Links 4/30/2020

50 Most Wholesome Rescue Pet Photos Of This Month BoredPanda

Is the universe conscious? It seems impossible until you do the maths New Scientist

Swedish city to use chicken manure to deter crowds BBC (David L)

Would You Have Fallen for This Phone Scam? Krebs on Security (Robert M)

The Deepfake iPhone Apps Are Here LawFare (David L)

AI Cannot Be Inventors, US Patent Office Rules Vice


ILO: As job losses escalate, nearly half of global workforce at risk of losing livelihoods International Labour Organization

Elon Musk Tweets ‘FREE AMERICA NOW’ As His Coronavirus Predictions Prove Very Wrong Gizmodo. Kevin W: “Those workers aren’t going to exploit themselves now, are they?”


Critical study of Gilead’s Covid-19 drug shows patients are responding to treatment, NIH says STAT. Not new, but see detail. Good sample size but broadcasting results without providing detailed data is not nice, particularly given Chinese study which found no benefit.

The other study: Remdesivir in adults with severe COVID-19: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicentre trial Lancet

Antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2 in patients with COVID-19 Nature

We Can’t Get Together Until Tests Get Better Bloomberg

More cases of rare syndrome in children reported globally Guardian

Link identified between dietary selenium and outcome of Covid-19 disease University of Surrey.

Microbe Mappers Are Tracking Covid-19’s Invisible Traces Wired (Dr. Kevin)

These Data Science Wizards Tell Us What’s Really Happening With Coronavirus Popular Mechanics

Covid-19 Literature Updates: Part 3 4/9-4/22 YouTube

This measles study shows how small towns help epidemics spread Futurity (resilc)

How Robots Are on the Front Lines in the Battle Against COVID-19 Smithsonian Magazine


Covid-19 Fight: Pinarayi Vijayan Has Become A Prisoner Of His Own Media Image; Communist ‘Kerala Model’ Is Falling Apart Swarajya

Australia/New Zealand

Tasmania coronavirus outbreak traced to two Ruby Princess passengers Guardian


Sweden says its coronavirus approach has worked. The numbers suggest a different story CNN (Dr. Kevin)

Covid-19 forces Europe to rethink globalisation International Politics and Society (Micael)

1,000-year-old English mill resumes flour production to meet demand during coronavirus pandemic CNN

Middle East

Yemen reports first coronavirus deaths, multiple cases Aljazeera

Coronavirus: Israeli court bans lawless contact tracing BBC


Half of Americans Won’t Trust Contact-Tracing Apps, New Poll Finds ars technica. What decades of behaving badly reaps: “…only 41 percent of American adults have both the technological capacity and the will to use a contact-tracing app.”

Coronavirus: A Tweet At Trump Landed Him Money For Ventilators Buzzfeed

Some School Districts Plan To End the Year Early, Call Remote Learning Too Tough Wall Street Journal

US Marriage Rate Falls to Lowest Level in 120 Years Sputnik (Kevin W)

Over 70% of Tested Inmates in Federal Prisons Have COVID-19, Official Figures Show Time

Iranian scientist contracts coronavirus in U.S. jail Tehran Times

Riots and Escape Attempts Reported in U.S. Juvenile Jails as Coronavirus Spreads Democracy Now!

Nursing home residents and staff could be in great danger if states open too soon MarketWatch

Memo says California governor will order all beaches closed Associated Press

Los Angeles Offers Free Coronavirus Testing For All Residents HuffPost

Coronavirus: Grocery Stores Limiting Meat Purchases Over Concerns Of A Shortage CBS Los Angeles

Cops discover 100 decomposing bodies in U-Haul trucks outside Brooklyn funeral home after neighbors complained they could ‘smell death’ as coronavirus ravages New York City Daily Mail

Political Responses

Trump’s Coronavirus Briefings Should Be Seen in Full New York Magazine

North Carolina Governor Gives Approval For A Fan-Free NASCAR Coca-Cola 600 On Memorial Day Weekend Jalopnik (resilc)

Pelosi fills out Democratic roster on coronavirus oversight panel The Hill

The Trump Administration Accidentally Sent Stimulus Checks to Dead People, and Now It Wants Them Back Vice


US G.D.P. Declined in First Quarter, With Worse Economy to Come New York Times (resilc)

The impact of Covid-19 on emerging markets with Barry Eichengreen Bruegel

Rent Crisis Worsening: Survey Indicates Half of Families Struggling to Pay May 1st Bills ParentsTogether

The global data divide International Politics and Society (Micael)

Why Germany Will Never Be Europe’s Leader Bloomberg (vlade)


Backing the Wrong Horseman Craig Murray (J-LS). Important.

German government bans Hezbollah — Interior Ministry DW

Trump Transition

Trump’s Coming Victory Over the #MeToo Movement American Conservative

Get him to lie so we can prosecute him’: New docs reveal FBI plan to set up General Flynn in perjury trap RT (Kevin W)

AOC, Malcolm Turnbull, and the Famous Leather Jacket Lean Tossup (UserFriendly). Having actually met Turnbull one on one (Australia is fabulously egalitarian, or at least was 20 years ago; just about anyone would give you one meeting if you had an introduction), this is apt (although the Turnbull I met was very natty and his tailoring looked bespoke).


Biden himself should address the Tara Reade allegations and release relevant records Washington Post. Editorial.

Tara Reade allegations stir Democratic unrest Politico

I Love Hillary Clinton — But She Should Stay Miles Away From Biden’s Campaign New York Magazine

Trump Administration Lists Some of Amazon’s Foreign Websites as ‘Notorious’ Counterfeit Markets Politico

Tesla Reports Third Consecutive Quarterly Profit Despite Coronavirus Wall Street Journal

Appearing nightly, the Quest Diagnostics Air Force ars technica. What sexual favors did it take to get this piece published? As a prominent comment notes:

In comparison, both Labcorp (the second largest private testing firm in the country) and the Mayo Clinic just use FedEx for their sample delivery. (….source: I’ve worked for both)

Lyft To Lay Off 17 Percent of Staff As Uber Weighs Even Bigger Layoffs TechCrunch

Op-ed: Pandemic moves Modern Monetary Theory from the fringes to actual US policy CNBC (furzy)

Class Warfare

Economics as Ideology (1): Introduction Policy Tensor (UserFriendly). Today’s must read.

Study Finds Unions Make Companies More Productive Vice

Antidote du jour:

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      1. Procopius

        Anyone who can persuade a libel court judge that calling someone a “pedo guy” is just a bit of South African slang, friendly joshing, has something going, even if not a “true Genius.”

    1. ObjectiveFunction

      The end of the NY Mag piece was far more revealing than the rest of the article:

      At the end of Monday’s briefing, Trump called on me. I asked him if a president should be reelected if he loses more Americans in six weeks than died in the entirety of the Vietnam War. He took the question seriously, though — Trump being Trump — he wandered off the topic to praise himself. He admitted that a lot of people have died. As he spoke, there was something unusual about his face. He seemed sad, not angry.

      (Psst look, empathy. Not the sign of a wholly deranged and evil human being. Not saying Trump isn’t certifiable, or evil, but there’s definitely a light on back there, in contrast to the swiss cheese that is Smirking Joe’s brain)

      So, unsurprisingly, the author spends the piece p***ing and moaning about how Trump’s pressers are incoherent. And yet, first opening he gets, it’s more: Mr President, When Did You Stop Beating Your Wife?

      Is it really so surprising then, that Bad Orange Man doesn’t oblige them with Statesmenlike quotes like ‘the American people will judge in November’. There’s just no win playing that game, and Trump knows it.

      No, far, far smarter for him to stay incoherent and all over the map, thus basically unquotable to anyone but TDS folks seeking their daily outrage hit. Those folks are irrelevant to Trump: for now it suits him to keep the voters who pulled a lever for him last time tuning out the noise, numb to it.

      Eisenhower, no neophyte when it came to handling the press, was an acknowledged master of the obfuscation game. This led many pundits then, as now, to take it at face value and assume he was losing it. And most Republican presidents since have played the ‘amiable dunce’ card to some extent, largely successfully, although Bush 41 wound up looking passive and out of touch in early ’92 against the plain spoke Perot, to Clinton’s benefit.

