2:00PM Water Cooler 4/28/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


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

The data is the John Hopkins CSSE data. Here is the site. I have changed to a logarithmic scale for US States and territories.

New York’s growth regresses from 1.02 down to 1.01.

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See Vice, “How to Read the Coronavirus Graphs“:

Quantities that grow exponentially, when depicted on a linear scale, look like curves that bend sharply upward, with the curve getting constantly steeper. On a log scale, exponentially growing values can be depicted with straight diagonal lines.

That’s the beauty of plotting things on log scales. Plots are meant to make things easy to understand, and we humans are much more adept at understanding linear, straight-line behavior. Log plots enable us to grasp exponential behavior by transferring the complexity of constantly steepening curves into the simplicity of an exponentially increasing scale.

On a log scale, we want to constantly be making the line more and more horizontal. The general concept of “flattening” is still a good one, but it’s never going to curve down. And so what we should be looking, and hoping for is a trend toward horizontal.


“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

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Biden (D)(1): Who did this:

“Developments in allegations against Biden amplify efforts to question his behavior” is galaxy-brained, challenging “the war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan’s advantage” for obfuscatory supremacy.

Biden (D)(2): “The Biden Trap” [Rebecca Traister, New York Magazine]. The deck: “As the candidate faces credible assault allegations, his progressive female colleagues are being offered a poisoned chalice.” More: “And part of what’s sickeningly clear is that if Biden remains the Democratic nominee, whichever woman gets the nod to be his running mate will wind up drinking from a poisoned chalice. Because the promise to choose a woman ensures that whoever she is, she will be forced to answer — over and over again — for Biden’s treatment of other women, including the serious allegations of assault leveled by Tara Reade. This double bind was already apparent this weekend, in advance of McHugh’s reporting, when New York representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez confirmed once again that she would vote for Biden despite their sharp political differences.” • The poisoned chalice is one that liberal Democrat “feminists” mixed for themselves and drank long ago. I mean, is Bill Clinton still a respected party elder, or not?

UPDATE Biden (D)(3): “Oppo dumps and behind-the-scenes lobbying: Biden’s VP search heats up” [Politico]. “Biden, who has committed to picking a woman running mate, is expected to announce his vice presidential selection committee by May 1. But the selection itself may not come until July.” • Shameless joclkeying, and every single one of them throwing Tara Reade under the bus, too.

UPDATE Biden (D)(4): “Why Joe Biden needs to personally address Tara Reade’s allegations” [Chris Cilizza, CNN]. “At the core of Biden’s messaging in this campaign is the need to bring respect and dignity back into the White House and the country, to rid America off the cynicism and hypocrisy of Trump’s presidency, to expunge the idea that the President doesn’t have to follow the rules…. Given both his pledge to do better than Trump — in every aspect of being president — and accusations of improper touching that have surfaced in the past, the allegations by Reade are not the sort of thing Biden can or should be allowed to deny via a senior female campaign staffer. Reade’s allegation needs to be directly addressed by the candidate himself. And Biden needs to answer several questions including: a) Does he remember Reade at all? b) Did they ever interact? c) Had he ever heard of this allegation from her prior to a few weeks ago?” • d) Did Biden discuss Reade witih Obama before 2008, 2016, and — most importantly — before Obama staged his Night of the Long Knives for Biden in 2020? I’m guessing no. And Obama doesn’t like people who make him look bad.

UPDATE Biden (D)(5): Nice timing:

UPDATE Sanders (D)(1): “New York Democrats cancel 2020 primary, kicking Bernie Sanders off the ballot” [The Week]. “Sanders suspended his 2020 run last month and endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden, but still wanted his supporters to vote for him so his delegates could ‘exert significant influence over the party platform and other functions’ at the Democratic National Convention. But Doug Kellner, one of the two Democratic commissioners on the elections board in New York, concluded Sanders’ suspension ‘ended the real context for the primary election.’ ‘Joe Biden is the only candidate and therefore he is effectively the winner of the New York primary,’ Kellner said, so holding the primary would be ‘unnecessary and frivolous’ during the coronavirus pandemic.” • Leaving aside that Cuomo is mailing ballots to all New York residents, it would be foolish to think that Kellner and the other commissioner, Spano, made this decision all on their own, based on “rules” lol; the Cossacks work for the Czar. At the very least, they called Cuomo. And Cuomo gave either Biden or Obama a heads-up, or everybody knew the score already. (Cuomo could be nobbling Sanders in his own interest too, if he wants to run. It would be ludicrously arrogant of Cuomo to think he could run, but then Cuomo is ludicrously arrogant.)

UPDATE Sanders (D)(2): “New York Board of Elections strikes Sanders from ballot, cancels Democratic presidential primary” [CNBC]. Jeff Weaver: “No one asked New York to cancel the election. The DNC didn’t request it. The Biden campaign didn’t request it. And our campaign communicated that we wanted to remain on the ballot. Given that the primary is months away, the proper response must be to make the election safe — such as going to all vote by mail — rather than to eliminating people’s right to vote completely.” •  No one? Really?

UPDATE Sanders (D)(3): “New York Cancels Primary In Blow To Bernie Sanders” [Forbes]. “Earlier this month, after Sanders conceded the race to Biden, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a budget bill with a provision allowing the state’s Board of Elections to remove candidates who have suspended their campaigns from the ballot and, in effect, cancel the election.” • Who put that provision in the billl? “No one”? Little elves?

Trump (R)(1): “Inside Trump’s virtual 2020 campaign” [Axios]. “On a conference call on March 13, top Trump campaign officials decided they needed to move to an all-virtual campaign, according to two senior campaign officials. That decision affects more than 1,000 staff around the country, they said….. Carr had to move entirely to virtual in 24 hours because the campaign was heading into a ‘national week of training.’ The Trump campaign does a week of training volunteers each month and ends with a national ‘day of action.”… The campaign says it has signed up more than 275,000 new volunteers since the switch to all-virtual on March 13. A senior campaign official said this is significantly higher than normal.” • And:

Ventura (G)(1): “Jesse Ventura says he’s ‘testing the waters’ for Green Party bid for president” [The Hill]. “Jesse Ventura, who served as Minnesota governor as a member of the Reform Party, said Monday that he is “testing the waters” for a potential 2020 run for president on the Green Party ticket. In a pair of tweets, the former wrestling star, who has repeatedly floated a White House bid, said he endorses the Green Party’s platform and had authorized a letter to the party signaling his interest in running for its presidential nomination…. If he entered the race, Ventura would be one of several declared candidates for the Green Party’s nomination. The hopeful currently leading the pack is Howie Hawkins, a New York trade unionist and activist who co-founded the Green Party and is already endorsed by the Socialist Party, another third party…. ‘If I do do it, Trump will not have a chance,’ Ventura said in 2018. ‘For one, Trump knows wrestling. He participated in two Wrestlemanias. He knows he can never out-talk a wrestler, and he knows I’m the greatest talker wrestling’s ever had,’ he said.” • Certainly something to consider.

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UPDATE “Steele Claims Clinton Lawyer Provided Tip about Trump Campaign Contacts with Russian Bank” [National Review]. “Christopher Steele admitted in a court hearing last month that his claims of secret communication between the 2016 Trump campaign and a Russian bank were based on a tip from a lawyer representing the DNC and Clinton campaign. Steele claimed in his infamous dossier that the founders of Alfa Bank had “illicit” ties to Vladimir Putin and acted as undercover messaging channel between the Kremlin and the Trump Organization, but did not say where he had received the information. But under questioning from the lawyer of the bank owners, who sued him for defamation, Steele revealed that on July 29, 2016, he was told of the story by Perkins Coie lawyer and former DOJ official Michael Sussmann.” • Oh.

Realignment and Legitimacy

Collapse of Federalism?

Regional compacts on #COVID19 (map is documented in the thread):

As usual, Trump is catalyzing an existing tendency, in this case centripetal forces in the Union’s regions (although now on rereading, that’s a stirred and not shaken metaphor).

“California’s Closed, Texas Open and States Go Their Own Way” [Bloomberg]. “The proliferation of plans, with their byzantine phases and conditions varying across regions — and even within states — reinforced just how divided the country remains on how and when to reopen the economy…. ‘50 flowers bloom’ in absence of strong guidance from Trump.”

And regional approaches are not, prima facie insane. Would trying to force a Federal solution be pushing on a string?

There aren’t just cultural and political differences between TX and CA, but climate and population differences as well. (Successes like South Korea, Taiwan, and New Zealand are not continental nations; two are islands, one is a peninsula with a single neighbor.)

UPDATE “‘Calexit’ May Be A Long Way Off, But Balkanization Won’t Be” [The American Conservative]. “Every American Governor thinks his or her state is special, but only California Governor Gavin Newsom regularly refers to his as a ‘nation-state.’….. The California roadmap is the latest in a long line of policies practically and symbolically distancing the Golden State from the rest of the country. California has long been the only state granted the right to maintain its own auto emissions standards. Since 2017 it has prevented state employees from traveling on official business to other states that, in the evaluation of its Attorney General, maintain legal “discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.” California is a self-declared “sanctuary state” limiting the degree to which state and local law enforcement may cooperate with federal immigration officials. In 2019 it began covering certain illegal immigrants in its state Medicaid program, and this year created a state-based coronavirus relief fund specifically for residents who are in the country unlawfully. There is no doubt that California is both very peculiar and very large. Yet neither quality lends it the status of a nation, nor does it make California a state in the international legal sense of the term. Nonetheless one day it could become so, and the coronavirus pandemic is creating novel opportunities for California to travel down just such a path. The state already has the political infrastructure to begin entertaining independence.” • This is a very interesting article, with parallels to the SNP in the UK. I would be interested to kniow what readers in any or all of these three entitites think of this article.

“Cuomo says NY has been bailing out other states for decades” [The Hill]. “New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said Monday that New York has been ‘bailing out’ other states for years as he pushes the Trump administration and Congress for federal assistance for state and local governments amid the coronavirus pandemic. Cuomo called it ‘repugnant’ to be discussing “dollars and cents” contributed by states, but said a tally would show New York repeatedly sending more money to the federal government than it receives.” • I’d like to see how that nets out, considering how we keep having to bail out New York’s extractive financial industry. It’s also worth noting that the national #COVID19 figures would look at lot better if Cuomo and DiBlasio between them hadn’t butchered the job. As long as one is fomenting a “house divided.”

* * *

“Schumer to introduce legislation preventing Trump from signing stimulus checks” [Politico]. “The so-called “No PR Act” would prohibit the use of federal dollars toward any material that promotes the names or signatures of Trump or Vice President Mike Pence.” • Raw courage. I like that in a politician.

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.

“Top ad firm outlines business sectors hit the most by the pandemic, and the ones that are faring better… for now” [CNBC]. “Advertising holding company Omnicom saw shares up more than 3% on Tuesday morning after reporting its first quarter results. The company said sectors like travel, lodging and entertainment; energy and oil and gas; non-essential retail and automotive have been more immediately impacted by the pandemic and are already postponing or reducing marketing spend. Meanwhile, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, technology and telecommunications, financial services and consumer products have fared better so far, the company said. But it noted that demand for marketing services will likely decline as marketers cut costs short-term because of economic uncertainty.”

“How the Coronavirus Pandemic Has Affected Local Businesses Around the Country” [Yelp]. “The economic changes from the first quarter of 2020 were unlike anything we’ve ever seen. In a period of about 15 days as the nation reacted to the threat of the coronavirus pandemic, the economy transformed as much as it had in Yelp’s prior 15 years of operation, combined…. The first quarter of 2020 has been unlike any other: Businesses closed their doors nationwide, with closure rates abruptly increasing by 200% or more in metros and states around the country; consumer interest in all local businesses plummeted, by 50% or more in many categories, in a matter of a week or two… As of April 19, more than 175,000 businesses have shut down – temporarily or permanently – with the Los Angeles metro area hit the hardest with the largest number of closed businesses since March 1, followed by New York and Chicago. Seattle and San Francisco have the highest rate of business closures, as a share of all businesses, among major metros, while Philadelphia and Miami have the lowest rate of business closures among major metros. Every type of business was affected. The businesses marked as closed include more than 48,000 shopping establishments, 30,000 restaurants, and 24,000 spas and other beauty businesses.” • That’s a lot of demand for monopolies who can weather the storm to snap up.

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Commodities: “Oil Crisis Prompts Call to Bolster World’s Top Carbon Market” [Bloomberg]. “The oil market collapse is opening a new debate in Europe about strengthening the carbon market, a key tool in the region’s bid for climate neutrality. European Union energy ministers on Tuesday discussed security of supplies and the role of industry in a plan for economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson called on national governments to keep the Green Deal the centerpiece of the rescue packages…. France [urged] bolstering the bloc’s carbon market through measures including a floor price.”

Big Ag: “Avocados Are In, Pork Bellies Out in Era of Pandemic Eating” [Bloomberg]. “The pandemic has totally transformed the way the world eats. There is no trend, exactly, other than this: People want comfort. They also want to eat their way to stronger immune systems. They’re stress baking, but they’re also eating healthier than they would have at restaurants. Avocados are in. Pork belly out. Frozen pizzas and instant noodles are selling out. And these seemingly conflicting and converging buying patterns are upending agricultural markets, sending prices for avocados surging more than 60% from early March, while butter is tumbling because of the loss of restaurant demand.”

Manufacturing: “Boeing CEO says ‘it will be years’ until global aviation returns to pre-pandemic levels” [MarketWatch]. “Air traffic may not bounce back for two or three years, Boeing Co. BA-0.69% Chief Executive David Calhoun said, outlining the tough outlook for global aviation to the plane maker’s shareholders on Monday. ‘The health crisis is unlike anything we have ever experienced,’ Mr. Calhoun said at the annual meeting. ‘It will be years before this returns to pre-pandemic levels.’ Mr. Calhoun laid out the coronavirus pandemic’s toll on the industry: Global airline revenues set to drop by $314 billion this year. In the U.S., more than 2,800 planes idled. Passenger demand is down 95% from last year. ‘We are in an unpredictable and fast-changing environment, and it is difficult to estimate when the situation will stabilize,’ he added. ‘But when it does, the commercial market will be smaller and our customers’ needs will be different.'”

The Bezzle: “Teslas can now see and slow for traffic lights and stop signs” [The Verge]. “Tesla is rolling out a software update to some of its newest cars that will allow them to see and respond to traffic lights and stop signs, a feature that CEO Elon Musk has teased for years…. Tesla also stresses in the software update release notes that the Traffic Light and Stop Sign Control feature is in ‘beta,’ and that it ‘may be conservative and slowdown often at first.'” I think this is humor:

The Bezzle: “Autos Are Driving in the Chip Industry’s Blind Spot” [Bloomberg]. “For years, technologists have been talking about smarter cars packed with sensors, chips and supercomputers that can replace human drivers. That was enough to get investors excited about the future of automotive semiconductors…. with a global recession on the way, you’d have to be Elon Musk to believe that the auto sector, and the chipmakers that supply them, are going to survive with only minor bruising.”

Tech: “Want to Find a Misinformed Public? Facebook’s Already Done It” [The Markup]. “Facebook was allowing advertisers to profit from ads targeting people that the company believes are interested in “pseudoscience.” According to Facebook’s ad portal, the pseudoscience interest category contained more than 78 million people. This week, The Markup paid to advertise a post targeting people interested in pseudoscience, and the ad was approved by Facebook…. We reached out to Facebook asking about the targeting category on Monday morning. After asking for multiple extensions to formulate a response, company spokesperson Devon Kearns emailed The Markup on Wednesday evening to say that Facebook had eliminated the pseudoscience interest category.” • Makes you wonder what they replaced it with.

Concentration: “Is the Coronavirus going to take down any big companies?” [Francine McKenna, The Dig]. “The fix is already in. The Securities and Exchange Commission and the [Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB)] have already huddled with the Big 4 audit firms more than once to discuss, together, how to address the risk the coronavirus pandemic has on their opinions on the financial statements of almost all of the public companies listed on U.S. exchanges…. I suspect the SEC and PCAOB have already given the stand down order — no going concern warnings— as they likely did in secret here in the U.S. during the financial crisis of 2008-2009, and as we found out that the the U.K government did.”

