Links 4/4/2020

Mice have a range of facial expressions, researchers find Guardian (Dr. Kevin)

Physical Force Alone Spurs Gene Expressions, Study Reveals PhysOrg


Threat of catastrophe stalks developing world Financial Times

Health/Medical (see overlap with Big Brother is Watching You Watch)

Coronavirus: ‘More and more’ young people experiencing severe disease, WHO warns Independent

How to set up an ICU London Review of Books

Potential Vaccine Generates Enough Antibodies To Fight Off Virus Independent

AI could help with the next pandemic—but not with this one MIT Technology Review (Dr. Kevin)

Coronavirus: Russia uses facial recognition to tackle Covid-19 BBC. Hoo boy.

Google Is Publishing Location Data From 131 Countries To Show How Coronavirus Lockdowns Are Working Buzzfeed (Dan K)

Leaked Video Suggests Delta Hid Sick Pilots’ Diagnoses From Exposed Flight Crews HuffPost (Kevin W). Delta, unlike American, has regularly been sending messages to their frequent fliers about how clean their planes are and how they care for passenger safety.

Shortages. And now seizures:

The toilet paper shortage is more complicated than you think Vox. Local stores still out.

US swoop on masks sees 3M supplies diverted from Berlin Financial Times

Medical gloves maker accuses EU governments of hampering supply Financial Times

German army loses 6 million face masks in Kenya Daily Nation

Une commande française de masques détournée vers les Etats-Unis sur un tarmac chinois Liberation (Micael). RT version

Turquía retiene un cargamento de respiradores para España (Turkey retains a shipment of respirators for Spain) El Pais

3 million masks ordered by Massachusetts were confiscated in Port of New York, leading to creative alternative WCVB


Panama is quarantining women and men on different days during its coronavirus lockdown Business Insider (Kevin W)

Canada PM Justin Trudeau says country has signed with Amazon for medical supply distribution in COVID-19 crisis Boing Boing (resilc)


Trapped by Coronavirus, Nigeria’s Elite Faces Squalid Hospitals Bloomberg (Jason L)


Strain of life under lockdown sparks divorce surge in China Financial Times (J-LS)




UN Human Rights Chief Expresses Concern Over Plight of Indian Migrants during Lockdown News18


Luxury NYC stores board up to defend against civil unrest as the largest 24-hour spike in deaths sees 305 perish in the Big Apple, bringing the city total to 1,867 victims Daily Mail. Click through for the images.

Lawsuits Swell as Owners, From Gun Shops to Golf Courses, Demand to Open New York Times. Resilc: “We are not a serious country.”

Are NYC cops contributing to coronavirus epidemic by sending people to packed jails for violating social distancing? RT (Kevin W)

Which states have done the least to contain coronavirus? Guardian (resilc)

How science finally caught up with Trump’s playbook – with millions of lives at stake Guardian (Dr. Kevin)

Detroit bus driver who complained about a coughing passenger dies of coronavirus days later Washington Post (resilc)

Serfs Revolt

13,000 Carpenters to Strike in Massachusetts Mike Elk


Global economy in sharpest reversal since Great Depression Financial Times

Confusion surrounds launch of $349B in small-business loans The Hill

Hospital Bailouts Begin…for Those Owned by Private Equity Firms Eileen Appelbaum and Rosemary Batt, Counterpunch

Trump Transition

Trump fires intelligence community inspector general who defied him on Ukraine Politico (furzy)

Trump selects White House lawyer for coronavirus inspector general The Hill

FISA court orders DOJ to review flawed surveillance applications and provide names of targets Washington Examiner (furzy)

While focus is on the coronavirus, these states are criminalizing fossil fuel protests Independent (resilc)

Clyburn Tapped to Chair Coronavirus Committee after Calling Pandemic ‘Tremendous Opportunity’ to Achieve Dem Spending Goals National Review. Kevin W: “A pay-off for backing good old Joe in the Primaries?”


Forget About Democratic and Republican Conventions This Year, Not Going to Happen. Trump’s COVID-19 Obstructionism Made Sure of That. BuzzFlash

US shale to get a seat at the OPEC table Asia Times. Or not: Saudi Arabia Says Putin’s Comments on OPEC+ Deal Are ‘Incorrect’ Bloomberg

Potential Texas-OPEC alliance shows more oil production doesn’t make U.S. ‘energy independent’ PhysOrg (Robert M)

EU Rules Rental Car Companies Don’t Need To Pay A License To Rent Cars With Radios That Might Play Music TechDirt

SpaceX Starship Prototype Collapses In Third Failed Test Gizmodo (Kevin W)

The lost belle époque of the restaurant Financial Times

WeWork Founder Misses Out on $1 Billion as SoftBank Cancels Share Buyout CNN

How the Covid-19 crisis locked Airbnb out of its own homes Guardian. David C: “Airbnb is stuffed I think. The numbers towards the end of the article are stunning.”

Amazon To Delay Marketing Event Prime Day Due To Coronavirus Reuters

Class Warfare

FCC: TracFone Made Up ‘Fictitious’ Customers To Defraud Low-Income Program ars technica

Antidote du jour. Tracie H: ““OK, who’d we sign up for Food and Beverages, and where the heck is he?”

And a bonus (Dan K):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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  1. Samuel Conner

    re: “Clyburn Tapped to Chair Coronavirus Committee”

    I just hope that when the Committee meets for formal business, that Clyburn remembers JB’s medical advisory that the members need to sit 6 to 10 people apart.

    1. Tom Doak

      How exactly is being the chair of the Coronavirus Committee a reward?

      You’re being made the face of a pandemic you have no power to stop, which may wind up killing hundreds of thousands of Americans. How’s that going to improve your image?

      Must be getting lined up for lots and lots of campaign contributions from Big Pharma and PE firms in the medical space.

    2. Noone from Nowheresville

      On Twitter, it’s being said that there is no committee officially until Congress reconvenes because they (House & Senate) purposefully didn’t set up remote voting. Or did they manage a work-around?

      Current rules, however, require members to be physically present to vote on the floors of the House and Senate. If our legislative branch is to respond effectively to this crisis and play its vital constitutional role as a check on the executive and judicial branches, it must act now to give itself the option to convene in a temporary emergency remote session.

      As speaker, Nancy Pelosi has the power to convene the House outside of the chamber if the public interest requires it; Senate leaders have similar powers. Whether the House or Senate could convene online in virtual session, however, is a different matter and likely would require each chamber to vote — and in person — to amend their rules in advance.

    3. Sam Adams

      Perfect opportunity for the SC king of grift and the fish fry I’m guessing his daughter is a shoe in for his district seat when he retires. Gotta keep it in the family.

      1. edmondo

        It’s more likely that she has a lucrative spot in the Biden Administration – if there is a Biden Administration. “Mr. Electable” is running within the MOE against a president who can’t put his shoes on the right feet. There’s always a place on the AMTRAK board that pays beaucoup bucks after the swearing in. I hear there’s a oil and gas company in the Ukraine that has an opening on its Board of Directors too.

    4. Lambert Strether

      > Clyburn Tapped to Chair Coronavirus Committee

      1. Payoff for delivering SC to Biden immediately before Obama’s Night of the Long Knives.

      2. Impeachment 2.0 (i.e., narrative building, not investigation*)

      3. It puts Clyburn on the outside track for a Presidential run (as theTruman Committee, which Pelosi specifically references, did Truman).

      NOTE * To be fair, I looked at BAR on Clyburn. He seems to be by no means the worse of the Black Misleadership Class.

  2. Katiebird

    I’ve been wondering about the conventions and really don’t see how they can happen this summer. But what is the alternative for picking a nominee? The elections are so corrupted this year a significant number of people question their validity.

    I mean, I know the DNC will just designate Biden as the nominee. But what a stupid and cheap idea that would be!

    Ps… Can we really have in person elections in the fall?

    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield

      No, I think we may have voting by mail in November though — I think Biden has come out in favour, Trump opposes – due to concerns over ‘fraud’- and I don’t know what Bernie thinks, or even whether he has taken a position.

      1. Lambert Strether

        > No, I think we may have voting by mail in November though

        This assumes:

        1) The Post Office is still functional

        2) We have the lists and the operational capability to send out the mailings*

        3) The counting is not corrupted. None of the articles I’ve seen on vote-by-mail consider who’s doing the counting, and none of the proposals I have seen prohibit privatizing it. We’ve seen horrid examples at CalPERS.

        OK, OK, Oregon. The stakes are orders of magnitude smaller (and the risks probably greater).

        NOTE * And who has the authority to prevent this from becoming a ginormous voter caging exercise?

      1. Hepativore

        I know that Sanders tried urging Wisconsin to not have in-person voting next week and or to have voting-by-mail at the very least, but Biden and the DNC refused to listen. Because so many polling workers cancelled for the 7th, the state Democratic Party responded by shutting down more polling stations and is planning to cram more people into the remaining places. After what happened in Florida, the virus is going to have a field day.

        I do not understand how the DNC cannot be held criminally liable for this. If Biden and Perez think that it is perfectly safe, they should show up in person and campaign there.

          1. chuck roast

            I don’t see Maher very often. He seems to me to be a PMC scold. But I gotta give the guy props for treating Bernard with respect, not asking dumb-a$$ questions about Cuba and the like, and most of all for not demanding to know when he will quit and endorse the cellar-dweller.

            1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

              Yeah I don’t give Maher props as often as I did Pre-Bernie, and I hated some of his stupid questions, but he let Bernie speak freely.

        1. Skip Intro

          I just got a call from a Bernie volunteer. Apparently WI has postponed the primary and gone to mail-in.

            1. Skip Intro

              My info was, alas, premature. The leg. special session apparently just started. A judge did push back the mail-in deadline to 4/13 and loosen the witness requirement, and the appeal was rejected, but it will go to the high court. Sorry for the false alarm. I let the campaign know…

        2. Left in Wisconsin

          DNC is not the problem. The primary could be easily postponed. It’s the local and statewide judge races that are the (alleged) problem.

  3. Noone from Nowheresville

    Ian Welsh: Why Western Elites Are So Incompetent And What The Consequences Are

    Nobles, as Stirling Newberry explained to me years ago, are elites who make a point of being better than the people below them: better fighters, better farmers, and so on. Aristocrats are people who play court games, which is what financialized economies supported by central banks and bought politicians are. These people aren’t even good at finance. They were actually wiped out in 08, but used politics to restore their losses and they were/are wiped out by this crisis, but are using politics (fed/Congress/Presidency) to restore their losses. The Fed is doing 1 trillion of operations a day.

    Yep. Basically encapsulates how I’m feeling.

    1. Synoia

      I thought about Ian’s article and have an example:

      The British Army, and its practice of purchased commissions.

      The Charge of the Light Brigade is an example of the purchase system. It did not go well for the British.

      It used to be said that the First Son inherited the land, the second joined the Church, and the third was bought a Regememtal Commission.

      Or as Wellington is reported as saying when he was sent to Spain in the Napoleonic wars, “Gentlemen I hope the French tremble as I do, upon meting you”

      After the British found that could not win wars with the purchased commission system, the British copied the royal Navy system of promotion on merit.

      A system which emphasized “making the effort” and the example provided by the execution of Admiral Bing.

      1. LifelongLib

        Purchasing rank was intended to prevent the formation of a professional officer class. The British wanted army officers to be connected to civilian life and not see themselves as separate from it. Somewhat like having a draft as opposed to an all volunteer army. Maybe the resulting force isn’t as good militarily but it’s also less likely to be misused or grab power for itself.

        1. Synoia

          There were plenty of “power grabs” in the UK, without a professional army. Starting with the Romans, the Danes, and the Normans, and continuing on.

      2. Paradan

        Also, the Charge of the Light Brigade was a classic fog of war error. The General in charge of the army couldn’t see the area of the battlefield where the LB was, and didn’t realize he was giving a bad order. When the officer in charge of the LB received the order, they knew it was suicide but figured that there would be supporting units or fire, etc. Once the charge was in motion it rapidly became apparent a mistake had been made, but halting a cavalry charge is tough to do, so they carried it through. There was a great white-paper on this years ago, I have no idea where I saw it though.

        1. Synoia

          The presence of the Russian Artillery on the hills surrounding the Valley was key.

          There was indeed a complete lack of intelligence.

    2. Billy

      “Why Western Elites Are So Incompetent And What The Consequences Are”

      These are the people telling us and legislating who we have to rent to or hire, who decides our children’s school curricula, and what hardware we may possess in our homes?

      “Ignore Alien Orders”

    3. MillenialSocialist

      In reading that piece one couldn’t help but recall the scene between Dennis and King Arthur in Python’s Holy Grail.

      They understand us less than Arthur understood Dennis.

    4. Harvey

      The people who own the wealth and politicians either got there by being more badass than others in this dog-eat-dog world. Or because mom and dad gave them the wealth and connections.

      One of my favourite quotes from Henry Mintzberg goes along the lines that downsizing is where the people who don’t know what is going on fire the people who do. That is the world we live in. Ignorance has always been bliss, especially when you’re sitting on a huge pile of money.

      Money buys PR to convince the rabble that the rich deserve to have everything because they are smarter, wiser etc, and the poor are dumb, lazy etc. It generally works.

      Except maybe now lol when high-end stores like Vuitton are getting a whiff of the pitchforks coming because they stand as symbols for the idle rich who spread this thing around the world and refused to self-isolate to protect the community. Boarded up stores of the megarich, a sight to see.

      But its hard to organise pitchforks if you rely on FB, Google and Utube which can delete your shit at the drop of a mask and convince you that nobody likes you.

      1. Harvey

        In fact I think its highly interesting that these high end stores are in lockstep with the boarding and shuttering.
        Maybe FB, Google etc crunched the numbers of their loyal users, and noticed perhaps a trending in the disposable people not being impressed with how the (self-titled)”elites” /shareholders have spread it around with gay abandon.
        And to add insult to injury, how hard it is for the disposables to get testing while the perpetrators waltz into testing facilities and get their results pronto.
        Perhaps some of that data made its way to the shareholders.

        1. Anon

          Or, if everyone is urged to wear masks, how to tell the prole window shopper from black bloc provocateurs?

