Links 4/22/2020

Ever Wonder ‘What It’s Like To Be A Bird’? David Allen Sibley Has Some Answers NPR

“Clipnosis” technique can calm cats in vet’s office and at home Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine. From 2012, still germane.

N.C. farm rents out miniature donkey to crash video calls AP

World Bank pandemic bonds to pay $133m to poorest virus-hit nations FT. And the net after interest?

We’re Not Floating to Hell on an Oil Barrel John Authers, Bloomberg

ECB May Discuss Junk Debt Collateral in Call on Wednesday Bloomberg. Next: unopened sardine tins?

Companies should shift from ‘just in time’ to ‘just in case’ FT. “Ideally, companies should aim for what Nassim Nicholas Taleb has called an ‘antifragile‘ approach, going ‘beyond resilience and robustness’ so that they can adapt to, and even thrive on, disorder.” Hmm. “Thriving on disorder” sounds like “disaster capitalism” a la Shock Doctrine to me (though I’m sure that’s not at all Taleb’s recommendation).


The science:

The Infection That’s Silently Killing Coronavirus Patients NYT. Silent hypoxia:

There is a way we could identify more patients who have Covid pneumonia sooner and treat them more effectively — and it would not require waiting for a coronavirus test at a hospital or doctor’s office. It requires detecting silent hypoxia early through a common medical device that can be purchased without a prescription at most pharmacies: a pulse oximeter.

Worth reading in full, even if only as a clinician’s detective story.

How SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) Gets into Respiratory Tissue — And How It May Exploit One of Our Anti-Viral Defenses; Interferon Boosts ACE2, Which Is Cell Surface Receptor That COVID-19 Binds To BioQuick News (original).

Everything we know about coronavirus immunity and antibodies — and plenty we still don’t STAT

Stability of SARS-CoV-2 in different environmental conditions The Lancet (CanChemist: “The good news if you read through is that it was easy to kill… the bad news is that it can persist under refrigeration easily.”)

* * *


CDC chief warns second COVID-19 wave may be worse, arriving with flu season Reuters

What explains the low coronavirus numbers in poor, densely populated South Asia? The Scroll. A very good round-up.

Estimating the burden of SARS-CoV-2 in France (PDF) Mathematical Modelling of Infectious Diseases Unit, Institut Pasteur. Bottom line in the abstract: “Population immunity appears insufficient to avoid a second wave if all control measures are released at the end of the lockdown.”

First known U.S. coronavirus death occurred on Feb. 6 in Santa Clara County San Francisco Chronicle.

“What it means is we had coronavirus circulating in the community much earlier than we had documented and much earlier than we had thought,” said Dr. Sara Cody, Santa Clara County’s public health officer. “Those deaths probably represent many, many more infections. And so there had to be chains of transmission that go back much earlier.”

Note that the San Francisco region’s early lockdown was driven by Cody.

We’re mapping Covid-19-related slaughterhouse closures (map) The Counter. By state and owner.

Rolling Stone Timeline: Coronavirus in America Rolling Stone

A Planetary Pandemic New Left Review. Good summary.

* * *

Treatment and Vaccine:

China Focus: China approves three COVID-19 vaccines for clinical trials Xinhua. This (preprint; not peer-reviwed) looks like one (via). One sentence summary: “A purified inactivated SARS-CoV-2 virus vaccine candidate (PiCoVacc) confers complete protection in non-human primates against SARS-CoV-2 strains circulating worldwide by eliciting potent humoral responses devoid of immunopathology.”

Column: Here’s why a COVID-19 vaccine could end up costing you a small fortune Los Angeles Times

Director of U.S. agency key to vaccine development leaves role suddenly amid coronavirus pandemic STAT. “BARDA has been plagued with management issues virtually since its creation in 2006, with much of the criticism aimed at a contracting department that some say is unresponsive to industry partners.”

* * *


IDSA COVID-19 Antibody Testing Primer Infectious Diseases Society of America. “A ‘positive’ [antibody] test is exceptionally difficult to interpret because the performance of these tests is not well known.”

* * *


CDC To Fund 650 Health Experts To Help States Trace, Stop COVID-19 NPR

Wanted: a civilian army of contact tracers to end the lockdown FT

* * *

Materiel shortages:

‘Suffering, gasping’: experts warn of oxygen shortages in poorer virus-threatened nations France24

* * *

Economic effects:

Food Supply Is the Next Virus Headache Bloomberg

* * *

Corporate response:

Here are the largest public companies taking payroll loans meant for small businesses CNBC

Harvard Says It Didn’t Get Small Business Aid After Trump Threat Bloomberg

* * *

Political response:

Senate passes $484 billion coronavirus deal after weeks of deadlock Politico. Another Politico writer comments:

Nothing, naturally, for our “heroes,” “essential workers,” solidarity-destroying though the very concept is.

Lobbying on coronavirus surges as Congress doles out trillions Roll Call

Southern governors create a Covid-19 coalition and experts fear a ‘perfect storm’ Politico

The Quiet Hand of Conservative Groups in the Anti-Lockdown Protests NYT. Get back to me when the photos of protesters use a wide-angle lens, so we can tell how many there are. For example:

Any story on the conservative anti-lockdown protests that doesn’t include a wide angle view of the crowd is pushing a narrative.

Who’s Behind the “Reopen” Domain Surge? Krebs on Security

Missouri sues China in federal court, alleging responsibility for COVID-19 pandemic McClatchy

* * *

Remedies and ameliorations:

How to stop a coronavirus face mask from fogging up your glasses South China Morning Post

Military deployed to care homes in Quebec to help curb spread of COVID-19 CTV


Street by street, home by home: how China used social controls to tame an epidemic South China Morning Post. “These cells make up a grid-based neighbourhood monitoring and management system that exists across China.”

Congress Seeks to Confront China With $6 Billion in New Defense Spending Foreign Policy. Includes “military aid for forces in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.”

Why Singapore, Once a Model for Coronavirus Response, Lost Control of Its Outbreak Time. Class blindness.

Vietnam seeks to reopen all domestic flights from Thursday Reuters

Putin’s People: How the KGB Took Back Russia and Then Turned on the West (review) FT


Russian Officials Dawdled as the Coronavirus Took Hold The Nation

“What the Economy Needs Is a Blitzkrieg” Der Spiegel (Re Silc). Donald Tusk.

Mexico president tells gangs to stop handing out coronavirus aid Al Jazeera

US ‘Plunders’ $342m of Venezuelan Funds as COVID-19 Hotspot Breaks Out at Baseball Academy Venezuelanalysis

Exclusive: Venezuela Socialists, opposition leaders begin secret talks amid pandemic – sources Reuters

How a communist mayor is defeating privatisation in Chile Open Democracy

How the United States killed Brazil’s Democracy. Again. Brasil Wire

Amazon Tribes Say Christian Missionaries Threaten ‘Genocide’ During Pandemic HuffPo

Trump Transition

On Absolute Power, Nixonian Machinations & Trump’s Fascist Fulminations Nina Illingworth

Democrats in Disarray

Donna Shalala sets up blind trust, sells stock related to CARES Act oversight. McClatchy. As if Shalala didn’t know the players, blind trust or no. That’s why Pelosi put her there!

Failed State

Fiscal Monitor – April 2020 International Monetary Fund. An interesting table:

Florida is paying only 14% of unemployment claims filed CNN

Imperial Collapse Watch

France investigating how 1,000 sailors became infected with coronavirus aboard Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier ABC. Periodicallly I run this quote:

CIVILIAN: How will we know the aircraft carrier is obsolete?

ADMIRAL: When it fails in war.

Or when an adversay discovers that aircraft carriers are just as much Petri dishes as cruise ships.

Gavin Newsom’s Nation-State The Atlantic (Re Silc).

Guillotine Watch

“Guest rooms”:

Class Warfare

The sweatshops are still open. Now they make masks Los Angeles Times

A Detroit Nurse Was Fired After Speaking Out About Her Hospital’s Handling Of The Coronavirus Outbreak. Now She’s Fighting Back. Buzzfeed

What the Pandemic Means for Women in the Hustle Economy Tressie McMillan Cottom, Filene


The Exclusivity Economy The New Republic

Race Reductionism Redux w/ Adolph Reed, Jr. (podcast) Dead Pundits Society

Australia’s “JobKeeper” Scheme Falls Short by Design Jacobin

Rooftop tennis:

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Redlife2017

    Re: How to stop a coronavirus face mask from fogging up your glasses
    Talk about news you can use! Thank you so much for this. I will try this out when I go out for shopping later in the week.

      1. Wukchumni


        The only cool artifact i’ve ever come across in the backcountry was a beautifully knapped obsidian atlatl head about a decade ago way off trail in the middle of nowhere, I use hiking poles and something black and shiny appeared on the ground as I was plodding along.

        It barely fit into the Smith no fog bag I had in my backpack, around 3 inches by 3 inches and weighed around 1/2 an oz, much heavier than an obsidian arrowhead, as you needed more heft with an atlatl. It was at least 2,000 years old and maybe a lot older and there is no obsidian on the west side of the Sierra, it had to have come from the east side.

        I turned it in to the ranger @ Hockett Meadow, it being illegal to remove it from the National Park, so my only memories are pulling it out of my pocket and looking at it repeatedly as it took us 4 hours to go 3 miles in rugged terrain to say the least.

        I found it about 500 feet below an off-trail pass, and have wondered how upset the hunter was at losing a prized possession, and just what was he hunting, a bear, a deer or a bighorn sheep?

        It will have to remain a mystery.

