Links 5/8/2020

US households had record debt when the coronavirus hit. Things are likely to get worse CNN

Debt relief for US consumers leaves investors flying blind FT

Your Credit Card Company May Be Asking About Your Job Status Bloomberg

Fed funds futures begin pricing in slightly negative fed funds rate in 2021 but U.S. Fed won’t take rates negative, say fund managers, economists Reuters

What do negative US interest rates mean? Macrobusiness

The Case for Deeply Negative Interest Rates Kenneth Rogoff, Project Syndicate

Voodoo priests recommend voodoo to stop covid-19 The Economist


The science:

The Problem With Stories About Dangerous Coronavirus Mutations The Atlantic. “As an epidemic progresses, the virus family tree grows new branches and twigs—new lineages that are characterized by differing sets of mutations. But a new lineage doesn’t automatically count as a new strain. That term is usually reserved for a lineage that differs from its fellow viruses in significant ways. It might vary in how easily it spreads (transmissibility), its ability to cause disease (virulence), whether it is recognized by the immune system in the same way (antigenicity), or how vulnerable it is to medications (resistance).” This is the distinctiont that the Los Alamos paper (“Spike mutation pipeline reveals the emergence of a more transmissible form of SARS-CoV-2,” linked to at NC on 5/6) does not make.

Clinical Characteristics and Results of Semen Tests Among Men With Coronavirus Disease 2019 JAMA. “In this cohort study, we found that SARS-CoV-2 can be present in the semen of patients with COVID-19, and SARS-CoV-2 may still be detected in the semen of recovering patients…. This study is limited by the small sample size and the short subsequent follow-up.” Nothing on transmission.

Estimating The Infection Fatality Rate Among Symptomatic COVID-19 Cases In The United States Health Affairs

How do children spread the coronavirus? The science still isn’t clear Nature

* * *


A snapshot of coronavirus in the U.S.: A high plateau of new cases portends more spread STAT

California’s first case of community spread started in a nail salon, governor says CNN

Salon owner released from jail after Texas governor changes coronavirus orders CBS

COVID-19: PCR screening of asymptomatic healthcare workers at London hospital (PDF) The Lancet. “If our results are generalisable to the wider HCW population, then asymptomatic infection rates among HCWs tracked the London general population infection curve, peaking at 7∙1% and falling six-fold over 4 weeks, despite the persistence of a high burden of COVID-19 patients through this time (representing most inpatients). Taken together, these data suggest that the rate of asymptomatic infection among HCWs more likely reflects general community transmission than in-hospital exposure.”

* * *


Reopened restaurant told workers: Don’t wear face masks — or don’t work CBS

Mask or no mask? New social tension splits Seattle-area residents in coronavirus era Seattle Times

‘You could literally kill someone’: Masks become a new COVID-19 battleground Los Angeles Times

* * *


Observational Study of Hydroxychloroquine in Hospitalized Patients with Covid-19 NEJM. “In this observational study involving patients with Covid-19 who had been admitted to the hospital, hydroxychloroquine administration was not associated with either a greatly lowered or an increased risk of the composite end point of intubation or death. Randomized, controlled trials of hydroxychloroquine in patients with Covid-19 are needed.”

* * *


Uncertain Diagnosis: The Murky Global Market for Coronavirus Antibody Tests OCCRP

* * *

Materiel shortages:

Pay Attention to Nobel Laureate Michael Kremer on the Pandemic Bloomberg. “[T]he big idea of Kremer and his colleagues is that the urgency of a vaccine is so great that it’s almost impossible to overspend on research, development, and manufacturing for it. What would look like wasteful redundancy in any other context is highly economical in this one.”

* * *

Economic effects:

A Third of Americans Didn’t Pay Their Rent or Mortgage in May, Survey Says Vice (Re Silc).

75,000 Americans at risk of dying from overdose or suicide due to coronavirus despair, group warns CNN. Looks like deaths of despair have their own NGO now, the Wellbeing Trust.

* * *

Corporate response:

Is the coronavirus giving banks an excuse to spy on employees? The American Banker

* * *

Political response:

Coronavirus Is Attacking Our Political Weak Spots John Authers, Bloomberg. “Creaking Federalism.” See the charts on the distinction between states hit by the virus and states hit by economic damage. Well worth a read.

I Got Nothin’ Eschaton

SBA slashes disaster-loan limit from $2 million to $150,000, shuts out nearly all new applicants WaPo

* * *

Social determinants of health:

Coronavirus and the Politics of Disposability Black Agenda Report

Racial Health Disparities and Covid-19 — Caution and Context Merlin Chowkwanyun and Adolph L. Reed, NEJM

The Nod JAMA

* * *


Many States Fall Short of White House Reopening Criteria Bloomberg. With map:

‘Covid’s not the only health issue’: inside the rural counties defying California’s lockdown Guardian

Michigan state House and Senate sue Gretchen Whitmer over state of emergency extension CNN

* * *

Exit strategy:

A Coronavirus Cover-Up Is Already Starting David Sirota, Too Much Information. It’s bipartisan!

Policy and Punditry Need to Adapt to New Virus Data RealClearPolitics
Scientists: ‘Look, One-Third Of The Human Race Has To Die For Civilization To Be Sustainable, So How Do We Want To Do This?’ The Onion

Exclusive: Virus exposes gaping holes in Africa’s health systems Reuters

How Our War On Terror Killed COVID Resilience In These Countries The American Conservative


US-China trade negotiators vow to save phase one deal on first call during pandemic South China Morning Post

U.S. Farmers Plant More Soybeans as China Buys More Caixin

Chaos at Hong Kong’s legislature as lawmakers battle for control of committee as democrats ejected Hong Kong Free Press

Lawsuits Against China Escalate Covid-19 Blame Game With U.S. Bloomberg

Education is the way out:


Indian train kills 14 workers laid-off in coronavirus lockdown Reuters

More Rise in Cash Circulation Between January and April Than Entire 2019: RBI The Wire


Rare Saudi Resistance Hits Futuristic Megacity Project Barron’s

Qatar’s migrant workers beg for food as Covid-19 infections rise Guardian

Exclusive: OPCW chief made false claims to denigrate Douma whistleblower, documents reveal Aaron Maté, The Grayzone


Spain’s deputy PM calls for EU to step up or risk extinction FT

The United Kingdom’s contact tracing app could be a preview of America’s digital tracing future Recode

New Cold War

Kto-Kogo: Putin vs. COVID-19 Russia Matters. (Kto-Kogo is a Bolshevik slogan: “Who, whom?”)

How Putin Changed Russia Forever Foreign Policy

How plot to overthrow Venezuela’s Maduro ran aground FT. A little reputational damage for quondam special forces beardo gun humper “warrior” mercs is long overdue.

COVID-19: Ecuador Persecutes Opponents as Virus Exposes War on Public Sector Consortium News

Trump Transition

Donald Trump and the entire White House staff will be tested DAILY after Navy valet who served president tested positive for coronavirus – but Trump will NOT be quarantined because says he’s ‘essential’ Daily Mail

Scoop: Trump officials’ dysfunction harms delivery of coronavirus drug Axios

House investigators find holes in early virus screening of passengers Politico

Opinion analysis: Unanimous court throws out “Bridgegate” convictions SCOTUSBlog

Harris, Sanders, Markey propose $2,000 monthly payments amid coronavirus pandemic The Hill. Should have been in the first bill.


Exclusive: 1996 court document confirms Tara Reade told of harassment in Biden’s office San Luis Obispo Tribune. Who exactly did the vetting for Biden in 2008, 2016, and 2020? There do seem to be a lot of these time bombs lying about.

Tara Reade sits down with Megyn Kelly for on-camera interview The Hill

Ocasio-Cortez: Biden allegation ‘not clear cut’ The Hill

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Father, son charged with murder in Brunswick area shooting Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Ahmaud Arbery.

Imperial Collapse Watch

Big Navy Frigate Risks Oversized $1.4 Billion Cost Per Ship Bloomberg

Class Warfare

Return to work, or else Popular Information

Obsession With Fraud Sabotages U.S. Aid to Millions Without Jobs Bloomberg

Food Banks Can’t Go On Like This The Atlantic

Op-Ed: Enjoying nature during the shutdown is easy — but only if you’re rich Los Angeles Times

Why America Can Make Semiconductors But Not Swabs Bloomberg. “In a typical production process, there are a million-and-one things that can’t be written down. Process knowledge is thus represented by an experienced workforce… What the U.S. really needs to do is reconstitute its communities of engineering practice…. [C]orporate America should start viewing workers not purely as costs to be slashed, but as practitioners keeping alive knowledge essential to the production process.” Let me know how that works out.

Antidote du jour (via):

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.


  1. Burns

    There’s covid in semen now!?

    “This study is limited by the small sample size and the short subsequent follow-up.”

    So I guess size does matter. :(

    1. Kevin C. Smith

      It has been suggested that the testes are an immunological “sanctuary” where SARS-CoV-2 could hide out from the immune system and perhaps persist in the body, reactivating in the future.

      Semen studies like this are an essential part of answering this question.

      1. Krystyn Podgajski

        There is a misunderstanding here and the research is sensational. It is not that there is no immune system in the testis, just that is no antigen response and therefore inflammation is suppressed. It is called “Immune Privilege” and the immune system does not freak out at the presence of any infection. The virus is likely dead IMHO.

        Other immune privileged sites are the eyes and the central nervous system.

        With adequate nutrition the whole body becomes more Immune Privileged. Autoimmune disorders are a sign of a lowering of Immune Privilege through the whole body.

        1. Mike Allen

          As a wastewater operator, I have heard the term “live or dead” when referring to the virus. Are virus’s alive or dead, vs dormant or operational?

          1. pricklyone

            Which tests for “living” can a virus pass? It cannot reproduce. It is only replicated by the host’s cells. No cell division, no metabolism.
            Virus is just a chunk of RNA/DNA which our own cells replicate.
            Are there virologists who say that a virus is “alive”? I have not heard from them.
            Sometimes they use “kill” or “dead” as a shorthand for inactivation, but usually catch themselves, and correct it.

            1. GettingTheBannedBack

              Alive or dead?
              If put into a medium where replication is possible, does the virus take all steps necessary to replicate itself? Yes = Live/alive/functional/operational.

  2. zagonostra

    >Harris, Sanders, Markey propose $2,000 monthly payments amid coronavirus pandemic

    So several months after the CAREs act we get this statement:

    It’s clear that wasn’t nearly enough to meet the needs of this historic crisis. Bills will continue to come in every single month during the pandemic and so should help from government,” Harris said in a statement.

    Sanders added that the direct assistance provided under the coronavirus package was “not nearly enough.”

    This after the last bill didn’t even include additional funds for food:

    The latest $484 billion “relief” bill which lacks funding for food aid, rent relief, and basic worker protections comes on the heels of the ironically named CARES Act which includes a tax break for those earning more than one million dollars per year. To be more precise, 82 percent of the tax benefits will go to roughly 43,000 taxpayers. This generous cut will cost $90 billion this year alone. That comes out to an average handout of $1.6 million to each millionaire or billionaire in 2020. To put that into perspective for all those who got a “stimulus” check, the CARE-ing tax break handout is worth 1,300 times as much as that $1,200 check. And that’s just one section of tax breaks. Big corporations are on track to get trillions from the Federal Reserve as the largest asset manager in the world (as well as a piggy bank for weapons manufacturers and the fossil fuel industry), Black Rock has been tapped to manage these bailout programs. As journalist David Dayen wrote in a recent article, “This is a robbery in progress.”

