Links 4/26/2020

Dear patient readers: Liberation of links will be delayed until Lambert or Yves can get to them. Neither is up much during the day.

How Our Planet Looks on the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day Weather Underground

Tracking Fish Art Prints To Monitor Biodiversity Forbes

The Surprising Role of Whales in Ocean Carbon Capture The Maritme Exective. Before petroleum, there was whale oil….

Quantifying methane emissions from the largest oil-producing basin in the United States from space Science. From the abstract: “Based on satellite measurements from May 2018 to March 2019, Permian methane emissions from oil and natural gas production are estimated to be 2.7 ± 0.5 Tg a−1, representing the largest methane flux ever reported from a U.S. oil/gas-producing region and are more than two times higher than bottom-up inventory-based estimates. This magnitude of emissions is 3.7% of the gross gas extracted in the Permian, i.e., ~60% higher than the national average leakage rate. The high methane leakage rate is likely contributed by extensive venting and flaring, resulting from insufficient infrastructure to process and transport natural gas.”

Before-and-after photos show dramatic decline in air pollution around the world during coronavirus lockdown CBS


The science:

Presymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 Infections and Transmission in a Skilled Nursing Facility (article) and Asymptomatic Transmission, the Achilles’ Heel of Current Strategies to Control Covid-19 (editorial) NEJM. Important.

SARS-CoV-2 Isolation From Ocular Secretions of a Patient With COVID-19 in Italy With Prolonged Viral RNA Detection Annals of Internal Medicine

SARS-Cov-2 RNA Found on Particulate Matter of Bergamo in Northern Italy: First Preliminary Evidence medrXive. ” At the present, no assumptions can be made concerning the correlation between the presence of the virus on PM and COVID-19 outbreak progression.”

What Autopsies Can Reveal about COVID-19 Der Spiegel

A Stanford Professor’s Wife Recruited People For His Coronavirus Study By Claiming It Would Reveal If They Could “Return To Work Without Fear” Buzzfeed. The controversial Santa Clara study.

* * *


Fixing Nursing-Home Death Traps Is Key to Europe’s Virus Fight Bloomberg

Coronavirus spreads in a New York nursing home forced to take recovering patients NBC

‘Did I Mess This Up?’ A Father Dying From Coronavirus, a Distraught Daughter and a Midnight Rescue. Frontline

Coronavirus: serial killers at large EU Referendum

The pandemic at sea WaPo. Good reporting, but I’d still like to see aggregated reporting closer to the various ground zeros in the United States: international airports like SEA, SFO, LAX, JFK, EWR, etc. “The Pandemic in the Air,” as it were.

Is the developing world sleepwalking into disaster? RTE. Good round-up.

* * *

Treatment and Vaccine:

Editorial: Who do we save from coronavirus and who do we let die? Take wealth, race and disability out of that brutal equation Los Angeles Times

* * *


Test performance evaluation of SARS-CoV-2 serological assays (PDF) The COVID-19 Testing Project. From the abstract: “Our evaluation showed heterogeneous assay performance.” NYT summarizes: “Of the 14 tests, only three delivered consistently reliable results. Even the best had some flaws.”

About Medical Detection Dogs Medical Detection Dogs

Inexpensive, portable detector identifies pathogens in minutes

* * *


Many states fall short of mandate to track virus exposure AP

* * *

Economic effects:

Coronavirus chokes the drug trade — from Wuhan, through Mexico and onto U.S. streets LA Times

U.S. reels toward meat shortage; world may be next Portland Press-Herald

* * *

Corporate response:

Stanford Health Care to cut workers’ wages by 20% Palo Alto Online

Got coronavirus? You may get a surprise medical bill, too NBC. Shocker.

* * *

Political response:

Trump says briefings ‘not worth the effort’ amid fallout from disinfectant comments Guardian. Trump has been pretty much “not a step back” guy, so this is an interesting straw in the wind.

Trump Admin Gives Coronavirus Tracking Contract to Peter Thiel’s Palantir: Report Gizmodo

US stays away as world leaders agree action on Covid-19 vaccine Guardian (WHO press release).

Lawmakers press for small business loans for payday lenders Politico

Remembering the Montgomery Ward Seizure: FDR and War Production Powers Lawfare

What 1918’s “Forgotten Pandemic” Can Teach Us About Today Vanity Fair

* * *

Exit strategy:

The coronavirus crisis is way worse than feared Axios

March, April, May: City’s Mood Darkens as Crisis Feels Endless NYT. “A near-doubling of reports of loud televisions in the past five weeks compared with the same period last year, from 400 to 794, suggests an I’ve-had-enough drawing of lines.” I should perhaps refrain from being judge-y, as an introvert who already works from home and just had to add a few tweaks to an already obsessive daily routine, but get a grip, people! The Siege of Leningrad this is not.

* * *

Remedies and ameliorations:

COVID-19/At-Home Mental Health Resource List Dr. Sarika Persaud, GoogleDocs. Quite a compilation.

It was my job to call people whose Covid-19 tests were positive. That taught me a lot about medicine, the law, and society STAT

Empathy Revisited JAMA

Coronavirus: Why going without physical touch is so hard BBC

We’re in a golden age of TV re-runs. Soon they’ll be the only thing on CNN. Great metaphor…

American ingenuity:

Also peak neoliberalism? And/or a harbinger of the Jackpot?

‘Noriega Hotel will not reopen,’ signaling the end of Bakersfield as we know it The Bakersfield Californian

Dozens of COVID-19 Cases Have Been Reported in Rural Texas Counties With No Hospitals and No Licensed Physicians Texas Observer


Yemen war: Separatists declare autonomous rule in south BBC

Saudi Arabia bans flogging as form of punishment Independent. I hate to imagine how that will affect tourism.


China’s economy can only grow with more state control not less FT

Coronavirus: think the worst is over for China’s economy? Not so fast South China Morning Post

The Koreas

Satellite imagery finds likely Kim Jong Un train amid health rumors USA Today

Coronavirus: South Korea’s big churches, once outbreak epicentres, reopen South China Morning Post

Japan Weighs Need to Extend State of Emergency, Reports Say Bloomberg

Vietnam May Have the Most Effective Response to Covid-19 The Nation


Day 33 of coronavirus lockdown: Ground report from Indian Cities Times of India

Bags on their heads, fear in their hearts People’s Archive of Rural India

Reinventing Agriculture in the Time of COVID-19 The Wire

Brazil’s star justice minister Sérgio Moro resigns in blow to Jair Bolsonaro Guardian


New details emerge in declassified Papadopoulos transcript CBS News


Video Appears to Show Tara Reade’s Mother Knew of Allegations Against Biden in 1993 Slate. Speaking of vetting:

40 Coronavirus Cases In Milwaukee County Linked To Wisconsin Election, Health Official Says WUWM. Nobody could have predicted…

Bernie Sanders Says the Struggle Must Continue Through 2020 Election and Coronavirus Relief (interview) Teen Vogue. Movie recommendtion from Sanders: Into the Storm. (There are several “Storm” movies; this is the one about Churchill.)

Our Famously Free Press

Corporate Media Deny Their Own Existence, Despite Driving Biden’s Primary Victory FAIR


Embraer hits out after Boeing scraps $4.2 billion tie-up Reuters

Guillotine Watch

Do you know a good submarine-maker? The Economist. Yachts are passé. “These days it’s all about being a middle-aged man in aeronautical-grade aluminium.”

Class Warfare

Kanye West Is Now Officially A Billionaire—And He Really Wants The World To Know Forbes. Sturgill Simpson thinks West wants to run for President.

Organizing for Survival in New York City Commune

Capital Swallows Itself Jacobin

Visualising Viruses LRB

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Tom Stone

    Craig Murray, whose excellent blog is frequently linked to by NC has been charged with contempt by the crown,He faces 2 years in jail for his coverage of the Salmond case where he called out the prosecution for their numerous lies, alleging that the case was a frame insiders at the SNP and providing a good deal of evidence to that effect.
    Murray’s coverage and Salmond’s acquittal embarassed the Judge and the prosecution and they are apparently expressing their displeasure forcefully.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      The Salmond case really is insane, I really wonder what is going to come out of this – it seems that when it comes to the nexus of the English and Scottish establishments, no paranoid conspiracy theory is too outlandish to be true.

    2. paul

      This won’t be judged by a jury either, just a judge.
      Which makes the outlook rather grim for Craig.

      He and grousebeater were practically the only ones to report faithfully on the defence case, the craven professional journalists here did not.

      For what they are doing to such a decent man,I really hope there is a hell for the conspirators to rot in.

      If you can, donate here

    3. Ed Miller

      Murray charge: I am certain that there is no connection to Craig Murray’s coverage of Julian Assange. That could never be….

      Although it is relatively early in the day I was surprised to not see others make a connection.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        As Murray points out in his article, its not him alone, there has been a widespread focus on pro-independence (and by implication pro-Salmond) activists by the police and prosecution service. No doubt Murray is on the top of many lists because of all his past writings, but this particular action seems to be imbedded in Scottish politics.

  2. PlutoniumKun

    Vietnam May Have the Most Effective Response to Covid-19 The Nation

    Vietnam has done exceptionally well given that it had quite a lot movement between in and Hubei, but one country seems to have responded even more promptly and effectively, and its not Taiwan or South Korea. Its North Korea.

    Three days before China shut down Wuhan on January 23, North Korea canceled all flights to/from China, and within days after that, suspended tourism, closed its border with China, and quarantined every foreigner and North Korean nationals returning from abroad. Public health officials didn’t wait until they were seeing coronavirus (COVID-19) cases inside North Korea. To put this into context, the next country to impose countrywide travel restrictions was Italy on March 9. Italy locked down its borders six full weeks after North Korea, and thousands of Italians had already died from COVID-19.

    Sometimes, being a paranoid totalitarian state pays dividends.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Well, nobody knows anything really about N. Korea, but as the article points out, there is no evidence of a major problem and they are loosening earlier restrictions which certainly suggests that they feel they have it under control.

    1. Louid Fyne

      not defending trump, wondering how many of those calls are troll jobs.

      since no one is talking about ER visits, I’m guessing a lot. just saying

    2. Bill Smith

      There are always calls about that

      From NPR today:

      “A report posted online this week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that cases of exposure to cleaners and disinfectants have gone up 20% from January through March 2020 compared with the same time period last year.”

      April will show a larger increase?

      1. Lynne

        I don’t doubt cases of exposure are up significantly. Over and over, we see instructions to use bleach on everything. A Michigan doctor’s video on youtube was widely shared last month, and he recommended spraying all groceries with disinfectant (with no warnings about bleach fumes and no protective gear) and scrubbing fruit and veggies with soap in the kitchen sink.

        Didn’t see any hysterical warnings from the press corps on that one. Obviously, though, **somebody** talked to him because a week later, he was out with another video telling people not to use soap on fresh produce.

    3. lambert strether

      Possibly because — just hear me out — most people don’t have a free hour to listen to Trump’s presser, and instead listen to the misreported sound bytes and see the chyrons on cable? Odds are people reacted to the news stories, not the presser.

      Hilariously, the Chicago Tribune also leaves out the qualifiers. As expected, I am sad to say.

      We just finished three years of yammering and lying for profit on RussiaRussiaRussia, and now suddenly the press is simply a clear, transparent media that only reveals the truth. Dear Lord.

      Adding, the Tribune also says “significant increase” but provides no absolute numbers. I would expect to see those numbers if they were high.

    4. clarky90

      I pray that everybody going apeshit over this manufactured “scandal” is safely ensconced in a sterile, well provisioned safehouse in a secret location. Otherwise, the chaos that you are gleefully inciting, (the sowing of the whirlwind)………is not helpful or “kind”. Nobody knows what the future will bring.

      Like it or not, Donald Trump is the USAian President until the next election. He is steering your Ship of State.The situation, Worldwide (!) is complex and unravelling quickly. Trump is trying to juggle 50 States simultaneously- as well as dealing with all of the other international iterations.

  3. Supenau

    Re: Trump and the briefings. Back in the day when my kids were little, I called his displayed behavior pouting. I am sure Trump is cooking up something vindictive, again, as he stews.

        1. xkeyscored

          And deny he ever had a cheese burger, let alone food, and claim nothing’s on the floor anyway, and blame the Democrats and fake news media.

            1. Mark Gisleson

              I mean . . . a cheeseburger on the floor?!!! How can we possibly talk about anything else for the next week?!!!

              1. ambrit

                Does he have any idea how difficult it was to rustle the cow that that hamburger meat came from?
                Sheesh! Talk about misplaced priorities.

    1. John

      @realDonaldTrump 6:01 PM – Apr 25, 2020
      What is the purpose of having White House News Conferences when the Lamestream Media asks nothing but hostile questions, & then refuses to report the truth or facts accurately. They get record ratings, & the American people get nothing but Fake News. Not worth the time & effort!

      Running the video of what he says word for word isn’t reporting the truth?

      On Friday he tried to claim what he said on Thursday was sarcasm. Then, a joke.