  4. Toshiro_Mifune

    Regarding the long term impact of the lockdown here in the US. In particular the service sector. I’m sure most here are aware that even if the lockdown ends tomorrow a non-trivial number of businesses will not make it, esp those that were already weak like JCP, Sears, Macy’s, Nordstrom’s, etc. I don’t expect them all to go but we’re going to definitely lose 1 or 2 from this. Sears was already dead. This will be damaging to mall related commercial REITs. In short, a lot of jobs.
    Given the large number already unemployed this is a somewhat grim prospect once things return to “normal” for wages. E.G. a large unemployed pool of workers, a smaller pool of potential employers, which should be a recipe for wage deflation. Especially if those employers start pressuring the state and federal govt regarding minimum wage. They’re going to make an argument for lowering that minimum wage given their own reduced financials in the face of COVID.
    I suppose the question in short form is; Will COVID be used as an excuse for wage suppression? How can it be countered?

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I’m sure it will be used as an excuse for wage suppression – but I’d be fairly optimistic they won’t succeed. There has been an enormous paradigm shift in the last few weeks (just a scan through the financial and conservative media sources shows this) and now even big business realises that it needs customers with money in their pockets. There are still plenty of austerity diehards around, but they are getting rarer – the argument that wage cutting will simply result in a very prolonged recession will be very compelling.

      1. Charger01

        It’s a rough month, and April will likely be catastrophic. Denninger was estimating 30 million unemployed by the end of April. Out of 155 million workers as of 2018, thats a huge chunk of labor/commerce to miss out.

      2. paul

        I envy your optimism,but cannot share it, at least as far as westminster is concerned.

        Look at the coranonavirus bill

        I am amazed a cabinet that could not collectively read a 350 page piece of legislation in the time given,let alone draft it, has not just cut and shut nodeal brexit scenarios and, with confidence, will go unquestioned.

        The tufton street mob have what they always wanted, a populace confused and begging for mercy.

        The dog has caught the car as clive says

        Ford,Carnegie,Rockefeller took the high ground after they took the gains, and invested wisely, in weak and clever minds to ensure their memory.

        In the middle of this post, I tried using our information trustees, to check a quote:

        It went like this:

        Liquidate everything,return value to those of propriety.

        I remember it, but I cannot find it anymore.

        PS If you are stuck at home, I forgot how much I loved ‘the dead zone’,cronenburg foresaw the last US election.

        I realise why he chose not to stop it

        1. s.n

          andrew mellon’s advice to herbert hoover
          liquidate labor, liquidate stocks, liquidate the farmers, liquidate real estate. Purge the rottenness out of the system. High costs of living and high living will come down. … enterprising people will pick up the wrecks from less competent people.”

      3. Billy

        In addition to wage suppression, to make ridiculous the open borders advocates and the free marketeers.
        I predict the following kind of employment ads
        “Clerks wanted, women between 25 and 50, no visible tattoos, facial piercings or acne. Pleasant manner and ability to interact with customers.”

        Cue “That’s illegal!”
        “Who says?”
        “Federal law!”
        Yesterday’s on grocery store bulletin board, a government printing office poster;
        “Sexual harassment where I live?” Picture of bothered Hispanic girl, then a spiel from HUD about how it’s illegal, open housing laws etc.
        Written on it in red crayon was
        “When U.S. provides masks, health care and secures our borders, then they can tell us who to rent to.”

        1. John Beech

          We’re not supposed to discriminate in hiring, e.g. against tattoos, smokers, etc. but it’s our experience we don’t have to. Why not? Maybe it has to do with the fact we pay $15/hr while in our town Walmart pays less than $10/hr. Moreover, they limit their people to 29.5hr/week while ours get 40hrs. Anyway, our workers find it’s easy in comparison to a place like Amazon because they’re picking and packing orders with individual items that are, by and large, comparatively small (weighing a few ounces each). Boxes ready for a shipping label pack out at 2-3lbs and thus, it’s not considered ‘hard’ work. Anyway, and quite honestly, we have a surplus of respondents when we hire so we can be picky. And we often end up with family members, e.g. mothers recommend daughters, etc. It’s my opinion any business that loses sight of the fact their employees are the heart of the business is one slated for a downfall. At present we’ve furloughed virtually all non-essential employees . . . with pay. Can’t keep this up for more than maybe two months then we’ll have to ask them to go to 60% pay. In the machine shop we’re still going full speed because we’ve been deemed essential but the CNC mills are spaced 20′ apart and because cutting fluid is an irritant, we wash our hands maybe 20X a day (added to which, we’re not exactly a touchy feely kind of place). Meanwhile, as long as suppliers will deliver billets of aluminum bar stock we can keep working. As for orders, I’ve been packing those myself because of the slow down. I worked at that for about 6hrs today before turning my attention to other things. So yes, sales have definitely slowed down (and I keep expecting orders to fall off a cliff but) thus far, we’re what I would says is slow instead of at a full stop. As for me, I’m not taking any pay right now. I think if we get the all clear by July we’ll be OK. If not, then the shut down will become a more serious thing, maybe even permanent, because we’ll be out of cash.

          1. ChristopherJ

            Wish there were more employers like you, John. Sadly, the ones I know don’t really give two hoots for their staff, reflected here in strong preference for visa holders (Cairns). With them being forced to fly home (no income for many), they may have to hide their disdain for locals when business picks up, if ever.

            Govt should be paying you to keep them on, as they are here in the recently announced JobKeeper program… Stay safe

      4. Turing Test

        Case in point: the Financial Times ran this editorial yesterday.

        I nearly fell out of my chair.

        The times they are a changin’….

    2. Bill Smith

      In the Depression, companies originally tried to keep wages up. But that didn’t last that long.

      Yes, wages will drop. How could they not if unemployment goes to 30% (the St Louis Fed guess)?

      I agree that a big number of retail stores aren’t coming back.

      You can’t keep an economy in suspended animation for long. Though that is partly what the PPP is attempting.

      1. John

        Wages could drop. If the rent dropped. And we didn’t have to pay the extortion rackets called health insurance companies half of our income every month.

        Otherwise, all but a lucky 20% of the population isn’t going to be able to survive financially.

    3. griffen

      It will be used for bad earning reports for the quarter ended and at least the next 2 quarters. Time to roll out any enron-level skeletons* they’ve kept hidden ( GE , for example ). But your CEO deserves every last penny he gets ! Whocouldanode lol

      Malls, quick service restaurant chains not named McD-onald are bound to suffer as well. The knock on effects appear everywhere.

      *the sarcasm is intentional, but not hyperbolic.

    4. alex morfesis

      yup…no one ever adjusts after the adjustment…those homes built in the huge build out during the first three nixon years of single homes…no one ever bought those…and those railroads that died in the 70’s and all that real estate that is still just sitting there…and those REIT’s that are now worthless…and that kid milken trying to get us to buy that reit junk…and the end of new york city with the loss of the piers to the west coast and those crazy Reichmann brothers imagining those downtown buildings will ever be worth anything…and those world trade center buildings sitting empty and faith hope consolo is out of her mind…she is getting drunk on that marcos money…no one will ever do retail in those old industrial buildings…and that bridge and tunnel clown…hanging out with roy cohn and fat tony salerno…air rights…what a maroon…who buys air rights in a dead market…if you believe that then you might believe the kid will be president one day…hah…do ya think the metropolitan club will hit us up for an annual increase with the loss of those members…

  5. Wukchumni

    How the Covid-19 crisis locked Airbnb out of its own homes Guardian.
    In July we had a town hall meeting regarding AirBnB/VRBO short term vacation rentals, and the superintendent for Sequoia NP mentioned among other things, that she couldn’t get qualified people to work in the NP, because there was no longer term rentals available, which is the way it used to be.

    Fast forward to now, and Sequoia NP is closed for the duration of the epoch, and aside from a skeleton crew-there’s no need for long term rentals anymore.

    The ‘super-spreaders’ here who greedily bought as many homes as possible (I heard about an LA investor with 14) with scant money down, will be the first to default, and it isn’t as if there is much of a real estate market, so many of the 200 homes around these parts will be empty, and perhaps more closely resemble the devil’s playhouse, as although no addresses are given in the listings, there’s plenty of photos and distance from the town center, so how hard would it be for a squatter to figure it out.

    The only good thing that came from these short-term rentals was profit for the owner, everything else was a detriment to the community, including the final chapter, where instead of neighborly locals residing in those 200 homes with close ties to everyone, it’ll be complete strangers living la vida local, how fitting.

    1. Billy

      Looks like the “Disruptive Technology” was “disrupted” overnight.
      Who could have believed how much change we’d go through just a month or two ago?Carry that change forward. At what point does this hopefully become progressive change?

      Before, in a public setting, would listen politely to some 25 year old going on and on about the latest tecnobabble fix, or jargon, or explanation of their non-profit to save the world. From now on the next clown that proposes an app fix to common human needs gets –‘THAT’S BULLSHIT!’ With a smile of course, and maybe a job offer to dig some tree planting holes with a shovel.

  6. Youngblood

    “WeWork Founder Misses Out on $1 Billion as SoftBank Cancels Share Buyout”

    As Lambert would say, that’s a damn shame.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Weirdly, for the first time ever I got an advert for WeWork on youtube this morning. I find it hard to believe that any of their units are still open.

      1. Toshiro_Mifune

        WeWork had tons of under construction spaces in NYC especially down by Union Square. This was during the summer before the IPO blew up. I haven’t been back down (and probably won’t be able to for a while) to see if all those spaces still are under construction or if they’ve been abandoned.

    2. paul

      Last time I was in Prague (08/19), the tram stopped beside an extravagant work in progress bearing weworks banner.

      Having had an enormously pleasant exchange in a nice boozer in hradcancy with the younger generation and gained an insight into their dilemma*

      I thought, in a non MBA way, that development is fucked.

      *no work in the village, not enough pay in the city. stagnation vs degradation.

    3. Arizona Slim

      Slim checking in from Tucson.

      And, let me tell you, I am thanking every spiritual being in the sky. Why? Because I am no longer putting my time, energy, and money into a coworking space membership.

      I can recall a couple of nasty infections that swept the building while I was at the now-defunct space in Downtown Tucson. The staff was genuinely worried, to the point of posting signs and urging the frequent use of hand sanitizer.

      Nowadays, I don’t hear a lot from the old coworking crowd. After “our” space closed, people went their separate ways. I would imagine that a lot of them are currently hunkered down at home.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Before my wife and I moved aboard our boat, we lived in one of those jump-up planned developments, “Westchase.” It was mostly single family lot-crushing box houses with huge garage doors and sparse plantings at first. Then came the “little communities” with houses with front porches facing on “unproductive” little parks and nice sidewalks and interspersed little enclaves of cute shops and special restaurants with sidewalk seating. Now there’s lots of condos and “villas” and such. All under all kinds of rules and fees and assessments administered by a “homeowner association.” Which I wonder how forgiving the mortgage servers and rent collectors are going to be in response to all the sob stories they are now facing from all those people who if they kind of know how to organize and were not so atomized could have maybe been in a strong position to do something different altogether. Though how ant following what models, I have no idea.

        Speaking of life on a boat in a marina, almost all (except the dockominiums where the rich folk own the “right” to occupy a rectangle of water) you are a tenant with the barest of rights. Where we lived, In a municipally owned marina, people were ejected for daring to criticize the high-handed administration that followed many years of informed benevolence by a guy who retired because he had cancer and replaced by some friend of the head of the head of the City’s Parks Department. Boaters do pretty well at forming collective care networks while living in marinas — I nursed a guy with no medical insurance through a botched repair of a compound femur fracture, with other folks providing food and looking after his dock lines and stuff. But as boaters move on, those ties get loosed when the dock lines are taken aboard…

        It’s kind of hard to manufacture some of those “com” words, like community, comity, commonwealth, and the oldest root of all the Commons… Here’s hoping we collectively can develop some socially homeostatic ligatures to bind up the gaping wounds caused by “con” words like consumption and conflict…

    4. ewmayer

      Poor, poor Adam Neumann – guy’s left to scrimp and save the measly $half-billion he’s got stashed away. Sad times indeed when one of our precious unicorn-founder-grifting class – in this case one of those dual Israeli/US citizens so well-represented in DC-elite circles, no less – finds himself victimized by the vagaries of the “free markets” and considerations of “investment risk”. I say the next multi-$trillion firehose-stimulus must include a bailout of Mr. Neumann, and if the legislative branch can’t see its way to that, the Fed can simply firehose some of those many-more-$trillions it’s doing, without any congressional oversight, to bail out the global speculator class. If Powell et al can simply, in a matter of days, conjure up $350 billion in swaps to bail out foreign central banks, surely a few added $billions to help out an only-half-foreign unicorn founder wouldn’t be a big deal, right, Jerome?

      1. paul

        For some reason I cannot share a tear for adam.

        All those powerpoints,bonuses and options.
        like tears in the rain.

  7. Martin Oline

    Regarding the “Trump fires Inspector General” story. I noticed there were a number of Democrats who were quoted in the story and only one Republican, Sen. Chuck Grassley, at the end. I expect that from Politico. To offer some perspective on this story I will supply a link to this story from The Conservative Treehouse, which analyzed this story at 2 in the morning. It points out that he was the chief legal council for Mary McCord in 2016 and 2017, when she was the Assistant Attorney General for the National Security Division and the Russia narrative still had legs. She now helps Lawfare carry out their attacks on the president because, as Politico puts it in another story: “We see the breakdown of the whole rule of law. We see the breakdown in adherence to the Constitution and also constitutional values. That’s why you’re seeing lawyers come out and being very willing to put in extraordinary amounts of time and effort to litigate these cases.” Kinda makes me proud to be Merican, to know these lawyers are willing to play CYA and have integrity too.
    There’s nothing to see here, practice social distancing and move along.

    1. Stephen V.

      Appreciate this M.O. Not digestible for the Trump deranged, CT was my go to site for parsing the Russia Russia crimes against the State–which as they so ably show are ongoing!

