Links 4/7/2020

Experiment Finds That Gravity Still Works Down To 50 Micrometers ars technica

Satellite spots new ozone layer hole opening up over the Arctic New Atlas (David L)

New Renewable Energy Capacity Hit Record Levels In 2019 Guardian

Lawsuit Prompts Review of Plastic Pollution on Hawaiʻi Beaches Maui Now (David L)

Great Barrier Reef’s third mass bleaching in five years is the most widespread ever Guardian (Kevin W)

A Google Plan To Wipe Out Mosquitoes Appears to Be Working Bloomberg

Is marriage over? aeon


Coronavirus fight: White House health advisor Fauci says we may never get back to ‘normal’ CNBC


Iranian official backtracks after calling Chinese Covid-19 figures a ‘joke’ Guardian. Bill B: “Of course he’s right. But you got to give him credit, doing something like this in Iran takes guts.”

Social distancing: did individuals act before governments? Bruegel


Boris Johnson moved to intensive care as condition worsens Financial Times. Looks like his karma caught up with him quickly on this one. He got sicker quickly, which is the pattern when the infected develop viral pneumonia. From the article:

Mr Johnson’s allies said the prime minister “remains conscious at this time” and that his move to the ICU was a “precaution” in case he should need ventilation.

The NHS website explains that intensive care units are for those who are “seriously ill” or recovering from surgery. It adds: “Most people in an ICU have problems with one or more organs. For example, they may be unable to breathe on their own.”

As most of you know, the success rate with ventilators is not high. An overnight update:

Boris Johnson is in ICU. Here’s what happens if he becomes too ill to remain prime minister Business Insider

Britain could be worst coronavirus-hit nation in Europe with 66,000 deaths in the first wave of the outbreak – three times as many as expected in Italy Daily Mail

British 5G towers are being set on fire because of coronavirus conspiracy theories The Verge (Kevin W)

UK Government Encourages Social Distancing With In-Game Health Messages CNET

Coronavirus: Sophie Raworth’s deserted London BBC. From a few days back, but a memorable photo essay.


Germany’s coronavirus travel restrictions: What you need to know DW

Spain is moving to permanently establish universal basic income in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic Busines Insider (Kevin W)


How China’s army of food delivery drivers helped keep country going South China Morning Post

China is now Blaming a Lond US Cyclist for Coronavirus   Vice. PlutoniumKun: “I can confirm that this is true – Chinese social media is full of this conspiracy theory.”


Covid-19: India to supply essential drugs to badly-hit nations after Trump warns of retaliation

Middle East

Saudi futuristic city turns into a mirage in Covid-19 era Asia Times


Docs: Navarro memos warning mass death circulated West Wing in January Axios

Lockdown Can’t Last Forever. Here’s How to Lift It. New York Times (David L)

US Schools Are Banning Zoom and Switching To Microsoft Teams Beta News

Supervised Self-Driving Shuttles Are Moving COVID-19 Tests In Florida The Verge

Political Responses

Getting to Medicare-for-All, Eventually Dean Baker, Counterpunch

Trump is using the states as scapegoats for his coronavirus calamity The Week. Evident when Trump left lockdown decisions to states.

Serfs Revolt

Payday Launches COVID-19 Strike Wave Tracking Map Mike Elk

How Many More Nurses Have to Die?’: Coalition of Nurses Unions Demand Life-Saving Supplies in Battle With Coronavirus Common Dreams

ER Staffing Company Reverses Benefits Cuts for Doctors and Nurses Fighting Coronavirus ProPublica (Jennie H)

Gaps in Amazon’s Response as Virus Spreads To More Than 50 Warehouses New York Times

Young People Weigh Pain Of Job Loss Against Risks Of Virus Kaiser Health News (UserFriendly)


Dan K points out: “That might help to explain how stocks are so strong today. It was nice of Congress to share the insider tips with Wall Street execs.”

Behind the scenes, private equity angles for a piece of stimulus SFGate. Paul R: “Lol. They are drawn to money like pigs to the trough. Kushner is all over it.”

Scandal Follows Crisis After 35 Bond Funds Shuttered in Sweden Bloomberg

Wall Street Wins, Again: Bailouts in the Time of Coronavirus Nomi Prins, Common Dreams (UserFriendly)

America is Committing Economic Suicide Eudaimonia and Co (Dr. Kevin)

Coronavirus is revealing how broken America’s economy really is Guardian (Bob K)

Domestic travel in the US, Australia and Southeast Asia could resume by June, says Flight Centre CEO CNBC


Cardinal George Pell to Walk Free From Prison After Court Overturns His Sex-Abuse Conviction Daily Beast

Polish government rams through electoral system changes Politico

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Epic Richard Smith find:

Foursquare Merges With Factual, Another Location-Data Provider TechCrunch

Imperial Collapse Watch


Navy Secretary Thomas “The Sociopath” Modly blasts USS Roosevelt captain as ‘too naive or too stupid’ in leaked speech to entire ship’s crew Task & Purpose

Acting US Navy Secretary: Fired Carrier Captain Was ‘Stupid’, Committed ‘Betrayal’ of Sailors Sputnik. Kevin W: “: The whole thing went down like a fart in an elevator. Here is a CNN link to a transcript of his speech. He also blames China for all this”

Chuck L: “Justifiably withering comments down-thread on this non-apology apology.”

Sudan finalizes deal with USS Cole victims’ families Defense Post. Kevin W: “Key sentence – ‘A U.S. court held Sudan responsible for the attack and ordered compensation, finding that the bombers were trained in the country.’ Does that mean that a US court can find the US guilty and order compensation as the 9/11 hijackers learned their piloting & fighting skills in the US?” Moi: Not wild about the example, since not cross-border, but I appreciate the point: Since when is a government responsible for all the bad stuff that happens in their borders?

Trump Transition

‘Trump is killing his own supporters’ – even White House insiders know it Guardian

Trump confronts most difficult week yet in coronavirus battle The Hill

To Donald “The Sociopath” Trump, coronavirus is just one more chance for a power grab Guardian

Peter “The Sociopath” Navarro erupts at Anthony Fauci at coronavirus meeting: Axios Business Insider


Supreme Court blocks Wisconsin from extending absentee voting The Hill

Supreme Court allows Wisconsin to throw away absentee ballots in gift to Republicans. Slate (UserFriendly)

I don’t agree with the claim that this particular video would have been effective. As someone down-thread said, it’s hard taking on two opponents at once and the Dems would have gone nuts if Sanders had compared Biden to Trump, as much as the shoe fits. But it’s a shame allies didn’t take up these themes:

Uber’s Green Competitor That’s Taking The World By Storm OilPrice

Fifa exco members took bribes for Qatar World Cup votes, US prosecutors allege Guardian (Kevin W)

Class Warfare

Uber Connects Out-of-Work U.S. Ride-Hail Drivers To Delivery, Production Jobs Reuters

Antidote du jour. Lee’s Sleeping Beasty:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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    1. Redlife2017

      Yes…and in true British style it’s all about what isn’t said, rather than what is. Even though they are promising that they are being honest, uh, they aren’t saying WHAT is being done.

      Tin foil hat time: He’s in ICU. BUT he’s not on a ventilator (it’s sitting next to him, just in case!). BUT of course what isn’t said – is he on a CPAP machine, are they oxygenating his blood? Basically, everything short of a ventilator. No one has actually spoken to him since Sunday…dude is having something done. And it is definately not good.

      And in other news: Michael Gove (best frienemy of BoJo) is now self-isolating because a member of his family has the Covid-19 symptoms. This disease has some sort of laser like focus on the nutty British right-wing.

      1. Redlife2017

        Hmmm: Boris Johnson not on a ventilator in intensive care, says Gove

        Key bit from the self-isolating Mr Gove:
        “He’s not on a ventilator. He has received oxygen support and one of the reasons for being in intensive care is that he can receive any support he needs.”

        Because he can’t receive support in any other part of the hospital…obviously.

        And then the Guardian notes:
        “Intensive care beds are reserved for those who are very ill, and in the case of Covid-19, often those who need to be put on a mechanical ventilator to help them breathe. Since being admitted to St Thomas’, Johnson, 55, is understood to have received oxygen through a non-invasive mask.”

        This will be interesting to see how it develops…

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          what part do the usual security measures for someone in his position play in all this?

        2. Tom Stone

          Bojo’s plight reminds me of of that old saying about Sympathy, “You can find it in the Dictionary halfway between shit and syphilis”.
          It appears that the Corona Virus CAN fix stupid.

        3. MLTPB

          He is said to be stable in ICU.

          I hope he, and all others, recover soon.

          I disagree with herd immunity, the idea, but not wishing anything ill on people for it.

          And if he converts, after this, great, and he would make a convincing advocate. If not, he is well again.

            1. JBird4049

              Well, our Anglo-American ruling Elites are more like the Bourbons everyday; forgetting nothing and learning nothing.

      2. JTMcPhee

        Given that celebs and Important People continue to get the best of everything, I wonder if the hospital BoJo is “not on a ventilator” in has an Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation system (ECMO) that is kind of like the “heart-lung machines” used in open-heart and heart and lung replacement surgeries,

        It’s not a mechanical ventilator, it’s a long step beyond that. Shunts are placed in either a major vein and artery, or in some situations into two major veins, and the patient’s blood is routed through a semipermeable membrane which selectively removes carbon dioxide and oxygenates the blood.

        This is kind of the pinnacle of critical care, pretty expensive and of course not as mechanically invasive as having large-bore tube shoved down your throat and having to be sedated or even chemically paralyzed to repress the panic reaction to not being able to breathe on your own. It would leave BoJo free to bloviate, at least. Not sure what the knock-on effects of this treatment might be, or the survival figures.

        As we are learning, COVID-19 is likely a genetic crapshoot — if you get it, may run from no effects other than turning you into a superspreader, to death from many physiological collapses including respiratory and multiple organ failure.

        An ugly way to die. Like drowning, but worse, lots of pain.I was going to say I would not wish that on anyone, given the nature of Karma…

        1. m-ga

          Just checked, and St Thomas Hospital (where Johnson was taken) is one of just five UK centres with ECMO, and the only such centre in London.

          However, it is also by far the nearest hospital to Downing Street – situated on the Thames, and directly overlooking the Houses of Parliament. So ??‍♂️

          Doubt he’ll get any special treatment, other than a private room, security on the door, and queue-hopping for any equipment he needs. And the latter purely because, if Johnson dies, the ricochets through government (delays due to jostling for position, briefing, etc) will mean many thousands more deaths due to delayed government response. Far better for the prospects of rapid U.K. response to coronavirus if Johnson can get out of hospital quickly.

          1. Clive

            Correct. London’s hospitals are divided into a fairly small number of very large “centres of excellence” and specialities. This does reflect best practice of concentrating particular expertise in one place rather than try to maintain every facility in every hospital. Guy’s and St. Thomas’ is specifically sited to serve central London. If he hadn’t been taken there, it would have been a bit odd.

            Unlike some US cities (outside maybe just NYC), London is a very “compact” city in the central area, it doesn’t really get to urban sprawl ‘til you’re about four or five miles out.

            Plus this would have been planned well in advance as a standard procedure — you don’t get to run a centre of government then be placed in the situation where a senior figure needs to go to hospital and the ambulance driver just radios around asking who’s quiet this evening and trot of there.

            I know that hospital well, it’s well run and has good facilities and clinical teams. It only suffers from being totally bedevilled with internal politicking and turf warfare between the various departments. But that’s just what you get in any big organisation and not unique to Guy’s.

            1. Jim Thomson

              Does anyone know if BJ has any of the underlying conditions that make the prognosis worse (excluding mental conditions)?

              1. Anonymous 2

                I do not know what his weight has been recently but there have been times when he has been seriously obese.

      3. PlutoniumKun

        They made a huge (and predictable) mistake in lying from the beginning about how serious it was and specifically denying he was in ICU. When RT scoops the BBC and the entire UK media, then you know something is badly wrong (I first heard the story via a message from a friend in China, several hours before the UK news websites confirmed it).

        Its impossible to know for sure now that we know they are for whatever reason being economical with the truth, but its not unreasonable to assume he may be much worse than they are admitting. I think the thought of Acting Prime Minister Raab must be sending a chill down a few spines.

        1. John A

          Yesterday Russian media reported that, according to an NHS source, Johnson was in a serious way. The british msm immediately screamed Russian disinformation. Overnight headlines in Britain ‘Boris in ICU’. Even now they are being mealy mouthed about his condition. First Boris only ‘visited’ the hospital on the advice of a doctor. Then he was staying overnight but still fully in charge. Now he is in ICU but only getting ‘some oxygen’. Now, who knows? Someone is being economical with the actualite, in the words of the late Alan Clark.

          1. a different chris

            Yeah and now has a bright orange banner: “Boris Johnson taken off ventilator”, you know the one he wasn’t on.


      4. Kevin C. Smith

        CPAP machines are generally much more dangerous TO THE STAFF because each time the patient exhales some or all of their exhaled breath goes out into the air around their bed, with aerosolized virii along for the ride.

        BUT by using a CPAP machine rather than being intubated, the Great Man™ can still TALK.

        1. Stammy

          Actually, I find talking with my CPAP on very difficult.

          My machine is spiffy and adaptive, and so “fights” my speech exhalations as if they were weird ragged breaths, as it rapidly bobs and weaves trying to figure out what the heck I’m doing – am I exhaling? Inhaling? The result is like being punched with a big muffling blob of air. It’s not painful, just annoying, but all my wife can really hear from me under a nose & mouth mask is Charlie Brown “mmm-mmm-muuh-MUUH” noises, along with a few valve clicks along the lines of a scuba-regulator.

          Since BJ is having trouble breathing, he’s really not going to be able to fight the machine if it behaves like mine. I bet he probably gave up after trying once or twice, and resorts to nods.

          Assuming of course he’s not actually intubated, or sedated and on an ECMO, etc.

    2. The Rev Kev

      If this finally took Boris down, he would then join a very select club – that of British Prime Ministers who died while in office. The fact that he had the UK skip containment and go straight to mitigation was what landed him where he is, never expecting to be one of those effected. Here is a list of that select group-

      Spencer Compton, Earl of Wilmington – PM 16th February 1742- 2nd July 1743 – aged 70

      Henry Pelham – PM 27th August 1743 – 6th March 1754 (Wilmington’s successor) – aged 59

      Charles Watson-Wentworth, 2nd Marquess of Rockingham PM 27th March-1st July 1782 – aged 52, died in an influenza epidemic

      William Pitt the Younger – PM 1783–1801, then 10th May 1804 -23rd January 1806 aged 46, gout plus alcohol related ulcers. He was the youngest ever PM aged 24 and the youngest PM to die.

      Spencer Perceval, PM 4 October 1809 – 11 May 1812, assassinated aged 49 in the lobby of the house of Commons

      George Canning, PM 12 April 1827 – 8 August 1827 aged 57

      Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston, PM 1855–58 then 12 June 1859 – 18 October 1865, aged 80 years 363 days, violent fever

      1. John A

        Allegedly Palmeston’s last words on being given a gloomy prognosis were ‘die doctor? That’s the last thing I’m going to to’.

    3. HotFlash

      In this week’s episode, Prime Minister Boris Johnson gets a first-hand demonstration of how ‘herd immunity’ works.

    4. Balakirev

      Will Dr. Schadenfreude please pick up the courtesy phone?

      On a slightly more somber note, as a chronic severe asthmatic for almost eight decades, I wouldn’t wish respiratory illness on anyone. That said, a disease that hits leaders who have shown no leadership in a crisis such as this one, and have worked hard to make money for the one-percenters while chanting “spend, you fools!” at the rest of us–let’s just say that maybe it’s a good thing they get a dose of what it’s like to live in our world.

      1. Synoia

        Boris is demonstrating his leadership role.

        Going First: A fine example of leadership!

    5. eg

      I do not wish him a bad end, but the current limitations on his usual bloviation are a most welcome development.

      1. Aumua

        I hope he makes it, but that he got a damn good taste of what it’s like to die from COVID-19 and to fear for your life.

  1. Wukchumni

    Trump is using the states as scapegoats for his coronavirus calamity The Week. Evident when Trump left lockdown decisions to states.
    In my ongoing USSR/USA Bizarro World collapse comparison, we’re now at the ‘Sinatra Doctrine’ part of the proceedings…

    …the Berlin Wall fell a fortnight after the inference was made that the ‘Bloc Party’ could do whatever it wanted

    “Sinatra Doctrine” was the name that the Soviet government of Mikhail Gorbachev used jokingly to describe its policy of allowing neighboring Warsaw Pact states to determine their own internal affairs.

    1. Samuel Conner

      The reports of CA governor Newsom’s attempts to get states to cooperate among themselves to address materiel shortages, bypassing the Federal govt, has the feel of “parallel sovereignty”.

      We’ll know that things are getting serious if there start to be parallel currencies.

      1. Wukchumni

        California, Colorado, Oregon, Utah, Georgia & North Carolina have all issued private specie in the past, so there is precedent.

