#COVID19 Lockdowns, the Reopen Protests, and Wage Labor

Lambert Strether of Corrented

This post will be a bit of a ramble, and sadly, not a general theory. First, I’ll do some ranting and moralizing, and then I’ll quickly look at some of the “Reopen” protests, especially the messaging, and lastly I’ll look at one reason the “Reopen” protests are not as irrational as they might seem. I should caveat, as before, that I am in an extremely, as we say, privileged position with respect to the lockdowns, because my life is already locked down: I’m very introverted, work from home, enjoy my work, don’t have to do video-conferencing, have several consuming side projects, have no onerous responsibiltiies to others, and although I’m older, hence vulnerable, I can arrange my life so I have only very brief human contact, masked. If I don’t do anything stupid — not a foregone conclusion, I grant — I can hold out for a long time. So my attitude no doubt tends offensively to: “What’s the issue, here?” That said, I promised I’d rant and moralize, to here goes.

Ranting and Moralizing

This is the best thread I have seen on appropriate (gawd, how I hate that word) behavior during the pandemic. From a New Yorker:

And the names:

Patience to keep up pandemic discipline until the crisis is past; fortitude to bear the Seige of Leningrad-like conditions life changes necessary for the greater good. And foster kamer is right that most people are doing that.

But — and here is where I turn into whatever the male equivalent of a Karen is, because I really, really want to call the manager on “these people” — this seems to be the basic attitude of those who don’t take social distancing and masking seriously

“Your health is not more important than my liberties” implies, for example, that there can be no such thing as public health (“The right to infect others shall not be infringed”).

And so we get madness like this:

That’s insanely dangerous! It’s an air-condioned, enclosed space with people jammed together! And the unmasked goons are turning it into a death trap!

And then, of course, we have the beaches. California:

Where’s the social distancing? And not to pick on California, Florida:

Now, caveats on the beach photos. First, the lens used is probably making groups of people seem close together. However, the groups themselves are still very close (so in addition to violating the stay-at-home order, they’re violating social distancing norms, and masking norms). Second, while the evidence for indoor transmission is very strong, the evidence for outdoor transmission is weak. However, these groups are close; and they are probably sharing drinks, towels, and everything else one brings to the beach. So I think they’re goons with no consideration for others; the kind of people who’d talk loudly on their cellphone in the Quiet Car. And it would be fine with me if Darwin gave his Award only to the goons, but the goons are infecting others. “I had a beautiful day on the beach with the whole family and all the kids, or at least it was beautiful until the blood and pus began rising in Dad’s lungs.” Except it might not be their Dad, but somebody else’s. But enough of my critique of the culture of narcissism, and on to the protests.

The Reopen Protests

I won’t go into the overly political aspects of the protests (dubious funding; Trump’s failed attempt to leverage). My concern was that we were looking at the seeds of “mass-based party of committed nationalist militants,” where fascism in the United States would move to its second stage; the protests seemed to vary greatly in size and force by state. (I’m not sure what happened; it may be that GOP donors decided the protests were a little too rich for their blood; or that the FBI has the protests groups all wired up; or that they are completely fractionated and divided into sects. Note that if the protests had been organic, antifa would have been all over them; antifa watches for that sort of thing, and enjoy the confrontations).

Let me single out the largest, Wisconsin:

Here for comparison is one of the crowds in the Wisconsin Capitol Occupation of 2011:

(I’m also including this to ding the national Democrat Establishment, including Obama, for not lifting a finger to help Wisconsin Democrats, either during the 2011 protests or the subsequent 2012 recall election, thereby ushering in the brutal and squalid Scott Walker regime.) So the crowd size is not all that impressive. Not much to worry about, at least for now.

However, amidst the American flags, and the gunz, and the Trump signs, there is a discordant note. Here it is:

“All jobs are essential.” And again:

Well, if one strips the “___ lives matter” snowclone, I agree with the sentiment: All workers are essential. Could it be that some of the protesters are on to something?

Wage Labor

So let’s do a little curation here. First, here’s the an especially crude version of the message workers are being sent:

But workers don’t necessarily see themselves as heroes[1]:

And of course a hostage situation is a power relation:

James Mason comments:

This fascinating review of a book on the plague in 17th century Florence [linked to at NC on 4/17] quotes a wealthy Florentine who opposed the city’s policy of delivering food to those under quarantine, because it “would give [the poor] the opportunity to be lazy and lose the desire to work, having for forty days been provided abundantly for all their needs”. It’s striking how widespread similar worries are today among our own elite. It seems like one of the deepest lessons of the crisis is that a system organized around the threat of withholding people’s subsistence will deeply resist measures to guarantee it, even when particular circumstances make that necessary for the survival of the system itself.

(Or, to translate this into the notation preferred by the Bearded One, C-M-C’.) And here is Pelosi, whose blitherification is approaching Biden-esque proportions, doing the liiberal Democrat “deeply resist” thing (do listen):

Workers have to work. They need to sell their labor power, a commodity, (C) to get money (M) that they can use to by the means of subsistence, more commodities, e.g. food (C’) to work the next day. And the M is sorely lacking. There are no wages. The unemployment system is a shambles. The one-time $1200 payment is derisory. Meanwhile, Republcians and Democrats shovel trillions to malefactors of great wealth, unanimously, without a single dissenting vote. What are workers to do? The only option on the table — because no others have been offered — is to go back to work, and “re-open.” Jacoibin comments:

Things will only get worse as the lockdowns drag on. Steven Crowder may be a clownish reactionary charlatan, but he’s not entirely wrong to say that all jobs are “‘essential’ for those who rely on them for a living.” The rest of us won’t win the argument if our response makes it sound like we think basic economic concerns are as frivolous as a demand for a haircut and that everyone whose job or small business has been wiped out by the crisis should just grit their teeth and make ends meet. While supporters of the protests are a distinct minority, that might not last. The longer the lockouts last without a mass bailout for workers, the more ordinary people will be inclined to side with the protesters.

For some definition of “side with,” possibly kinetic.


So we have a pandemic that’s much more lethal than we thought, from a virus that’s highly contagious and produces a death that is a very bad way to go, whose epidemiology is not well understood, whose course appears unpredictable (e.g., strokes are new), for which there is no recognized treatment protocol, and for which a vaccine, if one is every available, is at least a year away.

