Links 5/18/2020

AZTEC KINGS HAD RULES FOR PLAGUES, INCLUDING ‘DO NOT BE A FOOL Zocalo.

Revolutionary Boiling Point, And Other Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix Caitlin Johnstone

Florida Governor Deploys National Guard To Force Residents Back Into Malls, Movie Theaters The Onion

#COVID-19

Inside Trump’s coronavirus meltdown | Free to read FT. The pink paper has unlocked its coronavirus coverage. A good summary of the cases against Trump for botching management of the pandemic, although it ignores many other factors — underfunding, the breakdown of public health, the baneful influence of Big Pharma, to name just some,  that would have hindered any US official trying to conquer the disease.

100 Babies Stranded in Ukraine After Surrogate Births NYT. furzy: YUCK!! and also so sad….I’m sure the surrogate moms need the $$, but I find surrogacy pretty upsetting…..

Lost On The Frontline Kaiser Health News

No information. No way off. 100,000 crew members remain in cruise ship limbo for months Miami Herald

Reopen the Economy; or Charge of the Right Brigade Counterpunch. Marshall Sahlins.

Democratic governors hit with flurry of legal challenges to coronavirus lockdowns Politico

‘This feels great’ Washington Post

More easing in Europe but virus hits hard in S. America, Africa AgenceFrance-Presse

Japan plunges into recession as US states start opening up  AP

In Bid to Make Passengers Feel Safer, TSA Prepares to Screen Temperatures at Airports Gizmodo

Sports Desk

‘Playful escape’: How sport is tackling coronavirus pandemic Al Jazeera

In Germany, football returns — but not as we know it Politico

South Korean soccer team apologizes for filling stadium with sex dolls NY Post

Science/Medicine

Who is most likely to be infected with SARS-CoV-2? The Lancet

What the Coronavirus Does Inside the Body Der Spiegel

Coronavirus: hamster research shows effectiveness of masks ‘huge’ in Covid-19 battle, Hong Kong scientists say SCMP

Plan to study nicotine patches as potential coronavirus treatment Guardian

Utah went all-in on an unproven Covid-19 treatment, then scrambled to course-correct Stat

‘Straight-Up Fire’ in His Veins: Teen Battles New Covid Syndrome  NYT

The controversies around developing a Covid vaccine Economic Times

Coronavirus vaccine could come from California, with no shot needed San Francisco Chronicle

Police State Watch

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT BUYS RIOT GEAR, INCREASES SECURITY FUNDING, CITING CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC The Intercept

Prisons

Immigrant Advocates See Fatal Flaws in Detention Centers Capital & Main

Photos Show No Social Distancing In Federal Halfway House Marshall Project

Serfs Revolt

COVID-19 Strike Wave Interactive Map Payday Report, One site I check every couple of days, and always every time I compile Links

Class Warfare

Killer Corruption Project Syndicate

Profiting from Coronavirus Craig Murray

As Congress Weighs COVID Liability Protections, States Shield Health Providers Kaiser Health News

‘Long Overdue’: Antitrust Cases Reportedly Brewing Against Google at State and Federal Level Common Dreams. The WSJ reported on this and I thought about posting, but decided it wasn’t ripe yet. But I will likely post soon.

Have the Record Number of Investors in the Stock Market Lost Their Minds? New Yorker

Substitute Pharmacists Warn Their Co-Workers: We’ll Probably Bring the Virus to You ProPublica


Canada

Restaurant re-openings: The hill to dine on? Toronto Sun

Syraqistan

Saudi Arabia’s botched war Qantara

India

Six reasons why the Modi government is squarely responsible for India’s worst migrant crisis Scroll

As India rolls out the welcome mat to manufacturers looking to leave China, what does it have to offer? SCMP

India’s pharma and chemicals groups jostle to take business from China FT

Cyclone Amphan: India’s east coast braces for severe storm BBC

China?

U.S. mulls paying companies, tax breaks to pull supply chains from China Reuters

China facing pressure over Covid-19 and Taiwan at World Health Assembly Guardian

Trump Transition

Time To Break Up The FBI? American Conservative

Trump bets the farm on Huawei equipment ban Asia Times

Our Famously Free Press


Antidote du Jour (Tracie Hall)

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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180 comments

  1. fresno dan

    Revolutionary Boiling Point, And Other Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix Caitlin Johnstone

    Sure Democrats are helping to renew and expand Trump’s Orwellian surveillance powers after providing no meaningful resistance to any of his worst impulses, but in their defense at least they screamed “Putin puppet” very loudly for years and years
    ==============================================
    fresnodan’s corollary: Trump complains about CIA and FBI illegally monitoring him, but expands their powers.

    Human thinking – or perhaps more accurately lack of human thinking – is amazing. Trump, who apparently has fired more White House employees than any previous president, somehow seems to believe he has the ability to pick loyal lackeys.

    Reply
    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      I dunno…the Mellifluous Melanoderm found lackeys loyal enough to make a coup attempt, Mr. T probably thinks he can find some stalwarts too. And where was Bernie on that last civil liberties bill vote again? (Turns out Bernie is The Paragon of Verisimilitude, not the Vanguard of the Proletariat).

      But I prefer one of the other link headlines: Time To Break Up The FBI

      Reply
      1. cnchal

        Rahm, the great Democratic party thinker says, when talking to the FBI, “you lie, you die”. Not said by the great thinker, when the the FBI talks to you, “it’s their jawb to lie, and you die anyway”.

        Reply
    2. Amfortas the hippie

      This was my favorite of this list of neitszchean aphorisms:
      “People don’t gradually attain self-realization; they look closer and closer at the nature of their experience and then suddenly there’s a radical shift in perspective.
      You can’t tell it’s about to happen by appearance.
      The revolution will be like this.”

      when the work is, temporarily, done around here, and someone wants to go with me for the splif or the beer decompression period, we’ll start off in…say…the loft of the new goatbarn, which has a nice view to the south, and is built to catch the spring and summer breeze.
      just as we’re getting comfortable, i propose we peregrinate to one of my numerous other “good places to sit”…to “get a different perspective”…this time, perhaps, from under the oak trees by the cattle guard at the entrance to the place, where the bees live.
      This is a zen lesson that my fellow travelers usually only grok a whole lot later, when i start in on Lenses and various subjectivities that determine what the world looks like to us.

      Reply
    3. John Beech

      No offense but a new broom was elected and the old guard left landmines all over the place in the form of people who knew better than the electorate and thus, made it their life mission to oppose everything they guy has tried to do. I don’t blame him for firing obstructionists. The bureaucracy, the blob, has leaked, foot-dragged, and outright lied to a shameful degree. Me? I’m glad they’ve been fired, and actually believe more need to go to set an example, and I hope they have difficulty finding jobs. For shame!

      Reply
      1. marym

        Nobody obstructed him from doing anything. Well, maybe a flashy announcement of an investigation of the Bidens by Ukraine, but he can probably get Barr to do that instead.

        Reply
        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          LOLOL three and a half years of total time wasting and utterly divisive breathless news and meaningless subpoenas based on completely fabricated outright lies, yelling from every rooftop that the elected leader was WITHOUT ANY DOUBT a Russian puppet and spy by the criminal liars heading the intelligence agencies, served up for your pleasure on each of the major news outlets, day in, day out 24/7.

          But LOL “nobody obstructed him from doing anything”. One question: What color is it? The sky on your planet.

          (I happen to think he’s more like Orange Obama than Orange Hitler but no matter, you either think the people should choose the leader or you think the intelligence agencies and the press should. I know my answer).

          Reply
          1. marym

            No doubt it was annoying to have people saying mean things about him, but what was he obstructed from doing?

            Reply
            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              Double LOL. The ultimate attempted Constitutional obstruction by the opposition party of impeaching the President to try to remove him from office becomes the “annoyance” of “people” “saying” “mean things” about him.

              Case = rested

              (Unless of course you believe the natural course of affairs is to have the FBI and the press decide who the president can and can’t be. I don’t).

              Reply
              1. marym

                I think Russiagate was stupid, but whatever the FBI or Democrats or anyone else wanted, or wanted to seem like they wanted, it had no more impact on Trump continuing to be president than the multitude of Benghazi hearings on Obama.

                Trump himself, for all his whining, doesn’t claim to have wanted to do anything that anyone obstructed… maybe wall funding and child-snatching at the border weren’t as robust as he hoped? But tax breaks, right wing judges, self-dealing, revolving door cabinet, dropping out of international agreements, arms trafficking, hate rallies, deregulation…where’s the obstruction?

                Also, the idea that Mueller who was head of the FBI for 12 years was going to oust a Republican president was always ridiculous, resistance twitterers notwithstanding.

                Reply
                1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                  OK so now the three years of nonstop RussiaGate, which then morphed into the most extreme obstruction of an impeachment, are the equivalent of the tiny, completely ignored, and meaningless Benghazi hearings.

                  I give up. I bet it’s a nice hue of yellow or purple.

                  Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      What I want to know is how those reporters recognized them as sex dolls. They just look like mannequins to me.