  1. jackiebass

    Making public the study on the Covid 19 drug showing promise is troubling me. It give people false hopes that a drug will cure the virus. What I gleamed from it was it shortened the recovery by 4 days. Though that’s good news it isn’t spectacular. Is it effective in those that are most vulnerable for complications? It’s good that it will shorten the recovery time but we need a drug that is effective for the vulnerable. One that will keep people from dyeing. This could be just another windfall for the maker of the drug. I’m all for people being informed but what people are told needs to be up front and not something to make someone or something look good. There are many people that will look at this and think this is a solution to our crises. It may cause many to act in a careless manner.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Another Tamiflu, maybe?

      Tamiflu and Relenza, the two approved medications to treat the H1N1 virus, reduce flu symptoms by slowing the virus down to help the body’s immune system overtake the illness.

      These medications shorten the duration of flu symptoms by about 0.4 to 0.9 days and many report the intensity of the symptoms lessen within 24 hours of starting the medication. To be effective, Tamiflu or Relenza MUST be administered within 48 hours of the onset of flu symptoms.

      The CDC urges caution in using Tamiflu for all cases of H1N1 in the absence of risk factors to prevent resistance to the medication. The more frequently the virus comes in contact with Tamiflu or Relenza the higher the probability that it will become resistant to the medication.

      Annual sales about a billion dollars.

      Another rhyme of history?

      1. anon

        Tamiflu must be given early to be most effective and does help reduce progression to severe influenza disease.

        1. JTMcPhee

          That’s what the quote says. It also says that it reduces symptomatic time by .4 to 0.9 days, and that widespread use will only hasten the development and spread of resistant strains of the virus.

          When corporate interests with profit motives behind them have a loud voice in the supposed dispassionate science that ought to guide policy and medical judgment, I tend to be suspicious (after years of lies and coverups by those interests and their political stooges) of claims of either safety or effectiveness.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            This time around we do not have doctors (or funders) with the morals and character of Jonas Salk…so a vaccine or treatment drugs will just be yet another deadly episode of neo-lib grifting

    2. The Rev Kev

      That Chris Martenson from peak Prosperity did a video today on Remdesivir comparing the NIAD findings alongside a Chinese study of the same drug. From what he teased out of the data, I wouldn’t be getting your hopes up for a “silver bullet” just yet-

    3. PlutoniumKun

      I made the point earlier – they are talking about a ‘cure’, but how do you define a cure? Lowered mortality? That would be good obviously, but if Covid does – as many suspect – cause a range of possibly life changing problems, then that’s not enough. We could end up with a very expensive drug that does nothing more than reduce hospital pressure. Thats not a bad thing, but its not the answer to the problem either.

      1. Winston Smith

        Too many known unknowns that people want answers to quickly. is herd immunity possible, how long will it take to develop prophylactic therapies and a vaccine etc etc. Tall order

        1. TMoney

          Looks like the poor bastards in pokey will be the first to establish the viability of Herd Immunity, with some 70% of prisoners in the Federal Pen. NY Post I know, but it’s an AP report.

          The state has failed to keep them safe during incarceration, is that cruel and unusual punishment ?

      2. MLTPB

        Everyone is different.

        Some want their doctors to be upfront. Some, a little more vague.

        That there is a path forward helps with coping. Any psychologists here?

    4. Krystyn Podgajski

      Thank you, this is why I love NC! Subtleties!

      I think if someone talks about this as promising ask them if they feel getting an IV of it when they are sick and in the ICU seems like a viable solution.

      Is Remdesivir (corporate) just the neoliberal version of hydroxychloroquine (populist)?

    5. timotheus

      The Lancet (the other Remdesivir) study’s abstract concludes: “Remdesivir was stopped early because of adverse events in 18 (12%) patients versus four (5%) patients who stopped placebo early.” So the cure was worse than the disease?

  2. Landrew

    I’m not sure why media is using the word assault when talking about Tara Reid and Biden.
    The word is RAPE. The U.S Justice dept:

    “The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”

    The media makes it sounds as though Biden was asking her to go to lunch. Power meets working people
    yet again.

    1. carl

      1. A lot of state criminal codes refer to “sexual assault” rather than rape. Approximately the same definition you quoted.
      2. Saying assault minimizes and obscures the actual allegations, but you knew that was the purpose, right?

    2. John A

      Contrast and compare with Assange, the ‘rape’ charge that were dropped a long time ago, against him was based on a broken condom. A condom that proved not to contain any traces of his DNA. He is still in a maximum security prison in London, and has been now for over 12 months, due to skipping bail, for which the usual punishment is a fine or at worst 6 months in prison.

      1. periol

        The charge against Assange in Sweden was not quite what you are saying. He was accused of taking a condom off in the middle of sexual intercourse despite his partner previously insisting they only have sex if he was wearing a condom. The woman he had sex with went to the police. Those charges have now been dropped.

        The whole thing was an obvious attempt to get him to Guantanamo, which is where the rest of the drama came into play.

        1. John A

          I am Swedish, I read what is written in Swedish media. One of the accusers presented a torn condom to the police as evidence and it was tested and did not have any of Assange’s dna on it. Much of the English language media regurgitate second hand stuff translated by google from Swedish.

          1. urblintz

            Thanks for this! The demonization of Assange may well be the greatest force working against him as even “good” people pursue “facts” which support their opinion.

            1. periol

              I’m a fan of Assange’s work. I am definitely not demonizing him.

              Even people we consider heroes can have foibles. I do think Biden should face a greater reckoning for his mistakes than he has so far. Prison would be fine.

          2. periol

            The reporting in the media may be biased, but I followed the case mainly through Wikileaks twitter and info put out by Assange’s defense team. I don’t disagree with the facts as you present them, but I do think that the situation was perhaps a little less simple than your original presentation.

            1. Assange most likely did a bad and/or icky thing with a woman.
            2. He should have gone to Sweden to face the charges and deal with the consequences.
            3. Neither #1 or #2 would have justified extraditing Assange to the US to face espionage charges – especially when there is no legal basis to bring those charges against a non-citizen.

              1. periol

                I understand this. The case against him was weak. But I did read also read what the woman said, and her story has a ring of truth to it.

                I have personally been around too many men in positions of authority and/or power who have abused their position to take advantage of women. In this case with Assange, it certainly sounds like there was a sexual encounter where the woman was uncomfortable with the situation.

                It wasn’t rape, in the classic sense. But it also doesn’t exactly sound like a healthy sexual interaction, for either of them. The whole thing would have been dealt with properly in Sweden if the extradition to the USA wasn’t clearly hanging in the background.

                I’m disappointed in Assange over this incident. I don’t understand why there can’t be nuance – we are all human, we all have foibles, and this particular foible is bad but doesn’t actually detract from the good work he does. But it did basically end Wikileaks as a going concern. It’s very unfortunate.

                He broke one of the rules of taking the fight to power – you must never show weakness. There is no room for error. They will use any weak link they find to destroy you.

                Unfortunately Assange was not careful enough.

            1. Procopius

              Well, there was the suspicion that if he went to Sweden the prosecutor there would arrest him and approve his extradition to the U.S. when they unveiled the secret charges against him. Later on, when the British got him, they did unveil their secret charges against him, two separate sets, in fact, and demand his extradition which a magistrate seems intent on approving. As someone expressed it, they’re publicly accusing him of espionage, but the real charge is sedition (i.e., revealing information which is embarrassing to powerful people).

              1. periol

                Without the threat of extradition to the US, we wouldn’t be talking about this. Assange would have gone back to Sweden, and this would have gone to court, and there would have been a public verdict, and that would have been it. It is a mark of real shame for the entire world that only Ecuador was willing to help him deal with the imperial overreach, and even then only for so long.

    3. Off The Street

      Biden’s days are numbered. The WaPo and now even the LA Times are acknowledging the issue. Wonder what took them so long.

          1. Hank Linderman

            I think I could bear this if she chose Bernie as her VP, which she should have done in 2016.

            1. Dr. John Carpenter

              Aside from “not gonna happen” who still has any notion of Sanders’s ability to accomplish anything even if he wanted to? The only thing a Hillary/Sanders ticket would do is raise false hopes and herd the less cynical Sanders supporters back into the fray.

              1. edmondo

                The only problem with a Clinton-Sanders ticket is that it would be problematic as to which one was the bigger DNC stooge.

                Fooled me once (and again in 2020 long enough to vote for him again). No thanks.

            2. D. Fuller

              It would be a way to render Sanders ineffective in The Senate by having him attend ribbon cutting ceremonies at hospitals as VP.

            3. rd

              Sanders for Pres, one of the younger women who ran this year for VP.

