Links 4/27/2020

The Malaysian Job Andrew Cockburn, Harpers. 1MDB.

StanChart’s Troubled Loans Top $600 Million on Corporate Woes Bloomberg

Buffering Covid-19 losses – the role of prudential policy Bank of International Settlements

When Tailwinds Vanish John Luttig. A Thiel intern.


The science:

We Still Don’t Know How the Coronavirus Is Killing Us David Wallace-Wells, New York Magazine. “[T]he degree to which doctors and scientists are, still, feeling their way, as though blindfolded, toward a true picture of the disease cautions against any sense that things have stabilized, given that our knowledge of the disease hasn’t even stabilized.” We have linked to most of the ways that doctors and scientists have been “feeling their way” as matters developed, but this is an excellent aggregation. A must-read.

COVID-19 Protocols: Clinical Course, Prognosis, and Epidemiology Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Continuously updated. Note especially “Clinical Presentation (1)(a): Symptoms: Fever, 44-94% (varied temperature cutoffs in literature, no consensus).”

Presence of SARS-CoV-2 reactive T cells in COVID-19 patients and healthy donors medrXiv. “The presence of pre-existing SARS-CoV-2-reactive T cells in healthy donors is of high interest but larger scale prospective cohort studies are needed to assess whether their presence is a correlate of protection or pathology.” Speculation that “a wet lab study from Germany suggests that some degree of limited background immunity against #COVID19 may exist in the population (~1/3 of their healthy donor sample) due to previous infections with other “common cold” coronaviruses,” but the study itself is more cautious, as you see.

* * *

Global coronavirus death toll could be 60% higher than reported FT (not pay-walled). Another must-read. Handy charts:


In a Crowded City, Leaders Struggle to Separate the Sick From the Well NYT. Chelsea, MA.

Katharine Robb, a researcher at the Harvard Kennedy School who spent a summer following housing inspectors in Chelsea, was stunned by what she found — families living on porches, in unfinished basements or even closets, without access to running water, heat or sanitation.

“I didn’t think conditions like this were happening in the 21st century,” she said. “It reminded me of stories I heard of the late 1800s, at the beginning of sanitary reform, at the beginning of urbanization.”

Stunned, I tell you. Stunned. One of the continuing sources of amusement for me during the pandemic is PMCs discovering how the world beyond the Acela really works.

In Taiwan’s ‘container houses’ for migrant workers, coronavirus not the only health risk SCMP. Worker dorms were the cause of Singapore’s “second wave,” and they exist all over Southeast Asia. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were a reservoir for a long time to come.

* * *
Treatment and Vaccine:

Tom Hanks’ Blood Will be Used To Develop COVID-19 Vaccine 8 Days. Not J.D. Shapely, then. A pity.

Popular heartburn medicine being studied as treatment for coronavirus ABC. n=185, details not published; no timeline for results.

* * *

Birx says US needs a testing ‘breakthrough’ to screen large numbers of people CNN

* * *
Materiel shortages:

That Face Shield Might Have Been Made in a Party Space NYT. Reinventing the garment district; it’s an actual factory.

Officials scale back McCormick Place plans by 2,000 beds as coronavirus curve flattens Chicago Tribune

* * *
Economic effects:

Fact check: Hospitals get paid more if patients listed as COVID-19, on ventilators USA Today. No smoking guns here, but we do live with a system where upcoding can benefit a hospital’s capital budget, just as elective surgery does.

* * *
Corporate response:

Port Authorities Commit to Stay Open Amid Coronavirus Pandemic Bloomberg

* * *
Political response:

Several states starting to reopen this weekend The Hill

Governor Ron DeSantis Calls Florida ‘God’s Waiting Room’ For Seniors HuffPo

The US Political System Is to Blame for This Pandemic Jacobin

* * *
Exit strategy:

The changes that will outlast the crisis Axios

* * *
Remedies and ameliorations:

Seattle’s Leaders Let Scientists Take the Lead. New York’s Did Not The New Yorker. “Seattle’s approach to COVID-19 mirrored E.I.S.’s guidelines. New York’s did not.” Well worth a read:

For more than a week, [infectious-disease specialist Dr. Francis] Riedo had been e-mailing with a group of colleagues who included Seattle’s top doctor for public health and Washington State’s senior health officer, as well as hundreds of epidemiologists from around the country; many of them, like Riedo, had trained at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in Atlanta, in a program known as the Epidemic Intelligence Service. Alumni of the E.I.S. are considered America’s shock troops in combatting disease outbreaks. The program has more than three thousand graduates, and many now work in state and local governments across the country. “It’s kind of like a secret society, but for saving people,” Riedo told me. “If you have a question, or need to understand the local politics somewhere, or need a hand during an outbreak—if you reach out to the E.I.S. network, they’ll drop everything to help.”

Animals Are Pointless, And We Should Be Too Current Affairs v. A doctor and medical ethicist argues life after 75 is not worth living MIT Ezekiel Emanuel, Technology Review. The latter link is from 2019, but Emanuel is on Biden’s health care task force.


China’s industrial firms’ profits contract in March but at slower pace Reuters

Bank of China Clients Said to Lose $1 Billion on Oil Bets Bloomberg

China seizes over 89 million shoddy face masks Agence France Presse

Hong Kong police break up pro-democracy singing protest at mall Reuters

Coronavirus: suicide experts warn of pandemic’s impact on mental health, with Hong Kong’s jobless, poor and elderly most at risk South China Morning Post

Praised For Curbing COVID-19, New Zealand’s Leader Eases Country’s Strict Lockdown NPR

Situation Report: Vietnam Open Source Intelligence


Coronavirus: How India will play a major role in a Covid-19 vaccine BBC

How 6 foreigners survived in a cave in Uttarakhand for 25 days Times of India

LDP candidate’s win in Shizuoka by-election gives Abe breathing room Japan Times

The Koreas

Kim Jong Un ‘alive and well’: South Korea Deutsche Welle

Do They or Do They Not Have COVID-19 Inside North Korea? 38 North

K-Pop’s Quest to Rule the World Slows With Concert Venues Dark Bloomberg

Africa in the Path of Covid-19 NEJM


How the US military should leave Iraq The Atlantic Council. Note the source.

Mexico all but empties official migrant shelters under coronavirus Reuters

The Perfect Storm: Caribbean Countries In For A ‘Bloodbath’ If A Major Hurricane Hits During COVID-19 Crisis, Say Leaders The Gleaner

Boaventura de Sousa Santos: “Moro is the U.S.’ candidate for 2022”. Brasil Wire. Bolsonaro too rich for our blood, I guess.


ASSANGE EXTRADITION: Espionage is the Charge, But He’s Really Accused of Sedition Consortium News

Craig Murray Defence Fund Launched Craig Murray

Will Boris Johnson’s brush with death prompt him to talk more honestly? Guardian

Trump Transition

Trump, Putin Joint Statement Calls For Cooperation—But Rattles Some U.S. Officials Forbes

Democrats in Disarray

Hertzberg is “principal political commentator” at The New Yorker:


I guess because those weak sisters in the intelligence commumity couldn’t get the job done. William Shawn must be rolling in his grave. Wonderfully clarifying, though!

‘We’re basically ill-prepared’: Hobbled House majority frets about its effectiveness amid pandemic WaPo.

“The frustration is evident among House Democrats, with many increasingly convinced that Congress is functioning as a shadow of its former self, with rank and file largely bystanders as party leaders hastily assemble massive spending bills. More than a dozen told The Washington Post in recent days that the House was failing to meet its constitutional mandate amid an epochal global crisis, abdicating power to the Trump administration as the nation demands strong political leadership.”

Maybe — hear me out — if the Democrats hadn’t invested all their political capital in the damp squib of the Mueller investigation? On a daily basis for three years?

To solve our problems, marginalize Trump E.J Dionne. I know editors write the headlines, but that’s toddler-level politics.


White House officials say Trump works so hard he often misses lunch NY Post. Fire whoever planted this story immediately.

No, Poison Control Calls Aren’t Suddenly Spiking After Trump’s Disinfectant Comments Reason. Compilation of calls in the states.

Whitmer, Hogan say emergency hotline calls rose after Trump disinfectant remarks The Hill

Trump Says To Drink Lots Of Water, Media Reports He Told Everyone To Drown Themselves Babylon Bee

MSNBC Commentator Calls For Trump’s Removal Under The 25th Amendment Over The Disinfectant Controversy Jonathan Turley

Sanders Could Lose A Third Of His Delegates, Making For A Messy Convention FiveThirtyEight. Not if the convention is virtual!

Guillotine Watch

The key to escaping lockdown? Sleep in your guest room and pretend it’s a trip. WaPo

Class Warfare

With Millions Unable to Pay for Housing Next Month, Organizers Plan the Largest Rent Strike in Nearly a Century The Intercept. For which the Sanders “movement” should be raising money ffs, even if Sanders believes electoralism is the right strategy.

‘Heads we win, tails you lose’: how America’s rich have turned pandemic into profit Guardian

Millions of credit card customers can’t pay their bills and lenders are bracing for the impact MarketWatch

Millions of People Will Face Stimulus Check Delays Simply Because They Are Poor Truthout

African Americans Make Up All of Richmond Coronavirus Deaths Virginia Public Media

The Ruling Class Does Not Rule Jacobin. “The key idea becomes a division of labor between those who accumulate capital and those who manage the state apparatus.” Well worth a read.

How Infectious Disease Shaped American Bathroom Design NPR

Pandemics of the Past and Future: A Conversation with Nobelist David Baltimore Caltech

Antidote du Jour (via):

Bonus antidote:


Once submerged, the water buffalo becomes quite graceful!

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. prodigalson

    Hertzberg was absolutely pummeled on twitter and rightfully so.

    ‘Ol Joe did another tandem video with his wife. Hrrmmmmm.

    When you’ve lost the atlantic council…

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Thread jumping. Hendrik Hertzberg should acquaint himself with The Sedition Act of 1918:

          It forbade the use of “disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language” about the United States government, its flag, or its armed forces or that caused others to view the American government or its institutions with contempt. Those convicted under the act generally received sentences of imprisonment for five to 20 years.

