Links 4/5/2020

Comments liberation may be delayed today, until Yves or Lambert is able to review any comment that may have triggered a tripwire and been diverted to moderation.

Dear readers, please be patient. Thanks!

Here’s why the April super Pink Moon is so special TreeHugger

Stop Using Toilet Paper NYT


Joe Biden says he ‘doesn’t have enough information’ on Iran to have a view. How odd – he negotiated the nuclear deal Independent. Robert Fisk.

Sanctions are crippling Iran’s fight against coronavirus The Guardian. Pirouz Hanachi, mayor of Tehran.

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

A Must For Millions, Zoom Has A Dark Side — And An FBI Warning NPR


The chaotic government response to coronavirus is closer to the failures of 1914 than the determination of 1940 Independent. Patrick Cockburn.

How Generals Fueled 1918 Flu Pandemic To Win Their World War American Conservative

It’s Hardly Shocking the Navy Fired a Commander for Warning of Coronavirus Threat. It’s Part of a Pattern. ProPublica

Mysterious Hero Emerges to Fight Toxic Leadership, COVID-19 Duffelblog

Politics of a Plague New York Review of Books

Love in the Time of Plague Literary Review

Is Capitalism a Threat to Democracy? New Yorker

Will coronavirus signal the end of capitalism? Al Jazeera

Bailout Blues

“There’s Going to Be Scandal Involved in This Bailout. It Is Unquestionable’ Common Dreams, Important. Transcript of  a  discussion between Bill Moyers and Neil Barofksy, former chief inspector general of the Troubled Assets Relief Program, on big corporate bailouts.


To mask or not to mask: WHO makes U-turn while US, Singapore abandon pandemic advice and tell citizens to start wearing masks SCMP

MIT develops one-piece plastic face shields for coronavirus medics Dezeen

Science and Therapies

Therapeutic Options for COVID-19 Inference (AL)

No Evidence of Rapid Antiviral Clearance or Clinical Benefit with the Combination of Hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin in Patients with Severe COVID-19 Infection Science Direct

Chest Physiotherapy (CPT) and Postural Drainage Positions Respiratory Therapy Zone (J T McPhee) Important.

The coronavirus test that might exempt you from social distancing—if you pass MIT Technology Review

Ferrets used in first Covid-19 vaccine animal trial Asia Times

Class Warfare

Soccer players are teaching CEOs how to handle this crisis Quartz

EXCLUSIVE: Manhattan and Hamptons’ wealthiest are hiring armed guards for their luxury properties, fearing a coronavirus ‘zombie apocalype’ with desperate criminals trying to break down their doors Daily Mail

Inside the luxurious underground bunkers where the rich bug out NY Post

Blue-Collar America Braces for Another Devastating Recession Bloomberg

Latina Workers in Chicago & Poultry Workers in Virginia Strike Over COVID-19  Payday Report Mike Elk

Location Data Says It All: Staying at Home During Coronavirus Is a Luxury NYT

Pandemic Prevention

Noam Chomsky: ‘Coronavirus pandemic could have been prevented’ Al Jazeera

Decades of Hospital Closures Led to This Disaster  Jacobin

Guillotine Watch

Three golfers’ intricate plan to beat coronavirus order blew up at McDonald’s NY Post (The Rev Kev) I have a brother-in-law who recently retired and has taken a keep-himself-busy job at a local North Carolina golf course. The main change due to the state imposing a stay-at-home order, which exempts golfing: rather than using one gold cart per golfing party, social distancing now requires each golfer to occupy a personal cart.

Imperial Collapse Watch

The Death of American Competence  Foreign Policy. Stephen Walt (flora)

Coronavirus is paving the way for a return to military rule in Asia SCMP

America was unprepared for a major crisis. Again. WaPo


Could Post-COVID-19 National Pride Push US Brands Out Jing Daily


U.S. attorney general orders release of more federal inmates due to coronavirus pandemic Thomson Reuters

A New Tactic To Fight Coronavirus: Send The Homeless From Jails To Hotels Marshall Project

Plus ça Change

Key 2008 Financial Crisis Players Are Back for Coronavirus Bloomberg

Banks warn of chaotic launch of small business lending program Politico

Europe Struggles to Find a Joint Approach to the Corona Catastrophe Der Spiegel

Supply Chains

Illinois adjusts on the fly to meet medical supply needs in a coronavirus ‘Wild West’  Chicago  Sun Times

Trump Administration Uses Wartime Powers To Be First In Line On Medical Supplies Kaiser Health News


Did India overreact? Covid-19 outbreak isn’t following the trajectory of Europe and China – so far Scroll. Grounds for cautious optimism?

How COVID-19 Will Hit India New Yorker. Pessimistic perspective.

West Bengal stayed one jump ahead of Centre on coronavirus detection Business Standard

I just want to go home’: the desperate millions hit by Modi’s brutal lockdown Guardian

COVID-19: Trump Requests Modi to Release Hydroxychloroquine Ordered by the US The Wire


Primark among retailers cancelling £2.4bn orders in ‘catastrophic’ move for Bangladesh Guardian


Bernie Sanders’ campaign still ‘assessing’ but focusing on a more pressing issue: coronavirus Guardian

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. fresno dan

    Antidote du jour
    went to the Via link – I am defintely getting me a squirrel proof birdfeeder. And a birdbath. I would get me one with running water, but I am thinking about moving.

      1. JohnnySacks

        After having my fruit trees ravaged by the unchecked hordes of tree rats in my neighborhood, I’d tend to disagree. No learning opportunity granted, and a much smaller population now.

        1. Billy

          Best easiest thing we found, prune branches high off ground, sheet metal collars on trunk at least 12′ long, plastic owls, or handmade ones.
          How far can a rat jump horizontally or vertically? If trees right next to each other, this won’t work. Any vegetable seedlings you are starting, birds are a threat. Place netting over them.

        2. lordkoos

          When a nearby abandoned building was demolished a few years ago, the tree rats that had been living there left and flooded the neighboring areas, where they began breeding like crazy. It was bad for a season, but the neighborhood cats have been effective in drastically reducing their numbers to the point where it is no longer a problem. Now we have a Marmot living our hedge, but he doesn’t seem like a problem so far. We’ll see how it goes once the garden is in…

          1. anon in so cal

            Squirrels are particularly fond of black oil sunflower seeds. We just let them eat. Rats are a huge problem in southern california and one remedy is to construct a barn owl box. The downside of free-roaming cats is the staggering loss of wild birds.

      2. Oregoncharles

        @ GramSci: They don’t need to be smart; they have ALL DAY to think about it.

        (Stolen from my neighbor’s comment about his escape artist dog.)

    1. Dalepues

      I love my birdbath. It provides me with near constant entertainment; also makes me look up the names of birds I’ve never seen before. I’m learning. Cardinals, finches, starlings, blue jays, thrashers, wrens, mocking birds, doves, woodpeckers (!, I know, they fly up underneath and climb to the edge so that only their long black beaks show at first, scaring the daylights out of any other bird in the bowl).

      Robins were here about a month ago. They’re real good bathers, and they also like to fight. Sometimes when I go out to change the water I’ll find a worm left behind kicking to get back in the dirt. Robin sign.

      Now there is a bird I can’t identify. It’s about the size of a mocking bird, a little smaller, and has a dark copper breast from its neck to down below its legs, dark back, mix of black brown and gray, with a very pointed beak, for eating bugs I imagine.

      Wish I had a good camera to share the bounty at my bird bathing station.

      Squirrels come down from the massive live oak to take a drink, but never to bathe.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        What part of what state do you live in? Knowing that might allow people to guess about the bird you describe but can’t identify.

    2. chuck roast

      A black-tailed godwit. Wicked beautiful. According to the Field Guide godwits winter in the Carolinas and south. Man, I’d love to see one of these guys!

      1. dearieme

        Some godwits fly from Alaska to winter on South Island NZ. By tradition the cathedral bells of Christchurch were rung to welcome the first of the season. Being NZ it can’t be a very old tradition but it is a charming one.

        1. Tom Bradford

          Alas the bells of Christchurch cathedral haven’t rung out since the February 2011 earthquake, which brought the tower down.

    3. Synoia

      The squirrels have the troops, and the time.

      You are one against an army.

      What you need is the Elon Musk or Uber bird feeder.

      The Elon Musk bird feeder is guaranteed to be squirrel proof, as it explodes when the squirrel is overweight.

      The Uber bird feeder just keeps on going, and plows through the squirrels at 40 mph.

    4. polecat

      To where ? The move I mean. As for a neodino bath, you could rig one up as a wa feature utilizing a submersible pump, in a sump with an attractive piece of pottery (bottom plugged) with which to allow water to spill over back into the sump ! Works for the winged visitors here at the polecat oasis .. great for drawing our hive denizens too – helps in keeping our honeybees from raiding the neighbor’s dog dishes, pools, etc. Downside is that the wasps find it attractive as well. But, they are also part of the circle of life, no? Just don’t swat ! … the bees.

  2. fresno dan

    The Death of American Competence Foreign Policy. Stephen Walt (flora)
    I just have to say, I think American competence died, and somehow managed to die dozens of times.
    Katrina, Sandy, Iraq, (do we make Afghanistan separate?).
    The only question I have is: how bad must it get before people catch on?

      1. rob

        on the way there would be ending “the ignorance of the american Voter”…
        But a hundred plus years of propaganda,have taught us all to be “morons”

      2. Off The Street

        The current US system integrates too many people whose intentions are to feed at the public trough. That feeding is done so pervasively, across so many Congressional Districts in the case of MIC, that it has become part of the landscape. People, let alone voters or workers, have been increasingly put into forced-choice situations in contrast to the relatively more transparent environment of, say, 60 or even 50 years ago.

        When fundraising takes up half the time of a prospective or current officeholder, then that takes away from time to pay attention to issue details or to constituents who are not writing checks. Overturning Citizens United-style cases would help begin to restore some semblance of the res publica.

        What used to be a professional journalist caste has given way to too many talking heads, whose effluent programs are sponsored by too many pharma grifters. Once again, the role of money in a system corrupts. Can that system monitor itself objectively, so that we don’t return to the era of Pulitzer and Hearst?

        A few well-publicized shamings, for Critters like insider knowledge seller Senator Burr would be a good start. That would resonate with the average person and would provide an emotional hook to the display.
        Add your own selections to the rogue’s gallery.

        1. Monty

          The MIC aspect is the genius if it all. Connected cronies get rich using Monopoly money, all whilst building a a lethal arsenal, capable of killing everyone else in the world at the touch of a button, should they try to stop it. If they had focussed on another industry, they wouldn’t have all the outsiders beholden to them and their $$$.

          1. Synoia

            all whilst building a lethal arsenal…

            Hmmm, F35, Gerald Ford Aircraft carrier, Boeing’s new refueling plane….

            Lethal to whom? Also Effective?

            1. WheresOurTeddy

              one sincerely hopes we never pick a fight with a country that has a real air force or navy every again, lest our expensive boondoggles be expected to actually perform in any arena other than a balance sheet.

              1. Synoia

                Do they work?

                and If we use them, what remains? Customers? Non-radioactive land? anything we cam use?

                1. Procopius

                  Do they work?

                  Ah, that’s a question you’ll never see in the right-wing New York Times.

                2. drumlin woodchuckles

                  The Rapturanians and the Armageddonites hope they work. They don’t care what happens to the “un-Raptured” left behind after they get “Raptured Up” after they get all the bombs dropped and missiles launched.

        2. Edward

          I think so too. So many problems. There are periodic efforts like Occupy Wall Street to combat this mad system but so far nothing decisive. Washington has a thoroughly debased culture of lying and cheating and these are the people managing our elections and politics. Honestly, before asking about voters, one has to first question whether the elections are being tampered with; with these people running them I don’t think so.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            If “economics” is a continuation of war by other means, can there be such a thing as a “civil economics” which is a continuation of civil war by other means?

        3. polecat

          I say that we make all them whole .. in stocks ! ……… knocking those collar pins in place, while giving the mokes Free Rubbish to give a toss, for, say, a whole congressional term !

          Charge a fractional copper, on the miscreant’s dime !! .. so they be displayed, all lined up ‘on the hill’. Toss (@t) some corporate CEO$, K-$treet lobbyists, and white-shoeboy lawyers for good measure.

          A few more weeks of ‘stay in place’ with no means of support, might see them all wish that was the ONLY comeuppance worth their ‘salt’.

      3. MLTPB

        We might ask if we distinguish between voters having low information, voter competence, and voter literacy.

        We can improve literacy with years of education.

        Low information and competency – how? More years of education?

        1. Edward

          I think the fundamental problem is the propaganda/news. It is nice that there are blogs like NC to combat this but they aren’t equivalent to the major press outlets. The efforts to suppress threats to this news/propaganda monopoly are becoming more overt with banning ect.

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          “Low information” is a completely false and inaccurate term. The true and accurate term is
          high misinformation and high disinformation.

      4. John k

        I don’t think voters are incompetent. Everybody knows Bernie’s positions, including the young that historically don’t vote. He’s losing bc older voters that have Medicare don’t want to share, maybe they’re worried it will either go broke or their taxes will go up to pay for it.
        Bernie should have done what trump did… we’re gonna get m4a! and whose gonna pay for it? The billionaires!
        But so far those that have, like the comfortably retired, don’t want any of Bernie’s programs. And they outnumber the younger ones that are voting for what he wants to do… granted it seems dnc has a thumb on the scale… but m4a polls indicate it shouldn’t be close enough for a thumb to matter.
        Wisconsin, a swinger, up next… Bernie’s making sense, Biden has disappeared, and we’re in the middle of an existential medical crisis where we want poor sick people to be hospitalized.
        Interesting times.

        1. Yves Smith

          I don’t agree that older people “don’t want to share” Medicare.

          Sanders never had good answers when Biden et al challenged him in the debates that his numbers didn’t add up and there would be ginormous tax increases.

          Sanders should have said, “Yes, your taxes will go up. But you’ll have more in your bank account at the end of every year because you are paying way too much now. This plan will get rid of expensive middlemen, admin costs, which are estimated as high as 30% when you include doctor time, and excessive Big Phama costs, which other countries negotiate. Why can much smaller Canada sell American made meds cheaper? Because their government buys in bulk and pushes back.”

          His answers on costs were muddled and made this plan look not though out or worse, that he was a pie in the sky leftie who didn’t care if people’s taxes went to the moon.

          1. polecat

            Yes, This !

            Sanders blew it, and let Biden carry on to slow-sprint that ‘can’t pay’ torch over a few more hur(t)dles, on the backs of the now increasingly (as in the millions!!), bankrupt mopes !!
            We need younger, stronger leadership that will bare-knuckle anyone in his/her/their way, come hell or high-financed water !! This Health/Class/Economic crisis is an opportunity to make-way for real concrete change .. positive for most of the pop. below the 10ish – 0.1 % class of ticks. This will entail telling it straight to the public, that we can’t do empire, we can’t do globalism .. certainly as it’s practiced today, and that EVERYONE can’t get their tweensy agenda .. or micro-aggression resolved, if it sucks up too much energy that could otherwise be used to realize more ‘commons’ goals .. but also, a much more restrained form of capitalism, where there are hard limits to the ends people will go to become “Rich Beyond the Dreams of Avarice!” .. to quote the good Dr. Bones ..

            I predict that with people in many countries, residing on both on first, as well as second base, now facing utter economic destruction at the hands of the offending political/corporate/oligarchic asset addicts … who are or will use this pandemic as an excuse to loot even more .. transparently so, in everyone’s face …. the majority of plebs will blow, to finally state: ‘That’s it, We’ve had enough of your yellow rain & soggy crumbs !’
            You know it’s going to happen .. sooner, or later, the public will completely loose their shit, and for good reason !

        2. dcrane

          Plus older voters (who I am guessing “consume” more legacy media than the youngsters) just experienced 3 1/2 years of relentless shrieking MSM propaganda telling them that the fact Trump is president is a national emergency involving treason, and that he must be stopped at all costs. At the same time, those media outlets have steadily conveyed the message that Bernie is a risky choice doomed to fail.

        3. drumlin woodchuckles

          Who told you that old people don’t want to share medicare? Do you have actual courtroom quality evidence of even one single old person saying heeshee does not want to share medicare? Do you have actual courtroom quality evidence of your having that evidence?
          Can you share that evidence with the rest of us?

          And if you have, and if you can, do you have the same quality of evidence that a second old person has also gone on record as not wanting to share medicare? And if you can do that, can you produce courtroom quality evidence of a third old person overtly and on the record stating that heeshee does not want to share medicare?

          At some point this anti-boomeritic age-raycyst antiboomerite meme-trope has to be either proven true or its promulgators have to be identified as anti-boomeritic age-raycyst antiboomerites.

    1. carl

      I believe loss of legitimacy and dissolving of the social contract is a gradual process. The article seems mainly concerned with the loss of the US’ international reputation, but I think the internal progression is more important here. The holding of state primary elections after it was clear that this would result in more infections and an artificial set of results, for example, will now cause a segment of the population to question the legitimacy of the entire Democrat primary. Observing the government’s confused and incoherent response to the virus is wonderfully clarifying, as they say here. One thing for sure: once it’s lost, it’s very difficult, if not impossible, to get back.

      1. carl

        Meanwhile, I read yesterday on RT that Russia has ordered unpaid leave for the entire country for the month of May.

        1. anon in so cal

          Can you provide a link for that?

          Today’s RT states there will be paid leave, at least though April:

          “Putin extends paid holiday period in Russia until end of April as Covid-19 cases spike [italics added]

          “I’ve made a decision to extend the time off until the end of the month, that is, until April 30 inclusively, while maintaining wages for employees,” the President [Putin] said.”

          1. MLTPB

            Russia on Thursday adopted (not just thinking about it…i might have said earlier) an agricultural ministry proposal to limit grain exports for April- June. NY Times, 2 days ago.

            Reverse globalism in action?

          1. MLTPB

            The incompetence is universal.

            It is in the best and brightest assuming the world has a technological solution when quarantining is what we do.

            How old is quarantine? The first mention was in Leviticus, apparently, per Wikipedia. Likely it occured earlier, I assume.

            To be prepared in this instance, I believe, involves changing the ways of the modern world significantly.

            When a city like Wuhan, Moscow or Milan is locked down, we are not doing it much differently than people one, two or there thousand years ago.

            1. Olga

              While incompetence certainly appears everywhere, this kinda misses the point of the article. US built its empire in large part based on appearing more competent then others: “accept our ways because, you know, … we know better.” It was – and is – just an illusion (albeit, a cleverly constructed illusion).
              Re-purposing Buffett’s quote on the lack of clothes after the tide recedes.

              1. MLTPB

                The shelter in place is everywhere and very old.

                That is quiet a picture for billions to think about in their isolation.

                And we all have a long time to think about that, whatever system or country we are in.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      With Clinton. There were problems before, but Bill had a chance to usher in something else and preferred the there is profit to be had. Whether it was NATO expansion, free trade, U.S. military bases world wide, cutting the surface support fleet necessitating bases to operate the Navy, Iraq policy which made an Iraq invasion low hanging fruit, anything to do with Russia, much of the approach to Yugoslavia (it didn’t start in 1997), letting the Israelis shirk their end of the Oslo Accords, not demanding Barak stand up to his cabinet, the WTO, anything he did with China, and this was just the bad stuff he did.

      Just an atrocious President. I can find positives in other Presidents but Bill…just a wreck less pig. His high point was the Rose Garden photo op for the aptly named Oslo Accords…the Dayton Accords…I got one.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        People tend to forget that the Rabinist Israelis intended to uphold their end of the Oslo Accords. Clever intellectuals spin all kinds of fancy reasons to demonstrate that the Rabinist Israelis never intended to uphold their end of the Oslo Accords.

        These clever intellectuals cleverly avoid mentioning the Likudist assassination engineered by Netanyahu and others to prevent Rabin from living to uphold the Accords. Clearly the Likudist Netanyahoodlums analysed Rabin as being seriously committed to upholding the Accords. They felt it was worth assassinating him to make sure he could not.

        Jeff Wells at Rigorous Intuition 2.0 wrote a blogpost about that.

        I think Netanyahoo knew what was in Rabin’s mind better than a pack of clever intellectuals.
        That is a side point to be sure, but still worth not being forgotten about.

    3. PlutoniumKun

      Someone linked to it yesterday, but as always Ian Walsh has an excellent take on this.

      Elites who are not aligned with the actual productive activities of society and are engaged primarily in activities which are contrary to production, are decadent. This was true in Ancien Regime France (and deliberately fostered by Louis XIV as a way of emasculating the nobility). It is true today of most Western elites; they concentrate on financial numbers, and not on actual production. Even those who are somewhat competent tend not to be truly productive: see the Waltons, who made their money as distributers–merchants.

