2:00PM Water Cooler 4/3/2020

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


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

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

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

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

We have no new national or state polls today.

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BIden (D)(1): Read the room:


Do I want to know what a “VIP Clutch” is? This being Silicon Valley, is it like a “cuddle puddle“? If so, will Joe be participating?

Biden (D)(2): Biden steps on another rake:


This in the face of Florida poll-workers and voters being infected after the Biden campaign encouraged them to go vote, on national television, against CDC advice to avoid gatherings of 50 or more.

Biden (D)(3): “Senators clashed over Hunter Biden probe in classified briefing” [Politico]. “‘Sen. Tester expressed concern over the reliance on reportedly untrustworthy foreign nationals and cautioned his colleagues against playing politics with national security,’ said a spokeswoman for Tester.” • BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA!!!!! Surely it will benefit “our democracy” to ensure that there isn’t the slightest chance that President Biden could be subject to Russian kompromat?

Cuomo (D)(1): “COVID-19: Cuomo’s Bubble is Starting to Burst” [Consortium News]. “Cuomo’s present regard for the well-being of every New Yorker, rich or poor, and his lyrical demands to ramp up the number of hospital beds and ventilators is undermined by an ongoing record of drastically cutting back on the state’s assistance to public medical facilities that serve the poor. While he is now frantically trying to add hospital beds in the state (which has lost 20,000 in the past 20 years), Cuomo, over the past decade, agreed to close and consolidate numerous public hospitals, mostly serving the poor, to save money…. Even in these extraordinary circumstances his budget proposal to shave $400 million off the state’s $35 billion Medicaid bill—which provides care to the poorest New Yorkers—was accepted by the state Senate on Thursday and the Assembly early Friday, when both passed Cuomo’s 2020 budget. It comes precisely as Medicaid recipients need it most…. Making it worse, is that Cuomo’s budget did not include rises in property or wealth taxes, despite a $10-15 billion shortfall.” • Making it clear, if it were not clear already, who liberal Democrats really serve.

Sanders (D)(1): It may be that reports of the death of the Sanders campaign have been greatly exaggerated. We’ll see. That said:


I haven’t gone (much) into the tactical errors of the Sanders campaign (see here and here for my take, especially on Sanders’ theory of change). At some point I should take a look at Sanders as a candidate. That said, detaching 30% of the base from the Democrat Establishment and winning the fifth largest economy in the world (California) are not neglible accomplishments. The key outcome has not been addressed: The fate of the Sanders “movement” which, if the Twitter bears any relation to the real world, will in fact be rejected as a foreign intruder by the immune system of the Democrat Establishment. There is much more to this story to come.

Trump (R)(1): “The (Political) Science Behind Trump’s Approval Bump” [Wired]. “[A]n approval bump due to major crises or wars is one of the most consistent patterns in American politics. ‘It would have been amazing if Trump didn’t get any rally,’ said Matthew Baum, the author of several academic books about public opinion. The surprising thing, rather, is how small the bump has been. As of March 13, according to FiveThirtyEight’s tracker, Trump was at around 42 percent approval and 53 percent disapproval, precisely where he has hovered throughout most of his first term. Since then, those numbers have shifted to about 46 percent and 50 percent—a 6-point overall swing. ‘You would expect, given how unpopular Donald Trump was the day before this all happened, he would have a massive rally,’ Baum said. Franklin Roosevelt, for example, got a 12-point boost after Pearl Harbor in Gallup’s tracking poll; George W. Bush received the all-time polling bounce immediately after 9/11, nearly 40 percent.”

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WI: “Wisconsin’s election is still April 7, but a federal judge has extended the deadline for absentee votes to be counted” [Journal Sentinel (KH)]. “- A federal judge Thursday kept next week’s presidential primary on track but allowed more time to count absentee ballots after excoriating Wisconsin officials for not doing more to protect voters during the coronavirus pandemic. The ruling — which was immediately appealed — will allow absentee ballots to be counted if they arrive by April 13, six days after election day. U.S. District Judge William Conley also gave people until Friday to request absentee ballots and loosened a rule requiring absentee voters to get the signature of a witness. But Conley did not go as far as Democrats and voter mobilization groups wanted and declined to postpone Tuesday’s election.” • Some Democrats. Not Biden, not the DNC. Of course, the national Democrats have thrown Wisconsin Democrats under the bus. I think the whole primary deserves an asterisk, at this point. How can these votes be seen as legitimate?


“DOJ keeping Congress in the dark about John Durham review, top GOP investigator says” [Washington Examiner]. “Rep. Jim Jordan, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, said “no” when asked during a Just the News podcast on Thursday whether Durham or Attorney General William Barr have provided lawmakers an update on the inquiry…. The interview indicated that lawmakers, including Jordan, had little official information to go on as they talked about Durham’s work over the past year. For instance, Rep. Doug Collins, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, told Fox News in late February that there will not be a report from Durham and rather that the public would hear about the progress the prosecutor has made if and when there is an indictment…. When asked, Jordan declined to speculate on whether any officials will be indicted in Durham’s inquiry or if investigators will turn up evidence of “spying” on the Trump campaign earlier than when the FBI said it opened its Crossfire Hurricane counterintelligence investigation in the summer of 2016.”

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Bailing Out the Bailout” [Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone]. “Like 2008, only more so, the new mega-rescue is a bipartisan effort. Lawmakers sold this as a good thing…. As happened in the run-up to September 2008, Wall Street in recent weeks warned of Armageddon if the Fed did not immediately start spending billions per minute to buy every conceivable kind of financial product. The Fed responded by dusting off emergency lending facilities like the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility, the Commercial Paper Funding Facility, the Money Market Mutual Fund Liquidity Facility, the Primary Dealer Credit Facility, the Secondary Market Corporate Credit Facility, and the Primary Market Corporate Credit Facility, all of which saw action after the crash of 2008. Each would be used to step in and buy financial products in the various markets frozen due to virus panic.” That’s quite a list. More: “The problem? A lot of these markets were already overinflated thanks to post-2008 bailouts and interventions like Quantitative Easing. We’re about to find out that the American economy has been living off dying, dysfunctional, or hyper-leveraged markets for more than a decade. The Trump administration just bought this undead economy at retail prices and committed the Fed and the Treasury to sustaining it…. Short-term loans to make payroll and keep tenants in storefronts are only a part of the rescue. The coronavirus emergency is probably temporary. The bailout looks like forever.” • This is a must-read, particularly for readers who didn’t go through the 2008 Crash with us.

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.

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Employment Situation: “March 2020 BLS Jobs Situation Hit By The Coronavirus” [Econintersect]. “The headline seasonally adjusted BLS job growth was even worse than the forecasts with job losses on par with the Great Recession.” From the BLS report: “Total nonfarm payroll employment fell by 701,000 in March, and the unemployment rate rose to 4.4 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The changes in these measures reflect the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and efforts to contain it. Employment in leisure and hospitality fell by 459,000, mainly in food services and drinking places. Notable declines also occurred in health care and social assistance, professional and business services, retail trade, and construction.” And: “Interesting in this report that the bulk of job losses happened to age group 20 to 24.” • Sanders voters….

Leading Indicators: “April 2020 Economic Forecast Was Hit By A Black Swan” [Econintersect]. “This is a black swan economic event. Black swan events are unexpected at the time with immediate significant impact. The speed which the coronavirus engulfed the economy was swift. Economic forecasting tools are not designed to anticipate black swans. We are not alone in publishing an economic forecast which is off the mark – except for a few cases such as ECRI’s Weekly Leading Index – all forecasts suffer the same malady. And even in the case of ECRI’s WLI – it is projecting the decline 6 months from today.” • This is Econintersect’s forecast:

Everyone is guessing on the way this coronavirus pandemic will play out. The best guesses change daily. The current range of guesses is that the worst will be over in 30 days – to this pandemic continuing through next winter. Because the U.S. is not collecting data in a scientific way [which would require at least a testing of sample population groups for coronavirus], the real rate of spread is unknown. It will be difficult to understand when the worst of the pandemic will be over – so I would guess in the best case the economy could begin to fire up 60 days from today.

This crisis has three sides economically:

1. The shelter in place portion which likely would reduce 2020 estimated GDP by 0.5 % per month for each month the shelter in place portion remains. Without the pandemic, annual GDP would have been in a range of 2.0 % to 2.5 %. So a two month shelter in place would reduce 2020 GDP to 1.0 % to 1.5 %. And I would assume that the shelter in place would not end cleanly in all areas – it will linger in major population centers.

2. The knock-on effect is more exponential. The longer this crisis continues, the less likely the economy can return to its current trend line. Just like what happened in the Great Recession, the economy would reset. Many businesses would no longer exist – and there is the associated unemployment. It is hard to restart a wounded economy.

3. There is a high possibility of a knock-on affect triggering defaults in municipalities, states, corporate or private debt.

The “new normal” reset of the Great Recession has been destroyed by the cornavirus. There will be a “post-pandemic normal” reset – and we will have to wait to see what it will be!

At this point, I would project that even in the best case the U.S. will have no economic growth in 2020 – A recession likely began in March 2020. I do not want to speculate on the worst case as there are too many variables – but economically it is ugly.

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Commodities: “Coronavirus: London hospital almost runs out of oxygen for Covid-19 patients” [Guardian]. “The NHS-wide surge in patients receiving oxygen also presents a second risk for a hospital – that its liquid oxygen storage tank, known as its vacuum insulated evaporator (VIE), could quickly become run down…. Both scenarios “present a potentially significant risk to multiple patients”, NHS England said…. The letter says: “If the demand through multiple wall outlets [for wall-mounted CPAP machines] exceeds the maximum capacity of the VIE delivery system, there is a risk of rapid pressure drop in oxygen supply pipes.” • I had pictured oxygen as being packaged in small tanks, like helium for balloons. But no! Oxygen is a hospital-wide delivery system, like HVAC or power, so if it goes down, the whole hospital goes down. Yikes. Is it the same in America, or is this just the UK?

Retail: “Hobby Lobby Defies Stay-at-Home Orders by Reopening Some Stores” [New York Times]. “The arts-and-crafts chain Hobby Lobby was accused of defying stay-at-home orders in at least four states during the coronavirus outbreak, prompting officials to take action against the retailer. The moves by state and local authorities in Colorado, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin to shut the stores down came as governors across much of the United States have signed stay-at-home orders and health authorities have urged Americans to practice social distancing…

The Bezzle: “Staff Said The Free Mask Kits At Jo-Ann Fabrics Are Just Scraps From The Clearance Bin” [Buzzfeed]. “Major fabric retailer Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts claims that the free mask kits it gives out to customers are critical for health care workers and, therefore, its stores across the country need to remain open. But that argument is not convincing everyone — even Jo-Ann workers themselves, four of whom told BuzzFeed News their stores were supplying poor-quality fabrics and materials in what they viewed as a slapdash effort to remain open. ‘We’re trying to keep it [to what the company has described as] the correct kind of fabric— high thread count, 100% cotton — but it’s gotten to the point where we are just grabbing random bolts of fabric off the shelves, whatever fits,’ said one store manager near Seattle, who asked to remain anonymous, like all employees interviewed for this article, in order to protect their employment. ‘We burned through all our clearance fabric.'”

The Bezzle: “The ‘game changer’ that wasn’t: Company falsely claimed FDA authorization for coronavirus blood test” [CNN]. • Thank heavens Elizabeth Holmes is out of the picture. You can just imagine….

