Links 5/16/2020

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Thirty-six Thousand Feet Under the Sea New Yorker. UserFriendly: “Quite the epic.”

This Guy Got Hit By Lightning and Became a Concert Pianist Vice (Kevin W). Don’t try simulating this at home.

How do plants forget? EurekAlert (Dr. Kevin)

Damage from climate change will be widespread and sometimes surprising Economist (David L)

The Great Lakes are higher than they’ve ever been, and we’re not sure what will happen next Popular Science

Artificial Intelligence is helping economists devise a fairer tax system ZMEScience (Dr. Kevin)


17-Year-Old Turned Down $8 Million to Keep His Viral Coronavirus Tracker Ad-Free ScienceAlert (David L)

German cafe gives customers pool noodle-hats to ensure they remain physically distant CTV News


New COVID-19 test developed in Singapore detects past infection within an hour Channel News (TYJ)

Failing the Test — The Tragic Data Gap Undermining the U.S. Pandemic Response New England Journal of Medicine (Dr. Kevin)

Strong Social Distancing Measures In The United States Reduced The COVID-19 Growth Rate Health Affairs (resilc)

Emergency Hyperbaric Oxygen for Respiratory Distress or Failure for COVID-19 Patients NYU Lagone (furzy)

Medical Detection Dogs Could Assist COVID-19 Testing by Sniffing 750 People per Hour Interesting Engineering (Chuck L)

‘Weird as hell’: the Covid-19 patients who have symptoms for months Guardian (resilc)

No Sex for 1 Month for Coronavirus Survivors, Says Study Interesting Engineering (resilc)

Quarantined & lonely? Find a ‘SEX BUDDY,’ Dutch government advises RT (Chuck L)


Fang Fang’s ‘Wuhan diary’ sparks tussle over virus narrative Financial Times


Coronavirus: Italy to lift travel restrictions as lockdown eases BBC

Slovenia first European nation to declare end of epidemic at home Al Jazeera. Applause!! See: How Slovakia Contained the Coronavirus Atlantic (Kevih f)


There Are Sensible Ways to Reopen. Then There’s the US’s Way Time

Communities With Meat-Plants Keep Seeing Virus Spread at Faster Rates Bloomberg

TSA Preparing to Check Passenger Temperatures at Airports Amid Coronavirus Concerns Wall Street Journal

NYT Has Trouble Talking Seriously About the Swedish Approach Dean Baker

World looks on in horror as Trump flails over pandemic despite claims US leads way Guardian (resilc)

U.S. Secret Service: “Massive Fraud” Against State Unemployment Insurance Programs Krebs on Security (BC)

House adopts historic rules changes to allow remote voting The Hill

Serfs Revolt

Thursday sees 7th strike by Yakima Valley farmworkers protesting conditions during COVID-19 pandemic Yakima Herald

Reopening the Economy Is a Death Sentence for Workers Other Words

Political Responses

Covid-19. Ministers from Portugal, Spain and Italy call for European minimum income Defend Democracy

We Can and Must Do Better: Why I Will Vote No on the HEROES Act Common Dreams. UserFriendly:

FWIW now that she’s my rep I messaged her yesterday saying that Pelosi was willing to kill a few thousand people just to kick her in the teeth. That Pelosi is truly evil and the only way you get power in that town is to call out your own side and make them defend the awful shit they try to ram through like bailing out lobbyists and debt collectors. this is a start but not nearly as scathing as it should be and the rest of the “progressives” in the house fell in line. A bunch of moderates voted against it cause of the deficit though. passed 208-199.

‘There will be a war if they make us take a vaccine’: Anti-vaxxers defiant as world searches for Covid-19 cure Independent. Resilc: “War war war war. More peaceful in Somalia, another failed state.”

Reviving the US CDC Lancet (UserFriendly)


Maybe Modern Monetary Theory is an answer to the COVID-19 economic crisis Marketplace (UserFriendly)

JC Penney, century-old mainstay of US malls, declares bankruptcy amid pandemic Guardian (Kevin W)

The next phase of America’s coronavirus problem is a massive housing crisis The Week. UserFriendly: “It’s going to be amusing when the democrats realize how hard it is to vote by mail after you’ve been evicted.”

The Coronavirus Pandemic Helped Topple J. Crew and Neiman Marcus. So Did Private Equity. New York Times

Another 1,000 Texas Oil & Gas Jobs Vanish OilPrice

The Covid-19 pandemic will be a disaster for wages, even once we all go back to work Quartz

Is the Fed Undermining the Push to Kill LIBOR? Treasury & Risk (alex)


US cuts off semiconductor shipments to Huawei, China vows to retaliate Independent (Kevin W)


Brexit talks stall as UK resists EU demands on fair competition Financial Times. I had thought this would be the real sticking point, but the EU has taken a very aggressive opening position on fisheries (posturing or not?) and the two sides are also at odd over Northern Ireland border procedures.

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Phrenology is back, wrapped up with facial recognition in a 21st century pre-crime package by university researchers. Too soon? RT (Kevin W)

Appeal Demands Sweden Probe Misdeeds in Assange Case Consortiumnews (UserFriendly)

Imperial Collapse Watch

War Is Peace & K Street Is A Small Business David Sirota (Chuck L)

5 sailors test positive for COVID-19 after returning to the USS Theodore Roosevelt from isolation Task & Purpose (Kevin W)

‘Star Trek, not Star Wars:’ NASA releases basic principles for Moon exploration pact (Kevin W)

Trump Transition

Ex-F.B.I. Official Is Said to Undercut Justice Dept. Effort to Drop Flynn Case New York Times (furzy)

Democrats Have Abandoned Civil Liberties Matt Taibbi (UserFriendly). Good for Matt. Consistent with my priors, but hadn’t waded far enough into this cesspool to be sure.

From the Justice Department to the Intelligence Community, Donald Trump and William Barr Have Won New Yorker (resilc)/blockquote>

Why Armed Right Wingers Were Able To Shut Down Michigan’s Legislature Ian Welsh (UserFriendly)

Coyote Sculptures in Mexico and US Share Vital Information With Migrants Hyperallergic (resilc)


Bernie world descends into disarray Politico (UserFriendly). Also in Water Cooler yesterday but important enough to be featured 2x.

Mike Bloomberg plots spending blitz to support Joe Biden’s run for president CNBC (Chuck L). His first attempt to sell problematic Presidential goods didn’t pan out so well.

‘Manipulative, deceitful, user’: Tara Reade left a trail of aggrieved acquaintances Politico. UserFriendly:

Odd how ‘I used to work in the Senate’ is something you would tell an acquaintance, yet ‘The Senator Raped me’ might be something you’d only tell people you are closer with.

And a single mom putting herself through law school who went through the trouble of changing her name to avoid an abusive ex had money problems????? I don’t believe it.

Chance any of these former acquaintances are not voting for Biden? 0%

The Illusion of ‘Free Markets’ and ‘Free Trade’ American Conservative

Warren Buffett dumps most of his Goldman Sachs stake Financial Times

Whistleblower: Wall Street Has Engaged in Widespread Manipulation of Mortgage Funds ProPublica (resilc)

DEC Statement on Denial of the Clean Water Act Section 401 Water Quality Certification for the Proposed Northeast Supply Enhancement Pipeline Project New York State Pipeline denial. New York has great water and it looks like they want to keep it that way. Thomas R: “I think the only thing that can save them now is direct intervention by the Trump administration. But if it goes to Federal court I’d suspect that the project may die a slow (and well deserved) death any way.”

Guillotine Watch

Zuckerbergs’ $800,000 restaurant donation is like US family giving $1 Business Insider (resilc)

Antidote du jour (Tracie H):

And a rare musical bonus, courtesy Bob H:

And a second bonus, resilc via LaughingSquid. Resilc adds “We lived in Tucson a while and we saw a bobcat leap from ground to top of 8 foot wall with no problem.”

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. The Rev Kev

    “No Sex for 1 Month for Coronavirus Survivors, Says Study”

    I heard about this study several days ago but I think that the problem was that they could not identify that they were looking at live virus or deactivated remnants of the virus. I suppose that they are using the precautionary principle here which is wise but a whole month? I guess that all that stocked toilet paper won’t go to waste then.

    1. petal

      I went to a couple of stores yesterday(northern NH). Paper towels seem to be coming back in fine(one store even had a Canadian brand-they sponsor the curling tournaments that are on tv) but TP is still really lagging. Lots of empty space where it is supposed to be. Everything else seems to be stocking back up, though.

      1. Full Shelves

        In Germany the toilet paper is back in full shelves in the stores I frequent. So are flour, yeast and oatmeal. No rationing on eggs neither. Flour and oatmeal can even be found im abundance in some stores. Guess that people are using the flour and oatmeal they already stockpiled

        1. Synoia

          How well stocked was the American Exceptionalism isle? Were the two meanings of ‘Exceptionalism” clearly disclosed?

      2. Keith

        It is making it’s way, it seems. Eastern Washington here, and I just got some at the local Costco. I think focus was in the populated areas, with rural areas, like mine, towards the end of the run.

      3. Joe Well

        I’m in Greater Boston. There was plenty of toilet paper the last few times I’ve gone to a grocery store or drug store, and the paper towels never completely disappeared, just limited to one or two brands. The shelves seem to be fully stocked of everything.

        The only thing being limited now is meat.

  2. cripes

    We may soon see who survives the apocalyptic “Event” intact, the billionaires in their NZ bunkers loaded with fragile tech crap and loyal retainers with shock collars or the leaping bobcats watching them patiently from the bush.

    1. Wukchumni

      the billionaires in their NZ bunkers loaded with fragile tech crap and loyal retainers with shock collars or the leaping bobcats watching them patiently from the bush.

      Would you settle for a rabid rabbit, pouncing possum, stealthy stoat, intimidating tahr, or (saving it for last) an onslaught of ‘Captain Cookers’ (wild boars descended from breeding pairs left on one of Cook’s voyages) rooting out dank cellars of ranked stellars?

      …that’s about it for mammals in the bush in NZ

        1. Wukchumni

          You go with the homonym you have-not the lack of fear you want.

          And besides, is there anything else even close in terms of making a bunny seem frightening?

          1. MarkT

            Loved “ranked stellars”! Yeah, “rampant rabbits” would probably be enough. Like most of New Zealand’s introduced mammals, they are very destructive. There’s an annual Easter Bunny Hunt in Central Otago. Not for the faint-hearted …

    2. ChrisPacific

      Local authorities swear the billionaire bunkers in NZ are a myth. Local regulations mean that you need to file consents for non-standard work like this, which then become part of the public record, and so far no such evidence exists. A number of billionaires have bought land here (subject to Overseas Investment Office conditions and approval when applicable) but mostly they build normal, if large, properties there. Peter Thiel is one exception, since he is a citizen even though he has no connection to NZ and doesn’t live here (long story) and therefore isn’t subject to OIO approval on purchases. His house reportedly does have some bunker-ish elements to it, but it’s still a regular house and not a luxury prepper bolthole as reported in the media.

      There remains the possibility that they’re doing it covertly and illegally, and with the amounts of money they have at their disposal I wouldn’t totally rule it out. But they’d still need a lot of local help with the heavy excavation and construction, and NZ isn’t the kind of society where you could do work on that scale and hope to keep it completely secret.

      It makes sense, since the main reason for them to move to NZ would be if they thought civilization could remain more or less intact here. If they were going to go all-out and build an apocalypse survival shelter then they could do it much more easily and with less red tape somewhere in a remote corner of a low-reg state in the US. It would be a risk for them to commit too much, since the NZ government leans much farther left than the US and might decide to just ‘buy’ it all back. It has happened before (Lands for Settlement Act, 1894).

      1. MarkT

        Interesting. Not being difficult, but have you been researching local authority consents?

        1. ChrisPacific

          No, but others have, and have reported no sign. Here’s one of several local takes; and another. Here’s an OIA request (admittedly limited in scope) that paints the same picture.

          It’s not just a question of filing with the council – if it’s inconsistent with the district plan (which it would be, unless your district plan was “underground bunker neighborhood for billionaires”) then you have to notify your plans and get consent from your neighbors, or open for public submissions if it’s significant. High profile cases can and do make the news on a regular basis and become the focus of passionate campaigns for and against (usually against). A filing for a bona fide billionaire survival bunker would be up there with a confirmed sighting of the Loch Ness Monster in terms of newsworthiness. There is absolutely no way it could fly under the radar if they followed the proper legal procedure.

          Most of this seems to come from one company (Rising S) that has been making a lot of very specific, but unsupported and unverified, claims about bunker installations. Local news sources that picked these articles up have mostly been modified to indicate that they are unverified. Overseas media have been less scrupulous and you can find a lot of the originals out there with no more substance than “this is what a company said they were doing.” Well, Theranos said they could tell everything about your medical history from a drop of blood, and look how that turned out.

    3. Wenshi

      Judging by American voting patterns I imagine it will be billionaires. Time to stop blaming them and having a hard look at your own selves. Sanders Vs Biden wasn’t difficult.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Um, you seem to forget how the press was full bore against Sanders. I now have mild exposure to TV, specifically sometimes having NBC evening news on in the background. It was remarkable to see how adept they were at cherry picking and flat out misrepresenting things that Sanders and his allies said, downplaying how well he was doing (which bolstered the mainstream “not electable” canard) and cherry picking Buttigieg and Biden favorably (interestingly not much Warren and not Bloomberg).

        Hard to make good decisions when fed bad information.

        1. Raymonde Smith

          In response to what Yves was saying about the influence of the corporately owned media:

          There is a sociological phenomena of reinforcement much studied by social psychologists about (and this is empirical evidence studied many times) how people cling to notions about other people based on the flimsiest of real evidence.

          So it starts with a nebulous conception (say ‘Bernie is a socialist and I’m not convinced that’s so good’) that is anything but clearly conceived or thought through. Then a single, clearly announced commentary from the likes of NBC is heard from a journo who appears very astute to wit: “Bernie is a socialist and many people think that’s not so good”.

          Boom! The listener’s perception crystalizes, locks into plate glass, bullet proof clarity and “Bernie’s a socialist and that’s not good” becomes the received wisdom.

          Wish I knew what the social science term was for that phenomena but it happens daily and propagandists know about it.

  3. Wukchumni

    In regards to that video of angry protesters in NY…

    A crowd is always ready to revolt against a feeble, and to bow down servilely before a strong authority. Should the strength of an authority be intermittent, the crowd, always obedient to its extreme sentiments, passes alternately from anarchy to servitude, and from servitude to anarchy. However, to believe in the predominance among crowds of revolutionary instincts would be to entirely misconstrue their psychology. It is merely their tendency to violence that deceives us on this point.

    From The Crowd, written in 1896 by Gustave Le Bon

    1. Tomonthebeach

      A less intellectual explanation is that the die-hard MAGAs are out promoting Trump for 2020. Hard to miss the Trump flags etc.