      Reply
      1. Winston Smith

        There is another picture of the mannequins/dolls in the Guardian and at least one of the “mannequins” is a pleasure model, given the size of the breasts. Overblown perhaps

        Reply
        1. wilroncanada

          Re S Korea sex dolls:
          They had to apologize because they took the dolls from a supplier who was supposed to send them to the PX to be sold to US “guest forces”.

          Reply
    2. ewmayer

      Note the apology was not for the sex dolls per se, but for not having them practice proper social distancing.

      Reply
  2. skippy

    Ref Google:

    In June 2019, the United States Supreme Court used Robinson’s monopsony theory in its decision for Apple vs Pepper.

    Reply
  3. fresno dan

    Time To Break Up The FBI? American Conservative

    For the FBI, merely catching bad guys is too mundane. As one can tell from the sanctimonious James Comey, the culture at the Bureau holds grander aspirations. Comey’s book is titled A Higher Loyalty, as if the FBI reports only to the Almighty. They see themselves as progressive guardians of the American Way, intervening whenever and wherever they see democracy in danger. No healthy republic should have a national police force with this kind of culture. There are no doubt many brave and patriotic FBI agents, but there is also no doubt they have been very badly led.

    This savior complex led them to aggressively pursue the Russiagate hoax
    ==================================================
    Human nature being what it is, when the revolutionary conquers the kingdom, instead of destroying the dungeon, he expands and enhances it to use on future usurpers.
    There are no doubt many brave and patriotic FBI agents, but there is also no doubt they have been very badly led.
    All those good people at the FBI – so where were all the leaks about the bad things going on during Russiagate (yes, NYT wouldn’t publish them, but there was Fox).

    Reply
    1. JTMcPhee

      Loyalty to tribe. Omertà. And a good chance that the selection process to becoming a Fibby weeds out any who are not True Believers.

      Reply
      1. rps

        Loyalty to tribe

        “We must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.” Ben Franklin

        Reply
      2. Amfortas the hippie

        I went to college with a Future Fibby…connected him with weed quite often, and he was there for the Mushroom Summer at that apartment complex, when the majority of students went home to work.
        He said the “selection process”, per his CJ Profs, was arduous and insane. they wanted to know your best friend in first grade, and interviewed one’s kindergarten teacher, and on and on.
        When i pressed him about his hanging around with the likes of me and my Kru, he said such activity in CJ school was tacitly encouraged…for perhaps future utility in undercover or analytical work.
        My Dad confirms this same sort of thing, from 30 years earlier, when working for the DIA.
        Lots of “Moral Turpitude” type questions….they see themselves as Defenders of Democracy and the Republic, and there’s a whole catchism built around that…I suspise leaving the more morally questionable habits and practices to the Higher Ups, like the Inner Ring of any cult worth it’s salt.

        Reply
    2. Carolinian

      Given its origins under J. Edgar Hoover is it any wonder the place is a bit of a psych ward? After warming up by getting rid of the FBI we can move onto the CIA.

      Reply
    3. Bsoder

      “savior complex”, have you had many dealings with the FBI? I have, I’m on task force dealing with them on opiates, as well as my grandfather was the elected sheriff of the county. In my experience if I had to guess what motivates about 20% of them it would be ‘kicking the sleeping dog syndrome’, they just love causing trouble because they can. The FBI’s management equates this behavior with being fearless in confronting bad guys. But there aren’t that many bad guys so they just make them up. I once had a job as head of the Cattleman’s Association in Wyoming, so I’m reluctant to put it this way but ‘just a bunch of cowboys’ would be my idea of the FBI. I’d point out they shot Dillinger, without identifying who they were, trying to arrest, or facing any resistance- they simply shot him dead. Nothing’s changed. You understand the ‘special’ part of agent means the right to carry a weapon and arrest powers. So take it away, the ‘special’.

      Reply
    4. Sy Krass

      No offense to everyone on this blog, but if you give me the choice between Comey and Trump, I’ll take Comey. You can’t reason with a psychopath, and you can’t win a debate against a one man combo platter of a comedian and an angry mob…

      Reply
      1. Procopius

        Are you so sure Comey isn’t a narcissistic sociopath? I’ve never met the man, but his apparently contradictory actions that we know of don’t inspire me with a lot of trust. Same with Clapper and Brennan.

        Reply
        1. Sy Krass

          I’m SURE Comey is a narcissistic sociopath, I still take Comey. If Trump were serious about any of this b.s., He’d pardon Snowden, Assange, etc. Guess what, that means he isn’t. He’s far more scary to me then the FBI ever would be.

          Reply
  4. timbers

    India
    As India rolls out the welcome mat to manufacturers looking to leave China, what does it have to offer? SCMP
    India’s pharma and chemicals groups jostle to take business from China FT

    I’m sure there’s something we might learn from this. If only someone in Washington could think what it might be. Oh wait no time to think…time to plan the next Aircraft Carrier Freedom Sails thru the China/Taiwan straight, South China Sea, Black Sea.

    Reply
    1. Bugs Bunny

      It’s all about those few extra points of margin, timbers. Even a messy passage through the sea lanes can’t get in the way of that. If not India, Africa.

      Reply
    2. Olga

      If anybody thinks India can replace China as a manufacturing hub (at the same or similar level) I have a bridge for sale stashed somewhere. Even Indians (who’ve been to China, at least) think it’d take 200 yrs for India to catch up.

      Reply
      1. Ranger Rick

        It took China less than 50 years to go from a largely agrarian economy to manufacturing powerhouse. Sure, it benefited from enormous international subsidies that were predicated on its eventual conversion to “democratic capitalism” — should India go communist first?

        Reply
    3. Jeremy Grimm

      Moving manufacturing from China to India, or Viet Nam or Malaysia or Mexico or … doesn’t solve the problems associated with long, single supplier, supply chains. It doesn’t do anything to increase the resiliency of the US. It doesn’t do anything to employ people in the US. Cheap labor and policies of dumping are not comparative advantages.

      Reply
  5. fresno dan

    South Korean soccer team apologizes for filling stadium with sex dolls NY Post

    I don’t understand – all the dolls were wearing facemasks.

    Reply
  6. The Rev Kev

    “Utah went all-in on an unproven Covid-19 treatment, then scrambled to course-correct”

    I sometimes wonder if the hostility towards this hydroxychloroquine stuff is due to the fact that Trump is constantly pushing it or simply it is not highly profitable for the Big Pharma companies to manufacture like Remdesivir is. The studies that I have heard about tend to be dishonest in that either they do not make it part of a regime that also includes zinc or they wait until they are about to tie on the toe tag to the patient before administering it. The methodology seems to be flawed almost deliberately. So consider this.

    A study is organized of a thousand ovulating women who are instructed to have multiple sex sessions with their male partners. Two weeks later these women are then started on a course of the pill and after three months a pregnancy test is administered to these women. As an unacceptable number of the women are found to be pregnant, the obvious conclusion is that the pill does not work which “drives the nail” in about stories of how it is supposed to work. Yeah, this is stretching it a bit but not too far. Don’t know if hydroxychloroquine works like it is supposed to but it would be nice to know – and with the proper studies.Too much to ask?

    Reply
    1. Brian (another one they call)

      good questions! I read the article twice now and I don’t find any thing about the references to the studies that do show the drug does prevent a worst case scenario by apparently limiting the progession of the infection when given upon development of symptoms. Nor a study where there are cardiac issues in the long term patients for which we have reams of data on. The people commenting within the story seemed to be only about the roll out of the drug to citizens without testing or their own opinion being usurped. People with lupus, RA and malaria have been taking this med for a long time and long term. How many of the folks with these three diseases survived with all the cardiac problems while taking it for years aren’t interviewed or mentioned?
      Dr. Martenson suggested he couldn’t find any test results for people having life threatening/ending events for use of HCQ or CQ. This danger was cited in the article but no link was offered to show this life threatening condition? Even the FDA link only mentioned their concern with cardiac problems then offered no data or proof?
      But using it under a doctor’s order, that goes without saying. Is that all these various people were upset about?
      If anyone does have a link to studies proving HCQ and CQ are permanently damaging would be great to compare to the alleged facts in this article. If one takes it long term is there still an issue about this enlongated QT period? The claims don’t seem to match up with history of the medication.
      If pharma can’t sell a new drug, they will swear all the old ones have no efficacy at all. We are seeing this every damn day of our lives. Are you sick yet?

      Reply
      1. Susan the other

        At the time, early March, that Utah went whole hog for chloroquine we had just been clocked by the Sundance crowd. Both in Salt Lake County and Summit County. We were one of the hottest spots in the country. So it was all hands on deck. I’m actually pretty impressed with their effort and I agree that Hydroxychloroquine remains to be adequately analyzed – but it already was a proven drug and taken safely by millions of people. So big Pharma? Most probably. Heaven forbid they should lose control of the narrative – whatever it actually is. That the $800,000 was refunded by the drug distribution company is pretty remarkable. I don’t hold this effort against the State of Utah; in fact, I’m impressed they took this action. I hope they are organizing some studies on the subject as Covid cases are still climbing in Utah, albeit it much more gradually. Their latest measure is blood plasma from recovered patients. Haven’t heard much on that one.