          Calling for a military coup? Does the depths of insanity of the nobility know no bounds? (Nevermind, I already know the answer to that one).

        1. Portlander

          I wish more of the “Left” media would talk up the idea of Biden being a good patriot and dropping out, and both Bernie and Biden releasing their delegates. All I seem to hear is “we are so in trouble!”

          It seems to me leaders of the “Left” need to get out of its fetal crouch and start a ditch Biden movement. That, of course, does NOT mean resurrecting Bernie.

          Both need to ride quietly into the sunset.

          1. Aumua

            Nah bring back Sanders! That would be great, but of course it’s not going to happen. Who would you propose the Democrats run then?

    1. Chris

      Dear god.

      Why are people even keeping up this pretense? Just tell Bernie that the DNC will never let him be the nominee and that Joe isn’t going to be the nominee and that the whole primary season was a farce and get it over with. The only reason they could possibly be continuing this is to prevent Bernie from having any chance at being the nominee because he’s the last one standing. I can’t even imagine the anger that will come about if they try to hide this until the convention. The DNC has to be planning for a candidate substitution at this point,

      Is Jill Biden going to debate for her husband? Is she going to develop policies for her husband? Is Joe just going to get up on stage and frown from now on?

      Thanks Obama…

      1. edmondo

        The only reason they could possibly be continuing this is to prevent Bernie from having any chance at being the nominee because he’s the last one standing.

        Bernie quit. He’s waiting for his audition for Dancing with the Stars. You want a revolution? Try the Republicans.

        1. Chris

          He suspended his campaign and endorsed Biden. That’s heart rending from the perspective of his movement but it’s not quitting.

          And Team Blue’s response to any real signs of socialism is to nuke it from orbit. That’s the only way to be sure…

  2. Henry Moon Pie

    Zeke Emmanuel and the 75 Death Wish–

    I’m no fan of Zeke, his brother or their Gattaca solution for Covid-19, but my favorite philospher, Dame Marjorie Chardin, also known as Maude, set her 80th as a time to say good-bye. “After 80, you’re just marking time.”

    (video and audio)

    1. Pat

      I might be willing to cut him a break if I didn’t think he had secretly worked with the same groups that used and promoted the death squad idea regarding “government” healthcare. It has been a well used cudgel brought out regularly to knee cap any advance for healthcare that weren’t back door bailouts for investors.

      Considering his record, well if this advice isn’t about money as well 77 year old Biden is an example for dismissing his premise..

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Since Biden clearly belongs in a home and under medical care, what is Zeke doing that is so different? He is clearly making Biden work for his keep.

    2. a different chris

      Ok well then “after X you are just marking time”…. what does that mean? X is different for everybody, and it is a personal decision, so the whole thing is just hot air.

      Now if everybody got to pick how long the Emmanuals lived, they wouldn’t have made it out of their 20s. What a waste of protoplasm.

      1. Olga

        Did he think about how many members of Congress are well over 75? Particularly in the Senate…

      1. Andrew Thomas

        Wow. After 80, you’re just marking time. At 75, you use up more resources than you create. Not only has neoliberalism destroyed our material lives, it has infected our souls. I have a couple of names to mention: Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn. Just those two blow the entire thesis out of the water. And I wonder if anyone has asked Roger Daltrey or Pete Townsend recently if they still hope they die before they get old? (The Who, My Generation, 1965)

        1. sd

          Artist Beatrice Wood lived to be 105. Her last 20 years – after she turns 80 – are considered her most productive, she wrote several books, and made her unique ceramics.

          She was the inspiration for the character of Rose in the movie Titanic.

          1. Arizona Slim

            ISTR reading that photographer Imogen Cunningham was still working at the age of 90.

            And, on a personal note, a friend of the family was writing yet another research paper at the time of his death in 2016. He was in his nineties.

            1. Oregoncharles

              There are early nudes of Imogen and her husband, by her, too. Just to close the circle.

              Amazing artist.

        2. urblintz

          I.F. Stone taught himself Greek in his 80’s and then wrote a brilliant book “The Trial of Socrates.”

        3. groover

          Elliot Carter died at 104. “Carter was productive in his later years, publishing more than 40 works between the ages of 90 and 100,[5] and over 20 more after he turned 100 in 2008.[6] He completed his last work, Epigrams for piano trio, on August 13, 2012” : Wikipedia

          I saw reports of a 102 yr old man running 400 meters and a fellow at 105 winning bicycle races, but when I just googled very old athletes, there were quite a few, so I guess that’s normal now.

          I trained marathon in my 50s, but Lyme laid me low before I could run that far – I could do a fast 10 miles. I did see, in my research then, people completing marathons in their 70s. I may try again.

    3. Painted Shut

      I watched Planet of the Humans over the weekend (linked here in recent days) about the bezzle-like “green” solutions that are still fossil fuel dependent. And they come to the conclusion that overconsumption vis a vis overpopulation is the real issue. Some folks take on that is “stop having babies”. My take was, what if we’re not really meant to live into our late 80’s/90’s?

      I’m in my mid-40s, but I feel like, when the time comes, I will be ready to retire in my 60’s and pass away in my 70’s. I look at folks clinging to life and career beyond those milestones and think, “why?” I know the commentariat here slants older, so I am asking in all sincerity, when do you call it a life well lived and be good with moving on? And, did you feel like I do when you were my age, and has your perspective changed as you got older?

      Personally, I think I will be good with sticking around as long as I can do for myself, but at the point I become an imposition on my kids or others, I’ll be ready to go. Having my son or a home health aide sit with me and watch Jeopardy for 8 hours a day isn’t what I consider living, and it indeed seems to be a waste of resources.

      Furthermore, what if Coronavirus is Mother Nature’s way of dealing with overpopulation, and we are circumventing that with our quarantines, etc.?

      1. Monty

        Have you seen “Children of Men”?
        I always thought Quietus would be a top seller in the US, if it ever got FDA OTC approval.

      2. John

        Corona Virus is not nearly lethal enough so far to have any effect of population.

        For those of you who are, however circuitously, suggesting we ought to get rid of the over 75s or over 80s … how do I say what I want to say in a family blog … I guess I leave it to your imagination, but suggest you read up on eugenics and the ultimate uses to which it was put.

        1. CuriosityConcern

          I have no argument with your second paragraph, but I think your first paragraph isn’t fully true without qualifications.
          I think if the virus is allowed to run rampant without protective measures, the death rate would be high enough to have an effect on most age stratifications of our society. Plus, what about diminished organ function? I don’t know that anyone has a handle on how long it lasts, and if you escape it the first time if you get covid a second or third time, will you still avoid the reduced organ function, or is it a roll of the dice each time? Same for mortality. A growing number of people disabled people, if it comes to that, will have a large effect on our way of life.
          Hopefully the states that decide to lift quarantines have enough protective measures in place now to avoid flare ups.

            1. CuriosityConcern

              I’m not a Zeke, and I’m sorry to hear your assessment on protective measures.

      3. Bugs Bunny

        My mid-80s parents still do a lot with their lives and make many other people happy and I’m sure don’t just “make time”, whatever that means. Heck, my dad just finished restoring a classic car last summer. Gave it to my nephew.

        This stuff is nonsense. Emmanuel can take the black pill if he wants. Good riddens.

        1. General Jinjur

          I couldn’t agree more. My mother died in August, just months before her 92nd birthday. In retrospect, her death at that time was a blessing. My brothers and sisters, taking turns, were able to be with her all the way to the end, including making certain she had sufficient pain meds.

          Despite severe macular degeneration and several strokes, she remained vital, interested in world events, and was a constant source of (solicited ; ) advice and encouragement. When the doctor in the hospital informed us that she had only a few days to live, he was amazed that she had been in an independent living apartment.

          It will only be constant, untreatable pain that interferes with all activities including meditation that will make me wish for death.

        2. Lee Too

          Elliott Carter. Had a 20 minute orchestral piece commissioned by the Boston Symphony for his 100th birthday celebration. He was there for the premiere. Daniel Barenboim played the piano solo, James Levine conducted. (This was before . . .)

          Oh, look him up. I’m 74 and too feeble to type any more.

        3. Jack

          But would he have survived a COVID 19 infection? All these anecdotes don’t address the medical issues;the older you are the less capable your immune system. This is a known known. The older you are the more susceptible you are to a variety of cognitive issues. Ditto. To me, putting a 74 year old Trump up against a 78 year old JoeBernie is ignoring real medical probabilities. Bernie’s had a heart attack Joe is demonstrating cognitive issues. Trump is Trump. If the succession bench was even remotely capable or even if we had a functioning Congress I wouldn’t be a scared as I am right now.

          1. Lee Too

            The “anecdotes” are counter-examples to some wild (bold a**? )generalization. Life after 75 not worth living? Not exactly “data” is it Jack?.

      4. TXMama

        Grandparents often have a unique role with their grandchildren. A bond forms during shared activities like crafting, cooking, gardening, going to the park. They have the time to really listen to the kids and be present for them while parents are busy taking care of necessities. Grandparents may have wisdom gained from raising their own family that they can pass on to their grown kids. I am in my 70s and have found this to be true. A symbiosis grows between generations that enriches everyone. It’s a way that family culture is passed on. These close bonds benefit society as a whole in many ways not measurable.

        1. Kilgore Trout

          +1 In a humane society, elders would be revered (as they seem still to be in many traditional societies). We may see more multi-generational living arrangements freely chosen post Corona virus, as both the necessity and appeal of more sustainable ways of living becomes obvious. In the same way societies treat their penal colonies/prison inmates reflects the fact the prison population is regarded as failed human “capital”, the way we treat our elders–and warehouse them out of economic necessity–they’re just another discard of the capitalist state and assigned to “God’s waiting room(s)”.

          1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

            Exactly. Like the Council of Elders in Ancient Sparta chosen from those over 70.