      The techies have mostly outsourced production; they don’t make things, they design them. That didn’t work out for England in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and it hasn’t worked well for the US, though thanks to Covid-19 and US fears surrounding China, the US may re-shore their production capacity before it is too late.

      I think Coronavirus has been a game changer in terms of the international balance of power, much of which depends on the perception of power. As with individuals, a State can be perceived as greedy, corrupt, psychopathic, or even stupid, and still be ‘respected’ in power terms, so long as it possesses a big stick, nuclear weapons and/or is very rich. But what a State cannot be perceived at is incompetent. Once it loses its reputation for basic fundamental competence then it just becomes a nuisance to other powers. America is increasingly becoming like the later Ottoman Empire, or Tsarist Russia, or early 19th Century China. It may not have an identical fate, but its on the same trajectory.

    4. Time is of essence

      With the mass layoffs there will be a lot of people that will have the time to not only catch on (most people are intelligent so they have already caught on for some while) but also act.

      1. Late Introvert

        I think this is a good point. I know my own parents are much more politically aware, and my Mom said it’s because she has lots of time now, unlike she was working and raising three kids.

    5. David

      I think it’s a very long time since foreigners associated “competence” with the United States.That’s not necessarily because of the quality of individuals, or small organizations – in my experience, individual US officials, diplomats, military officers etc are as competent as in any other country. But (as they are the first to complain) the system they work in is completely dysfunctional. That system is deeply politicized and corrupt at the highest levels, insanely divided and conflictual, and pointlessly elaborate and complicated . It’s almost impossible to get anything done, but very easy to stop things. It’s often impossible to know who is actually in charge of any given problem. In the past, the main victims of this dysfunction have been abroad, because the US government hasn’t had to manage a major domestic crisis in living memory. Now that it has to, the underlying problems are revealed in all their grisly complexity. And because the problems are fundamental ones, in the design of the political systems, individuals can make little actual difference.

      1. MLTPB

        Which Roman period can we compare ours to, and how was theirs resolved, before facing their next set of problems of course?

        1. Synoia

          Nero? Or Rome post Constantine?

          In our Curriculum, Byzantium was barely mentioned…When Constantinople was surrounded by Muslims, I’d have thought a little religious tolerance would have gone a long way…

          Something about worshiping the god…

        2. lyman alpha blob

          Early 5th century AD. The Empire was already past its height and had become decadent. “Barbarians” were at the gates, asking to be included in the Empire rather than being treated as 2nd class non-citizens doing all the dirty work for little reward.

          It was resolved by Rome being sacked and never recovering.

          We’re just waiting around for the 21st century version of Alaric to show up.

          1. Wukchumni

            We’re at about 335 AD in the Roman Empire, and the Denarius has been debauched to the point where it only looks like silver on the outside-but has been made of copper for about 55 years now (much like our former silver coins) and it has gone from 25 Denarii being worth 1 gold Aureus in the salad days, to around 3,000 Denarii equaling that same Aureus presently.

          2. ambrit

            We already have ‘Alarics’ here. The Credentialled Professional Managerial Class will soon pour forth a ‘perfection’ of Khan Noonian Singhs. Why? Because; “Someone has to lead. So, it had better be the ‘best and brightest.'”
            Vote for the Credentialed Evil.

            1. Billy

              Professional Class? Aim higher.
              Not even a month later, and this country is becoming more like Mexico, as the Hamptons article mentions. The People in the Overworld who preach gun- violence hardware control laws for the lumpen, have walled properties, with barbed wire and can afford their armed guards, hiding behind law enforcement credentials. Kidnappings are probably just around the corner.

          3. Olga

            Rome’s decline was slow, steady, and long. Started way before the fifth century… as Rome was finally undone around 476AD. That is the western Roman empire; eastern Rome continued for another 1000 years, disguised for our eyes today as the Byzantine empire.

              1. MLTPB

                Certainly longer lasting. In a way, Rome is the eternal city, first coined by the 1st century poet Tibullus.

          4. Synoia

            Actually Rome under Constantine was very successful. It managed to spread the Roman Catholic faith over all of Western Europe.

            Constantinople was the major City in the post Constantine Empire. Rome became a backwater, and a Religious Center, a very successful Religious Center.

        3. David

          I’ve never seen the US as Rome: certainly not since 1945. It resembles one of those barbarian empires which expanded into a power vacuum and then perished after a couple of generations as a result of infighting and the lack of an effective political system. The difference is that (pace Monty Python) the Romans brought a lot of civilizational advantages to the countries they conquered, and in turn political elites in those countries started learning Latin and wearing togas. By contrast, pretty much all of the countries into which the US expanded after 1945 were more civilized (not hard, I grant you) and the locals regard Americans as barbarians (yabanjin as the Japanese frequently describe them, for example.) Although foreigners learn English for business purposes and because they have to, and Hollywood films still dominate many regions for economic reasons, I think it’s clear that the actual flow of civilizing influences has been towards the US since 1945, not from that country.

          1. Olga

            One could argue that the US resembles more barbarian “empires,” as you describe – the Mongol empire comes to mind, but the Rome analogy is also tempting and not inaccurate. Consider its (US) steady expansion, soft power, attempts at a democratic system, spreading its language and technology, etc., etc. All similarities. But where it comes the closest is in the military area. The desire to expand the empire, the need to defend various colonies, and consequent wars (today’s endless war). And then the blowback – as the focus on military grows, so does the militarisation of life in Roma itself. And as the commoners lose out, so does their allegiance to the empire. Oh, I think the US and ancient Rome have lots in common, slow and steady decline, as the empire expands, just one of them.

            1. Oregoncharles

              Americans drew the comparison with Rome deliberately – note the style of older government building. Self-flattery, arguably, but sinister if you consider how the story ended.

            2. polecat

              We’re now experiancing the Sach of the d’ManGol Empire …

              What a $ight to Behold !

              1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                Matt Taibbi is watching and he has the knowledge and context. His comment is that regardless who makes the decisions and who are the benefactors in the Faustus II Fund new special purpose vehicle that merges corporate America with the government (Treasury plus Fed), there will be tens and probably hundreds of billions in new fees paid to Wall St in exchange for the exorbitant privilege of running the American economy. Oh joy.

            3. LifelongLib

              And yet the U.S. remains an insular country in which few people have any interest in what is happening elsewhere. I’ve read the same was true of Britain in its own Empire days. Both empires were very much the products of a relatively small number of people who had gained positions of great power. Most of their fellow citizens couldn’t have cared less.

              1. Librarian Guy

                I agree with your main point, but disagree regarding the Brits.

                From my readings in modern history (last 4 centuries or so), the crappy, cold environment of England, Scotland et al inspired a lot of them to move abroad and live an opulent or more interesting colonial lifestyle.

                Many of their cultural leaders also “went native” in some cultural respects, and to some degree, and not always in the shallow, culturally appropriating ways of today, experimenting with Eastern religions and models of thought. Many never bothered returning to England.

                It’s clear to me that both the Brits and the early Conquistador Spaniard waves of colonialism were inspired by people who had little or nothing in their homeland (the majority of Conquistador fighters came from the crappy, dry area of Spain without good agriculture or resources) and sought out something less desperate and miserable.

                This is in NO way a defense of colonialism or Empire, both of which I thoroughly despise, just what the historical data shows. I’d say the French failed to develop or maintain their overseas Empire because their military and professional classes always had a more appealing country to return home to than the first wave of Brit and Spanish colonialists, and thus fewer Creoles who stayed in the conquered lands and either intermarried with the locals or established families there. (Interesting how even the Crusaders did this in Lebanon, establishing a larger Christian minority to what had already been there).

                But back to your main point– I agree that USAsians are (a) too puffed up with their own “exceptionalism”, (b) too ahistorical and ignorant, & (c) given the size and resources of the USA where there are appealing local climes and many, many options– well, there are far fewer that will opt to live in a faraway land with a different language, diet, etc. than the British or early waves of Spanish/Portuguese emigres to the “New” (sic) Worlds colonialism opened for exploitation.

          2. MLTPB

            It is still seen in many places that thers are people wanting to be like us, not just learning English, but the body language (hand gestures, etc, in interacting with friends or in dancing), the way some of us dress, what we eat or drink, etc.

            And as you say, we are also becoming more like others, often, it seems to me, first among those with money or information. Here, I think of espresso, soccer, yoga, zazen, etc.

          3. Yves Smith

            Not sure I agree. The US is seen around the world, even now, as having the best highest educational institutions, and by a large margin. Not consistent with being a barbarian conquerer.

            In fact, co-opting foreign elites via our educational system was an important part of our now dissipated soft power.

        4. Tom Bradford

          I’ve heard it argued – but haven’t the depth of knowledge to judge the issue – that the years in ‘Britannia’ following the withdrawal of Rome in 410 was a Golden Age. While the Anglo-Saxons were beginning to raid the east coast it was minor, and the rest of the country still retained the Roman infrastructure, laws and the local administration which adjusted to become the top layer while retaining the possibly idealised Roman way of life.

          It fell apart after a generation or two under increasing pressure from the Anglo-Saxons invading and staying, and the rise of local thugs becoming ‘war-lords’ in an essentially civil society, but this was the Age of “King Arthur” and perhaps much of the myth that now surrounds him, whoever he really was, comes from his being seen as trying to defend that ‘Golden Age’ the Romans had left.

          1. Tom Bradford

            Omitted – What really made it a Golden Age was the Roman infrastructure without the Roman elite at the top of it,

            1. The Rev Kev

              As well, the Roman Legions put an end to all the constant infighting between tribes wherever they ruled. Those tribes finally got a taste of peace and could open up to trade which made for a better life overall.

    6. CanCyn

      “The only question I have is: how bad must it get before people catch on?”
      I think a lot of people have caught on and those that haven’t surely are catching on now as this virus finishes the job that neoliberalism started. I think that is one of the reasons that they don’t vote or perhaps vote ‘against their own interests’. On some level, they understand that the system is rigged, that there is little difference between Dems and the Reps. Those so called low information voters may seem ‘stupid’ and maybe they can’t explain neoliberalism in detail but they know their lives have not improved for a very long time. They know that the fix is in and that elected class doesn’t give a hoot for them, the average Joe or Mary.

      1. Billy

        “Shop Local” and keep your tax dollars local.
        At what point does just ignoring Rome on the Potomac become prevalent?
        What can they do about it?

        1. CanCyn

          Agreed, I shop local as much as possible. Support small businesses too. I call it voting with my $$

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Every dollar is a bullet on the field of economic combat.

            Lead the money around by the nose.

      2. Lil’D

        It’s not about catching on
        It’s about getting the power to make meaningful changes

    7. D. Fuller

      With Trump’s executive order invoking the Defense Production Act (DPA) to seize (with generous taxpayer payment to ensure silence) critical material even after States have paid for the masks and other needed material? The only supplies available to States and American citizens are:

      1. Those that Trump doles out.
      2. Foreign supplies (premium prices).

      The effect is that of sanctions on State governments and American people.

      Trump reacts like any CEO facing stiff competition. Except that he has the advantage of being US President with the full force of the law on his side. That is a powerful advantage over any of his political or business rivals.

      Trump has let it be known that the National Stockpile is not for States. Trump refuses to invoke the DPA to expand production capacity of critical medical supplies. Producing shortages. Which has led to increases in deaths.

      The entire response by Trump has been that of a businessman in competition. His entire life has been thus. First against his brother Fred, culminating in Fred’s children being cut of of Fred Sr’s will. Now, this.

      The response of Congressional leaders such as Mitch McConnell, Nancy Pelosi, and Chuck Schumer? Has been to pass Wall Street protection legislation involving trillions of dollars in gaurantees to Wall Street. With an attempted bribe of $1200 to $2400 for individuals on Main Street. What is interesting? The $170 billion in tax relief to real estate developers over ten years, that was included in the CARES legislation. How did Nancy Pelosi allow that? Perhaps the answer lies here:

      Paul Francis Pelosi Sr. is an American businessman who owns and operates Financial Leasing Services, Inc., a San Francisco-based real estate and venture capital investment and consulting firm.

      There are many Congress Members with investments in real estate and other industries that will now be favored. The effect of the CARES legislation is that Congress Members protected themselves and large donors and corporate donors, financially and otherwise. While doing little to nothing for Main Street in the long term.

      :As for the Federal debt? Federal Law states that every dollar is backed by the full Faith & Credit of The United States. Meaning: Taxpayers. Since the Fed is in the subprime lending business to Wall Street? What about those dollars?

      The only question I have is: how bad must it get before people catch on?

      Americans are dying. US leaders have performed acts of PR and M&A in lieu of necessary actual containment measures. America is now in a state of, dog eat dog.

      If they have not caught on by now? They never will.

      1. polecat

        There’s a typo in that legislation – It’s should be the ‘CARIES’ Act .. as in totally rotten, full of congressional holes, looped to the Nth degree of plebian separation.

  3. Steve H.

    > Serfs Revolt

    Missing this category today, thought it had some flavor. The word ‘strike’ started popping the end of last week.

    Trying to discern the threads of wyrd for the next month or two, I get state and local government starting to seize up. Property taxes due next month, but if the rentiers aren’t getting paid…

    Tankus: The worst element of the Federal Reserve’s response to date has unquestionably been its failure to respond to the fiscal crises Coronavirus has created for state and local governments

    Weekly zeitgeists seemed to be, prep and response to the supply disruptions during the week of March 9 (the TP paradigm). By the week of the 23 NYC was crashing. The UE numbers on Mar 26 shifted the focus from epidemiological to economic. The UE numbers April 2 shifted from economic to political.

    So now authorities are on on-board with masks. The DNC rescheduling the convention to August is pretty much an elite announcement that the situation won’t resolve by July. So my time-frame of supplying for three months is insufficient. Stupid slope won’t flatten keeps bending up.

    1. cnchal

      >. . . Stupid slope won’t flatten keeps bending up.

      Amazon — still shipping corona cooties with the Oreos — every warehouse is infected. When corona cases mysteriously show up in people who have been self isolating for a week or two, will the right questions even be asked?

      Crack that whip, Amazon shopper, and reap your reward.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        that’s my mom,lol.
        she’s been toying with getting things like soap online since last fall…in spite of my repeated admonitions about the moral aspects.
        vote with your dollars.
        I’d rather give my $ to a company that treats its workers right(HEB), or is at least somewhat local.
        if you like stores that you can actually go to, patronise them.
        conversely, there’s a couple of convenience stores/gas stations here, run by respectively, a giant faceless corp(se), and a randian a$$.
        both treat their people like serfs, and i won’t darken their door.
        this is, apparently, a radical concept, and one that requires a lot of dithering.

        1. Laughingsong

          We are staying with our local stores for sure… our small grocers avoid getting their stock from behemoths as much as possible, although all of them use large distributors like UNFI. Many have started delivering to keep going.

          I work in IT for county government, my husband works IT for the city. We can both work from home. We feel so lucky to have this….. and so guilty too as most of our friends are crafters and all the craft fairs are cancelled.

          I suspect however that, given the marked lack of state/local government support, the pancaking of tax revenues along with the increased need for services will threaten our jobs in a year or two. During the GFC it took about three years to exhaust all the rainy day funds here. I survived that downsizing but my husband didn’t and it took 3 years for him to get work. This time who knows?

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        There will be no Collective Defense against Amazon spreading corona virus. The best that individuals can do is figure out by seemingly-innocent conversation which of the people they know is getting things by mail from Amazon . . . . and shun those people until those people have clearly manifested corona or manifested not-going-to-get corona.

        Let those people still depraved enough to buy from Amazon keep their corona all to themselves.

    2. rob

      Right now , the idiot savants at the federal reserve are in full money creation creation mode for corporations and banks… all the wall street low lifes in high places…. This is where they will be for ?;how many years this time?
      Foreign Affairs ( the council on foreign relations rag) ran the numbers after the last @6 year run on QE, that instead of the fed juicing the stock market that whole time, every person in the US could have been sent a check for @ $55,600. To EACH PERSON. That would be $116,800 in THIS household.
      That would have actually done something to make the citizens of this country better off, rather than just 6 years of freebies to wall street, making the rich ,richer.
      And like last time,
      NOW ,
      the fed isn’t planning a total payout to make states whole for at least a year. If the states have to struggle, people will hurt. States don’t have the ability to make money out of nothing. But States actually do provide real ,tangible services and functions for real people.
      All the services that will suffer. All the wasted time of local officials figuring out which pound of flesh to cut off, first,second, and third.
      These translate to real hardships. Real danger to the citizens. It is insanity for the fed to bail out wall street sociopaths, before helping out ALL the states, and our territories as well.

      As a note to all those who have been fooled into thinking MMT shows “the fed” is “part of the government”… Yeah… the part of the “government that is owned by the banks…. to make money out of nothing…. to make the banks and wall street profit… even in bad times…
      The real thing the fed NEEDs is MONETARY REFORM.
      Roll the fed into the treasury.all assets…and functions
      end banking practice of money creation when making loans(no more pretense of fractional reserve practice)
      And MAKE the ability for this country to MAKE its own money from nothing… DEBT FREE… AND ALLOW those who decide where that money goes… to go to US>>>> rather than banks and corporations….. After all.. they will do fine if we are not faced with abject poverty…
      If corporations wanna be people . make em’ get to the back of the line

      The new chicago plan…. The NEED act… 2011 112th congress HR 2990
      The National Emergency Employment Defense Act
      WE NEED TO START GETTING SERIOUS….The clock is ticking.. its been 80 years too long already.

      1. ChristopherJ

        Well said, Rob. Sadly, I don’t think your anger will ever be enough. Force will be required for change.

      2. Hamford

        Thank you! I am tired of the man-made constraint that our Treasury must lend from the private Fed and go “into debt”. Meanwhile the Fed can helicopter QE money wherever Blackstone tells them to and no “deficit” is incurred.

        This Creature From Jekyll Island (Fed) takes away any democratic oversight for how resources (money) are used… and gee look where all the resources are sent today… the Fed’s clientele- the largest banks.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Highly curious that The Faustus II Fund is to be administered by the New York Fed, not the Federal Fed. Why?

  4. Ramon Z

    Hi, I had a question about the Kim Hart twitter, the Axios Ipsos.

    The Y axis is straight forward.
    The X axis. Why is the “Lower” represented by such a short X axis? The information relevant to the X axis is shown as a percentage. The length of the lines appears purely arbitrary. There are a lot more “Lower people” than “Upper people”

    Appears misleading.

  5. Lina

    I prepped for a couple months, but this seems like it will go much longer. My partner is saying we shouldn’t touch our stockpile yet; as long as we can keep getting groceries, we should get them (I was lucky to work out a few delivery options to get in some more supplies).

    I enjoy this blog and the comments, but had stopped reading it for a while as I found I was getting too stressed out! Am curious to hear what the latest thoughts are on how this thing will play out… my guess is we go back to an abbreviated normal sometime in late summer. But I am not even confident the kids are back in school in Sept.

    1. Samuel Conner

      These forecasts,

      which are prepared by people who, I assume, are not slouches, project a decline in new daily cases to modest levels (<10 deaths per day; divide that by your preferred CFR) by June. The site says that the models assuming "full social distancing" in all states through May. I don't see how, under the present "inadequate testing and apparently no contact tracing" regime the spread does not immediately pick up again If "full social distancing" measures are not continued past May.

      I wonder if there might develop a "two track" economy, in which nCov2019-seroconverted individuals (assuming that recovery confers immunity to reinfection) are less restricted and can go about their business (or perhaps be recruited into essential services that are short-handed). I hope that one of the vaccines turns out to be effective (and does not induce immune dysfunction in any appreciable fraction of the population).

      I agree that things are not likely to be "back to normal" by Autumn.

      Dig those gardens!

      1. Carolinian

        One rationale for the universal mask idea is that it may allow a return to more normal life while still protecting from disease. Obviously everyone walking around in masks will be bizarre but things are pretty bizarre already. And at least if everyone does it we won’t have to feel so self conscious. Plus this is apparently what is being done in Korea where stores remain open and I believe schools as well.

        I’d say this can’t possibly last all summer and in any case there’s a strong chance the disease will fade in warmer weather. At some point medical necessity will have to bump up against economic necessity and perhaps that’s already happening. You can’t save people’s lives and then take away all means of living them.

        1. MLTPB

          As the Korea example shows, every nation is coping differently (to various degrees).

          And if we can’t see that we are in the fog of war (on Corona), it’s because we are inside the fog, and we have to remind ourselves not to forget that there are other health issues.

          Issues like a balanced diet. Can we afford to go out every few days for fresh produce, for those whose medical conditions could use a healthy diet? Can elder patients go out safely to see doctors or get treatment?

          Or emotional issues, like visiting friends socially (we are a social animal), or visiting family members in nursing homes?