        1. Biologist

          Thanks for that anecdote! Made me look up Hockett Meadow, and long for long walks far away from the city.

          1. Wukchumni

            It was a very memorable trip, we like to get high for the Perseid meteor shower, and spent a couple nights @ a no-name lake about 100 yards long with an island @ the 25 yard line on the other side of the lake from us, where we perched about 25 feet above the lake on a granite outcrop, twas spectacular, and it dawned on us to look down at the lake, where we watched reflections of meteors passing by.

        2. Oso

          interesting find. appreciate you for respecting the environment in a national park. the few rangers i’ve encountered over the years do not seem to be like police at all but rather show a degree of reverence for the native environment.

        3. Oregoncharles

          The geology of obsidian is similar here; found east of the mountains. there’s a mountain of the stuff near Bend. There was a steady trade across the mountains, sometimes all the way to the coast, of fish, camas, etc. for obsidian, so obsidian artifacts are fairly common in the valley. Not that I’ve actually found one; just agate arrow points, by the river.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            As a kid I found a beautiful obsidian arrowhead in perfect shape, and often wondered about the New Jersey Lene Lenape native American who shot and lost it. Deer are still thick as fleas on a politician dog so I’m sure he/she enjoyed some amazing venison.

            But my prize possession is a granite corn grinder (metate) I found (while deep digging to plant corn!) in the Tucson suburbs where I lived. That accompanied me to Australia so I get to gaze at it and time travel anytime I want.

            1. dan

              During a volunteer work trip with the Sierra Club we were privileged to get into the back country of the Valles Caldera after the Las Conchas fire. The fire revealed a now barren forest floor littered with obsidian.

    1. Savedbyirony

      I have been using the wash with soap method for some time now. It works very well for me. And I like being sure to disinfect my specs often during the day.

    2. tegnost

      As to news you can use, I read CanChemist comment yesterday while waiting to get back from the grocery store. I have been wondering what effect refrigeration had on the virus. Reading that comment led me to wash every package into the frig or cabinet. I think freezing which is under 4 degrees centigrade should kill it but I’m always looking for new info, and I come either first, or to confirm/deny. The best website, ever. And a by the way, empty oil tankers (floating high in the water) were streaming into March’s Point, I saw 4 in the afternoon, literally coming in one after the other. Not normal.

      1. xkeyscored

        Even minus 100 is far more likely to preserve it than ‘kill’ it. Please see my comment below. Would you put shit in your fridge or freezer next to your food?

        (Sorry if that sounds harsh, but it seems an idea, shared by more than just you, that needs squelching!)

      2. CanChemist

        I responded in more detail below to xkeyscored, but unfortunately it’s a reasonable assumption right now that it could be stable for long periods in freezing conditions.

        For what it’s worth, what I’m doing right now is wiping down things like boxes, plastic packaging etc with a solution of 70% or greater isopropanol on a paper towel and letting those items sit for a bit before I put them away. For produce, and for anything that goes into the fridge or freezer, I wash it in the kitchen sink with dish soap and hot water, in the same way I’d do for my dishes. I’m also avoiding anything that has a high surface area and is hard to clean, like broccoli. It’s also important to dry your produce so you don’t encourage rot.
        Disclaimer: chemist with microbiology training, but not a virologist :)

      3. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Reading that comment led me to wash every package into the frig or cabinet.

        I go to the store as little as possible, but when I do, I take a shower afterwards and wash hands, face, hair, everything, and all the packages in the shower, 20 seconds apiece.

    3. JohnnySacks

      I cut some 5″ lengths of stripped 14 ga copper wire, common household wiring stuff, and had my wife sew them into the top seam of her masks so they’d be adjustable to fit tightly around the nose and cheeks to keep the fog out of glasses (and keep them filtering on inhales to do what they’re designed for to begin with). Straightened large paper clip would do the same, but maybe rust. A very old pain in the ass for this glasses wearer when doing demo and woodworking with masks. Not sure, but if there’s a sewn seam at the top of the mask, maybe the length of wire can be pushed into the seam from a small hole in one side?

      1. FreeMarketApologist

        I used a pipe cleaner which slides into a sewn slot at the top of my masks (homemade). Removable, flexible, and soft. I’ve also seen Twist-ties recommended for the same effect. You wouldn’t have to sew them in, or use a slot — they could be tack-stitched along the top edge of any mask.

      2. Oregoncharles

        Single-strand, solid core copper wire is very handy stuff – I use it for tying plants, an old bonsai technique. You don’t have to tie knots in it, like string, just a twist, and it’s reusable more or less forever.

        I usually use coated wire for that, a little softer, but bare copper is death on microbes, including Coronavirus. So apt for face masks. Recover it, though; completely reusable.

      3. False Solace

        I’ve been using 1.5mm aluminum wire (this is apparently equivalent to about 15 American Wire Gauge) cut into 3″ lengths. I tried 2mm (~12 AWG) but it was too stiff to easily bend into a comfortable shape. It fits closely around the nose and holds its shape well. Since it’s aluminum there are no worries about rust. The ends are curled in to avoid sharp edges that might poke through the mask.

        I used this pattern from a local hospital. After the mask was assembled I sewed a 3″ long triple-stitched line 3/8″ from the top hem of the mask and inserted the aluminum wire into it. Since it’s aluminum it’s safe to go through the wash — in a lingerie bag. However the wire can be removed if needed. The pattern has a filter pocket but I haven’t been using it. Filters are one-time use only and I haven’t researched the materials at all. I should probably figure that out before someone in the household comes down with it.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          In the richest country in the history of mankind. Do-it-yourself health care. GoFundMe if you get sick and you don’t want to go bankrupt.

          Filed under Chumps-Who-Would-Rather-Assume-The-Fetal-Position-Than-Demand-The-Basic-Necessities-Of-Life-From-Their-So-Called-Government.

          I get that it’s “by necessity” because you “have no other choice”. (Said The Pharoah to the slave).

  2. The Rev Kev

    “N.C. farm rents out miniature donkey to crash video calls”

    They wouldn’t be Republican video calls being crashed, would they?

    1. Democracy Working

      Taleb’s examples in the book Antifragile are impressively varied! In unpacking the concept he draws from history, finance, engineering, medicine and human biology among other fields. Some illustrations may be more convincing to readers than others, but they’re all presented with verve and conviction! I enjoyed this book hugely when I read it in 2013 and have recommended it to many. You don’t have to agree with all of Taleb’s propositions to find antifragility a very useful lens for examining & thinking through the world.

      1. WhoaMolly

        Anti fragile is an ancient idea. Typical Small family farms in my youth had gardens, food animals, diverse crops, canned food, all necessary tools for living through extended hard times

      2. chuck roast

        Antifragile…a word with possibilities. The PMCs are currently enamored with “resilience”. I think what they mean is the classic rope-a-dope since they appear to have given up entirely on “sustainability.” Of course resilience implies that you keep on getting punched, and in the end it’s gonna be OK because you haven’t taken any head-shots. You really don’t have to do anything pro-active…you know…just cash your bi-weekly check. “Have another glass of wine…Merlot is it?” And those resilience strategies are just so smart and sophisticated. And in the end? IBG/YBG. Really! I wish we could begin flying again.

  3. Zamfir

    Regarding Taleb’s anti-fragility: I always got the same sense. His only good examples of it are much like the shock doctrine – zero-sum situations where ones shock benefit is someone else’s extra pain.

    For the rest, ‘antifragility’ is just boring caution and robustness, and Taleb feels above such humdrum stuff.

    Did other people find better examples ‘antifragility’?

    1. Bugs Bunny

      How about redundancy in business processes and systems. There’d be no airplanes without them. My employer has been doing incredibly well in executing business continuity plans and getting those extra billables.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > For the rest, ‘antifragility’ is just boring caution and robustness, and Taleb feels above such humdrum stuff.

      I disagree, while admitting that I found the book very hard going. I should try it again, if readers are enamored.

      Taleb’s metaphor — I may be paraphrasing details incorrectly — for anti-fragile is three boxes:

      1) A box marked FRAGILE. That is, don’t drop it.

      2) A box not marked. That is, dropping the box won’t break anything inside. This is a “resilient”, “rugged,” “sustainable” box.

      3 A box marked DROP ME. This is the anti-fragile box, where dropping the box makes what is inside stronger.

      NOTE Adding, I am re-reading Agency instead, for a future post. I hate it even more the second time through.

  4. IDG

    I haven’t seen any mention of this, but this seems the kind of stuff Yves would be onto: Alberta public pension manager AIMCo reportedly takes big hit to investments.

    Don’t quote me but apparently it was being used to prop energy industry:

    There may be juice here.

  5. Amfortas the hippie

    not a peep about concentration/monopoly:

    It’s alluded to in passing regarding the big processing plants as if it’s just a natural feature of the food “industry” ecosystem.

    and later on, the results, pre-pandemic, of that wonderful system:

    ” Even before the pandemic began, 37 million people were considered food insecure, according to Monica Hake, a senior research manager at Feeding America, a hunger-prevention group.”

    the explanations given for why they’re dumping milk/burning fruit are pretty maddening, too….two parallel distribution chains, one for restaurants, another for “consumers”…and never the twain shall meet?
    and here i thought “agility” was one of the main reasons for placing all important supplies into the hands of Mr Market…

    1. cnchal

      Mr Lawyer and contracts keep kicking Mr Market in the groin.

      “Agility” is a euphemism for “fooled again by bafflegab”.

