Links 4/8/2020

Patient readers, I am fine. I had a domestic debacle that destroyed my connectivity. Hence no Water Cooler yesterday. –lambert

Pandas finally mate in Hong Kong zoo shuttered over coronavirus New York Post

400-year-old Greenland shark ‘longest-living vertebrate’ BBC. Well, except for Henry Kissinger, of course.

Webinar: Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell on COVID-19 and the economy (registration) Brookings Instutition (TW). Thursday, April 9, 10:00 – 10:35 a.m. EDT

Op-Ed: Remember PG&E’s planned wildfire blackouts in October? They cost California millions, and the benefits don’t add up Los Angeles Times


The science:

Exposure to air pollution and COVID-19 mortality in the United States medRxiv

Communities of Color at Higher Risk for Health and Economic Challenges due to COVID-19 Kaiser Family Foundation

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Coronavirus: “nous avons déjà dû interrompre le traitement” de hydroxychloroquine-azithromycine au CHU de Nice Nice-Martin (Google translation).

* * *

Materiel shortages:

UVM Scientists, Engineers Team Up to Create ‘Vermontilator’ Seven Days and ‘It’s not fancy, but it works’: Mississippi doctor uses garden hose, lamp timer and electronic valve to create makeshift ventilators USA Today. Far be it from me to diss the great American tradition of tinkering, but see the two links here on ventilators for cautionary views. The USA Today link, especially, seems based on the fallacy that the lungs are pumps (“The mannequin’s chest began to rise and fall”). They are not, which is why you see phrases lilke “pink froth” in the manuals for real ventilators. Fine for an absolute emergency, I would suppose, but that’s not how our wonderful press presents the story.

* * *


When the Coronavirus Outbreak Could Peak in Each U.S. State Bloomberg

Analysis: Notes from a coronavirus hot spot AP. New Orleans.

* * *

Social Distancing:

Keep the Parks Open The Atlantic. I’m not so sure:

Illinois mayor ’embarrassed’ to find wife was at social gathering broken up by police The Hill

Pastor who criticized coronavirus ‘mass hysteria’ dies from illness NY Post

* * *

Economic effects:

Economic Policy Responses to a Pandemic: Developing the COVID-19 Economic Stimulus Index (PDF) Ceyhun Elgin, Gokce Basbug, Abdullah Yalaman (Dani Rodrik). The dataset.

The vital contexts of coronavirus Journal of Medical Ethics

* * *

Political response:

How the Coronavirus Bailout Repeats 2008’s Mistakes: Huge Corporate Payoffs With Little Accountability Pro Publica. Mistakes?

Documents reveal airline industry plan for tax breaks, subsidies and voucher refunds Unearthed

How is Florida’s broken unemployment system hurting people? Let us count the ways Tampa Bay Times and Florida tells unemployed workers to file for benefits using paper as electronic systems stagger CNN.

Small Business Aid Program Stretches Agency to Its Limits NYT

Donald Trump threatens to freeze funding for WHO FT

A New Way for Californians to Serve James Fallows, The Atlantic

* * *

Corporate response:

Death Industry Predators Eye the Spoils of a Pandemic The New Republic. No, not private equity or the Military-Industrial Complex. Funeral homes.

* * *

Exit strategies:

Why the coronavirus pandemic is unlikely to change the world, for better or worse Dani Rodrik, South China Morning Post

The New Populist Right Imagines a Post-Pandemic America Matt Stoller, BIG

What If a Shrinking Economy Wasn’t a Disaster? JSTOR Daily (Re Silc).

Be careful not to get ahead of ourselves – hard-edged class struggle will be necessary Bill Mitchell. Comment on FT’s editorial, “Virus lays bare the frailty of the social contract.”

How Our COVID Response Could Lead To An Industrial Renaissance The American Conservative

EU science chief resigns with blast at coronavirus response FT

France Uses New Measure to Calculate 35% of Economy Is Shut Bloomberg

How one Italian town beat coronavirus New Statesman

Italy Is Sending Another Warning NYT

Coronavirus: Spain to become first country in Europe to roll out universal basic income Independent


Containment zones: What is India’s plan to handle coronavirus after the national lockdown ends? Scroll

An Archipelago In The Ocean Of Corona Ubud Now and Then. Indonesia.

Japan’s state of emergency is no lockdown. What’s in it? AP


Israel brings 1 million masks from China for IDF soldiers Jerusalem Post

US to review troop presence in Iraq FT

New Cold War

Five Patterns of the Putin Regime Insitute of Modern Russia. Surely applying “narcissistic” to a regime, instead of a person, is a category error?

Trump Transition

Trump removes independent watchdog for coronavirus funds, upending oversight panel Politico. Theory of unitary executive meets flaccid liberal practice.

Trump Continues Assault On Inspector Generals With Removal Of Appointed Pandemic Spending IG Jonathan Turley

Court strikes down EPA suspension of Obama-era greenhouse gas rule The Hill


Wisconsin Primary Voters Receive ‘I Voted’ Gravestones The Onion

NYT Writes Post-Mortems for a Sanders Campaign It Did Its Best to Kill FAIR

What America Needs Next: A Biden National Unity Cabinet Thomas Friedman, New York Times (Re Silc). “Because while most people are playing nice right now managing this virus, the wreckage, pain and anger it will leave behind will require megadoses of solidarity and healing from the top.” Taibbi comments:

Health Care

The Affordable Care Act at 10 Years — Its Coverage and Access Provisions NEJM. “The effects of the law on the cost and quality of health care services are difficult to disentangle from the complex, evolving tapestry that is our health system.” A “complex, evolving tapestry.” Oh my.

Our Famously Free Press

Governments are using the coronavirus to hide information from reporters and citizens Nieman Labs

Plain Dealer Put Out to Pasture. In Final Death Blow, Remaining Reporters Given Impossible Choice Cleveland Scene

Police State Watch

Supreme Court Clarifies Police Power in Traffic Stops Courthouse News

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

A mountable toilet system for personalized health monitoring via the analysis of excreta Nature “Each user of the toilet is identified through their fingerprint and the distinctive features of their anoderm.” Cops are gonna need bigger inkpads, though.

The Far-Right Helped Create The World’s Most Powerful Facial Recognition Technology HuffPo. Peter Thiel is, quite naturally, involved.

The Technology That Could Free America From Quarantine The Atlantic

The National Security Agency Paradox Solved – Why Does Such a Smart Intelligence Agency Keep Getting Outsmarted by the Russians? John Helmer

It Is Time to Rethink Foreign-Intelligence Surveillance Andrew McCarthy, National Review

Class Warfare

First thing we do, let’s, uh, fire all the administrators:

University administrators, too.

Why nurses at DMC Sinai-Grace walked away from their jobs Sunday night Michigan Public Radio. Sinai-Grace is part of Detroit Medical Center is a for-profit hospital owned by Vanguard Health Systems, which is owned by Tenet Health Care.

A Nurse Bought Protective Supplies for Her Colleagues Using GoFundMe. The Hospital Suspended Her. Pro Publica. Newark Beth Israel Medical Center is owned by RWJBarnabas Health System (a non-profit).

The importance of low-wage workers during a pandemic City and State. Guess we’d better pour some more venture capital into AI and robots, then.

As Coronavirus Spread, Financial Services Contractor Told Warehouse Workers They Aren’t Allowed to Get Sick The Intercept

‘Additional’ COVID-19 cases reported at Amazon warehouse in Shepherdsville, company says Courier-Journal

Grocery workers are beginning to die of coronavirus MSN

What’s the most ethical way to get grocery delivery? Fast Company

Comparing the U.S. Workforce During the 1918 Flu vs. Covid-19 Bloomberg

Isolation Tortoise

John Prine, One of America’s Greatest Songwriters, Dead at 73 Rolling Stone. Of coronavirus. Those were the days:

Antidote du jour (FH):

Bonus antidote. Larry the Cat is running a tournament:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. allan

    More hospital administrators behaving badly: the Executive VP and COO of NY Presbyterian,
    who pulls down $2.7 million/yr, issues a video dressing down uppity employees
    for complaining about the working conditions.
    Surprisingly, she doesn’t call them `our heroes’, which seems to be de rigeur MBA-speak these days
    for frontline employees sent into the trenches without PPE.

    1. edmondo

      What a supercilious PMC POS. I wonder where she got her MBA?

      I suspect that she’ll get a job in the new Biden Administration. Probably denying claims for to hospitals that treated “Deplorables” who had no insurance. She’ll fit right in.

  2. Wukchumni

    A New Way for Californians to Serve James Fallows, The Atlantic

    The importance of low-wage workers during a pandemic City and State.
    What’s needed most urgently, is a new CCC (California Crop Crew) as the Mexican immigrants who do all the field work will soon be getting sick from the Coronavirus and food will rot on the vine or branch, and in the article it seemed as if most of the volunteer action was in LA/SF, where precious little food is grown.

    Seeing as the average age of a fieldworker in Ag is 45, means younger Mexicans aren’t interested, and the time is ripe for agriconquista.

    Everything else in a volunteer way, pales in comparison to the need for us to be fed. How many Americans have ever missed 3 meals in a row?

    Here’s a preview of what’s in store for us, if we don’t act toot suite…

    One Hawke’s Bay grower fears 12 million of his apples will rot on the trees because the lockdown has slowed production.

    The apple and kiwifruit industries are facing growing uncertainty as the COVID-19 crisis shuts down supply chains around the world.

    Kiwifruit growers have avoided a severe worker shortage amid the pandemic. Thousands of New Zealanders are putting their hands up as border restrictions halt tourists coming to pick fruit.

      1. Wukchumni

        My ‘ski resort’ locally @ Wolverton in Sequoia NP has been closed for about 40 years, and used to offer a whole 2 chairs and was a blast. You can still play on the piste, but you’ll have to earn all your turns.

        And as far as poor neighborhoods, the valley floor is chock full of them, Ivanhoe being a typical example…

        The median income for a household in the CDP was $26,052, and the median income for a family was $26,166. Males had a median income of $20,410 versus $19,583 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $9,101. About 25.6% of families and 30.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 41.8% of those under age 18 and 10.3% of those age 65 or over.,_California

      2. Lee

        Chill with the ad hominens. If you haven’t concluded by your obvious familiarity with Wuk’s comment history that his heart is in the right place, you haven’t been paying attention.

      1. Wukchumni

        As luck would have it, those in the immediate vicinity of the vast amounts of agriculture, tend to be living on the state’s Dime to the tune of almost $50k a year to keep them in a lifestyle for which they’ve become accustomed to. Its becoming very obvious that prisons will be a death trap, not so dissimilar to nursing homes/assisted living homes, and i’d guess the ‘residents’ would be ecstatic to do supervised field work, in lieu of the alternative.

        We’ve used convict labor to battle wildfires, why not do the same with crops?

        1. integer

          Where would the prisoners sleep? Back at the death trap? Would it be wise to rely a population that is highly vulnerable to a rapid spread of CV to harvest crops?

      1. JohnnyGL

        Whoa….that’s not how markets are supposed to work!

        You’re supposed to seamlessly segue into a discussion of how technology can increase agricultural productivity of each farm worker!

      2. Kurt Sperry

        Yes, if there were only a simple way to incentivize low-paying but necessary jobs people don’t want to do so that people will want to do them. Can’t think of anything, can you?

        I’m betting with a stratospheric UE rate in the pipeline, if those field jobs paid $30/hour you’d have no lack of people signing up to do them. And the marginal increase in the cost of food wouldn’t need to go up much. Unless of course that increased marginal labor cost were marked up compounding through the parasitic middlemen and retailers. And why would either deserve or need to make more profit for a tomato or apple than they do today? Labor isn’t the big cost in Ag (or manufacturing), it’s the *markup* of labor costs!

        1. rob

          The middle men seem to be the ones making out the best.
          In my area, milk has been getting more expensive for the last few years. But the story seems to be that milk farmers are getting less now than before…
          So that spot where those two realities meet is?

        2. Odysseus

          if those field jobs paid $30/hour you’d have no lack of people signing up to do them.

          I grew up on a farm. There are things that hurt at 48 that didn’t hurt at 18. It’s not just about the money.

          I’d be happy to do a lot of different farm jobs again, but there is no way that I **CAN** do that all day every day. Strictly part time or “alternate work arrangements” would be necessary.

    1. a different chris

      >One Hawke’s Bay grower fears 12 million of his apples will rot on the trees because the lockdown has slowed production.

      Here’s an idea – which is admittedly way too late for this crisis – how about smaller farms much closer to the population centers? Then people will be nearby to help, not as efficiently as the real workers but they can all pick apples and grapes. It is hard work as noted above but just a couple hours before the midday sun per person would feed a lot of people.

      Also, given our current food waste estimates, in normal times note that 4 million of those apples would have been thrown out anyway.

      1. Wukchumni

        I’d guess the nearest crops for LA would be strawberries in Camarillo, about 50 miles away, or citrus in Fillmore about 55 miles away. San Diego is even more of a food desert, avocados used to be grown extensively in Fallbrook and environs, but it pretty much all went away when production went down under to Mexico.

      2. Jeotsu

        All the best apples normally get exported. When you buy one of the many, many varieties of apple on offer in a NZ grocery store you can be sure it will have an odd shape with some blemishes. Not up to the “export grade”.

        With the (small) size of the country most stuff is grown relatively close to markets. It’s only 4 or so hours from Hawke’s Bay to Auckland. Wellington gets most of its fresh veggies from the market gardeners only an hour north of here on Kapiti Coast, etc.

        There is regional specialization, because the climate matches certain crop types. Much of the stone fruit (cherries, etc) comes from down south where they get the nice cold winters those trees like. Most of the kiwi fruit comes from Bay of Plenty or other such northern regions with mild winters and long warm summers.

        Much of the fruit picking come from season workers — both 20-something backpackers touring the country, and pacific islanders on special work visas. Generally I think this works pretty well, as it is a nice income source for many of the islanders. That being said, we just had a slavery/human trafficking conviction for a fellow over in Hawke’s Bay who was abusing migrant workers. A bad look, yes, but at least they went after him!

        It used to be that all the dairy came from places where it rained lots (Waikato, Southland), but crazy financing and center-pivot irrigation changes that. This is error that climate change will correct, with significant losses for the avaricious farmers and overly-optimistic bank managers.

    2. Arizona Slim

      My aunt worked on a farm during World War II. And why did she take such a menial summer job? Because the men were away at war.

      If my aunt could do it, so could modern-day Americans.

      1. Geo

        My mother often talks about her days in the strawberry fields during her high school years doing summer work. Something tells me the demands on a field worker now days is a bit more intense than they were back then.

        I had a summer job doing “fire prevention” two decades ago (swinging a Pulaski for eight hours a day chopping out underbrush) that paid $7.25 an hour. Two months in I slipped a disc in my back. Fortunately I was still on my parent’s health insurance at the time. Labor like that takes a serious toll on a body. Something easy for us to ignore when it’s migrant labor we barely regard as fellow humans (wrongly so, of course) but if we do begin trying to hire domestically for these jobs this will most likely have to be addressed as well. Hard work like that will have to both adjust for demand as well as hazards if it is to have a sustainable domestic workforce here. And, of course, this will impact the cost of produce.

        We might have to pay what these items actually cost and not what neoliberalism has been able to extract them for in the past few decades.

      2. ewmayer

        Perhaps, but I’m guessing your aunt wasn’t morbidly obese. I don’t know how well one of those electric scooters with the extra-wide seat and extra-large weight capacity would do maneuvering off-road in midst of an orchard or around a farm.

        Please don’t construe the above as fat-shaming, it’s simply to note that manual-harvesting is physically demanding work, and most Americans are sufficiently overweight and sedentary that they simply wouldn’t last more than 1 full day doing such work.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          it is hard work…and especially if it’s all by hand(I’ve wanted a small tractor with a front end loader for 25 years…but remodeling the front room was more important,lol)
          boys are rather svelt…and i’ve dropped at least 10# in the last month, just from having to ramp up the garden space.
          when i first became aware of the covid thing…from here, btw….my first thought was “need bigger seed order”.
          because our food supply is much more fragile than most people know.
          so many moving parts, spanning the globe…and with so many useless beak wetters between farm and plate…I worry about that a lot.

    3. BobW

      I picked cotton once, it wasn’t that hard. Had the boll for years. ;-)

      Of course, picking more than one might be harder. My mother picked cotton in the 30s, and complained about it to the end.

