Links 5/19/2020

Forget murder hornets. Giant gypsy moths could bring ‘serious, widespread damage’ to the US. USA Today. Worry, worry, worry.

We Can Prevent a Great Depression. It’ll Take $10 Trillion. The Atlantic. So, two Iraq wars, but we get to build stuff instead of blowing it up? And we don’t blow a few hundred thousand faraway brown people to pink mist? Where do I sign up?

Pay Attention to the Central Bankers Behind the Curtain Bloomberg

Howard Marks Knows the Value of 2020 Hindsight Bloomberg

#COVID19

The science:

Potent neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 identified by high-throughput single-cell sequencing of convalescent patients’ B cells Cell. “[W]e showed that human neutralizing antibodies could be efficiently discovered by high-throughput single B-cell sequencing in response to pandemic infectious diseases.”

Targets of T cell responses to SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in humans with COVID-19 disease and unexposed individuals (PDF) Cell. From the Summary: “Understanding adaptive immunity to SARS-CoV-2 is important for vaccine development, interpreting coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pathogenesis, and calibration of pandemic control measures…. [C[irculating SARS-CoV-2−specific CD8+ and CD4+= T cells were identified in ~70% and 100% of COVID-19 convalescent patients, respectively. CD4+ T cell responses to spike, the main target of most vaccine efforts, were robust and correlated with the magnitude of the anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG and IgA titers. … Importantly, we detected SARS-CoV-2−reactive CD4+ T cells in ~40-60% of unexposed individuals, suggesting cross-reactive T cell recognition between circulating ‘common cold’ coronaviruses and SARS-CoV-2.” Sounds hopeful. Note: Peer-reviewed, accepted for publication. Not a pre-print. See also South China Morning Post.

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Data:

State and Federal Data on COVID-19 Testing Don’t Match Up The Atlantic

How are COVID-19 deaths counted? Live Science

As Florida re-opens, COVID-19 data chief gets sidelined and researchers cry foul Florida Today. “But researchers who have relied on unobstructed access to underlying raw data said they interpret Jones’ removal as a clear indication of government censorship of science. ‘We would not accept this lack of transparency for any other natural disaster, so why are we willing to accept it here?’ said Jennifer Larsen, a researcher at the University of Central Florida’s LabX.”

A ‘cuckoo’ graph with no sense of time or place shows how Georgia bungled coronavirus data as it reopens Business Insider (Re Silc).

Investigation Reveals Coronavirus Covering Its Tracks By Making Victims’ Deaths Look Like Car Accidents The Onion

* * *

Spread:

Coronavirus infection rate in L.A. County is falling. But it’s still in the danger zone Los Angeles Tims

What settings have been linked to SARS-CoV-2 transmission clusters? [version 1; peer review: 1 approved with reservations] Wellcome Open Research. From the abstract: “We found many examples of SARS-CoV-2 clusters linked to a wide range of mostly indoor settings. Few reports came from schools, many from households, and an increasing number were reported in hospitals and elderly care settings across Europe… However, in part due to the limits in surveillance capacities in many settings, the gathering of information such as cluster sizes and attack rates is limited in several ways: inherent recall bias, biased media reporting and missing data.”

Estimating the overdispersion in COVID-19 transmission using outbreak sizes outside China [version 1; peer review: 1 approved] Wellcome Open Research. From the abstract: “Our model suggested a high degree of individual-level variation in the transmission of COVID-19…. Our finding of a highly-overdispersed offspring distribution highlights a potential benefit to focusing intervention efforts on superspreading. As most infected individuals do not contribute to the expansion of an epidemic, the effective reproduction number could be drastically reduced by preventing relatively rare superspreading events.”

* * *

Masks:

Meltblown procedure: Producing coronavirus mask filter fleece Deutsche Welle (nvl). Fascinating. I just wish there were a (plant-based?) substitute for polypropylene, though clearly making masks from oil is more sensible than burning it.

Aerosol Filtration Efficiency of Common Fabrics Used in Respiratory Cloth Masks ACS Nano. Interesting:

We made measurements for three variations: combining one layer 600 TPI cotton with two layers of silk, two layers of chiffon, and one layer of flannel. The results are also compared with the performance of a standard N95 mask. All three hybrid combinations performed well, exceeding 80% efficiency in the <300 nm range, and >90% in the >300 nm range. These cloth hybrids are slightly inferior to the N95 mask above 300 nm, but superior for particles smaller than 300 nm.

Fit is also critical, but I view that as an artiffact of treating fabric masks as disposable, as opposed to articles of clothing. It’s good to see so much ingenious experimentation going on here.

Copper masks are the latest craze. Should you buy one? Fast Company

Mask in a restaurant? This one can gobble like Pac-Man Reuters

PPE and pestilence: The origins of medical masks Agence France Presse

* * *

Treatment:

Trump says he’s taking hydroxychloroquine, the drug he touted as coronavirus treatment, despite FDA warnings USA Today. Big if true. Big if false. Notably, Trump is combining hydroxychloroquine with zinc, both of unknown dosages, and using the combination as a preventative, a scenario that the observational studies have not, to my knowledge tested, and which also seems to represent a rough consensus for appropriate use in the NC commentariat among students of hydroxychloroquine (we are not doctors!) The FDA recommendation is irrelevant given a physician’s prescription for off-label use. We have controlled studies coming, we don’t have them yet.

Toward Universal Deployable Guidelines for the Care of Patients With COVID-19 JAMA

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Vaccine:

Moderna Says Initial Covid-19 Vaccine Results Are Positive WSJ

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Economic effects:

Facebook Survey Shows 31% of Small Businesses Stopped Operating Bloomberg

Knock-Knock No More: Doors Are Being Redesigned Amid COVID-19 NBC10 Philadelphia

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Political response:

Fed Chair Says Coronavirus-Stricken Economy Might Not Recover Until End Of 2021 Bloomberg. Jerome Powell: “You really can’t put into words the pain people are feeling.”

US to back away from WHO move on Covid-19 drug patents FT

Coronavirus could push Social Security to insolvency before 2030 Politico. It’s bipartisan!

The Miner’s Canary: COVID-19 and the Rise of Non-Traditional Security Threats Defense One

* * *

Remedies and ameliorations:

How Etsy Became America’s Unlikeliest Breadbasket WSJ

China?

Over 100 Million in China’s Northeast Face Renewed Lockdown Bloomberg

Caught between China and the United States: why Hong Kong is the latest battleground in the rivalry and Article 23 could be the tinder to the explosive relationship South China Miorning Post

The US needs Chinese students Asia Times

Heartbroken woman takes revenge on her cheating ex-boyfriend by sending him A TONNE of onions to ‘make him cry as much as I did’ Daily Mail

South Korea

From Haunting to Healing: On the Gwangju Uprising and ‘Human Acts’ Catapult

India

Modi’s coronavirus ‘stimulus’ for India leaves business and investors deflated FT

Allow plying of more migrant trains, Centre tells states Times of India

Indonesia’s gravediggers battle virus fears, stigma Agence France Presse

Filipino immigrant nurses pay heavy price as Covid-19 pandemic races across the globe Straits Times

New Cold War

Shock Resistance Prevention: Lessons From the 2020 Pandemic Valdai Discussion Club

Burger King, Subway and Privatization: Who is Samuel Doria Medina? Kawsachun Coca

RussiaGate

This video from Greenwald is worth listening to, and as you see it comes recommended. Grab a cup of coffee:

The Media and Pundits Are Lying–The Flynn Unmasking Was Uncommon and Unusual Larry Johnson, Sic Semper Tyrannis. Very interesting, like a police procedural. It’s a shame this version of an “intelligence community” has not found its LeCarré.

RAY McGOVERN: Turn Out the Lights, Russiagate is Over Ray McGovern, Consortium News

Trump Transition

Rettig Affirms Filing Deadline, Asks Patience for IRS Reopening Tax Notes

The tyranny of the Congressional Budget Office Ryan Cooper, The Week

Health Care

Hospitals Knew How to Make Money. Then Coronavirus Happened. NYT. Wait, what? Hospitals are profit-making enterprises?

Failed State

New Jersey gym reopens in defiance of coronavirus measures Associated Press. Read the detail. Third World stuff.

Class Warfare

Pandemic diary 2020-05-05: Segregation cannot set you free Interfluidity. Today’s must-read.

Humans are not resources. Coronavirus shows why we must democratise work Guardian

Five robots that hope to save the US food supply chain FT

What I Want the Woman Behind the Counter to Know NYT. “I hope when we can take off our masks, I get to tell you how much I need you.” Consider doing what you can to improve her material conditions?

Blind people ‘read’ letters traced on their brains with electricity Nature. Don’t tell Marketing!

Antidote du Jour (via):

Bonus antidote:

More appropriate for Monday, perhaps…

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.

158 comments

  1. jackiebass

    Where I live in upstate NY we once had a bad infestation of Gypsy Moths. It was bad for 2 years destroying mostly Oak and Maple trees. After a couple years disease infected the moths and killed them off. The moths in effect caused their demise. They multiplied out of control eating up the food supply. This made them weak and vulnerable to disease. They disappeared as quickly as the arrived. There was some permeant damage but the forest have recovered. Since the outbreak ended it is rare to see the caterpillar. At least this was one invasive insect that wasn’t a permeant problem.

    Reply
    1. timbers

      There is a way to protect your yard trees for those who might not know.

      Wrap tin foil around the trunk of your tree, then tie strings on top and bottom of foil. This holds tin foil in place. Finally, smear axel grease on the foil. You can get axel grease in an auto store. The caterpillars can not crawl past this barrier up the tree, and your tree is safe.

      We get this in Massachusetts and they sweep thru forests in varying degrees. They infested the oak trees I planted in the yard a few years back, each spring. All is just fine since I started the tin foil stuff.

      Reply
      1. jackiebass63

        Another thing you can do is destroy the eggs the moths lay. They appear on the bark and look like a glob of light grey mud. Remove them and the caterpillars won’t hatch next spring.

