2:00PM Water Cooler 4/6/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, I had a spate of connectivity problems; I’ll add more in Politics shortly. –lambert UPDATE All done!


“New trade skirmishes are threatening the flow of medical equipment considered critical to fighting the coronavirus pandemic. Curbs on exports of drugs, chemicals, face masks, ventilators and other equipment vital to stopping the pathogen have proliferated as the number of cases world-wide has spiraled… amid fears of shortages and higher domestic prices if overseas buyers snap up crucial supplies” [Wall Street Journal]. “By one measure, governments around the world introduced 70 new export curbs and more are being imposed almost daily. Some economists say the reasoning is shortsighted and may backfire. The limits risk deterring manufacturers from investing in new capacity, could stem the flow of needed parts and may exacerbate the very supply squeeze governments wish to avoid. Evidence also suggests the actions will drive up the price of the equipment just when governments need it most.”


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

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


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

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

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

* * *


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

Once again, we have no new national or state polls today. Either (a) the pollsters have called the election, or (b) the pandemic (though I would imagine anybody “sheltering in place” would welcome a call).

* * *

UPDATE Biden (D)(1): “Trump, Biden trade barbs over possible virtual Democratic convention” [NBC]. “‘Well, we’re going to have to do a convention, may have to do a virtual convention,’ Biden told ABC’s ‘This Week’ days after the Democratic Party postponed the event until mid-August. ‘I think we should be thinking about that right now. The idea of holding the convention is going to be necessary, but we may not be able to put 10-, 20-, 30,000 people in one place. That’s very possible. Again, let’s see where it is.'” • And then there are the alll-important meetings on credentials, the platform, and rules and bylaws. How will they be handled? Zoom?

UPDATE Biden (D)(2):

Not sure I want Biden negotiating with foreign leaders if his idea of making a case is saying his counter-party can destroy him, while at the same time not making any kind of offer.

Sanders (D)(1): A conversation starter, at least. Thread:

It is true that the Night of The Long Knives orchestrated on Biden’s behalf before California was unprecedented; I’ve never seen anything like it. At the same time, as so much else, it calls into question the legitimacy of the entire primary. I mean, how many of the candidates were really trying to get elected, and how many were straws?

UPDATE Sanders (D)(2): “Some Sanders top allies have urged him to withdraw from 2020 race: report” [The Hill]. “Sanders’ campaign manager Faiz Shakir and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), one of the senator’s top surrogates, were both part of the group that has pressed for him to suspend his campaign, according to the sources. Other Sanders aides and allies such as national campaign co-chair Nina Turner have reportedly encouraged the 78-year-old to stay in the race. ‘Millions of people are counting on him to be on the ballot so they can vote for that alternative vision that they support,’ Larry Cohen, a longtime supporter who chairs a nonprofit associated with Sanders, told the Post. “If he was not on the ballot, they will feel abandoned.'” • Too bad there’s no way simply to poll Sanders supporters. Nobody seems to be suggesting that, oddly (and if it’s not possible is a deficiency in the Sanders campaign, I would think.)

UPDATE Sanders (D)(3): “Sanders’ ‘narrow path’ to victory gets even narrower” [Politico]. “It is especially important to these Sanders supporters to maintain the rule changes they achieved in 2016, such as barring superdelegates from voting for presidential candidates on the first ballot. In order for his backers to have negotiating power, they said, Sanders needs to receive at least 1,200 delegates — he has more than 900 now — so they can introduce minority resolutions. They also hope that Sanders can push Biden to commit to progressive appointments. ‘The party reforms go down the drain if he doesn’t stay in,’ said Cohen, adding that if he drops out before hitting 1,200 delegates, ‘it’s going to be Biden’s people writing the platform, that’s it.'” • Oddly, or not, the pundits are considering only the fate of the candidate and his campaign, and not the movement who backed him. No doubt they would prefer there would never be a small donor-driven insurgency in the Democrat Party ever again. Much will depend on Sanders’ decision; my personal view is that he owes the Democrat Party nothing.

UPDATE Sanders (D)(4): Nurses have a lot of political clout normally, but now:

Hoo boy.

Trump (R)(1): When he’s right:

* * *

GA: Touch screens a disaster in the making:

WI: “Election Preview: Yes, Wisconsin Still Plans To Hold Its Primary On Tuesday” [FiveThirtyEight]. • Seems like the only Democrats who haven’t called for the primary to postponed are the DNC and the Biden Campaign:

I have to say that the Biden personally encouraging his voters to join the lines at the polling booths in the midst of a pandemic and infect themselves and others is, well, novel, like so much else this year. Again, how can anybody regard this election is legitimate?

UPDATE WI: “Wisconsin infectious diseases expert: Allowing in-person voting Tuesday ‘just seems really irresponsible'” [Journal-Sentinel]. “James Conway, an infectious diseases expert at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Global Health Institute, said allowing people to gather at polling locations during Tuesday’s spring election will also damage the effectiveness of state leaders’ message to stay away from each other to blunt the spread of coronavirus. Gov. Tony Evers on March 25 issued an order closing scores of businesses in an effort to limit the spread of the virus and Conway says, so far, that action has been successful in preventing the virus from spreading like wildfire…. ‘From a public health stand it’s both the wrong message and it’s taking an enormous gamble,’ Conway said.”

WI: “Wisconsin’s Pandemic Primary Could Exclude Many Voters” [Capital and Main]. “If an election indeed takes place Tuesday, it will be chaotic. The state is facing a severe shortage of poll workers as well as a massive number of absentee ballot requests that the state may not be able to handle. Beside the state’s strict voter ID law, new hurdles borne out of the pandemic will disproportionately affect marginalized populations, including low-income people, people of color, seniors, and people with disabilities—but will make voting harder for nearly everyone.”

WI: “Absentee ballots go missing” [Channel3000]. • Wow, that’s a totally unexpected plot twist.


National security goons with the self-awareness of stumps or rocks:

Realignment and Legitimacy

“The Democratic Party Must Harness the Legitimate Rage of Americans. Otherwise, the Right Will Use It With Horrifying Results.” [Jon Schwarz, The Intercept]. “The anger of Americans, once they figure out what’s being done to them right now, is going to be volcanic. The fallout from 9/11 and the great recession of 2007-2010 will be imperceptible in comparison…. What we know from history is that someone always shows up to harvest this level of ambient rage — but it can go in two directions. If people can be made “angry at the crime,” as Steinbeck wrote, there can be huge positive political changes. During the Great Depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt and unions organized the anger and used it to create the New Deal and the largest middle class in history. In unluckier countries, like Germany, Italy and Japan, the political left failed. The fury was organized by fascists, and directed at innocents…. No one knows today which path the U.S. will take. But it’s going to be one or the other: The right or the left will emerge as the champion of the coming American rage.” • What if “essential” meant… essential?

Authoritarian followers:

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.

* * *

Employment Situation: “March 2020 Conference Board Employment Index Plummets” [Econintersect]. “The year-over-year index growth rate decelerated by 47 % month-over-month and a negative 45 % year-over-year. The Econintersect employment index also slowed. Both of these indices are predicting softer job growth 6 months from now.” • 47% seems like rather a lot.

* * *

Shipping: “Coronavirus-driven restrictions on travel and tight controls on movement around ports have left growing numbers of crews stuck on ships for long periods,… and many face exhaustion and potential illness at sea” [Wall Street Journal]. “Big cutbacks in flights have made it harder to move the many thousands of sailors that relieve crews at far-flung ports. At the same time, many ports are restricting movements of seafarers from anchored vessels. There has only been one outbreak of coronavirus on a cargo ship publicly disclosed so far. But shipowner groups want governments to act before seaborne supply chains reach a breaking point.”

Labor Market: “The rush to eliminate jobs across the U.S. is stopping at the warehouse doors. Logistic staffing agency ProLogistix says demand for workers is ‘off the charts’ as retailers and distribution companies try to keep up with enormous demand to replenish stores and feed e-commerce operations” [Wall Street Journal]. “Warehousing and storage operators brought on 8,200 workers last month by the latest government measure…. defying the steep employment downturn in an American economy staggered by the coronavirus pandemic. The March hiring is likely just a sliver of the thousands of new workers heading into warehouses. ProLogistix says some employers are telling recruits their new jobs aren’t just temporary work, but the broader employment picture carries troubling signals. Manufacturers and other goods-producing companies are slicing payrolls in big numbers, and faltering economic output will likely hit consumer buying power and the demand for all those warehouse workers.”

Tech: “COBOL-coding volunteers sought as slammed mainframes slow New Jersey’s coronavirus response” [The Register]. “Governor Murphy said his staff is “doing a heck of a job but literally we have systems that are 40-plus years old and there’ll be lots of post mortems and one of them on our list will be how the heck did we get here when we literally needed cobalt programmers.” • Only in the wacky world of software “engineering” would a program that works for forty years be considered a problem:

Especially code written by public servants, instead of, well, the sort of people who programmed Uber’s app tp rip off the drivers.

Tech: “5G cell towers torched in U.K. amid bogus coronavirus theories” [NBC]. You say “5G cell towers torched” like that’s a bad thing.

Employment Situation: “COVID-19 and Unemployment Risk: State and MSA Differences” [Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis]. “Our analysis indicates that there are differences among states and MSAs regarding the share of workers facing a high risk of unemployment in the face of COVID-19. However, it is also important to consider the more detailed composition of these jobs, as aggregate statistics mask important features. For example, Nevada and Indiana both have a large fraction of “high-risk” workers, but those workers are in very different occupations—tending towards tourism in Nevada and production in Indiana—that may have very different immediate responses to the COVID-19 outbreak.”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 27 Fear (previous close: 21 Extreme Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 25 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Apr 6 at 11:57am. Now mere fear. “Light at the end of the tunnel”?

Rapture Index: Closes up 2 on Globalism (“The massive downturn in the economy is bringing nations together like never before”) and Oil Supply/Price (“The sharpest ever rise in oil prices (25%) show the unrest in financial markets”) [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 186. Remember that bringing on the rapture is a good thing. Biggest pop in awhile. Seems like an odd take on Globalism!

Health Care

“HHS to divert some of $100B hospital COVID-19 funding to uninsured” [Health Care Dive]. This seems to be the direct payment mechanism:

The Trump administration said Friday it will pay hospitals to treat uninsured COVID-19 patients, targeting a crucial coverage gap as the novel coronavirus continues to overwhelm and upend the U.S. healthcare system. HHS Secretary Alex Azar said the funding will come in part from the $100 billion in the relief legislation signed late last month.”As a condition of receiving funds under this program, providers will be forbidden from balance billing the uninsured for the cost of their care. Providers will be reimbursed at Medicare rates,” Azar added. “To help them meet payroll and stay open, Congress allocated $100 billion in emergency funding last week. But HHS had not said how or when the money will be distributed. Now HHS says some will go to help pay to treat the uninsured.”

* * *

“Ventilators aren’t a panacea for a pandemic like coronavirus” [The Spectator]. “Clinical trials of new and old medications are ongoing. But right now, I am sorry to say there is no proven treatment for Covid-19 infection. It is therefore at least conceivable that putting patients on ventilators for Covid-19 pneumonia could be a bridge to nowhere. Now of course, hope springs eternal. The patient may recover on their own while we keep them alive with our machines. But this is not a risk-free wager. Dr. Paul Mayo, perhaps New York City’s most illustrious critical care doctor expressed the risks pithily: ‘putting a person on a ventilator creates a disease known as being on a ventilator.’ When we mechanically blow air into your damaged lungs faster and harder than humanly possible, ventilator-induced lung injury may result. Generally, for a person to tolerate the undertaking, we have to sedate them, leading to immobility and severe weakness. While sedated, the person cannot cough or clear their airway effectively, leading to superimposed bacterial pneumonia. This is an awful lot to survive. And in the case of Covid-19, the preliminary outcome data is rather dismal.”

A really illuminating YouTube on ventilators, and the (no doubt mostly well-meaning) efforts that confuse ventilators with pumps (hat tip Lefteris):

* * *

“Trouble in testing land” [University of Oxford]. “Multiple tests have been provided for evaluation, and a range of convalescent sera has been used to determine whether the tests can identify both low and high levels of antibodies. We have been very careful to test using gold standards checked against a sensitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (Elisa) of the spike protein and other viral proteins. Sadly, the tests we have looked at to date have not performed well. We see many false negatives (tests where no antibody is detected despite the fact we know it is there) and we also see false positives. None of the tests we have validated would meet the criteria for a good test as agreed with the MHRA. This is not a good result for test suppliers or for us. Interestingly we are not the only ones who having difficulty identifying commercial tests that work in a home test kit format. The Spanish apparently returned test kits that were not working, and the Germans who are developing their own sensitive kits believe they are three months away from getting these available and validated. Not test has been acclaimed by health authorities as having the necessary characteristics for screening people accurately for protective immunity.”

