Links 5/6/2020

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Dear patient readers,

I am dealing with more elder care bullshit than I like, and the level is already too high, like physical therapists who manage to make my mother worse, and nursing services who won’t just do what they are supposed to do (an at-home blood draw) but insist on subjecting you to upselling. Oh, and I thought I was super remiss on sending her will in….but her trust and estates lawyer refuses to keep one of the originals. WTF???

The agency sent a new person yesterday who proceeded to ignore the two things I said in writing to do, one being to go out and pick up a proper lunch for her and my mother. Instead I find my mother was fed a microwaved breakfast sandwich. And there was a third problem I won’t belabor. This after the agency went on about how this person was “conscientious, mature and well liked” as I should be glad to get her. Gah.

And yes, I recognize these aides are not well paid, but they really do just sit around for over 5.5 hours of a 7 hour shift. The actual work here is pretty minimal. Insubordination regarding tasks that are clearly part of their basic duties really frosts me.

And Lord knows how long it will take them to find another “conscientious, mature and well liked” person to fill the open slots (and we have another issue, that I am trying to minimize the number of people taking care of my mother so as to reduce coronavirus risk, so we may have open days, as in ones where I have to get up to be on duty, for quite a while).

As a result, no original posts, since I have to get up early to do the stuff this new person, who will no longer be coming, was supposed to do. But you should find the Richard Murphy post on People and Jobs? Or Wealth? gives you a lot to chew on.

Man, dog and five camels rescued from steep fall BBC. My kind of headline…

Bioluminescent waves dazzle surfers in California: ‘Never seen anything like it’. Guardian. ChiGal: “Contains a very cool video of the lightstreams created by dolphins slicing through the dark water.”

We’re Not in This Together: There is no universal politics of climate change The Baffler (Thomas R)

Pakistan turns unemployed workers into tree planters TreeHugger (resilc)

Video of restaurant headbutt removed with copyright claim, ensuring everyone sees it BoingBoing (resilc). Be sure to read the takedown notice theory.


Irish Send Money to Native American Community Hit By COVID-19, Returning Historic Favor Time (furzy)

Leviathan in Lockdown London Review of Books

A Tale of Two Countries Peter Turchin (UserFriendly). Sweden v. Denmark.


Should we stimulate or suppress immune responses in COVID-19? Cytokine and anti-cytokine interventions ScienceDirect (ddd)

A new strain has come: Meet Spike D614G, the new & improved coronavirus RT (Kevin W). The paper, courtesy Mark P: Spike mutation pipeline reveals the emergence of a more transmissible formof SARS-CoV-2 bioXriv

Nationalism trumps cooperation in virus vaccine race Asia Times

Coronavirus reached Europe weeks earlier than thought, say doctors Financial Times (Kevin W)


Clive weights in:

Naturally, U.K. Twitter in absolute meltdown over this.

Honestly, what is it about the Brits and “sex scandals”? I wish I lived in France where no one bats an eyelid at this kind of thing.

He’s a hypocrite but you have a smidge feel sorry for him, having made enemies in the wrong places.



Coronavirus latest: US suffers third-highest daily increase in deaths Financial Times. FT like many papers has un-paywalled its coronavirus coverage.

Lost On The Frontline KHN. Please click through and read some of the obits.

Trump Says U.S. Must Reopen Even If More Americans Get Sick, Die

San Francisco study reveals 90% of people who tested positive for coronavirus had been leaving home to go to work Daily Mail

Openings may put black workers at disproportionate COVID-19 risk The Hill

Betsy DeVos sued for seizing student borrowers’ paychecks in violation of the CARES Act: “We don’t care. We don’t have to.” Condemned to DEBT (UserFriendly).

Without in-person classes, many students have essentially gone missing, teachers say USA Today. Resilc” “Trumpisimo voter development.”

The Harsh Future of American Cities GEN (resilc)

Political Responses

Battle brewing over how to get more relief money to Americans The Hill. UserFriendly: “They are literally content to let everyone without a job die. I honestly don’t expect this country to exist in November.”

Trump says ‘bailouts’ unfair to GOP since states needing aid ‘run by Democrats in every case’ NBC (Kevin W)

US versus Canada on coronavirus: Trump failed, Trudeau succeeded Vox (resilc)

bob from Syracuse: “Stumbled into his world from Tyler Cowen’s. Awful to awful. More neoliberalism to the rescue of the market!”

Dr. Rick Bright Files Whistleblower Complaint Torching HHS Leadership Media Lite (Chuck L)

Trump ready to turn page on COVID-19, despite crisis-level cases The Hill

New York Fed Paper Finds Pandemic a Century Ago Fueled Nazi Rise Wall Street Journal. BC: “Seriously? What point is the NY Fed trying to make?”


Pratt Institute Students Sue School for Tuition Refund, Claiming “Subpar” Online Classes Core77

Norwegian Cruise Line warns of ‘substantial doubt’ it will survive Guardian (resilc). Third biggest line.

The layoffs at Airbnb cast a dark shadow over Silicon Valley: VAirbnb is laying off a quarter of its staff. Vox

Fed Is Propping Up Companies It Had Warned Banks Not to Touch Bloomberg (Chuck L)

Fight To Tax Amazon Resurges As Company Thrives During COVID-19 ShadowProof

Can We Even Stop Monopolization in a Pandemic? Matt Stoller (UserFriendly)

Every COVID-19 Commercial Is Exactly The Same BoingBoing (resilc)

Germany’s top court clashes with European Central Bank in revolutionary ruling Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph. Clive:

In the Telegraph so expectedly breathless reporting. But if as written (very big if) it is a big deal. The German Constitutional Court always reserved the right to strike down CJEU rulings. But this stance was never compatible with EU law. Both jurisdictions tiptoed around each other. Until maybe now.

Philippines Orders Leading TV Network ABS-CBN to Shut Down Time (furzy)


It’s Russia’s Syrian Mercenaries vs. Turkey’s Syrian Mercenaries in Libya’s War Foreign Policy (UserFriendly)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

An Adult Cam Site Exposed 10.88 Billion Records Wired

Trump Transition

Trump administration drafts pact for mining on the moon Guardian

Space Force isn’t the first time the US has tried to send the military into orbit Popular Science (resilc)

Trump’s Pick for Intelligence Chief Follows a Slew of QAnon Accounts Daily Beast

Justice Ginsburg Hospitalized for Gallbladder Ailment, Supreme Court Says Bloomberg

Ilhan Omar backs Israel lobby campaign against Iran Electronic Infitada. Kevin W: “DNC – ‘Assimilation complete!'”

‘Cleveland Documenters’ Launches to Keep Tabs on Cleveland, Cuyahoga County Public Meetings CleveScene (Carla). Cool!


A Lot of Democrats Would Really Rather Have a Nominee Who Isn’t Joe Biden Vice

Sanders not backing Warren as Biden VP: report The Hill (UserFriendly). Karma is a bitch…

Judge orders Sanders, others to be reinstated to New York primary ballot The Hill

Federal judge orders Sanders & other candidates be restored on New York ballots, says primary must proceed in June RT (Kevin W)

Coronavirus Side Effect: CalPERS Drops to 60% Funded California Globe (Kevin W)

Guillotine Watch

Five-year-old caught driving parents’ car in Utah BBC

Class Warfare

Deaths of Despair Boston Review (Jim B)

California Sues Uber And Lyft For ‘Cheating’ Drivers And Taxpayers NPR

Antidote du jour. Oguk: “Our neighbors strolled by for breakfast.”

