Links 4/16/2020

These 5 Decidedly Weird Animal Butts Are The Distraction We All Need Right Now Science Alert (Chuck L)

Coronavirus Philly: Move over ‘Pizza Rat’, Philadelphia has a ‘Pizza Groundhog’ 6abc (furzy)

Zoo May Feed Animals to Animals as Funds Dry Up in Pandemic New York Times (furzy) :-(

Eye to I: Self Portraits from the National Portrait Gallery YouTube. Another virtual tour.

A Quiet Revolution in Botany: Plants Form Memories GetPocket (David L)

Newly discovered chemical in willow trees kills various cancer cells New Atlas (David L)

Questionnaire survey identifies potential separation-related problems in cats PhysOrg (Chuck L)

Neutrinos could shed light on why the Universe has so much more matter than antimatter Nature (Kevin W)

Scientists Confirm Dramatic Melting of Greenland Ice Sheet Guardian

The fate of carbon in a mature forest under carbon dioxide enrichment Nature (UserFriendly)

That tremor called trauma Synaps (Chuck L). Important.


Make this go away. This is on the order of WMD in Iraq, or “Assad gassed his own people” when he was winning: US is investigating if ‘COVID-19 escaped from Wuhan lab during experiments and China covered it up by blaming the wet markets’ – sparking Mike Pompeo to demand that Beijing ‘come clean’ Daily Mail. I am having a hard time living in a world where no one cares about truth. Although what looks to be a cultivated campaign in Chinese social media to depict the US as the source of coronavirus (PlutoniumKun clued us in early) may have give the cray-crays the leverage to launch this propaganda salvo.


Coronavirus destroys lungs. But doctors are finding its damage in kidneys, hearts and elsewhere. Washington Post. Kevin W: “This is what herd immunity looks like in practice.” From the article: “Almost half the people hospitalized because of covid-19 have blood or protein in their urine, indicating early damage to their kidneys…”

Hong Kong, with its 7.5 million people, is an amazing success vs #COVID19. Why? NEJM (DK)

News Feature: Avoiding pitfalls in the pursuit of a COVID-19 vaccine PNAS. Note this came up with SARS vaccine candidates. (ddd)

Estimating the Fraction of Unreported Infections in Epidemics with a Known Epicenter: An Application to COVID-19 Ali Hortaçsu, Jiarui Liu, Timothy Schwieg, SSRN. Hoo boy: “We estimate that 4-14% (1.5%-10%) of actual infections had been reported in US up to March 16.”

The Coronavirus Pandemic Is Not a Natural Disaster New Yorker (resilc)

Israeli COVID-19 treatment shows 100% survival rate – preliminary data Jerusalem Post (resilc). n=6. My father got a treatment for his autoimmune disease based on a study with n=8. First treatment seemed to help, second put him into a terminal tailspin (ulcers in his mouth, loss of 25% of his bodyweight because he couldn’t et, unable to sleep) that led him to blow his brains out. So be wary of small sample sizes.


Cataluña cambia la forma de contar casos y hace aflorar 3.242 fallecidos más con coronavirus. El Pais. Ignacio: “Catalonia is now counting “untested probable Covid-19 cases” as Covid-19 casualties.”


Japan to declare nationwide state of emergency as coronavirus spreads Japan Times. PlutoniumKun: “This could finish Abe.”


COVID-19: Elon Musk failed to deliver ventilators to CA Sacramento Bee (BC). Quelle surprise!

Far-right US politicians label lockdowns anti-constitutional Associated Press. Resilc: “Shoot them like in Manila.”

Florida man makes Publix shooting threat during coronavirus: cops Miami Herald. For good reasons!

New Role for New York Police: Breaking Up Crowds at Trader Joe’s New York Times

Like Working at Home? It Could Become Permanent Industry Week. UserFriendly: “Note the last sentence.”

Serfs Revolt

How the Coronavirus Could Create a New Working Class Atlantic (resilc)

Amazon Halts Activity At French Warehouses After Court Order Bloomberg

This Is Truly a War:’ Nurses Are Staging a National Day of Protest Vice

Guillotine Watch

Hamptons bicyclist files police report after verbal confrontation with CNN’s Chris Cuomo: report The Hill (UserFriendly)

Political Responses

School District Deploys Over 100 School Buses Equipped With Wi-Fi For Students Without Internet Access CNN

Navy May Reinstate Fired Captain to Command of Roosevelt New York Times

California offering $500 in coronavirus relief to undocumented immigrants The Hill (UserFriendly). #RecallGavinNewsom is backfiring, tweets overwhelmingly support Newsom and this move.


Elon Musk, Jamie Dimon, and Vince McMahon: Here are 20 of the biggest names on Trump’s list of advisers to reopen the US economy Business Insider. Kevin W: “I am not seeing any actual doctors on that list.”

Multiple Banks Have Reported Outages As People Check For Coronavirus Stimulus Checks CNET

Emirates Now Conducting Airport COVID-19 Tests One Mile at a Time


Wall Street’s Biggest-Ever China Bet Rides on These Bankers Bloomberg

S Korean economic woes scupper Moon’s legacy ambitions Financial Times. PlutoniumKun:

Weirdly negative piece here in the FT on the win. This is an unprecedented win for the mildly centre left Democratic Party, the Conservatives have been routed. Moon now has a very strong mandate for change and the power to do it – as the Ask a Korean blog writer puts it on Twitter, Moon now does not have to rely on internal or external alliances, he can govern as he wants. I’d also add that South Koreas international reputation and standing has never been higher.


Washington Plans To Start Violence in Iraq Before Leaving (resilc)

Trump Transition

Coronavirus: Trump says peak is passed and US to reopen soon BBC. Magical thinking. But Alabama is champing at the bit to reopen soon. And the mask guidelines are meaningless unless grocery stores and pharmacies start refusing to take payment from patrons with no masks (they don’t have the guts or manpower to bar entry).

Republicans go on attack as loans for small businesses start to run out The Hill. UserFriendly: “*beats head against wall* The framing!!!”

Pentagon Watchdog Clears Microsoft’s $10 Billion Win Over Amazon Bloomberg

Gates ups pandemic funds to $250 million, says Trump WHO move makes ‘no sense’ The Nation (furzy)

Trump threatens to adjourn both chambers of Congress The Hill. Over appointments. Funny the Dems never tried this over judges.


What Happens If A Presidential Nominee Can No Longer Run For Office? FiveThirtyEight. UserFriendly: “Already laying the groundwork.”

AOC lays out progressive wishlist for Biden Politico

Don’t Fear the Anti-Biden Socialist New Republic

Instead of Challenging Joe Biden, Maybe the Green Party Could Help Change Our Democracy New Yorker (resilc)

Adam Schiff: Russia Is Still Interfering With US Elections—and Trump Is Covering It Up Mother Jones (resilc). The Dems are unable to find a better talking point? As a reader suggested, Putin should gaslight the Dems and start praising Biden.

The Tyranny of Decorum David Sirota (UserFriendly)

Puerto Rico Decides The 1st Amendment Doesn’t Apply To Its Citizens; Criminalizes ‘Fake News’ Techdirt (Chuck L)

Major blow to Keystone XL pipeline as judge revokes key permit Guardian (David L)

Airbnb Raises Another $1 Billion in Debt, IPO Prospects Diminish Bloomberg

Coronavirus Has Wiped Out A Decade Of Oil Demand Growth OilPrice (BC)

Trump’s OPEC+ moment concedes US oil dominance Asia Times

Frontier Files For Bankruptcy, Says Its Broadband Service Won’t Get Any Worse ars technica

Relief Rally: Senators As Feckless As the Rest of Us at Stock Picking NBER (resilc). Gee, since they insider trade, that means adjusting for that they are terrible! They have information advantages and screw it up. Or they buy bad conventional wisdom and tips from touts. Small consolation.

Board Member Says CalPERS Kept Quiet About Cutting Tail- Hedge Strategy Institutional Investor

Antidote du jour (guurst). Story here.

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. DG Cynic

    “Funny the Dems never tried this over judges.”

    Can you imagine the reichwing meltdown if they had? Take the protests yesterday in Lansing Michigan and multiply that by 1,000,000 or more. They’d have shut the country down more completely than the current pandemic has. And faster.

    1. Wukchumni

      All it would’ve taken to set this country on a course of horrific violence regarding the pandemic, would be one of the many overweight Covid-19 candidates in Lansing carrying an AR-15, to discharge his (there wasn’t 1 woman in the photo on the steps of the state capital) weapon, allowing the myriad of copycat losers with high velocity hand cannons across the country, to follow suit.

        1. Wukchumni

          The first rat-a-tat-tat of a semi-automatic rifle ringing out would’ve clued in all of the others assembled on the steps that it was time for them to also discharge their weaponry, heard mentality.

          1. edmondo

            Thomas Jefferson never said, every generation needs a new revolution, but he did say, a little rebellion now and then is a good thing.

            1. hunkerdown

              Regardless of Jefferson’s shockingly non-reactionary stance for his time, he was nevertheless a product of his class interests.

    2. Deltron

      If that’s the case, and I question whether it truly is in this particular instance, then the ability to wield power boils down to having a constituency that’s willing to use violence or the threat of violence for political gain, even run-of-the-mill political gain…both in relation to the political leaders they support, as well as those they oppose.

  2. Toshiro_Mifune

    Like Working at Home? It Could Become Permanent

    We were discussing this in the comments last week I believe. If enough companies do this it has the potential to be a transformative event for the US economy.

    1. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, TM.

      Be careful what you wish for.

      My employer held a virtual town hall three weeks ago. The Frankfurt based leadership rejoiced in the fact that two thirds of employees, much more in Asia, are working from home. The leadership said they are observing how things go and will adapt the “restructuring”, currently suspended, accordingly.

      Colleagues appeared oblivious to the fact that it is much clearer what is essential, not so much and not at all about our work and how our jobs can easily become gig economy jobs.

      My employer has a dozen offices In London and one each in Birmingham, Manchester and Belfast. Half and the jobs with them could go. Just wait a year or two.

      1. RabidGandhi

        Ah but look at the bright side Colonel. As more people work at home, companies can invest even less in their own infrastructure, sloughing off those expenses on their workers. Those workers will be eligible to offset some (categorically not all) of those expenses with tax deductions, a la Über. So essentially, once again the nanny state will be picking up the bill for corporations to shift money from investment to financialisation.

