Links 4/25/2020

Hubble turns 30: Take a look back at some of the space telescope’s best images EuroNews. Kevin W: “Cool 1:05 video.”

Long-Lost US Military Satellite Found By Amateur Radio Operator NPR

Michael Moore climate film snubs solar and urges population control, ruffling mainstream movement MarketWatch (furzy)

When in Doubt: Hang Up, Look Up, & Call Back Krebs on Security (Robert M). Important. Another lesson here: Don’t use debit cards for purchases!!!! And only use ATMs at bank branches. Less likely to be compromised than ones in stores.


40 Photos Of People Having A Worse Quarantine Than You Bored Panda

Revealed: leader of group peddling bleach as coronavirus ‘cure’ wrote to Trump this week Guardian (resilc)

A spike in New Yorkers ingesting household cleaners following Trump’s controversial coronavirus comments New York Daily News. DK: “No data source reference given for the report.”

We’re not going back to normal MIT Technology Review. J-LS: “From last month, but still germane.” Moi: Tons of people still in denial. Hardly anyone wearing masks here, and had a 70 year old friend in Dallas comment casually that she wasn’t wearing one, she didn’t see the point, as in it wouldn’t protect her.

UserFriendly: “For context, Omegle is an oddball web app that randomly connects you via video chat to a complete stranger, Some people do it when they are bored, lots of guys do it to expose themselves to strangers.”


“Immunity passports” in the context of COVID-1 WHO. Key sentence: “There is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from COVID-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection.” Hoo boy. This is the strongest-form statement possible of reservations about immunity. If this continues to be true, you can kiss a vaccine goodbye. Similarly, there would little point in identifying who has had the disease, as opposed to trying to get a better handle on who is currently infectious.

Antigen testing could be a faster, cheaper way to diagnose covid-19 MIT Technology Review (J-LS). Readers?

Australia/New Zealand

As the coronavirus turns the immigration tap off, the Australian economy looks increasingly exposed Business Insider (Kevin W). Ahem, when I was there (early 2000s), Oz was doing just fine of the groaf front with tough restrictions on immigration. But the business lobby wanted more.

Australia and New Zealand mark Anzac Day in driveways BBC


China’s New Coronavirus Cases Spur Fresh Limits New York Times (furzy)

China rejects calls for inquiry into virus origins BBC (David L)


India Post delivers ₹412cr cash in doorstep banking revolution Times of India (J-LS)


Korea moves carefully to ease social distancing Asia Times (Kevin W)

Kim Jong-un: China sends doctors to check on health – report Guardian

Taiwan’s ‘hidden champions’ help coronavirus fightback Nikkei

Covid-19 kills Japan’s coveted trade surplus Asia Times (Kevin W)

Africa/Middle East

Israel Stops Using Phone Tracking To Enforce COVID-19 Quarantines Engadget


Why the World’s Highest Virus Death Rate Is in Europe’s Capital Bloomberg

Coronavirus: paying the price Richard North

Grant Shapps suggests airport screening will be adopted in the UK Telegraph


From DK. Ugly:

Georgia gym reopenings: Here’s what members might see during workouts as states reopen businesses USA Today (Kevin W)

As America Prepares to Return to Work, EEOC Approves Testing Employees for COVID-19 National Law Review

The Hawaii Tourism Authority is now paying for visitors to leave CNN (Dr. Kevin)

Navy recommends reinstating fired captain who sounded alarm on coronavirus outbreak Politico (J-LS)

Revealed: leader of group peddling bleach as coronavirus ‘cure’ wrote to Trump this week Guardian

Serfs Revolt

Battles Over Masks Grow Desperate Capital & Main (J-LS)

Amazon Asks Workers Staying At Home To Return Or Seek Leave Bloomberg

COVID-19 sweeping through US immigrant farmworker and meatpacker ranks openDemocracy

Political Responses

Trump Threatens To Block Aid For US Post Office If It Does Not Raise Prices Reuters

Opinion: EU puts positive spin on coronavirus rescue package disunity DW

Trump approved of Georgia’s plan to reopen before bashing it Associated Press


Fewer than half of working Americans will have a paycheck in May as devastating coronavirus layoffs persist, economist says Business Insider

Coronavirus will wipe out FORTY PER CENT of the economy, unemployment will peak at 27 million and deficit will soar, Congressional Budget Office warns in doomsday report Daily Mail

Investors baffled by soaring stocks in ‘monster’ depression Financial Times

The Tax-Break Bonanza Inside the Economic Rescue Package New York Times (resilc)

A new study shows over 100 public companies got $550 million of federal loans intended for ‘small businesses’ Business Insider

Apple and Google Pledge To Shut Down Coronavirus Tracker When Pandemic Ends The Verge. If you believe this, I have a bridge I’d like to sell you. At a minimum, this will morph into yet another back door.

Mnuchin says U.S. may take stakes in U.S. energy companies Reuters (resilc). Stakes? For shale, they should take them over.

“I Take That as a Threat”: Big Pharma Is Meddling in the Race for a COVID-19 Treatment Vanity Fair (resilc)

Get Ready for the Return of Inflation Wall Street Journal

As Much As 25% Of America’s Meat Production Is Offline. Looming Shortages Show COVID’s Inflationary Side. Heisenberg Report (resilc)

Imperial Collapse Watch

Five F-35 issues have been downgraded, but they remain unsolved Defense News. Kevin W: “Related story: The Pentagon will have to live with limits on F-35’s supersonic flights. That turkey is now mostly a subsonic fighter. As one guy commented, ‘There’s no end to what it can’t do.'”

Trump Transition

High Court Rejects Plea to Block Trump Immigration Rule During Pandemic Wall Street Journal

Trump owes tens of millions to the Bank of China — and the loan is due soon Politico (furzy)


New Evidence Supports Credibility of Tara Reade’s Allegation Against Biden Intercept (Chuck L)

Survivors Grapple With Putting Trauma Aside To Vote For Joe Biden HuffPost (BC)

NEWS FLASH! CalPERS Investment Committee Retreats from Further Delegation of Authority to Staff LA City Watch

Opinion: Russia is the world’s biggest loser from oil’s crash, and that’s reason to be worried MarketWatch (resilc)

Healthy economies: the Tax Justice Network podcast, April 2020

Class Warfare

The Right Wing Wants You to Die Vice (resilc)

The System Works: Deputy Who Randomly Fired His Gun Through His Windshield Into Rush Hour Traffic Fined $2 TechDirt

Antidote du jour (CV):

And a bonus (Kevin W):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Isotope_C14

    Michael Moore film snubs:

    That film was excellent. He doesn’t actually come out and talk about EROI, energy return on investment, but shows it.

    And the mining. What have we done…

      1. Olga

        I’d recommend it only as a “food-for-thought” kinda thing; as a serious look at the green energy it seems a bit too manipulative. For one, there is a big difference between using solar panels and biomass plants. Solar power has come a long way since the footage and, interestingly, the film focuses on utility scale solar farms only (which I agree are problematic) and not rooftop solar (which makes more sense).
        The spotlight on biomass is useful; most such plants make no sense (same for ethanol), but to poop on all forms of “green” energy is a dead end. We have seen retirements of many coal plants and also nuclear because of the proliferation of renewable power. That is not a bad thing. And yes, some have been replaced by nat-gas plants – referred to by some as a transition fuel. And there is almost no mention of energy storage, which is needed to make renewables work on a large scale.
        The film only touches on what should be the main point – we have to reduce consumption. But how to do that, living in an economic system that is built on runaway consumption? Cannot be done – unless the system is changed. But that is too unpalatable a thought.

    1. Phacops

      Even before that film I have been very skeptical about green energy as merely a ploy not to make changes in our consumption and behavior. Plus, those attempting to sell us on alternative energy rarely want to talk about resource churn, installation life cycles, or the impossibility of recycling their product.

      A typical ploy was one by Duke Energy who created a LLC to install more than 50 Vestas V-100 wind turbines on top of my township. I was offered a contract so had a good look at the destruction that would have been visited on us. A giveaway was that no funds would have been put into escrow for decommissioning until 20 years after installation. These turbines have a lifespan of about 20 to 25 years, and not only are they massive above ground, but their bases are incredibly massive structures. After collecting huge subsidies, Duke could abandon those installations and leave landowners with the mess. They count on peoply unable to take them on. Residents licensed multiple heliports in the township which precluded any turbine installation in our airspace.

      1. HotFlash

        Residents licensed multiple heliports in the township which precluded any turbine installation in our airspace.

        Well played!

      2. Bs

        “Residents licensed multiple heliports in the township which precluded any turbine installation in our airspace.” That I doubt that (as a pilot) very much, “licensed”, doesn’t equal own or operated, much less flown. What Duke Energy wants they get, so whatever they did they did for there own reasons, the FAA under trump is getting in Duke’s way. If anyone could “license” helicopters to keep windmills away in would be Martha’s Vineland and they couldn’t. Even if all the choices are bad, choices still need to be made.

        1. Phacops

          Perhaps I used the term, licensed, instead of registered. They are indeed FAA registered, with an owner/manager and the required areas, designated clear paths, and windsock.

          That came about as the county commission dissolved zoning, turning it over to the township boards. Our board, all having signed with duke, refused to open planning and zoning. They were recalled and at the same time applications were made to the FAA and approved after we all chipped in for a pilot to land and take off at each. We now have our ordinance with significantly strict rules for windpower. Those heliports did their job and are now longer unnecessary.

          I would like to see the turbines out in Lake Michigan where the high quality wind is. But the lakeshore homeowners complain mightily.

    2. Eclair

      My husband, the engineer, suggested that we watch the film a few nights ago.

      My reaction? It showed, Michael Moore style, what various articles and commenters here at NC have been discussing in dry, scholarly fashion, for years. First, that there is a denialism rampant in our society that our lifestyle is sustainable. Like, we all believe that, as soon as everyone has an electric car (or two), life can continue on, the same, but green.

      Second, the film shows the massive use of fossil fuels, for mining, manufacture, transportation, and installation of all the wind turbines and solar installations. As well as the direct adverse environmental impacts.

      Some reviews screamed, ‘ecofascism!’ The film points out that humans, out of all living species, have changed the planet, perhaps irreversibly, with their technologies. We spread like a plague. Or, like a virus. Fossil fuels have enabled us (or some of us) to achieve a luxurious, and long, life span. But, for the entire world population to live like this, would mean the death of the planet and all other species.

      The film faces the dilemma head on, realistically, bleakly. All of us can’t have it all. Period. So, we have a choice: those of us with the most, ‘voluntarily’ reduce fossil fuel use and accept a much reduced standard of living. Or, those of us with the most, kill off most of the rest of humanity so that we can continue to ‘enjoy’ or standard of living.

      The film points out that as individual humans, we live with the knowledge of our own inevitable death. Or not. We employ bargaining and denial to avoid the reality. We’re dealing now with the knowledge of the ‘death’ of either a huge number of our fellow humans, or of the ‘death’ of a civilization built on the immense energy provided by fossil fuels. If we don’t make a choice (and I have no confidence that we will), the choice will be made for us. Because, as Greta Thunberg says, you don’t argue with physics.

      1. MLTPB

        You don’t argue with math….some (maybe mathematicians) might argue.

        Finite resources…the finite part is math, and resources relate to physics.

        Also it’s a fact that resources are finite.

        Theoretically, MMT money is infinite.

        Imposing MMT infinity on top of finite resources actuality, the former infinity becomes finite, I think.

        1. JP

          Theoretically money is worthless. Money can only represent resources. MMT only works for sovereign currencies that have the faith of the people in the state’s resource solvency. It works for the US because our government owns or controls vast resources some have estimated value 200 trillion. Without that solvency the inflation limitations come into play pretty quickly.

          1. John

            Call it fiat money, Keynesian deficit spending, or MMT, since it is numbers on a balance sheet, its limit is your tolerance for inflation and that is a political equation.

            I marvel that even though I taught economics (not well, but I did teach it) and patiently explained money creation by banks up to their limits, my students had trouble getting past the notion that money was real and I never really applied it entities issuing their own currency until reading about MMT. The blinders were ripped off.

            The nation can spend any amount of money up to its tolerance for inflation.

            I await correction by wiser heads.

      2. juno mas

        The film is dramatic, but colors the horizon with a broad brush. The planet surely is straining under the weight of a massive population. But the pandemic has shown that it is folks living in industrialized nations that are placing the heaviest burden. (Many of those mining operations are not in the US.)

        I agree corporations have co-opted the “green movement”, bio-fuel electricity generation is a disgrace. But rooftop PV electricity generation is better. Much better than mega PV solar farms because it doesn’t despoil large swaths of the natural landscape and can encourage power CONSERVATION, an equal parameter for climate mitigation as population reduction.

        The film has some flaws, as pointed out in the Link. I’ve been involved with PV alternatives since the late 70’s. The panels then do not compare to todays PV panels, which now produce at ~20% conversion efficiency. However, I believe PV “farms” should be placed within the areas that use them, as much as possible. Keeping transmission lines to a minimum saves energy.

        It is overwrought CONSUMPTION that is the enemy, not just the number of all humans on the planet.

        1. Billy

          Yes, but WHERE those humans are matters, i.e. Perhaps large numbers of native born Americans should move to Africa or Central America to lesson our fossil fuel burden?
          Conversely, large numbers of Central Americans coming here and exercising their high fertility leads to a larger number of humans using SUVs and our high energy lifestyle than they would back home in C.A.

          1. Merf56

            If you think it’s somehow Central Americans living here are the ones buying all the SUVs you must be off your nutter..

        2. Aumua

          I think the people who are reproducing the fastest are the poorest people from developing nations. So how are you going to make them stop? ‘Population control’ opens a can of worms we might want to keep closed, imo.

          1. clarky90

            Initially, amongst “intellectuals” eugenics was cutting edge, “progressive thinking”.

            “Three International Eugenics Conferences presented a global venue for eugenists with meetings in 1912 in London, and in 1921 and 1932 in New York City…”

            Post WW2, eugenics is suddenly NOT progressive thinking!

            However, 75 years on, guess what?Eugenics is, again a “conversation” topic among the current intelligentcia. Turn turn turn……

            1. Grebo

              That’s the thing about “progressive thinking”—it moves on. Even “radicals” tend to be only a step or two ahead of the “conservatives” of their day.

              If today’s “conservative” is talking eugenics I would call that a step forward from some of their previous positions.

      3. Negrodamus

        Lol. Come on. Rly? Most of the world that you suggest would be killed to save the others use very little fossil fuels in the first place.

        Hw did u even come up with that theory?

        Let me guess most of the ppl that will be killed live conviniently in non white countries?

      4. Negrodamus

        This is poor lazy thinking.
        Where exactly are these ppl that you want to be murdered to sustain rich world lifestyle?
        Let me guess black and brown ppl.
        Even though the use very little fossil fuel consumption?

        How does that even compute??