    2. Olga

      A good account… I liked this sentence:
      “There became a very obvious dynamic that the impeachment construct was manufactured out of nothing.”
      A lot of nothing lately, but also a lot of power to turn said nothing into lots of noise/diversion/distraction. While Rome burns…

    3. anon in so cal

      ICIG Atkinson introduced the “hearsay is okay” ruling, entertained FBI and CrowdStrike lies about Russia and DNC server, worked w FBI Dir of National Sec, Laufman who entrapped Flynn, presided over Clinton email sham investigation, Russiagate psy ops. AdamSchiff refused to release ICIG #Atkinson’s testimony bc it wld reveal the “whistleblower,” Vindman, Misko, Mary McCord cooked up the #impeachment narrative out of whole cloth….

    4. Billy

      Grassley, wasn’t he one of the senators whose office got a packet of military grade anthrax in the mail, as a lobbying effort to get him to sign the Patriot Act?

  8. Krystyn Podgajski

    RE: How the Covid-19 crisis locked Airbnb out of its own homes

    I can confirm the AirBnB hurt in Chapel Hill, NC, a university town. I was just offered, and accepted, through some connections, a rental for the next three months for an ex-AirBnB unit. It is a one bedroom, decent size loft style apartment for $700 a month. It would probably rent for $1200 off of AriBnB but it pulled in much, much more on AirBnB. They said they were just looking for someone stable for the next few months and that worrying about it all was not worth it.

    The lowest prices i am seeing on AirBnB for a BEDROOM are still over $300 for a week! I hear it is because after all the fees and taxes these people cannot lower prices any further. So AirBnB is toast, because no one will be able to afford them and when people take them off of AirBnB they might loose their house as well.

    1. Wukchumni

      When we moved here 15 years ago, there’d be 4 to 6 homes for rent on a yearly lease @ $800 to $1500 each week in our newspaper ads, and then at the height of insanity, that once $800 home per month, could garner $5-6k a month from May to September. It was for many locals-the first time they could ever make that kind of income relatively passively, and now they’ll have to compete for monthly renters @ $800 again in been there-done that reality bites.

      Unlike Uber/Lyft where the proles supplied their ride and when it was all said and done, most ended up not making much more than minimum wage, whereas short term vacation rentals were the bomb. I saw locals with new cars and other trappings of newfound funds, manna from haven if you will.

      A friend’s first home he bought 20 years ago was simply horrible, A shitty little place with too much sun exposure, and other charms that made him off his $93k purchase a year later for a smidgen of a profit. The same home came on the market in the summer, and my buddy told me there was a spirited battle going on, each would-be Hilton topping one another’s bids until the lucky winner made off with it for a quarter million.

    2. Louis Fyne

      Lodging tax/regulatory evasion by AirBnB (in the early days) was a big component of making the numbers work

      Unfortunately a lot of leveraged AirBnB operators are going to find out the hard way that being a hotelier isn’t as easy as it sounds

      Uber Lyft AirBnB they all need to go bankrupt—-which they would have but for the “new era” monetary policy and valuation metrics that pass for common sense pre-pandemic

      1. rtah100

        Can we please add Expedia to that list, please?

        They bought Homeaway (owner of VRBO etc.).
        – Before they bought it, the business model was compelling: pay a couple hundred pounds for an annual listing you control and some online tools to market your holiday home directly to others on an amateur basis to others, for when you’re not using it.
        – After they bought it, they introduced transaction fees (copying Airbnb) and created a hamster wheel for owners, demoting them in rankings for not replying in 24h, not accepting booking requests automatically etc. They still carried on charging owners the subscription fee on top!
        – their strategy was they bought a captive market of second homeowners, whose casual single unit operations are not big enough to justify dedicated websites, internet marketing, merchant accounts etc. and proceed it to squeeze it until the pips squeaked. hey treated their actual revenue paying customers like suppliers to be screwed and behaved as they owned the properties rather than being middlemen with zero capital at risk.

        Their latest wheeze was to pick a fight with their 3rd party payment processor and replace them with an in-house system, which was only half built: they built the half to take the money off the guest but not the half to remit it to the owner. Seriously! Nobody I know had received any payments for their summer 2020 bookings since the new system rolled out at end Nov 2019 (even though they would have potentially owed the taxes immediately on money they have not been paid under UK VAT rules).

        Well, wouldn’t you know, summer is cancelled. Everyone I know is cheerfully refunding their guests in full, because the money is coming out of Homeaway’s pocket since they never paid it on. Plus Homeaway have to return the transaction fees on top. :-)

        I’m looking forward to warming my hands on the bonfire that was Expedia and pissing on the embers for good measure.

        1. Louis Fyne

          Chelsea Clinton sits on the expedia board of directors.

          So they get a pass from me /sarcasm

              1. GF

                I was pleased to see that I already don’t patronize any of the 46 companies listed, that I am aware of. So, no boycott necessary here.

                1. Late Introvert

                  That is too bad about Tree Hugger, but honestly they always seemed like dabblers from a place of privilege. How to feel better while not doing much.

                  The Spruce has some OK recipes, but none that can’t be found elsewhere.

              1. epynonymous

                If the rentier class was smart, they’d avoid their own scam and work together to host a free platform….


        2. David

          I’d be interested if somebody better informed than me were to do an analysis of just how many different parts of the service economy would be splattered if (say) mass tourism and business travel were to slow down radically, even for a short while. Off the top of my head, and thinking of my own experience, for leisure travel you have inward and outward travel agents, or alternatively flight booking sites, hotel booking sites, restaurant booking and recommendation sites, tourist offices, taxi services, railways, bus services, airlines, especially cheapo ones, airport restaurants, shops and duty frees, tourist and luxury shops, restaurants, hotels, B and Bs, theaters, concert halls, historical sites, car hire, exchange bureaus, tourist guides and tourist excursion companies, publishers specializing in tourist literature and maps, internet companies making map and travel software, travel magazines, and probably a lot more. For business travel you can add up-market transport, concierge, secretarial and administration services, translation and interpretation services, conference halls and booking services, business-type restaurants and a lot more as well. Should be fun.

          1. JTMcPhee

            Maybe there are some businesses that just should not survive. Nobody of any consequence shed tears for the original destruction of cadre that made up the Luddites, or the makers of wooden wheels and buggy whips.

            In all of this, look what’s happened to the level of crap that humans have been dumping “externally” into the atmosphere. Maybe not such a marked effect reducing the rate at which we humans are using up the Commons known as “the ocean,” but still some reduction in rate. And there’s huge pressure to “Get back to normal, as quickly as possible.”

            Gotta say it: “Stupid humans.”

            Mother Nature bats last.

            1. John

              Yes. Back to normal, but which normal are we discussing. The normal of Jan1, 2020 is as dead as the dodo. I think we are in for some rough times. The President said something about a bad week or bad couple of weeks. I suppose he was talking about disease and death. The US economy has/had a great deal of flash, filigree, fluff, and empty space filled with words and more words. This is going to blow away. Bad few months, bad year or years. Take your choice

          2. lordkoos

            Countries such as Thailand, Jamaica etc that depend heavily on tourist dollars are going to be hit very hard, to the point of political unrest.

          3. Tom Bradford

            I’d add to that list “ladies of negotiable virtue”.

            They are going to be very, very badly hit by this – not just because the money to employ them won’t be there but because it’s hard to maintain a 2-meter separation from your customers in that line of work.

            Yes some do it because they need the money and it’s the best available option – it does after all pay quite well. Many I’ve employed on a very short-term contract told me they genuinely enjoyed the job – we had pleasant interaction at the non-physical level and they were brisk and efficient at the, er, other. They told me they found the job a lot more flexible hours-wise, better-paying, social and, well, enjoyable, than grinding away all day in a Supermarket or perching prettily on a stool at a lawyer’s front desk as eye-candy for the clients while performing the same services for the partners in the back room as part of her pay – or else.

            Both types are going to be very hard hit financially, and in many jurisdictions won’t even have the official support available from the state to call on, tho’ fortunately the profession is legal in my neck of the woods.

    3. Jane

      With rental property availability jumping by 60% or more in many cities and little prospect of tourism in the next 18 months or so, I’m wondering what this will do to real estate overall. If a majority of Airbnb properties are mortgaged and those mortgages go unpaid there could be large collapse worldwide similar to what the US dealt with during the subprime days. These “tech” genius opportunities have been nothing more than pyramid scams and it seems most are on the brink of collapsing, the debris is bound to hurt a lot of innocent bystanders.

    4. Arizona Slim

      Just a few steps away from the Arizona Slim Ranch is a recently sold house. Based on the variety of cars that have come and gone since the sale, I suspect that the place is now being offered as an AirBnB.

      However, I don’t think that the short-term rental business will last much longer. Instead, this will become one of the many “near the University of Arizona” rental houses that are now flooding the market.

      Most of the university students bailed on Tucson and went back to wherever they came from. If they went home to Mom and/or Dad, I think the parents are going have some heavy mental health issues on their hands. The kids I still see around town look shell shocked. To the point where I wonder how they’re even beginning to handle school.

      1. John

        I think kids in their early 20s whose parents are in the top 20% don’t know what’s coming economically. They seem to be all cheery about staying home and self distancing. Fun and games and watching Netflix with remote friends (I’m not making that up btw.)

        While there is a certain percentage whose parents were affected by the 2008 crash, most of their lives the stock market has been going up. No recession other than that one. Which was 10 years ago.

        1. Lambert Strether

          > While there is a certain percentage whose parents were affected by the 2008 crash, most of their lives the stock market has been going up. No recession other than that one. Which was 10 years ago.

          IIRC, the 10%. sailed through the aftermath of the 2008 Crash with no problem at all, income still increasing at a steady clip (unlike the working class, who never recovered, and the rich, who took a big hit and then came back strong). Why they love Obama!

    5. MLTPB

      Losing their houses as well?

      The tweet above about suspending rent, mortgage, etc payments, could help them avoid losing their houses?

      1. Oregoncharles

        Suspending mortgages would help those with mortgages, but not those without. And the income is still lost, if there was a net income (some rentals are just a way to keep down the cost of holding the property for speculation). If the owner is dependent on that income, especially for paying bills – like insurance, taxes, etc. – they can get in deep trouble.

        I have no idea how many rentals belong to individuals/families, as opposed to investment firms. But it’s a substantial percentage. You could be talking about people losing their life savings and/or retirement income. Quite the equalizer, I suppose, except that it will further concentrate ownership of real estate.

    6. Janie

      Krystyn @08.12: i am so happy to read that you have a place to stay. Looking forward to your posts to come :-)

      1. rtah100

        Seconded – I forgot my manners in my haste to trample on Barry Diller. Congratulations, Krystyn, for getting a shelter in place. :-)

    7. urblintz

      Krystyn, do you have any insights or opinions on the use of N-acetylcysteine (NAC) for Covid19?

  9. PlutoniumKun

    The lost belle époque of the restaurant Financial Times

    My feeling on this is that whether the restaurant industry recovers or not is entirely dependent on the regulation of property rents. Investors will often happily keep property empty in order to maintain a notional rental value so that they don’t have to write down their assets. This is one reason why the restaurant/entertainment industry can find it so hard to recover after a downturn – landlords just aren’t interested in letting out to hopeful owners on realistic rental terms, so only wealthy chains can afford to set up (this I think is particularly noticeable in the UK where well funded chains have almost entirely taken over the casual dining market).

    The best way I think to enforce this is taxes on empty properties. If you combine this with aid for new businesses, just make this could be a catalyst for a new wave of small restaurant businesses providing far better service and product than the chains ubiquitous in most of the English speaking world. And maybe elsewhere it will mean that tired old local restaurants might get a new lease of life with more imaginative operators.

    1. ChrisFromGeorgia

      A few of the big mall REITs like Macerich or Simon Property group filing bankruptcy, liquidating and puking up real estate might put a dent in those inflated asset prices.

      Either than or it will become like the Hunger Games with a race to the bottom to bulldoze dead malls and take that space permanently out of the market.

      1. John

        FIRE: Finance Investment Real Estate. I suppose there are aspects of these “industries” that have merit, but I cannot think of any just now nor have I been able to for a considerable time. All of the predatory, rapacious, and cruel examples crowd out the tiny fraction that might, just might, have utility.

  10. Ignacio

    RE: Coronavirus: ‘More and more’ young people experiencing severe disease, WHO warns Independent

    This is something that has to be watched. The epidemics is an evolving creature with Mr. SARS CoV 2 adapting to humans (it just jumped a few months ago) and during its evolution a lot of things can happen. Some nasty, some not. Because we are just in the beginning, the unpredictability of the changes is the highest and the chance for these to result in increased infectivity or in increased virulence are high. In the current state of the pandemic, the most infectious variants are the ones that have more chances to prevail. WHO’s warning is quite correct.

        1. Louis Fyne

          And to be more nuanced than the first reading of the stats….and morbid, it’s a fair presumption that the turnover of the over-65 in ICU is much higher than those under.

          Prognosis for those over-65 on ventilation is not good.

          For all the hemming about under-50 cases, the real attention should be at the older end of the spectrum.

          In my area, the health authority stats say that 0.8% of those over 100 have covid—multiples more than those under 60 or under 20.

        2. Ignacio

          IMO, wrong comparison Paul. You should compare with total infected, not with total population.

          1. Monty

            Nobody knows the total infected, any statistic that we see is just a function of how widespread the testing has been, so surely that’s a moot point?

            Number of deaths relative to total population is one of the only possible “apples to apples” comparison we have got. Assuming that countries are being honest and uniform in their reporting of related deaths.

          2. paul

            Quite probably, but it is very difficult to say anything with any certainty.

            Test the whole population, repeatedly on a 14 day window.

            Subtract the expected deaths

            There has been a morbid concentration on mortality, rather than recovery.

            It all reminds me of the ‘aids crisis’, a lot of bone shaking.

            I was very ignorant when i was younger, but i witnessed, but did not see, a human killed by the now discredited cure.

    1. The Rev Kev

      A question that I have. Would I be correct in assuming that the more cases there are, the more likelihood of there being more genetic variants of this virus? Or are the mutations independent of the numbers of people that get it?

      1. larry

        You would be incorrect, Rev. The number of cases is not a good indicator of genetic variation/mutation. Evidence so far indicates that this virus does not mutate very quickly and so far not at all. This says nothing about what could happen in the future.