        Reply
    2. CuriosityConcern

      Recent summary of all chloroquine covid studies authors could identify:
      cebm.net. We are interested in PREP, it mentions they identified 41 active trials. I think we will have to wait for the study observation periods to play out, so you might get your answers but I don’t know how soon.
      I found a Singaporean study from around 2010 that didnt find chloroquine effective vs influenza, they had a 12 week observation period.

      Reply
        1. GettingTheBannedBack

          So, some research might be handy. And there are NO double blinded, randomised control trial test results available for ANY medication for COVID-19 at this stage.
          Hydroxychloroquine. Oxford University is trialing it as a treatment, along with other stuff. https://www.recoverytrial.net/
          Actual research shows HCQ doesn’t work on people at death’s door when the virus has already decimated the body. Don’t need a reference for this. In every MSM news piece.
          Actual research shows HCQ can probably stop people getting COVID-19. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S092485792030145X
          Actual research from hospitals in New York shows HCQ halved the death rate for people not in the ICU. https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.05.02.20080036v1.full.pdf
          Toxicity: WHO Report finds hundreds of millions have taken anti-malarials with minimal side effects for chloroquine/hydroxychloroquine. https://www.who.int/malaria/mpac/mpac-mar2017-erg-cardiotoxicity-report-session2.pdf

          So the US President is taking hydroxychloroquine under the supervision of his doctor to stop getting COVID-19. Sounds rational to me. I would too if I was him, interacting with dozens of people every day. And just to finesse this, I’m not a fan of Trump generally.

          Reply
          1. vlade

            No.

            The fact that Ox trials it means nothing about its efftivnes. A lots of drugs are trialed, few are found effective.

            https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S092485792030145X shows that after CV exposure when HCQ was provided there were no infections. That does not imply casuality at all. There was no control group (all in the exposed group received HCQ) and no placebo group either. I could write a study which would say “all these South Korean’s had a dail dose of kimchi in their food, hence kimchi is a good CV propylactic”, and it would have the same value.

            NYC study is retrospective – as the authors admit freely, and, as they also admit, cannot distinguish whether the impact is because of the combination or zinc-sulfate alone, since there is no control group which would have received zinc-sulfate alone (never mind a placebo control).

            So none of the research you provide can show any even remotely conclusive effectivness.

            It doesn’t mean that it’s not effective. As far as I care, if Trump is ok with the potential side-effects (and as as the US president can get a care that helps with that better than most, of not all of us), then he can eat the pills as much as he likes.

            But what we do know is that HCQ overdose did kill a few people already, so selling it as a miracle cure is IMO only marginally better than suggesting one injects himself with bleach (which it seems Trump didn’t try, or if he did, was talked out of it. Except for his hairs, of course).

            Reply
    3. SKM

      Yes! It seems that antivirals usually need to be administered within a window of about 48 hours, presumably from the beginning of symptoms (according to virologists, sorry no reference) – it`s driving me mad that they keep publishing studies showing hydrochloroquine to be ineffective and every time they`ve used already very ill patients. Sometimes it`s hard not to feel there must be a reason for this….. no anti-viral will be a cure but if sth can be given early to reduce viral replication that would likely reduce the number of people bcoming critically ill – as long as we roll out population wide vitamin D supplementation for which the evidence is mounting daily. HC plus zinc is theoretically promising so why don`t they give it a real chance?! (I think some proper trials are going on somewhere). By the way, the nhs has recently stated (it`s on their site)that “there is no evidence that vitamin D could have a role in covid19 mitigation” and that the public shouldn`t go out and by lots of vitaminD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Just now when there are stacks of studies accumulating that taken together make it criminal negligence for public health authorities NOT to advise supplementation. Also why aren`t they monitoring vitamin D levels in the population, especially those at most risk, then at least we could accumulate useful data on this (it could be done when people are being tested). Boris is more popular than ever cos he got sick and had a baby (his 6th???)!!!!!!!!!!!!! sorry, feeling xxxxxed off with the whole mess

      Reply
      1. Bsoder

        Sorry, but as to, ‘D supplementation for which the evidence is mounting daily’, no such data. Other than bring someone who is deficient up to normal. All the data shows this. It’s not like we don’t try. We do, after 2-3 thousand patients we learn.

        Reply
    4. Katniss Everdeen

      I sometimes wonder if the hostility towards this hydroxychloroquine stuff is due to the fact that Trump is constantly pushing it or simply it is not highly profitable for the Big Pharma companies to manufacture like Remdesivir is.

      I think you missed one–a hydroxychloroquine regimen might actually work, reducing a “killer” infection to a simple Rx from a corner urgent care shop, and obviating the need for hundreds of millions of vaccine doses and all the fame and fortune following therefrom, among other things.

      Regardless of your feelings on the severity of this virus, it’s impossible to ignore the extraordinary actions being taken in its name, primarily in the worlds of global “finance,” and social and information control. “Ironically,” the only major system which has not been deemed to require a massive intervention is the “healthcare” system.

      In addition, economic fallout from a prolonged response to this pandemic is probably the dem’s only hope to depose Trump.

      There’s another $3 trillion currently on the table. That measly old broken down hydroxychloroquine had better stay out of the way. The virus’s work isn’t finished yet.

      PS. In the event that hydroxychloroquine is proven to be efficacious, these Utah guys look like preparedness geniuses.

      Reply
      1. Bsoder

        Science can prove what it states to know, repeatedly. Non science can not. hydroxychloroquine, does not work for Covid-19, world wide conspiracy to force on the willing and unwilling a vaccine, not withstanding and further of which there is no proof. On either counts. The science stands. This is what Lambert calls American Roulette.

        Reply
        1. Duke of Prunes

          You seem to be very confident in your statements about hydroxychloroquine. What do you have to say about the research linked above by Gettingthebannedback. It seems to contradict, but I also don’t know what I’m talking about.

          Reply
        2. Yves Smith

          Ahem, this is not anywhere near settled, and you of all people should know better.

          First, hydroxychloroquine + azithromycin was deemed by desperate MDs in Italy throwing everything at the wall to be their best remedy.

          So looking at hydroxychloroquine alone isn’t apposite and is arguably a set-up to fail.

          Some have suggested hydroxychloroquine + azithromycin + zinc is an even better mix.

          Second, a clinical trail in China was positive about the impact of hydroxychloroquine (https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.03.22.20040758v3).

          The “studies” cited here, particularly by the FDA, were NOT studies. It was ad hoc use at the VA, of 368 patients. No dosage controls, no controls as to when in the disease progress it was administered. Oh, and it turns out the patients administered hydroxychloroquine were sicker, which undermines reaching conclusions. Ditto with the other US “study” it was another recap of ad hoc, uncontrolled use in a different setting.

          And this small trial had positive findings:

          Despite its small sample size our survey shows that hydroxychloroquine treatment is significantly associated with viral load reduction/disappearance in COVID-19 patients and its effect is reinforced by azithromycin.

          https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32205204

          Reply
          1. The Rev Kev

            Re that clinical trial in China. I do not know if it is the same trial but several weeks ago there was news about a trial done in China where they also screened for people with heart issues as they were aware of the problems here and excluded them. The reason I mention this is because there have been some articles saying such a regime cannot be used because people with heart issues with problems with hydroxychloroquine. Media coverage on hydroxychloroquine and Trump has gone through the roof today when Trump amitted that he was taking it proactively and it would be funny if the stakes weren’t so high.

            Reply
            1. Yves Smith

              Screening out people does not mean it’s not effective. It means there are counterindications. How about all the meds women are not supposed to take if they might be pregnant? Or go listen to any one of the horrible TV ads for drugs, their lists of risk factors go on and on. You’d think there was no one left to take the bloody drug.

              Reply
          2. vlade

            The Chinese study was on 62 patients, double-blind (so 31 got the treatment). Way too small a sample. The percentual differences (85% vs 55%) sound large, but in reality are 25 vs 17. Way to small for anything even remotely decisive IMO.

            The French case was even smaller – 20 treatments.

            That’s not to say it doesn’t work, but I’m not aware of any significant studies either way.

            Reply
      2. periol

        I guess Trump said today he’s been on a cocktail of hydroxychloroquine and zinc for a bit now. I’ve suspected this since he spouted off about it in his news conference a while back, though he claims it has only been for the last 10 days or so.

        Reply
    5. Nancy

      I’ve been on hydroxychloroquine for 20+ years and not once a mention of heart issues from any of my doctors. I do however get my eyes checked every year as it can cause damage to the retina.

      Rhetorical arguments from example are the lowest form of argument, but seems apropos here nonetheless.

      Reply
      1. Yves Smith

        I agree the scaremongering about hydroxychloroquine is overdone. However, I also am under the impression that the dosage used for Covid-19 is much higher than for treating autoimmune diseases and its other conventional uses.

        Reply
    1. CanChemist

      I should also comment on the implication in the article that Neeleman only donated $5000. If this is correct, the real funding arrangements or future promises haven’t been tracked down yet. $5000 isn’t enough to buy anything, and that’s before the University took its cut.
      Also, refusing to be associated with a study you participated in and declining authorship is unusual and is one of the strongest statements one can make.

