Links 4/13/2020

Big boost to tiny kākāriki karaka as 150 chicks hatch this season MSN

Opec secures record global oil cuts deal under US pressure FT

North Atlantic’s capacity to absorb CO2 overestimated, study suggests Guardian

Investor appetite for emergency cash calls grows FT

Inside America’s 2-Decade Failure to Prepare for Coronavirus Politico

The coronavirus crisis has sounded the death knell for liberal globalisation New Statesman

The Hate Store: Amazon’s Self-Publishing Arm Is a Haven for White Supremacists Pro Publica

Fall of the roaming empire: telecom groups face revenue loss as travel collapses FT. That’s a damn shame.


The science:

Epidemiologist says COVID-19 may be more infectious than thought Harvard Gazette.

Kinins and Cytokines in COVID-19: A Comprehensive Pathophysiological Approach Preprints 2020 (Paul Jonker-Hoffren).

The Secret History Of The First Coronavirus Forbes

* * *


Testing Is Our Way Out Paul Romer, WSJ

Fears Of ‘Wild West’ As Coronavirus Blood Tests Hit The Market AP

* * *


Would-be coronavirus drugs are cheap to make Science. Can’t have that.

* * *

Materiel shortages:

Lessons Learned From Running ICUs in Disaster Zones Pro Publica (nvl).

Running medical systems in under-resourced environments is completely different. In some sense it would be better to have the health minister for Rwanda, Agnes Binagwaho, come show us what to do, because they were very intentional about capacity. I was never allowed to walk into a room and examine a patient unless I had gloves on. If we didn’t have gloves that day, we didn’t have a clinic. They completely understood that the real risk was to get your providers sick, because they’re actually the system. The machines and drugs and everything we do, they enable all of those things to work. As soon as you take out your providers, then you end up in a death spiral. You and your mortality jumps from 1% to 10%.

If you’ve got 200 ventilators, but you only have enough personal protective equipment to keep enough providers well to take care of 100 ventilators, then that’s your capacity. If you exceed it, you end up with these horrific rates of sickness. And then you end up with morale problems, and the system works less efficiently because those teams are now broken up.

The rule No. 1 in a resource-constrained system is keep your providers healthy.

Given our Third World country status, does it makes sense for us to learn from Rwanda?

Vietnamese-owned nail salons donate thousands of masks, gloves, more to hospitals NBC

Coronavirus: Body-bag stocks ‘in danger of running out’ BBC. Maybe we can recycle the garbage bags nurses are wearing?

* * *


How a Premier U.S. Drug Company Became a Virus ‘Super Spreader’ NYT. As I said.

Texas prisons won’t accept new county jail inmates as coronavirus spreads in lockups Texas Tribune

* * *

Economic effects:

Jerome H Powell: Covid-19 and the economy Bank of International Settlements

* * *

Finance response:

Throwback to the Volcker Recession The Reformed Broker

* * *

Corporate response:

Exclusive: Documents seen by Guardian show tech firms using information to build ‘Covid-19 datastore’ Guardian (Maryann: “Our old friend Palantir”).

Smithfield shutting U.S. pork plant indefinitely, warns of meat shortages during pandemic Reuters

Flight Attendants and Pilots Ask, ‘Is It OK to Keep Working?’ DNYUZ (J-LS).

* * *

Academic response:

What does this economist think of epidemiologists? Marginal Revolution. “How smart are they? What are their average GRE scores?”

Stiglitz Calls for ‘Super Chapter 11′ to Avoid Systemic Collapse Bloomberg

* * *

Political response:

The ‘Red Dawn’ Emails: 8 Key Exchanges on the Faltering Response to the Coronavirus NYT. Congratulations to the Times editor who wrote the headline, which artfully yokes the RussiaGate panic with a pandemic. Real lizard backbrain stuff.

Covid-19 ‘immunity certificates’: practical and ethical conundrums STAT (nvl).

Why it’s too early to start giving out “immunity passports” Technology Review (dk).

Coronavirus: Autistic support group ‘told it needed DNR orders‘ BBC

* * *

Natural experiments:

A natural experiment for #COVID19 response: The UK and Ireland. Thread:

Let me also rehoist (from March 26) a second natural experiment: Kentucky v. Tennessee:

The Coronavirus Hit Germany And The UK Just Days Apart But The Countries Have Responded Differently. Here’s How. Buzzfeed

* * *

Exit strategy:

Some heroic assumptions, like a vaccine for health care workers by October 2020:

National coronavirus response: A road map to reopening AEI

Joe Biden: My Plan to Safely Reopen America NYT. Shorter: “Nothing would fundamentally change.”

There Is No Plan for the End of the Coronavirus Crisis The Atlantic


Is the European Union failing the viability tests? Ekathimerini

‘It’s going to be a long night’ – How Members of Labour’s Senior Management Team Campaigned to Lose Novara Media. “Far from a few ‘bad apples’ the messages expose systematic and sustained efforts to undermine the leadership by multiple figures in director-level positions.”

‘Hyper-factional’ Labour staff sabotaged efforts at dealing with antisemitism: Report Middle East Eye. More:

Dear me. This is a simple question of fact. If true, a single source seems a rather tenuous driver for a full-blown moral panic by the UK’s political class and intelligence services.

Milk floats ride to the rescue of locked-down British households Guardian


An often overlooked region of India is a beacon to the world for taking on the coronavirus MR Online

India’s Central Bank Doubles Down on Market That It Despised Bloomberg

Passengers should reach airport 2 hours early with protective gear after flight operation resumes: CISF India Today

Untold relevance of MR Bangur in the season of Covid-19 The Telegraph (J-LS). The doctrine of frustration. Sounds legit.

Punjab cop’s hand successfully reattached after being chopped with sword in attack by Nihang Sikhs India Today

Coronavirus: Japan rushes to house thousands of homeless people BBC

‘Ghosts’ scare Indonesians indoors and away from coronavirus Straits Times


It’s Time for Conscious Uncoupling With China Andrew Sullivan, The Atlantic. Commentary from China Law Blog.

The Belt and Road After COVID-19 The Diplomat

In coronavirus-gripped Washington, rhetoric rises but anti-China bills stall South China Morning Post

African nationals ‘mistreated, evicted’ in China over coronavirus Al Jazeera (Re Silc).


How they handle in-person voting in the First World. Thread:

Virginia governor makes Election Day a holiday and expands early voting CNN. Election Day should be a national holiday. It’s ridiculous that it isn’t.

What We Know About the Joe Biden Sexual Assault Allegation New York Magazine. Leaving aside the merits, the #MeToo, #BeleiveWomen crowd has certainly gone strangely silent on this topic.

Obama Legacy

Into the Maw (book review) The Nation. From last week. “Faced with a shattering economic breakdown, Obama and his key advisers largely sought to restore the wobbly pre-crisis status quo, inaugurating a decade of economic stagnation and dislocation that culminated in the election of Donald Trump.”

Our Famously Free Press

This Absolute Bullshit Would Not Be Possible Without Propaganda Caitlin Johnstone, Medium


Assange fathered two children while holed up in embassy, lawyer says Reuters

Guillotine Watch

Hamptons’ priciest mansion snatched up in one day by tycoon fleeing coronavirus NY Post

MBA students demand tuition fee refunds over campus closures FT. Let them use Zoom like the rest of us proles. Builds character.

Kansas Supreme Court Upholds Governor’s Order Limiting The Size Of Easter Services NPR

Class Warfare

‘Wait’ Becomes Operative Word for Gig Workers Seeking Aid (1) Bloomberg Law

What’s Behind Falling Productivity: The Census May Hold the Answer Economics 21. “Steven Ruggles and Diana Magnuson show that a series of badly managed private contracts made the 2000 and 2010 census far more costly than 20th-century efforts.”

Mass Politics, Not Movementism, Is the Future of the Left Jacobin

The Plan Is to Save Capital and Let the People Die In These Times

Canonical grain weights as a key to ancient systems of weights and measures Jon Bosak, From 2013, but still fun. Tally stick mavens?

Happy Easter, albeit delayed:

Antidote du jour (via):

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. Steve H.

    > Jerome H Powell: Covid-19 and the economy Bank of International Settlements

    : But there will also be entities of various kinds that need direct fiscal support rather than a loan they would struggle to repay… the millions on the front lines: those working in health care, sanitation, transportation, grocery stores, warehouses, deliveries, security-including our own team at the Federal Reserve-and countless others.

    (Slight edit.)

    1. timbers

      Sounds socialist to me.

      Jerome Powell, a member of the Republican Socialist Party I believe, Chairman of the Federal Socialist Reverse Bank of the Untied Socialist States of America.

      1. D. Fuller

        Socialist? No.

        In Socialism, the government owns all businesses. If The US Government were buying the business, to run the business, yes. That is not happening.

        Now, Fascism. That is the response we have. The government is acting on behalf of corporations and banks in the interests of corporations and banks. The Federal Reserve itself is nothing more than a piggybank for corporations and banks. Capital must be preserved. People can be sacrificed.

        Even Project Airbridge is using US Government money to buy (at inflated prices) and fly in medical supplies from China. The supplies are then delivered to private companies. Who then sell on the market to their existing customers. A perfect blend of government and corporate. Which is fascism.

        Do Fascists have complete control in The US? No. Does their control exceed that of the public? Absolutely.

        1. Olga

          When thinking of fascism, it is hard to leave out the use of overt violence, intimidation, and fear-mongering. It does not look like we’re there yet (we may get there, but not yet (of course, the African-American population could rightfully differ)).
          We need a new term – at least in the interim – for the merging of state and corporate power/resources.

          1. The Rev Kev

            ‘the merging of state and corporate power’

            Historically that was known as fascism such as Mussolini’s Italy. Adolf in his early days also was solid with the German corporations and crushed unions for them.

            1. MLTPB

              S Korea is looking pretty good these days.

              Could the US move towards more like that, with chaebols working closely with the commerce dept.?

          2. witters

            Sheldon Wolin, “Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism,” Princeton Uni Press, 2008.

        2. Michael M

          No, you mean Communism. Socialist governments may own critical infrastructure or natural monopolies but mainly strongly regulate the private economy for the public good. There may be some wealth redistribution but there are rich Finns.
          I agree we are a Fascist oligopoly but many people confuse ‘Fascist’ with ‘Totalitarian’ so do not see that. We are not Totalitarian, yet.
          A Socialist economy can still value Markets (who wants to subsidize dirty energy?) while Capitalist ones often subsidize the environmental costs of energy while still ensuring producers maximum profit as with our government’s current international lobbying to keep oil prices up
          Our (US) system features strong wealth redistribution but it is to the wealthy so most media ignore it.

        3. timbers

          “In Socialism, the government owns all businesses.”

          I agree…but not according to the MSM and my D & R friends.

          1. MLTPB

            Composing poetry can be a business.

            Or teaching Chinese as a tutor.

            Plus many other examples.

          2. Aumua

            My current definition of the word “Socialism” is that it is a system wherein all or the majority of the businesses are owned and/or managed by the people who work there.

      2. MLTPB

        Japan – government and zaibatsu.

        China – Xi and billionaires.

        Korea – nation and chaebol.

        Russia – long time president and oligarchs.

        The balance varies, but in the above cases, two key centers of power are predominant and work closely, if not always un-adversely. Sometimes, the strongman is ahead, sometimes not.

        To compete, will a similar model evolve?


          1. MLTPB

            I asked which the US would evolve to become similar?

            I think maybe the Commerce dept and zaibatsu, maybe.

            Long term president and billionaires may work in a more commodity economy nation.

    2. Susan the other

      Jerome Powell is making a clear point to let us know that “these are lending powers, not spending powers.” And he says that various entities need direct spending. He tosses the neoliberals a very dry bone when he says “…we are entering this turbulent period on a strong economy… and we are using our tools to position regained economic strength.” A strong economy? and he thinks this former situation will position us to “regain economic strength”? Funny. But still, Powell has said a lot of the right-thinking things. There is a nexus that is always conveniently pretended to not exist and that is the connection between the exploitation of the environment and the economy. The money “lent” by the Fed is just about the dirtiest money in the universe. I don’t expect Jerome to ever confess to that.

    1. MLTPB

      It takes a village.

      Xi, Putin, meat eaters, globe trotters, skiers, impeach-ers, spring breakers, quarantine escapees, college partiers, cruise ship vacationers, non maskers, people who don’t leave their shoes by the front door/outside, poor handwashers, huggers, diners, shelter in place declaration delay-ers, etc.