How they manage quarantines in the First World:


You’d think people would generalize:


“Google Data Centers’ Secret Cost: Billions of Gallons of Water” [Bloomberg]. “Google considers its water use a proprietary trade secret and bars even public officials from disclosing the company’s consumption. But information has leaked out, sometimes through legal battles with local utilities and conservation groups. In 2019 alone, Google requested, or was granted, more than 2.3 billion gallons of water for data centers in three different states, according to public records posted online and legal filings.” • 

Musical Interlude

Inspired by farmboy:

Not at all what I expected!

Guillotine Watch

“In This Remote Town, Spring Means Salmon — and Thousands of Fishermen From Coronavirus Hot Spots” [ProPublica]. “Later this spring, Alaska’s Bristol Bay will blossom into one of the largest annual salmon fisheries in the world. The regional population of about 6,600 will triple in size with the arrival of fishermen, crews and seasonal workers on jets but also private planes and small boats, many traveling from out of state. And yet the heart of the health care system in southwestern Alaska, in a corner of the state where the Spanish flu once orphaned a generation, is a 16-bed hospital in Dillingham operated by the Bristol Bay Area Health Corp. Only four beds are currently equipped for coronavirus patients. As of Wednesday, the hospital had a few dozen coronavirus tests for the entire Florida-sized region, tribal leaders said. If those newly arrived workers need to quarantine for two weeks, as mandated by the state, residents said it’s unclear where everyone will hunker down. Local store shelves are already bare of Clorox, Lysol and rubber gloves.” • Bristol Bay’s Naknek Airport is a state-owned facility; perhaps the fees for general aviation could be raised to be more commensurate with real costs…

“They Were the Last Couple in Paradise. Now They’re Stranded.” [New York Times]. “The resort’s full staff are at hand, because of the presence of the two guests. Government regulations won’t allow any Maldivians to leave resorts until after they undergo a quarantine that follows their last guests’ departure. Accustomed to the flow of a bustling workday, and the engagement with a full house of guests, most of the staff, having grown listless and lonely, dote on the couple ceaselessly. Their “room boy” checks on them five times a day. The dining crew made them an elaborate candlelit dinner on the beach. Every night performers still put on a show for them in the resort’s restaurant: Two lone audience members in a grand dining hall.” • Very on-brand for the Times. And speaking of the Times:

It’s hard to shelter in place if you have to drive to buy food:

“Religious groups battle orders to close services” [The Hill]. “Eleven states, out of the 38 that have issued statewide stay-at-home orders, have granted exemptions for religious gatherings: Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Kentucky, Michigan, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Almost a fifth of respondents to a poll last week said they were still attending religious gatherings in person, BuzzFeed News reported.” • In most religions with which I’m familiar, Typhoid Mary is not a venerated figure….

Class Warfare

“Class and COVID: How the less affluent face double risks” [Brookings Institution]. “There are wide gaps by income class in both the risk posed by the virus, because of existing health conditions, and in levels of response to the risk of infection.” • With charts.

Yashar Ali on the same topic. Thread:

And from the same thread:

“The Making of the Soviet Ruling Class” [Jacobin]. “By 1935, Moscow’s House of Government had 2,655 tenants — overwhelmingly families of state and party officials: … Two of The House of Government’s three thematic “strains” deliver impressive insights. The first is the family histories of many ‘named and unnamed’ residents: Slevkine’s sensitive rendering of so many compelling, often tragic residents’ lives forms the centerpiece of this remarkable study. Equally engrossing, at times, is his exploration of the literary foundations of the Bolshevik worldview: ‘For the Old Bolsheviks, reading the ‘treasures of world literature’ was a crucial part of conversion experiences, courtship rituals, prison ‘universities,’ and House of Government domesticity.’ This third ‘analytical’ strain — Slezkine’s identification of the Bolsheviks as millenarian religious sectarians — is problematic.” • Another damn book to read, even if it is a cautionary tale.

News of the Wired

“Sharing a neat statistical result from one of Nassim Taleb’s papers with kids” [Mikes Math Page]. • Not only kids, but adults!

People with too much time on their hands (1):

People with too much time on their hands (2):

* * *
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 (CanCyn):

CanCyn writes: “I took this photo yesterday while out for a walk on a local trail that is an offshoot of our famous Bruce Trail. I don’t know what kind of fungus it is, growing on a fallen log, with some of the snow from the day before still not quite melted. For the record, photo was taken on my iPhone, I cropped and lightened it just a bit.” The Bruce Trail is in the province of Ontario, Canada.

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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. Alex Cox

    Are the mushrooms turkey tails? If so they are said to be very good for the immune system. In the Oregon woods we chew on ’em when out walking.

    1. HotFlash

      All shelf fungi are edible (ie, not poisonous, although not necessarily tasty), so whatever those are, munch away!

  2. Adam1

    “During the Great Depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt and unions organized the anger and used it to create the New Deal and the largest middle class in history.”

    LOL. Don’t expect the elites to allow that mistake to happen twice without a fight

    “The right or the left will emerge as the champion of the coming American rage.”

    True, but the left currently keeps assuming the “liberals” are on their side when what they do is just keep the left from properly organizing. There is an army of “independent” people who are open to convincing in either direction. They left just has to stop trying to impress elite liberals and just abandoned them. The only question is there enough time before some ego maniac on the right beats them to that arm of voters.

    1. zagonostra

      Right, Left, Conservatives, Liberals, it doesn’t matter there are two Parties and they are both corrupt to the core. That army of “independents” has no effective mechanism to political power, it’s like demand in economics, it’s meaningless unless it’s effective demand.

      I think Jack London had it about right over 100 years ago.

      “You have no souls to be influenced. You are spineless, flaccid things. You pompously call yourselves Republicans and Democrats. There is no Republican Party. There is no Democratic Party. There are no Republicans nor Democrats in this House. You are lick-spittlers and panderers, the creatures of the Plutocracy….

      There was a magic in words greater than the conjurer’s art. So befuddled and chaotic were their minds that the utterance of a single word could negative the generalizations of a lifetime of serious research and thought. Such a word was the adjective UTOPIAN [Democratic Socialist]. The mere utterance of it could damn any scheme, no matter how sanely conceived, of economic amelioration or regeneration. Vast populations grew frenzied over such phrases as “an honest dollar” and “a full dinner pail.” The coinage of such phrases was considered strokes of genius [Fran Luntz] .”

      ― Jack London, The Iron Heel

        1. Baby Gerald

          Thanks Zagonostra for sharing the quote and John for the audiobook link. I’m embarrassed to say I’ve never read any Jack London and this seems to be a great temporally-relevant way to start.

          Thank Dog for NC and the comments section!

    2. Off The Street

      FDR quote, from memory: Now make me go out there and do it.

      That seems so quaint, so decent.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        The quote is “Now go out and make me do it” and seems to have derived from an encounter between A. Phillip Randolph and FDR (and Randolph did “make him do it”).

        Obama used the same quote, but as Bruce Dixon said: “Rather than agitating and organizing in our communities to “make him do it” all the real President Obama wants of movement activists is for us to sit down and shut up, until it’s time to help chase everybody out to vote for him in 2012.”

  3. shinola

    Please forgive my ignorance but just what is “The Night of The Long Knives” referring to in relation to the Ca. primary? I guess I missed it. (I am familiar with the historical reference in Germany)

    1. Trent

      All of the Dem candidates dropping out and endorsing biden before a bunch of primaries?

    2. Big River Bandido

      The implication is that Obama (who, as the last Democrat president, still controls the party machinery) used said machinery as a long knife…to threaten the rice bowls of anyone not willing to get on board the Biden Train to Nowhere.

      1. lambert strether

        I also tried “settled all family business” but that didn’t seem to take

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            Famous, or once-famous, quote from The Godfather:

            [MICHAEL CORLEONE:] “Barzini is dead. So is Phillip Tattaglia. Moe Greene. Stracci. Cuneo. Today I settled all family business so don’t tell me that you’re innocent. Admit what you did…Get him a drink. Don’t be afraid, Carlo. Come on, you think I’d make my sister a widow? I’m Godfather to your son…Go ahead. Drink. Drink. No, you’re out of the family business, that’s your punishment. You’re finished. I’m putting you on a plane to Vegas. Tom?…I want you to stay there, you understand?…Only don’t tell me that you’re innocent. Because it insults my intelligence and it makes me very angry. Now, who approached you first? Barzini or Tattaglia?”

    3. Durans

      Basically between the SC primary and Super Tuesday the democratic establishment including Barrack Obama convinced all of the other pro-establishment primary candidates to drop out and endorse Biden.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Not to worry, good discussion.

          What I wanted was an example of vicious, score-settling factional infighting, culminating in the Leader’s consolidation of power. “Night of the Long Knives” was the best I could come up with, though I’m certainly open to other suggestions from readers. I mean, this isn’t the the first time in history such a thing has happened.

  4. Noone from Nowheresville

    Gov. Evers suspends in-person voting for Tuesday’s election, moves election to June

    MADISON, Wis. — Gov. Tony Evers announced Monday that he will suspend in-person voting for Tuesday’s spring election.

    Evers signed an executive order Monday afternoon calling for all in-person voting to be postponed until June 9.

    The order also calls on the Legislature to hold a special session Tuesday to discuss the new election date. Evers said if the Legislature does not enact legislation to change the date, in-person voting will happen on June 9.

      1. Stillfeelinthebern

        It’s not over. The Election Commission is telling local clerks to proceed with election day preparations.

        The Wisconsin Legislature (controlled by Republicans) has appealed to the Wisconsin State Supreme Court. One of the people on that court, Dan Kelly is a candidate in tomorrow’s election.

        Legislature’s petition to Sup Court begins: “Defying numerous state-election statutes and his countless previous statements that he clearly lacks legal authority to cancel tomorrow’s election, the Governor announced moments ago—at the eleventh hour—that he was doing just that.” They tell the court that it should act without holding oral arguments and say it does not need to formally publish its decision “given that the legal questions presented are straightforward and settled.” Follow @patrickdmarley on Twitter for up to the minute info.

        Here are the contents of two tweets by Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Dan Kelly (appointed to the bench by Gov Walker) “From the very beginning of this campaign, all we have wanted is an election conducted according to the law. While the Governor’s order is being challenged in court, we urge clerks, poll workers, and voters to stand ready to conduct the election tomorrow.1/2”

        We can do two things at the same time: maintain the foundations of our democracy while taking reasonable precautions to keep people safe. 2/2

        AND State Sen Lena Taylor, who is running for Milwaukee mayor has filed a case in Federal Court.

        1. Stillfeelinthebern

          They really don’t care about the people.

          Wisconsin’s election is back on.

          Supreme Court reverses
          in 4-2 ruling.

          Polls will open at 7 a.m

    1. Samuel Conner

      This is nearly a “best of all possible worlds” outcome — people’s lives will be saved AND we got to see the “revealed preferences” of the D party establishment.

    2. Savedbyirony

      Thank goodness. Very glad to see this for sake of the people of the state, especially their elderly.

    3. John k

      Imagine the pressure from dnc biden Obama etc to stay the course…
      So biden Bernie vote totals frozen for two months…
      Two months is a long time in virus… politics, too… maybe rime enough for biden to snatch defeat…

      surprised Jaya pal suggested Bernie withdraw… old enough to remember hill didn’t withdraw until 2008 convention, maybe when sec state was finalized… wonder if she had been holding out for veep…

      1. ambrit

        I’ll go out on a very long limb and suggest that she stayed in hoping for an “unfortunate accident” to lay low her Ultra-Establishment opponent. (She is really an example of the Southern Strategy operating inside the Democrat Party.) Seeing that HRH HRC is originally from Illinois, but gained prominence in politics in a Southern State, (Arkansas,) she is the perfect exemplar of a Carpetbagger. As a Carpetbagger, she and Bill also neatly fit the definition of Carpetbaggers developed by the novelist Harold Robbins in his book of the same name.
        See, for some guilty fun: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Carpetbaggers

        1. Carey

          Mrs. Clinton: “I’m going to give you morons one final chance..”

          Likelier than not: Biden’s a placeholder.

      2. DanB

        Veep? How do you monetize that position with her hubby running a foundation? Sec of State was perfect for her.

      3. Adam Eran

        JFYI, Our Revolution (Bernie’s organization) is polling its contributors to see whether they think Bernie should stay in…and simultaneously reminding them of the stakes in Democratic party rules if they get enough delegates, never mind win the nomination.

        1. ambrit

          This bothers me because it is also, in parallel, a quite blatant pitch for donations. At the end, after ‘regretfully declining’ to contribute, the connection shifts seamlessly to another donations pitch page from Act Blue, where a ‘respectful declination’ is not offered. One has to close out the connection entirely to escape.
          The corruption of money in politics is ubiquitous.

          1. Carey

            Same deal with the ‘survey’ I got from the Sanders campaign about a
            week ago- no option to do the survey but not give money.

            I can tell when I’m being railroaded, and don’t like it. Sanders 2020
            has often or mostly felt like a shakedown op. Not Sanders’s fault,
            I think.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > JFYI, Our Revolution (Bernie’s organization) is polling its contributors to see whether they think Bernie should stay in…and simultaneously reminding them of the stakes in Democratic party rules if they get enough delegates, never mind win the nomination.

