Links 5/1/2020

Thousands Of Flamingos Take Over India’s Largest City Amid Coronavirus Lockdown HuffPo

Penguin Meets Up With Orangutan During Excursion In Empty San Diego Zoo HuffPo

Searching for the Birthplace of Sharks Maritime Executive

High microplastic concentration found on ocean floor BBC (Re SIlc).

Oil’s Collapse Is a Geopolitical Reset In Disguise Bloomberg

Federal Reserve extends $600bn main street lending programme FT

Over 275 Days Since Equifax’s Data Breach Settlement and No One Has Been Paid Interest

ICANN Board Withholds Consent for a Change of Control of the Public Interest Registry (PIR) ICANN. “After completing extensive due diligence, the ICANN Board finds that withholding consent of the transfer of PIR from the Internet Society (ISOC) to Ethos Capital is reasonable, and the right thing to do.” Some good news!


The science:

An analysis of SARS-CoV-2 viral load by patient age (PDF) Terry C. Jones, Barbara Mühlemann, Talitha Veith, Marta Zuchowski, Jörg Hofmann, Angela Stein, Anke Edelmann, Victor Max Corman, and Christian Drosten. From the abstract: “Analysis of variance of viral loads in patients of different age categories found no significant difference between any pair of age categories including children. In particular, these data indicate that viral loads in the very young do not differ significantly from those of adults.”

Estimation of SARS-CoV-2 infection fatality rate by real-time antibody screening of blood donors medarXiv. Danish study.

The problem with the Covid-19 death numbers Newsweek (Furzy Mouse).

NIH’s axing of bat coronavirus grant a ‘horrible precedent’ and might break rules, critics say Science

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The Memo: The surprising popularity of the Great Lockdown The Hill

How Coronavirus Mutates and Spreads NYT

CLUSTER BOMBS Coronavirus map shows the 22 hotspots where cases could explode as eight states lift lockdowns The U.S. Sun (Re Silc). Based on social media chatter.

COVID-19: How can airports help in the fight against future pandemics? World Economic Forum. Deep clean everything, for starters.

Cuomo’s Density Dodge: Pandemics Aren’t Anti-City, Failure to Act Early Is Gothamist

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Fashion industry turns to face masks Bangkok Post. As I’ve been saying.

Don’t Drive Whilst Wearing a Face Mask – Here’s Why DriveTribe (Re Silc).

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NIH Clinical Trial Shows Remdesivir Accelerates Recovery from Advanced COVID-19 NIH. “More detailed information about the trial results, including more comprehensive data, will be available in a forthcoming report.” A “report,” presumably published in a peer-reviewed journal. Not that I’m foily, but my spidey sense is really twitching on this one.

Remdesivir Now ‘Standard of Care’ for COVID-19, Fauci Says MedScape. Fauci unilaterally declares a “standard of care” based on a Gilead press release. A trial attorney firm writes:

The standard of care is developed by a complex network of doctors, medical researchers, government regulators, and writers for medical journals… [S]tandards organically grow from research studies, current doctor practices, and technological developments.

With the caveat that I Am Not A Doctor Or A Lawyer, Fauci is saying that doctors who don’t use remdesivir could get sued (as my citing to a trial lawyer above would imply). From “The Standard of Care: Legal History and Definitions: the Bad and Good News“, Western Journal of Emergency Medicine”:

Negligence, in general, is legally defined as “the standard of conduct to which one must conform… [and] is that of a reasonable man under like circumstances.” In law, medical malpractice is considered a specific area within the general domain of negligence. It requires four conditions (elements) be met for the plaintiff to recover damages. These conditions are: duty; breach of duty; harm; and causation. The second element, breach of duty, is synonymous with the “standard of care.”

Unless Fauci has unilaterally appointed himself a one-man “empowered council” while I wasn’t looking, I don’t see how he gets to make this call.

Is remdesivir a miracle drug to cure coronavirus? Don’t get your hopes up yet The Conversation. “A data and safety panel has looked at the initial results, but they haven’t been peer-reviewed.”

Appendix A, Table 2. Panel on COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines Financial Disclosure for Companies Related to COVID-19 Treatment or Diagnostics (Reporting Period: May 1, 2019, to March 31, 2020 NIH. By my hasty calculation, of the persons disclosing interests, 36/50 (72%) had none. There were 14 (28%) diclosures of at least one interest. Of those 14, nine (64%) disclosed an interest in Gilead.

Twitter transcription of interview with Gilead executives. Thread:

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The race for coronavirus vaccines: a graphical guide Nature

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Dual-Functional Plasmonic Photothermal Biosensors for Highly Accurate Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 Detection American Chemical Society. From the abstract: “The routinely used reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) is currently the reference method for COVID-19 diagnosis. However, it also reported a number of false-positive or -negative cases, especially in the early stages of the novel virus outbreak. In this work, a dual-functional plasmonic biosensor combining the plasmonic photothermal (PPT) effect and localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) sensing transduction provides an alternative and promising solution for the clinical COVID-19 diagnosis.”

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How Do You Do Contact Tracing? Poor Countries Have Plenty Of Advice NPR

We Asked All 50 States About Their Contact Tracing Capacity. Here’s What We Learned NPR

We Need An “Army” Of Contact Tracers To Safely Reopen The Country. We Might Get Apps Instead. Buzzfeed

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Economic effects:

Analyst: 4 Billion Bu. Ending Stock Possible if Big Crop, Less Ethanol Farm Journal

As slaughterhouses close, farmers may have to cull thousands of hogs a day. Those carcasses need to go somewhere—and there are no good options The Counter

Op-ed: Don’t Blame Farmers Who Have to Euthanize Their Animals. Blame the Companies They Work For. Civil Eats

Nearly 900 at Tyson Foods plant test positive for coronavirus WISH

U.S. Small Business and Coronavirus: What you need to know Bloomberg

BA may not reopen at Gatwick once pandemic passes BBC

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Materiel shortages:

An FAQ on China PPE China Law Blog

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Political response:

Hundreds of protesters, some carrying guns in the state Capitol, demonstrate against Michigan’s emergency measures NBC. “The right to infect others shall not be infringed.”

Trump contradicts US intel community by claiming he’s seen evidence coronavirus originated in Chinese lab CNN. “Contradicts intel community” [fans self, clutches pearls, heads for fainting couch]. Not that I agree with Trump, but holy cow.

Pelosi puts $1 trillion price tag on state and local virus needs Roll Call

The Inevitable Coronavirus Censorship Crisis is Here Matt Taibbi

Capitol physician says he doesn’t have enough tests for all senators Axios

Timeline of the Coronavirus Pandemic and U.S. Response Just Security

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Exit strategy:

Germany’s Covid-19 expert: ‘For many, I’m the evil guy crippling the economy’ (interview) Guardian. Christian Drosten, who directs the Institute of Virology at the Charité Hospital in Berlin” “Now, what I call the ‘prevention paradox’ has set in. People are claiming we over-reacted, there is political and economic pressure to return to normal.” Handy diagram:

Admit It: You Are Willing to Let People Die to End the Shutdown Politico

No, Sweden Isn’t a Miracle Coronavirus Model Bloomberg v. Swedish official Anders Tegnell says ‘herd immunity’ in Sweden might be a few weeks away USA Today

Cholera and coronavirus: why we must not repeat the same mistakes Guardian

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Remedies and ameliorations:

Time to Check Your Pandemic-Abandoned Car for Rats NYT. Not a lot of amelioration today. Sorry.

Depression cake is the all-star chocolate cake you can make with pantry staples Salon. Come on, man. Depression cake is an empty plate and no fork.

Coronavirus: Kenyans moved by widow cooking stones for children BBC

The Koreas

Answers to Common Questions About North Korea WomenCrossDMZ

Why Thae Yong-ho’s Election Isn’t a Model for North Korean Defectors to Follow The National Interest

After aggressive mass testing, Vietnam says it contains coronavirus outbreak Reuters

A Letter From Viet Nam on the Occasion of the 45th Anniversary of the End of the War Counterpunch

Indonesians soak up the rays to battle coronavirus Straits Times

Japan’s health care system teeters on the brink as coronavirus takes a toll on hospitals Japan Times


U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom downgrades India in 2020 list The Hindu

India coronavirus: The ‘mystery’ of low Covid-19 death rates BBC


China frauds, auditors and regulators’ obligation to protect investors Francine McKenna, The Dig

Exclusive: Warning Over Chinese Mobile Giant Xiaomi Recording Millions Of People’s ‘Private’ Web And Phone Use Forbes

China strengthens its global influence through standards setting Hinrich Foundation


Right-Wing Think Tanks Are Using Covid-19 To Push War with Iran In These Times

Commission explores EU-wide crowdfunding project to finance recovery Euractive. Come on, man.


The ‘Bombshell’ That Wasn’t? Lawyers Say the FBI’s Tactics in Michael Flynn Case Were ‘Routine’ Law & Crime. A balanced write-up. Looks to me like Flynn violated the unwritten law.

U.S. Factories Low on Inventory Show Reliance on Mexico’s Restart Bloomberg

Colombia’s great coronavirus exodus Columbia Reports

In Ecuador, Lawfare Marches on Despite Coronavirus NACLA

Democrats in Disarray

How Democrats blew up #MeToo The Week

Health Care

How coronavirus broke America’s healthcare system FT

The unlikely alliance trying to rescue workplace health insurance Politico. “Big businesses and powerful Democrats are aligning around a proposal to bail out employer health plans.” Politico thinks this is “unlikely”?

“Where is Everyone?” Emergency Room Doctors Await the Return of Non-Coronavirus Patients NY1

Imperial Collapse Watch

Trump and the coronavirus have exposed America as a declining empire: Time to face the facts Salon

On the Toxicity of the ‘Warrior’ Ethos Wavell Room

Guillotine Watch

San Francisco has 75 billionaires. Most of them aren’t donating to local COVID-19 relief. Curbed

Class Warfare

Care workers in the epidemic—Part 2: Twenty years as a migrant worker mother Lausan

Nannies Tell the Truth About Working During the Coronavirus New York Magazine

One of my colleagues, whenever she is in the city, has to shop around for specialty items for them: things the chef needs that they can’t find in the Hamptons, and obviously they can’t use any old kind of toilet paper; they have to use their nice toilet paper, so she has to go to a few different shops to try and find it. There’s lots of specific items that they have become accustomed to and that they can’t go without. Just like the people. We are like items to them; they can’t go without us.

“Twas ever thus.

Asia’s Informal Workers Need ‘New Deal’ of Protections, IMF Says Bloomberg

Forget the Haircut Protesters. There’s a Real Labor Movement Blossoming in America. Charlie Pierce, Esquire

The Financial Literacy Delusion: We need honest narratives about the distribution of wealth Public Seminar

Antidote du jour (via):

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. Winston Smith

    Sweden herd immunity article. I stand ready to be corrected if this is inaccurate but the public health concept of herd immunity has not been demonstrated for COVID-19. The few studies that have been performed suggests that the levels of antibodies produced post-disease can be low and the duration of any such immunity is open to question scientifically.

    1. Grumpy Engineer

      I think Sweden’s approach will work. At least well enough. The only way for everybody there to lose their ability to lose their short-lived immunity would be for them to stamp out the virus entirely. And I don’t see that happening. The virus will continue to circulate because different people will get the disease at different times, and because they’ll occasionally get visitors from elsewhere who carry the virus. My guess is that they’ll end up with some low level virus remaining present long-term, with basically everybody able to fight it off because they have at least some immunity left over from the last time they were exposed.

      The bigger question is how many people in Sweden will die as people develop immunity.

      Of course, I could be wrong. It’s possible that people’s immunity will be so short-lived that anybody who gets re-exposed will bear the full risk of a life-threatening illness all over again. In which case we have much, much greater things to worry about.