    There isn’t enough outrage and anger directed at those who are punitively on “our side.” Who is more to blame, Ponitius Pilate or Judas and the pharisees? The empire is evil, we know that. We expect Mnuchin, Trump and the sociopaths in Congress to do the bidding of the powerful elites who fund their campaigns and keep them living in luxury. But, those who have colluded and are colluding with the greatest transfer of wealth right before our eyes while we are distracted by the coronavirus, well they are incompetent, impotent, posers who sluice off anger allowing the plunder to proceed and offering but the meekest resistance and symbolic opposition.

    1. timbers

      Yes. And this is a medical crisis yet we haven’t even touched our world famous worst-in-the-world healthcare system. How backwards and upsidedown is that?

      But stocks are going up and every junkety junk on earth has been bailed out one way or the other so all is well, because the Fed has done far, far better than cure the flu – it’s given trillions to the wealthy and anyone who matters.

      Nuff said.

    2. xkeyscored

      posers who sluice off anger

      Yes. It seems to me the Sanders campaign drew in millions of people with its promise to Do Something fairly radical. It turns out that it’s all about being able to vote for Bernie in November knowing he won’t become president and votes for him will end up being votes for Biden, but at least a point will have been made. So anger, they hope, will be replaced with frustration and resignation.

      1. jsn

        We’ll find out eventually, if we live long enough, how the Dems rounded up AOC, Tlaib and Sanders.

        The Zappruder Film was a good guess I saw here the other day.

        1. Lee Christmas

          “Talking about Kennedy, people come up to me: “Bill, quit talking about Kennedy, man. Let it go. It’s a long time ago, just forget about it.” And I’m like, alright, then don’t bring up Jesus to me. As long as we’re talking shelf life here. “Bill, you know Jesus died for you.” Yeah, well, it was a long time ago. Forget about it! How about this. Get Pilate to release the [beep]ing files. Quit washing your hands, Pilate. Release the goddam files. Who else was on that grassy Golgotha that day? “Bill, it was just, you know, huh, taking over of democracy by a totalitarian government, let it go.”

          – Bill Hicks

      2. MillenialSocialist

        Those who make peaceful change impossible make violent change inevitable – JFK

        The amount of despair in my fellow under-30s is terrifying. Bernie was your FDR “Save Capitalism” escape hatch.

        You gave us all the finger. Don’t be surprised if your arm gets ripped off.

        1. Jason Boxman

          But it keeps not happening in the United States. I’ve read links for a decade here about youth unrest in other countries, due to limited opportunities; not here besides Occupy. And the coordinated paramilitary crackdown on Occupy didn’t spark a violent response.

          Maybe this time will be different. I’d be surprised, though.

        2. Swamp Yankee

          I am a little bit older than you, MilleniaSocialist, from the Gen Y/oldest millennials (37), and the feeling is strong in my cohort, too. I sense it more broadly in the state of things and people at large. Bernie was the last chance for peaceful reform and the power elite stomped on it. They shouldn’t be surprised when 1789 comes and smacks them in the face.

          We have already seen the de facto breakup of the Union into regional alliances, and armed factions storming state houses. And this is just the beginning. And that’s not even getting to the plague itself.

          Seriously, be careful, NC friends, these times are dangerous.

          1. albrt

            The original idea of Generation X (D. Coupland version) was that the tail end boomers had been left behind with lots of college debt and no opportunities. That was true – it was hard to even get a fast food job as an 18 year old in the midwest in 1981. But nothing much happened as a result of that round of disillusionment either.

            Wake me up when the youth finally decide to put down the video games and get organized.

            1. Sacred Ground

              How condescendingly blind that comment is. The organized youth are the only reason we even got a Sanders on the ballot at all. We GenXers are the ones who haven’t done shit.

        3. HotFlash

          Oh, don’t ever fret, I feel pretty fingered myself, and I am sure many of us olds do as well. FWIW, ‘they’ reported that ‘you’ (young people) did not support the Bernie, but that does not agree with what I saw/heard on the ground. In fact, I am pretty sure that we are being fed misinformation about both turnout and results. I am pretty sure the left-hand sock puppet that is the Dem establishment is getting their reward from the Davos, Aspen, and Bilderberg bunch.

          Bernie, I dunno, whether he jumped or was pushed.

          As for what happens next, I truly have very little hope.

        4. Aumua

          You know I think I see a kind of “black pill” psy-op demoralization campaign directed at the left (maybe somewhat by the left?) ramping up lately, which people are advertently or inadvertently participating in by spreading hopeless vibes and heaping denigration on those who have certainly tried at least to accomplish some leftward advances and awareness.

          Things look bad. There can be no doubt. But no one knows the future, and who can say what movements will emerge from these self-organizing and ever changing systems? We may yet be surprised by what’s to come. Stay present.

    3. edmondo

      I feel so much better knowing that Harris, Sanders and Markey “are concerned” they forgot that you don’t have an economy unless people have income. We can call them “The Concerned Caucus” and we can hear their good thoughts and powerful concerns as we starve to death.

      Bernie Sanders in 2024. Once more, just to see who falls for it a third time.

      1. JohnnySacks

        Three out of 100, great odds. Where’s our third alleged progressive 2020 candidate? Outflanked by the likes of Harris. I’ve got a much better idea, give the GOP the white house, a house majority, and a filibuster proof senate majority and see what political opportunity really means. Then we can toss into the trash can of history the worship of the good old days of the Obama administration when the same situation got us Romneycare.

    4. Geo

      How quickly we forget he is the one who fought in increase aid to the unemployed and scolded those who were against it the extra $600 going to people in need.

      Yes, the empire is evil, so let’s go after the only one person in the empire trying to do anything that benefits us.

      Maybe we should elect a couple dozen more Bernies so they actually have some kind of power instead of harping on how one person hasn’t overturned the corruption of the other 99 senators. Or how a three or four in the “squad” haven’t taken down the other 500+ in Congress.

      Should they be throwing Molotov cocktails instead of trying to build power relations to try and accomplish things? I don’t agree with everything they do but just curious what some here expect them to do. Don’t remember them being issued progressive magic wands upon election. How do you propose they get progressive policies passed in a thoroughly corrupt institution? And, if we give up on them who do we have left to turn to?

      1. The Historian


        And many of the people slicing Bernie’s back now obviously didn’t know who Bernie is. What they are angry about now is that the Bernie they created in their minds never really existed.

        1. xkeyscored

          I got the impression Bernie himself said the important thing was building a movement. Where’s that movement now that he’s no longer in the running for president? So far as I know, even the mailing lists have been spirited away, leaving an un-coordinated collection of regional or local campaigns.
          Did he lead us to believe he was building a movement? I don’t think that was a creation of my mind.
          What was it actually built to do? Looks like it wasn’t to be a lasting movement that would continue whatever the outcome of the electoral process.

          1. The Historian

            Bernie did try to build a movement. Don’t you remember “Our Revolution”? It went nowhere because people wouldn’t join in. People just want someone to save them – they don’t want to do it for themselves.

            1. Charger01

              That’s the real stinger. Call hime what you will, but he was an icon of consistency until 2019.
              His CARES act vote was a real surprise, it may signal that he has been assimilated into the Dem Borg machinery until he retired. I sincerely doubt that 2024 is possible.

      2. zagonostra

        If your referring to Bernie’s speech in Congress fighting for unemployment, it’s not what appears. Check out Jimmy Dore’s interview with Matt Stoller at link below.

        I was a monthly supporter to Bernie and so it gives me no pleasure to read/hear this criticism but it’s true.

        We don’t need a “couple dozen more Bernies” we need an FDR, Heuy Long, Sinclair Lewis, Eugene Debbs, a viable 3’d party, etc…

        “How do you propose they get progressive policies passed in a thoroughly corrupt institution?”

        By calling out Biden for what he is, corrupt, and not as “my good friend” who is a “decent” guy. By fighting like hell, knowing in advance that if he is getting into this to win, it may cost him his life. This might be too much ask, but anything less, is insufficient. To lead this kind of battle isn’t for everyone, God knows I don’t have that kind of courage…

      3. Rod

        got to hope and pray that they are working a national strategy while we the people are working on the local strategy. :- |
        Your point is a Lone Ranger isn’t going to get anywhere in the Senate or House without allies that have been reached with either ideology or compromise.
        You and I probably realize that he meant it when he said–“It’s not me, it’s us.”—but I pray it is more

        no pressure :-|

        1. xkeyscored

          I don’t doubt his sincerity and commitment. But I’m not sure what he meant exactly by “It’s not me, it’s us.” I fear all he had in mind was a lot of us to back him and his electoral campaign and enable him to enact his policies if elected. Or possibly to hold feet to fires as they say, though with the movement rudderless and adrift I don’t see it doing much of that.

          1. Rod

            I just take it literally.
            put another way, in my phrasing:

            Look enough IS enough and I am busting my 78 year old ass to try and do something about it besides talking. What are you doing? Your contributions are great, but what are you really doing besides trying to buy the Change?

            Again, that’s just my take.

            and that Our Revolution organization may be low on the Horizon, but it’s still up in the air.

            As for me? I have become vocal and visible and affiliated with the likeminded. It feels more better to me.

        2. km

          How did Huey P. Long do it?

          Keep in mind that when he entered state politics, Louisiana was a one-party state with a corrupt and deeply entrenched business and political class which was not at all shy about using bribery, threats and outright violence when needed to achieve its ends. If that were not enough, the poor and blacks were actively prevented from voting.

          We can argue later about Long’s methods and goals, but he transformed Louisiana. For generations after Huey P. Long had passed, his name was all it took to get the poor to turn out and vote.

          I asked an honest question, BTW.

          1. paul

            from mickeymedia:

            Pavy’s son-in-law Carl Weiss, a physician from Baton Rouge, approached Long, and, according to the generally accepted version of events, shot him in the torso with a handgun from four feet (1.2 m) away.

            That’s why living presidents always exit with white hair.

            1. JTMcPhee

              Was Reagan’s hair white?

              Lee Harvey Oswald and Lloyd Ruby. Lots of examples.

      4. ambrit

        Basically, and I do mean ‘basic,’ once a large enough portion of the population ‘give up’ on the Faux Progressives in the System, the automatic next step is to ‘give up’ on the System itself. Then we truly enter revolutionary times.
        We already live in a good enough version of ‘H— On Earth.’ Now, ‘Let All H— Break Loose.’
        I come at this from the position of one who did not vote for the Annointed One, nor the Orange Demon. I did, however, understand a driving force behind the votes for the Orange Demon as being a ‘F You All, Establishment Democrat and Establishment Republican Alike’ message being sent to the Establishment in general. Now that the Orange Demon has shown his true colours, as in he is just a garden variety Conservative, doctrinaire where it counts, the even more dispossessed electorate will be ripe pickings for Demagogues and Nihilists.
        We thought that these times were interesting? Just wait.

        1. Geo

          Totally agree with all of this. It’s why I don’t hold any negative feelings for the progressives working within the system to feed us whatever breadcrumbs they can while the rest of our “representatives” try to pry those breadcrumbs from our mouths with blunt force because the billionaires don’t think we “earned it”.

          Would love to see an awakening but most likely, based on how things seem to be going, it will be unwaking zombie hordes backing strongmen zealots into oblivion. Who wants breadcrumbs when you can eat brains? Interesting times indeed.

          1. Wukchumni

            I could easily see the USA devolving into various warlord fiefdoms-circa 1920’s China, as the only thing our countrymen have too much of and are incredibly well dispersed, is guns.