Tech: “Zoom CEO apologizes for having ‘fallen short’ on privacy and security” [CNN]. “Zoom will stop adding new features for the next 90 days and instead focus solely on addressing privacy issues, [CEO Eric] Yuan said. The company will also release a transparency report, similar to the ones periodically shared by tech giants such as Facebook (FB), Google (GOOGL) and Twitter (TWTR), which details requests for data or content from government authorities.” • Still doesn’t explain why the Mac OS installer is scripted like malware, though.

The Fed: “The Big Unanswered Questions about the Federal Reserve’s Coronavirus Response” [Nathan Tankus]. “We have yet to get a response to the crisis that comes close to matching the speed and the size of this crisis. While congress has done worse than the Federal Reserve, the Federal Reserve has not done enough. In particular, the programs aimed at helping the sectors that need it most- small and medium sized businesses, state and local government- have yet to be launched. In fact, a municipal debt purchase program has not even been announced. Every program up until now has been direct support for a component of the financial system or large non-financial corporations… The worst element of the Federal Reserve’s response to date has unquestionably been its failure to respond to the fiscal crises Coronavirus has created for state and local governments…. The fundamental point is we simply do not know how this is going to play out and what the ultimate breakdown of lending and purchases is going to be between the mind bendingly wide variety of programs. While I am frustrated with the misconceptions and myths that are being spread by some liberals and leftists, it is hard to blame the mistrust of an organization famously resistant to oversight and clarity like the Federal Reserve. Especially as the bill repeals open access meetings and records keeping regulations on Federal Reserve related programs and the capitalization fund is similar in structure and “after the fact” oversight to the Troubled Asset Relief Program.” • Tankus has been on fire lately. If you aren’t reading his blog, you should be.

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 22 Extreme Fear (previous close: 21 Extreme Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 23 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Apr 3 at 11:56am. Back to Extreme Fear.

The Biosphere

“Emptying Skies to Cut Airline Emissions 38% in 2020, Report Says” [Bloomberg]. “Traffic forecasts by the International Air Transport Association suggest airlines’ emissions could drop 38% in 2020, the report said….. ‘The question remains as to whether Covid-19 pandemic will permanently change our flying habits,’ said Richie Merzian, climate and energy program director at the Australia Institute. ‘If we can work well together online now, perhaps it will permanently reduce the need for business travel.'”

“A Plant in Florida Emits Vast Quantities of a Greenhouse Gas Nearly 300 Times More Potent Than Carbon Dioxide” [Inside Climate News]. “The plant, a subsidiary of SK Capital Partners, a private equity firm that says it generates $9 billion in annual revenue, is the largest point source of nitrous oxide emissions in the country. Its number one ranking as a nitrous oxide polluter illustrates how companies often choose to leave untouched greenhouse gas emissions they aren’t required by law to abate, even when proven systems exist to eliminate those emissions. In the case of nitrous oxide emissions, DuPont and its global competitors, alarmed by N2O’s potency as a greenhouse gas, joined forces almost 30 years ago and developed technologies to abate virtually all of their pollution.” •

Health Care

“The Case for Universal Cloth Mask Adoption and Policies to Increase Supply of Medical Masks for Health Workers” [SSRN]. “Our analysis suggests each cloth facemask generates thousands of dollars in value from reduced mortality risk. Each medical mask, when used by a healthcare worker, may generate millions of dollars in value, and policies to encourage greater production prioritized for health workers are urgently needed.” • Yeah, but it’s all value nobody can extract…. I smell a subscription model! Face Masks As A Service™! One, two, five, or seven face masks delivered weekly to your door by our courteous uniformed driver!

“Coronavirus: Hong Kong scientists look into disinfection and reuse of face masks” [South China Morning Post]. “In the online session, Yuen revealed that he also uses alternative ways to make each mask last longer. Underneath each standard surgical mask, he said, he wears a reusable cloth mask. After he uses it, he disinfects the surgical mask with an ozoniser. “Then hang [the mask] up, let all the ozone disappear, and then I use it again, but again with a reusable cloth mask inside,” he said.” • I did a quick search on “ozoniser”, but nothing defnitive. (Note that the ozonizer use case is not to purify the air, but to disinfect that mask.) Readers?

“It’s Easy To Overhype New COVID-19 Discoveries” [FiveThirtyEight]. “The latest example of this dynamic came on Tuesday, when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new data about how underlying health conditions can affect individuals’ response to COVID-19. At first glance, the report suggested that people with those health conditions — such as diabetes, chronic lung disease and heart disease — were at a higher risk for severe disease or death from COVID-19. That finding is consistent with more anecdotal studies of COVID-19 patients in both China and Italy. But as you go deeper into the data, the limitations of the finding become more clear. As of March 28, the CDC had collected data for 7,162 COVID-19 positive patients that included information on whether they had underlying health conditions or other known risk factors. That is just 5.8 percent of the 122,653 total U.S. COVID-19 cases reported to the CDC as of that time. But the size of the data set isn’t the biggest concern. The biggest concern is that we don’t know whether that subset is representative of the population of infected individuals. Without that, we don’t know whether the findings are representative, either.” • Oh dear…

“Florida’s statewide stay-at-home order still allows churches and their followers to gather during coronavirus outbreak” [Tampa Bay Creative Loafing]. “After weeks of criticism from lawmakers and the public, DeSantis announced a new sweeping executive order calling for a statewide 30-day stay-at-home order to go into effect this Friday; the order limits movement only to essential businesses and essential activities. The order, which you can read for yourself right here, also lists ‘essential activities’ that are permitted during the 30-day period, and includes things like exercising, taking care of pets, assisting a loved one, and ‘religious services conducted in churches, synagogues and houses of worship.'” • Amazingly, this issue is covered in the actual Bible that modern-day Christians are said to use. Matt 6:5-7, helpfully annotated:

5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But [A] when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, [B] do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.

So, [A] practice social distancing, and [B] avoid aerosol transmission.

More petri dishes:


We all love our health insurance:


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“Sebelius, Looking Back At ACA, Says The Country’s Never ‘Seen This Kind Of Battle'” [Kaiser Health News]. KHN butchers the headline, and buries the lead. Here it is (I have helpfully underlined it):

[ROVNER:] Now it’s 10 years later, the law is more popular than ever. And yet there are still some big problems in the nation’s health care system, including levels of cost sharing, surprise bills, so that even people who do have insurance are worried about costs when accessing care. Why didn’t the Affordable Care Act fix everything?

[SEBELIUS:] Frankly, it probably would have been better to be a government takeover of health care. We got blamed for it. And yet we really didn’t do that. We ran most of this through the private system. So costs are still blossoming out of control. We’ve talked about how the public option would have been a lever for that, which we don’t have. Surprise billing wasn’t even an issue until investment bankers began buying specialty practices and figuring out, Oh, there’s a new way to make money.

And, I also think, often the Affordable Care Act is blamed for employers shifting massive costs onto their employees in employer-based health care plans, which weren’t really tampered with by the Affordable Care Act. That was always to be left alone. So we own all the bad.

So, ten years later, Sebelius admits that the 2009 ACA critique by single payer advocates was correct in every respect. And yet, single payer is not a policy supported by serious people in the Beltway, and its advocates have no seats at the table. It’s just like Iraq, where everyone responsible for that debacle has more power than ever!

#MedicareForAll polling:


An alternative theory to stingy olds denying the benefits of Medicare to the youngs would be that Medicare’s neoliberal infestation has done its damage: Co-pays, deductibles, complexity, and a monthly payment. Not free at the point of care. No dental. To someone without coverage, or what passes for coverage with ObamaCare or employer insurance, Medicare appears as a distant dream of safety. To those living the dream, not so much. Just a thought!

Class Warfare

“It is time to make amends to the low-paid essential worker” [Financial Times]. • I’m tired of this “essential worker” formulation, along with the soon-to-be-seen-as performative identification of media elites with grocery workers and delivery people. As a class, by definition, the working class is essential. So I don’t care much for invidious distinctions like “essential” and “not essential,” which are all too compliant with the liberal means-testing mentality, and their Lady Bountiful distinction between the deserving and the undeserving. Who cares if some poor schlub accidentally gets an extra grand. In this society? What the “essential workers” formulation conceals is that the relation between “essential” and wealth is often inverse. Who on earth would classify the Lords of Private Equity as essential? Or hedgies? Or health insurance executives? All such should be given something useful to do, like delivering pizza or clearing bedpans. It would clarify their minds and purify their souls.

“Miami confronts two battles: the opioid epidemic and coronavirus” [Miami Herald]. • And of the two, only one dominates the headlines (exactly like falling life expectancy in the heartland). Why? Because of the two, only one personally affects PMCs in the Blue Cities and the burbs, especially in the press. (Not to say the virus isn’t spreading out into the flyover from its original foothold; it most surely is.)

“Virus Lockdowns Confront Billions Working in the Shadow Economy” [Bloomberg]. “How do governments control activity in an economy they never really controlled in the first place? That’s an urgent question being asked for those who run the $35 trillion developing world as the coronavirus takes hold. From the slums of Manila to remote villages in Colombia, some 2 billion people ply their trades in a barely-regulated and untaxed informal economy. The effort to contain the spread of a disease that’s so far infected around a million people may soon hinge on places hamstrung by weak institutions, constrained resources, and corruption.” • Unlike the United States! No but seriously folks, a good global wrap-up.

News of the Wired

The sweet science:

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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 (AM):

AM: “Happy St Patrick’s day from TriBeCa. Trees starting to bloom. Background building is infamous location of communications interception equipment post 911. Study in contrasts.”

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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. lb

    I have a positive, if slightly imperfect, COVID-19 anecdote.

    I live and work in Santa Clara county, and I’ve been working from home for a week and strongly socially distancing. I exercise in a park on some days, as is explicitly allowed (to maintain sanity, health, et cetera) in the shelter-in-place orders. I’ve watched as the park has closed parking lots, water fountains, bathrooms, picnic benches, and roads to parking lots. It seemed as though the park might simply close at some point.

    Today, one of the closed areas had signage for COVID-19 antibody testing. I asked, “Who gets tested?” and I was told, “Testing is by appointment only, and there was a sign-up.” Ok, so that’s sample bias or selection bias, or both, which is the imperfection (I imagine this selects for more responsible people, more connected, more aware…). I was further told, “We’re trying to get a [sense of spread] in the community.” I asked, “So was it just medical professionals or open?” and was told, “Open.”

    So, some measure of community exposure/recovery is happening in my little world. That’s heartening.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Testing by appointment only? Well, what if you’re homeless and don’t have a phone for calling for an appointment? Or using an online form?

      1. lb

        It’s antibody testing to tell whether and individual has already recovered, but the entire process of getting the test clearly assumed subjects will drive up. I haven’t yet gotten a hold of parks personnel to ask and found no references to any of this online. (I live a few miles across town from the park and this all appeared today). I don’t think the purpose of the testing is to allay concerns of the people tested (as much as that will be nice for them, if they find they’re recovered as opposed to unexposed). I’ll dig some more.

    2. Knifecatcher

      The urgent care place in my Denver ‘hood had a tent outside with a sign advertising “Covid-19 Testing”, with two bored looking young nurses sitting around waiting (I assume) for someone to come take them up on it. They weren’t wearing gowns / masks / face shields or anything like that either.

