Links 4/1/2020

Lambert here: Patient readers, again I apologize for too many links; we are in an overly dynamic situation now, and although I am desperately trying to curate, there’s too much. I hope the categories help you navigate the complexity, so you can take what you like and leave the rest.

Also, we’ve noticed a drop-off in comment quantity. While we appreciate your efforts to spare the moderators, it’s not quantity we’re worried about, but quality. As I wrote:

Take your time to be analytical, add links and evidence, and if possible quotes. Then the commentariat can proceed on the basis of building collective knowledge, as opposed to spending its time, and ours, filtering out ego-driven, self-involved crap.

No shit-stirring. No quackery. And don’t throw your drink in your host’s face! Otherwise, carry on as above.

Revealed: Monsanto predicted crop system would damage US farms Guardian

How to rescue our coronavirus-infected economy from collapse Richard Vague, The Hill. Let’s hope proposals like this set the baseline for what Congress does.

Jobs Aren’t Being Destroyed This Fast Elsewhere. Why Is That? Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman, NYT. “The next bill should introduce a Covidcare for All program. This federal program would guarantee access to Covid-19 care at no cost to all U.S. residents — no matter their employment status, age or immigration status.” Yes, #MedicareForAll for this one pandemic is something the Democrat Establishment might be cajoled into accepting….


The science:

Turbulent Gas Clouds and Respiratory Pathogen Emissions JAMA. Turns out the “large” vs. “small” expiratory droplet dichotomy has issues. Important:

Although such social distancing strategies are critical in the current time of pandemic, it may seem surprising that the current understanding of the routes of host-to-host transmission in respiratory infectious diseases are predicated on a model of disease transmission developed in the 1930s that, by modern standards, seems overly simplified. Implementing public health recommendations based on these older models may limit the effectiveness of the proposed interventions.

To be fair, Yves: “The top expert in South Korea [YourTube here] disagrees. He thinks aerosol transmission isn’t a common method of contagion. He thinks it’s droplets on surfaces. But he thinks masks are very beneficial in preventing droplets from getting on surfaces.”

Cutaneous manifestations in COVID-19: a first perspective (PDF) Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology

U of M’s Osterholm says obesity could be deadly factor in U.S. COVID-19 outbreak Bring Me The News (CL).

Mass disinfections to combat coronavirus pose another health hazard Reuters

How stress can cause a fever Nature. One reason for false positives?

* * *
Materiel shortages:

Why the U.S. Is Running Out of Medical Supplies (transcript) Sarah Kliff, New York Times. Very good.

Buying Face Masks and Other PPE from China: Not For the Faint of Heart China Law Blog

I Spent A Day In The Coronavirus-Driven Feeding Frenzy Of N95 Mask Sellers And Buyers And This Is What I Learned Forbes

* * *

The coronavirus is washing over the U.S. These factors will determine how bad it gets in each community STAT. For example, Oregon:


San Francisco:


Restrictions Are Slowing Coronavirus Infections, New Data Suggest NYT

Darwin Award: Dad hid coronavirus symptoms to visit maternity ward after wife gave birth Democrat and Chronicle

‘Everybody’s in the same boat’: Coronavirus drives New York’s hospitals to breaking point Politico. Not the rich who escaped to the Hamptons!

Quantifying SARS-CoV-2 transmission suggests epidemic control with digital contact tracing Science

* * *

Donald Trump warns of up to 240,000 coronavirus deaths in US FT vs. Trump warns of ‘painful’ two weeks ahead as White House projects more than 100,000 coronavirus deaths CNN

What we know about the coronavirus model the White House unveiled NBC

Why It’s So Freaking Hard To Make A Good COVID-19 Model FiveThirtyEight.

* * *
Corporate response:

The $1 billion bet: Pharma giant and U.S. government team up in all-out coronavirus vaccine push Science. The Manhattan Project cost $2 billion in ’40s dollars. $1 billion is not too much. Oh, and the vaccine will naturally be free to all. Right? To be read in conjunction with Developing Covid-19 Vaccines at Pandemic Speed NEJM.

A Major Medical Staffing Company Just Slashed Benefits for Doctors and Nurses Fighting Coronavirus ProPublica (MR).

Hospitals Tell Doctors They’ll Be Fired If They Speak Out About Lack of Gear Bloomberg and Coronavirus: NHS doctors ‘gagged’ over protective equipment shortages Independent

* * *
Political response:

Careful or careless? Perspectives on the CARES Act Brookings Institution

The CARES Act Small Business Paycheck Protection Program may not be a debacle. Thread:


Of course, “Paycheck Protection” only applies to employees of small businesses. It’s not a universal benefit that would protect all employees, because that would mean there were no complex eligibility requirements, and we can’t have people asking for that sort of thing.

Private equity groups seek US small business rescue loans FT. Locusts.

Congress Failed to Make Cash Assistance Universal. Now Local Governments Must Step Up The Appeal

Coronavirus is dividing blue cities from their red states CNN

Rikers Island Prisoners Being Offered PPE and $6 an Hour to Dig Mass Graves The Intercept. Well, at least it’s outdoor work.

Informal discussions begin on 9/11-style commission on coronavirus response NBC


This is what China did to beat coronavirus. Experts say America couldn’t handle it USA Today

China Should Just Give Its People Cash, Experts Say Caixin


‘Totally opaque’: Shashi Tharoor raises questions about PM-CARES fund, asks Modi to explain Scroll (J-LS).

‘Insult is heaped on injury’: Omar Abdullah slams government over new J&K domicile rule Times of India


Exclusive: Japan businessman paid $8.2 million by Tokyo Olympics bid lobbied figure at center of French corruption probe Reuters

For Japan’s nonregular workers, a weaker safety net as COVID-19 spreads Japan Times

Manila port may shut down in 6 days as it gets swamped by undelivered cargo: port authority ABS-CBN News


Coronavirus border closures are threatening Europe’s food supply WaPo (J-LS).

Italy’s epidemic approaching ‘plateau,’ health official says NBC

In 1348 LRB. Very good.


Covid-19 deaths in Russia almost DOUBLE in single day: Parliament clears path for state of emergency RT

Kremlin in virus crackdown after Russians rush for ‘long weekend’ FT

In the Coronavirus, Putin May Have Met His Match Foreign Policy

Now You See It, Now You Don’t – US Satellite Evidence And the Mh17 Trial John Helmer

Trump Transition

Was Donald Trump Distracted from the Coronavirus Threat by Impeachment? National Review

Wartime Production Law Has Been Used Routinely, but Not With Coronavirus NYT

White House Will Not Reopen Obamacare Enrollment for Virus Bloomberg

Trump Rollback of Obama Mileage Standards Guts Efforts on Climate Change Time

US offers Venezuela sanctions relief for power-sharing agreement BBC

Copper, coronavirus and a constitutional crisis: Chile’s banks under pressure S&P Global

Why Quebec’s coronavirus cases have skyrocketed Globe and Mail


Who Are the Voters Behind Trump’s Higher Approval Rating? NYT

Biden: Difficult to imagine having Democratic convention as scheduled Politico. Maybe hold it in front of the green screen in Biden’s house?

Our Famously Free Press

News Corp to suspend print editions of 60 local newspapers as advertising revenue slumps Guardian


It’s Modern Monetary Theory time as the state steps in Australian Business Review

Failed State

The Postal Service Is Breaking Down The Nation. The USPS is useful not only to deliver pharmaceuticals, as well as handle the last mile for Amazon, but for voting by mail.

Imperial Collapse Watch

Trump’s Chernobyl Moment: the US May Lose Its Status as World Superpower and Not Recover Counterpunch. Country comparison:


US Navy Evacuating Aircraft Carrier Infected by Coronavirus Defense One

Guillotine Watch

Silicon Valley Mom Gets Seven Months for $450,000 College Scam Bloomberg. From 2005, still germane: Man released after 35 years in N.C. prison for stealing TV Deseret News. From 2019: Man who spent 36 years in prison for stealing $50 from a bakery is now set to be freed ABC

Class Warfare

“Parasite,” COVID-19, and U.S. Wealth Inequality Federal Reserve Bank of St Lous (!).0987652

Day 15: Rent’s Due Yasha Levine, Immigrants as a Weapon

Exactly What We Said Would Happen: Instacart Is Quietly Informing Shoppers That They May Have Been Exposed to COVID-19 Gig Workers Collective, Medium

A loophole lets SC hospitals take millions from residents’ tax refunds for unpaid bills Post and Courier

What Makes a Community Resilient? Stanford Business

Everyone Does What They’re Told, But No One Knows Why The American Conservative

The Law of Informational Capitalism (PDF) Yale Law Journal. From the abstract:

Drawing on Cohen’s insights, I construct an account of the ‘law of informational capitalism,’ with particular attention to the law that undergirds platform power. Once we come to see informational capitalism as contingent upon specific legal choices, we can begin to consider how democratically to reshape it. Though Cohen does not emphasize it, some of the most important legal developments—specifically, developments in the law of takings, commercial speech, and trade—are those that encase private power from democratic revision. Today’s informational capitalism brings a threat not merely to our individual subjectivities but to equality and our ability to self-govern. Questions of data and democracy, not just data and dignity, must be at the core of our concern.

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote:


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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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. vlade

    Once M4A for this pandemic is accepted, and the cost tabulated, it become way way harder to say “it’s too costly” etc.
    I’d not disparage it – things that have been experienced are harder to roll back/drop than those that weren’t.

    1. xkeyscored

      Yes, I was thinking much the same.
      “You can’t have it” sounds bad; “We’re taking it back” sounds worse.

      1. MLTPB

        The idea of an introductory universal coverage for only one particular disease was mentioned here a while back, in association with covid19 and the call for M4A.

        Can’t say that was world’s first, just ideas flow freely and can be prompt or early here.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      The moral rot at the heart of neoliberalism will simply denounce anyone who brings this up as a -ist of some sort while they look for the next epstein to party with.

      Cost arguments were always bs. Biden might not know as he’s fairly stupid, but Pelosi knows but simply doesn’t care. MSM is too owned. One problem the left faces is the perception that Biden and Sanders aren’t that far apart. Hillary pushed that line about how she and Sanders agreed on everything.

      Even now so many Team Blue aparatiks are scrubbing their social media of #metoo phrasing.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Has anyone been screen-shot preserving all these #metoo phrasings before they all get scrubbed so that their existence can be proven and then their scrubbing can be proven?

        That kind of evidence could be weaponised and disseminationized for viralization to destroy the reputations and public standing of everyone and everything which can be demonstrated to have done that scrubbing. But only if all possible screenshots are captured and saved.

    3. mpalomar

      The NYT interview re: Why the U.S. Is Running Out of Medical Supplies
      At 20 minutes in the dime drops and the interviewer notes how in all the instances of shortage, the disruption can be traced back to the private sectors profit motive. So a small voice is heard from the paper of record that health care and profits don’t mix to good outcomes. I noticed in a recent Krugman column that he finally acknowledged this in passing.

      Countries with existing universal health care systems are always under attack. Here in Canada the owner of the largest supermarket chain is reaching out to customers through email, the latest has offered up a free alternative, called medeo for medical consultation while the system is dealing with the surge of covid-19. I’m assuming it’s a foot in the door of further privatising an already beleaguered system. Here’s part of the email,

      “The other thing we are hearing from lots of Canadians is that they are reluctant to visit the hospital or go to their doctor if they are suffering from any kind of non-COVID-19 health issue. And staying out of the emergency room if you think you might have a minor ailment is very sensible. But there are still ways to consult with a medical professional

      Over the last few weeks, we have been working with thousands of physicians across the country to enable virtual care through a tool we call Medeo. We are making the software available for free so that as many primary care physicians as possible can provide consultations to their own patients online. If you think you might benefit from a remote visit, check with your doctor to see if Medeo or another similar service is available at their practice.

