2:00PM Water Cooler 4/2/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, this Water Cooler is way too light (though I fancy there are some topics that will provoke discussion). I’ve had some household issues over the past couple of days, and frankly I’m out of gas. Back to the usual tomorrow! –lambert


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

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


“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51

“They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.” –Frank Herbert, Dune

“They had learned nothing, and forgotten nothing.” –Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord

* * *


We encourage readers to play around with the polling charts; they are dynamic, and there are a lot of settings, more than I can usefully show here. Here is a link to alert reader dk’s project. You can also file bug reports or feature requests using the same contact process as for Plants, below. Thanks — but no promises!

We have no new national or state polls today. Here is the most recent poll from Wisconsin; as always, state polls are infrequent, small, and bad:

Here we see the effect of Obama’s Night of the Long Knives again. The numbers:

* * *

Biden (D)(1): Biden steps on amother rake:

Testing requires a note from your doctor. And treatment isn’t free.

Sanders (D)(1): The opportunity is there:

When you think of it, even 30% of the Democrat base, plus the State of California, isn’t a bad starting point for… for…..

* * *


In case you were momentarily thinking that the Democrat Establishment hasn’t lost their minds:

We can’t manufacture them ourselves, fool! Thanks to the globalization for which you are handmaidens and willing servants!

Realignment and Legitimacy

Legitimacy crisis:

“Pelosi announces new House committee on coronavirua” [Axios]. “Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Thursday the creation of a new House committee addressing the coronavirus crisis, led by House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.). The big picture: Pelosi said that the new committee would oversee ‘all aspects’ of the federal response to the pandemic, including the $2 trillion stimulus bill. She specifically cited the Truman Committee, formed in 1941 to address inefficiencies and profiteering during World War II, as a guide…. A lot of lawmakers have raised concerns about the implementation of the massive stimulus, given the overwhelming demand for loans. This committee will help address these concerns — and coordinate aid efforts between federal agencies.” • As I am sure everybody in the Beltway instantly realized, the Truman Committee of 1946 (“every committee report was unanimous, with bipartisan support”*) was Truman’s springboard to the Presidency, so it looks like Clyburn had bigger fish to fry for the Democrat Establishment than simply stopping Sanders. Not clear to me what “coordinate aid efforts between federal agencies” could possibly mean, except that it doesn’t sound like something the Legislative Branch would do, and is not something the Truman Committee did. NOTE * It will be interesting to see which Republicans Kevin McCarthy puts on the Committee; I suspect the well of bipartisan co-operation was irretrievably poisoned by RussiaGate and the impeachment debacle.

Lambert here: This is as good a time as any to say that there is an implicit mythology that a Democratic (i.e., a Clinton) Administration would have handled the #COVID19 crisis better than the Trump Administration did. Leaving aside the issue that the track record for “liberal democracies” handling the crisis is decidedly mixed, so it’s not clear what the baseline should be, I think there’s little reason to believe that; and that’s hard for me to say, since I came up as a Democrat. I should really turn this into a post, and the Crash was ten years ago, so my memory has faded. Nevertheless:

1. The net result of the Obama administration’s policies was: Pain for the working class for many years, and a labor market that never recovered; millions lost their homes, and a generation of black family wealth was destroyed; the FIRE sector was not broken up; and inequality increased. Also, of course, deaths of despair, including many suicides. More specifically:

a. The bailouts simply rebooted the FIRE sector;

b. The stimulus was not large enough (and was poorly marketed, too);

c. HAMP was an unseemly debacle;

d. The chain of title debacle (obscured as “robosigning”) enabled, through MERS, an enormous fraud by mortgage originators and servicers;

e. The foreclosure settlements were miserably small;

f. Not a single banker was prosecuted for accounting control fraud

2. The ObamaCare “marketplace” website crashed on launch in 2013, after four years of preparation. It took at least two months to fix. Nobody was held accountable, especially not Obama, whose signature project it was.

3. The entire Clinton campaign. Read Shattered and Chasing Hillary, as well as the never-discredited Podesta emails — for which Assange is still rotting in jail — if you want to see what a Clinton administration would have looked like from the inside. Shambolic doesn’t even begin to describe it.

I think the Democrat Establishment pictures themselves as wranglers — problem solvers who will go into the agencies and bend them to their will — as probably happened a good deal on the West Wing? The difficulty comes when you’re trying to wrangle a failed state. That’s rather like pushing on a string.

I welcome suggestions from readers on framing and cases, if turning this into a post is a good idea. The smugness drives me up the wall.

Stats Watch

At reader request, I added some business stats back in. Please give Econintersect click-throughs; they’re a good, old-school blog that covers more than stats. If anybody knows of other aggregators, please contact me at the email address below.

Manufacturing: “February 2020 Headline Manufacturing New Orders Unchanged” [Econintersect]. “According to the seasonally adjusted data, it was defense ships and boats that contributed most in the headline data. The data in this series is noisy so I would rely on the unadjusted 3 month rolling averages which improved. What should be concerning is the contraction of backlog/unfilled orders [maybe I should say that the coronavirus effects are not in this data].”

Trade: “February 2020 Trade Little Changed From January” [Econintersect]. “The data in this series wobbles and the 3-month rolling averages are the best way to look at this series. The 3-month average rate of growth was little changed for imports and exports.”

Employment Situation: “28 March 2020 Initial Unemployment Claims Unbelievable” [Econintersect]. BLS: “The COVID-19 virus continues to impact the number of initial claims. Nearly every state providing comments cited the COVID-19 virus.” More: “The pandemic has so far caused 10,000,000 job lost.” • 2020 continues to produce events where “I’ve never seen anything liike it.”

* * *

Another vertical straight line:

I’m sure there’s a backlog in processing claims, too. So the vertical line, in reality, shoots even higher.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 21 Extreme Fear (previous close: 22 Extreme Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 22 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Apr 1 at 11:44am. Back to Extreme Fear..

The Biosphere

“Oregon Humongous Fungus Sets Record As Largest Single Living Organism On Earth” [Oregon Public Broadcasting]. This is not a nice fungus at all. “”People don’t think of mushrooms killing trees,” said Greg Filip, a pathologist with the U.S. Forest Service…. Trees often benefit from mushrooms at their roots. Honey mushrooms, however, suck the life out of a number of types of trees…. That white fungus spreads up under the tree’s bark and rots its roots…. Back in 1988, Greg Whipple was the first Forest Service employee to realize they had ‘something different’ on their hands. Back then, it seemed to cover 400 acres. As of this story, it’s footprint covers more than 3 square miles.’When you realize this fungus spreads at one to three feet a year and you have something that large, you can calculate the age,’ Filip said. ‘And we’re looking at something anywhere from 2,000-to-8,000 years old.” • Impressive.

“Rootin’, poopin’ African elephants help keep soil fertile” [Nature]. “Judith Sitters, an ecologist at the Free University Brussels, visited Mpala in 2015. She analyzed soil and vegetation samples from each of the areas—plus a plot that had no cattle—to see the impact of livestock and wildlife on nutrient levels. She was surprised to find nearly twice as much carbon in the soil in grazing areas that included elephants, compared with those without them. Soil nitrogen was also much higher when elephants were present, providing additional nutrients for plant growth, she and colleagues reported last month in Nature Sustainability. Those levels were similar to measurements for plots that had no cattle at all. ‘We didn’t expect that there would be such a positive impact from these elephants,’ Sitters says.”

Health Care

“Is the coronavirus airborne? Experts can’t agree” [Nature]. Cf. our discussion yesterday: “Health officials say the virus is transported only through droplets that are coughed or sneezed out — either directly, or on objects. But some scientists say there is preliminary evidence that airborne transmission — in which the disease spreads in the much smaller particles from exhaled air, known as aerosols — is occurring, and that precautions, such as increasing ventilation indoors, should be recommended to reduce the risk of infection. In a scientific brief posted to its website on 27 March, the World Health Organization said that there is not sufficient evidence to suggest that SARS-CoV-2 is airborne, except in a handful of medical contexts, such as when intubating an infected patient. But experts that work on airborne respiratory illnesses and aerosols say that gathering unequivocal evidence for airborne transmission could take years and cost lives. We shouldn’t ‘let perfect be the enemy of convincing’, says Michael Osterholm, an infectious-disease epidemiologist at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.” • Pointing proudly to my Doctor of Philately diploma hanging over the mantlepiece: Both the China bus example and the Skagit Valley Chorale examples argue, to me, for some form of airborne transmission independent of respiratory droplets or fomites. (The Chorale seems to have been disciplined about social distancing.) However, I’d note that both examples are in enclosed spaces, not the open air. Putting on my policy hat, I’d be looking at HVAC systems, making sure filters were adequate and changed, and maybe increasing the speed with which air circulates (and maybe, if air temperature is a fadtor, adjusting it to minimize the chances of transmission).

“How to understand – and report – figures for ‘Covid deaths'” [The Spectator].

You might think it would be easy to calculate death rates. Death is a stark and easy-to-measure end point. In my working life (I’m a retired pathology professor) I usually come across studies that express it comparably and as a ratio: the number of deaths in a given period of time in an area, divided by that area’s population. For example, 10 deaths per 1,000 population per year. So just three numbers:

1. The population who have contracted the disease

2. The number dying of disease

3. The relevant time period

The trouble is that in the Covid-19 crisis each one of these numbers is unclear.

Which is all very well, I suppose, but humans experience death not as a rate but as the absolute that it is. There will surely be some large number of deaths, most especially if the curve does not flatten, and bad ones, too. I appreciate the Olympian perspective of the pathologist but we are here, on the ground.

I would like readers to critique this tweet to make sure it is not misinformation, even if a Professor did supply it:

The Stanford table clearly says “E. coli Disinfection Efficiency” (top right). Are these figures likely to carry over to a virus?

Class Warfare

“Coronavirus Creates an Opening for Progressivism — Also Barbarism” [New York Magazine]. “[A]s an extraordinary, exogenous shock to a badly broken status quo order, the COVID-19 pandemic has also expanded the spectrum of imaginable futures and political possibilities. And some of those possibilities have been a sight for sore socialists’ eyes…. [T]he prospect of mass un-insurance in the middle of a pandemic has thrown a spotlight onto the perversity of our nation’s employer-based health-care system. The deepening economic crisis has also exposed the inescapably political foundations of the market economy…. Finally, the pandemic has raised awareness of the profound social value that grocery-store clerks, warehouse workers, and deliver drivers create — and the failure of markets, as currently structured, to adequately compensate such labor…. If the coronavirus has provided cause for bullishness on democratic socialism, it’s offered at least as much reason to believe the future belongs to tribalistic barbarism.” • Like — I’m gonna say it — the 30% pop Joe Biden got after Obama’s Night of the Long Knives.

News of the Wired


We’re not the only ones… .

* * *

Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant (AM):

AM writes: “From last week in St Andrews Scotland. Crocuses putting on a brave front in somewhat chilly and damp weather.” I can feel the dampness…

* * *

Readers: Water Cooler is a standalone entity not covered by the annual NC fundraiser. So if you see a link you especially like, or an item you wouldn’t see anywhere else, please do not hesitate to express your appreciation in tangible form. Remember, a tip jar is for tipping! Regular positive feedback both makes me feel good and lets me know I’m on the right track with coverage. When I get no donations for five or ten days I get worried. More tangibly, a constant trickle of donations helps me with expenses, and I factor in that trickle when setting fundraising goals:

Here is the screen that will appear, which I have helpfully annotated.

