Links 4/12/2020

A Couple Made a Mini-Museum for Their Gerbils to Visit During Quarantine Hyperallergic (Re Silc).

NASA Satellite Data Show 30 Percent Drop In Air Pollution Over Northeast U.S. NASA

Free treatment for all virus patients Bangkok Post. How it’s done.

Analysis: Virus shows benefit of learning from other nations AP


The science:

Why daily death tolls have become unusually important in understanding the coronavirus pandemic Nature

Coronavirus: US death toll overtakes Italy as world’s highest BBC

* * *


Compassionate Use of Remdesivir for Patients with Severe Covid-19 (PDF) NEJM

A compilation of evidence on hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin in treatment of COVID-19 James M Todaro, MD, Google Docs

* * *

Materiel shortages:

Market And Business Ties Often Determine Where COVID-19 Supplies Go NPR. Key point: Existing contractual relations matter far more than Bad Orange Man.

A Nasty Competition Emerges in Hunt for Corona Protective Gear Der Spiegel

* * *


How far has coronavirus spread? This test is a first step in trying to get back to normal life Los Angeles Times

Genomic analysis of COVID-19 spread. Situation report 2020-04-10.

2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic: Built Environment Considerations To Reduce Transmission American Society for Microbiology

SARS-CoV-2 titers in wastewater are higher than expected from clinically confirmed cases medrXiv

The Best-Case Scenario for Coronavirus Is That It’s Way More Infectious Than We Think New York Magazine

* * *

Economic effects:

Shockwave Adam Tooze, London Review of Books. Worth clearing your cookies for.

* * *

Corporate response:

Medical Staffing Companies Owned by Rich Investors Cut Doctor Pay and Now Want Bailout Money Pro Publica

* * *

Political response:

Experts fear ‘national naivete’ on COVID optimism The Hill

He Could Have Seen What Was Coming: Behind Trump’s Failure on the Virus NYT. I would like to see a comparative timeline showing the response of Western democracies in general, because that would clarify choices made across political systems, and give some insight into what is systemic as opposed to personal (i.e., click-driven).

Pramila Jayapal’s ambitious plan to get every worker their paycheck during coronavirus, explained Vox

Whitmer’s new stay home order blasted by critics for lack of consistency Detroit Free Press. “State residents can’t travel to their Up North cottages, but Illinois residents who own one in Michigan apparently can.” Oh.

* * *

Exit strategy:

What I Learned About the Coronavirus World From Watching Zombie Flicks Foreign Policy

Mobilization Theory: Some Lessons from the Literature for Today Global Institute for Sustainable Prosperty

The New Normal Eschaton

A Lasting Remedy for the Covid-19 Pandemic’s Economic Crisis Joseph Stiglitz, New York Review of Books (Re Silc).

We must think carefully about priorities, about how to spend money well so that we are in a position to emerge from the pandemic quickly, with the kind of twenty-first century economy we would like to have.

The aid packages that Congress has passed have—after a lot of haggling—reflected reasonably well what our priorities should be: first, contain the pandemic; second, help the most vulnerable; and third, set the stage for a strong recovery. But there are still some big gaps.

To put this as kindly as possible, I think Stiglitz should give consideration to the idea that the finance sector’s version of “never let a crisis go to waste” has very little to do with containing the pandemic. And they were the big winners — perhaps the only winners — from the bailout bill.

* * *

Remedies and ameliorations:

Your questions answered about California’s ‘lockdown’: Can I move into a new house? Can I get together with neighbors if we stay 6 feet apart? CalMatters. This is a useful FAQ:

We have a very friendly, tight-knit neighborhood. Because we’re on a cul-de-sac, we don’t have through traffic and our children are accustomed to playing outside. Now they must stay separated from their friends and parents are stressed trying to entertain them. Are we allowed to make a large circle, keeping the 6 ft rule, outside on our street, once a week just to share some conversation and ideas? Each neighbor would bring their own chair, and no food would be shared, nothing would be passed from person to person. Only one parent would participate to get a break, while the other parent would get a turn at the next session. Will we be penalized in any way for keeping a check on our stress levels/mental health in this way?

For most of our postwar history, this sounds like the American ideal: Families sitting in a circle on a quiet street in a small neighborhood, chewing the fat. And it’s apparent that you’re trying to maintain your distance, keeping with the general guidelines for safely dealing with the coronavirus.

Can it be that this pandemic has shifted society to such a degree that getting together with your cul-de-sac neighbors is playing with fire?

Yes. You’re playing with fire.

Right at the top of the list of guidelines from the Los Angeles Department of Public Health: “Postpone social visits and play dates.” Furthermore, the county advises cancelling all non-essential activities. While you might feel like you need this and it’s essential, it’s probably not.

Let’s think it through. How will this actually play out? First, one parent watching the children means, despite your absolute best efforts, by accident or by volition, those kids are gonna find a way to make contact with each other.

Canada passes law that will pay businesses to keep employees on staff CNN. Well, Canada is a First World country.


As the coronavirus disrupts food supply chains, who will feed China? SCMP

Pandemic a ‘perfect storm’ for South Asia, World Bank says The New Yorker


It’s time for India to play hardball with Trump Times of India


The US is eager to leave Iraq soon and the coronavirus pandemic will accelerate it Independent


Labour antisemitism investigation will not be sent to equality commission Sky News. “A report found factional hostility towards Jeremy Corbyn amongst former senior officials contributed to ‘a litany of mistakes.'” You don’t say.

Why did Cabinet Office Rush through Procurement of Controversial Electoral Services Company IDOX Just Before the General Election? Byline Times. From January, still germane. Fun with vote-by-mail.


ASSANGE EXTRADITION: Julian & Lockdown Injustice Consortium News


Barr says FBI probe into Russia was started ‘without basis’ Los Angeles Times

Trump Transition

Welcome to the Trumpocalypse Rolling Stone. There’s an enormous literature on evangelicals and the Republican Party dating back at least to the Bush era, of which this article is an example. A single cautionary note: As readers know, I follow the “Rapture Ready Index,” a prophetic index of end-times activity. This index has never jumped based on #COVID-19, but only slightly based on proxies like oil prices, which is odd, because the index has a “Plagues” subcomponent. Perhaps the Index has been taken over by Episcopalians. But I don’t pretend to know the ins and outs of evangelical politics (though I suspect that proximity to money and power exerts its usual, er, moderating influence).


Biden and Cuomo: Friends, Allies and Supporting Players No Longer NYT. “Mr. Biden, 77, and Mr. Cuomo, 62, have emerged as unlikely twin pillars of their party in a national crisis, Mr. Biden as its presumptive presidential nominee and Mr. Cuomo as its most forceful spokesman in a public-health emergency.” Holy Lord.

New York Democratic presidential primary likely canceled City and State NY. “Douglas Kellner, the state Board of Election Democratic co-chair, said that in light of Sanders’ announcement, he and Democratic Commissioner Andrew Spano would likely remove Sanders and every other candidate that has dropped out from the ballot. “That would mean in jurisdictions where there are no contested primaries, that there would be no primary elections and the polls would not open.”

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Why Bernie Sanders failed Vox. Counterpoint:

40 Bernie Sanders Supporters Share What His 2020 Campaign Meant and What Comes Next Teen Vogue

Bernie Sanders on pandemic health coverage and supporting Joe Biden PBS

Bernie Must Retool His Campaign Organization, Not Dismantle It Jacobin. I’m sure there are technical issues with the list, but I would imagine Sanders has the money to resolve them.

* * *

The odds on who Joe Biden will pick as his female vice president candidate New York Post

Mike Bloomberg’s Firm that Ran His Presidential Campaign Is Bidding to Take Over Joe Biden’s Bloomberg (CL).

Biden Is a Problem for Democrats in Pennsylvania The Nation. Lowering Medicare eligility to 60. That should do it.

Virus to affect voting? Morgan County Citizen. It’s obviously insane to use touchscreen voting in a pandemic.

US Postal Service investigating issues with absentee ballots in Wisconsin that went undelivered USA Today

Our Famously Free Press

The Most Important Thing Media Can Tell Us Is How We’re Getting Infected FAIR

Imperial Collapse Watch

This Man Owns The World’s Most Advanced Private Air Force After Buying 46 F/A-18 Hornets The Drive. So much for the monoploy in violence…

Failed State

Historical parallel. Thread:

Guillotine Watch

Nantucket has 3 ventilators. Residents say ‘stay away,’ but East Coast elites keep coming. The Lily

Hanover officials irked as off-campus Dartmouth students return to town Valley News. “Earlier this week, police responded to a house on Maple Street where a group of Dartmouth students were playing beer pong.”

Information Wars Craig Murray

Coronavirus: a fog of ignorance EU Referendum. “The lockdown, patchy at best, is already starting to fray. In my own little corner, over the weekend, I observed a boozy street party in one street and, in the next, a house party in a front garden. People are getting bored, they need to socialise and no amounts of threats of police intimidation is going to damp down that need.” So introversion is adaptive. Good to know.

Class Warfare

Disposable People The Baffler. “Coronavirus and the lifestyles of the professional-managerial class.”

‘I’m in Limbo Here’: Texans Are Met with an Overwhelmed and Antiquated State Unemployment System Texas Observer. Well, naturally. Claiming benefits is a moral hazard; we don’t want to make it easy, for pity’s sake.

Coronavirus Data Reflects New York City’s Economic Divide The Intercept

Bright college days:

COVID-19 exposes the precarious state of rural health care in the South Facing South

Nasty macOS flaw is bricking MacBooks: Don’t install this update Toms Guide. Moral: Never sink $5 billion into a round headquarters building.

Scratch enters the TIOBE index top 20 TIOBE. Scratch is a graphical programming language for children.

Deserts: Cells for certain individuals Nonsite

Burning Man festival canceled due to coronavirus pandemic NY Post. That’s a damn shame.

Antidote du jour (WB):

WB writes: “Great Blue Heron carries a big stick back to the rookery on the Mississippi River in Minneapolis.”

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. Henry Moon Pie

    While American politicians are still stuck in the same rut of catering to the rich and callously ignoring the rest of us, the rich themselves are aware that their power is threatened by this virus. The biggest tell is their desperate bleating about “Open ‘Murca UP!!!” It’s as if 60 days out from under the boss’s thumb will turn docile sheep into a roving pack with billionaires’ blood dripping from their fangs. The people pressuring Trump to declare the country open (as if he had that power) see this as an existential battle.

    Those of us less in thrall to Capitalism should see it the same way. We’ve been preaching a “better world” forever, and here’s a measly but deadly virus pushing us hard in that direction: minimal air travel and commuting; less churn in the form of manufactured diversion; and localization of supply lines. Let’s flesh out some alternatives to “back to normal” beyond the laundry list of ameliorations for the ill effects of a corrupt, incompetent system.

    No one may know what sort of virus-remade world we may be headed toward. If they do, they’re not talking. So if it’s up for grabs, those who hold out hope for keeping this planet habitable need to be aggressively and winsomely arguing against “getting back to normal” and instead pushing for moving forward to a new, more sane, more loving “normal.”

    1. JBird4049

      I am not sure what should be “normal” but I would hope that having our society functional would be somehow of concern to The Powers That Be; not ensuring that there are not mass graves everywhere and that essential services and needs like power, water, food, and shelter would be guaranteed would be an own goal would it not?

      The vast majority of Americans are not waiting for a chance to create The Lord of the Flies but just want their government to make a good faith attempt on their welfare. Using the the pandemic as an excuse to commit armed robbery on the bottom 90% will make more likely that things will get ugly for the 1%. Just what is making this so hard for our leadership to see this?

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        “needs like power, water, food, and shelter would be guaranteed would be an own goal would it not?”

        Yep. And it looks to me like that will be a big enough challenge to anyone. How can we provide what people need in a way that’s safe both for the people who do the providing and the people who are doing the receiving.

        “Just what is making this so hard for our leadership to see this?”

        They’re blinded by their Mammon-infested worldview. Just like with the virus itself, they’re delaying doing what must be done for the sake of pretending their world still exists for a few days longer.

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      Interesting. It appears that University of Cambridge virologist, Dr. Greatorex (from your link) is at odds with the WHO’s claim (around April 4) that COVID-19 is transmissible for up to 3 days before symptoms occur and up to 5 or 6 days afterwards.

      In paragraph starting out: Reporter: “Can you relapse after recovering from the virus?”

      Dr. Greatorex replies:

      “That doesn’t happen with these respiratory viruses. The symptoms that drag on are your body’s response to the virus, but the virus is gone after a few days. I take great umbrage at the lengths of time you are meant to be infectious for because it is just not true. Nine days is nonsense. You don’t excrete a live virus that long.

      Those studies are not checking for live virus, they are checking for genome. They do something called a PCR test (polymerase chain reaction), which is the test we are using to diagnose patients. It doesn’t tell you that you have live virus in your nose, it tells you have had it. For about 72 hours of a viral infection you have a live virus. In children it can last for longer – four or five days have been observed in flu.”

      Reporter: How long are people contagious before symptoms appear?

      “The likelihood is up to 48 hours before. The symptoms are your body’s response to the virus. This is what is called an acute virus, so its way of dodging your immune system is to get into the upper respiratory tract and get through the epithelial cells into your system and replicate like mad.”


      So on the one hand, the WHO claims a person can be infectious for up to 3 days prior to symptoms and up to 5 or 6 days after symptoms first appear whereas Dr. Greatorex claims – if I’ve understood the above – that the virus can be “alive” in an infected person for only 3 days total of which 2 days can be before symptoms occur (or is she saying 48 hours before symptoms and 72 hours after they first appear?).

      Dr. John Campbell explains the WHO’s claims re. infectivity spans in an April 4 YouTube video: GOTO 5:30 (only about 5 min needed)

      This may just be a matter of terminology, such as the time in which the virus can reproduce in the body vs. the time it remains infectious, but it would require someone such as Ignacio for a knowledgeable explanation of if and then why the two claims seem to differ.

      To me, it suggests there is still a lot we need to learn and opinions differ.

      1. CuriosityConcern

        She does make sure to mention that a lot of the behavior she expects derives from her understanding influenzas.

      2. Oregoncharles

        WHO might be erring on the side of caution. OTOH, Greatorex’s numbers are based on generalities, not specific data on THIS novel Coronavirus. I think that erring on the side of caution is called or.

    2. MLTPB

      What we don’t know about what we don’t know about CoronaV is just as critical, if not more.

  2. New Wafer Army

    > So introversion is adaptive. Good to know.

    No, it’s not. If you don’t go out, you don’t procreate. The idea of life is to procreate, not to live forever. People who cocoon themselves are socially dead. The coronavirus is actually good for humanity from an evolutionary point of view; the weakest perish, the fittest survive.

    1. Kukulikan

      If you don’t go out, you don’t procreate.

      Ummm… you are aware not everyone has sex in public, aren’t you? Or only in big orgies?
      In fact, most people tend to do it in private, with just a single partner. Both of which introverts handle quite easily. So not quite the disadvantage you seem to think.

      From an evolutionary point of view almost any trait is an advantage in some circumstances and a disadvantage in others. So, it depends not only on the trait, but on the circumstances. When the circumstances change, who qualifies as weakest and who qualifies as fittest changes right along with it.

      So, don’t get too attached to your supposed superiority. That sort of thinking never ends well.

    2. Bugs Bunny

      So it was conceived to produce a race of supersoldiers?

      (I’ve seen too many X-files…)

      I’ll take a pass on this particular Darwinian fitness test, please. The world needs introverts too. We’d be awfully short of great literature and art without them.

    3. The Historian

      And Herbert Spencer rears his ugly head once again.

      Might I remind you of a couple of things?

      1. We don’t yet know what damage Covid-19 will do to those “healthy people” who catch it. It is much too soon to tell.

      2. The amount of deaths from Covid-19 will be less than a drop in a bucket compared to the 7+Billion people living on this planet today. Covid-19 is not the Black Death and will have no effect from an evolutionary point of view.

      3. Humans are the only animals that are NOT controlled by their biology so Social Darwinism and “survival of the fittest” really doesn’t apply to us, does it?

      4. Dawkins wrote a book about “The Selfish Gene” and he assumed we all had it, but apparently only about 5-10% of our population have it. From my studies in how average people survived throughout history it was that 5-10% that wanted power and riches above all else that caused most of the deaths in the world. Most of the mass deaths that have happened, happened because of them, with the rare exception of a few plagues. Neanderthals lived for about half a million years before they died out and it seems that they did not have this selfish gene. There is no evidence of Neanderthal kings or Neanderthals trying to accumulate riches, but there is a multitude of evidence of Neanderthals caring for each other, including their severely injured and weakest members. I wonder if humans will survive for 500,000 years.

      1. skippy

        Ahhh Spencer … how long has it been since I used to unpack that chaps musings here on NC when wrangling with “Survival of the Fittest” acolytes – 10 plus years?

        Someone should inform them that the same ideological camp that also uses the “communism = starvation” meme forgets that Lamarckianism had more to do with the events that launched that meme than any imaginary communism did.

        Not only that but Spencer was a hit with the with the elites of the day – for some reason – only to fall out of ***fashion*** and ended up forswearing a huge chunk of what he had previously stated – in the end he became a bitter old man.

        Maybe those that hold such views might consider the viral properties of doctrinaire ex ante ideological tenants, how they are distributed, how dominance shapes the collective framework which reality is defined, then how those that benefit from it become intransigent regardless of evidence to the contrary. I mean these are the same sorts that proclaimed America had the best health care on the planet not that long ago.

        As such I find the semantics used by the commenter to support any notion of survival, fittest, evolutionary, logic, or reason. Actually it sounds more like let Goat sort it out, so long as there is no human agency skewing results thingy ….

        BTW Keltons Tweet on ZH – rim shot ….

      2. CuriosityConcern

        And we don’t know if there will be a next round of COVID, and we don’t know what it’s effects will be.
        And Dawkins, his Blind Watchmaker was transformative to me.
        On the evolutionary front, “The Origins of Order” is a powerful text, I admit I haven’t made it past chapter 2 but the ideas conveyed had a large impact.

      3. Frank Dean

        3. Humans are not controlled by our biology? Are you proposing that we’re controlled by our immaterial souls?
        4. Before sharing your impression of what a book is about based on the title, you might consider reading the wikipedia summary. You have completely misrepresented Dawkins’ work.

    4. Diuretical

      I’m not sure if there’s published data, but most procreation probably happens inside. Perhaps that is how introversion persists!

      1. MLTPB

        You need to go outside to show your stuff, in order to attract a mate.

        Before coming down from trees, and even afterwards, our ape ancestors did it outside.

        1. neo-realist

          In this day and age, thanks to social media, you can show yourself inside: If you have instagram, snapchat, twitter, and facebook, you can reveal enough about who you are as a person that people will be comfortable and interested enough to meet you on the outside.

          However, given the economic challenges of real wages, or maybe some childhood baggage, procreation may not be on the menu like it used to be.

          1. MLTPB

            It’s more natural to show off your stuff unintentionally, in a asual, physical social gathering.

            Once you are on the dating website, the intention becomes explicit.

            1. The Rev Kev

              Showing your stuff off? That reminds me of the story of the wedding at the nudist colony. You could see who the best man was.