  3. zagonostra

    >BlackRock and a Blight on the 96’ers

    BlackRock’s CEO Larry Fink may now be the most powerful man in the world, overseeing not just the Fed’s new (potentially $4.5 trillion) corporate slush-fund, but also managing $27 trillion of the global economy (even before the March appointment). As the world’s largest asset manager, BlackRock already was managing $7 trillion for its global corporate investor-clients, along with another $20 trillion for clients through its financial risk-monitoring software (called Aladdin)…

    Jerome Powell noted: “By giving BlackRock full control of this debt buyout program, the Fed is further entwining the roles of government and private actors. In doing so, it makes BlackRock even more systemically important to the financial system. Yet BlackRock is not subject to the regulatory scrutiny of even smaller systemically important financial institutions…”

    As Matt Taibbi observed way back in 2009 in the midst of the previous bailout, “By creating an urgent crisis that can only be solved by those fluent in a language too complex for ordinary people to understand, the Wall Street crowd has turned the vast majority of Americans into non-participants in their own political future… By making an already too-complex economy even more complex, Wall Street has used the [2008] crisis to effect a historic, revolutionary change in our political system – transforming a democracy into a two-tiered state, one with plugged-in financial bureaucrats above and clueless customers below.”.

    1. xkeyscored

      There are many definitions of fascism, but most involve close links between business and government.

    2. a different chris

      I sometimes wonder if there really is a god, but he’s the old Testament type that enjoys giving people that screw us over not just insane power but also names like “Fink” just to rub it in.

      (for the English-not-a-first-language-speakers if you Google – I know, I know – “what is a fink”, the definition is “an unpleasant or contemptible person.” Not used as much as it was when I was a kid. Don’t know why it’s just or, I would say and/or)

      1. Procopius

        When I was in high school in a suburb of Detroit, “fink” was a company spy who infiltrated unions and passed the names of members to management. That was during the McCarthy Years, and my high school teachers were remarkably liberal in a time when it was not safe.

    3. Noone from Nowheresville

      France pensions seem so quaint now. I’m sure they’ll get back to them on the next covid wave and once they have established a baseline for CARES in the US.

      BlackRock Becomes a Symbol for Anticapitalist Fervor in France
      By Liz Alderman
      Feb. 14, 2020

      Just a few months ago, BlackRock, the U.S. money-management giant, was barely known to the general public in France. But as President Emmanuel Macron presses ahead with a controversial campaign to overhaul the French economy, the company has become a favorite target for growing anticapitalist sentiment.

      Protesters claim BlackRock has tried to influence — and stands to profit from — Mr. Macron’s overhaul of the nation’s pension system. They point to cordial meetings between Mr. Macron and Laurence D. Fink, the founder and chief executive of BlackRock. And they fear the huge Wall Street firm — its $7 trillion under management is more than twice France’s economic output — is working behind the scenes to pick apart the country’s system of social protections.

    1. Yves Smith

      If they did not test 2x, a lot of this is false positives. See:

      Also note a commenter’s point about his overall conclusions:

      Briggs looks at the threat with the numbers very low. That’s not very interesting if we allow the numbers to go up by 4 orders of magnitude or more

      1. Monty

        I don’t think the test can give false results in both directions. It can give false negatives, but if the swab has virus on it, the test will be positive.

        The doctor on the Med Cram channel did a video about the test explaining it.
        He said studies show the test they are using has ~70% sensitivity. He explained this meant that in 70% of the cases of infected people, the swab would get a sample with virus on, and give a true positive result. 30% of the time, the swab would not get a sample of the virus, but the infection would be elsewhere in the patient, and so it gives a false negative.

        1. Ignacio

          False negatives can arise with bad practices in all the process from sampling, to processing the samples and finally setting the reactions. Properly designed internal controls give info about the 2 latter parts but not in the former part of the process.

        2. Cuibono

          Tests Always give false results in both directions. What differs is how much and why… Some of this can be by design. So if missing even one case has severe repurcussions then one wants a highly sensitive test that will in turn suffer some in specificity

    2. Bsoder

      This is hardly a random sample that can be extrapolated to the entire world. Germany has found asymptomatic types to be 20%. Hard to say right now. Need to do some individual dna assaying,

      1. Cuibono

        Data so from a numerous locations including the cruise ships from the numerous locations including the cruise ships seems to indicate that asymptomatic infections are at least 50% and in one good study done in China 70%

    3. xkeyscored

      If they don’t go on to develop full blown COVID-19, this might bode well for the herd immunity idea.

  4. russell1200

    How does a Press Secretary, who never speaks to the press for their entire 9 month career, get fired for something other than not talking to the press?

    1. Wukchumni

      Say what you will, but it’s a peculiar accomplishment to have a stillborn position that came to full term.

  5. xkeyscored

    400-year-old Greenland shark ‘longest-living vertebrate’ BBC. Well, except for Henry Kissinger, of course.

    I’m afraid I missed the research that indicates Kissinger may be a vertebrate.

      1. The Rev Kev

        The shark or Kissinger? If Kissinger, people should demand that the senior leadership of both the Republican and Democrat parties attend his funeral and hold a full service. I would even buy the lollies for Michelle to hand out if they did so.

        1. Wukchumni

          My dad loathed Kissinger almost as much as Nixon and like Henry, he never lost his Euro accent despite being here since the early 50’s making anchor babies.

          My mom told me that @ parties, people would always mention that he sounded like Kissinger, which was the equivalent of sticking voodoo pins in him.

          1. wilroncanada

            Kissinger was reputed to go out to parties disguised, sometimes in drag. So, one of the songs at his funeral should be: “I Wonder who’s Kissinger Now”

        2. zagonostra

          Kissinger is a touchstone in terms of how much history a person has bothered to study.

          It speaks volumes when someone indicates he/she didn’t have a problem with HRC embrace of Kissinger in 2016. My attempt to have a discussion on politics ends there; unless I have the energy/motivation to talk about the secret bombing of Laos (“Operation Menu”) and the human suffering inflicted on innocents…but that energy/motivation is in short supple these days.

          And damn if is not true that only the good die young when looking at how long this re-incarnation of Mephistopheles has managed to hang around.

          1. albrt

            To be fair, secret bombing goes on 24/7 these days and most folks don’t have a problem as long as their guy is the one authorizing it.

    1. JE

      He’s no vertebrate, rather a heretofore unknown archaea colony with exceptional hydraulic organization. Tentatively classified as Sulfolobus antiqua-malum

  6. John

    Elsewhere in my morning peregrination was: Trump is acting like a dictator. (What’s new?) Trump scolding reporters for (Gasp!) asking questions that are insufficiently laudatory. Corporations overlooking the humanity of workers again and again. The ongoing search to blame someone, anyone, for Sars-2, COVID-19; take your choice. Why is it that the candidates for blame are always China, Russia, Iran? Have these people no imagination? The same weary s**t day after day.

    At least I have my students to look forward to. Class is later this morning.

    1. MLTPB

      Iran, Russia, or (some entity’s) incompetence to blame?

      Why should it be 1 year or18 months to a vaccine? Why can’t it be now, like so many scientific or technological wonders? Around the world in 2 days? Talk to someone on the other side of the world instantaneously? All these used to take months or years. Where is that instant Borscht soup, now?

      And where is that WHO pandemic declaration? We needed it like two months ago. Correction, we got it a month back, I think.

      Perhaps, it is back to, patience, grasshopper.

      At the end, we are doing no better than humans a couple of thousand years ago did – we isolate, separate, distance ourselves.

    2. Mikel

      I too am tired of hearing about Trump’s authoritarianism, when those urges are exploding everywhere.
      It’s why I fear any vaccine will be slow walked the more the establishment sees how much this situation can be used to oppress and maintain the current status quo.

  7. Wukchumni

    This article tickled my funny bone, and then some.

    Kiwi parents pull impressive McDonald’s prank on kids during lockdown

    An Auckland mother who recreated McDonald’s packaging was able to trick her kids into thinking they were having the fast-food favourite for dinner during the lockdown.

    Currently under alert level 4, all stores including fast food are closed, apart from supermarkets and pharmacies.

    This sparked the idea for Auckland mum Tanya Beckett, who works for print, design and signage company Cube and her husband, John Beckett, who is a director for the same company, to pull off the perfect prank on their three kids while also providing them with a treat.

    1. a different chris

      If it was America McDonalds would sue them for copyright infringement.

      The sued would say “hey you know I’m not selling this so it’s under Fair Use” and McDonalds would say “yeah true but we’ll push you to bankruptcy and waste 10 years of your life defending it anyway. We’re just so bored.”.

  8. xkeyscored

    Coronavirus: “nous avons déjà dû interrompre le traitement” de hydroxychloroquine-azithromycine au CHU de Nice Nice-Martin (Google translation).

    My French could be better, and the Google translation isn’t perfect, but it sounds like one patient was taken off hydroxychloroquine. This should not be surprising. CQ and HCQ are known to have some nasty side effects, and patients need monitoring for any signs thereof.

    The French:
    Cela s’est-il déjà produit?
    “Oui, dès le début de l’essai. Grâce à ce suivi par ECG, nous avons mis en évidence des risques majeurs d’accident gravissime chez une patiente, et le traitement a aussitôt été stoppé.”

    And the Googlish:
    Has this ever happened?
    “Yes, from the start of the trial. Thanks to this ECG follow-up, we highlighted the major risks of a very serious accident in a patient, and the treatment was immediately stopped.”

    1. SKM

      this article in Nice Matin just partially confirms what appeared in a study recently and viz that giving the hydrochloroquine-antibiotic combo to pts with severe disease shows no benefit and may even be harmful. How this could be a surprise or a contra-indication for the possible utility of the anti-malarial drug for Sars-Cov 2 beats me. Instinctively/rationally I`d imagine if it works as surmised from in vitro studies, it would make sense to use it in the early stages of the symptomatic phase of Covid (or even sooner were that possible!). That is certainly what prof Raoult is suggesting. He`s tried it with gd preliminary results but we are a while away from a proper RCT for confirmation. Not knowing much about cardiology I still wd be alarmed at the idea of giving chloroquine and esp the combo to severely ill people knowing that the disease itself in some cases (severe ones) has been found to damage heart tissue.

      1. xkeyscored

        What in the article indicates it shows no benefits in severe cases? And who, besides idiots like The Don, has ever suggested it cannot be harmful?

        1. Bsoder

          Well here’s something to consider: “I would like to point out this preprint from a multi-country team (Denmark, Netherlands, UK) which goes back over the original Marseilles report and reanalyzes its statistics. The problems that many noted with that paper show up in detail here, and the lessons that you take from it can vary a great deal depending on the details that were not well reported or characterized:

          Performing a Bayesian A/B test, we found that for the original data, there was strong statistical evidence for the positive effect of HCQ mono improving the chances of viral reduction when compared to the comparison group. However, we found that the level of evidence drops down to moderate evidence when including the deteriorated patients, and it drops further to anecdotal evidence when excluding the patients that were not tested on the day of the primary outcome (day 6). For context, anecdotal evidence is generally considered ‘barely worth mentioning’ (Jeffreys, 1961) We were able to qualitatively reproduce the finding of an improvement of HCQ +AZ over HCQmono . However, although this finding was statistically significant in the original finding, our reanalysis revealed only anecdotal evidence for the positive effect of HCQ +AZ over HCQmono . However, when we included the deteriorated patients into the analysis, this evidence increased to moderate. Moderate means “maybe”.

          1. xkeyscored

            anecdotal evidence is generally considered ‘barely worth mentioning’

            True enough in more normal times. At the moment, it’s often all we’ve got.

        2. Detroit Dan

          The article (with Google translation from French) says:

          When hydroxychloroquine is given alone, the cardiac risk is very low. However the antibiotic (azithromycin) which is prescribed systematically in combination with hydroxychloroquine in the anti-Covid protocol also favors these anomalies. The cardiological risk is then potentiated

          Hydroxychloroquine alone is very safe:

          Hydroxychloroquine was approved for medical use in the United States in 1955.[2] It is on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines, the safest and most effective medicines needed in a health system.[6] In 2017, it was the 128th-most-prescribed medication in the United States, with more than five million prescriptions. [


          1. barefoot charley

            The Nice-Matin article has a terribly misleading headline, which all commenters excoriated. The body of the article basically says be careful with this stuff, in one case we even had to stop using it. It’s not much of a story, and certainly not news.

        3. rtah100

          I hope I will be forgiven for reposting this after I posted it in yesterday’s links’ comments but I foolishly started it on a iThing late UK time and it was even later when I finished so I fear it got about three readers yesterday. :-)

          It’s a bit long but bear with it – if you get to the end of it, it bears on several active topics right now, including Chloroquine-mediated Trump Derangement Syndrome, the racial anisotropy of the COVID burden and whether ventilators are what we really need, whether made by Medtronic or McGyver.

          PS: Yves, thank you for re-posting the C4 interview with Dr Hepburn in the links. I don’t like video normally but it was very powerful to hear him discuss how young the COVID patients are and how affected the staff and families are by the prospect of their ICU patients dying in isolation.

          OK, grab a coffee and read on:

          I’ve been having a vigorous discussion with a college friend (and commodities trader, possibly known to colonel Smithers) who often gets to the right data and the right conclusion via the wrong reasoning. His early comment on coronavirus was ‘it is a disease of “brown eyed people”’. I shot him down but a month more clinical 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 breaks 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 if possible, it is only “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:
          – Men are more prone to hypercoagulation than women.
          – Old people are more prone than younger ones (and have lower red blood cell creation rates)
          – many inherited blood disorders promote coagulation, including sickle cell trait/disease in tropical populations (Africans, ME, India) and various thalassemias (Mediterranean peoples, Middle East, Asians). Sickle cell has a high prevalence as the trait (one gene copy) confers malaria-resistance (two copies is full blown disease, outweighs benefit!).

          This is a disease that will hit African American and Indian middle aged men hard.

          You can see this in the 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 look for this correlation there.

          Just to reinforce the link between hypoxia and blood disorders, sickle cell disease frequently results in a 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 proposing that the non structural proteins of the virus (things it makes once it hijacks the cell other than virions) have structural homology with proteins that bind haem and strip the iron from it, leaving a porphyrin ring. There are no in vitro or in vivo studies on this yet but the implication is that the virus is attacking the blood’s local capacity to carry oxygen, which is causing the local hypoxia, elevated ferritin and other proteins. This theory would mean the thromboses referred to 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, and help in early disease or as a prophylaxis 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 Italian therapy recommendations are here, at p5 onwards (I could not link the e-mail I received but I found it online). It is in Italian but if you can speak scientific latin, you can read it. If not, it recommends azithromycin, hydroxychloroquine, steroids and anticoagulants.

          The micro vascular thrombosis hypothesis is summarised here.

          ICNARC paper here

          Computational biochem paper on covid and haemoglobin metabolism

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

          PPS: I just heard that NYC posted that 34% of deaths are non-white. This is consistent with the UK ICU deaths in the ICNARC paper and with the risk factors suggested by the mechanisms above (plus perhaps the racial disparity of front-line jobs, which is appalling given these population groups may be intrinsically vulnerable).

          1. Ignacio

            Thank you for this rtah100 some of this is very speculative but yet interesting (though the brown-eye thing your friend says is too wild for my sensitivity). Anyway, the little I know about the clinical manifestation of the disease is that there are many, many variations in the way the disease progresses and there are not yet explanations for a lot of what is seen.

          2. Ignacio

            I am wondering about old patients under acenocumarol treatment (Sintrom is the most common commercial name at least in Spain). Is this already helping? Do you have any idea on this?

            1. rtah100

              No, sorry, Ignacio, no idea. I looked up acenocoumarol and ARDS (and other permutations) and found nothing.

              The Italian protocol uses low molecular weight heparin derivatives, intravenously (it’s still a high molecular weight polymer and not bioavailable orally). These have apparently been indirectly getting traction in treating ARDS, because many ARDS patients have sepsis and they have been prescribed for that.

              My guess would be that any anti-coagulant would be better than none but, given coumarin derivatives interfere with vitamin K whereas heparin interfere with thrombin, there may be quite a difference in practice – you need a haematologist / pulmonologist to pronounce!