      Was Trump being ‘sarcastic’ with his disinfectant comments? You decide

      1. ShamanicFallout

        Yves and Lambert- is it possible to put the kibosh on the Trump Lysol comments? Or perhaps people can agree to not go there anymore for the sake of NC. I don’t know what others think about this but it’s degrading the commentary here. Also, who cares what celebrities think? For me, the pandemic is taking off the celebrity mask and showing us what truly hollow phantoms they are.

        1. lambert strether

          It was Pelosi who introduced the brand Lysol, not Trump, so anybody who picks that brand to drink, well, that’s on Pelosi.

          I used to craft good deal of snark back in the days of the Bush administration.

          1) Snark (as in jokes and memes about Lysol) is fun to create

          2) Propagating snark is also fun; in today’s terms it creates a dopamine loop if others pick it up

          3) Snark is also good for generating hate; see Rachel Bitecofer.*

          4) Crucially snark creates in- and out groups; those who use it are “in,” those who reject or question it are “out” (cf. “shibboleth”). You can see the connection to RussiaGate I am sure, and also snark’s utility for partisan identification.

          I abandoned snark for two reasons: 1) I felt thar generating hate was bad for me; and 2) it was politically ineffective. Bush won two terms, despite enormous efforts by online snark purveyors. Of course, Democrats tend to double down on failure, so they are trying the same tactics again.

          To answer your question, yes, but let’s first see if the commentariat regulates itself and if so how.**

          NOTE * As for example cheering when people drink Lysol, because they’re stupid (instead of poor and desperate).

          NOTE ** I did a little weeding. This isn’t Kos, let alone Facebook.

  4. PlutoniumKun

    Embraer hits out after Boeing scraps $4.2 billion tie-up Reuters

    This bodes very ill for both Boeing and Embraer. Boeing desperately needed Embraers smaller aircraft range to be able to genuinely match up with post-bombardier eating Airbus, and fend off alternative aircraft from Russia, China and Japan. And Embraer desperately needed Boeings cash.

    Its increasingly looking like in a post Covid world, only Airbus will be left standing, unless the Chinese go all-in on supporting Comac (whether anyone will want to buy such an undistinguished aircraft in a world flooded with cheap second hand aircraft is another question). The Russian Sukhoi Superjet looks like a Max style disaster and I doubt Mitsubishi will be able to do anything but compete on the margins for Airbus business.

    1. rowlf

      Embraer should have been ready for this based on Boeing’s past case of getting in tight with Bombardier on the CS100 development program then walking away after getting to see the whole program. I am unable to find the trade articles that note this but I always thought it was rich of Boeing to do that to Bombardier and then make the international trade claim when the airplane flew.

      As for Comac, after all the trade disputes between aircraft builders, do you really think Comac will be able to sell outside of the PRC? On the other hand, it is filled up with US parts, so maybe lobbyists can play a role in sales.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        The Comac appears to be, shall we say, heavily influenced by the Bombardier (now the Airbus A220). It all depends I think on how the Chinese play it. If they pressure Chinese airlines to buy it and push Airbus out, Europe I think will make it very difficult for China to sell it outside China. There isn’t a lot of enthusiasm for the aircraft (its basically 1990’s tech), so they’d have to heavily subsidise it. As I pointed out, we are looking at a likelihood of their being a lot of surplus aircraft around for a few years, so it wouldn’t make much sense for, say, an African airline to buy or lease Comacs when they can get a 3 year old 737 or A320 for very little money.

        Its all wrapped up of course in geopolitical games, but if the Chinese do go all in to protect and develop the Comac, then it has all sorts of trade repercussions, and they might find its a game they lose. Airbus could pull out of China and focus on everywhere else. The Chinese may decide its just not worth it and go for a much longer game – the Japanese, for example have been pretty much half a century or more plotting the win big in civil aviation without much to show for it so far, but they aren’t giving up.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            So far as I’m aware, the Boeing hookup was with their commercial operation only. I think there is a separate partnership for the defence business – I don’t know if the failure of deal alters that. The Super Tucano was purchased by the US for Afghanistan, but I don’t think Boeing were part of that deal.

            1. ambrit

              What’s ‘funny’ is the difference in price between the Tucano and the Super Tucano. The EMB 312, a simpler aircraft, cost out at under a million. The Super, loaded down with ‘Bells and Whistles?’ came in at from Nine million USD to Eighteen million USD. (Expensive radios, eh? I’d almost expect to learn that the Pentagon Procurement Office was involved.)

  5. Steve H.

    > Organizing for Survival in New York City Commune

    >> Three weeks ago, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who represents parts of the Bronx and Queens, led a fundraising drive to benefit organizations in New York City providing mutual aid during the outbreak, including our partner Hungry Monk as well as Amazon warehouse workers organizing for better working conditions. This has already brought in tens of thousands of dollars to keep our pantry going.


    > No national recovery appears possible at present, and we will be left only with localized and autonomous forms of mutual survival and refusal.

    Newsom: California is an enterprising, modernizing, nation-state. 40 million strong. Together, we will get through this. [March 31:]

    Tim Walz, the Governor of Minnesota: sort of a loose Articles of Confederation approach.

    John Robb: Big day. We added THREE more regional blocs today. [April 23:]

    If you look at that map in the last link, it’s kinda lining up like Retropia (see map):

    Flag of the Lakeland Republic:

    1. FreeMarketApologist

      I think the Organizing for Survival article is a must read. It’s a well-written account of what they’re doing, and has important observations / lessons for any organization that wants change (or even to maintain the status quo) (my highlights):

      “The community garden and farm share, along with the neighborhood assemblies that they came out of, shifted the ways we spoke, wrote, and oriented ourselves in Ridgewood. Letting go of aestheticized militancy for its own sake, we tried to meet as many people around us as we could on a different basis. Building the garden and the farm share were radical in themselves without us having to overcode them, as these projects emphasized long-term infrastructure to produce and supply food for the neighborhood, and to control our own spaces in the process.”

      1. xkeyscored

        Yes, I think it’s a must-read for those of us who neither want nor expect things to just return to normal.

        This bit also caught my eye, as I fear food distribution will become even more of an issue in coming months: “Many of the shuttered restaurants and cafes have kitchens where meals for large numbers of people can be prepared, and refrigerators where perishables can be stored,” along with this: “But our horizon remains the longer-term work of building dual power within the systemic collapse taking place around us.”

        But they’re just two snippets; I think it’s well worth reading in full.

      2. Clive

        “With May 1 approaching, renewed calls for a rent strike are now combining with those for a General Strike. It is a surreal proposition, given that the traditional imagery and language of a mass shutdown of industries and institutions is already a reality.”
        A general strike? What like people will stay home and not go shopping? A Debtor’s Strike is the most effective action people can take. In addition to rent, no payments of any kind for credit card, mortgage, medical, student loan, car payments, registration and insurance. Force The System to save itself with Medicare for All and Trillions created by the Fed to support citizens for real. Discretionary participation, people who could pay, but refuse to, probably at no more than 20% of the population, in addition to those too broke to pay much of anything, would force major positive changes, IMHO.

        1. lambert strether

          Like if Amazon, UPS, airline attendants, Teamsters, Longshoremen, railway workers, and delivery workers all bring the supply chain to a halt (letting only medical supplies through).

          That is what the Sanders movement should have/ought to be facilitating, instead of this weak charity sh*t. Do that, and suddenly the post mortems would look very different.

          1. ambrit

            In reference to the calls for strikes of various sorts; I’m wondering if the “Masters of the Universe” haven’t become completely divorced from reality and just don’t give a s–t about Main Street anymore. The spectacle of the Congress blithely repeating the mistakes of 2008-09 does not give one hope. Most of these people remember that time, lived through it. If they have “forgotten nothing and learned nothing,” then the next crash will be monumental. I’m going long ammo and gardens, plus neighborhood ‘Protective Associations.’
            Over the last few years, we have been considering the phenomenon of ‘Gated Communities’ and ‘Fortress Exurbs.’ The idea of City States ruling over a chaotic surrounding landscape is starting to look probable.

  6. timbers

    From the Times of India…Not sure what may become of this. The powers that be likely will step in if this gets traction, as it would upset so many vested global interests. Dems are MIA in anything comparable aimed at what was once their base. Think how this will energize Republican base to vote…assuming people are allowed to vote and if not, still energize them:

    “Anger in political circles, particularly in the Republican Party, has manifested itself in legislative proposals seeking to allow U.S citizens to sue China in American courts for the pandemic, calling for sanctions on Chinese officials.”

    “Former US ambassador to the UN and former South Carolina governor, Indian-American Nikki Haley, widely seen as a prospective last-minute vice-presidential nominee for a Trump second term, is among those pressing for action against Beijing. “China’s Communist government needs to be held accountable for their role in lying about the Coronavirus pandemic, and the US Congress needs to respond – now,” Haley said in a STOP Communist China petition that received rousing endorsement in Republican circles this week.”

    America and her political parties never lie, so we can’t be sued. Also we’re the only nation on earth with sovereign immunity. Except maybe Russia inside her borders behind her nuclear arms. But we’re working on fixing that.

    “Other US lawmakers want to go even further. In a precipitate suggestion, Haley’s fellow South Carolinian, Senator Lindsey Graham, who has President Trump’s ear, called for cancelling the more than $1 trillion in U.S treasury securities that China holds.”

    Maybe the grass roots behind this – if there is any – thinks they will get to divide the $1 trillion amongst themselves. I’m sure Treasury and Fed will be eager to do that for them – they’ve done it so well in the past.

    “The extreme measures being proposed against Beijing come amid growing adverse public opinion towards China. Some 66% of Americans now hold an unfavorable view of the country, up from 47% three years ago…Republicans hold a 72% unfavorable view.”

    All that time and effort spent against Russia, wasted by the Dems. Probably didn’t get them a single upper middle class suburban vote in the south.

    1. The Rev Kev

      If Trump attempts to seize China’s $1 trillion in U.S treasury securities, there would be gigantic whooshing sound heard. That whooshing would be the sound of every country on the planet withdrawing from any financial assets like US treasuries, any physical assets, and any loaned cultural exhibits from the US itself. Who could believe that Trump would honour any financial obligation that the US has if he is prepared to do this to its biggest investor?

      1. PlutoniumKun

        As has been pointed out, you can’t ‘cancel securities’ as they are a tradable asset. This is a handy electioneering slogan for the Republicans, they know its one thing the Dems can’t out-flank them on. The mainstream Dems of course are idiots to think they can use China bashing as a way of getting at Trump, he’ll always outflank them.

        As to stealing assets, the US has stolen billions in assets from Iranians and Venezuelans and no doubt others, but it hasn’t stopped the US being a safe haven – the US is just too big and too profitable to put off investors or bond buyers.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Do you think that there is a market for financial instruments for countries or institutions that have investments in the US in case of seizure? A sort of insurance? Having a reputation as a safe haven is good – until you lose it that is.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            I think it’s called the City of London. HSBC has been making billions from that game for years.

        2. timbers

          You may be right about can’t cancel Chinese securities – as in you can’t go to war unless Congress declares it – but I doubt it. Washington can do what it wants, and HSBC or who ever will do as it’s told if Washington so decides. For example, any attempt to convert Treasuries to usd can be seized as those dollars must reside in a US bank. I do agree however the backlash would be prohibitive…and the affected elites and vested interests would intervene to stop it because they have too much to lose by blowing up the established dollar hegemony.

          1. xkeyscored

            I was about to say something like that, but you beat me to it. Oil’s a tradeable asset, isn’t it? And how many countries have more or less heeded the USA’s calls not to buy from Iran, for fear of the repercussions? But I agree, elites and vested interests would object to the demise of dollar hegemony that such a move would only accelerate.

            1. timbers

              Or, the Fed/Treasury could void the treasuries in questions and never mature them. China might trade them, but since they would become worthless, good luck. Anyone buying them would be holding worthless securities.

              It’s just a matter of pushing the correct buttons. It’s the exact details I’m not sure about.

              1. xkeyscored

                Yes, I’m completely unclear about the details too, but the US does seem to have the world’s banking and financial system by the short and curlies.

                1. Oregoncharles

                  And the more people here talk about seizing Chinese assets here, the more other countries will set up alternative financial systems – Russia and China are already doing that, not sure who else has signed on.

                  It’s truly shocking how far the US and Wall St. can violate other nations’ sovereignty, just via finance. Who thought that was a good idea? Besides the obvious. But it ultimately depends on other countries playing along.

                  1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                    Since when did pesky so-called “laws” stop the GCH (Global Currency Hegemon) from doing every- and anything they please? The Treasuries in question are registered with CUSIP numbers so individual bonds could easily be cancelled. Chances are they would still trade, maybe at 10 cents on the dollar, in the off chance they are someday re-instated.

                    Given the absolutely free hand the monetary priesthood Fed has seized since about, say, Greenspan, this would just be business as usual.

          2. Bill Smith

            I don’t think this is correct:

            “any attempt to convert Treasuries to usd can be seized as those dollars must reside in a US bank”

            If I live in Hong Kong and have some UST in my account with a local brokerage and I sell them on the local market how does a US bank come into play?

            1. timbers

              They would become worthless if Their maturity is voided by the Fed. And to mature, they are converted to usd, which can only reside at a US bank which the US can seize at will.