        Great news for those who want to see companies investing less and blowing more money on the ponies.

        1. John Zelnicker

          April 16, 2020 at 10:07 am

          “Those workers will be eligible to offset some (categorically not all) of those expenses with tax deductions, a la Über.:

          In the US those workers who have taxes deducted from their wages are no longer allowed to deduct the costs of a home office. This was one of the changes in the 2017 tax act.

          Independent contractors (gig workers) can still take those deductions.

          1. RabidGandhi

            Thanks for the expert info John, the NC commentariat is the best commentariat. But wasn’t the Colonel’s point literally about workers being reclassified as gig workers, in which case they’d be independent contractors and thus subject to the precarity game of finding the right deductions?

    2. Mo's Bike Shop

      Frankly my job could have been 99.9% online since 2015. I think validation for management is the big stumbling block. Checking on productivity is a lot more work than just hovering around.

        1. edmondo

          Whenever we had a “reduction in force” we always started with the people who worked from home.

    3. jefemt

      Commercial Real Estate Sector disruption, stranded assets?

      This thing is like a caught-tip-in-powder slow-developer yard-sale fall skiing (on a 2 inch per hour dump) Which way is up?

      This virus is a gift– will the waves of death, disruption, and destruction bring us to our senses to do a deep re-tool?

      1. Toshiro_Mifune

        Commercial Real Estate Sector disruption, stranded assets?

        Yes. Also, auto industry further disruptor, mom and pop lunch places, business casual clothing*, eventually residential real estate as well (Why live in suburban NJ/CT/NY if you’re not going into NYC anymore?)

        * – I joked previously about Brooks Brothers but I’ve been in a tshirt and jeans for the past 2 1/2 months and have an entire Brooks/Bonobos/JC Crew wardrobe sitting idle.

        1. Toshiro_Mifune

          I’d figure if this does happen it will be one of the biggest economic stories over the next decade.

      2. Wukchumni

        The more apt CRE comparison would be a snowboarder trapped upside down in a tree well @ a ski resort.

        What a grisly way to die…

        1. skippy

          I personally find tree wells exciting, but then again it pales to some of the military grade fat tails ….

          Anywho I would suggest the appropriate allegory in slope experiences to be bombing the East Wall at A basin flat chat, at the bottom, then whilst pulling G’s enter the death cookie* zone.

          * snowballs derived from inexperience skiers and snow boarders having a punt, only to pull the pin when the degree of slope is not a pretty picture necessitating cutting across the face to safety. This creates tracks which then send little clumps of snow down the slope as they mash around and gain mass on the way down. Best bit is they get mushy in the sun and then harden at night – rinse and repeat.

          Imagine the thrill whilst pulling big G’s at the bottom and your straining to keep your head from going between your knees only to have your knees start jack hammering at your head at the same – time due to skis contact with the death cookies ….

          But then again I liked rocking up to the lift sometimes on on 230 pro down hill skis in the day … young lift operator expletive dude you can’t even turn till your doing 60 … me – yeah?

          Sadly youngest daughter had to come home from a Banff working holiday, after a promotion to assistant mgr too. Covid flight out was direct and nothing but aussies doing the same.

  3. rob

    With bill mckibbins article in the new yorker , advocating AGAINST voting for the green party…. Wow
    What a pile of trash thinking. A handful of different cliche’s, as to why we ought not vote green party… coupled with the implied… everyone OUGHT to have trump derangement syndrome… and we can “play the percentages”… and get real progress done… But NOT if we vote for the greens..
    Well after the “green” badges he said wore on his sleeve… he said he believed in good things environmentally… but then said… he was happy to work hard for electing barak obama… and biden..
    Throw in our democratic republic isn’t a parliamentary system., so there is no point but to “work within the framework”…Wow..
    So I guess his and his climate “work” is equally baseless…. he is a “plant”. Like al gore… and the “greens” who push for nuclear power… or the “progressives for biden”.. that kinda says it all.
    Sounds to me like some establishment someone, somewhere… doesn’t want people to “vote GREEN”……All the more reason to do it.

    1. Olga

      Sad, but not surprising… the leaders are either co-opted, bribed, or done away with. For non-compliant, there are relentless smear campaigns. TINA 24/7

    2. Oh

      Good ol’ McKibbins has always been a phony looking to aggrandize himself. He’s an ObamaBoy and wont change that. He advocates half measures on global warming. He’s more interested in donations to his “cause” like so many environmental organizations. Naomi Klein has pointed this kind of phony behavior in one of her books, IIRC, the one entitled “This Changes Everything”.

    3. barefoot charley

      I’ll never forget when our iconic old-growth redwoods defense of Headwaters in California met Bill Clinton’s re-election campaign in ’95-96. He briefly pretended to care what an environment was, to defend his narrow and phony coalition. Suddenly our Sierra Club allies met us not just bearing Clinton swag, but insisting that we take it. Local green groups too suddenly became party outposts. Most of us were as politically cynical then as we are now, but to keep saving Headwaters we had to pack the buttons and bumperstickers and dispose of them responsibly. McKibbon has priors.

    4. polecat

      Is he $till zooming around the country .. or planet for that matter, going from one enviro confab to another, keeping the aircarrier of his choice whole, I wonder …?? I mean, he has to convey Somehow ….

      I have more principles in staying home, growing my garden, then he has shouting the CG word from on high!

    5. Chas

      My response to Bill McKibben’s article is going to be to concentrate my work and money contributing to the Green party affiliates in the swing states because I think that is where we can hurt the Democrats the most. Let’s be proud to support the Green party.

    6. Oregoncharles

      Thanks for writing this so I didn’t have to – I’ve been working in the yard till I cooled down.

      I’d add a couple more points: First, what the family blog does he think we’ve BEEN doing? The Green Party has made ranked choice voting a central policy plank from the beginning. I personally participated in getting it passed in my county, Benton, Oregon. And I’d wager the Green Party played a large role in getting it passed in Maine, too.

      Second: he doesn’t realize we already tried that once? In 2004, we nominated an unknown insider in order to give the Dems a clear shot at getting rid of Bush. They thwarted us; Kerry ran a terrible campaign, essentially throwing the election – the origin of my idea that they have a deal and just take turns. And our registrations went DOWN. For a political party, not running a presidential candidate amounts to saying “we’re not serious.”

      IOW, it’s really just a con.

      1. John Anthony La Pietra

        And of course in 2004 it was the Green and Libertrian candidates (David Cobb and Michael Badnarik respectively) who challenged the results in Ohio when Kerry wouldn’t.

  4. zagonostra


    Just as Obama selected Biden as his running mate in 2008 partly because “Biden was more conservative than Obama at that time,” Ocasio-Cortez said, it would be “encouraging if Biden also picked someone who was a little bit more progressive, that he knows may push him.”

    A little bit? Is that it? Give us a token “progressive?” I am very tempted to post another Jimmy Dore clip where he uses videos of AOC on the Kavanaugh hearing and then juxtaposes with her recent comments on Tara Reade. I was also going to post The Rising’s interview with Tara, but I know most people who follow these sources have already viewed.

    There is an insidious accommodation/capitulation taking place in AOC’s rhetoric, let alone policy positions. It’s that same corrosive/watering down of policy proposals that is troubling.

    I remember reading Max Weber in my college days on his typology of legitimate use of power, i.e., government traditional, rational-legal, and charismatic. Obviously all three coexist simultaneously to varying degrees. Yet what strikes me is to watch in real time as AOC’s blending of the three are moving more and more to the bureaucratic/institutional and the charismatic valence is morphing into what some yesterday on this site referred to as Obamaspeak.

    1. MLTPB

      She is still young, and possibly can still have a role in government long after current world players like Xi and Putin are long gone.

    2. John k

      She has the same dilemma as Bernie… how little can you compromise with a corrupt system and manage to get from it real benefits for constituents and the public at large?
      If all you do is point out faults, no matter how endemic they are, you won’t get anything at all unless you are in the majority. If we want her to have real power we must elect many more progressives.

      1. polecat

        I would say that both of them spun out too many plates of promise, using the full menue of both sjw complaints + some rhetoric/votes that run right alongside the major compliment of BOTH parties, where it counts in the plebs general disfavor. Trying to please too many slivers of society and getting sliced in the process for not having a few core main change-issues that the public could rally towards, without pandering to either legace party red meat .. which probably would’ve required much less energy, relative to electoral/legislative results they were trying to achieve .. simply wasn’t effective in it’s nebulous scattershot approach in garnering voters, and votes !
        You can’t promise voters the Sky, when you make an about-face .. and vote with the congressional pack to, for instance, rain down fire & foreign-policy brimstone from that same Sky ! It’s too opaque and phony.

      2. wilroncanada

        I know how you feel John k.
        It seems to me, from the releases of bile from so many of the contributors here, in spite of Yves and Lambert trying to mediate the irrational anger, that most here would have repudiated Tommy Douglas, Canada’s father of single-payer health. He didn’t give them everything they wanted, while fighting the “moderate” media and even a strike by doctors in Saskatchewan, where he was premier.
        Why…he only got hospital care, not even doctor visits, nor dental care, nor eye examinations and glasses. Not even things like chirporactic, or physiotherapy, or even massage. What a PHONY!!
        No wonder Canadians soon threw him out.
        He only planted the seeds!

  5. rob

    Nice rant by chris cuomo…
    ” A moment of clarity, faded like charity does”
    He is tired of interviewing republicans and democrats , who both don’t mean what they are saying..
    he is tired of pushing false agendas… being a propagandist…. is what he seems to have said.Which we all should know he is…
    But what is funny is this is the new new york royalty… the son of mario… the brother of andrew… this guy knows the facade of respectability; is BS.. and always has been… but now he wants to be just like every other arrogant pr*ck… of his class…
    Eastern LI is still largely rural-ish… And here he is wanting to “show his #ss” to someone who noticed he is “not doing what everyone was told to do by his brother”.. and called him on it… the audacity…Of those hamptons bicyclists.

    1. Dita

      I noted the biker is a nearly lifelong, year round resident, suggesting that he is one of the plebs. How dare he question a 1% pilot fish like Chris Cuomo!