Under those conditions, we propose to “return to normal” and “re-open.”

There Is No Alternative. Patience, fortitude…


[1] If the definition of a hero includes courage and noble qualities, then I put working x number of shit jobs to feed one’s children in the heroic category. How could one not? “They work every day.” –Jesse Jackson.

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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. Arizona Slim

    If they’re so necessary, then why aren’t we being issued a set of masks for use when we have to go out in public?

    This should be something that our national government is doing for us. Masks that are reusable — with a good washing — and that are made in the USA.

    1. Noel Nospamington

      Here in Canada, wearing of masks by the general public is strongly encouraged. But it is impossible to buy any mask, including non-medical cloth masks.

      How does New York and other places mandate mask wearing, when there are none to buy. Especially for those of us with poor sewing skills, and limited time for handycrafts?

      If everyone who is fortunate enough to afford to buy masks were able to do so, this would allow the state to provide free masks to others who can’t afford it.

      However I still wonder if in North America and Europe that usage of non-medical masks would become widespread, compared to many Asia countries where the general public mostly has access to and wears medical grade masks? Hopefully this will change if domestic production of medical grade masks ramps up soon.

      It is much easier to encourage the general public to wear masks which offer some significant amount of protection to the wearers, as oppose to just wearing non-medical masks for purely altruistic values of just protecting others and not themselves.

      1. wilroncanada

        I ordered some cloth masks from a sewing business in Vancouver which claims to have them in stock–2 different kinds. They are supposed to arrive at my home on Vancouver Island next week. Will they arrive? We’ll see.
        Meanwhile I have some N95 masks–overkill for shopping and going for walks outdoors. I’ve given one to each of: my wife, daughter and sister-in-law to use for now.

    2. Aumua

      Exactly! There should be large bins of individually wrapped masks at the Walmart parking lot. Just drive up and take as many as you need. They don’t have to be the N-95’s. Just some freaking masks. You’re not going to restart the economy if people don’t feel safe. If it doesn’t seem like our government is on top of this, which it doesn’t… at all… people won’t feel safe going out.

  2. fresno dan

    Elad Nehorai
    Your health is not more important than my liberties…
    Written on a VOLVO!??!!!
    and the license plate reads: GERM-K
    Whoa…dude, reversed polarity in the matrix or something…

    1. Clive

      Yes, I spotted that too. A T6-AWD. Which is a real gas guzzler.

      And to think, Volvos used to be the preserve of the deep green sandal-waring brigade.

      I know I shouldn’t do guilt by association, but the last occasion I came into close proximity to a Volvo driver was when on the road which my cul-du-sac exits on to (which is used as a drop-off point for school run mums at a primary school a street or two away) when, as sometimes happens, there was a parking enforcement officer ticketing miscreant parking (parent dropping their kids off seem to think this gives them special “selfish behaviour permits” here in the U.K.)

      As the enforcement officer knocked on the window, the driver (it was a woman) rolled it down and said (in a bellowing imperious voice which English middle-class women can adopt when the situation demands, you kind-of have to hear it to appreciate it) “you can ticket me if you like, I don’t care and I’m not moving as I’m waiting for my child to come back as they’ve forgotten something, I will pay the fine and I can afford it”.

      I wonder if they are distantly related to the US Volvo driver pictured?

      What a society.

  3. rd

    It appears there is finally some decent science coming out on what constitutes a good vs. bad situation for Covid-19 exposure. https://www.marketwatch.com/story/coronavirus-survives-longer-airborne-and-travels-further-in-these-public-spaces-heres-where-to-be-extra-careful-2020-04-27?mod=home-page

    I am actually not particularly concerned about the beach photos. It appears to be separate groups that are apart from each other with no interaction out in the sun. That is a very low probability exposure case. It is very different from the spring break photos of people climbing on each others backs with a lot of contact. it is also not sitting next to strangers in a sports stadium or concert.

    Shoulder to shoulder outside for an extended time is the infamous 1918 Philadelphia parade scenario, but I don’t think those beaches are that. Mardi Gras on Borbon Street etc. was probably a key reason why Louisiana exploded – that is shoulder to shoulder for hours. Some of the protests would fall in that category as would unmasked people on the airplane. However, it is more the close physical contact on the plane that is the issue, not the circulation system. The air circulation system (once it starts up) has a lot of air exchanges and goes through a HEPA filter, so the exposure threat is from people physically within 6 feet of you, including physical contact.

    The big issue is going to be poorly designed interior spaces: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/when-6-feet-isnt-nearly-enough-to-keep-you-safe-from-the-coronavirus-2020-04-22?mod=home-page

    When they re-open outdoor seating at restaurants, I may go to them. However, I expect it will be at least 18 months before I step foot inside a restaurant or bar to do more than pick up take-out. That sector is in deep trouble – if they do well in the short-run, it is likely they will have outbreaks and will shutdown again.

    The trends have been to pack more and more people into spaces and make those spaces more energy efficicent. Workplaces like this are going to be breeding grounds. Similarly, church services and other large gatherings where people share the same space without great ventilation for an hour or more will give lots of opportunity for transmission.

    A grocery store doesn’t have to be a danger if the ventilation system is good with lots of air changes per hour, people wear masks and practice spatial distancing, the cashiers are protected with sneezeguards, and there are good protocols for sanitizing surfaces between customers. Wegmans in our area already had hand sanitizer in lots of places with disinfectant cart wipes before Covid-19 and has been installing sneezguards for cashiers and managing customer density. Trader Joe’s near us is also like that. But it requires viewing your employees as more than simple units of production.

    The shutdown of meat packing plants is hopefully a message to employers that they need to review their business practices.

    Pennsylvania just published construction guidelines for Covid-19 that appear to be pretty sane. the question is – will they be enforced? https://www.governor.pa.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/20200423-Construction-Industry-Guidance.pdf

    A lot of industrial plants are large with good ventilation systems. If not, they were probably not compliant with OSHA regulations and buildings codes before this all happened.Grandfathered building code places may have to re-assess their HVAC systems.

    Offices are going to have to dramatically reduce their density, especially if they went to the latest fad of completely open office space for “collaboration (also known as minimizing floor area and rent). I expect we will see a need for one employee every 500 sf for the next year or two – more than that and they will be dealing with a lot of sick employees which is not a good business model. In person conference room meetings are likely to be limted to 4 people or less, even in the big conference rooms. it will be rude to enter someone’s office and probably foolhardy on your part.