      1. Icecube12

        I think for Sweden to get this herd immunity–if it is even possible to do so–it would need to see a lot more deaths. I live in Iceland, where extensive testing (including random sampling) has been carried out on the general population. Something like 13% of the total population has been tested. It can be read about here:

        I have been trying to use Iceland’s pretty decent data to see if I can understand Sweden’s argument about forthcoming herd immunity. In Iceland, the health authorities were estimating that about 0.8% of the population had been infected by the middle of April. The last death we had, the 10th, was on April 19. If 0.8% of the Icelandic population is infected, that would be 0.008 x 364,134 = 2913 infected people, about 1100 more than the number of confirmed cases. We have definitely only had 10 deaths; the size of this country means every death is counted. So that would make the infection fatality rate (IFR) in Iceland 10 / 2913 = 0.0034, or 0.34%. I guess with a small population like this you need to be careful not to extrapolate too much from these numbers (and it is important to note that most of our infected have been people under 50), but let’s still go with this figure.

        If we need 60% of a population to develop antibodies in order to develop herd immunity, and Sweden currently has 10.23 million residents, then maybe we can calculate that 0.6 x 10,230,000 = 6.138 million Swedes would need to be infected at a minimum to achieve herd immunity. If that number of people were infected, using the IFR from the Icelandic data, we would see 6,138,000 x 0.0034 = 20,869 deaths. As of today I think there are around 2,500.

        Maybe my figures are wrong and someone can point out some puzzle pieces I am missing, but I don’t understand how Sweden’s epidemiologist can say they expect herd immunity in the next few weeks, unless they expect cases to multiply 10-fold in that time. The cases don’t seem to be growing quite that exponentially at the moment. I guess it might be possible that certain specific areas, like Stockholm, might be closer though.

        1. Monty

          Thanks for that information about Iceland. That’s very interesting and encouraging.

          My understanding is Sweden’s herd immunity projections are based on the assumption that it’s doubling there every 5-7 days. Several weeks ago they estimated a certain low percentage had been infected, and then they extrapolated the trend to the end of May.

          Just looking at deaths, the doubling period appears to have slowed in April. Last 2 were 7 then 14 days. Perhaps this could be from less incoming infections from locked down areas, and local rules and greater awareness have changed people’s behavior and slowed the spread.

          1. dynamo hum

            A week ago the WHO reported that people who had recovered from coronovirus (C19) had not gained immunity. South Korea had reported that 263 people who had already had the disease appeared to have become reinfected.

            An article in the Korea Herald states that tests on recovered patients found false positives, not reinfections. Dead virus fragments were the likely cause of over 260 people here testing positive again for the novel coronavirus days and even weeks after marking full recoveries. PCR tests cannot distinguish whether the virus is alive or dead.

      2. Jesper

        I also believe it will work.

        The strategy appears to have been to attempt to protect the vulnerable and allow the rest to be exposed to the risk. The protection of the vulnerable failed and that appears to be a common theme in many countries.

        There are some attempts to track excess deaths:

        Pooled mortality estimates from the EuroMOMO network continue to show a marked increase in excess all-cause mortality overall for the participating European countries, coinciding with the current COVID-19 pandemic. This overall excess mortality is, however, driven by a very substantial excess mortality in some countries, primarily seen in the age group of 65 years and above, but also in the age group of 15-64 years.

        Once the virus got out, and it is out, then there were no perfect option left. Protection of the vulnerable should (in my opinion) always be done and what is left to do is to decide on the least bad option for the others. The fear of not having income is a stressor, that stressor should somehow be addressed so if there is a lockdown then people in the lockdown have to know that they’ll have food, shelter and that their future isn’t going to be destroyed. Stress makes it more difficult for the body to fight a disease, therefore the stressor needs to be addressed.
        There will be changes, however, will it be the ‘market/economy’ deciding on its own what the changes will be or will governments use the power of legislation/enforcement to set the limits of what the changes will be?

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Of course it’s risk/reward. Should we risk: the global economy; the ceding of all civil liberties to the state; and the entire free market capitalist system? Let’s ask those questions shall we?

          1. Global economy collapse, led by the oil sector. Art Berman, one of the world’s top energy analysts, provides chapter and verse:

          2. Civil liberties. The state has seized the right to put every citizen under house arrest without charges. Best of luck reclaiming that: Bill of Attainder. Definition: A legislative act that singles out an individual or group for punishment without a trial. The Constitution of the United States, Article I, Section 9, paragraph 3 provides that: “No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law will be passed.”

          3. Free enterprise. The CARES Act hands the control of the economy to the state (Fed/Treasury SPV), which now decides which U.S. companies will succeed and which will fail. For those playing at home, that is an arrangement known as “national socialism”.

          Hey that’s a pretty scary list. So as Craig Murray asks, which apocalyptic horseman would justify it all? Would it be “Plague”, with 250,000 global deaths? Would it be “War”, with 5,000,000 dead in just one of the countries hosting AWFFAP (American War For Fun And Profit)? Or would it be “Famine”, with 25,000 global deaths per day?

          And what about the interplay? If we pick Door #1 don’t we also get Door #3 thrown in?

          No, Monty, I don’t want to come on down.

      3. Jos Oskam

        100% agreement from another engineer.

        The thing is, this virus is not going to quietly go away, and over time it may be expected to reach the majority of the population. This whole social distancing and whatnot will at best spread the contaminations and deaths over a longer time period. Unless a vaccine becomes available (highly unlikely I fear) at the end of the day the total number of deaths caused by COVID will be a given percentage of the population: either accumulating quickly and tapering off, or more or less constant over a longer timeframe.

        Whose approach is right can only be determined with some accuracy after a few years, when the excess mortality over a longer period can be compared between different countries with different approaches.

        Announcing daily or weekly numbers in big headlines like they were basketball scores is utterly useless in getting to understand what we’re dealing with.

        1. Jack

          The whole (and only) point of distancing was to reduce the rate of infection not the amount of infection. Flattening the curve means lowering treatment rates so the medical system is not forced to try and treat more cases than it can handle. Which is why we will continue to treat COVID 19 cases into the foreseeable future.

          1. Robert Hahl

            Another reason to delay your infection day is that doctors will eventually figure out much better ways to treat.

        2. Monty

          The attack rate (% infected) is a function of the transmission rate (number infected per case). Trevor Bedford did an interesting calculation regarding attack rates yielded by different transmission rates. He showed that if the infection spreads faster, it also spreads further.

          Rate of transmission is governed by this equation:

          Duration (of infection) x Opportunities (to infect others) x Tranmissibility (probability) x Susceptability (% not immune)

          I think that the mental trauma of experiencing the lock down has raised awareness to a huge extent, altering behavior and hygiene habits in ways that reduce Opportunity to infect and Transmissibility (masks).

          So from now on, in societies that have taken the threat seriously, O and T are going to be substantially reduced by the behavioral changes vs. February, when nobody was paying attention. S is also falling as more go through the infection. This gives us a lower transmission rate going forward, reducing the attack rate, and the ultimate death toll with it.

          That’s why I don’t like to see this coordinated PR push to deny the severity and danger that we face from the virus. Behavioral changes can snuff this virus out, and so the deaths are not inevitable.

          1. Jos Oskam

            “…This gives us a lower transmission rate going forward, reducing the attack rate, and the ultimate death toll with it…”

            My excuses, I’m probably too dense, but –apart from hospital overloads– I don’t see how a lower transmission rate –all other factors being equal– can lower the ultimate death toll. As far as I can understand it will just take longer to infect a given population, and thus decrease the death rate: the mean number of deaths per unit time.

            I’m not trying to be contrary here. I just don’t get it.

            1. Grumpy Engineer

              I think the idea is that if we can reduce the R0 value below 1.0, the virus will die out and be completely eliminated before infecting the entire population. Of course, this presumes that the population in question will never be re-infected by long-term/chronic carriers or infected people arriving from outside, which seems overly optimistic to me.

              A reduce transmission rate would also help if somebody invents an effective vaccine or highly effective treatment. If most people can be vaccinated before being infected… Oh, wow. That would really help.

              But if the pessimists are correct and a vaccine never happens and mortality rates never really improve, then I suspect you’re correct. A lower transmission rate simply delays the inevitable.

            2. Monty

              This is my understanding.

              An infectious person needs to meet, and pass the virus to a susceptible person for it to spread.

              You need to catch the virus to die from it.

              If the virus spreads rapidly, lots of people are infectious simultaneously. A susceptible person is therefore more likely to meet someone whilst they are infectious and contract it.

              If you get better without infecting anyone, you add 0 deaths to the ultimate toll. This number rises on a sliding scale as you infect more people.

              Would you agree that this shows lowering transmission rate reduces the ultimate number of infected?

              1. Jos Oskam

                Still trying to get my head around this…

                If people get better before infecting anyone, the transmission rate becomes zero. In that case we don’t have any epidemic or pandemic at all.

                As soon as the transmission rate becomes nonzero, I can’t shake the idea that, given enough time, the whole population becomes infected. Unless one of the conditions described by above by GE becomes true.

                1. MLTPB

                  1 Get rate to zero (probability X)

                  2 rate stays zero for a period of N days (probability Y).

                  3. Rate stays zero for M days (prob. Z), etc.

                  4. Doctors figuring out better ways to treat in N days (prob Q).

                  5 doctors figuring out better ways to treat in M days (prob. P), etc.

                  6. Healthcare system not overwhelmed with rate R1 (probability D), at rate R2 (prob. D1), etc.

                  Plus other factors.

                  Maybe we set up a matrix and try to optimize selected outcomes.

                2. Monty

                  Absurd example: How does the second to last person in Florida infect the last person if they are in Alaska? What are the chances they would find each other in the duration of the Floridian’s infectious period?

                  I think it’s just to do with probability that the infectious meet the susceptible. If the transmission rate is high, the virus is more likely to infect someone who goes on a trip to a geographical nook or cranny it won’t reach otherwise.

                  When susceptible don’t meet infected any more, the epidemic ends. That’s what herd immunity is. The higher the r0, the more people need to be infected to achieve the goal.

                  Trevor Bedford said sustained a transmission rate of 1.4 equals an attack rate ~50% and 1.3 would be ~45%. Assuming an IFR of 0.5%, he thinks reducing the r0 by that amount would save 20m infections and 100k lives in US.

            3. ewmayer

              Let’s assume covid-19 is like common cold in the sense that any reistance one develops from exposure and subsequent viral clearance by the immune system is not lasting. Social distancing also works with cold and flu infections, in the sense that a smaller % of the population is infected at any one time. Fewer infections means lower rate of complications and death. If your odds of suffering complications and dying from any single cold/flu infection is X, then if you get sick half as often over a given timespan, your odds of dying are halved even though X has not changed.

              1. JP

                Or let’s not make unsupported assumptions. Common Rhino virus has a mutable coat with approx. 1000 variations. You would have to be infected three times a year for 100 years to become immune to the common cold. I don’t think we know the possible variability of covid 19 coat or how many lethal mutations might develop before we have a comprehensive vaccine or proven treatment.

            4. fillefrans

              It was always about buying time, so we could learn more about the virus and the disease. With more time you increase the chance of having an effective treatment, which would directly lower death rates.

          2. VietnamVet

            The Duration of coronavirus infection is a month. If the infected are isolated for the month there are zero Opportunities for transmission. This plus contact tracing is how old fashion public health systems function to stop pandemics. Let’s be clear in the USA, the ruler’s prime directive is to make money and neuter government. This is why there is no national hiring of tracers or quarantine of the infected. Testing and tracking are still total SNAFUs. The simple fact is that the Republican governors reopening the economy of their states without a functional national Public Health System will kill hundreds of thousands more Americans.

            This will continue as long as workers consent to having 0.2% percent die and 10% hospitalized, in the best of circumstances, in order to get a paycheck to stay alive.