      The list is just too long.

  2. Amfortas the hippie

    re: Morgan Stanley’s rosy picture:

    “widely available vaccine by march 2021”?
    Is that even possible without skipping a lot of the trials and safety testing?
    Has this been “deregulated”, too?
    I’ve seen a few things about volunteers lining up to get stuck with vaccines and drugs that haven’t been through mice yet…or at least that’s what i gleaned from speedreading those stories on my way back out to the gardens.
    Feels like an excellent way to rake in a lot of government cash, if you’re not concerned about the fallout later on when your drug/vaccine ends up making things worse.
    of course…now i remember something about liability being waived….but it’s too much to carry around in my head accurately(too many pragmatic concerns rattling around in there, currently)

    1. xkeyscored

      It’s not possible without skipping a lot of the trials and safety testing. But I’d take part in a trial of a potential vaccine or treatment, even if some oligarch’s hoping to make a profit if it works. And while some wait to see if the vaccine gives others immunity, they’ll probably be lacking it themselves – vulnerable when the virus does come their way.
      Yes, a vaccine may make matters worse. Or it may confer immunity. And we can’t really wait the usual decade or longer for animal models and stage 1, 2 and 3 human trials and all that.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Agreed. I think I’d volunteer, too – but then, I’m old.

        I think what they’re doing now is a basic safety test, to make sure it doesn’t make people sick. To really test efficacy, they have to either use a big, exposed population, or challenge the vaccinated with live virus. The former would constitute using the vaccine immediately.

      2. Cuibono

        no we cant wait to find out if something works or not…

        Listen, we still do not know truly if the flu vaccine works… it likely does for certain groups (hint, NOT THE ELDERLY) but there is NO RCT trial data…ruled “Unethical”

    2. PlutoniumKun

      I think there are two ways there could be a useable vaccine:

      1. The existing BCG vaccine may be tweaked in such a way that it works as a reasonably good approximation of a SARS2 vaccine. As this is a known and safe product, if it does work then it could be rolled out very quickly.

      2. A ‘quick and dirty’ vaccine could perhaps be made available for vulnerable people without giving it to the population in general on the basis of a risk/benefit calculation. While this would not provide herd immunity, it would allow for a more approach to allowing the virus to run its natural course.

      1. xkeyscored

        I wonder what the uptake for a quick and dirty vaccine would be, assuming it’s voluntary as you seem to imply.

        “Here! This stuff might make you immune for a while. But it might give an unknown percentage of you more severe symptoms if you do get infected. And it might have other nasty side effects we haven’t foreseen. Sorry, haven’t had time to test it properly, so we’re testing it on you instead.”

        I’d hope any vaccine is as un-dirty as possible, and not rolled out with speed as the number one priority while the most vulnerable are used as guinea pigs to assess its safety. Not that we can wait for the usual ten years of animal and human trials either. I don’t see an easy solution.

      2. Bsoder

        As I sit here in my office overlooking my lab, I say this respectfully, I’m a loss what a “quick and dirty” (q&d), vaccine would be. Making a vaccine is equal parts medicine, engineering, and manufacturing. My first thought is a vaccine has to work. Say it protects 90% of the people and kills 10%. Or protects 90% and maims 10%. That be one approach -ignoring side effects. We have made such things in the past. Engineers can do q&d ,concoct things in the lab if they are unbound, but theses are usually god awfully expensive and lab conditions aren’t real world, so that’s an issue (no nine women and 1 baby in a month). But, in the end it’s manufacturing. My guess is we need (eventually) about 8 billion doses, but even if it were a billion, try as might I don’t anyway to q&d that in any clever way. Maybe brute force, ignorance and a trillion dollars. “Maybe”. I dont think Covid-19 is going away any time so, meaning without a vaccine this is likely to become an annual event of vaccines and boosters. And I’d add this is just another thing on the pile of ‘stuff’ [family blog] we have to do. Must to do. But there’s lotta ‘must do-s out there. The unhinged Climate being another. From what I see we are nearing are capacity to get anything done. I’m not giving up, – just saying.

      3. Katniss Everdeen

        “Quick and dirty” vaccine. Count me out. I’ll take my chances with hydroxychloroquine + Z pack + zinc.

          1. Off The Street

            Wondering what the Out Of Network language will be, along with the prior referrals, approvals and other hoops.

            Sorry, Patient X, your coverage didn’t extend to that cruise ship as it was in international waters, and not on an American-flagged vessel, or maybe you just can’t prove that you weren’t on the Lido deck. By the way, your ticket does not meet the deductible.

      4. Isolated

        My current understanding is as follows:

        1. After 20 years of work, there is still no vaccine for any coronavirus
        2. There is as yet no practicable test for SARS-COV2 antibodies in patients
        3. There is no evidence that having COVID-19 confers an immunity which reduces or avoids the risk of a re-infection
        4. There is no scientific consensus that recovery from COVID-19 guarantees absence of the virus in the body, and zero infective risk to others
        5. There is no understanding of why some of the infected die, and others are asmptomatic

        There really is a way to go before we can think about getting back to ‘normal’ (for some definition of ‘normal’)

        1. Oregoncharles

          2. It was reported somewhere here that there WAS a SARS-1 vaccine developed, but it was shelved because by then nobody was getting SARS-1. Might have been handy about now.

          However, I don’t think it went through full trials.

    3. ChiGal in Carolina

      found this downstream from the MS tweet

      crazy scary but obvious too:

      Two months of mitigations have not improved the outcome of the epidemic in this model, it has just delayed its terrible effects. In fact, because of the role of weather in the model presented in the Kristof article, two months of mitigations actually results in 50% more infections and deaths than two weeks of mitigations, since it pushes the peak of the epidemic to the winter instead of the summer, whose warmer months this model assumes causes lower transmission rates.

      The same thing plays out in other papers modeling a low number of infections or deaths from short-term suppression efforts. For example, Murray’s paper models 4 months of mitigations, but only models the epidemic over a 4 month period, ending in July. He concludes that less than 100,000 people will die in his model. But what happens in August? He obtains improvement in death rates in his model precisely because a small minority of the population becomes infected in his mitigation window. (In fact, because his approach is based on fitting a model to current data, it is unable to model a world in which transmission levels have returned to normal.) In fact, as soon as transmission levels increase, a large epidemic will follow, which he would detect if he did model the epidemic past 4 months.

      Similarly, in the Lancet study modeling mitigations in Wuhan, the only effect of delaying the end of mitigations is to delay the epidemic; infections are “reduced” in “mid-2020” and “end-2020”, but increased at later time-points.

      For two months of containment to be better than two weeks of containment, the situation on the ground has to change.

      There is a simple truth behind the problems with these modeling conclusions. The duration of containment efforts does not matter, if transmission rates return to normal when they end, and mortality rates have not improved. This is simply because as long as a large majority of the population remains uninfected, lifting containment measures will lead to an epidemic almost as large as would happen without having mitigations in place at all.

      1. Local to Oakland

        A few people are calling for infecting a targeted subset of the population. A novelist in England and a doctor in Germany among others. I participated in a chicken pox party as a child because the risk to adults was so much greater.

        This approach is horrific compared to a vaccine, but it is available now. Volunteers could be taken to remote locations and isolated together, then brought back to society to blunt the force of the next wave. Current published data says the risk is much less for healthy non obese young people.

        I’m crying as I write this, but given the history of the Spanish flu and its waves of infection, I believe the alternative will be worse, with more death and economic destruction.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Hey, how about the Hamptons? Or maybe Martha’s Vineyard? Do they count as subsets of the population.

      2. Amfortas the hippie

        so, fitting all that into a walnut shell: without a vaccine and/or effective treatment options, we’re in this for the long haul…and it may just be the worst case scenario(paging Guy McPherson*)…
        unless that mythical beast, “natural herd immunity”, can be located and harnessed.

        *I’ve “known” Guy online for almost 20 years. he was one of the regulars at LATOC, back in the day.
        stopped paying him any mind a long while ago…figuring he’s prolly right, in the long run, but too ready to get to the acceptance of near term human extinction. we argued a lot about that, back then.
        went to his site a minute ago to get the spelling right, and man.
        not for the faint of heart, at all.

  3. prodigalson

    I had to turn Morning Joe off this morning, repeated high dudgeon over RussiaRussiaRussia, Ukraingate, Russian Trolls, and useful idiots. Guess the pandemic has gone on long enough it’s time to return to “normal” and prime the pump on the preferred narratives.

    Also, Trump retweeting a “fire Fauci” or similar. It’s like Biden and Trump made a private bet for who could be objectively worse on all issues but still get elected president. Likewise a competition between MSNBC and Fox over who could yellow/red-bait the most in the shortest amount of time but still tie it to the pandemic somehow. CNN seems a little bit saner than normal but we’ll see if they go back on point for preferred narratives as well.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Why turn it on? Scarborough strikes me as upset he resigned after his mistress was found dead instead of announcing a presidential run. With Romney’s numbers and the Khristians behind him, who knows about 2012? Mika is that Brzezinski, so she’s the daughter of the effective co-founder of Al Qaeda. They only have the show because Imus’ daily garbage reached critical mass, and he was finally let go. That’s MSNBC when they aren’t covering FOR sexual predators.

      1. prodigalson

        Been rotating through the networks for coverage, someone has to do it. CNN and MSNBC have been semi-sane for the last few weeks. The most glaring fall-down over the last 14 days was the Biden triumphalism, he of the “lets lower medicaid to 60” as a pandemic solution. CNN as of today is sticking to pandemic coverage from what I’ve seen and not getting sucked into the Rachel Maddow crazy eyes (yet). Fox news has been even more irresponsible than they were during the Bush years, quite an achievement.

        Future historians will have a field day with this period. We have to be at the modern equivalent of Nero fiddling while rome burns, especially if Fauci gets sacked. Hopefully Trump isn’t that dumb.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          My guess is future historians will trace problems to Ted Koppel if they don’t blame the whole television medium of infotainment.

          Instead of the Nero myth (those Christians), we should look toward something like Pope Stephen who dug up the dead Pope Formosa to put him on trial as our infrastructure shouldn’t be compared to the city of marble Augustus left behind.

        2. montanamaven

          Interesting as I had a somewhat opposite reaction to cable news. I haven’t really watched CNN for over 20 years, so turned it on yesterday and found it rather bland and vague. Don Lemon is very odd. He smirks a lot. He had on the Mustache of Understanding, of all people. Friedman had no advice, wisdom or even much of an opinion other than who could have known and let’s get back to work soon. Both CNN and MSNBC pounded on the NY Times story which was interesting, but typical of the NY Times, it only mentioned the WHO in passing. They played the clip of Fauci saying lives could have been saved over and over and over. But they didn’t play the whole interview where he says how complicated it was and he also doesn’t mention the WHO. Fox seems more balanced to me. I could do with less Jesusy stuff, but Fox has feel good stories on and I actually like that. I like the stories of the plucky food bank ladies rather than hearing about billionaires sending money to “Feeding America”. I like the interview with truckers instead of college professors although they have their fair share of experts too. This morning they had on Mike Rowe of “Dirty Jobs” and “Returning the Favor”. He continues to highlight the people who are really essential and the regular people who do more charitable work relative to their net worth than any billionaire. Yes, the business people are very neoliberal and shocked that so many people have no savings, but that’s true of all the business channels.

  4. zagonostra

    > In These Times/CARES voice vote

    The quote below from “In These Times” is true enough, and I would venture most readers of this website know this already.

    What galls me and that I just can’t let go of is that the CARES act was passed on a voice vote. I’ve been obsessing about this and it is a subject I’m having a hard time letting go. The vote might just as well have been done in total secrecy. This vote is an historic marker that history will look upon as a turning point in which the ideals of a real representative democracy were jettisoned.

    You could, in the past always argue that it was the citizen’s disinterest in participating in politics, in a weakness that rested with him. Now however, the problem is of a different, more diabolical nature. It is not sloth, but avarice and deceit that have won the day…at least for now.

    What would the federal government do to best mitigate the devastation that this pandemic will visit upon human beings? It would, first of all, provide free healthcare to everyone. ..instead, if you had an entirely different goal: protecting capital. What would you do then? Well, you would prioritize the health of corporate balance sheets, rather than human bodies. You would keep the healthcare industry, now booming, in private hands

    1. The Rev Kev

      About that voice vote. What are the chances of finding a politician saying that they voted yes by the end of the year? Some politicians have already said that they totally did not vote for that bill. But guess what? There were cameras in that chamber and I bet that it picked up a lot of politicians and what they did that day. Think that they will release all that footage? Or would they pull another Epstein with those cameras?