            Old people are filled with Wisdom that should be shared.

            I say every Urban Area should designate an entire Skyscraper as a Retirement Community for the local elderly, retiring workers.

        2. Jack

          I couldn’t agree more despite growing up with just one living grandparent. My grandchildren had three, now two and the love between us is a real and wonderful thing. For me to see them from birth to their twenties has been beyond marvelous.

        3. Jonathan Holland Becnel


          My grandma sends us pics of my grandpa everyday that she screenshots from their 1hr daily rendezvous on Skype. My grandpa is my hero. He used to read me Wind in the Willows and Beatrix Potter and Christopher Robin. The man singlehandedly taught me Ancient Latin and Greek. He taught three of my high school and college Classics professors.

          He never yelled at me. He never pushed any opinions on me. Simply showed me the way in a world of chaos that’s the 80s and 90s.

          He’s currently obsessing over a 14th century Germanic hymn cuz he had a stroke and his short term memorys fd.

      5. Lynne

        Mid-40’s seems like a good time for someone who doesn’t appreciate life. Of course, I am in my 50’s and very much appreciate listening to the wisdom of people in their 80’s and 90’s. They serve a valuable function for the community and not a one of them spends their days watching Jeopardy. You remind me of the researches who kept “puzzling” over why female whales survived when they were too old to have calves. Are you one of those people who say women past childbearing age should just die? If not, how is your attitude any different?

        1. Painted Shut

          My concern was less about “utility” and more about sustainability. Back in Bible times, you’d see that folks would live to be multiple hundreds of years old, perhaps because there was low population worldwide. Over time, population grew and life expectancy shrunk… until recently, when propped up by medical technology, pharmaceuticals, etc., life expectancy and population are both increasing. My point is, what if lower life expectancy was nature’s way of balancing population and sustainability, and our medical interventions, in the interest of artificially inflating life expectancy, is to blame for the climate crisis we’re facing?

          And by way of solution, I’m not proposing that perfectly healthy seniors “go die”, but maybe we return to moreso letting nature run it’s course instead of the infinity medical interventions/procedures and drug regimens to which we currently subscribe.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Making stuff up is roundly proscribed here, please present *any* evidence that “Back in Bible times folks would live to be multiple hundreds of years old”.

            And no, citations from The Old Testament do not qualify.

          2. LawnDart

            “Back in Bible times, you’d see that folks would live to be multiple hundreds of years old…”

            Longevity myths are pretty common in the world religions, but science is just theories anyway, right?

            Any evidence to back your claim?

      6. Ping

        I just watched Planet of the Humans too. Very sobering and documents the “mind manipulation giving power to illusions” of so called “Green” industries and organizations, most of which are gleefully exploiting and plundering resources as fast as the notorious ones. The environment is truly crashing and humans are the planet’s disease.

        Uncontrolled replication (population) is what cancer does and destroying the connective tissue (our “economic growth” programming to disrupt the bio system) is what virus does too.

        I am infuriated that almost nowhere do the intellectual/progressive/scientific discussions center on facing the basic facts: We cannot continue with current consumer lifestyles, we must drastically reduce populations, we must acknowledge our dietary corruptions that the way we produce meat (bioweapon factories) is diseased and criminal. Our entire industrial concept of “health” is diseased.

        The question about “pulling the plug” at a certain age is a red herring but contemporary humans have lost their relationship to and acceptance of death as many ancient cultures revered. Sure, fine, good for those who are productive and functional at an advanced age. But most are warehoused or sustained in sad conditions with no quality of life, with families who struggle to cope with this clinging.

        We humans have to face these FACTS to survive as a healthy species. But our species super-structure will never allow that. The party is over. Make peace with your life and that you will transform out of this existence (die). Cease empowering illusions that a new election or technological break-thru or supporting so called environmental orgs or recycling will help turn things around.

        The party is over. The illusions cannot be sustained much longer.

        This is my rant for today.

    4. Lee

      Ruth Gordon would seem to have differed with her character on this point:

      On August 28, 1985, Gordon died at her summer home in Edgartown, Massachusetts, following a stroke at age 88.[1] Her husband for 43 years, Garson Kanin, was at her side and said that even her last day of life was typically full, with walks, talks, errands, and a morning of work on a new play. She had made her last public appearance two weeks before, at a benefit showing of the film Harold and Maude, and had recently finished acting in four films. Wikipeda

      I am in my seventies and have been minimally productive for years due to limitations of health. Yesterday I took some pictures of trees, none of them as good as I’d hoped; had coffee and conversation with a friend at a distance of 10 feet, watched bees buzz, birds fly, dogs romp, took occasional note of the sun’s course across the sky as I did the progress of the marine layer rolling in over the bay like a thousand foot slow motion tsunami. It was a good day.

      1. Pat

        Artists seem to have a fair number of productive individuals well into their eighties. Sondheim had a 90th birthday celebration. He has been active regarding productions of his work this entire time. The last time I saw him about was at a retrospective of his work last year. Angela Lansbury was over 90 when she filmed her scenes as Aunt March in the PBS version of Little Women. Betty White was 88 when Hot in Cleveland started and 97 when she recorded her part in Toy Story 4.

        Then there are these fine artists from from an article in 2018 I particularly like the 103 year old Cuban graphic artist.

        As with so much, age should not be considered on its own.

        1. Lee

          At age 75, Harriet Doerr published her first novel, Stones for Ibarra, which I very much enjoyed.

          1. Olga

            In his last years (D. at 82), Lev Tolstoy communicated with Mahatma Gandhi, who drew inspiration from T’s writings, particularly on non-violence. Perhaps Zeke can keep his ideas to himself.
            And my soon-to-be 106yr old neighbour does not take any drugs to keep her alive. So, I guess, the society should just dispose of her somehow?

    5. Mikel

      The problem is that once you accept this line of thinking, that age will be crept back to 70 not worth it, to 65 not worth it…if you aren’t in the elite.
      Do you even doubt it for a second?

      Once you go down to that level, you will be dragged down to the gutter even further.

    6. Mikel

      For all the crying about how many old people are in the USA, 16% of the population is over 65.
      All this hand wringing and the fact is that most people pay into Social Security AND NEVER COLLECT it. Let’s talk about THAT.
      Anybody that has elgible heirs more likely than not, get a significantly reduced amount.

      That’s all this whining is about.

      All the life expectancy hype shouldn’t be confused with reality.

      1. flora


        Zeke is a senior fellow at CAP, the Dem neoliberal Center for American Progress public policy outfit. (The president and chief executive officer of CAP is Neera Tanden.)

    7. lordkoos

      Interesting that Emmanuel is on Biden’s task force. Since the candidate is 78 years old, is he going to recommend that Joe takes one for the team?

    8. Anonymous2

      It depends on the 80 year old. I have known some very active ones. And Murdoch is still causing trouble at 89.

  3. Krystyn Podgajski

    Re: “No, Poison Control Calls Aren’t Suddenly Spiking After Trump’s Disinfectant Comments”

    The fake news on all sides is disturbing. I had a conversation with my closest friend who is (was?) pretty wealthy, at least on paper. She is “Anyone but Trump”. When I brought up that this country was sht well before Trump she became very defensive. Last night she texted me an article about how more people were calling poison control “because of Trumps statement”. In my bones I knew it was BS so thanks for that article. I cannot seem to communicate the subtleties anymore.

    People do not see how media is controlling them and that meant I could not even get to talk about the systematic problems that will not be fixed under Biden.

    I do not hate Trump, I do not like that he was elected but I only feel sorry for hum. But do you know who I do hate? Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx because they are afraid to confront Trump and say out loud that he is wrong. They are typical neoliberals, afraid to sacrifice their position by going against their boss.

    1. Vastydeep

      The only public officials I’ve seen (including Drs Fauci and Birx) who don’t appear frighteningly out of their depth have been governor Jay Inslee and chancellor Angela Merkel. We know so little about this coronavirus that claiming “MD” as your credential just signals the likelihood that you don’t really know anything and will try to cover it up by talking like Yoda. I’d take mathbabe over any of them in a heartbeat.

    2. Carla

      @Krystyn — With you on Fauci and Birx. But I have plenty of hate left for Trump, Pelosi, McConnell, Schumer — and Uncle Joe.

      Here in Ohio, although I certainly never voted for Gov. Mike DeWine for anything (and he’s been elected to many positions in this state) — I’ve been pleasantly surprised by his dedicated and measured handling of the Covid-19 crisis. Of course, this means he has royally pissed off just about every Republican in Ohio — while pleasing millions of Democrats and Independents. So I will no longer waste any of my precious hate on DeWine.

      Actually, it seems that my reserve of hate can and does expand as needed to accommodate legions of politicos and their rich owners. It is corrosive to my character and inner life, which is apparently a price I just have to pay. However, I need to do better at keeping it from seeping out and damaging those closest to me. Again, thanks to Yves, Lambert, Jerri-Lynn and everyone else working so hard to keep Naked Capitalism the vital source and refuge that it is.

      1. Krystyn Podgajski

        I don’t know, I watched Trump and he does not seem clever, ya know? So it is hard for me to hate that. He was like a child up there asking Dr. Birx about the sunlight and disinfectant. I saw my mother in him, struggling to try to understand complex things in a complex world. But Pelosi and the rest you listed, these are intelligent people taking advantage of their knowledge, and I think they are evil. All the billionaires, they are not accidents, they know what it takes to make money. Evil.

        >However, I need to do better at keeping it from seeping out and damaging those closest to me.

        Me too. Yes, the truth is I do not really care, so I can exit a conversation with little pain on my part, or at least I see how much I want people to agree with me and then can let it go because that feels gross. (It is hard to find people who can play freely with ideas.) But these are my friends so I still want to push them spiritually only because I am lonely here. I am often put in the spot of just agreeing with because my understanding of the universe is less binary but at the same time the world(ly) is more black and white to me as well.