              I am utterly baffled why everybody nominated in this election has to be over 70.

          2. WhoaMolly

            I predicted a Hillary-Harris ticket about a year ago.
            It looks increasingly like a real possibility.

            Strange times.

      1. timbers

        Maybe Hillary needs time to repackage herself for November to take Biden’s place. Hair, makeup, clothes…all those things take more time now than it did pre-Covid.

        1. ambrit

          Don’t forget a new, upgraded exoskeleton. Can’t have any more of those “falling down” photo-ops, can we?

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        The msm would always swing right once Sanders was defeated. That wasn’t in doubt. Without the inevitable SS Hillary on the ballot, they will be the same media that produced the environment blogs originally thrived in.

        The “liberal” network is headlined by Andrea Mitchell and Joe Scarborough, more of an opportunist than true believer in retrospect but still he accumulated onemail of the grossest voting records during a gross period.

        1. Baby Gerald

          As nice as it is to see the WaPo finally addressing these charges after more than month since Tara Reade’s interview with Katie Halper, like their friends at the NYT they still couldn’t resist dragging Trump with the a final paragraph that reads as follows:

          President Trump has been credibly accused of sexual assault, including rape, by dozens of women. He has responded by brushing the accusations off, once claiming repulsively, “She’s not my type.” It may seem unfair to hold Mr. Trump’s likely rival in the 2020 race to a standard that Mr. Trump has failed to meet again and again. But Mr. Trump shouldn’t be allowed to set that standard. A better man could.

          Love that closing line. The presumption that Biden is ‘a better man’ carries a lot of weight. Would someone who is serving time on a drug felony (and likely now infected with COVID-19) thanks to Biden’s 1994 Crime Bill think he’s the better man? Would a victim of one of the five wars started under his term as VP think him the better man? How about students whose children, should they have any, will be paying off their college loans after they’re deceased? Will they think the guy who wrote the Bankruptcy Bill think him the better man? Taking in the totality of each of their careers, even as a rapacious landlord and businessman Trump has less blood and grief to his discredit than Biden’s four decades in public office.

      3. JohnnySacks

        Finally got a mention last night by Chris Hayes, but I couldn’t bear to watch Maddow. Easier to naturally assume she’s got other distractions to beat like a dead horse. Somewhere in the background I caught noise from a CAP puff piece visit from Neera Tanden, apparently also now an expert epidemiologist.
        When Gillibrand comes out from whatever rock she’s cowering under, then I’ll know the tide will have turned.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Shame on me, but I continue to be amazed at the enduring and absolute contempt the Dem party has for voters. The mere ongoing presence of Joe B feebly grasping the mantle that has been laid at his feet is the biggest possible middle finger to: you and me.

          Let’s just call it what it is: The Hunger Games. The aristocracy operate in an entirely separate sphere, with its own dramas, foibles, gainsaying, jockeying for favours, and rules of engagement. They live inside gilded bubbles, only dimly aware of any happenings outside the perimeter. These people and their *completely* meaningless intrigues are like a rogue virus on civil society, rendering it weak of breath, sapped of all vitality, constantly tired out, too feeble to resist.

          Fukiyama said we’d reached “the end of history” but I’d say we’ve reached the end of politics, at least of the representative democracy sort. The human heart has a special capacity for Hope, but (as St. Augustine said) Hope has two daughters, Courage and Anger, and those daughters unfortunately have fled the scene.

    4. Dr. John Carpenter

      I think your last part answers your first part there.

      Also, I’m already tired of hearing “Biden denied the allegations.” Maybe in private he has, although there’s no evidence of that. However, in public, he hasn’t even acknowledged the accusations. Saying Biden denied anything is no more true than saying the New York Times disproved Tara’s claims, something the Times themselves have come out and said they did not do.

      If TPTB are starting to take this seriously, it’s going to be an interesting ride now that Obama and Hillary have both signed on to the Joementum.

  3. Kevin C. Smith

    re: remdesivir
    From a friend at a major private US medical care and research establishment:

    “Some believe the data massaged heavily
    Mortality as endpoint was taken out 9 days ago. More patients added to the study.

    I think the drug has a role. Not sure if game changer it’s made out to be.”

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Yes, that is what the harrumphing by STAT is about, they aren’t happy with a press release as opposed to (at least) a journal article.

    2. The Historian

      I agree with you – it is still too soon to tell.

      But what distresses me most is that almost all of the positive press about remdesivir is PR from Gilead and friends to pump the stock prices, not actual independent scientific data. And what Gilead and friends don’t tell you, as they are bragging about its use for Ebola, is that, as one of the links in that article points out, remdesivir was abandoned during the Ebola trials because it performed so poorly against other medications. And I don’t buy their story that the reason the Chinese test turned out so poorly was that there weren’t enough test subjects. This was the excuse mentioned in their 17 page “manifesto” that Lambert published yesterday.

      Here is another link about remdesivir and Ebola:

    3. MLTPB

      Something about the human psyche is at work here (or being aimed at).

      And that has to do with, for example, time seeming to move faster when you know the next subway train is 8 minutes away, than not knowing it.

      And so, it helps when we know a book is 150 pages, or even 1,500 pages.

      We are ‘in control’ knowing a book has a finite number of pages, before we start it.

    4. Mikel

      If it’s correct that you have to already be hospitalized and on an IV for a number of days, it doesn’t really change anything. Nobody wants a hospital bill like that. It’s enough reason to still continue to self-isolate.

      1. a different chris

        Yes that needs to be brought up again and again.

        You make maybe $35k in your crap job. You have no real healthcare, just Obamacare. You get even a not-nearly-fatal dose and you go thru the emergency room and get moved for a day or two under care — and that results in a bill for *twice* your yearly gross income.

        And, I can’t put numbers in the above paragraph because nobody knows and, having tried (not Obamacare, real insurance) nobody can ever tell you. But even with the best policies us “norms” have – don’t know about the executive class – it’s a 5K deductible. Nearly 2 months gross income.

        So it is a really logical move to just stay home for a month.

    5. martin horzempa

      I would differ a bit from the thought that the actions and intent of the NIAID’s director in this way was to not to rigorously test anything but to get ahead of the general consensus that the protocol used by Gautret et al ( the French hydroxycloroquine and azythromycin treatment of Covid-19) is rapidly becoming the Standard of Care in the medical community around the world. Should that happen it would be lights out for the Remdesivir and the folks at Gilead.

      Why would Fauci come out and promote this study when another study with the basic same endpoints
      found exactly the opposite, that Remdesivir was not effective as a viable treament for Covid.
      Why would Fauci pass off a study as definitive when hasn’t even been published yet and when the data hasnt been released for peer rereview.

      Fauci, at the absolute least should have been calling for a another study to compare the CURRENT standard of care to the Remdesivir as is usually the case in new investigational treatments not promoting the idea of early approval when the study hasnt yet been published.

      No this just smells bad. People have agendas and the science be damned.
      Why test a possible 3 or 4 figure treatment involving IVs in a clinical setting against a tablet that sells for less than $.20 a pill – thats the RETAIL OTC price(30 – 200 gm tabs for 5.19 Euros) of Plaquenil (a brand of Hydroxychloroquine)in Morocco – AFRICA.

    6. JohnMc

      The Data Safety Monitoring Board reviewed interim results and because one of the two study endpoints (time to recovery) was met and found to be statistically significant, it determined it would be unethical to continue the study and deny the drug to the placebo group. The other endpoint, mortality, wasn’t ‘taken out’, the study was discontinued. a good presentation of the study can be found here:

  4. Wukchumni

    Anybody have any idea how difficult it would be right now to borrow (HELOC) from your ATM, er home?

    1. jefemt

      I exited Mortgage lending in 2007. BUT, my 2 pennies, speculating
      -IF the HELOC is a first position lien, you may have the best luck with a local bank.
      -IF it would be a second lien, you may well be able to go to the first-lienholder/ servicer— they have payment history, old appraisal, old title work, and with algorhythms, may be able to do a low-fee deal fairly quickly.

      Woulda-shoulda coulda, best option would have been to get one in place prior to T S H T F.

      And, as a very over-extended partner in real estate with various lenders, as property values deflate, the pool of buyer/borrowers gets smaller, near-term looks GRIM for real estate…

      I keep telling myself— you are in a hole, stop digging!

      I also feel/ hope, the lender investor class is NOT desirous of owning, maintaining, re-selling or managing all of the property that could end up in their lap. This time IS different.

