Links 5/13/2020

CLOs: ground zero for the next stage of the financial crisis? FT

JPMorgan Is Now Banking for Bitcoin Exchanges Coinbase, Gemini Bloomberg

America’s digital Sputnik moment The Hill

Wall Street Bets Virus Meltdown Gives Landlords a Chance to Grow WSJ

If Landlords Get Wiped Out, Wall Street Wins, Not Renters Bloomberg

European investment plunge raises fears for future growth FT

More than 300 lawmakers urge IMF, World Bank to cancel poor countries’ debt Channel News Asia

Citigroup Turns to Mediating Cheap Loans as African Deals Dry Up Bloomberg

Manhattan Faces a Reckoning if Working From Home Becomes the Norm NYT (Re Silc). The norm for PMC symbol manipulators, that is. It’s hard to fill a shelf with groceries from home.

How the Coronavirus Could Permanently Cut Near-Retirees’ Social Security Benefits Andrew Biggs, Wharton Pension Research Council Working Papers. Yikes:

[D]ue to how the Social Security benefit formula interacts with the sharp economic downturn due to the Coronavirus, some groups of near-retirees are likely to suffer substantial permanent reductions to their Social Security retirement benefits. Assuming a 15 percent decline in the Social Security Administration’s measure of economywide average wages in 2020, a middle-income worker born in 1960 could have his annual Social Security benefits in retirement reduced by around 13 percent, with losses over the retirement period in excess of $70,000.

That’s terrible. How can we fund nursing home Petri dishes if Social Security benefits are cut?

#COVID19

Reopening:

Coronavirus Models Are Nearing Consensus, but Reopening Could Throw Them Off Again NYT

* * *

Spread:

How Coronavirus Spreads through the Air: What We Know So Far Scientific American. But see also:

Links are in the thread. For any given space, assess air volume, exposure time, and people in the space.

* * *

Masks:

Should All Fashion Brands Be Selling Masks? Business of Fashion

Column: Vaccines ‘are poisonous’ and other views of a business owner who banned masks in his shop Los Angeles Times

* * *

Vaccine:

What Is 1 Day Sooner? Scientists Seek Volunteers to Become Infected with Coronavirus to Speed Up Vaccine Development Newsweek

* * *

Supply chain:

Gilead inks deals with generics makers to supply COVID-19 therapy remdesivir for 127 countries Fierce Pharma. This preprint is the best published/non-Gilead study on remdesivir I can find (readers please correct). So we’re locking up global manufacturing capacity for Gilead because Fauci ramped its stock?

* * *

Economic effects:

COVID-19 Impacting Weather Forecasts The Maritime Executive

Virus unleashes wave of fraud in US amid fear and scarcity AP

We Can’t Stop the Coronavirus Unless We Stop Corruption Foreign Policy. Especially in failed states like our own.

* * *

Corporate response:

We maintained or increased IT spending, say seven-in-ten pros, execs polled mid-crisis. PS: We love Microsoft most The Register

* * *

Political response:

Trump Administration Wants Bosses to Snitch on People Scared to Go to Work Vice. Shovel tens of trillions to the 1%, then worry about whether Joe and Jane Sixpack boost an extra grand. Nothing must interfere with the sacred C-M-C’, or increase worker power v. capital!

Five takeaways as Senate panel hears from Fauci, Trump health officials The Hill

* * *

Exit strategy:

We need a radically different model to tackle the COVID-19 crisis James Galbraith, Defend Democracy Press

We can’t restart Britain’s economy until we get coronavirus under control Simon Wren-Lewis, Guardian

* * *

Remedies and ameliorations:

Exhaustion, uncertainty mark coronavirus survivors’ journeys AP.

17 questions to ask yourself as you declutter your closet NBC. My closet is fully decluttered, thank you!

Judy Mikovits, Disgraced Doctor at the Center of ‘Plandemic,’ Has a Bestselling Book on Amazon Rolling Stone (Re Silc).

China?

Leaked Chinese Virus Database Covers 230 Cities, 640,000 Updates Foreign Policy

Philippines extends coronavirus lockdown in Manila and two high-risk areas South China Morning Post

India

A district that learnt Covid lessons and one that didn’t Times of India

Early Reaction to India’s Massive Stimulus Broadly Positive Bloomberg

Syraqistan

EXCLUSIVE: British propaganda efforts in Syria may have broken UK law Middle East Eye

EU/UK

A Very Political Prosecution Craig Murray

One Billionaire Leader Is Having a Good Virus Crisis Bloomberg. “Billionaire leader.” What’s “Crassus” in Czech?

Putin Withdraws From the Coronavirus Crisis in a Political Abdication Moscow Times

About the Wise Monkey Who Came Down from the Mountain Russian International Affairs Council

RussiaGate

Three Flynn Thoughts Andrew McCarthy National Review

The ‘See-No-Evil’ Phase of Russiagate Patrick Lawrence, Consortium News (Furzy Mouse).

Transcript Of The Russian Behind The Dreaded Trump Tower Meeting Revealed Forbes

Donald Trump and the politicisation of US justice FT

Trump Transition

Trump orders federal pension fund not to invest in Chinese stocks FT

Democrats in Disarray

Pelosi unveils $3 trillion coronavirus relief plan amid squeeze from left and right Politico. Of course, Pelosi has bailed out K Street. So it’s a message bill, just not a message the left wants to hear. I’m not the only one who picked up on “Rooseveltian”:

If Pelosi wanted any of this stuff to pass, it would have been in the first or second bills. So we’re looking at Integrity Theatre.

A sternly worded letter from the Progressive Caucus to Pelosi:

We have had the good luck to speak with those who crafted the bill speak behind closed doors, regarding their legislative philosophy:

Eight surprises in House Democrats’ $3T coronavirus relief bill The Hill. This is the Christmas tree part. Not that there’s anything wrong with a few presents under the tree.

Democrats Unveil Giant New Coronavirus Relief Bill HuffPo

‘No Excuse for This’: House Dems Unveil 1,815-Page Bill That Would Bail Out Corporate Lobbyists But Omits Key People-First Priorities Common Dreams

War Is Peace & K Street Is A Small Business David Sirota, Too Much Information

2020

Kushner, Law Aside, Doesn’t Rule Out Delaying 2020 Election NYT

Ignoring Trump and Right-Wing Think Tanks, Red States Expand Vote by Mail Pro Publica

More Americans than ever are expected to vote by mail this year, which means we probably won’t know who won the 2020 presidential race until days after election night Business Insider

DNC committee approves rule changes that could allow for virtual convention CNN

AOC joins Biden’s climate policy panel NBC. It’s not a “panel,” as in a government panel, it’s a “task force.” Maybe let Biden pick out the White House drapes all on his own?

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

The Confessions of Marcus Hutchins, the Hacker Who Saved the Internet Wired

Mitch McConnell Moves to Expand Bill Barr’s Surveillance Powers The Daily Beast.

Health Care

Why the U.S. Health Care System Failed the Coronavirus Test Foreign Pollicy

Job lock:

Hence, no #MedicareForAll. Nothing must disturb the sacred C-M-C’!

Here’s How to Cover Uninsured Americans During the Pandemic Politico. Idea: “Let’s expand COBRA!” (said nobody outside the Democrat Establishment, ever).

Guillotine Watch

Stranded Super-Rich Confront Tax Chaos After Virus Lockdowns (2) Bloomberg Law

Class Warfare

If Your Boss Is Putting Your Life at Risk – Read This Tribune. From the UK.

How Evolution Helps Us Understand and Treat Cancer Smithsonian

Antidote du jour (via):

“Twiggy is watching the hens from a safe distance.”

Bonus antidote:

Try herding cats into a video conference!

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.

174 comments

  1. jackiebass

    Expanding COBRA probably isn’t a solution for those that lose their health insurance because they lost their job. I believe people have to pay the COBRA premium. If they aren’t working , they won’t be able to play. Unless the business or government pays the premium, COBRA isn’t a solution.

    Reply
    1. jefemt

      My experience with COBRA was not only do you get to pay the premium (who else will pay it?), BUT you loose the pooling benefit on premium pricing. So it becomes Premium pricing….

      I worked for Wells Fargo, 150K employees, they churned through insurance companies and drove a hard bargain every three or four years years so gleaned great coverage at a reasonable rate.

      COBRA allowed me to go, alone-tee-hee-alone, on bended knee, back to the insurer. Premium tripled without the benfit of a pool of 150 souls.

      Imagine if we had a pool of 340 million who need acces to care. What kind of pricing could we drive?