    5. MrQuotidian

      Pretty edgy take, man. Except evolution works on the group level as well as the individual. So groups that can foster the pursuit of collective good – like temporarily isolating – will theoretically be more likely to succeed and pass on their genes. If in order to achieve this, the groups that succeed tend to have individuals who are comfortable with introversion, well, then the trait is adaptable. Those individuals who desperately need social contact outside the family group and break quarantine as a result.. risk bringing the disease back to their healthy group, and even if that individual manages to pass on their genes, their decimated group may not succeed when compared to their comparatively “introverted” counterparts.

      We can make “just so” stories till the cows come home.

      Nothing is “good” from an evolutionary point of view. It’s just a description of a process – the “fittest” in one situation may be the exact opposite in another. And in some instances the process may actually select for “weaker” in terms of overall survivability of a species.

      “Survival of the fittest” is an insidious phrase and does not indicate improvements or progress. It is a term that should not be used when discussing humans in contemporary society IMO.

      1. Phacops

        Exactly. There are a lot of studies reinforcing group altruism as a significant evolutionary plus, especially in kin selection and care that improves survival to reproductive age.

        One of the finest pieces of rhetoric in my mind is Darwin’s close to his Origin; “There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.”

      2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        Did hiding in caves benefit Ancient Homo Sapiens?

        Whats old is new again I suppose.

        1. Wyoming

          And having your big mean dog sleep at the entrance to the cave was a benefit too.

          Thus my big dog sleeping at the door to the bedroom all night. Works great until a coyote yelps in the back yard…

      3. solar hero

        Right on, if you can’t see that “survival of the fittest” is tautological then nothing I can do for ya

    6. Phacops

      You express mixed ideas. As you seem to understand, evolutionary fitness is entirely reproductive. Then you go on to conflate fitness with SARS-CoV-2 infection. Nope. It would only be significant if differential outcomes impacted reproduction or parental care that affects survival to reproductive age. Death by COVID in an ageing population beyond reproductive age would be neutral at face value and has nothing to do with evolutionary fitness.

      1. Ignim Brites

        The dinosaurs had pretty good reason to think they were most fit reproductively until that meteor hit.

        1. Phacops

          Meteor . . . Dinosaurs were declining prior to that impact as the Deccan Traps were active and the great shallow seas were disappearing. Every time there were flood basalts there were extinctions. Dinosars became prominent at the end Triassic after evolution was reset by the basalts of the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province and were handed their hats by the Deccan Traps.

        2. JBird4049

          Well, they were until that 6.8 to 50.3 miles in diameter asteroid whacked them. What life on earth can survive a direct hit of that?? Arguing about reproductive fitness with that is like arguing about how many angels can fit on the head of a pin. And the dinosaurs (Birds) are still here.

      2. CuriosityConcern

        It isn’t clear the prevalence among the younger, or at least the propensity of significant organ systems damage. Anyone with better information, please correct me if I’m wrong.
        Keep in mind, to the physicians, a 20 yo with 5% diminished lung capacity is not a strong signal compared to an 80 yo with 20% or 40% diminished capacity.
        Am I saying that is happening? no. But there are concerning anecdotal accounts.
        If we assume COVID is endemic and will come back again and continue to diminish organ function, then we have a situation worse than what we have now.
        Again, I’m not saying this is happening, but I am saying we might not be confident that it is not.

    7. TsWkr

      I remember a conversation I had with a highly extroverted co-worker who was a few decades older than me. We were forwarded an email from our boss for volunteer opportunities, and the first line was “do you like visiting with people?” As an introvert, I told him my immediate reaction to that first question was “not really” and he remarked that he wondered how I ended up getting married after all.

      The generalization about introverts is that they still enjoy one-on-one conversations or close relationships, so I imagine most are able to find a partner and meaningful relationships. If introverts commonly have tight relationships within a small group, that social setup may be preferable from a survival perspective, and maybe introverts are just free riders on the more complex structures created by extroverts? Just thinking out loud on a Sunday morning here.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        my latent agoraphobia is, at best, epigenetic…it’s specifically due to being a precocious weirdo in east texas backwaters, and the reaction to my presence by crosseyed morons and redneck cops.
        I loathe crowds…and yet i have successfully reproduced…
        turns out that one doesn’t require a crowd to reproduce…although that approach can be fun, sometimes.
        “survival of the fittest” is a spenserian trope that has little relation to what Darwin actually wrote…and much to do with an aristocratic dolt trying to use Darwin to justify his privilege.

        1. Mark Gisleson

          How do you label extroverts who have come to hate other people and gladly home shelter to avoid interacting with Trump and Biden supporters?

          I have shaken hands with 1000s of people, could care less if I never shake hands with anyone ever again.

          I “understand” that we don’t know what happened this spring, but if in fact the D’s didn’t cheat Bernie, then I hate people twice as much. I can’t imagine what kind of people would cross the street to vote for Biden, let alone stand in line to vote for him.

          1. Cancyn

            Mark G at 12:08 ….These are kind of thoughts that I harbour and give me great difficulty in finding empathy or common cause with my fellow humans. Too often I find myself thinking WTF is wrong with everyone? If not for my spouse, and in spite of a distinct lack of religious belief, I could easily enter a cloistered world right about now.

            Also re introversion – I know there is much to be questioned about the Myers Briggs classification of people but their definition of introversion and extroversion always struck me as true. It is about what you need to relax or recoup … introverts looks for solitude, extroverts look for a group of friends to do something with.

            1. montanamaven

              I’m a big fan of Isabel Myers and her mother Katherine Briggs who developed their ideas from Jung’s psychological types. I don’t think they had team training in corporations as their goal. They actually were hoping to find out how people could get along and avoid wars.
              As you say, how does one recharge one’s battery? After a long day amongst others, introverts recharge with some solitude. After a long day of working from home, as an extrovert, I usually recharged by going to my local “great good place” and yap at whoever sits next to me. I felt invigorated in minutes. Now I have a lot of solitude and no in person company. So I sleep in and have to be content with phone calls. And yell “Hello” to random people walking down the street. Crazy lady!
              As a sidenote: Another Myers Briggs observation of mine is that Andrew Cuomo is very aware of how to make the sale. He delivers the “facts” for the “thinkers” and then goes into his ruminations on family, community and hope for the “feelers”. For the STs, he gives them logistics” and a return to “normal” ; for the NT’s he tries the vision/change/future thing, but he’s not as successful as he is at the touchy feely stuff though.

          2. Amfortas the hippie

            the greatest philosophical/moral struggle of my life has been being fundamentally a Humanist, while staving off Misanthropy due to too much contact with humans.
            I find it much simpler to be a Humanist from a dirt road in the middle of nowhere.

            1. LO

              Amfortas at 1:50 pm:
              That might be the best comment I’ve ever read on this site, which has had some memorable ones. Thank you, Amfortas.

            2. Fiery Hunt

              Living in Oakland, CA has, unfortunately tilted by Humanist/Misanthrope balance toward the pessimistic. ..

              Amfortas and the rest of you are keeping it a close fight.

              Thanks one and all.

              Sidenote: Take care, Yves! Sounds like you’re gonna get some nasty weather….

            3. Oregoncharles

              Worth reading aloud to those around me. Thanks.

              Again, I hope you’re recording all this – I think you have a book well underway.

        2. GramSci

          Ah, yes…Herbert Spencer…

          Back in 1872, when William Graham Sumner began teaching sociology at Yale, he brought Herbert Spencer’s Social Darwinism to America. In Sumner’s sociology “survival of the fittest” replaced “all men are created equal”, and became endowed by the intellectual pedigree of Yale. (It was Sumner’s Social Darwinism that Thorstein Veblen lampooned so viciously in his 1899 classic, The Theory of the Leisure Class.)

          The secret Skull and Bones Society at Yale became the epicenter of Sumner’s–what shall we call it–“libertarianism”?. Through the years its graduates included William Howard Taft, the 27th U.S. president; Averell Harriman; Prescott Bush (three years behind Harriman); Henry Luce, the fervent anti-communist who founded the Time-Life publishing empire; McGeorge Bundy, the pitiless anti-communist architect of the Vietnam War; George Herbert Walker Bush, the first CIA-trained U.S. President; William F. Buckley Jr., whose National Review assumed the role of Time and Life upon Luce’s death; George W. Bush; and, wait for it, Stephen Schwarzman…

      2. MLTPB

        Man is a social animal.

        This social distancing is an emergency response.

        Canada to pay businesses to keep workers on staff – above. Will they do that always in the future, for all businesses? Will they pay Amazon’s workers, all of them, all the time, in Canada? It sounds like this is an ‘in an emergency only’ action.

        Will UBI or free Corona care, if enacted, be unfortunately regarded in the same ‘one time only’ way, like social distancing?

    8. kgw

      “The idea of life is to procreate”

      My O My! An afflicted mind on full display…Perhaps you would be so kind as to provide proof of your reasoning?

      1. xkeyscored

        I’d have thought it’s an integral part of most definitions of life. If it don’t reproduce, it ain’t alive. OK, that doesn’t apply to every individual, but is it a sign of an afflicted mind?

        1. Noone from Nowheresville

          Good to know I’m not alive. Does that mean I’m a simulation? A dream or a nightmare in someone else’s dream?

          Maybe I’m a virus. The claim is that a virus isn’t alive. But wait they do sort of reproduce.

          Ugh, what am I?

            1. Joe Renter

              Not a simulation, but a thought form in the manifestations in the one whom we shall not know, name or understand. Regardless we are life, and all that is, is life in the various dimensions of existence. Or perhaps something from God (Geometry of dimension).
              Happy Easter

      2. HotFlash

        In a hive organism, with which we share some characteristics, members of one species specialize in the various tasks needed to replace the relatively short-lived individuals as they die. That constantly renews the hive so that is, in effect, immortal. This despite the fact that many/most members of the hive *never* themselves reproduce. Given favourable conditions of food and space, these species can produce entire new hives by division, eg ‘swarming’, ‘hiving off’, but this is not necessary to the health or survival of the original hive.

        In human society, perhaps the aim is to maintain the viability of a society, not merely reproduce individuals. In such an organism (eg, a given city, society, or class) , any member who contributes to the quality and resilience of the whole society — healers, teachers, truck drivers, artists, mechanics, engineers, philosophers, cleaners, brewers, the list goes on* — adds to its chances of survival, whether they as individuals procreate or not. Conversely, anyone who detracts from the ability of a society to be resilient reduces its chances for survival.

        So, as G Carlin noted, it’s a big club, and you ain’t in it. I believe we are in a hive war, and our hives are losing.

    9. Bsoder

      I’m unaware as to any statement of the theory of evolution that claims “from an evolutionary point of view; the weakest perish, the fittest survive”, unless one is just making stuff up. Human exposure to Covid-19 qua evolution is right up there with exposure to nerve gas. If stupidity had an effect on evolution either all humans should be dead by now or stupidity would no longer exist, yet I find both do. Any use of the theory of evolution regarding any specific phenomena must including in its explanation, mutations, a given ecological niche, and inter-species cooperation. Science doesn’t including philosophy, deal with the ‘purpose of life’. If one is religious that provides one answer. If one is not, I presume life’s purpose is whatever you make it.

    10. Dalepues

      I would say that the poorest perish and the richest thrive. Is that what you meant? This is an economics blog so I always try to filter everything here through that lens.

    11. Keith

      Online dating has largely solved that problem. It’s now looked upon as skeevy and creepy by the younger set to try to chat someone up in public spaces like grocery stores, parks and similar spots.

      1. Wukchumni

        The more powerful and original a mind, the more it will incline towards the religion of solitude.

        Aldous Huxley

    12. Tom Bradford

      “The idea of life is to procreate, not to live forever.” No. ‘Life’ has no ideas, just as gravity has no ideas about holding solar systems or galaxies together, and the climate has no ideas about where to make it rain. They are simply emergent phenomena. But even at the level of your terms life is actually doing a reasonable job of living for ever. The loss of a species or two along the way is irrelevant to it.

      “People who cocoon themselves are socially dead.” That would make me socially dead as I’d much rather sit down with a book or a Mahler symphony than go to a party. I haven’t procreated as a matter of of choice but there are plenty of people – especially of the religious nutter variety – who more than make up for any shortfall on my part.

      “the weakest perish, the fittest survive.” I don’t know how it is in your neck of the woods but in mine most of those perishing are in their 70’s and above, and already on the way out – and who from an evolutionary point of view have already made their contribution. As a tool for eugenics the coronovirus is itself extraordinarily inefficient.

    13. Procopius

      That’s not really what “survival of the fittest” means. A pandemic is far too brief to have much evolutionary impact, except that the survivors may have a genetic peculiarity that gives them slightly more resistance to that particular threat. Not necessarily a general survival trait. Notice that the survivors of the 1918-19 flu pandemic did not have immunity to later varieties of influenza. Normally, that “the weakest perish, the fittest survive” is used to justify sociopaths sucking the blood from their peers.

    14. Ellen Harold

      Most wild animals are extremely cautious and spend their lives hiding in hyperalertness for fear of predators.

    15. Yves Smith

      Spoken like a man who sees life through his libido. Although I have met some women who are also, as the British would put it, “highly sexed,” in fact remarkably so. So a gender-skewed but not a gender-specific take.

  3. Martin Oline

    Regarding the Under 45 years Lost Jobs graph in today’s posting:
    I was speaking to my grandson on March 7 about the effects of the Covid-19 epidemic and advised him not to worry too much about the effects. I assured him that it would primarily affect those who are “Old and In the Way” and free up employment opportunities for the millennials. He said, “Oh, I never thought about that” and seemed to be cheered up a bit.

    1. tyvek

      Except this is not what is happening. As that graph shows (and there are other graphs, which I cannot find right now comparing job losses by age ranges and showing increasing rates of job loss for increasingly younger workers), the young are the ones losing their jobs. People on this site (and in general) have no idea of the growing resentment of the young, and I worry if the lockdowns are pushed into the summer that there could be violent reactions and riots. The resentment is that the elderly have a disproportionate amount of wealth of the country, refuse to support any medicare for all or green new deal to stop climate change, and now for this disease that primarily effects the elderly (look at the actual statistics broken down by age, the fatality rate for under 40 years of age is around 0.05%) the young are the ones taking the brunt of damage in order to protect the elderly.

      1. Massinissa

        Honestly, I heard Lambert expressing that sentiment here before I had heard the idea anywhere else, so I’m not sure why you say this site doesn’t understand this.

      2. lordkoos

        I do think about this, being a boomer myself. I went and bought a “Don’t Blame Me, I Voted For Bernie” button.

      3. Yves Smith

        Help me. We pointed out that hedge fund squillionaire Stan Druckemiller was pushing hatred of the old on campuses years ago, well before 2016. As we’ve also pointed out, this is terribly convenient since billionaires have far more in common interests than any age group does, given the native wide range of economic positions as well as other advantages/disadvantages.

        And the “wealth” the elderly have is mainly in the housing they live in.

        Those over 45 have a precarious hold on employment. Ageism is rampant in large corporations that (for white collar workers) have better pay and benefits. Why do you think so many people over 70 are now working? It’s because they have to. They lost a normal salaried job and wound up at Home Depot or if they were lucky and have friends, maybe working part time in a small business.

    2. MLTPB

      From those under 45 at around the year 1989, they would have had experienced a couple of oil crises, high inflation, and a market crash, instead of financial crises mentioned in the tweet.

      In the late 1960s, for this group of 45 and under, they were teenagers, younger or not yet born, wanting to destroy the political establishment too. By 1989, though, many had a family to support, or mortgages to maintain.

      1. polecat

        No. They’ll be the ‘new indentured’ … as will their children, working and doing the tedious, and mundane tasks that the 21st Century richies .. who are not all boomers I might add .. won’t do for themselves.

        It’s ALL about CLASS, not age !

  4. xkeyscored

    As the coronavirus disrupts food supply chains, who will feed China? SCMP

    Maybe I’m missing something, but if China is more or less self reliant in terms of grain, and if most of the soy beans it imports go towards meat production, then wouldn’t a move away from meat help? Eating soybeans ourselves instead of via meat requires a lot less soybeans, and it seems likely to happen anyway.

    “It has achieved its strategic goal of becoming self-reliant in terms of its grain supply, with 95 per cent of wheat, rice and corn produced at home.

    Unlike the older generations who only had to worry about how to feed themselves, today’s Chinese want to eat more like their affluent counterparts in the developed world. For instance, China’s consumption of meat jumped from 7 million tonnes in 1975 to 75 million tonnes in 2017; the country now consumes roughly 50kg of meat per capita. The rising meat consumption also explains why China’s soybean imports – commonly used for animal feed – have increased exponentially, from 300,000 tonnes in 1995 to 95 million tonnes in 2017.”

    1. PlutoniumKun

      For a Chinese leader to deprive Chinese people of pork is like a US leader deciding to ban guns and trucks. It would be a very effective way to commit suicide. Chinese leaders follow the price of pork the way western leaders follow the price of oil. It really is that important.

      The only way China will ever be self sufficient in food is if someone finds an effective low impact substitute for pork (possibly some type of lab meat). You simply will not persuade Chinese people to reduce consumption voluntarily, or by way of regulation or through price.

        1. Synoia

          The article a few days back about huge wild pigs in Canada seems to suggest a solution…or the US could ship the wild pigs in DC to China… /s

          1. Bsoder

            Odd, but wild pigs captured and having some blood work done, indicate very high levels of disease, my take is that eating a wild pig is right up there with eating a bat. It had better be really well done.

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              around here, at least, eating the older ones is verboten.
              they nasty! full of worms and ticks and fles.
              the young ones, on the other hand, are quite tasty…some of the best tasting pork i’ve had.
              my rule of thumb is as follows: if i cannot lift the dead pig, it ain’t edible.

          2. D. Fuller

            Just have Texans shoot those feral hogs running around the countryside. 4 million of them as of a couple of years ago. It might be a growing problem in other states also, not just Texas.

            Family owns a property sixty miles south-south-west of Dallas/Ft Worth. Feral hogs in the back yard.

            1. Janie

              Feral hogs visited the golf course at Grapevine, in the Dallas/Fort Worth area west of DFW, a few years ago.

              1. Tom Bradford

                I know it’s unworthy but I’m afraid the image of what a few feral hogs could do to those carefully mown fairways and lovingly manicured greens gave me the laugh of the day.

        2. Ignacio

          In 2019, according to Chinese statistics pork production fell by 21% though some sources say that the production must have fallen by much more and 2020 will see another fall in pork production in China. Not recovery expected to start until 2021 or so. Some say that the theory that Covid-19 could be related with this has no credibility. China was until 2020 promoting the development and industrialization of wild animal farms as a way for rural development, and IMO also as one of the sets of solutions to replace losses in pork meat production.

          American Swine Fever is the event having the biggest impact in international meat markets this year.

          1. MLTPB

            Read of a new bird flu a day or two ago.

            Then there are locusts in many places.

            In California, two quakes, 4.1 and 5.2, in the last few days.

      1. Jane

        Pork is not the only drawback. They buy a fair amount of potash, for fertilizer, from Canada so their agricultural sector is not as self-sufficient as it looks.