If you hate PayPal, you can email me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, and I will give you directions on how to send a check. Thank you!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Guest Post, Water Cooler on by .

About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


    1. WheresOurTeddy

      In reading the chart, from 2016 to 2018, there was a 25(!) point jump in confidence among democrats when programming switched to “Orange Man Bad”. This is blatant evidence of confirmation bias in chart form.

      Also almost perfectly fits the 25-30 point jump Biden got on Bloody Monday, underscoring the intellectual laziness of fully 1/4 the democratic party electorate. This is before you even get into all the top-down class warriors who call themselves “progressive” with a straight face. Disgust overwhelms me.

      1. Bill Carson

        Perhaps MSNBC is more effective at making Democratic sheople as Fox News is at making Republican sheople.

      2. Left in Wisconsin

        I wish it was just intellectual laziness. I am surrounded by smart people incapacitated by TDS and have spent a lot of time and effort trying to get them to work beyond it. My working hypothesis at this point is that it is primarily a function of two things:

        1. People are deeply invested in the idea of Obama as a great president and it really is impossible to get them to change their minds on this. When I say I respect Obama as a smart person but I wish he had been a better president, which strikes me as a pretty gentle criticism, it is a complete conversation killer.

        2. Social distancing (the other kind). We continue to underestimate the devastating consequences of residential, occupation, marriage, and other kinds of class sorting. The Democratic professional class is now just completely out-of-touch with the working class. They literally do not know anyone who lost a home due to foreclosure during the crisis, gone bankrupt from medical bills, who depends on the gig economy for survival, etc. So they are not confronted with evidence from people they know and respect that would challenge the view (that is constantly presented and reinforced to them) that the only real problem is Trump.

        1. richard

          Yes, the myth of obama as a great president, even a “people’s” president, is very stubborn right now. It all comes down to 2008, geography and class (of course). 2008 has hung around like a sick, sad ghost in the Midwest, an enormous unacknowledged betrayal that deformed us and that made trump. Generally speaking, anyway.
          But where I live (Seattle), 2008 wasn’t as marked by those heavy betrayals, so no ghost hanging around, just a s*&^ton of non-stop obama mythmaking. So 8 years of that while this other thing spreads and metastasizes and then trump, and unprepared (the kind of unprepared you are with hands over your eyes) liberal brains break.
          “If Obama was so great, then why Trump?” Ask that question in Seattle and prepare for:
          1) some hateful, stupid stereotyping
          2) a quick deflection
          or 3) perhaps the most innocent looking question mark face you’ve ever seen
          so yeah, like Oh said, that and the vote rigging did Bernie in
          too many democrats with no real problems and (purposely) limited information
          and they won’t let others in their party

          1. floyd

            In my experience, many will say that Hillary was a poor candidate and that the country wasn’t ready for a woman. IMO that’s why they’re all in for Biden: basically same polices as Hillary and for some reason many believe that he is “likeable”. I have a running bet (think Trading Places) with a colleague that he won’t make it through the campaign without taking a swing at a voter.

            1. albrt

              Who wins that bet if Biden doesn’t make it through the campaign at all? Because that’s where my money would be.

              1. Anarcissie

                I think Biden is a stand-in who will be replaced at the right moment. The Democrat leadership is concerned about Sanders’s holding out because when they remove Biden there will be a moment when no one is obliged to vote for the appointed successor and the convention may get off the leash.

            2. Sordo

              Perhaps more likely a voter knocks Creepy, Crazy Joe out or is the one delivering the punch. Joe’s “let’s take this outside” is clearly more bark than bite and if he puts his finger in the wrong worker’s chest, the worker reaction may be regrettable by both worker and Biden, but not the spectators. HOPE.

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          If ” Obama was a Great President but could have been Even Greater” is a conversation killer anyway, one might as well drop some real Conversation Killer Bombshells.

          Like . . . ” Why did Obama conspire with McConnell to make the Bush Tax Cuts permanent?”

          Like . . . ” Why does Obama hate Social Security?”
          ( ” What!? He does NOT hate Social Security!”)
          ” No? Then why did he create a Catfood Commission composed of Social
          Security Haters to recommend cutting Social Security?”

          Like . . . . “Why did Obama let Cheney’s torturers get off Scot Free? Does Obama
          support torture?”

          and like others you could probably think of . . .

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              Think of them as . . .

              Jonestown Branch Clintonians.
              Jonestown Branch Obamians.
              Jonestown Branch Bidenians.

              There. Now you understand them.

    2. Painted Shut

      The point I inferred from that post was, whereas the MSM was unfair to Trump in 2016 like they’ve been to Bernie in 2016/2020, Trump struck back “bigly”, waging a war on “fake news”, whereas Bernie has not seemed to fight back at all.

      1. Oh

        Bernie being incapable of rebutting media lies or Bidens’s lies, was in retrospect, a poor candidate for the left. He would have been a good mentor to a vibrant candidate. Anyone else with the same ideas would have done a lot better.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          He was the only one the Left had. He was the only one the Left was left with.

          Gabbard might have been better in terms of carrying the battle to the heart of the enemy. But the enemy suppressed her exposure so well that she could never achieve breakout or breakthrough. And Bernie was, sad to say, too much of a nice guy weakling in certain respects to lift her out of obscurity and shove her right up into the face of the Debates and the Media and so forth.

      2. JTMcPhee

        So we are to write off Bernie, start laying out all the reasons (ala Hillary) why our candidate failed us?

        1. Carey

          EVM, EVM, EVM. Biden was in nowherelLand; then, suddenly..

          And it’s all, shamefully, gone down the Memory Hole; and in just an instant.

          what a country

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          I would say “no”. He works very hard and he has inspired a bunch-load of people to begin forming up into a movement. If he stays in Active Campaign Mode right till the very end of the Convention, he may keep them inspired.

          It then becomes up to the people in the movement to stay a coherent movement till they can find the ” human tire iron” they need to be the candidate they want. They can’t do that if they disperse, demobilize and demotivate.

          And maybe people should look harder at the Vast Rich Wing Conspiracy plotting to smother, muffle and undermine Sanders at every turn. Including a much-heightened public-view analysis of why those exit polls which still exist reported such a wide variance from what the various ” elections” “totaled”. Raise nasty questions and doubts in the public mind as to whether Sanders even really DID lose.

          But yes, it is a psychological weakness of some sort which leads Sanders to not bring this up himself. And it is some kind of weakness by which Sanders self-inhibited himself from beating down a senile old man in public, considering that the senile old man in question needed a beat down for the benefit of us all. Gore also had the same weakness. Neither Gore nor Sanders have a heart full of hatred when hatred is called for.

    3. L

      Also lest we forget Trump sold himself as a “problem solver” who could make things happen in government in just the same way that the Dems insist they are.

      Conclusion: It’s always easy to be the best coach when you are benched.

    4. clarky90

      I am encouraged to see that after 2018, the Democrat voters are gradually waking up from their media-induced stupor. The MSM have been “skilfully finessing” our shared reality, long before I was even born.

      “Statement on Walter Duranty’s 1932 Prize”

      “After more than six months of study and deliberation, the Pulitzer Prize Board has decided it will not revoke the foreign reporting prize awarded in 1932 to Walter Duranty of The New York Times.

      In recent months, much attention has been paid to Mr. Duranty’s dispatches regarding the famine in the Soviet Union in 1932-1933, which have been criticized as gravely defective. However, a Pulitzer Prize for reporting is awarded…blah blah blah…” (covering your ass with fake ethics)

    5. Juanstantine

      I think the Huffington Post did a great job as to why Bernie did not do as well in 2020 (yes, it is from an establishment point of view, regardless, here’s the link):

    6. clarky90

      On a practical note;
      I became interested in pandemic viruses back in the H1N5 Fluwiki days (2005). Thankfully, our concerns did not eventuate.

      Covid19 (called the Wuhan Flu then) came into my awareness, early to mid January 2020. I was watching/reading Chinese citizen journalists/doctors/nurses who were getting the word out to the World; at enormous physical risk, and relentless social shaming (cancel-culture) to themselves. All of these selfless Chinese martyrs have been jailed, quarantined or have died of viral infection, or have “died” of viral infection.

      Meanwhile our NZ MSM, was talking breathlessly (!) about Russia (what else), Meghan and Harry, impeachment and so on. They often would mention Covid 19 in passing. NZ TV1 would periodically bring on a young expert virologist, with dyed purple hair, to reassure us. “Everything was A-OK. Don’t be concerned; we have assessed the threat levels, blah blah bla. No need to worry…”

      So, in NZ, it was “no worries…….. still no worries…….of course, no worries… no worries, then suddenly, “Level #3 threat!” (never level #1, or level #2) and two days later level #4 (lockdown for 14 days). “Don’t PANIC! Just shop normally (yes, ok).

      I have not been to a shop for about three weeks. But, food prices have gone up (NZ$13 for a cauli), and apparently some things are unobtainable, like flour and yeast.

      So, practically, because I had lost trust the MSM, I was able to warn my friends and family (not that they listened), stock up on the things I will need, like zinc supplements, batteries, Vitamin D (sunbathe as if my life depended on it), hamburger, Himalayan salt, spring water from the local spring, denatured alcohol, bleach…..

      People who have trusted the MSM are scrambling for basic supplies. Even worse, they have not had any time to go through the stages of grief, as “The World as we have gotten- to-known it” disappears before our eyes. IMO, never to come back.

      What comes next? Not BAU

      1. Tom Bradford

        The twice I’ve been to a supermarket in NZ since the imposition of level 4 I’ve had to join short queues (5-8 people) to get in, seen plenty of rice, flour, yeast and other staples once deliveries caught up with the initial panic buying and seen nothing in the way of price gouging. In fact the govt has set up a web-site for people to report price gouging to:


        The Prime Minister commented on the $13 cauliflower rumour in a press conference and promised to investigate – and stamp down on it if true.

        Yes, down here in the arse-end of the world we were caught out by the spread of the virus, like everyone else. I’d imagine that was because we followed the lead of the experts in the US and the UK at the time rather than thinking we knew better. Given that handicap I’d say that once reality started to take hold NZ responded faster and more decisively than any other Western Govt.


        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          I think we need to have a think before we shut down Western Civilization due to one of many corona strains out in the world. Are all deaths where the patient tested positive included as “corona” deaths, even if they died of a heart attack or other ailment? Are we randomly testing the general population enough to know how many people already have it?

          Link to the most sober and sensible analysis and policy prescription I’ve seen: https://www.livewiremarkets.com/wires/virus-strategy-must-change-to-protect-90-per-cent-majority?utm_campaign=8493&utm_medium=wire-page-share&utm_source=linkedin&utm_content=virus-strategy-must-change-to-protect-90-per-cent-majority

          1. Bsoder

            Your way off base. By WHO standards all deaths are coded the same way. And I’ll tell you this the only people getting into hospitals are those in need of ICU, 50% of which are dying. Then there are those in hospital not likely to die right way don’t have CV19, but do have a respirator, so they die for a CV19 patient who might live. Many people who die of CV19 who aren’t in hospitals are coded out as ‘found dead at site’. Maybe a pathologist will get to it maybe not, more not. In no way is this a simple situation. Except for those admitted to a hospital and those that die, none of the data is useful. Without a vaccine everyone eventually gets it. Probably more than once.

      2. clarky90

        Hi Tom
        I haven’t been to the supermarket from well before the lockdown, so I believe what you say.