          1. hunkerdown

            Big Structural Guillotine

            * materials are considered “non-essential” and subject to availability in some jurisdictions

        1. richard

          It is clear that most reps were not present to vote no
          whatever they might say
          I’ve listened to the voice vote a few times; it sounds like one or maybe two voices saying no
          whatever, nice try
          in the absence of a recorded vote
          they are ALL guilty
          even Massey

          1. JBird4049

            My, the chamber is even emptier than I remembered. It’s not even close to the 218 needed for a quorum. I counted 89 people in the chamber.

        2. xkeyscored

          Interesting. The audience, if I may call them that, are keeping quite a distance from each other. Meanwhile, those on stage and nearby are close together in huddles and rows.

  5. xkeyscored

    Why it’s too early to start giving out “immunity passports” Technology Review

    The article seems to assume that the economy has shut down, and that restarting it will be dangerous without a 100% reliable antibody test that predicts immunity.
    But the economy has not shut down, as many who continue working are well aware. And restarting the economy will be fraught with danger however and whenever it’s attempted; I can only see antibody tests being useful, even if greater sensitivity and selectivity would be nice.

    “And people with false positive results [for antibodies] would unwittingly be walking hazards who could become infected and spread the virus, whether they developed symptoms or not.” True, but there are already infected workers spreading it.

    We’re highly unlikely to snuff out this virus entirely, certainly not any time soon. The question must be, how can we most safely keep things, especially essential things, running? New infections are a given, but antibody tests and immunity passports look like a good way of minimising them.

    1. Lee

      I like the differentiation between essential and non-essential work. Most of the suit and tie crowd could just stay home and hardly be missed so far as providing the essentials is concerned. There might even be improvements in efficiency and productivity, not to mention work place morale.

        1. Clive

          I accidentally opened the app the other day (I make a point of never going there, except to be nosy about the worst of the tossers I encounter) but even then that’s just an infrequent guilty pleasure. It must have been six months since I last looked at it.

          I almost instantly got an email from them “welcoming me back”. Like I’d be a long-lost twin sibling, separated at birth from them, or something. It was both cheery and pleading, borderline desperate. I almost felt sorry for them. But then they repaid my good nature by foisting the same old crap about becoming and “influencer” (it might have been an influenza’er, I didn’t read too closely), how now it was more important to “reach out” (was I one of the Four Tops?) to my “network” and “helping my community” (not, alas, because I was a nice person, but, inferred, that it would help me look good; I felt they were sort-of missing the point, there, somewhere).

          I could tell you more, but there was something saying “CalPERS are hiring!” and at that point, I had no choice but to put my head in the oven, so that’s all I can tell you.

          1. xkeyscored

            ‘except to be nosy about the worst of the tossers I encounter’

            I don’t know if you clicked on the Daesh Mail link, but it includes this:

            “I just hope that when all this is over we can learn some lessons and go back to using LinkedIn for its original purpose: checking out ex-colleagues who we always fancied. Or hated. Or both.”

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        “the suit and tie crowd could just stay home and hardly be missed”

        and their uselessness should not be glossed over or forgotten.
        that’s one of the beautiful things to come out of this mess so far: grocery stockers as heroes of the republic.
        I’ve thrown the comment, “I respect my garbage man more than i ever respected my congressman, or a banker” into the mix at the feedstore, etc for years…and it always makes everyone stop, shut up and recede into their thinking place for a moment.
        everyone knows these truths, at some level.
        but the current situation gives us the opportunity to hit it home.
        Evangelizing for a New New Deal, and the correlative requirement of a Nietszchean upending of the Value System…at the personal level…is how the Bernie “Movement” continues on.
        I know of maybe 2 people…both rich men…who still idolize the “Masters of the Universe”.
        everyone else either hates them passionately, or wishes they would just stay on their yachts….and that’s before the pandemic.

        1. Lee

          Meanwhile, in my home town:

          Coronavirus: Minimum wage boost may be shelved in Alameda

          ALAMEDA — Workers in Alameda hoping for a bit more in their paycheck may have to wait another year if the City Council postpones a planned hike in the minimum wage to spare businesses struggling to survive through the coronavirus pandemic.

          It’s a move Hayward took last week for the same reason and Fremont is also considering.

          The current minimum wage in Alameda is $13.50 an hour and the planned increase would boost it $15 in July under an ordinance the City Council approved in October 2018.

          These city leaders are the same folks who bend over and grab their ankles for developers to build all over low lying shoreline landfill in earthquake and flood hazard zones. A pox upon them.

      2. carl

        By happenstance, I read Bullshit Jobs in January just as the pandemic was taking off. It’s extremely relevant right now. Puts everything in perspective. The authors’ premise is that around 50% of the jobs or the work done right now is useless. We could really take a page or two from it and restructure things with a UBI or some gigantic infrastructure projects. But of course, we won’t do any of those things.

        1. D. Fuller

          It is called “make work”, at least where I have been. Encountered such in The EU where The EU was paying people through programs. More specifically, to teach English in Eastern European countries. What a disaster. The books were nothing more than advertisements for various products, right down to specific product models. The books were terrible as the contents followed an academician’s idea of how people learn, rendering the books unintelligible and useless.

          In the US, the “make work” effort is best embodied by consultants. Instead of advertising for a job, a consultant is hired to advertise for a job. Thus employing consultants – famously useless and the origination and propagation of so many bad ideas – to hire people.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            aye. That’s the stupid neoliberal way to do it.
            but there’s a ton of things that need doing, and many of those—if not most—are allergens to Mr Market, so they don’t get done.
            WPA and CCC are two of my very favorite things my government have ever done.
            It’s sad that we can’t seem to learn from those days, because it might make Moloch angry with us. Let the adherents of that dangerous and idiotic religion sacrifice themselves. Put it on pay for view, with the profits going into the giant hole where their unpaid taxes should have gone.

    2. Bsoder

      xkeyscored -Liked most of what you said, but the “but antibody tests and immunity passports look like a good way of minimising them”, how so? It appears on any given day you could positive or negative and the next day test out different yet. Covid-19 is going to be a real pain to get control of until (broken record) there is a vaccine. I was reading some data from China (always needs to be put in context) but it appears “many” people are suffering neurological, pulmonary, and cardiology effects, again preliminary, but perhaps permanently. Another thing our country (US) doesn’t do so well take care of those disabled.

      1. xkeyscored

        Because if say 90% of the tests are accurate, we can take that into account and still model and predict the likely effects of such and such a number going back to work or having lockdowns eased. They don’t need to be 100% accurate, and perhaps never will be, but they can help us plan ahead nonetheless, especially if we have an idea of just how accurate they are, and thus how many infectious people are coming out of lockdown.

        I’m not saying we should roll out these tests tomorrow and send everyone who passes straight back to work or wherever. But keeping most of the economy closed down for over a year while we await a vaccine will have its own effects on health, potentially worse than those of the virus. Food needs producing and distributing; without it, people get sick and die.

        Tough decisions, and they’re likely to be made by gangsters whose main aim is maintaining and re-establishing their power, not protecting as many of us as possible, though hopefully that will factor into their thinking.

        1. Brooklin Bridge

          I don’t know. Those 10 percent potentially become super-spreaders since they will frequently be used to interface with the susceptible public. Or, take a meat packing plant. One false positive (meaning he or she has not developed antibodies) goes back to work, catches it while shopping one night assuming it’s unnecessary to take any precautions, and within two weeks, another 250 packers have it. Sounds iffy. .01 perhaps but 10 percent drastically reduces the usefulness of such a test for anything much other than modelling and analysis.

  6. The Rev Kev

    Re Elaine Doyle’s tweet.

    Anybody here know how the pandemic is being tackled in Northern Ireland? From a page I found, they seem to have either used the same methodology as Ireland or else it is early days there yet. When I saw this tweet yesterday I wondered how Northern Ireland would go as although they are part of the United Kingdom, they are geographically isolated from the mainland. There was a lot of talk about the border between the two Irelands last year and wondered how this would go-

    1. PlutoniumKun

      There is some data on this page (note that its not entirely accurate, as NI follows the UK method of undercounting cases (they only count hospital deaths – in the Republic there is a more comprehensive count). Note by the way that the page also indicates that the border area is quite a hotspot, which contradicts some of the comments on that tweet about it all being down to density).

      The NI response was confused – they more or less followed the UK, but were a little stricter due to influence from both Scotland and the Republic, although they were slow to close schools. But it should also be said that NI would always be later in the process as it is a good deal less connected with the world than most of Britain as there are fairly limited numbers of direct flights to Belfast.

    2. Eustache de Saint Pierre

      Not too bad ( relatively ) as far as I can tell while being holed up alone for 6 days a week, which is pretty normal for me although the street is much quieter & has the feeling of a groundhog Sunday. On the 7th day I drive 55 miles & back to deliver essentials to my vulnerable friend so they don’t have to leave the house, but do the shopping for both of us this end as it appears at least in this case small towns don’t appear to suffer so much from shortages, as the much larger town I drive to does. It is actually now a pleasure to drive down & back up the M1 even at around 5pm, where usually the Belfast bit turns into a carpark.

      Belfast would be the epidemic hotspot with leakages into surrounding counties but without having had much in the way of testing in the UK, I cannot back-up my feeling that it is not as bad here as on mainland UK. People appear to be for the most part sticking to the self – isolation & largely behaving themselves & the politicians appear to be with some odd spats getting on relatively well for this part of the World. Some Presbytarian nutjobs spouting the usual gibberish but nothing major & probably the most divisive measure called for by the UUP health minister was to state that he would call in both the British & Irish army if needed to meet the coming surge, which I would call a double Baldrick in terms of a plan. Sinn Fein not to happy about the former lot for obvious reasons although I think it would be on a logistics basis, perhaps a Nightingale hospital included.

      Due to 2 large commissions being postponed I am back on Universal credit, but it ain’t so bad as I don’t have to jump through the usual pointless hoops for obvious reasons & am in a better state financially, while just hoping that the whole thing eases up fairly soon, so as I can get off it & back to work. As the Republic are dealing with the situation better than the UK, there could arise a situation of interesting comparisons that might fuel the urge for a united Ireland, but we shall have to see.

      1. xkeyscored

        Whether the British or Irish armies get involved or not, there’s likely to be a significant increase in practical inter-party co-operation, which could bode well going forward.

        1. Eustache de Saint Pierre


          That is an optimistic assumption IMO, as spanners & works often come together in NI, but nevertheless I hope that you are correct as the vast majority of people here just want to get on with their lives – pretty much like everywhere else.


          From that which I have read, all of the early cases appear to have originated from people returning from Northern Italy – at least those reported & the border areas have pretty low infection rates. Some people do still travel in from the South, & from what I have seen of late, judging by number plates most of them are from Donegal, which is actually a county of Southern Ireland which stretches further North than Northern Ireland.

    3. The Rev Kev

      Thanks guys for those answers. Much appreciated. When this is all over, I think that there is a good study to be done comparing Ireland with Northern Ireland and their different approaches and what cross-infections there were across the border.

  7. Bugs Bunny

    Re: Lessons Learned From Running ICUs in Disaster Zones

    Watching the (ridiculous) French evening TF1 news last night there was a report on how hospitals and the population were coping with the “imminent arrival” of the pandemic in Abidjan the capital of Côte d’Ivoire. Almost everyone in the streets had masks on and the hospital workers seemed calm and showed how they’d already prepared separate clinical areas for treatment. The buildings and interiors looked like anywhere in Western Africa, a bit run down and makeshift; and people have to get around in bush taxis.

    Compared to the haphazard, disingenuous and frankly dishonest management of this epidemic here, it looked professional and reassuring.

    And on the news programs, no presenters are wearing masks. It’s a disturbing spectacle every night.

    Our boy king will give a national address tonight. Word is that he’ll be telling his PM to lock us down for another month.

    1. John Beech

      I can only see France24, where do I (in the USA) pick up TF1 so I can judge for myself their level of ridiculousness?

      1. SKM

        (for John Beech) not sure re the US but we (in the UK and in Italy) get French domestic channels via satellite. The stations are free to air but you need a French decoder with a card for access. One is called Fransat. Google it and you should be able to find out if it is a solution also for the States.You missed the treat of 30 mins of Macron feigning human empathy this evening!!!