        Reply
    2. Krystyn Podgajski

      “Invasive Species” are a human myth, a conceptual designation for something our limited perspective cannot understand.

      And how can we not call homo sapiens invasive when we look at the definition?

      An invasive species is a species that is not native to a specific location, and that has a tendency to spread to a degree believed to cause damage to the environment.

      Slowly invasive, then rapidly.

      Just like those gypsy moths, we are not a permanent problem either.

      Reply
      1. MLTPB

        Sounds like traditional plant interbreeding vs genetic engineering, as plants and animals have moved off their native habitats to new places, for a long, long time, to populate new islands or continents.

        Reply
      2. Bsoder

        You may be right philosophically, and in the eyes of god, but what is being said follows logically from the biology, particularly homeostatic balance in an eco system. I think you know that. Humans are part of nature and our habitat is the entire world for at least the last 40,000 years, all of it. Obviously, however one wants to define the ‘what we did and why we did it’, And that is, we have manage to just about destroy every square inch of the earth and kill all life in the oceans. And induced planetary heating on land to 1.7° everywhere else 1.3°. Looking at global 2.0° C by 2047, the new 2100 in models. We really moving now.

        Reply
        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          I think hyperbole tends to weaken an argument.

          No we haven’t “just about killed all life in the oceans”. Have a glance at the breathtaking sea life near some islands offshore Rome. And The Med is probably our most over-pressured sea.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcRuQZhbaEE

          The chance that Man destroys Nature is 0.00%, while the chance that Nature destroys Man is 100.00%. It’s comforting to think that our species will manage to do what no other species has done but it ignores all of the evidence.

          (No, I’m, not suggesting we shouldn’t try to limit our impact on the natural world)

          Reply
      3. Phil

        Krystyn, I admire your understanding of medical issues, which is far greater than mine. But the term “invasive” has important ecological connotations that you seem to overlook. In particular, it signifies a species that is removed from the ecosystem in which it evolved, and is thereby released from pressure from predators and/or parasites that co-evolved with it – leading to an explosive growth in its population. This is an observable phenomenon, not a “myth.”

        I’m curious to know the source of your definition, which seems to cast doubt on the ecological damage caused by invasive species (“believed to cause damage to the environment.”) That invasive species “cause damage to the environment” is beyond dispute – their effects include causing extinctions, increasing the frequency and severity of wildfires, and drastically reducing ecosystem complexity and resilience to perturbation, among others. All of these effects have been well documented in the scientific literature.

        Furthermore, species that are in novel habitats often do not have comparable ecological function to native species they might displace (due to the advantage described above). For example, here in California eucalyptus woodland now covers many acres once dominated by native oaks and/or chaparral. Unlike the native plants they displaced, eucalyptus support few native insects – consequently populations of bird species that are dependent on those insects are depressed.

        Very few ecologists would dispute that humans are an invasive species – perhaps the most successful invasive species of all time. Our many impacts on the planet offer a fine example of why invasive species should be considered a threat to biodiversity.

        Reply
        1. Krystyn Podgajski

          From Wikipedia:

          An invasive species is a species that is not native to a specific location (an introduced species), and that has a tendency to spread to a degree believed to cause damage to the environment, human economy or human health.

          I am not really overlooking how environmentalists interpret what invasive means but I am expanding on their limited view.

          A species is invasive only until it suddenly turns native at some point and the rest of the ecosystem balances with the new species. These invasive species disturb the environment but the environment stabilizes, sometimes with that new species, sometimes without. So what living thing was not invasive at some point? And what if what we see as invasive is actually the willful action of the species? Why not move to a place with less predators? Rich folk do it all the time! :)

          So it is only about change. In 1000 years from now will those eucalyptus still be invasive or will that be their habitat? Why do we point at all these animals and plants only hitching a ride with us, the most invasive species? Pointing a finger at a plant is pointing the finger in the wrong direction which I see you agree with.

          As humans we have had the ability to push off the re-balancing via the lever of technology. What habitat we end up balancing in is a whole nother story which we have yet to experience.

          Reply
      4. fwe'zy

        My permaculture teacher, who was mentored by Bill Mollison and is also widely respected in his own right, emphasized the importance of asking, “Native to when?” Time as a sector.

        I think the Ballona Wetlands restoration effort is experiencing some conflict related to this idea: one group supports restoring to an historically authentic state, and one group is metaphorically chaining itself to the actually existing wildlife and habitat.

        I see we all agree that human beans are invasive. Some would call this ecofascism! Let’s reflect on that.

        Reply
        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          I don’t think humans are “invasive”, I think we’re just doing the job Nature intended. We exploit our niche to the greatest extent possible using the capabilities provided us by evolution. These happen to include higher brain functions that enabled us to dream up tremendous forms of leverage over the rest of Nature. We will end up as a slim geological layer packed with plastics, radioactivity, heavy metals, and pathogens, for some future sentient creature to ponder. Or not.

          You’d notice that almost all of these little lines end. It’s OK.

          https://evogeneao.s3.amazonaws.com/images/tree_of_life/tree-of-life_2000.png

          Reply
          1. Krystyn Podgajski

            I don’t think humans are “invasive”, I think we’re just doing the job Nature intended.

            I agree, and there are no other invasive species either, just doing their job.

            We exploit our niche to the greatest extent possible using the capabilities provided us by evolution. These happen to include higher brain functions that enabled us to dream up tremendous forms of leverage over the rest of Nature.

            I am ok with myself and humans not being around at some point. But do with have to live with the torture and filth while we are here? If we can realize our leverage over nature might be the thing that kills us off, why would we still use it?

            I hope you can get past the nihilism one day.

            Reply
  2. none

    Here is a 6 minute OSHA video about how to put on an N95 mask and check its fit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=05wyH1-mLGk

    Scott Alexander on Slatestarcodex last month mentioned his mask training from medical school. They have you put on the mask and then sniff some strong mint or something like that. If you can smell the mint through the mask, it is leaking and you have to adjust the straps until you can’t smell anything through it.

    Reply
    1. Cynthia

      Being fitted for an N-95 mask is rather senseless in terms of adequately protecting hospital workers because the mask only comes in two different sizes. Why does OSHA make so much ado about hospital workers being “fit tested” for an N-95 mask every year when such a mask is far from being described as “custom fitted.” No one, for instance, walks into a shoe store and ask the store clerk to fit them for a particular size shoe when they only come in two sizes. Also, no one should expect a shoe that only comes in two sizes to protect them from slipping or falling. If anything, you are more likely to slip or fall wearing a shoe that only comes in two sizes. The same sort of thing is true with regards to a mask that only come in two sizes. It’s likely to slip or fall off your face, thus doing next-to-nothing in terms of protecting you from being exposed to a potentially deadly microbe, be it TB or COVID-19.

      Furthermore, there is no reason at all to hire, say, an expert shoe fitter to fit you for a pair of shoes if they only come two sizes. So why is the government, in this case OSHA, requiring hospitals to hire experts, in this case RNs, do something that require no expertises at all to do. This truly is what some on the Right would refer to as regulator burden at its worst, and for good reason.

      Reply
      1. Raymonde Smith

        In response to Cynthia:
        https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2020/05/links-5-19-2020.html#comment-3362267

        Thanks for your input. We’re all learning a lot about PPE during this pandemic.

        This may be tangetal but:
        I noticed right off back in early March that the medical care workers in S. Korea were covered head to toe-almost space suit type fittings. While in the USA, gowns are open in the back, only go, at most, to top of the calf and are loose fitting at the wrist. Same kind of incomplete covering for head. Seems like that would leave too many openings for aerosol particles to waft underneath all the layers.

        Definitely seems like the manufacturers need to step up their game and do some design work to offer several more sizes.

        Reply
        1. Cynthia

          The problem is the quality of the protective gear has gotten worse, Raymonde. Much worse. For instance, the hospital now provides us with a two-piece plastic gown, one for the arms and the other for the trunk. When worn, it looks like two overlapping garbage bags, in fact. Needless to say, it’s VERY time consuming to put on and take off. The previous gowns that we had could be quickly and easily put on and taken off. In fact, we could just quickly grab it and rip it off with total ease.

          However, the new gown, since it is made of plastic, has to be cut off with scissors. That means you have to have an extra nurse on the floor/unit whose only job is to carry around a pair of scissors and cut gowns off of other nurses as needed. And if you have ever done direct patient care, especially when it’s acute or critical in nature, then you will know that being able to respond quickly often times means a matter of life and death for patients. So if you have to spend more than, say, a few seconds to gown on or gown off, you are putting a patient’s life at risk.

          Granted, the two-piece, garbage-bag quality, plastic gown might give you better coverage for your back, but it’s inferior in every other way. My guess is that it is all about saving a buck even if it leads to higher death rates for COVID patients.

          To add insult to injury, though, non-clinical types, particularly in leadership positions, will occasionally come by the floor/unit and practice putting on and taking off the gowns, making fun of the whole process. Often times, I find myself wanting to tell these folks to get the hell out of here! Or, simply tell them that they can make themselves useful for a change by gearing up and joining us in the trenches. That’ll get them running for the hills, no doubt.

          Reply
      2. lordkoos

        N-95 masks come with a metal band that locates above your nose, which can be bent to fit, so in that sense the masks are customizable to different faces.

        Reply
        1. Cuibono

          the nose is not the face. part of it yes. Chins and cheeks also come in different shapes and sizes.

          HAving taken part in a bunch of fit testing i can attest it is a joke.

          Reply
  3. Amfortas the hippie

    re: interfluidity.
    I like that guy a lot.

    ” Months or years after the transit workers have taken their punch, your little world could still be ripe for an outbreak, if you all come out to play. So you won’t, not until there’s a vaccine or you are compelled by circumstance. Segregation will have helped to protect you, as it usually does. But this time, it will also imprison you.”

    hyperselfishness of the Neoliberal Dispensation, taken to it’s uttermost extreme…and it still turns out that the Special People are really only humans, embedded in the Herd, just like everybody else.
    all the problems of being Human are still their problems, too…how this must chafe and gnaw!
    I admit to a certain sense of schadenfreude, here…it will be a hard learned lesson for them(and i have known and interacted with many of them, over my lifetime…usually, as The Help)…but a necessary one, if we really want to break the spell.