        1. xkeyscored

          So far not at all? Have a look at this. Despite the scary title, it has pretty clear graphics showing known mutations so far, and you can click on different branches of the evolutionary tree to see more information, or reconfigure and customise the display if you want. Though I don’t think we don’t know yet if any of these mutations have affected how fast it spreads or how deadly it is or to whom, etc.

          Genomic epidemiology of novel coronavirus

            1. xkeyscored

              I haven’t seen one, but there is parallel information about SARS and MERS, if not collated in such a nice interactive infographic thingy. Plus, this one has now infected at least a million, meaning you’d expect a much bigger evolutionary tree (if that’s appropriate jargon). I wouldn’t like to try and draw any conclusions from any of it, though I expect academics and researchers are onto it insofar as it seems relevant.

              Here, for example, a graphic for SARS:

              And a MERS graphic, similar to the nextstrain one but non-interactive:
     (sorry about the long URL; doesn’t like my attempts at trimming it)

              And a couple of articles on the topic, pretty heavy going, but the titles say research in this area has been done:

              Molecular epidemiology, evolution and phylogeny of SARS coronavirus.

              Rooting the Phylogenetic Tree of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus by Characterization of a Conspecific Virus from an African Bat

        2. Ignacio

          I think Rev is correct. The higher number increases the probability of mutations becoming selected given that each infection context may have little differences because we humans are not all equal. There are increasing chances that what could be negatively selected in one patient could go unnoticed or positively selected in other patient. In other words, once the epidemic reaches certain size, the probability of all possible mutations occurring becomes saturated, but there is more variation in selection forces. If I have time I will try to look at this. There must be papers on theoretical epidemiology that have addressed this.

          1. rtah100

            The Singapore cases show deletion of Open Reading Frame 8. ORF8 is some part of the viral machinery related to virulence (I forget which) and is thought to make the strain less virulent (not sure about less lethal) so it is adapting to its new host.

            The danger that increases with infection number is of recombination. What if SARS2 meets MERS in some unhappy camel herder and they have a bonny child…?

          2. The Rev Kev

            Thanks Ignacio. The official number of Coronavirus cases is over a million but Australia’s medical health honcho reckons that it is more likely five to ten million cases at the moment. When I think of the numbers of cases that will happen in India or Africa or South America I can see the possibility of different strains arising. This thing has already gotten a score of 10 out of 10 for being so transmissible so what other characteristics that arise does give me pause for thought.

      2. Skip Intro

        There is a chance of mutation with every replication, more replications = more mutations. More hosts with more viral load means more replications. I think your assumption is correct. Also, the viability of mutations is probably low in general, but more varied hosts allow more varied mutations to gain a foothold. These may be poorly adapted to the general population. I think the ‘goal’ of the virus is to become endemic and relatively harmless. Killing hosts is for dumb parasites, like the FIRE sector.

        1. anon in so cal

          “At least 8 strains of the coronavirus have been identified

          Researchers say the small mutations are useful in showing how the virus is spreading around the world, and aren’t cause for concern.

          Thousands of genetic sequences of the virus have been uploaded to the open database NextStrain.

          The database shows how the virus is spreading and splitting into new but similar subtypes.

          Researchers say the mutations are slight and it does not appear the strains will grow more lethal as they evolve.”

      3. ewmayer

        Flu – specifically influenza subtype A, the one we humans deal with – is a useful backdrop here. There are 2 modes of evolutionary change/selection operative there. Quoting from Chapter 8 of Arnold Levine’s Viruses (one of the 70-volume Scientific American ‘Library of Science’ — note I dislike the name “antigenic shift”, because it is too similar to mere “antigenic drift” and thus underplays the profound difference between the two modes of evolutionary change):

        The influenza A virus … has developed the ability to evade recognition by the immune system’s memory. During replication, it sometimes alters the viral structural proteins rapidly but slightly through mutation — just enough so that the less efficient immune systems of some hosts no longer recognize the progeny virus as the same. If the immune system has no memory of a past infection, each infection is a new exposure and the virus can gain access to the host multiple times. This process, called antigenic drift, is responsible for local epidemics. [Note he does not mention the middle ground of mutations which allow reinfection but to which the host has at least partial immunity, i.e. the antibodies generated to mop up a previous infection are at least partially effective with the new one, just not as efficient as they were with regard to the strain they were tailor-made for.]

        Quite a different mechanism comes into play whe a pandemic influenza A virus sweeps around the world. I this case, the virus replaces one of its genes with a new one, producing a protein that the immune system has never seen before. This radical change, termed antigenic shift, produces a virus that is still influenza A but with one or more gene replacements. No longer recognized as an agent identified in the past by the immune system of any host, this virus can infect the same population one or more time. This virus seems, in effect, to have an interchangeable to have an interchangeable set of functional genes lying mysteriously in storage somewhere — perhaps in China. How influenza A evolves so rapidly is the subject of this chapter.

        The specific gene-swaps of interest here are those involving the 2 surface proteins — the hemagglutinin (HA) protein and the neuraminidase (NA) enzyme — which the protein-making machnery of an infected host cell is co-opted to insert into the cell’s own outer membrane as multiple new flu viri bud from the cell, each ripping off a tiny piece of te thus-antigenically-modified lipid outer membrane of the host cell. Major influenza substrains — technically, “serotypes” — are identified by assigning a number to the particular HA and NA protein they possess, e.g. H1N1 contains both the 1918 Spanish flu and the 2009 swine flu. So, say, some place like rural China where all 3 major animal types which are natural hosts for influenza A — humans, pigs and aquatic birds — are in close proximity, lots of the latter 2 animal types being raised, slaughtered and consumed as food by the first — and one of those animals happens to be infected by an H2N1 whose NA-templating gene has antigenically drifted somewhat over the decades, passes it on to a human infected with an H1N5 whose HA gene has similar changed a bit over the decades, the 2 strains swap NA genes during one of those ubiquitous “lateral gene transfer” events which characterize much of the microbial world, and boom! You got a brand-new H1N1 strain, never seen before in the world.

        1. Lambert Strether

          Took me a minute to see that the ambiguity was not to be seen in “antigenic,” but in “shift” v. “drift” (which aren’t all that distinct conceptually, and rhyme into the bargain! Who did this….)

        2. ewmayer

          I should add that the gene-swapping which occasionally births new flu viruses is via a different mechanism that lateral gene transfer between e.g. bacteria. For flu, the virus enters a cell, spills its guts in form of its protein-coding RNA, which hijacks the cell’s ribosomal protein-making machinery and gets it to turn out the ingredients for multiple viral progeny, which still require self-assembly and budding from the cell’s outer lipid layer to go out and seek other cells to infect. If viruses from 2 distinct flu strain happen to infect the same cell, their genes can get swapped in the process of self-assembly.

    2. Arizona Slim

      Here in Tucson, some young people have not gotten the memo. They’re still partying like it’s, oh, 1999. Link:

      Well, the city policy has just changed. Party’s over, kiddos. Link:

      I’m here to tell you that some of the kiddos are still partying. And, yes, you can call 911 to report this misbehavior, but guess what. Our local 911 system is really slammed of late.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Try the local non-emergency police number.

        And be prepared to give them a lot of personal information to register a report or complaint. Don’t ask me how I know.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          when i lived in austin…in a not so nice neighborhood, of course…calmly cleaning a 12 gauge on the front porch every saturday evening sent the right message to the neighborhood youth.
          (it was an antique, and i would be afraid to fire it)

          you could also be seen videoing them, i suppose.
          cops here hung a deer camera high in a tree at a playground in the Barrio…painted it orange, so it would be seen…doesn’t even have to work.

      2. Oregoncharles

        “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow…”

        Or “The Masque of the Red Death”, I suppose.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          For those with an interest, Akira Kurosawa wrote a screen treatment of The Masque of the Red Death which is even closer to our current situation than the original – its available on Scrib’d.

        1. Lambert Strether

          I think it’s “Getting wasted is wasted on the youth.” Now, when I could really use sitting back quietly with a joint, it would be difficult to do so — and also madness. Sigh.

      1. mary jensen

        More “comedy of coping”, this time from besieged Paris where it’s not unusual to live in apartments of some 30 sq. metres and where the lockdown is quite draconian. I suppose this is for our francophone friends:

        “Questions Pour Un Champion” is a staple of French tv, Julian Lepers was its most beloved presenter. Noam Cartozo has done something utterly brilliant.

        Vive La France

    1. edmondo

      “….Nobody needs an opposition party during a pandemic. Especially not an opposition party who’ve had all their policies stolen….”

      The Democrats are about to find out the exact same thing. If Trump ends up opening up “Medicare for all who want it” then why the (family blog) do we need the Democrats?

  11. Louis Fyne

    On the toilet paper front,one of the local Targets stocked it this week.

    Not fully stocked but plenty for any one of the sparse shoppers who wanted one. Bought one mega pack—–made in Canada

    sigh but ontario—are there timber forests there?,— is closer to me than the forests in the south or west.

    But beats the Made in Thailand toilet paper I’ve seen.

    1. edmondo

      I am more concerned about cleaning products at this point. We’ve been “in place” for about a month here. I have not seen a time when there were any products re-stocked to clean counters, floors and other things that need to be sanitized.

      Maybe we are supposed to barter toilet paper for Clorox bleach? Time to develop some trading skills I guess.

      1. Louis Fyne

        Target house brand (up and up)—-which presumably comes from the same (or similarly) sources as the house brands from other retailers.

        1. anonymous

          Pet supply companies still have 256 in stock.
          The best price I am seeing now is on PetEdge:

          My orders from this company have included 256 and shampoos, which have always come well-packaged with no leaking. PetEdge specifies that the active ingredient is MAQUAT 256-NHQ, which is on the EPA list of approved cleaners for SARS-Co-V-2.
          Cherrybrook is another pet supply company that has 256.
          I have no financial ties to either company. I have ordered from them on occasion over decades and have found both to have excellent customer service.

    2. danpaco

      “are there timber forests there?”
      In southern Ontario not so much. An hour north of Toronto Is when it begins. You can drive for 20 hours straight to the Manitoba border and see nothing but trees and rocks.
      After that the flatland and wide open spaces of the prairie seem like a dream.

    3. wilroncanada

      Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia all have forest industries. The likely source of softwoods for pulp and paper are Irving-owned mills and forests in the Maritimes. The formerly extensive paper products industry in the Niagara Peninsula is mostly moribund now. There is still one small plant producing toilet tissue apparently. One of the major suppliers is in Quebec. One of their brands is Purex. They have another brand sold only in the US. Maybe chippier?
      In junior high school (1950s), one of our “field trips” was to the Thorold paper mill, on the Welland Canal. It was so unrewarding looking up some of this stuff from my childhood stomping grounds, I’m too pooped to write anymore.

    1. xkeyscored

      Being a definitely non-sports type, I far prefer it to the usual.
      But will sports fans, I wonder?

      1. xkeyscored

        Virtual Grand National (UK horse race)

        “Potters Corner has won the televised Virtual Grand National after the big race was cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

        The 18-1 shot beat runner-up Walk In The Mill (16-1) in the computer-simulated race, with Any Second Now (10-1) third.

        Tiger Roll, the 5-1 favourite, was fourth and 12-1 chance Burrows Saint finished fifth.

        Bookmakers offered odds, with profits going to NHS Charities Together.”

        – I don’t see anything about how many viewers or gamblers they got.

    1. gsinbe

      I spoke with a friend of mine living in the Raleigh area (NC) who told me golf courses had successfully lobbied to have themselves designated as “essential services”. The most recent order by the governor may have changed that, though.

      1. Krystyn Podgajski

        I had a friend go golfing in NC a few weeks ago. He said they put bumpers in the holes so the ball would not go in the hole and therefore people not putting their hands in the hole would make it safer. Ha! They did each get their own golf cart.

        1. Basil Pesto

          indeed, that’s what they’ve been doing here and in other countries – i think they just turn the cup upside-down so the ball either bounces off or the cup is very shallow and the ball can be retrieved without poking around with one’s fingers. Players aren’t to remove flags, either (I play alone 99% of the time so never bother with the flag anyway). Also, bunker rakes have been removed (at least that’s been the practice in Australia) and a new rule implemented allowing players to drop the ball outside the bunker. All this to reduce potential fomites. Also, cart use is far less widespread in Australia than the US (as it bloody well should be), and carts are allocated to one per person, with some courses changing their policy to cart use only being allowed with a medical certificate. Of course, clubhouses are closed.

          The situation varies from state to state here. Golf Australia recommended closing courses nationwidebut it’s only a recommendation. In Victoria, where I live, all courses are closed as far as I can tell. It varies on a course by course basis in other states (the problem with selective closing, of course, is that it might redirect more traffic to those courses that remain open, thereby increasing risk). I think all municipal courses are closed by now. None of the new laws in place specifically disallow it, but the governing body considered it would be contravening the spirit of the prime minister’s directive – don’t go out unless it’s absolutely necessary. Then again, one of the ‘going out’ exemptions is for ’exercise‘ (that’s all it says, I think I’ve complained before that it’s hopefully vague). I went for a 10km walk yesterday through the suburbs (with a stop at the supermarket) for exercise and I certainly would’ve felt safer getting that exercise on a golf course, even without the supermarket stop. It seems to me to be a pretty safe sport, and its physical and mental health benefits are certainly beyond question. Unfortunately it’s played by a small (but voluble) number of call-the-manager types who think they are exceptional and the rules don’t or shouldn’t apply to them (see: the massachusetts wankers, or the aforementioned lobbying as an ‘essential service’, which is of course frivolous), so there’s always a chance the cavalier behaviour of some could ruin it for others. Some in the community also seem to think that while it is probably safe, courses should be closed out of solidarity with other sports and for the sake of avoiding that ‘exceptionalist’ image of golfers heading out and lording it over all the other sports-players stuck inside, which I suppose is fair enough. There’s also the fact that in Australia, most players are older men, are the most at-risk group (the game’s demographics are a longstanding source of concern for the governing body in Australia and elsewhere – a chief reason it skews so old is that time poverty precludes younger people from either getting involved with the game in the first place, or playing as much as they would like – thanks, neoliberalism!