      1. RabidGandhi

        Adding to that, there’s the fact that Cuomo defended his tirade by saying he has virtuously “saved [his] money”. I.e. righteous outrage is allowed to those with enough (inherited) wealth not to worry about walking away from lucrative propaganda outlet contracts: a fall-back the biker most likely does not have (‘most likely’ because we’re talking about the Hamptons, not Matewan WV).

  6. PlutoniumKun

    News Feature: Avoiding pitfalls in the pursuit of a COVID-19 vaccine PNAS. Note this came up with SARS vaccine candidates.

    Dr. John Campbell, in one of his youtube videos seemed to suggest that there might be a connection between Vitamin D deficiency and cykotine storm reactions to vaccines – but i don’t think he provided a link to any research on this. Anyone with any comments on this?

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Thanks – yes, there is lots of research out there on the importance of Vitamin D, but I was specifically asking with regard to vaccine response.

        1. urblintz

          oops… still waking up and I didn’t read carefully enough. Another cup of java required!

    1. xkeyscored

      Searching for “Vitamin D deficiency and cytokine storm reactions” brought up several items; here’s a couple to get started. Good luck making sense of it all; they appear to contradict each other on a quick skim through!

      Vitamin D and Serum Cytokines in a Randomized Clinical Trial
      ” Conclusions. The present study did not show that vitamin D3 supplementation changed circulating cytokine levels among healthy adults.”

      Does vitamin D protect against respiratory viral infections?
      “Vitamin D inhibits the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines. During influenza A infection, IFN-β, tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α, interleukin (IL)-8, IL-6 and RANTES are all reduced in lung epithelial cells in response to treatment with 1,25(OH)2D [24]. During RSV infection of airway epithelial cells, vitamin D induces IκBα, thus inhibiting NFκB responses [28]. Although such effects may appear counter-productive in the induction of effective host anti-respiratory viral responses, it is recognized that the pathogenicity of respiratory viruses is associated with hypercytokinaemia [29], also referred to as cytokine storm, which is a potentially fatal self-perpetuating cycle of inflammatory responses.”

      Evidence that Vitamin D Supplementation Could Reduce Risk of Influenza and COVID-19 Infections and Deaths
      “Vitamin D also enhances cellular immunity, in part by reducing the cytokine storm induced by the innate immune system. The innate immune system generates both pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines in response to viral and bacterial infections, as observed in COVID-19 patients [30]. Vitamin D can reduce the production of pro-inflammatory Th1 cytokines, such as tumor necrosis factor α and interferon γ [31]. Administering vitamin D reduces the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines and increases the expression of anti-inflammatory cytokines by macrophages ([17] and references therein).”

      COVID-19 FAQ
      “However, when the body is experiencing significant inflammation, such as can occur in some people who become severely sick from COVID-19 infection, vitamin D should be temporarily discontinued. This is because vitamin D can activate the specific inflammation pathway and inflammatory molecule, IL-1B, which characterizes and contributes to symptomatic COVID-19 infection. The vitamin D should be discontinued while symptoms are present and can be resumed upon return to health.”

      1. Krystyn Podgajski

        There will always be noise in nutritional studies, and in viral infection studies, becasue they do not account for genetic variation.

        Genetic differences in the vitamin D receptor will affect vitamin D levels.

        Genetics of vitamin D increase after supplementation

        VDR rs10783219 might therefore be a genetic modulator of vitamin D levels. Considering the wide-spread use of vitamin D supplementation, future large and well-designed RCTS should investigate the clinical impact of this polymorphism.

        There might be some people who should get their D from the sun and others from food. They are two different pathways with two different outcomes.

        Know thyself, as it were.

        Both nature and nurture will play a role in survival after infection.

        I appreciate the last link because it is rarely expressed. All vitamins all the time is not healthy. You need to know what you need an when you need it. But we are so far away from this it is not worth talking about.

        IMHO, the most important nutrient is still not being discussed enough.

    2. Carolinian

      Hmmm. Vitamin D helps with virus so let’s tell everyone to stay inside? Of course they didn’t exactly say that but where I live some public walking trails have been closed. The city trails remain open but now have appropriate signs warning people to stay six feet apart.

      But it is interesting that so far the virus seems to be having the least impact in sunny places and the greatest in the northern hemisphere and and northern parts of the United States with the concrete canyons of New York city being ground zero. By contrast the death toll in Florida–chock full of old people–is still relatively small and California is having a much easier time of it than NYC.

      None of which is to propound some medical theory but believe I will continue to take my daily walks in the sunshine.

      1. The Rev Kev

        During the pandemic a century ago, doctors found that those patients that were in tents outside and could be laid in the sun did better than those on the regular wards.

        1. mle detroit

          So, Rev Kev, that may contribute to Detroit being a “hot spot.” Our peninsula’s steel roof closes over us in November and doesn’t reopen till May (we did have half a day of sun yesterday).

        2. MLTPB

          The climate in Singapore is pleasant, sunny and warm, or hot even.

          They reported 728 more cases and 5 new clusters on Thurs, per Yahoo Singapore News, 2 hours ago.

          I hope it doesn’t get worse. They were doing well earlier.

        3. rd

          Part of that may be viral load as well. Being outside generally means more fresh air and less virus from other sources entering your system. Cooped up inside, you will be living in a sea of virus aerosol that could increase the virus in your body beyond what the virus would make from the initial infection.

      2. MLTPB

        It had been raining or overcast last week, here in SoCal.

        The last few days have been sunny, and for me, the mood is better,…psychologically, I feel better.

        That’s just the mental part alone

    3. Ignacio

      The PNAS article was very informative and interesting and one can get an idea on the difficulties associated with vaccine development. As for your question I haven’t seen any link on VitD deficiency and the hyper-inflammatory response, but I haven’t searched. Vit D is certainly involved in immune modulation but I don’t have any idea if the distribution of Vit D deficiency explains the distribution of the respiratory syndrome. I think it should have been noticed if so. Most worrying I believe is the fact that in a relatively small but yet significant number of cases the humoral response is faulty producing antibodies that are not protective yet might help trigger hyper inflammatory response. Could this be related with VitD? I don’t know. Something similar could occur with some vaccine candidates indicating that vaccine risk assessment must be extensive, expensive and take some longer than expected.

      Naked Capitalism produces so much in posts, plus links, plus comments that it is difficult not to derail!

      1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

        Vit D helps to shift the balance in favour of non- inflammatory immune responses, lessening the chances of Cykotine shock.

        Both in the US & UK dark skinned people are being hit harder than whites & it is very likely that they are seriously deficient in Vit D, particularly in Northern states.

        Looking at a photo collage of NHS workers who have died, it does appear that most of them are BAME which is I believe a disproportionate amount.

        1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

          Perhaps it was also a factor if only small a small one in Northern Italy, as their winters can be pretty dire. I was once in Rome for a week in February when it rained almost non-stop & the sun was conspicuous by it’s absence.

  7. zagonostra

    TNR – Don’t Fear the Anti-Biden Socialist

    …progressive romanticism about young voters should end. Bringing them to the polls is less a matter of finding the right pitch than enacting the right policies, and that cannot happen unless the left invests more time, resources, and rhetorical energy winning over and turning out the older voters that, for now and the foreseeable future, actually decide election

    In other words boys and girls, accommodate yourself to the reality that us older voters (code for class) hold the power and we’ll be damned if you think we will pass M4A, forgive student loans, or increase minimum wage to a living wage.

    Yes romanticism, that’s what those darn kids who want a government that can provide medical care during a pandemic, or provide its citizens who are quarantined an income to stave off starvation, or a future they can see that isn’t bleak on a thousand fronts, yes that’s what they suffer from, romanticism…grow up.

  8. Martin Oline

    Taleb: The Only Man Who Has A Clue, posted this morning by Yves is important reading. I think it is just as important that the article is understandable and user friendly, unlike many of Taleb’s books. I highly recommend that if you have made it this far down the page, you click on that link and gain some insight into this epidemic.

  9. prodigalson

    So Joe Biden is on morning joe giving an interview with his wife next to him. At first I didn’t think anything of it, then realized, wait a minute why is his wife just hanging out next to him while he does a “what i’d do as president” speech.

    The only thing I can think of is he’s having enough problems he literally needs her next to him to hold it together. I can’t remember a presidential candidate ever having a spouse just hanging out nearby, typically a spouse interview is for a fluff piece that’s focusing on their relationship and such.

    breakbreak: So as i’m writing this they’re now asking her policy questions and questions about how to handle things. I know they want to present this as “look at this great husband/wife team” but what my brain thinks is she’s needed to backstop him on basic, basic questions.

    1. ambrit

      Like Woodrow Wilson and his wife after he had his stroke in 1919.
      To try and start out an administration like this is to basically deny the office any legitimacy. Committees are for providing advice and informed opinion, not actual governing. Someone has to make the ultimate decisions.

        1. Trent

          he also presided over the creation of the federal reserve, the modern income tax, the war to end all wars, the espionage act. He was a busy man

          1. The Rev Kev

            Don’t forget that he also re-introduced segregation to the Federal service. And screened “The Birth of a Nation” in the White House which he liked.

          2. MLTPB

            Entered WW1 on April 1917.

            A few months later, the October revolution, and in March 1918, Treaty of Brest Litovsk.

            What would have been the alternate history?

        2. polecat

          Yes, John Barry insinuates this in his book. For Wilson, Influenza was a stroke of fate, in more ways then one.

      1. prodigalson

        So after further thought we’ll have to see if this turns into a standard thing, or a very common thing, where Biden interviews but has someone else acting as a co-pilot. Be it his wife, a senior aide, senior democrat, VP pick, etc. If so that’s a pretty obvious sign that this is a decline issue.

        If not, the decline may still be there, or perhaps not, but if his interviews turn into tandem events I don’t know how else to read it.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          Agreed. If you noticed, he was asked a question about what he would do wrt this crisis, and he started riffing on all the people who were calling him up and telling him their stay-at-home troubles and he kept noting how “hard” it was for people. She picked up the dropped ball and started talking about increasing mental health professionals in schools to deal with the “trauma” once the lockdown is lifted.

          She also would nod her head in agreement while he was talking and interjected the occasional “That’s right,” which I took as an attempt to legitimize his nonsensical non-answers.

          Wrt to “tandem events,” on Rising yesterday Krystal and Saager were discussing obama’s endorsement. They noted that he chose to fly solo and not appear with biden as Bernie had. Their conclusion was that the contrast between the two men’s mental capacities would have been way too intuitively obvious to the most casual observer.