      If you don’t have your own physician, Shoppers Drug Mart has partnered with Maple to offer a virtual walk-in clinic that will quickly match you with a doctor or nurse through your phone or computer. Many provincial health programs already pay for this service. But if in your case they don’t, we’re currently covering the cost until April 10, and are working to try and extend that as long as we need to.

      These virtual care options are actually pretty easy to use, and I hope you’ll give them a try. Also, for any number of minor ailments, your local Shoppers Drug Mart or supermarket pharmacy is another great place to start. Depending on the province where you live, pharmacists can now assess and treat a growing number of conditions such as eye and ear infections, skin conditions, and UTIs. Be sure to keep them in mind as you consider your healthcare options.

      And as we all worry about our physical health, many of us are also feeling the emotional toll of these uncertain times. That’s why we have expanded the mental health support we’re providing to our colleagues and their families. And starting today, we have also partnered with SilverCloud Health to offer an online stress management program through their digital mental health platform. More of us need this help these days, so we’ve made it free for all Canadians.”

      1. flora

        Good Stoller writeup about profits, mergers, and a change in the Clinton admin (the admin that keeps on “giving”) put the govt in a weaker position to stop bad mergers or retain the work the govt had paid for. Cf the small ventilator company’s design work the govt had paid for but lost when a larger company bought it.

        What if the govt had retained the ventilator design work as a receivable and not allowed that design work to go automatically to the new company? The govt could have let the merger go through, (though I doubt the buyer would buy the company without getting the design work it was trying to kill), and then hired another company to take over the job with the to-date design work.

        How Bad Antitrust Enforcers Kill

        1. mpalomar

          Thanks for the Stoller follow up on the Times story on ventilators. His recent exasperated criticism of Sanders and the left wing of the Democratic party was that basically they keep getting beat because they were ignorant of how things work.

          1. Dan

            Stoller’s indispensable critique of Sanders and the ostensible left was not that “they keep getting beat because they were ignorant of how things work.” Stoller was saying that Sanders and the left in fact know exactly how things work, and don’t particularly care. That is a hard pill for most to swallow, and Stoller himself hasn’t pursued this any further than his rant on Jimmy Dore’s show. I was expecting that maybe he’d be on Rising on The Hill to expand on his Jimmy Dore segment, but no. Once again, the rightful rage dissipates and we’re implored to buy someone’s book. Forgive me for thinking the entire media landscape is completely controlled.

            1. mpalomar

              I heard Stoller’s rant and at some point he accused Sanders and others on the Democratic left of not knowing how things work. He also accused them, as you suggest, of pre meditation, it was a rant after all.
              Having watched the Democrats over a now fairly extended life and depending on who we’re talking about, the hapless capitulations on any number of issues could be attributed to either or both. Their incompetence at the game of governance is indisputable as they always seem to come up empty handed. A feature or a bug? The money keeps rolling in either way it seems.
              Jimmy Dore’s and Stoller’s ‘rightful rage’ and disappointment was a little surprising, they are both grown ups, and must be aware that politicians are well known for speaking out of multiple sides of their mouths and to be compulsive compromisers, to put it generously.

        1. mpalomar

          Before this covid-19 crisis the sense here in Nova Scotia was the medical system was on the ropes, doctors and nurses were burning out and stretched too thin.

        2. eg

          Local Toronto talk-radio is always infested with the usual suspects promoting privatization of health care.

          A pox upon their houses.

    4. Watt4Bob

      Or, people’s experiences trying to ‘access’ that healthcare/insurance that they’re supposed to love so much will finally put the lie to the assertion that we Americans have the best healthcare in the world.

      This pandemic is putting everyone in the same leaky, underfunded boat, and I would guess that experience is going to convince many more people that M4A is a much better option.

      And it has already made a major impact on the attitudes of first responders and front-line hospital staff.

      PE hospital owners threatening to fire doctors and nurses who complain about lack of PPE, are not putting themselves in a spotlight that shatters their principle super-power, invisibility.

      1. Tom Bradford

        I don’t know that “experience is going to convince many more people that M4A is a much better option.”

        Here in New Zealand we have a state-funded health system, but if the pandemic takes off here we’re not going to be in a better state to cope with it than you – the system is designed by the state to deal with hospital needs in ‘normal’ times just as ‘the market’ is supposed to optimise the system in the US.

        Indeed the reason underlying NZ’s fairly draconian lock-down is because our hospital system is no better equipped than anyone else’s to deal with it, public or private. We’re only now starting to ramp up testing because I presume the test kits and or resources to deal with them didn’t exist, and from one news report I heard but which I suspect has now been buried, ventilators are thin on the ground.

        I’m sorry, but I don’t think M4A has any lessons in a situation like this. Yes you might be able to turn up at A&E for a test without having to worry about a bill for it, but that doesn’t magic a bed into existence for you if capacity has been reached.

        It’s in ‘normal’ times when the differences between M4A and commercial health are blatant, that you’ll get any traction.

        1. BlakeFelix

          The difference, I imagine, is that you don’t get whacked with a huge bill after the system system treats you as best it can. Or get turned away because you lost your employer provided health insurance when the economy shut down. Also you guys pay like a quarter of what we do per capita per year in normal times.

  2. JeepGuy

    “Yes, #MedicareForAll for this one pandemic is something the Democrat Establishment might be cajoled into accepting….”

    If that’s the “single payer” camel’s nose under the proverbial tent, I am all for it.

    1. edmondo

      What if they are only doing this to PROTECT the current system? There’s no way the insurance companies can come out of the pandemic without major impacts on their bottom lines. The only way to protect them is to have the government pay all the bills while they keep the premium money pouring in. It’s another bailout for Wall Street insurance companies paid for by the same people who pay for all Wall Street bailouts.

      1. Monty

        Yeah, they would love to get all those $100k a day+++ multi week intensive care cases paid for by Uncle Sam. Otherwise bankruptcy awaits.

    2. Oh

      Isn’t it too late to think about the camel’s nose under the tent?; we need the whole camel to be inside. M4A is the only way to save the people.

  3. zagonostra

    >FDR and Jimmy Dore

    The Squad was demolished on a JD segment last night. In addition to AOC, Tlaib, Pressley, Ilhan, he dismantled Ro Kanna, Tulsi and especially Bernie Sanders. He pointed out that they should now, if ever, be calling for M4A and UBI instead of supporting the COVID Bill. He spared nothing, which is pretty damn courageous seeing as how he has had many of these people on as guest and was one of the first to bring AOC to a wider audience.

    He indicated, that rather than capitulate to Pelosi/Schumer they should have held up legislation and fought for a better one, reasoning that if you could not pass progressive legislation in these circumstances, when the very food on the table that you eat is coming from working people of modest means, then you will never get these or other progressive items enacted.

    FDR – my sobering sentiment on current political life in the U.S. is F&$k Democrats and Republicans we need a real FDR in a moment like this, we need a DNR order for these two parties to let them die their un-natural existence and move on to a sane Party that represents common folk over the perversely wealthy.

    Having financially contributed to BS and Tulsi and trying to convince others to do so as well, it comes as a bitter lesson.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Jimmy Dore did an even harsher job on AOC by pointing out inconvenient facts. He did not say so but I had the impression that AOC could very well be the Nancy Pelosi of the future. He does have a point. What is the point of making all these outrage speeches if you still turn around and give them your vote when it comes time. What is the point of being a progressive if you vote in lockstep with the establishment. I had a horrible thought earlier. Maybe those progressives have spent too long in the Democrat party. Maybe they were saving their powder!

      Here is that Jimmy Dore 20:48 video (some swearing)-

      1. JohnnySacks

        Not buying it, they would be mercilessly savaged for not voting for the COVID bill, and to add insult to injury, get zero defense from their own side. This small, and thus ineffective at this point, minority is as viscerally hated by their own party grifters as they are by the right. They’re not blind to how feckless and ignorant voters have been with regards to a lifelong political hack and now functionally brain dead candidate, who’s only claim to fame was that a black candidate had to choose a shitty white guy so shitty white people would accept him. They’re on very thin ice right now.

        1. nycTerrierist

          not a rhetorical question: What do they have to lose, then?

          why not ‘reach across the aisle’ and ally with that lone Republican
          who nails it: $1200 is ‘the cheese in the trap’?

          powerful Dore clip, clarifying, as we say here

        2. The Rev Kev

          If you support people that always vote with your enemies, then where exactly is the focus for your efforts against that enemy? That is simply waiting for Godot that.

          1. JohnnySacks

            Watching 2020 unfold I’m maybe projecting my own hopelessness on anther lost decade. (Thanks on the Dore link, certainly damning.)

            1. MLTPB

              Perhaps we have zero elected, really committed progressives.

              Perhaps compromising has to do with the reality in DC.

              I don’t know. Also, I am not sure to lump all those names by Dore in one category.

              Do we only have real progressives among commentators and commentors?

        3. Noone from Nowheresville

          TINA framing works on multiple levels.

          There were multiple options available. Voting against was only one of them. I don’t see that anyone tried any of the others.

        4. John k

          I agree, IMO jimmys full of it. Bernie did hold out, and did get meaningful improvements. And the crappy money fo working class in the bill is still desperately needed, especially with Bernie’s mods.
          How can he represent the working class and vote against the bill?
          No view on Gang of Four… but progressives in both house and senate are small minorities that at best can make small improvements until voters send reinforcements. Maybe it takes a depression to bring a real change in leadership… whether thru the ballot or revolution.
          The GR wasn’t enough to bring change, just a comman’s fake hope.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            It depends if you think we just need tinkering around the edges and lip service or fundamental change. If the former, then Lenin should just have gone to the Tsar’s Imperial Council and asked them all politely to “cut it out”.

            The “system” has produced grotesquely unfair outcomes for the overwhelming majority for decades. CARES Act is the absolute signature piece of legislation that is a group selfie of the already biggest, fattest hogs gorging themselves on your and my money. Notice that Nancy made sure it was a voice vote, so none of them could actually be pinned to having signed it. I can hear a future Biden now: “I did not vote for the CARES Act!”.

            This country used to produce great men and women of courage, integrity, and commitment in public life. I’ve not seen any in a very long time.

            1. Foy

              Yep, exactly HAL.

              I loved this line from Jimmy:

              “This is f*cking ridiculous. They are laying down and letting the boot of f*cking fascism kick them in the face and they are saying I’ve got no other choice. They wont even fight, even a little! 96-0 nothing it passed, wont even fight a little…..a voice vote”

              In 1984 I did my HSC (year 12) and the books 1984 and Brave New World were on the exams. The world gets more Orwellian every day, its uncanny.

              And great tweet from that dissenting Republican, “Done in the name of a virus with $1,200 checks as cheese in the trap”.

              1. The Rev Kev

                And it would have been 100-0 but for the fact that 4 of them were quarantined due to Coronavirus.

      2. Mel

        There is the time element. If the fight for a better bill had taken two weeks, that would be two weeks gone. If four, four. If eight … . As I understand it, even Pelosi is starting up another bill.

        1. Noone from Nowheresville

          Who needed CARES more: the corporations / financial industry or the people from the point of view of the power brokers? There’s your leverage.

      3. michael99

        Thanks for the link. Can anyone shed more light on what Jimmy and Craig said about DNC lawyers telling AOC she could no longer talk to Jimmy Dore, and telling Bernie the same? Is there evidence that this happened and if so what consequences would she have faced if she had ignored the DNC lawyers?

        I am trying to understand AOC’s actions. I don’t believe that her progressive politics is phony. It was interesting that AOC was said to be “conflict-averse in person” in the Politico piece Jimmy quoted from, which has also been said of Bernie.

    2. cm

      I agree with your assessment. I, too, donated money to Gabbard & Sanders, and voted for Gabbard in the WA primary.

      To abandon your principals at this most critical time simply tells me you are useless.

    3. Ed

      I find Congress members in general, including the Progressive Caucus, pretty useless, but in fairness none of them voted on the 2020 stimulus bill because there was no vote. The measure went through the House of Representatives without a vote, and one Congressman, the Republican Massie from the Cincinnati suburbs, objected and got shot down.

