Links 5/10/2020

A guide to the tick species every American should know Popular Science (Re Silc). One tick two ticks red ticks blue ticks.

What Do Platforms Do? Understanding the Gig Economy (PDF) Annual Review of Sociology. “Platforms represent a distinct type of governance mechanism, different from markets, hierarchies, or networks, and therefore pose a unique set of problems for regulators, workers, and their competitors in the conventional economy. Reflecting the instability of the platform structure, struggles over regulatory regimes are dynamic and difficult to predict, but they are sure to gain in prominence as the platform economy grows.”

UN rapporteur on torture ‘scared to find out more about our democracies’ after delving into Assange case RT (CL)

Scientists Have Developed a Membrane That Separates CO2 From Other Gases Science Alert (KW).

The new normal Africa is a Country. On NOLA.

#COVID19

The science:

COVID Moonshot: Can AI Algorithms and Volunteer Chemists Design a Knockout Antiviral? IEEE Spectrum. Betteridge’s Law, but it does sound interesting, especially as an end-run around Big Pharma gatekeepers.

* * *

Spread:

The Risks – Know Them – Avoid Them Erin Bromage. Must-read.

CDC: COVID-19 Can Spread 13 Feet, Travel on Shoes WebMD. Asian countries whose cultural norms include shoes off in the house, no handshakes, frequent masking, besides mandatory and universal BCG vaccination plus experience with SARS (and even multiple showers a day and the bum gun) seem to have built-in advantages against #COVID-19 that more “advanced” countries do not. Live and learn. Or not!

Too few masks, tests and workers: How covid-19 spread through Maryland nursing homes WaPo. Rules 1 and 2.

72 got COVID-19 after being at large event Channel 3000. “More than 70 people who tested positive for the coronavirus since an April 24 rally at the Wisconsin state Capitol [against extending the Stay-at-Home order] indicated they had attended a large gathering, but the state Department of Health Services cant’ say if they were at the rally because it is not tracking specific events.”

* * *

Masks:

In the early days of the pandemic, the U.S. government turned down an offer to manufacture millions of N95 masks in America WaPo

* * *

Treatment:

A Much-Hyped COVID-19 Drug Is Almost Identical to a Black-Market Cat Cure The Atlantic. “GS-441524 is almost identical to a much buzzed-about human drug: remdesivir.”

Fact check: Price didn’t drive promotion of remdesivir over hydroxychloroquine USA Today. For both, we have only clinical evidence. (Nothing from Gilead counts.) So the reporter, basing his conclusion on observational studies, would have needed to assess the studies for both drugs, especially the protocals (e.g., HQ plus zinc, remdesivir only for the sickest, etc.) which they did not do.

Trump administration announces plan to distribute Covid-19 drug amid concerns over allocation STAT. Via FOX: “The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Saturday that it is delivering 140 cases of the drug remdesivir to Illinois, 110 cases to New Jersey, 40 cases to Michigan, 30 cases each to Connecticut and Maryland and 10 cases to Iowa. Each case contains 40 vials of the drug, the department said in a statement.”

Early missteps, transparency questions dog U.S. government’s remdesivir rollout: reports Fierce Pharma

NIH clinical trial testing antiviral remdesivir plus anti-inflammatory drug baricitinib for COVID-19 begins NIH. remdesivir is an “investigational antiviral.”

‘Finally, a virus got me.’ Scientist who fought Ebola and HIV reflects on facing death from COVID-19 Science

* * *

Vaccine:

Anti-vaccination leaders seize on coronavirus to push resistance to inoculation WaPo. I don’t mind people playing Russian Roulette with the gun pointed at their own skulls. It’s a free country; knock yourself out! I do mind what we might call American Roulette: Where you point the gun at somebody else’s skull (while mentally congratulating yourself on your own rugged individualism).

* * *

Testing and tracing:

Kits, reagents and viruses Virology Down Under. Informative!

Testing and tracking visitors to South Korea (dk). Thread:

The result:

“You have to assume everyone has it”:

Yep.

Two White House Coronavirus Cases Raise Question of if Anyone Is Really Safe NYT

U.S. Coronavirus Testing Still Falls Short. How’s Your State Doing? NPR

* * *

Political response:

Trump is pursuing a herd immunity strategy — whether intentionally or not Ryan Cooper, The Week. “Even if Trump is not actively aiming at herd immunity, there is no indication that he is even considering the test, track, and isolate option, let alone starting to construct the elaborate and efficient bureaucracy that would be needed. Neither is there any sign that he would be capable of doing such a thing even if he wanted to.”

Lambert here: The question nobody seems to be asking is whether the United States has the operational capability for “test, track, and isolate” regardless of the party in power. I don’t see how an automatic “yes” answer is possible. What we have instead is a series of natural experiments, with the states as “laboratories of democracy” as it were, as we would expect in a Federal system. And that’s before we get to parties. If Trump had ordered Cuomo to shut down New York two weeks earlier, what would the reaction have been? If Obama (or whoever) had ordered Florida to shut down before Spring Break, would have the reaction been? I started calling the United States a “failed state” more as a polemic forcing device than a serious diagnosis, but the more I watch how “our democracy” is meeting the #COVID19 challenge, the more I think the term is appropriate. Fortunately, under the leadership of Joe Biden…. Oh, what’s the use.

Lockdown Wars: Debating Pandemic Measures In A Failed State The American Conservative

America’s Federalist Dysfunction Isn’t Going Away Jacobin

Spotlight: A changing global political structure amid COVID-19 Xinhua

The Pandemic Isn’t a Black Swan but a Portent of a More Fragile Global System The New Yorker. Taleb.

* * *

Social determinants of health:

The First 100 Pro Publica.

* * *

Exit strategy:

Reopening After COVID: The 3 Phases Recommended By The White House NPR. But even Republican states are not following the phases recommended by a Republican White House.

These U.S. cities are best positioned to bounce back from the coronavirus pandemic, according to Moody’s Yahoo Finance.

Coronavirus: France’s ‘strange defeat’ Politico

France had Covid-19 in November, hospital says after analysis of chest scans South China Morning Post

China?

Mekong nations face growing threat to food security amid claims China’s dams exacerbate effects of drought South China Morning Post

FDA Pulls the Plug on a Lot of China PPE China Law Blog

Racism is not the answer to Singapore’s COVID-19 outbreak Lausan

The Bangladesh Commercial River Transport Industry Maritime Executive. They don’t mention ocean rise.

India

India Killed Kashmir’s Top Militant Commander. What Now? The Diplomat

Now, Reports Find Delhi Government Under-Reporting COVID-19 Deaths The Wire

New Cold War

RAY McGOVERN: New House Documents Sow Further Doubt That Russia Hacked the DNC Consortium News

Flynn and the Anatomy of a Political Narrative National Review

Trump Transition

US lawmakers clash over new stimulus as jobless rate soars FT

The ‘Blob’ Strikes Back The American Conservative

2020

Biden Campaign Is Secretly Building a Republican Group Daily Beast. It’s not so much a matter of “pushing” Biden left, but pulling him left, against the constant and black hole-like gravitational force of centrist Republicans.

Gavin Newsom endorses Joe Biden for president during high-dollar fundraiser Los Angeles Times

Obama lashes out at Trump in call with supporters AP. At least Obama would have had better public relations.

Health Care

Millions of Americans to lose insurance as jobless rate soars FT

In Colorado, Democrats Are Listening to Health Industry Lobbyists and Killing the Public Option Jacobin. Just as in 2009, the public option is a liberal Democrats bait-and-switch to prevent #MedicareForAll. And juat as in 2009, liberal Democrats kill it when that purpose has been served.

Our Famously Free Press

Nostalgia:

The Pulitzer Problem The Baffler

Why Fake Video, Audio May Not Be As Powerful In Spreading Disinformation As Feared NPR

Internet Censorship, Ego Death, And Other Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix Caitlin Johnstone

Mothers Day

Anna Jarvis, The Creator of Mother’s Day, Died Hating The Holiday She Created Teen Vogue

Why Is This Mother’s Day Different From All Others? Vogue

Viewpoint: A true Mother’s Day gift would be policies supporting mothers Lansing State Journal

Class Warfare

Prison Labor Replaces Striking Garbage Workers in New Orleans Payday Report. Looks like the courts have replaced the auction block.

‘About As Evil As It Gets’: As State Reopens, Ohio Urges Employers to Snitch on Workers Who Stay Home Due to Covid-19 Concerns Common Dreams (KW). Since liberal Democrats defenestrated the only candidate who proposed the most mild systemic ameliorations for wage labor, they have no response to this but virtue signaling followed by acceptance, as usual (unlike some).

Screen New Deal The Intercept. The deck: “Under Cover of Mass Death, Andrew Cuomo Calls in the Billionaires to Build a High-Tech Dystopia.”

No current NYC educators named to Cuomo’s ‘reimagine education’ council Chalkbeat. Well, naturally. Cuomo is a liberal Democrat, and teachers are unionized.

Human Rights on the Altar of the Market: The Blackstone Letters and the Financialization of Housing Transnational Legal Theory

Technocrats & Class Stumbling and Mumbling

The real Lord of the Flies: what happened when six boys were shipwrecked for 15 months Guardian

Little Richard, Founding Father of Rock Who Broke Musical Barriers, Dead at 87 Rolling Stone. Flights of angels sing thee to thy rest:

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.

205 comments

  1. PlutoniumKun

    CDC: COVID-19 Can Spread 13 Feet, Travel on Shoes WebMD. Asian countries whose cultural norms include shoes off in the house, no handshakes, frequent masking, besides mandatory and universal BCG vaccination plus experience with SARS (and even multiple showers a day and the bum gun) seem to have built-in advantages against #COVID-19 that more “advanced” countries do not. Live and learn. Or not!

    I think there are certainly cultural issues (which may of course have developed specifically because they reduced risks) are important, but there are also Asian practices which may have made things worse. A recent South Korean outbreak spread very rapidly because the super spreader went on a night out and visited five different bars – anyone who’s been to Korea and Japan in particular will know that this type of bar/club hopping is a standard feature of a night out. Also, large shared restaurant meals would seem a big problem as everyone is touching the same serving spoons and other utensils and sitting for hours at the same table. Plus, it should be said, that bar and restaurant toilets in much of Asia, even advanced and ‘clean’ parts of Asia, can leave quite a lot to be desired.

    I think that one reason some northern and east European countries have gotten away quite lightly so far is because of a mix of generally good hygiene and the relative lack of that type of socialising.

    Reply
    1. campbeln

      In relation to South Korea at least… bar hopping and toilets seemed to be about equivalent to my Californian, London and Australian experiences. As to sharing food… samesame, depending on the type of fair you’re partaking of. Hotpot isn’t really an American thing from my experience, but I also didn’t experience one in South Korea either (despite 2 extensive cultural immersion trips).

      Anyway… YMMV.

      Reply
  2. PlutoniumKun

    Racism is not the answer to Singapore’s COVID-19 outbreak Lausan

    Its not just a Singapore thing, but there is a close association there between migrants and disease. Many years ago on my first visit to Singapore I got to know a Malaysian (Indian ethnic) barman. He had to travel back over the causeway every day. The level of testing (for HIV and other diseases) required seemed to go way beyond what might seem reasonable. He made it clear – and it was hard to argue with his conclusion – that the humiliation associated with the testing was quite deliberate – a way of emphasising that as an outsider he was ‘dirty’ and he needed to be tested for the sake of the ‘clean’ Singaporeans. He also, incidentally, was docked money by his employer if he was delayed getting to work, even if it was due to the border tests.

