2:00PM Water Cooler 4/9/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


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

The data is the John Hopkins CSSE data. Here is the site. I have changed to a logarithmic scale for US States and territories, adjusted for population. See Vice, “How to Read the Coronavirus Graphs“:

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

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

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

I removed population adjustment, based on this exchange from alert reader dk:

I hope this change is helpful. One also notices at once that the New York and New Jersey metroplexes stand out.


“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

* * *

Since the Democrat primaries, barring force majeure, are over, I’m eliminating the Democrat primary voting feature. I want to thank dk for all the effort he put into it and the many improvements (and I hope he added to his technical arsenal doing it). In retrospect, and as I kept pointing out, the “Biden Juggernaut” — mysteriously strong, given that Biden performed poorly in every state em>until South Carolina, never visited many, and had cash problems — was the key story. Yes, of course there can be some bias in the polls, but not that much. In retrospect, the Biden Juggernaut said a lot about the state of the Democrat Party. Bitecofer is wrong, in that not all Democrat see politics as a partisan blood sport with team loyalty the primary ethic, if I may call it that; Bitecofer was surely right that the dominant factions see it that way, and that this — I can think of no other words for it — depraved degradation of the body politic and the democratic ethos has been carefully nurtured by the Democrat establishment (along with the press, who found it drove clicks) through, e.g., RussiaGate. On the bright side, a left that can learn to create and manage hate should do well. As the Romanovs discovered, to their cost. “Not me, them!” as it were.

* * *


Biden (D)(1): “Statement From Vice President Biden” [Medium]. “Today, Senator Sanders announced he was suspending his campaign. Bernie has put his heart and soul into not only running for President, but for the causes and issues he has been dedicated to his whole life….. We will make sure healthcare is affordable and accessible to every American.” • That’s a big upraised middle finger to #MedicareForAll supporters.

Sanders (D)(1): “Bernie Sanders Wants to Change America. But He May Have to Change Himself First” [Anand Giridharadas, Time]. From June 2019. Some called this a hit piece (editors write the headlines), but I disagreed. The closing paragraphs:

Even in this late season of his life, Sanders has a choice about which version of himself he wants to present to the American voting public, and what he is willing to let himself become.

I keep thinking of a moment in Las Vegas that made me realize we don’t know the answer yet. We had just landed at the airport. We headed for the SUV that would take us to the Paris hotel and casino. But there was a mishap: the local organizers hadn’t known I was joining. When we found the SUV, we realized we were one seat short. Sanders’ aides, in a hurry, looked at me like, “Bye, dude.”

Sanders, who had been preoccupied with luggage, now caught wind of the issue. And I watched it come over him: a transfixing, physical sense of righteousness. It wasn’t about logistics; it was about justice. At that point, he had spoken to me just once in any real way in days of traveling together. He had no interest in me in the normal ways. Oh, you live in Brooklyn? I used to live in Brooklyn. What part? But the prospect of my exclusion bothered him. Even as I said I was fine, he asked if there was any way to squeeze me in. Checked the back row. Maybe I could put a suitcase beside him, between the seats, and sit on top. But something had to be done, because to him it just was not right. And in that moment Sanders became a little clearer to me: He isn’t the person you want sitting beside you on a long boat ride, passing time. He’s the person who will notice when you fall overboard and begin to drown.

And now there’s nobody in the race like that, not remotely. And we have a political class full of people who’d shove you overboard for twenty bucks, or because they’d get a book deal if they did, or just for fun.

Sanders (D)(2): “Episode 141: In the Land of Uz” [Trillbilly Worker’s Party]. • Opens with an extended reading from The Book of Job. Interesting discussion, culminating in some strategic recommendations (and at last, somebody’s asking “What about the movement?” As they point out, “we” built this amazing fund-raising machine. What to do with it? (Too bad the Bern App wasn’t two-way — was it? — so donors could vote. Seems like a tension between the demands of a campaign (temporary, like a circus or a rock tour) and the demands of a movement (permanent, like an army (?))).

Sanders (D)(3): “I’m a Bernie volunteer. Here’s how Joe Biden can win Bernie voters.” [Medium]. The headline is a bit deceptive, but I won’t spoil it. A must read. Addressing a Biden supporter:

“According to the New York Times, Bernie Sanders is the most donated-to candidate in almost every district of every state in the union. He has a volunteer corps of over a million people. His coalition is, by the numbers, the most racially diverse. (Even if you believe, as a lot of Democrats seem to, that Latinos and Arabs don’t count toward diversity and are just the Sam’s Club Cola version of black people, Bernie has still won a narrow majority of black voters under thirty.) He lit a fire under a bunch of us who spend most of our time joking around on Twitter. I have never seen more people give freely to something bigger than themselves. It was not enough to win, but it was something unique in recent history.

If Sanders drops out of the race and endorses Joe Biden, that network of volunteers and grassroots donors will vanish like frost. The problem is not that Sanders lost but that he was defeated by main force. You don’t see it that way, but my friends do.”

Let’s hope that “vanish like frost” part is wrong. I keep hearing that Sanders wants to continue the movement, but I’m not seeing it. That’s should be the top priority, not least because it would enhance Sanders negotating power with every counterparty.

Sanders (D)(4): “Stephen Colbert Questions Bernie Sanders About Biden Endorsement” [Rolling Stone].

“It’s no secret that Joe’s politics are different than mine,” Sanders began, “but I have known Joe since I came to the Senate in 2006, worked with him when he was Vice President in the Obama administration. And what I would say to people is that Joe is a very decent human being. I know his wife Jill as well, a wonderful person. And that I hope to be able to work with Joe to move him in a more progressive direction.”

“Joe is a good politician,” he added. “And he understands that in order to defeat Trump, he’s gonna have to bring new people into his political world and that he’s gonna have to listen to their needs — young people, working people — and maybe start moving in a different direction, to some degree, than he has in the past.”

Colbert noted that Sanders said essentially the same statement in his livestream address earlier that day, then hit him with the question: “Is that a full-throated endorsement of Joe Biden?”

“We’re gonna be talking to Joe,” Sanders replied, “I will do everything I can to make sure that Donald Trump is not reelected. Because I believe Trump has been the most dangerous president of modern history in this country, and we’re seeing his narcissism, his ignorance, playing out in terms of the pandemic we’re experiencing right now.”

I think if Biden could be pushed left, the Democrat Establishment would never have selected him (see here on the April 19, 2019 meeting of “Stop Sanders” Democrats). I am also not sure that (see the previous link at Sanders (D)(3)) Sanders can “deliver” his supporters in the way that the Democrat Establishment expects.

Warren (D)(1): “Warren thanks Sanders, says his efforts ‘will change the course of our country and party'” [The Hill]. “‘Thank you @BernieSanders, for fighting so relentlessly for America’s working families during this campaign,’ Warren tweeted. ‘Your fight for progressive ideas moved the conversation and charted a path for candidates and activists that will change the course of our country and party.'” • First, the tired and focus-grouped “working famlies.” Then the even more shop-worn “change the conversation” bullshit.

* * *

I should have a lot more on the Wisconsin debacle — debacle is far too weak a word — but these tweets will have to do for now:

As Biden and the DNC encouraged them to do. (I see a lot of foofrah about the heroism of individual voters who are voting because people died for the right to do so. That would be fine, except it’s not heroic to infect others, which holding an in-person election in the midst of a pandemic does.)

Perhaps the Wisconsin primary deserves not a “*” but a “†”:

A little too close to the bone:

Realignment and Legitimacy

“The America We Need” [Editorial Board, New York Times]. “This moment demands a restoration of the national commitment to a richer conception of freedom: economic security and equality of opportunity. That’s why Times Opinion is publishing this project across the next two months, to envision how to turn the America we have into the America we need.” • Gad. Where have these people been for the last decades?

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.

Retail: “February 2020 Headline Wholesale Sales Decline” [Econintersect]. “The headlines say wholesale sales were down month-over-month with inventory levels remaining very elevated. Our analysis shows an improvement in the rate of growth for the rolling averages which are now in positive territory.” • Pre-COVID19.

Consumer Sentiment: “Preliminary April 2020 Michigan Consumer Sentiment Suffers The Largest Decline Ever Recorded” [Econintersect]. “Surveys of Consumers chief economist, Richard Curtin, makes the following comments: ‘Consumer sentiment plunged 18.1 Index-points in early April, the largest monthly decline ever recorded. When combined with last month’s decline, the two-month drop of 30.0 Index-points was 50% larger than the prior record.'”

Producer Prices: “March 2020 Producer Price Final Demand Year-over-Year Growth Slows To 0.7%” [Econintersect]. “Year-over-year inflation pressures again declined this month.”

* * *

Retail: “India is showing the world what a broken food supply chain under coronavirus restrictions looks like. Two weeks into the world’s biggest lockdown, the people who move the essentials from farms to stores aren’t showing up for work… and food shops say basic items are increasingly hard to find” [Wall Street Journal]. “The problem isn’t a lack of food but a lack of people. India’s highly fragmented food industry depends on hundreds of millions of small farmers selling through a system of millions of middlemen who eventually deliver to millions of tiny shops. But seasonal workers aren’t showing up at farms.”

Retail: “Retailers are debating the durability of the push toward online commerce, but [Hal Lawton, chief executive of Tractor Supply Co.] says he expects much of the shift to online buying will hold” [Wall Street Journal]. “This has been the most rapid widespread adoption of technology by consumers ‘since 2007 when Steve Jobs rolled out the iPhone,’ he says, and likely pulled ‘pulled forward consumer adoption by two or three years.’ The company has been designated an essential business and it’s also hiring 5,000 more workers for its stores.”

Shipping: “Carriers have idled a record 13% of their capacity over the past month, according to maritime data provider Alphaliner. The decision to put ships into storage pulls some 3 million containers’ worth of capacity from seaborne supply chains… and signals that operators are bracing for a lengthy downturn under world-wide lockdowns aimed at halting the spread of the coronavirus” [Wall Street Journal]. “Laying up a ship is a costly step since carriers still face ownership, maintenance and storage expenses. Bringing a vessel back into service can be a lengthy and expensive process if owners choose ‘cold storage’ and almost fully shut down a ship’s systems. But industry executives say mega-ships working major trade lanes now are sailing only half full, and trade flows are collapsing as pandemic restrictions unwind economic activity.”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 31 Fear (previous close: 26 Extreme Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 22 (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”?

The Biosphere

Roots, mon:

Health Care

“Most New York Coronavirus Cases Came From Europe, Genomes Show?” [New York Times]. “New research indicates that the coronavirus began to circulate in the New York area by mid-February, weeks before the first confirmed case, and that travelers brought in the virus mainly from Europe, not Asia…. Dr. Gonzalez-Reiche and her colleagues [at Mount Sinai] found that these viruses were practically identical to viruses found around Europe. They cannot say on what particular flight a particular virus arrived in New York. But they write that the viruses reveal ‘a period of untracked global transmission between late January to mid-February.'”