      Time for the cast iron stomach and sitting tight. Act in haste, repent at leisure.

      Heck, that’s just a pennies worth…

      1. WheresOurTeddy

        “I also feel/ hope, the lender investor class is NOT desirous of owning, maintaining, re-selling or managing all of the property that could end up in their lap. This time IS different. ”

        This is me not holding my breath. The Great Depression was one of the greatest consolidations of all time; this one will be as well. Might be some angry letters fired off by Liz or AOC though. That and $5 will get you a starbucks coffee.

      2. periol

        Of course the lender investor class is NOT desirous of owning, maintaining, re-selling or managing all of the property that could default.

        That’s why they’ll hire people to do it for them.

      3. Wukchumni

        Thanks, i’d guess that borrowing from yourself in order to keep up appearances and prolonging the length of your mortgage in the bargain, is so last decade.

    2. Keith

      Very. I have read that standards are tightening so even the wealthy are having difficulty getting mortgages (not apple to apple, I know), because the banks are bracing for waves of defaults from credit cards, loans, etc.

      On a side note, my credit union won’t even process a HELOC, a bummer for me as I wanted to get some work done around the old headstead, like setting up my irrigation system.

      I will wait for my CU (NFCU), as they will stay the servicer of the loan throughout its life. After the GFC, I did some fiduciary work, namely investigating them, and say issues related with not being able to get a hold of a servicer to make a payment, and I have no desire to get in that mess.

      1. periol

        I believe the wealthy are having problems because of some of the weirdness surrounding jumbo loans. We are moving forward with a house purchase, and had no problem getting a conventional loan from our credit union. We are definitely not wealthy.

  5. Fireship

    > A Native American woman named Andrea Circle Bear, jailed on a drug charge, becomes the first federal prisoner to die of #coronavirus, hours after giving birth on a ventilator. https://www.

    Daily stories like these are how I knew Bernie had no chance; Americans choose the system they have because most of them blame the weak, the poor, the sick for their own misfortune. As DH Lawrence observed,

    “All the other stuff, the love, the democracy, the floundering into lust, is a sort of by-play. The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer. It has never yet melted.”

    People who comment on this site are a tiny minority. The majority are like Brad Pitt’s character in Killing Them Softly and recognize the truth:

    “Don’t make me laugh. I’m living in America, and in America, you’re on your own. America is not a country; it’s just a business. Now fucking pay me.”

    1. Redlife2017

      The good Dr. Thompson would agree:

      “This maybe the year [1972] when we finally come face to face with ourselves; finally just lay back and say it—that we are really just a nation of 220 million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns, and no qualms at all about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable.”

      –Hunter S. Thompson, The Great Shark Hunt: Strange Tales from a Strange Time

      1. Fireship

        Excellent quote. Readers of this site would do well to print it out and stick it on their bathroom mirrors.

        1. Tom Stone

          ” Random acts of violence, senseless acts of cruelty”

          “The purpose of terror is to terrify”

          1. JBird4049

            “Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power.”

            Our society is not run by psychopaths but by sadists.

  6. diptherio

    The MMT article on CNBC kind of cracks me up with it talk about “a philosophy” of MMT and a “philosophy” that government debt is bad. Funny, I always thought the discussion centered on the facts of financial processes and national accounting, not “philosophy.” Shows what I know…

    1. cnchal

      Shows what they know . . .

      Who else is getting tired of pronouncements from the work from home “experts” on nostril cam?

      1. WhoaMolly

        A couple filmmaking tips for FaceTime and Zoom-ing.
        1. Use a tripod for the phone.
        Something like an inexpensive Gorillapod. Twist the legs and mount it almost anywhere.
        2. Don’t put the camera close to your face.
        The wide angle lens on a cell phone will cause ‘nostril view’ or ‘bug eyes’. With phone or tablet cameras, distance is your friend. Move it away from you until you see a (relatively) small face in the frame. Choose an interesting background.
        3. Keep the camera on the same plane as your eyes.
        If the camera is below the eyes, it looks like the presenter is ‘looking down’ on the viewer.
        If the camera is above the eyes, it looks like the presenter is ‘looking up’ at the viewer.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      I actually don’t think it’s a bad thing that its now being recognised that what are portrayed as economic ‘facts’ are driven by philosophical/normative beliefs, not objective realities.

      1. skippy

        Except the thumb over the use by date as the product is held up for the camera audience …..

  7. The Rev Kev

    “1,000-year-old English mill resumes flour production to meet demand during coronavirus pandemic”

    And to think that in 1,000 years time, future archaeologists will be able to determine which graves in this area date back to the Great Flu Pandemic of 2020-21. How? Why through the marks on their teeth left behind by those medieval millstones in the flour that they grind-

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          One of the lesser Egyptian tombs has the lineage of pharoahs stretching back a few hundred generations, not just to the measly 4,000 BC but waaay earlier.

          In the listing there is a 500-year gap, and an explanation. “This time was one of chaos because the money system broke and all trade ceased”

  8. zagonostra

    >Economics as ideology

    Do we choose to wear ideology “unconsciously” like a shirt or hat? Or do we gingerly step into everything we read and do so with an “awareness” of its limits? Yes as every school boy knows (Gregory Bateson) the “map is not the territory,” but that’s ok, within the domain of science knowledge is proximal.

    Is it not contradictory that Ideology is sometimes “unconscious” and at other times it’s not? Or is it that when we are “in” ideology it is not, it is only when we look at it from the “outside.”

    Good article that I need to re-read to fully digest, hopefully subsequent series will address to role of “values” in disciplines like economics. Or whether the danger lies not so much in the “gap” referred to but in the values that we apply.

    The job of models, reference frames, and so on, is not to be right or wrong; it is to be useful. And the criteria for their usefulness is whether they make phenomena intelligible. That is, whether they can help us comprehend the phenomena under investigation. The moral of the story is that it is perfectly sensible for us to develop simplifying schema to comprehend the world. Indeed, there is no other way to do it. So ideology is not simply a distorted lens through which we look at the world.

    Ideology consists of widely-shared lenses that are worn unconsciously. It is when we are not aware of our limits applicability of our reference frame, when we mistake the map for the territory, that we are being ideological. More often than not, we are simply unaware that we are using a specific lens to interrogate reality. Ideology manifests itself in widely-shared and unarticulated premises. It is most evident in things that are simply assumed to be true and require no justification whatsoever — mere assertion suffices. But even though widely accepted, such premises may not hold. A gap thus opens up between discourse and reality. Such gaps are a recipe for disaster. All man-made catastrophes are due, in large part, to such gaps.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I think the “Economics as Ideology” essay is … strange. The CARES Act was initially sold as a way to get much needed support to working people, with some help for small business, and some help also for Big Money. It was called a stimulus package. Suggesting the CARES Act was a stimulus package isn’t ideology — its some not very convincing public relations.

      The discussion of conceptual “lenses” and the “ideology” of quantum physics is as odd as discussing public relations memes as ideology. And from there we move to ideology as widely shared “lenses” worn unconsciously. Is this definition for ideology an improvement over the existing definitions? Does the concept of a “gap between discourse and reality” as a problem for ideology better explained by this notion of “ideology as widely shared “lenses” worn unconsciously”. I suppose it is an interesting update to the older metaphor of ideological “blinders”.

      The statement near the end of this essay: “the author is not a Marxist and the attack is not mounted from a Marxian perspective” is particularly odd juxtaposed with a statement from the previous paragraphs: “While the focus is on intellectual history, we must pay equal attention to the political economy and the class foundations of widely accepted premises.” I don’t have a problem with a Marxian perspective as long as it doesn’t get too bound up in Marxist ideological minutia. Why make such a strong disclaimer of Marxist perspective while paying attention to “class” foundations.

      I do not believe this an auspicious beginning for a series of philosophical essays. I don’t care much what philosophies are used to sell the CARES Act. I very much care where the Act came, who benefits and how, and what is in the plans for our future world. Do the thieves who crafted this Act really have cares about ideology — beyond its utility in serving their ends? Ideology is a problem for the think tanks to work out to make sure their public relations is effective — and I think they have their work cut out for them.

      1. Grebo

        Ideologies are about human relations and societies so quantum physics or other natural science paradigms aren’t really ideologies. But ideologies are to some extent models of the world too, so I think the analogy is good enough for the purpose it is put to.

        The inventors of ideologies know what they are doing. Other people might recognise one if they have been taught to, but they are not taught to recognise the dominant ideology as such, they are taught it is the truth. This is particularly the case with Neoliberalism which does not even name itself.