          1. periol

            That’s a good point. Ten years ago the street value of a SNAP dollar was about 50 cents. Maybe there’s a SNAP currency exchange rate calculator out there somewhere? I bet the street value is much higher right now…

            1. JBird4049

              Using the benefit cards? I heard that there is a system for bartering the SNAP credits for cash especially as that is a major source of cash income for many Americans. There is also a good book on that called $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America by Kathryn J. Erin and some good interviews of her.

              Also, in California at least those EBT cards also have two accounts; a separate cash account as well as the SNAP accounts. Any current or previous SNAP users, if they have the card, which they probably do as it allows access to the various state benefits, could simply have their cards credited with whatever amount the government wants.

              I believe that this is true of some other states.

              1. periol

                I don’t know about an exchange, just that I had a few sketch friends back in the day, we’d go shopping, I’d fill my cart with $120 of groceries, they’d pay with EBT, I’d give them 3 twenties, and they’d go get an 1/8th of the good stuff. Or something like that.

                I also had an ex who was on EBT, and with her I paid the lover’s exchange rate – 1 to 1. At least I got to share the ganja after.

      2. SufferinSuccotash

        Or if the (mainly blue) states which are taking all this seriously make agreements among themselves to share medical personnel, equipment, facilities, etc..
        IOW, start reinventing the Articles of Confederation. The real tipping point will happen when the states begin appropriating Federal tax revenues for themselves.
        It would be interesting to see how the long-time defenders of “states’ rats” respond.

        1. Keith

          Personally (as a conservative type), I would love it! As a country, we have become too big to govern, and a break up or a looser confederation of some type would be great. Break up the power monopoly in DC and begin to send the power and authority down to the local level.

          1. Synoia

            I think of the US, not as a country, but as the last surviving 19th Century Empire, with a large contiguous land area, and some scattered dominions.

          2. Phacops

            Would be interesting if the Great Lakes states would form a bloc to control that massive water resource. Though it is not that they have been great stewards of them, from the Welland Canal and the dangerous connection to the Illinois at Lockport, to allowing ocean ballast water in despite claims of mitigating that, short term economics have always won out.

            1. Altandmain

              Any such Great Lakes bloc would have to negotiate with Canada.

              It’s never such an easy situation I’m afraid – they won’t be truly autonomous. Plus the new “mini United States nations” would have to work with each other.

            2. drumlin woodchuckles

              There is already a Great Lakes States and Provinces Compact whose signatories all agree to no wildcat diversion of water out of the Great Lakes Basin without the unanimous agreement of all the Signatories.

              ( Do I have that right)?

          3. Montanamaven

            I love Colin Woodard’s “American Nations: The History of the Eleven Regional Cultures of North America.” Had a real impact on me. I always thought that the USA was just too big. But how to divide it up? By culture perhaps. Yankeedom goes from the Northeast along the Great Lakes. Greater Appalachia goes from East and more along the Ohio River and ends up in central Texas. The Deep South is below that. There is the Far West and below it El Norte.
            Montana needs a port so it should be aligned with Washington,Oregon, and a bit of Alberta and British Columbia.
            I think Woodard’s book is a must read. He’s a journalist so the writing is quite wonderful. Not dry.

          4. JBird4049

            After the revolution and the Continental Congress, American states really tried being a confederation under the old Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union. It did not work well at all. IIRC, several states almost went to war with each other and the Confederation Congress could neither govern or get the needed funds to function. Some of the European powers were threatening to take over some of the states as well.

            The Republic of the United States of America under the Constitution of the United States are the results of what could be called a Hail Mary.

            I do not think that our current dystopian government and economic Hellscape has been caused by the Constitutional framework, but instead by the corrupt, thieving, lying, backstabbing, egomaniacal sociopaths who are running things. There are good arguments for changing our society, government, and the law but until we get of the sociopaths it really means little.

        2. Bugs Bunny

          Such an event would lead to uprisings in states reduced to worse than developing world status, cut off from federal support. Sudden power vacuums, local warlords, strongmen, perhaps even violent anarchist or communist movements. I don’t wish for such chaos. Reform is better than revolution, as many here have said.

          1. edmondo

            “Communists movements”? Are we back in the 50’s?

            If it’s Cuban communism where there are doctors and free treatments available and a home to live in without fear of eviction because I have no money, that might be a pretty smart trade for giving up a working internet.

            Maybe we should vote on it.

            1. Bugs Bunny

              I’m thinking more Khmer Rouge, Shining Path, et al. Nasty cults with a collectivist excuse for violence. I guess I should have been more specific. Then again perhaps I’ll get trolled about how those guys weren’t so bad.

              Cuba is certainly better off than a lot of other former colonial possessions in the Caribbean but US sanctions, CIA meddling and poor government make life hard on the ordinary people who still support the revolution. It’s no paradise but I certainly admire the spirit.

              1. ambrit

                Your description of present day Cuba fits a lot of US “Flyover” states today. Just modify that descriptive phrase to read: “..but Corporate sanctions, DEA meddling and poor government…”

        3. MLTPB

          Are states being scapegoated, with lockdown decisions for states to decide?

          NY said that would a federal declaration of war for DC to impose quarantine on NY.

          1. ambrit

            I think that some of the deeper thinkers in the back rooms of the Trump Administration are hoping to copy Lincoln’s success by ‘nudging’ a State to cast the first stone, as it were. Also, with Lincoln as a guide, in any struggle between a State, or group of States, and the Federal Government, the Feds are odds on to win.

        4. WheresOurTeddy

          +1 for California secession, or CA-OR-WA secession into a “Cascadia” coastal state.

              1. wilroncanada

                First family could be the Tators. Pa Tator would of course be President, and like the current national government giving special favours to his children: Imi Tator, the clown; Spec Tator, the do nothing; Fay Sillyi Tator, the giggling model; and especially her husband, the son-in-law Dic Tator, the heir apparent.

            1. ambrit

              Add North California to that group? As for Idaho, well, even now, that peculiar State is it’s own private…..

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            Doesn’t begin to work.

            CA depends on the Colorado River. Shut that off and you can kiss CA goodbye.

            CA also does not have its own grid either.

          2. Ignim Brites

            Nope. Got to think about the re-emergence of city states. Los Angeles, maybe greater LA, extending up to Santa Barbara; the Bay Area, possibly including Santa Cruz county, Portland, Seattle, and then in BC, Vancouver. The rest of it, doesn’t matter.

        5. drumlin woodchuckles

          There is the legal possibility of ” Interstate Compacts” for certain limited purposes.

          Certain reality-based pro-survival states might want to explore Interstate Compacts for certain purposes, but do it very silently to avoid Federal Obstruction on behalf of the fantasy-based suicide-states.

          A velvet-stealth pre-secession process.

      3. Ignim Brites

        Of course the states have a separate sovereignty and this is in the Constitution. The legacy media wants to nationalize everything and centralize all decision making in DC. Why? That is their business model. If everything that is significant happens in DC, their costs are diminished and their audience increases. Everyday is a Super Bowl. The greed for importance, the venality of these people knows no bounds.

        1. Keith

          I agree completely and would add it benefits the professional lobbyist class, too, by making DC a one stop shop. I would also like to end the direct election of Senators, too, and sent it back to the state capital houses. It would not solve the issue of buying politicians, but it would make it more expensive and make the state capitals more relevant, as well as the state legislature.

      4. Trent

        Its funny, on NPR the other day i heard the Gov of NY complaining that he has to bid against all the other states for equipment and then on top of that has to bid against FEMA. Its funny, when they bid against each other, cutting taxes and giving benefits to giant corps to bring “jobs” to their states they don’t complain. But when they have to bid against other states for medical equipment, it suddenly dawns on them how stupid it is not to use the union of the states to dictate to companies how its going to be.

          1. Trent

            Who do they work for again? I’m hazy on this, but their actions seem to paint a different picture then their words.

      5. The Rev Kev

        My memory may be hazy but I am sure that when Trump swore his oath of office at his inauguration back in 2017, that he swore it to the United States of America.

        1. Synoia

          that he swore it to the United States of America


          that he swore it at the United States of America?

          I’m fairly positive Obama swore his oath at us all, (Medicare for all Indeed!)

          f—ng proles!

          1. ewmayer

            BTW, In Trump’s case it was “the oaf of office” that got sworn to, by, at, what-have-you.

        2. ewmayer

          As head of the *Federal* government of the U.S. that is entirely appropriate. [quibble: incoming POTUS swears to execute office faithfully and preserve, protect and defend the *Constitution*]. Per my dictionary, a federation is

          ”a group of states with a central government but independence in internal affairs”.

          So we can argue about whether USGov should automatically be allowed/required to coordinate national-emergency response at the state level, but let’s not start with a false premise about the constitutional and historic precedents re. states’ rights in the U.S.

          1. Procopius

            … swears to execute office faithfully …

            Errr … no. He swears to execute the laws faithfully. I don’t know the name of the first President to use “signing statements” to set aside parts of laws he will not execute. Perhaps George W. Bush? It is not good. It renders the legislature advisory, instead of sovereign.

            1. ewmayer

              “He swears to execute the laws faithfully”

              Again, no – I realize that looking up stuff on Wikipedia is *really* hard, so here, I’ve done it for you and even bolded the “execute the office” bit:

              Wikipedia: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

              “The laws” aspect is implied by the Constitution bit, but if you’re gonna debate the wording of said oath, it’s generally not a bad idea to start with the, um, wording of said oath.

      6. Jeremy Grimm

        Nathan Tankus posted an essay the other day proposing local currencies to deal with the COVID-19 shortfalls: “Stanch the Bleeding From Local and State Finances With Local Currencies Just Do It” [] (yes — the link does cut-off with ‘and’).

  2. Henry Moon Pie

    In our hubris, we had come to think of the future as a highly determined thing. Our focus was on who gets to do the determining. A “leader” was the best salesperson for the side that we wanted to win and be in control of that future.

    In other times, humans were not so confident about their power over the future. A year from now was not some near certainty bound by probablistic curves but was a dimly lit, fog-bound place filled with ghosts and monsters. A few folks possessed what was called “wisdom,” a skill or a gift that availed its possessor of the power to see more clearly through the darkness and mist. They could lead, sometimes with little more than a grunt or nod, by using this wisdom to help those who followed to avoid the worst of the ghosts and monsters. The especially clear-sighted were even able to lead their fellows to a world that was a little better than before.

    When those who claim to be our leaders repeatedly tell us, in disaster after disaster, over years and years, that no one could have seen it coming, they reveal that they are bereft of wisdom and without qualification as leaders. No wonder that their response, resorted to again and again, is desperately to patch the old, increasingly fragile world back together until the next unforeseeable catastrophe. They are so lacking in vision that they are incapable of doing more.

    We need to hear from the wise now, not the sales and marketing division.

    1. Steve H.

      As big as the internet is, I’ve culled my sources to a small group. Over half of them were screaming about this in January.

      Who is the We to which you refer?

      1. ambrit

        A better formulation would be that “we” need to make ‘wiser’ decisions at the societal level. So, “we” refers to the decision makers in the society. That group is not anywhere near inclusive, nor informed or wise.
        The conundrum here is that the “stupid” people are making decisions that end up killing the “wise” in our society. Perhaps some serious redefining of terms is in order.

        1. Brian (another one they call)

          Ambrit; agreed. We as a collective don’t make any real decisions on the future when struggling to deal with the now. We have elected people that no longer represent us at all.
          We must all remember, NONE of our senators or congress voted to stop the big money transfer (the 5th or 6th since 2008) in the votes. Not ONE. Any one of them could have used their hold to stop it.
          We are no longer granting the consent of the governed to the clones that work for someone else in violation of their oath and job description. Society will have to get to that point before people begin making solutions out of what they find at hand.

      2. JTMcPhee

        I wonder how humans can manage to create a “we” even at a small scale, especially in light of the atomization effects of deliberate “policies” and propaganda and marketing to ensure the flow of wealth and power to the few and the dispossession of the many. And COVID-19 with its “social distancing” and flat out quarantining being the way for individuals to survive just exacerbates the divisions. All while any number of predatory species, PE and state security and media and political “leaders” and of course those pathological things called “corporations” and the coprophagists that operate them are circling, circling, looking for “advantage.”

        What is to be done?

        1. Rhondda

          And our “we” gets even smaller when we’re confined at home.Excellent comment, JTMcPhee. Thank you, although I don’t have an answer to your question.

    2. Oh

      Our “keaders” are chosen by whom they know not what they know. That’s why the current choice is between Trump and Biden. People have no standards on who should lead them. they simply follow the the latest media ‘selection’. It’s time to set forth minimum requirements based on what’s best for people as a whole rather than the corporate sycophants that seem to always crop up.

    3. jef

      “We” need a different motive. All we have as a species is the profit motive and if you don’t believe this is true you are lying to yourself. If you don’t live by the profit motive you perish. If we all continue to live by the profit motive we all perish.

      Right now individuals are motivated by wanting to not get sick. So far the fact that the world has largely stepped off the hamster wheel and it is not zombie alpacalips should be a lesson. What if we did all this powerdown but still got together for all the social stuff. Motivated by love, relationships, friendship, sportsmanship, education, art, entertainment. “But how are we going to pay for it!!!!!” Ha Ha

      Usness Weness

  3. zagonostra

    >Getting to Medicare-for-All, Eventually – Dean Baker

    Starting with the simplest, lowering the Medicare age to 64 might sound trivial, but it is likely to be a big deal politically and mean a lot to millions of people.

    Dean Baker is spineless, unimaginative, and part of the rot that is at the core of the intelligentsia of the “Left”

    You have to really stop and think about what he is saying here; that what is trivial to any thinking person, is really a “big deal politically.”

    What does that mean? It is a tacit capitulation, it is nothing less than accepting the values of the oppressor, it is accommodating oneself with a slave mentality, a mentality shaped by the master class, the overlord.

    “That which is ready to fall, shall ye also push!” and the U.S. (un)healthcare system is certainly ready for one big shove…

    1. kenik

      Dean Baker also started writing about problems with the housing market in 2002 — a full 5 years before the crisis. So called him spineless, unimaginative, and rotten isn’t going to cut it. Attack the ideas rather than the man. He’s a pretty good economist.

      1. zagonostra

        It is the idea that I’m asking you to evaluate, and then think about what it means.

        Do you think in this time when millions upon millions are struggling to make a choice between eating, paying rent, or paying for their child’s visit to a doctor that to suggest the “big” political idea is to roll back eligibility by one year is somehow not spineless and unimaginative? Can you for a moment think what this means.

        He may be a good economist, that’s it? That lets him off to hook for this milquetoast proposal, No you have to hold politicians and public figures to account.

        1. chuck roast

          In yesterday’s links you did a number on Baker while saying, “I don’t know too much about him, but my general impression…” I agree. You don’t know too much about him. Allow me to also be redundant and repost my response from yesterday:

          Please give Dean a break. He was loud, angry and correct when the Overton Window was on his right. It has been moving swiftly to the left recently, and Dean has not caught the drift. But he is a good economic analyst and good hearted soul. It will help when he has finally chucked his obsession with interest rates. I mean when he realizes that low interest rates mean free money for the rich and gruel-bowl for the rest of us.

          1. JohnnyGL

            As someone who’s kept an eye on him for close to two decades now, the above is an accurate take.

            His years-long call to re-think patents and copyrights are still important and very relevant.

    2. lordkoos

      Speaking as a person who is on medicare, lowering the age isn’t much of a solution. There are a lot of expensive gaps in medicare coverage, the real solution is getting the frogging insurance companies out of the game.

  4. Burns

    Regarding Yves’s twitter post about Trump’s chloroquine interest, my bs detector went off as soon as the first briefing where he suddenly brought it up out of nowhere. My first instinct was that he MUST be talking about it for some reason, and it became even more suspicious when he kept harping on it. He does nothing unless it somehow benefits him, mostly financially, so the chloroquine affair tracks true to form. If you view his mindset and decisions through the lens of his flagrant personal greed he becomes in every instance utterly predictable.

      1. Burns

        The article notes that several pharma companies stand to profit if hydroxycholorquine becomes an accepted (and widespread) covid treatment, some of which have Trump-friendly CEOs. It also notes that Trump has a small stake in Sanofi, a French pharma manufacturer that presumably supplies the drug in question.

        So yes, I’d argue there’s a fair amount of money to be made if widespread use of hydroxy really takes off. “How much is enough?” “Just a little more.”

          1. epynonymous

            What’s he/they planning to do with all that money?

            Has anyone told him everything is closed? ;)

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          “Pharma companies stand to profit” every time any “drug becomes an accepted (and widespread) treatment” for any condition, whether the drug works or not. It’s why so many americans take so many pills that amazon can organize them into “pill packs” for free, and why vioxx killed so many that it skewed the death rate.

          Why would you expect this to be any different?

          It might be helpful if Trump had some sort of left-handed connection to all those “pharma companies” profiting from expensive insulin or cancer drugs, because then maybe someone would start screaming about THOSE, and american diabetics could stop killing themselves rationing what they can afford.