      Monopolies, Utilities, ‘free markets’ Gawd we are so stupid, for a nation of pro-business rugged individualists.

      The US is SOOOOOOO Exceptional.

      OOSA OOSA OOSA

      Reply
      1. oliverks

        Actually in my experience, COBRA is deliberately made punitive (the rates are negotiated by HR) to punish employees. HR wants to make you suffer if you leave (or are made to leave).

        A simple law change could force COBRA to equal the premiums of employees at no real cost to companies, but that might encourage people to get upity.

        Reply
      2. Leftcoastindie

        A lot depends on the company being self insured or not. If a company pays for the insurance then the COBRA premium is 2% over the premium paid by the company to the insurer. If the company is self insured (as WF probably is) then the company has more leeway as to what to charge for COBRA premiums. The insurers act as third party administrators in these cases and don’t determine premium rates the company in effect does.
        Another thing is people really aren’t aware of actual premium costs. For example, an individual might pay $100/month for themselves and the company would pay less of the premium for spouses and children so the individual would pay another $400/month for the family making the total group premium $500. If that person needs COBRA the actual premiums would be around $2,000/month. For a self insured company the premium could be higher much higher than that. Quite the difference that and it usually catches people by surprise.

        Reply
      3. pete

        I cant say for a fact how things are. However, when I got my COBRA paperwork it was fairly explicit that I paid no more than 105% of the total cost of my insurance and that was state law or something along those lines. The numbers also added up to the same as what the company said was the real cost of insuring us. It just so happened its 800$ a month though. I had it offered for $450 or so as well.

        Reply
    2. Bsoder

      You do have to pay CORBRA by the end of the month you were terminated and it is whatever your employer says they paid the insurance company, unless you have a contract that says otherwise. And it usually is a huge amount. One alternative can go on healthcare.gov with 30 days of last being covered and pick a plan. It isnt exactly automatic, because they did to know you need loose your job, but it took me a day to do for my son.

      Reply
    3. curlydan

      If I needed COBRA, I definitely would check the exchanges as well. By that time, I’m not sure how or why COBRA would be better than buying it on the marketplace. COBRA appears well-named for a venomous strike that could kill.

      Reply
    4. mpalomar

      According to the Common Dreams story, ‘No Excuse for This’: House Dems Unveil 1,815-Page Bill That Would Bail Out Corporate Lobbyists But Omits Key People-First Priorities1815 page

      The HEROES Act “funds approximately nine months of full premium subsidies for the existing health insurance program COBRA, which allows laid-off or furloughed employees to stay on their health insurance plans,” Vox’s Ella Nilsen and Li Zhou reported.

      Progressives have vocally criticized the COBRA proposal as a mere subsidy to the private insurance industry that would not be nearly as beneficial or cost-effective as the emergency Medicare expansion

      Reply
  2. Toshiro_Mifune

    Manhattan Faces a Reckoning if Working From Home Becomes the Norm

    This is going to be one of the primary economic stories over the next decade. Obviously, not just Manhattan. A shift to WFH (work from home) will have long term and widespread impacts.

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      Yes, I think there will be big changes from this, although I wonder if a lot of companies contemplating changing will think twice when they look closely at the clauses in their office leases, or find that the cost of sub letting or selling space is higher than they thought.

      Its already reported in the UK papers that there has been a surge in interest in houses outside normal commuting areas, presumably from people trying to get ahead of the rush. Small towns and villages with good wifi might suddenly find they are in a boom.

      A big problem of course for companies hoping to save money by having staff work from home, is that disease control may ensure that they can’t hot desk, and without hot desking, its hard to see where the savings are. It may result in very different types of layout.

      My own office is a mix of open space rabbit warrens, with more than the usual number of individual offices. There has been a 10 year battle between management trying to dismantle the offices, with staff resisting strongly (well, those staff with individual offices). That battle has now been decisively won by those in offices. But the irony is that those with offices are generally more senior technical staff, who can easily work from home, while junior clerical staff find that much more difficult for all sorts of reasons, and they are the ones in the tight shared spaces. I really don’t know how they’ll sort it all out. The costs of moving office building I suspect will be just too high, so there will be little option but to come up with short term fixes until the building lease is up. My feeling is that when it comes to that time (its due in about 5 years time), the temptations of an out of town low density office will seem far more attractive than the existing inner urban office. This isn’t good news for those businesses dependent on office workers.

      Reply
      1. bwilli123

        In places like London, particularly not having to commute daily via the Underground is a substantial financial win as well as a significant reclamation of personal time

        Reply
        1. GettingTheBannedBack

          Not necessarily. Rent seeking behaviour of firms will likely move this time into expected working time.

          Reply
    2. Louis Fyne

      union expansion outside of factory floors is dead under work from home. (imo)

      workers can’t mobilize if they interact with remote co-workers only via discrete, work-specific interactions, particularly if they communicate over corporate email/messaging or work VOIP which can be monitored

      Reply
      1. ddt

        At my employer, a VP proclaimed yesterday that “productivity is way up” even tho people are working from home. They’ve blurred the lines of working hours as folks are suddenly working 10+ hour days and are expected to be always on/available.

        Reply
        1. Toshiro_Mifune

          They’ve blurred the lines of working hours as folks are suddenly working 10+ hour days and are expected to be always on/available.

          So everyone becomes IT in the future.

          Reply
    3. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, TM.

      When these jobs move out of Manhattan or, in my case, the City of London, they won’t necessarily be done in the dormitory / commuter areas of NYC or, in my case, the “Home Counties”, some of the jobs are migrating to India and the Philippines.

      At 11 PM yesterday, so after closing time in the Americas and opening time in Asia Pacific, my employer sent an e-mail to staff, announcing that “restructuring”, suspended in March, is starting again. The firm has been monitoring how working from home is going, often achieving 90% of staff doing so, and has identified many more functions to “right shore”, which we are told is the correct phrase, and costs to cut.

      Be careful what you wish for.

      Reply
    4. philnc

      Reading through the Moscow Times story on Putin’s retreat from managing this crisis, and contemplating the overwhelming failures of our own President and the governors of the several states to get their sh*t together, it occurred to me that now might be a good time to reconsider our reliance on government executive leadership and power in times like these: particularly where that leadership is so far removed from the lives of most people that they can’t possibly have a f*ing clue as to what’s really going on. Maybe it’s finally time to look at more cooperative, local community, models of governance and action.

      Reply
      1. JTMcPhee

        Government is not just removed from the lives of most people but actively in “private-public partnerships” with corporate interests, to degrade the lives of working mopes and the shared environment, to complete the destruction of the commons and nail down a “post-rule-of-law” kleptocracy.

        From observation over decades, I doubt that localizing governance will result in anything different than the kind of class hierarchy and wealth distribution and general destructive behavior that seems everywhere to fall into place in “government.”

        Big wins for the Takers were creating “corporate persons,” something that happened a long time ago, the history of which is laid out here, https://reclaimdemocracy.org/corporate-accountability-history-corporations-us/ , and legitimizing the purchase of political power by open bribery (“Citizens United” and subsequent legislative and judicial imprimaturs.)

        Also, of course, the Powell Memorandum and other corporatist planning via the Kochs and AEI and the rest. All fueled by greed, overlaid with claims of their way being for the greatest good (sic) and “efficiency.”

        I recall from my own work experience, the seduction of “improving efficiency” which equals “more profit” and “less labor” and “least cost” ideation. Ideas and behaviors that occurred to people that maximized profit were encouraged and rewarded, efforts to improve working conditions even where no additional “costs” were incurred were “discouraged.” And even people of a progressive inclination would just flow along with that constant pressure to do more and more, with fewer and fewer workers, for less and less money, undert tighter and tighter micromanagement.

        Reply
      2. Olga

        MT tends to be reliably anti-Kremlin, so what can one expect. Today, however, the main page has quite a few informative articles about the virus in Russia. Much more informative, in fact, than the mushy piece penned by Mark Galeotti. Try as I may, it is hard to figure out what the main point is. The author complains about VVP the authoritarian, and then also complains that he directed the governors to address problems locally. Centralisation or de-centralisation – not clear which one VVP is guilty of.
        ” Putin is clearly eager to avoid being identified with the pandemic and the difficult measures being adopted to fight it.”
        Wow, talk about a grievous sin! Though, I must say, I have yet to see a politician, who wants to be “identified with the pandemic.”

        Reply
        1. Bob Visser

          Moscow Times is financed by the Dutch Foreign Office, acting as cover for Israeli interests. Pure propaganda channel and unworthy to be present on NC.

          Reply
          1. MLTPB

            Intersting, thanks.