    Reply
    1. Steve H.

      : You have to be one of the top 25% to 33% of diligent isolators in your own community, among the people you interact with.

      I’ve been putting out birdseed where I can watch, and seeing cardinals kissing over the pile of bounty, before one went up and the other dined, I’ve realized something about the couples. When I watched in the back, I’d see a bird on the ground, but not the watcher in the branches above.

      That’s a strong relationship. Ride or die. Who can you live with, and who can’t you live without. Who sees you Unmasked.

      With this virus, most every bit of angst and death go away when people put masks at the same level as underwear. The protective bits are covered, and the outer covering is personally expressive. Or sometimes the underwear itself is meant to be seen. But in general, few see one without it.

      Yet I have strong relationships with people I have not seen naked. And there is the deep danger in all this, the degradation of relationships. Segregation of elderly from young, another blow to strong ties. We’re supposed to try and love each other. How much love did Howard Hughes have, those final years in fearful isolation? What future is emerged to, drifting alone in space? How’d that work out for Ripley?

      In the midst of the Great Pause, may people hone in on what is important, and how to achieve that? The answers are simple.

      Reply
      1. Amfortas the hippie

        add in the guardian article about being against humans as mere cogs in the machinery:
        reminds me of Kant:
        ” “Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, never merely as a means to an end, but always at the same time as an end.”
        ― Immanuel Kant

        or JFK:
        ““If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.”

        reductio ad absurdam of that old Cartesian Duality…not only separating Mankind from Nature(as if!), but a sliver of Mankind from the Rest.
        Fear of Death, Fear of Loss…driving the already rich to build walls around themselves…walls made of money and stocks and bonds and fine estates….and Bunkers…but what about the security staff? are they eyeing the trophy wife?
        what about the chef and the cleaning lady(what’s her name again?)…have they colluded to poison us?
        all that bluster and “we’re doing God’s Work”(Jaime Demon) and Masters of the Universe nonsense is to cover that existential fear…a chest thumping, branch waving display, meant to frighten off any scary unwashed…or even King Death, himself…
        Finally, from Orwell:
        ““Fear of the mob is a superstitious fear. It is based on the idea that there is some mysterious, fundamental difference between rich and poor, as though they were two different races, like Negroes and white men. But in reality there is no such difference. The mass of the rich and the poor are differentiated by their incomes and nothing else, and the average millionaire is only the average dishwasher dressed in a new suit. Change places, and handy dandy, which is the justice, which is the thief? Everyone who has mixed on equal terms with the poor knows this quite well. But the trouble is that intelligent, cultivated people, the very people who might be expected to have liberal opinions, never do mix with the poor. For what do the majority of educated people know about poverty?”
        ― George Orwell, Down and Out in Paris and London

        Reply
        1. Amfortas the hippie

          and…speak of the Demon(Jaime), here he is:
          https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/may/19/jamie-dimon-coronavirus-fairer-society-jp-morgan-ceo

          “It is my fervent hope that we use this crisis as a catalyst to rebuild an economy that creates and sustains opportunity for dramatically more people, especially those who have been left behind for too long,”—““The last few months have laid bare the reality that, even before the pandemic hit, far too many people were living on the edge,”

          remember a few months ago(????utterly timeless, now!) when Gates and Data/Lore(Zuck) and Branson, etc said they were having a hard time divesting themselves of their Billions, per their agreement to give it all away…because the Money just kept making more of itself?
          lol.
          to have such problems…
          My offer of assistance still stands.

          These people!

          what bubbles up:

          “And the great owners, who must lose their land in an upheaval, the great owners with access to history, with eyes to read history and to know the great fact: when property accumulates in too few hands it is taken away. And that companion fact: when a majority of the people are hungry and cold they will take by force what they need. And the little screaming fact that sounds through all history: repression works only to strengthen and knit the repressed. The great owners ignored the three cries of history. The land fell into fewer hands, the number of the dispossessed increased, and every effort of the great owners was directed at repression. The money was spent for arms, for gas to protect the great holdings, and spies were sent to catch the murmuring of revolt so that it might be stamped out. The changing economy was ignored, plans for the change ignored; and only means to destroy revolt were considered, while the causes of revolt went on.”
          ― John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath

          Reply
          1. JTMcPhee

            I hope Steinbeck and others who prophesy in this line are right, but so far in my part of the world, it looks like more than enough of us are more attuned to the opportunity offered by people like Jay Gould — ready and willing to join the half of the mopes that will take a couple of buck in pay to kill the other half. And maybe it’s just an artifact of the media, but there are a lot of people rushing to “re-open” that Pandora’s Box of plagues on humanity, which was kind of getting sealed up again.

            One wonders, though, if there’s an application of one of Zeno’s paradoxes in there somewhere…

            Reply
  4. divadab

    Re: Trump and hydrochloriquine – Dang all this stuff is so politicized with knee-jerk hatred for the Trumpster but (sorry no link) I understand that in Spain and Italy, front line doctors and nurses are taking hydrochlorquine and zinc and vitamin d as a prophylactic. I suspect they must have figured something out because this is not a group known to be superstitious!

    For me it’s Vitamin D which is a key – I’m making sure to get lots of sun on all parts of my skin – as my late European father-in-law said – you’ve got to get sun to all the parts! Vitamin D deficiency may also be a factor in people of color’s disproportionate infection rate in northern latitudes – brown skin is much less efficient in synthesising Vitamin D than pale skin. Pale-skinned people are evolved for northern latitudes, after all!

    Reply
    1. Amfortas the hippie

      “you’ve got to get sun to all the parts! ”

      Aye! and amen!
      Garden Naked.
      (and hike, and fly fish and just sit under a tree…)

      since most of y’all apparently live cheek by jowl with other Humans….I feel for you,lol.
      My pre-dawn naked jointwalk should be considered a march in solidarity.

      “That man is richest whose pleasures are cheapest.”
      –Henry David Thoreau

      Reply
    2. ZacP

      Just because some doctors and nurses feel that hydroxychloroquine is an effective prophylactic does not by itself redefine reality. Absent data, you must assume net effect will be harmful or at least nul.

      Today’s popular medical meme…Donald Trump: my QT is the longest, the largest. EKGs can’t even measure my QT it is so big!

      (Reference to fatal arrythmia one can experience while on this medication)

      Reply
      1. DiegoM

        Those doctors and nurses feel that it is an effective prophylactic because they have seen enough early cases where people get healed very quickly with it. If it cures people in early treatment, then it is reasonable to think it can work as a prophylactic.

        Trump won’t have any cardiac problem since he is the most monitored person on Earth. Any arrythmia would be detected very soon. It is evident he is taking it and he is not lying, why would he? It *is* a proposed prophylactic and there are/have been Covid positives all around him.

        There are many things in the US I cannot understand, including Trump, armed “protesters” in a Parliament and the partisan dynamics around HCQ, which is the default treatment for Covid-19 in many countries.

        Reply
        1. Carla

          “Trump won’t have any cardiac problem since he is the most monitored person on Earth.”
          Wonder if every single person monitoring him wants to keep him alive. Just sayin’

          Reply
        2. Tomonthebeach

          You nicely described pseudoscience. Research Design 101 – 1st day’s lecture. Correlation does not indicate causation. It is a coincidence that might be due to a dozen different things. You need lots of data on each patient and lots and lots of patients. A few clinical impressions are not data. So far, I have read a half dozen papers on Trump’s hydroxychloroquine in peer-reviewed journals. The conclusion is that is not effective for COVID-19, however, for some patients, the drug might be unsafe – those patients have health histories a lot like Trump’s.

          I hope the Navy doctor who wrote him the prescription does not intend to make Captain.

          Reply
        3. GettingTheBannedBack

          To those who are saying that the only drugs that should be used in patients are the ones that have been tested and shown to work in double blinded, randomised control trials.

          You know and I know that there are absolutely no drugs that are RCT approved against COVID-19. None. Zip. Nada. Zero.

          But fair enough. So tell the nurses and doctors to just go home and stop wasting everybody’s time experimenting with drugs that just might save a life. Or two.

          And side effects! Completely unethical to try to save someone’s life with a drug that has been shown to be toxic in certain circumstances. Throw out the tylenol! Destroy the aspirin! Ban the alcohol sanitiser!! All toxic and deadly!!

          Reply
          1. Yves Smith

            There seems to be a lack of clarity here.

            The issue is safety versus efficacy.

            Drugs that are already FDA approved have been tested for safety. Doctors are allowed to prescribe them any way they want as an off-label use. That is how hydroxychloroquine is already mainly prescribed in the US. It’s an antimalarial, but hundreds of thousands, if not millions, have taken it for autoimmune diseases.

            Remdesivir has not been approved for use in the FDA. It has not been through clinical trials for safety (Phase 1). Those trials are underway: https://www.drugs.com/history/remdesivir.html.

            Reply
            1. Jose Freitas

              I don’t know about hydroxychloroquine’s efficacy or not, though I would point out that it seems most general trials have been using protocols totally unlike those defined by prof Raoult in France. Also, if it is more of a prophylactic treatment, to be given to people who test positive but are either asymptomatic, or at the very early stages of the disease, it is essentially being given to people who by and large would not have fallen ill anyway, so very large numbers need to be observed for us to be able to see whether it is efficient or not. I don’t know if any trials so far have enlisted the required the numbers.

              In any case, HCQ may or not prove to be efficient, but one thing it is not, is dangerous, if prescribed by doctors who know what they are doing, as they have done for decades. I was prompted to investigate this since I know three people who have taken it for a long time, and never reported any problems, and became suspicious of an air of hysteria around its purported danger.

              This blog post makes an extremely well-sourced, well-argued case for the high safety of the drug, while also commenting on the distorted view the French media have given of the drug as a highly dangerous one, and exposes a lot of the shenanigans around the statistics and numbers that supposedly show it is dangerous.