    Retail is going to be low density. I think many malls will close as they lose tenants. The US has too much retail space anyway by itnernational standards and I think this is going to drop it 50%.

      1. Noel Nospamington

        Even if assume that the coronavirus is completely killed by salt water, lake water, or chlorinated pool water.

        The fact is the people need to breath air in and out and propel it above the water line, where the coronavirus can stay suspending in air for several seconds within a 2 metre radius. (More so if one is swimming victorious, or exhaling deeply after swimming underwater.)

        This means that social/physical distancing is required for swimmers in water.

        I think however scuba divers underwater would be okay, provided that no one is above them inhaling their bubbles.

      2. pricklyone

        NO. Nothing kills a virus. Because virus is not alive! Coronaviruses are just RNA wrapped in a shell. Chemicals and soap can break down that shell and render them inactive, but they are not a form of cellular life which can be “killed”.
        Pet peeve of Virologists, it seems…:)

    1. clarky90

      NZ and Australia are doing quite well (fingers crossed) in suppressing this WuFlu. I wonder if our increased levels of UVA, B and C sunlight, are “bleaching” the virus to death?

      The light and the sun is noticably different down here. Not balmy, but intense and brittle. The Ozone Hole over the South Pole is still open. It lets in disinfecting UV ray’s. (UltraViolet is also used by many city water treatment plants to kill water born pathogens)

      1. Foy

        Yep I’ve been wondering about that too, whats the reason behind our low numbers. I know we shut down entries from China early but we were open to elsewhere a fair while after that. Our sun is definitely different, more intense.

    2. Ignacio

      I agree with you on the beach comment: i don’t think is good place for massive contagion while the plane is just excellent for the same. During 4 hours you only need one asympromatic spreader to have many contagions helped by the ventilation system well farther than 6 feet away.

      Regarding the beach pictures something similar has occurred this week in Spain when families with children were allowed out. Suddenly, photos showing apparent aggregated masses of parents and children began to circulate. Of course these were mostly made with tele-photo lenses combined with the perspectives at 5 feet that give a false impression of crowding. Instead of the awful “your health is not more important than my liberties” we have a reciprocally hysterical “my health is more important than your liberties”. It is me, me, me all the time.

  4. Adam1

    I love the photo with the lady holding the sign “All Jobs Are Essential” (what she really means is income is essential for everyone in our world) and the Re-Elect Trump 2020 (the administration who’s systematically accelerated the dismantling of all the public services we really need so that everyone can safely go back to work).

    The irony.

    1. ambrit

      Trump is just a symptom. The concerted dismantling of public services began in earnest with Ronald Reagan. His “breaking” of the Air Traffic Controllers Union in 1981 was the pivotal moment in the long anticipated Robber Baron Revanche.
      See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Professional_Air_Traffic_Controllers_Organization_(1968)
      That is but one reason why I encourage Progressives of all stripes to go visit Reagan’s grave site in Simi Valley, California, and micturate on it. Call it an extreme form of Virtue Signalling. One akin to canids and felines marking their territories. One of the characteristics of Middle Eastern cultures that I have read about is their long institutional memories. Wrongs done generations ago are still considered ripe for restitution. The Progressives of today should adopt that attitude. One thing the last decades have taught me is that long term planning is necessary for significant political change. The Evangelicals and Reactionary Right built up a ground game from the bottom up. Starting with ‘Think Tanks’ and progressing on from there through the labyrinthine channels of local politics, on up to State and finally National level politics, those stalwart defenders of the Rights of Oligarchy have, by and large, prevailed. Otherwise, how did we end up with a Democrat Party that would be happily embraced by Right Wing movements the world over?
      Thus endeth the rant. I have to put out the trash for tomorrows pick up.
      On that front, have the commenteriat encountered public service slowdowns like we have? The trash pickups have become irregular in timing, though still on the designated days of the week. City bills now have to be paid at the drive up windows of the departments billing offices. The same goes for the electric company. Wonder of wonders, the electric company has waived the 2.5% surcharge attached to online bill payments for the nonce.
      Interesting times.
      Oh what fun! We just ambled outside in response to a quite loud crashing sound. I thought that it was an automobile collision. Alas, it seems to have been some miscreant running over one of the stop signs at the nearest street intersection to our house. Mysteriously enough, three police cars, showing lights but no sirens were on the scene almost immediately after the crashing sound.
      Really interesting times!

      1. chaco52

        Amen as to St. Ronnie. Him and Uncle Milty(Friedman-we actually called him that to his face in 1974 at U of C) destroyed our economics with their ” share-holders come first” BS. It’s been a slow decent into vulture capitalism, supported by both parties, e.g. Clinton scuttling Glass -Steagle. Perhaps we could organize field trip to Simi Valley?

  5. oaf

    …*essential workers*…for now. Before, and presumably after, just low-life losers. And a lot of them are deplorables, besides!…Value is ephemeral. Cannon fodder is valuable, right?…so the leaders have someone to hide behind…

    1. JBird4049

      “Cannon fodder is valuable, right?” I’m thinking that the better descriptor is disposable.

      I was once told, by someone who had covered the excitement in Mexico, that the low level gunmen of the Drug Cartels were nicknamed as the disposables because they are. Paraphrasing: Here’s some cash, some girls, some drugs, a place to sleep, a gun and bullets. Now go fight and get dead when I tell you to.

      Really, is there any real difference between that and the lower 80, even 90% of Americans and the PTB?

      1. Jen

        Well, the disposables did get cash, girls, drugs and a place to sleep. How many of the lower percentages of America can even say that?

    2. chaco52

      It’s anti-Trump sentiment, bolstered by reality based fear v low level workers (out of work for 6 weeks with no government checks of whatever variety arriving) who are hungry and who remember how well they made out at the hands of Obama after 2008(lost homes, lost marriages, lost families) who Trump is happy to goad on for political points. The clear factor missing in the endless and merciless political yammering is that of compassion.

  6. Monty

    Thanks for this. Great post.

    It looks like we’re reopening, like it or not, all we can do it take care and hope for best!