          PS I saw your post about being in St Andrews on the relevant Water Cooler this week. I too was jealous! I was meant to be going to Wales for a wedding in July and was arriving in Glasgow a few weeks beforehand to drive around and play golf – maybe next year :( (although curiously, my friends haven’t announced the postponement of their wedding yet – surely only a matter of time)

          1. The Rev Kev

            Thanks for that report, Basil. I found it very interesting myself. I don’t know what my brother and his wife will be doing right now. They are retired and use to go golfing every single day of the week. If we can get on top of it here, then that should mean that after two weeks after the last reported case, that they might open up places like golf courses once gain. One can hope.

            1. Basil Pesto

              you’re most welcome – as I understand it, Golf Australia are going to review their recommendation on April 13 when the first official lockdown period is over/up for renewal.

      2. Stephen V.

        I thought the whole purpose of golfing was social distancing –from the wrong people I mean.

        1. Lambert Strether

          > I thought the whole purpose of golfing was social distancing –from the wrong people I mean.

          In a way. The whole purpose of golfing, leaving out those few who actually love the sport qua sport, is to have private conversations in an environment presumed to be free of recording equipment.

      3. antidlc
        Some people are flocking to Tarrant County. Not for toilet paper, but to play golf

        Brad Pomeroy drove more than hour from his home in Kemp to play a round of golf at Fort Worth’s Rockwood Golf Course on Thursday.

        Unlike nearby Dallas County and Kaufman County closing its golf courses, Tarrant County golf courses remain open to the public amid the coronavirus pandemic.

        Article is dated March 26. I don’t know if anything has changed since then.

    2. MLTPB

      Serious or not, this is our system.

      In an authoritarian country, it’s likely you won’t see things like this.

    3. Liberal Mole

      Our local public golf course was determined to be an essential business. However its only supposed to be open to local residents and they’ve closed the restrooms, removed the flags and ball washing, and only have carts for rent if they can sanitize them after each use. Spouse bought his own golf cart a month before the shelter in place started, so he feels validated. Many outsiders are trying to get in, the staff tells him.

  12. fresno dan

    FISA court orders DOJ to review flawed surveillance applications and provide names of targets Washington Examiner (furzy)

    The judge ordered the Justice Department to provide the court with “the names of the targets” for all 29 applications and to specify which targets and docket numbers correspond with the court applications with no Woods file — and the three of those for which no Woods file may have ever existed. He further ruled that the agency must “assess to what extent those 29 applications involved material misstatements or omissions” and “assess whether any such material misstatements and omissions render invalid, in whole or in part, authorizations granted by the Court for that target in the reviewed docket or other dockets.” The judge asked the Justice Department to prioritize the cases with no Woods file.
    Didn’t the FISA judges check that an application had a Woods file? Are they required to?
    If a judge cannot discern there are misstatements or ommisions in a file, what exactly is the point of the process? What EXACTLY are they suppose to be checking for? How do they accomplish this?

    The defenders of the Carter Page surveillance point out that FISA judges OF COURSE knew that the Steel dossier was connected to an opposition political campaign because of a footnote. Supposedly FISA Judges read the FISA applications very carefully…sure they do…
    Over the next several weeks, the FBI and 01 prepared the FISA application
    targeting Carter Page, which was filed with the FISC on October 21, 2016. The
    FISC granted the first FISA warrant the same day, authorizing electronic

    Apparently there is no Inspector General for FISA judges and it is unseemly to question their competence or utility. Should ANY of all these FISA errors been caught by a judicial review? Will that even be considered???
    As I often say, you won’t find what your not looking for. Do FISA judges question the FBI preparers of the applications critically – apparently not.

  13. Rod

    Shortages. And now seizures:
    In the short video, the Admiral who is employed by us states:

    They have the data, accumulated over the last 13 days…I am now seeing truth of what’s in the supply chain and I would say that I am seeing some abnormal behavior…

    earnestly–just what is it he is trying to say?

    1. xkeyscored

      I think he’s saying the US government, in its plans and its response, relies on the private sector for distribution. The ‘abnormal behaviour’ he mentions sounds like making profits where they see an opportunity, and I suppose this opportunity is abnormal.

      Reading between the lines, I wonder if what he wants to say is “Why the f is this going on?” and “Why the f do I have to field questions about it?”

  14. MT_Bill

    3 million masks ordered by Massachusetts were confiscated in Port of New York, leading to creative alternative

    So is the implication here that the state of NY confiscated the masks for their own use, forcing MA to set up the pickup and delivery using the Patriots 767?

    If so, my worst fears are confirmed and I’m being overly optimistic yet again.

    1. Louis Fyne

      No one in the media is even asking if there is another hospital-grade mask plant besides the 3M plant in South Dakota. Or why the US is dependent on flying PPE 9,000 miles

      Even worse….(if I recall correctly ) the electrostatic filter material used in hospital-grade masks is almost entirely imported

      1. Sub-Boreal

        There’s an interesting angle to Trump’s edict to 3M banning mask exports.

        It turns out that the specialty pulp used in making masks, gowns and other PPE comes from a single supplier on Vancouver Island, British Columbia:

        Meanwhile, the Prime Minister is being nice about this: ‘”We are not looking at retaliatory measures or measures that are punitive. We know that it is in both of our interests to continue to work collaboratively and co-operatively,” Trudeau said.’

      1. JBird4049

        So it is not need or cooperation, but the almighty dollar, that is determining who gets the lifesaving masks and perhaps food. Nice to see that neoliberalism is still functioning very well.

        Just what will it take for our leaders to become serious about all this?

          1. JBird4049

            You must know by now that Neoliberalism with its Holy Free Markets cannot fail, it can only be failed; so we wretched apostates would still be The Deplorables™ to the Faithful.

    2. MLTPB

      Not just masks, but food too.

      Russia wants to limit grain exports.

      Vietnam considered resuming rice shipments 7 days ago, per Voice of America, but according Reuters 5 days ago, the rice export b*n was still in force.

  15. The Rev Kev

    “Confusion surrounds launch of $349B in small-business loans”

    And to everybody’s surprise, the Bank of America are being a bunch of jerks. If a small business tries to get a loan from them, they will only do it if you have a loan with them. That means that if you are running a business successfully and have enough cash flow to keep it running by itself, the Bank of America will let you die. If you are in debt then, and only then, will they consider loaning you any money. But Trump talks about a ‘Great job being done by @BankofAmerica’ –

    1. Louis Fyne

      Not defending BofA….but banks still have to obey the Patriot Act customer ID laws.

      Given the potential rush of customers and limited staffing amd social staffing, (in my opinion) it’s reasonable that banks want to avoid a rush of new customers.

      Just saying.

      All the reason to open the Fed window to anyone with a social security number

      1. The Rev Kev

        The article talks about long-term customers, not new, so it looks like that they will be killing off any small business not in debt to them and hence not paying them big fees and charges. You can see this in the tweets in that article.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          My bank offered me (my llc) a normally crazy loan on Monday when I was discussing PPP with them, and my llc has a small loan out. We had discussed a summer time project so I didn’t register it at the time.

    2. griffen

      Good recap of small biz owners on CNBC last night. With Marcus lemonis giving out advice, and encouraging the 3 different owners. Pretty remarkable anecdote – a restaurant group owner had to close 14 / 15 locations. Not set up for take out either.

      This program needs to function, but I guarantee the horror stories will continue unfortunately.

    3. Lambert Strether

      > Trump talks about a ‘Great job being done by @BankofAmerica’ –

      But they are doing a great job. If you frame the response to the pandemic as neoliberals culling the weak, everything falls into place….

  16. Edward

    Salt water might be useful against Covid-19. In the past, when I had a persistent cold, I dripped salt water down my sinuses and it worked really well; the cold got better. I have also swished salt water in my mouth when I had a sore there and it helped. A doctor on a different blog confirms this is an effective remedy. And it doesn’t require that you pay big pharma $1000, at least not yet.

    Another thought: could personal protective equipment be disinfected and reused by microwaving it? This blog posted a video claiming that microwaving kills the virus.

        1. Edward

          True, but other protective equipment might be microwaveable. Perhaps a microwave could be designed that can allow metal targets.

          1. Youngblood

            It’s not about the microwave design. It’s a fundamental natural property – the photoelectric effect. Microwaves trigger electronic excitation within metals. Cellphone signals do as well. Surround your cellphone with dry steel wool and have someone call you, and stand back…

            1. Edward

              Some method would be needed to dissipate the energy from the metal. The simplest solution is to remove the staples.

          2. Dave

            Most newer microwaves can have metal in them. When thawing chicken I’m to supposed to cover the ends with al foil.

      1. Edward

        What I am suggesting is squirting the salt water into your nose and down your sinuses. As I understand it, Covid-19 has different phases. In the early phase, it is in your nose and throat; this is when I suspect the salt water could help. Of course, in this beginning stage the virus doesn’t usually present symptoms, so one would have to guess when to do this.

        1. Youngblood

          The salt water rinse may help to the extent that it keeps your nasal passages clear and mucous membranes hydrated. It’s not anti-viral so much as it is just good for hygeine. Supposedly the virus has a better chance when your sinuses are dry, thus the higher transmissibility in winter when humidity is typically lower. At least, that is among the many things I’ve read in recent weeks….take it with a grain of salt. ?

        2. pasha

          actually, netti pot saline rinses, using distilled or boiled water to avoid parasites, are effective against many virus: the salt changes the p.h. in the upper passages, making them inhospitable to virus and some bacteria. anecdotally, i never took another sick day from school due to cold or flu after i began netti use, and was thus able to save them for retirement.

      2. Oregoncharles

        Gargling makes a sore throat FEEL better; I suppose it would also wash off any free viruses, esp. combined with rinsing your nose (use salt water; fresh water hurts, and increases the inflammation). But those aren’t the problem; the ones inside cells are. So it’s purely symptomatic relief, like, say, aspirin – only you shouldn’t reduce the fever unless it’s dangerously high.

        Microwaves heat water or metal. If the mask, and hence the viruses, are dry, there will be little effect. Steam would be more effective, but I think it reduces the effectiveness of the filtration in medical masks.

    1. Wyoming

      Re: the salt water gargling. This is an old remedy from ancient times. My mother (masters in nursing) who grew up on a homestead in Wyoming (of course!) learned it when she was a little girl and used this on us when we were kids as a standard procedure. I still do it today. I am certain it works.

      It may not help with Covid19 but it helps with lots of other stuff.

    2. Lost in OR

      I’ve not seen anything on CV vs. Saline. How saline? What additives?

      I had a persistent sore throat that I finally put to rest by gargling with a salt/baking soda solution.

      Neti pots work great for cleaning/clearing the sinus cavities. It’s more than like a flow than a drip though. Tip your head forward and to the side and run saline through one nostril until it runs out the other. Then reverse and repeat.

      There is a small band of metal in many masks that precludes microwaving. I’ve seen an alternate solution: set oven on low (200F), place mask in paper bag, bake for 30 minutes. Seems that that might have a deleterious impact on the elastic straps.

      This link contains specs for an all-fabric mask. This is the simplest mask pattern I’ve seen. I’m just starting to make these. I think I got it from NC several days ago. All parts can be made from a single piece of fabric.

      1. Edward

        I just mixed table salt with tap water and squirted it my nose with an eyedropper. It was suggested years ago by an office mate and my cold really improved.

        1. Lost in OR

          As Amfortas states below, I’ve seen distilled water recommended. Dribbling with an eyedropper is one thing. I’m happy that worked for you.

          When I suffer with hay fever, flooding/flushing my sinuses with normal saline was a huuuge relief. It was most excellent. The best ever.

          Ok, my Trumpspeak needs work.

          1. xkeyscored

            I had been wondering about that. Like most people in this country, I don’t have an oven. Sorry.

            1. mpalomar

              With windows rolled up in the noon day sun the interior of a car could probably get close to 160.

            2. Eureka Springs

              No matter the quality or age of your oven buy an oven thermometer, place it on the same rack you plan to cook. Most will be shocked to find their oven is often 50 to 75 degrees off. Variations can change overnight.

          2. marieann

            I make yogurt in my oven. It needs to sit at a temp of 180F for 12 hours. It comes out great so I assume the temp is fine……I don’t turn the oven on, just keep the oven light on.

            1. Oregoncharles

              haven’t made it in a while, but we always used a picnic cooler with 100 degree (body temp, essentially) water in it. We also supplemented the milk with dried milk; makes it much stiffer. 180 strikes me as too high, but if it works it works.

              1. marieann

                I also do the hot water in a cooler thing. I find it easier to use the oven but if I forget to make it in the morning I do the overnight thing.
                I also dry my herbs in the oven, with the light on ,overnight, perfect for oregano and parsley.

            2. Edward

              I also make yogurt. I heat the milk until it starts boiling, remove the skin, let the milk cool a bit, and then wrap the pot in blankets.

      2. Amfortas the hippie

        for neti pots, use distilled water.
        my doctor told me this a few years ago. brain eating amoebas easily bypass municipal water treatment was the reason given.
        we use the “simply saline”…each of us has their own,marked with a sharpie… and i buy them in bulk when i can.
        the texas hill country is “cedar fever” country…everyone ends up with year round allergies.
        my nemesis is mold…and with all the rain we’ve been getting, i sound like aqualung…not a good look in current circumstances.
        amfortas to wife a million times the last few years:”honey, remember when this was a hot, dry place?”
        creeks running is cool, though.

        1. marieann

          You can also use water that has been previously been boiled,which is what I do. Just cool it down to warm(I check the way I used to check the baby milk-with my wrist), add a pinch of salt and a pinch of baking soda to the pot….works for me

        2. mary jensen

          Rinsing the sinuses is always a good idea. Obviously at first it’s a bit off-putting but you’ll soon find it’s as easy as brushing your teeth. Here in Suisse the ‘salts’ are ready packaged (2,5 gr for 250 ml water), sold in boxes of 20 packets and the product is called “Emser”. Boil the water. I repeat: boil the water !!! You pour the water over the salts in a glass measuring cup, you allow the mixture to cool to slightly below body temp and then you pass the mixture through your nostrils with your head tipped over your wash basin, left side/right side over and over again until the measuring cup is empty. To administer the mixture up through each nostril I use a 20ml plastic syringe, costs just CHF 1,50 at any pharmacy. Reusable too, just rinse it out well. Look up the name: Emser sel de rincage nasal. Cheap too BUT ALWAYS BOIL THE WATER. I personally wouldn’t use a netti pot, question of cleanliness, too complicated to clean and rinse.