      People should stop calling the Trumpies and start calling them what they are; Gumpies. Stupid iz as stupid duz.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Might be better to talk to them and find out how they came to decide that Trump is a better option than the status quo. Not the type that drive big trucks and are business owners but the rank and file. You can’t effectively fight what you do not understand after all. If I were a Trumpie and it was 2016, I would see the Democrats offering me Hillary which would be an absolute continuance of the status quo with the chance of a shooting war with Russia. If I was a Trumpie now, I would see the Democrats offering me an aged, corrupt neocon in obvious mental decline and saying here is your next President. I would then say are you s***ing me?

        1. JBird4049

          Anything and anyone else to avoid the Evulz of Socializusm and Commicare.

          From what I understand more economists, even mainstream ones, are pushing multiple months of stimulus for all proles; the Congressional leadership ostensibly says that they are all considered, just plain disturbed by the trillions of dollars spent on the wars and on corporations that they just can’t spend anymore right now on the bottom 90% of people and businesses.

          1. The Rev Kev

            It makes more sense when you think of it as an opportunity by the 1% to reform America into a shape that serves their interests more. One where you don’t really have a middle class anymore but a desperate underclass that cannot resist the re-shaping of the political landscape to what amounts to an oligarchy. You have to remember that billionaires feel no attachment whatsoever in the values that actually made America. For them, America is merely just another country whose inhabitants are to be exploited for their financial gain. Try this Jimmy Dore/Dylan Ratigan 28:14 video on the re-shaping of the American economy-


            Jimmy Dore makes the point that if you were a sociopath, this is what you would do.

        2. FluffytheObeseCat

          “Not the type that drive big trucks and are business owners but the rank and file.”

          I’m not Amfortas but, I do live in “flyover”. And as near as I can see, the “rank and file” are mostly the healthy & petulant sons of the aforementioned big truck drivers. At some point you kind of need to say, screw you to the scions of local good ole boy elites. Even if our true lords temporal on the upper west side or Fairfield County, CT pretend to deplore them.

          I do often wonder if the posers on state house steps know how to reload. I mean, you can see from all their fancy camo clothes that they’re all rich enough to have bought the necessary cap presses, scales, and powder, so they probably own all the necessary equipment. It’s just they are such a bunch of whiny, stagy, pretentious jerks. I wouldn’t I’d trust them to measure the powder correctly.

          Mostly I see people who actually work for a living running around in Lowe’s, with masks on. They don’t have time to be prancing around on the steps of the state house 40 miles south of us. They don’t have time be really ill for 3-4 weeks. You need to be very comfortable to be carrying on that way. Very. Comfortable. Just not a member of the rarefied, sniveling, bi-coastal elite.

  4. funemployed

    I have a great deal of respect for Ian Welsh, and usually love his posts, but if he truly thinks a few people setting off bombs in the 70s qualifies as “running rings around the FBI” or that a left embrace of violent resistance would have resulted in anything other than a bunch of dead leftists (while handing the state a ready made excuse for further crackdown), he’s downright delusional.

    Violence is such a bad tactic for a weak American left that the best way to crush a left protest is to plant people in it to do violent things in order to justify a violent response. I’m not frustrated with Antifa because of some abstract ideology or personal squeamishness, but because picking a fight with state-enabled fascists whilst armed with nothing more than a rake and a milkshake is childish and stupid.

    That said, in 2020 in America, I do think leftists would be wise to arm themselves – for self defense, not showboating in public places.

    1. Krystyn Podgajski

      Since the left is “supposed” to be pacifist, if they suddenly start using more “violent” methods they are going off script and it ruins a narrative that is useful to people in power.

      The reaction and lack of reaction by the sate is not about violence, it is about controlling the story line.

      Both the left and right want one thing, for the state to help them financially. If the left and right figure this out we can join together and both get what we want.

      Unlike most people I talk to I understand why these people are Nazi’s and I can have sympathy for them.

      Can you imagine the right and left both showing up to any state capital doing their own thing but with the same goal? The left letting the right wingers roam around with their guns and Nazi flags and the right letting the left locking themselves to gates and sitting in silent meditation with flowers in their hair. If both sides get what they want we will see the end of extremism on both sides. So maybe lets stop bickering about tactics against each the right and left and just focus our energies on the state and capitalism.

      1. Bsoder

        Why is the left supposed to be pacifist? Communists sure weren’t /aren’t. Seems like a bad idea to me.

      2. Aumua

        So maybe lets stop bickering about tactics against each the right and left and just focus our energies on the state and capitalism.

        Well as always I think we need to first take a step back and clarify our definition of “right” and “left” in this context. Cause people have wildly different ideas in their minds about those words. It’s really in many cases completely different words for different people. So the statement above doesn’t make much sense to me, because (to me) Capitalism is a firmly right wing modality, and the right wing protesters are clearly all about it.

        But then we need to step back again in many cases and say what is Capitalism?

    2. Big River Bandido

      I don’t think Welch’s metaphor is that overblown. The early 1970s were probably the peak of civil disobedience in this country. Army officers in Vietnam who demonstrated too much aggressiveness and too little concern for their soldiers’ lives began to get killed a lot on missions out into the jungle. The blowback from Vietnam unleashed comparable violence at home and Watergate destroyed what credibility power still retained. High inflation provided the excuse for the first waves of government austerity.

      Long hair, beards, and a general disrespect for authority were just the superficial indicators of diminished authority. Among the more hard-core disaffected, it’s probably no coincidence that hard drug use (PCP!), the Weathermen, the SLA and numerous other violent fringe groups flowered in that era. I was only a child, but I remember the news being full of robberies, kidnappings, bombings. A wild time. Reagan in the 80s embarked on a huge propaganda mission to re-establish governmental authority which was largely successful, unfortunately.

      1. Bsoder

        Outside of the Revolution, Civil war, reconstruction, 1900s anarchy movement, labor movement, slavery, extermination of native Americans, I could go on. With the highest prison population in the world I’d ask when has the violence ever stopped?

    3. ambrit

      My experiences at the 1972 conventions in Miami Beach lead me to conclude that the Organs of State Control initiated much of the violence. So, your admonition that Leftists arm themselves is pertinent. Secondly, the issue of the ‘legitimacy’ of violence is predicated on a misconception that the State will use it’s “monopoly” on the use of violence in a rational and measured manner. The pursuit of ‘Power’ tends to ever more irrational and extreme methodologies over time. From this observation, I can see the origins of the Jeffersonian ideal of the Yeoman Farmers and Militias instead of standing armies. So, Militias are a legitimate expression of the public will. From this, I make the leap to the observation that we do not need to suppress the Right wing Militias, which has generally been impossible, but that we need to establish Left wing Militias as a counterweight to both the Right wing militias, and the State, which two often act in accord.

        1. ambrit

          Poor Fred Hampton. Ahead of his time.
          I always view him as part of the honour roll of the Righteous Dead, along with JFK, RFK, X, MLK, the four at Kent State, and on and on.

            1. ambrit

              And I really do like it when I see the cause of death, as listed in the wikipedia entry for Fred Hampton, as being “Assassination.” Truth will out.

      1. jsn

        I’ve been following this since the 70s too and the closer you look the more of the “terrorism” ascribed to the left had FBI fingerprints here and CIA prints abroad.

        Combine that with right wing decapitations, Kennedy, Kennedy, King & X and the ongoing leniency on right wing atrocities like the Greensboro massacre and you get a sense of the asymmetry of political violence.

        I think Welsh has thrown up his hands on the US left and this isn’t one of better posts. The left does well when through solidarity it is prepared for violence and effectuates it according to principles of solidarity. The right uses it casually, after all psychopaths are attracted to both power and violence, and to sustained terrorist effect. The visibility and principles behind political violence are the only way it’s use can be legitimate and only when it can make a moral case can it overcome the basic lack of trust that makes it necessary.

        1. Rhondda

          Thanks for this extraordinary comment,jsn. I expect I’ll be pondering your last sentence for quite some time.

      2. jax read

        Ambrit, It’s six degrees of separation! I was also at the 1972 Dem convention in Miami Beach as a member of the council of progressive organization’s setting up Flamingo Park. I then volunteered with W.A.R., “Women Against Rape”, to patrol the park at night with long flash lights and as much righteous anger as only a new, young feminist can muster. I’ll never forget one guy, lying outside his tent and toking on a joint who, when he saw our red arm bands with the black W.A.R., asked what it meant? When we told him, he looked surprised and said, “Geez, man, couldn’t you be less aggressive?”

        If I recall correctly, there were only a couple of arrests at Flamingo Park, but most of us had seen the might of the State, most notably in my case, during the 1968 police riot in Elysian Park in L.A., and National Guard tanks and troops in Berkeley in 1969.

        People don’t really understand what the State can bring to bear, should it choose. We haven’t seen that sort of might recently because of the new strategy of removing protest to the ‘free speech zones.’
        But I intuit that we’re going to see those kinds of riot police phalanxes again, and relatively soon as the society continues to fragment into third world status.

        1. ambrit

          Oh good for you! An activist that early.
          I lived on Miami Beach for both the 1968 and 1972 conventions.
          Remember the free concerts at Flamingo Park during the conventions? I think I saw the Steve Miller Band for free there.
          My middle sister later was a lifeguard at the pool at Flamingo Park. She helped run the swimming program for babies. Just throw them in and they start to do the dog paddle. Honestly, start a baby swimming that early and they don’t learn to fear the water and almost never drown later in life. Ask any Hawaiian or Polynesian islander.
          I remember the riot on the last day of the Republican Convention in ’72. The cops started it, I have met several witnesses to that fact, and it spiraled out of control. My favourite scene from that evening, which I saw a part of, was when the cops made the huge mistake of trying to man handle a group of Hasidim, you know them, the Jewish sect with the long hair and trench coats. These people have little tolerance for fools and promptly turned on the police and beat a number of them up.
          Now, with the prospect of a ‘virtual’ convention looming, will we see ‘virtual’ civil disobedience?
          Definitely interesting times.

      3. Adam Eran

        Arms are of questionable value. After a discussion which revealed that people’s unconscious bias is that guns protect them, even though the facts say otherwise (when Washington D.C. banned handguns, the suicide rate fell 23%). Shankar Vedantam’s The Hidden Brain has the following passage.

        “People feel safer barreling down a highway at seventy miles an hour-without seat belts-than they do sitting in a passenger plane going through turbulence. The fact that we are in control of the car gives us the illusion of safety, even though all the empirical evidence shows we are safer in the plane.

        “Suicide rates in states with high levels of gun ownership are much higher than in states that have low levels of gun ownership. Alabama, Idaho, Colorado, Utah, Montana, Wyoming, and New Mexico have twice the rate of suicide of Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Connecticut, Hawaii, and New York. The United States as a whole has a very high suicide rate compared to other industrialized countries.

        “Researchers working for the federal government once examined the suicide rate among children in the United States and twenty-five other industrialized countries over a single year. The suicide rate among American children was more than twice the average suicide rate among children in the other twenty-five countries. The homicide rate among children in the United States was five times higher. Guns were responsible for much of this. If you measured only gun-related homicide and suicide, American children were eleven times more I likely than children in the other twenty-five countries to commit suicide by shooting themselves, were nine times more likely to be killed in accidental shootings, and were sixteen times more likely to be murdered. There were 1107 children shot to death in all the countries; 957 of these victims–86 percent–were children in the United States.

        “The researchers Arthur Kellermann and Donald Reay once examined all gun-related deaths over a lengthy period of time in King County in the state of Washington. They were trying to find evidence for the common intuition that gun owners are safer because they can protect themselves and their families should someone break into their homes. Kellermann and Reay identified nine deaths during the period of the study where people shot and killed an intruder. These are the stories that gun advocates endlessly relate to one another. In the same period, guns in people’s homes were implicated in twelve accidental deaths and forty-one homicides–usually family members shooting, one another. The number of suicides? Three hundred and thirty-three.”

        This is truly a sword that cuts both ways…Just sayin’

        1. LifelongLib

          I don’t recall if suicide attempts were included, but there were stats posted here a while ago showing that while the U.S. is not an outlier for violent crime, it is an outlier (high) for homicides. This suggests that the violence that occurs here is more lethal than in other places. Is the difference due to guns?

          1. juno mas

            Yes. Having a hand gun handy is a prescription for death by the emotionally depressed. Suicide becomes an option.

            For the depraved, having a rapid fire gun is what leads to the high homicide single event.

            The US seems to promote a culture of violence, as well. (See: Bsoder comment above.)

        2. ambrit

          I cannot counter your observation, but do have to ask if Kellermann and Reay included deaths by police shooting into their analysis? It cannot have been zero in a polity as large as King County.
          As someone once observed, “Guns are as American as apple pie.” That Djinn has escaped the bottle long ago. Now we are left with coping mechanisms.

          1. JBird4049

            In the United States roughly 33,000 deaths by guns with ⅔ are suicides, ⅓ are homicides and around 1,000 are by the police (that means just under 10% of gun homicides are by the police). The overall trend for several decades is increasing suicides, decreasing homicides, and increasing police homicides by the gun. That suicides and police homicides are increasing while homicides are decreasing is disturbing.

            The increasing in mass shootings are real but by how much depends on what is a multiple and what is a mass shooting as those change depending on whose definition being used; multiple homicides of 2,3,4 and more are as American as apple pie and has been since the revolver and the Spencer. So at least 150 years. Unfortunately.

            Something about our psyche likes violence. In late 19th and early 20th centuries explosives were a favorite. Makes for gruesomely interesting reading.

            1. ambrit

              Yes to the old Union bombing campaigns. When those campaigns were properly targeted, they accomplished their goals. The generally successful campaigns targeted things and studiously avoided harming people. At all times, take into account the public relations aspect of any ‘direct action.’

              1. juno mas

                How’d that work out for Earth First! They bombed “things”, were branded “eco-terrorists” by the government and some given 20 years to life sentences.

                1. JBird4049

                  Too small a group, not a movement, and society wasn’t ready for the message along with a very successful propaganda campaign aka the “news.” In the future though that is likely to change.

                2. ambrit

                  To counter your point, now, simple demonstrations, peaceful civil disobedience are being legally defined as felonies. Without credible threats, the Establishment is not going to give an inch.
                  Over the last few decades, the, for want of a better term, Establishment has ‘beefed up’ it’s literal war making capabilities on the American domestic front. Armoured cars for sheriff’s departments, automatic weapons for county and city level SWAT teams, pervasive surveillance abilities, such as the Ring systems being handed over to local law enforcement departments for limitless domestic spying, etc. etc. A rational observer would be forgiven for surmising that the Organs of State Security were planning for offensive actions against it’s own domestic population.
                  A general rule of thumb in military circles is that every “weapon” built eventually is used. Our Establishment has built itself a quite an impressive weapons system. We must, as self respecting citizens, be prepared to defy that Establishment when it trots out that system in support of any plainly anti-populist demand. Alas, that scenario will result in literal ‘Blood in the Streets.’ It has happened before.
                  Who says that History has ended? Fools and deluded ‘experts,’ that’s who.