      2. xkeyscored

        Wouldn’t a simple lack of pork persuade Chinese people to eat less on average? Would the country’s leadership allow what little soy they can get to be used for meat production, potentially resulting in famine or widespread malnutrition? Yes, pork is integral to Chinese cuisine, and the middle classes would scream blue murder at having to eat less, but one way or another some hard choices will need to be made. Feed soy to pigs and the country as a whole doesn’t eat enough protein. Or feed soy to people and face political unrest because it’s seen as a staple for peasants and pigs. Or find enough soy to continue as before, which doesn’t look like an option any time soon.
        Overall, China’s pork consumption is going to decrease sharply. It can keep that consumption for its elites and wealthy, or it can deliberately cut it further in order to feed more people. My guess is the authorities will go for the latter, though it won’t be an easy ride, as you point out.

        1. Fraibert

          There is also the issue of rising expectations. Pork has always been especially prized in China (I think it’s probably fairly analogized to hold the esteem that beef has in the U.S.) and a reduction in availability itself might cause social unrest because rising national wealth has made it possible for Chinese people to consume pork on more occasions. My understanding is that unmet rising expectations seems to be a significant trigger for rebellion, perhaps moreso than a failure of leadership to satisfy a longstanding status quo.

            1. eg

              The many examples in the explanation brought to mind one of my favorite Old English kennings for the body, banhus or bone-house

        2. PlutoniumKun

          Its a little like the Japanese love affair with white rice. It was realised quite quickly by a doctor called Kanehiro Tanaki in the mid 19th Century that white rice was the cause of beri-beri, which was an extremely common and debilitating disease of sailors and the urban middle classes through the century. But it wasn’t until well into the 20th Century that they could persuade people to eat more barley and other grains, which they associated with poverty (in fact, an endless supply of white rice was the main recruiting carrot dangled by the army and navy in front of new recruits).

          The point is, that when people associate a food with having ‘made it’, then you can only prise it out of their cold, dead hands. What white rice was for Japanese, pork is for Chinese.

          So yes, if the price goes up, they’ll eat less of it. But they will very deeply resent whoever they blame for that reality. The CCP knows this full well. They’d give up nuclear weapons before they’d give up cheap pork. The only chance of getting them to give it up is to find something better to replace it – the only thing I can think that would be suitable would be lab based meat (or very, very good fake meat), if and when they are viable.

          But bear in mind that there is a millennium long Buddhist tradition in China of very high quality fake meats from fungi and soya, but that still doesn’t persuade most Chinese people to go for it. Among other things, the Chinese associate meat with vitality and strength. When my closest Chinese friend asked me to meet her for dinner after she was with some Chinese businesspeople back in January, I asked her what she wanted – she said ‘hand sanitiser, whiskey and meat’.

          1. kgw

            In the old days, a special treat to most peasants was a bowl of rice, with a small piece of meat as a suprise waiting at the bottom of the bowl. After learning how to cook Dong Po Pork, a favorite of the poet, I’m there!

          2. xkeyscored

            I don’t doubt for one moment what you say about meat eating in China, and many other developing countries, meaning you’ve made it. I do hope you’re wrong about the CCP being unwilling and unable to give up on cheap pork. For one thing, I can’t see pork being cheap in China this year whatever they decide or desire. Second, if they use what little soy they can acquire to feed pigs, there’ll be some severe consequences for national health and nutrition. And many Chinese still know how to cook without meat, or with tiny amounts.

            1. MLTPB

              There are regional cuisines in China.

              Coastal gourmands likely eat more seafood.

              And those in the south may eat like Cambodians or Vietnamese…guessing here.

          3. Pbog

            I have been to China twice on business and, based on my experience dining with my Chinese colleagues, think there is another problem with your vat grown protein idea. Chinese people love the meat that is next to the bone. Dishes with lots of little bones like the back and neck of chickens and ducks or the knuckles of pigs are their favorite. I found it challenging but they were very adept at cleaning the meat from small bones with their teeth, tongues and lips.

      3. Lona

        A Chinese guy I used to work with told me that growing up he only had meat about three times a year.

        1. Ignacio

          How long ago? This has changed and pork production increased by a lot, if I recall correctly, starting in the nineties.

          1. curlydan

            If that person grew up in the Cultural Revolution, it’s quite possible. There was very little meat then, especially if you were “on the outs”. I have lots of stories from my spouse about hunting for frogs–that was a great source of meat then because meat was so rationed.

      4. clarky90

        Perhaps send some Western Vegan proselytizers to educate the peasants to the health, ethical and happiness benefits of the plant based diet?

        Then, the now woke peasants will realize that they are better off just eating plants.

        1. MLTPB

          It really doesn’t have to be pork, for well off eaters.

          Shanghai hairy crab is very popular.

          Or shark fin or bird’s nest soup.

      5. Kurt Sperry

        Flip the script and promote the Uyghar instead of oppressing them, viola, Islamic People’s Republic of China. Demand for pork dries right up almost overnight!

    2. farmboy

      Chinese inventory numbers of grain are highly suspect and have been for years. Like India, lots is stored outdoors in sacks covered by tarps, degrades to animal feed over time. Milling wheat and rice are always in demand, cheaper to import to coastal ports for local use than shipping from north or east. Pork production devastated by swine fever, the biggest challenge is finding a way to manage infectious disease in their production system re corona virus. Part of the trade deal will likely include large imports of pork and beef if the tariff issues can be relaxed. Chinese history is replete with warnings to feed the people or suffer revolution.
      Pork production in the US is factory farming, creating huge effluent output with the packers extracting value. Happening now with cattle in the US, packers making a killing (sorry, couldn’t help it) with producers getting lower prices.

    3. MLTPB

      Is obsity a problem in China?

      A quick search shows a few articles on this from CNN, US News and Aljeera in the first page.

      Too much pork?

      1. Massinissa

        To be fair, obesity is rising in literally every country. No country has an annual lowering of obesity. Or if there is, its a number you can count on your fingers. For the most part, it isn’t which countries are effected by obesity, but rather, which countries are effected *the most* by obesity.

        1. MLTPB


          And in general, we, many nations, have been consuming more and more, so China is not unique there.

          But if, as others have commented, with prosperity, more people eat pork, and other things there, and if there is an obesity problem, maybe eating less pork is not so bad.

          1. witters

            In China not too long ago, and the only fat people I saw were kids in KFC outlets. (Then, on the plane to Hong Kong I had to sit beside an elderly American woman who complained incessantly and loudly about how there was “no proper food” in the country.)

  5. JTMcPhee

    In case it’s unclear, here’s aerodynamic modeling in video form of how just your breath while walking, running, cycling or just standing around, is generating a cloud and “slipstream” of microdroplets that may be picked up by other people. Whose slipstreams of exhaled (or of course spewed-our by sneeze or cough) breath can spread to you.

    “ Video shows the danger of walking or running behind someone with Covid-19
    Belgian study goes viral as white paper released warning people to move to the side to avoid slipstream Coronavirus contagion.”

    Compare headline to url:

  6. timbers

    The US is eager to leave Iraq soon and the coronavirus pandemic will accelerate it Independent

    I will accept this a wonderful Easter present, fully in keeping with the spirit of that holiday, and override my skepticism that it will ever happen.

    Hope it’s true.

    If Trump had embraced getting out of Iraq, and did so by now before the election – instead of opposing it – he’d actually have something concrete to run that matters to me and some others.

    1. curious euro

      Back in 2011 the US army already left Iraq. A leave which consisted of keeping more than 20.000 embassy staff in Iraq. What do you think how many of those embassy staff wore BDUs?

      Additionally more than 4000 so called defense contractors, aka mercenaries. Plus whatever various US corporations hired for security, more mercenaries.

      “Leave” has a very peculiar meaning when it applies to US armed forces.

      1. wilroncanada

        Curious euro
        And those troops that are leaving for the last ten years are moving to bases in Syria, where they are remaining to continue to steal, or at least claim Syrian oil, along with their buddies from Turkey and Israel, among others. Besides those actual uniformed soldiers and airmen need to be close to Iran. It needs so much “help”, you know /s

        1. Procopius

          Those soldiers moving to Syria are going to face problems if Iraq doesn’t allow their supplies to move to them from Basra. The Syrians aren’t going to allow supplies to come in from the Mediterranean, to the West, and the Turks can’t move through the Kurds and Syrian Arab Army to the North of Anfar. Last year the Americans thought they were going to move from Anfar to about fifty miles East of the Syrian border, “to keep an eye on Iran,” but it looks like the Iraqis are not going to allow that. The Americans simply have no tenable position there.

  7. ObjectiveFunction

    Hanover officials irked as off-campus Dartmouth students return to town Valley News. “Earlier this week, police responded to a house on Maple Street where a group of Dartmouth students were playing beer pong.”

    Coronavirus: a fog of ignorance EU Referendum. “The lockdown, patchy at best, is already starting to fray. In my own little corner, over the weekend, I observed a boozy street party in one street and, in the next, a house party in a front garden. People are getting bored, they need to socialise and no amounts of threats of police intimidation is going to damp down that need

    Guillotines in this case are, umm, overkill [/rimshot].

    What these miscreants really need are some Men With Sticks, to deliver a gentle reminder that a social contract isn’t doing whatever the hell you please. Jerri-Lynne posted an interesting link on Men With Sticks a little while back. Basically, in India, cops, private security or vigilantes thrash anyone they find breaking curfews or gathering in large groups, using bamboo rods or long staves. These inflict painful welts and bruises but rarely require hospitalization. And those so beaten have no remedy, other than to stay the hell off the streets. No paperwork either.

    No doubt the Hanover PD would embrace this kind of community policing on Fraternity Row with gusto. And deputies aplenty could likely be found among the townies.

    That’s all right, that’s ok, you’ll all work for Us someday…. But not just yet, buckaroos.

    1. christofay

      They’re called canes. Every once in a while Singapore makes the news due to use of the cane.

      In Soddy Arabia they go direct to the sword.

      1. Samuel Conner

        And I was thinking that the “yellow groove” weed bamboo invading my backyard was useful only as tomato stakes!

      2. Ford Prefect

        Canes are “cruel and unusual punishment” says the country still executing people.

        Besides, there is no profit in it for the for-profit prison system.

      3. lordkoos

        I was caned once in middle school for some trivial offense. This was in Dublin, when my family lived there for a year. Caning was common practice at that time in both English and Irish schools, and no doubt the English gifted the practice to India. I was in a protestant school as my parents knew that the Catholic schools were much worse when it came to corporal punishment.

      4. Procopius

        In India they’re called “lathis.” I’m not sure if they are the same as “canes,” which are also used in Malaysia (well, Singapore used to be part of Malaya, and then became independent after the British left).

      1. polecat

        Ain’t that the truth !


        ..’But, but they was outta line, they was …

        Betcha those Hamptonites & Goldensacmen are confabing, whoopin it up as we type …
        I can almost hear the clink of toasting brunch crystal.

    2. Bsoder

      Knowing Richards neighbors (the author of the blog), I’d say they are doing it to spite him as he regularly hoses down their cats and dogs if they get near his flat. If you read his blog enough he works in what’s going on his life with whatever subject that day he has a beef with. It can be funny though I’d warn anyone but Clive to make jokes about it in the comments.

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      So, I’m certain you will welcome the “Men with Sticks” when they are dispatched to your door by gov. whitmer for the egregious “violation” of buying mulch or paint during a pandemic. Because “Men with Sticks” are nothing if not “gentle” and ever so respectful of the “social contract.”

      Have you gone insane?

      1. ObjectiveFunction

        But “Guillotine Watch” is OK, funny even? And I assume your NC handle is purely ironic?

        My comment was partly in jest, but yes, surprise! in time of emergency, ordinary civil liberties get suspended. And non-crippling corporal punishment could be a swift, scaleable and low tech remedy for reckless or drunken youth or yobbos whose mass disorderly conduct endangers the group. In time of plague, it’s surely preferable to detaining them en masse, in close quarters with god knows who, or else turning a blind eye. In ye olden days, people who fled quarantined ships were simply shot on sight. What about tear gassing? Is that more humane and less injurious for everyone? What do the neighbors think? Or maybe just scanning everyone’s retina and debiting their social credit! Do drunken Ivy Leaguers care about that, in the moment?

        I don’t know what’s going on in Michigan as I live overseas, but if there is rationing or a general requisition (duly deemed to be lawful and reasonable searches and seizures), then confiscation of the goods and levy of a fine would seem a better deterrent for violators than beating.

        If the authorities, or the enforcers, use emergency powers as an excuse to abuse or rob law abiding citizens, or to persecute outgroups (lynch law), well, that’s a different problem altogether, and it means you are in fact ruled by Harkonnens. I am not, for one, and your presumption that A automatically leads to B is not granted, at least not by me.

        Respectfully submitted, OF

    4. Polar Donkey

      When I was in Peace Corps in Tonga, there were men with sticks in church. If you were seen sleeping, talking, laughing, or goofing off, you could get a smack. I then realized why so many older people wore sunglasses inside during church.

      1. Wukchumni

        In the 1980’s, I was in Zurich for a coin show and took a streetcar to go to lunch with an English friend, and he was going on about how the Swiss were so perfect & punctual, and I was thinking what a piss-poor way to live, and my English friend had his left leg out maybe 6 inches into the aisle, when a 70 something Swiss gent walked by & rapped him in the knee with his cane, being upset about the public space my friend had claimed for himself.

        It was perfect timing as far as I was concerned, lemme tellya.

      2. JTMcPhee

        Our Puritan ancestors, as I recall, had men holding the “parish office” of “beagle,”with LONG sticks, usually with a knob on the eNd, to “keep order during services.”

        I recall Mark Twain’s writings on the behavior of his picaresque hero, Tom Sawyer, in church. Occasional raps meted out to him, I believe, for his antics with frogs, twine and various kinds of noisemakers. The world Twain wrote about showed the roots of a pretty UNcivil society that has become the Empire of today…

        1. eg

          That’s “beadle” — I’m guessing the wretched autocorrect gotcha

          And up here in “America’s hat” a “long stick” is a defender in lacrosse … ;-)

      1. periol

        My apologies, I looked into it and the video is fake. It was made for entertainment purposes, and is not something the government did. Too late to delete, unfortunately.

        1. Massinissa

          It’s still really funny though. If anything its more funny knowing that it is staged and that noone is getting hurt.

    5. Phillip Allen

      “those so beaten have no remedy”

      Those so beaten have no legal remedy. Extralegal remedies are available to the desperate, the foolish, and the brave.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “He Could Have Seen What Was Coming: Behind Trump’s Failure on the Virus”

    No real surprises here. A basically unintelligent man with little curiosity about the world and being unable to untangle his ego from his decision-making process. All of this was predictable and many people could have guessed that this was how it would play out. But then I had a thought. This pandemic is not only with us this years but will be with us next year as well and November will have the Presidential elections. Would America be better served with a man as President that has signs of “cognitive issues” associated with advanced age as well as difficulty in not only being able to hold a chain of reasoning together but being unable to make a solid speech? According to the DNC the answer is “Yes!”

    1. a different chris

      Arrgh that’s gonna happen no matter what.

      It is clear to me that Trump isn’t the Trump of 10 years ago, either. He’s turned into a doddering old “get off my lawn” man himself. His speeches (unhinged rants mostly) fall apart pretty horribly too.

      So being “served with a man [with] cognitive issues” is our destiny unless one or the other falls over dead.

      I really think there should be an age limit to public “service”.

    2. carl

      Not only that, but has a history of sexual assault, yelling profanities at potential voters, lying with the ease of buying a newspaper, an impressive record of voting for the wrong policies (if not originating them himself), have I left anything out? I’m simultaneously aghast and amused at this ridiculous excuse for a candidate, but then I remember Mondale, Dukakis, Kerry, HRC.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        As bad as they were, there were elements that could be pointed to that they weren’t the Democratic Trump. This is simply no longer the case. At least Clinton didn’t do anything as a Senator (well, she had that post office she renamed).

        With Biden yeah, he’s attached to every sin of the last fifty years. Like McCain, I think people have a hard time believing anyone so evil can exist without an actual volcano lair. The nicest thing to say about Biden is he is stupid and can’t be held accountable for anything he does. Hillary had her stubborness as an Achilles heel which led her to never reassess. She’s incompetent for the jobs she was vying for, but she did have a record especially inow Bill’s first term to indicate she wasn’t completely hopeless. At one point she had a semblance of a soul. The other three were bad for their own reasons, but the idea they approach Biden is absurd. Not one of them gave the eulogy for Strom Thurmond. That was Uncle Joe.

          1. Phillip Allen

            I think HRC at one time had a reasonably plausible soul act, as is typical in sociopaths as an aspect of simulating empathy. As she increased in power and wealth she learned that at a certain elite level one gets a pass on needing to appear human. It’s not like anyone she knows has ever suffered a consequence for the lack of humanity. #BornToGrift #NoBetterThanSheOughtToBe #AllHailMadameHarkonen

        1. John Wright

          Biden is good at presenting medals.

          He gave the Liberty Medal to George and Laura Bush

          ““President Bush was my opposition … he was never my enemy,” Biden said in his remarks. “Think how demeaning our politics has become in terms of how we talk about one another.”

          “The award is presented to individuals for their commitments to veterans. Other past recipients have included Hillary Clinton, Malala Yousafzai and Nelson Mandela.”

          “Biden, the chairman of the National Constitution Center’s board of trustees, also presented the medal to the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) last year.”

          The Medal seems to be presented to some who go out of their way ( Bush, McCain, HRC) who create ever more veterans by ramping up wars.

          The DNC and Biden seem to believe not enough people care about Biden’s past to damage his electability.

          We will see in November.

          1. polecat

            These people are all insufferably, and incestuously, classists ! … to their core, politically & monetarily …

            No empathetics need apply.

            I hope they starve !

    3. KLG

      Ha! From an email rant I sent to friends yesterday, if it escapes terminal moderation:

      This Tara Reade thing isn’t going away. That, and Burisma plus Hunter’s baby mama and affair with the sainted Beau’s widow, the scamming brother, Biden’s doctor wife on TV saying that, yes, Joe is a horrible candidate but he can win…Trump will have so many targets, he won’t know which one to hit at any given time, but he won’t miss…

      Trump is an aliterate, unschooled, participation-trophy (most of them self-awarded) dumbass who would have been the serial “owner” of no-money-down appliance stores in Queens and Brooklyn had he not been Fred’s son (Crazy Eddie comes to mind). Biden is an apparently senile dumbass who still thinks, to the extent he can think, that sucking up to James Eastland, Jesse Helms, and Strom Thurmond was the right thing to do, beginning when he was a fluke Baby Senator…Then there is Anita Hill, his serial lying about essentially everything, the Iraq War, Libya, Yemen-indeed the whole of Syraqistan, his attacks on Social Security and Medicare. Trump will hammer him, 16-ounce carpenter’s hammer to carpet tack. That the president has the same flaws and views…will not matter. I won’t even go into the irony of South Carolina putting Joe over the top. The last time SC voted for the Democrat was 1976, and that was as fluky as it comes.