            The Warlord Era was a period in the history of the Republic of China when control of the country was divided among former military cliques of the Beiyang Army and other regional factions from 1916 to 1928.

            In historiography, the Warlord Era began in 1916 upon the death of Yuan Shikai, the de facto dictator of China after the Xinhai Revolution overthrew the Qing dynasty and established the Republic of China in 1912. Yuan’s death created a power vacuum that spread across the Mainland China regions of Sichuan, Shanxi, Qinghai, Ningxia, Guangdong, Guangxi, Gansu, Yunnan and Xinjiang. The Nationalist Kuomintang government of Sun Yat-sen based in Guangzhou began to contest Yuan’s Beiyang Government based in Beijing as the legitimate government of China. The Warlord Era was characterized by constant civil war between different factions, the largest of which was the Central Plains War which involved more than one million soldiers.


          2. ambrit

            Your comment on “eating brains” made me think of the neurological wasting disease that cannibals get from eating infected brains, Kuru. The social outcomes from a societal form of “eating brains” looks to be similar to the outcomes from literally doing so.

            1. Geo

              From the article it seems the DNC’s chosen presidential candidate is in the first (ambulant) stage if the disease. :)

        2. ambrit

          Wonderful analogy, Biden and his DNC enablers as “Ghosts in the Machine.” We are the Machine. They are purporting to be the Ghosts. Dualism at it’s best. And not the Tao, either.

      5. Mel

        Well, the one obvious thing to do now is to act to get that $2000 per month paid out, or more if it needs to be more. It’s very simple. I don’t have to dislike these leftist members of Congress. All they have to do is do the things they mean to do, and I’ll think they’re just fine.
        Do. I’m using that word a lot.
        There’s a Daily Show segment that I can’t find on-line It’s super relevant to this, and a lot of things. It has Larry Willmore and Jon Stewart discussing (IIRC) various situations and problems. After each, Willmore’s conclusion:

        FIX IT!!!

        Yeah. It’s as simple as that.

      6. Pookah Harvey

        How long did it take to get where we are now? It started with Goldwater in the 60’s. Powell memorandum in the 70’s, Reagan’s election in the 80’s. Rise of the DLC and Third Way in the 90’s.

        Get a grip folks. Societal change is a long slow slog. Here is a new video from Marxian David Harvey on revolutionary transformation.

      7. CanCyn

        Geo @ 9:58am “I don’t agree with everything they do but just curious what some here expect them to do.”
        How about just vote against stuff instead of going along with the evil? Maybe that instead of using Obama’s playbook of talking as though he cared but really doing nothing.

    5. Jeremy Grimm

      Your comment contains two issues: 1) Help for the Populace seems the last concern of our Government — and the concerned progressives-populists(?) “feel our pain” as they dance their roles in a grand Kabuki for our entertainment. 2) The Corona pandemic has been put to work to accomplish a long desired and planned re-structuring of the US economy for the benefit of Big Money.

      I don’t believe there will be any substantive help given to the Populace before or after the US enters the Greater Depression after Corona. The concerned progressives-populists(?) [I am not sure what label they deserve] waited until they had no leverage before discovering their concern. I do not understand. I could make excuses, point to past slogans and promises; I could imagine many things but I do not understand.

      After Corona selected sectors of the real economy will be allowed to collapse to afford the Big Money Cartels the best prices and broadest expanse for their consolidation of the real assets in the US economy. I am not sure what real assets the US has. There are land, buildings, market access and control, schools, hospitals, highways, utilities — water works, power companies, communications — … and control of intellectual and physical labor.

      Bad as this sounds already, place the new normal after Corona into the context of Climate Chaos along with half-dozen or so other categories of broad threat. Our future could go from interesting in the Chinese sense of the word to genuinely terrifying.

    6. Procopius

      So several months after the CAREs act we get this statement:

      Wait… what? CARES was passed on March 27. Did you mean to say “several weeks?” Because just over one month is not “several.” The congresscritters don’t seem to understand this is not going to end in a couple more weeks. With the breakdown in supply chains especially in food, we can expect years of famine. Think of the Long Depression of 1873-1896. And that one was just caused by the gold standard. I suspect they’re all too young. They were born too long after the end of The Depression. They’re also too rich. They have no conception of the lives of the people they are supposed to represent.

  3. Upstater

    Inside Green Empire Farm: Upstate NY’s biggest coronavirus outbreak slams migrant workers

    Migrant workers, long hours, sleeping 4 to a room, 2 in each bed.

    171 of the 340 workers had tested positive…

    A worker who has been at the greenhouse since it opened said the migrant workers were hired to take local jobs that went unfilled. Both sets of workers are supposed to make the same amount: a little less than $13 an hour. The contract workers are paid by MAC, who takes money out of their checks for the hotel rooms.

    Since the outbreak, the county has been pushing MAC to put fewer workers in the rooms and to pay them when they’re not working, said John Becker, chairman of the Madison County Board of Supervisors.

    “You’re going to comply, or we’ll take further measures,” Becker said the county told MAC.

    He said he was “aghast” when he found out how many workers were living in a room, together, while public health officials were trying to space people six feet apart.

    Becker said the workers were not being paid while they were quarantined, which made him worry they would keep working while they were sick.

    The county, he said, pushed Mastronardi to pay them while sick. Becker said the county is delivering food to all of the workers in the hotels in Madison County while they are quarantined to keep them inside. It is costing the county $3,000 a day.

    Privatized profits, socialized losses.

      1. allan

        But there’s more, as there always is. Henrik Ibsen’s heirs should sue for copyright infringement:

        State no longer allowed to track processing plant data [NewsChannelNebraska]

        Local health officials will no longer be able to report COVID-19 data from meat processing plants.

        Governor Pete Ricketts said Wednesday that the state won’t be releasing specific numbers of cases at meatpacking plants, saying it’s a matter of privacy.

        Some local health departments like the Elkhorn Logan Valley Public Health Department and
        Public Health Solutions had been providing updates on positive cases at plants in their district
        as they came in.

        Seems legit. After all, being persons for the purposes of political contributions,
        why shouldn’t corporations have privacy rights?

        1. The Historian

          And so it starts.
          If people don’t like the numbers they are hearing, well, just don’t report them. 3000 deaths a day too much to swallow? Well, then just don’t report them.

          What people don’t know can’t hurt them, right?

          1. Bsoder

            This the dead knowing better than the living – it’s better to alive then dead.

    1. xkeyscored

      I wonder why Becker was “aghast” when he found out how many workers were living in a room. I don’t know what exactly a chairman of the Madison County Board of Supervisors is supposed to know or do, but surely he should be aware of living conditions, especially during a pandemic when this stuff is crucial? Instead, it appears he turned a blind eye until the situation turned into one of NY State’s biggest clusters.

      1. upstater

        It probably goes without saying, but the developer of the $100M greenhouse complex got generous tax breaks for a 20 year period. I believe the location allows it to draw cheap hydropower from the municipal utility (the place probably couldn’t be built if they had to pay National Grid rates).

        Maybe if they would pay a living wage to locals, there wouldn’t be a need for migrant labor.

    2. lordkoos

      Yakima county in WA state, 30 miles away from where I live, has the highest amount of COVID cases per capita on the west coast. This is primarily because of agricultural workers who have been deemed “essential”, but not essential enough to give them decent housing or wages.

  4. Wukchumni

    We can save dual lynchpins of the economy: Uber & Lyft, by emulating the airlines-which continue to fly nearly empty planes across the country, and have gig workers drive around aimlessly utilizing unicorns in the back seat as paid passengers who tip well, and best of all-no potential of contracting Coronavirus…

    Do I have to think of all the solutions to issues that vex us so?

    1. ewmayer

      You forgot linchpin #3, Tesla, whose stock continues to soar despite its Alameda factory remaining closed due to the county’s ongoing shelter-in-place order overriding the CA governor’s early-reopen guidance, and it shutting down its China gigafactory, i.e. having 0 global car production for the foreseeable future. Here the top 2 headlines on Yahoo Finance today:

      #1 Tesla reportedly halts China production, bringing its number of total operational factories to zero | Business Insider

      #2 Tesla Set to Resume Limited Operations in California Today, Report Says | Motley Fool

      #1 is true, #2 is an obvious lie in that “set to” != “will be allowed to”. But in the eyes of the Fed-trained bubbleheads in the gambling casinos, a positive lie beats negative truth every time, so rally on, Wayne!

      And Uber up an even bigger 6% today on news of that fabulous $3 Bln loss and still-no-path-to-profitability. We don’t need no stinkin’ “paying jobs and profits” as the basis for prosperity anymore, we just need asset prices to continue to soar.

  5. jackiebass

    I might be wrong but I understand that negative interest rates means a bank will charge you to keep your money. If that is correct and it happens, I’ll immediately empty my small bank account and put it under my mattress.

    1. Lou Anton

      In Europe, they avoided applying the negative rates to bank accounts as long as they could, and when it is applied, it’s on those with a high amount in their account. That’s how they did it…how US banks will do it? Yeahhhh, they’ll probably start with us and our checking accounts.

      1. jefemt

        Negative rates may forestall the move to digital currencies— covid-encrusted paper money?
        Re-defining bearer-bonds!

        Who-all are going out to spend what money, when?

        Physical PM- gold, silver, platinum? Molded lead? Mouldy lead?

        It is fascinating to watch the wheels wobble, the bearings smoke, and hear the screech amplify.

        “Good luck, everyone else!” (Family guy)

    2. SubjectivObject

      glued large diameter pvc pipe
      one end capped, one end is a cleanout plug
      thread sealed with caulk
      try not to forget where

    3. gc54

      And 401K MM funds will go -ve, compelling us diligent slobs back into the stock casino where the house always wins.

  6. allan

    Australia annoyed as U.S. pushes Wuhan lab COVID-19 theory [Reuters]

    Australian officials are frustrated that their push for an inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus is being undermined by the White House, which has sought to link the outbreak to a Chinese lab, government, diplomatic and intelligence sources told Reuters.

    Washington’s attack on China has given Beijing room to argue that Australia’s request for an independent inquiry is part of a U.S.-led agenda to blame it for the coronavirus outbreak, the sources said. …

    Last weekend, Sydney’s Daily Telegraph newspaper said a “dossier prepared by concerned Western governments” showed China had deliberately suppressed or destroyed evidence of the coronavirus outbreak. …

    An official familiar with the 15-page document cited in the article told Reuters it was American, appeared to be designed to gather support for the U.S. position, and wasn’t a piece of intelligence work. …

    William Randolph Hearst, 1898: You supply the pictures, and I’ll supply the war.
    Rupert Murdoch, 2020: You supply the recycled WSJ op-eds, and I’ll supply the war.

  7. Winston Smith

    Nothing on DOJ dropping Flynn charges? Charges to which he plead guilty in court…Perhaps someone in the comments has the required legal expertise to comment

    1. edmondo

      I guess I would have plead guilty too if someone was threatening to imprison my kid on Trumped-up charges too.

      Besides, I am saving my outrage for the Bridegate Supreme Court decision. Apparently, nothing is illegal now when politicians decide that they want to do something. I wonder how many years in jail I would have gotten if I had closed down a major artery into NYC because “I felt like it”?

    2. cnchal

      You are a day late. Yesterday in links was this.

      The final two paragraphs.