      5. Dita

        it’s mostly a good doc, definitely a recommend. I felt it didn’t make it’s case about overpopulation though. When a Westerner says hard choices must be made, the red flags start flapping in the wind! Guess who will be expected to fall on their swords for capitalism! It’s an ugly and revealing fantasy, that billions of poor people will be considerate enough of westerners to die off, leaving the rest to enjoy modernity uninterrupted. Wishful thinking abounds in the green movement, few seem to notice that it is the hyper capitalist west that is burning thru resources. It’s the minority that also are the wealthiest that are the killers, not the millions and billions who barely have shoes let alone a Tesla.

      1. Carey

        >Watch Bill McKibben here pretending not to know who funds

        That was quite something.. thanks for the link!

    3. Kris

      Agree. Some of those renewable energy installments were slated for obsolescence before they have even paid back the embodied energy of their production. Dovetails nicely with the earlier NC article about faith in technological solutions being useful for nothing but delaying actions that would actually have an effect on halting planetary ecocide…

    4. Mikel

      “The business they are engaged in is actually destroying our life support systems.”
      That is a form of population control. It doesn’t have to be spoken out loud. It just creeps up on people as they continue to attempt to live, with large amounts of natural acting skill, the fairy-tale narratives of “the good life.”

      @01:18:08 – I’ll be giggling about that quip for a long time.

      @01:21:41 – Animal fat as a power source. I could not control the flashbacks to the movies “Soylent Green” and “The Matrix.”

      It’s not cynical when you can not overstate the cynicism of those in power or leadership positions.

      1. GF

        The main objection I had was it wasn’t current, as someone in the article pointed out. So much has changed in the renewable industry in the past 11 years to remedy much of what was shown in this movie.

        Originally it was to be released in the fall and it appears that they only used mostly archival footage from the first half of the scheduled production timeline. My guess is the virus forced production to stop early and rather than waiting for the pandemic to be over, they just slapped together what they had in the can. Sloppy film making. Look for a sequel in the next few years that will be the mirror opposite of what we saw in this one.

        1. Mikel

          You don’t have the time to enlighten us with a few of those changes?
          So much has changed in the last few months that might flip those last 11 years too.

          1. GF

            If it wasn’t peak coal in 2009 it was a close to it. They didn’t even mention the air pollution caused by burning fossil fuels. Millions die each year from it:

            Not too many die as the result of utilizing the ingredients for renewable energy products. (Oil is probably the worst here things must be transported and there is plastic involved.) The destructive mining footprint for fossil fuel extraction, and the extra use of fossil fuels to do that extraction, is huge compared to the mining footprint needed to extract renewable energy component ingredients.

            So, in my opinion, the curtailment of fossil fuel burning would make for a much healthier planet. And, many electric cars are charged using solar and wind power. Even if the electricity for electric cars comes from coal burning power plants the air pollution at street level is greatly reduced electric cars just run cleaner. Again, the potential for saving millions of lives a year is there.

            Also, when the pandemic plays itself out, burning bodies for power generation may be the norm. Not sure it is cleaner than burning coal though. I can’t find the link right now but I believe I saw it here on NC a few weeks ago that China cremated the virus victims.

            1. Phacops

              So coal isn’t used to manufactucture FV? Where is the elemental silicon substrate coming from? To produce a ton of metallurgical silicon reruires 20 MWh/t of electricity plus massive amounts of carbon, producing 5 to 6 tons of carbon dioxide.

              I haven’t figured out the losses up the value chain to get solar cells, but the ultimate CO2 production per cell is not negligible. And its lifetime? All that energy that will also be lost as I know of no manner to recycle photovoltaics.

    5. Greta Grabo

      Let’s talk about trees falling over in LA for lack of water, and hoarding dirty water in buckets, while pistachio billionaires and empty luxury condo skyscrapers rose to their great heights during a supposed drought. *Sorry, just checked and it’s one fighter jet’s one hour of flight = one dri er’s 7 years of driving.

    6. chuck roast

      Pricing can be used to reduce the use of electricity. Many years ago I became interested in the regional water utility. They wanted to cover a large portion of the state with two new reservoirs. Why would we need two new reservoirs on a state with such a miserable rainy climate? I couldn’t get any answers because the Public Water Board met in secret and and did not publish their minutes. One thing I did learn in the process was that they used a declining block rate structure to price water. The more you use, the cheaper the rate.

      So, they effectively subsidized the biggest water users and penalized anyone who conserved water. It makes perfect sense on the basis of marginal pricing. The entire price of the water delivery is based upon the cost of the final unit consumed. The cost of investment, infrastructure and delivery diminishes if a lot of the resource is used. Alfred Marshall would approve.

      However, if you begin with the position that electricity is a scarce resource subject to conservation, you may wish to impose an inclining block rate structure. Consequently, those who use more pay more per unit, thus promoting efficiency. Kind of like standing the Austrian School on their collective heads. Not a bad thing.

    7. Dalepues

      At the start of the interview with the clinical psychologist, Dr. Solomon, Mr Gibbs (?) was holding a book by Morris Berman, Dark Ages America. Morris Berman at one time commented frequently here at NC. His comments made me think he was a mnemonist, since he was able to quote from a wide variety of sources in seconds. He recommended once a book by William Ophuls, Immoderate Greatness, which deals with the six factors leading to the destruction of modern civilization. His conclusion is that it cannot be avoided since we are hardwired for doom. This movie seemed to reinforce that conclusion.

  2. CanChemist

    Since Larry Summers has made a reappearance, here’s a reminder of his notoriety for female scientists. While President of Harvard he decided to give a speech that made him infamous:

    “The word “mansplaining” has been overused lately. But there is no other word for what Larry Summers did in 2005, when he went before a group of scientists—many who conduct research on the under-representation of women and minorities in science—and arrogantly held forth about how genes and divided commitments, rather than discrimination or socialization, were most likely to blame for gender disparity in the field.”

    It links to his full transcript. But you know, he was ‘just asking’. I suspect if one had substituted race for gender in his remarks, Harvard wouldn’t have defended him.

    1. Off The Street

      On the subject of Summers, a reminder from a decade ago in the form of the Dynamite Prize.

      Who will be nominated regarding other blow-ups, what categories should join economics, and what should the prizes be called?

      1. John Wright

        Perhaps there will be a “Missing the Elephant in the Room” Prize for the economists who have continually promoted economic and population growth into a climate changing world?

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      I don’t know about how Harvard would have seen it. Phrenology is quite the rage with a certain subset when it was reintroduced as “The Bell Curve” in the 90’s. If it’s dressed up, centrists would have rushed to embrace it.

    3. Oregoncharles

      A speech is pretty minor compared to the collapse he helped visit on Russia.

      I believe Harvard’s money pile took a big hit while he was in charge, too. Great economist.

    1. Bugs Bunny

      I remember that site, back in about 2009. It was an interesting concept for about a day, then each refresh was of another man playing with himself. I made the mistake of checking it out while at work. Luckily that was still back in the day when I had an office with a door.

      I really do _not_ understand the psychological motivation of that behavior.

        1. Bugs Bunny

          I’m not sure if your comment is sarcastic but if you were at work and had checked out that site (I remember exactly when and where I was…), it would have burned into your neurons as well.

          And the carrots are good for the brain.

    2. UserFriendly

      Omegle was actually first but text chat only. Chatroulette added the video and then omegle added the video too.

  3. a different chris

    >Excluded, however: Teenage activist Greta Thunberg.

    Excluded because she makes no claims on how, just tells us supposed adults it’s way past our time to get off our (family blog)s and do something.

    I don’t “agree” with the take assigned (haven’t seen the film) to Moore totally but if true he does have a point. They talk about how much “more efficient” renewables have gotten, but even if they get to 100% there are too many problems associate with a First World lifestyle to think we don’t need a population reduction.

    Have these futurists ever seen a hog lagoon?

    1. Grumpy Engineer

      I watched “Planet of the Humans” yesterday. It pointed out some of the legitimate difficulties with solar and wind, and in particular it showed some of the appalling activities happening with the biomass industry. But it gave short shrift to the subject of energy storage, and didn’t discuss nuclear power at all. And there was too much play for emotion, and too few hard statistics and too few discussions of what the math really implies.

      I”d give it a C-minus. There was nothing grossly dishonest, but it fell far short of what it could have been.

      1. Hank Linderman

        I agree. Afaik, new solar panels last lots longer than 10 years, and a moment could have been spent on the massive amount of wind power being generated in Europe. On a trip several years ago I flew back to the States via Amsterdam – the amount of wind turbines in the North Sea (?) was staggering, filled the view from my window.

        Yes, too much population – yes, too much waste – yes, too much corruption.

        Is hopelessness the feeling the filmmakers intended?

        1. polecat

          And how are those longer lasting, or ANY solar panels for that matter, recycled ?? I would wager that their components are very difficult to separate out .. making them just another contribution the human-induced global waste-stream.

          1. fajensen

            Run them through the zone-smelting process used for making the Si again?

            It seems like everything is just too hard and basically impossible in America.

            1. BlakeFelix

              Yeah, in my imagination you just heat them and separate what melts when. And we have 20+ years to figure it out.

        2. scoff

          I think most of it is the corruption. And the greed. Both drive the waste.

          I don’t believe we’ve exceeded the carrying capacity of the planet quite yet, but we can’t keep up the way we’re going an expect it to last. Equitably distributed, there is enough for everyone alive today to live a comfortable life, but it’s not equitably distributed. Nor can we keep adding to the population ad infinitum. I’m convinced we’re nearing the limit.

          If we’re ever to have a decent, sane, compassionate civilization we’ll have to overcome the greed. And I think an absolutely overwhelming majority of people would have to shed that virus before we could achieve herd immunity.

          1. polecat

            Think of it this way: If Humanity – meaning most countries/regions committed to growth at all costs, disregarding the externalities involved – continues in the apparent exponential trajectory .. then ALL that is the essence of modern humanity, will be as a thin strata .. of geologic ditrius!
            The Planet, and the physics within it’s domain, care not.

            Tis a hard thing for hominids draped in hubris to learn…

      1. Carolinian

        “Population reduction” does sound a bit ominous. While overpopulation is undoubtedly a big part of the problem it’s hard to see what can be done about it that would affect AGW in the near term.

        And while I haven’t seen the film, some of the criticisms sound valid. It’s typical for those uncomfortable with technology to point to some new invention and announce “aha, doesn’t work, stick to the old way.” An example I’m familiar with would be claims that film photography is better than digital. But technology by it’s nature is always evolving and improving and so comparing a mature film technology to a still new and evolving digital technology is not valid. Similarly solar is growing in efficiency and new inventions and breakthroughs may indeed challenge fossil fuels.

        As for that population reduction alternative, Mike Dr. Strangelove Pompeo is working on it.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Ah, the touching faith in “technology by its nature is always evolving and improving.” Film vs digital, all of which consume resources and energy, and get argued about like which way the toilet paper feeds off the roll. And how about industrial agriculture, destroying soil to grow GMO crops and corn to make “moonshine” alcohol to add to gasoline all at huge energy costs, or antibiotics now vastly overused and added to animal feed so “technology” can try to develop, through the grasping lootery of Pharma, to try to control the “superbugs” that are bred by those processes? Lots of examples of entropy and Murphy’s Law.

          1. Jeremy Grimm

            As the world changes I believe we must remember, archive, and adapt our technology and our knowledge. Technology is the difference between facing the world naked and bereft of all but our teeth and our soft thin nails. Instead of looking for some magical way to make an impossible way of life possible we should be identifying what ways of life could be possible and adapt or create the tools needed to make the transition. We are running out of time.

          2. Carolinian

            Of course there is bad technology and frivolous technology and the review I saw of Moore’s film said he is probably right about the foolishness of biomass and ethanol.

            But what I’m saying is that the notion that if we could just re-engineer ourselves and our desires we would therefore not need technology (which by this view probably won’t work anyway) has no basis in reality. Indeed our only effective control over population itself has been technology–birth control–since people are unlikely to stop having sex.

            Well there is that Pompeo way too. We don’t want to go there.

            When it comes to AGW, in my humble opinion, only technology will save us so we better stay busy figuring out what works best. Moore’s population bomb cry was strong back in the 60s/70s but then the Green Revolution postponed the worst for awhile while adding technological methods that did indeed worsen global warming. But now that the world population has exploded as a result of industrial farming (and from better medicine) it’s too late. Birth control isn’t going to fix AGW.

            1. ambrit

              A “Birth Lottery” is coming. Birth control technology is mature enough to allow easily enforced ‘birth control.’ Depo provera can be implanted in year long doses at the clinic. Mandating such a process for admittance to public school, or university, or say, to get one’s drivers licence could be enforced. Then apply some form of “meritocratic” birth lottery process, or, as in Starship Troopers, a mandatory stint of ‘Public Service’ to get your reproduction permit. Unlicensed children could be ‘culled’ by State order. Philip K Dick’s story about when the Supreme Court ruled that a fetus is liable to abortion up until it learns algebra is visionary, but quite logical in it’s conceit.
              My best guess is that Gibson’s “Jackpot” has already begun.

              1. epynonymous

                China tried it and wanted their money back, it seems.

                Meanwhile Japan and the EU have their populations crashing.

                Africa and South America will be left to their own devices as no global powers actually take an interest in their welfare. However, the “Death Squared” paper shows that over-crowded groups of mice get stressed-out and cease reproducing naturally.

                1. Carolinian

                  It seems large families and small farms are somewhat connected as well. My mom had ten brothers and sisters. Small farmers need that free labor force. I’ve read speculation that as countries like India become more urbanized the birth rate will fall naturally.

                  But future decreases still won’t help with AGW as the population is already too great and will be around for awhile

                2. ambrit

                  Just imagine a China where the Maoist, and probably, only a Mao could have implemented such a draconian policy, one child policy had not been enforced? A mish mash of competing Warlords would have been a distinct possibility as population pressure pushed resource wars.

            2. Eclair

              Carolinian, you state that “the world population has exploded as a result of industrial farming (and from better medicine) …”

              That ‘explosion’ is the result of using fossil fuels. Industrial farming is based on fossil fuels: from the manufacture, transport, storage and application of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers, to the harvesting, transport, food processing, refrigeration, more transport …. and so on. Same with the factory farming meat products. And, with medicine, such as vaccines. But, life expectancy is also enhanced by better public health measures; availability of clean water, efficient and safe disposal of waste water. All these systems rely heavily on fossil fuels to provide the power, to manufacture, refrigerate, pump.

              The film makes it pretty clear that a small section of the world population uses a huge amount of the planet’s resources … land and energy. Morally and ethically, we should extend our way of life to everyone on the planet, because, it is wrong that a relatively few people live off the misery of millions. But this is not possible. There are not enough resources, given the number of people. Morally, that leaves us with only one way forward: reduce, drastically, our use of resources, share with others who have less, in other countries around the planet.

              Do you really see almost everyone in the US, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, the EU, the UK, New Zealand, Australian, voluntarily saying, “I will give up my car and other fossil-fueled toys, turn off my heat/AC, eat only locally-produced food, eat meat only twice a week, wear only locally made clothing, stop traveling by air, ditch my smart phone, and laptop? And that’s just for starters.