And a bonus:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. fresno dan

    They blasted “Live and Let Die” while Trump walked around a Honeywell plant today in Arizona without a mask. It’s hard to believe this clip is real
    Under any circumstances that would be a bizarre choice for a presidential visit. And it is hard to imagine the firm doing it without the go ahead from the presidential handlers. So one is left with the conclusion that it is meant to send a message – Yes, opening back up will lead to deaths – what does it matter to you, you got a job to do…
    Partial lyric:
    What does it matter to ya
    When ya got a job to do
    Ya got to do it well
    You got to give the other fella hell
    You used to say live and let live
    (You know you did, you know you did, you know you did)
    But if this ever changing world in which we’re living
    Makes you give in and cry
    Say live and let die

    1. LaRuse

      This Administration has harnessed symbolism in ways no other Administration ever dreamed of – mostly because Trump’s administration is honest about its motives and priorities in ways no other administration dared. Remember when FLOTUS wore her infamous jacket?
      They really don’t care.
      About us. About appearances. About anything but maintaining and growing their own power and wealth. And they flaunt it.
      And we are all so shocked that they would flaunt this blatant messages (FLOTUS’s jacket, “Live and Let Die,” etc.) that we are looking for some underlying message. “Maybe they really meant …. [insert somewhat more benign symbolic meaning here]?”
      No. Trump and his people mean exactly what they say with their symbolic choices.
      As Lambert would say, it’s oddly “refreshing” if, personally, anxiety-inducing for me. Your mileage, may of course, vary.

    2. Bugs Bunny

      Had tix to see Macca at the end of the month. Ain’t gonna happen.

      I hope he’s holed up on one of his vast estates. Be a shame to lose another Beatle.

      1. MLTPB

        Is ‘remoteness inequality’ an emerging issue?

        ‘You don’t need to grocery shop yourself? There is another remoter down the street!!!!’

    3. The Rev Kev

      Just to make the picture complete, after he landed in Arizona he went to the guy greeting him on the tarmac, shook his hand and gave him a brief hug. Making some sort of statement I guess. I would say the statement is I-am-the-village-idiot

      1. Redlife2017

        I think he must think that because he gets tested everyday then that is going to protect him? My brain hurts…

        1. MLTPB

          So far, no luck finding a picture of Putin with a mask on.

          Is it something about image here?

          Or more ‘those 2 guys again?’

            1. MLTPB

              Is that his personal recommendation, overriding the WHO?

              ‘You need more than just a mask, you village peasants.’

              1. ambrit

                Well, it’s a lot better than the American version. “It’s a Potemkin Pandemic serfs!”
                “Now where are those bloodthirsty Kossaks when we need them! Let the Pavane begin. Maestro!”

      2. MLTPB

        I was going to ask if we were seeing pictures of Kim’s double, a few days ago. Then, I read somewhere that people had been doubting as well.

        Are we seeing a double here?

        1. The Rev Kev

          Actually being Kim’s double would be a pretty sweet gig to have in North Korea. How many jobs there would require you to stuff yourself with food until you start to resemble the Michelin Man?

      1. The Rev Kev

        I saw a longer clip on the news earlier and most of the workers that I saw were wearing masks and also gloves. It must be standard operational procedure in that plant.

        1. Bugs Bunny

          Could it be that Trump asked that anyone in a shot with him not wear a mask?

          His macho way of being an example to his base?

        2. MLTPB

          If someone tries to interrupt your calm, your peace and tranquility, he wins if you let him.

          The standard procedure at the plant is, as you say, to wear one, and most are wearing one. Presumably no contravenig order from the Visitor to not wear one.

          Now, wearing one is more about protecting others.

          If you just tested negative, you are not as likely to be in need of protecting others, I imagine

          Is the key investigative question here, then, about whether he just tested negative shortly before?

          1. marym

            Depends on what the question is. What is the false negative rate of the test? Why aren’t these tests available to everyone? What evidence do we have that he cares whether other people get infected?

            1. MLTPB

              Those are good questions.

              For this case, the immediately reaction was about protecting him (asked by redlife above), and then about protecting others.

              1. ambrit

                I see this as an example of Illusion becoming Reality. This series of pictures show Magical Thinking at it’s best. The more conspiratorially minded will comment that Magical Thinking has often been a tool for “Sinister Elements” to use to manipulate individuals and groups towards malign ends.
                As has often been seen to be the case, Trump is a symptom of the political ailment afflicting our crumbling world, not the problem itself.
                I sort of feel sorry for Trump. He has been painted into a corner. When he catches the Dreaded Pathogen, if he has not already done so, and perhaps recovered, he will be in the prime demographic for the worst outcomes. (If the multiple infection theory is true, all bets are off, for everyone.)

                1. norm de plume

                  What ‘the more conspiratorially minded’ will start thinking if Trump, Pence, Pompeo, Mnuchin, de Vos and those in their penumbra never get sick despite taking no precautions is that their confidence, so far from being misplaced, is evidence of their knowing some things the rest of us don’t.

                  It would be hard to credit though; such deception would require a level of competence there is little evidence of.

          2. Monty

            It’s symbolism, sending a message, leading by example.

            If Trump is wearing a mask, then members of his cult will think the virus must be dangerous, and then some might not want to Reopen America℠.

            They have had legions of shills out denying the virus is a threat for weeks. Seeing Trump in a mask could undo all that hard work.

            Therefore, no mask.

            1. skippy

              I think its much more simple …

              Trumpoids believe he is the – chosen one – hence wearing a mask indicates hes wobbly on his manifest destiny.

          3. Procopius

            He gets tested at least once a day. Every day. So does Pence. So does any person just before going to meet either one of them. I expect the Chief of Staff does, too, and any person going to meet him. This is probably why Trump thinks anyone can get tested whenever they want. These are the top of the line tests where you get the results in, like, five minutes. They are not available for most people, not even members of Congress. In fact there are still parts of the country where you can’t get tested unless you can show you returned from Wuhan last week, even if you have all the (extreme) symptoms, and even then the results will take two weeks to come back.

            1. marym

              “He openly admitted in March that he did not want to let infected patients from a cruise ship disembark because it would increase the number of cases counted in the United States. He essentially made the same calculation on Wednesday by saying that more testing only reveals more infections and therefore increases the numbers. “In a way, by doing all this testing we make ourselves look bad,” he said.”


    4. Samuel Conner

      I’ve been thinking “failed state” for about a week; Lambert added that category about a week before that (maybe it was more — my subjective experience of the passage of time has been dramatically altered in recent months. Pandemic as temporal hallucinogen.)

      I have a nomination for a new topic category (though, come to think of it, it kind of subsumes almost every topic):

      “They made a desert and called it ‘America’ “

    5. Keith

      I suspect he knew it would draw attention and create a mini-outrage and let the press focus on him, drawing oxygen from other areas of the news cycle. A news cycle that can only focus on 2-3 items at a time.

      1. jsn

        When your system is based on human sacrifice, you have to get your humans somewhere.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        I would argue the elites in the anti-choice movements could care less about fetuses. They simply want to keep women shackled. The mother on both sides of the birth would be shackled.

      3. Savedbyirony

        I think for the elites it is more of an HR issue. “Look, little minions, it is our right to your lives (to fight our wars, toil for our profits, serve us, act as play things, etc.) And, yes, absolutely keeping women shackled by their reproductive biology.

    6. chuck roast

      I am reminded of the great political prankster Dick Tuck who had the band play “Mack the Knife” upon the entry of Richard Nixon to a political rally.

    7. John Anthony La Pietra

      Am I the only person in the history of the world who ever heard the lyrics as “. . . makes you give it a try / To live and let die”?

      (Maybe so — no listing at for it. Dang.)

  2. dcrane

    Re: Man, dog and five camels rescued from steep fall BBC.

    Wasn’t expecting a story from Down Under. But yes, they do have camels, don’t they.

      1. Wukchumni

        Fort Tejon, which everybody whizzes right by on Hwy 5 in the Grapevine en route to SoCal.

        Was the western terminus of the U.S. Army Camel Corps experiment, but it didn’t take.

        In November 1859, the Army took charge of the twenty-eight camels on Bishop’s farm and moved them to Fort Tejon. Although the animals were in rather poor physical shape, there were now three more than Beale had originally left on the ranch, demonstrating MAJ Wayne’s theory that the camels – if given the opportunity – could breed on their own. This herd remained at Fort Tejon until March 1860, when they were relocated to a rented grazing area some twelve miles from the fort. In September several camels were sent to Los Angeles to take part in the Army’s first official test of camels in California.