              Dangerosité de l’HCQ: Fable mediatique

              Its conclusion: Saying it is dangerous, and saying it in the way the media have been saying it, is an exaggeration of such enormity that Prof. Raoult is perfectly entitled to call it “a State lie”.

              Reply
              1. GettingTheBannedBack

                Yes, when media reporting becomes a parody you have to wonder what is afoot.
                Everything for COVID-19 is experimental right now. HCQ is an experiment with some promise in certain situations. Remdesivir is an experiment. Lopinavir-Ritonavir is an experiment. Proning for dyspnea is experimental. The use of anti-coagulants is experimental.
                The only drugs with credible safety profiles are drugs like HCQ which has been used successfully for around 70 years.
                And until there are RCTs, efficacy is up for debate. The existing flawed studies show Remdesivir has no promise (China), has promise only when the end points are rejigged part way through(USA). And then there’s the media announcement from Gilead. And on the basis of that “evidence” Fauci has given Remdesivir the imprimatur as a treatment for COVID-19. WTAF.

                Reply
    3. Winston Smith

      Personally, I think Trump should double the dose…just to make sure. The flaw is that it is impossible to assume that he is telling the truth.

      Reply
      1. fresno dan

        Winston Smith
        May 19, 2020 at 10:32 am

        If double is good, wouldn’t 10X be better? Obviously, 100X would cause immortality…
        If we could only get this meme on Hannity….

        Reply
      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        I saw a suggestion he is simply being given children’s vitamins.

        We are probably a few days at most away from Trump selling the TB12 method.

        Reply
        1. fwe'zy

          Lol at “TB12 method.” Totally. Reminds me of the fact that vitamin makers are big in the anti-vax scene and general anti-Big Pharma scene. Obviously Big Pharma has its major issues, but it’s nuts the way vitamins are seen as sparing the liver/ organs compared to “chemicals.” Add on the fact that vitamins are subject to so little quality control and it’s all pretty terrifying.

          Reply
    4. lyman alpha blob

      …all this stuff is so politicized with knee-jerk hatred for the Trumpster…

      Indeed. Here’s the Democrat response – Pelosi says ‘morbidly obese’ Trump taking hydroxychloroquine ‘not a good idea’

      They could pass legislation making sure were have the testing, tracing etc that the nation needs along with financial compensation for all the not-rich who are getting creamed by being out of work. They could do something, anything, to help out working class people but no, let’s trade insults instead.

      And they can’t even do that right – “fat slob” would be an insult, “morbidly obese” comes off as elitist technocrat jargon and isn’t even an accurate description. Trading barbs with Trump is not going to end well for the Democrat party.

      Can’t anybody here play this game?

      Reply
      1. polecat

        Nancy ain’t exactly a chicken sprung ..

        .. and, as time moves forward, she’s being seen as a foul quite trussed!

        Reply
      2. Katniss Everdeen

        At the risk of dating myself, I think this is what is meant by “Cutting off your nose to spite your face,” a practice which seems to have been elevated to the country’s newest religion lately.

        Reply
      3. ewmayer

        Nancy is either ignorant or shamelessly lying … Morbid obesity is defined as a body mass index of 40 or more, whereas DJT is 6’3″ tall and weighs a bit over a svelte 240 lbs, giving him a BMI of a bit over 30, i.e. into “obese” territory but far, far below “morbidly obese”.

        I especially love that Trump eats tons of junk food, is fat, exercises very little, and yet despite all that seems to be annoyingly, defiantly healthy, and has a hot wife who despite all his character flaws seems very loyal to him and comes off as quite classy in interviews, and is a billionaire, and beat a uniformly, shamelessly hostile MSM and their beloved, anointed Most Qualified Candidate Evah in the 2016 presidential election. It must simply drive the elitist twits in DC, the DNC, the yellow press and the professional-managerial class nuts.

        Reply
      4. The Rev Kev

        So “fat-shaming” is OK now according to Nancy. is it? Are other politicians allowed to be fat-shamed as well? This is so high school conduct this.

        Reply
    5. rtah100

      Lambert, you wondered about observation studies of chloroquine in COVID-19 prophylaxis. Your wish is my command!

      https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S092485792030145X

      Study of a study treating an entire long-term care facility (n=211) in South Korea after some confirmed coronavirus cases visited / were admitted.

      No infections, no deaths (other than natural).

      As the study says, also no control group in the experiment but many infections would have been inspected.

      This is why the rtah100 family are all on the malaria-prophylaxis dose of chloroquine.

      Oh – and 1% of patients showed bradycardia (i.e. long QT). In a population of 211 elderly, I would wager that this is not statistically significant compared to natural variability / decrepitude.

      Reply
  5. allan

    “Trump says he’s taking hydroxychloroquine, the drug he touted as coronavirus treatment, despite FDA warnings … The FDA recommendation is irrelevant given a physician’s prescription for off-label use.”

    Not exactly. From the FDA website regarding providers prescribing off-label:

    … From the FDA perspective, once the FDA approves a drug, healthcare providers generally may prescribe the drug for an unapproved use when they judge that it is medically appropriate for their patient. …

    A basic question is whether a drug whose many reported side effects include
    “Cardiomyopathy (can result in fatal cardiac failure), biventricular hypertrophy”
    is medically appropriate for an obese man in his seventies.

    For comic relief, the list of side effects also includes

    • feeling that others are watching you or controlling your behavior
    • feeling that others can hear your thoughts
    • feeling, seeing, or hearing things that are not there

    which should work out well for someone whose job description includes Commander in Chief.

    Reply
        1. fajensen

          Still, It is not fun to overdose marijuana. Lots of paranoia and feelings of ones soul dissolving into a void. Somewhat controlled by the knowledge that it really won’t kill you after all!

          Reply
    1. fresno dan

      allan
      May 19, 2020 at 7:38 am

      Obscure information not pertinent to anything, but as I have nothing better to do…
      It is true that FDA approval generally means any physician can prescribe most any drug for any condition that the physician believes can be helped by administration of the drug.
      However, there have been drugs approved with a ETASU (elements to assure safe use) which entail that physicans may be required to have special training or certification.
      https://www.fda.gov/media/86043/download

      I don’t know what would happen if a physician actually tried to write a prescription without the certification – usually the distribution of the drug is so controlled that you just can’t take your prescription to a regular pharmacy and get the drug in question.

      Reply
    2. Samuel Conner

      Once DJT learns of the psych side-effects and they are weaponized against him, perhaps he will tweet that this is “the sum of all smears!”

      Reply
  6. jackiebass

    It isn’t just hospitals but most of our health care system that knew how to make money. I’ve observed what was happening in health care for a couple decades. It went from patient centered to just another business. Even so called nonprofits used the same business model. Much of the care became centered around how much the providers could milk from insurance companies. You used to go for a doctors visit, see the doctor and discuss you health and care. Now you only see the doctor if you’re lucky to evens your doctor for a short period of time, usually 10 minuets or less. A lot of the time is spent in suggesting tests and procedures that are recommended. Very few doctors will now sit down and discuss anything except selling you on a test or procedure. Doctors offices are like an assembly line where people continuously go in and come out.

    Reply
    1. Cynthia

      Re: “Hospitals Knew How to Make Money. Then Coronavirus Happened.”

      As I have said before, hospitals wouldn’t be losing so much money due to the pandemic if ObamaCare had done what it was supposed to do, which was to incentivize hospitals NOT to admit. In other words, paying hospitals to keep patients out of the hospital was to play a central role in so-called “reducing the cost curve. “ After all, hospital care is by far and away the most expensive way to deliver care, and often times producing the poorest results. But because hospitals continued to use admissions as a cash cow, particularly surgical admissions, when this cash cow was largely cut off due to the pandemic, they then found themselves in a financial hole.

      The other thing ObamaCare was supposed to do but didn’t was shift reimbursement away from doing surgeries/procedures towards providing medical care. Apparently, this never happened either because you wouldn’t keep hearing stories after stories about how hospitals are going broke because of the steep drop in the number of surgeries and procedures being done in hospitals. At the same time, though, the number of patients being admitted for mostly medical reasons has remained pretty much the same throughout the pandemic. Believe me, I know this to be true. I work in the medical division of the hospital, more specifically in a Non-Covid area of the hospital, and our patient census is just as high as it was prior to the pandemic, yet our hospital claims that we are still losing tons of money. Tons of it!

      How can that be if more money was being shifted to pay for medical care? The truth is that this never happened like it was supposed to happen! Insurers, private as well as public, aren’t doing what ObamaCare was supposed to dictate them to do, which was to increase reimbursement for medical care while reducing reimbursements of surgeries and procedures. In other words, our “fee for service” system is still left fully in place, which is largely why the cost curve never went down. The other reason is that administrative costs are still at an all-time high, and this is particularly worrisome given that such costs do nothing to improve care. If anything, administrative costs are a detriment to care. Needless to say, the more a hospital has to spend on “back office” duties the less money they have to spend on care.

      At any rate, it’s not an issue of “Hospitals Knew How to Make Money. Then Coronavirus Happened.” It’s more like hospitals aren’t making money like they did prior to the coronavirus only because the coronavirus exposed the fact that ObamaCare never did what it was supposed to do in terms disincentivizing hospital admissions and shifting reimbursement away from doing surgeries/procedures towards providing medical care.

      Reply
    2. Off The Street

      One milestone was when the hospitals went from one paradigm to another.

      How much does it cost?
      replaced by
      What is it worth to you?

      So, all according to Plan, and the hospital administrators didn’t have to worry about any Hippocratic Oath analog. That was another feature that could be described as privatizing ethics.

      Reply
  7. jsn

    Josh Hawley and Jerome Powell appear to be the only two out there who seem to realize you can’t have a rentier economy without renters.

    It’ll take a class traitor, so they’re both in good districts to watch.

