The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Lessons of the Virus: Who Creates Value and What the Good Life Is

So, we’re going into a recession, and will likely soon be in a depression. Why? Because the workers have to stay home. It seems that the workers, do, after all, create the value.

Marx giggles in his grave.

We notice also who actually matters, who is actually necessary in society. The people who grow food. The people who take care of sick people. The people who make medicine. The people who distribute food and goods. The grocery and drug store workers. The garbage men. The people who work in sewage, water, power, and keeping the telecom backbone up.

Everyone else? Might be nice to have, but they aren’t necessary, and that includes most of the bosses. Some coordination is needed, yes, but it’s not as rare a skill as bosses like to pretend.

Meanwhile, we have makers making ventilator valves, as firms threaten to sue them stop them. It turns out that a valve which can be made for $1, normally costs $11,000.

There’s your capitalism, children: Ghouls who vastly overprice goods so they can get rich off of other people’s death and suffering.

Nations are scrambling to give workers forced to stay home money, because if they don’t, the economy will slide off a cliff. It turns out, as we should have learned in the Depression (and did, but forgot) that it is people who buy things; the demand, that matters if you want a great economy.

Over in China, it has been calculated that seventy-seven thousand lives were saved by the decrease in pollution caused by all the factories shutting and taking the cars off the road. Coronavirus may have saved more lives than it killed.

Now, some of what those factories produce we need (ventilators, for one, but remember the price markups), but a lot of it we don’t. We could work half as much, not have stuff we don’t need, and spend time with our friends and families. Maybe even see our kids. Wouldn’t have to have school babysit them for most of the day, because parents are away.

Just do less, divide the money more equally, and do without shit we don’t actually need.

We’d be healthier, guaranteed, as the pollution dies down and stress drops through the floor. We’d be happier, and in their spare time a lot of people would make the cool stuff they always wanted to make, but couldn’t, because they were doing corporate drone jobs.

Coronavirus is going to suck more than anything most people still alive in the West can remember (though older gays will understand.) But there’s a lesson here, if we’re willing to take it.

This is going to be a hard lesson to take, because central banks and politicians are moving to bail out the rich (they did so first, and are still doing so), and so they will retain their money and power and try to use it to buy up assets on the cheap after smaller business go bankrupt, but focus on the problem. Everything the rich have they have not because they “earned it” or because they actually create more value than a janitor or nurse, but because the laws are written to allow and the politicians and central banks funnel them endless money, while picking them up every time they fall, wiping the boo-boos off and giving them trillions of dollars.

It’s all politics, in the end. It’s all power.

Now the politicians they own, in their incompetent handling of the coronavirus, are going to be responsible for the death of millions.

These are unnecessary deaths. Countries which acted promptly and competently did not and are not seeing large numbers of deaths.

This means the politicians are guilty, at best, of negligent homicide. Death from incompetence, by corrupt, venal politicians owned by billionaires and mega-corps.

A better way is possible. But not if these people stay in power. They must be removed.

If we don’t remove these politicians and business leaders more of us will die. Many, many more.

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A Company Handling Crisis Communication Correctly


Open Thread


  1. Zachary Smith

    There’s your capitalism, children: ghouls who vastly overprice goods so they can get rich off of other people’s death and suffering.

    Another fine example of American Capitalism can be seen in some of the business layoffs. A worker is told his services are no longer needed. He files for unemployment compensation. The Company replies that the man is not “unemployed”, but merely working Zero Hours.

    …but because the laws are written to allow and the politicians and central banks funnel them endless money…

    You go on to point out that the people who write and pass the laws were bribed by the rich people to arrange things this way.

    As things stand now, the system cannot be altered. The destruction of the candidacy of Sanders has shown the power of the Corporate Media and the two US Political Parties. They do what they please, and the peasants have no say at all in the matter. So long as the no-verify touchscreen computer voting machines are used, there is no chance of change.

    During the growing Epidemic crisis states are cancelling Primaries like crazy. Too Dangerous! Well then, why not go to Absentee Ballots For Everyone? The chances of that happening are in the ballpark of a snowball in hell lasting three hours.