        1. Pat

          I will add to that that Joe, Nancy, Chuck and Mitch have been dismantling our government infrastructure for decades prior to Trump, either directly or by enabling the destruction. They were also largely responsible for the distraction from real issues like pandemic with impeachment and what should have been a pointless and third primary loss. I am not absolving the Trump administration but does anyone think we wouldn’t have been playing the impeachment game, have a hobbled CDC, and a deeply confused response only with more competent appearing briefings with the other possible President? I mean if you really look at what Cuomo did versus how it appeared you suddenly see a whole lot of bad guesses and corporate help as well.

          Too much of what caused ridiculously bad responses were baked into our system by the people above long before Trump.

          1. Carla

            Absolutely. Trump is the result of what those people have been doing for decades, not the cause of our problems. AND I still consider him a detestable human in just about every way.

          2. marym

            (Assuming we’d survived a conflict with Russia) the pandemic shock-doctrine looting would have been comparable in a Clinton administration. If we looked went point by point at the public health aspect of Trump administration failures, I do believe there would have been some degree of national response and international coordination, comparable to what some governors are doing in their also neoliberally-compromisesd states and regions, and almost completely absent in Trump’s administration.

            Maybe I’m wrong. Whenever I think that at least an Obama/Clinton type wouldn’t be pretending it wasn’t happening at all, I remember the Gulf oil spill, and Flint.

            1. Duck1

              This is sort of another little tangent, but I was living in SF during the onset of AIDS raising a family, lost various friends and mentors in the process. The name Fauci was arousing some dim memories, so looked him up, and yes, 79 years old and still hanging on to his leadership position. Apparently nobody came up in the last 30 years to replace this fabulous bureaucrat-doctor. All hail the gerontocracy!

          3. rps

            “Forget the politicians. The politicians are put there to give you the idea you have freedom of choice. You don’t. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land, they own and control the corporations that have long since bought and paid for, the senate, the congress, the state houses, the city halls, they got the judges in their back pocket, and they own all the big media companies so they control just about all of the news and the information you get to hear. They got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want. They want more for themselves and less for everybody else. But I’ll tell you what they don’t want. They don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well informed, well educated people capable of critical thinking. They’re not interested in that. That doesn’t help them.”
            ― George Carlin

        2. Henry Moon Pie

          “I see how much I want people to agree with me”

          Who knows,
          doesn’t talk.
          Who talks,
          doesn’ know.

          When we talk, are we trying hard to persuade others–and ourselves–of what our ego says is or will be? Those who focus on the Way know what is and what will be and have no need to talk. ?

          1. Krystyn Podgajski

            “I let go of all desire for the common good,
            and the good becomes common as grass.”


      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > DeWine

        DeWine had the stones to protect his citizens and postpone the primaries. Good for him.

        Hate is indeed an extremely corrosive emotion. As I said, that’s why I gave up snark (in exchange for light irony, heh heh). I try to detach, I really do.

        1. carl

          “Irony, to be effective, must lightly etch a phrase. Not drip from every word.”–Trevanian.
          (not a comment on the quality of irony here, which is excellent)

    3. Baby Gerald

      I’m no fan of Trump either and, like you Krystyn, have a pity for him surrounded by warmongering neocon intelligence flunkies like Pompeo et. al. and grifters even more grifty than he is. I also had an intuitive feeling that the ‘spike’ in calls about people drinking bleach or snorting Lysol was a bunch of nonsense, like blaming him for that idiotic couple that decided drinking fish tank cleaner was a good idea when he was talking about Hydroxychloraquine.

      Here’s an article that confirmed again my suspicions that just about anything Trump utters will be weaponized against him, whether it’s true or not:

      Could a New Ultraviolet Technology Fight the Spread of Coronavirus?

      Sent this article to a couple of relatives who are TDS sufferers. Within one minute, one responded ‘But how do we get it into bodies?’ and the other responded with ‘Open wide’ a minute after that. Two minutes is not enough time to read the article. Even if one is attention deficit disordered, scanning for a block quote would stop a reply like that in its tracks. ‘Read the article. Not that difficult.’ was my only response. Then, of course, the first responds how Trump is an idiot who shoots off the cuff like a nutcase. Not my point and not disagreeing, but whatever. Some people gotta hate for the feeling of satisfaction it gives them. When I try to point out that they’re getting played by the media they still think they’re smarter than that and it’s only MAGA-hat wearers who are the dupes.

      1. TXMama

        Those with TDS and the MAGAs are participating in Orwell’s “two minutes of hate.” Gotta do it to feel good about yourself it seems.

      2. flora

        The determination to think oneself ‘right’ about a subject, without bothering to examine the facts available ,(not msm reporting or politicans’ hot air), is pretty astounding for people who consider themselves educated.

        Zeal without knowledge is fire without light. – Thomas Fuller

    4. flora

      I read you health and zinc, etc, posts with interest, and know that you know how science works, and, by extension, how sound reasoning work. So I think you’ll get what I’m trying to say here, probably none too clearly.

      In science, or reason, one proposes a theory or idea about why something is happening, or how it happens; then someone else pushes back, challenging the idea with pointing out all the possible reasons the idea doesn’t work; then maybe a scientific test is run, or an examination of history or human events (in the case of reasoning about political facts alone, say). There’s a back and forth. The challenge to the original idea is both expected and a good thing to test it’s soundness. The back and forth can be heated and go on some time. This is also a good thing, imo.

      But in the realm of TDS and MAGA, there is no back and forth. People fall into a state of intellectual thumb-sucking. Facts are no longer important, context no longer matters, only belief is important. Mobs do not reason. That’s a dangerous thing in politics, on either side, imo.

      1. Krystyn Podgajski

        YES. This is what I miss, the back and forth where things get hashed out. The risk of being wrong seems to be so much more of a risk form some reason. But I fear the back and forth is stopped by people who are in a cognitive dissonance loop. Kind of like throwing over the chess board when you know you are loosing and saying “well, I guess we agree to disagree!”

    5. Jack

      So you want Fauci and Birx to be politicians AND scientists. It’s clear to me that they abhor the secondary position they are in but are gritting their teeth and carrying on professionally. You think they’re afraid; I think they’re trying to make lemonade out of lemons. You want them to start a political food fight in the middle of a plague. I don’t.

  4. Pat

    As evil as Rahm is, Zeke isn’t far behind. Ezekiel Emmanuel was a major consultant on ACA. He has, like Summers and banks, had his fingers in almost every political decision enabling and advancing private healthcare as the norm making it the latest “can’t let it fail” playground for private equity. His single payer is unworkable in America screeds are DLC go tos on a regular basis.
    The entire Emmanuel family has been a plague on this country for decades although Ari’s abuses have been more limited in scope. It would not surprise me if Zeke were trying to win some demented family game of destruction. He certainly could do it.

    1. Cynthia

      And I couldn’t agree more, Pat. Recall Rahm’s rather vulturish words at the height of the Great Recession:

      “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do before.”

      Which is why I see the Emanuel brothers as being two sides of the same bloody coin when it comes to peddling and promoting vulture capitalism. While Rahm peddles and promotes the vulturish game of profiting at the expense of others’ monetary misfortunes, Zeke peddles and promotes the vulturish game of profiting at the expense of others’ medical misfortunes — even to the point of their untimely death, making him a bit of a vampire capitalist as well.

    2. George Phillies

      ” A doctor and medical ethicist argues life after 75 is not worth living ”

      Life not worth living? Because they consume more than they produce? I have heard this before. Mental Defectives? Homosexuals? Children of Aryan mothers and African fathers, thanks to the French using Senegalese troops to occupy the Rhineland (those folks tend to be forgotten in most histories, and they had approximately no survivors). Jews? Slavs?

      We have heard this before, and advocates of this rose fertilizer from male cows should be shunned in the public space.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Hindus have it right in my view: Age 0-20 getting educated; age 20-40 being productive; age 40-60 teaching others to be productive and giving to others; age 60-80 receiving from others.

      2. GettingTheBannedBack

        It started with Galton perhaps in England, then the movement morphed into something more sinister and seemed to take root in the USA, then morphed again and filtered over to Germany. There were many things done to poor and non-white people in the USA in the early 1900s – 1930s that have been written out of history.

        The Race Betterment Foundation, founded by Dr John Harvey Kellogg, had the aim of establishing the white races of Europe as a “race of human thoroughbreds”. And also of ridding the country of “defectives” and “degenerates”. Men of Yale and and Harvard and John Hopkins joined the call.
        There was a Eugenics Records Office. The John D Rockefeller contributed $35 million in 1912, and $65 million in 1913.
        A thoroughly researched and annotated history of the eugenics movement and the terrible toll it took on the world is contained in Edwin Black’s “The War Against The Weak”.

        And here we are 100 years later with a pandemic which mirrors in a lot of ways the influenza pandemic of 1917 – 1919.
        And as regards eugenics, in a world of diminishing resources and an uncertain future, it is interesting to see the faint stirrings of the eugenics movement. Deja vu all over again.

  5. The Rev Kev

    “Time for a military coup?”

    Maybe. It would only take seven days to do. Is May good? And does anybody have ECOMCON’s contact details?

    1. xkeyscored

      Which country is to suffer this coup? Denmark, for stealing Greenland and its rare earths? Grenada again, because it’s a walkover? Yemen perhaps, since the Saudis are such unreliable allies? Or doesn’t it matter? Hertzberg seems vague on this point.

      1. Acacia

        No doubt the US could get into a protracted battle against Fiji, with MIC flaks sperging out over the existential need to upgrade a few hundred ships, replete with $50000 inflatable lifeboats, et cetera.

    2. Lee

      I imagine the deterioration of productive capacity as regards basic essentials could reach the point where the military will be utilized to a greater extent than it has been so far in providing work force support producing and delivering goods and services to the civilian population. It’s well past time that all their vast resources be put to legitimate use on behalf of we who bear the considerable expense of their existence.

      1. xkeyscored

        The military ought to be ideally placed to provide at least some protection to the USA’s million or so seasonal agricultural workers, who’ve been declared essential. They’re supposed to be pretty good at setting up functioning camps quickly, complete with latrines, showers, canteens and field hospitals. These could all be done with social distancing in mind.