          1. Burns

            Respectfully, it’s different in this instance because pharma companies don’t usually have the President of the United States shilling for them, and POTUD doesn’t usually have a direct stake in those companies.

            “Full disclosure” is not a generally observed concept in this admin, of course.

            1. Monty

              Trump is a hardcore positive thinker, one of his gurus is Norman Vincent Peale. These people believe you have to allow good things to happen, rather than denying they are possible. I think that he wants to give people hope that something is out there now, and would help get us out of this mess soon. Even if it was just a placebo, what’s the harm in it. Apart from Trump saying it? Hope is better than despair.

              1. Wukchumni

                “Well, speaking as a Christian, I would like to say that I find the Apostle Paul appealing and the Apostle Peale appalling.”

                Adlai Stevenson

                {Opening sentence of remarks to a Baptist convention in Texas during 1952 Presidential campaign. In his introduction the host had said that Stevenson had been asked to speak “just as a courtesy, because Dr. Norman Vincent Peale has already instructed us to vote for your opponent.”}

                From Humor in the White House: The Wit of Five American Presidents (2001) by Arthur A. Sloane.

              2. marym

                It would arguably be a cause for hope in a context of someone committed to using public resources for doing all kinds of other things to inspire hope – prevention, other forms of treatment, mitigation of economic harm, having experienced people leading the effort, not treating public briefings as a cause for self-glorification, etc.

                As it’s a still-poorly substantiated hope; may cause people to ingest a substance that does them harm; may encourage people to be less careful in taking precautions; may divert public resources from other research; causes people hoard so others who need the drug for other conditions can’t get it; is recommended by a guy who treats public assets like ventilators and PPE as belonging to him to distribute for personal advantage, not according to public health needs; maybe there’s reason to think there’s some potential for harm?

            2. Katniss Everdeen

              Equally respectfully, here is an excerpt from a link posted by John k wayyyy below:

              When the disease is detected early, there are now many other medicines that may be useful. The antimalarial and Lupus drug chloroquine, and its more potent form hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil), have shown some efficacy. A significant number of patients that were given hydroxychloroquine, either alone or with a supplementary Z-Pak (azithromycin) to fight bacterial pneumonia, made a quick recovery. Because no sick patients were refused treatment as a control, an inhuman action by any standard, critics argue that the results were worthless. Those critics are in fact people who do not have the coronavirus. The truth is that the entire infected world of people who were not given this drug were the control. Their lengthy recovery times are the data.

              Plenty more where that came from.

              While you are undisputedly correct in decrying presidential “shilling” for profit, a situation which has not been unique in our maximally corrupt government in general for quite awhile now btw, these drugs HAVE demonstrated some level of utility against the corona virus.

              From my perspective, now is not the time to delay deployment of a potentially lifesaving drug for a protracted political discussion of who might profit. There will be plenty of time for vilification and / or prosecution once the crisis has passed, and all those who are being economically devastated by this can get their lives back. Judging from the last 3+ years, the dems will get right on that, whether there’s anything to it or not, and be happy enough to have something “productive” to do.

              At some point, cooler heads are going to have to prevail over this paralyzing TDS that has become maddeningly reflexive and tragically destructive. If not now, when?

              Here, again, is John k’s link:


              1. GF

                From the post by Yves above in links: “Some hospitals in Sweden stopped using hodroxycholoriquinine to treat the coronavirus due to adverse side effects” … “behind the scenes, career health officials have raised even stronger warnings about the risk to some Americans’ heart health and other complications, but been warned not to publicly speak out and potentially contradict Trump,” Politico reports. “Trump’s focus on the drugs … has increasingly warped his administration’s response. Health officials have been told to prioritize the anti-malaria drugs over other projects that scientists believe have more potential to fight the outbreak.”

                So this is not just some harmless placebo. Luckily it is by prescription only, so doctors may be aware of a patients heart health etc.

                1. MLTPB

                  Doctors decide, and it is not an easy one.

                  Some are stopping. Others? Are others continuing? In Sweden, or other countries?

                  It would be easier if there were other safer and as effective, or more, options. Maybe there are.

                2. xkeyscored

                  Can’t find that link from Yves you mention, but if it’s this Newseek article, the title is “Some Swedish Hospitals Have Stopped Using Chloroquine to Treat COVID-19 After Reports of Severe Side Effects,” and I think CQ is generally thought to be more toxic than HCQ. And it appears to be hospitals in the Västra Götaland region, though I don’t know how large that is.

                  Re CQ vs HCQ:
                  Hydroxychloroquine appears to be safer and more potent in inhibiting the causative virus, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), in vitro.
                  Although the mechanisms of the two agents are presumed to be the same, many reports suggest that chloroquine is more toxic to the retina than hydroxychloroquine.


                3. Katniss Everdeen

                  There are no drugs without side effects. Some can be lethal.

                  I find the intimation that Trump is blocking promising therapies in favor of one that does not work but provides a small profit to him personally or some of his campaign contributors beyond absurd. He is the president of the united states fer chrissakes, and getting this situation under control is far more valuable to him than the few pennies he might make when a company he owns some stock in sells a 65-year-old, off-patent drug. This is TDS writ large.

                  That short article uses the name “Trump” no fewer than nine times, and I did not count the words “he,” “his” and “him” that reference him. It also refers to the drug in question as “hodroxycholoriquinine.”

                  When a cogent, medically sound, properly edited argument is made against HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE without invoking the name Trump or citing his finances as “evidence,” I will listen. Otherwise these hacks should keep their politics to themselves. The stakes are far too high to pay any attention to these raging, raving lunatics banging out tabloid political “content” from their basement hidey holes. And continuing to get paid for it.

                  1. Montanamaven

                    He is the president of the united states fer chrissakes, and getting this situation under control is far more valuable to him than the few pennies he might make when a company he owns some stock in sells a 65-year-old, off-patent drug. This is TDS writ large.

                    That makes immense sense.

                4. The Rev Kev

                  I heard on a podcast that the problem for Sweden was that they were using too strong a dosage but I guess that we will have to wait for a study to be done to confirm or deny it.

              2. MLTPB

                It’s like the 2 ladies arguing over the kid.

                Let’s keep the kid safe first, per the caring mother.

              3. Burns

                Thanks for that link. I think at this point the best that can be said is that more data on effectiveness still needs to be collected and carefully analyzed before claiming these are miracle drugs; in other words, sober assessments and not hype (and I know your link is the former and not the latter). I recognize we are in a real time situation with lives on the line, however, and all viable treatment options should be explored without delay that one would normally find with respect to drug assessments. In that respect, it really is battlefield improvisation.

            3. MLTPB

              Either it works or it doesn’t.

              Some do it for money, some do it for power ( and spending their own money…Caesar put on games to make the plebs happy).

              At the end, it was him and Octavius, not Crassus with his money, that brought order, making trains on time, to Rome.

    1. Lil’D

      Trump’s personal financial interest per this story is not material. Owning some shares of a mutual fund that includes Sanofi is just a nothing. There are plenty of reasons to hate trump but this story is just TDS.
      Sanofi is widely held in literally hundreds of passive funds

      1. Tom Bradford

        I agree that any personal financial interest Trump might have in this drug is minor at most. Rather I see it as an example of the Messiah complex he has been developing in his Presidency. He truly believes he – and he alone – can navigate the way through this. When he declares he can see light at the end of the tunnel he believes it. When he declares he can keep the number of US deaths to 100,000 he believes it. When he tells us he is a genius he believes it. When he tells us his actions were perfect he believes it.

        From somewhere he heard of hydroxychloroquine being a miracle drug, and miracles are now his business so he believes it. Only he can see it and so he pushes it and believes that when he is proved right what option will we have but to fall on our knees before him and praise him.

        Absolute power corrupts absolutely. – Lord Acton

    1. Charger01

      Excellent point. I attended a small private college in the Pac NW that is suffering right now. The class of 2005 was the high water mark for attendance, now its about 2/3rds of that number and slowly declining, pre-coronavirus. It will likely survive for another year or two and end up consolidating with another more prosperous small college….if the debt isn’t too much.

  5. floyd

    re: Cameron Beach

    Cameron probably still loves her private insurance though. I mean really what does she expect – that the government should step in and subsidize the old man’s salary and benefits? I am more and more convinced that even conservative democrats (e.g. moderates) and conservatives like socialism if it benefits them and others “who are hard working and deserving”. Socialism is only awful when it goes to those “other people”.

      1. Carla

        Because she’s a doctor’s daughter, and therefore maybe (probably?) brain-washed. For many decades, most M.D.’s have fought government-provided health insurance tooth and nail, seeing it as a threat to their relatively high incomes.

        1. ambrit

          And now, the force that finally starts to cut into medical doctor’s “high” salaries ends up being, Private Equity.
          “Those who live by the scalpel die by the double entry ledger.”

        2. HotFlash

          Ms Beach is also a journalist, staff on the Asheville Citizen-Something. I would expect that she, by nature and training, would be aware of facts in the case and able to digest them. I live in a country that has *really good health care*, and the doctors are almost all on board with it. The daughter of a rural doctor told me that her father was so happy when our OMSIP was first proposed. “We’ll get *paid*!”, he said.

          So, I do not understand why a ‘doctor’s daughter’ would necessarily love her private insurance. I am a foreigner, so please explain slowly, as you would to a child.

          1. Rtah100

            Here is a nice ER doctor and a nice (good listener) interview (who I suspect hands him a hankie between takes, the doc is seeking up early on and red eyed at later points.


            Hurrah for the public goods of British medical schools, the NHS and Channel 4, an erstwhile state broadcaster.

  6. Toshiro_Mifune

    Social distancing: did individuals act before governments?

    I’d be interested in seeing what LogMeIn or TeamViewer’s network/usage stats were like for the past 6 months. This would give a much clearer idea of who/what/where/when with regards to increasing work from home in the lead up to the lockdowns. Obviously not an all encompassing metric, but more illuminating than google searches.

  7. zagonostra

    >Conspiracy Theories and the Overton Window

    I notice that NC has an Overton Window on “conspiracy theories” the moderator on occasion has not deemed certain topics worthy of posting. These topics mainly center on 9/11, Geoengineering, 5G, alternative views on the origins of COVID-19, Federal Reserve, etc… I respect the necessity for such moderation.

    5G may not be linked to the corona virus, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it is not dangerous. There is a “shadow government,” you can go back to the 60’s and read books like the “Invisible government” that clearly documents a world that never enters the consciousness of the majority of this country’s citizens. If the EMF emitted by 5G is dangerous but the gov’t thinks it’s in it is in the national interest to deploy the the technology to be competitive viz China, it does not seem too far fetched that they would downplay or cover up untoward information.

    When you read articles like the one below by Chris Hedges – certainly not one to suffer fools lightly – you see what the government has done in the past, it should not be forgotten, and I think there should be a wider range given to some of these stories, possibly with a caveat attached.

    1. Code Name D

      If the EMF emitted by 5G is dangerous

      A challenge you to provide evidence for this claim. There is zero evidence that 5G or an EM fields cause caner. That is what the SCIENCE says.

      1. Trent

        as far as i know nothing causes caner, but then again i’ve never heard of caner. You got money in 5G penny stocks friend?

      2. Kurt Sperry

        +100- If you think there is compelling empirical scientific evidence that 5G networks will definitely cause significant health issues, please provide that evidence for our examination. Lacking that hard evidence, it’s just Alex Jones level clickbait for the credulous.

        1. Monty

          “There is a cult of ignorance in the United States…. nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’”
          Isaac Asimov

          1. ambrit

            That “cult of ignorance” that you mention is a feature, not a bug.
            Even you must admit that there is a large cadre of “decision makers” in the society that views people as a ‘disposable resource’ through which one amasses a fortune. Thus, any whiff of theory, much less supporting evidence, that a money making scheme is dangerous is vigorously suppressed. That “decision making class” is actually more dangerous to ‘knowledge’ as an independent item. Just see that class’s ‘capture’ and corruption of the academic research field.
            For example, the Corvair automobile:

          2. periol

            Fair enough, but it should be acknowledged that this “ignorance” is deliberately fostered, and it is also antagonized by things like say not thoroughly 5g or GMOs before rolling them out. I suspect that my idea of “thorough” testing is much more rigorous and time-consuming than what the industry and it’s “scientists” perform.

            To argue GMOs for a second, I am not axiomatically opposed to them, but I do think we should have tested them on a small-scale, over several human generations, so that we would know *exactly* what the long-term consequences are before using them as main source of human and animal feed. Not doing so is short-sighted and clearly prioritizes profits over human well-being.

            I have the same arguments regarding 5g. I am not opposed to it per se, but I would love to see widespread testing and full transparency about the results before it is implemented. Truly scientific testing and transparency would go a long way towards dealing with the ignorance. To my mind, arguments that there has been plenty of testing ignore the very realistic fears that people have about long-term conquences – just like we’ve found to be true for people living near high-voltage power lines.

            There is plenty of evidence in American history, old and new, showing people in power making decisions purely for profit that actually harm the people in the community. Polluting factories, illegal dumping, oil pipelines to name a few, the list is long and goes on and on.

            It is not ignorance to assume that this rollout is prioritizing profit over people, again, just like power has been doing to the weak and poor for generations, for millenia.

      3. Steve H.

        Hot topic. Starting point:

        Mechanism of concern:

      4. zagonostra

        Like many controversial topics, the “truth” is out there. My giving you a hundred credible links would do nothing to convince you one way or the other.

        If you really want to read the literature you can find it easily enough, I suspect you’ve not looked into the issue. I’m no scientist but what I have seen pro and con makes me very suspect. Which is not to say I’m not wrong, the stakes are just too damn high to be wrong on this.

        1. Painted Shut

          I agree. Scientists don’t catch everything initially, so it’s good to think critically. At some point, lead paint, asbestos, water from the Flint river, etc., were just fine and not hazardous to anyone’s health. We know better now. What will we know about 5G in 10 years that we do not know today?

          Maybe something, maybe nothing. But I’m not moving to a house that’s near high voltage power lines, and I’m not moving to one that’s near a 5G tower either.

    2. Brian (another one they call)

      Conspiracy is a violation of law. When someone is charged with it, they work very fast to destroy evidence of it. When the US government wants to deny a conspiracy, they simply lie about it and then withold all documents or proof from every member of the public under the Freedom of Information Act. There are people with serious charges against thousands of actions our government has taken that appear to be conspiracy theorists because the evidence is hidden and its existence will be denied.
      How does a regular ‘citizen’ get an answer about the activity from the government that will not cooperate. Catch 22 is invoked.
      At times we might consider using what information we have to demonstrate the pattern and actions in court. But the court won’t be assisting you in forcing an answer. You can show these people were involved, you can show that this event occurred, and that the persons profiting from it are the ones denying you any response when you demand the documents and records.
      Fascism is our standard in the USSA. We export it, we internalize it. We kill for it. All of the lip service denial demonstrates we live by it.

      1. Oh

        The courts will deny your lawsuit because you have no standing, but to show standing you need to pursue the lawsuit – another catch 22.

    3. m-ga

      I’m pretty sure 5G just piggybacks on 4G. The main development is that it’s a lot more reliable – can be treated as an “always on” connection. One of the more sinister potential downsides is that 5G would be far more useful than 4G for invasive surveillance.

      As far as electromagnetic emissions go, though, there’s little difference between 5G and 4G. Nothing to get upset about.

      If you want to suggest that all mobile phone emissions are dangerous (so, dating back to at least the 1990s), I’d be inclined to agree. If you want to show that to be the case, though, you need to look for studies linking increased cancers to increased mobile phone use. Or carry out such a study yourself.

      1. Acacia

        Different (higher) operating frequencies and more antennas is not what I would call “piggybacking”.

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        In fairness, and I’m not up on the technical aspects, what is being marketed in the US as 5G isn’t.

        However, there is a bona fide 5G which requires much closer spacing of cell towers (which also allows for much more precise location of users). The concern with true 5G I believe lies with the transmitters and not the user equipment. The signal goes into the microwave spectrum and some have raised concerns about it messing up bees.

      3. Angie Neer

        > As far as electromagnetic emissions go, though, there’s little difference between 5G and 4G.
        Not correct. 5G expands the spectrum options to include higher frequencies, in the millimeter-wave range (shorter than microwaves). Those frequencies allow higher data capacity, but shorter range and poor penetration in buildings ( It’s the mm-wave range that will require much higher density of towers. But that is only viable in densely populated areas (or high-traffic roads). Not all 5G areas will use mm-wave spectrum, but it’s that bandwidth will make the most obvious difference to users.

    4. zagonostra

      >Apropos 5G – just in

      YouTube has banned all conspiracy theory videos falsely linking coronavirus symptoms to 5G networks.

      The move follows a live-streamed interview with conspiracy theorist David Icke on Monday, in which he had linked the technology to the pandemic.

      YouTube’s rules update coincides with new restrictions on WhatsApp.