          This is going to be a problem.

    2. Martin Oline

      Reminds me of Calvin Coolidge and Ronnie Reagan. Where would we be without their handlers, er, ah, wives?

      Coolidge’s White House physician described him as showing many signs of “mental disturbance” and of being temperamentally deranged. His secretary told his doctors that the president was definitely showing signs of “mental illness.” – History News Network

      Five years after completing his second term as president, Ronald Reagan was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. His son, Ron Reagan, has stated that he saw signs of the disease while his father was in office. –

      1. Oregoncharles

        Anyone watching the debate for his second term could see signs of the disease. He forgot where he was, rhetorically went wandering off down the Big Sur. Evidently people loved it – but it was not a good sign.

      1. Olga

        Yes, it does. Nancy as a ventriloquist, with a ronnie puppet.
        Funny … if it were not sad.
        Apparently, he was never the same after the assassination attempt.

        1. Rtah100

          Anaesthesia is a major hypoxic insult to the brain and some anaesthetics directly toxic to degenerating neurone. Prodromal dementia patients suffer catastrophic step downs in cognitive function after anaesthesia. Well known phenomenon. Little old lady breaks hip and orthopaedic surgeon breaks her mind. Happened to my grandmother.

      2. MLTPB

        Reagan’s contemporaries in the 1980s.

        Gorbachev was there, and Gorby did not have those signs in those days, or it has not been said.

        He is not popular in Russia, today, for other reasons. I suppose he has supporters and critics.

      3. Montanamaven

        I played Nancy Reagan in NYC in 1984 in a political revue. Got my pic in the NY Times review. The sketch was called “Puppet Dictator”. I sat Ronnie on my lap and he did a press briefing with me as the ventriloquist. One of our most popular sketches along with Wayne Knight played “The Reverend Colby Cheddar” as a Joel Osteen/Jim Baker preacher. Holy Cheeses!

    3. Eudora Welty

      In reply to a comment about Biden being on Morning Joe with his wife at his side, I remember John Edwards, when running in 2004, at a town-hall q&a event, was asked about his favorite movie, and he had to lean toward his wife for a prompting before he answered with the Shawshank Redemption.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Bob Shrum’s (I know) book made it clear the divide in the Edwards camp all along was between the expected poll tested winner and just let Edwards run his mouth (the wife’s position. Elizabeth?). Edward’s Iraq War vote was based on Shrum winning out.

        I would not be shocked if it there was a discussion about movie. Shawshank is good if a bit pop corny (sorry, but this is true) versus someone who wanted him to pick an older “film” people pretend is entertaining. He probably couldn’t remember what won out.

        1. xkeyscored

          Too long for me, but Mr B’s message appears to be that it does not matter if your candidate sucks just so long as he’s there. Still not sure which is worse.

    4. Arizona Slim

      She’s needed to backstop him. Just like Nancy Reagan was with Ronald. Especially during his second term.

      Also, recall that Donald Trump’s father, Fred Trump, suffered from Alzheimers during the final six years of his life. If you think his son doesn’t know what the symptoms look like, think again. And, knowing Trump, he’ll have all sorts of things to say about the similarities between his father’s cognitive decline and that of Joe Biden.

  10. Bill Smith

    “US is investigating if ‘COVID-19 escaped from Wuhan lab”

    There have been a number of items out of China indicating or outright saying this is a possibility.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      This has been roundly debunked by scientists who’ve looked at the coronavirus. The stuff on the other side consists of a single paper that was so bad it had to be withdrawn, and insinuations that lack any serious foundation. Our Ignacio gave a very detailed explanation as to how engineered viruses have specific markers (and there are inherent reasons as to why) and Covid-19 has none. I may have to go to the trouble of hoisting it because Trump has just legitimated this bullshit for propaganda purposes.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I think there are two different conspiracy theories out there, and people are getting them mixed up.

        The first is the ‘coronavirus emerged from a weapons lab’ (or similar), this has been roundly debunked.

        However, there is another one, which suggests that coronavirus is natural in origin, but it accidentally escaped from a Wuhan lab which had isolated it from bats or animals for research purposes. This to me is possible (although the only ‘evidence’ is indirect supposition), although almost impossible to prove or disprove at this remove. It’s also i think pretty irrelevant as to whether the virus made the species transition via someones dinner, or via a clumsy postgrad researcher, except insofar as it makes for good politics.

        1. Bill Smith

          Accidentally released is what i’ve seen in Chinese stories. That’s what I meant by ‘escaped’.

          1. curlydan

            Links! The comments rules on this website ask that you provide links if you’re just going to throw this stuff out there. If they’re in Chinese, then you can do us a favor and translate.

        2. Olga

          The purpose of both seems to be to use the “Wuhan lab” phrase. That’s all most folks will remember. A perfect way to malign yet another country, proof be damned.

        3. TroyIA

          Another point that allows these conspiracy theories to flourish is that the first official patient with covid-19 never even visited the wet market in Wuhan. And 14 of the 41 initial patients also never visited the wet market so the official narrative of someone catching covid-19 at the Wuhan wet market isn’t yet proven.

          So where did covid-19 originate if the wet market is in question? To muddy the waters even further there was a research report that suggested covid-19 could have been infecting humans for years if not decades and only recently mutating to its present form.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            So the virus got to the wet market in parallel with it also infecting other people who didn’t go to the wet market around the same time. But the wet market (whether vendor(s) or animals, recall cats and dogs and even a tiger have now gotten cases and they look to have gotten them from people) appears to have quickly generated enough cases for it to have been misattributed as the source. Might even have been a super spreader.

            So a mistake is now being whipped up into some sort of nefarious scheme.

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              No nefarious scheme required, “a mistake” is damning enough IMO. And remind me why we allow (and fund) “gain-in-function” research into the world’s worst viruses? Where the objective is to engineer new ways to make the pathogen more dangerous?

              (Note: I am not a doctor but I do play one in the blogosphere)

              1. Yves Smith Post author

                You are projecting onto what I said, BIG TIME.

                The virus not having originated at the market after all is a mistake in attribution. The same happened with HIV and I am sure other new viruses. There were quite a few false starts with HIV.

                A mistake in attribution is now being twisted into something completely different, with NO EVIDENCE WHATSOVER. All the CT types have is “Oh, a lab was nearby!” Help me.

                1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                  Excellent point but I’m not sure we disagree, it was the mistake in attribution itself I was lamenting. Of course the manipulation of that mistake (assuming it was one) absent any evidence is ridiculous and the worst form of politicization. But I think we need much better controls and also to ask some basic questions about why such engineering of pathogens to make them more deadly is something we really ought to be doing, that’s all

                  1. Oregoncharles

                    Yes. I’ve written before about a PBS program about a scientist trying to insert the virulence gene of the 1918 flu into a modern bird flu (this was after they’d discovered remnants of the former in a couple of graves).

                    My own reaction was that this should really be criminal. There’s no such thing as perfect containment – the researcher himself (I’ve forgotten most of the details) walks out of that lab every day.

          2. Monty

            I assume you are talking about that Hoover Institute / Stanford article by the Military history expert?


            It was featured in the LA times last week. It said California is doing better because they had it last year, but nobody noticed. If you have a strong stomach, have a peek through the pages of the institute’s many other covid related publications.

            The trouble with that idea is that there are organizations, like Nextstrain, that are always looking out for novel viruses. They have been testing samples for years and have all the DNA sequences in their database.

            According to people qualified to know, there first cases in their database are from early 2020. This twitter thread explains it in more detail.


          3. MLTPB

            The tin foil hat conspiracy theory to pin it on western spy agencies is fake news, it seems to me.

        4. Louis Fyne

          to add…it was a seafood wet market.

          i imagine people would’ve noticed a new stall butchering pangolins or bats

          1. MLTPB

            It’s hard to say.

            Perhaps some vendors might sell odd items, even in a seafood wet market, from time to time.

            Then, you might not see a sign there all the time. You might not even see it on the day it’s available.

      2. John

        But it is not impossible a virus they were collecting escaped from the lab. It doesn’t have to mean it was engineered or a deliberate infection was started. After reading this article I can’t rule out that possibility yet.

        How China’s “Bat Woman” Hunted Down Viruses from SARS to the New Coronavirus

        “I wondered if [the municipal health authority] got it wrong,” she says. “I had never expected this kind of thing to happen in Wuhan, in central China.” Her studies had shown that the southern, subtropical areas of Guangdong, Guangxi and Yunnan have the greatest risk of coronaviruses jumping to humans from animals—particularly bats, a known reservoir for many viruses. If coronaviruses were the culprit, she remembers thinking, “could they have come from our lab?”

          1. Ignacio

            The only thing I see as readily predictable with an epidemic is conspiracy theories flying around like bats. It never fails to occur.

        1. Ignacio

          Bat lab escapists are widely recognized as the biggest menace on earth! There are hundreds of labs hoisting thousands of bats (each) of which many escape! Meanwhile, in pristine nature risks of passing virus from bats in endangered forests to ever increasing numbers of biosafety level 4 farms breeding all kinds of animals, this is almost certainly impossible.


        2. wilroncanada

          It’s also possible that tic viruses escaped from a lab in New York State and has gone on to rampage through a good portion of the US and Canada. One can put on one’s tinfoil hat and claim carelessness, or stupidity, or cupidity. Or one can stop passing on rumours, or so-called “proof” from anonymous spooks.

      3. Jodorowsky's zoom

        Facilities have four levels of safety when handling infectious material. Given the concentration of research facilities in Wuhan, it us not out of the realm of possibility that academic research samples from bat guano taken in the wild were misidentified or unidentified and handled at a lower level of bio-safety than 3 or 4. It could be as absurd as someone opening the wrong door. Or rodents. — The wet market explanation seemed to be reached too quickly, without alternatives, and conveniently absolves the Party In favor of blaming an underclass.
        But the germ warfare aspersions is paranoid scapegoating. Offensive agents do not replicate indefinitely: after a certain amount rapid mutations over time, the pathogen renders itself harmless, anthrax spores, for example.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Does it matter what the source and mechanism of dispersal were at this point? Only in the political game, boosting the egos and claims to authoritarian power of our “leaders,” but also maybe as a means of tracing whatever flaws there might be in the processes of science, or possibly in the institutions that grow out of our human penchant for seeking ways to kill a whole lot of our fellow humans for fun, profit or domination.