        Instead, workers will probably be handed a mask and a bar of soap (to be deducted from wages) before being herded around in crowded buses and stuffed into cramped dormitories.
        “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. And when they’re gone with COV-19, the sh!tholes to the south can send some more.”

        1. GF

          How can the military help out at home when most are stationed overseas to “protect American interests”. Can’t leave those oil wells unguarded. We already have been told that the economy is more important than saving the people, and where would our economy be without oil. Now if the military could figure out where to put the unending gusher of oil that no one wants, then they would be really earning their keep. Maybe those virus riddled warships could be filled to overflowing with the stuff since the ships are useless for anything else now. Who knows, maybe bacteria in oil eat the Covid-19 virus.

          1. xkeyscored

            Your military might start demanding to help at home, if the situation deteriorates much further. They won’t like the sight of their country collapsing into chaos while they defend the right to die in the forever wars elsewhere. I’ve thought of tents, canteens, latrines, transport and stuff, but they’ve quite likely done it all before somewhere, just not with the social distancing thing, and would know all the necessaries and details and how to do it and what it takes. And I guess they’d be up for it enthusiastically, unlike most of their current overseas missions.
            And I’m not talking about the generals, but about ordinary soldiers wondering why they’re not allowed to help when they’re needed. Maybe Tulsi could do some incitement without appearing to?
            Rent strikes are all well and good, but having the military rank and file sympathetic and supportive would be even better. The less they’re on board, the more likely they are to be used to protect and maintain the existing order. Many are already sick of the pointless forever wars; now it’s becoming obvious how the wars and their backers have gutted their own nation, leaving the corpses to pile up while they gloat over the bailouts and stock market gains.

            Mayday for soldiers?

          2. newcatty

            Yes, GF. It would be amazing if the entire military rank and file all chose to go on strike! It would be a version of “turning swords into plowshares”. Would it be a military coup? Would there be a critical mass enough to say “We are mad as HELL AND we won’t take it anymore? Many of the serfs joined “up” cause of TINA, as far as they saw any kind of future not in poverty , IIRC reading and hearing in the ethers. They could get all of the “deserved benefits” as when they are working to serve the racket. Anyone who wants to stay cause it’s exciting or a rush to kill “our enemies ” could, you know, be allowed to quit. If, they want to go all bat s**t crazy…there could be a still good use of military “justice”. It is like what if “they” called for a war and nobody showed up?
            If the MIC was evil and ruthless enough to bring back the draft…consequences would not be good.

            Yes, I am a dreamer and not an only one.

            1. The Rev Kev

              I’m not sure that the US military is that fit for purpose these days. As an example, that US Navy hospital ship in New York – the USNS Comfort? There are discharging their last patients before moving on. But here is the kicker. They have capacity for 1,000 patients and in the middle of New York being absolutely hammered, they had only a total of 182 patients. That meant that 880 beds stayed vacant. I mean what the hell?


      1. chuck roast

        Yeah, that is wicked warlike, but how would it work with Fiji? Would Wolf Blitzer play it in the War Room? But, I can see Maddow playing it. It would mesh perfectly with her machine gun mouth and vacuum brain. Imagine…Fiji, Fiji, Fiji! And you think your head hurts now…

  6. Eustache de Saint Pierre

    Katherine Robb is correct as the discoveries of Henry Mayhew & a few others revealed in mid 19th century London. The response from the well to do’s also reflects much the same in that time as now which included a large cholera epidemic that killed about 13,000. His interviews with costermongers & the like are revealing in relation to the ignorance of the poor.

    1. Kurtismayfield

      Will Ms. Robb consider paying everyone in her life that does services for her more as she drives to her summer home in Centerville?

      1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

        A good question for which I have no answer, but going back to Mayhew’s time, the worst employers for servants were the up & coming Middle class who often could only afford one ” maid of all work ” who were often required to do a 17hr day with only Sunday afternoon off. Back in Blake’s time & moving forward one had to have one’s chimney cleaned, even if it meant sending up a 5 year old with the life expectancy of about 11, who had likely been sold into that hell by his parents.

        Aristo’s & their underlings get all of the publicity, while the much larger usage by the Middle classes is largely ignored.

        1. newcatty

          Wait, you mean that chimney sweeps were not adorable, eccentric song and dance men like the one in ” Marry Poppins”? Shocked, sad.

  7. zagonostra

    >Corporate Bail out v.2.0

    The billionaires of the United States have increased their wealth by $282 billion since the mid-March stock dip, according to a new report by the Institute for Policy Studies. While more than one fifth of the American population is now unemployed, and millions confront an uncertain future, deprived of basic needs, the fortunes of the ultra-rich have not only recovered, they are improving substantially.

  8. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: ‘We’re basically ill-prepared’: Hobbled House majority frets about its effectiveness amid pandemic

    On Friday evening, Pelosi wrote a letter to her caucus in which she said that “in the days ahead” leaders would “hear your views” on how to legislate from afar.

    I guess we should all consider ourselves lucky that pelosi didn’t decide she wanted to control the grocery store workers of america. Everyone would have starved to death by now.

    1. xkeyscored

      My view, should Pelosi wish to hear, would be that the Kuiper Belt might be far enough for most of them. At least to start with.

      1. chuck roast

        My wish would be that she do the honorable thing and commit ritual suicide by chugging all those pints of Ben & Jerry’s Berry Sweet Mascarpone. Film at eleven.

        1. newcatty

          Olga, gives another take on ice cream induced ” brain freeze”. Guess it helps explain a lot.

  9. Pat

    ItEvery once in a while I end up in places where you can see the skepticism of for example Trump’s base, iow not the resistance and not here.

    Tom Hanks and Covid 19 are triggering lots of reaction. There is a lot of chatter that his early diagnosis and quarantine were propaganda for the shut down. And the use of his antibodies for a vaccine is meant to advance an expensive treatment that won’t do anything except provide cover and deniability from any life endangerment suits. I get that they are both ends of the CT spectrum except as an indication of distrust regarding the information we are getting.

    1. Katiebird

      I was just thinking (after reading the link about how little we know about this virus) that I would not accept a plasma donation from a “recovered“ Covid-19 patient. It might introduce a whole stream of new trouble.

    2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Let’s recall that his “early diagnosis and quarantine” happened in a country with a functioning public health system.

  10. crittermom

    >”Several states starting to reopen…”

    The article was written two days ago.
    Here in Colorado some businesses are opening TODAY but “must follow certain guidelines not yet provided by the state.”
    Good to know our governor is out ahead of the situation, much like Trump & the virus. /s

    1. Wyoming

      Officially or not we are opening.

      The ability of our citizenry to exercise patience and discipline has been reached. We are going to go about our business regardless of what the authorities say and until they show up to start arresting folks – well then that is the basic story.

      Here in AZ yesterday it was a zoo. Some of the parks had so many people they instituted a sort of one in one out policy, or just blocked the entrance for a few hours until some of the people inside left. At a local lake the people were standing/sitting shoulder to shoulder with no masks and just yakking away having a good time. At the square in town there were a couple of hundred folks just walking around with their dogs or sitting in groups and passing a foot from each other. From hearing from friends everywhere they went it was the same. The roads were packed. Compared to here those pics of the people on the So Cal beaches showed serious restraint.

      Almost no one here is wearing masks or makes any pretense of distancing. Many openly tell you it is unnecessary or that the epidemic is over. A doctor here who writes on the HOA blog has openly indicated that masks are a waste of time and that this epidemic is no big deal.

      Herd immunity it will be regardless of what any medical or political authority says. This should be an interesting next couple of years. Maybe I will move into the 8 million dollar mansion down the street in a few months after the occupants depart…I expect no one will notice by then.

        1. Wyoming

          It is a sweet house. It was under construction for about 8 years from 2007-2014 (the great recession saw it sit partly finished with no work being done for several years). The house 2 up the street was a 4th home for the owners who showed up for a couple weeks a year. They sold that one, got divorced, and put the nice one on the market after it was finished. It has never been lived in and never sold either. It is the best built house you can imagine. I have talked to many of the subs who were building it and everything was the best you could buy at the time. The fancy tile roof alone was $500,000. It has a big indoor pool, a 10,000 gal cistern, 65 solar panels, it is all stone and stucco, maybe 8-10,000 sq ft. Has views to die for. It was crazy to build such a house here as no one is going to pay even half of what it cost. A house like that in So Cal would go for about 15 million. And it is in a semi-defensible position too – not that I think the end of the world is coming……

      1. The Rev Kev

        Hey man, don’t be a lemming like those others. You take care of yourself and your family as best as you can do. OK? That is really worrying your report.

  11. TomDority

    My comment is more of a question RE Corvid 19.
    What is projected ultimate infection rate of Corvid 19 ?
    I understand the reason to flatten the curve is to have facilities to prevent death from the disease in enough quantity. But the area under the curve (number of infections) appears to remain the same, so I am wondering what ultimate saturation point might be projected?

    1. Vastydeep

      Great question — I’m pretty sure it depends… Think of Robert Shaw’s soliloquy on the USS Indianapolis in Jaws: “If we get the R0 under 1.0, then the virus goes away … if we don’t get it down then the virus doesn’t go away…” Given a CFR of anything like 1%, if we don’t/can’t build up immunity to it then we need to either hope the virus moderates, or we better plan to get way more serious about lockdown.

      1. The Rev Kev

        It may be more like the “Jaws” mayor when he said: ‘I’m pleased and happy to repeat the news that we have, in fact, caught and isolated some people that supposedly made some people ill with flu. But, as you see, it’s a beautiful day, the businesses are open and people are having a wonderful time. Corona, as you know, means “friendship”.’

        Fun fact – Boris Johnson is an admirer of Mayor Vaughen from “Jaws” because his instincts were right according to a 2012 Time magazine interview. And you know that I am not making this up.