      …Should the Democrat Party dump Joe for Li’l Andy Cuomo, the devastation will be worse. It is said that Bernie doesn’t travel well. Maybe, maybe not. But to think Cuomo the Lesser will travel outside of a few subgroups of Masters of the Universe and their neighborhoods of Manhattan, Westchester, Greenwich, and the Hamptons is ridiculous. New York, California, and Illinois will not count on November 3rd. Andrew Cuomo in PA, MI, WI, and OH, NV, not to mention VA ahd FL? Ha!

      I think the group has covered just about everything.

    4. eg

      As one of the animals peering through the farmhouse window at US presidential electoral politics, I look from pig to man and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it is impossible to say which is which …

      1. barefoot charley

        I’m done with Trump-style ultimate-booty-contest tv shows selecting our president. What unites successful nominees for First Asshole? Their principled refusal to serve the needs of most citizens. Most recently Hillary “Never, ever gonna happen” Clinton and now Joe “Wanna step outside, fatso?” Biden–these people are professional hippie-punchers! They’ve proven to their investors that their contempt for voters isn’t a tv put-on, it’s visceral: they can be trusted.

        We can’t make the Democrats serve the people. The assholes change but the dog food doesn’t. And my point is the personality of the presenter–that’s to say, the lipstick on the pig–doesn’t matter a whit. The party will never permit a candidate who appears to threaten the returns of their investors. No news here, but I’m done handicapping the jackass race. It doesn’t matter who ‘wins’ because it’s so obvious who loses.

    5. QuarterBack

      Last decade, we learned the term “zombie bank”. Now we seem to be experiencing zombie politicians who are politically dead but just don’t know it. What better representative of a zombie politician is there than Joe Biden?

    6. MLTPB

      Surprising though at not comparing to Western democracies in general, as Lambert mentions above.

      For example, those Dartmouth college partiers likely would have been taken in by the Wuhan city government, in comparison.

      1. periol

        And those Dartmouth students stand good odds one of them will be Secretary of the Treasury in like 35 years.

          1. periol

            I mean sure, but if you play the odds…

            The odds someone from Saddleback Community College, near where I grew up, gets to be Treasury Secretary of the USA, ever, are like what, 1 in 100 billion?

            The odds someone from Dartmouth is Treasury Secretary in 35 years is like, what, 1 in 2? 1in 3?

            Now if you wanted to talk about odds that the USA is still a functioning nation state with a Secretary of the Treasury in 35 years, that might be a different story. Personal biases come into play. I suspect the odds aren’t good for the USA in 35 years.

    7. John k

      No, no. The issue is not which of those is better and/or which will win, but how to keep Bernie from the nom. For that anybody else would do.
      Mission accomplished. A dem victory in nov would just be a sweet but not critical bonus.

    8. Tom Bradford

      ” Would America be better served with a man as President that has signs of “cognitive issues” associated with advanced age as well as difficulty in not only being able to hold a chain of reasoning together but being unable to make a solid speech?”

      Hasn’t that already happened, with Reagan? Had this crisis happened in his second term would it have been handled so badly?

      I’d suggest that much of the disaster unfolding in the US now is not directly down to having a moron in the White House. It’s down to the damage the moron had already done to the Administration, in getting rid of experienced and capable people to replace them with sycophants. Biden might be intellectually no brighter, but he has been part of the administration and knows how things work, and isn’t run by an overweening ego, so I do believe he, or those running him, will be far more likely to set up a competent administration and let it do its job. That’ll be too late to redeem the present catastrophe but would surely be preferable to have Trump and his gut instincts run the country into the ground for another four years.

  9. a different chris

    So why does NASA have to editorialize?

    >These recent improvements in air quality have come at a high cost,

    Maybe. Also maybe everybody on average gets to live a day longer due to 6 weeks or so of “30% reduction” (and counting) in air pollution?

    What we price and what we don’t tells you quite a bit. And no, I don’t think 8 billion people can manage to continue to be fed and housed at this level of activity. But, strangely enough other supposed leaders think we can someday manage the normal level of activity at this level of pollution. Yet that’s always a decade or so away isn’t it?

    1. epynonymous

      They might as well. It’s not like they have any rockets!

      I have a new hobby, and it checking out the new Lego space sets they keep churning out. They have to make the designs up from scratch since we don’t have a real space program right now. Mars is the current branding, I guess the moon got too boring? I’d love to see that market research though.

      Still no Lego sets based on these private space companies. I guess that sort of employment just doesn’t catch kids imagination the same way being an astronaut used to.

      Our latest time line to landing on the moon in my lifetime was just set back again last week. Nasa was supposed to start building a space-station in lunar orbit, but apparently that fell through.

      Maybe Space Force could loan them a booster though?

  10. Samuel Conner


    “Failed State” lacks agency. May I suggest an alternative:

    “We are ruled by Harkonnens”

    an example of an item under this heading:

    This also harks toward DJT’s habit of shredding documents after they cross his desk.

    Navarro should have shredded his memo before reporting its contents to the Pres.

    1. xkeyscored

      And much as some criticise China for its response early in this crisis, they were dealing with something new and unknown. By late January, when Trump apparently got the Navarro memo, it was obvious to all something huge was going on, with every likelihood it would spread worldwide.
      I do like to rub it in, so which response was worse?

      1. Samuel Conner

        > which response was worse

        The thing that gets me is the reported displeasure with the fact that Navarro’s forecast was presented as a written document rather than simply as a verbal say-so. The implication, which I find completely credible, is that DJT wants plausible deniability and is angered that Navarro’s document denied him that.

        I think we can guess which of Peter Frase’s “Four Futures” is favored by DJT.

        1. HotFlash

          Maybe he can’t read? Or needs glasses and is to vain to wear them? He doesn’t seem like someone who has any problem denying things, but he is very, very vain.

      2. MLTPB

        I hope we don’t see that half a million figure in the memo come to pass.

        And I don’t think reducing 500,000 to 50,000, 500, or 50 is still not tragic.

        What would be worth it to look into is how the fact that SARS was limited in many Western countries contributed to their response in general this time?

        (They saw over probable 5,000 SARS cases in China, and only 1 in Spain, 1 in Ireland, 1 in Russia, 1 in Switzerland (per Wiki), between Nov 1, 2002 and July 31, 2003.)

        Did that make many countries less vigilant?

        Did the lack of information regarding the new virus lead, in some small ways, to thinking it would be like the last time, with more cases for sure, but due to reasons not clear (lacking info, again)…maybe the lockdown came too late, mismanagement, etc.?

        Still, one didn’t have to be in the WHO to see problems coming.

        My comment from March 3:

        March 3, 2020 at 1:25 pm
        From Wiki, it was 9,692 soon Jan 30, 11,791 on Jan 31, and 14380 on Feb 1.

        I think we announced on the 30th, a Friday, to be effective noon, Sunday, Feb 1.

        Some have speculated Chinese numbers to 10 times more, putting the Jan 30 number at 10 x 9,692, or about 97,000.

        If the point is to restrict further travels to and from, or via, Korea, it still stands, using either the official numbers, or the speculated ones.

        On March 5, I then mentioned travel restrictions on Italy, in addition to S Korea.

        Again, sorry if I don’t remember others, but I was alone in asking about travel restrictions on Korea and Italy. It would not be the only action needed. It shows, though, all of us could have done more.

      1. Lil’D

        Based on the Heinlein story from 1952

        “The year of the Jackpot “

        (Where Potiphar is first introduced)

    2. The Rev Kev

      “We are ruled by Harkonnens”?

      More likely it is a case of “We are depending on the kindness of psychopathic strangers.”

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I feel like the Harkonnens were less whiny than current elites (a glaring weakness in fiction is what thick skins villains have), and Paul is the bad guy.

        1. Noone from Nowheresville

          I feel that Holt Fasner from the Donaldson’s Gap series is more apt.

          Although Donaldson concentration on shame, guilt and self-sacrifice was too heavy handed.

          1. Massinissa

            Nah, if that were the case Epstein would have been feasting on the blood of virgins on the lolita express like a vampire. Which is only mildly more horrifying than what he and his ilk were actually doing.

    3. griffen

      We are ruled by the people who watched “Aliens” in their formative years & found all support and rationale to not destroy those bothersome creatures. Building better worlds , just supplant Amasawn for the Weyland Corp.

      As in why shouldn’t we study this new creature. Think of all we could learn, Ripley !

        1. D. Fuller

          No mention of Wilbur Ross’s roll in selling off Bethlehem Steel to foreign competition where he incidentally made the bulk of his fortune. Though, not by name and only generically touched upon in the article.

          Or how Wilbur Ross sat on the board of the Bank of Cyprus – back than a well known bank for Russians to launder money and hide assets. Incidentally, when the ECB imposed a haircut on The Bank of Cyprus? Certain Russians, well-connected, were still able to withdraw their money, intact.

    4. chuck roast

      Il Douche shreds documents after they come across his desk? Geez! I guess that puts the kibosh on my visit to the Trump Library.

  11. Ignacio

    RE: Why daily death tolls have become unusually important in understanding the coronavirus pandemic. Nature

    If you can forgive me I find this intellectually rewarding. NC readers were aware before Nature came to explain! The bad news for Italy or Spain is that data shows a long tail in casualties, not dropping as one would expect after quarantines. I think of tthree complementary explanations for this:
    1) Home contagions after quarantines
    2) Difficulties isolating sensitive places like nursing houses.
    3) The combination of: Nationwide quarantines were not taken seriously in regions that felt more or less free + flights from disease epicentres to second homes in relatively safe zones.

    The last point reflects how important was collaboration of the population at large and how important will it be in future episodes. IMO, denialism on Covid-19 has not yet been eradicated. Let’s add that data from China is dubious to say the least.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      You may find this twitter thread interesting – from an Irish scientist called Lainey Doyle.

      To bring it down to its essence – she points out that Ireland and the UK have similar cultures as far as its relevant to disease spread (we both don’t really like hugging) and similar population structures, and quite a lot of mixing, but the Irish death rate so far is around 2.5 times less than the UK. The obvious reason would seem to be that Ireland shut down 2 weeks before the UK.

        1. Ignacio

          I think she got it right! A friend of mine living in England has got infected and the route was almost certainly via kindergarden/school.

        2. Eustache de Saint Pierre

          I usually avoid watching most of our glorious leaders as it is depressing, but have over the last couple of days tuned into some of their Covid-19 briefings. I wish I hadn’t is all I can say as it is very obvious that they are totally incompetent.

          Priti Patel announcing to the country that there had been three hundred thousand and thirty four, nine hundred and seventy four thousand tests done, was the final straw & I agree about that lost fortnight, before the model apparently changed it’s mind.

    2. MLTPB

      I agree…denialism has yet to be eradicated.

      It is in many places around the world, not just Italy or Spain

  12. The Rev Kev

    “This Man Owns The World’s Most Advanced Private Air Force After Buying 46 F/A-18 Hornets”

    I could imagine that these jets would prove very useful during Exercise Red Flags and for all you know, some leasing to mercs for use in obscure areas. However, my favourite private Air Force is the Commemorative Air Force, formally know as the Confederate Air Force-

    1. PlutoniumKun

      What the article doesn’t say is who decides who he supply his services to. I wonder what would happen if the Chinese asked for the chance to train their pilots against F/A-18s.

      1. rowlf

        The article was very detailed, which was a pleasant surprise. Since so much work was done to get through the bureaucratic hoops and be on the right side of the ATF for ownership of automatic firearms, destructive devices and military equipment, it is doubtful Kirlin will operate outside of US territory unless he has US government blessings. I am surprised other countries allowed the sales to non-government groups, as the US practice since the Eisenhower administration is to de-mil surplus equipment to prevent private use. (In the US fighter aircraft are cut up before sale, for example)

        Try these two scenarios.

        You went through the paperwork process required by the National Firearms Act and can now own an assault rifle. How can you legally take it out of the country as a private citizen? It is very difficult to travel internationally with Olympic style competition firearms, has anyone an example of travelling with an NFA firearm?

        You went through the process to register all your airplanes with the FAA so you can fly them in US airspace. If you file a international flight plan with your ex-military fighter will another country allow you to fly in their airspace?

      2. Maxwell Johnston

        The same thought occurred to me. “Free enterprise”: shades of Milo Minderbinder in Catch-22. Outstanding article, I really enjoyed reading it. I’m speechless that what he’s doing is actually legal in the US of A. Or anywhere, for that matter.

      3. norm de plume

        What the article also doesn’t say:

        how much this guy has spent building up a force of 50 odd military aircraft
        where and how he made that sort of money
        the size of this ‘industry’, given the mentions of several competitors
        how much, if these outfits are spending billions (and presumably making large profits) on superannuated aircraft, the govt is spending on their contracts
        whether, at a time like this, such massive sums can be justified for the purpose of practice, when surely to God the airforce could just run its own planes against its own planes…

        I guess the pics of these smiling tech head wingnuts proudly posing in front of those death purveyors is supposed to enhance their regular guy bona fides, just making money doing what they love. To me it looks obscene.

    2. Drake

      So they finally renamed the Confederate Air Force (by which I mean at some point in the last few decades)? I used to take a real interest in WWII-era weaponry many many moons ago and saw mentions of them rather frequently, but even back then wondered about the wisdom of the name. Seemed like very poor PR even to a kid.

      1. rowlf

        On the flipside, at Willow Run airport in Michigan is the Yankee Air Force.

        I have mixed feelings about airshows, as the machinery is fascinating but most of it was designed to kill people. Formation flying, for example, was so the airplanes could be more efficient at hitting a target.

        1. Tom Bradford

          I’d thought formation flying was to allow for the gunners on one aircraft to cover the blind-spots on another, and/or multiply the fire that could be directed at an attacker: ie it was for defensive rather than offensive reasons.

  13. notabanktoadie

    Claiming benefits is a moral hazard; lambert

    Hence the need for a Citizen’s Dividend to replace all fiat creation beyond that created by deficit spending for the general welfare.

    In other words, there’d be far less need for welfare in general if we had a just finance system.

    1. D. Fuller

      As Americans were losing their homes after 2008, corporate CEO’s in affected industries – the mortgage industry in particular – chided those who had lost their jobs. The message from CEO’s was that it was the recently unemployed homeowner’s moral duty to make good on their payments.

      Even as many of those self-styled CEO’s were busy walking away from billion-dollar-plus obligations or seeking bankruptcy protection to avoid their “moral” duty to pay back money they owed.

      Not-so-amazingly, many Americans supported that line of “moral” duty that CEO’s spoon fed them even as those CEO’s walked out on their debts. Couched in the context that restructuring home loans for the underwater, recently unemployed homeowners was a “handout” or “socialism” or being a “welfare parasite”.

  14. xkeyscored

    re Chloroquine/hydroxychloroquine

    There’s been speculation here recently that if Trump is backing these drugs, he must surely have a financial interest. I wonder how that view squares with this?

    “French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi said Friday it would offer 100 million doses of hydroxychloroquine, a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, to governments worldwide if studies show it can safely to be used to treat COVID-19 patients.”

    “Other companies have also pledged to offer the drugs, with Switzerland’s Novartis proposing 130 million doses of chloroquine, and Israeli generic producer Teva promising 10 million doses of HQC for US hospitals.”

    1. TroyIA

      There’s been speculation here recently that if Trump is backing these drugs, he must surely have a financial interest.

      The original story is a NYT article that is very misleading. Trump reported that his three family trusts each had $1000-$15,000 investments in a Dodge & Cox mutual fund, whose largest holding(2.9%) was in Sanofi. So he owns less than $3000 worth of Sanofi stock compared to his estimated net worth of 2.1 billion.

      Trump Has ‘Small,’ ‘Distant Link’ To Sanofi, French Drugmaker Of Hydroxychloroquine

      1. xkeyscored

        You make it sound like the ‘Trump must have a stake in chloroquine’ idea started with the NYT. So far as I can make out, it started when he publicly declared his faith in it, before anyone thought of looking for evidence that he stood to make money from it. This NYT piece seems to scupper the idea more than being its source.

    2. marym

      It’s plausible on this issue that the political value of a potentially effective treatment is attractive to Trump even without personal financial gain. There are other forms of grift, though.


      conservative business group founded by a prolific Republican political donor is pressuring the White House to greenlight an unproven COVID-19 treatment, saying in an online petition that the country has plants in the U.S. ready to produce a drug but can’t because of “red tape, regulation, and a dysfunctional healthcare supply chain.”

      In recent days, Home Depot co-founder Bernard Marcus’ Job Creators Network has placed Facebook ads and texted supporters to sign a petition urging President Donald Trump to “CUT RED TAPE” and make an anti-malarial drug called hydroxychloroquine available for treating those sickened with the virus, one such message obtained by ProPublica reads.

      The “coronavirus petition” is being promoted by a coalition of groups organized by [Home Depot co-founder Bernard Marcus’ Job Creators Network] called Healthcare For You, which has sought to undo the Affordable Care Act.

      Among the coalition’s members are a range of conserviative medical and business groups, such as Americans for Fair Taxation, the American Hotel and Lodging Association, Young Americans Against Socialism and the Colorado Business Roundtable.

        1. D. Fuller

          IIRC, if hydroxychloroquine were to be combined with another drug to produce a compound drug? Such might be used to assert a claim for a patent.

          Formulation patents are frequently used to extend patents. I honestly don’t know if a patent can be issued for a generic used in a new formulation. However, it is a safe bet that lawyers are working on the issue right now.

          More research on the subject of patents would be needed.

          1. MLTPB

            Is it a case of producing a compound drug, or just using multiple drugs in combination? Does the latter make any difference with respect to patents?

            And can a government use it dirpsregarding the patent? Wasn’t it discussed here recently?

    3. rd

      I think he is just desperately looking for something that will make the pain go away. This seems like an approach that might work in a sea of desolate news, so he is grabbing onto it like a life ring.

      1. xkeyscored

        I think something like that’s much more likely than he’s going to make tons of money out of it. “Me me me I invented chloroquine and told the world about it” if anything comes of it, and if not, deny he ever mentioned it, in fact he said it was a terrible idea from the start.

    4. Lou Anton

      All the hydroxocloronique talk reminds me of Jude Law’s character in Contagion hyping forsythia as the miracle cure.

      1. Yves Smith

        No, there are reports from doctors in Italy who threw everything at the wall in treating patients that this was the best remedy they found, when used with azithromycin.

    5. Heidi’s master

      One thing we should remember, shelter in place, travel bans, etc. may very well bankrupt Trump.

  15. floyd

    re: Biden

    Sometimes I wonder if a Republican is running Democrat Presidential campaigns. Same playbook as 2016: whack voters on the economic left (and some in the middle and even right) by humiliating Bernie voters and then go all in on identity politics which will alienate those on the cultural right (and some voters of color who are more culturally right). What you have left is the same base of voters: major blue metro areas with little enthusiasm for their candidate other than he’s not quite as bad as the orange man. And lot of voters thinking a return to 2016 isn’t a great incentive to vote blue. That “archipelago map” from 2016 could look even worse this time around.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Biden might predate the “new democrat” branding, but isn’t he just a more modern “Southern Democrat”? National Republicans weren’t good, but next to Southern Dems, you know…this is what Biden does. Imagine if Bill was stupid and was around in an even more bombed out country.

      1. D. Fuller

        Bill Clinton ran a racist campaign back in the 1990’s.