          For those of dating or mating age, it’s helpful to be out to be seen, to attract mates, whether for your beauty, your legs, your conservation skills, your hair, your love poems, your tattoos designed by you, your singing, your cars, your credentials, your royal ancestors, etc.

          Can kids in the first or second grade learn all the lessons being home? A graduate student doing dissertation is more likely to be able to do that.

          We have balance these, noneconomical issues, plus economical ones, with Corona.

          1. Carolinian

            Walmart, Target and some other stores are now limiting the number of customers in the store and making others wait outside. Apparently this is having mixed results as people still congregate once inside.

            Perhaps instead Walmart with all its resources could acquire large quantities of those paper surgical style masks and simply issue them to customers on entry. No shoes no mask no service. Surely all of us can discard our vanity at least while shopping in uncool Walmart.

            1. MLTPB

              No shoes?

              I was thinking about those disposable shoe covers, and bouffant caps the other day.

              Do we need them, to protect others, of course?

              1. Carolinian

                No Shirt No Shoes No Service signs still not uncommon here in the land of Coca Cola and the Moonpie–may not be true in tony California.

                  1. anon in so cal

                    Riverside County, California has made it mandatory to wear a mask in public. Los Angeles county is probably not far behind.

            2. marku52

              Home Despot was doing this when I was there yesterday. Employees counting ins and outs, and only 100 in the store.

              OTOH I had to go drop a postpaid box in at the post office, and that was a mess. Narrow aisle, no way to keep distance, line almost to the door. Was glad I brought a mask, used a kleenex to open the drop box.

            3. fresno dan

              April 5, 2020 at 12:14 pm
              I shopped at a grocery store today because it opened at 6am, and Walmart is opening now at 7am. But I drove by the Walmart just to see what it was like with the limited entry.

              Apparently this is having mixed results as people still congregate once inside.

              The outside line was pretty congregated – no 6 foot distances between people at all. There was a cop car there, but it was obvious the police officer was making off effor to enforce social distancing – he knew that enforcing social distancing was as likely to succeed there as King Canute outlawing the incoming tide.

        2. The Rev Kev

          April 5, 2020 at 11:37 am

          ‘Obviously everyone walking around in masks will be bizarre but things are pretty bizarre already.’

          Not so bizarre that when you look at America back in 1918. Everybody wore masks back then during the first great flu pandemic and some people were even shot by police for not wearing their masks in public. Your g-grandparents would have worn their masks in public too. Here is what it looked like last time around-

          1. Carolinian


            This is an important article that may have been linked here already. It says that the endlessly discussed N95 is only better than a surgical mask if properly fitted and even many medical professionals don’t manage to do this. They don’t work with beards.

            Which is to say that surgical masks are very much worth wearing in any enclosed and crowded situation and I used to buy these for woodworking at Harbor Freight for about $5/50 if I recall. I still have some left and am using them. Doubt I’d be able to find any at Harbor Freight now. They use filter paper rather than some sort of super duper polypropylene so it’s hard to see why American factories shouldn’t be churning them out. The obsession with the N95 is a distraction.

            1. Carolinian

              This gives still more support for simple masks. The digest version is that the ACE2 protein tends to be in the nose and is barely in the lungs and this is what the virus latches onto to infect you. The N95 is needed to protect from “aerosols” but these tend to end up in the lungs. The large droplets from coughing and sneezing on the other hand tend to end up in your nose and can be mostly blocked with simple masks made of cloth.


              Bottom line is that the CDC gave precisely the wrong advice about masks in the beginning and so much for “everybody knew” how to deal with this. Simple masks are good and may even soon be declared necessary for everyone.

            2. The Rev Kev

              Agree with what you say about N95 masks. They should be left for the professionals. Found this interesting article about the wearing of face masks a century ago in America and it had an intriguing anecdote in it-

              The newspaper cited the successes of face masks on one ship.

              The ocean liner sailing between the United States and England had suffered a terrible infection rate coming from New York, the Times reported. When returning to the United States, the captain instituted a face-mask order for crew and passengers, after having read about their use in San Francisco.

              No infections were reported on the return trip, despite high infection rates at the time in both Manhattan and Southampton, from where the ship departed. It was impossible to know if the rules on masks on the return voyage were responsible for the lack of infections, but that was how the press interpreted it.


    2. Krystyn Podgajski

      Hi Lina, I do not appreciate your behavior. I am glad you have the luxury to hoard but many of people do not. Your selfishness is more of a danger to you than this virus.

      Please think about donating some of your food to a local food bank.

      Luke 19:41
      As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”

      1. Lina

        Seriously? It was the people on this board that convinced me to prepare so I am clearly not the only one who made sure my daughter would not go hungry during this crisis.

        This is a terrible comment. You don’t know my circumstances and have no right to tell me I have a “luxury to hoard” which is certainly not what I have done.

        I’d like to ask the moderators to review this comment by Krystyn. For now, I will once again stop reading NC because this personal attack is unwarranted.

        1. Krystyn Podgajski

          Compared to me, you do have a luxury to hoard. I cannot buy two months of groceries at once since my only income is from disability nor did I have the space to store months of toilet paper before the stores ran out because I was living in my van. We should be using the grocery store as our hoarding centers, not our kitchen cabinets. But who put it in your head that your daughter would go hungry? It might be a good time to examine if your fears are justified or an exaggeration.

          I am not attacking you, I am criticizing your behavior. I understand your behavior, but I hope you can see what I said as a possible mirror of your actions that have ramifications on the greater society. You are not acting in solidarity with your community when you hoard.

          Sometime you have to say tough things to the people you love.

          1. Alex morfesis

            Food banks ?? Emphasis on the “banks”… Not sure how it is in your part of the world, but the local “hard working” food banks folks here in the St Pete area have always kept bankers hours…nothing open after 7 PM and only two little churches on Sunday open to the public for less than an hour after their service…mostly used by folks who get a check…working mom’s are SOL…maybe where you live it is different…

          2. Keith

            Preparedness can be done a little at a time, even with meager incomes. It is about planning and foresight. I think it is rather inappropriate to condemn those who thought ahead with silliness of “solidarity ” In the end, we are all adults who shouldn’t expect others to take care of us.

          3. Laughingsong

            Very sorry to hear that you were/are living in a vehicle and disabled, especially at this time sure, but under any circumstances this is terrible, so your reaction to Lina’s post can be understood in this light.

            I personally didn’t assume “hoarding” when she said “prepping for a couple of months” because hoarding implies sequestering more than one needs, rather than storing specifically what one needs. So instead of buying what she would have bought over a couple of months, she bought it all at once…. but didn’t overstock. I don’t know the items and amounts involved though. Neither do you.

            I will say that being able to buy and store in quantity is a luxury, one that I have personally had for a lot of the latter half of my life. It’s easy to forget that these luxuries are not universal. It’s one of the reasons why I often feel lucky, grateful, and guilty all at the same time, feelings that have been made more intense by the crisis.

        2. Eric

          If it’s any consolation Lina, I didn’t see anything wrong with your comment and felt it was constructive as I have been wondering the same things.

          Prepping doesn’t mean hoarding
          and your partner is being logical.

          To me, it is a risk each time we go
          out and we all need to weigh that
          risk to ourselves and others.

          Most of us really have no way of knowing how bad it is in our own
          community because the data is
          lagging and questionable.

          I would encourage you to continue reading NC despite the misplaced barbs. It is a wonderful source of information and mostly good to great commentary.

        3. pebird

          I look at it this way. If you prepared early, your additional demand resulted in reordering by the various retailers and there was typical inventory available prior to public panic buying.

          Also, you were able to avoid panic buys, so there was more available for those who needed it.

          We all have various degrees of “privilege”, it’s what we do with it that counts.

          So far you have shown good judgment for yourself and others. You should trust your instincts.

          1. Kurt Sperry

            This, pretty much. People that kept a store of necessary supplies laid in (as we are instructed for earthquake readiness for instance) before the current crisis are pretty much blameless, even laudable. But. The people who were panic buying unusual quantities of necessities in response to the crisis with the direct result that the next person going in the store is met with empty shelves for things they need? Selfish family blogging family bloggers, the lot of them.

          2. skk

            That’s well put. Its not case that one person’s prepping is another person’s hoarding. Yup, we were prepped already – for earthquake preparedness as it happens. But once Chris Martenson’s podcasts alerted me in the last week of Jan., we reviewed what we were prepping for. International Supply chain disruption isn’t something one considers for earthquake preparation, merely local disruption so that was a new factor to take into account – and we did and stocked up on certain additional things by the 3rd week of Feb.

            I do understand that some people don’t have the money to buy extra but at least I’ve got out the way and won’t be using any stocks that are supplied at no cost by the govt / non-profits etc. Separately, I will be in a position to help out our neighbours if needed.

            1. Oregoncharles

              Yes – a properly prepared family is one less for emergency services to worry about, and more for people like Krystyn. I suspect he’s having a bad day, as he’s told us about that.

              In this case, high-risk people like the elderly need to minimize their trips to the store; so now we, at least, buy on one day (and have delivered) enough for about a week – where I would normally go to the store every day.

              1. Lynne

                Honestly, it boggles my mind that someone would buy less than a week’s worth of groceries in a normal time. Having grown up and living on a Northern Plains farm, I’ve always had at least a month’s worth of food (and usually more) set aside. Most of my neighbors have more, and it’s always been held up here as the responsible thing to do, so that you were not a drag on supplies in the case of emergencies.

          3. Paul O

            Yes. And we had a thread on this some time back. I had a fair stock of things put by but all by the end of February before it was a thing here (UK).

            Then during the ‘panic’ What shopping I did was for the food bank.

            Not sure how real the panic was. In my town of 25,000 we certainly had stressed stock levels – we still do for many items. But I never saw overloaded trollies. Most people buying just a few extra items each trip was enough.

            There was definitely a feeling – I heard many discuss it – that they needed enough to get through the two weeks of isolation that was hammered home by every news segment and paper.

      2. Ghost in the Machine

        How do you feel about thr Mormon directive to store food and be prepared.

        They also have warehouses for those who might be temporarily in need.

        I am not part of the LDS church but after living in Utah many years, I have come to appreciate this caution and have taken this bit of advice. It is also comforting to know many of your neighbors have also taken this precaution. It does not seem unwise or selfish to be prepared (ants and grasshoppers and all that). I also bet in a true disaster much of that food would come out of the pantries to help those in dire need.

        1. Krystyn Podgajski

          The Mormons are a cult. But at least they provide for others as well as themselves. And they hoard slowly, over time. The hoarding now is impulsive and reactionary which leads to shortages because of our horrible supply chain.

          1. divadab

            Re: “mormons are a cult” – so what? What’s wrong with a cult? Early Christians were cultists, as were almost all religions, and so do most religions remain.

            The demonization of the word “cult” has letter agency written all over it. We can;t have people associating with people they choose to associate with now, can we? says the totalitarian who hates the US COnstitution.

            1. Krystyn Podgajski

              You are right. I was using cult as a pejorative. I do not think the Morons reflect the ethics of Jesus in even the most simple ways.

                1. Krystyn Podgajski

                  I just said I was wrong to use the common interpretation of cult, which is pejorative, because I was lazy.

                  My conclusion that the cult of Mormonism is bad still stands.

                  1. The Historian

                    I got interested in the history of the Mormons because of my interest in communes and collectives – why some succeed and why some fail. I understand that it is very difficult to find good books on the Mormons – most writers either hate or love the church – but I suggest you read “The Mormon People” by Matthew Bowman, particularly the part about how the church began.

                    I think you might be surprised about how the church began. Ignore the talk about seer stones and magic plates. During the 2nd Great Awakening, any itinerant preacher worth his salt had to have them – it was a thing – much like Catholics having to have their rosaries. But what Joseph Smith had that those other preachers did not was compassion and that is why his movement succeeded where others failed. The early church was a commune created from the outcasts of society and the early church did not discriminate against racial minorities or women. The early days were fractious but they all held together to support one another much like early Christians did.

                    Of course the Church changed over time and it isn’t the church Joseph Smith started, but neither is Christianity the movement that Jesus started – but that doesn’t make it a cult, and it still acts in some basic ways as a collective for their own members, with their warehouses and their support for members in good standing who need help. No, it doesn’t help everyone but no collective can or does.

          2. rob

            All religions are cults.
            some people made it up… then people ate it up.
            Every one of them ought to be taught to children as examples of social engineering and propaganda.
            And children ought to be taught that EVERY one of the personal religions are nothing but contrived ego trips.
            Anytime someone claims to be “special” they are a liar.people who think anyone is “divine” are foolish.
            Religious fundamentalism and zealotry is the bedrock upon which our political systems exploit. It is the tool of the masters, over the masses.

            1. JTMcPhee

              Speaking of cults, there’s a nice microcosm of all that is pillywinks in this article on Scientology:

              Seems David Miscarriage has decreed (maybe channeling L. Ron Hubbard?) that COVID-19 is just “hysteria” and BS and pledges to create an environment that is “safe for business to carry on.” Business, and the generation of money to be handed up the chain to the Elect, being what Scientology is mostly about. A kind of mainstream view among the privileged classes and the Imperial national and many state governments…

            2. Krystyn Podgajski

              I have nothing against cults. I have a lot of things against destructive cults.

              Capitalism is a cult.

            3. LifelongLib

              The Cathars, the Quakers, the Branch Davidians were all zealous, and all opposed to the establishments of their day. There are many other examples. Whatever you think of those religions (or religion in general) the idea that they are merely a “tool of the masters” is utterly false.

            4. kareninca

              rob, when I was growing up I was taught all of the precepts concerning religion that you say you wish children would be taught. You would have been thrilled by my upper middle class atheist rearing.

              Sad to say, in my middle age I have become a devout Christian! I’ve now swallowed whole the social engineering and propaganda and the ego trips and the lies and am a tool of our masters! Alas, this seems to be working out pretty well for me.

          3. Wukchumni

            Perhaps we need to use the wayback machine to see why the Mormons keep a year’s supply of food on hand?

            They all nearly starved to death early in the game in Utah, which taught them a lesson not forgotten almost a few hundred years ago.

            It’s very common to see orchards all over Utah in little towns, something i’ve never glimpsed much of elsewhere in a similar rural setting in these United States.

            The idea that you are unable to help yourself in terms of food security, speaks more about your future, than others.

            By putting yourself in such a position, you’ll be exposed to the virus when frequently shopping for sustenance. That to me is much worse.

      3. PlutoniumKun

        I think you’ve gotten the wrong end of the stick with this. Having an emergency stockpile is not ‘hoarding’. The threat to supplies comes from panic buying – i.e. people who don’t have well stocked pantry to fall back on. People who have a store of dried and canned food are providing a public service, they are keeping the pressure off the supply chains and ensuring shops are full for people who really need it.

        1. Krystyn Podgajski

          The time to hoard and stockpile is well before there is an emergency. When buying in bulk is done during a crisis it hits the poor and elderly the hardest.

          I am by no means saying people who have a stockpile of food is bad, I am saying that buying two months of food at once because you did not prepare is bad, and selfish. Whenever I have a place to live I always have at least two to three weeks of food supply on hand and I rotated two jugs of water. I learned my lesson during a hurricane in NC when I was younger. So I am not condemning being prepared.

          I was assuming that Lina did not have a hoard of food before news of the virus broke. If I was wrong I hope she can see what I am getting at.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Sorry but I think that you have to go back and read her original comment. She said that her family has been laying away food and the like for a coupla months so I am assuming since back in February. So that is being prepared and she never said they she rocked up into a supermarket and cleared it all out.

            And I don’t know about the Mormons being technically a cult. Usually a cult is made up of people that change or adopt a new system of beliefs. When you reach the stage that children are born and raised up in those beliefs, then it can be said that they are a religion. The Mormons? They are not my cup of tea but there it is.

            1. MT_Bill

              So it’s this little virtual exchange here, on a Blog and in a comment section that I consider to be one of the most polite on the internet, that should have us all worried.

              What I see is someone in a bad situation, looking at someone who’s slightly better off, but certainly not secure given the circumstances and judging them based on some moving window of morality.

              Absent some real miracle, this will start to play out on the street physically between people. The worse off using their condition to justify even worse behaviour.

              I really think it’s too late for anybody to collect supplies and prepare in any real sense, but it is a moral imperative to do what they can for themselves, family and friends. On the mental preparation side, Baden Vision the worst breakdown of our society you could possibly imagine. Then assume that’s going to be the midpoint of possible realities.

              Stay safe.

              1. Krystyn Podgajski


                What I am trying to get across is that hoarding food now is no different than hoarding money or land. Hoarding creates inequality, or in this case, further exacerbates it.

                What is not being appreciated is by telling people not to empty the shelves in the supermarket it is telling them for their own good. They are just making people who were already crushed by the economy have absolutely nothing left to loose.

                Why do you thing FDR told they capitalists they had to give up something or their would be riots?

                Why put the burden of morality on the poor who are supposed to not riot when they are hungry? Why not put the burden of morality on those who are hoarding creating the inequality?

                Why is it worse behavior to fight because you are starving that hoarding food because you are afraid you might starve?

                1. MLTPB

                  We can ask questions of individuals, and nations as well.

                  Are some countries hoarding grains, rice, and other materials, or are they preparing?

                2. furies

                  As someone who is also trying to survive on disability; not only do I not have the dollars to obtain a cushion of supplies, my cabin is only 325 sq. ft. Bigger than K’s van for sure but

                  I had to go out for supplies on the first. So many things missing on the shelves that I will have to go back and risk another exposure (health issues–a ‘vulnerable’/disposable person) just to *see* if the missing BASICS are in stock or not.

                  Yeah. Folks just do not recognize the advantages their solvent economic status gives them.

                  It would be nice if some folks just didn’t take it ALL. But that’s been the plan all along now, hasn’t it? (I don’t mean Lina).

                  We all do better when we all do better. We are in this together. (insert appropriate cliche here)

                3. Lee

                  The U.S. is not only food self sufficient, it is food over-abundant. There is no morally defensible reason for anyone to go hungry in this country. We also have more vacant domiciles than homeless and could be energy independent. Scarcity for the essentials in this country is not a bug but a socially constructed feature.

                4. Harvey

                  Society is failing everybody except the very wealthy right now. And why is that? It’s not because some ordinary family put away a few extra groceries over a few weeks.
                  Look at the latest Bill passed by government. While people are dying the uber rich and Sanders and AOC and the rest of the “progressives” (lol) voted for a Bill that siphoned $TRILLIONS away from health care into private bank accounts.
                  Imagine if those $trillions had gone into fighting the virus and saving lives, strengthening the food supply and having a real rent and mortgage moratorium. Instead of the ‘don’t pay now and we’ll kick you out when the dust dies down’ moratorium.
                  Blame the real villains, not your neighbours who are just trying to survive in this ferocious dog-destroy-dog world.
                  The USA runs a just in time supply system, and sadly the supplies have always run out by the time ordinary people get to the head of the queue. In fact, ordinary people are usually in the far queue.

            2. Krystyn Podgajski

              I guess we will need Lina to further explain because she said

              I prepped for a couple months, but this seems like it will go much longer.

              Which to me means she has recently purchased goods that will last for two months. If she tells me she has had this two month supply for the last year I have no problems.

              My distinction is between buying two month of groceries before the supply chains have broken down. But it seems people are too sensitive around this to understand the subtitles and I am probably not the best at delivering them so I will end it here.

            3. Utah

              If you’re interested, the foremost expert on cults, a former Moonie, suggests Mormons are in a cult. Having grown up in it myself, I still have religious unprograming to do. When you’re on the outside of it, they seem like nice sweet help each other people. On the inside they control with fear and shame and eternal damnation far worse than hell. Especially if you’re female. Especially if you identify lgbtq. Especially if you leave.


      4. sd

        Wow. This has to be one of the nastiest comments I’ve ever seen at Naked Capitalism. It bodes ill for society.

        1. Krystyn Podgajski

          Nasty because I care about the elderly and poor? Nasty because I do not want food riots?

          1. pebird

            Linda’s first statement was “I prepped for a couple months..”

            You posted “The time to hoard and stockpile is well before there is an emergency.”

            I would expect you to thank her.

            Its nasty because you assumed something not stated and didn’t read what was in front of you.

            1. Krystyn Podgajski

              You made an assumption and so did I, but they were different assumptions.

              It is not clear is she said she was prepping for the last couple of months or if she has prepped with a food supply which will last two months.

              It sounds more like that latter to me. If I thought it was the former I would have ignored her comment.

              1. Harold

                I thought it would last a few weeks and went out and bought a few extra packages of dried beans and so forth in the beginning of March, thinking were were being very savvy. It was a bummer to find out it was actually going to be many months. Also we already buy some things in bulk through the mail — like tawny orange marmalade and cat food and litter, all of which have a big markups if bought in a store.