        1. Tom Bradford

          You should try it – it’s actually quite a pleasant experience for a change. Chatted with the socially-distanced strangers in the queue while we waited to get in, (one out, one in), hand-sanitiser and disposable gloves at the door, plenty of room in the aisles, four of the checkouts womanned rather than the usual one and none of that god-awful musac. Both the last I assume are to get you through and out asap but I’ve no problem with that.

    7. The Rev Kev

      That is a remarkable chart that. I have no idea how it played out. Did those Democrats pin their identity to what the media was telling them & ramped up their support or were they attracted to the messages told them by the media and so became Democrats. That chart deserves a lot of study that.

      1. LarryB

        That’s because insecure platforms are always easier to use. Security is a pain, keys, passwords, tokens, always default to the least access, and so on, and on, and on. Things would be much easier if there weren’t so many a*holes in the world.

    1. Daryl

      Zoom is getting hammered. It seems like we can’t have a day go by without discovering some horrific, anti-prviacy anti-security behavior from them.

      I will say that I have used lots of video conferencing software over the last few years, and while it used to be very slim pickins with regards to what worked, most of it “just works” pretty well now and probably doesn’t have as horrific of a track record as Zoom when it comes to this stuff.

    2. Arizona Slim

      I’ve been on the Bernie Sanders campaign volunteer Slack since last fall. In recent days, they’ve noted an increase in Zoom disruptions.

    3. Billy

      And there’s something buggy at that site that my anti-virus software refuses to allow to open. Who would ever think that a dreaded computer virus would seem relatively benign?

      1. boots

        Not sure if it’s been mentioned before… Jitsi Meet is a mature free software platform for the same use cases as Zoom. Fully encrypted, no privilege escalation malware, audited code, pretty sure you can self-host, etc. Lots of orgs I pay attention to have been using it for years for their meetings.

        The Zoom madness reminds me of the bonanza of badge cam sales after the Ferguson uprising, or gun and ammo profiteering after every news cycle on a massacre. Consumer goods don’t solve social problems.

    4. Punxsutawney

      My wife is a college instructor teaching classes through Zoom, and this hasn’t happened to her, but has happened to co-workers.

      Must be nice to have nothing better to do than be a jerk.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Are her classes on completely and uniquely non-controversial subjects and material?

      2. fajensen

        Maybe she is very good at it and/or popular?

        I heard some rumours that bored and passive aggressive employees have deliberately leaked their “meeting ID” on the internet so that their meeting can be lightened up a bit and they get to poke their masters in the eye, although indirectly.

        Some colleagues forget to mute and then during a meeting some of us recognise the sounds of a 1’st person shooter.

  1. Synoia

    Our leaders in both parties have forgotten how to govern.

    Why shoud they Govern? Governing requires effort and hard decisions.

    Much better to be in opposition, and use the fear of loss to raise money.

    In other words, they are professional money raisers. Governing is not in their list of priorities, as effective Governing will cause donations from some faction to cease..

    1. L

      Yes. I have said all along that they fear a Sanders presidency more than a Biden loss precisely because he would stymie their money laundering (ahem fundraising) and at the same time would force them to actually pony up and achieve things.

      Both would be doom from their point of view.

      1. Oh

        I wonder if the money donated to their campaigns is money from illegal activities that’s being laundered. If it is it’s a double bonus cause they can evade taxes and get bills passed in their favor.

    2. mrsyk

      What Synoia said. Election cycles are cash cows. Results don’t matter. I’ve donated to Sanders, Gravel and Gabbard this cycle, but I’ve had misgivings about feeding the frenzy.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Well, if money to Sanders, Gravel and Gabbard goes to and through different channels, and does not go through the mainstream Democrat frenzy channels; then no, actually your contributions have not been feeding the frenzy.

  2. timbers

    Biden and the rake on $2,000 premiums/Covid:

    He possibly would have better off responding: “If you like your virus, you can keep your virus.”

    Because at least that way some might have just assumed he meant to say insurance instead of virus.

    1. deplorado

      Good M4A slogan!

      “If you like your virus, you can keep your virus.
      For everybody else, there is M4A.”

    2. Aumua

      $2000/month is kind of hard to believe. Do regular people really pay that? I mean I’ve always been on state low income healthcare programs or else my student health insurance through school. So I really don’t know. How much does someone who pays $2000/month premiums make per year?

      1. griffen

        You could ask around. I worked previously with younger folk, starting families and the remarks were the premiums ran up to $10k per year. The employer offered benefits, but very modest at best for young families. Steep and costly.

        Think of the salaries right around the median US income, thereabouts. Maybe better than $60k in a few samples, just perhaps.

      2. Bsoder

        Try $3700, with $5000 deductible and $10k co-pays for me and my wife. And there’s all the stuff that isn’t covered. I had to start a hedge fund to pay for it (everyone else is covered as well, and no one including the cleaning people have been laid off). It’s not a big fund. But it’s big enough. Mostly we short oil frackers and the banks who lend.

      3. Odysseus

        The times when I had to pay for my own insurance, it was nowhere near that. Single 40-45 year old generally healthy, 400-500/mo.
        Start changing any of those attributes and I’m sure the numbers change.

  3. kareninca

    So, I guess the plan now is to actively kill off old people:

    “New York issued a statewide advisory last week forbidding nursing homes from denying residents admission “solely based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19,.” California told its nursing homes to make similar preparations. Massachusetts announced plans to designate specific nursing homes as care centers for COVID-19 patients — a move that has set it apart from other states

    “Sending hospitalized patients who are likely harboring the virus to nursing homes that do not have the appropriate units, equipment and staff to accept COVID-19 patients is a recipe for disaster,” said Mark Parkinson, president of the American Health Care Association.” (https://apnews.com/78e495c299d67e60d45729352f2c0d44)

    Sorry if this has already been posted. It is hard to keep up.

    My 95 year old father in law lives with us. We are doing our best to protect him. I feel terrible for people who can’t have their old parents at home now.

    1. smoker

      And it’s not just the old family members, which I wish these Nursing Facility articles would point out (since there are way too many who appear not to care about how vulnerable elders live out their lives) to achieve a far larger outraged audience. It includes those (outside of babies) of all ages, and many with temporary mental health issues, who end up temporarily on nursing home premises; sometimes for months.

      1. JBird4049

        Charming. Supporters of social hygiene.

        If anyone wants to discuss this with any proponents of this, may I suggest that bringing up the various “programs” the Nazis used for “racial hygiene.” If they still want to support their positions, bring up Aktion-4.

        Also a good introduction to 20th century eugenics would be War Against the Weak by Edwin Black. It also gives a good overview of how British, and later the Americans, developed the various parts (campaigning for, developing the ideology, the “research,” and later the supposed cures like marriage laws, imprisonment, sterilization, and ultimately genocide.)

        Please be sure to explain that. Every. Single. Thing. That the Nazis did, with the qualified exception of genocide, they learned from, and did after their fellow eugenicists in the various British and especially American supporters and organizations with heavy financial support of large corporations.

        Modern eugenics started just with idea of financial support for couples of “good stock” or “breeding” by the creator of the word eugenics (Francis Galton). He believed in the theory but did not want to suggest anything more as it might get out of hand. So from the word’s invention in 1883 to Dachau, Auschwitz, and the other camps being overrun in 1945 was 62 years. Less than the biblical three score and ten years.

        This filth makes me want to medieval on some fools.

  4. dcblogger

    According to my Next Door list, DC’s Ward 6 has the highest number of coronavirus cases in the city. Ward 6 is home to the DC Jail, so it might be that simple. It is also the home of Capitol Hill, and very wealthy powerful people live here. Early on, when the Mayor demanded that restaurants close, a small group of restaurants in Capitol Hill, all owned by the same group, stayed open. These are VERY expensive restaurants, so aside from the long suffering wait staff, only the very wealthy would have been exposing themselves. I would really love to know how many infections can be traced back to that folly.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Are those restaurants still open? Restaurants like that in every city, but especially in DC, would be the place for corona victims with no insurance to go into and go Corona Postal on all the patrons of those highest end restaurants.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Actually, now that I think about it, COVID carriers going INto those restaurants would have put innocent workers at risk. Better to have hung around the restaurants and leap out to cough and sneeze on the very rich powerful people just after they were LEAVing the restaurants. Infect the guilty, not the innocent.

        But its moot now, if the restaurants were closed.

  5. Isotope_C14

    “30min UV light (40W at 2ft, e.g. typical biosafety cabinet)”

    Utter baloney. The UV lights last for about 3 months of use, if even that long. In *most* cabinets, they are never replaced.

    UV is lab voodoo, and a terrible idea to “sterilize” anything.

    1. FreeMarketApologist

      BBC article says the UV you need to kill CV is not something you should be fooling with yourself. Makes the differentation between UVA, UVB, and UVC.

  6. New Wafer Army

    > ” The difficulty comes when you’re trying to wrangle a failed state.”

    Kudos to you Lambert for accepting the reality of the US as an experiment whose time is done. For too many people, this is unimaginable. To paraphrase Wilde, America is a land separated by a common language.

    What replaces the United States of America?

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      well…it could be reasonably argued that the end point of 40-50 years of randian libertarianism vs(like a tennis match) neoliberalism is, necessarily “Bellum omnium contra omnes”.

      from “there is no such thing as society” to “everything to the left of goebbels is comminism!”, i’m hardly surprised that we’re here…only at the vector that finally accomplished it.(and that’s not really a surprise, i just thought it would be something else)

      of course, i haven’t been out mingling and eavesdropping and talking to people(fieldwork)…and i ain’t on SocMed…so i don’t know if there’s a preponderance of the better angels of our nature afoot in my part of the world. it’s possible…twitter and msm ain’t the world, after all.

      whatever shakes out, I’d prefer smaller polities.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Probably a “Warring States” period while the populations sort themselves out into some kind of post-shakedown reality.

      Great Han Lebensraum China will work very hard to turn Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon and California into a New Overseas Tibet.

      Some biggish low-density cities may become the Free City capitals of Free City-States. Some Mad Max barbarian kingdoms. The Southern States might function as a kind of Byzantium after Rome fell. They might even call themselves the United States of America.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          I was making a historical allusion to the Roman Empire. After the Western Empire fell, the Eastern Empire ( Byzantium) continued to call itself the Roman Empire for at least several hundred more years. (Maybe it started calling itself Byzantium after that).

          So I was suggesting that the Southern States would become a sort of New Byzantium and might call themselves the United States of America in the same way that ” East Rome/Byzantium” continued to call itself the Roman Empire.

          1. The Rev Kev

            In John Michael Greer’s novel “Twilight’s Last Gleaming”, (spoiler alert!!) the United States is dissolved at a Constitutional Convention and at the end of it, a group of Senators and the ex-President decide to form a new country mostly based on the original 13 States of the Union and its original principles & adopt the Betsy Ross flag reflecting this.

    3. Left in Wisconsin

      How about the increasingly worse and dysfunctional United States of America? A failed state is still a state.

    4. The Rev Kev

      If it starts to fall apart – and taking a journey to the dark side – all those neoliberals, bankers, financial types, Wall Streeters, neocon warmongers, health company executives, etc. might find Trump’s wall being put to another use courtesy of a squad of riflemen.

    5. Synoia

      The US appears to be he last remaining 18th Century empire. ‘All the others, Russian, German, French British, Spanish, Austro-Hungarian, and Ottoman have vanished into history.

      Many did not survive WW1. The remainder hardly survived for another 50 years.