    2. Steve H.

      As this goes through waves, what looks like immunity could simply be selection for those better able to stand the illness. If most of the most susceptible go down in the first wave, with asymptomatic carriers and suppressed testing, it can look like herd immunity developed.

      1. Carolinian

        I think you are onto something. Apparently a big difference between this disease and normal flu is that it is highly age discriminatory and also somewhat “underlying conditions” discriminatory. Regular flu can attack children just as much as adults and in fact children with their immature immune systems are big carriers of disease.

        Therefore with Covid you may only need “herd immunity” among the elderly to make a big impact and unfortunately at the moment this is being advanced by many of them dying, at least in places like NYC. The ones who remain are the ones who have better natural resistance.

        And this may be in part the Swedish theory–not of course to let people die but rather to let it run its course among the young and do the best you can to protect the old.

        Worth pointing out that Tegnell did not claim that immunity was definitely a thing or that they know any more about the disease than others. The main rationale seems to be to protect the economy and keep young kids in school so their parents can go to work, among other places, in hospitals. Also, as Ingmar Bergman fans know, the Swedes go a bit nuts with their long season of “winter light” and don’t care to be deprived of the coming of spring and those “wild strawberries.”

        1. JTMcPhee

          Wise young people are grimly enjoying the selective effects on the olds. Refer to the virus as the “boomer Remover.” Or “Boomer Doomer.” I guess the 68 year old nurse taking care of the 23-year-old struggling to breathe while shedding virus-laden sputum as the nurse tends to his or her ventilator plumbing, IV and poop in his/her bed ought, if said nurse has PPE, to remove it, inhale deeply and repeatedly, rub a virus-coated hand over eyes and lips. And remove self from the service occupation by self-doom.

          Of course extreme picture. The Boomers that by some young folks’ lights should be “doomed” and “removed” are the really old, the disabled, the really sickly, that is people who are not useful to the Youngs who espouse that meme. Who are Iike the People of the Hamptons who send their nannies, in Lambert’s exemplary link, into Death City to bring home their favorite treats and Very Special Buttwipe…

          Obviously, this being one small rude example, “we” are not, at all,, all in this together…

          Anomie, anyone? Glad that has not set in yet in really large ways, but got to love those Freedom Fans bringing their demands and gunz to the Michigan statehouse, with Trump offering that the governor should “make a deal” with them. Too bad the kind of kindly people who care about their neighbors as well as their own health and that of their families have not lined up with their own gunz to face down these masked thugs.

        2. JohnMc

          i think you are incorrect with the idea that seasonal flu is not discriminatory with respect to age and co-morbidities. It’s well established that these groups suffer significantly higher complications/mortality from seasonal flu.

    3. Brian (another one they call)

      Mr. Smith; You are correct. Herd immunity takes considerable infections and time, and what can only be described as an amenable mutation pathway that allows human immunity. None of which we have had nearly enough time to create. Look to your common cold vaccine as an analog.

    4. Rex

      there is no guarantee we will ever achieve herd immunity for coronavirus

      Herd immunity is not a given for any pathogen. Humanity has struggled with smallpox, polio, whooping cough, measles, rubella, tuberculosis and others for literal millennia without any real herd immunity.

      I understand that there are political, economic, and personal pressures to hope for the development of herd immunity, but without clear evidence of a widespread strong neutralizing immune response in most recovered patients, such hopes are currently unfounded. I am with you on hoping that herd immunity does wind up developing, but I am cautioning you against counting on herd immunity in making plans or interpreting the news.

  2. Krystyn Podgajski

    RE: Searching for the Birthplace of Sharks

    This part makes me believe in alien abductions and alien implants…

    The Birth-Tag is a small, egg-shaped device that we insert into the uterus of a pregnant shark where it will remain dormant and hidden among the fetal sharks throughout pregnancy.

    I mean if we can do it, why wouldn’t aliens?

    1. ambrit

      The corollary to this is that, to our proposed “aliens,” humans are an interesting lower life form. Now, this is a big logical jump, if “alien” psychology is anything like human psychology, (the consideration of modes of cognition comes into play,) then the treatment of “lower order beings” will be fraught with danger for those “lower order” beings. Some humans like animals and treat them well, others brutalize the animals and don’t care about the end state of the animals under their ‘care,’ (think battery chicken farms.) Would our proposed “aliens” be different?
      I observe that literary versions of “aliens” follow definable characteristics. These characteristics, such as ‘enigmatic’ Greys, or ‘magisterial’ Engineers,’ follow human behaviour patterns. This is understandable if one assumes that literary treatments of “aliens” are human imaginative constructs. True “aliens” would be perhaps unintelligible to humans. No common point of reference between the two classes, human and “alien” might be available. At that point, interactions between humans and “aliens” would fall into the pattern of pure power relations. If “aliens” are truly “advanced” beings, then mere humans have no chance whatsoever.
      When the “aliens” finally ‘land’ and make themselves known, I’ll be happily singing a version of the Who song refrain; “Meet the new boss, not the same as the old boss.”

      1. Massinissa

        We have aliens in our society: They’re called the 1%. They use this advanced technology called ‘money’ to make other people shop for them, care for their kids and parents, and sometimes even give birth to their kids.

        1. ambrit

          I’m not so sure about that. The “Human Hybrid Aliens” display recognizable human psychological traits. The basic human emotions such as; love, fear, greed, lust, the will to power, etc. are perhaps stronger in the 1% than in the “average” human, but are recognizably human. True aliens would not be easily recognizable to humans using basic human psychological cues. To a “real” ‘alien,’ lust might be akin to mental derangement, greed might be considered a pathology, etc. Even here, I fall short due to my being limited to human specific frames of reference.
          I would consider the human 1% to more properly be a cohort of emotional and mental defectives. Their big trick, insofar as any coordinated ‘action’ can be considered amongst a disparate group of humans as the 1%, is in manipulating the social “narrative” to portray themselves as virtuous and indispensable to the felicity and well being of the world.
          Anyway, that’s it for now from the cheap seats.

          1. Massinissa

            Wow, you made a serious answer to my joke comment…

            And I am admittedly rather impressed with it, to be honest. Very concise summary and argumentation on your part, bravo.

    1. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, Carla.

      On that note, readers may be interested in today’s FT,, about how the end may be nigh for the office. NB this is behind a pay wall.

      Three of my employer’s senior executives briefed the FT for this article. The plan is for more working from home and fewer offices and, after a while, export the work.

      1. David

        I suspect the end is certainly nigh for open-plan offices, those monuments to neoliberal managerial soul-destroying fiddling with peoples’ working lives. There’s a hard core of work, in government for example, that you just can’t do at home, and of course the UK govt bought heavily into open-plan around the turn of the millennium. Never mind, there’ll be some surplus office buildings going cheap elsewhere.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Yes, it was a hard fought battle with my employer over offices/open plan. They’ve been chipping away at individual offices for a while, despite lots of research out there indicating that they improve productivity. But now of course everything is reversed.

          There are still sound reasons why working from home isn’t ideal for many, if not most white collar jobs – but the virus is certainly a game changer in how offices are used, although I think the jury is still out as to whether much less office space will be needed. So called ‘flexible workspaces’ may be unviable for health reasons.

          Another big issue though is security. A lot of companies won’t permit working from home because of the fear of losing access to data (its not just hacking – it could be employees misusing private data). My employer has a new system which supposedly made working out of office easier and more secure, but the hardware is not universally available so it has created all sorts of difficulties as people haven’t been able to work using their own hardware, as happened in the past.

          1. skippy

            Client of mine has considerable work load at home which necessitated having a robust surveillance system installed to meet government and contractual obligations.

  3. zagonostra

    >Salon: Trump and the coronavirus have exposed America as a declining empire

    We have deluded ourselves far too long on that front already. There is no making America great again, and it’s time to move past that.

    Who is the “we” here? Certainly not those with an understanding of history that goes past H.S. or 1st year college. Is this delusion rather a case of what Caitlin Johnstone refers to as the “Narrative Matrix” crumbling past the point of repair?

    And the author still trys to salvage the complete and utter debacle of Russiagate by stating:

    In the larger scheme of things, it strikes me as more important to take a few steps back and appreciate that Putin…has deployed a sophisticated understanding of the information age to exploit the weak spots in the U.S. and other Western democracie

    Nice try Salon, but you still haven’t owned up to what is at the heart of the matter, and that is the completely shattered credibility that ruling elites can or will guide the ship of State to a place that provides a decent life, one of dignity and economic security for the mass of us.

    1. oliverks

      Hopefully I won’t be chased off this site for saying this, but I think Trump is the perfect president for the USA.

      He is fat, loud, arrogant, all-knowing, money loving, uneducated bore. What could better represent America today?

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Indeed. I think many here would agree with you – we get the politicians we deserve. To me Trump is exactly the kind of president we should have expected. When you turn the whole political process into a reality show, you shouldn’t be surprised when a reality show star wins.

        The newly “woke” and most other Trump critics for that matter still can’t comprehend what’s happened. They criticize Trump for doing politics incorrectly, and Trump could care less. Trump cares about ratings. Electing him president didn’t turn him into a politician – he’s still playing reality show and his critics haven’t grasped that yet.

        That Salon article is terrible and they still don’t seem to realize that this decline didn’t start with Trump. Those of us paying attention, like NC readers, recognized the decline decades ago.

        1. JTMcPhee

          I’d disagree that Trump is not playing Very serious politics. He is loosing the “deregulators” on all the agencies that are supposed to protect the general welfare. The imperium soldiers on, killing millions and wasting and stealing trillions. He represents the Wealthy Class very well, and the corporatists And globalists too. His forays against China with sanctions (also carrying forward the “politics” of many past sets of rulers in the sanctions area) have made for some real corporate and individual winners. He let the multitrillion dollar bonus baby giveaways slide right across his desk, signing with a flourish. He has changed the apparent visible rules of the political game that has had the whatever you want to call it, “oligarchy” running the wealth machinery to suit them, while the things that grew like toadstools out of the former two parties melded into that monoparty with fripperies for the mopes.

          Wiser to look at what he and his administration do and have done and propose to do, not what the screeching idiots at MSDNC and CoNN want us mopes to focus on and get all Kayfabe’d up about.

      2. Winston Smith

        Some go further, David Squires, the football (soccer) cartoonist of the Guardian, referred somewhat indirectly to the president in one of his cartoons as a turd rolled in glitter.

  4. timbers

    Pelosi puts $1 trillion price tag on state and local virus needs Roll Call

    She didn’t fight very hard to include smaller amounts in all those ginormous deals she helped pass to bailout Wall Street and the rich, when she had a lot more leverage than now, as we near the end of the first round of bailout season, did she? Looks like just talk, hoping I’m wrong.

    Here’s why it matters.

    If you check out Zillow or Trulia or your choice of real estate in your area on the internet, many have a section called something like “distressed mortgages” that give a % of how far behind in payments your neighbors are.

    With forbearance in affect and many just not having money to make their mortgage, that figure will rise.

    Where I live – and this applies to varying degrees though out the U.S. at lease in suburban and urban areas – that means sharply less revenue for local government.

    My city taxes pay for trash, police, fire protection, water and sewer, roads, lights including traffic lights, parks, libraries, public schools to name a few.

    Yet now that Wall Street and the rich got their bailouts as Pelosi allowed state and local governments to be pushed to the back of the line, there appears to be a push to characterized state and local governments unworthy of Federal help or bailouts because the funding problem they will have “is their fault.”

    You’d almost think Nancy knew this so now she’s talking courageous on the matter only because she knows it won’t happen. Right out of the Obama play book.

    Bailouts for irresponsible investors, Wall Street, the rich, Boing, stock buy back companies and the overpaid C suits CEO’s and executives who benefited from them….but now we must let retirees lose their retirement, cities go without schools and trash and public water…because “it’s their fault.”