Concentration: “Tech giants are profiting — and getting more powerful — even as the global economy tanks” [WaPo]. “[T]he global coronavirus pandemic is prompting a dramatic reversal of fortune for the tech giants. Amazon and Facebook are capitalizing on the fact that they are viewed as essential services for a public in lockdown, while Google and Apple are building tools that will enable state health departments to provide a critical public service, tracing the course of potential new covid-19 infections. The pace of the probes against these companies has slowed as regulators and lawyers are forced to work from home…. And while the global economy faces potential unemployment and contraction not seen since the Great Depression, the tech giants — and a handful of medium-size tech firms — are already benefiting from new consumer habits initiated during the lockdowns that analysts believe will turn into longer-term shifts in how people shop, work and entertain themselves…. The tech giants‘ deep pockets will enable them to withstand the coming global economic recession, a stark contrast to what industry insiders and analysts expect to be the biggest shake up of the tech landscape in years. As many start-ups collapse, tech giants will expand on the power they’ve accumulated using the playbook of the last decade: snapping up talent, buying or copying rivals, and eroding traditional industries.”

Concentration: “Sen. Josh Hawley calls for a criminal antitrust probe into Amazon” [The Verge]. “In his letter to Attorney General William Barr, Hawley presses the Justice Department to open an investigation into Amazon’s data tactics that were detailed in a report from The Wall Street Journal last week. In this report, the Journal outlined several instances in which Amazon employees peered into the sales data from independent sellers in order to develop its own competing, private label products. ‘These practices are alarming for America’s small businesses even under ordinary circumstances,’ Hawley wrote. ‘But at a time when most small retail businesses must rely on Amazon because of coronavirus-related shutdowns, predatory data practices threaten these businesses’ very existence.'” • Well, a sternly worded letter isn’t impressive. Hold hearings! That said, Stoller would ask where the left is on this. And he would be correct.

Mr. Market: “Stock Markets That Never Fall Are Up to No Good” [Bloomberg]. “It’s possible that stock market investors simply expect the economic recovery after the end of lockdowns to be swift and robust. But that’s looking increasingly unlikely. The U.S. has failed to suppress the epidemic, and lifting lockdowns is unlikely to bring people out of their houses as long as the threat of the virus remains. Meanwhile, business closures, mass unemployment and the collapse of global trade will weaken the economy for years to come. A more disturbing possibility is that investors have decided that the U.S. government will prioritize preserving stock market valuations regardless of what happens to the rest of the economy.” • But–

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 43 Fear (previous close: 43 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 40 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Apr 28 at 12:13pm.

The Biosphere

“This fragile Earth, our island home” (from the Episcopal “Star Trek” service):

“How economists are destroying life on Earth” [Steve Keen, Medium]. Keen: “We don’t just have a climate change threat to humanity. Neoclassical economics itself is an existential threat.” • Well worth a read.

A water feature thread:

Health Care

“Prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Residents of a Large Homeless Shelter in Boston” [JAMA]. From the abstract: “A total of 147 participants (36.0%) had PCR test results positive for SARS-CoV-2. Men constituted 84.4% of individuals with PCR-positive results and 64.4% of individuals with PCR-negative results. Among individuals with PCR test results positive for SARS-CoV-2, cough (7.5%), shortness of breath (1.4%), and fever (0.7%) were all uncommon, and 87.8% were asymptomatic.” • An interesting Petri dish.

“Characteristics of SARS-CoV-2 patients dying in Italy Report based on available data on April 23th , 2020” (PDF) [Istituto Superiore di Sanita]. “Table 1 presents most common comorbidities diagnosed before SARS-CoV-2 infection. Data on diseases were based on chart review and was available on 2,041 patients dying in-hospital for whom it was possible to analyse clinic charts. Mean number of diseases was 3.3 (median 3, SD 1.9). Overall, 3.6% of the sample presented with a no comorbidities, 14.4% with a single comorbidity, 21.1% with 2, and 60.9% with 3 or more.”

“Exclusive: U.S. medical testing, cancer screenings plunge during coronavirus outbreak – data firm analysis” [Reuters]. “Diagnostic panels and cancer screenings typically performed during annual physician visits fell by as much as 68% nationally, and by even more in coronavirus hotspots. These tests, office visits, surgeries and other medical care tied to them, are key sources of revenue for hospitals and healthcare systems that had to curb lucrative elective procedures to assure room for a crush of patients with COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus. Millions of patients postponed tests considered crucial for detecting early signs of disease, monitoring its progression and improving patient outcomes, according to Komodo, which has one of the nation’s largest medical claims data bases and provided its new findings exclusively to Reuters. Cervical cancer screenings were down 68%, cholesterol panels fell by 67% and the blood sugar test to detect diabetes were off 65% nationally. This could all prove very costly down the road.”

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“Psychiatry under the shadow of white supremacy” [Nature]. “How does a culture that enslaved people, encouraged lynching and developed racial segregation decide who is and is not sane?… As part of their treatment [in Georgia’s infamous Milledgeville hospital for people with mental illness], white men worked as gardeners; black men had to labour on the institution’s farm. White women were seamstresses; women of colour worked in the laundry. Segrest uses the asylum’s archive to show that luxuries such as writing supplies, slippers, soap and carpets were allocated much more generously to white patients, whereas black patients faced daily discrimination and neglect. Many died soon after arrival, reflecting both their poor health and the deplorable conditions they had to endure.

Class Warfare

In the UK. Nevertheless:

And since it’s after Easter, they got the eggs at a discount.


First, it’s not bonkers if your goal is to pay people to stay home, possibly saving their lives and the lives of others. Second, maybe this is a management problem, and the wages are too low?

“Who was Jack Tar?” [Aeon]. “Yet maritime history is not simply Nelson and Trafalgar…. The common seamen, those who went aloft to set their ships on a course to victory, riches or discovery, are virtually anonymous. The simple name ‘Jack Tar’ serves as a label for the entire tribe. The age of sail has broad terms of definition, but a reasonable range is from 1740 to 1840. This was the century when Britain became the world’s leading power. In this process, Jack – with numbers that peaked in the Napoleonic Wars at 147,000 naval hands and 115,000 in the mercantile sector – was an essential factor. He would have been the last to see it that way, but it is reasonable to suggest that the engine of progress up to the Industrial Revolution was the plain sailor…. He was, simply, the most successful fighting man produced by his native land which, with its taste for booty, pugilism and foreign adventure is saying quite something. So profoundly did he believe in himself, and so deeply did he awe the enemy, that defeat was never contemplated and rarely experienced. His spirit earned him the respect, the admiration and, sometimes, even the love of his officers.” • As fans of the Aubrey and Maturin saga know, viviid though the officer protagonists are.

News of the Wired

“How Sailor Moon’s Aesthetic Influenced the Worlds of Fashion and Beauty” [Teen Vogue]. “The series follows Usagi Tsukino, a clumsy 14-year-old who’s bad at math and is terrified of monsters. She’s also a reincarnated Sailor Senshi (or soldier), known as Sailor Moon, who’s tasked with leading a group of other Sailor Senshi to fight the aforementioned terrifying monsters. Though she doesn’t have the ideal skill set to battle evil, Usagi proves time and time again that, despite her fears, she will fight any foe, especially when her friends are in danger. She is an unlikely hero, but it’s Usagi’s vulnerabilities that make her so relatable to fans across the world; it’s what made her relatable to me. Before I watched Sailor Moon, I had been taught that you had to be fearless to be a hero, but Usagi showed me that being scared isn’t a flaw if you can be brave when it counts.” And: “In addition to Sailor Moon’s themes of love, friendship, and empowerment, the show is known for its fashion. Since it takes place in the ’90s, there are plenty of pastels, overalls, high-waisted skirts, and denim-jacket ensembles that still look fashionable today, because the #90sanimeaesthetic is a real thing.” • It all seems quite benevolent. Surely there’s a dark side?

“26 words that don’t translate into English: foreign vocab to take home from holiday” [South China Morning Post]. “The colloquial Hindi word rimjhim roughly translates as the sound of light rain or drizzle but also describes the sense of happiness, relief even, associated with the coming monsoon. Rimjhim has appeared in numerous Bollywood productions, usually in a romantic context.” • I know the same feeling for on-coming snow, a fresh smell without odor. But there’s no word for it!


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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 (JA):

JA writes: “I have three plum blossom trees out along the sidewalk in front of my house here in Seattle, and just a few days ago they all popped open. In just a few more days, especially if we get a little wind, they’ll turn the whole sidewalk red. I wanted to show off both the full field of view (or at least most of it) and also a closeup of the blossoms, and the only way I could think of doing that was to give you as split screen view.” The blossoms are gorgeous, but I confess I have little fondness for split-screen photos unless the split screen photo is composed as a single unit, like this triptych from the late NC reader Isolato. So there is a challenge for you NC photo mavens,

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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. Carey

    NYT: ‘Nearly All Patients Hospitalized With Covid-19 Had Chronic Health Issues, Study Finds’:

    “A new study of thousands of hospitalized coronavirus patients in the New York City area, the epicenter of the outbreak in the United States, has found that nearly all of them had at least one major chronic health condition, and most — 88 percent — had at least two.

    Though earlier research has shown chronic conditions like obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes are common risk factors for severe Covid-19, the ubiquity of serious medical conditions in these patients was striking: Only 6 percent of them had no underlying health conditions..”


    1. Monty

      Hardly surprising. American’s are generally a very unhealthy bunch.


      Nearly half of adults in the United States (108 million, or 45%) have hypertension defined as a systolic blood pressure ≥ 130 mm Hg or a diastolic blood pressure ≥ 80 mm Hg or are taking medication for hypertension.

      Add in obesity, and you probably have a large majority of US adults with a chronic health condition.

      Are you suggesting we put them all out to pasture?

      1. JBird4049

        Yes, but like with most things in this neoliberal world life has become more ill.

        For example, the food industry took to making “food” as cheaply (profitably) and addictive as possible using any way it could get away with including vast amounts of poorly tested additives as well as putting extra corn syrup and salt in everything. A homemade chocolate cake would have very little of the poorly understood additives nor the vast amount of sugar as corn syrup. Modern store food like canned chili usually has an increasing amount of it.

        Another example is the tobacco industry increasing the addictive and poisonousness of its tobacco using almost unregulated additives; even using the same amount of before and after tobacco the latter was more likely to kill you.

        There are good reasons why drugs like heroin, alcohol, and cocaine are no longer put in children’s medicine and sold over the county.

        And there are good reasons why the Federal Government 70 years ago started the effort of ensuring that Americans would not ever endure the not so occasional hunger and the very (thankfully) rare episodes of death by starvation due to poverty. This is why cornerstone America foods like beef, pork, wheat, corn, and wheat are subsidized starting in the Great Depression. Vegetables and even fruit was (usually) affordable, but don’t provide the necessary calories needed to survive on eating American cuisine. However, the ingredients in American food today are very different than that of the 1930’s even if they look the same.

        As an aside, a reason that tea and sugar becomes so popular in Great Britain is because the exhausted and often hungry factory workers could use the energy from caffeine and the often large caloric increase; the tea and sugar was cheap too.

        As with the poor English worker’s tea and sugar, so as with McDonald’s and poor and working class families. Just as the sugar in the tea in sugar is bad for one’s teeth, the junk food especially with the corporation’s modifications including those additives are not so good for you.

        However, the food is quick, cheap, and mostly filling; many areas are food deserts anyway with quality fruits and vegetables hard to find. As an experiment, go to and compare a poor/working class neighborhood’s grocery store with a middle ,especially upper, middle class neighborhood’s store. Use the same chain. The difference in selection, service, and probably neatness will be…surprising.

        What is available, never mind affordable in either time or money, to the lower American classes is very different for the upper classes. There are good reasons why Americans are getting increasingly unhealthy and lazinessness is not one of them.

        The increasing chronic poor health of Americans is a profitable condition for American corporations. Just like the opioid epidemic and the United States’ invasions are. They are not natural or normal except as a result of greed.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > The increasing chronic poor health of Americans is a profitable condition for American corporations. Just like the opioid epidemic and the United States’ invasions are. They are not natural or normal except as a result of greed.

          The elite fattens up Americans for value extraction and slaughter as if they were hogs or cattle. Certainly this is true in nursing homes and prisons, both Petri dishes. Hospitals too, sadly.

        2. Amfortas the hippie

          Re: comparing and contrasting the same store in different areas:
          I’ve been doing that when we go for cancer stuff to san antonio…
          store in a less well off part of town, versus one next to the Dominion.
          It’s still an HEB, but it IS different.
          and if i expand this survey to other stores, it’s even more striking.
          HEB in fredericksburg is a lot less well off than the one’s in san antone….and all of them are much better off than the podunk regional grocer out here.
          But all of the stores mentioned…even those in the Dominion have experienced shortages…often drastic. Poorer the area, worse the shortages.
          I hear from Clear Lake and Kingwood(upper level neighborhoods in Houston) that they’ve had no shortages at all…although the Kingwood stores are rationing certain items.

        3. Adam Eran

          Worth remembering: Not only did NAFTA enable capital flight (requiring a $20b bailout), it shipped a bunch of subsidized Iowa corn down to Mexico, which, as even the treaty acknowledges, would impair some farm income. There were compensation agreements for the large farmers..

          Corn is only arguably the most important food crop in the world, and the little Mexican subsistence corn farmers were only keeping the disease resistance and diversity of the corn genome alive with the varieties they grew. But they weren’t making any money for Monsanto, darn them! So they didn’t get compensated for their losses.

          So… in the wake of NAFTA Mexican real, median income declined 34% (Source: Ravi Batra’s Greenspan’s Fraud) One has to revisit the Great Depression to find a decline like that it the U.S. economy. And that provoked no great migration…oh wait! The Okies!

          Never mind the political and economic attacks on our southern neighbors (the U.S. is responsible for 41 changes of government south of its borders between 1798 and 1994), the economic attacks are creating waves of refugees… and justifying Trump’s xenophobia for lots of low-income U.S.ians.

      2. Carey

        Yes! We should therefore all stay SafeandSecure behind our masks, screens (especially!!!), and sanitizers..

        ..and “contact tracing™” is nothing like the formerly-named “mass surveillance”..


    2. WheresOurTeddy

      …and since over 40% of Americans are on at least one prescription, your downplaying the severity of the pandemic in the opening comment of the thread is even more irresponsible. What is the point of your comment other than “it’s not that bad guys, it’s only culling the weak and vulnerable”? Asking for an immunocompromised significant other. THX

      1. Bazarov

        It was a joke, making mild fun of healthcare parlance.

        You can take your humorless scolding and overreaction elsewhere, thank you.

  2. Billy

    “(Successes like South Korea, Taiwan, and New Zealand are not continental nations; two are islands, one is a peninsula with a single neighbor.)”

    Polite reminder, not for NC readers, but for people who claim “it won’t work here,” and who might need a few examples. p.s. Hawaii and Puerto Rico are islands too, how are they doing?

    “South Koreans have access to a universal healthcare safety net, although a significant portion of healthcare is privately funded. In 2015 South Korea ranked first in the OECD for healthcare access.[1]”

    The current healthcare system in Taiwan, known as National Health Insurance (NHI, was instituted in 1995. NHI is a single-payer compulsory social insurance plan that centralizes the disbursement of healthcare funds. The system promises equal access to healthcare for all citizens, and the population coverage had reached 99% by the end of 2004.[4]”

    “New Zealand residents and some work visa holders benefit from a public health system that is free or low cost, thanks to heavy government subsidies. New Zealand residents can choose to take out medical insurance for private healthcare, although many New Zealanders do not opt for this additional cover. Non-residents can also use healthcare services at a cost, but should get medical insurance from their home country.”

      1. SteveW

        Venezuela’s problems have to do with dictatorship, poor leadership and citizenship. Also, good universal health care is a sign of civil society, not necessarily socialism. China does NOT have universal health care. Among all developed nations, US is the only one not having universal health care. Also has the highest overall health expenditures and at the low end of life expectancy.

        1. John A

          Strange SteveW you dont mention US sanctions that are strangling Venezuela. and since when does an elected leader be dubbed a dictator other than when said leader does not grovel to the US?