    1. ambrit

      “Hope for the best.”
      Agreed, with the added observation of, “the best” for whom? Certainly not the best for the general public.
      This pandemic is, as is observed here often, “clarifying.” The depths of the greed and disdain for the Public Good on the part of the Ruling Elites is stark and unmistakable.

  7. a different chris

    >Speaker Pelosi: A minimum guaranteed income may now be “worthy of attention.”

    We forget that politicians have really no skills besides the ability to see a parade and get out in front of it. But Nancy is just so old and slow that it took her quite a while.

    I hope she gets run over by it.

    1. Tom Stone

      A D Chris, I find it amusing that Dove Bar Nancy is willing to give Nixon’s “Family Assistance Plan” some attention.

    2. Lynne

      But she has to make sure “we get our money’s worth.” There’s a special place in hell

    3. BlakeFelix

      Plus, I hate guaranteed minimum incomes almost as much as I like UBIs. With a UBI the recipient can earn more money by working and be better off, someone is basically an unpaid intern until they get over the “minimum income”. So either that income is brutally low or low income people are expected to work for long periods where every dollar they earn loses them a dollar in benefits. And then people would call them lazy or dishonest for working under the table or going fishing instead. And a minimum income does nothing for anyone who earns a dollar more than that. Minimum incomes are awful in most of the ways UBIs are elegant.

  8. rosemerry

    Nancy Pelosi is the next in line after Pence if Trump should somehow be removed???? Biden does not seem so terrible now I hear that speech.
    No wonder the whole world is in such a state, and I am NOT blaming nature or a virus!!

    1. redleg

      If the VP goes, and then the Prez goes before a replacement VP can be confirmed, then and only then does the Speaker become Prez.

      1. ambrit

        True. I was surprised to discover that Gerald Ford was elected to become vice President after Spiro Agnew’s resignation, by the Senate and then House. Ford was House Minority Leader at the time. His ascension to the position was organized along the lines laid down by the 25th Amendment, which along with Presidential replacement provisos, has language for replacing vice presidents as well.
        See, in all is fascinating detail: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twenty-fifth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution#Section_2:_Vice_Presidential_vacancy
        So, contrary to popular misconception, Ford did not automatically enter upon the Vice Presidency.
        As Spock would say; “Fascinating.”

  9. David R Smith

    I live in Savannah across the street from a church hall that serves food on Sundays to anyone who wants a meal. Normally they set up tables in the hall, but in recent Sundays it’s been takeout only. Yesterday, there were at least double the number of people there normally. None wearing masks. Most everyone shoulder to shoulder. One young man came over to my house, lay down on the front porch, and fell asleep. I called the police about the man on my porch. They roused him, and he went and lay down on the sidewalk by the hall. The police stayed there about an hour, but just observing. When I saw the church van pull up later, I walked over to the driver and handed him $100.

    1. Alfred

      Part of the explanation is that the protests are street theater. The guns are ‘props’ that symbolize ‘tradition’ and that function as attributes to identify the ‘characters’ in the spectacle. Possibly the long guns are intended to evoke the characters from the revolution of 1776, or the tax-resisters of the Whisky Rebellion a bit later. But their signification is multivalent. Those guns also evoke the type of the yeoman farmers of the 19th century who shot game to supplement their farming, as well as the partisan types of the War of 1861-65 (the ‘southerners’ among the protesters acting out a resistance to Federal aggression, the ‘northerners’ among them acting out a defense of the American way). Comically they recall the rifle with which Snuffy Smith of the funny papers used to threaten the meddling ‘revenooers’, whose counterparts today are none other than the MD-PhD-bureaucrats of the CDC. Most importantly, perhaps,the long guns show a willingness to defend the _original_ Constitution, or anyhow the nearly original version that sets forth the right to bear arms. The demonstration of that willingness has become more or less inseparable from the public display of a range of markers of right-wing membership: the Gadsden flags, the Confederate battle flags, big domestic pickup trucks (especially when lifted), late-model SUVs, gun racks (even when empty), Tea Party themed license plates (in some states), camo clothing, NRA t-shirts, Trump decals, US military decals, deer-antler and game-fish decals, anti-Hillary stickers, certain alumni stickers (Liberty U, for instance), MAGA caps, certain styles of footwear, etc. — cultural signification typically requiring redundancy to be effective. In that connection it may simply be that long guns are more visible from a distance than are handguns, which are always smaller. Thus attention may be being paid to how images of the protests will likely be seen of the small screens of smartphones. For nowadays the image is more effective than the act. It would seem not to be enough simply to have a gun at a protest; what is required is to be _seen on screen_ with that gun.

      1. Bert Schlitz

        On come on. “Their” culture is globalism in a nutshell. A fraud pansy culture that has lost connection with country and instead is just another transnational brand. The brand was saying the opposite things during H1N1.

        That is why I generally laugh at this board not understanding what real “nationalism” , which is pretty much dead. It’s all about market power.

        1. Alfred

          Maybe we agree? I’d certainly not say that the culture of these protests is in any sense authentic, or that the positions manifested over time by the protesters are coherent (even if they have been pretty consistently right-wing). Very definitely, I’d say: these people are not genuine nationalists, despite their (selective) deployment of a (fake) rhetoric of nationalism. But what they are doing nevertheless counts as a cultural practice, which is how I was trying to characterize it. Very probably it counts as a subcultural practice of globalism; for how could it not? (After all, it is transparently a consumer culture. All of my examples were things that, along with the guns, can be bought.) And its very theatricalty betrays that it is both intended to be manipulative, and a product of manipulation.

          1. Powerballs

            Nationalists are in the ascendency, on a global scale. You’re wishful rhetoric is inconsiderate of the fact that borders are shut and global supply chains have been identified as a national security issue. Are these protesters showing off hardware? Yes. Do they believe in defending the Constitution at all costs, maybe. Would I want these guys on my team in a kinetic realignment of the United States, definitely.

            1. Yves Smith

              These gun fetishists need to get over themselves.

              The police have helicopter gunships, tanks, armed personnel carries, assault rifles, sound weapons, tear gas, flashbang grenades, and can readily call in other military level equipment. If they try standing up against any official force, they lose.

              Shooting game is as close as most of them have come to deploying weapons in a live fire situation, and they’ll be up against people who can deploy more firepower and go much longer than they can.

              The only way things do not go badly for rebels is if the police stand down. I don’t see that as likely near term. Police do not like armed citizens because it puts police at risk, so their predisposition is not sympathetic.