“How Delays and Unheeded Warnings Hindered New York’s Virus Fight” [The New York Times]. “A 39-year-old woman took Flight 701 from Doha, Qatar, to John F. Kennedy International Airport in late February, the final leg of her trip home to New York City from Iran. A week later, on March 1, she tested positive for the coronavirus, the first confirmed case in New York City of an outbreak that had already devastated China and parts of Europe. The next day, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, appearing with Mayor Bill de Blasio at a news conference, promised that health investigators would track down every person on the woman’s flight. But no one did. A day later, a lawyer from New Rochelle, a New York City suburb, tested positive for the virus — an alarming sign because he had not traveled to any affected country, suggesting community spread was already taking place. Although city investigators had traced the lawyer’s whereabouts and connections to the most crowded corridors of Manhattan, the state’s efforts focused on the suburb, not the city, and Mr. de Blasio urged the public not to worry. “We’ll tell you the second we think you should change your behavior,” the mayor said on March 5. For many days after the first positive test, as the coronavirus silently spread throughout the New York region, Mr. Cuomo, Mr. de Blasio and their top aides projected an unswerving confidence that the outbreak would be readily contained.” And: “Normally, New York would get help from Washington in such a time, as it did after Sept. 11. But President Trump in February and early March minimized the coronavirus threat, clashing with his own medical experts and failing to marshal the might of the federal government soon after cases emerged in the United States. As a result, state and city officials often had to make decisions early on without full assistance from the federal government. Even so, the initial efforts by New York officials to stem the outbreak were hampered by their own confused guidance, unheeded warnings, delayed decisions and political infighting, The New York Times found.”

“Age, Complexity, and Crisis — A Prescription for Progress in Pandemic” [New England Journal of Medicine]. “Here is how clinicians might see Sally: morbidly obese elderly female with heart, lung, and kidney disease, atrial fibrillation, sleep apnea, depression, and polyarthritis. If you look only at her chart, the familiar picture of a high-risk elder with multiple health conditions emerges. But here is another, equally accurate portrait of Sally: witty, smart, curious older woman with many friends, who recently retired from a social service career and moved to California to be near her supportive children, a smartphone addict, leader in her church, political activist, free-live-theater aficionado, and resident of a continuing care community she chose as much for its low cost and social opportunities as for its ability to manage her future care needs…. On the day of Sally’s appointment with me, having skimmed the proceduralist’s discharge summary, I felt only minor concern as I entered the examination room. I didn’t recognize Sally until she smiled. Her face was bloated, her hair disheveled, and her countenance lacked its previous vitality, humor, and confidence. She seemed physically and psychologically diminished. Her history and exam only reinforced this impression. Worst of all, after 25 years as a geriatrician, I am as close to certain as a clinician without a crystal ball can be that she will never return to her previous health, functional, and social status — that her life will become what her long-standing advance directive describes as ‘not worth living.'” • A must-read. It’s a shame administrators are in charge, and not humane doctors like this…

“A whopping 35 million Americans could lose their health insurance due to massive layoffs from coronavirus, new study says” [The Hill]. “Up to 35 million Americans could lose their health insurance in the coming weeks as businesses lay off workers due to the economic hit from the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new study. The astonishing projection from Health Management Associates underscores the pandemic’s ripple effects from the economy into healthcare. The group said that the number of uninsured Americans could spike to 40 million people, a level unseen since before the Affordable Care Act became law in 2010. The study also estimated 23 million Americans could enroll in Medicaid, ensuring many would still receive insurance through other means. But 5 million Americans might still wind up uninsured.”

“Building a memorial to all those lives stolen by for-profit healthcare” [r/MedicareForAll]. “I was thinking that when we pass Medicare for All we should build a memorial to all those whose lives were stolen by for-profit healthcare. Then I thought, why wait? Why not start now? Then I realized, almost certainly people must have done that. There must be hundreds of songs written in memory of family and friends killed by for-profit healthcare, probably those songs are on YouTube or somewhere else on the internet. There must be poems that have been written, portraits that have been painted, sculpture that has been created, quilts that have been sewn, and so on. We should collect all the links in one place. We need to document all those who have been stolen from us. Please put links in the comments to any song or artwork you know of that was created as a memorial.” • Sounds like a good idea.

“How Do Coronavirus Tests Work?” [IEEE Spectrum]. “Diagnostics for COVID-19 typically fall into two broad categories: tests that detect proteins associated with the virus, known as immunoassays, and tests that detect the virus’s genetic code, known as nucleic acid or molecular tests.” • Good explantions of both methods.

Feral Hog Watch

“My Hogs” [James Buchan, London Review of Books]. From 2001, still germane. “As I contemplate these animals, my mind’s eye fills with placid agricultural visions. More and extensive areas of the woods are cleared of brambles and brush. My cow begins to produce milk and the pigs take the surplus, like a Denmark in miniature; or they are turned out when the corn is cut to glean the spilled grain; or when the orchard is up, they manure the trees and eat the insect-tainted fruit. In this beautiful and frictionless economy (in the old Xenophontic or Aristotelian sense of household rather than state management, which is, properly, political economy), the pig is the heart and soul, the wild card, the blockbuster, the Maxim gun. Indeed, to me a wood without pigs is like a ballroom without women.” • This is a great article on the history of the English pig since Anglo-Saxon times.

Class Warfare

“Why the Wealthy Fear Pandemics” [New York Times]. “But as successive waves of plague shrunk the work force, hired hands and tenants ‘took no notice of the king’s command,’ as the Augustinian clergyman Henry Knighton complained. “If anyone wanted to hire them he had to submit to their demands, for either his fruit and standing corn would be lost or he had to pander to the arrogance and greed of the workers.’ As a result of this shift in the balance between labor and capital, we now know, thanks to painstaking research by economic historians, that real incomes of unskilled workers doubled across much of Europe within a few decades. According to tax records that have survived in the archives of many Italian towns, wealth inequality in most of these places plummeted. In England, workers ate and drank better than they did before the plague and even wore fancy furs that used to be reserved for their betters. At the same time, higher wages and lower rents squeezed landlords, many of whom failed to hold on to their inherited privilege. Before long, there were fewer lords and knights, endowed with smaller fortunes, than there had been when the plague first struck.” • Every cloud has a silver lining… And speaking of the plague–

“Is a plague of rats following the coronavirus?” [The Hill]. “Cities like New Orleans, with its popular French Quarter typically swarmed with tourists, are now seeing swarms of another kind. Emboldened by hunger, the city’s rats have been taking to the now-deserted streets in large packs in search of a bite to eat.” • Some pretty gruesome details. I think I prefer pigs to rats… More: “One of the scariest possibilities to consider when it comes to rats invading your building may not be what first comes to mind: them cutting off your access to television. Rats gnaw on cables…” • So here is another silver lining!

News of the Wired

“The U.S. Is Only Issuing New Passports in Emergency Cases Amid Coronavirus” [Condé Nast Traveler]. “The State Department has stopped issuing passports except for cases of a ‘life-or-death’ emergency among family members abroad. ‘Due to public health measures to limit the spread of COVID-19, effective March 20, 2020, we are only able to offer service for customers with a qualified life-or-death emergency and who need a passport for immediate international travel within 72 hours,’ the State Department’s bulletin says. Emergencies that qualify for an immediate new passport include serious illnesses, injuries, or deaths affecting a ‘parent, child, spouse, sibling, aunt, uncle, etc.,’ which require travel outside of the U.S. Any applicant who needs their new passport within the three-day window must present proof of the emergency, such as a death certificate, a statement from a mortuary, or a signed letter from a hospital or medical professional that is written in or translated to English. Additionally a passport application is still required, as is proof of international travel like a reservation, ticket, or itinerary.” • One more thing that won’t ratchet back to how it was, no doubt.

* * *
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 (TH):

TH writes: “Oak grove at El Dorado Park in Long Beach, California.” Very restful.

* * *

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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. Samuel Conner

    While waiting for Lambert to get the rest of his WC post up, here is a not-unexpected news item:


    A number of (generally R-governor) states have not yet implemented “shelter-in-place” or “essential enterprises only” orders, Iowa for example. I guess they’re waiting for their medical systems to get as desperate as those in the Northeast.

    This could meaningfully change the demographics of “likely voters” in November, both in a “willing to show up” and “able (because still alive and well enough to show up) to show up” at the polls.

    Where is that “Pearl Harbor” commission?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I had a bunch of other links about how Sanders “ideas” “changed the conversation,” but I just couldn’t stand it. Maybe I’ll aggregate them tomorrow.

      1. Hepativore

        The thing is though that the Democratic Party has largely proven to be obstinate in the face of any and all attempts to move them to the left. I mean, sure, people like Sanders have gotten things like Medicare-For-All and a job-guarantee program talked about, but after the lip service that the DNC pays in public to some of these ideas during the primary it will promptly go back to business as usual during the general election.

        It will probably lead to Trump getting reelected of course, but the Democratic Party leadership has decided that neoliberalism is the hill that it is going to die on even if it means continuing the slow death of their party. There was a common talking point a few years back about there hypothetically being a permanent Democratic majority on the horizon due to projected shifts of demographics that tend to vote Democrat. Because of how feckless and incompetent the Democrats have been in addition to giving large swaths of their potential base the middle finger in terms of issues, we might see a quasi-permanent Republican majority in the near future.

        Strategically, the Republican Party might have a lot of success as it continues to court the rising latino and hispanic populations as they tend towards religiosity and social conservatism, particularly older people in these categories. The same might be true of older black voters who also tend towards social conservatism. I know that many blacks traditionally tend to vote Democrat, but it might not be as hard to shift some of these demographics towards the Republican Party as the Democratic leadership thinks.

        Anyway, with all that has happened with the Democratic Party between 2016 and now, I fail to see how they can be a viable party for much longer. I know that they consider the upper middle class/PMC suburbanites as being their most important focus, but that is but a tiny fraction of the voting public as a whole. How much longer can a party survive that garners no enthusiasm from most of its voting bloc and is actively hostile to the remainder (progressives).

        1. L

          I apologize for the rant but I wish that I could say I disagree with you. The best creepy Uncle Joe has managed to reach out to Sanders’ camp is to salute our energy. It is clear that they are assuming we have nowhere to go. Just as they did in 2016.

          It is also clear to me however inbred and self-employing core of the party cadres would rather fundraise off of the ashes rather than actually stop the forest fire. That venality wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t have a monopoly on political expression and if they did not keep approaching us all with the self righteous attitude of a born-again alcoholic. One who expects us to thank them for the tracts they keep handing out even as we are still healing from the beatings they gave.

          Perhaps I’m overstating it a bit, but I’ve lost count of the number of otherwise sane people who have administered everything from admonishment to direct insults over the idea that I might be voting on issues and not just against Trump.

          In Feat and Loathing on the Campaign Trail 72 Hunter S. Thompson vividly describes a scene when he is in the campaign headquarters for George McGovern and they are all watching an ad where McGovern, for political expediency, repudiates many of the positions he held. Thompson looks unhappy and someone calls him on it. He says “But I’m for those things, Acid, Amnesty (for Vietnam Draft Dodgers), and Abortion.”
          “You know what you are!” the campaign man replies “A Goddamn nit picker!”

          This feels just like that.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            The natural inclination of Team Blue courtiers is to run to the extreme right in the general. These are people who believe Aaron Sorkin is a deep thinker, so you know, morons.

            Then as there numbers with Republicans sag and shrink, they will goosestep over a cliff.

            1. L

              I think that instinct is whetted by donations. They are wholly dependent at this point on donations from the very rich, or those well enough off that they can give $10 every time one of those emails titled “Did you SEE MITCH MCONNELL!! Rachel Maddow says…” goes out. (I get them 3-4 times a day).

