired) likely to have a 5-10% mortality rate for those infected. Human social privilege means zero to infectious disease. Disease looks for vectors.

      2. Freethinker

        Federal government workers do not receive healthcare insurance from the government. We choose third-party providers such as BC/BS. United, etc. Most of us pay hefty premium shares (30%) for good, not great coverage. Still subject to onerous copays and deductibles. Bargaining unit employees cannot negotiate benefits or salary.

    2. flora

      Yep. Listening to smug, condescending Rosen interrupt and lecture Turner made me wish Jimmy Cagney was still around. /heh

      As an aside, it seems interrupting and talking over others is a tactic in this year’s primary, judging from the debate performances of various Dem estab junior candidates, and the debate moderators’ failing to cut their microphones when they essentially shout down an answer they don’t want to hear. It’s a tactic of silencing the non-estab candidates’ answers.
      It will be interesting to see if moderators try this, or if Biden tries this against Sanders. (And if he does, can he stay on point?)

      1. pretzelattack

        it will be interesting to see if moderators try this, or if Biden tries this against Sanders. (And if he does, can he stay on point?)

        i think the moderator will try to make the debate as ‘biden friendly’ as possible. but would this extend to shutting biden up? “i’m sorry, senator, we have to move on to the next question”.

        1. anonymous

          “After a private call Friday with CNN, which is moderating the March 15 debate with the Democratic National Committee, Sanders’ team balked at a new proposed format for debate, saying it gives his opponent Biden too much of a break in their first one-on-one face-off…The format for the next debate in Arizona — their first since Biden’s blowout Super Tuesday victories — would have the candidates seated for the first time this election cycle and take multiple questions from the audience. In the prior 10 debates, the candidates stood at lecterns and nearly all questions were asked by the professional moderators…Biden’s campaign and the DNC said the format for the debate was decided by the party and CNN.”

          1. flora

            yep. the Dem estab is already working the refs.; just who would be in ‘the audience’… people who are Biden surrogates who paid out large sums for a ticket to attend? Not that CNN or the Dem estab would seed the audience with ringers. ….right….(“Change the rules! Change the rules to work in Biden’s favor, again!”)

          2. judy2shoes

            all questions were asked by the professional moderators

            What??? There were professional moderators? I missed that somehow.

      2. JTMcPhee

        Speaking of silencing candidates, I hear that the DNC has Calvinballed Gabbard. She qualified, then she didn’t. I hope against hope that all the women talking about how badly Warren was treated, and poor Kampala “I endorse Joe” Harris, will make an issue out of this summary dismissal. This being International Woman’sDay and all. Oh, wait… , or this?

        1. JBird4049

          For some reason I hear someone say “Badges? We don’t need no stinkin’ badges!”

      1. Yves Smith

        Don’t call it a loss. CA delegates not all allocated because the count is not in. Sanders is very likely to have the most delegates once that is done. But CA may footdrag so as not to have that out before Michigan votes.

        1. Martin Oline

          Reported at 10:29 PM EDT with 94% of the votes counted, the delegates awarded in California are Sanders 186, Biden 148, Bloomberg 15, and Warren 5. There are 61 delegates still to be awarded. I am not sure about ‘super’ delegates.

  16. cocomaan

    From the Jacobin piece:

    On the flip side, Biden has little to offer. He’s a retread of Hillary Clinton’s “No, you can’t” campaign that lost to a Trump no one imagined could win. Biden’s platform is Mr No: No Medicare for All. No Green New Deal. No meaningful immigration reform. No student-debt cancellation. Biden has no vision, good or bad, that might ignite a mass upsurge the way Obama did in 2008, Reagan did in 1980, or even Trump did in 2016.

    Biden might not sign onto MFA or Green New Deal, but his healthcare plan is expansive and he is proposing a $1.7 trillion climate plan and a $750b education plan to raise teacher salaries and a $15 minimum wage. The list goes on.

    Looking at his policies, Biden is the most big government candidate the democrats have ever run. You can say that he won’t fulfill these promises but the overton window has shifted.

    1. Off The Street

      Taxing windows was problematic for other governments, and taxing Overton windows will be, too. Why pay more to build in some layers of graft and corruption, then find out that taxpayer money has been siphoned off to some Panamanian or insert country here account? I remain interested in just what Joe did for Hunter, and how Hunter dined out around the world on his (in)-famous daddy.

      1. Cocomaan

        Personally I think joe Biden is running in part to give cover to his sons missteps. He’s spent a lot of his latter years covering for hunter. It’s sad. Hunter was the lesser son that joe always wanted to make into his older brother.

        1. MLTPB

          We can never be sure why people do this or that.

          In Wuhan, the theory, speculative as it might have been, was that it was the Amricans.

          Now that people, even here, are panicking, I doubt it is gloating, the US might get it worse, has the conspiracy theory been updated to reflect the deeper culprit as the CCP, and not DC?

          People speculate.

          We can’t stop them, or us, as we all do that, at one time or another.

    2. Otis B Driftwood

      So he made some noise about supporting a few progressive ideas, but also claimed that “nothing fundamentally will change.”

      He is a terrible candidate. In poor mental health (to put it kindly), and it is a disgrace that he is being foisted on us by the dem establishment and their enablers in the media.

      He will lose to Trump in a landslide.

    3. Grant

      Why in the world would someone just assume a candidate is going to do something because he or she says so in a speech or on some website? Does trust not have to be built? How do you build trust? By your record, who funds your campaign, who you surround yourself with. Another sign might be the people supporting a candidate. So, I am to believe that someone taking money from interests opposed to policies that would benefit working people, the poor, people in need of healthcare will defy them if given power? Give me a break, you don’t really believe this, because you aren’t a naive child. He has an atrocious record, he would govern that way, or the people around him would. And what of his clear cognitive decline? How you gonna hide that and actually win an election? What a dumpster fire the Democratic Party is that him winning is at all possible.

    4. flora

      He’s mostly lifted all of Sanders’ points for the purposes of one election, trying to muddy the difference between them on policy. He’s knows Sanders’ policies are very popular. That doesn’t mean he’ll implement any of them. (He’s also a very good mimic: in some recent videos you can see and hear nixon, then reagon, and in one he does a passable imitation of pete trying to imitate O. He understands the ‘acting like a politician’ role. The old dixiecrats were masters of that role playing. imo.)

        1. flora

          I know. And the Maxine Walters’ critiscim also came after super Tuesday. In her tardy case it was almost like, ‘see, we good, don’t blame us’. If the Sanders’ campaign is waiting for the ‘better angels’ of the Dem estab to be roused to action they’ll have a hell’uv’a long wait.

          In Jackson’s support case, not so much. But why TH didn’t Sanders’ campaign ask for/ roll this out earlier. sigh….

  17. Gretchen

    The best ticket the Democrats could float is Sanders-Pelosi. It covers the bases, all of them.

    1. nippersdad

      Do you really think that Sanders would last a day after his inauguration if Pelosi was his running mate? I am picturing something like Murder on the Orient Express, with Pelosi starring as Princess Dragomiroff as ringleader were that to happen.

    2. urblintz

      If Bernie chose Pelosi I’d have to finally admit that he too is a fraud… which is why, thank the god I don’t believe in, it will never happen…

      on the other hand, if it was a way for him to get her out of the way and out of power…

      that could be a brilliant move.

    3. John

      Brilliant! Pelosi will be 80 in 18 days and Sanders in 18 months. Kinda puts all the eggs in one basket.

    4. Bugs Bunny

      Sanders / Steyer – that would upset the apple cart. Not woke and debate killas. Win in a stroke.

    1. chuck roast

      Can’t tell you about decontamination, but hey, this is Amtrak man, they do the best they can on a starvation diet.

      I took the sister-ship, the Northeast Regional to NYC early last week along with a few other intrepid souls. The northbound 6:38 PM to Boston had a lot of empty seats disguised as passengers. By the time I hopped off at Kingston the Quiet Car car was empty. My uneducated guess is that they cancelled the Acela because overall ridership has plummeted.

      1. MLTPB

        I see the same with flights.

        When flights are cancelled, it is usually after passengers have decided not to fly.

        Similarly with conferences, festivals, concerts, etc.

        1. roast

          I got that line courtesy of the NY Jets. When they first began playing in the AFL nobody came to their games. Some sports writer observed that the Jets had “a large crowd of spectators disguised as empty seats.” I can’t make up those good lines.

    2. montanamaven

      I don’t get cancelling the non-stop. It makes it easier to disinfect once on each end. I just chose a non-stop flight rather than a one stop flight so I could eliminate one airport.

      1. rtah100

        You have to assume they are going to cancel something because markets (the rational response is traffic volumes have fallen but all the employees are salaried and traffic will return…).

        Then if you cancel the stopper instead there is no service at intermediate points! So you cancel the express.

    3. John

      How are all the New York lobbyists going to bribe their favorite politicians in person now?

      What a sad time for our bought-and-paid-for politicians.

      Imagine what they will have to cut back on without their bribe mula.

      1. MLTPB

        In France and Italy, maybe other nations as well, politicians have caught, probably from doing their work.

        They performed their politics face to face, one might say, not over the net.

        1. MLTPB

          Limos to where?

          To the opera may not be a good idea.

          The same with taking that to the prom this year.

  18. ambrit

    Checking in on the local ‘Nextdoor’ feed, which can be useful for strictly local trends and information, I find a banner at the top advising: “If you believe you are seeing false information related to Coronavirus please report it to Nextdoor.” This comes with a very convenient ‘click icon.’
    Going a bit further down the rabbit hole, (“Hi Alice! How’re the shrooms?”) one finds that this effort is purposed to prevent the dissemination of “false news” concerning, specifically, the US Census, Elections, and Coronavirus.
    Slipping a bit further down said orifice, we find, under the subject of the US Census the statement: “In order to combat the spread of misinformation about the Census, the Census Bureau is working alongside the intelligence community, Homeland Security Department, and technology companies to monitor websites for signs of misinformation. As such, Nextdoor will work to proactively identify and remove content (and bad actors) that violate our Census non-interference policy.” I can only assume that this strategy also applies to all other “information” posted on the site.
    The kicker here is that the effort to censor the public discourse is now out in the open, so to speak.
    This is a sign of the things to come. Step one is well underway. Establish and perfect censorship and self-censorship techniques in pliant websites. Step two should be the forced implementation of said censorship program on all websites under the pretext of the response to some disaster or other.
    The program is presented as being in support of the goal of spreading “critical thinking skills.” To that end, the page links to this page: “How to spot fake news.”
    The organization thus involved is the IFLA. On them:
    I haven’t done a very deep dive on this organization, but it appears to be, on the surface, legitimate. Anyway, as our recent unpleasant experiences with Liz Warren have shown, the Meritocrats have conflicted allegiances. Now, where’s that White Rabbit?
    “Keep America Safe!”
    Now, as to the definition of America…..