        On 26 February 1864, the thirty-seven camels from California were sold for $1,945, or $52.56 per camel. The surviving forty-four camels from Camp Verde were finally recovered at the end of the war. On 6 March 1866, they too were put on the auction block, bringing $1,364, or $31 per camel. The Army’s Quartermaster-General, MG Montgomery Meigs, approved the sale, stating his hopes that civilian enterprises might more successfully develop use of the camel and expressing his sincere regrets that the experiment had ended in failure.

        1. wilroncanada

          Since then the US Army has been hump-free.
          It took them awhile to get over it.

  3. Redlife2017

    Re:Germany’s top court clashes with European Central Bank in revolutionary ruling and Clive’s note…

    Well, the FT in their live Coronavirus tracker is also rather breathless about the ruling:

    “A bombshell ruling by Germany’s constitutional court questioning the legality of European monetary policy impinges on central bank independence and imperils the EU legal system, former policymakers and legal experts have warned.”
    Behind the paywall is the full report.

    So, this could be VERY interesting indeed.

    1. Marlin

      A bombshell ruling by Germany’s constitutional court questioning the legality of European monetary policy impinges on central bank independence

      Central banks are not extrajudicial. Central bank independence is meant to be independent of the governments, not above the law. If the ECB acts against the law, e.g. by violating the monetary financing prohibition or by doing fiscal policy rather than monetary policy, it is not an impingement of “central bank independence” if the court acts, even if the treaties are a doomsday device – the level of understanding of economics prevalent in German judges is anyhow roughly equivalent to the understanding of evolution by young-earth creationists, so you as well can’t expect them to bend the law for the greater good.

  4. AbyNormal

    Yeves, sorry.
    CYA, use your phone for pictures time stamped. These people don’t like to lose and they don’t. Keep an advocate near and informed!
    My mother was in a prestigious Atlanta rehab, when they the One doctor for 4 floors thought it a great idea to put mom on steroids. I warned the doctor how sensitive mom was to Any meds. All hell broke lose and I was ARRESTED for care failure and fraud against an elderly….taken seriously down south. I AIN’T NEVA BEEN TO JAIL….and because it was file in Fulton Co. I got the luxury of general population ATL PRISON. I was lost to say the least. My sister and I had been documenting everything and where we messed up was by not calling and reporting head of the facility…sis and I met with him a few times. I still have PTSD from being handcuffed…all this while dealing with a flu from in and out of Hospitals etc.
    Mom lives on today…ALONE.
    Her last words to me before I left her…You Don’t Know The Things I Can Do To You! Got a fine lawyer and it’s taken care of for now. I got a nephew itching for her money but mom won’t do a will do he’s threatening to file against me for destroying said will. Mom never does a will because she thinks she can control anyone with money carrot/stick.
    MMMN…my mother the malignant narcissist. Elderly care is serious money at the top.

    Well Wishes ole Friend

    1. barefoot charley

      I so feel for you both. I am as lucky as my dad, who died right before the covid lockdown, which would have killed him miserably. We learned that frequent caregiver oversight is as critical as a full-time medical advocate by the patient’s side in hospital, or something will go FUBAR. It’s nobody’s job but yours to remember everything, and to ask why. You won’t be appreciated for it, except in heaven.

      Bon courage, friends. This and they too shall pass.

      1. pricklyone

        Lost my Mom in September. She was in mid-90’s. I would have been frantic trying to protect her, now.
        Treasury Dept. just sent her a check for 1200 bucks, though…

  5. Wukchumni

    We’re kind of at the point where Mubarak sent out jet fighters over Tahrir Square 9 years ago in an attempt to defuse a crisis, it didn’t work.

    Blue Angels will be doing their dog & pony show over Texas today in honor of front line health workers, but wouldn’t it be better to honor them by having adequate PPE, instead of blowing a big chunk of money on aeronautical maneuvers, as part of a multi-city tour?

    Oh well, patriotism really is the last refuge of our scoundrel.

    1. Merf56

      Yves, I suggest setting up cameras all over the house. There are companies who will do so and make them basically invisible. Expensive but well worth it imho. A friend had to do this when her dad keep having large bruises. The aide went to jail because of the footage.

  6. jackiebass

    I looked at your comment on in home care and it reminded me of my experiences with my wife after being hospitalized and physical therapy care in a nursing home. The first time was great. People showed up and did what they were supposed to do. The second time was a disaster. Not showing up and not doing what they were hired to do. This was a private company.The first time it was the county health department that provided the great service. The next time around we decided to not have home health care because of our past experience. I’m lucky I am retired and healthy enough can take care of her. These agencies hire people and it’s a crap shoot. Sometimes they get good dedicated people. Too often they get duds. There seems to be no real oversight. If a provider is rated bad they close shop and open up under a new name. I hope we never again have to rely on in home care. It can be wonderful but more often than not it ends up being a disaster. The same is true for nursing home care. Some are good but others aren’t good. It is difficult to find out what ones are good unless you are lucky enough to talk to someone that used their services.

    1. Merf56

      When my sister was diagnosed with terminal cancer she has a visiting nurse coming in three times a week. She had several home health aides she had known for years and highly recommended. My nieces hired one of them and she was just awesome and made my sister’s last months more than comfortable – so maybe a recommendation from VNA would get you a better person? At least they are in a position to see who is and isn’t well cared for by an aide?

      1. JTMcPhee

        Sad that people are reduced to pursuing little personal search tricks to try to find caring carers. The problem is with the system that creates these engines of abuse and wealth stripping. But most of us want decent kindly treatment for ourselves and our loved ones. Yet how many of us in practice manage to accord the same decency to others?

        How to create a political economy in which honesty and decency are the defaults? All the “successful” people work off of and foster all the bad incentives and positive feedbacks.

        And how many of us just can’t wait to get back to “business as usual?”

        1. barefoot charley

          In my dad’s case we learned that caregivers are only extensively instructed in CYA, which occupies hours of their time documenting their attention to things that often didn’t happen–but were written about, which is what matters. As above, so below.

    2. Stillfeelinthebern

      I will echo this comment, but of course it may vary depending on where you live in the US. We have an aging department in our county and when I needed help with my mom, they provided a list of providers. I was lucky that there was some funding as well for a small number of hours each week and I had one person coming into her home. When more hours were needed, I initially tried a private agency and asked for the same person to come, but they had trouble doing that and the care was horrible. Eventually, I just hired the first person away from the agency she worked for. It worked out great and when my mom passed there were other people lined up in the community to hire her because they knew what a good job she had done. The trick is finding that person, but when you do, they make a huge difference. I know I was fortunate.

      1. barefoot charley

        Yes, that was our trick too. Then we had to fight like blazes to keep her at work within Dad’s retirement home, which had a sweetheart contract with an associated outfit that paid permitted caregivers $12 an hour, and billed 25. We were the only exceptions, thanks to my learning to be as self-righteously nasty as management was. Decline and death as a profit center isn’t for the faint-hearted.

  7. zagonostra

    >Battle brewing over how to get more relief money to Americans

    Reducing payroll taxes is an idea championed by conservatives with connections to the president. They argue that it could be a way to encourage people to work after Congress passed an expansion of unemployment insurance that has resulted in some people receiving more money in unemployment benefits than they would be receiving in wages had they not lost their jobs.

    So the impetus is not to help people who are in dire need right now, but to prompt the plebes back in the harness.

    Jimmy Dore and Dylan Ratigan discussed on a JD live stream last night how ridiculous a payroll tax is for people who don’t have a pay check and that this is a Trojan horse with the intent to undermine social security.

    JD has a new segment that airs on Tuesday called “Corona Money Talk” where he and Dylan Ratigan discuss topic of finance/money and related issues. The conversation is dropped on Wednesday at below link. Well worth a listen.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Trump wants a tax cut? Wouldn’t you have to have a job before getting a tax cut first? That would be at least thirty million people right out the gate for whom this would not apply to. People that desperately need the money. But being cynical, I would say that after the Democrats and Republicans got together to hammer out this bill, that the tax cuts would be on a sliding scale with those at the upper end getting the most tax cuts and those at the bottom end getting only a minimal amount of relief. Of course they could send out a cheque to every adult in America that has a social security number but here they are not even trying. It’s just a hand wave.