        3. Mel

          That raises a good question, noted by people in the thread.
          Operationally, what are U.S. Treasury securities?
          Are they represented by paper certificates, or do they exist in a computer registry?
          Are they serial numbered?
          Can they be tracked from owner to owner?
          How would you prove you owned one?

          1. John Zelnicker

            April 26, 2020 at 10:45 am

            Treasury securities are dollar deposits held in accounts at the Treasury. Cash deposits (checking accounts) owned by foreign governments are held in US banks or licensed US branches of foreign banks. I’ve heard a rumor that China’s cash account is at Citibank.

            It’s necessary to understand the Treasury securities are not actually borrowing. They are deposits of pre-existing dollars in interest-bearing accounts guaranteed as to principal and interest by the US government. Not really different from your CD at the bank.

            The federal government does not use the dollars in those accounts (just as the bank doesn’t use the dollars in your CD for loans). It creates new dollars ad hoc whenever it pays a government salary or my Social Security or buys an F-35.

            Treasuries are recorded as computer entries. In fact, you can invest directly in Treasuries through a facility called Treasury Direct.

            The computer entries are numbered and transactions in the secondary market can be traced.

            Ownership of the Treasury account, or individual security, is documented.

            Hope this helps.

            1. juno mas

              I believe most, if not all Treasuries (T-Bills) are sold at online auctions now. Each week Billion$ of dollars are tendered for securities ranging from 8 weeks to 26 weeks (longer terms are available but are named differently). The Treasury Direct website is full of info, but clunky to use.

              Now is not the time to be buying short term T-Bills at 0.0235%. Online banks are offering 1.3% for money market accounts that are FDIC insured to $250K.

            2. Mel

              Yes, it does. So it’s proven that the U.S. could repudiate some person’s or country’s Treasury holdings. The holder who was being stiffed would not necessarily escape by selling the bonds to somebody else. Thanks.

              1. John Zelnicker

                April 30, 2020 at 11:31 am

                It may be proven on a technical level, but repudiating US debt would be the end of dollar hegemony in the world and would almost certainly destroy the global trade system.

        4. Carla

          “The mainstream Dems of course are idiots” — I think your sentence could just end there.

    2. Carolinian

      What is the source link for your quotes? It’s not the Times of India link above apparently.

        1. Carolinian


          It’s just that I did an imaginary spit take of my morning coffee on reading

          Nikki Haley, widely seen as a prospective last-minute vice-presidential nominee for a Trump second term

          and wondered if the source of such “wide” speculation might be someone named Nikki Haley. Of course it may just be that the Indian reporter is excited by the idea of an Indian-American president and made that part up. Haley’s parents are from India but she was born in SC.

  7. divadab

    Bailouts for usurers! What’s next – bailouts for fentanyl marketers?

    Dang what a filthy corrupt crew of congresscritters, Demoblicans, Republicrats, all the same money-grubbers who clearly regard the populace as a herd to be exploited and fleeced.


    1. xkeyscored

      Fentanyl is often used for intubations, and it’s running out. Some kind of stimulus has been suggested, but it’s hard to see it working as most of the manufacture is elsewhere, and shortages are affecting many countries.

      “Choo is advocating for the federal government to establish centralized systems that could track patients, move supplies to where they are most needed, and inform manufacturers of demand. “We need to use something like Defense Production Act to mobilize industry and create public-private partnerships and stimulate mass production of these medications,” she says. Widespread Covid-19 testing is part of this strategy — by knowing who is sick, vital medicines can be shifted to the right states at the right time.

      But Fox is more cautious. “We need to think through ways to conserve products,” she says. “I don’t know if Donald Trump can make drug companies churn out more drugs when some aren’t even American drug companies.” ”

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Do you know a good submarine-maker?”

    Anybody know any websites where you can download the plans for old-fashioned depth charges?

      1. Massinissa

        How do you make sure it goes off at the proper depth, though? You need to attach some kind of fuse, I believe.

        1. Oregoncharles

          The depth setting has to be adjustable, quickly. My father served on a destroyer in WWII, so I became rather familiar with the subject.

          It is, nonetheless, a fairly primitive weapon. You have to also have sonar so you know roughly where the sub is.

          He said they depth charged quite a few whales, was rather sad about it.

    1. Synoia

      Patience is the best attack on Personal Submarines.

      Sooner or later one will fail, killing the occupants.

      Machines under great pressure do not last long,

      1. xkeyscored

        They’re not always equipped with the finest ICU facilities either, should the submariner have already been infected après-ski.

    2. Tom Stone

      Rev, you don’t need a depth charge, anything that affects the integrity of the hull will work.
      Either a Trump 2020 or a Biden 2020 bumper sticker should do the job.

        1. Bsoder

          I do not. Nor Biden, either. We have problems to solve, and solved at every level, from a single person, to globally (climate heating).

  9. Henry Moon Pie

    Organizing for survival–

    This is one of the most uplifting and concrete posts of the week. There are many examples of self-organizing by this Queens organization along with some discussion of goals and strategy like this:

    What will our near future look like? One possible scenario is something resembling the New York of the 1970s, when fiscal collapse and divestment left the city looking like a war zone. In the ruins, a kind of radicalized survivalism emerged, with communities building counterinstitutions in the void left by the fleeing state and market. But as we see once-teeming restaurants and other small businesses in Ridgewood indefinitely shuttered, with little likelihood of returning, we know there is nothing utopian about the crisis. Entire lifeworlds are collapsing in both material and existential terms. What comes next could very well be more like Mad Max than Rebecca Solnit’s “paradise built in hell,” but within this uncertain breach our goal is to make visible a new social and political force.

    Our elites are incapable of dealing with this crisis beyond their usual smash-and-grab BS. It’s up to us, folks. Just food and a warm, dry place to sleep for everybody are going to be quite a challenge in these circumstances, especially with no constructive action from the Federal government.

    Here’s what we’re trying to do in our poor, Rust Belt neighborhood. In the middle of the neighborhood sits what was an urban farm over the past decade. As is typical around here, the farm, which was operated as a training facility for workers with disabilities, was double-dipping on grants and is now defunct. A new grantee is now operating the facility for food prep training, but farming has ceased. I’ve contacted the new grantee and requested that a group of us residents be allowed to create a community garden on the site. A considerable effort was made to bring in quality topsoil a few years ago, and everything is surrounded with a security fence. It’s perfect. The grant operator was game, but also typical of our society more generally, he needs to check with his landlord. We hope for a go-ahead this week.

    If we succeed, then we’ll leaflet the neighborhood (contact methods are discussed in the “Organizing for Survival” article). Anyone who wants to participate will be able to have an individual plot along with participating in working the community portion. We’ll distribute the harvest from the community portions to the neighborhood after announcing it with another leafletting. We’ll include the Section 8 high rise in our neighborhood in this distribution.

    We’ll also need to develop some ancillary communication methods that can be used for other purposes, e.g. crime watches, etc. Gang activity, already high, seems to have picked up considerably since the shutdown, with gun battles between gangs taking place every day within a mile of our house. We haven’t had any shootouts on our street during this though we have in the past.

    I’m also looking into CSA possibilities for a group in the neighborhood. We’ll also be looking for some vegetables and fruit in quantities for freezing and canning. We also need to organize grocery pick-up and delivery for some of older folks who don’t drive.

    There’s a lot to do that our elites can’t be bothered with. If we don’t do it, nobody will.

    1. Wukchumni

      We have 1 suburb of sorts here, and went and visited a friend there and along the way came across an empty lot that has long been the community garden, and not one thing had been done this spring-no effort whatsoever, overgrown with weeds and lack of want to provide food in a few months.

      Hundreds of people live within a 10 minute walk of it~

      1. furies

        Maybe it’s as dysfunctional as ours is…

        I quit our CG due to lack of coherence. If certain members were to disappear, and if rules and meetings happened instead of being blown off…

      2. Lynne

        Our community garden went defunct after two seasons. Several families made a point of going in and harvesting everyone’s crops for themselves.

    2. Stephen V.

      Thank you for this HMP. I’ve long thought if we ever got serious about transforming our politics, it would be through working toward local autonomy–first as it were!
      If I understand my history correctly–there was a time when u.s. of a. only existed when Congress assembled…

    3. Mikel

      This is important.
      I’ll say it bluntly: Otherwise the manufactured food shortages will be used as a way to keep people at each others throats instead of organizing and having a voice in the reorganization of society.

    4. xkeyscored

      Do you have any idea why gang activity has picked up? Are they squabbling over who gets to sell drugs, or have they already started on who gets food?

    5. MLTPB

      Looking at the nursing homes, assisted living facilities, etc, I see many who are not ‘rugged individuals,’ and not able to grow their own vegetables.

      The way has always been through the government, from DC to the local fire departments, etc.

      You may have relatives or friends not physically close to your neighborhood being organized.

  10. Amfortas the hippie

    this happened in the Depression, too.
    But the govment buying up surplus food staples(aside from the corn, soya, rapeseed, etc) and giving them away to it’s hungry citizens during a global pandemic is a no-no…can’t set a precedent.
    it’s another version of the rather more explicit reasoning behind letting states handle(ahem) the unemployment system—so that they’re clunky and ineffective and short of cash…so the serfs won’t get used to a functioning welfare system.
    more and more, I’m thinking of a syllogism i sort of just blurted out last week:
    the Neoliberal Dispensation endeavors to force citizens to become enterprises, all competing against one another, sure sounds a lot like Hobbe’s war of all against all.
    Like 1984, and a million other dystopian fictions, the “smartest kids in the room” seem to have mistaken the warning for a manual.

    1. Hopelb

      Great lines!
      “ the Neoliberal Dispensation endeavors to force citizens to become enterprises, all competing against one another, sure sounds a lot like Hobbe’s war of all against all.“

      “Like 1984, and a million other dystopian fictions, the “smartest kids in the room” seem to have mistaken the warning for a manual.”

    2. Bsoder

      Not the smartest by any stretch, no the smartest having been going about subversive for a long while. Changing history is a long game, requiring god awful amounts of patience. Letting things happen. If one is out of breath one is moving to quickly. Leave no footsteps behind. Find and follow the way. Remember the water wears down the rock.

  11. Wukchumni

    The idea that a narcissist’s narcissist willingly stops doing a daily 2 hour show mostly starring himself, is the real story. A chink in the armor.

    …what happens when such a person loses their buoyed sense of self-confidence?

    1. John

      Trump saying injecting bleach could knock it out in a minute was a tipping point in what we would just shake our heads at.

      It is frankly, un-(family blog)-believable.

      Let him storm off and give no more deadly daily briefings.

      Brad Pascale will have to run a billion dollars worth of targeted ads to clean up that crap.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        My take is he’s the shaman trying to make it rain in a drought-caused famine. The crowd is beginning to notice that the shaman’s still plump figure would fit nicely in the communal pot, and the shaman is going to embarrassing lengths to induce a cloudburst.

      2. lambert strether

        Please don’t lie. It makes the blog look bad. The exits to Kos and Facebook are that way. Thank you.

        1. Tom Bradford

          And Marie-Antoinette almost certainly never said “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche”, but most everyone thinks she did because it neatly and economically expresses the very real disconnect between the worlds of the rich and the poor at the time.

          So however much you disapprove, Lambert, whether or not Trump really did say “Let them drink bleach,” it has become and will forever be in folklore a neat and economical expression of the very real and obvious disconnect between reality and Trump’s version of it, which he will now have to live with.

      3. Oregoncharles

        I take it you didn’t actually read the quote you posted yesterday? As clearly as he ever is, he asked for “an equivalent” to external sterilizers, for internal use. Would be nice, probably not possible, but a rational proposal.

        (For example: a recent French study indicated that smoking was protective against Coronavirus. Likeliest explanation is that lungs coated with tar are inimical to the virus. Of course, they’re bad for the owner, too.)

        Please stop making us defend Trump.

        1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          Its fascinating to me people actually read Trumps tweets etc and take them seriously.

          Watch ONLY what he does. Saner this way too.

          Obama had great speeches but they were all fake.

    2. richard

      If trump loses any part of his self-confidence, that would be a big story all right
      maybe, but i don’t see that happening from this.
      if only the dirtbag left could be set on him, all of left twitter at the vanguard of a national movement to mock and scorn his ignorance and fake populism
      that might shake his confidence
      if only there had been some candidate who could have energized all that righteous fury and channeled it at this f&^%er
      but now who’s dreaming, right?

    3. cnchal

      You are missing the point. With only a handful of people in the room asking embarrassing questions and challenging him, he wasn’t getting what he wants, the adulation, adoration and yesmenism, or “narcissistic supply”.

      We are now going to see Trump at the most dangerous, dealing with a narcissist that isn’t getting what he wants, and you can’t make him go away by ignoring him so that he moves on to another victim.

        1. cnchal

          This is from the author of the article — Chauncey DeVega / Salon

          Donald Trump is a human predator. That is what he does. He will not change. At this point, I hold the American people, the news media, the Republican Party and its voters ultimately responsible for the calamity that is Trump’s reign.

          Notice a prominent group that is missing from the list of those responsible?

          Joe Biden’s installation as Dem candidate = Four moar years of Trump.

          Who is responsible for Trump, again?