    1. Fabian

      New Zealand also has a comprehensive accident compensation scheme funded by levy on employers and self-employed which precludes lawsuit for accidental damage. No ambulance chasers.

      1. dcrane

        And it works really well. However, one annoying side-effect is that medical problems resulting from accidents (e.g., many traumatic brain injuries) are covered under the accident scheme (ACC), which is currently very well funded, while sometimes quite similar medical problems (e.g., stroke) that aren’t traced to accidents get covered under the national healthcare system, which is more financially stressed. The suture zone between the two systems can become awkward when patients with similar problems receive markedly different levels of funding/treatment, which I have observed in a rehab context.

        1. WheresOurTeddy

          So my reading is that there are not 1 but 2 systems which cover catastrophic medical care, and they are sometimes overlapping and/or inefficient due to there just being TOO MUCH EMPATHY in New Zealand. While the US crosses 60,000 deaths and 30 million unemployed.

          Are there any steam ships leaving from LA I can stow away on? Do they treat undocumented immigrants well in NZ?

  3. Off The Street

    Words and senses: recall, perhaps non-verbally, and savor that smell when the first drops of rain begin to fall.

  4. Off The Street

    Jack Tar and all that: After opining about the love of officers, will Aeon next write about the three traditions of the British Navy?

    1. shtove

      The first tradition is to allow the sailors die of dysentery when they get back to Blighty. A little known footnote to the Armada campaigns of 1588 and 1589.

    2. LifelongLib

      The “age of sail” only goes back to 1740? Sailing ships were used from antiquity, but I would say the development of true ocean-going sailing ships by the Portuguese in the 1400s marks the beginning of the age of sail in Europe. I don’t know much about that Chinese fleet that explored the Indian Ocean, but wasn’t it roughly contemporary?

      1. barefoot charley

        That annoyed me too. It should read “the Age When Blighty Ruled the Waves with Sails.” Before 1740 they fought for supremacy; after 1840 they cheated and used steam, ie coal. Yes, I’m an aggrieved Aubrey and Maturin fan.

        If anyone doesn’t know them, Patrick O’Brien’s series on the Napoleonic wars at sea is just flabbergastingly good. The first volume is “Master and Commander,” and it’s not much like the movie pastiche. And there are enough volumes for us to survive and thrive under quarantine for months!

          1. norm de plume

            There are actually 20 volumes (and the stirrings of a 21st); I am staring at my dog-eared collection as we speak. And those last three are among the best of the lot.

            Always nice to come across fellow Jack and Stephen fans. There was a Sanders discussion here in January that touched on Paddy O’B, to which I penned a reply no-one saw as it was a few days late. I tried to cram as much of the argot into it as I could, and blushingly reproduce it for you now:

            Why, as to that, Sanders is simply taking Nelson’s advice to Jack:

            ‘Never mind maneuvers, just go straight at ‘em’

            Comparing his effort to Ardennes though, let alone the Cacafuego, is coming it a bit high, even topping the nob, though it seems to have answered tolerably well so far. It don’t signify however, unless the lee shores charted by Master Camp in his video are successfully navigated. Difficult enough, for all love, but with the short commons he gets from the rum coves of the gutter press he will need to set studdingsails and beat to quarters soon, though the barky is only halfway through the forenoon watch. The fate of the Corbyn (RN) will weigh heavily, and the danger from friend is almost as great as foe, upon my sacred honour.

            Wish you joy Sanders, with all my heart.

            Not feeling quite the thing today, could be the victuals, possibly the marthambles or the strong fives. Time for my slime draught; it sets you up amazingly.

            ‘Killick, Killick there, cut along now!’

              1. John Anthony La Pietra

                How close is that to Mark Train’s Scotch as a preventative of toothache?

    3. Carolinian

      Being a Jack Tar was such fun that the US partly fought a war (1812) with the Brits over impressment.

    4. The Rev Kev

      There was one thing almost guaranteed when French ships met Royal Navy ships and that was that the British ships would immediately go on to the attack even if the odds were against them. It must have been very disconcerting for French sailors to know this and none would have relished the prospect of a bunch of Bully Boys landing on their decks-


      1. Swamp Yankee

        Indeed, remember the execution of Admiral Byng for failure to show sufficient ferocity in the face of the French foe? Voltaire commented famously in CANDIDE that it was “pour encourager les autres” (to encourage the others).

    5. Jessica

      Being a sailor in those days was so dangerous that the death toll for sailors on slaving ships was slightly higher than the death toll for the enslaved persons.
      Also, many of the sailors were enlisted against their will, sometimes by outright kidnapping.

      1. Swamp Yankee

        For those interested in some excellent left-wing social history on the common sailor in the 18th century, I have two recommendations: 1) Peter Linebaugh and Marcus Rediker, _The Many-Headed Hydra: Sailors, Slaves, Commoners, and the Hidden History of the Revolutionary Atlantic_; 2) Marcus Rediker, _The Slave Ship: A Human History_.

        Linebaugh is wonderful and was the great leftwing English social historian E.P. Thompson’s grad student, and Rediker is his friend. One of the key arguments the latter makes in his book is that the slave ship essentially serves as a model for the factory mode of production and that all of its brutality is transferred thereto when the industrial revolution hits the Atlantic world.

        1. JBird4049

          >> slave ship essentially serves as a model for the factory mode of production and that all of its brutality is transferred thereto when the industrial revolution hits the Atlantic world.

          This rather makes sense. I am going to check those books out.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Linebaugh is wonderful and was the great leftwing English social historian E.P. Thompson’s grad student, and Rediker is his friend. One of the key arguments the latter makes in his book is that the slave ship essentially serves as a model for the factory mode of production and that all of its brutality is transferred thereto when the industrial revolution hits the Atlantic world.

          Holy sh*t! What a great argument! (Merchant capital morphs into industrial capital). One more goddamned book to read.

          From the Amazon review:

          Captains were notorious for getting rid of extra crew before completing their voyage–leaving behind a pathetic human landscape of broken-down sailors in West Indies ports. Therefore common sailors would learn to assert a power of their own from below to oppose the concentrated power of the captain. A particularly interesting tale to me in this section recounts the sailors’ insurrection in Liverpool, from which we get the word “strike” in our language today: sailors “struck” or took down the sails of vessels.

          An amazing factoid.

          1. Swamp Yankee

            Yes, they are a remarkable pair of historians, and very much sidelined by the neoliberal academic-historical complex for exactly the reasons you’d suspect. I remember being extremely surprised by the hostility to their arguments evinced by grad students just a bit older than me (I am Gen Y/earliest millennial depending how they measure it). Many Gen X liberals fully accepted the terms of the argument handed down by Maggie and Ronnie.

      2. Off The Street

        Here I was having a pint in my local and next thing you know, I wake up out to sea. Oh well, I hear Shanghai is lovely this century.

  5. L

    “Schumer to introduce legislation preventing Trump from signing stimulus checks” [Politico].

    Translation: “Those are our table scraps and we won’t have you take credit for them.”

    1. Carla

      Hhhmm, which would voters rather have: Schumer’s legislation against Trump signing checks, or concrete, material benefits?

      Tough question!

      1. Geo

        Maybe Schumer can do a “Pelosi” and tear up all the Trump-signed checks on TV as a dramatic show of #resistence ?

        1. barefoot charley

          Just picked up an IRS envelope containing, on White House stationary, the Orange One bragging that he’d already direct deposited free money for me and my wife, in case I was confused who sent it, I guess.

          He beat Schumer to the post. As usual.

          1. Geo

            Something tells me a lot of #resisters will be mass-virtue signaling by doing the infamous Pelosi tear on Youtube/IG/Twitter with these letters.

            Should have printed the letters on soft ply though for all those who are low on TP.

            1. Dr. John Carpenter

              I’d be more impressed if the #McResisters tore up their actual checks, as you mentioned above.

    2. montanamaven

      How long will getting Schumer’s bill thru take and will that stall the checks from going out? And wasn’t it Trump that wanted a payroll tax cut or suspension but the Dems opposed it?

      1. Pat

        One of the few things I agree with. Payroll tax cut is meaningless if you aren’t getting a pay check, one. Two it is about attacking Social Security.

        Send out direct checks to people and hope they buy things from the corporations rather than trillions to those nonhuman entities.

        Screw tax cuts.

    3. WJ

      Trump will instead delegate Tara Reade to sign the checks and it will all blow back in the Democrats’ faces.

  6. Mikel

    “As many start-ups collapse, tech giants will expand on the power they’ve accumulated using the playbook of the last decade: snapping up talent, buying or copying rivals, and eroding traditional industries.”

    It doesn’t have to be better either, just the tired, cliched mindset that if something isn’t being destroyed the economy is stagnating.
    “Mommy, Daddy…we can’t get “groaf” on our tech toys…”

  7. Hepativore

    The further developments on the Biden accusations add to the likelihood that the the Democratic Convention is going to pick somebody else to be their candidate. There are many neoliberals to choose from.

    It all comes down to does the DNC just want to go through the motions of letting Biden be the candidate who is probably going to lose to Trump? I doubt they care about the presidency at this point, as Trump is good for fundraising and somebody for the woke crowd to virtue-signal against. However, these sexual assault allegations might threaten to blow the masks off of what the liberal crowd really is for the rank-and-file MSNBC and CNN-watching Democratic voters.

    Still, does the DNC care enough about the presidency to want to go through the effort to prop up another candidate to replace Biden who will probably lose to Trump anyway? I know that there are a lot of other neoliberal robots for the DNC to choose from if they do decide to replace Biden, but the optics of installing a Democratic candidate by superdelegate fiat might still leave a bad taste in the mouths of a lot of loyal Democratic voters even at this stage of the game.

    1. Chris

      I’d say if they don’t do the bait and switch quickly they will definitely lose. If they do it in the open and handle Bernie appropriately, they have a chance of winning. My bet is still on Trump for another 4 years though. The only silver lining to that is the sweet schadenfreude I’ll feel in the moaning of every liberal who swore they didn’t need Bernie voters and that they didn’t waste time with RussiaGate.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        With their open embrace of a rapist, they can basically be called worse than the mythical Bernie Bros, and it will be true.

        1. ambrit

          Your characterization also describes Bill Clinton. So, Hillary Clinton is guilty by association insofar as she ran interference for Bill over similar allegations back when he was POTUS. Then think back to the infamous “Droner in Chief” affair and realize that we have the spectacle of a political machine that is headed by a lot of rapists, murderers and their enablers.
          America is literally screwed.

      2. Chas

        If stopping global heating is a goal, it’s better to elect Trump than Biden. That’s because Trump would be out in 2024 and there would be another chance to elect an environmentalist then. But if Biden wins with a neo-liberal VP behind him, it could be 12 years before we have another chance to elect an environmentalist and by then the last chance to save life on earth will be gone.

    2. sd

      Frankly, there is little evidence that Biden is actually healthy. He doesn’t sound well and he doesn’t look well. I’ll be surprised if he makes it to and through a convention.

      There’s a reason he is heavily sequestered which can’t be good.

    3. neo-realist

      Given Trump’s grave mishandling of the covid-19 pandemic, e.g. ignoring repeated warnings on the approaching pandemic and being slow to respond with the necessary medical supplies, not to mention the massive economic crash, he’s not a sure thing for the white house in 2021, even if the democratic nominee (who is currently out-polling him) is or comes off as senile. This is not to say that Biden can win in a cake walk, but rather that the contempt Trump has shown for Main Street America in his response to the crisis will make this a horse race that even a turnip for an opponent can win.

      1. shinola

        “[Trump’s] response to the crisis will make this a horse race that even a turnip for an opponent can win.”

        Apparently that’s what the DNC thinks; Biden or a turnip – not much difference.

      2. ambrit

        The Democrat Party has not been covering itself in glory in their response to the same crisis. The Democrat Party leadership is coming off in the court of public opinion, which, contrary to PMC opinion is much bigger than the aficionados of “Hamilton,” as a group of clueless kleptocrats.
        The Pandemic response is engendering a blanket condemnation of the entire American political system as unfit to the task of governing.
        My local City administration is showing more sense and innovation in it’s response to this crisis.

    4. L

      This is all Kremlinology of course but my bet is that some power players like Obama are behind Biden who can protect some of his “legacy” while others such as Cuomo are just content with racking up favors from the DNC and biding their time to ride is as a savior in 4 years. That is why he is content to shove out Sanders and let Biden get the hate because he can then reap the reward rulemaking at the convention and set the stage for himself.

      I mean anyone with half a brain (and not blinded by hate) inside the Biden campaign would be screaming murder about handing a new wedge issue for Sanders voters. For them letting the primary run, even if Biden loses but still stays the nominee, is better that cleaving off people over a naked power grab that plays well on Fox News.

      But then I could be wrong, I do tend to overestimate their self-awareness.

    5. Dr. John Carpenter

      Joe better watch his back. I saw he got a big endorsement from Hillary today. Lol

    6. David R Smith

      Maybe Biden has enough decency to put on a pair of cutoffs, a tank top, and some flip-flops, walk through Midtown New York, carrying an End is Near sign, and shouting I’m Mad as Hell and not Going to Take it Anymore.

    7. John k

      I used to think biden can win given the poor virus response, but not now. It’s not just Reade, the pres debates are one on one, Biden can’t hide. and seems he will be worse in the fall. And changing for another won’t be easy unless he withdraws. Cuomo? State with most deaths? And he repeatedly cut health spending and beds.
      Hillary? Highly unlikely, shes less pop than in 2016, everybody knows that except maybe her.
      Biden plus Hillary? Trump would love it.
      Bloomberg? Well, he did win Samoa… granted he could fund it…
      They can only win with Bernie, but donors won’t allow it… the basic problem is that theyre all the neo version of liberals, nobody offers what the voters want, why get off the couch? Meanwhile the other team is enthusiastic.
      So trump might even get minor landslide if biden is run… quite a few senators and house dems, plus state houses too, might lose. Pelosi loses speaker etc.
      Course, Obama doesn’t care about that, but he will look really bad if his man loses really big. What legacy?
      Surprised Jaya pal endorsed.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Obama’s legacy is also a MIA DoJ except for poor people. They saw it. Losing is maybe the only way to preserve his legacy.

      2. richard

        I’m not surprised at all about jayapal
        she plays ball, just like the rest of them
        dem to her bones and
        worthless to us
        her M4A bill will never pass, because she won’t ever say a word against the one person most responsible for blocking it
        because Go Blue you know

      3. Lambert Strether Post author

        > I used to think biden can win given the poor virus response, but not now.

        I think Lichtman’s “keys” point to the possibility of a Biden win.

        It shouldn’t even be close.

  8. Chris

    Oh my lord. Someone save this poor soul before Slate cans him for writing something approximating reality. To think that I’d live to see Slate call out the PMC and Pelosi and discuss the neoliberal kayfabe that is the Democrat party. These truly are the end times…

  9. Mikel

    RE: “Top ad firm outlines business sectors hit the most by the pandemic, and the ones that are faring better… for now” [CNBC].

    When May hits, media outlets are facing Q3 cancellation options from advertisers.

    1. TalkingCargo

      I wonder what would happen if advertisers were declared non-essential and all advertising were suspended for the duration. Would that shut down the media and internet as well?

      1. Billy

        How about taxing advertising like they do liquor?
        They would pay for a large share of M4A.

        If I can’t deduct the money I spend on say, OK Cupid, from my taxable income,
        why should a business be able to deduct if from their revenue?

  10. Gary

    Does anyone know what happens with the asymptomatic Covid-19 people? Does it mean they are not going to be sick with it or have not gotten sick as of yet?
    A couple I know came down with the virus in late March. Both were very sick buy never needed to be hospitalized. They seemed to be over it but still tested positive. Sunday the wife had a stroke. She’s about 45, doesn’t smoke and not over weight. This is in Texas. We are opening up on Thursday.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Does anyone know what happens with the asymptomatic Covid-19 people? Does it mean they are not going to be sick with it or have not gotten sick as of yet?