              For whatever focus grouped reasons they see the suburban soccer moms and CNN addicts as a better source of funding than all the working class people they’ve punched in the gut.

              1. GramSci

                Soccer moms are the target demographic for MS-DNC’s advertisers. Pop Warner league moms for Fox.

              2. JTMcPhee

                Political bribes are not “donations.” Not even if the politicians, acting as ‘our representatives,’ make them “all nice and legal, see?”

                Is there no more Little League demographic?

          2. DJG


            You are not ranting.

            I am already seeing the snark and the self-righteousness among liberals, who want Bernie Bros and Bernie Sistahs to realize that they must all vote for Joe Biden or else–well, “Notorious RBG” may die. The Biden crowd, and liberals in general, have no intention of asking leftists for their vote.

            The re-run of 2016 is already running: Demanding leftists’ votes. Disdain toward people who work for wages. Exasperation over ideas that there should be serious reform of health insurance, banking, jobs policy, economics, and the social safety net that has been left in tatters.

            The Biden crowd divided the opposition with Potemkin candidates like Klobuchar (and her Minnesota dump casserole) and Buttigieg (the old person’s fantasy of what gayfolk are).

            Next up? Outright red-baiting. And then the incompetence in tactics–watch this election be lost by the Democrats in the Electoral College once again. After which we will discover that the Electoral College was placed in the Constitution by the Russians.

            The left has to make viable threats: Third party? Hijack the Greens and turning them into something more than a debating society?

            1. L

              Yeah. I have already been called a bot and a russian troll just for suggesting that Joe’s opposition to M4A is a problem. Clearly listening is not gonna be a thing.

              Unfortunately I think we have made viable threats. The going response has been to ride it out, fundraise off the loss, and assume that it will work better next time. In some sense I think Uncle Joe is just an expendable stand-in / VP vehicle for the ambitious centrists who figure that they’ll totally get it in 4 years.

              Personally I think that Harris, Buttgeg and Klobuchar were all just prepping for their real attack run in 4 years or trying to get their face in so that they can pick up the remains of their campaign and run for congress. Endorsing creepy uncle was their way of ingratiating with the donor class.

              1. Carey

                >Yeah. I have already been called a bot and a russian troll just for suggesting that Joe’s opposition to M4A is a problem.

                Exact same thing happened to me just last night.
                Makes one wonder..

              1. wilroncanada

                Ah Billy, he’s just trying to one-up Justin Trudeau. Canada’s legislation calls for up to 75%. The Democrats would never go for this. It’s to socialist.

          3. John

            I recall ‘Uncle Joe’ as Josef Stalin? But then only the old f***s like me remember that.

          4. Amfortas the hippie

            ” It is clear that they are assuming we have nowhere to go. Just as they did in 2016. ”
            and that’s what Billary said, back in the day…explicitly.
            we are mere cogs in their machine…pieces on their board.
            F%%% them.
            They’ll get my vote when they frelling earn it.

        2. paul

          but the Democratic Party leadership has decided that neoliberalism is the hill that it is going to die on

          Not at all,it is the hill they are going to lie on,in both senses of the word.

          Is there any reason they should think otherwise?

          1. L

            It is the hill that pays their bills.

            They will die on it, but not today. More importantly they will get a lot of people killed fighting for it.

            As Upton Sinclair noted:

            “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

        3. Painted Shut

          Trump is to neoliberal rice bowls as abortion is to neoconservative rice bowls. I therefore expect no changes on either front.

      2. Oregoncharles

        @Lambert – do you think they really did? And what does “the conversation” actually count for?

        I’m thinking it’s greatly overrated, unless it leads to serious action.

        1. GramSci

          It’s not just *any* conversation they want to be part of. They want to be part of THE Conversation. That Conversation leads to serious action as in I wanna get me some.

        2. Carey

          When I hear that dismal phrase, I think of the title of one of Ashbery’s poems:
          “Saying it to Keep it From Happening”.

      3. Phacops

        I’d probably still read them, though my thought is that the assessment won’t be cheerful.

        While I agree with everybody here that Trump must go, if not defenestrated, I see choices, either not voting, or voting Green, that still may present the possibility of Biden winning. I neither can abide the fraud that is Joe Biden, know that he would be a sock puppet for dem elites, and recognize that any Biden administration will maintain our corrupt system. I do not want to reward the democrat party in any way.

        1. clarky90

          Re; “…. I agree with everybody here……. with everybody here…….. everybody here…….. everybody here…….everybody here…….everybody here here…….here…….here….here……………”

        2. Chas

          Voting for Biden just continues the cycle: Support a progressive in the Democratic primaries, get crushed through vote stealing and media blackouts, vote for the DNC candidate as the lesser evil, repeat. Let’s break the cycle and build-up the Green party. And concentrate on building Green support in the swing states where it’s easiest to knee-cap the DNC. I don’t care if Trump wins again. He’s only a more obnoxious version of Biden. The primary goal for me is to prevent the Democratic party from ever again blocking working class progress.

          1. orlbucfan

            The Greens better run some quality candidates if they want votes. Jill Stein was okay as the 2016 Presidential candidate, but the guy running as VP stunk! I held my nose and voted for them.

      4. flora

        Sanders… can’t shake the idea that Sander’s dad’s family destruction at the hands of state power in Europe in WWII created a mindset in Sanders.
        This is not a knock on Sanders, it’s only a recognition of the forces at work.

        People scoff at WASPs. It could be that WASPs are the only social set in the US unburdened with fears of an unopposable state power, see: Lincoln and both Roosevelts, eg.

    2. ZacP

      Not a political endorsement, but I am grateful to be living and working in an ICU in Ohio where Governor Dewine (R) and department of health have been ahead of the curve (relative to their peers in other states). For example, we Ohioans at least understand asymptomatic transmission lol. My working conditions have remained tolerable and at least for now it is looking like our hospitals will avoid the disaster scenarios facing NY, MI, etc

      1. Savedbyirony

        I find Dr. Amy Acton very impressive and am thankful she is our Director of Health. It appears that Gov. DeWine is onboard with her warnings and plans. Her frustrations with the difficulties with testing are clear and her explanations to the Sars covid2 crisis mirror so much of what I daily read here. She also comes across as the only one at the daily presser truly sympathetic to the economic problems of many, many middle and poor Ohioans. The Lt. Gov. on the other hand inspires little confidence in his handling of the unemployed.

      2. prodigalson

        Also very happy to be in Ohio and with DeWine’s boldness early on. Most of my family is in Florida though and I fear for how that’s going to play out long term. In general, the red states seem determined to make this as bad as possible for as long as possible.

    3. Prairie Bear

      Yes, our illustrious governor Kim Reynolds, an ALEC clone of an ALEC clone, said that Dr. Fauci “may not have all the facts.”

      1. anonymous

        I’m also in Iowa. I think we’ve been somewhat saved by having a relatively sparse population and by closings that preceded the Governor’s closure orders. For example, in my city, the public library was closed as of March 16, and the Governor didn’t order libraries closed until April 7; all elective procedures at both hospitals and a surgery center ended after March 16’s cases, and the Governor didn’t order that until March 26 (with a conservative power grab to end abortions, so far unsuccessful); dental offices started closing March 17 except for emergencies, although the Governor didn’t order that until March 26; and the local mall closed March 24, while the Governor didn’t order mall closings until April 7.  Her metrics for deciding when to order a full “shelter-in-place” were only recently disclosed and have been questioned by some local experts and the state auditor. As it is, it’s sometimes illogical what is open or closed, with medical and dental offices only accepting urgent visits, but chiropractic offices working without restrictions, or having some clearly non-essential business (Pella Windows, for example) functioning as usual. One thing I will give Governor Reynolds, though, is that she prohibited religious gatherings of more than 10 people as part of her March 17 order that also closed theaters, gyms, and dine-in for restaurants. There are many states with a stay-at-home order that have an exemption for religious services. Our public health departments in my part of the state have also not been leaders, strictly following the CDC guidelines, even when those guidelines were out of date and not in keeping with available data about the virus. 

    4. richard

      Once again, the priorities of the dem party couldn’t be more clear to see
      kill their own voters to beat sanders
      which LITERALLY makes you less likely to beat Trump
      ipso fatso, as joe might say
      2020 really is The Great Unmasking
      Oligarchy is done pretending, wants to strut its stuff
      we couldn’t be less important to them
      I wonder how they see the future?

      1. John

        Pick any third world country.

        The rich, and everyone else fighting for survival.

        That’s how they see the future of America.

    5. Carolinian

      A number of (generally R-governor) states have not yet implemented “shelter-in-place” or “essential enterprises only” orders, Iowa for example. I guess they’re waiting for their medical systems to get as desperate as those in the Northeast.

      They may have to wait a long time. Iowa deaths per 100,000 as of this morning–less than one. New York State deaths per 100,000–32.


      And re this morning’s discussion on herd immunity Sweden–Sweden has had 793 deaths, NY state 6,268. Sweden has roughly half the population of NY state.


      Perhaps it’s time to put this blame it on the red states meme to rest. I suspect people in Iowa are taking more or less the same precautions as everyone else. Indeed if they own televisions it’s hard to see how they can escape knowing what those are.

    6. clarky90

      Re; “But President Trump………”

      “Let’s Zoom Xi. He has questions to answer”, by NIALL FERGUSON


      “…..Second, how big a role did the central government (CCP) play in the cover-up after it became clear in Wuhan that there was human-to-human transmission? We now know there were 104 cases of the new disease, including 15 deaths, between December 12 and the end of that month. Why was the official Chinese line on December 31 that there was “no clear evidence” of human-to-human transmission? And why did that official line not change until January 20?

      Third, after it became clear that there was a full-blown epidemic spreading from Wuhan to the rest of Hubei province, why did you (CCP) cut off travel from Hubei to the rest of China – on January 23 – but not from Hubei to the rest of the world?……”

      1. JTMcPhee

        Ferguson appears to be tracking the line that wants us all to focus on China The Enemy Bad China. Niall Ferguson is a voice for what I guess are called “conservative” views…

        I’d say by that logic that the US Government has a lot to answer for in connection with allowing huge bubbles to form in hounding and finance and covering up the extent of the damage and trying to paper it over when the world economy blew up, killing a whole lot of people. One small sample: 10,000 “economic suicides” in just the US: https://www.forbes.com/sites/melaniehaiken/2014/06/12/more-than-10000-suicides-tied-to-economic-crisis-study-says/

        And for people who are looking forward by looking backward, here’s a report from early 2019 highlighting that industrial-agricultural and other misuse and overuse of antibiotics is producing superbugs that will, WILL, produce millions of deaths (and another global financial/economy rout, if not addressed: https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/29-04-2019-new-report-calls-for-urgent-action-to-avert-antimicrobial-resistance-crisis

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          again, I’ve been rather busy…
          but I note that i haven’t noticed any mention of this whole “Event 21” thing around here.
          smells like the “exercises” happening simultaneously with 9-11.
          Just sayin’….

          “They” hate us and want us dead.
          That part requires no itchy tinfoil.

          1. Zagonostra

            Event 201, you can see George Webb on Y-Tube if you are interested in the behind the scene analysis. I find him credible.

        2. clarky90

          Re: “I’d say by that logic that the US Government has a lot to answer for….”

          Exactly! The USA does have a lot to answer for.

          Let us be just, without political, cultural, generational…… POV.

          Simply, Blind Justice, without fear or favor.