            2. ambrit

              About your mention of the revolver. That mechanism was eventually dubbed “The Great Equalizer.” This sprung from the fact that no longer did sheer size and endurance give the henchman, goon, or sheriff’s deputy automatic dominance in any social dispute. Now, the ‘weakest’ among us had the ability to deal out death on short notice. Might makes right entered a new era, an, shall we say, equal opportunity era.
              Interesting, if potentially explosive, times.

    4. lyman alpha blob

      I thought the “running rings” and that the left voluntarily gave up using violence was a bit of stretch too. In the comments Welsh does admit that the leftist movements were stopped by the series of political assassinations, which is more accurate. But other than that, pretty good article.

      Oh, and Antifa are cops. That goes a long way to explaining their less than effective tactics.

      1. J.k

        That does not explains why the cops go far more aggressively after antifa than than the fascists. Ofcourse, you can argue they are infiltrated by law enforcement, but to argue their tactics are the result of them being cops is quite the stretch.

    5. workingclasshero

      Right now,the only groups that can defend themselves from or attack the state are on the right.not to hard to figure out.

    6. JBird4049

      By the early 70s the general public was not supporting violent revolution so groups like the Weathermen had no where to hid or enough support. The system was still working for most, civil rights were being expanded, and involvement in Vietnam was going down. In countries that have general support by the population even an extremely repressive and powerful government can have a hard time destroying a guerrilla or terrorist organization.

      Looking at everything that I just said about the early 70s and seeing that it is not true today, I think that the ruling American economic and political elites, the nomenklatura, the security state, even the leadership of what passes as our approved kultura all might be unhappy with the results when the crackdowns do occur. That’s not saying who might win. Only that the struggle will be much more extreme than TPTB assume.

    7. Oregoncharles

      I remember the 70s vividly, and I think you don’t. The bombs and riots might have been ineffectual by themselves, but they were part of a general breakdown of order. There was a quiet mutiny in the army in Vietnam, partly inspired by the resistance back home. Demonstrators openly fought the police. After the killings at Kent State and Jackson State, dozens of city downtowns were occupied and shut down until the police finally cleared them.

      And just as he said, the FBI couldn’t catch the perpetrators. I remember seeing the wanted posters and thinking: “no wonder they can’t catch them; those people look just like my friends.” One of them finally turned herself in a decade or so ago, in my town; she’d been living here for a long time.

      In my opinion, the threat to social order here was the main reason the war ended, on Vietnam’s terms. That, and the US lost; hard to separate those.d

      Most (not all) of the left in this country adopted non-violence as a matter of principle – though for some, self-defense is an exception. I was there, and I think Welsh is right. The trouble with Antifa is that they look just as clownish as the fascists. But I might not say that if I were their age, again.

      1. JBird4049

        The non-violence of the Left has often been pushed aside by those advocating at least destructive protests. The peaceful protests of the last forty years is unusual. That the efforts of Antifa and others to not be violent has been mostly successful is impressive because that is the second thing (after infiltration) that the police often try to trigger. It justifies the police brutality.

        Thing is that the support of violence mostly went away after the United States started to leave Vietnam; the ongoing failed struggles against the 1% successful efforts to steal evermore of everything has been peaceful because people either believed in the system or the economy was still working enough for most people to survive. Neither of those things are true anymore are they?

        If peaceful change in the system is blocked, often illegally so, and homelessness and/or starvation is apparently the future of at least 40% of the American population what is likely to happen? Reform movements in the United States including the successful ones have received and given an awful amount of pain and death.

        1. ambrit

          The Oligarchs should read their history and learn that as a general rule, in peasant revolts the local Lord’s chateau was burned, often with the denizens still inside.

  5. jackiebass

    There is one big reason that fracking for natural gas is banned in NYS. It’s because of the water supply for NYC. There were concerns that fracking was likely to contaminate the water supply for NYC. Cuomo couldn’t find a sellable reason for banning fracking in just part of the state. Therefore to protect the water supply for NYC he banned fracking in the entire state. I love it because I live in a part of the state where fracking on a mass scale would happen. As a land owner of 50 acres , I was opposed to fracking. It would put my well water supply at risk. Even though I would never allow tracking on my land, my neighbors were very pro fracking. When a well is fracked they are allowed to frack under your property even though you didn’t sign a lease. The supposedly would pay you for the gas but you’re screwed if you water source becomes contaminated. Then basically your property becomes useless and the payment for your gas is short lived and relatively small. Most land owners were kung Ho to frack because they believed they would get rich quick. They unfortunately failed to look at the negatives from fracking.

    1. Upstater

      Another, perhaps more significant, reason fracking doesn’t happen in NYS is that towns and counties have considerable control of land use. This is not the case for states like PA, WV or OH which have a very “rich” history and body of law supporting extractive industries. IIRC, for the state to allow carte blanche on fracking state wide, it would require constitutional changes. Obviously some down-and-out towns in the southern tier would welcome fracking had Cuomo allowed it, but many would not.

    2. FreeMarketApologist

      Agree! Much of the NYC watershed is in Delaware, Ulster, Schoharie, Greene, and Sullivan counties, and NYC (via their Deparment of Environmental Protection) already exerts quite a bit of control over what goes on in those counties (and owns a lot of land they are protecting). Additionally, these are generally fairly rural areas, with a large number of homes and farms dependent on wells for their water.

      It’s fascinating to look at county historical records — there was a big oil boom in the 1960s as well — the deed books are full of mineral leases, now all long expired.

  6. jsn

    Massive fraud!!! $1.7m!!! Bites pinkie…

    Okay, it’s a problem, now let’s take a look at what the Fed and Treasury are up to.

    1. rd

      I am surprised the Nigerians were able to get through and actually file the unemployment claims. Many unemployed struggled to accomplish that.

  7. Jessica

    From yesterday’s Water Cooler:
    “On the other hand, the anti-vaxxers are loons, and dangerous. What to do…”
    I submit that this is not the most fruitful way to relate to those who are opposed to some vaccinations. After the Trump and Brexit victories, those who lost those elections demonstrated little if any interest in finding out what motivated those voters. They simply ridiculed them and fell back on argument from authority and credential. I think the results of doing so have been harmful for both countries.
    On top of that, the anti-vaccination forces start from the assumption that Big Pharma and the government can not be trusted. The pro-vaccination forces consistently argue from the assumption that they can be trusted. If either one of those positions is foolish, I submit that it is not the first one.
    I am not saying that the anti-vaccination forces are correct and they contain some who are primarily motivated by the chance to make a buck. Though probably less so than the private equity funds who have bought up and further deteriorated much of the health care system and less so than Big Pharma.
    More broadly, the counter-attack over the past decades against the democratization that took place in the 60s and early 70s has consistently moved to remove elites and corporations from accountability. We are seeing this time and again in the latest corona virus crisis. The solution to the mistrust represented by the anti-vaccination forces is not to reinforce such unaccountable authority but to re-establish accountability.

    1. Krystyn Podgajski

      Agreed. Should I trust a vaccination developed at “warp speed” and initiated by a President whose only focus is economic recovery?


      Anti-vaxxers are not anti-vaxxers becasue of a vaccine, they are anti-vaxxers because there is a rightful loss of trust in “The Men Who Rule the World.” Lost, they end up attaching themselves to some kind of pseudo-Jesus who gives them some hope.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        like the anticlimate phenomenon, antivaxx has nefarious forces behind it, but i agree…it’s an expression of the ongoing Legitimacy Crises we’ve been in, increasingly, for decades.
        genx soccermoms who’s high school science lessons didn’t take(Karen?), and who have a generalised and unconscious sub-awareness of the various ways they’re losing(unconscionable)…haven’t the inner strength/tools to deal with that, so latch on to whatever “movement” or pseudoexplanation allows them to explain that, while maintaining their sense of agency and worth.
        one sees the same thing in a great many of the genx(ie: my age) churchladies…..much different from the bluehairs of old with their flowery hats,lol.
        “blessings” and all manner of magical thinking and talisman wielding to counter the FUD that’s been creeping into their little worlds.
        I’m also reminded of an observation i teased out long ago, that’s proved more or less true over time…that when confronted with Doom…especially at the civilisational level(like me talking about shaky supply lines after that hurricane)…it’s too big to be confronted…so denial, or casting blame on some manageable judas goat is the way to go.
        when what’s required is upending the “system” and starting over, any old goat will do.

        1. Rod

          +1–hoot of an analysis, ath

          this is truth ringing:

          like the anticlimate phenomenon, antivaxx has nefarious forces behind it, but i agree…it’s an expression of the ongoing Legitimacy Crises we’ve been in, increasingly, for decades.

        2. Bsoder

          ‘Anti-vaxxers are not anti-vaxxers becasue of a vaccine’, well they say they are. Do they have agency or not? Getting into motives is pretty tricky, especially when you see the exact same funding sources, by the exact same people: pro life, anti-climate, pro-oil, one would almost think it was organized in some way.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            all of us have buttons within us
            my…and maybe your…buttons are kinda sticky from all the rooting around and hunger for knowledge…and ideally, a morally informed, down in our bones, hunger for truth.
            That ain’t most folks i’ve met out there in the world, lol.
            Most folks’ buttons are easy to push, and they generally don’t even now that said button has been pushed.
            more! they don’t acknowledge the very existence of the button within.
            most folks spend their online time…on their fone, no less…looking at cat videos and stroking themselves in little virtual rooms where everybody else agrees with them and is stroking themselves, too.
            most of the internet is pornhub, essentially.
            that utterly sad thing is the subject of a much longer and more detailed conversation than i can handle at the moment.

          2. Cuibono

            maybe meet one or two of them and find out for yourself.
            Some loons to be sure in my experience. And some not. none of the people i have met were motivated by anything other than what they thought was the best thing for their kids.
            suppose that my non random sample is likely skewed. maybe yours is too

            1. Cuibono

              and i say this as someone who has run vaccine programs locally and internationally.

      2. ShamanicFallout

        Agreed- I was very worried when we had our daughter about the vaccines and vaccination schedules as I (like so many) have a healthy distrust of Pharma, gov, you name it. But I have a couple of good friends who are doctors (one a physician and one a travel med doc) and I asked them whether I should do the vaccines for my daughter. They both looked at me like I was insane. Yes of course you do! But her vaccination schedule didn’t seem ridiculous to me either. Looked like the ones we got in the 70s and 80s: measles, mumps, tetanus, whooping cough, chicken pox, hep. It didn’t seem like the horror stories I hear about some ungodly number of vaccinations

        As for the covid situation though, if we suddenly get this warp speed vaccine , I say “you first”

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          Aye. “You First”,lol.
          I’m fortunate to be in a position(thanks to, among other things, wife’s cancer), to stay home and wait to see what happens for a bit.
          Boy’s might or might not be in that position, which means …as much as they might hate it…quarantine at various levels as appropriate.
          But yeah…it’s strange that we(“we”) are willing to trust gigantic avaricious egregores with this…vaccines…but not with anything else, be it their drugs, or their power.
          My own policy is to avoid drugs newer than around 1995,lol.
          (after clinton deregulated them better than any republican ever had.)

        2. Laura in So Cal

          I never questioned vaccines until we started having problems with reactions when my son was 6 months old. Then, I did a lot of research, paused vaccines for a while and then cautiously started doing them again. We gave done one at a time, kid has to be perfectly healthy, we wait in the waiting room for 1/2 hour just in case he has an issue. My family is full of allergies (food, medications, and a couple of people have a rare allergy to cold), asthma, auto immune disease. My dad went into anaphylactic shock from a pneumonia vaccine he got a few years ago. We don’t do flu shots, but my son is vaccinated to the school requirements and our pediatrician knows I do full research before we do any vaccine. We would wait on any covid vaccine. I don’t talk about it much irl because apparently if you don’t accept that 100% of vaccines are 100% wonderful for 100% of people, you are anti-vaccine.

          1. JBird4049

            The extreme responses of the anti anti vaxxers are just more refusal to think clearly. Honestly, before the general use of vaccines, the amount of death and general suffering made any possible problems unimportant. Now that the massive casualties of the often multiple yearly epidemics no long happen thanks to vaccines, looking at any possible health risks is a good idea. But no.

            I think the ant vaxxers’ insanity has caused insanity in the other side. Just because most vaccines, most of the time, in most people, do not cause health problems and are always saving many lives, does not mean that any health problems that they do cause are unimportant or should be ignored.

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              in every trial, there’s some fraction of a percentage of guinnea pig people who have a bad reaction, get the disease they were getting vaccinated for, or otherwise have a bad time because they got the vaccine.
              It’s right there in the literature accompanying any drug anyone tries to give you(save for the street, of course)
              Those are not just numbers…they’re people, who have reacted adversely to what saves the rest of us.
              Universal Provision of Healthcare means that they won’t be punished for doing the right thing.

      3. Yves Smith Post author

        Huh? One of the prominent anti-vaxxers has a husband who is a partner in a private equity firm. Anti-vaxxers skew very affluent and generally send their kids to private schools.

      4. LarryB

        Yes, even though I am in several high risk categories, I won’t be inclined to get vaccinated until the vaccine is approved by a first world government.

    2. marym

      Trump is an opportunist. He was an anit-vaxxer during his campaign and earlier in his presidency. Now he wants a magic trick to end the pandemic, and this week it’s talking about a vaccine. He’s given no indication that he thinks either (what passes for) government in his administration or industry should be accountable for anything. Seems like lose-lose for anti-vaxxers and pro-credentialist alike. Not to mention for all the people getting sick and dying for lack of any effecitive national public health and economic response to the pandemic.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        Look. Here’s the deal: General Petraeus will come to my house and give me my shot after I’ve been to Walmart for my drive-through-test (at which I opportunistically pick up a 12-pack of Busch and a Family Size of Piggie Fries!). It’s only after I get my shot that Larry Kudlow comes by with my Trump money.

        It will all work out. We just have to be patient. Everything in its proper order.

    3. jcmcdonal

      I’ve started to be suspicious that big pharma is actually sponsoring the antivax movement – no one questions the newer vaccines they release anymore, which are quite lucrative, and have some issues… Sure, there’s less uptake of older, well proven vaccines, but there’s no money in those anyway.