    3. nick

      A friend of ours in Long Island came down with it – not tested but was xrayed and diagnosed pneumonia. His wife had been taking care of him and two children and was sending us updates. She hadn’t been showing symptoms but in the case that she did I would drive down and grab their kids, while my wife took ours to my parents, just trying to stagger the likely infections.

      Earlier this week he went to the hospital to check himself in. Then they sent him back home! I didn’t know what to make of that. On the one hand, no relief from the misery, uncertainty. But on the other, some sort of sign that you’re not the worst of the worst. Good news this morning, his fever has broken.

  2. NotTimothyGeithner

    “VIP Clutch” or “clutch” is one of those words cooked up to make it sound cooler than it actually is and to make people believe they are being given the inside dope.

    The relatively public use of the word “clutch” indicates the Biden team is trying to be cool and reach out to the kids in their limited way. Cue the 30 Rock meme of “how do you do fellow kids” with Steve Buscemi.

    1. Hepativore

      Mind you, this is the same Biden who has said that he has no empathy for Millennials. He will likely putter along oblivious to everything while his handlers shuffle him from one spot to the next and try and compensate (albeit poorly) for his lack of coherence on air and in public. He will probably loose badly to Trump, but the DNC does not really care, as they see it as part of the cost of doing business with their donors and stopping the progressive insurgency.

      I truly hope that Biden has an acute unforeseen health issue soon that makes him drop out of the race. I do not wish anything fatal on him, but something that incapacitates him enough to where he is forced to withdraw. Even if Trump’s mishandling of the pandemic has doomed scores of people to getting the coronavirus and dying from it, I doubt things would have been much different with a neoliberal Democratic leader like Clinton. In the case of Biden, if by some miracle that Trump does not mop the floor with him in the general election, we would see a continuation of Trumpian bungling and corporate profiteering off of the outbreak except from under a man who cannot speak in full sentences.

      I am halfway tempted to write in the name of my cat on the ballot during the general election and vote for him.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        if by some miracle that Trump does not mop the floor with him in the general election, we would see a continuation of Trumpian bungling and corporate profiteering off of the outbreak except from under a man who cannot speak in full sentences.

        So basically, both parties will use the slogan “four more years!”

      2. Big River Bandido

        If Biden were replaced, the DNC would choose the replacement, meaning no improvement.

        Under no circumstances will I be voting Democrat this fall.

        1. rur42

          in other words all future federal judicial appointments will be right wing republicans and my pillow theocrats. well done, a consummation devoutly to be wished.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Yeah, but that is what Biden gets you.

            If you were going to recycle that argument, you might have picked a candidate who wasn’t so instrumental in Clarence Thomas getting on the bench.

            That was the same argument used by Hillary in 2016 and her most ardent supporters sat at home watching Maddow while GOTV died once again. Yes, they complained about people who didn’t vote for Hillary in the primary not doing this work, but gee, who is really responsible for it?

          2. NotTimothyGeithner

            Almost any Democrat but Biden, and you could make this argument in a reasonable amount of good faith.

            Did the DNC brainstorm this one? Hey, the Supreme Court argument didn’t work. What if we picked someone who would be okay with a Clarence Thomas? I bet that will get Republicans to like us.

          3. Glen

            Yes, you have that correct.

            The Democratic party needs to represent workers or get destroyed because we do not need two Republican party’s in this crisis. I am going to vote out, not work for, not support ANY Democratic candidate AT ALL.

            And just so you can baseline this, I am a fifty year Democratic voter.

            1. rockford

              I’m also a lifelong Democrat (up until 2016). I’ve voted for one Republican in 40 years … but I will never again vote for a politician of any stripe who does not support universal health care and full mobilization to mitigate climate change.

              Anyone else is just wasting our time. They’re interchangable.

              I expect to have a lot of blank boxes on my next ballot.

          4. WJ

            This federal judiciary appointment bug-bear is getting tiresome. It’s the liberal left equivalent of the liberal right bug-bear about “finally overturning Roe.” In reality, Repub and Dem federal judiciary appointments have over the past thirty years become more or less indistinguishable. But the illusion of there being a big distinction here is essential to keep the proles in line, on both sides.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              I wonder if ole Joe and Clarence will cut a PSA about believing women together.

            2. Glen

              Totally agree.

              Like I’m too worried about “family blogging” judges when we have probably 20 million people with no jobs, no health care, no hope.

              We’re going to have “family blogging” food riots, job strikes, and worse. Learn to see what is, and not dream about what was, that world is GONE.

            3. Darius

              Packing the judiciary with vicious reactionaries is a core mission of the GOP. When Clinton and Obama both took power, they made conscious decisions not to press judicial appointments because they wanted to “reach out across the aisle” and build bipartisan cooperation. With that genocidal death cult. The situation on the courts is as much the Democrats’ fault as the Republicans. It’s just never a priority for them.

              Our country has two parties that want to kill us. One just wants to do it more quickly.

              1. Librarian Guy

                Yes, amazing how many voting “Dem” don’t even bother to see this.

                ReThug and ReThug lite, the Dems are the Washington Generals whose political role is to always lose, surrender, and betray their “fans” (voters), always explaining that it’d be crazy to try to do better or win, that’s what the GOoPer meanies do, we are morally “better” than that.

                Loser is now the Brand, & the likes of Shamblin’ Joe Biden as a Pres candidate is just a blatant admission thereof.

            4. Matthew

              And, like, what is the threat here? Will the Supreme Court strike down all the progressive legislation that Democrats don’t want to pass anyway?

          5. JTMcPhee

            Like the Dems have done jack about filling the many judicial seats with anyone remotely interested in the well-being of the whole nation, as opposed to the ruling class. Or even resisting in the tiniest way the flood of neoliberals being confirmed mostly unanimously. As you imply, they are all Lin it together, and the Monoparty of War and Great Wealth will run the train until the wheels fall off, then fly off to their Elysium…

            “Of course it’s a class war, and my class, the rich class, is winning,” said super rich man Warren Buffett quite a few years ago.

          6. NotTimothyGeithner

            I know its early to be rolling out the “but the Supreme Court” argument as if we haven’t of it, but this invention called the internet allows you to do searches on a number of topics including the past record’s of politicians. You might have seen Biden’s and probably could have demonstrated you actually cared about judicial nominations. It might have taken three or four minutes of your time.

          7. Matthew

            You want me to choose between two candidates and two parties that despise me and don’t care if I live or die. Thanks, I think I won’t. If the Democrats don’t consider it their responsibility to mount an effective opposition to Republican depredations — and they have failed to do this for as long as I have been alive — then to hell with them.

          8. Felix_47

            But at least you get another deal in four years. If it is Biden Harris 2020 it is either Biden Harris 2024 or Harris Buttigieg 2024 or Harris Klobuchar 2024 and 2028 or maybe Buttigieg O’Rourke 2028. They did not drop out for nothing. So fold now and hope for better cards in four years or keep betting with a crappy hand for a decade or two. I wonder who the Greens will nominate. If only Sanders would run third party. Against such weak candidates he would have a shot at winning. But maybe he does not want to offend his friend Joe. He wants to run a campaign on issues and the voters are interested in image it seems. One thing for sure…..I don’t take my cues on voting from Jim Clyburn and the pharma PACs.

        2. Seth Miller

          As for me, I’m holding out for an acceptable deal. I think Sanders and we who support him should use this terminology explicitly: what, after the inauguration, are you offering the left? If you want us to be part of your party, what is in it for us? And if the response is that you get the same crap that we’d be ladling out even if the left were not on the soup line, make it clear that the response is “no thanks.” This is the party that supposedly understands that they have to give or promise goodies to every other group in the big tent: a woman for VP! So for me, Joe has to do what Trump did to convince his wayward evangelicals: here’s my list of acceptable supreme court nominees, here’s my list for the fed, here’s my list for Attorney General, and if you can’t commit to someone on each list, I cannot promise you support. That message has to come from Sanders on down.

        3. Hepativore

          Then I dare the DNC to choose Biden’s replacement by superdelegate at the convention. It will show everybody what frauds they are as they reveal their true faces in public. It will hasten the disintegration of the Democratic Party which might make it easier to fill the vacuum with a new party.

          As for the argument that Biden would have better court appointees, Biden would probably pick the most pro-corporate conservative-leaning “liberal” justices that he could, so not that much functional difference from Trump. Also, Biden himself is becoming increasingly incapable of doing anything himself from a cognitive standpoint, so more than likely it would be the cadre of former Wall Street thugs in his cabinet that would be making most of the decisions. He would largely be relegated to the role of a ceremonial figurehead.

      3. Lambert Strether Post author

        > I truly hope that Biden has an acute unforeseen health issue soon

        The current Useful Idiots has a fine compendium of Biden glitches on video. The really revealing fact is that he’s losing it while looking at a teleprompter or down at cards.

        No wonder the Biden campaign has their candidate wrapped up in tissue.

    2. richard

      hmm, to me VIP clutch sounds like what a VIP uses to shift downward into an IP, or even just a P
      far from paying for it, if any pol ever tried to vip clutch me, I’d aim one right for the maxila, then run like hell

    3. Jokerstein

      The earliest I ever heard of “Fellow kids” was in “Don’t Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me The Pliers” by The Firesign Theatre. One of the greatest comedy albums ever, IMHO. If you’ve not heard it, you’re in for a treat> If you HAVE, it’s prolly time for another listen…

    4. Skip Intro

      They were initially going to call it ‘grope’, but their image consultants and oppo/blackmail managers at CAA waved them off at the last minute.

  3. zagonostra

    >Steven Mnuchin subverting grants in CARE act

    Today on The Rising, Sara Nelson, head of flight attendant’s union, discussed how a last minute provision inserted into the CARE bill subverts the “grant” money targeted to airlines.

    Working for what is left of an airlines related company, half my colleagues have been furloughed and we still are trying to figure out the provisions relating to our industry in the CARE act.


      1. om

        On Rising she said that the Wall St guys that have Mnuchin’s ear are shorting the airlines, pushing him to play hardball so the airlines will have to declare bankruptcy.

  4. Brindle


    I read (occsasional post) on the twitter and for months now I have been looking for the mean “snake emoji” Sanders followers—I have yet to really find anything. The most vitriolic are the well-off Biden crowd from what I have seen.

    —:The fate of the Sanders “movement” which, if the Twitter bears any relation to the real world, will in fact be rejected as a foreign intruder by the immune system of the Democrat Establishment. There is much more to this story to come.”—

    1. Isotope_C14

      Hi Brindle,

      The best way to find a snake emoji, is to watch youtube with a live stream, particularly an old one around the debate time, with chat replay active. Sometimes you get them on The Progressive Soapbox or TJDS, and search Jamarl Thomas or Jimmy Dore + Elizabeth Warren, someone will post them, usually just around the time she is mentioned.

      They actually aren’t that common, which is why it’s so funny that it is being blown out of proportion. From the MSM you’d think the evil, mean, bernie bros apparently can’t construct a tweet without a snake.

      Most of the “left” are horribly disappointed by Warren, though I can’t understand why, she was a Republican to the age of 47, that says to me, that she was born without empathy. Not saying Democrats have empathy either FWIW, but at least *some* of them can fake it.

      1. rockford

        You heard this one from the ’80s?:

        What’s the difference between Democrats and Republicans?