      Note there was one dissenting vote on the Patriot Act, and the 2008 bailout was at first voted down by the House of Representatives until they were ordered to approve. The subsequent Fed run bailouts were not subjective to the legislative process. This time, the syndicate was taking no chances.

      I suspect this particular piece of legislation is vulnerable to a challenge on constitutional grounds, but such a challenge if it happens will probably come from the right.

    4. Oh

      I’m only half way through the video and I can see that JD is making a lot of valid points. The progressives, if they had held up the bill to force Nancy and company to yield on M4A and UBI would have had a lot of leverage becuse the ones that would also come under fire would been the DImRats who wouldn’t pass provisions for the people. And I contend that it would have been a stalemate for long – not even a few days. If nothing else, the progressives could have compromised in the people’s favor rather than passing a bill for the corporations and the Orange Man.

      1. Yves Smith

        You missed that the progressive push was not successful in 2018. The new House members were overwhelmingly corporate types.

        And the Dems marshaled their institutional power and got a near drooling idiot Biden installed. See divlab below,on 96% of Dems support him. Sanders has no leverage having been stomped big time by the party.

        They have nothing to fear from progressives. Dore is high on his brand fumes in acting as if Sanders could have gotten more done.

        Go look at the pathetic House Financial Services committee hearing in November on private equity. Democrats were praising PE as well as Rs. Fawning praise. Only opponents were Waters (mild, in her opening remarks), Katie Porter, and AOC. And that was when Sanders was more of a threat than he is now.

        1. Eric Patton

          Dore’s point is that the left never wins anything because it never tries to win anything. Then, after the left hasn’t won anything, websites and vloggers anywhere in the vicinity of the left make excuses for the failures.

          You either get the job done or you don’t. At some point, everything else has to be irrelevant.

  4. divadab

    I’m still trying to process this: 96% of Democrats support Biden. WTF?!? Is this real?!?

    We’re doomed if this is in any way accurate. Speaking as non-Democrat, non-Republican. How flipping demented and brainwashed is the average Democrat, anyway? I suppose people want to vote for people they think is like them – so grandpa Joe is getting the dementia vote, I guess.

    1. tegnost

      It’s only real if you consider that if being a democrat is to support biden, then only biden supporters are dems. Sounds like a winning strategy…/s
      The convolutions and theatrics in the coming weeks would be entertaining were it not leading to lots of people becoming homeless and/or dying
      Think of all the people who are using credit cards ro buy their amazon fresh/instacart/netflix. What happens when they hit the credit limit? Maybe that’s why the 1200 won’t show up for 4 weeks.

    2. The Rev Kev

      I wouldn’t worry about that figure. Back in November of 2016 all the media said that Hillary had it in the bag and figures of a 99% chance of winning were being floated. The same people that were pumping these figures for Hillary are now doing the same for good old Joe. And the main stream media will be there carrying water for such people because that is what they do.

    3. Jessica

      In all fairness, some proportion of that 99% probably trusts the Democrats as a team and figure that no matter how out of it Biden may be (even more so by 2021), he will appoint “good people”. Folks from the Obama administration.
      Not my cup of tea by any means but not as insane as it appears at first glance. Especially for folks who believe that Sauron’s one ring of power was restored and put to use on January 20, 2017 and all we need is to throw it back into the Crack of Doom.

        1. urblintz

          mayor pete could really redeem himself in that role… he certainly looks the part! then again, he’d probably make a deal with gollum…

    4. lyman alpha blob

      I’m not so sure they do. It’s also possible that people entrusted with polling aren’t doing the math properly, whether it’s through ignorance or deliberate. We have had several links at NC to discrepancies between exit polling and official primary results. Since the website has been linked to several times, I’m assuming NC considers it trustworthy. Exit polls were once the gold standard to determine election fraud and now we’re told they just don’t really matter. Well, the math didn’t change, so what did?

      I was a little disappointed reading the 538 article in today’s links:

      First of all at one point they use the word “math” as a verb which nearly made me choke on my breakfast. And they also spend a great deal of time explaining why modeling COVID-19 spread is difficult which all makes perfect sense, but what they don’t explain is why this particular virus is any different than others the world has dealt with in recent decades. SARS, etc. are all somewhat similar viruses to COVID-19 from what I understand.

      Again, the math for doing something like this presumably didn’t change. So what did?

      Apologies if what I’m saying smacks of agnotology, but I’ve really been trying to wrap my head around the statistics behind polling and virus modeling and the conclusion that I’m coming to is that a lot of people are throwing claims around who don’t understand how the mathematics works.

    5. NotTimothyGeithner

      Demexit is likely real. Team Blue numbers tanked, but Obama always did best with “very liberal democrats” as his time went on. My suspicion is the left simply stopped identifying as a democrats. During this time, he oversaw the lost of 1000 seats and was replaced by Donald Trump.

      Cross tabs and who was poiled mattered. The 2016 polling for a long time was based on an estimation turnout would resemble 2008 just because. This didn’t happen for reasons, but outside of safe states, HRC did worse than Kerry and enjoyed near unanimous support among “democrats.”

      1. Geo

        Anecdotal but I left the Dem party a few weeks ago after getting to vote for Sanders then seeing the motley crew of misfit losers rush to Biden’s side. Had only been a member since 2015 so I could vote for Sanders then. Before that I had been on the fence after they gifted us the “very electable” Kerry in ‘04 but stayed on to vote Kucinich in ‘08. Left after he was sidelined for the primary debates. Gladly voted 3rd party after Obama spoke in favor of Telecom Immunity in ‘07.

        After he brought in a cabinet of warhawks and bankers I was out of the party for good I thought. Bernie brought me back in. Now, once again, I’m out for good.

        The Dems should have been grateful for Bernie. He brought back Dem refugees like myself. That they see him as the greatest enemy says exactly who they are.

      2. Noone from Nowheresville

        HRC: Rarely mentioned in California numbers are the 15 Propositions which were on the ballot in November 2016. Voters were actively encouraged to get out and vote.

        e.g. Marijuana legalization, bilingual education in public schools, plastic bags, repeal of the death penalty, condoms in porn, increase cigarette tax, hospital fee program, $9 billion in school bonds, etc.

        Clinton got almost a million more votes than 2012 Obama and 1/2 million more than 2008 Obama. Trump got about 350,000 less than 2012 Romney and a little more 1/2 million less than 2008 McCain.

    6. The Historian

      Did you ever watch the fans at a baseball game? They act as though all their screaming and waving, etc., is somehow going to affect the outcome of the game, even though they must know deep inside that it won’t. I’m thinking politics is much the same way.

      1. Wukchumni

        Why have any faith in our failed political leadership, across the board?

        (with apologies to the USSR)

        We pretend everything still works, and they pretend to pay attention to us.

          1. MLTPB

            Good point, Historian.

            Though Seahawks fans believe as truth that they are the extra player.

        1. divadab

          Ya we can only hope the Empire is going through a USSR 1989 moment – long overdue. Chaotic, shitty, but light at the other end.

          1. Noone from Nowheresville

            Oh, good, the Clinton/Summer boys are on their way to save us from ourselves. Good to know.

            Does that mean we’ll need a Putin to “save” us from them?

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              Dude, the Clinton/Summers boys have already come and gone, they loaded all the money in a gigantic wheelbarrow (CARES) and nobody stopped them at the door. Now the best we can hope is The Keystone Cops show up, look at the smashed open safe, shine their flashlights on a few nickels and dimes left on the floor, and pretend to scratch their heads in puzzlement.

        2. Oh

          Eggzackly! The sooner people realize this, the sooner we will be able to form a real people’s party.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            A peoples’ party could work if it limits its agenda to the few lowest-common-denominator items which all the people in it agree that all the people in it would all want.

            Such a party would have to leave its elected representatives personally and individually free to vote any-old-way-they-want-to on culture war items like gun policy and abortion policy and so forth if it wants to point enough elected representatives the same way on higher taxes against the upper classes to cram such higher taxes down the upper class government’s throat.

      2. WJ

        Yes. Although in politics we are fed the even more ridiculous fantasy of believing we are the players on the field. And we are, as long as none of our official actions are allowed to seriously affect the outcome of the game….

      3. Geo

        If only voters paid as much attention to politicians as they do to sports players. Never seen a daily stats page on votes in our papers like they do for sports. Would be nice to see simple breakdowns of each vote like the box scores.

        Unlike sports though, it seems to two teams in politics are playing on the same side more often than not. Most accurate sports comparison to being a Dem is like being a fan of the Washington Generals and wondering why they always lose to the Harlem Globetrotters.

      1. edmondo

        Joe Biden is actually being helped by the virus. The less he shows up, the more people like him. He’s Hillary with Alzheimer’s Disease. Every time she campaigned, she lost votes. The only reason Wisconsin was close was because she never showed up. If she had, Trump would have won by a bigger margin. Same with Dementia Joe. Once he starts campaigning, people will see what a trainwreck he is.

        1. Geo

          I know that strategy well. Longest relationship I ever had was during a time when my job made me travel a lot. When I’m around more often my relationships flounder fast. The idea of “me” is much better than the reality of me. :)

    7. Keith

      Whoever conducts the poll has the ability to control its outcome. That 96% seems to fall into that category.

    1. periol

      I think that chart of Cole’s points to TWO key government decisions.

      1. New York state significantly ramped up testing.
      2. California threw it’s hands up, said the virus is endemic, and we are only testing the worst cases.

      I trust the numbers coming out of California and Washington as much as I trusted the numbers coming out of China a few months back.

      1. Phil

        I live in Contra Costa County, one of the group of California jurisdictions that were part of the initial shutdown. As of yesterday the county is claiming 222 cases in a population of just over a million. Two of my neighbors are doctors, one of whom works at the county hospital and the other at the county jail. Both report that they’ve seen a few coronavirus cases but that the case load isn’t (yet) increasing dramatically, as it has in NYC (and as it is in LA and environs, which were much slower in ordering a lockdown).

        1. periol

          My mother’s anecdotal evidence from Orange County is 10 or so acquaintances who have symptoms but are unable to get tested – all 60+. And one of the positives near her was a clerk at the grocery store she goes to twice a week.

          In Washington, my young nephew went to the doctor with all the symptoms, including pneumonia, and was sent home. The doctor told my brother there was no chance of getting him tested, he’s too young. That is also what my brother has heard from others around him – it is very difficult to actually get tested, no matter what the symptoms are. Not enough tests available, and the results take too long to matter for treatment anyways.

          Sure seems like the ostrich “head-in-sand” technique to me.

          1. MLTPB

            Thanks, periol.

            Based on the anecdotes, we can only make guesses.

            Not necessarily reliable ones either.

            1. periol

              I had a different comment with the numbers from the LA Times page disappear.

              As of Tuesday, the entire state of California had only tested 86,100 people, out of a total population around 40 million. That’s a far cry from New York state, and the vast majority of those tests are still pending…


              Of those, the agency reported that results are in for 28,704 of the tests, while 57,400 are still pending.

              1. MLTPB

                Thanks again.

                I guess the question I have, for comparison with NY, is the number of tests there when New York had 10,000 cases (some 80,000 today).

                1. periol

                  The Atlantic had a decent article on the testing debacle.

                  It is, specifically, a Quest Labs testing debacle. They deliberately took swabs they knew they didn’t have the testing capacity for, because $$$. Reading between the lines, it seems like most of the tests in the backlog require the rare/missing reagent, and also that many of those old tests may just be abandoned.


                  “Though the problem is national in scope, California is its known epicenter. Over the past week, the most populous state in the union—where the country’s first case of community transmission was identified, in late February—has managed to complete an average of only 2,136 tests each day, far fewer than other similarly populous states, according to our tracking data. Yet California also reports that more than 57,400 people have pending test results. Tens of thousands of Californians have been swabbed for the virus, but their samples have not yet been examined in a lab.

                  In the meantime, California has completed fewer tests per capita than the country’s next five-largest states—and fewer tests per capita than any of the 34 states that regularly report their full testing data. New York has tested 13 times more people, on a per capita basis.