        1. Duck1

          agility: keeping the smoke and mirrors perfectly aligned while inserting your invisible hand in the mark’s pocket and withdrawing the cash

    2. divadab

      Not to mention ownership – over 80% of the California onion and garlic dehydration industry (dehy o&g in almost all processed savory foods) is in foreign (Taiwan, iirc) hands. Who sets the priorities as to who gets what?

  6. Wukchumni

    On this Earth Day 50 years ago I was 8 years old and my school made a big show of it. The custodians had taken contents of trash cans and spewed it all over the grass in a number of areas, and our ‘job’ was to clean it up, which we dutifully accomplished, planting a seed in our little minds…

    1. Milton

      Same age but remember nothing of it. I do, however, recall a poster my friend’s older sister had of the Statue of Liberty wearing a gas mask. Apropos for today, I guess.

    2. jaaaaayceeeee

      I was almost twice your age for the first Earth Day. I can’t remember if the walkathon scheduled for it was 25 or 26 miles. I thought myself clever for having the brainstorm of running it instead, just to see how long it takes, until I saw some actual runners had come. I barely remember it, because I was so tired by the end, and after watching lots of walkers reach the finish line, went home to sleep until the next day. I do have indelible images of a few dragging their friends over the finish line, and of more than a couple, holding bottles of alcohol, and ignoring their bleeding feet, and admit that I slowed to a walk, more than once, in the 5 hours plus it took me.

        1. jaaaaayceeeee

          Wow, that is a good link to good climate action talk, presented live (the kids are alright). Is it worth recommending to anybody who says they have cabin fever or are bored?

    3. VietnamVet

      I just realized that I missed the first Earth Day being in Vietnam and all that. I was getting short 50 years ago; I knew how many days I had left. I didn’t hear about Apollo 13 or Kent State either until I was back in the world. After three years in S.E. Asia I was a stranger in a strange land. Today there is the astonishing failure of the US federal government to test, trace and isolate the infected in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In another week, there will be the same number of deaths in the USA in two months as in a decade of that war. Who will be the last to die for a mistake?

  7. Krystyn Podgajski

    On “Ever Wonder ‘What It’s Like To Be A Bird’? David Allen Sibley Has Some Answers”

    For the past few days I had been watching a baby Robin learning to fly by jumping out of a nest and then slowly climbing back up a slanted tree. Yesterday I went out on my porch and saw several different species of birds all causing a commotion; Robins, Cardinals, Starlings, Chickadees, all on top of a fence and around the tree where the baby Robin lived, screaming in anger focused on something in the grass. I thought the Robins were stopping the attack from the other birds but I noticed they were all in solidarity against something else.

    i walk to the fence to see if maybe I could help but I was too late. A four foot Rat Snake had already constricted the baby Robin to death.

    I could not help to think to myself; “If only the working class could show that much solidarity against the working class”. Maybe I already know what it is like to be a bird.

    Here is a photo of the event:

    1. MT_Bill

      I won’t limit it to the working class, but the problem is that many groups have been exactly like those birds. Lots of virtue signalling and commotion to no effect while another one of us gets swallowed whole.

      Be the snake. Go about your work with focus and determination, ignoring the screeching and chatter of those who want to appear interested but don’t have skin in the game.

      Even more relatable to our situation is the behavior of some species of birds in the large, multi-species flocks that follow army ant formations. When they see a really good food item flushed by the ants, they scream “snake” so the other birds freeze and grab it for themselves. Just shows that even in the bird world, given enough time some will devolve into grifters.

      Never let a crisis go to waste.

  8. xkeyscored

    Stability of SARS-CoV-2 in different environmental conditions The Lancet (CanChemist: “The good news if you read through is that it was easy to kill… the bad news is that it can persist under refrigeration easily.”)

    It shouldn’t be any surprise that refrigeration doesn’t ‘kill’ it. Sperm and eggs, and many other things, are regularly frozen for later use. Low temperatures slow down various biological and biochemical processes, while high temperatures (and other things like UV, alcohol and bleach) disrupt them.

    1. CanChemist

      Yes, after all, the point of a fridge/freezer is precisely that it preserves things. I had my suspicions long before seeing that article, but it does a nice job of proving it.
      I had heard anecdotally that virologists working on other coronaviruses have seen persistence for year(s). I just gave it a Google and found this,

      ““Research into similar coronavirus strains has shown that, in general, coronaviruses are stable in freezing temperatures and have been shown to survive for up to two years at -20 degrees Celsius,” explained Dr. Mohamad Mooty, Department Chair, Infectious Diseases, Medical Subspecialty Institute, at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi.”

      Again, I’d say the key take home point is that it’s still easy to kill, so one should take extra care to do so before putting stuff in the fridge/freezer.

      1. xkeyscored

        And, on a related note, there’s those ancient viruses being resurrected from permafrost after thousands (or is it millions?) of years. Not exactly the same thing, but plenty good reason not to expect cold’ll do this one in.

        (I’ve no doubt you know this, CanChemist, but for other readers, we’re a bit more than a bit of RNA in a protein coat. We need to be around 37C inside, and sticking us in a freezer for more than a minute or two would affect us!)

          1. tegnost

            Thanks to you both for the info, Ill just treat freezer food as suspect unless I re package it all and thaw/clean freezer

  9. The Rev Kev

    “Putin’s People: How the KGB Took Back Russia and Then Turned on the West”

    Ah, this article talks about his enemies who fell out of windows or mysterious murders because Russia is just Russia. OK then. Anybody know what the latest count is for the Clinton body count? Did they add Jeffrey to it as well? :)

    1. Bob

      Clinton didn’t know Jeffrey. Just a right wing conspiracy. All photos were faked. Nothing to see here, move along.

        1. WhoaMolly

          Is this why there is no “bench” of young democratic politicians? Dominated instead by rigid, 70+ year old millionaires?

    2. montanamaven

      Can’t say that I’m interested in this book on Putin’s rise. Seems like we’ve heard this tale before. Prof Stephen Cohen has often debunked the story of the Russian journalist, Anna Stepanovna Politkovskaya , being murdered by Putin. She was investigating Chechen mafia. Her family does not believe the Putin narrative. The use of “Putin kills journalists” without anybody pushing back is an example of what John Michael Greer calls “a thought stopper”. It usually ends the conversation about establishing better relations with our former WWII ally.

    3. David J.

      I get paywalled by FT, but this interested me so I googled around and came across a couple of other articles related to this book:

      The Guardian:


      Of particular interest to me was the Herrhausen reference in the Guardian piece. The attempt to pin that assassination on Putin/KGB etc… makes me very skeptical.

      1. JTMcPhee

        No it to mention the Skripals. Anybody seen or heard of them lately?

        Great example of sowing Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt to keep the pot just on the boil.

        1. xkeyscored

          “Sergei and Yulia Skripal are ‘desperate to start a new life in Australia’ following two years in an MI6 safe house after surviving a novichok poisoning attack

          Sergei and Yulia Skripal are desperate to leave UK for Australia or New Zealand

          The Mail on Sunday has also received unconfirmed reports that Mr Skripal, 68, and his daughter, 35, may have already travelled to Australia and New Zealand to scout possible locations.”

          (It continues with “He [Sergei] was not thought to have been active in the intelligence field,” which contrasts with this: “In May 2018, the New York Times reported that Skripal, though retired, was “still in the game.” While living in Britain he had travelled to other countries, meeting with intelligence officials of the Czech Republic, Estonia and Colombia, most likely discussing Russian spying techniques. … On 28 September 2018, the news magazine Focus reported, referring to a statement of a senior official from NATO’s Allied Command Counter-Intelligence Unit (ACCI) in Mons, that until 2017 Skripal worked for four intelligence agencies of NATO countries.”)

        2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          The UK Chief Health Officer just happened to be strolling by when the “novichuk” “attack” took place. Mm-hmm. And Mohammed Atta’s intact passport just happened to be lying there in the 9/11 rubble.

          There’s one overarching reason why it’s as easy as child’s play for them to steal and lie and kill with gay abandon: because we are stupid and gullible.

  10. xkeyscored

    Mexico president tells gangs to stop handing out coronavirus aid Al Jazeera

    I doubt the gangs will heed this advice, nor is it clear why they should.

    “Mexico’s president has acknowledged that drug cartels have been handing out care packages during the coronavirus pandemic, urging them to end violence instead of distributing food.”

    Ending violence would be great, but why should they stop distributing food? An end to the disastrous ‘war on drugs’ might serve to undermine the gangs’ economic base and end the violence. In the meantime, food and cleaning supplies are being distributed. Why not call on US health workers to stop effectively providing propaganda for the gangs controlling their nation?

    1. JTMcPhee

      Isn’t there some history of armed and vicious gangs and their leaders rising to political legitimacy? ISIS, after all, actually governed a lot of the places where that crew flourished:

      “ The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria Has a Consumer Protection Office
      A guide to how the militant group overrunning Iraq wins hearts and minds”

      And political leaders using murder and mass violence, passing the gangsters on the way down out of legitimacy? As in this:

      Maybe because the CIA finds the cultivation, refining and distribution to be such a nice combination of income stream and destabilizing weapon aimed at Russia, China and other places. Also helps to “weed the lawn” here in the States.

      And let us remember, “America’s First Millionaire Got Rich Smuggling Opium,”

      1. xkeyscored

        I think political legitimacy, whatever that is exactly, is one of the main differences between governments and other armed gangs. In England, a gang led by William the Conqueror defeated the incumbent gangs in 1066 and divvied up the rents and taxes among themselves and their offspring, and there’s nothing special I’m aware of about that example.
        (And the noble HSBC, along with Jardine Matheson and others, got going with opium.)