    IMO Both Parties will work together to prevent American serfs from regaining any political power.

  2. Z

    “Nations are scrambling to give workers forced to stay home money, because if they don’t, the economy will slide off a cliff.”

    I’ll take it a step further: the reason that our rulers are scrambling to give workers money is that they’re concerned about having hundreds of thousands of desperate people in the streets having to make a decision between mass robbing a grocery market or starving. People are psychologically stressed and many of them are bitter about how it all went down last time and their anger is focused on Wall Street, the government, and U.S. corporations, none of which have any moral license with the working class. And all it’s going to take is one person to take down one of the one percent, the roar of the internet afterwards, and hundreds of thousands of dollars being GoFundMe’d to the working class hero’s family and our pilfering ruling class are going to find themselves quickly reacquainted with fear.

    The democratic party has absolutely no respect for the working class. None. Worse than the republicans. It still shocks me how blatant they are about it. I shouldn’t be, but I still am. Nothing will make them represent the working class. They’ve been completely reoriented against the worker in this country. Owned by the one percent, even worse than the republicans, and certainly more than Trump.


  3. Ché Pasa

    It’s all politics. It’s all power.

    Correct. And you’ll note, those with power right now are scared for their lives, both with regard to the Virus Outbreak and with regard to the potential for a global uprising among the downtrodden masses. In this case, they can’t rely on their usual police and military forces to put down uprisings — because the troops are liable to join the rebels.

    So, now comes the pay-outs to the starvelings. Except as always, the dithering has to come first. How much to pay and who is worthy to receive are always more important considerations than that it be done. Consequently, there’s a fair likelihood it won’t happen until it’s too late. Or at all.

    Tens of millions are in difficult straits with little or no relief in sight. Millions are in dire straits very near the edge. All are at risk for the virus. Many of them are on the R side of the ledger.

    No, Ds would come up with some Rube Goldberg contraption designed to prevent relief being utilized (“Oh, but it’s there! You just have to work the machine the right way!”) and Rs given their druthers wouldn’t do anything at all, telling the fearful and suffering to fend for themselves. But this time they’ve got to do something or the Capitol and White House will be surrounded with heads on pikes sooner rather than later.

    But their institutional culture prevents it.

    It’s that culture, the preventional systems put in place, and the reliance on mercenary force that has to be undone. We may be grateful to this Outbreak in the end for making it both possible and necessary.

    But at what cost?

  4. StewartM

    We have and will get the government we voted for. Or shall I say, because insofar as I can see, US politics has become a charade all about symbols rather than reality. It used to be what a politician actually did was ignored in favor of his rhetoric (Reagan was the deficit hawk, Republicans were the party of fiscal responsibility and small government, Obama was a progressive, our media told us). But now even a politician’s own rhetoric does not matter rather than the identity politics they appeal to and the symbolism they represent.

    African-American voters, at least the older ones, shun the candidate was participated in and was arrested marching for African-American voting rights in favor of Strom Thurmond’s and Trent Lott’s pal who fought to maintain school segregation in the North just because he was Obama’s VP.

    Older voters reject the candidate who has fought not only to protect, but to double, their SS payouts and to expand and better their Medicare for the candidate who has bragged about how he has tried to gut both.

    White male working-class voters, who voted for Sanders in 2016, recently shunned voting for him again–the man who fought for their incomes and rights and their ability to form unions—for a candidate who shipped their jobs overseas and favored credit card companies over them. So I conclude their opposition to Hillary in 2016 (as awful as she really was) probably was driven by the totally irrelevant fact she was a woman, not because of her awfulness.

    And Trump voters–here in Appalachia and Kansas–likewise vote against themselves and for symbols and identity in spades.

    The problem is, life isn’t a English lit course, nor a post-mod ‘narrative’, in the end it’s all about fact. Marvin Harris in frustration once wrote that if social science (including economics) were like chemistry or physics, those who cling to ‘the freedom to believe’ would only be a temporary nuisance until their bodies were swept away with the rubble that they created. But maybe, even in the social sciences, the rubble wins in the end.

  5. Couple of thousand dollar cheques today is sure to buy some votes tomorrow.

    More accurately a couple of thousand dollar cheques later this year will buy votes later this year.