          The stakes, at this moment in time, are extraordinarily high. Any more feckless/reckless missteps (by any society) will lead to chaos.

        3. LawnDart

          Quibble on my part, maybe I’m guilty of poor reading comprehension, but the 10k figure seems to be spread over two continents:

          “Researchers from the University of Oxford compared suicide data from before 2007 with the years of the crisis and found more than 10,000 “economic suicides” associated with the recession across the U.S., Canada and Europe.”

          Not that it matters, since 10k is likely a significant undercount– how are these deaths attributable to suicide, and not other causes?

          What about the more passive, risk-taking activities that may lead to death, albet with less suriety and obviou intent than opening one’s veins or deep-throating a 12-gauge? Perhaps red-lining a motorcycle through the twisties, sunglasses, sans helmet? Or seeing if two 1.75L whiskey and a 12-pack (and maybe a couple of pills) numbs the pain for an evening? Suicides listed as “death by other causes” to spare loved ones embarassment?

          I’m with you, McPhee: USG put a lot of people into the corner, into no-win/no-escape situations. And behind the G are policies, policies that people (people who have names and addresses) wrote, policies that people (people who have names and addresses) act upon or in accordance with.

          It’d be nice to see accountability work both ways, to see Makers of Law held accountable for the results of the laws which they make, as well as to be governed by these laws themselves.

    7. dcblogger

      coronavirus is the final solution for voter suppression. It is killing grocery store clerks, warehouse workers, Doctors, Nurses, Nurses Aides, fast food workers, delivery drivers, in other words, the Democratic base.

      also we may very well lose Florida and Wisconsin when hundreds of people who showed up to vote in the primary die of coronavirus.

      1. Hamford

        Who is “we”, as in “We” may very well lose? What’s left to win? What’s the prize here… I don’t understand?

        The democrat base- Warehouse workers and delivery drivers??? Try Bankers, Managers, and Silicon Valley.

  2. Samuel Conner

    re: per capita adjustment, I think that at the beginning of an epidemic, the uninfected population is effectively limitless, regardless of country size. The time evolution will depend on other factors, such as population health, social practices, (crucially) the character of the public health response, etc. One would not expect to see country-size effects until a meaningful fraction of the population is infected, so that small countries would “saturate” sooner.

    1. Monty

      Population density adds opportunity.
      D = Duration of infectivity (time units). (2 weeks)
      O = Opportunities for infection per time unit. (varies by location)
      T = Transmission probability (constant)
      S = Susceptibility of the population. (was 1, now .97)
      Rate of infection = D x O x T x S

      1. anon in so cal

        Not to be oppositional, but Singapore has areas of quite high population density yet had admirable success with the virus until things recently went south.

        1. ObjectiveFunction

          Overseas students have mainly returned and had their 2 weeks at home to present with symptoms.

          The latest focus appears to be locking in the migrant workers, mainly Tamils, who build Singapore and keep it running at low cost.

          Other Singapore residents are not locked in at home, we can go shopping, walk dogs and take exercise, but patrolling teams of auxiliary cops ensure nobody (especially pensioners whose social habits are hard to break) loiters or congregates in groups.

          Hopefully this noticeably flattens the caseload over Easter.

          1. steelyman

            I believe the lesson from Singapore is that incremental and half measures aren’t going to keep this virus down. The government probably thought that it could keep things close to normal initially via a series of measures adopted post-SARS: travel restrictions, testing, contact tracing, self-quarantine etc. And they seemed to have some success a couple of months ago as the curve did flatten ie serious cases in ICU hovering around half a dozen, 40-50 new cases a day, no fatalities, cases discharged almost catching up to the number of new cases etc. Malls, cinemas, bars, restaurants, most businesses were still open.

            It’s quite a different picture today: new cases have been spiking significantly in the last two weeks. We just recorded 272 new cases a few days ago. 191 new cases were reported today. The fatality count is now 8 (including one 32 yo) and the ICU patient count sits around 29. The discharge number has slowed a lot.

            An entirely and vastly more restrictive slew of measures has been introduced in the last couple of days – masks must be worn outside the home, on any form of public transport and in supermarkets and wet markets. Auxiliary police will enforce this measure and all violators will be fined $300 on the spot. All beaches and most parks have been closed. All schools are now closed inc. pre-schools and kindergartens.

            I believe the government may have underestimated the actual numbers of infected but asymptomatic persons present in the population. The new measures are scheduled to end on May 4th but I suspect an extension is on the cards.

  3. Samuel Conner

    re: “on the Wisconsin debacle — debacle is far too weak a word ”

    rather than “debacle”, how about …


    That works at at least 3 levels, IMO.

    1. Judith

      There was a book published in 1973 called “Wisconsin Death Trip”.

      From Wikipedia:

      Wisconsin Death Trip is a 1973 non-fiction book by Michael Lesy, based on a collection of late 19th century photographs by Jackson County, Wisconsin, photographer Charles Van Schaick – mostly taken in the city of Black River Falls – and local news reports from the same period. It emphasizes the harsh aspects of Midwestern rural life under the pressures of crime, disease, mental illness, and urbanization.

      1. barefoot charley

        I remember that book. Haunting. Life wasn’t supposed to be easy then, which shocked me.

  4. Hoppy

    This is extremely disturbing to me. Please bear with me.

    Having recently traveled to Vietnam I thought this was a cool article from CNN on Vietnam.


    Then I just recently read this…


    So basically CNN as a ‘news’ organization is basically farming out ‘good’ stories to those who pay them?

    I mean, I know we all sense this. But is there not a bigger smoking gun as to how corporate media decides what is important to publish?

    And nothing against Vietnam, CNN sells the product everywhere and to whomever can pay.

    Is it only the CNN Travel Department where this happens? I guess the CNN Travel Dept is a money maker for the rest of CNN?

    This is is so evil and wrong!!! It is truly disgusting.

    It taints everything CNN does and only a charlatan would try to say it does not.

    1. Monty

      You make a good point.
      January: Whilst this was spreading through China, and they were taking unprecedented steps, locking down millions to contain it, there was hardly anything about it in the mainstream news at all, it was surreal if you were paying attention. Stocks kept going up and up to all time highs. “Just the flu bro!”. (Insiders (aware of whats coming) are selling to mom and pop up here)

      Then one day late in February. Friday evening, after market hours: The dam breaks and it was nothing but Italian body bags, scary exponential projections and empty shelves on cable news for a month, until the day the bail out was signed. (Insiders buying at “the bottom” from Mom and pop who were panic selling)

      Now: The ink is dry on CARES, and the trough filled with free money. Slowly but surely, the narrative has changed back to “Just the flu bro” again. Will mom and pop take the bait and buy from insiders who just made a swift 25%+?

      Can PR beat a pandemic?

    2. Senator-Elect

      From what I’ve noticed in recent years, nearly all travel pieces in newspapers are the result of writers being provided with paid junkets by tourism boards, resorts, etc. Maybe this has always been the practice and is just being disclosed more often, but it seems totally inappropriate. What gets covered is as important as how it is covered.

      1. cnchal


        Of course we were bought. We were bought in several ways. In your situation: when you buy a car or something else, you trust consumer tests. Look closer. How well is the car tested? I know of no colleagues, no journalists, who do testing of cars, that aren’t bribed – maybe they do exist.

        They get unlimited access to a car from the big car manufacturers, with free petrol and everything else. I had a work car in my newspaper, if not, I might have exploited this. I had a BMW or Mercedes in the newspaper. But there are, outside the paper, many colleagues who only have this kind of vehicle all year round. They are invited to South Africa, Malaysia, USA, to the grandest travels, when a new car is presented.

        Why? So that they will write positively about the car. But it doesn’t say in these reports «Advertisement from bought journalists».

        But that is the reality. You should also know – since we are on the subjects of tests – who owns which test magazines? Who owns the magazine Eco-test? It is owned by the Social Democrats. More than a hundred magazines belong to the Social Democrats. It isn’t about only one party, but many editorial rooms have political allegiance. Behind them are party political interests.

        Read the whole thing for moar fill in the blank moments.

        1. JTMcPhee

          When it comes to ?Serious Journalism and ?Investigative Journalism, let’s remember Operation Mockingbird, and the CIA’s Cultural Cold War. All Narrative bought and paid for by your tax dollars, or whatever funding sources the CIA was using through all those years.

          Operation Mockingbird: https://citizentruth.org/operation-mockingbird-cia-media-manipulation/

          The CIA-funded “cultural Cold War,” an even larger operation: https://ratical.org/ratville/CAH/CIAcultCW.pdf

          “ We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.” Bill Casey, CIA director — https://www.quora.com/Did-CIA-Director-William-Casey-really-say-Well-know-our-disinformation-program-is-complete-when-everything-the-American-public-believes-is-false?share=1

          Who knows if he really said it? The record reflects the intent, and the current state of public information shows that it’s pretty much the case.

        2. John k

          I have trusted CR for decades, hopefully not misplaced. I hold onto at least the April (car) issue for years bc I usually buy used, so want to look at past years.
          They do not take any ads, buy the products they test, and do not allow any favorable mention of a product be used in any mfr ads.

          1. Democrita

            But, you’ll notice they now have links on the site to buy the products. How do they decide to which seller they link? Do they get a kickback for the referral?

            CR has struggled for money like every other journalism outfit.
            Still better than most, but you can never let go of your skepticism while shopping in the US.

    3. anon in so cal

      The idiots who wrote the CNN article touting Vietnam’s coffee did, at least, mention that Vietnam principally grows the robusta variety, which they then went to great lengths to defend against arabica “snobs.” But they missed the crucial complaint about robusta, which is that it is a “sun” coffee, grown in the sun, and much cheaper to cultivate, which adds up to harming the “shade” grown arabica market. The arabica “shade” coffee, grown only under the canopy in forested highlands, is crucial to supporting a significant percentage of migratory songbirds.

  5. Mikel

    “The America We Need” [Editorial Board, New York Times]…
    You wrote: “Where have these people been for the last decades?”

    You didn’t think they would let grass-roots social movements take credit for any changes or even ideas? If you didn’t come from a certain neighborhood or go to certain schools or have the right last name, you’re just supposed to take orders.

    None of this should be forgotten or forgiven.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > None of this should be forgotten or forgiven.

      I don’t plan to. As if this system dropped from the sky and they had no hand in building it, and didn’t build very comfortable lives for themselves around it.

      1. Billy

        “None of this should be forgotten or forgiven.”

        Keep track of WHO implements neo-liberalism at your personal and local level.
        i.e. The name(s) and titles of the hospital executive who fires people, reduces benefits, denies service, or cuts wages, the bank official who does the bad foreclosure, the local politician that signs up for an overpriced elite-enriching, “public private partnership.” etc. Suggestions?

        I’m fantasizing, but a Nuremberg style financial crimes tribunal might be in the future if things go the right way. Asset stripping, wealth forfeiture, public shaming, instead of hanging, would be appropriate punishments.

          1. Judith

            Sometimes when I am knitting I think about trying to come up with a code for keeping a record of names. Not that simple, actually. And mistakes could be deadly. I wonder what code Madame Lafarge used.

            1. richard

              Arya Stark, one of the great revenge seeking name sayers of all time
              just sayin, we’d be in good company

    2. WheresOurTeddy

      surely it must be an oversight that the proposed solution by the New York Times is to put all the people who have constructed the current system and enriched themselves by immiserating millions of others in charge of fixing the problem, no person of letters could be so daft

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        We’ve had our Ides of March, where we got introduced to a new nemesis: Covid-19.