    Reply
    1. edmondo

      I expect Josh Hawley will be the guy who finally completes the transition of the Republican Party into the party of the working class. He’s probably worth keeping an eye on for the next few years. Bernie Sanders’ successor may well be a Republican from Missouri.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        Jimmy Dore is of the opinion that Bernie Sanders may have had more success in going with the Republican party on the grounds that they have proven that they can change to changing circumstances whereas the Democrats as a party are a graveyard for progressive candidates.

        Reply
    2. EGrise

      I think there are a number of Republicans smart enough to see the power potential in a kind of herrenvolk socialism – this bears close watching

      Reply
    3. ewmayer

      Love Powell’s phony “we feel your pain” blurb deployment – per Wolf Richter, the $trillions the Fed firehosed at the Wall Street casino gamblers the instant the Holy DJIA threatened to engage in some actual free-market ‘price discovery’ would have translated to s.t. like $15,000 for every man, woman and child in the US.

      Reply
      1. jsn

        I suspect he’d give money directly to stressed mortgage holders and renters if he could figure out how. It’s the only way to really bail out the MBS market without just buying all the trash.

        Its not that he cares for stressed working class stiffs, it’s that he doesn’t want to deal with the bad press of another 5-10 or, it was 29trillion last time.

        Reply
  8. fresno dan

    The Media and Pundits Are Lying–The Flynn Unmasking Was Uncommon and Unusual Larry Johnson

    Maybe it was, but I suspect the whole “masking” thing is constitutional rights theater – I suspect they spy on whoever whenever they want and distribute it to whoever advances their agenda (e.g., NYT & WP) How many times do we get to look deeply into intelligence surveillance and procedures, by an entity (Trump) that has the power and disposition to be antagonistic and doesn’t give a flying f*c* for the jabberings of the “intelligence community” and is immune to being called a communist???

    Reply
    1. Katniss Everdeen

      The “intelligence” community came after Trump with their infamous “six ways from Sunday,” and he is still standing. The power that this community wields in washington, d.c. is based on the very real fear the corrupt career politicians have of being subjected to this very thing.

      As far as I’m concerned, Trump is uniquely positioned to drain this swamp, delayed though it may be, having first been forced to survive it.

      The prospect of a supremely pissed off Trump with a second term and nothing to lose is not unappealing to me, I’ll have to admit. It’s not like joe biden / dems were going to do anything for anybody anyway. And with these lawless federal cops and spooks out of the way, the atmosphere will be a lot clearer and safer for a real reformer. One like we always hoped Bernie would be.

      Reply
    2. periol

      I mean, technically, they spy on everyone, and store the data.

      Then when/if they decide someone’s worth a look, all they have to do is look. It’s a digital dossier J Edgar would be proud of, with all your phone calls, texts, emails, browsing history, location data, etc.

      I still remember the mini-scandal a few years back from the NSA employees (I think, some alphabet agency) who used their access for stalking.

      Reply
  9. Pat

    There were only two luxury real estate sales last week. One was to a foreign buyer, the really big money sale. The other took an $800,000 price cut.

    I do not get buying in NYC right now if you do not have to live here. Unless something else is going on, see the big no change in price sale. This was parking money here for reasons outside of domicile or investment. I’m thinking a fair number of “owners” are going to be looking for buyers with similar reasons, before accepting the market crash that has already begun (the luxury market was the thriving one prior).

    On a side note I started seeing the gatherings outside restaurants and bars or in one particular case across the street from the bar last Thursday. It was almost shocking.

    Reply
    1. jsn

      Tankus has been pretty good on the life support the Fed has been providing real estate indirectly.

      I’m not clever enough to know if Qazi at Jacobin is hyperventilating or on to something, but real estate in New York at the moment is anything but real.

      The Fed can support the price of anything it chooses, and can do so until something external to the monetary system intervenes, so I’m not counting on the bubble bursting while I’m still solvent. Delusions can be astonishingly persistent.

      Reply
  10. Lou Mannheim

    Is anybody concerned about capital flight risk should the Fed move rates into negative territory? With cryptocurrencies it’s a lot harder to manage than just making ownership of gold illegal, I would think. Forgive me if this has been discussed ad infinitum here, I’ve been away for a while.

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith

      The Fed isn’t moving into negative interest rate territory. They’ve been criticizing the ECB for quite a while in coded manner for its negative rate policies. And Sweden just officially abandoned their negative rate policies, admitting them to be a failure.

      That does NOT mean that traders might not push the rates on some instruments into negative terrain at a time of panic, just the way we say negative prices on WTI futures.

      Reply
      1. Howard Beale IV

        Even if we were to go down the road of negative interest rates, the financial system here in the US would need to be tested as a lot of the core banking software and the systems they feed may have serious trouble supporting such rates. If the systems can’t handle rates going negative, you’re talking a whole lot of man-hours patching things up.

        Reply
    2. Amfortas the hippie

      “Capital Flight” is the go-to excuse for not doing much at all, regarding the giant piles of $$$.
      can’t tax them, or they’ll leave…
      but isn’t that what Capital Controls are all about?
      we did that in the New Deal, and it worked pretty well…
      Leaving Money all borderless and free was a terrible idea.
      we should stop.

      Reply
  11. fresno dan

    RAY McGOVERN: Turn Out the Lights, Russiagate is Over Ray McGovern, Consortium News

    Barr replied:
    “As to President Obama and Vice President Biden, whatever their level of involvement, based on the information I have today, I don’t expect Mr. Durham’s work will lead to a criminal investigation of either man. Our concerns over potential criminality is focused on others.
    ==============================================
    Does Trump have the grit to fire Barr? I don’t think so. And though the term “deep state” is that of which we cannot speak, Barr is part of the Illuminati or whatever brotherhood of power in Washington DC that puts being a player above the law. Yup, all that “a nation of laws, not men” is just an advertising slogan and means even less. Obama won’t be investigated for the same reason Bush wasn’t – US laws are designed and carefully crafted to be ignored and useless when convenient to the powerful (I would add wealthy, but I would be repeating myself)
    Of course, there will be the bizarre illusion advanced, even more bizarre than Russiagate, that somehow, Obama didn’t know, couldn’t know, what was going on. The CIA and FBI acts the way the US government wants it to act. The lack of consequences is part of the deal of being in the FBI or the Presidency.
    We would be far better off if we had vindictive parties – yes, I know that Gerald Ford is a saint for pardoning Nixon. But once you set the precedent that you can’t prosecute Nixon (or let’s go back to Johnson …no not that Johnson – Andrew Johnson) than accept the fact that you can’t prosecute Bush. We don’t investigate, prosecute, convict or hold accountable presidents because they are not doing anything that we don’t want them to do.

    Reply
    1. Oh

      The two parties use each other to distract the attention of the respective idealogues who are dumb enough to buy the rhetoric about the villains. If any of them is jailed the game would be over. Trump plays the game well and while people are distracted, he and his cronies rob the bank.

      Reply
    2. Off The Street

      No investigations for Obama and Biden but they will have their own time in the dock for the Court of Public Opinion. As seen with social media, reality shows, influencers and all the other modern conveniences, that Court should be entertaining, or something. When do we all get wigs for the proceedings?

      Reply
    3. Katniss Everdeen

      Nobody wants to see obama taken down more than I do, but it’s just not going to happen “legally,” no matter how justified. Feel good slogans aside, some people ARE “above the law.” Dwelling on it is just a waste of time and energy and diverts attention from what can be done. Just like with hillary or w. bush.

      Obama’s in this up to his eyeballs, but so are the numerous weasels who did his dirty work for him like brennan, clapper, susan rice, samantha power and comey, and they can be gotten to. My guess is that they’ll be so desperate to save their own skins that they’ll implicate him, and he’ll be indicted in the court of public opinion which is really where his enormous ego gets fed.

      If his “leaked” phone call is any indication, obama’s already feelin’ the heat. Good. Trump threatening to drain the swamp, again, in front of an overflow crowd of MAGA hat-wearing fans chanting “Lock HIM up” could be kinda fun, as would listening to biden’s bewildered Sgt. Schultz imitation.

      PS. Read this morning that john brennan said he’s glad “HE didn’t do anything wrong.” Comedy gold.

      Reply
      1. ShamanicFallout

        I’ve had a theory for a long time about Trump’s running for president- that it was an act of revenge and a vindication of the humiliation he suffered during Obama’s speech at that correspondent’s dinner in 2011. You could almost literally see and feel Trump burning in his chair.
        I knew he was going to run for president at that moment. We can’t say what will happen during is next term (very likely). But I wouldn’t put it past him to go after Obama.

        (I’m link novice so if I botch it, just search it as Obama humiliates Trump correspondent’s dinner.

        Reply
  12. anon4

    What architecture?, you ask. I mean TreasuryDirect – visit the site – a portal through which any American can transact with Treasury in Treasury Securities. All we need do is both (a) charge Treasury with issuing a new legal tender currency, valued at one Fed dollar per, and (b) add what I call ‘horizontal’ digital P2P connectivity to all Treasury Direct account wallets, which now have but ‘vertical’ connectivity. That can be done within weeks. It can be done, furthermore, ‘in-house.’ That is what US Digital Service, housed in our Executive Branch, is for.

    What I’m proposing, then, is a sort of ‘Digital Greenback’ which does what the paper Greenback once did: Bring order to our present monetary chaos, and in so doing afford digital banking and dollars to literally every American – now, amid crisis, when we can ill-afford monetary uncertainty atop public health uncertainty, and when all of us need means of remote transacting, paying, and being paid now.

    from Digital Greenbacks

    Oops! Allow US citizens to use fiat in inherently risk-free account form and who knows what consequences that could have for the much beloved (by Progressives and the MMT School, anyway) usury cartel, aka “the banks”? /sarc

    Not so “balmy” now, eh Yves?

    Reply
    1. Clive

      First off, since you decided, not particularly wisely, to throw shade on the host, I’ll dispense with my customary politeness here and say that you’re obviously completely clueless about how a retail bank operates.