      2. Oregoncharles

        Hezbollah in Lebanon is the classic example – granted, a political “gang” all along.

        Lots of claims the Mafia governed Chicago, and may still.

        1. xkeyscored

          And many a ‘movement’, from the Kuomintang to the FARC, has found the need to finance itself through activities usually associated with ‘gangs’, often leading to the supposed means becoming the effective ends.

  11. timbers

    “Democrats cave: Nothing for states or cities…”

    This is incredible and something I pay attention to, being a tax property payer and aware of city services and it’s fiscal constraints. Seems obvious that these dominos will fall and soon. How can this not be on the radar?

    Even the Fed is allowing municipalities to borrow at it’s “Repo window” by using municipal debt as collateral. But then, more debt is not the solution – but a part of the problem that got us to where we are now, economically. But Congress does nothing?

    It makes me think it is even more likely, that part of the plan is to let local governments go broke, forcing them to sharply increased property taxes and such which can cause lower and middle income folks out of their property and pave the way for hedge funds and investors to buy up property and turn us into a renter nation.

    “Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen.”

    – Evil Emperor Darth Sidious.

    1. Wukchumni

      Coulda been worse, what if the Donkey Show had decided we’d all receive $1200 worth of pricey ice cream per person?

      1. The Rev Kev

        I am sure that Jimmy Dore will be shocked, shocked at this development. I understand that that 4 of that 484 billion dollars will be spent on double freezers for each member of the Senate and House to be stocked with high-end food & ice creams and any left over money will be spent on locks for barn doors to keep any more horses from bolting out of them.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          My vision is Pelosi’s next attempt at public outreach will be to explain how if you try all the different ice cream flavors and leave them in the freezer after opening them you will get freezer burn.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Schumer’s rallying cry is they weren’t steam rolled. #resist!

      I can’t wait to see Pelosi and other #resisters when they realize how much brunch they are going to miss.

    3. Molly Gordon

      Cuomo has been harping on this every day in his press briefings. I wonder what state/local miseries will have to occur to change the situation and get them some money?

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Leverage is gone. Team Blue elites probably assume they will run on Trump starving Massachusetts while the GOP moves to make it rain in relevant electoral states, and if they lose, they will blame the electoral college and then do nothing about it, the #resistance!

        1. tegnost

          Both teams want to control the states, and who has the gold makes the rules is a time honored tradition

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            This may be the case, but the Democrats aren’t playing to win. When Shrub was in office (this is probably why so many Team Blue elites love the man), Shrub made it rain in certain blue districts as part of post-9/11 MIC boondoggles to win votes so he could point to all the Democrats who supported him.

            Besides Trump exposing the face of Washington, Team Blue elites really hate him because Trump isn’t doing heavy lifting for them. I even think one of the reasons for being all in on HRC despite her obvious weaknesses was they were ticked at how Obama seemed averse to the kinds of high profile pork projects that Shrub made happen.

    4. Paradan

      When municipalities go broke they can’t pay the police, and you gotta have police. So this is when private equity comes in to save the day.
      “Let us take over payroll for the cops. Same cops, same laws, same gear, mayor’s still calling the shots, just now it’s like a utility.”
      So every month you get your public safety bill, it’ll be cheap, they’re not in it for the money this time. In tiny letters at the bottom of the bill, it’ll say..

      “By paying this bill, you agree to our terms of service.”

      and with that simple statement, you will sign away the last of your civil rights. You’ll now be in a full blow police state.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Police can seize proppity, well established. A lot of “forces” find a lot of their activities by that method. “Civil forfeitures,” they call them. You have to prove that the $8,000 in cash you were carrying to buy a used car was not being used for illicit purposes. All you folks concerned about the sanctity of proppity rahts ought be aware of this:
        “ No Drugs, No Crime and Just Pennies for School: How Police Use Civil Asset Forfeiture”

        And there’s a steady flow of federal equipment and money to local and state cops, many of whom are of course ex-military.

        All this stuff, like the starving of mopes and their local and state governments except for parts that might be used to “suppress insurrections” might lead a person to recall Jeff Goldbloom’s character’s discovery of that secret countdown encoded in the communications between the alien ships in “Independence Day,” a countdown to when the optimum placement of those ships and their city-destroying weapons was achieved. Tick-tick-tick…

        Naw, that’s just crazy talk. Not possible. Could not be. Never happen.

    5. Balakirev

      Not sure I understand Grunwald’s take (“Democrats cave…”). Cave? When since the Clinton-led putsch in the nineties, have the federal Dems as a group seriously worked against banks, insurance companies, Big Pharma, the “defense” industry, the fossil fuels lobby, etc? Have they fought the good fight, hard and dirty, for (what Uncle Ronnie ever so cutely called us) The Little People? Just how many shots to the wallet and environment does it take before our Famously Free Media acknowledge that the Dem Party isn’t the Party any longer of such acronyms as FDR, JFK, and LBJ? The Dems won: 1) They can tell the voters they tried, and 2) They can tell the owners of our nation that they made sure they got everything they wanted.

      And we got prime kabuki theater. Joy.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “France investigating how 1,000 sailors became infected with coronavirus aboard Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier”

    ‘The French navy has been spared major controversy so far, but the Defence Minister and the head of the French military’s health service arm were questioned about the infections at parliamentary hearings.’

    And that is how you hide a clusterf*** of screw-ups. Check out the following quote from a recent article-

    ‘There is growing anger among the carrier’s crew, whose commander was refused permission to end the mission as the ship arrived at the Atlantic port of Brest on March 13 with confirmed coronavirus cases aboard. A month before arriving at Brest, the carrier had put in at a port in Cyprus. Initial reports suggested the first cases could have emerged after a five-to-eight-day incubation period and spread very rapidly.’

    1. xkeyscored

      With so many countries telling cruise ships they can’t dock, one wonders why military petri dishes aren’t getting the cold shoulder too.

      1. Monty

        Could be because, despite the name, cruise lines don’t carry cruise missiles (or impose sanctions).

      2. MLTPB

        Submarines too.

        Speaking of which, there was a fire aboard a Russian sub, Losharik, per NY Times 2 days ago.

  13. Wukchumni

    Watching the Giant Sequoias Die

    Watching the trees I love die has made me rethink what hope means this far into climate change.

    Each week this summer I snapped pictures of giant sequoias. Each week I documented their sparse, browning needles. They were dying. I was trying to track it.

    Giant sequoias are special; they are both incomprehensibly massive and ancient. Reaching upward of 250 feet tall and over 100 feet in circumference, sequoias are among the largest living things on Earth. They can live to be 3,000 years old, which means that some giant sequoias alive today were here when King Solomon ruled Israel, Zoroaster prophesied, and the Mayan civilization arose. Of course they weren’t actually there in ancient Israel, Persia, or Central America—because sequoias are also rare, found only in about 75 isolated groves on the western slope of California’s Sierra Nevada. But statistics like those don’t even begin to convey what makes giant sequoias special. You have to be there, to feel just how small you are, to see the Sierra sunshine illuminate a sequoia’s cinnamon-red trunk, to really understand. In the summertime, I get to work among these trees. For the past 12 years, I’ve worked as a seasonal ranger in Yosemite National Park, leading visitors through the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, in the park’s south end, pointing out all the ways these trees are extraordinary.

    1. xkeyscored

      I think I’ve heard that, wonderful as they are, sequoia forests aren’t very biodiverse. Is that true?

      1. barefoot charley

        They’re a strange forest of widely spaced, enormous old trees with sometimes little ut rocks etween them. (Sorry, my key oard just lost the second letter of the alpha et) Coastal redwoods populate much more densely in their rainforests, which grow very dark, and so also in a different way are monopolistic over their understory–mostly ferns and vines, few deer or even irds).

        Sequoias seem almost to have stopped reproducing. Coast redwoods are fecund. And to think, only 300 million years ago these were the commonest trees on earth!

        1. Mel

          I sort of remember a similar thing from The Hidden Life of Trees. The author loves a climax beech forest, but his description seemed just like what you describe with sequoias and redwoods. I started to think that a beech monoculture might not be too different from a human monoculture. Except for the inhabitants, of course.

          1. xkeyscored

            They are gorgeous and cathedral-like. I spent many a childhood hour in the branches of pollarded beeches. I’ve read they’d be the dominant forest in more parts of England had it not been for the navy wanting oak for its ships.

      2. Wukchumni

        Giant Sequoias tend to crowd out other trees, as their massive canopies cast so much shade that not much grows in the vicinity, guarding their turf if you will. Big ones top out at a little over 300 feet, and over 100 feet in circumference @ eye level near the base.

        Coastal redwoods are in lush rainforests and not nearly as approachable because of so much understory. Tall ones are almost 400 feet and they are slimmer than Giant Sequoias.

        Think of Sumo wrestlers vs basketball players~

      3. JBird4049

        Costal Redwood forest are a package deal in someways. People tend to think that California has rich soil, which it does in Central and Southern California. Up in the San Francisco Bay Area and along the north it’s glorious nutrition free clay. Add that the soil of rainforests, jungles included, is often leached of what plants need by the rain.

        The ecosystem of the Redwoods recycles everything and the plants, animals, insects, fungi, etc are often in symbiosis; I would guess that the understory of Redwoods has more life than that of the average evergreen forest because of this. It is a necessity. All the required nutrients are on top of or just below the surface locked into plants, fungi, invertebrates, etc. I guess that might explain why the roots of the the Redwoods are so shallow.