      1. Tom Bradford

        Trump is a bog-standard narcissist. This is from The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5, 2013) re Narcissistic Personality Disorder:

        “Because their fragile egos are hypersensitive to perceived criticism or defeat, people with NPD are prone to feelings of shame, humiliation, and worthlessness over minor incidents of daily life and imagined, personal slights,[10] and usually mask such feelings from people, either by way of feigned humility, or by socially isolating themselves, or by responding with outbursts of rage and defiance, or by seeking revenge.”

        “feigned humility, or by socially isolating themselves” isn’t in Trump’s psyche, which leaves….

      1. jo6pac

        Not to worry he’ll back in a few days. He can’t stand press conferences not being about him.

        1. GF

          I think the press conferences will be cancelled too and no one will be allowed to speak to the press. He’ll show us.

      2. chuck roast

        The press truly are useful idiots. If they sat there and did what I do regularly the abuse would end along with the press conferences. When he goes off I start laughing. He is a funny dude. Really, viewed through the lens of “how did an idiot this bigly get to president of the US” the guy is a scream. If they laughed at him instead of arguing with him, he would shrivel like a raisin.

  12. Learn Nothing

    These articles “what [insert whatever] can teach us about [insert a current cluster#%*]” are so sad. I get really depressed because nothing can teach our national and supra-national misleadership anything. They simply refuse to learn how to handle anything so things will be better for others than themselves.

    E.g. will anybody from the political or corporate classes go to jail for failing to protect us from a predicted pandemic?

    1. Geo

      None have even been jailed for having profited off a pandemic through insider trading while lying to us about the dangers of the impending pandemic. If that doesn’t merit some actual justice, nothing will. They are untouchable at this point.

    1. Geo

      Odd. You’d think Google would know, more than most others, that this won’t exactly make the video go away. Someone should tell them about a site called YouTube. The King video is all over it!

  13. PlutoniumKun

    Quantifying methane emissions from the largest oil-producing basin in the United States from space Science.

    Hugely depressing. Even if fracking shut down tomorrow, there will be leakage for decades from poorly capped wells all over the Permian and other gas bearing beds. At least one prominent researcher I read some time ago said that long term leakage would be a worse environmental impact from fracking from any operational issues.

    It also, it should be said, shows clearly that the whole ‘natural gas is a bridging fuel to renewable energy’ argument that was promoted a few years ago was entirely bogus and reliant on heroic assumptions on gas leakage.

    1. John

      I went to a dinner years ago at a college where a man in Obama’s Department of Energy gave a speech about renewable energy. A large part of his speech was about moving to natural gas as a “clean energy” bridge to renewables “of the future”.

      Afterwards I went up to say a few words to him about our renewable energy future and after talking for a little while I guess he grew tired of my idealism and he said, “we are never going to move to renewables. We say that just to keep people pacified about using fossil fuels.”

      The curtain fell for a minute. Oops.

      And then of course came the natural gas boom under Obama.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Yes, I’d always suspected that. I can’t recall his name, but there was a very prominent energy researcher who was constantly quoted in nearly every article I read about the topic. It was pretty clear reading between the lines that he either didn’t understand the economics of energy investment (i.e. once you put infrastructure in place, its there for several decades), or he was engaged in bad faith argumentation.

        Natural gas is important as an interim complement to both nuclear energy and renewables, as it provides for peaking or back up energy that most forms can’t provide. But it became very clear from the early 1990’s onwards that for all sorts of reasons natural gas was becoming baseline energy too, despite its high costs, mostly because of the low marginal costs involved once you have the infrastructure in place. People I know active in arguing for renewables were sounding the alarm on this from the early 1990’s ‘dash for gas’ in Europe (predating fracking), but their arguments weren’t clearly understood – in fact, I probably didn’t fully understand them myself at the time.

        1. juliania

          Okay, couldn’t we promote renewables as an interim or backup to….something else? Whales maybe?

      2. anon in so cal

        In partnership with T. Boone Pickens?

        “T. Boone Pickens – He formed Pickens Fuel Corporation in 1997 and began promoting natural gas as the best vehicular fuel alternative, being a domestic …”

    2. ewmayer

      A small explication for the non-professional-scientists re. the total-emissions measure quoted from the abstract: “2.7 ± 0.5 Tg a−1” means Tg/a, with ‘a’ standing for ‘annum’, i.e. 2.7 teragrams per year, or 2.7 megatons per year. But it’s important to put that relative to total annual global emissions, or as I do here, as a percentage total CH4 in the atmosphere – per Wikipedia, “Atmospheric methane concentrations have reached almost two-and-a-half times pre-industrial levels or 3.2 billion tons”, thus the above Permian-basin emissions amounted to roughly 0.1% of total atmospheric methane, each year. Since the removal time of CH4 is ~10 years (significantly shorter than for CO2 – a small silver lining), a sustained added 0.1% per year would raise total atmospheric methane levels by around 1%. But all those economic-groaf-correlated added percents add up. Another interesting nugget I found on the above page’s by-country breakdown: China is by far the world’s largest methane emitter, and has been for a long time, long predating the Chinese economic miracle – they were already ahead of the US by ~30% back in 1970, and as of 2012 (the latest year cited in the per-county breakdown @above) they had more than doubled their annual CH4 emissions. Over the same span the US methane emissions actually dropped modestly – though the fracking boom likely has at least partly reversed that trend – thus as of 2012 China emissions were 3.5x that of the U.S., implying rough parity on a per-capita basis. Of course quite a bit of the added China emissions are due to the U.S. and most of the rest of the West offshoring their manufacturing, and the attendant resource consumption and pollution emissions, there in recent decades.

  14. PlutoniumKun

    The intercept:

    The right wing Media Research Center posted this video not long after I posted the transcript, which means they were sitting on it, waiting, and this was coming out whether The Intercept broke it or not..

    I’m old enough to remember when we were solemnly told by the media and mainstream Democrats that the Republicans had boxes full of oppo on Sanders, and so everyone needed to take the safe choice of good old Joe.

  15. PlutoniumKun

    A Stanford Professor’s Wife Recruited People For His Coronavirus Study By Claiming It Would Reveal If They Could “Return To Work Without Fear” Buzzfeed.

    Perhaps I’m getting too CT minded, but it does seem to me that there are a lot of researchers there who seem determined to get ‘results’ from research that indicates that lockdowns and intense social distancing don’t work and we should all get back to work. Possibly its ideology/confirmation bias, but it would be interesting if someone poked around into the funding of some of these scientists.

    1. Carolinian

      research that indicates that lockdowns and intense social distancing don’t work

      Is that what the research showed? I thought he was just trying to produce a better “CFR.” In any event perhaps the real questions is why any suggestion that the initial “precautionary” reaction to the pandemic may be over the top produces such outrage. Cognitive bias cuts both ways, particularly when the Washington power struggle enters the picture.

      1. Monty

        I think the outrage is because it’s like a fiendish version of the Trolley Problem from ethics class.

        Is it “worse” to pull the handle (reopen early) knowing it will kill a lot of people, than do nothing (stay in quarantine) and cause many others financial distress.

        Deliberately enacting policies that will knowingly kill citizens is harder for some people to rationalize, than others. Just a matter of perspective I suppose.

        I know it’s hard to get enrolled for some people, but I saw this in the NYTimes, that kind of undercuts the need to rush things.

        “Workers in more than half of states will receive, on average, more in unemployment benefits than their normal salaries.”

        Hopefully they can get the money to all that need it, reducing the financial distress, and not rush to reopen at the expense of our elders.

      2. The Rev Kev

        That study was a set up. When it came out the Washington Post spruiked it. But if you went into the people talking about it in that article, they were people that were working on that study. But you are correct. The precautionary principle is the way to go but is being resisted so strongly.

      1. Bill Smith

        How close are the Santa Clara study and the NY state one? NY State says about 13% of the state?

    2. xkeyscored

      It seems a bit CT-minded to me. I wondered if he has a patent on some antibody test, but haven’t seen anything suggesting he has.

      We can’t keep up even these partial lockdowns forever, and the longer they continue, the worse the effects they’ll have on health and lives. Antibody tests might help us figure out what situation we’re in and help us plan our way out of it. I think, from skimming through the second of Monty’s links, that’s basically his view and his motivation (though ‘his wife’s’ email seems less than honest and scientifically correct and confirmed; at least it went to “parents in a wealthy enclave of Northern California”):

      Jay Bhattacharya: Well, I think the universal quarantine, essentially that’s what we have. It’s incredibly costly. Costly that and the people have characterized as costly to the economy, and so you get accused of being crass ’cause you’re comparing for dollars with people’s lives, right?

      Peter Robinson: Yes, yes.

      Jay Bhattacharya: I mean, I’m actually kind of sympathetic to that, but actually it’s not just dollars to lives, it’s lives to lives, right? A global economic collapse will cost lives of, I believe, millions of people, and not just the United States, I mean, worldwide, right?

      Peter Robinson: You still have family back in India. What happens in India?

      Jay Bhattacharya: I’m scared to death of it. I got cousins, I mean, I don’t know. I think, a global, it’s so, the rise in GDP worldwide has pulled billions of people, I think, out of poverty and raised life expectancy everywhere. If that gets reversed, the flip side is that means lots and lots of lives shortened unnecessarily. I think, that’s the flip side to remember, is it’s not just dollars versus lives, it’s lives versus lives.

      1. Monty

        The economy was tanking because of the virus before the lock down. Consumer demand to fly and go out to restaurants etc was falling sharply because people didn’t want to catch a virus than might kill them or a loved one.

        I don’t think it is as simple as the government snapping their fingers and reopening everything. They also have to convince enough people that it’s really safe for them to resume those activities. That’s why there is such a big push to convince people that “its just a flu” that only kills people in nursing homes.

        This Santa Clara study seems like it was was designed to promote that message. Not only was it sloppy science from a design and statistical perspective, but it came to dishonest conclusions too. Conflating Case Fatality and Infection Fatality Rates to erroneously imply that Covid-19 (CFR ~6%, IFR ~0.6%) is about as a deadly as seasonal flu (CFR ~0.1%, IFR ~0.02%).

          1. xkeyscored

            Ditto. And it’s hard to see why he says he’s scared to death of it if he’s trying to persuade everyone it’s just like flu and there’s nothing to worry about. His tests may be flawed and his sample skewed, but I don’t see the need to attribute devious and hidden motives to him. One of his central points, regardless of how accurate his results are, seems to be that “we actually don’t know how many people have been infected. It’s a very strange thing to say given how much data is floating around, and it sounds like it’s a remarkable thing, but it’s actually just a plain scientific fact. And that has to do with the fact that the testing for the virus has focused on people who actively have the virus.”

            I’d welcome some clarification on these numbers, but he doesn’t sound like a stooge of the corporations or the Governor of Georgia to me, even if he’s a shit-for-brains like The Don talking out of his arse. And he is a Stanford professor of medicine, which makes that seem unlikely.

            1. Cuibono

              He is one of the most influential and widely respected epidemiologists on the planet. several of his papers are rated as the most inluential of the last 20 years.
              If you listen to him carefully like you did, he does not make any absolute claims. He asks strong if somewhat controversial questions. That is what scientists do.
              are his ideas mainstream here? No.
              Are they making us think more clearly. I think so.
              this is a puzzling infection to be sure. Just the range from aysmptomatic to dramtically ill in rapid order is wild.

        1. xkeyscored

          Exactly what I think. Not everyone is, or can be, working from home while food and other necessities appear courtesy of others. And if everyone was at home, everything would stop.

          1. Monty

            Isn’t that why certain important industries are designated as essential, and are encouraged to continue during the lock down?

            Aren’t these essential workers more likely to end up at home sick, if the virus is allowed to spread uncontrollably?

            If the essential workers all get sick at once, collapse becomes more likely.

            So, protecting the essential workers should be a top priority, right?

            1. xkeyscored

              Who’s talking about allowing it to spread uncontrollably? I don’t agree with everything he says, but “A targeted quarantine could make some sense” seems an idea worth considering. Expecting ‘essential workers’ to continue risking their lives so that the privileged can remain hunkered down while the poor risk starvation doesn’t seem an obviously better way to spend the next twelve or eighteen months.

            2. Carey

              ..except that the essential workers are not- very oddly!- getting sick at substantially higher rates than the inmates.


              1. Lynne

                Tell that to the Smithfield employees in Sioux Falls. They and theirs account for more than half the cases in the entire state of South Dakota, and Smithfield wouldn’t shut down because management said they were an essential industry.

    3. Cuibono

      It shoukd always be a concern… But to my knowledge all similar studies are relativley consistent in suggesting the tio of the iceberg phenomenon…
      And consistent with what epi studies of closed populations have shown

      1. Monty

        There is a massive difference in the implications of 10x confirmed positive tests as claimed in NYC antibody survey, and 80x as claimed by the Santa Clara study.

        1. xkeyscored

          Sure, and that needs looking into. It could be the tests themselves, the way people were selected, differences between NYC and Santa Clara virus-wise or population-wise or lifestyle-wise, or all sorts, and I’d guess people are onto figuring out which factors explain the difference. But unless they’re both completely wrong, there is a lot of the iceberg below the waterline.