      1. MK

        Unemployment and pandemic income are apparently taxable. In fact, NYS is kind enough to withhold taxes from both my state unemployment and my federal pandemic aide while I’m furloughed. Employer is nice enough to pay the full health insurance premium until Cuomo lifts the restrictions.

          1. Procopius

            That’s what I thought, and, frankly, I think the number might be a lot higher. The Bureau of Labor Statistics unemployment report for April isn’t due out until the 18th of May. I don’t know what I expect the BLS report to show. I just don’t know where else to look. I’ve seen one vague report that only 10% of those who filed at the beginning of April have been approved for benefits. I’ve seen at least two articles that the whole unemployment system in every state has been defunded and had restrictions added to the point that it’s a nightmare, worse than food stamps, to put in a claim. Many people who file end up just giving up, which is what the legislators and governors who set up these systems wanted. I remember an article at Dean Baker’s Beat the Press last year sometime, which mentioned in passing the number of people who were unemployed and the number (much, much lower) who were getting benefits. I don’t know where he found that information.

    2. Procopius

      Wait … what? We knew lifting the payroll tax was a terrible risk back when Obama did it. We lucked out then, because he was forced to sunset it after a year and was also forced to take money from the General Fund to reimburse the Trust Fund for the missed revenue. This has been a goal for the Right since the Lewis Memo. If Social Security is not paid for by a dedicated tax, it’s welfare and won’t last two years. Why doesn’t anybody ever remember what happened the last time? No, this time is NOT different.

    1. MLTPB

      I agree, a great story.

      Also great would be money being sent to people with no specific* historic favor to return.

      *maybe some general, or unspecific favor, or none at all.

      Like Russia to Italy, before Moscow’s own cases now. And us helping China and Russia. Unless some say, in some general way, Russia owes Italy some favor, from years or decades, back, or some time ago.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Interesting point that. If Lieutenant Napoleon Bonaparte had stopped a bullet earlier in his career, would another ‘Napoleonic’ figure have arisen instead? A lot of those French Marshalls were very capable men after all. Guess that we will never really know.

            1. MLTPB

              Perhaps we jump into ‘this guy is a legacy of that thing or that guy’ without considering all the what ifs.

              1. Procopius

                This is why I find “alternative history stories” so unsatisfactory. If one event is changed there’s really no way to know what other changes would arise from that difference.

            2. NotTimothyGeithner

              My gut says no and that he is one of the few “great men”, but the result is a greater French Republic which includes much of Southern Germany and the Benelux. The British Empire is smaller. On the whole colonial empires become “softer” as the French are more inclined to follow their stated values which reduces the demand for British protectorates (as the Brits were the good guys for once). The generals were capable, but I’m not sure the capable ones had the start they needed as Napoleon was responsible for their careers. Without Napoleon making HR decisions, the French officer corp is probably better than the British (sans Wellington), but I doubt they make it to the top. To me the question would how rapidly, the elite of the Revolution became the new conservatives and whether they would be able to deal with inevitable conflicts going forward.

              The French Army was given a free hand with the removal of Robespierre during the Italian campaigns. If we accept outside of Wellington’s troops, that the French soldiers were superior and more willing to die for a variety of reasons compared to their counterparts who were fighting for money or due to impressment, I could see a general recognizing that an unstable government meant they needed to win and could press an advantage and keep pushing forward.

      1. periol

        “Also great would be money being sent to people with no specific* historic favor to return.”

        I agree, and I think it says much that the original gift in this story, from the 1800s, was an unprompted gift from a Native American tribe during the potato famine. $150 I read. I’m struggling to even put into words how awe-inspiring that gift is to me, knowing the history of what white western civilization did to the people who lived in North America before the ships came, knowing what is still being done to these people today.

  8. Wukchumni

    HANFORD, California (KSEE/KGPE) – More than 130 employees at the Central Valley Meat Co. in Hanford have tested positive for COVID-19, according to Kings County Supervisor Doug Verboon.

    Verboon says that data is from the Kings County Department of Public Health – and shows that a total of 138 employees have tested positive for coronavirus.

    Haven’t heard or seen a F-35 overhead here in months. emanating from Naval Air Station Lemoore-which is located about 20 minutes away from Hanford. There is no there-there aside from going to Hanford if you’re based @ the NAS.

    I’d guess that the majority of the 138 employees who tested positive were Mexican, and they’ve probably passed it along in the predominantly Ag jobs that dominate the Central Valley, just in time for summer fruit harvesting to be compromised by Coronavirus, taking down the pickers.

    Kind of a Pachinko ball-this virus, it bumps into everything.

    1. KFritz

      Also from Hanford. I’ve seen at least two non-essential small businesses reopen, and most of the populace on the street and in stores don’t wear masks or practice social distance–I only know of one grocery store that requires face covering. Walmart is limiting the number of customers. On Saturday, there was an anti-lockdown demonstration at 12th Ave and Lacey. Consistent positive car horns and auto-occupant gestures for the demonstrators during the two or three minutes I was in the vicinity.

  9. Krystyn Podgajski

    RE: Should we stimulate or suppress immune responses in COVID-19? Cytokine and anti-cytokine interventions

    How about both? They talk about the immune system like all these reactions are one monolithic shout, when in fact it is a symphony and the Maestro’s are nutrient cofactors. For instance, we can look at one nutrient and get a clue on how it all works. Zinc deficiency will cause some parts of the immune system to be suppressed and others over expressed.

    From that paper:

    Cytokines are central to the pathophysiology of COVID-19; while some of them are beneficial

    (type-I interferon [#1], interleukin-7),

    others appear detrimental

    (interleukin-1β[#2], Interleukin-6[#2], and TNF-α[#3]) particularly in the context of the so-called cytokine storm.

    Yet another characteristic of the disease has emerged: concomitant immunodeficiency, notably involving impaired type-I interferon response, and lymphopenia[#4].

    zinc supplementation improves not only the type I and II interferon production/response62,63, but also immune cell survival, maturation and function

    In overweight and obese adults, participants with low dietary zinc intakes (5.7 mg/day) were found to have lower plasma zinc concentration, intracellular zinc content, and intracellular free zinc levels and upregulated IL-1α, IL-1β, and IL-6 genes compared to overweight and obese participants with zinc intakes (12.2 mg/day) that met recommended dietary requirements [28].

    Zinc-dependent suppression of TNF-alpha production is mediated by protein kinase A-induced inhibition of Raf-1, I kappa B kinase beta, and NF-kappa B.

    modest deficits in zinc cause lymphopenia

    Zinc both increases the beneficial immune response and dampens the negative immune response.

    It is nothing but malpractice/ignorance that the medical community is not looking more at nutrition.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      For whatever reason the entire medical community is enormously resistant to the promotion of good nutrition beyond the most basic level of following the food pyramid, or whatever is recommended in any given country. I’ve asked medical friends/ contacts many time as to why this is the case, and I’ve never had what I consider to be a coherent answer. There are of course meta studies indicating that multivitamin are useless, or even counter productive, and the promise of some vitamins (C, for example), has been somewhat disproved. There is also of course the massive over commercialisation of the supplements industry.

      But this still does not explain to me why the use of simple, proven harmless supplements such as Vitamin D was not among the very first thing recommended for the population. There are plenty of others that are known to have little to no side effects, but demonstrated effectiveness with improving the immune system (Vitamin C, zinc and magnesium), plus foods such as ginger and bilberry, etc. In not engaging with this, IMO the medical system is making things worse rather than better, because people are just getting their information on this from quacks and the commercial industry, rather than considered advice from proper medical sources.