  8. zagonostra

    On Thursday, 6,000 cars lined up for five miles at a food bank drive-through in San Antonio, Texas. Some families arrived 12 hours early to ensure they received some aid. In Inglewood, California, south of Los Angeles, 5,000 cars lined up to receive food on Friday. Food bank usage in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has increased by 543 percent in recent days.

    1. Bill Carson

      Is it just me, or does it seem really odd that you apparently have to have a car in order to get free food? How much food could you afford if you didn’t have to pay for car insurance, license and registration, and gas? It seems like our priorities are messed up.

      1. John Beech

        Bill, this is a BIG country. How do you propose folks get around sans an automobile? I mean it’s one thing if you’re in a developed urban area like NYC with the MTA infrastructure, but what do you do in Birmingham, AL or Orlando, FL for getting around? I wouldn’t relish doing two weeks worth of grocery purchases sans my car, would you? I mean, how in the heck would you transport the purchases? Shank’s mare? Around here we see abandoned grocery carts from Walmart several miles from the store. Said carts presumably used for toting groceries home by those for whom feet are their chief method of getting around. Just wondering.

        1. a different chris

          The food could, and maybe should, come to you. Read the “milk float” link. No (local anyway, we can argue about electric generation for hours but I have better things to do) gasoline burnt either, the delivery trucks are electric.

          Electric is pretty easy if you have pre-mapped routes.

            1. Bill Carson

              To respond to John Beech, I get that this is a large, spread out country, designed around the automobile. But we are learning in real time how costly that is. It’s like an extra tax we pay to be able to access necessities. Plus we also pay more in taxes to build the roads. And we breath dirty air because of cars. And our water supply is immeasurably dirtier because of all of the chemicals and poisons unleashed by the automobiles.

              One of the benefits that I hope we will grow accustomed to and continue to use more is the ability to telecommute. That could be a big benefit going forward.

            2. zagonostra

              They already have. Gatgroup.Inc is producing thousands of meals each day. I know people who work at their Reston HQ. However, I don’t see any links in the news when I googled it…

              1. MLTPB


                It’s been a while last my last airplane meal experience.

                Maybe they can scale up, and work out the delivery logistics,

        2. Grebo

          I use a wheeled suitcase, carry-on size. Usually I strap it to the back of my motorcycle but I have taken it on the bus too. I also have saddle bags on my bicycle. You’d be surprised how much stuff you can carry on a bike if you have a roll of sticky tape. A rucksack can be useful too.

          1. Wyoming

            Sure. But you must also acknowledge that the living circumstances, distances,no pubic transport, rough terrain/ mountains or a climate which makes that method unviable (super cold, deep snow, super hot/muggy) are such for many people that what you are doing is not practical or possible for large numbers of them. Just saying.

            1. Grebo

              I live in a rural, tropical, third world area. People find a way to scrape by here or they move. If there were no buses I would choose to live closer to town, since I prefer not to rely on having a working motor. Not everyone has complete freedom of course, but to the extent they do, ‘assume a motor’ seems like poor planning to me.

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      before the pandemic first became reality for everyone else(ie: mom, who has the $), that’s what i was worrying about: food shortages.
      I’ve been a broken record about food sovereignty for a long, long time….always yammering on, like some desert prophet,about how fragile the whole food supply system is, and has been.
      so, 2 weeks ago, i finally convinced mom to send me the 50 miles to the Real Grocery Store to stock up.
      at that point in the crisis, the meatcorps(e) were freaking because they had meat stacked to the ceiling in the cold storage warehouses adjacent to the ports…so beef and pork were cheap as hell…and there were no rationing restrictions.
      I ran off with a large freezer full.
      but now, it’s apparently all over TV News that the meat packers are shutting down, and the florida orchardmen are on tv talking about fruit rotting due to lack of pickers….and suddenly, mom wants to send cousin and i to that same 50 mile away store with $500 each to get a bunch of meat.
      I told here there would be rationing if this was all over the news…and it’s prolly not worth the risk.
      and “hoarding” behaviour is a major faux pas these days.
      (should be journalism about that, too…)

      so i convinced her to get stepdad to call his meat market owner friend, 20 miles away, and see about a side of beef,lol.
      of course, cousin and i have been scoping out the deer situation, and i’ve been talking to our neighbors about buying the occasional steer or barbadoe….maybe killing a couple of the problem shoats running roughshod over their spreads…and greasing palms with home canned tomatoes and green beans from last year’s garden.
      and we’ve still got plenty of meat, dammit…right there in the freezer.
      so here we get to watch media driven panic hoarding at work in real time…and the utter failure to listen to her very own in-house cassandra thrown in for good measure.

      luckily, night before last the hail and tornadoes went around us…garden and fruit trees are secure(i was up all night, willing them away).
      and it was 36 degrees this morning, but everything out there seems invigorated, rather than damaged.
      i’ll convince wife to eat a brownie(!) and spend the warm part of the day in the greenhouse with me and miles davis, putting myriad seedlings into bigger pots(it’ll be June in there in another hour)
      Barring terrible weather, we’ll be OK.
      it’s all the rest of y’all I worry about.

      1. periol

        It’s all very reminiscent of the Soviet Union in 1990-1991. They are releasing the news about supply chain disruptions in a very slow drip, to prevent panic. Add all the pieces together though, and we seem to have a very large problem, much worse than they are letting on.

        If this goes on long enough I can’t help but think we might hit a day where the government will just


        1. Amfortas the hippie

          still no TP out my way…anywhere.
          (i talk to people, even if i don’t go anywhere)
          that particular part of the supply line feels like it’s having problems beyond Just In Time trying to catch up after initial panic surge.
          it’s even in the 2 stores i went to last week(heb and walmart) by the Dominion, outside of san antone(very wealthy gated neighborhood, where people like George Strait live)—no TP at all, and very few paper products. the heb had a pallet of large bags of some off brand sand paper paper towels that I’ve never seen before.12 rolls. everybody coming out of that store had one…rich folks(given the yoga pants and designer warmups,lol) stuffing sandpaper into their jaguars and escalades to wipe their Very Important Bums with in their hilltop mansions.
          –at Latoc, years ago, someone ran an experiment…in the interests of Science…and determined that dollars—of whatever denomination, it is presumed—do not…NOT…make good toilet paper.that’s what i thought of as i raced through the store with my list, watching.
          Jury is still out on the utility of particular ragged bits of parchment.

          1. Brooklin Bridge

            I lived in a rural part of France in the late 60’s and had only outhouses with news paper cut up and placed on a string loop to tear off piece by piece or story by story.

            When our cat died, some years ago now, I stopped my subscription to the NYT, but now, on reflection, that may have been hasty. Those stacks of once perfect kitty litter sheets would beckon again with something they would actually be useful for. Or have they stopped printing the thing? The idea of a Boston Globe subscription is out, just out. We all have limits; for that, it would be “beneath me.”

            1. The Rev Kev

              You will be glad to know that Rupert Murdoch offers a wide range of this type of toilet paper across many countries with the assurance that as toilet paper, they serve a more honest purpose than as newspapers reporting news.

                1. Amfortas the hippie

                  (cousin mercifully went on beer run. I provided the full pipe)
                  it’s gonna get bad.
                  although i cannot yet determine whether that will mean due to incompetence or malice.
                  Doesn’t really matter.
                  I spelled malice right, though.(hence, leans thataway)
                  “Those People” are gonna/are take(ing) advantage of all this.
                  runway: foamed.
                  lets string them up from lampposts/eat them before it’s too late

            2. Off The Street

              Don’t forget the flyers, circulars and other detritus in the mailbox. They live on, in reduced volume, even in the more digital age. They also serve who only sit and wait.

            3. ChristopherJ

              Tip for newsprint. Scrunch it up hard and it will be a bit softer where you need it.

              TP is out because everyone is doing it at home and the supply lines have not adjusted to selling more at the retail level.

              1. periol

                Also, some parts of the TP supply chain run through/from China. That’s actually the big hold-up.

    3. JTMcPhee

      Too bad there’s not “app” For food deliveries as opposed to having thousands of people drive to a location for their bit of sustenance (costs of fuel, invitations to unneighborly behavior, etc.) Of course there’s concern about whether the folks in line might just be wanting to add to their personal hoard. Another “resilience fail.” Anyone for comity?

      1. newcatty

        News from the front lines in Orange Co.,CA:

        A dear relative who works in a grocery store gave us a report. She had just worked a 13 hour shift as a manager. She related how , unlike in the past with older and/or regular customers, the incidents of rude or obnoxious snobby behaviors was rare. Now, many of the new customers have an entitlement pov. Pass it on, if you like, grocery store workers, especially the hard working ones on the front lines are heroes. Comity!!!!

        1. Off The Street

          Happy to report on local grocery clerk mood based on small sample of n=4. They said that customers were nicely behaved, and in one case that dipped to 99%, with the remaining 1% prickly in any event.

          It is some what surreal to watch all the masked people work their way around the aisles, while they attempt to maintain some respectable distance. Some stores have spacing markings on the floors, in addition to those for the lines outside.

  9. fresno dan

    What does this economist think of epidemiologists? Marginal Revolution. “How smart are they? What are their average GRE scores?”
    They (epidemiologists) don’t have the same experimental base and they don’t have the level of statistical sophistication of top statisticians or econometricians.
    This from a profession that as a matter of course makes too many to count suppositions about human nature AND couldn’t predict the Great Recession because they didn’t understand finance OR fraud…

    1. chuck roast

      Let us try to be sympathetic to teachers, staff and students of the Mercatus Center at George Mason Univ. It bills it’s self as “…the world’s premier university source for market-oriented ideas.” Funded originally, and probably still funded by the Koch brother(s). Need I say more?

      1. MLTPB

        Tragically, 30 died from drinking pure alcohol to ward off Corona, in Istanbul. Per Daily Sabah, March 25.

  10. Steve H.

    “> The Belt and Road After COVID-19 The Diplomat

    : Notably, Chinese authorities have yet to come up with a clear-cut definition of the BRI, which remains a loose set of infrastructure projects and bilateral deals.


    “As a rising great power, “one belt, one road” is the initial stage of China globalization.”

    It’d be nice to see the commentariat’s take on Qiao Liang’s economic perspective. He’s a general, and co-wrote the Chinese version of Full Spectrum Dominance. He gave the speech in 2015, with a ten-year strategic outlook. But events are precipitating new catalysts. And the strings of the global supply strain thrum like a zither, a rhythm dictated by stops, the melody a bending of notes…

    As a rising great power, one belt, one road” is the initial stage of China globalization.”

    It’d be nice to see the commentariat’s take on Qiao Liang’s economic perspective. He’s a general, and co-wrote the Chinese version of Full Spectrum Dominance. He gave the speech in 2015, with a ten-year strategic outlook. But events are precipitating new catalysts. And the strings of the global supply strain thrum like a zither, a rhythm dictated by stops, the melody a bending of notes…

  11. Steve H.

    > The Belt and Road After COVID-19 The Diplomat

    : Notably, Chinese authorities have yet to come up with a clear-cut definition of the BRI, which remains a loose set of infrastructure projects and bilateral deals.


    “As a rising great power, “one belt, one road” is the initial stage of China globalization.”

    It’d be nice to see the commentariat’s take on Qiao Liang’s economic perspective. He’s a general, and co-wrote the Chinese version of Full Spectrum Dominance. He gave the speech in 2015, with a ten-year strategic outlook. But events are precipitating new catalysts. And the strings of the global supply strain thrum like a zither, a rhythm dictated by stops, the melody a bending of notes…

    1. PlutoniumKun

      The Belt And Road initiative was already in significant retreat even before Covid. Quite simply, it was costing China more money than it could afford and increasingly countries along the way were becoming very resistant to China’s conditions.

      China Inc is actually very bad at dealing with foreign countries, they repeatedly fail to appreciate local concerns and subtleties, and are often taken in as suckers. China has lost billions in its loans to South and Central America, as one example, much to the amusement of US and European bankers, who have been there, done that.