          It would be better if the Sanders campaign could do this, but I think this is the right approach. Tellingly, none of the shouting heads yammering for Sanders to drop out suggest it.

    4. Discouraged in WI

      Republicans have already appealed this to our completely partisan State Supreme Court. I’m still going to finish my face mask for tomorrow. I hope I won’t need it, but realistically, given the Republican majority on the Court, I will.

      1. Old Jake

        Well there’s always the Andrew Jackson technique. As he said “…the decision of the Supreme Court has fell still born, and they find that they cannot coerce Georgia to yield to its mandate…” Often summarized as “he has made his decision, now let him enforce it.”

    5. Oregoncharles

      They expect the pandemic will be over by June 9? We’re debating holding a convention on the 6th, expecting to hold it remotely.

    6. MLTPB

      Even going out grocery shopping is to be avoided, if possible.

      Did I read that news from yesterday correctly?

    7. HotFlash

      The canard that Bernie shuld drop out to get a better deal from Pres Biden? Ridikulus! Joe will never, ever be Prez. , let alone Mme. “I’m ready for my nomination now, Mr. Perez.”

          1. Massinissa

            I mean, at least with Hillary we could at least lose with someone who DOESN’T have dementia, as opposed to losing with Joe.

            1. edmondo

              The opportunity to vote against her in November would be enough to make me want to live that long, coronavirus pandemic or not.

              1. Carey

                Fully agree, assuming our mcVotes are accurately counted.
                Unfortunately, Team Dem are *fine* with President Trump.

          2. drumlin woodchuckles

            It would be very clarifying to see which states vote for Candidate Clinton, if that is what they offer us.

            I would expect New York and California to vote for Clinton, and maybe also the tiny little bedroom-community states which are part of Greater New York Metropolitan Area. Any others?

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        That Sanders should drop out now because his negotiating power can only drop over time ignores (1) that as Otterbein shows, there’s no negotiation going on, and (2) in fact, Sanders bargaining position improves when he gets to 1200 delegates, in the platform committee, the Rules and Bylaws Committee*, and of course on the floor, where it would be nice to see Sanders nominated.

        NOTE * The RBC resolves disputes about primary elections, so you can see a 100% DNC RBC rolling back or even reversing Sanders primary votes, in addition to rolling back last year’s Unity Reform Commission changes, and rewriting the rules to cement the power of the 5 or 6 Democrat strategists who run the party even further.

      1. Oh

        The DNC is betting that most Bernie voters won’t show up and even if they do the election count rigging is on anyway!

        1. The Rev Kev

          If they don’t show up for Wisconsin, then they probably will not show up in November either – which may be part of the plan.

          1. Stillfillinthebern

            More likely, a good number of them will be dead by November. Largest number of CoVID 19 deaths in Wisconsin are in Milwaukee and in the older African American community. The best Democratic voters are dying.

      2. Oregoncharles

        In that case, they probably won’t show up in November, will they? Very shortsighted – unless the plan is precisely to lose.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          I have begun predicting and will predict even harder that the Catfood Democrats have decided to throw election 2020 to Trump. Their theory seems to be that if Trump can make things bad enough by 2024, that a huge backlash will elect a Catfood Democrat President by a Nixonian landslide in 2024.

      3. drumlin woodchuckles

        Well . . . would there be a certain rough justice in Biden voters infecting eachother with corona while Sanders voters stay home and stay safe?

        Let the Biden voters come out and audition for their Darwin Awards if that is what they want to do.
        And let everyone who knows they came out to vote for Biden shun them to avoid infection.

  5. Oregoncharles

    OK, the painted cow does win the Internet for today. Let’s hope there’s something else that funny tomorrow.

    In the meantime, this has probably already been linked, but I finally read it and found it inspiring:

    Key quote: “That comparisons can so easily be made between the beginning of the French Revolution and the United States today does not mean that Americans are fated to see a Reign of Terror or that a military dictatorship like Napoleon’s looms large in our future. What it does mean is that everything is up for grabs.”

    The article: https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/04/revolution-only-getting-started/609463/: “The Revolution Is Under Way Already”

    The Atlantic didn’t use to publish stuff like this. It seems to have abandoned its conservative tone.

    The author is a historian of the French Revolution, so the parallels she draws are informed. And a teacher at Indiana University, old home week for me. Not what I associate with calls for revolution.

    And a personal irony, in the line of “be careful what you wish for”: “everything is up for grabs” is a moment I’ve been waiting for for a couple of decades, and here I am hunkered down at home in fear for my life – from a virus. But we do still have the internet, and the pandemic won’t be forever – although its effects will.

    Also sent to the Oregon Pacific Green Party.

      1. Samuel Conner

        Thank you! That was worth a giggle.

        A worthy use of spare moments (when not at essential work, digging gardens or carrying groceries to vulnerable folk) would be to enjoy the 2005-present “reboot” of Doctor Who. The production values are much improved, the music (most scored by Murray Gold) is superb and the stories are generally well done. The episodes written by Steven Moffat tend to be replete with bootstrap paradoxes and often have a lot of re-watch value as they can be a bit bewildering at first.

        If nothing else, see the episode “Blink”. If randomly picking and you come upon “Love and Monsters” or “Sleep No More”, keep picking.

        1. ambrit

          Of course, the last story has pretty much destroyed the franchise.
          I’d rather watch ‘Torchwood.’

  6. Louis Fyne

    This weekend I bought some melt-blown fiber masks from a Hong Kong clothing retailer I’ve used before—some I’ve somewhat comfortably that the masks will be of legit quality. Delivery in about 2 weeks at $3.50 per mask (looks like 100% markup from the Alibaba wholesale price) .

    I don’t understand why NYS just doesn’t send a team of quality control engineers and cash-in-hand buyers to China via an air national guard cargo plane. Alibaba is full of listings for PPE from manufacturers who purportedly can supply 100,000’s of units. Obviously that’s no good for an ordinary person but surely a state government can field teams that can separate the wheat from the chaff—–and not rely on the New England Patriots to deliver PPE.


    1. 3.14e-9

      Can’t remember if it was Friday or Saturday, when Cuomo announced at the daily briefing that Alibaba was sending a huge donation. It appears he’s letting them take credit for it, but he’s had people in contact with Chinese factories for weeks, so there had to have been some backroom dealing going on — which would have been wise, given the probability that feds would grab shipments to the state. Also, guv says he gets several calls a day offering to pick up shipments in private planes, but I’m guessing they’d still have to clear Customs, so as he says, they’ve had to get “creative.”

      1. Billy

        Don’t forget the huge cargo plane full of PPE that landed in New York City.
        Full of donated goods from a Russian company that the U.S. had sanctioned.

        The Emperor has no PPE…

      2. clarky90

        Mortality rate of COVID-19 patients on ventilators


        Are “Ventilators” another (!) expensive, ineffective, magic spell (miracle cure!!!) from our Health Industrial Complex?

        “We have some early published data on percentages which vary widely. A paper from China involved 710 Covid-19 patients; 52 were admitted to an ICU. Of the 22 who eventually required mechanical ventilation, 19 (86%) died. Another early study reported 31 of 32 (97%) mechanically ventilated patients died”……

        “…I posed the following question on Twitter: “What is the mortality rate for COVID-19 patients who require mechanical ventilation?” and received answers ranging from 25% to 70% from people who have personal knowledge of outcomes in their hospitals.”

        1. flora

          I’ve read anecdotal reports that patients who need vents do not need high presssure, they need oxygen but not high pressure. That the high pressure is a problem. They need vents, but not at the high pressure vents are programmed for resp ARDS, and the high pressure is itself a problem. Anecdotal reports that patients aren’t presenting as typical resp. failure or typical pneumonia, but are presenting more like high altitude sickness or HAPE. No idea of the merits of these reports. Passing this on only as a point for consideration.

          1. Jack Parsons

            I’ve seen reports of a couple of kinds of respiratory problems:
            1) The “pink foam” problem where the lung lining leaks
            2) A breathing control problem that might be neurological.

  7. Samuel Conner

    re: the call for COBOL programmers, it’s not clear to me how that might help if the problem is “mainframe is over capacity.” Unless there are hard coded data structure size limits that turn out to be too small for the current wanted batch sizes, it’s not clear to me that the problem is a coding problem so much as hardware speed limitation. OTOH, presumably the Governor is getting good advice from his tech people.

    I coded in Fortran and DIBOL in long ago jobs, but without formal training. Those more knowledgeable please correct me.

      1. Howard Beale IV

        (raises hand) I learned how to program COBOL before I learned how to drive – way back in 1975 in high school…

        1. hdude

          Learned Cobol in 1971 – @ USMC CSS Quantico, Va. Programmed primarily COBOL until late 80’s when PCs started.

      2. Aumua

        Dealing with atmospheric models in my studies, I have some experience with FORTRAN but sadly not COBOL.

      3. Martin Cohen

        I used COBOL in 1967-68 in Heidelberg, Germany, Headquarters, U.S. Army, Europe, courtesy of the Army.

        I did not dislike it.

      4. AbateMagicThinking But Not Money

        Cobol (behold the waking monster who’s handlers are in the exit phase?)

        I heard a BBC podcast a few years back which was about a major incident in the UK just before Xmas – where customers in shops had their plastic rejected at the check-out. In the subsequent investigation it was discovered that a calculation still existed in the code which involved LSD (pre-decimal pounds sterling abolished in 1971).

        A Cobol guy who was interviewed. I cannot recall whether he was retired, approaching retirement or semi-retired,. He said that the number of real COBOL experts worldwide was falling rapidly to very low numbers. Perhaps measures were put in place to remedy the expertise situation since then, but I wouldn’t put a bet on that, even with the best odds.


      5. Jeremy Grimm

        What mainframe? What Operating System is that mainframe running? I worked with Ada, C, and played with Perl — but knowing COBOL is less important than knowing how Hardware, Operating Systems and Software Design and Test work — a very large number of gray-hairs fit into that category.

        I would think “time-is-of-the-essence”. Forget bringing in programmers or purchasing and installing new hardware. Locate existing mainframes in the State that are running other tasks and which can run the same Operating System as the failing hardware system — and commandeer those systems [depending of course on the criticality of whatever the commandeer candidate system may have been running] — P.S. the Federal Government has mainframe systems too and many of them are quite old and powerful but of course that assumes a certain degree of Federal cooperation with States — hahaha! There may/probably is/are another system with greater capacity that can handle the load and the failing system can probably handle the work the substitute system[s] performed. In lieu of that happy possibility I suspect some gray hairs who somehow escaped past cost cutting pogroms might be able to split the task and run the same software on both the original and commandeered system[s]. Proper software design, and/or modification requires time and independent-TESTING, and after-the-fact fixes to repair problems found when the system and software execute the given task.

        The “Mythical Man-Month” more than explains the facts of life. Nine mothers cannot carry a 1-month baby.

        1. Nax

          At the risk of talking about something of which I don’t know the details…

          If this system was written 40 years ago in COBOL then it probably writes to a database on the same mainframe. This means that it would be difficult to scale it up by adding more machines because each machine would have its own database and wouldn’t be able to read the databases of the other machines.

          You could try to make a common database but that would be, in the necessary time frame, absolutely terrifying.

          If I absolutely, positively, had to do something I’d probably get the single fastest(*) modern machine I could and try and run a mainframe emulator and do a lot of praying that the emulation libraries were 100% accurate and fast.

          (*) Fastest having to do with processor speed, not multi-core, enough memory to hold the entire database, fast network, I/O etc.

      6. Jack Parsons

        My high school summer internship in 1977, dude.

        And, yeah, scaling is really hard. That’s what I do now for a giant retailer. The way to think of it is “you’re in a race, driving a race car, and rebuilding it while you’re driving it”. You make so many assumptions that work at 10 requests/second but bomb out at 100 requests/second.

    1. Mel

      The gov’s statement doesn’t give us a lot to work with. Some commenters to the article suppose that the problem is capacity, and that can be fixed with modern hardware, without changing the running programs at all. One pointed out that the running environment might have to change, like running many copies of the program in parallel on subranges of the data, and THAT would need restructuring the ancient databases the the program uses. I could believe a difficulty there.

      1. jaaaaayceeeee

        You are right, Mel, that there is no way to even guess at what the problem is, that the NJ governor thinks could be helped by finding some Cobol programmers.

        I remember Neutron Jack at GE demanding in 1982 or so that manufacturing divisions go to off the shelf software. More than a decade later I heard that the old heat-steam-recovery parts list (a million parts db) explosions were still running the Cobol 68 object decks, but the code had all been thrown away and they didn’t know what to do except keep things going as is.

        IOW, there are a lot of ways that things become unmaintainable or unupgradeable, often nothing to do with the language, code, db’s, or even hardware being outdated.

        And there are a lot of potential problems that do. Hitting the limits of processing speed with a language like Cobol accessing old fashioned Eg ISAM data bases can happen because you can’t always just buy a bigger mainframe, unlike modern languages like JAVA accessing data in modern databases like Oracle, which just require you to have someone in operations spend a few hours adding a bunch of servers.