      I don’t know. I should also say that I’m dubious about the whole concept of being asymptomatic, because heck, the virus is in the body, multiplying. It’s a biological, material process. Being asymptomatic is always relative to what we are testing for (and we still know very little about the virus). Personally, I’m betting on medical detection dogs, linked to here on 4/26, and the following day in the World Economic Forum:

      * Scientists in the UK believe that medical detection dogs could be able to help identify coronavirus cases in humans.

      * Medical detection dogs are already being used to identify cancer, malaria, and Parkinson’s.

      * Academics at universities in London and Durham are exploring whether the dogs’ abilities extend to detecting COVID-19.

      * The dogs are capable of sniff testing 750 people an hour.

      It will take several weeks of experimentation before it will be known if dogs are able to identify the coronavirus

      Several weeks is not long. Let’s just hope Big Pharma doesn’t buy up the Medical Detection Dogs organization, or corrupt all the scientists doing the studies, or shoot all the dogs. All of which they would do.

      1. Gary

        I am also a believer in medical detection dogs. I have heard they are also very good at detecting blood sugar levels for diabetics. I can not see it being accepted widely in the USA but there is always hope.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > I am also a believer in medical detection dogs. I have heard they are also very good at detecting blood sugar levels for diabetics. I can not see it being accepted widely in the USA but there is always hope.

          Because medical dogs are cheap and efficient and don’t involve Big Pharma?

      2. JBird4049

        I can believe that people can be asymptomatic and infectious because Typhoid Mary was not a one-off. Of course, pushing the infectious asymptomatic hordes theory as the reason for the disease spread would help hide the general incompetence.

      3. Angie Neer

        Let’s also hope the dogs’ false negative and false positive rates are measured and accounted for. I’m sure they’re not zero.

        1. John k

          False positives are ok if you then test them. False negs problematic unless the fraction isn’t too large.

    2. sd

      According to data in Iceland, asymptomatic people have not yet started showing symptoms.

      Is Iceland’s coronavirus testing showing that 50% of cases have no symptoms?

      …although about half of those who have tested positive for coronavirus in deCODE’s screenings did not have symptoms at the time, most of those who have tested positive developed symptoms at some point. A positive sample from an individual without symptoms means that the sample was most likely taken early in the virus’ incubation period, before symptoms such as dry cough or fever began to present themselves.

      “DeCODE has now screened 10,401 individuals in Iceland. Of those, 92 were positive. So about 0.9% of those who we screened in the general population turned out to be positive. And that is probably the upper limit of the distribution of the virus in society in general,” Kári explained.

    3. drexciya

      As far as I can recall, from both MedCram and Peak Prosperity, there seems to be another effect of Covid; namely blood clotting. So that might be an explanation for what is going on, as well as the scary sight of people collapsing in the street. What really scares me, is that we still know so little about what is really going on with Covid. Might this be the real problem, and not the the damage to the lungs? Might it be the blood clotting that causes the lung damage, and might that imply that the current treatment is wrong/insufficient (especially given the very low recovery rates after being on a ventilator).

      Add to this all the disinformation; hydroxychloroquine seems to be pretty good, when combined with zinc, but only in the early stages of Covid. Why do the badly excuted studies, or treatments, get way more attention from the MSM, compared to the working protocol (and it’s also being used by “poor” countries, like Costa Rica)?

    4. marku52

      Stroke is one of the newly discovered damages from this disease. People as young as 17 are having “large vein strokes”, which is basically unheard of. It seems to be a clotting disease as well as a respiratory disease. Or maybe it is really a clotting disease that attacks the lungs commonly.

    5. John Zelnicker

      April 28, 2020 at 2:38 pm

      The answer to your questions depends on the category of test taken. As I understand it, there are at least 2 general categories of test being developed and used (I’m sure there are others).

      One category is tests for the presence of the coronavirus, where a positive result means the person currently has the virus, whether symptomatic or not.

      The other category I’m familiar with is antibody tests. These look for the antibodies that are produced by the immune system to fight off the viral infection. The person may be recovered, or may have been asymptomatic.

      I think most of the asymptomatic people have been discovered by the antibody test, since most viral testing is reserved for those with symptoms or known exposure. Thus, the substantial changes in infection rates and fatality rates in the past few days seem to be due to widely expanding antibody testing.

      A big question now is whether or not these antibodies will remain potent and protect the person for some period into the future.

      The common cold is also a type of coronavirus and there doesn’t seem to be any immunity granted by having a common cold. Almost everyone will have colds off and on for much of their lives.
      Lambert – I’m also a big supporter of medical detection dogs.

      1. Basil Pesto

        someone will correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe the common cold is predominantly caused by rhinoviruses, not coronaviruses

        1. Jim Thomson

          You are right, about 5-15% of “colds” are caused by the four normally circulating coronaviruses. Most of the rest is caused by rhinoviruses.

          One major question about antibody tests is to what degree they cross-react with the more common coronavirus types. This might appear as “false positives”, and needs to be addressed in the development of the test.

    6. Amfortas the hippie

      asymptomatic spread is the scariest part of this mess, for me…and is why my eldest(he with the Hickie) is quarantined in his room for 2 weeks
      to my knowledge, “asymptomatic” means they don’t have any symptoms right now, but may/will probably develop symptoms in the future.
      and last i looked, a great many folks go through the sickness without showing any symptoms at all.

      my county is up to 15 cases, now, as of a FB post a little while ago.

      mostly city/county employees, so far, but more will surely show up.
      snapshot from a month ago:

      I know all of those people.
      It’ll get bad here, i expect…because so many were slow to take it seriously and went about without masks, etc.
      i expect the grocery store to be hard hit…none of the employees wear masks, even as of this morning.
      last friday, with all the talk of opening up, town was busy…everyone leapt at the chance…and later that day, news of the city office infections spread, and town is dead again.
      we have 2 extra crewed ambulances(making 4 all day) staying at the Mayor’s closed B&B…and like in the article, Air Evac is SOP for anything worse than a broken arm, because we’re so far from civilised medicine.
      I regard this as one of the fees for living way out here.

  11. Wukchumni

    I’ve flown 3x domestically since 9/11. The shoe thing was the final straw for me, couldn’t be inconvenienced in such a manner. They found other willing cattle to fill those seats which only got more squeezed together, in search of revenue.

    I suppose you could claim I was training to never fly again, and so far-so good.

  12. Monty

    “Roughly half of all U.S. workers stand to earn more in unemployment benefits”

    It should say “earn more per job”.

    The difference is you only get 1 UI check, but you can do 2+ minimum wage jobs a day, and work 7 days a week (Plus cash tips!), if you have to.

    Propaganda to make the 10% feel better about themselves?

    1. JBird4049

      As someone who worked multiple jobs at the same time for much of his life, I’d say yeah.

      According to even the apparently increasingly inaccurate official Federal statistics of both inflation and income the minimum wage has only ⅔ of its value of its height in 1968 and hasn’t kept up with inflation for decades.

      Freaking parasitic ghouls.

  13. Carolinian

    I’d like to see how that nets out, considering how we keep having to bail out New York’s extractive financial industry.

    Hear hear!! Who’s the vampire squid here? Or, if you prefer Michael Hudson, who’s doing the killing and who is the host?

    1. Pat

      Not most of NY s tax payers. The vampire squid may reside here, but unless you missed it with the continued tax reforms they aren’t the ones paying the taxes. Like Buffett’s secretary it is the people below them doing that. Not that I don’t resent them as well. But that isn’t what McConnell or Trump is attacking, it is the services to the public that the state provides like Medicaid. No they made sure the Fed fed the squid, but the serfs should die quickly.

      1. Carolinian

        So you are saying that NYC’s prosperity, not just the tycoons, isn’t propped up by the financial industry? That it is just a coincidence that concert halls and the main library are named after billionaires? That the tres commas* set don’t gravitate to Wall and Broad? Just asking.

        When I lived there for awhile the city was bankrupt. Then came Reagan and voodoo economics…..

        *HBO Silicon Valley

        1. Pat

          No I am not. But do you honestly think that because they have lots of monuments and the Kennedy Center that DC is rolling in tax monies for things like the healthcare of the inhabitants during a pandemic?
          Lots of people in America have seen the largess of the US government paying back those individuals for their “support”of elected officials. But that isn’t what we are talking about here. We are talking about states paying for an emergency situation when they don’t have the ability to print money.
          Every state in the union should receive lots of money to pay additional education costs, unemployment, healthcare and emergency services costs, public funerals, etc That the states hit the hardest so far are run by Democrats and still provide some public services is the reason, not that they are badly run. And yes their citizens do pay more in federal taxes than what they see in return. And I do say that despite the grift of the richest inhabitants. I frigging hate Florida, and not just because of their former Governor now Senator, or Disney’s media abuses, but that doesn’t me I want their teachers to take a pay cut or retire in poverty because they get hit by a pandemic.

          1. Carolinian

            I’m just responding to Lambert’s statement that when it comes to national money and attention NYC (and yes DC as well) get far more than they give, given all the bailouts etc. And while that money may go to those billionaires rather than school children that does mean you have a lot of very rich people who probably ought to have their state and city taxes raised.

            Of course it’s not the fault of poor kids in Queens or the Bronx if Wall Street is the one sucking the economic life out of the heartland but let’s not pretend that Kentucky is somehow draining NYC dry when it’s far more the other way around.

            Just to add this state versus state thing is more of a blue state obsession than for folks out in the boonies. When 9/11 happened the country rallied to you.

            1. Pat

              Individuals rallied to NY, same as they rallied to New Orleans,Houston and Puerto Rico. And same as those places if you check you will find that most of the promised support from the federal government made in the aftermath never happened, if they even bothered to pretend. The pivot was made to making use of the crisis to pass long wanted civil liberty destroying laws and preparing for a long wished invasion of Iraq. (Where NY does have an advantage is our media lives in this bubble so when people got sick later they did have a stick to use to get some relief even if it was late and inadequate.(

              Also the obsession with this is part of the continued accusation that NY (and CT and CA and NJ and …) is badly run is that everyone else pays for “us”. It isn’t as if the city hasn’t had to dig itself out of financial trouble more than once with little or no federal help. Like tax cuts, handouts to particular individuals even in the form of corporate bail outs doesn’t really trickle down. The corrupt nature of our governments largess with the financial community (oil business, tech business, MIC, etc) does not mean the rest of the country pays for us,it only pays for them. Not just because most of those same complainers get back more then they pay, but because it isn’t about ‘MONEY’. We already do tax our citizenry more than most of those supposedly ‘well run’ states do, even if it isn’t enough and still doesn’t provide enough to make sure that people are healthy, educated and fed. And this is really what is the basis of the Republican argument. They want us to cut services to the public which they consider excessive because they exist at all, NOT raise taxes. Same as limiting the federal tax deduction for local taxes is all about forcing tax CUTS.

              Yes, I agree that we should make the wealthy shoulder more of the burden than they do and not just in the tristate area. Largely because I insist that public services should not be on the chopping block to pay for the tax cuts, corporate bail outs and military boondoggles which are the priorities of our government. They should be increased. Unlike the “well run budget” mavens who don’t think that NY, CA, CT, NJ, MA etc should get help managing their budget shortfalls in the face of both falling tax receipts AND ballooning costs caused by pandemic response.

              EVERY state should get that, I honestly believe we are just the start. If we have to close a few military bases and perhaps disappoint a few investors and military contractors by cancelling military actions and contracts, too bad. If we have to tell a few hedge funds to fail, boohoo. Or better yet if we just treat it the same as that military and bail out budget and print a bunch of money, so be it.

              I just don’t want to confuse the argument by pretending that say VAs military contractors rolling in federal dough really pays for the schools or real estate industry tax cuts mean that NYC can pay for everyone here to get tested for Covid.

              1. Carolinian

                I think you are debating with the Republicans and the recent McConnell/Cuomo dispute rather than me. I’m making a broader point which is that NYC has risen from the bankruptcy fiscal ashes by means of the neoliberalism craze and that shaky theory is the source of its current wealth and power (and soon to be downfall?). By this view the poor of NY are more human shields being used by the city’s rich in their class war against the nation as a whole.

                And one doesn’t have to agree with this notion to still think the place can be bit much in its self regard. Do we really have to listen to that stupid New York, New York song every New Year’s Eve?

                1. Pat

                  Personally I go to bed before it gets played. Never liked it either and despise the Times Square baloney. :)

                  I don’t entirely disagree with you, the media version of the city is that. But I do think the real power of NYC is those poor and former middle class and immigrants that keep NY running and going – every time our wealthiest citizens escape to the Hamptons or the Berkshires or Florida or… when things get bad. You might be surprised how much of the city’s survival hasn’t been dependent on Wall Street, similar to hedge funds they come back after things start getting better and there might be a way of making money. Although I do admit there was less of that after the unholy pact of Clinton, Gingrich, and Gramm codified TBTF financial institutions and helped eliminate political corruption rules.

            2. Lambert Strether Post author

              If we really have a Union, then the argument I made is not on. But do we? If Cuomo wants to take that tack, there are plenty of ripostes, particularly from rural states who may regard themselves, justly, as being colonies of the metropolis.

              1. Pat

                Fair enough, but as a serf in the metropolis I say it isn’t just being a colony that is a state of being powerless.

                That “my” governor just got a major Medicaid cut passed in the midst of a healthcare crisis (along with the rule that took away my right to vote in a primary election) so he didn’t have to consider increasing taxes on the wealthy…well he didn’t much care what the serfs thought anymore than the colonists.

                And that is before all the costs for this come due.

  14. Seth Miller

    Re: No New York Primary

    There’s no need to search for Cuomo’s fingerprints, or infer his presence from events. The statute — allowing the cancellation of supposedly uncontested primaries — that Kellner said he was applying was part of this year’s executive budget, and flew through on a must-pass basis. Cuomo’s proposal, Cuomo’s budget, Cuomo’s people on the Board of Elections.

    I’m all in favor of politicians having a touch of Machiavelli in them, so long as it’s in the public interest. They are in short supply on the left, near-left, and even among corporate democrats. Cuomo is nothing if not a behind the scenes manipulator, and a pretty effective one. But this was Cuomo acting only for himself, as usual.

    1. Keith

      I’m all in favor of politicians having a touch of Machiavelli in them, so long as it’s in the public interest.

      That is very much in the eye of the beholder and van mean anything to anyone. There are many that believe getting Biden ready to win the general is in the public’s interest. Just look to the WaPo comments for proof.

      1. JTMcPhee

        How about a financial transaction tax? That might let some air out of the bubble, and clawback a tiny bit of that total of over $20 trillion that got sucked up by the TBTFs in the last Obamadumo and this “WEDON’TCARES Act” rip-off. And stop the flood of high speed trading that has just kind of vanished from view, which has always looked like quasi-legal front running to my uneducated eye.

        Even Bloomberg thought it has merit: https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-06-20/the-case-for-a-financial-transaction-tax

  15. Keith

    A total of 147 participants (36.0%) had PCR test results positive for SARS-CoV-2. Men constituted 84.4% of individuals with PCR-positive results and 64.4% of individuals with PCR-negative results. Among individuals with PCR test results positive for SARS-CoV-2, cough (7.5%), shortness of breath (1.4%), and fever (0.7%) were all uncommon, and 87.8% were asymptomatic.

    A push to ease the lockdowns is the findings that the denominator for the death keeps expanding faster and faster, meaning this virus may not be as bad as first thought; even the official projections are pushing the rate down.

    Combined with this:

    “Exclusive: U.S. medical testing, cancer screenings plunge during coronavirus outbreak

    We can see a potential for another rash of medical problems down the road. Perhaps a better roadmap might be to protect those at high risk, but start opening up society so life can move on.

  16. Tom Stone

    I’ve really been looking forward to Biden’s Inaugural Address and hope they don’t replace him with a flaming liberal like Oprah.
    Heck, I’ve had fun imagining it “I’d like to thank the voters who once again enabled me to serve them in the “UNITED STATES SENATE!, God Bless us one and all.”

      1. ChrisPacific

        Not until the animatronic Biden is perfected. Then there will be a recorded address delivered from an exact replica of his basement, uploaded to YouTube, and backdated. Agreeing that the address did, in fact, happen on that date will become a new Democrat loyalty test.

        (I am struck by how many of the obvious Biden jokes are recycled versions of Reagan jokes).