      1. Olga

        It’d be helpful is these assertions could be backed up by some evidence.
        Otherwise, it just seems as no more than a part of the growing effort to denigrate China at every corner.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Problems with financing the BRI have been widely discussed in the Asian financial press for at least 2 years now – Caixin, SCMP, etc. There have also been various discussions on this in the Twittersphere/blogosphere with knowledgable academics like Michael Pettis (who has had articles here), Victor Shih, Patrick Chovanic and others – none of whom can be considered anti-China. It has also been widely discussed with regard to huge losses China has suffered in projects in Indonesia, Kenya and the many difficulties in Pakistan – these have been widely reported on in the FT, WSJ, etc. Xi himself alluded to the debt problems in the last CCP plenum back in May I believe, although such statements are always so opaque that you can read almost anything into them.

          Within the last week, a major Regional bank has needed to be rescued, the third so far this year, so the strains within China’s banking system is well known, so the willingness to lend for foreign projects is likely to be greatly reduced. This has nothing to do with ‘denigrating’ China – this is all cold financial facts.

          1. Olga

            Any project of this size can have financial problems, particularly in the short term. Your comment starts with an allusion to a retreat. Where is the evidence for that? You also state that China does not know how to deal with other countries. Where is the evidence for that? Who knows how to deal with other countries? The US? Which tramples over entire civilisations, not just countries. The west – which simply colonised those other countries? And exploited them? And still exploits them? (Have you been to Indonesia lately?)
            We must be careful not give hypocrisy free reign.
            The Silk Road project – however imperfect – still offers a better future for the entire Asian continent, including its European sub-continent, than the endless wars pushed for by certain actors.

          2. MLTPB

            It couldn’t be too comfortable for Xi to look at those debt problems, if that was the case.

            Maybe he could use another viewpoint to tackle them.

            Curious if he dragged the west in for every problem in Kenya, Indonesia or Pakistan he might encounter or might have run into.

      2. MLTPB

        Money aside, globalism may be retreating.

        The Silk Road had not always been busy.

        Lots of ruined cities along the way.

      3. ChristopherJ

        Every country that owes money to China, via bonds etc, should just tell them the debt has been cancelled to pay for the virus costs.

        Love to witness such payback.

        Mind you, many countries are starting to think about onshoring manufacturing. So, already some considerable blow back for the china peoples. You reap what you sow

    2. MLTPB

      The Guqin is definitely harder to play than the Guzheng (one favorite ancient piece is Spring River Flower Moon Night…you don’t necessarily have to have a Chinese soul to like it. Russians or Iranians can appreciate it too…lots of bent notes).

  12. Charles D Myers

    The problem for most Uber and Lyft drivers is they don’t make money. They don’t know this.

    When you take your 10-99 and take the mileage deduction they will show no income.

    A side note to this is Uber is expecting their best quarter ever because they are not doing runs.

    Their strategy of losing money on every run and making it up on volume is in doubt.

    1. periol

      Yeah, I was thinking that reading the Bloomberg article. I think they’ll still get the $600 from the government though. That’s per week.

      The article does have this little tidbit in there, reminding us this unemployment extension is actually a huge corporate bailout in it’s own right…

      “Jobless benefits typically are only available to workers with employee status whose employers have paid into their state’s unemployment fund on the employees’ behalf.”

      So Uber, Lyft, and other gig companies were able to abuse labor law in the first place and not declare these people to be employees, and therefore not pay into unemployment insurance. And now the feds are going to give their workers unemployment anyways. Interesting.

      First the megacorps put their workers on food stamps, and now they get to back out of unemployment insurance. But the post office must die!

      Can’t believe this ponzi can actually keep going.

    2. MLTPB

      Profits vs cash flow.

      How much of the latter is in play for those drivers?

      Are they with negative profits, but generating cash?

      That could be motivating in certain cases.

    1. a different chris

      I wouldn’t mind seeing Fauci go because I’m tired of old people. Shouldn’t he be over a decade into retirement?

      But that doesn’t mean I have any illusions about who Trump will replace him with.

      Related to that, we are always told to celebrate our “victory” over the Soviet Union as a financial one, “capitalism” beats “communism”. But Lysenko starved a good part of the population, which wasn’t located in the most fertile place on the planet to begin with. Yet nobody seems to think that was the actual problem.

      And the Republican Party is just full of Lysenkos in all fields now. So how does capitalism save us from that?

      1. Duke DeGuise

        Tired of “old people,” are you?

        Yup, I’ll take Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Adam Neuman and Travis Kalanick, et. al. any day. That’ll cure the illin’.

        The upshot being, you might want to re-assess that inter-generational warfare thing troubling you, and look at the real enemy, instead of being played for a rube.

      2. cripes

        “I wouldn’t mind seeing Fauci go because I’m tired of old people.”

        Fortunately, that won’t be your decision.

        *Chris, I’m totally cool with bashing old(er) people, you keep on keeping on, until you get old, that is, when your magic pill beckons. Thanks for getting out of the way!

  13. ObjectiveFunction

    From Glasman’s piece in New Statesman:

    When the virus blows out, capital will be remorseless in recouping its losses. The institutional and political resistance to that needs to be formulated now…. Aggressive plunder of our weakened businesses and currency by US and Chinese venture capital, which is already planning its moves…..

    The danger is the same as during the crash of 2008-09 – namely that capital centralises even more emphatically than the state and undermines regional and local self-sufficiency…. A politics of the common good, in which estranged interests can form alliances in pursuit of mutual interests, is required so that the trade unions and government can protect a weakened economy from predatory takeover.

    Well put (though reordered by me for brevity). Also noteworthy, one of the first mentions I’ve seen of the ongoing multinationalization of Chinese financial capital. China Inc. will definitely be looking to aggregate its remaining credit and go shopping for plum assets worldwide at bargain prices.

    But, while obediently mouthing the CPC line and taking its OBOR money, for at least 2 years it has been clear to me in ASEAN that many Chinese enterprises, including SOEs, are looking to go fully multinational and slowly diversify outside the diktat of Beijing. I doubt that’s any better for your arse and mine (or our Chinese fellow mopes) than the existing lot, but at the end they won’t dance to Xi’s tune any more than BP answered to Saint Barack after the Gulf megaspill. The mountains are high, and the Emperor is far away….

  14. PlutoniumKun

    It’s Time for Conscious Uncoupling With China Andrew Sullivan, The Atlantic. Commentary from China Law Blog.

    The Belt and Road After COVID-19 The Diplomat

    This is going to be one of the biggest world changing results of Covid – it was probably going to happen anyway, but Covid has massively accelerated the process. China is going to become far more insular, and the rest of the world isn’t going to bother much persuading it otherwise.

    China is in economic trouble – they are mishandling the post-outbreak economy by using the old playbook of pumping cash into infrastructure and assets, not into small businesses (they’ve conspicuously failed to help out SME’s and individuals. The little experiments with vouchers and direct handouts seem to have been reversed. The Belt and Road and other foreign investments were already being reversed as it was pretty clear they were increasingly seen as a huge waste of money – China has already lost billions on many of the original investments. I think the Belt and Road will increasingly become fragmented, with Xi showing less and less interest in it. They will only be interested in those links that keep China’s supply lines for food and energy firmly in their control.

    The west, along with SK and Japan, are repatriating investments big time – Japan is even openly giving grants to companies that transfer their investments in China back to Japan. Europe is a slow learner, but will follow suit, as soon as the Germans realise that their dreams of China being able to absorb yet more Mercedes fall short. Vietnam looks like being a big winner, as does Indonesia. This will seriously weaken China unless it finally realises that it must generate internal demand and rebalance its economy – i.e. start giving its own people more money to spend. So far there is no evidence this.

    Taiwan is another story – Covid has been a success for it – its shown up China, protected itself and its economy, and has grown enormously in stature. This will make it all the more difficult for China to bring it back within its grasp – but that doesn’t mean China won’t try.

    HK is screwed. There is no way back for it economically.

    SK and Japans relationship will be worth looking at. Their relationship has been highly dysfunctional, but Moon has benefited hugely from SK’s response, while Abe is plummeting in the polls thanks to his ineptness. If Japan ends up electing a more progressive leadership then some surprising things may happen on this axis (Koreans justifiably see Abe as an old style racist and imperialist).

    Just a few weeks ago lots of people saw China as the big winner from Covid – and I did too. But increasingly to me it looks like China is going to retreat rapidly into its shell – as it has done many times over its long history. The big winners so far I think have been the modern progressive democracies of Asia, particularly SK and Taiwan. Vietnam will take a heavy hit initially, but could well come out a winner in the long run if there is a deluge of investment money that was on its way to China. So my prediction – Asia and the western Pacific will become much more multi-polar, with a wider range of fairly equal powers, all looking with a concerned eye at an increasingly authoritarian and inward looking China.

    1. bwilli123

      Michael Pettis has argued for some time that China (and Germany & Japan) need to increase their consumer share of GDP (relying less on the export led model)

      China could start by upgrading their relatively poor public health system and food markets and increasing welfare payments.
      On the other side of the international ledger a post Covid-19 MAGA led re-introduction of tariffs (nominally an anti-china move) would provide both a further spur to the Chinese to internalise, and a positive cover against arguments from the neo-libs in other countries, and all to every worker’s benefit.

    2. chuck roast

      “Of all the lessons that plagues teach us, surely the most valuable one is humility.” This from Mr. know-it-all, Andrew Sullivan. Sullivan wouldn’t have been hired to sweep the floors of The Atlantic when Zuckerman owned it. Of course Zuckerman was going broke owning it, but I cared only to the extent that he continued to employ intelligent and insightful writers. So, now The Atlantic is turning an apparently profit printing dreck from the likes of this chump.

      Sullivan first came to my attention back when the internet was becoming “a thing.” He showed up on a couple of my favorite blogs, and his comments were generally considered to be an annoyance by the readership. He was called “a troll.” Until then I thought that a troll was a little guy who lived in a cave. Indeed, that seems to characterize him accurately. Of course he has since gone on to continually give Johann Gutenberg a bad name. But for my part whenever I see his name, I think “troll.”

      1. Olga

        I would not disagree with you. Not sure why he gets this certain amount of exposure. As for the china law blog, simply odious. Not worthy of cluttering the links space.

      2. eg

        Huh — for me growing up a troll was what lived under the bridge that the Billy Goats Gruff traversed, and got its erse kicked for its trouble

        1. BlakeFelix

          Internet troll is kind of a pun with trolling also, like baiting a hook and pulling it behind a boat. It’s like fishing for compliments, trolling for attention.

    3. MLTPB

      Many people in Taiwan are very proud of their response in the last few months, even though the WHO has always worked through Beijing..

  15. Stillfeelinthebern

    A friend just sent me this link on social distancing when outdoors.

    “Based on the simulations and data, the team suggests that individuals who are walking outdoors should maintain a minimum of four meters (13 feet) of separation. Runners and casual bikers should try to stay at least 10 meters apart (33 feet), and fast cyclists should attempt to remain at least 20 meters (66 feet) from others using the same trails. The researchers also note that avoiding the direct path of the person in front of you is vital, even when maintaining these distances.”

    Here is a direct link to the white paper referenced in the article.

    1. Wukchumni

      I think one of the main reasons ski resorts were such effective vectors is the idea that when you’re on a lift chair going up, your often visible breath wasn’t going anywhere, except to spread it to those in chairs below you, for about 10 minutes worth a few dozen times a day.

    2. chuck roast

      Could be. OTOH could be a bunch of non-essential workers trying to demonstrate some reason for their continued employability. Back in the day I used to use the CAL3QHC air dispersion model to determine the spread of particulate matter (PM 10) and carbon monoxide (CO). Theory and practice taught me that the model was not very good.

    3. Tom Bradford

      Probably relevant in a flat calm but I would have thought that outdoors, wind direction would be a far more relevant consideration. Ideally you’d want to be upwind of anyone in the vicinity, or at the very least not directly downwind. With a following wind – a cyclist’s favourite -you’d be better off behind than in front!

    4. Basil Pesto

      I can’t speak to the merit of these papers but superficially those conclusions seem reasonable. I’d encourage facial coverings when exercising too (some years ago i bought a merino t-shirt with a bandana sewn into the collar. With the bushfires and now this, it’s proven more useful than I ever would have imagined! Arguably even better than a discrete covering, because the downward vapour is directed directly towards my chest, as opposed to whatever surface happens to be below me.