        The hard part is getting people who’ve seen both (you used to learn COBOL and Fortran by staring at old code long enough) and giving them the resources to estimate what you really should be doing, and then doing it, and before everything falls off cliffs.

    2. td

      Many of the COBOL applications will be part of systems based on various old database technologies. On average, there is always some performance to be squeezed out with better application design and smarter database structures. Under normal circumstances, the gains are not worth the required man hours and the original coders were usually happy with adequate performance in order to meet the original project targets.

      I based a consulting career on tuning up other people’s messes and doing selective redesign, both on network and relational technologies. There’s always work available when the alternative is buying a lot of new hardware.

    3. skk

      When even the Register says that the problem is that its “choked”, I’m at a total loss to say what the issue is.

      For my sins I coded in COBOL and C – but switched to Java in 2001, and then Python for the last 12 years. They’d have to pay me a LOT to go back to COBOL, besides I’ve ‘retired’ now. TomsHardware says the rate is for 55 to 85 per hour for Cobol. For that money, I’d want the project managers,business architects, systems architects, blah blah architects out of the way – i.e. ALL overhead make work people out of the way. And we’ll have their salaries to supplement ours. Only directly involved people – QA of course, networks, project ADMIN ( not manager) persons – should be on the project.

      That’s pretty unlikely.

      1. TMoney

        $85/hr ? That’s not a shortage, that’s cheap MBA’s in the way. $250/hr with a 12 month contract and you’ll find some grey hairs.

        1. skk

          Welllllll I didn’t want to be the one quoting a number – but yeah, what you said.

          And I know how they can afford it too- the amount of bloat I’ve seen in IT shops over the last 2 decades, particularly in legacy places – banking, insurance, utility and govt astounds me. You have – enterprise architects, business architects, solutions architects, application architects, network architects, security architects, database architects. Then the layers of project managers and scrum masters. And then you have the various managers. All wanting to be “in the loop”. And have meetings about every sodding thing. That’s because not one of them can write a line of code, nor do they want to. Get rid of them – you’ll be able to afford to double/triple that going rate of 55 to 85.

          Those older people prepared to come back won’t do it with this number of monkeys on their back, who just get in the way. Besides the actual work that these overhead layer do – those older people have played those roles, in combination with writing code too.

    4. Synoia

      Over capacity generally means the Mainframe is processing as fast as it can.

      The Mainframe It could be CPU bound, I/O bound or the number of records to be processed has grown beyond the daily limit. Or combinations of the above.

      Parallel processing of batch data streams in COBOL would probably make a complete mess of the end-of-run information, and probably irretrievably corrupt it, as run “a” end-of-job summary could be overwritten by “c”, and then overwritten again by “b”, and I’d not want to have to resolved that form of tangled mess by hand.

    5. Math is Your Friend

      I suspect that 40 year old code will have patches and mods, and who knows what else that accumulated over the decades. Not great for performance.

      At the same time, I suspect that algorithms have improved a fair bit since then. As long as you are talking about roughly comparable languages (not compiled vs interpreted or functional vs object oriented) the biggest improvements usually come from better algorithms.

      There are exceptions to that, if a language is particularly badly used (I once and only once achieved making a program that was in production but expensive run 1000 times faster in two hours of tweaking, but that was starting from a very very very low bar), but algorithms for improvement is the way to bet.

      Improving key parts of the code could improve the rate of getting stuff done, both better algorithms, and eliminating particularly egregious failures in logic/program flow. I doubt that hardware is the only bottleneck.

      Forty years ago, a single mainframe could simultaneously run 10,000 teller terminals for a major bank (they all ran pretty much the same hardware and software, for similar numbers of tellers in 1500 to 2000 branches per bank.

      Of course the efficiency of the programming was extreme, and a key goal.

      And it was coded in assembler. :)

    6. HotFlash

      There could be inadvertent limitations in the bits of very old software. I don’t code in COBOL, used to work with it until I found better/faster. I did have an experience abt 20 yrs ago with a simple program (no idea what language) that started truncating my database after maybe 5-10 yrs of sterling reliability. Turned out there was a file size limit coded-in, who knows why. When I messaged the programmer I bought it from, he was surprised that anyone needed that big a database. He wrote a patch, and I am still running the programme today. So yeah, pitfalls like the dreaded Y2K problem may be in that old code.

    7. The Rev Kev

      This is ridiculous this. There was the same urgent need for COBOL programmers back in 1999 to work the Y2K problem and the old guys were making money hand over fist at the time. Did it not occur to some people to set up training course to keep a steady stream of COBOL programmers through the pipeline? They had twenty years to work this out.

      1. ambrit

        Yeah, twenty years, but in three month sub-units. Each sub-unit a self contained financial period.

        1. Greg

          And all those systems were *definitely* going to be replaced in the next three years, so it was fine. Because the aforementioned architects and project managers and scrum leads refuse to believe the known IT project failure rates apply to them, same as ever.

    8. hunkerdown

      I suspect it’s a disk space problem. It’s likely these unemployment databases are living on a high-availability disk drive measured in gigabytes and sized for steady state operation with a surge factor that didn’t meet the moment. (Mainframe disks cost $$$$ because they can.) Suddenly, that system is being called upon to store and process 10-20x as many active cases as usual, could be 100x by the end of this month.

      There are also penalties for those who write their system’s business rules in languages that are no longer widely taught, and have the same ceremonial flavor as those “send me some o’em dang floppies” example business letters in those typing courses. I mean, they’ve had 25 years to rewrite them in Java. :) Kidding aside, domain-specific mini-languages make a lot of sense in situations where things like eligibility requirements will need to change on a moment’s notice due to promos or emergencies.

      1. Wendys

        I programmed in COBOL. It might just be a table or variable definition problem, as in the programs weren’t designed to handle so many applicants at once. A(9999). would only allow up to 9999 applicants. If they bumped up the variable A(999999) or table as in occurs 100000 times, that might do the trick.

    9. griffen

      Not a single reference to Office Space. For shame !

      I bet Mike Bolton could be available

  8. Painted Shut

    All of these “Bernie didn’t run a bad campaign” tweets, including Stoller’s from the other day, remind me of the old Clintonite argument “she didn’t fail, she was failed”. I wasn’t a buyer then, and I’m not one now.

    Because Comey. Because Huma and Anthony. Because NOTLK. No, sorry. Bernie, with the list, infrastructure, ground game, etc., underperformed vs four years ago. He ran an awful campaign. Critical thinking, please.

        1. DanB

          Bernie is the first pancake. In this instance he can be appreciated -with his shortcomings and faults- for his efforts, but it’s time to move on. The “Moses doesn’t get into the Promised Land” myth was conceived for a reason.

          1. richard

            flawed as he was, he was cheated even more
            I am ready to move on… to work on HMPBHCP, or Hump B Hiccup if you prefer that, as I do
            (Hand Marked Paper Ballots Hand Counted in Public)

            1. Carey

              Senator Sanders did one helluva lot, and I’m guessing the JFK/RFK/MLK treatment was always in the background.

              “Not me, Us!” is a good legacy. Bravo, Senator Sanders.

    1. John k

      Yes, he failed to reach the 65+ cohort who have m4a and either don’t want to share or don’t want any risk their taxes go up. Maybe it’s now dawning on them there are times m4a for the lower classes benefits them.
      It’s not over til it’s over. Wisconsin delayed. Biden sounds worse by the day, and they’re doing everything to prop him up for the 60 sec sound bite. Trumps already using these sound bites…

      1. ambrit

        Putting back the Convention to August is a real problem for Biden’s campaign. Or whoever is behind it. All Biden has to do is make it to the Convention and then he could bow out in favour of Her Royal Highness HRC. Now he has to be kept together for extra weeks. I’m not sure how much good an industrial sized roll of Political Duct Tape will do. (He can Duck all he wants, but has to get back up after. The getting back up is the hard part.)
        I’ll also suggest that the Veep position will not be filled until the Convention. An extant Veep candidate would complicate things for the HRH HRC Coronation 2.0 Project.

      2. HotFlash

        Well, what a difference four years make. My nonagenarian father and his long-time lady friend were both *huge* Bernie supporters, as were many/most of their similarly-aged friends. Last time I looked 90 was larger than 65+. Neither of them voted for Bernie this MI primary, b/c they were both *dead* by then.

        The younger generation? Some Bernie, some Hillary, for gender and ‘electibilty’ reasons. In the final, dunno so much, but some Hillary (woman/blue no matter), some Trump (burn it down). The election I don’t even talk about it with them.

        1. ambrit

          That would be a wonderful prank!
          Trump and Biden together on posters promoting the “Defeatist Party 2020.”

      3. drumlin woodchuckles

        Do you have any courtroom quality evidence of a single nameable over 65er who has said he/she does not want to share or doesn’t want to risk their taxes going up?

    2. Arizona Slim

      Speaking from my, ahem, exalted position as the host of three Bernie 2020 events, I noticed a BIG difference between 2016 and now.

      Specifically, the on-the-ground enthusiasm. For two of those events, I welcomed exactly two people. The third event? Bupkis.

      On my bicycle rides around town, I only started to notice the Bernie stickers during this spring. And, sorry to say, even they aren’t as prevalent as they were four years ago.

      What did Bernie in? I’m going to venture out on a limb and say that it had something to do with his caving for Clinton. And the collective hunch that he would do the same for Biden.

      1. Left in Wisconsin

        I think the question that none of us knows the answer to is how many of his 2016 45%:
        – were and remain true Bernie backers
        – were Bernie backers in 2016 but, as you say, became distressed by HRC support or other later moves
        – weren’t Bernie backers but respected his integrity and found him supportable, and would this time around if he became the nominee even if he wasn’t necessarily first choice
        – on balance preferred him to HRC but are good Dems and mostly worry about electability
        – would never support HRC and voted for him because he was the alternative

        I’m in the camp that says he didn’t fumble away the nomination, he just maxxed out his support. Much as I would like to find some, I just don’t see any evidence that he lost support on the left significant enough to have made a difference. I do think you identify an enthusiasm gap vs 2016, but I’m not sure it directly translates to votes.

        The argument that “he ran a terrible campaign” implies a better campaign would have got him more votes or won him the nomination. I don’t see it.

        I would ascribe more impact to TDS. As I have described here previously, my woke neighborhood and city are completely consumed by it. One point it proves, that would be hilarious if it wasn’t so painful, is that the PMC is the opposite of free thinkers.

        I’m holding out hope for their children, though, a huge number of whom identify as socialists despite having grown up with every advantage and not really having a good sense of what the word means. But they sure do understand M4A. We just have to make sure is has good mental health and “complementary health” coverage. (Not /s)

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Sanders’s failure to destroy and humiliate the despicable Biden in public is a failure. Whether political, psychological or whatever, I don’t know. But it was a failure.

      2. albrt


        I voted for Sanders in the AZ primary, but I didn’t get too excited this time around and I didn’t give him any money.

        If Sanders had started a third party I probably would have given the party money, and still be giving it today.

        Now it looks like my best option will be to boycott the election like they do in other third world countries with rigged electoral systems.

      3. Painted Shut

        Some good comments above. I’ll expand on a few of them below. Overall, the main ideas Bernie espouses should benefit and be appealing to 99% of America. The fact that this didn’t show up in the primary results means Bernie did a poor job of branding, messaging, and understanding voters.

        – Caving for Clinton. Or, more expansively, Bernie seems to prioritize “being part of policy conversation” above winning, which is not appealing to voters who need solutions, not incrementalism.

        – Trump Derangement Syndrome. Primary exit poll after exit poll showed that Beating Trump was more important to dem voters than Choosing a Candidate that Agrees with My Point of View. So, this is a failure on Bernie’s part to present himself as the candidate most likely to beat Trump.

        – Medicare for All. The branding here was (and continues to be, for progressives) a huge tactical error. The Medicare brand is (1) not good, (2) not actually in line with what Bernie is actually proposing, and (3) gives an entire population of high-turnout voters the impression that there’s nothing in it for them. Medicare sucks. It’s why you need supplement this, supplement that. Bernie’s actual proposal was $0 at point of care. Medicare is not that. So why call it Medicare for All?? That is like proposing universal high speed broadband coverage for the country, but calling it AOL for All. From a branding standpoint, it’s just terrible. Progressives always seem to this, and it needs to stop. The reason we can’t get anything done on climate change is because some hat rack once called it Global Warming… now everytime it snows, the snark comes out “hey… how bout that global warming…”. Branding matters. To be continued…

        1. Painted Shut

          2/ continuing the Bernie campaign and Medicare for All thought… there are concerns as to how this will work, logistically, and Bernie will need to solve for those:

          – Most every interaction with any government agency is a crappy experience (DMV, Unemployment office, etc.). Although our medical system isn’t great, folks fear it could always get worse.