              By not making that decision, we will make the decision to kill off a large portion of humanity ….. who will starve, drown, burn, choke, die from infectious diseases or be bombed. It’s already happening. And we’re still in hoping that ‘technology’ will save us. Better electric cars, more efficient solar panels or wind turbines. Nuclear! Carbon-sucking machines.

              Just stop using so much crap!

              1. Monty

                Does the .gov response to the Corona Virus hint that, when the time comes, it will not just be “The Others” who are left to starve?

                Rest assured, Kelly Loeffler and Co. have already secured their highly fertile bolt holes and installed every mod con to ensure a sustainable future for themselves and their family.

                When it can no longer be denied, I predict a big shrug from The Big Club. “Nobody could have predicted it, or done anything about it.”. Maybe, one last bailout…

                Then lights out.

        2. Billy

          We need immigration reform. Without immigration, the U.S. population would have remained steady.

          The United States Is Already Overpopulated
          June 2019
          “Many metropolitan areas in the United States are tackling a similar problem – overpopulation. Although the U.S. is the third largest country in the world, it has a fairly low population density and in 2017, the U.S. birthrate was the lowest in thirty years, which is well below replacement level.
          Those upsides, however, are disappearing, particularly in larger metropolitan areas that are becoming overcrowded. But urban sprawl and the growth of cities into the suburbs is eroding the quality of life in certain parts of the country.”

          “The evidence is clear: Mass unchecked immigration exacerbates the problems of traffic congestion, increased energy and fuel consumption, as well as rising rents and housing prices (for a discussion of immigration and rising real estate prices see David Ley, Millionaire Migrants, 2010). It also further strains our already decaying transportation infrastructure. According to a June 2018 Rasmussen poll, 51 percent of Americans believe population growth is outpacing capacity.

      2. JTMcPhee

        My guess is you can’t have one without the other. My house in sunny Florida depends on air conditioning for health reasons. Even if I had the energy and money to try to relocate to someplace with a more copacetic climate, lots of people with more resources are planning to or have already moved there, and I doubt the indigenous populations of those towns and cities less devastated by climate impacts are happy to welcome newcomers. Except for the Chambers of Commerce there, maybe — more mopes to fleece. Detroit is not much of a destination, or River Rouge, or western West Virginia which also gets hotter than blazes in summer and colder than blazes in winter. And how about the Great Plains, with dropping groundwater resources and lots of Superfund sites and got to love those increasingly common F5+ tornadoes and derechos. A storm cellar/shelter takes concrete and steel rebar — fitted stones and log roofs over a hole in the ground don’t tend to last.

        I don’t expect to be a burden on resources all that much longer, so I eventually will do my part. I guess I should be planning for a “Green Burial,” to minimize my departing impact — cremation burns carbon, after all. Not much of an option for New York, where the city is having a tough time finding burial space for virus-laden corpses, and a lot of other places too, where humans have been dying for millennia. (We have cemeteries here in St. Pete for Black people who died in poverty that are now coveted by developers. The kinds of grasping humans who elsewhere have happily disinterred remains and secretly disposed of them so as not to spook buyers of sh!t-built condos and apartment houses and reduce profit by properly and reverently dealing with those inconveniences.)

        Would love to find some handbook for how to live simply so that others (if they choose to, of course, and our Elites and their courtiers prove that many won’t) can simply live. There’s 7.818 billion humans, eating and excreting, increasing by 20,000 a day. How else can that end but in a massive die-off, with the worst of us most likely to survive? (amfortas and family excepted.)

        1. urblintz

          Hey JT, fellow St. Pete-burger here… if we get to the other side of this with breath still in us we should meet. I like the way you think! Good luck!

        2. Robert Hahl

          Your link says “The World Population is growing by over 200,000 people a day,” not 20,000.

          To date, COVID-19 has taken out one day’s population growth.

      3. MLTPB

        Total consumption = consumption per capita x population.

        Consumption per capita masks more by some, and less by others.

        Still, in general, it relates to lifestyle, in contrast with the second component, population size.

        Now, population growth can be reduced (compared with population itself being reduced), by, among other options, having babies later in life.

        So, if (we are hypothesizing here), all those about to have kids next year, postpone for one year, then next year’s population growth, from birth, is zero….again, from birth.

      4. clarky90

        I agree. I like my life of op-shop clothes and appliances- a 20 year old car with wind-up windows, 350,000 ks on the odometer and a manual transmission,- a home garden- minimal travel (to grandkids in Wellington)… water bottles and wooly hats as the first response to cold.

        We don’t need to cruise to Antarctica in order to have had a full-filled life. (dear Lord)

        Why do some ideologies yearn for mass death as a response to every perceived problem?

    2. TalkingCargo

      I haven’t seen the film either and I’m sure it has its share of faults, but very few people seem to realize that oil is the lifeblood of our hi-tech industrial civilization. Without it you can’t have a commercial aviation industry because you need jet fuel to fly the planes. You can’t have giant cargo ships and super tankers because they run on oil. Our industrial agriculture system will be crippled because you need oil to make the fertilizer, insecticides, and herbicides to grow the food. And worst of all, you need oil to extract the minerals from the earth that we need to make stuff out of. The heavy equipment that the mining industry uses (some of those machines are bigger than my house) to extract the iron, copper, aluminum, lithium and other elements only runs on oil. Without oil we’ll be consigned to a more or less 18th century level of technology. And guess what – the supply of oil is finite and won’t last forever.

      When you read the environmental articles they seem to think that all we need are electric cars, solar panels and wind turbines to save the planet. But you can’t manufacture batteries, PV cells, or wind turbines without a wide variety of elements that can only be extracted using oil. Somehow they always seem to overlook this “minor” detail. So if, as I suspect, the film is making this point, then it is right on the money.

      1. rowlf

        A lot of work has been done on bio-fuel for jet aircraft. Progress seems to be a struggle between developers and oil company lobbyists. The US military was pushing for bio-fuel for a while, and Airbus has a program.

  4. zagonostra

    >The Right Wing Wants You to Die

    Politics are a matter of social identity; research suggests that most people aren’t affiliated with a party because of what they believe, but believe what they do because they’re affiliated with a party.

    No Politics is a matter of economic class interest . People should just stop using Right, Left, Progressive, Conservative and talk about economic class analysis. The 1-10% vs the 90-99% is a more accurate way of framing political/economic subjects; which is not to say that religion, ethnicity, age, etc., aren’t important.

    It’s not “social identity” that is going to lift that “Iron Heel” from pressing down on your neck. It going to take a whole new vocabulary and language that moves people viscerally.

    1. Lost in OR

      Some years ago NC posted a study by two professors of two concurrent trends; reduced party affiliation and increased polarization. They posited that neither (US) party needs to provide any vision or solutions, they just need us to fear the other party’s vision or solutions more. We are motivated by fear of the other and self-identify by what we are against.

          1. Trent

            motivated by fear you say? Something just occurred that really seems to be motivated by fear.

              1. Monty

                That’s why I think they hate M4A so much. If healthcare wasn’t tied to employment, you’d probably be less inclined to take sh1t from your boss and work for peanuts in a dead end job.

    2. John Zelnicker

      April 25, 2020 at 8:01 am

      “It[‘s] going to take a whole new vocabulary and language that moves people viscerally.”


      We have got to move away from the neoliberal framing of “markets uber alles” and find the framing and language that motivates people to move from thinking in terms of “rugged individualism” to thinking in terms of “we are all in this together”.

      It won’t be easy, the neoliberal project has been in control of the narrative for the past 40+ years. The only way to defeat it and survive to thrive is to create a different narrative that promotes community and cooperation.

      1. JTMcPhee

        I’d say that antagonism and competition and impulse to climb the economic ladder by stomping on the hands and heads of others goes back a lot further than neoliberalism’s formulation of it… When has there ever been a sense that “we’re all in this together”? It’s what is maybe required, but getting there is a stony, thorny path.

      2. Janie

        Rugged individualism is bedrock in the US. Daniel Boone, the Lone Ranger, the mountain men, self-made millionaires – these stories resonate more than Stone Soup.

      3. Arizona Slim

        Yeah, I want to know where I can *buy* a “We’re All In This Together” N95 face mask.

        [ Sarcasm off. ]

      4. eg

        Those who are able to escape their long neoliberal slumber and coalesce into cooperative groups will crush those who do not.

        This is the long arc of history returning to its natural course. Govern yourself accordingly …

    3. flora

      As Galbraith said, years ago:

      People of privilege will always risk their complete destruction rather than surrender any material part of their advantage.

      – John Kenneth Galbraith

      1. The Rev Kev

        The full quote is even better-

        “People of privilege will always risk their complete destruction rather than surrender any material part of their advantage. Intellectual myopia, often called stupidity, is no doubt a reason. But the privileged also feel that their privileges, however egregious they may seem to others, are a solemn, basic, God-given right. The sensitivity of the poor to injustice is a trivial thing compared with that of the rich.”

    4. Grebo

      Politics is a matter of class interest but affiliation is a matter of psychology. If you’re a temporarily embarassed millionaire who wants to be told what to do by someone who seems to be like you want to be and says what you want to hear then you are likely to be be a bit confused about your class, let alone your interests.

  5. Henry Moon Pie

    Democrats and their testing, testing, testing–

    I think PMC Democrats must all be the sort of people who read Brave New World and thought Fordism sounded really great. They would all be Alphas, of course, and all those Gammas, Deltas and Epsilons would know their place. A place for everybody and everybody in their algorithm-determined place. That’s their utopia.

    The problem with their attempt to create a virus-free (and maybe Deplorable-free too!!!) carve-out from society-at-large for them to go about their business is that with all the complexity, intrusion and manpower it will require, if one superspreader slips through their net and even innocently starts a little mini-outbreak, their promise of purity and safety for the important people gets crushed.

    On one hand, we have the business-uber-alles kamikazes ready for you to die to save their little business or the return on their billions, an alliance of Mammon-obsessed dunces. On the other, we have the Alpha+ types ready to do Gattaca. The sane among us need to be formulating some options to these two hells.

    1. xkeyscored

      their promise of purity and safety for the important people gets crushed.

      Not if the ‘important people’ are the last to leave their homes.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      Thank you for that, especially the last sentence.

      Some employers are spitballing about a return to the office but with temperature checks, social distancing inside the office, masks, hand sanitizer everywhere, etc etc. The unclean will be turned away. But try to point out that office buildings have elevators, narrow stairwells, bathrooms with multiple stalls closely packed together, cubicles that aren’t much farther apart than the bathroom stalls, etc and get blank stares. What are they going to do, hire bathroom monitors to make sure no more than one person goes in at any time, and all facilities are wiped down after each use? Who’s the poor bastard that’s going to take that job?

      Trump isn’t the only one who spouts off without having thought things through.

      1. Bill Smith

        Doesn’t everyone wearing a mask in the office minimize all those office building issues? Combine that with a substantial percentage with rotating work from home – for those than can.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Yes, universal precautions as nurses think of them. Plus the added level needed for essentially isolation-level behaviors, adhered to with Hebraic punctiliousness. Like that is going to happen.

          Performance theater, a la TSA.

        2. xkeyscored

          It wouldn’t minimise those other issues, just leave them all there while reducing aerosol transmission a bit, even less so if masks were fiddled with or removed and placed on desks or wherever at some point in the day.
          And rotating work from home would be hardly any better than having everyone back at the office, unless the entire place is thoroughly and successfully disinfected with every change of personnel. The virus can hang around on surfaces for quite a while, so it could easily spread from someone on the Monday shift to someone on Tuesday and thence to their family …

      2. Kris

        Rotating shifts has actually been seriously suggested in at least one of the presented scenarios for how to partially re-open. But the shifts would not be rotating daily; they would be set to the virus’ schedule: two weeks on then two weeks off, and for everybody at once, not by office or city or whatever. The idea being that two weeks is long enough to quarantine to see if those who worked the last shift were infected, and isolating them before they go back to work in the next shift. No idea if it would work, either logistically or medically, but current information about the virus’ infectiousness, transmission prior to symptom onset, and time horizon until a vaccine or treatment suggest this is going to be a long drawn-out crisis and folks are looking for some way to keep the economy afloat over that period.

  6. Noone from Nowheresville

    This is a very very good video by Jimmy Dore with labor organizer Jane McAlevey.

    There’s a difference between organizing and mobilizing. Mobilizing is getting people who already more or less agree with you to come to meetings / protests. Organizing is getting people who don’t agree with you and you have to go out and find them. She’s talking about the need for strikes and that it will probably happen via the nurses & teachers unions after things get out of crisis mode. It will need to include other workers as well. LA, Oakland, NYC, Chicago, Seattle. Needs to be like what happened in ’33 & ’34.

    Based on how she’s describes the process my take is that Sanders is a mobilizer rather than an organizer.

    Also I read this article this morning

    How slaveholders in the Caribbean maintained control by Christer Petley

    The over-arching techniques used to control slaves are very much in line with how our society continues to be structured.

    There’s a third piece about the May 2019 NSCAI conference. Here’s the pdf file. I have not dug into this yet because I only caught an interview with a journalist working on the topic. But the general gist of what was being proposed was tele-medicine, workers as bio-hazards, implementing controls, more AI to get ahead of China & their data before they push that out to the rest of the world, etc. People like Gates, Bezos, Schmidt, etc. on these government committees future thinking where US policies & societies should go.

    In many ways these three pieces play together because of the never let a crisis go to waste philosophy.

      1. Foy

        Yep, Whitney Webb is fantastic. She digs into weeds like few else. She’s on my list of must follow journalist/bloggers along with Yves, Nathan Tankus, Michael Hudson, Matt Taibbi, Craig Murray etc

    1. Eclair

      Timely and informative links, Noone. If the outraged comments on the Jane Macalevey interview are any indication, the idea of strikes by the logistics, health care, and educations sectors is striking fear into the hearts of the 1%.

  7. PlutoniumKun

    Five F-35 issues have been downgraded, but they remain unsolved Defense News. Kevin W: “Related story: The Pentagon will have to live with limits on F-35’s supersonic flights.

    Hilarious stuff from Lockheed and their future consultants.

    “Supersonic flight is not a big feature of the F-35,” Clark said. “It’s capable of it, but when you talk to F-35 pilots, they’ll say they’d fly supersonic in such limited times and cases that — while having the ability is nice because you never know when you are going to need to run away from something very fast — it’s just not a main feature for their tactics.”

    I’m sure all future opponents will have noted this, and in the interest of chivalrous and sporting behaviour will never adopt tactics that require F-35’s to move fast.

    1. Wukchumni

      It has been well over 2 months since the last F-35 sortie overhead here, they’re going nowhere fast.

    2. xkeyscored

      Supersonic or not, Israel claims it’s been flying them around the region successfully, and is modifying them to carry nuclear weapons. I hope the F-35 is as useless as some imply, but I fear it is not.

      1. Phacops

        It is absolutely useless for ground support, one of its selling points for replacing the exceptionally durable, rather inexpensive to fly and maintain A-10 which exhibits superior time on target performance while protecting the pilot.

        I am no fan of our department of war. What I enjoy seeing in anything is exceptional design, engineering and execution in any endeavor.