                We don’t have a car and can’t do big, two-week shops and besides, our refrigerator and freezer are tiny. Fortunately the little Arab and Mexican stores around here still seem to have considerable fresh, high quality food. We have given up riding the subway, which is a trial. It does mean shopping more often than is probably recommended.

      5. Dita

        As another perspective, here’s my situation. By virtue of staying in place i now live in a hypergentrified area that has also become somewhat of a food desert. Most of the newer residents dine out or order in. Shopping is a huge stress on my limited budget, so several years ago I began ordering staples for delivery by walmart, because it’s affordable. I order enough to qualify for free delivery, so I buy enough that only need paper products and so on about every 3 months. That’s not hoarding, that’s common sense. I only reorder items that have run out.

        I keep about a month of dehydrated food in the back of a closet, hopefully things will not be so bad, supply chains disrupted that it will have to be used. But it’s there just in case, along with some candles, a wind up radio. None of this is hoarding, I’ve been in emergencies no water, no electricity. In the meantime I go to the store for fresh food. Is there excess? No. And right now it is safer for all when i donate online to my local food bank rather interacting in person. As a food bank they also have better access to reasonably priced food and supplies.

        You need to put your broad brush down.

        1. Krystyn Podgajski

          My brush is much narrower than you make it out to be.

          I am only talking about people who started bulk buying food in February and March.

          1. Wukchumni

            I had no idea that you could dig yourself into such a hole with merely a brush, and then keep digging to the point where no extraction is possible.

            1. Krystyn Podgajski

              My mom cried when she read a bio of Van Gogh cause she said it reminded her of me. So there you go.

              People read my art, and since it is impressionistic they have their impressions. I am just painting and I like what I paint. Maybe when I am dead it will be appreciated.

            2. Yves Smith

              It was clear to me what Krystyn meant, that she was reacting to the notion that Lina had stockpiled a couple of months of food (she further said that her partner wanted them not to touch it).

              Even though Lina reply, she did not say that having two months of food on hand was a long-standing practice of her and her partner. Ergo, Krystyn’s assumption that Lina has stockpiled recently seems accurate.

              Down here, the stores are out of eggs, all but expensive butter, cheaper cuts and even some of the more expensive cuts of meat. Pasta and rice are thinned out. And forget about toilet paper, paper towels, IP alcohol, and some cleaning products.

              So the impact of hoarding, or if you want to call it stockpiling, is real. And it does hurt people who lack the money and/or the space to stockpile, since they have to make many extra foraging trips, putting them at more risk.

              Krystyn’s beef is legit even if her personalizing it by tearing into Lina was not the best way to have made the point.

      6. Jeremy Grimm

        I believe your anger is misdirected. You are “glad you[Lina] have the luxury to hoard but many of [us] people do not.” Lina is not source for the difference between your situation and hers. Lina did not originate and spread the peculiar idea that keeping extra supplies of food constitutes “hoarding”. After Hurricane Sandy anyone who had any space started keeping extra food and water around.

        I understand and share your anger … but not at Lina.

        1. Monty

          The people who own and run this country, would love to have us to believe that it is our neighbors, with their insatiable, selfish greed, that have caused this situation of shortages.

          If you ask me, it was the ruling class’s insatiable, selfish greed that led to labor arbitrage and “high efficiency” globalized supply chains, and so they are the source of these problems.

          Nothing you or I could have done would have made much difference in this situation, but they would love us to bicker with each other, instead of turning our anger and frustration towards them.

          1. rob

            This is what this thread has turned into an example of.
            A microcosm of our political system.
            A community divided. Who wins here?
            The top… not the middle and not the bottom,
            We are all used as pawns against each other, by the puppet masters.
            The sophisticates of the political class understand perfectly well how peoples emotions are tribal cues which can align people like the poles of a magnet.
            The real issue is the absolute majority of earthlings have a community of interest.

            Like they say, we need to be a little more charitable to each other, and be mindful of what it is we must fight against.
            If the people have no singularity, they have no power.
            if they only fight each other, they have effectively been beaten already, before the fight can even begin.

            1. Jeremy Grimm

              There was a bucket of crabs destined for the pot. One crab looked up and saw the edge and reached. Another climbed on that crab’s back and reached and grasped the edge. It began pulling itself out of the bucket. The first crab held on hoping perhaps to also grasp the edge and escape. But other crabs grabbed both and pulled them both back down into the bucket.

              If someone knows a better version I would like to hear it — and will steal it for later uses.

              1. farmboy

                Most of history says that having a full pantry was prudent. Nations did it, families did it, it is time to think just in time inventory is not appropriate for long time survival.

        2. Olga

          This is a problem without a solution. Both perspectives are justified, depending on the perspective. Perhaps the only way out is to maintain compassion and empathy for each other.

      7. WheresOurTeddy

        this is a blog for news, facts, and information. please keep your bronze age myths of semitic herdsmen in forums where they belong: somewhere else.

        Thanks, good talk

    3. The Rev Kev

      For what it is worth, I would stay on track the way you are both going as the Coronavirus is likely to transition to a long-term economic crisis. On the principle of prepare for the worse and hope for the best, I would keep up your stockpile if not add to it and keep on depending on groceries. Don’t forget to rotate new stuff for old as well. As far as this virus is concerned, this is still the early stages of the first wave so we have a long way to go yet.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        Rule # 1:”don’t do stupid $%*t”
        the corollary is “please do smart $%^t”….like “putting by” essentials…this is only prudent.
        But Rule #2 also applies:”Don’t be a D&&k”.
        if your neighbor is seen to be in need of something you have a surplus of…give it to them.
        a Gift Economy is not only possible in your “village”, but necessary…either overlying or underlying the “real” economy.
        and it makes up, in a moral sense, for any perceptions(or reality) of avarice from when you apply Rule # 1 and obtain prudent stores for a crisis. My ample stores assume that i’ll be helping the neighbors.
        I’ll note that the local rich around here, for the most part, never forgot this part(noblisse oblige), and are much more easily tolerated by the broader community.
        They give back, and are seen to give back…”know yer banker”, and all…and where he lives,lol…because it’s a check on bad behaviour.

        “Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be one.”-Marcus Aurelius

        1. Off The Street

          Start small, then work up.

          Be the change you want to see in your neighborhood.

        2. Carla

          Marcus Aurelius quote — beautiful! Thank you, Amfortas, for the gift of this entire comment.

      2. marcyincny

        That’s pretty much what we’re doing here but I’m also remembering the stories from ‘The Great Depression’ about men showing up at the farm, asking about a bit of work or a meal. I can see that happening, I can even see some of my neighbors asking for help six, seven months from now. We will all be tested.

      3. Yves Smith

        I disagree.

        The point of the stockpile is to avoid going out when the infection rate in the community is high. It’s no different than having a cellar full of root vegetables and grains to get you through the winter in the times of subsistence farming.

        Going out to restock defeats the purpose, particularly since store shelves are thinned and the effort is likely to be a partial or total bust.

    4. Edward

      I think the world is finally going to bail on the U.S. dollar in a serious way. There is too much U.S. incompetence and corruption, too many unresolved problems “resolved” by printing huge amounts of money. This is the big event on the horizon. What happens then?

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        China is too inscrutable and the EU is still the EU to do what the US did in 1945, but I suspect the growth and development of regional alliances will skyrocket. The US dollar will be reduced, but it’s still the currency for a entire continent with access to two oceans. It’s nearest competitors are Mexico, too small, and Brazil under Bolasarno. The US is simply too large for the dollar to get too crushed.

        I think growth of US associated multinationals is where the real hit will be. Keep the Yankees out.

        1. JTMcPhee

          I think of these Blob corps as “supranational.” They have gotten so big and powerful that many of them control wealth and political (and military) power that is bigger than all but a few nations, and they own so much of the political and infrastructures of even those nations that bringing them down might be Samson destroying the temple…

          On “blobs,” there’s this meme from 1958, “The Blob.” Read the plot description — there are so many echoes of the current situation on all fronts…

          And then everybody sniggers at the mention of “Soylent Green,” but there a supranational corp completes the destruction of the entire planetary ecology and persists on a business model of charging humans money or whatever for the privilege of eating their recycled fellow humans… Of course, the corporate executives continue to live in the highest possible style, as the endgame plays out.

        1. Wukchumni

          Guess who as a group is holding the most gold in these United States

          …the evangs

          The very word is mentioned 419x in the bible, and you know how fruity they are about anything in the good book

          It could get ugly if the almighty buck becomes just another currency whose value is based on performance on the field, our team looking very much like the Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders @ present.

          Not only would the evangs be the only cohesive political bloc, also the only cohesive financial bloc.

          In essence in a country of men & women suddenly financially blind, they’d be the only ones capable of doing anything, and if you despise them now, just wait.

        2. WheresOurTeddy

          baffling how some people still haven’t figured out “money printer go brrrrrrr”

        3. Massinissa

          Probably the silverites too. They still exist, I think, just in smaller numbers than goldbugs. Maybe because gold is more shiny.

      2. Jeremy Grimm

        I think that may happen but not now, not yet. The FED once again provided the dollar liquidity required to meet the sudden world-wide demand for U.S. dollars. Adam Tooze has several posts describing and analyzing this aspect of the coronavirus: “Crashed to Corona 1: The Dollar Shortage” []
        This is the first of three blog posts. I don’t claim to understand them all and still haven’t read the third post yet.

        There is also some helpful analysis by Tooze at VOX.
        “What both the left and the right get wrong about the coronavirus economic crisis” []

        1. Billy

          Since I started learning about all this financial stuff 20 years ago, I can now appreciate how a peasant in the Middle Ages looked upon the Church and the priesthood; there’s something big out there and I cannot get my hands on it, nor understand, nor control it, yet there’s this metaphysical force at work somehow.

            1. MLTPB

              A tolerant state religion?

              Non believers of money are not excommunicated or treated worse.

              Non believers of fiat money, who believe in money, but not fiat money, though, is a slightly different matter.

            2. griffen

              Between the choices of A. God B. godlike deity C. Un-god like deity or D. Mammon it is made pretty darn clear what gets worshipped.

              Can’t worship both ( A, B or C ) and D at same time. Or so it was said.

      3. notabanker

        I think you are correct, not sure on the timing but it is now inevitable. I’ve read a ton of analysis that talks about the world dependence on USD, but it all revolves around western finance constructs, derivatives, hedging, insurance, yada, yada. The US is not a sound investment, full stop.

        If I was the Russians and Chinese I’d be cashing out as much UST’s as I could and stockpiling oil and bailing out resource rich EM countries. Now is the time to turn fiat money into real assets because this is going to blow up spectacularly.

        1. Edward

          I don’t know much about economics, but at the end of the day there are winners and losers when the government gives away $4-6 trillion to the rich. Who are the losers and what incentive do they have to participate in this system?

          I think the situation with Russia and China may be more complicated. They may want to give the U.S. more rope to hang itself, i.e. avoid a crisis that would evict the dufuses in Washington and give them several more years to shoot themselves in the foot. Both Russia and China are doing quite well these days.

          This is just speculation on my part. I don’t know if this is a serious consideration, but I throw it out here as a possibility. Doubtless these countries also have other considerations.

    5. Keith

      I agree with your partner. In fact, my girlfriend and I are in the same scenario. I stress to her we need to use stores as long as we can, and avoid our preps until there is a disruption. You don’t know what the future holds, so it is best to be ready for it.

      If this all passes without a whimper, just think that you have some extra foods and essentials on hand so that you do not need to buy for a while.

      Lastly, don’t let the naysayers get you down. A prepper a someone who has prepared for an emergency whereas hoarding is the accusation the unprepared throw at those with foresight.

        1. Oregoncharles

          Enough rice, beans, and oatmeal to get 3 people through a few months takes up about a 2′ x 3′ space, 4 or 5 feet high. Part of a closet. The 5-gallon buckets cost a dollar each. The food itself adds up, 40 or 50 dollars for a 20-pound bag, so over $200 for our stash. Organic, though. You wouldn’t have to do it all in the same month.

          We started ordering that way to save money, but it does require some up front. We get toilet paper by the crate, too, and a couple of other things. By chance, I’d ordered a box of TP just before the virus hit. Still patting myself on the back about that one. But it’s no more than we normally order.

      1. Mel

        I’ll mention my favorite prepper — Johnnie at Granola Shotgun. Stresses the kind of “prepping” that was just standard life a century and a half ago, going for resilience and just having enough on hand that an emergency needn’t be a disaster. The lead photo is the kind of meal he makes out of his disaster supplies — which is also the food he eats every day. Other columns spell out more of his fondness for being in a community, Amfortas style.
        I was an idiot, just reading these articles without following the advice, until two weeks ago, and it’s kind of late now. When this is over …

  6. Wukchumni

    EXCLUSIVE: Manhattan and Hamptons’ wealthiest are hiring armed guards for their luxury properties, fearing a coronavirus ‘zombie apocalype’ with desperate criminals trying to break down their doors Daily Mail

    Wouldn’t the bad guise robbing Hampton’s households really be an ‘Aporkalypse’?

    New acronym for the start of a starving decade:


    Piggies by the Beatles

    We had 2 ways to go in the 2008 crisis, and we weaseled by bailing out those that needed to go to jail, buying us a dozen years of complacency-don’t worry-stupid human tricks utilizing a computer can fix anything financially, see we’ve proven it repeatedly.

    If we had collapsed then bringing on a great depression, it would’ve steeled us for this epoch knowing how to live austerely, but it wasn’t meant to be, and here we are on the cusp of cohesion collapsing-and once the thin blue line goes down plagued by the virus, we turn into a nation of thieves.

    The Fireman’s Ball from 1967 by Miloš Forman, is pretty instructive on what’s in store for us.

    It’s set @ a fireman’s ball in Czechoslovakia, and the running theme is everybody is stealing from one another-what precious consumer goods/food are being offered as raffle prizes @ the ball. It’s a hilarious film, Forman’s last one before exit stage left.

    I asked my mom what that was all about, and she related that our relatives in Prague had told her many times, that’s what Communism had turned the people into, petty thieves.

    Another chapter in the ongoing USSR/USA Bizarro World endgame.

    1. Billy

      Mr. Wuk,

      Carrying forward that old Soviet saw, “Corporations pretend to pay us and we pretend to work.” and
      “It’s OK to steal from the state, because it is the people–Us”

      Transliterated to America:
      “It’s OK to steal from corporations because they are just people…besides, if it’s under $950 in California, it’s only a misdemeanor, and, certain D.A.s won’t even prosecute those “quality of life crimes.”

      Go ahead, shoplift from AmazonWholeFoods, it feels so damn good!

  7. skippy

    Ref – Chest Physiotherapy (CPT) and Postural Drainage Positions

    Concur and was thinking about it for weeks as a basic need to know. Having grown up with chronic bronchitis, excessive but random respiratory response to bailing hay, and a couple of cases of pneumonia – its imperative knowledge.

    Just from the anxiety aspect in breathing or depletion of oxygen due to volume reduction for simple tasks E.g. makes breathing harder and creates feed back loops.

    Yet even after all that I learned to hold my breath for 5+min underwater and have not had any respiratory dramas for decades. Days where I wear a industrial grade mask all day long at work without any discomfort either.

    Highly recommend being familiar with it and have it saved just in case. Oh and the mental aspect is just as important as the physical side if not more.

    1. ambrit

      Oh yes to the mental side. Panic is the real killer. We have run off a hard copy of the postural “sign language” sheets.
      I worked with a genuine Ex-Navy Seal for a year once. He was going through some intensive “therapy” for PTSD issues. (He had been involved in the “raid” on Libya. Been blown up, and said that “things just went to H—.” He would set off the metal detectors at the airport even when naked.) He described the “full immersion” training in the deep end of the pool one fine day. I started to get claustrophobic just listening to the tale. I start deep breathing exercises whenever that panic sets in. He looked at me and remarked, “You drowned once didn’t you.” Which was true. I did drown and had to be revived when I was six.
      Point, if there is one, to the story; Panic is the killer. Train to deal with it when it pays you a visit.
      Stay safe and best wishes for your ordeal.

        1. Massinissa

          I was about to post that when I realized you posted it first, glad i noticed before posting. Dune is a great book,

      1. Zagonostra

        Fear is the mind killer -Frank Herbert. Which is related to panic, it’s fear that has taken over the driver’s seat of volition

    2. Carolinian

      There’s an asthma therapy where you vigorously exhale while pursing your lips to increase the pressure and thereby open up swollen airways in the lungs. Mira Sorvino’s dad wrote a book about it.

        1. Carolinian

          Yes there are two of us who remember who Paul Sorvino was.

          He swore by this non drug therapy for his chronic asthma but said you should get a doctor to show you how to do it right.

  8. Tom Stone

    Those rich folks hiring armed guards apparently haven’t read Machiavelli’s warnings about Mercenaries.

    1. Louis Fyne

      Reminds me of post-Roman Britain….it didn’t take long for the mercenaries to figure out how to cut out (sometimes literally) the middleman

    2. Craig H.

      What percentage of killed Roman Emperors were done by their closest personal bodyguards?

      1. The Rev Kev

        Still happens. In 1984 Indira Gandhi, the Prime Minister of India, was assassinated in New Delhi by two of her own bodyguards who emptied their guns into Gandhi as she walked to her office from an adjoining bungalow.

      2. Darius

        Can’t say, but I think the number of Roman emperors who died of natural causes may be counted on one, or at most two, hands. Aspiring to the Roman imperial throne was a death wish.

      3. MLTPB

        Even by their Roman wives* or sons.

        *Was Russia’s Catherine involved or was she not, Mockba being the third Rome?

      4. Lee

        A total of some 20% were assassinated by various parties. The list of those done in by the Praetorian Guard comes to 13. Their imprimatur in the choice of emperors was requisite in most instances. But they were an organ of the state, not in all ways comparable to the hired bodyguards of a private individual.

    3. The Rev Kev

      Been trying to remember which book I read it in but I think that it was in one of John Micheal Greer’s book that had an interesting bit in it. Years after America collapsed, visitors to the former wealthy areas found an interesting pattern. The former owners were all dead and the place cleared out and it became obvious that the bodyguards had killed the families and taken all the wealth. It seems that bodyguards are as trustworthy as the sort of wife that you can buy.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Yes, that was Greer, in his Retrotopia series.

        Sometimes wrong, never fails to be interesting.

      2. MichaelSF

        That was in Retrotopia, which I reread a couple of weeks ago. That scenario is not uncommon in “apocalyptic” SF books. In the book the anecdote took place a year or so after the collapse when organized scavenging was being done.

    4. WheresOurTeddy

      Have an ex-military friend who used to run survival seminars. The last 5 years, his primary customers have been panicky rich people fearing a 1789 scenario.

      The most common question he gets is some version of “how do i keep my helicopter pilot and my staff from turning on me once my money is meaningless?”

      His answer? “I would start treating them really well NOW.” None of them have ever come to this thought on their own. Not one.

  9. Amfortas the hippie

    Chomsky:””We should bear in mind that highly authoritarian vicious states are quite compatible with neoliberalism.””

    that’s gonna be the choice…it was always gonna be the choice.
    all the handwringing about “populism” totally misses this point…because some people don’t want to share.
    Bernie=Trump totally misses the point, too…in idiotic service to TINA.
    Neoliberalism can easily accommodate a Right Wing Authoritarianism.
    But it can’t co-exist with a leftish World Order where efficiency(sic) often must be jettisoned in favor of some moral consideration….like how many people are living on the streets, or how many people can’t afford food or medicine.
    If the Boss Class leaves the masses with no choice, we’ll have worse than fascism.
    and nobody will “win”.
    They must be reminded, in the strongest of terms, that Society does, indeed, exist…and they are embedded in it, too.(thinking of that Baffler article regarding the disposables(as opposed to deplorables))

    “Instant Karma’s gonna get you
    Gonna look you right in the face
    Better get yourself together darlin’
    Join the human race”-John Lennon

    1. ian

      Hey Amforas, just a big Thank You for all the hippie wisdom you’ve dispensed over the years to us NC readers. Re: “Instant Karma” – that song is a fave of mine though probably released before I was born. I’ve got a feeling it’s gonna be Slow-Motion Karma for this Pandemic. Some piece of esoteric wisdom I read somewhere regarding Karma was the thought that one should pray that you will pay for your sins in this life so you won’t need to in the next!

    2. MLTPB

      Authoritarian states can be very competent.

      Trains can be disciplined to show up on time, myth or not.

  10. allan

    Unbelievable: Tuesday’s primary mass casualty event will go on as scheduled in Wisconsin.
    Milwaukee will have five voting places open for 50,000 voters.
    From Natasha Korecki of Politico:

    Source close to Gov. Evers tells me he is not planning to take any more action to stop April 7 primary. That’s after Republicans snubbed his plea for relief in a special session today.