                  1. MLTPB

                    It seems to me that as an area sees more cases, they will test more, and when they test more, they will see more cases (until after or well after the curve had been flattened).

                    There is a bit circular going on here.

                    To compare CA and NY, it would be interesting to see their test numbers when both cases reached 9,000, which the golden state saw recently.

                    1. periol

                      No, I get you. Which is why this whole discussion is very frustrating, because there was a period of time when California and Washington were way ahead of the rest of the country in case numbers. So you would have thought both places would continue to ramp up testing.

                      But New York and NJ ramped up testing, and CA and WA ramped down testing – and let’s not pretend that doesn’t impact the death count as well. If they aren’t testing when you’re alive, they aren’t doing it when you’re dead either.

                      I read today that on 3/30, California was around 80% positive on the test results returned (after a big fat zero tests on Saturday 3/28). When you’re getting those kind of percentages weeks into the crisis, you know there are lots of people who aren’t getting tested.

          2. Trent

            “That is also what my brother has heard from others around him – it is very difficult to actually get tested, no matter what the symptoms are. Not enough tests available, and the results take too long to matter for treatment anyways.”

            What kind of disease has ever had the results from the test to find it take to long for it to be useful for treatment?

            1. periol

              My personal analogy for this virus is that it’s like a star. What we see today is actually what it looked like however long ago – for the star, 30 million years ago, for the virus, two or three weeks ago. Our present is several light-weeks ahead of the virus, and there is little we can do to change that time gap.

        2. periol

          Just saw this really fun article. Thanks California.

 (emphasis mine)

          The California Department of Public Health drastically curtailed the kind of coronavirus data it is sharing with the public this week — including the number of health care workers who test positive for COVID-19 each day — at a time when the public is hungry for the information.

          To the consternation of health care workers who say infection details are crucial to tracking and halting the pandemic, the state health department announced Monday that it will report only the running total number of statewide infections every day, rather than breaking down where they came from. That previously included cases acquired through community spread, from person to person, or by traveling from a hotspot.

          The department said it made the change to “better focus public health resources on the changing needs of California communities.”


          I have long thought the problem in California is worse than they are saying. The order to shut down the schools came after a quiet report that there was a positive test from a homeless encampment. It was not long after that officials said they were limiting testing. Now we’re going to get even less information.

          This is not encouraging at all. Meanwhile they just announced that schools will absolutely not be reopening this calendar year. Doesn’t sound to me like they actually think they have a handle on this thing.

      2. MLTPB

        Does it make any difference that CA counties and the state itself put in shelter in place earlier than NY?

        Or that more people from NY likely vacationed in Europe in Feb? (Only asking about this one. I don’t know the answer).

      3. periol

        Just to follow this up with some numbers.

        A disorganized web of city, county and state facilities, as well as a growing number of private for-profit labs, are conducting tests. Officials have struggled to keep tabs.

        The best available tally comes from the state’s public health department. As of Tuesday the total was 86,100, after the tally took a sudden downturn due to an overcount at private testing lab.

        Of those, the agency reported that results are in for 28,704 of the tests, while 57,400 are still pending.

        So, as of Tuesday, California had tested fewer people than the combined total of positive cases in New York and New Jersey.

        Wouldn’t be surprised if they are also gently massaging the death numbers, but that one will be harder to prove, at least for a while.

        1. Aumua

          As morbid as it is, I follow the death numbers rather than case numbers for the very reason that they tell a much more unambiguous story considering testing irregularities, and are probably much harder to ‘massage’ on top of that. And the California death rate is certainly far lower than NY right now, whatever the testing situation might be.

          Also the current case fatality rate of NY, CA and WA are comparable, so that additionally confirms to me that the numbers probably aren’t that far off from the ground truth.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Might be worth following not only those that died but also the numbers where they have recovered. Added together, these are the cases that have gone the full course of the virus and will tell you what the ratio is for each country of those that died and those that recovered. I would expect that countries that managed to flatten the curve would have a lower percentage of their people that died than those where the health care systems collapsed due to the number of victims coming in.


            1. Aumua

              I don’t know, that information seems less valuable because the recovered numbers are delayed a lot longer than the deaths. I mean at what point do you say “recovered”? It seems like it adds an extra dimension of uncertainty. I could be wrong.

              1. The Rev Kev

                I would suppose that recovered means being discharged from a hospital but not feet first. I can only say that the key would be to look at the figures for countries that have gotten on top of their pandemic which I would imagine to mean South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, etc. Not a very satisfactory way of doing it but without highly sophisticated models, it may be all we have.

  5. fresno dan

    Turbulent Gas Clouds and Respiratory Pathogen Emissions JAMA.
    Droplets that settle along the trajectory can contaminate surfaces, while the rest remain trapped and clustered in the moving cloud. Eventually the cloud and its droplet payload lose momentum and coherence, and the remaining droplets within the cloud evaporate, producing residues or droplet nuclei that may stay suspended in the air for hours, following airflow patterns imposed by ventilation or climate-control systems.
    In the FDA, I inspected biologics facilities, and because of the nature of the product (vaccines and blood products, and for a while products like interferon, until my Center proved it was incompetent, but I degress) filling of the products into containers had to be done aseptically. Instead of droplets, I would use the term fomite, which shows where you stand depends on what you were taught to call something… Anyway, such particles can be small enough that they remain suspended in air indefinetly – to the extent that fomites ever leave the air it is due to electrostatic mechanisms and not gravity. The number of skin cells that slough off a clothed human would amaze most people.
    I can’t speak to how much infection occurs through airborne transmission, and I doubt anybody does. But determining that number definitively may be fraught with imprecision. For example, one of the most difficult problems in microbiology is disnifectivness studies. Although EPA approves disinfectants, and USP requires validation of disinfection and cleaning, one has to understand that although something is better than nothing, such studies are limited. Merely the media one grows the bacteria/viruses in can have profound effect on the final results. Plus a zillion other variables.

    On another note, went to have my blood drawn for a doctor’s appointment and the traffic seemed about normal for 6:30 am in Fresno, but the laboratory had only 2 patients, me and a woman. Usually it would have 10-15 or more waiting for it to open, and a few more coming in before I even was called back for my blood draw. Of course, the chairs that had all been right next to each other were widely separated (I have always thought chairs cheek to jowl in medical facilities was never logical)
    I asked the phlebotomist why there were so few patients, and she told me that a lot of doctors offices and urgent care centers had closed due to the virus. Wow…

    1. Jane

      This South Korean expert discussed those findings, he said (if I’m remembering correctly) the test used a higher aerosol rate than would normally be found in real life; however, he did say that the high rate of infection from a large evangelical get together was likely do to the singing and shouting in close quarters that goes on since people aspirate finer particles that stay suspended longer when singing and shouting than when simply talking.

        1. Wukchumni

          In the excellent 1348 link by LRB, clinging together via dogma was considered essential to ward off evil spirits and/or the Black Death.

          The evangs are taking just the opposite approach in being in tight quarters knowing full well the dangers they are posing not to just their cloistered ensemble-but to the world at large, singing the praises of a deity who must be thinking to him or her self, what the hell is wrong with these people?

          1. Acacia

            Evidently, they are determined to be saved while all those outside their tribe fry eternally. Perhaps Nietzsche wasn’t far off the mark when he argued it’s an expression of ressentiment.

        2. The Rev Kev

          Singing seems to be a great spreader. Today’s Peak Prosperity video was talking about a Presbyterian choir in Washington State I think it was. There were 120 people in it and the guy in charge decided to risk another practice session as people did not think the virus present in their area. There were 60 people that turned up to that session and they did the hand sanitizer routine as well as practice safe distancing. And yet within a few short weeks, 45 of them were sick with the virus and a few died. That is a 75% infection rate for that group which is amazing if singing was the cause.

          1. Jane

            Makes me wonder how far apart balconies are in Italy, I really hope that the singing that was meant to lift their spirits is not adding to their physical misery.

            1. Larster

              Wasn’t one of the big spread reasons in Bergamot is the appearance of there soccer team in a playoff game? Constant yelling and singing for hours will spread tons of tiny droplets. I believe your singing comment is spot on.

                1. xkeyscored

                  Thank you! I thought I half remembered seeing that. More about speaking than singing; I’ll read it properly later.

                  From the abstract:
                  “Here we show that the rate of particle emission during normal human speech is positively correlated with the loudness (amplitude) of vocalization, ranging from approximately 1 to 50 particles per second (0.06 to 3 particles per cm3) for low to high amplitudes, regardless of the language spoken (English, Spanish, Mandarin, or Arabic). Furthermore, a small fraction of individuals behaves as “speech superemitters,” consistently releasing an order of magnitude more particles than their peers.”

                  And later, mentioning singing:
                  “Similarly, Loudon and Roberts investigated the role of singing in the spread of tuberculosis and showed that the percentage of airborne droplet nuclei generated by singing is 6 times more than that emitted during normal talking and approximately equivalent to that released by coughing.”

                  “Our results indicate that speech is potentially of much greater concern than breathing for two reasons: the particles on average are larger, and thus could potentially carry a larger number of pathogens, and much greater quantities of particles are emitted compared to breathing, thus increasing the odds of infecting nearby susceptible individuals.”

    2. anonymous

      Re: Turbulent Gas Clouds and Respiratory Pathogen Emissions JAMA
      Fauci was asked about this during the White House briefing yesterday. He said that the study was “terribly misleading” because it would take an unusually robust sneeze to achieve a distance of close to 27 ft.
      Here’s a brief article with a short video clip:
      The actual discussion was a little longer than this clip. The White House press briefings are on You Tube and this question came close to the end. Sorry, but I don’t know how to link to a specific section of a video.

      Fresno Dan, thanks for sharing your expertise (and so glad you’re back!!!).

      1. xkeyscored

        If you right click on a Youtube video, you get a “Copy video URL at current time” option.
        Left click that, then paste into a comment or wherever.

          1. xkeyscored

            Thank you too, anonymous.
            Fauci says if someone sneezes vigorously, it’s time to get out of the way. That’s a bit late, and not an option for many health workers or medical staff, and they were the focus of the JAMA article. Perhaps Fauci is being a bit misleading when he says, “That’s not what we’re talking about.” I think that’s exactly what the article is talking about.

            ” For these and other reasons, wearing of appropriate personal protection equipment is vitally important for health care workers caring for patients who may be infected, even if they are farther than 6 feet away from a patient.”

      2. MLTPB

        Unusual robust sneeze.

        Human diversity. Can those people be called super sneezers? I think I wondered about this before.

  6. Wukchumni

    A couple sizable earthquakes in places where you don’t expect them and not too far from Yellowstone in the scheme of things.

    If Yellowstone was to blow up real good, it’d take our minds off of other pressing concerns…

    1. Carolinian

      In my town this year we’ve already had a tornado and now an epidemic. Expecting locusts next. Sky darkening eruption can get in line.

    2. Dave

      Having just moved back to Pennsylvania from Idaho Falls, my wife’s facebook pages understandably lit up with the earthquake. People are super sensitive right now. I broke out my college geology textbooks and gave her an overview of plate techtonics then showed her a modern map of the world plate boundaries. Earthquakes there should not be unexpected. As I remember we had a fairly strong one while we were living there.

      1. heresy101

        In 1959, my dad took us camping at Redfish Lake near Stanley Idaho. We were woken up and felt the ground move and heard an ominous rumble from an earthquake that occurred 200 miles away in Yellowstone. It was scary, even that far away. The 7.3 quake built a dam on the river, did $11M damage, and killed 28 people.

        The 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake in the Bay Area was a 7.1 but did a lot more damage in an urban area.

    3. divadab

      Yellowstone Dome blows?

      Well ya you’d be kissing your ass goodby in the coming mini ice age.