  6. Jerry Brown

    yeah the workers do after all create the value

  7. KT Chong

    Bernie Sanders is laying off staff and pulling ads. People have stopped donating money to his campaign because people now have to conserve money during the quarantine. It is about game over for Bernie.

  8. Zachary Smith

    We have and will get the government we voted for.

    If all citizens were permitted to vote, and their votes honestly counted, that would be true. Unfortunately neither of these “ifs” are true. There are all kinds of barriers erected to prevent voting. And when the reported vote counts cannot be verified, “we” have no idea at all who won an election and who lost.

    So I conclude their opposition to Hillary in 2016 (as awful as she really was) probably was driven by the totally irrelevant fact she was a woman, not because of her awfulness.

    This is an opinion, but MY conclusion is that your statement is bunk. Hillary Clinton’s track record was an unending horror story. People noticed that. I didn’t vote for the lawless obese oaf, but I sure didn’t vote for the psychopath in the pantsuit, either.

    Still an opinion, but I see Hillary and her cohorts as being directly responsible for our having Trump in the White House. It had long been known that Trump daydreamed of presidential ambitions, and a clever campaign was designed to lure him into the Republican Primaries. I don’t know all the details, but Obama may have started the process rolling at a 2011 dinner.

    Bill Clinton had more Good Friends than Jeffrey Epstein – he was also a golfing buddy of Trump. Since I believe Monica’s Boyfriend wanted to get himself back into the White House as “Co-President” with Hillary, it was surely in his interest to recruit the weakest imaginable opponent for Hillary. The next link says he encouraged Trump to run, and I find that claim to be plausible.

    From Trump’s point of view joining the race would get him some 100% free publicity for himself. Me Me Me! Given how the Corporate Media gave him the equivalent of hundreds of millions of dollars of no-cost “hyping”, that part worked fine. It didn’t hurt that he posed as principled “populist” and ran against a bunch of dingleberries seldom seen together in such numbers.

    Being the Republican Candidate made Trump’s dream even more glorious. The man knew he had no chance against Hillary, same as 99%+ of everyone else. He planned a profitable post-election pose of martyr done in by Crooked Hillary. Again, Me Me Me. Likewise, Hillary didn’t even bother to compose a concession speech. Her Coronation was all but a done deal.

    Hillary being a woman had virtually nothing to do with her losing. IMO Warren or any other 35 year old Democratic female without a criminal record would have trounced Trump. The true believers in Saint Hillary will never believe this. They will never accept that Russiagate was a Clintonista ploy to be used after her victory to demonize Russia and prepare the nation and the world for the war she planned to start if Russia didn’t back down on all fronts. Hillary was and remains a crazed warmonger and thug, and she would have continued to pour gasoline on the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria. Personally, I believe she would have resorted to nuclear weapons. Those itty bitty nuclear weapons now installed in our strategic missile submarines weren’t put there for the use of Trump!

    But one more remark about your first point: WE didn’t chose for the 2016 election to be a choice between two totally unsuitable candidates. That decision was made by the DNC and others best left unnamed.

  9. Hugh

    I agree with Ian and the commenters.

    As I have said before: The Democrats govern badly, and the Republicans do not govern at all.
    The Democrats stand for nothing, and the Republicans stand for even less.

    This should be a teachable moment. The only recognizable and effective responses to the coronavirus and its economic and social consequences are societal, that is a socialist in nature. But we aren’t getting it. The Fed has been making hundreds of billions of dollars a day available to Wall Street for a couple of months now –long before the current coronavirus crisis. Since the crisis hit, they have increased their aid to Wall Street/the rich to trillions and are loaning/giving it money for free, at a zero percent rate. This is being done now. Meanwhile for the rest of us, the 80%, the Congress is hmming and hawing, trimming, limiting, and conditioning, much smaller amounts which we won’t even begin seeing for weeks at the earliest.

    They, the PTB, are still unserious. OK, they are concerned about the rich, the economy, not us. Well, they are concerned about us but only in so far as they fear things could get so bad we may rebel. That’s it. Anything real? No way. The Establishment and DNC just got through throttling the only socialist in the Presidential race for a demented neoliberal hack, and the Republicans go around talking about socialists the same way that in another age some talked about witches.