        1. Bill Smith

          “useless for ground support”

          Why? I agree that is not its best use. But use B-52’s for ground support these days.

          1. JTMcPhee

            B-52s do not do “ground support.” They take hours to get to the battle site, and while they can drop “precision munitions” directed by laser painting of ground targets, a risky business in some situations, if you watch the YouTubes of our imperial troops reacting to actual fire support from the air which they badly need given how they are stupidly put in harm’s way by imperial policies, the cheers come loudest for A-10 strafing and 1,000 and 2,000 pound bombs dripped from other aircraft that can get on target quicker.

            Not to mention that the maintenance overhead for a B-52, and its fuel costs (hundreds of gallons per hour) are vastly more than for the A-10.

            Too bad us humans can’t just stop this stupid sh!t altogether, but that’s as likely as us being able to halt climate change and reduce our carbon boot prints…

            1. rowlf

              B-52s do ground support. My cousin was a Forward Controller several times in Afghanistan and the practice was to load up a B-52, fly in a racetrack orbit over a busy area and the FC would call in take-out orders. While A-10s are very useful (and zoomy) it was also found that a B-52 worked very well.

              With the development of better bomb guidance systems concrete filled kinetic munitions became viable.

              I have always been amazed at what some Forward Controller/Forward Observers could do with a map and a radio/telephone (and of course, fire support). David Hackworth wrote about some skilled people he worked with in the past.

              1. Bill Smith

                B-1’s also. Same racetrack orbit and then they could sprint to the spot faster than the B-52’s.

              2. JTMcPhee

                i keep forgetting this is not Vietnam, the war I was most familiar with. B-52s there bombed the snot out of both both and South Vietnam, and (ssshhhh) Laos and Cambodia too!

                Yes, now B-52s carry all kinds of really cool guided munitions, I’d forgotten about the racetrack deployment. Yah, we can be proud of this piece of old-Boeing hardware: /s.

                I recall one video from Afghanistan where the helmet-cam recorded the hit of a 1,000 pound “guided’ JDAM hit one end of a bunch of “Coalition” troops instead of the Hajjis shooting from the next tree line over. Lots of screaming. Oops. “Friendly fire.” Got to write the after-action report justifying that one, and obscuring what happened…

                1. rowlf

                  That seems to be a lot of weight for soft targets. A lot of progress was made to have smaller bombs developed now that the guidance is better.

                  “Cool” and “Proud”? That’s weird. Feelings about machinery? The US is exporting death and destruction, and committing war crimes. I am all in with Ben Ferencz.

        2. Dirk77

          Following a thread on NC a few weeks back and doing my own inquiry, I inferred that the primary purpose of the F-35 was air to ground attacks. And if any bash against the plane could be made it was its cost and this possibly out of date purpose, not that it fell short in fulfilling its intended purpose. I mean ignoring it ever being a true three service plane. So I’m puzzled by this. Also, for air to ground, is it important that the F-35 fly supersonic, especially as doing so burns a hell of a lot of fuel?

          1. Phacops

            The important points to ground support, close ground support, is not merely the ability to hit something on the ground, but to do it with a long duration and the ability to take damage while protecting the pilot. The joke has been that A-10 pilots don’t need an airspeed indicator, they need a calendar. They were designed for long duration support flying at 100 feet. Plus, with a titanium armor “bathtub” around the pilot it is designed to take an enormous amount of punishment. The electronic weapons and avionics systems are designed such that if they are out of commission the pilot will control and continue to fight with the aircraft, thanks to the GAU-8 cannon mounted coaxially. KISS in every way possible.

            I just wish that some of the elegant designs in aircraft were not warbirds.

            1. Carey

              Thank you, Phacops.

              The A-10 is a straight-wing aircraft, excelling at low-speed operations with low operating costs. The idea of using the large, heavy, swept-wing, poorly defended B-52 for this job is..
              not sensible. And swept-wing F-35s, at $120-200+ million apiece?
              even less sensible; wacky, in fact.

              1. rowlf

                You may be missing how the B-52 is used. Instead of having a nearby artillery emplacement the B-52 orbits at altitude as a munition vending machine. Ground or air controllers call in target coordinates or designate a target with a laser and munitions are dispensed.

                A benefit of this is the B-52 munitions are guided to what is called in, instead of the controllers having to coordinate what the agreed upon target is with a ground attack pilot zooming around.

                Both the A-10 and the B-52 are tools in the toolbox with advantages and disadvantages. A B-52 can stay on station for 24 or more hours (check out the Chrome Dome missions) if you want to unshackle everything on something useful. Maybe the F-35 will work with a stealth advantage but it does appear to be a Fishin’ Magician solution with a ED-209 program structure.

                1. The Rev Kev

                  The F-35 can’t do that job. It has a very limited payload, does not have the fuel to hang around long, has a gun that does not shoot straight, cannot take much damage and in any case the Air Force would not want their shiny new toys assigned the job of working with mere grunts.

                  Maybe the A-10s are so good that they will meet the same fate as the B-52. That they will be around long enough so that the grandchildren & g-grandchildren of the original pilots will be flying them still.

          2. Bill Smith

            “the F-35 was air to ground attacks”

            The Israeli use seems to be SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses). I would say that would be a form of air to ground attacks but not ‘ground support’..

          3. JTMcPhee

            One more no-count thought: the ‘mission” that the A-10, and F-35 and F/A-18, is supposed to do is to “support” Imperial troops who have invaded other countries with or without some fig-leaf excuse from the UN or an “invitation” from a captive government, usually one without any actual ‘democratic” legitimacy.

            So when Imperial troops go out on sweeps and patrols with the expectation and intention of “drawing fire” from natives who dare to oppose their presence (and it is a pretty inimical presence, spare they sob stories about “but the women and girls!” and “our contractors built schools and roads for them” and such sad stuff), and those troops get shot up, they can call in air support (and artillery fire too, often) to blow the Hajjis to Kingdom Come and joke about how they must be enjoying their 79 virgins now,\.

            Those troopers are not “protecting our nation” or “supporting and defending the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” maybe except in the tiny legalistic sense that some neocons have decreed for example that the elected government of Syria is “the enemy, go get ‘em,” Venezuela and Iran next up on the Hit Parade. They kick in the doors of house or blow them open with explosives and then often kill anyone inside. While AH-64 attack helicopters with Hellfires and 30mm multibarrel cannon, and AC-130s with large caliber Gatling guns and 105mm artillery cannon, blast anyone on the ground who looks to be “carrying a weapon” or “suspiciously moving.”

            What the Imperial troops are doing is what the Marines led by Maj. Gen. Smedley Butler were doing at the start of the 20th century — being thugs to serve the business interests of corporations. And gee, what a great job they are doing these days, no? Valiant service, Hellfires on wedding parties and nut collectors, kicking in doors in Kandahar and reducing Fallujah and lots of other cities to smoldering rubble and “collateral damage.”

            “War is a racket.” How plain does it have to be? And what do we mope citizens here in the Sacred Homeland get out of all this? Some oil, except that we brag up how we are now “energy-independent” thanks to fracking… But hey, the A-10 is such an efficiently ugly aircraft, especially with the shark mouth painted on its snout!

            Go America!

          1. xkeyscored

            I should have said Israel “is suspected of modifying them to carry nuclear weapons” (and perhaps that should read suspected or alleged nuclear weapons), but there’s also this relating to the USA’s F-35s:

            The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is slated to be armed with the B61 nuclear bomb as early as 2020, but could carry the weapon sooner, a general said.

            The stealthy fifth-generation fighter made by Lockheed Martin Corp. is set to be fitted with the B61-12 Mod gravity bomb — the latest variant — sometime between 2020 and 2022, Air Force Brig. Gen. Scott Pleus told during a recent interview at the Pentagon.

            If the weapon is needed sooner, the schedule could be quickened, according to Pleus, a former F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot who directs the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program’s integration office for the service.

            “It would definitely be possible,” he said.


            1. ambrit

              “If the weapon is needed sooner.”
              They are talking about a thermonuclear weapon.
              I’ve read that some think tank did an analysis of nuclear warhead use based on various sizes of yield. All the way from ‘pocket nukes’ up to ‘theatre nukes.’ The invariable result, every time, was intercontinental strategic exchanges. So, for these idiots to be even considering using small nukes from a defective aircraft at all is the height of irresponsibility.
              Even if today’s regimes can accept low yield nuclear warhead use without escalating to world destruction, the very real threat is that the use of low yield nuclear warheads can become common. A landscape littered with dozens of near permanent quarantine zones, and fallout effects, of whatever size, is the last thing humans need. The environment is perilous enough without atomic mini-wastelands. Look at the example of Fukushima. That is a relatively “peaceful” atomic plant disaster, now entering it’s tenth year, and no end in sight. Imagine a Middle East full of Fukushimas.

  8. timbers

    New Evidence Supports Credibility of Tara Reade’s Allegation Against Biden Intercept (Chuck L)”

    I see a future for Bill and Hillary, if they’re up for it want it and Hillary can be convinced to just get over she won’t be the nominee (but she still might be IMO).

    They both have lots of experience dealing with sort of thing. They could roll out a road show of TV appearances. They know what needs to be done regarding Tara Reed, and exactly how to do it. It would like be bringing the old band back together again for one final oncore performance.

    Is it too early to create an organization called “”

    1. Dr. John Carpenter

      When I first heard Reade’s story, the part of my brain covered in tin foil immediately said “Ah ha! This is how they remove Biden and install Hillary!” It’s just too perfect. It’s still “her turn” after all and she had what was rightfully hers stolen by a sexist man. Then you have the fact that Hillary is the avatar for all the oppressed women of the world (of course, let’s not think too much about Bill or Epstein or Hillary’s policies or…) Maybe she’ll even pick a transgender person of color as her running mate this time! How exciting!

      (Sarcasm intended, in case it wasn’t obvious.)

      1. gc54

        We need a Dark Matter candidate to represent the 85% of baryonic matter that has none. The 1% are only 0.15% of potential voters so the Dems need to get cracking.

    2. Stephen V.

      Times of crisis call for a real distraction: Trump needs to journey up the road and do a joint presser with creepy uncle Joe in his basement. Can they share a teleprompter? That would be Unity you could believe in.

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      All kidding aside, this story and biden’s refusal to definitively deal with it to the extent possible should prove to be a VERY thorny problem for whatever woke woman biden “chooses” as his running mate.

      No one disputes that biden’s days are numbered, and that the woman he has promised to “choose” will be “perceived” to be the heir apparent. But how does that woman navigate this minefield when there are still people like, say, kirsten gillibrand out there?

      When gillibrand went after Al Franken viciously and pretty much baselessly under cover of #MeToo, the worst kept secret evah was that she was polishing her own gender-based credentials while kneecapping a potential opponent for the dem presidential nomination.

      As this situation continues to percolate with little to no response much less an effective, definitive one, I think these potential candidates should be giving serious thought to what the future looks like with a biden albatross hung around their necks. With purists like gillibrand lurking, it may not be so bright they gotta wear shades.

      1. ewmayer

        should prove to be a VERY thorny problem for whatever woke woman biden “chooses” as his running mate — Actually I don’t think Kamala Harris would be troubled at all, she has a long career history of serving under powerful men with strong appetites. Just ask Willie Brown. And the odds of the “one heartbeat (or dementia diagnosis) away from the presidency” thing coming into play seem quite good with Biden.

  9. JoeT

    Poor Nancy doesn’t seem to know how unemployment insurance works, or the incentives of a realestate owner. Furloughed staff have to come back to work, imagine that. They won’t get Covid19 benefits anymore but only state unemployment if you lay them off. Landlord wants empty building generating zero revenue since poor Nancy is going to go out of business? I wonder how long it will take that capitalist bastard to get a new tennant and generate income given the current state of affairs.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      And I don’t think the governor of Georgia “mandated” anything, which seems to be the basis for this pretty much clueless screed.

      As far as “business interruption insurance” is concerned, hasn’t it already been disclosed that the vast majority of those policies have “virus” exceptions of some sort? At any rate, I had occasion to TRY to use business interruption insurance once due to a fire, and it’s a lot like medical insurance–you don’t know how expensive and crappy it is until you try to rely on it in an emergency. Nothing a governor said or did takes the insurance company off the hook–the insurance company took itself off the hook when they wrote the policy.

      1. lovevt

        I was at a campaign rally in Marietta OH Oct. 1994 and Senator Jay Rockefeller spoke in support of the candidate. I have never forgotten his one comment, “insurance companies are no longer in the business of risk management.”

      1. shtove

        My female version sung A capella by June Tabor.

        Wonderful. The phrasing is so much better.

        Have a listen to her Aqaba, song about the life of TE Lawrence – a sliver of English eerie.

    1. The Rev Kev

      That song was set in WW1. There is another well know antiwar song by Redgum called “I Was Only 19” that was set in Vietnam-

      The terminology is different, the place names are different but I think that Vietnam vets might find stuff that is familiar. This song even got mentioned once or twice in the book “World War Z.”

    2. shtove

      The power of a ghost story. There is a memorable misheard line: “And now every April I sit in my Porsche …”

    3. Janie

      Watt4Bob at 09.06 – thank you for the link to a song I had not heard. Very moving, to tears actually.

  10. xkeyscored

    Dr. Oz says reopening schools “is a very appetizing opportunity” bc there will “only be” a 2 to 3% mortality rate

    For a start, Dr. Oz, whoever he is (and he sounds none too savoury) said 2-3% in terms of total mortality. I don’t know what Lancet report he’s referring to, but it seems highly unlikely that 2-3% of kids will die of COVID-19, as kids seem to be the least affected, rarely dying and often having no symptoms. And he didn’t say 2-3% among kids, at least not in this clip.

    Secondly, how are we going to avoid mortality? We might be lucky and hold numbers down below 2-3% until a vaccine that works is delivered to everyone. Then again, we might have significant mortality from famine and malnutrition by the time that happens, if it does. As he points out, many kids get fed at school, and what he might have added, more or better than they would at home.

    I’m not advocating re-opening all schools tomorrow. But continuing even the current partial lockdowns forever will have its own consequences. Dr. Oz certainly seems more eager to re-open schools than I would be, but the idea seems worth considering, if not right at this moment.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Yeah, about Dr. Oz. I believe that he really got started with regular appearances on the Oprah Winfrey show. The same way that Dr. Phil got started. People like that I would not let them diagnose a hangnail much less the risks to ordinary people during a major worldwide pandemic. You could never be certain if they were in fact talking their stock portfolio instead of medical advice. I would be curious to know if he is talking about his own grandkids here too-

      1. Procopius

        Yeah, Dr. Oz is more or less a carnival barker. Were those before your time? I don’t know if carnivals still exist. Basically, he sells stuff, magical stuff, that will solve your problems. Sometimes he also requires that his customers do hard stuff — regular exercise, watch what you eat, never eat until you’re full, so it’s not all magic, but he still sells the magical stuff. He’s a very sympathetic guy, usually, very compassionate, very caring, so I’m surprised he came off so clueless. I believe he’s been warned by the FDA several times to stop making claims, for the effectiveness of some of the magical stuff he sells, which are not supported by evidence. I’ve never seen Dr. Phil in action, but they both appear on Fox News, which says it all.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Yeah, I have heard of carnival barkers and he would be at home with them. In another era he would simply be called a quack.