              (interestingly, I ended up down a rabbit hole of hantavirus references, which apparently has a pulmonary variant which was first identified in the USA (“Four Corners virus or Sin Nombre Virus”) but which fortunately has not shown person-to-person transmission yet as its pulmonary symptoms resemble COVID but are 38% fatal!)

    2. Monty

      My second time to recommend a Med Cram video today, sorry! It is an excellent channel for this kind of information. It is presented by an American doctor, currently working in ICU on Covid19 patients.

      In this video from over a month ago, he discusses a study related to the use to hydroxychloroquine in Korea and it’s method of action.
      In it, he explains how zinc disrupts the virus’ ability to self-replicate in our cells, but that zinc cannot get inside our cells on its own. It requires a carrier to help it pass through the cell membrane. Chloroquine is known to act as such a carrier.
      It makes perfect sense that if you disrupt the virus’ ability to multiply earlier, the outcome will be better. If the treatment is successful, the patient won’t get overwhelmed by virus later, after weeks of exponential growth.

    3. David

      OK, the doctor being interviewed is a cardiologist, and he is only talking about the potential cardiological risks this treatment poses to patients. The Google translation is misleading in that it implies that the treatment has been discontinued, whereas what he said was that it had been “interrupted” for one (female) patient. The doctor explains that he monitors all the patients who are receiving this treatment continuously, and, if it looks as thought the drugs are interfering with the normal operation of the heart, the treatment is stopped. He adds that
      with treatment only by Hydroxychloroquine, the risk of heart problems is small, but that the risk is greater if the antibiotic azithromycin is used in parallel. As a result “if these treatments are prescribed, it should be with surveillance by ECG on Day 0 and Day 2 at a minimum.” He does not believe the treatment is justified for patients who are getting better anyway, especially those who can move around.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “France Uses New Measure to Calculate 35% of Economy Is Shut”

    Sorry, but I can’t be that sympathetic to a third of their economy going away. I was reading the charts today and France really stands out in terms of casualties which I think is more important. Over 10,000 French people have been killed by this virus and just yesterday there were 11,000 new cases. They actually have more cases per 1 million of population compared to the US as well as 4 times the number of dead per 1 million, again, as compared to the US. They are really getting hammered by it so I doubt that the economy is first thing on their minds right now.

    But then I began to really think about this article. Last year when we were talking about the yellow Vests the subject of France’s economy came up. It came out that like a lot of countries, France had a situation where Paris acted as a wealth pump for the rest of the country. A lot of the wealth generated in the provinces ended up going to Paris so it would be illuminating to discover where this 35% is being lost. Is it the provinces or is it in cities like Paris where the professional class is gathered. It might be instructive to watch France to see where any bail-outs are targeted.

    1. xkeyscored

      If we look at the economy as the allocation of resources, it’s more than likely it’s those at the bottom of the pile, whether Parisian or provincial, who aren’t, or soon won’t be, getting needed resources. For them, I’d imagine finding food may become a higher priority than avoiding COVID-19.

    2. Geo

      It’s a safe bet that it’s not the managerial class that is being shuttered. The article about people in Italy struggling to survive seems to indicate it’s the poor who are being hit hardest by the crisis. Which, is pretty much a the case in any crisis.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        A headline above says “hard-edged class struggle may be necessary”. Do ya think. The French know alot about class struggle and hard edges, their favourite hard-edged class struggle device could serve a new customer every 30 seconds and the rivers of blood ran all the way from the Place de la Concorde to the Seine.

        I would always choose peaceful change. Loud noises frighten me. But the Sanders “movement” dying not with a bang but a whimper makes me think that the normal event that follows the institution of national socialism is surely on its way, there is simply too much pressure building up as the “have-not” category grows from 90% of humanity to 99.9%.

        I just don’t think they will be able to “managerial” their way out of this with unlimited agitprop and an inadequate and confusing trail of breadcrumbs tossed at the feet of the plebes as they try to run to their bunkers. The DNC shriekers in the MSM have no idea what kind of fire they are playing with by scoring cheap political points framing this as California versus Oklahoma. Conflict will get more and more local, from “US versus China” down to Red v. Blue and eventually down to Me v. You for that loaf of bread. If there really are some better angels somewhere they better pop onto the scene soon because our nature is to do anything at all required to avoid starvation.

        [Insert positive, hopeful and uplifting closing sentence here]

  10. fresno dan

    UVM Scientists, Engineers Team Up to Create ‘Vermontilator’ Seven Days and ‘It’s not fancy, but it works’: Mississippi doctor uses garden hose, lamp timer and electronic valve to create makeshift ventilators USA Today
    We reviewed a 5-year experience with mechanical ventilation in 383 men with acute respiratory failure and studied the impact of patient age, cause of acute respiratory failure, and duration of mechanical ventilation on survival. Survival rates were 66.6 percent to weaning, 61.1 percent to ICU discharge, 49.6 percent to hospital discharge, and 30.1 percent to 1 year after hospital discharge
    There seems to be the insinuation that if only we have enough ventilators….Having a ventilator available is better than not having access to a ventilator, but going on a ventilator is dire straits. Much, MUCH better not to get infected.
    Suffice to say, I am skeptical of the efficacy of a garden hose ventilator.

    1. xkeyscored

      I haven’t looked into this particular makeshift ventilator design, but I have come across several recently. Many of them have been designed by doctors and medical experts in collaboration with engineers and so on, so I think there’s good reason to expect they work. Obviously they’re not as good as the ‘real thing’, but for many countries they may be almost the only thing available and affordable.

      Here’s something from MIT using a manual resuscitator (Ambu-Bag), with plenty of links to necessary specifications and stuff:
      MIT Emergency Ventilator (E-Vent) Project

      1. JTMcPhee

        As articles posted here have indicated, a ventilator might be a life-prolonging device for some. But the morbidity and mortality for people on vents because of the gravity of damage to their lungs and progression of the infection is way high. Plus, once people are weaned off the vent, they face weeks to months of recovery and rehabilitation due to wasting of muscle tissue, nerve effects and other damage. A lot of people are going to at best be “walking wounded” if they recover. It looks like maybe 2/3 don’t survive once put on ventilator, the numbers are way in flux. There is a lot of experimentation being done by ICU people to try and optimize all the variables including not just the machine settings but also IV antibiotics, pain medications, sedation and/or induced paralysis, and vents require extreme attention to cleanliness as they render patients more susceptible to opportunistic infections. And caring for a vent patient is a lot of work —

        Being on a vent is a horrible experience, too —

        Intubating and ventilating a patient is “something that doctors can at least try” as the infection takes hold and spreads in some patients. It’s an attempt to prop up the respiration while the patient’s body attempts to confront the virus, and as we’ve seen, there is a lot of variability in that function due to pre-existing condition and likely genetic factors.

        If I get sick I’d of course like the option to be available, but flooding hospitals with ventilator devices (which require very skilled management, and staff is either overworked or simply not available in many areas) will only change outcomes (death and debility) at the margins.

          1. xkeyscored

            I think the thrust of JTMcPhee’s comment is that ventilators can push patients towards death and disability, so sticking less severe cases on them probably isn’t a good idea, even with trained and experienced medical staff and appropriate facilities.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Somebody has been binge-watching MacGyver in lockdown. I wonder is a Swiss army knife was involved?

      1. griffen

        Funniest thing ive seen this week. Ok the Onion headline is pushing you for a blue ribbon.

        A pair of pliers and duct tape & were really ready to go !

  11. xkeyscored

    Donald Trump threatens to freeze funding for WHO FT

    Quite right too. Who needs the WHO when we’ve got Trump, Pence and Kushner leading the war on COVID-19? Just get private insurance companies and big pharma to take over and rename it the War on Health Organisation?

    1. John

      ” O Catiline, do you mean to cease abusing our patience? How long is that madness of yours still to mock us? When is there to be an end of that unbridled audacity of yours, swaggering about as it does now?”

      This is the opening of Cicero’s first oration against Catiline. Change one word and there you have it.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Quo usque tandem abutere Catalina patientia nostra quam diu furor iste tuus nos eludet quem ad finem sese effranata iactabit audaciaa

        Still know it. Though my old latin teacher preferred “unbridled boldness” as Marcus Tullius would use the alliterative aspects whenever possible if Cicero was translating it. I do think Cicero and Latin classes has made me more skeptical of most modern rhetoric. Its just so dull and obvious. I know it would be their first language, but Latin speakers seem a bit more clever with their rhetoric being limited by punctuation and smaller vocabularies. They really had to deliver.

        1. barefoot charley

          Good thoughts, thanks. I tried to become a Latinist in college, briefly, it was the first class I ever dropped. My sympathetic professor reminded me that I could disappear before that Friday without leaving a trace. So I dropped out and fell back on Latin for Dummies–I hung out in France until I could talk my way out of it. It was the best thing I ever did for no discernable reason.

  12. fresno dan

    Illinois mayor ’embarrassed’ to find wife was at social gathering broken up by police The Hill

    Grant Walker, the mayor of Alton, Ill., said he is “embarrassed” after his wife was found at a social gathering at a local bar over the weekend that was broken up by police for violating a stay-at-home order amid the coronavirus outbreak.

    In a Facebook post detailing the incident Monday, Walker said he was informed of the incident at Hiram’s Tavern “at approximately 1 a.m. on Sunday morning
    Mayor:Honey, where ya going?
    Wife: We need toilet paper – we only have 287 rolls…
    OK, drive safe…
    Wife: I may be a while, what with all these crazy people stockpiling toilet paper.
    Of course, I jest – she was fund raising…

  13. Wukchumni

    The Ultimate Fighting Championship plans to hold a pay-per-view event on tribal land in Central California this month, an attempted end run around widespread federal and state guidelines against holding large gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic, according to three people familiar with the decision.

    Even as most sporting events have ground to a halt worldwide because of the highly contagious virus, Dana White, the U.F.C. president, has insisted he can safely hold mixed martial arts events.

    “This place where this fight is going to be on April 18 I have locked up for two months, so I’m going to continue to pump fights out,” White told ESPN on Monday, though he declined to say exactly where.

    The location will be the Tachi Palace Casino Resort near Lemoore, Calif., about 40 miles south of Fresno, according to the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because White had not announced the venue. The casino, which closed the night of March 20 because of the pandemic, is on land belonging to the Tachi-Yokut Tribe, part of the federally recognized Santa Rosa Indian Community.
    152 years ago, 85 to 90% of the Yokuts tribes were wiped out by Measles, for which they had no immunity. It was a slaughter.

    Now, the very same tribe is embracing something similar, and I hear they’ll be paid 30 pieces of silver, for their participation.

  14. GlobalMisanthrope

    Trump Continues Assault On Inspector Generals With Removal Of Appointed Pandemic Spending IG

    Inspectors General. Just sayin’.

      1. GlobalMisanthrope

        Yes. Completely unsurprising. But I was commenting on the grammatical error.

        1. ambrit

          Oh, c’mon now. It’s the ‘New Merican Centry’ don’cha know?
          Upstream, someone or thing mentions Trump acting like a dictator. Hah! What do you expect from a business-citizen? Most businesses that I have encountered weren’t exactly structured as co-operative enterprises.
          Just another way of saying that Government is not a business.

  15. Stephen V.

    *…a complex evolving tapestry.*
    I struggle to decide what is my favorite part of the ACA which is hanging by a thread on the Supremes’ docket.
    Was it the penalty for refuseniks ?
    Or the joyfully distributed premium subsidies! Which could mean thou$ands to be paid back at tax time
    Or the skyrocketing deductibles
    Or the out of control price spiral…or simply the I in FIRE sector prospering itself and its shareholders in a never bursting bubble . And all for a system this aging granola head and his woo woo healers, never wanted to use in the first place.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      It’s not so much on the ACA side but the “we’ll fix it later” crowd when they demanded Trump “reopen the exchanges” due to the current job losses. The complete ignorance of the ACA by its proudest defenders is easily the “best” part as they promise to “fix it later.”

  16. The Rev Kev

    “When the Coronavirus Outbreak Could Peak in Each U.S. State”

    This is all part of Trump’s China!China!China! strategy but let us put that aside for the moment. And let us put aside the fact that Trump has handled this disastrously by constantly trying to downgrade the whole threat and make out that he is always right like a petulant child.

    I am not so sure that the WHO does not deserve it when you think about their performance this year. Their mis-advice, their refusal to acknowledge it as a pandemic to the extent of removing that word from their terminology, etc. And so what do I see in today’s news? ‘Face masks cannot stop healthy people getting Covid-19, says WHO”. THIS, in spite of the fact that the countries that have managed to get on top of this virus are the ones that mandate face-masks in public. This is so bad this-

    1. The Rev Kev

      Sorry, this comment should have been in relation to the “Donald Trump threatens to freeze funding for WHO” article, not the one I accidentally put at the top.

      1. MLTPB

        Threatening is the key here.

        I dont think he will, or I hope we don’t. Maybe aiming to have more say.

        In any case, that money can be replaced by other countries’ additional contributions.

    2. xkeyscored

      The WHO was onto this in early January if not earlier, even if they delayed using the P-word. As for masks, expert opinion is still divided, though moving towards their use.
      With hindsight, the WHO may have done some things better, but cutting their funding is unlikely to result in a more effective response to future emergencies.

      1. ambrit

        Cutting WHO funding might, to the conspiratorially inclined, be considered an integral part of some long quiescent eugenics agenda.

      2. MLTPB

        On or around Feb 3, 2020, after the US travel restrictions on China, Tedros, I recall, urged countries not to close their borders to people travelling from China.

        Around the same time, Beijing responded by claiming the US was spreading fear, that we inappropriately overreacted… per USAToday, among others.

      3. BrettM

        WHO issued $450M in pandemic bonds that had a high payout trigger in the event of a pandemic IIRC. There was plenty of financial incentive to avoid calling it a pandemic. They only did so when it became so obvious they were forced to in order to maintain any semblance of competence…

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Fine had been the acting Pentagon watchdog since early 2016 after joining the Defense Department inspector general’s office in 2015 during the Obama administration. He was previously the Justice Department’s inspector general from 2000 to 2011, spanning three administrations of both parties.

      That would be the same “justice” department that never broke stride when torture was renamed “enhanced interrogation” and couldn’t find a banker to even put on time out in 2008, if it’s looting you’re worried about.

      And the same pentagon that still can’t account for twenty-one TRILLION missing dollars or pass an audit.
      To jog your memory:

      Entrenched bureaucrats don’t become instantly honest or competent because Donald Trump fires them. Would that it were so. The real problem is that corruption is the lifeblood of washington, d.c.:

      “The sudden removal and replacement of Acting Inspector General Fine is part of a disturbing pattern of retaliation by the president against independent overseers fulfilling their statutory and patriotic duties to conduct oversight on behalf of the American people,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a statement.

      Senate Minority Leader ripped Trump’s “corrupt action” and said he is trying to sideline “honest and independent public servants because they are willing to speak truth to power and because he is so clearly afraid of strong oversight.”

      “Clearly afraid.” Right.

    2. ewmayer

      “Let the looting begin” — Cf. zagonostra’s BlacRock-related link above. The Fed’s pulling out all the stops to immediately firehose multi$trillions at Wall Street as soon as the massively-overpriced DJIA threatened to break below 20,000 of course was done without any legislative, executive or judicial-branch oversight whatsoever. So the stimulus may well be a case of “let the looting continue”, but it’s gonna take months to disburse most of that $2T, whereas it took the Fed mere *days* to balloon its balance sheet with illiquid-assets-bought-at-a-premium by a similar amount.

  17. fresno dan

    The New Populist Right Imagines a Post-Pandemic America Matt Stoller, BIG

    But the nationalist rhetoric and jingoism of Trump can obscure a more sophisticated recognition by some people in this new populist world that the core dynamic of the China-US relationship isn’t two nation-states opposed to one another, it is an authoritarian government in China that is deeply aligned with Wall Street, against the public in both nations.
    Edit: it is an authoritarian government in China/US that is deeply aligned with Wall Street, against the public in both nations.

    1. Lou Anton

      We’re not authoritarian. An authoritarian government would’ve had a much stronger response to the crisis.

      A sclerotic, know-nothing old guard of aristocrats though? For sure. Stoller cites some cracks in the armor though, and mostly coming from the right. Why is it that the Right are the only ones that want to govern and wield power?