    1. pretzelattack

      nextdoor is looking more and more like the public vigilance volunteer auxiliaries for woodrew wilson’s propaganda bureau during and after world war 1. fun fact i just learned, bernays worked on that propaganda.

    1. notabanker

      Those owls are glorious! I hear them almost every night out back and in three years have never actually seen one. Not hard to figure out why with that picture.

    2. BobW

      Different flavor owl, but when I was a kid visiting relatives, I was almost asleep when a screech owl let loose. I nearly reached the ceiling from bed.

    3. The Rev Kev

      Stayed several times in a small village in Germany years ago. Each of those villages in this region had an animal as sort of an emblem and the one for where I stayed was an owl so I always look fondly on these magnificent birds.

  19. nippersdad

    I pulled the trick of looking up the Obama gets a pass story on Google, and came up with something that looks like it was written by thirteen computerized monkeys on typewriters. Did the actual Times story read that way as well?

    it was very strange and darn near unreadable.

    1. Kasia

      Her endorsement tape has a creepy POW / hostage tape vibe. She’s in some sort of desolate basement with no natural light. You may notice, she is blinking in a very strange way. I looked into it and in Morse Code what her blinks are saying is: “Bernie 2020.”

      1. John

        Her endorsement was pathetic.

        When she says she’s endorsing him with great enthusiasm her face says just the opposite.

        Must want that VP slot badly.

            1. Oh

              You mean her collegues?
              Most of her “endorsement” was about her and how she’s such a participant in the March. So self serving and she then keep repeating how Joe is such a great honest (ugh!) guy, etc.
              And she’s going to be in Detroit on Monday – can we get her to taste a bottle of Flint tap water?

    2. chuckster

      But how does her hair smell? It’s probably on the list of things Joe wants in a running mate.

    3. fresno dan

      March 8, 2020 at 10:10 am

      One of the things about modern life that I think politicians and the media have not caught up with, is that anybody the least interested in politics can see amateur pundits expose in exquisite detail, with video of the events, politicians saying the exact opposite of what they have said previously with what they are currently saying. I doubt 30 years ago one person in a million people could compare and contrast what a politician had said at one event with what the politican had said at another event, unless it caught the attention of the media.

      So the video of Kamala Harris is prior to the walk over the Edmond Pettus bridge commemorating Bloody Sunday. NOW, as Harris’s “break out” moment in the debates was attacking Biden for not being all he should be with regard to civil rights, it is just klaxons wailing and red lights flashing, indeed EXACERBATED by being done at the civil rights event.
      Therefore, Harris either didn’t mean what she said at the debate, or she didn’t mean what she said at the endorsement.
      It really has the potential to be a great negative for Biden.

    4. wilroncanada

      The opening line gives away the whole Democrat party rationale in the Kamala Harris endorsement: “nobody is better prepared than Joe”. that’s just what/who you need for US President–Joe Formaldehyde.

  20. The Rev Kev

    “Never mind China, look to the US for the next big coronavirus crisis”

    When the history books get to be written, it will be recorded that countries like America had over a month to prepare for Coronavirus after seeing what was happening in China – and that they threw it all away and didn’t even bother doing mass production of face-mask in the west or setting up more medical facilities. I guess that they were hoping for a market solution to arise from the invisible hand of the market. Suckers!

    1. Cocomaan

      Exactly. The largest quarantine in human history was going down and nobody prepared. That includes orgs like the WHO.

      1. MLTPB

        I believe the consensus here, that’s us, has been

        1. Frequent hand washing.
        2. Social distancing

        Masks for those who are not well.

        Yet, people still go to rock or jazz concerts, and NBA games.

        1. MLTPB

          Supply is relative to demand.

          If people panic buy, they are removing from supply things they dont need for another 1, 2, 3 or whatever months.

          Now, toilet paper can be hard to find.

          Will this show up in the next debate, whether a leader should urge calm, not panic buying?

          1. Geo

            But shopping has been the solution to all our national crisis for decades now…

            With Recession Looming, Bush Tells America To ‘Go Shopping More’

            The Pentagon Wants You to Go Shopping While the Experts Go to War

            Better consumer choices to fix health care costs:

            1. MLTPB

              I think timing is key here.

              When demand is lacking, you want people to buy, if you accept GDP is it.

              I happen to think it is ot ot necessarily so.

              In any cases, when it is already scarce, rubbing alcohol for example, we should urge calm.

      2. c_heale`

        The WHO has yet to declare it a pandemic. I can’t see how they can say they are doing their job.

    2. allan

      The “shareholder-centric” off-shoring of medical supply production will certainly be a big part of the story,
      but this is also a case of the fish rotting testing positive from the head down:

      Trump’s mismanagement helped fuel coronavirus crisis [Politico]

      … For six weeks behind the scenes, and now increasingly in public, Trump has undermined his administration’s own efforts to fight the coronavirus outbreak — resisting attempts to plan for worst-case scenarios, overturning a public-health plan upon request from political allies and repeating only the warnings that he chose to hear. …

      But many current and former Trump administration officials say the true management failure was Trump’s.

      “It always ladders to the top,” said one person helping advise the administration’s response, who noted that Trump’s aides discouraged Azar from briefing the president about the coronavirus threat back in January. …

      As the outbreak has grown, Trump has become attached to the daily count of coronavirus cases and how the United States compares to other nations, reiterating that he wants the U.S. numbers kept as low as possible. Health officials have found explicit ways to oblige him by highlighting the most optimistic outcomes in briefings …

      “Daily counts”. How did management by body counts work out in Vietnam?

      1. dearieme

        Trump is an oaf and a twerp. But the biggest blunder was by the scientists and science bureaucrats at the CDC. Without tests that work, and are available in large numbers, a better Prez than Trump would have had his hands tied.

        It’s all very well moaning in the abstract that the USA is falling behind technologically, but here’s a concrete example. If you are going to trust vital stuff to a federal monopoly organisation you’re going to have to work out what to do when they exhibit criminal incompetence.

        1. xkeyscored

          “Trump administration budget cuts could become a major problem as coronavirus spreads”

          That same year [2018], the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was forced to slash its efforts to prevent global disease outbreak by 80% as its funding for the program began to run out. The agency, at the time, opted to focus on 10 priority countries and scale back in others, including China.
          Also cut was the Complex Crises Fund, a $30 million emergency response pool that was at the secretary of state’s disposal to deploy disease experts and others in the event of a crisis.
          Overall in 2018, Trump called for $15 billion in reduced health spending that had previously been approved, as he looked at increasing budget deficits, cutting the global disease-fighting budgets of the CDC, National Security Council (NSC), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and Health and Human Services (HHS) in the process.

          1. MLTPB

            1. CDC and global disease fighting budgets.

            Would like to know what is involved and how that relates to the present case.

            Where is the WHO here, in global disease fighting?

            2. Scaling back in China.

            Do they want the US there?

      2. allan

        “the biggest blunder was by the scientists and science bureaucrats at the CDC.”

        Like noted epidemiologist Ben Carson:

        STEPHANOPOULOS: The Grand Princess is docking tomorrow. What’s the plan for the 3,500 people on board?

        BEN CARSON: They’re coming up with one

        S: It docks tomorrow

        C: The plan will be in place

        S: Shouldn’t you be able to say what it is?

        C: It hasn’t been fully formulated

        1. allan

          But wait, there’s more (as there always is):

          Official: White House didn’t want to tell seniors not to fly

          The White House overruled health officials who wanted to recommend that elderly and physically fragile Americans be advised not to fly on commercial airlines because of the new coronavirus, a federal official told The Associated Press.

          The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention submitted the plan as a way of trying to control the virus, but White House officials ordered the air travel recommendation be removed, said the official who had direct knowledge of the plan. …

          Some experts said they’ve been hoping for clearer and louder guidance from the government, to prod vulnerable people to take every possible step to avoid settings where they might more easily become infected. …

          It’s all coming home to roost fomite.

          1. MLTPB

            Advise is not the same as disallow.

            The recommendation both here and in the UK about self isolating after returning from Italy doesn’t ensure much, except trusting our fellow citizens will do so.

        2. polecat

          So, a half of a mirage of a plan … is that’s what he said ?

          Holy Cuthulhu ! Outstanding !! /s

    3. xkeyscored

      Maybe someone forgot to wash the invisible hand correctly while singing Happy Birthday.

    4. jsn

      That is the “market solution”: self quarantine or die.

      Only the wealthy can self quarantine.

      But those rich who get the virus at the peak will discover all the money in the world can’t buy what doesn’t exist: the marginal ICU, just in time.

      1. MLTPB

        When the initial CDC test kits were not working, the question I had was if private medical equipment corporations could make their own test kits.

        Is it like that in all countries, that only one federal agency can make the kits?

          1. MLTPB

            Even with that regulation in place, it meant getting approval.

            Was there something delaying it in the approval process?

        1. smoker

          A few Medical Centers have created coronavirus tests, and hopefully more (particularly Medical Center Teaching Hospitals, which at least usually accept Medicaid/MediCal, though the uninsured may end up with huge bills, particularly if the patient is above the insane Federal Poverty Rate) will soon follow. From a March 3rd article (it was updated on March 7th)

          Last week, at least three U.S. academic medical centers – UCSF, Stanford and Harvard Brigham and Women’s Hospital — deployed their tests to screen all suspect patients who arrive at their Emergency Departments or Urgent Care centers.


          But the university and state tests are difficult to scale up or decentralized, according to Feb. 26 Harvard report by Devabhaktuni Srikrishna, Ranu S. Dhillon and David Beier. These labs use a molecular technique called polymerase chain reaction, which requires special laboratory machines and highly trained technicians to operate them.