      Michael Flynn’s contact with the Russian Government and other members of the UN Security Council in the month preceding Trump’s inauguration was appropriate and normal. He did nothing wrong. But President Obama’s henchmen, including James Comey, John Brennan, Jim Clapper and Susan Rice were out for blood and relied on the FBI to stick the shiv into General Flynn’s belly.

      That travesty of justice is being methodically and systematically revealed in the documents delivered to the Flynn defense team thanks to the efforts of Attorney General William Barr. Barr is relying on the US Attorney in the Eastern District of Missouri (EDMO) to review the case and provide Brady material to the Flynn defense team. This is by the book. Doing it this way provides the legal foundation for future prosecution of the FBI and prosecutors who abused the General Flynn’s rights and violated the Constitution. Stay tuned.

      Now, oopsie, DOJ drops charges, it was all just a big misunderstanding and Flynn’s guilt was plea bargained and coerced into existence.

      I’m not a lawyer, and don’t play one on the internet, but it seems to me some law enforcers, when they break laws at will should be the ones in prison. Particularly when the courts are lied to, to get convictions, shouldn’t the police and prosecutors be the ones in jail? It’s an upside down world, has been for as long as I can remember.

      1. Lemmy Caution

        >It’s an upside down world, has been for as long as I can remember.

        Sounds a bit like a Dylan lyric.

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      No legal expertise here, but I “suspect” that the idea that defendants NEVER, EVER say they did something they didn’t do just to make the persecution stop is, to put it mildly, judicial and prosecutorial historical fiction. /ssssssssssssss

      In fact I’d say that career-conscious law “enforcement” officers, waterboarders and coup-plotters the world over count on it.

      Here is an unedited transcript of William Barr’s cbs interview on the Flynn decision:

      1. Carolinian

        I’m pretty sure this guy’s a lawyer.

        While malicious prosecution cases are notoriously difficult to prove (particularly in a case with a voluntary plea), the motion reinforces the view of many of us that the Justice Department was engaged in a campaign to incriminate Flynn — a campaign that now appears entirely detached from both the evidence and legal standards supporting a criminal charge. Such a lawsuit could allow Flynn to pursue discovery into the motivations and actions of figures like McCabe.

        1. Winston Smith

          I am sorry but I have to gently chuckle at such concerns for a three star general being put through the judicial wringer when thousands if not tens of thousands of “less fortunate” (who did not lie for the president) are ground down by the system to plead guilty with nary a word being said about their plight.

            1. Goyo Marquez

              The real question is why is lying to the FBI a crime? Is the FBI lying to you a crime?

          1. Carolinian

            I think the concern is not for Flynn but rather over use of the FBI and the intelligence community to affect a political outcome after an election. You are comparing apples and oranges.

            Indeed the fact that the Dems are pretending outrage over Barr’s action while doing very little about that other form of abuse merely makes my point. This for them is not about the “sanctity of the law” but simply about whose ox is being gored.

          2. barefoot charley

            Prosecutorial power abuse is one big reason federal prosecutors win 94 percent of their cases, last I looked years ago. Now we see what it takes to restore justice to the Justice Department: a special prosecutor, two independent investigators, outside lawsuits and almost daily presidential sniping. And if you don’t bring all that to a federal shootout, you’ll get shot good like they say you deserve.

            My favorite aspect of this judicial opera bouffe is that the process lie was concocted and extracted, the process crime was confessed and the perp was convicted–and it’s all vacated–poof! like it never happened, just because it never should have. It didn’t even take 30 to 70 years as usual. What do we learn from this? Gad, it’s bad.

          3. Goyo Marquez

            I kind of think that’s the point. If they can do this to Flynn what chance do us schlubs have.

      2. marym

        If there’s anyone interested in protecting people from career-conscious law “enforcement” officers

        ‘In his original tenure as attorney general, from 1991 to 1993, Barr… turned the FBI’s attention to gang-related crime and violence and became a leading advocate of the mass incarceration policies that have since so disproportionately affected America’s black population.

        And today, during his second tenure leading the Justice Department, in December 2019, he returned to these themes—apparently disputing the right of Americans of color to protest police violence. Law enforcement must be respected, he said, adding ominously that “if communities don’t give that support and respect, they might find themselves without the police protection they need.”

        “Speaking at the Fraternal Order of Police conference in New Orleans, the attorney general did not call out any district attorneys by name, but he decried the decision by some to stop prosecuting certain low-level offenses and to recommend shorter sentences, which he described as “pathetically lenient.” Cities that have elected these district attorneys, he said, “are heading back to the days of revolving door justice, and the results are going to be predictable: more crime and more victims.””

        1. anon in so cal

          “‘In his original tenure as attorney general, from 1991 to 1993, Barr… turned the FBI’s attention to gang-related crime and violence and became a leading advocate of the mass incarceration policies that have since so disproportionately affected America’s black population.”

          Right up there with Biden and the Clintons….

          1. marym

            Right. So on the issue of justice that’s either a condemnation of Barr, Biden, and the Clintons, or a justification for all of them. I say the former.

  8. xkeyscored

    Scientists: ‘Look, One-Third Of The Human Race Has To Die For Civilization To Be Sustainable, So How Do We Want To Do This?’ The Onion

    It’s all well and good to satirise things that deserve it, but is the idea that we’re beyond the earth’s carrying capacity one of them?

    The Onion muses that “Humanity has far exceeded its sustainable population size, so either one in three humans can choose how they want to die themselves, or there can be some sort of government-mandated liquidation program.” There’s also the distinct possibility that we choose to let future generations get culled by climate change and environmental collapse, and The Onion didn’t manage to make me laugh about that. Do they think our grandchildren will see the funny side of it?

    For example, “Areas of the planet home to one-third of humans will become as hot as the hottest parts of the Sahara within 50 years, unless greenhouse gas emissions fall, according to research by scientists from China, United States and Europe published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences today. The rapid heating would mean that 3.5 billion people would live outside the climate ‘niche’ in which humans have thrived for 6,000 years.”

    1. jcmcdonal

      It’s very dark humour. Arguably about as dark as it can get. The “joke” in my mind is that this is coming and we aren’t doing much about it, so I guess that means we’re ok with it. No one will be laughing when it happens that’s for sure. But maybe this is the only way to actually openly state what the future holds.

      1. xkeyscored

        I’d say we’ve been doing plenty about it. Our CO2 emissions have not only continued, they’ve increased nearly every year (this year may well be an exception). We’re not just making the situation worse, we’re making it more worse as time goes on.

        1. Bsoder

          Let me check something, just checked the satellite readings (anyone can do it, use )North Pole 443 ppm, Southpole pole 431 ppm, North America 471, etc.,. Not good. On average 20ppm to 40ppm over last year.

      2. mpalomar

        How did Kubrick, Terry Southern and Peter Sellers pull it off in Doc Strangelove?
        I would only add to your assessment that unfortunately with the frequency of occurrence of diseases like ebola, Sars, MERS, HIV and now covid -19 it is apparently here now and no one is laughing.

        1. Procopius

          To tell the truth, I didn’t find Dr. Strangelove funny, either. In fact, based on my knowledge of real life military officers I thought it was terrifying (full disclosure: I’m referring to far outliers. Most of the officers I served under were smart, flexible, sane, and honorable). Doesn’t anybody remember General Curtis LeMay? Really? General of the Army Douglas MacArthur?

      3. Pookah Harvey

        As Col. Wilkerson has pointed out, keeping Trump as Pres increases the chance of a nuclear exchange (increased dependence on tactical nuclear weapons, little understanding of consequences, etc.). This probably means an extended nuclear winter leading to the extinction of human civilization…. problem solved.

    2. polecat

      Anyone up for a Carousel ride?? … Anyone ?

      Cue the sound of Crickets chirping…..
      Right, I thought as much.

    3. Amfortas the hippie

      reckon it ain’t funny because it’s too close to the truth.
      such dark humor is the only way a great many still only half awake folks can even approach just how loathsome our rulers are.
      since trump entered office, Ive had a grasshopper plague…the pagan in me sees it as a sign…and when i let the doomer within run a bit, i envision a stone idol of a locust in the basement of the NYSE.
      the current rapine and plunder is just a little more out in the open than its been for my lifetime. we’re being harvested and sacrificed to their rapacious god.

      1. Clive

        Wowsers Amfortas, I thought I was superstitious. Across the road from me there’s a majestic looking tree which is part of a slither of woodland which has, as far as I can tell from local county records, existed since at least the Middle Ages (it’s all that’s left of a much larger area of wooded land which has mostly gone with the urban expansion of my town, but this slice was spared as it forms, now, a protected “green corridor” (oh, the tragedy that our environment has to be curtailed into the ecological version of a freeway for small critters trying not to intrude on our back gardens and tarmac…)).

        But anyhow, every owner of the house which adjoins the land has pretty soon after buying the house wanted to chop down the tree (the particular one being about 80-ish years old) because the branches overhang their driveway and perched birds want to do what birds do on their parked cars. Never mind that the drives are wide enough for a car to be parked, if parked carefully, out of harms’ way. Or that there’s garages (which are filled, inevitably, with a few hundred £’s of useless bric-a-brac instead of the vehicle they were intended to safely house out of the way of the bird-produced missiles).

        The local authority always turns down such requests to do anything other than do minor branch removal. At which point, the homeowners typically throw a hissy fit and start a campaign to root out, forgive the pun, the errant arboreal intrusion on their domestic bliss.

        At which time, almost instantaneously, the household suffers some setback of some degree or other. Sometimes a child will suffer an unpleasant but not life-threatening or really serious injury in their driveway. Or their hot tub on the deck in the back yard which gets leaf-fall on the cover (another cause for wittering on about how awful the tree is) will spring a leak. Or — and this is the especial uncanniness — their car will have a mechanical malady. No matter how old the car is. It’s always the car which is parked underneath the tree which the owner wants to not have the pigeon poop on it.

        So, who knows?

        Oh, and sorry to hear about your grasshopper infestation. The slugs have been having a wild old time on my summer bedding (I have scarcely got a marigold left standing) so I could blame that on Boris Johnson.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          i come from the northern far exurban orbit of houston, where pine and oak mix. in the early 80’s, before that particular oil crisis made them pack up their machines and leave, they were building subdivisions all around out there…and, if it wasn’t one of the newish planned urban forests(woodlands, kingwood), they would first raze every tree…then after they finished building their ticky tacky cardboard shacks(“homes”), they’d come in and plant farmed trees…mostly maples(ie: non-native)…that would die within 5 years.
          in my wandering in the woods(we abutted George Mitchell’s land-grandma knew him- i came across these scenes of desolation…and in my tolkien influenced young mind, i cursed them for it.
          i was already being soaked in organic principals, and all…but that’s when i became a treehugger.
          and that indiscriminate destruction that i witnessed serves as a mental model for this thing we call “capitalism”.

          (it ain’t really capitalism, of course…that’s just the flag it waves. it more closely resembles PK Dick’s nightmare:

          “”The Black Iron Prison” is a concept of an all-pervasive system of social control postulated in the Tractates Cryptica Scriptura, a summary of an unpublished Gnostic exegesis included in VALIS. Dick wrote:

          Once, in a cheap science fiction novel, Fat had come across a perfect description of the Black Iron Prison, but set in the far future. So if you superimposed the past (ancient Rome) over the present (California in the twentieth century) and superimposed the far future world of The Android Cried Me a River over that, you got the Empire, as the supra- or trans-temporal constant. Everyone who had ever lived was literally surrounded by the iron walls of the prison; they were all inside it and none of them knew it.[6]” )

    4. HotFlash

      It is proverbial that the court jester is the only one permitted to tell the truth.