      I’ve been riding and waking a fair bit the past week. Melbourne has some lovely trails along the river and its various tributaries. They’ve all been, as we say, chockers (packed). Definitely not adhering to the above recommended pacing. Tangentially, I was posting here about golf last week and how it’s being handled differently by jurisdiction (in Australia and internationally). In Victoria all courses are closed, but as I said last week, I’d feel safer exercising on a golf course than on any of the popular urban exercise trails right now (Tasmania seems to have struck the idea balance – courses open but 2 players max per hole, so max 36 on a course at any one time. Plus I think over-70s are verboten, which is very regrettable but understandable.)

  16. The Rev Kev

    “Hamptons’ priciest mansion snatched up in one day by tycoon fleeing coronavirus”

    You think that Hamptons developer Joe Farrell not only brought along all his toys, but that he also brought out his own personal Intensive Care Unit and the staff to man it as well? If he is depending on the Hamptons hospital to help him out if he gets sick, then I have news for him and its all bad.

    1. xkeyscored

      It wouldn’t surprise me to learn that some Hamptonites have effectively acquired their own ICUs, with remdesivir, oxygen, ventilators, monitors, doctors, nurses, masks and all.
      If you’re a multi-billionaire, the cost wouldn’t hurt too much.

  17. petal

    Milk floats riding to the rescue: 2 pints, 2 pints.

    Hoping the rain here today keeps the Dartmouth students from doing stupid stuff outside.

    1. The Rev Kev

      When I was a kid we had milk deliveries. You would leave empty milk bottles out front and the “milkos” would replace them with full glass bottles of milk that had coloured, aluminium foil covers. For a while there was a mystery in our neighbourhood as someone was going around drinking the first few inches of milk after puncturing the top. Eventually we found that it was our own dog that had worked out that it could use its teeth to puncture the foil top and lap some milk out with its tongue.

      Going back to the previous generation, you also had deliveries of fruit and vegetables where housewives would choose from the van what to buy while chatting with their neighbours. A generation before that you had the ice-man who would deliver a solid block of ice that you would put in your cooler to keep your food cold. This was before electric refrigerators of course. I sometimes wonder just what we lost when we went to supermarkets.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Now you got Instacart and Amazon doing the delivering, of course by mope people you will have no human contact with…

        And some of us are baiting-and-switching them those mopes by stiffing them electronically on the tips we offered as th inducement to make that delivery. We hate it when it’s done to us, but the Golden Rule is not universally observed, and hard to enforce.

      2. petal

        My older dog loves milk. I have to be careful where I set my glass because he’ll nonchalantly walk up or climb and start lapping it up before I’ve had any.

        When I was in Newcastle, I didn’t like going to the grocery store. Much preferred stopping by the fruit stand and the bakery. When I got back to the States, it felt weird not doing that anymore and having to go to the giant grocery store for everything.

        1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

          As a young lad I worked with a milkman at weekends & through school holidays for a bit of pocket money. My favourite delivery was to a bunch of friendly hippies living in a dilapidated Queen Anne Georgian house who fascinated me – especially the female versions. It was much later that I discovered the source of that strange scent that wafted around the stairwells.

          Blue tits were the culprits in England & apparently a scientific study found that one must have invented the method & then it gradually spread by mimicry through England & the parts of Europe where the sweet little buggers thrive.

      3. BobW

        I grew up in 50s Detroit. There were milk delivery trucks then, and houses in my neighborhood had “milk chutes.” Here’s a pic I found on the internet of one of them.

      4. skk

        Re: our own dog that had worked out that it could use its teeth to puncture the foil top and lap some milk out with its tongue.

        In our case, in rural England, it was birds. They pierced the foil with their beaks. And the milk floats, I’ve no idea why they were called milk floats, were electric battery powered. And they came really early in the morning too. Perhaps that’s why they were electric powered – for less noise. Although the bottles made somewhat of a racket anyway.

        1. Tom Bradford

          I’d offer they were called floats for the same reason they were electric powered – they were frequently stopping and starting, which is much quicker and easier with a single power pedal than with throttle, clutch and gears. They also needed high torque and acceleration but not many revs for speed. And ‘floats’ because they were light on their feet?

          As I remember they weren’t all that quiet – they had quite a penetrating whine and the bottles, especially the empties, rattled in the crates something awful.

          Must admit, tho’, that the Father Ted episode featuring one was the first time I’d seen one in a long, long time.

      5. Jokerstein

        Kev – try and find “Where Did They Go?” by Barry Crocker (as Bazza Mackenzie) on Bazza’s Party Songs. You’ll love it.

      6. cwalsh

        Growing up in San Diego, during the 60’s we had our milk delivered from the alley – from Rocky Home Dairy in Mission Valley.

      7. eg

        Milk deliveries and bread deliveries in ’60s on the island of Montreal — but we were too poor (or cheap) for either

      8. Basil Pesto

        My parents, maybe of an earlier generation than you, have often reminisced about the milk – delivered by horse and cart, no less! That’s if I remember correctly (they grew up in the 50s).

        I also recently watched a Fassbinder film, The Merchant of Four Seasons, about just such a fruit and vegetable merchant (albeit in Munich in the 70s).

        1. Tom Bradford

          “delivered by horse and cart, no less!”

          I’m just old enough to remember that. The old horse had done the ‘run’ so often that the milkman could actually go straight from doorstep to doorstep while it followed on the road and would stop to wait for him at intervals.

  18. Another Scott

    Election Day as a state/national holiday. This only works if it applies to all workers, not just the professional class. What good is a state holiday for a fast food worker or a landscaper if they still have to work? These are the people who have obstacles to voting and need to have the day off. Those of us who work in offices can just come in early or leave late without any economic impact, but it’s a real financial hardship for the poor and working class to take time off that’s if their schedule is flexible.

    1. MLTPB

      In S Korea, a First World country, (the only one?), a question regarding screening.

      Can they catch asymptomatic voters? Do they test right there?.

  19. PlutoniumKun

    ‘It’s going to be a long night’ – How Members of Labour’s Senior Management Team Campaigned to Lose Novara Media. “Far from a few ‘bad apples’ the messages expose systematic and sustained efforts to undermine the leadership by multiple figures in director-level positions.”

    There seems to be something about professional staff within political parties…. it was hardly a secret that many in Labour loathed Corbyn, but that article is an eyeopener. Much the same seems to be happening north of the border if Craig Murray is correct with the SNP involved in that fast brewing scandal around Alex Salmond and the sexual assault allegations.

    This mostly seems to happen just with left wing parties. I wonder if there is something to be said for the more ruthless approach that the right seem to take with staff who get above themselves.

    1. xkeyscored

      It could be that parties of the right embrace the “Every man for himself” principle, making them better equipped to recognise it and deal with it.
      Parties of the left seem to take it for granted their non-elected staff share the party’s ideals, something I see no reason to assume. If their salaries are secure so long as Corbyn (Sanders in the US) doesn’t get in, why should they care whether the party wins or loses? Their original ideals, if they ever had any, may exclude socialism. And years of working within a party bureaucracy may result in jaded cynicism whatever the original ideals.

    2. Mel

      Right-wing parties get more support from the existing power structure. You don’t need to take down a right-wing leader for being too right-wing.

  20. Krystyn Podgajski

    > Kinins and Cytokines in COVID-19: A Comprehensive Pathophysiological Approach

    I wish a researcher could explain their reasoning to me. Basically what they are saying in this paper is that people with more functional ACE2 will be better off. We know that zinc increases ACE2 activity and function because it is used as a cofactor to metabolize away ANGII and is important to the proteins structure itself.

    The researchers conclusion? “We propose that blocking the [Bradykinin] B1 and B2 receptors might have an ameliorating effect on disease caused by COVID-19.”


    Never will they talk about zinc. Not ever. The profit motive has been baked into everything and this is a crime against humanity. I was talking to a cardiologist, A fellow at Cambridge, he had zero idea about the huge role zinc plays in heart disease. I showed him the research by his OWN SCHOOL and he was importunateslack jawed.

    So again I have to say, if there is a zinc deficiency people will be worse off because;

    There will be less zinc brought into the cell with the ACE2
    There will be less ACE2 activity raising ANGII levels.
    There will be less shedding of the ACE2 from the cell by ADAM17 which also uses zinc.
    There will be a lower immunity because of lower NF-kB activity

    instead of looking at zinc that will solve all these issues for cheap and at once, they make a drug to stop the effect of one result of a zinc deficiency.

    1. John k

      It’s my theory that low levels of zinc gets the immune system to grab it wherever it can to fight the virus, most convenient source being the heart, which needs it to function. But the deprived heart thengets it from other organs, making the sick person susceptible to multiple organ failure in a small fraction of cases.
      Of course there is no data on which patients may be zinc deficient. And no way to tell who is deficient and who is not. It is certainly possible that low zinc is a risk factor.
      So I have managed to get zinc lozenges in case I get symptoms, plus I take 15mg/day to make sure I’m not deficient if I catch it.

  21. PlutoniumKun

    What’s Behind Falling Productivity: The Census May Hold the Answer Economics 21. “Steven Ruggles and Diana Magnuson show that a series of badly managed private contracts made the 2000 and 2010 census far more costly than 20th-century efforts.”

    The early (19th-mid 20th Century) British and Irish census returns are a thing of wonder – the precision of the results, especially in slums shows just how much care the enumerators took. In the appalling slums of central Dublin, where many would have been illiterate, there are neat collations of everyone (sometimes three families to a room) with their relationships identified. It can be a bit fuzzier in rural areas, especially in the (then) Gaelic speaking areas, but they are still fairly comprehensive (sadly, the older results in Ireland were mostly lost by fire in the War of Independence).

    But it must have been a much easier job in the mid 20th Century, when everyone was literate and most homes would have a housewife (at least) at home when the door was knocked upon. In my apartment building, the census takers had to return multiple times over many weeks – many apartments just don’t have someone at home most times, or the residents don’t speak English, or they just don’t like answering the door.

    In Ireland I had a deep suspicion that the government deliberately eased off on the rigorousness of the Census from the 1990’s onwards, specifically because it didn’t want the rate of informal immigration identified. Back around 15 years ago someone pointed out that the number of Polish language and Chinese language newspapers circulating in Ireland were between 4 to 8 times greater than the supposed number of Polish and Chinese speakers in Ireland according to the census. In some areas I know very well, there was a supposedly stable population between the 1970’s and 2010’s, when it was perfectly obvious to anyone who knew those areas that there had been an enormous explosion, mostly in multi occupied rooms. But nobody was recording this. To be fair, in the last census they made a much greater effort to focus on non-English speakers.

    But… to focus on the topic of the article – it is pretty clear evidence I think that productivity in many sectors has stagnated, despite vast sums spent on computerisation. I’m sure everyone here has their own favourite anecdotes – my employee spent an enormous sum of money on a system which, it is generally acknowledged, actually slowed work down. But, as one line manager pointed out ‘I can see everyones outputs on a pie chart!’. So it was all worthwhile in the end.

  22. zagonostra

    >Caitlin Johnstone

    After CJ lists what readers of NC read about everyday, she states:

    None of this bullshit would have been possible without all of us having been raised in an atmosphere of mass-scale obfuscation and manipulation. None of us would ever accept such a world without having been manipulated into it, which is why they have done exactly that.

    I am not sure I fully agree with this, or rather, it seems too simplistic. Perhaps it is because yesterday was Easter, and I re-read John’s Gospel. I think there is more, much more, to be understood in terms of the workings of the human heart than “mass-scale obfuscation and manipulation.”

    I know religion is not a topic often broached here, and falls somewhat outside of NC’s “Fearless commentary on finance, economics, politics and power,” yet, I can’t dismiss that according to the Gospel, there were those who witnessed the the divinity of Christ and yet stood by and watched Him be crucified. Also telling is that He was betrayed by the disciple who controlled the “purse,” he who knew the price of everything but the value of nothing as the saying goes.

    There is much more at play here than CJ’s “manufacturing of consent” and what Fromm analyzed as the Pathology of Normalcy.

    1. Olga

      There is nothing simplistic about relentless propaganda. Only those who do not appreciate just how pervasive and all-encompassing it is could even think in terms of simplicity.

  23. The Rev Kev

    “The Plan Is to Save Capital and Let the People Die”

    I think that this may be true. What I found hard to believe on the news a few hours ago was the number of countries in Europe like Spain and Austria that were getting ready to ease their restrictions against this virus. It was horrifying. You cannot ease on this thing or it will take off again. As a demonstration. I mentioned the other day that Australia had its own Plague princess named the SS Ruby Princess. People are still dying that were aboard this boat but one passenger returned to the island State of Tasmania. Because of this one person, Tasmania has not shut down two hospitals, have quarantined some 5,000 people and have had to bring in the Army to help with supplies and the like while they deep clean those hospitals. That is the problem with this virus. You let your guard down for one moment and it will clobber you in ways you cannot believe. So what will happen to all those European countries when they ease those restrictions?