      1. ambrit

        There must be an “Institute of Consent Manufacture” lurking about somewhere. All the top dogs at the ‘social media’ companies look to be graduates of said fine institution of “Approved Learning.”
        This is a troubling development. In Ye Olde Days there was samizdat. The limitation to samizdat was it’s limited sphere of influence, which was directly relayed to the size of it’s dissemination range, and the “quality” of it’s readership. Ye Olde Samizdat was a creature of the dissident cadres of the social Intelligentsia. Today, that group seems to be much smaller than in Ye Olde Days. (Measuring such a naturally shy demographic is problematic at best.)
        Add to the above the tendency today to limit public access to scientific works via paywalls, etc. and we end up with “Orwell’s Nightmare Scenario.”
        I would say that, per Orwell, “Big Brother Is Watching You.” However, if my Tinfoil Hatt idea that HRH HRC will be ‘magically’ drafted to “save” the Republic at the Democrat Convention, then the Newspeak version of the old and venerable saying will be: “Big Smarter Than You Person Is Watching You.”

  8. Noone from Nowheresville

    The Navarro memos brought these questions I had kept to myself back up.

    Has anyone asked what was discussed at Davos this year? Part of the whole of the January conference is future thinking. I just don’t remember hearing that much about this conference or its panels this year other than Trump v. Greta. Last year it was bunkers and how do we control our mercenaries (The Gap series: Zone Implants!!!!!) This year we had impeachment, Warren v. Sanders, Superbowl, and Iowa caucus. And Trump v. Greta. And I know we only hear what they allow us to hear for the most part.

    WHO was actively denying a pandemic like problem mid-to-late January so it had to be on some expert’s radar. Navarro’s memos prove that even the US government was talking about it privately. So I must assume that at least a few of the Davos crowd discussed it.

    I’m curious as to what their plans were, where the conference attendees are, what they did to prepare themselves and how soon after they left the conference did they start? Was Trump involved in any virus discussions there, assuming the conference had them, or was he only there to showboat and make connections?

    And I know best laid plans of mice and men. A virus will do what it will do. Planning and contingencies can only do so much. But I would think that the Davos world would have resources available to mitigate at least the first phase of a pandemic for themselves.

    Or are those questions too tinfoily? If so, mods please delete.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      it’s only Foily if you think that a group of humans who regularly get together on retreat and share a lot of cultural, political and economic beliefs, somehow are incapable of conspiring to further their shared ends.
      (conspiracy=L.’breathing together’)
      if i were in their shoes, I’d most certainly bring it up at such a function…being that it’s decidedly future-oriented, and given explicitly to planning for potential futures.
      of course, given my utter distrust of the humans that do attend such functions, I’d like to think that were i involved(or any, single one of you, here) we might be less likely to be in the dog eat dog footdragging conundrum we’re in now.
      Given the occasional(and continually less occasional) Reveals that leak out of that world, regarding specifically, if obliquely, how they see Us, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if they didn’t game it out, with much discussion about “acceptable sacrifices”….likely couched in pseudo-humanistic terms.
      I reckon “they”, as a class, have shown themselves sufficiently over the years for it to be acceptable to at least ask those questions.

      1. JTMcPhee

        There’s this book titled “An Exultation of Larks,” the compendium of the collective nouns a cultured aristocrat wold have to know back in the medieval period. Like “a murder of crows.” I recall reading somewhere, back when I still had law licenses, that the collective for my profession was “a conspiracy of lawyers.”

        What’s the collective for “CEOs?” “A Davos of CEOs?” Of course Davos Man and Woman embraces a lot more than CEOs. And of course the same set of Big People with Big Wealth also gathers at Bilderberg, and the Koch suchers gather at Palm Springs and a couple of other places to plan out their hoped-for Randian world. And it’s a propaganda coup, I believe, to get us mopes to treat it all as “conspiracy theory,” just Abominable Snoman and Sasquatch – leave stuff. After all, believe it or not, it may be the case that the sneaks at the CIA, the place that gave us “modified limited hangouts” and “plausible deniability,” was Site Zero for the weaponization of the phrase “conspiracy theory.”

        Jeebus, how are humans ever going to work their way out of the current mess? Folks here likely pride themselves on being able to sort the information wheat from the noise chaff and fraud (“BoJo is still in charge, not on respirator,” “Weapons of Mass Destruction,” “I did not have sex with that woman…”) But back to Philosophy 101– how can we know anything? Uncertainty and deception and dissimulation flood us in a drowning tide of Bernays Sauce…

        But I try to remember the collective good acts and “all pull together” experiences in my life. There’s something there worth clinging to…

        1. HotFlash

          Can we know anything absolutely? Well probably not, and even then, not provably. But there are these trends, and we see them and we draw conclusions and act on them. If we are wrong, the Universe will act back, or at least repeat the question. God help us, we have no other way of knowing the universe we live in.

          As every small child knows, don’t listen to what they say, watch what they do. How did we lose that knowledge?

        2. Art Vandalay

          The notion of inherent conspiracy resulting from elites congregating reminded me of an Adam Smith quote:

          People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment or diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.”

          Substitute “upper class” for “same trade.”

        3. Amfortas the hippie

          My Dog! Yer drunker than I am…..

          In other words, Yes!

          eat the rich.

          good for nothing else/
          eat them
          Eat Them!

          they’re nice!
          they’re tasty!
          eat them!

      2. Rhondda

        (conspiracy=L.’breathing together’)
        Lord, Amfortas, that is “too true” and struck me to the core when I read it. Yes, I think you’ve seen something important.
        This whole thing is off. I don’t trust these people/institutions. Questions acceptable in my generally unaccepted opinion.

  9. xkeyscored

    A Google Plan To Wipe Out Mosquitoes Appears to Be Working Bloomberg

    And if it turns out that this approach does work, will the US allow it to be deployed in Yemen, now facing a dengue epidemic on top of its other troubles? Or will sanctions be employed to ensure dengue kills those that bombs and blockades haven’t?

    “Dengue fever outbreak swamps Yemeni hospitals” (7 April 2020)
    AL-MUKALLA: An outbreak of the deadly dengue fever in Yemen is putting the country’s strained health system under huge pressure as it prepares for the prospect of dealing with a flood of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients, doctors have warned.

    1. Bugs Bunny

      I really wonder about the knock on effects of eliminating mosquitoes at this scale. They’re part of the ecosystem and have a much larger role in it than just being a vector of human disease. Maybe cure the mosquito rather than kill it?

      1. Thomas F Hilton, PhD

        Please cite one study in a respectable science journal that reports any ecological benefit from mosquitoes besides killing off mammals. Some critters deserve extinction.

        1. Wukchumni

          For whatever reason, mossies want no part of me…

          If all the sandflies were to go away in NZ though, I wouldn’t shed a tear.

        2. HotFlash

          Maybe no-one funded a study? We read that insect populations are decreasing precipitously. Yes, I know it is wiki, and I know it is disputed, but I expect Bayer, Sygenta, et al to be disputing this tooth and nail. Here is a less manipulable source,

          My dear Thomas F Hilton, PhD, I am sure you have access to JSTOR and other resources that I do not have. What eats mosquitos? Well, here is the answer from Sciencing, the rest of the search results were pest control companies.

        3. lyman alpha blob

          Mosquitoes are food for and therefore beneficial to many other species, including some mammals (bats). Removing a fairly large link in the food chain without understanding the possible effects doesn’t show a whole lot of foresight.

    2. JTMcPhee

      Mosquitoes, like viruses, are in no way all bad (except in homocentric views.:)

      The Ecological Importance of Mosquitoes

      Mosquitoes serve the purpose of more than just buzzing in our ears, and are intrinsic to our ecology.

      …We often view mosquitoes as bloodsuckers that do nothing but make our lives miserable. However, mosquitoes do have ecological functions. From pollination to ant puke, the secret life of mosquitoes is both bizarre and ecologically important.

      Mosquitoes have many functions in the ecosystem that are overlooked. Indiscriminate mass elimination of mosquitoes would impact everything from pollination to biomass transfer to food webs….

      Mosquito-borne diseases kill about 725,000 people annually, and humans murder (discounting wars) only about 475,000. Global fatal auto accidents kill about 1.3 million (discounting millions of deaths from air pollution.)

      Now Gates and Google want to eradicate mosquitoes. Gates also wants to fill the stratosphere with some kind of geoengineered particles that will supposedly save us from global heat death by reflecting incident sunlight back out into space. Yah, we got to trust these billionaires to come up with “solutions,” the same ones that brought us the famous “blue screen of death…” What could possibly go wrong?

      What ever happened to the “precautionary principle?” I guess it was acquired and is now a wholly owned subsidiary of the Business Class…

      1. Kurt Sperry

        Compromise: how about wiping out only the small minority of mosquito species that attack humans? All the rest? Let them have at it.

        1. HotFlash

          On edit:

          Compromise: how about wiping out only the small minority of humans that attack mosquito species? All the rest? Let them have at it.

  10. Vastydeep

    The Fauci-an bargain drives me nuts. It wasn’t hard to see COVID-19 coming — I’m not anybody, but I first mentioned it in my classes on January 29. It was also not hard to find early, supportive evidence for chloroquine – as a general antiviral, against SARS, and the first pre-pubs on COVID-19. Lots of us have some experience with chloroquine – dosage is tricky, but it’s cheap, widely available, known as a prophylactic and the risks are known.

    Peter Navarro is not a medical doctor but that doesn’t mean he’s wrong, or that he was incorrect to speak up. Anthony Fauci is a medical doctor and was ideally placed to start real, double-blind studies back in January. He did not do that. You go to war with the field data you have, not the clinical trials you wish you had. “Real world evidence” says you roll out the chloroquines carefully, manage risk, and document everything you find. Do formal clinical trials as well, but let the data you gather build your knowledge and shape your treatment regimens.

    It is said “the next Jonas Salk will be a mathematician, not a doctor.” That sanguine view may go too far, but I think chess GM Siegbert Tarrasch had the right idea: “It is not enough to be a good player … you must also play well.” We can debate which of Fauci vs. Navarro has “played well.”

    1. Carolinian

      Wasn’t there a story here yesterday that doctors all over NYC were using chloroquines off label? And that must surely be true elsewhere. So shouldn’t some consensus be building about the effectiveness even without a study or are doctors just too busy right now to communicate with each other?

      Meanwhile the NYT story on “how does this end” seems to be a rather improbable scheme on how it will continue with schools reopening and then closing according to the latest statistical measurement.

      The biggest problem seems to be that current policies don’t seem to have any long term plan at all other than to continue the lockdowns until we are all impoverished. So far polls say the public accepts the restrictions but how long will that last?

    2. Louis Fyne

      In my $0.01opinion, some(obviously not all) MDs combine the worst of intellectual rigidness and stubbornness.

      the US response at all levels–both parties–drives me NUTS too. As Korea (and others but Korea is exceedingly transparent) invented the wheel but the US and European govts insist on reinventing the wheel

      1. a different chris

        Yes it is, and I basically agree it has to be, a “book learnin” type of profession where you just become a data bank. Free thought on top of that just mangles the look-up tables.

        If they would understand their very weaknesses the selection process selects for, it would be extremely helpful. They would be even more revered.

        We don’t expect everybody to be an offensive lineman, it’s obvious why not. People are are professional offensive linemen don’t think they can be quarterbacks.

        But MDs think they understand everything. (ok some not all like Louis said).

        1. Carolinian

          They are also ruled by liability. Will we be sued if we don’t do X?

          Personally I’m not convinced that anyone involved in this really knows what they are doing. If it’s a disease with no cure other than your own immune system then are heroic medical interventions really saving lives or just postponing the inevitable which may be hastened by the interventions themselves (those dangerous ventilators)? Perhaps Sweden has the right idea–let it ride and let the most vulnerable be protected by quarantine, not everyone.

          Clearly the only real “cure” is not to get it in the first place. Some of us are trying our best not to do that. But if we do get it I’m not sure we should be too quick to blame it on somebody else.

    3. John k

      Yes. And hard to do rigorous study during epidemic of something that seems to be working if the study means denying the treatment to a control group… besides, we can see what is happening to many thousands that are not getting the treatment, everybody else is the control group.
      Indications of antimalarial quinine efforts plus zinc in several parts of the world, apparently with allegedly better outcomes.

      1. HotFlash

        Anyone in the population who is not tested *is* the control group. This is why we need tests on people who die at home.

  11. xkeyscored

    The Star spoke to the landlady, who said she “had no option” but to evict Gigi [a nurse] because she was “putting the health, safety and well-being of myself and others in the house at risk.”

    What a brilliant idea! Why not close all hospitals and force all health workers into the desert at gunpoint, since they might be infected? And if the landlady goes down with COVID-19, she could 3-D print her own ventilator and intubate herself. On the streets, of course, lest she endanger her investment, or, as she puts it, the health, safety and well-being of others in the house.

    1. marcyincny

      I don’t understand why medical staff aren’t being housed in hotels, etc. I understand many do not want to go home and put their families at risk.

        1. John Zelnicker

          April 7, 2020 at 9:12 am

          That would be quite a task since Wuhan is some 300 miles from the coast, as the crow flies. Probably 1,500 miles or more by the Yangtze River from Shanghai. (I’m not denying that it could be/was done.)

          1. xkeyscored

            Chinese state media has reported that seven river cruise ships have been brought into the city of Wuhan in Hubei province. These ships are going to be converted into temporary accommodations for medical staff in the city. Thousands of medical workers from all over China have been brought (and are still being brought) into Hubei to help the province contain the outbreak.
            Xinhua News reported that the ships normally operated as river cruises in the Three Gorges, a popular and scenic tourist area along the Yangtze River. However, now the cruise ship business in the Three Gorges has been closed due to the outbreak.

   (February 26)

            1. ambrit

              Yes! One of Herzog’s best documentaries! (It really is based on true history. It actually happened. An object lesson in Truth being stranger than Fiction.)

          2. MLTPB

            I remember the story.

            The river cruise boats were probably those for the Three Gorges trips.

            Historically, though, one of the ways for Xian, Luoyang or Beijing to take Nanjing or Hangzhou was to launch war ships from Xianyang, go down the Han River, and enter the Yangtze near Wuhan, then sail down to Red Cliff or other targets in the south.

            So, that has been a busy route, from Wuhan to Lower Yangtze.

            (The other way to take the south was a land route, crossing the Huai River in Anhui or Jiangsu).

    2. mnm

      The hospitals could just stop admitting COVID patients altogether, then healthcare staff wouldn’t be at risk and be evicted from their homes. They wouldn’t have to care for these sick people wearing the same garbage bag all day, suffocating in the same N95 mask for 13 hours, on top of the already horrible working conditions that existed before the virus came along. Humans really are the worst creatures on this planet.

  12. a different chris

    Roughly one week of benefits that you probably won’t see and unfortunately some won’t even live to see.

    It suddenly wasn’t so hard to put the economy on a full war footing when Pearl Harbor was bombed, for chrissake. And this war would be the best sort of war you can hope for, you are trying to save people not kill them.

    Give virtually all of us what we need to stay at home, the rest keep well separated as they deliver groceries and maintain the power grid and similar. Start testing and filtering the ones that can come out in order of need (VCs and Hedge Funders can just stay in their mansions for the rest of their lives). Build society back up and maybe a vaccine will show up within the next year.

  13. juneau

    Admin telling doctors at a major elite network to stop complaining about having to work during the pandemic or quit. Condescending, telling them to educate their family members about the symptoms of Covid 19, go “on the internet” put on your mask and call them or go to their website. “you now have a mask” if you get sick. Gee Whiz. This kind is attitude is all to common. “stop sending emails….you are entitled to your opinion….but it raises questions as to whether you want to work for (us)”. This is an elite network with some truly great doctors and nurses. The staff are doing the right thing and sending the concerns to management and this is what they get. Because their complaints are “dispiriting” to management. “keep yourselves safe!”. “please for you and your families, stop sending emails and cards and letters telling us we are disrespecting you!”. Put up and shut up or get out. How about “we will protect you with everything we have for your sacrifice and your family’s”. That would sound much better.

    1. newcatty

      We were watching a news clip about NYC hospital healthcare workers and support staff. The main story line was the stress and worry of the workers returning to their homes and families. As they interviewed a doctor, a nurse and an aide the differences were striking. It was just a brief window into the economic and social class system in this country. The doctor lamented that he and many of his colleagues had decided to send their spouses and children to a safe place. They had the means and connections to do this to protect their family. The next interviewee was a nurse. He had the option of isolating himself in his apartment in a room with a closed door. His wife communicated with him through the door, of course, also on phone . He had his food left at the door for any meal he might be home for to eat. The aide lived in a very small apartment she shared with her family. No space for “self-isolation” for her in her home. She sounded deeply sadden and worried about bringing home the virus to her family. She had no alternative for herself and her children. So, inadvertently did the network illustrate the stark contrasts? Or just coincidence and a “broad human interest ” story?

  14. chuck roast

    re: Google Plan to Wipe Out Mosquitos

    During my cruising years I cohabitated with a number of spiders. I called them my fellow travelers. They seemed to prefer life in the cozy stern compartment. They would pop out in late afternoon/early evening and set-up on the stern rail. It was the perfect place for a web because the wind always blew over the bow when at anchor or on a mooring placing the web always around 90 degrees to the prevailing breeze.