      1. mpalomar

        Yes, besides the yuks we’ve been a little short on truth for some time. Can’t think of the last effective court jester and now that the jester has ascended the throne he’s babbling a stream of tweets and nonsense.

    5. Jeremy Grimm

      I wonder whether the Onion’s estimate is correct — that a 1/3 reduction in human population would be adequate to fit the earth’s carrying capacity. That estimate seems to ignore the little problem you raise in your comment — that the earth’s carrying capacity for Humankind grows ever smaller as Climate Chaos progresses. The Onion’s black humor rides upon a wildly optimistic estimate of the future carrying capacity of the earth.

  9. The Rev Kev

    Re: “Many States Fall Short of White House Reopening Criteria Bloomberg. With map”

    I think that I am seeing some overlap with another map that appeared about a week or two ago here. That map showed coalitions or blocks of States banding together to get medical supplies. If you look on today’s map, I am seeing a bit of overlap with States marked as still being in lockdown.

    1. lordkoos

      The lock-down map is a little misleading in the case of WA state. Here, the governor has ordered the lock-down to continue until May 31st, but is allowing some rural counties to reopen in gradual stages if they meet certain criteria: They must have a small number of cases per capita, and must have enough local medical resources to deal with the sick should cases begin to increase again.

  10. Anthony K Wikrent

    Re: Opinion analysis: Unanimous court throws out “Bridgegate” convictions SCOTUSBlog

    …the court ruled that although the officials’ actions were an “abuse of power,” they did not violate the federal fraud laws because the “scheme here did not aim to obtain money or property.”

    The Court, since Burger and Buckely v. Valeo, has consistently ruled to decriminalize political corruption, no matter how obvious. This is the result of the ascendancy of neoliberal ideas that re-conceive the political process as a marketplace.
    Capitalism v. Democracy — Timothy Kuhner — YouTube
    The Majority Report with Sam Seder, Sep 22, 2014

  11. Dr. John Carpenter

    “Who exactly did the vetting for Biden in 2008, 2016, and 2020?”

    Hard to find things when no one is really looking. I’m going to guess there was a lot of “Ah, it’s just Joe being Joe. We all know he’s a good guy.” if they even looked that hard. I’m guessing his usefulness to the Obama administration outweighed anything they found. Obviously they weren’t counting on someone fighting back like Reade has.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Gotta say, this latest “time bomb” seems pretty obscure to me and I’m curious who dug it up.

      If I were joe, I wouldn’t get too comfortable. It seems like there may be a few committed subversives out there who are not as sanguine about a biden candidacy as the dems would like us to believe.

      It makes me think that if there’s a Reade harassment complaint in Delaware or somewhere, we may yet see it despite joe’s insistence to the contrary and his feeble misdirection.

      Stranger things have happened.

      1. Pelham

        Not sure what you mean by obscure but, IMO, it’s the most damning bit of evidence yet, confirming not only that Reade suffered some kind of abuse during her Biden tenure but that it was traumatizing.

        As for vetting, Joe just being Joe involves a lot more than the touchy-feelies. Joe being Joe includes a long record of securing sweet deals for brother and sons, selling access and being in the back pocket of the financial industry. Not to mention a lengthy pattern of self-aggrandizing fabrications. It says a great deal that apparently no one at lofty federal levels regards any of this as particularly troubling.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          Right–obscure may not have been exactly the right word. I was thinking along the lines of really hard to find or who would think to look for something like this.

          My point was that things are turning up that no one could have imagined.

          I think it’s pretty damning corroboration too.

      2. Pat

        True. Not that I think the powers actually determining the Democratic nominee care. They are merely interested in maintaining their status quo. Trump or Biden doesn’t matter to them really.

        There is and has been reams of damning information regarding Biden out there since long before his second run for President. IF the Obama group had been concerned about anything of importance, his voting record, inappropriate use of office, his plagiarism would have eliminated him for consideration. His obvious misogyny and documented history of invasive behavi or with women probably wouldn’t even have registered U am sorry to say. But that too should have kayoed him.

        Times have changed. Blood in the water and more to come mean a this is NOT going to go away. Even a compliant media can be brought down. It may happen. But not I think in time to endanger the status quo.

        So The Democrats lose. It is still a win.

  12. Krystyn Podgajski

    Is there a quant here who can explain why the algo’s think 14% unemployment means “buy stocks”?

    1. cnchal

      I’m not a quant and don’t play one on the internet, but the Wall Street criminal rationale is that with so many unemployed, labor is about to get cheaper than dirt, so profits go up raising stawk prices. Having the heavyweight FED as the stawk market cash for trash backup helps too.

      Taking off my fake quant hat, is a 5000 point one day Dow stawk crash that far out of the picture?

      It’s an upside down world, has been for as long as I can remember.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Labour may get cheap but if consumers have no money to buy any stuff because they lost their jobs, then what is the point?

          1. Katniss Everdeen

            And anything you borrow or are “given” by the government can only be spent at a handful of giant corporations because all the little guys got wiped out keeping the country safe from corona virus or Russians or whatever danger they come up with next to finish off anyone who might have limped through this current crisis.

      2. Young

        Based on today’s close, they would have to take the rest of the trading day off @ down 4862 points.

    2. edmondo

      Wayne Gretzky said to skate to where you think the puck is going to be. What have they got to lose? Uncle Sugar has their back.

    3. Jessica

      Perhaps the assumption that the worse shape Main Street is in, the more money the Fed will shovel at Wall Street.

    4. Katniss Everdeen

      The euphemisms being used, albeit somewhat sheepishly, on cnbc this morning are “efficiency” and “consolidation.”

      Efficiency: permanent job cuts.

      Consolidation: elimination of the weaker small business competition, also known as monopoly.

      Hey, coronavirus is a “small business story,” and capitalism is capitalism.

    5. Bsoder

      You’ve got the Federal Reserve with 4 trillion dollars doing god knows what. It’s worth repeating the federal reserve name not with standing is not part of the federal government it is a specially charted bank, for banks. If it helps there is huge difference in understanding if your talking about ‘capital’ v. talking about ‘financial’ derivatives. No money in capital. One thing banks do is lend money to companies by way of bonds. Most corporate bonds before Covid-19 were rated junk. Yesterday the Feds announce they are going to buy those bonds, giving those companies a get out of jail card. So ya, stock in those companies would go up. No quant involved here, just old fashioned kleptocracy take from the people give to the rich – who own those companies. This isn’t going to stop until we make it stop.

    6. Burritonomics

      I’m gonna quote Mark Blyth to answer:

      “…the Fed’s actions are essentially putting a floor under asset prices in American markets”

    7. Jeremy Grimm

      My guess — quant has nothing to do with the stock market. The stock market has become a casino full of speculators. The prices for stocks reflect the momentary beliefs of traders not investors — although many supposed investors like pension funds are along for the ride. The algorithms reflect conjectures about how other speculators behave — like Keynes beauty contest — and conjectures about correlations ‘discovered’ in past market activity and speculation behavior.

      And feeling paranoid and somewhat depressed — I also suspect some Big Money interests may be engineering a skinning of pension funds and the merely wealthy investors who aren’t in on the fix. It may be time for the upper 10% to kick-in some of their share to the Big Money Cartels, Big Money Investment Firms, and the upper 1% of their wealth partition.

      1. skippy

        “Keynes beauty contest” in a – non – competitive market at predawn seeking more Gresham’s law lines ….

        Mythology has it’s safe for the unclean to come out once the towels go over the windows of the washed.

  13. GramSci

    Re: court throws out “Bridgegate” convictions

    Precedent-setting: I foresee that since political office is not “property”, federal laws against “election fraud” will be held unconstitutional.

    1. Jesper

      Proving intent appears to be very important when prosecuting upper class people. Few others get away with: I did not intend to break the law so therefore I am innocent, it was just an oopsie.
      Will it ever be possible to successfully prosecute white collar crime if intent needs to be proven? Or will the presumption of innoncence (the money was only resting in my accounts etc) be so strong that actual mind-reading is needed before anyone can be convicted?

      1. allan

        And so it begins:

        Stephen Brown @PPVSRB
        The Supreme Court’s Bridgegate ruling quickly making waves. The 2nd Circuit requests briefing on how the SCOTUS decision impacts the Southern District’s NCAA corruption cases, which are under appeal.

        To answer your rhetorical question, No, as long as the perp remembers to steal down, not up.
        Just ask Bernie Madoff.

      2. mpalomar

        “Will it ever be possible to successfully prosecute white collar crime?”
        In such cases the law is clear, legality is manifest in about 2 million in lawyer’s fees.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Ocasio-Cortez: Biden allegation ‘not clear cut'”

    Why am I not surprised. Just today I read a feminist say that although she believed Reade, that she was prepared “to take one for the team” and vote for Biden. And now AOC is gas-lighting people by saying that the allegation is ‘not clear cut’? Seriously? You want to know the worse? It is that modern feminists and women with power have publicly proven themselves willing to sell out women to predators in the name of perceived power. And the Mee Two movement is now officially toast as well. Tough luck if you are a women that has a predatory boss then.

    Biden is in no way fit to be the President of the United States as he is already showing signs of dementia. And that is not even recognizing his past record of corruption, his neocon bent, his working for Republicans against Democrats in elections for cash, and a host of other reasons. If women with power had backed Reade, then Biden would have been quietly dropped (“to spend more time with his family”) and someone else could have been selected to be the Presidential nominee for the Democrats. But they did not so that is that.

    1. Acacia

      Yep. Looks like AOC is now covering for Dementia Joe.

      But millions of suckers will still hang on to the fantasy that AOC and a tiny sliver of “good Democrats” are going to somehow bail out their sinking ship of a party.

      Utterly pathetic.

    2. jefemt

      So here’s my quibble with the MSM and their apparent take on ‘polling’ and projecting the Bernie progressive social dems.

      They say some will vote Biden, some Trump.

      My take is some will vote Biden, very few if any will vote Trump, and many may sit out, or write in. but really, saying any Bernie/ prog types will vote Trump is ridiculous and insulting. Just how tone-deaf and out of touch are these Idjuts?

      Now the algebraic approach to popular vote matters not, with the electoral college, and the Dims once again seem to be not focused on the big electoral count states.

      Our state has 3 votes—we are divided as the US– 50/50… why even vote that part of the ticket?

      Those that posit that the dims are OK losing are gaining some cred in my addled mind.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The real problem for Team Blue is less Sanders voters than renters. Will the Becky and/or Karens skip an hour of white power on MSNBC to help register voters? Hillary may have had the 2nd most votes evah, but it wasn’t enough to win. It was largely due to getting Karens to be part of history and vote for the assured winner in districts and states that were safely blue.

        The 2016 polling predicted 2008 style turnout, but the pollsters made no effort to understand the 2008 results were the end result of hard and targeted work. In 2008, Axlerod wasn’t pulling resources from the 5th district in Virginia to help a Democratic district in a very red state make Obama feel good.

      1. ambrit

        I think you’ve put your finger on it.
        Sexual abuse is almost always about power relationships. Considering that this is how Biden manages his ‘power relationships,’ this Reade event is proof that he is not worthy of being given any power, anywhere, anytime.
        What fascinates me here is Biden’s wife. To see this level of enablement of corrupt practices does indeed suggest that she is ‘his,’ as in Stockholm Syndrome level relationship. HRH HRC also showed a similar behaviour pattern when Bill performed his various philanderings and impositions.
        This goes way beyond Tammy Wynette territory.