    Well played, Nancy.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Nancy’s seat is California’s 12th congressional district which is San Francisco. I wonder how popular she would be there if it had to declare bankruptcy and the Feds said that it was their problem? And since most of San Francisco’s 75 billionaires can’t be bothered donating to the local COVID-19 relief effort, then guaranteed there is no way that they would help bail the city out either. Buy up things at firesale prices perhaps but certainly not to help. Nancy had better stock up on more ice creams for her twin freezers as she may not be welcome in SF.

  5. xkeyscored

    Remdesivir Now ‘Standard of Care’ for COVID-19, Fauci Says MedScape.

    Fauci may have used the phrase ‘standard of care’ inappropriately, and there may be less than overwhelming evidence for remdesivir’s usefulness. I certainly think the latter, and I’ll accept the former may be the case, being no lawyer.

    But if this study is right, and remdesivir shows some activity in blocking this virus, that is a good sign, as Fauci goes on to point out. When I saw him on TV, this was the point he emphasised and spent longest on. It means we can look at remdesivir and how it works (if it does), and design better drugs that will be more effective. It could be something we can use and build on, however imperfect it is at the moment.

    As he is quoted in this article,

    “When I was looking at the data with our team the other night, it was reminiscent of 34 years ago in 1986 when we were struggling for drugs for HIV,” said Fauci, who was a key figure in HIV/AIDS research. “We did the first randomized, placebo-controlled trial with AZT. It turned out to have an effect that was modest but that was not the endgame because, building on that, every year after, we did better and better.”

    1. Yves Smith

      “If this study is right….”

      This hasn’t even been presented as a proper study, in that they claim it’s double blind, placebo controlled, yadda yadda, but they have not released the data, nor actually published a “study”. This was a press release. There are reports that subjects were added to try to better results.

      And a study in China found no results. And it was a real study, published in The Lancet.

      And Fauci knows better than to call this a standard of care. This stinks top to bottom, when lives are at stake. Instead, this looks to be trying to create an American champion with a patented protected product, when combos of old off patent drugs are still being assessed in various trials.

      1. xkeyscored

        Patented, but how well protected?

        “Already [27 March], Canada, Chile, Ecuador and Germany have taken steps to make it easier to override patents by issuing ‘compulsory licenses’ for COVID-19 medicines, vaccines and other medical tools. Similarly, the government of Israel issued a compulsory license for patents on a medicine [Lopinavir + Ritonavir, I think] they were investigating for use for COVID-19.”

        But like you, I remain sceptical about remdesivir and the reasons for plugging it. The evidence for its effectiveness so far is weak to say the least.

        1. Off The Street

          Hydroxychloroquine news should fade away, going by script. Need a winner and a loser, regardless of studies or reports, as that, er, competition is what gets notice. Pay no attention to input from non-approved sources like that French doctor or those other people.

      2. Lee

        In spite of the headlines, Gilead’s drug is but one of many that are being considered. According to the WHO there are 980 Covid-19 related clinical trials currently recruiting or underway.
        COVID-19 Studies from the World Health Organization Database

        Clinically, doctors are desperately trying a variety of methods and medications. A good case in point is a story that, IIRC, was previously posted here at NC.

        He ran marathons and was fit. So why did Covid-19 almost kill him? Stat

        The patient’s rescue from death’s door was apparently the result of his doctor and colleague using infusions of the prescription anti-inflammatory Actemra (Tocilizumab) which is now in a Covid-19 clinical trial.

    2. voislav

      The proof is in the data, so until we see the full study I would hold judgment. These are extraordinary times and there is a lot of questionable science being released right now with the excuse that some data is better than no data. We also have an entity with a vested interest conducting the study, so there are going to be a lot of skeletons buried in the details.

    3. lyman alpha blob

      If in fact this drug does actually work, then why are we allowing it to remain in private hands? Shouldn’t a cure be widely distributed instead of allowing one company to hold a patent and produce just enough to maximize profits, the health of the populace be damned?

      With the money grubbing potential Fauci seems to be willing to allow Gilead to have, it makes a lot more sense why Trump has him around. Earlier I’d thought Fauci might have some ethics he was trying to hide from the Big Cheeto.

      1. JEHR

        Yes, I thought that at last there is someone in the administration that is honest and truthful; alas, like others, Fauci seems to have turned towards more unethical behaviour the longer he remains in his position. Sad! It’s the nature of the beast, I guess.

  6. floyd

    >Admit It: You Are Willing to Let People Die to End the Shutdown

    A bit further down the same could be said for Democrat’s desire to go all in tying health insurance to jobs. Or a “system” that fundamentally requires massive subsidies from either employers or the government for people to get healthcare. As in actual healthcare, not “insurance” that can’t be used.

    1. ewmayer

      What a terribly disingenuous framing by the elitist twit at Politico – in the US, a huge % of the labor force consists of people who *must* continue working for wages in order to meet their most basic needs. There are no easy choices here, the issue is how to strike a proper balance between pandemic-related public safety measures and without-work-people-will-literally-starve considerations.

      I was going to add that the author seems to be channeling the can’t-we-all-just-work-from-home-and-eats-lots-of-gourmet-ice-cream-from-our-$20,000-fridge Nancy Pelosian mindset, but in fact we can literally see it in his scribblings: “The pandemic highlights a different way of understanding relativism. It is not that values are no more than a matter of taste, in the way that you like pistachio but I like vanilla.” Yes, it’s not an issue of many millions literally facing starvation without work and having no work-from-home option, rather the issue is “to acknowledge—in a way our politics usually does not—that any important value is inevitably, at key moments, in competition with other important values. Individual liberties are in tension with public order. Respect for tradition is in tension with tolerance for diversity. And, yes, averting some number of tragic deaths from coronavirus is in tension with the need for a much larger number of people to resume life—sometime after it is no longer reckless to do so but sometime before it is perfectly safe.” Can’t you just feel the delicious moral tension as you work from the safety of your home at your well-paid useless-eater “thought leader” punditry job, people?

      1. Monty

        In the UK they decided to pay 80% of furloughed workers wages to prevent mass layoffs. Those workers did not have to continue working for wages to meet their most basic needs.

        What is stopping the US government doing that? Cruel ideology. Our owners want their livestock insecure.

        Wouldn’t it be nice if some of these AR15 enthusiasts marched on Mitch McConnell’s house and said, “Eff you, pay us!”, instead of clamoring for the right to sacrifice other people’s lives?

        1. JBird4049

          Some of those enthusiasts probably are thinking of marching on the Turtle’s home. Not all of them are of a conservative bent and TPTB are… selling most of us down the river. And please note just where the American saying comes from.

          A choice of starvation or enslavement and possibly death. It is not de jure but it is a de facto choice and reality for too many Americans and their families. Rather like factory workers in Victorian England, and to a lesser extent American. New York and London were very much alike then.

          1. JBird4049

            And look: The Patriot Pay Act designed to force help get the peons essential workers back to work during a pandemic.

          2. JBird4049

            And look: The Patriot Pay Act designed to force help get the peons essential workers back to work during a pandemic. Link

  7. Lydia Maria Child

    Re: CLUSTER BOMBS Coronavirus map shows the 22 hotspots where cases could explode as eight states lift lockdowns

    The company (Dataminr) pushing this narrative is going to fail with this one. I saw the original earlier this week and took note of it, because I live in one of the counties listed. The more you look into it, the more skeptical one becomes. They’re trying to sell something, and I’d really like to see a follow up on this (and am not expecting it to come from the private company itself).

    Their past work using this methodology was based solely on major cities, and this more recent one (using the same) is extrapolated to smaller cities or large towns. In my case, it’s a college town in Indiana. In fact, I think ALL of their examples from Indiana are from college towns…the 3 biggest ones, in fact. They don’t mention this in the AI-produced “study” or whatever you want to call it. ALL of these campuses have been shut down and basically empty for the past month or more.

    What they’ve basically done is mixed up a lot of campus-critters’ university ties (social media and location) with later comments/posts about the virus/illness, etc., AFTER they all left campus. A majority of people that go to school here come from larger metropolitan areas: Indy, Chicago, New York, etc. The same is probably true for the others in the state (Purdue and Notre Dame). Can’t say for the fourth county listed…not coincidentally the home of Vincennes University. This company and its social media “data” clearly has not used the current location of people, but has mistakenly predicted that there will be outbreaks in these basically empty campuses and surrounding communities. Their own graphs for here and the other counties in Indiana show that no spike has begun. We’re leveling off here, currently. They’re wrong because their methodology is bad. It’s definitely artificial, but I don’t know about “intelligent.”

    Also, if I’m not mistaken, most of the other counties listed in this…whatever you want to call it…are either counties with major colleges/universities, or else military bases. They make no mention of it in the report, because they never bothered to look into it.

    1. Steve H.

      Well done, exactly so.

      I’ve been keeping my eye on some of the mass diagnostics, hoping for benefits Kevin Kelly was talking about a couple decades ago. The visual of the Ft. Lauderdale beaches emptying after spring break was outstanding.

      But if I get this right, this study was looking at self-diagnosis at best, and simple increased discussion (use of keywords) as well. At locations with higher usage of social media.

      Another study said that most people who thought they’d had it were wrong. I guess false positives pay better.

    2. TMoney

      Can confirm 1 more Lucas County Ohio – University of Toledo. My gut reaction was the same as your – doesn’t pass the sniff test, but I didn’t have a good thesis as to why.
      Early cases here were reported as imported from China by business types. We have ~1000 cases right now in a city of 300,000. The area has bee under lockdown thanks to Dewine since St. Paddy’s, now while the
      “lockdown” is far from complete, traffic has been sparse when I’ve ventured forth. I think a sudden breakout of COVID cases only happens if we throw a massive “Woo-hoo it’s over party”.

      Mind you I’m giving it an extra 2 weeks inside when we are “opened” – no need to volunteer.

  8. zagonostra

    >Taibbi: The Inevitable Coronavirus Censorship Crisis is Here

    …pieces that began sprouting up in earnest four years ago. Articles with headlines like “Democracies end when they become too democratic” and “Too much of a good thing: why we need less democracy”…A consistent lament in these pieces was the widespread decline in respect for “experts” among the ignorant masses, better known as the people

    The Atlantic was at the forefront of the argument that The People is a Great Beast, one that cannot be trusted to play responsibly with the toys of freedom.

    This Taibbi article hearkens back to discussions early in the last century on “hyperdemocracy,” a term made popular by Jose Ortega y Gasset in “The Revolt of the Masses.” Ortega whose prose was so much clearer than the jargon used today in academia and who still a pleasure to read, hits on a lot of the same topics that Atlantic Magazine is resurrecting:

    Here I see the most palpable manifestation of the new mentality of the masses, due to their having decided to rule society without the capacity for doing so. In their political conduct the structure of the new mentality is revealed in the rawest, most convincing manner; but the key to its lies in intellectual hermetism. The average man finds himself with “ideas” in his head, but he lacks the faculty of ideation. He has no conception even of the rare atmosphere in which ideas live. He wishes to have opinions, but is unwilling to accept the conditions and presuppositions that underlie all opinion. Hence his ideas are in effect nothing more than appetites in words, something like musical romanzas. To have an idea means believing one is in possession of the reasons for having it, and consequently means believing that there is such a thing as reason, a world of intelligible truths. To have ideas, to form opinions, is identical with appealing to such an authority, submitting oneself to it, accepting its code and its decisions, and therefore believing that the highest form of intercommunion is the dialogue in which the reasons for our ideas are discussed. But the mass-man would feel himself lost if he accepted discussion, and instinctively repudiates the obligation of accepting that supreme authority lying outside himself. ..


    1. Monty

      I thought it was a good article. A bit depressing to think there’s not much we can do to stop dark forces having their way with pliable minds. Perhaps we could have mandated skepticism courses for schools?

      The trap I see a lot of people fall into goes something like,”the establishment always lies, therefore this anti establishment figure has credibility”.