    This is an increasing problem in Asia – its been reported that ethnic Chinese are being shunned in South Korea, despite there not being a single case of the virus among them, or originating from the main Seoul Chinatown. As usual in Japan ethnic Koreans are singled out. For whatever reason, the Chinese have decided that Africans are more likely to have the disease.

    Reply
  3. ambrit

    Thanks a bunch for the “Risks-Know Them-….” link. I have forwarded this to multiple extended family members who are in the situation of being expected to return to office work soon. My middle sister, (I being the oldest sibling,) is married to a national guardist. I ‘suggested’ that she prevail upon him to get her a CBRN gas mask from the Armoury storeroom for her to wear to work. No pouffy cloth mask for her! Our son’s PHd partner is facing his college Administration demanding that all Faculty resume “normal” office schedules. The supposedly “smartest kids in the room” also turn out to be the dumbest rocks in the pile. Said partner is no fool and needs all the ammunition possible to fight back against this Institutional Stupidity. So, thanks from him too.
    I don’t think that Marx and Engels imagined that Capitalism would literally kill itself off via stupidity in the face of a virus.
    Stay safe in these Interesting Times!
    PS: Love the Hound Dawg Y’all!

    Reply
    1. Amfortas the hippie

      ive got it cued up to send to folks, too.

      Cousin had to return to greater houston area for work last week…staying in his truck in a pasture…works outside(roofing/hail damage).
      says that about half are wearing masks out in the world, in grocery stores, etc…and that people avoid one another—specifically:” you remember when white folks would cross the street to avoid passing a black dude on the sidewalk?…now we’re all black dudes.”

      echoes of Russel Means.

      he also reports that people down there say they never really had shortages like we did. we had them all the way into san antone.
      Perhaps the proximity to the Port?
      but he’s in a well off area(The Woodlands and environs: exxon and a bunch of other oil/gas co’s moved in there over the last 20 years and splashed all over the broader area).
      he’s fixing hail damage, so those Upper Middle Class Homeowner’s insurance policies are still functioning.
      says he can’t wait to come back and quarantine for 2 weeks,lol…says it’s nerve wracking being there, as opposed to out here…even their 1/4 open is jam packed compared to jam packed out here in the hills.

      Reply
    2. marcyincny

      The Risks – Know Them – Avoid Them Erin Bromage. Must-read.

      Yes, the single most helpful thing I’ve read about Covid19. Thank you.

      Reply
      1. Bugs Bunny

        When combined with the sobering assessment of the scientist who’s survived in:

        “‘Finally, a virus got me.’ Scientist who fought Ebola and HIV reflects on facing death from COVID-19”,

        it makes a nice package to send to my 85 yo mother who thinks it OK to chat with my 18 yo nephew as long as he stays 6 feet away, no masks. :(

        Reply
      2. GERMO

        I thought it was helpful as well, but I was unsettled by the inspired-by-Quillette-writer line at the end. What Bromage says sounds completely reasonable, yes. I want to be assured that this is exactly the reality of Covid transmission and infection. I don’t know about Quillette as a source what with their weird need for a “Free Thought” slogan and all. Combined with Bromage’s CV it has me looking askance; am I nuts?

        I sure hope so. I really want not to be risking anything when a jogger passes me by, as happens constantly, pumping his lungs out into the air I’m unable to avoid breathing in. I want very badly not to be worried, in exactly the way Bromage is saying I don’t have to…

        Reply
        1. Geof

          While reading this, I thought it sounded an awful lot like Jonathan Kay’s article in Quillette. I was glad to see the author gave credit. Kay set out to catalogue “superspreader” events and try to find patterns. He’s no expert, but I find him consistently smart and level-headed.

          Reading the Quillette article, I wondered why I had not seen a similar analysis from a scientist. Whether Kay’s conclusions were correct, the approach is obvious and useful. I still wonder why these two articles are the only ones I’ve seen like this. Presumably the research is being done (though our institutions are so broken I am reluctant to take anything for granted), but there is a failure to communicate with the public (compounded by official dishonesty).

          Still more needs to be said. This article makes claims about infection from breathing. There should be more discussion about the incidence of infection via surfaces.

          One difference between the articles: Kay downplays transit as a venue of infection. This article does the opposite, but the cited scholarly source only mentions transit in passing.

          If you dismiss a source like Quillette because you disagree with some of their articles or politics, you’re going to end up in a bubble. I knew what was coming because I was reading reddit, complete with numerous conspiracy theories. Apparently even 4chan got it right. Across the west (I’m in Canada), governments and mainstream media did not.

          BTW, you should read Kay’s Quillette article.

          Reply
          1. Ignacio

            Because research on contagion is very difficult. Based on recorded transmission events you can trace and then guess what happened. This article sets very well the variables for contagion: time of exposure, type of local, proximity, number of persons enclosed…

            Very good article.

            Reply
            1. MLTPB

              Do you know if rain makes the droplets fall to the ground more likely and/or faster?

              And if that makes the shoes on wet ground more problematic?

              (I notice that it’s raining in, for example, Vietnam today).

              Reply
      3. lyman alpha blob

        Yes, that was a good article. There have been a few posted here mentioning that it isn’t all contact, but prolonged indoor contact that is the danger. Hopefully that knowledge will help tamp down some of the hysteria and fearmongering.

        Reply
      4. Kris

        I’ve read several articles speculating what an “infectious dose” of coronavirus might be. The truth is we simply don’t know. What we do know is that it is may times more infectious than either SARS or MERS; this probably means (although it might not) that the dose able to spread the virus is smaller, or more easily absorbed and passed into receptive tissues, or several other possible explanations for why it is so easily spread. Therefore, calculations about time and space in this article are questionable; they tend in the right direction (clearly, enclosed spaces with more people over longer time are worse than open spaces or fewer people for shorter time), but may overestimate the amount of people, or time, or space required. Although the author does caution about the uncertainty involved in her calculations, the repeated presentation of precise numbers would seem to outweigh that note.

        Reply
        1. anon in so cal

          >The truth is we simply don’t know.

          That’s the caveat for all of these articles. On some level, many, if not most, of the claims about the coronavirus are hypothetical and not empirically tested. Even many of the scholarly articles are not yet peer-reviewed (for whatever that’s worth). If there’s some reassuring claim, is it backed by solid evidence or is it just someone’s untested assumption?

          in the words of Nassim NicholasTaleb, “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”

          https://twitter.com/artemon/status/1251564962004246528?s=20

          Reply
    3. Fireship

      > I don’t think that Marx and Engels imagined that Capitalism would literally kill itself off via stupidity in the face of a virus.

      This virus will have little effect on capitalism as an economic system. Americans had the choice of rapey Joe or Bernie recently, and overwhelmingly choose the man who most aligns with their own values. FYIGM is the dominant social and economic paradigm in the US and will remain so as long as America is in business.

      As astute sociologist George Carlin put it: “Now, there’s one thing you might have noticed I don’t complain about: politicians. Everybody complains about politicians. Everybody says they suck. Well, where do people think these politicians come from? They don’t fall out of the sky. They don’t pass through a membrane from another reality. They come from American parents and American families, American homes, American schools, American churches, American businesses and American universities, and they are elected by American citizens. This is the best we can do folks. This is what we have to offer. It’s what our system produces: Garbage in, garbage out. If you have selfish, ignorant citizens, you’re going to get selfish, ignorant leaders. And term limits ain’t going to do any good; you’re just going to end up with a brand new bunch of selfish, ignorant Americans. So, maybe, maybe, maybe, it’s not the politicians who suck. Maybe something else sucks around here…like, the public. Yeah, the public sucks. There’s a nice campaign slogan for somebody: ‘The Public Sucks. F–k Hope.’ F–k Hope. Because if it’s really just the fault of these politicians, then where are all the other bright people of conscience? Where are all the bright, honest, intelligent Americans ready to step in and save the nation and lead the way. We don’t have people like that in this country. Everybody’s at the mall. Scratching his @ss, picking his nose, taking his credit card out of his fanny pack and buying a pair of sneakers with lights in them.”

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        We both are indulging in a bit of reductionist analysis.
        Sanders was “taken down” by a corrupt and self interested clique of American Politicos. Obama’s, and I think we can safely put the onus on that man, “Knight of the Long Knives” played maximum cynical politics to derail Sanders. Sanders, also, does not have that “Fire In The Belly” needed to prevail in the rough and tumble of national politics. As a Senator, he has figured out strategies for marginal success. At the National level, nothing is ‘marginal.’ The contest is bare knuckle.
        By evoking the Marxian concept of Capitalism, I indulge in a sort of magical thinking of my own. I mythologize it, and give the system itself credit for ‘agency.’ Nothing that large is simple.
        I posit that the Obama campaign for “Change” was a chimera from the start. Non precarious people do not vote for ‘change,’ they vote for stability. My take away from the recent political circus is that ‘things’ are going to have to get a bit worse in general before any really progressive agenda is enacted. With the Dreaded Pathogen and the economic knock on effects arising from said, that ‘worse’ is sure to come.
        Come to think of it, your argument concerning the fecklessness of the American electorate is a good argument for the establishment of a Vanguard of the Precariat to lead us all to the Promised Land, or Jonestown.

        Reply
    4. anon in so cal

      An unnerving account of an early super-spreading event in Washington, from back in March:

      “Sixty singers showed up. A greeter offered hand sanitizer at the door, and members refrained from the usual hugs and handshakes….Nearly three weeks later, 45 have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or ill with the symptoms, at least three have been hospitalized, and two are dead….nobody there was coughing or sneezing or appeared ill.

      …Everybody came with their own sheet music and avoided direct physical contact. Some members helped set up or remove folding chairs. A few helped themselves to mandarins that had been put out on a table in back.

      Experts said the choir outbreak is consistent with a growing body of evidence that the virus can be transmitted through aerosols — particles smaller than 5 micrometers that can float in the air for minutes or longer….New England Journal of Medicine found that when the virus was suspended in a mist under laboratory conditions it remained “viable and infectious” for three hours — though researchers have said that time period would probably be no more than a half-hour in real-world conditions.”

      https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2020-03-29/coronavirus-choir-outbreak

      Reply
    5. Carolinian

      The sum up is worth repeating

      The reason to highlight these different outbreaks is to show you the commonality of outbreaks of COVID-19. All these infection events were indoors, with people closely-spaced, with
      lots of talking, singing, or yelling. The main sources for infection are home, workplace,
      public transport, social gatherings, and restaurants. This accounts for 90% of all
      transmission events. In contrast, outbreaks spread from shopping appear to be responsible
      for a small percentage of traced infections.[…]

      Importantly, of the countries performing contact tracing properly, only a single outbreak has been
      reported from an outdoor environment (less than 0.3% of traced infections).

      And the other takeway seems to be, once again, that transmission mainly occurs through droplets rather than “aerosols” (individual bits of virus wafting around). Since the droplets are larger then simple masks may mostly work both to protect you as well as others. Everyone should be wearing masks in risky environments which are those that are crowded and enclosed. Outdoor environments are probably ok.

      Reply
    6. Pavel

      Re the removal of shoes: I have been taking off my shoes at the door for perhaps 20 years, partly as a result of frequent trips to Asia. Why people would want to wear shoes inside one’s home that have been trekking through all manner of dirt and puddles and various forms of animal/vegetable waste is a mystery to me. Of course the Japanese (and other countries) have entrances formally designed for this practice.

      It’s not just the homes — I went to a meeting with a biotech firm in Kuala Lumpur a few years back where we all removed our shoes outside the office door. Amusing having a meeting in one’s socks.