      This would require more competency than I’d expect from big pharma, but it’s rare now to find people who believe in all the standard vaccines but are skeptical of newer ones. Improvements have been made for the HPV vaccine, but when it first came out it was shady af.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        aye! I see that…against tried and true, but silent on the newer.except for that anti-cervical cancer vaccine several years ago…but that was about an essentially sexually transmitted disease…so the kneejerk Right got all pious.
        we get the flu shot every year, just as soon as it’s available.
        boys get all their shots, even if our doc overlooks them.
        tetanus boosters, too, when required.
        but all those have a very voluminous paper trail…and i did my homework…which overcame my distrust of Big Pharma and, if not the gooberment itself, the cretins that gooberment really works for.
        I’ll bet you a barbadoe that whatever vaccine ends up being recommended will lack the same transparency…into the trials and such.
        it’s sad, really…
        vaccines are almost as important as sewage systems to public health.
        that that trust is just another casualty of the neolib war on humanity is a sad commentary.

        …and…it wouldn’t surprise me one damned bit if Big Pharma didn’t have something to do with this “grass roots movement”.

        1. Bs

          My experience in 40 years as a doc is Big Pharma is about making money not killing potential customers. Sure they bribe docs to write up ‘stuff’ to justify writing scripts. Aside from opiates what are we talking about?. And then the whole opiate story has not been told and what has been told is mostly not true. We live in such a puritanical country.

            1. Bsoder

              Yes, to some but it was very specific, after running some suggested tests I didn’t take any of my patients off of it, including my wife. I’d would agree with this though, most docs don’t have my background in molecular biochemistry or are diligent. When I showed up for monthly family practice meetings, I’m not all that popular.

          1. periol

            “And then the whole opiate story has not been told and what has been told is mostly not true. We live in such a puritanical country.”

            I can only speak anecdotally, but I know many, many people whose lives were ruined by opiods, most of them of the prescription variety. I knew people who stole pills from family, I knew people who did the doctor shopping, I knew folks who picked up large scripts from the VA and sold them all, and I even heard who the one doctor in a certain town was who would give out scripts no questions asked.

            I’m not sure what the other side of the opiod story is, but from my anecdotal perspective from living rough in a bunch of places, I have yet to hear one single positive outcome from opiods. In every single case where someone I know was prescribed opiods, the outcome has been bad, often completely catastrophic. Job loss, failed relationships, prison, and for the ones who don’t have anything catastrophic, they still have to recover from the dependency.

            I am not a puritan, but I’m having a hard time seeing anything positive about prescription opiods at all. The destruction they have caused across the country is astronomical, worse in my anecdotal experience, than the news stories describe.

            1. vegasmike

              I’ve had pretty good results with Percocet. I had crippling spinal stenosis. Surgery worked to cure this problem. But I was left with chronic pain. A combination of exercise and low dose opioids keeps me functional. BS is right. A lot of the opposition to pain relief seems to be a type of grin and bear it pseudo stoicism

              1. periol

                Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a crusader or anything. I have a hard time because I lost a dear friend, the ankle surgery nonsense. There is nowhere near enough chronic crippling pain in this country to justify the avalanche of opiods that were prescribed.

                That doesn’t mean there aren’t some who don’t need genuinely need opiods. The travesty of opiods is not their existence, but giving out prescriptions like it’s water is a travesty. Just another situation where nuance is lost in our society. But that doesn’t mean the story of opiods over the past few decades is more good than bad. Opiods have laid waste to large swathes of America.

                1. ambrit

                  The Tin Foil Hatt persona lurking in my subconscious suspects that the waste laid to the otherwise organizeable ‘lower classes’ in America is someone’s ‘preferred outcome.’
                  Phyl is slowly reducing her usage of the opiods prescribed for her after the amputation. She is doing this on her own. The ‘Pain Management’ doctors,are somewhat perplexed by this behaviour in a seventy-six year old female. This is obviously an outlier for these medicos. Perhaps I am, as is usual for this time in my life cycle, out of touch.
                  I do empathize about your travails attendant to opioids. I have known several junkies and other addictive personalities during my life. It is not a pretty picture, especially when you have an emotional connection to the sufferer. Then we become Secret Sharers.

                  1. periol

                    The thing that kills me about most of the opiod addicts I’ve known – their addiction started with a prescription. And believe me, I share your tinfoil thoughts, quite honestly have had those thoughts since shortly after our invasion of Afghanistan produced a record turn-around in opium production after Taliban control dropped it to almost nothing.


                    I wish both yourself and Phyl the best. Sometimes I feel I was born in the wrong era, too early or too late I never can tell.

                    1. ambrit

                      Thanks from the both of us. My brush with ‘addictive personality types’ is my Scots Irish heritage. Lots of drunks and daily tipplers in the family tree. I keep my drinking to a minimum and at home. I never drink away from home any more. The story of drunk little me and the defective Chevy II Nova seared that meme into my memory banks.
                      I have often had that “adrift in time” feeling. Is it common, or confined to a segment of the human population. I’ve often wondered if it may be part of the Shaman Personality Type.
                      Stay safe!

                    2. periol

                      We’ve exhausted the thread!

                      My fervent hope is that the times are changing around us, and we are just lucky enough to notice! Alcohol and weed always put me in the mood to notice.


            2. Amfortas the hippie

              my opioid experience has been a raging success.
              but I’m taking it for all-my-joints-pain…that will never go away.
              I start at 5mg, and move up after a year or so to 7…and another year or so to 10.
              then, i take a drug holiday for a month and a half…to reset the receptors in my brain.(and hurt like a whipped dog)
              then i start at 5 mg.
              I fear moving up the pain ladder, as you indicate….hydrocodone for almost 14 years, now.
              Oxycodone makes me sleep and itch like crazy…so benadryl, which makes me sleep even harder.
              can’t get nuthin done thataway.
              I supplement with weed…and when i drink beer, i forego my pain med.
              (acetaminophen/APAP that they insist on including in it is a liver killer)
              I couldn’t do anything around here but hobble between chairs under trees without it.
              (and zero withdrawals when i go on holiday, btw)
              I understand that i balance thus on the edge of a blade…the risk is never far from my mind when i take the damned pill(4am, noon, 8pm…alarm set—and i do clockwatch)
              the people you describe…the doctor shoppers, etc…make my life a little bit harder.

              1. periol

                I admit, only one person in my experience had chronic unfixable pain, like yours, as the reason for his prescription. This guy was a veteran injured in the first Gulf War, and I knew him from barhopping. Told me he needed a ride to the VA to pick up his prescription, so I took him. Told me all about the war and his injuries on his way there. On the way back he told me he was selling all 300 pills in his script. $5 a piece – his monthly rent. He just dealt with the pain.

                Everyone else I know was prescribed it for recovery from minor surgery or some such. Three different broken ankles recoveries ended up with two quiet firings from prestigious positions at solid companies, and the third had some serious and sad family drama attached. A different person from the above is in prison for dealing, after developing an addiction from a prescription themselves. One person became addicted after being prescribed xanax after dental surgery. And I have a few acquaintances who are sadly with us no longer after escalating from opiods to heroin.

                Meth and opiods are the two drugs that have laid a thoroughly destructive trail through the lives of those I’ve come in contact with over the years. I’ve lost friends to both, from death, addiction, and prison.

                Kids these days will never know what it used to be like getting weed. Same guy for all the drugs. There were a few sketchy situations…

                1. ambrit

                  To your last paragraph; I know of at least one medium sized business, profitable and constant, established using drug sale money. I used to know a lawyer who did quite well being the mouthpiece for a drug importer.
                  To be a bit picky, I would not blame the societal dysfunction we see today in America on the drugs, per se, but on the results of the criminalization of the drugs. If we went at the problem like the Portuguese do, we might make some headway. That, of course will require us to jettison the Protestant Work Ethic ethos. By doing that, we would undercut one of the primary supports for the Neo-liberal Capitalist ethos presently in charge in the West.
                  Oh, the possibilities!
                  (I am seriously surprised that Portugal hasn’t had an attempted Right wing coup yet.)

                  1. periol

                    I agree with everything with everything you say. And yet, as I’ve mentioned before, something about opiods, and the way most addicts I’ve known started their addictions with prescriptions, just really really rubs me the wrong way.

                    I should say, this isn’t even a class situation. I know a very wealthy woman who stole percosets from her daughter-in-law’s bathroom cabinet.

                    1. ambrit

                      LOL!!! We’ve had exactly that happen in our house!
                      Human nature is consistent, across all so called barriers and lines.

            3. JTMcPhee

              I saw a lot of people who had chronic conditions and needed opioids just to be minimally functional and go to work. Abusers too, lie the guy who shows up with a shopping bag full of pretty much every Brand and generic opioid, street value probably over $300,000, and asks the office to take them off his hands. But there are a lot of people who need and have been on stable doses of analgesic opioids for decades, managed working with physicians who understand the meds and weed out the frequent flyers and work through the addictions. It’s just that the puritanical and hypocritical crackdown in this state was and is an act of cruelty. Baby out with the bath water. But of course there is no standing against that kind of flood of negative energy.

    4. David

      I think you have a point. What this is about in essence is mistrust of government, and the consolidation of political power in the hands of those who were brought up to fear and distrust government in the 60s and 70s, as well as the libertarian belief that I should have full control over what happens to my body, and it’s nobody else’s business. This is the result. The argument from authority no longer convinces many people, but there is no consensus about what to put in its place, given that most of us have nowhere near enough expertise to make judgements for ourselves. We therefore fall back on subjective political and emotional assumptions, and consider evidence only insofar as it supports them. (If you substitute, say, “death of Epstein” for “vaccination”, you find people will swap sides and exchange rhetorical arguments in a heartbeat.) In place of expertise, we resort to ad hominem and political arguments (“they’re only saying that because of their profits”) . Consider “they lied to us about WMD in Iraq: so they are obviously lying about vaccines.” The logic of that statement is irreproachable if you accept the premise.

      The problem comes when other people apply your logic to arguments which you subjectively think are true. “Ah yes” you say, ” the government usually lies but on this one occasion ….” It doesn’t work, does it?

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        This is just not correct. The demographic that is anti-vaccine is PMC and even 0.1%.

        It is overwhelmingly not the mopes but the hard core libertarians with some scratch.

        1. Aumua

          I feel like that in recent years the anti-vax ideas have gotten a lot more exposure, over social media and such, and so they have made significant inroads into other demographics with a CT mindset, many of whom are not particularly wealthy.

        2. David

          I wasn’t consciously singling our any demographic. I was making a point about the ideological similarities. For what it’s worth, in the UK for example, it’s an educated middle class thing.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            a lot of the antivaxx people i know are middle and upper middle class(class distinctions specific to my area)
            soccer moms
            generally Xtian, and holier than thou…used to gather at one of the big round tables in my cafe and gossip mercilessly about everyone who had failed to live up to their standards.
            notably, first adopters of Facebook out here(internet came late to us)
            that article the other day that explained “Karen” pretty much nailed these folks…down to the hair.
            they got their antivaxism from the nondenominational preacherman, as well as from FB…which came first, idk.

            the antivaxx has filtered downward…into former tea party types…mostly women…poorer, but who aspire to be like the Karens, above…look up to them.
            that church is where they come into contact.
            it should be noted that none of these folks i’m talking about are on the statehouse steps…or those of the courthouse.
            I can almost guarantee that they will be/were the first to rush out to one of the newly opened cafes.

    5. Clive

      We can’t not throw in too the sorry demise, through self-inflicted wounds, of “experts”.

      Anti-vax’ers were given a big shot in arm of course by a former stalwart of medical authority, The Lancet journal, which published the notorious Wakefield “research”. Although fairly promptly discredited utterly, it took The Lancet getting on for a decade to publish a (disgracefully mealy-mouthed) retraction. It was left for patient groups, the remnants of the reliable medical publications and the trying to pick up the pieces of the truth parents to figure it all out and fix the damage.

      Meanwhile, The Lancet has learned nothing and forgotten nothing. Why, here it is today lending it’s, erm (?), expertise to US politics advising in some sort of bargain basement U.K. Comedy Gold (a TV network showing sitcom reruns) attempt at a pastiche of a Surgeon General’s Warning that Donald Trump May Be Harmful To Your Health. (it’s also in Links above under its “official” title of “Reviving the CDC” but it is of course politics masquerading as medical information).

      The same Lancet naturally didn’t like Brexit much, either. It was just a bit of a shame the authors of their “research paper” failed to disclose their funding sources which, perchance, you might feel, could have had a smidge of a bearing on their conclusions.

      Yet, despite all this, we get continually urged to take seriously what these same “experts” in this allegedly “authoritative” “medical journal” are telling us today about COVID-19.

      I really haven’t now the space to go into how I fear that progressive-in-name-only type experts must now be suffering from terminal cognitive dissonance, having previously told us one thing to be the sacrosanct truth only to now find it a tad inconvenient. “Are The Open Boarders We Told You About Last Year That Are Essential Lest We Consider You Racist And An Internationally Reviled Pariah Now Killing You?” as the Guardian headline would never say. But that’s just more of the same guff we were supposed to pledge our allegiance to by Very Sensible People, only now to be told, oh, well, forget about it (long, sprawling supply chains, anyone? how much will you give me for my Rules Based International Order, may I ask?).

      So yes, to reverberate your point — you can’t blame people for relying on the Wisdom of Facebook to find out what’s going on and what they should do for the best. It might, as with anti-vax’ing, lead to huge amounts of wrong-thinking and societal damage. But who’s fault is that, then?

      Too many — way too many — seem to have been inoculated against accountability.

    6. fwe'zy

      Most of the anti-vaxxers I know are GenX white men who also hate chemtrails and are somewhat “left behind” by technocrat culture. They are hippie-adjacent artsy types. The nefarious forces behind antivax include the very basic hucksterism of RF Kennedy Jr, who wishes to become a Vaccine Czar. As with most politicians, it’s impossible to divine whether he believes his own bullcrap.

    7. periol

      I’m not sure why this never seems to come into most discussions of vaccinations and anti-vaxxers, but I think most people don’t realize the extent the abortion debate plays into the opposition of many evangelical Christians to vaccines. Evangelical Christians are a large group in American society. Tissue from a few aborted fetuses in the 60s and 70s are used in the process for many vaccines, and if you look into it you can follow the trail of footnotes and see it is clearly labeled.

      There are many people in the acquaintance of my religious family members who are uninterested in the scientific debate as long as aborted fetal tissue is part of the process. Distrust of Big Pharma and Big Gov plays into it, but sometimes I think it can be hard to understand how passionate evangelicals are about abortion. For some in my family, abortion is the only issue that guides their vote in the ballot box.

    8. Yves Smith Post author

      It is a violation of site Policies to try to re-litigate a discussion on an unrelated post. It’s called “thread-jacking.” I have zero interest in promoting anti-vaxxer-ism here. I would normally have ripped this entire thread out but it was too far along by the time I saw it.

      As to your claim, I’ve dealt directly with anti-vax people who are not rabid. There is no convincing them. And it is often not about government per se. They are outraged at the idea that governments can impose sanctions for not getting vaccinated, but they believe vaccines are dangerous, and won’t hear otherwise.