      1. nippersdad

        Just my guess, but they are the ones answerable to the people with Second Amendment solutions for their problems. They fear their base, and they are probably right to do so.

      2. xkeyscored

        An authoritarian government would’ve had a much stronger response to the crisis.

        Brazil? Belarus? Saudi Arabia?
        Authoritarianism is no guarantee of competence.

    2. Phil

      I think Stoller is assuming the reader understands that the US government is basically irrelevant, and that it’s really Wall Street that runs this country. See comment from Zagonostra, citing Matt Taibbi, above.

    3. Lost in OR

      I have reached my limit of reading about the failures of the existing system and attempts at prolonging it’s existence. I can’t even read anymore about visions about a new industrialized future. Within the current crop of management I see only more grift, corruption, cronyism, financialization, and so on.

      My hope/vision for a future requires a reboot. That is, some combination of bank failure, gov’t collapse, currency collapse, economic collapse. I just don’t see any viable path forward under current management. We’re just bailing out the bailout.

  18. GlobalMisanthrope

    Communities of Color at Higher Risk for Health and Economic Challenges due to COVID-19 Kaiser Family Foundation

    Adolph Reed Jr on “[w]hy “race” is less useful—both empirically and politically—than ever as a proxy for the social conditions of poverty, lack of healthcare, and mass inequality” in Common Dreams.

    1. ewmayer

      Thanks for the link – this resonates:

      …if our concern is to combat healthcare inequalities, it is not at all clear that the “blacks have it worse” trope does us much good. The problem lies in the irrationality and injustice of a for-profit healthcare system and its market-driven rationing of access to care at every step along the way, whether or not those falling through the cracks are more likely to be recognized as black than otherwise.

      And politically, at a moment when the shared danger of pandemic screams of the need for broad solidarity, insistence on that trope could hardly be more tone-deaf. It reveals the extent to which the logic of a neoliberal politics of race relations engineering and its singular normative ideal of group parity even within a larger system of intensifying inequality shapes the political imaginations even of those who wish to be seen as progressives.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “NYT Writes Post-Mortems for a Sanders Campaign It Did Its Best to Kill”

    I am afraid that I agree with Jimmy Dore when he says that Bernie Sanders ended his own campaign a few short weeks ago when he went on the Jimmy Fallon show and said that Joe Biden could beat Donald Trump in this election. In 2016 you could have gotten away with saying that Hillary Clinton could beat Donald Trump but it is 2020 and there is no way that Biden could hold it together for the next seven months. What Bernie said was an outright lie and he must have know it and probably made moderates decide to vote for the ‘safe pair of hands’ of Biden then. And when he wrote a coupla days ago that he was abandoning Medicare for All in the middle of this pandemic, it was game over-

    1. PlutoniumKun

      If the Dem establishment were not still afraid of Bernie, they would not be working so very hard to persuade him to drop out.

      Biden will not be president. The Dem establishment know that. Everyone knows that. It is vital to ensure every progressive is behind Bernie to ensure that if and when the Dems try a bait and switch to draft in Cuomo or whoever the flavour-of-the-month is, there will be hell to pay. It’s not by any means over yet. The Dems need Bernie out so they can replace Biden, it’s that simple.

      1. The Rev Kev

        It could be. My own idea is that they want Sanders out so that Biden is last man standing – the Tribe has spoken! But when it comes time to name him as their Presidential candidate, either Biden will step down due to ill health and to spend more time with his family (a standard excuse) or the real Candidate is made their Veep who will wield the real power like a Dick Cheney did, and who could take over if Biden fell ill.

        1. Charger01

          They would rather lose with Biden, than win with Bernie. They hate the left more than they fear the right.

              1. albrt

                Same here.

                I will probably boycott the election, which I understand is the respectable thing to do when you live in a corrupt third world country.

              2. deplorado

                Bernie ends his campaign now. I will ask for my donations back. I didn’t donate for him to endorse Joe Biden. Bernie turned out to be a sheep and a company man.
                As Danny Haiphong said, politics is about getting power. Whatever Bernie did, wasn’t about power, maybe education, but power was not what he was trying to achieve.

                1. Katiebird

                  I won’t ask. I donated knowing it was my best chance for Medicare for Everyone. And I would feel a thousand times worse if I hadn’t made my donations.

                  1. deplorado

                    If Bernie had said, “I cannot in good conscience support Joe Biden for president”, I would not ask for my donations back.
                    But he says the opposite.

                    It was worth giving him donations to raise awareness and faith that better things are possible. But to cower now and toe the party line – no. It’s a betrayal. As Jimmy Dore said, we will look for a new leader (one is not apparent yet, AOC is not it).

                    The email he sent yesterday, asking if his supporters want him to stay in the campaign – what kind of leader is that. You lead with your convictions and your own skin in the game and people follow you because of that. Look at Trump ffs.

                    Im not going to vote for Biden or Trump. But won’t write in Bernie either. He doesn’t want the power. Then I will not give it to him. But it really is a hard question, what to do then – because I also despise not voting.

                    What a predicament.

      2. Stillfeelinthebern

        It’s going to be Hillary. Can’t you see the marketing? It’s the only way to get the free MSM coverage and only on ONE topic. The “REVENGE” match. We are living in a reality television world, ESPN has nothing to cover, but this, this will be epic. Battle for the leader of the free world.

        1. nippersdad

          After a bait and switch like that I don’t actually see much of a battle ensuing. Sanders’ supporters would stay home in droves. I was surprised by how many people listened to him the last time and voted for her, but I don’t think that could be replicated again.

          1. Arizona Slim

            If you’ve been watching the campaign’s recent videos and livestreams, the anti-Biden sentiment is pretty strong.

        2. Sea Sched

          yup- they will force biden to choose hillary as running mate and then biden will step down due to illness and this is how hillary will “legitimately” get the ticket…if this pandemic happened a little sooner, would bernie have had more of a chance? i really don’t see how anything is supposed to get better if we never tax the rich to fund basic social services…so incredibly sad the only anti-corruption candidate willing to tax billionaires has dropped out. i wonder if biden would consider stacey abrams…

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Biden is weak as a candidate. Given his campaign’s political conservatism and desire not to be upstaged (look at the VPs and running mates over the years, reinforcing how the Presidential nominee could be worse is a universal constant), Klobuchar is probably the only one.

            Hillary did worse than Kerry in the Midwest, and Joe has all of her problems plus the unfortunate problem of not simply being the President’s wife but one of the people who consistently voted to destroy the place. I don’t think Harris brings enough, and I suspect Team Blue will conclude Obama brings enough of the black vote.

            Abrams has worked with the GOP and Mike Bloomberg (long term this can only hurt her; it may soothe the choir but doesn’t go beyond) and won’t put states into play. In the states needed, she is irrelevant and would remain irrelevant being on the back end of a horse going in the wrong direction.

            Again Biden as the nominee would probably go back to the kind of guy who had the secret service shut down a community college to surprise his wife for lunch until Obama put a stop to it. I would assume any promise by Biden would be dismissed based on his particular whims.

            Klob is probably the most likely choice for Biden. She can stand up right, won’t outshine him too much, and fits the misplaced idea of regional balance being necessary in a region Team Blue would need to do better in to actually win. Gillenbrand for example had her efforts to curb sexual assault in the military. She would risk outshining Biden.

            1. edmondo

              The other advantage of Klobuchar is that she has absolutely no ideas of her own so she would fit in well with the vapid Biden campaign. If you ever had the misfortune to read her website on her “positions” it was hard to tell if she was running for president or the head of the local Montessori school. There’s no “there” there. She is a cypher.

              Her hardest job will be convincing Jim Clyburn that she is African-American.


        3. Bazarov

          If they’re going to switch it up because Biden has to drop out for “health reasons” or something, it’ll be Cuomo. The media has been burnishing his image, pushing him big time. Nary a word about Clinton.

          1. Balakirev

            I wonder if the Democrat hand of the Monied Class could win with a combination of Biden (P) and COVID19 (VP)? Consider:

            COVID19 is a dedicated killer. This is a merit of no small consequence to our government.

            It kills more among impoverished, blue collar communities who fall outside the tattered remains of our national safety net. A sure winner among the people who really matter.

            It has a great deal of publicity. Perhaps even more than Hillary.

            It facilitates the transfer of resources from the 99% of our society to the one-percenters, by drawing attention away from all the usual thieves and con artists.

            It never believes that it said or did things that it didn’t say or do. And it never pushes people away in front of the cameras.

            If Biden becomes too much for the DNC to handle, they can always run COVID19 in the presidential slot, and add Hillary as VP. Then, no one will want to see COVID19 eliminated.

      3. Code Name D

        There is another explanation. The more delegates Bernie wins, the more seats he gets at the assorted Democratic Party governing panels. If he drops out now, he gets ZERO representation because he doesn’t have enough delegates. If he stays in to the end, while he still loses the nomination, could still build on that little influence he has with the leadership.

        1. Samuel Conner

          I was hoping that Sanders would stay in for the sake of a platform fight.

          Am very disappointment by the news.

          1. Code Name D

            I just found out that Bernie has dropped out. It’s clear to me now he was never serious about any thing. His main job was to suppress the opposition, not lead it.

            1. edmondo

              Elizabeth Warren has a better case that Bernie screwed her campaign than vice versa. It was Bernie who was never serious. (Liz probably wasn’t either). I suspect Bernie will endorse Biden before Liz does!

              At least he didn’t get nearly as much in contributions as he did in 2016. Thank God he built up a whole group of leaders behind him to showcase the “vibrant” political left. Oh wait….

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          Musing on this one:

          -Sanders delegates pushed the most progressive platform in Presidential politics in 2016.
          -The Team Blue elites are still the same ghouls they were.
          -Biden would adhere to a progressive platform about as well as Obama.
          -one problem with Biden is how little people know about Biden.
          -the electability issue. People see Biden as relatively innocuous and presume he is electable because he is a white male (hooray for Catholicism making it). Just like John Kerry, but they won’t be able to swift boat Biden, who wasn’t in the army…

          I would let them lose on their own. Put this on Biden and Team Blue.

          I don’t know about Sanders’ view on the matter, but Biden has a very good chance of losing, even with Covid which admittedly will probably be more harmful among Democratic areas. Now they Democratic courtier class can run to the “center” like they want. Biden will probably cut pro-Trump ads in under a month.

          The net result of the 2016 platform and rule changes was Joe Biden, worst than Hillary.

      4. WJ

        “The Dems need Bernie out so they can replace Biden, it’s that simple.”

        And now Bernie is out. And what does that tell you about Bernie?

      1. boots

        Were the DCCC and Biden’s people holding whatever future primary states they could hostage?

        “Y’all see what we did in Wisconsin? We can keep this up. If Bernie doesn’t drop out, we’ll keep killing our base with primaries.”

        1. deplorado

          Good point. What happens now with Dem primaries? Do they cancel the remaining ones? Is Biden going to be the only candidate for the remaining states?
          What travesty.

    2. David Carl Grimes

      Jimmy Dore had it right. This pandemic was made for Bernie. There’s a health crisis, a jobs crisis, a financial crisis, supply crisis. Everything screams Medicare For All, Jobs Guarantee, UBI, Financial Reform, etc. You name it. But somehow Bernie can’t close the deal. He can’t make the case for why he should be elected. And he lost to someone whose record is diametrically opposed to everything Bernie stands for and is mentally challenged to boot.

      Biden is just lurking and hiding in the shadows, afraid that his mind is going to blank out if he speaks for more than seven minutes, even in softball interviews with a friendly press. Biden should have been easy pickings, easier than Hillary. The only thing in Biden’s favor is that he’s more likable than Hellcat Hellary. Biden should have been losing very badly. Instead, he’s winning.

      If Bernie, can’t close the deal, what the hell was he doing all these weeks? Why didn’t he do a Mr. Smitth Goes to Washington and filibuster the bailout deal for 24 hours and rally the people to his side? Why didn’t he organize wildcat strikes in companies that endangered there workers (like Amazon)? Sure, union management won’t listen to him, but the local union chapters will. Bernie has demonstrated this time and time again (WFP). What did he have to lose?

      Bernie is a coward. He didn’t want power. He didn’t play to win. He pulled punches all the time starting with Hillary’s emails. Maybe he just wants to be an aging hippie. Jimmy Dore said that Bernie never talked to Ralph Nader since 2000, not even to get an idea of how to run against the establishment as an outsider. If that is true, it speaks volumes for what Bernie really is: someone who pretends to be an outsider but really wants to be an insider.

      When push came to shove, he and AOC and the squad just caved and voted for that bailout bill, cementing inequality for years to come. Dylan Ratigan said it right. 90% of the country went on sale last month and we just gave the people at the very top trillions of dollars to buy the assets of people with no money and jobs. Did Bernie think that there was going to be a second-round? What leverage would he have had when the pigs have already had there fill? Maybe he was hoping that this pandemic would be so dire (like millions have to die and an economic depression sets in) before he can make his case.

      The people have rejected Democratic Socialism. But under Trump, they just might embrace socialism of another kind: National Socialism. And that’s what we are going to get.

  20. PlutoniumKun

    Communities of Color at Higher Risk for Health and Economic Challenges due to COVID-19 Kaiser Family Foundation

    Without questioning all the reasons set out for why communities of color are at higher risk, I understand there is some new research from Ireland which will be published soon which indicates a correlation with Vitamin D deficiency and risk (I heard this second hand, so it goes with the obvious disclaimer that its not been published and peer reviewed yet). There is lots of evidence that darker skinned people in northern latitudes are much more likely to have this deficiency than pale folks.

    1. xkeyscored

      Might this relate to the research you mention?

      Vitamin D could have key role in COVID-19 response

      New Irish research has highlighted the key role vitamin D plays in preventing respiratory infections, which could have important implications for the fight against COVID-19 (coronavirus).

      A new report has been published by the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) at Trinity College Dublin (TCD). Meanwhile, researchers from Technological University Dublin (TU Dublin) and TCD have also published an article on this topic in the Irish Medical Journal (IMJ). …

      “Though we do not know specifically the role of Vitamin D in COVID infections, given its wider implications for improving immune responses, and clear evidence for bone and muscle health, those cocooning and other at-risk cohorts should ensure they have an adequate intake of Vitamin D,” insisted TILDA principal investigator, Prof Rose Anne Kenny. …

      Meanwhile, the article in the IMJ by researchers at TU Dublin and TCD also highlights that vitamin D supplements may enhance resistance to respiratory infections, such as COVID-19. It may also limit the severity of the illness for those who become infected.

      However, according to the article’s co-author, Dr Daniel McCartney, a lecturer in human nutrition and dietetics at TU Dublin, vitamin D deficiency is prevalent in Ireland, especially in older people, nursing home residents and hospital inpatients, “and may significantly increase the risk and severity of viral respiratory infections, including Covid-19”.

      “Supplementing a healthy diet with 20-50 micrograms per day of vitamin D represents a cheap, safe and potentially very effective protection for Irish adults against Covid-19,” he said.

      1. rtah100

        Can’t hurt to have more vitamin D, within reason.

        If the micro-vascular thromboses patho-mechanism I posted about above holds up, people with darker skin are more at risk of bad COVID outcomes. They also suffer more from vitamin D deficiency in northern latitudes (the melanin absorbs light and reduced the photosynthesis on vitamin D), so they have all the more reason to supplement.

        1. xkeyscored

          “In the US, current guidelines suggest that consuming 400–800 IU (10–20 mcg) of vitamin D should meet the needs of 97–98% of all healthy people (12).

          However, many experts believe the guidelines are far too low (13.

          Based on current research, it seems that consuming 1,000–4,000 IU (25–100 mcg) of vitamin D daily should be ideal for most people to reach healthy vitamin D blood levels.

          However, don’t consume more than 4,000 IU of vitamin D without your doctor’s permission. It exceeds the safe upper limits of intake and is not linked to more health benefits (12).”

          1. MLTPB

            Thanks for posting that.

            I read before, here, that lots of supplements were not really that effective…mostly marketing…take in it’s natural form preferred.

            Then, I searched foods rich in Vitamin D. They are:

            Fatty fish

            Foods fortified with D, like some dairy products, orange juice, soy milk and cereals.

            Beef liver


            Egg yolks

            If you have to watch your chesterol, the choice is fish. Except this week, we here in LA should try to avoid grocery shopping. Maybe get some fresh fish next week.