    In a statement, Evers said, “It’s time for every Republican legislator to do their jobs and take a vote on this commonsense proposal to extend the election date so everyone can vote safely from home. I urge every Wisconsinite to contact their legislators and demand a vote.” …

    Adding for context: There are several reasons behind Evers’ reasoning, I’m told.
    1. GOP-led Legislature has stonewalled attempts to move primary, extend voting or mail absentee ballots.
    2. If Evers tries to unilaterally shut down voting, it could go before WI Supreme Court.

    Should it go before the WI Supreme Court, Evers risks inadvertently creating precedent that potentially threatens his emergency powers, according to their reasoning.

    3. Evers doesn’t want to expend all of [his[ political capital in this fight … saying it needs help from an uncooperative, GOP-dominated to play ball on a broader coronavirus funding package. “The decision-making for us – we have to look beyond April 7 as we respond to this public health crisis.”

    Evers is truly the embodiment of the modern Democratic Party.
    Keeping the Powder Dry Until All of Our Base is Dead.

  11. Basil Pesto

    a bit more on the footballers (soccer players)

    including a bit more of that ever-emotive ‘tax-payer’ language that us MMT-aware people love so much.

    As silly as footballers’ wages are, a Tory government asking the non-oxbridge (a crucial distinction, I think) rich to chip in to the recovery when they absolutely don’t need to and said government controls the money supply is, ahem, a bit rich.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      The irony of course is that the vast majority of professional footballers earn very little money and can have their careers terminated pretty much on a whim (if not a bad tackle). The high paid elite footballers are the same as pretty much any other profession – the absolute elite can demand huge wages because of scarcity value. Its weird that they are asked to contribute so much when, for example, the elite layer of lawyers or doctors or advertising execs (etc.) are not. The only difference I can see is that top footballers are from working class backgrounds so somehow different rules apply.

  12. Krystyn Podgajski

    RE: Therapeutic Options for COVID-19

    “The problem is that animal models made using mice that have the ACE2 gene knocked out suggest that more ACE2 receptors could have some beneficial effects under infection. This situation therefore needs more clarification before any prudent recommendations can be universally given.”

    GAHHHHH! The lack of imagination in these researchers is so frustrating!!! These inconsistencies are beautiful clues!

    The ACE2 enzyme that is attached to the cell has two ions of zinc in it and the ACE2 is pulled INTO the cell WITH SARS-CoV-2! That means it brings zinc into the cell as well.

    Also, the more ACE2 you have the more likely you will shed ACE2 and the virus will bind to the soluble ACE2 and not the ACE2 on the cell. The ACE2 shedding is preformed by a zinc dependent enzyme called ADAM17.

    Zinc deficiency would cause issues in both these processes. If you think it is impossible to be zinc deficient think again. They should be testing serum zinc in every patent that come in with the virus, if only at least to rule out what might be the most simple way to prevent needless suffering.

    We need to stop “fighting” and “being at war” with the virus and start making our bodies a strong house of peace.

    1. Aumua

      Wow, I didn’t know we had an expert in virology with us!

      Would you mind sharing your source(s) for these notions?

  13. Amos

    Wow, the Daily Mail is on a roll with the class warfare articles. Yesterday it’s misinformation about why stores are boarding up, today it’s about private armies. Private cops / body guards have always been in the oligarch mix. And then the Mail goes on to note how crime has dropped!

    1. MLTPB

      The rich.

      And the powerful, like strongmen around the world, candidates, etc.

      They also have protection.

  14. Wukchumni

    Been boning up on my acorn game, as it kept a few thousand Wukchumni fed here for a couple thousand years, and the population of 1820 is remarkably about the same as 2020, so there should be enough bounty in the midst of a food mutiny.

    I’ve ordered some acorn flour from South Korea to better acquaint us with it, and seeing as we have 3 different kinds of oak trees here, it’ll be interesting to taste the difference in nutmeats.

    From my understanding, the Black Oak was the favored acorn provider in terms of taste compared to other oaks, but you don’t see them that much in the foothills, it’s more of tree from 3,000 to 6,000 feet in the Sierra Nevada.

  15. farmboy

    Yesterday, April 4 was the 52nd anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr with Bobby Kennedy right after that on June 5th. The Vietnam War was raging after the Tet offensive when the VietCong and the North Vietnamese almost pushed the US into the sea. Democratic Nationla convention in August saw 10,000 demonstraters assaulted by a Chicago police riot. Richard Nixon won the Presidency in November. This country was ripping itself apart, pitting families, generations against each other. We’re not there yet but it looms.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Tet was, I believe, not such a great victory got the NVA and VC. Did not matter.

      Not sure what combination of factors actually got the lumbering Imperial billy to walk away from all those dunk costs, there’s sure no agreement on it. Just stupid effing Imperial idiocy and always,,ALWAYS, remember that

      “War is a racket. It always has been.

      It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.

      A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small “inside” group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.

      In the World War [I] a mere handful garnered the profits of the conflict. At least 21,000 new millionaires and billionaires were made in the United States during the World War. That many admitted their huge blood gains in their income tax returns. How many other war millionaires falsified their tax returns no one knows.

      How many of these war millionaires shouldered a rifle? How many of them dug a trench? How many of them knew what it meant to go hungry in a rat-infested dug-out? How many of them spent sleepless, frightened nights, ducking shells and shrapnel and machine gun bullets? How many of them parried a bayonet thrust of an enemy? How many of them were wounded or killed in battle?

      Out of war nations acquire additional territory, if they are victorious. They just take it. This newly acquired territory promptly is exploited by the few — the selfsame few who wrung dollars out of blood in the war. The general public shoulders the bill….”

      More effing racketeering stupidity to follow, institutionalized. “Full spectrum domination of the Battlespace” that is the whole world…

      Stupid effing humans with a death wish.

    2. s.n.

      This country was ripping itself apart, pitting families, generations against each other. We’re not there yet but it looms.

      And yet US unemployment rate in 1968 was below 4%. Those were boom times – when I remember unionised factory workers could afford golf course memberships and drive cadillacs. And, ultimately, the 1968 rebellions proved globally [France Mai 68….] to NOT be revolutionary situations. We’re in a qualitatively different epoch….1968, no matter how exciting and fashionable, was froth compared to what we’re enterring today

      What, generally speaking, are the symptoms of a revolutionary situation? We shall certainly not be mistaken if we indicate the following three major symptoms:

      (1) when it is impossible for the ruling classes to maintain their rule without any change; when there is a crisis, in one form or another, among the “upper classes”, a crisis in the policy of the ruling class, leading to a fissure through which the discontent and indignation of the oppressed classes burst forth. For a revolution to take place, it is usually insufficient for “the lower classes not to want” to live in the old way; it is also necessary that “the upper classes should be unable” to rule in the old way;

      (2) when the suffering and want of the oppressed classes have grown more acute than usual;

      (3) when, as a consequence of the above causes, there is a considerable increase in the activity of the masses, who uncomplainingly allow themselves to be robbed in “peace time”, but, in turbulent times, are drawn both by all the circumstances of the crisis and by the “upper classes” themselves into independent historical action.

      Without these objective changes, which are independent of the will, not only of individual groups and parties but even of individual classes, a revolution, as a general rule, is impossible. The totality of all these objective changes is called a revolutionary situation.”

    3. Zagonostra

      We are living the consequences of those time now. I don’t think it’s coincidental that Dylan released his ‘Murder Most Foul’ just this past week.

      There was no magic bullet, only the ensuing magical thinking. We don’t want to look into those lying murderous eyes of what was done.

      Those events you mention are still very much with us as are the evil ones who look out at you with those eyes.

    4. alex morfesis

      most revolutions and revolts are usually the lower nobles against those above who have lost favor…the romanoffs were doing their morganatic thingee as did the arch duke of usetobefamousistan…the first government after the fall of the tzar was led by a noble or two in mother russia…the driver for the archduke (not his regular driver) who turned down a dead end which was clearly marked as a dead end and was a dead end for the arch duke where a back up killer just happened to be sitting there minding his own business sipping a coffee when there just magically appeared the archduke stuck trying to slowly go backwards…and unlike most assassins…sorta kinda didnt kill the driver…you can always tell an inside job when the driver is still alive after the fact…most professional “painters” off the driver first…then go after the target…

      as to france 1968…degaulle got his second kennedy as that second kennedy was sorta kinda involved in that french noise…degaulle was hiding in germany when he was told RFK was killed…and then smiled as he returned and gave a pardon to those who might have been in dallas in 1963…

      the fairly tales that are told to children of what revolutions are and how they proceed are pleasant and simple…wonderful bedtime stories…

      sorry to disappoint…but the chances are better of a sudden unseen giant meteor slamming into the moon and bouncing of a chunk, throwing our ecosystem into hell as the moons orbit goes off in a different trajectory…than a simple little (r)evolution…


  16. The Rev Kev

    “It’s Hardly Shocking the Navy Fired a Commander for Warning of Coronavirus Threat. It’s Part of a Pattern.”

    Definitely part of a pattern. The reason that that carrier was infected with Coronavirus was because the Navy ordered it to make a stop in Vietnam. The Navy knew that Coronavirus was getting away from the Vietnamese but sent it there anyway and had “sailors from both ships participated in cultural exchanges and community service projects, including making crafts, playing sports, a language exchange, gardening, and painting” at a variety of locations.”

    The other ship that was with that carrier – the guided missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill – is also stuck in Guam but I have no idea if they have Coronavirus aboard as well. I am guessing that they do.

    1. divadab

      Thomas Modly, Acting Secretary of the Navy, is the one responsible for firing Captain Brett Crozier. Note that Crozier’s men cheered him as he left the ship to be relieved of his command. And why was he relieved of his command? For speaking the truth and acting in the best interests of his ship and his men. Here’s Modly’s very truncated wkipedia bio:

      If this is typical of how the military is commanded, by greasy politicians more concerned with optics than actual competence and ability, no wonder we are losing all over the world.

        1. divadab

          Ya but I think Kimmel was set up to be the patsy for Pearl Harbor- Crozier made the mistake of making his superiors look bad. At least this shows there is still some principled leadership in the military (Crozier) – tho they (Modly) seem to be doing their best to shut it down in favor of sycophancy and risk-avoidance.

        2. Big River Bandido

          Kimmel had lost the confidence of those under his command. I don’t see a parallel there.

      1. voteforno6

        I wouldn’t be surprised if there were an admiral or two whispering in Modly’s ear that Crozier needed to be fired. That’s one thing that the generals and admirals are really good at – shifting blame to the politicians. Crozier’s violated the most sacrosanct rule in the military – don’t ever embarrass the chain of command. He’s a senior officer, so he definitely knew what he was getting into.

        COVID19 has quite clearly changed, well, everything. Those who understand that the virus doesn’t respect our opinions, our worldviews, our sense of propriety can see that and act accordingly. Unfortunately, there are too many people that think that the old rules apply, and they are the ones who think it right and proper that Crozier be fired for his breach of military etiquette.

    2. lambert strether

      Not to be countersuggestible, but. wouldn’t it have been better for the Commander to have prevented this visit?

      1. ambrit

        I’ll bet he tried and was overruled by Washington. The behind the scenes story will be well hidden.

          1. ambrit

            He may have really been “punished” for making sure that a copy of his ‘complaining’ letter ended up in the public press. Thus, the exposure of the letter, not the letter itself, was the ‘crime’ for which he was punished. Bureaucracies really, really hate it when a complainer does an end run around the “blocking function” of ‘official silence.’

        1. JTMcPhee

          Kind of like how the friendly-fire killing of Pat Tillman, NFL hero and sucker for the military mythos (hence the title of the book about Tillman’s life and death titled “Where Men Win Glory” by Jon Krakauer.) Tillman and his troops were sent on a fool’s errand by rear echelon motherf***er commanders. Tillman was killed by one part of the stupidly divided patrol that in their fear, took any figure in the distance to be “hostile.”

          And then the effing Brass tried to turn it into a story of heroic sacrifice in combat, lying in their teeth, then dissipating all consequence for the idiots that put Tillman there and the PR-sucking Brass that tried to sell the story to keep the mopes at home pacified and believing in the idiocy of Notagainistan. Here’s an Intercept takedown of the “valor fraud” the Pentagram pulled:

      2. The Rev Kev

        Trump came out with the following-

        “I guess the captain stopped in Vietnam and people got off in Vietnam,” Trump said Saturday. “Perhaps you don’t do that in the middle of a pandemic or something that looked like it was going to be. History would say you don’t necessarily stop and let your sailors get off.”

        Since when did Captains get to choose their destinations? I bet that this was what Esper told Trump who actually believed him-

        1. Lambert Strether

          > Since when did Captains get to choose their destinations?

          Not my point. If the Captain is going to go to the mat with a letter, then it would be better to have sent the letter to avoid infection in the first place, rather than to demand help after the infection took place.

          Nelson, for example, would have “turned a blind eye.”

          1. ambrit

            Nelson, however, won the battle in which he turned the “blind eye.” If Nelson had lost, I’ll wager Guineas to Groats that he would have been pilloried, perhaps literally so back then.

    3. Hoppy

      On Tuesday, Gilday told reporters it was unclear if the sailors became infected with the coronavirus following the ship’s most recent port of call in early March to Da Nang, Vietnam.

      “It would be difficult to tie down these active cases to that particular port visit,” he said . “We’ve had aircraft flying to and from the ship and so we just don’t want to say that it was that particular port visit.”

  17. Seth Miller

    Re: Latina Workers in Chicago & Poultry Workers in Virginia Strike Over COVID-19

    Not often discussed is the total regulatory failure that brought about these workers’ distress. OSHA could have swept down and imposed emergency COVID-19 regulations in every dangerous workplace. Instead, you hardly hear anything about OSHA’s role, or its total absence from the battlefield in this emergency.

  18. Local to Oakland

    Regarding toilet paper, the NY Times writer wants us to stop using it.

    Environmental arguments aside, with people not going to offices and restaurants, there should be plenty of industrial tp in the supply chain. How hard would it be to redirect those supplies to consumers? I can find a restaurant supplier online and order toilet paper.

    There seem to be similar issues with food. A lot is usually purchased by restaurants. For example, what is happening now to the fresh fish restaurants usually buy? Is it going to waste? Why can’t we adapt?

    It is ironic. The usual argument for capitalism is that it is nimble and flexible. The NY Times article promotes the opposite.

    1. Bill Smith

      I expect it will get redirected. But that takes time as the part of the supply chain that moves stuff was built to move a certain amount of stuff at any one time. Currently the demand is far in excess of that level.

      Packaging is another issue. A local supermarket is now selling stuff packaged in sizes for restaurants. Costco sizes and bigger for everyone!

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      It’s the breakdown of competence. The 55 year Olds who make decisions or provide the limits of the decisions the nominally in charge 65 year Olds make are grossly incompetent as children of the Reagan Era when they became adults. Beyond the Jack Welch model, they don’t know how to do anything.

      1. divadab

        It’s selection for obedience and ability to follow instruction, and suppression of anyone who shows creative thought. This is really what the “War on (some) Drugs” is about, IMHO, and what drugging (ritalin) “problem children” in schools is also about. It took forty years to reach this point of rule by those completely unable to think outside the box, but boy can they follow orders. It will take a long time to unwind this generational destruction of natural leadership.

        1. Geo

          “If you’re afraid to be wrong you’ll never have an original idea.” – Kenneth Robinson discussing the use of standardized testing in schools and how it’s creatung good instruction followers and bad thought-leaders and creative thinkers.

          1. ambrit

            Well, I would make a distinction between “obedient” citizens and “collectivist” citizens.
            In the case of China, I have read that the cadres of the old Party members were mobilized to do the basic command and control activities at the street level. Those cadres were a vital tool in enforcing some hard policies. Korea, I know little about. Do the Koreans have a stronger sense of civic responsibility? I don’t know. I do notice that Korea has had some effective popular mobilizations to counter the more egregious examples of authoritarian looting behavior by their elites. So, it looks as if Korea has a grassroots organizational capacity similar to but ideologically different from that existing in next door neighbour China.
            Compare those examples to the West.
            Stay safe on your littoral MLTPB.

            1. MLTPB

              Thank you, and you too.

              I believe, Korea bein Confucian for a long time, being responsible means to listen to those above, and observe if the mandate from heaven has been removed from their elites. If yes, mobilize.

              In China, even after the Cultural Revolution, traditional values are coming back. Cadres enforcing hard policies could be easier at the initial stages, based on traditions. Watch for signs of the mandate being retained or not.

              As for us, we are what we are, and we go with what we have. If we are not already, it’s not easy to become Confucian overnight, if that’s what we want.

              1. ambrit

                Interesting last paragraph that. A bit of a Zen sensibility embedded in it. For, if we knew “what we wanted,” we would have already finished the Eightfold Path.
                “And then, to play in the Fields of the Lord.”

                  1. ambrit

                    Actually, I’m more like the acolyte who wouldn’t stop pestering the teacher with questions, until the teacher, one day, in exasperation, broke the begging bowl over his head. Then the radiant smile appeared.
                    A lot of us are at that point where our rice bowls are breaking. How many will learn the lesson?

                    1. ambrit

                      Hmmm…. You are right. Isolation time can be experienced at various levels of “quality.” One good thing about “isolation time” proper is that one suddenly finds oneself bereft of myriads of competing demands for attention. A sudden silence is deafening.

    3. divadab

      Anyway you don’t need toilet paper – in this the NYT propaganda outlet is quite right. Just shower after your daily poop. No problem.

    4. John k

      It’s short term. Mfrs are aware the industrial version isn’t moving while the charming type is out of stock. Fixed soon. I bought one just in case bale back in early feb when there was plenty, likely there will be plenty in stores soon… though maybe some think they need ten bales…

      1. ambrit

        And here I was, buying in bulk whenever it was on sale, and thinking that I was being frugal.
        Instead of austerity being the “new normal,” what if it turns out that frugality is? The two are not the same.

        1. eg

          This has been our MO for non-perishables since forever.

          The lessons of the Great Depression have been ingrained in some quarters.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “Bernie Sanders’ campaign still ‘assessing’ but focusing on a more pressing issue: coronavirus”

    I am afraid that Bernie has left his run too late for this. A real leader would have been all over this a month ago and made himself as the person that took the initiative on Coronavirus instead of leaving the way clear for Trump. He could have demonstrated to people his initiative and how he was ready to become President by being on top of this pandemic because nobody else was. He could have told people that the only way to cope with this pandemic and any other future ones was health-care for all! All Biden had was to tell people to go vote for him and then go die. Saying that “we are assessing the campaign” just makes him sound indecisive. He should be saying “Hell, no! I’m here to fight!” I don’t know what is going through his mind and Joe Biden seems to have a lot of pull with Bernie which is bad. And for all I know, Bernie has “Joe Biden is a friend on mine!” as his ringtone.

    1. tongorad

      I have recently received charity fundraising requests from Bernie, but campaign fundraising requests? – no.

      Certainly charity fundraising is necessary and admirable. But so is campaigning against Joe Biden.

      For instance, I watched a bit of Sunday morning news, and one of the shows (forget which one) had Joe Biden on. Biden was calling for a Defense Production Act for Banks. Let’s say that again, A Defense Production Act for Banks!

      Biden is as much of a menace as Trump – perhaps more.

      1. ambrit

        Biden seems to be a front for the elite groups who think that Trump is too populist. I can see Trump running to the Left of Biden and winning.

        1. Hepativore

          That might already be happening. Trump is making noises about a Medicare-For-COVID program while Biden and Pelosi refuse to even consider it in the face of a global disaster.

          The Democratic Party is determined to go down with the ship of its own hubris. If they want to help Trump get reelected that badly, why do they not concede the general election right now and save themselves the time and money of running a presidential campaign?

          1. John k

            Lots of highly paid jobs in a campaign. Cmon, man, these ops only come along every four years.,, The billion isn’t all spent on ads…
            Somebody’s gotta grift…

      2. WheresOurTeddy

        Bernie has only sent out fundraising emails for charity for over 2 weeks.

        Joe is encouraging people to vote in person (COUGH voting machines COUGH) on Tuesday and charging $2800 for a virtual fundraiser.

        Which side are you on?

    2. divadab

      Give the guy a break. He’s running a massive campaign in the face of the universal opposition of the power structure and its propaganda outlets. He’s not Jesus Christ, he’s a hard-working politician who is not in it for the money but rather to advance right principles of governance for the benefit of the PEOPLE!

      It makes me sick to see what the totally contemptible “Democratic Party” is doing in its corruption, advancing a candidate who by any measure is INCOMPETENT but compliant to the wishes of the wealthy.

      Don;t vote DEM (or REP for that matter)! For anything, even dogcatcher. Vote independent and break the corrupt duoploy.

      1. Geo

        Thank you. Too many seem to expect an infallible savior instead of the fallible humans that are trying to do the right thing in their own limited way.