    I would sit in the cockpit and marvel at them spinning their perfect little webs. As nightfall approached, the first mosquito would begin buzzing. My fellow travelers were now just about finished with their creations, and that was my signal to go below and leave the darkness to the bugs and spiders. As for Google? Words fail me.

  15. Wukchumni

    A ski resort is, in many ways, an ideal breeding ground for an epidemic. Skiing and snowboarding may look from a distance like solitary pursuits; the helmets, goggles, and neck warmers may be assumed to function like alpine hazmat suits. But, at major resorts, stretches of brisk, wintry liberation on the slopes are interrupted by long chairlift and gondola rides, during which people sit shoulder to shoulder and knee to knee with a perpetually rotating cast of strangers.

    Debbie Bacca, a project manager at a construction company, was one of the après-ski revellers in Sun Valley’s River Run Lodge on March 6th, mingling with hundreds of skiers and boarders under giant timber beams and an Annie Leibovitz portrait of Arnold Schwarzenegger, a sometime local, posing on skis in a skintight T-shirt. As Bacca and five of her friends sat down at a lodge table, one of them said, “We should wipe this down.” Awareness of the coronavirus was mounting: the next morning, neighboring Washington State confirmed a hundred and two cases and its sixteenth death. But Bacca and the others in her group never did get around to wiping down the table. Within days, five of the six were stricken. The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare considers Bacca to be the first official case of covid-19 in the county.

    1. Upstater

      The coziness of downhill skiing is one of many reasons I do XC skiing. Risk of broken bones is another.

      1. Wukchumni

        I kind of doubt i’ll ever ski at a resort again in the aftermath of everything besetting us, so we’ll go to plan B, which is a couple pairs of 3 pin Alpina X-Terrain skis & kicker skins, and all turns must be earned.

        1. Monty

          I can’t tell how firmly your tongue is in your cheek when you post this kind of stuff. I’m not sure the end is quite as nigh as some would like it to be. Is the American way of life dead, or is it just pining for the fjords?

          1. Wukchumni

            I see a vastly different way of life for all of us within say a year. The new normal will be based on simplicity-not driving 7 hours to a ski resort that went out business. (the resorts are very dependent upon their clientele buying season passes for next winter about right now-which i’ll assure you-isn’t happening)

        1. Arizona Slim

          A broken leg turned me off to downhill. That was when I was 12 years old.

          Then came my college years. Weekend excursion to northern Michigan. Dang, it snowed the whole time.

          On Saturday morning, our activity was cross country skiing. And, yes, young Slim joined in.

          At one point, I went straight down a small hill and did a glorious faceplant. Gawd, it was good.

          After I lifted my face out of snow, I looked around. Y’know, to see if anyone noticed. I even hollered to bring attention to my glorious faceplant.

          No one paid me the slightest bit of attention.

          So, I pulled myself back to my feet and kept on skiing.

          Good times, good times.

        2. Wukchumni

          Never had an injury in 42 years of downhill skiing, that’s around 600 days on the slopes.

          1. petal

            Famous last words, Wuk!
            I do miss skiing a lot, though. Grew up racing, so we were out there a few days a week. It’s just what you did in winter in the snow belt. Can’t afford to now, but I still get the itch on those bluebird days after a dump.

  16. Sam Adams

    Re: mosquito eradication
    Anyone think of the ecosystem knock down of eliminating a major food source for birds, other insects and small animals?

    1. xkeyscored

      The idea is to knock out Aedes aegypti mosquitoes.
      Other species (besides this one) are pollinators, as well as food for insectivores. I would hope this project’s impact on them is being studied.

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        Well, I think their motto is, “don’t do harm” or “doooo good” or something like that, so no worries.

        1. Acacia

          Google motto 2004: Don’t be evil
          Google motto 2010: Evil is tricky to define
          Google motto 2013: We make military robots

    2. Mo's Bike Shop

      Opening up the flying-bloodsucker niche for new candidates to evolve into may not have been thought through. At least the skeeters are small!

      1. Eclair

        ” …… the flying-bloodsucker niche ….”

        I believe that is already being filled by corporate minions and their private jets.

    3. a different chris

      Nobody that matters. “Let’s live someplace inhospitable and complain when it doesn’t work out”.

      However I need to modify this as I am not the stupid conservative I was 35 years ago:

      “Let’s confine these once-adapted natives into someplace inhospitable, then feed them the need for some awful technical solution, then push the bleeding hearts to pay us to do it”.

      I bet you would find that not long ago at all in the History of Man that the people affected were hunter-gatherers, and they wouldn’t be where the mosquitoes are when said mosquitoes were at their peak.

      And per xkeyscored impressive post, I wonder if the mix of mosquitoes changed when humans became year-round accessible?

    4. VK

      Re: A Google Plan To Wipe Out Mosquitoes
      Killing yourself by killing them,
      recurrent theme of our times…

  17. Tom Stone

    I just read the transcript of Tom Modly’s speech to the crew of the Teddy Roosevelt and learned something new.
    Guam is a Country, just like Africa.

    The rest of his speech was equally impressive.

    1. chuck roast

      The fact that Il Douche vocally backed Modly will not be lost on the MAGA legions, many of whom were simple seamen, airmen and privates in an earlier life. It’s indeed the rare officer that backs the enlisted men, and the EM’s remember.

        1. Monty

          He should have his resignation declined, and be redeployed to a 3 month tour aboard a Corona infected nuclear sub.

          1. The Rev Kev

            I disagree. He should go back to his original job and be made a US Navy chopper pilot – stationed aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt.

  18. QuarterBack

    Stanford has made a toilet that identifies you based on your butthole

    And the toilet says “Oh great…This a*hole again!”

    1. The Rev Kev

      The logical inference is that Stanford had a large database of images of butt-holes in order to train the software to distinguish between the different ones. And that some poor undergrad probably had the unenviable task once to sort through them all and to classify them by groups. I wonder how he worded that on his resume?

      1. John A

        Maybe he really liked doing the job of observing from below. A case of the shit hitting the fan, perhaps.

        1. ambrit

          I thought that learning to recognize and identify a–holes would more properly be in the curriculum of a business school.

          1. edmondo

            They don’t recognize a-holes in business school,. they manufacture them. It’s one of the few things we still make in America. The distribution hub is downtown DC.

            1. ambrit

              Very true. However, in the wisdom of the Sages, the game ‘Rock Paper Scissors’ the Rock Clan is wrapped up in reams of immobilizing Paper. Just as Attorneys do to MBAs. (There is a second analogy utilizing a–holes and Paper possible, which I shall refrain from mentioning so as not to upset the sensibilities of our Genteel Hosts.)
              Stay safe in Da Big City Brooklyn Bridge!

      2. Jesper

        Probably worded as: “Outsourced image recognition to (insert low cost country here) and managed relationship with outsourcer”

        1. Dune Navigator

          That’s the Naked Capitalism commentariat: we come for the enlightening repartee, but we stay for the coarse potty humor.

      1. petal

        Gotta get some stick-on moustaches, or those fake eyeglasses with the giant nose and eyebrows. Those’ll work a charm.

  19. JohnnyGL

    Re: Matt Orfalea video

    Yes, Dems and media would have freaked out, but so what? They’ve freaked out consistently about all kinds of stupid stuff over the last 4 years and it hasn’t moved the needle on Trump’s approval rating one bit. They’ve only succeeded in eroding their own credibility.

    With the benefit of hindsight, I think it’s clear Bernie pulled too many punches for fear of offending Dems and media.

    Now, does that mean going ‘negative’ would have worked? Well, I’m not sure, it’s possible it would have backfired, but keep in mind, Sanders got ZERO press coverage for months on end during the earlier part of the race. He really could have used a freakout or two to get some coverage. A lot of older people didn’t even realize he was a contender for a long time, because of the media blackout.

    Everyone, including me, misunderstood Joe Biden’s support. Yes, it was a mile wide and an inch deep, but it was also weirdly resilient and buoyant. It kept bouncing back as other contenders rose/fell. A direct attack, on substance, might have genuinely punctured that support. The ‘electability’ argument for Biden was damaged, but was never truly buried.

    1. jefemt

      Biden’s going to be facing a Senate hearing on his son and Burisma. Also, the alleged mid-90’s rape.

      Is Bernie hanging on for many reasons?

      1. sd

        Biden is currently bunkered down. Sooner or later, he’s going to have to go out in public. “Leading” by Zoom only goes so far.

        Biden does not appear to be in good health. He’s consistently pasty, confused, and clearly has serious issues with cognitive functions.

        Does anyone really believe he will make it to the convention? I don’t. And I have felt that way for quite some time. So what is the DNCs back up plan when Biden goes down?

        1. Hepativore

          I think that the most likely plan is to replace Biden with somebody like Andrew Cuomo, Sherrod Brown, or even Hillary Clinton by superdelegate fiat at the convention.

          In some strange way, I am almost looking forward to the massive backlash that will happen when the DNC decides to write off the will of the voters and the primary as irrelevant when they do this. It might not be as impressive as it was going to be due to many people not wanting to congregate in public to protest because of fears of the pandemic. Either way, it is a pretty likely bet that Trump is going to get reelected for 2020.

          Actually, I would not be surprised if the US becomes effectively a one-party state after this. The Democratic Party is probably going to disintegrate, leaving the Republicans the sole major party. Due to the way that the ballot laws are in many states, I very much doubt that any of the various third parties would have the political infrastructure to step in and fill the vacuum left by the Democrats. The Republican Party is certainly not going to change ballot access laws to allow political competition to arise.

          1. hunkerdown

            I think you’re mistaking competitiveness for viability. Elections are not a marketplace, certainly not a free one. The Democrat Party still very much serves the interests and lifestyles of the 10% and the 10% will continue to vote for the party that represents their interests and works to keep those interests exclusive. As long as they continue to subscribe to the idea of a parasitic leisure class in unanimity with the “other” Party, and convince their “own” voters that such parasitism is the right and proper Order of society, how are they even a threat?

            Each party has an existential interest in the health of the other party’s ability to control their own end of political outcomes. Or, put another way, machine politics is always bipartisan. The drama triangle needs two parties to take the roles of abuser and rescuer, so that the voter stays in the victim role and doesn’t resolve the drama by independently rescuing themselves. Neither party has the least interest in collapsing the dramas that enable their control over popular political activity, allow them to manipulate factions and selectively coordinate their turnout and disposition, so that the “will of the people” inclines toward rubber-stamping results that suit the continuation of the system.

            If anything, I think you will see more lifestyles and identities placed into the drama triangle and existing dramas turned back up, to shore up and “rebalance” the abuser-rescuer dynamic. For example, hints of drug war are in the air, from the “marijuana lowers IQ” Trump quote, to the re-activation of the DEA against medpot in the proposed 2021 budget, to the “narco-terrorism” rationalization for “police action” in Venezuela.

            1. Massinissa

              The venezuelan thing is such an obvious crock. Everyone knows the drugs pass through Colombia, not Venezuela.

    2. zagonostra

      “A mile wide and an inch deep,” yes indeed. In fact that is what the dem-dumbed down debates where all about, touching on this or that topic/soup du jour without ever giving a historical context/flavor or drilling a nano milometer down before the 2 minute clock buzzed.

      Empty meaningless cotton candy calories, a sugar high of disinformation and misdirection.

      I remember seeing Matt Orfalea on the Jimmy Dore show where JD called out Bernie for firing Orfalea. JD was very early in calling out Bernie’s weaknesses.

    3. Charger01

      Bernie was clear about his intent. He was proposing a hostile takeover of the DNC and their network. Those occupying the networks said “NO!” and rallied around an ancient DLC Democrat that had protected them before. Bernie lacks the killer instinct to shiv “his good friend Joe” and pick up power lying in the street. Bernie’s only path forward is literally for Joe to have a critical health problem prior to the convention and be the last man standing.

      1. Oh

        If he’s the last man standing, BS would probably find a “good friend” in whomever the DNC puts up as an alternate to JB and extoll that person’s electablity.

        1. Massinissa

          I’m expecting that its finally ‘Her Turn’… Because its always time for Hillary Clinton.

  20. Steve H.

    > Plot Economics [Venkatesh Rao]

    > As far as we can tell, a virus has gotten inside the OODA loop of Homo sapiens, and seized the initiative, while we’re struggling to figure out what to even call it. It is spreading faster than our fastest truths, lies, and bullshit. A supersonic shock wave in the narrative marketplace.

    Cognitive biases and heuristics can be considered a selective shortcut to decrease response time. Like a Keynesian beauty contest, or a search for a Kolmogorov minimum, the time to make a perfect plan can be undercut by a competitor committed to an imperfect plan. (You should hear what Prometheus says about his brother Epimetheus…)

    How long ago did quarterly reports take precedence over long-term thinking? (“We’ve been wondering when you would ask this question.”) Dilbert wrote about Trump practicing rapid A/B testing on the crowds, and he got elected President. HFT companies scrambling for location to shorten their transaction times in microseconds.

    Now a 36 kilobase quasi-lifeform is kicking our fat-brained simian asses. I think you’ll find the embedded paper, The Influence of a Sense of Time on Human Development, relevant to Henry Moon Pie’s comment above. Anyway, you may want to read this, if you have a moment:

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      I came to my point of view via the Tao te Ching (le Guin trans.). The ribbonfarm author came by a different route, but I think we arrived at pretty much the same place.

      And my apologies to Tennessee Williams, but a new word sparked this for me:

      There ain’t nothin’ more powerful than the odor of zemblanity… You can smell it. It smells like death.

      As for the identity of “we,” as disdainful as I’ve been since my teens toward this society’s way of doing things, even I’m shocked at the way the virus has thrown all our leaders into log-level thinking.

    2. The Rev Kev

      ‘a virus has gotten inside the OODA loop of Homo sapiens’

      I like the way you put that. That is exactly the way it is happening. Too many countries are reactive rather than proactive and are paying a heavy price for that.

      1. Steve H.

        Rao’s words, not mine. His article rang some bells for me, last month there was a Thursday to Saturday segment that lasted me a week and a half, so it seemed. Here’s another quote from the article:

        > The log level is the lowest level of psychological functioning where a coherent sense of universal time passing is even possible. Further collapse leads to varying degrees of PTSD and traumatizing kinds of atemporality (there’s interesting research on this) driven by progressive fragmentation of identity into subhuman shards.

  21. timbers

    Small window to share about how covid is affecting my vast world wide financial empire…

    Finished renovating a downstairs bathroom about 2 months ago after tenant of 2 years moved to Oregon, so as to re-rent this nicely done (all floors tiled, fully renovated basement, laundry room, everything but a stove with good full windows facing south) one bedroom / Livingroom/den / bath. Not a separate unit but more privacy than a shared apartment. Priced at $800/month it’s generally considered a very good deal.

    Many wanted it. Narrowed it down to 2.

    1st prospect fit my desired profile perfectly, a kid out of college living with parents working at W.B. Mason corporate office, downtown Brockton, very close to my house. He ordered his first bank checks to pay for it as I only accept cash or checks (I declined veno or paypal payments as I don’t want this income traceable so to speak and I’ve had my paypal frozen by paypal demanding I give them tax reporting info for something as minor as selling blu ray’s I choose not to keep, on ebay). Week later he delayed, explaining better to stay in country-side-esk Plympton, Ma than Brockton because virus.

    I called 2nd acceptable prospect. He too put moving on hold, as his landlord delayed selling his place.

    1st Prospect called, saying he’s going crazy self isolating with his family and would like to move in. He shared that he’s been furloughed by WB Mason but has savings and unemployment. Later he asked if I’d accept $500/month for several months then $800 after that. I agreed. Still later he said his unemployment amount does not reflect the full recent federal funding amount, and needs to resolve that before setting move in date.

    Other prospects include a candidate working for a call center and must move immediately because he needs a place with a room he can talk on phone all day. He did not meet other things I look for like having a car as I live in a suburban setting and feel it is needed.

    Another prospect works for a blind school, makes $24/k/yr, and is currently working from home. His sister initiated our meeting, and will help him afford rent if he can’t.

    Another prospect is on disability due to Lupus, but is allowed to work 22hrs a U-Hual (and essential service) and currently pays $175/week.

    Summary: First 2 most favored applicants, lives interrupted by covid.

    Other lesser desired applicants as a result of covid.

    Other applicants apparently unaffected.

  22. ex-PFC Chuck


    Imagine if a single person on Bernie Sanders’ campaign had the guts to share this:

    Did this ever get any serious air time? I never saw it.

    1. Susan the other

      It will. It should. And the democrats are strangely quiet about Trump’s inept handling of Covid-19. Inept or corrupt – take your pick. I can already imagine the video clips they are going to put out starting in September. Which brings me to my next thought – Trump would be smart to figure out a way to cancel the election.

      1. BobW

        If he cancels the election his term will be over. There is no constitutional provision for an extended presidential term.