      2. Lynne

        “Those guns also evoke the type of the yeoman farmers of the 19th century who shot game to supplement their farming,”

        Ummmm.. you need to get out more before you base your “analysis” of hunting clothing on such a misunderstanding. Where I live, many people use rifles to shoot game to supplement their income, whether from farming, office work, or working for the government. The ones that don’t usually use shotguns to hunt birds to supplement their income. Part of being deplorable is being POOR, read, needing to supplement income.

        1. Alfred

          Same where I am, actually. Hunting is a big hobby, a big business, and for many people a big necessity or part-time occupation here in south Georgia. The original question went not to the practical uses of long guns either by hunters or in general, but to why they are brought to such places as state capitol grounds, where edible game is hardly plentiful, during a political demonstration. That struck (and still strikes) me as a challenging question of symbolic or representational value. It asks, in essence: what role do these guns play in communicating the message the demonstrators want to convey? Therefore I attempted to speculate only on their symbolic value. Now comes a new question of how a gun’s symbolic value in one context today relates to its practical value in that same or other contexts today. I set aside the problem of whether symbolism has a practical value, because obviously it does; but that practical value is ideological rather than basic in nature. A gun that may indeed have the same basic, practical value to a struggling office worker today, as a similar gun had to a yeoman farmer a century or so ago (namely, killing wild animals for food), has no such practical value at a protest. There, it has only — or I will concede, chiefly — a symbolic value. I suggested that one such symbolic value makes reference to a long gun’s practical value for hunting, which yes of course persists. The same goes for hunting clothes. But the practical value of camo-patterned clothing vanishes when it is worn in, say, downtown Madison. There it has only symbolic value. Or more precisely, values. It communicates any one, or more, of several different messages. Those may include “my forbears went hunting for food,” or “I go hunting for food,” or “many deplorables like me, or certain people I know, go hunting for food,” or “if I don’t go back to work soon I’ll have to start hunting for food,” or even “it’s simply a good idea to go hunting for food.” Certainly (and very sadly) they could include “these are the only clothes I have.” But in an urban downtown, during a protest, I contend that long guns and hunting clothes do not send the message that “at this very moment I am hunting for food.” Practical and symbolic values do not exclude each other. Rather, they reinforce each other.

          1. pricklyone

            Man, I’m gonna take heat for wading in on this, but here goes…
            I am in downstate IL, in an exurban kinda area. My buddies are out in the rural hinterlands.
            People think IL is a “blue state” but nearly all counties went for Trump, it is Cook County’s huge population that keeps it “blue”
            Now, I am not a gun guy, but nearly all of the guys I hung with since high school, were hunters and some were “gun fetish” guys. I have a brother who is one of the “ardent” enthusiasts..
            I keep hearing this recurrent “hunting for food to supplement income” thing.
            The people I run around with could all use help with food budget, but the thing is, when they told me what it had cost to process the deer and buy the tags/permits, not to mention the cost of said weapons, and ammo, I could not see how this was economical, at all.
            How many people do their own processing? Everyone I hear from here, takes their kills to a processor for that. Is this different in TX or GA or AL?
            It had cost several dollars per pound, total weight for butchering/packing.
            When they calculated it, it seemed about grocery store meat price..?
            And ya gotta buy a fairly big freezer(used prices are pretty steep, from looking at Craigslist). Now, I don’t care for venison, but the Jerky and ‘slim-jims’ I have been given have been good. I could use up a deer’s worth of those, but that costs even more.
            I’m not sure that the “food supplement” story is a ‘good-faith’ argument, but I’ll give em the benefit of the doubt, if I see some cost breakdowns…

          2. Sacred Ground

            Your explanation of the display of weapons by protestors as symbolic language in the context of American culture is pretty fascinating but it misses an important point: this is a threat. Carrying arms *while carrying protest signs* has really just one clear message, the addition of “… or else!” to whatever the sign says they want.

            They are telling us of their willingness to shoot people if they don’t get what they want.

    2. dk

      I think the implication, intended but unspoken, is that if “we” (i.e., somebody else) don’t re-open stores, they’ll start raiding homes. Every single non-rural gun owner I know says their guns are for home defense, but when asked if they’d go out and raid for themselves, “I’ll do what I have to”.

      More generally it might be considered partisan issue signalling. 1Aers aligning with re-openers (just because some do this doesn’t make it a more general coalition but the philosophical underpinnings are suggestive).

    3. Deltron

      Evokes the threat of violence. Essentially, they are saying if you don’t re-open or if you bust up our protest advocating for re-opening the economy, we’re armed and will start shooting people. If you’re a legislator or governor inside the capital, do you want to walk outside when people are directing their anger toward your policies and have AR-15s or AK-47s in hand? All it takes is one outraged person to muster up the courage to use his/her weapon and you’re toast.

      1. Ford Prefect

        I wonder what would have happened if a bunch of black men wearing bandannas carrying AR-15s showed up at the Capitol? I doubt the security would have just stood around unconcerned. Some rights are more equal than others.

  10. Amfortas the hippie

    cousin was up all night talking with his girlfriend in waxahachie…she felt better…and then took a turn for the worse.
    caught covid by being locked in the nursing home where she works as a physical therapist, among the dying…an acute, enclosed pandemic.
    since she’s been at home, there has been no paycheck…no unemployment(how to apply when one cannot breathe?…it’s a clusterf%%k in normal times)…no healthcare…her nurse friend has been dropping by to check on her and give her pilfered vitamin shots.
    “essential” means “expendable”.
    I go sit on the cattleguard most mornings in the Falcon(ranch golf cart/work truck) and think about all them people out there who don’t live on a farm, who don’t “hoard” as SOP, and who must go to work from whatever tiny space of safety they may have…

    the disease is bad enough…the response has only made it much, much worse.If this isn’t enough to set off a revolution, i don’t know what is.

    cousin’s business buddies…a small L libertarian bunch…are sounding like me, these days….something cousin finds remarkable.
    so when he’s not consoling his deathly ill girlfriend from 300 miles away, he’s reading in my Library.
    socialist and anarchist things, mostly…especially the bits about “how to organise”.
    “They” better get their sh&t together right quick and get some help out to the non-paper and non-rich people, or their gated communities and security guards and unlimited wealth won’t help them at all.

    this has been in my head, off and on, for a couple of days, again:
    “They’re tryin to wash us away…”

    But…fear not! This person is back in the white house to whisper in the orange one’s ear:

    NSFW, I assume.

    keep up the good work, Lambert.