        1. Massinissa

          Well, for whatever reason that hasn’t been done in this country for the better part of half a century, at least not on a large enough scale to matter.

      1. John Anthony La Pietra

        “Mandated skepticism courses” — as in critical thinking and critical pedagogy (e.g. John Dewey and Pablo Freire)?

      1. flora

        This group had/has long term goals outside partisan interests; if the Dem candidate is on board, they’re on board with the Dem candidate; if the GOP candidate is on board, they’re on board with the GOP candidate. They know what they want and why they want it (to get richer and more dominant, ground in their philosophical idea of what freedom is).

        It’s not hard to image a set of NewDeal programs and agendas – regardless of a pol’s party affiliation – having the same success. If only a group would cohere around these agendas long term and use whatever events they can to advance those agendas. Instead, there’s talk about ‘the movement’ (completely amorphous), or nudging the nominee to the left (hope and prayer), or other hand waving. I’ve yet to see a list of ‘what we want’ for the country, why it is best for the country, and grounded in a broad philosophical reasoning. My 2 cents.

    2. apber1941

      To understand the genesis of what the elites plan for us, see an interesting post by Peter Koenig on Global titled The Farce and Diabolical Agenda of a “universal lockdown”

  9. FreeMarketApologist

    Re: Depression Cake

    The original recipes are dull, at best. The annoying thing about the Salon article is that it’s an article about privilege dressed up as cheap cooking. Her response to her friend is well intentioned, but she clearly spends quite a bit of time researching a recipe that she can make with on-hand ingredients (and this was ‘years ago’, not during quarantine), rather than just going to the store to get the things that would make a nicer cake, she “dug a an old candle out of the junk drawer”. Later iterations are tarted up with things that would have been unavailable to people under rationing (WWI, where the receipe originated) or too expensive to those hard hit by the Depression.

    It’s an eggless cake, for Dog’s sake. Just give us the recipe, spare us the smirking, and move on.

    1. Wukchumni

      I’m a big fan of oral history, and here’s a tale from Ten Lost Years by Barry Broadfoot, along with a bunch more from a quite amazing book on the Great Depression in Canada.

      Good Old Ketchup Soup

      “One of the guys got to know the night cashier at this cafeteria over by Yonge Street. She was the boss because the company were too cheap to put on a night manager and as I remember she handled things pretty well. The guy who knew her was one of our gang and he was laying her. Anyway, she let us get away with a lot. There was no work around, this was about 1934, and believe me you couldn’t even get a job shoveling snow. People were starving and we couldn’t get relief.

      `Go to Montreal, there is work there,’ the guy at the job office would say. Bullshit. Those Frenchies were starving worse than anybody. ‘Go to St. Catharines,’ we were told. We did, walking most of the way, and got run out of town. ‘Go to Vancouver.’ When we heard that, we laughed in their faces. Vancouver was the last place to go. To hear it told, everybody was starving there, or fighting.

      Anyway, this night cashier wouldn’t let us steal nothing. No pie, nothing, because she had to account for everything. She was a tough little gal, from Cape Breton and they know what a paying job is down there, and she had the staff in line, nobody would rat on her, but she wasn’t doing us any favors which could get her nailed down.

      Ever heard of ketchup soup? Or catsup stew? Okay, we’d go into the place and Lily would say, ‘Hi, fellows.’ We’d buy a glass of milk. Five cents. Scoop up a big handful of those oyster biscuits, like little pillows, of cracker material, and they were best in oyster stew. They floated around. Then we’d go to the boiling water urn and take a soup bowl and fill it up. Still with me? There was a sort of cabinet where they kept all the sauces and stuff, and I’d grab up a bottle of ketchup and go to a booth. Then I’d dump about half a bottle of ketchup, or as much as I figured I could get away with, and the other guy would do the same. You got to remember that Lily had to account for those condiments too, and if those lousy owners saw too much ketchup disappearing, they’d begin to wonder and it would be Lily’s ass that would be in a sling. Now you stir up the ketchup into a soup and then you unload your oyster crackers and you crumple them up, like so, in your hand and you pour it all into the ketchup and water and stir it around and put salt and pepper into it and you’ve got, mister, right there you’ve got something that tasted pretty damn good in those days. Top it off with a glass of milk and you were good for the evening.

      That was pretty much our diet some days and I never saw anybody die from it. Of course, you couldn’t go out and shovel snow on it, either.”

    2. Off The Street

      Depression Cake, the empty plate recipe, is served after the Cowboy Lunch. That is where you dismount, tighten your belt and get back on that horse.
      Wash it down with a Timber Float, a toothpick floating in a glass of water.
      Not available in Flint.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “No, Sweden Isn’t a Miracle Coronavirus Model”

    ‘The country’s lockdown model is being lauded by the WHO, but it’s a unique case whose death rate is much worse than those of its neighbors.’

    Since when is being lauded by the WHO considered a good thing? The charges against the WHO are many such as when they not only refused to call the present pandemic an actual pandemic, but for several weeks removed that word from their working lexicon. While Asia was masking up which drove the curve right down in those countries, the WHO was recommending countries not to use them. Sometimes taking WHO’s advice during the present pandemic was akin to grabbing a burger from a restaurant called “Jeffrey Dahmer’s Place”.

    1. carl

      We need a list of institutions that have failed us. The US federal government would be first.

      1. MLTPB

        Nil desperaudum.

        If a Russian, for example, expects Russia to be 100 times better than us, they may say Moscow has failed them, foremost among all institutions.

        Most, or not a few, view problems close to them more urgently than far away ones. For example, we read about, say, Chernobyl, we were shocked, but we did not demand of Soviet officials as much as people there did.

        For another example, an Italian might react more strongly to an unnecessary victim in the same town/neighborhood/street, than say 3 unnecessary victims, in say N Korea, listed on page 15 of the paper there.

        So, it relates, among other things, to how exceptionally we see ourselves, and how much we blame* those we expect.

        *maybe to be non judgmental is the way, as we hear that from time to time.

        1. carl

          Maybe too much to expect basic competence? The US looks like the first and foremost example of extreme capitalism.

    2. MLTPB

      I agree.

      We, or a couple of us, should remind ourselves of this when we talk about the WHO, or Taibei (or Beijing) and the WHO, etc.

              1. John Anthony La Pietra

                No, no, no, no, no!
                You know better than that, Lou.
                What’s on second

                base. . . .

                1. John Anthony La Pietra

                  (Darn — how did my finger slip
                  And hit the “block quote” button?)

  11. zagonostra

    > Unemployment Numbers

    Over the six reporting weeks since mid-March, state unemployment departments have processed a gut-wrenching 30.3 million initial claims for unemployment insurance.

    There continue to be reports of chaos, websites that go down intermittently, jammed phone lines and infernal wait-times while on hold, etc., as still overwhelmed unemployment offices are struggling to catch up…

    …California is no longer the state with the most initial unemployment claims. During the initial burst in March…Florida is now in the top rank, as its overwhelmed unemployment office is beginning to sort out the chaos.

    As someone commented on Wolf Street

    Florida is a hard state to qualify for unemployment. I don’t know about right now, but as of five or six years ago, you needed 20 continuous months of employment, with no breaks, to qualify for benefits. Any break in the previous 20 months, even one month, would disqualify you from benefits.

    Meanwhile in another good story today on unemployment figures.

    As the death toll rose and unemployment levels reached depression levels, the stock market continued its unprecedented rise this week

  12. Wukchumni

    I find it frankly amusing that a good many prisons/abattoirs have been able to test the inhabitants for Coronavirus, sometimes in the thousands…

    …and yet we can’t test 100 Senators

    1. Bugs Bunny

      If the Senate were privatized like the prisons, there’d be no problem getting tests. Just bill it under a separate statement of work. Done.

      1. mpalomar

        Perhaps not like the prisons, though there’s fertile ground there for thought, but I believe Congress has already been privatised.

    2. TMoney

      Your confusing the type of test.
      Senators actually expect a medical test, not the worker version below.
      Worker/prisoner tests: Send worker in, take swab of worker, send worker out, trash swab, report no Corona, Bill govt.

    3. Brian (another one they call)

      When I read that the capitol doc has no tests then the effort to combat CV is a farce. Now we all know our senators are going to demand a test and will be the first persons to get one. They don’t have one.
      Now we know that most of the claims of having a viable test are coming from the Baron Von Munchausen wing of the loony party. There are few to none real tests, but more importantly, no one has been able to create a viable test in the interim period, because of insurmountable obstacles of universality. IOU and dream a little dream about herd immunity again.
      as Chris Martenson has coined a gem of an explanation for cognitive entropy; “If you have a problem with the facts, facts aren’t the problem”

        1. flora

          My small population state is scheduled to receive many thousands of test kits this week. (we’ll see if they arrive).

      1. Massinissa

        What I don’t understand, is how do places like South Korea have thousands of presumably accurate tests when we can’t seem to even get 100 to test senators with?

        1. ambrit

          To be snarky about it, your question assumes that those 100 senators are humans. Do Zeta Reticulans get the coronavirus? Inquiring hive minds want to know.

        2. Jeff W

          The South Korean government had an urgent meeting with 20 medical companies, including test kit manufacturers, in Seoul on 27 January. (Korea and the US each had its first known coronavirus case a week before on the same day–20 January.)

          The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) approved a diagnostic test from Kogene and SD Biosensor on 4 February, the first two companies to get approval. Approvals for test kits of three other companies—SeeGene (12 February), Solgent (27 February) and Biosewoom (13 March)—soon followed, so now there are five South Korean companies producing diagnostic kits. (Several, if not all, of these companies had shifted their focus on a coronavirus test kit early in January, in advance of the 27 January meeting.)

          The approval in early February of some of these kits was an “emergency use approval and listing” by the KCDC and the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, formerly known as the Korea Food & Drug Administration (KFDA).

  13. Amfortas the hippie

    the neighbor who’s place abut on 2 1/2 sides with ours has a fine herd of angus…including lots of steers.
    in normal times, he’d get a great price for them…handsome payoff for years of genetics, hay raising and overall good management.
    doesn’t look so good, now.
    he’ll probably sell at least a third…maybe at a loss.
    and keep the rest for future herd rebuilding efforts.
    he’s fortunate to be managed to be able to do that.
    lots of them won’t…the Private Equity Guys of Cattleraising,lol….all scientific and math driven and as short sighted as one might expect from small entrepreneurial factory farming. “Grass Fed”=”cram as many onto this pasture as possible” and move on.

    the entire enterprise of agriculture is a dance with a capricious and indifferent goddess, and as such, doesn’t gel easily with the whole ” economics is just like physics” thing.
    That caveat aside, it’s just another indictment of “efficiency” and “Lean Operations” and “Just in Time”….and the Hyperconcentration that seems to inevitably flow from that mindset.

    Out here, I know 3 retired/gave up butchers…and numerous high school kids who work the deer processing during the season.
    Surely grinding these animals into sawdust is not the only answer at what might be the beginnings of a food crisis.
    I realise that i am biased by an aversion to Waste, due to the influence of my Depression/WW2 Grandparents.

    1. Wukchumni

      When we were getting ready to sell my childhood home, the task at hand was getting rid of nearly 50 years of stuff that my mom couldn’t part with, being a child of the Great Depression.

      We made 3 piles: keep, donate, or throw away~

      The first item was books, and a 1998 Canada travel guide seemed a perfect donate item being 20 years out of date, and mom protested mightily that it still had much merit, I knew we were in for a long slog.

      We’d find checkbook boxes with nubs of pencils with just a scintilla of eraser or lead left, bound by rubber bands that must of atrophied in the 70’s, and fell apart when you touched them, parts of mechanical items where you couldn’t figure out what it was originally, mason jars where she was attempting unsuccessfully to made rum raisin that were so scary looking I had to avert my eyes, and more.