      1. Wukchumni

        It’d be one hellova fireworks show finale, lemme tellya…

        …and quite the feel good moment for the Unabankers, who escaped being held to contempt

  7. fresno dan

    Silicon Valley Mom Gets Seven Months for $450,000 College Scam Bloomberg. From 2005, still germane: Man released after 35 years in N.C. prison for stealing TV Deseret News. From 2019: Man who spent 36 years in prison for stealing $50 from a bakery is now set to be freed ABC
    equal justice under law
    LOL, if it wasn’t so enraging

    1. christofay

      I put Elizabeth Warren in the same category. Others faked credentials to get into a prestigious school. Warren faked her credentials to get into Harvard faculty. She’s the representative of the pmc in eastern Massachusetts, had her way cleared for her by Obama’s and Deval’s thugs.

      1. divadab

        She is rather a repugnant personality. SOrt of like the 3rd grade teacher who picked on you only she picks on everyone. She did do a pretty good job on Bloomberg, tho – so she can be useful in full screech.

    2. MLTPB

      More generally, the society, as in we, ( except those more enlightened) values mental activities over manual ones.

      Taking the SAT test >>>> making tortilla wraps.

      Writing a personal essay >>> loading a TV set.

      So on and so forth.

      By the way, this year’s SAT is set for June 6, 2020. What will happen?

    3. Tom Doak

      There is no argument that the last two examples are tragic. But the comparison here doesn’t equate well, to me. The Silicon Valley Mom PAID a $450,000 bribe to get her daughter into college, and she is going to do time for that.

      Meanwhile, the guy who took the bribe turned states’ evidence. Is that guy doing ANY prison time?

  8. Paul Jonker-Hoffrén

    RE: U of M’s Osterholm says obesity could be deadly factor in U.S. COVID-19 outbreak

    In the Netherlands both the head of the Intensive Care Association and a surgeon of the Erasmus Hospital in Rotterdam stated this risk. According to their data, 80% of deaths through corona had obesity issues.But here also, they state it is not obesity per se that is the risk factor but underlying factors related to their obesitas: diabetes type II, heart/vein problems…

    1. divadab

      Both obesity and diabetes are at very high levels in the US of A. Evolution will be happening.

    2. TroyIA

      In China the mortality rate for diabetic covid-19 patients is 7.9%. The U.S. is in trouble if the epidemic gets out of hand.

      1. MLTPB

        Not just the US, but worldwide.

        Per WHO, 422 million globally have diabetes, in 2014, increasing over the past few decades.

          1. MLTPB

            That’s a bit counter intuitive.

            Those curious might want to explore that.

            The other question is whether we see that same pattern in other countries.

            Another one is any correlation to diabetes, and not obesity.

            1. rtah100

              I suspect the UK data looks less overweight because of the presence of some young people in ICU. I shouldn’t have said age-adjusted above, I meant age-segmented. If you took the age mix in ICU, the presence of a few young people (20-30% overweight or obese) will pull down the remaining older people (60-75% overweight or obese).

              It also helps to remember that being overweight in old age is a predictive of longer life expectancy than normal or underweight (underweight very bad, probably because of correlation with cancer, alcoholism, late-stage Alzheimer’s etc.).

              Anyway, there’s no point dieting while sheltering in place, unless your food stocks are low. :-)

              So far I have baked four loaves of bread, made Danish pastries, a tarte tatin and two lots of baked apples in sugar and spices, baked a Victoria sponge and banana bread and made several trays of oat biscuits. Since the 24th of March. I’ve had to stop because I have run out of flour and butter but I found a farm shop to collect more from tomorrow.

  9. dearieme

    In the endless American debates I’ve seen about healthcare and health insurance nobody seems ever to have mentioned public health i.e. dealing with epidemics and so forth. The debate has had both sides focussed entirely on private health. This is a remarkable blind spot in American life. Did nobody understand that all countries are permanently under threat from new epidemics? Surely plenty of people had heard of the Spanish Flu? Or at least of the Black Death?

    Of course the term “public health” cropped up occasionally but always it was misused to refer to common private health problems – being too fat, drinking too much brown sugar water, and the like.

    All very odd. And the same intellectual confusion seems to reign now, with those who see the need for government action over public health immediately trying to confuse and exploit the situation to argue for extended government intrusion into private health. This is not only dishonest but likely to shoot themselves in the foot. The case for introducing a private health system like, say, Singapore’s or Australia’s, should stand on its own feet irrespective of the pandemic. If such a system makes it easier to deal with an epidemic, so much the better; make that case too. But a reformed private health system for the US ought to be considered on its merits in decades when there isn’t an epidemic. That’s because a system for government action – local, state, federal – for public health ought to be pursued independent of considerations about private health. That way you’d have a much better chance to build a wide consensus on what to do in preparation for next time.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Individual health and public sanitation (Rivers, the homeless, it’s going to be terrible) do a great deal to solve those problems. Many developed countries are going to have had a bad flu season out of season. A cause of poor health often results from drinking soda and not having good diets. Government policy is part of this, but even from the individual side of things, having a wizard, a doctor, tell a person in private what to do can be more meaningful than all the surgeon generals in the world signing a letter.

      Take these young people who have died especially in the US. Given the state of Healthcare, what is their health status? For ones on drug regimens, are they keeping up with it? Is the drug regimen shaped by an hmo which is pushing a deal they made by their pharmacy supplier? Without autopsies, we won’t know. Then of course there are the people who are so on edge they can’t simply call a doctor. They are still out and about.

      Perhaps the messaging has gone by the way side, a sick population increases the number of carriers and potential points for the healthy to get sick themselves. Though I would point out the tale of the goose that laid the golden eggs is about this. Short term greed means a collapsed Healthcare system in exchange for botox in better times.

      1. Wukchumni

        Nobody is really ready for what’s coming here-in one of the more advantageous places to live from a water standpoint in the lower half of the state, be it in having enough food or TP for that matter.

        All along the river are a literal shit-ton of Sycamore leaves, as that’s where the trees hang out, and they’d make perfect ersatz 1-ply TP, and you could see said shit-stained leaves making their way into the river, and then all hell breaks loose with fecal contamination all the way into the reservoir.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Given the reaction to Flint, its appalling how little society’s elites at large seems to understand about how vital clean water and sanitation is. These aren’t conveniences. They keep everyone, even the people renovating their “cottage” on Martha’s Vineyard alive and disease free.

          1. Wukchumni

            I feel fortunate to have had 15 years to figure out where all the water sources are on the down low and up high, with particular attention to natural springs, which are typically hidden away or people just don’t know what to look for. (in the summer when the snow is gone-the water from said springs running through a creek is around 40 degrees coming out of the ground, there’s your clue)

            Most every cave has water coursing through it, and there’s 250 caves around these parts.

            I never thought i’d have to use these skills as if my life depended on it, but things change.

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              that’s refrigerator temperature, right there…suitable for meat storage, even, if done right.
              and along those lines…i remember reading about the Amish in the midwest somewhere who would cut blocks of ice from frozen ponds and store it in underground cellars, packed with sawdust, for food storage through summer.
              Here in Texas, we’ll hafta pretty much eat what we can, and smoke the rest…and the deer and barbadoe and goats don’t have much fat…so jerky and pemmican it will be.(for fat, I have geese(see: Schmaltz))

              got 15 barbadoes delivered about an hour ago, btw…finally.
              I’ve been rushing to finish their summer barn all day…currently in the winter quarters(safer from coyotes, which are much worse in winter)
              so we’re a full fledged farm, again, with actual livestock.
              so now i can breathe a little easier…i’ve been on edge with all that sort of thing undone.

        2. Oregoncharles

          Contaminated leaves would compost really well; once they’ve heated, good fertilizer. Well away from open water, of course.

    2. divadab

      Anecdotal but I think repeated in many Counties – in one Central Valley, CA county the local republican administration shut down the county hospital in the late 90’s because socialism. This unbelievably moronic attitude is what is really holding up medicare for all.

      1. jonboinAR

        That kind of moronic neo-liberalism/libertarianism (I get mixed up on exact definitions) has caused a great deal of damage to the average person’s life in this country. It’s not moronic for the high end of the income scale, just wicked, selfish and dishonest. For those on the mid to lower end the relentless find fault with the gub’ment meme is, yes, well, moronic. I’ve never really understood what motivates these people (many of my friends and work-mates), but it’s no new thing. See about the 3rd chapter of Huckleberry Finn where Huck’s low-life father, Pap, has a long soliloquy about the gub’ment.

    3. Procopius

      The thing I see is the pandemic may create the conditions for a massive reshaping of the “private” health system. The United Kingdom was able to create the National Health Service because the government already owned all the hospitals and all the doctors had been drafted into government service because of the blitz. If all the hospitals become overwhelmed and unprofitable in 2021 because of the pandemic, it would be a good time for the government to nationalize them. The problem, of course, is that there is nobody in the current government who would be willing to do that, including Bernie and Warren.

  10. xkeyscored

    Mass disinfections to combat coronavirus pose another health hazard Reuters

    Note the final two paragraphs:

    Leong Hoe Nam, an infectious disease expert at Singapore’s Mount Elizabeth hospital, said mass disinfections are eye-catching and may boost morale but are not effective virus controls.

    “It would have better effect using a water cannon to disperse people and make them go home,” he said.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Donald Trump warns of up to 240,000 coronavirus deaths in US”

    At least Trump didn’t take a sharpie to that diagram this time. I hate to say it but maybe this emergency is making him grow up a bit, well, just a little bit.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          I’ve thought that– maybe, just maybe, trump’s becoming a Real Boy– several times over the last 2 weeks or so…but then he reverts to buffoonery.
          It’s a full time job.

  12. WJ

    “Yes, #MedicareForAll for this one pandemic is something the Democrat Establishment might be cajoled into accepting….”

    Well, we can only hope this one pandemic lasts at least as long as the War on Terror, which has been going strong since 2001!

    1. Tom Doak

      I believe that is precisely why there is so much resistance to providing relief. The crisis will go on for long enough that people come to expect relief and wonder why it can’t continue.

  13. Henry Moon Pie

    Vague’s article advocating for UBI reminds us that just as we wasted months preparing for Covid-19’s arrival, now we are wasting precious time preparing for the New Economy by bailing out the Old Economy. Our desperate elites are firehosing trillions aimed at preserving the old systems, markets and institutions when these are all but useless in accomplishing what must be done to save and satiate us mopes.

    And just as their dithering will produce hundreds of thousands of additional deaths over the next several weeks, so will their clinging to their power and privilege cost lives in what promises to be a hard winter. We can respond on two fronts by ramping up our ability to take care of our own households and by joining with people in our neighborhoods, workplaces, churches, etc. to organize a response.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      aye. get to know your neighbors, and do nice things for them.
      Ideally, this would have been started, if not accomplished, a long time ago…but better late than never.
      the only thing i think i’ve ever agreed with Hillary on is that “it takes a village”.
      (we delivered a little box of last summer to our closest neighbors night before last….green beans, tomatoes, peach jelly and some duck sauce mom made from her prune plums….with instructions to save the mason jars. and one of those neighbors just showed up with a passel of barbadoes,lol. Solidarnosc!)

    1. Cuibono

      Remember: shut down is NOT enough!
      Needs to be effective quarantine. Wuhan data shows Ro got to 1.3 with shutdown. took quarantine to get under 1

      1. rtah100

        UK has allegedly got to 0.62. Is that national character (undemonstrative and stand-offish) or because we are not crammed cheek by jowl into apartment blocks (oh, hullo, London, didn’t see you behind all those people )?

          1. rtah100

            The cases you see today represent R0 at least 5 days ago (incubation period) and more likely 10-14 days ago (time for disease to progress to a point where people risk going to hospital and getting a diagnosis).

            0.62 is the number the UK announced as a result of the suppression measures. We will see if this is true in another 10-14 days, if cases suddenly halve.

              1. rtah100

                Definitely modelling. It’s not like we are testing! :-(

                (unless they are using data for transmission among the Tory cabinet, with Johnson giving it to Matt Hancock, Chris Whitty and Dominic Cummings – they’re each less than human so 0.62 looks about right…)

  14. The Rev Kev

    “‘Everybody’s in the same boat’: Coronavirus drives New York’s hospitals to breaking point” Politico.