    2. ewmayer

      “What is projected ultimate infection rate of Corvid 19 ?” — I dunno – are crows and ravens even susceptible? ;)

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Will Boris Johnson’s brush with death prompt him to talk more honestly?”

    My own guess, no. He will just pick up from where he left off and dismiss the whole episode. Deep retrospection is not his style. The peak for the pandemic is nowhere near for the UK and yet they are already talking about reopening up the UK. They had hoped that they could get away with 20,000 dead but have already blown past this limit. And still they want to reopen.

    What is worse is that George Osborne is already talking about implementing austerity to pay for everything that they are doing at the moment. They should really call Mark Blyth first and ask him how that works since they obviously never learned from the years of austerity in the 2010s-

    1. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, Kev.

      Osborne and the guy to whom he delegated his (economic) thinking, Rupert Harrison, are employed by BlackRock, literally a stone’s throw from the back / kitchen window of where I normally sit in London. This is what drives such utterances. There’s more to come, unfortunately.

      Mark my words, as someone who worked alongside that world from 2007 – 2016, this crisis will be used as evidence of government not working, public provision being inefficient and costly, the country (insert your location) can’t afford it etc., implying that the private sphere can do a better job.

      Readers in the United Kingdom may be pining for the three (colonial) amigas, Kate Andrews (USA), Divya Chakraborty (India) and Chloe Westley (Australia, aka “low tax” Chloe, or to others, “low fact” Chloe), from the Tufton Street “think tanks”. There’s no need to worry. They will be on air soon to echo Osborne and his owner Larry Fink. In four years’ time, voters will have forgiven, if not forgotten, Johnson.

        1. Colonel Smithers

          Thank you, Kev.

          Kemal Johnson likes these types :-).

          The 10% enablers operate globally.

    2. xkeyscored

      At least Osborne is displaying some new-found compassion this time round. Or is he just scared they wouldn’t get away with tightening the belts just yet, preferring to wait till the virus crisis is over?

  13. funemployed

    Wow. That Harper’s piece on 1mdb is a must read even if you have been following.

    I get the distinct impression Low’s downfall was the result of insufficient “class” (in the sense of not being cool enough for the billionaire club) and subtlety more than the substance of what he did.

    1. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you. You’re not wrong.

      Please have a look at my comments below when they come out of moderation.

  14. xkeyscored

    With Millions Unable to Pay for Housing Next Month, Organizers Plan the Largest Rent Strike in Nearly a Century The Intercept

    Never mind whether Sanders gets behind it. It would help, but the movement’s got to come from below. And it might this time. With millions unable to pay, why wouldn’t they not pay collectively rather than individually? This M’aidez could be a real first of may, a fountain of possibility bursting into bloom –

    And what you thought you came for
    Is only a shell, a husk of meaning
    From which the purpose breaks only when it is fulfilled
    If at all. Either you had no purpose
    Or the purpose is beyond the end you figured
    And is altered in fulfilment.

    “The rent strike is a cry for dignity: We are all deserving of a home, no matter the color of our skin, financial status, or culture,” said Donnette Letford, an undocumented immigrant from Jamaica and a member of the group New York Communities for Change.

    Like the historic rent strikes of the 20th century, which led to some of the first rent control laws in New York, the coming strike makes specific demands. According to a petition from Housing Justice For All, strikers want a statewide rent cancellation for four months, “or for the duration of the public health crisis — whichever is longer”; a rent freeze and the assurance that every tenant is given the right to renew their lease at the same price; and that the government “urgently and permanently rehouse all New Yorkers experiencing homelessness and invest in public and social housing across our state.”

    Weaver said: “Do you want to do that alone? Or do you want to do that connected to a movement of people who are also in your situation and are calling for a deep and transformative policy solution. It’s better if we can do this together.”

      1. newcatty

        Slim, do you think some of the rent strikers could be on board to reinvigorate the movement to create Baja Arizona? It seems to be as an opportune time, as any, to do so.

  15. JacobiteInTraining

    I have a friend who was stuck in Tampa FL area before this all started, and I recently exchanged a few texts and then some calls with her. She wants to get back to San Francisco, but – because she tends to have nasty panic attacks in-air – she almost never is able to fly unless literally drugged out and flying with friend. So instead she tends to take long car rides with relatives or coworkers or friends who go where she wants and reimburses gas and motel $.

    So she is stuck there back east at the moment, no contacts going anywhere, and as we looked at Uber/Taxi/contract drivers fees – ridiculous, of course…even then multiple motels and lots of covid stranger danger. Trains are potentially affordable — but from Tampa have to go through Wa DC, then Chicago, then Seattle, & eventually to SF. Even with a cabin that whole trip is days and days too…with the same weird layovers and motel/stopover risks.

    Heh….short of me me literally flying over, and driving her home myself (which cant happen) it struck me this morning that this might be sorta kinda how people felt in the 1890’s: Take a stagecoach, take a train, walk, maybe a horse….bring out the maps and travel reports accounting for oodles of stopovers and side trips and unknown dangers in 1-horse towns along the way. Calculating the odds of a robbery, or a flood, or some other accident as ‘worth the risk’ to get to that far far shining west coast.


    …But if only we had bullet trains.

    I think my friend is going to have to reconcile herself to Florida for a lot longer. Or do the drugged flying thing…. :/

    1. Painted Shut

      There are worse places to be stuck. The weather has been beautiful here in Tampa, and I think they’re about to reopen the beaches (although they did kick Tom Brady out of the park, as parks are still closed for the time being). Have your friend grab some good take out Cuban food and get some sun.

      Getting in a cross-country flying germ incubation tube is about the last thing I’d want to do…

      1. JacobiteInTraining

        Indeed, silver linings.

        Her business is legal marijuana delivery-type stuff, however, so I am guessing she will not be able to pick up any side gigs there in Tampa. Or to put it differently…she had BETTER resist temptation to do any deliveries as I do not believe Florida is yet as civilized in that regard as the west coast…. :)

        1. urblintz

          med marijuana is legal in FL and I imagine many who are legally able to get it might appreciate a delivery so maybe she can find a side gig…

          1. JacobiteInTraining

            Ah! Thanks to you and Painted Shut…i did not realize that. I imagine thats why she was there in the first place, scouting for opportunities to expand…not just beach vacation.

            So Florida *is* becoming thoroughly modern!!! :)

        2. Painted Shut

          Medical marijuana is legal here. There are dispensaries in Tampa and CBD stores popping up in strip malls everywhere. Alas, probably still not as much opportunity as CA though.

    2. wilroncanada

      I don’t fly except in dire emergency either. At the end of January I took the train from Vancouver to Toronto for my older brother’s funeral in Ontario. There was a group of tourists, all seniors from the Seattle area, who got off in Jasper, took a chartered bus to Lake Louise and Banff, then to Calgary from where they flew back to Seattle. A lot of them were living in gated seniors’ communities. Most did a lot of these short junkets: 3 or 4 a year along with one or two cruises–lots of funds to spread around. Took the train back two weeks later with a young Korean tourist living in Atlanta, and a young German tourist from the Rhineland area. It was the last train to make it across the country before service was suspended..

  16. tegnost

    How to leave Iraq?
    In ruins, covered with strip malls, with all the infrastructure privatized by global corps?

          1. xkeyscored

            Interesting that this Israeli change of mission in Syria comes at just the same time as the UAE-backed gang in Yemen decides to hell with Hadi and the Saudis, they’re having Aden.

  17. xkeyscored

    How the US military should leave Iraq The Atlantic Council

    Good to see even the Atlantic Council thinks it’s at least time for a rethink, but unsurprisingly their idea of how to get out of Iraq is a bit incoherent. On the one hand, “The United States could use the pandemic as an opportunity to make goodwill gestures toward Iran.” On the other, “The United States can support this trend [Iraqi resentment of Iran] by keeping Iraq out of its fight with Iran,” which suggests the fight with Iran must go on regardless.

    The penultimate sentence is especially ominous, reminding me of Nixon’s gangster ideas of honour and face saving, which required the US to continue its war on Vietnam purely in order to show the world it could and would still inflict pain and suffering when it knew it had lost.

    “For those who died and sacrificed on all sides since the invasion, the United States should find a way to withdraw most of its military forces with dignity.”

    And Nixon’s version:
    “I pledge to you that we shall have an honorable end to the war in Vietnam.” (1968, five years before the US fled)

    1. The Rev Kev

      At least it would not be like when the British left Yemen in 1967. There the last troops had to shoot their way out of the place.

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, Kev.

        They did. My dad was based with the RAF in the region at the time, Muharraq (Bahrain), Sharjah, Masirah, Salalah (Oman) and Aden, not long graduated from university and Cranwell. The troops were evacuated in Vickers Viscounts.

        1. wilroncanada

          They’re just moving next door to Syria, the part they are war criminally occupying now, to “secure” the oil installations.

  18. Colonel Smithers

    Further to the 1MDB link, readers in the US and UK will note two law firms, White & Case and Schillings.

    The former, a US firm, has a reputation in the City for taking on clients peers don’t or no longer want to. This goes back two decades. In the early noughties, my employer took on a private Russian investment firm. The firm wanted to issue bonds privately, often to affiliates. My manager, now at RBS / NatWest, was only interested in his bonus and ignored our concerns about money laundering, credit and operational risks. Luckily, after a few issuances, the “magic circle” law firm involved, also the Bank of England’s legal adviser since the 18th century, suggested that we follow them and extricate ourselves from the relationship. We managed to convince the manager and got out. White & Case was more than happy to take over and also find a replacement bank. Some years later, White & Case hired some former UK regulators, but their business model has not changed.

    As the likes of White & Case, Dechert, Sidley Austin and Gide Loyrette Nouel came to London, the market became more competitive, provoking some consolidation. Schillings is not in the Magic Circle or the next echelon, the Silver Circle. Firms outside the circles have had to develop other income. Therefore, managing the image of clients, opening doors for them etc. have become ever more important.