            It’s also raining here this week. No sun:(

            By the way, does it matter it’s D2 or D3?

            1. xkeyscored

              Sun-dried and UV radiation-exposed mushrooms are a potentially important source of dietary vitamin D (as vitamin D2) [15,16,17]. Vitamin D-enhanced mushrooms are the only non-animal food product with substantial amounts of bioavailable vitamin D and, as such, have the potential to be a primary source of dietary vitamin D for vegans and vegetarians.

              “A Review of Mushrooms as a Potential Source of Dietary Vitamin D”

              And it’s not just button mushrooms from shops:
              The recent interest in the vitamin D2 content of mushrooms began with the discovery that wild edible Finnish mushrooms, the funnel chanterelle (Cantharellus tubaeformis (Bulliard) Fries), sampled in late summer and early autumn provided 3–30 μg D2/100 g fresh weight (FW), compared with less than 1 μg D2/100 g FW in the button mushroom purchased from retail outlets [33]. Since then, large amounts of vitamin D2 have been found in wild funnel chanterelles (21.1 μg D2/100 g FW), Cantharellus cibarius (Fries) (10.7 μg D2/100 g FW), and Boletus edulis (58.7 μg D2/100 g FW) [34]. A smaller amount of vitamin D2 (1.5 μg/100 g FW) was reported in wild Agaricus species in Denmark [35].
              Something to bear in mind come autumn.

              It doesn’t seem to matter which D, but D3 appears to get to where it’s needed more than D2:

      2. PlutoniumKun

        I think those are the researchers, although I was told they were doing some more specific work on Covid (I really don’t know the details, it was just a passing conversation with a doctor friend). It should be said that the Irish health service has always had a specific interest in Vitamin D, due to evidence of severe deficiencies in Ireland thanks to our lovely weather.

        1. bob

          I worked in the desert in California and people had deficiencies there. People with auto immune diseases are taking higher doses. Range 30-80. Most people around 20-30. Shoot for 60. Also some benefit for seasonal depression

  21. xkeyscored

    US to review troop presence in Iraq FT

    The FT does its best to keep up imperial morale, but it looks more like a retreat, if not a rout, than a review. According to Debka, they’ve pulled all troops out of the Baghdad region, and, despite assassinating al-Muhandis and Suleimani, are coming under almost daily rocket attack. (The excuse for the assassinations was that they would deter or prevent such attacks.) Their French and UK allies are deserting them. And there are reports of the Maghaweir Thowra jihadis coming under attack within the 55km zone around al Tanf in Syria.

    I do wonder whether the Patriot systems they’re moving into Iraq work any better against COVID-19 than they do against Ansar Allah drones and missiles.

    “The US left another base In Iraq on Saturday, April 4, handing over the big Habbaniyah Al-Taqaddum air base 74 km west of Baghdad to the Iraqi army. No US troops now remain in the Baghdad region. They are all now regrouped at the big Ain al-Asad Airbase in the western province of Anbar near the Syrian border, since the US began shutting down all its smaller bases, including K-1 near Kirkuk, as protection against pro-Iranian Iraqi militias’ rocket attacks. These attacks are almost a daily occurrence since the US assassination of the Revolutionary Guards Al Qods Brigades chief Qassem Soleimani.” (4 April)

      1. xkeyscored

        Little on other bases in eastern Syria, though I try to have a search each day. From what I can gather, everyone’s more focused on COVID-19 nowadays – SANA and Debka, for example, are full of it. But US supply lines (I think the military term is logistics) must surely be getting a bit stretched.

      2. xkeyscored

        The Saudis have announced a ceasefire. For humanitarian reasons of course, not because they’re having trouble keeping the war going.

  22. DJG

    Much as the New York Times always found the Bernie Sanders campaign, and all of the Bernie Bros and Bernie Sistahs kinda whiffy, NYTimes gets another dispatch from Italy as a nice tourist destination with many five-star hotels catering to Americans but not a serious country, like, say, England. The two translators who write of Italy as Warning seem to lack perspective.

    Think of Italy as the Bernie Sanders of nations in the eyes of the Times.

    The Italian health-care system indeed is overwhelmed. It is organized by region. It also is free for users. It has been widely rated as the second-best in the world. (Hmmm. I can think of another country that came in at #29 and charges people for every damn thing.)

    The Italian economy is over-dependent on tourism, as many of the stories from individuals show. (Hmmm. I can think of a publication that puts out articles like 48 Hours in Milano, gorging oneself at Pecks and dropping lots of dollars on the Via della Spiga. I won’t name names, but maybe the globalists at the NYTimes, like the exalted Friedman mentioned today up top are a tad loony. Just putting that out there.)

    The Italian system of state support is weak. (Hmmm. I can think of another country where the social safety net is in tatters, with millions now scrambling for unemployment checks because at-will employment makes all of us into a disposable proletariat.)

    I am sure that the NY Times is now consulting many distinguished experts in England, which has handled Brexit, its economy, and the coronavirus so well. Maybe they’ll find an expert on herd immunity in the Netherlands to enlighten us. (By the way, herd immunity was never considered a viable tactic in Italy, and the Italians consider the English and Dutch crackpots in this regard.)

    Next from the NY Times: What’s up with those darn inscrutable Spaniards? And aren’t Greeks lazy and excitable, or what?

  23. DJG

    Lambert Strether: Thanks for posting Links this morning.

    We (if I may speak collectively for us groundlings) were worried about you.

    1. furies

      I checked the comments last night just to see if there was any word.

      Yes, I was worried too.

      Take care, willya?

    2. fresno dan

      April 8, 2020 at 9:16 am
      I’m a big worrier and a pessimist, so of course I was thinking coronavirus. Or any number of other diseases or accidents.
      and you can never completely rule out alien abduction

    3. fresno dan

      April 8, 2020 at 9:16 am
      I’m a big worrier and a pessimist, so of course I was thinking coronavirus. Or any number of other diseases or accidents.
      and you can never completely rule out alien abduction

      1. edmondo

        I just assumed Lambert went to work as a senior advisor to Biden campaign and would be here shortly telling us that we “need” to vote to Joe to show Russia that we can’t be fooled twice but then I remembered that it wasn’t April Fool’s Day.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > of course I was thinking coronavirus

        It comes on fast, but not that fast. I am gratefully asymptomatic and hopefully disciplined and isolated enough to remain so.

    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      You’re welcome. I did an extremely foolish thing; it wasn’t a connectivity issue (and I remain asymptomatic). Rather, I managed to lock myself out of my room, and that’s where all my computers are, and my phone, and my iPad. Normally, that’s not a hard problem to fix, but it was hard in the context of a quarantine, with nothing open. Sorry about that.

      1. The Rev Kev

        It happens. I once was locked out of my hotel room in Munich with no staff about so had to sleep on a bathroom mat until the morning when the receptionist came back in. And it was mid winter too. :(

  24. fresno dan

    Matt Taibbi
    on the economy – the next six months are decisive…
    on the economy after quarantine – the next six months are decisive…
    on the coronavirus – the next six months are decisive…
    on the conventions – the next six months are decisive…
    on the presidential election – the next six months are decisive…
    on China – the next six months are decisive…
    on Iraq – the next six months are decisive…
    on Iran – the next six months are decisive…
    on the six months after the current six months – the next six months are decisive…

    1. edmondo

      I believe a “standard Friedman unit” is about 6 months. That just proves that most human memory ends at 5 months because this clown still has a job after being wrong about everything.

    1. MLTPB

      From FT 2 days ago: S Korean factories stretched to limit churning out tests.

      I think their duty is to their citizens first.

      But it’s not that simple, I also think. Vietnam is limiting rice exports. Russia too with their grains.

      In any case, no one country, Korea or anyone, can handle it, if others join Finland in outsourceing.

      It’s not, I think, Israel buys or is given (brings, that word doesn’t say which) 1 million masks. Taiwan, CCP’s rebel province, is also busy donating masks. It’s that we are are at different stages, and those not in need can help those in need, and not feeling morally superior, nor regret. Here, the US might have given China tons of supplies in Feb. It was because China was in need, of supplies, and of other nations helping. There is no guarantee Ruusia helping Italy last week that Moscow wouldn’t use the same help next week. It is not unspwise. And so, perhaps grains can be freely exported. But it is not a perfect world, and countries are not always right.

  25. Romancing The Loan

    Piece from Passage Magazine linked today by Caitlin Johnstone is worth reading in full, on the new push to say that China’s response to the virus was what caused other nations to fail at responding to it themselves so dramatically. Whether you believe their government’s published numbers or not, the narrative does seem to have a “dammed if you do, dammed if you don’t” quality to it.

    Don’t Blame China For Your Government’s Covid-19 Failures

  26. Toshiro_Mifune

    From ZDNet; The move to remote work may be a bit more permanent than many managers and employees realize

    It was obvious to see this one coming. I spent some time at a very large IB here in NYC that had an announced plan about 2 years ago to have everyone who wasn’t absolutely needed in the office work remotely. Not too sure where they are with that now.
    This, of course, brings up some other potential issues;
    1 – If this is done en masse, what is the potential impact on large ubran real estate values when said office space is no longer a requirement? Obvs it should go down. NYC has already had a hammering on retail commercial real estate. Would deflating values in office space final pop the overall bubble?
    2 – What does this mean for the relative value of residential real estate in those urban/metro hubs? If a significant portion of the valuation of a house is it’s proximity to NYC what happens if enough people don’t have to live next to NYC to work there? Obvs it should be deflationary
    3 – What happens to wages for those working remotely? Working in NYC, for instance, comes with a salary premium since the NYC area is fairly expensive. Is a move to remote workers just more wage suppression?

    I would expect these to be much longer termed trends to play out. Who knows though, maybe it will happen much faster than 15-20 years and will take place in the next 10.
    I don’t see this as all bad though. Not being physically tied to NYC/Boston/DC/SF/etc could be liberating for a lot of people.

      1. Monty

        Offices are perfect for BS jobs. The boss can get their money’s worth by ordering the underlings around to get a feeling of superiority. The employees can secretly check facebook and play solitaire between long trips to the toilet. A win/win.

        I worked from home for many years. I found it a strong motivator to find and do “work”, rather than just turn up and look like I was working. A fortune was saved on commuting, lunches, happy hours, razors and trousers.

        1. Toshiro_Mifune

          A fortune was saved on commuting, lunches, happy hours, razors and trousers

          You now bring up a 4th potential issue;

          4 – What happens to Brooks Brothers if none of us need to go to the office anymore?

          1. Arizona Slim

            I think that we’re also going to be reading about coworking spaces. In the past tense.

          2. FreeMarketApologist

            And every other retailer that sells ‘business casual’, not to mention the stores that sell proper business wear. I’m on Brooks’ email list (yes, I’m a faithful long-time customer), and they’re sending out ads for ‘the perfect work from home’ outfits.

            Given how much NYC emptied out when companies started WFH early last month, it’s not going to be just the clothing stores with problems.

            1. Toshiro_Mifune

              You’re correct. It’s all the lunch and breakfast places, all the private bus companies, everything that touches on commuting and commuters. How long do you hold on to a car when you’re not commuting with it everyday? And then, how many houses with 2+ cars could cut back to 1? What happens when you don’t have the loans associated with those cars?

              A large shift to working from home would be a transformational event for the economy.

    1. SomeGuyinAZ

      My company was in the process of forcing most/all remote workers back into the office or laying them off before this virus. Will be interesting to see if this stops that process once lockdowns are removed and the chances of negative PR are gone.

    2. jef

      Rather than UBI we should have everyone in need work from home.


      1. Samuel Conner

        Am I justified to wonder whether the Federal Ag Dept is competent to put together a home gardening kit?

    3. deplorado

      Remote work is liberating indeed. But, the moment you move to a low-cost place, your salary will be redefined. With the ultimate result of remote workers in Bengaluru and rural Massachusetts for example making the same. That’s the goal. Mark my words.

  27. farragut

    On the Jerusalem Post article saying the IDF procured 1 million masks from China…. The caption under the photo at the top of the article seems to indicate it was procured by the US Military, then shipped to Israel. Interesting.

    1. s.n.

      hat tip to farragut for catching this. I had to go back to the article to check: The photo caption does indeed say “The US Department of Defense delivers one million surgical masks to be used by the IDF

      the article states:
      The masks were procured from China and shipped to Israel in order that the IDF can begin using them within days. A plane carrying over a million surgical masks for the IDF landed in Ben-Gurion Airport Tuesday night, in an operation aimed to protect soldiers on the frontlines of preventing the spread of the coronavirus. “In the past two weeks we have purchased and flown to Israel tens of thousands of swabs, masks, protective suits for medical staff and more,” said Limor Kolishevsky, head of the New York Purchasing and Logistics Division.

      Perhaps what is being said here is that the USDOD “merely” transported these 1 million surgical masks?
      Even so intriguing use of US resources during this crisis… surely inquiring minds would like to follow this one up, although given the time & place unlikely that will happen…

  28. Dr. John Carpenter

    The last line of that NY Post article about the pastor decrying “mass hysteria” then dying from Coronavirus really angers me. The quote was from his daughter: “But he wasn’t the type of person to just live in fear and let it rob him of the joy of the life that he had.” People just will not accept that the “mass hysteria” isn’t about them, it’s about working to prevent the spread and infecting others who don’t share this selfish and ignorant “f-u I’m going to live my life” attitude. I’m fighting this attitude with my family, and it’s just infuriating trying to get the point across that this is bigger than them and their inconveniences.

    1. jack

      And where’s her comment “Gee, I hope he didn’t infect anyone else”? His “joy of life” may have successfully ended many others.

    2. Brooklin Bridge

      What are you going to say about your just deceased father? And people know it, and give it a pass because they recognize and respect the emotional need of the moment. True that in a case like this, where he may have cost the lives of others, it isn’t so easy to give it a pass, but his daughter isn’t going to focus on that and right or wrong, it’s a pretty human reaction.

      Your complaint regarding your family is another matter – I do hope one that has not been struck by covid-19.

    3. J.K.

      “We just never thought our father would pass away because of this,” Jesse Spradlin told the outlet. “But he wasn’t the type of person to just live in fear and let it rob him of the joy of the life that he had.”

      Yeah that struck me as well. Not to pile on , but what flows from that statement is that he let his politics and hubris rob him of his life instead. And i dont want to read too much into a statement from a grieving daughter, but it does imply they are still missing the point. Sometimes fear is one the most important emotions, it can downright be the difference between life and death.

  29. Adam1

    “When the Coronavirus Outbreak Could Peak in Each U.S. State”

    I’ve started seeing more and more stories like this. I think it’s what’s driving the market and lots of people to think we’re almost on the other side of this. While there is a chance it all will work out just like the “model” predicts, I have yet to hear any trained virologist to come out and say that is a high probability outcome.

    The articles gloss over way too many assumptions. It basically leaves this to do as Lambert says – a lot of work, “It assumes that strict social-distancing methods which flattened the curve in other parts of the world will be adhered to in the U.S.”

    And then goes on to include this nice piece but never actually shows any of those models; “Studies that anticipate lax guidelines suggest far more people could die, and over a longer period of time.”

    Absent a vaccine or an incredibly massive testing and quarantining program, I don’t see how it tails off like these models show. We might flatten the curve but we won’t stop this until A) we hit that 80% or 90% immunity where the virus can no longer spread; or B) we mobilize enough resources to make quarantining effective. I don’t see either of those happening before June as “predicted” by the shown models.

    1. anon in so cal

      Combine that with reports that the CDC “is considering changing its guidelines for self-isolation to make it easier for those who have been exposed to someone with the coronavirus to return to work if they are asymptomatic.

      The public health agency, in conjunction with the White House coronavirus task force, is considering an announcement as soon as Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence said.”

      This seems like a giant misstep.

      Separately: RT reports that Bernie has suspended his campaign….

      1. DJG

        Suspension of Sanders campaign also just reported by La Stampa and The Guardian.

        Terrible timing. Probably the wrong choice. Are we to pretend that nothing is at stake here during this time of suffering?

      2. periol

        Combine that with reports that the CDC “is considering changing its guidelines for self-isolation to make it easier for those who have been exposed to someone with the coronavirus to return to work if they are asymptomatic.

        This one has been bothering me for a while. I’m just not understanding the logic.