      1. LifelongLib

        Well, the U.S. wasn’t very imperial until the end of the 19th century, and didn’t even try ruling the waves until after WW2, when there was nobody else left who could do it. Calling the U.S. an 18th century empire is a stretch.

      2. Librarian Guy

        Bingo!! Since 1945, the US has been the central power of reactionary capitalist control, entirely similar to what started in Europe among the 4 great powers (Britain, Prussia, Russia, Austria) devoted to property, Christian rule, subjugation of the majority of the working populace), running from Napoleon’s defeat (1815) until the “Revolutions of 1848”, which were mostly partial or balked.

        Of the 4 reactionary states, Metternich’s Austria was the most interventionist in keeping things backward, with extensive secret police ties throughout the allied, reactionary powers dedicated to crushing worker rights or anything remotely liberatory. USA has played precisely this role since 1945, picking up the ball from the British empire thru NATO, the CIA, later financial “reforms” like the IMF, World Bank, etc. Origins thereof– https://courses.lumenlearning.com/boundless-worldhistory/chapter/the-congress-of-vienna/

        I’d say the real decline at least began with Reagan (fittingly, old and not particularly smart, but with some competent deputies), congealed with the Bush Supreme Court/ Florida electoral coup (not that Gore would’ve governed greatly differently), & finally hardened into fully “failed state” level with Obama’s 3rd term of Bushism, endless wars, immunity for white collar crimes among the Elites, etc. starting in 2009. The Elites can be happy that they have indeed taught the peons themselves to fully accept TINA (Obama’s “Night of the Long Knives” as this site calls it, is recent proof) and misrule by a tiny, sociopathic and heedless elite.

        I don’t claim to know what’ll come next . . . it’d be nice to think that in some areas people could create something humane and workable, but overall, it doesn’t seem very likely in most parts of the world where nationalistic, God-bothering or bizarro-world beliefs and philosophies rule. Modern westerners are (imho) simply Homo Consumeris, not “citizens” or free, self-determined agents in any way. This might’ve seemed sustainable in our ever-expanding Bubble economy, but Nature came up to bat, we now see the results . . .

        If I knew where things might improve, I’d try to go there– I think Orlov’s 5 Stages of Collapse pretty well summarizes recent events, but it doesn’t point me towards what could be the next, if any, viable social organization for human survival.

  7. Jason Boxman

    A few years ago kos was hiring for a senior software engineer in CA for 120k on Stack Overflow jobs; Clearly that site makes some serious buck. Running a propaganda site for liberal Democrats is a very profitable exercise.

    1. John

      You know about Markos Moulitsas right?

      Don’t think I can post it here. But it’s not too hard to guess his background.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        I read years ago that he is descended from a Greek family living in El Salvador. At some point he spent some time as a low-level groupie for some little part of the CIA.

        But i read that years ago.

  8. Hepativore

    It might be too late, but he would have nothing to lose by doing this…

    I know that Sanders is remaining in the race largely to gather awareness for the importance of Medicare-For-All and fundraising for Coronavirus containment efforts. The DNC has already decided to coronate Biden for better or for worse. However, this might present a small opening, as the DNC’s attention might be diverted elsewhere.

    Sanders can consider Biden to be his “friend” all he likes, for better or for worse, but that does not mean that Biden’s policies will not be disastrous. Is there anyway we can convince Sanders to call out Biden for the deaths that will be on Biden’s hands as well if he became president? Since Biden is refusing to even discuss the idea of Medicare-For-All, it would seem that Sanders should correctly point out that a president Biden will condemn many to perish under our broken healthcare system.

    Finally, I know that Sanders will fall in line with the Democratic Party if and when he drops out, because he thinks it would be a better option than reelecting Donald Trump. Still, I do not know why he does not see that Biden will probably fail miserably going against Donald Trump in the general election, and why he did not say this. It is one thing to like somebody personally, but that does not mean that there are not some things that they are not cut out to do, and there is too much at stake not to highlight this.

    Anyway, just an observation on my part. I am already mentally preparing myself for Trump 2020. I have no plan on voting for Trump, but I am voting third party if it comes to it as I have had it with the Democratic Party leadership.

    1. a different chris

      >Is there anyway we can convince Sanders to call out Biden for the deaths that will be on Biden’s hands as well if he became president?

      But Bernie is convinced, and so the heck am I, that the most deaths will occur if Trump is re-elected?

      How are you going to convince Bernie that destroying the Democratic Party is still the right strategy in this particular situation? What works economically (highlight the contradictions and get food and shelter to the most at risk in the meantime) doesn’t work when something outside of politics is simply killing people, food and shelter doesn’t slow it down. Heck shelter makes it worse.

      1. Youngblood

        I am not convinced that a Biden presidency would be better for minimizing Covid deaths than a Trump presidency. Biden is already showing a callous indifference to people’s inability to seek treatment for Coronavirus. And he has no personal track record of standing up for the little guy or of any competency in promoting any policy other than neoliberalism. Biden encouraged people to go out and vote in person and expose themselves to the virus, only for his own personal gain.

        What is the rationale for thinking that Trump 2020 is worse than Biden 2020?

        1. The Rev Kev

          So a few days ago they arrested that idiot pastor for getting his flock to gather in church services in defiance of all laws and at risk to their actual lives. Does that mean then that they could arrest Tom Perez and Joe Biden for demanding that voters put their lives at risk at voting stations when they could have simply posted in their votes?

      2. HotFlash

        >Is there anyway we can convince Sanders to call out Biden for the deaths that will be on Biden’s hands as well if he became president?

        Pro’ly not, judging by what he did when he lost to HRC. He kept his word and supported her, did more rallies than she did, went to states she didn’t, and IIRC he didn’t ever lied that She was great, he just hammered on Trump bad. He may have a bully pulpit, but he is not a bully and that’s who we have. Don’t like it? run your own self.

        A little self-reflection: The Dem party is supposedly the Party of Workers and The Left, but their failures to do that are huge and legendary. So, to get real representation for *us* workers and lefties, we need to either create a third party strong enough to actually win substantial elective office from without (Green approach) or take the Dem party over with a faction strong enough to win substantial elective office from within (Bernie approach). So far, They have beaten back both sorts of attacks. Which can be seen as Greens and Bernie’s failure to attract massive support, or, looking at it another way, our failure to massively support them.

        Politics is not a spectator sport, neither plan will work without massive *massive* organizing and voter support. So, we have a lot of unfinished business on our hands, no need to blame either the Greens or Bernie for trying their best.

      1. neo-realist

        I’m betting that when Trump fleshes out his program for Medicare/Medicaid expansion, it will be a free market program involving private insurers who will provide the coverage, and it’s going to be coverage that will be more expensive than ACA. But he will label it as some sort of medicare 4 all, Trump style. Trump and the Republicans would never do a big government FDR/LBJ health care program, bet on it.

        That being said, I hope to be proven wrong.

      2. John Wright

        There is always the Nixon healthplan, which involved Teddy Kennedy

        From below: ” Then Watergate hit and took Nixon down. Kennedy said later that walking away from that deal was one of the biggest mistakes of his life.”


        “When Richard Nixon was a teenager, he watched two of his brothers die. His little brother went first, at age 7, of a sudden and mysterious illness. Then his big brother died at age 22, after a long battle with tuberculosis. It was the 1920s. Health insurance hardly existed. The sicknesses sapped his parents’ meager resources. His mother stopped baking pies for the family’s little grocery store to care full time for her ailing son. Nixon worked as a janitor to earn extra money, and turned down a scholarship to Harvard because it didn’t cover room and board.”

        “When Nixon, a staunch Republican, became president in 1969, he threw his weight behind health care reform.”

        “Instead, Nixon proposed a plan that required employers to buy private health insurance for their employees and gave subsidies to those who could not afford insurance. Nixon argued that this market-based approach would build on the strengths of the private system.”


        “Over time, (Ted) Kennedy realized his own plan couldn’t succeed. Opposition from the insurance companies was too great. So Kennedy dispatched his staffers to meet secretly with Nixon’s people to broker a compromise. Kennedy came close to backing Nixon’s plan, but turned away at the last minute, under pressure from the unions. Then Watergate hit and took Nixon down. Kennedy said later that walking away from that deal was one of the biggest mistakes of his life.”


        “Although the two plans are different — Nixon’s mandated companies to buy insurance, while Obama’s mandates individuals — both bolster the system of private insurance instead of creating something new.”

        ****** (end of quotes from the article)

        One can argue that Nixon’s mandate that employers buy the insurance rather than Obama’s mandate that individuals buy insurance would have resulted in lower costs.

        In Nixon’s case wealthy/powerful employers would be battling with wealthy/powerful insurance companies to lower costs, while in Obama’s case, relatively powerless individuals battle with insurance companies.

        Maybe Donald Trump is a reincarnated Dick Nixon.

  9. Darius

    I’d argue that Bill Clinton had the tactical skills to mount a reasonably competent response had this occurred when he was president. He also was an actual small-ball policy wonk, so he would have had the interest to stay engaged and make sure things happened that needed to. Some of Bill Clinton’s appointees were competent. James Lee Witt at FEMA comes to mind. Nevertheless, Bill Clinton’s approach to everything was classic Democrat: reactive. And always the element of corruption. He tried some big initiatives at first but botched them. After that, everything was small ball.

    Obama was nothing but empty gestures and virtue signaling. The liberals swallowed it hook, line, and sinker, but for everyone else, the feeling of decay was inescapable. I think the Obamacare rollout and the Deepwater Horizon are good models for how he would have handled COVID-19. He just didn’t give a hoot if he couldn’t turn it into something self-adulatory. Sound like anyone we know?

    I never respected Hillary’s political or administrative ability. She always seemed like she didn’t know what she was doing, but was able to bully other people into following her down the garden path. She rode to the nomination in 2016 on the strength of her associations, and it was her turn. I could see her dropping the ball on this, as well. Maybe differently from the way Trump is, but a lot of the same pathologies related to corruption.

    1. jo6pac

      James Lee Witt at FEMA

      Likely one of the best in govt. sadly it’s been down hill since

    2. Monty

      My suspicion is that the governments have gamed out pandemics many, many times over the last 30 years. What we are witnessing is not an epic eff up, but rather the best plan the experts at .gov could come up with, based on cost benefit analysis of their simulations. Their assumption is that its cheaper and easier to just let it run its course quickly, rather than spend a fortune preparing, or fighting endless outbreaks for a long time. Our lives are just numbers to them.

      All the mistakes and pronouncements are just to add a bit of plausible deniability for their heartless scheme. I don’t think it would have made the blindest difference who was president, this is the best they had. Luckily for us, this time it appears that the virus is mild in the vast majority of cases. Imagine if it wasn’t!

      1. rd

        Never attribute to conspiracy what you can attribute to incompetence and negligence. That latter are far more likely to be the driving factors – Occam’s Razor.

        1. floyd

          Not sure that’s as applicable in an age when there is a cottage industry of billionaire “think tanks” that employ people to sit around and think up such things and are savvy enough to leverage said incompetence and negligence.

          1. JTMcPhee

            The Heritage Foundation published a massive tome in 1980 titled “mandate for Leadership.” It was the blueprint followed almost to the letter by the Reaganauts in setting about to destroy the effectiveness of what In the government hadn’t been messed up by neglect, or bad intent by earlier generations of Powell Memo recipients.