        You don’t have to be a Marxist to recognise the salience of economic class, but we have been taught that only Marxists do that, and all we need to know about Marxism is that it is bad.

        Those behind the CARES Act have a private ideology—everything must be made to serve their ends—and a public one which is designed to convince the public to go along with the private ideology while remaining unconscious of it.

  9. ALM

    Joe Biden is a very old man who is slipping into age related dementia before our eyes. The mainstream press is hoping that we won’t notice. Even the independent press which is pressuring Biden to address Reade’s credible rape accusation has proved remarkably coy in calling this out, preferring instead to dance around the issue by framing it as cognitive decline. Biden is unfit to serve as President for so many reasons which include his endorsement by Hillary Clinton whom even Ed Kilgore seeks to banish. But the most pressing one is that he is clearly losing his mind.

    1. Winston Smith

      And on the other side we have the president who presents a disturbing clinical picture of narcissistic personality disorder…lovely choice

      1. bob

        Do you really believe that anyone who runs for public office, much less President, is not a narcissist? If not, why do they love the camera so much?

        1. MillenialSocialist

          My departed grandfather: “Anyone who would run for President has to be a narcissist, masochist, believe in the Great Man Theory of history, and be completely myopic about what is possible.

          With that in mind, now go pick the one that you think will do the least terrible job.”

        2. Otis B Driftwood

          Sanders isn’t. He is a thoroughly decent and compassionate man.

          That’s why the establishment hates him so much.

          And that’s why I hate the establishment.

          1. edmondo

            Sanders isn’t. He is a thoroughly decent and compassionate man.

            I guess Trump isn’t the only one with a “loyal band of followers” huh?

                1. ambrit

                  Diogenes was more honest than that. Socrates is supposed to have described Diogenes a “a barrel of laughs.” As for the mirror gimmick, wasn’t that Protogoras’ shtick? Rational reflexive self-reflection.

    2. Brindle

      I think the Dem establishment knows they have a damaged, semi-functioning candidate in Joe Biden. Guessing that the Tara Reade “episode” (sexual assault) will be used—mostly behind the scenes, to push Biden out. Not sure who the replacement would be but it will not be Sanders and probably not Hillary.

      1. Milton

        Betting wise. If I were to guess, the relacements for the Dem nominee (not my choices that I would like to see) would be:
        Andrew Cuomo
        Kamala Harris
        Amy Klobuchar
        – long shots –
        Bill Gates
        Mark Cuban

        1. edmondo

          I think it’s the governor on the left coast, not the right one. There’s one guy who already rules over a “nation-state,” is fairly photogenic and still as neoliberal as Obama – Gavin Newsom seems to be “available for his close up.” Just sayin’

          Fresh face – same shyt

    3. xkeyscored

      Given Biden’s record of enthusiastic support for US wars on wherever, a few rapes wouldn’t change my opinion of him much. Why expect a violent warmonger to be a wholesome human being?

      1. JohnnySacks

        I see him as more of a go-along to get-along good old boy, a true blue swinging dick wannabe punching above his weight. And in that egotistical mindset, being a war monger vs. a pacifist is a safe and simple option. Not inspirational in a leader regardless. He did have some family skin in the military game though so that’s really a head scratcher.

  10. Bugs Bunny

    Re: Covid-19 Fight: Pinarayi Vijayan Has Become A Prisoner Of His Own Media Image; Communist ‘Kerala Model’ Is Falling Apart Swarajya

    This article is an ad hominem and anti-Marxist hit job. Kerala seems to be managing quite well, as I’ve heard from friends there who are btw not supportive of the LDF government. They’re not happy with lockdown, but then who is.

    There’s probably some theatrics going on in the briefings and this being the biggest holiday of the calendar makes it especially hard to do tracking since people might be using ad hoc ways to get to their families.

    I’d be interested in Jerri-Lynn’s opinion of this piece…

  11. The Rev Kev

    “AOC, Malcolm Turnbull, and the Famous Leather Jacket”

    Cries for purity from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez? I think that is drawing a very long bow here to talk about AOC and Malcolm Turnbull together. I hear a lot of optimistic talk about progressives and their movement but I remain dubious. That is because for me they do not pass the Pub Test. A brief explanation of that term-

    Now back to the subject of progressives of whom Nancy Pelosi is reckoned to be one. So think about this. Do not listen to what they say but how they vote. That is the only real power that they have. That is your key to judge them by. Does a progressive vote for-

    Bailing out the banks.
    Giving tens of billions to the Pentagon whether they asked for it or not
    Supporting military action against other countries whether they are a threat to America or not
    Opposing healthcare for all.
    Funding Trump’s wall.

    If a progressive votes for stuff like this, then perhaps they are not really a progressive. And having voice votes in the House too amounts to secret voting. Voting to make sure that the wealthiest 1% are made whole, suffer no losses, and are given trillions to buy up Firesale America is also not progressive. If you are still unsure, here is some music to help think this through-

    1. Dr. John Carpenter

      If people want to argue who is progressive or not, it’s ok with me, but I’m not interested. The Dems have wrung any meaning out of the word progressive with those who they’ve allowed to embrace it. (Remember the “most progressive candidate ever”?) Like you, actions make it pretty clear to me who is on our side and who isn’t, regardless of their Tweets. If the current situation isn’t enough for people to demand action over accepting lip service, I don’t think anything will change their outlook. If they want to derisively call that a purity test, I really couldn’t care less.

  12. Winston Smith

    Flynn perjury trap. Tiresome. This is what law enforcement does to a lot of people day in day out. And the law allows it. The difference is that in most cases these people are not white and did not chant lock her up. if you think this is unfair change the law

    1. allan

      Agreed. There have been more than 800 federal `terrorism’ prosecutions since 9/11.
      More than 1/3 of them used FBI `confidential sources’ and some of the same tactics used against Flynn.
      Some of the confidential sources even made a career of it.
      Those who were convicted were often cognitively challenged and/or mentally ill,
      and virtually all were POC.

      Where were Turley and the pardon Flynn brigade when that was happening?

    2. GramSci

      True, but his terrific campaign ammunition for Trump. If Trump were Bernie, the MSM could suppress it. But he’s not.

    3. chuck roast

      For me, the part about Flynn’s first defense team was the real kick in the behind:
      “Flynn’s first defense team was handled by international law firm Covington & Burling, where former Obama attorney general Eric Holder returned as a partner in 2015. The firm has come under fire after it was revealed that its lawyers rejected a number of immunity deals offered by congressional committees without Flynn’s knowledge, and later delayed turning over thousands of pages of case documents to the three-star Army general’s second defense team, hired last year and led by Powell.”
      That is very swampy and new to me. What, exactly, constitutes legal malpractice? Or am I being redundant?

      1. carl

        It is considered ineffective assistance of counsel for a lawyer to fail to convey a plea bargain offer, which is what I assume those immunity deals were. Enough to overturn a conviction.

    4. Off The Street

      Wading through the torrent of FBI and other docs being released now does give me one slight cause for optimism about our judicial system.

      The fact that so much was preserved, even if hidden at times, and is now being disgorged. In other regimes, there wouldn’t be any record, or witnesses, so we’ve got that going for us, which is good.

    5. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      I’m not interested in the slightest in the precedence of what beat cops do to everyday citizens, day in and day out. While horrible that is not of major political significance and it is not an existential threat to our institutions.

      I am interested when holdovers from a previous administration from the other party use the awesome powers of the top law enforcement organ of the state coupled with the unbridled spying apparatus to attempt to inflict political damage on the incoming administration in the course of trying to undo the results of a presidential election.

      Tiresome? Only if you think that’s the kind of country you want to live in. I don’t.

  13. Krystyn Podgajski

    re: Link identified between dietary selenium and outcome of Covid-19 disease

    A was talking to a friend about this a few weeks ago. She has a history of a hyperthyroid and very bad and long lasting influenza infections. I have her genetics and advised her she should look into selenium and eat few Brazil Nuts for a while.

    Selenium is used by Glutathione Peroxidase, the major antioxidant of H2O2 in the body. This is where I feel selenium works in minimizes flu symptoms since one of it’s functions is to protect T Cells. Her thyroid disorder, I could imagine, was caused by the same selenium deficiency which was keeping too much hydrogen peroxide and stimulating her Thyroid peroxidase enzyme.