      In the mid-eighties I had a German med student girlfriend who was doing an elective in a London hospital — she was shocked that the docs and nurses would wear their outside shoes on the wards. In Germany they wore dedicated shoes inside the hospital.

      Reply
      1. Olga

        I remember in our high school (called gymnasium in Central Europe), the floor under the main floor was reserved for kids to keep their coats and shoes. Before entering a classroom, all were required to change “outside” shoes into “inside” shoes. Kids were reprimanded if they did not follow the this protocol. Made the school feel more like a home.

        Reply
      2. MLTPB

        1. careful with the hands in removing shoes.

        2. For those who wear, the bottom parts of the trousers. Unless they are
        calf length (a new fashion?).

        Reply
          1. MLTPB

            Thanks. Dont know the name of men’s counterpart.

            Regardless, taking* the calf high socks off once inside would be safer, I think.

            *use gloves or washing hands afterwards.

            Reply
      3. Jack

        How about because it’s cold? And the nail heads popping through the crappy floor and the threadbare carpet?

        Reply
    7. Jason Boxman

      Indeed, those links are one of the reasons I visit NC most days.

      News that might save your life.

      Reply
    8. Dave

      LOL! Norton flagged the link as dangerous, so…….

      Anyway, not surprised that the administrators left standing are desperate to keep open or re-open to keep their jobs. But people aren’t cooperating so …….

      An it isn’t capitalism, so…………

      :)

      Reply
    9. Jeremy Grimm

      One statement in this link troubled me:
      “In order to get infected you need to get exposed to an infectious dose of the virus; based on infectious dose studies with MERS and SARS, it is estimated that as few as 1000 SARS-CoV2 viral particles are needed for an infection to take hold.”

      If that is true, and if all people or a vast majority people are susceptible to Corona, which seems to be the case — the incidence of Corona infections seems remarkably low compared with what I would expect given: The virus can live several days; it is carried by droplets and dried droplets — I’ve seen these referred to as ‘fomids’ — in the air; people who sneeze or cough and cover their mouth with their hand and then touch the thousands of knobs, rails, walls, door plates … spread millions of viral particles; …

      I thought the measles virus spreads more rapidly than Corona. How many measles viral particles are needed for an infection to take hold? Is the spreading mechanism for measles significantly different than that of Corona?

      Reply
      1. MLTPB

        Maybe

        1. 1,000 particle (as few as) in some rare cases, and more in most cases??? That ‘as few as’ qualification does not say much.

        2. Perhaps shelter in place explains, in part, the lower than expected incidence.

        3 other explanations that I can’t think to contribute to this discussion now.

        Reply
      2. ewmayer

        I suspect the minimal infectious dose varies a lot between individuals, depending on immune system status, comorbidity factors, etc. And there has been credible speculation that genetic phenotypes of the ACE2 receptors used by the virus to attach to cells play a role in what appears to be highly-variable individual susceptibility among people of otherwise similar age and health status.

        Reply
    10. JTMcPhee

      I’ve told this one before, but during the Soviet period, one of the “Lysenko Biologists” persuaded the government to set him up with a big lab somewhere east of the Urals, the purpose being to study genetic engineering. His pitch was that he intended to mate the gene that produces cobra venom with a strain of E. coli, which would then be disseminated in the Capitalist Countries. To fulfill the Marxist-Leninist dictum that the capitalist class would destroy themselves from within. http://www.faqs.org/espionage/Lo-Mo/Molecular-Biology-Applications-to-Espionage-Intelligence-and-Security.html

      The link gives just a bit of an opening into what the Smartest Scientists working in biowarfare are trying to figure out how to do.

      Looks like the Rooskies did not think big enough. https://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/ciencia/ciencia_virus08.htm

      Reply
    1. xkeyscored

      I guess you’re referring to Andrew Cotter and ‘Some sports are slower. More about the strategy‘, which seems to have disappeared!
      Why? Is the dynamic tension between these great canine sporting rivals too visceral for NC?
      Or do they risk making huge numbers in the human sports industry unemployed as viewers turn away from inferior games like football and basketball?
      Or have Olive and Mabel threatened to sue over copyright?
      I love them!

      Reply
      1. nycTerrierist

        yes, thx for retrieving Olive and Mabel!

        don’t know what happened there — drama behind the scenes

        the senior hound is also quite delightful

        Reply
  4. PlutoniumKun

    The real Lord of the Flies: what happened when six boys were shipwrecked for 15 months Guardian

    This is a really fascinating story, but I wonder if the fact that the boys were Tongan, and so very familiar with the type of co-operation necessary for island life. I doubt if a group of boys from most ‘developed’ countries would have survived, let alone seemingly thrived in that situation.

    Reply
    1. Conrad

      They’re not called the friendly isles for nothing I guess.

      But yes I agree that those boys probably had better practical skills and a more cooperative mindset than you would likely see from a random group of teenagers from a first world nation today.

      Reply
  5. PlutoniumKun

    Little Richard, Founding Father of Rock Who Broke Musical Barriers, Dead at 87 Rolling Stone. Flights of angels sing thee to thy rest:

    RIP the real inventor of modern rock, its nice to hear that he seemed to be quite a decent guy as well, unlike so many of his contemporaries. What I always found hilarious about Little Richard is how he got away with his gloriously filthy lyrics. How innocent can people have been that they didn’t realise that Miss Molly wasn’t just a fan of ballroom dancing?

    Reply
  6. jackiebass

    Cuomo isn’t a liberal democrat. He is a Wall Street democrat. He cons people into believing he is a liberal democrat by throwing them an occasional bone. His focus is on helping his wealthy connected friends. He screwed local governments and schools with his tax cap. They have very little flexibility in running their operations. It’s fine to cap but he also hasn’t helped localities by upping their state aid. He actually reduced it.

    Reply
    1. Milton

      If Cuomo believes in a balanced (fed) budget, cutting services for the majority of people, cutting wealth taxes, spouts woke platitudes, seeks the assistance of billionaires for perceived problems with existing social services, increased free trade between nations, public private partnerships. Market-based medical and retirement solutions, then Cuomo is a liberal. That is what liberals believe. Liberals are not the vanguard of the working class. It is time to acknowledge the Democrats are no longer the party of FDR or LBJ. They are the Republicans more effective bloc.

      Reply
        1. jsn

          And the only thing they’ve learned in the intervening century is to make sure nothing like FDR can ever happen to them again.

          Reply
        2. polecat

          Send them on an All-expense-paid one-way ride to LV-426. For them, no more fitting an environment, as it would make the atmosphere here on Earth a wee bit more breathable …

          Think of the thousands of voter eggs they could produce to encase those still gullible human demographic hosts .. assuming Hillary was up to the task, of course.

          Reply
  7. The Rev Kev

    “France had Covid-19 in November, hospital says after analysis of chest scans”

    If it was in France so early, what is the bet that it was in Italy, Spain and the UK early as well which partly explains why they have been so hard hit. Everyone talks about the origins of this virus in those Wuhan markets but a video I saw mentioned cases that preceded ones from that market. Seems that this virus has been more widespread than previously thought but nobody recognized it as something new.

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      I find the conlcusions of this article very hard to accept. SCMP can be an excellent news source at times, but it is closely tied to Beijing, and has been pushing the ‘Covid doesn’t have a Chinese origin’ narrative for some weeks. It been consistently pushing stories based on outlier studies which are not yet generally accepted.

      There certainly seems to have been something odd going on in Europe, with an early variant spreading before the direct arrival of infection from China in late January/early February. I’ve heard anecdotal stories which back this up, including a story told to me by an Irish-Chinese woman I know who said that her watch shop in Dublin airport was shut down in late December as all the staff went down with what they thought was a particularly nasty flu. Of course, there was a particularly nasty flu this year, so it might have been that, but its not impossible that the virus was being spread through international airports even in early December.

      However, the viral RNA studies are all still very clear – so far all lineages can be traced from an origin in October/November in Wuhan, although this ‘early’ European variant seems something of an outlier. I don’t think the conventional narrative has in any way been disproved – but it does show that the story is a lot more complicated than originally thought.

      I’d be very interested in hearing Ignacio’s thoughts on this.

      Reply
      1. kgw

        Is it “closely tied to Beijing?” Or is it? Like Taiwan is “closely tied to Beijing.” I don’t read SCMP regularly, because the few times I have read it, it reads like western propaganda…

        Reply
        1. PlutoniumKun

          SCMP is owned by Alibaba, which makes its relationship to Beijing a bit like the WP’s connection to the Washington establishment. It is Hong Kong based, and does have some very good journalists and is occasionally quite independent with regard to HK affairs and business, but due to its ownership and position will always to some extent reflect Beijing’s thinking when it comes to international issues.

          Reply
    2. David

      This seems to be the original story, as far as I can make out.
      Colmar is only about half an hours drive North of Mulhouse, where the main infection cluster was, so we are still talking about the same region of the country. Everywhere in the East of the country now has a Christmas market from early November, so it’s a fair bet that a historic city like that would have quite a few visitors from overseas on organised trips. The Chinese, like the Japanese before them, are getting more adventurous, and any trip to Europe that time of the year would likely include a trip to that part of France, which is very historical and, having been part of Germany, has a very different feel to it. So it’s not impossible that one tourist from Wuhan infected a few people, but that the numbers were too small to draw attention. There was also a really nasty flu circulating in France at that point (I had it) and there’s been some speculation that it might have been an early form of the disease. But we still don’t know why, if that’s the case, the major outbreak took so long to arrive.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        Now that brings up an interesting point. If there was also a really nasty flu circulating in France at that point and it was an earlier version of Coronavirus, you wonder if there are antibodies in those people that got sick to prove it. More to the point, if it was did those people have a diferent reaction to the main Coronavirus strain when it hit? Was there any form of immuity gained by this first strain or did it make them more vulnerable to the new infection? Or did it make no difference at all?

        Reply
        1. bwilli123

          NJ Mayor had Covid19 antibodies from infection in November.

          “The antibody in my blood is older as opposed to the more recent one showing..(that I).. just finished fighting..,” Melham said. Melham believes he could potentially be an early, undetected case of the coronavirus….”

          Against that it could be his testing is not accurate.

          “The accuracy of antibody testing has also come under question. The tests are intended to detect whether a person has had the coronavirus, and is assumed to be immune. But questions have arisen about the reliability of tests rushed onto the market. ”

          The questions over the testing though have not been over the accuracy of dating the age of antibodies as far as I am aware.

          https://amp.northjersey.com/amp/3057925001

          Reply
      2. xkeyscored

        This seems to be where they got the story, a press release from the Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Colmar.

        “Depuis quelques jours, le Docteur Schmitt réalise une étude rétrospective sur 2456 scanners thoraciques réalisés entre le 1er novembre et le 30 avril. Tous les clichés sont analysés, tous motifs confondus : pathologies cardiaques, pulmonaires, traumatiques, tumorales. Les dossiers retenus « compatibles COVID » ou « typiques COVID » ont été revus en deuxième puis en troisième lecture par deux autres radiologues expérimentés.”

        Which does sound to me like they looked at a load of chest scans from November on that could have been COVID-19 (“compatibles COVID” or “typiques COVID”), and found the earliest was from November 16. That doesn’t sound like a confirmed case, and I see nothing there suggesting that case was confirmed to be COVID in any other way, but maybe my French isn’t up to the nuances.

        Reply
        1. David

          Thanks for finding that. I agree it’s not very clear, but I interpret it as saying that they selected scans which could indicate the presence of the virus, and then sent them for second and third opinions. The next paragraph says that the “first case” was noted on 16 November, so I’m assuming they decided that one of the “possibles” was an actual. They then go on to talk about the progression of the “curve”, noting that all this happened just before Christmas and New Year, and before the gathering in Mulhouse. But I’m not an expert ….