          It’s not like the problem is novel or unknown. Here’s an article from VOX, from March 2019:

          “How deadly pathogens have escaped the lab — over and over again

          Research into dangerous viruses and bacteria is important, but for the deadliest pathogens, it’s not clear the benefits are worth the risks.“

          Given that even “Level 4” lab studies of pathogens in basic research that might point to development of vaccines, if they can be developed at all and be safe and effective (see HIV unsuccess), prove and re-prove Murphy’s Law…

          1. Oregoncharles

            So maybe we should much more restrictive with these labs. That’s a policy issue that arises directly from this discussion.

        2. BostonTom

          Many important papers about gain of function research were done at Harvard and Dana Farber. However, only BU is Safety level 4. I would be curious to know if the Harvard researchers went to the BU lab to do their work or did they utilize Harvard’s labs, and what level is that?

        3. Ignacio

          Yours is the best argument to destroy most conspiracy theories. You admit that labs even did not work with living animals. Not reservoirs there. Just faecal samples that go to the lab and are processed to obtain viral RNA and destroyed in the process. Oh no, but “given the concentration of research facilities in Wuhan, working with bats faeces” (please can you give a hint on how many exactly?) it is a must that research samples contained virus particles with the ability to jump to humans… when the sample bags were opened in the lab! This makes me wonder why is it we only have Covid-19 and SARS. We should have thousands of coronas playing around!

          1. Ignacio

            If this is true that Bat coronavirus can make an evolutionary jump that usually takes decades in just a second in a lab I would argue that speleologists would be even more dangerous that scientists.

            Living in Austin, Texas, would be a reason for high risk coronavirus contagion.

      4. zagonostra

        How to approach this? This is a dilemma for me, since my training is in history/finance/political philosophy. I don’t have the requisite knowledge of chemistry and biology to follow Ignacio’s analysis.

        What is not in dispute is that the U.S. has and is engaged in bio-weapons and has a history of conducting unethical testing on it’s own population (see Poisoner in Chief: Sidney Gottlieb and the CIA Search for Mind Control by Stephen Kinzer).

        There is no point in giving links here to the work and analysis done by George Webb or to other articles on the subject from what seems to me at least to be credible sources because I know it will not be allowed by the moderators, and I respect and abide by NC’s policy.

        I guess what it boils down to is “who do you trust.” Who has the credibility to lead you through the maze of misinformation to the truth.

        Obscure, profound it was, and nebulous,
        So that by fixing on its depths my sight
        Nothing whatever I discerned therein.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          This reasoning reflects a cognitive bias called halo effect. Because the CIA has done evil stuff, it must be doing evil stuff again.

          First, there’s no evidence of US involvement save carefully orchestrated amplification in China of seriously-evidence-deficient speculation in the US. It really is on the order of, “Well, the US has some labs that do bioengeneering. A US military dude biked around China in December when the infection looks to have really started.” Seriously, that’s all they have. This looks to be China getting out in front of US CT which Trump has taken up, gah.

          Second, the US has a very bad and MUCH more recent history of Making Shit Up about alleging foreign bio nasties when the evidence didn’t support it. The claims of Assad gassing are classic. They accused him of using a nerve agent when the color of the victims was all wrong and first responders wore no protection. If it had been a nerve agent, they would have gotten very sick or died. It was obviously false (the proximate cause looks to have been a missile that IIRC hit some chlorine canisters, readers should feel to correct me if I have the most likely thesis wrong). I believe another accusation of Assad bombing his own people looks to have been a missile hitting a large cache of munitions.

          Similarly, the claim that the Russians poisoned the Skripals with a nerve agent does not add up either (won’t belabor details) and the assertion that the “novochik” could be produced only by a state agent was specifically debunked by a NC reader, who said any of 10,000 chemists in a regular academic lab could have made the stuff, even if it were actually the agent.

          This is the level of fabricated reporting we are getting. Minimal investigation with real experts would raise serious red flags, but the press is all in on amplifying the intel state spin.

          There have been lots of papers by scientists who have no reason to lie for the CIA who have debunked the “bioweapon” thesis from a number of angles. There are enough independent scientists that you’d see pushback on their data and analysis if it was cooked up (even if anonymized via friendly contacts). There has not been anything of substance like that from people with expertise. Instead, you see minor new variants of the same original BS. That is a hallmark of propaganda, that if you tell a Big Lie often enough, people will buy it.

          1. Trent

            Everything you’ve pointed out, Syria gas attacks and the skripals leads me to trust the US government less. They lied about those things, how do you know when they are telling the truth? To add on top of that, look at the bailouts that were just passed, yes the us government is pulling out all the stops to protect me from harm.

            1. Trent

              Along with the media since they parroted all those false things as true. So why should i accept what they are telling me now hook line and sinker? Do they only lie about certain subjects? And was the economy sitting on the razors edge right before this happened? Or was everything really going splendid like Trump kept saying?

          2. Carolinian

            From this morning’s reading it appears the latest charge is not a bioweapons theory but a “they screwed up theory.” From the Fox news story

            The sources believe the initial transmission of the virus – a naturally occurring strain that was being studied there – was bat-to-human and that “patient zero” worked at the laboratory, then went into the population in Wuhan.

            The “increasing confidence” comes from classified and open-source documents and evidence, the sources said. Fox News has requested to see the evidence directly. Sources emphasized — as is often the case with intelligence — that it’s not definitive and should not be characterized as such. Some inside the administration and the intelligence and epidemiological communities are more skeptical, and the investigation is continuing.

            Of course it doesn’t matter how it started unless it was some deliberate attempt to create world chaos which is not the charge in this theory at least.


            1. Yves Smith Post author

              They had “increased confidence” about the Skripal BS too.

              And the theory is also that it didn’t go bat to human but via an intermediate host. But not sure why that is part of the theory.

              1. wilroncanada

                In fact, the British had so much “confidence” they laid charges against two Russians.
                And the US is now, in the middle of a pandemic, taking time out to charge Venezuelan president Maduro with being the drug kingpin of the Americas, while of course most of the drugs and the gangs are dwelling in, and supported by, the government of Colombia.
                Venezuela/ Colombia–they’re all the same.
                Give me Guaido, or give me…someone else /s

          3. NotTimothyGeithner

            My gut is the CCCP was warned sufficiently about what was happening and didn’t want to close early, like other politicians. It was probably too late, but there likely discussions of shutting down Tet celebrations and travel dismissed in favor of sunny side faux optimism even later.

            Easter has been thrown around, but though a hypothetical, how would a March 22nd Easter have gone?

            1. John A

              It is also another stick to beat Huwai with. Right wing politicians in Britain are all bleating now about not trusting the Chinese because of coronavirus and to terminate any business deals with China.

              1. NotTimothyGeithner

                I suspect the Chinese have gone from “little yellow people” that can be controlled and profited from to TOS Klingons in the eyes of much of the trans-global elite, having woken up and having the CCCP dictate terms (act like an equal partner) or beat them in other markets has probably been an eye opener.

                I would surmise the CCCP discussed this kind of situation relative to the virus.

          4. zagonostra

            This reasoning reflects a cognitive bias called halo effect. Because the CIA has done evil stuff, it must be doing evil stuff again

            No, rather, because the CIA has done evil stuff in the past it has the capacity to do so again. Because it has done immoral acts in that past in has the potential for doing immoral acts in the future.This is not saying that it DID do it.

            The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence of proof.

            Maybe not as highfalutin as the “halo effect” (I had to look that one up) if you tell a “Big Lie” often enough you also get the “Chicken Little” effect.

            My point was that there is an absence of, for lack of a better term, an epistemology for making a judgement of what is “real” news in the age of instant access to electronic information. You have to rely on who you trust.

            1. Katniss Everdeen

              After four years of Russiagate and impeachment with more made up and anonymous shit than you can shake a stick at being elevated to gospel by some of the most shameless liars ever born, what the hell does the word “evidence” even mean anymore?

            2. MLTPB

              It’s not reliable to just rely on people you think you can trust.

              Perhaps you think you can trust Putin or Xi, but as soon as you do that, you become vulnerable.

              1. JTMcPhee

                About the only thing Reagan ever said that I agree with was “Trust, but verify.”

                Of course he and Gorbachev had some discussion about how it would be wistfully nice if suddenly MARS ATTACKS so at least we would have a common enemy:

                “Perhaps we need some outside universal threat to make us recognize this common bond. I occasionally think how quickly our differences worldwide would vanish if we were facing an alien threat from outside this world.”

                Does this virus count?

                (Howver, of course, any number of political and espionage dramas, our own actual species history, and lots of SciFi books include Judases and Benedict Arnolds and Quislings who are happy to sell out their “side” for privilege and pottage…)

                1. wilroncanada

                  And all this time I thought he said “Truss”,
                  I thought he was channeling “Dick” Nixon.

    2. The Rev Kev

      This seems to be getting a lot of traction lately. Remember how the Democrats had to explain away their losing to Trump in 2016 – and how they decided that Russia did it which saved them having to do an autopsy on their campaign to see where they went wrong and lay blame? Ever since last year, Trump and his China mafia have been brawling with China and you can see the writing on the wall here. After the hell that America will be put through fighting this virus, Trump will blame China for it and there has already been moves to label it as such. China didit!

      He tried unsuccessfully to get the G-8 to label Coronavirus as “Wuhan virus” and for all we know, he may have defunded the WHO as they also refused to rename it the China virus. If most Americans signed up with Russiagate when there was no proof then you know that they will sign up with Chinagate. For Trump it will be a win. It will sideline the Democrats with their Russiagate, get the country behind him, and it will enable him to take measures to tackle China and try to prevent its further rise. Obama left us Cold War 2.0 but trying to pin Coronavirus on the Chines will make the Pacific as tense as it as in 1941.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Obama’s own laziness which led him to offer all kinds of crazy concessions for support for TPP, ignores that TPP was an anti Chinese effort in its genesis. Personally, imassume a fairly straight forward anti Chinese economic alliance would work and be popular enough. I assume Obama didn’t want to challenge China directly and somewhat suspect our foreign policy during the Obama Era was functionally anti Chinese with the goal of driving a wedge between Moscow and Beijing. I don’t think Obama is as bright as advertised and couldn’t conceive the “little yellow people” (orientalism is the defining characteristic of US FP) wouldn’t see this.