      1. Bsoder

        Considering there are about 369,123 MDs in the US, I myself wouldn’t generalize as to what they all think or do. Mostly mds aren’t trained in medical school about nutrition nor have a rotation that emphasizes it. Thus no watch one, do one, & teach one. However, Many family practice doctors do and have specific certifications in it. Dr. Ed Linker (Ann Arbor) has spent 45 years formalizing holistic medicine including nutrition and supplements and had a huge influence on family practice doctors in learning about these things and using them. There’s always more that can be done but that’s not the same as saying nothing is being done.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          I’m not referring to individual doctors, I’m referring to the medical profession as a whole, and in particular public health authorities. For what its worth, my own doctor is an enthusiast for turmeric – he recommended I take it daily to deal with my mild osteoarthritis.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            Nutrition is a complete backwater. There are basically two types of nutrition degrees. One isn’t really nutrition, it is more food chemistry with an eye to graduates working for places like General Mills.

            The second is bona fide nutrition and it is a complete joke. In fairness, one of the reasons is the extreme difficulty in proper study. How do you get people to record accurately what they eat over long periods of time? And on top of that, there may be considerable differences in nutrient content due to how food is prepared. Cooking of fruit and veg reduces how much nutrient value they have.

            And that’s just comparatively simple stuff like macronutrients and minerals and vitamins. What about micronutrients?

        2. chuck roast

          Kind of like schools of neoclassical economics who love to model equilibrium and turn a blind eye to debt.

      2. rusti

        There are plenty of others that are known to have little to no side effects, but demonstrated effectiveness with improving the immune system (Vitamin C, zinc and magnesium), plus foods such as ginger and bilberry, etc.

        What do you include in your diet, PK? I was thinking of starting to make my own ginger shots, which seem like they might be a tasty placebo in the worst case.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          The only supplement I always take is Vitamin D, as I live in the northern latitudes and most Irish people are deficient in it. I take 4,000 ug a day, which is the maximum recommended. I eat a daily smoothie with lots of greens in it as well as a small cut of ginger, and a few times a week a ‘virgin mary’ smoothie with lots of spice and turmeric. I also take 100g of blueberries a day in my oatmeal. I also mix in linseed and hemp seeds with my smoothie, and occasionally other supplements, if they are from a really good source. As i don’t eat meat or much dairy, i take B12 occasionally and sometimes B complex. Since Covid I’ve started taking Vitamin C with bilberry juice extract.

      3. Katniss Everdeen

        My rule of thumb for quite awhile now has been that if you want health and nutrition advice, consult a bodybuilder. (The ones who don’t rely on steroids, of course.)

        Many of them can run rings around “medical professionals” on everything from the biochemistry of insulin to the Krebs cycle, and it’s hard to argue with the results.

        Food rules should be made by people who understand the subject, and it’s pretty obvious who gets it and who doesn’t.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Yes, I used to read bodybuilding mags for their nutrition takes! But OMG all the gross photos of guys on steroids! Even the guys in the natural bodybuilding mags are awfully bulked up.

          1. Procopius

            On usenet news, there was a group devoted to weight training. Some were bodybuilders, but most were more interested in power lifting. One reason I liked the group (I think it was, but it’s so long ago) was because it’s regulars were outspoken about not using stereoids. There were comments sometimes that the group had gone through cycles, with people who used steroids and then people who did not. Anyway, I believe that was where I first heard the proverb, “Six-pack abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym.” A couple of the regular posters were professional trainers or coaches and had degrees in sports physiology. Discussions of weight loss got very technical. So people with backgrounds in physiology, rather than medicine, may be better advisers for nutrition.

            I definitely agree about the body-builders on stereoids. At the fitness center at JUSMAGTHAI in Bangkok, they used to have posters of bodybuilding champions of recent years. Without exception they were horrors. Grotesques. Their bodies were deformed, but within their subculture they were thought to approach the ideal man.

      4. Watt4Bob

        There is also of course the massive over commercialisation of the supplements industry.

        From the LA Times;

        Here’s the bad news: A dietary supplement named OxyElite Pro is still apparently making people sick, more than a year after the Hawaii Department of Health was alerted to seven cases of acute hepatitis and liver failure among its users. As of last February, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had linked 47 hospitalizations, three liver transplants and one death to the diet product.

        Here’s the worse news: This toll hasn’t inspired Congress to revisit what is perhaps its deadliest deregulatory initiative ever: the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994, or DSHEA. As Pieter Cohen of Harvard Medical School put it in a recent piece for the New England Journal of Medicine, this misbegotten law essentially requires the Food and Drug Administration to assume that dietary supplements are safe until proved otherwise, at which point it’s often too late. OxyElite Pro has been recalled, but as Cohen observes, nothing will prevent another supplement from bringing about a similar toll.

        DSHEA was the work product of Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) — “demonstrating that pseudoscience is a bipartisan affair,” wrote Dr. David Gorski of Wayne State University. It also demonstrates the power of money and influence. Hatch was fronting for supplement manufacturers in his home state; he still seems to regard DSHEA as one of his crowning legislative achievements.

        As for Harkin, who will retire at the end of this year, he has collected an ungodly amount of campaign money from the supplement purveyor Herbalife and contributors such as the Natural Products Assn. Since Harkin reliably stands on the side of the angels in defending Social Security, it’s distressing to see him take a shameful approach to supplements regulation.

        Our country is run by petty criminals.

      5. Krystyn Podgajski


        Giving someone a drug is the easy way to excuse the lack of nutrition provided in corporate food.

      6. David B Harrison

        1.Because Markets 2.Go die (in response to why common sense nutritional solutions are not promoted).

      7. wilroncanada

        My daughter has a Masters in “Community Nutrition”. About 7 years ago, in one of their frequent reorganizations, the provincial government got rid of the community nutritionists in all their public health centres, including my daughter’s. The rationale was that the public health nurses could handle nutrition. She was later hired back for 4 days a week. expected to do the same job 2 of them had done in 5 days: liason with 3 school districts in instruction to students on nutrition, start and operate teaching programs in poor communities for shopping and meal prep of decent meals, especially for young new mothers, and a lot of other stuff in addition (as well as navigate the office politics of being an outsider:ie, not a doctor or a nurse or, gasp, an Administrator.)
        Even decent public health systems outside the US give short shrift to food and nutrition.

    2. Dean

      “others appear detrimental

      (interleukin-1β[#2], Interleukin-6[#2], and TNF-α[#3]) particularly in the context of the so-called cytokine storm.”

      Timing is everything.

      IL-1, IL-6, TNF’s, other cytokines and chemokines are critical factors in causing an inflammatory response. That response will bring immune cells to the initial sites of infection and raise body temperature. This, in turn, will help initiate adaptive immune responses.

      In patients whose diseases progresses these cytokines can, as you mention, become detrimental if cytokine storm occurs.

      1. Krystyn Podgajski

        Yes, timing. In no way do I think “more zinc is better” since that will throw off the timing as well.

    3. Rhondda

      I went for a quick check on foods rich in zinc and found this nifty Nutrient Tracking Tool at UI isn’t polished but the tool is straightforward and very useful.

      Yum. Good to see cheeseburgers make the cut! LOL. Looks like my dear departed dad was right — “cheeseboogies” are Food of the Gods!

        1. Janie

          Thanks for this link and a big thank you for your previous posts and links. Some send me to the medical dictionary, but that’s ok. You, bsoder and Ignatio are providing a great education.

    4. Tomonthebeach

      A cogently-written but vastly overlooked article last week In Toxicology Reports by a Greek team made a convincing case that cytokine storms were triggered by a reaction to the virus in the nicotinic receptors in our brains. The nicotinic and dopaminergic systems are a region of the brain that influences homeostasis and causes tobacco users to become addicted to nicotine (and opioid users to addict to heroin).

      Examining a sizable number of patients in the US and China who were hospitalized for the disease they found that smokers ironically had less lung infection. Their cytokine levels were depressed. This was attributed to the presence of nicotine in their systems which inhibited the cytokine storm responsible for killing patients. They recommended that hospitalized patients slap on a nicotine patch or start chewing nicotine gum to prevent cytokine storms. Such a cheap protective measure will probably be ignored as alternatives like TNF Inhibitors cost 10-18 thousand dollars per infusion.

      If I get the bug and must be hospitalized – I am bringing a week’s supply of nicotine patches.