            Here’s a nice long read about the Heritage Foundation and its baleful effects:

            “ The Fall of the Heritage Foundation and the Death of Republican Ideas
            How the Heritage Foundation went from the intellectual backbone of the conservative movement to the GOP’s bane—and how it’s hurting the party’s hopes for a turnaround”


            The first thing there Reaganauts did, following the Mandate, was stop all enforcement actions by the EPA. Note that Trump’s regime has just done the same. Another thing they did was a book-burning, removing all kinds of reports and research from the regional libraries and putting I think 30 copies of “Mandate for Leadership” on a bare shelf with instructions for Regional manager to read the chapter on the knackering of the Environmental Protection Agency.

            Another element of MfL was demanding all science being done by EPA to be “good science,” according to the Reagan Religion. There was a notebook of approved and politically incorrect scientists, hamstringing the actual science that was being done by the Agency in all the areas of its remit. (This was after the tenure of William Ruckelshaus, who was a pretty decent administrator with respectable credentials.)

            Most people these days either have no memory of what the Reaganauts did, and are not looking at any of the parallels between what all the elements of the Uniparty of Great Wealth have done and are doing so consistently for the last couple of generations. Remember Obama, the “clean coal president?” https://insideclimatenews.org/news/20100210/obama-making-clean-coal-president?

            Don’t think these people are not savvy and intentional in what they are doing. May not be some grand conspiracy, but somehow all the lines run in so much the same direction…

            1. Librarian Guy

              And the Dems fell in line with Clintonian “triangulation” and the beginning of “lesser evil” Corporate servitude, would give the Corporations only 97% or so of what they demanded, occasionally would enforce environmental laws that clearly limited direct deaths but otherwise pretty much the Same, Market Rules.

              Establishment pols run the gamut from Steve King (far right), Mike Pence (Bronze Age Theocrat right) to Hillary (center right), nobody to the left of Clintonian “center right” is allowed. You can have an occasional Sanders or AOC for aspirational, “look at that shiny object” value, but the Establishment will make sure the likes of them will NEVER govern.

              And now, here we are.

        1. Darius

          You say that like it’s a bad thing, HotFlash. I think, Monty, you’re probably right. It’s part blatant corruption and part Cass Sunstein’s Nudge, in which the little people are just expendable inputs. The important thing here isn’t addressing the crisis and its human cost, but making sure the right people make out like bandits. As for Occam’s Razor, I think there is an abundance of incompetence and negligence. I also think the underlying assumptions are corruption and abuse of power. In addition, Chomsky has written about the unwitting conspiracy of like-minded individuals.

          1. LifelongLib

            Forget if it was quoted here before, but IIRC it was Gore Vidal who said “The rich don’t need to conspire, they’re all on the same team already.”

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Ruthlessly efficient, in fact. Amount raised to build basic houses in Haiti: +/- $100M. Number of houses built? 19.

        My favorite part was when they needed to spend millions buying rice and other crops so people could eat. Did they buy from local Haitian suppliers? Um, no. The contract went to some of Bubba’s rice growing buddies in Arkansas and they shipped it in.

        So a husband/wife team who know how to run a fantastic grift (and stay out of jail!) would be a perfect fit for a past-its-use-by-date slave plantation empire country

    3. Big River Bandido

      The United States still had a manufacturing base when Bill Clinton entered the White House. Clinton was the architect of the policies that dismantled what remanded of it.

      If he’d had to function at the head of the failed state he created — a nation now incapable of making and distributing even the most basic consumer items — Clinton would not have done any better than the clowns who followed him.

      But he would have spun it great.

      1. flora

        One US, still standing, unionized manufacturer switches from making baseball caps to making PPE face shields. Podcast.

        As one of the few remaining manufacturers in the US, Mitch Cahn & Unionwear are trying to fill the void left by all of the cost cutting, outsourcing companies that have contributed to our crippled supply chain for lifesaving healthcare products, including personal protection equipment. They have turned a factory that was gearing up to make baseball hats for the Olympics, the US Census, and presidential campaigns into a facility making face shields & isolation gowns for frontline healthcare workers.


        Short supply lines are good. On shore manufacturing is good.

        1. flora

          adding: there’s a pause midway thru the podcast, it begins again in 30 seconds or so.

          1. flora

            Not feed caps. Baseball hats aren’t feed caps. Listen to the podcast. Or look at the pics. Also, it’s workforce is unionized, so the idea that unions have to be destroyed to keep manufacturing in the US is nonsense.

    4. Eloined

      No matter how competent the appointed administrators, task force members, etc. of a Democrat administration facing the current COVID-19 crisis, I doubt the leading D politicians would stand firm for public health in an election year as the Rs hammered relentlessly on the catastrophe of tens of millions unemployed, small businesses failing, American ideals crumbling and so forth.

      The Democrats right now aim to present as the good guys merely by honing in on Don Trump’s misleadership. They use concrete material benefits as appeasement only when the focus on them. Perhaps if they were now the more powerful party the appeasement might need be more, initially, than a $1200 check, but whatever it would be would not last. At least I don’t think it would.

      1. flora

        Yep. The old ‘lead, follow, or get out of the way’ is something the Dem estab doesn’t understand. There latest ploy, after basically rolling over on the bailout, is this: They’re creating an ‘oversight committee’ on Trump’s handling of the bailout. ohhh goodie. They’re doing this after mostly abdicating during the bailout negotiation. This is handwaving for the mopes, not a serious response.

        1. The Rev Kev

          It is my understanding that Pelosi and Schumer wrote that bill. If you want to push that narrative, you could say that Trump and the Republicans wanted a multi-trillion dollar bill that would bail out the 1% to make them whole. And so to write this bill of corrupt give-aways and corporate socialism they went to the professionals – the democratic leadership.

    5. darms

      I’m guessing the ‘Clinton’ you’re referring to above would be Hillary & not Bill. In that case IMHO the defining point in the ‘what if’ game would have been ‘would a Clinton administration have dismantled the pandemic response team and ignored multiple briefing papers?’. My guess here would be ‘No, they would have paid attention’ as FEMA’s response under democratic leadership has been proven to be more effective (Sandy 2012 vs. Katrina 2005, Maria 2017) indicating to me at least that democrats in general seem to retain lessons learned better than right-wingers or perhaps dems tend to see things more realistically. (and be sure to remember how many investigations four deaths in Benghazi ‘justified’…)
      But please give Obama a bit more credit for his ‘Obamacare’ initiative & rollout. While it was initially flawed, within a couple of months it was fixed & worked well. It enabled me & my late brother to buy effective health insurance policies that provided us with real benefits at times when we really needed them. Obamacare was a hard-fought uphill battle & I’m amazed it worked at all especially in today’s polarized climate! That said, Obama’s failings (banksters, civil liberties, caving to Moscow Mitch) are why we have the Donald today…

  10. epynonymous


    A perfect companion to the landscapes challenge.

    See a google maps streetview image, and guess where it’s at by clicking on the globe!

    Great community sponsored effort, and a favorite time-waster. Compare your score against millions free and, let’s face it, no pressure. New daily challeges every day.”

    ~Enjoy the distance~

  11. Appleseed

    re: implicit mythology about a Democratic administration’s competency. If you’re going to make a post about this (which I encourage) please include the example of the decline in environmental enforcement from 2006-2018 as outlined in the EPA Inspector General’s recent report. From the cover: 33% decline in inspections, 52% decline in enforcement cases initiated, 51% decline in enforcement cases concluded, 58% decline in enforcement actions with injunctive relief, 53% decline in enforcement actions with penalties . . . the list goes on. Granted, two Republican administrations share the shame but 8 years of Obama did nothing to stem these declines as well as reductions of staff and funds for EPA’s enforcement program.

    1. urblintz

      I don’t know if a specific report exists but Bruce Babbitt, Clinton’s Sec of interior, was no gem when it came to protecting his charge. I fear the problem has been around for awhile “benign neglect” WRIT LARGE

      1. Arizona Slim

        Benign neglect? Babbitt had that down to a science!

        One of my friends was what could be called the CFO of the Arizona Department of Transportation. According to my friend, when *Governor* Babbitt was running for president, benign neglect was a good way of describing how he treated Arizona.

        1. furies

          This reminds me of a nagging question I’ve had for months and months now.

          How is it not illegal to appoint industry captains who detest these regulatory agencies to head them when the self admitted goal is to destroy them?

          Isn’t that treason??

          1. Jason Boxman

            Ha. I always wondered how it is the Democrat Party didn’t simply walkout of the Senate for those kinds of appointments. Appointing someone on record as stating that the department to which they’re nominated should not exist is so farcically unconscionable, it doesn’t make sense.

            Where is there any legitimacy in our government, anymore, if it ever had any?

  12. Krystyn Podgajski

    Thank you for the photo of St. Andrews, it just brought back a wave of memories. I spent a month there in my youth and one day I had gotten lost after exiting the Fife Coastal Trail and walking through a field of rapeseed flowers towards what I thought was the road. I ended up on a gravel path and felt like I was transported 500 years back in time. I just started heading north and someone eventually drove by and realized I might have been lost and gave me a lift back into town. I have one photograph left from that day. I will submit it for sure.

    I was so young and ignorant of sports I played a few holes on the St. Andrews Golf Course by invitation of my guests but had no idea of the significance of the place. When I shared some photographs to my golfing friends they blew their lids. I think my ignorance impressed my guests because they interpreted it as familiarity. That night I was invited to one of the most lavish and expensive meals of my life by the same family. As a lower class suburban kid it was an exposure to a world that was so separate from any reality I knew. Everything was easy, that is the best way I could describe it. When dinner was over we all just got up and walked out. It was like money did not even exist and did not have to trade hands.

    But I will never forget the landscape there, and the train rides across the island. Beautiful.

  13. smoker

    Everyday it’s something, a few days ago a medium sized Silicon Valley grocery store known for it’s far more affordable produce stopped taking cash. Today I read that the Major Dairy in the North Bay Area is going under.

    04/01/20 Report: 110-year-old Berkeley Farms closes for good

    Dean Foods told KTVU that the company had hoped “to sell the business in order for daily operations and employment to continue there,” but there has been a lack of interest. As a result, several hundred East Bay employees will lose their jobs.

    In a statement issued Tuesday, Dean Foods said California-based Producers Dairy purchased the Berkeley Farms trademark.

    Dean Foods was struggling long before the COVID-19 crisis began impacting the U.S. economy this year. The food and beverage company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in November 2019. At the time, Dean Foods said Americans were drinking less milk and turning to alternative products such as almond and soy milk, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

    Let alone those hundreds of jobs lost at the worst imaginable time, the already (Pre Coronavirus) thousands of residents impoverished (thousands homeless too) just receive blow after blow with evermore frequency. You can bet the impoverished can’t afford Soy, Rice, Almond or Organic milk for their kids, nor can any other impoverished persons, and many if not all Silicon Valley Area stores only sold Beverly Farms Milk.

    Perhaps the State of California can buy and create the first publically owned Dairy Farm for California’s overwhelming millions of impoverished.

    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      I’ve been thinking how nice it would be to have a local dairy deliver dairy products to your doorstep every morning. Crazy concept, huh?

    2. Billy

      A grocery store that won’t take cash? Is that legal?
      Walk in, start eating, with all sanitary precautions, take the empty wrappers to the checkout and offer cash. Won’t take it?
      “Thanks you for the samples.”

    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      The “not taking cash” might be due to fear of handling coins and bills covered with corona virus. Whether credit cards would be less covered I don’t know, but at least the cashiers don’t have to touch the credit cards.
      I know of a couple of places where I live that have stopped taking cash for corona reasons.

  14. kareninca

    Sometimes I wonder if reporters read what they write.