        1. ambrit

          Do what most “golpistas” do. Declare a ‘State of Emergency’ and suspend the Constitution for the ‘Duration of the Emergency.’
          Unless the Democrat Party aligns itself more fully with the Establishment Republicans and installs HRH HRC as “Protectoress of the Republic” for the ‘Duration of the Emergency.’

      2. J.K.

        The outbreak is going to provide them an opportunity to steal the election outright. In fact from my limited understanding of the constitution it’s exponentially harder to cancel the election than to steal it. They can engage in all kinds of shenanigans in different states to drive down the numbers of dem voters.

  23. The Rev Kev

    “Domestic travel in the US, Australia and Southeast Asia could resume by June, says Flight Centre CEO”

    Sure it will. Not a problem. Overseas visitors should be aware though that before they can start their trip in Australia, that they will probably be required to self-isolate in some hotel first for a fortnight under police supervision. After that you should be sweet. Well, except that the borders for all the Australian States have been locked down so you will only be able to travel withing the State that you landed in. And so long as that State has not banned unnecessary travel. Don’t forget too that these restrictions are likely to apply till at least September. And remember too that after you return home, that they may also require you to go into quarantine for a fortnight there as well. We’d throw a shrimp on the barby for you but you cannot gather in groups larger than two so I’m afraid that you are on your own.

  24. JacobiteInTraining

    If anyone is interested in yet more fodder for lockdown entertainment – I watched a wonderful little show called ‘Searching For Sugar Man’ about the search for a mysterious early-70’s American singer-songwriter named Rodriguez.

    The search was initiated by some fans in one of the few places he was actually popular – Apartheid South Africa. I personally, though considering myself well educated on the music scene of the time….had not the slightest clue of this artist named Rodriguez.

    If you have Netflix its worth queuing up. If you don’t have Netflix, its worth doing some searches for Sixto Rodriguez and his songs. Not to give away the spoiler, but despite disappearing into a completely anonymous working-mans life & slogging through a long financial desert after his recording dreams were shattered…the man experiences a magical series of concerts in the late 90’s in South Africa, but even still makes it quite clear that what may have been a financial desert, was never a philosophical nor personal desert.

    He was doing just fine, and is one of those people who I wish was in politics. Of course, the kinds of people with integrity like this man never go far in politics do they….

    I may just write in Rodriguez for President/2020. :)

      1. JacobiteInTraining

        Motto of the US *was* E Pluribus Unum, I think.

        Now…per Rodriguez…I hereby move it be changed to:

        “…’Cause Papa don’t allow no new ideas here…”

        And then there is —

        “…Judges with metermaid hearts
        Order super market justice starts
        Frozen children inner city
        Walkers in the paper rain
        Waiting for those knights that never came
        The hi-jacked trying so hard to be pretty…”

        Heh….I need to go find a site where I *know* the song revenues go direct to Sixto and order copies of his whole catalog. :)

    1. albrt

      Heartwarming story, but it came as a shock halfway through the film when I suddenly remembered that it was all taking place in Africa. Because the South African audiences are basically all white. And nobody ever mentions that.

      1. witters

        Rodriguez was huge in Australia, and, for some reason, absolutely massive in Tasmania. I should mention we was all pretty white.

  25. Krystyn Podgajski

    RE: “British 5G towers are being set on fire because of coronavirus conspiracy theories”

    This has false flag written all over it. And is being promoted to paint all people who oppose 5G as kooks.

    I have been looking and can find zero evidence that these towers were destroyed because people were afraid of it spreading the virus. 5G towers were being destroyed already. There was one that was burned down in South Wales at the end of last September well before the virus! The telecom industry is manufacturing your consent to have these towers outside of your windows!

    This is how the internet controls most people. So I am done. Bye!

    1. zagonostra

      I haven’t delved into the reason behind the burning of the 5G tower and there may be zero evidence for it and it may very well be a false flag. Nevertheless, Alex Jones and David Icke make the connection between 5G and the virus along with many other confabulations – or speculations if like.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Oh, it’s real OK. There have been fires in Belfast, Liverpool and Birmingham. Just punch the words 5G fires into Google and a bunch of stories will come back in such publications as the BBC, Fortune, Forbes, etc. At least now they are burning towers whereas in the middle ages, they would have burnt people as being the cause of plagues.

        1. zagonostra

          Do you dismiss 5G as having an untoward impact on humans? I’m not talking corona virus, I’m just asking if you completely dismiss 5G’s as having the potential for impacting humans in ways that have not been fully taken into account or having concerns dismissed without proper study?

          1. The Rev Kev

            No, not at all. But these idjuts are burning down these towers for causing a virus – as if a virus could be transmitted via electromagnetic radiation. Primary school science should have told them that this is not possible.

            1. Billy

              Well, viruses like herpes can travel along nerves that transmit electrical signals all over the body. How do I know that Covid19 is not traveling down my ethernet cable into my computer and infecting my eyes from my neighbor who uploaded it?
              [That’s humor, OK?]

              5G has plenty of real health effects.This possibly telecommuncations corporate created story, does not negate those.

            1. Billy

              Yeah, what a laugh!
              A device which every 15 seconds emits a pulse to locate and connect to the nearest cell tower,
              a signal which can penetrate a one foot thick concrete wall,
              is perfectly safe to keep in your pocket, an inch from your testicles or ovaries, or your brain and eyeballs, when speaking on the phone and sending a much more power signal through that wall.
              The women that carried their phones turned on in a special sports bra when jogging, and got localized tumors?
              Just a bunch of hysterical woo woo hypochondriacs!

  26. xkeyscored

    America is Committing Economic Suicide – Eudaimonia and Co

    “Economic ruin is the end of a gentle, modern, wise culture, society, and politics in this way.” It might also be the end of the USA’s savage, barbaric and ignorant war mongering for quite a while.

    1. Wyoming

      It might also be the end of the USA’s savage, barbaric and ignorant war mongering for quite a while.

      Perhaps, but what he is trying to say is the opposite. When times are getting really tough and there are far less resources to go around than there used to be history has shown us that savagery, barbarism and war tend to increase in frequency.

      1. J.K.

        I wish i could agree with the sentiment but i fear an empire in a protracted period of decline is much more likely to lash out like a wounded animal.

  27. Adrian D.

    Interesting (to put it mildly) to see the BBC report using CBS footage in the NY hospital (Mark Ames’s tweet) – I can’t remember seeing such coverage of our own lack of PPE on the BBC here.

    It’s quite something to see the change of tone within the same prime-time BBC news programmes when ‘we’ go to a Foreign Correspondent – any news from abroad is presented in a very much more downbeat matter with terms like ‘catastrophe’, ‘devastation’ and ‘chaos’ abounding, when they’re seldom if ever used by the UK journos. Reports from Italy and China routinely use the tone reserved for a refugee-camp and plenty of accustations of incompetence or indifference to accompany them – is the the same in the US?

    1. Clive

      Important to remember the BBC is fighting for its continued existence having way too overtly thrown its hat into the Brexit “Remain” ring and found it had misread if not perhaps the out-and-out majority then certainly the mood of the country (it wasn’t so much that “Leave” swept the board but that the licence-fee payers of most political persuasions don’t see the point in a BBC which is beating the viewers over the head with a particular ideological brick).

      Now, the BBC is doing what only the BBC can and trying to switch back to putting on a show of being the reassuring Trusted By The Nation (TM) comfort blanket it likes to think we like to wrap ourselves up in.

      The Queen can pull this off because she can, legitimately, say (in effect) “look you lot, I’ve been doing this shit for eighty years, I’ve seen a world war, the Cuban missile crisis, a three-day-week, Thatcher, Blair, a mentally ill man climb into my bedroom for a chat, an alcoholic sister sending herself to an early grave what with the booze and fags and everything, Lady Di and the Duchess of bloody York, oh, and I’m a direct descendant of a dynasty which makes Game of Thrones look like something you see on HBO and I got through it all so jolly well STFU and just get on with it”.

      The BBC, conversely, has spent the past century bed hopping from one political marriage of convenience to another, going this-way-and-that, playing off one side against the other and we’re all getting a bit fed up with it now. Sucking up to the Conservatives, as you’ve correctly surmised is what’s going on, is now just desperate rather than canny. The left don’t like it and the right don’t believe it. So their goose is well and truly cooked.

      1. Billy

        If one has not done so, please watch at least one Netflix episode of
        for a good laugh about political and financial correctness at the BBC.

        1. Savedbyirony

          Clearly what the BBC should be doing is identifying what they do best and developing more ways to do less of it better. Yes, no, yes….

          1. Susan the other

            I think they’ve discovered identity politics and are reporting feel-good things – it has the same feel as our NPR when it lost its compass about 10 years ago. They don’t know what to be.

    1. zagonostra

      Interestingly, I’ve been following George Webb (mentioned in the vice article that you provided the link to) on his Y-tube channel for a long some time. He is not a quack, he was certainly right about Russiagate, and his style of independent investigative journalism is to be lauded. Of course, China media will distort/slant his story for their own interest.

      As for the cyclist, I believe she worked at Ft. Detrick bioweapons as well as her husband. There are many co-incidences which Webb outlines logically and with documentation, the story for me is “interesting” I make a mental note, index it, use it as part of what someone referred to as the OODA loop (had to look that one up).

      And by the way, Matt Taibbi has called out Vice on more than one occasion for its shoddy disreputable reporting

    2. xkeyscored

      And don’t forget what they don’t want you to know – the bicycle in question undoubtedly doubled as a mobile 5G hotspot, sponsored by Gilead and vaccine manufacturers …
      Or perhaps it’s part of the US military’s commitment to fighting climate change – bicycles are responsible for less CO2 than conventional delivery systems?

      1. Brian (another one they call)

        I was led to the story about the Military Games in Wuhan back in October. 5 US soldiers are alleged to have become ill and then hospitalized in Wuhan whilst preparing for the athetic competition between nations.
        These soldiers are alleged to have been training in the vicinity of Fort Detrick, the US high level Bio Hazard lab that was closed after repeated releases of biological material.
        The first stories listed one of the persons in the story being called up by Pompeo and screamed at that they shouldn’t tell this story. Pompeo threatened and the writer would not relent.
        Anyone else know more about the story? I haven’t seen anything in the carefully edited news for about 3 weeks now.

        1. Trent

          Xkeyscored doen’t believe we have bio weapons labs, because we most certainly would never use one. Same with nukes.

          1. xkeyscored

            And how do you know what I believe?
            Wrong on all three counts.

            And assuming I don’t believe the USA possesses or would use nuclear weapons presumably means you think I’m irredeemably stupid and totally ignorant of history. Charming, I must say.

            1. MLTPB

              Wouldn’t it be more naturally, more thought out, to have infected pangolins, and arranged for them to be on sale at the market?

  28. xkeyscored

    Uber’s Green Competitor That’s Taking The World By Storm – OilPrice

    “Ride-sharing 2.0 is being redefined by Facedrive (TSX:FD.V), which now offers riders something they can’t get from Uber or Lyft: A carbon-offset way to share a ride.

    Facedrive’s business model puts the “people and planet first”, and that means planting trees and offsetting the CO2 for every ride hailed. The company’s innovative, state-of-the-art, in-app algorithm calculates estimated CO2 emissions for each car journey and allocates a monetary value to the local organizations to plant trees.”

    Great. So they stick some more CO2 up there, and we just have to hope the trees are still there in fifty or a hundred years drawing it back down. Never mind, profits made and future generations can live with the consequences.

      1. xkeyscored

        The CO2 is only a given if the ride takes place, leaving aside emissions due to making the car in the first place.

    1. ewmayer

      Inquiring minds want to know: Do the folks running Facepalm, or whatever it’s called, consider the planted trees to be employees or merely independent contractors?

    1. pasha

      the book “day of the triffids” is precisely what her images called up for me! by the last shot i was looking for green leaves and poisoned whips hiding behind the fences! shows the magical power of good fiction

      1. The Rev Kev

        I bet that you remember how it starts which, when you look at those images, is kinda apt-

        “When a day that you happen to know is Wednesday starts off by sounding like Sunday, there is something seriously wrong somewhere.”

        And then I thought about other quotes from that book-

        “It must be, I thought, one of the race’s most persistent and comforting hallucinations to trust that “it can’t happen here” — that one’s own time and place is beyond cataclysm.”

  29. bassmule

    How Will We Know When It’s Time to Reopen the Nation? (NYT)

    From the comments:

    The truth is buried way down towards the end of the column:

    Gregg Gonsalves, a professor of epidemiology and law at Yale: “..we are nowhere even near accomplishing any of these criteria. Opening up before then will be met with a resurgence of the virus. That’s the thing that keeps me up every night.”

    This is a long, long time off.

    The more important question is when will America come to the conclusion that our healthcare system, including our woefully inadequate public health system, needs to be discarded, and replaced with a system of universal, government-run healthcare?

    1. Wukchumni

      I noticed something in the aftermath of the 1994 Northridge earthquake that lasted about a year or so, before memories of the event faded. A lot had to do with parts of the freeway falling apart near the 14/5 interchange in the temblor.

      On busy streets with underpasses such as Sepulveda (one of those LA words where you can tell if somebody is from the area) in heavy traffic, drivers wouldn’t allow themselves to be ‘stuck’ and you’d see yawning gaps of a few hundred feet in underpasses-a sure death trap in another quake.

      With the Coronavirus finally fading away, there won’t just be one thing we’re hesitant to do, but literally thousands of things.

      1. Billy

        And the guy that temporarily repaired it in a weekend, using railroad flat cars salvaged from a junkyard, later brought the project in a ahead of schedule and under budget.
        Clinton Meyer, One of my heroes:
        “In 1994, the Northridge earthquake in Southern California damaged four bridges on the Santa Monica Freeway in Los Angeles. C.C. Myers, Inc. won the contract to replace them….With the cooperation and extra effort from Caltrans, the City of Los Angeles, the workers, and even the citizens of LA, the company completed the job in 66 days, a full 74 days ahead of schedule. The $14.8M bonus is the largest early completion bonus paid by Caltrans. The closure of the freeway was estimated to cost the economy of the area as much as $1M per day.[6]

        In 2005 C.C. Myers started looking toward retirement. The end result of his work was a strong company that bore his name, and wanting the legacy to continue, he gave the company to his employees through an ESOP transaction.

        Practical men like him are who should be running much of our country, not accountants and Poison-Ivy League parasites.

  30. Noone from Nowheresville

    The Maine Farmer Saving the World’s Rarest Heirloom Seeds
    By Laura Poppick
    Photographed by Greta Rybus
    From our April 2020 issue

    On the top shelf, Bonsall said, were more than 1,100 varieties of peas. On the rows below were barley, beans, carrots, cucumbers, melons, squash, sunflowers, and more. At one time, Bonsall told me, he had what he believed to be the world’s most diverse collection of rutabaga seeds, along with the second-largest assemblage of Jerusalem artichoke varieties and world-class caches of radishes and leeks. He has donated specimens from his collection to researchers at the USDA-administered National Plant Germplasm System, sold them to seed companies like Fedco, and distributed them worldwide through print and online platforms, some of which he’s been instrumental in launching. His work, which he calls the Scatterseed Project, has been covered in multiple books and one Emmy-nominated PBS documentary, and it’s earned him something like icon status within the seed-saving subculture.
    heirloom seed packets

    But these days his collection is dwindling. In part for lack of funding and staff, Bonsall hasn’t kept up with the cycle of replanting needed to regenerate new seeds. And he isn’t getting any younger. “I’m losing stuff right and left,” he said. “I’m in danger of losing everything. And time is of the essence.”

  31. Jeremy Grimm

    Tonight is the night of the Super Pink Moon. It’s cloudy with a chance or rain here tonight — but if the sky is clear where you are and there is somewhere without too much light-pollution get out and see this moon. It should be spectacular.

    1. xkeyscored

      Apparently Wuhanese emerging from lockdown a few minutes ago have been making much of it on Weibo and so on.

      Welcome back, Wuhan, great to see you again!

      1. MLTPB

        Welcome back, but back to where?

        Back to locked down countries, states, and cities?

        From where I am, it’s ‘welcome to your new destination,’ or ‘to not locked down areas.’

        It’s a smaller works for them. They can’t go to Moscow, or many other places, for now.

        1. xkeyscored

          The BBC is reporting that a hundred high speed trains will be leaving Wuhan today.

      2. The Rev Kev

        Saw a film clip too of medics returning to their families from service in Wuhan province after being away from them for over to months. It was like troops returning from a war and you wonder if all of them made it. Happy for the families though.

  32. The Rev Kev

    “Coronavirus is revealing how broken America’s economy really is”

    I think that that was revealed internationally back in 2005 during Hurricane Katrina. The wealthier part of New Orleans took off and left the poorer people behind to fend for themselves. People from around the world saw how the film clips that came out of New Orleans were indistinguishable from clips from places like Haiti having a natural disaster. The problem is that the economy is unevenly distributed with the bulk majority of the wealth in the United States owned by a tiny percentage of the population. Their wealth is such that there is no possibility in the world that they could ever, ever spend it during the remaining years of their lives but they still try to suck up as much of the remaining wealth as possible. New Orleans showed the world a country which had let the bulk majority of it be impoverished and without a way forward and it came as a shock to see this as people from different countries noted.