  10. fresno dan

    When he sat down to interview President Trump, David Muir had an enormous responsibility on his hands. Muir had been granted Trump’s first television interview outside the Fox-verse since the coronavirus pandemic upended American life.
    It also came as Trump spent the preceding day unhinged on Twitter.

    Muir’s interview was an opportunity to prosecute Trump on these issues and his conduct amid the crisis. It was an opportunity to ask him important Q’s and hold his feet to the fire in a way that isn’t done on Fox and can’t be done in the briefing room. But Muir missed. The interview didn’t elicit any big news. Muir didn’t challenge Trump in any meaningful way. And worst of all, Muir allowed the President to float brazen misinformation with no pushback to his 10 million+ viewers.
    I beat the dead horse of the “news” ceaselessly, but I can’t let it pass.
    1. Its not the job of the news to prosecute Trump – if CNN wants to write editorials about Trump, I’m sure I’ll agree that Trump is bad.
    2. Didn’t elicit Big News – CNN, not everyone can have chyrons flashing across the screen “History breaking news!” all the time…
    3. CNN, you apparently don’t understand that twitter is used by Trump as campaign fodder. Don’t you understand not to pay attention to campaign advertising except in extraordinary circumstances?
    4. How often has the American news media REALLY challenged American presidents – can you tell me all the TOUGH questions Obama got about not prosecuting financial crimes during the Great Recession???
    5. Poor CNN – Trump prances into the wrestling ring in an American flag cape singing God bless America, and CNN comes in an all black outfit asking why Trump hasn’t declared national atonement for the 1619 story…and CNN just can’t figure out why Trump wins. Than CNN demands a rematch.
    6. CNN thinks the media is the story??? astounding

    1. neo-realist

      How is this a loser? What are Trump and the republicans doing to forgive student loans?

      1. Trent

        You can’t forgive loans for some and not others, it doesn’t work that way. At least not among the species we call human. Moses didn’t say “pharaoh let my healthcare workers go!” This is virtue signaling because they know it’ll never pass.

      2. edmondo

        It’s a loser because it’s unserious. And stupid.

        They are going to forgive debts for ER doctors who make a quarter million dollars a year while Betsy DeVos is stealing pennies out of the checking accounts of people who haven’t worked in 6 weeks?

        Hooray Democrats.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      Curious — do democrats include medical doctors among health care workers? If so, aren’t they afraid the dentists will get jealous?

    3. rd

      I am sure this will work as well as the program for student loan forgiveness for public service work.

      The US specializes these days in announcing programs with great fanfare but are then unable to execute them at all, or at a very slow rate, or to only a fraction of the people who thought they were going to get something.

    4. Katniss Everdeen

      There’s already supposedly a “loan forgiveness” program for students who took jobs in “public service” and made payments for ten years.

      Remember that, and how it got worked over so just about nobody “qualified” after ten years of being told they did?

      Talk is damn cheap with an election only six months away and any remaining political “scruples” in corona virus lockdown. Fool me once…..

      Then again, biden loves him some student borrowers who use their taxpayer-provided, superior education to think up bogus reasons not to pay what they owe.

    5. Big River Bandido

      Any policy requiring means tests or eligibility requirements is proof that the proposer is a PMC liberal who is not serious about solving problems and only wishes to project the *appearance* of doing so. These policies are only designed to weed out potential beneficiaries, not help them.

      See the Oddly Specific Kamala Harris Policy Generator for examples of these kinds of policy proposals, which coincidentally never get passed.

      1. allan

        Thanks. My spin of the dial:

        Yesterday, I announced that, as president, I’ll establish a student loan debt forgiveness program for federal prosecutors who open a spy agency that operates for 5 months in an undeveloped area.

        Like The Onion, it’s hard to distinguish from reality.

  11. rjs

    a note this morning from a friend who works with Ohio’s immigrants…

    I was on a zoom call last night about conditions at the detention centers in Ohio . Staff doesn’t want to enter for fear of the virus , so no cleaning or supplies or services , and one older man was dying and they wouldn’t respond out of fear , leaving the detainees to deal .

  12. The Rev Kev

    “New York Fed Paper Finds Pandemic a Century Ago Fueled Nazi Rise”

    So a staff report by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York has found a correlation between deaths from the influenza pandemic in 1918-1920 and extremist voting in Germany in 1932 and 1933. (Reads the preceding sentence again. Stares. Bangs head softly on keyboard. Shakes head)

    OK. So it took exhaustive research, sifting through teraquads of data, separating fact from rumor; but eventually I arrived at the truth. There was a world-wide Depression that started in 1929 that absolutely crushed Germany which may account for that extremist voting pattern 3 years later.

    1. Bugs Bunny

      Don’t forget about that little matter of reparations/humiliation under the terms Article 231 of the Treaty of Versailles. Reminds me of the austerity/guilt inflicted on a number of Southern European countries in the past decade or so.

      1. David

        Up to a point, yes, but that issue didn’t really help the Nazis into power, because opposition to it was pretty much standard across the political spectrum in Germany. Governments of the 1920s did actually make some progress, especially with reparations. What delivered history’s most disastrous protest vote was the mass unemployment that followed the 1929 crash and the paralysis of the Weimar political system that followed it. That allowed the Nazis to increase their share of the popular vote by about 1000% in the 1932 elections, to become the biggest single party in the Reichstag. The rest, as they say, is history.
        I do wish economists would stick to things they know how to do, like familyblogging-up the economy, and leave history to people who know something about it.

        1. rd

          What the Treaty of Versailles reparations did do was lead to the Weimar Republic hyperinflation with people pushing wheelbarrows of cash through the street to buy bread.This occurred in 1921-23 AFTER the Spanish Flu had run its course.

          This caused major economic challenges in Germany through the 1920s that the Great Depression simply finished off with Hitler’s rise. Hitler’s rise really started late in the hyperinflation epriod when they tried the “Beer Hall Putsch” in 1923 which was a failed coup. Hitler and other Nazis then became martyrs in jail for a few years while he wrote Mein Kampf.

        2. Olga

          It was the great depression. This is what I learnt in school:
          “The party first entered the Reichstag in the May the following year [1924], winning 6.5% of the popular vote, but coming in 6th place overall. The party would continue to remain on the fringes of German politics throughout the 1920’s, with support dropping to just 2.6% in 1928.
          However, the onset of the Great Depression massively rived Hitler’s fortunes with the Nazis winning 18.25% in September 1930, becoming the second largest party in Germany. This was then followed by the July 1932 election where Hitler and the Nazis finally become the largest party in the Reichstag, with 37.3% of the vote.”

          It was this 1932 vote (when leftist parties got also around 37%), which allowed Hitler to become Chancellor in Jan. 1933. Business threw support to Nazis – since the leftists were scary – and the rest is history.

          1. Jessica

            There was business support for the Nazis from the start and also for other anti-labor forces.

        3. Procopius

          No way to prove it, but I think by 1929 the public had different problems than the hyper-inflation:

          A political scientist and Christian social activist with a PhD on the implications of nationalizing the British railway system, he entered politics in the 1920s and was elected to the Reichstag in 1924. Shortly after Brüning took office as Chancellor on 30 March 1930 he was confronted by an economic crisis caused by the Great Depression. Brüning responded with a tightening of credit and a rollback of all wage and salary increases. These policies increased unemployment and made Brüning highly unpopular, losing him support in the Reichstag. As a result, Brüning established a so-called presidential government, basing his government’s authority on presidential emergency decrees invoking President Paul von Hindenburg’s constitutional powers. Brüning announced his cabinet’s resignation on 30 May 1932, after his policies of distributing land to unemployed workers had led him into conflict with the President and the Prussian land owners, and the President therefore had refused to sign further decrees.

          I’m always surprised that people are (mostly) not aware of the Bruning austerity policies, just as they are really not aware of Hoover’s. Admittedly that was the “received wisdom,” even Roosevelt ran on a promise to balance the budget.

      2. ewmayer

        Yeah but see now, with your inconvenient ‘facts’, you’re implicating the Fed’s major constituency, the banking/finance/rent-extraction sector. Can’t have that!