    For instance, I just opened up an article re how much higher the death rate from the virus is in Louisiana than in NY. And it is suggested that it is because of the higher obesity rate in Louisiana.

    But then the article goes on to say: “Some 97% of those killed by COVID-19 in Louisiana had a preexisting condition, according to the state health department. Diabetes was seen in 40% of the deaths, obesity in 25%, chronic kidney disease in 23% and cardiac problems in 21%. (https://news.trust.org/item/20200402092110-6rvk1)

    So, that makes it look like obesity is protective. Since I bet a lot more than 25 percent of Louisiana residents are obese. No, I’m not saying it actually is protective, but these figures sure don’t show that it isn’t.

    1. a different chris

      Ancient medicine was based on spirits and gods.

      Modern medicine is based on body-shaming.

    1. lambert strether

      “His heavy bass lines will let you know where you are coming from and going to.”

  15. notabanktoadie

    We can’t manufacture them ourselves, fool! Thanks to the globalization for which you are handmaidens and willing servants! Lambert

    Some root causes of the hollowing out of US manufacturing capability:
    1) Government privileges for private credit creation allow businesses to bypass the need to share wealth and power with their workers; i.e. workers are powerless to prevent their jobs from being off-shored.
    2) Positive yields/interest on US sovereign debt, including bank reserves (Interest on Reserves), being welfare proportional to account balance, are an implicit subsidy of foreign imports.
    3) Likewise the ability of foreigners to own real estate in the US is an implicit subsidy of foreign imports into the US.

  16. Painted Shut

    I think what we’re seeing from AOC is something that corporate folks of a certain age would recognize from those situational leadership classes… a transition from Enthusiastic Beginner to Disallusioned Learner. You can see in her demeanor that it just isn’t fun anymore. Everything she’s championed in her young political career has been shot down from all angles… the Green New Deal and Bernie 2020 being the biggest of those.

    She seems to have crossed the aforementioned line a couple of weeks ago; the triggering event being the rejection of Bernie by Democrat voters in favor of Joe Biden (and Stoller is right – Dem voters have spoken and it is Biden that they want). That and the coronavirus ravaging her constituency. Being rejected by the establishment is one thing; being rejected by voters is another.

    Thing is, events being what they are, there is no better time than now for a revolution, but it seems Bernie and AOC are “bernt” out. It makes me wonder if we did enough. We write our congressfolk when we disagree with policies, but have any of us sent a note of encouragement to Bernie/AOC/etc to keep up the good fight? It’s likely much-needed, particularly when the only encouragement AOC might be receiving is from Nancy Pelosi (“there, there… you know, when I was younger, I was known as a revolutionary too…”).

    Bernie ran an awful campaign in 2020. If I were his campaign manager, he probably would be winning. AOC tried to help and shouldn’t beat herself up over that.

    1. Jomo

      If you want a revolution then it could begin quickly if Health Care Workers went on strike until they could return to safe working conditions. That should bring the house crashing down. I wouldn’t blame the Health Care Workers one bit. I don’t see how they are expected to do the job without proper equipment and supplies. Disclaimer: someone in my immediate family is a Health Care Worker. 2 nurses in their hospital have already tested positive for Covid.

      1. Phenix

        Healthcare workers signed up for this. A health care strike now would garner zero sympathy. You go into that field to save people. This is your time.

        1. Wyoming

          You got that right.

          But, after the dust settles, if a large number/percentage of the health care workers in this country got together and said it is time we stop this private health care free market nonsense and create a national health care system their opinion would carry huge weight with many due to their sacrifice during this disaster.

          1. John k

            After the dust settles potential for change is gone. Gotta fight now to have any chance.
            No, I don’t agree health workers signed up to fight a hugely contagious and dangerous pandemic without protective gear..fight Ebola wearing a plastic bas and a scarf from home?
            What they’re being asked to do is absurd. And sacked if they voice complaints… they should all complain.
            Historically strikes were painful for all, including strikers.
            Nobody in my family is in the health biz.

        2. carolinus

          I’m a health care worker and I’d beg to differ. I didn’t sign up to put myself at undue risk, I signed up to trade my labor for wages and health insurance for gods sakes. And under safe conditions. I’ve told my supervisors when they run out of protective equipment, they will have to accept my resignation. You wouldn’t send someone in to abate asbestos without proper protective gear, or fight fires, or work in a nuclear reactor core. I didn’t go into this field to die.

          1. What?No!

            As a non-health care worker I’m so glad to hear this said out loud. I completely agree. My loved one is not greater than your loved one; our society has screwed this up.

            When the PPE is gone it’s time to put tools down (aside from the Chernobyl-oriented ones who want to make a point of dashing in for their 15 seconds of exposure — that kind of selflessness is available to all of us). But in the general case, we should all be making this point.

            1. JTMcPhee

              It ain’t just PPE. Nurses and doctors are working in untenable conditions, long hours eexposed to deadly virus and the horrors of dealing with people dying badly, and PPE is no magic bullet against getting infected. Not to mention breaking down under all the other neoliberal strains they have to put up with — more work from fewer people for less money under ever more oppressive metric-driven micromanagement.

        3. drumlin woodchuckles

          We should send soldiers into battle without any ammo for their guns and without any shoes on their feet. After all, they signed up for this.

          If enough health care workers are default-murdered by PPE-deprivation, the rest might decide they don’t care about the sympathy of people who would kill them all to save on some PPE money.

          There is also the following logical problem: if you kill all the healthcare workers through budget-cutting PPE deprivation, then you have no healthcare workers anymore. And then the sick all die anyway. Maybe if all the healthcare people go out on strike at once to get PPE, they might point out that they are doing it to stay alive to be able to save the public, even that part of the public who are too dumm to get the logic.

      2. Eureka Springs

        I listen to friends in health care biz most every day. They are still waiting on the worst, meanwhile they have been reduced to three day work weeks because it’s slow, but denied unemployment because they still make to much, have no employer provided health care coverage, had to threaten to storm out to get assurance of pay during quarantine if they get the virus on the job.

        These peeps are contract labor, yet they have worked in the same hospitals for over 25 years.

        Each and every time they comment about leaving I urge them to get out of there.

    2. Trent

      I think you may be partially correct, but i’ve been angry and upset about all this BS for the past 12 years. Yes i’ve been burnt out keeping up with it and seeing things continue to get worse and worse, but i haven’t given up on fighting the good fight. I think AOC just prefers government pay and benefits better then being a bartender, that and they’re running a TV talking head against her in her upcoming election.

      1. a different chris

        >but i’ve been angry and upset about all this BS for the past 12 years. Yes i’ve been burnt out keeping up with it

        She lives it. You just watch. Ever been stuck in a room with Nancy Pelosi going on and on about what’s really what in her antique mind? Me neither.

        Not a defense, but I’m not going to let you compare yourself to somebody who tried so unbelievably hard.

        1. Eric Patton

          Are we talking about AOC here? Is she the one you’re saying “tried so unbelievably hard?” Patting someone one the back for trying hard is the attitude of a loser. Either you get the job done or you don’t. AOC hasn’t. Worse, she capitulated — as soon as she voted for Pelosi for speaker.

    3. Left in Wisconsin

      I wish it weren’t the case but I see no evidence that mistakes cost Sanders the nomination. He got almost 50% in the Nevada caucuses (but fewer than 7000 votes) but only 26% in both Iowa and NH. Then he got trounced in SC (20% to Biden’s 48%) and the rest is history. Not saying he ran a perfect campaign at all – though I don’t know that I could have done better – but I think we delude ourselves in thinking that the outcome would have been different if only he/we had done something different/better.

      His path to the nomination was always going to require a large field where 30% pluralities in primaries could get him to the nomination. I am certainly among those stunned by how Dem voters responded to the call to get in line by Clyburn and the rest. But it is more evidence that Bernie’s chances, in retrospect, were always slim. I also firmly believe that, had Dem voters not immediately got in line in SC and Super Tuesday, more and more aggressive tactics would have been used to stop him from getting the nomination.

      1. Jason Boxman

        That’s been my assessment as well. It was always a long shot, and without the necessary increase in turnout, it became clear that a victory would be a near thing. At least we know who the Democrat Party base is now, if it wasn’t clear before.

    4. Phenix

      AOC is a woke identitarian politician that sprinkles in economic populism in her rhetoric. She broke with Bernie over the Joe Rogan endorsement. She encouraged Bernie’s campaign to play nice with Warren AFTER Warren lied about there meeting.

      Bernie ran a horrible campaign. He wants to do rallies not win.

  17. Tom Stone

    “The camel is a horse that was designed by a committee”.
    I doubt Pelosi’s committee will do that good a job.

  18. mrsyk

    Both of my newly unemployed adult children have yet to be able to claim unemployment. The website seems to be overwhelmed.

    1. urblintz

      in florida, the system was designed to fail, factually proven in court, and I can not wait to hear the stories. The weasel DeSantis is gonna be hidin’ from a lot of good ol’ boys which could make for an interestin’ ideological trainwreck…

      humor aside, I am not at all sanguine about the gun problem.

  19. hrefnam

    Lambert here: This is as good a time as any to say that there is an implicit mythology that a Democratic (i.e., a Clinton) Administration would have handled the #COVID19 crisis better than the Trump Administration did. Leaving aside the issue that the track record for “liberal democracies” handling the crisis is decidedly mixed, so it’s not clear what the baseline should be, I think there’s little reason to believe that; and that’s hard for me to say, since I came up as a Democrat. I should really turn this into a post, and the Crash was ten years ago, so my memory has faded. Nevertheless:

    1. The net result of the Obama administration’s policies was…

    Yes, please do write a post, at least. A book would be even better, and I mean that quite seriously.

    1. Steve d

      Agree – a post is *definitely* merited. In addition to perhaps ‘normalizing’ US response against other representative democracies, consider exploring why (at least anecdotally) attention is on Federal failings and much less so on State & Local, when public health is *mostly* a state & local function.

    2. wuzzy



      You are the first to come to the spring. You can just start the discussion by giving your two cents in lieu of trying to fill a bunch of headings with stuff.

      Back off a bit, go in the garden, the commentariat* will throw stuff in the pot.

      * Commentariat definition is – a group of powerful and influential commentators : punditocracy.

  20. David Carl Grimes

    10 million jobs lost in just two weeks. And it’s understated. Lots of people couldn’t get through because the unemployment benefits websites kept on crashing. That’s more than all the jobs lost in the Great Recession. That’s more than all the jobs gained during Trump’s administration.

    All in two weeks. We are looking at a revolution. And where is Bernie in all this? I thought he styled himself as the organizer-in-chief. Why isn’t he organizing a #RentStrike? Why isn’t he organizing a general strike?


    1. DJG

      Saagar Enjeti goes on, and I can’t argue with anything that he say. Nor does Krystal Ball.


      The venality, malignity, and self-regard of the U.S. political elites are taking the place down.

      Note the part of the report that shows regular people–people who have never gone to a food bank–lined up for food.

      Ten million jobs vaporized, and Enjeti compares those numbers to the Great Recession of ten years back as well as the Great Depression. And the elites ignore the suffering.

    2. Noone from Nowheresville

      I think the next month will be highly instructive for all of us. I hope that I get to be surprised and that those who moralize against the system do something unexpected.

      I live to be surprised but I’ve reconciled myself to being disappointed. Even so, I don’t want to rail against the machine except on my own time.

      I suspect regular so-called ordinary people will need to do the surprising. The good news: people can be just absolutely amazing. Fingers and toes.