    1. Detroit Red

      > If this isn’t enough to set off a revolution, i don’t know what is.

      But how many times have we thought this, over the past 50 years? In the ’60s, as a teenager I watched the riots on television. Society’s fear was always for ‘the long hot summer’. Nowadays, everywhere including the despicable lumpenscape — from urban housing projects to rural trailer parks — is air-conditioned. Maybe the final catalyst will be power failures?

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        or simply not having the money for electricity.
        i designed my house as a passive heat engine…natural draw: I’ve tested it with 105 ambient in the shade, with no wind, and 50% humidity….we’ll be alright…especially given the cowboy pool.

        to my knowledge, suburbia and urbia(apartments) are NOT designed for natural air-flow. Inside, or out.
        throw in a few Katrina’s, Ikes and Harveys….and crop failures(or market failures!)…and things get ugly real quick.
        There’s a million points of failure built in to our current way of doing things…any one of which could easily lead to cascading failures across the board.

        1. pricklyone

          “i designed my house as a passive heat engine…natural draw: I’ve tested it with 105 ambient in the shade, with no wind, and 50% humidity….we’ll be alright…”

          Not sure what kind of differential between daytime/nighttime temps where you are, Amfortas, but you will have indoor temps at 105 and 50% humidity in the house, same as ambient, if you have a natural convection/circulation. It only can draw in that 105 degree heat.
          Does it cool off enough at night to get rid of that heat?

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            and 1. it’s almost never even 10% humidity when it’s that hot around here–that test day was when a hurricane was over texas(don’t remember name. came in at corpus),2. prevailing winds that time of year are SW-W…and its always windy
            3. west /low side of house has a “wood porch”(where firewood goes in winter) that has misters and concrete floor.

            when the fruit trees, etc are full grown on the west side, that will cool the air coming in further. that day, it kept it 5 degrees cooler, due to sluggish evaporation. Usually, it’s as much as 10=15 degrees cooler.
            it works.

            if i had the money for experimentation, i’ve considered a dry well: large corrugated pipe…maybe 8 foot in diametr, and 20 feet long on north side of house, vertical, and stabilised. paint inside top black, and cutaway for light infiltration. pipe at bottom into north room, with intakes into that wing at ground level, over a shaded pool..
            wouldn’t need electricity, even for the well.
            would be a challenge to install the giant pipe.

  11. Oso

    something the people sheltered in place and in full agreement with the reasons for it and a segment of the anti-lockdown protesters could agree on is universal basic income.

  12. Jeremy Grimm

    This is one of the most unrelenting of posts.
    Forgive me if I misinterpret this post. I read so many broken threads to the narrative. I am worried for what threads were lost. I drink more and hope to smoke more, but lack supplies, to give ease to my mind … gods help us … gods help us all.

    1. lambert strether

      > This is one of the most unrelenting of posts.

      This was a very hard post to write and I don’t think I did the topic justice.

      Denying workers the means of existence, then shaming them when they demand to go back to work, and all coming from the passport-toting front row kids who brought the virus here in the first place…. It’s a little much.

  13. JohnMc

    “So we have a pandemic that’s much more lethal than we thought”

    From what i read, estimates of the case fatality rate have declined from 3 something to much less than 1. And it seems that WHO, imperial college, fauci have all been shown to have been wrong with respect to expected fatalities, although one could argued that mitigation efforts were responsible, but actual deaths much less than initial estimates in any case.

    The MSM is doing it’s typical job of fear mongering and fomenting political conflict. There are some widely-respected voices that are not being heard. here are a few:


    these next two are long, but well worth the time:



    if nothing else, watch the final 5 minutes where he discusses how the processed food industry has been allowed to create an epidemic of chronic disease.

    and finally, here is an interesting commentary about the potentially dangerous union of science and politics. there is much i don’t agree with here but there is also some possible wisdom. it has parallels with the story
    about how bad science became institutionalized as government policy in
    the field of nutrition 40 years ago and continues to this day. could it also be happening with this pandemic?


    1. Bert Schlitz

      It’s about 1%. Total infections under the immunity herd would be close to 200 million. Less lethal more infectious, much like the Spanish flu. I would ignore total deaths. That will be under counted globally for years.

      1. thoughtful person

        I agree with Lambert.

        Don’t think you two (JohnMc and Bert Schulz) read the ft.com article linked to this am: https://t.co/EiE5Q3OSmR
        The death count – on average during the wave of cases we are seeing ‐ is 60% higher than the official counts indicate. Official death counts at the moment yield about 6.94% of cases (per Johns Hopkins site). Don’t expect a big drop in the fatality rate due to non counted asymptomatic cases with that much of an undercount in deaths likely.

        The Ro which now includes the many asymptomatic cases, is as high as 5.7 (per recent articles analyzing data from China linked here).

        Meanwhile the majority of the population, in the US at least, is without sufficient support, being out of work. The only choice on offer at the moment. is to take a chance with a dangerous virus (while hoping and pretending its not so bad) and go back to work. As Lambert quoted from Jacobin, “…The longer the lockouts last without a mass bailout for workers, the more ordinary people will be inclined to side with the protesters.”

        Sadly the result of rushing back to conditions that will spread infection is very predictable. As someone wrote above, the expendables (not “essential heros”) will die in large numbers in second and third waves of the epidemic. Nice way to thank the people doing those jobs.

        “The strong do what they will, the weak suffer as they must.” Yet again.

        1. lambert strether

          Yes, I had the FT charts on total mortality in mind. I should have added the link, but I was running late.

      2. Yves Smith

        You are assuming herd immunity. Don’t. Of the four common coronaviruses, the one that confers the longest immunity is 34 months. Two, including the common cold, confer immunity of only six months.

        1. Math is Your Friend

          Is that an actual decline in biological immunity or a result of virus mutation evading existing immunity?

    2. Bs

      What exactly is the take away of your comment – that this is all made up? Nothing is going to back to the way it was. That’s history, but in this case welcomed. I tried of people having to suffer so, citizens in their own country. Not voters, citizens. No you have no right to kill me.