  17. shtove

    People want comfort. They also want to eat their way to stronger immune systems. They’re stress baking, but they’re also eating healthier than they would have at restaurants. Avocados are in. Pork belly out. Frozen pizzas and instant noodles are selling out. And these seemingly conflicting and converging buying patterns are upending agricultural markets, sending prices for avocados surging more than 60% from early March, while butter is tumbling because of the loss of restaurant demand.

    I see we understand as much about eating healthier as we do about the new virus.

  18. Carolinian

    Re Jack Tar–you left off C.S.Forester and Hornblower. For some of us this is the template, O’Brian the wannabe.

    That said, Master and Commander is a splendid movie.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Yes, fully agree. I read C. S. Forester for his his first Hornblower book and had to read the whole series. Even have the DVDs for the Hornblower series with Ioan Gruffudd as they too proved entrancing. Maybe that is why I like Star Trek – as the first series was described as Hornblower in Space. :)

      1. Carolinian

        I grew up reading those books and luuved everything about sailing ships. The Russell Crowe Master and Commander gets a lot of this right I think. Don’t know really to what extent Patrick O’Brian was influenced by Forester.

        1. The Rev Kev

          There is a parallel with this series but on land. Inspired by the Hornblower series Bernard Cornwall wrote a whole series of books set in the Peninsular war around a character named Richard Sharpe who started off as an ordinary soldier but went on to become an officer. They made a TV series around this character as well-


          One of my favourite scenes from this series-


          1. Jason Boxman

            And these posts are why I read NC!

            I remember watching the Hornblower series decades ago now. I need to track it down again! Or read the books!

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Don’t know really to what extent Patrick O’Brian was influenced by Forester.

          The genre and, dare I say, the business model (a serial picaresque set in the Napoleonic Wars) are the same. A franchise.

          O’Brian’s writing style, character development, and insight into the intelligence and naval policies of the day are far superior. I would characterize Forester’s style as “workmanlike.” I have heard O’Brian compared to Jane Austen, and I think he bears the comparison (though in the literary pantheon Austen is a Master (or Mistress), and O’Brian is Grade B. Not a bad thing!

        3. Mel

          Influenced some, maybe. O’Brian took the brilliant leader and tactician and the awkward and troubled individual, and split them into two characters. More overt drama, I guess. Then, I think, added a more modern sensibility — can’t remember exactly how, but the difference struck me when I started reading the Hornblowers.

      2. OIFVet

        For me, it’s the Flashman series that I can’t put down. Part of it is that British humor, part of it the lack of political correctness, but what I truly enjoy is the wicked way in which the series exposes imperial incompetence. The anti-hero is inserted into many of 19th century British colonial fiascos, and the historical background is painstakingly true to the facts. That the Brits managed to build their empire, despite comical levels of incompetence and ineptitude in the political and military establishments, truly boggles the mind.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > it’s the Flashman series that I can’t put down. Part of it is that British humor, part of it the lack of political correctness, but what I truly enjoy is the wicked way in which the series exposes imperial incompetence. The anti-hero is inserted into many of 19th century British colonial fiascos, and the historical background is painstakingly true to the facts

          I should try Flashman. I need another series to read.

          1. The Rev Kev

            I do not think that you will be sorry. George MacDonald Fraser wove the Flashman stories amid actual historical events and people which brings up some very unusual people. In one novel, for example, he is aboard a slave ship and the Captain is actually an Oxford Don. As unlikely as this sounds, a footnote explains that this is true and mentions the actual person the character is based upon.

        2. Off The Street

          While on the topic of Flashman, that name pops up elsewhere in English books. For example, read, or watch the 1951 version of, Tom Brown’s School Days

          1. The Rev Kev

            @ Off The Street
            You got it right there. In an interview, George MacDonald Fraser said that he thought the character of Flashman from “Tom Brown’s School Days” was quite interesting and being a Scotsman, hated seeing waste. So he postulated what happened to him after he was expelled and wrote the stories based on this. In fact, in one of the Flashman books, Flashman comes across Tom Brown all grown up as a prig who likely abused his labourers and “Flashie” tells him as much to his face.

    2. Tom Bradford

      I grew up with H. Hornblower and loved him, but when I stumbled across the Aubrey/Maturin series it was like moving from Fleming to le Carre – O’Brian’s descriptions of the naval life, the technology and working of the ships and the realities of the age are far more detailed and deeper than Forrester’s – IMHO

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > you left off C.S.Forester and Hornblower. For some of us this is the template, O’Brian the wannabe

      I’ve read them all. Hornblower is OK for teenagers, I suppose…

      1. Carolinian

        I guess it depends on whether one thinks these are adventure stories or literature with a capital L. To me Forester is superior as a storyteller and comes from an older tradition where that was the main goal. Gore Vidal wrote an essay about how much he loved Edgar Rice Burroughs growing up (me too) and those novels aren’t literature either but do have a great deal of storytelling imagination.

        But I’ll admit I’ve never been able to get into O’Brian for the above stated reason and therefore can’t offer much of an opinion. If you say he’s great fair enough.

  19. Louis Fyne

    as someone who had a family member diagnosed w/stage 4 cancer (completely asymptomatic but for a cough), delaying cancer screenings for even one month can literally be the difference betwern life and death.

    my aunt’s cancer is in remission, but others like her may not be as lucky if they postpone testing too long

  20. Clive

    Re: ““‘Calexit’ May Be A Long Way Off, But Balkanization Won’t Be”

    The U.K. isn’t a federal model of member States, it’s the merging of previously separate kingdoms into a new single kingdom. So there’s not much, if any read across to the US where, certainly to this peer’er in from afar, it is an amazing mishmash of wildly different component parts and I could myself hardly reconcile the splicing together of New York City, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Lafayette, Miami and Baton Rouge (which I’ve all visited) in a supposedly single state. It was like going from one foreign country to another experiencing not just culture and people, but entirely different (wildly so) building codes, product standards, entire laws, climates and economics.

    Scotland, in the context of the United Kingdom is much more similar to the other bits of the U.K. than a lot of those US places are to the others in my list.

    And Scotland has a constitutionally guaranteed route to independence if the people of that nation want it (as do those in Northern Ireland). It used to be when people got a lot more hung up on the unity, or otherwise and the separation, or not, of the U.K.’s nations. Now, while I’m not saying there wouldn’t be a lot of sadness and regrets (not to say campaigners against the prospect), a fair chunk of English wouldn’t really mind at all if that’s what the population of those nations wanted.

    There may even be a sense that if all England gets for its troubles is a load of kvetching, we might be glad to see the back of them.

    1. The Rev Kev

      It would be interesting if a result of this pandemic was the informal formation of blocks of States in the US to further their interests and to give them push back against Washington. Alfred Twu’s map shows how this may shake out with the Pacific States, the Confederacy 2.0. the States around the Great Lakes and some of the Atlantic States. They may not be formally recognized in the US Constitution but then again, I do not think that the political parties are mentioned in the Constitution either-


      1. Swamp Yankee

        A few points:

        1) The author of the piece, Darel Paul, was my political science professor when I was an undergraduate at Williams College in the early 2000s; he truly was an excellent professor, and his class, “Imperialism” (a senior capstone seminar that I took as a junior), one of the best I’ve ever taken and that I still regularly revisit, in both grad school and now as a professor in my own right. It was a period when my own radicalization was beginning and he guided it for sure. The class was small, say 12 people, of whom about 60% were future Wall Street Bros, 30% Caribbean elites’ children, and then 10% (myself and a friend) the liberal-left. This was in the days when being mildly opposed to Dubya made someone the equivalent of Rosa Luxemburg. We assumed Paul was a socialist, but over the years it became clear that he was something like a European Christian Democrat who took things like Rerum Novarum seriously. He thus “read” as a socialist when he was not.

        2) I feel very vindicated by the de facto breakup of the Union, because I had been predicting, and sometimes advocating for, such a development for the better part of two decades. Many of the things I was told were crazy or outlandish by peers or superiors in the PMC petri dishes of undergrad and grad school have since turned out with me in the right: (e.g., openly identifying as a New Dealer, the breakup of the union into regional alliances, my decision to learn how to grow potatoes).

        3) California may be hurtling towards a nation-state, but it still has one basic problem: it does not control its own water supply. That’s a big effing deal, as they say.

        4) For what it’s worth, I did a back of the envelope calculation a few years back and found that if the six New England states (Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine) were one, independent country, its economy would be somewhere between the size of Australia’s and The Netherlands. That’s viable — esp. if you add the North Atlantic nuclear sub fleet at Groton.

        1. The Rev Kev

          @ Swamp Yankee

          You might find the book “Twilight’s Last Gleaming” by John Michael Greer intriguing. After a disastrous war against China in Africa eventually leads to the dissolution of the US, several blocks start to sort themselves out. At the end of the book (*spoiler alert*), the last President finds a group of ex-Senators sorting out a new Union. Looking at which States are in, he realizes that it is a viable country. Rhode Island is not interested but the State of Columbia is. It is basically the old Union of the 18th century. The ex-President – soon to be the new President – has a guy get something from the souvenir store and when he unrolls it, it is the old Betsy Ross flag which will be their flag.

          1. Swamp Yankee

            I love John Michael Greer’s blogs, and have been meaning to check out his books. Thanks for the recommendation, Rev Kev!

        2. zedtivx

          3) California may be hurtling towards a nation-state, but it still has one basic problem: it does not control its own water supply. That’s a big effing deal, as they say.

          It also doesn’t have an army. The one thing independence advocates always overlook. Who’s going to fight for you? Or do you think the US is just going to let its richest state walk out the door? Something similar has happened before, it was pretty bloody. Maybe CA politicos should be cultivating close ties with the Chinese in the hopes of securing an alliance in the case of independence… seems like the most obvious thing to try if you’re serious about it.

          1. Swamp Yankee

            California National Guard, no? I don’t know about the CA Guard, but states like MA and NJ have national guard units that are the equivalent of well-equipped combined force Army Divisions, with a high level of esprit d’corp and a heritage as a unit that stretches back hundreds of years. I don’t know about CA, though.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > I do not think that the political parties are mentioned in the Constitution either

        I am slowly coming to the conclusion that political parties should be outlawed, for much the same reason that we outlaw crime syndicates. We look at, say, the surreptitious dosing of a US citizen with LSD by the CIA as a great crime, but I’m not sure what the difference is between that and, say, RussiaGate (or, in little, the “Trump told people to drink bleach” consent-manufacturing we just witnessed. Brain damaging citizens for money is, or should be, a problem.

  21. zagonostra

    >Chris Cillizza/CNN

    There is probably no one in the MSM that I despise more than Cillizza, if ever there was a corporate shill doing the bidding of the ruling elite, it’s him.

    So if it’s “fair to be asked” questions about Tara, why the heck don’t they, instead of deleting the video of the Larry King interview with Tara’s mother calling in and then trying to cover their tracks by re-numbering all the other videos?

    What disgusting sycophants to power…

    These are questions are fair to be asked of any candidate for president — given the allegation — and that Biden, if he is doing more than talking the talk about restoring a higher standard in the White House, needs to answer.

      1. WheresOurTeddy

        What’s next? David Brooks coming out in favor of UBI and Jen Rubin saying leftists aren’t so bad after all?

  22. fresno dan

    UPDATE “‘Calexit’ May Be A Long Way Off, But Balkanization Won’t Be” [The American Conservative].

    As a group, the 22 U.S. states with the smallest populations have as many people as the state of California does by itself. To match California’s population of 38 million, one would have to combine the populations of all the states from 29th-ranked Connecticut, with its population of 3.6 million, down to 50th-ranked Wyoming.

    Political representation is a sensitive issue for the American people, especially in the context of the very powerful U.S. Senate. For example, California’s two senators represent 66 times more people than Wyoming’s.

    Illustrating the disproportionate power of small states, 51 senators from the 26 least-populous states — a majority capable of passing legislation — represent just under 18% of the U.S. population. An even smaller number (40) — representing 11% of the population — could work together to block legislation through the so-called filibuster.
    I have always thought the idea of geographical representation is cockeyed. 1 person, one vote – if your not doing that, it really is just a grift. The fact remains that Gore and H Clinton won the popular vote of the presidential elections they were in.
    We don’t apportion more votes based on race, though I think one could take historical wrongs and make a pretty compelling case that slave descendants should get more than 1 vote per person (maybe 66?). Or American Indians should get 100 votes each. Or maybe women should get more than one vote per woman to make up for all the years that they didn’t have any votes.
    It doesn’t make any sense that someone who lives on a beach, or a river, or a mountain should get extra votes, and it doesn’t make any sense that someone in the middle of the country or near the great lakes gets more representation.

    1. flora

      It’s part of the federal system that votes are given to each state (pres election – electoral college), and 2 senators for each state no matter its size or population. It was originally designed this way to insure small states like R.I. and Del. would have state representation making their states’ government interests on par with the biggest, and richest states like NY and VA. Without that guarantee there’s some debate about whether the 13 colonies would have ever agreed to a federation. Fast forward to this century: one-person-one-vote sounds great for people in CA, TX, and NY. Those 3 states alone could overwhelm the rest of the states in the presidential elections. Those 3 states have different industries and economic interests, not only from each other, but from the other states, too.

      Complaining about GOP success at the national level as a reason to jettison the above seems very shortsighted, imo. Why is the Dem party failing so badly at the national level. Why does the Dem party ignore flyover country. The upper midwest Mississippi river valley manufacturing corridor used to regularly vote Dem and those states swung Dem many times. Even my red state used to regularly elect Dems to the House and occasionally to the Senate. The people here haven’t changed all that much in the past 30 years, but the Dem party and the attention the Dem party is willing to give my state has radically changed. It’s almost like the Dem party has written off my state, to the extent they actively undermine (really, they do) strong Dem candidates with a New Deal economic outlook.

      Here we’re looking at an economic disaster and what are the Dems saying that might be economically helpful to the little guy? UFOs? Trump shouldn’t sign checks? Anything else? Nothing about jobs or wages, for example. I’ve been listening, not hearing anything serious, not if they rubber stamp everything T and turtle send them (after indignantly stamping their feet a couple times for the cameras).

      The fault, dears Dems, is not in our stars (or the electoral college) but in ourselves. – as Shakespeare did not write.

      1. flora

        adding: this is an interesting set of maps displaying all states electoral college votes from 1798 to 2016. The swing from GOP to Dem between 1988 and 1992 is interesting. Look at the swing in states along the Mississippi river valley and Great Lakes region – industrial corridors. Then look how the corridors swing back to the GOP in the 2000 election, after NAFTA. No wonder the Dem estab won’t talk economics.

        Or look at the 1976 election swing along the same Great Lakes – Mississippi river area, that went Dem for Carter. Carter promptly started undermining unions and those state swung back to the GOP in 1980. But, nope, Dem can’t (or won’t) talk about economics in the middle class and working class.

      2. fresno dan

        April 28, 2020 at 5:50 pm

        Your rebuttal is that there is some feature, quality, or attribute to being in a “state” – it was just set up that way – “states” in no way assure the actual PEOPLE in the state are better represented. Indeed, my argument is that the whole ridiculous scheme is pretty much designed to thwart the will of the people. States don’t have rights – the people in them have rights. And the fact that arbitrary lines are drawn on the ground that surround Ten million people versus One hundred million people is no reason to give the smaller number of people more political power.
        I don’t particularly find being in CA particularly any better than being in any other state, but being in a particular state should not diminish my influence over the people who govern me at the national level.
        And I might as well say – I think the revolutionary war is all hooey and the world would have been better off if the USA had never come to be.

        1. flora

          I guess I don’t disagree with you. But to make my central point a bit clearer: without the ability for states or regions to make their economic interests felt at the national level, for example the pres contest, they’ll simply be ignored in favor of the mega coastal states’/cities’ voting power. I believe that if Hills and O had not ignored the economic conditions in the rust belt/Great Lakes/river valley region by pushing the TPP and TPIP trade deals then Hills would have won. My 2 cents.