        Why is it a good idea to let the asymptomatic go back to work? Aren’t the current essential workers, most likely, not yet exposed to the virus? Won’t this mean the asymptomatic people returning to work will just infect all the people currently working?

        And then the big follow-up, does this mean that if you are currently isolated at home, completely free of the virus, they won’t let you back to work and society until you get sick or test asymptomatic? I don’t understand. I fully intend to do my best NOT to get Covid-19! Does that mean I can never leave my home again?

        Please, someone, help me understand the logic of this move, which is being discussed all over the world…

        1. BobW

          Being in a high-risk group for complications, I have resigned myself to permanent self-isolation until an effective vaccine is in use. Herd immunity is not good enough. There is still too great a chance of catching it, and the downside risk is too high.

          1. HotFlash

            an at-risk member of the herd, I second BobW.

            For Them, I’d just be a statistic, for me, it’s bloody personal.

        2. Cuibono

          logic ? From the CDC? that would be like 1990s…
          since then what we have is called regulatory capture and crapification.
          Have they gotten ONE SINGLE aspect of this right? NOPE

          1. periol

            I know, I know, but this isn’t just the CDC. They’re talking about it in Italy and Spain, at least. I just don’t get it. We don’t know that there is any immunity at all from this, or if there is, how long it lasts. We don’t know how long it takes for someone who is asymptomatic to no longer be a spreader!

            But they’re talking about screwing over everyone who doesn’t get it? Bizarro world.

    2. MLTPB

      It goes all directions.

      On March 19, many papers, including SJMercury, for those seeking a link, reported governor Newsome here expected 56% of Californians in the subsequent 8 week period would be infected, projected. Today is April 8.

      On March 20, CNN, CNBC, among others, reported officials in Spain warning 80% in Madrid would get it.

      We, or I, assume they meant if certain model measures were not taken.

      On the other side, on the (too) optimist side, we had Mardi Gras and Spring Break, here, and in Taiwan, they will have their professional baseball games soon (Forbes 2 days ago).

      And in Russia, per the Guardian 3 days ago, Moscow defied calls to halt Victory Day parade reheasals.

      More giant missteps worldwide?

      In the meantime, Singapore to prohibit private gatherings of friends to stem it, per Bloomberg 1 day ago.

      Are we all, or some of us, in the fog of pandemic war?

      By the way, only Congress can declare a pandemic war, I believe.

      And if grocery shopping is an essential activity, except this week in Los Angeles, (we are being urged to skip it during this critical one week, and not, say, one month or one season), and if golfing is also essential, to some, is voting not essential, except perhaps during a critical week? So, two weeks ago, or next week, when we could or we can go grocery shopping, could we not also vote, if that was on the schedule?

      1. J.K.

        Page 6.
        Projections of % population infected.
        .4 in norway to highest of 15%in spain as of end of march.

        Birx and others have pointed out we should not hit those high level of infections these politicians keep citing till the virus runs through the population over a couple cycles (12-18months?) Thats assuming physical distancing protocols, etc.

        1. MLTPB

          Those high levels of infections…politicians.

          15% vs 56% or 80%.

          Causing mass hysteria is for sensationalist journalism.

    3. Synoia

      We flatten the curve but….

      Flattening, with Social Isolation, the curve is all about controlling the need for Ventilators and ICU beds.

      It also makes reaching the “herd immunity” limit, 80% of the population remaining has had the CoronaVirus infection, longer, because the infection rate is deliberately reduced.

      Economic recovery in a short time appears at conflict to managing the supply of ICU beds and deaths.

      Take your pick: Corona Virus Death or Economic Death.

      As I suspect the Established Religion of the US is Finance, I perceive that people will be sacrificed on the altar of the US Economy.

      It is interesting how these Pagan Gods, with their immoral behaviors keep being reinstated as objects of worship with a set of morals completely at odds with our Monotheistic Religions. We appear have one set of Gods from Monday to Friday, and a different set at the weekend.

      Requiring people to hold a contradictory set of ideals in their minds simultaneously.

      Isn’t that a symptom of insanity?

      1. MLTPB

        Did they have 80% in Wuhan, with their lockdown now relaxed?

        I think the question of which option to take is being asked worldwide?

      2. Brooklin Bridge

        I suspect if the gov. puts too much tilt on opening up things for business, they risk loosing control to the degree and in those states where a significant wave of virus deaths is the result.

    4. Monty

      I think in golfing parlance it’s called “a Mulligan”.

      Snuff out many infection chains at home with these weeks of restrictive rules, beating back the r0.

      Start afresh with people much more inclined towards hygiene and consideration.
      The people that burned out the infection at home wont get it again.
      The medical professionals will have learned what are the most effective interventions from experience.

      Better than just letting it rip, and we can always do more lock downs as needed.

      1. HotFlash

        The people that burned out the infection at home won’t get it again.

        We don’t actually know that. The testing is inconclusive for a host of reasons, and people who test clear test positiive a week or so later. Are they immune? Do we have a zombie disease that reactivates? We really, really DO.NOT.KNOW what is going on with this thing, it is, after all, ‘novel’. Until we understand this disease, caution is our best defense.

        1. Monty

          That is a worry, since nobody can say anything with 100% certainty. For what it’s worth, they have already done studies in monkeys that show that antibodies do form, and the monkeys cannot get reinfected once that happens. There’s an interesting video explaining the study and more about what scientists know about reinfection here.

          My understanding is that the antigen tests are not sensitive enough to ever give a true negative result (~60-70%). The test can only tell you if the swab you stuck somewhere had the virus on it after you pulled it out.

          The virus is known to get into your spinal cord, heart and other places it is impractical to stick a swab. The cases where someone is “reinfected” are most likely to have been people who remained infected all along, with a false negative tests in-between positive results.

  30. Carolinian

    Re How one Italian town beat coronavirus–here’s the money quote

    Merigliano said the experiment had allowed him to obtain a “full picture” of the coronavirus’s rate of transmission. He learned that “this virus is a very, very uncommon one”. With most viruses, Merigliano explains, “you become infected and transmit the infection when you are ill”. With Covid-19, “transmission in 50 per cent of cases is made by asymptomatic people, with no ability to detect the disease”.

    This extraordinary rate of asymptomatic transmission has led Crisanti’s team to recommend very widespread testing as the only way to effectively track and contain the virus’s spread. Crisanti told reporters that he suspected that at least a quarter of a million people in Italy were carrying the disease, most with little or no symptoms.

    The town became a kind of medical experiment and it confirmed other analysis that has said there is high transmission from the asymptomatic which may in fact be people who are pre-symptomatic. The virus grows in your nose and throat and how sick you get depends on the state of your immune system. Some may not become ill it all (children, it seems) and some only a little bit and not even realize they have the virus. The article says that now the townspeople are aware of this they are all afraid to go outside. But clearly that can’t work. What can work, logically, is not to quarantine the people but to quarantine the nose and throat. Which is to say everyone should be wearing a mask around strangers and perhaps around family members as well if they are elderly and most vulnerable. This is still only a recommendation from the CDC but in lieu of some sort of mass surveillance why not make it a requirement? To be sure many won’t like this, but it sure beats hiding in your house.

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      From what I’ve heard, masks do not make a good single point strategy. It would be like putting on half a band-aid.

      This extraordinary rate of asymptomatic transmission has led Crisanti’s team to recommend very widespread testing as the only way to effectively track and contain the virus’s spread. [e.m.]

      You need massive testing, contact tracing, and quarantines or you need general lock downs. In both cases, masks for the public are a supplement.

        1. Brooklin Bridge

          Your question regards testing and not lock-downs I assume.

          How massive? Enough to achieve S. Korea’s outstanding results might be one answer, but hardly the only one, and definitely should be calculated by an organization like a competent CDC and NOT me. (you already got a taste of my calculations regarding S.Korea Lock-downs – not enough for you? :-) The idea would simply be to provide a way to get back to some form of freedom of movement (and economy) until a vaccine is available.

          According to this article of April 2nd, since the first outbreak on Jan 20th, S. Korea has tested 443,273 people. Of course that may not correspond to the actual number of tests, but might work to calculate, for speculation, a general percentage of population (51 million in s.Korea) over approx 2.5 months time.

          As to how often and for how long; why not available day in day out to anyone who wants to test until we have a workable vaccine in sufficient quantity or until we go back to lockdowns, or heaven forbid, until we have achieved a ruthlessly obtained herd immunity or what ever else your innocent questions might lead one to as a preferable alternative to just letting her rip.

          Yves pointed out such testing and contact tracing would be difficult (impossible?) over such a vast and disparate country as the US and I would bow to that assessment if attempted in the same form and intensity as done in S. Korea, but I’m not sure something very useful couldn’t be achieved in either some or possibly all states with a little flexibility in form and method depending on the makeup of the state and with a combination of public consent and commitment as well as official support and control – as one article suggested via cell phones and open source code where personal identities were not stored and where phones warned the user of possible previous contact (necessity to self quarantine) as well as warning of hot spots in real time.

          1. MLTPB

            Thanks, as always.

            Perhaps a DIY home test kit would work for people who want to test as often as they like, so that they don’t worry about the previous 24 hours all the time.

            I think I read about home testing, a while back.

      1. Carolinian

        I just don’t believe this maximum push technocratic solution is going to come off–not in this country anyway.

        And surely the point is not to try to totally eradicate and control the disease–which after all is worldwide and active in places that the US has no control over–but rather to buy time until a vaccine can be developed or enough herd immunity among the young takes place that the old are far less threatened. Making everyone wear masks is an immediate solution to an immediate problem and there is now enough evidence that even simple masks have demonstrated utility.

        1. Brooklin Bridge

          People tend to act in their own self interest and I think extensive testing works fairly well with that motivtion. I live in an area where people put Trump signs (big ones) on the sides of their buildings and yet when I speak to them (phone), they are all for easily available tests and they are also (don’t know about “all”) for wearing masks to protect others. Sacrebleu!

          A portable phone application run by each state (or by some private entity such as CVS that insists on getting it’s claws into the action but is at least controlled to some degree by the state) might go a long way toward solving the contact tracing manpower issues that are less problematic for places like S. Korea and these could be anonymized by phone ids to provide some protection of privacy.

          I just don’t think it that hard to get buy in at least to that extent. We might not get the levels of conformance of S. Korea or Taiwan, such as for quarantines, but who knows? It might still be such that we could greatly increase safe(r) movement on a limited scale.

          Lock-downs, and/or periods of “let er rip,” are going to be brutal by the time a vaccine is available.

  31. zagonostra

    >Corbett Report

    There was a shout out to Naked Capitalism and Wolf Street as sources of information on this Corbett Report’s interview with John Titus.

    Good coverage of some of the more esoteric machinations of the Fed in 2008 and in the current 2020 CARE Act.

  32. Stillfeelinthebern

    This morning I got a request from a family member to make cloth face masks for her boyfriend and others on his base (army). They were told to wear them, but have to procure their own.

      1. fresno dan

        The Rev Kev
        April 8, 2020 at 10:20 am

        So I didn’t see your post when I posted about my difficulties with mask making.
        But the marines did give me an idea – no, not that – I am way too cheap to cut up a tshirt. I am just going to put the tshirt on upside down (the neck on first, and use the body of the shirt as the mask – although my head is much fatter than I thought, there is still enough fabric left over to tie it in the back. I am left with the decision of what color to wear. Black seems ominous…orange seems too light hearted in these pandemic times…Gray is kinda depressing. Red seems too bold. And I don’t actually have any white tshirts.
        Now, I just need a solution for foggy glasses. I read that if you wash your glasses with soap and water it prevents fogging for a while…we’ll see…

        1. xkeyscored

          My aversion to waste means I have quite a pile of old shirts, too frayed and worn for wearing outside the house, available for mask making.

        2. Wukchumni

          Now, I just need a solution for foggy glasses. I read that if you wash your glasses with soap and water it prevents fogging for a while…we’ll see…

          …a Smith no-fog cloth is around $2

        3. HotFlash

          Fogged glasses has been a problem for me, too, but I think I solved it. Yesterday I tried using a pipe cleaner folded into my scarf as a nose-piece. I fitted it across my nose and cheeks to keep warm moist air from getting to my glasses. Ran my errands by bicycle (~ 2 km total) and no fogging!

        4. newcatty

          Fresno, very creative and “industrious” of you. I suggest you create your trademark color, pink, as your mask color. It would match nicely with your bunny slippers. The red t-shirt can be soaked in hot water and a touch of bleach to lighten it up. The water can now be used to put a pink tinge on the grey shirts. The black…yes, not appropriate . Orange has a lot of different connotations these days, hee hee. Levity can help us get through the dark days of this strange Spring.

          1. newcatty

            I have foggy vision all of the time. Glad that foggy glasses have solutions. My state governor has declared that laser eye procedure for after cataract surgeries is an “elective surgery”, so all clinics in state have obeyed orders. Time to sign off…my eyes get strained trying to see to read and type. Meanwhile, golfing is considered an essential business. When I told my eye doctor that I “fully cooperate ” with wearing a mask and gloves and keep safe distance during procedure , I was told gently that all PPE was for hospitals, etc. Maybe AZ can be declared a territory of Israel and I could join the IDF as a special envoy to the forces. I am old, but have some experience in mediation.

    1. Carolinian

      That widely circulated SCMP article on using a paper towel seems good. You fold the towel lengthwise, reinforce the ends with tape and then attach some elastic or rubber band straps by any improvisable means. If rubber bands they go over your ears. You could make one of these in about five minutes, throw away after use.

      The article says the mask is about 90 percent as effective as a real surgeon’s mask and claims that the paper filtering is better than cotton cloth.

    2. ambrit

      Man oh man. Tie this nugget of information in with the catch upstream that the DoD “helped procure” a million masks for the IDF and you have a stark picture of a totally dysfunctional system. Whoever approved the transfer of those masks to the IDF should be shot for treason. They have definitely betrayed the American troops.

  33. marym

    Sanders op-ed today:
    “As long as this pandemic continues, Medicare must be empowered to pay all of the deductibles, co-payments and out-of-pocket healthcare expenses for the uninsured and the underinsured.”

    “$2,000 monthly emergency payment to every person in the country until the crisis has passed.”

    “guarantee paid medical and sick leave to all workers.”

    1. Noone from Nowheresville

      Sanders needs a new speech writer and a new spiel for the most “unprecedented” moment in American history. This is basically a rehashed spiel that Sanders gave to Maher last Friday. Which in turn is a rehash of his entire campaign spiel.

      Bullet point the list of demands the peoples aka “us” should be making of their leaders: marketable / quotable / usable takeaways. An echo of what’s in the legislation your coalition is drafting.

      Senator Sanders, a little less moralizing to the system and a little more walking the talk. Please.

      1. jaaaaayceeeee

        No matter how much better Bernie Sanders’ style, speechwriters, or persuasion could have been, I wonder how a more mature, even more beautiful, even smarter, even better spoken AOC, for example, would have fared compared to Sanders, with all the money, corporate media, and leadership campaigning against her.

        It was occasionally touch and go for those campaigning against Sanders. What if the Yale and Lancet studies on M4All had come out a year earlier, corporate media and donors had not galvanized the party to the night of the long knives, and Republicans had been less successful in voter suppression?

        A progressive platform and the right lessons for progressives about what you’re up against, his “Our Revolution” group, and not killing his ‘movement’ like Obama did his. Not a bad legacy for a guy who only ran because someone had to start the bottom up process.

    2. The Historian

      Sadly, it doesn’t matter what Bernie thinks anymore – he just dropped out. It’s over for him – and for us. Hopefully there will be enough people left to create a movement in the next four years.

      1. Arizona Slim

        As for that movement, the establishment tried to bury us. They didn’t know we were seeds.

  34. Amos

    Fairway’s Harlem store is set to close
    “In a surprise, Fairway Market’s store in Harlem is set to close unless a last-minute bidder for the location emerges.” Qu’elle surprise!

    1. Pat

      Unless the cost of the space is outrageous that is Shortsighted, that was one of the locations that had growth potential. The neighborhood has boomed in the last decade.

      Of course everything is a guess right now.

  35. The Rev Kev

    “Five Patterns of the Putin Regime”

    I, of course, have a different take on Russia’s patterns.