    1. Lynne

      You know, there are people who don’t have the money to keep the lights on. They don’t have the money or food to feed their children. All the pretty little words from the Democrats and Republicans mean nothing in the real world. There are reports of people who have had their water turned off because they couldn’t afford the water bill, so all the lectures in the world about “Stay Home and Wash Your Hands” is the ultimate in cruelty.

      And you compare them to some guy who stubbed his toe. And the twitter link ridiculed them as wanting a haircut.

      That attitude is driving a very large wedge in this country and Trump has nothing to do with that. That attitude is WHY we are stuck with Trump.

      1. MichaelSF

        I’ve seen people using I want a haircut, I want to socialize, I’m tired of being in my house, I want to go out for a drink/meal, I want to go to a sports event etc as reasons for an early reopening. That’s why I put (belatedly, after noticing I’d left it out) “some of” in the follow-up comment.

        The people who are in dire financial straights are not in the same category as those who are just bored with being at home.

        Over a month ago I saw the way things were trending and sent most of a month’s net income (not stimulus checks that hadn’t been discussed yet) to the local food bank, as it was obvious they were going to be slammed with a lot of unexpected demand.

        So I’ve supported people who need support, and I’ll poke fun at people who are being dumb in a pandemic.

        You may want to consider that your comment ignores the totality of what I said. Or not, it is up to you.

    2. lambert strether

      Hey, pretty funny, especially considering falling life expectancy and deaths of despair in that same population.

  14. Bert Schlitz

    Herd immunity would have eventually led to closings and disruptions in capital markets anyways. I would have preferred it. It would have led to real protests.

    1. urdsama

      Short term herd immunity is not possible without a vaccine. For example, the main reason we developed herd immunity to polio was due to a vaccine.

      So it wouldn’t have just led to closings and disruptions in capital markets but a massive death count as well.

      1. Yves Smith

        No, ANY immunity vaccine or not, depends on whether getting the disease confer immunity. That is the basis for having a vaccine work.

        As I stated above, there isn’t good reason to be optimistic. Of the common coronaviruses, the common cold confers immunity of only 6 months. MERS conferred immunity of only 34 months (see chart: https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2020/04/the-coronavirus-new-normal-has-only-started-to-arrive.html) , assuming you survived (it has a case fatality rate of 34%: https://www.who.int/emergencies/mers-cov/en/).

        Dengue is a virus too. Not only do you not get immunity when you get dengue, reinfections are more debilitating than original infections.

        1. Math is Your Friend

          One of the interesting things, IMHO, is the way vaccines can provide stronger and longer lasting immunity than infection, for multiple reasons.

          You can’t count on it, but sometimes you can manage to engineer it.

        2. pricklyone

          SARS-1 is listed as 24 months immunity in that chart. The virologists I have been primarily listening to, noted that after 2 years (2004) it had disappeared from the population, and no further study was done on immunity past that point.
          They note that 14 years later, viable neutralizing antibodies were present in SARS patients who recovered.
          Not advocating mass exposure for herd immunity, or stopping precautions, but I am choosing to remain hopeful, because what other choice is there?

    2. False Solace

      Herd immunity under your optimistic estimate of 1% fatality means 2 million dead. Yeah, I imagine there would be protests under that scenario. Back in the real world, 1% fatality is pretty optimistic given the evidence and assumes the health system never becomes overloaded.

      There’s very suggestive evidence that different strains of the virus are more lethal which may be why Italy, Spain, and NY have had a much higher than 1% death rate. Deaths have doubled since last year. That doesn’t look like 1% to me.

      Demands to reopen (I’m not accusing you of wanting this, btw) seem to be coming from people who never experienced real hardship or inconvenience in their lives until now. I dunno, since I became an adult I’ve seen 9/11, multiple wars, GFC, an entire generation of people who will never be able to buy homes or afford health insurance or kids, and now this. I’m not impressed with people who are bored at home, nor am I impressed with politicians who bail out bankers Yet Again and let the little people starve. We need income support or heads deserve to roll.

  15. chuck roast

    I did a number on finger last Saturday. It was painful, bloody and dirty. All I could do was do what I could do. If it becomes infected then I gotta go to the hospital…the death trap! So fah’, so good as they say in Maine. The knucklehead American herd appears immune to reason. In a couple of months the “best healthcare system in the entire world” will be it’s primary victim. The hospitals will probably be completely dysfunctional. China, China, China!


  16. anon in so cal

    The anti-lockdown protests are also fueled by nightly rants and tweets from Fox News’ Laura Ingraham, Steve Hilton, Hannity, and Tucker Carlson (whose newfound legitimacy–stemming from his laudable anti-Russiagate, anti-Syria regime change viewpoints–is gone).

    Noted virologists argue that the lockdown must not be relaxed until the Ro is *much* reduced, to 1.

    Someone captured the anti-lockdown lunacy: “the parachute is slowing my rate of descent, so let me take it off.”

    Separately, the Chronicle queried colleges concerning their fall plans:


  17. VietnamVet

    It is in the general good that the truth is pointed out.

    Income is necessary to live in the developed world. Without it, shortly you will be homeless and scrounging for food. The pandemic adds illness to the list. Unrest is guaranteed if Americans are not provided food, shelter and healthcare. This must start by early summer, directly or through a basic income, or the USA will splinter apart.

    The West is organized as greed-based extractive capitalism. Booms and busts reoccur. Psychopaths climb to the top of the pyramid. The latest debacle is a combination of the Great Depression, a pandemic and totally incompetent western national governments. The Earth will be destroyed if a hot world war breaks out now. The only way out, is to restore basic democracy and good governance based on what is best for the people.

    Maryland has set up a task force to protect nursing homes. Nationwide, a nursing home health corps must be immediately organized. Members will have PPE, tested to be virus free, trained, and given hazard pay to keep seniors alive. Instead, I am afraid, our leading psychopaths will keep their money, tech moguls will gain more riches, and the unproductive will die off alone.