        2. Swamp Yankee

          The problem with this line of argument is that it is ahistorical: states had independent existences prior to the federal Union, especially if we’re talking the colonial past, e.g., MA, CT, and RI essentially run themselves as independent countries when Britain is busy with its civil war. They are only “arbitrary lines” in the sense that borders anywhere are the product of historical forces and developments; the existence of New Jersey as New Jersey is no more arbitrary than the existence of The Netherlands as The Netherlands. States sometimes essentially fought wars with one another (e.g., Pennsylvania vs. the Wild Yankees of CT, The Green Mtn Boys vs. New York) to decide their present borders, just as in Europe and any other part of the world.

          As for the Revolution: I have seen this line, and full cards on the table, I am an historian of the Revolutionary and early republic, and I find it odd. Of all people the World Socialist Website does the best job in recent months in its ruthless dismantling of the NYT’s identitarian and ahistorical 1619 Project of showing how in fact the American Revolution was the most radically democratic moment in human history to that point, with wonderful interviews with the likes of Gordon Wood (The Creation of the American Republic, The Radicalism of the American Revolution). The British Empire of 1775 was not some enlightened institution of the teleological 21st century imagination, it was an Ancien Regime society of orders that had no room for political, social, or economic democracy. If it’s a choice between that and the Founders, I know which side I’m on. I really think people forget just how overtly unfair and hideous the Old Regime states were pre-1760-1830.

          3) I believe it was Trotsky who said you may not care about The Dialectic, but The Dialectic cares about you. The fact that polities have four century-long histories and populations meaningfully attached to them at deep level of nationalism (if we didn’t have baseball and football and a federal gov’t, there would have been many wars between, e.g., New England and the Mid-Atlantic) is significant, however arbitrary or antiquated one might think it. One’s view may be that deep attachment to New Hampshire qua New Hampshire is archaic and irrational, but that will not be the view of say, lots of people from New Hampshire, and that fact of realpolitik is simply not going to go away.

          4) Why should small states stay in the Union if the basic Connecticut Compromise (which really wasn’t much about slavery, that is well and truly a woke shibboleth, there were small states north and south, NH and SC, NJ and GA, etc.) that undergirds it (House by pop, Senates by state) is taken away? That’s fine with me, I think we’re breaking up anyway, but it’s the kind of thread I’d be very careful about beginning to unravel.

  23. Pat

    People has a report of a young EMT with months on the job committing suicide because so many died on his watch. I also spent time discussing the state of the city with a police officer the other day. They are being called daily because of people passing away in their homes. Unless there is clearly a non “natural” cause of death the ME doesn’t enter into the picture. I didn’t get into disposition of the bodies, with backed up funeral homes I was too busy thinking of the carts that went through cities during the plague collecting that days dead.

    My point is that forget ingesting bleach, great businessmen finding an answer, and yes competing daily briefings. We may eventually know how deadly Covid has been we don’t now, we may eventually know what does or does not inhibit transmission we don’t now, we may even have a yearly SARS vaccine that has a chance of picking the right variation in the wild and providing some protection similar to the yearly flu vaccine and get used to thousands more dying than have normally, but that isn’t now. Almost all of what we have is best practice from stumbling around in the dark.

    And dare I say, none of our much vaunted leadership is honest or brave enough to really do what is needed until their back is to the wall. I don’t care if Trump’s name is on the check, I care that there is a check. I care that no one has to decide whether to go to the doctor because they cannot afford it. I care that our healthcare workers don’t have protective gear and no one has passed the law or put the funds in escrow so that the few American suppliers won’t ramp up production because they got left holding the bag in the past.

    It isn’t just that we don’t really know, although the bloviating and subsequent outrage hides quite a bit. No it is that no one is addressing real breaking points this has exposed and we keep getting handed distractions like the solution in Tom Hanks’ blood. Take everything with a grain of salt. And know that despite our world being different, we won’t see the systemic change necessary until it completely breaks or the puppeteers fall to “natural causes”.

    Tomorrow I may be optimistic again, but today we are still facing the usual suspects ranting about PR, propping up a walking Zombie or Snake oil salesman, and most trying to position themselves to profit from disaster. (Corporate, political or media alike.)

    1. Billy

      That means that society will be changed going forward. Family groups of people known to not be infected will coalesce around compounds, strangers will be suspect, dirty looking people, tattoos, piercings, unkempt will be shunned, fairly or not, it will be a return of village life, the opposite of globalization. There will be a return to localized self sufficiency, wherever possible, gardening food production, distrust of centralized authority that has proven itself worthy of disdain, the validation of handicrafts, use of tools, manual skilled labor, the shunning of techwimps, repudiating of tech solutions and over reliance on pushing electrons, local economies etc.
      Kind of looking forward to that aspect of it..

      1. Pat

        The return of local craftsmanship being the standard would be welcome. Getting there may not be. It is looking like we will have to go through a lot of unnecessary pain and destruction to return to quality over quantity and smaller over larger.

    2. Geo

      Well said. I’m with you on the pessimism. So many in my circle talk as if “they won’t let millions lose their homes and end up in the streets” and I don’t want to crush their optimism (it’s all most have to keep them going right now) but, they will. They will let millions lose their homes and starve because the people that matter to them are doing fine, and history shows no proof that leaders will behave differently now then they have in the past. The times leaders did anything noble in troubled times is about as rare as a lion befriending a gazelle.

      Personally, I’m just appreciating what I have now, taking in each day, and bracing for the very real possibility that I will never even have this meager “life of luxury” again.

    3. TXMama

      As the pandemic unfolds and we see so much to be pessimistic about, I find the stoic philosophers of old to be useful in dealing with it all. I get a free daily email from DailyStoic.com that often helps. While not a pep talk per se, it does remind me to approach the difficulties of life by adhering to helpful principles. It’s calming while also helping to focus on what we can actually do.

      1. Geo

        Thanks for the insight. Will give that a shot. My technique of focusing on what little things I can control while ignoring the bigger reality to sporadic anxiety attacks and obsessive reading on the state of affairs hasn’t been working. Your balanced way seems like a much better approach. :)

        1. TXMama

          Geo, it’s can be a challenge even with insights from the stoics of the classical period. But the daily emails seem to help quite a bit. Your comment re appreciating what we have now even though we know it can evaporate is what reminded me of the daily stoic emails. I hope you find them helpful.

    4. Big River Bandido

      I think you’re just being real. Political leadership has been completely non-responsive to the systemic problems that are destroying society. This was going on long before coronavirus, long before Trump, and long before Obama. The denial of the political class is both surreal and appalling. I think they are just caught in a classic credibility trap. To acknowledge problems would invite exposure to criticism that they themselves caused them — which is true. So they distract, deflect, change the subject. Eventually, these tactics will also fail. We are not there yet, but I think we are rapidly approaching it.

      1. polecat

        If THAT’s not best description of both ‘speakers’ of the House & Senate, I don’t know what is.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > they are just caught in a classic credibility trap. To acknowledge problems would invite exposure to criticism that they themselves caused them — which is true.

        More Third World stuff.

      3. richard

        I’d never heard the term “credibility trap” before. What you say makes perfect sense to me.

  24. fwe'zy

    Just finished a politics-as-pro-wrestling comment on the Larry Summers thread that probably won’t make it out of moderation. Jesse Ventura would be fantastic. A charismatic leftie populist with heartland support /and earned cred/ but unafraid to rock the D boat or the DJT boat. That’s exactly the kind of showdown we need in this ghastly season.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Ventura’s book, Do I Stand Alone? is one of my all-time favorite books by a politician.

    2. Dr. John Carpenter

      Even before Trump was a real player, I’ve said the key to understanding modern US politics is understanding pro wrestling. The WWE is just more honest about it (and arguably put on a better show.)

    3. Shonde

      When Jesse ran for governor of Minnesota, he ran against what I saw as two weak candidates who were not addressing anger building up in the voting public.

      Maybe he’s analyzing his chances against the current two unacceptable candidates seeing a similar situation.

    4. NotTimothyGeithner

      A charismatic leftie populis

      He’s not really lefty, but he would be by far the lesser evil.

  25. Noone from Nowheresville

    I’d like to see how that nets out, considering how we keep having to bail out New York’s extractive financial industry.

    In addition, I bet the numbers would look very different if we didn’t allow New York’s extractive financial industry to prey on other industries, states, cities, towns, etc. in the first place.

    Plus this is another aspect federal taxes pay for budget stuff meme of the blue v. red state variety. Double plus on the Philanthropy meme too. Create the problem so that you can put a partial band-aid on it and “pay for it” with federal taxes.

    I’d be curious at what the New York extractive financial industry got to keep before we even talk bailouts, “taxes,” and whether the payment of their “taxes” gets paid by them or the other residents of New York. Have those percentages changed over the decades?

    givers v. takers | makers v. takers

    1. Noone from Nowheresville

      Because my mind is wandering down this “pay for it” givers/makers v. takers path. If the purpose of federal taxes is to remove money from the system AND the government and the Fed have dramatically increased money to the system. What’s the distribution of the increased money supply vs. where the government will pull said money back out of the system?

      States & Cities/Towns are more balanced budget restrained but I’d be curious to see the distribution there as well and how they pull money out of the system via income taxes, property taxes, user fees, fines, etc.

      And then… yeah, never ending road.

  26. fresno dan

    UPDATE “Steele Claims Clinton Lawyer Provided Tip about Trump Campaign Contacts with Russian Bank” [National Review].

    As we had one article from National Review, let’s have another:
    Well, Powell (Michael Flynn’s attorney) now contends that the new disclosures demonstrate that Mueller’s prosecutors — she specifically cites Brandon Van Grack, who now runs Justice’s FARA unit — did indeed promise Flynn that they would not charge his son if Flynn pled guilty. Worse, Powell avers that the prosecutors coerced Flynn and his counsel to keep this agreement secret. That is, this was to be a side deal that would not be written into the plea agreement and therefore would be kept from the court and the public.
    Under federal law, all understandings that are relevant to a guilty plea must be disclosed to the judge. It would be not merely a serious ethical breach for government lawyers to fail to reveal such an arrangement. It would be a fraud on the court.
    I am shocked, SHOCKED to discover Washington lawyers behaving badly. And being completely without cynicism….I know this all would have of course come to light had the other party been elected….

  27. sd

    On movie theaters

    ‘Trolls World Tour’: Theater Owners Slam Universal For Skipping Full Theatrical Release

    In the wake of their success with Trolls World Tour, Universal announced that their Judd Apatow-directed Pete Davidson comedy The King of Staten Island will be released in homes on June 12, forgoing a June 19 theatrical release, which is when some movie theaters were planning to come back online as they head for a full-on opening in July. Uni aren’t the only ones doing this. Warner Bros is skipping theaters and going to straight to digital with their originally conceived theatrical release Scoob! on May 15. My Spy, from STX, is headed to Amazon, Lovebirds from Paramount/MRC is going to Netflix, Artemis Fowl to Disney+ — the list grows.

    1. Carolinian


      But apparently movie studios make about half their money from theatrical and it’s not clear whether that revenue source would switch to streaming or whatever. Meanwhile the poor movie theaters pay huge bills for real estate and operations while only getting a fraction of the ticket sales. One could ask who is propping up who. Certainly if theatrical exhibition went away it would probably mean the end of the big, super expensive, special effects “tent pole” (some of us would cheer that at least).

  28. Synoia

    A water feature thread:

    Oh Jemima, where’s your uncle Jim?
    He’s in the duck pond learning how to swim,
    First the does the breast strike, then he does the crawl,
    and now he’s under the water swimming against the tide!

  29. JohnnyGL

    I know there’s mixed feelings on this site about Jimmy Dore. But his criticism is looking more and more accurate.

    Bernie’s leadership is sorely lacking, at this point.

    As Lambert says, “a movement needs to move” and it’s becoming patently clear that Bernie himself isn’t willing to move it.


    1. WJ

      Michael Hudson correctly pointed out in a comment a week or so ago that Sanders’ real primary opponent was the Democrat Party apparatus. Sanders is too smart not to have also known this. From the point of view of many–me included–Sanders often seemed to be running his campaign as if this was *not* true. People disagree about this. But whatever one’s view here, it seems to me that Jimmy Dore’s take on Sanders is certainly worth hearing out and, if you disagree with it, rebutting. My own suspicion is that some Sanders’ supporters react strongly against Dore’s analysis because they don’t even want to entertain the possibility that what he’s saying might be true–it is just too psychologically damaging for them.

      1. Geo

        It’s not that I don’t want to hear Dore’s take, it’s that Dore seems to crack down on the only allies/advocates we have in elected office every time one of them does anything even remotely aligned with the Establishment. Just note the Leftie freak-out over AOC doing a video with Warren yesterday (or when AOC said something nice about Pelosi). Dore, and so many on the Left, seem most happy tearing down the few worthwhile representatives we have. I’m saying this as an open and proud DemExiter that has voted third party in the majority of presidential election in my adult life. We have maybe five or six actual progressives in elected national government. What exactly are they supposed to do? Throw a Molotov cocktail at Pelosi every time she walks in the room? We’d cheer that but it wouldn’t help them win any institutional allies in their efforts to accomplish much.

        We know the biggest enemy to progress is the Dem Establishment. Bernie said that a thousand times in the campaign and was slammed for it regularly by the media and party loyalists. How would being more anti-DNC have helped him win the Democratic Primary? Dem voters trust the media and like the party enough to be registered Dems. Would Bernie campaigning harder against their chosen party won their votes?

        Maybe we should focus on why our movement doesn’t have more elected reps within the halls of power so that they have the leverage to wield that power before criticizing each individual for not being all-powerful? To me, that is what it seems like Dore expects.

        Plus, listening to him rant and yell all the time got exhausting. (Same with Cenk on TYT). Last time I watched Dore was an interview with Aaron Mate where Dore scolded him for defending Bernie over the elections in Florida during the early days of the pandemic. He had a valid point but he literally kept yelling over Mate to the point where Aaron just stopped trying to talk and sat there with a sheepish smile on his face seemingly hoping for the Dore to just end the interview. If that’s how Dore treats valuable allies like Mate he’s not helping, he’s just trying to inflame.

        We on the Left have many disadvantages. We don’t have billionaire donors like the Mercers and Kochs to fund our leftie alternative media. We don’t have social issues backed by the institutional collective of mega-churches to rally around us. All we have is the popularity of our ideas and movement solidarity. With guys like Dore leading the effort to divide and inflame the movement we are in trouble. There will always be people that do things we don’t like. Allies are not always aligned with us on everything. But, we can’t toss a Molotov cocktail and burn it down every time if the movement is ever going anywhere. If we do that we’re no better than the Joe Rogan idpol haters. Find commonality in others and build from there. That’s the only way we’ll move forward.

        1. Big River Bandido

          At times I have enjoyed watching Dore, but I’ve never regularly watched because there’s always been that vibe there. He’s attuned to what “people on the street” are thinking…but can’t assimilate those perspectives into an expression of a vision — either political or governmental — that might counter the BS he so rightly excoriates.

          He’s a great bomb-thrower, but who needs another one?

        2. JohnnyGL

          Is Dore over the top? Yes
          Annoying with the ranting and raving? Yes, but I cut him slack because he really cares and he’s mad.
          Is Dore too hard on AOC, when she’s the only one vaguely opposed to ANY of the bills in Congress? Yes

          But, then again, in the last two months, we’ve seen a massive consolidation of power in the hands of Congressional leadership done with the tactic of inexplicably refusing to allow remote voting by Congress. Now, bills are drafted in secret, by leadership, and dumped on the desk of the reps to be given a quick up/down vote.

          Literally, NO ONE in Congress has complained about Pelosi and Schumer’s leadership.

          “What exactly are they supposed to do? Throw a Molotov cocktail at Pelosi every time she walks in the room?”

          Molotov cocktail? I’d settle for a couple of harsh words thrown in her direction. I can’t even see an single congressional rep on the dem side even offering that much.

          We saw the really unsubtle weekend consolidation by the establishment post-SC. Bernie had nothing to say against that kind of open warfare?

          No objections to a $4tn slush fund run by Steve Mnuchin and the Trump admin? Imagine if someone had asked Bernie in January if he’d be in favor of something like this? He’d have been apoplectic. Yet, only a short time later, he voted for exactly that!!! Yeah, I know, they packed in a bunch of other things like extended unemployment benefits, but come on.