    Seafood, Brazil Nuts, both good sources.

    1. urblintz

      I am curious about glutathione supplements like NAC and Alpha Lipoic Acid in regards to covid19. Do you have info about this?

      1. Krystyn Podgajski

        NAC and ALA are thiols, sulfur compounds. They are associated with healthy outcomes because the transsulfuration pathway is how we make glutathione. So they are technically not glutathione supplements.

        In regards to NAC, the “C” stand for Cysteine and cysteine will eventually turn into glutathione. There are two steps to do this and one of the enzymes need magnesium. But again, without the selenium I do not feel NAC will help and it is why studies with NAC always end up inconclusive. Maybe if someone is low in cysteine it might help, but I feel more people are low in selenium. Also, taking NAC could possibly lower selenium if you are forcing the body to make more glutathione without getting enough selenium.

        In general I do not like taking the product of an enzymatic pathway, but rather I focus on getting enough of the essential raw materials and the vitamin cofactors that help these pathways work. The human body can make both cycteine and lipoic acid endogenously but some people might need more from the diet based on their genetics.

        So you can take all the amino acids you want, but if you do not have the nutrients to metabolize them they are useless or even harmful.

        1. urblintz

          Thank you so much! I had used NAC during my career as a singer to help with breathing during allergy season and seemed to notice a difference but have been avoiding it and other “supplements” during covid for the very reason you ascribe…. better to get the good stuff from real food. You have been so helpful during all this and I’m sure the NC community appreciates your knowledge.

        2. lordkoos

          If you decide to take Selenium supplements, I would strongly advise checking if that mineral is already present in your water supply, because too much of it is not a good thing. I took it for about six months back in the 90s before finding out that the watershed that supplied the local reservoirs had good concentrations of Selenium. When I stopped taking it, I felt better, it seemed that it had been suppressing my energy levels. Too much of it has undesirable side effects.

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        If you want glutathione, you can buy all kinds of glutathione supplements. I think you can get it a bit cheaper than in the pill form (still not cheap) via Immunocal, a high glutathione whey. But I’d check prices.

    2. Olga

      My biologist auntie has been telling the family for at least 30 yrs to be sure and take selenium (and yes, magnesium, too).

      1. Molon Labe

        M.D. J.D. here–water soluble vitamins are generally safe–the excess goes out in urine. A major exception is Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) which can accumulate and cause liver and CNS toxicity. Also, Vitamin B3 (Niacin) may cause flushing, which some people might find unpleasant. However, ABSOLUTELY NO minerals or fat (lipid) soluble vitamins should be taken without a baseline blood level and follow-up testing (although a moderate dose of magnesium is considered safe and frequently desirable).

    3. davidgmillsatty

      My father, Dr. Gordon C. Mills, discovered glutathione peroxidase. You are the first person I have ever read on a blog who has ever mentioned it.

  14. codfish

    Swedish city to use chicken manure to deter crowds BBC

    A local farmer here in southern New England use to spread chicken manure on his fields every spring. What an awful stink. You could smell it more than a mile away. Good luck to the Sweds.

    1. Kurt Sperry

      Chicken manure is rocket fuel for nitrophilic plants. It gets less dank the more it is composted before using it.

    2. wilroncanada

      It may be a backdoor way (pun intended) of convincing Swedes to wear masks, since they are supposedly going about their lives versus socially isolating. They could spray the masks with Lysol; that would surely kill the stink.

  15. zagonostra

    >The American Conservative: “It Took COVID To Expose The Fraud Of ‘American Exceptionalism’ ”

    What is so telling about the article is not it’s contents, but the timing. It is only now that the author asks if it has come time to “bury the conceit of American exceptionalism?” My God, where have these people been for the past several decades?

    Makes me recall the following:

    I have a distinct dislike for the journalistic class as a whole. They do not so much report news as collectively make the news, according to a peculiar pack mentality, which combines commonly-agreed designated good guys and bad guys, but also sometimes brutal and erratic shifts collective opinion, not according to the whims of an official chief, but a strange and disturbing hive mind – Guillaume Durocher

    To paraphrase Napoleon, history is lies agreed upon by elites and promulgated by their courtiers.

  16. Louis Fyne

    tests need to get better?

    crickey, just invite the Korean diagnostic companies to set up shop.

    USA–we love to reinvent the wheel but in a slower and worse way!

  17. QuarterBack

    I can’t help but wonder what back room promise Biden has given that makes him worth the willful ignorance and denial of his clear inability to lead anything in his diminished state, and worth convincing well known liberal and progressive warriors to back peddle or engage in hypocrisy undermining decades of credibility. Whatever it is, it must be extremely valuable to some behind the curtain, and something that they dare not speak of directly, otherwise they would be proclaiming loudly on every corner. My gut tells me the answer is closer to something like having a President willing to bring people like Larry Summers back into control so the neoliberal agenda can be wrenched in. Whatever it is, I’m sure that bait and switch would be the ultimate outcome. Biden has a proven record there.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Given the age of the “New Democrats,” the state of young New Democrats (Pete! Beta! and so forth), a Sanders Presidency would mean many positions of power would simply be denied to those people proximity to the Clintons would count for about as much as proximity to the Bushes.

      Losing to Trump would present better career prospects than a Sanders presidency for these people, and “centrists” are morally vacuous monsters. Their whole moral structure is a clear perversion of the straight and narrow path.

      Biden as a senile rapist is meaningless to them because he is more likely to call them from his rotary phone.

    2. Kevin C. Smith

      Speaking as a physician:
      The only thing worse than realizing that you are in cognitive decline is NOT realizing that you are in cognitive decline.
      In this way, Biden and Trump both suffer from the Dunning-Kreuger effect.

      In the field of psychology, the Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which people with low ability at a task overestimate their ability. It is related to the cognitive bias of illusory superiority and comes from the inability of people to recognize their lack of ability. Wikipedia

      1. HotFlash

        Hah! A boss of mine once grumbled about the new VP (son-in-law of owner/founder, we bailed before he ran it into the ground), “Delusions of adequacy.”

      2. xkeyscored

        I’m not so sure Biden any longer has the ability to over-estimate his ability. He probably thinks Ability’s the name of his wife. Or grandmother. Or party. Or

        1. sd

          There are too many clips out there of Biden stumbling over his own tongue. How did he make it through the debates? If he was on some serious meds, what were they?

          1. Monty

            In one of the debates he looked so startled, I wondered if someone had rubbed hot sauce on his anus. Together with the fresh Botox, it was a real spectacle!

          2. NotTimothyGeithner

            In the one against Sanders, he simply lied repeatedly. Whether he knew the truth or not is not something we can know without close observation given his behavior. The msm simply didn’t “factcheck” preferring Biden because his conservative record is similar to their views. If you are a youngin’ or new to this, they treated Shrub like a genius every time he had a successful bowel movement. The guy was a dumb, mean pos and they slurped it up.

            At the other debates, he was just one voice in the noise which is why many candidates were always bad because they would let Biden hide when he was clearly not vetted.

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      Agree with you that promises have been made, but I don’t think it’s biden who’s making them.

      He is a tremendously flawed “candidate” who, if left to his own devices, doesn’t have a political leg to stand on. Decades of betrayal of the beleaguered dem “constituency” would be hard enough to navigate for someone in tiptop cognitive shape which biden clearly is not, and he is just loopy enough to believe that the presidency, to which he has long aspired, could legitimately be his.

      Enter the neoliberals who need a win before this thing gets completely away from them. I’m sure they see in biden another “w” bush–reliably vacant enough to front for unelected, long-in-the-tooth powerbrokers in return for the ceremonial trappings of “power,” including his portrait on the wall.

      And so they have promised to protect and defend him against all enemies, foreign and domestic, to include his own miserable record btw, if he just suffers the slings and arrows of the opposing party for a few months. He in turn agrees to let them run the country in the event that they successfully drag him over the finish line.

      Or maybe dr. jill agreed to the arrangement on his behalf while joe was down the basement playing with his new video toys and staying out of the grownups’ way.

  18. The Rev Kev

    “Tara Reade allegations stir Democratic unrest”

    It is remarkable all the women quite happy to throw Tara Reade under a bus. Women such as Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Stacey Abrams, Kirsten Gillibrand, Alyssa Milano, Tarana Burke, etc. What had me wondering was the following-

    ‘Alyssa Milano, the actress and early advocate of the #MeToo movement…wrote on Twitter, “I’m aware of the new developments in Tara Reade’s accusation against Joe Biden. I want Tara, like every other survivor, to have the space to be heard and seen without being used as fodder. I hear and see you, Tara #MeToo.”