        Now (in keeping with what the ancients believed about dis-aster) we’re getting another new arrival: a comet. The comet’s name? ATLAS, or C/2019 Y4.

        I take my signs where I can find them…and Covid-19 together with C/2019 freaked me out a little.

        C/2019 may soon be visible to the naked eye: https://www.space.com/bright-comet-atlas-visibility-april-2020.html

    3. John k

      I call bs.
      They did everything in their power to defeat the one person advocating for change we can believe in. And when anybody else comes along pushing for real change, they will do whatever it takes to defeat him or her.

  6. ACF

    Re Building a memorial to all those lives stolen by for-profit healthcare

    The AIDS Quilt was one of the most powerful tributes/protests I’ve ever born witness to; walking around it when displayed in D.C. had me sobbing and motivated. https://www.esquire.com/lifestyle/g3077/aids-quilt-photo-gallery/

    A quilt–coffin sized panels, each a personal tribute to the victim–to the lives stolen by for-profit healthcare would be amazing.

    1. mle detroit

      April 9, 2020 at 2:40 pm

      Yes. Or something more permanent, like the Vietnam Memorial, with all the names. Visible from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

      1. doug

        somehow display USofA (linear, not log) response to other countries over time?
        Ie capture the graph we see online

      1. ACF

        Yeah, GF.

        Perhaps the proportions could be similar but much smaller. The power, the beauty and horror, is in the love and uniqueness of each panel in its tribute to each life, and the mass pattern of death. Doesn’t need literal coffin shapes to work.

        Like the AIDS quilt is displayed in pieces, every community could make its own. And maybe every community could photograph its quilt and share and we could knit a hi-res photographic quilt. A bit fractal-like. Maybe people will do digital ones instead of tangible ones, would be easier to assemble. Though personally I love the texture of the tangible.

        Daydreaming at social distance…

  7. zagonostra

    >Truth or Dare

    Warren: Thank you @BernieSanders, for fighting so relentlessly for America’s working families during this campaign,’ Warren tweeted. ‘Your fight for progressive ideas moved the conversation and charted a path for candidates and activists that will change the course of our country and party.’”

    Trump: Bernie Sanders is OUT! Thank you to Elizabeth Warren. If not for her, Bernie would have won almost every state on Super Tuesday! This ended just like the Democrats & the DNC wanted, same as the Crooked Hillary fiasco. The Bernie people should come to the Republican Party, TRADE!

    1. hunkerdown

      Doesn’t call out Obama and Clyburn = probably kayfabe. “Join us or don’t, just don’t join a non-machine party no matter what! Okay?”

  8. Laughingsong

    ”Why the Wealthy Fear Pandemics”

    I haven’t read the article yet but the blurb reminded me of the novel “Sarum” by Edward Rutherford. It’s been a long time since I read it, but as I recall, it follows the same 5 families living near what becomes Salisbury, England, through the centuries. When the plague hit in the mid-14th Century, the comparative fortunes of these families change dramatically. The novel “World Without End” by Ken Follett also covers this era, and the lengths the nobility went to to sequester and chase down their serfs who wander away in search of better wages.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Good book that “Sarum” and in the pages you could see how through the plague, the fortunes of the families changed as the old order was broken and suddenly opportities would open up.

      1. norm de plume

        In a weird confluence of events I have found myself on the receiving end of several good podcasts on pandemics over the last couple of months, each just happening to occur in my listening schedule (a bit haphazard but I generally have 3 or 4 on the go at any given time).

        The first is the Black Death episode in Kevin Stroud’s excellent History of English. We all know by now the effect it had on socio-economic and eventually political arrangements, driving the first nail into the feudal system, but it had a profound effect on the progress of English as well:


        Next came the twin episodes on the Spanish flu in the massive History of the 20th Century podcast by the droll but often very pointed Mark Painter:


        Last but certainly not least, Lantern Jack of Ancient Greece Declassified interviews Stanford’s Walter Schiedel on the history of inequality, with plague featuring heavily throughout. It is a very enlightening hour or so:


        A few things stand out. One is that all of these plagues came back, some of them many times, often worse. The period can last for decades, and the after-effects even longer.

        Second, major plagues reduce inequality by orders of magnitude, with only major war within the borders and revolution bearing any comparison. Sure the elites are still wealthier than you at the end, but their capacity to coerce has been weakened if not destroyed, as the few remaining exploitable human resources realise they can now choose not to be exploited, or to impose conditions on their labour, which can no longer be called servitude.

        Third, a serious enough plague causes, or plays a major role in causing the huge paradigm shifts of history that we put agreed labels upon – antiquity, the middle ages, etc. Peak Imperial Rome was weakened by the Antonine, brought to its knees by the Cyprian, and finished off by the Justinian, after which the nascent feudal structures of the early Middle Ages took root, only to be swept aside 800 years later by the Black Death, which laid the groundwork for the early modern period.

        What will we call the post-Covid era?

  9. Adam1

    “I am also not sure that (see the previous link at Sanders (D)(3)) Sanders can “deliver” his supporters in the way that the Democrat Establishment expects.”

    20 years ago I’d have conceded to accepting the lesser of 2 evils argument for “accepting” Joe Biden, but I’ve grown wiser since then – especially with Obama’s bait and switch being the icing on the cake. I wouldn’t vote for Joe even if Bernie himself came to my house and begged me to. I’m no fan of Trump but we’ll never be offered anything more than the “lesser of 2 evils” so why play their game.

    1. jo6pac

      Yep very true that’s why I’ll be voting Green again. I wish Bernie followers would to it would great to get the Greens up to 3% or 4%.

      Then again I saw a tweet of Jill Stein asking them to join and talk about rude and mindless. Sad

    2. Mel

      If it were to happen, I think some visible distance between Bernie and his erstwhile supporters might give him a little rhetorical weight to swing.
      “You want them to support you? I’ll tell you, there’s only one way. You have to support them.”
      Of course we know the response to that already.

    3. Senator-Elect

      Hopefully someone has shared this here before: https://youtu.be/FqRNnIMDkUY
      If people had built on Nader’s performance in 2000 instead of blaming him for Gore’s loss, there would be a credible left-wing threat to the Dems by now.

      1. richard

        I wrote in ralph in ‘92, then again in ‘96 when it was an actual thing, and cast my vote for him again in 2000. The best I ever felt voting was in 2000, even though I knew it was hopeless, because of the opportunity to crack 5%, etc, build something.
        I have always been a little astonished that almighty glob deems our country worthy of Ralph Nader. We sure caught a break there; I just wish we’d done more with him.

      2. Late Introvert

        Biden announced his plan, Medicare at 60. And “more” debt relief. Frump Fruuuummppp.

        1. John k

          Not at all sure how hard, if at all, he’d push for that in office. OTOH, it’s the best offer I’ve heard. Maybe a negotiation… at least get him to throw in the under 18, which includes pre natal, a real money saver… if we agree k12 gets free Ed, why not free healthcare, too? Plus continuation after ,18 for cases that began earlier.

      3. Glen

        Exactly, lean into it. Will Bernie Bros cause Biden to lose? YES, we will.

        But don’t be too passive about this, vote ALL the Dems out, up ballot, down ballot, the whole lot of them.

        Why try to create a third party? Much easier to destroyed one of the existing parties.

        1. Procopius

          Yeah, destroy, I can go for that, but then you’ve got the other party in all the offices all the time, and they have so [expletive deleted] many actual lunatics and so many [family blog] sociopaths I don’t find that alternative congenial.

  10. Left in Wisconsin

    And now there’s nobody in the race like that, not remotely. And we have a political class full of people who’d shove you overboard for twenty bucks, or because they’d get a book deal if they did, or just for fun.

    See, Lambert, you think like a human being and these seem to be the evident human motivations. But the PMC do not think like human beings – which is to say, do not think holistically. The key to PMC thinking is rank ordering, as the whole point is to get the highest ranking possible, and then dole out the spoils based on one’s position in the ranking. And the only way to maintain a moral outlook while doing so is TO NOT LOOK BEHIND YOU. A normal human would feel either glee or horror at knifing someone in the back or pushing them out of the lifeboat. But all the PMC sees is a huge scramble to “achieve” as much as possible and makes the assumption that everyone else is doing the same thing.

    It’s all, in effect, status competition and there is almost no such thing as winning because the competition never ends. Starting higher up on the ladder is an advantage but it is never the case that one’s position is secure. That is why the whole thing is so joyless.

    1. Carey

      Verbatim, from the one 10%er I know: “It’s about pushing *my* kids up the food chain.”

      1. hunkerdown

        So they really are the predators Veblen warned us about, and they really do need to be brought to heel.

  11. Tom Stone

    I have had a number of people urge me to support Biden, because Trump, TINA.
    Let me translate TINA into American English.
    “Eat the plate of lukewarm shit in front of you and be thankful, serf.”
    I have no taste for Shit whether it is piping hot or lukewarm.
    And I am deeply offended and angered by the depraved “Leadership” of the Democratic party who are responsible for this travesty.
    I am not alone in this and there is an alternative when the elites abdicate their duty to provide the basic political goods to a majority of the populace.
    35 Million Americans losing their shitty health insurance, a homeles population that is likely to grow by an order of magnitude over the next 18 months.
    These are people who will have nothing to lose and who will have had it made brutally clear that they have been abandoned by our “Society”.
    They will act like people who have no stake in society and who have nothing to lose.
    That’s the alternative.

    1. WhoaMolly

      “A plate of Lukewarm shit” seems a fair description of the D offering
      in 2020.

      I will be voting 3rd party. Maybe
      one day the Greens can offer a rock solid 5% of the vote in exchange for concessions

    1. geoff

      I’m a regular reader of Counterpunch, but couldn’t bring myself to read that. I certainly *understand* people like St. Clair’s and Jimmy Dore’s more or less open contempt for Sanders’ decisions of late, but I don’t know what the family blog Sanders’ campaign was supposed to do in the face of a Biden campaign and DNC who have been perfectly willing to send their supporters out to vote in the middle of a deadly pandemic since at least March 17.

      Hell, I’m ok with their open contempt for ME, but their complete lack of concern for the health and safety of their OWN VOTERS is chilling.

      1. Carolinian

        I think st clair is claiming that bernie was just going through the motions but that’s a lot of motions for some quixotic or vanity run. As he told some reporter, “if you think I’m old just follow me around.”

        He surely did redeem himself from the “sheepdog” charge but I’d say it’s legitimate to wonder if he ever really thought he was going all the way. It was more, “here I am–vote for me if you want.” Perhaps he was selling his program and not so much himself.

        1. Yves Smith

          I need to write this up but I vehemently disagree. You forget what he was up against. The MSM was ignoring him and then lying about him every day. I now have NBC Nightly News on most days and listen out of one ear, and the misrepresentations were baldfaced. And NBC is way better than CNN or MSNBC. Look at the chicanery in Iowa. Look at all the polling stations removed in Texas in lower income neighborhoods. You act as if this wasn’t an incredible uphill battle from the very start. It’s astonishing he got as far as he did.

          1. Carolinian

            I agree with everything you say but surely he knew he would be up against all those things when he decided for a second attempt. He may not have thought that the party itself would put up so much resistance. When I saw him here early last year Biden wasn’t yet in and Bernie was front runner and it seemed like he might at least take the nomination.