          Dore has hardly been the only voice on this….Zach Carter, Dave Dayen and Matt Stoller have been pointing out, in real time, for all to see.

          There was an opportunity to contest real power….the entire elected group on left has chosen to be a doormat, instead.

          I see a lot of people saying we’ve “changed minds” and “moved public opinion”. Well, if that’s so, where’s the confidence in that public trust that we’ve supposedly built? Lefties in congress that genuinely believed that they had public opinion on their side would be SCREAMING for Medicare for All right now. And they should be able to confidently point to poll numbers that the public is with them.

          Either 1 of 2 things isn’t true. 1) The public isn’t really convinced and the left knows it’s in a weak spot or 2) the leadership we have on the left is just not up to the job and doesn’t really want to contest power and isn’t fit to govern. I think it’s the 2nd, but we won’t know the answer, because no one is trying to test #1.

          There’s a lot of people puzzled on this site and in various other places about how tough it has been to overcome skepticism that ‘better things are possible’. The last two months haven’t convinced anyone that it’s true. In fact, I find myself backpedaling on this. People are skeptical because the left has to prove that it wants to win, and wants it badly. We need leaders that will take risks, and endure criticism to fight for what it believes in.

          Bernie’s clearly failing this test. We’ve got to be honest.

          AOC isn’t ready to pick up the torch, at least not yet. I think maybe she’s been thrown off by the speed and totality of the capitulation from both Warren and Sanders. I certainly have been.

          I only watch Dore in bits and pieces, but his core message is correct. The left is failing.

        3. David Carl Grimes

          Watching Jimmy Dore scold Aaron Mate was hard to watch. Very alienating. If Jimmy Dore could respectfully agree to disagree with his guests, it would be ok.

          But voting for Biden is baffling. It just reinforces the notion TINA: “There is no alternative” to the Democratic Party. It’s one reason why the Democratic Party can just brush aside Bernie and other progressives. This simply has to stop. Bernie, AOC, and the rest of the squad have let us down and have just put up a token resistance.

          I agree with Dore but I don’t like to see him screaming all the time.

          1. CoryP

            Dore is at his best when he’s interviewing someone and respects them enough to let them talk. The Dylan Ratigan interview and the ones with Chris Hedges are good. I think my main issue with him is that he seems to like listening to himself talk a little too much, and tends to repeat the same refrains over and over. For me, it’s just a stylistic/presentation problem.

            Haven’t seen the Mate interview, but from your description it sounds like one that I would stop watching out of annoyance.

            I watch him a lot less than I did when I first discovered him, but I think his perspective is still very valuable. He’s very cynical, but I tend to believe it’s impossible to be too cynical.

            Whether you want to call it willful ‘sheepdogging’ or not, I think his and Hedges’ analysis that Bernie wasn’t in it to win it is the best explanation for what we’ve seen this season.

          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            > Watching Jimmy Dore scold Aaron Mate was hard to watch

            Seems like kicking down, to me. Dore has a permanent franchise in a way that Mate does not. Mate also demonstrated extraordinary courage during RussiaGate.

            What next? Trashing Katie Halper because she stans for Sanders?

      2. Zagonostra

        Originally when folks from the Black Agenda Report began using the term sheep dogging, I, like Jimmy Dore had a hard time believing it.

        Given everything that’s has occurred, the term is apt, and nobody but JD has the courage to say it on a public platform.

        1. JohnnyGL

          ‘sheep-dogging’ implies Sanders is in on the game.

          He’s not. I think this is much more simple. He’s just not brave enough and doesn’t want to be a leader badly enough.

          We’ve all heard “power concedes nothing without a demand”. Bernie has literally demanded NOTHING for the last two months, and nothing has been conceded.

          He said nothing when the establishment consolidated, and he supported every bill the rotten bi-partisan leadership in congress has put in front of him. When it came down to crunch time, he could have said “no bill is passing with my vote unless it covers all medical costs” and done interviews with anyone who would listen about how horrible it was to pile debt onto people in the middle of a pandemic.The public would have supported him. Media would have screamed at him, but he should have been willing to take the heat.

          He could have extracted promises, public ones, from Biden. He did nothing. He just gave away power.

          Dems took him for a chump. It seems they were right. They just rolled him.

          1. CoryP

            Yep. Easy to have predicted especially since 2016, and somehow I got sucked into it anyway.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          The original definition of sheepdogging (IIRC; too lazy to look it up) was that Sanders had the conscious goal of giving the Democrat Party renewed life by bringing a new generation of voters into it.

          In a way, that’s a tendentious restatement of Sanders’ theory of change; in this context let us remember that the BAR “folks” are Green.

          1) But that Sanders went in with the conscious goal of delivering voters to the Democrat Establishment? Just no.

          2) How’s it working out? The proof of the pudding is in the eating, after all. If anything, the end of the Sanders campaign has produced as much, if not more, division than the campaign when it was running (proving, if proof were needed, that the “movement” has a life of its own, thereby calling the sheepdogging thesis into question. As it turns out, the Sanders campaign was different, at the activist level, from OFA).

          I think there’s a tendency to confuse the strategic and tactical mis-steps of the Sanders campaign with sheepdogging. And in all the recrimination about personal failings — Dore is particularly good, or bad, at this — we lose sight of the structural and institutional forces at play.

      3. Aumua

        Well lucky for us, I’m sure sure we’ll continue to hear all about Jimmy Dore’s latest opinions on here, whether we watch him or not. So never fear for our psyches and all the denial we’re in.

    2. Geo

      This may seem hyperbolic but considering the DNC?Establishment knifing of Bernie I think it’s like asking why Bobby Kennedy or MLK didn’t do more for their movements after they were shot. Obviously, it’s different, but the DNC/Biden were literally putting lives in danger to defeat Bernie.

      Total speculation here but my assumption is that Bernie got a brutal bout of whiplash between the establishment shanking he took and the pandemic/economic crisis. For better or worse, Bernie has been fighting all his life to have a movement but, until recently, he was pretty much alone. Even if he has true leadership skills in him, they’re probably pretty rusty after decades of political solitude.

      Now everyone is saying: He didn’t fight against the DNC/media enough or he didn’t try to win over Dem Establishment enough; he didn’t do enough to win black votes (Biden did how?) and he didn’t do enough to win old voters… etc, etc, etc.

      We forget that a mere four years ago “The Left” – by any measurement of political relevance – was non-existent. Wellstone died long ago and Kucinich had been sent off to pasture. Movement-wise we had the Occupy thing that Obama/Bloomberg crushed. We literally had nothing but a no-name Indie senator from Vermont that occasionally got a blurb for threatening to primary Saint Barack or joining a Libertarian Republican to audit the Fed. Now, we have “The Squad” (for all their faults they’re lightyears better than any of the other Dems) and a whole moment that believes his message is possible. We didn’t get our fairytale ending but this ain’t a Hollywood franchise movie so “the good guys” don’t always (or even often) win.

      Bernie campaigned harder than any other candidate I’ve ever seen in my lifetime. Did he make mistakes? Yes. Can we learn from them? Ideally, but probably not. Because, what it seems we’re learning is that he didn’t do everything each of us thought he should have done even though we all disagree on what those things are. Yet, he told us (as did many others) the hardest fight was going to be to defeat the Democratic Establishment. We knew this was a long shot. It always is when you’re playing a rigged game and your players have to play by their rules.

      So, what should Bernie do? I like some of the ideas proposed here about turning his campaign operation into a relief org for the crisis. Otherwise Bernie has done his job but he lost and needs to help usher in a new leadership (which he tried to do even in his campaign). There’s a lot of shake-up right now as there always is after a loss. Add to that the global crisis and it’s going to be uncertain for a while. Probably won’t be a national leader of the movement for some time. Definitely not until after this impending fiasco of an election.

      The real question for now is “what can we do for the movement?” I don’t have any answers or even a clue what that is. I’m just trying to survive right now as I know many of us are. But, if anyone has any ideas, please let us know.

      That’s my little rant not he subject. :)

      1. JerryDenim

        I can agree with you that I don’t agree with all of recent armchair quarterback post-mortems of the Sanders campaign written with the benefit of hindsight. I didn’t agree with his every strategic choice, but for every move he made there was a very logical reason that could be offered for his actions, so absent an opportunity to redo multiple campaign scenarios in different realities, like Bill Murray in “Groundhog’s Day”, we’ll never know if there was some magical strategy that would have allowed Sanders to defeat the DNC, the corporate Billionaire-owned media and all of the powerful plutocratic forces aligned against him. I kind of doubt it though. At the least, Sanders winning the Democratic nomination under the current system was ‘nearly’ impossible.

        But when you ask “So, what should Bernie do?” Here is where I can offer some definitive insightful analysis. When a new reality enthusiastically endorses your platform while the greatest economic and public health crisis in a century makes all of your wildest, blue sky ideas not only seem possible, but perhaps not radical enough for moment, you don’t drop out of the race and endorse your senile, sexual-assaulter opponent that embraces absolutely ZERO of your policy positions. I will never understand it and I will never forgive Sanders for it. Two campaigns a supporter, lots of money and door knocking and he lost me forever with that move.

        This has to be one of the dumbest things I’ve ever read- Lambert’s excerpt from “The Week” :

        “Sanders suspended his 2020 run last month and endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden, but still wanted his supporters to vote for him so his delegates could ‘exert significant influence over the party platform and other functions’ at the Democratic National Convention.”

        That sentence makes absolutely no sense. If you want leverage over your opponent’s platform then you want votes and delegates. You receive votes, delegates and negotiating leverage by 1.) Not dropping out of the race, and 2.) not giving your opponent your endorsement until you’ve extracted the maximum amount of concessions you think you can trade.

        Sanders’ actions make no sense unless Jimmy Dore and others are right about him, or he is the dumbest seventy-eight year old career politician I’ve ever heard of.

        1. ShamanicFallout

          JerryDenim- yes, this is it. I’ve written this on a few NC comment pages but I’ll paraphrase it a little- It’s like a great Historical Moment appeared to Bernie and said ‘finally, this is your time! All of these policies you have been talking about are the only ones that make sense now. You, Bernie, can help turn this ship around!” And Bernie said, “Nah, I’m good. I’m just gonna endorse my good friend Joe.” Huh?

      2. Big River Bandido

        You’re on a roll today, Geo. I think your observations in this and other comments are spot-on.

        For awhile, events are going to be in the saddle. Maybe one year, maybe three. Quite possibly much longer than that. In the last 5 weeks (according to a stat someone quoted here in recent days), 26 million Americans have filed for unemployment. That’s nearly 10% of the nation, in just five weeks. It won’t end there. The ripple effects of this will be tremendous as all the people and businesses *they* supported lose their base of prosperity as well. FDR said “I see one-third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished”. I think this time it will likely be worse than that.

        There is no neoliberal policy solution to this problem — neoliberal policy *is* the problem. Killing neoliberalism means defeating the entire power structure that enables it. That must start from the bottom — if there was a theoretical weakness in the Sanders campaign, it was the idea that the left could elect a President without first electing a friendly Congress, or that it would even be helpful to do so. The left will never be able to take power of the nation until it has already built a real base of power at local and state levels, which in turn exert forceful pressure upward through the system. To kill neoliberalism, you must strangle it in the crib of power — school boards, city councils, and state legislatures. That’s where the real power is in the country, and fixing that problem is not a feasible 2020 project.

      3. John k

        I agree. He moved the needle more than anybody since fdr. And if they stay with biden, disaster… and if they replace him it will be somebody with fewer delegates than Bernie… so if they give it to say Cuomo, few Bernie supporters will get off the couch.

      4. Acacia

        All of seems to presuppose that the Democrat party can be reformed from within and transformed into a true left party that represents labor. Based upon that assumption, the idea seems to be that it’s a question of strategy and/or tactics, of what Bernie should/shouldn’t say to the Dem Establishment. Is that it? I scan these comments and I keep reading the phrases “the left” and “Democrat party” in the same sentence, and it’s frankly sort of mind boggling. It seems pretty clear that that ship has sailed.

        It feels a bit silly to belabor this, but isn’t it fairly clear that the Democrat party sold out the 90% to court the 10% PMC, isn’t it fairly clear that it no longer represents working people in this country. We’re gonna get Larry Summers as a policy advisor — again. What more needs to be said? The Dem Party openly and snootily looks down upon “Deploristan”. It survives through narrative control, hoodwinking, and hopium. Its idea of “the future” is poaching a few disaffected suburban Republicans. No wonder the Democrat leadership has become even more hated than the GOP.

        Given all the shenanigans, given Bernie being thrown under the bus – again —, given Obama’s Night of Long Knives, given the rampant election fraud that is unfolding in front of our eyes like a semi-truck doing an el-foldo in slo-mo, perhaps there is simply a deep unwillingness to look squarely at the corruption and irredeemability of the cartel that runs the US political system? How many times does Lucy have to yank away the football? Is the DNC really different than a drug cartel? Are drug cartels reformed from within? I’m trying to think of a cartel that has ever reformed without threat of decapitation — and I’m coming up blank. Usually they get smashed or supplanted.

        So, what should Bernie do?

        Leave the Democrat party, denounce its corruption, and invite his movement to help build a third party?

        Working to organize labor strikes might not be a bad idea either.

        But I’m pretty sure he won’t do that, because he’s such a nice guy.

      5. Lambert Strether Post author

        > So, what should Bernie do? I like some of the ideas proposed here about turning his campaign operation into a relief org for the crisis.

        No, no, no, no. Not this weak charity sh*t. SANDERS SHOULD FUND STRIKERS. There’s literally one single institution in the United States with the operational capability to do this, and that is the Sanders list + the app. It’s chewing me up inside that this extraordinary opportunity is being missed by all.

        To be fair, he probably is spending a lot of time pulling the knives out of his back, including those carefully placed there by “friends.”

    3. The Rev Kev

      Lots of people don’t like Jimmy Dore’s style and I can see why but consider this. Look at his track record. Unlike Cenk, he never drunk the Russiagate kool-aid. He called out Pelosi for who she is as well as AOC, he called bs on the Syria gassings, he pointed out Bernie failing to support his supporters. When you go through his videos, you see that he has a solid track record for being on the right side of the issues for the day so forget how he says it and listen to what he is saying-


      1. JohnnyGL

        Correct. You hate that he’s right, but he’s dishing out hard truths right now.

        He’s not alone….Dave Dayen, Zach Carter, Matt Stoller have all pointed out how the left leadership in Congress (Warren, Bernie, Squad, etc) and the broader movements and organizations….have all completely flopped during this crisis.

  30. ProNewerDeal

    There was news that Trump promised that if a uninsured citizen gets COVID-19, she will not be charged for the treatment.

    My perception that this is an vague promise, that has NOT actually been addressed LEGALLY in any of the Federal COVID stimulus bills (the last bill was the COVID 3.5 version a few days ago according to Kyle Kulinski/SecularTalk). Nor have state governments authorized such coverage.

    My perception is that MAYBE the COVID TEST itself may be free, but the actual subsequent TREATMENT (such as ICU care, intubation, etc) is billed.

    IIRC a media report anecdote (not data but better than nothing) that an uninsured woman with a severe/ICU-type COVID case got a $35K bill from COVID treatment.

    Thanks in advance for any thoughts/corrections on my perception on the COVID treatment of uninsured patient situation (BTW I or my loved ones are not this case of an uninsured citizen currently with COVID, I just want to ascertain what the current reality is).

    1. General Jinjur

      Here’s a piece on The Hill website: 

      « Administration says it will reimburse hospitals for treating uninsured coronavirus patients
      Morgan Chalfant04/03/20 06:14 PM EDT« »

      Sorry I can’t offer a link.

    2. marym

      Trump said that in the beginning of April, in a response to a reporter’s question about Trump’s decision not to re-open the ACA exchanges, though there was no plan in place and there still isn’t. The money was supposed to be from the $100B in the third bills. Kaiser Family Foundation took a general looked at the numbers and didn’t think it would be enough. $30B has gone out to hospitals, but not specifically for this purpose. The funds are being administered by United Health.

      1. marym



      2. marym

        I posted links in a reply but I think they went into moderation, if you care to check back later.