    ‘Not the rich who escaped to the Hamptons!’

    No, they left a city with tens of thousands of hospital beds and Federal aid starting to pour in to go to a place with minimal hospital care and even a sparser number of ICU beds. And the rich do insist on saying how smart they are because they are so rich. Maybe this should be a Darwin Award story.

    1. Paradan

      They’ll just hire all the doctors that they had fired for speaking out. Best healthcare in the world,

    1. Wukchumni

      In our price means everything world we used to inhabit, it probably made sense to not buy those face shields, or more locally, i’ve mentioned the need to plant huge quantities of wheat in the Central Valley, and the area around Tulare Lake (now dry, once upon a time the largest body of water in the west) has been farmed for some time now, with 2 varieties of cotton the mainstay crop. We need cotton like we need a hole in the head, and when I asked a friend (retired now, but was quite an important man in Ag not so long ago) about wheat, it would work if the price went up, but not until then did it make sense, even though everything was in place except for harvesters, which would have to come from back east somewhere.

      1. divadab

        What think you of this – put a barrage at the golden gate as the Dutch did with the afsluidijk on the Zuider Zee. Let the outgoing tide go out, and block the incoming tide, gradually converting the entire SF Bay into a massiv efresh water lake. Solves the snowpack disappearing problem, salt water infiltration problem, and provides massiv e fresh water stores for farming.

        Yes salmon runs gone, but they are probably history anyway.

      2. Phil

        Cotton is one of several crops that should never be grown in California, and wouldn’t be if our water rules weren’t so f’ed up that they practically pay farmers to be wasteful. Cotton is much more thirsty than wheat, and requires water during the warm season – which as you know, Wuk, though perhaps others don’t, in California means the dry season. So it absolutely requires irrigation, whereas at least in good rain years wheat – the ancestors of which are native to Mediterranean climates like ours – requires little supplemental water.

        It will be interesting to see if collapsing supply chains really do lead to greater emphasis on local self-sufficiency. If that does happen, with any luck we’ll see the end of cotton farming here. But it’s going to be a nasty fight if it comes to that. The farmers are well organized and punch far above their weight.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          cotton is well known for severely depleting the soil, too.
          my place, and all around here, used to have cotton…and the depletion is evident, as is the now endemic cotton root rot(and we’ll be in a boll weevil quarantine/exclusion zone forever)
          flax is a much better fiber crop, as is hemp. Both also add a lot of biomass, if done right, and “till” the soil pretty deeply, too.

      3. jonboinAR

        My guess is wheat is fixing to go up. It might not happen until a sharp, fairly disastrous food shortage in the US occurs.

    2. Oh

      It’s time to face up to it; higher wages and other costs for manufacturing requires higher pricing. If we’re to get away from CHinese imports, it’s better to pay more and be self sufficient.

      1. Procopius

        I’ve been re-reading Jamie Galbraith’s The Predator State, and one of the things he points out is that for many reasons, the US Dollar became the replacement for gold in international trade. As long as the dollar is the international reserve currency, other nations absolutely must have dollars. Therefore they will all combine their efforts to keep their currencies low relative to the dollar as an aid to maintaining a trade surplus, which brings them dollars. If we want to maintain the dollar’s place as the world reserve currency, we must accept a continuing trade deficit, which also encourages a loss of manufacturing capability. The trade deficit can be made up for by internal fiscal policies of running large deficits, but until Trump no government was willing to do that (well, as Cheney pointed out, Reagan proved deficits don’t matter, so his administration might have been willing to adopt that policy, but they were distracted into enriching the MIC).

  15. xkeyscored

    Hospitals Tell Doctors They’ll Be Fired If They Speak Out About Lack of Gear Bloomberg and Coronavirus: NHS doctors ‘gagged’ over protective equipment shortages Independent

    This will be interesting. It appears that many doctors are speaking out regardless. Firing them en masse would be idiotic and homicidal in the current situation, and doing so after the crisis is over would be hugely unpopular, to put it mildly. It wasn’t too hard to persuade many that whistleblowers like Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden are traitors. Persuading people that doctors and healthworkers facing COVID-19 close up every day with insufficient protection are public enemies rather than heroes might be harder.

    This paragraph from the Bloomberg article reminds us of another point:
    “In China, one of the earliest alarms about the mysterious new illness was raised by a doctor in an online chatroom in late December. He was reprimanded and forced to sign a police statement that the post was illegal. He later contracted the disease from a patient and died.”

    1. Noone from Nowheresville

      How many medical professionals will be left standing after the first curve? They don’t have to die to be gone from the system. PE will be ready I’m sure. Medicare for All won’t change that. There needs to be a multi-prong “attack.” Maybe PE needs to go extinct.

    2. Polar Socialist

      That “one of the earliest alarms” came three days after China had reported to WHO that they had lots of cases of pneumonia of unknown cause in Wuhan. And four days after Wuhan official had reported tho WHO and made a public announcement of “unexplained pneumonia”.
      That’s when Hong Kong started tracking people who had visited Wuhan within last two weeks.

      By then SARS, MERS and bird flu had been ruled out.

      The doctor was reprimanded, because he was telling people it the virus was SARS, which was, according to the police, false information. People’s Supreme Court rebuked the police for this.
      Being an ophthalmologist, the doctor got the virus from a glaucoma patient from the Huanan Seafood Market with “high viral load”.

      1. xkeyscored

        I’m not so sure about those timelines, but my point was the USA and UK are practising the very censorship they accused China of, whether China was or wasn’t or if it was, when.

          1. xkeyscored

            From the Bloomberg piece, specifically about the USA:
            “Hospitals are threatening to fire health-care workers who publicize their working conditions during the coronavirus pandemic — and have in some cases followed through.”

            Sounds like censorship to me, though you could quibble the terminology. China has state censorship; in the USA it’s the private sector.

    3. Billy

      “Hospitals Tell Doctors They’ll Be Fired”…”A major medical staffing company reduced benefits…”
      To those in the medical profession affected by this short sighted greed;

      Start making lists of those who make and implement these decisions. Keep copies of all emails and texts announcing them. Save the CC headers etc. Make a file of them. If unsure of where decisions come from, an email or text asking for clarification of who originated the decision is in order.
      These names and chain of command will be useful for later prosecutions, at the institutional and possibly personal level.

    4. John k

      If I was a dr I’d complain and let them fire me… take a few months off, hunker down. I’d stay alive. And when we get out on the other side there’ll be a dr shortage.
      And if enough join me, policy would change, they’d get better Ppe.

      1. Wukchumni

        A friend is an ICU RN in his late 40’s and well respected by the hospital he works at, and initially he thought, right, i’ll get it, go into quarantine for a couple weeks, and then be spared further grief, but I sense his priorities are changing.

        He can’t be the only one…

  16. zagonostra

    >Ideological Cognitive dissonance

    Reading these two stories side by side makes my head hurt. Wasn’t Russia supposed to be the authoritarian regime stifling freedom of speech?

    Ming Lin, an emergency room physician in Washington state, said he was told Friday he was out of a job because he’d given an interview to a newspaper about a Facebook post detailing what he believed to be inadequate protective equipment and testing. In Chicago, a nurse was fired after emailing colleagues that she wanted to wear a more protective mask while on duty. In New York, the NYU Langone Health system has warned employees they could be terminated if they talk to the media without authorization.

    Vladimir Putin has decided how Russia is going to pay for the corona-virus.

    He’s going to tax the rich.

    It’s a remedy that most Americans would support if they were given the choice, but they weren’t asked. Instead, Congress passed a $2 trillion stimulus package for which the American taxpayer will be held entirely responsible…

    In contrast, Putin has settled on a more rational and compassionate plan. He’s going to launch a relief program that actually focuses on the people who need it the most. Then, he’s going to cover the costs by taxing the people who are most capable of shouldering the burden. His intention is not to “soak the rich” or to redistribute wealth. He simply wants to find the most equitable way to share the costs for this completely unexpected crisis.

    1. xkeyscored

      Just a few weeks ago, China and Iran were the authoritarian regimes stifling freedom of speech.

    2. John

      Well, the rich have all the money.

      It’s just that in America the masses have been brainwashed into believing the rich are so overtaxed and they “earned” it so really deserve to keep it all.

      So their bought and paid for Congress won’t tax them. In fact, even in last week’s bailout bill gave them huge tax breaks.

      1. epynonymous

        The biggest lie capitalism ever told is that its about the money.

        Nobody cared about non-western societys’ money. We never cared about when our rich ran out of money. They never cared about the money owed the poor when it came time to pay…

        Social standing and power networks are the real deal. Why do you think elon, bloomberg, and gates all spend their money so publicly? The Carnegie trust, college endowments, the fed, congress, etc.

        They literally create money from thin air and give it to themselves.

        It strikes me that 6.6 trillion is just about equal to the 7 trillion of official corporate debt…

  17. xkeyscored

    Exactly What We Said Would Happen: Instacart Is Quietly Informing Shoppers That They May Have Been Exposed to COVID-19 Gig Workers Collective, Medium

    One point I didn’t notice here is that if delivery services such as Instacart break down due to sick workers and contaminated buildings, not only will some be left without essentials, but others who are currently at home but able to go out will venture to shops themselves, multiplying the potential for viral spread.

    IMO, we need to support workers in distribution now or risk a breakdown in distribution, with all that entails.

    “As Instacart spent Monday discrediting our workers’ strike, downplaying the requests we and thousands of other Shoppers and customers were making, they were also busy informing their workers that they may have been working alongside a confirmed case of COVID-19 at a store in Cambridge.

    This is the exact worst-case scenario we wrote about when giving our reasons for a strike. In-Store and Full-Service Shoppers work in close quarters with each other and with other people in stores. The virus is confirmed to be present in at least one of these workplaces now. These Shoppers handle produce, groceries and supplies that are then delivered to Instacart customers. Often many hundreds of customers per day. Without adequate measures, Instacart Full-Service Shoppers and In-Store Shoppers can unknowingly become vectors for the disease and multiply the danger for everyone involved.”

  18. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: I Spent A Day In The Coronavirus-Driven Feeding Frenzy Of N95 Mask Sellers And Buyers And This Is What I Learned Forbes

    At one point he received an update that 43 million masks were available in New Jersey, in the same time-frame that federal and state leaders were saying in press conferences that they were “scouring the globe” for masks. But the masks in New Jersey, along with many million more, didn’t go to any domestic buyer. Instead, according to the broker, they were all purchased by foreign buyers.

    “Most of the masks are leaving the country,” he told me.

    That is not the case in countries that have cracked down on exports, he added, but as of now the U.S. is allowing many types of medical supplies to leave the country even as states and hospital systems are expressing desperate need for masks and other PPE.
    By the end of the day, roughly 280 million masks from warehouses around the U.S. had been purchased by foreign buyers and were earmarked to leave the country, according to the broker — and that was in one day.

    I do not want to hear one more goddamned story about the “scarcity” of PPE for frontline healthcare workers until this situation is exposed and dealt with. Surround these warehouses with the National Guard or anyone else with guns that you can find, commandeer these supplies and distribute them. We’ll settle up later, just as we’ve promised the workers who are being fired / sent home without pay so we can “flatten the curve.”

    This is of a piece with the emphasis on conjuring up trillions of dollars to “save” the financial system as job one in dealing with this “existential” health crisis during which tens of thousands will die. The “market” is not up to this job so fuck it.

    You’re either worried about saving lives or “efficient” price discovery–you can’t do both. It’s either an emergency or it’s not. I have heard that 3M is an AMERICAN company based in Minnesota–it’s time to start acting like it. Where the hell are YOU uber-patriot amy klobuchar? Get those people in line–you can put it on your resume for next time.