            There are government controlled news agencies, like TASS, Xinhua, etc.

            And state media, including newspapers.

            Is RT one?

            Reply
            1. Oregoncharles

              I believe RT is owned by the Russian gov’t., yes. So its reporting on Russian politics should be taken with a generous portion of salt.

              It’s reporting on our own problems seems, overall, more leftish and reliable. Some judgement required, of course.

              Reply
            2. Procopius

              Hard to tell if RT is one, or if it is more government controlled than, say, the right-wing New York Times. I check TASS from time to time, and I consider both RT and Al Jazeera English pretty reliable, but limited in scope. Is RT anti-US or just objective? TASS seems to be more local news. Since the Democratic Elite went batshit crazy in 2017 it’s really difficult not to get sucked into the delusions.

              Reply
    5. ShamanicFallout

      Channeling David Graeber, I’ve presented this little thought exercise (a little bit in jest really) amongst my friends and social media acquaintances. Usually comes with some amount of consternation and even some outright hostility. It goes like this: “If you can ‘work’ from home, your job is probably not necessary or even needed. In other words, you may have a bullish*t job. Discuss.” Try it! Watch the contortions and rationalizations fly!

      Reply
  3. tinheart

    I hate to barge in, but what does the acronym “PMC” mean as in “The norm for PMC symbol manipulators?”

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      Usually it means the Professional-Managerial Class. We use to have leaders but these days what we usually get is managers instead.

      Reply
    2. christofay

      I only learned PMC last week. CMC is a new one for me. I’m guessing Congressional-Medical-Complex. And Medical includes the entire feeding system, private hospital chains, pharma, insurance.

      Reply
        1. Jessica

          C is commodity. M is money. This is a major part of Marx’s Capital (Das Kapital).
          C-M-C is where you make something, then sell it to buy other things. In this case, the end goal is some commodity to use.
          M-C-M, where you start with money, invest it in commodities, then sell them for more money. Those commodities often include labor power.
          Of course, nowadays, the dominant flow (the one that determines others, not the one most of us actually engage in) is more like M-iM-M, in which you start with money (capital), invest it in imaginary money, then try to convert that back to real money before the imaginary money melts down like the Wicked Witch of the West.

          Reply
            1. Jessica

              C’ and M’ would be mean some other commodity or money, usually the one at the end of the C-M-C or M-C-M cycle as distinct from the one at the start.
              So C-M-C’ or M-C-M’ emphasizes that the first one and the last one are different.

              Reply
            2. Left in Wisconsin

              IMO, M => C => M’ is a clearer description of capitalism. Capitalists prefer liquid money (M) but the objective of capitalism is to turn that money into more money (M’). That way that is done is capitalist production, in which surplus value is created (by the workers) but only realized through the sale of the commodities (C) created by that production. And what is brilliant is that both parts of the equation appear to be equalities (equal trades) – workers are alleged paid the value of what they produce (their marginal product), consumers will only paid for commodities what they believe they are worth – but somehow the capitalist ends up with more M than he /she started with.

              One other advantage to this formulation is that it explains financialization. Why go through all the trouble of turning your M into C in order to increase its value when you can skip that step?

              Reply
          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Useful, but I see it a little differently. I think the Heavenly Powers see very well that in a world where money must be loaned into existence, and where a lender now receives *no* time preference (interest) for extending credit, and where every conceivable borrower is already either completely maxxed out or is reducing their debt, they needed another transmission channel. The old model was #1 Productivity, which generates #2 Savings, which then yields #3 Investment. Investment was a by-product of Productivity. (Put differently, the “real” economy drove the “financial” economy). The new model flips this on its head: it starts with Investment (trillions created to throw at asset and stock markets), and at the other end whatever Productivity happens to happen is just a by-product. It makes no difference whether WeWork or Netflix was/is an actual business with *any* chance for its revenues to ever exceed its costs, all that matters is that the “price” of the business rises. This then circulates “money” from the top down, instead of a lowly farmer being able to generate a little bit of money of his own from the bottom up by planting a seed.

            It reminds me of an old Star Trek episode, they visit a planet where war has been abolished. In its place are two supercomputers, one for each side. The computers battle and decide Side B has lost, so the inhabitants of Side B dutifully report to special centers to be liquidated.

            The key of course is how the computers are programmed. To torture the analogy, we could program our computer (the central bank or country’s Treasury) so money is available in actual people’s lives, to eat, to live. I suppose that’s MMT. Right now our computer is programmed so that so-called “people” who already have unimaginable quantities of money continually get much more, and The State moves Heaven and Earth to try to keep them from losing any. The rest of us must make do from the crumbs that inadvertently happen to fall from those personal juggernauts.

            They’ll make a big show out of pretending that the old system still applies, still honking on about quaint notions like “earnings” and “new products” and “market share”. We’ll still hear about “corporations”, even though in the new model (post-CARES) already it is the central bank and the Treasury, not the field of battle of competitive enterprise, that decide whether a “company” (as an entity supposedly separate from The State) succeeds or fails.

            Of course Jubilee is the time-honoured way out of the mess, but wisdom and foresight and any notions of benevolence or responsibility have long ago fled the temples of our money changers.

            Reply
            1. Jessica

              Yes, we live in a world in which a bonsai post-industrial economy is run on industrial economy rules with the highest amount of social energy being dedicated to financial games and narrative manipulation. So an unreal economy poorly veiled behind a layer of propaganda-entertainment.
              The one thing that the system has excelled at in recent decades is turning off all feedback mechanisms.
              So yes it feels unreal.

              Reply
              1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                I’m actually oddly optimistic at what could emerge after the utter repudiation of the current arrangement is complete. It is tiresome to see the old play acted out yet again, the aristocracy *always* overplay their hand, the blood runs in rivers and heads end up on pikes. But I do feel that more and more people understand what is being done to them, and the new thing, maybe decades hence, could be shaped by that.

                Reply
      1. Off The Street

        Life trends increasingly toward the meta, pleading for more dictionary and thesaurus entries. In reading today’s links, one could visualize some type of entertainment.

        Kayfabe
        Kabuki Theater
        Integrity Theater

        Now the question is whether that is a triple bill, or if either Kabuki or Integrity is the color cartoon in between showings of the other two, or is the name of the venue. If the latter, is there an investment opportunity? /s

        Reply
    3. Jeremy Grimm

      I believe the use of acronyms is getting out-of-hand. The first use of an acronym should indicate what it represents as in Department of Defense [DoD] or Future Combat Systems [FCS].

      Reply
      1. mpalomar

        Yeah acronyms and twitter links. I googled PMC and got results, 163 of them.
        Twitter links rarely lead satisfactorily to the promised content.

        Reply
      2. ewmayer

        Actually it’s not the acronyms that have gotten out of hand around here, it’s the initialisms. :)

        Reply
  4. The Rev Kev

    “How Coronavirus Spreads through the Air: What We Know So Far”

    There was another study done that was very suggestive at the time and was done about two or three months ago. So this Chinese team went into rooms where Coronavirus patients were staying and when they tested the air, they found no trace of the virus at all. But apart from finding this virus in the bathrooms, they also found traces of this virus on the air vents. If that was not suggestive of airborne transmission, then I do not know what else is.

    That Washington State choir practice mentioned in this article was also very suggestive. The article mentioned that 45 people were diagnosed with or developed symptoms of this virus. What they should have mentioned was the fact that there were only 60 people that were there. So one or two sick people went in that were probably asymptomatic but 75% of the people that walked out of that room were now sick. That was incredible that.

    Reply
    1. Louis Fyne

      as an aside, the local Wash. state health authorities didnt know about that choir cluster until one of the choir members reported it.

      Who knows how many clusters (outside of care homes) happened this way given the lousy state of US public health apparatus

      Reply
    2. cnchal

      Every choir member does a big inhale before the section of music is sung. It would not surprise me that most of the fifteen people that were there and didn’t get the virus, were observers and drawing shallow breaths, but that information and detail is missing in the article.

      Reply
    3. MLTPB

      Where in the bathrooms?

      Also, no trace when they tested the air – how long after the patient was last in the room?

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        It has been months since I saw the video that talked about this study but from what I recall, the toilet was the main area in the bathroom infected (which was significant at the time) and I think that the rooms were still in use when the team went in.

        Reply
        1. MLTPB

          Thanks.

          I recall reading about particles settling to the ground in about an hour. Dont if I recall correctly. Less than an hour, I assume, it could be in the air still, no??

          Reply
          1. JEHR

            When I have to go to the hospital for my cancer treatments, I make sure I don’t drink water the night before and have nothing to drink in the morning before I go for my appointment so that I will not have to use the bathroom during my stay.