        The Chinese making inroads in places that were once the playground of colonial empires hasn’t gone unnoticed.

        1. MLTPB

          Is it too optimistic to think it’s not one empire trying to muscle out another, in Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Vietnam, Libya, various African nations, etc?

    3. Ignacio

      Yeah, everybody likes to talk about virus “escaping” labs. Most virology labs do not even work with virus (I mean “infectious virus particles”) but simply with genomes or genome sequences, or some other constructs that they test in “in vitro” systems from which nothing really harmful can arise. On the contrary, lab conditions and assays do not replicate the real world so that whatever is worked there rapidly becomes bland and harmless. The virus themselves, wild type infectious virus particles, are not good tools for almost anything but very basic research, for instance, studies of infectivity decay in surfaces or vaccine development. No lab develops vaccines against bat virus, think twice, they would research known human virus. And of course labs, particularly those that work with infectious particles, follow biosafety measures that are lacking in many other and more dangerous human activities regarding infectious diseases. But yet, it must be a lab. Because virology labs are somehow filled with virus particles here and there. Most of the time the job is done with computers.

      The propaganda in the article assumes that the process of species jumping which is so common for coronavirus is quite likely to occur in a lab as if lab conditions facilitate species jumping… The story of “US embassy officials warning about inadequate safety in a Wuhan lab managing bats” as a source for Covid-19 is very close to pulp fiction. Please, explain Mr. how these bats acquired in the lab the ability to jump humans in the process with changes requiring decades to occur and jump events in the thousands (so, everyone there at the Wuhan institute had to be repeatedly infected during many years for the new virus to have a chance and at the same time find a stable reservoir to try, and retry) Did the officials identify any putative reservoir of bat virus having fun inside the facility (for instance civets or racoons playing with lab stuff)? Or do they suggest there was a human reservoir (a Head of Research?) there permanently hoisting a virus until it got the ability to jump to other humans? Does the author of this “authoritative” opinion page have evidence that any of the bat coronavirus identified in Wuhan could readily infect humans? Did the US experts provide any? Biosafety is important, extremely important with KNOWN human virus, but species jumping in labs? This is just stupid PR.

      1. Ignacio

        Let me explain a little bit more. For instance, one of the safety rules for biosafety level 2 upwards is that employees and visitors all have to sign a book at entry and exit. Did the officials notice that this was somehow relaxed? It could occur. Yet this would be a very bland theory for bad viruses escaping like from Alcatraz.. Why the author of the article that saw the report did not explain the precise no-compliance observed? Probably because it was nuts.

        1. Ignacio

          Another possibility, did they saw someone smoking inside? No-compliance. Did they saw someone without a lab coat in a lab? No-compliance, With sandals? No-compliance. Having a coke or a cake in front of their lab computer? No-compliance Yet this would never explain virus jumping hosts in a lab.

  11. xkeyscored

    Israeli COVID-19 treatment shows 100% survival rate – preliminary data Jerusalem Post

    It’s not just a small number of patients (six), but survive is about all they’ve done so far. Sounds like they’re all severely ill and still on ventilators, even if some have shown some improvement. Still, good luck to them all.

    “Not only have all the patients survived, according to Pluristem, but four of them showed improvement in respiratory parameters and three of them are in the advanced stages of weaning from ventilators. Moreover, two of the patients with preexisting medical conditions are showing clinical recovery in addition to the respiratory improvement.”

  12. KLG

    Sirota: “We didn’t push Bernie to ‘attack’ Biden in some sort of vicious way. We pushed him to instead simply and very explicitly cast the primary as a choice between a vision of progressive change, and Biden’s promise to his donors that ‘nothing will fundamentally change.'”

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      you need some kind of crazy ability to reach enough of the voting (or potentially voting) population for that kind of choice to work…some new tech, perhaps, that lets campaigns into every livingroom and bedroom in the country.

      from my own Fieldwork(eavesdropping on, and even engaging with, random people in feed stores and on sidewalks), I can attest that Bernie’s Choice sold well in my portion of America…depending on phrasing and word choice(Social Gospel as an In, rather than Socialism, etc).
      But I was practically the only one reaching them with that Question out here…the Media and Pseudomedia(FB<etc) Gatekeepers did their jobs well.
      by the time of the Texas Primary, the onslaught of Mindf&^%ery had had it's effect.
      Turns out a cripple, agoraphobic hippy redneck guy, all by his lonesome, is no real match for the combined efforts of Fox, Rush, CNN and what passes for Local News…as well against the various Churches and local Facebook watering holes.
      results? in my county in the primary, there were 53 who voted for Bernie, as opposed to 6 or so last time.
      it is, of course, unknowable how much i have to do with this.
      the campaign stepped up its game this time around as far as rural is concerned. I got texts encouraging me to go to "local" events(meaning 48 miles away, but still), and house parties(also an hour away). I'm sure i'm not the only one to get such attention.

    2. John k

      Trump will tru a different approach. We will see which works better.
      This is not to say Bernie would have done better… first, he’s probably not capable of attacking an opponent, he’s too nice a person. Second, since niceness is what attracts many people to him, losing that image would cost support. And, smilin’ joe comes across as a nice older guy, Bernie as an angry old guy… just not the right person for a dirty job.
      He needed surrogates to do the dirty work for him, ideally with street cred but not too close to Bernie.

      1. Oregoncharles

        People regularly vote for someone they know to be an a-hole, if that’s what they think they need. Giuliani and Bolsonaro spring to mind.

        Realistically, an “angry” Bernie might have sold better than a gentle one.

    3. Jeff W

      David Sirota:

      The Democratic Party has manufactured a culture that creates the conventional wisdom and perception that any efforts to contrast opponents’ records from the left in a primary is “negative,” and therefore destructive.

      I’ve never understood why an effort to fairly contrast an opponent’s record with one’s own is framed as some kind of off-limits “attack”—except, of course, as a disingenuous way to shield candidates from often-justified scrutiny. Such a contrast isn’t negative, it’s illuminating—it helps voters draw real distinctions and make better decisions. To not do so is a real disservice to voters.

  13. timbers

    Working at home / Open common office spaces:

    Place I work at just finished a major office renovation. Old space had cubicles with abt 5ft high wall separators and spaced in terms generally meeting social distancing. People had assigned desks with name plates.

    New office space: no assigned seating just first come, first serve, all desk common to all, spaced much more closely to other desks with no separators, no name plates obviously…a Covid spreading laboratory so to speak.

    A lot of money down the drain.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      In my work place there has been an ongoing battle between management who wants open plan space and staff (at various levels) who want offices and working from home facilities. Even staff who had no need for anything but intermittent contact with managers were refused permission to work more than 2 days a week at home on principle (the principle that management hated people not being visible). And there was huge opposition to individual offices for research staff despite strong evidence that it led to significantly higher outputs (there is lots of relevant research out there).

      It will be interesting to see how this changes – I’ve been refused permission to return to my office to pick up a monitor to make it easier to work from home (my office tablet is ergonomically painful to use all day and for ‘security’ reasons I’m not allowed use my own pc/laptop).

      My guess is that there will be a lot of institutional resistance in many organisations to the changes that have occurred, but they’ll find many staff will just not go back to old ways.

      1. Eudora Welty

        Slightly off-topic, but there is an assisted-living facility under construction right across the street, and – because such assisted-living facilities are deemed essential construction, there are workers there every day. The main action is still more clearing away the old, and doing foundational work for the new, so it is in earliest stages. I would think the assisted-living corporation might consider instituting a pause, just to see whether they want to reconfigure the whole design in wake of this crisis. Probably not. Money is to be made.

        1. Arizona Slim

          I can almost hear my late mother saying, “Now do you understand why I didn’t want to move into one of those [family blog] assisted living places?”

        2. Oregoncharles

          Assisted-living clients generally (in my experience) each have their own apartment, except for couples. The difficulty would be in the hallways; again in my experience, not busy but a bit too narrow to keep 6 ft. apart. In any case, basically an apartment building with some special considerations (eg, single floor or lots of elevators).

          The problem is in nursing homes or the like, where people are getting more care and are more jammed together.

          Assisted living was a great blessing for my mother – and for my brother who lived near her. However, it was a good and carefully-chosen one, with its own medical/nursing facilities. Can’t speak for all of them.

          Responding to Slim’s point:

      2. xkeyscored

        the principle that management hated people not being visible

        I’ve become vastly more visible to my management, who can now see what we’re all up to on Google and Zoom with ease at the click of a mouse, from the other side of the world in one case..

    2. Arizona Slim

      Which is why I keep saying that coworking is over. We’ll soon be reading about it in business history books.

  14. fresno dan

    The Tyranny of Decorum David Sirota (UserFriendly)

    While Bernie was fighting to stop the Iraq War, Biden helped the GOP pass the Iraq War resolution and vote down Democratic amendments to that resolution. While Bernie was fighting to stop the bankruptcy bill, Biden helped the GOP pass the legislation that could now crush hundreds of thousands of Americans during the coronavirus recession. While Bernie and Paul Wellstone were pushing a bill to lower the price of prescription drugs and prevent profiteering off vaccines developed at taxpayer expense, Biden was helping Republicans kill the initiative. And as I told MSNBC, while Bernie was fighting to protect and expand Social Security, Biden was helping echo the Republican argument for cutting Social Security.

    Even though Biden at times pathologically lied about some of these facts (at one point he actually insisted he didn’t help write his own bankruptcy bill!), this record is verifiable, it is not in dispute. A group of us believed it was important for this record to be spotlighted — because it was good strategy and good for democracy
    Campaign motto: Vote for the decorous republican

    1. xkeyscored

      at one point he actually insisted he didn’t help write his own bankruptcy bill!

      I don’t know any more about it than what’s in your comment, but it seems entirely believable to me, as does the possibility that he never even read it once his advisors had written it. How many of them actually write their own stuff?

  15. The Rev Kev

    “Hamptons bicyclist files police report after verbal confrontation with CNN’s Chris Cuomo: report”

    If it was not for his more successful brother, Chris Cuomo would just be some dude nicknamed ‘Fredo’ by his friends. But he has Andrew Cuomo as his brother so he rates different treatment. I have seen a dynamic like this before. Do any older readers remember President Jimmy Carter’s brother Billy Carter? It all goes with the territory of being a famous politician-

    1. MLTPB

      Stalin’s daughter defected to the US after he was gone, speaking of close relatives.