        And the fact that Hitler, after his armies had overrun France, made a point of bringing out the very same train car in which the Germans had signed their humiliating unconditional surrender in 1918 in order to return the favor to the now-humiliated French, that was, like, a total coincidence.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Happened to see a clip of something–maybe that video since it debuts today, although I had no idea anything like that was happening–on good morning america this a.m. It was video of michelle, sasha and malia in what appeared to be some sort of backstage area.

      malia says to michelle something to the effect of “Those eight years weren’t ‘for nothing.’ Do you see all those people out there waiting to see you?”

      I was thinking jeez, it’s so in your face even their kid just tosses off a remark about it. I had zero idea what I was looking at, but my first impression was that it was one of those undercover videos meant to expose bad behavior.

      If that was the Netflix thing to which you’re referring, boy was I wrong. The obama family would seem to be pretty proud of all that they “accomplished,” and wants everyone to know it.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        If your paraphrasing/memory is accurate (why I hate TV and radio for this purpose), I would note the “for nothing” aspect and the eight years along with the previous reports of how Michelle was traumatized by the voters in 2010 for failing her. I’m fairly certain Obama has worked on his memoir, and like his “i’m pretty good at killing people”, it largely amounts to then he was there for four more years.

        Obama had a chance to chart a different course, but he’ll just be lumped in as another gilded age President. The damage to Team Blue was already in place by Bill. Barack didn’t pluck Emmanuel out of the ether. He was a Clinton hack. By and large, there are two Obamas. The TV President and a guy who succeeded Bill and Shrub but believed Presidentin’ was to avoid their TV troubles. No sex scandals and Obama rarely mispronounced words or opened the wrong door.

      2. David Carl Grimes

        They are proud of it. You can watch them give a commencement speech to graduating High School Seniors. The event is titled “Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020.” They are pretty steeped in their own celebrity.

        One failure of Bernie to gain traction was that he did not directly highlight that Obama’s policies gave us Trump. He only referred to it tangentially.

      3. Carolinian

        Deadline Hollywood had a review of it the other day.

        It says the flick–produced by the Obamas own company–is like one of those campaign promotional videos. I have my doubts whether Michelle’s Dale Carnegie-esque message would really bring much to the campaign unless you assume the voters are as politically shallow as the Obamas themselves.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “An Adult Cam Site Exposed 10.88 Billion Records”

    Wait, wait, wait. This doesn’t have anything to do with that Professor Neil Ferguson getting sprung bonking another bloke’s wife, does it? She does look like a good sort though.

      1. Trent

        Money and power dude, sprinkled with a dash of delusion. I looked at her wikipedia and it appeared she’s some sort of professional activist maybe?

  14. barbara

    Dear Yves,
    While I am sorry to hear about your mother and how stressful it must be for you, I was shocked at the “these people” who don’t make much money but just sit around sounded like the very people who have created the crap healtcare system we all have to endure. If they were paid a living wage, trained well, and given an inch more status in the culture, you might not be in the pickle you’re in.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I hire them through an agency and do not have the contacts to find decent people and hire them directly. Sadly, the agency does effectively vouch for them not doing things like stealing (they have full access to the house), so what you are paying for is vetting. Both I and my mother have always paid the equivalent of >$25 an hour (higher in NYC due to higher costs), usually in cash, for household workers.

      And this IS higher than the JCC just down the hill pays for some of its staff….they have some people there at only $9 an hour. And trust me, they are not in anywhere near as much control of their day. I’m not justifying the JCC’s rates, merely saying wages are really depressed here.

      But in general, women’s work (child and elder care) is severely undervalued.

  15. Dr. John Carpenter

    My grandmother had been living in assisted living untll February when she passed away. My mom told me the other day of what conditions were like there now. It sounds like they are essentially inmates. Before the COVID-19, this was one of the good places. Crazy and I don’t know what the solution is, but I can’t even imagine what things are like at one of the less good assisted living places.

  16. anon in so cal


    “New Studies Add to Evidence that Children May Transmit the Coronavirus

    Experts said the new data suggest that cases could soar in many U.S. communities if schools reopen soon.

    Two new studies offer compelling evidence that children can transmit the virus. Neither proved it, but the evidence was strong enough to suggest that schools should be kept closed for now, many epidemiologists who were not involved in the research said.

    ….But in others, including the United States, reopening schools may nudge the epidemic’s reproduction number — the number of new infections estimated to stem from a single case, commonly referred to as R0 — to dangerous levels, epidemiologists warned after reviewing the results from the new studies….

    (apologies if this was already posted)

    1. MLTPB

      We are clearly in the fog of pandemic war.

      To stimulate or suppress?

      More mutations.

      More transmissible strains.

      With the possibility of imported cases, can we ever re-open, one country at a time, and not risking one unnecessarily victim, knowing every life is precious?

        1. MLTPB

          Its interesting Siberian wildfires and 10,000 Russian cases a day in recent days don’t get more attention.

      1. xkeyscored

        Risking victims or not, many countries are re-opening their schools, while others never closed them.

        1. MLTPB

          Risking or not – seems like nothing absolute, but like a lot of things in life, we are looking at compromises.

      2. WheresOurTeddy

        In 2020 America, every life is not precious.
        Would that it weren’t so, but it is.

  17. anon in so cal

    Re: Ilhan Omar—

    Omar many months ago overtly advocated for Syria regime change. Speaking magnanimously, she and the other members of The Squad are not who they portray themselves to be. AOC, for example, voluntarily signed Adam Schiff’s H.R. 3494, which provides the CIA new impunity for its domestic operations.

    re: Neil Ferguson—he has long been the poster person for sociopaths who advocate for early reopening. People just cannot get it through their heads that the lockdowns slowed the spread and lowered the death rate. Idiots use the effects of the lockdowns to try to make the false claim that the lockdowns were unnecessary.

    Reopening—good arguments being made that states—including California, which initiates limited reopening this Friday—are reopening to force workers back to work in order to cut them off of unemployment insurance.

  18. The Rev Kev

    “Bioluminescent waves dazzle surfers in California: ‘Never seen anything like it’”

    It is a pretty cool video that. And those waves are magic. Industrial Light & Magic – eat your heart out.

      1. ambrit

        Now we get a ‘Day of the Triffids’ affliction too? Otherwise, is this a sign that R’lyeh is rising? Are the Stars Right?

    1. John k

      I watched it a few nights ago, impressive. If the sea is flat you don’t see much, if anything. Since then it’s been very calm, so not much to see, at least at the south end of Orange County. Water still reddish brown, so waiting to catch a wave…

  19. urblintz

    unimportant but curious nonetheless… I saw reference to an episode of the old TV show “Dead Zone” about a new respiratory virus causing much consternation regarding its ability to attack so much of the body… I tracked it down on Roku, it’s titled “Plague” and was aired during the 2003 season.

    The miracle cure at the end…. chloroquine (never mind that the hero figures it out by way of a blood transfusion induced “vision”)

      1. ambrit

        Wonderful Freudian slip. Me like!
        (I watch his coronavirus videos myself. Attention to detail can uncover “inconvenient truths.”)

  20. Otis B Driftwood

    Look out for a second wave of unemployment claims as companies are now firing or furloughing employees in response to the downturn in their business resulting from the lock-down.

    My employer just announced a big workforce reduction to meet this crisis. I know we aren’t the only ones.

  21. WheresOurTeddy

    “Sanders not backing Warren as Biden VP: report The Hill (UserFriendly). Karma is a bitch…”

    :::inhales deeply:::

    He’s taking time to heal. Perhaps he has an SNL appearance scheduled.

    1. ambrit

      Idea for SNL sketch, in the old style. Have ‘Sanders’ and ‘Clinton’ get together at the Kaffee Klatch.. He can ask her how she stays so “engaged” in politics after being trounced by Trump. Play the ‘Clinton’ character as a raving sociopath. Bring in Barbra Streisand for the win.

    2. John k

      Funny hoe apparently smart people do such stupid things that harm themselves and those around them.

    3. curlydan

      this presumes that Biden and others in the DNC even cares about Sanders’ opinion of the DNC pick, right?