            Reply
            1. MLTPB

              Best wishes, JEHR.

              The Moscow Times has an article headlined, Moscow commuters brave epidemic to return to work.

              ‘Brave’ is a good word there.

              And it seems braving it for work is quite global, not just here.

              Going to a hospital is also braving it these days, I feel.

              Reply
    4. xkeyscored

      On a slightly different note,

      “NHK conducted an experiment to see how germs spread at a cruise buffet.
      They applied fluorescent paint to the hands of 1 person and then had a group of 10 people dine.
      In 30 min the paint had transferred to every individual and was on the faces of 3.”
      Video: https://twitter.com/Johnny_suputama/status/1258786799851376641

      But: “NHK and the experts did a second experiment too. This time, they were a lot more diligent about the hygiene practices used at the buffet. The dishes were separated, tongs were frequently exchanged for clean ones, and the participants were encouraged to clean their hands frequently.”
      https://www.sciencealert.com/this-demonstration-shows-just-how-easily-an-infection-spreads-through-contact

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        Thanks for that video clip. You just made one of my nightmares come true. I was thinking what the world would look like if Coronavirus was fluorescent in average light so that you could actually see where it was present and who had it. This film clip made it much worse than I could imagine.

        Reply
  5. Mikel

    Re: Manhattan/Reckoning/Office space

    No one misses rush hour traffic every day and great numbers have been toasting the demise of the open, crowded office space.

    Now grab your popcorn as we all discover how often a must have “face to face” is really necessary for a number of workers.

    Future spoiler alert: if an office worker, you will definately want a job where at least once or twice a week your presence is needed to get a job done.

    Because all the good things about working from home are only good if the job has a certain level of security.

    Reply
    1. MLTPB

      Will there be a vaccine?

      How soon?

      Will that alter how we cope?

      Did life change much after 1957-1958, or 1968? Did people actually change but soon forget? (Change not permanent?)

      Reply
    2. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you and well said, Mikel.

      Further to my comment above, that is one metric being considered by my employer.

      Even some functions where knowledge of UK and EU and even US regulations and risks is required, but can proceed with little face to face contact are being considered for export from, at least, London to Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore and Manila.

      Reply
      1. David

        Which is fine so long as the virus (or a virus) doesn’t strike those places in a few years’ time. Working from home in Bangalore is not, I suspect, the same as working from home in Bracknell. What happens in practical terms if a key function you have offshored can’t be performed because the country is locked down?

        Reply
        1. Colonel Smithers

          Thank you, David.

          My employer is fixated with costs and the short term. Other considerations are of no concern to them.

          Reply
        2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Not many are questioning why in a country with 450,000 tuberculosis deaths last year (India) they suddenly decided to stop the economy because of a new virus (700 corona deaths so far).

          Cui bono? Don’t ask. And definitely don’t tell.

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            Well, TB is a known adversary. Coronavirus is not, yet. India has a history of having massive death tolls arising from outbreaks of plagues and other dreaded pathogens. So, maximum effort in the beginning of a “plague” is almost ‘hard wired’ in that nation’s psyche, and medical infrastructure and system. That the “official” death toll is so low in a country with three times as many people as has America is a testament more to the quality of the Indian medical establishments response than coronavirus being a damp squib.

            Reply
    3. Anthony G Stegman

      If you can work from home that home can be in India. It need not be in Brooklyn or Log Island.

      Reply
  6. John Beech

    Regarding the Hill’s article about digital cash and the Chinese stealing a march on the USD via digitalization of RMB (renmimbi yuan) . . . as long as men have to resort to paying their hookers with cash, or young people have to pony up for marijuana and meth with cash, this whole notion is DOA. Simply put, it’s my opinion Americans will never go along with the idea of replacing cash if “Mother May I” is part and parcel. People have vices and as long as Mrs. Grundy rules society, it’s a big nope! That, and there is a vibrant underground economy that cuts out the taxman and thus, even ordinary folks won’t go along with this because they don’t want your nose, or mine, in their business. So there’s either privacy in transactions, or people won’t give up their cash. Kind of makes for a problem with blockchain since the whole idea is accountability, eh?

    Reply
    1. MLTPB

      Beijing has worked to collected dollars.

      But lately, attempting to avoid having to use the money. That way, it doesn’t have to collect more.

      Similarly, students there have worked hard to collect credentials from our universities.

      One day, when they have truly arrived, more than just economically, the need to collect our credentials will be greatly reduced.

      Keep an eye on this indicator, especially if the need is reversed, when foreigners flock to collect Chinese credentials

      Reply
    2. Tomonthebeach

      Americans are already dollar-digital – with credit & debit cards. I rarely use cash to buy anything. BITCOIN was a turkey, because it could not get a foothold in global banking – until now. The point many seem to have overlooked is that the goal is to replace the Dollar as the world’s reserve currency. Dopers and perverts are not going to have any effect on that happening. The world is fed up with Trump (and his predecessors) bullying them using dollars. In a digital currency economy, to embargo Iran and Venezuela, we would have to move our Navy there in force.

      In contrast to Kennedy’s moon speech, we should not be going to digital currency because it is there, nor because it is hard. We should be going digital because it is inevitable. If we do not, China will. When digi-dough succeeds, the US will lose its monopoly on international trade.

      Reply
    3. Susan the other

      No, I don’t think it is Big Brother at all. I think it is expediency. I am not surprised to see JPM “banking” bitcoin exchanges (Coin Base and Gemini) transactions. But “not crypto transactions” directly. JPM is just another “money transmitter”. No, no. No laundering; no counterfeiting. JPM is just using “digital” to speed corporate payments – it’s like their own company scrip -to speed corporate inter-payments with a “token” JPM coin. Based on Blockchain. But, but… what is their scrip backed by? Who are they kidding? So.. in other words… JPM is using its own credit leeway to coordinate a system of settlements using company digital scrip? The only caveat is that this has nothing to do with digitalization – this is in fact an end run around sovereign currency, it is counterfeiting, unless JPM is fully accountable for the losses it incurs dealing with closely aligned companies that actually produce and trade in crypto – again crypto backed by nothing. Crypto is the 21st century counterfeit currency which is based on nothing whatsoever. A sea-change from traditional sovereign currencies based on the societies which create and stand behind them. Interesting.

      Reply
  7. The Rev Kev

    “A district that learnt Covid lessons and one that didn’t”

    Maybe one District just kept on saying – “It’s just the flu, Bhai!”

    Reply
  8. timbers

    Social Security & 1960……Oh great. Just lovely. First the Greenspan cuts, and now this. Those of us born in 1960 are on a roll. But I’m SURE Nancy will include a fix in next Covid stimulus bill right after she passes her latest one.

    Reply
    1. Milton

      And that is why I’ve never considered myself a Boomer (born ’61). * If you never had a “where was I when JFK was shot?”, you’re probably not a Boomer. If you needn’t had feared polio in the dog days of summer, you’re probably not a Boomer. If you didn’t watch the Beatles on Ed Sullivan, you’re probably not a Boomer.

      Actually, I’m not placing any blame on a group where a date of birth grouping has any bearing on my life circumstance (it doesn’t) but it seems like a string of “just mised it” occasions have been my lot in life. (Says the white middle-class male that still has a job and owns a house in a beautiful California town near the coast) What a bit*h I can be sometimes.

      *With apologies to that country comedian fella.

      Reply
      1. barefoot charley

        I’m such a boomer that I’m not one of those half-million who went to Woodstock, but one of us uncounted millions who were gonna go but–we had a historic flat tire.

        Reply
  9. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Virus unleashes wave of fraud in US amid fear and scarcity

    Related to that, I received a call several days ago from someone claiming to be checking up on my medical situation or some such nonsense. When I replied that sure, I’d love to hear their pitch for whatever scam they were running, they hung up.

    Beware, grifters everywhere.

    Reply
    1. anon in so cal

      Grifters everywhere. Micro-fraud: someone stole my iPhone Monday afternoon. I had made a once a week drive to visit an elderly relative (we meet in a parking lot near their home, park 6 ft apart, speak through masks), got home, left my phone and bag outside the door. When I next checked, the phone was gone. Best guess is a delivery person saw it and could not resist. Being technologically-challenged, I had not activated the “find my phone” feature and did not set up an iCloud account. So my photos are gone, which is all I care about. If there’s really a surveillance state, it has gaps. Neither Apple nor T Mobile has any data on the phone’s location, etc.

      Reply
    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Is there anything that doesn’t unleash a wave of fraud in the US?