          Reply
          1. xkeyscored

            So it is as vague as I thought as to whether and how they decided that case was actual rather than possible, if indeed they did? I read it as merely stating that two other experts confirmed Doctor Michel Schmitt’s analysis, which seemed to be only that it was possible. If it was confirmed in any way, I’d have thought they’d say so boldly and clearly.

            Reply
            1. David

              I think the point is that this was imagery, though whether X-ray or something else is not clear. Presumably, you wouldn’t use imagery as a first method of diagnosing Covid, and of course at the time they wouldn’t have known what they were looking for anyway. So the photographs, or whatever, were consistent with Covid but no other tests were done, so they couldn’t be technically sure.
              This is where we ned medical advice, I think. Ignacio? Somebody?

              Reply
              1. xkeyscored

                I think these types of scans have been used as a first, provisional method of backing a diagnosis, but only when sufficient RNA tests weren’t available. They weren’t taken as final and conclusive, so far as I know.
                I expect these three medical imaging experts were correct in saying this Nov 16 case was one of those “« compatibles COVID » ou « typiques COVID »”. There then seems to be a fairly drastic but unexplained leap from that to announcing (implying?) this was the first COVID-19 case in their records from Nov 1.

                Reply
              2. periol

                I remember reading in the early days of CV that Chinese doctors in Wuhan were using lung x-rays for diagnosis, because they were having trouble finding tests that were as accurate as just looking at the scans. Haven’t seen much about it since though.

                Reply
                1. MLTPB

                  I vaguely remember that.

                  We still read news of testing shortage in various countries. (Why not X ray the patients? Shortage there too?)

                  Reply
                  1. rtah100

                    Bilateral pneumonia is a hallmark of COVID. Bilateral anything is always a red flag as it implies some systemic cause. Influenza does not necessarily involve pneumonia and if it does it is often bacterial secondary infection. So bilateral pneumonia and no response to antibiotics and no environmental factors (e.g. corrosive gases) looks a good candidate for presumptive COVID if you are tracking back in time. Serological testing can confirm…

                    NB – not read primary source, just assuming medical records will cover env. exposure and antibiotics and could be checked after screen for bilateral pneumonia.

                    Reply
    3. TXMama

      The article said the man in France who came down with covid19 symptoms in November had a connection to China.
      “A peer-reviewed study published on Sunday had already pushed the date of the first known case in France back to December 27 – a 42-year-old man admitted to a Paris hospital with symptoms including cough, chest pain, headache and fever. He was thought to be connected to a person who travelled from China before the virus was identified, the WHO said.”

      Reply
      1. xkeyscored

        Different cases. I can’t see any details about this supposed November case, not even, IIRR, that it was a man.

        Reply
    4. danpaco

      A friend of a close friend died suddenly in December from pneumonia, a very aggressive strain. This was in Toronto. Cant help but think it was C-19 related.

      Reply
      1. Aumua

        Pneumonia is not a strain of anything, but a condition caused by various things, but usually some strain of virus and/or bacteria.

        Reply
  8. PlutoniumKun

    Lambert here: The question nobody seems to be asking is whether the United States has the operational capability for “test, track, and isolate” regardless of the party in power. I don’t see how an automatic “yes” answer is possible. What we have instead is a series of natural experiments, with the states as “laboratories of democracy” as it were, as we would expect in a Federal system. And that’s before we get to parties. If Trump had ordered Cuomo to shut down New York two weeks earlier, what would the reaction have been? If Obama (or whoever) had ordered Florida to shut down before Spring Break, would have the reaction been? I started calling the United States a “failed state” more as a polemic forcing device than a serious diagnosis, but the more I watch how “our democracy” is meeting the #COVID19 challenge, the more I think the term is appropriate. Fortunately, under the leadership of Joe Biden…. Oh, what’s the use.

    It always sounds smart to say that the US (or whatever country you are criticising’ is a ‘failed state’, and I’ve always hesitated to use the term with regard to any country as it can be just a simplistic slogan. But I think its increasingly obvious that Covid has become the worlds largest live stress test of governmental systems, and its showing an unerring ability to locate weakness. Like nothing else, it is showing which countries actually ‘work’ in a deeper sense, and which ones are just hanging together based on past glories. The US is very badly failing this test. Its pretty clear that it goes beyond Trump, the overall governmental system just doesn’t seem capable of responding at any coherent level. Its also notable that its fellow champion of neoliberalism, the UK, is increasingly looking the same – much to the amazement of the rest of the world, which up to Brexit at least always looked at the UK as the epitome of calm, rational policy implementation.

    When the dust is cleared, I think all over the world people will have a very clear view of whether or not their governmental systems are fit for purpose. I think many of us will be very surprised at some of the outcomes. The next big question is whether this will lead to reform and change, or whether existing power structures will use their remaining strength (and new powers granted to themselves during the emergency), to shut down all dissenting voices.

    Reply
    1. jsn

      I expect and am planning for the latter. On the other hand I suspect they’re so incompetent they won’t accomplish much except unnecessary death and costs.

      To me it looks like we’re entering an Oligarchs free for all like the late Yeltsen years: government at the Federal level isn’t even pretending to govern anymore with the Fed being the only institution that has some since of what it can actually do, but with values so debased it can’t imagine anything to do with it’s power but make its friends rich.

      When erstwhile US Alies begin sending our troops home in earnest, even the Fed will become toast as US military spending abroad is the only really secure mechanism the US has to inject dollars into the empire to sustain demand for the currency. Having made the US a reservoir of the virus, it’s only a matter of time before local conservatives around the world have their disgust triggered by the presence of diseased foreigners.

      Reply
  9. The Rev Kev

    Just read something interesting so thought that I would add it to any discussion of Coronavirus here. I went looking for the statistics to do with my own Australian State to see who had been hit by it. To my surprise, the segment of the population that came up as confirmed cases most was young women in their twenties. Saywhat? The only explanation that comes to mind is that young women are often to be found in jobs that have a lot of contact with people-

    https://www.qld.gov.au/health/conditions/health-alerts/coronavirus-covid-19/current-status/statistics#casebyagegender

    Reply
    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      The premise of the lockdown was to avoid deaths from a very nasty bug. Australian deaths so far from/with Covid = 97. But the Head of Mental Health Australia just said they expect at least 1500 additional suicides from the economic effects of the lockdown.

      So I suppose we need to ask which deaths are more urgent to avoid. The median age of Covid victims in Australia is 80, in other words people near the end of a full life, often with multiple other serious health issues. But suicide is the leading cause of death between the ages of 15-49, more than half are between the ages of 30-59, with just 13% being over age 65.

      So I suppose it reflects the fact that the over-65 set are better represented politically. (They just announced that weddings are limited to 10 people but funerals are limited to 30 people, also favouring the older set). And a high proportion of suicide deaths are brown people. So, big surprise, if you are white and over 65 then the society will do everything, to the point of killing off some of its members, to try to protect you.

      OK, boomer.

      Reply
        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          We’re talking about actions of the state that can decrease or increase deaths. Someone is just as dead from Covid as they are from suicide. You can argue that actions of the state do not cause suicides, only individual agents do but I don’t see how you would support that argument. One state requires bike helmets, another does not. Are you arguing that the individual actor has agency? That they have the ability simply to choose not to ride a bike? I’m not sure people are completely free to choose not to have an income or a business.

          Reply
      1. Aumua

        Ok, so what are you saying ultimately? That the Pandemic is not really that big a deal? And therefore restrictions are unnecessary, I presume. Or because not many have died in AU, it’s not a big deal there? What about other places where many more people have died.. how do you account for the discrepancy?

        I note that 1500 people haven’t died from suicide, just that someone said they might. Do you think that removing restrictions is the only way to reach and help those people, or could there possibly be other ways?

        Reply
  10. GramSci

    Re: America’s Federalist Dysfunction Isn’t Going Away | Jacobin

    This New Deal order, however, was incomplete and historically contingent, and it came apart under pressure from increasing international competition, decreasing profitability, and the heightened social and class conflicts of the 1970s With the global system in crisis and labor in a weakened position, economic elites worked with political allies in both major parties to reshape the US political economy in their interests.

    I think the emphasis on exogenous forces (“international competition”? “decreasing profits”?) is misplaced.  The New Deal came apart with the chest-thumping of the World War II “victors”, who possessed the only economy in the world that escaped devastation.

    Reply
    1. Guild Navigator

      Michael Kalecki essay, Aspects of Full Employment (1944). The unraveling was baked into the cake.

      Reply
  11. GramSci

    Re: Internet Censorship, Ego Death, And Other Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

    “Look for the separate self. Really hunt it down. Leave no stone unturned within you. All you’ll find is thought, sense impressions, feelings, etc.”

    Also memories and beliefs.  In the immortal words of Tiny Tim, “Forget your mind, and you’ll be free.”

    Reply
  12. The Rev Kev

    “Biden Campaign Is Secretly Building a Republican Group”

    This sounds like a very good strategy this and should be an outstanding success. And you know what? For every blue-collar Democrat that they lose in western Pennsylvania, they will for sure pick up two moderate Republicans in the suburbs in Philadelphia, and you can repeat that in Ohio and Illinois and Wisconsin.

    Anyway, Biden has proven himself wiling to work with Republicans. It was only about a year ago that he went to Michigan and made a speech in favour of a Republican running against a Democrat there. And no, it was not because he got confused which Party he worked for. He did it for a fee of about $200,000-

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/23/us/politics/biden-speech-fred-upton.html

    Reply
    1. Dr. John Carpenter

      Heh. It does sound a bit familiar, doesn’t it? If, as the article implies, Biden is going to receive public endorsements from name Republicans, I’m just positive that’ll show those Trump supporters the error of their ways! And I’m sure the W. Bush loving Dems will have war fuzzies too! (Wait, That part could be correct. Sigh.)

      Reply
      1. Katniss Everdeen

        …….the W. Bush loving Dems will have war fuzzies too!

        Don’t know if you meant “warm” fuzzies, but either way it works.

        Reply
    2. John Wright

      There is also the presentation of the Liberty Medal by Biden to George W. Bush in November 2018.

      https://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/416185-biden-presents-liberty-medal-to-george-and-laura-bush-bush-was

      “Biden underscored the importance of democratic values and patriotism in his remarks, praising Bush for his support for service members and their families.”

      Of course, Bush’s Iraq/Afghanistan actions directly led to the creation of those veterans that Bush subsequently was praised for supporting.

      Biden’s recent attempts to appeal to Republicans could simply be a continuation of his past behavior.

      Reply
    3. richard

      Everything Biden is doing: pandering to the youth vote, hiding during a crisis, attacking Trump from the right on blaming China for covid, refusing to offer a broke and sick public anything that would make them less broke or less sick, it’s really all just outstanding isn’t it? The mot juste, Rev Kev.
      A war criminal. Are you kidding? Doesn’t matter.
      Protected student loan lenders from broke young people declaring bankruptcy. See above.
      Cheerled the crime bill mania, with special sentencing provisions for “black” drugs. No problem.
      Serial Liar. Has been called out for it many times, dropped out of campaigns, etc. Lies for no apparent reason sometimes. Still, no problem.
      Rapist. Uhh, still doesn’t matter (imagine dem diehard with smile plastered to their face)
      Serious Cognative Impairment. (smile gets wider)
      Works to Defeat Other Democrats. OMG, supposedly the holiest of holies, the one thing you must never, never ever do. Uhh, still doesn’t matter! (smile reaches behind ears without ever touching eyes, reinfects brain for the 478th time)

      Reply
    4. Daryl

      > “Biden Campaign Is Secretly Building a Republican Group”

      Honestly the statement here seems tautological. Biden & friends have openly supported policies to the extreme right of Nixon/Reagan/etc. I’m sure it will be the same dynamic as the Obama admin with Republicans openly opposing Democrats opening right-wing proposals and dragging the whole country ever rightward.