          1. Cuibono

            Exactly. Fact is we have data frim several closed population studies now with cfr rangimg from.. 1 to 1.2

    4. juno mas

      The LATimes covered this story as well. Turns out the professors wife, while a doctor/radiologist, was not part of the study team. The study was not peer reviewed. The study team say they’ll respond to criticisms soon. The claims made by the wife in emails soliciting participants for the study are factually wrong.

  16. The Rev Kev

    “U.S. reels toward meat shortage; world may be next”

    I am beginning to believe that NC has some serious dark magic powers about it. It was only a few short months ago that we were talking about how we should be eating less meat and it looks like now we will be – whether we want to or not. We talked about the problem of mass tourism and lo and behold, there is now no more tourism. We talked about the problem of cruise liners and their environmental costs and they are now being all sent to ports. We talked too about too many aircraft trips and it is now down to a minimum. I am starting to see a pattern here.

    1. Tom Stone

      Rev, I failed to pick up a hunting license this year, so it looks like my protein source will be fish from the Russian River and perhaps a little roadkill…

        1. ambrit

          If they are anything like the game wardens here in the Deep South that I have encountered, yes, they will still be working. Working in ways that might surprise you. There is a legal principle called the “Open Fields Doctrine” that states that public police organs can surveil your private property outside of those areas directly adjacent to one’s home. Game Wardens have been caught multiple times putting up cameras on private property, and not always to search for poachers.
          See, with the all seeing eyes of Argus:
          Where is Robin Hood when we need him?

    2. ChristopherJ

      Thanks Rev, I liked the threat from the producers that, if we don’t get the supply chains moving, a lot of animals are going to have to be euthanized. Ha. You can’t make this up, eh?

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Well they are already euthanizing the poor because they are of no use so I don’t see why our bovine brethren should get special treatment.

        Hey, the ultimate IdPol for the virtue signaler who has everything: Sapiens-ism! Down with all other life forms! Program has been going for a while, 75% of the insects in Germany, most of the fish in the ocean…

  17. smoker

    04/24/20 By Laura Collins ‘Layers of hell.’ Former patient of Brooklyn nursing home where 55 residents died from COVID-19 says her three weeks in the facility left her traumatized after staff dismissed her virus diagnosis and brought in a psychologist instead

    Thirty-seven-year old mother-of-one, Mina Clarke, spent three weeks at Cobble Hill Health Center in Brooklyn, one of the worst hit homes, while recovering from surgery after breaking her arm and leg in a fall.

    Now, speaking exclusively to, Clarke has told of an experience that has left her traumatized, angry and sick; forced to self-isolate from her husband and five-year-old son and struggling to cope with continued recovery.

    She said: ‘It’s like going through different layers of hell. You go in there because of your personal pain and then you have the psychological [pain] observing your surroundings.

    ‘You are literally watching people in agony day in and day out, and you don’t see any family and you don’t have any access to the real world.’

    Clarke was transferred to Cobble Hill Health Center on March 23 from NYU Langone Orthopedic Hospital. She had been a patient there for a month following her accident and needed ongoing therapy.

    Cobble Hill offers temporary care for those recovering from a hospital stay, as well as permanent care for older and chronically ill residents. Clarke was encouraged by the largely positive reviews she read online and the fact her doctors at NYU Langone had heard nothing negative about the facility.

  18. Wukchumni

    Food banks:

    They more closely resemble banks as they have ‘fractional banking practices’ in that increasingly they only have enough money (food) on hand if you will, for a small amount of those requesting ‘deposits’.

    1. Voltaire Jr.

      Our food pantry is served by Second Harvest Food Bank. It serves 17 counties of food pantries in SW WI.
      Our company several times a year gives paid time for assistance to it and about 150 employees volunteer.

  19. TalkingCargo

    Before-and-after photos show dramatic decline in air pollution around the world during coronavirus lockdown

    Nice pictures.
    So a pandemic forces people to stay in their homes and substantially reduces global economic activity is good for the environment. Who could have predicted it?

    1. flora

      Those pictures are jaw dropping. So much less car traffic, so much cleaner air. That’s convinced me to do more walking and bicycling to short-distance destinations instead of using the car.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        The difference is amazing. Even in relatively unpolluted Ireland I was admiring the clear skies when walking in my local park last week, wondering what was missing. Then I realised that there were no contrails. I found it quite a shock to realise I’d come to think of contrails as ‘natural’ features.

    1. wilroncanada

      But it’s still useful in many educational institutions, according to some “education experts” There is a well-used euphemism: “corporal punishment”. The Saudis are not the only ones who have been flogging flogging as a behaviour modification device. Mind you, in other education milieus, the alternative device has become popular. It’s called “call the police”.

  20. TalkingCargo

    For any classical music fans out there the Metropolitan Opera is doing what they call an “At Home Gala” with musicians from all over the world performing from their homes. I watched it for about 3 hours yesterday and found it to be an amazing feat of technology. Some is live and some is prerecorded. One piece with full orchestra and chorus had 90 different shots of musicians playing from their homes. It is available for online viewing until 6:30 PM edt today:

    1. xkeyscored

      People keep talking about the death of entertainment due to this virus and the lockdowns, but at the same time, digital technology is opening up new ways of providing it in new forms. It’ll be interesting to see how many continue when the COVID crisis is over.

      1. Synoia

        Death of Entertainment? Not possible.

        We have Trump to thank for keeping the fodder for entertainment alive with his daily “briefings” to us.

    2. MLTPB

      From just homes and apartments?

      For connoisseurs, do they suffer from not hearing music performed in the perfectly acoustically designed chambers of our finest music halls?

        1. MLTPB

          My guess is, pre2020, music done this way, for the good tasted aficionados, was not worth listening to.

          But we live in a brave new world.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              Listening to an orchestra in person, physically, is an entirely different experience from listening to a recording. I used to go see the Montreal Symphony orchestra and sit two rows back in the middle. The physicality of the playing and the interplay between the players was extraordinary. Like a physical sport.

              1. ChrisPacific

                I think it was Roger Zelazny that used to speculate on how we might prove our sentience/intelligence to an alien civilization if we had no common language, frame of reference or even means of communication. A live performance of a full symphony orchestra was one of his choices.

              2. JBird4049

                Yes. Listening to live jazz or seeing art like a Monet in the flesh for. Even with my hearing live jazz at Yoshi’s or a show in the city and a recording are two very different things. And even paintings often are physical three dimensional creations.

  21. Noone from Nowheresville

    How Should the Left Movement Flex its Power?
    a Nomiki Konst interview
    Jane McAlevey discusses how political power is built, organized, and mapped. She’s a longtime trade union organizer and activist and author of “A Collective Bargain” & “No Shortcuts: Organizing for Power in the New Gilded Age”

    McAlevey gives me hope because of the way she discusses power dynamics and building organizing. She also understands that austerity is coming and coming hard. A lot to chew on in this appr. 38 minute interview.

    1. flora

      <…austerity is coming and coming hard.

      When T admin people and GOP congressmen say the states who didn’t save up money to cover the costs of the shutdown should now declare bankruptcy, why don’t they say the same about the corporations they’re bailing out, no strings attached? (rhetorical question)

      1. John

        Because according to Mnuchin, we aren’t bailing them out.
        We are only loaning them trillions.

        And it’s already starting. The debt. The debt. The debt. We can’t worry now, says Mnuchin after the corporations got trillions of tax dollars. But we will have to worry in the future when we are paying Social Security, Medicare and anything else that’s not money for the military.

        1. flora

          No doubt. The thing is, after watching the Dem estab for the past 25 years, through the Clinton and O administrations, I don’t think the Dem politicians will do anything to stop the austerity attacks on Main Street and the 90%. Elites in both parties seem to agree with cutting SS/Medicare and austerity for the 90%, while lavishing tax cuts on billionaires and bailouts for badly run large corporations.

          ““This fascinating review of a book on the plague in 17th century Florence quotes a wealthy Florentine who opposed the city’s policy of delivering food to those under quarantine, because “it would give [the poor] the opportunity to be lazy and lose the desire to work, having for forty days been provided abundantly for all their needs.” It’s striking how widespread similar worries are today among our own elite. It seems like one of the deepest lessons of the crisis is that a system organized around the threat of withholding people’s subsistence will deeply resist measures to guarantee it, even when particular circumstances make that necessary for the survival of the system itself. ” (my emphasis)

  22. Wukchumni

    Dow Jonestown?

    It took awhile for hyperinflation to get going in earnest in post WW1 Germany, and in 1921-22 der fatherland stock market was the place to be for marks with Marks, as it outpaced then then tepid inflation. 1923 comes along and it’s a whole different ballgame.

    We’re kind of similar to post WW1 Germany in that very little infrastructure was effected by the war, but there was no business to speak of.

    And there have been no instances of hyperinflation in digital money, so i’d suggest a more 2-way street with hyperdeflation hitting everything from collectibles to any old consumer good, including cars and real estate which will tank hard. Where the visible hyperinflation comes in, is via food prices-which can’t be hidden from the public. When butter is $6 a pound if you can find it, on its way to $10 as those $1200 checks come in, is what i’m thinking happens. It can only cascade upwards from there.

    Adam Fergusson’s When Money Dies: The Nightmare of the Weimar Collapse is the classic book on the subject.

    One of the tales is of Ernest Hemingway & pals valiantly trying to spend 1 whole American Dollar after crossing over from France, and try as hard as they can, drinking and eating and more drinking, they end up with millions of Marks left over at the end of the day, defeated kind of.

    Another tale told is that of farmers who became end users, with them taking in grand pianos and lesser makes, their barns full of cast off consumer goods, traded for food from city volk.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      “Another tale told is that of farmers who became end users, with them taking in grand pianos and lesser makes, their barns full of cast off consumer goods, traded for food from city volk.”

      I guess i need more barn space….

      and an update from the wilderness, ere i dash out the door to go do stuff:
      sent my eldest to work for a reclusive family in town who are going ahead with their little bistro on the Square…so he was moving in tables and chairs and equipment, etc.(i gather more to get all that out of their yard and living room than with any idea towards opening just yet)

      it was only the next day that we noticed the hickie.

      reclusive family(as in not church goers, recently arrived, no social life to speak of) has a hot daughter who is also a senior.
      wife’s tripping, I’m mad, and eldest is surlier than ever.
      Cain’t get a hickie from 6 feet away.

      meanwhile, on the same day, word comes through the rumor mill/grapevine that the virus is in the city office.
      city manager has it, and the rest of the city and county workforce is under quarantine until the tests come back…as is the newspaper staff,the electric coop people, the people who run the dump, etc etc etc.
      one city council member cuts hair…and she cut the hair of the baptist preacher’s family, and several others, just before this news…and the owner of my favorite gas/beer store who i heard coughing the other day: her husband works in the city office….and so on….
      it has arrived in much the manner i have been expecting: of a sudden and seemingly out of nowhere.
      so i’ve placed a list for everyone to add to for One More Supply Run…aside from wife’s necessary cancer excursions…because now, it’s finally real to everyone in the county.
      so at 5am i twisted a hogleg and filled a thermos with coffee and went in the Falcon to sit on the cattle guard, and watched the sun rise over the Rest of the World, and wanted nothing less than to fell a few trees on the dirt road leading to our place

      1. Oregoncharles

        You mean, life happens, and the young will find a way, regardless? I wondered about that. Good thing her family is “reclusive.”

        Just one of the ways the lockdown is not forever.

      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        The tales of Napoleon’s men walking home from Moscow. Soldiers wearing the finest silk ballroom gowns and furs they had stolen. Men carrying solid silver chandeliers. Items which they were unable to trade for meat from a fallen pack horse that had died.

    2. Susan the other

      but rationing creeps in on little cat feet. because a check from Treasury, as necessary, demands it. already my grocery store has limits, posted by “management” on the shelves, saying “one item per family” and they’ve been out of isopropyl alcohol, clorox, toilet paper, and freshly butchered meat for a good 3 weeks, and last week red onions, russet potatoes. still plenty of butter, cheese, eggs, peanut butter and snax, and most produce and plenty of dry and canned goods. Since the processing, storage and supply lines are disrupted, now is probably the time for the government to step in and subsidize that whole process, as well as the farmers who are gonna lose half of their income by the disruption… and etc We do seem to have the perfect storm. I love rain.

      1. Wukchumni

        Our local supermarket still has ex-restaurant stock single wrapped jumbo rolls of TP and pounds of butter of a brand name i’ve never heard of heretofore, also ex-restaurant.

        Once they run out of these, there is no more. Not as any restaurants are ordering any food now.

        One of the cabin owners in our community drives an 18 wheeler up and down the state, and one of his primary runs has been to pick up milk powder from the CAFO dairies in the Central Valley, and drive the load down to the Port of LA, en route to China. I’ll have to inquire how that trade is faring, as he’s certainly got his finger on the pulse.

        1. ambrit

          See if he can get you some of that powdered milk. It lasts well and is very useful. (Don’t even have to steal it. Legitimate purchase from the vendor’s warehouse.)