      2. Dr. John Carpenter

        This is what’s really making me angry about a lot of the woke commentariat. They act as if they are the aggrieved and it is their right to absolve Biden. There was an op-ed covered on Rising yesterday which was a similar thing. The writer said “I don’t want justice”, that they just wanted Biden to beat Trump. It about made me sick. That is not a decision for anyone else to make on Tara Reade’s behalf just because “orange man bad” and Dems seem to think Biden is their only hope. We’ve also transitioned from “women should be believed” to “women should be heard” much like the Dems healthcare/access to healthcare language. The only positive I can see is that this is rubbing people’s nose in the hypocrisy like nothing else thus far has seemed to.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          one of the most noteworthy things about this entire mess…covid to bailouts to bidens our guy to the orange cherry on the shitpile…is the shamelessness of it all.
          the proverbial they are not even trying to hide it any more.
          sure, the fox/msdnc viewership is prolly still in the bag, but how many is that?
          are they enough? or has the apathy plus voter suppression(including covid related subversion) gone far enough that they reckon it doesn’t matter any more, and they are free to flaunt?
          anybody with ears in those circles?
          a waiter, perhaps?
          (lol. I bumped into those people via being a chef and as a musician)

    3. GlobalMisanthrope

      All true. But then I never saw what the big deal was about Ocasio. Every time I watched clips of her rants she just struck me as a precocious yet petulant child in a pantsuit. Sure she’s smart in a pedestrian sort of way, but she’s hardly a visionary. I think she gets all the attention she gets just because she’s pretty and ticks idpol boxes.

      We need to stop being indignant and recognize that, as Stoller says, these are not serious people. They do not want to govern and they’re not going to. Dem voters still support them because they ultimately have the same values.

      We’ve been expressing frustration and alarm since 2008. Hell, since 2000. Some learning curve. Maybe we don’t deserve any better.

      1. Joshua Ellinger

        Sheesh — she’s a freshman rep, for pete’s sake, with a speaker who loves the status quo.

        People get excite about her because the rest of our congress critters are go lame. She gets attention because she knocked out one of Pelsoi’s inner circle and she has been saying things that at least have a hint of vision (Green New Deal).

    4. fresno dan

      The Rev Kev
      May 8, 2020 at 9:06 am

      Manu Raju
      Dianne Feinstein, ranking Democrat on Senate Judiciary, argued to us that the Kavanuagh situation is “totally different” than the Tara Reade allegations against Biden. “Kavanuagh was under the harshest inspection that we give people over a substantial period of time.”
      The quote is a non-sequitur at best, or Diane is also showing signs of dementia. Is Feinstein saying that Reade should be examined as thoroughly as Kavanaugh, at a senate hearing? – seems to be getting the accuser and accused mixed up – maybe on purpose??? I can’t find the interview on CNN (only time for a short search, because the quote seems too bizarre)
      Anyway, confirms my belief that most people’s principles can be boiled down to “I believe in what I think is good for me or my side.”

    5. NotTimothyGeithner

      Does Obama believe Biden can beat Trump?

      Obama’s legacy is not being Trump at this point. A hypothetical President Sanders may not have a friendly Senate, but he would have a DoJ and executive orders as well as a host of jobs to put more likeminded people in instead of centrist nihilists. With Obama’s reluctance to go after white collar crime, there could be all kinds of people who could be tossed into prison, especially donors.

      Team Blue criticism of Trump’s ugliness on the border disappeared after Team Blue was caught posting pictures of the horror of Trump’s policies from 2014 to 2016. Obama is reported to have noticed his first term indicated he was very good at killing people. From the reported bits of the Michelle documentary, its likely they are simply selfish people.

      Biden won’t be a better President than Obama and he might not even win. At which point, Obama will simply blame the Chinese. They have to have a new excuse for every loss.

    6. Joshua Ellinger

      That article does not say what you think it says.

      It says what the dems should do not clear cut — which is true. It’s a deliberately bad title.

      Hope she takes back the endorsement soon.

  15. rd

    I don’t think the media understands what the word “permanent” means:

    The 1918-19-19 flu was terrible but by the mid-20s, there was the Roaring 20s. So restaurants, bars (speakeasy then due to Prohibition in the US), travel etc. all came roaring back. So establishments may have closed but the job losses were not permanent. The same is likely to happen with airlines etc. in the current pandemic.

    On the other hand, the US had too much retail floor space to begin with, so some of those closures are likely to be permanent because the economics were marginal going into the crisis and there will be no reason to re-open some of that space after the crisis passes. Those job losses will be permanent and will need ot be made up by another industry.

    1. Synoia

      The US had too much retail floor space to begin.. and needs less every day precise of Internet Ordering and home delivery.

      I believe the floor for retail is Women’s Clothes, my wife has tries this and has always return the clothing either because of fit, color, or quality. I have learnt not to be at home, and take the dogs for a walk, if my wife has a delivery of internet ordered clothes.

      Other than clothes, nearly everything else could be delivered. The future of shopping malls is grim.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        And Pelosi’s solution is already the option available as the exchanges are open. You have to admire the outward ignorance of the nihilists.

        1. ambrit

          Considering the outcomes on display, I will soundly vote for Pelosi and the neo-liberals as being the nihilists in this era.

          1. polecat

            ‘Nihilistas’ ?

            Could be a new links/water cooler heading.

            But then there wouldn’t be room for anything else!

          1. Bsoder

            If one looses one’s job as presently constituted the ACA, one can obtain insurance within 30 days. Trump has nothing to do with it. What was being asked of Trump was to allow an open enrollment period. Of course he’d say no, being Orange Sauron he hates all life.

            1. marym

              Yes, thanks, I should have added that. People who lost their insurance because they lost their jobs can apply for ACA insurance. The federal and some state exchanges remain closed to uninsured people.

              Trump didn’t only say no when asked about this. He said he was thinking of using some of the stimulus money allocated for hospitals to pay for pandemic-related testing/treatement (though not other healthcare) for the uninsured. He hasn’t done that either. Here’s a summary and links:

    1. zagonostra

      I used to listen to the MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour daily years ago. Then something happened. It seemed like all their funding was coming from large corporations, including mega healthcare insurance providers.

      It’s curious that they just discovered that “health coverage is tied to a job” for most working Americans? Little slow on the uptake no? Haven’t watched an episode in many years…the whole News media landscape, for me, has completely changed. I guess that’s why I come here to NC…

      1. Mel

        Hollowing out the middle class eliminated a lot of natural PBS donors. After that only the foundations could help them keep the lights on.

  16. Geo

    “Voodoo priests recommend voodoo to stop covid-19”

    Thought this was going to be about supply side “voodoo economics” ideologues. Personally, I put more value in the ideas of a voodoo priest than anyone who still thinks trickle down is a plausible theory.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Beware voodoo priests. They can make zombies. They may be working for our Masters.

      1. ambrit

        The Voodoo Priests out in Silicon Valley have come up with a new clade of zombie, Zoombies. Sitting behind desks, still picking brains.

  17. funemployed

    Did Aaron Mate leave the Nation? Or is reporting clear evidence of MIC fraud just beyond the pale of the once-flagship leftist magazine?

    I think Grayzone is tops, but the nation must have a much larger readership, no? And Aaron was among the top if not the best investigative reporter on their staff, no?

    Confess to not reading a lot of nation these days, but I do have fond memories and will be quite sad if the CIA and co. did manage to get their hooks in.

  18. Geo

    “Obsession with Fraud Sabotages Aid to Millions” Bloomberg

    This was a surprisingly good article. Especially for Bloomberg’s news.

    Nice excerpt here:
    “fraud detection is big business. Consulting giants like McKinsey & Co., Boston Consulting and Deloitte, among others, all have practices that specialize in detecting and reducing abuse in government programs. They pitch data analytic solutions, using “nudges” from behavioral science to encourage compliance, or, in the case of Boston Consulting, conduct studies on fraud and security vulnerabilities for the Federal Reserve.

    The firms didn’t respond to requests for comment.”

  19. David

    Over here, it’s the 75th anniversary of the end of WW2 in Europe, an event celebrated in much of Europe with public holidays. Celebrations this year are, to put it mildly muted.
    I was struck by the treatment of the date in the UK media, whose attitude to the War becomes steadily weirder as the event itself recedes into history. But beyond the Grauniad agonising about whether it was racist ™ even to celebrate the victory, there is one fundamental difference between the reality of that War, and the pseudo-conflict that our political leadership keeps trying to tell us we are in as a result of Covid-19. It has nothing to do with enemies, or even solidarity, but everything to do with organisation and planning, which have been so lamentably lacking in almost every country.
    Consider: in spite of self-serving propaganda by Churchill and De Gaulle, neither the British nor the French were taken by surprise by the outbreak of war. Both countries had begun massive rearmament programmes years before: the Spitfires and Hurricanes that won the Battle of Britain, like the radars that guided them, didn’t come from nowhere. War planning was very advanced, civilian industry was quickly switched to military production, standby factories were activated to produce aircraft – all of which had been planned since 1935. The British had the most modern and mechanised Army in the world at the time, and there were already plans to raise 122 new divisions. The British already had deployment to France worked out, and they and the French had a reasonably accurate idea about where the Germans would attack, if not when or precisely how. The country was put on a war footing very quickly – my mother, then 15, was issued with a gas mask within a few days of the war starting, to wear on the Tube to work. Hotels and office buildings were requisitioned within days for the administration of the war. Specialists such as linguists and scientists were instantly mobilised. The Home Guard was set up in a week in 1940 even while the fighting in France was still going on.
    Of course not everything went well or was properly anticipated. The threat from air attack was massively overrated, and gas was never used. There was no Fifth Column. There were bottlenecks and shortages, especially of rifles. Above all, incredible German luck combined with defeatism among French elites meant that the main battle in France was over in a few weeks. But the fact is that an enormous number of talented people had thought for a long time about what to do, plans had been made, had been kept up to date, and effective organisations existed for putting them into practice.
    The contrast with today’s shambles is almost physically painful. I wonder if the clumsy wartime rhetoric of Johnson and co doesn’t, in some sense, represent an understanding of what has been lost. Mustn’t it have been wonderful, mutters a still, small voice, to have had a country where people could make things, organise things and actually get things done?

    1. Carolinian

      an enormous number of talented people had thought for a long time about what to do, plans had been made, had been kept up to date, and effective organisations existed for putting them into practice.

      And yet the result was also a shambles. Perhaps experience trumps planning and the Allies were as unprepared for a blitzkrieg war as current leaders were for a 100 year epidemic. France collapsed and the British barely squeaked through in the Battle of Britain despite those fighter planes and radar.They may have been the ones with the luck.

      Here in the US it’s clear that the Dems plan to turn this into a political football to distract from their ridiculously weak candidate. But whatever one thinks of Trump, the notion that he is somehow responsible for every death is unlikely to survive history’s judgment whatever happens with the voters.

      1. Winston Smith

        “Allies were as unprepared for a blitzkrieg war as current leaders were for a 100 year epidemic”. The fact is that General Stanislaw Maczek, commander of Poland’s only armored formation in 1939, made his way to France and wrote a detailed report for the French high command on the german blitzkrieg tactics and possible counters. It was found by the germans-unopened. Maczek ended up commanding the famous 1st Polish armoured division in WW2 (Falaise gap etc) attached to the first Canadian Army. Similarly, the unpreparedness of the US with COVID-19 will one day be assessed in the same way

      2. Procopius

        I should Google it, but I remember that Eisenhower, in his speech warning about the Military Industrial Complex, said something to the effect, “I hate war as only a soldier can hate it, its waste, its stupidity.” And Clausewitz writing a hundred years before explained the need for thorough planning, because, “In war everything is very, very simple, but in war even the simplest thing becomes very hard.” When Bush was warned that Osamaa bin Laden wanted to conduct an operation in the United States of course he thought it was an exercise in CYA. Everybody knew he wanted to. Bush and his advisers, and the intelligence agencies, though, thought it was impossible, so had their attention on other things. I have to say, though, that Trump and his administration* were beyond feckless in their neglect of a potential disaster that serious people had been warning about for at least three decades.