      Reply
      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Wake me up when the entire cabal of Obama-era criminals, from Clapper to Brennan to Comey, from Holder to Lynch to Powers to Rice, and all the way to the Chappaqua Conspirator and the Holy Hot Dog Himself receive swift and terrible justice for their attempt to steal democracy from the people of the United States.

        Sorry Never Trumpers, Hollywood SJWs, Rachel mavens, Ellen adorers, CNN mainliners, and NYT screechers: There-Is-No-Other-Conclusion. The final stone in your Cathedral of Lies (Flynn) lies smashed to bits at your feet. This is worse than Watergate, *just* the destruction of evidence under subpoena by the Vindictive Virago is 30 years.

        We knew it at the time, we endured *years* of excuses, all of which were proven to be 100% false, and the bill is now due and payable.

        Reply
        1. Hepativore

          Finally, let us not forget how much praise that Biden heaped upon Dick Cheney, the man who does not even have a pulse. In fact, it is disgusting at how much Bush-era war criminals are now seen as the “in” crowd among the PMC and various media elites and despite all of the hand-wringing and clutching of pearls over Trump’s debauchery. W. Bush and his administration was still worse. Yet somehow, everybody seems to have forgotten about the magnitude of depravity and corruption that happened during the W. Bush years.

          In the unlikely even that Biden even makes it to the presidency, I would not be surprised if his administration hides him somewhere due to his increasing mental degeneration. If Biden needs to appear on camera, they will never show him in person, but use cgi effects edited in pre-recorded broadcasts to mimic his presence. Worse comes to worse, they can get really creative and start using body-doubles ala the movie Dave while the real Biden is sitting in a chair somewhere muttering incoherently as he is attended to by nurses 24/7.

          If Trump is reelected, Wall Street wins, and if Biden becomes president, Wall Street also wins as it will be their cabal calling the shots in the Biden cabinet. Obama might get his Grand Bargain after all, which I guess will be his true legacy, then.

          Reply
  13. fresno dan

    The ‘Blob’ Strikes Back The American Conservative
    Many prominent foreign policy professionals from both parties jumped on the pro-war bandwagon because they weren’t terribly interested in what the experts had to say and because backing military action to exercise American “leadership” is what these people usually do. Even those that didn’t really believe the case for war said nothing because it was politically safer for them to conform. We have seen this happen many other times. The conventional view endorsed by the “Blob” often has nothing to do with expert knowledge, and it frequently flies in the face of that expertise
    ====================================================
    One example is John Kerry. Although a good case could be make for “use this superb military” Madeline Albright. Notice something – both democrats.
    NC had a little discussion in the comments about the “West Wing” a couple of days ago – those West Wingers are all democrats too! And although using our “superb military” is a big problem, I think it starts with the whole idea of “American leadership.”

    jackiebass
    May 10, 2020 at 8:37 am
    Cuomo isn’t a liberal democrat. He is a Wall Street democrat. He cons people into believing he is a liberal democrat by throwing them an occasional bone.
    I bring this up because all the dems play liberals on TV, and we don’t have a choice with regards to foreign policy (we don’t have a choice with health care, but I digress) – we get “American leadership” because we are never offered a choice…or even PRESENTED with a choice in our culture (see West Wing or essentially every Hollywood movie where the US military is a force for good)

    Reply
    1. Duck1

      Last notice I took of Jim Baker he was reclining comfortably on a stage while 0bama explained what a good little POTUS he was by channeling his inner “drill, baby, drill” and again giving “hope and change” an enormous frack you. I see Kerry and Clinton smiling idiotically at some camera or other, Albright looking rather dyspeptic, Powell glaring like an eagle tethered to his perch, Kissinger rather like one of those inky caps from the other day getting a bit inky, while Baker exudes “what am I doing sitting with these morons”, (excepting Henry, of course).

      Reply
    2. Ignim Brites

      “When critics attack the “Blob,” we are objecting to the failure to rely on expertise in making policy. ” This conclusion to Larison’s article is troubling, not to say discouraging. First it is doubtful that the US really has enough “experts” about the countries and lands that are candidates for intervention or are already subject to intervention to really make a positive difference. Secondly, whatever expertise that might exist is hardly likely to be univocal when it comes to policy prescriptions. Thirdly, whatever “expert” policy prescription achieves dominance will do so because politicians and political agents in the parties, think tanks, media, universities, and intelligence communities have succeeded in persuading a large portion of the citizenry that they have an interest (American leadership for example) in that which they actually have no interest or at least that there will be very little cost to themselves if they consent to prescriptions of the “experts” . Fourth, whatever policy failure that might serve to cause a rethink is likely to be attributed to moral crimes (Bush lied) or moral failures (Syria and Libya were just Hillary’s vanity projects) and so swept under the rug of history, which is more than acceptable to the citizenry who really didn’t have much at stake anyway.

      Given these impediments to successful interventions it would seem that the only non-interventionism period is only sound princple as a lodestar for US foreign policy.

      Reply
  14. timbers

    Coronavirus: France’s ‘strange defeat’ Politico

    This dude John Lichfield who wrote the article has a tagline saying he lived in Paris for 20 years.

    What century was that, 1800?

    He writes an entire article on how strange it is that the French don’t approve of Marcon and his handling of Covid, without mentioning Marcon’s betrayal of the French working class when he made cutting taxes for the rich priority #1 then proceeded to raise taxes on working folk while cutting working class wages, benefits, retirements.

    He thinks the French not liking Marcon is comparably as strange as Germany overrunning France in WW2.

    I wonder what his favorite ice cream flavor is, from Nancy P’s ice cream treasure chest in her basement?

    Reply
    1. A.matthey

      He writes an entire article on how strange it is that the French don’t approve of Marcon and his handling of Covid, without mentioning Marcon’s betrayal of the French working class when he made cutting taxes for the rich priority

      This is both ridiculous and hyperbolic! A supply-side politician defending supply-side ideas getting elected and enacting supply-side reforms is NOT a betrayal of anything. It’s bad policy, but not a betrayal. If anything, you could argue that not enacting such reforms would have been a betrayal of democracy.

      Reply
      1. timbers

        Maybe. Did he campaign on cutting taxes for the rich and raising them on working folk? Honest question, don’t follow French politics too closely. But did know enough to expect him to become what he has, though you could say that abt Obama too but I’d still call Obama acts a betrayal.

        Reply
        1. Mel

          I could be quite wrong, but my impression was that he was one of the first models of the Trudobamacron political appliance, and he was installed by The Powers That Be using electoral engineering. A pleasant new face that popped up to save the country.

          Reply
          1. polecat

            All gleeming and shiny on the outside, while each is nothing but a rusted, empty chassis, hollow like the tin men that they are.

            Reply
            1. ambrit

              The Mad Arab Barak Hussein al-Hazred?
              I’m still waiting for the Invisible Demon to devour him in the streets of Damascus.

              Reply
          2. Guild Navigator

            “Trudobomacron-igieg” apparatus, the next generation, with the Brzezinski and Clinton spawn waiting in the wings to resume their rightful place, cocking like crows atop the dungheap.

            Reply
      2. Massinissa

        Most Frenchmen and -women just voted for him because they thought he would be less terrible than Marine Le Pen. None of them really wanted him to do any of this neoliberal stuff, they just felt they were between a rock and a hard place.

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          When you have been reduced to a smear of protoplasm, does it matter if it was the ‘rock’ or the ‘hard place’ that was the kinetic aspect of the process?
          Macron, Obama, and on and on. We are living through an object lesson in the bankruptcy of “Lesser Evilism.”

          Reply
          1. Massinissa

            I don’t know about Obama/McCain or Obama/Romney, but I honestly maintain that, despite her views on race and Islam, I do think Marine le Pen would have been very likely a better choice. Her economic policies are largely Social Democratic, or at least were last time I checked a couple years ago.

            Furthermore, although Europe will be aghast, it won’t surprise me at all if she wins the next election. After Macron, I assume a plurality of the French will vote for whatever option isn’t him, which is probably Le Pen, even if some of them have to vote for her despite her xenophobia.

            Reply
            1. ambrit

              I’ve wondered if a country having a past career as an Empire contributes to that nation’s xenophobic tendencies. As an Empire, the dominant elites of a country wield manifest dominance over a slew of ‘subject’ races and ethnicities. A built in bias against the ‘subjects’ comes with the job of Empire maintenance. Later, as the fortunes of the Empire wane, an overcompensation for feelings of loss and lack due to the receding tide of Empire exacerbate the ‘Myth of Superiority’ within the ruling elites, and their enabling class. Malignant Xenophobia and Racialism blossom in the end stage of Empire. Such turbulent conditions are right for the rise of Traditionalist movements. My take on Le Pen, from a vantage point several thousands of miles away, is that she is a Traditionalist candidate. If she can credibly promote policies that support the Idea of La Belle France, she has an excellent chance of winning the top job.
              NC Franks, please correct me if I misapprehend the situation.

              Reply
              1. MLTPB

                The king or queen of England was a vassal of the king of France.

                The French will always remember that superiority myth or fact.

                Reply
                1. rtah100

                  Er, France as a centralised state did not exist when England had a king. England ruled several bits of France (Aquitaine, Pas de Calais).

                  Reply
                2. flora

                  It’s a mistake, I think, to discount a country’s sense of patriotism and mistake it always for blind ignorance. Politicians abuse this sense for their own ends, no doubt. But citizens’ regard for their country, regardless of politics, is not to be discounted, imo.

                  Reply
    2. David

      I was going to comment on this but didn’t want to hog the microphone on France today.
      Lichfield was the Independent’s correspondent in Paris for a long time, and could reliably be trusted to get the wrong end of the stick on most issues. This was because he mixed primarily with other foreign correspondents, internationals and the internationalised French political and business elites.
      Here, I think he’s simply wrong. Yes, the French always complain about their governments (they have reason to do so). But Macron was never that popular to start with: his core support doesn’t extend beyond, let’s be generous, 15% of the population, basically the PMC. He won in 2017 by squeaking into the second round of the election to confront Le Pen, against whom Darth Vader would have walked it. But his position has been badly weakened first by the Gilet jaunes and then by the mishandling of pensions reform, and he was deeply unpopular in the country, and starting to lose control in Parliament, even before the crisis.
      He’s had a bad crisis as well, to the point that Philippe, his Prime Minister, is now more popular than he is – something extremely unusual in the Fifth Republic. He began badly by not accepting the reality of the crisis even in mid-March, and encouraging people to go out and enjoy themselves. There was then a violent change of tack after he was scared shitless by a scientific briefing, and put the country into lockdown straight away. But he then made an exception for the first round of voting in the local elections after being lobbied by Larcher, the speaker of the Senate, who was worried about losing control of the Senate, which is indirectly elected by mayors and others. The French were pretty annoyed at being told to risk their lives to ensure a right-wing majority in the upper house. Then there was the chaos over masks. At first, the French people were told not to bother wearing them. Then it was explained that that was a piece of misdirection because there weren’t any masks anyway. Now, as from tomorrow, masks are compulsory on public transport, and semi-compulsory in shops and confined spaces. And so on.
      Macron is, to put it simply; not up to the job, which is not the one he thought he was applying for. If Lichfield thinks the French are being too hard on him, he’s a member of a very small minority.

      Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        Thanks for this – most of what I read on Macron is via the UK media, which is consistently very kind to him. He generally gets positive marks for his reaction to the coronavirus, but its usually forgotten he was very slow off the mark. And what is becoming clearer by the day is that the faster the country/region reacted, the better the outcome.

        Reply
  15. fresno dan

    Try as one may, some of the testimony remains opaque. Part of the problem is ambiguity in the word “exfiltration.”

    The word can denote (1) transferring data from a computer via the Internet (hacking) or (2) copying data physically to an external storage device with intent to leak it.
    ….

    Rather, they were copied onto an external storage device (probably a thumb drive) by someone with access to DNC computers. Besides, any hack over the Internet would almost certainly have been discovered by the dragnet coverage of the National Security Agency and its cooperating foreign intelligence services.
    …..
    (2) “When analysts use words such as ‘we assess’ or ‘we judge,’ [these] are not intended to imply that we have proof that shows something to be a fact. … Assessments are based on collected information, which is often incomplete or fragmentary … High confidence in a judgment does not imply that the assessment is a fact or a certainty; such judgments might be wrong.” [And one might add that they commonly ARE wrong when analysts succumb to political pressure, as was the case with the ICA.]

    The intelligence-friendly corporate media, nonetheless, immediately awarded the status of Holy Writ to the misnomered “Intelligence Community Assessment” (it was a rump effort prepared by “handpicked analysts” from only CIA, FBI, and NSA), and chose to overlook the banal, full-disclosure-type caveats embedded in the assessment itself.
    =====================================================
    Proving a negative is impossible – I can’t say I KNOW Russian did NOT hack the DNC. But I know there are agendas here, and the people who espouse them do not have my interests at heart…
    AND the fact that the DNC, pretty much under the command of that other maven of good security practices, Hillary /sarcasm – tells you something about human logic (if the Russians are so dangerous, why isn’t computer security JOB 1?)

    Reply
  16. rowlf

    There was a news fragment in a recent Atlanta evening over the air TV news broadcast that Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport TSA workforce has had 15 people infected with Covid-19. Trying to find any correlated stories the number was from mid April and the workforce was about 1000 workers. Most of the workers at ATL terminal (and other large airports) park in a remote parking lot and ride shuttle buses to work. The passenger traffic dropped in late March but watching the media panic on the national news I would have expected higher numbers from a possible high exposure work environment.

    Below is an example of news coverage:

    The Atlanta airport is one of TSA’s coronavirus hot spots, with 12 officers testing positive, 11 of them involved in passenger screening.

    The New York region has the highest concentration of coronavirus cases among TSA officer, with 155 testing positive.

    JFK International, Newark Liberty International and LaGuardia airports account for all but three of the TSA coronavirus cases in the New York area. JFK has the highest number in the country, with 85, followed by Newark, with 44.

    More than 400 TSA officers test positive for coronavirus; a third employee dies in Atlanta USA Today April 15

    Reply
  17. timbers

    Ticks: the latest on protecting your dog, cat from ticks is Nexgard administered once a month. Repels tick or kills them if they bite. Beware the ticks scramble off your pet on to you, check yourself often. Priced at the usual American Big Phrama monopoly rate. Have had great results, not 1 tick has embedded itself on my Lab since using it starting about a year ago. And he gets hours of state park hiking trails a day.

    Reply
      1. Wyoming

        My first thought on seeing the discrepancies of your post and timbers post was where do these two people live. Since ticks species are scattered it could be that the Nexgard works well on the most common tick where timbers lives but not so well on the most common ticks where you live.

        Reply
    1. .Tom

      Same experience here with Nexguard. I’ve seen ticks alighting from my dog and no sign of her having been bitten. But last year I plucked two off myself and one off my wife. Check carefully.

      I’m eastern Mass btw.

      Reply
  18. Screwball

    Some observations about some things in the news (or not in the news). Three things that caught my eye the last few days, and the cynic in me wonders if they are connected in some way.

    First was the MK/Reade interview. It was not on major network, which may be news in and of itself, but that I will leave that for others to unravel. The interview was posted on Friday, I think. I wanted to see how CNN & MSNBC would cover this. As I expected, by Saturday morning all I could find on the main CNN page was an article about what Bill Maher said about Reade (and to vote for Biden). It was located at the very bottom of the page in the middle. By the afternoon, there was nothing. MSNBC had nothing.

    Second was the Flynn thing, and the article by Turley, which if true, doesn’t look good for the Obama Whitehouse.

    Then there was the “leaked” Obama tape where he ripped Trump. He has been quiet during the chaos known as the Trump presidency. Until now. Why?

    Last night the wife was watching CNN (she has stage 4 TDS) and there was Wolf playing this tape and telling people two (not to be named) sources confirmed this was Obama. I have no doubt since it sounded like him. Then of course they had talking heads (Michael Lewis was one) coming on to, I assume, confirm what Obama said was correct in blaming Trump. I’m sure they will milk this for all its worth. They could even have roundtable discussions about Obama’s “leaked” tape to validate the blame on Trump for all their viewers. This could take up hours and hours of airtime. Win/win.

    But that does not answer the “why now.” Could this “leak” serve a couple of purposes? One, it gets the MK/Reade story further away from the front page (not like it was being covered to begin with, but this helps push it further down the hole, which I’m sure they would like) in order to continue to hide and protect Joe.

    It also keeps the Flynn thing from being reported or talked about because CNN seemed only to be interested in the Obama story. I don’t know how much they have covered the Flynn thing, but my guess is not much, and if they did, it was probably aimed at Bill Barr.

    The leaked tape story helps control the news narrative, while in the background it gives them time to figure out how to spin, deceive, and plan the narrative around how St. Obama is still St. Obama and Bill Barr needs to be impeached, and Joe Biden will save us if we only vote for him.

    On the other hand, given what Obama did, and I am Donald J Trump – I’m not a happy camper. If I were the vindictive Trump we think he is – my first thought would be – you are going to pay for this, and pay dearly.

    Maybe I’m trying to connect dots that do not connect, but these are slimy people who will stop at nothing in the quest of power, control, and the management of the narrative. This outburst by Obama is not without risk if the Flynn rabbit hole goes deep enough.

    Interesting times for sure. I’m curious to see where it all goes. And yes, maybe I need a tin foil hat.

    Reply
    1. rowlf

      It sure is a different world when you watch the hands and don’t listen to the sweet words. A favorite tool for me is “Who wants me to see this picture/story and what is outside the framing?”

      Ages ago, while being part of some union stories, I easily caught NPR not reporting news. After that all the other news media seemed to turn into phantasms. Circular sourcing is fun to spot too.

      Reply
    2. Stephen V.

      This source is opposite of TDS but their stuff on the Russia-Russia psyop is linked and sourced like no one else.
      This piece is entitled WHY IS OBAMA PANICKING NOW?
      Quote:
      On March 5th, Trump won Kentucky and Louisiana; and on March 8th Trump won Michigan, Mississippi and Hawaii.

      The next day, March 9th, NSA security alerts warned internal oversight personnel that something sketchy was going on.

      This timing is not coincidental. As FISA Judge Rosemary Collyer later wrote in her report, “many of these non-compliant queries involved the use of the same identifiers over different date ranges.”
      https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2020/05/09/why-is-obama-panicking-now-the-importance-of-understanding-political-surveillance-in-the-era-of-president-obama/#more-191290

      Reply
      1. Katniss Everdeen

        Oops. Didn’t see your post before I pressed submit. It’s a good article. Glad others are reading Sundance.

        Reply
      2. fresno dan

        Stephen V.
        May 10, 2020 at 12:40 pm
        At one point I would have dismissed your source out of hand, but now I think it has to be carefully read and considered.
        To play Devil’s advocate for a moment:Trump made provocative statements and seemed to lack the discretion and good judgement of a normal adult. I don’t think it was beyond the pale to look into what Trump was up to.
        BUT, I think pretty quickly, it was obvious Trump was all bluster and mouth. If Bush had used the FBI, DoJ, NIH, CIA, etcetera against Obama in the same manner, would that have been considered OK?
        And the regurgitation of modern McCarthism against Russia, Russia, Russia as a pretext for anti-Trumpism is something that imperils all of human civilization – is there nothing these people won’t do?
        And finally, it seems as if VAST data bases can be accessed by…well, just about anyone and used for, well, anything. The only safe man is the squillionaire

        Reply
        1. polecat

          Sackman : “Does this ex-officio skeleton come in black ops ?”

          Alfreud : “Let me search the Shop ‘Closet’ .. I’m sure we can whip up something!”

          Reply
      3. Screwball

        That is quite a read. Thank your for the link Stephen V.

        That is the rabbit hole for sure. If this is true, more dots get connected.

        I hope there are many more to come. I’ve given up on ever seeing the rule of law for these people, but I always can hope. How many times is the coverup worse than the crime?

        It would be sweet to someday write “moar handcuffs.” :-)

        I won’t hold my breath.

        Reply
      4. ex-PFC Chuck

        Thank you Stephen V. Readers of the CTH link should scroll down to the comment by “Bogeyfree” at May 10, 2020 at 11:55 am, and read the embedded letter to the acting NSA director by Ty Clevenger connecting timing dots with the killing of Seth Rich.

        Like Fresno Dan down-thread I, too, once dismissed CTH. But no more, at least on Russiagate. Dan also brought up the Russia, Russia, Russia fixation. Until this CTH piece I thought that first and foremost it was an info-op intended to divert the legacy grassroots from the Party’s abandonment of the blue and white collar working classes. Perhaps that was wrong and it was a distant second.

        Reply
    3. Katniss Everdeen

      barack hussein obama is into this up to his eyeballs as are others we have come to know and love over the years like comey, brennan, clapper, schiff and everyone’s favorite–hillary rodham clinton. Then there’s barack’s trusty dog joe.

      The release of the testimony (finally) from schiff’s closed door hearings is bringing the scope of obama era illegalities into focus. The Durham report is coming up. To the extent that biden has attached himself to obama’s hip, fallout from all of this will land on his head. obama has to try to get ahead of it by at least changing the subject.

      Sundance at theconservativetreehouse.com has been writing about this for years and tends to take about as evenhanded a view as there is. There is so much more to this story than has been explained to the public. Here is Sundance’s most recent take on why barack is “panicking” right now, with lots of good links to previous posts that you can lose yourself in if you’re so inclined:

      https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2020/05/09/why-is-obama-panicking-now-the-importance-of-understanding-political-surveillance-in-the-era-of-president-obama/#more-191290

      Reply
    4. fresno dan

      Screwball
      May 10, 2020 at 11:16 am
      A vast left wing conspiracy? Of course, a MAIN part of the conspiracy is painting yourself as left, or liberal when you are anything but. (we are democrats – we are for poor and working folks. we don’t DO anything, but we sure say we are for them…). Funny how the squllionaires who run the networks believe in low taxes and our private healthcare system…
      And if its not a conspiracy, amazing how it works out to emphasize certain stories and de-emphasize others…
      AND yeah, why does what Obama says have to be leaked? Gossip, so much juicier and entertaining than Obama standing at a lectern and enumerating his critiques of the administrations’ corona policies – than, you might actually have to say what you would have done differently.
      With all the bullsh*t being beamed, your gonna need a solid foot thick platinum hat!