      I’ll be a teeny tiny bit charitable and say that of course the private banks are incompetent exploitative and frequently dishonest-bordering-on-fraudulent in how they treat their customers. But that doesn’t mean that for the services they provide — a bank account or a similar type of facility — they don’t have some capabilities and support systems which are totally essential, not least because they are subject to a slew of national and international laws in order to be licenced.

      You don’t even know the half of it, because otherwise, you’d realise that what you’re proposing there is a total handwaving away for the bread-and-butter pre-requiesites you need to have in place in order to replicate what the private banks provide in the retail market segment.

      How do you propose to onboard customers? How do you define the product features of this “Digital P2P Treasury Direct account Wallet”? Does it support money transmission? If so, is that money transmission ringfenced only to this kind of Treasury Direct facility? Then how do you do the interface to “legacy” i.e. private banks’ systems — including Debit and Credit card payment infrastructure? Do you allow overdrafts? If not, what about people who don’t have the funds to clear existing borrowing on the “legacy” private bank account (that’s a well-to-do-hipster-alert tell right there, that everyone has a credit balance in the checking account)? If you do allow borrowing, who puts up the risk capital? How much risk capital buffer should the Treasury create?

      How do you price this product? How do you manage arrears, non-payment and collections? How do you provide remittances (which always need a carry fund of ForEx, which has to be bought and you always need to make allowance for ForEx conversion and processing losses)?

      Fraud and loss control systems — what, where and how are you creating the rules base? Oh and did I mention these are subject to international agreements? And the US is particularly vigilant about stamping its control over the financial system in the world (even my UK TBTF feels the long arm of the US — if I so much as fail to screen a single credit card transaction from a Politically Exposed Person, not maintain an up-to-date terrorists and sanctioned countries / organisations checklist or fall foul of The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, we get Mike Pence or one of his minions breathing down our necks and threating to cut us off from US$ clearing. Plus humungous fines. So you’re seriously proposing that the US Treasury — of all organisations — just lets anyone and everyone have access, with no verification — to your wonderful new brain child?

      What’s your servicing model — cheap and cheerful (and rubbish) “visit our website” type of non-service servicing or full-function speak-to-a real-person quality servicing? If it’s the latter, employed by what legal entity? Paid how much? Trained and managed by whom? To what standards? I have a hunch you’re kind-of expecting everyone do do everything by smartphone? If so good luck with that. One day, if I’m particularly aggrieved, I’ll let you loose on my mother-in-law when she attempts, as she periodically insists on doing, to try to use a smartphone and see if you get on any better than I do. Seriously, she struggles to send a text message. Oh, and did I mention that I had to confiscate her last one when I found it was running on Android 6.x and completely unsupported — she wondered why she kept getting her email account hijacked. This is the customer base you’re dealing with if you try to do everything without human touchpoints. I’m not disparaging the elderly here, merely explaining to you that any service offer which is online only or any payment token which relies on a smartphone is doomed to fail in this customer demographic.

      I won’t even get to how you propose to satisfy court production orders, estate settlement and who, where and how you co-operate (as you’re obliged to do) with law enforcement.

      In short, you seem to think building a bank is like building an app. Oh, if only that were true.

      Reply
  13. carl

    I’m not sure what universe the author of the Valdai piece is living in, but it’s certainly not the same one in which I currently reside.

    Reply
    1. Olga

      A bit too optimistic, but not on the level of “what universe.”
      All depends on what the expectations were going into the pandemic.

      Reply
  14. The Rev Kev

    “We Can Prevent a Great Depression. It’ll Take $10 Trillion”

    Come on, how hard can this be? You would only need someone at the Federal Reserve to open up a window, tap in ‘1-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0’ and then press ‘enter’ and whizz-bang, there is your 10 trillion dollars. They do it all the time. They just did it to bail out the 0.1% so surely they can do it for Main Street. People can’t buy stuff and rent stuff if they have no money after all.

    Reply
    1. Ford Prefect

      The solution will be to simply declare each US state a rogue terrorist state that is part of the Axis of Evil. That should be simple as those declarations have been made by McConnell and Trump for states that voted for Hillary in 2016. They just need to add the other states to the list.

      The states can then be invaded, a few bridges blown up, and then the reconstruction effort can begin. It will be popular with lobbyists and government contractors who can then get paid twice what they normally would be paid to build infrastructure with the premium pricing for doing the work in a war-zone.

      Reply
      1. Oh

        If the reconstruction effort goes as well as it did in Iraq, these states would have no drinking water, electricity and any infrastructure. There would even be a green zone.

        Reply
        1. Ford Prefect

          The US is working diligently on achieving those aspirational goals and is progressing well. Flint was a good start for the drinking water stuff and that has accelerated into other communities. California has had good experimental success to date in developing dysfunctional electrical grids and is likely to expand that to other areas of the state. Cities like Houston have been able to eliminate any concept of flood management, so a high percentage of housing and industry is subject to being flooded out – they have even experimented successfully with constructing housing developments in designed and built flood control reservoirs to ensure flooding of homes.

          Reply
      2. WheresOurTeddy

        I volunteer to be the guy delivering the pallets of hundred dollar bills that mysteriously go missing

        Reply
    2. fresno dan

      The Rev Kev
      May 19, 2020 at 9:25 am

      Uh, let me edit that for you so that it is in accord with reality
      You would only need someone at the Federal Reserve to open up a window, tap in ‘1-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0’ and then press ‘enter’ and whizz-bang, there is your 10 trillion dollars. They do it all the time.
      So far, so good!
      They just did it to bail out the 0.1%
      correctomundo!
      so surely they can do it for Main Street.
      Um…. here you are letting your heart, or ethics or morality or sumthin’ overwhelm your brain. It isn’t JUST that they got to get richer and richer – that got to f*ck everyone else over. That is what they do. There not just greedy – they are evil. They have to have everything…and if you have anything, by definition that means that they don’t have everything, and that just p*sses them off to no end.
      NOW, you might object that they would be harming themselves and that would be irrational. Is it rational to work after you have a billion dollars? I know I would be on a island with super models – but not these guys. They are working hard to make everybody else poorer – its what they do

      Reply
      1. Wellstone's Ghost

        “Billionaires work hard to make everyone else poorer.”
        Can I make this into a bumper sticker?

        Reply
    3. occasional anonymous

      We Can Prevent a Great Depression. It’ll Take $10 Trillion.

      Or we could, stick with me on this,…not do…any of that.

      Clearly my idea is better, since it’s the one our wise leaders are going with.

      Reply
  15. Dr. John Carpenter

    Re: Trump and hydroxychloroquine: as if on cue, mama bear of the #Resistance weighs in (pun intended.) I’m not a doctor, I just play one on the Internet, and I really don’t have an opinion one way or another on potential COVID-19 cures. Aside from the politicization of any benefits of hydroxychloroquine, I do wonder if Madame Speaker realizes the average voter is closer in body type to Trump than an anorexic skeleton herself and maybe another “deplorables” type comment is a bad look for the Dems? Of course, I’d also appreciate it if all involved left the medicine and science to people actually qualified in those areas, but I’m not holding my breath.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      Wouldn’t it have been funny if Trump had been spruiking Remdesivir for the last several weeks? The resistance © would have been shouting how if was Trump in league with Big Pharma to promote a drug that costs a coupla grand over a drug that cost pennies. And when they recent study came out that said Remdesivir does bupkis, they would have been all over him about this scandal. Nothing good comes from mixing science with politics and I suspect that we are going to see more of this for a very long time.

      Reply
      1. Dr. John Carpenter

        I also wonder what happens if the blind squirrel finds a nut and Trump advocates something that actually works? Do the McResistance declare it fake news and argue against? What happens if McResistance approved people like Fauchi get on board? Will refusing a valid treatment because it’s advocated by the Trump admin be #Resisting?

        Reply
        1. Katniss Everdeen

          You are talking about a group of people who refuse to support national “healthcare”–M4A–in favor of obamacare because obamacare has the name “obama” in it.

          Yes, they will refuse a valid treatment because Trump said it first. And they will call anyone who takes the drug a misogynist, racist, Putin-loving Russian agent.

          Reply
        2. Winston Smith

          Given the unerring medical acumen that guides the President, I would treat his declarations in that domain with the care that is due

          Reply
        3. TXMama

          +100
          Adhering to your chosen political faction is more important than finding what works. Saving one’s class persona is all. Clutching it as one goes down in the quicksand is noble and will be much praised at your virtual funeral.

          Reply
    2. Katniss Everdeen

      I’m sure she’s praying for him since she’s a prayerful kinda gal and this is a prayerful kinda situation.

      Reply
    3. Carolinian

      I’d also appreciate it if all involved left the medicine and science to people actually qualified in those areas

      Yay! Although there is the caveat that we live in an era where even science has been corrupted by politics or commerce so mere credentials are not enough. However I do believe that we out here in the peanut gallery should not assume we have a handle on this crisis just because we’ve read a few articles. Genuine expertise is invaluable.

      Reply
      1. MLTPB

        Some, or not a few, areas are so specialized that only a few in the same field, those few who are in the same specialization, know what they do.

        ‘Only 6 people in the whole world know what I am talking about.’

        I imagine they say that proudly to themselves.

        Here, then, it is almost ‘those who know don’t say.’

        Reply
  16. rd

    Re: Class Warfare

    Jamie Dimon has joined the battle against income and wealth inequality! He is delaying taking underpaid people’s homes away from them and temporarily reducing exorbitant banking fees! https://news.jpmorganchase.com/news-stories/jamie-dimons-covid-19-stakeholder-memo

    I looked for, but couldn’t find, the part where he said he was giving an immediate $2 to $5 per hour raise to the lowest paid people at Bank of America. Clearly, battling income inequality has to have some limits.

    Reply
  17. The Historian

    Perhaps it is the cynic in me that doubts Moderna’s latest claims to a positive outcome of a test on 45 people. Or maybe it’s this:

    1. It is only the CEO saying this – no scientists have come forward and peer-reviewed Moderna’s claims.

    2. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/05/18/coronavirus-vaccine-adviser-moncef-slaoui-to-divest-12point4-million-of-moderna-holdings.html

    Gotta help your buddies out!