            So it wasn’t all a delusion which is what St. Clair is snarking about. But it looks like if we are going to pull down the Dem temple we will need a different kind of Samson.

            1. farmboy

              Gotta do this one more time! 1972 and 2020 https://www.thesportsgeek.com/blog/fear-and-loathing-the-2020-election-is-a-repeat-of-1972/
              Similarities Joe Theismann Alex Smith
              Date November 18, 1985 November 18, 2018
              Injury Broken Right Tibia Broken Right Tibia
              Yard Line 40-yard line 40-yard line
              Tackler Lawrence Taylor (first three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year) JJ Watt (second, and only other, three-time Defensive Player of the Year)
              Final Score 23-21 23-21
              Opponent / Jersey Color NY Giants / Red, white, & blue Houston Texans / Red, white, and blue
              Pro Bowl Left Tackle Joe Jacoby – Missing due to injury Trent Williams – Missing due to injury
              rhymes doesn’t repeat

      2. John k

        See, the reps have to go out and stand in the same lines, so more or less both parties lose the same amount, neither party loses vs the other, so not an issue for either. But both parties agree Bernie must be stopped, so if voting now hurts him in any way, they join hands. As they did.

      3. Oregoncharles

        He could have called out the obvious cheating. but blowing up the system was obviously not his purpose.

    1. JTee

      I don’t suppose their altruism in protecting the public weal at great loss to their own bottom line (ha!) will hurt when they line up for a double helping of Uncle Sam’s generous support.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Sounds like their lawyers might have advised that scooters are a great fomite:

        A fomite (/ˈfoʊmaɪt/) or fomes (pronounced /ˈfoʊmiːz/) is any inanimate object that, when contaminated with or exposed to infectious agents (such as pathogenic bacteria, viruses or fungi), can transfer disease to a new host. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fomite

        Liability limiting.

        1. Arizona Slim

          I was out for an errand-running bicycle ride this afternoon. And what did I see, dumped by the side of the road? One of those [family blogging] scooters, that’s what.

          I hope it gets run over by a truck.

  12. MillenialSocialist

    “I’m a Bernie volunteer. Here’s how Joe Biden can win Bernie voters.” [Medium].

    Bernie volunteer/donor from ’16 and ’20 here. Completely cosign this.

    The frost has already melted. People who are in Sunrise or DSA or Our Revolution or other orgs will still be activists, but not for Joe. His candidacy, more than any other, is an unmistakable extended middle finger to our campaign and everyone under 45. The vast majority of those who joined the Bernie campaign as volunteers and/or donors in the last 10-14 months will have nothing to do with this farce.

    I know many who will not vote for Biden because they won’t be accessories to the slowing of the death of the Democratic party by validating the establishment’s tactics. I know several who have, like flipping a light switch, moved to campaign/donate/canvass for Shahid Buttar against Nancy Pelosi.

    If we can’t win the presidency, let’s take our best shot in 30 years at the head of the snake in the House. We’re not going anywhere and we’re going to primary some people into retirement in ’22 and ’24. Looking at you, Liz.

    1. Dr. John Carpenter

      For what it’s worth, I think this is the winning move. Even if Sanders had become president, it was pretty much a given that he’d be up against almost unsurmountable opposition from the Dems and Repubs in Congress/House. I think the Dem establishment is much more afraid about primary challenges, as they should be. It’s past time for many of these people to “spend more time with their families.”

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Given the loss of 1000 seats, anyone who was in office around 2016 is basically safe from the GOP. Pelosi’s “moderates” are probably at risk from the GOP in November.

        1. John k

          The fact those seats used to have dem butts means they could again with a better message.
          And the dem ‘moderates’, imo what used to be right wing reps, certainly far to the right of Nixon, might be vulnerable to a progressive.
          It’s a real shame that when Bernie came along so few in politics are progressive. But pendulums only begin to change when in an extreme position… I think it’s moving back. And trump, no progressive, is pres bc the people want change. Sadly, many that see power lying in the street and pick it up are a**holes.
          Mind, trump hasn’t been wrong about everything. A pandemic emphasizes not everything should be made for us in a land far away. And remember he shot down TPP, pushed just as hard as possible by his predecessor,

    2. Senator-Elect

      Exactly, think for the long run. Take down the right-wing Dems one by one and replace them with AOCs. A lot of the old reptiles in Congress will be retiring soon. Gotta get a much better next generation in place now.

      1. ambrit

        The big problem with that idea is that AOC has been portrayed in the “press” as having “gone over to the Dark Side.”
        The main problem is not the candidates, but the system that they must conform to to become “viable” candidates in the first place.
        This is a problem as old as human politics. (Probably Zeta Reticulan politics as well.)

    3. The Rev Kev

      From that article I saw the line ‘I’ve been observing conversations between Biden voters online and have not seen much gloating about his victory, which now looks inevitable.’ That may or may not be true of Biden voters but it is certainly not true of Clinton voters. I read that the Clinton camp were organizing an online celebration via Zoom and could not hide their glee until they had to cancel it because they were busted.


    When I was in Palermo, it seemed to me that almost every little retailer had food and water out by a secondary doorway for its small posse of felines.

    1. Bugs Bunny

      Anche in Catania.

      Lots of rats though they seemed sort of the kind types.

      Was thinking about moving there from my French hole in the ground.

      Opinions welcome.

    1. HotFlash

      If I was an elite or wealthy member of the Saudi royal family and guaranteed great hospital and health care, I would run out and send some of the lesser family members out to catch Covid too.
      This is adds to the speculation about the anti-body, surveillance fascism to come.

      They would make great sources of vaccine, too.

  14. Carey

    ‘Dear DNC: This is our Declaration of Independence from your Corporate Party’:

    Nick Brana has been consistent and principled about this, though I don’t know
    if a new party is the way to go; why not the Greens?
    OTOH, there’s the Emma Goldman quote that might trump all:
    “If voting could change anything it would be illegal.”


    1. hunkerdown

      It would seem to follow, according to Ms. Goldman, that only illegal voting changes anything.

      That parallel-sovereignty thing is starting to sound viable.

      1. Carey

        >That parallel-sovereignty thing is starting to sound viable.

        Yep, and likely necessary if we want to live. ;)

  15. JBird4049

    >> One more thing that won’t ratchet back to how it was, no doubt.

    Remember how during the Cold War the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact countries would not only tightly control who could come, but also who leave, occasionally using lethal force either way; reading about Checkpoint Charlie, or seeing the news stories, or the Cold War thrillers about crossing the border under the guns of the border guards was all used to distinguish between the evil, authoritarian communist governments and the freedom loving West especially the United States.

    Just who won that war and was it worth having numerous wars, coups, and massacres by both sides all while under the possibility of nuclear annihilation of the planetary civilization in a single afternoon?

    1. Trent

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

  16. richard

    Some good news emerging from pandemic world: Saudi Arabia appears to be ending its war on Yemen.

    150 members of the royal family stricken with covid spells curtains for matt christman’s wager that no one evil would die from the disease. This on top of B. Johnson’s condition.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      My guess its more of a problem among the poorer members who wield power over the Guard (I can’t think of what they call it). As they are the ones who can’t bug out but are attached to the Saudi family for their position. I think there are only about 5,000 fighting age 16 to 60 Saudi males who can’t bug out and are invested in the regime.

    2. MLTPB

      There are reports Boris is out of ICU.

      As Corona is non partisan, even though I lean against the herd immunity idea, it’s good to see him or anyone improving.

        1. MLTPB

          Thank you, HF.

          This is a great site, allowing people whose opinions might not be shared by many to be expressed, but are based rationally. And if people disagree, which is actually good and can be informative, educational, we put forth our best reasoned cases.

      1. richard

        I agree, good health to him and everyone else. Still, facts are facts, evil is evil, and wagers are wagers. By the way MLTPB, I’ve wondered if your name is an acronym, because it always reminds me of Major League Player To Be Named Later ;)

  17. Carolinian

    More on Sweden. There are some restrictions. High schools and colleges are closed.

    “The strategy in Sweden is to focus on social distancing among the known risk groups, like the elderly. We try to use evidence-based measurements,” Emma Frans, doctor in epidemiology at the famed Karolinska Institute, told Euronews. “We try to adjust everyday life. The Swedish plan is to implement measurements that you can practice for a long time,” she said.[…]

    Swedish cases, according to Worldometer, are little more than half those of Norway: 714 per million versus 1062. Denmark has a rate of 808, better than Norway but still worse than “fiddling” Sweden.[…]

    Deaths per case are not relevant here, reflecting mostly the quality of health care systems, and on that metric Sweden is somewhat higher. Thus Sweden is considering tightening restrictions because of the death rate and outside criticism, but that’s actually an admission that, though they have relatively few cases, they’re not handling them particularly well. Meanwhile, Denmark has announced it’s reducing restrictions notwithstanding that spread is still significant.


  18. MLTPB

    BBC had an interesting story about Turkey’s kolonya, a sweet scented aroma traditionally sprinkled on the hands to welcome guests.

    This, even as that country had the world’s fastest rising number of cases as of 2 days ago

    1. MLTPB

      Forgot to say kolonya is being used as a hand sanitizer in Turkey.

      The comment would not be interesting without that bit of info.

    2. The Rev Kev

      I heard a coupla days ago that they forbid anybody under the age of 20 from going outdoors. Not sure what that was supposed to accomplish.

  19. MLTPB

    Just saw a Reuters report from 7 hours ago on the biggest one day jump of 287 cases in Singapore.

    Look like they have work cut out for them ahead. Best wishes.

  20. JTee

    Just started reading the “hog” article. It mentioned the cleanliness of pigs, which reminded me that when we had a couple many years ago, I was surprised they would defecate in one corner of their pen. Also, one of the most frustrating things for me was being checkmated at every turn when I tried to find a word to describe their behavior — I kept running smack dab into the word “pig”. Okay, back to the article…

      1. petal

        After I left for college, my parents and brother got one(yeah, I know, I didn’t like the lot of them, either). They had a yellow field lab at the time as well. Pig was a little smarter than the dog. They’d team up and together were worse than Bonnie & Clyde.

        1. Carolinian

          Hey Babe is one of my favorite movies. Of course the premise is that he thinks he is a dog after he is taken from his real pig mother.

      2. MLTPB

        They are.

        As are birds, or some birds.

        Not sure so why we insult them with the term, bird brain.

      1. HotFlash

        The Ogre philosopher Gnerdel believed the purpose of life was to live as high on the food chain as possible. She refused to eat vegetarians, preferring to live entirely on creatures that preyed on sentient beings. Magic, the Gathering.

      2. John

        I like pigs and I like the writing of James Buchan. I highly recommend his “Frozen Desire: the Meaning of Money” . That review is filled with that type of verbal imagery. Frozen Desire! What a way to think about it.

  21. Nick

    Just a few things in general here. They will be scattershot. They may not connect to each other. But they are definitely things that are making me question what’s happening:::

    I am in the camp, which unless I’m wrong the writers of this site seem to be in as well, that the country won’t(shouldn’t) go back to how things were after this pandemic passes.

    As the days pass, this hope is fading. I think for all the financial and political prognosticating that we can do, you are forgetting the overall completely selfish culture we have been living in for the past say 10 years. Look at social media. The influencers who had no real job before are just doing that job at home now. A job that is essentially the mainline heroin of consumerism. Getting more views because people have nothing BUT time to stare into their phone. Celebrities left to their own creativity are doing nothing but singing songs for medical people and “performing”on tiktok. No one is introspecting. We are all still digitally connected to our media battle camps politically. Even more because of shelter in place. Overdose levels.