  18. The Rev Kev

    Excellent review this and some of those signs are very revealing. I do wonder though. Suppose that Coronavirus actually targeted pre-puberty children and that nearly all the victims of this virus were among this group. That it was killing children by the hundreds. Would these groups still be protesting on the streets to re-open up again? That their rights must come first? Kunstler made an interesting observation when he said that re-open was actually code for ‘return to normal’ and whether this normal was still working at all-


    1. Henry Moon Pie

      He makes a good point here:

      The question, then, is how do you go through a swift and dramatic re-scaling of a hypertrophic, excessively complex, ecologically fragile economic system in a way that doesn’t produce a whole lot of damage? I can’t answer that satisfactorily except to say this: at least recognize what the macro trend is (downscaling and re-localization), and support that as much as possible. Don’t knock yourself out trying to save giant, foundering enterprises that need to go out of business. Don’t bankrupt the society or destroy the meaning of its money to prevent the necessary bankruptcy of things that must go bankrupt. Remove as many obstacles as you possibly can to allow smaller-scaled enterprises to thrive and especially to support the rebuilding of local networks that smaller-scaled businesses play their roles in.

      Our elites have been swept into the flood waters, and all they can think to do is swim directly against the current in an attempt to get back to where they were. I could care less if they drown because of their clinging to their money and power. The problem is that they’re taking us with us unless we self-organize.

      1. pricklyone

        He goes on to say:” And, as I averred on Friday, Amazon’s dumb-ass business model will sink with the oil and trucking industries.”
        Seriously? Reducing CDB is gonna kill them, how?
        I would look to the death of the USPS to be the real threat to the retail Amazon biz. (last mile is hard)
        The retail part of Amazon has never made any money, though, it is all about AWS now.
        Is Zoom “powered by AWS”?

  19. Oregoncharles

    “thousands of people crowded beaches in Southern California this weekend amid the coronavirus pandemic,”
    That beach is not crowded. A telephoto lens makes people look closer together than they are, but if you look closely,. there’s a lot of sand showing, with a patch between each clump of people. I’d bet they’re at least 6 feet apart, and this is outdoors. The groups presumably live together – all are quite small.

    It’s easy to misinterpret pictures.

    1. lambert strether

      > It’s easy to misinterpret pictures
      As I wrote:

      First, the lens used is probably making groups of people seem close together. However, the groups themselves are still very close (so in addition to violating the stay-at-home order, they’re violating social distancing norms, and masking norms). Second, while the evidence for indoor transmission is very strong, the evidence for outdoor transmission is weak. However, these groups are close; and they are probably sharing drinks, towels, and everything else one brings to the beach.

      1. pricklyone

        Don’t shoot me, Lambert, but I found the term “Norms” a little strange when applied to wearing masks, and distancing.
        Considering how new this all is (just over 5 weeks here) not sure we have established “norms”, yet.

  20. Paul Boisvert

    Hi, Lambert,

    Just a technical correction: “James Mason”, whose post you cited from his Slackwire blog, is actually Joshua “Josh” Mason, who goes by J.W. Mason professionally. James Mason is the brilliant but dead actor… :)

    I’m slightly acquainted with Josh, as he was a good friend of my brother at U of C back in the day–my brother is one of his main critical commenters at the blog. As I suspect you are aware, Josh is a largely small-m marxist econ prof, varying between takes that are in effect democratic-socialist to social-democratic, and most of what he writes is acutely researched and perceptively analyzed and makes eminent sense.

    A mild exception has been his take on MMT, which has been in the somewhat dismissive “we already knew most of that, and why don’t you package it better, and won’t Congress just create (mild? real? hyper-?) inflation if empowered to do so…” vein–but he’s not actively hostile, and has shown signs of coming around even more to it.

    Overall, he alternates between fairly wonky detail-oriented stuff and bigger-picture commentary, the latter of which is often well-informed by the former, and is well worth reading. He’s also a welcome exception to many economists in that he’s pretty humble, and rarely dismissive of stupid comments or questions–he’d rather make converts than enemies. His blog isn’t widely read though, so accurate attribution in quoting him will be a service to the general public… :)

  21. skippy

    Coronavirus Lockdown Protest
    •Apr 26, 2020

    All Gas No Brakes

    Some reportage from a Coronavirus Lockdown Protest in Sacramento, California on April 20, 2020.


    I would only add that need to believe in something is what drove Trumps cart, desperation, and if that falls flat – again – its anyone’s guess.

    1. Ford Prefect

      Fool’s errand…..Trump doesn’t do plans. He does “gut feel”.

      They may think they have sold him on a “plan” but it will morph within hours. They would have to show how it helps his hotels and election chances to have him stick with it longer than a couple of days and put somebody competent in charge.

  22. attila the hun

    Perhaps if the Democrats and Republicans had the guts to prevent American businesses from transferring many, many millions of decent paying manufacturing jobs overseas and importing foreign workers to compete with American labor, we wouldn’t need guaranteed minimum annual income legislation. I love it when these politicians pretend they can’t see obvious cause and effect relationships. It’s obvious they don’t represent the people they pretend to feel sorry for. What a bunch of hypocrites.

    1. Ford Prefect

      We would also have testing kits, pharmaceuticals, masks, and PPE being made in the 50 states and they would not be in shortage. But profits and low taxes are more important.

  23. Mikel

    The reality: A “leaders” country that never bothered with a public health system that could handle a massive health crisis does not suddenly within a year care about mass death in the population.
    That’s why there are no masks and no tests.

  24. DanB

    “Your health is not more important than my liberties” implies, for example, that there can be no such thing as public health (“The right to infect others shall not be infringed”).

    This is the logical -and irrational- consequence of “There is no such thing as society.” This neoliberal worldview also was on display by the mayor of Las Vegas during her interview with Anderson Cooper. Cooper might have asked her if she had consulted the city’s public health officials regarding her assumptions and conclusions.

  25. Basil Pesto

    NC ran a post that was informed by the writings of Victor Frankl a couple months ago. When one sees signs like ‘your health is not more important than my liberties’, one can only think of his dictum:

    There is no freedom without responsibility

    1. Arizona Slim

      And Frankl was in favor of a Statue of Liberty on the east coast and a Statue of Responsibility on the west coast.

  26. groover

    A lot of people who are exposed and have antibodies, as far as we can tell, to this virus, don’t have few or no symptoms, I’m not seeing any reports on why that is. Is it a natural immunity. I did see some indication, probably linked from NC, that some other, as in flu, rhinovirus or whatever, immunity has some effect. Otherwise, how is it that so many people walk through this (It aint the rapture, I’m sure.)? Isn’t that important information for vaccine or other kinds of immune boosters?

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