        It’s not about what Bernie did or didn’t do. It’s about a nation that doesn’t want what he is offering and a power establishment that vociferously fights to keep them from wanting it despite the peoples’ best interests. This is the country that laughed when Kucinich proposed a Department of Peace but loved W’s Shock & Awe. A country that complains about a dying middle class but shops at WalMart and Amazon.

        Erich Fromm often wrote/spoke about how capitalism was teaching us “what to want” and we were losing the ability to know how to want. The idea that two prepackaged choices are considered freedom even though we have no freedom to change what is in those packages – just like our political parties. Two options with one outcome does not equal freedom no matter how much they tell us it does. We need to somehow break out of the mind trap we’re all in

        1. Darius

          The Democrats’ main task in 2020 is to ensure Bernie gets nowhere near the White House. As far as they’re concerned, their work is done now. Time to get back to empty gestures, kayfabe, and virtue signaling. As for Trump. If the Democrats can throw the election but leave no fingerprints, that is the optimal. Winning would mean they are holding the hot potato. They have no idea what to do with it. Being the losers means they can indulge 24/7 in time-wasters like Russia! Russia! Russia! And no one is better for Democrat fundraising than Donald Trump!

          1. MillenialSocialist

            imagine if the democratic party showed even 50% of the energy and problem-solving that they employed to STOP BERNIE towards *literally anything else*

          2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Critical for the Dems to blame the loss on Bernie and not on the drooling mannequin they have selected as their candidate or on their utter failure for a generation to address the needs of the 90%. That effort is already under way.

            With a particular shoutout to Jill Biden, her failure to put her foot down as the wife of an early onset dementia patient is completely unconscionable. What could be more anti-responsible and anti-feminist than her “stay home and bake cookies, let the man do whatever he wants” approach.

        2. Brian (another one they call)

          When I come upon the now ubiquitous websites that want to inform me and suggest that they help me by explaining “how to watch” a television program, I know there isn’t much time left for real education.
          If only people will find a cut off line, an insult to far, a theft that changes life…
          taking crap has to become offensive again. No more sanitization of thought. We require thought crime because it inspires, thought.

        3. anon in so cal

          David Harvey’s “artifices of needs inducement,” in The Condition of Postmodernity.

      2. Oregoncharles


        Now to get new people on the ballot, when you can’t circulate petitions. Seriously – I’m looking for ideas here, since NC seems like a good place for that. There is already a lawsuit underway. But that’s dicey.

        1. ambrit

          One idea. Since the several instances of petitioning I have seen here involved people standing around near the entranceways to large malls or stores; do the same thing, but have the actual paper petition sheet set up on a podium with pens chained to it, like at the banks, etc. Have the “shill” stand off to the side and do the barkers rap separated from the podium. The “marks” can sign the sheet, if so inclined, without being close to the “shill.” A little labour intensive, but then, isn’t all retail politics so? For “S—s and Giggles” the “shill” can be dressed up in a cardboard “Robot Suit.” It would look like something out of a Futurist or Cubist painting.

      3. HotFlash

        Absolutely! He’s been saying all that stuff for a month or near, and the MSM is not interested in relaying that message (Whoopi w/Bernie on The View, QED). If’n you want him to president, you gotta elect him. You’re not going to see clips of his talks on the MSM, but you can go to Youtube.

    3. Eric

      Posted this earlier in response to water cooler discussion on Friday about medicare for all. I’m still assessing too:

      I have posted similar comments and seen them disappear into oblivion. It’s like no one thinks having a effective message is important to a candidate?

      Medicare is a successful and popular 50+ year program. It is being privatized as we speak
 and the complexity is becoming a feature, not a bug.

      Sanders could have positioned himself as “not your father’s Democrat but your Grandfather’s
 Democrat” and a defender and
 expansionist of traditional medicare.

      He appealed to younger voters but turned off older voters with the “socialist” label. I doubt a political scientist could come up with a worse strategy given the realities of who actually turns out to vote.

      Sanders never seems to acknowledge “moral hazard”. Thus the “free stuff” label was ready made and sticks.

      Nothing wrong with medicare co pays or deductibles; they are night and day better than private insurer
co pays and deductibles.

      The video posted at Common Dreams on April 2, 2020 is wonderful. See:

      ‘Still Ahead of His Time’: New Video Details Bernie Sanders’ Prescient Warnings About Pandemic Threat and Need for Medicare for All

      I find it telling that the Sanders campaign did not produce the video.

      1. mpalomar

        Agree that Sanders could have positioned better, always amazes me that FDR was elected 4 frigging times and Democrats, more and more, have been running away from New Deal philosophy and programs ever since.

        Of course nobody runs a perfect campaign and any campaign has to contend with the MSmedia pulling the mike away from messaging that is contrary to the conventional wisdom. Sanders’ message often had a hard time getting out to be heard.

        2016 was probably too late for Bernie to walk back his history as a democratic socialist, even if he cared to.

        It seems to me that even in universal, single payer health care, copays should be open to review as possibly (there may be a logic to discourage hypochondriacs from abusing the system) counterproductive to outcome.

        1. Portlander

          I just finished reading the book “Happy Days Are Here Again” about the 1932 Democratic Convention that nominated Roosevelt. The Democratic establishment tried to stop him on the first three ballots. They almost succeeded. It was nip and tuck until the very end. He won the nomination by appealing directly to the people in their State Conventions and Primaries, not the bosses. One rather dark aspect: Roosevelt’s coalition included the South, and that’s why he did very little to advance civil rights in his four terms.

          I do agree that Bernie’s “we’re still assessing” shtick is wearing very thin. He has a path to the nomination and he should take it.

          On the other hand, with each passing day Biden digs a deeper hole for himself, so maybe Bernie’s strategy may bear fruit in the end.

          1. ambrit

            If given the choice, the Establishment Democrats will nominate the lich of Biden rather than Sanders. Sanders has to knock Biden out of the race to have any siort of chance at the nomination for himself. Perhaps it is all a matter of timing. Now that the convention has been pushed back to August, Sanders has to watch out for new ‘spoilers’ being stood up against him.
            Sanders is doing a service for the American people. Either he gets the nomination and fights hard for the main prize, or he sheepdogs the progressives and finally exposes the terminal corruption within the Democrat Party. The Democrat Party is reshaped or destroyed. Both are acceptable outcomes.
            If I want a Republican President, I’ll vote for the Republican Party candidate, not the Pseudo-Republican the Democrat Party elites want to force down the throats of the electorate.

          2. divadab

            Yes FDR owed the Southern Dems big-time. I think the cotton States are an overlooked player in the dirty deal that criminalized cannabis. Most hemp was grown in northern, Republican States. Hemp was increasingly, with newer processing machinery, a direct competitor to cotton. Prohibition took hemp out of the farmers’ cash crop portfolio, and directly benefited king cotton.

            Yes, Hearst with his newsprint cartel, Dupont with his new nylon, both wanted the competition of hemp removed. And thousands of recently-unemployed prohibition agents wanting to keep the brown people down rounded out the dirty deal.

      2. MillenialSocialist

        “Nothing wrong with medicare co pays or deductibles; they are night and day better than private insurer
co pays and deductibles.”

        Lowered Expectations by the Oligarchy: Successful

    4. Otis B Driftwood

      Wouldn’t it have been nice if Sanders had conducted a series of virtual town halls with medical professionals and public health officials around the country to help raise visibility of this issue?

      Or maybe he should have pivoted his fundraising from his campaign to providing covid-related aid?

      He could have also urged his army of volunteers to phone bank in states that were about to vote at the polls (like Wisconsin) to urge them to NOT go to the polls and instead vote by mail.

      Yeah, I can only wish he were such a leader.

      1. Big River Bandido

        I have been seeing news reports here and there that in fact, Sanders is doing all these things. The media will not cover them. All Whoopi Goldberg wants to know is when Bernie will drop out.

        1. divadab

          The revolution will not be televised. Even Bernie Sanders won;t be televised. They think we are stupid cattle and they are usually right.

      2. Aumua

        Yeah in his defense he did take an early leadership role in some respects, and I thought he was very presidential sounding his town hall meetings but he ain’t the president and guess who heard of those efforts by him to take a leadership role… no one except Bernie supporters who sought that information out because he got NO MENTION in any mainstream media. Same as it’s always been. They’ll mention any half-assed b.s. Biden spouts but not Bernie. Never Bernie.

        OTOH he has had other ways to get noticed and he has failed to leverage those ways. More hard times are on the way, looks like.

    5. The Rev Kev

      I know that I have been hard lately on Sanders but just saw this. Jimmy Dore did a video where he received an email from Bernie. Whatever else is in his proposals, it says the following-

      ‘Let me be clear: I am not proposing that we pass Medicare for All in this moment. That fight continues into the future.’

      In the middle of a pandemic. When people will be losing their job-linked healthcare by the tens of millions and Bernie is talking about 87 million people. When people are frightened and will follow finally the message of Medicare for all he rules it out until better times. Here is the full message-

      And if you want to watch the original Jimmy Dore 28-minute video, it is here (some swearing)-

  20. marym

    “Two unions representing the overwhelming majority of U.S. transit workers who operate bus, subway, and streetcar systems are jointly vowing to take “aggressive action” if system operators don’t better protect their workers from COVID-19.

    The Transport Workers Union of America (TWU) and the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) have entered into an historic agreement to work collectively to put maximum pressure on transit agencies that are failing to take protective measures to safeguard transit workers, including the provision of masks and gloves.”

    1. GERMO

      Member here — it’s almost too timid without an additional demand for hazard pay, which should be given for all essential workers out there, groceries, cleaners, etc. Time and a half, retroactive to when the emergency was declared, and lasting until the emergency is lifted by whatever state or locality you’re in. Congress can print the money, obvs.
      I see medical folks on the mass transit all the time. The drivers are going to start getting sick in droves, no matter how many masks and gloves you throw their way. The vehicles are virus cans.

      1. marym

        Thank you for your comment. I agree there should be hazard pay for all front-line workers. I hope that unions and other organizers will include this in their demands; and that the rest of us will put pressure on politicians to support the workers, and contribute to worker support organizations if we’re able.

  21. divadab

    Re: Golfers required to use a single cart: Why not flipping walk the course and work off your fat ass, boys? Heck I let a guy play through who was on the local college golf team who was RUNNING the course – he played 54 holes in one day. I betcha covid will hardly slow him down.

    1. John

      The point of rich people golfing is not exercise.

      The point of rich people golfing is to make deals far away from the serfs prying eyes and ears.

      1. MillenialSocialist

        golf is a crime against the environment and later this century our descendants will marvel at how much water we wasted on endless lawns for a rich man’s networking game while the planet burned

        1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          Golf needs to be shut down like all the other sports.

          F Golf.

          See Robin Williams.

          1. ambrit

            Robin Williams is dead. (Suspiciously like the way Carradine went out too.) Thus, I doubt if there will be any Robin Williams Comedy Tours in the rest of my lifetime. I’ll only get to see him, probably as he greets the load of us to the Infernal Realm.

        2. wilroncanada

          To Millenial Socialist
          Water plus massive chemical application, leaving water assisted chemical soup runoff to foul waterways.

      2. Tom Doak

        Maybe, but golf is not only for rich people. There are plenty of courses available to all for $50 per round or even less for municipal courses, which is not that expensive for a four-hour activity.

        1. JTMcPhee

          What percent of the 90 percent can “afford” to spend $50 plus the cost of clubs or club rental and the other accouterments for that ‘activity?’

          I worked a summer job as a caddy. I have a pretty jaded view of that ‘activity.’ Yes, there was a lot of deal-making and inter business coordination that I was too young to recognize as antitrust anticompetitive.

          One guy, Vic something, always asked for me, since I was the youngest and most recent caddy, hence he could stiff me on both the caddy fee and tip. Quite a guy, he walked the fairways and greens alternately belching and farting. His gig was running those inspirational seminars that fired up the sales forces and built skills in climbing the corporate ladder. A $5,000 bet on a hole was routine. He also cheated exceedingly, piking up his ball and throwing it with a handful of sand out of a trap. He also would stomp opponents’ golf balls into the turf. I had enough one day at the 8th hole, which was the farthest from the clubhouse. He had a big wager going and missed what would, absent the betting, have been a gimme putt, losing the hole. He was so pissed he swung his putter in a vicious swipe. It should have hit me in the face if I had not been holding the pin in front of me. Another time he lost his temper on a water hole, this with another caddy, picked up his bag and threw it into the pond. After he cooled down a bit, he ordered the caddy to go retrieve his bag and clubs.

          Yah, activity. “Caddy Shack” does not begin to capture the essence of it.

    2. cyclist

      I regularly ride my bike along one of the roads that skirts the Congressional Country Club in Potomac, MD. There seemed to be a fair amount of activity there until the last couple weeks. I was curious about the place and its massive clubhouse, so I had a look at their website. The first paragraph of the club’s history: “It all began in 1921 as the result of efforts by Congressmen Oscar E. Bland and O.R. Luhring of Indiana. They felt the need for a Club where Members of Congress could meet socially with businessmen. Chevy Chase and Columbia Country Clubs were both in existence but they were mostly for Washingtonians and did not specialize in members of Congress. The idea was taken to Herbert Hoover, who at the time was the Secretary of Commerce, and he agreed to help wholeheartedly…..”

      I’m hoping never to look up and see AOC on the links with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer!

      1. JTMcPhee

        Congressional Country Club was racially exclusive until fairly recently. My first wife’s father was a chief lobbyist and PR guy for US Steel/USX. So of course the reception for the wedding had to be a big deal. It was held at Congressional. My ex and I were law school students (about to graduate) and we were “allowed” to invite a few of our friends — most of the guest list was business contact paybacks and indebtedness. One of our friends was black. When he drove up, dressed to the nines, he was told that blacks were not permitted and in any event he would have to use the servants’ entrance to even get past the wall. I give him props for persisting, but it took intervention by my ex-FIL and his cronies to let him join the festivities.

        This was in 1976.

        Interesting aside — the photographer her folks hired was a moonlighting CIA guy. He got some really great candids, and strangely enough, most of the people he photographed had no memory of him at all. Totally nondescript and invisible. “They walk among us…”

    3. doug

      Some courses here require a cart be rented. NO walking allowed.
      Not all players are fat assess, nor boys.
      Covid doesn’t discriminate, running fast or not at all.

      1. ambrit

        I remember playing the local Par Three course when I was a bit of a duffer. Walking all the way. To require the rental of a cart is simply a way of weeding out “those people” from polluting the Club.
        Agreed about the equal opportunity aspect of the Dreaded Pathogen. This is literally ‘new.’ We won’t really get a feel for the basic life cycle and pathology of this virus for some time to come. Indeed, if it follows the pattern of the flu, it will constantly return in slightly mutated forms every year from now on.
        ‘Herd Immunity’ is just a politically correct way of saying “cull the herd.”

        1. divadab

          @ambrit –

          Herd Immunity means much more than “cull the herd” – it means the herd has acquired immunity via either a) natural means (get it and get better) or b) with a vaccine. I’m betting more on A since even the best cold vaccine is only 50% effective in any given year.

          In some respects I’m kinda hoping I’ve already had it so I have immunity when the next version comes around. I was quite sick for a week in February. Waiting for the antibody test to be available to check. I know people who’ve had it and it’s bad, but not that bad for most people.

          1. ambrit

            I’m wondering about reinfections. Does this thing give up the ghost after our immune systems fight it to a standstill, or does it hang on like malaria. (I know it’s not an exact match, malaria being a blood system parasite, but, you get the idea.)

      2. divadab

        Doug –
        -courses requiring cart rental are part of the problem
        -granted – although it was the fat-assed part of the venn diagram I was addressing
        -my point was if you are in good cardio-vascular shape, get lots of exercise and sun so you are brimming with Vitamin D, then you will do better when you get covid-19 than a fat-ass carrying around 50 extra pounds, no exercise, borderline diabetic, and so on.

        We’ve been sunbathing every day since the covid-19 scare and – we make sure the sun reaches all parts!

        1. Oregoncharles

          I work outside, but I still take Vit. D in the winter – the winter sun is simply too weak here to provide enough Vit. D. You may be further south. Fortunately, that time of year is almost over.

        2. ambrit

          Since I went partly bald, I have had to wear a hat when going out in the sun.
          Also, that sounds like a business idea: condoms with built in UV radiation screening. “It glows in the dark so that you don’t!”

    4. griffen

      I’m looking ahead to my next full round of 18 which will be my first of the year. I see the hullabaloo about golf as a pastime for the rich and well heeled. Buf I have to politely disagree.

      Tell Hogan he grew up rich. Tell Snead as well. Being dirt poor can really give you focus and learn to dominate a gentleman’s game.

      I actually enjoyed the local muni offerings when I lived near Dallas and Plano. Walking 18 in the August heat, not too much.

  22. Watt4Bob

    When I’m out and about, whether driving, or walking the dogs, I find myself enjoying the slowing of pace, the lack of traffic, the cleaner air, and the bluer sky.

    It suddenly dawned on me that I was experiencing the world much like I had as a child, and I wanted to know why it can’t stay like this.

    There are many people working to “get back to normal”, I don’t want to get back to normal, ‘normal‘ is not worth getting back to.

    I hope that a lot of other people are experiencing what I’ve described, and that they too want to take advantage of this opportunity to rethink the necessity of re-igniting the rat-race.

      1. Arizona Slim

        Me? I enjoy talking to the doves that nest at the Arizona Slim Ranch.

        Why do I run my mouth at the birds? Not because they understand what I am saying. I want them to associate my voice with a human who means them no harm.

      2. wilroncanada

        And you have deduced that neither listens to you?
        If I talk to a tree that doesn’t listen to me, I still wonder about the moon and stars. Here Hear!

      1. Watt4Bob

        …perplexed, then thoughtful.

        Entirely appropriate reaction, which was exactly my own experience when it dawned on me.

    1. CanCyn

      Hear! Hear! I am much preferring the slower pace. Although going out for supplies once a week brings home the reason for the slowness in a most unpleasant way. It is unfortunate that it has taken a pandemic to slow us down. It is highly unlikely that our betters will let things stay slow. They are in the process of ‘fixing’ it just like they did after the crash in 2008. Sigh.
      The only thing I can think of that would stave off the corporate ‘fix’ is for grocery store workers, garbage removal workers AND healthcare workers to all walk off the job. Then maybe the 10 percenters and above would be forced to change their money grubbing ways. Of course that means a lot of the 90 per cent will have to suffer (more than they are or are going to anyhow) along with the elites if we are ever going to keep the brakes on permanently.

    2. wol

      Walking in the night in the RDU ruburbs is blissful, especially with the start of the pink moon. No traffic noise, no jets. Owls. I hope we can leave this peace to the next generations.

    3. Dagoba

      Are you able to “work” from home? Or do you have to go to work? I work in the wholesale food business supplying to grocery and distribution. We are working. And I am on only parent of a six year old and was able to qualify for child care because of having no other care-giver and am in the working in the food supply chain. We are not experiencing the world as a child. Although I do hear people calling grocery workers, truck drivers etc ‘heroes’.

      1. Watt4Bob

        I have to go to work, and I’m concerned that since you can be infected without symptoms, how can we be sure we are safe, and not infecting each other?

        I can tell some of my fellow employees are nervous, and frightened.

        If someone was to get sick, how would I know if it was me who was contagious?

        It’s not comfortable to have these questions rattling around in your head.

    4. Henry Moon Pie

      “re-igniting the rat race”

      There is a tremendous amount of fear among the elites about this lull. They seem to believe that all workers will turn into pumpkins if they’re out from under their wage slavery for more than a couple of weeks. Perhaps it’s akin to employers’ wariness about hiring anyone who has been out of conventional employment for very long. Are there studies out there purporting to show that we become “unreliable” employees if we experience too long a period out from under the boss’s thumb? Is “freedom” just another word for unemployable?

    1. Alfred

      The linked article is certainly interesting, broadly hinting as it does that elective procedures (rather than essential health care?) were the cash cows at this facility (or enterprise?), seems to be part of a bigger story about venture capital in the hospital business. Some quick googling turned up (from 2018), whence “Green Valley Hospital opened in May 2015, with 49-beds, but from the beginning struggled to fill beds and recruit and retain specialists. It filed for bankruptcy in April 2017 to get out from under crushing debt and to secure long-term financial stability. In February, U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Phoenix approved the purchase of the hospital by Lateral GV, an offshoot of the California-based Lateral Investment Management, the lone bidder on the property. The bankruptcy case was finalized July 25.” Also (from 2019), whence: “On Dec. 18, lawyers for Global Hospitalist Solutions filed a lawsuit in Pima County Superior Court claiming the hospital owed the company $1.9 million. GHS signed a contract with the hospital in January 2018 to provide doctors and ultimately staffed the hospital floor, ICU and Emergency Department. GHS ended services Dec. 31, a month before the contract was up.”