          “As the virus spreads out into the general community,” they wrote, “people need to be tested in clinics and perhaps even at their doorsteps.”

          (I likely won’t be able to reply to any responses to my comment at this point. It’s taken me well over an hour to ‘nest’ this comment, as allowing the scripting to do so has become exponentially burdensome to my only affordable access. I suspect one reason may very well be that so many Santa Clara County/Bay Area Tech Oligarchy campuses have told their workers to set up working from home, along with area school districts increasingly doing the same. I suspected that yesterday also, as my computer had a major crash which resulted in hours of access panic and file maintenance (my go to computer repair person has long since disappeared, likely due to insane commercial rents.

          Thanks again Ajit Pai and Obama, for the ghastly Technocracy Wall Building for the Elite under a false flag of Identitarianism! A pox on both of you, and Clinton/VC Gore too.)

          1. MLTPB

            The NPR article linked just above mentions 4,000 tests a day quickly.

            That’s for the U Washington area. The greater Seattle area has about 3.5 million, versus S Korea of about 55 miilion. Let’s say its 1-15th. Koreans are testing about 10,000. A tenth is 1,000. One fifteenth is 600 or so. So for the greater Seattle area, 4000 tests a day would be quite good.

            The whole state of W has about 7 miilion. In that case, 4,000 a day is still good, compared with S Korea.

            After Tora Tora Tora, it might have looked gloomy, but people responded quickly.

            We have the same challenge and opportunity here.

    5. MLTPB

      The WHO said, just a few days ago, hospitals around the world were just not ready.

      And the mask shortage seems to be worldwide. France is requisitioning both stocks, and production.

      1. Cuibono

        As I said yesterday, why are we not requisitioning?
        Folks said nothing to requuisition: we cant make masks. Come on gang, this is not rocket science.
        I bet the US military has 50 million masks stored

        1. MLTPB

          I think only France so far.

          Not Ruusia, Iran, or other countries, at this time.

          Maybe later, soon.

    6. John

      The English relied on market solutions for the Irish famine for long enough that one million died and three million emigrated. Which million are supposed to die here?

    7. ewmayer

      “didn’t even bother doing mass production of face-mask in the west or setting up more medical facilities” — And what % of the medical-equipment manufacturing needed to support such a ramping-up has been offshored to China and other E Asian countries? And this same lack of local production capability will bedevil the now-seemingly-inevitable money-printing-to-fight-covid-19-a-ganza – The government can create as much fiat as it likes, but that won’t magically create the massive needed increase in manufacturing capability. As Wolf Richter has taken to aksing, “what’s the Fed gonna do – print antibodies?”

      1. Wukchumni

        Just as Covid-19 was breaking in the news, the masque of red debt forced 3M to slash 1,500 jobs, timing not being of the essence.

        3M is cutting 1,500 jobs and further restructuring the company, as it reported fourth-quarter earnings that plunged 27%.

        The results reported Tuesday, which included nearly $350 million in new charges related to litigation and the restructuring, were driven by a weakness in Europe and Asia, especially China, and in key automotive, electrical and industrial markets.

      2. Yves Smith


        Surgical face masks are not effective.

        n95 respirators take training to wear and even then can be worn for AT MOST one hour continuously. They so lower your blood oxygen level that you freak out because you are slowly asphyxiating.

        Are you sure even if you can use one, that you’d be able to take a five minute normal breathing break safely every half hour to 45 minutes?

        Medical staff basically need full hazmat suits. But I want one of these if things get bad:

        1. The Rev Kev

          Whatever the merits of face masks, they will probably be more or less mandatory down the track. The reason that I say this is that yesterday I was watching a TV story on the Italian lock-down. One of the scenes shown was of a shopfront that had a sign on it. I do not speak Italian and I may be mistaken but I think that it said that, when translated, no mask no service!

          Just a small possible data point but may be indicative of a wider trend. In the US flu pandemic a century ago, some places would have the police shoot you for not wearing a mask. Maybe not so bad this time but there will be major social pressure to wear these in public before we are finished.

  21. ambrit

    Second try.
    Nextdoor is in partnership with Homeland Security to ‘monitor’ the public discussion. All to combat ‘fake news.’

    1. xkeyscored

      A fairly shrewd assessment of why the Dem leadership might go for HCN, if you ask me.
      “Otherwise, Sanders would get the crown, and I don’t believe Dem leaders will let that happen. They realize he would be an Electoral College disaster and cost them their gravy train of power, patronage and donors.”

      1. Olga

        What is that definition of insanity?
        …doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results… she lost to DT once, why would she succeed this time? Or are we really in the “end-of-times” period, when everything is upside down and nothing makes sense anymore?

        1. xkeyscored

          Who says they expect different results? They kept Bernie out last time round with HCN, why not again?

          1. Olga

            I guess if one assumes that defeating bernie is the only goal. But listening to HRC, it is hard not to think that she really, really, really wants to rule.
            (What is HCN? Do you mean HRC?)

            1. Mel

              Per Wikipedia it means many things, but in simple chemistry:
              Hydrogen Cyanide.
              Kind of a forced pun, nonetheless wicked.

              1. Olga

                We all have faults… and mine is being wicked.
                Thurber, I believe … nothing wrong with that.

                1. Mel

                  Could anybody cite that? Please? I got it from Richard J. Needham of the Toronto Globe and Mail:
                  “We all have our faults”, said the Wicked Duke, “Mine happens to be that I am wicked.”
                  Or words to that effect.

          2. Tom Stone

            HRC is scheduled to be deposed under oath by Judicial Watch about her Emails in the next two months.
            She has been increasingly unhinged as time goes by and JW has good lawyers, the potential for a screaming batshit crazy meltdown is very high.

        2. MLTPB

          Temporary insanity can be as bad.

          Being temporary, it is not likely to be repeated over and over…not likely, except repeated temporary insanity, in that case, maybe not temporary insanity then.

      2. pretzelattack

        that last sentence needs to be several words shorter. “they realize he would cost them their gravy train” works.

    2. foghorn longhorn

      There is absolutely no doubt this is the grand plan.
      Should be interesting as to how they pull off the mechanics of it.

    3. John

      Why hasn’t Hillary’s dentist told her yet to replace those mercury fillings in her teeth?

    4. fresno dan

      March 8, 2020 at 10:40 am

      “tan, rested, and ready”
      If Nixon can come back, Hillary can come back…

  22. Krystyn Walentka

    RE: Momento Mori – Unpopular Thoughts on Corona Virus

    I do not get people who think like this.

    “We are not Gods, we are mortal. We need to reconnect to that idea.”

    He in no way really believes that. If he did he would have never had the heart surgery that he says had saved his life. So it tells me he is actually really scared but he realizes THIS TIME he has zero control over it. It is fake nihilism. (Not even active or passive.) Or maybe he just does not want people to panic because THAT is what he fears.

    1. xkeyscored

      That’s not my reaction to Murray’s piece at all.
      Remembering our mortality doesn’t imply welcoming, or even just accepting, our deaths.
      And he says “as somebody whose heart and lungs are damaged and in poor condition, following the multiple bilateral pulmonary emboli which nearly killed me in 2004 … If I get COVID-19 I expect I shall be fairly quickly gone off on my next adventure.” Why, then, would he fear other people panicking?
      I’d express a similar attitude with this Leonard Cohen song.

      And here is the night,
      The night has begun
      And here is your death
      In the heart of your son.
      And here is the dawn,
      (Until death do us part)
      And here is your death,
      In your daughter’s heart.

      1. Krystyn Walentka

        He fears other people’s panic because it disrupts his own life. He does not care about dying, he fears being uncomfortable and inconvenienced. He is selfish.

        Perhaps the most idiotic thing he says is: “What worries me about the current reaction to coronavirus, is that it seems to reflect a belief that death is an aberration, rather than a part of the natural order of things. ”

        What?!? I would say that if people were NOT panicking it would reveal that death is an aberration. It is the very fact that people know they are mortal, that they KNOW they will die, which leads them to act in response to a threat.

        It is not panic that is causing people to react, it is reason.

        I agree with him that out obsession with extending life is foolish, but what does this have to do with stopping a pandemic? These same people get up and take showers, brush their teeth, eat food, the do all the things they need to to keep themselves alive and they proclaim that it is not them that cares about their mortality!

        I know what it is like to not care about my own mortality. When I was at my deepest depression I did none of those things I listed above.

        He is just another fake stoic who finds it easy to lecture people about dying because he is closer to death and is probably depressed. Or maybe he wants to see the world collapse. Or maybe he just wants website hits.

        And spare me the poets like Cohen who suffered long beautiful wealthy lives while there were adored by millions.

        1. pretzelattack

          he has put himself is situations of considerable discomfort, supporting causes he believes in.

            1. Donald

              Don’t do that then.

              But I’ve read Murray for awhile. He’s not evil or selfish. Just wrong in this case.

        2. personae

          Please do not malign the poet. No, he did not come from the working class. He probably did not mind the pleasures that money could buy. He may not even have been a nice person – who knows? I don’t. But, he did not as far as I can tell did not act as a wealthy elite. When I lived in Montreal many years ago, before he moved to LA more permanently, I would see him occasionally in our university swimming pool, in our local bar, and on the street in the neighbourhood. And it is well known that he suffered bouts of severe depression. Yes, he is adored by many, including myself. I am one of those people with health preconditions that put me in the same position as Craig Murray. I do not fear death at the same time as I do not want to die. The poet helps me come to this acceptance. That is not nothing.

          1. Krystyn Walentka

            If you do not want to die that means you still have an aversion, a dislike, a nonacceptance. It does not have to be a “fear”.

    2. Samuel Conner

      I hope that Craig Murray survives more than a few seasons of this epidemic. It seems to me that he is irreplaceable at the moment.

      My second thought, inspired by CM’s Latin post title and in reflection on US executive branch responses to the epidemic and how it seems likely to echo within the “base” of support of the current chief executive, is

      Morituri te salutamus

      1. Samuel Conner

        this is conventionally rendered “we who are about to die salute you”, and is attributed to gladiators, addressing Caesar before their mortal agony.