    1. xkeyscored

      You cannot ease on this thing or it will take off again.

      Then again, we can’t continue with super-tight restrictions until everyone is given an effective vaccine. We can flatten the curve to avoid overwhelming our health services at any one time, but flattening it to zero isn’t feasible, and the attempt might lead to breakdowns in food production and distribution among other things, with even worse consequences.

      That’s not to say Australia handled the Ruby Princess well. Any easing of restrictions needs careful planning and implementation, but surely has to come before a vaccine does.

      1. Bsoder

        And people getting real sick at work or at some of better companies simply dropping dead at work? I wouldn’t image that be useful or help. I think we need to redefine what work is; I guess having an anti-body test would help if it give the results in 30 seconds; and people need much more robust PPE. I’d add that maybe working, living, eating, etc., should be restructured as well. I do believe that what we need to do as a society & and have a live killing virus in the environment can be done, but not like how it was being done. Things need to get much simpler and local (include the return of regional and rural hospitals/ infirmaries).

        1. xkeyscored

          Wouldn’t making things simpler and local would require moving a lot of people around? After all, cities are hardly simple, and they can’t produce their own food. How could we have super-tight restrictions while moving towards this vision? In France they’re looking to mobilise people to cultivate and harvest crops. That’s almost bound to result in new infections as people travel to farms and live and work together, but what’s the alternative – no harvest?

          1. BlakeFelix

            Ya, people need to learn how to do some work safely, or we just go full on Indian caste system and get an untouchable caste of “essential” people who are assumed by anyone sane to be too contagious to get near, to go along with our PMC brahmins. I guess anyway… That said a lot of the work should just stop, no one needs to be getting infected drilling for oil at a loss. Likewise flying empty airliners around like some cargo cult hoping for prosperity to magically return is obviously insane as well.

      2. chuck roast

        Maybe I’m getting this wrong, but from my readings there has never been a vaccine against a coronavirus, and there probably will not be one developed in the near future. So, we are faced with Hobson’s Choice regarding restarting semi-intimate, social interaction.

  24. Burritonomics

    Re: Joe Biden: My Plan to Safely Reopen America

    That legit reads like an 8th grade book report when you didn’t read the book.

    The plan to beat COVID-19 is to do the things we need to do to beat COVID-19!

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Shorter version: I would find people–“experts”–to tell me what we should do.

      Some truly impressive “highlights:”

      Make no mistake: An effective plan to beat the virus is the ultimate answer to how we get our economy back on track….

      Is there ANYONE who’s actually made that “mistake?”

      …… Perhaps offices and factories will need to space out workers and pursue other solutions to lessen risk of spread of the virus on the job. Restaurants may need new layouts, with diners farther apart.

      Yes, perhaps. Positively breathtaking in its brilliance. Who else could have thought of this solution. The “leadership,” vision and experience this country needs. The man who took on Corn Pop is the man we need in this and every crisis.

      Elect joe–he’ll find the right people to tell him what to do.

      1. richard

        10 Biden Policy proposals off the top of my head:
        1) play records for kids
        2) let them touch your leg hair if they are non-white
        3) Medicare for all who want I can’t finish that sentence because I don’t want you to have Medicare
        4) corn pop is not a policy
        5) I have no empathy
        6) listen fatso
        7 – 10) Obama was magic

        chapo is right that for comedic purposes, biden would be a nearly ideal president

        1. Librarian Guy

          Agreed, viz Chapo.

          Biden is somebody who was the ultimate DC insider for decades, who once knew where the bodies were buried (undoubtedly having killed many, & not just in Central America, Iraq, etc.) but due to age and dementia . . .

          today he is like Chauncy Gardner of Kozinski’s Being There, dispensing Gnomic word salad that pundits can then transform into “insight” and “wisdom”, just imagine him “running” the “Greatest Empire” the world has “ever seen”!!! . . . even Jarry’s Pere Ubu could barely match him for comedy gold.

  25. NotTimothyGeithner

    So I see an ad for the “National Democratic Training Committee” asking for a signature to abolish the electoral college? Is Team Blue trying to prime the runways for their excuse in November?

  26. bwilli123

    On Coronavirus & National Security
    Covid-19 must be giving Naval planners nightmares. Any potential adversary now knows that to make a fleet inoperative all you have to do is seed a few asymptomatic carriers to meet and greet any personnel once they visit a foreign port. And what are the potential effects of shaking hands with a submariner?
    How to counter this? Never make landfall again?

    1. xkeyscored

      Equally, US forces and proxies in their bases must be wondering how to deal with drones and missiles that may be carrying shredded infected masks and so on. Could be partly why they’re pulling out of half their Iraq positions.

      1. Synoia

        If was a practice in the middle ages to fling infected cattle over the walls of a Castle under siege.

        Plus sa change…

        1. Andrew Thomas

          Thank you, Synoia. That fact adds even more hilarity to one particular scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

    2. Billy

      “Now Hear This”, “Now Hear This” This is your captain.”
      “Do not hug, accept kisses, gifts or have any relations with women ashore.”

      Fat chance. Cancel shore leave? One of the main reasons many sailors joined the Navy.

  27. xkeyscored

    Mobilization Theory: Some Lessons from the Literature for Today (PDF) – Global Institute for Sustainable Prosperity

    This was in yesterday’s links, but I didn’t finish it until today.
    I started with high hopes, as I’ve long thought some kind of mobilization is necessary to deal with the climate emergency, markets and oligarchs being unlikely to solve it.
    I’m not too good at interpreting all the economics and finance side of it all, so I may have misunderstood, but the assumption seems to be that after the crisis, consumption will spring back to where it was before. There’s a lot about bonds to make workers happy with having less now, but more when it’s all over, and much discussion of other measures directed at much the same end.
    But can we solve the climate emergency and have current levels of consumption? I doubt it, and I’m afraid I found little in the article that addresses this possibility. Mobilization, yes, but persuading people to accept it before it’s too late, I still don’t know.

  28. Monty

    re Elaine Doyle tweet re UK and Ireland – “Basic things: Ireland and the UK started this pandemic with roughly the same number of ICU beds (6.5 per 100,000 for Ireland, 6.6 per 100,000 in the UK).”

    The virus isn’t a cloud freely drifting around, it needs people to travel whilst infectious, and pass new people, to spread it from place to place. It isn’t instantly evenly distributed across every area at the same speed as our awareness of it is.

    The more people coming through your area, the more opportunity for transmission into local community. Look at the where the international hubs are, and compare that map to a map the larger corona virus outbreaks. They are basically the same map.

    So Ireland gets a lot of visitors, but compared to the UK hubs, it’s much lower. Statistically, the virus had a lot more opportunity to move into the local population in the UK, and probably did so earlier and more often. So it spread further, reaching more vulnerable people.

    It spreads much much faster earlier, when people aren’t aware of the threat, and are not actively avoiding getting and spreading it by staying at home, thinking about hygiene etc.

    When I used to commute to central London every day, on a 40 minute train and tube journey, I estimate I walked within 2 meters of more people on a single day, than I have walked past in the entirety of the last 20 years in AZ. That is not an exaggeration. It is a massive opportunity to come across a highly transmissible disease. Is it any wonder AZ is doing fine, and London is getting hit hard?

    1. bwilli123

      I suspect all the high density cities and particularly those with rail and subway lines will be hardest hit unless they shut down early in the pandemic. It says something for the suburban and car bound Los Angeles by comparison.
      Wuhan has a particularly extensive railway network.

        1. Billy

          And thus killing the alleged environmental necessity of favoring high density living with a dependence on mass transit. Long live the suburbs and country living!

      1. PlutoniumKun

        This has not been the case in Asia. Seoul and Taipei are among the densest and most public transport reliant cities in the world. And they have so far been largely unscathed – because they reacted fast and aggressively (and neither shut down). Density is not a ‘reason’ for a bad outbreak, its an excuse.

        1. Monty

          Really it’s just maths. The number of others that the infected person meets each day, multiplied by the probability of passing on the infection, multiplied by the number of days being infectious, will give you the number of infections per case.

          If you live in a dense area, with a lot of pedestrians, the opportunity to infect others is higher than if you dont. Surely that’s common sense?

          That’s why it’s so important to ID and isolate the sick. Make sure the number of others they meet is low. Also, give people protective masks and good hygiene advice to reduce the transmissibility. I think that accounts for the success in the places you mention.

          Eg. If I am close to 100 people a day, and the chance of transmission is 5% and I am infectious for 10 days. I would infect 50 people on average.
          Whereas, If I only meet 1 person a day, and all else is the same, I might not infect anyone at all.

        2. Redlife2017

          To back you up, PK, Islington has the highest density of any council in the UK and yet, is not a hotspot compared to other parts of London. Density is not, uh destiny.

    2. MLTPB

      Here, it’s number of ICU beds per 100,000, not the total number.

      Looking at cases, they often report the total, not cases per million, or per 100,000, etc.

      They should be more consistent, and report both sets of numbers.

      1. Monty

        My point is that the ICU beds comparison only means anything if you’ve got a similar size of outbreak. Ireland doesn’t have a a similar size outbreak, so less people are dying or needing the ICU. That’s not because Ireland had superior health policy, it’s because less people, who were infected with the virus, traveled there to spread it.

        1. MLTPB

          Yes, that’s a intersting and plausible point.

          It could be one of the reasons why New York have more cases than California that are traceable to Italy,….promixity, closer to vacation in Italy. Of course, there are also other reasons.

          My point is additional to yours. Sorry for not making it clear.

        2. PlutoniumKun

          The Irish outbreak is larger per person according to official figures – although since Ireland tests far more aggressively than the UK, this is probably deceptive. Ireland and England also had roughly similar dates for the first recorded person to person transmission (late February). Ireland actually has very strong links with Wuhan – I personally know two Irish people who work in Wuhan University (it has links with Irish universities, with significant shared staff/student arrangements).

          The reality is that even if you exclude London, the death rate from the disease is very significantly higher in the UK than in Ireland.

  29. Billy

    “In some cases the federal government would inject money in return for shares, so taxpayers would get a piece of the potential upside. “This is going to be rough justice,” Stiglitz says. Companies that don’t like the government’s offer could try their luck in standard Chapter 11.”

    “Some cases”. Will they be means tested for debt?
    I don’t want my tax dollars being injected to buy shares in some debt burdened steaming pile of crap, left behind by the wandering parasites of Wall Street. Only healthy companies should get the “injection” of our children’s future tax payments–and that after they have sold back in the open market the actual number of shares that they bought with any borrowed money.

    Preference should be given to companies that actually create something of value, with a further point score given to manufacturing goods within the actual United States, not Guam, The Mariana Islands or Puerto Rico.

    “You obviously don’t understand how finances work.” Neither do 99% of the population, and them’s the ones you don’t want to revolt against a system that already has a bullseye self-painted on it and its perpetrators.

  30. richard

    Okay, question for the commentariat. This is about to sound pretty dumb, but I hate and avoid learning about economics (well, apart from hudson or yves or blythe or kelton in baby size doses :)) I tried with the guy Lambert posted, explaining the Fed’s actions, but it was too much for me, for right now anyway.
    Okay, long preamble over. Here goes: What happens to the Trillion A Day the fed was pumping into banks, or the market, or whatever? Where does that money go? Did someone just get a trillion $ richer? Is it disappearing? They made up the money and gave it to “someone”. Not me or you, but “someone”. Who got it?
    Or do I have it all wrong?
    Thanks! I just want to know ALL the names to say, as I sit in my arya stark corner and knit.

    1. periol

      The only thing specific I’ve heard is some of this money was aimed at was Citibank. I was reading they had some exposure to oil prices that opened up a large black hole in their finances when oil prices tanked, a hole large enough to bring them down without massive Fed intervention.

      Beyond that I haven’t heard where this money is going. Margin calls, I’m sure. Others might know more.

    2. Samuel Conner

      I have not been following recent Fed operations closely, but as far as I can tell, this has not been “making money and giving it to entities”. Rather, the Fed has been doing asset swaps — purchasing existing financial instruments (bonds of various kinds, whether originally issued by US Treasury, or perhaps certain kinds of corporate bonds) and crediting the sellers with balances in the sellers’ reserve accounts with the Fed.