          – Demand for medical services will go up. This includes both necessary procedures for those who previously did not have access to them, but also some folks abusing the system (yes, this is a real thing). Think of it this way, if groceries became $0 at point of service, do you think everyone’s shopping habits would remain exactly the same? Or do you think there’d be shortages of certain things? Same thing with medical care. There will be abuse.

          – As mentioned above, folks on Medicare don’t see any additional benefit to themselves (at least based on the branding, if not the substance), and don’t want others to have it. Why?

          – Growing up, they didn’t have it. Why should anyone else? And,

          – With more people accessing the system, there is fear that what is available to them now will not be available, or will have a higher wait time, etc., with M4A. And this will no doubt be true.

          – Their fear is that they will end up sitting in the waiting room with fat, smelly low income folks who are letting their undisciplined kids run amok.

          But it seems that seniors would want $0 cost at point of care, assuming they still get the same or better care as they are currently getting. And seniors vote! Bernie’s failure to get that message across, primarily due to poor branding, led to seniors voting for Biden instead.

        2. Painted Shut

          3/ Also, in terms of branding, Bernie needed to run, not walk, away from the Socialist label. Seniors will not be having socialism… you may as well run Gorbachev/Cold War/USSR in their minds. Run, don’t walk. Poor branding there, too.

          Lastly, Bernie needed to do more policy proposal-wise to appeal to the Middle Class as opposed to the poor. The country already has myriad programs to assist the poor. It is already stacked to help the rich. It is the Middle Class that is getting the short end of the stick. And while Bernie was proposing universal benefits, he needed to be clear that the Middle Class would actually benefit from them, as opposed to being means tested out as typically ends up being the case.

          Branding and brand messaging matter. Everyone still remembers MAGA (side note: Steve Bannon’s a smart dude…). Better branding and brand messaging, and we’re probably seeing Bernie as the frontrunner at this point.

          1. ObjectiveFunction

            Great comments here, very cogent summary of the ‘Against’ point of view. Many thanks!

        3. drumlin woodchuckles

          it wasn’t some hatrack who called global warming by the name global warming. It was bunches of climate scientists applying a scientifically accurate name to what they were seeing.
          It was Frank Luntz who invented the name Climate Change because Global Warming was broadly understood to be a problem whereas Climate Change was spinable as not-a-problem.

          Militant Backwardite Stupidites who laugh and sneer every time it snows should be encouraged to buy land along the coasts.

          But the Medicare For All mis-branding is indeed political branding malpractice. Small minds think it is clever because it can be acronymed into M4A. Isn’t that clever? To most normal people, M4A means a crappy dogsh*t Obamacare Bronze Plan for All.

          If Canadian Single Payer is the goal, call it CanadaCare for America.

      4. Aumua

        There’s going to always be two sides to this conversation. What did Bernie in is mistakes that he made yes, but I personally can never forget the vicious, continuous and ongoing unfair treatment of him by the establishment and it’s mouthpiece the MSM. As someone else pointed out, branding matters but equally important is getting your brand out there to be seen, and Bernie never had a chance.

        His biggest mistake is putting up with the abuse I suppose, but if he made an issue of it then it would be spun as him complaining and being a sore loser. He really couldn’t win no matter what he did. If he ran as independent (or threatened to) it would have been a lot more interesting at least.

  9. Louis Fyne

    Re. That Korean care package.

    The Korean govt has a carrot-stick approach. That (the above link) is the carrot…..stick = $8,000 fines (for citizens), deportation for those on visas.

    Fines were raised after Korean students flouted self-quarantine after their return abroad

  10. DJG

    James Comey channels Vogon Poetry.

    Vogon poetry is described as “the third worst poetry in the Universe” behind that of the Azgoths of Kria; four members of an audience died of internal haemorrhaging during a recitation by their poet master Grunthos the Flatulent of his poem “Ode to a Small Lump of Green Putty I Found in My Armpit One Midsummer Morning” while the President of the Mid-Galactic Arts Nobbling Council survived by gnawing one of his own legs off. Grunthos himself was later killed by his own major intestine, which leaped up through his neck and throttled his brain when he attempted to read his twelve-book epic “My Favourite Bathtime Gurgles”. Their poetry was also behind that of Paula Nancy Millstone Jennings of Sussex, which was destroyed when the Earth was.

    At first, I didn’t understand why liberals were all a-slobber over Comey. Now, I know why. He’s a mediocrity who stands for no change to the status quo.

    I believe that I worked this out for myself before he added a predilection for Vogon poetry to his many other manifest failures as a human being.

  11. JohnnyGL

    Re: Respectable lawyer tweet and Bernie post-mortem.

    I think that tweet sort of misses the point, honestly. It’s kind of lazy.
    Q: Why did Bernie lose?
    A: The establishment conspired against him.

    We knew this in 2016, at the latest. The better questions to ask are:

    What did Bernie do to keep the establishment divided? Why didn’t it work?
    We know Bernie kept the Culinary Union and Harry Reid on the sidelines ahead of NV. It was the height of the campaign, really. Chuck Rocha’s masterclass showed what organizing can do in a caucus state. How come this didn’t work as well in SC? I’ve seen reports they weren’t even trying to keep Clyburn on the sidelines. That’s complete malpractice, if true!

    How come when the establishment united around Biden, voters decided to go along with it?
    It seems Bernie hadn’t done enough to demolish the idea of Biden as ‘the safe choice’ in the minds of Dem primary voters. Bernie hadn’t fully closed the deal on ‘electability’. Why not?

    I think the left, inasmuch as it exists, needs to do some soul-searching here. Let’s not act like the Dem elites post-2016 and refuse to learn anything. Early signs aren’t good. At a time when the establishment of both parties has behaved worse than ever, the bailout vote of 96-0 is a staggering show of weakness and a complete lack of courage. It will undermine the credibility of all who took it. The House doing a ‘voice vote’ with no one on record, is arguably worse. Congressional Leadership rapidly consolidated power and deployed it for transparent corruption. At this point, who can credibly go hard at the dem establishment from the left without a checkered record to defend? Even AOC and the Squad have gotta own that vote, now.

    Things look a lot worse for the left than they did even a month ago.

    1. ewmayer

      The piece also fails to note serial major acts of self-sabotage by Sanders.

      – In 2016 we had “enough with the damn e-mails already!” and “I vow to support the nominee even if it is clear that the primary process was rigged 6 ways to Sunday.”

      – In 2020: “Joe Biden is a friend of mine”, focusing on “beat Trump” rather than relentlessly hammering Biden’s horrorshow legislative record, basically running a campaign on “we want a polite revolution” principles. Like I keep saying, you can’t have a revolution without offending *somebody*.

      1. JohnnyGL

        I think Sanders was too nice to the beltway insiders while sounding too extreme to the voters. He needed to do the opposite. He needed to threaten and scare the establishment in quiet conversations and sound more soothing and ‘unifying’ when talking to voters.

        He needs to be more extreme with Beltway figures, saying “work with me and cut a deal, or I’ll destroy your candidate in the general election and I’ll back primaries against you, too.”

        But, when talking to voters, I think Kyle Kulinski of Secular Talk had some really good points when talking to Glenn Greenwald on Greenwald’s new show. He said Bernie should just call himself a moderate. It’s sort of schizophrenic to say, “we need a revolution” and then immediately say his policies aren’t revolutionary. The latter is more effective with normal Dem voters.

        Zaid Jilani also had some good criticisms of the ‘revolutionary’ talk. Apparently, he was doing TV ads in South Carolina raging against Jamie Dimon and ‘Wall Street’. You gotta meet voters where they are. SC dems don’t know who runs big NY banks and don’t care. Higher min wages and higher teacher salaries and defending voting rights and M4A is plenty enough. He should have been hitting Biden on SS cuts like he did in Iowa.

    2. WJ

      Sanders did not go *near* hard enough against the establishment imo. His only shot–and it was a long-shot, I admit–was to rhetorically decimate the Dem establishment in the way that Trump was willing and able to do to the Republican establishment. Sanders, let us not forget, DENIED THAT BIDEN IS CORRUPT! No wonder why so many people who might have been open to Sanders were also open, at the end of the day, to the more electable, non-corrupt Biden. Frankly, the more I think about Sanders’ refusal to call a spade a spade when it comes to his Democrat “colleagues,” the angrier and more conspiratorial I get…..

      1. JohnnyGL

        Yes, he should have both 1) went harder at some figures, like Biden on SS and 2) worked harder to win more endorsements from other major party figures….signalling to voters he was a ‘safe’ and ‘acceptable’ option for them. You don’t have to win a ton of them, just enough to keep the establishment divided.

        Reporting is suggesting that Jane and Bernie themselves were the ones holding back a lot of campaign staff from going harder at Biden. Apparently, even Sirota got scolded. If Bernie wants to value his personal friendships in congress more than he wants to be president and help us ordinary people….well, he didn’t deserve to win, then.

        Biden doesn’t give a F about Bernie. It’s delusional that Bernie doesn’t get that and doesn’t feel the same way.

      2. fresno dan

        April 6, 2020 at 4:12 pm

        I have to agree with your analysis WJ. If your (i.e., Sanders) gonna say, all the democratic candidates are a swell bunch…uh, why would people vote for the independent (or former independent) instead of the democrat???
        Need I bring up the Truman quote? – you know I can’t resist quotes…

        Truman: “I’ve seen it happen time after time. When the Democratic candidate allows himself to be put on the defensive and starts apologizing for the New Deal* and the fair Deal*, and says he really doesn’t believe in them, he is sure to lose. The people don’t want a phony Democrat. If it’s a choice between a genuine Republican, and a Republican in Democratic clothing, the people will choose the genuine article, every time; that is, they will take a Republican before they will a phony Democrat, and I don’t want any phony Democratic candidates in this campaign.”
        The thing of it is, Sanders is more true to the Harry Truman wing of the democratic party than ALL of his (Sanders) “democratic” primary opponents. But its not really about one man, or who gets to be called a true democrat or a rose. The policies that Sanders espouses are supported by a majority of the American people. And to the the extent these policies are opposed, it is because very rich people are buying politicians to oppose them. Sanders was just not brutal enough in showing that the incumbent democrats are part of the problem.
        Again, look to Trump – and we can use Ted Cruz as an example. Look up what Trump said about Cruz during the campaign, and Cruz is as good a lap dog as any other republican – Sanders didn’t need to be nice to have democratic support after the election. It was foolish of Sanders not to go for the jugular – Trump understands fully well people are disgusted with government. Sanders insinuating that things were okie dokie during the Obama years showed that he really was a coca cola revolutionary…
        ** substitute M4A

        1. Oh

          Obama gave him the Okie Doke and Sanders said nary a thing against the ills of the Obama Administration. We as people got suckered again by BS.

        2. HotFlash

          If your (i.e., Sanders) gonna say, all the democratic candidates are a swell bunch…uh, why would people vote for the independent (or former independent) instead of the democrat???

          Perhaps he underestimated the voters’ ability to see through bs? Bad Bernie!

            1. ambrit

              Well, underestimated can also be valid, at least to a committed cynic. That would assume that Bernie was the source of a large part of the cloud of b.s. enveloping this campaign.

      3. c_heale

        I think that due to his long time in politics, he’s too used to working with other people when getting things done. This is no good in a competitive situation.

      4. drumlin woodchuckles

        Sanders may have been influenced by “Popular Front” concepts in his early youth. And he also grew up believing in Coalitionism and such. And you don’t tell the truth against potential Coalition members.

        I believe that what is needed now is the kind of candidate who understands that for the foreseeable future . . . Love is a crock of sh*t and Hate is what makes the world go round.

    3. Oregoncharles

      The obvious lesson is that the Democratic Party is where lefty movements, including Bernie’s, go to die. And: they’ll cheat if they need to. Did you think only the Republicans can do that?

      And just to be obnoxious: I did say so, a long time ago.

      Now the next question: What next?

      And I’ll repeat a strategic point/plug: it’s very difficult to gather signatures, needed to get alternatives on the ballot in many states, in a lockdown. The Howie Hawkins campaign is trying lawsuits, but those take money. The URL: http://www.howiehawkins.us.

      I just posted an article saying we’re in a pre-revolutionary situation. If we miss this chance, the right will not.

    4. HotFlash

      So, Democratic voters united around Biden because he has better politician (by what metric?), is more electable (despite polls to the contrary, both in 2016 and 2020), did not campaign much of anywhere, has no baggage (hello Lucy Flores, Tara Reade, et al. BTW, searches for this came up considerably short of what I remember), disparaged his opponents more fiercely (hello, was he even *there*?), and is, generally, a more relatable guy than Bernie? Eg Medicare for all: Bernie “health care is a ‘uman right”, vs Joe “I will veto it if it ever gets to my desk.” Got it, Joe’s our guy.

      If you bin Bernie, you deserve whatever you will get, whether Biden or Trump again. That’s how democracy works.

      Also: Hand marked ballots, counted in public.

      1. JBird4049

        I’m mad at Sanders, but really, the stack was, and is stacked, against him by the party using every dishonest or illegal tactic short of murder. That he is still a viable candidate even now deserves respect.