        I don’t know Latin, but a web search suggests that “morituri” is present participle, so that a grammatically more literal rendering (those knowledgable in Latin please correct me) might be

        “dying we salute you”

        or, semantically

        “we salute you as we die”

        which, if accurate, suggests that the doomed’s gaze is on their Emperor as they perish.

        That does seem appropriate to the present political moment.

        1. dommage

          “morituri” is a future active participle, not the present participle (“moriens”). future active participles do not exist in English. the usual translation is “about to …”

  23. katiebird

    Are people starting to go to Biden events to laugh at him? It seems like the crowd in Kansas City yesterday was just waiting for the chance to howl. It seems to me that, he stumbled in a sentence and corrected himself. But the crowd was ready to laugh before the correction.

    Twitter link

    I could be wrong?

        1. Donna

          I can’t remember off the top of my head any one of GWB Junior’s gaffs. But my kids gave me a calendar one year for Christmas with a gaff a day from that great, war-mongering president. A frightening thought that not being able to speak is not disqualifying. Laugh if you must but Biden has the entire neo-establishment behind him now. This dementia will probably not cost him the primary election.

          1. carl

            Yes, and here’s the thing: I lived through eight years of that guy, and I believe in my heart that he was the worst president in US history, and still do. Trump? Hah! Prove it, I say.

            1. Lost in OR

              I disagree Carl.
              W didn’t fool us. We knew what he was. Compasionate Conservative? BS
              O fooled many of us. Hope and Change? BS
              O institutionalized W.
              Fake left, drive right… O is by far the worst.

          2. Yves Smith

            Someone gave me a GW doll. Pull the string, and you got Bushisms like putting food on your family. Epic.

            I wish I knew what happened to it.

      1. Donna

        I can’t remember off the top of my head any one of GWB Junior’s gaffs. But my kids gave me a calendar one year for Christmas with a gaff a day from that great, war-mongering president. A frightening thought that not being able to speak is not disqualifying. Laugh if you must but Biden has the entire neo-establishment behind him now. This dementia will probably not cost him the primary election.

    1. chuckster

      Coming this fall: America’s Funniest Home videos goes head-to-head with Presidential Apprentice – The Fight for Re-election. Ben Franklin must be spinning in his grave.

      You can’t be cynical enough to actually vote for one of these people, can you?

    2. flora

      I think that video has a dubbed-in Biden voice from an earlier speech he made. It’s word-for-word identical, even to voice intonation, to an earlier speech where he was facing forward to the camera. Still trying to find a clip of the other video.

    1. MLTPB

      Many countries are like Iran already…Italy, South Korea.

      Germany, France, Switzerland, Spain look like they are facing a similar fate.

      1. polecat

        Now is Not a good time to be a Rhesus Monkey …er, I mean a retiree, ensconsed as it were .. inside in a caged deathtrap, um, I mean a mismanaged ‘care facility’ …

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      From that twitter thread:

      I am hearing from healthcare workers that CDC is actively /not testing/ people for coronavirus. I know other journos are, too. I agree with @matthewstoller — there is a coverup going on here. I know it sounds Alex Jones, but it’s true. They’re trying to keep the numbers down.

      This just makes no sense.

      Widespread testing would undoubtedly demonstrate that far more people have been exposed to the virus than are being reported. Using this data, the lethality rate would be significantly reduced and those most at risk more accurately identified and, conceivably, protected.

      There is no reason for Trump or the CDC to “try to keep the numbers down.” Just the opposite.

      I’m starting to think panic and confusion is the goal ala 9/11. wall street just got a pointless .5% interest rate reduction that they never would have gotten otherwise, and it’s widely acknowledged that the key to Trump’s reelection is the economy which appears to be floundering.

      Many have said that this economy is a house of cards just looking for a reason to collapse. I remember reading once that in an economic downturn, wealth is not destroyed it is transferred. Maybe someone figured this was as good a reason as any to start transferring. Again.

      Are we really supposed to believe that people who defend to the the death a “healthcare” system that leaves tens of millions with nothing, really give a shit if 1 or 2 million already sick people, many of whom are on Medicare, Medicaid or both, don’t get a hospital bed or a respirator if they need it?

      1. Lost in OR

        “I agree with @matthewstoller — there is a coverup going on here. I know it sounds Alex Jones?

        Well or course. I’m so far left I’m right.

  24. Phacops

    Re: hand sanitizers for COVID-19

    So, let’s look at practical matters of disinfection by sanitizers that even claim 99.99% effectiveness – and probably less effective unless one allows the alcohol to sit on skin surfaces for minutes (be aware that microbial death is a natural log function and relies on the duration of conditions and is not instantaneous).

    One droplet in a single cough may contain about 200,000,000 virus capsids capable of causing an infection. While I cannot find data on COVID-19, with SARS, the multiplicity of infection appears to be around 1.7. So, lessee, from one droplet at 99.99% kill (0.0001% survival), the yield is 20,000 viruses capable of setting up an infection once they hit a mucosal surface.

    My guess is that even alcohol sanitizers will not approach claimed effectiveness in common use. The gold standard still is hand washing. The virus particles not disrupted by surfactant and weakly bound to skin surfaces are removed effectively.

    About that 99.99% effectiveness. It is very hard to demonstrate better. As I indicated, cell, or virus, death is probabilistic. I have validated sterilization processes as well as aseptic filling operations and these, over replicate trials, require enormous resources merely to demonstrate a probability of less than a 1/1,000,000 chance of one non-sterile unit, or 99.9999% effectiveness. So, to me, claims of 4-nines effectiveness does not assure me.

    1. Jeotsu

      We also don’t know how many viral particles are required to cause infection.

      Q-fever is the only virus I’ve heard of that can (in theory) start an infection with a single virus particle. But it’s been many years since I had that lecture…

    2. Brooklin Bridge

      If I had enough hand sanitizer with the correct alcohol content, I would use it just after washing my hands as at that point the hands are much more susceptible to disinfectant.

      1. polecat

        How many people who ‘diligently’ scrub their hands ….forget to clean underneath their nails ?? To a virus, those giant overhangs are quite a fine shelter !

      2. Yves Smith

        No, washing enough is sufficient. Alcohol after that just dries out your skin even more and if your skin gets irritated, you won’t want to wash often enough

    3. Yves Smith

      There are already studies that say they don’t work well in practice. Among other things you need to rub until the alcohol evaporates.

      And to your point, that 99.9% is all germs on a surface, not disease-causing germs on human tissue.

      With my pet alcohol spray bottle, I need to let it sit >10 seconds to kill viruses. I am hoping the coronavirus gets zapped that quickly.

  25. The Rev Kev


    So I was thinking over the weekend how Coronavirus is set to change all our lives and radically alter our society. This is one problem that the feds won’t be able to print their way out of like they did back in 2008. Trump announced that he is throwing $8 billion into fighting Coronavirus. That is pocket change that. Down the track we will be saying to each other “Remember when we spent our first $100 billion fighting it?” There is no doubt that we live in historic times – just like those who went through the World Wars, the Depression and the 1919 Flu Pandemic. Lucky us! /sarc

    So what I am getting to is this. Perhaps some of so inclined should start a journal of the next coupla years. Maybe add fotos of how life changes where we live with empty streets, the people all wearing face masks, stuff like that. Write in list of stuff that we stocked up on, the cleaning procedures we will have to learn to do, how some people coped – or did not. Nothing so ambitious as Daniel Defoe’s ‘A Journal of the Plague year’ but a record of our times that can be passed down eventually to our family. Imagine if we had such a journal from our great grand-parents who went through the 1919 Flu Pandemic with us. How valuable would something like that be. I have seen to other people make the same suggestion the past week.

    And look at the bright side. In 80 years time when Ken Burns III goes to put his epic series together – “The Second Great Flu Pandemic”- he might use passages of those journals to illustrate these times in the same way that his grandfather Ken Burns use to quote contemporary journals in his “The Civil War” series.

    1. Wukchumni

      I purposely wore thin latex gloves when out shopping in the CVBB (I thought an n95 mask might be overdoing it though) and you’d think I was a freak or something, judging from the reaction of checkers, and it opened the door for me to ask if any other customers were wearing them, and nope. Not a single masked man or woman was spotted.

      Aside from disinfectant, you could buy as much bottled water or TP as your little heart desired-just a few days ago, and coursing through the aisles @ Wal*Mart, everything was still place, awaiting customers. I expect things to change rather drastically, and i’m not sure that buying staples for a month or 2 is going do it, we’re in for a long slog, for which the tactics will have to be learned on the job.

      We’ll have to do w/o what passes as polite society, which might serve to only rip apart the frayed fabric of the population @ large here, terrified of something they can’t see, an invisible mandate.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        I thought only people with symptoms or with the flu were supposed to wear face masks. If so, it might be dangerous to wear a face mask if there is any panic about.

        1. Wukchumni

          The reason i’ve been inquiring as to whether anybody is wearing masks in their communities, for it’ll be the next step of fear, in this case of the visual variety.

          Aside from a smattering of Chinese-Americans in the San Gabriel Valley in L.A., i’ve never seen one worn in public ever, and it’d be a marked change in ramping up things in our human see-human do, goings on.

          Seeing as nobody really has them, just the sight of somebody with an n95 on their countenance could in no way mask mask envy.

          1. ChiGal in Carolina

            the only reason to wear a mask (unless you are contagious or a health care worker) is to prevent yourself from touching your nose and mouth. apparently touching your eyes with this particular virus is not a risk since only lung cells provide it a point of entry.

            for this a simple medical supply mask suffices and has the added advantage of breathability (less humidity).

            1. judy2shoes

              apparently touching your eyes with this particular virus is not a risk since only lung cells provide it a point of entry.

              ChiGal, do you have a link to back this statement?

              1. rtah100

                I think this is bad advice.

                Proper droplet protection requires eye protection and the lack of it early in Wuhan led to medical worker infection. Also, there seems to be significant eye involvement in coronavirus with a good number of cases reporting conjunctivitis as a prodromal symptom, suggesting early involvement in the infection route.

                The Welsh (?) teacher in Wuhan who caught it in November described it as like his eyes were on fire!


                The bit where the kitten gets sick and dies is thoroughly Gothic!