    3. Mel

      Always worth checking 100-years-ago-today at Whatever It Is, I’m Against It. Not in that link, but 100-years-ago-the-weeek-before-last, France was threatening to invade Germany unless Germany stood down some army units that the French felt were excessive. Germany claimed the troops were being used to suppress striking coal miners who refused to mine the coal France was demanding for war reparations. France was saying la-la-la on ne vous écoute pas.

  23. The Rev Kev

    “Fixing Nursing-Home Death Traps Is Key to Europe’s Virus Fight”

    There are other institutes that may be missed in this pandemic – mental health units for example. A psychiatrist brought the Coronavirus to a private Melbourne psychiatric clinic where it ran rampant with management not telling staff or incoming patients about the infection. This has now become a cluster that has to be eradicated but the story about it reminded me of other institutions apart from aged care facilities. Ones like mental health institutions, orphanages, refuges for women, etc. I have not heard much about them the past two months. Prisons yes, but no other such places-

    1. xkeyscored

      Coronavirus: Belarus orphanage seeks help amid ‘critical’ outbreak – BBC

      “Ten staff members and 13 children were infected as of Thursday,” though it doesn’t say how severe their symptoms are, and kids do seem to get off lightly on the whole compared to us old fogeys. “The Vesnova orphanage is financially supported by Irish charity Chernobyl Children International. It largely cares for abandoned children, and those whose parents are too impoverished to support them.”

      1. MLTPB

        Curious if there are Russsian Chernobyl Children charities in that country, and if they have similar cases.

    2. MLTPB

      Are seniors less likely to be in nursing homes in Vietnam, S Korea, & Taiwan (ie countries doing ok so far), than their Western counterparts, comparatively?

      1. xkeyscored

        Very much so in Cambodia, and most probably all those countries you mentioned and more besides. Family is still a cornerstone of everything in these parts.

        Here, the whole idea of nursing homes is still pretty alien (Cambodia’s first retirement home, June 2013). Couples living together rather than entire extended families in one location is on the rise, from a very low start not so long ago, and garment and construction workers often move to the cities to work. But strong relations are usually maintained, often with the grandparents in one place taking care of the kids while the parents work in another, and money is remitted home along with frequent visits. Pensions and retirement and so on are also new ideas here. Family is the social safety net, and sticking the elderly away to rot (as I think it’s understood here) is seen as a western barbarism.

    3. wilroncanada

      In British Columbia, as in most of Canada, it has been seniors care institutions. Others have been prisons, food processing factories (meat, produce, fish), oil sands workplaces. Contact tracing has, for the most part, kept these from escaping into the general public. For example: no major outbreaks from foodstore shopping. The other major contributor has been travel, now practically eliminated.

      1. MLTPB

        I wonder about nunneries and monasteries in Italy, Spain, and in Asian countries like Thailand, Taiwan, Japan, etc.

        In Singapore, the clusters have been workers dormitories. How many countries have such places?

    4. anon in so cal

      I wondered and worried about the large orphanage in Wuhan, source of many U.S. adoptees.

    5. Amfortas the hippie

      cousin’s girlfriend, acquired the disease a few days ago.
      she’s a physical therapist in a nursing home.
      waxahache, texas…outside of dallas.
      lots of death among her patients, prior to her infection.
      scary five days!
      but she feels better.
      Texas doesn’t test unless there’s symptoms…because the tests are too few.

      Failed State. failed at the most basic functions of a State.
      to protect it’s people….who are, after all, supposed to be It’s sovereign.

      1. ambrit

        Glad she pulled through. You touch on one of the glaring problems with ‘getting a handle on’ this pathogen; lack of testing. Roughly speaking, how can we trust any stastics from America anet the Coronavirus if the testing regime is so slipshod? Third World level of competence. Seeing the sharp increase in inequality here, I can well see America slipping into the status of a Geographical Region ruled by a series of City States.
        Stay safe and be prepared for the Second Wave. With the engineered “Reopening Early Movement” gaining traction, a resurgence of the Dreaded Pathogen is guaranteed.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          i queried stepdad’s Hot Latina Nurse as to what i should do, regarding my now hickied son.
          keep him in his room..outside his room: masked.
          spray all over los banos
          otherwise pee off the porch.
          she was specific:
          temp of 99.4= tylenol, every 4 hours.
          Temp=100.7= get tested.
          he has assented to these restrictions and things…if reluctantly…
          “the Wages of Sin”, indeed….
          He’s lucky i didn’t put him into s tent in the Pasture/

          1. ambrit

            That small a rise in temperature is cause for alarm? (I learn so much here.)
            I hope that you have some Elderberry syrup, vitamin C sources and Zinc for any possible “problem.” (Don’t forget to take some copper to augment the zinc. Oh, and some minerals to boost the effects of the vitamin C.)
            Be safe, and do drill into that young’uns skull just how many other Dreaded Pathogens there are floating around in the “Floating World.” And, that unlike in ‘our day,’ many of them aren’t easily curable, if at all. (Oh man. All the dumb stuff I did at that age. I’m surprised I survived it.)
            Stay safe at the “Texas 101 Ranch!”

  24. anon in so cal

    (presume everyone saw this, but just in case):

    “Coronavirus detected on particles of air pollution: cientists examine whether this route enables infections at longer distances

    Coronavirus has been detected on particles of air pollution by scientists investigating whether this could enable it to be carried over longer distances and increase the number of people infected.

    The work is preliminary and it is not yet known if the virus remains viable on pollution particles and in sufficient quantity to cause disease.

    The Italian scientists used standard techniques to collect outdoor air pollution samples at one urban and one industrial site in Bergamo province and identified a gene highly specific to Covid-19 in multiple samples. The detection was confirmed by blind testing at an independent laboratory.

    Leonardo Setti at the University of Bologna in Italy, who led the work, said it was important to investigate if the virus could be carried more widely by air pollution….”

    1. Carolinian

      This morning’s media scare nugget? Why is it that only Trump gets blamed for unfounded speculation?

        1. Carolinian

          The work is preliminary and it is not yet known if the virus remains viable on pollution particles and in sufficient quantity to cause disease.

          Unfounded by the news media. What they choose to focus on very much shapes the reaction to this disease.

          Yesterday I linked an article on a Chinese study of their epidemic which suggested there was practically no evidence of transmission in outdoor situations according to their contact tracing. Of course this is a piece of info that is practically invisible even though it suggests that many of the steps taken–such as closing state parks and trails–are unjustified.

          And that doesn’t make the Chinese study definitive either (I have no idea whether it was “peer reviewed”). But if the media are going to focus on preliminary studies that make the disease seem worse then it’s only fair for them to also tell about the preliminary studies that say the opposite. And if they are going accuse one side of having a hidden agenda then it’s only fair to ask the same question about the other. It seems we live in an information environment where almost everyone has an agenda which is why some of us are here at this blog. Some just want to know the truth, including yours truly.

        2. anon in so cal

          “experts agree their proposal is plausible and requires investigation.”

          All research starts out as “non-peer-reviewed,” until such time as it gets peer-reviewed….

          1. xkeyscored

            And it sounds entirely plausible that it (or its droplet) can attach itself to particles and hang around in the air. We know it can hang around and remain infectious on some surfaces for days, so why not on some particles? I’d find evidence that it doesn’t much more interesting.

              1. anon in so cal

                A Dr. Milton, at U Maryland, who specializes in bioaerosols and respiratory epidemiology, has some interesting info on the viability of the virus in air and is unsurprisingly a big advocate of masks.


                Apparently, the virus’ ability to attach to paticulates would provide it ability to go farther distances.

                1. Susan the other

                  If the air we breathe is dense, either by pollution or temperature difference from human breath, then the virus can float around. One question that seems unanswered is how long can a virus be dormant and does pollution (say CO2 which rises) serve to prevent it’s timely decay and falling to the ground? Much like cold, dry air. I also do see a correlation here between toxic pollutants that might actually sanitize the immediate environment for the floating virus and the function of cold, dry air keeping the virus protected from bacteria and also from falling to the ground, as the virus exhaled is warm. The aerodynamics of a virus.

                  1. xkeyscored

                    ” An astonishing number of viruses are circulating around the Earth’s atmosphere — and falling from it — according to new research. The study marks the first time scientists have quantified the viruses being swept up from the Earth’s surface into the free troposphere, beyond Earth’s weather systems but below the stratosphere where jet airplanes fly. The viruses can be carried thousands of kilometers there before being deposited back onto the Earth’s surface.

                    “Every day, more than 800 million viruses are deposited per square metre above the planetary boundary layer — that’s 25 viruses for each person in Canada,” said University of British Columbia virologist Curtis Suttle, one of the senior authors of a paper in the International Society for Microbial Ecology Journal that outlines the findings.

                    Bacteria and viruses are swept up in the atmosphere in small particles from soil-dust and sea spray.

                    The viruses tend to hitch rides on smaller, lighter, organic particles suspended in air and gas, meaning they can stay aloft in the atmosphere longer.”

           – February 6, 2018

                    1. MLTPB

                      Thanks for the quote.

                      Something new to worry about, though this random, worldwide conveyer belt must have been around for millions or billions of years.

                    2. Aumua

                      A minor point, but the ‘free troposphere’ is definitely not beyond weather systems, but it is a region of more laminar flow above the planetary boundary layer, which is the first few thousand meters of atmosphere where turbulence dominates.

                    3. rtah100

                      Small numbers of children in the UK are being hospitalised with serious symptoms suspected of being weird covid-19 sequelae. The presentation is similar to Kawasaki syndrome. This is news in itself but, interestingly and related to this topic of viral hitchhikers on pollution, Kawasaki syndrome is presumed to be caused by an unidentified pathogen, because its prevalence increases in Japan and Hawaii when the wind blows from central Asia!

    2. Tom Stone

      Dude, Chill out.
      Have a Dove Bar and relax, once Biden is elected these problems will be contained.
      Trust me, I’m a Realtor!

    3. lambert strether

      The original study is the third link under #COVID19 -> Science

      Given the state of the press, I always try to link to original material so readers can assess it, unless the abstract is completely impenetrable or time does not permit.

      Do feel free to read the post.

    4. Carey

      >Coronavirus has been detected on particles of air pollution by scientists investigating whether this could enable it to be carried over longer distances and increase the number of people infected.
      The work is preliminary and it is not yet known if the virus remains viable on pollution particles and in sufficient quantity to cause disease.

      Yep, we’re clearly going to need to die in order to save ourselves from the Deadly Pathogen.

      #doomPorn: some people actually *like* this stuff..


  25. Brooklin Bridge

    I’m probably missing something, but havn’t seen much about AOC’s, “I will vote for Joe Biden”

    And, interestingly, The Hill Rising has a take on that,, while also making the point that the DNC is – in an all too familiar move – consciously flipping it’s finger at ******* retards progressives via the Biden talks with Larry Summers and the fact that “the left” (AOC) has nothing to say about it other than to once again suck it up and like it with party unity being more important than their pitch.

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      Adding, I don’t imagine for a moment that AOC is happy about this setup, but regardless there it is.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        By definition she is happy enough about the setup or else she would have acted differently. Kind of like the CARES Act vote. I’m sure she prefers the benes and fame of Congress over those of being a bartender. On an individual level you can’t blame her, it’s on the institutional level where “opposition” in any form is/has been vivisected

    2. Pookah Harvey

      FYI: The Hill is owned by Jimmy Finkelstein who is a close friend of Giuliani and Trump.

      I have been an avid listener of Rising while Bernie was in play but have noticed that since his campaign ended Krystal has continued Biden bashing with little outcry against Saagar’s increasingly prolific silly praise for every Trump action. My guess is that the show will continue, under Finkelstein’s control, to try to be a divisive force to split the democrats with little criticism of Trump.
      Don’t get me wrong, I think Krystal does a good job but….

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        I’ve never seen an organization that has done a better, more thorough, more determined job of splitting itself than the Democrat party has between it’s valued corporate owner members and it’s f…ing retards, opps…sorry, I mean, its effing deplorables, …phooey…,(arrrg, splutter, gotta catch up with the right decade) ahem, it’s left flank punching bag. From what I’ve watched of the Hill Rising, it’s splitting more infinitives than political parties and come to think of it, I can’t recall a single split infinitive.

        1. JBird4049

          At least the American Whigs fell apart from not dealing with the slavery question. The collapse and subsequent formation of the Republican Party was in some ways done by a lack of successful debate and agreement, and unintended. The Democratic Party seems determine to do everything it can to drive away its base, even some of its politicians. It is like Pelosi and Schumer wake up everyday looking for more picadors, not thinking that sometimes it is the bull that wins.

          The look, on AOC and Bernie Sanders recently are a simultaneous combination of sadness, despair, and rage. I know that many people view them as traitors or failures, but what I am thinking is just how far people can be pushed and how quickly it can all unravel.

          “If I’ve lost Cronkite…”

          1. Brooklin Bridge

            The look, on AOC and Bernie Sanders recently are a simultaneous combination of sadness, despair, and rage.

            You may be on to something. Very interesting comment.