      3. Oregoncharles

        As mentioned earlier, the “rubber straps” are really just rubber bands, which most of us have a pile of. Staple them on, take out staples before microwaving.

    3. Alice X

      The microwaves cause water molecules to vibrate but I don’t think the virus contains water.

  17. Noone from Nowheresville

    Joe Rogan Experience #1453 – Eric Weinstein

    Very long video 3 hours. I’m about 35 minutes in.

    So far. shareholders, corporations and China. They both agree that the candidate they’d want leading this pandemic would be Gabbard. How out of touch other politicians are with what’s going on. On to traditional legacy media. The abuse of medical personnel. Unprepared as a nation and sold out by our leadership class. Pre-war conditions.

    1. MLTPB

      Leading, in which system?

      In ours, the person would have to work with the Senate, the house, the intelligence community, or spend time and energy to bypass them, if that is achieved, tc.

      In a more authoritarian one, the person with effective ideas can just impose them.

      1. JTMcPhee

        In the authoritarian case, not ok to assume that the person with power has GOOD ideas. Duterrte has “effective” ideas in the Philippines — he just told his troops and police to shoot and kill anyone not obeying his lockdown fiat.

        Not “good” on a lot of bases, one of which is that I believe CV is present in blood and also in a lot of the tissues that would be pink-misted by shooting the occasionally arbitrarily and inaccurately targets misbehaver.

      2. Noone from Nowheresville

        The question was about leadership in crisis. Both them had some issues with Gabbard in general. But they feel that sometimes there are moments in history when certain people can rise to the occasion. In this pandemic, they felt that Gabbard wouldn’t tolerate BS, would be willing to put heads on pikes and mobilize the troops so to speak. That she would live & walk the talk compared to all the others candidates for president.

        The “system” they discussed in the very beginning is a quasi capitalism / neoliberism / authoritianism. The discussion is something which can be found on NC and worth a listen. Rogan said he could vote for Sanders but not for Biden. That how strange it was that after Klobuchar withdrew that remaining candidates were all born between 1941 and 1949 and no one talked about it. Weinstein said Pelosi and deBlasio should both resign.

        Weight was given to those pieces, not just throw away comments.

        I had to jump in and out. Right now I’m up to violent sex in the animal world of flatworms and bed bugs. Prior to that was a segue into kayfab wrestling and then drilling holes into one’s skull. The underlying wrestling piece dealt with lies within lies and when, if ever, that becomes truth and how do we know. How Trump has a natural affinity for how wrestling sells or is the kayfab. Some good takeaways in that section but you do have to wade through it because they get into the weeds on the players from historical wrestling.

        I’m up to discussion about penis battles of flat worms & bed bugs. That is time I’d like to have back but perhaps there’s a segue that pulls it together. Still the last hour to go.

  18. Amos

    Re: NYC luxury stores boarding up. I’ve also seen pictures of it in Sausalito CA. For what I’ve heard, it is an insurance requirement. The policies state that if a covered retail location is closed for x number of days, it must be boarded up. So, the stores are not anticipating civil unrest per se. It’s a mandate of the insurance companies.

    1. Wukchumni

      Used to go to Rosarito Beach south of Tijuana in the 80’s & 90’s when Mexico was going through financial trouble as the Peso was constantly going down in value against almighty buck, from around 25 Pesos to the $ in the early 80’s, to ultimately 3,300 Pesos to the $ in 1992.

      Rosarito had the touristy gringo side of town, and the locals part of town, and you’d see empty newish retail stores where the glass had been broken in the locals part, and once you’ve breached that, its tantamount to open season on anything inside. They kind looked like stripped new cars, the bucket seats missing and a milk crate in it’s place now.

      I wonder what percentage of brick & mortars are boarded up in the Big Apple et al, must be a relatively tiny number anticipating crystal, not.

      1. Zagonostra

        I used to live in SAN and friends and I would drive down to get sloshed at Who Songs in Rosarita, good times, bar packed, lots of tequilas, and a lot of opposite of social distancing happening.

    2. MLTPB

      Thanks for that insurance requirement background.

      I don’t suppose if sports shops, or more specifically ski shops or outdoor clothing stores would be targeted, or airports? Let’s hope not.

      Peace, not war, even viral wars…not all viruses are bad, per a recent NC link.

  19. Carolinian

    Re the toilet paper crisis–that Vox article is probably way more than we wanted to know about TP but does explain the distinction between “commercial grade” and “consumer grade.” For the record I have long been buying the commercial grade at Aldi because an eight pack lasts forever and it allows one to spend a lot less time thinking about toilet paper. I have resisted installing one of those commercial dispensers that make it almost impossible to get the stuff off the roll.

    1. Louis Fyne

      Try the commercial-grade paper towels—the brown stuff from high school. (Once things get back to normal)

      Usually made in the USA or Canada and One box can literally last a normal house a year.

      One of the few things I order from Amazon—-as given its free shipping policy, 100% odds that Amazon loses money selling each box of “hardwound” paper towels.

      1. edmondo

        The best part of those commercial paper towels is that they can also be used to sand furniture or smooth down bumpy concrete.

          1. JTMcPhee

            My second wife’s family, dirt-poor white trash from Western Wisconsin, still had a privy, and only installed a pump in the well and a pipe bringing water to the shack they lived in in about 1985. Still had a two-holer privy. There were bits of old Sears catalogs, and telephone books (remember those?) drilled in the upper corner and hanging from strings tied to nails in the joists. The old man had drinking buddies who worked on the nearby Army base, Fort McCoy, so occasionally there was actual Army issue toilet paper. Also cans of mil spec insect spray to kill the black widow spiders that lived under the “seating area” above the cesspit and might otherwise “nip you in the private parts.“

            I was with her long enough to visit them in all four seasons, and there was a honey bucket in the shed attached to the house for nighttime urine, but you had to trek out to the privy for other business. One time it was so cold the flashlight wouldn’t light since the batteries had frozen. We ain;t that rugged any more…

            I imagine her parents are dead by now, but her mom (her dad was a lout) put up a very productive kitchen garden with some help from the kids (seven of them.) Lots of preserved food stored away, chickens and ducks, no goats or sheep. They had a cow but she died. They shot trespassing deer, and my ex insisted that “creamed squirrel was delicious if its fixed right.” They were pretty well positioned to survive the Singularity, though since the old man had an aversion to work, their principal source of cash income was being paid not to grow sorghum on their forty plantable acres.

            One can read about folks a lot like them in “The Beans of Egypt, Maine.”

            1. Carolinian

              Hey been there done that. My mother grew up on a farm. Their heat was a pot bellied stove and water came from a well and tasted like iron. The bathroom was a “little house behind the house.”

              Newspapers also serve for toilet paper although those too are getting scarce.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Worst case scenario, I will be eyeing off the rolls of sandpaper that I have in the shed.

    3. Shonde

      I just ordered two cases of that rough commercial TP. If the TP scarcity is still present in a few months, I may actually have to use some of it. Or maybe my neighbors might need some if they get desperate. If TP starts appearing in the stores again and I still have the commercial grade stuff, I can always donate it to a local food shelf and if the food shelves don’t want it, it might make good compost.

      1. Carolinian

        Wow you’re picky. It’s just very thin. Seems fine to me, if I can be so intimate.

        1. Shonde

          If it is just very thin, then no problem with using it. I have sometimes run into very rough almost stiff TP at restaurants. I thought it might be like that.

          Looks like I am now ready for whatever comes as far as TP is concerned thanks to NC and the commentators.

          Hmmm, I am starting to think like Amfortas. This TP could be a good barter item.

  20. richard

    Just a thought, sen. sanders, and I know many have said it better before me,
    but all of these great, far more helpful ideas you have for Phase 4,
    should have been there ready to go during the 4 + trillion $ theft of Phase 3
    where I’m guessing they would have given us just about anything, quite a bit anyway
    but instead of doing it that way, the really quite obvious way you do in a negotiation
    you’ve chosen this way, to ask pretty please
    because obviously, one cannot try to negotiate with the masters
    for they would be very angry

      1. JTMcPhee

        How quickly the oppo presentations appear. Seems to me that Sanders was the only one pushing these ideas in any form or to any degree all the way through the last dozen or so years. Drop out, Sanders, and let the REAL Dem lead the charge!

        Maybe time to go post-politics, since “politics is the art of the possible”?

  21. Michael

    “”Thomas Keller, the chef behind upscale restaurants like Per Se in New York and the French Laundry in California’s Napa Valley, sued the Hartford Fire Insurance Co., asking a state court in California to confirm that the insurer must cover losses caused by the government-ordered closures.””

    We had a car run into our commercial building in N Cal in mid Feb when the virus was just starting. By mid March everything had changed. While speaking to my Liberty Mutual agent about the approved repair estimates, I inquired about Loss of Rents due to the virus. He pointed out the Policy endorsement that specifically excluded the Virus. Civil Authority action was overridden by this endorsement in their opinion. So good luck Mr Keller!

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      My gut is neoliberalism has so crappified the industry towards rapacious greed they won’t be able to articulate the needs of the industry versus short term shareholders towards congress which is largely useless on their own. Minus gig workers and the “informal” economy, there are plenty of ways of dealing with this crisis that don’t require a great deal of thought just money and a tax claw back. The lobbyists don’t work on behalf of the industry but the short term shareholders of the industry. It’s like a natural disaster. The government has to step in, but when dealing with people like Joe Biden, they can barely function without being told what to do.

      1. Michael

        Re lobbyists..
        We had to have them write the bill before we could have a bill

        (to see what’s in it) (to pass without reading it)!

        1. JBird4049

          This was a complaint of Bernie Sanders during one of his last speeches in Congress about the COVID19 “stimulus” bill. The Congresscriters were told to vote on something that hadn’t even been printed yet!

  22. Wukchumni

    I wonder what sort of price a painting by a well known artist, would go for in a must sell scenario with no holds barred, or reserve?

    Such as the work by an Italian artist named Amedeo Modigliani that fetched $157 million in spirited bidding, a short time ago in the scheme of things, masters of the universe duking it out for bragging rights of something to hang in the living room of their $590 million ‘yacht’.

    1. Lost in OR

      Asset bubbles across all asset classes.
      Realignment is guaranteed, CARES notwithstanding.
      Save the oligarchy, destroy the currency.

  23. The Rev Kev


    I never said so in comments but several weeks ago I knew that America was going to be absolutely hammered by the Coronavirus and I think that even blind Freddy could see that one coming. And the reason that I thought so was because of one thing – the American health-care system. I have been reading NC for years now and some of the worse things that I have ever read in comments was not about corporate malfeasance or political skullduggery or even military incompetence but has been to do with how readers were being treated by their health-care providers with its avarice, greed, incompetence, etc. No need to draw any pictures here.

    But never, never, in my wildest dreams did I ever think that Trump would deal with medical supplies like the way that he has. I would have assumed a temporary ban on medical exports, the acquisition of medical stock within the US, and the central distribution of those stocks from a central organization like FEMA in a coordinated, needs-based system. But to bring private corporations in to get put in as a middle-man and have all fifty States try and outbid each other in a deliberate exercise of beggar-thy-neighbor dog-eat-dog system is the last thing that I would have thought of. It is wasteful, excessively expensive, full of mismatching and will guarantee hard feelings between the different States long after this pandemic is over. And brought to you by markets.

    1. jef

      So is our Gov using our tax dollars (I know it’s not tax dollars but…) to supply commercial corporations with emergency supplies so they can sell them to the highest bidder?

      1. JTMcPhee

        Hey, it’s the model for prescription drugs — government pays for research and development, then hands the patents over to corporations to monetize. All brought to you by the scumbags that have “read, learned and inwardly digested” (as my Presbyterian pastor used to say of Scripture study) the teachings of the Powell Memorandum, and put that learning into practice.

        The cost of developing a new drug has been estimated to be more than $1 billion. Development of this scale involves multiple financing mechanisms, as well as the involvement of numerous partners throughout the process. As background for the workshop discussions, Dr. Caskey provided an overview of the current financial landscape at various stages of drug development, including the investors at each stage and the current state of investments, and put forth several suggestions for ways to facilitate drug development.

        Go to:

        The principal investors in drug development differ at each stage. While basic discovery research is funded primarily by government and by philanthropic organizations, late-stage development is funded mainly by pharmaceutical companies or venture capitalists.

        Interesting, I can’t find the source any more but I recall an article or book about how the Boers took power in South Africa. Can’t recall if it was Botha or Smuts that wrote the manifesto and working documents. Get jobs as clerks in government offices, schools, churches. Work their way up to middle and then upper management and teaching positions. Always stay on message and on task, to finally come to dominate and own the country. That legacy seems to have borne some pretty toxic fruit. Much like the Tea Baggers in their small way, more like the Armageddonists and such that have found their ways into the halls of power. And the Sh!ts of K Street, that for pennies on the megabuck write the laws and regulations that “Have to be passed and effectuated before the legitimizers even read them to find out what’s in them.”

        Cancer kills.

        1. JBird4049

          “Always stay on message and on task, to finally come to dominate and own the country.”

          This pretty much describes how neoliberalism took over American and British society, and later, the whole world as well.

    2. MLTPB

      A WHO official said a while back, early on, that health care systems around the world would be overwelmed.

      One life lost in Italy is just as tragic as one progressive New Yorker.

      1. FluffytheObeseCat

        “beggar-thy-neighbor dog-eat-dog system”

        The key point behind RevKev’s comment is that Trump’s “leadership” on this issue ensures more than a one to one balance of dead people. He’s not envisioning one life lost in New York that will be balanced with a life saved in Italy because PPE reached them. He’s correctly envisioning 2-3 lives lost in, say Alabama, for each saved New Yorker….. as U.S. medical personnel either fall on their scalpels to save us or walk off the job when the PPE is gone.

        “Overwhelmed” systems have degrees of failure, even if our feckless “news”media and leaders will not acknowledge it.