    If I hear the words “moral hazard” one more time wrt to what’s going on right now I’m gonna puke.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      The profiteering on PPE and ventilators is one example of how our Old Economy no longer works. PPE needs to be distributed according to need, not ability to pay, but our systems and institutions were not designed to work that way. Wuk’s extremely important point about how Central Valley agricultural land is being misallocated is another example.

      Nationalization is part of the solution, but it will also be necessary to create new systems and institutions as well. To think that supermarkets are going to be able to handle food distribution on their own is crazy.

      Otherwise, we going to have to fight price gouging and hoarding as hard as the virus.

    2. Meel

      Those masks were almost all imported anyway, weren’t they? We had a report last week (?) from the owner of the only company in the U.S. that still makes masks. He geared up for the SARS outbreak, then nearly lost the company when the outbreak ended, sales stopped, and he still owed for the equipment.
      Somebody is trying to corner the market.

    3. fresno dan

      Katniss Everdeen
      April 1, 2020 at 9:37 am

      Marx or Lenin….
      “The capitalists will sell us the rope with which we hang them”
      fresno dan’s corollary, “the capitalists will sell everything necessary to live until we’re ALL dead”

    4. lyman alpha blob

      And this –

      “Some people don’t understand that the market sets the price,” Remington said.

      Not the greedy a&&hole who won’t sell at $4 because he wants to wait and see if the richer hospital will pay $5, not the broker, Mr. Remington, who clearly isn’t making markets for masks as a personal favor – no it’s the ambiguous “market” at fault here and there’s just nothing humanly possible they can do to keep that price from going up.

      Reading about Mr. Remington kind of makes me want to buy one…

  19. a different chris

    No we can’t have Medicare for All but we can unload rich peoples obligations to provide healthcare on the taxpayers (my emphasis)

    “Bankrupt coal miner Murray Energy Corp. could be forced to liquidate unless a federal judge lets it cut health-care payments to retirees, according to court papers.

    Stopping the health-care payments would save the company $200,000 a day — some $6 million a month — and wouldn’t hurt the retirees because the benefits are backstopped by the U.S. government, according to the request.”

  20. The Rev Kev

    “US offers Venezuela sanctions relief for power-sharing agreement”

    Nice offer that. It is like having a neighbour that sets fire to your house with your family inside and then offers to give you a fire extinguisher if you sign over title to that house to them.

    1. MLTPB

      People in that country can decide.

      Maybe they look to the story about two women both claiming to be the mother.

      What is more important, for the people there?

  21. Samuel Conner

    re: Informal discussions begin on 9/11-style commission on coronavirus response

    I was having just this thought, last night, as it was looking like “daily CV-19 fatalities” would cross the 1000 threshold.

    But (I suppose that this dates me) the analogy that came to mind was the investigation into the failures that led to the unpreparedness of US Navy @ Pearl Harbor and US Army in Philippines for the surprise attacks of 7 Dec ’41. I was wondering who would be our contemporary equivalents of Walter Short and Husband Kimmel.

    I guess that a lot of people are wondering “WtF happened that we were so unprepared?”. I hope that this question can be plumbed and that better policy and governance might emerge from it.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      -free trade was always bogus and would result in this crisis. The equipment and resources necessary to combat this crisis are in China. The opponents of “free trade” warned about this kind of thing all along including the economic fallout as we can’t simply switch production.
      -Trump is a dimwit along with the Congressional leadership.
      -Austerity has been bad, even increases below rates of inflation are also bad.
      -A population on edge both from a work and healthcare capacity will spread disease as well as seek medical treatment in later and more costlier stages of treatment.
      -People are fairly disgusting in general and get their news from shouting by the msm which obscures problems. People were still going on cruises when the genie was out of the bottle and so forth. The information was out there, but it wasn’t on the msm in more than a passing way until it was too late, reducing the likelihood people would listen.

      I think I just saved a commission report. The case of Pearl Harbor and 9/11 are closer to smaller tactical events within larger frameworks. Japan was driving out colonial powers from its sphere of influence. At some point, this would draw it into conflict with those powers most notably the UK and its successor states but also the United States if the UK was off the board. The how and when were up for discussion, but you don’t need to discuss this. 9/11 (I didn’t know this until much later how much Bin Laden enjoyed his rock star status) was somewhat baked in too. Even Bill Clinton warned about it at least to Shrub, and he even used it to give himself a wag the dog moment. There were significant operational failures and decisions made that made 9/11 possible when it should have not been able to happen at all given the knowledge of who these people were and existing surveillance technology and manpower.

      There might room for reviewing the government’s decisions in February, including the daily intelligence reports and what are in them, but realistically, this is the inevitable outcome of the 80’s and 90’s. A pandemic was going to happen. That’s reality. Our ability to deal with it has weakened through decades. This is the same crisis as anti-biotic resistant super bugs going through domesticated animal populations.

      1. CuriosityConcern

        And don’t forget the looming specter of future pandemics born on the wings of “unstoppable” climate change. Will we learn our epidemiological “lessons learned” like we should have in the past and face the future unified in our new knowledge of what needs to be done to keep our society safe? If I start turning blue it’s not from COVID but from holding my breath.
        And speaking of societal readiness and response to disaster, wouldn’t it have been nice if the scientists warned us about climate change and perhaps offered us solutions to forstall it?
        Anyways, hope this isn’t one of those inflammatory comments, but I do feel it’s topical. Maybe I’m just blowing off isolation/fear stress.

      2. VietnamVet

        China’s loss of 50% of its pigs to Africa Swine Fever should have been a huge red flag waving “A pandemic is coming”. They even made a movie about it “Contagion”. For the last 40 years the rich have been extracting wealth out of the economic system by reducing resilience. It is all gone. This is just in time healthcare. Life expectancy has been declining in the USA because of it. America has hit bottom. It is just as risky to live in the Hamptons as NY City. This should wake up the credentialed. ER Doctors and Nurses are just as expendable as grocery clerks.

        There will be no recovery until democracy is restored and the wealthy are taxed at 70% of income.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I guess that a lot of people are wondering “WtF happened that we were so unprepared?”. I hope that this question can be plumbed and that better policy and governance might emerge from it.

      I wish I had confidence that the Democrats would run that kind of commission. Seems unlikely.

      1. ewmayer

        When I saw the title my surmise was that this is a stealth reboot of ImpeachImpeachImpeach, just in case the DNC’s handpicked stooge-nominee should again lose come November.

  22. Noone from Nowheresville

    Stoller at Wired
    The Relief Package Ushers In Trump’s Planned Economy

    While it’s tempting to see this bailout package as being similar to that of 2008, the analogy is flawed. During the Great Recession, the bailouts of Wall Street were an attempt to keep private credit flowing. The coronavirus relief bill, however, is an explicit takeover of Main Street-level activity by the state. It’s hard to wrap your mind around the ideological change that has taken place. Before this disease, Democrats were deeply skeptical of power grabs by the Trump administration. Today, Democrats are angry the President isn’t more aggressively commandeering private corporations and forcing them to make medical supplies. Think about what it means in a capitalist society for the government to take over the means of production. Now think about what it means for Democrats to demand that Trump seize more executive authority. Both of those things just happened.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      It’s hard to wrap your mind around the ideological change that has taken place.

      No, not really. The ideology is called national socialism.

      For those who skipped Civics or History class, that’s the one where we all get nice brown uniforms. On the plus side, the trains run on time. Keep your eye on the little mustachioed man at the top, though. John Hurt did a very nice job playing him in V For Vendetta.

      (Hey, wasn’t that film also about The State using a pandemic to wrest final control of the people through fear?).

  23. zagonostra

    >Black Agenda Report

    I’m wondering how the “new normal will forge a path for fundamental and transformative change” referenced below without a vehicle to galvanize the masses in some sort of peaceful unified action. The mind-forged manacles of MSM propaganda, the readily available use of violence to quash protest – even if the virus didn’t keep us from the streets – and the absence of any reserve capital (savings) to weather the storm seem to be a hurdle too high to jump.

    A friend tells me that it’s in God’s hand and that our role is to keep the faith, do what we can within our own little orbits and to not fret about the global events taking place, for He is in control. He is right, ultimately, but I always have a problem with the notion of “human agency” and remember Dante’s Canto III where Virgil points out those who don’t even deserve a place in hell, for they did not take part in anything until they knew which side was going to win.

    In New York City subways are largely empty, but not in poorer neighborhoods. Subway travel has dropped 90% overall in recent weeks, but at subway stations in the Bronx, the poorest of the five boroughs, ridership levels are unchanged for people who work as home health aides, grocery store employees and construction workers. Their plight is exacerbated as subway trains now operate less frequently and passengers are crowded together in defiance of all “social distancing” rules required to prevent corona virus infection…

    This crisis is an opportunity for honest discussion and for new political activity. Normalcy for black people is nothing that we should return to. A new normal will forge a path for fundamental and transformative change. But terminating an Amazon warehouse employee will be the least of the reaction to a new movement. The billionaires and their political minions won’t give up easily. The people must be equally determined.

  24. Ignacio

    RE: Restrictions Are Slowing Coronavirus Infections, New Data Suggest NYT

    I like this! The fever map. This is an easy tool saying how social distancing works to prevent not only Covid-19 but any other infectious disease. This is exactly the kind of measure that, if massively implemented would have helped a lot to manage the epidemics. And it is not too late since after episode 1 we will still need to be en guard. I like it so much that I will send the link to Spanish authorities asking if they are implementing something similar. Inexpensive, real-time… what’s not to like about this!

    1. Cuibono

      one caveat: it may be that ots of asymtomatic people started to use their thermometer artificially loweering the temp curve

    1. xkeyscored

      Incredible. Perhaps they’d applaud loudly if the rest of the world suddenly slapped long overdue sanctions and embargoes on the USA. Not that most of the world seems that mean and vindictive.

    2. John A

      There was a NATO propaganda smear campaign earlier this week claiming that 80% of the equipment Russia sent to Italy was ‘useless’. Only if you believe one ‘anonymous source’ that talked to the Atlantic Council. All Italian officials speaking on the record were hugely appreciated of the assistance.

    3. MLTPB

      If the message is that Corona can overwhelm any one, any health system, any nation, that should humble us humans.

      I see that as a broader lesseon.

  25. The Rev Kev

    “This is what China did to beat coronavirus. Experts say America couldn’t handle it”

    China: I’ll answer the question. You want answers on controlling that virus?

    America: I think I’m entitled to them.

    China: You want answers?!

    America: I want the truth!

    China: You can’t handle the truth!

    1. MLTPB

      The article shows how countries are different.

      Some countries encountered this early, and they have had victories, and there are lessons, modified if necessary, for the world, but also questions we have ask ourselves.

      Do we want the federal government to be able to fire state governors, or lockdown states? For one example.

  26. Lost in OR

    I Spent A Day In The Coronavirus-Driven Feeding Frenzy Of N95 Mask Sellers And Buyers And This Is What I Learned Forbes

    Prices ranged from anywhere between $6 – $7 per mask depending on volume and location.

    Added to this, potential buyers trying to secure PPE for their medical personnel are often not empowered to make fast, high-dollar deals, no matter how desperately they’d like to close a deal and get masks to those in need. I listened to the range of emotions playing out in negotiations and it seemed to me that the domestic procurement process is simply unprepared to operate in this frenzied market.

    By the end of the day, roughly 280 million masks from warehouses around the U.S. had been purchased by foreign buyers and were earmarked to leave the country, according to the broker — and that was in one day.

    So now the “Health Industry” is understanding how it feels to have a critical need subject to the profit motive. Being uninsured, overwhelmed and unempowered is exactly how I feel whenever I have a medical need. My sympathies go out to them.

    I am in possession of two cases (15ea) of N95 masks purchased in January for $40. That’s $1.33 each. As I am making masks at home I do not need these masks. My inclination is to donate them to the same hospital that would deny service or bankrupt me (I’m uninsured) if I need medical intervention when I get the virus. I having a hard time following through on that inclination. The gougers are being gouged for what should be a basic human right. I’m feeling hard love.

    I’m not liking that feeling.