    1. charger01

      This. ^
      One of my first jobs out of college was working as a recovery contractor in NOLA. I came away from that experience with a sober education of what it looks like when government (or any coordinated relief efforts) steps back. In particular, St. Bernards Parish and Metairie neighborhoods were night/day….in terms of the effort given to help them get cleaned up and rebuilt. We saw a similar dynamic replayed when Detroit went bankrupt in 2009, without the natural disaster. Naomi Klein was spot on with “Shock Doctrine”, it will continue to occur unless local folks can stabilize or avoid these disasters.

    2. Arizona Slim

      At the time of Katrina, I was getting very close to leaving Independent status and re-registering as a Republican. Then I went to Mississippi.

      I was a post-Katrina reconstruction volunteer, it was November of 2006, and the devastation of the Gulf Coast really rocked me. One evening, after we were done working, we went out to the edge of the Gulf.

      Our hosts were a nearby family who had suffered heavy storm damage at their house. Part of my team was working on rebuilding that place.

      I wasn’t part of that group, but our hosts didn’t care. Every team member had to get a crushing hug of gratitude from them.

      Then they walked us out to the Gulf. Right before the water, there was a concrete pad with twisted I-beams. Those beams were part of the anchoring system for a wealthy orthodontist’s Gulf house. And those I-beams were all that was left.

      After Mississippi, my politics took a sharp left turn. And that’s where they’ve stayed.

      1. HotFlash

        Amazing! My dear Ms Slim, thank you for your service. A friend here in Canada was on one of Toronto Hydro’s crack disaster teams for wires down and all that when Katrina came down. Her crew was put on standby, waiting to be called, as Katrina was approaching. The call never came.

        Food for thought.

  33. Mikel

    And this dystopian addition to the Future of Fear:
    “The Technology that could free America from its quarantine nightmare”
    Note the Orwellian use of the word “free.”

    Somehow it always works out to leaving one nightmare for another. Not one government or corporation can be trusted over the long term with this…just can’t. The corruption has not been “fixed.” Just as much fraud everywhere, more than ever. How many times do we have to be shown not one of these companies that have such a hold on governments can be trusted to maintain “privacy?”

    Looks like a future where you will need a burner phone purchased with a gift card for when you go to places and/or leaving your phone off (if battery can be removed, even better) anywhere between work and home. Going to the grocery store? Leave the phone at home.

    Good points? Well, when there are gatherings , people may actually engage with the people right in front of them because they’ll have the phones off or elsewehere – it will be a courtesy in some quarters.

    1. Monty

      Didn’t Snowden show evidence that .gov have been doing this, and more, for years already?

      Whatever the truth is behind The Panopticon, it hasn’t been very useful in stopping the spread so far.

  34. ToWard

    I live in Madison, WI, down the street from a school where usually 2 precincts vote, but today 7. There is a steady stream of cars, mostly driven by older people, going by. I walked my dogs at 10 a.m. and counted 22 cars in the parking lot. That doesn’t include the parking on the other side, which I would guess would have 10-15 cars. Add to that all the walkups since it’s a neighborhood polling place. Absolutely tragic.

    1. expr

      derek lowe at has an ongoing sequence of posts on aspects of COVID-19 drug therapies. Yesterday on hydroxychloroquine and today on ACE2 related ideas. He is in drug development and the posts are moderately technical. (I have a chem BA from 50+ years ago, not since used, and I can understand most of it)

  35. fresno dan


    Never mind the past four years of every form of investigation imaginable to have established reasonable doubt about the evidence for this claim – not to mention the failure of all US court litigation to prove the case. Hayden, Haseltine, and their NSA heroes insist that the signals intelligence they say they detected can only mean their enemy, the Russians, originated it. To be sceptical, to suggest that the signals may have been manufactured by the NSA itself (a CIA and State Department view reported in passing in the book) is no more than “recriminations, finger pointing bitter political disputes” which are the most powerful of Russian weapons. “Going all the way back to Lenin,” Hayden says at the start of Haseltine’s tale, “dividing Russia’s enemies has not just been a means to an end for the Kremlin but a desired end all unto itself.”
    Many, OK, … some, OK, … one, OK, …. none, have wondered how a analog radio signal generated from an antenna in rabbit’s ears (the ears of the infamous pink bunny slippers) in a basement lair could actually be transmitted to Putin.
    Of course we knew such a radio signal could not actually reach Putin in Moscow. But we knew that NSA & CIA would intercept and re-transmit the messages to Putin. Why? Because their job is to intercept spies’ communications – if my radio signals don’t make it to Putin, than there is not a whole lot of reason for them to exist. Plus how many intelligence analysts would be jobless and become homeless if they couldn’t read my drivel….? So it was imperative for these agencies to assure my communications to Putin always made it to Moscow perfectly.
    What did I tell Putin??? That I was working hard to diligently disrupt America elections.
    How did I do that? Well, there never was a Yugo that I drove through Blue Wall states and sustaining myself at Dunking Donuts and giving ideas to dittoheads. By transmittling through a radio shack transmitter that I was a communist trying to disrupt American elections, Putin knew that is all I needed to do…the CIA, FBI, and NSA would do the rest.
    We didn’t even have to subscribe to cable to get an internet connection, a great savings to Mother Russia considering how outrageously priced your internet access costs, and it prevented me from being monitored by Facebook, a much more dangerous adversary for world domination.

    1. Wukchumni

      Haven’t observed it in close to a year, but there’s a minty candy apple red circa 1984 Yugo in Tulare County i’ve seen 3 or 4 times.

      1. L

        Well we need to unpack it. From what my friends in the PRC have passed on the going claims are: 1) paitent 0 was Maatje Benassi; and 2) This virus came from a lab and not from the wild; and 3) The US infected her deliberately in an effort to slow China’s rise / kill lots of people. So far as I can tell none of these has a lot of evidence to back them.

        IMHO, it is possible that (1) holds. But I doubt we will ever know with any certainty. My experience with bioinformatics shows that tracking things like this is extremely difficult, especially in a case like this where we are tracking progression in real time. As a case in point look at HIV. Years of research has gone into building social network analyses of HIV transmission and yet we do not have definitive patient 0. And there you have a disease that is much harder to spread. So she could be patient 0. It could be some other visitor to the games. It could be some other of the millions who come to Wuhan every year. Or it could be someone there. I see no reason based upon what I have seen to believe that she is the one any more than the market theory which everyone was so certain of just a few weeks ago.

        With respect to claim (2) I see even less evidence there. Again it is possible that this came from a lab but from what I have read there is no obvious signs of that and again, it is a little soon. But additionally, Wuhan is also a center for Chinese bio research so if it is lab grown it could equally be from there. Indeed until recently the people I know in the PRC had assumed that was true.

        Finally, with respect to (3) most the arguments that I have seen, particularly for (2) fall to arguing from the premise that they totally did and then finding reasons to believe it. Again per my comment above it would be difficult to determine that without receipts and recordings of moustache-twisting meetings and I see none.

        Ultimately possible but the decidedly circular nature of the claims, and the way in which they are all so convenient for someone, makes me doubt them.

        1. L

          Whoops that last paragraph should read: “Finaly, with respect to (3) most of the arguments that I have seen fall to…”

      2. ewmayer

        Every conspiracy theory starts with a tiny grain of truth and, more often than not, one or more ‘interesting concidences’. Life is full of the latter – the CT-spreader’s job is to blow it up into something dastardly.

    1. Billy

      Youtube videos can disappear with a complaint, copyright infringement, “security concern” and a keystroke.

      One can download the subtitles in English, and other languages, with this free utility. Nice backup and can extract already typed quotes:

  36. vidimi

    i’m not sure chinese COVID -19 numbers are any more untrustworthy than anywhere else. One of the main problems is data comparability across countries: they all have their faults and caveats. A lot of it depends on how thorough the testing is, but also a lot of other factors like access to healthcare, registration of deaths, measures taken to limit transmission, etc.

    The Germans are almost certainly undercounting their dead, though they probably have a more accurate view of total cases than most; the Italians are probably quite thorough with deaths but are way off the total number of cases, etc. Chinese data is actually useful in that they have by far the greatest number of resolved cases since they went through it first. This is useful in determining a case fatality rate. Recovery takes upwards of 4 weeks, so the number of recovered patients is still low in most places.

    Right now, I think the US is probably producing the most incomplete data in the developed world. Too many people cannot get tested, and more people dying outside of hospitals by virtue of not being able to afford it.

    1. L

      I would add the caveat that the Chinese don’t count people who are asymptomatic but known to be infected. Their “infected” number has been revised to be only people who present with symptoms which is inconsistent with other countries.

      1. vidimi

        I thought that they didn’t but then decided to include them hence that massive data spike on one day in February?

        1. L

          My understanding is that they were including them some of the time but then ceased to do so after the spike in February that is part of why the growth suddenly became more uniform across the area. The spike in February coincided with the removal of Hubei province party and health officials who apologized for concealing numbers and was closely followed by a stern speech from Xi (delivered from the safety of Beijing) declaring that noone should hide data. With the PRC in particular they have a long and established track record of fudging numbers internally. That is why the speech was given.

          Ultimately that is part of why I agree with your general point about comparisons. Even within countries the rules change and whether by accident or by design the PRC’s official line of not counting infected but asymptomatic (which led to them reporting some cases of “reoccurance” when people presented symptoms late) does keep their numbers low.

          Ultimately in the current context international analyses are very much apples to figs to jujube comparisons.

    2. The Rev Kev

      I believe that the UK is only counting those that died in a hospital as a Coronavirus victim and ignoring all those that die at home or an age care facility. And that they are not the only country trying to hide the real figures. It may be years before an approximation can be arrived at of the death count by comparing the death rate of 2019 to 2020.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        This is close to pervasive. Who is going to waste medical resources on establishing that someone who died at home or in a nursing home died of coronavirus? The only minor fix I can see is if that person had previously tested positive, but very few people are being tested.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Agree. The best that can be done is to collect anecdotal evidence by people that knew the deceased if they were suffering from flu like symptom in the fortnight before their deaths when this is all over. This is like the Great Smog of London in 1952 which ground everything down to a halt. It was only after it was all over that they worked out that it killed maybe 6,000 people and made sick 25,000 more and that is only estimates-

        2. Clive

          Yes, this is correct I think because it is the same approach to other left-field impacts to mortality.

          People who die in winter cold and summer heatwaves aren’t routinely recorded so as to identity these important causalities except in very specific causes-of-death such as hypothermia or heat stroke. In the case of deaths in extreme cold or hot weather, you’re just as likely to die of a (perhaps pre-existing) heart or lung problem, hypotension, aneurysm, cardiac arrest or dehydration (amongst others). These will then appear in the death certificates even though it was, primarily, the cold or the heat which killed you.

          The only retrospective clue you get is in the “excess deaths” figure which plots that quarters reported death rate against historical trends.

          It is very unsatisfactory because it allows for the hiding of the root cause of a public health issue and the consequential sweeping under the carpet of preventative measure policy changes. My grandmother-in-law died, along with 10,000 other U.K. citizens (it was 30,000 in France), as a result of the 2003 “killer” heatwave. This, prior to COVID-19, was the biggest public health disaster in Europe probably since the end of WWII. It was entirely preventable. But the unpreparedness of our societies was ignored even though the US has long-since recognised the dangers of heat-related illness and death, especially for the elderly and vulnerable. And even since then, public heath has policy has only begun to scratch the surface of trying to prevent another — inevitable — reoccurring event.

          1. Rtah100

            My wife was a DH policy official at the time. It was her job to outside with a thermometer and measure the temperature as part of DH “response”. Seriously.

      2. vidimi

        I’ve been trying to find data about US reporting. Is it hospitals only at this time? I would assume this were the case. Also can’t find good data of infections and deaths by age, in contrast to Canada which keeps pretty good data.

      3. PlutoniumKun

        I don’t know if this is happening, but I very much hope that enough tissue samples are being kept and stored so that when the dust settles on this the question of the ‘real’ level of mortality in each country can be calculated correctly. It would be a huge tragedy for public health science if we end up in a situation where nobody can be sure just how dangerous the virus really was. Even overall mortality rates won’t tell us as there is copious evidence of sick elderly people staying at home because they fear hospitals too much, this must be having an impact.

  37. Eustache de Saint Pierre

    This might be of interest if not already featured, from the Intensive Care National Audit & Research Centre in the UK based on 2249 critical patients.

    Relatively early days but off the top of my head the biggest surprise for me was the gender ratio of these patients being 73% males – 27% females. Comorbidity is relatively low, pregnant women are not at any major risk & BMI does not appear to play a major role, while the median age ( 50 % ) of patients are between the age is 52 – 70

    The report link is on this page:

    1. Tom Doak

      I have seen several reports in the past day or two from Detroit that the virus is hitting “minorities” particularly hard.

      Once again, substituting race to avoid discussion of class, so that poor white people don’t realize they are equally at risk.

      1. MLTPB

        Internationally, there are about 10,000 cases in Africa.

        Compared with the numbers in Europe and Asia, that is mild, though the worry is for the cases to escalate there.

      2. Rtah100

        This is a long post and I am going to regret pecking it out on an iThing rather than my laptop keyboard!

        I’ve been having a vigorous discussion with a college friend (and commodities trader, possibly known to colonel Smithers) who is often gets to the right data and the right conclusion via the wrong reasoning. His early comment on coronavirus is it Is a disease of “brown eyed people”. A month more data and papers and he’s looking kind of right.

        My colleague with the doctor spouse in Bergamo sent me the latest treatment protocol. After a recent burst of autopsies, the Italians have concluded that the respiratory symptoms are *not* ARDS, not at the beginning. The patient can still ventilate the lungs but they are hypoxic. The pathology studies now show micro-thromboses in the alveolar bed of the lungs and other organs, explaining the associated myocarditis, kidney failure etc. The alveolar site of thrombosis are hypoxic, haemoglobin cannot exchange co2 and blood sugar for oxygen, the local metabolism crashes and the tissue becomes inflamed and oedematous as alveolar wall integrity breakds down.

        The treatment is anticoagulants and oxygen, oxygen, oxygen. Supplemental oxygen to breathe and in China and elsewhere, high dose IV vitamin C is thought to decompose in the capillaries into H2O2 and thence local oxygen. Ventilation is to be avoided, it is “treating” the late stage drowning of the lung and is the result of intervening too late in the hypoxia.

        The disease resembles other conditions, such as HAPE (High altitude pulmonary edema, an altitude sickness mainly in fit men, insidious onset, symptoms of fever, headache, cough, profound fatigue and then death if not treated with supplementary oxygen or reduced altitude)

        Now, what gets interesting is that inherited blood disorders include sickle cell trait/disease in tropical populations (Africans, ME, India) and various thalassemias (Mediterranean peoples, Middle East, Asians), all of which promote coagulation. Sickle cell has a high prevalence as the trait (one gene copy) confers malaria-resistance (two copies is full blown disease, outweighs benefit!). Men are more prone to hypercoagulation than women. Old people are more prone than younger ones. This is a disease that will hit African American and Indian middle aged men hard.

        You can see this UK ICNARC paper, where deaths from covid in non-white groups are 300% of their death rate from influenza whereas white death rate is 80% of influenza death rate). Diabetes wilL make this worse because the co2/o2 exchange dysfunction also messes up blood sugar transport and so blood sugar control will collapse in diabetics, with attendant aggravation of multi organ failure. Unfortunately, the ICNARC paper does not include diabetes as a comorbidity so we cannot see this there.

        Just to reinforce the link between hypoxia and blood disorders, the Sickle cell disease has a common sickle cell crisis triggered by hypoxia (extreme exertion in African American athletes and soldiers is a documented event) in which acute chest pain and breathlessness and fever arises and then progresses to ARDS, because the red blood cells become sickle shaped and block the alveolar capillaries and cause hypoxia.

        Even more interesting, there is a paper by some Chinese computational biochemists showing the non structural proteins of the virus (things it makes once it hijacks the cell other than virions) have structural homologous with proteins that bind haem and strip the iron from it, leaving a porphyria ring. There are no in vitro or in viva studies on this yet but the implication is that the virus is attacking the blood’s capacity to carry oxygen, which is causing the local hypoxia, elevated ferritin and other proteins. This theory would mean the thromboses above are themselves a downstream effect of the attack on our haemoglobin.

        Most interesting of all, and uniting the threads of hypoxia and chloroquine, in malaria chloroquine binds haemoglobin and impedes its digestion by the protozoan. The computational biochemists have predicted that chloroquine would competitively bind to the same haem sites as the viral proteins. It may also prevent viral entry, as Raoult hypothesises, but it may just be a lucky wonder drug for protecting oxygen carrying capacity, to be added to oxygen supplementation, vitamin c and anticoagulants.

        The micro vascular thrombosis hypothesis is summarised here.