        Add that tall canopy has a surprising amount of life. 50, 150, 300 foot tall trees with a canopy at least ⅓ the length. Plants, moss, mammals, bird, etc. Everything but large animals. Jungles are the same, but with far more life with multiple levels of more complex ecosystems. And they do have large animals.

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      near the tippy top of my bucket list for decades, and still unfulfulled:
      going to see the Redwoods and Sequoias(and Pando, in Utah)
      the one thing i miss about East Texas is the Piney Woods…of which i imagine the Redwoods, etc are a larger analog.
      I have a few cones from both Sequoias and Redwoods, from when my grandparents used to travel, 35+ years ago.
      still have the smell, if scratched.

      1. Wukchumni

        Sequoias are often in my dreams, and this morning went to the Atwell Grove to hang out for a spell. The ones I was with have been through probably dozens of pandemics, ain’t no big thang.

        1. JBird4049

          I have thought about the Sequoias and the Joshua Trees, which have been slowly dying off for thousands of years, and I wonder if it has any connections to the Pleistocene Extinction. IIRC, the latest thought on the Joshua is that the normal eater and spreader of its seeds was probably a ground sloth. Would not surprise me if the Giant Sequoia had something similar.

    3. Andrew Thomas

      Thank you, WK, for this moving post. If you haven’t ever seen it, I suggest that you somehow find the liner notes to the last Canned Heat album with the original members. It is called Future Blues, and was released in July, 1970. The photography on the inside cover is crucial, too. Music is pretty good, too. But I was 18 then. I still have it, but it’s in storage. 900 miles away. Long story.

    4. Oregoncharles

      The solution to climate change, in the case of particular species, is to replant them further north. Of course, you have to wait thousands of years for true giants, but even trees 50 or a hundred years old are very impressive.

      As I wrote before, our street in the Willamette Valley is lined with giant sequoias about that age. Old enough for volunteers to pop up in the right conditions (gravel!). Unfortunately, they’re in bad shape, we think because of an herbicide the railroad used on its parallel right of way. And recently, I heard, second hand from an arborist, that climate change is hard on them here, too: summers are getting too dry.

      My update is that most of them are still alive, the herbicide has been banned,and I see spotty regrowth on some of them. Plus, the neighborhood got together and planted more, filling in the gaps in the line. This is partly a defensive measure, to discourage the city from expanding the road. We like it the way it is. That was in the winter, so hard to tell yet how successful it was – in my professional ;-) capacity, I think there are better choices, but we went with a uniform boulevard effect. And a test case for moving sequoias further north. Our deep clay is very different from the rocky mountain soil they’re native to, but so far those that don’t get poisoned seem to be making it.

      (And a landscaping note: unless you have acreage for it, don’t try this at home. Sequoias, or even Douglas firs, are too big for any city lot. That’s why some have been taken out here in town. A major project, that. The ones on our street are in the space between the street and the RR track, so far about enough room.)

    1. xkeyscored

      And on a more serious note,

      Hundreds of people volunteer to be infected with coronavirus
      “Momentum is building to speed the development of coronavirus vaccines by intentionally infecting healthy, young volunteers with the virus. A grass-roots effort has attracted nearly 1,500 potential volunteers for the controversial approach, known as a human-challenge trial.

      The effort, called 1Day Sooner, is not affiliated with groups or companies developing or funding coronavirus vaccines. But co-founder Josh Morrison hopes to show that there is broad support for human-challenge trials, which have the potential to deliver an effective coronavirus vaccine more quickly than standard trials.”

  14. Democrita

    I have tears in my eyes from giggling at the Twitter thread on the NYTimes home workout story is among the all time greats. Classic NYT let ’em eat cakism.
    Many awesomely snarky comments.
    One fave:
    “I really miss the group aspect of SoulCycle, so I’ve decided to buy a Peloton for both my live-in chef and nanny. It’s not quite the same, but we’re making it work”

    1. Bugs Bunny

      He killed himself in the hotel room he was shooting from. I understand he was very doped up. The accomplice theory proved untrue. Was there something more to the story?

    2. Keith

      As far as I recall, no motive found, and down the memory hole.

      We have new things to panic about, like pandemics, dead dictators and a failing economy, oh, plus the most important election, ever, ever. /s

    3. periol

      just a crazy guy who really didn’t like country music

      it’s not for everyone. i put the country station on the other day and my wife nearly paddocked me.

    4. JTMcPhee

      A possible explanation: Amok, which has two entries in the psych profession’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. From Wiki:

      Amok originated from the Malaysian/Indonesian word meng-âmuk, which when roughly defined means “to make a furious and desperate charge”.[6] According to Malaysian and Indonesian cultures, amok was rooted in a deep spiritual belief.[7] They believed that amok was caused by the hantu belian,[8] which was an evil tiger spirit that entered one’s body and caused the heinous act. As a result of the belief, those in Indonesian culture tolerated amok and dealt with the after-effects with no ill will towards the assailant.[9]

      Although commonly used in a colloquial and less-violent sense, the phrase is particularly associated with a specific sociopathic culture-bound syndrome in the cultures of Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei. In a typical case of running amok, an individual (often male), having shown no previous sign of anger or any inclination to violence, will acquire a weapon (traditionally a sword or dagger, but currently any of a variety of weapons) and in a sudden frenzy, will attempt to kill or seriously injure anyone he encounters and himself.[10] Amok typically takes place in a well populated or crowded area. Amok episodes of this kind normally end with the attacker being killed by bystanders or committing suicide, eliciting theories that amok may be a form of intentional suicide in cultures where suicide is heavily stigmatized.[11] Those who do not commit suicide and are not killed typically lose consciousness, and upon regaining consciousness, claim amnesia.

      An early Western description of the practice appears in the journals of Captain James Cook, a British explorer, who encountered amok firsthand in 1770 during a voyage around the world. Cook writes of individuals behaving in a reckless, violent manner, without cause and “indiscriminately killing and maiming villagers and animals in a frenzied attack.”[12]
      A widely accepted explanation links amok with male honor (amok by women and children is virtually unknown).[13] Running amok would thus be both a way of escaping the world (since perpetrators were normally killed or committed suicide) and re-establishing one’s reputation as a man to be feared and respected.

      Contemporary syndrome

      “Running amok” is used to refer to the behavior of someone who, in the grip of strong emotion, obtains a weapon and begins attacking people indiscriminately, often with multiple fatalities.[10] An episode of amok may be triggered by a period of depression or highly aggressive behavior. The slang terms going postal or going ballistic are similar in scope. Police describe such an event as a killing spree. If the individual is seeking death, an alternate method is often “suicide by cop”.

      Amok is often described as a culture-bound (or culture-specific) syndrome,[14][15] which is a psychological condition whose manifestation is strongly shaped by cultural factors. Other reported culture-bound syndromes are latah and koro. Amok is also sometimes considered one of the subcategories of dissociative disorders (cross-cultural variant).
      Officially classified as a psychiatric condition[edit]

      In 1849, amok was officially classified as a psychiatric condition based on numerous reports and case studies that showed the majority of individuals who committed amok were, in some sense, mentally ill.[9] The modern DSM-IV method of classification of mental disorders contains two official types of amok disorder; beramok and amok. Beramok is considered to be the more common of the two and is associated with the depression and sadness resulting from a loss and the subsequent brooding process. Loss includes, but is not limited to, the death of a spouse or loved one, divorce, loss of a job, money, power, etc. Beramok is associated with mental issues of severe depression or other mood disorders. Amok, the rarer form, is believed to stem from rage, insult, or a vendetta against a person, society, or object for a wide variety of reasons. Amok has been more closely associated with psychosis, personality disorders, bipolar disorder, and delusions.[9]

      All the triggers and psychopathologies that seem to trigger this kind of behavior are pretty plain to see in our political economy.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        So interesting. “Amok” was the reason they invented the .45 pistol, they needed something with real power to stop a crazed guy with a sword running straight at them.

      1. cm

        Cool article, thanks! I was motivated to read which states:

        In March 2019, nearly a year and a half after the shooting, a Las Vegas police officer who was revealed to have been in the 31st floor of the Mandalay Bay, directly underneath Paddock, during the incident but did not immediately respond to the gunfire was fired for his decision to remain in the hallway. However, following an arbitrator’s ruling, the officer was reinstated a year later.

        Closely reading the report, one finds that police didn’t enter the room until after he killed himself and the gunfire ended. As Dan Rather would say, Courage!!!

  15. The Rev Kev

    “Missouri sues China in federal court, alleging responsibility for COVID-19 pandemic”

    Forgetting about the Chinese leadership, can you imagine what it would be like for the people of Wuhan to hear this news? To go through the mass deaths, the brutal lock-downs, the fear of what might happen next, the total disruption of their lives and being told that they had to make these sacrifices not only for China but also the world? And now those western countries that blew away nearly two months of time to make their own preparations through their own incompetence want to sue them for trillions? If I was them I would be seriously p*****.

    I am trying to think of an analog to compare this situation to and can only make up one. It would be like having a Category Five hurricane come roaring through the Caribbean smashing buildings, ripping out trees and killing thousands of people before veering north to hit the United States with equal deadly force. And then, while standing in the middle of the wreckage and dealing with the destruction, Missouri announces that they are going to sue the Caribbean countries for all they got for not giving them enough warning about this hurricane.

    And as one guy tweeted – ‘Can African Americans and Indigenous Americans sue the state of Missouri for slavery and colonialism?’

      1. Olga

        So did Argentina, but that did not stop paul singer or the NY judge. And there are other examples.