        “Welfare is not a way of life.” (paraphrasing) was one of Bill Clinton’s campaign slogans. Didn’t help that he announced his “tough on crime” stance, where?

        Stone Mountain.

        On Thanksgiving evening in 1915, William J. Simmons gathered fifteen men and ascended the windy summit of Georgia’s imposing Stone Mountain, just outside of Atlanta. Atop the mountain, they built an altar of sixteen boulders, upon which they placed an American flag, a copy of the Holy Bible, and an unsheathed sword.

        Then, standing in the moonlight, they raised an enormous wooden cross and set it alight.

        With “the angels” watching over them “shout[ing] hosannas,” Simmons and his men pronounced the Ku Klux Klan newly reborn, and inaugurated a new and terrible phase for an organization that had lain dormant for several decades. This was the beginning, they declared, of a new imperial empire.

        Look at all those African-American “props” behind Bill Clinton in their prison uniforms. Virtue signaling to Southern Republican (White) voters. Who led the “tough on crime” effort as one of – if not the most important – architect? That resulted in the doubling of the minority prison population when B. Clinton was President?

        Joe Biden.

        Hillary Clinton followed the same path as Bill Clinton in attempting to woo Republican voters. Her “Annie Oakley” moment, fake Southern drawl, setting up an outreach effort and website for Republicans, campaign surrogates endorsing Republicans over Democratic Congressional candidates, etc.

        There is no sin greater than being poor in America. Obama – himself an African-American (partly) – presided over one of the greatest declines in Black American wealth. Bush, Obama, and – now – Trump? Corporate bailouts. Fascism. It’s already here. Our country is fascist.

        Biden is simply but one candidate preferred by the fascists. As for rebranding? DLC. Third-Way. “New” Democrat? They are the same people and their associates and acolytes and sycophants; in it for the most important and worshiped concept in America: MONEY. The more names change? The more the behavior remains the same.

        Even the #MeToo movement was manufactured as a PR/M&A effort. Given the recent allegation against Biden and the deafening silence of the #MeToo superstars.

        1. Massinissa

          Well, looks like Obama’s skin color wasn’t the only reason he won against Hillary in 2008. An entire decades worth of ‘superpredators’ style dog whistles helped defeat her too.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      My general view is the “New Democrats” (though Biden predates them) are late 20th century updates on the Southern Democrats. They might prefer a nominally softer hand, but the are still really descendants of the old slave power with dreams of a colonial empire. Given Nixon’s Southern strategy, the two parties strategy will strategy Willem very similar and tend to fight over “moderates in the suburbs.”

      One group has a greater appreciation for colonial empires of Western Europe than the other (ex. Freedom fries) and even has room for “exceptional” individuals, even at the top. Then “new democrats” recruited non-entities using party machinery in areas that should be producing AOCs not Pelosis producing a nihilistic party that isn’t organized to usually be as rapacious as the GOP but is very close. Since the national Team Blue party is functionally composed of electeds in safe safe eats with no ideological coherence beyond self advancement, the Southern Dems wind up shaping the party which is mostly to work to appeal to golfers who believe women should be allowed to golf at Augusta.

    3. eg

      You can have Team Pepsi or Team Coke — no matter the label, it’s neoliberalism in the bottle …

      1. Lil’D

        Based on the Heinlein story from 1952

        “The year of the Jackpot “

        (Where Potiphar is first introduced)

      2. Tom Doak

        I have never seen that analogy before, but it seems perfect for American politics today. Kudos!

      3. D. Fuller

        IMHO, what people think of neoliberalism is plain, old fascism. Neoliberalism is the the most recent iteration of the methods used by fascists. Even then? Neoliberalism is an amalgation of old methods dressed up in new jargon (modernization of old terms).

        By calling fascism, neoliberalism? Obscuring the actual practice of fascism by supporters of methods (=neoliberalism) to achieve fascism.

        The US is a fascist state. Instead of direct control by one fascist party? The softer, gentler approach that conceals the true nature and just who controls the levers of power, from the public.

        It’s not Mussolini’s fascist state. More of the velvet glove with illusion of choice. The fascists simply do not have complete control over the entire process. To where they openly dictate policy.

        1. Carey

          Bertram Gross covered it pretty well in ‘Friendly Fascism’, though it’s getting
          less friendly these recent days.

    4. Brindle

      Barely qualifies as crumbs—“Lowering Medicare eligility to 60. That should do it.”

      The main function of the Dem primaries is to squash progressives and their policies,

      1. The Rev Kev

        If Medicare eligibility was lowered to 60 of age, wouldn’t the net effect of this would be to put the government on the hook for this new cohort and off the hands of the healthcare corporations?

        1. John Zelnicker

          @The Rev Kev
          April 12, 2020 at 10:58 am

          Exactly right.

          And that cohort is about where the higher utilization of medical services begins. In effect, it would relieve the insurance companies of a group with higher claims frequency than the general population.

          I suspect the companies wouldn’t mind passing on those folks to the government, leaving them with a healthier group making fewer claims and increasing their profits.

        2. JTMcPhee

          Maybe you misunderstand how Medicare works. Services are provided and drugs and dispensed through the healthcare corporations.

          And if one wants real coverage, in addition to Part A Part B and Part D which cost around $200-250 a month and include lots of “gaps,” now has to buy a supplemental insurance policy from a healthcare corporation. My “F” supplemental, which pays copays and cost shares, is about $200 a month. Not all doctors and hospitals even “accept” Medicare, much less Medicaid.

          1. Rod

            Agreed that Bidens plan is a nefarious sham.
            National Single Payer (M4A) is my preference.
            Well, regards to Medicare: here’s where I am.

            This is a curious point that I have never seen broached:

            for me–full SS will start at 66, however I became eligible for Medicare at 65(as all ‘Mericans) and was made to enroll into the Medicare by my Insurance carrier at the time(by dropping my Ins coverage on the day of my 65th birthday)–with plenty of notice of course.

            My Medicare (no Middleman/Supplemental for me) monthly bill is 145$, payable only Quarterly. Since that payment would normally be deducted monthly from my SS Payout–that I have not signed up to collect yet–I have to send a check to maintain my Medicare Coverage.( Writing that first check for the first full quarter plus the 3 months of the quarter I was enrolling in was a surprise and tough~50% of monthly or 5% of yearly retirement net )
            Aligning a SS Retirement Age with Medicare Eligibility Age would have kept 1,740$ cash money in my pocket during this bridge year.( This is 10% of the Net State Teachers Retirement benefit I receive. )

            kinda like that prescription donut hole thing–but not.

            anybody else?

            and the irony of course: with the exception of ensuring Insurance Coverage for my daughter for eleven years until she aged out by paying the NC State Family-One Dependent Ins offering at 375$ per month–I kept myself in the NC State Basic 70/30 Plan coverage the rest of the time until retirement at a monthly 0$-none-no-cost to myself plan offering.
            Yea, I know, I always thought it was too good–NC was going to allow ME into a class of malleable minds: pay me a bunch more than SC(better to keep it relevant): and give me free Health Insurance if I took the cheapest Plan. Believe me when I say–for 24 years– I left nothing on the table in exchange for that opportunity.

    5. Brooklin Bridge

      For most of the people I’ve spoken with who don’t like Trump, it’s visceral. Their level of education doesn’t seem to matter a whit. They just hate him and that’s that. Biden will do fine with a pulse, anyone short of Sarah Palin.

        1. neo-realist

          If more people keep dying of covid-19, with no strategy or money used to make treatment affordable, if not enough money is put into the hands of the unemployed beyond the one time $1200 sugar fix, and the unemployed remain unemployed and or unemployment gets worse, and the post office is de-funded out of existence this summer with nothing in place to replace it, even “do fine” may suffice.

          1. D. Fuller

            Most likely, the payouts of $1200 to $2400 will be recovered in some fashion, usually through higher taxes. The kicker?

            Not everyone will repay that money. Some people will get to keep it. For others, their tax bills will increase. Which is very handy in creating division between people who think they are middle-class (really nothing more than the upper-poor class) and the lower poor class.

            1. periol

              The money will come out of next year’s tax returns. All tax returns will be reduced by the amount received in the stimulus.

              But there is no tax penalty. A good reason to owe Uncle Sam at tax time, for once.

              1. D. Fuller

                If the government loan (the $1200-$2400) is required to be reported as income, as it most assuredly will be?

                Then a percentage will come out.

                The trick is to recover the full amount of the money from a sufficient number of taxpayers. Not necessarily all taxpayers who benefitted. This will create resentment in the lower class, between those who will pay higher taxes, and those who will not – despite both receiving stimulus money.

                An accidental(?) application of: Divide et Impera.

                  1. Wukchumni

                    American Thousandaire, the game show.

                    Contestants while away their time unemployed day dreaming of twelve hundred clams that’ll keep em’ going for another month.

                    An unintentional ‘means test’ occurs when the cast of The Real Housewives of New Jersey crashes the set, flashing bling there-done that @ the would be Thousandaires, practically making the contestants beg for an autograph.

                  2. Aumua

                    Yeah, I think it is fairly obvious that it’s actually free money. Just not nearly enough of it.

                    1. periol

                      I think most people were assuming that it was going to be like Bush the Younger’s stimulus, which was not free money. Articles I was reading a few days ago trying to figure this out didn’t have these details – I heard more info came out Thurs/Fri.

                      I have to think there’s a nasty dollar shock coming soon. More free money, less free money – it’s all fictional and feels like a last-gasp attempt to keep a failing system intact – although more free money would definitely be good for lots of people in this present time period before the dollar starts getting shocked.

        2. Brooklin Bridge

          When I said, “Biden will do fine with a pulse,” I meant to those people who viscerally hate Trump (basically Dems of the ‘just’ upper class or upper middle class), not to the entire voting public.

          That said, COVID-19 is going to let a lot of air out of Trump’s tires for all but the most fanatical supporters. I’m not at all sure Biden will be the Dem Dim candidate, but if he is, he could have care-givers wiping the drool from his chin as he gurgled at rallies and still make a good showing at the polls.

  16. The Rev Kev

    “Virus to affect voting?”

    Is there anybody here that has used these touch panel voting machines and tried to do so wearing a plastic glove at the time? Asking for a friend.

  17. Louis Fyne

    Gov. whitmer’s buy “essentials-only” is genuinely insane—ex. Michigan stores can’t sell garden supplies: seeds, mulch, etc.

    but lotto tickets? A-OK!

    wonder if Democrats lost a chunk of the gardeners’ vote in the next elections. gardeners have long memories

    1. Bugs Bunny

      France was banning plant seedling sales and has now relented but only fruits and vegetables. Tobaccanists were of course still operating.

      I’d say something witty about this but it’s too screwy and sad to make the effort.

      1. Louis Fyne

        insert rimshot joke about well-paper-credentialed (professional management-technocratic) people lacking common sense.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      She’s a real peach, this one. democrat through and through. gretchen for VP!

      Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs literally threatened all doctors and pharmacists in the state who prescribe or dispense hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19.

      The agency’s March 24 letter warns physicians and pharmacists of professional consequences for the prescribing of hydroxychloroquine (and chloroquine). Beyond the rational recommendation against hoarding as production of this medication needs to be ramped up, the letter deviates into open threats of “administrative action” against the licenses of doctors that prescribe hydroxychloroquine.

      The letter also instructs pharmacists to ignore physician orders for this medication. Due to the debate over a pharmacist’s right to refuse to fill medications that go against their religious beliefs, this could place pharmacists in the unprecedented position of being told that they must fill prescriptions that violate their “conscience (religious belief)” but must not fill prescriptions to treat COVID-19.

      Even worse, the letter indicates health care providers are “required to report” their fellow physicians who are prescribing these medications. This draconian measure carries ominous Gestapo-like overtones of neighbor reporting neighbor to “authorities.”

      1. JBird40489

        …this could place pharmacists in the unprecedented position of being told that they must fill prescriptions that violate their “conscience (religious belief)” but must not fill prescriptions to treat COVID-19.

        Ah, religious (and ethical beliefs), science, nor training matters, or even possible success, in dispensing medications, but political theater. Welp, we do apparently have a sufferer from Alzheimer’s disease as the very likely presidential candidate for a major political party. So, why not as it is not any crazier than anything going on these United States of our.

      2. hunkerdown

        The people of Michigan are just going to have to accept that Joe lives matter and non-Joe lives don’t.

    3. Youngblood

      In Puerto Rico stores like Walmart and Costco have been like that for weeks now, under the governor’s “essentials only” order.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        i haven’t seen that, here.
        that’s crazy.
        you can buy seeds and fruit trees with food stamps, after all.

        1. Wukchumni

          Made a foray to my favorite nursery the other day, to pick up a few more apple trees of the sprinter variety, Anna & Dorsett Golden. They originate from Israel & Bahamas, not exactly well known Malus Palaces, but there’s an orb for everyone, and these 2 need hardly any chill hours, you can grow them just about anywhere that’s more hot than not, and they ripen in July, but eat em’ quick as they have no staying power.

          I have both of these trees already, and they grow a bit quicker than other apple varieties.

          Its amazing the variety of summer fruit ripening times, bought a May Pride peach tree, which is ready to eat in late May, and an O Henry peach tree, a friend suggested that variety.

          Bought some strawberry plants and they were spendy, although I was glad to have them.

          Asked the owner about the onslaught of newbies, and he kinda rolled his eyes, as here we are in the middle of the greatest agricultural accomplishment in terms of yield-the Central Valley, and as i’ve mentioned previously, its the Mexicans who do all the work, so there could be a steep learning curve for gringo farm workers tending the soil in their backyard.

  18. Biologist

    This makes me angry:

    UK could have Europe’s worst coronavirus death rate, says adviser” (Guardian)

    Key bit:

    “Prof Jeremy Farrar, the director of the Wellcome Trust and a pandemics expert on the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), …
    He held up Germany as an example of a country with a lower death rate that had “very early on introduced testing on a scale that was remarkable and continued to do that and isolate individuals and look after those who got very sick”.
    “By isolating those that were positive it meant they weren’t able to infect other people,” he said. There were undoubtedly lessons to learn from that, he added.

    With the UK considering possible ways out of its lockdown, Farrar said testing in the community had been a way for Germany to buy time to deal with the crisis. It had given it an additional six to eight weeks to ensure health systems were up to capacity, he said.”

    No sh!t Sherlock. These hard lessons had already been learned in China, earlier. Instead of paying attention to that, like Germany did, UK went its own way and just gave up on testing and contact tracing, early in the epidemic. Now we’ve got 1000 deaths a day. Led by the best science my a$$. This government adviser was there when all those decisions were made. I hope that won’t be forgotten.

  19. QuarterBack

    As an aside, has anyone else noticed that scam phone calls claiming to be from the IRS, Microsoft/Apple Support, or Credit Card services seem to have dropped off to virtually zero? Has global implementation of social distancing effectively disabled these Indian call center boiler rooms? Silver linings.

    1. SomeGuyinAZ

      I still get a few scam/unsolicited calls and texts, but otherwise the volumes have dropped off. The other one I’ve noticed is the junk snail mail has almost all stopped. Be nice if that continues post lockdowns/vaccine, but methinks that would be too much to ask.

    2. hunkerdown

      For fellow conferees wondering why there might be “ZOMG several million fewer handsets operating in Hubei Province”…

    3. jaaaaayceeeee

      I noticed that the calls ‘from’ Microsoft/Apple/Socialsecurity. etc. really went down, too, so your guess that they may be boiler room operations that aren’t staffed well now, sounds good to me.

      On old fashioned home phone and cellphone. Even the ones from supposedly lower-48 banks, that want your account numbers or your money will blow up like your computer or SS check have declined precipitously.

      I don’t have much trouble with them, because I always hit the speaker phone button, a second after picking up the call. I wonder if they think I am a sting operation, because most just hang up, before I even say hello, except for the really low budget robocalls or desperate.

  20. local to oakland

    This is an outlying idea, but it appeals to me, I think it could be useful. I’m thinking of examples of shared sacrifice like Dunkirk or the day after Pearl Harbor.

    The spanish flu came in three waves over 18 months to two years. With the worldwide spread it is unlikely that we can prevent a second wave of Covid19. A vaccine is not going to be available in that time frame.

    The risk to young healthy non obese people is significantly less than to older people.

    When they roll out antibody tests, if a positive test confers greater privileges, younger people are likely to try to game the system to get infected anyway.

    I’m from California. Faced with a forest fire, they sometimes set a backfire. Calling for healthy volunteers to be infected under controlled conditions (I’m thinking camps in remote areas) could then blunt the effect of a second wave. Yes, some would die, but we call for similar sacrifice in war time.

    Am I missing something? People are stepping up in this crisis to help their neighbors in large and small ways. To do this at scale in time to help would be challenging but so is everything else they are trying to accomplish.

  21. Stillfeelinthebern

    Re: Federalist Society. There is another legal intern program that few know about, the Blackstone Legal Fellowship. The students pay nothing.

    This program is supported by the Alliance Defending Freedom, an American conservative Christian nonprofit organization with the stated goal of advocating, training, and funding on the issues of “religious freedom, sanctity of life, and marriage and family.

  22. Carolinian

    From the Disposable People article this hits home

    In some senses, this should not be surprising. For instance, research in the behavioral sciences suggests that when whites explicitly denounce racism, or affirm their commitment to racial equality, they often grow more likely to act in ways that favor other whites—yet simultaneously grow more confident that their actions were not racially motivated. A similar effect holds when they observe others from their “in-group” making gestures toward antiracism: it convinces them not only that their peers are egalitarians but that their own actions and interactions are non-biased as well. Conversely, blaming or denouncing others for a particular moral failing reduces one’s sense of guilt for that same moral failing. Hence, in an environment where those who benefit immensely from inequality go around denouncing the system to one another constantly, painting themselves as staunch advocates for social justice, it would become almost impossible for these people to actually see the role that they or their peers play in perpetuating said inequality. And in part for this reason, these same people would promote inequality all the more, while feeling self-righteous about their egalitarianism.

    Your Democratic party in a nutshell? Which doesn’t make the Republicans any better but does suggest that for our current “liberal” elites it is–as Yves keeps saying–all about the PR. The Obamas, both of them, are prime examples of this virtue signaling in public while shiving Sanders or hugging Dubya in private. What we really have is a huge deficit of what used to be called character. But that is a private virtue, not a public one.

  23. Billy

    Happy Easter

    Paas Easter Egg dying kit, the little copper wire dipping rod, hot water, white vinegar, the colors, the best egg of the lot with the color so bright, green grass, candy colors, childhood.

    1. HotFlash

      Never used the Paas kits, just food colouring in the hot water and vinegar. Works fine, use a spoon to fish the eggs out. For beautiful rich, dark colours use brown eggs. Didn’t do this year, lines to get into stores too long what with the two holidays (closed Good Friday and today). But still plan to do it next week, we love devilled eggs around here. Chocolate bunnies will be cheaper, too.

    2. Wukchumni

      Our local market has been out of eggs for at least a week now, and the thought occurred to me that a bunch of kids are missing out on dyeing.