    3. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/05/18/moderna-plans-to-issue-1point25-billion-in-fresh-equity-following-20percent-stock-jump.html

    Money, money, money!!!

    Reply
    1. Winston Smith

      I personally don’t understand the optimism behind this result. There is such a long way to go in testing and development. Not bad news certainly but far from something to cheer one up.

      Reply
      1. The Historian

        No one ever accused Wall Street investors of being intelligent – they are truly the dumbest of herd animals. But to me, without independent evaluation of their data, this declaration by Moderna sounds an awfully lot like a Theranos moment.

        Reply
        1. fresno dan

          The Historian
          May 19, 2020 at 10:55 am

          I remember when I worked at the FDA and it was pretty much daily that there was a breakthrough or other “good news” about an HIV vaccine.
          Look, I understand that people want good news. I was chatting (masked) in the Walmart line and when the guy asked me what I did, he was all about how chlorquine was good right? He had already decided that it was – its not my job to disabuse people of their hopes and dreams – reality will do that soon enough…

          Reply
          1. MLTPB

            We are a long way from those days when herb cures were first ‘used’ by our ancestors.

            Many misses before a hit?

            N = ?

            Reply
  18. JacobiteInTraining

    I have an ex-girlfriend who grew up in the Gwangju area, would only have been 4 or 5 at the time of the massacre. I recall swim meets and baseball games in 1980…she didn’t have many memories, except I do recall her once saying she remembered bodies.

    Interestingly, though a local, her family must have had some political, financial, or military connection (or all 3) to TPTB in SK at the time, as when I asked about that time and its aftermath – me, coming from a militant leftist perspective – she mostly denigrated the dead, wounded, and participants in general as misguided at best…and rank Communist sympathizers at worst.

    Still though – its interesting to think of SK in the early-mid 70’s, with a GDP not too far removed from NK’s, under a repressive military dictatorship. Not that long ago, not that long at all. When you put that set of changes up against the typical ‘USA Steady State Theory of How Things Will Be’….

    When the worm turns, does it turn for thee?

    Reply
  19. jef

    Meltblown os only one of many different processes for non-woven fabric. It is also the #1 cause of microplastics pollution and is now showing up in every nook and cranny around the globe. The main reason it is so widely used is it is dirt cheap and can be manufactured in enormous quantities very fast.

    Another non-woven process is felting and pretty much all natural fibers can be used for that.

    Reply
  20. The Rev Kev

    “US considers backing away from WHO move on Covid-19 drug patents”

    ‘Trump warns funding to body will stop if it fails to ‘commit to substantive improvements in next 30 days’

    The trouble with Danegeld is that when you start paying it, it never ends. I can guess that two of Trump’s demands is that one, China gets blamed for the pandemic to put him in the clear for his handling of it and two, Big Pharma’s profits are guaranteed if the US develops a vaccine first. But if the WHO gives into these demands, you can be sure that Trump will make more demands later.

    Reply
    1. fajensen

      And, the nebulous goal definition ensures that there is always More to be done before the Orange One can be placated. I have had bosses like that. The Better strategy is simply to do almost nothing while his attention-span runs out or a new and more tempting enemy appears, after which you might even be the ‘Greatest Thing, Ever’ (for no reason at all, except not being ‘Them’)).

      Reply
  21. Kurt Sperry

    The Greenwald video is almost *two hours* long. It’s probably excellent but I can’t watch, never mind share, a piece the length of a long feature movie. People gotta learn to get to the point.

    Reply
    1. juno mas

      And that is what a transcript allows. Scan, and fast-forward to the salient points.

      Video is great for depiction to assist description, but I’m time pressed and need to quickly evaluate where a discussion is going. Scanning for points of interest is not possible in a video or podcast.

      Reply
    2. Olga

      1:45 min – but well worth it. It is very comprehensive; there is no “one point,” but many points, all salient.
      Starts out with a reminder that papa bush pardoned IranContra actors – far more egregious, yet few remember it anymore.

      Reply
    3. Tomonthebeach

      It just depends on how much authoritative-sounding gaslight you can inhale. These expose’s always seem to be built on an Ah-HA! house of cards derived from information from “insiders” who point out that this or that is or is not SOP when clearly, the sources are not in a position to know SOP from SOaP. After 20 minutes or so, I had heard enough to know that Greenwald was either mis-informed or filling in blanks with guesses – a la Ronan Farrow.

      It would not surprise me if the Judge decides to sentence Flynn forcing Trump to pardon him, thereby ensuring that the EU will stop sharing sensitive intel until we have regime change in the US.

      Reply
  22. anon in so cal

    Moderna’s vaccine announcement, based on 8 cases, was good for its IPO.

    “Moderna, which has yet to produce any marketed drugs, saw a 20% surge in its share price Monday and now carries a market value of about $30 billion.

    The news pushed U.S. stock indexes through important psychological resistance levels as the S&P 500 rose by more than 3%. By the numbers: The company announced late Monday it would price an offering of 17.6 million new shares at $76 each.

    That’s about 409% higher than where it debuted on the Nasdaq in December 2018.

    Yes, but: The initial data is based on eight healthy volunteers so far.”

    https://www.axios.com/moderna-stock-coronavirus-vaccine-971638cf-135b-4de3-8161-9cf47e30e170.html

    Reply
  23. flora

    re: digital greenbacks.

    right… because those card swipe/reader keypads are not not not germo stations. meh.

    Reply
    1. Tomonthebeach

      The idea of “real” Digi-dough sounds great, however, Hockett seems a bit short on hacker-savvy. For the system to work, it would need to be hacker-proof (the US government gets hacked almost daily – even DOD and CIA), and creating Treasury identities for 330+ million people is not a 2-week process as finger-, iris-, and voice prints, birth certificates, etc. would be needed – i.e., passport issuance on steroids.

      As for keypads, those are technocrap making some manufacturer rich but adding zero security or convenience.

      – Nobody needs to sign anything with a pen, stylus, or fingertip to prove it is really them.
      – No merchant ever uses signatures to prove you charged for it – it is just to make buyers think they do.
      – Everyone should get a paper receipt – digi-receipts are for OCD sufferers.
      – Lowes, Publix, Walmart, etc. keep a copy of your digital purchase history for returns.

      So those germy keypads are useless except to capture a pin number for people who must use debit cards because their credit score is in the negative numbers. Just do not pick your nose afterwords. :-)

      Reply
    2. ewmayer

      I notice in my frequent trips to the local Whole Foods that folks paying with non-cash *always* take longer, often excruciatingly, line-holding-up-for-minutes-ly longer, as there is nearly always some technical issue. I’ve suggested to the manager to not just maintain at least one “cash accepted” checkout line (all the others have switched to no-cash due to pandemic, but to have one “cash only” line. He said he wished it were within his authority to do so.

      Reply
    3. Yves Smith

      I chewed out Lambert for posting that link. All it does is prove Hockett is clueless about banking and payment systems. Having a Treasury Direct account is the functional equivalent of having an “account” at a dietary supplements website. You still heed to have all the normal banking apparatus on your side already set up to make a purchase.

      Hockett has a track record of being seriously wrong yet willing to brandish his ignorance. He was out in front of proposals about “mortgage condemnation” being pushed by guys in private equity which were obviously wrong about how eminent domain worked AND would have ripped off already broke municipalities:

      https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/07/the-mortgage-condemnation-plan-fleecing-municipalities-as-well-as-investors.html

      Needless to say, that scheme got nowhere.

      He’s irresponsible, shamelessly so. And banking is further from his nominal area of expertise than mortgages are.

      Reply
  24. fresno dan

    https://nypost.com/2020/05/18/florida-man-who-called-coronavirus-fake-crisis-gets-infected/

    A Florida man who initially believed the coronavirus was a “fake crisis” that was “blown out of proportion” is now hospitalized along with his wife — and is sounding a cautionary note about the deadly bug.
    ===========================
    I’m not gonna say I told you so…oh wait, I am
    fresno dan
    May 5, 2020 at 10:34 am
    …..
    For a lot of people who want to open up, death to themselves or someone they know due to corona virus is distant. As it becomes closer, it will become realer and more important in assessing the president.

    Reply
    1. carl

      In the construction industry, it’s called the “can’t see it from my house” standard. Here, apparently, it’s “I don’t know anyone who has it, so I must be safe.”

      Reply
  25. Retaj

    The Florida Today story about removing the scientist responsible for the map is troubling. So much so that I contacted my Florida house representative. It’s interesting that I got a call back almost immediately. Local reps are very accessible.

    It is along the lines the previous governor censoring the phrase “climate change” from documents.

    The application has been quite good. There are some new error messages about missing data.

    FL DOH COVID-19 Data Application

    There is now a new story on Florida Today with an interview from the now fired scientist.

    Interview

    Reply
  26. Ignacio

    Targets of T cell responses to SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in humans with COVID-19 disease and unexposed individuals (PDF) Cell.

    This is good news in the sense that provides hope for the development of vaccines mostly based on the spike protein. FWIW, adenovirus-based vaccines such as the one being tried in the UK give strong cellular response. Interesting that there may be some cross-protection from other CoV infections. This might explain some of the observed differences in disease development. A Spanish newspaper made a headline saying that “4 out of 10 uninfected are immune” just a little bit exxagerated…

    Reply
    1. Dean

      It is not surprising that individuals exposed to other coronavirus have T cells that recognize epitopes on SARS CoV-2. Common functional coronavirus proteins such as the RNA polymerase will contain long conserved amino acid sequences that give rise to T cells that are essentially universal to all coronavirus. Whether an individual that has had a cold from coronavirus is better protected against COVID-19 might be hard to prove but does make sense.

      I do not agree that a focus on immunity to the spike protein is the best vaccine candidate. Yes adenovirus can induce strong cellular responses. Unfortunately most of the T cell (both CD4 and CD8) responses from this approach will recognize epitopes derived from adenovirus proteins and will be useless against a coronavirus infection. There will be a limited number of both CD4 and CD8 cells that recognized fragments of the coronavirus spike protein. The same problem exists for the RNA vaccine that Moderna is working on. If the RNA vaccine is mostly the spike protein then the T cell responses will again be limited.