      It’ll be interesting what happens in this version of the Greatest Depression, what sort of junk people can’t part with.

    2. Jessica

      Amfortas the Hippie,
      I know this isn’t how you intended it, but at first reading your post seemed to say that he was going keep a bunch of steers for future herd rebuilding…..

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        too much Noble Weed this am.
        steers gotta go when they’re ready.
        we’ve considered getting a couple to feed out while grain/grass is still plentiful.(that sort of butchering is better in winter with our current set-up…and PITA with such big animals)
        but cow/calf pairs from this bunch next year(or after(!?)) will be in demand at auction.

    3. Bill Carson

      After reading the NC story about the giant meat processing plants, I’ve decided to look into local small processors and butcher shops. Do such things exist today? If they don’t they should.

      1. Huey Long

        If you’re living anywhere between Portland, ME or NYC/North Jersey check out Walden Local Meats. They deliver your meat share every month to your home and are part owners of their Vermont slaughterhouse.

        I’ve been a member since January and have been very satisfied. It’s a little pricy, but it tastes better and it’s local.

      2. wilroncanada

        Bill C
        We have two butcher shops in Duncan BC (Cowichan Valley total population about 70,000). One also owns his own farm, so the beef and pork are REALLY local. There are also several small farms which sell eggs, chicken, turkey. You just have to know where to live, Canada, man, haha.

    1. Massinissa

      “Due to expanded benefits”…

      Geeeee, its not as if people are actually losing their jobs or something, right?

      Even if that was the reason, I wonder what party is at least mostly responsible? It can’t possibly be the one that controls the Presidency and Senate…

      1. LawnDart

        The headline clearly expressed that expanded benefits were the reason that unemployment was so high.

        But further into the article, it is suggested that multiple claims by individuals is the cause of this.

        I have difficulty even trying to imagine the thinking that went into the headline– seemingly tailored for Madam Guillotine herself.

  14. bassmule

    Tales From The Failed State®

    McNulty: Lemme understand you. Every Friday night you and the boys shoot crap, right? And every Friday night your pal Snot Boogie, he’d wait until there was cash on the ground then he’d grab the money and run away? You let him do that?

    Anonymous kid: I mean, we’d catch him and beat his ass, but ain’t nobody ever go past that!

    McNulty: I gotta ask ya: If every time Snot Boogie would grab the money and run away, why’d you even let him in the game?

    A.K.: What?!!

    McNulty: I mean, Snot Boogie always stole the money, why’d you let him play?

    A.K.: Got to! This’s America, man!

    –Opening scene, “The Wire.”

  15. Brindle

    Tara Reade…

    Krystal Ball @krystalball has a good take:

    “Lot of class bias implicit in this take of Ford being more credible than Tara. Tara has more evidence but Ford has more elite class standing and credentialing.”

    1. Monty

      Same article. “However, “current sampling clearly prevents reliable inference for the timing of introduction in France,” making it impossible to go one step further and conclude that the virus existed in France even before it was discovered in China.”

      Pluto MAY be made out of cheese. Current sampling clearly prevents reliable inference for the consistency of Pluto’s surface. It’s impossible to go one step further and say for sure, until we send a probe and bring it back to Earth with a sample.

      1. Jessica

        What they found does seem to rule out the standard narrative of the virus’s history though.

          1. Jessica

            At first read, it seemed to rule out the standard Out of Wuhan narrative. However, if there was a mutation in Belgium and that is what is showing up in France, it would not rule it out.

    2. xkeyscored

      Looks like clickbait. More like, the dominant clade in France may have come via Belgium and not directly from China. From the SCMP article which, according to RFI, first reported on this paper:

      “The French outbreak has been mainly seeded by one or several variants of this clade … we can infer that the virus was silently circulating in France in February,” said researchers led by Dr Sylvie van der Werf and Etienne Simon-Loriere in a non-peer reviewed paper released on last week.

      The Pasteur institute collected samples from more than 90 other patients across France and found the strains all came from one genetic line. Strains following this unique path of evolution had so far only been detected in Europe and the Americas.

      Benjamin Neuman, professor and chair of biological sciences with the Texas A&M University-Texarkana, said the French strains might have come from Belgium, where some sequences most closely related to the original strain from China were clustered.

      “Since the earliest European strains of [the coronavirus] Sars-CoV-2 seem to be associated with Belgium, the idea that the virus spread from Belgium to both Italy and France at around the same time seems plausible, as this paper contends,” he said.

      And the link to the paper in the RFI article is duff – anyone know the right link?

      1. David

        The outbreak in France is conventionally supposed to have begun with an evangelical meeting in Mulhouse, in mid-February. Some of the participants came from Belgium, so that might well have been ground zero.
        Here’s the original story (sorry, can’t find it in English).

        1. xkeyscored

          Even ‘ground zero’ sounds a bit misleading, as if that’s where COVID-19 started. So far as I can make out, that is not what this paper is saying at all, though I’d still rather read it myself than rely on journalists’ interpretations.

      2. PlutoniumKun

        Its here. Non peer reviewed. As you say, journalists have added 2+2 = 500. The full study doesn’t seem to be available, but I don’t see anything in the abstract to back up the implications in that article or the SCMP article. The Chinese media in particular are jumping on any research that purports to show evidence of pre-January infections outside China.

        1. xkeyscored

          Thanks, and here’s the full paper (PDF)*. It seems to entirely back up the SCMP article, and most of the RFI article apart from the highly misleading (deliberately so?) headline: “may not have come from China” (RFI) sounds very different to “did not come directly from China” (SCMP).

          The paper itself seems in little doubt that the virus ultimately originated in China:
          “Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was identified as the cause of an outbreak of severe respiratory infections in Wuhan, China in December 2019 (Zhu, Zhang et al. 2020). Although Chinese authorities implemented strict quarantine measures in Wuhan and surrounding areas, this emerging virus has rapidly spread across the globe.”

          *Sorry! Try this link for the paper:

          1. PlutoniumKun

            Thanks for that. Unless I’m missing something, the paper doesn’t challenge anything about the notion that it came from China, just that there was a version circulating in France from another source before the main infection.

            I get to see a lot of Chinese social media thanks to links from Chinese friends, and there is what I’m pretty sure is an orchestrated policy of circulating ambiguous papers like this with attached comments like ‘see? Even the Americans don’t think it came from China!’. In most cases, its a deliberate misreading of the research conclusions.

            Its unfortunate, but I think researchers need to be a bit more rigorous when writing their papers to ensure that they cannot be misinterpreted, deliberately or otherwise.

            1. xkeyscored

              My take:
              The paper itself says COVID-19 started in Wuhan. It asks how the dominant strain in France got there, and concludes it wasn’t directly from China or Italy, or from Asia or the Americas, more likely from Belgium.
              The SCMP article says basically the same thing.
              Nothing remarkable there, just another little piece in the jigsaw.

              The RFI article’s headline is extremely misleading (“may not have come from China”), and the rest of the article goes out of its way to help the reader think COVID-19 may have been in France before it was in Wuhan, even if it doesn’t explicitly say exactly that. I don’t know if it’s written that way for propaganda purposes, to take one side or the other in the US v China “who’s to blame” slanging match, but I doubt it. I’d guess it’s written that way because the ongoing slanging match and fascination with conspiracy theories means it’ll get zillions of clicks, unlike the rather boring fact that the virus basically got from Wuhan to France via Belgium not Italy.

              As for writing papers that cannot be misinterpreted, even deliberately, I wonder what you have in mind. There’s an entire industry of spin and propaganda out there trained in distorting facts, and plenty of journalists who can’t distinguish facts and spin even when they want to.

            2. David

              Curiously, there seems to be nothing on the main RFI site about this in French and their English site simply quotes the SCMP story. You’d have thought they would at least have picked up the phone and asked the Pasteur Institute. They are in the same city, for God’s sake.

              1. xkeyscored

                Interesting. I had been wondering if possibly the RFI article had just been a bit mangled in translation, along with the link to the paper.

                I wonder how much of social media is already abuzz with the amazing revelation that Scientists have PROVED the virus DID NOT originate in China, and how long it’ll be before Trump entertains us with his half-baked regurgitation of Fox News’ version of it all.

                1. MLTPB

                  I think, or assume, the RFI expects more of itself.

                  The buck stops there, proudly they say.

    3. MLTPB

      Could the Wuhan strain have been similarly circulated in Hubei unrecognized before the outbreak?

  16. The Rev Kev

    “Exit strategy:”

    I had this discussion in the car with my wife the other day whether locking down was unnecessary as the figures for cases stayed low here. I pointed out that the reason they stayed low was because we locked down but she remained unconvinced. In the end I said that it was like the seat-belts in our car. Every time we get into our car we put them on and even if it was not long-standing law I would still do it. But since we have never had to use them for what they were designed for, you could not say that it has been a waste of time using them every time we went for a drive. Same with the lockdown. It is not a waste.

    1. Trent

      This same argument was used to defend bailouts in 2008, in fact alot of whats going on right now reminds me of 2008 except that its worse.

  17. rjs

    no one seems to have noticed that almost half of the decrease in first quarter GDP was due to a 16.3% contraction of health care services…

    (that subtracted 225 basis point, to be precise)

    1. Monty


      “2:00PM Water Cooler 4/29/2020
      Today’s Water Cooler: “Nearly half of the Q1 decline in GDP can be attributed to healthcare, which is presumably delaying of elective procedures.” Can this be true?”

      You’ve got to tune in every day!

  18. The Rev Kev

    “Nannies Tell the Truth About Working During the Coronavirus’

    After reading through this article, this should get really interesting if we get a more lethal mutation of this virus down the track. Those people have no idea of social distancing, no idea of self-reliance and will find their wealth more a hindrance than a help if things go south. The only thing is that as they go around the gurgler, they will try and drag their “servants” down with them.

    1. CanCyn

      This story really set me off, these people are scum of the earth! I really can’t imagine expecting an employee to scour stores for good toilet paper. We are currently watching Foyle’s War, a British series set during WWII about a policeman carrying on with solving ‘normal’ crime during the war. In one episode he solves a murder committed by a guy who killed a wealthy person hiding out from the London bombings in a guest house in the countryside. Apparently it was very common behaviour, many guest houses in the countryside accommodated these people, the locals despised the guests as cowards and the guesthouse owners for making money this way. The Brits called these places funk holes.

      1. Massinissa

        Oh, I can imagine it. Society is just going back to the good old days of Downton Abbey when the wealthy had an entire staff to tend to their everyday household needs. /partial sarc

        In fact, maybe that’s how we solve the unemployment problem: the ultra rich just need to start hiring 10 times as many butlers and maids! We can even have them paid for with free money from the Federal Reserve! /complete sarc

      2. Tom Bradford

        A great series. I do, tho’, recall being slightly amused by this particular episode – funk holes certainly existed but to escape the Blitz by holing up on the South Coast in the most likely spot for a German invasion seemed hardly rational.

        1. CanCyn

          Agreed on that one. It didn’t make a lot of sense to bolt south :) but still an entertaining series. The problems with the supply chain, hoarding, profiteering and government incompetence portrayed do remind me of our current crisis in many ways. Perhaps the series reboot will be Foyle’s Pandemic!

  19. petal

    To help keep mice and other Rodentia out of your engine compartment/car: Bounce dryer sheets. Tuck a few into the engine compartment. I also put one in each door pocket. It smells a bit, but better than having unticketed riders. This is straight from my mechanic after they found a mouse starting to set up home in my engine compartment last month.

    1. Wukchumni

      Thanks for the tip~

      Everybody here gets rodents in their cars, as we are living cheek by jowl next to nature. Last year when I was getting my car serviced, the mechanic came into the waiting room to show me where a mouse had made a home in the air filter, and although no ‘for sale’ sign was visible, it looked as if said rodent was attempting to flip his property for a quick profit, or maybe set up a LairBnB short term rental?