    When we come out of this, especially if it’s only after a few months, started in March, through April and into May, everybody will be right back into planes, hotels glad to be alive and especially glad to be standing over that first drink and taking a picture of it for Instagram. We are SO addicted to the self image that it is going to take much more than shelter in place to break it. You can see the narratives playing out.

    The talk of raises for all these “essential” workers will quickly be wiped away and replaced with, “get out there and tip your waiter!” “Thank your grocery bagger, a little extra this time”.

    Fox News will label all the RENT deferrers as the same “drain on the system people” that were there before the virus. “Why should we help them now?”

    It will be ESSENTIAL that the American people get out there and BUY. Except Mnunchin will say something like participate in the economy. It is their duty as Americans blah blah blah. And Trump will rail on where he said the whole time it wasn’t as bad as the doctors said it was going to be which is what he said and that’s why everybody should have listened to him.

    And lastly because I was hoping the gig economy would be destroyed by this virus. Lyft, which since March 20 has seen an over 90% drop in business and had it’s stock like all other stocks plummet, they went as low as $12 per share, is now trading at pre-collapse numbers near $35 per share. Remember, they have never made a profit and lost over $650 million in their first quarter of business for 2020 when they were in FULL operation. This is the same for Uber as well but they have some working food delivery in some cities but they’re fake taxi business has also declined over 90% and they’re stock is riding right along with Lyfts. See, because I though businesses were closing when they lost all their, you know, business. Totally normal.

    1. epynonymous

      Joe Biden’s address last night fits in quite nicely.

      Alot of Americans who lost their jobs “through no fault of their own” speak. Very Buttigeg Medicare “For those who want it.”

      Always a qualifier, and always to the right side of the spectrum.

      Now, I think these Uber/Elon/Virgin Galactic types get it. It’s not about the money. The richest companies and people in the country are all broke, and that’s our money they stole that they lost. However, they will be sheltered because it is part of their class agenda.

      Uber and Lyft and Amazon aren’t *supposed* to make money. They are there to dominate an industry, and thus dominate us.

      They’re firing doctors and ‘furloughing’ nurses. I mean…


      Anyways, things won’t be the same. No crisis will be wasted.

      If fascism is the unity of corporations and governance, then buckle up.

      The elite are going to take advantage, that is a given. The question is what is everyone else going to do in response. I don’t know the answer, but it is worth mentioning that Republicans are not stupid, but misguided.

      Trump is a step up from Hillary, and they had all the establishment punks run against him the same way they ran against Bernie. All those punks lost! So we lost this one, barring ‘force majeure’ but Trump himself as a stand-in for the unthinkable is evidence that the Joe Biden’s of the world are losing touch and maybe running out of time.

  22. John

    All the talk and agonizing about Democrats and Republicans, Progressives and Moderates, etc. etc.
    Ian Welsh in what read as all but an aside said, Democrats are conservatives; Republicans are reactionaries.

    Bernie lies somewhere between the Truman and Eisenhower years on a mythical political spectrum. FDR’s New Deal almost made it to the Populist Platform of 1892.

    The best that can be said of today’s politics is that they do not resemble those of Julius Evola.

    1. ambrit

      True about Evola. At least Evola had a Tradition from which to draw inspiration.
      However, there is a camp that posits that the Neo-liberal dispensation is but an offshoot of the Cult of Mammon. That Tradition goes way back, into the mists of pre-history.
      Just as some would say that the Devil’s best trick is in convincing people that he doesn’t exist, so, Neo-liberalism has perfected the trick of convincing people that There Is No Alternative. Both worthy tricks of the Evil Ones.

  23. anon in so cal

    Coronavirus testing and reagents:

    Perhaps ATCC, of Manassas, Virginia, is one reagent supplier? IDK

    “ATCC’s role as a federal partner, and not just a grant recipient…analysis and response with the CDC led to discussions with officials at
    the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), where ATCC…….


    “ATCC Lands $319M Follow-On Award for CDC Reagent Inventory, Distribution Support”

    1. petal

      I just read through your link. Possible it was ATCC but I’d be surprised. They’re the last place I’d think of ordering RNA/DNA extraction reagents or kits from(and I don’t see any in their catalogue). It’s just not their thing(I’ve been culturing cells for 20+ years and have used them-both buying and donating cell lines). They’re known as a cell bank and for culture supplies. I had been reading the secrecy surrounding the RNA extraction reagents and failed kits as attempting to protect a company (and its stock) from blowback, but maybe it’s just to tamp down any discussion of how dumb a deal it was, especially if it was made with a company or org not really known for this type of product vs for example Qiagen or behemoth Thermofisher (which just bought Qiagen). Though LabCorp seems to be using an extraction kit from Roche for covid testing. We may never find out.

        1. petal

          Very welcome! I don’t want to out myself more than I have on here already, so I’ll just say to listen to Ignacio-he knows what’s he’s talking about. Cheers!

      1. anon in so cal

        Thanks for that info! It would be interesting to know who was supplying the reagents. More digging needed.

  24. cripes

    Helpful note from my local health clinic:

    “There is no additional cost for a telehealth visit. You will be billed just like a regular visit. All telehealth visits are eligible for our sliding scale fees.”

    So, you won’t charge me extra for a “telehealth visit” where I won’t be weighed, temp taken, BP taken, oximetered, swabbed, blood drawn or physically examined.
    Sign me up.

  25. jhallc

    “As Biden and the DNC encouraged them to do. (I see a lot of foofrah about the heroism of individual voters who are voting because people died for the right to do so. That would be fine, except it’s not heroic to infect others, which holding an in-person election in the midst of a pandemic does.)”

    I have a feeling one of the main reasons Bernie dropped out was he saw the DNC as continuing to force people to vote in person and didn’t want to be part of it. He’ll never admit that but, it seems like something he would do.

    1. Late Introvert

      Thanks jhallc, I had the exact same thought. Nice voters you have here, it would be a shame if something happened to them.

      I quote Lambert almost as much as I do Zappa lately.

      1. richard

        quoted him on twitter the other day
        probably butchered it
        *the dems treat the ballot like a drug gang treats a street corner”
        and we all say yuuuuup

  26. MarkSparky

    My uncle owns a small ‘gentleman’s ranch’ halfway between Austin and Houston, TX. He listened to the experienced locals, and added 4 mules to the tenant cattle herd on his land; the mules are very territorial and kick the s**t out of the feral hogs that try to enter their pastures. That area in south Texas has a big issue with marauding feral hogs that run in packs thru the area and root up crops.

    1. chuck roast

      Please tell me how feral hogs are running wild in all the most heavily armed parts of the USA.

    2. Oregoncharles

      I don’t quite understand why people aren’t eating them on a large scale. Reminds me of the Small Farm Journal’s advice about deer: “Consider them part of the crop.”

      This is the same animal medieval Europeans considered worth elaborate hunts – even though they were quite dangerous. Not so much, with a gun.

  27. Noone from Nowheresville

    Bad news if this latest wrinkle pans out. Definitely a line of inquiry worth keeping track of. Still very early in the process.

    Coronavirus May ‘Reactivate’ in Cured Patients, Korean CDC Says
    By Kyunghee Park
    April 8, 2020, 11:25 PM CDT

    The coronavirus may be “reactivating” in people who have been cured of the illness, according to Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    About 51 patients classed as having been cured in South Korea have tested positive again, the CDC said in a briefing on Monday. Rather than being infected again, the virus may have been reactivated in these people, given they tested positive again shortly after being released from quarantine, said Jeong Eun-kyeong, director-general of the Korean CDC.

    “While we are putting more weight on reactivation as the possible cause, we are conducting a comprehensive study on this,” Jeong said. “There have been many cases when a patient during treatment will test negative one day and positive another.”

      1. Oregoncharles

        Negative one day, positive the next – sounds like a problem with the tests.

        Is everybody with tests having this problem?

    1. JTMcPhee

      Shingles is the “reactivating” of the varicella “chicken pox” virus we caught as kids, it hides dormant in nerve tissue sometimes got many decades until “something” triggers those godawfully painful skin eruptions and other manifestations. Good chance CV will have some similar strategy to prolong its existence.

      And you can have more than one bout of shingles.

      Sounds like the neoliberals who plan to “restart the economy” by declaring some people “cleared” to go back to their peasant labors are going to give us one more proof of the limits of science and the bit about Mother Nature batting last…

    2. Yves Smith

      Very early on, a reader, I believe PlutoniumKun, mused that we knew so little about coronavirus that it could be like dengue, where you not only don’t get to be immune but reinfections are worse than the original bout

      Let’s pray the reinfections are a function of weird facts or genetics.

  28. allan

    Henrik Ibsen to the white courtesy phone:

    … More than 80 employees at a Sioux Falls food processing business have tested positive for the coronavirus, Health Secretary Kim Malsam-Rysdon confirmed Wednesday.

    “There are a number of cases connected, that number has changed every day,” Malsam-Rysdon said.

    She added that the more than 80 confirmed cases were employees, and that number did not include others who may have become infected from those employees. …

    Smithfield Foods, Inc. saw its first positive case on March 26, and nearly a week prior officials said the plant would maintain normal operations and would not close or send employees home amid the new coronavirus pandemic.

    Smithfield’s cases represent more than one-third of the total cases in the county and one-fifth of the cases in the state. …

    … [state veterinarian for South Dakota] Oedekoven and the food safety industry is confident consumers during the pandemic are not at risk of being infected through the meat products.

    “What we know about coronaviruses is they are not a food born illness,” he said. “There’s no risk or concern for a foodborne illness.” …

    This will not age well.

  29. hunkerdown

    STAY IN YOUR HOMES renewed in Michigan (Governor’s order, PDF) until April 30, with additional restrictions. Some highlights:

    * “Individuals must secure [necessary] services or supplies via delivery to the maximum extent possible.” (Weirdly, or not, this is in the same para as an exemption for the very essential work of delivering new cars to customers… ah, Michigan)
    * A 10-person limit on funerals. (Unclear whether the guest of honor is counted.)
    * A ban on all travel between two residences after April 10. (That booty call tonight might be your last…)
    * In addition to travel, public or private gatherings involving members of more than one household are also prohibited, with the same exceptions. (Presumably okay to chop up a block-sized lot of essential goods in one’s garage and parcel them out to a minimum number of delivery persons.)
    * Occupancy limits in retail stores: below 50kft^2 floor area, 25% of the building maximum as determined by a fire marshal. 50kft^2 and above, 4 persons allowed per 1000sf. (But…)
    * Retail stores 50ksqft or larger must close certain departments, including carpet/flooring, furniture, garden centers/plant nurseries, and paint. (Get your pitchforks tonight, or hope the local ACE Hardware doesn’t run out…)

    And now, our establishment Dem governor delivers the punch line… “Consistent with prior guidance, a place of religious worship, when used for religious worship, is not subject to [misdemeanor] penalty under section 17 of this order.” sad_trombone.wav

  30. Painted Shut

    Guillotine Watch:


    In late March, Instacart worker Annaliisa Arambula accepted a grocery order that came with a big tip: $55. The store was just down the street, everything the customer wanted was available, and the order seemed to go off without a hitch.