      And probably three-quarters of the “economy” depends on selling “fear” of some sort or another so I don’t think that aspect is even worth the mention.

      Reply
      1. Synoia

        Fraud in the US does not happen in waves. It is a continual storm of fraud creation and executions. Only the discovery of fraud comes in smell waves.

        Reply
        1. Synoia

          Yes, Buying groceries seem legit.

          Or the Transactions among classes of people who cannot afford Lawyers on Call.

          Once serious money is involved, fraud creeps in.

          Reply
  10. fresno dan

    Three Flynn Thoughts Andrew McCarthy National Review

    The issue for the Justice Department is not whether Flynn made misstatements to Vice President Pence and other administration officials; it is whether prosecutors are in a position to carry their burden of proof that Flynn willfully lied to the interviewing agents.
    =====================================================
    If you have read the actual sentencing of Flynn, the lies he (Flynn) confesses to don’t make much sense. In my view, it is much more plausible that Pence lied that he (Pence) was not told by Flynn about his (Flynn) conversation with Kislyak OR about the Trump administration’s policy to ignore the Obama administration’s sanctions against Russia (which was ostensibly due to Russian interference in the 2016 election – which is arguably a HUGE lie). Pence had to maintain the fig leaf that Trump was not going to invalidate the sanctions on day 1. Trump had been clear that he (Trump) believed that the anti Russian frenzy was something the dems were doing to discredit his (Trump) election and that Trump had little use for the sanctions against Russia.
    It would have been embarrassing at that time of the Flynn phone call with Kislyak that the Trump administration was already blowing off the Obama sanctions. It strikes me that Flynn and/or the administration trying to deny talking about getting rid of sanctions at that time would avoid political embarrassment – and Flynn just tried to gloss over that part of the conversation. If I had been Flynn, no way would I have thought that discussing the administrations policy with Russia would have gotten me prosecuted. Why this disturbs me so greatly is that, other than launching a nuclear war against Russia, ANY negotiation with Russia could be portrayed as being in the pocket of Russia – Russian won’t negotiate of course unless there is something in it for Russia.
    There is also the matter of talking to Russia about Egypt’s UN resolution about Israeli settlements. That really is pure politics, and for FBI agents to be questioning a national security advisor is really something people of any political persuasion should be aghast at (I, of course, think we get way more involved in other countries affairs than we should anyway). Ironically, if one is really concerned about foreign influence in US politics, a MUCH, much stronger case could be made that Israel is interfering in US politics – but that would be politically incorrect to say so (left political incorrectness is yammered about incessantly – nothing but crickets when it comes to the right’s political incorrectness)

    The only other thing Flynn could have lied to Pence about of any substance is his working for Turkey on particular matters. I think it is possible Flynn did not know about registering as a foreign agent or was just careless in doing it – apparently other people got wrapped up in the foreign agent non-registration drag net once Mueller used it on Flynn (e.g., Greg Craig). I doubt Flynn was fired for failure to register, but maybe he was fired for omissions related to his lobbying for Turkey.

    Reply
    1. Olga

      It seemed to me even in 2017 that the Turkey business is how they got Flynn: “Plead guilty – or we’ll dig into your Turkey ties.” Without that, the story made little sense.

      Reply
      1. barefoot charley

        What was the blackmail they threatened against his son? That’s credited with him copping the process-crime guilty plea.

        Reply
  11. The Rev Kev

    “Gilead inks deals with generics makers to supply COVID-19 therapy remdesivir for 127 countries”

    I wonder how those contracts were written. If Remdesivir proves itself to be a dud, are those contracts rendered void or does Gilead still own those supply facilities and will release them for the production of another drug – for a price.

    Reply
  12. titus

    > How Coronavirus Spreads through the Air: What We Know So Far

    This virus was originally a bat virus that spread among bats in caves. It has many thousands of years to evolve and “learn” how to most efficiently spread among clustered mammals in caves. So it’s no surprise, to my admittedly layman eyes, that the virus spreads like wildfire in human versions of bat caves, like conferences, cube farms, etc. Because that’s what it has been doing for a long, long time before it got lucky with its new human host

    Reply
    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > It has many thousands of years to evolve and “learn” how to most efficiently spread among clustered mammals in caves. So it’s no surprise, to my admittedly layman eyes, that the virus spreads like wildfire in human versions of bat caves, like conferences, cube farms, etc. Because that’s what it has been doing for a long, long time before it got lucky with its new human host

      That is a very perceptive comment. “Don’t be a bat in a bat cave!”

      Reply
  13. allan

    Team Trump Pushes CDC to Revise Down Its COVID Death Counts [DailyBeast]

    … according to one of the sources with knowledge of Trump’s private remarks, the president recently said that he’d like a “review” of how the coronavirus deaths are counted and studied by the government, citing hypothetical cases in which a person has the virus but is killed by other unnatural means, such as falling down a flight of stairs. …

    On a totally unrelated note, there are now orders in several red states (FL and NE – any others?)
    forbidding counties from publishing their own numbers.

    Democracy doesn’t die in darkness, it dies with darkness.

    Reply
    1. BobW

      Do those states have an FOIA? (Freedom of Information Act) Where they can be ordered by a court to release information.

      Reply
      1. allan

        In Nebraska, where the governor has forbidden individual meat packing plants from releasing the number of employees testing positive on `privacy’ grounds, medical records are exempt,

        The Nebraska Public Records Law is a series of laws designed to guarantee that the public has access to public records of government bodies at all levels. Public records include all documents, no matter the form, belonging to any government agency. …

        Public Records Law Nebraska Statutes §84-712.01 et seq.

        Exempt: Personal information on student and personnel records; medical records; trade secrets; academic and scientific research; attorney work product; law enforcement or investigative records; some archeological records; and real estate appraisals.

        and Florida has 600 exemptions to its Sunshine Law. They’ll find a way.

        Reply
  14. Oh

    If Landlords Get Wiped Out, Wall Street Wins, Not Renters

    Bloomberg is really saying that they want the banksters to get their money and therefore the renters need help. They cherry picked the landlords to show a few of the small landlords. No mention of large LLC’s and Corps. that kept raising the rent to the tenants during the past several years. It’s time for the landlords to give back now.

    Reply
    1. Billy

      Netflix, “Dirty Money”, segment on the slumlord Kushners.
      Yes that family; Holocaust survivor, congressman, felon, Bibi Netanyahu slept in little Jared’s bedroom when he came to interfere in American elections, etc.
      Next vice president for Trump?

      Reply
    2. Geo

      I’m really curious how this will play out. Rent has been way too high for a while now and most people I know could barely afford it before this crisis. Ideally, landlords would adjust rents to meet the changing market but most likely they’ll just evict everyone and keep prices the same while getting bailouts. Property owners are still more valued citizens.

      Also don’t trust the eviction moratorium. There’s always loopholes (and better lawyers). If not that then when moratorium ends it will be an eviction wave.

      Been trying to find more info on the subject but all I find are “rent strike” articles or “burdened landlord” ones. All short term view and polarized – just like so much of our national dialogue. Nothing speaks to the long term situation and any sort of mutual remedy other than the usual bail out the bankers and saddle the peons with more debt.

      Reply
      1. Olga

        Before blaming landlords – which is very easy – please consider the role rising property taxes play. Every year, they seem to go up by at least $1K – if not more (not to mention other costs, such as insurance). A landlord can absorb this for 2-3 yrs, but at some point, rents have to go up. Complaints to your local tax assessment office may be more appropriate.

        Reply
        1. Oregoncharles

          This is true, but only half the problem; the other half is rising real estate prices, which mean the owner is getting a lower and lower return if rents stay the same. That has a big impact on landlords who are NOT wealthy.

          Reply
        2. chuck roast

          I am more concerned with the role that balloon mortgages play. My former building (3 residential floors and 2 office floors) was sold twice in the space of 9 years. My wife’s rent went up 50%.
          My perception is that both new landlords had balloons. Balloons require a set payment at the end of a short (5 year?) period with the interest rate fixed. A landlord can figure how much he needs to charge in rent to pay the mortgage interest, fixed costs, etc. with his big payday coming when he off-loads the property to the greater fool. The greater fool raises rents and runs the same scam, and the original landlord becomes the greater fool in his new more expensive balloon scam.

          The building, which was originally populated by around 20-25 people is now populated by twice as many people and their dogs (@ $25/month a pop) because of the relentless rent rise. The new landlord will soon be faced the requirement of paying off the balloon and is already lining up his next building and my wife’s new landlord.

          Balloon mortgages give real meaning to Gresham’s Law.