  21. Grant

    Biden is, of course, a train wreck of a candidate. Almost not possible to pick someone worse at a time like this. What is much worse than him, however, is the brain dead people in that party supporting him. Not just the corrupt elites, the zombie rank and file. The left cannot operate in that party. It is dead, cannot be reformed, and I don’t want to share a party with people that functionally stupid. How in the world do you look at Biden now, look at his record, look at what we are facing, and support him? It really is mind blowing. Democracy doesn’t work well when the system itself is this corrupt, when people have their heads filled with nonsense propaganda, when the educational and media systems do so much to discourage critical thinking, when they give a distorted picture of reality, and when lots of people that vote are so often willfully ignorant (especially the middle class and upper class people that are far removed from the real world impacts of most policies). I don’t entirely blame working people for making bad choices, because they are trying to just get by and they are being mislead by many people in power. They are often victims of propaganda, everything from CNN, MSNBC and Fox over to the far right media. But, the suburban and rich liberal types that have lots of formal education and aren’t as time poor? Collectively worthless, deluded and self-serving. And they run the Democratic Party. No thanks.

    1. Big River Bandido

      It’s a crazy idea, but what if the left tried to hijack the Republican Party? There are some areas of overlap…

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        they’re more democratic, too(small “d:)
        that’s how they got trump…and the teabilly madness before him.
        the gop rides their base like a boar hog, but sometimes that rough beast turns on them>
        the dems? not afraid of their base at all…(Bill C:”the left? lol where are they gonna go?”)

        prior to this mess, i was thoroughly embedded in republican/conservativeland( from the local paper, and my limited forays among the Mundane, it’s now a-political prayerland)…and, except for the hard core of the local gop, just about everyone i interrogated or eavesdropped upon was at least somewhat amenable to new deal style things…so long as it was couched in non-trigger words(jesus speak works in this case)…and so long as they weren’t in groups of more than 2-5, where herd reinforcement kicks in.
        I’ve considered this before…that it might be easier to take over the gop…and it sounds crazy on it’s face,lol…but maybe it’s really not.

        i would prefer, of course, a new party…a workers party, labor party or some new word for the ordinary folks that doesn’t have baggage or connotations, etc

        this is the world they’ve left us.

      2. Billy

        Trump gave mortgage holders and renters 90 days without foreclosures and evictions.
        Obama gave them?????

        The Democrats are like Yesterday, you can still believe in it, but it is gone.
        Make friends with, influence, or become your local Republican candidate.

    2. Jason Boxman

      Wow, that’s more devastating than when I try to explain the same. A perfect summary of why I loathe liberals. “Functionally stupid” is hilarious.

    3. Skip Intro

      The DNC dead-enders also realize that Biden is not viable, that’s why they are on their knees for ratface Andy right now.

    4. Tom Stone

      C’mon, Man.
      Joe Biden may be a viciously corrupt Racist and Warmonger, but at least he has dementia.
      What’s not to like?

    1. Eloined

      The Sanders campaign did not produce that video; an individual supporter, Matt Orfalea, did.

      Bernie Sanders for reasons only he knows — and which I therefore don’t feel fit to judge — decided not to call out his disingenuous critics and competitors in the harshest of ways and means that would suit them, and gratify the rest of us.

    2. The Rev Kev

      One day soon, some insider is going to write a book about Bernie’s 2020 campaign and I think that it is going to be devastating to a lot of people. I have heard glimpses of stories but will note instead of how he boxed himself in by agreeing that the Russians were supporting his campaign, would throw his supporters under the bus even when he did not have to, let the DNC write the rules of how 2020 went for him, refused Gabbard’s support after she dropped out, etc. He went into 2020 in a much stronger position than when he went in 2016 but blew it all away. Sad that – both for him and everybody else.

  22. GF

    Here’s a link to a new clearing house for medical equipment needed for fighting the virus:

    ” Project N95 is the national clearinghouse for personal protective equipment for medical workers – like gowns, gloves, and masks, especially the N95 masks that provide extra protection.

    Here, hospitals report what supplies they need and suppliers report what supplies they have. To our knowledge, this kind of database doesn’t exist anywhere else. By gathering and sharing this key data, we can help put life-saving equipment into the hands of frontline health workers as quickly as possible. Our goal is to bring transparency and coordination to this one vital aspect of the COVID-19 response.”

  23. Angie Neer

    Do viruses “die”? My understanding is that they’re not strictly alive in the first place—they are only containers for DNA that gets inserted in other cells to turn them into virus factories. That’s one of things thats so impressive and creepy about them.

    1. carolinus

      I think it’s more an issue of semantics than biology. Biology is still pretty much taught from the cell theory that sets a baseline for living things at the level of the cell. A gene level perspective on biology illuminates this as more of a philosophical distinction than a biological one.

    2. ForFawkesSakes

      Sodium laureth sulfate in soap disrupts the lipids in the protein-lipid ‘cover’ of the virus, so washing your hands properly does ‘tear apart’ the virus. That is my understanding and why hand-washing is said to be more effective than using hand sanitizer.

      1. John

        I thought the reason hand washing with soap worked was because the soap acted as a lubricant and the germs slipped off.

        How Soap Works

        Soap doesn’t kill germs on our hands, it removes them.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Soap doesn’t kill germs, it removes them.

          But . . . is a virus a germ?

          Is light a wave or a particle?
          Is virus a germ or a crystal?

  24. fresno dan

    “Is the coronavirus airborne? Experts can’t agree” [Nature].

    We next tested whether contact between guinea pigs was required for influenza virus transmission to occur or whether droplet and/or aerosol transmission was also possible. We assessed transmission between immediately adjacent cages and between cages separated by a 91-cm space.
    despite being a scientist, I never actually worked with guinea pigs. I don’t know how hard they sneeze or cough (if in fact they sneeze or cough). 91 centimeters is about 3 feet. And bear in mind, it is highly doubtful that the guinea pigs in one cage line up and face the guinea pigs in the other cage. They shed or discharge bacteria/viruses that due to their extremely small size become airborne. So in this particular experiment infection tranmission was DETECTED within 24 hours, which is not the same as how long did it take an infectious particle to transverse the 3 feet from an infected to non infected guinea pig.
    Most of the time, particulates that carry bacteria/viruses will electrostatically adhere to other particles or objects in the environment and this will render them non infectious by way of the airborne route.

    IMHO, most transmission is from a contaminated object to hand to face. But undoubtedly some transmission is airborne – its preposterous to say it can’t happen. I would posit that it is not the predominate fraction of infections source, but again, longer contact in close quarters with an infected individual is gonna increase the odds of transmission. There are so MANY, MANY variables, that any experiment is gonna be extremely limited in what conclusions one can draw from it.

    I have a whole slew of conditions that put me at risk, so I’m pretty sure getting covid 19 would be the end of me. I don’t wear a mask, but if masks were available to non-health care providers and recommended, I would probably start wearing them. But for me, social distance, and hand washing is my best chance of survival.
    I will add the caveat of unintended consequences – the protection of masks can be undone if it undoes protective behavioral affects – you wear your mask and you start going to bars and you have to lift your mask up to sip your drink.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I will not shave my beard but I might design a better mask for my own use.

      “Putting on my policy hat, I’d be looking at HVAC systems, making sure filters were adequate and changed, and maybe increasing the speed with which air circulates (and maybe, if air temperature is a factor, adjusting it to minimize the chances of transmission).”

      Wearing Lambert’s policy hat I must ask … should whether COVID-19 spreads through aerosols make a difference to whether we should be taking a closer look at HVAC systems — and air filtration systems in hospitals, and public transit including airlines? COVID-19 is so ‘now’ but so are the common cold and the garden variety flus. Do they spread through aerosols? If there is any chance they do or any change one of the new improved pandemic viruses after COVID-19 might spread through aerosols — why shouldn’t we take a much closer look at HVAC and air filtration systems. And in case any one forgets — there is a good chance we in the U.S. can start enjoying events like the Asian yellow dust as our Southwest becomes more and more like the Dustbowl of the 1930s. And wouldn’t a lot of pollen sufferers — like me — benefit from a closer look at our HVAC and air filtration systems? If we could break up the monopolization of the air filter vendors I doubt air filtration would really be all that expensive.

      1. Billy

        IIRC, the Covid virus spread most efficiently when it was around 51 degrees outside.

        “Another modelling study found that the current spread suggests a preference for cool and dry conditions….Analysis of the SARS outbreak in Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Beijing, and Taiyuan found the optimum environmental temperature associated with the SARS cases was between 16 to 28 degrees Celsius, which may encourage virus growth. A sharp rise or decrease in the environmental temperature related to the cold spell led to an increase of the SARS cases because of the possible influence of the weather on the human immune system. This study suggested a higher possibility for SARS to reoccur in spring than in autumn or winter.”

        So therefore, does it make sense to jack up the heat above merely comfortable, say to 70 or higher? There is the drying effect on the sinuses which makes it more or less likely? for the virus to latch onto cells?

  25. Left in Wisconsin

    So I guess we are going ahead with an election in WI on Tuesday. This is completely insane but the reason we (allegedly) have to is that we hold non-partisan elections for local office in the spring and partisan elections for national offices in the fall. So there are all these mayors, county execs, and city, county and school board members whose terms expire in late April who NEED to be replaced. Also judges, including state Supreme Court.

    This was a progressive policy implemented long ago (by the Progressives) to try to get around the base corruption of the R’s and D’s. But it has outlived its usefulness. It still serves a purpose in that these are small turnout elections, so they are more subject to game playing. School boards often schedule referenda in the spring if they think a small turnout will increase likelihood of passage. But it needs to end.

    1. skookum red

      Does your state allow requests for mail in ballots? I got this message from Bernie’s staff today, so Bernie is still working on his campaign…trying to inform folks how to vote by mail if they can…

      “Red –

      While the world stays home to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, daily changes are coming into effect to ensure that people can still vote in the primaries — safely.

      Many states have moved their primaries entirely to vote-by-mail, and extended voting deadlines by weeks or months. And while we seek safety in our homes, we still have the opportunity to connect with people — through the power of our callers like you.

      Together, we can inform Americans about what’s happening in Congress in response to the crisis, how to safely vote from home, and how to have their say in other key down-ballot races.

      Can you sign up for one or two shifts on the Bernie Dialer to make calls?

      Taking to the phones might feel like a strange thing to do, but the truth is that our supporters are helping one another like never before. And in times like these, it’s never been more urgent that we fight for Medicare for All, protection for workers and to ensure that everyone has a roof over their head.

      Thank you for being a part of our movement, today and every day.

      In solidarity,

      Team Bernie”

  26. FreeMarketApologist

    Finally, the pandemic has raised awareness of the profound social value that grocery-store clerks, warehouse workers, and deliver drivers create…

    In the spirit of not letting a good crisis go to waste, unfortunately the next step of the awareness will probably be “For everybody’s safety we need more automated checkouts, robot shelf stocking, drone and robot delivery, and self driving cars”, rather than something that actually benefits the people doing the work.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I absolutely refuse to “check myself out”.

      I will shop, fill a car, … and leave given no other option by to self-check. I might do it more and more often … and still more often. I might decide to help by putting things back as best I can … but I might put so many things on the wrong shelves and in the wrong departments!

  27. Cuibono

    Re the Mask Tweet:
    Not on twitter so dont know if that is N95 or Surgical mask he is referencing but if the former both a 70C over and UVC light have been shown to be likely effective b a lab at Stanford.