            2. Yves Smith

              This comment is absolutely not on. I am taking a zero tolerance approach to coronavirus disinformation, particularly things that increase health risks.

              First, eyes are are a possible infection vector, and the WHO and CDC recommend avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, which you could have readily ascertained had you bothered searching, as opposed to Making Shit Up:




              Second, public health experts recommend against non-medical professionals buying and using surgical masks. The are ineffective in preventing infection. You fiddle with the mask on your face, if anything increasing the touching of your face, plus the moist area around your nose and mouth is a great environment for microbes, with the result you increase the odds of getting other flus, which in turn would make you more susceptible to the coronavirus.

              And buying masks is SPECIFICALLY discouraged because non-medical people are depriving medical professionals of needed supplies.

              One more like this and you will be banned. Seriously. I’ve warned other readers of the importance of being as accurate as possible on this topic.

              1. ChiGal in Carolina

                my apologies for not linking to the source of this info but I received it in an email.

                the email is discussed in the link below but the article doesn’t include the entire email, which again is the source of the info about mask and eyes that I will not repeat since indeed I have no way to confirm it.


                again, my apologies.

        2. MLTPB

          As for panic buying, just read that in the UK, you are limited when buying pasta.

          Not sure if proletarians are learning from Wuhan or China, where even with lockdown or quarantine, apparently comrades there were still ordering from fast food restaurants (saw some pictures of that).

          1. Procopius

            On a Thai news broadcast a couple of days ago, they showed some scenes from China (I didn’t catch the exact location). People were in line at a food stall. On the pavement bars with words “Put Toes Here” in both Chinese and English were painted 2.5 meters apart. The line extended quite a distance, because of the separation between people. I didn’t notice whether all the people were wearing masks or not. There were very few people in view on the street.

      2. Yves Smith

        clarky90 suggested grabbing a one of those thin veggie bags when in grocery stores. Less obtrusive and does the job.

        But yes, I cleaned the handle of my cart with alcohol spray (fumbling in my purse so as to let it sit >10 seconds) but also used the baggie at checkout. Baggie is good if you have to open any freezer case handles too. And I was clearly the only person taking precautions.

        The only change I saw in my gym is the guy who tidies up the floor (not a janitor, more puts things back and is around in case anyone gets in distress) was using hand sanitizer upon occasion.

    2. katiebird

      I think that’s a good idea. Assuming a person is going out and about. At ages 65+ my husband and I are planing to stay close to home.

      I just sent a message to the people responsible for a local knitting event scheduled for mid-April. I asked if they were looking into what would be involved in cancelling it.

      This is a very popular event. And I am signed up for a class In every session. But unless This Virus stops dead before it takes place I’m not going to go. An event packed with aging women from all over the region and country? It sounds like a nightmare!

      I was hoping I could get them to make plans in time to give refunds. But I don’t think that will happen.

      1. Wukchumni

        Norwegian Cruise Lines, who we are booked on for a family get together in some months time has notified us that any booked cruise from March 10 to Sept 30 2020 can cancel up to 48 hours before the ship departs and get a full refund in credit towards any cruise embarking until December 31st 2022.

        That’s remarkably lenient terms, wouldn’t you say?

        1. mle detroit

          That’s great. I hope Viking does the same, as we two 70+s are booked on a Douro River cruise in early October…One last one before my eco- conscience gains control.

      2. MLTPB

        I see potentially these in the post 2020 future

        1. Former fans cured of futol addiction, or basketball addiction.
        2. Beauty where one is. No more air travel. Places to visit…such lists will be ignored.
        3. Clean shaven back in fashion. No facial hair, no ponytail.

        1. periol

          I wonder if we aren’t far from air travel and cruises being shamed. Personally I already consider both to be shameful for their contribution to destroying the planet, among other reasons.

          I find it interesting that most of the people getting CV in the US so far are upper class. Ski trip to Italy. Boat ride down the Nile. Traveling lawyers. Trips to Vegas. AIPAC. CPAC. Princess cruises.

          If this ends badly, will people go back and connect those dots?

            1. periol

              Safe to say there are more people who simply can’t afford to fly then there are rural neo-luddites. The truly poor don’t fly, urban or rural.

              1. MLTPB

                I think the difference is in rural areas, the guy next to you, a few miles away perhaps, also likely does not venture outside the ‘shire.’

                They are like the hobbits.

                In urban areas, if you fly, the guy walking the street passing you, might have.

                1. periol

                  That’s very true. I’m rural myself, and quite happy about it. It’s easier to protect yourself when you don’t have to interact with folks most days.

                  I hope there will be righteous indignation if this disease gains serious traction and the US reaction is great health care for the wealthy while the poor die in large numbers. Socialism for the rich cruising and jet-setting spreaders, again, with life-or-death consequences this time.

                  The spreaders get better, the poor and old die. That’s what I’m fearing is coming down the bend.

          1. Brooklin Bridge

            I find it interesting that most of the people getting CV in the US so far are upper class.

            True, but this is one area where the trickle down theory will not only work, it will work like a raging torrent. The rich are going to be very generous in sharing the disease. The only things they will hog besides food, supplies and information are the medical resources to get better.

            1. periol

              If this does go haywire, I think people won’t forget the lifestyle choices made by the original spreaders. I suspect this will be a permanent psychological blow to unbridled globalization and conspicuous displays of wealth through travel.

              1. Wukchumni

                If this does go haywire, I think people won’t forget the lifestyle choices made by the original spreaders.

                Yes, I am planning to boycott all wet markets in the future, and only order southern Italian food @ restaurants.

          2. polecat

            Well, with enough demand destruction, once this virus has it’s way with us and says bon•voyage …due to some semblance of immunity having developed among the living… after All of the horsemen have done their thing …… ‘running the clipper’ might come into vogue again.

      3. marieann

        Katibird…I am so sorry that you might miss your knitting event, it looks like it will be a lot of fun.I attend a knit group nearly every week and I am not sure what we will happen. I will bring it up in discussion at our Monday group, though we are a local group and so far the virus is 4 hours away in Toronto…..though I am more worried about our border with Detroit. I am also worried about the outbreak in Washington State as I have family there.

        Like you my husband and I usually stay home so we don’t have to change anything except up the handwashing.

        1. cnchal

          > . . . and so far the virus is 4 hours away in Toronto…..though I am more worried about our border with Detroit.

          I do not believe officialdom, on either side of the border. We don’t know the tenth of it.

    3. MLTPB

      To me, it will be pre 2020, and post 2020, to people in the future.

      And documentarians can rely on vast data centers in the desert.

      1. foghorn longhorn

        As they say, hindsight is 2020.

        Maybe hil can invent a cure and come riding to the rescue on her golden draft horse.

      2. Lina

        I posted this on another NC thread, ala pre 911 and post 911, and folks weighed in on this pre and post 2020 idea. I am not will change though my first guess is travel. I’m all for that. We were going to take a local-ish vacation this summer (VT. we live in MA) but last night I told my partner nope. I’m not packing us up to stay in a hotel, Airbnb, etc where cleansing practices are questionable. We will continue to staycation which is what we’ve done the past 7 years, since our daughter was born. I love sleeping on my own bed and hanging on our screen porch!

        1. MLTPB

          In the 18th century, to have music at home, you had to know how to play an instrument or sing.

          No way musicians could be super rich then, have adoring fans worldwide. Few fans in Japan for Mozart at that time.

          It’s like cooking at home, instead of patronizing celebrity chefs.

    4. Samuel Conner

      This is not going to be a short-term crisis. It appears that it will recur every flu season (assuming that the severity does ease in the hot months, which is not yet established, so maybe it will be a year-round permanent problem).

      It’s hard to imagine that the needed adaptations will not be significant. One can hope that “public interest” will inform most of these, and one can work for that.

      I am anxious, but also hopeful. Lambert has repeatedly quoted someone, “chaos is a ladder”.

      Let’s hope that the elites don’t saw the rungs in two.

        1. Brooklin Bridge

          Very moving. And also what I suspected. I wish it was required reading. Too many friends are still taking this way too lightly. In fact almost everyone.

        2. Wukchumni

          Wow, shit just got real. Thanks for that~

          We were just as unprepared as the Italians, so the same onslaught will be upon us in disparate locales and before you know it, things will grind to a halt.

  26. John

    Both Joe Biden and Donald Trump say they want to cut Social Security and Medicare.

    Trump said it just this week in a town hall on Fox News.
    Trump says he’ll cut entitlements like Social Security and Medicare if reelected to shrink trillions in national debt

    Of course he said the opposite the next day.
    Trump again walks back remarks on cutting Social Security

    You can be assured however that his Right wing voters won’t believe him even when he says says he will cut it on their favorite network.

      1. Lost in OR

        “Alice laughed. ‘There’s no use trying,’ she said. ‘One can’t believe impossible things.’ I daresay you haven’t had much practice,’ said the Queen. ‘When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.

        Lewis Carroll

    1. Jason Boxman

      But remember: It takes a Democrat to cut social security. I’m more concerned Biden gets elected.

        1. pretzelattack

          i think the dnc pushed back against bloomberg; thus the warren attack at the debate. “hey this is our gravy train and your hostile takeover won’t work”.

        2. John

          They never mention cutting the disgustingly bloated defense and intelligence budgets. You could whack away at those say 5% a year and it would never be missed in terms of any real benefit. Might cut into profits though and we can’t have that can we? What was I thinking of!

  27. Phacops

    This I just saw while writing about sanitizer effectiveness.

    There is a Biden advert running in Michigan calling Bernie a liar for his ad of Biden’s speeches expressing support for cutting Social Security and Medicare. I think the democrat establishment holds us in contempt when they try to gaslight us. As said many times here, when people tell you what they are, believe them.

    But, on a lighter note, seeing an article in the Huffpost about Harris’ endorsement, I couldn’t resist leaving a response using the Kamala’s a cop meme, wondering whether, because of her beatdown of black Californians, she approves of Joes beatdown of black Americans (citing Biden’s social and economic policies). Biden and establishment dems present a target rich environment.