      The best vaccine should induce a robust T cell response producing a T repertoire against all SARS CoV-2 antigens. An attenuated SARS CoV-2 might be best but I fear the rush for vaccines that produce anti-spike protein antibodies will win and other, better vaccines will lose out.

      Reply
      1. Ignacio

        “I do not agree that a focus on immunity to the spike protein is the best vaccine candidate”

        Nobody said is “best”, simply that it is good candidate though not as good as whole virus for a complete response. Vaccines based on whole virus (inactivated or defective) have their own risks. You don’t know what is best until you assess for efficacy. Besides there are other criteria: production and administration ease etc.
        One possibility could be become infected by one of common cold human corona but who knows the efficacy of this. Even SARS1.0 vaccines could somehow work though unfortunately these not tested.

        Reply
  27. Ignacio

    RE: Coronavirus infection rate in L.A. County is falling. But it’s still in the danger zone Los Angeles Times

    In a piece of good news, once awareness on Covid-19 is firmly installed in the population it is fairly improbable that R0 will reach the high rates shown in the very beginning. The curve won’t be the same and flattening it will be easier. Rather than new lockdowns I think that issuing warnings will do the trick.

    I think that autumn reruns won’t be as wild as have been this winter-spring. Awareness combined with better preparedness in detection and timely warnings should be enough with, in worst cases, some added restrictions.

    Reply
  28. Bsoder

    “The FDA recommendation is irrelevant given a physician’s prescription for off-label use. We have controlled studies coming, we don’t have them yet.” Ah zinc, vitamin D are over then counter supplements and as such there is no off use. As a doctor and medical scientist who has been seeing CV19 patients for 6 weeks and trying many things and is aware of many others trying things, the evidence is that subject to normative levels in the blood over loading on zinc and vitamin D aren’t going to help. I’m sure you have a study. I have about 127.

    As to “hydroxychloroquine with zinc, or [without it]”, there is zero evidence it does anything with regard to Covid-19. It can however destroy your liver. As to off label use. It may seem to non doctors we can just do anything we like with regard to off label. I’d say that’s a great way to get your license suspended. After you write the script a pharmacy has to fill it, and they all have their licenses to protect. Whatever I write if I want it filled it had better make sense or it won’t it filled. If there are bad side effects no doubt I’ll hear from the state medical society (although I’m a federal doc). Off label always means having to figure out what is safe and effective. If your an md it helps to be board certified or have other advanced degrees to explain the science behind what your doing. Some meds by design are prescribed off label exactly because of the side effects, the FDA data will indicate such. Many times certain drugs will be unavailable to docs outside of hospitals. Lastly, insurance companies they look at the drug they look at diagnosis and if it is off label, it’s either they won’t pay or expect a very long multi-day argument. Any large physician practice isn’t going to let anyone other than the most senior doctors go off label.

    Reply
    1. furies

      Psych docs do it all the time and reap *zip* in the way of blowback from any entity.

      I don’t think there’s any way a psych doc could be sued for damages from a prescription drug.

      After all, the damaged party is “crazy”…

      true story
      when in my psych rotation during nursing school, the first thing my instructor told us was that all psychiatrists were crazy…heheheheh

      Reply
    2. Yves Smith

      Um, you do know that hydroxycholoroquinine is FDA approved and therefore had to make it past Phase 1 trials for safety? And it’s also very widely used off label now as a first-line treatment for auto-immune disorders? The FDA warning reaffirms that it still regards hydroxychloroquine as safe for malaria, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis. How do you square that? And the FDA specifically flags that patients with existing heart or kidney disease are at increased heart disease risk with hydroxychloroquine. I see zero warning about liver damage.

      https://www.fda.gov/drugs/drug-safety-and-availability/fda-cautions-against-use-hydroxychloroquine-or-chloroquine-covid-19-outside-hospital-setting-or

      From the National Institutes of Health:

      Hydroxychloroquine therapy has not been associated with liver function abnormalities and is an extremely rare cause of clinically apparent acute liver injury.

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK548738/

      Also I must tell you I personally know of nurses and MDs who are taking hydroxychloroquine prophylactically for Covid-19, and others who’ve recommended getting a scrip for a week or two. So other medical professionals, by their own actions, don’t read the risks the way you do.

      Reply
  29. converger

    There is a bioplastic substitute for polypropylene.

    Polyhydroxyalkanoates
    (PHAs) are naturally produced by a variety of bacteria for storing energy and carbon, and break down completely in ambient temperatures, leaving zero microplastic residue. They can be formed as most plastics, and have comparable or superior material characteristics to most of them (except for lasting forever).

    We’ve known how to make PHA’s for a long time. They are an excellent solution. The problem is that nobody is going to shift away from fossil-based plastics unless there are consequences for not doing so.

    Reply
    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Can PHA plastics be poled with a strong electric field like the polypropaline? Electrostatic charging of the plastic cloth is important for the effectiveness of the N95 masks.

      Reply
      1. converger

        From what little I have seen on the topic, my understanding is that electrostatic properties can be tweaked to be similar to polypropylene. One of the great things about PHA as a base material is that it can be readily modified to closely resemble a wide variety of fossil-based plastics.

        That said, I am not a chemist.

        Reply
        1. Jeremy Grimm

          Thanks. I am not a chemist or physicist either. From what I read polypropylene isn’t necessary the best of electrets — but it is relatively inexpensive — and I am guessing — probably inexpensive to melt and turn into fibers.

          I started to wonder about another plastic, Polyvinylidene fluoride or polyvinylidene difluoride (PVDF). It isn’t biodegradable and it isn’t the least expensive of plastics but it is piezoelectric. In a brief search I found a paper reporting “novel electret nanofibrous membranes with numerous charges and desirable charge stability using polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) as the matrix polymer and polytetrafluoroethylene nanoparticles (PTFE NPs) as an inspiring charge enhancer through the in situ charging technology of electrospinning.” (Electret Polyvinylidene Fluoride Nanofibers Hybridized by Polytetrafluoroethylene Nanoparticles for High-Efficiency Air Filtration) [https://pubs.acs.org/doi/pdf/10.1021/acsami.6b08262] I don’t have access to the article to be sure, I believe the “in situ charging technology of electrospinning” is a part of some electrospinning manufacturing processes. The ‘in situ’ referring to the place of manufacture not the site of application.

          Much of the literature on filtration masks is several years old. As I recall the PNAS publication on mask re-usability referenced a study from 1995 as the source for the filtration theory it described. There was also a curious splitting of filtration mask development into medical masks and their certifications and industrial masks and their certifications. I got the sense that the goals for the masks balanced effectiveness against a disproportionately heavy weighting of the economics.

          Perhaps it might be worthwhile to take a second look at air filters and filter mask designs.

          Reply
  30. Adam Eran

    “We Can Prevent a Great Depression. It’ll Take $10 Trillion”…Worth a look for an additional estimate: J.D. Alt’s latest: Paying Ourselves to Save the Planet: A Layman’s Explanation of Modern Money Theory.

    Alt suggests that we really have $98 trillion worth of problems to solve–a figure impossible to produce in the “PayGo” environment advocated by both parties (although the R’s don’t really mean it…”Reagan proved deficits don’t matter”–Dick Cheney).

    That includes $60 trillion in climate, and the rest in student loan forgiveness, job guarantee, and single-payer health care. (if memory serves)

    The bulk of the book is an excruciatingly detailed description of how money works, but I’m on board with that figure ($98 trillion) and the assertion only MMT can save us.

    The biggest current obstacle: arrogance. We can have humility or humiliation, there’s no third choice is what I say.

    Reply
  31. lyman alpha blob

    RE: The US needs Chinese students

    Well I suppose it all depends on how you look at the world.

    If there is to be a competition with China and they are to be brought to heel, I suppose US schools having the revenue from Chinese grad students plus having them stay in the US to live and work after graduation would be useful. We’ll get those dastardly Chinese using their own people!

    But if you want to live in a world where people cooperate with each other and everything is not always about money, I don’t see why we need them at all.

    Reply
    1. juno mas

      Um, I think you missed some important details in the Chinese Student article. Tuition revenue for universities comes from undergrad students paying out-of -state fees (not trivial). California, which has the largest on-site higher education system in the world, uses foreign students to balance their budgets. There are thousands of Chinese students in California, and they make college more affordable for the locals.

      The post-grad Chinese students doing research are truly the cream of an intensely motivated group of foreign students. As the article states, they help bring in million$ in grants to research universities (Univ. of Calif. has billion dollar budgets).

      Chinese universities are not academic slouches, either. Basic research is essential to productivity and innovation.

      Reply
      1. lyman alpha blob

        There are other ways to fund universities other than tuition, foreign or otherwise. Not all that long ago, college in CA was free.

        Chinese universities are very good too as you point out and can educate their own people just fine. Studying in foreign countries and exchanging ideas is a great thing and has been for thousands of years, but not every human activity needs to be made into a competitive market. Enough neoliberalism.

        Reply
        1. juno mas

          Well, I was at university in Calfornia over 40 years ago, and while nowhere near as expensive as today it was not free. The UC system is an elite assemblage of the top 5% of high school graduates, most tax payers (funders of public education) are unlikely to make the scholastic grade and so have limited interest in full funding. Therefor out-of-state students are needed to bring tuition down for local students (and their parents).

          College is a very competitive environment, especially in science and engineering. Serious students put in max effort at least six days out of the week. The serious Chinese students I’m around study diligently every day. The work a day world is a comparative breeze (if you can find rewarding work).

          Reply
      2. periol

        “California, which has the largest on-site higher education system in the world, uses foreign students to balance their budgets.”

        Is that another one of those 2020 hindsight things?

        I mean, can’t be too harsh. Who wants to live in a world where the people with all the money can’t buy whatever they want? Won’t someone think of Lori Loughlin’s child?

        Reply

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