      Would she have not done so, had he lived longer?

  16. The Rev Kev

    “AOC lays out progressive wish list for Biden”

    she argued that “what’s really important is not only just that woman’s identity, in terms of gender and cultural terms, but … who that woman is and [what] her stance is. There is a wide spectrum, politically, of women of color. There’s some that are very conservative, in terms of Democratic context, and there’s some that are more progressive.”

    Do you think that she may be suggesting a specific person as Vice-President? Someone in their early 30s would would appeal to young people whom old Joe is weak with? Maybe of Hispanic heritage to appeal to these voters – especially in the American south-west? Somebody who has already worked as an intern to a US Senator like Ted Kennedy? A proven campaigner who can shake things up for Trump? Somebody who has already proven herself loyal to the Democrats? Someone with the energy to campaign in Biden’s place? I wonder who that could be?

    1. John

      You do know she’s too young to qualify. Right?

      Something in the Constitution about being at least 35 to be president.

      1. The Rev Kev

        If she becomes Vice-President, then they would only have to do a “Weekend at Bernies” on Joe for his first term and in the second she would be old enough to be President in her own right. :)

          1. The Rev Kev

            Rules, shmules. It was not that long ago that Republicans were suggesting Arnold Schwarzenegger for President – and he wasn’t even born in America.

            1. TMoney

              Ah the 61st Amendment, allowing foreigners to run for the presidency – The Schwarzenegger amendment (Demolition Man)

            2. John

              I thought that applied to Ted Cruz too.

              How he was able to run for president being born in Canada was another Right Wing miracle.

              1. The Rev Kev

                I’ll be damned. I heard that he was born in Canada once but did not put it together with his Presidential run. Good catch that. Well John McCain was born at Coco Solo Naval Air Station in the Panama Canal Zone which is kinda, technically, almost American territory so there seems to be a bit of flexibility going on here.

                1. Oregoncharles

                  I believe the term is “natural born citizen,” no reference to location of birth. Both Cruz and McCain had American parents, making them citizens from birth. And of course, McCain was born abroad because his father was serving in the US military – wouldn’t make sense to exclude him.

    2. MK

      AOC is the best communicator the left wing of the Democratic Party has. Unfortunately she is only 30 years old and will not be constitutionally eligible to be president or vp for 4.5 more years.

      1. Trent

        “AOC is the best communicator the left wing of the Democratic Party has.” And thats not saying much.

        1. Eureka Springs

          I’m just going to say this, embarrassing as it may be. The sound of AOC’s voice drives me straight up the wall same as fingernails on a chalkboard.

    3. We're all better off when we're all better off

      If Biden does pick a woman, that will foreclose AOC when she qualifies on October 13, 2024. And the establishment is attacking her hard in her district, which is also one of the worst hit by the virus. She must be positioning herself for other paths now. Of course, she could always ditch Nancy & Co. and go green — but what would the Greens do with charisma and competence?

      1. Oregoncharles

        She’s a dream candidate in many ways. Might have to “clarify” some positions to qualify as a Green (as would Bernie).

        We nominated Cynthia McKinney; unfortunately she didn’t campaign that well. She was running against Obama. Has been a real leader back in Georgia, though.

  17. Wukchumni

    Got a call from the wife of a couple who are both furloughed NPS employees, asking if they could do shopping for us, or run errands, or anything to make money essentially. It came as a great shock, as both are highly respected and have worked in the NP for a decade or 2, being important cogs in the everyday workings of the place.

    Their backup plan is to drive 80 miles roundtrip into the Big Smoke for others, risking contracting the virus. Amazing that it has come to this, so soon.

    The scuttlebutt is that Sequoia NP will remain shuttered through the summer and into the fall, and aside from a skeletal crew, there’s no there there, in terms of humans.

    1. Efmo

      While I have to concede it may make sense to close the park that long, I can’t help feeling it could also be a ploy to further damage the national parks – out of sight and unuseable – easier to privatize and sell off to the highest bidders. Am I being too paranoid with this administration regarding the national parks? (Of course the animals may be happier).

  18. HarrisonBergeron

    I find it disturbing that the possibility that an accidental release from a lab researching bat viruses is so easily waved off. Keeping with Occam’s razor a lab accident makes more sense than either a bioweapon or a wet market transmission.

    1. Olga

      Not sure what is so disturbing about expecting at least a bit of evidence, before making “lab-escape” claims. Have we forgotten WMDs?

    2. The Rev Kev

      What about the first world pandemic that started in Kansas in 1918? How many bio labs did Kansas have back then?

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Or small pox, malaria, cholera, tb, and so forth, all biolabs. Hoof and mouth. Anthrax. You woulent believe the biolabs.

        1. Oregoncharles

          You do know that the weaponized anthrax that was mailed in the US right after 9/11 came right from the US bioweapons lab, don’t you?

          But of course xkeyscored is right: evolution will do just fine when it comes to creating diseases.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            Don’t spread disinformation. The National Academy of Sciences took the unusual effort of pouring cold water on this theory. The FBI needed to get someone, and Bruce Ivins was a credible target.

            From Wikipedia:

            In 2008, the FBI requested a review of the scientific methods used in their investigation from the National Academy of Sciences, which released their findings in the 2011 report Review of the Scientific Approaches Used During the FBI’s Investigation of the 2001 Anthrax Letters.[13] The report cast doubt on the government’s conclusion that Ivins was the perpetrator, finding that the type of anthrax used in the letters was correctly identified as the Ames strain of the bacterium, but that there was insufficient scientific evidence for the FBI’s assertion that it originated from Ivins’s laboratory.


            If you read the entire and rather tortured entry, the Ames strain was distribute to many BIOLOGICAL labs, most of which could not be called bioweapons labs.

      2. MLTPB

        Induction does not help much in situations like these, either way.

        Because it was not the case does not necessarily mean it is the case now.

        And if it was the case then, the same caution.

        Each must be judged on its it’s own.

        Right now, in the present case, we can only say maybe to an accidental release. We also read it was natural in origin…this part is more certain.

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      How is that more simple? Disease emerges from the natural world. Most of it came from there, so the simplest explanation is a continuation of the usual process short of evidence to the contrary.

    4. Oregoncharles

      The difficulty is that the source (the bats that carry this type of coronavirus) is in Yunnan, a long way from Wuhan. So the unanswered puzzle is: how did it get to Wuhan? Why didn’t it start in Yunnan? A researcher collecting samples is one possible route – as is an exotic animals market. But as Yves noted somewhere up there, the market may have merely been a spreader, not the source.

      I doubt we’ll ever really know. why would the Chinese tell us, even if they figure it out?

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        It has already and repeatedly been discussed that there was an intermediate host. Pangolins are the most likely candidate.

        This virus seems very able to infect other species. We already have cases of dogs, cats, and even a tiger being infected by humans.

  19. Wukchumni


    …want to be in the safest place in these United States to ride out the pandemic?

    Palmyra Atoll is an unoccupied equatorial Northern Pacific atoll administered as an unorganized incorporated territory, the only one of its kind, by the United States federal government. The 4.6-square-mile (12 km2) territory hosts a variable temporary population of 4–25 “non-occupants”, namely staff and scientists employed by various departments of the U.S. government and by The Nature Conservancy, as well as a rotating mix of Palmyra Atoll Research Consortium scholars pursuing research. Portions of the atoll are administered by the Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs. Palmyra Atoll is one of the islands in the US Minor Outlying Islands.

    1. MLTPB

      If that place can not be defended against landing by a billionaire, or another billionaire, it can not be said to be the safest place.

  20. geoff

    “I am having a hard time living in a world where no one cares about truth.” That about sums it up.

    1. jefemt

      Oh, “They” care immensely about “their” ‘ Truth’. Alternative facts— monetize ’em!

    2. Olga

      I was going to say it died with JFK, but I think it first died with criminalising opposition to WWI.

      1. td

        Or criminalizing opposition to the Civil War. Quite a few folks ended up in durance vile for running afoul of Lincoln or the Radical Republicans.

        1. MLTPB

          Napoleon – history is a set of lies agree upon.

          You can probably find similar, more ancient quotes, from the Greeks, to Romans, Turks, Russians, Assyrians, Egyptians, Saxons, etc.

    3. urblintz

      I’m reminded of a quote by the great Tom Lehrer:

      “Political satire became obsolete when Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.”

  21. zagonostra

    >BAR – Glen Ford on “The End of Sanders”

    But the raw truth is, Sanders surrendered unconditionally to a Democratic Party that is, in the Age of Trump, the electoral representative of the bulk of a fractured U.S. ruling class – the oligarchy. Without warning, Sanders demobilized his legions, even while claiming to continue to lead “a grass-roots, multiracial, multigenerational movement which has always believed that real change never comes from the top on down, but always from the bottom on up.” Sanders thanked his generous followers, nearly two million of whom donated at least $167 million to his campaign. Unknown millions remain unspent, and much more could be raised from even a greatly diminished cohort of Sanders true-believers if the self-described socialist was sincere about leading a well-funded “movement” outside the corporate duopoly. But Sanders is going out as a fraud who will refuse to turn over either unspent campaign monies or precious voter lists to his “grassroots” supporters or anybody outside the Democratic Party.

      1. KLG

        Yeah, that has occurred to me, too. I had hope, but at a minimum the implicit promise was that Bernard, as he is known to he brother, would not quit until he had actually lost…Fool me once, etc. Hard to avoid going all Jimmy Dore on Bernie and most of his crew right now.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Sanders bowed out of the race the minute his momentum stalled, at the very same time that the greatest combined health and economic calamity in U.S. history was gripping the nation by the throat – a teaching moment if one ever existed, if health care and economic inequality were really Sanders’ top priority. He did acknowledge the ballooning crisis: “In terms of health care, this current, horrific crisis that we are now in has exposed for all to see how absurd our current employer-based health insurance system is. The current economic downturn we are experiencing has not only led to a massive loss of jobs but has also resulted in millions of Americans losing their health insurance.”

      This really has to be the most “mystifying” aspect of this entire situation.

      After decades of screaming into the wind, circumstance hands Sanders literally the biggest, most powerful megaphone any true believer could ever have hoped for and he says “No, thanks.” He’s 78 years old. What did he have to lose? Millions of americans would have been indelibly inspired by his courage and conviction regardless of the outcome.