  24. Tom Stone

    I have been excoriated by a number of liberals who frequent the “Muddy Economist” blog for my critiques of Joe Biden.
    They find Trump unacceptable due to his incompetence, his casual lies and his conduct toward women.
    When I pointed out that these criticisms also apply to Joe Biden the attacks became quite personal, I am clearly a horrible man.
    I am certainly not a “Nice” man and never have claimed to be.
    I would not vote for either Trump or Biden if my life depended on it and I mean that literally.
    I do not and will not condone evil and these are both evil men.
    I have been accused of lacking “Ethical Flexibility”, another way of saying that I actually have principles and strive to live up to an ideal of behavior ( Imperfectly, but I try).
    There’s something about this mealy mouthed, chicken shit, hypocritical pack of moral cowards that I find unpalatable.
    My late Mother’s phrase was “They wouldn’t say “Shit” if they had a mouthful of it.”

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      aye! those folks and their “ethical flexibility” are the reason i finally abandoned faceborg.
      I like to think that there’s not really that many of them, and that their near universality on some platforms(Kos) is just an artifact of the troll farming tactics.
      if they really are as numerous as they seem, we’re already doomed.

      having principals is a bad thing?
      how “progressive(tm)”

    2. Big River Bandido

      Tom, I’ve been a Democrat since voting in my first election in 1986, and I feel the same as you. Liberals and Democrats disgust me now, right down to old friends and members of my own family who I used to be close to.

      1. Jack

        We’re a big country and lots of that stuff is going on and a certain amount will occur. The scary part is in the rise of complacency and hence an increase in that behavior. I have to believe that even today there is a speakeasy culture evolving where food and drink are being served.

    3. Burritonomics

      Real principles don’t have a price. I’m in the same boat. I still get flack for voting for Nader.

      1. Massinissa

        Yes, because not wanting a president with dementia is being a ‘purist’ now apparently.

      2. Aumua

        Yeah if we were purists then we wouldn’t have supported Bernie Sanders to begin with. We just have a g-d line we won’t cross is all.

    4. D. Fuller

      They find Trump unacceptable due to his incompetence, his casual lies and his conduct toward women.

      Trump looks incompetent. However? The industry shills controlling regulatory agencies, the banks and big CEO’s and Big Money Donors; are getting what they want.

      Hardly, incompetent. The losers, such as Main Street, the poor, etc? Merely view it as incompetence.

      Look at Project Airbridge, mentioned in a story above. Government funds pay for private shipping of needed medical supplies that are delivered to private companies to distribute. The distribution primarily goes to their already existing customers. While FEMA delivered an equal number of masks to NH and TX despite the State’s disparity in population and outbreak numbers. While Trump’s FEMA executive boldly declared that FEMA is using “data driven” information to determine the best way to distribute.

      Resulting in shortages. A shortage which private companies recieving government money are very happy to plug. For a price of course.

      Does that sound incompetent?

      It’s GENIUS. Whether it was planned that way from the beginning or pieced together when multiple successive opportunites arose in succession for CEO’s to take advantage of.

      This is how fascist states operate.

  25. flora

    Matt Taibbi on stock buybacks and the current bailout. Why Main Street is paying to bailout Wall St. and receiving little in return.

    The S.E.C. Rule That Destroyed the Universe.

    “But the biggest shock involves the economy. How were we this vulnerable to disruption? Why do industries like airlines that just minutes ago were bragging about limitless profitability – American CEO Doug Parker a few years back insisted, “My personal view is that you won’t see losses in the industry at all” – suddenly need billions? Where the hell did the money go?

    In Washington, everyone from Donald Trump to Joe Biden to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is suddenly pointing the finger at stock buybacks, a term many Americans are hearing for the first time.

    This breaks a taboo of nearly forty years, during which politicians in both parties mostly kept silent about a form of legalized embezzlement and stock manipulation, greased by an obscure 1982 rule implemented by Ronald Reagan’s S.E.C., that devoured trillions of national wealth.” (my emphasis)

    The current bailout amounts going to each industry seem to track the amounts industries spent on stock buybacks. Is that why the latest bailout’s largess is happening in virtual secrecy? PE claims it needs a covid-19 related bailout? unbelievable…

    As Taibbi writes:

    It’s hard to overstate how much money has vanished. S&P 500 companies overall spent the size of the recent bailout – $2 trillion – on buybacks just in the last three years! …

    “If you added up the capital distributions of the banks in just the few years before the crash,” says Kelleher, “it adds up to half the TARP. They wouldn’t have needed a bailout if they’d [curbed] distributions….

    The classic extraction trifecta was to ask for public investment, take on huge debts, and enact mass layoffs as a firm spent billions on distributions. ”

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      It’s hard to overstate how much money has vanished.

      So did the money really “vanish?”

      Companies used extra cash or money “borrowed” at 0% interest (how is that “borrowing,” or “lending” for that matter?) to buy “back” their stock. But they gave that money to SOMEBODY in exchange for that stock, so SOMEBODY has it–it didn’t vanish. It would be more accurate to say that the money was transferred to SOMEBODY and the stock “vanished.”

      It would also be far more accurate, in this instance, to replace the term “bailout” with “replenishment.” The money that was previously “transferred” to SOMEBODY to make a certain amount of stock “vanish” must now be “replenished” so that the company can continue to “operate” until the next transfer event can occur.

      It’s why the fed was invented.

    2. Billy

      How about a requirement that companies sell the equivalent dollar amount of stocks on the open market that they had bought back before they get any bailouts?

      Boeing bought back say, 10 billion worth of stock, so they have to sell 10 billion, then their books are examined for a LOAN from the taxpayers.

      1. John k

        What, you think progressives are in charge?
        Almost everything that should happen isn’t gonna.

    3. MLTPB

      Does the bill only benefit companies in the finance sector (above, Stieglitz link)?

      We should not connect, right away, per cup bono, the ‘they planned this’ dots. Not immediately. Some might (this or that benefits the US, therefore…).

      1. flora

        If this was the first bailout done on this scale I might agree with your warning not to rush to judgement before more data is in.

        It’s not the first bailout on this scale, however, it’s the second in 12 years — almost all the same Congressional and business actors are still in place. We know now how that first bailout worked and who benefited. Cui bono, indeed. Since this is a near replay, I don’t think this is a rush to judgement.

    4. Katniss Everdeen

      It’s hard to overstate how much money has vanished.

      It’s not the money that “vanished,” it’s the bought back stock. The money was transferred into somebody’s pocket, and can undoubtedly be glimpsed in the vicinity of the Cayman Islands.

  26. The Rev Kev

    “What I Learned About the Coronavirus World From Watching Zombie Flicks’

    The author was right to compare it with the first third of the book “World War Z”. Just finished re-reading it and you can see the same confusion, the denial of governments, the panic and restrictions, trying to name the virus “African rabies”, the cover-ups, the closing of borders worldwide, the dependence on dud drugs, the sacrifice of civilians and all the rest of it. The book this time seemed more familiar and more likely.

    1. MLTPB

      I myself also see the fog of pandemic war, everywhere, and denialism, of governments and individuals, again in many places.

      But there maybe more.

      Yesterday, i ran across the news of an Antarctica bound cruise ship with over half of passengers on board sick with CoronaV.

      Now, viruses can be in the ice for a long, long time. With Global Warming, we have been warned of ancient viruses waking.

      These polar cruises – are they gifting CoronaV to people of the future?

    1. flora

      Thanks for the link. Too bad the Congress didn’t also revoke S.E.C. rule 10b-18 — the so called “safe harbor” rule — back in 2008. But they didn’t and here we are…again.

    2. Monty

      This springs to mind…
      “the all-out blitz to make you believe you never saw what you saw. The air wasn’t really cleaner; those images were fake. The hospitals weren’t really a war zone; those stories were hyperbole. The numbers were not that high; the press is lying. You didn’t see people in masks standing in the rain risking their lives to vote. Not in America.”

      Prepare for the Ultimate Gaslighting*

    3. JTMcPhee

      I’d say the corporations that own the political system are in fact responsible for the damage that the virus is doing. It was corporatist policies implemented by bought-and-paid-for legislators and corporatists in the executive and Fed that sent all the jobs overseas, shrank regulatory government small enough to drown in a bathtub in the areas of promoting and protecting the public good, crammed hospitals and physician practice into serfdom to PE “consolidations,” gifted Big Pharma with free R&D billions and free long-term patent “protections,” drove down wages and any kind of “benefits,” inflated the asset bubbles in the Casino and real estate, and on and on.

      Corporations and PE and VC have stripped resilience out of the political economy, and it was done with malice aforethought.

      Credit where it is due.

  27. The Rev Kev

    “Why Bernie Sanders failed”

    There is going to be a lot of ink spilt in the years to come working this one out. I am thinking that at age 79 and at the end of the day, that he was just not ready to be President of the United States. Maybe he did not want to end up like Ralph Nader as someone said or perhaps he let his consultants run his campaign far too much. Setting aside completely his motivations, I am looking at the effect of his run & withdrawal from the race. And don’t say that he is still in the campaign and is continuing to accumulate delegates. All that does is to short circuit a possible third party formation.

    I had really hoped that for America’s sake that Bernie might do it this time and take the Presidency. So you had all the energy of so many people wanting hope and change (sound familiar?) and a more just nation forming up behind him. Think of all the money & donations that went to his campaign rather than any other candidates. All the effort spent, the campaigns, the rallies, the speeches, the videos, etc. And in the end all it served to do was to shepherd the progressive movement into the graveyard of the Democratic party.

    I will digress a moment. People here will have heard of the Charge of the Light Brigade during the Crimean War. The man who led that charge was Lord Cardigan who had a solid reputation for bravery in the army. But what is not generally know is the following. Having ridden through shot and shell with his Regiment into the Russian lines, considering his duty then done and disdaining to “fight the enemy among private soldiers”, he turned about and cantered back to the British lines. And that is what I feel that Bernie has done with the progressive movement. Sorry, it is just how I feel.

    1. Clive

      You and me both mate.

      In the UK, Labour has ended up doing the same for a whole generation of evangelised left-wing supporters who either joined the party, reconsidered where they stood on the political spectrum, were prepared to look again at ideas of social reform, income equality or even some fundamental questions on how society should be run and how you don’t have to pick a poison between the right-wing and neo-liberalism. Corbyn certainly tried his best with all those things.

      Unfortunately what we found with the final analysis of it all was a leader who couldn’t lead, a politician who didn’t really understand politics, a veteran street-fighter campaigner with a glass jaw and, in the end, a big disappointment. He’s disillusioned a whole new cohort to politics in general and the politics of the left especially. And the party itself is moribund. The new leader holds out the irresistible (well, I can resist it but that’s just me) prospect of, being a former top lawyer, “holding Johnson to account” in parliament using his “forensic detailed legal examination skills”. Oh, great. Like watching Perry Mason when you’ve OD’ed on Mogadon. One of his trademark knowing smirks from Johnson and he’ll be just reduced to looking like someone who’s pretending to do politics. Which Starmer is, really.

      Us old hands who’ve stuck with Labour for decades or more will, of course, hang on in there and wait for lady luck to smile on us again. And a lot of things in politics are down to luck. I think it’s true to say, politicians, just as all of us do, make our own luck. But you often have to be prepared to take a smidge of good luck which comes your way and make a lot of luck out of a little bit. But, yes, as in the US with the Democrats, we’re reduced to hopeful passivity. Sitting and waiting for the tide to turn rather than any notion — or any candidate on the horizon — who shows any glimmer of taking the initiative and acting rather than reacting.

      Don’t know really at all about Oz — and wouldn’t claim to have a good in-depth understanding about the US — but here in Blighty, the situation for the left is at a generational all-time low. Labour still hasn’t squared its Brexit circle (new leader Sir Kier Starmer is supposedly a new start for Labour but is continuing that old Corbyn tradition of fence-sitting; he too will end up with the same sore arse). So there’s that to sort out but Labour haven’t even begun to think about sorting it out. The polling is atrocious. Read it and weep. Even if I were to take off 5% for poor polling design (and the polling source isn’t that bad, it’s one of the better ones) and you’re still looking at an absolute numerical majority for Johnson. Even if I were to take off 10% for both poor poling design and sampling bias (and no poll is ever that sort of margin out), the Conservatives are still in a commanding lead.

      I can’t see anything much to get excited about in the EU27 either, casting my beady but jaundiced eye farther afield. Yanis Varoufakis treated us to a guided tour of his priors this weekend in the Guardian. I’ll spare reader just how bad it all is. And to think, once the left couldn’t get enough of Varoufakis. My, how times change. Even the Guardian shuffled his burnt offering oeuvre right down the running order and into published obscurity as soon as it was put up. Too embarrassing, even for the Guardian. Crikey. That’s saying something.

      So, yes, for the left, it was the worst of times… it was the worst of times.

      1. xkeyscored

        The US, UK and Australian militaries are winding down their engagements around the world. That’s a glimmer of hope, regardless of which faces are fronting their political wings.

        1. JTMcPhee

          No credit to anyone in the seeming wind-down. The world’s greatest military has been effectively beaten out of the field by a combination of persistent “enemy,” idiotic mission and idiotic “Battlespace management,” and corruption. And of course logistics and supply lines, and complete inattention to the realities that Sun Tzu pointed about about The effect on the empire of prolonged wars in distant places and what happens when you bleed out the peasants.

          “Getting out,” actually getting finally kicked out, of Iraq and Notagainistan and other places is not any kind of intentional act. At this point it is all about not being the general and SecDef (and president0 holding the steaming turd when the whistle finally blows.

          1. xkeyscored

            True, but it still gives me hope. The world knows the USA is a backward bully with nuclear weapons, but now that’s about all. Asia and Europe are showing more signs of breaking free of US hegemony, which I think long overdue.

      2. Kfish

        In Australia, the conservative Liberal-National coalition government has doubled the unemployed dole and put a six-month moratorium on rental evictions. So we effectively have Keynes from the right, without a war. Seems okay.

    2. barefoot charley

      Bernie surely wasn’t so naive as to think he could win the nomination. If it came to it, the Party would park their limousines across Milwaukee airport runways to keep him away. They would means-test attendance at the convention. They would prove he’s an asset of Facebook’s handlers in the Kremlin.

      Bernie’s run highlighted for general edification that the party will never serve citizens’ needs. It’s a given that creating a broad third party is impossible in our duopoly. Bernie showed that it’s our only hope. He hasn’t disappointed me.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        I think he got much farther than he ever expected to 5 years ago and he has definitely changed what passes as acceptable political discussion. That is a pretty big deal.

        The disappointing part for me is the fact that he did get this far and was leading the primaries, poised to grab a nearly insurmountable lead in only a few days, in a developing pandemic situation that proved he was right about so many things, and then 5 years of hard work all came crashing down over a long weekend.

        I mean, the ball could not have been teed up any better for him to knock it out of the park. As you noted, Sanders probably wasn’t so naive to think he could get the nomination – even if he had cleaned up on Super Tuesday the corrupt party would have kneecapped him a different time. But the fact that he hasn’t seen fit to point out the corruption specifically, and name the agents of it, is what is the most disappointing.

        Have the nomination stolen and rail against it, and the movement is much likelier to continue. But tell everybody how good a friend not-corrupt Joe Biden is and risk watching the movement go out with a whimper.

    3. Mark Gisleson

      I’m a former party hack. Always a socialist, but up until 2000 I always worked within the framework of D party politics (labor issues excepted as the socialist labor folks were ALWAYS more helpful than the D’s).

      I do not think Bernie ran a bad campaign. I’ve never seen stronger ground support or better discipline (Tweeters are not the campaign). I’ve also never seen such a massive disconnect vote-wise. For the life of me I cannot make sense of any of our election results this year.

      Normally you can ALWAYS deconstruct an election after the fact. In 2016, I could not do that. The numbers did not add up and the general election numbers reinforced that analysis.

      This cycle, not only do the numbers not add up, the case for count manipulation is incredibly well documented.

      I honestly doubt that we’ve seen an honest national election in this century.

      Bernie ran the kind of campaign you need to run to win. You cannot go scorched earth in the primaries, period. It cost Obama the PUMA vote and it cost HRC more Bernie votes than she could afford to lose. The PUMAs were, btw, the first organized super sore losers I’ve seen since the Vietnam War ended.

      You win in the fall by prevailing in the spring in ways that do not unnecessarily offend your opponents’ followers. Bernie was running that kind of campaign; he was running to win in November.

      He could still be fighting, but that would just assure he gets the blame when Biden gets humiliated by Trump. I have no problems with Bernie, or how he ran this campaign.

      He didn’t bring a knife to a gunfight, he brought his guns. The other side had water cannons, the media, the police, the governors and all the machinery of corrupt governance because they knew that in a fair fight, Bernie would kick their ass.

      He still has my full and complete respect. And I am still well on his left. We could not have done better without a better candidate and we didn’t have a better candidate.

      1. notabanker

        153 million registered voters, 10 million vote for Biden and he’s the presumptive nominee. 23 states haven’t even held a primary. The whole thing is corrupt beyond reform.

        1. John k

          After super tue he was on a losing trajectory. Bernie wanted the primaries postponed, and withdrew after the WI loss.
          I am bitterly disappointed, but only a biden withdrawal would give the nom to Bernie after ST. Even if Bernie did enough in coming primaries to keep biden from a first ballot win, Bernie would lose on the second.
          It was over after SC gave Obama the opening…

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        The age break down matches cable news viewership. Based on the increase out of the suburbs, I think people who did the women’s march and came out for congressional campaigns who had never done anything more swung the election. They picked Biden based on what they glean from “OMG Russia” and not knowing anything about Biden outside of the last few years he seemed like a safe choice.

        I do believe HRC primary voters and even her loyalists in the general believe they are “resistin’ ” and even supported their own “revolutionary” candidate in HRC. As someone who follows this (and I imagine you would agree), she’s fairly normative within the Establishment side of Team Blue and could have not run the worst campaign ever and already be the former President. How many people know her campaign didn’t understand delegate allocation in 2008?

        As far as the young and working class, there are obstacles to voting. Activating the inactive is hard and requires an open polling place.

      3. NotTimothyGeithner

        The age break down matches cable news viewership. Based on the increase out of the suburbs, I think people who did the women’s march and came out for congressional campaigns who had never done anything more swung the election. They picked Biden based on what they glean from “OMG Russia” and not knowing anything about Biden outside of the last few years he seemed like a safe choice.

        I do believe HRC primary voters and even her loyalists in the general believe they are “resistin’ ” and even supported their own “revolutionary” candidate in HRC. As someone who follows this (and I imagine you would agree), she’s fairly normative within the Establishment side of Team Blue and could have not run the worst campaign ever and already be the former President. How many people know her campaign didn’t understand delegate allocation in 2008?

        As far as the young and working class, there are obstacles to voting. Activating the inactive is hard and requires an open polling place.

        1. KFritz

          One reader’s opinion

          Older American voters, no matter their station in life, refuse to abandon their belief that they/we live in First World country. Nonetheless, their biggest fear is losing what they have in hand…or have been promised. They’re already primed to vote against Bernie. Mainstream media coverage and DNC propaganda that dovetails with their beliefs and fears makes their vote against Bernie a near certainty. They resemble the British working class truism, “I’ve got mine, Jack, bleep you.”

          1. John k

            Yes. Imagine their consternation if they were confronted with trump or Bernie in nov…
            dear, should we just go green this year?