    However surgical masks not do well in heat (melt). They are being reused here after UVI light treatments.

    and yes, these are ecoli which is the best we have for now. But given what we know about this virus it seems sound

    1. Kael

      A former post doc of mine (now at Yale) has a pre-print out that compares hydrogen peroxide to hydrogen peroxide followed by steam. The problem with steam is that it melts the glue that holds the foam that seals around the nose.

      The H2O2 treatment has already been shown, pre-crisis, to not degrade the function of the N95 masks. This method got some press on CNN when a group from Duke also had a pre-print on it. AFAICT, the Yale paper is the only place that viruses (including one enveloped like CoV) are show to be removed from the masks. The method uses a fairly common piece of equipment used for decontamination in hospitals.

      Definitely better than using E coli which are about 10x bigger, have cell walls, etc. H2O2 method has already been shown to disinfect bacteria too. Yale data and links are here, in a tweet of mine, https://twitter.com/KaelFischer/status/1243639818552094721

      If anyone needs to get in touch with the experts doing this (they are helping some hospitals in NYC), DM or @ me on twitter.

  28. Cuibono

    “I appreciate the Olympian perspective of the pathologist but we are here, on the ground.”

    His is NOT an Olympian perspective. It is critical to try to get a sense of what he is saying right now..

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I just returned to give the comments a scan … to whom and what are you referring? A few more words would not cost too much and might help late comers like me.

    2. curious euro

      I certainly don’t agree with what he’s saying. I understand that 80 year olds would have died quite soon anyways due to normal statistics and their normal illnesses.

      However, right now in Bergamo northern Italy: 5400 people died, no doubt most of them old people. At a normal year, 900 would have died in the same month.
      No matter from what they officially died (only about 2000 of them officially Covid-19 related according to the statistic), I am 100% sure 4500 died of Covid-19. That is a mathematical certainty for me. Even if they died in a car crash when they rushed to a hospital with someone infected.

      The death toll there due to Covid-19 is 4500 and not 2000. And I’m also certain that next year or whenever things have gone back to normal, there will be less than 900 since the 80 year old dead ones didn’t get to be 81 when they would have died “naturally”. Why has the pathologist from that article a say who should die when? Those old folks last year is not less valuable than any other’s year of life.

      So this way we can easily and quite accurately determine how many died due to Covid-19 without a big margin of error and other hand-waving by officials.

      1. Yves Smith

        There was a dramatic illustration of your point in a recent tweet.

        The short video showed someone flipping through a copy of the Bergamo Sunday paper from a couple of months ago. Two or maybe two and a half pages of obits.

        Then they flipped through the current copy. Pages and pages and page and pages of obits. It was so sad. Many had pictures.

  29. Ignacio

    Thanks to the globalization for which you are handmaidens and willing servants!
    Thanks to the globalization for which you are handmaidens and willing servants!
    Thanks to the globalization for which you are handmaidens and willing servants!

    Repeating this enough times, would make the incumbents understand it?

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      What if they already understood and knew already … but don’t care all the way to the bank.

  30. Noone from Nowheresville

    System Update Episode 1 – The Intermediate Bernie Sanders Autopsy Glenn Greenwald


    Contains a link to youtube embed as well as a full transcript

    I spoke to two guests who were (and are) vocal but critically minded supporters of the Sanders campaign, yet who evaluate these questions from quite different perspectives: the co-host of the great TrueAnon podcast Liz Franczak, and the wildly popular YouTube host Kyle Kulinski.

    1. Noone from Nowheresville

      Bernie Sanders Soared Back To Life. But He Couldn’t Close The Deal. By Daniel Marans

      The Vermont senator’s famous independence built a movement. It also made it harder for him to adapt to changing circumstances.

      A few days before the debate, Sanders’ pollster Ben Tulchin and speechwriter David Sirota drove up to Boulder, Colorado, where Sanders and his inner circle had holed up to prepare for the event in Houston. The two aides demanded an audience with Sanders to discuss a memo they had drafted with senior adviser Jeff Weaver and campaign co-chair and former Ohio state Sen. Nina Turner, in which they recommended that Sanders draw clearer contrasts with Biden. They wanted Sanders to bring it up in his opening statement in the debate, when he would be able to control the floor uninterrupted and set the tone for the night.

  31. Ignacio

    Are these figures likely to carry over to a virus?

    Depends on the virus. Some are much more stable than others. In the case of coronavirus, and many other membrane virus probably yes. Pasteurization at 56-65-70ºC for 30 min or less works very well but this has not be tested in dry ovens. But 30 min at 70ºC in an oven must be fatal for corona given that at 38ºC the survival of SARS in airborne droplets is about 1h. Hot boiling vapor water for 10 min must also do it with certainty.

    1. Diuretical

      E. coli is a typical “indicator” species for disinfection studies, which is why it is listed in the provided table. In general, viruses are easier to kill than bacteria owing to their inability to form biofilm or spores. Most viral disinfection studies use an indicator viral species too, it depends on what’s available. https://www.cdc.gov/infectioncontrol/guidelines/disinfection/disinfection-methods/chemical.html

  32. sd

    Garcetti urges L.A. to wear face coverings when doing essential tasks in public

    The mayor said everyone performing essential tasks such as as food shopping should wear homemade, nonmedical face coverings, or even bandannas, as people in other countries have done.

    “To be clear, you should still stay at home. This isn’t an excuse to suddenly all go out,” Garcetti said.

    He added that people shouldn’t use medical-grade masks, which are in short supply and are needed by healthcare workers and first responders.

    Mask pattern from LA Protects here: https://laprotects.org

  33. ewmayer

    Re. the possibility of Covid-19 airborne transmission – gonna start wearing one of those thin fabric earloop masks on my outside walks. Expect CA will mandate this in next few days, heard LA was mulling one, and Newsom was in ‘nudge’ mode. Should allow me still breathe more or less freely, unlike the heavier-duty N95 ones.

    Will let y’all know what wearing one on my walk was like once I’ve done my little Masked Marvel tour around the neighborhood.

    Speaking of the Masked Marvel – someone is missing a *huge* business opportunity by not selling superhero/Pokemon/etc-themed cloth masks – that would be a great way to encourage kids to wear ’em.

  34. sd

    4:36 p.m.
    White House considering direct payments to hospitals to cover coronavirus treatments for uninsured Americans

    Vice President Pence announced Thursday that the White House was considering direct payments to hospitals to cover coronavirus treatment costs for uninsured Americans.
    Pence said the administration is considering using some of the $100 billion allocated for hospitals in the stimulus package to go toward the cost of treating the uninsured.

    Curious to see the details…

  35. tongorad

    Trump says it ‘doesn’t seem fair’ that 30 million Americans are uninsured and suggests he may expand Medicare or Medicaid —>>

    He said it “doesn’t seem fair” that so many Americans can’t afford to purchase insurance but don’t qualify for Medicare or Medicaid — appearing to suggest those programs could be expanded to include more people.

    Trump said he believed he would “get to” addressing the problem and accused “the other group,” presumably Democrats, of ignoring it, though Democrats have long made healthcare a critical policy issue. Sen. Bernie Sanders has aggressively pushed “Medicare for All,” while former Vice President Joe Biden has advocated a public option, also known as “Medicare for all who want it.”

    “I think we’re going to get to it,” Trump said. “I don’t think the other group will get to it. They haven’t even spoken about it.”

    Obviously, a chance here to bury the Democrats for decades.

  36. farmboy

    The easiest way for me to think, consider, contemplate our current predicament is to understand today as punctuated equilibrium opportunity. The wretched excess in stark contrast to the brutal marginalization of nature as detailed by the Anthropocene Project, begs, pleads for the fantasy of ever fantastic engineering. Always the 99% solution that puts out todays burning house, but leaves that one corner smoldering, unsolved, ignored, unaddressed, unknown to grow, build, metastasize, flower into the next end of the world as we know it. Our language, our shared images, our fears become more shared, more universal, this is a good thing.
    We teter on the edge of the petri dish, looking over the edge at extinction, the end of humanity. The truth of the matter is this has and will always be true. It is our DNA and Epigenitics and dare say Spirituality, but alas, at what we presume to be the apex of the living organisms, we are responsible for all those we stand on, ride on, depend on, and use. We can now see each other clearly, as never before in history, people around the world are known to us, present in our lives, whereas in all history we guessed or assumed the empty quarter.
    Gloabalization, the UN, the International Telecommunication Union, WW wars have made us familiar with one another. Now can we take care of each other, Mother Nature, so politics is the expression of the effort, but is only the tail wagging the dog, an afterthought although an important one. Incremental movement until we find ourselves in this moment, Global Depression. So pull out all the stops that we know of, 08 a dress rehearsel and see what’s left and there is a lot to do. Some of it will get done, will it be enough, will we be ready for the next cataclysm, maybe enough to survive, but the rhythm, the pulse of what we are in is quickening, that I’m sure of, there is no going back.

  37. The Rev Kev

    This is so stupid this. ‘American Airlines crammed the only 11 passengers on a flight into 3 rows because they only bought basic economy, report says’. In the middle of a pandemic. I wonder if they got sick or even died, whether American Airlines would be liable. At least the attendants had the smarts to spread them out later-


  38. T

    Too late but just leaving this here. Hillary and Bill both have an unmatched number of former close allies who left. The Edelmans left the White House, ffs. Management is not a thing they do well. See also how much they are, to this day, hated by White House staff. Seriously, this many years later they still mock the china they chose.

    I think thing is, they have both been in leadership roles, but aa toadies.

    And don’t get me started on Managed Competition.

  39. VietnamVet

    Denial is avoiding the truth.

    The complete incompetence of the Western Empire came into full focus today. The US Navy relieved the USS Theodore Roosevelt Captain who tried to save his crew from coronavirus illness. Elon Musk donated thousands of useless CPAPs to hospitals not ventilators. The world is in a pandemic and a depression at the same time. The only way to prevent chaos is to provide jobs, food, medical care and shelter for all. Only a functional compassionate government can do this. Joe Biden can’t. Markos Moulitsas can’t. Donald Trump and Nancy Pelosi haven’t. There are no competent billionaires or politicians to step out in front and halt the mob.

    Today is depressing.

    1. The Rev Kev

      You have to go through collapses before things can be put back together into a new configuration that works better. For Americans, it was only the Depression that let FDR bring in his new Deal which went on to help win WW2. For the British, they would have never, ever, have had their National Health Service without having to go through the hard years of the Depression and WW2.

      And there is absolutely no way in the world that America, for example, can go back to the way that things were done back in January. The elites and their enablers can come up with all sorts of bail-out bills and the like but that system has undergone catastrophic, sudden collapse and cannot be repeated again. Things can only change.

      1. CoyoteMoon

        Absolutely, Rev Kev.

        There will be opportunities. We must seize them.

        Keep your body well and your energy up. We will need them.

  40. UserFriendly

    I would absolutely love a thoroughly linked authoritative damning of Obama’s mishandling of the foreclosure crisis. Other things to include:
    * he bailed out his donors, ducked matching funds, largest $ from wall street in history.
    * Ignoring the IMF paper that he must have seen, and what he should have done instead. (Newbies never understand that there were alternatives)

    On Obamacare I like to refer to it as the stoking racial resentment act. All the very poor (black) got cadillac medicaid for free while the working poor (white) get forced to buy ACA private exchange hell with high deductible narrow networks and balance billing. At the very least you can bet there are a whole lot of people just above that cut off that see it in that way. It’s the stupidest reward the base scheme ever, your base never notices and the other side REALLY does.

Comments are closed.