    2. Stillfeelinthebern

      I’m sorry, but arguing that kids need to be in school so they don’t starve says something about our society. I’m not saying that kids are not going without food, but getting to the point of arguing that schools have to be open because they are the only source of food for children shows we have a much deeper problem than Covid-19. All this in the richest country in the world.

      1. Phacops

        ^^^^ That.

        I am certain that the world is taking notice of the profound dysfunction designed into American society. I wonder if they will act accordingly after there is any recovery.

      2. xkeyscored

        “The Free Breakfast Program became the central organizing activity of the [Black Panthers].[2] The reach and success of the program in so many communities underscored the inadequacies of the federal government’s then-flagging and underresourced lunch programs in public schools across the country. Many of these programs were held in predominantly black neighborhood but also served children of other ethnicity.[3] Despite its successes, Federal authorities attempted to discredit and derail the Free Breakfast Program. Among other actions, authorities raided breakfast program locations while children were eating<[4]” (Which might say something about US society.)

      3. Voltaire Jr.

        Our elementary school district is *delivering* breakfast & lunch 5X/week to all 260 kids. They bring both breakfast and lunch daily in one box. Also, the teachers are delivering the meals to the kids and check out how they are doing with both the kids and parents home in a novel situation.

        Our school also has had a ‘backpack’ program that sent food home with kids long before this for the weekend and summer when school wasn’t in session with subsidized meals. That backpack program jumped 5X in April.

        My wife and I manage the pantry, clothes closet and backpack weekly. It would not be possible to manage anything without the full support of the principal, many other staff, food pantries connected to Food Banks, and generous donators in our small town to make it all work.

        Schools don’t have to be open to feed us all.

        I feel rich for having such a great, vibrant community [Pop: 2,100 people in town, 38,000 in county].
        Wisconsin, US

    3. Tongorad

      My employer, one of the biggest school districts in TX, has continued to feed students throughout this pandemic via campus distribution centers, as have other school districts here in San Antonio, TX. We also feed students during the summer, every year.

    4. Dirk77

      I infer that the consensus for the best approach to Covid is moving toward a marginal stability one. That is, isolation is lifted to the degree that the healthcare system is taxed but not overwhelmed; healthcare workers are full time but not overtime. Children and parents are young, relatively speaking, so schools are open. People with existing conditions are isolated. But whatever is best will arise from all this social experimentation. And perhaps best depends upon where you live, etc. And maybe a vaccine will come along or maybe not. But in the meantime, do this.

  11. Wukchumni

    As attracted to a Bleach’d Bomb as the next person, i’m aghast by the whole spectacle of it all, the fall of the white house of U.S.her, with a 6 foot 4 fissure in the masonry clearly evident.

  12. voislav

    Here is a early study of effectiveness of coronavirus antibody tests. Small sample size (n=36), but not very encouraging. They take patients that are positive and test their antibody response over the next 3 weeks. Most commercially available tests are only ~90% correct.

    1. xkeyscored

      These tests can still be useful for discovering where we are with this virus and deciding how to move forward, even with only 90% accuracy.

  13. John

    April 23, 2020 President Trump with Coronavirus Task Force Briefing
    William Brian 25:15
    Slide says Commonly available disinfectants (Bleach & Isopropyl Alcohol) work to kill the virus
    Reduce the ability of the virus printed extra care may be warranted for dry environments they do have exposure to solar light printed were also testing disinfectants. Readily available, were tested bleach, alcohol, on the virus specifically in saliva and respiratory fluid. I can tell you that bleach will kill the virus in five minutes. Alcohol will kill it in 30 seconds and this with no manipulation. William is taking about killing the virus on surfaces.

    Trump 26:30 The whole time Trump keeps turning and looking at Birx
    Here’s a question that some of you are probably thinking if you are totally into that world which I find to be interesting. So, supposing we hit the body with the tremendous, whether it’s ultraviolet or a a very powerful light, and I think you said, and I think you said, that hasn’t been checked, but you are going to test it. And then I said supposing you brought the light inside of the body which you can do either through the skin or in some other way. And I think you said you’re gonna test that too? Sounds interesting. And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute, one minute, and is there a way we can do something like that? By injection inside or, or almost a cleaning. Cause you see it gets in the lungs, and does a tremendous number in the lungs. So it would be interesting to check that. So that you’re gonna have to use medical doctors. But it sounds interesting. It sound interesting to me. We’ll see but the whole concept of the light the way it kills it in one minute. That’s ah, that’s pretty powerful. Steve please. (now to reporter) Trump then takes that info and starts talking about using those same things for killing the virus inside of people.

    The only way it isn’t clear that Trump is referring to bleach and alcohol as the disinfectants to inject into people is if you don’t show what came RIGHT BEFORE Trump saying what he said in Thursday’s briefing.

    He is a danger to us all.

    1. Louis Fyne

      It’s fascinating that Trump’s UV-Lysol tangent sucked up all the oxygen in the news cycle—so much so that even the NakedCap commentariat isn’t talking about the Green Card moratorium.

      Now that’s some unintentional 3-D chess

      1. John

        Green Cards should be stopped completely and as well as all the H-1B visas (and all the rest of the visas going to foreigners to work here).

        Almost 30 million Americans unemployed and we still have foreigners on these visas getting paychecks here? That’s an economic crime against American workers. Time for them to go home.

        1. Louis Fyne

          A family member is engaged to a singaporean journalist.

          Suprise, surprise—non-US journalists get no special breaks under US immigration law unlike non-US IT professionals

        2. Aumua

          Regardless of the green cards, you can bet that the H1-B visas will NOT be touched, or even mentioned. Because the market princes like those very much thank you.

        3. sd

          According to a seasonal hospitality employer, supposedly J-1 visas are not available for this summer.

        4. wilroncanada

          Poor old US, John
          At the same time you can bring home the 30 million or 40 million Americans who are sucking the life blood out of the rest of the world, with war, theft of resources, ugly American retirement enclaves, economic pillage, and world economic and political (mis)leadership). Put them to work doing something good for a change.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      He is a danger to us all.

      Calm down.

      Half the people wouldn’t believe Trump if he said the sky is blue, and would never drink a glass of bleach just because the Bad Orange Man told them to. Most of the rest are irredeemably deplorable and wouldn’t vote for a democrat anyway.

      While I wouldn’t normally feel the need to say it, the fact that this ridiculous story is generating so much hysteria suggests that I MUST. The last sentence in the above comment is sarcasm.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          I heard you the first time. Besides, it’s all over facebook. 25 45 is, evidently, the latest clever iteration.

            1. Aumua

              I don’t think the attitude is so much trusting Trump. It’s more like realizing that continuously freaking out over every latest controversial, over-the-top thing that Trump says is counterproductive at best, and may actually be helping him. I mean if you’re really serious about defeating/removing Trump, then try being smarter than he is for once. Quit falling for the same tricks over and over, Johnny boy.

              1. John

                Telling people to inject bleach is not helping Trump. And the whole country up in arms about it isn’t helping him either. He crossed the line on that one.

                I know how to outsmart Trump.

                Do you Aumuay boy?

                1. Aumua

                  Heh heh my name is actually John too. Was what Trump said a ridiculous thing to say? Sure. But I mean did Trump really tell people to inject bleach? No he did not, and believe it or not plenty of people sense the dishonesty around the hysteria. Certainly his base remains loyal at least. You should take a look at this article posted here a few days ago:

                  Donald Trump’s Greatest Escape

      1. John

        When I say madman I mean psychopath.

        Do you deny he said that ingesting bleach could kill it “And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute, one minute, and is there a way we can do something like that? By injection inside or, or almost a cleaning.”?

        1. hunkerdown

          I don’t see that pathologizing an individual acting in a pathological post in a pathological system is especially illuminating. In fact, the relation of rule itself could be said to be psychopathic. Yet some would argue it is necessary.

        2. wilroncanada

          I say
          Stop listening to him. Stop watching his daily (s&&) “game” show. Boycott any television medium that carries his “missage” more than once a week. Stop buying from companies that support his schtick with commercials or endorsements.
          Do NOT EVER follow his twitter feed.

          1. John

            I never watch his daily “briefings”.

            But I saw the story, and wanted to see what all the fuss was about for myself. So I went to CSpan.

            What I soon discovered is that the people defending him as he didn’t say inject bleach, are conveniently leaving out the man who talked right before him with the sign and what he said.

            As soon as you see it in context you have to admit Trump said to inject bleach. No defense of what he said is possible.

        3. Oregoncharles

          No, he didn’t say that. He asked for some internal equivalent – for instance, whatever in cigarette smoke, of all things, that appears to be protective: “is there a way we can do something like that?”

          The answer is probably “no,” in the nature of things, but the question is not altogether unreasonable. It would help if he was more articulate. I really don’t like to be defending him, but it would be far better to focus on his horrible policies. Just sounding like a jerk is bad, but freaking out over it accomplishes little.

      2. Librarian Guy

        You gotta love Drumpf for the comedy gold, though Demented Uncle Joe certainly can give him a run for the money . . .

        Trump’s little screed reminded me of a punk song from my wasted youth about 35 years ago, the Dead Milkmen’s Bleach Boys. And on YouTube, their album cover “Beezlebubba” seems to eerily foresee the MAGA CHUDs. Including “Drinkin’ bleach is my way of winnin’.”

        Like the lyrics say, “Bleach keeps you young, or so I’ve been told/ ‘Coz no one who drinks it lives to get old.”

        Link is

    3. Mel

      There is the point too that if people could afford to see real doctors, and get real advice and treatment, the real doctors could tell them not to drink bleach. People wouldn’t need to try to treat themselves with whatever they saw on TV.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Coronavirus: China rejects call for probe into origins of disease”

    Well of course they would. If I were them I would be extremely suspicious that such an investigation could turn from a scientific inquiry into a full bore prosecution investigation. Back in 2005, the former Prime Minister of Lebanon – Rafic Hariri – was assassinated with a car bomb in Beirut. The killing led the United Nations to set up a Special Tribunal for Lebanon to investigate the killing but it became obvious fairly soon that instead of seeking the truth, its procedure was to put the blame on various groups depending on who was on the outer with the west at the time. People would be arrested, held without charge for years, then released. Neocon judges ran the thing and every other year, a new group was charged. I suspect that the Chinese thinking here is that any investigation could be very easily turned into a prosecution of China by people such as Pompeo, especially since it is Pompeo calling for this.

    1. Ignacio

      IMO, China does not want it because it could show that rural development policies by Chinese leadership, particularly the push for industrialization of wild animal farms, would be the ultimate reason that facilitated the epidemic. They, as a first measure, destroyed the prints: all animals possibly involved were sacrificed.

      1. zagonostra

        “ultimate reason that facilitated the epidemic.”

        Not so quick, there is a lot of information still be investigated/evaluated/digested.

        I won’t bother to link the many non-MSM sources that point in a completely different direction as to origins of the virus. For me, I’ll hold off on assignation of motive/culpability till I know more.

          1. Carey

            >I think everyone should hold off on hysteria too but that horse has fled the barn


            And it’s (virtually) *everywhere*. Mmm.

    2. MLTPB

      Beijing is better off not playing others’ games.

      To reject it, because this person or that country calls for one, is the lower course of action.

      Not all investigations are like any particular previous one. The one example is not convincing for not having one, if that is Beijing’s aim.

      It would be a higher course of action to take the initiative to propose setting up one, and (as you’re calling it ) open and transparent one, with many parties involved. It’s more likely to get your view taken into account that way.

      Invoking 2005 to not have one (regardless of who is calling for it) doesn’t really do that.

      1. Schmoe

        You could also invoke the 2018-2019 OPCW farce into the alleged Douma gas attack to justify China’s reluctance.

    3. hunkerdown

      They saw what the OPCW, with its new mandate of attribution, did in the Douma case, and how successfully the corporate media deflected the entire fraudulent core of the Douma investigation.

  15. xkeyscored

    COVID-19 sweeping through US immigrant farmworker and meatpacker ranks openDemocracy

    I can’t see anything in this article, apart from the headline and photo, to indicate the virus is sweeping through farmworkers. True, their housing and sanitation is far from adequate at the best of times, but the USA has millions of vehicles, including a huge number of capacious SUVs. These could be requisitioned both as accommodation and to replace the buses that usually take them to the fields, while better sanitation could be provided fairly easily. Equally, the military could erect tents and dig latrines (unless it’s outsourced tents to China on a just-in-time-for-war-on-China basis).
    If the will were there, solutions could be found. If none are, further disruptions to the food supply can be expected.

    1. Rod

      If the will were there, solutions could be found. If none are, further disruptions to the food supply can be expected.

      I think we need the will (and Imagination) to push to solutions
      the will to push obstructions aside

  16. xkeyscored

    Investors baffled by soaring stocks in ‘monster’ depression Financial Times

    Here’s where I show off my ignorance of such matters, but where else would the trillions in bailout and stimulus money be expected to? Some presumably ends up in gold and real estate, but I’d have guessed lots would find its way into stocks, at least until the scale of the real crisis becomes apparent to the coked-up morons who make their money there.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      The stock market is what rich people are thinking at any given time.

      There is I think a general rule in investing, that commodity markets reflect the real economy, the stock market reflects… well, something. ‘animal spirits’, or more recently QE (or similar) cash.

    2. Lost in OR

      Here’s a wild idea… could the trillions have gone into the market so the rich could get out- unscathed? Disconnected and myopic the rich may be, but it seems to me you would have to be a blithering idiot to invest in the market right now.

      1. John k

        Well, if the rich own all the stocks… all that happens is that one rich person sells to another… and they will own it whether the market is at the peak or trough.
        Money does not go into or out of the market. Money is always on the sidelines… if you take it off your sideline and buy stocks it immediately appears on the seller’s sideline.
        Stock values are strictly rich peoples’ sentiment… which can change rapidly. It is still buy the dips… when sentiment changes it will simply be sell.

        1. Lost in OR

          What if the gov’t or Fed supports stock prices even as investors are bailing? If those gov’t investments are opaque, how would you know? How do you explain current stock pricing? Market optimism? Just short of junk status are; travel (airlines, cruise, lodging, tourism…), petroleum, meat, long-term care, entertainment, just to name a few. I don’t see dividends in their future for a while. The vultures have to be circling.

          While I don’t think anybody knows what the treasury or the Fed is doing with all those trillions, I do know enough to like my tinfoil hat.

      2. chuck roast

        It’s not a wild idea…if they can cook all the forthcoming earnings reports. If only all of my bone-head classmates in high school could have cooked our report cards.

  17. Samuel Conner

    Starting a couple of days ago, the U Washington COVID-19 projections site

    no longer allows me to see the state-by-state projections. The option to select an alternative to “USA” appears to be present, but clicking on it no longer shows the individual State (or other country) projections.