    And then the penny dropped. She is not talking about justice for a raped woman. She is talking about access to justice. And I know what that word really means. It is the same type of access that Nancy Pelosi promised Americans for Coronavirus vaccines.

    But this whole thing about Biden is disturbing. From Read’s account, this was not about sex. This was about power. Power over someone he considered below himself and he actually came out and said it. If it was about sex, old Joe could have simply gone to any one of the high-class knocking shops dotted around Washington. This incident show the real Joe Biden that has always been on display, not the Mickey Mouse image of him that democrats and their allies are trying to portray him as.

    1. Trent

      “This was about power. Power over someone he considered below himself and he actually came out and said it.”

      Welcome to 50% of the managers in corporate america, heck welcome to life.

      1. Adam Eran

        This is one of the advantages of the Trump presidency. U.S.-ians can no longer pretend they’re the “good guys”… even the pretense has worn so thin it now amounts to a kind of delusion.

        …Just call me a “glass half full” kind of guy..;-)

        1. JBird4049

          I haven’t had the delusion that the United States is not the baddie since about 1985 or so although most individual Americans are good guys. As Lambert likes to say “we are ruled by the Harkonnens”

          1. John Anthony La Pietra

            Does that mean either a Trump re-election or a Biden win could be the final stroke of Dune?

    2. CanCyn

      Sexual assault is never about sex. It is violence. And people who think they have power over another are the ones who commit sexual assault.

  19. Carolinian

    Craig Murray, denialist?

    I do not however support the level of alarmism and panic. Of course the disease is really appalling for those who get it badly. It is a painful, protracted and terrifying experience. But a similar level of scrutiny of extreme illnesses of other kinds would bring similar stories. […]

    But remember this. Your odds of survival are massively better than were those of a civilian in a country that your country chose to invade in recent years. Did you, personally, do enough to try to stop that?

    Remember, there are other horsemen.

    Which is to say Covid is a biological phenomenon but it is also so very very much a media phenomenon. As Yves pointed out not too long ago we every day get in our cars and whizz down the highway without thinking about it even though we are putting ourselves at measurable risk. You could compare it to the way armies pick young people to fight their battles because they don’t yet have a strong sense of their own mortality. What Murray is saying that in a world that pretends it has conquered disease the virus has become our memento mori. Meanwhile the media ignore the death dealing that the US itself engages in all the time. Perhaps we should feel sorry for those others and not just for ourselves.

    1. Trent

      I’m with you, but the hysteria hasn’t died down yet, still too soon. Just like the war on terror and 2008 the naysayers will prob be proven right in the end.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        I for one am ready for things to fall together again:

        I never seen you looking so bad my funky one
        You tell me that your superfine mind has come undone

        Any major dude with half a heart surely will tell you my friend
        Any minor world that breaks apart falls together again
        When the demon is at your door
        In the morning it won’t be there no more
        Any major dude will tell you

        Have you ever seen a squonk’s tears? Well, look at mine
        The people on the street have all seen better times

        Any major dude with half a heart surely will tell you my friend
        Any minor world that breaks apart falls together again
        When the demon is at your door
        In the morning it won’t be there no more
        Any major dude will tell you

        I can tell you all I know, the where to go, the what to do
        You can try to run but you can’t hide from what’s inside of you

        Any major dude with half a heart surely will tell you my friend
        Any minor world that breaks apart falls together again
        When the demon is at your door
        In the morning it won’t be there no more
        Any major dude will tell you

        -Steely Dan

      1. Mel

        Yeah, I think I see eyes pointing forward, which means hunter/carnivore. Not squirrel like my first reaction.

          1. Synoia

            Coypus are herbivores I believe. We had an infestation of then in Norfolk in the UK. Some ate them.

  20. shtove

    When I heard the identity of the members of the UK’s science advisory group SAGE was secret, I assumed infiltration by corporate salesmen. The identities were revealed, and they were all scientists, apart from two Tory political appointees. Richard North criticised the personnel on the ground they were academic experts, rather than hands-on.

    But Google did wrangle a seat at the table, and not at the invitation of Dominic Cummings:

    Google has confirmed that one of its senior executives participated in the UK government’s scientific advisory group on Covid-19, raising further questions about the composition of the secretive committee.
    While Hassabis is considered a world-leading AI researcher, the presence on Sage of an executive from a Silicon Valley company that has been exploring ways to profit from using big data in the health industry is likely to deepen controversy about the group.

    1. rtah100

      I went to college with Demis and subbed him some money for his first start-up (along with other people). He had turned up as the wonderkid driving a red sports car from the money he made writing Themepark while still at school. His start-up went bust but he repaid the favour and invested in my biotech start-up (which merely went sideways, still going, Alzheimer’s is slow progress unless you’re Biden). He went off to lick his wounds in a PhD in neuroscience and, rather gallingly, when he had a billion dollar idea got Li Kashing to fund it rather than me. :-( (although possibly getting Li Kashing to fund it *was* his billion dollar idea…).

      Anyway, I like Demis, he’s whip smart (starred firsts in Part I and II in CS) but I don’t think he should be on SAGE. That committee is lacking public health and virology chops. “AI” and datascience cannot tell us much when the dataset is not in yet. We need risk managers a la Taleb. My guess is Google put him there as the closest thing they had to a biomedical scientist.

      In Demis’s defence, he has been focusing on the healthcare applications for Deepmind for ages – but even that doesn’t excuse Google mainlining NHS data without proper consent (Royal Free study on kidney injury) and all for marginal findings.

  21. Billy

    “The Trump Administration Accidentally Sent Stimulus Checks to Dead People, and Now It Wants Them Back”

    Another TDS bullshit click bait headline that does nothing to reform anything and de-legitimatizes and distracts from authentic criticism of his administration.
    IRS computers sent the direct deposits and checks.

    1. ewmayer

      But, but, the sheer numbers are staggering:

      “There have been dozens if not hundreds of reports of people receiving money meant for their deceased relatives.”

      However will we pay for the resulting dozens – [gasp] if not hundreds! – of thousands of dollars of mis-spending resulting from this? How will society deal with the moral hazard resulting from those dozens-if-not-hundreds of wrongly-enriched relatives running amok, waving their ill-gotten gains in the faces of innocent bystanders while screaming, “I’m rich, beeyotch!”

      Why, if the higher number estimates of such mis-payments prove true, we are looking at sums that could’ve paid for, say, the painting-on of an entire tail identifier number of an F-35, or a single luncheon for a group of struggling Wall Street traders! The horror … the horror … mothers, cover your children’s eyes and ears!

      1. rd

        Its because the whole thing was done before the 2019 tax filing deadline. So they allowed the use of 2018 returns if there wasn’t a 2019 return. A lot of people die in 12 months, so unless there was a 2019 return filed saying the taxpayer is deceased, the IRS would have no way of knowing. Its not fair, but life is not fair. I view it as a pretty minor blip in the whole thing – better to get the money out quickly than with numerous hoops delaying it for 6 months or more. There are far more egregious thigns going on with money in the CARES Act.

  22. Olivier

    I just read that Carnival will be bailed out, too, in the end. So even on cruise lines: foreign-domiciliated, flying foreign flags, employing foreign staff, this government did not hold the line. Is there any big company with a foothold in the US it won’t bail out?

    1. Louis Fyne

      Carnival (and probably Royal Caribbean) getting bailed out is offensive—-unless the Feds get a big equity stake and all future passenger cruises leaving from an American port must be American flagged and x% Americans staffed.

      But Carnival is based in Miami—and I bet their lobbyists spent the past two months calling in all their favors from the Dems. and Reps. in the Florida congressional delegation

      1. chuck roast

        Equity stakes are bogus. The gov. got a huge equity stake in AIG along with the bailout. The equity was in the form of warrants. When AIG was on its feet and prepared to continue its thievery, all the geniuses involved played a round of golf and they determined that AIG would purchase the warrants for a fraction of their actual market worth. The gov and the Fed will be getting lots of warrants in the near future.

      2. rd

        The Chairman of Carnival is a buddy of Trump and is on his Back-to-Work Council. Cruise ships are a major employer of Filipinos which makes the heado f such a corporation invaluable in figuring out how to get somebody in a Peoria manufacturing plant back to work. However, they have proven that they know how to operate a facility filled with sick people successfully which is going to be an important skill set.–AfyQeK0x3Ov2guy71vMdGkKQx07_iXphqv4iMnRJYsBIuw0CrWLrDhmh_

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Tourism globally employs +/- 50 million people.