    2. Bugs Bunny

      Thanks for this – news you can use!

      Maybe that’s why I’ve never seen a mouse in the laundry room?

      1. fresno dan

        Bugs Bunny
        May 1, 2020 at 10:34 am

        Maybe that’s why I’ve never seen a mouse in the laundry room?

        I thought it was their proclivity to think tide pods are candy…

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      Is this a garage issue or too close to bushy plants? I’ve never had this problem, and the last time I (my parents) had a garage cars made vroom vroom noises.

      1. petal

        Neither-it’s parked on a paved strip outside(no garage), no bushes within 60+ feet, and even those are tiny. A very well-kept apartment complex parking lot. It just happens, he said. I keep my car clean inside and out, don’t eat in it or leave food in it, etc. Maybe the mouse liked vintage 90s Swedish design? I kept peppering him with questions about potential draws and he said there weren’t any in my case. It was just a fluke thing. They went to fix a hose that had become disconnected, and the mouse jumped out of the engine compartment and ran. They cleared out the nesting materials while they had the hood open. I was embarrassed, so to make me feel better he talked about a case they had where they pulled out 2-55gal barrels worth of black walnuts from one car that a squirrel had stashed, and another car where they found several sloughed off snake skins….and the snake. He insisted on using Bounce dryer sheets, as there’s something in them that the rodents can’t stand.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          my farm truck gets mice.
          last one had a nest in the glove box.
          i didn’t feel like dealing with it at the moment, and promptly forgot.
          went with the truck to the guy who salvaged it.
          there’s also usually(in season) various grass and small grains growing in the back of the current one.
          and spiders…everywhere.
          they just ride around with me and don’t talk much.
          i like them better than mice.
          put it all together and it’s a rather effective anti-theft system.
          utterly free and doesn’t use electricity.

    4. BobW

      Had a neighborhood cat in the engine compartment once, presumably jumped onto warm engine because of cold weather. I started the car to a terrible screech. Fortunately the cat was not visibly injured and rapidly exited the garage. I was able to remove myself from the roof liner without injury as well.

  20. Monty

    The Danish study is interesting. I read it as concluding the test they used found a 0.08% IFR in healthy adults under 70 year olds.

    I wonder what the IFR is for flu in this same group? 0.0001%?

  21. The Rev Kev

    “Coronavirus: Kenyans moved by widow cooking stones for children”

    I recognize this technique. It’s the stone soup method. You start by boiling stones and let people see you and get intrigued. Then you ask fora carrot or something to flavour it and they give you one. Then you ask for a potato to help thicken it and eventually you get to the point that you get some meat to add to the pot.

    General Patton used this technique too. If he wanted to launch a major attack but knew HQ would not authorize it, he would send a major patrol. Then he would tell HQ they were finding resistance and asked for some more troops. Then later for some tanks and artillery and next thing you knew, he had HQ sending all he needed for a major attack.

    1. MLTPB

      In Persia, the bread is called Sangak, baked on a pile of pebbles.

      Their army used to march on that for its stomach, I think.

      Our Corona Army marches, for not a few, on meat for its stomach. It’s hard to become vegetarian in the middle of the fog of pandemic war.

    2. periol

      I thought the bit in the article about the Kenyan government spending a huge chunk of pandemic money from WHO on snacks and cell phone service for the Health Ministry staff sounded sadly familiar. They are really taking American-style capitalism to heart there. I guess her use of stone soup short-circuited their means testing criteria.

      On another note, one of the interesting features of this story is that she was cooking outside, so her neighbors were able to see and do something to help. In America if a mom is cooking stone soup, she’s doing it quietly in the kitchen and nobody outside the house will know anything unless the walls are thin and they can hear the kids crying. We are not ready for where this is going.

  22. diptherio

    Re: On the Toxicity of the ‘Warrior’ Ethos

    Military professionals clamour for charismatic figures to aspire to. But the desire for heroic warrior leaders has blinded many to ethical and professional leaders who would provide better role models. Roman Centurions are one alternative.

    More importantly, and in contrast to the warriors examined above, they were an integral part of the society that they defended. [emphasis added]

    Um…using Roman history to make the case that soldiers are better than warriors because the latter have a tendency to rebel is…interesting. Seems to me like most of Roman history is about the defection of one or another colonial General along with their Legions (including Centurions), and the ensuing civil wars. I mean, I’m no expert or anything, but the argument the author is trying to make seems to kinda fall apart here, even though his overall point is probably sound.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      I wasn’t impressed by that one either. The author goes too far in trying to make a distinction between warriors (bad) and soldiers (good).

      I’d like to live in a world where we do without both of them.

  23. David

    Since it’s the First of May, and since nobody else has done so, I’m posting links to a few stirring songs to commemorate struggle and resistance. Can’t think of any in English, which probably says something.
    The Chant de Partisans written in 1943 for the French Resistance. The English subtitles aren’t great but will give you a sense of the meaning. The figure in the bottom left, incidentally, is Resistance hero Jean Moulin, the civil servant who was sent by De Gaulle to unify the Resistance, which he did before being betrayed and tortured to death by the Gestapo in 1943.
    Bella Ciao the approximate Italian equivalent, again with subtitles in English.
    A song about the life and works of Ernesto Guevara de la Serna, written while he was still alive, and sung by Inti Illimani, a Chilean exile group who kept the flame of democracy intact during the Pinochet years. It segues into Guantanamera which is also a song of resistance.
    And of course The People, United, will Never be Defeated.

    1. Jack Gavin

      One possibility for no English songs is that it was never necessary to have one.

    2. shtove

      English radicals had a parody of God Save The Queen:
      “God save great Thomas Paine/The rights of man maintain …”

      Paine sued, because he was a Deist, and therefore God had no agency in his salvation. The case was settled on undisclosed terms.

      1. Fabian

        60 of us had a Zoom singalong on Mayday – Joe Hill, Bread and Roses, Brother can you spare a dime, bella ciao, the red flag – good stuff

    3. Tom Bradford

      May 1st in England is a festival of Spring – maypole and bucolic Morris dancing with ribbons waving and bells a’ringing, jolly folk songs and sheep-shagging, upending social convention and lots and lots of suitably rustic TV advertising. Stirring songs to commemorate struggle and resistance it isn’t.

  24. The Rev Kev

    “Colombia’s great coronavirus exodus”

    From what I can gather from this article, Colombia’s reporting may be not so hot. They are saying as of yesterday that they have had 293 deaths and a total of 6,507 cases. From the description in this article, those figures may be off by an order of magnitude. When Venezuela is seen as a safe haven, then you know that there is something wrong.

    1. MLTPB

      Just about a week ago, Chinese in Moscow and other Russian cities were fleeing in the direction of Siberia and further south.

      1. Massinissa

        Why don’t they go, er, back to China?

        I suppose they know or at least think that China is cooking the books on corona, so to speak.

        1. MLTPB

          I think they went back to China. I wrote further south of Siberia, or meant to write that to mean China.

          1. Massinissa

            Ohhhh. My bad, I was mostly thinking Kazakhstan and the small countries below that. The western half of siberia is above Kazakhstan, with the eastern part over Mongolia/China.

  25. antidlc

    Politico article referenced above: The unlikely alliance trying to rescue workplace health insurance

    Video from

    Ilyse Schuman, senior vice president of health policy at the American Benefits Council, talked about how the COVID-19 pandemic impacts employer-sponsored health care coverage.

    The American Benefits Council is an employER group. Its members are listed here:

    Members include insurance companies.

    At the 7:40 mark, a call is taken and the caller asks about profits of insurance companies. The ABC senior VP really doesn’t answer the question.

    Later on, the senior VP says Congress should keep the employer-based system of insurance.

    I found the whole thing rather painful to watch. It looks to me like the VP is reading from notes, so did she get the questions ahead of time and is just reading a prepared statement?

  26. local to oakland

    Thanks for the Law and Crime article re Flynn.

    The article fails to mention some of the most disturbing allegations currently on right wing media. Inneffective assistance of counsel claims that Flynn’s former attorneys failed to communicate offers of immunity from congressional committees to their client. It also doesn’t mention the claim that these attorneys and the fbi hid a side deal in the plea agreement from the judge, specifically a quid pro quo regarding not prosecuting Flynn’s son in exchange for Flynn’s plea.

    The article does go into how the interrogation used standard techniques. It doesn’t comment however on the context. Flynn was blindsided. He was asked by executive employees to comment about conversations that he made within the scope of his job while working for the president. He could easily have assumed that they were all on the same side. The Mueller investigation has destroyed the easy assumptions we have had in this country about peaceful transitions of power. Flynn as a layperson badly needed the advice of counsel during that interview. He couldn’t have been expected to know the legal risks of those conversations, especially since the risks were so contextual to working for this particular president. It was not yet public knowledge that the new administration’s foreign policy was going to be declared a national security risk by the opposing party and the press.

    1. fresno dan

      local to oakland
      May 1, 2020 at 11:07 am

      First, I pretty much agree with you. Let me repeat – I agree mostly with you. We probably differ in that it seems you think this is Flynn specific, and I think this is how the FBI operates as usual. It is an outrage, and maybe people on the right will start acknowledging that having an attorney when the cops are questioning you is not tantamount to a confession of guilt. Flynn talking to Russians was not against the law, so him being questioned looks pretty much like anti Trump doings.
      However, Flynn should have thought something was up – already Trump being in cahoots with the Russians was a thing. I find it hard to fathom that someone in Flynn’s position, that entails understanding and utilizing the military and Washington bureaucracies for his career advancement, would not have been concerned about questions related to Russia. see
      AND the treatment of Carter Page is far more outrageous.

      1. fresno dan

        and to gild the lily:
        As Turley could be viewed as republican and pro Trump, I quote the other lawyer in the article

        Political investigations and impeachment lawyer Ross Garber, who has handled many cases of this kind, said that even people who haven’t committed crimes should be “incredibly wary” of “any” interview with law enforcement.

        “There may be more information that emerges, but standing alone, the email exchange is unlikely to change anything,” Garber said. I’ve handled a lot of 1001 cases, and in many instances prosecutors and agents are well aware of, and even seek to maximize the use of, the leverage they get when a person being interviewed says something that’s not entirely accurate.”

        “It’s a reason why anyone, even someone who has committed no crime, should be incredibly wary of any interview with law enforcement officials and consult with qualified counsel in advance,” he added.
        Prosecutors and police have jobs, and sometimes making it look like they are good at their jobs is more important to them than justice or your constitutional rights. Trump is a very legalistic guy – you can bet he has never met a prosecutor without the maximum amount of legal representation permitted by law…

        1. ewmayer

          even people who haven’t committed crimes should be “incredibly wary” of “any” interview with law enforcement — The essence of the classic FBI et al. “perjury trap” is to get you to commit a crime where none existed before. FBI entrapment ruses where e.g. agent posing as jihadist recruiter gets some random disaffected islamic teenager to become more seriously radicalized and “do something big” is also part of the standard playbook.

      2. local to oakland

        Thanks for your reply. I also agree mostly with you. Any interview with law enforcement is dangerous. Also Carter Page was slandered and hung out to dry. He deserved none of it. I hope he can rebuild his career.

        However, I also think the attempt to criminalize the ordinary acts of the Trump administration to use the power they had been elected to wield was incredibly dangerous to american institutions. Flynn was questioned about acts he took within the scope of his job. There was no underlying crime.

        This may well be standard operating procedure for the fbi once they open an investigation, but the choice to investigate members of an incoming presidency before they have taken power is unprecedented. It is historic. It undercuts the electoral process, among other things.

        It would take someone a lot more eloquent than I am to spell out the problems with targeting Flynn, but yes, to me it is horrifying.

        1. fresno dan

          local to oakland
          May 1, 2020 at 7:06 pm

          I agree 1000% – I go into more detail in the 2pm water cooler where I link to another article.
          And I say, if not an attempted overthrow, what would you call what they were doing?