    1. tegnost

      Early in the month (or maybe I don’t bother with NYT links much anymore) so I had access to the op ed and thought it was good. Nippersdad seemed to have some problems with it above

    2. pretzelattack

      at this point i’m assuming the primaries are fixed, in all close races lost by the outsider candidate.

      1. Oh

        yup! The crooked DNC with crooked Biden with his crooked smile, his crooked son, crooked cronies will go down to defeat to the equally crooked Trump.

  28. bob

    Other royal news

    Dubai’s Sheikh Mohammed abducted daughters and threatened wife – UK court

    “A campaign of intimidation by Sheikh Mohammed’s agents began and the court heard that a gun was twice placed on her pillow with the safety catch off. A helicopter landed outside her house with a threat to remove her to a remote desert prison. ”

    The title of the royal in question is odd. He’s listed as “Dubai ruler” when in fact he is the PM of the UAE. The US currently has 5,000 troops in the UAE. His wikipedia page is a good read for how tortured the text is. I bet he has a room full of slaves that have to change the page before he feeds them.

    1. John

      Remind me again why we should care about anyone from oil money?

      Oil money: people who literally did nothing to earn riches beyond belief.

      1. bob

        Because he can land a helicopter on your lawn and steal your children.

        “Sheikha Shamsa fled the family’s UK estate in Surrey in 2000 but was later abducted in Cambridgeshire by agents of the sheikh and forcibly returned to Dubai where she remains in captivity. A request by Cambridgeshire Police to visit Dubai to investigate her abduction was refused.”

        That was in Cambridgeshire, UK.

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              I’m not an expert but in my opinion that sounds an awful lot like an ad hominem attack

          1. Harvey

            I assume what you’re trying to say is that you could not care less about them.
            ie couldn’t care less about them.

            If you could care less about them, then this means that you do care somewhat for them.

    2. rtah100

      The UAE is the United Arab Emirates. He is the Emir of the Emirate of Dubai. He has a (con?)federal title too.

      Other constituent Emirates are available (Sharjah, Fujairah and the primus inter pares, Abu Dhabi). One of them has nice coffee pot on its flag!

      And, per below, the Queen is Queen of Scotland and Wales as well as England….

  29. Another Scott

    I saw this analysis of the results in the City of Boston by Ward for the Democratic primary. The granular detail provided by ward-level is more helpful than the state-by-state winners provided on the tv news.

    The written analysis is strong, especially the correlation with Charlie Baker’s support. However, it also ignores what I see as the obvious correlation with income. The wealthier parts of the city (Back Bay, Beacon Hill) voted for Biden. The rest is harder to determine, given the impact of race, as well as the low income of students, which can skew the results. This also caused me to look at the results by city, and Biden did very well in the wealthy suburbs (Sanders was held to single digits in Weston for example), which have become the base for most successful candidates in Democratic primaries.

  30. Jason Boxman


    Taking its consumer mission to heart, Tito’s Handmade Vodka tweeted a warning to its customers on Thursday that its product didn’t contain enough alcohol to sanitize effectively: “Per the CDC, hand sanitizer needs to contain at least 60% alcohol. Tito’s Handmade Vodka is 40% alcohol.”

    It’s not exactly cheap vodka. I guess people got some money. Why not buy a cheap bottle of Popov instead?

      1. Big Tap

        “Everclear is a brand name of rectified spirit (also known as grain alcohol and neutral spirit) produced by the American company Luxco (formerly known as the David Sherman Corporation). It is made from grain and is bottled at 120, 151, 189, and 190 U.S. proof (60%, 75.5%, 94.5% and 95% alcohol by volume, respectively).” Wikipedia

        Yep, Everclear (grain alcohol) is 60% and up in alcohol content). It would do.

    1. Bill Carson

      They’re not going to let a good crisis go to waste. Free publicity and all that.

    1. chuckster

      Thank you for going there so I don’t have to.

      Now wash your hands vigorously while singing Happy Birthday three times.

  31. Dalepues

    The Democrats are rallying behind Biden to defeat Sanders, not Trump. Even Kamala Harris who called out Joe for being a racist now endorses him. Liz “Forked Tongue” Warren cried to TV personality Rachel Maddow that the Bernie Bros had said really mean things, so obviously no endorsement coming from her. We have already seen Pete and Amy and Mike hop on the overcrowded band wagon to shut down Sanders. This is a tough fight for Senator Sanders, with all the Dem and Media firepower aimed at him. The only thing I know to do is contribute more money to his organization. Heaven help us all.

    1. urblintz

      Here is a list of the Superdelegates who may very well determine the nominee. I am e mailing each one of them and pointing out that Biden is obviously in cognitive decline and that it seems perverse for the party to nominate a candidate who will be crushed in November by Trump.

      I don’t say I am a Bernie supporter or threaten to vote for Trump. I hope to shame them into realizing that we are on to them. As a comment above reminded – we are letting them know that when they show us who they really are, we believe them.

      ““The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it’s profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater.” Frank Zappa

    2. Cynthia

      I think what differentiates Bernie from Warren, despite both broadly being defined as “socialist candidates” by the corporate press, is that Bernie wants everyone to benefit from socialism, while Warren wants to skew the benefits of socialism based on race or gender. In other words, unlike Bernie, she is using identity politics to garner votes. But if you think about, this makes her no different from all the other Dem contenders, minus Tulsi, of course.

      Simply put, Warren really is no different than, say, Biden or Bloomberg, making her an establishment candidate just like Biden and Bloomberg. After all, as I see it, what all establishment candidates in the Democratic Party share in common, despite all being unwaveringly pro-war and pro-security state, is the simple fact that they are deeply immersed in identity politics, specifically in terms of race and gender. That can’t be said about either Bernie or Tulsi, making them the only two Democratic presidential candidates that the corporate press loves to hate.

      As you may recall, Steve Bannon accurately predicted that the Dems overly engaging in identity politics will result in a Trump win in 2016. And since all the Dem establishment dimwits seem to be incapable of learning from their past mistakes, they are bound to lose out to Trump again in 2020.

      Then again, the unvarnished truth is that the Dems would rather see Trump win again than a left-leaning non-establishment candidate like Bernie. After all, Bernie is out to take the profits out the medical-industrial complex. I’m very much with him on this, but only if he can do so by taking a big axe to not only the huge administrative burden on healthcare, but the huge regulatory burden on it as well.

      As I have mentioned before, I’m very convinced that Bernie will take an axe to the oversupply of managers and administrators in healthcare, most of whom are way overpaid considering what little they do in terms improving care. Yet, I’m not all that convinced that he will take an axe to the oversupply of regulators in healthcare, most of who are equally way overpaid considering what little they do in terms improving care. Perhaps if he and his healthcare advisers would understand that the vast majority of work being done by healthcare regulators, in industry or government, or by insurers or providers, is nothing more than bullshit work as defined by David Graeber, they would try to put an end to this costly and unnecessary burden on healthcare, thus freeing up money to pay for actual care, resulting in better care outcomes.

      1. xkeyscored

        A large part of ‘healthcare’ insurers’ jobs is to prevent people accessing healthcare. Having helped make US healthcare the most expensive in the world, they then inform you that your policy doesn’t cover whatever, as many a commenter here has noted.

        1. Cynthia

          Even if we were to have Medicare-For-All or some other form of single-payer program paid for by government, the insurance work will still be outsourced to private insurers. That’s pretty much a given. And because private insurers and government bureaucrats have become virtually one and the same, thanks to the revolving door between the two, healthcare under such a model isn’t likely to be any better or any more afford than it is today. We’ve gotten a taste of that under ObamaCare. ObamaCare only increased the administrative costs as well as the regulatory costs of healthcare with no significant improvement in care outcomes. If anything, care outcomes have gotten worse under ObamaCare.

          Therefore, the only way to turn things around, thus allowing more healthcare dollars to go towards patient care, is to put very strict limits on the percentage of healthcare dollars going towards doing administrative and regulatory work. However, the wording regarding what is administrative work and what is regulatory work has to be very specific and without any room for interpretation; otherwise, those who are employed to do administrative work or regulatory work will find some way to reclassify what they do as “direct” care work, when what they are actually doing is “indirect” care work. Unfortunately, top administrators will back them every step of the way. Believe me, I see this happening in the hospital everyday, and it is only getting worse by the day.

          Needless to say, reclassifying indirect-care work as direct-care work is being done in order to maintain job security for those who work on the managerial and regulatory side of healthcare. What’s worse, all this managerial and regulatory work, most of which clearly meets David Graeber’s definition of bullshit work, is growing by leaps and bounds to the point that it is eating up well over 30% of all available healthcare dollars in this country!

          Think about this and you will understand why healthcare costs continue shoot higher and higher with nothing to show for it in terms of providing better care for patients. This is the kind of argument that single-payer advocates must use in order get single-payer skeptics on their side. Focusing on a laundry list of way overpaid healthcare CEOs is simply not enough to do it.

            1. Cynthia

              Single provider is not in the cards. Canada doesn’t have it, nor does any European country that I can think of. Most of them have some type of single payer, but very few to none of them have single-provider healthcare.

              1. rtah100

                The UK does (fake internal market and cherry-picking of elective procedures by private providers notwithstanding). We may voted for Brexit but we are still European in the geographic sense.

                Italy has a single provider by regions (or, if it is not technically a single provider, it is very heavily managed provision by independent public institutions and a few private).

                Possibly also the Scandinavian countries have single providers.

                France, Germany, Switzerland all have compulsory insurance models of one stripe or another.

    1. David

      Surprisingly good piece from Politico. French politics is bottom-up: you start off as a mayor or a deputy and move up to national level. It’s not clear that Macron’s attempt to create a top-down party in his image can ever succeed.

  32. Susan the other

    A new candidate for dark matter. It’s a double boson quark, the D*hexaquark. Or D-star for short. They speculate that the D-stars can condense together to form a “Bose-Einstein condensate” and that could be what dark matter actually is. But what is this condensate? It’s the “fifth state of matter.” And? Since they really don’t know what gravity is, nor can they define gravitational waves, makes me think dark matter is gravity. Is that possible? How much dark matter is (%) contained in regular visible matter? What makes some visible matter denser and heavier that other? Are dark matter and visible matter incompatible? Can you crash into dark matter? Dark matter both attracts and repels? So does gravity, right? interesting.