    2. Synoia

      My father relocated the Bank of England out of London to Gloucester starting in 1938.

      He also repeated the that he was told by the Bank of England people, that WW II would not start before the Bank had completed a large loan to Germany.

      1. deplorado

        So UK was helping finance German military power and at the same time was preparing to be attacked by German military power?

        How is that explained? What was really the game? Serious question. Was Germany buying from UK?

        1. rob

          A great book/look at the business of WWII.
          “the nazi-american money plot 1933-1949” by charles hingham…
          This is a US focused collection from declassified material in the eighties… By charles HINGHAM..
          It includes many international connections… as well as “why”… before the war.. they set up the bank of international settlements in 1933.. to guarantee payment systems that would work around national jurisdiction with trading with the enemy laws…
          From a US perspective/… there was no”we”…
          the people of this country were steered toward what was felt to be an inevitability… all the while those companies like: ford,gm,ITT,chase bank,jp morgan,standard oil,etc…. had “property” both real and intellectual behind enemy lines… they chose a “business as usual” approach to keep profits sheltered during war.. and a track to gain patents after…. as well as “get paid”…
          so things like GM having a patent on a necessary air fuel component… and storing huge supplies in europe to sell to the axis, to make sure supplies were not interrupted if war broke out….. or ford building truck and military equip.. in vichy france and africa for the germans… (as well as suing the allies for a raf airraid that destroyed one of their factories they built for the germans after the war started… and WINNING reparations), or standard oil of new jersey selling more fuel to the axis than to the allies by changing a port of lading to venezuala and going thru spain…,or ITT building most of germany’s communications systems as well as @ 50,000 shell primers a month.
          The robber barons of the US.morgan,rockefeller,dupont,walker,bush,mellon,etc…. along with the astors who moved across the pond to england. were fascists… before the war began… and were never going to commit. ThEy were going to go with the winner…either way..

    3. flora

      The neoliberal project has destroyed so much in the last 30-40 years.

      The neoliberal West’s politicians and pundits have been tying themselves in knots trying to look at the backs of their own heads instead of to what they’ve done to their countries. imo.

      The great 1969 documentary “The Sorrow and the Pity” is recommended, particularly for French speakers.

      1. flora

        Today, your mother at 15 years old would have the opportunity to buy, at hugely inflated prices, a gas mask for use on the tube. The mask might or might not work, depending on quality control and manufacturing. It might be counterfeit.Today’s neoliberal govts protect the their stock markets, not their countries and people, imo. That’s the biggest difference between now and then, imo.

    4. Bsoder

      Well as people’s dna hasn’t changed in 75 years, meaning we are same now as then, why now the inability to even feed the hungry? I’m inclined to believe in Jared Diamonds analysis in his recent book “Upheaval”. The guy tends to be exceedingly through. In a recent interview with David Wallace he gave humans only a 49% chance of successfully dealing with our problems By 2050 or go extinct. He has children who will be alive then so this isn’t theoretical to him.

  20. The Rev Kev

    “Donald Trump and the entire White House staff will be tested DAILY after Navy valet who served president tested positive for coronavirus – but Trump will NOT be quarantined because says he’s ‘essential'”

    I heard that Trump hit the roof when he found this out. Maybe the thought of him actually coming so close to this virus in real life rattled him. And that is why the switch from weekly to daily testing. One thing that Trump is unaware of though. The cemeteries are full of ‘essential’ men and women.

    1. Big River Bandido

      Time for a presidential courtesy call on Congress, methinks. Joint session?

      I never saw the movie, but I always found the trailer from Mars Attacks! to be so satisfying.

      1. Geo

        One of my favorite “bad” movies. Considering the trajectory of Burton’s films over the past few decades it’s hard to say how much of it was bad intentionally as an homage to Ed Wood, and how much was bad because he’s lost his artistic touch, but a really fun film if you don’t think too much and just enjoy the ride.

        1. Big River Bandido

          The original trailer contained a clip of a woman watching on teevee, convulsed with laughter: “they blew up Congress! Ha ha ha!”

          I think they suppressed that version very quickly.

    2. wilroncanada

      The Rev Kev
      As Yves has written many times, Trump is/has always been a germaphobe. Probably part of his narcissism. Massive fear of his own mortality. Everybody who has spoken in person with him, including his cabinet members, has had to be tested first. But no system is/has been perfect, no matter how often Trump insists that HE is.

  21. The Rev Kev

    “A Coronavirus Cover-Up Is Already Starting”

    From this article, I can see the way that it will go. Before too many years you will have a new President elected and when people bring up all the hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths and the catastrophic handling of the pandemic, they will channel Obama and say that we should Look Forward, Not Backward on all this. And going by the consequences of Obama’s actions earlier, you will find out down the track that Dr. Fauci will have been appointed to oversee a new revitalized US biological warfare program.

    1. Geo

      When has America ever looked backward with anything but rose-tinted lenses? The only thing more infallible than God is His most chosen of nations, America.

      I honestly thought the election of Trump would inspire some national soul searching. Feel kinda dumb looking back at my naivety. How does one look for a soul it doesn’t have?

      1. Synoia

        Are the rose tinted glasses not always used, both looking forward and backward?

        That solves the problem of our beloved leaders actually having to analyze the direction that they are facing when pontificating.

    2. ewmayer

      “Dr. Fauci will have been appointed to oversee a new revitalized US biological warfare program.” — But it won’t be called that, just as the US War Department isn’t called that. It’s be something like the National Biological Defense Department. The best defense of course being see as consisting of a good offense.

  22. Wukchumni

    When I began work on this book in 1991, the largest Marxist-inspired society in history was in the midst of collapse. Monuments to that great experiment were being destroyed — statues were toppled and walls were knocked down. Soviet communism, as established by Lenin and ruthlessly enforced by Stalin, was a distant cry from the communist utopia Marx and Engels had envisioned. Nonetheless, to more than one generation of Americans, the name Marx would forever be linked to the powerful and evil Soviet communist regime—our greatest threat and the losers in a long and bitter Cold War.

    One monument to an earlier Marxist-inspired utopian endeavor still stands, even though the experimental colony disbanded 100 years prior to the recent dissolution of the great Soviet experiment. There exists an old photograph of this living monument with more than two dozen socialist pioneers standing shoulder-to-shoulder within the width of its massive trunk. The incredibly large redwood tree was christened the Karl Marx Tree by these pioneers, the Kaweah colonists. Being the largest tree in the forest (in fact, it is the largest tree in the entire world), it was given a name representing the greatest honor in their eyes.

    Today, that giant sequoia is known as the General Sherman Tree and is a major tourist attraction in Sequoia National Park. Those who know the story of the 19th-century utopian experiment, however, will always partly look upon this awe-inspiring giant as a monument to a colorful and dramatic chapter of California history: the Kaweah Colony.

  23. vlade

    CV mutations – RNA replication introduces errors in about every three replicas. That means anyone who has CV (or any other RNA virus) doesn’t really have one “species”, but a whole lot of them. The technical term is “quasispecies“.

    So one person can be a host of a benign and not-so-benign virus at the same time. And any test will, at best, cover a sample of that quasi-species (although they will be all relatively related).

    1. ambrit

      So, any vaccine against the Dreaded Pathogen will have to be engineered to provide “Full Spectrum Dominance.” This sounds like a job for the Pentagon!

        1. ambrit

          Oh, oh! I have Flouride in the Water joke overload!
          Alas, I can see your solution being given serious consideration in some quarters.
          The Onion article linked to above sets that possibility out in stark terms.

  24. Wukchumni

    California’s first case of community spread started in a nail salon, governor says CNN

    Salon owner released from jail after Texas governor changes coronavirus orders CBS
    Nice juxtaposition, having those 2 stories back-to-back!

    What happens when inevitably the re-open states start having waves of infections, do they double down on stupidity and force the proles who don’t want to be out in public to do their duty?

  25. flora

    re: Observational Study of Hydroxychloroquine in Hospitalized Patients with Covid-19 NEJM.

    But, apparently, HCQ+ treatment works best in the early stages of the disease, before symptoms become so severe people go to the hospital. For a counterpoint to the NEJM study;

    This treatment dispute is in some ways similar to the Cotton Mather vaccination dispute story in yesterday’s links, imo.

    1. SKM

      flora, thanks so much for that link re hydrochloroquine – just what I suspected but hadn`t got all the info. I`d been perplexed as to why there were repeated reports of negative results on the use of this drug but each time I read the details I found they were using it on people already very sick with Covid! This made no sense – you wouldn`t expect most anti-virals to be much use at that stage (for many many reasons). Plus we know that at that stage patients are at a hightened risk of cardiovascular events anyway. A drug which is an anti-malarial that has been used widely and for decades as a prophylactic, ie taken for weeks and more, is very well studied. Then its well known but usually rare side effects seemed to suddenly start being used to justify describing the drug as a dangerous!!!! Then they compare it to Remdesivir (no significant results so far)which has to be given intravenously i e once people are really sick!!!That article explains all that and more and gives us the backing of studies etc. Great, thanks again flora and NC!!!!

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > That article explains all that and more and gives us the backing of studies etc.

        Observational studies differ in their results. The NEJM concluded: “Randomized, controlled trials of hydroxychloroquine in patients with Covid-19 are needed.” They are correct, and such tests are underway. If Trump hadn’t trolled the press with HQ, and the press hadn’t fed the troll and generated a moral panic, we could be looking at HQ as the potentially useful treatment that, based on observation, it is. The whole process was hateful and sickening.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > For a counterpoint to the NEJM study

      Watt’s Up With That, a climate denialist site, is a “counterpoint” to the New England Journal of Medicine rather in the way that a badly played Casio organ is a counterpoint to the works of Bach.

      Not that all physicians and scientists are always right about everything, or owed deference for any reason other than their work. But holy moley.

      1. flora

        It is a counter-point to the MSM’s mighty wurlitzer past 3 weeks’ denigration of HCQ+ as an early stage treatment. The article says up top it is not intended as medical advice and is only a compilation of reports.

  26. Trent

    Does this describe us as a people?

    “Conquered men, women, children, elderly people — they don’t spontaneously rise up and try to kill people who abuse and oppress them. Most people are not heroic. Most people are easily terrified, especially once they have already been placed in subjugated position. And if they are heroic, they usually die heroic deaths, alone. It continues to happen all over the world. Right now, somewhere, someone is being beaten and horribly abused and even if given the opportunity to strike back at the person doing the abuse, they won’t take it.