    1-Put a lid on the billionaires who have delusions of running the country.
    2-Re-establish the armed forces so that they are capable of defending the country.
    3-Emphasise diplomacy and get a reputation for being willing to talk to anyone & keeping your agreements.
    4-Build an arsenal of weapons that ensure that Russia is not subjected to a nuclear first-strike from missiles on its borders.
    5-Work at establishing the multipolar world coming into existence.

    1. farragut

      Rev, Bryan MacDonald (@27khv), an Irish journalist living in Moscow, is a good follow if you’re on Twitter. He consistently skewers the Russian disinformation scheme from the usual Western suspects.

      1. The Rev Kev

        ‘Fraid I don’t do social media. There is too much to look through with the regular internet but thanks. Found his twitter account using Google though.

    2. ewmayer

      As always with these metastasizing think tanks, it is useful to see who is behind it – Wikipedia:

      The Institute of Modern Russia (IMR) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy organization—a think tank—headquartered in New York City. It was founded in February 2010, by leading experts in Russia-US relations and human rights. According to the Institute’s mission statement, “through its research, advocacy, public events and grant-making, IMR is committed to fostering democratic values, respect for human rights and the rule of law, and the development of civil society in Russia; the promotion of a principles-based U.S.-Russia dialogue; and the integration of a modern and forward-looking Russia into the community of democracies.”

      The president of IMR is Pavel Khodorkovsky, the son of Mikhail Khodorkovsky

      LOL, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, ex-head of Yukos, one of those post-Soviet-collapse crooks who got massively rich during the West-abetted Yeltsin-era orgy of looting – yah, I’m sure he harbors no ill will toward Putin for having him arrested, tried and jailed (later pardoned into exile) – I’m sure his son has no axe to grind on behalf of his father, and runs the IMR in totally nonpartisan fashion, “we’re just interested in the welfare of the Russian people, which will of course be best-served by turning the country into a western-style democracy with lots of help for kids who can’t read good, and stuff.”

  36. JE

    The article on CV-19 and air pollution highlights another possibly huge impact from corporate cheating, toothless, weakened environmental enforcement and other “self-regulating” approaches. Diesel. If the paper’s findings that long term exposure to PM2.5 soot in the air bear out, then a significant portion of the urban deaths due to CV-19 can be laid at the feet of the small soot particles created by our diesel trucking fleet and the myth of green-diesel. I’m looking at you VW….

  37. fresno dan

    So I must be the stupidest person alive.
    So I have watched about 6 videos on how to make a face mask without sewing…being in CA, we’re
    ?ordered? ??encouraged? ?nudged? to wear a face mask.
    About the only square of fabric I have are dishrags. OK. and I have very few rubber bands…but OK.
    So I am folding, and folding somemore (which leaves precious little for actual nose and mouth covering) and than tucking. And than when I put it on, it just falls apart – or the rubber bands come out. Plus the rubber bands are about to take off my ears….
    They must sell face masks at pharmacy stores….
    OK – so I just called the nearest pharmacy and they didn’t get their shipment of face masks….
    OK, I’m just wearing a tshirt over my head.

    1. nippersdad

      Something even more silly sounding than a T-shirt over your face:

      I cannot resist a good deal, and around ten years ago I bought about twenty bandannas on E-bay for a couple of dollars. I’m not real sure why I bought them as I had never used them in the past and they had just taken up drawer space since then.

      So the other day we went to the grocery store and I thought wearing these bandannas might be fun in a “your sack of bird seed or your life” kind of scenario. And it was kind of fun going from store to store looking like bandits for about an hour; I was disappointed when you could only go through the drive through at the bank. Then it just began to feel kind of ridiculous.

      It may have taken an epidemic to do it but I think we may have finally gotten our couple of bucks out of those bandannas. Now it can never be said that I wasted all that money on them.

      1. Oh

        You need to do self checkout at Target with your bandanna over you face. I intend to do that with a home made ninja mask. That ought to put their camera and face recognition software into a tizzy.

    2. HotFlash

      My dear Dan, you can totally do this! If you can navigate Obamacare, if you can source adult-size bunny slippers, *you can do this*! Tshirt to ninja mask in 55 seconds (no scissors, Tshirt survives to mask another day)

  38. Wukchumni

    We really haven’t discussed the housing bubble that much, and it’ll be a race to the bottom in the next few months for those trying to find a price point to even get somebody interested in your domicile.

    And open houses, nah. Think more sight unseen action aside from internet photos.

    1. CanCyn

      We have been house hunting in eastern Ontario, hoping to leave the Greater Toronto area now that we’ve retired. Real estate seems to have frozen. I know of at least one deal that fell through and another plan to sell & move that has been postponed to Fall-ish. Agents are not talking yet about what is happening to value but I am guessing we have missed the boat re claiming some equity. I guess it is a little too soon to tell but anyone in Ontario who has bought a house in the last few years and has a big mortgage must be quaking in their boots a bit.

  39. Monty

    Here is an update on total number of all deaths in UK vs. 5 year average from the UK government.

    Last report (ending 3/20) things looked normal, but this week there has been a quite significant deviation from the average, above and beyond the reported covid19 deaths. 500+ official Covid19 deaths in the week ending 3/27 and over 1000 more deaths than average. Sadly, this seems to be a blow to “deaths from vs. deaths to” denialist argument. Next week should be even worse, at this rate. Maybe it will all “net out” over the year, as people dying this week will not die in the coming weeks. Whatever happens, this page seems to offer a good data point to track whats going on over there. Is there an equivalent in the US?

    1. Louis Fyne

      Yes, CDC mortality data. But in the US it’s the opposite.

      Presuming cuz the US is more suburban,-rural, younger, less usage of public transport and lockdowns lowered traffic fatallties and homicides.

      1. Monty

        Never mind, now we can save a lot of time and mental energy by completely tuning out the rest of the US election season.

        Any cheap hobby suggestions to fill the gap?

          1. Monty


            By coincidence, I used to paint Warhammer 40k models when I was 12 too. Ink washes and everything.

        1. Jason Boxman

          Indeed, I’ve felt that way the past month when all the straws dropped out and endorsed Biden on cue. It’s liberating to understand you’re screwed, period. Now I can get on with the day to day of survival, without any illusions about my future.

      1. Arizona Slim

        He can go ahead and endorse Biden. And campaign for him.

        Won’t make a bit of difference to me. Because there’s no way on this green earth that I will ever vote for Biden.

        1. Pat

          Joe or whoever they chose to actually run. (Yeah, I don’t see Biden making the ballot for a whole lot of reasons.)

          No one acceptable to the cabal is going to get my vote.

        2. The Historian

          I WILL vote for Biden for one reason only. We cannot have someone as irrational and unpredictable as Trump is as our president for four more years without even the very few controls on his behavior that he has had in the last three years. If he gets elected, he will have unlimited power to do what he wants to do and if you think the last three years were bad, just wait. Watching his behavior during this crisis makes me completely fear four more years of Trump.

          As for policy, Biden won’t be any better, but at least he will control himself – or the Democrats will control him – as he looks towards the next election.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Uh…Biden will control himself. As “The Historian”, what in Biden’s record makes you think he is controllable?

            Is it the support for the Iraq War? He certainly didn’t buck DC then.
            His support for reckless trade agreements?
            His position near women?

            What makes you think he can be controlled?

            1. Phacops

              You forgot Biden’s giving us Clarence Thomas. I expect his SC picks will be similar.

          2. Kevin Hall

            ”or the Democrats will control him ”

            That is the whole issue right there – if it were a snake it would bite you.

            Wake up to the way the coin is being flipped – where the rubber hits the road there is no difference, no choice to be had. Heads = they win, tails = you lose.

            Bernie sold out. I don’t have to and neither does anyone else. Do not be mislead.

          3. Tom Bradford

            You sure there’ll be an election to vote IN? Letting the pandemic run loose in the US gives Trump the perfect ’emergency’ to cancel it. Think Congress will stop him? Think the people hiding in their homes will?

        3. petal

          Likewise, Slim. I was within feet of him (even less sometimes-at one point he brushed by me) for a good hour last August and there’s no way in h-ll I’d vote for the guy(or whomever those tossers are going to replace him with), and that’s not even getting into policy. I witnessed enough up close to figure it out/what the setup was, even back then. Maybe election night I’ll watch Weekend at Biden’s…erm Bernie’s. I refuse to play this game.
          ambrit, you are seriously getting a prize if they sub in HRC…

          1. ambrit

            @petal; if ‘they’ sub in HRH HRC, my prize, and the prizes of many vocal “progressives” on the internet will be an all expenses paid vacation to sunny Guantanamo Cuba.
            I’m seriously wondering why Saunders dropped out now, just when his campaign was ready to transition to a “loyal opposition” movement. Are the Democrat Party elites, (the same people as the Republican Party elites,) so insecure as to suppress any sort of opposition? That does not bode well for the resilience of the American political classes. Fragile systems tend to break catastrophically.
            Of interest is whether or not Sanders gained enforceable concessions from the DNC in exchange for his bowing out.
            If I were a cognitively capable Biden, I’d not get on any small aircraft and hire a food taster.
            Anyway, barring a major change in conditions, I’ll put my money on a second term for Trump.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              What is the point?

              Biden is blathering on about fig newtons in front of a green screen in a week and gets more coverage than the guy who stopped the GOP from stripping UI benefit expansions.

              Let Team Blue see their candidate.

              If there was a Hail Mary, its to have Biden be upfront and have demands made of him while Sanders works.

            2. sd

              I just realized the comedy gold that will be a second term of Trump. Think he’s insufferable now, just wait till he gets re-elected…oh my god. Gonna need a second Air Force One just for his ego.

              I say this as someone who lived in NYC in the 80’s….

              Dark comedy days loom ahead of us.

          2. HotFlash

            Me neither, but never had any close-up opportunity with the guy himself. Curious, what was it about him that made you write “no way in h-ll I’d vote for the guy”?

            Me, I was aghast that *anyone* would vote for Reagan, I got creepy vibes from him first time around, as they say, “no one I’d want near a school yard”. Ditto Clinton. Ditto Bush. Ditto both Trump and HRC, but I figured she’d be more likely to start WWIII.

      2. Pat

        Yes. And no. Remains on ballot, asks for delegates to influence platform. But Talks unity. Calls him a decent man and speaks of defeating Trump. Even Bigger bit of bullshit was that they would be working together on the ideals of the campaign.

        I appreciate what the man accomplished. I do.

        But anyone who thinks any of Sanders issues will see the light of day in a puppet Biden presidency…. well I have a better chance of the Easter Bunny making an appearance in my apartment with chocolate and my Rosie the robot on Sunday.

        That is if Biden IS the nominee. Pretty sure the bait and switch is on. Although Sanders status won’t change regardless.

        (Mind you I now have a fantasy of the various never groups rejecting both candidates and third parties drawing 30% of the vote throwing our system into further chaos.)

    1. Noone from Nowheresville

      I wrote this to myself yesterday:

      I just haven’t quite let go of “hope” that someone will hold Sanders’ feet to the fire and make him walk the talk. Cult of personality want rather than objective reality based on what he’s done since Tue., Mar 24th .

      Now that it’s Biden (or whoever ends up being the nominee) and the veil has been lifted with the CARES Act and other pandemic legislation / priorities. Maybe we can all get to work. No idea what that means. Suspect most of us will be carried away on someone’s wave or left to deal with their wake.

      @Pat Wouldn’t it be something if a third party candidate with people’s policies ran and got Trump like attention from the media / voters. I better swallow the blue pill today so I can dream. Red pill reality is getting a little overwhelming.

      1. HotFlash

        I just haven’t quite let go of “hope” that someone will hold Sanders’ feet to the fire and make him walk the talk. Cult of personality want rather than objective reality based on what he’s done since Tue., Mar 24th .

        Excellent idea! Are you volunteering? If so, organize me! I am ready to fight. Oh, and it isn’t his personality I would fight for, it is his policies. You don’t have them, you don’t have me.

    2. tyvek

      I have two thoughts about the Sanders news:

      1. The idea that the Republican party may be more amenable to takeover by the left than the Democrat party may be the correct one.

      2. I now agree with what Matt Stoller said about Sanders, which is that he is lazy. If he had been elected, I can imagine him in an Obama-like role of providing cover for abuses to continue. He would have certainly moved the Overton window, but he would not have been able to accomplish his key policy goals.

    3. Katiebird

      After seeing the video of the voting lines yesterday, I don’t see how anyone with a conscience could continue campaigning. But this is heartbreaking to anyone dreaming of Expanded and improved Medicare for Everyone.

      1. ambrit

        By dropping out now, he has guaranteed the continuance of policies that produced the deadly debacle seen yesterday.

      2. lyman alpha blob

        I think that may have played a big part in his decision. Sanders is a decent man and I think the thought of people getting ill trying to vote for him convinced him to back out. I also think that’s why Biden and the Dem establishment wouldn’t come out and stop the primaries – they made the calculation that Sanders was a decent man who would back out under those circumstances. Had the DNC simply stopped the primaries, by the time they started up again too many people might have started seeing the wisdom in M4A, etc. and actually voted for the guy proposing it and we can;t have that now, can we?

        I wish he would have fought harder from the get go and put Biden away when he had the chance, but that isn’t how he operates, as we’ve had 5 years to see. As much as we might wish otherwise, he’s Bernie Sanders, not Huey Long.

        Now the only question is do I vote 3rd party like always, vote for Trump, or finally take George Carlin’s advice and stay home and not participate in this charade at all.

        Have to say that option 2 for 2020 followed by option 3 for the rest of my life is feeling pretty OK right about now.

          1. edmondo

            A vote for Trump is a vote against his opponent. Only one of these two guys is going to be president. Pick the one you think is worse and vote against him. I used to live in Delaware. I will be voting Republican for only the second time in my life.

            1. marym

              In 2012 and 2016 I thought we’d reached a level of evil where “lesser” had no meaning, and voting for Stein was a way to say “no” to both establishment candidates. I still can’t believe the choices are even worse for 2020. Not sure how I’ll vote.

            2. Phacops

              I see the Democrat party as a very inauthentic opposition who’s interests align with the republicans. Their IDPOL shows them as posers using image as propaganda. Now it is clear that they aren’t even interested in selling their candidates as the lesser of two evils.

              Knowing that, historically, modern second terms are pretty static, I may vote as you are merely to see the reductio ad absurdum in governance that Obama and the Dems have been working towards.

        1. jaaaaayceeeee

          lymanalpha blob

          “Sanders is a decent man and I think the thought of people getting ill trying to vote for him convinced him to back out. I also think that’s why Biden and the Dem establishment wouldn’t come out and stop the primaries – they made the calculation that Sanders was a decent man who would back out under those circumstances. Had the DNC simply stopped the primaries, by the time they started up again too many people might have started seeing the wisdom in M4A, etc. and actually voted for the guy proposing it and we can;t have that now, can we?”

          How true, and as effective as the night of the long knives. I hadn’t realized this until I read your comment, thanks.

          I was impressed that Sanders ran, and glad that it was even occasionally touch and go for those campaigning so desperately and hard against him (corporate media, big donors and all their armies, and party leadership). What if the Yale and Lancet studies of M4All had come our a year sooner, and if Republicans had been less successful in voter suppression, and if big donors, leadership and corporate media hadn’t gotten their ‘night of the long knives’, and a few more Ken Jennings/celebs had joined the campaign?

          Bernie Sanders’ platform was genius. It and the lessons on who will campaign against you with lies for using a progressive platform, and Our Revolution are not a bad legacy, for someone who ran because he knew nobody else would even try, and somebody had to get it going.

      3. marym

        I was thinking how anyone with a conscience could quit, rather than increasing pressure for mail-in ballots and telling people not to vote in person – a moral stand while continuing the fight. Maybe I’m wrong, though. Thanks for your comment.

  40. David

    An addition to the endless list of those affected by Covid19 is, wait for it, organized crime, especially drug trafficking. A Police report leaked to Le Monde today says that frontier controls and restrictions on movement are having a serious effects on the supply of different drugs. In particular, the marijuana trade from Morocco and Spain has effectively been stopped. Prompts the thought that there may actually be something to be said for frontier controls. Meanwhile, cocaine prices on the street have rocketed as dealers are obliged to bring spare capacity on line: a gram of coke will cost you €100 in Lyon now, compared to €60 a week ago. the inevitable result is increased competition and open warfare in some cities as groups try to control the trade.
    Nice to hear that other people have problems.