      Reply
  19. Lee

    Glad to see NC posting about Singapore. Here are some links to follow if you’re interested in posting more coverage – https://www.academia.sg/, https://kenjeyaretnam.com/, https://www.theonlinecitizen.com/2020/04/09/foreign-worker-dormitories-with-active-covid-19-clusters-linked-to-pa-grassroots-leaders/ , https://www.biglychee.com/index2.html , https://joestudwell.wordpress.com (https://groveatlantic.com/book/asian-godfathers/) , https://www.reddit.com/r/singapore/,

    Reply
  20. fresno dan

    Flynn and the Anatomy of a Political Narrative National Review
    Yates had to figure things out by listening to the exchanges between President Obama and FBI director Comey. The latter was not only fully up to speed, he was even prepared to suggest a potential crime — a violation of the moribund Logan Act — that might fit the facts.
    …..
    And they’re already thinking about nailing Flynn on the Logan Act . . . an obsolete, unconstitutional vestige of the President John Adams administration that has never, ever been prosecuted in the history of the Justice Department (the last case appears to have been in 1852; DOJ was established 18 years later)
    ===========================================
    As I have written enough (too much?) about Flynn, I take another slant here.
    Lets look at this Logan Act. Both Turley and McCarthy go on and on about how the Logan Act is not taken seriously by anyone. BTW, if its so obviously unconstitutional, why didn’t our glorious Supreme court declare it such in 1852???
    How is it that a law that is supposedly so obviously unconstitutional still on the books? Sheer laziness by congress in cleaning up the US Code??? Or, maybe the idea that it might come in useful some day?
    How is it that a constitutional scholar, Obama, countenances its use, as well, apparently, as everybody (who actually have any REAL input in the matter) at the DoJ and FBI?

    I come back to a point I make quite a bit – the US justice system is DESIGNED (PURPOSEFUL) to be forgiving of the rich, and harsh to the poor. It is amazing that someone as powerful as Flynn got caught up in this, but at least there was enough of a stink that a closer examination entailed.
    If what happened to Flynn is wrong, how about these people?
    George Papadopoulos
    Alex van der Zwaan
    Richard Pinedo
    Sam Patten
    Bijan Kian
    Skim Alptekin
    So much for principles – seems a lot of these laws are only utilized when it is in the political objective of the administration in power. And even if your on the side of the side in power, if your too low on the totem pole, your just not worth the expense or effort to defend. AND it might make you look anti law enforcement if you point out how the FBI goes after whoever their boss tells them to. That it IS NOT a nation of laws, but a nation where men choose when and which laws to use to screw their opponents…

    Reply
    1. barefoot charley

      fresno dan, some fun facts about the Logan Act and the Supremes: the Act was passed by our first one-term president, #2, John Adams, an aristocratic Massachusetts b*itch Brahmin of the the first order, and the last Federalist to hold that office. His term threatened democracy with royalist conceits (he rode in a liveried carriage) and laws like the Logan Act, American equivalents of lese majeste, the absolutist French kings’ all-purpose defense against being insulted or questioned by hoi polloi. (Our equivalent today of course is National Security.) The Logan Act criminalized criticizing the Adams administration. It was used against Jeffersonian newspapermen. Jefferson won the next election in a landslide, and within two years the Federalists were wiped out as a political force. Except for one place, the Supreme Court. The Federalist, aristocratic, centralizing would-be oligarchs defeated at the polls took over American jurisprudence by Chief Justice Marshall’s invention of judicial review (which you’ll search the Constitution in vain for). That’s why the most controversial presidential overreach in our young nation’s history was never formally expunged from the law: the Supreme Court, and the Supreme Court alone, had no problem with it. And now the Democrats don’t either!

      Reply
      1. fresno dan

        barefoot charley
        May 10, 2020 at 1:09 pm
        Thank you for that!

        Of course, now that the Supremes are about to be an all repub rock band, the dems are pondering how wise it is to hang your hat on judicial fiat.

        Reply
  21. Oso

    “The Risks – Know Them – Avoid Them Erin Bromage. Must-read”
    thank you Lambert. oakland working on #blacknewdeal as a response to covid-19, one demand full testing from the city, with most at-risk people first in line, lot of healthcare workers involved and this will be helpful.

    Reply
  22. Dirk77

    Lambert here: The question nobody seems to be asking is whether the United States has the operational capability for “test, track, and isolate” regardless of the party in power. The related event that strikes me most this year was the bug ridden voting app the DNC built for the primaries, intending to help sabotage Sanders. If TPTB can’t even get corruption right when it involves anything beyond creating an excel spreadsheet, what does that say about the USA? So many good engineers and craftspeople, yet all for naught if the people in charge are totally incompetent.

    Reply
  23. flora

    Good Tiabbi link. Hope this doesn’t turn into a rerun of ten years ago.

    The Bailout Miscalculation That Could Crash the Economy.

    A plan to help homeowners avoid foreclosure was good, in principle. In practice, it’s pushed the mortgage business toward yet another potential nightmare


    “This is the script of a heist flick, where homeowners get screwed in the end while servicers get the money,” says Carter Dougherty of Americans for Financial Reform. “If you combine money for servicers with strong consumer protections and a vigorous regulator, then the film could have a happy ending. But I’m not holding my breath.”

    https://taibbi.substack.com/p/the-bailout-miscalculation-that-could

    Reply
    1. Michael

      Great article!

      From a comment left->

      “”Why do the mortgage servicers have to continue to make interest payments to investors in securities backed by the loan? Is that just a stipulation of the securities? My first impression was that since it’s the investors that actually own the loans they would be the ones who miss the payments.””

      My thoughts exactly. How about stop lying, refuse to pay in full and let a court sort it out.

      I forget what happened in 2008, was it bad?

      Reply
    2. chuck roast

      Very good article.

      Local fallout: this seems to put on hold the euthanasia of the Air B&Bs…unfortunately. But more importantly, the city, already strapped for cash because of the demise of touroid industry and it’s associated sales and lodging tax revenue, must now forgo a large chunk of property tax revenue. This will not end well.

      Reply
  24. anon in so cal

    #Obamagate trending on Twitter.

    Jonathan Turley on Obama’s comments about Flynn:

    “Obama reportedly told members of the Obama Alumni Association that “There is no precedent that anybody can find for someone who has been charged with perjury just getting off scot-free.” Without doubting the exhaustive search referenced by President Obama, he might have tried calling one “alum”: former Attorney General Eric Holder. Holder moved to dismiss such a case based on prosecutorial errors in front of the very same judge, Judge Emmet Sullivan. [Notably, CNN covered the statements this morning without noting the clearly false claim over the lack of any precedent for the Flynn motion]”

    https://jonathanturley.org/2020/05/09/president-obama-declares-there-is-no-precedent-that-anybody-can-find-for-the-flynn-motion-he-may-want-to-call-eric-holder/

    Reply
    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Hmm, the apostle obama would seem to be a bit off his game. Too much high livin’ maybe.

      Ya gotta love Turley’s talent for understatement:

      ….. Obama reportedly discussed the use of the Logan Act against Flynn. For a person concerned with precedent, that was also a curious focus…..

      Curious focus. Interesting phrase.

      Reply
    2. fresno dan

      anon in so cal
      May 10, 2020 at 12:57 pm

      for a constitutional law scholar, he seems remarkable unfamiliar with … law. But to be fair, all lawyers I see on TV only seem to know the law that proves them right…

      Reply
      1. montanamaven

        Obama wasn’t a scholar. He taught some law courses. I am not aware of any “scholarly” work on constitutional law that he wrote. Are there some?

        Reply
          1. barefoot charley

            He was an adjunct in constitutional law at the U of Chicago law school till he could get into politics. Marbury v Madison memorization drills?

            Reply
        1. fresno dan

          montanamaven
          May 10, 2020 at 2:24 pm

          I should have been more precise – he was PORTRAYED as a constitutional law scholar by the Obamabots and MSNBC. I thought it was common knowledge that calling him a constitutional law scholar was a joke – we need a sarcasm font

          Reply
  25. fresno dan

    I never thought I would own up to being old and decrepit, but I’m actually going to the special hours for old folks at the big box stores. Discretion is the better part of valor…

    Reply
      1. lordkoos

        Around here if you shop that late in the day, the stores are often sold out of certain merchandise.

        Reply
    1. BobW

      Wally World grocery pickup at 7-8 AM is for for at-risk people. That’s when I go, can use SNAP card (formerly known as food stamps) there, unlike other local grocery pickups.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        I can well imagine two armoured persons encountering each other at the entrance to the Cave of Wally and one crying out in challenge:
        “Cares thou to shop sir knight?”
        “Arroint thee varlet!”
        “Caitiff! Knowest thou that two shall enter and but one leave!”

        Reply
  26. Synoia

    There seem to be a lack of understanding on what this “bending the curve means.”

    It is about managing the plague’s progression to the number of hospital beds available. AKA Bending the curve.

    Bending the curve probably lengthens the duration of the plague, because one is managing the infection rate.

    The plague is only assuaged when 80% of the population (remaining) have had the disease.

    There will be a spike in infections, and deaths, when the current strict “bending the curve” regime is lifted slowly. But, managing hospital bed use will (or should) rule on the lifting process. The alternative is a repeat of the Black Death scenario: “Bring out your dead!”

    You will probably get the plague. Hopefully you will recover with immunity. There is no other path to get to “herd immunity” other than 80% of the survivors having recovered from the plague. One hopes the 80% herd immunity is shared by a large percentage of the population, not a small percentage.

    Until there is a vaccine, a herd immunity accelerator, which is probably one year from now.

    Reply
    1. sd

      I was under the impression that Herd Immunity is not yet proven as possible, and that those who have had COVID-19 may in fact get it again. And as such, a simple vaccine may also not be possible.

      If you have information that herd immunity is actually possible, please share.

      Reply
      1. xkeyscored

        Whether infection confers immunity or not, what, apart from a vaccine, will stop us getting to 80%-odd infected?

        Reply
      2. lordkoos

        The reinfection thing still seems to be an unknown at this point. In South Korea they have reported that they now think many, if not most of the assumed reinfections were actually false positives from tests.

        Reply
        1. MLTPB

          Speaking of S Korea and their contact tracing, is it going to be contact tracing for any protests going forward*, if a person (reporter, protestor, undercover, police officer, etc) is positive?

          Would Occupy or similar movements be less inviting, for the more reclusive persons?

          Are there factors or situations we might be less willing to contact trace rigorously?

          *one link above refers to rally at Wisconsin state Capitol, and not tracking specific events.

          Reply
    2. ambrit

      I know the analogy is inexact, but my fear is that the coronavirus will act like Malaria in the population. A steady low level of cases with debilitating effects with every reiteration.
      Welcome to the successor state to the Neo-Normal.
      Be you upstanding and stay safe.

      Reply
    3. marym

      Herd immunity means that “immunity is shared by a large percentage of the population” due to antibodies (vaccine or recovery); not that a large portion of the population is 80% immune. Those medically unable to be vaccinated are protected by having the immune herd reduce the likelihood that a disease will find them within the herd.

      Even if it can be established that recovered people have an effective degree of immunity (and by extension that there’s a possibility of a vaccine), the idea of achieving “herd immunity,” without a vaccine providing the immunity to the largest percentage of immune would require widespread suffering and death — if it’s even possible that a small, dispersed, culled immune “herd” would be likely to provide much protection.

      Reply
        1. marym

          Assuming we learn that having the disease confers immunity, for the US to achieve 80% immunity without a vaccine would require 266 million people to contract it.

          Reply
          1. Ignim Brites

            1% of 266 million is 2.66 million. .1% is 266k. Serious to be sure. Grave to be sure. But existential? Whereas the lock downs and the corresponding economic collapse are already an existential threat to the nation. It is certainly not entirerly impossible that the Republic will be gone by this time next year.