    1. Samuel Conner

      I think that one should say that “dark energy” (as that is currently defined) repels. It has to do with the equation of state. If a particle or field dilutes sufficiently rapidly as the scale of the universe changes (that scale change is currently, of course, expansion), which is the more familiar kind of equation of state, it will produce attractive gravity. If it doesn’t dilute at all, or not sufficiently rapidly, as the cosmic scale changes, it will produce repulsive gravity.

      It has to do with whether the pressure contribution of the particle or field is positive (attractive gravity) or negative (repulsive gravity).

    2. ewmayer

      “Since they really don’t know what gravity is, nor can they define gravitational waves” – Wha? “They” understand gravitational waves sufficiently to justify the huge expense of building “the largest and most ambitious project ever funded by the [National Science Foundation]” in form of two multi-mile-long detectors for same. While the possible relationship between gravitation, which even in the context of general relativity is a fundamentally classical continuum theory, and quantum field theory on form of the Standard Model, remains obscure, the Einstein field equations of GR are well-defined and the various constants nailed down to quite good accuracy. Thus scientists can make precise predictions about the behavior of gravitational fields and waves, and use those as tools for studying astrophysical phenomena of the most violent, energetic and distant kind known. They can also estimate quite accurately how much mass/energy is contained in observable phenomena, including computing how much a gravitational wave “weighs”. Those tell them that under currently-considered-plausible cosmological models, most of the universe’s mass/energy must be in form of something other than what is currently observable, which includes gravitational waves. So either the models are wrong in some fundamental way which no one has yet realized, or there’s some very weird invisible “stuff” which pervades the universe.

      You also misunderstand the usages of “dark” and “visible” – the latter means “observable in some fashion”, which includes exotic means such as GW detectors. “dark” means “not currently observable by any means known to us”, thus yes, they are mutually exclusive. While not currently observable, dark matter can be inferred based on the behavior of the visible stuff. Said inference relies on “knowing what gravity is”.

  33. Wukchumni

    The various European countries involved in the 1848 Revolution were aligned with a newfangled device-the telegraph. It spread the word wide in a way unimagined just a few decades prior.

    A lot of 1st World countries are being exposed as not ready for prime time players in the ongoing virus pandemic, and this contraption can serve an important part in fomenting change, that is until all the countries decide it’d be better turned off.

    1. Donald

      “I didn’t always agree with her”

      On second thought, that sounds churlish. I don’t agree with anyone 100 percent of the time and disagree with myself a little bit from day to day.

      But I read her daily. It is possible she killed her own account, as she often get mad at people, but she also has been censored.

  34. Kevin C. Smith

    Trumpster Fire, drifting down a river. Video pretty much sums up this administration:

  35. ewmayer

    So caught a bit of the local n00z last night, showed Bernie going after – no, not his actual current rival Biden, but Trump. That’s both an example of “looking past your current opponent”, and implicitly saying “anybody is better than Trump (so voting for Joe Biden is OK, too).” In terms of political instincts, I’m afraid you can’t fix that level of stupid. And please don’t tell me about Bernie’s “latest ad attacking Biden on social security”, yada yada – if he’s not showing up in the MSM attacking Biden on the latter’s horrendous record, he’s pissing into the wind.

    1. urblintz

      Pace he’s doing both. Did you see him today on CNN w/ Tapper? He nailed everyone, Biden, Trump, the establishment and the MSM.

      And yes we all use cliches to defend our position but applying the “you can’t fix stupid” one to Bernie is way over the line and undermines any valid point you may have been making, especially when what follows in your comment is just not true.

      1. pretzelattack

        +1000. i don’t agree with all of his choices, to the extent they are conscious choices and not paths his character leads him to take, but he’s not stupid in any sense. he has gotten a lot accomplished as a self identified socialist in a corrupt and tribal senate, and negotiating that takes an impressive level of political skill.

    2. Mel

      One qualification for this job (getting the nomination) is the ability to get the next job (winning the presidency against the Republican nominee — probably Trump.) How else does he counter the “not electable” canard?

  36. ewmayer

    Re. Op-ed from Harvard Chan School’s @DrMaryTBassett on US and #COVID19: “Epidemics emerge along the fissures of our society, reflecting not only the biology of the infectious agent, but patterns of marginalization, exclusion and discrimination” — Lovely, a 100% IdPol framing of the pandemic. She left out “…and patterns of globalized trade, travel, tourism, and historically unprecedented population densities.” Trivialities, those, to be sure.

    1. xkeyscored

      It is an article about the likely impact of the virus on the USA, not how it got there, and I think she makes a lot of very valid points, though that bit did grate on me too.

      Almost half of Americans between the ages of 19 and 64 have inadequate health insurance. Many may avoid seeking care because of the potentially devastating financial burden. Despite the wealth of this country, close to 13 million children are living in poverty. Around 2 million Americans, including a significant number of Native Americans living on reservations, live without running water and basic indoor plumbing, hindering access to our most important prevention tool: hand washing. And over 2 million Americans — a disproportionate number of them people of color — are incarcerated, often forgotten in emergency preparedness plans and left particularly vulnerable because of overcrowding and poor conditions.
      Because Americans, on average, are not as healthy as our peers in wealthy countries, we may expect a higher fatality rate here. If this becomes a widespread outbreak, such an epidemic would probably be most devastating for the poorest Americans and for communities of color, who already are dying at younger ages and at higher rates from these common conditions.
      More than 10 million undocumented immigrants may be too afraid to access medical treatment, and millions of documented immigrants, especially those from Asia, may be reluctant because of the stigma and discrimination they could face.

      That sounds like a lot of things I read here, and not particularly IDpol.

      1. wilroncanada

        But this is the opposite of, for example, the Vietnam War. The dead will NOT be counted. Trump will take personal credit for a low death count, because the death certificates will indicate all sorts of fictional causes, under orders of the government. Where local examiners object will, of course be in areas which vote Democrat, so he will be able to turn even that to his advantage. There is a whole team of sociopaths working with him (He would say, ‘for him’ because he is always the boss) to make the prevarication presentable.
        He has designated the perfect patsy/ activator, in Pence. In the words of B Dylan:
        “You don”t count the dead,
        When god’s on your side.”

        1. rd

          Most of this documentation is provided at the county and state level. Trump will have little control over it. Even the governors will not have much control.

          1. Monty

            The numbers that are going to get whacked if (when) this overwhelms the system are going to be so huge, we will all know not one, but many who were killed by it. Probably a fair few posters from this very site will be among the fallen. An order or 2 higher than WW2. There will be no hiding it. I just wonder how they will keep the wheels on the bus from coming off altogether in such a vicious, every man for himself culture.

      2. ewmayer

        Well, if under “marginalization” she included “class warfare”, fine – but the particular word choice sounds distinctly identity-political.

    1. judy2shoes

      Thanks for the link, marym. So happy to read the news about the coronavirus roundtable. Maybe the Bernie people do read NC! More news in the thread indicates Jesse Jackson and the Justice Democrats have endorsed Bernie. He also has a new senior advisor, Phillip Agnew, with whom I’m not familiar. I’m hopeful that Bernie can pull the rabbit out of the hat.

      1. Expat2Uruguay

        Phillip Agnew was one of the founders of the Dream Defenders in Florida. They responded to the killing of Trayvon Martin. It was almost the beginning of the black lives matter movement. And He’s a college student.

    2. Daryl

      Hopefully this will include the point that our healthcare system as constructed is going to massively and unnecessarily increase the death toll of this because people won’t seek out diagnoses or care.

    3. Bill Carson

      I just saw this comment, and I am glad to hear that Bernie is doing something. Let’s hope he finds a way to show leadership.

    4. ewmayer

      Bernie Sanders: “First of all, let me say that I have many friends who are themselves coronaviruses, and while we may not see eye–to-RNA on many things…”

  37. Quentin

    Bernie Sanders seems not to understand that he is right now running against Joe Biden, not Donald Trump. He can’t seem to concentrate on the immediate goal of winning the nomination. He acts as if he’s moving in a mutual admiration society when he’s trapped in a snakepit. Joe Biden is his opponent not his friend. Bernie Sanders’ insistence on comity and cordiality infuriates me. I am not a mensch like him. Consult Wikipedia if you don’t know what the Yiddish means.

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      He’s not running against Joe Biden. Joe isn’t home. He’s running against the DNC and their tall rigged ships and taller rigged tales of which Joe is one. Another, is referred to in the vernacular as voting software. It apparently has been trained to tell tall tales. I only wish it was one.

  38. pretzelattack

    to be fair, the dnc would rather run incitatus. but be forewarned, incitatus never made consul

  39. Daryl

    Houston rodeo is still not cancelled.

    There needs to be extreme civil and criminal liability for people insisting on continued large events, particularly for those exposing their employees to risk.

    1. MLTPB

      Large campaign rallies?

      What to do if there is a line of people waiting to vote before you?

      1. Daryl

        > What to do if there is a line of people waiting to vote before you?

        Washington state has solved this problem, in a way that also enables people without flexible work arrangements to vote.

        1. MLTPB

          When I read that here a few days ago,I thought lit a good idea, more voter friendly than voting in person, or caucusing.

          A state or a few states have gone away from the latter this year.

          In the meantime, what to do in states other than those like Washington.

          1. John Anthony La Pietra

            TBH, I’ve always liked the public ceremony around voting. But I’m glad Michigan now has no-(specific-limited-list-)reason absentee voting generally available.

            (Actually, I did vote absentee once — in 2014, when my wife started heading into labor the day before Election Day. Too late for a conventional absent-voter ballot application, but fortunately I knew how to ask our local clerk for emergency absentee ballots for us both. It also helped to be in a small town where the clerk knew us.)

    2. carl

      I’m guessing that, just like Fiesta San Antonio and the now-cancelled SXSW, they are waiting until the last minute to cancel. Hey, maybe there’ll be a vaccine any day now!! Gotta keep that money train going…

      1. Daryl

        We’re past the point where SXSW cancelled; rodeo has been going on for five days now.

        But it’s ok, because mayor Turner says it has not as many attendees from out of Texas.

    3. Massinissa

      But but but that would hurt the economy! Don’t you people know the economy is more important than people? /sarc

      1. MLTPB

        Economic pain is one reason to move primary focus away from containment to mitigation, I read.