      2. JTMcPhee

        Does not keep the US or people in this country from using the courts here to obtain judgments and then seize assets that happen to be located in the US. Nor does it trouble the US government to seize and now apparently spend assets of foreign countries “just because we can. See the link about Venezuela above.

        1. Procopius

          China has much more power to retaliate than Venezuela. China can just embargo KN-95 and surgical masks, and all the spare parts for our military aircraft. All Venezueala has control of is oil.

  16. TomDority

    Column: Here’s why a COVID-19 vaccine could end up costing you a small fortune Los Angeles Times
    – What really rankles me is the pricing structure of meds based on benefit this article describes – charging hundreds and thousands more for a drug than it cost to make or acquire –
    First it negatively impacts the health, safety and well being of US citizens, which is something all state legislatures should be fighting mad, including all police departments who’s police powers are enabled by the state and federal constitutions they operate under – specifically naming the protection of health, safety and well being of its citizens.
    Most drug development and research is not done by the drug maker.
    Although most of the cost is absorbed by the “insurance companies” – All premiums are paid by citizens and their tax dollars – the insurance companies just take a vig – thus, no incentive to fight the ‘cost method’ that is pushing up premiums for it’s insured’s through their vast influence in the halls of congress – no indeed – the same vig on a larger pot is a bigger vig – also, it is more advantageous and less stressful work to play the finance game by hiring the same lobbyists who do that hustle and bribe dance already.
    It is a scam. Also the motto -‘ its all about shareholder value ‘ is the biggest BS ever and is perpetrated by the dumbest, most slovenly CEOs and CFOs that ever existed – their Barnum carnival still marches on with takeovers and stock buybacks and ‘sophisticated’ (gack, umph) financial magic – that has structurally hollowed and embrittled the entire real economy and corrupted the very fabric of our country – that it has, in fact, has imperiled the health, safety and well being of the vast vast majority of its citizens.
    Way to go FIRE sector and their bought minions at every level of government.
    There has to be found a way to transplant bone from these peoples heads to their backs.
    I know I write badly so, sorry

    1. Carla

      You write fine, TomDority.

      Shorter version: grifters gotta grift.

      Or, Lily Tomlin: “No matter how cynical you get, it is impossible to keep up.”

        1. John Zelnicker

          April 22, 2020 at 10:39 am

          IMO, it would be worth your time to look into Lily Tomlin’s work. She is one of the great comediennes of the last half of the 20th century.

              1. a different chris

                I literally can’t read the name “Lily Tomlin” without laughing out loud. Not thinking of a single joke she made, any part of a sketch — I mean I can remember *lots* when I deliberately try to but she was just such a genius that her name alone simply gives joy.

                George Carlin, very very few others in that pantheon.

            1. ForFawkesSakes

              She was more recently terrific in David O. Russell’s “I Heart Huckabees.”

              She plays one half of an existential detective team, along with Dustin Hoffman.

              “How am i not myself?”

  17. The Rev Kev

    “Russian Officials Dawdled as the Coronavirus Took Hold”

    You cannot afford to get slack with dealing with this virus or it will rapidly overwhelm you. Russia is finding that out to its cost as has Singapore which relaxed its guard. Those southern Governors are literally playing with fire with the lives of their citizens by opening up all those businesses. But getting back to Russia, here is what it looks like on the front line and I am sure that healthcare workers in Italy, New York, Spain, etc. will recognize these scenes and the marks on those workers faces-

    1. Keith

      Well, that is easy to say if you have income coming in to meet the bills. For many, though, the calculation between definitely going bankrupt for something that might not happen and even if it did may not be bad will push people to the former. In some areas, the scaremongering has kept people docile, in others, it has not been as effective. In the end, there is only so long you can keep people confined to their homes, eventually this will either have to be resolved or we will need to deal with it and accept that as a species, we are reverting to a time where an illness may have outsized effects on the population. As always, time marches on and life will learn to adapt.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Scaremongering? Something that might not happen? Let’s fire up the Wayback machine to see what it was like in your g-grandparent’s time who would have had definite opinions on your comment. And this doco was made in 2018 and has a lot about the US in it-

        You want to go back to work? Then everybody wears a mask and plays it safe – everybody. That helps a lot. I noticed that bunch of Karens wanting to open up the economy again in those protests disdained to wear masks. I would have respected them more if they had done that. Now this is how they should have protested-

        1. Keith

          It is a reality, many people have caught it without showing any symptoms or minor ones at that. We can only keep the economy closed for so long, people need to work to provide for themselves and keep themselves busy. Is wearing a mask required to be working on an assemblyman, that could be a condition of employment, as are other conditions. Bankrupting people, running small business out of existence, preventing people from engaging in gainful employment is not a realistic solution. Whether people like it or not, a middle ground will need to be found.

          I am gainfully employed, so this can go on forever for me, no issues. Actually, my job is even easier now that I do not need to conduct physical inspections or audits, I can just do it be email or the phone. Not everyone has the option of working for the govt, though. Industry members I deal with are panic at being put out of business and not being able to provide for their families, as are there employees. This is what you are seeing in these budding protests. As for mask wearing, it is just a minor detail that can be resolved. A mortgage foreclosure is not.

          1. marym

            How many have already “caught it” and whether they have immunity isn’t established yet, as reflected in many of the discussions at NC.

            On the protests, you may want to check the NYT link for some of the roots of these buds, and ask who benefits?

            As for the buds, the Trump, confederate, and nazi regalia, anti-vax posters, lack of demands for testing or workplace safety measures and healthcare for themselves or others, lack of social distancing or mask wearing at the “protests,” and disdain for healthcare professionals, indicate beliefs and agenda beyond the justifiable and universal desire to provide for one’s family.

            What are they willing to demand of both “stay-at-home” and “open-the-economy” politicians, and of themselves, to incorporate safety and the common good in any quest for a “middle” ground?

            1. Keith

              Regarding immunity, that was the point I was trying to make, we do not know if any results from catching this bug. If not, a vaccine is likely moot, too. The other side of the coin is people need to be able to provide for themselves and their families. If you venture out and back into society, you may or may not get sick, and even if you get sick, it may be no more than an inconvenience- a lot of variables. However, if you cannot work, you will go bankrupt and kicked onto the street. That is what is worrying people, the consequences of what will happen if they cannot work vs. what might happen if they come into contact with the virus. It is not a simple black and white issue.

              As for protests, sure there is money and influence in them, but people had to be motivated to go. They may be small, but people will get frustrated. Out here in WA state, people were protesting not being able to fish, which seemed pretty organic. People are also engaging in businesses that are supposed to be closed, even through an “emergency” exception or they are not part of the informal economy, like housekeepers. Would you prefer these activities be managed through an opening process or through a back door channel that is seeking to avoid the officials.

              1. montanamaven

                Yup! People also don’t like being treated like children. Some on Team Red behave like children i.e. wear red hats, carry stupid signs, tote guns and feel strong. Some on Team Blue wear pink pussy hats, carry stupid signs, tote totes and feel virtuous. But most people have common sense and a willingness to sacrifice for their friends and family. Most people are not deplorable or to be patronized.

              2. marym

                Immunity: I was responding to what you said was “reality.” We don’t have sufficient testing or tracking to define reality and assess the risk of ending stay-at-home measures.

                Demanding to be allowed to go back to work (or, for some protesters, to patronize businesses at which other people work) without demands for worker protections seems to show a willingness not only to take a yet-unmeasured risk but to inflict it on others.

                Supporting a stay-home policy without providing economic support like income protection and healthcare also shows a willingness to inflict risk on others.

                If there’s a “middle ground” between stay-home and open-up the risks of both alternatives need to be understood. There needs to be solidarity in managing the risk among workers who all want to provide for their families, with some combination of working, sheltering, and modifying our behavior to care for one another.

                Attending at a large gathering without masks or distancing and disrespecting healthcare workers isn’t a good start on solidarity.

                1. Keith

                  And that is the issue, those workers kicked off their jobs and employers forced to close their businesses are not getting the support they need. You cannot force people into bankruptcy and not expect push back, and that is a lot of this desire to open the economy about.

                  Some of it is govt overreach, in my state of WA, they are trying to close parks and such, which are ideal places for people to go out and social distance at the same time. A lot of the actions of so called leaders is just theatrics for their audience and base of support. It should be a decision between the workers and their employers. I get a bit skiddish when outsiders want to come in and start dictating what is a safe practice and what isn’t- local decisions are better than centrally planned ones, IMHO.

                  Lastly, there is the balance between personal liberty vs societal desires. Confining people to the homes is quite extreme, especially if the need is for social distancing. The media is also at fault here, as they tend to mislead, like the pictures of JAX beach or the pictures of the protests, trying to show crowds when it was either social distancing (JAX beach) and just a few folks protesting.

              3. Geo

                Here’s a simple way to know if a protest is of any value or info it’s an AstroTurf action by duped promoting the will of the PTB:

                Did the police tear gas them and arrest them?

                No? Then it was a BS protest.

                These rightwing protests are all just exercises in protecting the rich and powerful. That is why they can open carry in front of government buildings and wave Nazi flags. But, some dirty hippie stands in front of a bank or a black person asks not to be shot and they unleash our domestic military and pulverize them worse than we do white guys who shoot up black churches.

                Seriously. Those protests are a handful of gullible idiots serving the will of their masters. Nothing more.

                1. Lambert Strether Post author

                  > Here’s a simple way to know if a protest is of any value

                  That’s very good. Another one might be if antifa shows up. They track fascists and the fascist-adjacent closely, and don’t shy away from a fight (in fact, go looking for them). If these demonstrations didn’t appear on antifa’s radar, they don’t come from that world, as I would expect a really organic demonstration to do.