      One more extreme but telling example: one of the leaders, a mother, had dinner with a friend whose wife is a professor in a West Coast med school. The prof was willing to be persuaded and asked the anti-vax mother (who speaks and writes and therefore should be able to substantiate her position) for her to provide the evidence and logic supporting her views.

      As my friend said, “The women nearly came to blows”. And I’ve met the prof, she’s not at all strident, very even keel.

  8. cornboy

    Zuckerbergs’ $800,000 restaurant donation is like US family giving $1 Business Insider

    Maybe Zuck is saving his dollars for other needy needs. Cake anyone?

  9. ex-PFC Chuck

    The “Democrats Have Abandoned Civil Liberties” Matt Taibbi link is about Judge Emmet Sullivan’s action to explore whether Gen. Flynn should be charged with perjury for his guilty plea. A few days ago Sidney Powell, Flynn’s current attorney, while responding to former President Obama’s recent comments on the DoJ’s decision to drop Flynn’s prosecution, went out of her way to highlight Judge Sullivan’s history of aggressively exposing prosecutorial malfeasance. Perhaps the judge is playing a game of eleven dimensional chess here and setting up a situation in which Powell could grill Lisa Page, Peter Strzok and other foot soldiers (relatively speaking) under oath to start following the breadcrumbs up the food chain to find out whose door the trail stops at.

    1. Off The Street

      There is plenty of evidence out there if you know where to look. Reading through FOIA docs and publicly-available filings on Flynn and other cases is highly illuminating. However, it does not make one very confident in the checks and balances supposedly built into the government operations. Or in the ethics of those promoted to positions of authority in so many departments.

      Taibbi is one of the few in the media not going through the charade of pretending not to notice.

      1. jsn

        Since since the Pirates of the Caribbean ride became a movie, for those who can afford the tickets to both its become a reality and all those checks and balances are just guidelines.

        Unless you can’t afford the tickets.

        Then, laws, not guidelines, have got to be brutally enforced so you don’t forget your station in life. An aristocracy is trying very hard to solidify statutes around itself and it’s very confusing if you try to frame it as “rule of law.” Might makes right is where we are unless we who can’t afford the tickets assert ourselves soon.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “The level of anger directed at the media from these protestors was alarming”

    The media feels this way? I suppose that after decades of carrying water for Wall Street, pushing for wars every coupla years, marginalizing people without power, gas-lighting people over whatever issues are near and dear to the media, mocking voters who don’t vote the way that they do and siding with corporate oligarchs against ordinary people that people are giving up on the media. Look at the drop-off of printed media for example. So here they target Trump voters and their reactions to the media. Suppose that this was a bunch of Bernie voters. You think that the reaction would be that much different? If Kevin Vesey was a real reporter, he would have said ‘OK, they hate me and my colleagues. Maybe I should dig into it deeper and find out exactly why they feel this way. And report on that. Because, you know, it’s kinda my job.’

    1. Toshiro_Mifune

      I believe a significant portion of the media is completely incapable of entertaining the question of the media’s role in the current state of affairs. Per Chomsky if they were the type to pose the question they wouldn’t be where they are.
      A few do get it. Taibbi has written about it. We’ve discussed it here. Within the halls of NYT, WaPO, NPR, etc… nothing but a vacuum. They’re the type to take all the wrong readings away from The Death of Marat.

    2. JTee

      I watched the video and didn’t find it alarming. No one was threatening. Many people tried to express their disgust with “the media” (actually specific media outlets) verbally. The “reporter” just did a drive by, refusing to interview or engage with any of the protesters. He was more interested in showing his viewers the freak show. Many righties and lefties feel the same way about “the media”. And for good reason — on the grand questions of the day (especially war and peace), they are “fake news”. Zero surprises here.

      1. Bill Carson

        I wonder if those protesters didn’t recognize this reporter or news organization and that is what they were reacting to more than the generalized presence of the press?

      2. ShamanicFallout

        I agree JTee. I had to go to his Twitter page and ask him “do you actually think this is an instance of alarming anger?” What he says in his tweet does not correlate at all to what the video shows. But if you look at some of the supporting replies to his tweet and his video you may in fact experience the appearance of an alarming level of anger. I hate the phrase ‘out of touch’ but come on man!

      3. Yves Smith Post author

        Disagree. Those people had zero interest in engagement. Their minds were closed. And he didn’t create them screaming at him.

    3. newbie

      From Vesey’s tweet: “As always, I will tell a fair and unbiased story today.”

      As if any human being is without bias. To be sure, you can file a factual report while having your various biases but to claim a lack of bias is a staggering self conceit. This, along with The Rev Kev’s bill of particulars, plays a huge role in my mistrust of the media.

      And echoing Toshiro_Mifune, anyone this self unaware likely is not capable, or even interested in, looking beyond the prevailing narrative.

      1. HotFlash

        Hah! We are replaying the game “Dragon Age Origins” here. There is a town crier in the dwarf capital Orzamar who, when approached, states, “Nothing I say is provably false.”

      2. Clive

        As always, I will tell a fair and unbiased story today.

        Yes, that was in the tweet and what a load of holier-than-thou sanctimonious claptrap it was. The reporter had apparently very little intention of getting to know the protagonists in the demonstration, what they believed or didn’t believe and why they thought the way they did. Where had they got their ideas from? Why did those ideas resonate so profoundly with the people there? What had caught their imaginations? What were their aims? Who did they so obviously desperately want to be heard by? How had they tried to make the impressions on whoever they wanted to make their impression on before the demonstration? Why had they so little trust for the media covering the story?

        I could have watched and listened all day to that. It might have been possible had the reporter does anything and made the slightest attempt to win the protesters’ confidences and get to know them as people, rather than disdainful creepy-crawlies under their microspore. And as a reporter, surely they would have had, as a minimum, a professional interest in how, as a group, the media’s reputation not only proceeded it, when it appeared in front of it’s apparent subjects, but that that reputation was so far down the crapper?

        Nope. They just wanted a freak show. They weren’t reporting, they were getting establishing shots of the remake of The Beverly Hillbillies and playing the part of Jane Hathaway to an ensemble of Jed and Elly May Clampets.

        A lot of the replies tweeted in response to the original tweet gave the game away.

    4. shtove

      Cool video! Like a Scorsese tracking shot, where the audience picks up essential information from an array of characters.

    5. dcblogger

      those protesters are dangerous, they are the Corpos of Sinclair Lewis’ It Can’t Happen Here. I never saw Occupy protesters, or any lefty protest treat reporters like that. They clearly want to threaten anyone who disagrees with them with violence. It is all intimidation and no persuasion. It is just a question of time before someone gets killed at those protests. Also, what Ti said

      1. Wukchumni

        The assembled crowd in the video greatly reminded me of Raider Nation-decked out in identifying garb in the parking lot of the stadium, protesting that their team ought to go to the Super Bowl, despite a 7-9 record.

      2. JTMcPhee

        Seems to me like there is lots of stuff for anthropologists and social psychologists to study in these situations

        I’m reminded of movies in Anthropology where two tribal groups form up and hurl invective and ordure, run up and brandish their weapons and totems and body parts, then run back. Those confrontations often resulted in dead bodies. Some tribes, of course, would eat the dead, or the potent body parts at least. Some discussion of our forbears’ behaviors:

        Not so far away from the primeval, are we? Maybe getting closer all the time…

  11. verifyfirst

    Re: Bernie and movements. I feel Bernie didn’t so much lose as give up. Abruptly.

    Why I don’t know, he knows vastly more about American politics than I, maybe there is a good reason.

    Yes I know there was no easy or even clear path to the nomination, but when your only opponent is seriously cognitively impaired and a lifelong neo-liberal, why tap out? What does that accomplish? Does Bernie think he’s going to run again in four years?

    In my small section of a small city in Michigan, I have not seen a single Bernie lawn sign come down since he quit the race. Evidence of confusion?

    1. GramSci

      Losing Wisconsin–badly–must have been a huge shock to Bernie. I think he lost his way advocating “free college for all”. As a whole, the U$ian electorate hates school and the smart a$$es with college degrees who have been lording it over the majority ever since FDR died. I think Bernie was too old to see this, and his college-educated advisors too full of themselves to understand this.

      1. Bugs Bunny

        It could have been sold more effectively as “community college for all who want to learn an occupation” and a “guarantee of a decent job for anyone willing to work”. Sounds more American. He should have dropped all references to Europe. Maybe talk about how China is getting ahead of the US without any underlying racism.

        Re: Wisconsin, if he had got the Milwaukee to IL state line urban corridor and Madison vote out, he’d have easily won. A lot of those people were afraid to go out. Look who’s out partying and getting haircuts in Wisconsin now. Those people will vote in November.

        1. HotFlash

          Hold on just a minute there. The vote in WI was brutally suppressed. Milwaukee, the biggest city, opened only five of its 180 traditional polling places. People reported not receiving their requested absentee ballots, and students from out of state who had registered to vote in WI had been sent home, and WI students attending schools out of state couldn’t vote in WI. Add to that long lines, Covid-18 fears, dubious voting security and tabulation.

          NB. Fewer polling stations mean fewer machines to be compromised and fewer DNC stalwarts poll workers to keep their mouths shut man the polls, should such a thing be done.

          1. Bugs Bunny

            Absolutely. That’s sort of what I meant by the comment. That said, I don’t think it was completely suppression but rather the needed warnings and safety precautions had the effect keeping the left constituency home and killing Sanders’ turnout. I don’t think the local Democrats were in Biden’s camp. It was just chaos. And according to the MKE Journal 70 people caught COVID 19 directly due to the election vote. Personally, I wanted to vote by mail but had no way of getting my ballot in the mail in time being in lockdown overseas. My understanding is also that many mail ballots were uncounted because of a lack of people to do it. Wisconsin is the perfect example of Republican connivance not being met by any Democrat response. The milquetoast Evers is not equipped to deal with the evil in his own capitol building. I mourn for the Wisconsin of my youth. This was a great center of decency and progressive reform before “reform” became a dirty word.

      2. neo-realist

        Losing Washington State was a big blow too IMO. I think he expected more from the dems around here. I suspect a combination of losing to a more politically conservative state outside of Seattle, and slightly losing to professional class libertarian types who did not like the potential taxation ramifications of a Sanders administration did him in (and Warren stole votes that may have gone to him).

    2. jef

      First of all he didn’t lose, he was undermined by his own party and then, as your comment illustrates, everyone and their mother has jumped on the Bernie Bashing Wagon.

      “It’s not him its us” has new meaning now.

      Name one politician that has consistently advocated and done more for the average american for decades now.

      1. ambrit

        I’ll chime in here with the observation that Sanders is listed as an Independent, caucusing with the Democrat Party. As such, he was always going to be ‘outside the pale’ for the Democrat Party nomenklatura. “He’s not one of us,” is the organizing theme for them. Even when he bowed the knee to H Clinton in 2016, the nomenklatura was not satisfied. For this group, in line with such group dynamics in any large organization, support of a candidate is predicated on total acquiescence to Party norms. No ‘outside the box’ thinking is allowed.
        The Democrat Party is now irreversibly in decline. It has proven itself incapable of flexibility and self-reflection.
        I see the next major Progressive political movement as being ‘Third Party,’ or ‘New Democrat.’

      2. HotFlash

        jef: everyone and their mother has jumped on the Bernie Bashing Wagon

        Biden Bros are so mean.

    3. christofay

      As MSM uniformly was a negative wall of coverage Sanders needed the public rallies to push forward with the obvious deep support. With the Corona shutdown he lost his main tool to campaign.

      1. Bill Carson

        If the prohibition on mass gatherings continue into the fall, as should be expected, I’ve been wondering how much negative effect it will have on the Trump campaign. No more hate rallies.

        1. jsn

          All the open-carry pie-holes will be there competing for Darwin awards.

          So, there’s that anyway.

    4. TXMama

      I think someone made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. He has certainly fallen in line ever since.

      1. richard

        I wonder what the offer could have possibly been?
        My money is on: “we promise not to shoot you”, knowing how the dems negotiate with their left (so different than how they “negotiate” with the right). But I guess bernie is a little tame for that. Maybe the offer/threat was more like: “we’ll give you noogies and not be your friend and not invite you to any parties”.

        1. ambrit

          Well, seeing how he seems to have had some high level ‘moles’ in his campaign organization, and is an, er, “Elder” statesman, he may have just run out of energy.
          “The joy has run out,”
          “Our days grow long,”
          “The taste of snow,”
          “Clogs our mouths,”
          “With wafts of woe.”

          1. richard

            Maybe, but betrayals in us politics tend as a rule to be epic (1876, 1918, 2008, and now 2020) rather than prosaic
            like the old king with bad advisors

      2. HotFlash

        He behaves like a broken man. Surely he had weighed the possibility of him getting killed and found it acceptable. I mean, every armed services recruit confronts that possibility. Bernie wasn’t born yesterday. Surely he knew that his family would be targets, probably have been for years. I mean, even a tweet can provoke credible death threats. So I don’t think that simply the ‘other’ grassy knoll video would be a gut-punch surprise. Maybe they laid out for him the network of infiltrators and informants among his trusted lieutenants and advisors. Maybe they showed him how the machines were hacked and it was never, ever going to be. Maybe Jane informed that she has been a spy for the Illuminati all along.

        Shrug. We may know at some point, but it really doesn’t matter now. Thank you, Bernie, for a wonderful platform and so much more. The torch is passed, we gonna just let it fall?

        1. JTMcPhee

          The vast majority of armed service recruits face very little chance of ever seeing combat, and of course with the wonderful medical treatment structure even wounds and injuries that should kill, don’t. Most service people are just
          bureaucrats and clerks and maintenance people in a vast logistics and procurement structure.

          Make no mistake — people can and do die during military service. The Defense Manpower Data Center, one of the Department of Defense’s analytical groups, has recorded 48,834 military personnel deaths from 1980 to 2010, which works out to 1,575 deaths per year. However, the American military is a huge organization, which has never slipped below 1.35 million active-duty servicemembers in any given year across all branches. There were 1.7 million active servicemembers on average per year from 1980 to 2010, and when you add in the full-time equivalent service hours of reserve forces, the United States has fielded nearly 1.9 million full-time equivalent servicemembers each year for the past three decades. This link goes on to list a number of jobs that are a lot more dangerous than being an Imperial Trooper: “Dying for a paycheck: These jobs are more dangerous than military service,”

          It was statistically a bit more dangerous back during Vietnam, but still, there were and are tens of thousands of non-combat clerks and maintenance people (and back then, cooks and other menials) at each of the hundreds of “bases” both here and abroad — in Germany, Japan, South Korea, Hawaii and the like.