        A more general discussion of the leadership crisis was provided above by Noone: Joe Rogan Experience #1453 – Eric Weinstein

        The first ~1.5 hours are worth a watch. (After that they yack about pro wrestling subculture for longer than I could follow). In the early part of the show however, Weinstein provides what is – to date – the most articulate and legitimate call for political change I’ve yet seen voiced in the pop media. When things get really bad men who are as acute as Weinstein rarely say anything this pointed in a public forum. They are too busy protecting themselves and their families.

        1. MLTPB

          More comments about the difficulties coping in other countries would be informing.

          We care about our fellow Americans. Still, people in many other places suffer too.

  24. John

    Here’s the Trump administration making the case that people want health care, not health insurance. Ha ha ha ha. How Trump surprised his own team by ruling out Obamacare Of course that’s the real truth. Millions of us love our private health insurance my @ss. But it only can be done if Trump wants it done. (for now) Not if the rest of the country wants it done.

    From the article: The uninsured will be able to seek treatment immediately, without worrying about first purchasing insurance coverage, Azar said. And hospitals will be reimbursed swiftly for their expenses, on the additional condition that they not stick their patients with surprise bills. “In many respects it’s better for those uninsured individuals,” Azar said.
    “People who lose their jobs and insurance can buy ACA insurance if they want, but we’re covering Covid testing for free and banning balance billing,” said one senior administration official. “What is better than that? People want care, not coverage.

    “You know what that’s called? That’s called single payer,” one Republican lobbyist said of the plan to directly cover expenses for the uninsured.”

      1. mpalomar

        Azar said, “What President Trump is doing here with this money is an unprecedented disease-specific support of care for individuals to make sure that people get treatment.”
        Another official, “but we’re covering Covid testing for free and banning balance billing.”

        Interesting; seems unclear what exactly is the extent of the coverage and I don’t see anything in the NYT or search results elsewhere.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      That article is such a mind-blower that I had to read it twice to make sure it said what I thought it said.

      Like you quoted and just to clarify–the Trump admin is going to pay the corona virus bills for the uninsured at Medicare rates as long as there are no surprise bills!!!

      The democrats are FURIOUS, that the newly unemployed will have their “healthcare” bills paid by the government instead of being given the “opportunity” to BUY their own insurance through obamacare, and the episode has energized a party [democrats] that’s struggled in recent weeks to balance attacking Trump over a response they view as catastrophic with wariness over appearing overly political in the midst of a pandemic. In other words, the dems think this TRAVESTY of a “catastrophic” policy finally gives them something they can ATTACK Trump for in the time of corona.

      “This callous decision will cost lives. Period,” former Vice President Joe Biden tweeted on Wednesday.
      “We have a health crisis, and it looks like we’re going to have a health insurance crisis,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said in a lengthy Twitter video attacking the White House’s stance. “It’s time for the federal government to just step up and say, ‘We’re going to cover everyone who doesn’t have health insurance.’”

      Wait, what?????

      And the hospitals are more than a little pissed that the federal dollars are going to be used for patient care:

      “We’re going to provide care to everyone, and we particularly want the uninsured to feel secure that the financing’s not going to get in the way of their care. At the same time, though, the purpose of the $100 billion fund was to keep the doors of hospitals open,” said Chip Kahn, CEO of the Federation of American Hospitals, which represents for-profit hospital systems. “I was a little disappointed that the first thing we hear about the fund is that it’s going to be used for some other purpose.”

      Ya just gotta love the phrasing–“some other purpose”!!!!!!!!!

      And the idiot commenters are all in.

      jeezus h. christ.

      1. Kurtismayfield

        I cannot believe that Trump is setting up an apparatus for Single payer. The DNC must be losing their minds right now.. theyspent the past six months fighting so ngke payer and Trump just implented it.

        The Hospital CEO’s comment says everything. The don’t want their patients to worry about the financing because the patient will be paying off their bills for years to come.

        1. periol

          I was thinking it through, and could you imagine if Trump did all these things in 4 years?

          -cancel TPP
          -debt jubilee
          -mj legalization

          These were the issues that had me supporting Bernie in 2016. I’m not saying it’s going to happen, but if we know that he could do this and destroy the Democrats, don’t you think he knows?

          During my ruminations I did think that if he did pull off single-payer health care, a debt jubilee, and legalize mj, it would set him up pretty well for a populist totalitarian takeover. These are the kind of moves that led to historic debt jubilees anyway – a new king takes over, has a debt jubilee.

          The positive moves helping the little guy could temporarily paralyze opposition while he consolidates power.

          For sure, I let my mind wander too much sometimes. I’m not holding my breath on any of this, just, you know, chewing the cud.

          1. MLTPB

            For a long while, ancient Roman’s could not envision nor would they tolerate having a king.

            They had dictators though.

            1. The Rev Kev

              True, though the early dictators were limited to a six month term. Their job was to fix a broken system that could not be fixed by the normal machinery of the government. And they could not get so radical because they knew that they had to give up their office in six months so could not afford to get too loose with their new laws or behaviour.

              1. JTMcPhee

                We Amazricans have CZARS for fixing broken political economy stuff. Obama appointed several as I recall. Cat food Czar, medical UNsurance Czar, Bailover Czar…

            2. periol

              I was thinking he’d try to declare himself the new FDR, go for a third and possibly a 4th term (if he stays alive that long). Beyond that, who knows, declare Kushner the Benevolent his successor?

      2. MLTPB

        The tweet above mentions having Medicare covers all health expensive during this pandemic.

        This government announcement comes close (not all expenses…elective procedures not recommended, thus no expenses there, i believe.)

      3. notabanker

        The looting must continue at all costs, even if the government has to fund it. For some.

  25. Carolinian

    Re The Guardian and those supposed scofflaw states without stay at home orders–there has been some pushback from libertarians about the Constitutionality of movement restrictions absent an actual war or rebellion as opposed to the Trump “I’m a wartime president” kind. Here in SC that was the reason the state attorney general gave for trying to block city stay at home orders–that some citizen might sue on constitutional grounds. The cities did it anyway and so far nobody is suing.

    But as usual the media are simplifying an issue and omitting context. The USA is not China and the government can’t just wave a hand and control every aspect of its citizens’ lives. That’s a good thing. The CDC has just reversed itself and said that people in public places should wear masks of some kind. But it was a recommendation, not an order.

    1. Carolinian

      Here’s Napolitano’s take.

      Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo is stopping automobiles with out-of-state license plates as they attempt to enter Rhode Island and denying them entry. She has also threatened to send police door to door looking for persons from the New York City region who somehow eluded her border dragnet. And she is doing this with no warrants, no probable cause of crime and no individualized suspicion.[…]

      And in New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy is arresting folks for holding coronavirus parties. The parties are insane, the attendees are reckless and their behavior is selfish. But it is not criminal. In fact, it is protected by the right to assemble, which is also expressly guaranteed in the Constitution. What if these assemblages are not for frivolity, but to protest the unconstitutional behavior of the government? Then they’d achieve even added protection – the freedom of speech.

      Not being a lawyer myself others can take potshots. Here in SC there was outcry that the federal govt wasn’t closing boat ramps to Corps of Engineer lakes. You’d think being out on a lake would be the essence of social distancing but there were those who said boaters were having tailgate parties in the parking lots.

      But if people are going to congregate then they’ll just do it in their backyards instead. Clamping down too hard may just encourage defiance. The best that can be done is to say “please don’t.”

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        aye. remember when Michele Obama had her garden and wanted everyone to eat salad?
        soon we had the Heartattack Burger…and superpatriots eating buckets of lard.
        “i’ll show her!”.
        one of my neighbors is like that…i’m friendly enough with him, but damn,lol.

        1. fresno dan

          Amfortas the hippie
          April 4, 2020 at 3:55 pm

          the only way to get social distancing in your neck of the woods is to have a tape of Nancy Pelosi saying that red staters should get together and have kissing parties – where at least ten people are within 10 feet of each other…

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            i’ve seen old men doing elbow bumps, in public.
            and rednecks all but leaping backwards when i , out of habit, lean forward to hear better or hand them something(like money).
            but still few masks around town.
            still, over all, these folks have done pretty well in accepting the reality of all this.
            especially considering rush/fox denials on every other tv and radio
            east texas, where i’m from, might be a different story…that faulknerian darkness that lives in the piney woods, and overlays everything from I-35 to Florida Panhandle will make rational compliance to save others, if not yourself, a hard row.
            the Hill Country enjoys a better quality of redneck and bumpkin, in my considered opinion. I attribute this to the German Idealist ancestors.

    2. MLTPB

      The Wuhan styled lockdown, where one member from each household is allowed to go out every 2 days would even more controversial.

      1. Carolinian

        The city owned trails here are still open but a nearby trail area owned by a nonprofit has been declared closed. And in truth that latter trail was crowded with walkers desperate to get out of their houses and enjoy the springtime. Seems there are some who prefer that Americans spend the next few weeks sitting indoors watching television.

        Just make them wear masks I say. There’s too much pollen out there anyhow.

        1. JTMcPhee

          If they’re staring at a screen, they’re getting advertising and propaganda jammed into their brains. Amazon and Walmart deliver Paradise in a box…

        2. Oregoncharles

          Most trails are too narrow to pass others at even a 6′ distance – as we discovered when a beautiful day lured us out to the refuge – along with at least a dozen others. That we passed. We turned back.

          We haven’t gone back yet, because the drought broke with a vengeance, but the other refuge, north of town, is an old army base that was once the third-biggest town in Oregon. It’s all gridded out with roads, now decaying, and ruins where they demolished buildings but left the foundation. Really interesting, and lots of room to avoid others – not that it’s all that popular. Maybe the pandemic has shut down the shooting range at one end of it.

    3. The Rev Kev

      In a health emergency, different rules applied. As a thought experiment, imagine a passenger ship at sea when a deadly outbreak of the plague is found among some passengers. Now in times like this, the passengers would be confined to their quarters and the ship would run up a quarantine flag. If some of those passengers insisted in having their meals in the dining rooms, taking part in recreational activities or strolling along the promenade as it is within their “rights” would you go along with that?

      In times like this, the needs of the many outweigh the wants of the few. The original “Typhoid Mary” refused to self isolate but would go from household to household to work, even though those families went sick with typhoid and they ended up throwing her a** on an island for the rest of her life as she insisted that there was nothing wrong with her-

      1. Carolinian

        Well on a personal level I’m obeying all the rules because I’m old enough not to want to become ill with this. But while the latest advice is that “aerosols” may be a danger it’s also true that virus exposure is far more dangerous in an enclosed space than a wide open space and that fresh air and sunshine are good for you and your immune system. I keep my distance on trails. Some are not so observant. But I seriously doubt that places to walk where you are by definition on the move pose much of a danger.

        As for being on a ship, we’re not on a ship and the captain’s word is not law. Local government can control what businesses do. Citizens have more rights which they can exercise, foolishly or not.

        Which is not my non lawyerly opinion but Napolitano’s.

        1. JTMcPhee

          It’s called “exercise of the police power,” and it does Trump, ahem, individual “rights.”

          And rights gained also impose duties, as in the old chestnut about not falsely shouting “FIRE!” in a crowded theater… or jazzing around town, blowing viruses in fellow citizens’ faces,

  26. Tom

    Not sure if this has been linked here, but it’s pretty informative. Author is a Harvard genetics professor.

    Part two:

        1. Wyoming

          Yes. I would not take anything he says on faith of his expertise. He is a snake oil salesman.

    1. TXMama

      Both links go to Part 1. I would like to see Part 2 if you can link to it. Much appreciated!

    2. Lost in OR

      As NC has been requesting, a short description/commentary of what the link contains would be helpful. It helps in sorting out what is important to me.


    3. Jeremy Grimm

      The link:

      The rest of this stuff is tracking and who knows what data:
      [ ?utm_source=Lifespan+Book&utm_campaign=60abc5c67a-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2020_03_17_07_24_COPY_01&utm_medium=email
      &utm_term=0_82e2167267-60abc5c67a-156422150 ]

      Also — there used to be a cool hack where the text in a hyperlink differed from the text the hyperlink referenced. A way to hide critters and take you to new places on the web. Best to copy the TEXT of the hyperlink and paste that into a the address window on your browser — not so ‘convenient’ but a little more trust-worthy.

    4. griffen

      I’m not reading your link or clicking on them either. Seems like the proprietors of this site keep discouraging such a carpet bomb of unwarranted links.

      Seriously I wont encourage you.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Corona wooden nickels each bearing the stamped face of our leader Trump. There aren’t enough pennies to go around — another shortage item.

      1. dk

        Speaking of wooden nickles, is there any discussion of states or other regional authorities issuing their own community currencies in lieu of (eventual?) federal funds? Such currency commitments would eventually be fulfilled in the aftermath, assuming some good faith from the federal branches.

        I’m not even an amateur in these matters but couldn’t community currencies reduce local economic impacts before serious federal commitments in dollars are made and honored?

        Theoretically, statewide community currencies could also free up dollars for states to engage in the apparently necessary bargaining and competition for resources as shown in the @DavidBegnaud clip.

        And if the federal commitments are not eventually forthcoming (hypothetically), state/local currencies could be a fairly low-risk step towards a dissolution of the Union (and/or renegotiation by Constitutional convention, which has been and is still being promoted from some quarters of the further right afaik).

  27. Noone from Nowheresville

    Disposable People by Musa al-Gharbi, April 1
    Coronavirus and the lifestyles of the professional-managerial class

    Put another way, the same highly educated, relatively well-off urbanites who are the primary producers and consumers of content celebrating antiracism, feminism, and socialism also happen to be among the primary beneficiaries of inequality based on class, race, and gender, and actively exploit marginalized, desperate and otherwise vulnerable people.

    I got nothing. The author is simply cutting. Says a lot of hard truths.

  28. LEONARD D anderson

    It will be interesting to see if this Airbnb implosion helps alleviate the homeless situation.

  29. Jason Boxman

    Just make the checks clear. Is there a technical reason we can’t instruct the banks to clear all payments for businesses, and have the Fed provide the necessary liquidity for this? Then investigate the inevitable fraud afterwards? Wouldn’t there be enough documentation to at least prosecute fraud, as a deterrent?