        Democrats care about the people they’re screwing over.

      2. GF

        Bernie will be on Bill Maher tonight right after you go outside and look to the west and find Venus inside the Pleiades cluster.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > it is not “mean” but rather cute

        It’s mean. I don’t know if it’s mean by comparison with smearing an opponent as sexist on the basis of a year-old private conversation, immediately before a primary.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > for months now I have been looking for the mean “snake emoji” Sanders followers

      I’ve seen plenty of them. It was a real thing for about three days, and then it died down.

  5. mrsyk

    When assessing Sanders’ performance so far one might take into account voter suppression and ownership of the black boxes. I realize that this is the lay of the political landscape, but does the DNC realize that this is why their chosen one will never get to pick out curtains for the Oval Office?

    1. Synoia

      does the DNC realize that this is why their chosen one will never get to pick out curtains for the Oval Office?

      I believe that is the plan. Collect lots of money, and skip the hard part – Governing.

        1. Kurt Sperry

          Plus your entitled, fail upward incompetence is never put on public display as failure.

  6. Tomonthebeach

    WISCONSIN. How can these votes be seen as legitimate? A more appropriate question might be: “How can these (Wisconsin and subsequent primaries) be seen as relevant to who the Dems will run for POTUS?”

    1. Pelham

      If Biden is so gung-ho on Wisconsin voting Tuesday, he should emerge from his basement and go up there and campaign in person. He should be queried on this. But has anyone in the media asked him this blazingly obvious question, which occurred to me — a mere mortal — instantly as I watched the video?

  7. NotTimothyGeithner

    Surprise billing wasn’t even an issue until investment bankers began buying specialty practices and figuring out, Oh, there’s a new way to make money. -Sebelius

    Why did we ever think these people were vaguely intelligent? Obama would have been a much better President if all the bad people would just be good people.

    If men were angels, no government would be necessary.

    No one could have known.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Holy s**t. See if those pigs are flying.

      Mark Warner has encouraged the Dept. of Labor to provide guidelines for gig labor. They must be having a complete shock at his office. If Mark Warner is aware, the problem must be completely out of control. Obama fired Shinseki after Warner called for his firing, and Warner was very late to the party despite representing so many of the nation’s veterans.

      1. Arizona Slim

        If you’re a gig worker, freelancer, or independent contractor, here, at long last, is an advocacy group for you:


        I joined and encourage others to do so. And I do hope that this collective is making its voice be heard at the Department of Labor.

    2. cnchal

      > . . . Oh, there’s a new way to make money. -Sebelius

      The way Sebelius frames it as “make” is the total opposite of reality. The proper word is, “take”.

      When a thief robs you, would anyone define that as the thief makes money or takes money?

      1. Pookah Harvey

        It is called “stealing”. Definition “to take the property of another wrongfully and especially as a habitual or regular practice”

  8. Carolinian

    I like your metaphor. So will the DNC be donning their N95 mask to ward off the Sanders infection and will that mask consist of the news media?

    News media/mask to Sanders/virus–“stop trying to get past me and quit already!”

  9. TMoney

    Serving on the economic eastern front again, after layoffs last week, I got a 30% hit to my check this week. Sigh. On the bright side, I still have a job and “Health Insurance” – not that I can afford to use it anymore.
    1/2 rations from here on out. grumble.

  10. Isotope_C14

    “Yikes. Is it the same in America, or is this just the UK?”

    Same in America, at least in hospitals. At least the big one I worked at. UIC Chicago also had one separate from RUSH. It’s also the same here in Germany. Gas is pretty integral for Hospitals.

    Small labs, and even large labs, at least from my humble experience use the individual tanks.

    Hope all you are doing well, and are healthy and evading corona. Seeing LOTS of people wearing masks and gloves here in Germany now.

    1. Jane

      Oxygen comes out of the wall in Ontario and I’m assuming in the rest of the country. Never thought about where it comes from, Yikes is right.

  11. Samuel Conner

    random thoughts:

    Does anyone think that Biden is a less “flawed and brittle” candidate than Sanders?

    I would think that fear of having to navigate US insurance system, not to mention fear of contamination should one need to visit a medical facility, might be a powerful incentive for “shelter in place” (“hiding from potentially infected people”). I don’t understand the people who are not yet avoiding crowds. Do they love their insurance that much?

    I am noticing a strange fungal infestation on some of my starting trays, which contain Pro Mix BX (fortified with some species of mycorrhizae)

    There is a light brown crust that resembles the brown sugar crumble on coffee cake, but with smaller crumbles.

    I haven’t dug into this (via internet, haha) yet; would appreciate counsel from anyone who already knows what this is, whether it is harmful, and what, if anything can be done to suppress it.

    1. Daryl

      Stoller’s angry with Sanders. That’s fair, certainly he could have done things very differently. He is very much used to working within the system and as such, seems he hedged on continuing to be able to do that in the case of a loss here.

      As a thought exercise though, can we imagine a candidate with the same policies (and the same track record of actually believing in, and fighting for those policies) as Sanders but different strategy/history that would have beaten Biden? Because I cannot.

      It seems to me like the issues here are not with Sanders himself but with widespread voter suppression (possibly electoral fraud, certainly there’s more than enough FUD out there that I think we should all be calling for a return to paper ballots) and Democrats uncritical trust of mass media narratives. Biden has a long track record of opposing the things that Democratic voters profess to want, not to mention credible accusations of mental decline and sexual assault. It is hard to imagine a weaker candidate, and yet the Democratic party managed to force him through.

      1. Monty

        For me, the main problem with Sanders candidacy was that the Democrats are so awful. Senator Amy Klobuchar stood on the debate stage next to him and reminded everyone that the Senate Democrats do not support his policies, so they had no chance of becoming law. What would be the point of electing him, if he had to govern with a hostile congress opposing his every move from both sides of the aisle? That would be a recipe for misery and failure, and not something its easy to get excited about. Better to leave them all to it, the way forward is not through the ballot box.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          One point is putting names next to disgraceful positions. Take Booker after his Pharma deal. He hasn’t realized his pre-Obama Obama act isn’t going to take him anywhere, but since he was recognized as a heinous individual, he hasn’t been as awful as he would be otherwise.

          The point of Sanders is to make the Senators pick sides. They can stand with their values as indicated by their mailers or stand with Trump and the GOP.

        2. Daryl

          There’s quite a lot a motivated executive can do, I think. Trump axing TPP about 5 minutes into his presidency was one of the few good things he has done. Not throwing people into jail for marijuana, for example, if nothing else was done, would be a positive step forward.

          And as NotTimothyGeithner said, it is a very different state of affairs to go from “M4A is unrealistic” to “the president has and will sign an M4A bill, but these 41 Democrats are opposing it.”

      2. Aumua

        Glenn Greenwald’s piece on The Intercept has helped me to come around to at least a little bit of acceptance that there are two components to Sanders’ failure: the obvious, continuous and ongoing unfair treatment of him by the establishment Democrats and media, but also his own failure to say and/or do some critical things not just to win the election, but to stand up to the bullshit just a little more.

        I’m not quite ready yet to listen to Jimmy Dore on him though. It’s still too soon.

      3. cm

        Sanders could have demanded Gabbard remain in the debates, and have her destroy Biden.

        Sanders never attacked his opponents. Would be interesting to know if any successful US President adopted that strategy.

        1. John k

          Has any President been elected following the contempt and coverage from the media Bernie received?
          My recollection of the Nixon jfk debates is civil.
          Lots of elections were won on account of shenanigans.
          What is unusual is to have both msm and ones adopted party do everything possible to defeat you… not unique, of course, also happened in 2016.
          But frankly, Bernie has another opponent, perfectly legal, the elderly. You see it in who does and does not support m4a. Being elderly myself, I see it routinely among my long time liberal friends… I think of it as ‘I’ve got mine, can’t share it bc they might run out’. One, a college prof, doesn’t want free college, either, maybe seeing it as threatening the states generous salary and forever benefits.

          1. ObjectiveFunction

            Has any President been elected following the contempt and coverage from the media Bernie received?

            Why yes, I seem to recall one Donald J. Trump being elected under even worse conditions.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      -In the case of Biden in regards to “elect-ability”, I think you will find most people rely on faith in memories formulated when they were young. Its like the filibuster. Most people would describe the filibuster largely in terms of misremembered fact from sixth grade and a wretched Frank Kapra movie (they were all bad). Minimal effort would point to the US v Ballin which would indicate the filibuster can simply be ignored when it suits the 50+VP portion of the Senate. Most people unless they are forced to think are stuck in a bad Kapra-esque movie.

      Besides, “smart” people like to opine about run to the extreme in the primary and the center in the general. They heard it on tv and repeated it to a point where its a meaningless bible phrase pulled out of context.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        Boo!!! I like Frank Capra movies, and I especially like “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” — but after the 5th grade I had no illusions that Frank Capra movies are like real politics. I also like some of the Norman Rockwell paintings and their ‘messages’.

        I also like Sanders and Stoller but I am worried Stoller is over-reacting. Sanders is not and never was a Saint and he does not walk on water. He is a much better candidate than any other on offer.

        I wish he had a few younger persons riding his coat-tails. THAT more than any other demerit to Sanders most concerns me. The thought of Sanders as a ‘one-of’ is not a happy thought, though a thought I have difficulty avoiding.

    3. juliania

      I am noticing a strange fungal infestation on some of my starting trays…

      I have something similar occurring in two beds that I water with stored rainwater. Only happens as the beds are drying out. I’m sorry, I have no idea what it is, but my rainwater collections have increased in a ‘ring around the collar’ sediment the last few years, so it probably relates to that. It doesn’t seem to affect the seedlings adversely – so far.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        know anybody with a microscope?

        the stuff in the rainbarrels could be from the roof material, or the trees, or even the rain, itself.
        blown dust does that to mine…real windy here, and “normally” dry…so i get a dust ring in the tanks and the cowboy pool.

        if it’s not obviously harming the plants, i wouldn’t worry about it overmuch…but keep an eye on it..
        what makes you think it’s fungal?
        does it grow? could it instead be precipitating, like salts and sugar do?
        without a microscope, you can take a sample and put it in a clean jar with some sugar and see what happens.

        with seeding flats, there are numerous fungi and slime molds that dig those conditions…borytris(sp-2) comes immediately to mind.
        “damping off” is another…but i don’t remember the culprit organism off hand.
        when i buy greenhouse grown plants from big growers(Bonnie’s), I quarantine them and let them dry out before bringing them into the greenhouse for this very reason.
        and overwatering can cause this or make it worse.
        ventilation/air exchange is important,too.
        in the big greenhouses, they recycle the water, and when they get a fungi problem, if they ain’t on top of it, it can spread throughout. this happened a few years ago with one of the big growers that supplies a lot of the retail around here…everything in a pot at the supermarket died suddenly.

  12. Bill Carson

    Regarding the Wisconsin primary, “How can these votes be seen as legitimate?

    The DNC has shown us unequivocally that the primaries are just for show. Hence, Super Delegates. Democratic primary votes don’t count for much of anything—it’s all Kabuki.

    So what does it matter if the primary goes on as scheduled? And what would it matter if Bernie dropped out and they cancelled all of the remaining primaries—-none of the Democrats in remaining states would get to cast any votes and again, it wouldn’t matter one whit.