      There are some, me included, who would have seen his miraculous recovery from his mid-campaign heart attack as a sign that he had been “chosen” to take this fight to the bitter end, crazy as that may sound. There has got to be more here than some “personal” affection for joe and dr. jill or some misguided fealty to a political party that has, at best, routinely treated him as an annoying punchline.

      I’ll be honest. I just don’t get it.

      1. ShamanicFallout

        I know Katniss- It’s as if History/ The Almighty/ Nature intervened in life on earth and said “Bernie, this is your time. It’s all lining up for all of the things you have been telling us we need to do. You can finally turn this doomsday ship around!”. And Bernie said, “Naw, I’m good. I’m just gonna go with my good friend Joe”. Huh?

      2. Bruno

        Sanders knows, at least as well as the rest of us, that Biden was never anything but a placeholder for the Demoncrudic Establishment’s (ie., Obama’s) recapture of the presidency. That his withdrawal was negotiated directly with Obama is clear. But what was offered to him in return? That ain’t clear…yet.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          That barry o. must be one diabolically persuasive guy.

          While conventional wisdom has it that Bernie didn’t want to be Ralph Nader, it would seem that he forgot about Dennis Kucinich, who took a little ride on barry’s big airplane, got “convinced,” and was redistricted into political oblivion.

          Something tells me that Bernie is about to experience political “promises” in the same way that the american people experience them, which is to say that talk is really, really cheap.

    2. CuriosityConcern

      I’ve been meaning to air my 2 cents about Bernie giving up. I’m still disappointed, but not really in Bernie, more in my fellow voters.
      As to Bernie’s throwing in the towel, I don’t recall it being mentioned here explicitly, but I think he is standing down in the face of the COVID crisis. I like to believe the WI debacle sealed it in his mind, that fighting a primary with Joe would end up scorching the earth and then salting it to boot. Weighing being a contributor to our countries ghastly covid response vs being positioned to help rebuild when all the stage props have fallen in front of our eyes, I’m hoping it was the second that informed his action.
      In regards to giving Joe a knockout blow, I agree with the opinions I’ve read here that going negative would have been risky, and I also think he was waiting for JB to drop the uncle persona first.

      1. lordkoos

        It’s more about the older voters for me as well. I’m extremely disappointed in my generation, the boomers.

        Sanders did not quit “the minute his momentum stalled”, in fact he stayed in for over a month after super Tuesday. I do think that the virus was kind of the last straw. No more rallies, no more safe primaries, etc. However, what will happen to the money and the continuation of his movement are good questions.

    3. Dita

      Glen Ford always had an astringent assessment of Sanders, from the left, which I found helpful. I’m only mildly disappointed, and not surprised, he quit and then totally rolled over. He was someone to rally round and gave voice to different groups. I think, hope, that the movement can continue to expand if it manages to avoid deadly embrace of identitarian blah blah.

      1. Cuibono

        Is there one other politician in the past 20 years who comes close to moving the window left as much as he has?

  22. xkeyscored

    This Is Truly a War:’ Nurses Are Staging a National Day of Protest Vice

    It’s not clear how protests are going to increase the supply of N95 masks much. The meltblown fabric that makes these filter out viruses isn’t easy to make, and one has to wonder if the USA is even capable of producing the machinery needed.

    “Costing upward of 3.8 million euros ($4.23 million) apiece, the machine that creates this fabric melts down plastic material and blows it out in strands, like cotton candy, into flat sheets of melt-blown fabric for face masks and other filtration products. A similar line of machines can create a related kind of fabric, called spun-bond fabric, also used in face masks and in medical protection suits worn by health-care workers.

    The machines are not easy to make because of the exacting precision required, says Müller: “You need to stretch these fibers by hot air, and [the air] needs to be in perfect condition over the width of the machine. The biggest dilemma is that many of the machines are not producing consistent quality.””

    1. Rod

      and one has to wonder if the USA is even capable of producing the machinery needed.

      Crazy to look at the moon and know a few Americans made the trip and did the walk–or did a clown crowd into an Orbiter to return safely in a Monitor and Adjust moment.

      Challenges tend to reveal a persons(entities) values and priorities.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      I wonder which part of giving away your manufacturing capacity to china so that you don’t have to pay american workers these people don’t understand.

      1. JBird4049

        Oh, they understand that. They just refuse to believe that it means anything. Sorta like Upton Sinclair’s statement: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”

        If the elites and the PMC accepted that what was done to the bottom 90% by them was the caused their wealth and cushy jobs, they might guilty enough to change things; that would mean losing some of that wealth and making the cushy jobs less cushy.

  23. The Rev Kev

    “These 5 Decidedly Weird Animal Butts Are The Distraction We All Need Right Now”

    I think that I know the scientific paper that this article was based upon. I think that it was written by a Dr. Seymour B. Utz

  24. Wukchumni

    One of the most poignant photos you’ll see, ICE detainees form a heart in the midst of their hunger strike…

    U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has denied a hunger strike is taking place at the Mesa Verde ICE Processing Center in Bakersfield.

    In an email sent to The Californian late Friday night, the agency countered claims that around 100 detainees inside Mesa Verde had begun a hunger strike to protest what they described as lax precautionary measures against the new coronavirus.

    “There is no hunger strike occurring at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Mesa Verde Detention Facility,” ICE spokesman Jonathan Moor said in an email. “Today’s claims to the contrary are completely false. This deceptive tactic exploits the plight of detainees and delegitimizes the integrity of media outlets that unwittingly report these lies as factual. No detainees have missed their facility provided meals, nor declared a hunger strike to staff.”

    Lawyers for some of the detainees, as well as one of the strike’s leaders in Mesa Verde, Charles Joseph, said the strike was taking place.

    Joseph told The Californian he and members of his dorm had discussed their demands with the warden at Mesa Verde and the strike would last as long as possible.

    So far, ICE has acknowledged 61 cases of COVID-19 among detainees in ICE custody. Reports of hunger strikes across other ICE detention centers have proliferated across various media outlets over the last several weeks.

    1. JBird4049

      Damn. It is sad and depressing when I expect a government agency like ICE to just lie and have absolutely no care for their detainees; I have come to a place where I am more likely to believe anything said by a detainee, a prisoner, or a convict than anything said by anyone working for the system. Pretty much without exception.

    1. MLTPB

      Somewhere in or near Siberia, China is tightening Russia border to stem surge of cases there, per WSJ, 2 days ago.

  25. antidlc

    USAA, the veteran-serving financial institution, took $3,400 in CARES Act payments from the family of a disabled veteran to offset an existing debt, denying the family emergency funds during a time of personal economic stress. Text messages from USAA customers show that this is not an isolated incident. In fact, USAA is using a boilerplate statement to respond to customer complaints about taking their payments.

    According to the wife of the veteran, a USAA representative told her in a phone conversation that they “shouldn’t have gotten into debt in the first place,” and refused to give back the $3,400 CARES Act payment.

    “I’m out of work and my husband is injured and can’t work,” said Carrie, whose emergency economic payments were taken by USAA. “We don’t know where rent is going to come from now. It was going to help my 18-month-old get her meds. I’m at a loss for words, they don’t care.”

    I don’t know about you but my outrage meter is on overload.

    1. Wukchumni

      USAA is one of the finest insurance companies in the USA, and they always push how important veterans are, la de dah.

      ‘Get The Money’ seems to be of more importance, talk about shooting yourself in the groin repeatedly, I wonder what caliber bullets they’re using?

    2. prodigalson

      I’d say i’m surprised but i’m not. orgs that doth protest too much about their love of veterans are exactly the ones I’d expect to rip them off.

    3. lordkoos

      I’m a USAA member and I like their services a lot better than my former credit union BECU (Boeing employees), this is very disappointing news.

    4. Painted Shut

      Some on Twitter (ddayen being one) are reporting that USAA has reversed course and will not be taking CARES act money for previous debts, and will be refunding those that had been previously taken.

      1. Massinissa

        The last few weeks have had this pattern play up over and over again. Corporation does odious things, hordes of people roast them on Twitter, said corporation walks back aforementioned odious things. Never seen this kind of thing happen so much in such a short span of time, whereas previously such attacks on corporate malfeasance on twitter were largely ineffectual. Perhaps the corporations are simply all more scared than we had realized.

        1. JBird4049

          They are probably are more scared as many more Americans than normal are very angry about their dysfunctional government and society. Being trapped at home watching the whole farce while wondering where the money for food and rent is coming is probably clarifying and focusing their minds.

  26. Jason Boxman

    So this is what I posted days ago; Why not complete the loop and have banks simply clear drafts? Clearly the Fed is going to pick up any shortfall. Just make the checks “good” and the money will flow again. That hardly seems that radical, given the situation?

    If I can come up with this, it seems our political technocrat class is bereft of ideas.

    (nytimes updates)

    And, just as the money ran out, the Federal Reserve’s backstop for the program came on line. The facility — which takes the loans banks make to small businesses as collateral — became fully operational as of Thursday. Banks that make loans are now able to essentially get financing from the Fed to extend that credit, by using the loans they are making as collateral.

    The promise that the program was coming has likely encouraged lending by assuring banks that they would not have to keep the loans on their balance sheets.

    Meanwhile, some banks are keeping their customers’ stimulus checks if their accounts are overdrawn. The phenomenon is swiftly becoming a political issue, with the Treasury secretary fielding calls from senators urging him to ensure that relief money isn’t garnished. Banks are legally allowed to withhold funds that go into accounts that have negative balances, and there is no specific provision in the relief package that prevents banks from taking customers’ stimulus money to cover debts.

  27. BostonTom

    Canada has got a form of UBI up and running, Spain too.
    Not enough discussion of that here in the USA

  28. The Rev Kev

    “A Quiet Revolution in Botany: Plants Form Memories”

    This is a great article this as well as intriguing. Just where does the memory for a plant reside anyway? Is there a kind of nervous system for each plant? Might have to save that article.

  29. john halasz

    Bill McKibben is supposed to be a journalist. So one of the first jobs of a journalist is to get the facts right. The BC government is not a coalition of the greens and the liberals. which oppose the pipelines; it’s a coalition between the greens and the NDP. The provincial liberals like the national party support the pipelines.

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