          2. dcrane

            To pick up on one of those points, I don’t think we focus enough on the fact that core Dem voters were subjected to 3 1/2 years of relentless MSM propaganda making two coordinated messages: (1) It’s a national emergency that Trump, a treasonous Russian plant, is President, and (2) Bernie can’t win so he’s not a serious candidate.

            Then we get to the weird election results…exit polls not matching final vote tallies…weeks going by without states that Bernie won being called…

            This is not to say Bernie himself didn’t play a big part in what happened.

      4. ewmayer

        “You cannot go scorched earth in the primaries” — Huh? How do you think Trump smashed his way through a similarly-hostile Republican-party establishment in 2016? Sorry, especially given a known-corrupt party establishment, you know playing nice with those folks is not going to get you anywhere. So if you’re gonna get smeared six ways to Sunday by the DNC corruptocrats, you might as well go down speaking truth to power to the end. Repeatedly pulling your punches and lauding the very people who are at the core of the corruption as one’s good friends, WTF can that be spun as other than a massive betrayal of one’s professed core principles?

        Sorry, I’m just not buying this “but at least Bernie shifted the conversation left…” crap. That means, at best, that the Bidens of this world are just gonna pay a tiny bit of lip service to Sanders’ agenda, figuring they can con some of the “shifted the conversation” delusional-hopers into voting for them, then simply go right back to business-as-usual after the election. The only way to effect progressive change is for a progressives to actually WIELD POWER. But it seems Sanders, at least, was afraid to do so, “because it would entail being less than polite”. Alas for Bernie, beating a decidedly unpolite bunch of crooks doing their utmost to rig things by “being nicer and more ethical, knowing that in the end nicenes always wins” is a gag line worthy of Get Smart, not an effective real-world political tactic.

        1. John k

          Yes. But Bernie is who he is. He’s just capable of avoiding nice, we knew that in 2016 when he was tired of hearing about the emails.
          Who would have been better? Liz? Don’t make me…
          You go to war with the army you’ve got…
          AOC, maybe jayapal, maybe others hopefully encouraged, and hopefully today’s middle aged that want need m4a and other progressive ideas will remember when they have it and today’s seniors stop voting.

      5. chuck roast

        I kept reading, “Well, the exit polls didn’t gibe with the results. Bernie’s exit polls were consistently better then his vote tallies. Not only were they all inconsistent with the standard margin of error, they were consistently against Bernie in every state.” What’s up with that?

        Why doesn’t Nate Silver or some other political statistician guru demonstrate an interest in this anomalous phenomena? So, maybe the results of Democrat primaries were just kinda’ like a big-ass black swan event. Who knew?!

    4. jef

      A big part of the issue is us. We have this false belief/hope that a POTUS gets in there, takes over the steering wheel and drives the bus as he/she sees fit. The USA does not work like that. First of all theres the house and senate that can and does have as much say as prez. Then there is what is referred to as the deep state which does exist and carries huge power. Then there is corp. america who can make or break a prez before and after an election.

      Bernie believed/hoped he had whipped up enough support to have his back in this election cycle making certain that it would not be stolen like last time after all we knew they would try again going in. Well I for one will say it…the primaries were flat out illegitimate and we should not have accepted it.

      If we can’t give Bern the support he needed to get in office why should he think he would get the support he would need, and he would need a massive wave of unprecedented support unlike that of any president has ever had in my life time, when he got into office and tried to make the radical reforms needed. Reformes that go against the desires of every level of money and power in the country.

      He didn’t fail us we failed him and probably lost our best chance for real change for………

      1. David R Smith

        In the week after Nevada, when he had to convey an attitude of leadership and inclusiveness, he sets out instead to talk about, like some 25 y/o graduate student in Sociology, all the good in Fidel Castro and the Cuban revolution, reminding millions of their previous hesitancies about him and throwing away any hope of victory in Florida both on Super Tuesday and in the general election.

        That’s not a personal failure.

        1. jef

          The victory was not thrown away by that speech, it was a reminder of what it took for castro to succeed. The people carried him in on their shoulders and stood by him 24/7 for the next 10 years.

          Something that americants could never do unless there was an app for that.

          1. The Rev Kev

            What has been a source of wonder for me is that someone like Bernie would never reference FDR but would Castro. FDR was actually a successful Democrat politician who led America through a Depression and WW2 and you would think that he would be gold-standard. Instead, even by progressives (or what passes for progressives these days), he remains the Lord Voldemort of American politics as in He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.

            1. Noone from Nowheresville

              Rubio named FDR. Told a rather long story about Democratic party in fighting and purging done by FDR of those Dems who didn’t support him. Rubio did this during his CARES Act must pass narrative.

              1. The Rev Kev

                Rubio naming FDR in defense of the CARES act? In the 1930s Rubio would have been solid friends with Senator Reed Smoot and Representative Willis C. Hawley. That is like Jeffrey Epstein talking in defense of the Girl Scouts of America that.

                1. Noone from Nowheresville

                  Nah, I don’t remember Rubio using FDR in defense of the bill. He used him to tell his narrative. I remember FDR tried to purge the party, lost seats and stack the Supreme Court as bits. I remember thinking it was a pretty wild speech to give.

                  The few Reps I watched told narratives and then said we must pass this bill.

                  The Dems did a we must set aside rhetoric and compromise even though we don’t like it and pass this bill.

                  Not sure if that was a blip or a pattern as I watched less than 10 speeches.

                  I’ll see if I can track down Rubio’s transcript.

                2. Noone from Nowheresville

                  I started to highlight moments in the speech. But it got long. When I got to the end I realized more careful parsing was required to capture the full effect.

                  Very very basic summary:
                  Basically negative stuff on FDR, conspiracy theory, talks about shared sacrifice from WWII, invokes present crisis shared sacrifice. Goes back to FDR & WWII. Implies revenge and corruption were put aside.Shared Sacrifice. The least leaders can do is pass the imperfect bill now.

                  The speech is more in-depth than what I just did there. I wonder who wrote it.

                  Rubio starts at 237:42 and ends at 259:33

                  Here a youtube link.

                  If you go to the title bar of the youtube video, look for the 3 dots to the far right of the word save. You’ll find this on the number of views line.

                  Left click. Open transcript. Look to the right of the video for the transcript. It’s in ALL CAPS.

                  1. Noone from Nowheresville

                    The 2:37:42 timestamp is from the transcript, not the video. Video timestamp for Rubio starts around 3:57:41

                    1. The Rev Kev

                      Thanks for that. I went to the first timestamp and all it had was Tom Cotton. I listened to the majority of Rubio’s speech and I still do not like him. He had a big say about FDR losing seats but did not mention Obama losing seats in massive amounts. Rubio should actually read some history while he is in isolation. He compares now with WW2 but apparently does not know that America went through a pandemic back in 1918 – and was in the middle of fighting WW1 at the time. And FDR didn’t say in 1933 that we must pass a bill to save all the millionaires that lost money in the big Crash and make them whole again.

            2. Noone from Nowheresville

              Rev @ 12:41 am
              I’m with you. But that’s a well done cohesive speech. Invoking Obama or the 1918 pandemic had no meaning here. FDR is the common man’s mythos. New Deal. It’s what we’ve wanted since 2008 with the Obama election. Rubio doesn’t actually say New Deal until towards the end of the speech at 253:50 (transcript time) and then it’s in relation to revenge and corruption being put aside.

              I caught this speech by accident. Thought it was very unusual then forgot about it.

              If you remember negative seeding from the beginning and now the weaving FDR back in toward the end, his speech has layers and a lot of American political messaging that people won’t even be aware they are receiving. I haven’t followed Rubio so I didn’t know he was doing this level of “stuff.”

              Stoller has touted him up as a Rep who got serious after Trump trounced him. Unlike the left, here’s someone getting off the intellectual / idpol couch. Purposefully learning about finance, supply chains and how it works in the real world to invoke change in the future. To be what the left says it wants to be. (my vague summary memory of what Stoller said)

              Stuff like that means more than the moment.

              Answered on this comment to push the width of the space back out.

          2. David R Smith

            Who were those people who carried Castro on their shoulders? Not the hundreds of thousands he murdered, jailed, and who fled la dictadura. Perhaps the ones who got the homes of the exiles??

            Another of Bernie’s problems was calling himself a socialist. In 150 years of socialism, I can’t think of any country that could be called democratic and socialist, except for India until the 1990s. And a government that further entrenched mass poverty is hardly a model.

            Yes, if you gave Bernie enough rope he probably would have started talking about the wonderful things Lenin and Mao did. He’s incapable of letting his old guard Marxism go.

    5. Jeremy Grimm

      “Bernie at age 79” — but who else was there with Bernie? Where are the up-and-comers ready to step in? Actually I wonder who rides on the coat-tails of all these very old candidates. Who will actually run the government while the Leader mesmerizes us with rhetoric, or charm, or “the-buck-stops-here”, or an angry clown act, or drooling dementia. Who did Bernie help carry forward into the public eye to consider for the future?

      I share Mark Gisleson’s [12:40 pm] sense that the numbers do not add up, and the evidence for count manipulation cried out that this was not an honest election. With him I wonder whether we’ve seen an honest national election in the 21st Century — and I wonder now whether we ever will.

      Bernie ran a great campaign. He inspired the enthusiastic support of a large — I believe the largest portion of voters. He had a huge war chest and he had a message to broadcast. He was mysteriously and soundly beaten by Bidden in a selection of red-state Democratic primaries … his ‘polling’ numbers appeared to crash as Bidden’s rose … States went out of their way to assure that the threats of Corona flu will impact the turnouts and further enable mysterious numbers to arrive out of voting machines … Bernie stepped out of the race … and shortly after that voted for the CARES Act after a spooky Kabuki drama.

      I feel disappointed in Bernie. I can only partly agree with The Rev Kev’s example of Lord Cardigan. Bernie lead the charge into the cannons and then ordered a charge back up the hill through the cannons. The movement he lead is in tatters.

      1. FluffytheObeseCat

        “He had a huge war chest”

        Near as I can tell Sanders still has a large warchest. It will be interesting to see if our gutted “news”media follows how it gets spent over ther next ~6 months.

      2. Diane

        For another perspective check out Noam Chomsky on Democracy Now for the date
        April 9, 2020. Also at the beginning is Naomi Klein’s perspective of Bernie and both are very positive

    6. eg

      I bought the narrative that Bernie could win by mobilizing the large numbers of the electorate who don’t usually vote.

      Either they are un-mobilize-able (sorry, that is infelicitous) or they were suppressed. I’m not sure how to figure out which.

      1. John k

        Maybe both. He did mobilize record numbers of young, but not enough to overcome poll closing voter suppression plus chicanery given the overall pref of seniors for anybody but Bernie.
        It is a major advantage for conservative elites that so many early states are red, meaning fewer and maybe a higher fraction of older voters. Far better if the ten closest states in the last election were all early voting… but dem elites would have less ability to manage the result, so neither they or their contributors would support.

        1. farmboy

          18-40 year olds got the blues.Fattenin no more frogs for snakes
          It took me a long time, to find out my mistakes
          Took me a long time, to find out my mistakes,
          It sho’h did man
          But I bet you my bottom dollar, I’m not fattenin’ no more frogs for snakes
          I found out my downfall, back in nineteen and thirty,
          I started checkin’
          I found out my downfall, from nineteen and thirty
          I’m tellin’ all of my friends, I’m not fattenin’ no more frogs for snakes
          All right now
          Yeah it is nineteen and fifty-seven, I’ve got to correct all of my mistakes
          Whoa man, nineteen and fifty-seven, I’ve got to correct all of my mistakes
          I’m tellin’ my friends includin’ my wife and everybody else,
          Not fattenin’ no more frogs for snakes

    7. SteveW

      I sense that many/most middle class/working poor believe that policies such M4A and basic income would dilute what they have (whatever meagre health insurance and working income). A bit of prisoner’s dilemma.

      1. chuck roast

        The way the prisoner’s dilemma works:

        The prisoner’s dilemma is a standard example of a game analyzed in game theory that shows why two completely rational individuals might not cooperate, even if it appears that it is in their best interests to do so.

        What people seem to forget is an integral part of theory: each prisoner is in solitary confinement with no means of communicating with the other.

        1. hunkerdown

          Which Prisoner’s Dilemma? There are two important variations of the game: the iterated, and the non-iterated, with rather different strategies required to win. Markets and the neoliberal lifestyle seem to deprecate iteration, too conveniently.

    8. montanamaven

      I wish it had been possible for Sanders to focus on Medicare for All and a better way at addressing the college scam without mentioning the word “free” ever. And to emphasize the importance and dignity of learning a trade as a great alternative to college and not something less. To follow the principle of doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. I wish the campaign had worked with these and other majoritarian issues and brought in conservatives. But Bernie did not alter the way he explained what was wrong with our system. He has been giving these barn burning speeches his whole career. But the time for speeches is coming to an end. The time is actually long past for direct action. We need to “act up” as they did in the AIDS movement. The time is perfect to shout out that employer based health insurance makes no sense when jobs disappear. The time is perfect to emphasize that people without insurance make everybody sick. The time is now to make a pact with conservatives over strong state and local governments rather than a nanny state solution. The time is now to bond with conservatives and libertarians to break the bonds of wage slavery and live free or die.
      He did a great good by taking up the Occupy meme of the 99% that David Graeber and others came up with. But he’s a politician, so he worked within the system and did not stop the machine with calls for strikes and occupation of what should be public spaces. He was an Old Testament prophet who inspired with his messages, but he pulled his punches. I hope that a puncher will appear from this movement. But maybe it will take a great many of us to start punching and fight for something that Martin Luther King Jr spoke of. He spoke of something new arising from capitalism that forgets the “we” and communism that forgets the “me”. The time is now to hitch the new to the tried and true.

      1. Carey

        Why in the effing world was Sanders not invoking FDR in every speech and soundbite?

        Very, very odd.

      2. Aumua

        “Sanders pulled his punches” pretty much sums up for me his part in his failure to get the nomination. But any discussion of this also has to include the other side that Mark Gisleson’s [12:40 pm] post was about: the continuous brutally unfair treatment that he received from the establishment and their mouthpieces, including the manipulation of public opinion against him at every turn with media blackouts, stacked debates and shady election result reporting. And that’s leaving out speculation of outright fixed elections, which could very well be true but unfortunately is next to impossible to prove, the way it’s all set up now. It’s very frustrating.

  28. Pelham

    Re Disposable People: Excellent piece, but why focus on the racial/ethnic identity of these essential but routinely trod-upon workers?

    Maybe this is the case in enlightened urban enclaves, but in deepest, darkest red state rural areas, such as the one I live in, it’s almost exclusively poor whites who labor under such unforgiving and precarious circumstances. This has been true for two or three generations, as near as I can tell, and maybe since industrialization.

    In any event, one has to marvel at the contradiction: Many of our most essential workers are also the most disposable and ignored or even reviled. Maybe there ought to be a political party that represents the 70% of Americans — most of whom labor in essential jobs — who don’t have or aspire to get a four-year college degree.

    1. flora

      why focus on the racial/ethnic identity

      Maybe because in our idpol-centric media the “deserving” have to be shown as victims of idpol oppression and not as victims of straight forward economic oppression (which includes oppression of poor whites). my 2 cents.

      1. xkeyscored

        What would be better, ignoring the fact that people of colour are over-represented among cooks, ‘fulfillment’ centre workers, domestic workers and sex workers?

        “The relative ease and comfort that many in the professional-managerial class are experiencing during the pandemic—ostensibly a result of digital platforms like Amazon, Instacart, and GrubHub—is actually the product of thousands of low-paid “invisible” workers who are paying the costs, and exposing themselves to considerable risk, on behalf of those who are better off.”

        That seems entirely reasonable to me, a very clear summary of the situation that I wish I’d penned myself. Pretending that race has nothing to do with it doesn’t seem very helpful, except to the professional-managerial class who love to think of themselves as above racism.

      2. Billy

        The people who are partly to blame for economic inequality vis a vis immigrant workers are the open borders advocates. Without their efforts, there would have been a tighter labor market and restaurants would have had to pay American whites, blacks and legal immigrants higher wages. You can’t cry about a situation that you have caused.

        1. Mark Gisleson

          My experiences marketing and working with restaurant owners strongly suggests this is not true. The entire restaurant model of business requires low wages no matter the race of the buspersons.

          In Minneapolis, the restaurant owner most famous for paying living wages just laid everyone off and they’re all still waiting for their last paycheck (which is probably never coming). Despite being widely recognized and appreciated, her empire was running week to week.

          The restaurant industry is bizarre. New restaurants almost have to advertise. They need recognition from local media which is usually not forthcoming unless they advertise. Municipalities tax the crap out of them while inspecting them half to death (or not at all, which is worse). The GrubHubs further victimized restaurants (and workers).

          The truth is, everyone makes money from restaurants but the workers and only some of the owners. But they’ve kept the newspaper industry alive which is why you never read stories about how eating out all the time makes inequality worse.

          1. MLTPB

            The fictional restaurant in My Big Fat Greek Wedding was run by family members mostly, I recall.

            Maybe we cook more at home…actually seeing what healthy or unhealthy ingredients we put in what we eat.

          2. Jeremy Grimm

            I suspect there is another aspect of this story you know about but didn’t mention in your comment. Restaurants are known for “easy entry [to the Market] — easy exit [though not too easy on the owner and investors finances]. Restaurants are one of the few business ventures left where an individual can build an enterprise of their own. An individual with a small nest-egg, a glib tongue, and enough friends and relatives who believe in that individual and can invest a some cash can venture into the restaurant business. That suggests something else that bears mention. When a restaurant goes out of business it isn’t just the owners who lose their investment and their collateral if banks were involved [usually banks don’t get involved until the first or second expansion of a small venture] — so do all the friends and relatives who also invested.

          3. barefoot charley

            What a world of sense you make, thanks for this. (In our second week of eating kale and worms)

          4. Harold

            In NYC restaurants are often started by entrepreneurs who then “flip” (i.e., sell) them after a few months. Also, I think there is fair amount of inside thievery and also substance abuse contributes to their demise.
            My sense is that in France & Italy waiting tables is considered more of a profession, but perhaps I am idealizing. It’s certainly a very tough one.

      3. xkeyscored

        I didn’t think it did focus on racial/ethnic identity too much. It stated first and foremost that the poor are the essential workers or unemployed, while the professional classes continue earning their salaries from home.
        I thought it was well written, hard hitting, and very much to the point. Would it have been better if it had omitted mentioning that people of colour are over-represented among delivery and ‘fulfillment’ workers?
        For example, I thought this bit summed up what all this online and home delivery stuff boils down to, in a way that seems to get the idea across really clearly.

        “The relative ease and comfort that many in the professional-managerial class are experiencing during the pandemic—ostensibly a result of digital platforms like Amazon, Instacart, and GrubHub—is actually the product of thousands of low-paid “invisible” workers who are paying the costs, and exposing themselves to considerable risk, on behalf of those who are better off.”

  29. Craig H

    Data point which may be of interest:

    Saw a church parking lot with about 25 cars in it this morning. My first thought was “well now we all know where the police chief goes to church.”

    Happy Easter!