          It’s so typical of our times that the mopes that join the military out of economic necessity or hopefulness get lionized because a relative few of them “go in harms way,” invading other countries had killing people who resist, compared to the number that die and are injured doing the stupid sh!t that GIs do with vehicles and aircraft and such, far from any shootin’ war.

          I did get a kick out of some Trump-happy nurse on Twitter going all Internet teary-eyed that the Air Force flew a couple of KC-135 refueling tankers over the parts of the city where the hospital she works at is located, to “honor the heroes.” And how about those Thunderbirds and Blue Angels putting on flyovers to “honor the frontline heroes” who are fired for wearing masks by their PE-owned hospital administrators who don’t provide even the minimal personal protective equipment and are laying lots of them off because the elective surgery procedures are down.

          Bullshit, everywhere you look.

    5. aleph_0

      I mean you can say give up, but I think you’re forgetting the whole bit about running a turn out the vote operation during a pandemic?

      Dem leadership made it clear that they were happy insist on in person vote and to kill some of their base to get Biden across the line. They dared Bernie to do the same. Add the media’s talking point of how all of the primaries would magically go away if Bernie drops out so that it was really Bernie killing all of the people at the polls, not the Dems.

      This was a massive game of chicken Biden et al was not going to back down from combined with a hostage situation. I fault Bernie for many things, but I understand why he withdrew.

      1. dcblogger

        Bernie is still on the ballot in many states that have yet to vote. I am going to vote for him in the DC primary.

    6. Bsoder

      Has Bernie not done enough? Maybe he wants to enjoy the rest of his life. He isn’t a religious prophet and doesn’t owe us anything. Time for others to step up.

      1. ambrit

        Fair enough a comment, but many of us are disappointed that he folded his tents in the middle of the campaign season when he still had a lot of potential for extorting solid concessions from the DNC.
        I still give him credit for what he did, and do understand that he might be tired of the whole corrupt mess.
        That he did not have a successor ready to step in when he bowed out is a strategic weakness that cannot be remedied. It is almost as if we have to start all over again.
        The above ‘facts’ are perfect grounds for suspecting him of being a sheepdog.
        Even if Sanders had run this fall, Trump might still have won. Trump has the ‘killer instinct’ needed for national politics. Sanders seemingly does not. What the Left in America needs now is an ‘a–e kicking son of a b—h’ to pick up that torch, and mayhaps a pitchfork too. Let’s go kill the Monster and burn the Castle!

      1. Bsoder

        Ah, no the article was specifically directed at trump. So the belief here on @NC is Biden would be as bad as Trump at handling CV19 or worse? And somehow, by means not specified nor proven that the DNC would exercise Illuminati like powers to as a matter of principle kill citizens or by incompetence? The argument is consistently being put forth, I should say claim, here @NC that Biden/DNC would be worse then trump? That Dems are always worse then Republicans? My wild guess as to a meta analysis outcome would that none of this is true. I really would appreciate some data based on a study, not free thinking by association. I do intended to model it. I’m going to start with 69 epa regulations on what chemicals that were blocked by Obama from being in the water , that aren’t via trump as of yesterday. You know things like that. Taking away SNAP from 2 million users.

        1. John Anthony La Pietra

          Considering the place of this topic in the Comments section, maybe they were thinking of the willingness of the DNC to let people die trying to vote in Wisconsin as long as Biden won. . . .

  12. S Haust

    RE: “Phrenology is back”; “facial recognition”, etc., etc.

    Has anyone else looked up “University of Harrisburg”, the purported
    source of this so-called research.

    Seems to be not much more (not anything more???) than a
    STEM charter academy.

    Betcha it’s for-profit.

    Betcha its graduates have a problem getting jobs.

    1. Lee

      Harrisburg University of Science and Technology’s overall average net price combined with a poor quality education, results in a good value for the money when compared to other colleges and universities in Pennsylvania. This lands Harrisburg University of Science and Technology in the #39 slot on our ranking of Best Colleges for the Money in Pennsylvania.

  13. Steve H.

    > JetBlue’s Founder Helped Fund A Stanford Study That Said The Coronavirus Wasn’t That Deadly

    First, from Duffelblog:

    “For decades, military academics have justified their miserable existences teaching at the various war colleges by declaring the aircraft carrier is vulnerable and obsolete in the era of dirigibles, atomic bombs, nuclear torpedoes, ballistic missiles, sea-skimming guided missiles, suicidal explosive-packed motorboats, electromagnetic pulses, DF-21 “carrier killer” missiles, hypersonic weapons, and railguns.

    Oddly, no author has suggested an entire aircraft carrier could be taken out of commission by microscopic germs, despite the fact that communicable diseases have devastated militaries for thousands of years.”

    Two things. First, Ioannidis could’ve been a giant in the history of science, but he stunk himself up with this. ((none of them really told us it should be designed in a given way) (Ioannidis said he was “not personally aware”) (“David Neeleman has a particular perspective and some ideas and some thoughts,”)) A taint can discredit a career. See Marc Hauser. Or Richard Herrnstein, who submerged his fundamentally important work by co-authoring The Bell Curve.

    Beyond the Who, this is an aspect of the human condition. “The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together.” Arrogance meets Dunning-Kruger. Power corrupts. Ioannidis is responsible for creating an epiphany for me, who had used the Orchid hypothesis as a framework. He created powerful consequences: funding for psychological and social research is bottom-feeding stagnant. But $5K worth of indiscretion could destroy that. Which maybe he deserves, since his work now carries a death toll.

    But expand to Duffelblog’s liver-shot. I see a big round table with lots of medals, and nobody can say nuthin’. That in a century of analysis on aircraft carriers, no one thought of this? More likely it was suppressed. But whatever the case, it’s systemic, you can’t blame one person or administration or era. And that seems worth consideration.

    1. Cuibono

      Some of this is smelly. But first off: the airline owner donated $5K. I can assure you this study cost 50-100 times that much at least.
      Second; while these results appear to be questionable, others from around the globe show IFRs that (while on the whole are higher than Stanfords study) are way way lower than CFRs commonly quoted. When all is said and done like .5 to .7 if i were to guess. not the flu to be sure. not the black plague or even the spanish flu.
      Dont believe me?

      1. Aumua

        Yeah but isn’t that 6 of one, half dozen of the other? A lower CFR than previously thought, with a higher infection rate than previously thought = similar # of dead (I would guess).

  14. allan

    The ex-pharma exec leading Trump’s COVID-19 vaccine program has $10 million in stock options
    for a company getting federal funding
    [Business Insider]

    … Dr Moncef Slaoui, a Belgian-American, was this week named Chief Scientist for Trump’s “Operation Warp Speed,” which aims to develop a working vaccine as fast as possible. …

    In order to take up the position, Slaoui resigned his role on the board of directors for Moderna Inc., a biotech company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. According to the Associated Press, Slaoui’s White House role is unpaid.

    However, filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission show that Slaoui continues to hold valuable stock options in Moderna. …

    Skin in the game isn’t quid pro quo, so according to SCOTUS it’s all good.

    Going out on a limb here and predicting complete liability protection for whatever
    Operation Warp Speed produces, if it gets past the vaporware stage that has
    been the valley of death for most of the administration’s COVID initiatives.

  15. John

    A lobbyist can get a bailout, but individuals with no job,no money, no prospects of either are the object of suspicious scrutiny because they might, might, get a few bucks from unemployment and other programs? Only in America.

    1. Pelham

      Many other countries, including Canada, have figured out that they need to supplement household incomes with the equivalent of thousands of dollars in regular monthly payments during the pandemic. It’s routine and makes sense.

      How often is this reported in the US press?

      There have been dozens of wildcat strikes across the country by employees concerned that they’re being forced to work in unsafe conditions due to the pandemic.

      How often is this reported in the US press? Note also that there have been only a few protests by people objecting to the lockdowns, but these are reported — repeatedly.

      I entered mainstream journalism with a skeptical but also hopeful attitude more than 40 years ago. Gradually the hope faded away to be replaced wholly by skepticism that has since shaded into disgust. Utter disgust.

      1. marym

        The people objecting to lockdowns should be protesting in solidarity with the people still working to demand workplace health and safety measures, testing, healthcare, and paid sick leave so everyone can go back to work. And they should be wearing masks.

        1. ambrit

          The ‘tell’ here is that these ‘Ambulatory Targets’ were not met with maximum force by the State Organs of Security. Occupy, though it took some organization, was literally crushed in one “Neo Kristallnacht.” So, the intent of the State is advanced by ‘independent actors.’ Clarifying.

          1. periol

            Did you hear that they immediately released the information of people who registered complaints about businesses staying open during the lockdown in Washington? If they’re faced with a FOIA request from anyone trying to do right by normal people trying to track down what the government is hiding, they’ll delay for years, release millions of documents (all basically redacted), or just say no.

            Now, though? A simple email request means the records are released the next day. No agenda there, surely. Released, of course, by the Washington Military Department. Hmm…


            The Washington Military Department, which is coordinating state response to the pandemic, had responded to public records requests by releasing spreadsheets containing more than 7,600 reports of suspected stay-home violations, including email addresses and phone numbers of those lodging complaints.

            Westergreen and many others did not immediately realize that Washington State Three Percent, regarded by civil rights organizations as a far-right militia organization, had joined another militant group opposed to state coronavirus lockdowns in posting the reports on Facebook and other sites. Some of those listed in the spreadsheets say they are now being harassed, including receiving death threats.

  16. The Rev Kev

    “Ex-F.B.I. Official Is Said to Undercut Justice Dept. Effort to Drop Flynn Case”

    If we are going to be honest, we have to follow up where this whole operation to tangle the Trump administration up in charges of Russian collusion originated from. And the answer is that it came out of the Obama White House which was why Trump tweeted ‘Obamagate.’ Flynn was just an early pawn that was taken using criminal methods by the FBI. But as publications like the New York Times here and the Washington Post were pushing this narrative for over three years, they now cannot back down in spite of the fact that it is all falling apart on them. So, as an experiment, I put in the word Obamagate into Google and a few stories came back basically saying that it is not really a story or nobody can explain what it is or it is just a rehash of an old campaign to get Trump re-elected. If evidence surfaces showing how Obama was involved, expect to see a melt-down by a bucket load of democrats as their icon is threatened.

    1. ambrit

      I’m not a properly credentialled Conspiracy Theorist, but I play one on the Internet.
      I have held previously that we are seeing a behind the scenes power struggle between an Obama centred clique of the Democrat Party and a Clinton oriented clique of the Party. The reason why “Creepy” Joe Biden is the presumptive candidate for the Democrat Party this year. He is an avatar for the Obama clique. If the coronavirus does tank the economy even more by November, the various Democrat cliques could be banking on the idea that the proverbial ‘Ham Sandwich’ can beat Trump. For this reason, Biden is seen as electable, and too, would Hillary be seen as electable. Thus, I would not be a bit surprised to discover that some Clinron operatives are pushing the ‘Obamagate’ meme. It’s Her turn, again, after all.
      Also remember that the basic aim of all this anti-Trump maneuvering is revenge for Trump’s vanquishing of The Anointed One. Ruthless ambition shrinks from no deed, no matter how foul.

    2. marym

      From the extremely little I’ve read, as a matter of governance the “unmasking” seems like routine surveillance procedure (whatever one thinks of the routine regarding US persons). Lying to the FBI and pleading guilty is on Flynn.

      As far as the surveillance also being a politically motivated abuse of power, the Trumpist position is that the president has a right to do anything he wants, including using public assets to accomplish personal political goals, without accountability to Congress or the courts.

      Anyway, Trump/Barr don’t need to find anything of substance. Like Obama’s birth credentials, Hunter Biden’s employment history, and “Lock her up” Trump just needs to create a splashy show for his intended audience.

    3. fresno dan

      The Rev Kev
      May 16, 2020 at 9:54 am

      Henry’s recently released testimony does not mean that Russia did not hack the DNC. What it does make clear is that Obama administration officials, the DNC and others have misled the public by presenting as fact information that they knew was uncertain. The fact that the Democratic Party employed the two private firms that generated the core allegations at the heart of Russiagate — Russian email hacking and Trump-Russia collusion – suggests that the federal investigation was compromised from the start.
      We have this thing called the NSA (National Security Agency) – so either it is incompetent about Russian capabilities at computer hacking, or it is not, and therefore it could speak to this issue of Russian hacking (other than a Nation article of August 9, 2017 that discounts Russian hacking) That it hasn’t that I know of, is like Sherlock Holmes and the dog that didn’t bark…

  17. Lee

    Sorrento finds a coronavirus antibody that blocks viral infection 100% in preclinical lab experiments Tech Crunch

    OTOH, from the comments:

    I seem to be reading articles with great regularity which discuss one breakthrough or another, never to hear of them again.

    The lab setting is never like the messy real world. Like penicillin might work in a lab, but in the real world a biofilm protects microbes and prevents drugs from reaching the actual microbe, like our skin protects us from microbes and viruses. The other common media hype is “a drug cures cancer……in mice”. If you ever get cancer, pray you are a mouse, we have millions of ways to cure cancer in mice.

    1. Pelham

      Re never hearing of breakthroughs again: Granted there may be good reason for so-called breakthroughs to fail. But once a responsible press reports a “breakthrough,” it’s necessary to follow up and explain any failure. That, it appears, rarely happens.

      1. Jessica

        “News” so often reports just enough to trigger an emotional response, but leaves out key pieces one would need to make an intelligent decision.

    2. Bugs Bunny

      In vitro is a joke. These guys publishing at this point should be ashamed to let it go uncommented. Phase I might be interesting to ponder. Phase III, that’s worth attention and a 50/50 prospect of success. Normally these take at least 10 years and 1$ billion for a successful drug. Vaccines usually take decades with tons of abandoned ones. Look at HIV or Herpes. Nada. Heck, there’s not even a vaccine for the “common cold”, which is only a few different viruses but can lead to pneumonia in certain people.

      Of course there’s a hurry in this case.

      (disclaimer: this commenter also teaches medical ethics in his spare time and has a masters in microbiology from a big deal French research institution – but he is not a doctor. I think this is my first comment on the pandemic… shoot me if you want)

      1. Phacops

        Exactly. And even some of those making it out of Phase III encounter problems when introduced into a larger population, meaning that initial surveillance is absolutely necessary. Two I could recall are the first rotavirus vaccine causing intestinal motility issues and cross-linked hemoglobin killing a small subset of patients. Both went through their clinicals without a hint of problems. Investment for both were substantial without yielding any return.

  18. lyman alpha blob

    RE: There Are Sensible Ways to Reopen. Then There’s the US’s Way

    The US response has been awful, you’ll get no argument from me on that. The entire thing has been a farce, for reasons already discussed here.

    There is a graph in that article which shows countries who did little testing and had high mortality rates, contrasted with those who did a lot of testing and had low mortality rates. That’s the argument the article tries to make – better testing leads to lower mortality.