            Pardon me while I succumb to dark thoughts – nothing to do with your comment except obliquely. There seems to be a lot of confusion about Biden – such as the half exhausted half frantically inspired idea that he would actually be any better than Trump. That we retards have to go through this whole recurring lessor evil nightmare again and again and again. And not just that. Polls saying youth would find Biden more palatable with Warren of all the possible choices for a running mate. Warren? Warren??? Why would that be? So that Biden has to watch his back all the time to keep from getting a shiv plunged into it? Something to keep him from dozing off too frequently or letting his mind wander? That might work, but only for a while. Or because she would bring such a breath of honesty and truthfullness into the White Wash, opps, I mean White House? Biden’s old, not like Sanders, I mean really OLD. He wouldn’t be able to keep up his guard. He’d drift off into a fantasy she was his caregiver within a week.

            Then mix it all up with the pandemic – Trump, Biden, Biden Trump. Even Fellini’s Satyricon doesn’t come close.

          2. Aumua

            Well sadness, despair and rage sum up my own feelings pretty well lately about the state of the world, and the U.S. in particular. It does feel hopeless, and I feel helpless.

            1. JBird4049

              Dark thoughts? If I was even more cynical I would wonder if the PTB were deliberately using COVID19 as a way to emotionally destroy the American nation. I have to say that this whole stinking situation makes me want to drink, which is why, for now, I cannot drink.

              And while (ahem) some people with actual yards might be unsympathetic to those whining about the quarantine, being stuck in my very junior one bedroom apartment is depressing. And as much I love my geriatric tabby, she ain’t actually much of a conversationalist.

              A good thing for me is that I can get halfway caught up on my reading list if the quarantine last for the 18 plus months I suspect it will. I am supposed to be a college student. I might as well create and run my own home school educational program. The chance to really read is the one thing that I appreciate.

              Before I go even more mental I need to buy some grow lights…if nothing else lettuce and carrots can be easily grown indoors. Anyone got some suggestions? Herbs, maybe? Mint is a weed so that one down.

      2. Portlander

        I think Krystal does a great job. I don’t care who funds her program or why.

        What’s wrong with bashing Biden? There’s a lot to bash.

        Sorry, this Bernie supporter is not on the party unity train. And, I think it’s premature to assume this cognitively deficient, record-deficient and character-deficient old pol will be the nominee.

        My scenario: 1) Biden decides he can’t run without all of his marbles, 2) all the candidates release their delegates to let the convention nominate someone who can muster a truly united anti-Trump coalition.

        If the Democrats nominate Hillary 2.0 the country will deserve four more years of Trump.

        1. flora

          There’s a new glitter in Andy’s eyes; he’s hired McKinnsey, he’s hired Bloomberg… What can he be thinking? / ;)

        2. ambrit

          Really though. Biden is Obama 2.0.
          Anyone with better inside dope know if there is a power struggle between the Clinton and Obama cliques inside the Democrat party? It sure looks like there is.

      3. Big Tap

        Most people I know on the Left don’t like Biden. Krystal Ball’s criticism of Biden is a logical reaction. The Democrats are already split. The Left and Bernie supporters in particular know they been played again by the establishment corporate side. The donors wanted Biden so let them come up with his voters.

    3. John k

      She’s up for re-election in a solidly dem district where dnc is hugely funding a latin opponent. If she’s not for biden she must be for trump, right?
      No options unless biden flames out.
      Best thing she can do right now is to win her district big against dnc oppo.
      At some point the point can be made the only way to beat reps is to run a progressive or acknowledge its better to lose to the rep than win with progressive… as blankfein said out loud.

  26. The Rev Kev

    “We’re in a golden age of TV re-runs. Soon they’ll be the only thing on”

    Maybe if this goes on long enough, they might start to air older series. Ones like the Addams family, the Goodies, the Benny Hill Show, Gilligan’s Island, Dobbie Gillis, the Flintstones, Get Smart, etc.

    1. xkeyscored

      Or we might turn on the telly to find somber patriotic music and “Normal service will be resumed … Anyone defying the military will be …”

    2. Mark Gisleson

      Some heavy preview will be needed. Was recently reminded why you never see Schwarzenegger’s second Conan movie from the early ’80s. In it he punches first a horse and then a camel.

      Cringe comedy wise, I don’t think many of us would enjoy how ’50s and ’60s TV portrayed minorities, especially Asians. On the other hand, there is at least one vintage series of movies that’s remarkably enlightened in this regard. If you have access to any Boston Blackie movies, you might be pleasantly entertained.

    3. Acacia

      “We now return control of your television set to you …

      Actually, no, we won’t. What were you thinking?” ;)

    4. polecat

      We’re already into the OUTER LIMITS as it is …

      What’s next, the cheap fuel-guzzling antics of Starsky&Hutch ?

    5. Jeremy Grimm

      The tail of this link left an eerie feeling —
      “… all we have are the existing quantity of shows that have been produced up to now.”
      As supply chains collapse and businesses close this may indeed be said of many things.

    6. Massinissa

      Most of those still get shown on public television, actually. Cable users are usually out of luck regarding those.

      Well, except for the Flintstones. Only way to watch that is cable, usually the channel Boomerang. Warner doesn’t let its old cartoons get shown on public television.

    1. xkeyscored

      AYTU doesn’t seem to be doing too badly from the free publicity either:

      Aytu Bioscience Inc
      1.40 USD +0.21 (17.65%)
      Closed: Apr 24, 8:00 PM EDT · Disclaimer
      After hours 1.58 +0.18 (12.86%) [“AYTU” Google]


      ENGLEWOOD, CO / ACCESSWIRE / April 20, 2020 / Aytu BioScience, Inc. (AYTU) (the “Company”), a specialty pharmaceutical company focused on commercializing novel products that address significant patient needs announced today that it has signed an exclusive worldwide license from Cedars-Sinai to develop and commercialize the Healight Platform Technology (“Healight”). This medical device technology platform, discovered and developed by scientists at Cedars-Sinai, is being studied as a potential first-in-class treatment for coronavirus and other respiratory infections.

      The Healight technology employs proprietary methods of administering intermittent ultraviolet (UV) A light via a novel endotracheal medical device.

  27. PlutoniumKun

    China’s economy can only grow with more state control not less FT

    This argument extends well beyond China.

    So what are the other sources of growth? In China’s case only two: infrastructure investment and real estate development.

    With China already massively overinvested in infrastructure, only the government will directly or indirectly promote more. Meanwhile the real estate sector, with nearly one-quarter of all urban apartments already empty, is also crucially dependent on state support. Because an economy in which resources are allocated by market forces is unlikely to devote much effort to either sector, the only way to keep growth high is via more state support.

    This is why the state has played and will continue to play an expanding role in China’s economy. As long as Beijing requires growth that is substantially higher than the economy’s real, underlying growth rate (probably around half reported growth rates) China has no choice but to expand the government’s presence. This will also reduce the market’s role in allocating resources.

    Market-based reforms, no matter how aggressively implemented, will not drive sustainable growth in China. An economy in which the market allocates resources and capital can generate high growth rates. But only after Beijing completes a politically difficult but necessary redistribution of wealth — and with it power — from local governments and elites to ordinary households.

    Its slowly dawning I think on the mainstream that consumer demand has been annihilated by Covid and with the services sector shrinking by the hour, governments simply have to step in with direct spending. Of course, they might do it by buying more F-35’s, but even this won’t be efficient anymore. And infrastructural spending to a large extent will be too slow. Governments will have to step in to buy stuff, and then it’ll have to give money to people who need to spend it, in other words, the non-rich. We really are in the middle of a very big paradigm shift. Lets keep it shifting.

  28. anon in so cal

    Interview with noted German virologist, Dr. Christian Drosten, on the “prevention paradox” aka the danger of relaxing lockdowns too soon:

    “the “prevention paradox” has set in. People are claiming we over-reacted, there is political and economic pressure to return to normal. The federal plan is to lift lockdown slightly, but because the German states, or Länder, set their own rules, I fear we’re going to see a lot of creativity in the interpretation of that plan. I worry that the reproduction number will start to climb again, and we will have a second wave.”

    1. Carolinian

      Isn’t a “second wave” inevitable in any case? Or are we just going to stay locked down until a vaccine appears which may not work anyway given speculation–probably in the Guardian–that infection may not convey immunity?

      1. anon in so cal

        Some researchers, such as Drosten, advocate maintaining a lockdown until the Ro is below 1, and until adequate testing capability and contact tracing are in place.

        There is apparently no evidence that infection provides immunity, and “immunity passports” can perhaps lead to other negative unintended consequences, such as forgeries, relaxation of social distancing, etc., causing an uptick in cases.

        1. Carolinian

          I have several comments in moderation and won’t repeat them but just to this: the “precautionary principle” is all well and good and some of us supported it as a preliminary measure. But surely common sense tells us that to exercise ultimate precaution against a disease which–even in the worst case scenario–is not the plague while showing utter lack of caution re the many other dangers facing ordinary people (such as food disruption, financial ruin, loss of housing etc) is irrational. We are not going to stay locked downed for 18 months so why even pretend that is an option?

          1. MLTPB

            It’s not an easy decision.

            I think Congress will open in May. And people will gather in that building.

            Usually a lot of rules don’t apply to them, but isn’t it safer to work from home? Though being essential workers, they are needed.

            Hopefully everyone wears a mask.

            1. ambrit

              Considering that they have just pulled off the biggest heist in ages, for the second time in a decade, I hope that they wear masks. If only to preserve the illusion of even handedness. (That voice vote was the ultimate political ‘mask’ possible.)
              “Sorry officer. I can’t identify the crooks. They all wore masks.” [Such is the “punch line” for one of the oldest shaggy dog jokes known. The joke begins with: “A car pulls up in front of the Federal Reserve Bank and a donkey and an elephant get out and run inside…”]

              1. MLTPB

                Are people watching reruns of the Lone Ranger?

                His mask…well, the nose is uncovered.

                ‘Your mask is no good!!!!’

          2. Monty

            “such as food disruption”
            The food industry is “essential” and not under any lock down restrictions as far as I know. Ending the lock down will just make their problems worse. If more of the essential workers become exposed, and unable to perform their duties, wont some people starve?

            1. Beniamino

              The supermarkets remain open (and remain hotbeds for infection) but they’re not giving food away for nothing. In the U.S., as indeed elsewhere, people need money to live and a one-time payment of $1,200, to the extent it eventually materializes, is not going to cut it – not even for one month. If governments are really intent on treating this like the bubonic plague, they need to impose hard quarantines (i.e., vast majority of people categorically forbidden to leave their houses), shut down public transport, shut down public access to supermarkets, and deliver actual food to everyone under quarantine. As far as I can tell, none of the foregoing is being actively contemplated, let alone implemented, at any level of government. Most proponents of indefinite shutdown aren’t even committing to monthly UBI payments for the duration of the epidemic.

            2. xkeyscored

              To MLTPB and Aumua below (no “Reply” button showing):

              Yes, it’s probably been going on for ages, and no, it’s not something to worry about too much, as the vast majority of viruses don’t infect humans.

              And the original article seems a bit more nuanced about this ‘free troposphere’ thing – “The height of [the atmospheric boundary layer] is a key boundary to discriminate between local and long-range atmospheric deposition. Below this boundary layer, in the lower part of the troposphere, vertical mixing processes influence atmospheric deposition and account for most local deposition. In contrast, above this boundary layer is the free troposphere; material entrained in this layer is typically subject to long-range transport [10].” Maybe they thought ‘beyond weather systems’ sounded good enough.

              1. xkeyscored

                Sorry, that’s re MLTPB 3:42 pm and Aumua 3:43 pm.
                Don’t know how it ended up here!

        2. Mikel

          “Immunity passports”
          I could see that being a good social unrest starting point or the type of stressor that makes people want to go out less. The assholery around them would be unbearable.

      2. CuriosityConcern

        What should the course be while the scientists and medical personnel determine what they can about the virus and it’s effects on humans? What’s your red line on mortality rate?
        Also, don’t forget about flattening the curve, the stated reason we are in quarantine…

  29. juno mas

    RE: Got coronavirus?

    This is a perfect example of how people like their health insurance; until they have to use it.

  30. polecat

    Nice Antidote du Jour, by the way.

    I endeavor to see more insects* this growing season .. besides the ones I hived yesterday. I’ve observed few butterflies the last couple of years, cabbage spotted-wing ones excepting.

    *with the caveat of wishing to avoid hive raids by any reaving Giant Asian Hornets, which have made their way from Vancouver Island (via some shipping crate from ‘overseas’…) to western Wa. State last year .. as if the local common yellowjackets aren’t enough of a hassle as it is. The GAHs have been known to completely decimate a honeybee colony within an hour’s time. Yikes!

    Thanks to Globalization .. this time by way of CHINA ! ..


    1. MLTPB

      So, we have

      Giant Asian Hornets
      Meat shortage, and no SPAM

      What else?


      1. Kfish

        Already happening in Kenya and Australia. This household of first-born children is getting nervous.

      2. polecat

        I am NOW forever thankful that my youngin got my some SPAM last Xmas …..

        Sould go well sweet-n-soured, with a bowl of saffron jasmine rice and a steamin hot sake !

        Had a sighting of said mysterymeat whilst perusing Costco today… but alas, no turkeybacon AND very little in the way of chicken parts; a teensy pile O breasts .. in an otherwise empty refer aisle. No Ritz crackers either. Things are truly going south.