      Reply
  7. carl

    That WP piece on Georgia reopening…wow! Don’t miss. Wasn’t it just last Sunday that we were marveling at that rogue restaurant in Colorado? This is that on steroids. The comments by the people interviewed are positively jaw-dropping. Now having to factor in this level of wilful ignorance among my fellow citizens in deciding when and where to go out…

    Reply
    1. Krystyn Podgajski

      More than willful ignorance. Georgia has been cooking the books as well!

      A ‘cuckoo’ graph with no sense of time or place shows how Georgia bungled coronavirus data as it reopens

      Speaking with a friend last night, I remarked that my intuition was that things will blow up again in a few weeks, but something was inhibiting me to say so out loud so far. We determined that it was the mismatch I was seeing in the public data. Seeing this morning the way they played with the numbers in Georgia my idea was confirmed.

      Everyone was outside this weekend in NC becasue we were “open” and the weather was great. Now we have a week of much cooler weather and rain so all those people will be inside. That sound like a perfect storm to me.

      By the way, my friend works in a dental office and she said very few people want to come in and are pushing visits out to October. The doctor is booked but the hygienists are not.

      So the coronavirus gave us a chance to act responsibly and re-balance the world, and we failed. so now it has to come back again and teach us a lesson; that words and concepts will fail against the Dao.

      Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        There is so much about the way the virus spreads that we don’t know – I’m still puzzled at how some areas seem to have escaped while others get hit hard – but its hard not to conclude that many parts of the US are playing with fire in the loose manner they’ve opened up. Maybe places like Georgia will be saved by summer heat, but if it does go exponential there, the consequences I suspect would be even worse than NY, given the weaker health system and greater potential for comorbidities.

        Reply
        1. Winston Smith

          These idiots are going to force Canada to keep the border closed and make it very difficult for me to visit my 91 yr old father who lives there

          Reply
        2. Grumpy Engineer

          @PlutoniumKun: You said, “There is so much about the way the virus spreads that we don’t know.

          Aye. That’s very true. That’s why I’m glad that places like Georgia and Sweden are running experiments that many people consider unwise. And I’m not glad because I’m convinced they’re right. [Too much remains unknown, and I believe they’re taking a major gamble that could have some very serious consequences.] Instead I’m glad because we need the data. We need to know what happens under looser restrictions.

          This is because we can’t maintain “maximum lockdown” forever. The job losses and disruption are too severe. If we wait until every last molecule of COVID-19 is stamped out, we could be hunkered down for the rest of our lives. If we can get by with lesser restrictions, we should. But how will we know until somebody tries?

          Reply
          1. Krystyn Podgajski

            This is because we can’t maintain “maximum lockdown” forever. The job losses and disruption are too severe.

            Wrong! These lock downs cannot last because no public leader will give THE PEOPLE enough money to survive during lock down!

            The small amount of people protesting are ideologues. And the other people are just too mentally and spiritually weak to be bored for a few months.

            All of this is a failure of or people and our government. The virus only exposed our weakness.

            Reply
            1. MLTPB

              I don’t know if the people of Wuhan received enough money or not. How did they handle it? (For comparison only. We don’t have to do the just same, if our situation requires more).

              The same comparison with the people of Italy or Spain, considering also their harder or softer lockdowns).

              Reply
          2. periol

            We haven’t even tried “maximum lockdown”

            If we did “maximum lockdown” for four weeks, this thing would go away.

            Reply
            1. MLTPB

              Would that require a quite powerful executive branch, invoking necessary, if needed, declarations?

              Reply
                  1. periol

                    Just because the failure is also systemic does not mean that steps could have and should have been taken earlier to prevent this disease becoming endemic in the population. Shutting down air travel was a necessary step that came too late, among many other necessary steps like contact tracing. If we had acted when the number of cases were in the teens, rather than the thousands, things would be different right now.

                    Reply
                    1. MLTPB

                      Shutting down travel from Italy came late.

                      Not sure about travel from China…see comments below (Wuhan lockdown Jan 23).

                    2. periol

                      We have VERY different definitions of what a “shutdown” of travel from China looks like…

                      from April 4:
                      https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/04/us/coronavirus-china-travel-restrictions.html

                      430,000 People Have Traveled From China to U.S. Since Coronavirus Surfaced

                      There were 1,300 direct flights to 17 cities before President Trump’s travel restrictions. Since then, nearly 40,000 Americans and other authorized travelers have made the trip, some this past week and many with spotty screening.

            2. Grumpy Engineer

              What exactly would “maximum lockdown” be? Where we send absolutely 100% of people home to not set foot outside until the “all clear” is given? Not even to leave even for the grocery store or pharmacy? Would we include utility workers in the lockdown, thereby forcing everbody to endure the lockdown without running water or electricity? Should we even force people into different bedrooms of their houses for the duration? How maximal should “maximum” truly be?

              You’re correct in noting that we haven’t tried the absolute max, but nobody has. Not anywhere on the planet. However, plenty of places have demonstrated that partial lockdowns combined with social distancing, improved sanitary practices, and tracing are good enough to drop R0 below 1.0. And if you’re well below 1.0, you can partially relax things and still keep the virus from from re-erupting.

              Don’t make the mistake of treating virus mitigation efforts as a Boolean function. It’s not just a YES/NO choice. There are varying levels of efforts and restrictions that can be applied.

              Reply
          3. Wukchumni

            It’s always nice for somebody else to play guinea pig, and if results in the re-opener states are as bad as can be expected, when do we see citizens of such states driven out not unlike those caught in the wrath of the Dust Bowl?

            And should it come to that, which states not in such a state would want them?

            Reply
            1. Grumpy Engineer

              You asked, “which states not in such a state would want them?

              You could ask that question in regard to NYC residents today. Shall we lock them in?

              Reply
          4. Ignacio

            These are not useful experiments and you won’t gather conclusive data from them apart from counting reported casualties, not even real disease-caused casualties. To do so you should do a very close monitoring on what is really going on in these places but one of the features is precisely that there is no monitoring, and as K. Podjajski says, you will only get numbers being played with. No scientific method and some pseudo-scientific speculation will be the best you can garner with such social experiments.

            Reply
    2. Dalepues

      That is a great piece of writing, right down to the last sentence. Spice mist for everybody!

      Flora-bama* opened this weekend, serving oysters and beer, with live music. I didn’t go but my neighbors said it was great.

      More customers at the Publix and Winn Dixie are mask-free. Same at the CVS and Walgrens.

      I speak daily with friends in Medellin, Colombia. The stay-at-home order there is strictly enforced with $250 fines. Citizens are allowed to go out for an hour or two for exercise and to shop according to their i.d. numbers (Pico & Cedula). Everyone is required to wear a mask and only a certain number of customers are allowed to enter a store or bank. As of yesterday, Medellin, a city of several million people, had six deaths from the Virus.

      *Flora-bama is a famous watering hole on the Florida/Alabama state line at Orange Beach and Perdido Key.

      Reply
    3. rowlf

      The article laid it on pretty thick, almost like a feel-good confection for an echo chamber audience. Maybe it is true and not an caricature of a yuppie community.

      I wonder if the nail salon and tattoo parlor narrative was a chew toy Kemp threw out to the media knowing they would run after it. Kemp pushes a lot of peoples’ buttons when they want a stereotype to look at and he may be wily enough to use that to his benefit.

      Reply
    4. Carolinian

      I no longer live in Atlanta but if you think conspicuous consumption is disgusting then you probably would have thought those northern suburbs disgusting before the virus (none of that in DC or its suburbs of course). Just for a dash of cold water reality on this narrative spin from the WaPo, today’s Worldometer report has GA deaths per million at 152 and NY at 1,456. For the WaPo’s DC base it is 555. Here in South Carolina we are now up to 75.

      https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/us/

      Our local newspaper published the rules for those now reopened barber shops and tattoo parlors and it is quite extensive including the plastic shields, masks, thermal checks, distancing between customers and maximum allowed occupancy. It’s not exactly the sort of thing to inspire a carefree revival and who knows whether any customers will show up. Out here in the real world as opposed to the cartoon media narrative world people do take the disease seriously. After all we are 75 and NY is almost 1500. Distraction much?

      Reply
    5. aleric

      Heard from a friend that downtown Hudson, WI, (twin cities exurb, just across the border) was packed over the weekend. Lots of bars and restaurants in MN are arguing theres no point for them to stay closed if it just drives people 20 miles East.

      Seems like the Governor’s order for businesses to stay closed could start collapsing.

      Reply
    6. marym

      The argument that people have been protesting because they need to go back to work doesn’t exactly explain people responding to “opening up” by going to restaurants, bars, hair salons, and gyms. It’s more like they desire people to work for them. I hope they’re good tippers. People who work in those places probably don’t have insurance or childcare or paid leave or whatever it is that allows the revelers enough discretionary income to celebrate their freedom.