    1. JTMcPhee

      There’s a Full Gospel Tabernacle congregation that gathers in the building vacated by a failed restaurant supply business about 5 blocks from my home. TheY at least held their service outside, on a sunny 90-degree day with a 15 mph wind, but a couple of hundred people being harangued by the amplified preacher are well within range of each others’ sputum and microdroplets. How many people do the people who embrace at these “services” go on to embrace other people?

      In my neighborhood there’s of standing in groups in close proximity, there’s barbecues and looks like house parties from the number of vehicles choking the narrow subdivision streets. Darwin and all that. Really forces us to stay locked indoors. Even the dog is getting cabin fever. We’ll maybe emerge in the late fall, unless the upcoming “active hurricane season” forces us out to move all the bric-a-brac and patio furniture inside. Hate to think what it will be like if we are ordered to evacuate.

  30. xkeyscored

    Bernie Must Retool His Campaign Organization, Not Dismantle It Jacobin

    I find this disappointing. I don’t believe the USA is a democracy, and one of the most encouraging aspects of Sanders’ campaigns was the building of a grassroots organisation. From reading this article, it appears that the national organisation was so dedicated to changing the face in the White House that it no longer knows what to do with itself.

    They have the power to shoot and imprison us, so long as enough of their goons remain loyal. We have the power to produce and distribute necessities like food and health care. Organising around that seems to me at least as important as hoping against hope that a mere change at ‘the top’ will change much for most. Even with a Sanders presidency, a mass movement would be necessary to back his policies, which would certainly come under massive attack from many quarters. Without a President Sanders, a mass movement is even more necessary to prevent further slides into neoliberal barbarism. Has his national campaign failed to plan for this second, and now only, option? Is it going to fall apart when most needed?

  31. xkeyscored

    SARS-CoV-2 titers in wastewater are higher than expected from clinically confirmed cases medrXiv

    This could be good news of sorts. If more of us are, or have been, infected than we thought, maybe there is more immunity among us, though it’s not certain that their measurements accurately reflect actual numbers.

    “The amount of virus we found in wastewater was higher than we expected given the number of clinically confirmed cases in the area that we sampled,” Alm said. “We still have additional follow up experiments to perform before we can say exactly how many undiagnosed cases there might be, but we believe it could be significantly higher than the number of confirmed cases.”

    1. rd

      Iceland has tested 10% of its population and found that half of the people with Covid-19 are asymptomatic. That doesn’t mean they won’t come down with symptoms, but many can go awahile before showing any. So the sewage testing may just be indicating that a wave is coming to the hospitals. It would be nice if they stay asymptomatic and becoem immune withoutneeding hospitalization and without infecting others.

    2. Cuibono

      the part of that story they miss is the possibility of Sars like sewage linked Aprtment complex outbreaks,,

    3. norm de plume

      A couple of years ago I read that here in Sydney scientists had been given permission to test wastewater for drugs. This was in the context of the effects of our pharmaceutical effluent on aquatic life. Not surprisingly, they found high levels of illegal as well as prescription drugs. There were people who thought this was a great way to police drug use; follow the effluent back to it’s source. But given that the suburbs infested by lawyers, politicians and CEOs showed elevated levels of cocaine, the idea thankfully went nowhere.

      You can see the attraction of this approach; you could go from the general to the specific and yes, the pre-wave info for local hospitals would be valuable. Obviously other diseases too could be ID’d. It would appeal as part of a range of failsafes or prophylactics against future outbreaks.

      Of course, the installation of one of these in every home would preclude the need to test the sewage, as would mandatory testing of everyone.

  32. Ignacio

    RE: Information Wars Craig Murray

    Wow. I didn’t know about that Phlilip Cross story. Just wow!

    1. JTMcPhee

      Did you know about the US CIA’s “Operation Hummingbird?”

      Operation Mockingbird
      From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
      Jump to navigationJump to search
      This article is about a specific CIA program. For an overview of CIA influence on media, see CIA influence on public opinion.

      Operation Mockingbird[a] is an alleged [I wonder who edited this word into the article?] large-scale program of the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) that began in the early 1950s and attempted to manipulate news media for propaganda purposes. It funded student and cultural organizations and magazines as front organizations.[1]

      According to writer Deborah Davis, Operation Mockingbird recruited leading American journalists into a propaganda network and oversaw the operations of front groups. CIA support of front groups was exposed after a 1967 Ramparts magazine article reported that the National Student Association received funding from the CIA. In the 1970s, Congressional investigations and reports also revealed Agency connections with journalists and civic groups. None of these reports, however, mentions by name an Operation Mockingbird coordinating or supporting these activities. …

      How about the CIA’s cultural Cold War, of which Mockingbird appears to be a part?

      This book provides a detailed account of the ways in which the CIA penetrated and influenced a vast array of cultural organizations, through its front groups and via friendly philanthropic organizations like the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations. The author, Frances Stonor Saunders, details how and why the CIA ran cultural congresses, mounted exhibits, and organized concerts. The CIA also published and translated well-known authors who toed the Washington line, sponsored abstract art to counteract art with any social content and, throughout the world, subsidized journals that criticized Marxism, communism, and revolutionary politics and apologized for, or ignored, violent and destructive imperialist U.S. policies. The CIA was able to harness some of the most vocal exponents of intellectual freedom in the West in service of these policies, to the extent that some intellectuals were directly on the CIA payroll. Many were knowingly involved with CIA “projects,” and others drifted in and out of its orbit, claiming ignorance of the CIA connection after their CIA sponsors were publicly exposed during the late 1960s and the Vietnam war, after the turn of the political tide to the left. …

      “ We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.” Attributed to slimy William Casey, then CIA director.

      1. wol

        Ashcan School having been neutered of references to economic class and herded into an idpol petting zoo safe for white liberals. Ironic that Suprematism (abstraction via Malevich) was Russian in origin and conceived as workers’ paradise art for the masses.

  33. L

    RE: NY Primary Being Cancelled.

    So just like that the Cuomo machine can move in to ensure that Sanders doesn’t even get enough delegates to affect the platform. It’s amazing how fast the machine can move when they want to.

  34. Oso

    moderator please allow this comment. my people are being pepper sprayed in their cells for making masks out of t shirts, there is audio of this. link is to the Bakersfield Californian daily newspaper. ICE officers not using PPE, 5 bars of soap literally divided among 100 inmates.

  35. David R Smith

    Re: NY Post Veep list…. The ancien régime attempts to stagger on…. And this list complied by insiders is reaching out to Sanders supporters? No one to the left of the Bernie-battling Elizabeth Warren and Stacy Abrams, now apparently in the grip of HIllary and her crew.

    1. John k

      Liz was ever in that grip. Odd, that. I would have thought she would do better with a pres Bernie, at least treasury. Now, once again, nothing. And imo her senate seat is in jeopardy… certainly I hope so.

  36. Zagonostra

    #AOC CARES Act vote

    According to Jimmy Dore live stream I caught last night, AOC cannot provide any evidence of how she voted one way or the other so she can not claim any credit.

    Last week on The Rising, Krystal and Saager apologized for reporting she voted for the bill.

    The whole CAREs Act vote in Congress is going to be very messy once people start to take an interest. I am sure the Historians will have a field day with it.

      1. Zagonostra

        No that’s not the whole point. There is much more to be said about the antecedents and what will manifest in the future due to the details of what is in the bill. Much much more to be said.

      2. skookum red

        An hour ago I got an email from Nick Brana asking me to watch a debate this evening at 6pm Pacific time:
        Do progressive keep trying to reform the Democratic Party or form a major new party? Tonight I’m debating Alan Minsky, the executive director of Progressive Democrats of America, on the Robust Opposition with Lauren Steiner. Join the debate at 6 pm pacific / 9 pm eastern. ”

        For those interested, the link is to Lauren Steiner’s The Robust Oppostion facebook page.
        the link to the debate stream is embedded in the meeting banner, I think…(I am not a facebook user. I’m going to have to become familiar since it seems a lot of progressive politics is using it…)

    1. richard

      What I wrote to my own congresshuman Jayapal, is that your stupid voice vote has exploded in your face, and achieved the opposite of your purpose. Now you are all guilty, with zero exceptions.

  37. Carey

    ‘Why are some respected alt-media embracing a police state?’ by Catte Black:

    “It should be obvious by now to anyone that the covid19 pandemic, whatever its origins, is being used to fast forward a “new normal” world of unparalleled government power, surveillance and curtailment of individual liberty.

    We are looking already at:

    Compulsory DNRs for some elderly.
    Biometric chips or bracelets to monitor whether or not you have permission to be outside your home or engage in work
    Drone surveillance as normal.
    Apps on your phone that can detect any breach of the self-isolation policy.
    Huge new police powers of arrest and detention for anyone suspected of carrying the virus.
    Suspension of elections for indefinite periods at government discretion

    And this is only the starter course. We can be pretty sure they are currently just easing us in. The real stuff will be rolling along in the next months or maybe years (depending on how quickly they feel able to get this on)

    This is the fabric of nightmare. A worst-case horror story that is the absolute quintessence of everything the alt-media is supposed to oppose..”

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      On the positive side — facemasks may become a commonplace in public venues. That might throw a small wrench into the face recognition programs.

  38. ChrisAtRU

    “New York Democratic presidential primary likely canceled”

    Wow … the #RatFamilyBloggery comes to fruition … Bernie did not drop out. He suspended his campaign with the intent of contesting remaining primaries and collecting delegates as an exercise in continuing to have the desires of his supporters manifest until the convention. So much for “democracy”. At this point, it’s all meaningless, because the Democratic establishment wants it to be exactly this – a hollow projection candidacy that is to-the-letter a repeat of 2016. A nomination utterly void of any bold policy prescriptions, hitched the to doomed wagon of [Not|Never] Trump, lurching ahead to an inevitable loss in November.

    Waiting to see what happens with Tara Reade’s filing of charges against Joe Biden in DC (don’t expect to see anything on CNN/MSNBC). Joe’s a lame duck nominee. The shoe horn is ready for Cuomo and that will seal the party’s fate. Lotta lefties hoping to get Green party to 5% this cycle. Hope it happens.

  39. ShamanicFallout

    Has anyone seen or heard anything about the numbers/ metrics/ goals governors and mayors are trying to use as measures to begin to “open up’ again? Seems like a real dilemma to me for decision making. If you “open up” (and I’m not even sure what this means really) and people continue to die, are they on the hook for that? As they say, they are going to own that. So from that point of view, it makes sense to keep extending ‘lock downs’. But then the longer these lockdowns go, the more people who desperately need work, need money to pay the rent etc will be in untenable situations. How long will they put up with this in all honesty?
    I’m finding that in my immediate circle of acquaintances, they are, at least for now, willing to continue with the stay at home orders. But I live in a neighborhood in a large west coast city, and all of these people can easily ‘work’ from home. They can home school their kids etc. I had one friend on FB saying something like “I could really get used to this grocery delivery thing’. And it was all treated with great laughs and thumbs up and smiley faces. Except no one mentioned where the food originates, the warehouses it goes to, the trucking that takes from here to there, the grocery store stockers and checkers, the Instacart shoppers and delivery people. Liberals are shockingly stupid.
    A couple of days ago I started tuning into ‘right/libertarian’ Twitter to gauge the vibe on that side. I started from and Scott Adams (though he claims he’s left of Bernie, whatever) and went from there. It’s a small sample, and while there are definitely ‘it’s a hoax’ sentiment there seems to be more of a yes it’s pandemic and yes it’s serious but come on. How long do these people want us to hide out? Until 2021? There is definite current of, “ok, you’re old and otherwise vulnerable, stay home and seclude but let me go about my life. I need to work and pay my bills and feed my kids’
    As I’ve heard it phrase here, this seems like a dilemma, not a problem.

    1. Tom Doak

      I find it odd that the governors who are being praised by media as the best “leaders” in this crisis are leading the states where the most people have contracted the virus and died.

    2. Carolinian

      Right, right and right. For example I wonder how many people here have lost work and been made desperate by the lock down. I know I haven’t and I know those TV talking heads haven’t either. Making the wrong decision in one direction is already being set up by some as the ultimate crime while making it in the other will mostly be ignored as it is now.

      Not that we should feel sorry for Trump or those governors since they volunteered to be behind the eight ball. But perhaps we should feel sorry for ourselves for living in a time when everything is reduced to factionalism. Let’s make the right decision now, resume the election later. And to make that right decision we need the maximum amount of information about the threat–something that will require real reporting from the media and not just agreed upon “narrative.”

  40. Oregoncharles

    “Infants born in hospitals in Thailand during the coronavirus pandemic are being outfitted with tiny plastic visors.”
    Kid doesn’t look any too happy about it, either.

  41. Amfortas the hippie

    my cousin, who is sheltering here on the farm, is in that camp of small-l libertarians.
    but he has(had) a construction business, and sees little hope of activity there in the foreseeable future.
    he’s also scared enough of the virus that he’s foregone his usual manwh**re ways.
    a dilemma: bad choices everywhere one looks, and no good choices save staying here on the farm and living like it’s 1850 with internet.

    if the SBA could get it’s sh%t together…or make the banker middlemen get theirs together…so that the “stimulus” would flow as promised, that would go a long way to lessening this dilemma for a while(he has guys to pay that he feels responsible for).

    1. GramSci

      Tell your cousin it *will* flow, as promised. But who promised him anything? Tell him I think the bankers are gonna collect their promises long before your cousin collects his. I know you know this, Amfortas, but maybe your cousin will listen to somebody else?

  42. ewmayer

    “A Lasting Remedy for the Covid-19 Pandemic’s Economic Crisis | Joseph Stiglitz, New York Review of Books (Re Silc)” — Stiglitz omits any mention of the fact that Wall Street already got a multi-$triliion bailout courtesy of the Fed restarting its entire alphabet soup of GFC-era “lending” and “swap lines” programs as soon as the holy DJIA threatened to break below 20,000, first hit a mere 2 years ago thanks to the success of the Fed’s post-GFC asset-price-reflation-to-the-moon program. Now I know Stiglitz is not that dumb, so I find his gaping hole in his narrative to be telling. But of course the Fed keystroking $trillions into existence and ballooning its balance sheet to bail out te parasitic speculator class is all good, because it doesn’t add to the Federal deficit, thus it can’t represent a colossal resource mis-allocation, right, Joe?

    As far as what the Fed money can be used for, I cite Wolf Richter’s 03/23 what-are-all-the-feds-corporate-investor-bailout-programs-and-spvs piece: “Indirectly via its Special Purpose Vehicles and its Primary Dealers, the Fed can buy even old bicycles, as long as taxpayers take the losses.”

    The worst part of the bailout-a-ganza is this: thanks to its relentless crushing on interest rates from safe investments, you know, those old-fogeyish 5-6% bonds and CDs one used to be able to obtain, the Fed has effectively forced everyone, including widows and retirees who by all rights have no business incurring such principal risk, into the risk-asset markets. Thus whenever the stock market swoons, anyone with a decent chunk of money in a 401(k) or the like is essentially forced to cheer on the Fed bailouts of Wall Street, because we’ve all been forced into becoming participants in the asset-bubble Ponzi scheme. A sort of Fed-engineered Stockholm syndrome for savers, if you will.

  43. Jeremy Grimm

    The weather in my locale promises storms with sporadic heavy rain and high winds and the chance of widespread power outages. A power outage in combination with the Corona lockdown — how ‘exciting’. I may have to tap into the mead I just pitched and spiced with saffron. This batch — like all the rest — may not see much aging.

    1. richard

      your cool aplomb is admirable! Just that will get you through almost anything, but definitely add mead

  44. richard

    Hey, here is the Trillbillies Workers’ Party easter service:
    Fakes and Liars of the Bible
    very funny, if you feel like getting a little church learnin in ya

    1. Carey

      Notable that they said “with”, finally, rather than “of”.

      The PPP™-built hospital on the local university campus here remains empty.

  45. JTMcPhee

    Thumbing through the, ah, news, and I come across this article that says Assange fathered two I guess they would say illegitimate children while locked away in that embassy.

    Repeats all the narrative stuff about leaking classified documents and presumed guilt, also how he is still locked up and facing a variety of threats, because of his “history of escapes.”

    Can’t make this stuff up.

    Got to give him the Bernie treatment — kick him while he is down, kick him until he’s dead…

  46. VietnamVet

    In my adult lifetime, LBJ -Vietnam, Nixon – Watergate, Ford – Fall of Saigon, Carter – Iranian Hostages, Reagan – Contras, Bush I – Highway of Death, Clinton – Kosovo, Bush II – 9/11, Obama – Ukraine, and Trump – Coronavirus; the last, the pandemic and an economic depression at the same time, has got to be the #1 Presidential SNAFU of all time. If Donald Trump’s re-election seems impossible, so is Joe Biden’s with his 45 years of FUBARs in the Senate and the White House.

  47. flora

    For tomorrow’s links, maybe.
    It’s about Goldman Sachs’ long term market manipulations – frauds in design – leading to both 2008’s and today’s bailouts.

    by Matt Tiabbi – Rolling Stone

    The Great American Bubble Machine

    What is even more amazing is that the letter to Goldman, along with most of the other trading exemptions, was handed out more or less in secret. “I was the head of the division of trading and markets, and Brooksley Born was the chair of the CFTC,” says Greenberger, “and neither of us knew this letter was out there.” In fact, the letters only came to light by accident. Last year, a staffer for the House Energy and Commerce Committee just happened to be at a briefing when officials from the CFTC made an offhand reference to the exemptions.

    “I had been invited to a briefing the commission was holding on energy,” the staffer recounts. “And suddenly in the middle of it, they start saying, ‘Yeah, we’ve been issuing these letters for years now.’ I raised my hand and said, ‘Really? You issued a letter? Can I see it?’ And they were like, ‘Duh, duh.’ So we went back and forth, and finally they said, ‘We have to clear it with Goldman Sachs.’ I’m like, ‘What do you mean, you have to clear it with Goldman Sachs?’”

    1. flora

      adding: above link is from 2010. So, not for the links.

      Sure sounds like it applies to the current events. I thought it was about current events when I read it.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        i’ve got one for the links, too:
        FTA:”Mammon is blinded by its own hubris, often stupid, incompetent, dumbed down by getting away with so much so easily. Take a look at Mike Pompeo or Mike Pence – are these all-powerful geniuses? No, they are semi-morons who have been able to crawl up a corrupt system contemptuous of truth, virtue or intelligence – like the rest of the gangsters in power in a system devoid of any ethical or intellectual standards.

        The power of creatures like that is merely the reflection of the abdication of social responsibility by whole populations whose disinterest in politics has allowed the scum to rise to the top.

        The lockdown decreed by our Western governments reveals helplessness rather than power. They did not rush to lock us down. The lockdown is disastrous for the economy which is their prime concern. They hesitated and did so only when they had to do something and were ill-equipped to do anything else. They saw that China had done so with good results. But smart Asian governments did even more, deploying masks, tests and treatments Western governments did not possess. ”

        Diana can visit my Campfire Colloquy any time.

        1. flora

          Great link. Thanks. The ink drawing of Mammon as a hunched, half-starved, threadbare, goggle-eyed creature reminds me of Tolkein’s character Gollum.

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