        I personally think the decision should be largely based on public health issues.

  40. Bill Carson

    I haven’t read through all of the comments, but I am SHOCKED that Bernie hasn’t addressed the COVID-19 problem. I just looked at his tweets, and there was one tweet saying that when the vaccine is available, it will be free. That is all he has said, as far as I can tell.

    HE NEEDS TO START ACTING PRESIDENTIAL. Trump is not responding appropriately to this problem, so Bernie needs to.

    I am reminded of 2008 and the sudden global financial crash, and John McCain shocked a lot of people by announcing that he was suspending his campaign, and it was very close to the general election.

    When is Bernie going to do this? When is he going to stop shouting about Billionaires for a few minutes and LEAD on this issue. There is a leadership vacuum right now, and he can fill it.

    1. Monty

      Is there actually anything that can be done, short of shutting it all down / martial law. Genie is out of the bottle. You are making the mistake of thinking anyone in the government has a clue what to do. Bernie is a good man, but what on earth can he do about it?

      1. John k

        We could…
        Promise to pay all costs of testing and, if necessary, hospitalization costs, whether they’re legal or illegal, not just costs of those with insurance (which is of course designed to help ins cos, not the poor.) Promise such people will not be deported.
        Require employers to pay sick days to those that get hospitalized.
        Test everybody with symptoms. Don’t require locals to wait for cdc approval.
        Advise to stop large gatherings of people, such as Political rallies, conventions and sports events, until we have a better grasp of how widespread the virus is now.
        Advise companies to have workers work from home to the extent possible.
        Suggest people postpone personal trips.
        Getting the nation to focus on what we can and should do to fight and slow the virus, which of course means some Inconvenient changes in what we do (as is normal in a war) is a good definition of presidential.

        1. rd

          It would be January before Bernie was President. By then, most of this will likely be over one way or the other. I don’t think Bernie feels he needs to be one more voice providing advice given the quality of the data available to him.

          1. MLTPB

            I dont think he will say by then most of this will likely be over one way or the other.

            If he says that, I will be surprised.

      2. Cuibono

        there is a lot that can be done and needs to be. Plenty of data to show we need to SLOW the pandemic down, not to stop it . We do that by effective contact tracing, quarantine, social distancing etc.
        Washing hands.

        Bernie can use this to argue for M4A and Public Health investments.
        Talk about how profit motives have destroyed our system

        1. Monty

          I think after this is all over, we will have a real “emperors new clothes” situation with the mighty USA shown to be the one wearing invisible skivvies. The loss of prestige and faith in it’s modus operandi maybe hard to recover from.

    2. skippy

      You live in a country that has for decades been bombarded by neoliberal dogma about Freedom and Liberty and Exceptionalism and Rugged Individualism.

      Swimming against that tide of generational conditioning has consequences.

  41. drumlin woodchuckles

    I am guessing the antidote owls are semi-young scops owls. I hope our blogger will tell us what kind of owls these are.

  42. 3.14e-9

    Re: Rat Research

    Too bad for the rats. And really, not great for humans, either. Torturing lab rats isn’t likely to shed any light on, for example, the uniquely human ability to use behavioral science as a weapon to shoot down adversaries. Too bad the rats can’t study humans…

    1. John k

      If you’re not gonna test you’re not gonna get many positives.
      Per cdc, 50,000 die every year in USA from pneumonia. That’s 4,000/month… if, say, 5,000 died from pneumonia last month, nobody would think much of it, and virtually none would have been tested.
      There are reports that. large numbers died of cv in China with cv symptoms but never tested, so certificate just says pneumonia. This matters bc how the staff protect themselves while the patient is alive, and how the body is handled later.
      in the past month 19 are reported as having died from cv. But we have no idea of the real number, or how many are spreading it.

  43. 3.14e-9

    [Nothing But] Flowers, from “Naked” (1988), last album released by the Talking Heads. My nomination for Naked Capitalism theme song.

    The highways and cars were sacrificed for agriculture. Thought that we’d start over, but I guess I was wrong …

    1. Yves Smith

      Sorry I’ve never put it into practice, but it’s the theme song from Paprika. If I ever do a podcast, this would definitely be the music, one of the choruses (like 0:34 to 1:05 or 2:57 to 3:30) :

      Aside from the fact I really like it, the lead character in the movie is a shrink who goes into the dream world to combat the effects of a supposedly therapeutic dream machine gone bad (by design!) that is creating mass psychosis.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Oh yes, one of the greatest film scores ever! The marching song from Paprika is amazing (and the film is too, and clearly an unacknowledged influence on Inception).

  44. Wukchumni

    Let them eat cake, dept:

    I’d mentioned long shelf life bread previously, and I think its good for 4 to 6 months. I’m partial to their baguettes, and they have quite the selection of different bread types. Pop em’ in the oven for 12-15 minutes and you’re done.

    Here’s the website of the company

    We now offer free shipping by the case, making the price per loaf comparable to the grocery store, except we deliver directly to your front door. All bread and pizza crusts come in our Essential FreshSeal™ packaging that keeps it fresh for months without preservatives, so there’s no such thing as too much bread.

      1. Wukchumni

        It’s spendy because of the packaging, etc. It’s perfect for our cabin and we’ve been eating it for years, tastes good.

        After reading that Italian surgeon’s commentary, there’s going to be a lot of us under voluntary house arrest soon, and a dozen baguettes for $55 dlvd doesn’t sound expensive all of the sudden, when you don’t have to risk going shopping.

  45. Oregoncharles

    Chris Cuomo, trying to pacify Rosen and Turner (or silence Turner), quoted in the Johnstone piece (which I won’t quote the title because family blog):

    ” “You guys are in the same party. This is what you guys have to figure out. You’re in the same party. ”

    Yes, and maybe that’s the problem.

    1. Massinissa

      Wouldn’t it be nice if we were like Europe and had a political system that wasn’t two centuries out of date where only two institutionalized parties that are older than any living person get to claim they politically represent all 300 million Americans?

    1. John k

      This is triggering other moves.
      MsCI limit down (-5%).
      Dow down 1120
      10-yr 0.47!
      30-yr 0.97!
      Amazing, didn’t think I’d ever see these rates.
      Fed should buy and drive down mortgage rates if they want a real response, like home building.
      Interesting times, including tomorrow.

      1. Bill Carson

        I wish I would have sold all of my stocks and mutual funds on Friday, like I was considering. I’m calling my broker in the morning and I hope I can sell before they freeze the markets.

  46. allan

    S&P futures down 4.75%. Mr. Market has been moved from the ICU to palliative care.
    But surely a few choice words from Larry Kudlow will turn this around.

      1. allan

        The 30% drop in oil might have a lot to do with it.
        As documented in many NC posts, frackers were already in a precarious position.
        This will slam fracking-related manufacturers just as others are suffering from a range of other
        problems, from the 737 MAX to the seizing up of trade caused by the coronavirus
        to Trump’s ineffective trade policies.
        As the saying goes, in a crisis all correlations go to 1.

        But oil is Saudi Arabia’s doing.
        DJT can thank his Jared’s BFF MSB for damaging his re-election chances next time they chat.

        1. MLTPB

          I just read that the one-two punch of covid19 and OPEC Russia price war could take oil down to the 20s.

  47. Roland

    Excellent piece over at American Conservative. This quote is key:

    “Worst of all, three of these schools of thought seek to respond to working-class populist rebellions by offering workers the chance to become something other than workers, as though there were something shameful and retrograde about being an ordinary wage earner. Many champions of education as a panacea want to turn wage earners into professionals. Advocates of universal capitalism want to turn wage earners into investors. Antimonopolists want to turn wage earners into small business owners.”

    I would further argue that the solution to the problems of the proletariat does not consist in proletarians ceasing to be proletarians, but in proletarians making their society one in which it is good to be a proletarian. The willing exchange of one’s labour is a worthy activity for any human being. The performance and exchange of labour is the basis of all civilization. Since the proletariat is the class of labour performance in its purest form, the proletariat will ultimately prove to be the most civilized of all classes.

    1. notabanktoadie

      The willing exchange of one’s labour is a worthy activity for any human being. American Conservative

      One cannot be truly willing unless one is self-sufficient in the essentials of life – food, clothing and shelter.

      So where does the American Conservative advocate that all US citizens be self-sufficient?

      1. Oregoncharles

        No one is “truly self-sufficient” – that would be inhuman. We all require a social matrix to exist. And no, it isn’t all that voluntary.

        1. notabanktoadie

          I said food, clothing and shelter.

          Btw, wage labor is the EXCEPTION not the RULE, in the Old Testament.

  48. marym

    Citizens for Ethics @CREWcrew

    The coronavirus package includes $3.1 billion to develop drugs and vaccines and expand manufacturing, much of which will benefit the drug industry.

    The drug industry also succeeded in blocking language ensuring that the medicine would be affordable.

    With link to Politico:

    The drug industry is showing that even in a crisis, it can use its influence in Washington to fight off efforts to cut into its profits.

    Industry lobbyists successfully blocked attempts this week to include language in the $8.3 billion emergency coronavirus spending bill that would have threatened intellectual property rights for any vaccines and treatments the government decides are priced unfairly.

  49. Expat2Uruguay

    “Dozens of health care screeners and other employees at Los Angeles International Airport have been ordered to self-quarantine, after two colleagues tested positive for the coronavirus, a federal official told Reuters.”

    And “Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS) has confirmed five new cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in residents of the county.
    Four are being treated at hospitals in Contra Costa. They had no travel history outside the U.S. or known contact with a confirmed case. The fifth patient, who had close contact with another person who previously tested positive for COVID-19, is isolating at home under the guidance of CCHS.
    As of Sunday morning, Contra Costa has nine confirmed cases of novel coronavirus.

  50. Oregoncharles

    Another report on the d-star hexaquark:

    The link posted appears to contain some errors (the field remodeled if dark matter doesn’t exist would be gravity, not subatomic particles).

    The hexaquark proposal is the first I’ve seen that wasn’t essentially magical, since it’s a (probably) known particle and known physics.

    Otherwise, there’s something wrong with the theory of gravity – even though it’s very well confirmed.

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