  13. Wyoming

    But no! Oxygen is a hospital-wide delivery system, like HVAC or power, so if it goes down, the whole hospital goes down. Yikes. Is it the same in America, or is this just the UK?

    Virtually all (I actually think it is 100%..but) US hospitals are piped for O2 (45 years ago in my very younger years before college I worked as a plumber and actually ran O2 piping for a large medical office on a native American reservation – so some of them are piped as well). If you need to go mobile obviously they all have the small tanks also.

    1. voislav

      Yes, not only hospitals, but any facility that needs large amounts of gas (oxygen, nitrogen, argon) runs the pipping and uses gas evaporated from cryogenic liquid storage tanks. This method is about 10 times cheaper than using tanks. Safety is a factor as well, this way there is no high pressure gas around as most cryogenic storage tanks run at 1/10th of the pressure of compressed gas tanks and there is no hazard of carting the gas cylinders around.

    2. sd

      Oxygen is still plumbed, in a room, from the panel over the bed (headwall) typically includes suction, oxygen, power, electrical, etc.

      Electrical power has redundancies including back up generators, so if the power goes out (assuming no fire) the elevators, some lighting, etc will still work. Everything has a priority. Medical devices often include battery packs as well.

      With Katrina, Charity Hospital in New Orleans eventually lost power because the backup generators on the first floor got flooded as the waters rose.

      1. a different chris

        >because theo backup generators on the first floor got flooded as the waters rose.

        You would have thought somebody would have thought of that. Bangs head.

        Yeah those generators are neither tiny nor light but you are already building a hospital so that kind of structural support cost would not seem to be a deal-breaker.

        1. ambrit

          Well, no one thought that downtown New Orleans would flood, because of the levee system and pumps, huge ones, on the outfall canals. Charity Hospital in new Orleans, goes back to the 1730’s. It is now a part of a big post Katrina “rebuilding” effort for New Orleans. In which, as is usual in Louisiana, lots of shady characters and marginal con people are involved.
          See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charity_Hospital_(New_Orleans)

          1. Bsoder

            “In which, as is usual in Louisiana, lots of shady characters and marginal con people are involved.” You just described why hi-speed rail in California is $100 million a mile – to plan. Actual you just described why nothing ever gets done in America except at 500% markups. Or plan B shabby as possible.

  14. Supenau

    Cotton Fabric has different levels of quality The chain stores usually don’t stock the highest quality. Look for local quilt stores for quality cotton fabric and the batik type of fabric has a higher thread count, as I understand it Consider prewashing the batik as I have had the color run on some occasions Fat quarters should provide ample fabric for a simple mask pattern.

  15. Tom Stone

    I’m currently dealing with a health insurance nightmare regarding Medicare part D, I missed the bill in February due to being debilitated by my Chemo. 2 days of outpatient infusions which left me too nauseated to sleep followed by 32 hours in the hospital with no sleep. I picked up a case of food poisoning in the hospital and lost 7.5 Lbs over the next two days before landing back in the hospital dehydrated and septic. 3 days on IV Cipro nd Flagel.
    Weeks to recover.
    On March 14 I recieved the notice my coverage was cancelled, so I called the toll free number provided and the CVS Caremark rep told me it wold be restored within 3 business days if I paid the premium immediately, which I did with a debit card. A week later I called again and was told it would take 5 more business days.
    That didn’t happen and one Med went from $7 per month to $1,512 per month for 30 15 MG tablets.
    I have called numerous times, today it was 4 calls to 4 people in 4 different departments.
    No joy, the last person I spoke to said something about special enrollment periods but was unable to tell me what they were or when the next one would open up.
    I then called the Ca Insurance Commissioner’s office who referred me to a highly competent woman at HHS who listened to my story, told me that due to my situation Caremark CVS should have restored my coverage and helped me file a complaint over the phone.
    It was the 9th person I spoke to at Caremark CVS who first mentioned a special enrollment period, the first two said no problem, we’ll have you re enrolled in 3 days, then it was 5 days.
    Now it’s indefinite.
    I did get enough samples from my Physician to last a few weeks of the most expensive medication, thankfully.
    That’s how the “Best Health Care System in the World” works.

    And yes, I have made an appointment to meet with a competent personal injury lawyer, that’s my next step.

    1. Billy


      My advice, always ask them to send you an email confirming conversations, or send them a “just to clarify, you said XYZ…” email. “If I don’t hear back from you, I assume that’s correct”.
      Better yet, a hard copy in the U.S. Mail.
      “My printer’s broken…” a good excuse.
      Never have a conversation without getting the full name of whom you are speaking to and their supervisor’s name if possible, plus what office they are in. Ask for an email address and repeat steps above.

      1. Tom Stone

        Billy, they won’t give you their full name,it’s against company policy.
        Safety reasons.

        There are two ways to deal with complaints, one is to fix the problem which takes work and requires changes to be made which might embarrass someone important.

        The other is to make it as difficult as possible to file a complaint.
        No complaints, no problem.

        The second is preferred by all bureaucracies.

        1. John

          It is well past time for a come-to-Jesus sit down with the pharmaceutical companies. Something on the order of do you prefer negotiation and regulation or would nationalization suit you better. This is what we get for allowing a profit driven system and its minions to have anything to do health and life. They are simply not competent to deal with those questions. Why? Because markets.

        2. fresno dan

          Tom Stone
          April 3, 2020 at 4:34 pm

          I agree with you – of course safety reasons are really make non-accountability the real policy Oral advice is useless from anyone

          Plans are required to:
          • Send a bill with the amount due and a due date.
          • Send a written notice of non-payment. The notice must explain that the person
          will be disenrolled from the plan if full payment hasn’t been made by the end
          of the grace period
          How does the grace period work?
          A plan must provide a grace period of at least 2 calendar months. Some plans
          may choose to provide a longer grace period.
          Example: Plan XYZ has a 2-month grace period for premium payment.
          Mr. Smith’s premium was due on February 1. He didn’t pay this premium.
          On February 7, the plan sent a non-payment notice to Mr. Smith. He ignores
          this notice and any follow-up premium bills. The grace period is the months of
          February and March. If Mr. Smith doesn’t pay his plan premium before the end
          of March, he’ll be disenrolled as of April 1.
          Can an individual re-enroll in a Part D plan if he or she repays
          the premium?
          Yes. If a person with Medicare is disenrolled from a Part D plan for failure to
          pay premiums and wants to re-enroll in the plan, the Part D plan may require
          them to pay any outstanding premiums owed before accepting the enrollment
          request. Also, the person with Medicare must enroll during a valid enrollment
          period, since payment of past due premiums after the disenrollment date doesn’t
          create an opportunity for reinstatement into the plan. Re-enrollments after
          losing coverage for nonpayment of premiums are never retroactive.
          An individual may also ask to get their coverage back through reinstatement
          under Medicare’s “Good Cause” policy, if the individual can show “good cause”
          (a good reason) for not paying the premiums within the grace period. A good
          reason would have to be an emergency or unexpected situation that kept an
          individual from paying his or her premium on time. If the request is approved,
          the individual will have to pay all owed premium amounts within 3 months of
          the disenrollment to get the coverage back. To request Good Cause, individuals
          should contact their plan as soon as possible, but no later than 60 calendar days
          after the disenrollment effective date.
          I would also write a letter to your congressional representative, both senators, and state representatives and govenor, as well as your provider. Write a “base” letter describing the situation as objectively and BRIEFLY, but completely as you can, and than address with appropriate salutations and preambles.
          I don’t know where you are at, but there are SHIP (state health insurance programs) organizations that can help people deal with medicare. Unfortunately, here in California and I would suspect many other states, our offices are closed.
          Provision of health care in the US is an outrage. Good luck in your efforts to get justice!

  16. SomeGuyinAZ

    I don’t have any great financial, economic, or political insights so forgive me if this doesn’t belong here. I was trying to hide from all the Covid-19 horrors in some good old music and then found that one of my favorites – John Prine – was in the ICU on a ventilator in critical condition for the 7th/8th day due to the virus. Rolling Stone article with his wife: https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/john-prine-covid-19-update-977746/

    The man has given us some amazing music and songs: Hello in There, Sam Stone, Paradise, etc…, but if you’ll humor me I’ll just leave y’all one of my favorites (Speed of the Sound of Loneliness): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFvenjll1Bk Hope he’s able to recover.

    If this isn’t allowed – feel free to moderate/delete this message and again forgive me.

    Stay safe out there folks.

  17. antidlc

    “An alternative theory to stingy olds denying the benefits of Medicare to the youngs would be that Medicare’s neoliberal infestation has done its damage: Co-pays, deductibles, complexity, and a monthly payment. Not free at the point of care. No dental. To someone without coverage, or what passes for coverage with ObamaCare or employer insurance, Medicare appears as a distant dream of safety. To those living the dream, not so much. Just a thought!”

    I have stated several times that the Sanders campaign did a poor job of explaining Medicare for All to people who are currently on Medicare. Navigating through the current Medicare program is complex, frustrating, and confusing. Medicare for All is not the current Medicare system opened up for everyone.r If the Sanders campaign had a done of better job of explaining this, they might have gotten more support from seniors.


    1. Bill Carson

      Why is nobody proposing that we fix existing Medicare? I mean, besides Sanders proposing to fix it and apply it to everyone—-wouldn’t it be more appealing to everyone if we fixed it for the olds first? Maybe they are right to complain—if none of the politicians are willing to fix the existing system, then why should we have any confidence that a supposedly “better” system with a captive audience would fare better than what we offer our elderly citizens now?

    2. Eric

      antidlc and Bill

      I have posted similar comments and seen them disappear into oblivion. It’s like no one thinks having a effective message is important to a candidate?

      Medicare is a successful and popular 50+ year program. It is being privatized as we speak
      and the complexity is becoming a feature, not a bug.

      Sanders could have positioned himself as “not your father’s Democrat but your Grandfather’s
      Democrat” and a defender and
      expansionist of traditional medicare.

      He appealed to younger voters but turned off older voters with the “socialist” label. I doubt a political scientist could come up with a worse strategy given the
      realities of who actually turns out to vote.

      Sanders never seems acknowledge “moral hazard”. Thus the “free stuff” label was ready made and sticks.

      Nothing wrong with medicare co pays or deductibles; they are night and day better than private insurer
      co pays and deductibles.

      The video posted at Common Dreams on April 2, 2020 is wonderful. See:

      ‘Still Ahead of His Time’: New Video Details Bernie Sanders’ Prescient Warnings About Pandemic Threat and Need for Medicare for All

      I find it telling that Sanders campaign did not produce the video.

  18. Wyoming

    Well we clearly don’t have it so bad yet. I am not aware of families having to take their relatives bodies out into the street where they are decomposing since the authorities are not coming around to pick them up for days. Wow.

    The streets of Ecuador’s western city of Guayaquil are deserted, with few residents in sight — and a few dead, as bodies are being left in the streets of this overwhelmed place.

    The coronavirus pandemic is overloading this city’s public services to a point of collapse. Hospitals have no beds left to accept sick patients, and morgues, cemeteries and funeral homes are straining. With no place left to put them, some residents say they have no choice but placing them outside…..


    1. Bill Carson

      I’ve already predicted that the USA doesn’t have nearly enough body bags in those so-called “stockpiles.”

      And now that Joann’s and Hobby Lobbys are closed, where can the common folks find enough material to make our own?