      1. newcatty

        Speaking of “elective procedures”. I need a two minute laser “surgery” done on an out patient basis at my local eye doctor’s practice . This procedure is common for patients who have ever had cataract surgery. The lens becomes “cloudy” and needs to be cleared by the laser procedure. Our AZ governor, stating he is following CDC guidelines ordered all elective procedures to end. This includes cataract surgeries. After a long conversation with my doctor’s assistant, who with much sympathy and calmness; TINA. This same governor has declared that golf is an essential service. He just ordered all beauty salons, nail salons and business providing personal services, as massage parlors, to be closed. BTW, I was reassured by the understanding doctor’s assistant that they would be able to “help” me with my progressively( it’s normal for the deterioration) when the clinic is open again. Geez… months, at the least, from now? I told Mr, Catty that we need to get instructions on reading Braille. I mentioned that I don’t see ( pun intended) that traveling to a state that actually is far sighted ( more pun) to distinguish between sight saving procedure and cosmetic surgery is an option for me, The assistant sweetly reminded me that it is not a good idea to travel now. I am not in any small subgroup of people. Cataracts are a leading cause of eye surgeries for many people as they age in this country. The “after cataract ” laser procedure is almost inevitable. This makes me wonder how this crisis is going to have much farther consequences for needed medical interventions for all of us. My story is just one in the naked country.

        1. ambrit

          Ha! That brought back memories of television when it was trying to be an art venue on occasion. “There are eight million stories in…”
          Are you near Canada? Anyone know what the rules for this in Canada are today?
          I get the feeling that your “medical provider intermediary” was a bit, shall I say, programmed?

  23. The Rev Kev

    “A New Tactic To Fight Coronavirus: Send The Homeless From Jails To Hotels”

    Why just those from jails? A coupla days ago we read of how the homeless were being made to sleep in an open Las Vegas car park in painted squares to keep their distance for each other. No idea what happened to those people if it rained. Here is an idea using Las Vegas as an example. All the hotels and motels in Vegas are totally empty at the moment and unused and the economy is hurting. I am not saying to put them up at the MGM Grand or the Four Seasons but surely there must be a lot of cheap motels that would be glad of a full occupancy if paid for by that city.

    1. Burritonomics

      That story about Vegas that made the rounds is missing context and follow up. Allow me to quote the Las Vegas Review Journal:

      “Last month, Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada was forced to close its 516-bed shelter when it was discovered that a homeless man and a shelter employee had tested positive for COVID-19…Suddenly, those normally sheltered by Catholic Charities had nowhere to go. Clark County and the city of Las Vegas quickly mapped out a plan to provide space in the Cashman Center parking lot for people to camp out. In an effort to provide a visualization for social distancing, gridded boxes designed to keep the sheltered 6 feet apart were drawn on the pavement…Meanwhile, the county and the city worked to build a covered isolation facility, with the county pitching in $6 million to build, equip and staff it.”

    1. MLTPB

      Chronologically, our CDC recommended, not ordered, cloth masks 2 days ago.

      Per the SCMP link above, the US and Singapore tell their citizens to wear masks. Are we just competent, or just incompetent, as Singapore in this instance?

      And while we are early with recommending them, Italy, while a day late, makes it obligatory. Which is less incompetent here?

  24. Ignacio

    Seeing the light at the end of the tunnel that is Episode 1 in both Spain and Italy I want to share what we are now doing and seeing:
    – Daily casualties have flattened even fallen slightly, specially in Italy 5 days ahead on this episode, and IMO, about to drop sharply in about a couple of days in Italy and a week in Spain though this will depend on the possible home contagions during first quarantine days.
    – I believe that part of the observed reduction in casualties could be associated with a consolidation of a treatment that somehow works: hydroxycloroquine + azythromizyn and an improvement in the situation in hospitals.
    – There is a rush for preparation to prevent Episode 2: developing apps for symptom reporting, building rapid detection/testing infrastructure and selecting in every province isolation sites for infected. In Spain quarantine has been pre-emptively extended up to the 26th of April to ensure preparedness though partial re-opening might occur before.
    – The process of social re-opening is yet not known. I expect it to be gradual and of course some many activities will not return anytime soon (mass events).
    – Spain will be hit hard by a sharp drop in tourism, specially international tourism (>10% economy).

    Greetings for New Yorkers, now in the eye of the storm.

      1. MLTPB

        I wonder if they give the same 5 star treatment in Italy, Switzterland, Germany or just any hotels?

    1. xkeyscored

      I hope you’re right about (hydroxy)chloroquine, because it’s cheap enough to be an option in many countries that can’t afford the fancy stuff.

      But there is this:
      “No Evidence of Rapid Antiviral Clearance or Clinical Benefit with the Combination of Hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin in Patients with Severe COVID-19 Infection.”

      Repeated nasopharyngeal swabs in 10 patients (not done in the patient who died) using a
      qualitative PCR assay …, were still positive for SARS-CoV2 RNA in 8/10 patients (80%, 95% confidence interval: 49-94) at days 5 to 6 after treatment initiation.

      In addition, a recent study from China in individuals with COVID-19 found no difference in the
      rate of virologic clearance at 7 days with or without 5 days of hydroxychloroquine, and no
      difference in clinical outcomes (duration of hospitalization, temperature normalization,
      radiological progression) (4). These results are consistent with the lack of virologic or clinical
      benefit of chloroquine in a number of viral infections where it was assessed for treatment or
      prophylaxis with sometimes a deleterious effect on viral replication (5-8).

      In summary, despite a reported antiviral activity of chloroquine against COVID-19 in vitro, we
      found no evidence of a strong antiviral activity or clinical benefit of the combination of
      hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin for the treatment of our hospitalized patients with
      severe COVID-19. Ongoing randomized clinical trials with hydroxychloroquine should provide
      a definitive answer regarding the alleged efficacy of this combination and will assess its safety.

      (But more studies are ongoing.)

      1. urblintz

        I was under the impression that chloroquine was being used to clear the lungs of mucous as opposed to any specific anti-viral quality and that it can help avoid intubation if effective. I may be completely wrong about that…

      2. Ignacio

        The question is that previous work showed or suggested some efficacy when administered early or as some suggest pre-emptively in the case of staff at risk. The cases reported in your link are very few and in a very late phase plus associated co-morbidities. I wouldn’t expect this to be miraculous.

        1. rtah100

          I agree with Ignacio:
          – This is a tiny study (N=11!) and there is no control arm (so it just a prospective observational study rather than randomised control trial).
          – However, the dosing is vigorous and, unlike Raoult’s Marseille study, the follow up includes radiological progress. They still use viral production as the primary endpoint for comparison, which is a weird choice by Raoult, especially given the unreliability of the current tests (radiological regression of pneumonia is a much more convincing endpoint).
          – The data from China are roughly 15% need hospital intervention and 5% need ICU. The progression to ICU in this study roughly matches (3 of 11, including a death); the progression to ICU in the Raoult study was a bit better (4 of 26, including a death) but the difference is meaningless for such a small N.

          There has been a proper controlled study in Wuhan, which shows clear positive results. The wonderful Derek Lowe has a write up.

          NB: If you don’t read In the Pipeline, you should! Especially at the moment, Derek is running a series of accessible posts on different COVID treatment options (vaccine, drugs, immunotherapy etc). I think dearieme from these parts at least is a reader, as there is a commenter there by the same name!

          Finally, it is worth noting, Dr Raoult in Marseille who has been promoting CQ and Azithromycin is a very controversial figure. You can read more about this on In the Pipeline. He appears to run his research centre like a cult and there have been some papers in the past that appear to mishandle data (but that’s true of research groups from Oxbridge and Ivy Leagues…). The short take is that the French scientific establishment is trying to push him out and one of the principal funding bodies has de-recognised him. So, I would not be surprised if this paper turns out to be politically motivated, either explicitly commissioned by somebody who wants to traduce him or somebody who can see which way the wind is blowing is opportunistically putting the knife in.

          PS: If you needed more proof that academic fights are so vicious because the stakes are so low, apparently the Oxford / Imperial needling is basically all about sex if you can believe the Daily Telegraph, which is obsessed with sex).

          For those who have not been following, an Oxford theoretical zoology group released a paper that took the same underlying data as the Imperial epidemiology group and showed that, for the cases and deaths already observed, there are multiple possible viral behaviours (super-infectious, half the country already, but ultra-mild vs not very infectious and really quite deadly). They did it with fancy maths but it’s not exactly surprising. The backstory is much more interesting: the Oxford Prof had been interviewed for a Readership earlier in her career and had been awarded it but one of the dissenters, Roy Anderson (at Oxford at the time) said at the interview panel that she had only got the job because of a relationship she was having with the department head. She complained, saying she not having a relationship and was married. He had to issue a formal public apology and was pushed out and went to Imperial to set up their group, which his protégé Neil Ferguson now heads.

          As a grim interlude before the present day spat, Roy Anderson’s epidemiological modelling during the 2001 Foot and Mouth outbreak lead to a disastrous over-culling of cattle compared to previous methods (millions of them, burnt in pyres on rural airfields and pushed into mass graves with bulldozers – the countryside was thick with smoke for weeks and thousands of farmers were ruined). The familiar Brexit face of Richard North, wearing his surprising hat of public health officer, has more to say about this.

          PPS: To anybody interested in the scale of the rot in UK public life, Richard North’s daily posts on this subject are giddying. And, unlike the geo-econo-socio-political sprawl of Brexit, the subject is squarely within his experience.

    2. Carolinian

      That statistical curve prediction site said Italy would crest April 3 and NewYork April 14.

    3. Tom Bradford

      Ignacio your contributions have been most instructive and I take my hat off to you.

      With regard to the above, tho’, how does “part of the observed reduction in casualties …. be associated with a consolidation of a treatment that somehow works:”? In New Zealand anyway the reported infections are of those newly diagnosed. Treatment follows, and whether or not it is effective surely doesn’t and can’t affect the infection rate which is the measure of whether or not the infection is spreading or being beaten.

      Also, is that treatment, hydroxycloroquine + azythromizyn, applied widely or only in serious cases given that I understand the majority of cases recover without treatment?

  25. Jeffery Cavner


    is floating around in my social media circles, of course coming from a partisan publication I wouldn’t expect less but it seems somewhat revisionist on certain points and I don’t know for example some of the nitty gritty when it comes to the stimulus vote in 2008. Also a certain leaning when describing the CARES act vote, like the implication that the Democrats were against the corporate bailout part…I only saw a modicum of resistance there. The whole thing reminds me of that “the Republicans made me do it” argument. Thoughts?

  26. Carey

    ‘Coronavirus: Why the Swedish experiment could prove Britain wrong- Sweden’s decision to remain open for business is in direct contrast to Britain’s strategy of locking down the country’:

    “In Sweden, an interesting experiment is playing out, which may soon reveal that Britain is way off when it comes to modelling the number of coronavirus patients who will end up in intensive care.

    The country has bucked the near-global lockdown trend, choosing to allow schools, businesses and sports venues to remain open and relying on the good sense of its citizens to control the virus through social distancing and maintaining good hygiene.

    But the country has chosen this path largely because its prediction of how its health service will cope is vastly different from the trajectory that British modellers have forecast.

    The vast ramping up of intensive care beds in the UK in recent weeks was driven by modelling from Imperial College, which suggested up to 30 per cent of people who are hospitalised for coronavirus will need intensive care.

    Amid fears that the NHS would not be able to cope, Britain was placed in lockdown to give the health service time to reach capacity.

    In contrast, the Swedes believe patients needing intensive care will be somewhere closer to five per cent of those hospitalised and so have been cautious about extending their ICU capacity.

    Unlike Britain, Sweden is far more transparent about releasing data, so information on whether it has made the right calculation will soon be available..”

    1. Monty

      Thanks Carey, there’s a danger that the lockdowns will work as intended, and all the selfish assholes will say “told ya it was no big deal”, why did we bother?

      Please keep an eye on this page.
      It’s published by the UK government with 2 weeks lag. Currently week of 3/20. It’s a weekly summary of how many people died of all cause vs. last year and a 5 year average. In 2 or 3 weeks from now, it should put these denialist stories to bed, or not. In the meantime, hope for the best!

    1. xkeyscored

      Also useful as an early sign of possible infection, maybe more reliable than having a fever:

      “The app team released a statement this week announcing that sense of smell is “actually the strongest symptom to predict infection,” according to Hopkins, including when compared to fever. They found 60 percent of patients who tested positive had lost their sense of smell, while in those that tested negative, only 18 percent had anosmia symptoms. This offers more specificity than a fever, which was commonly found in those who tested negatively. The takeaway, Hopkins says, was that “anyone with new onset loss of sense of smell should be self-isolating, and ideally tested.” It’s an early warning sign. Hopkins has developed a cohort of around 2,500 patients she’s monitoring, and while the exact timeline of when anosmia occurs still isn’t clear, she says around one-in-four lost their sense of smell before developing any other symptoms. Another one-in-four develop it around the same time as other symptoms, and for the other half, it comes after.”

      1. Anon

        So, .does this mean it would be good to go back to wearing cologne/perfume? Use it as the canary in the coal mine. Then plow down oodles of zinc tablets to recover?

    2. rtah100

      Its neuro-invasive potential is thought to be a factor in the respiratory distress (it shuts down the autonomic breathing response). The loss of taste and smell are certainly suggestive of neuro-invasion, at least in the upper respiratory tract.

      A similar property for heart muscle (and the specialised cells that regulate the heartbeat) would explain the myocarditis and cardiomyopathy seen in significant fraction of patients.

      The highest frequency finding alongside ARDS in the ICU is actually acute kidney failure. There is a lot of ACE2 expressing tissue in the kidneys – but kidney failure happens for all sorts of reasons when other major organs are failing because everything is out of whack (blood protein, sugars, electrolytes, hydration) and the kidneys are under immense strain.

  27. Wyoming

    A little anecdote to demonstrate how screwed up things are right now.

    I have a relative who is a social worker who’s clients are the adult mentally deficient/mentally disabled/mentally sick. He was describing to me a new issue he is running into. A number of his clients were telling him of a great deal they had run into recently. They have realized from all the car commercials on TV right now that they can get a new car for no money down and no payments due for 6 months or so (I have seem commericals recently which seem to back this story up). So they are all excited that they are now driving around in brand new cars. The kicker here is that, being their his clients and the state has records about their various situations, my relative knows a lot about them. 1. There is no chance they will ever make a payment when the contract reaches the point where they are supposed to start making payments as they do not have any money; 2. most of them do not have drivers licenses (how do you buy a car without a drivers license?); 3. most of them have guns (I know but let’s not dwell on that issue as he brought it up to point out that mentally deficient people with guns are problematic to deal with when it is time to repossess their new car).

    Sort of a laughable situation if it wasn’t so crazy.

    1. ambrit

      I wonder if the “clients” present as ‘not normal’ in general. Wouldn’t that suggest that at least some of those automobile dealers are knowingly taking advantage? If so, then they deserve to lose their dealers licenses at the least.
      It is a laughable situation because the so called “crazy” people are being accommodated by the auto dealerships. So, who is the “crazy” one here? Or perhaps both are equally “crazy.” Someone taking advantage of a dysfunctional business model to get six months of free transportation seems to be eminently sane to me. As for your question, “ do you buy a car without a drivers license?” I’ll imagine that this point alone could be an out for the ‘clients.’ The dealership has failed to do due diligence. If the ‘client’ is “crazy,” competence to enter into a contract can be questioned.
      Finally, what sort of credit rating do most “crazy” clients of the State have anyway?
      This smells suspiciously like the end stage of a bubble. The dealers are desperate. When this falls apart, it might be the next economic “Black Swan” event.

    2. Monty

      Thanks for the update. There are some crazy deals around. I saw you can get an $30k all electric Chevy Bolt on interest free credit for 80 something months and they will give you $9000 cash at signing! Basically giving it away.

  28. Dita

    Re Stop Using Toilet Paper, I expected the piece to be some useless bit of NYT virtue signaling, and it did not disappoint. Where in the midst of this crisis, this disaster, massive unemployment, is going to some website to buy a bidet? How would install one on my rental apartment’s flushometer toilet? You are meant to wash, not just rinse, and then dry off, that’s why there’s soap and a towel nearby. So as a practical matter using a bidet reduces tp use, not eliminate. I have a portable bidet though, it’s a squeeze bottle with a nozzle, very useful on road trips!

    Hey i remember rinsing cloth diapers in the toilet before putting them in the washing machine, so my snark isn’t due to squeamishness.

    1. MLTPB

      There is a well known Chan (Zen) kong an (koan) involving the Buddha and the sh *tstick.

      To appreciate it, one learns what that stick was, which was in use, together with a water bucket, before the Song dynasty TP invention.

      Arabs in China were among the first foreigners to encounter that invention. They thought it was not sanitary to involve one’s hand and fingers so close.

    2. Bugs Bunny

      Japanese toilets are wonderful things. Can’t see many people getting them though outside the 10%.

    3. Irrational

      Also, as far as I know those wonderful Japanese multi-function devices use loads of power and water. Are there more environmentally friendly models now or are we just fixing one problem by creating two others?

      P.S. On the same lines it drives me crazy to see hand driers proudly telling you that you are saving paper, but they are mostly 1000W or something like that and spread germs around the room as you use them.

      1. Grebo

        You can buy ‘bathroom spray’ (or less euphemistically described) nozzles from the usual Chinese sources. They are just a handheld unit which you can plumb in to your toilet’s water supply with standard fittings and hoses. It’s a cheap, effective and low-tech approach which I first encountered in an Egyptian hotel. You need a fairly warm water supply though…

        1. carl

          I have one of those. About $40.00. Not difficult to install, as you say. The cold water doesn’t bother me.

  29. Deltron

    So, if you accept a $1,200 coronavirus stimulus check from the Fed govt, your 2020 tax return is reduced by $1,200…is that right? If so, can anyone point me to where this is spelled out in the bill (or IRS code resulting from the bill or whatever)?

    1. Synoia

      Something about not holding you breath comes to mind when waiting for $1200 from the US Gov….

      1. Billy

        “First my and my family members’ $1200 check, and or, SBA loan check both clear. Only after that will we file next year’s taxes, in that order.

        What? You still haven’t filed an exemption from withholding?

    2. Oregoncharles

      What if you don’t have any money coming back? We’re going to owe them quite a lot on capital gains; anyone know how that will be affected? I hope our tax preparer knows – or we can just wait to see what the IRS says. they may be as confused as the rest of us.

    3. cripes


      What is your source for this statement?
      I have never seen anything indicating this is an advance on tax returns.
      Not to mention that filers who owe have a negative balance on their return.
      Also, 15 million people on SS are entitled to the $1200 even thought they don’t file at all.

      One must be careful reading random things on the intertubes.

      1. ambrit

        Thanks cripes. We are on Social Security and had been wondering that exact thing. As an added plus, we get to the front of the line because we don’t “earn” much now.
        Boy! How much toilet paper can I order from Alibaba with $1200 USD? (With my luck, it’ll end up being recalled because of formaldehyde contamination.)

  30. mega mike

    “Who can look at anything any more…a door handle, a cardboard carton, a bag of vegetables…without imagining it swarming with those unseeable, undead, unliving blobs…waiting to fasten themselves on to our lungs?… Who among us is not a quack epidemiologist, virologist, statistician and prophet? Which scientist or doctor is not secretly praying for a miracle? Which priest is not…secretly, at least…submitting to science? The virus has…struck hardest, thus far, in the richest, most powerful nations of the world, bringing the engine of capitalism to a juddering halt… The mandarins who are managing this pandemic are fond of speaking of war… But if it really were a war, then who would be better prepared than the US? If it were not masks and gloves that its frontline soldiers needed, but guns, smart bombs…fighter jets and nuclear bombs, would there be a shortage?… The tragedy is immediate, real, epic and unfolding before our eyes. But it isn’t new. It is the wreckage of a train that has been careening down the track for years… What is this thing that has happened to us? It’s a virus, yes. In and of itself it holds no moral brief. But it is definitely more than a virus… It has made the mighty kneel and brought the world to a halt like nothing else could. Our minds are still racing back and forth, longing for a return to ‘normality’, trying to stitch our future to our past and refusing to acknowledge the rupture. But the rupture exists. And in the midst of this terrible despair, it offers us a chance to rethink the doomsday machine we have built for ourselves. Nothing could be worse than a return to normality. Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next. We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.”

  31. Tom

    NYT Maureen Dowd: He Went To Jared –

    Does Jared poll well? Even among MAGA types, is Jared viewed as an asset? No snark. I’m curious. Does he inspire confidence in anyone other than DJT? From my perspective he has seemed completely out of his depth with every task he’s been given.

    1. Carolinian

      out of his depth

      Just like the father in law. They can relate.

      Or…the Trump administration has been chock full of people who don’t like Trump so loyalty is at a premium.