    I’m wondering if this is a problem in my browser or a change at the projections site.

    I have noticed what I think are changes in the projections methodology, so I’m prepared to believe that the site managers have disabled the regional detail features. When I first encountered this site (linked at NC daily AM links or maybe at the WC afternoon links), the projections for each region were based on the assumption of full social distancing, which was clearly an unrealistically favorable projection for many of the regions. At some point, they revised the model to project based on the actual measures implemented in each jurisdiction. As a result, the projected curve flattening weakened and stretched out to longer time horizons for the States with fewer measures implemented.

    And then the State-level projections became (for me, at least) inaccessible.

    Are others able to see the State-level projections there?

    Just wondering. I’m prepared to believe that they took the regional projections down. For some lower density mid-Western states, the projections did not seem very alarming by comparison to the mess in the high density states and might have been helping to justify the resistance to stronger “distancing” measures.

    1. Alfred

      I just tried it, about 45 minutes after you posted. Clicking on the phrase “United States of America” pulled down a menu of countries, with landing on the United States of America. By scrolling down from there I found all the states listed alphabetically. I was able to click on any state name, which then displayed the page with statistics for that state.

    2. JustAnotherVolunteer

      State level data works for me. Just type the first few letters of the state name in the window and then select when it shows up from the pull down list.

      1. xkeyscored

        Same for me, Firefox and Chrome. No need to type; I just click on “United States of America v” in the big green bar near the top (v=a downward pointing arrow thing) and up pops a menu.

      2. Rod

        re: state level

        my state site– SCDHEC– last week–made a change to its dashboard on UPDATES that now list tests conducted and NEGATIVE test results first

        to determine C+ and deaths you now have to navigate from the Covid-19 Homepage to another screen–but thinking you’ll get that from the SC Situational Update Page is a mistake–because it is under the Demographics Page instead–

        y’know, just an intuitive choice for most of our well educated population–probably.

    3. HotFlash

      Hi Samuel, I just looked, I am getting the graph by country (w/drop down menu to highlight), below that is a graph by US state (w/op down menu to highlight) and below that a link to a county map (type in county and state)

    4. Samuel Conner

      Thanks all. The problem is evidently in my browser. There is something running in the background called “HP Sureclick” that I think is a security feature; that may be interfering with the drop-down menu.

      Again, thanks all.

    5. michael99

      Another change (since last time I checked) is for each US state they now have an estimated date when relaxing social distancing may be possible. See under the heading “Containment Strategy”. For example, for California it says, “After May 18, 2020, relaxing social distancing may be possible with containment strategies that include testing, contact tracing, isolation, and limiting gathering size.”

      See the FAQs for more info:

  18. gf

    “Immunity passports” in the context of COVID-1 WHO. Key sentence: “There is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from COVID-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection.” Hoo boy. This is the strongest-form statement possible of reservations about immunity. If this continues to be true, you can kiss a vaccine goodbye.

    What article is this from?

    Does not appear to be in the MIT article.

    Also why would that mean there is no vaccine?

      1. The Historian

        Thanks for the link.
        It is also important to remember that just one vaccination may not give you immunity for some diseases. When I questioned my doctor about why I had to get two shingles vaccinations, she explained that one shot may give some immunity but it doesn’t activate the T-cells. The second shot at a later date activates the T-cells to give cellular immunity and prevents the body from actually getting the disease. This may be true for Covid-19 also.

        Perhaps one of our virus experts can explain how this works in more detail.

    1. Samuel Conner

      > why would that mean there is no vaccine?

      If antibodies produced by one’s immune response to live, fully active virus are not protective against future infection, it seems unlikely that antibodies produced by immune response to a vaccine candidate of any kind would be protective. Vaccine candidates would not get into general use as vaccines if they induced no protective immunity.

      I certainly hope that is not the situation we are facing.

    2. xkeyscored

      Don’t confuse “no evidence people are protected’ with “evidence people are not protected.”

      The first isn’t news, while the second is only a possibility, and not what they’re saying, with some pretty slight, patchy and disputed evidence that a few people can be re-infected. But it is a worrying possibility nonetheless.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        This. The “evidence people are protected” bar is a much higher one to clear than may be obvious. The likelihood that there is no post-infection immunity seems pretty remote from my reading.

      2. MLTPB

        While not news, we do well to remind ourselves, if not always, at least from time to time, that since or if we have no evidence people are protected, we should act precautiously, as if we are still in a fog….still no clear path to safe harbor.

      3. Skip

        Even if someone with antibodies can catch the virus a second time, if the antibodies reduce the severity of the second attack, that would be something. And if an earlier infection significantly lessens a second infection’s potential lung damage and/or pneumonia, and reduces risks to other organs, that would be huge.

        Regarding vaccines, those like the one for shingles usually come with the caveat that while a vaccine might not completely protect, for most people the vaccine should lessen the impacts. That’s certainly the caveat for flu vaccines.

        We don’t yet know the range of immunity enhancement, other than some promising stories of plasma treatments. But it seems way too early to gift this WHO report “hoo boy” status. As with everything, it’s going to be a percentage game amid efforts to favorably adjust the odds.

      4. chuck roast

        All of the tidal wave of verbiage aside…and it is beginning to wear on me…from the very start of the plague it was identified as a corona virus (hey, what do I know). The common cold is described as a corona virus. Last I looked, they have not developed a vaccine for the common cold (I know that much). Please correct me if I’m wrong here, but it would take a phenomenal medical breakthrough to develop a general vaccine to protect against CV-19. Would you recommend straight Camels or the filtered Camels in the flip-top box?

  19. orlbucfan

    The Vanity Fair article does not name the Big Pharma corporate yahoo who issued the threat to Dr. Joesph Vinetz? Who is it? Vinetz is set to start approved clinical trials on testing camostat mesylate. The drug has shown promise in treating c-virus. This Pharma crook needs to be made public.

    1. Procopius

      Vanity Fair’s lawyers may have warned their editors that naming names would open them to a lawsuit for libel. Even if they could win (truth is a defense, and in American courts the burden of proof of damage is on the plaintiff), lawsuits are expensive and time-consuming. No mainstream publication ever risks a libel suit.

  20. orlbucfan

    The Vanity Fair article does not name the corporate yahoo who issued the threat to Dr. Joseph Vinetz. Vinetz is set to start approved clinical trials for testing camostat mesylate. The drug has shown promise in treating c-virus. The identity of the Big Pharma company needs to be made public.

  21. Alex

    Can someone explain or share a link with the explanation what is happening with the post office. I can’t understand how they can have troubles now that online commerce deliveries must have skyrocketed.
    Are they indeed losing money on every delivered package?

      1. flora

        Closed chain stores aren’t sending junk mail during the shutdown. Junk mail pays rates that subsidize the ‘unprofitable’ parts of delivering to rural addresses for example.
        Package delivery is still profitable and that’s the part T demands the PO jack its rates up to above FedEX and UPS rates, which will shift PO customers to the private vendors for shipping smaller items. This is Mnuchin’s idea… turning the govt into a PE behemoth. If T wants to win re-election he’d better stop listening to Mr. Fraudulent Forclosure and the libertarian right.

        The libertarian right (billionaires funding many in the GOP) want T to lose, by the way, imo. How else explain Mcconnell threatening to destroy states’ finances on T’s watch, other than that it’s a good way to make sure T loses this fall.? Rightist paper columnists are posting ‘support Biden’ stories now. See Gerson’s latest column.

        T listening to Mnuchin and Mcconnell is like Warren listening to whoever put her up to savaging Sanders, then running on ‘I have a golden retriever’ instead of real economic policy; those things did in her candidacy. If T keeps listening to Mnuchin and Mcconnell he’ll lose this fall. And the libertarian right-wing billionaire part of the GOP will be very happy for him to lose. They know Biden can be ‘persuaded’. My 2 cents.

        1. Aumua

          Rightist paper columnists are posting ‘support Biden’ stories now.

          Do you have any examples of this? I would be curious to see them.

    1. xkeyscored

      I think I’ve read they have a perverse (perhaps intentionally so) pricing structure that means they lose money delivering packages. Not too sure about that, though.

      1. flora

        No. They make money delivering packages. It’s the most profitable part of the PO service.
        The retirement 75-year prefunding requirement is what’s doing in their finances. If Congress hadn’t mandated that heavy hobble, Congressionally mandated ball-and-chain beginning in 2006, if the PO could fund their retirement system like every other private and public entity does, the PO would have posted net profits for the past several years.

        1. Dirk77

          I thought Trumps’s motivation was to end any arbitrage scam that Amazon is exploiting. But if the usps is making money shipping packages then I’m confused. Also, if usps is running rural routes at a loss, then shouldn’t Congress pony up and pay for that? I am now wondering if I didn’t understand how Congress really had setup the usps to fail till now.

        2. cnchal

          > . . . They make money delivering packages. It’s the most profitable part of the PO service.

          There is more nuance to it than you may be aware of.

          I used to ship with the post office, until the end of this January, which was when package rates were, for my shipping, raised by a factor of three to four system wide when they switched to the greatest scam in the shipping business, dimensional weight, where my less than four pound package was rated at 30 pounds and charged accordingly. My sales went to zero after that for that kind of customer, so it’s tough for the post office to make money shipping nothing but Amazon packages and the ridiculous returns, while killing the peasant that was sending profitable packages. For example, a package I used to send to the west coast went from just below $20 to $73. UPS charges a “retail” rate of $63 and a “daily” rate in the mid forties, which may as well be infinity as far as my distant ex customers are concerned, and UPS is absolutely horrible to deal with to get “daily” rates. No one can tell you what volume you need to get daily rates and no one returns an email or answers any questions. Did I mention they are absolutely horrible?

          I’m not the only one that got hammered.

          Trump is talking about raising Amazon’s rates by a factor of four, when they should be raised by a factor of ten, because Amazon ships at a ridiculously low price through the post office and in particular uses them for last mile delivery where Amazon won’t go, rural routes, where the post office is required to go, whether they make money on the delivery or not.

          UPS does it too. They charge extra for rural delivery then hand it off to the post office for peanuts and keep the difference. Again, socialism for the rich, rough tough capitalism for the peasants.

          I have records that go back ten years and the rates for long distance shipping climbed constantly over those years while in close shipping sometime went down a quarter or dime but those rates were very stable.

          In June of last year dim weight was applied to priority mail in zone four and closer (every zipcode has it’s own boundary, but if you draw a 1,000 mile radius from where you ship from that roughly equates to zone four and less and everything further away becomes zone five and up) so the post office was charging more for shipping within the same city than to across the country, and January of this year, dim weight was applied to zone five and up, totally killing that part of mine and thousands of others, business. Then the real disaster struck, corona cooties.

          1. Dirk77

            Ok, from what you say, dim weight charging is now done for all zones? And that is for only small shippers? UPS and Amazon have special deals though, which are much lower than for small shippers? Is that it?

          2. Dirk77

            Another question: I don’t buy online if I can avoid it, but especially stay clear of Amazon if I can. Yet, the last two buys, both ordered from sellers outside of Amazon, were both shipped via an Amazon Fulfillment Center. This puzzled me. But from you say, could the explanation be that sending via Amazon allows the small seller to get Amazon rates from USPS? In other words, USPS giving Amazon a special deal essentially forces small sellers to give Amazon a cut to use the post office? Please enlighten if you can.

            1. flora

              An aside: Amazon is ripping off the proprietary data of its small sellers – cloning their products to sell Amazon versions of the same.

              Yesterday we learned what we already suspected—that Amazon’s private-label executives work with other divisions to access proprietary data on specific sellers in its Marketplace in order to clone the best-selling items. Amazon then steers shoppers on its dominant platform to the clone by rigging its search algorithm and inserting itself into the Buy Box.


              And there’s this.

              So, I’m fine with T taking on Amazon, but not at the expense of destroying the PO and hurting all the people who depend on the PO. How one would do that, I don’t know.

            2. cnchal

              I don’t deal with Amazon, but my friends at the post office were telling me that the rates Amazon pays is peanuts compared to retail rates at the counter.

              With your two deliveries, reading between your lines and making assumptions, it seems the sellers were third party — fullfilled by Amazon — which means that they ship their product to Amazon warehouses and then when an order comes in Amazon ships it for them. Which carrier brings it to your place is likely determined by which method is the cheapest for Amazon, either the third party delivery companies where the main criteria Amazon uses to hire them is their lack of experience, the better to exploit them, the post office or UPS.

              I am going to assume the post office delivered these packages and a close examination of tracking would show if it was split between different carriers from the time it left the warehouse and arrived at your place.

              So, yes, the third party sellers are getting an Amazon break on shipping with either the post office or UPS, and it is a certainty that Amazon arbitrages the shipping. Years ago UPS raised shipping prices on their small customers to make up for the deal they were giving Amazon. What ended up happening is those small customers started selling on Amazon’s platform and shipped with UPS cheaper than they could get at UPS directly, and at the same time pay Amazon’s shelf space charge and sales fees. A classic case of corporate stupidity on the part of UPS and concentration of moar power in Amazon’s hands. FedEx fired Amazon recently, although third party sellers that fullfill their own orders still use FedEx.

              What I find interesting about your comment is that you ordered from someone that hid their association with Amazon. To me, that’s unusual, but it may be a sign that Amazon’s reputation is so crappy amongst both third party sellers and the buying public, they though it worth hiding.

              No matter who you are, buyer, seller, contractor, employee, in Amazon’s eyes you are a gazelle, there to be eaten.

              1. Dirk77

                I looked right now and both sellers also sell on Amazon marketplace. Thanks for the info. You too flora.

    1. John Anthony La Pietra

      “The time for us to vote for something better . . . is next time. Just like we keep telling you to do when it’s finally your turn to vote, and you think about casting your vote for something better. . . .”

  22. Billy

    “As America Prepares to Return to Work, EEOC Approves Testing Employees for COVID-19”

    We’ll follow the dictates of the federal government After they provide us with health safety measures and policies that benefit workers and taxpayers.
    Until then, Ignore Alien Orders…

  23. The Rev Kev

    “Taiwan’s ‘hidden champions’ help coronavirus fightback”

    This is quite a brilliant article this. A bunch of engineers get together and MacGyver up machinery to produce face masks from scratch. No company is pushing its way in and claim a patent or disputing ideas that might be of propriety origin. No governmental inspectors trying to introduce late-order changes to the specs or getting in their way. I wonder if our government could buy a few of them. I am not sure that Oz has the technical ability of industrial production to pull such a stunt as so much has been hollowed out and exported to places like China. With this sort of spirit, it is no wonder that Taiwan managed to get on top of their local Coronavirus infections. And as they say, it demonstrates the importance of keeping key manufacturing capabilities in a country.

    1. MLTPB

      In the US, I know people are learning to make their own cloth masks.

      That’s just as ‘water like’ as the protestors in Hong Kong said last year, about adjusting.

      Also, here, on the NC and likely other places, people talk about growing their own vegetables. No patent disputes, nor proprietary origin arguments.

      (Are we becoming rugged individuals? My preference is to buy them from growers).