        1. ambrit

          Yes, but “respect” does not get us M4A or Student Loan Debt Relief or a sane Main Street Economy, etc. etc.
          I’ll extend your observation. Sanders campaign should have anticipated this situation because of their experiences back in 2016. That there is no obvious ‘Plan B’ in sight tells us something about the Sanders campaign. Either those running it are incompetent or corrupt.
          Also, I would not put murder past these Democrat Party nomenklaturae. If Obama can proudly call himself the ‘Droner in Chief,’ what does that say about the ethics of the Democrat Party elites?
          I am more and more convinced as this sordid tale of venality and deceit unfolds that Sanders is either terminally naive or duplicitous in his own right.
          Anyone who passes up an excellent chance to neutralize their main opponent in a political race (the last debate) is not serious about seizing power.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Maybe not incompetent. Maybe just limited by limited vision. Maybe hobbled by believing in crap like Love when Hatred is what is called for in these times.

    5. HotFlash

      Jeez, people, Bernie fought harder and got farther than anyone in the 21st century. His platform is, according to polling, supported by the majority of the American people — M4A, $15 minimum, forgiveness of student and medical debt, free tuition for public colleges and trade schools — you know all that stuff. If you can do better, run for office, make your case and if it is good enough, I will send you $$, phone bank and knock virtual doors for you.

      1. ambrit

        Bernie, as of now, has lost twice to the same cabal of Democrat Party grifters. Once can be excused as part of the learning curve. Twice must be attributed to a basic weakness in his political instincts.
        Secondly, and I do not presume to know the answer to this problem, all those “supporters” of the progressive agenda did not come out and vote for Sanders. Why? If a plausible explanation can be come up with, then counter measures could have been formulated and deployed. Since the lack of results is a major data point in it’s own right, then either the Sanders campaign is incompetent or corrupt. Take your choice. Either way, we lose.

        1. The Rev Kev

          When Sanders goes on TV and lies that Joe Biden can indeed beat Trump, then I am going for incompetency. Can you image a Trump-Biden debate? You would only need one debate and it is all over for the democrats. Why would he say something like that?

          1. ambrit

            Yes. I wondered the same thing. Unless, it really is a “cunning plan,” and Sanders is actively trying to bring down the Democrat Party by insuring that the weakest candidate is run on the Democrat ticket this November.
            Perhaps Sanders experience in the essentially regional US Senate campaigns is not translating well to the national level. It could be as simple as a structural incompetence.

            1. The Rev Kev

              And he will be 83 years old by the time of the 2024 elections so will be too old to be a candidate. This was his last chance to get it done and he blew it.

    1. MLTPB

      Is that everyone in the country, every day, week or month?

      I wonder if constantly preparing for unification has helped here?

      1. MLTPB

        Special Army Meat.

        Khrushchev was quoted saying, without Spam, they wouldn’t have been able to feed their army.

  12. Krystyn Podgajski

    So Paula did everything right in her life. How have we paid her back? She’s had everything snatched from her overnight. Nothing she planned for in her life involved losing her job and not being employable. Nothing. And there are tens of millions of Americans in the same spot

    — Yashar Ali

    So what? You could say the same of about me and countless people like me before this crisis and no one gave a damn. I was making over 100K as a Network Engineer before my body revolted. But apparently I did something wrong, right? Because no one helped me. There were never any GoFundMe’s like the one he is started now. People will go back to being marginalized by these neoliberals right after all this is over. They do not impress me at all. They have an opportunistic kindness that is no better than how Joe Exotic treated his cubs.

    NOTHING will change until there is a spiritual revolution in this country.

    1. Billy

      She did everything but use birth control, or, stay married for her and her child’s sake.
      Sick of the sanctification of single women.
      Some might be better off single, but the majority of good marriages I have seen had their rough patches and the men and women toughed it out which proved beneficial for everyone involved.

      1. JBird4049

        “Sanctification of single women” sounds a bit sanctimonious to me, but my family and I have had periods of prosperity, even wealth, followed by poverty and back up again. That was possible, perhaps common in the past century, but rather not today.

        Do the books The Scarlet Letter and The House of Mirth make good suggestions for how our society should treat people? That people must be perfect or else deserve to be disposed of? Accidents happen, people make mistakes, some men are irresponsibly awful, and people get sick or die; this is called life.

        I rather focus on the reality that it gets harder every year just to even survive in the United States without everything going perfectly. Since that almost never happens even in a single year, that means more and more people are economically and then socially destroyed.

        1. ambrit

          Which definitely brings up the question of the definition of the Soul of the Nation. Love it or hate it, ethics and morality are very important in maintaining a functioning society. If all you want is a viable economic unit, then today should be pregnant with promise.
          Questions about ‘electability,’ and functional credit markets, and ‘aspirationalism’ completely miss the point. The last century proved that a reasonably just and generally universally secure society can be managed. What is lacking is the will to implement that vision. Both Parties have failed the people of America.
          The scary, yet somehow just characteristic of a real social turning is that it only becomes clear after it has begun to occur.
          Interesting times.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            to wit: a review of a chilling potential new revelation from the Right.

            (and i can deal with Linker’s answer: Pluralism)

            the “Dark Enlightenment” of Mencius Moldbug…channeling Hans Hermann Hoppe and Joseph de Maistre…raises it’s head in a time of crisis.

            If people of good conscience and compassion don’t provide the Narrative…someone else surely will.
            caveat ruinam.

    2. HotFlash

      I was making over 100K as a Network Engineer before my body revolted.

      Well, Krystyn, that is very nice for you and I congratulate you on your good planning and good fortune, at least until that last bad thing happened. I have never made that much, probably due to ‘poor life choices’, ie, I chose to do a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay (self-employed, I set my own price) and to make worthwhile goods that will last for centuries and make/made a modest living at it. If we are going to point fingers, what did Boris Johnson do wrong? Or Jamie Dimon?

      1. JBird4049

        I am more concerned with why some can completely frakup like George W. Bush and windup President whereas others far better than he, or as least deserving of the second, third, fourth, and fifth as he got, literally sleep in the gutters

        What Johnson and Dimon did right was be born to right parents, which meant the right people with the right connections, schools, and money and the magical ability to fail upwards. I am assuming that Krystyn does not have the ability to fall upwards. Hard work, education, and competence does not guarantee much, but wealth and connections do. He, like most of us, can only fall downwards.

    1. shtove

      BBC medical guest talked about ventilator, and got cut off sharply by the interviewer. He’s definitely been receiving oxygen. Odds on ventilator survival are not good.

    2. c_heale

      As usual the UK government and supine press can’t tell the truth, even when it is in their interest.

      1. MLTPB

        FDR didn’t want people to know about his legs.

        Dont know if we can criticize him for that.

  13. antidlc

    “I have to say that the Biden personally encouraging his voters to join the lines at the polling booths in the midst of a pandemic and infect themselves and others is, well, novel, like so much else this year. Again, how can anybody regard this election is legitimate? ”

    Oh, the hypocrisy!

    He wants a “virtual convention” but it’s OK to go to the polls.

  14. Oregoncharles

    ““Google Data Centers’ Secret Cost: Billions of Gallons of Water” [Bloomberg]. “Google considers its water use a proprietary trade secret and bars even public officials from disclosing the company’s consumption.”

    Huh? How on earth can they do that? Those states don’t have public-record laws? (Oregon may be one of them.)

    Second, because someone asked about re-using the water: water is not destroyed when used for cooling, but much depends on just how they use it. I see two possible ways: 1) straight through and returned to the river. No effect on flow, but it will heat up the river – a major issue for, eg, salmon. 2) Cooled by evaporation – imagine the huge towers at power plants. This doesn’t destroy the water, but does throw a lot of it up in the air. It doesn’t heat the river, but does reduce flow, at least unless most of the water vapor precipitates upstream (possible, if there’s a mountain range downwind – I’m imagining the PNW/Columbia river basin). Even then, the return would be very haphazard.

    Water use is restricted throughout the West, so where are they getting the water rights? Vs. irrigation, or cities? Or salmon?

    1. Oregoncharles

      On a closer look: One of them is in the Dalles, Oregon – which does indeed have a stringent public records law. And it uses evaporative cooling; picture of cooling towers blowing steam. And Columbia River flows are indeed a sensitive subject, though raising the temperature would be even more so.

      Building water hogs in the desert, drawing on the grossly overcommitted Colorado, is just unforgivable.

      They might not need so much server capacity if they weren’t doing so much spying and recording everything we say or do on the Internet. Hmmm – article does not include the NSA server farms.

  15. WJ

    UPDATE Sanders (D)(2): “Some Sanders top allies have urged him to withdraw from 2020 race: report” [The Hill]. “Sanders’ campaign manager Faiz Shakir ……

    In my opinion Faiz Shakir has not done a great job managing Sanders’ 2020 campaign. Sanders’ gestures in the direction of identity politics, Russia-gate, and Trump-Derangement-Syndrome hurt his chances rather than helped them. Greenwald is right. You can’t run as an anti-establishment, rogue, outsider candidate and make as many capitulations to establishment group-think as Sanders proved willing to do in 2020. His going on about “My friend Joe,” occasionally about the “Russians,” and all-too-often about Trump’s preternatural badness served only to blunt his message and distract from the real uniqueness of his history, policies, and (what should have been) his campaign. (Also, what about the rumors regarding some iciness between Sanders’ campaign and Gabbard? What is up with that?) It should by now be clear to all that Shakir either pushed for or at least failed decisively to correct these woeful aspects of Sanders’ 2020 strategy. I do not think Sanders’ should follow his advice now. But I bet he will.

    1. Tom Doak

      Our Revolution did, today, send an email to me [and presumably many Sanders donors] asking whether he should stay in the race to the convention, and whether it was vitally important that he gain at least 25% of the delegates in order to have good representation on the Rules Committee and fight to eliminate superdelegates forevermore.

      That was the main thrust — not that he’s still trying to win, but that he shouldn’t concede so he can have standing to affect the platform.

      I believe he should definitely stay in til the [bitter] end. Things are just so fluid right now, who knows what might happen? If they can’t prop up Biden any longer for some reason, we all know that the DNC would pivot to someone else instead of the guy who has the second most delegates, but everyone needs to see THAT happen, on live television. Which now the Dems are hoping to avoid, if it’s not safe to go to Milwaukee this summer, which it surely won’t be. Giving up the electoral momentum of a convention and nominee would be a pretty big deal if you’re actually trying to win, but —

      1. JTMcPhee

        Interesting. I’ve contributed a lot of fixed-income dollars to the Bernie campaign and no one asked me what I thought about his forcing the issue all the way to the bitter end.

        I wonder what the poll questions were — a push poll aiming to justify their cowardly withdrawal, surely. Not anything intended to inform and actually detect the sentiment of us voters.

        Faiz Shakir’s messages to contributors were mostly the kind of whiny crap I got from Biden and a bunch of coproDems, demanding that I just HAD to give more money NOW or the world would collapse. He was singularly unimpressive, seen through that lens. I replied and sent emails to the campaign contact, noting among other things that their number-shaming based on their accounting of what I had contributed actually undervalued both the number of contributions and dollar amount by 50 percent. Did get a brief reply with no correction of the record.

        We were so hopeful…“I coulda been a contender!…” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBiewQrpBBA

        1. John k

          After reading your post I checked mail, saw and responded, voted to stay in, and gave 27.
          This was just the approach I wanted to respond to, asking my opinion. Questions maybe slanted a bit towards the right answer being to stay in… but a fav response gives him justification to do just that. So maybe they have to prop good ol joe at least until June. And by then imo we will get a better view how bad things are, how badly we need a real change.

      2. sd

        Something strange happened a couple of days ago. I suddenly started getting emails from the DLCC and various DLCC entities. And I’ve never subscribed to their emails. I wonder if someone has stolen part of Bernie’s list. (fwiw, the emails are badly designed and use really dated graphics)

        1. ambrit

          Be very careful. We get DLCC snail mailings, but no e-mails. Don’t click on any attachments. I would seriously suspect these missives as being malware. The hard copy donation queries masquerading as polls are well thought out and have good production values.

  16. Lee

    The pandemic is making me feel more immediately and materially useful these days. Because of my senior status, I get to shop during early morning hours reserved for the old folks when other members of my household and our social circle cannot.

    I gear up with P-100 mask, eye protection and poncho and get various items often unavailable to shoppers later in the day. So far the numbers who take advantage of these early hours are relatively few, which happily limits having to make socially awkward evasive maneuvers in the aisles. It feels like shunning, and I hate it.

    Also, we are now participants in an ad hoc mutual aid group that has developed between people we know who have various comparative advantages. For example, a friend and neighbor is a restaurant worker with shopping privileges at a wholesale food supplier. The problem is that large quantities must be purchased at once. Our solution has been to expand our group to take advantage of the lower prices and at the same time not buy so much that some of it goes to waste.

    I am reminded fondly of the time during my misspent youth when our collective participated in the San Francisco Bay Area Food Conspiracy. Solidarity during a time of social distancing: I cannot hug you but I can leave a dozen eggs or a bottle of isopropyl alcohol on your doorstep and you can do something for me I can’t do for myself.