    2. Bugs Bunny

      My family has some hardcore MAGA types. Anyone Trump likes is fine. Anyone Trump hates is erased. It’s almost like Stalinism. The actual people don’t matter. The leader does.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        My family has some hardcore MAGA Obama types. Anyone Obama likes is fine. Anyone Obama hates is erased. It’s almost like Stalinism. The actual people don’t matter. The leader does.

    3. Tom

      Sorry for replying to my own comment, but Trump could have chosen ANYONE to lead this task force. He could have made a celebrity pick like Elon (not saying he should have!) or a seasoned expert like James Lee Witt (or at least get a recommendation from him) or one of the many bona fide disaster managers (they’re out there, right?) and he picked Jared? Jared? JFC.

        1. farmboy

          Mose Allison “Your Mind is on Vacation” Mr.President
          You sittin’ there yakkin’ right in my face
          I guess I’m gonna have to put you in your place
          You know if silence was golden, you couldn’t raise a dime
          Because your mind is on vacation and your mouth is workin’ overtime
          You’re quotin’ figures and droppin’ names
          You’re tellin’ stories about the days
          You’re over laughin’ when things ain’t funny
          You’re tryin’ to sound like you’ve big money
          You know if talk was criminal, you’d lead a life of crime
          Because your mind is on vacation and your mouth is workin’ overtime
          You know that life is short and talk is cheap
          Don’t be makin’ promises that you can’t keep
          You don’t like this little song I’m singin’, just grin and bear it
          All I can say is if the shoe fits, wear it
          And you must keep talkin’, please try to make it rhyme
          Because your mind is on vacation and your mouth is workin’ overtime

        2. farmboy

          Mose Allison “Your Mind is on Vacation” Mr.President
          You sittin’ there yakkin’ right in my face
          I guess I’m gonna have to put you in your place
          You know if silence was golden, you couldn’t raise a dime
          Because your mind is on vacation and your mouth is workin’ overtime
          You’re quotin’ figures and droppin’ names
          You’re tellin’ stories about the days
          You’re over laughin’ when things ain’t funny
          You’re tryin’ to sound like you’ve big money
          You know if talk was criminal, you’d lead a life of crime
          Because your mind is on vacation and your mouth is workin’ overtime
          You know that life is short and talk is cheap
          Don’t be makin’ promises that you can’t keep
          You don’t like this little song I’m singin’, just grin and bear it
          All I can say is if the shoe fits, wear it
          And you must keep talkin’, please try to make it rhyme
          Because your mind is on vacation and your mouth is workin’ overtime

    4. Tom Doak

      I wish he had picked Chelsea Clinton. Then we wouldn’t have to worry abour her getting into politics later!

        1. vlade

          I read “pickled”, and was interested for a second, as pickled Chelsea would indeed never gone to politics again. But then, maybe she would have lasted too long.

  32. Wukchumni

    Tom Burford, an expert on heirloom apple varieties who helped to restore the fruit’s exalted place in American culture, died March 29 in Bedford, Va. He was 84.

    “For fifty years I painfully watched the disappearance of the apple culture and the emergence of so-called beautiful apples,” he wrote in his 2013 book, “Apples of North America.”

    The book featured 192 heirloom varieties, a fraction of the many thousands that once were grown locally in the United States. Mr. Burford insisted that the photographic portraits of each apple showed those with blemishes. “Eating with our eyes brought this tasteless object to the fruit bowls of America,” he wrote.

    Growing up on Tobacco Row Mountain in Amherst County, he said, he took his cornucopia of old apples for granted because of the richness of the family’s commercial apple orchard, which contained approximately 100 varieties and many more individual trees. The various fruits ripened between June and November and were used, depending on their qualities, for dessert, cooking, cider, drying, applesauce, apple butter and livestock food. Some were storage varieties and would keep the family in apples until the next season’s harvest.

    His book: Apples of North America really struck a chord with me, Burford’s encyclopedia knowledge of all things apple made it a charm to read, recommended!

  33. Oregoncharles

    From “Is Capitalism a Threat to Democracy?”, a review of Kuttner’s new book: ” he believes that free markets can be crueller than citizens will tolerate”. What free markets? Our economy, and globalization in general, are sominated by concentration and protectionism – for certain people and businesses. This is a point Dean Baker makes repeatedly – and those are the people the Democratic Party (what left?) serves.

    It is true that markets (there is no such thing as a “free market” – they depend on rules, contract enforcement, etc.) can be cruel and have to be hemmed in; worse, they can fail to operate at all – as in medicine. But saying that market cruelty is the problem misses the point altogether: the problem is severe concentration of power – and therefore of wealth. Which means that market failure rules.

    Ironically, this framing echoes the scam fascism is running: that a strongman will save us – when in reality, fascism operates by fusing business and government, making the concentration even worse. That’s been going on for a long while, to increasing degrees; all we needed was someone like Trump to put a clownish face on it. But there’s no reason to think Democrats will provide anything more than a prettier face and nicer rhetoric: remember who Obama put in charge?

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Some determined scribe writing history in charcoal on the wall of a cave somewhere will note what a bi-partisan effort it was.

      The Mnuchin/Kamala Harris connection is notable, he illegally foreclosed on people and as Atty General in California she forgave him in return for a campaign contribution.

      Now Mnuchin has illegally foreclosed on the entire nation and the vote was 96-0.

  34. boydownthelane

    U.S.—After state governments across the country directed their citizens to shut down their businesses and just kinda hope things worked out, a new order has been issued: everyone is to jump off a bridge immediately.
    A government official issued the order to solve our current crisis, and everyone immediately complied.

  35. Samuel Conner

    Reflecting on the news of the last few weeks and the apparent incompetence of the senior leadership of US and some other Western nations, the thought occurs that it might not be incompetence. Perhaps the elites are disclosing a preference for a specific quadrant of Peter Frase’s “Four Futures”

    1. Samuel Conner

      or, to put it another way, “revealed preferences” is as valid an interpretation of to how the elites rule as it is of how the plebs consume.

  36. Anon

    RE: Zoom Bombing

    My local community college is using ZOOM to do distance learning through the last 7 weeks of the Spring semester. The president of the college sent out a campus-wide email decrying a racial epithet “bombing” of a recent class. The college IT department sent out extensive instructions to instructors on how to stop zoombombing. Turns out it isn’t that hard.

    The Zoom Host (Instructor) is directed to turn on a number of controls that limit discovery of the online class by non-students, disallows late entry/access to the live stream, requires official attendees (students) to “hang out” in a “wait room” until recognized (visually) by the Host (Instructor). It’s like taking attendance.. They also suggest emailing students a password just before the online class begins. We’ll see if things improve with greater familiarity with the Zoom software.

    None of this, of course, eliminates Zoom from storing distance learning sessions in the Cloud. A potential violation of FERPA (federal law protecting student/instuctor communication).

  37. Monty

    I just watched the Queen’s special address to the UK. I thought it was a powerful, reassuring and timely message. Never been a big fan of HRH, but thought this was good stuff and well worth a watch. Never thought I’d hear myself say that!

    “We will succeed & that success will belong to every one of us. Better days will return. We will meet again.”


    1. c_heale

      I thought it was full of platitudes. A complete waste of time. The first thing some of the UK royal family did was to go to their country estates, although travel to the countryside has been actively discouraged for the majority of the UK population.

      1. Monty

        I can see that, but I found the contrast from the messages I’m seeing in the US to be a welcome relief. Compare her speech to what you might see on CNN, or hear from “Dr.” Donald at the moment. A calming voice reminding us it’s not “every man for himself”, we are in this together, and we will prevail if we work together.

        1. Anon

          Well, it doesn’t compare to Sir Laurence Olivier, but, you’re right. It’s head and shoulders better than the American Blathering Pumpkin. It was actually a very contemporary production with the added visuals and “cuts” to close-ups of the Queen. She did a good job of speech timing with the teleprompter.

  38. Jeremy Grimm

    Suppose there were a disease which experts asserted were associated with symptom ‘X’. But also suppose large numbers of persons infected with this disease did not manifest symptom ‘X’. Also suppose there were large numbers of persons who did manifest symptom ‘X’ but did not have the disease. Suppose there were many persons who had the disease and eventually manifested symptom ‘X’, but not all, and no one knows how many persons have the disease and never manifest symptom ‘X’. Suppose there were persons who recovered from the disease but still manifested symptom ‘X’. Suppose there were persons who appeared to recover from the disease but still had the disease, and did not manifest symptom ‘X’.

    I’m not certain I’ve covered all the cases but I believe I’ve covered enough cases to at least ask the question: What kind of symptom is symptom ‘X’? What does the word ‘symptom’ mean if it properly applies to symptom ‘X’ as an indicator[?] of our hypothetical disease? Does focus on symptom ‘X’ mean other symptoms might be lurking that are not ‘noticed’?

    1. Bsoder

      Yes, and with all respect to others that have commented, nothing like having a quick test (6 sigma for now) to get a simple yes or no. Too much noise to signal in data ‘collected’ so far. I don’t think anyone getting sick or dying is acceptable by those in the scientific/medical community. The economy is other people’s worry. Having said that I don’t think that is an either or proposition either.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        You might conclude that the “symptoms” are not symptoms at all and that other symptoms might characterize — or at least better this particular flu. After that it might be worthwhile to re-examine the mechanisms for how this flu spreads. Those mechanisms in their turn suggest better — or validate — current practice. As matters stand how much does a theory of aerosols, fomites, and sprays differ from a “miasma” that invisibly coats like a coal smoke where it settles.

  39. chuck roast

    Re: The Politics of Plague

    The Cholera Years: 1830-1910. More grim reading for the zeitgeist. On my walk today I looked in the window of the Historical Society shop. Front and center was a book called, Pox Americana, The Great Smallpox Epidemic 1775-82. The blurb says, “A horrifying epidemic of smallpox was sweeping across the Americas when the American Revolution began, and yet we know almost nothing about it. Elizabeth A. Fenn is the first historian to reveal how deeply variola affected the outcome of the war in every colony and the lives of everyone in North America.”

    Who knew? It seems that we have been living a little golden age, comparatively free of wild-ass world-wide health scourges. Although I well recall the polio epidemic when I was kid. It closed the swimming hole where I was forced to learn to swim by the big guys in the neighborhood. It was “sink or swim, chump.” My first lesson in advanced capitalism. Everybody knew somebody who had a family member… Iron lungs never seemed to be in short supply.

    Stay well all.

  40. danpaco

    To anyone on the Bernie campaign,
    The time for scorched earth is now. You have nothing to lose.
    Covid-19 has exposed the two party rot in the entire system and its time to hammer that fact home to the general public. Your pandemic fundraising efforts have been laudable and should continue but the message is not getting through the media chatter. Its time to take a page from the Trump playbook and begin to own the news cycles by any means necessary.
    The US will never be the same after this pandemic wave has passed. The prospect of seeing a Trump vs Biden general election is possibly the second most depressing side effect after the thousands of deaths because nothing will change. Bernie has the moral authority to call out the rot, offer a new alternative over and above his current stump and possibly avert the social unrest that business as usual will inevitably bring.
    Dear Bernie, burn it to the f#$%ing ground! Now is the time. If you fail at least you can move back to the relative safety of Vermont.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I agree — but I am not convinced Bernie has the heart or desire to do anything like what you suggest. His feet were made of clay when the CARES Act came for a vote.

    2. Lambert Strether

      > The time for scorched earth is now.

      The time for scorched earth was immediately after Obama’s Night of The Long Knives. Possibly earlier, but certainly no later.

  41. cripes


    I share your sentiments, but you haven’t asked–or answered–how?

    Bernie Sanders led a campaign that garnered more votes as a socialist than any presidential candidate in American history–by several magnitudes.

    Moved the policy debate window far to the left of what had been possible–the unspeakable people-centered policies he championed became the platforms of his rivals.

    Held hundreds of overflow rallies with tens of thousands attending, while his rivals struggled to fill school auditoriums, and the media ignored him when it wasn’t slandering him.

    Has been out front with legislation to battle corona virus and economic damage to working people, holding FDR-style fireside chats almost daily, putting forth a 21st century Bill of Economic Rights.

    1. The right to a job that pays a living wage
    2 The right to quality health care
    3 The right to a complete education
    4 The right to affordable housing
    5 The right to a clean environment
    6 The right to a secure retirement

    Staying in a nomination race in a time that primaries, conventions and the November election itself is in doubt, raising money not for himself, but for relief efforts.

    And your suggestion is…?

    1. danpaco

      Attack ads, Attack ads, Attack ads! Against everyone. Own the airwaves by creating that conflict the 24hr news cycle requires.

    2. Noone from Nowheresville

      Start making direct demands of Trump so that Trump can use them to outflank the Dems again. Make sure it’s something that Clinton and Biden oppose and tweet about.

      1. Noone from Nowheresville

        In fact, take it to twitter but leave “orange man” bad at the keyboard door. Don’t feed into his WWE villain show. Don’t talk about how bad something he says is. Ask his followers to unsubscribe his account if he doesn’t –fill in the blank but make the things count–.

        Ask him directly for his help.

        I know… but what if he lost 10 million followers in a single day.

  42. rtah100

    I may have missed the chance to get this noticed here so I will post it to the Links comments as well but the FT recent published a leader of apostasy in neoliberalism. They have seen the virus of society.

    In an unfortunate irony, although all their COVID-19 content is free, the post-capitalist editorial remains paywalled. Old habits die hard… (*)

    There is a repost of it here on reddit.

    It is discussed at more length by the wonderful Richard Murphy, who, like Richard North, is having a very good coronavirus war. Must be something in the name. ;-)

    (*) Someone, please, pitch a remake of Nuns on the Run to Bruce Willis. :-)

  43. Noone from Nowheresville

    @danpaco: Watch the 11 minute April 3rd Maher interview with Sanders. Better yet, read the google transcript and do a Lambert style breakdown. Left click three dots in far right title bar box, open transcript. Look to the right of the video.

    Sanders: Overall same basic spiel with some minor adjustments and new framing. Uses Dems talking points. No criticism of Dems. Still using $500 billion corporate fund via Treasury not multi-trillion dollar leverage via Fed.

    No mention of Sanders fundraising organizational shift. No mention of his streamed Town Hall meetings with medical experts, etc. No Medicare for All mention. Basically salvage the world we have now before it falls apart and it can’t be fixed.

    Says he’s working on legislation with a coalition but doesn’t sell what that is. If Senate & House return in 2 weeks (I think unlikely) then no real tangibles or hashtags to rally around. Uses European examples to justify pay for it. Nothing from US historic past. So no FDR’s make “someone” do it. In this case Trump based on the content of the other 3 Acts passed in March.

    Maher’s good. Fully corporate in my mind. He treated Sanders w/respect and let him do his opening spiel. Then Maher took close to half of the interview on inane questions / statements. 1. how do we pay for it, 2. how Americans are responsible for their own poor health (IMO: tacitly implying that those who die of COVID now do so because of pre-existing conditions – Sanders doesn’t challenge framing), 3. how do we make sure Trump leaves the White House if voted out.

    Apologies if I already posted something like this. I thought it had gotten deleted via user error. Did search for it but didn’t see it.

    1. Lil’D

      What browser/system does this transcript thing? On Safari/iOS the menu is
      Help &feedback
      Playback speed

      There is no transcript option

      I’d like to find it ad talking head podcasts are mind numbing is slow bandwidth…

        1. Lil’D

          Thx. You are not my sysadmin, and I have no right to ask for help… but my setup does not produce this menu.
          The threedots on the top produces the menu I wrote out.
          I do not have three dots next to “save” as n the picture you sent

      1. MLTPB

        CNN, National Geographic, and others report a tiger in the Bronx zoo has tested positive.

        So, a dog, a cat and a tiger.

        ‘Keep min. 6 ft away from your friendly tigers.’

    1. MLTPB

      Focusing on ideas and persons, I wish him well and hope he can add to the herd immunity there, even if I don’t agree with his idea.

  44. The Rev Kev

    Just for something completely different – ‘A fire at a Florida airport destroyed more than 3,500 rental cars’

    Those cars would have been parked there due to the lockdown but those firefighters must have had a helluva fight. I guess that all the other places where those unused car rentals are parked should be having those cars spread apart more for their own ‘social distancing’-

  45. Benjamin Schiff

    The Democratic political establishment wants you to believe the primary contest is over. They seem to hate Bernie. But the primaries continue and he would be a way better candidate than Joe Biden.

    Bernie Sanders’s qualifications and record make him far preferable to Joe Biden and potentially able to defeat Donald Trump:

    Long and honorable public services as mayor, congressman and senator;

    Thinks quickly, responds to substantive questions substantively and sensibly;

    Speaks in complete and meaningful sentences;

    Asks and values others’ views, respects genuine expertise, is skeptical of bloviation and palliative nostrums, and doesn’t put up with bullshit;

    Hasn’t called anyone a “dog-faced pony soldier”;

    Has identified – and proposes sensible responses to – major U.S. and global policy challenges:
    Coronavirus pandemic
    health care response
    health care financing
    economic stabilization,
    economic protection for vulnerable populations;
    Long-term health system reform – Medicare for All;
    Climate catastrophe;
    Corporations’ malfeasance and misconduct;
    Bloated and misdirected defense spending;
    Global human rights;
    Criminal justice and penal reform;
    Campaign finance reform;
    Pathological income inequalities;

    Long-time advocate and activist for racial justice;

    Supported by a hugely diverse, largely volunteer campaign organization that has mobilized young, minority, and working class supporters nation-wide (as well as white geezers like me);

    Long-time advocate and activist for expanded Social Security;

    Does not engage in personal attacks on political adversaries;

    Has never been accused of sexual misconduct (like Biden) or paying off former sexual partners (like Trump);

    Never impeached;

    No connections to international money-laundering, Russian oligarchs, suspicious bankruptcies, nepotism, violations of national security procedures, retaliation against federal employees (or all the other horrors of the Trump administration);

    Not indebted to the insurance or credit card industries;

    Has won 914 delegates to the Democratic Convention, and could still win the nomination.

    Prioritizes voters’ health and safety over risky in-person voting in underprotected primaries.

    Can appear and speak in public before large or small audiences without exhibiting embarrassing lapses, errors, invective or nonsense.

    1. Lambert Strether

      > Has won 914 delegates to the Democratic Convention, and could still win the nomination.

      I believe he needs 300 more delegates to affect the platform and, more importantly, the Rules and Bylaws Committee.

      Reason enough to stay and, and, quite naturally, why the Establishment wants him out.

    1. anon in so cal

      That’s an excellent series of articles. Thanks for posting the link. Based on skimming a few, we need to disaggregate and treat each intra-national / intra-state region individually, implement diligent contact tracing combined with the lockdown.

  46. alex morfesis

    about those Mormons…(there was some noise earlier)…1816…”the year without a summer”…the big blast from what is now modern day Indonesia in April of 1815, which had followed a bunch of eruptions from 1808 to 1814, to go along with some rather low sun spot activity…led to horrendous events around the globe…snow in Albany June of 1816….somehow the world survived and most folks would be hard pressed to suggest they had any idea of that event and the effect it had on the world…which in many ways is the point of bringing this up…not only will we survive…as with most folks not knowing anyone who will say an ancestor died from the Spanish Influenza…not only will the vast majority of us survive this mess, both physically and economically…it will not make even a mosquito bite in the time line of history…1815 event caused global event which was economically probably worse than what we are looking at…and it is not discussed nor analyzed by most folks in the area of economic scholarship…oh…and what the heck does it have to do with Joseph Smith and mormony…turns out due to the events of 1816, Joseph Smiths family had to go from Vermont to Palmyra before he moved on to Illinois and the movement moved on to Utah…the idea of Mormons keeping supplies for the possible might have to do with the genesis moment of the movement…1816…the year without a summer….(no not a mormon…but might have kissed one or two…okay maybe more than few…beautiful natural born female mormons…but…it is not for me…and therefore…get out you family blogging varmint…)

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Does it matter why Mormons keep supplies? We should all have at least enough food and water to get through the next power outage when the more and more frequent storms blow by. Hoarding takes an odd meaning when local stores are maintaining just-in-time self inventories and distribution center inventories … and centralized distribution center inventories and ….

      Of course not everyone can keep extra supplies. But what are extra supplies for if not to help those who don’t have them?

      1. Lambert Strether

        > Hoarding takes an odd meaning when local stores are maintaining just-in-time self inventories and distribution center inventories … and centralized distribution center inventories and ….

        Good point. We have to pay to put our own slack into the system!

  47. Dirk77

    Thanks for the Moyers interview of Barofsky. Good reminder of TARP. I wonder how Barofsky was picked. Perhaps it was Cheney as I recall that he didn’t want a bailout at all, so would definitely want good oversight. One may need to look a lot farther to find someone like that in 2020.

Comments are closed.