    1. Wukchumni

      There’s huge premiums on pm’s now as well. I realize it’s hard to snort a Krugerrand, but different strokes for different folks.

      A friend in the biz e-mailed me this today…

      Bullion is doing even better. There is no gold or silver available, so the premiums and spreads are huge.

      A few months ago there was virtually no premium on Eagles or slabbed $20 gold.

      Now they are paying premiums of $200+ on slabbed $20 gold and charging $300+ on the sell. There still doesn’t seem to be much of a difference in price between MS61 and MS64 since anything under MS65 is just a commercial AU-UNC in plastic.

      There are no gold Eagles available, so they can charge $120+ premiums wholesale and you still have to wait for delivery. Even Krugerrands are bringing large premiums.

      On silver Eagles they seem to be paying a $4 premium and selling at an $8 premium over melt. Even circulated Morgans are worth $20

      1. MLTPB

        How much for a Xixia silver bar with inscription, in Tangut script?

        Maybe 24 liang, or something like that.

          1. MLTPB

            Traditional Chinese money was either bronze/copper coins, or silver bars or ingots.

            The earliest silver bars or ingots i have seen are from the Tang dynasty. The Xixia empire existed around the same time as the Song dynasty, in northwest China. They used a written language based on the Hanzi script. Their capital was completely destroyed by Genghis Khan, including their imperial tombs.

            I would think their silver bars rare.

  41. Widowson

    Just uttered by Bernie: “I congratulate Vice President Biden, a great and decent man…”


    1. nycTerrierist

      yech — couldn’t bear to watch

      today’s Passover and Moses (Bernie) just left us in the desert!
      and with a plague

      I just don’t see the upside for Bernie folding now

      This voter won’t help them manufacture consent
      I’ll be voting 3rd party or writing in Bernie

      a sad day — but at least, ‘clarifying’

    2. flora

      Late Feb and all of March was the time to ramp up pounding the importance of Medicare4All, but he was strangely absent on the topic at the most on-point time possible to push the legisation, imo. How is a pandemic NOT the time to push the importance of national healthcare?

  42. tongorad

    The Democratic counter to Trump: their most conservative candidate ever.
    Quite an accomplishment.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      And dumbest Democrat to ever run at least in the 20th and 21st centuries. Before that I’m a little murky on the candidates.

      The worst part is Team Blue will shout Biden is a super genius for his Chevy Chase as Gerald Ford impression if he ever leaves his hospital ward.

  43. NotTimothyGeithner

    Senator Kaine’s office just told “well, sir, he is doing district work.”

    This might be the sorriest excuse I’ve ever heard. Does he not know there is a problem?

    1. DJG

      Given Bernie Sanders’s announcement, I am assuming that the ultra-talented, Spanish-speakin’, hypercharismatic Kaine is hoping to be re-considered as VP candidate by Zombie Joe and his handlers.

      I gather that Biden promised a female VP candidate. So who would you consider to be the Tim Kaine among women politicians? That is, if Kaine is not available, of course.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Except for Biden (largely because of the Iraq War vote), I despise Kaine more than anyone. Harris is pretty bad. She’s a cop and ended an investigation into the Catholic Church pedophile scandal.

        That fits with Kaine repealing the estate tax in exchange for nothing and largely just ending the efforts to restore felon voting rights in Virginia because they had different jobs. He just stopped, the backwards process but still a process. There was no reason for him to be so bad. The closest he ever came to criminal justice reform was his efforts were devoted to helping the son of a Euro ambassador get out of life imprisonment for double murder. Klob abuses the staff and has cop issues of her own, but she’s fairly generic for Team Blue types theses days. Kaine is worst than Mark Warner when the rubber hit the road. Kaine was DNC chair in 2009 and 2010. He carried out Obama’s destruction of the party organizing apparatus. Just a wretched human being. Harris is somewhat of an accidental statewide candidate. Kaine would just be the former mayor of Richmond, probably working for ALEC or some awful outfit if Emily Couric (Katie’s older sister; I really miss her or was still to naïve to be come disappointed in her) had not become sick and ran for Lt. Governor in 2001.

        Without any kind of pressure, Biden won’t feel obligated to pick a woman. That was just presented as a garbage promise for the shallow. A woman running mate was baked in for a thinking candidate. Biden isn’t a thinker. He’ll do what he wants.

  44. cm

    I would love to hear the backstory on this, but, as with seeds, chicks are not to be found for the average consumer. Feed stores in the Portland area are out of chicks (normally available now), and hatcheries such as Yelp & McMurray are reporting delays in shipping as well as unavailability of meat chicks.

  45. xkeyscored

    Someone recently commented that garment workers in developing countries might return to what they were doing before*. From today’s Phnom Penh Post:

    As of April 6, the prime minister announced that more than 100 garment factories had temporarily closed down across the Kingdom due to a lack of raw materials and the fact that buyers had not placed orders on goods.

    “If this continues, our workers will lose their jobs. Our choices are different from the European Community. Since the beginning, their ancestors have all been workers, while workers in our country have not yet detached from being farmers.

    “Our workers are still connected with their parents. Therefore, we will help those who lost jobs in the industrial sector and in turn they will return to join the labour force in the agricultural sector,” he said.

    In doing so, Hun Sen said it is the long-term proposition for Cambodia because the Kingdom does not have adequate resources to give workers money forever.

    He said during the current slowdown, Cambodia had to do whatever it takes for workers to return to agricultural occupations.

    *Not that most garment workers here were previously agricultural workers, but many have a rural background.

  46. Synoia

    400-year-old Greenland shark ‘longest-living vertebrate’ BBC. Well, except for Henry Kissinger, of course.

    Those whom the Gods love, die young.

    1. xkeyscored
      “Empty streets. This deer is one of more than 1,000 roaming the Japanese city of Nara, where people have been told to stay at home. Similar lockdown measures have brought wildlife into cities around the world — in the United States, coyotes have been sighted in normally crowded areas of Chicago, Illinois, and San Francisco, California, and in Wales, UK, a herd of mountain goats moved into the town of Llandudno from a nearby country park.”

      And the deer’s using the designated crossings.

  47. Milton

    There is nothing redeeming about Sanders. He might as well have been a columnist (or better yet, an Instagram influencer) as that is the amount of change he brought. I can’t wait for Dore today. He’s going to be on fire.

    1. neplusultra

      lmao get out of your feelings. We’re all disappointed but this is such an obvious temper tantrum response

      1. ambrit

        Considering all the major items in play this year, Sanders bowing out now is nothing short of a betrayal of the working classes.
        Be careful what you wish for. The more clear eyed ‘deplorables’ now see that they have no serious politicos presenting their needs for discussion and amelioration on the national stage. Now we have to depend on ourselves. Expect to see a steady ramping up of violent acts against the entire socio-political system over the next few years.
        Blood in the streets during these interesting times.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.

          I suspect the “Centrists” would try to explain away this quote if they recognized it.

        2. flora

          If he was going to do this, he should have announced Monday night, and saved lots of wisc dems the risk of standing in long primary lines to vote for him. wtf.

          1. flora

            Adding, I was about to send in my mail-in ballot for state Dem primary. No need now. I’ll leave the top spot empty in Nov. Some local elections still important and worth voting for in the general.

    2. Waking Up

      When Matt Stoller stated that Bernie Sanders was lazy, I wondered how well he knows Bernie. Even after Chris Hedges called Bernie a “sheepdog” for the Democratic party in 2016, I was willing to give Bernie the benefit of the doubt that he may have learned a lesson about the Democratic party. But, for Bernie Sanders to drop out and endorse Joe Biden shows that he IS lazy and IS a sheepdog for the democratic party. I now refuse to vote for democrats/republicans even down ticket. I also won’t waste my time speculating on who will be the Vice President on the democratic party ticket as it really doesn’t matter since neither party represents the people of this country.

      For the very first time in my life, I am truly questioning the wisdom of the democratic vote. As someone who has dealt with a relative with dementia and having been around people with dementia at various stages, I can’t help but think that unless it is determined that the votes have not been legitimate, that many people didn’t even bother to determine whether Joe Biden should be the candidate. Do I for even one second believe Joe Biden is the lesser evil than Trump…no. I find them both morally reprehensible.

        1. ambrit

          Not now. After this betrayal, the old adage comes into effect: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. No third tries allowed.”
          An unintended consequence of the Sanders debacle is that it lays bare the false choice the progressives were given. The candidate is not the problem, the system is.

        2. The Rev Kev

          In 2024 Bernie will be 83 years old. He was born three months before Pearl Harbour.

  48. Pelham

    Shedding a few tears, here, over the loss of John Prine. I can’t put my finger on why but I feel I’ve lost a dear, dear friend.

    I suppose the lyrics of “Please Don’t Bury Me” are apt. And given the regrettable state of affairs at the moment, particularly this bit:

    “Give my feet to the footloose
    Careless, fancy free
    And give my knees to the needy
    Don’t pull that stuff on me
    Hand me down my walking cane
    It’s a sin to tell a lie
    Send my mouth way down south
    And kiss my ass goodbye”

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      And one of the best anti-war songs to come out of the 60s:

      Your flag decal won’t get you into heaven anymore.
      They’re already overcrowded from your dirty little war.
      Now Jesus don’t like killin’ no matter what’s the reason for,
      And your flag decal won’t get you into heaven anymore.

  49. djrichard

    It would have been interesting to have the Wisconsin results before Bernie dropped out. But then it would have required a lot of tea leave reading to interpret even if Bernie did win Wisconsin.

    Withstanding that, I think it makes sense for Bernie to drop out. He played his cards. And lost. If Covid-19 didn’t happen, I think Bernie would have had cards to play going into the convention, to do some honest-to-God deal making. Something needed between parties that hate each other.

    But with Covid-19, I kind of think Bernie is almost OBE (over taken by events) so that the democratic party now has a more visible (risible?) enemy. Instead of the not-Trump party and the not-Bernie party, the democratic party has the opportunity to be the not-Covid-19 party. What does that mean? I guess we’ll find out. In the mean time, take Bernie out of the equation so that the democratic party no longer defines itself as the not-Bernie party and see what happens.

  50. michael99

    Re: peak of coronavirus outbreak, Gov. Newsom of California says it may not come until mid to late May, because flattening the curve spreads it out:

    “The state’s efforts to bend the curve mean California will continue to see infection rates climb for many weeks, Newsom’s modeling indicates.
    While other projections have suggested peaks in April, California officials continue to say that the state’s infections will just begin to peak in mid to late May. They say their model may differ because they are incorporating real-time information about what’s happening in California hospitals.” Link.

    Meanwhile Sacramento County has extended its stay-at-home order from April 7 to May 1. The state’s stay-at-home order is “until further notice”.

    1. MLTPB

      I see 2 charts, for CA, or any area, state, country, etc.

      On the daily new cases chart, you want to see not only flattening, but actually the other side of the hill.

      On the cumulative cases chart, there is no other side of the hill. It will, hopefully, become parallel to the x axis, after a period of flattening.

      So, the above quote, infection rates climbing – rates are velocities. Are rates accelerating or decelerating? To gauge that, we look at the slope of the new cases chart. I think we see the daily new case numbers peak soon (slope is zero here) and the slope be negative soon. Not May,…hopefully, as far as new cases are concerned. Daily fatality numbers should lag a bit. That may peak in May, let’s hope.

  51. Chris

    I kind of hope we get a water cooler today to help digest Sanders leaving the race. I also think now is a great time to unplug. It is so disappointing that he made this decision.

    It is so maddening that the DNC and others made manifest that the train running him out of town wasn’t going to stop and would back over him several times if needed. Team Blue is seriously going to the general with a person who is indistinguishable from a Trump on multiple levels. Biden is even less acquainted with reality than Trump. Biden is also demonstrably less healthy than Trump and has made his new hobby hiding from the people he’s supposed to be leading.

    The whole mess is disgusting.

    Check please?

  52. sam

    RE: hospital administrators. Has anyone seen any media discussion of hospital administrators’ responsibility for lack of ICU beds, ventilators, PPE, etc while receiving $millions in compensation, presumably in part for increasing ROI by cutting down on those things?

    1. Oregoncharles

      The lack of hospital beds is at least partly because of a program, I think federal, to reduce “wasteful overbuilding.” That means they’ve been closing hospitals – 20,000 beds’ worth, in New York.

      Optimistically: does that mean there are a lot of hospital buildings standing empty?

      Lesson: hospitals should be required (and subsidized) to build a spare wing with a certain percentage of their normal capacity.

      All of this reminds me of the reason W. Oregon cities generally have trouble clearing a snowfall: it doesn’t happen all that often, so it doesn’t make sense to have the equipment standing around. Major pandemics appear to happen about every hundred years. That’s not an easy calculation, although better public health systems have everyday advantages.

      Of course, fire departments are an example of spare capacity just waiting around for an emergency – but that’s a frequent emergency.

    2. MLTPB

      Mostly they focus on the public sector.

      Not as much on the private sector, like hospitals, except the test kit contractor tied to a public sector institution, or unless it’s about bailout money

  53. Oregoncharles

    “Keep the Parks Open”. Hiking is our chief recreation, so we’ve compiled several experiences. First, from a couple of weeks ago: typical trails are not so good, because if people are coming the other way you can’t keep a 6-foot distance, at least not without stepping into the poison oak. That was from the (federal) wildlife refuge south of town.

    When the sun came back out this week, we thought we’d try the refuge north of town, a former military base going back to the wild – which has a grid of streets serving as “trails.” A wildland restoration project, and very interesting. There were more cars there than we’ve ever seen before, so we thought we’d try a state park near it, also an interesting restoration area. Uh-oh – state parks are closed, by order of the governor. So that’s why the refuge was suddenly so popular.

    The combination was not so good an idea: focusing everybody looking to get outdoors on one area. The other one, with narrow trails, would be an even worse idea. In the circumstances, I think I’d advocate opening at least some of the state parks, too, to spread the load.

    Obviously, city parks are a different proposition, smaller and with more people nearby. But it’s still true that outdoor exposure is much less intense than indoor, as Yves noted separately, and minimizing stir-craziness might be worth some minimal risk. I see a lot of obvious families out walking, a good idea; many of the groups at the park probably live together anyway.

    1. Wukchumni

      I’ve been hiking off-trail and as usual never see anybody.

      It’s a bit daunting, which is the whole idea.

      1. Carolinian

        I know every hiking place in my county and you can always avoid people if you try hard enough. They have closed off the state park here which makes these trails a bit harder to reach.

    2. Carolinian

      Where I live sidewalks abound so closing off trails just increases traffic on the sidewalks which are narrower. Of course on a sidewalk you can always cross the street to avoid a gang of people. Some walk in the street.

      So far our city trails are still open but they are mostly paved and ten feet or more wide. One is a rail trail.

  54. John Beech

    Filed under . . . Police State Watch

    Supreme Court Clarifies Police Power in Traffic Stops Courthouse News

    I don’t have a problem with this, do you? Are you in support of a drunk driver having his license revoked and continuing to drive? Are you against a cop with a plate reader – upon seeing this vehicle, which belongs to a drunk driver with a revoked license – being unable to stop and confirm whether the registered owner is, or isn’t driving it ‘despite’ the revoked license just because he doesn’t have probable cause?

    Me? I ‘want’ him stopped from driving with a revoked license. Heck, I’d be happy if they immediately got jail time and forfeited the vehicle, e.g. teeth in the law!

    I’m so DONE with habitual drunks and careless drivers putting folks at risk.

  55. ewmayer

    I notice the adjacency of these 2 links:

    A mountable toilet system for personalized health monitoring via the analysis of excreta | Nature

    The Far-Right Helped Create The World’s Most Powerful Facial Recognition Technology | HuffPo.

    So, from fecal recognition to facial recognition – I see what you did there. :)

  56. MLTPB

    Mass hysteria… pastor.

    If you think it’s 1 in 10,000,000 but others believe it’s more likely 1 in 100,000, you have a cause to say mass hysteria. Not that you are right, but you would be consistent, in stating mass hysteria.

    Still, it’s 1 in 10,000,000, and even if it is so in actuality, you can still get, while believing 1 in 100,000 is too pessimistic.

    It’s just math, probability, and being unlucky if that’s the case here.

    At the end it’s unfortunate for him. Whether believing it was mass hysteria was incorrect – some actual details like the above can show it, either way.

Comments are closed.