      Reply
      1. False Solace

        I certainly don’t understand the bubble of ignorance that allows people to go to restaurants when none of the wait staff or line cooks have health insurance or sick days. Same for all the other underpaid high-touch service jobs. What in the world are people thinking?

        Like my retired parents who celebrated the first day of restaurant reopening in FL by going to Bahama Breeze. I hope that lukewarm Chinese shrimp was worth it.

        Nearly the only way to qualify for the grudging sick pay that came out of Congress is to have an actual COVID diagnosis, which means you were sick enough to go to a doctor or ER and get tested (remember this is for people who don’t have health insurance and avoid doctors like the other kind of plague), and get a positive result which only happens 70% of the time, and they were shedding virus for days beforehand. And most businesses and workers don’t even know about the program.

        Truly bewildering and infuriating.

        Reply
      2. Aumua

        Well we’re all those people, who go to restaurants, gyms etc. including people who otherwise work in the service industry. There’s not such a sharp line between the servers and the served.

        Reply
  8. Wukchumni

    When I started backpacking in the 80’s, the golden era of the late 60’s-early 70’s had passed, and increasingly you saw fewer partaking and everybody was getting older as time wore on the trampled trails. Maybe a decade ago i’d say the average age of a backpacker was 40, males mostly by over a 3-1 margin & lily white.

    Then a confluence of events turned everything around, the movie Wild with Reese Witherspoon was quite the catalyst for women to be in the back of beyond-including those solo, which you once seldom saw. When i’d encounter young women in their 20’s-30’s, i’d always ask them if said movie was an influence on them? and as if by rote they’d all get beamy smiles, yes-a crappy movie from a backpacking perspective (p.s., I get it-she does everything possible you can do wrong and survives to tell the tale-not my kind of inspiration) could work wonders, and did.

    The male-female ratio is more like 60/40.

    Before C-19, the trailheads were full of cars, and wilderness permits here largely spoken for, it felt to me we were on the dawn of a new era of walking softly and carrying a big enough stick, or ideally a pair of them. Young women in their 20’s and 30’s tend to attract young men of the same age, so that was also a contributing factor, but nothing could have made an impact like the virus.

    Walking became the only game in town, all of the sudden. People are getting antsy to get out, and when Sequoia NP eventually opens, i’d expect the raptured 40% of visitors (800,000 foreigners came in 2019, out of 2 million) slack to be made up by our countrymen, a good many who have never been to a National Park.

    Open air houses of worship need parishioners, or perish the thought of preserving them.

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      I suspect that over the summer many accessible areas of wilderness might be overwhelmed, as people replace their summer trip away with something more local. I hope it doesn’t result in too much damage.

      Here in Dublin, we’ve some nice (if not particularly wild) mountains to the south on our doorstep (between 30-60 minutes drive for almost anyone in the city). But outside of a hard core of hikers, the are not particularly well used, I guess people just take them for granted, and there isn’t a huge hiking/cycling culture in Ireland traditionally. Cycling boomed about 15 years ago (caused partially by a government tax incentive scheme for buying bikes). When I’d do my Sunday ride up the magnificent Military Road here 20 years ago, I’d only see a handful of hard core roadies, nearly all male. But after 10 years the roads are now full of carbon bikes, and the ratio of m/f has definitely balanced up more recently, even if it is far more of a male hobby. Hiking, with the exception of a few honeypots, was confined to determined looking people with beards and woolly socks. Now there are far more, although I’d guess than up to half the people I meet on a hike are speaking Polish or Russian. Recent immigrants appreciate the Irish mountains far more than locals. It’s very noticeable that in the last five years or so there has been a huge increase in younger people hiking, nearly entirely balanced between males and females. I’m told that one big influence has been…. influencers. There are some high profile glamour instagrammers who love posting their pics of summer hikes. I suppose it shows they are some use.

      But I do wonder what will happen when the mountains are opened up. Irish uplands are delicate – most are covered with a thin cover of heath and bog which can erode very quickly – it can also burn rapidly after just a few days hot weather. There simply aren’t enough properly prepared trails for a big inrush of inexperienced hikers, desperate for a break from being at home. I also wonder if there will be accidents as the unprepared go up without checking weather forecasts. Irish mountains can seem tame compared to ‘real’ mountains, but they can be very treacherous.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        You see Indian-American & Korean-Americans on the trail more often in the High Sierra as of late, but not really any other nationalities. The Koreans are all about dayhikes, while the Indians i’ve seen tend to do more overnight excursions.

        For overnight trips, typically a trailhead will have just so many wilderness permits allowed per day, the entire allotment for July & August on the popular High Sierra Trail is already spoken for, so aside from a small number of walk-up day of trip wilderness permits, there is scant pickings. If anything i’d think ‘bandit camping’ (sans wilderness permit) would be on the rise, especially with many newbies not worrying about the rules, guess we’ll find out?

        I’d expect dayhikes to be the way to go-no permit needed, and it sure was easier with a handy free in-park shuttle bus to allow you to go on 1-way sojourns through the Sequoias, but still plenty of possibilities even with the bus being a bust.

        A plus is that we only got about 60% of usual average snowfall, so everything is fairly accessible, or will be much sooner that normal. The #1 killer here is water, and creek crossings should be totally mellow.

        Talking about water, a storm is bearing down on all of the weed whacking i’ve done the past fortnight, meaning i’ll have to go over it again in 3 weeks, grrrrrr.

        Reply
        1. Susan the other

          It’s good to know that international tourists have come to the high Sierras. It makes me think one thing: they forgot to preserve their own treasures for the future. Thank You Teddy R. And it makes me think the next thing – we should double down on how we manage and protect our own.

          Reply
    2. T

      Has anyone fact checked that stupid book?

      And in the same vein, anytime Roman Farrow has a solo byline, the story is garbage (or a retread) and I thought everyone knew that.

      Reply
  9. rd

    Re: Class Warfare

    My jaw dropped when I read this article today: https://www.marketwatch.com/articles/why-higher-medicare-costs-could-reduce-your-social-security-payment-51589630400?mod=mw_more_headlines

    The bleating is about a potential decline in Social Security checks if there is zero inflation adjustment because Medicare premiums would still rise due to health care inflation. The kicker is that this is only an issue for singles receiving Social Security and making over $87,000 per year or couples receiving Social Security and making over $174,000 per year. (Full disclosure: we might be in this category when we retire as we have been saving diligently).

    My perspective is simple. If you are in these income categories in retirement, then you’ve won the game (at least financially). I believe you are officially in the top 10% for income above those thresholds. So if Social Security inflation adjustment gets nibbled a bit at the edges during times of pandemic and economic depression, so be it. Social Security, Medicare, pensions, society, etc. have far bigger issues than minor inflation adjustments for people in the top 10% of the income scale.

    It is useful information to know for personal financial planning (a nuance I had not known about before), but if this is what Congress spends its time on, then our society is far more broken than we care to admit.

    BTW – the solution is really simple and not possible in the US right now. You just switch over to a far simpler Canadian, French, German, or Dutch healthcare financing and management system. They are all different but effective at providing high quality healthcare while keeping costs far below US costs. I didn’t spotlight the UK because I think they underfund the NHS significantly compared to the other countries I listed and that impacts availability and quality of care.

    Reply
    1. Rod

      with regards to SS–I believe there should be no Cap on earnings contributions while indexing the SS Payment Cap to AGI. Maybe if you’re making 120k a year (+/- 10% tranche of SS Recipients’) without your SS, you are capped at the 30k +/- max payout?

      Reply
  10. Wukchumni

    Sports desk drawer:

    George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees for $8.7 million in 1973, and the franchise is ‘worth’ $3.2 billion now.

    Not many investments go up over 350x in a less than 50 year span. It must rank right up there with high end fine art in terms of performance.

    Players salaries shot to the moon also, and the players union doesn’t want the gravy train to stop rolling.

    Hard to say how eager shut-in Americans will take to tv broadcasts of empty stadiums aside from a couple dozen on the field, but even with last year’s juiced ball and 10% more HR’s in total by all teams than any year previous, a million less fans came through the turnstiles.

    I’d guess the Braves are eager to play-after reading that article on Georgia, and what a perfect moniker.

    This week, MLB owners approved a plan that would pay players a percentage of their 2020 salaries based on a 50-50 split between players and owners of MLB’s revenue from the regular season and postseason. That is a non-starter for the players union, which refuses to agree to any deal that they feel represents a salary cap.

    So what exactly are the disagreements between the owners and players? And will those differences imperil any chance at the 2020 season?

    The players feel like they are being asked to inherit all the risk while making most of the financial sacrifices. While baseball players can socially distance in a way that their counterparts in basketball and football cannot while competing, they will inevitably be close enough to one another to risk spreading the coronavirus. Washington Nationals relief pitcher Sean Doolittle voiced some of those concerns on Twitter last week while Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Blake Snell claimed he didn’t want to accept a reduced salary with so many unknowns regarding the virus.