            Reply
        2. Yves Smith

          Don’t try bullshit like that. Your metric is irrelevant and you know that.

          New York has had an incredibly aggressive lockdown and as a result, not many people have contracted the disease. On top of that, quite a few people who survive have debilitating damage, like lung, heart, and kidney disease. I have zero tolerance for coronavirus disinformation.

          Reply
          1. xkeyscored

            From over two weeks ago:
            “Based on the preliminary results of the first round of antibody testing conducted across New York, state officials estimate that 21.2% of New York City residents have contracted the coronavirus. Statewide, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said an estimated 2.7 million residents — or 13.9% of the state’s population — have been infected.”
            https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/04/23/842818125/coronavirus-has-infected-a-fifth-of-new-york-city-testing-suggests

            Reply
  27. richard

    J. Dore just put up this interview with Chris Smalls, a firebrand union leader among NY/East Coast Amazon employees. Smalls coordinated the May 1 walkouts among Amazon, Whole Foods and Target employees (I forgot if there were others involved), and says to watch for something big coming up on Juneteenth.
    A fine synchronizing of struggles, Mr Smalls. Seriously dude, nice. I can see that Amazon has massively underestimated you, and maybe all of us too. What an inspiring person.

    Reply
  28. Billy

    “American capitalism has recently been a force not for progress and for good, but for mass social murder. They describe how the collapse of demand for unskilled labour has caused “the loss of meaning, of dignity, of pride, and of self-respect” and so led to tens of thousands of needless deaths of despair among the white working class –”
    But, a continual stream of low wage immigrants can do the work that Americans won’t do at starvation wages. So doesn’t that cheap union busting labor to serve the elite, more than make up for dead Deplorables?
    Thanks to the CoviDepression, rather than starve, white, black and brown citizens will be willing to undercut even the pay of illegals. Mission accomplished!

    Reply
  29. Briny

    There was a reason the Founders wished to forever prevent the existence of “Star Chambers,” yet now we have them. I give you the FISC.

    Reply
    1. Briny

      Meant to be a reply to fresno dan May 10, 2020 at 11:50 am.

      I’ve ginned up an interesting Rube-Goldberg solution here to the lack of house WiFi. It’s got … quirks.

      Reply
      1. Tom Bradford

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Chamber

        In broad terms it’s an ‘official’ body set up to be outside the law. It was originally created by a King of England (and met in a room decorated by stars) to rein in barons and powerful people the normal law courts couldn’t constrain but over time became a secretive and sinister arm of the sovereign used to attack perceived enemies or opponents despite the absence of any legal justification, which is its usual meaning today.

        Reply
    1. deplorado

      From the Guardian comments – Peter Warner’s book :https://www.anchormarine.com.au/product/ocean-of-light-by-peter-warner/

      Wulanbuy1d ago
      Guardian Pick

      192
      193
      Four years ago whilst living in the small village of Keerrong in the Northern Rivers of NSW, a knock came on my door from a neighbour 3 houses down the road. It was Peter Warner. At the time I had some Pacific Islander friends staying with me who were visiting for an academic project. Peter’s connection to the Pacific must have piqued his curiosity. With a few things in common, we chatted for some time and the next day a copy of his self-published memoir ‘Ocean of Light’ appeared in my mailbox. I read the story of the six Tongan boys ship-wrecked for 15 months and my jaw dropped. The story deserves more attention. I’m so glad to see it woven into this piece. Peter’s book is available here: https://www.anchormarine.com.au/product/ocean-of-light-by-peter-warner/

      Reply
  30. Andrew Thomas

    Poor Nils Melzer need not worry about finding out more about the world’s so-called democracies. He will never be asked to do so again. He wasn’t engaged to investigate, and report the truth about what he saw and heard. He was engaged to confirm the existing narrative about Assange. It was a momentary irritation for the PTB to have to go through the trouble of destroying the credibility of his report, but it was still irritating. The mistake will not be made again. If Mr. Melzer’s name is ever spoken again by the MSM, it will only be because he becomes impossible to ignore; whereupon, his good name will be savaged until he is once again forgotten. The wages of honesty is official death.

    Reply
  31. Oregoncharles

    “UN rapporteur on torture ‘scared to find out more about our democracies’ after delving into Assange case ”
    On RT. Sigh.

    Reply
  32. Oregoncharles

    “Scientists Have Developed a Membrane That Separates CO2 From Other Gases “:
    “These dendrites would then dramatically increase the efficiency of the structure, allowing for large amounts of CO2 and oxygen to flow through without having to use as much of the precious metal as in previous methods.”

    More efficient is better, but silver is about $15 a troy ounce (very similar to a regular ounce). It’s been as high as $18, before the pandemic crash. IOW, not THAT precious; how much of this stuff do they propose to make? Catalytic converters contain platinum, more like $1000 an ounce (so they’re worth recycling).

    A membrane that separates out CO2 is indeed good news; might make it possible to bury large quantities of it. Of course, plants are pretty good at that, too.

    Reply
  33. Bugs Bunny

    “The Pandemic Isn’t a Black Swan but a Portent of a More Fragile Global System” is an awful waste of time and reduces Taleb to a market gurü. Par for the course chez the New Yorker; the view across the Hudson must be lovely in a time of plague.

    Reply
  34. Boris

    At these times, or always, we need one good, fat laugh a day. Mine was this, by Caitlin Johnstone:

    ~
    Trump ended up being not another Hitler, but another Obama.

    This is not a compliment.
    ~

    Reply
  35. VietnamVet

    The informative “Risks-know them” article reinforces my observation about the lack of good science and reporting coming out of the pandemic. Mostly it is like reading the corporate Pravda on the Potomac between the lines to try to figure out the truth.

    But today’s Link’s headlines are facing reality; “The New Normal”, “You have to assume everyone has it”, “If anyone Is really safe”, Debating Pandemic Measures In a Failed State” and “America’s Federalist Dysfunction Isn’t Going Away”.

    “Even if Trump is not actively aiming at herd immunity, there is no indication that he is even considering the test, track, and isolate option, let alone starting to construct the elaborate and efficient bureaucracy that would be needed. Neither is there any sign that he would be capable of doing such a thing even if he wanted to.”

    This paragraph encapsulates the White House’s strategic debacle. The federal government is so far down the toilet it is not in control. It is not fighting the virus. It has no idea of its spread or extent. It is highly likely that portions of the USA will be in lockdown on November 3, 2020 or nearly a million Americans will be dead from a universal reopening. If this is the case, Donald Trump will lose the election. America’s fundamental problem is that on January 17, 2021, the inauguration of Joe Biden will not change one bit the government policies that already killed over 80,000 Americans in the first place. Democracy will have to be restored.

    Reply
  36. Wukchumni

    Went for a hike this morning with a friend who drives an 18 wheeler from the Central Valley to LA & SF primarily, and what he had to tell me was interesting.

    The hubs he delivers to are all skeleton crews now, compared to before Coronavirus-where 86 employees might be more like 6 now, and he related that everybody is masked up in SF, but it’s very lax in comparison in Oakland. LA is also a mixed bag, some hubs don’t want him getting out of his rig as they unload it, others want him to do the unloading.

    One of his routine runs is delivering milk powder from dairies here to the Port of LA, and then onto China, and he’s been doing it for years, and that hasn’t let up at all, no dumping of milk in the Central Valley.

    I was listening to LA news radio this a.m., and LA County opened up hiking trails that are in high use with many new hikers, who would’ve thunk that a plague would be the catalyst of putting one foot out front and alternating with the other repeatedly?

    My friend told me he was driving by the trailhead for La Tuna Canyon on the 210, and he couldn’t believe how many cars were parked just about everywhere, perhaps 50 of them. When I used to do that hike, 3 parked cars would’ve been about average.

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      Well I walk a lot around here and there are vastly more walkers than before the disease. The local state park has reopened but when I drove by there last weekend the entrance was blocked with a sign saying “at capacity” whatever that means. This state park is dozens of square miles. Perhaps the parking lots were full.

      But it does increasingly appear that you are unlikely to get covid outdoors unless someone breathes in your face Given the considerable breadth of many Americans this new trend may be a good thing, health wise.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        I’m interested to see how things develop in my bailiwick, which has been busy every summer-yet limited due to only so many trailhead parking spots. I plan to do a fair amount of off-trail (social distancing as an art form) travel on just the other side of Paradise Peal exploring Atwell & Redwood Creek Sequoia groves on steep approaches in more encompassing manner, including the search for more sunken in granite 3-4 foot wide X 3-4 feet deep tubs.

        I’ve located 7 sets of typically trios of these, but not always.

        Some sites have mortars nearby where the Wukchumni ground nutmeat. many not tar from the prized acorn of the Black Oak upper zone, some 500 vertical feet below where the tubs & mortars are, or BYOA.

        Really the perfect relic as they’ll be there, for, well forever pretty much. And pretty much theft proof.

        The most dramatic site locally was a set of 7 sunk on one large flat-ish boulder near Oriole Lake.

        A 1929 report:

        https://anthrosource.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1525/aa.1929.31.3.02a00020

        A nice pair of USGS reports

        https://pubs.usgs.gov/sir/2008/5210/sir2008-5210.pdf

        https://pubs.usgs.gov/sir/2009/5225/sir2009-5225.pdf

        I’ve gotten used to Sequoia NP and environs being so cosmopolitan in season and increasingly all year, with a cornucopia of seers converging on gargantuan conifers imparting thousands of years of longevity on us, if only briefly.

        That component is embargoed sans stateless foreign nationals who couldn’t get home and are quarantining in one state or another.

        You got used to hearing half a dozen accents jibber jabbering away in the lay of their lingua franca on a 15 minute in-park shuttle bus, but alas the bus is a bust also.
        ,
        They used to make up 40% of the 2 million visitors a year, will the newfound nurture through nature movement in these United States make up for the 800,000 that got vi-raptured?

        …stay tuned

        Reply
        1. PlutoniumKun

          The problem we have in Ireland here (and I’ve no reason not to think this is universal) is that when newbie or casual outdoors folks go out, they all aim for the exact same spot at more or less the same time. This is exacerbated by the historic popularity of ‘honeypot’ design strategies for outdoors/national parks managers. Apart from traffic issues, this has obvious implications for social distancing.

          In general, locals and experienced hikers know the nice, lesser trodden routes, and can safely use them, but of course its very hard for the police or anyone else to distinguish between those who will safely go hiking alone and the newbies who might do something stupid. So its proven easier to stop everyone – here in Ireland they’ve taken to stopping people at well known trailhead carparks.

          For those who know how to get around this, they are in a very lucky position indeed. A good friend of mine with two little girls and who lives close to the mountains here has been torturing me with her photos of her and her kids picnicking and hiking in splendid isolation in some glorious remote places.

          Reply
  37. Carla

    Re: The Risks — Know Them — Avoid Them

    This says to me, retail store and other business owners need to sharply limit their hours and then put their employees on 2 hour shifts. Pay them for half time, work them for quarter-time. Yes, retail owners will make less money. Too bad.

    When schools re-open in the fall, it should be for small groups of students to attend at most 2 hours in the morning every couple of days; and different students maybe 2 hours in the afternoon. Of course this would be augmented by video lessons.

    ALL FUTURE ELECTIONS MUST BE BY MAIL, as we cannot risk exposing our mostly elderly poll workers to the viral load of a 13-hour workday. That’s insane! I remain grateful to Gov. Mike DeWine for shutting down Ohio’s in-person 3/17 primary election…

    Reply

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