        Computational biochem paper on covid and haemoglobin metabolism

        See link below for discussion of the CQ paper by US docs.

          1. Steve H.

            Having slept on it, this comment consistently covers the weird aspects of this, this, thing. Hypoxia without respiratory failure. Sudden cardiac death. Gender and age differences.

            > hematocrit value began to decrease in men in their sixth decade and in women in their seventh decade and the change was more prominent with advancing age, especially in men.

            Strip-mining the iron from our blood. Thank you again for this comment.

        1. vidimi

          interesting post. The 300% and 80% of influenza death rates are very misleading as the numbers I am seeing are an order of magnitude greater than influenza. 16 NHS staff died of the virus in the last two weeks in the UK and that doesn’t happen with your average flu.

          All these numbers mean is that for patients who are in critical care, this is how their outcomes compare with critical care influenza patients. Of course, a much greater proportion of COVID-19 patients become critical than influenza patients (in this study, it was 690 in a couple of weeks vs 4434 in 3 years for influenza).

          This is a threat not yet seen in our lifetimes.

          1. Rtah100

            Read the ICNARC paper.

            The numbers I am quoting are the proportion of those deaths from coved-19 of the ICU population by ethnicity, relative to the population segment’s death rates from influenza in 2017-2019. So about 34% of icu covid deaths are from black, Asian and other minorities compared to 10% icu deaths from influenza 2017-2019. That’s 300%. Similarly white British deaths in icu are 65% of deaths cf 75% of icu deaths from influenza in 2017-2019, that’s 80% (well closer to 85%, all my figures are rounded because pasting datatables into comments is impossible).

            The excess deaths in minorities is incredible and the silence in the MSM about this is astonishing. We should be warning people, who may not realise they carry sickle cell genes or thalassaemia or have raised coagulation, that they are vulnerable. Instead we are relying on them drive our buses, run our corner shops, nurse our patients. We should be taking these people out of frontline duty!

            1. Rtah100

              PS – pay attention to the proportion of ethnic minority NHS deaths. Four hospital consultant middle aged Indian men in a row.

              Also the NJ Italian extended family, most of whom died.

            2. vidimi

              my point was that a much smaller proportion of influenza patients make it into the ICU in the first place. The data was based on a total of 4434 over 3 years out of tens of millions infected. That makes COVID-19 much more deadly than these data suggest.

              1. rtah100

                Vidimi, for the record, I believe that COVID-19 is *much* worse than influenza, At least a magnitude more lethal and with major disability in those who recover from ICU. I didn’t think that was in doubt among these readers and I am glad I am not wrong.

                What I wanted people to focus on is the emerging pathomechanism, which is really starting to hang together and pointing at drug and non-drug treatment pathways (and making the question of raw ventilator numbers and Trumpoquine Derangement Syndrome more nuanced) but which is also highlighting the vulnerability of certain ethnicities and nobody is talking about it or our dependence on the roles they play. There is a very big proportion of afro-caribbean and Indian medical staff in the NHS and public transport in the UK, for example.

                We need a proper risk-based approach to who is vulnerable and, from the ICNARC data, it is not patients with existing pulmonary disorders or cancers or immunosuppression, for example (compared with the baseline of influenza, which is the only baseline we have). We need to be advising people and re-deploying them based on their coagulopathies and, if their coagulation status is undetermined, by the crude heuristic of ethnic background.

                Obviously, given the higher lethality and lack of a vaccine, everybody is more vulnerable to coronavirus than to influenza but, as long as we are pursuing policies of shielding the relatively vulnerable, we need to identify them correctly.

        2. Eric

          Thank you for taking the time to post this Rtah. It is useful and
          constructive. Science at work.

      3. PlutoniumKun

        I understand that here is forthcoming research from Ireland indicating that a key issue may be Vitamin D deficiency – in northern climes the darker skinned you are, the more likely you are to have a Vitamin D deficiency problem. My understanding is that very soon that based on this research in Ireland people will be advised by health authorities to top up their D if at all possible. Fortunately, we’ve been having glorious sunny weather here the past week, so we may not need any pills…

    2. MLTPB

      Usually the median is a number. A median age of 45 means 50% over 45, and 50% under 45, for example.

      Not sure what a median age of 52 to 70 means here.

      1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

        In this report it means that 52 – 70 is 50% of the total with the other 50% divided into 2 for both younger & older & I should have probably added that these stats are based on the paperwork that doctors fill out in ICU.

        Sadly next months report will likely give a better picture due to a larger sample, although that could well be distorted if the NHS is swamped & of course the above does not account for deaths in care homes or the rest of the community.

      2. Lil’D

        Might be interquartile (badly expressed)

        Ie 50% between 52 and 70, inferring 25% above and 25% below

        Although (true story) I did once see a talk including “robust median” by trimming outliers [stats geeks may chuckle now]

  38. Brooklin Bridge

    Lockdown Can’t Last Forever. Here’s How to Lift It. – New York Times

    Herd immunity in waves

    A problem we (the states) are apparently not facing nor are we going to face in any coordinated sense is a rational exit strategy once the majority of states, or each state in turn, have reached their peak and come out the other side to the point where lockdown restrictions are “assumed” less worthwhile than the economy.

    I was unable to make heads or tails of the NYT article on this other than lift restrictions and then reapply them when enough covid-19 cases hit the icu skids again and overwhelm capacity. Oh. How well thought out – that must be exactly what the “federation” or hodge podge of states (at each others throats for “the deal” with the deal maker) will most likely do. Why not name it the SARS-CoV-2 Pin Ball strategy.

    Another “exit strategy” approach that both S. Korea and Tiwan hewed closely to – not that we should emulate success of course – but for the nonce: extensive testing on every individual, rigorous contact tracing and isolated quarantines of those infected (not just tossing them back into their homes to supply yet more infections of others), lock-downs of more restricted “spread” areas needing it (that we can see, visible by extensive testing) before they get out of control, and hospitalization of those requiring that level of assistance. Testing testing testing. Make the disease visible and deal with it almost case by case. This would almost certainly benefit greatly from a centralized federal approach implemented by each state, but since that is neigh on impossible given the Federal government we have rather than the one we want, states could do their best alone – or, heaven help us, in competition with each other for resources, dog eat dog to give Trump some kick backs down the road, and it would still be a dagnab sight better than simply letting the virus rip through communities again and again in waves and then lifting restrictions after each bout of overwhelmed hospitals and grizzly deaths.

    1. MLTPB


      I looked last week, but couldn’t find any (which does not imply there was none).

      Yestdatdy, Cuibono commented that Korea never lockd down. And I agreed.

      As for lockdowns in Taiwan, I am not aware of any there either. Maybe they did, and I mjus missed it.

      You have a good point about coordinated strategy, for the states. I think that should also be the case internationally. I have read little from the UN on this. And have not been impressed by the WHO. So, we have HK closed to foreigners indefinitely, while I not sure if Taiwan or Korea is doing the same. Is it a case of different situations the countries are in, requiring different responses, or is it not coordinated?

      In any case, to some, the paper’s strategy might seem a work of incompetence. And we see that all over the world.

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        I think you’re right about lock-downs. I was attempting to indicate small areas or “clusters” which I had (mistakenly?) understood they quarantined just as they quarantined the contacts of a given spreader. A mini lock-down as it were, but I didn’t make that clear and furthermore, while I was sure I had heard about that technique of quarantining small groups or clusters for 14 days, I can not find it now. Taiwan did shut down schools when they became “clusters” of the virus. That they extended that to geographical areas, seems harder to find evidence of.

        I apologize. From a video I watched a few weeks ago, I thought I had solid support, but I can no longer find the video and should be more careful with the facts and the terminology.

        What does remain, however, is the bottom up approach of their testing and quarantines and the effectiveness. Some say that can’t be done in a vast country like the US, but the US has fifty states and each state is rarely much larger than S. Korea in terms of demographics.

        1. Brooklin Bridge

          Adding, none of those bottom up approaches (S. Korea and Taiwan) negate lock-downs, and could provide excellent exit strategies post lock-down as I mentioned.

          I am at least glad that the the CDC is now recommending masks (or face coverings) in public places. That might even result in our getting some, masks that is, at some distant point, not to mention our medical personnel, though in the meantime we can make shift with what we’ve got.

    2. Carolinian

      No, that article is absurd. It’s written by someone in Hong Kong as though Hong Kong or for that matter Singapore or South Korea and the USA are just alike. Honestly I don’t think Americans are going to put up with long term lockdown or for that matter mass monitoring and surveillance either. And it’s my belief that the more the government tries to clamp down on personal freedom then the more many people are going to start defying them and we don’t want to go there. To those TV personalities hiding in their basements this may make sense but to a significant swath of middle America that is far more accustomed to self reliance it will not.

      So what is being proposed is social breakdown versus a disease that is not the plague and not going to kill half of us the way the bubonic once did to London but rather small fraction–many of whom perhaps should have been protecting themselves.

      1. Aumua

        Honestly I don’t think Americans are going to put up with … for that matter mass monitoring and surveillance either.

        Well, I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news for you…

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Avoiding mass surveillance means not carrying a smart phone, or at least not all the time. It’s not hard.

          License plate monitoring is on interstates and some state highways. So take local roads….

          1. Aumua

            Yeah it’s not hard to take some basic measures, but how many Americans do? We pay a lot of lip service to freedom but put up with quite a bit of oppression it seems to me. Sometimes I get the distinct impression that certain elements are using this crisis to test just how much we will put up with.

      2. Brooklin Bridge

        There is a difference between a government being intrusive for the benefit of its citizens rather than for control and oppression of them, and I suspect even this country would react differently to the one vs. the other since there are myriad ways that which is which becomes clear.

        Given that our government and our economic overlords are interested in the more civil option only insofar as they can bend it to that of control and profit, I have to agree that we are not in a very good place.

        1. Brooklin Bridge

          Adding, however, that I believe it would be possible to use voluntary measures of testing, contact tracing and quarantine nearly as effectively as those imposed by officials or a combination of both where official control was intentionally done to avoid being heavy handed. The sun has shone here on common cause before.

          1. Cuibono

            i concur. even with some nominal incentives to do the right thing.
            Gates: only those doing this get to travel

            OOOPS, kinda scary

    3. Cuibono

      YEs, we SHOUULD emulate this but we wont,
      Because PRIVACY

      Love it: Great for Google and FB to use your data for profit but heaven forbid that we would use it to save lives

    1. Wukchumni

      It’s just the opposite of FDR’s ‘Bank Holiday’ in early March of 1933 where for 4 days, all financial institutions were closed down to assess their worthiness, and 6 days after the act had been enacted only those banks which were considered stable & worth saving, were kept open.

  39. Alex

    Re the decline of marriage, I think the rumours have been greatly exaggerated.

    In many legal traditions all those cohabiliting-for-10-years couples with children described in the article would be considered married with all attendant right and responsibilities. In Judaism for example:

    Mishnah Kiddushin 1:1 specifies that a woman is acquired (i.e., to be a wife) in three ways: through money, a contract, and sexual intercourse. Ordinarily, all three of these conditions are satisfied, although only one is necessary to effect a binding marriage.
    In all cases, the Talmud specifies that a woman can be acquired only with her consent, and not without it. Kiddushin 2a-b.

  40. John k

    Wife just back from early senior grocery shopping… thinks nearly everything she bought is up substantially.

  41. marym

    “Gig workers on Target’s delivery platform, Shipt, are organizing a walkout on Tuesday to protest the lack of safeguards in place to protect them during the coronavirus pandemic—the first worker-organized action against the gig economy giant.

    Workers are demanding $5 of hazard pay per order, 14 days of paid sick leave for all workers regardless of whether they’ve received a positive coronavirus test, personal protective gear for all gig workers, and a return to a clear, commission-based pay model. Organizers are also asking customers to boycott the app on Friday, April 10 in solidarity with Shipt workers.”

  42. Susan the other

    Ars Technica. Gravity has been determined to function at the 50 micrometer level. So, bigger than an atom. Those calculations are confusing – they are claiming to resolve their equations using an “inverse square law” because they are measuring a “geometric” thing (to see if it has a tiny force of gravity) – but why, if it is geometric as in 3 spatial dimensions, aren’t they using an inverse cube law? Too dumb not to ask.

      1. ewmayer

        Good way to picture it is to imagine a fixed number of magnetic field lines emanating radially from an object – as one moves farther away the density of said field lines per unit of area on the imaginary spherical shell containing the observer with the gravitating object at its center drops as inverse square of radius, since the area of said sphere increase as (positive) square of radius, according the formula for the surface area of a sphere, A = 4*Pi*r^2.

  43. jo6pac

    I know it’s none of my business but were is Mr. Lambert. I might have missed the memo. Is a travel day, home improvement, or ?

    1. notabanker

      Have no idea, but a lot of people have been randomly losing internet access. It’s pretty stressed infrastructure.

    2. HotFlash

      Indeed, and in these days of troubled times, I gotta ask, “Hey Lambert, you OK?” Hope you are well, and it’s just your internet being bad.

    3. The Rev Kev

      Hopefully it is just internet problems. Having radio silence from people on the internet is very disturbing in these times.

    4. Katiebird

      Chiming In with my fears. It’s odd to not get an update on the status of the Water Cooler from anyone.

    5. homeroid

      Here all the schools are teaching using zoom. The local system cannot handle the volume. Video is a nogo, just to get NC takes forever.

    6. Yves Smith Post author

      I’m as much in the dark as you are. He usually at least puts up a plantidote.

      He was complaining about connectivity problems yesterday.

      1. ambrit

        Re. connectivity problems; he does live in a college town. Perhaps the general imposition of university tele-learning over the internet has adversely affected his town’s internet infrastructure. The differences in infrastructure capabilities in America between small town and big town systems can be profound.
        He did mention once about having to use public transport to get to the shops. That is a worry.
        Stay safe.

  44. Aumua

    No one cares that a democratic primary is happening today? I guess we’re all over it.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I don’t think so much that. This would be more akin to watching a totally avoidable disaster in the making happening in front of you but not being able to do anything about it. The effects will be obvious in two weeks time – if the media bothers to report it at all. Doesn’t Wisconsin have a chief medical officer that could put a lid on the whole thing?

    2. Noone from Nowheresville

      The results will not be known until next Monday at the earliest due to a court ruling.

      Polls had Biden heavily favored. Neither candidate ran ads according to the chatter online. Pictures I saw seemed to have people kind of close together. Voters waited hours in line at the few remaining open poll stations. Voters hadn’t received their absentee ballots and those absentee ballots not marked with today’s date will be discounted via the ruling by the Supreme Court. National guard and police were present to help run the polling centers. Portable hand washing stations and plastic shields in front of poll workers. Some had to clean the pens and return. Other were told to take pens with them.

      Michele Obama just came out with a message criticizing the primary. Trump called on conservatives to vote in the Wisconsin Supreme Court election.

      The state has a stay-at-home order. As of this afternoon Wisconsin has 2,578 confirmed cases, 92 deaths and 745 hospitalizations (29%) Milwaukee County has 1,323 confirmed with 49 deaths.

      So the whole thing is a big cluster on a certain level. But maybe somewhat better than what we heard about in Florida / Illinois. Maybe. Nah, who are we kidding. It’s just a cluster.

    1. John

      That particle video was scary.

      The windows don’t open in most offices in high rise buildings .

  45. Noone from Nowheresville

    More scary stuff.

    Mysterious Heart Damage, Not Just Lung Troubles, Befalling COVID-19 Patients

    As more data comes in from China and Italy, as well as Washington state and New York, more cardiac experts are coming to believe the COVID-19 virus can infect the heart muscle. An initial study found cardiac damage in as many as 1 in 5 patients, leading to heart failure and death even among those who show no signs of respiratory distress.

  46. Oregoncharles

    “America is Committing Economic Suicide”
    I hope you read it, because it’s about the impact of letting the economy die – and about how desperately inadequate (he struggles to find words, and so do I) the “stimulus bill” is.

    The uncomfortable implication: Trump was right to emphasize the need to save the economy. The casualties from a collapse could be a lot more than from the pandemic. Trump’s proposals weren’t any more adequate than what Congress proposed, but at least he saw the problem. At this point, our entire economic mythology is trying to kill us.

    I still think we should look hard at the countries – Sweden, S. Korea – which did not lock down but appear to be coping pretty well. We shall see; I darkly suspect their numbers will be a lot like ours. Just not having confusion over whether to wear masks helped a lot.

    On a more personal note, I was out working today and wound up talking with the guy across the street; I’ve worked at his place, we know each other enough to talk about what’s going on. He’s maybe 30, was working as the kitchen manager at a restaurant (not one of our favorites, but well known locally). They’re shut down, and he suspects they won’t reopen. Tried to go the takeout route, which is allowed, but the first day was so bad they gave up. He’s considering looking for a job at a metal fabricating plant, which is operating because it makes stuff for the military, even though his whole career has been in restaurants and he enjoys the work. Might make more at the metal fabricator, though. This on top of his girlfriend dying suddenly last year.

    Just one small example, and not the worst.

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