    But an hour later, Arambula checked her earnings on the Instacart app and the entire tip was gone, with a message saying the “customer modified the tip post-delivery.” She ended up making just $8.95 from Instacart on the order.
    “I was flabbergasted. I couldn’t believe it,” Arambula told CNN Business.
    Demand for grocery delivery is surging amid the Covid-19 pandemic, and many customers are struggling to get the items they want or even a time slot for a delivery. Some people are dealing with that by offering big tips, as high as $50 or more, to entice Instacart workers to pick up their orders. But some of those people have turned the tactic into a bait-and-switch, offering up the big tip and then taking it away as soon as the person who risked their health to get them their groceries has made the delivery.

  31. Wukchumni

    I grew up with MAD magazine and the New Yorker, they both had cartoons in common, but that was about it.

    On my way to hopefully becoming a juvenile delinquent, I devoured MAD in particular. It was like kicking adults in the nads-the humor.

    Mort Drucker was one of my favorite cartoonists, RIP

    1. urblintz

      Yay! As a budding singer I used to memorize the song parodies religiously… I think My favorite was:
      “Ground Round” (to the tune of “Downtown”)

      When you eat meat but hate the meat that you’re eating then you’ve surely got
      Ground Round
      It’s so unnerving when they’re constantly serving in an eating spot
      Ground Round
      It might be called a chopped steak, salisbury or beef patty
      Whatever it is called it’s always overcooked and fatty
      What can you do?
      Protest to your waiter there
      and loudly pound on the table
      stand up on your chair and shout
      Ground Round!
      Why must it always be
      Ground Round
      You’re always feeding me
      Ground Round
      Dinner is constantly
      Ground Round…

    2. Procopius

      Too bad you’re too young to have read it when it was still Mad Comics. It was even better, and I had the same reaction you describe. Looking back at that, I wonder why so many people forget what they did and liked when they were children, and so don’t have any idea what modern children do, know, and like.

  32. JTMCpHee

    For all of us trying to pick out the information from the noise in this pandemic, a group of senior Harvard Medical School students has put together a regularly updated resource compendium of fundamentals of virology, physiology, treatment information and even advice on how to talk with patients and families about infection with COVID19. It’s not medical advice, says the disclaimer, but all the units have been vetted by area experts.

    Here’s the introduction:

    Medical Student COVID-19 Curriculum
    Welcome! Material was last updated on 4/3/2020, unless otherwise specified.

    One of the greatest difficulties facing everyone nowadays is a lack of clarity about what is going on and what lies ahead. We students especially feel a need to deepen our knowledge of the situation, as we are often viewed as resources by our friends and family. However, it soon became clear how challenging it was to process the wealth of information coming our way. A team of us at Harvard Medical School set out to quickly collate and synthesize accurate information about the pandemic to share with our classmates still eager to learn while sidelined from their regular classes and clinical activities, professors seeking to quickly change their course syllabi, and practicing health providers who were too occupied with clinical care to perform the research themselves.

    This curriculum was entirely written and compiled by Harvard Medical School students. This document is not an official publication of the institution. It is provided for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice.

    The curriculum can be of use to students and professionals around the world. Please share these materials with anyone whom you believe may benefit from them. We invite you to sign the guest book so we can track this material’s reach.

    As of April 3, visitors from 85 countries have signed the guest book!
    The contents in each module were reviewed for accuracy by expert faculty members at the time of initial publication. We thank them for their attention during this particularly demanding time. However, given our constantly changing understanding of SARS-CoV-2 and the pandemic’s spread in society, the material in this curriculum will need to be updated frequently, and we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information at any given time. We plan to update content every Friday. Please share your feedback.

    Here’s the gateway to this laudable effort: https://covidstudentresponse.org/

    Most of it seems pretty accessible, comprehensible, and comprehensive.

  33. You're soaking in it

    With Bernie backing down I believe a large amount of willingness to work within the system is going to disappear as well. Far from engaging with Biden or Trump or even any kind of third party, I expect a great portion of his support to find their way into opposition outside of what the US recognizes as politics for a while. Many of the workers who supported him are faced with the existential crisis and I watch for the “No Pay-No Rent-No Debt payments” movement to grow like a forest fire. Out of control, sudden, violent, and possibly overwhelming.

  34. JBird4049

    I know that this has been touched on repeatedly here. It is just that I am baffled by the literally suicidal actions of our Beloved Elites.

    I just have to say that the apparent, hopefully false, that after spewing out trillions of dollars to the part of the population that needs it the least and is the most responsible for the economic fragility of the United States, and more importantly the the social fragility of the American nation; while at the same time almost ignoring the people who need help the most and whose economic security is the single greatest cause of the slow(?) collapse of economy with unemployment levels predicted to surpass the Great Depression.

    I think that a thirty, forty, or even greater official unemployed rate should be causing a massive panic at the Capitol and the White House. To me it appears that the economic stats generally have been steadily distorted for the past thirty years. But except for the employment numbers that’s just my gut talking. Instead, it’s how much can we steal.

    BTW, since the Feds have been seizing medical supplies from the states and municipalities and then hiding them, I wonder if that too is a grift. Steal desperately needed, life saving supplies and then sell them on eBay. How would anyone find out?

    So, we have an elite asking just what is the most profitable way to commit suicide while Bernie Sanders has obviously been stopped by fraudulent means, and Joe Biden may actually not make it to the convention. The man has to make a plausibly coherent speech or else. If Sanders gets replaced by someone like Hillary Clinton because of a backroom deal to replace obviously zombied Biden… I would start using words like rioting and civil uprisings. If the economy is allowed to collapse, or more likely just slowly melt and drown the bottom 90% “civil war” might will become a given.

    So to end this “comment,” I study history both because I love it and because it ties into my working on a political science/economics degree. I particularly like studying when things go wrong especially when it should not have. One of those was the American Revolution. In twelve years the colonists went from British loyalists who had fought for the British Empire to American patriots fighting to succeed.

    What makes the whole thing interesting was that most people on both sides had not planned for, nor did they want a war. It just kind of happened. Whoops.

    The British were particularly disengaged because much, maybe most, of the people who ran the government had their attention on everything but the Thirteen Colonies. For instance, social gossip, dances, parties (the amount of alcohol drunk was gigantic. Many of them must have been drunk all the time.) and occasionally actually governing. It’s not like that they did not care or know because many of them were diligent and the governors, businessmen, lobbyists, etc buried them in letters and speech. Somehow it did not appear serious, or maybe more accurately real, until Lexington and Concord, which was too late. There was also the habit, often the belief, that the colonists were either barely civilized or were children to be lectured to. This makes serious conversations difficult.

    I guess that this whole long comment is a round about way of figuring out why my mind keeps making comparisons between the lead up to that civil war 245 years ago to our current situation. The business and government elites today seem to have similar levels of detachment from what is real and the same levels of corruption of what made the Royal Navy unready to fight a war in 1775. Then when the leadership does deign to respond to questions, requests, or warnings the arrogance, contempt, and lecturing as it to petulant children is quite similar. Although the lying seems to be much greater today than in the past although that could be merely how close we are to the present and far from then. Pelosi, McConnell, and Biden are all arrogant, selfish, and unaware.


    1. The Rev Kev

      @ JBird4049
      I have to agree with your comment that the amount of alcohol drunk was gigantic – with a lot of it being hard spirits. In fact, I once wondered how much of 18th century history was made by people who were absolutely blotto at the time. But to your main point, it is interesting when you get those inflection points of history like the American and French revolutions. As you noted, a main feature seems to be the disconnect between the elites and the rest of the population which led to violent ramifications. It is like with those elites at the times, they were shielded of the consequences of their decisions and so were not worried by what decisions that they made. At present, scores of millions of Americans are being thrown on the scrapheap of unemployment and the only reaction is ‘meh!’ It is almost evil the decisions that are being made which brings me to the work of a guy named G. M. Gilbert who was was an American psychologist at the Nuremberg Trials. He wrote-

      “I told you once that I was searching for the nature of evil. I think I’ve come close to defining it: a lack of empathy. It’s the one characteristic that connects all the defendants. A genuine incapacity to feel with their fellow man. Evil, I think, is the absence of empathy.”

      I am not saying that the old British and French were evil nor am I saying that the present American elite is evil either. But what I am saying is that you note this under trend of a complete lack of empathy running through all of them.

      1. Bsoder

        Sorry to disagree, Buddha taught empathy is the ability to beware what the another person is feeling (see theory of mind if you want it based on science), compassion is caring about it. Jesus said much the time. Many people have.

        1. JBird4049

          You need empathy for compassion as well as a conscience that goes beyond “Me, me, me, it’s all about meeee! And my toys!” I see a lack of this in the government.

          Actually, I am also seeing a lack of wisdom or even common sense. The angriest that I have ever seen Bernie Sanders is during his speech for the first COVID19 stimulus bill because some senators were trying to block it because the fabulous extra $600 on unemployment means that some people would be making more unemployed than working. This means that some senators wanted to crash the economy to prevent some Americans, those that they deemed the undeserving poor, from somehow getting away with something. Whatever it is.

          To go back to the revolution, some British MPs thought that only a very few soldiers were needed to control over three million people on what is now the United States Eastern seaboard with the professional military was general saying no to that and that neither the army or the navy was ready. IIRC, this was just before 1775 and by 1778 the British had declared that the colonies were in rebellion as well as being at war with the 4 or 5 next strongest navies after the British.

          This is what I am referring to when I talk about detachment and also about a lack of wisdom beyond just the lack of empathy and compassion. Any of this is bad. All of it is catastrophic. Add the general incompetence and corruption and we’re just doomed.

  35. Yet Another Chris

    My sense is that Wisconsin is the new bellwether state when it comes to national elections, displacing Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida. The latter two are a lock for Trump in November and will be barely contested. Wisconsin, on the other hand, has for the past century oscillated between leftist activism and right-wing authoritarianism. A shallow survey reveals Robert LaFollette, Joseph McCarthy, Russ Feingold, Scott Walker, Paul Ryan, Tammy Baldwin, and Tony Evers. I’m sure I’ve missed a few of the principals, but for illustration I think this should suffice. My sense is that there is an intense urban/rural division in Wisconsin that plays out in hotly contested elections. In other words, it’s the leftyish Milwaukee/Madison/Eau Claire contingent versus the conservative, reactionary (overwhelmingly white) rural population. This latter group is a perfect simulacrum of the American electorate that might still be in play: post-industrial, largely white and precarious, beholden to no party and willing to cut a deal. It makes me sad to say they’re going to find the GOP deal more attractive.

  36. allan

    KKR’s Envision Healthcare hires bank to explore debt restructuring [Reuters]

    Envision Healthcare Corp, a U.S. provider of physicians and other medical staff owned by buyout firm KKR & Co Inc (KKR.N), has hired a financial adviser to explore ways to restructure its $7.5 billion debt pile, people familiar with the matter said.

    Envision’s move underscores the struggles facing the medical industry in the wake of the novel coronavirus outbreak. The Nashville, Tennessee-based company’s doctors are needed more than ever as the number of COVID-19 cases soars. Yet its revenue has collapsed as patients who have not contracted the virus are avoiding elective procedures and are staying clear of emergency rooms for fear of being infected.

    What? Patients customers stay away when you don’t supply your employees with adequate safety gear?
    That wasn’t covered in the MBA curriculum.

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