          Reply
          1. JBird4049

            The problem now with evicting everyone and putting new bodies to squeeze is that even before the Second Great Depression/Coronavirus Economy there were increasing numbers of people either spending all their money on rent, like me, or living in their car/street while an increasing number of office, retail, and rental spaces went empty.

            If the landlords do manage to evict their tenants despite the various state, county, city moratoriums on evictions, just whom do they rent to? Space aliens? There is nobody.

            We are probably looking at an effective unemployment rate of over forty percent in a month, maybe two. The Fed said today that forty percent of all employed Americans who were making under forty thousand a year are now unemployed.

            Also, all those people are trying to sell their third house, vacation rental, whatever at a price that they can survive. However, there are no buyers, or the prices have to plummet, or the banks just won’t financial the buyer.

            I know that the grifters are going to keep grifting because that is now the American Way, but unless Congress passes legislation that gives, say two thousand, or even just a twelve hundred, each month, for a year, there will be no economy this time next year. So this discussion is kind of moot. The landlords will be destitute just like their former tenants.

            Reply
            1. JBird4049

              Expanding on this, I think that a civil war is likely. Not the mass protests or uprisings that burnt down some communities in the 1960s, but much more organized and bloody. Think of something like Syria although probably not as bloody.

              If our American Kakistocracy even became a functioning oligarchy we might avoid this, but I think not. Our elites seem to have the cunning of a wolf and the brains of chicken.

              Reply
  15. sd

    I posted this yesterday in Water Cooler and was surprised no one commented on it as I didn’t expect Rep Schiff to be a Universal Healthcare advocate.

    YouTube:
    https://youtu.be/XcHMP_z9o2o

    Starting at about 37:33 Rep. Adam Schiff talks about inequities in access to health care and capital:

    …I hope that as we think about both responding in real time but building back when this is over, that we build back better. So that we really do move to universal healthcare, so that we address these inequities…

    Elsewhere he discusses Cobra, Paycheck Program, and aid to cities and states.

    From:
    Adam Schiff Tells Union Leaders More Legislation Needed To Aid Hollywood’s Unemployed Workforce
    https://deadline.com/2020/05/adam-schiff-hollywood-union-leaders-unemployment-relief-1202932544/

    Reply
    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Talk is cheap in an election year, he made a complete ass out of himself as chairman of the “intelligence” committee and everyone saw it in real time, and democrats have called the misery and abject failure that is obamacare “universal.”

      No one is the least bit interested in anything he has to say.

      Reply
      1. Ed Miller

        Adam Schiff and universal healthcare: Call me a cynic, but this is perfect for Our Democrats (as some here phrase this disaster party) as run by the DNC. This is just like Trump saying one thing on a given day and the opposite another day, followed by something else later. All bases are covered for future talking points with respect to considering universal healthcare.

        The key is, as you said, nobody listens to anything he has to say any more.

        His words can still be run later to show how the Ds are “fighting for” the public.

        Reply
    2. Geo

      They’re all proponents of “universal healthcare” that provides “access” to care. When it comes time to negotiate how much “skin in the game” we’ll be required to offer don’t be surprised when it’s at least a pound of flesh. The Market must be fed at all costs.

      Reply
    3. curlydan

      I’m starting to hear a lot more about universal healthcare from Democrats (in Congress, on Facebook, etc) now that Bernie dropped out.

      Reply
      1. JBird4049

        That’s because without him the chance for real universal healthcare for everyone is nada, which means that they can keep the marks distracted with this fecal matter without worrying that it might actually help it happen.

        Reply
  16. The Rev Kev

    “Democrats Unveil Giant New Coronavirus Relief Bill”

    Yeah, but relief for who? It certainly doesn’t seem to be the people that need it. And how many acts have been passed now? Is it four or five? It is getting like Lucy and the football with people’s expectations. Any day now the Democrats are going to say sorry, but no more acts because we have run out of money but hey, all those trillions that we gave the the wealthy are going to have to be paid back now. Surprise. And who comes up with such idiotic acronyms anyway? I mean the CARES Act? The HEROES Act? Seriously?

    I have an idea for an Act. I call it the “Mom’s Apple Pie Act” and this is how it goes. Every adult citizen would be given 1 million dollars. And here is the kicker. It would lose it’s value to the tune of 1% every day so that the money would be all gone after 100 days. And you could only spend a maximum of 1% on booze, tobacco, gambling, etc. but you would have to pay down any bills that you have. Now consider the implications.

    All that student debt? Bam! and its gone. And car loans. And credit card debts. And medical bills. And rent. And utility bills – the whole lot. The rich can’t complain too hard because look where you see all that money is going, it either goes to the governments or to financial institutes like banks eventually in one way or another. So the rich end up with it before long anyway. Any excess money people will spend into the economy which will create enormous demand. Some may decide to pay for future college courses or training to improve their skills which makes for a more educated work force. Others may pay upon their rent or utilities or stuff like dental work.

    Of course a lot of people may be unhappy of the thought of all those people being financially free for the first time in their lives and would prefer them to stay in debt but hey, worth a shot isn’t it?

    Reply
    1. Kurt Sperry

      I think this idea has legs. Bargain it down to 100k, dole out 300 million times = 30 trillion.

      Reply
  17. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: The ‘See-No-Evil’ Phase of Russiagate Patrick Lawrence, Consortium News (Furzy Mouse).

    Among those not inclined toward hysteria or copious quaffs of Democratic Party Kool–Aid, it has long been a question how those who concocted and sustained the tales of Russian “meddling,” “collusion,” and mail hackery would manage their embarrassment — not to mention their potential legal liabilities — once their edifice-built-on-sand collapsed, as it was destined from the first to do.

    The early signs are as some predicted: They will slither quietly off the stage without comment, they will deny their incessant, ever-vehement accusations, they will profess to weariness, they will insist there are more important things to think about now.

    Or maybe they will double down. Again.

    judge emmet sullivan has issued an order REQUESTING “Friend of the Court” briefs before dropping the Flynn prosecution as requested by the “justice” department. He previously REJECTED 24 requests to file such briefs on Flynn’s behalf.

    Despite the hysteria in some circles over dropping the charges against Flynn, Sundance at theconservativetreehouse.com is of the opinion that Bill Barr is actually a company man who is desperately trying to preserve some semblance of a reputation for the fbi and “justice” department. Iwf true, here’s hoping that the deranged idiocy of anti-Trump-at-any-cost uber partisans like this judge will help to disabuse him of the notion that there is anything left to salvage.

    Here is Flynn’s lawyer’s response:

    https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2020/05/12/flynn-defense-files-motion-in-opposition-to-amicus-briefs/comment-page-2/#comments

    Some action in this vein by this judge has been a topic of discussion on msnbs over the last several days, msnbs being a lawfare info conduit and all.

    Reply
    1. Oregoncharles

      Why would the defense oppose the judge’s move? Just file those 24 amicus curiae briefs in their files. I suppose they don’t like the delay – I wouldn’t, if I was Flynn. But imagine REQUIRING the Injustice Dept. to go ahead with the prosecution: surely Barr could find a prosecutor who would do nothing. It’s such easy money.

      Reply
  18. John

    Is there ever to be a bill that provides some sort of relief to those who actually need it? Seems a vain hope.

    Bailout for lobbyists? Why? Aren’t they the spokespeople for our hardy individualist business-folk breasting the harsh winds of competition showing all us “losers” how its done? They are doing that: Take; take; take when things are going well and profit fills the money bag, then go whining to “Uncle Money” when any adversity occurs. Poor babies.

    Reply
  19. Colonel Smithers

    Further to the link about the UK’s destabilisation of Syria, Adam Curtis has just published an expose of the links between the UK’s former spymasters, e.g. Richard Dearlove and John Sawers, and the fossil fuel industry. In return for salaries that far exceed what even their political masters were earning, they are preparing the ground for endless war and the theft of other people’s natural resources.

    US based readers will note Dearlove from Russiagate. One can see why Trump’s lack of interest in the Atlantic alliance and wars was not to his liking or that of his paymasters.

    The apple does not fall far from the tree. Dearlove’s son, Mark, chaired the oversight committee for Liebor, but has never even been approached by the authorities, on either side of the Atlantic, for some insight into what was going on. Funny that.

    Reply
    1. Off The Street

      Dearlove’s abrupt resignation from MI-6 very shortly after the 2016 US election was one of the early tells that there was going to be some trouble. Consider it like a rat leaving a stinking s***.

      Reply
  20. XXYY

    … talking, laughing, singing in close quarters, in unventilated interiors, for many hours, is the perfect storm for a COVID super-spreader event.