  22. Ken

    Yves, sounds like you got your hand very full. Why don’t you reduce your post frequency and take time off. I wouldn’t mind if there are fewer posts on NC. I would rather have NC staff healthy and happy. What do other readers here think?

  23. periol

    RE: that BoingBoing video about the headbutt

    The speculation at the end of the article that the DMCA “takedown notice” is perhaps a spoof, intentionally trying to draw attention to this video, is pretty interesting. The whole idea being to humiliate the drunk headbutter even more than he already was. Now, they offer no proof of this theory at all.


    I’ve been really struck by this bizarre “Murder Hornet” craze that is everywhere. Apparently there are “sponsored posts” on Facebook (source: my wife, who is fielding worried queries from family about these murder hornets), there are videos all over Reddit, and even the NYTimes went there.

    Murder hornets? I have known of the existence of Giant Asian hornets for a bit. Never heard them called “murder hornets”. I don’t get it. Why this push? I mean, I really, really don’t get why the propaganda machine is cranked up to 10 on MURDER HORNETS.

    They’re barely (and probably not) even a thing. And I buy that the takedown notice in the headbutt video is a spoof, but just to humiliate the guy? Why is this a trigger the media has pushed as well? Strange days indeed.

    1. carl

      I remember everyone getting all freaked out about African killer bees and South American fire ants…neither of which amounted to much.

      1. ambrit

        I don’t know enough about the Africanized Killer Bees, but Fire Ants are definitely a problem species here in the South. They build big mounds in fields and drive out ‘native’ ant species. You won’t forget being bitten by them any time soon. I speak from repeated painful experience.
        Of course, the “news” today is what in days of yore would have been described as ‘infotainment.’ Find a ‘hook’ and play it for all it’s worth. The end was in the cards when the television networks began to demand that the news shows ‘pay’ for themselves by generating advertising revenue.
        You have to admit that “Murder Hornet” is much more “sexy” than -‘vespa mandarinia.’

    2. David B Harrison

      I first saw these Japanese hornets over a decade ago.They strip the bark off of lilac bushes and are terribly aggressive(I live in south central Kentucky and I am curious why people are just talking about these pest now).Maybe what I have is a different version but I know for sure that they are Japanese hornets(learned this from a neighbor who is a beekeeper).

      1. Dirk77

        I think the fuss about the hornets is because they target bees, which are already having a hard time. Do you have any more info on what you observed near you?

  24. Offtrail

    Hi Yves,

    You don’t post contact information, so I’ll post this message to you here. First, I empathize with your difficulties in providing help for your mother, and wish you the best success there. Out here in Portland OR we have used an organization that is not an agency, but provides referrals to vetted experienced caregivers for a much smaller fee than agencies charge. We have been happy with the result. I don’t know if your location has a similar outfit but, if so, you may want to try it. If you’d like a link, email me.

    Second, thank you (and Lambert) for providing this invaluable resouce, naked capitalism, which I check several time a week.

  25. Oregoncharles

    “Bioluminescent waves dazzle surfers in California: ‘Never seen anything like it’.”
    I have, the very first time I went to the Oregon coast (after growing up in Indiana), at an already magical place called Camp Westwind. Not only did the breaking waves light up; so did the wet sand, each time you took a step. So every footprint was a little nebula. No boats so no dolphins, but it was an unforgettable experience.

  26. Oregoncharles

    “Honestly, what is it about the Brits and “sex scandals”? I wish I lived in France where no one bats an eyelid at this kind of thing.” (Ferguson)
    I find this kind of thing oddly heartening. It’s “the force that through the green fuse drives the flower” asserting itself – vs. the death force of disease. I wonder if she’d been tested? Or him? If no one’s infected, no harm, no foul.

    It’s also a good example of the reasons a lockdown can’t last very long.

  27. WillyBgood

    I thank you for the Baffler link, it is a succinct summation of some vague notions I’ve had. Ajay Singh Chaudhary’s historical narrative is very instructive indeed. It inspired a small stanza in me which I hope is not afoul of moderation rules:
    Out the Four Horsemen ride
    bypassing some who hide
    for they dare not take
    those He chose to forsake

  28. ObjectiveFunction

    Bloomberg piece:

    The ability of companies to goose [operating earnings] projections, like counting expected savings from a cost-cutting program, is generally legal and an accepted practice. But it can distort the lending process and raises questions about their ability to repay loans. That’s especially crucial now.

    EBITDA = Earnings Before I Tricked The Dumb Auditor

    This meshes well with the latest disturbing Wolf Street Report on the Fed shenanigans, which you might wish to consider reposting.

    Here’s a rough digest [I did extensive paraphrasing, so please do read the original, and weep]:

    1. Corporate debt has already been at record high levels by any measure going into the year 2020, and the Fed has been warning about it. Most of these borrowings have been to used buy back shares, pumping stock prices [and exec payouts] but effectively returning companies’ ‘rainy day’ cash to shareholders

    2. By early March, junk bond issuance was freezing up. It finally became clear that these overleveraged companies couldn’t refinance their debt.

    3. So the Fed decided to solve that problem of too much debt with even more debt. It cut its interest rates to zero and plowed $2.3 trillion in seven weeks into Wall Street, buying mostly Treasury securities, gov-guaranteed mortgage-backed securities, and smallish amounts of corporate paper (short term operating loans). It expanded those programs to ever more asset classes, including corporate bonds and ETFs.

    4. Thing is, the Fed hasn’t yet bought a single corporate bond or ETF. Its jawboning (aka “forward guidance”) did rally the markets though, yuugely. Demand was so huge that even pariah companies like Boeing and Carnival upped their bond offerings, offering maturities as long as 40 years. Investors bought up everything with ravenous appetite, in part lured by the higher yields, and in part lured by the hope that they could sell it to the Fed for a profit [moral hazard].

    5. It is indeed a good thing that investors funded those bond sales, and not the government and taxpayers, and not the Fed, for now. What’s not a good thing is this…

    6. Commercial and industrial (C&I) loans have jumped from $2.4 trillion to $3.0 trillion (***25%***) over the span of just eight weeks. (During peak panic in 2008 following the Lehman bankruptcy, C&I loans jumped by ‘only’ 5.8%).

    7. The ‘next crisis’ is here now, and it’s likely the worst one we’ve seen in our lifetimes. And the Fed still can’t print cash flow. So when the cash is burned, what’s left over is the additional debt.

    [OF:] 8. Restructuring and downsizing, and of course more offshoring of all those recently virtualized corp jobs, becomes the new normal very fast, as lenders become the new owners. And we all know how brilliantly bankers and their consultants — which is the elite core of the PMC — perform in corporate line management].

    TL:DR: So America, Wolf’s ‘cleanest dirty shirt’ is hell bent on catching up to the Japanese and Chinese debt bubbles ASAP! Talk about leveling the paying field [sic].

  29. Ignacio

    RE:A new strain has come: Meet Spike D614G, the new & improved coronavirus RT (Kevin W). The paper, courtesy Mark P: Spike mutation pipeline reveals the emergence of a more transmissible formof SARS-CoV-2 bioXriv

    The RT makes a mistake I have noted also in other media reports about the bioXriv paper. It can be attributed to Covid-19 associated hysteria (this is a social symptom of the disease) and it goes as to think always the worst (DEADLIEST they say) without any evidence. The paper addresses the emergence and consolidation of new Covid-19 variants which by now way I wouldn’t consider surprising as the paper does. It notes that new variants that come to be dominant must have increased fitness and acknowledge that they don’t have an idea about what the change in fitness is and what does this means from a clinical point of view. Most of the article is speculative discussion on what could be going on with these variants but without experimental proof.

    As an example, they analyse the detection of the mutant D614G by quantitative PCR as a biological marker for “virus loads” and they say that find in specimens in an English hospital showed higher titers of G that the original D suggesting the that “G614 produces higher viral loads”. Yet, the variability of samples taken regarding days after symptom onset, clinical status etc. do not allow for such a comparison. It would be very interesting to proceed to next step and assay the different clades in in vitro and in vivo systems but nothing, absolutely nothing, can be concluded without such studies.

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