        2. fresno dan

          The court case over all that has dragged out for more than three years now, though anyone could see from the get-go that it was a malicious prosecution. (I said as much more than once in this blog years ago.) Presiding Judge Emmet Sullivan has overlooked flagrant misconduct by DOJ prosecutors, led by Brandon Van Grack. FBI Director Christopher Wray has concealed exculpatory evidence of FBI and DOJ misconduct that favored General Flynn for three years. General Flynn’s previous attorneys from the DC law firm of Covington and Burling ­­­­­­­­— where Mr. Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder is a partner — represented Gen. Flynn poorly, and did so apparently on-purpose.
          I did not know that Flynn’s initial attorneys were from a law firm that employed Eric Holder – which seems…odd

    2. lyman alpha blob

      I also thought that article tried a little too hard in claiming the FBI was just using “standard techniques” –

      “There may be more information that emerges, but standing alone, the email exchange is unlikely to change anything,” Garber said. I’ve handled a lot of 1001 cases, and in many instances prosecutors and agents are well aware of, and even seek to maximize the use of, the leverage they get when a person being interviewed says something that’s not entirely accurate.”

      Using “not entirely accurate” statements made by a suspect in an interview against them is one thing.

      It’s an entirely different thing to conduct the interview with the intent of creating inaccurate statements so as to make the interviewee into a criminal.

  27. Alex morfesis

    The old bully vs the new bully…welcome to the inflexion point when the Chinese Communist red armies capacity to bribe fits in well with the parliamentary governance systems of most of the world…the question becomes will it last…will this new duopoly of its okay to bribe openly vs it’s okay to figure out a way to work together last ? ? China has no history of far flung enterprises and has reintroduced paper currency backed by the shinny object of “potential access” to those two billion eyeballs…

    Skimming/stealing/converting thru over financialization vs direct bribery by the Central committee…

    There are another few billion people on this planet to work with…in the 50 years after Dr Kay Sat with the old divinity student and showed him his own little read book, the middle kingdom has papered it’s way into converting it’s human capital into a union busting rust belting conduit to attempt to suck the marrow out of the left over bones of the West…the other 5 billion plus folks outside the limited focus of lazy marketers not willing to learn a few dozen languages are there to pivot to…will the old guard in America die off fast enough to allow enough new blood to create new prosperity or does the zodiak killer and grave dancer and their friends keep lamenting about the glory days of travel by rail…the future is calling…

    1. Massinissa

      I’m not too convinced ‘new blood’ would be any better than the ‘old guard’. Won’t most of the ‘new blood’ be toadies and neoliberals like Mayor Pete? The problem isn’t age but class. They’re a big club of rich people and PMC-types under them and we aren’t in it. There’s plenty of good-thinking neoliberal toadies like Buttigieg to replace them when they die.

  28. Xquacy

    Re: Cuomo’s Density Dodge: Pandemics Aren’t Anti-City, Failure to Act Early Is Gothamist

    Yet, instead of taking responsibility for his slow response, Governor Cuomo has launched a scapegoat campaign, blaming

    As one would expect, Cuomo’s line of argument has been even more attractive to the Indian Urban planning and Business elite, which has is well exposed and debunked here:

    After the Pandemic, Will We Rethink How We Plan Our Cities?

    1. Carolinian

      From the article

      if the state and city had adopted widespread social-distancing measures a week or two earlier, including closing schools, stores and restaurants, then the estimated death toll from the outbreak might have been reduced by 50-80 percent.

      Whoa. Even if slightly true that would make Cuomo responsible for a lot more deaths than Trump and his Lysol.

      Guess, should he replace Biden, he won’t be running on his record.

      1. MLTPB

        I recall when Santa Clara county ordered shelter in place (also the first time I ever ran across that particular phase…others now use stay home, lockdown, etc), I asked myself, and perhaps even out loud here, NY had more cases, they should put that in days or weeks before, and still not too late even then.

        But it took more time for NY to do that…after Los Angeles county, which did that some time after Santa Clara.

  29. FreeMarketApologist

    For the Guillotine Watch section: This on New York’s Grubstreet site, on reopening restaurants:

    The article quotes Simon Kim (operator of fancy spot Cote), “How many of my workers will want to come back? For many of them, the $600 a week in unemployment is more than they could make with us.”

    My quick math says $600/wk is NYC minimum wage ($15) x 40 hrs. So why isn’t he paying minimum wage (or better) to his staff? Taking advantage of the ‘small employer’ loophole? The restaurant workers loophole? Abuse of undocumented workers? The writer apparently was happy to continue the spread of the “those lazy people would rather get welfare than work” meme, and not the “why don’t you pay them more” meme.

    Happy May 1. Workers of the world, unite!

    1. urblintz

      I wonder how many people with an ACA subsidy, currently separated from their low-paying jobs and possibly making more on unemployment, will end up losing all or part of that subsidy and have to pay back the difference? How much of their expanded UI benefits will end up in the hands of health insurers?

    2. sd

      Look up ‘Stage’ in the restaurant industry. The higher end that a restaurant is the more likely there are people working in the kitchen who are not paid.

      It’s an abusive industry that begins with tipping.

      1. sd

        Thinking out loud here…
        Maybe another way to look at it is that current unemployment benefits represent a more accurate minimum living wage.

        In California, the maximum benefit is $450
        $450 state + $600 federal = $1,050/week
        Assuming a 40 hour work week $1,050/40 = $26.25/hour which actually sounds about right

  30. flora

    re: ICANN Board Withholds Consent for a Change of Control of the Public Interest Registry (PIR) ICANN.

    That’s excellent news; best news I’ve read in a while. Public push back worked. Thanks for the link.

  31. fresno dan

    The Inevitable Coronavirus Censorship Crisis is Here Matt Taibbi

    We have a lot of dumb people in this country. But the difference between the stupidities cherished by the Idiocracy set ingesting fish cleaner, and the ones pushed in places like the Atlantic, is that the jackasses among the “expert” class compound their wrongness by being so sure of themselves that they force others to go along.
    I watch way too many true crime shows. And along with my cynicism about the media, this article juxtaposes something that I saw in the right media (link below) that was pretty…interesting

    A man in Arizona and his wife ingested a powdered chloroquine used for cleaning fish tanks, because they believed it would prevent them from getting the coronavirus. Both* were hospitalized but the husband died. Many in the media were quick to blame President Trump and some initially didn’t mention that the drug in question was purchased as fish tank cleaner.
    So what did happen the day that Gary took a lethal dose of chloroquine? When asked if they’d had a discussion about it beforehand, Wanda (the wife) told the Beacon, “No. I mean, it was really kind of a spur of the moment thing.” A friend of Gary’s said Wanda would often make “a cocktail of vitamins for Gary.” He was in the habit of taking what she prepared for him.
    So, people believe the president and take fish tank cleaner? OR wife uses pandemic as an opportunity to knock off husband with fish tank cleaner???
    As Andy Dufresne asks the prison guard: Do you trust your wife?
    * every true crime aficionado knows that when you poison, you poison yourself as well….

    1. Monty

      Good find!

      I was wondering about this the other day because I thought it was a very suspicious story. I had wondered if it was suicide, because you would need to take a lot to die. LD50 is 5 grams and it usually it comes as 250mg tablets. Who eats 20 tablets of anything as a prophylactic?

      Paging Detective Lieutenant Columbo! Maybe she dissolved it in his Kool Aid?

    2. periol

      I saw that article, and a few others yesterday.

      Supposedly she gave them both the same amount, and that amount was 4x the lethal dosage. She ended up a little sick in the hospital, he ended up dead.

      I’m with you, I think she’s lying about the size of the dosage. I really doubt she’s spent the last few years building up an immunity to chloroquine phosphate to prepare for a battle of the wits…

    1. Monty

      Its like C.T. Inception!

      Does it say that Dr. Fauci outsourced the bat virus experiments to the Chinese level 4 Wuhan lab? Or am I reading too much into it?

      1. Sancho Panza

        In answer to your question, I’m not sure. It appears so but is unclear. However, the story connected Fauci, USG, NIH, and NIAID through research dollars and personnel to the Wuhan lab and this connection has gone unnoted in most mainstream coverage I’ve seen. NYT, WaPO etc continue to avoid any mention of the relationship Fauci and USG had with this lab.

    2. Oregoncharles

      Is it a conspiracy theory if it’s in Newsweek? “NIH’s axing of bat coronavirus grant a ‘horrible precedent’ and might break rules, critics say,” today, documents that indeed, NIH was funding coronavirus research at Wuhan. Doesn’t mention “gain of function” research, though.

      Could someone who knows please define “gain of function” research for us? Here it is in the article: “Many scientists have criticized gain of function research, which involves manipulating viruses in the lab to explore their potential for infecting humans, because it creates a risk of starting a pandemic from accidental release.”

      Yeah, I think I’d agree with that. It’s the same argument as against nuclear power: there is no such thing as perfect containment; short version: s..t happens.

      And again, I saw it documented on PBS (Frontline? A while ago, can’t link it). A scientist was working on inserting the virulence genes from the 1918 flu into a modern bird flu. My hair stood on end: why is anyone allowed to do this? Hopefully that was a Level 4 lab – but again, those designations approach magical thinking. People go in and out of those labs every day.

      I really hate to be anti-science, but there is such a thing as unethical research – and I don’t think the people with careers at stake should be making those decisions.

  32. xkeyscored

    There was a lot of discussion yesterday about the US government appointing an ’empowered council’ to direct resources into vaccines and treatments for COVID-19, something proposed by a group of oligarchs, venture capitalists and so on, likening it to the Manhattan Project.

    Nature has an article today which doesn’t mention that group or its proposal, but does envision a much bigger role for the WHO, which as I recall they didn’t mention. A much more wholesome approach, IMO.

    “Scores of coronavirus vaccines are in competition — how will scientists choose the best?”

    1. MLTPB

      Who chooses on whom to test the vaccines?

      A while back, people reacted very strongly to a suggestion for testing one there.

  33. Oregoncharles

    “Trump contradicts US intel community by claiming he’s seen evidence coronavirus originated in Chinese lab”
    I agree that “contradicts intel” is not an argument, but it raises a practical question: if he didn’t get it from “intelligence,” where did he get it? Fox News. We’ve all seen evidence, of a sort, to the same effect.

    Is US “intelligence” on China any good? Didn’t the Chinese clean up – fatally – a CIA ring a few years ago? Or do we in fact know nothing?

  34. Cuibono

    What is with the Japan Hype on teetering on the brink?
    14K cases and 430 deaths?


  35. Oregoncharles

    “How Democrats blew up #MeToo”
    The same way they blew up the peace movement when Kerry was running, way back in 2004.

    that’s their job, their role in our political system.

  36. GettingTheBannedBack

    I remember after Clinton was defeated, there were marches from women wearing “pussy” hats to highlight Trump’s poor attitude to women. And then suddenly, the #MeToo movement just exploded onto the political scene from pretty much nowhere.
    MeToo had been started by Tarana Burke in 2006. But it basically had no traction until 2017 when the Harvey Weinstein allegations hit the fan. And then it was on for young and old. It got so much airplay.
    Now, in my distant past, I had a relative who worked at the top of a political party and was privy to political tactics. And it seemed to me to be passing strange that this movement should just burst onto the scene at the time that it would have absolutely helped the Democratic Party narrative on Trump. Was this a Democratic Party operation was my thought?
    Lately the #MeToo movement went really quiet in the press, when the allegations about Biden surfaced again. But as the evidence mounts up, Biden has had to confront it. Call me cynical, but #MeToo looks more and more like a Dem duck and walks like a Dem duck and quacks like a Dem duck. And that’s a real shame because the issue of sexual assault will be on the backburner while the Dem candidate is under a massive cloud. And of course Trump won’t be supporting #MeToo women either.

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