    In Roman Britain, the tribes didn’t stage a successful coup against the occupying forces even when given ample opportunity and more than enough reason to unite. On three separate occasions, the governor of Britain broke off from the empire. Even in a state of Roman civil war, the tribes were unable to eject the Romans. The one very notable case of rebellion was during Suetonius Paulinus’ campaign in what is now Wales. The leader of the Iceni, Boudica, was beaten and her daughters were raped because Boudica challenged the transition of her late husband’s authority to the Roman governor (Paulinus). Only with Londinium essentially vacated of military forces did the Iceni and Trinovantes dare to attack. They were successful in causing a huge amount of civilian damage, but in the end, Paulinus’ troops rolled over the Iceni and routed them. The nearby Brigantes provided essentially no help to the Iceni and at least one source suggests Boudica may have even been poisoned by the Brigantes’ queen. Someone mentioned Nero earlier; it’s worth noting that all of this happened under Nero’s rule and Rome still easily held Britain despite Nero’s general lack of… being good as an emperor.

    This pattern can be found a lot in history. It’s rare for spontaneous uprisings to happen against conquerors. Or rather, it’s more appropriate to say that it is extremely common for abusive occupation to go effectively uncontested for years, decades, or even centuries.”

    1. Bsoder

      Suppose it depends on what data your looking at but I’d disagree. I’d also say it’s a very complicated problem. As I’m a believer in Jared Diamond theories on history and agree with specific analysis he has done some dealing exactly with this issue, I offer that into evidence.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      In the cases you presented, you are lumping tribes together and applying your biases as a citizen of modern nation state (if you aren’t, you don’t have internet) to non citizens of non-nation states. Did every tribe have the same practice or politics? Views on slavery. Is Roman slavery lighter or heavier than the slavery instituted by the dominant tribe in the absence of the Romans? The fall of the Western Empire seems like the Roman elites were no longer capable of making deals with the tribes and failed to assimilate peoples who were ready to sign up. They worked together to deal with Attila after he rampaged around. I largely blame Imperial Christianity as it made it hard to recruit non-Christians.

      Without “nationalism” and perceptions of “self determination” usually in the form of voting who cares if the local governor is Roman, Syrian, or from wherever? What have the Romans ever done for us? is one pertinent question, but what is the other side? What did Mithridates do for us? He slaughtered a bunch of Romans to send a message, and the response was Sulla smashed him good and kept things running well. We should be wary of the noble savage myth too.

      Many of our historical conquerors really just did a better job of running things than the previous regimes. America’s Founding Fathers worked really hard at creating an “American” culture. They didn’t want people to simply live under a government where they kept their status from the UK. Slavery aside, the differences between the South and the rest of the country were staggering (obviously they were related to slavery, but it wasn’t like New York where they happened to own slaves. It was really weird).

    3. sin nombre

      it’s more appropriate to say that it is extremely common for abusive occupation to go effectively uncontested for years, decades, or even centuries.”

      as that bald guy with the beard once noted, “there are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happens “

  27. Duck1

    Knee jerk reactions to some of the headlines:
    “Exclusive: Virus exposes gaping holes in Africa’s health systems”
    Funny how all those developing countries never got developed.

    “How Our War On Terror Killed COVID Resilience In These Countries”
    So, of course, The American Conservative has the only headline that sounds like it might have been written by an ex-SDS leader.

    ” ‘Covid’s not the only health issue’: inside the rural counties defying California’s lockdown”
    Well, we wouldn’t want a bunch of contagious humans marring that perfectly beautiful California outback, and you will be on your own again if this gets resolved.

    1. flora

      I chuckle when I read headlines like that. You never see “exposes gaping holes in North America’s health systems” or “gaping holes in Asia’s health systems” or “gaping holes in Europes’s heath systems”. No, those are land masses with different countries. Africa the continental land mass stands in for the whole for all the different countries on its land mass. “Africa” instead of Egypt or South Africa or Nigeria or Morocco or Algeria or Kenya. sigh…

  28. rkka

    re: How Putin Changed Russia Forever

    Not a single “expert” they interviewed said “Russia is no longer unstoppably descending into social catastrophe & strategic irrelevance.” And most are deeply upset that Russia isn’t strategically irrelevant any more, especially Mikey McFail, former US ambassador in Moscow. His golden boy Nemtsov would have continued Yeltsin’s policies, being as much of a creature owned by the oligarchs as Yeltsin was.

    None breathe a word about how oligarchs like Berezovsky owned the Russian government, and used that power to bleed their companies dry into their offshore accounts.

    My best guess is that their employers are furious that Putin derailed their gravy train out of Russia in 2003, when he jailed tax fraud Khodorkovsky pour l’encourager les autre’.

    1. ewmayer

      Funny you should mention Khodorkovsky … there was another one of those Russia-obsessed-think-tank stories here last month, said stink tank being the aspirationally titled (as in ‘modern’ = ‘after a bit of regime change, if we get our way’) Institute of Modern Russia, which is basically the house propaganda organ of the Khodorkovskys.

      1. rkka

        It’s more than just Khodorkovsky. The looting & offshoring of Soviet assets was very profitable to our banksters as well as crippling to Russia’s long term demographic & economic prospects, and they’re the ones I refer to in my “gravy train” comment above. Berezovsky’s looting Milanovic describes in his “kleptocracy and kakistocracy” piece above was a big “Two-fer” for our own oligarch class.

  29. Jason Boxman

    If you replace “consumer” with “wallet” in any story about how screwed citizens are, I think it really highlights how unconscionable it is to always refer to human beings as “consumers”. For example (from US households had record debt when the coronavirus hit. Things are likely to get worse):

    One silver lining in the report: There was a $34 billion decline in credit card balances during the first quarter, that was larger than that seen in the same period last year. This gives a little more breathing room to financially strapped [wallets that] now may be turning to their credit cards to cover expenses.

    1. Off The Street

      That Bloomberg article about credit cards leads to another sinister aspect. Job status isn’t the only item of interest. Your social profile, whether you may be aware or not, is fair and not so fair game for credit and for jobs.

      Look closely at any social media accounts you may have, and then at the so-called privacy policies. That is only the part of the iceberg that you can see. Below the surface there are plenty of data miners, aggregators, pirates of whatever stripe, and others who make monetizing your existence their business. Not just thar be dragons but vampire squids and their demon spawn.

  30. ZacP

    My hospital employer informed us that infections among staff likely occured in the community as opposed to during patient care…to which we all collectively rolled our eyes because of course they would say that. But The Lancet article seems to corroborate this notion, which contradicts our logic that “Of COURSE she got infected here on the designated COVID19 unit where she’s spending 50 hours a week at the bedside!”

    That’s the data though, with hundreds of enrolled participants. Though before generalizing it to my and other hospital settings, I would like to know the infection control policies of this NHS facility. There is endless minutiae of when and in what situations you wear a mask vs n95, how are scarce supplies rationed and reused, staffing levels, actual compliance with stated policies, etc, any of which could by themselves have a profound impact on %risk of infection at the workplace

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      This Lancet letter is an odd read. The reasoning in it is not clear to me — simple layman that I am — but I have been able to make sense — at least as far as I know — of other medical literature. The result reported in this brief letter runs contrary to what I would suspect to be the case, and scrambles-up its supporting arguments and evidence. The first reference in the list of references is: “OFFICIAL: Potential impact of behavioural and social interventions on a Covid-19 epidemic in the UK – 9 March 2020” — which strikes me as an odd reference considering the impacts of the official UK handling of Corona. And the list of those purchasing this correspondence is interesting: “Funding for the work … was donated by individuals, charitable Trusts, and corporations including Goldman Sachs, Citadel and Citadel Securities, The Guy Foundation, GW Pharmaceuticals, Kusuma Trust, and Jagclif Charitable Trust.” [I didn’t realize Goldman Sachs had a such a good heart.] Of course with hundreds of enrolled participants how could the data lie?

  31. Jason Boxman

    This is the most I’ve laughed in a while. “[H]e’s locked in a basement somewhere…”

    During an interview Friday morning with Fox & Friends, Mr. Trump said he would commit to providing rapid coronavirus testing to his presumptive presidential opponent, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., if the Biden campaign needed it.

    “I’d love to see him get out of the basement so he can speak, because you know he’s locked in a basement somewhere, and every time he talks, it’s like a good thing,” Mr. Trump said in response to a question on Fox News.

    1. ewmayer

      I wonder if the usual pollsters are missing an obvious reason at least some antiestablishmentarians will vote for Trump, namely for the sheer entertainment value. The ‘basement’ bit is, like last month’s “he doesn’t write those” bit (when asked by a news distorter about Biden latest attack-tweet), comedy gold.

  32. ambrit

    I had a reply to a comment on a comment of my own, and the median comment itself, “disappeared” today. ?????
    I don’t know what serious tripwire I triggered.
    Could it be an institutional mention?
    Someone enlighten me please.
    Information asymmetry at work.

  33. ewmayer

    Re. The Case for Deeply Negative Interest Rates | Kenneth Rogoff, Project Syndicate —

    Here, let me make ‘the case’ more succinctly: “It helps support asset-price bubbles and transfer wealth upward, which are things the Big Finance types who tend to endow University economics chairs benefit from.”

    1. chuck roast

      Yeah, pretty much.

      I used to read the NYT. I began wising-up piecemeal. It was kind of like I would look at the byline and go, “oh, this guy is clueless.” Or, “I can’t believe she is still writing such nonsense.” Eventually I just stopped. It’s the same with Rogoff. Who can forget that his triumphal achievement (too much public debt is demonstrably ruinous to countries) was lauded the world over until a Umass grad student proved his analysis to be faulty. Yet he still pontificates.

      He would like to prevent cash hoarding…and he has been pushing the abolition of cash in favor of digital currency for years. Thus “the phasing out of large-denomination banknotes.” A literal license to steal. He would have the Fed push harder on its string like the Japanese. “A dose of normal monetary stimulus,” he calls it. Hello! What have the Japanese been trying to teach us for 40 years…yet he expects that “…inflation and real interest rates [will] rise from the grave.” Saints preserve us, as the olde timers used to say.

      Oh, and “A policy of deeply negative rates in the advanced economies would also be a huge boon to emerging and developing economies.” Wow! We have finally found an economic mechanism that will end a century of neo-colonial extraction. Saints preserve us indeed. Here are a couple of other beauties…”the economics profession, mesmerized by interesting counterintuitive results…,” and finally he throws in, “…equilibrium real interest rates…” If I said that this guy was full of shit it would simply not encompass the actual harm that this fellow causes. Like the NYT stenographers there is seemingly no end to his corporate shoe-shining.

      To sum up…when you see the byline Kenneth Rogoff ignore the article and do something productive like putting air in your tires or cleaning out you belly-button lint.

      1. Lee Christmas

        Can anyone explain why, in a pervasive low-interest rate environment (~Post 2008), why interest rates would EVER rise?

        My understanding, from William Black’s book on the S&L crisis, that the rise in interest rates in the 80’s made a majority of S&L’s insolvent. This is due to the relationship between a rise in interest rates and a fall in the prices of fixed-rate debt instruments. So the S&L’s were insolvent long before the crisis erupted in the late 80’s/90’s.

        Also, my understanding is that low interest rates boost the values of asset prices, due to interest rate risk (?).

        So given this, why would interest rates ever rise given the potential effects to a certain class of people? I am a layman. Please help.

        1. curlydan

          I’m a layman, too, Lee. But you’ve got a good point. Bonds have been in a bull market since about ’83, right? If and when rates go up, it’s going to be a bloodbath. Super low rates encourage bad behavior like taking on debt for stock buybacks instead of finding and financing projects with a good rate of return.

  34. Joshua Ellinger

    I was getting all concerned about AOC selling out but then read the article on the Hill.

    The headline should have read “AOC says the Biden situation is ‘not clear cut’.”

    She’s not sure what the Dems should do rather than not clear that the allegations have merit.

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