    In other words, flying on a commercial aircraft.

    Reply
    1. MLTPB

      Families living together are like that.

      And many cases are reported that way.

      But do we see similar percentages (around 45 over 60) among the other members of the family, every time one member of a family comes down with it?

      For example, if there are 100 patients from 100 families, do about 75 families of the 100 families have additional patients?

      Reply
      1. Oregoncharles

        I always assume that co-resident family members pretty much share a microbiome. It’s possible to prevent infection within the family, but a major effort – and this one is infectious before there are symptoms.

        Reply
        1. Donna

          As a child I contracted that 1958 flu. I lived in a 900 square foot Levittown house with my 4 siblings and parents. I still remember that my Mom isolated me in one of the bedrooms and forbade my brother and sisters from engaging. I got really sick with fever and hallucinations but no one else came down with it. I wasn’t allowed out in the general population (ha ha) until the fever broke. I think dealing with things like polio and tb and other highly contagious diseases the WWII generation had some knowledge in this area and knew how to prevent spread.

          Reply
        2. rtah100

          It is worse – some studies for SARS-Cov-2 show that caregivers consistently have more serious infections than the index patients, from repeated exposure to the virus in the incubation phase and therefore higher initial viral load, overwhelmed immune system etc. This has been shown in hospital (Wuhan, Italy) and domestic (not sure where the study was) settings.

          Apologies but I don’t have the references to hand.

          Reply
  21. edmondo

    More Americans than ever are expected to vote by mail this year, which means we probably won’t know who won the 2020 presidential race until days after election night

    That’s good. It will give the giant comet a few extra days to destroy the entire planet before Inauguration Day. One can only imagine what future generations will think when they are told that the election of 2020 was fought by two rapists – one totally inept; the other, senile – who had no idea what they wanted to do as president.

    Reply
    1. curlydan

      why not require mailed ballots be sent in 1 week before the in-person election day? I hate having to wait on a bunch of mailed in ballots. Seems like an easy fix, but maybe I’m missing something.

      Reply
        1. Oregoncharles

          Looks like it’s lost in the ozone, but “posaunist” said it: ballots have to be in before the end of election day.

          Reply
    2. posaunist

      In Colorado (Oregon too, I think) ballots are mailed out weeks before the election. There is a postmark cutoff date a few days before election day, after that you have to use one of the many drop-off locations. Election results are at least as fast as before, all done by the next morning.

      Reply
  22. Acacia

    Virtual convention? Virtual candidate, then.

    Meet J-J-Joe Headroom … in his twirling base-basement b-box.

    …and pay no attention to those exploding voters.

    Reply
  23. diptherio

    James Galbraith has got the right idea.

    A new financing model – cooperative, with public support – will be required to re-establish small businesses. Local, decentralized cultural and sporting venues will have to replace mass-based experiences; these too will require cooperative structures and public support. In short, the only way out, remotely acceptable to the population at large, will require a comprehensive restructuring of the economy on a cooperative foundation, with the government stepping up to guaranteed funding, employment, and public investments.

    I don’t have much hope for this kind of thing at the Federal level, for obvious reasons, and I’m not sure that any state or local governments can provide the kind of support needed, but it’s still good to see Galbraith say it.

    Reply
    1. Susan the other

      Yes. I couldn’t agree more. He’s analyzed our situation which has been so screwed up by Congress it has taken on an existence of its own, complete with grift, most accurately. Capitalism cannot exist without cooperation. Because money, that thing nobody can define, is nothing more than cooperation. Ideally there should no inequality at all. Whatsoever.

      Reply
    2. Oregoncharles

      But nothing about getting there; so far, he’s just dreaming.

      Years ago, he wrote about trying to “split” the Democratic Party, but nothing came of it – except, maybe, Bernie’s campaigns. This time, Bernie, despite himself, may have accomplished that. We…shall…see.

      Reply
      1. HotFlash

        But nothing about getting there; so far, he’s just dreaming.

        Yeah, that’s a problem. But maybe it’s not his problem. Maybe it’s just his job to describe where we are, and suggest where we might want to be, and it’s somebody else’s job (ours maybe?) to figure out how to get from here to there.

        Reply
    3. Jeremy Grimm

      James Gailbraith paints a frightening picture of the US after Corona — the kind of US I am coming to expect for our future. I believe there is no chance any of his ideas for better policy will be implemented. The closing paragraph of this essay posits ominous auguries:
      “Disaster capitalism is being tried, and the worst case is now the likely case. But there is a scale beyond which disaster capitalism cannot go. … At a certain point, ordinary people will stand up and refuse to be bullied any more. That point has not quite arrived; we are still in the mind-set of “getting back to normal,” even as the pandemic continues.”

      Reply
    4. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      This pre-supposes that anyone with any power at all has any interest whatsoever in “re-establishing small business”. They do not. Look at what they did for an absolute monopolist who ravaged legions of Mom and Pop Main Street business across the land, using public funds to subsidize subsistence wages for his workers, and paying absolutely no taxes to the country he operates in. They made him the richest man in the entire world, with a sequestered pile of one hundred and seventy thousand million dollars, and lionized him as a hero.

      Reply
  24. Ignacio

    RE: Leaked Chinese Virus Database Covers 230 Cities, 640,000 Updates Foreign Policy

    We Have a Lot Of Data But Not For You, Dear Reader. Foreign Policy

    Reply
  25. Fastball

    Funny, the “Foreign Policy” article: Why the U.S. Health Care System Failed the Coronavirus Test:

    Not one mention of the rapacious evil of insurance and Big Pharma and Big Hospital industries. His idea of the solution is to have “microgrids”.

    Reply
  26. Fastball

    Here’s How to Cover Uninsured Americans During the Pandemic Politico.

    So Bernie’s new plan is to keep employed people fattening the coffers of Insurers when people can pay insurance at their own expense, and have Medicare only temporarily pay for uninsured people until the virus “subsides”.

    Then, presumably, as the unemployment rate is 35% after the virus, these people heretofore having been covered by Medicare will be unceremoniously tossed to the Four Winds, off to whatever fate awaits them when they need health care, even unto death.

    I realize that the middle name of every politician ever is “Betrayer” but this is stunning even for a politician. Maybe Bernie thinks he can fix it “down the road” but we all know how that turns out, every single time.

    This pandemic shows the need for free health care at the point of service for EVERYONE, FOREVER.

    If that will destroy the insurance industry, too bad. With a 35% unemployment rate, what’s a few more? Besides, even the laid off insurance company employees will have health care.

    Reply
    1. Geo

      Maybe Bernie has realized there’s no way he will get this current crop of reps to do anything substantive and he’s trying to find some way to craft a bill that can get passed. Even temp relief is still relief.

      He ran on M4A and lost. The guy who said he’d veto it got the full support of the Party. He’s trying another approach instead of chasing windmills in the middle of a hurricane.

      Reply
      1. Fastball

        Even if it’s the most timid, reasonable ideas are not ever going to be backed by Republicans unless they feel existentially threatened. Saying you hope Republicans will do something is like saying you hope the Sahara Desert will turn into a tropical paradise.

        There is no point in timidity except passing nothing and watching the insurance companies continue to get rich with no pushback. Bernie failed the M4A movement.

        Reply
        1. HotFlash

          Even if it’s the most timid, reasonable ideas are not ever going to be backed by Republicans Democrats unless they feel existentially threatened. Saying you hope Republicans Democrats will do something is like saying you hope the Sahara Desert will turn into a tropical paradise.

          There, fixed.

          Reply
      1. Mel

        My scathing criticism of Bernie’s campaign gaffes goes like:
        “He threatened to break the rice bowls of the Health Insurance Industry. What an idiot! Everybody knows you can’t win that way!”

        Reply
      2. HotFlash

        Wait just a darn minute there. He has done more for ‘the people’ than anybody since FDR. As Geo points out above, He ran on M4A and lost. So, if ‘the people’ didn’t support him, what is he supposed to do? And if they did support him, how did he not win? Perhaps he is scaling back his rhetoric to match the response he got from, you know, ‘the people”, ie, voters? And if, as is possible, we wuz robbed, what are you going to do about it?

        Reply
        1. JBird4049

          It is not an either/or. It’s possible to have done more, been robbed of the presidency, and still be criticized for some of his decisions.

          Reply
        2. ewmayer

          “So, if ‘the people’ didn’t support him, what is he supposed to do?” — Well, not betraying everything you say you stand for by warmly endorsing Joe frickin’ Biden might have been a good start. But that was pretty much the same stunt he pulled in 2016, after being blatantly cheated six ways to Sunday in the primaries by the minions of she-who-he-then-endorsed.