          But it will be funny (in a sado-masochistic kind of way) to watch the various financial parlour tricks they conjure up as they run around like little Dutch boys jamming fingers and toes in the enormous dyke previously known as “The Economy”. Global Whack-A-Mole on steroids, I’m betting the scurrying scumbags and gangsters will quickly run out of appendages to jam into holes (apologies for the thinly-veiled reference to the “opposition” party’s presidential candidate).

          1. rd

            I have a lot of sympathy for the restaurants, bars, theaters etc. Even theme parks. So I encourage creative ideas to provide funding to help them through the next couple of years which are going to be trying times for them.

            I have little to no sympathy for the cruise lines that have set up as offshore corporations to avoid paying taxes, hide behind international maritime law to avoid liability, and hire poor people from Second and Third World countries. I don’t understand why an American taxpayer would pay a lot of money to rescue this business model.

    1. rd

      Its NYC, not NYS. De Blasio blew it big time in NYC in the first half of March.

      Once you are outside of the NYC commuting area, the rest of NYS looks like much of the rest of the country for cases. The upstate county executives were on top of it and were locking down almost immediately when the first cases were proven in their areas. The big issue there was it took so long for test results to come back that infections were increasing while waiting 7-10 days for test results back in March. There is an order of magnitude difference in cases and deaths per 10,000 from downstate to upstate:

      There are still activities like exterior house painting etc. going on upstate where it can be done with social distancing, and especially outdoor activities. Many stores have curbside delivery – you order online or by phone and they deliver to your car.

    1. flora

      one tweet in the thread I want to highlight is this:

      It’s true. Fed regulators were telling well run, small community banks to sell out to bigger banks in the 90’s; telling the owners they wanted fewer small banks to regulate, on the theory that fewer, bigger banks would be more efficient and easier to regulate.

      Didn’t work out that way.

      1. Math is Your Friend

        What counts as a big bank?

        How is it measured?



        Number of branches?

        Geographic dispersion?

        I’d heard that US banks tended to be rather small… was that incorrect?

        1. flora

          The report’s definition of a small bank, for purposes of the analysis, is:

          There is no fixed definition of a community bank.[1] For this analysis, we include banks that are headquartered in the state and have under $5 billion in assets. These banks account for just 13 percent of the banking market, as measured by their share of total banking assets.[2]

          $5 billion in assets sounds like a lot of asset value… until you compare that asset size to a big bank like Bank of America (BoA) with assets valuation of $2.6 trillion (that’s with a ‘t’).

          The second part is being ‘headquartered in the state’ they serve, not a branch of a bank headquartered in another state.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      I am eligible for a PPP loan so small as to be microscopic. My accountant is too busy with better established clients (I just switched over) and Treasury strongly recommends you have a professional submit the forms. Plus it being small means the bank would put it at the bottom of the pile and give the money to everyone else first.

  23. Michael

    Good news dept…

    Think of all of the people who live under the flight paths approaching airports.
    It must seem really eerie to them with air travel down so much.
    It’s actually quiet most of the day?

    And much less pollution!

    1. hunkerdown

      Can confirm. Without all that noise from DTW, I can much better hear the town crier perched above the window, just before dawn, apparently reading the news and taking roll call of the avian neighborhood.

  24. anon in so cal

    California Gov Gavin Newsom’s plan to order all beaches closed is surely because the deaths
    in one 24-hour period in Los Angeles County, alone, were higher than the projected total 24-hour deaths
    for the entire state of California, for April 29. California’s plan to begin a phased reopening by relaxing Safer At Home on May 15 is predicated on there being zero deaths by May 15. That is not happening.
    Idiots congregated at beaches in Orange and Ventura counties last weekend in flagrant violation of distancing guidelines.

    Separately, there is talk of starting the public school new K-12 school year in mid- summer, not Fall.

    1. tulu

      The 5-14 day incubation period (and longer until mortality) for covid-19 means that the deaths on April 29 have nothing to do with people going to the beach on the weekend. You should try to be more scientific.

    2. Laura in So Cal

      We are in a school district in LA County (Not LAUSD). We always start classes for the year in the 2nd week of August so that wouldn’t be much of a change.

  25. Wukchumni

    Would You Have Fallen for This Phone Scam? Krebs on Security

    I used to have to beat off the unwanted pesky calls with a stick, but i’m almost longing for somebody with a Subcontinent accent trying to sell me an extended warranty on my 146,457 mile vehicle.

  26. rtah100

    I liked the look of the “Is the Universe conscious” article but it was paywalled. :-(

    Something similar that deserves being made a link is Stephen Wolfram’s latest publication.
    He’s apparently spent the plague like Newton, overturning physics. It’s far too complicated to explain in this small margin but he has basically postulated that the universe is a hypergraph, space is discrete rather than continuous and all key physical phenomena (including general relativity and quantum field theory) can be deduced from the connection densities in time and space. Whether its right or wrong, it’s thoroughly mad!

    The link is to a really accessible explanation by Wolfram that situates his work in the context of his whole life in physics to date. There are arcane technical papers for the unwary.

    By the way, what a life – publishing particle physics papers while at school and quitting Oxford in his first year undergrad for Caltech to pursue a PhD with Feynmann. And now apparently building a major scientific computing company simply to create the tools to pursue his obsession with symbolic manipulation to uncover the secrets of the universe.

    Oh, and apparently Wolfram has been managed along social distancing lines for decades! You’ve got to love proper nerds, Silicon Valley is a mere extrovert’s idea of introversion.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      So excellent, thanks!

      (Very diverting as I ponder whether a sh*tty little bug will unravel all of the trials and triumphs of mice and men).

    2. ObjectiveFunction

      Many thanks for this link. Been a while since I checked in on Wolfram – he requires my full attention – although I noticed Taleb gave him some press on the Twitter.

  27. EoH

    Jonathan Turley thinks the FBI set up Mike Flynn? And Jared Kushner thinks his father-in-law has done a stupendous job. Any credibility Mr. Turley had, he left at the impeachment hearings.

    1. The Rev Kev

      The FBI notes speak for themselves. True, Flynn is not a likeable character but imagine you were having an interview with the FBI and they were going to do to you what they were going to do to Flynn just because they can.

    2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      LOL your standard of credibility is a failed impeachment for a five-minute phone call with the leader of a one-bit nation where the POTUS had the temerity to suggest a foreign policy that did not align pefectly with the 100% all-war-all-the-time crowd?

      Versus holdovers from a previous administration from the other party using the awesome powers of the top law enforcement organ of the state coupled with the unbridled spying apparatus to attempt to inflict political damage on the incoming administration in the course of trying to undo the results of a presidential election.


      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        Plus who else but the FBI/CIA et al set up the Josef Mifsud meeting to entrap Papadapolos…it’s amazing I’m defending these people, but F the Deep State

  28. EoH

    Nor is the FBI often a likeable institution. But its treatment of Flynn was much better than that of the average perp.

    Trump’s, “I would like you to do us a favor, though,” phone call with – and concerted campaign against – a foreign head of state seems more tied to promoting his re-election prospects than improving relations with Ukraine or the Russia with which it is engaged in a shooting war. But the comment suggests that Trump can behave any way he likes with Ukraine because it’s only a “one-bit nation.” For the record, Trump was successfully impeached. He was not convicted or removed from office.

    George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and served twelve days, plus a period of supervised release. That’s less than the thirty days handed out to Alex van der Zwaan, also for lying to federal authorities. The peripatetic Dr. Mifsud, whereabouts unknown, has admitted and longstanding ties with Russia, but none with American law enforcement or intelligence agencies. The latter were asserted without evidence by Papadopoulos and Mr. Trump’s congressional supporters.

    1. EoH

      My original comment was to the effect that Jonathan Turley’s lengthy testimony during Trump’s impeachment was constitutionally suspect and not mainstream.

      Turley is being hyperbolic now when he claims that Flynn’s treatment was abusive, thuggish, or that the FBI was trying to “create a crime” (relating to a statute that has been on the books for two centuries). He should get out more.

      The FBI has frequently engaged in such behavior before. But its treatment of Flynn was better than the treatment it metes out to the average perp. One could use that to argue for systemic improvement, but it does not support the argument that there was an FBI campaign to “get Trump.”

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