    That image management extends to getting clients into the right circles, as the Sacklers did with the British establishment. It doesn’t always work. When I expressed surprise that little of the new money from emerging markets had made its way into the sport of kings, the upper class former CEO of the horse racing industry bank and former corporate financier at a City blue blooded firm replied that it was a relief and the sport’s authorities were aware of the dangers and had indicated to some of the upper class trainers, who may be able to facilitate entry into such circles, to steer clear.

    The first two links are related in some respects. It won’t surprise US readers that Sullivan & Cromwell, specifically Rodgin Cohen, “advises” Standard Chartered.

  19. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: In a Crowded City, Leaders Struggle to Separate the Sick From the Well NYT. Chelsea, MA.

    According to, “The John F. Kennedy School of Government is the public policy school of Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.”

    According to, “Chelsea is a city in Suffolk County, Massachusetts, United States, directly across the Mystic River from the city of Boston…… It is also the second most densely populated city in Massachusetts behind Somerville.”

    In a truly “meritocratic” society, you would think that a “researcher” at a “prestigious” school of PUBLIC POLICY who demonstrates such ignorance of a community that she can literally see outside her window, would hang her head in shame. Not to mention the sheer idiocy of the MOST “prestigious” institution evah claiming expertise in PUBLIC POLICY in the face of complete obliviousness to the community in which it’s located.

    I wonder if harvard’s math department could even begin to calculate the cost to this nation of maintaining the twisted illusion of that university’s and its graduates’ “superiority.”

    1. xkeyscored

      In a meritocratic society such as the US, those in their Boston ivory towers can look across the river with easy consciences, knowing it must be entirely the fault of Chelseaites that they live in squalid housing without water or sanitation, assuming they haven’t been kicked out for having COVID-19, which when it happens is again what they obviously deserve, living as they do in a meritocracy.

      In a meritocracy, those at the top deserve to be there, and vice versa. Harvard mathematicians are working on a proof of this, in between calculating how much richer they and their institution can come out of this than they were before. The fact that scum rises to the top is problematic for their project, but these guys are clever, and will no doubt have it all clear before long.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        And heaven forfend that a certain Orange One should be lauded for suggesting that Harvard not suck hard on the public teat but instead pry open the locks on their $39 *billion* endowment to get through the crisis.

        Lloyd referred to The Heavenly Father when he said he was doing “his” work but that was meant to misdirect from the real object of their worship: Plutus

    2. JohnnySacks

      Chelsea is not a cheap place to live if you’re scouring Craigslist looking for what a Harvard person would consider a legit apartment. Where the clueless ass is completely out of touch is in the context of what a living unit, be it family, extended, or ad-hoc, which doesn’t bring in 6 figures a year and works in Boston has to do to find affordable living within the 495 belt if they can afford a car and with access to public transportation otherwise. There’s a reason there’s so many people living in what would be considered squalid conditions, and if it takes living on a porch or even under a porch rather than on the street to be able to survive in the greater Boston real estate horror show, then so be it.

      1. Swamp Yankee

        Harvard? Clueless about the region and communities that it parasitically draws off of? Surely you jest!/s

        Chelsea, and its near neighbor Lynn (“Lynn, Lynn, city of sin,/ You never go out the way you came in”:), have been very tough communities since really about 1800, when Lynn becomes a proto-industrial shoe manufacturing town. I don’t know that things have changed appreciably since then, despite Harvard’s dreams of Modernization Theory and later, 90s style globalized prosperity (haven’t seen that one in Chelsea or Lynn, much….). It’s also overwhelmingly Spanish-speaking in addition to its poverty, so the Barneys* are that much more unlikely to know what’s going on.**

        Reminds me of Jacob Riis’s pioneering book of photojournalism, HOW THE OTHER HALF LIVES, c. 1890, which I always include in my lecture on urbanization in US HIST II. Riis, himself a prosperous Danish immigrant, shocked polite society at the tenement conditions in the slums where the streetcars of Brookline or Park Slope didn’t reach. Remarkable to hear almost verbatim reactions today. As a result, you get middle-class Progressivism, with its plethora of Settlement Houses and do-as-your-told improvement projects for the working class. Was this better than the factory owners’ attitude? Well, yes, of course, looking aside from the fact that the wives of these factory owners or their idealistic children are often in fact the first Progressives — but it was top-down, class based, and often overtly anti-democratic, just the DNC progressivism in the 21st c.

        I’d also add that the fact that the Harvard class doesn’t get out of its bubble applies beyond urban settings. Down here at the edge of the countryside, at and beyond the metropolitan edge, the working poor commute from small cities or dying mill-towns (New Bedford, Fall River, Brockton, Taunton) to jobs 50 or 60 or 70 miles away in inner Boston (gotta have those clean hotel rooms and refreshing jamba juices….).

        But they are the comparatively lucky ones. The homeless, _many of whom are actually employed, live in the woods, often without even a tent or the rudiments of shelter, through long New England winters. If the Barneys are surprised by the 19th c. conditions in the cities, they might be even more shocked to find something like 17th c,, frontier conditions for the poorest of the poor outside Rt. 128 (Boston belt road, home to a mini Silicon Valley East powered by Raytheon et al.). You will often literally stumble open a forest encampment if you are out walking in the woods and fields in this neck of the continent. And be careful if you do, because there truly are some desperate people out there. The police know about this, and so have essentially looked the other way and let these little villages emerge, because what else are they going to do? The county jails are full, often with the untreated mentally ill and addicted, and locking more people up is not the solution, which even the most reactionary cops down here have come to realize.

        Ah, forget it, Jake — it’s Harvard-town.

        *Barney = 20th c Somerville (“Slumerville” as its detractors sometimes called it) nickname for clueless Harvard students, from their tendency to shop at Barney’s of New York.

        ** I observed a similar tendency when I was a grad student at the U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, during the last great financial crisis. Even within Ann Arbor, which I’d describe as like a Cambridge, MA, with more trees and a football obsession, the number of homeless and destitute were legion, esp. since the GFC hit Michigan in unbelievably bad and frightening ways. But the conditions in next door working class Ypsilanti, home of Willow Run, were often just beyond the ken of the PMC and 1%ers who dominated Ann Arbor. They didn’t know their next door neighbors, let alone Detroit or Flint, or God forbid the northern Lower Peninsula or any of the Upper Peninsula. I remember Manhattanites and Californians — not casting aspersions on any present, of course — who literally never left Ann Arbor complaining about how much the Great Lakes State of Michigan was bad for them. “Michigan sucks!” they’d exclaim. But, I’d say to myself or sometimes to them — but you’ve never been to Michigan, only Ann Arbor. Same phenomenon.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Just ruminating on the theory of “we make all the money and pass a little bit out to the bottom rungs” versus “let the bottom rungs have a little bit of their own money in the first place”.

          I did a long road trip in my adopted country, that used to be famous for having the biggest and most-successful middle class in the world. Sure signs of this were evident at the end of windy roads in the far back country, we saw perfectly tidy, extremely modest and small houses everywhere. It was almost like a statement: “it’s not much, but it’s mine, and I’m proud of it, and I have some human dignity”.

          Of course Australia like most places has been steadily neo-libbed and the wealth strip mined into fewer and fewer hands but the vestiges, and the stability that comes with them, are thankfully still there.

          1. Swamp Yankee

            That lost world of Australia reminds me of the dream of yeoman democrats in the early US republic.

            You don’t get there by listening to the Alexander Hamilton types.

            Hope all is well Down Under and you are staying safe and healthy.

        2. eg

          This is excellent, thanks. I will never forget taking a high school football team from a leafy suburb of Toronto on a trip to play a team in Youngstown, Ohio almost 20 years ago.

          Oh my …

  20. Chris

    Here’s a useful link to a summary of rent strikes written in 1950.

    I keep asking myself what happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object… the current status quo refuses to consider the federal government or state government moving to freeze rent and mortgages and utilities in this country. But they are also refusing to give people the ability to work so that they can pay. And in the chances they are able to work, they’re forced to consider the risks of death against their ability to earn a living. This situation cannot continue and too many people are assuming it can.

    I think we’re going to see some crazy things happen come May 1.

      1. Chris

        Because I don’t want our society and our citizens to suffer any further I hope you’re right.

        But I’m still not going anywhere near a big city this week.

  21. The Rev Kev

    “Several states starting to reopen this weekend”

    After reading though that list of States, I can see why some feel that they can get away with it but certainly not Georgia or Texas. There will be hideous blowback from this in those States as they are already getting hammered by Coronavirus. My own Australian State is going to ease restrictions come this Friday because we are only getting three or four new cases per day. And this in a State with a population of about 5.07 million which is a bit less than the population of South Carolina. But States like Texas and Georgia are reporting several hundred new cases per day. This will not end well this-

    1. Daryl

      It will also be a failure in an economic sense. Those of us who have the good fortune to be able to continue to isolate, will do so. People aren’t going to suddenly start eating out every day because Texas “brain trust” of millionaires said it was a good idea.

    2. TXMama

      Texas mayors are countervailing the governor’s reopening. Houston’s mayor is keeping restrictions in place and the roads are deserted, at least in my suburban area.

    3. carl

      We’re not really in a real quarantine anyway; grocery stores, pet stores, building supply stores, pawnshops, and a myriad of other places are still open in Texas. Public transportation is still running in San Antonio, although masks are required to ride.

  22. Harry

    “Stunned, I tell you. Stunned. One of the continuing sources of amusement for me during the pandemic is PMCs discovering how the world beyond the Acela really works.”

    What makes this even more poignant to me, is that Chelsea, Ma is really not that far north of the Acela corridor, nor is it that far from Harvard School of Govt.

    Still, its not an obvious destination for these types.

    1. Kurtismayfield

      Ms. Robb may know where Chelsea is on the map, she may know the median household income, she may know the percentages of racial identity in the city. But I can guarantee that she couldn’t tell me where to find a delicious enchilada in town, or where the nearest Brazilian supermarket was, or where to find a package store in the city until she did her study. She may have zoomed by it as she went north on 1 towards Cape May once.

  23. flora

    re: In A Crowded City….