          2. CuriosityConcern

            But why can’t the citizens of America have both safety and economic security? Are other countries helping their citizens in a different manner, and why can’t we emulate?

              1. juno mas

                The Swedish model is probably quintessential Sweden. A responsive population willing/able to stay home, secure that they weren’t going to become homeless or bankrupted by the healthcare system. It appears the public activity is being carried out by the younger demographic– passing the virus around only to stop at grandma’s house.

                To listen to Anders’ confident tone on radio interviews is to suspect that the startling loss of the elderly in Sweden isn’t a priority. He’s confident there’s immunity down the line; to his complete professional demise if wrong. There’s no do-over.

                1. Polar Socialist

                  They’re not really passing the virus around. Stockholm has 6000+ official cases in population of 2.6 million. 1000 or so of those 6000 have already died, so it’s 5000 infected. Add other 5000 for asymptomatic, untested infected and to achieve herd immunity (+80% infected and immune) by end of June each infected has to infect around 47 other people. While self-isolating. With more and more people coming, hopefully, immune. Simple exponential math.

                  Anyway, the Swedish model is not that different from Norwegian model (Norway shut down all schools, restaurants and gyms) or Finland (like Norway, but kindergartens open, capital area isolated for several weeks).

                  All three rely mostly on people not being stupid. Finland actually has less deaths at the moment than expected ‘normal’.

                  1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                    The 1957 Asian flu pandemic killed 160,000 Americans, the equivalent of more than 300,000 today.

                    But they were made of sterner stuff, and would not have even considered the level of Chicken Littleism we have descended to today.

                    Fewer “experts”, fewer “models”, and much more plain old common sense.

          3. False Solace

            > people need to work to provide for themselves

            No. You are ignoring Door #3. The government shut everything down, the government should pay for it. Just write the checks. Put debts on deep freeze until we come out of this. It can be done. They just choose not to.

            Magically a $4 trillion plus bailout appears out of thin air for Wall Street, yet somehow now McConnell says we’re out of money and the states need to fend for themselves and we should let our elders die. GTFO.

            We are ruled by psychopaths. And their voluntarily ignorant muppet headed stooges.

        2. Amfortas the hippie

          regarding the protests, from adjacent link to one of the links:

          one of the more thoughtful Libertarians,imo:

          FTA:”It’s no betrayal of the cause of public health to recognize the protesters’ fears are real and justifiable. This is ultimately not about being unable to buy lawn fertilizer or get their hair done, whatever they sputter on camera. They are afraid of being poor. They are afraid of being alone. They are afraid of being jailed for trying not to be poor and alone. They are afraid their lives have permanently changed for the worse in ways they never foresaw and could not forestall. Though they may not admit it to themselves, they’re probably at least a little afraid they are wrong, that the health threat is more serious than they believe and that COVID-19 could kill them or someone they love.”

          same bunch that was the subject of that Deaths of Despair Study.
          I know lots of people like that…just without(usually) the confederate flags and AR-15’s(however, sidearms are pretty normal around here, and i hardly even notice them(because they’re not being waved around, mostly))
          just “ordinary folks”…but apparently duped by the same sophisticated Mind%%ckery that took the initial Ron Paul Tea Party and turned it into a corporate boar hog meant to get those same “ordinary folks” to support their own extinction by neglect.
          as with then…lots of room for New New Deal Evangelism as a counterweight to the corporate narrative-making.
          “forgive them….for they know not what they do…”…they just need a better Narrative Framework.

      2. Henry Moon Pie

        “if you have income coming in to meet the bills”

        There couldn’t be an easier problem to solve. Why throw good money after bad for these little bars and restaurants that would have gone under absent any order just because of public fear of the virus? Just send money to everybody. Some workable proposals have been coming from Prog Caucus members in the House.

        “eventually this will either have to be resolved”

        Yes, and “eventually” is not this week. A myriad upon myriad of little businesses have a very short timeline of survival, but that should not determine the entirely different timeline of finding humane solutions to what is a very complicated problem. Let’s concentrate on things that might impact all of us like making sure we’re keeping the food coming while making it safer, keeping the utilities going while making it safe for the workers, beefing up our medical facilities and giving overworked health care folks a rest, and making some provision for the education of our young.

        Societies that decide to go kamikaze against a virus rather than taking a calm, reasoned approach backed by a Apollo shot+ level effort to unravel the science of this bug are societies suffering from some very serious and self-destructive pathologies. One of the most obvious is the worship of money and “success” as defined by money. It’s put the worst among us in charge.

        1. Keith

          I do not see that money coming in in the form of basic income, and until it does, the fear of not being able to provide for ones family if item number 1. Last I recall, the Progressive Caucus is not in control of the Democratic Party and will likely not have a lot of influence between the GOP and leading Democratic Party types. Maintaining food production and distribution is an industry item, which could help determine how to open up the economy and let people get back to work. Until you answer how people can provide for their families, you will have push back against the civil lockdown procedures.

          For me, getting an extra $2k a month that I am seeing being floated would be wonderful, as is the student loan relief I am getting. My situation is not the norm, though. there are poeple out of work and businesses going under, some of which were doing quite well before this lock down.

          As an aside, there is only so long people will stay under lockdown. Last week I was out kayaking and watching people on the lake water skiing. These activities are picking up, as are “emergency” work projects and informal labor getting back to work. It may be smarter to put guidelines in place sooner rather than hope people will continue to abide by the rules being imposed upon them by society, as anecdotally I am already seeing them becoming flouted as people accept this as a newer normal and started tuning out the news with their 24/7 rehash of corona coverage.

        2. Amfortas the hippie


          “…are societies suffering from some very serious and self-destructive pathologies.”
          and amen to that.
          as you say, gives the worst among us the power and the glory.
          System selects for Psychopathy…you either are a psychopath, or you must pretend to be, in order to “get along”.
          that’s been engineered into the rootcode of civilisation, with a will. it’s now endemic.
          my last job, 13 years ago…at a small mom and pop cafe…and none of the routinely abused and stolen from mexican american and PWT coworkers even knew what a union was. “Union=Bad” was the extent of their knowledge.
          That’s not an accident…that history is not taught in schools, and the Markets Uber Alles/Bootstraps, Baby! idiocy is pervasive.
          TINA was always gonna be a suicide pact.

    2. MLTPB

      Moscow decides to lock down, or not.

      Some Russians, like people elsewhere may protest, or defy it. Per Reuters 1 hour ago, dozens of Russian Communists defy lockdown with Red Square parade for Lenin’s 150th.

      This, after Putin’s quarantining thousands of soldiers following their Victory Day Parade rehearsals.

  18. Tomonthebeach

    Just curious if anybody has hypotheses regarding why the NRA (military rifles on display) is so dominant in demonstrations favoring ending quarantines in the face of almost certain illness.

    My only notion is that the NRA’s true purpose is to promote conservative/libertarian policies, and thus attracts a lot of right-wingnuts. As a boy scout, I was encouraged to join the NRA to learn gun safety. As all our heroes back in the 50s were cowboys and cops, we were all guncrazy. However, after several years of leafing through the monthly American Rifleman magazine, it became clear to me that NRA was less about gun safety than it was about promoting my constitutional right to gun ownership – the 1st stage in destroying our democracy. I concluded that NRA was a Republican lobby to promote right-wing policies – not gun safety – and at age 12, I resigned, in writing, from the NRA. That was 1959!

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      If memory serves, the NRA use to list its “corporate champions” on its webpage. This and movement between organizations and corporations more or less explains the NRA. The people at the rallies are basically dimwits you can meet any old place.

      Remember, the “defense” industry and all those guns stockpiled aren’t going to help when you need a ventilator. Does the NRA want people to realize this?

      The NRA doesn’t care about constitutional anything. If they could get away with it, they would pass the pure citizens law or something to limit who had rights. Bloomberg would probably sign up for this kind of thing.

      1. workingclasshero

        In a civil war situation who do you think are going to win? People who can or can not handle lethal does’nt look to good for you guys and gals on the left.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Because I’m an adult, I would assume the people disciplined to build and deploy explosives and capable of discipline and following orders. A company of U.S. soldiers would exterminate every militia yahoo in an hour, maybe two. The soldiers might even work up a sweat.

        2. HotFlash

          Maybe. I once had the enlightening experience of playing paintball with a bunch of my martial arts buddies on a fine winter’s day when 1.) the regional police force was having a fun/training day and 2.) a small group of mercenaries ditto. We got allocated to the mercenaries, and under their direction trounced the cops *royally*. End of day, mercs (and us) 4, cops 0. Beat them royally and humiliatingly, different strategy every time. Moral: do not overestimate well-armed official purveyors of violence, and do not understimate determined guerilla forces. Cf, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc. etc.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            Miltiary > guerilla forces* > cops I would say

            NOTE * Qualifiers:

            1) At current scale

            2) I would bet this depends very much on local characteristics (like yours. The martial arts buddies merc combo is interesting but I would bet not universal).

        3. Amfortas the hippie

          whoa, there!
          there’s plenty of guns on the “left”…by conventional definition, even>
          I’m within leaning over distance at this very moment from 1 a hand cannon,2 a deer rifle and 3 a 12 ga.
          Us lefties(actual lefties) just don’t tend to wave ours around like another bunch i could name does.

          as for your actual question…which i almost overlooked, due to the fog of hyperpartisan shitstirring…the one’s with support of the natives of a given area win…even if they’re largely blown to smithereens.
          pro-tip: you are not an island, entire unto yourself. you need others to make it in this old world.even the Mountain Men came down to the Flat for sugar, flour and likker….produced by the very civilisation they disdained.