    1. Snake Plissken

      Don’t feel bad. I sometimes have the same issues when donating blood. Why should I give up my biological matter for free when the hospitals are making $$$ off me and other patients and would be happy to medically bankrupt me?

    2. Louis Fyne

      My $.01…look up Medicaid providers in your area, donate them to an independent physicians office that is still taking in Medicaid patients.

      Fact being that the big hospital networks will get bailed out one way or another. Independent doctors can’t match that DC lobbyist firepower

    3. Astrid

      I have a few masks and a respirator with cartridges from Ebola days. I’m considering keeping the surgical masks in case we have to do a home quarantine, 2 N95 masks in case we have to go to the hospital, and leaving the rest of the stash in my mailbox for our mailman and maybe our garbage men.

      I would absolutely not give anything to hospitals. Giving up our resources to hospital administrators to make up for their bad management will just help them to persist. They all need to lose their jobs, and then their luxurious homes in lawsuits for criminal negligence ( necessary to pierce the corporate veil) against their workers and patients.

    4. ewmayer

      Does your county have a low-cost subsidized clinic aimed at low-income residents? If so, I’m sure they would appreciate your donation of masks. (I’m in Marin county, we are fortunate to have the Marin Community Clinics networks filling that need.)

  27. Ignacio

    Something anecdotal: we have had the warmest winter I can remember, notwithstanding yesterday we had a late snow in Madrid, by the way the latest snow I have seen in Madrid! Covid-19 has managed to let it pass almost unnoticed.

    1. Wukchumni

      We had almost no precipitation/snow after December, and typically our winter is said and done today, on April 1st.

      We’re supposed to get 3 days of rain/snow on the weekend, which is a bit freaky, but not entirely out of normal goings on, and appreciated.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      Sounds nice! Its much better to be housebound when the weather is cold outside.

      I’ve been wondering if we’d see some localised weather impacts of shutdowns due to lower air pollution or weakened urban heat island effects. I doubt it any such change could be drastic enough to cause snow, but no doubt some weather/climate forecasters will get some interesting data in the next few months.

      1. New Wafer Army

        A cold snap at the start of April is a well-known phenomenon in Ireland. It is referred to in folklore as the “days of the brindled cow”.

        In the Irish Calendar The Old Cows Days/The Days of the Brindled Cow are the last days of March and the first three days of April; in Irish: Laethanta na Bó Riabhaí.

        The term comes from a folk tale, illustrating the unpredictability of the weather at this time of year in Ireland. The tale relates how the bó riabhach, “the brindled cow”, complained at the beginning of April to her companions in the herd of the terrible harshness of the previous month of March. As the grumbling of the cow continued, the at first uninterested March began to take umbrage and decided to teach the speckled cow a lesson she would never forget. So March “borrowed” the first three days of April but made them so bitterly cold and miserable that before they were ended the unlucky bó riabhach had died. The purported lesson of the “days of the brindled cow” is that complaining about the harshness of the weather is done at one’s peril.

        The same story can be found in different versions all over Ireland and Europe in general.

    3. xkeyscored

      I caught something on the news today about Thailand experiencing some record high temperatures lately. I wasn’t listening carefully, but it chimes with the temperatures here in neighbouring Cambodia. I don’t know if we’ve had any records broken recently, but we’ve certainly had a lot of very hot days, 40C+. Global warming hasn’t gone away.

    4. aleric

      Unusually warm here in MN also, gotta keep reminding myself to wait another month before starting garden prep.

  28. CoryP

    Craig Murray’s thoughts on the question of a police state vs appropriate response to a dire public threat. Maybe for Water Cooler.

    It is by no means clear to me that it is a rational response to covid-19 to tear up all of the civil liberties which were won by the people against authority through centuries of struggle, and for which people died. To say that is not to minimise the threat of covid-19. It is also worth pointing out that a coronavirus pandemic was a widely foreseen eventuality. People keep sending me links to various TV shows or movies based on a coronavirus pandemic, generally claiming this proves it is a man-made event. No, that just proves it is a widely foreseen event. Which it is.

  29. The Rev Kev

    “Everyone Does What They’re Told, But No One Knows Why”
    ‘We’re reliant on experts to tell us truths too complex to work out.

    Aaaand, I am going to have to disagree with this whole article right from the get-go. You know what the real problem is. It is that governments treat people like little children and the present pandemic is no exception. It was all don’t-worry and everything-will-be alright followed straight away by lockdowns and rationing of supermarket goods. Neoliberalísm is even worse as it is a group of elites that have a very paternalistic attitude to people and trying to nudge them into “correct” behaviours.

    An example of the present situation is that governments won’t say that there are not enough face-masks at the present as they are being saved for medical teams but will instead say that face-masks are no good or are even dangerous. Gaaach! Australian governments are like this too and they won’t let on what they know but try to let it out in dribs and drabs. In contrast, the New Zealand government has just released the classified modeling for the pandemic. So they let their people know the following-

    ‘In a worst-case scenario – if not enough had been done to slow the virus – more than two-thirds of New Zealand’s population would get sick, 146,000 would be hospitalized, 36,600 would need an ICU bed and 27,600 people would die.’

    So now the kiwis know the score and why different measures have been taken. Meanwhile, Australia’s models are still classified because mommy knows best!

    1. cnchal

      > . . . Neoliberalísm is even worse as it is a group of elites that have a very paternalistic attitude to people and trying to nudge them into “correct” behaviours.

      Sure, if you define the paternalistic relationship as farmer to cow.

      1. newcatty

        Our cats and us humans have a mutual respect for each other’s social distancing. We all live together in one small ( by some American standards) house. Many people could learn a lot from cats. We humans often times tend to project our needs for affection and attention to our co-habitating animals. The neediest and less mature “owners” demand obedience or adulation from the animals. The more I enjoy my respectful and loving relationship with my cats; the deeper the relationships. It’s especially cool that the cats are So relaxed and content indoor cats.

        We are, for many of us, indoor cats. It is an interesting thing that many of us are dealing with the need to be together so much of our lives. The people who do real work, like healthcare, grocery, food pantry workers are not home as much, but still go home at a shift’s end. Most have families who, such as their kids, are home. I learned a lot from my cats and also, for me, in living a long life.

  30. Wukchumni

    Food tip for the day…

    I’m a big fan of NZ canned butter-the Red Feather brand. It appears to not be available anymore on the internet, but there’s a plan G instead that many might not be aware of, Ghee.

    It has a long shelf life and doesn’t require refrigeration.

  31. Tom Stone

    Here’s another gamechanger, the FGC-9 by deterrence dispensed.
    A 9 MM semi auto that anyone with a laptop and a standard 3d printer can make at home.
    Yup, print your own “Menendez Magazine” and make your own rifled barrel using electro chemical machining.
    I wonder how this will affect all the artisans in India who make illegal firearms?
    Will they band together to buy a printer and start putting out higher quality goods?
    Life just got a little more interesting…

  32. Samuel Conner

    The thought occurs, in contemplation of the possibility that US is facing a mass-mortality event that could give us a taste of what it has been like to live in parts of the world in which US in recent decades has been intervening to protect perceived national interests, that we have been “failing our own State” as well as contributing to state failure in other parts of the world.

    1. xkeyscored

      Just a taste. In Yemen for example, bombs continue to rain down despite the world’s worst humanitarian crisis before this, including a cholera epidemic.

    2. MLTPB

      The 100,000 number seems high to me, not that it won’t happen.

      I would monitor as events unfold, I guess.

      Perhaps those stressed out by that, and there are many who are not, perhaps taking it one day at a time is there way to go.

  33. Mikel

    RE: “Jobs Aren’t Being Destroyed This Fast Elsewhere. Why Is That?”

    1)Short term thinking still rules: layoffs will make those corporate earnings look hot.
    2)BS “social darwinism” thought processes that simply will NOT DIE…
    3)This economy IS crisis. All the time. Always. Non-stop. But with formulas for the attempted “scientific” guise.
    4)The USA can’t wait to get to the automation of everything, no matter how crapified…that is why….

    1. John k

      not all costs are salaries. Loans, tax, lease, utility. No revenues = losses. P/E goes NA.
      Gonna be lots of losses. And after distancing is over, who wants on a cruise ship? Gonna be waves coming back from parts of the world starting later, like Africa, central and South America, maybe refugee camps.
      Gonna take a while before we’re back to normal.

  34. xkeyscored

    A great little comic style thing on the importance of social distancing and hand washing. And the advantages of using brains – “I wondered what those were for!”

  35. JP

    Looking at the chart comparing NY and bay area curves raised suspicions. I checked the California COV map and added up the bay area. The author of that curve eliminated Silicon valley (Santa Clara) from the bay area. Anyone who has been to San Jose knows it is on the bay.
    It almost doubles the count. My biggest complaint about the so called news is it is never properly qualified. Without qualifying information everything becomes spin. They all do it, the times, the hill, the Post and, of course the Huffington Post.

    1. JBird4049

      I wish I could ascribe being unqualified to such a thing. Maybe I am being too cynical, but If they eliminated the entire county of Santa Clara, I believe they ain’t being unqualified, but that they are being mendacious, or, at best, completely incompetent.

      The briefest of internet searches, using the search engine of your choice, will bring up a listing of all nine counties complete with map.

      More generally, I have noticed that bogus statistics, graphs, and charts have increased a lot over the last 20 years. At first, I just though that the cutting of all the editors and fact-checkers was the primary cause. I do no longer. While I still believe that staff cutting is partly the cause, I also think that the desire or need to create a false narrative for a story is the true cause.

      As the old cliché says, there are lies, damn lies, and statistics.

    1. xkeyscored

      Yes, it seems a good and clear summary of what we know about this so far. Thanks.

      This photo says a lot. From the Wired article, ” Julian Tang and his colleagues have created a visualization of the breaths exchanged by two people in conversation standing three feet apart. Most of the time, the puffs of air they let out remain separate; but portions of their exhalations do sneak from each person’s breathing space into the other’s.”

      From “Qualitative Real-Time Schlieren and Shadowgraph Imaging of Human Exhaled Airflows: An Aid to Aerosol Infection Control” (via Wired)

  36. smoker

    Re: The Postal Service Is Breaking Down

    If Congress does not take further action to save the Postal Service in the near future, the scenario predicted by Maloney and Connolly may come to pass, and its consequences would be dire. Without a functioning Postal Service, there would be no one to deliver medicine, medical supplies, and protective equipment to households and hospitals around the country, especially in more remote places. As more states and cities go on lockdown, families will also rely on the USPS to deliver packages full of any food and hygienic supplies they may not be able to find in grocery stores. And now that Congress has passed its $2 trillion stimulus package, it will be USPS workers who will deliver the checks that many Americans desperately need.

    Not only that (along with the voting by mail), but the Post Office employs roughly half a million workers who will be hard put to find work elsewhere other than horrid Amazon, This is so worrying, it would be criminal to allow it to shut down.

    1. Wukchumni

      If the Postal Service breaks down and goes away, how will Congressmen and Congresswomen justify their existence in renaming post offices, if there aren’t any left?

  37. Cuibono

    The whole droplets versus aerosols debate is scientificly fascinating as well as largely not worth attention except for HCWs. From a public health standpoint what is critical is to get the r zero to 1 or less as soon as possible. If we look at China Hong Kong Taiwan Korea and Singapore there are ways to do that that have nothing to do with aerosolized transmission

    1. xkeyscored

      It might merit attention from those caring for or living with someone with COVID-19. If the JAMA article is correct, 2 metres may not be all that safe in such circumstances.

      1. Cuibono

        Agree. But still, most infected in Kora, HK, Singapore Taiwan are cared for at home. So if it matters, it doesnt matter enough to keep Ro under 1

        1. Cuibono

          and i presume that those countries do not luxuriate in large apartments…

          STILL we should be making empty hotels available for ALL who are infected

  38. Bill Smith

    “The CARES Act Small Business Paycheck Protection Program may not be a debacle”

    The money will be used up on Monday.

    It will by like trying to buy ticket to a hot concert.

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