    MLB, unlike the NBA, NHL and NFL, doesn’t have a salary cap and doesn’t split revenue between players and organizations. Teams earn individual revenues through local incomes (team television contracts, in-game earnings like tickets and concessions) and shared national revenues (league licensing, merchandising, national television contracts). Without these revenue streams, teams are hemorrhaging money.

    https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2020/may/18/is-covid-19-exposing-mlb-players-as-exploited-workers-or-greedy-millionaires

    Reply
    1. MLTPB

      Baseball seems easier to social distance than (in your face) arm wrestling.

      Are players in S Korea wearing masks? Looks like it.

      Do they shower at home? That would be safer.

      Still, is it about money in capitalist S Korea?

      Reply
    2. Bugs Bunny

      The one thing I look forward to in the fall is NFL football, specifically the GB Packers. Football got me through college and law school and became a habit and a big stress release. It was also one of the only ways I could find to maintain a relationship with my father. I understand that there’s a lot of controversy about head injuries, criminal behavior, etc. and I get that. That said, this fall is going to stink.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        Growing up I bled Dodger blue so much I was considered an essential donor, but then I don’t know what happened, I just couldn’t get through a whole game in the regular season, and it wasn’t just me.

        I hear ya on the NFL, I too look forward to smashmouth football, but am afraid it’ll be relegated to touch with each player having 2 streamers velcro’d to the sides of their pants, and absolutely no tackling please. (1st offense-game suspension, 2nd offense-season suspension)

        Reply
      2. Henry Moon Pie

        On the little-bit-bright-side, the Kansas City Chiefs, participants in the first (damn you, Max McGee!) and last Super Bowls, may end up perpetual champions, a fitting tribute to the new GOAT and the Legion of Zoom.

        Reply
    3. Basil Pesto

      This is tangential, but for a while now I’ve found it curious and amusing that Americans can be so resistant to ‘socialist’/redistributive economic ideas when they seem to have a vivid case study of those ideas in practice in the form of their hugely popular sports leagues (apart from MLB as you point out). Compare this to soccer, which I’m more familiar with, and which has a staggeringly open international market – with the attendant consequences to sporting equity pretty plain to see: power concentrated primarily in a dozen or so European megaclubs.

      Reply
      1. eg

        Part of American Exceptionalism is this capacity for cognitive compartmentalization that bewilders outside observers.

        Reply
    4. periol

      Before CV hit, sports were the only thing left where watching “LIVE” mattered. Everything else can be time-shifted. That reality has hit team valuations the last few years.

      That said, I don’t see how they recover from empty stadiums.

      Reply
    5. a different chris

      This would be, if Americans weren’t dunderheads, a great tool to explore the real difference between Capital and Workers.

      Yeah, the workers are being paid millions. The owners are billionaires, and their income won’t drop off the cliff before half their life is over.

      It’s simple to me – they are told to come to work to do the same job they were contracted to do when they signed. So why should they do it for less?

      And yeah the league will lose money. This year. So what, that happens in business, and again “billionaires” — I sometimes thing people have a hard time grasping what a billion dollars really is. And these are people with multiple billions.

      Quick check – the total payroll of the Chicago Cubs is a bit short of 200 million dollars. The current (estimated, no doubt) wealth of Joe Rickets is 2.3 billion dollars. He could pay them for 1/2 year of work, have no games at all, and still be worth 2.2 billion dollars.

      Reply
      1. Bsoder

        But, he’d being generating a tax loss, probably some credits as well, my guess is he get back $100 million plus. These people never, ever, pay income taxes. conceptual it is beyond the Media’s ability to understand a billionaire, nor in their interest.

        Reply
    6. HotFlash

      a million less fans came through the turnstiles

      The influence of big-sceen TV, I shouldn’t wonder. Why watch the game on the JumboTron in a hot stadium with overpriced beer, when you can watch in air conditioned comfort, with the craft brew of you choice, on a screen limited only by the size of your wall?

      But not a fan of spectator sports anyway.

      Reply
  11. anon5246

    We had been walking in Cairo, heading south down El-Gamaleya Street and Khan Gaafar Street, for several minutes when suddenly, to our right, a bouquet of fireworks lit up the night sky, producing a host of detonations.

    A spray of rockets climbed into the air, and soon, reaching the peak of their ascent, the incandescent nuclei exploded with a loud bang to form many luminous portraits of the young Bill Gates, in place of the habitual and banal showers of fire and stars.

    Each image, bursting from its envelope, emerged independently in the form of pink and blue covid-19 molecules, then floated in the darkness with a gentle sway.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      Wonderful imagery, it was almost as if I was there witnessing the czar spangled banner, o’er the ramparts I watched, gallantly streaming online.

      Reply
  12. The Rev Kev

    ‘This feels great’

    This story centers around Alpharetta in Georgia. I checked and found that it has a population of only about 70,000 people so you would expect that hospital bed numbers would be limited. The main one – Northside/Alpharetta Medical Campus – lists itself as having only about 455 beds so they had better hope that the virus does not run rampant through this town. The comparison between how Georgia handled the pandemic the first time around in 1918 and now makes interesting reading-

    https://www.ajc.com/news/state–regional/for-coronavirus-hit-atlanta-echoes-1918-spanish-flu-pandemic/QIC48abnRUJQvapSKAUIUJ/

    But in both eras, the problem remains the same. It is people that will tell you that “This is not happening!” so matter how bad things get and how obvious the evidence is-

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rY-HOYTz-rs

    Reply
      1. periol

        We might be headed for a remake of “Gone With The Wind” in 15 years or so…

        “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn”

        We’re hitting all the right notes.

        Reply
  13. GramSci

    Re: Killer Corruption

    I found the embedded link to “the US dollar’s global primacy” particularly revealing.

    “This crisis has shored up and spotlighted the strength of the dollar,” Joshua Meltzer, a senior fellow at Brookings Institution, tells Axios.

    “It underscores that when there is a crisis the only asset anyone wants to hold is dollars.”

    The COVID bailout has not gone almost exclusively to the banks because Wall Street and DC are greedy. They also have fun virtue-signaling and imposing sanctions.

    Reply
    1. Susan the other

      Gail Tverberg is out with another one. She has a toggle-bolt model of what is happening with the pandemic and the economy. It is a good model. Her perspective is as an actuary – and she looks at all the angles. But I doubt it supports the dollar – she only talked about demand and supply – that without demand supply shrivels up and dies. And with over-demand it crashes. And under those possibilities the dollar isn’t worth much of a premium – the dollar is worth about as much as the world economy can be churned and stimulated by industries connected with the dollar. So it might be a good guess that the dollar’s “primacy” is over. That’s good news for the environment at least. And really, if “the only asset anyone wants to hold is the dollar” that can only mean one thing: the dollar is a global monopolist currency.

      Reply
      1. Bsoder

        Actual not, as of last month there was a world short of $16 trillion dollars. The fed has been very busy doing swaps with other central banks. No offer refused.

        Reply
        1. Susan the other

          I’m thinking more along the lines that the world economy is pulling back. Right now it is still the same old structure – but in a year things might be different. Countries will naturally isolate and focus on maintaining the most necessary economic relations, imo. So if that does happen to some extent, where does it leave the dollar?

          Reply
  14. dcblogger

    who is funding the lawsuit’s forcing the states to reopen? if I had actual reporting skills I would research that.

    Reply
    1. MLTPB

      De Gaulle was still the leader in 1968 and 1969.

      How did he handle the pandemic?

      Would he have done a better job than Putin today?

      Reply
  15. a different chris

    Crap! Did anybody else click on the “hamster research shows the effectiveness of masks” link expecting to see hamsters in adorable little masks?

    So disappointed.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      Same here. I was thinking that maybe they put their paws into little miniature boxing gloves so that they could not tug off their little masks too.

      Reply
  16. eg

    Regarding the Toronto Sun bit about restaurant survival, I live just outside the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) but still within the “Golden Horseshoe” at the western tip of Lake Ontario.

    I’m not going to a dine-in restaurant (or my church, for that matter) until there’s a reliable vaccine or much better treatment options for COVID-19. Hard to say what % of former patrons my attitude represents?

    Reply
    1. rd

      I live in Upstate NY. There are a number of restaurants well-structured to do take-out. A handful can do outside dining in the summer. That will die quickly after Labor Day. I don’t plan on sitting down in an indoor restaurant for probably 12 months, possibly more. I think a lot of people are of the same mindset. It doesn’t matter if some governor or mayor says the restaurants ahve re-opened.

      I think we will see restaurants re-open for the summer if they have a parking lot/closed street to have a bunch of tables outside. The ones that are in outparcel buildins in mall environments can probably do that or if a city is willing to close a key block with lots of restaurants. A few people might dine inside, but probably not many other than the “invulnerables” who believe it is a hoax or it won’t get them. So some of the party bars for college-age and millenials will probably do ok, but anybody relying on the 50+ crowd is goign to struggle.

      I expect non-fast food restaurants will have a “never re-open” rate of at least 25%, possibly 50% unless Congress puts in a specific restaurant/bar grant category to cover rent and key employee salaries for 18-24 months.

      Reply
  17. NotTimothyGeithner

    So the Ronan Farrow story rumors are off to the races…

    Has anyone seen Jill Biden since the Reade story blew up?