    However there is another corner of that graph which goes pretty much unmentioned – countries who did little testing but also had very low mortality rates. There are millions and millions of people who would really like an explanation for this. Are those countries numbers bad, are the tests accurate, are the numbers in countries like Sweden inflated somehow, or does nobody really know much for certain at all at this point?

    One can point fingers at Sweden or the US or whatever country they want, but a virus doesn’t recognize national borders, and there are plenty of places on this planet where widespread precautions were not made and yet the people in those areas haven’t seen large outbreaks yet.

    And I’m sure someone will seize on the ‘yet’ in that last sentence to try to claim that things will get very bad for those places in about two weeks. “Two weeks” has become the new reverse Friedman unit of the coronavirus era – instead of 6 months and everything will be better, it’s now two weeks and the end will be near. Well please explain Japan then, one of the countries with low testing and a very few deaths. And IIRC they let a bunch of people from cruise ships back into the public at large with very little to-do, to dire warnings well over two weeks ago, and if the news is to be believed, nothing much has happened since.

    The bottom line is, we simply don’t know a lot at this point, and a lot of the measures being taken are simply to make it look like those in charge are doing something. You want me to wear a mask in the grocery store, well fine, but don’t try to tell me that one way aisles or banning reusable bags (at the behest of the plastic lobby!) are going to do squat. Far too much of the US response has been pure theater with a lot of grifting thrown in, and people are quite justifiably livid.

    1. TXMama

      The explanations/conjectures I’ve read for Japan’s low numbers are their universal wearing of masks in public and traditional cleanliness habits. This was ingrained in the culture long before covid19 arrived. Nearly everyone wore masks in public even before covid19. The culture includes a strong consideration of other people in that they have long had a fear of infecting others with even the common cold. Of course if they get a spike in infections at some point these explanations may change. Contrast that to the culture of individualism in the US.

      1. Bsoder

        As an NIH funded doctor I have access to different databases then CDC and what John Hopkins is reporting. I’d say much more accurate. As of this very moment Japan has 16,731 confirmed cases & 713 deaths. The change from yesterday is 90% increase in cases 66.7% increase in deaths. This has been going on for a few days. Yes the Japanese have different core values then we do. But Covid-19 doesn’t. Anyone can get infected and will if exposed to enough of it long enough. Preventing infections, as in damage control is the only way of dealing with CV19 anywhere and anyplace time.

        1. Cuibono

          713 deaths. population 126 million
          sounds like success to me.

          90% increase in cases? i dont think 54 out of 16K is 90%. but my math is not so good.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      That’s the argument the article tries to make – better testing leads to lower mortality.

      That IS the argument that the article tries to make, and the same argument that continues to be made by just about anyone with a pulse. Disingenuously in my humble opinion.

      Testing, per se, does not fix anything. There are currently no treatments for cases diagnosed early, and a “negative” result is essentially worthless since a person could be exposed on their way out of the testing center.

      The word “testing” is a euphemism, as the article admits near the end: (bolding mine)

      Trump’s erratic political response to the public-health crisis reflects his own leadership style, but also the larger challenge of America’s cultural idiosyncrasies. Americans are uniquely attached to our civil liberties. It’s difficult to imagine South Korea’s contact-tracing program—a massive, state-run surveillance system that tracks and records the movements of every citizen—flying on U.S. soil. The same is true of Chinese officials’ reopening of Shanghai Disneyland. While the first day back at the Happiest Place on Earth was successful, attendees willingly scanned QR codes on their phones, allowing the government to monitor their exact where-abouts in case of future outbreaks.

      Even nancy pelosi has changed her “testing, testing, testing” mantra lately to include “tracing and tracking.”

      While I’m sure there are plenty of americans who wouldn’t bat an eye at the all-encompassing surveillance the seemingly innocent word “testing” represents, I’m equally sure that plenty more would not be anywhere near as sanguine. I guess we’ll see how “idiosyncratic” and “uniquely attached to our civil liberties” (!!!!) we silly americans actually turn out to be.

  19. centralNYer

    “Weird as hell’: the Covid-19 patients who have symptoms for months”
    I’ve read several of these stories now and find this interesting. After two rounds of antibiotics that didn’t work I have “chronic Lyme”, the disease that isn’t according to most in the medical community. I’ve gone from a Type A personality, driven, active, always doing something … to someone who [on a good day] can accomplish about 60% of what I used to do. My symptoms come/go and many are similar to what Covid-19 long-termers are experiencing (exhaustion, joint and nerve pain, muscle aches, sleep interruption, brain fog, etc.). I’ve given up on doctors and treat myself through diet, supplements, and some herbal therapies. Anyhow … I know what it feels like to have the people close to you start to question your mental health because you continue to be sick after the medical experts say you’ve been cured. On the plus side for Covid-19 patients, it seems doctors believe them. Ongoing immunologic issues indeed. Maybe it’s time doctors consider that other diseases, including Lyme, can leave the same lasting impact.

    1. ex-PFC Chuck

      Was one of your antibiotics Cipro, by chance? That has some really nasty side effects. My nephew, who is a teacher and coach, was spotting a girl in a gymnastics class when his bicep detached. There were several instances of similar damage in the other side of his extended family. Fatigue was also over the top.

      1. centralNYer

        Holy cow. That’s extreme. No Cipro for me. The traditional Doxycycline for 3 weeks, 3 times a day, then repeated Doxy for another 3 weeks because I didn’t improve. I’ll keep your Cipro warning in mind in the future, though. :-) Thank you.

        1. furies

          All the fluoroquinolones…all of them.

          One of the reasons Covid is concerning to me…I’ve been damaged by prescribed pharma and my sensitivities are many and varied.

        2. JTMcPhee

          Doxycycline is not a perfect magic bullet. My wife is still suffering from Lyme disease incurred in 2002, even after the “Standard treatment.” And recently she had a troublesome upper respiratory infection (early 2019, not COV) and was treated with doxycycline which tossed her into atrial fibrillation and then atrial flutter.

          All meds are poisons, but some improve the patient’s condition, some have no effect, some make you sicker.

    2. CoryP

      I was under the impression that “chronic Lyme” has been belatedly acknowledged as a real thing, but renamed as “Post Lyme Disease Syndrome” presumably to allow the medical establishment to pretend they didn’t just do a 180.

      On a somewhat related note, the book “Bitten” on the potential bioweapon origin of Lyme, and the potential involvement of a different organism in a co-infection scenario…. is really very interesting. Great read.

  20. Goyo Marquez

    Re: Harassing the reporter video: Why is the complaint,

    We need money, so open the economy back up,

    rather than,

    The government told us to stay home and not work why aren’t they sending us money?

    The whole thing had a very strong performance air to it. The people were incredibly comfortable on camera acting like nuts, delivered their statements quite well, and seemed to be angling for screen time.

    1. Wukchumni

      Could part of the angst be in wanting to go back to work that we know how adverse Americans are to taking time off for vacation compared to our peers in the developed world?

    2. flora

      The GOP and conservative voters see earning money, if they are young enough and able to work, as a better thing than receiving money from the govt.* The govt put them out of work. The govt is putting their small businesses out of business. I can see their point.

      I think the fed govt – not the state govt – owes them all unemployment payments, and right away, and small business loans that go to small businesses, not to Wall St. Both parties are ignoring their plight, imo, and the media mocks them.

      *Unless they’re a conservative billionaire or corporation, of course. For billionaires and corporations it’s “give us all the money right now!” Topic for another day.

      1. flora

        adding: it’s clear by now the fed govt isn’t going to be sending them or us unemployment payments or small business loans. The sba loans mostly go to rich cronies and companies.

  21. Bill Carson

    Is it just me, or has there been very little reported about the link between low levels of Vitamin D and the prevalence of major complications from COVID-19. Is that because Big Pharma can’t make money from Vitamin D?

    If this study is true, then I’d say that making sure one has sufficient Vitamin D is more important than masks.

    Vitamin D levels appear to play role in COVID-19 mortality rates. Patients with severe deficiency are twice as likely to experience major complications.

    ‘Not only does vitamin D enhance our innate immune systems, it also prevents our immune systems from becoming dangerously overactive. This means that having healthy levels of vitamin D could protect patients against severe complications, including death, from COVID-19.

    “Our analysis shows that it might be as high as cutting the mortality rate in half,” Backman said. “It will not prevent a patient from contracting the virus, but it may reduce complications and prevent death in those who are infected.”

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Dr. John Campbell has been talking about Vitamin D for some time on his daily youtube spot – I think he’s had quite an influence judging by how quickly its disappeared from the shelves. The Irish health authorities have been (very cautiously) recommending it for some time.

      For some reason I can’t really understand there is a huge reluctance by official authorities to say anything about vitamin supplements, despite oceans of research indicating that taken correctly, they can help the immune system. The FoundmyFitness website and channel has a lot of interesting discussions on this – you’ll also find Rhonda Patrick quite interesting on her regular Joe Rogan chats, she takes some quite deep dives into the subject.

      1. Bill Carson

        Yes, I’ve been watching Dr. Campbell, and I saw the Rogan clip of Dr. Patrick talking about Vitamin D.

        If that study is correct, Vitamin D has a much better positive effect than remdesivir or hydroxychloroquine.

        It also would explain the prevalence and severity of COVID-19 in NYC, where you would expect a very high incidence of low Vitamin D levels due to the lack of sun exposure.

        It also would explain why the virus hits so hard in the big three: prisons, nursing homes, and meat packing plants.

        AND it would explain why states like Texas have been spared from the more severe cases of the disease, relatively speaking.

        1. Dr. Roberts

          It would also partially explain the increased prevalence if the virus among African Americans in northern cities

          1. Bill Carson

            Yes! I forgot to mention that.

            And also obese people, according to Dr. Patrick.

      2. BobW

        Yup. NC brought this up quite some time ago, and then I ordered D and zinc supplements along with B-complex (just to fill in my Medicare Advantage OTC allowance). Not a fan of supplements, usually, but these are not usual times.

    2. Bsoder

      Speaking for my hospital (UofMichigan) we do as a matter of course run a blood panel to determine vitamins and trace elements and we do have a md/ homeopath to consult. Low levels of anything are brought to the norm, some higher. On the other hand other hospitals in area have not done this. To date beyond brining people up to recommend levels I can’t find a difference, same with zinc. It’s not that we don’t try we do. But, then there is what works.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        MDs no longer screen for Vit D in normal annual bloodwork. Insurers no longer pay for it. I got pissed two years ago about my insurer refusing to pay for the test. My MD and a friend in CA who has lots of med professionals in his family says all the insurers are taking the same position. I pay at the time of service, so I get the rock bottom price and it was still IIRC an $80 test.

      2. John k

        Interesting. Maybe you’re too late, by the time you see them it’s advanced too far for supplements to affect outcomes. Note that zinc helps with flu only if taken with first onset of symptoms. Maybe too with vit d, immune system already in difficulty.

    3. rd

      Local grocery store had no vitamin D at all yesterday. It looked like the toilet paper and disinfectant wipe aisle a month ago.

      Clearly some pleople are hearing about the linkage.

        1. ambrit

          Trader Joes? What be that o fearsome yellow haired goddess?
          Round here, ‘pasture raised’ eggs are running from $3.99 a dozen (the bottom price for the store brand,) up to $6.99 a dozen for some more ‘reliably organic’ offerings. The farther away from the megalopolises you get, seemingly, the higher the premia charged for “quality.” And yet, our little half-horse town won’t let you keep any chickens in your back yard. Double whammy time.

    4. Cuibono

      association is strong i agree.
      causation is less so.

      severe inflamtory responses are known to lower Vitamin D.

      Therefore we need prospective data. i dont know in the age of so called BIG DATA we are not seeing these studies

      Surely Kaiser could run every patients prospeective Vitamin D Level against covid morbidity and mortality

  22. Musicismath

    I’ve been cheering myself up no end this weekend by reading the latest essay from Jodi Dean: Neofeudalism: The End of Capitalism?, LA Review of Books (12 May 2020).

    Jolly reading indeed, but at least it’s finally made me get around to ordering a copy of Comrade.

    1. Boris

      I just read that text on your recommendation—fantastic piece, that creates so much clarity!

      1. Musicismath

        Thanks for this. I wonder if it’s the start of a new project for Dean—as you say, her analysis just makes so much sense.

  23. Jason Boxman

    The unconscionable thing about Bloomberg, the man, is that he can afford to give all of us, humanity, a 1,000 year subscription to Bloomberg, the publication; But it’s still paywalled, entirely, during a pandemic.

    What a piece of work that guy is.

  24. allan

    Ken Rogoff: I am a famous Ph.D. economist and so programming this Excel spreadsheet
    to obtain a predetermined conclusion will be a snap and nobody will ever notice.

    Kevin Hassett: I am a famous Ph.D. economist and so programming this Excel spreadsheet
    to obtain a predetermined conclusion will be a snap and nobody will ever notice.

    What a difference a month makes (polynomial extrapolation edition) [Andrew Gelman]

    The fourth graph is LOL.

    1. Massinissa

      Jesus… I mean, that graph does have precedent: The second wave of the Spanish Flu occurred in August, several months after the original wave of the Spanish Flu hit. And uh, the second wave was the part with 90% of the deaths… So a second wave catching fire in September is very much a possibility, I’m afraid.

      It also might NOT happen considering that graph is just a mathematical extrapolation, but, I wasn’t planning on leaving the house until then anyway, and I’d rather be safe than sorry…

      1. Massinissa

        Note: A resurgence in the virus would be a hell of an October Surprise in terms of the election…

        1. allan

          There might very well be a second wave in the autumn, but that graph isn’t evidence for that.
          It’s evidence that

          (i) x^3 goes to +∞ as x goes to +∞, and

          (ii) Hassett suffers from a serious, apparently untreatable case of Dunning-Kruger Syndrome.
          DOW 36,000 was a cry for help, but we didn’t listen.

  25. dcblogger

    anybody here live in Maryland’s 5th congressional district? because I think that the best thing that could happen, short term, is for McKayla Wilkes to beat Steny Hoyer. It would be a political earthquake and signal Pelosi et al that Democratic voters are serious about change.

    1. edmondo

      LOL. Yeah, the party that sent platoons of senior citizens to the polls in the middle of a pandemic to vote unanimously for FREAKING Joe Biden does not sound like “voters are serious about change,”

      You might want to try the other party. My sense is that they are looking at a good 50 year run of controlling the Oval Office. I’m glad I’m old. Living in a refrigerator box just isn’t as comfortable as it used to be.

      1. John Anthony La Pietra

        Or you can try to help build a real other party.

        We might even see the end of the “this is the most important election ever, you must vote for the lesser evil, wait until next time to vote your hopes/dreams/preferences/needs” WallStream mantra . . . over a 50-year timeframe (if we have that long).