      1. notabanker

        Don’t worry Etsy has you covered. They are sending mass emails out to all sellers telling them to convert to making masks. Can’t make this stuff up.
        As Etsy sellers, you know how important it is to adjust quickly to changing buyer needs. Right now, Etsy has become a destination for fabric face masks, which is leading to skyrocketing demand. While we don’t know how long this spike will last, we know that we’re on-track to exhaust available inventory.

        Complete with a “best practices” page on how market your masks for their washability and fashion sense without making the claim that they have any medical value.

      2. griffen

        It is apparent that our betters are content leaving Amazon and their ilk as the last standing option.

        But hobby lobby open its doors ?? No not on my watch !!

        Capitalism is a clarifying system. Lets enjoy the ride downward, perhaps ?

  19. Krystyn Podgajski

    So tired of people not taking this pandemic seriously! I moved into my next AirBnB (well really rented it off of airbnb for a month from a friend who could not find anyone to rent it) and the woman who takes care of the place had a dog running around. She said I could pet her. I said I did not think that was a good idea with the pandemic and all and she replied; “Meh,. I am not really that worried.”


    Being that she is the one who was supposed to have cleaned the place (which did not look clean enough for my standards) I guess I will have to go over it again.

    And speaking of AirBnB, a friend showed me the facebook airbnb forum. Wow they are pissed at AirBnB! But there are also tons of comments like “Well, that is what you get from treating your house as an investment property!” which makes me happy.

    Definitely seeing more people wearing masks around town which is nice. I felt like a gangsta wearing my bandana in the liquor store today.

    1. Another Scott

      Dogs are the biggest problem that no one is talking about. I still try to get outside and take walks, avoiding as many people as possible (the bad weather certainly has helped). However, dog-owners have made it very difficult. Many don’t put their dogs on leashes or leave them on long leashes, making it impossible for me to maintain appropriate distance from the dogs as it’s still not safe to go into the street. That’s on top of the large amount of social interactions between dogs and the willingness to go to dog parks well after we received the warnings about social distancing.
      In addition, I have noticed an increase in the volume of dog waste, both in bags and directly on the ground. It’s only behind cigarette butts in terms of number and likely the largest source by volume of litter that I see. People simply aren’t willing to pick up after their animals. This creates other health risks, as well as hurting neighborhood aesthetics.

  20. Billy

    The only practical and effective way out of this economic mess is to
    leave all debts in place, and to
    suspend the payment of all fixed obligations, like rent, mortgages, and more importantly, to suspend all accrual of, and collection of interest, until the economy is made whole again.

    We all have to our part in this:
    I am perfectly willing to give up the .03% I make on my bank deposits, as long as Visa and MasterCard give up their 21%.

    1. Bill Carson

      Somehow my Discover card account must be tied to the prime rate because I noticed they dropped the interest from 24.99% to 24.49%. F*** them, by the way.

    2. JTMcPhee

      Yah, let’s start the negotiation off with a nice weak ask, as if that will encourage the rentiers to be nice to us. Jubilee, anyone?

  21. diptherio

    “It is time to make amends to the low-paid essential worker” [Financial Times].

    Better late to the party than never, I suppose. It kills me how this realization is being presented as some major revelation. Any janitor or CNA or food service worker could have told you they deserved better, even before the coronavirus. Maybe some of them should be writing for the FT…

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      I’m tired of this “essential worker” formulation, along with the soon-to-be-seen-as performative identification of media elites with grocery workers and delivery people.

      I’m with Lambert on this: this is all performative bullsh1t. These working people will go from essential back to unskilled deplorables the moment the terror lifts.

    2. Jane

      Sounds as if the “essential workers” are now the new “deserving poor”. Everything old is new again.

      1. wilroncanada

        Lean on Me could be an anthem for community always, right now not literally of course

    1. Jokerstein

      One of my favorite jokes:

      Q: How do you turn a duck into a soul singer?
      A: Put it into the microwave until it(‘)s Bill Withers.

  22. Punxsutawney

    An anecdotal economic observation here.

    My Sister in Law is a truck driver that delivers paper products throughout the Northwest. Yes, those paper products! Including TP and paper towels. Her hours have increased from around 40 hours a week to around 60.

    Still nothing on the shelves at my local grocery, at least earlier this week.

    1. Arizona Slim

      I went to a nearby grocery store on Wednesday. The paper product aisle was plundered. Nothing left.

      Cleaning supplies? Well, not much there either.

      Fortunately, I was in that store to buy toothpaste. Plenty of it available.

    2. Skip Intro

      Heard an anecdotal explanation, that industrial TP purchased by offices was still available, but everyone sheltering at home has substantially changed usage patterns. People should be pilfering more of those unused big rolls from their now empty offices, instead of doing all their business at home with commercial TP.

      1. Punxsutawney

        Yes, I had thought about that early on. Or going and getting some from Home Depot, or probably from Office Depot for that matter.

        One of those big rolls would last a home quite a while.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Please elaborate a little. I cannot access your link without opening my browser security to include the NewYorker. Call me paranoid [^^^~^I AM!^^^^^] but I won’t do it.

      1. FreeMarketApologist

        Worth opening up to the New Yorker (I’m a 30 yr subscriber, 45 yr reader of it. When it’s good, it’s good):

        An excerpt, to give you a flavor.

        “When you reach a certain age, you see that time is all we have. By which I mean, moments like those overhead geese this morning, and watching your mother be born, and sitting at the dining-room table here waiting for the phone to ring and announce that a certain baby (you) had been born, or that day when all of us hiked out at Point Lobos. Those baby deer, the extremely loud seal, your sister’s scarf drifting down, down to that black, briny boulder, the replacement you so generously bought her in Monterey, how pleased you made her with your kindness. Those things were real. That is what (that is all) one gets. This other stuff is real only to the extent that it interferes with those moments.

        Now, you may say (I can hear you saying it and see the look on your face as you do) that this incident with J. is an interference. I respect that. But, as your grandfather, I beg you not to underestimate the power/danger of this moment. Perhaps I haven’t told you this yet: in the early days, I wrote two letters to the editor of the local rag, one overwrought, the other comic. Neither had any effect. Those who agreed with me agreed with me; those who did not remained unpersuaded. After a third attempt was rejected, I found myself pulled over, up near the house, for no reason I could discern. The cop (nice guy, just a kid, really, from my perspective) asked what I did all day. Did I have any hobbies? I said no. He said, Some of us heard you like to type. I sat in my car, looking over at his large, pale arm. His face was the face of a kid. His arm, though, was the arm of a man.

        How would you know about that? I said.

        Have a good night, sir, he said. Stay off the computer.

        Good Lord, his stupidity and bulk there in the darkness, the metallic clanking from his belt area, the palpable certainty he seemed to feel regarding his cause, a cause I cannot begin, even at this late date, to get my head around, or view from within, so to speak.

        I do not want you anywhere near, or under the sway of, that sort of person, ever.”

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          Thanks. But judging from your excerpt I guess I am too impatient to read the New Yorker.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            it’s worth it, in my humble opinion.
            as is the author talking about it, here:https://www.newyorker.com/books/this-week-in-fiction/george-saunders-04-06-20

            talking about his sheltering in place in some northern california rural place:
            “…Feels strangely nineteenth century up here. Everything has slowed down and the trees are looking prettier and the sky seems like an old friend whose beauty you never fully appreciated, and so on. Feels like this thing, for all its horrors, might be a chance for the world to take a breath and go, “Wait, why have we been living this way?””

            that’s certainly how it’s felt out here….i do my pre-dawn jointwalk down the county road(too cold for the naked part)…and my evening walk among the gardens…and think about what it must be like for my brother in Kingwood, with his big house on a tiny postage stamp, where you can spit in any direction and hit a neighbor’s house.
            or for folks i know in apartments in san antonio.
            I look up in the predawn dark and air traffic has noticeably changed…I listen to the mile and a half away highway and can hear a lot of big trucks, but no cars….
            cousin is freaking out about his “dead beat dad” issues…back child support(said “child” is sequestered safely here on the farm) is like a sword hanging over him…it’s what’s driven him for a long while, since a run of bad luck put him in arrears.
            so he sees a construction job in the woodlands…350 miles east…and itches to go make some money to feed the beast.
            but i remind him that there ain’t no court, and there ain’t no warrants being issued, and that, while the interest is most certainly still ticking away, there ain’t a whole lot he can do about all that at the moment. may as well accept this gift from the universe, and calm down, breathe, and attempt to look dispassionately on his life and it’s problems.
            besides, if he goes to houston, i won’t allow him back,lol.
            they’re forecasting 7 more days of rain…and that doesn’t help at all. watching tv, bored.
            at the very least it will warm up tomorrow so we can get out and do things.
            ramble over…George Saunders must have inspired me.
            so, again, worth a look.

              1. Amfortas the hippie

                i started writing a book, some years ago, but life got in the way.
                life is still in the way, pretty much.
                I’ll either get around to it, or i won’t.
                i’ve told the boys to publish my drafts after i’m gone…so i can escape fame, and recrimination by small minds.

  23. marym

    WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Representatives Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and Debbie Dingell (D-MI), the lead sponsors of H.R. 1384, the Medicare for All Act of 2019, today wrote to President Donald Trump requesting a virtual meeting to discuss proposals for immediately expanding health insurance coverage to uninsured Americans. The lawmakers’ letter follows comments made by the President during yesterday’s White House press briefing that signaled his openness to expanding Medicare or Medicaid to cover uninsured Americans, including those who have recently lost their employer-based coverage due to the COVID-19 crisis.


    1. Left in Wisconsin

      This Debbie Dingell is an interesting character. She doesn’t identify as left but she seemed to be as tuned in as any politician to the interests and concerns of working people.

    2. Billy

      ” the White House is going to use some of the stimulus money from the $2.2 trillion CARES Act to directly pay hospitals for the treatment of COVID-19 patients (for testing and treatment), so long as the patients aren’t billed for anything,

      Ayyy, there’s the rub! The Private Equity For Profit Hospitals will bill and bill, and defer patients in favor of those with insurance.

      1. Phil in KC

        Well of course the hospital won’t bill for the treatment of Covid-19. They’ll make their money off of the facilities fee. You think that bed is free?

  24. Stillfeelinthebern

    BREAKING News from Wisconsin, Governor Evers just called for a special session of the legislature. This is a gigantic mess.

    I’m a poll worker. Earlier in the week, I became the poll captain because the co-captains both declined to work this election. Did the training last night. (We have a training before every election, usually it is 45 minutes, this one was close to 2 hrs.) I can’t begin to describe what is expected of us at the polls. And there are all new people working. I am the only one out of 8 people who has ever worked this location before. The local clerk had plexiglass guards made and has done as much as she can to protect us, but it still is taking a big risk.

    I called my Assembly Rep (got the answering machine) and State Senator, where I spoke to a staffer. They are all about election fraud and the 200,000 voters that they wanted purged from the lists earlier this year. “we can just be sending out ballots to those people.” I told the staffer, we know who all those people are and he said “no we don’t.” He is wrong, there are public sites where you can go look up the names and as I said, I am a poll worker. All those names were in the poll book with a special designation.

    The Wisconsin Republicans could reach a compromise and send those designated voters a different envelope and easily deal with them as provisional ballots.

    What shall we say about a political party that will risk the lives of hundreds of poll workers and voters because of voter fraud concerns that are a total myth.