  30. Oregoncharles

    “Nobles, as Stirling Newberry explained to me years ago, are elites who make a point of being better than the people below them: better fighters, better farmers, and so on. Aristocrats are people who play court games”

    Gratuitous pedantry: that reverses the root meaning of the words – “aristo-” means “best,”
    “noble” means “moral, ethical, virtuous, righteous”, or “of high rank” (Merriam Webster). Derivation: from Latin nobilis well-known, noble. Interesting assumption that high-ranking people are “moral.” Propaganda, IOW.

    1. Olga

      Pretty much a must-listen (or, read).
      The part about him being surprised that “lying” is normalised in Washington is an eye-opener.
      I guess, we assume that DC officials lie, but he talks about it at a completely different level (“duplicitous world,” or, “comfort and frequency with which people in DC lie to each other”).
      If they lie to each other, no wonder they lie to the public.

      1. Carolinian

        I miss Moyers even if he did go all Russia Russia Russia for awhile after he retired.

    2. michael99

      An excerpt from the transcript:

      Bill Moyers: Were those two goals accomplished — to jumpstart bank lending, and to protect homeowners from foreclosure?

      Neil Barofsky: Sadly, no. The crisis was averted. And that’s a good thing. And lending restarted, which was a good thing. But the goal of increasing lending, of giving an opportunity for Main Street businesses to get the capital that they needed, and the credit they needed, that never really happened.

      I think in part because but it wasn’t really that strong of an effort within the Treasury Department to keep an eye towards increasing lending, towards helping Main Street. When we suggested that conditions be imposed on the funds to make sure that the money was used by the banks in order to increase lending, we were shot down.

      When we suggested that it at least be incentivized, that there be favorable interest payments on the loans and the type of preferred stock that was being acquired by the Treasury Department to give the banks an incentive to increase lending, that too was shot down.

      And you never saw that increase in lending that was promised. And as far as the homeowners, that was even more devastating. Because there was so much money that was made available to help struggling homeowners. Hundreds of billions of dollars that could have been used to help those who were losing their homes and saw their lives devastated.

      And the Treasury Department simply refused to deploy that money.

      And the decision was made quite frankly to let them rot. And what was rolled out was an ineffective program that in many cases made it worse for some of those struggling homeowners than if they had never entered the program at all. Because it encouraged predatory practices by the banks.

      And the thing that underlined the failure of both of these policies was the same. The concern was never really about helping homeowners or helping small businesses. It was only about saving the banks for the sake of saving the banks. And so when the Treasury Secretary was confronted by now-Senator Elizabeth Warren, then the head of one of my sister oversight agencies, about the failed housing programs, he [Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner] explained in very plain words that the point of this program was, and I quote, “To foam the runway for the banks.”

      In other words, too many foreclosures too quickly could be devastating to the banks’ balance sheets — [and] could send them back for additional bailouts — and that was what they were concerned about, not the taxpayer, not the people who were supposed to be helped.

  31. DJG

    Mice have facial expressions, at The Guardian.

    This article is akin to those that dicuss dogs’ logic, the intelligence of octopuses, the many abilities of birds, the family groups of crows, the complexity of the behavior of dairy cattle.

    Hasn’t anyone been paying attention? Are these articles the result of radical dualism–that the physical world just doesn’t matter?

    All of us sudden: Nature, in all of its manifestations, is signaling otherwise.

    1. MLTPB

      The lesson presently is we, not just one particular group or nation, but humans in general, are out of place with Nature.

        1. MLTPB

          The director said of the lack of dialogue, ‘our language is in a state of vast humiliation.’

          For those of Dao, or Chan, or Zen, you can’t describe it, which mean my attempt here is inadequate. Not even if I say, you have to be one with Nature.

          By the way, Corona is humbling our best and brightest technologists and scientists, as billions of us shelter at home. That contrasts with the dominant narrative of the last few centuries.

        2. Lambert Strether

          > the Finnegan’s Wake of art films.

          Saw it, years ago. The only thing I remember is the extremely asymmetrical face of a nuclear bomber pilot.

          Not sure “humans” are the problem; hard to see how hunter-gatherers, or Amazonia (1491) destroyed the planet. I blame capital. Endless accumulation isn’t “natural.”

  32. Zagonostra

    I was just reading something that made me think of our politicians , both Democrats and Republican.

    ‘…irredeemably limited – and outside their limits was the capacity to change their tune with the changing age’

  33. flora

    Good links. I’ll add this from Foreign Policy:

    The Death of American Competence

    Over the past 40 years, and especially the past 25 years, the neoliberal ‘virus’ has infected the brains of govt, big business leaders, Wall St., and economists, leading them to cannibalize the real economy and national security in the name of ever more fragile ‘profits.’

    Like a game of Jenga – cleverly removing, bit by bit, competence in govt and business management assuming the structure will remain upright – it all works without cost or damage or destabilization… until it doesn’t work.

  34. Billy

    Flora, add this to the list:

    Staggering incompetence, breakdown of systems, proof federal government is incapable of any kind of coordinated health care security in our present profit driven, chaotic system…my jaw, I didn’t know it could open that far:
    “There were 1,300 direct flights to 17 cities before President Trump’s travel restrictions. Since then, nearly 40,000 Americans and other authorized travelers have made the trip, some this past week and many with spotty screening.”

    Globalism is Dead

      1. Billy

        A few?
        “The premature travel ban to and from China by the current administration is just an excuse to further his ongoing war against immigrants. There must be a check and Balance on these restrictions.”

        Chuck Schumer February 5, 2020

        Interesting how the US hotspots are almost all Air China destinations.

  35. Synoia

    Trapped by Coronavirus, Nigeria’s Elite Faces Squalid Hospitals…

    Just desserts for 70 years of misusing their Oil revenues.

    Nigeria is a Kleptocracy, based on living there for 14 years.

  36. Tom Bradford

    Pandemic diary of a naked capitalist – Week 4

    Wealth-on-paper recovered 2.25% last week. Still 17% short of all-time-high of 23 Feb but 6.25% up on the bottom of two weeks ago. Doesn’t make sense to me with the wheels falling off economies globally but, hey, what do I know?

    Recovery is distorted by our small holding in Fisher&Paykel Healthcare, which manufactures (ta-daaa) ventilators for which governments are now falling over each other in a bidding war. Our handful of shares here has gone up 32% in three weeks!

    Utilities have recovered much of the lost ground, which is hardly surprising as they’re among the few sectors still guaranteed a cashflow in the months to come. The retirement sector too has continued its recovery, with one very prominent exception. I’ve no idea why that one, but then I’m not privvy to insider information.

    Still being bombarded with emails from the finance sphere and exhortations from the media telling me not to panic. Panicking has not crossed my mind. Even if our paper wealth was wiped out I’d only feel a mild annoyance that a life-time’s work, forgoing foreign holidays, unnecessarily flash cars and useless bling in general has gone down the drain. Now we’re in a position to spend on such things we’ve discovered we can live without them and the important things in life have little to do with wealth.

    Not nothing to do with wealth, tho’. That same life-time of forebearance and cunning has given us a solid roof over our heads no-one can take away and, not entirely by Serendipity, placed us in what is probably the best place to be in the current crisis – NZ is a small, comfortable, isolated, egalitarian and well-behaved, boringly conventional country that produces 8x more food than it can eat and has the benefit of a Government that has risen to the occasion, an Opposition that has put people before politicking and a capable Civil Service that has responded with quiet efficiency. It seems it still has a triple-A rating at Moodys which apparently is a Good Thing To Have in a crisis.

    An ex-Prime Minister of our vaguely right-wing political party has taken a public swipe at the executives of our biggest construction company for only being able to bear a 15% pay cut for themselves while laying off workers left, right and center. Given that the Govt. is already working on ‘shovel-ready’ infrastructure projects to help the unemployed a’la FDR when this is over you’d have though a construction co. would have been a little more politically aware but, hey, you’re talking two or three months ahead here.

    The Govt. has reiterated its intention to help as many businesses as possible survive this thing for a fast recovery, with a business support scheme which will pick up 80% of the wages of employees unable to work. It has also announced changes to the Insolvency Act which will (temporarily) allow businesses to hang on even if technically insolvent. Too the banks are having their arms twisted to ‘be generous and understanding’ with loans and debtors – to help with which they’ve been ordered not to pay any dividends this year. We’ve a small holding of bank shares so that’ll affect us but I’m sure we’ll muddle though.

    The Govt. has been honest in admitting it has no Plan B. It will hold to the lockdown as long as it takes with the economy taking second place by a long way. In the absence of a vaccine the only possible Plan B seems to be PM Cummins-Johnson’s’ original ‘let ‘er rip and the Devil take the hindmost’. I don’t think the absence of a plan counts as a Plan so the only Plan coming from the White House seems to be ‘God Help America’. Good luck with that.

        1. Conrad

          Yes Tom has done a great job of summarising how things are going here in New Zealand. It helps to have a Prime Minister who actually cares about the people she was elected to lead.

          It’s not all sunshine and rainbows of course. Entire industries have been shut down completely due to the lockdown. Anyone who worked in tourism, hospitality, logging and non supermarket retail is likely to be made redundant. My brother in law’s logging business probably won’t survive. I don’t know how he’s going to be able to keep his house, let alone pay off his business debts for example. And we are in the midst of a big housing bubble so lots of people are going to be stuck with big debts, no jobs and declining house values, no matter how low interest rates go.

  37. Amfortas the hippie

    from the sidebar of the Mark Blyth article someone linked:

    i actually registered with them, with an unused email. something i rarely do.
    my hope, in all of this, is that local ag becomes a thing, again.
    I’d like to see local everything, of course…but local ag especially.
    before this crisis, the nearest grocer wouldn’t take any local produce.
    the next nearest grocer would(“locally grown” is a big part of their image), but requires an expensive and byzantine vendor registration.
    from lack of even regional licensed slaughter facilities(due to Big Boys writing the rules to limit competition from below) to lack of access to markets, little guys like me are expected to “go big or get out” and try to compete with slave labor abroad.
    it’s dumb, short sighted, and far from robust or resilient, as we’re all finding out, now.
    we’re still eating stored squash and pumpkins(grilled on the pit, with molasses and cayenne) from last year, while watching the gardens grow.
    because i strive for autarky…for self reliance.
    that should be the mantra of this “new” economy we’re seeing trying to be born.
    perhaps this disaster will allow some critical mass of our fellow americans to discover what’s actually important, and the time to think about what’s really important.

    1. Cuibono

      For that we need really compelling narrative that are easily digested. Otherwise this will come to nought.
      Likely will come to nought anyway but one never knows until we all try

    2. Oregoncharles

      Cuibono is right, and I think you, Amfortas, would be a good bet to start that narrative. Just pull together most of your posts from here, for a starting point.

      there’s actually a whole body of literature on localism and autarky; the Transition Towns movement, for one. And some states are much less regressive about it – I’m living in one of those oases. I’ve even sold some fruit, need to get cracking on doing more. But you have a lot to add, and just colorful enough to get attention.

    3. Patrick Morrison

      Lambert already made the comment, but I, too, am reminded of Taleb’s concept of localism.

      During the GFC, I bought a copy of ‘World Made By Hand’ by Kunstler, but didn’t get around to reading it. I might have to rectify that to help me think more about localism. Maybe better, work on the same merit badges my son is working on in Boy Scouts.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        the retired Thomas Jefferson is my hero.
        but Wendell Berry is my saint.

        I guess Gary Snyder is my prophet.

        but i maintain a lot of wiggle room in such things(read Virgil’s Georgics this winter, for instance)

  38. EoH

    “How Science Caught Up with Trump.” The Guardian’s headline seems dangerously optimistic. That Mr. Trump disdains information that is not to his immediate advantage is well-known, as is his incapacity for change. That science has finally reached Mr. Trump and changed his behavior would seem to be another fantasy.

  39. notabanker

    I think the reactions to the Naborly tweet are quite telling.
    – We are going to create database of landlords that use that app
    – Doxxing the execs that run Naborly, “we just wanna talk”

  40. VietnamVet

    I’ve been sheltering in place for a month. I was resupplied today. Logistics is getting frayed. Two items weren’t delivered and boxes were left next to the driveway. I could only lift the boxes in short bursts up the stairs and pushing them the rest of the way inside.

    The aristocracy is defined by living in a bubble. Donald Trump can’t help himself. He’s got to give a cut of the profits to his “friends” from reselling government pandemic stock to the states. Others like the DNC or the orange Markos blame Russia, not themselves, for a federal government that is so incompetent that over the last 40 years that it allow the destruction of NY City and Long Island healthcare systems and put doctors and nurses lives at risk across the nation due the testing debacle and lack of PPE. The projected deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans is on them. Joe Biden is patently incapable of dealing with the economic aftermath next year and the following waves of coronavirus infection. The Deep State to keep readiness up and fight Shiite militias in Iraq is about to allow a pandemic to sweep through the military with a causality rate equivalent of a major battle.

    The credentialed technocracy is spinning zoom at home. Accomplishing nothing. If society is to survive, the government must provide jobs, food, healthcare and shelter for all Americans. If not, unrest is assured. Someone like Tulsi Gabbard who is charismatic, young, smart and can reach out to the disenfranchised military and professionals will jump in front to lead the mob to throw out the corrupt incompetents. Tragically, there may be no government or Constitution for them to save.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I am sure that you will be glad to know that Hillary Clinton is on the job. Here is her idea-

      ‘Millions of people have lost their employer-tied health care over the last two weeks because of the pandemic.

      It’s an easy call: Re-open the health care exchanges.’

      That is a great idea for Americans that. Unless you will be one of the tens of millions that have lost or will lose their job and so will not have any money to buy any food much less medical insurance.

    2. Oregoncharles

      Just a practical point: save the boxes so you can divide the next delivery into manageable units. Wearing a mask and gloves, of course.

      Otherwise – all too true.

  41. Stormcrow

    Joe Biden is patently incapable of dealing with the economic aftermath next year and the following waves of coronavirus infection. Indeed.

    After mercilessly castigating Sanders for his compromising vote on the corona virus bill, the great Matt Stoller said today (April 4): “I’ll vote for Biden.”

    A pundit of such high principles is an example to us all.

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