          Also, “he has done more” – please detail what FDResque things he has *done*, as opposed those he has talked about doing while sheepdogging his followers into the arms of the DNC. Because as far as I can tell, to do FRDesque *things* one needs FDResque executive *power*, not “I crafted the best compromise amendment I could” incrementalism.

          Reply
        3. Acacia

          Here’s Chris Hedges’ reading:

          Bernie spent four years, instead of building a real opposition movement, acting as a lackey to Schumer, and remember the power of Schumer and Pelosi is that they funnel all the Wall Street and corporate money to the anointed candidates. He runs again and now of course he’s endorsing Joe Biden, and I think it is political cowardice. I mean, it must have been incredibly naive to think the Democratic Party was ever gonna give him a shot even though he was kind of a loyal poodle for those four years. He’s not wrong. They would have destroyed him. Everybody else would have crucified him day in and day out although they did a pretty good job of red-baiting Bernie even when he was running. That’s the price Bernie didn’t want to pay. Bernie knows exactly the cost of doing what he is supposed to do, and he is unwilling to do it, and the cost of what he’s supposed to do which is, like, to put a hold on one of these horrible stimulus bills until it’s explained to everybody exactly what’s going on. The problem is Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. In a sense he’s selling us out, and he’s really not even getting anything. He’s just getting a Senate appointment and people being nice to him.

          Reply
  27. Geo

    “AOC joins Biden’s climate policy panel NBC.”

    Seeing lots of hatred for AOC and her joining this task farce. Same with a week or two ago when she said a nice thing about Pelose and any other time she’s seen cozying up to centrists.

    Why is this? Should she stay in a corner and just give them the stink eye? These are the people who head the party she ran in was elected to serve in. Maybe I’m naive but it seems smart to work with them to try and push for any breadcrumbs she can get for her constituents then to stay on the sidelines.

    Until there is a viable left wing party or a sizable progressive block within the Dem Party I can’t see any other way for an elected rep to actually accomplish anything then to try to work with the leadership.

    Reply
    1. Oregoncharles

      There will be a “viable left wing party” when people like AOC abandon the Dems and run on the new one.

      “Viable” is just a way of begging the question.

      Reply
    2. Grant

      Bernie should have shown that if you run as a revolutionary, you should actually act as one. Right now, even during a pandemic, this rotten system and her own party can’t be bothered to put in place needed changes and don’t use leverage to get things passed that would benefit working people, the poor, people losing health insurance. She could continue to fully confront Pelosi, strongly support leftist primary challengers, use every procedural mechanism to stop horrible bills from being passed, call out blatant corruption among those in her own party (which she did early on), among other things. But, she has instead shown deference towards the rotten, corrupt people running that party. She did fire people close to her that were on the left and replaced them with people that those running her party preferred. Let’s be honest, whatever they create, if it is a policy that Biden’s donors oppose, it won’t happen. Given that the environmental crisis requires radical changes and requires us to move away from capitalism pretty rapidly, what will be left? The Paris climate agreement and tax credits for solar, or something like that. She and Bernie already pledged their support for Biden, which means neither of them have any real leverage, so they are both now just pawns in his zombie campaign. Once he is officially in the general election, like all political dinosaurs, he will “pivot” towards the “center” and the outcomes of these task forces will be little more than things Biden will use to demonstrate that he has reached out to the left. You don’t get advice from Summers, have a firm owned by Bloomberg run your campaign and at the same time pay people like AOC any mind. Bernie is clearly the left flank of a failing, corrupt party, and she seems to be following his model. Who has Biden said that he wants to support among younger people in his party, the next generation of leaders? Mayor Pete and people like Harris. So, given this, why would he choose to have AOC be a part of this? Surely not to move in her direction policy wise. Biden ran explicitly to make sure that didn’t happen, and worked far more to beat Bernie than anything he has done since Bernie dropped out. I am done with nonsense like this, and the left in the Democratic Party can stop writing strongly worded letters to Pelosi about her rotten bills. Challenge her power, support her primary challenger, actually take her on, call her out, or don’t. But, stop wasting peoples’ time with theater and letters. Not only worthless, but Pelosi herself probably dismisses the letters without bothering to read them.

      Reply
    3. Jeremy Grimm

      If you can’t beat them join them? Join the movement to change Corporate America from within? … All very effective strategies for change?

      Reply
    4. HotFlash

      Why is this? Should she stay in a corner and just give them the stink eye?

      Right on. The DCCC is supporting (ie, funding, advising, networking for) a primary candidate against AOC. They just got AOC taken off the Working Families Party ballot in her district. Lambert says, quite rightly, that Mme Speaker wants AOC’s head in her freezer (don’t think so, actually she will trot it off and proudly present it to her donors) , and please remember that any deviant congresscritter (Bernie, AOC, the Squad, even Rand Paul, ffs) has to play a game that works in public for both their constituents and their colleagues/caucus *or* they will be completely irrelevant.

      Reply
    5. Aumua

      I think maybe this coronavirus thing has got everyone back on their heels. It could be that AOC and others in positions of power/responsibility don’t really know what to do or how to act… in the face of this. I mean the question marks in all directions are neck deep.

      It’s easy to sit at home and see all the “correct” courses of action these politicians should take. But you’re not out there doing it.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        Based on their performance, they are not out there doing it either. They are putting the wealth of the 1% ahead of the health and lives of the other 99%. How to treat a pandemic is not rocket science but our leaders refuse to do so because markets. And this is not the world’s first pandemic either so we know what worked and what failed last time around.

        Reply
  28. Oregoncharles

    “More Americans than ever are expected to vote by mail this year, which means we probably won’t know who won the 2020 presidential race until days after election night”
    This will happen, and should, in very close races, anyway, but as I wrote before, there is a simple solution: require that ballots be IN by closing time election night, AND provide election office drop boxes for the procrastinators (speaking as a procrastinator). This is what Oregon does; there are warnings all over about NOT putting last-minute ballots in the mail, and my county, at least, provides multiple drop sites, empties them at 8 PM election day. Quote from the ballot envelope: “Vote and Return Promptly by 8:00 PM Election Day.” And they repeat the message in papers and radio as election day gets close. So no issues over postmarks – they don’t matter. This is just like old-fashioned in-person voting: be there, or be square.

    And it’s still a vast improvement, which I certainly advocate.

    Reply
    1. ewmayer

      My worry is that the headline will morph into “More Americans than ever are expected to vote by mail this year, which means we probably won’t know who won the 2020 presidential race until the intelligence agencies tell us days after election night”

      Reply
  29. rtah100

    Yesterday’s post on coronavirus generated a side discussion about the role of density and whether Sweden was rural or urban. Obviously, this is a question of scale – its cities look pretty urban and its countryside pretty rural but how should we consider the whole country?

    I don’t have a pat answer but I recently saw this visualisation of European population density posted elsewhere in a discussion about the correlation of coronavirus cases, deaths etc. with population density.

    It’s eerily beautiful even if you’re not interested in the public health implications.

    http://www.statsmapsnpix.com/2020/04/population-density-in-europe.html

    PS: I almost forgot, Sweden has many more densely populated areas than Norway or Finland but Denmark is a battery farm by comparison, yet Denmark is doing better in the coronavirus races, I believe.

    Germany is pretty empty compared to Italy….

    Reply
  30. occasional anonymous

    America’s digital Sputnik moment The Hill

    “Within four months, the U.S. responded to Sputnik with the launch of its own first manmade satellite. Within another year, DARPA and NASA had been established, cementing long-term U.S. leadership in space exploration and unleashing the fateful innovative potential of America’s best and brightest.”

    Er, ‘long-term leadership’? As I recall the Soviet’s beat us at basically everything except getting a man on the moon, which we focused entirely on and then unilaterally declared victory of the whole contest, having accomplished just that one thing.

    Fast-forwarding to today, it’s Russian rockets (the latest version of the Soyuz family, in use since 1966. The longest lived and most reliable rocket platform; another accomplishment for the Russians) that keep the ISS supplied. Meanwhile NASA basically just gave up and outsources everything, most notably to that grifter Musk.

    Reply
  31. Ed Miller

    #COVID-19: Some things are the same with COVID-19. From today’s STAT email…

    “Wearing a face mask when out in public is a no-brainer for many. But as a tall Black man, systemic racism means I have to think twice about doing that.”

    https://www.statnews.com/2020/05/13/black-man-think-twice-wearing-face-mask-in-public-racism/

    No surprise here but even doctors are concerned for their own safety, as they should be. I just wanted to share with the NC community.

    Reply

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