    If you are in Wisconsin, CALL NOW. I won’t even go into the ramifications of Milwaukee going from 180 poll locations to 8.


    1. Left in Wisconsin

      A bit more context for non-residents of our lovely state: The Gov acted when the City of Milwaukee announced they could only staff 5 polling places for as many as 50,000 expected voters. Kind of a problem. Yet our guv does not have the power to cancel or postpone so he must beg the legislature to act. Tomorrow. Which they have not indicated they are inclined to do. Of course, the vast majority of blue votes in the state come from Madison and Milwaukee, the two places that will be hardest hit come election day. This is important to the R’s that control state government because the only race on the ballot they care about is state supreme court (allegedly non-partisan) and there was always concern that a motivated D primary electorate would hurt their candidate.

      As I say to all my D friends: there is one party that believes it is right and another party that plays to win.

      1. Skip Intro

        Bernie’s campaign has been calling WI voters to inform them of the absentee ballot deadlines and procedures.

        The rash of post-mortems and ever shriller calls for him to drop out indicate that the establishment still considers him a threat… If they thought Biden was electable, would they really need to stop the primary process? Indeed, their best chance of getting a viable non-Bernie candidate (e.g. ratface Andy) is a 2nd round convention vote. If gropey Joe runs unopposed and clinches the 1991delegates, how do they swap in their boy?

    2. Carla

      @Stillfeelin — Please DON’T work the election. I’m sure you feel loyal to other poll workers, but encourage them to call off, too. A poll worker strike is the only hope for stopping this. The Gov. may call in the National Guard, but you have no control over that.

      Gov. DeWine postponed the Ohio primary the day before; a court contradicted him, but he found a work-around, and I am SO glad he did. My partner is a dedicated poll worker who, like you, was made a polling place manager because so many others had quit. He was going to work the election and expose himself to 13 hours of an incredible viral load no matter what. Never in my life thought I would be grateful to DeWine for anything, but I really am. Thank you, Mike DeWine!

      1. John

        Where is the smoke filled back room when we need it? Nothing like a bunch of hard nosed, and maybe hard drinking pols, to some up with a candidate who was seasoned in the political wars and had a fighting chance of being competent in office. What? No. Long service within the DC bubble does not really count as being seasoned in the political wars. Climb the ladder. Know what it is like to do the dirty jobs. Just like any other trade or profession. Learn by doing not by having great ads and snappy TV spots. But maybe glitz and glamour and face time on TV and other media is all you need. What was that movie which ends with the successful candidate asking, “What do we do now?”

        1. LifelongLib

          “The Candidate”, starring Robert Redford.

          When I quoted that line to my city council person mom, she said “Meetings. Lots and lots of meetings.”

    3. The Rev Kev

      If they are willing to risk your life over a seriously flawed election, then I would say that poll workers in Wisconsin should call a general strike. From what you write, they will willingly get you killed for their political convenience. If they reduce poll stations too like you say, that will cause even more crowding for voters which will end up getting some of them killed as well. Nope, not worth it.

  25. mistah charley, ph.d.

    ozoniser – this is what the SoClean sleep machine cleaner is – it blows “activated oxygen” – ozone – through your Continuous Positive Air Pressure CPAP sleep apnea device – Bill Shatner appears on their tv ads

  26. truly

    I would like to add point 4 to Econintersect 2020 forecast:
    4. Changing habits. They say it takes 21 days to change a habit. Almost every American is going to get that 21 day period. Going without a professional hair style, fancy coffees, working out at the club, after school activities for the kids, fine dining many times per week. I suspect that many will realize that they never really needed all that expensive consumption after all. They can blow out their own hair, a regular home made coffee is ok, going for a long walk or jog, and did Jr really need to go to karate every night after school. Plus, home made food tastes fine and is a nice experience making it.
    If a majority of Americans rein in their consumption in an economy that is wholly reliant on it, well then, times they are a changing.

    1. Cuibono

      Well he never mentioned Korea but that is what he is saying: copy what they have done and fast.
      A couple thoughts: why not make the lock down actually work? Fact is, we need rational shopping protocols (say by name alphabetically at certain hours). We need to make sure people CAN safely shelter in place if sick and ISOLATE. they cant do it now in mony heighborhoods due to crowding. Give them an empty hotel room for gods sake and do it NOW!

    1. Noone from Nowheresville

      Taibbi’s latest now that he’s gone independent. I think I might need to read this one through a few times. More depth to that 5 min spiel he did in Useful Idiots this week. Plus more meat than his Bailout article.

      Resetting the Bomb
      Another era of debt-fueled profiteering is ending with a bailout. How we’re institutionalizing the unfairness economy


      A larger issue is conceptual. What’s the consequence of making the maintenance of prices in financial markets a “systemically important” end in itself?

      America’s executive class in the last few decades has settled into a Ponzi-like pattern: borrow, inflate, strip assets, crash, get bailed out, start over. Both the profits and the size of the bag the rest of the country is left holding get bigger with each cycle.

      In the last ten years buybacks, takeovers and other schemes made executives rich, but left companies cash-poor and leveraged to the hilt. When Covid-19 hit, corporate America could with sincerity claim it needed immediate aid to keep doors open and financial markets afloat.

      Here’s his announcement
      Announcement to Readers: I’m Moving
      Substack is now my full-time job.

      From now on, my online writing will be published on Substack. This is my full-time job now.

      I first started writing for Rolling Stone in 2003 and will continue a relationship with my good friends there, contributing print features and also maintaining the Useful Idiots podcast with Katie Halper. I love Rolling Stone and have been proud to represent the magazine over the years. If anyone cares to know, I wasn’t asked to leave.

  27. Carolinian

    A site I will not name has provided this link which is very important and studies the question that came up in this morning’s links–how do you get the virus.


    The setup

    The most accurate and robust quantification of the relative frequency of routes of transmission would be a well-designed prospective cohort study with detailed journal and phylogenetic investigations. However, the current global emergency requires timely estimates using imperfect data sources. We performed a detailed analysis of the timing of events in defined transmission pairs, derived the generation time distribution, and attributed a probability for each pair that transmission was pre-symptomatic. We also fit a mathematical model of infectiousness through the four routes discussed above, over the course of infection. This allowed us to calculate R0, estimate the proportion of transmission from different routes, and make predictions about whether contact tracing and isolation of known cases is enough to prevent spread of the epidemic.

    In other words they are using a variety of data from Wuhan, Singapore and the Diamond Princess rather than a controlled study. But here is the data via that unnamed source

    The new Science study investigated how many infections were created by each of four infection phases or types:

    pre-symptomatic – new infections come from an infected person who has not yet developed symptoms but will do so later
    symptomatic – new infections come from an infected person who has already developed symptoms
    environmental – new infections comes from some environmental contact with the virus
    asymptomatic – new infections come from a person that will never develop any symptoms.

    The study says that R0 for pre-symptomatic infections is 0.9 or 46% of all new infections. Infections from a symptomatic persons happen with an R0 of 0.8 which is equal to 40% of all new infections. Environmental infections have an R0 of 0.2 or 10% of all new infections. Infections from asymptomatic cases have an R0 of 0.1 or 4% of all new infections.

    In other words the primary way of getting the virus is either from pre-symptomatic or symptomatic individuals with only 4 percent coming from fully asymptomatic people like children who typically show no symptoms. Of course the pre-symptomatic who are a few days from developing symptoms are effectively the same as the asymptomatic which is why everyone should be wearing masks in stores and such. But the study, if true, does suggest that there aren’t a lot of asymptomatic people running around spreading the virus in a way that nobody will ever know where it came from. The carriers are the ones who get sick.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I didn’t bother to look at the study you referenced after looking at the rest of your comment. People who are pre-symtopmatic are also asymptomatic. That means you study suggests that our chances of getting COVID-19 are most likely if we associate with asymptomatic people in the general environment. Is that helpful or informative? Not to me. As for people who are symptomatic — all the symptoms of COVID-19 are identical to the symptoms for a Spring allergy and right now pollen counts in my area are ‘high’, although that hasn’t mattered to my lifelong allergies other than to make them a little worse and make my eyes itch. I am not sure how useful it is to know that people who have COVID-19 and who are symptomatic present a 40% chance of spreading the virus. How many people who are symptomatic but NOT infected with COVID-19 are there? I am symptomatic but I don’t have COVID-19 … at least as far as I know or could ever know given our public health system.

      I hope that explains why I didn’t bother to chase down your link, assuming I could access the source (I let my subscription to Science expire a few years ago after watching the journal shrink to the size of newsletter compared to its former heft. I was also very disappointed by the quality of writing. I am willing to make an effort to understand a difficult subject but I have limited patience for unnecessary jargon or the rampant mealy-mouthed cowardice in stating claims other than the need for more research.

      1. Carolinian

        It totally matters that we know how you get the disease and to say otherwise is quite silly. It has been suggested that one reason this virus is different from flu is precisely because of this stealth ability to infect others without symptoms which is different from regular flu which only takes a day or so to make you sick. And it so very much matters for parents to know whether their children can infect the grandparents or infect them or infect babysitters or daycare workers. This study seems to suggest that they do not.

        And most importantly it affects our behavior. If we know for a fact that asymptomatic (but soon to be ill) people are wandering around in stores or public areas then we need to be much more careful about social distancing and probably should wear masks depending on the circumstances. The advice up to now has been that you are going to get the virus from touching virus laden objects and that hand washing is most important. But this study that i linked says that in fact social contact is the vector and that infected but not yet symptomatic family members may be giving it to each other by spending lots of time together in enclosed spaces. Indeed this is exactly what the Chinese said about the Wuhan situation–that most of the victims got it from family members.

        And those family members got it in public areas. Everyone should wear masks in such places until the crisis is over.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Totally agree. And the best time to have started this was about two months ago which would have stopped a lot of deaths. Just saw an article about a Detroit bus driver, who had made a video complaining about coughing passengers, has just died of Coronavirus. This virus is a beast.

      2. cuibono

        why the angry response?The data is what it is . It is increasinly clear that the 1-3 days before clear symptoms people are most contagious. that is important to understand.
        commenting on something without reading it might not be the best use of everyones time here.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          I have read numerous studies and papers referenced from Nature briefs, Phys-Org, PNAS, Science … enough to judge the statements in the paper as presented in Carolinian’s comment. The ‘angry’ — your word — response would be better characterized as ‘irritated’. Numerous papers spend considerable statistical efforts attempting to pull information out of relatively little and unreliable data. If you read my comment you would have noted that I quibbled the paper’s category breakdown as portrayed in Carolinian’s comment. If some people can have the virus and spread it but show no symptoms, and some people can have the symptoms but not have the virus then the presence or absence of symptoms does not seem a reliable indicator of the presence or absence of the virus. As a person who has suffered from various degrees of the supposed COVID-19 symptoms since gradeschool — I have sinus allergies — I very much do not appreciate in any way being marked as a more likely carrier of the virus. Anyone can be a carrier and spreader of the virus. I can reach that conclusion without reading yet another article in Science. I do suspect that people who cough or sneeze are probably more effective spreaders, if they have the virus — although there is insufficient evidence to reach that conclusion, it seems reasonable on its face.