    Reply
  18. Olga

    Thanks for the Zocalo link. I liked this instruction to the ruler during a pandemic:
    “Retract your teeth and claws. Gladden your people. Unite them, humor them, please them. Make your nation happy. Help each find their proper place. That way you’ll be esteemed, renowned. And when our Lord extinguishes you, the old ones will weep and sigh.”
    Wish the current politicians would listen…

    Reply
  19. Bugs Bunny

    In today’s Resolute Reads mail from the White House (which I highly recommend), this link was included:

    https://thehill.com/policy/defense/498021-trump-administration-unveils-space-force-flag

    During Friday’s presentation of the flag, Trump alluded to the development of a new U.S. military asset.
    “We have, I call it the super-duper missile,” Trump said, explaining that it could travel “17 times faster than what they have right now.” A Pentagon spokesman was asked about the “super-duper missile” during a subsequent press call and referred reporters back to the White House.

    Some wag has already put this page on Wikipedia…

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super-Duper_Missile

    I hope Space Force makes the name official.

    Reply
    1. Bsoder

      Oh good, 1/3 slower than a tested & I use Russian hypersonic cruise missile. I love that our technology is so easy to steal.

      Reply
  20. Pat

    Regarding NYs over the top numbers, I am betting Covid 19 was loose in NY before it was on anyone’s radar. I think we got hit because we are a center for international business, a popular tourist destination, have three international airports within a hundred miles, and a significant number of our population relies on public transportation creating other hubs like the airports. Oh and a few delays by our government, all of them. I am sure we could find a few other things that help outbreaks. We are and were a perfect storm.

    That said, I am pretty sure there are areas of the country where people could pretty much go about their business the same as before. Unfortunately, I also think to stay that way would mean that anyone arriving to that area, including after a day trip out would have to quarantine for a couple of weeks to keep it that way. The reopening guidelines don’t really allow for that.

    We are finding our way in this. And in any area with none infections care needs to be taken. One thing for people in that article to remember besides people can be infected without knowing it, is that a whole lot of people will just not care if they infect others, if acting responsibly gets in the way of their own desires. There always are. And others won’t care because it inhibits their money making. There are so many ways for this to be a disaster.

    Reply
    1. periol

      Covid-19 was definitely not loose in NY before it was on my radar. Or many around here at NC.

      Regardless of the many missteps that have happened since, not shutting down or at least quarantining international arrivals earlier (February) and introducing immediate track and trace was the mistake that fanned the flame, not just in NY but CA and WA too.

      Just because everyone talks about and/or assumes shutting down international travel or instituting quarantines was some impossible option right up until it the government shut down international travel doesn’t mean it shouldn’t have happened way, way, way sooner.

      Reply
      1. MLTPB

        Feb 1, 2020 – travel to and from China restricted.

        Jan and Feb – most people were following the impeachment and the D primary.

        Something should have been done about restricting travel to and from Italy and/or the rest of Europe. Was it due to the ‘last war’ effect in which most cases of SARS in the early 2000s were in Asia, and not Europe?? I don’t know.

        Reply
        1. periol

          “Restricted” is doing quite a bit of work here. There were no real restrictions, even for China. People continued to fly here from China. There were checks, for what they were good for, but no quarantines.

          Two of the first acknowledged cases in California were TSA “health check” employees at LAX. Whoever gave them COVID-19 came through no problem. I’m sure we are talking about way more than one, since two separate employees got it.

          And the NY strain came from Italy, so…

          Reply
          1. MLTPB

            In LA, there was a Feb (I think) story of a S Korean flight attendant walking around Koreatown.

            It seems me the Chinese travel restrictions did quite a bit of work, as even with the TSA workers and flight attendants, the cases here did not really take off until we saw the NY curve trend up.

            And it suggests to me that not restricting Italy and Europe earlier remains the key oversight.

            Reply
            1. periol

              Most of the evidence I’ve seen showed that California and Washington largely have a different strain from NY, and that is still basically holding true. I’m definitely willing to be shown evidence to the contrary. I mean, it’s obvious that both strains are spreading in California now.

              The thing is… we did shut down international travel. Just way late. And even then, the last returning flights weren’t quarantined.

              Some of the first cases in Canada were people who had traveled to the US. I don’t know why Canada didn’t shut down that travel sooner either.

              “the cases here did not really take off until we saw the NY curve trend up”

              We have very different definitions of the case numbers taking off. I much prefer New Zealand’s idea of how many cases are too many.

              Reply
              1. Jessica

                A few days ago, saw a map that said that Washington State is 43% from NY, (the rest from China, I assume).
                Canada posted a list in March or early April of every international flight from which covid-19 patients eventually emerged and where they were sitting. Out west, Vancouver and Calgary had a number of such flights, but Edmonton none. That is the covid-19 pattern there even up to now. IIRC, the flights were about half and half from east Asia and Europe.

                Reply
        2. Ignacio

          Feb 1 2020 was already too late to ban flights to or from China even if the ban included other hubs like Singapore or any indirect connection. Jan 15th should have been the latest to put a break to spread and by this time the ban should have included all Southeast Asia countries.

          Reply
          1. MLTPB

            For reference, Wuhan lockdown was around Jan 23

            The next week saw evacuations of Americans.

            On Jan 29 or 30, the announcement came to restrict, effective a day before that Supwerbowl Sunday.

            (Russia and Italy, a day or two, or three before us).

            Reply
            1. periol

              I do not understand why we immediately quarantine all travelers from China the moment Wuhan went into shutdown mode. Doing that would have made it easier to do the same thing for flights from Europe.

              Reply
              1. MLTPB

                I don’t recall anyone at that time, calling for that (the moment Wuhan shut down, all from there quarantined) on this site here, or elsewhere.

                I think it was later that Cnchal posted “still flying = fail.”

                Reply
                1. periol

                  No one in the media? Or the government?

                  They only let the voices they want to be heard speak. The only places online where I found people as worried about this thing as I was were on some reddit subs that were “quarantined” for “fear-mongering” over coronavirus.

                  I overcame my reticence regarding posting here or anywhere on the internet back in February, as I was personally getting more and more frustrated international flights weren’t being shut down.

                  It was never in the media, because the folks who control the messaging refused to allow that to be an option until it was too late. It’s globalism or death, my preciousssssss…

                  Reply
                  1. MLTPB

                    Maybe at reddit, but I don’t recall anyone here on Feb 23, 2020 asking people from Wuhan be quarantined.

                    I think we talked about millions who had already left Wuhan before the 23rd, and we wondered if some were already all over China, and all over the world.

                    Also I think if all of China had been under lockdown, not just Hubei, countries would have been more reactive.

                    If you said shut down our borders on Feb 23, 2020, after Wuhan was locked down, you probably knew more about the situation on the ground a lot more than many. And yet, that would still be late, if the first Italian case was mid Feb.

                    Reply
                    1. periol

                      I just don’t understand your thoughts on this.

                      Why neither the WHO nor the USA called for a complete travel ban when China locked down Wuhan is beyond me. The lockdown made the news. People knew it was happening.

                      Whatever happened to better safe than sorry?

                      We waited too long, and the results are catastrophic. I’m not sure why you are denying this reality.

                      Travel lockdown and thorough contact tracing. If this happened in February, we would be talking about the election and the beautiful weather right now.

                2. Jessica

                  The WHO specifically said that there was no need for flight bans very early on. IIRC, they maintained that posture until right about when practically speaking, it no longer meant just China.

                  Reply
              2. Bugs Bunny

                I saw Chinese tourists in France in mid-February. I know they were Chinese because I know their tour bus company. They were nearly all wearing masks. No one checked them at CDG, I’m sure because I returned from India the first week of March and no one checked any of us. No questionnaire, no temp check.

                Reply
                1. John Anthony La Pietra

                  Could that have been a case of “A little cultural knowledge is a dangerous thing”?

                  As in, “Oh, yes, they’re wearing masks, but then the Chinese are alwaus doing that sort of thing even at home — and so do the Japanese, and . . . anyway, it’s nothing for us to worry about, right?”

                  Reply
            2. Ignacio

              Yes, that recompilation of events underlines how misguided were the reactions on Covid 19. Next paragraph is from first WHO report (20th Jan):

              “Since14 January 2020, 35 infrared thermometers have been installed in airports, railway stations, long-distance bus stations, and ferry terminals”

              Such a mild reaction that later resulted in closing everything!

              Reply
          2. periol

            New Zealand banned travel from China on Feb. 3.
            Borders and entry ports were fully closed on March 18.

            Granted, they did in-depth contact tracing as well. No point shutting down travel if you’re not going to do any contact tracing.

            Reply
          1. The Rev Kev

            Wait a minute. That article was talking about flights to and from China. What about those from Europe? After all, the infection that raged through New York City came from Europe and not China. And I bet that those numbers do not include all those private aircraft flights either. What is the point of a forlorn hope in tracing contacts when you are still letting in people of whom a fair number will likely be infected?

            Reply
            1. periol

              I am arguing with someone else who claimed travel from China was shutdown. It wasn’t.