    “I didn’t think conditions like this were happening in the 21st century,” she said. “It reminded me of stories I heard of the late 1800s, at the beginning of sanitary reform, at the beginning of urbanization.”

    Maybe it’s time for an open sourced photo project, like the photographs of Dorothea Lange and Walker Evens in the Great Depression, to make vivid the realities that too many politicians and 10%’ers otherwise will not see.

    1. sd

      And that’s why funding for the arts is almost non-existent in the United States.

      Dorothea Lang, Walker Evans, Ben Shahn, etc were part of the artists working under government funding such as the Farm Security Administration.

    2. SLOMike

      If you haven’t already, check out Chris Arnade’s “Dignity”. Powerful photos and they were taken before COVID19!

  24. Mickey Hickey

    Here is a link to what I believe is by far the best article I have seen on Covid-19.
    Available free from FT who has opened up its CV-19 articles to all and sundry.

  25. Billy

    “Millions of credit card customers can’t pay their bills and lenders are bracing for the impact”

    “Credit card companies are suffering alongside their customers…”

    Oh please, these banker bastards borrow money at what?, 1%, and then charge us 29% to 21%?
    As part of the Debtor’s Strike starting May 1st, for the faint-hearted unwilling to go the whole distance, credit cards should be the first to not be paid, since the debts are “unsecured.” The nearly broke or hard core citizens should refuse all payments of any kind to institutions to force the government to do something real for us like they did for Wall Street in 2008 and last March.

  26. L

    Sanders Could Lose A Third Of His Delegates, Making For A Messy Convention FiveThirtyEight. Not if the convention is virtual!

    I found it particularly interesting that this article took pains to mention Biden’s efforts to “avoid 2016 mistakes” and even his call for Sanders to keep his delegates in the name of “party unity.”

    When I last read NY was still on track to hold a vote (of 2 people) today to decide whether to use newly granted powers to strip Sanders (and others’) name from the ballots. Those powers were of course smuggled into a budget bill by the sainted Cuomo after Sanders had dropped out. This would not stop the election of course as local elections are still scheduled. It would just stop Bernie from amassing any NY Delegates.

    I guess not everyone got the memo about unity. Or cared to read it.

    1. flora

      Odd. My state’s Dem party sent out vote-by-mail ballots to all registered Dem voters weeks ago. First time they’ve ever done that, but they got their act together quickly.

      If we, out here in the great American desert of flyover country, can do this, hard to believe NY with its infinitely larger resources could not do this. (Unless the point was to cancel democracy in NY…)

      1. Pat

        NY has a highly functioning vote suppression program.

        And a highly suspect electronic machine vote system. Yes the ballot is on paper but no voter has any idea what the scanner actually records. I, for one, is pretty sure more people voted for the actress in the last gubernatorial primary than the numbers said. Although Teachout was so popular they actually had to recruit a faux challenger to keep her from being AG, so even they know they can’t be too obvious.

        (I’m hoping that AOC has enough in her campaign chest to demand a hand recount, she may need it unless her numbers overwhelm the fix.)

  27. semiconscious

    Africa in the Path of Covid-19

    note: article over a week old…

    first article i’ve seen about africa & covid-19, as, somehow, the pandemic pretty much continues to completely ignore the most poverty-ridden, unsanitary continent on the face of the planet. one wonders: does africa know something that n.y.c. doesn’t?…

    1. Monty

      “the most poverty-ridden, unsanitary continent on the face of the planet.”

      Perhaps this is the reason? It wasn’t been visited by many infectious jet-setting, europhillic skiers during February and March. I know of a few who picked it up in the Alps, then spread it around back in their favorite haunts, before everyone started the social distancing.

        1. Monty

          According to the genetic geneology from NextStrain, most of the east coast US infections have ancestry linked to the outbreak in Italy.

  28. Roger Boyd

    “Jacobin – The Ruling Class Does Not Rule”. This is an extremely out of date, and self serving (for the Democrats), view given the concentration of wealth over the past 40+ years and changes to political financing rules.

    We have an extremely class conscious set of the extremely rich (and their corporate functionaries) who have very direct control over both parties and the state. The set of people who are allowed to be in government has always been from a relatively small circle, even more now with all the think tanks etc.

    There is some excellent research by van Apeldoorn and de Graaf (in the book American Grand Strategy and Corporate Elite Networks) which shows the complete overlap between the members of the wealthy and corporate elite and senior state officials. Just look at who has ran the CIA since WW2 – they tend to be from elite families. They also published a paper recently showing that Trump had selected other elites from outside the usual networks – hence the hatred of him by the usually selected from networks (on a bipartisan basis).

    The US is special – in the complete control of the state by the rich and powerful. It becomes more obvious everyday during this crisis. There is little real policy difference between Biden (the Democrats) and Trump. Just as there was between GW Bush and Obama.

    1. Olga

      Since I was looking up Lev Tolstoy, this may be fitting:
      “During his 1857 visit, Tolstoy witnessed a public execution in Paris, a traumatic experience that marked the rest of his life. In a letter to his friend Vasily Botkin, Tolstoy wrote: “The truth is that the State is a conspiracy designed not only to exploit, but above all to corrupt its citizens … Henceforth, I shall never serve any government anywhere.”

  29. Eclair

    Regarding life after 75 is not worth living, I thought that this would be a great argument for making 70 the mandatory retirement age for US Senators and Congressional Representatives. Went to check the stats for relevant ages and found this amazing bit of information: The median age for the Democratic leadership in the House is 72; for Republican leadership, it’s 48.

    And, 21 senators up for re-election in 2020 are over 65; 12 are under 65.

    Being almost 80 myself, and still waking up every morning looking forward to doing my tiny part in leaving the world a little bit better by the time I go to bed that night, and, having a great time while doing it, I rather resent being told that life is really not worth living after 75. But, I do think that retiring gracefully should be expected. Being unable to relinquish the reins of power, within a family, or a business, or in a governing body is a pathology. And, probably coincides with a history of not training successors. And, perhaps, with not having a well-defined role for elders; one where they are consulted and listened to respectfully. But, they no longer have the responsibility for making the final decisions.

  30. Ignacio

    RE: Global coronavirus death toll could be 60% higher than reported FT (not pay-walled). Another must-read. Handy charts:

    According to the Mortality Monitoring system (MoMo) in Spain there are 8,000 deaths in excess not counted as Covid-19, more than half of these in Madrid. We can estimate that so far Covid-19 has caused about 30.000 deaths in Spain.

  31. Jessica

    About “The Ruling Class Does Not Rule”,
    I submit that the capacity of the structural mechanisms to generate capitalist rationality for the benefit of capital as a whole has severely diminished, in the US in particular, but throughout the first world in general in recent decades. (In the US, this process started in the 1960s and becomes quite visible in the 1970s and 1980s.)
    The partial exceptions are the remaining social democracies in northern Europe. A social democratic government, in order to keep both its popular base satisfied and business leadership on board, must govern for the benefit of capital as a whole. It does not govern as much for the benefit of specific factions of capital the way that a conservative government does.
    The diminishment of leadership capacity is visible in Japan, where the business and political leaders knew where they were going (industrializing) right up to the moment in the mid-80s when that process completed. Since then, they flounder cluelessly. China is now in the middle of this process of losing its capacity for leadership. This is why Xi Jinping prematurely shifted from the successfully lay low policy of the previous decades to a much more aggressive policy that is provoking increasing pushback from outside the country. A good indicator of the diminishment of ruling class capacity to lead is the systematic turning off of feedback mechanisms.
    I further submit that this essay is another case of the owl of Minerva flying only at twilight. The structural mechanisms that the author describes so well became visible at that point precisely because they were breaking down.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      This is an amazing post, thank you. It sent me to “The Owl of Minerva”. I happen to have a nice silver owl tetradrachm coin in my desk so I brought it out.

      A traditional symbol of wisdom, most famously invoked in Hegel’s remark at the end of the Preface to the Philosophy of Right: ‘when philosophy paints its grey in grey, then has a shape of life grown old. The owl of Minerva spreads its wings only with the coming of the dusk.’ Hegel means that the kinds of self-conscious reflection making up philosophy can occur only when a way of life is sufficiently mature to be already passing, but the doctrine neglects the fact that selfconsciousness and reflection co-exist with activity. For example, an active social and political movement will co-exist with reflection on the categories within which it frames its position.

  32. Molon Labe

    Regarding “Animals Are Pointless, And We Should Be Too”: Generally good, but one complaint. “The moral obligation that we all have is to help sustain the life around us, and we hope that others will sustain us too when we are “feeble” and in need.” I find the latter half of this sentence selfish and misguided; the first half is correct and all that is necessary.

    Also, while I am an absolute fee speech believer and would never have seen myself as a book-banner, I would light the fire for burning every copy of whatever child rearing book the Emmanuels’ parents used.

  33. Oregoncharles

    “The US Political System Is to Blame for This Pandemic” – false. Pandemics are a fact of life, albeit fortunately fairly rare.

    The subtitle: “Donald Trump richly deserves to be condemned for his response to COVID-19. But the catastrophic failures of public policy didn’t start with Trump: this bipartisan disaster has been decades in the making.” That makes sense, EXCEPT that, barring NYC, the US is statistically in the middle. Not good, considering how “exceptional” we’re supposed to be, but not catastrophic, either.

    Very weak ending. Is there another article in the works?

    1. Jessica

      Even including NYC, the US is near the middle of the pack for deaths per million.
      More precisely, US death per millions are near the lowest among the tiny group of nations that are above average for deaths per million.
      That average figure though is divided to a fraction of the value it would have otherwise by the assumption that South Asia and Africa have almost no Covid-19 deaths.

      1. Jessica

        Delete the comment about small number of nations above average. There are plenty of nations above the world average.

  34. Dirk77

    Re: Popular heartburn medicine being studied as treatment for coronavirus. I dimly recall when I was a youngster in the late 80’s reading about someone claiming to use a H+ blocker like Tagamet to treat Epstein-Barr/Chronic Fatigue. Be careful what you wish for.

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