          I am angry at how little we seem to know about how viruses go about their business — eg. can COVID-19 transfer illness through aerosols. I strongly suspect that it does and even if it does not I suspect other viruses and disease agents do. I picked up facemasks after the SARS virus. I’m an older guy and I do not want to catch a cold or flu let alone catch COVID-19. The initial CDC advice regarding facemasks did make me angry. If I wanted to wear one of my facemasks after that advice I was not sure but that I risked physical attack depending on where I tried to go to fetch groceries. Yes I am paranoid — I’m old and I’ve had my trust many times badly repaid. Given the CDC advice, I just stayed home and relearned drinking my coffee black.

          And it is not clear that people are ‘most’ contagious 1-3 days before the onset of symptoms. It is clear that people could be and probably are contagious 1-3 days before the onset of symptoms but whether they are ‘most’ contagious then remains a conjecture — 0.9 versus 0.8 from a statistical study of Chinese data is not terribly convincing to me one way or another.

  28. notabanker

    Regarding the Stoller FED alphabet soup article, it’s pretty obvious the pigs are at the trough trying to dump as much junk as they can. But I wonder if the bigger picture is US Treasuries. Seems the Fed is buying an awful lot of them and not selling very many, to the point they started taking fx directly for USD.

    I’m by no means an expert in these markets, but at a macro level at what point does the ROW decide US debt is not a great thing to hold when nobody is working nor buying anything and the US governments response is to print more money to hand to the bankers? In a barter economy, the Chinese and the Russians have stuff to trade. What’s the US going to trade? Derivatives, online retail code and Netflix?

    I think my overarching point here is that the strength of the US economy in the neolib world is consumers and consumption. Handing trillions to bankers and MNC conglomerates isn’t going to kick start that engine, in fact they are burdening that restart even further. US power institutions have really lost the plot here, and global powers have to know that.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      There be a whole lota scamming and scheming goin’ on — True. But the CARES Act also makes U.S. dollars available to satisfy world dollar liquidity demand. If we want to play currency master we have to deliver. The IMF is underfunded.

      The CARES Act is an omnibus better suited to carry a shitload of GRIFT better than the DoD appropriations bill. And it was inadequate … more to come.

  29. Billy

    A cure from San Francisco biolab? Either the best news yet from Radio New Zealand, the exclusive interviwer, or a false dawn:


    “I’m happy to report that my team has successfully taken five antibodies that back in 2002 were determined to bind and neutralize, block and stop the SARS virus,” he told Radio New Zealand’s “Checkpoint” – adding “We’ve evolved them in our laboratory, so now they very vigorously block and stop the SARS-CoV-2 [COVID-19] virus as well.”

    The new virus is a cousin of the old SARS. So what we’ve done is we’ve created hundreds of millions of versions of those antibodies, we’ve mutated them a bit, and in that pool of mutated versions, we found versions that cross them over.

    So now we know they bind on the same spot as the new virus, Covid-19.

    It binds the spot that the virus uses to gain entry into your cells. It blocks that.

    At this point we know it binds the same spot extremely tightly with high affinity. The next step is we send the antibodies to the military, and they will directly put those on the virus and show that it blocks its ability to infect cells. -Dr. Jacob Glanville (via RNZ)”

    1. sd

      Small print: If effective, Glanville said it will only protect people for eight to 10 weeks.

  30. VietnamVet

    About the time I started reading NC, Adam Curtis documentaries were recommended to explain how a simpler fake world was created by corporations and kept stable by politicians like Bill Clinton and Tony Blair to their profit. They sold the just in time economy to professionals, managers and technocrats as the way to keep what they have and get lots of cheap goods and tech gadgets. The working class was isolated and dumped.

    Just as the Archduke took the wrong turn in Sarajevo, a bat coronavirus transferred through an intermediate host to humans in Wuhan China last year. The response to both destroyed globalization and Empires.

    The 0.1% oligarchy cannot exploit humans and the world without the 10%. The Captain of the Theodore Roosevelt was fired because he cared about his crew. He was unprofessional.

    Medscape; “US Betrays Healthcare Workers in Coronavirus Disaster”
    “Perhaps what we in the medical community will remember most is how our country betrayed us at the moment when our efforts were needed most.”

    The United States is in the greatest crisis since the Civil War. Joe Biden and Donald Trump are the failed past. They will not restore democracy nor provide jobs, healthcare and shelter for all Americans. The Empire is gone. Unless there is a peoples candidate in November, unrest is assured. The Autocracy cannot survive when its Cavalier Enforcers lose the consent of the governed.

  31. FreeMarketApologist

    do not keep on babbling like pagans,

    I’ve always wondered, who specifically were the ‘pagans’ that are mentioned?

    (and who were the ones that defined them as pagans – the original writers, the translators, the committee that put together the KJV)?

    1. Youngblood

      The land now called Israel was, at the time of Jesus, under Roman rule, and plenty of polytheistic Romans lived there alongside the Jews. Judaism was one of the first religions, if not the first religion, to proclaim all other faiths as false. I would suppose that Christ was referring to the worship of any god other than the Jewish deity when he used the term “pagan”.

  32. ambrit

    Meanwhile, out on the highway…
    Just caught a local State order, (Mississippi,) following a US DoT Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration order that limits to hours drivers of over the road trucks can log are suspended. All in the name of Public Safety – Covid-19 Division.
    Of course, the rule has types of cargo affected, but, the lists are so open to interpretation.
    Never let a disaster go to waste.

  33. JTMcPhee

    A bit of potentially useful stuff on personal therapeutic responses to getting sick from Covid-19, especially if the medical services available are overwhelmed and you are left on your own. Note: use at discretion, not medical advice, I am not a doctor):

    from your local Dr’s of Physical Therapy…
    Shared from Wimberley Coronavirus Support
    “If you end up with pulmonary symptoms of corona virus pneumonia… there can be lethal damage from effusion (mucous filling lungs) or cytokine storm (body over-reacts with more effusion.

    This kills people… ESPECIALLY when the number of patients is greater than the number of ICU beds or ventilators. You will be left to drown in your mucous. That mucous can also be infected by other germs during your struggle. That is happening in Italy where there are 5x more patients than they have hospital beds. And the USA has far FEWER beds per population than does Italy.

    Many years ago, physical therapists have successfully treated this with POSTURAL DRAINAGE… where the patient is tipped over a wedge to tilt the lungs and bronchial tubes upside down… to allow the mucous to flow out, where it can be coughed out.

    Google it. It is EASY to do for yourself and family members.

    [Well, maybe not so easy to do it right, here’s a primer on the topic and hopefully your providers can guide best self-treatment, https://www.respiratorytherapyzone.com/chest-physiotherapy-positions/ The link at least gives some discussion of why, and then pictures of how. I recall the diagrams and charts from my nursing training.]

    Simply get in position and let it flow, helping it along with breathing techniques that emphasize full, prolonged exhale, while puffing your cheeks and you blow out long and steady.

    Start as soon as you feel lungs getting filled. Don’t wait until you are too sick to bother. 3-5 minutes several times per day.

    I did this inside a nursing home in VT during the 1976 flu epidemic for resident patients. We did not lose anyone, while other nursing homes lost dozens. It is an old PT technique that has faded away since we have ventilators and related machines. BUT this time, we will NOT have nearly enough ventilators, not the ICU beds where they are provided.

    One easy way to get into position is to lie over an EXERCISE BALL.”

    A whole lot of us are going to find ourselves on our own, thanks to the sh!ts who rule us and the looting they have done. I hope we all remember and act on what we are observing and maybe learning during this horror show.

    1. Carolinian

      Thanks for the tip. We are here to learn.

      There was that Stephen Walt link this morning about the supposed decline of American competence but perhaps the biggest decline is of self reliance. There are young people now who don’t even know how to change a tire. Too much screen time I’d say.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Many years ago, physical therapists have successfully treated this with POSTURAL DRAINAGE… where the patient is tipped over a wedge to tilt the lungs and bronchial tubes upside down… to allow the mucous to flow out, where it can be coughed out.

      Thanks, this is useful. Do any other readers have experience with this technique?

      1. JTMcPhee

        For what it’s worth, my wife used to be a home health nurse for pediatric special needs patients, several of whom had trachs and were on ventilators. She routinely used these techniques (under doctors’ orders, of course) to help keep people with serious respiratory challenges breathing fairly clearly.

        She also has some respiratory issues, and there have been a few times when we had her bent over a chair or off the side of the bed to mobilize those secretions.

        She also used to do “percussion therapy” on her patients, which is using the cupped hands to pound on the back and chest in a prescribed sequence, to work the mucus up from the depths of the lungs. https://www.cff.org/Life-With-CF/Treatments-and-Therapies/Airway-Clearance/Basics-of-Postural-Drainage-and-Percussion/

  34. Oregoncharles

    “An alternative theory to stingy olds denying the benefits of Medicare to the youngs would be that Medicare’s neoliberal infestation has done its damage:”

    I agree, and I’m old enough to know.

  35. griffen

    I just want to commend the reference to Elizabeth Holmes on that snake oil “testing approved” link. Funny but I wonder what she’s up to in her orange attire these days. Theranos a business plan that even informed idiots* thought would work.

    Search the roster for advisers and board members really blows the mind.

    1. Daryl

      > Funny but I wonder what she’s up to in her orange attire these days.

      Probably working on a cure for coronavirus.

  36. William Hunter Duncan

    “Who on earth would classify the Lords of Private Equity as essential? Or hedgies? Or health insurance executives? All such should be given something useful to do, like delivering pizza or clearing bedpans. It would clarify their minds and purify their souls.”

    I have been saying this basically, since 2008. And I’m pretty sure I have had my comments to this degree excised about a half dozen times here, the past few years, lol.

  37. Joshua Ellinger

    Two unrelated thoughts…

    A. The SBA Payroll protection thing looks actually good. Maybe it will get screwed up but I’m applying for both of my businesses. The summary:
    1. Less than 500 employees.
    2. Up to x2.5 monthly payroll. includes wages/tips/health-care.
    3. 75% has to go payroll. 25% can go to rent.
    4. They forgive up to 8 weeks of spending if you keep your prior year head count.
    5. 1% interest rate and 2 years to repay on the rest.

    It’s administered through the banks. Tell everyone you know that runs a business to apply.

    B. For Our Revolution / Sanders folks, the next step is to study how prohibition got to be law of the land. They would support (or primary) anyone who didn’t support them on their one issue. Didn’t matter how bad they were on anything else. Once they scared the politicians into supporting them, they crafted something that sounds kinda vague and pushed it through. Then they shut down the entire alcohol industry for 13 years. It was a shunning political success.

    The political will behind it came from religious groups concerned about morality and woman concerned about domestic violence but it was framed as a public health issue.

    So I say —
    1. draft a bill to lower the eligibility age of Medicare by 10 years — nothing more, nothing less.
    2. ridicule people who ask you how much it will cost and point to our current crisis.
    3. any democrat who votes against it gets a well-funded primary challenger.
    4. if any republican who votes for it, they get your vote in November — even someone as bad as Ted Cruz.
    Then pass it and do it again.

    The beauty of it is that people who are 55-65 vote and it is a direct material benefit to them. They also know a lot of people who are 65+ making it a lot easier for the vote for it.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      This is a very interesting toc ( theory of change). Those who think they can figure out how to do it and make it work should form a tag ( theory action group) devoted to acting on the basis of it.

      And let other tags with other tocs pursue their other tocs and not be jealous/envious of this tag and its toc.

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