          1. JBird4049

            Yeah, I still don’t understand why it is supposedly those reactionary, crazypants, deplorables that have all the guns.

            It is like how all conservatives are supposed to hate science when plenty of them are scientists, but they don’t mention their views often.

            Forty plus years of brainwashing, dividing, and conquering. Of creating straw men.

        4. Lambert Strether Post author

          > In a civil war situation who do you think are going to win? People who can or can not handle lethal does’nt look to good for you guys and gals on the left.

          Yep. The liberals really aced out the left on that one.

    2. tegnost

      the military rifles on display are made more prominent by the media zooming in on them, and only them

      1. Polar Donkey

        When I see the “crowds” at the re-open rallies and half of them have a mask on and other half have assault rifles, I think of Billie Dee Williams. “If the virus don’t get ya, the ar-15 will.”

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > the military rifles on display are made more prominent by the media zooming in on them

        Yes, we never get a wide-angle view of the crowd, and then we get the zoomed in view of the weapons.

        It’s almost like, I dunno, some kinda narrative is being pushed

  19. Ignacio

    RE: The Infection That’s Silently Killing Coronavirus Patients NYT. Silent hypoxia:

    Very interesting! Thank you for this!

    1. Louis Fyne

      a vocal minority of doctors have been pushing hypoxia for a while now…..and more oxygen treatments and less intubations

      there are a few doctors on youtube sharing their experiences

      1. MLTPB

        We are a long way from the very recent Weltanshuang of humans as masters of universe.

        Perhaps at one time we though we had a cure, and shouted peace and free love. Then, Nature answered back to that free love. We were humbled, briefly, until we managed to limit it somewhat with safe precautions and education, even as science and technology march hand in hand forward ever deeper into Nature.

        Today, we have no answer to Covid 19. We are all trying and searching…the best minds in the world we humans can put up. Much remains unknown to us.

        This generation growing up, seeing our global impotence in the face of this pandemic, I feel, they will view the world and our place in it very fifferently.

  20. The Rev Kev

    “How a communist mayor is defeating privatisation in Chile”

    The US State Department regrets to report the death of the mayor of Recoleta, Chile in a airplane crash/ falling out of a window/by suicide next Tuesday.

    1. tegnost

      Wow. Sad story. When the demographics of who dies of covid-19 come out there is going to be some anger.

    2. cnchal

      Still flying = Total Fail

      “We are doing nothing but spreading the disease,” said one American Airlines flight attendant, who asked not to be named because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

      Of course they are not authorized to speak on behalf of Sauron.Sauron says enjoy the whipping and death, your choice.

  21. Carolinian


    As of Tuesday morning, the six states had collectively tested about one-tenth of 1 percent of their total populations. Mississippi, which ranks 15th nationally in testing, had the group’s best testing rate at 1.7 percent of its population. Georgia was the lowest, with a testing rate of less than one one-hundredth of 1 percent, or 42nd in the country, according to the Covid Tracking Project.

    By comparison, the coalition of seven states in the Northeast has a collective testing rate twice that of the Southeast, having swabbed more than two-tenths of 1 percent of their collective population.

    While I have no idea what will happen after the supposedly scandalous actions of the Southern governors I doubt that it will hinge on them having tested one tenth of one percent less than the Northeast. The Politico article is pearl clutching at its finest. Here in SC private testers have said that they are still having trouble getting materials for the tests.

    BTW PBS Frontline did an hour last night on Covid and it can be streamed from their site–could be worth a look.

  22. The Rev Kev

    “Companies should shift from ‘just in time’ to ‘just in case’”

    This could work this. You would need managers who are flexible and ready to adapt to changing circumstances. Managers who can ignore the rule book when they see opportunities open up. Those ready to consult with their workers to understand the actual processes in their business so that they have a greater understanding of the needs of their company. Ones who have the courage to disagree with their superiors if they feel the situation warrants it to save the company from disaster.

    Unfortunately all we have to work with are MBAs.

    1. Maxwell Johnston

      This advice is 100% the opposite of what was being taught in my ‘elite’ MBA classroom 30 years ago. Back then, “just in time” was all the buzz. The Japanese were going to bury us. “Kaizen!” instead of “Banzai!”. And now we’re back to “just in case”. It seems that business fashion is just like sartorial fashion: if you wait long enough, the old styles (and mantras) become fashionable again. There is nothing new under the sun.

      1. hunkerdown

        Marx did have something to say about certain classes “contributing” to society by continuously revolutionizing the relations of production, and thereby the relations of society as a whole.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          And Veblen had something to say about firms sabotaging the productive forces to retain their market position. I wish there were a book that synthesized Marx and Veblen in a systematic way….

    2. Mel

      It will also take enough supply shocks from time to time, that companies that do trim their safety margins get brought up short. Else they can be seen to undercut the more prudent companies. Then the argument from money starts to look good again.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Mark Blyth was talking about some restaurant owners he knew that were very successful and who happened to be Russian. When he got talking to them he found that they always prepare for a minimum of three months of total disruption though they preferred up to six months fall back. The other restaurants would only have a minimal amount of slack time for disruption so that it was days if not at most a few weeks at most. Then as event unfolded, the later would end up going out of business and the Russian ones would then be able to absorb from them what they wanted. hose Russians must have learnt some very bitter lessons from their 1990s.

  23. Kurt Sperry

    Rooftop tennis- Liguria is a region of Italy, not a city. For the record, the city this video was taken is Finale Ligure.

    1. Oregoncharles

      It’s quite amazing. Took me a minute to realize it was from one rooftop to another. They must lose a lot of balls. Quite the athletic performance.

  24. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: The sweatshops are still open. Now they make masks Los Angeles Times

    With all of the ads for crazy looking “designer” masks appearing on just about every website I go to for the last several weeks, the involvement of “undocumented” labor paid “under the table” comes as no surprise.

    Meanwhile, back in legitimate, play-by-the-rules, small american business world, the news is not so good. From the VP of “America’s No. 1 maker of hospital surgical masks,” who’s not ramping up production because he won’t get fooled again:

    …… “I’ve been preaching this American-made story since 2007. Nobody listened. The whole mass market was only interested in price. I’ve been everywhere trying to get people to listen. I’ve talked to congressmen. I’ve talked to generals. I’ve written the president. I wrote President Obama five or six letters, and he sent me a presidential proclamation suitable for framing.”

    Bowen wants a guaranteed contract, not a proclamation. It’s tough to win a bid to supply U.S. hospitals through their group purchase agreements that seek the cheapest price when your competitor pays low wages, ignores environmental concerns and is subsidized by a Communist government.

    Last month, he got another proclamation but no contract to go with it. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, named Prestige Ameritech the “Senate Small Business of the Week.” The citation notes that the company “has ramped up their daily production to 600,000 masks.”

    Yeah, “preparedness.”

    Jeez, what’s with that link?

    1. JBird4049

      IIRC, about 25 years ago they found a sweatshop complete with barbed wire and guard dogs L.A. It was one of those times that immigration were the good guys. All the workers were deported of course, but only after the back-pay including the minimum wage and overtime was paid to the deportees out of the soon to be convicted slavers’ cash.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > what’s with that link?

      Tracking data for advertisers. You can delete from the right all the way to the “?” — which never appears in a URL per se — and then you will have a normal, readable URL, as God intended.

  25. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Director of U.S. agency key to vaccine development leaves role suddenly amid coronavirus pandemic STAT.

    Not much in the linked article, but I recognized the name “Bob Kadlec” from these recent Whitney Webb deep dives into the “biodefense” and vaccine industry in these good ole united states in the context of covid panic.

    Webb fans will appreciate the meticulous documentation of all the things that have been happening behind the scenes that nobody ever told you about because they didn’t want you to know.

    Very long and detailed. Get coffee.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      as is usual with Ms Webb, i feel the pressing need to get out into the garden with a splif….
      it’s that sort of barrage of links and connections and coincidence that sent me deep into Doomerdom circa 2002….

  26. lyman alpha blob

    Thank you for the links on Venezuela and Brazil today. I would say the Brasil Wire piece especially is a must read. The fact that the US undermined Brazil’s leftist government under both Democrat and Republican administrations (some might call that a coup) is one of the many reasons I won’t be voting for either Biden or Trump, if I even bother to vote at all.

    1. Olga

      Yup all true. And it was a coup, albeit revised – a reincarnation of previous ones that were done by the military. Perhaps when the empire runs out of creative ways to stage overthrows of non-compliant governments, could we see an end to hegemony. Or is there an inexhaustible well of potential coup options?

  27. chuck roast

    The Planetary Pandemic

    By the estimable Mike Davis. Now here is a fellow who knows a thing or two about right-wing reactionaries. His dystopian books Ecology of Fear and City of Quartz sent the So Cal boosters into such a frenzy that they investigated each of his extensive end-note citations to try to prove him a fraud. Apparently they only found one op-cit amiss. The boy clearly has had a wonderful career of pissing-off the right people.

  28. sd

    Virus forecast model from US defense team draws attention

    A team of national defense scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory that studies contagions with award-winning accuracy has developed its own U.S. forecast for the spread of the coronavirus. […]

    For the state of New York, the most recent forecast late last week showed a 60% chance that infections already have peaked and may be waning.

    COVID-19 Confirmed and Forecasted Data – model (click state to view forecast)

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