      People can be proud of themselves, here or in Taiwan.

      As for exporting from Australia back to China, can’t China also be brilliant like Taiwan or Australia?

      1. rowlf

        The company I work for has shifted some of its manufacturing capability to face masks and face shields. Granted, it is small scale for use in the state, but a good shift in resources to meet current challenges.

  24. Ignacio

    RE: “Immunity passports” in the context of COVID-1 WHO. Key sentence: “There is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from COVID-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection.” Hoo boy. This is the strongest-form statement possible of reservations about immunity. If this continues to be true, you can kiss a vaccine goodbye. Similarly, there would little point in identifying who has had the disease, as opposed to trying to get a better handle on who is currently infectious.

    Not necessarily. I would be cautious about those claims. No evidence doesn’t mean anything, we are just in the beginning of the epidemics. Just keep calm. There may be different cases depending on your particular immune response. For what is previously known about coronavirus vaccines these are quite protective. There are instances, but limited instances in between a majority protected, in which the vaccine is counterproductive: it primes you for worse infection. Apparently this occurs because the S protein has domains involved in different stages of virus entry. To say it in a simple way one domain od S protein is involved in cellular reception recognition and binding and a second domain is involved in membrane fusion and virus entry. If your immune response blocks the first step, it is OK, it will probably help you to prevent new infections as long as it is durable. But if your immune response is somehow faulty and involves recognition of the domain involved in entry you might be in trouble in case of a second infection and you could be “primed” for a worse outcome. This is quite a naive explanation of possibilities and the reality is indeed much more complex. But this gives me the opportunity to discuss on vaccine risks: regardless vaccine protection duration it will, depending on how has it been designed result in:
    – low protection + some priming risks + other risks
    – high protection + some priming risks + other risks

    The second part, priming risk, is what should be quantified in the most accurate way and this requires very large trials. Anyway, the fact that it is not known what immunity one has after infection does not rule out good vaccines IMO.

    1. Clive

      Yes, important to note it is the “spike protein” which is being profiled to trigger an immune response.

      Details of the current U.K. trial and the earlier premise it is based on:

      Coronaviruses have club-shaped spikes on their outer coats. Immune responses from other coronavirus studies suggest that these are a good target for a vaccine. The Oxford vaccine contains the genetic sequence of this surface spike protein inside the ChAdOx1 construct. After vaccination, the surface spike protein of the coronavirus is produced, which primes the immune system to attack the coronavirus if it later infects the body. Prof. Gilbert and team have previously developed a vaccine for another human coronavirus disease, which is Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), and this has shown promise in early clinical trials.

      The testing protocol includes a group given an initial dose and a “booster” dose of vaccine, presumably to reenforce the immune response in a way which wouldn’t typically happen with “natural” exposure, at least with a particularly high probability.

      1. Susan the other

        This just makes me wonder how specific the immune response is – because it can’t actually see the spike protein; how many degrees of freedom are there in mounting an “attack” – because just in the last few months in Wales, at a medical university (Cardiff I think) they discovered a human mutation – I think a T cell – with a sort of grappling hook which was very adept at attacking cancer cells and holding them and destroying them. So I can’t help but think that this mutation or one similar to it could also induce sort of an autoimmune response to a corona vaccine designed to attack, say, a “spike protein” and maybe other things that stick out. And also the possibility that some virus like Corona-2 was the cause of the T-cell mutation in the first place, and etc.

    2. MLTPB

      It would seem to me, and perhaps people in general who are not in the field, that the case of no reinfection would be more reassuring than the alternative.

      Not knowing which way this goes is just more fog.

      If good vaccines are still possible, can’t be ruled out, does it nevertheless make searching for them more difficult, or more time consuming?

      Maybe not, or maybe yes. Just asking.

    3. ewmayer

      Good points – and allow me to add a further one, regarding an option with vaccines which we do not have with the actual infection: use of immune-boosting adjuvants. Now such immune stimulants can also be given to Covid-19 infectees, but the risk of triggering a fatal cytokine storm likely prevents such an option from being considered. Whereas with a virus-simulating vaccine this would seem to be much more feasible: show the immune system a target viral surface protein at same time you provoke an extra-strong response to same. But since – unlike with the live virus – the vaccine proteins are not infecting and replicating themselves inside live cells, once the adjuvant-boosted immune response clears the virus-simulating vaccine proteins, it can sound “all clear” and quickly revert back to normal mode, but now – it is hoped – with some decently-long-lived memory-cell-based immunity to the real deal.

  25. Maxwell Johnston

    Re “Russia is the world’s biggest loser from oil’s crash…”

    I read halfway through the article until I hit this nugget — “Russia, a Third World country….” — and only then I glanced up to see who the author is: George Friedman (of Stratfor fame). Lots of wishful thinking in this article. It would be nice if Friedman and the neocons would make up their minds about Russia: is it a malign power hell-bent on invading Europe and re-creating the USSR, or is it about to collapse?

    1. The Rev Kev

      But what happens if somebody gives Putin a book on Modern Monetary Theory translated into Russian?

      1. Maxwell Johnston

        Sergei Glazyev is the closest thing Russia has to a high-level MMT advocate; he has been in and out of government for years and used to be one of VVP’s economic advisers. Just last week, Glazyev got into a public spat with the head of Russia’s central bank (Elvira Nabiullina); she wants IMF-style tight finances and free trade etc., whereas Glazyev wants to pump money into developing the real economy and boosting incomes of ordinary Russians. It will be interesting to see which side (if any) VVP eventually takes, especially if coronavirus doesn’t go away soon.

        1. Olga

          Glazyev is amazing, and makes a lot of sense. I never quite understand why Elvira N. is still in place. If VVP really were a dictator, she’d long be gone.

    2. MLTPB

      Is Russia the biggest, 2nd biggest, 3rd biggest, etc loser?

      Maybe Moscow profits. Do we know? If it does, Putin can enjoy the money better quietly, and let others think they are losing. Isn’t that what is called for in the Art of War?

      Just let people say Russia is the biggest loser.

      1. Monty

        I sometimes read your posts in my head as if they were a mysterious Koan being relayed to me by an old master.

        1. MLTPB

          My poor excuse is that I have read Mumonkan (the Gateless Barrier), and the Blue Cliff Record too many times.

            1. MLTPB

              Nice haiku.

              It’s going to be hot here in LA. I think a frog just jumped into an old pond.

    3. Olga

      That was my take on the article… lots of wishful thinking by George. Not much reality, though…

  26. antidlc
    Lee Fang
    Just noticed this: The $2.2 trillion CARES Act increased funding for the OAP congressional health clinic, which provides high quality care to Members of Congress for a flat $500 annual fee, no deductibles or other costs involved. How much do you spend every year on health care?

    Office of the Attending Physician

    1. zagonostra

      It’s a big club and you ain’t in it…our public “servants’ enjoy many privileges that we, the sacred “American People”, the “served”, that are referenced a million times anytime they speak to the media, don’t qualify for.

      1. JBird4049

        They truly do want to serve man us. I wonder if they all have given a book on how to do so?

        My, aren’t my thoughts getting grimdark.

  27. The Rev Kev

    “Grant Shapps suggests airport screening will be adopted in the UK”

    That article is so pathetic. The UK is an island so what they should do is put everybody that comes into the country under a two-week supervised quarantine. It’s not hard. Most hotels are standing empty in the UK at the moment and they would be glad of the income. Other countries use this approach with great success. And who exactly is going in and out the country anyway in the middle of a worldwide pandemic? Do they actually need to travel?

    And as far as drones doing deliveries to the NHS – are they serious? Can they carry the same as a truck? The article mentions that the UK is bailing out freight operators so they are already there. If they want quick deliveries by air, I am sure that they could ask the RAF for use of a few of their helicopters. They can actually carry heavy loads. So spending so much effort on drones sounds like more of a publicity gimmick to me.

    1. xkeyscored

      Why not RAF helicopters? I don’t know, though perhaps they want to develop drone technology and get it accepted more widely.

      But from the BBC, with a photo of the drone in question,

      “Ferry crossings to the Isle of Wight are currently reduced due to the spread of coronavirus.

      An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) can make the crossing to the Isle of Wight in about 10 minutes.

      The trial will use a petrol-fuelled Windracers Ultra fixed-wing drone, capable of carrying 100kg for up to 1,000km (621 miles).”

    2. Clive

      The drone delivery story I think originated from my region and was related to the Isle of Wight. This small island off the south coast doesn’t have a direct road link. There are still a few ferry services but they are not really frequent enough for more time-critical medical supplies such as blood products.

      The “drones” are, if you see them, are a bit of a world away from the little buzzy things you typically think of being a nuisance in your neighbourhood back garden as a kid’s toy.

      Full report is here:

      They’re really small aircraft.

      I do agree though on the international flight screening, and I mean screening as in enforced quarantine (like we used to do for canines against the possibility of rabies in the U.K.) not the theatre of temperature checks on arrivals. But it’s not compatible with the U.K. / Ireland Common Travel Area. Now, you’d think that on the island of Ireland there would be an easily-agreed all-Ireland solution accepted by both communities. But green/orange framing is inevitably going to get in the way. It’s bad enough even now, with claim and counter-claim. The people are probably willing to put in place some temporary workable arrangements. The politicians, not so much. Trying to sort out quarantine for the U.K. alongside NI and the Republic seems fraught indeed.

      And even without that, there’s a large community of U.K. expats in countries like Spain. How long would it be before you’d get headlines like “Boris Johnson Put My Nan in MOTEL HELL HOLE When I Invited Her To Come Back to Liverpool For My Daughter’s Birthday—She Is FORCED To Spend 23 Hours a Day in TRAVELODGE TERROR” if we tried it?

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Funnily enough, before I read your reply, I was thinking that the horrendous prospect of quarantine in a Travelodge would put anyone travelling to the UK ever again. I’ve twice had to stay in one (once, ironically, when very ill with a flu) – I can still smell the formaldehyde odour when anyone says the word Travelodge.

        1. Clive

          I’ve often wondered what the small was! I’d put it down to bleach (no, I didn’t inject, but I couldn’t help but to inhale) although I think you’re right, formaldehyde is more likely. I think I’ve still got a pair of socks which retains the smell of it.

      2. OIFVet

        I arrived in Bulgaria from the US, via Amsterdam, on the 22nd of April. Only citizens, permanent residents, and foreigners on official government business allowed into the country, and a 2-week mandatory home quarantine is in effect and strictly enforced. Local police stations are notified about returnees, and conduct home checks at least twice a day to ensure that we stay put. Huge fines and penalties if one is caught breaking the quarantine. Just finished day 4 of quarantine, it truly sucks but it is what it is. FWIW, I had to avoid a flight through London to ensure my felines could travel with us, as our move to BG is permanent.

        1. Pat

          I hope this is merely a rocky start to a great new existence for the entire OIFVet family, with and without fur.


        2. The Rev Kev

          When you finish your quarantine I suspect that it will be strange getting out & about and seeing how Bulgaria is changing through this virus. Good luck with your new life.

        3. HotFlash

          Welcome (back) home, OIFVet! As an ex-pat (1969, US to Canada), I understand voting with one’s feet. I had very few regrets then and absolutely none now. The US is well, I won’t say doomed, but I can’t see it ending well. Hope that BG’s citizens are smarter /luckier than the US’s. Live long and prosper!

  28. Ignacio

    RE: Why the World’s Highest Virus Death Rate Is in Europe’s Capital Bloomberg

    This is an excellent take on what is really going on in Europe about reporting Covid-19 casualties. Let’s talk about Germans strictly following the rules: Covid-19 only if tested, only if tested!
    For me it is good news that Belgium (and probably France though not sure if to the same degree as Belgium) is doing proper counting. Viva Bélgica!

    1. PlutoniumKun

      It really doesn’t reflect very well on so many national science and health organisations that they can’t give ‘honest’ figures, or at least agree on a way of reporting them. Not counting nursing home deaths is I think not just deceptive, its quite insulting, implying that those old folks don’t really matter. It would be an interesting exercise to see which countries have the more likely honest figures – Ireland, for example, counts far more than the UK, but is still not perfect.

      Its not just an academic matter, it really matters when trying to see which countries or regions are getting it right.

      1. Ignacio

        Yes, it is insulting. I very much agree. In Spain we are on the way of recognizing most (add 6.000 casualties or so). I think the decisions are not ideologically driven. It is as simple as authorities that do not want to appear as failing too much to the populace. Double failure IMO.

      2. Carolinian

        Speaking of Europe, I think this may have been linked here the other day but this nugget is interesting

        Home outbreaks were the dominant category (254 of 318 outbreaks; 79.9%), followed by transport (108; 34.0%; note that many outbreaks involved more than one venue category).

        Would it be out of line to suggest that heavy reliance on public transportation in Europe as well as among the poor in NYC is a big factor in the high numbers?

        1. Bsoder

          Yes, it would, because the actual data supplied by China is only half referenced in that article. The real take away is that a single infected person in enclosed space will infect everyone. The more people in that space, that higher the infection rate. No PPE, means no protection. Being outside Represents different problems. And that once the infection becomes wide spread complete lockdowns are not effective in preventing infections – only a method to delay the ultimate infection of everyone. The Chinese data not did include things we know now, the blood-clotting, heart attacks & other organ failure. That no drugs that are available work. That there is little evidence that finding antibodies or having the infection prevents you from getting sick again. The prognosis for Covid-19 changes as the data rolls. This is ‘novel’ disease alright – all the worst characteristics of several viruses. It is hard to find any optimism, still we must rally to save the day.

        2. Ignacio

          Indoor infection includes not only homes but bars, cafes, restaurants, shops, workplaces etc. Did I ever mention how packed were rests and bars in Madrid just before the lock-down? I guess that in New York it occurred something similar. If you have ever been in Madrid and somehow enjoyed nightlife you would know what I am talking about. It has no parallel with any other city I have visited. Not surprisingly Madrid has seen one of the worst outbreaks with about 8.000 casualties covid-19-confirmed and about 3.500 more Covid-19 likely.

          But when one thinks that knows everything about Covid-19 looking for more data will only make you realise that you still don’t know so much. The second Comunidad Autónoma in terms of deaths per million in Spain is Castilla-La Mancha (just South of Madrid and more rural). What’s in there? Could be proximity to Madrid and Covid-19 reaching too many nursing homes.

      3. wilroncanada

        British Columbia (in Canada, for any possible new NC reader who doesn’t know) just reached the death milestone today of 100. About 60-65 of them have been in senior care facilities, a shameful figure. The previous Liberal (really a right-wing coalition) government managed to privatize a portion of senior care. The current government, even before coronavirus, had to take administrative control of three private units, owned formerly under a private Chinese company, now the Chinese government.
        The BC Medical Health Officer, DR Bonnie Henry, has become a rock star during the past 8 weeks for her calm, forthright presentations and summaries six days a week, along with answering questions each time.
        Today she had to report a spike in cases of 91. Community engendered cases were from two poultry plants (Cargill I think), 29 and 2 so far, from the Mission Federal Prison–40 alone from there, and from men returning to BC from Alberta oil sands operations (10, I think). Previous days’ cases have been in the 20s. The Government of Canada needs to be called on the Mission outbreak, their responsibility.
        The good news has been recently that the number of senior institutions with outbreaks has been reduced. Many are now completely clear. By the way, the initial outbreak in BC, about six weeks ago, had been at a senior residence, brought from Wuhan by a staff person.