  17. Harold

    Speaking of ventilators, I wonder why no one talks about ECMO machines anymore. Apparently they were used a lot in Wuhan, at least reading about Wuhan is where I learned about them. Unlike ventilators, they oxygenate the blood outside of the body.

    1. FreeMarketApologist

      I’ve always loved that map. Even more so since moved and live farther east than 9th Ave. And it does look like that!

  18. Bill Carson

    I’ve got some healthcare links that could be good fodder for discussion.

    There are a bunch of doctors who are angry about how they are being taken for granted during this COVID pandemic. Here’s an 8-minute video by one of them:

    ZDoggMD–Stop Silencing Doctors: A Clinician Manifesto

    Then there’s Matt Stoller’s longish discussion about how Private Equity is harming U.S. healthcare.

    Why Private Equity Is Cutting Doctor Pay and Organizing Our Pandemic Response

    And an article that Stoller linked to in his piece.

    Amid coronavirus, private equity-backed company slashes benefits for emergency room doctors

    And if anyone is interested in hearing from another doctor, here is a longer interview of a New York surgeon who makes no bones about the fact that she does not appreciate the hospital managers acting like they expect the doctors to work for free when everyone else in the system is getting paid really well. She discussed what might happen when the hospitals run out of PPE—which is that she may not going to work. She says she is not going to put her own health and the health of her family at risk to treat patients during a pandemic without adequate protection.

    What It’s REALLY Like To Care For COVID ICU Patients: Dr. Gordon, NYC Surgeon, Interview by Dr. Duc C. Vuong

    1. MLTPB

      Regarding doctors, I believe there was a story about the mayor of New York suggesting drafting doctors to go to NY last week.

      Is it still being asked?

  19. Carey

    ‘Coronavirus: why the Nordics are our best bet for comparing strategies’,
    by Paul W Franks, Professor of Genetic Epidemiology, Lund University:

    “..Daily updated graphs illustrating the rising COVID-19 death rates in different countries raise hopes that we can understand the impact of the virus and work out how to stop it from spreading further. But when comparing countries as different as South Korea, China, Italy and the UK, we may find the impression of how different interventions work is obscured by many other factors.

    These countries differ in many important ways, including demographics, civil disobedience, population density, patterns of social interactions, air quality and genetics. Italy, for example, has regions with older populations than many other countries. And European societies are unlikely to ever accept the draconian interventions used in China and South Korea.

    From a scientific perspective, and in the absence of better models, the Nordic countries of Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland – which are culturally, economically, politically and geographically similar – may, serendipitously, represent a powerful intervention trial.

    Currently, 15 million people here have been assigned to a lockdown, while a further 10 million have been asked to simply act responsibly. While it is too early to have definite answers about what works best, interesting insights can already be gleaned.

    The Swedish approach to COVID-19 could not be more different from its neighbours, placing much of the responsibility for delaying the spread of the virus and protecting the vulnerable in the hands of the public. It’s now April and, albeit with some restrictions, Swedish bars, restaurants and schools remain open..”


    1. MLTPB

      Sounds like our discussions about various diets and supplements – it depends on the individual.

      Here, it depends on the country…there are many factors to consider, to draw appropriate lessons.

        1. Carey

          That’s completely different, all right! Don’t know whether Mister PhD is
          right or wrong, but that reads like something from Publishers’ Clearing House
          circa 1985. Careful with the Vitamin A, too..

  20. D. Fuller

    What exactly does this mean? That the Fed will be providing loans to banks that are supposed to be providing PPP loans, using PPP loans as collateral… Am I guessing that they will be leveraging PPP loans made be banks for banks to take out even more money from The Fed despite the expectations that many of those loans used for collateral are at high risk of default?

    Federal Reserve will establish a facility to facilitate lending to small businesses via the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) by providing term financing backed by PPP loans

    And since many of those loans are forgiven if the loans are used for payroll and such… that this is nothing more than for The Fed to hand more free money to banks?

    Apparently, it did not take banks long to figure out how to make “bank” on the loans.

    1. Tom Doak

      Today my company’s 401(k) plan administrator urgently requested action on whether to enable a new feature of the coronavirus legislation, that would allow individuals to withdraw money or to borrow against their 401(k) savings for emergency expenses because of the virus.

      She did not mention that doing so would remove the shield on creditors taking that money from you or your heirs, should you get sick or die.

      I’m going to guess that trap door in the legislation was suggested by a lobbyist.

      1. Jen

        Odd thing. Couple of weeks or so ago I was contemplating taking $ out of my 401K to pay off a small mortgage balance and car loan. My logic being I’m doing alright and I’m not sure this funny money will be worth wiping my bum with in the not to distant future. Found the right drop down menu, picked an amount and the site asked me for a tax with-holding %. At this point, I chickened out. And now, all the links to make a withdrawl have magically disappeared.

        Not looking to debate the wisdom of my choices, just noting that some choices seem to have disappeared.

        1. periol

          If you get a chance to do it again, do it, but this time do the math on the withholding.

          The stimulus is a pre-pay on your tax refund for next year if you have one coming, so feel free to whittle your refund down to zero.

          1. Jen

            If I do, believe me I will, but I suspect it will involve phone calls, long waits and the like. Perhaps I’m a bit foily, but it seems odd that my plan is suddenly restricting the ability to draw from by 401K while values remain relatively high.

    2. notabanker

      Maybe because the TBTF’s are going to securitize the loans and what the Fed to fund the gap until they dump them?

  21. Mikel

    RE: “The Democratic Party Must Harness the Legitimate Rage of Americans. Otherwise, the Right Will Use It With Horrifying Results.”

    That is the point of this current crisis. Easy to peep. They’re setting up the hyperinflation now..
    .This anger over the economy will product the designed move to right and you can combine this with the Ecofascism to come.
    EU – that will become a supranational fascist regime too.

    1. c_heale

      The only people who believe that ‘ecofacism’ actually exists appear to be climate change deniers.

      1. Mikel

        There are going to be many ways to tackle climate change. It matters.
        I’m just clearly stating the one the current global economic order would prefer.
        I know it doesn’t bother neolibs and the technocrats who love them. Nor those who are in awe of technocrats…

    2. clarky90

      Re ““The Democratic Party Must Harness…….”

      One would never speak of “harnessing” a human being, unless they were describing/fantasizing their own sexually depraved proclivities.

      “Harness” and “harnesses”, when speaking of living creatures, describes how the beast of burden is pacified, and then compelled to do the bidding of the sometimes, “kind” master, or other times, “cruel” master.

      The writer’s choice of words, may, inadvertently, reveal their hidden intent? A pox on them.

    3. Massinissa

      I don’t understand why people think that climate deniers will become ‘ecofascists’ overnight. It makes no sense.

      1. Aumua

        Well if Trump and his advisors Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh start saying something different from what they were saying, then you can bet their followers will turn on a dime in lock step. They won’t even blink. They truly are that brainwashed and incapable of independent thought.

        1. albrt

          Kind of like rank and file Democrats who were suddenly told/decided that perennial loser Joe Biden (NOW with more DEMENTIA!) was the almighty Trump-slayer and savior of the party?

          1. Aumua

            Yeah it’s true that they will do as the hypnotist instructs them as well. But to my eye the Trump supporters are a special brand of True Believer that you won’t find quite so prevalent on the Democrat side.

            Indeed many of them are literal evangelicals.

    4. Big River Bandido

      I found the very premise of the article to be a joke. The Democrat Party bears half the responsibility for the mess the nation is in. “Harness the legitimate rage of Americans”??? They don’t even *hear* it.

    1. Aumua

      * Mass graves not being dug, but the possibility is being discussed. The distinction these days doesn’t seem to be very important, but I think it still is.

    2. ObjectiveFunction

      Hmm, I believe the last operable coal fired plant in the NYC area was PSEG’s Hudson Generating Station in Jersey City, shuttered in 2017. I don’t know how far along the decom and remediation has gone yet. But the 660mw wall-fired boiler could readily be used as a crematorium, firing oil.

      LIPA has some smaller waste-to-energy facilities on Long Island that could also be repurposed as crematoria in a pinch.

      I *love* the smell of a shattered social contract in the morning!

  22. Wukchumni

    Why Mammoth Lakes Is Turning Away Visitors

    For most of the year, about 8,000 people live in Mammoth Lakes, a resort town 7,881 feet high in the Sierra Nevada mountains. At peak ski season, the population triples, a fact normally welcomed by civic leaders.

    But not now. Not when surrounding Mono County has the highest rate of coronavirus infection in the state. Not when the county’s lone hospital has just 17 beds. Not when transferring a patient to another hospital means a special medical evacuation flight at a cost of up to $50,000, and when even this option can be delayed by frequent blizzard conditions. And when the town’s thin air only makes respiratory ailments worse.

    On March 15, a day before San Francisco became the first major metro area in the nation to order residents to shelter in place, Dr. Boo declared a local health emergency in Mono County. Ski areas were closed, followed by hotels, motels and bars. In the days since, Dr. Boo has issued increasingly severe directives, including the threat of a $1,000 fine and 90 days in jail for going to work sick, even for jobs deemed essential. The Mono County tourism commission started a social media campaign to actually discourage tourism — #MonoPause.

    When people kept coming, local leaders considered simply shutting down the state highway into town. They settled on a slightly less severe option: establishing the highway checkpoint. Once this step gets state approval, everyone headed into Mammoth Lakes will be stopped and questioned. Only locals and those with essential business will be allowed through.


    Hadn’t realized that Mono County had the highest rate of infection in the state, and it’s all because of Mammoth ski resort, which I deftly dodged along with my fellow cohorts just as things were getting dicey.

    I’ve had reports of very obnoxious AirBnB/VRBO renters here in town the past few days, and looking at the listings, there are a number of ‘Long Term Specials’ being flouted, as if the landlords want to do in the locals, by inviting complete strangers to hang out, who are definitely not a good fit in our community at this time.

    1. Carey

      >Once this step gets state approval, everyone headed into Mammoth Lakes will be stopped and questioned

      ..and as soon as we go back to ‘normal, on the Twelfth of Never, the stop-and-question
      will cease. Amazing to me, what ‘procedures’ will be accepted without complaint..

      look closer

    2. Jen

      Thus far, the spread in my community seems to be holding steady, and I would posit that that is a) because our local “small liberal arts college” sent the vast majority of its undergrads home for spring break and closed the campus, and b) enacted a travel ban for all college funded travel, coupled with the threat of banning anyone who traveled for personal reasons from campus.

      The problem is this: if we bring the undgergrads back, and relax travel restrictions, all those living in places where COVID 19 is pervasive bring that sh*t back here, but how long can we avoid bringing the undergrads back? And when/if we do, what are the implications for our health care system?

      At some point, this might get extremely ugly.

  23. FreeMarketApologist

    Religious groups battle orders to close services

    But isn’t the end of the world supposed to be a good thing? Guess they’re doing all they can to get there first.

  24. anon in so cal

    More from Yasha Levine on Twitter. The “spat” between him (and many others) and Matt Stoller seems to be intensifying:

    “Haha. Dumbshit racist Matt Stoller didn’t even get Steve Bannon right. Bannon was convinced that American institutions could help China with COVID-19 — and that the pandemic would bring down the Communist Party. In fact, America’s melting down. It’s China that’s helping America.”


    1. Carey

      I wonder if I’m the only one who thinks that Twitter™ is a net-negative, all things considered. That particular medium deftly exploits so many of humans’ worst
      tendencies, to my mind..

      1. Left in Wisconsin

        I’ve only been on Twitter for a couple of months and I’m disappointed but not really surprised what a cesspool it is. People like Stoller and the Breunigs seem to be willing to bear the brunt of a fair amount of hostility in order to be “players” on Twitter; I’m not sure I could or would. And I’m still trying to figure out if there is any benefit to society for being part of this conversation, which seems to require a lot of effort. As abusive as Twitter can be, I’m pretty sure the vast majority of tweets are simply ignored, tweeting into the void so to speak.

      2. urblintz

        you are not alone. I read tweets when posted here, but that’s it and I’d never use that platform to express an opinion. Definitely net-negative imho… and how did an app using “twit” as an identifier not get laughed out of the ether?

        1. Carey

          It’s like the Corporation is trolling its users from the get-go with that naming;
          and the urge, or even social need to strike back, seems wired into the site.

  25. David B Harrison

    A lot of comments on how Bernie Sanders is to blame for his campaign failing.But here is a better explanation:as i have said before neoliberalism has created a nation full of suckers and sociopaths.”I’ve got mine to hell with you” is the mantra for anyone depending on government to keep the 401ks alive(via the stock market).Of course the 401ks are a con to get rid of defined pensions and the social safety net.Consumers of liberal mainstream media are fed constant propaganda telling them that there is no alternative to neoliberalism and they believe it.Schools at every level pump out the same propaganda.Moral and intellectual cowardice is the default setting for humanity and these followers of the democratic establishment are cowards.I’ve been voting since 1982 and noticed that people will find every excuse to not pick better candidates and that is what the establishment democratic voters are doing.It is their fault not Bernie Sanders fault(and yes I know he is not perfect).