              I agree with you. We should have quarantined all international arrivals after Wuhan locked down if we were not going to shut down flights. Failure to do so then means utter failure now.

              Reply
  21. HotFlash

    Was thinking about the link ystrdy, Stores Stress Over How to Handle a Customer Who Won’t Wear a Mask WSJ. I have worked retail in small shops as owner, manager, employee, and volunteer. Had some tough customers come in. My in-laws owned a mom-and-pop grocery store in the wilds of MI for decades, were held up several times, and Mom was once held hostage when the bank was robbed while she was making the deposit. Did some numbers.

    Gun deaths in US, 2020 to date, 14,905 (incl suicides), corona deaths, 88,754.
    Gun deaths in Canada, est (max annual in 20th C) 839 (incl suicides, approx 80%), corona deaths 5,799.

    Now, if a customer walked into my store with a gun in their hand, I’d sure as hell not stress over how to handle that person.

    Reply
    1. Susan the other

      I was in the produce section last week and some large, loud woman was picking over the apples while talking loudly on her cell phone and without a mask. Way too loudly – she was like a gigantic bellows. I felt like whacking her with my celery, just for ducks, but I didn’t. Instead I went home and put a hex on her, Aztec style.

      Reply
      1. HotFlash

        I find grocery shopping these days a real trial. I will wait (more or less) patiently as someone peruses the condiment section in search of a specific artisanal mustard or deciding between the extra-extra-extra virgin olive oil and the cold-pressed organic avocado oil, even if they are standing in the middle of the extra-wide aisle when I could squeak past them if they hugged the shelf on the other side. But the ones who shuffle down the aisle the wrong way while wearing masks put me over the top, and the folks who will wait patiently 6′ apart in the line, then crowd past you through the door. Oh, and the store stockers who do not seem to be bound by the direction arrows or, indeed, any distancing protocol. I guess, like doctors, they are both immune and can’t spread disease?

        The basic, basic lack of consideration and cooperation I am seeing through this pandemic, the basic lack of understanding, combined with the kind of pulling-in-all directions I see from what passes as the Left (eg, see the comments after Caitlyn Johnstone’s piece today) lead me to abandon hope for us plebes taking this, or any, opportunity to improve our lot in life. Too bad corona virus doesn’t select for cooperation.

        Reply
  22. Matthew G. Saroff

    Regarding the New York Times hit job on Farrow, I am with this tweet that someone is, “working on something they want to preemptively discredit”.

    If it is something that they want to prremtively discredit, than either it involves a Times publisher, or rhymes with “Posidon”.

    Of course, it could just be the delicate sensibilities of the pratcticioners of the both-siderism.

    Reply
    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I had this thought too, but I saw a suggestion that it could be a tech guy’s relationship with Epstein. So…I’m guessing someone who rhymes with bates.

      Reply
      1. Matthew G. Saroff

        It could be that they are competing on a scoop, and the Times wants to put a stick through the spokes of his wheels.

        Reply
  23. Mikel

    “Have the Record Number of Investors in the Stock Market Lost Their Minds?” New Yorker.

    The New Yorker as Marketwatch.
    Reelin’ them in with what on the surface looks like a cautionary report but filled with anecdotes to generate a FOMO among readers.

    Reply
  24. Oregoncharles

    On the subject of Ronan Farrow (well, not actually): Glenn Greenwald has an important (on the long side) piece on the state of journalism, inspired by the Farrow piece, today: https://theintercept.com/2020/05/18/ben-smiths-nyt-critique-of-ronan-farrow-describes-a-toxic-corrosive-and-still-vibrant-trump-era-pathology-resistance-journalism/ . And my comment, on an ancillary issue I like to raise occasionally, because the “conspiracy theory” meme drives me nuts:

    Thank you; an important contribution. Glenn has become indispensable as a media critic. My only quibble is that I”m not convinced this is all that new; I do remember the Cold War.

    That said, I wish Glenn would not validate the invalid term “conspiracy theories” by using it outside of quotes. It is inherently misleading, on the most basic level, because it is predicated on “conspiracies” being implausible, when they are actually very common. Ask any prosecutor. Most business crimes involve a conspiracy, as does any large-scale crime – like planning a war of aggression.

    It helps to remember the origin of the term, in the aftermath of the JFK assassination. The official theory was that it was perpetrated by a “lone gunman,” Oswald; so any alternative theory, involving multiple gunmen, was a “conspiracy theory.” So what it really means is “at odds with the official story” – especially obvious when the official story involves a conspiracy, like 9/11. In that case, the real question is who was in the conspiracy, along with multiple questions about how and why.

    At least since the Vietnam War, any American who is paying attention knows that the official story is frequently a lie and that the powerful usually have something to hide. The Left is not in the business of supporting the dominant paradigm, and Glenn Greenwald certainly isn’t, either.

    At this point, “conspiracy theory” has been further degraded to mean “any theory we don’t like;” in practice, it’s used to dismiss ideas as implausible without bothering to disprove them. As such, it’s intellectually dishonest. Glenn’s use is far better than average, since he points out that stories like Russiagate are also “conspiracy theories;” that is a useful thing to do.

    But he weakens his point by using the term as if it were legitimate.

    Reply
    1. Basil Pesto

      Webster’s dictionary gives the first known use of the term ‘conspiracy theory’ has 1871, preceding the Kennedy assassination by nearly a century. It doesn’t give a reference, unfortunately (at least not in my app-based edition).

      Reply
    2. cripes

      Oregoncharles:

      All true, with one caveat:
      One does not need even to propose an alternative theory to explain events of the past 50 years to be labelled “conspr*cy theor*st).

      Merely asking if the official theory might be partially or entirely implausible, or that actual investigation and evidence be analyzed instead of incinerated is enough to bring the con-theorist hammer down. Just ask the 9/11 Jersey spouses.

      Everyday citizens nursed from the womb in this repugnant silencing tactic will enforce the ban on the local level as they have been trained to do.
      ———–
      Basil Pesto:

      While the first use of the term predates the propaganda campaign against those who dared even to question the official theory, it is certain the abuse of the phrase to silence critics was organized to counter any doubt of the egregious Warren report and to this day embedded into public media usage to silence anyone who dares to challenge (un) official interpretations contrary to it.

      In their own words:
      “To employ propaganda assets (“friendly elite contacts, especially politicians and editors”) to answer and refute the attacks of the critics (of the Warren report).

      See original here:
      https://history-matters.com/archive/jfk/cia/russholmes/104-10406/104-10406-10110/html/104-10406-10110_0002a.htm

      Reply
  25. Ignacio

    RE: Inside Trump’s coronavirus meltdown | Free to read FT.

    This is the most corrosive piece I have ever read about Trump’s presidency by far. I have lately been thinking about the political mistakes that have been made everywhere and Trump looks like the poster child on how to commit an endless row of mistakes with no matching parallel in the world but maybe the Chinese leadership. The strongmen Trump-Xinping confrontation is resulting in everybody around the world loosing something more important than respect. The US has more to loose on this so, in relative terms, China is poised to “win” in this stupidity contest unless the dog-eats-dog strategy goes to its final consequences. Would Trump be tempted to go too far with this if he feels he is loosing popularity? Is there a brake that can be pushed on him if necessary?

    Reply
    1. ewmayer

      “Is there a brake that can be pushed on him if necessary?” — Why yes, impeachment. Because clearly to the TDS-addled Dem establishment, nominating someone for whom enough people want to vote to, you know, vote Trump out of office, is simply not an option. Plus, endless intelligence-cesspool leaks and gaslighting and soft-coup-fomenting are far more democratic than elections, and don’t give the Great Unwashed a chance to get uppity at the ballot box. /sarc

      Reply
    2. Susan the other

      One interesting thing that doesn’t get aired properly is that the spat between Trump and Xi and the WHO is over who, which country, is actually responsible for Covid19 originally. And after Trump et.al. threatened to sue China for billions over Covid, China said the US owed the world reparations for the Spanish flu and for HIV. I’m pretty sure the truth is both countries and a few others (maybe France, Canada, etc.) are culpable. How Covid19 escaped into human populations is a question that will never be answered. But the lesson learned is pretty clear – take effective measures to insure this does not happen again and if that is not possible then it might be a good idea to go virtual and make all research AI and computer models – if that is possible.

      Reply
  26. David in Santa Cruz

    Thanks for leading with the Aztec story — although I may have a different take than the author. I don’t buy the “Cortez the Killer” meme. The Aztec Empire was a Mesoamerican Trump Group. Or maybe Carlyle.

    There’s a reason Cortez’s rag-tag band of Spaniards was able to recruit ten thousand Tlaxcaltecah warriors to finish-off the floating city. Any rigidly hierarchical society that spent their time terrorizing and enslaving their neighbors and who built their city around the Gran Tzompantli — a tower of human skulls — deserved what they got.

    I suspect that there’s a lesson there, somewhere, but it ain’t the “wisdom” of Aztec rulers who liked to finish-off the weekend ball game by cutting the still-beating hearts out of the losing team’s chests recommending maintaining a sense humor during plagues…

    Reply

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