        1. ambrit

          The spam, or analogue, is good to season a pot of red beans with. Add that and onion, celery, a carrot or two, some parsley, a bay leaf and spices to taste. Serve with rice of your choice. (We prefer short grain brown rice in the half horse town.) Some add sausage and hot sauce. I remember eating red beans and rice on Mondays at a hole in the wall restaurant down on Basin Street back in the seventies.
          As an added bonus, the dish is better reheated the next day than at the original serving!

  31. Cuibono

    international airports like SEA, SFO, LAX, JFK, EWR, etc. “The Pandemic in the Air,” as it were.”
    Dies anyond have ANY goid data on this? I cant fund any data at all on air travel or airports

        1. Monty

          Sorry, I couldn’t resist!

          He just sprang to mind when I read the comment.

          Locked down hands do the devil’s work!

    1. rowlf

      I work for an airline at a large station, and so far we don’t have official reports of more than a handful of employees or other airport personnel being infected across the system. The airline is being aggressive about safety and sanitizing, as well as supporting employees being quarantined based on travel.

      You would think JFK, LHR and AMS would have everyone sick based of news reports warning how infectious the virus is and how many people transit these airports from everywhere. It is hard to form a picture of what is going on.

      1. Carey

        > You would think JFK, LHR and AMS would have everyone sick based of news reports warning how infectious the virus is and how many people transit these airports from everywhere. It is hard to form a picture of what is going on.

        Mmm / heh

  32. Lynne

    On the article about meat in the US: is a brief overview of how we got here.

    “Processing plants and slaughterhouses across the country slowly disappeared during the 1980s and 1990s, a period of great upheaval in the meat industry, defined by a roller coaster of shutdowns, re-openings, labor disputes, massive wage concessions and acquisitions.”

    Also, the Argus is reporting that the UFCW has told its members not to participate in a statewide study of hydroxychloroquine.

    1. MLTPB

      Just saw a CNN headline that 2 million chickens in Delaware and Maryland will be killed because of lack of employees at processing plants.

      I thought working processing plants do that to millions of chickens, not when they lack workers.

      1. Lynne

        Alas, the animals are killed either way. The difference is whether people get food to eat.

        One of the reasons they are killed either way is that regulations limit how many animals may be kept in CAFOs and there is a backlog further back in the supply chain. Except, that is, for grass fed and pasture raised animals. Yet another reason to support that type of agriculture, in addition to the environmental benefits.

        I hear there are FB groups being started to link up ranchers with consumers. It will be interesting to see how large that is allowed to get before it is shut down in the name of food safety.

        1. Alfred

          Is a distinction to be understood between “killing” the chickens (in such a way that they are rendered unfit for human consumption) and “slaughtering” the chickens (in a way that makes them, so to speak, safe to eat)? The former could presumably occur outside of any processing plant and need not involve anyone qualified as a food processor.

  33. Jason Boxman

    Anyone else give money to an NGO and suddenly been bombarded by fund raising emails from different, unrelated groups suddenly? It’s getting insane and dissuading me from giving anyone any money anymore.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      “Euthanize the NGOs” has been my rallying cry for some time. They’re a weak substitute for a functional state, depending as they do primarily on money from the rich.

  34. Wukchumni

    ‘Noriega Hotel will not reopen,’ signaling the end of Bakersfield as we know it The Bakersfield Californian

    Too bad, i’ve always enjoyed going to Basque restaurants, my favorite one is up in Gardnerville, Nv. Not something you’d do all the time, but maybe once a twice a year.

    About 20 years ago there was a Basque Restaurant right off the 99 Hwy in Bakersfield and we stopped in for a meal, and like a lot of eateries of its ilk, lots of photos of home on the walls. The catch being this one was run by Chinese-Americans, who had bought it from the original Basque family owners a few months prior. The tucker was ok, the ju-ju of the place-all wrong.

  35. KFritz

    Re: US avoids WHO meeting of world leaders for Covid 19

    Linking tool doesn’t work with my desktop. Reuters reported that Russia, PRC, and India also skipped the meeting. Nothing in the article about Brazil, Indonesia, Pakistan, Nigeria. Most prominent non-Euopean attendee mentioned was South Africa. Selective journalism from The Guardian.

      1. KFritz

        Almost certainly not the national government of Brasil, which doesn’t endorse it. The above was not a defense of Trump’s scabrous behavior toward the WHO, long a bugbear to our reactionaries. Nevertheless, non-attendance by that many large nations indicates some sort of pattern of attitude.

        1. MLTPB

          I note that one place doing OK, so far, is Taiwan, the other China (Beijing also sees it like this), which is not even in the WHO.

  36. Portlander

    RE: “Bernie says the struggle must continue through 2020….”

    The only nugget from the Teen Vogue interview is this: we’ve got to make Joe Biden a far more progressive candidate than he is right now.

    Now frankly, this seems like utter political naivete….First he campaigned against the DNC establishment, now he thinks he can work within it to “reform” it, and its candidate, to be more progressive.

    He says the struggle must continue, but he abandoned the struggle when he endorsed Biden. He is now a bundle of contradictions.

    I’ll go further: he betrayed the struggle. His “friendship” with Biden came first. It was, in the end “Not about us. It’s about me.”

  37. ewmayer

    “New details emerge in declassified Papadopoulos transcript | CBS News” — from the article:

    Of the October 23, 2016 transcript, Horowitz wrote, “Papadopoulos did not say much about Russia during the first conversation with Source 3, other than to mention a “friend Sergey…[who] lives in…Brooklyn,” and invite Source 3 to travel with Papadopoulos to Russia in the summertime.”

    The date on the transcript reflects that the FBI was using a confidential source to gather intelligence about the former campaign aide less than three weeks before the presidential election. Within days of the Papadopoulos recorded conversation, the FBI Russia team, known as “Crossfire Hurricane” had also secured a surveillance warrant for Page to investigate alleged coordination between the Trump team and Moscow.

    Papadopoulos is a key figure in the FBI Russia probe. Horowitz found that the bureau opened the case after intelligence received from a friendly foreign government that Papadopoulos “suggested the Trump team had received some kind of suggestion from Russia that it could assist this process with the anonymous release of information during the campaign that would be damaging to Mrs. Clinton…”

    Earlier this month, CBS News was first to report that transcripts of a separate conversation, on October 31, 2016, showed that Papadopoulos denied to an FBI confidential source that the campaign was involved in the circumstances surrounding the hack of the Democratic National Committee’s email system, calling the idea “illegal.”

    However, Horowitz also noted in his report that “Case Agent 1” had said of a similar recorded conversation with Papadopoulos in September 2016, “the Crossfire Hurricane team’s assessment was that the Papadopoulos denial was a rehearsed response, and that he did not view the information as particularly germane to the investigation of Carter Page.”

    Case Agent 1 told the OIG that he and the team had discounted Papadopoulos’ denials for a number of reasons, but a footnote to the report said the agent realized in hindsight that the denials, as well as the team’s assessment of his denials, should have been shared with Justice Department’s office of intelligence (OI) “in order for [OI] to make the determination whether [those denials] should be in the application.”

    Faulting the FBI, Horowitz wrote that because the surveillance target has “no defense counsel,” there is a special obligation on the FBI and Justice Department to “over tell” the story and include a “full and accurate” presentation of the facts to meet the bureau’s standard of “scrupulously accurate.”

    Apart from the serious flaws Horowitz found in the FBI investigation, he said in his report that “we concluded that the quantum of information articulated by the FBI to open the individual investigations on Papadopoulos, Page, Flynn and Manafort in August 2016 was sufficient to satisfy the low threshold established by the Department and the FBI.”

    So, the FBI agents believed – with no actual basis for such a belief other than uncorroborated intel from an unnamed “friendly foreign government” – that Papadopoulos was lying under oath when he made the above denials. And then the same FBI agents actual *do* lie in their ensuing FISA warrant application, by omitting such crucial factual details about their questioning of Papadopoulos, in order to get as broad as possible a warrant to continue and widen their fishing epedtion. That strikes me as significantly more serious than the “flawed investigation” framing used by the authors of the CBS news piece. But then again, such “missteps”, “mistakes were made”, “lapses in judgment” anodynizations are SOP for such MSM whitewashings of establishment malfeasance, when the targets of same are not favored establishment insiders.

    One also wonders, given that the intel from the unnamed “friendly foreign government” turned out to be bogus, whether the same “friendly foreign government” could be construed as having engaged in “election meddling” on behalf of Mrs. Clinton. But hey, that sort of stuff is presumably restricted to the “unfriendly” foreign governments. Nothing to see here!

    1. integer

      I expect you already know this, but the source of the intel that was relayed by “a friendly foreign government” – the Australian government – is Alexander Downer, a former Aus. Minister for Foreign Affairs who is currently the Aus. High Commissioner to the UK. He has close ties to a UK firm named Hakluyt that was founded by ex-MI6 agents, which is essentially a shadow intel agency:

      Britain is concerned about Australia’s links to Hakluyt security firm created by former MI6 agents

      Created by former MI6 British Secret Service agents, Hakluyt is an ultra secretive firm whose client list reads like a who’s who of the business world with corporations retaining their services for strategic intelligence and advice as they look to expand operations.

      The group boasts it doesn’t offer “off the shelf” advice but rather uses a network of key operatives across the globe to instruct on a country, government, industry or company’s outlook and exploitable strengths and weaknesses.

      Australian High Commissioner to the UK Alexander Downer had been on the advisory board of the London-headquartered firm since 2008 when he was a UN special envoy but was forced to give up the position when he was appointed to head the Australian diplomatic post in London in 2014.

      But it can be revealed Mr Downer has still been attending client conferences and gatherings of the group, including a client cocktail soiree at the Orangery at Kensington Palace a few months ago.

      Downer was also involved in securing $25 million from the Aus. government to give to the Clinton Foundation.

      1. ewmayer

        Thanks – I’d heard the intel came from Oz, but was not aware of the Downer/Clinton-grift-machine angle. Just e-mailed Lambert a link to your comment to make sure he sees it.

        1. integer

          FWIW I doubt the Aus. government played a part in Downer’s attempt to frame Papadopoulos. Rather, I suspect the meeting was set up at the behest of the UK intel types that he pals around with, and the Aus. government was used as a conduit to launder the information to the FBI.

  38. occasional anonymous

    Re: American ingenuity

    Simone Giertz in fact isn’t American; she’s Swedish. She just has zero accent.

    1. Foy

      Yep, she lived on a boat at the river/sea bank/marina for a fair while. Very funny girl. Sadly she got a brain tumour behind her eye a few years ago and it was noticed on her youtube videos as she got a swelling and drooping on her eye over time but it was a while before it got picked up and diagnosed. And the tumour came back again a while ago. She had loads of energy and was very funny but it is noticeable that the her energy levels are not what they once were understandably. But still brilliant at what she does. Famous for turning a Tesla into a pickup (a much better one than Musk’s version, but that’s not hard!).

  39. VietnamVet

    The Trump campaign will blame federal employees for the pandemic. Joe Biden is no alternative. He will keep the current for-profit healthcare system. With either candidate, the US federal government will not gain control over the COVID-19 pandemic. The Empire falls.

    Vulnerable populations in nursing homes and food supply choke points like harvesting and butchering will not be safeguarded by a national public health system that does virus testing of everyone and assures protective equipment for workers. No sick leave or healthcare for all. This takes money and this pandemic proves, once again, the last thing corporate executives will do is protect their workers unless government orders them to do it. This is impossible in the current plutocratic purchased political duopoly.

    Anyone shedding the virus needs to be isolated in safe facilities especially if there is no immunity or a vaccine for the coronavirus. The best way to think about the future is a highly contagious HIV like pandemic. Without rebuilding the national public health system and healthcare for all, America will revert into the Wild Wild West. Getting within 6 feet of a virus shedding person or contacting a virus contaminated surface risks around a 10% chance of being hospitalized (plus the bills) or a one in a hundred chance of death. In the future, with antiviral treatments, the risks would be lowered. Coronavirus will become another endemic virus like HIV which kills 1.2 million people per year globally today.

  40. Lambert Strether Post author

    > Vulnerable populations in nursing homes and food supply choke points like harvesting and butchering

    The first time through, I read this as implying that nursing homes (and prisons (and homeless encampments ))) were all “choke points” for “harvesting and butchering.” Not so far off….

  41. HotFlash

    Replying to JBird4049 at April 26, 2020 at 11:28 pm

    Herbs are great. Some, eg basil, watercress, rosemary, and mint, can even be grown from grocery-store bunches. Kratky hydroponics for lettuce, bok choi, and such, if you have a sunny window that’ll do you fine. Window farming is also a way to use small spaces, here is one, owner figures he spent $20. Micro greens only need light at the end of the process, and bean sprouts need none. I have tried ‘shrooms but have only had success with commercial products .

    Search Youtube for specifics, good sources are Jeb Gardner for Kratky (and of course the good Prof himself), Khang Starr for micro and other indoor growing, much very low-tech, and Maangchi for beansprouts.

    Hello and a scritch under the chin to Ms Kitteh.

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