      1. John

        Private, secret software.

        Prove to us our vote was counted.

        Until then:

        Paper Ballets.

        Counted by Hand

        In Public.

    1. Big River Bandido

      Agree with this comment and Carey’s about electronic voting machines. It’s also helpful to remember that even in high turnout contests, those voters who participate in Democrat primaries number only a small fraction of general election voters. They are self-selected activists — most of them either out for themselves or for the party per se, not any set of principles that it might process at any given moment.

      In Election* 2020, this is even more so.

  26. anon in so cal

    Matt Taibbi:

    “Resetting the Bomb

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

    “exponentially more serious potential for mischief in this new rescue is on the Wall Street side. “With the [Main Street] relief, you might see $50,000 frauds, $100,000, $4 million,” says Barofsky. “It’ll be billions on the other side.”….There are worries from analysts about the use of bailout funds to manipulate financial markets, finance takeovers and buybacks, subsidize executive bonuses. The crisis will surely be used as a pretext to con the public into taking tens or hundreds of billions in bad investments off the books of dumb companies, in the name of “guaranteeing liquidity.” ….

    ….Firms like BlackRock will guide hundreds of billions in Federal Reserve purchases, effectively setting prices as massive buyers in the very markets in which they operate. “The big asset managers are the choke points,” agrees another economist.

    The difference between the Trump rescue and the Bush-Obama bailouts of 2008 is that this time, we’re at least not rescuing the direct culprits behind the crash. Coronavirus isn’t the fault of Bain Capital or Citigroup or Home Depot.

    What’s the same is that instead of fixing glaring structural problems, we’re once again throwing trillions at the unfairness economy, essentially guaranteeing that we’ll be right back in this same spot again soon, bailing out the next era of “record profits.” We’re resetting the bomb again. ”


    1. JTMcPhee

      The ability to respond to the crisis is, however, in large part the fault and intent of th eBain Capitals and Blackrocks, that designed and operated the consolidations and “efficiencies” that have destroyed almost all the resilience of this shadowed political economy.

      Credit where it is due.

  27. JBird4049

    Another damn book to read, even if it is a cautionary tale.

    I ain’t got no work. I ain’t got no classes. I can’t see anyone or go anywhere. I’m just stuck here in my very junior one bedroom apartment, and for all I know, till after the Inauguration. This sounds fine to me! ;-)

  28. The Rev Kev

    “In most religions with which I’m familiar, Typhoid Mary is not a venerated figure…. ‘

    How about St. Corona, current Patron Saint Against Epidemics. They might want to get to know that one.

    1. urblintz

      … or St. Bridgid of Ireland whose sanctifying act was turning bath water into beer. Now that’s a miracle!

  29. tegnost

    My crazy idea is that April 30th people go to every hardware store in the country and buy all the pitch forks, so that on may 1 the purchasing managers have to order more, which of course would register on wall st. I mean profit opportunity!, and a moment for reflection (…they did what?)… Handy for carrying your may day banner. Personally I prefer 4 or 5 tines for soft material.

    1. Billy

      You’d be surprised how effective a broomstick, cut to the appropriate length can be, or a shovel handle, as well as even a straight tree branch. “Oh, that’s just my walking stick”.

  30. tegnost

    Re wisconsin, IMNSHO it’s clear that the dems do not want to give the people a chance to ponder the state of the union, and whether the private sector can actually achieve anything notable to justify it’s premier status. Also, if bernie doesn’t drop out, how can they fake left (see sibelius re ” how could we know private equity would do such a thing…)

  31. Billy

    Fun with Wikipedia:
    “Medieval political speculation is imbued to the marrow with the idea of a structure of society based upon distinct orders. The static view of society was predicated on inherited positions. Commoners were universally considered the lowest order. The higher estates’ necessary dependency on the commoners’ production, however, often further divided the otherwise equal common people into burghers (also known as bourgeoisie) of the realm’s cities and towns, and the peasants and serfs of the realm’s surrounding lands and villages.”

    Today, April 6th, people who have never known a time in their family’s multi generational history when upward mobility was not a possibility, are suddenly having to confront not only their multi-decade inability to progress socially and economically, but may be facing a financial and social abyss, as their family elevator plunges into dark poverty and their children become Serfs in the globalized Neo-Feudal Empire.

    On the other hand, this scenario becomes merely a bad dream if people get their shit together–like starting as soon as possible–demanding justice and a share of the nation that their forefathers created, to paraphrase Jefferson.

    “If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their money, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks, will deprive the people of their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.”
    ~ Thomas Jefferson
    In an 1802 letter to then Secretary of the Treasury, Albert Gallatin.

  32. The Rev Kev

    This was so stupid this. In Victoria, police fined a young girl $1600 as she was in a car with her mother learning to drive which police decided contravened Coronavirus regulation. Yes, the fine was withdrawn but not before the Victorian Health Minister decided to help put the boot in-


    In a car, with her mother, with no contact whatsoever with anybody else, learning to drive which is a skill that cannot be learned on a computer. Idjuts.

  33. VietnamVet

    I noticed the full moon today. It was a half way up, not yet twilight, but it was bright and clear. It is the first outside sign in my suburb that sheltering in place is having a global impact.

    I really cannot see doctors, nurses, truckers, grocery clerks, cleaners, packers and farmers after being essential return to being exploited. The million dollar reader, Lester Holt, NBC News is starting to have a 1000 yard stare.

    Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly told the crew USS Theodore Roosevelt that their former commander, Capt. Brett Crozier, was either “too naive or too stupid” to be in command or that he intentionally leaked to the media a memo in which he warned about coronavirus spreading aboard the aircraft carrier and urged action to save his sailors. Placing readiness above the safety of the troops is the latest sign of the stupid incompetence of the revolving door corporate state.

    The spread of COV-19 was unhindered by a global economic system that puts profit above human life. The Western Empire, its economic system and military that supports the exploitation have all collapsed. A humane sustainable society and economic system must rise out of the ashes. Otherwise, the Joe Biden and Donald Trump November election indicates that waves of pandemics and depressions will engulf the world for the foreseeable future until western civilization finally fades into a new dark age.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I really cannot see doctors, nurses, truckers, grocery clerks, cleaners, packers and farmers after being essential return to being exploited. The million dollar reader, Lester Holt, NBC News is starting to have a 1000 yard stare.

      Hopefully not. One might think that the political class would recognize this in time. I doubt that they will, particularly since they are attempting the strangle the only movement with a positive program for coming out of the crisis. (The alternative would seem to be something along the lines of stationing armed “deputies” at checkpoints for cities and counties, or even states. Sovereign citizens, come on down!

  34. Yet Another Chris

    Longtime lurker, first-time commenter.

    I can’t be the only person who read Queen Elizabeth’s address as a preemptive calming of the Kingdom, anticipating the demise of Boris Johnson? Foaming the runway, in a sense. Commentariat?

    1. Yves Smith

      I had a similar reaction. The Queen is very careful about when she makes public statements. She is very mindful of the (normal) limits on her role.

    2. Clive

      A good theory but the royal family (the serious arms of it anyway, like the sovereign, the heir to the throne and the second or third in the succession line) aren’t that reactive or, if they do need to react to something, it isn’t rushed or hurried.

      From what I’ve personally observed, the only thing which interrupts senior royal schedules is a funeral. And then it has to be an important service they are duty-bound to attend. Apart from that, they simply don’t do last-minute ad-hoc re-jigging of their carefully orchestrated itineraries. Apart from obvious coordination activities (security, transportation, venue booking, staff — senior royals don’t just turn up without equerries, ladies-in-waiting, secretaries and so on — plus media where required (the royals have their own in-house official photographer)) if a public statement is called for it needs all sorts of clearances. The Palace’s own team will need to check anything, political stuff needs to go to No. 10, anything for the Commonwealth has to be looked over by the F&CO, for broadcasters they need to know when they’ll get the finished, edited production — and the production itself needs to be staged, lit, sound, and, yes, wardrobe hair and makeup has to be planned.

      The address was in the works for weeks (plural). The content and tone might have had the opportunity to be tweaked at the last minute but no more than that.

      It’s all a pretty well oiled machine. It produces a product and that product is consistent and practiced. That’s why it works and is, for a British audience (and a lot will get lost or completely misunderstood by non-domestic onlookers who, try as you might, you can’t help but be finding it difficult to get the nuances and the subtle aspects plus you’ll miss some obvious cliches which prop the whole edifice up) the psychological equivalent of a nice cup of cocoa in bed with clean sheets after a hot bath.

      But it doesn’t do “quick turnarounds”.

  35. Lambert Strether Post author

    “Supreme Court blocks Wisconsin from extending absentee voting deadline” [The Hill].

    The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday night ruled that Wisconsin cannot accept absentee ballots postmarked after its voting day Tuesday.

    In a 5-4 vote along ideological lines, the conservative justices sided with Republican state lawmakers by halting a lower court order to extend absentee voting to April 13, a measure that would have expanded options for avoiding in-person voting amid the coronavirus pandemic.

    “Extending the date by which ballots may be cast by voters — not just received by the municipal clerks but cast by voters — for an additional six days after the scheduled election day fundamentally alters the nature of the election,” the majority opinion states, noting that the lower district court erred by providing such relief.

    The decision came just hours after the Wisconsin Supreme Court overturned Gov. Tony Evers’s (D) executive order to postpone Tuesday’s vote, sowing confusion and chaos around a critical election featuring a Democratic presidential primary and a pivotal state Supreme Court seat.

    Evers had sought to push back the in-person voting date until June 9 and said that all mail and absentee ballots sent up to that date would be counted.

    Now it’s not Election 2020, it’s Election 2020*. Well done, all.


    “By a 5–4 Vote, SCOTUS Lets Wisconsin Throw Out Tens of Thousands of Ballots” [Slate].

    On Monday, by a 5–4 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court approved one of the most brazen acts of voter suppression in modern history. The court will nullify the votes of citizens who mailed in their ballots late—not because they forgot, but because they did not receive ballots until after Election Day due to the coronavirus pandemic. As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote in dissent, the court’s order “will result in massive disenfranchisement.” The conservative majority claimed that its decision would help protect “the integrity of the election process.” In reality, it calls into question the legitimacy of the election itself.

    Wisconsin has long been scheduled to hold an election on April 7. There are more than 3,800 seats on the ballot, and a crucial state Supreme Court race. But the state’s ability to conduct in-person voting is imperiled by COVID-19. Thousands of poll workers have dropped out for fear of contracting the virus, forcing cities to shutter dozens of polling places. Milwaukee, for example, consolidated its polling locations from 182 to five, while Green Bay consolidated its polling locations from 31 to two. Gov. Tony Evers asked the Republican-controlled legislature to postpone the election, but it refused. So he tried to delay it himself in an executive order on Monday. But the Republican-dominated state Supreme Court reinstated the election, thereby forcing voters to choose between protecting their health and exercising their right to vote.

    Even worse:

    Because voters are rightfully afraid of COVID-19, Wisconsin has been caught off guard by a surge in requests for absentee ballots. Election officials simply do not have time, resources, or staff to process all those requests. As a result, a large number of voters—at least tens of thousands—won’t get their ballot until after Election Day. And Wisconsin law disqualifies ballots received after that date. In response, last Thursday, a federal district court ordered the state to extend the absentee ballot deadline. It directed officials to count votes mailed after Election Day so long as they were returned by April 13. A conservative appeals court upheld his decision.

    The U.S. Supreme Court has overturned the only protection in place to ensure that voters could still safely cast ballots.

    Now the Supreme Court has reversed that order. It allowed Wisconsin to throw out ballots postmarked and received after Election Day, even if voters were entirely blameless for the delay.

    A great victory for form over substance. Biden, meanwhile, is entirely silent. Odd.

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      Well, you know, bi-partisanship and all. Wouldn’t want to spoil the well for a grand compromise.

      Can we please dispense with the charade that the Supreme Court is not political. The line about fundamentally altering the nature of the election made me laugh out loud.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Hey, remember when the Wisconsin State Democrats were fighting Scott Walker tooth and nail, and Obama and the DNC wouldn’t lift a finger to help them? Good times.

        Rule #1 of the Democrat Establishment: Never support insurgencies of any kind.

        1. Left in Wisconsin

          Yeah, even this framing gives the establishment Dems too much credit for 2011. They really didn’t join that parade until after it was well underway. And many still blame them for channeling all the energy into the (mismanaged) recall. And yes, Obama’s finest hour. Wonder if he ever did buy those new shoes.

      2. JBird4049

        The Supreme Court has always been political to some extent. Only it used to be tampered because of the long view or bigger picture that the members used to have much more of. This is one of the reasons for having the courts and a third branch of government. However, just like Pelosi, McConnell, and Trump have become focused only on winning the next election by being hyper-partisan and focused only on winning, so has SCOTUS.

        Just keep on hugging that idiot ball…

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