    2. Cuibono

      What is wrimg with following the rules?
      Clearly deaths can be mislabeled under almost any schema

  29. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: When in Doubt: Hang Up, Look Up, & Call Back Krebs on Security (Robert M).

    Mitch is a veteran of the tech industry — having worked in security for several years at a fairly major cloud-based service — so he’s understandably embarrassed that he got taken in by this confidence scheme.

    Alternate title: Tech savvy, cloud security “professional” decides to play junior G-man and gets scammed for ten grand over the……telephone.

    I wonder if the “fairly major cloud-based service” that he works for is crowdstrike. Judging from the competence level, it would seem entirely possible.

  30. Kurt Sperry

    The video appears to be a porcupine running through Florence. They are quite common in Italy, not terribly shy, and love to eat my irises.

    1. Arizona Slim

      The Freightliner of Reality blasting through the fog. A classic. Yet another reason why this is my favorite website.

      1. Monty

        Some say it’s all part of a fiendish scheme by what George Carlin calls “The Big Club”. Fill the air with endless contradictory stories to maximize the feelings of confusion, division and helplessness among their livestock.

        It’s one of themes of the Adam Curtis’ documentary HyperNormalisation

        1. hunkerdown

          Then let’s just keep quietly passing around the idea of “general strike May 1” in conversation across fencerows, six feet at a time. Gotta put a good, consistent signal in that noise.

          1. rowlf

            I always wanted to have a script that would do Google searches for the phrase “Bank Run”…. I think “General Strike” would work too.

            While not quite as dramatic as the Crimson Permanent Assurance sketch, two decades ago a non-union outfit walked out as a group at a Mesaba Airlines station due to a manager forcing overtime and a worker that was not able comply due to a family situation. The manager drew a line in the sand, and all of his staff flipped him the bird and walked out as a group to support their colleague. The company fired the manager and tried to call back everyone.

            You never know where the flame will appear.

            The Crimson Permanent Assurance

  31. Steve B

    Immunologist here. Antigen tests do offer the chance of rapid tests that we can scale more effectively. Standard PCR tests require hard to procure chemicals and disposable plastics to isolate RNA, expensive enzymes, and then a detection step that also involves fancy chemical reagents and enzymes, and are run in expensive machines. Less demanding molecular tests are in development. Standard antibody and antigen tests both measure the interaction between an antibody and a viral antigen. The reagents are much less expensive and easier to produce. The antibody tests in current circulation test for the presence in a person’s serum of antibodies that interact with a synthetic viral antigen. However, people may possess antibodies that cross react weakly with the viral antigen, but were actually elicited by some other coronavirus. This person to person variability cannot be eliminated. An antigen test uses standardized recombinant antibodies to test for viral antigens in blood/saliva/mucus. These antibodies can be tested extensively for being selective – seeing COVID-19 without seeing other coronaviruses. It takes a bit longer to get these antibodies validated, but once that’s done these tests are likely to be more accurate than the antibody tests above. So, antigen tests could be more accurate than antibody tests, be faster and cheaper than PCR tests, and require reagents that will be easier to produce.

    1. Bsoder

      Microbiologist (PhD), Trauma doc, a very good explanation, but in a country where people are encouraged to drink bleach (sorry, that topic is never ‘funny’), elected officials wearing confederate masks, and people have no money, I just don’t see the federal government doing anything but – ‘nothing’, as in the getting in the way and making things worse. Any testing going on implies public’s policy to do something with data, aside to use Hillary Mantel’s expression, of ‘bring up the bodies’. If the people want to save their country they need to act now. Are you working with people to produce these tests? I’d add, Any tests must be certifiable so we aren’t collecting nonsense data.

  32. zagonostra

    >The Mother of all Misdirection

    Hasn’t it occurred to most people that the daily headlines which always feature some Trumpism are exactly what the people running the show put on for us so they can proceed with their plundering of the treasury and dismantling of what’s left of the New Deal in the darkness of secrecy?

    The latest outrage of Trump’s coronavirus disinfectant comment will occupy your attention for the next couple of days news cycle until the next outrage. This has been going on for such a long time that it boggles the mind how anyone can see this as coincidental.

    How do you get a population to focus on a subject and not let up until those in power provide a solution that is acceptable without settling for some disingenuous nostrum like, for example, a “public option” or lowering the age of Medicare to 60, when most people want M4A?

  33. Cuibono

    There is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from COVID-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection.” Hoo boy.”

    Goes without saying but I will say it anyway data lack of evidence is not evidence of lack. What The WHO is saying here shoukd be summarized as” it is too early in this epidemic to have possibly developed any evidence of protective effect of antibodies.”

    1. Monty

      Cave exploring 101 applies here.

      If you don’t know if there is a bear in the cave, proceed as though there is, until you have confirmed there is not.

        1. wilroncanada

          Bears with cubs have bats to protect their cubs, Especially Chicago Cubs. But even they know that the Gaiants bat last.

      1. Cuibono

        Exceot ascertaining presence of said bear is straight forward and reliabke. Here we will by necessity be doing some best guessing

  34. Susan the other

    Glib like a fox. Sorry for this speculation. I get the feeling that Trump is running interference for the development of Coronavirus drugs that might be patented. If he stands up in his press conferences and does his appalling schtick about drinking clorox or listerine or whatever because it is antiseptic… and maybe while you’re at it you can take a plutonium pill… there’ gotta be something more to it than his utter stupidity. I just don’t think anybody can really be that vacuous. Which is why I believe Trump is setting the stage for claiming, “I had that idea first.”

    1. flora

      2 things:

      1. he never said “drink bleach”. He did say doctors needed test the idea.

      2. I noted earlier that Fox and other channels started running “don’t ingest disinfectant ” stories 2-3 days before that presser, which confused me. Why were stories about this appearing a couple days before that presser?

      As it turns out, the stories were in response to some Facebook and social media posts gaining traction, from earlier in the week, claiming that ingesting or injection disinfectant would cure c-19. Those posts are dangerous quackery the manufacturers and media were pushing back on before the presser, but not getting a whole lot of attention to the issue. T stepped into it very, uh, clumsily, if the intent was to grab attention to the issue of dangerous quackery. I don’t know if that was his intent. But the issue sure got tons of attention and a big megaphone that this is a very bad, no good, dangerous idea.

      1. Susan the other

        it could well be – Trump would rather duck any issue that take a chance on alienating anyone who might vote for him – and it is also interesting that today the WHO and the UN and many nations have formed a coalition to work on a vaccine for use by the entire world – everyone but the USA… Bill Gates, however, is front and center with this cause.

  35. KFritz

    Re: No Return to Normal and observations of stupid, risky behavior

    Here in Kings County, CA, the lack of social distancing is spectacular. I’ve stopped going to the best (and most crowded) food store in town, With the crowds, it’s really dangerous. The overconfidence and smugness of the “non-compliers” reminds me of Don Juan’s description of a younger Carlos Castaneda to himself in the chapter “The Strategy of a Sorcerer,” from “Tales of Power”: “I was dealing with a sassy immortal being that had no respect for his life or his death. (Italics mine)

  36. Pat

    Looking at the Congressional response to Covid, I have no problem saying that there would no real improvement in government response to the pandemic if the Democrats had been in charge. Considering Clinton’s time in the Senate, where she refused to actually take a possibly unpopular stand no matter how clear it was the right thing to do, I don’t see her shutting things down earlier. And lord knows we get the real Democratic priorities in what they allowed in the TWO response bills. Remember they own the House. The system would be just as broken, the supply lines just as non existent, and there would be a selection of winners even if they were different choices.

    What would be different would be an appearance of limited competence on Clinton’s part AND a largely supine media not calling out the mistakes. Sure Fox would, but think how many more outlets go nuts over every Trump briefing. Some of it is the same reason why the Democratic leadership goes nuts, one it is easier to be outraged than to actually do their jobs. But it is also because it is a winner in the race for eyeballs and donations.

    Here’s the thing, most of our political leaders are both divorced from the reality of the majority of Americans AND wouldn’t care even if they knew and understood how bleak that reality is. This is bipartisan. Pelosi and Schumer AND Clinton are as psycopathic as McConnell and Trump. Decades of policy and choices prove that, Trump’s pretense is different that’s all.

  37. Tom Bradford

    Pandemic diary of a naked capitalist – week 6

    Disappointing week in that wealth-on-paper fell 0.8%. Pretty unusual sort of weekly change in normal times but these are hardly normal times. Small falls pretty general across the board but no stand-out changes. Unusually, our managed KiwiSaver funds did slightly better than our buy-and-hold NZX portfolio, tho’ that might be down to a weakening NZ$.

    In fact the recovery was continuing nicely until mid-week when the oil prices went through the floor, the US markets followed it and, of course, the NZX had to follow suit. Why that should be baffles this investor with his child-like innocence.

    After all I would have thought a pandemic with an inevitable recession and talk of a Depression worse than the 20’s would be a Bad Thing, but after his usual rushing around like a headless chicken Mr. Market decided it was a Good Thing, picked himself off the floor and dusted himself down. But then oil prices went through that same floor, which I would have thought was a Good Thing as oil cost is on the debit side of most people’s ledgers, but which Mr. Market decided was a Bad Thing and wiped out the earlier week’s gains.

    Seems odd to me, and I suspect Mrs. Market had a good talk with Mr. Market when he got home from the office on Wednesday as things did pick up a little after that.

    Even odder to me is that Mr Market in NZ should so slavishly follow what Mr Market in the US does. After all, all the backhanders and tax-payer funded cash swelling Mr. US Market’s pockets isn’t flowing Mr NZ Market’s way, and even if negative oil prices are a Bad Thing in the US I would have thought they were a Good Thing in NZ which has to buy all the oil it needs. But hey, what does this innocent know?

    Odder still I would have though Mr NZ Market would be feeling a little happier about life than Mr. US Market given that (touch wood) NZ might be pretty much back to the new normal by the end of May. New recorded CV cases have been into the low single figures all week and the pool of live cases is shrinking rapidly. There also seems reasonable confidence that there’s no reserve of CV lurking in the community and we’re easing the lockdown from Level 4 to Level 3 on Tuesday which means that around 80% of business will be running again.

    Which raises a question. Why has CV seemingly been so subdued in NZ? OK, we stopped it spreading but we still had (as of today) 1,461 cases. Yet only 18 deaths – yes that’s 1.25% but all but 2 of those were from the >70 age group, a number were in their 80's and there were even some in their 90's. And 10 of the 18 were from the same Rest Home which was hit.

    And of the remaining two both were aged in their 60's with 'pre-existing medical conditions. Of the 1,300 or so 'victims' under the age of 70 none died apart from those two and very few even had to go to hospital. In fact in New Zealand CV really does seem to have been no worse than a bout of 'flu.

    Of course it didn't spread, but surely even tho' numbers were low we still should have had the same percentages of hospitalisations among the affect as other places and, given the lack of effective treatment, even the same proportion of deaths among the under 70's.

    I've read there might be different strains of CV doing the rounds, some more virulent than others, and perhaps NZ was lucky in only getting the weaker ones, 'tho given that what there was came in with returning Kiwis from all corners of the globe that seems unlikely.

    So does it come down, as has been suggested, to CV wreaking its havoc on those with lungs already made vulnerable by air pollution? Given where it's hit worst – big cities and industrial areas – the suggestion has legs, and while NZ's cars are as dirty as everyone else's there aren't so many per sq. mile and NZ is a long, thin country at right angles to the prevailing gales which apart from a minor blot on the landscape called Australia in the way, have nothing but ocean in all directions.

    If the inevitable inquiries into the spread and effects of CV do end up pointing to air pollution as the cause of so much death and misery is the any chance of us undertaking a clean-up on the scale of the 19th Century effort to clean up the cities and town with sewage schemes and provide clean water for the masses?

    I won't hold my breath.

    1. monty

      Curiosity killed the cat!

      Just rejoice in the fact that you’re doing so well. I’d house swap AZ for NZ tomorrow if you’re interested!

  38. The Rev Kev

    A contact tracing app on a mobile phone could be of great benefit in limiting this virus and other countries have used these with success. Unfortunately countries like Australia have permanently fouled the waters of this idea through a history of abusing people’s privacy and ignoring major data breaches. Giving law enforcement semi-free reign through people’s data has also not encouraged people to trust the government, What you sow is what you will reap-

    I, for one, would not download such an app in a pink fit.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      They can be used successfully only when there are few cases, like when the disease is first arriving in a country or region. Once you get to the “community infection” point, it’s not much/any because every single frigging person who is not symptomatic could still be incubating it and therefore contagious. This was Taleb’s point in his Jan 21 paper, once you get to the pandemic or even epidemic point, your remedies are social distancing, treatments, and if and when you get them, vaccines.

      1. Steve H.

        “Now I am not saying that masks work there, rather that owing to an asymmetry you MUST wear one. Decision-making in real life is based on asymmetries. That’s the entire message of the Incerto!”


        Further: Protect Yourself At All Times: N95 quality.

  39. flora

    re: NEWS FLASH! CalPERS Investment Committee Retreats from Further Delegation of Authority to Staff

    Great news! Thanks for all your work bringing to light the CalPERS staff’s misrepresentations.

    Thanks for your continued reporting on CalPERS, PE, and pensions.

    1. The Rev Kev

      They are the nicknames/handles for people that have suggested links here so credit is given them.

  40. Ignim Brites

    “Coronavirus will wipe out FORTY PER CENT of the economy, unemployment will peak at 27 million and deficit will soar, Congressional Budget Office warns in doomsday report”. Seems unduly optimistic. The really big layoffs and bankruptcies will happen in the latter half of May and throughout June and into July. The driver will be more realistic assessments of economic prospects by business and state and local governments and educational systems. It would be unsurprising if unemployment exceeds 50 million in the July report.

  41. Carey

    WaPo- ‘As beds go unfilled, states scale back Army Corps makeshift hospitals’:

    “..States are already beginning to scale back. New York has hit the brakes on opening three of the makeshift facilities the Army Corps of Engineers has completed in Westchester County and on Long Island, and has scrapped construction on another four. Virginia paused plans for three large field hospitals in Richmond, Hampton and Fairfax County that it was planning to build using Army Corps plans. And Michigan downsized a Corps-built facility outside Detroit from 1,110 to 250 beds.

    Sites that have opened so far have seen low occupancy rates. The first Corps-built makeshift hospital to come online, at the Javits Center, is about 20 percent occupied; it has roughly 200 patients at the moment, down from a little over 400 at its peak, according to a state official. Only about 33 patients have been treated at a 970-bed Army Corps-built facility at the TCF Center, a convention center in Detroit, since it opened on April 10, after hospitals in the area surged their capacity..”

    Who’s benefiting from the near-universal permafrenzy?


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