  31. coats & linen

    Lambert, a quick correction re: Cuomo and mail-in ballots in New York: Cuomo is not mailing all of us ballots, but *applications* for ballots. How many people will take that extra step? Voter suppression. Moreover, I went to request my ballot online and I had to choose from a short list of excuses for why I couldn’t vote in person—e.g. out of town, sick, etc. There was no option of “hey there’s a pandemic, I don’t want to die lol.” I just picked one, but I could imagine this format discouraging people from applying for a ballot as well—i.e. people may wonder whether they’re eligible for absentee. NY state politics are just the lowest, and Cuomo is the actual devil.

    1. 3.14e-9

      C&L, the box you want to check is “temporary illness or disability,” by Cuomo’s executive order:

      Ballot applications will be mailed to all registered voters, with prepaid postage. You will still have an option to go to the polls and vote, or to drop off your mail-in ballot at your polling place on June 23. So, no different from a regular election, except you have the additional option of using an absentee ballot. More info on the general BOE page:

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Cuomo and mail-in ballots in New York: Cuomo is not mailing all of us ballots, but *applications* for ballots.

      OMG. “Access to ballots.” Thanks.

    3. Off The Street

      When your neighbors rat you out for checking the wrong box on that application, then you will have another entry in that Social Score database or panopticon. There are bound to be job opportunities in app auditing. ;p

  32. Mikel

    “Stock Markets That Never Fall Are Up to No Good” [Bloomberg].

    Is it a lot of algorithmic trading? Opinions vary. The more people unemployed, the more the slow rising keeps up. But if it does a big, big dive as people return to work or the economy “opens up”, I guess we can suspect that the computers are programmed to view humans working as the virus.
    Only half-kidding…

  33. Wukchumni

    I’m proud to announce the start of The Wounded Economy Project.

    For your generous donation of just $19 a month, or a little over 1/6th of the $1200 you received/may receive/forget about it, the economy (insert image of the aftermath of a head on collision with both cars going 65 mph @ time of impact) can heal itself.

    With your $19 a month gift, we’ll send you a Wounded Economy Project crying blanket, as token of our esteem.

    1. ambrit

      May I suggest a bit of rebranding of your compassionate, ‘woke’ economic program?
      Call it the “The Wounded Economy Recovery Project,” or TWERP for short.
      Don’t forget the small print boilerplate that informs TWERPs that their ‘information’ will be “shared” with like minded organizations for the purposes of “upgrading their philanthropic experience.”

    1. David R Smith

      If self-driving carmakers had any sense, they would start with personal vehicles that would be on auto-pilot only on interstate highways and buses that ran fixed, straight-shot routes.

      1. tegnost

        yes, since the gov hasn’t built dedicated highways it’s best to develop the tech at the highest allowable speed and the interstate has all those crash barriers to limit the death toll. Re buses they’re already doing that, but…boring… if you know what i’m saying

      2. integer

        If self-driving carmakers had any sense

        Anyone who had any sense wouldn’t attempt to build a self-driving car.

  34. Wukchumni

    What do you make of Trump & Pence refusing to wear masks in public?

    Is it the thought that they’d appear weak and feeble, undermining what little credibility they have left, or what?

    It makes no difference if they continually lie about everything and we can’t see their lips moving, by the way.

    1. Massinissa

      Even Bolsonaro has worn a mask at least once and been caught on camera wearing one, and for the most part he has continued to deny publically that the coronavirus even exists. So yeah, something doesn’t really add up there, but then again, I’m not sure major democrats have been wearing masks either.

    2. John

      Trump an Pence have a Credibility Gap to thee and me, but they are wholly credible by discredited definitions of credibility to the terminally credible.

  35. occasional anonymous

    “It all seems quite benevolent. Surely there’s a dark side [to Sailor Moon].”

    Commercialism. Sailor Moon, and by extension the entire magical girl genre that followed in its wake, has a heavily consumerist vision of femininity. Lots of frilly dresses, magical items are often make-up or candy related, etc. Later franchises would take this to even greater extremes, most especially Pretty Cure.

    In its defense the Sailor Moon characters aren’t vapid fashionistas; there actually is a variety in their personalities (the smart one, the athletic one, etc). There isn’t really much depth to them beyond whatever their singular trait is, but it does carry the message that there are multiple ways to ‘be a girl’. But an assumption of a conventional feminine aesthetic that they all subscribe to goes unquestioned

    1. FDW

      I would agree with on that. The Japanese Media is notorious for a it’s oddball kind fo commericalism. But Sailor Moon also emerged out of very different environment. Japan’s Anime and Comics industry has, unlike America’s equivalents, seen women play major, public acknowledged roles in the development of the industry. Sailor Moon’s creator Takeuchi Naoko is no exception to this. What made Sailor Moon such was the way that it turned the magical girl genre on it’s head by introducing all kinds of elements from the Shounen (Boys) genre, and this made Sailor Moon something that had major crossover appeal. Funny thing is that Sailor Moon was Takeuchi’s only break out hit. The same thing can’t be said about her husband, Togashi Yoshihiro, creator of Yu Yu Hakusho and Hunter x Hunter. Togashi works for Shounen Jump, a magazine a reputation so brutal that calling it Darwinian Hellhole would be the understatement of the Century. Yet the Magazine has been the launching ground for DOZENS of Multimillionare franchises over the last 30 years, so people keep trying their luck there. Shounen Jump bases it’s title lineup on one thing: popularity polls. It has them in every weekly issue, and if you do badly in them, you’re axed. Did I mention it’s weekly?

  36. Wukchumni

    AirBnB is ‘suggesting’ that owners deep clean their rental properties and wait 24 hours between guests.

    They have no say in the former and lots of sway in the latter, all it will take is the first rental where somebody contracts Coronavirus, and it’s all over, except for the million of tears shed by would-be Hiltons, which could cause localized flooding.

  37. Bill Carson

    I haven’t read all of the comments, but with respect to the Reuters story about ““Diagnostic panels and cancer screenings typically performed during annual physician visits fell by as much as 68% nationally,…”

    I wonder if we will get enough data to determine NOT ONLY how many more people died from cancer because they didn’t get tested/treated, BUT ALSO how many people DIDN’T DIE from awful, awful cancer treatments because they didn’t get tested/treated.

    I’m not saying that cancer treatments are totally ineffective or actually cause more harm than good, . . . or am I?

    1. ambrit

      You have a point. Phyl’s experience so far with her melanoma has taught us that treating cancer in America is very much a for profit business. As such, it falls somewhat into the category of an “extractive industry.”
      American medicine needs to be nationalized.

  38. 3.14e-9

    UPDATE Sanders (D)(1-3)

    A reporter asked Cuomo about this at yesterday’s daily briefing. He said he was “leaving it up to the board,” that it wasn’t appropriate for him to second guess their decision (paraphrase), and quickly moved to the next question. I’ve been watching his daily briefings for more than a month, and that’s the shortest answer I’ve ever heard him give. He’s been credible on his coronavirus data, but on this, he looked like a schoolboy who just got caught cheating on a test.

    At the same time, it’s hard to believe that the Sanders campaign is being completely forthright. Why didn’t they protest before the elections board meeting? Why no outraged email to supporters with a heads up? Weaver says they “communicated” that they wanted to stay on the ballot, but did they directly contact the BOE? Did they get a response? Or, did they make a calculated decision that it wouldn’t be in Bernie’s best interest?

    In the 2016 primary, Bernie won all of rural Upstate – which is solidly Republican and ultimately voted for Trump. I live in one of those counties and can tell you that the few registered Dems around here are OK with Biden, have for the most part bought into the “electability” ruse, and showed no strong support for Bernie (no signs, bumper stickers, etc). So it’s possible – maybe even likely – that Bernie would take another embarrassing beating by Biden if the primary were to go forward.

    In any case, protesting after the fact looks weak and ineffectual, and the “affront to Our Democracy” line is silly, given that the primary is all a charade anyway, and the Bernie campaign knows it. Indeed, how many people would chance going to the polls if they knew the DNC is legally entitled to ignore the will of voters?

    Speaking of which, while Cuomo isn’t believable on this issue, I do believe his repeated statements that he intends to finish his term as governor. Reporters have asked the question multiple times in multiple ways over the past month whether he’s running for president, would accept a DNC offer if Biden had to drop out, etc. They’ve asked whether he was seeking to be VP or secretary of something (“been there, done that,” he said of the latter). He said he liked his job as governor of New York and intended to stay until voters threw him out. Just my opinion, but I think he’s waiting for 2024, and wisely so. Despite current polling, I doubt he could beat Trump in 2020 and suspect he knows it. The tell will be whether he runs for a fourth term in 2022.

    1. Big River Bandido

      Your assessment of Cuomo’s intentions is totally in line with his history, character, outlook, tactics, etc. I also agree with you that he wouldn’t defeat Trump. But after that farce of a primary, neither can any other Democrat.

      The trouble for Cuomo is there’s not much point waiting for a good year to run for the presidency. The Democrats have been bleeding votes in the upper Midwest for 35 years as a result of austerity politics agreed to by Democrats. Four more years of this kind of politics will just add to the bleeding. Absent overwhelming support from working class people, I don’t see how a neoliberal Democrat would ever manage to assemble a winning Electoral College coalition again. That old dog just don’t hunt in Ohio, Iowa, or Wisconsin.

      1. 3.14e-9

        Good observations. And if the election was held today, I’d agree with you.

        The political landscape is going to be very different in 2024. How different is anyone’s guess. Think back to April 2016: At that point in the election cycle, how many voters could imagine Trump in the Oval Office? Or that he’d be running for a second term? If 189 days is a long time in politics, 1,651 days is an eternity, especially under the new COVID normal.

        If Trump is re-elected, the presumed GOP candidate in 2024 will be Pence. That would give us a choice of austerity with or without a side order of theocracy. Maybe. Maybe one of the new celebrity governors will pull a rabbit out of a hat. Maybe cats will mutate with opposable thumbs and assume their rightful place as overlords of the galaxy.

        Cuomo’s daily briefings have been instructional on many levels. Among other revelations, it feels like I’ve been watching the emergence of The Unity Candidate®, designed in vitro and time-released for max effect. Between appeals to PMC and idpol, he occasionally slips in some Bernie noises. A couple of weeks ago, he actually said, “Not me, we.” Whether he thinks it will fool Bernie supporters, I can’t tell. Surely, he didn’t think throwing Bernie off the ballot was going to win us over. But he clearly knows that 1,651 days is an eternity in politics.

    2. Oregoncharles

      Credit where it’s due: Bernie’s campaign was wonderfully clarifying about the true nature of the Democratic Party.

      1. ambrit

        Agreed. Also, very clarifying about the impotence of the “institutional” Left in America. Right now, for the Left’s issues, my money’s on wildcat strikes and ‘kinetic’ street theatre.
        I may be a bit delusional, (who am I kidding,) but ‘real’ Leftism seems to arise from below, not from within extant political apparats.

      2. 3.14e-9

        Seems to me more like incidental exposure, which I suppose deserves some credit. But if they’d wanted to blow the lid off the whole thing, they could have straight up explained to voters that the primary is a sham. Of course, then they’d have to explain why Bernie went along with it. There are lots of theories, but I haven’t seen a definitive answer on that question.

        Anyway, as it turns out, the Sanders campaign did contact the Board of Elections directly to argue for remaining on the ballot. City & State New York, which first reported the likelihood of the ballot change, ran an article on Monday with a copy of the letter from campaign attorneys. However, they sent it via email on Sunday, and just one day before the board’s rescheduled meeting. City & State broke the original story on April 8 (Lambert had it in links on 4/12), quoting the board’s Democrat co-chair as saying the matter would be decided in the next week or two.

        Something about this still doesn’t smell right…

  39. VietnamVet

    The US House of Representatives has decided not to reconvene as the COVID-19 cases in the DC Capital Area have not started to decline. Donald Trump is about to order Meat Packing Plants to stay open and kill, hospitalize, and disable a percentage of the workers. Not unlike Chernobyl. Ian Welsh posted an excellent article and good comments on the live test of government:

    The USA is in a perfect storm. There is no national government leadership. Both political parties fell into a geriatric incompetent duopoly. This was one of the causes of USSR’s fall along with an overstretched military fighting an unwinnable war in Afghanistan. Corporate media is hiding the truth but with Republican States reopening and lockdown fatigue; the 12% or higher infection rate in hotspots like NY State means that the uninfected venturing outside will come in contact with virus shredders in their workplaces, shopping, or on the sidewalks. The coronavirus infection curve will not go down but plateau or even increase as it spreads across North America. The US government has no idea of the extent, location or numbers of infected in the epidemic.

    The only proven way to fight a pandemic is with good old fashion public health techniques of testing, tracing and quarantines. This requires a functioning national government. The USA no longer has one. Oligarchs, anarchists and libertarians joined together to dismantle democracy in the West. As many Americans will die this week from the Wuhan coronavirus as in the Vietnam War in order to cut taxes on the rich and end business regulation. Unless democracy is restored and the national public health system rebuilt, the COVID-19 pandemic will wax and wane and kill as many Americans as the US Civil War. If the USA splinters apart and replays the fall of the Soviet Union, millions will die.

    1. Wukchumni

      The breakup of the USSR was not without violence, but it will appear so tame compared to what is in store for us…

      …and similar to WW2, there’s really no place to escape now that borders have been largely sealed

      Comeuppance see me sometime~

  40. marym


    Each point contains a link to each of the more with more information on the strike.

    So far, we’ve identified over 140 wildcat strikes that happened since the beginning of March.


  41. Cynthia

    Re: the tweet about the Chocolate Candy Eggs

    It’s obvious that that their employer had a bunch of leftover Easter candy that they gonna get rid anyway. My chief nurse did something similar last week. She along with her rather oversized entourage of advisers and assistants went from floor to floor and unit to unit handing out popsicles of all things!

    Apparently, she and all her numerous advisers and assistants don’t understand that popsicles are awfully messy to eat, especially while wearing a mask. They also apparently don’t understand that we don’t have a freezer at the nurses station, so we can either eat them right away or let them sit and melt all over the nurses station.

    At any rate, some nurses, myself included, politely said no thanks to the popsicles and quietly went about our work. But others chose to take one and soon regretted it. They said that it was a bit slimy, which is indicative of it being past its sell-by date. So they too were probably gonna get rid of the popsicles anyway.

    Sorry, chief, giving us something that you gonna toss in the trash anyway is not doing a good deed for us — or anybody else for that matter. Nor is it a morale booster. If anything, it’s a morale buster!

    1. Massinissa

      If they were going to give them those eggs, at least give them those eggs on Easter or the day after. Not two weeks later. “Here, have this Halloween candy we couldn’t sell either. It was worth a dollar in retail last October!”

  42. JTMcPhee

    There’s a lot of “we just don’t knows” about COVID-19. For good reason- politicians, corporations, hospital and “care home” admins, researcher bias and egos, fog of data.

    On that note, about the Italian study referenced in the post, I found this text concerning, in light of my own nursing experience:

    Data on diseases were based on chart review and was available on 2,041 patients dying in-hospital for whom it was possible to analyse clinic charts.

    Charting is at best of times prone to error and misinformation and missing information. Depends in individual communication skills and consistent use of complex language and accurate reporting of numerical data and subjective observations. In the likely much more chaotic treatment areas, with patients unable to give accurate medical histories and unlikely to have a means or even, post-Morten, any incentive to follow up and collect such information, I’d be concerned about the validity of any conclusions.

  43. Oregoncharles

    ” “Tech giants are profiting — and getting more powerful — even as the global economy tanks” [WaPo].”

    So now we know who engineered the novel coronavirus. /sarc.

  44. Carey

    San Luis Obispo County CA coronavirus statistics:
    As of 4/29/20 at 12:30 pm

    181 Confirmed cases
    40 Home
    135 Recovered
    5 Hospitalized (0 in ICU)
    1 Death (total)

    Hospitalizations here are up slightly from the recent two or three; with the maximum being ten on 31 March.
    ICU admissions have been stable at zero for the past week.

    Coronavirus (COVID-19) Cases in San Francisco as of 29 April 2020:

    Total Positive Cases: 1490
    Deaths: 23
    updated daily at 9:00 AM


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