  26. Jason Boxman

    The unemployment insurance fraud is disturbing, not the least of which because those who’s personal information is used to defraud the state will doubtless owe taxes on money neither applied for or received. And how exactly are you going to dispute that successfully? My SSN has been out on the ‘net for at least 6 years now. I get a PIN from the IRS for filing my federal taxes, but what could I do if someone filed for unemployment in my name successfully?


  27. fresno dan

    German cafe gives customers pool noodle-hats to ensure they remain physically distant CTV News

    Must resist – with all my might – and every fiber of my being, the compulsion to say, “that is using the old noodle”
    Ah, glad I succeeded…oh, wait…

      1. fresno dan

        May 16, 2020 at 2:29 pm

        I blame it on fumes from the Yugo girl (Hillary campaign vehicle) I drove through the Blue Wall states, peddling (in a Yugo, that is almost literally true) campaign disinformation. Now, with the Mueller investigation thoroughly debunked, and your own NSA, FBI, CIA, and DoJ, proven to be more inimical to American freedom than Putin ever was, as well as discrediting most vowels and a significant number of consonants, it’s like all my hard work and sacrifices were for naught…
        Of course, the tens of dollars spent on gasoline, and the hundreds of dollars spent on Dunkin donuts and coffee could have been saved, as most Americans don’t actually act on Facebook political pots – who knew???

        1. ambrit

          Every new Mechanism of Social Control goes through a shake down period. I mean, who knew that Hasbro Transformer toys would lead to Michael Bey movies??? Truly mysterious are the ways of The Market.
          Your hard work and sacrifices are not for Naught. For Naught would be the chilling embrace of Nihilism in our everyday lives. Pink bunny slippers keep our toesies crispy warm on the coldest nights.
          Gahan Wilson’s take on the perennial question, “Is Nothing sacred?”:
          Keep the fires going! Hopefully, we’ll have some politicos available soon to roast over those plebeian conflagrations.

  28. periol

    Wanted to mention a very good article published in the Washington Post yesterday:

    There is a very unusual weather pattern in the Arctic right now, with very little cloud cover across the high Arctic basin. Thursday marked the largest extent drop in Arctic sea ice in the satellite record in May (152k square km), followed by another 107k drop on Friday, for a one-day and two-day extent drop record.

    Is this global dimming at work? It’s possible.

  29. flora

    re: Democrats Have Abandoned Civil Liberties – Matt Taibbi

    Thanks for this link
    Thanks also for yesterday’s Micheal Lesher link:

    Watching the Dem party and their media cheerleaders and now judges on the bench become the new witch hunters, a la Joe McCarthy and J. Edgar Hoover, Constitution be damned, is more alarming than whatever it is Flynn supposed to have done (which even prosecutors now say he didn’t do vs the claims against him). The ‘russia russia russia’ mob is morphing into a full old Soviet system of “justice” and “reporting”, imo. (Wonder what Andrei Sakharov would think about this.)

    1. flora

      adding a prediction:

      No one in this mob will win the Sakharov Prize, even though most of them who remember him probably still see themselves as upholders of his values, even when they act contrary to all of his values and the values they claim to hold about civil rights.

      [Sakharov] became renowned as the designer of the Soviet Union’s RDS-37, a codename for Soviet development of thermonuclear weapons. Sakharov later became an advocate of civil liberties and civil reforms in the Soviet Union, for which he faced state persecution; these efforts earned him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1975. The Sakharov Prize, which is awarded annually by the European Parliament for people and organizations dedicated to human rights and freedoms, is named in his honor.[2]

    2. Olga

      He might say: “You become what you most fear.”
      But that would only be because he likely was not familiar with the strong-arm tactics the US govt. used against opponents of the country entering WWI (including prison sentences).
      And that was well before the USSR was even fully established.
      Suppressing dissent – by whatever means necessary – is as American as apple pie. Nothing to do with the USSR (at least, if one appreciates historical accuracy).

    3. fresno dan

      May 16, 2020 at 1:34 pm

      I’ve written a lot about the Democrats’ record on civil liberties issues in the past. Working on I Can’t Breathe, a book about the Eric Garner case, I was stunned to learn the central role Mario Cuomo played in the mass incarceration problem, while Democrats also often embraced hyper-intrusive “stop and frisk” or “broken windows” enforcement strategies, usually by touting terms like “community policing” that sounded nice to white voters. Democrats strongly supported the PATRIOT Act in 2001, and Barack Obama continued or expanded Bush-Cheney programs like drone assassination, rendition, and warrantless surveillance, while also using the Espionage Act to bully reporters and whistleblowers.

      Republicans throughout this time were usually as bad or worse on these issues, but Democrats have lately positioned themselves as more aggressive promoters of strong-arm policies, from control of Internet speech to the embrace of domestic spying. In the last four years the blue-friendly press has done a complete 180 on these issues, going from cheering Edward Snowden to lionizing the CIA, NSA, and FBI and making on-air partners out of drone-and-surveillance all-stars like John Brennan, James Clapper, and Michael Hayden. There are now too many ex-spooks on CNN and MSNBC to count, while there isn’t a single regular contributor on any of the networks one could describe as antiwar.
      Didn’t the CNN make quite the kerfuffle about Clapper lying to the Senate? It must have been all that time of selfless volunteering at Indian orphanages that rehabilitated the man’s credibility before CNN found him fit to opine on national security matters…

    4. Oregoncharles

      It must be really bad; I’ve never seen Taibbi sound plaintive before: “the party I grew up supporting seems to have lost the ability to do so, and I don’t understand why.”
      If I was being ruthless, I’d say he should have caught on a long time ago, like I did – he was probably in Russia when that happened. But I value his insights; more inclined to sympathize.

      Still, that’s a major insight; what now?

  30. eddyl

    I didn’t see this mentioned in any threads this week;

    Senate passes spying bill without search and browsing history protections

    “On Wednesday, Wyden and Daines offered an amendment to the reauthorization bill that would stop the FBI from obtaining “Internet website browsing information or Internet search history information” using the Patriot Act. That would force the agency to use other processes—with stricter judicial oversight—to obtain that kind of information.

    A majority of senators—59 out of 100—supported the amendment. But under the Senate’s dysfunctional rules, it takes a 60-vote supermajority to end debate on a proposal like this and move to a vote. So even though a majority of senators supported the amendment, it did not become part of the reauthorization bill.

    Four senators—Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) missed the vote. The amendment would have passed if any of them had voted “yes.”

    So there you go, COVID again providing the necessary distraction to pass more bills to expand the surveillance state.

    Yes, the two DEMOCRATIC senators from my state VA – Warner and Kaine – voted for extending FBI spying powers.

    Proving once again that Washington, DC, is filled with truly awful, awful people.

    1. aleph_0

      I hope this isn’t glib, but hasn’t the NSA already done this for years, and the FBI has access to those databases?

      Not to say that we need to be passing these laws, and everyone here should be dragged, but I think the horses are long out of the barn.

    2. dcrane

      And Bernie Sanders willingly played his part in the game of rotating villains. What a terrible disappointment he is.

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      , the two DEMOCRATIC senators from my state VA – Warner and Kaine

      They were always awful. Also, Virginia is a commonwealth.

  31. petal

    Ugh. My neighbours just put up a Biden sign. I guess when you can afford an $1100+ baby stroller set and a Tuck MBA, ….No way I can avoid seeing it every time I go out. Pretty sure it’s the first Biden sign I’ve seen so far.

      1. petal

        Going through a tough time right now, so seeing that thing is like salt in a wound.

        1. flora

          Wonder how that sign would look if, say, someone ( not you ) sneaks over at night and changes the ‘n’ in ‘Biden’ to a ‘t’. Might be a truth in advertising moment. /heh.

            1. petal

              You guys are the best. Almost choked on my supper. Pretty sure Joe Bidet, Pierre Delecto, and Carlos Danger have a gang. The Bidet idea is great, Flora, seeing as it’s at the correct height for a dog. I will laugh now when I see it. Rev Kev, at this point, I’d be pleased with a giant killer meteor. Maybe tomorrow. ambrit, give my best to Phyl. Wuk, I’ll behave. Cheers, y’all. Thank you for being out there.

    1. Wukchumni

      ‘AirBn’ added as a prefix to Joe’s last name would help to confuse things on that sign, not that you should ever contemplate defacing one, as it’s a crime.


    2. Yves Smith Post author

      My Sanders sign was torn up. Just ‘sayin…..

      Or even better, I have a Sanders sign that arrived as a replacement. You could replace their sign with the virgin one in a box I have here. Would only last 6 hours until they saw it but a fun way to make them nuts. You might need to wear a heavy duty mask, like Guy Fawkes, in case you are observed….and drive a very long route to get back home.

      There are law about public rights of way due to telephone and electrical wires. So if you have telephone poles in your ‘hood, I am pretty sure it’s legal to go a bit of the way off the street onto what they think is their property and not be trespassing. Just check to be sure….

      1. petal

        Ha! Unfortunately it’s one of those corrugated plastic ones, would be hard to disembowel unless assisted by a power tool. A chain saw would work perfectly. We are in very close quarters, so I don’t think I could get away with switching it out, as fun as that would be. The screeching when discovered would be hilarious. When I saw it today, I said “Bidet” out loud and chuckled. If my dog decides to make it one of his spots, I won’t stop him. At least they(the neighbours) are being honest about who and what they are?

    1. ObjectiveFunction

      Thanks for this. I appreciate Pollan; he writes well, even though he’s the s̶t̶o̶o̶g̶e̶ house expert of our virtuous NYT-reading mandarins, whose exposure to agriculture is otherwise limited to organic markets, hayrides and petting zoos.

      Four companies now process more than 80 percent of beef cattle in America; another four companies process 57 percent of the hogs.

      I haven’t studied this since high school, but didn’t the Progressive movement form in the largely Republican heartland in the (depressed) 1870s? as a defensive movement by farmers against railroads and silo owners (same thing, often) crushing them with monopoly power? Which greatly influenced the ideology of both parties.

      Of course nowadays, farmers and ranchers are much fewer (electorally insignificant), and are largely franchisees or employees of larger agribusinesses. So they’re just cogs in the machine now, and that historical analog is of limited application.

      Unionization, supported by more aware consumer choice (yeah I know, I can dream lol) seems more relevant to the conditions described in the piece than trust busting. Or is Pollan really dog whistling for more regulation (more Big Data jobs for know-it-all PMCers)?

      … But Abundant Affordable Food© (thanks NPR!) is one of the dwindling products America still exports in volume. And that model needs scale economies (plus antibiotics, pesticides, GMOs, etc.) to Compete. Ergo, I just can’t see Baby Belling, or any other kind of strengthened regulation, in the cards for Big Ag. Plus all them heartland square states, with 2 Senators each, bankrolled by… whom again?

      IMHO, the alternative can only be local food chains, firmly supported by local customers able to bear the added expense, inefficiency and loss of “choice” that entails (i.e. eat with the seasons). But will the American bourgeoisie make this choice unless/until left with no alternative?

  32. fresno dan

    Quarantined & lonely? Find a ‘SEX BUDDY,’ Dutch government advises RT (Chuck L)

    I thought this was gonna be about internet sex, as people have told me I have a face made for the internet (provided there are no cameras…)

    1. ambrit

      An internet glory hole???
      Wow! Technology sure has advanced since my day.
      (Although, I hear a voice from over my shoulder say, they don’t call it a joystick for nothing. Huh?)

      1. The Rev Kev

        You do know which part of the aircraft it is you find the joystick in, don’t you? :)

        1. ambrit

          Is that anything like the ‘Golden Nail’ hidden way down in the lowest hold of the ship?
          Is that like taking your inamorata on the Ferris Wheel at Elitch Gardens to join the Mile High Club?

        2. ambrit

          Oh no. I thought you were referring to the executive dining room, not the Airflight Guidance Bridge.

  33. fresno dan

    For numerous reasons, it is vital to fully examine with as much clarity as possible the abuse of power that drove the prosecution of Flynn. To begin with, cable and other news outlets that employed former Obama-era intelligence operatives, generals, and prosecutors to disseminate every Russiagate conspiracy theory they could find — virtually always without any dissent or even questioning — have barely acknowledged these explosive new documents.

    More disturbingly, liberals and Democrats — as part of their movement toward venerating these security state agencies — have completely jettisoned long-standing, core principles about the criminal justice system, including questioning whether lying to the FBI should be a crime at all and recognizing that innocent people are often forced to plead guilty — in order to justify both the Flynn prosecution and the broader Mueller probe.
    The ability to distinguish between ideological questions from evidentiary questions is vital for rational discourse to be possible, yet has been all but eliminated at the altar of tribal fealty. That is why evidentiary questions completely devoid of ideological belief — such as whether one found the Russiagate conspiracy theories supported by convincing evidence — have been treated not as evidentiary matters but as tribal ones: to be affiliated with the left (an ideological characterization), one must affirm belief in those conspiracy theories even if one does not find the evidence in support of them actually compelling. The conflation of ideological and evidentiary questions, and the substitution of substantive political debates with tests of tribal loyalty, are indescribably corrosive to our public discourse.
    The media only ask ideological questions of members of the tribe which ALWAYS produce answers amenable to that tribe. They do not ask questions of people that will not provide the current accepted narrative answer. (the narrative evolves – don’t wear a mask, wear a mask…but the changed narrative will NEVER be acknowledged).

    A disclaimer shouldn’t be necessary, but in these times:
    Flynn is a right-wing, hawkish general whose views on the so-called war on terror are ones utterly anathema to my own beliefs. That does not make his prosecution justified. One’s views of Flynn personally or his politics (or those of the Trump administration generally) should have absolutely no bearing on one’s assessment of the justifiability of what the U.S. government did to him here

    1. ambrit

      It will also be bad news for New Zealand and Australia. The Silicon Valley Panjandrums will bring with them an ethos of elite exceptionalism and sufficient wealth to have a decent chance of gaining political control over the host countries. Thus, Silicon Valley will have spawned a daughter parasite dominated host.
      The good news is that New Zealand is close to where R’lyeh lies waiting for the stars to be right. Silicon Valley West might soon become the literal anteroom of H—. They thought that Hobbits were bad? They ain’t seen nothing yet.
      Cthulhu 2020.

  34. David in Santa Cruz

    Ditto on reaction to Tara Reade’s behavior. Groped by a powerful man who then had his minions destroy her career, a person’s life can spiral out of control.

    Throw in another abusive relationship and the need to protect a child, and you’ve got a recipe for a drowning. Better to throw a drowning person a life-preserver than to swim too close, because in their desperation to survive they just might drag you under…

    Politico’s attempt to make Tara Reade out to be some kind of psycho only reinforces in my mind that she is the actual survivor of some serious abuse.

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