      Who are the sellers? I don’t know the details, but typically the Fed transacts with banks and “shadow banks” of various kinds.

      The institutions on the other side of these trades with the Fed are not “richer” after the transactions, but they are more “liquid”, so that they can meet demands for cash from other obligations that they have. I suppose it is possible that some of these institutions do not need the liquidity to meet their own obligations but might find the Fed to be the lowest cost source of short term funding to provide cash for other purposes, such as market speculation. The Fed might look on such activities with approval as they might tend to support asset prices and quell market panic. Back in the 2007-9 time frame, commenters at the Calculated Risk ‘blog would frequently refer to Fed interventions as “PPT” — “plunge protection team”, as Fed activities seemed to support asset prices more than they did the physical productive economy.

      That’s a very general response that I think is basically correct in a “high level/low resolution” sense. I welcome clarification and correction from those who have been paying closer attention to the Fed responses to the present crisis.

      1. John k

        Yes. It was tarp money, passed by congress and paid out thru Aig to ailing banks, not fed money. Similarly the 2T current bailout is treasury money, not fed money.
        However, seems the fed was anxious about the market, and might have even justified buying equities if congress refused to act. Plus trump can do whatever in emergency…

    3. Billy


      As an amateur economist let me try; Where does that money go?
      It forestalls the inevitable collapse for a few years and allows the systemites to sell out to a greater fool with their own line of credit. Once the cash-out money has been withdrawn and spent on education for their children, nice new cars, travel, staff like dog walkers, massage, plastic surgery, drivers for Grandma, the best food, real estate and serf-rent producing things, it is safe.

    4. lyman alpha blob

      Like others have said, nobody gets a trillion dollars richer, rather it just keeps those who are rich on paper from having to admit they don’t have any money.

      For example, one thing that happened after the last crash in 2008 was investment groups like Blackrock bough up all kinds of real estate on the cheap. They then converted rental revenue streams into assets you could invest in. Those investments were fairly similar CDOs that caused the 2008 meltdown in the first place, just replacing mortgage payments with rent payments. My guess is that right about now, with so many struggling to pay rent due to the pandemic, those assets maybe aren’t worth as much as many investment bankers would like. So say you are a banker and have an asset with a nominal value of $1 billion but with a market value that’s cratering. In comes Uncle Sugar (The Fed) to pay you the entire $1 billion in cash to take that asset off your hands and put it on their balance sheet. You have been made whole and get to keep your place in the Hamptons, rather than having to pay the consequences for your dodgy investment.

      It’s also how they get to print massive amounts of money without causing inflation. They aren’t really pumping new money into the economy – they are simply replacing rich people’s “broken” money with some shiny new money. So they can run the whole scam all over again.

      It’s nice work if you can get it.

      1. richard

        I think I’m starting to get it: thanks everyone. So the money isn’t like “extra” money for elites, it’s just replacing some of their money that was in danger of disappearing with real money that won’t disappear.
        And we do all this, because they have all the money and make they things go and they make it rain for small fry like us.
        Except of course for this endless drought! I have been waiting my entire adult life, since 1980, for something to either trickle down (repub fairy tale), or for all our “innovation” (dem fairy tale) to pay off with concrete material benefits.
        and now here we are, well, well
        how’s that legitimacy looking there, hoss? you reckon she’ll hold?

        1. eg

          all that money just fills a yawning hole that would otherwise appear underneath them like in a Coyote vs Roadrunner cartoon

          1. farmboy

            Anyone remember the “Peace Dividend” when the Berlin Wall was breached, the Soviet Union crumbled and all that money spent on decades of Cold War was going to be spent on the citizenry and infrastructure. Empty promises!

  31. Carey

    New from CJ Hopkins- ‘Brave New Normal’:

    “..If it isn’t already clear to you yet that this coronavirus in no way warrants the totalitarian emergency measures that have been imposed on most of humanity, it will be become clear in the months ahead. Despite the best efforts of the “health authorities” to count virtually anything as “a Covid-19 death,” the numbers are going to tell the tale. The “experts” are already memory-holing, or recalibrating, or contextualizing, their initial apocalyptic projections. The media are toning down the hysteria. The show isn’t totally over yet, but you can feel it gradually coming to an end.

    In any event, whenever it happens, days, weeks, or months from now, GloboCap will dial down the totalitarianism, and let us out, so we can go back to work in whatever remains of the global economy … and won’t we all be so very grateful! There will be massive celebrations in the streets, Italian tenors singing on balconies, chorus lines of dancing nurses! The gilets jaunes will call it quits, the Putin-Nazis will stop with the memes, and Americans will elect Joe Biden president!

    Or, all right, maybe not that last part, but, the point is, it will be a brave new normal! People will forget all that populism nonsense, and just be grateful for whatever McJobs they can get to be able to pay the interest on their debts, because, hey … global capitalism isn’t so bad compared to living under house arrest!..”

    1. Romancing The Loan

      His response to the pandemic actually made me remove him from my reading list. He shares a flaw with a number of the more extreme leftists I read in that he ascribes everything to human agency, to a baffling degree, and it ends up giving “GloboCap” an aura of competence and knowledge that it does not in the slightest deserve.

      I cannot imagine the mental gymnastics it takes to believe that tanking the world economy all at the same time is advantageous to anyone (especially the current elites! they already have full control! all they can do is lose it!), or that a massive, incredibly swift great depression will decrease social unrest. Does it ever occur to him that the recent surge of propaganda telling us “it’s over” may be lies out of desperation? NY residents on Reddit are describing a constant drone of ambulance sirens removing bodies from apartments, described as getting closer and closer to their buildings “like in a horror movie.”

      His smug knowing tone just grates on me now.

      1. Grebo

        Yes, it is disappointing. I guess it’s a fine (and fuzzy) line between sufficient cynicism and conspiracy theory.

        1. Trent

          i suppose only time will tell if his suspicions are valid. I think what you label conspiracy theory is an inability to fathom how awful the people in charge really are.


          Well if you didn’t fix the system in 2008 and you knew it was going to blow up again. You’d need something to cover your rump

          1. Grebo

            Most of the piece seems fair enough and satirical (so acceptably hyperbolic) but the parts Carey reproduces above do not. Carey posted it because it agrees with his ‘corona ain’t nuffink’ view.

            It’s not a matter of how awful our rulers are. It’s a question of their capabilities, solidarity, motivations etc. They all (including the Chinese and the scientists) agreed to crash the global economy in order to dissuade us from revolting? Doesn’t that rather defeat the object? How does it even do that? What do the scientists get out of it?

      2. CJ Hopkins

        Sorry to lose you as a reader, Mr. Romance, but then, you can’t have been reading very carefullly. I’ve made this point in my columns many times, and again this time …

        “See, I try to focus more on systems (like global capitalism) than on individuals. And on models of power rather than the specific people in power at any given time. Looking at things that way, this global lockdown and our brave new normal makes perfect sense.”

        Many thanks for misrepresenting my work here in the comments, and proving my point about the hysteria.

        1. Fritzi

          And this changes what?

          Systems of power and individual capitalists as character masks are fine and good, but behind the abstractions are still individual people, who aren’t really smarter, or less fallible, less prone to incompetence (or hysteria for that matter) than anybody else.

        2. Olga

          No worries, I’d bet many of us appreciate a different viewpoint… even if it is uncomfortable.

      3. Carey

        Thanks for your comment. I’ve found Hopkins’s writing to have substantial predictive value over the years.

  32. MLTPB

    Body bags link.

    In Sri Lanka, it’s mandatory cremation for Corona victims, and citizens of a non majority faith are not happy.

    Is cremation better for public health, in this case?

    1. Andrew Thomas

      On a past story about cremation, it is still really not ok for Orthodox Christians to be cremated. However, Greece at least made it legal to do so back in, I believe, 2006. So it can be done, if you are indifferent to the fate of your immortal soul.

      1. Fritzi

        If God can’t resurrect you because your mortal remains were broken down into their constituent parts in a slightly different way, and a tad faster, he is probably the wrong horse to back anyway.

  33. Carey

    ‘Eight Reasons to End the Lockdowns As Soon as Possible’, by Jonathan Geach, M.D.

    “This post does not deny the effectiveness of social distancing or quarantine for COVID-19. I am not encouraging people to suspend these practices before official determinations have been made public. This post is to help physicians, thought leaders and public officials understand and weigh the risks and benefits of extended lockdowns versus more measured and earlier return to work measures.
    We have already flattened the curve

    Social distancing works. We have gone from predictions of millions of deaths, to hundreds of thousands and now we are predicting about 60 thousand deaths. This is with the likely over reporting of death. Dr. Birx admitted the attribution of death to COVID-19 has been liberal. If the death count were limited to deaths directly caused by COVID-19, it would likely be even lower than this.

    The most effective time for social distancing is early in a pandemic. Lockdowns also slow the development of herd immunity, which helps a society move past the virus.

    We can still practice good hand hygiene, wear masks in public, and continue social distancing for the elderly and high risk, while we develop protective herd immunity for those most at risk. By the time the lockdowns began, COVID-19 had already been seeded in the US for months, limiting the effectiveness of the lockdowns in the first place as the virus was already widespread..”

    1. MLTPB

      Greenland, last I checked a few days ago, had zero active cases…alone in the world.

      One safe way to keep it that way is to refuse entry to all from outside.

      Anything short is balancing life vs money. Or to weigh one risk, say, a ship with a captain and crew, bringing in food, vs another risk, contagion.

      I think that is the reality…we are always trying to find a compromise…not just Greenland, but all of us.

      And it’s not an easy decision.

    2. Tom Bradford

      “We can still practice good hand hygiene, wear masks in public, and continue social distancing for the elderly and high risk”

      Yes we can. But will we? If the President of the USA decides he doesn’t need to do these things how many others will follow suit? How many others will decide it doesn’t apply to them? And of those who do understand the need, for how long will they be able to maintain the necessary discipline? Or who even when trying to do these things, slips up just once?

      You might just as well say: “If we all drove carefully and defensively no-one would ever die on the road.” That’s quite true, but…

  34. Oregoncharles

    “The coronavirus crisis has sounded the death knell for liberal globalisation” – we can hope. This sentence struck me: “This Conservative government has found the magic money tree. ” Initials: mmt. Cute as well as ironic, huh? And a justification for Brexit. Even more ironic, precisely this was Corbyn’s reason for being EU-skeptical. Now the Tories have discovered it.

    As always, we. shall. see. But I doubt that the world or political economy will be the same when the dust settles. I hope I live that long.

  35. Oregoncharles

    From “Super Chapter 11″ article: ” The companies’ balance sheets are interdependent: Reducing what one owes will weaken its creditors, making it impossible for them to pay their creditors, and so on.”

    Is there perhaps a lesson here about running businesses on debt? I would argue it’s a bit like “platforms:” if your business depends utterly on debt, you don’t have a business. At least not a successful or secure one. There are obviously situations where it makes sense: new projects, or long gaps between investment and payoff (construction, farming). Even there, if successful, you should eventually be able to finance the next project or year from the proceeds of the last one.

    But it seems clear that debt dependence is routine business. This was elaborately explained to me during the last crash, when I raised the same naive question. In fact, this fragility is a feature of the financialization of our economy. I wonder how much of it is pure MBA disease? The end result is a whole economy disappearing into a Ponzi scheme. That bubble’s bound to burst.

  36. Oregoncharles

    From the Jacobin article on “mass politics”: ” politics that were hegemonic on the Left before Sanders’s first run: anti-electoral movementism and the embrace of left politics as a subculture”

    The Left would get a lot farther if they dropped the ugly, impenetrable jargon. I’ll keep reading in the hope they’ll make sense, but it’s a sacrifice.

    Is Jacobin the one that’s Trotskyist, or is that WSWS?

    1. Oregoncharles

      It would also be nice of he got around to saying anything.

      Among other things, he pretends that there hasn’t been an electoral party on the Left all along.

    2. flora

      But, but, powerful jargon parsing is the same as real, on the ground power. Right? Right??? /s. heh.

  37. flora

    re: Kansas Supreme Court Upholds Governor’s Order Limiting The Size Of Easter Services NPR

    Thanks for that. Public Health overrides libertarians’ obsessions about personal liberty – regardless of the costs to the wider society – during a pandemic, or should do in any civilized society.

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