    Yeah, I mean, look at the incredible value all the hard workers of Silicon Valley have created and look how essential their value is to fighting COVFEFE-19. Afterall, some groovy apps are what will save humanity from this angel of death. AI versus nature — who will win? I’m betting on the latter and I’m not a betting man.

    Eventually some people may learn the lesson from all of this and that lesson is, growth is killing us. 80% of the economy is non-essential bullshit and that includes the “workers.” The non-essential 80% is so overwhelming that the loss of it is impeding the ability to provide an essential adequate response to COVFEFE-19.

    Let’s face it, the world as we once knew it is over and that is a good thing despite the suffering and hardship to come. It’s time to pay the piper and that piper is nature itself. COVFEFE-19 is, not a Ghost Buster, but the Growth Buster. There is no getting back to normal because “normal” is why we’re in this predicament.


    There are not going to be elections in November. I first said this will be a depression a couple of weeks prior and I was called, and considered, crazy. Now everyone is saying it. I’ve also been saying there will be be no elections in November and soon enough, everyone will be saying the same thing and it will be true even though they think I’m crazy now. See, the insane in this insane world are truly the sane and see quite clearly. I can see clearly now, growth is gone.


    In Brazil, the citizens are protesting and calling for Bolsonaro’s head. Not so in America. No, in America we have alternative media pundits telling us Trump and his scum admin are out-flanking the Dems and leading from the left. Bullshit. Trump and his scum admin can’t lead. They are not leaders. They are grifters. The Dems are no better. They ALL suck. They are ALL criminals. They are ALL mass murderers.

    Trump’s so called leading from the left is all optics and window dressing in order to get hi reelected. Anyone on the so-called left who claims it is anything but a ploy to get him reelected is an asshole and a scumbag and really no “leftist” at all. Do you really believe Fidel & Che would have heralded Batista in any way, shape or form? Never. It never happened and never would have happened.

    Hey Donnie, I have news for you. Despite there being no protestation, you’re done. You will not be reelected because there will not be an election. You will be removed from office in a pseudo temporary soft military coup and the Constitution and elections will be suspended indefinitely until the crisis passes if it ever does.

    The eviction moratorium is only through April but May is when the evictions from all of this will really hit in earnest. The UBI payments proposed are only two payments — not nearly enough and long enough to make a difference in the scheme of things. And that’s assuming Trump and his scum admin deliver on any of that. Trump is a liar and will say anything. He told the world yesterday he knew COVFEFE-19 was a pandemic before anyone else did when in fact he and his scum admin were calling, or in the least implying, it was a hoax and even now despite opportunistically changing his tune, he and his scum admin are blaming China and its bat eaters for COVFEFE-19 and MERS as well even though MERS is a virus that originated in the middle east hence “ME.”

  13. Joan

    Ian, I would appreciate a post or comment on what you think the Bernie people should do going forward. Thank you.


    A word about global dimming. COVFEFE-19 is having a tremendous impact on the growth of industrialized society. In America, it’s forecasted that 2nd quarter GDP will be -14% and I believe that estimate is an underestimate. That means, necessarily, less particle pollution and less particle pollution means clearer skies. It means easier breathing too but this diminishment in particle pollution is bitter sweet. In the short-term it’s a welcome relief. A throwback, atmospherically at least, to a bygone era. Venice’s opaque canals are now crystal clear, for example. But in the long-term or not even the long-term, this decrease in particle pollution will be deleterious to the environment because there will be less particles in the atmosphere to block the sunlight and that means the planet will warm precipitously. In short, we will bake much sooner than anticipated. Damned if we do, damned if we don’t. Our society was always a Faustian Bargain and now it’s time to ante up. It’s a classic Catch-22.

    Pollution in the atmosphere is having an unexpected consequence, scientists say—it’s helping to cool the climate, masking some of the global warming that’s occurred so far.

    That means efforts worldwide to clean up the air may cause an increase in warming, as well as other climate effects, as this pollution disappears.

  15. anon

    The pillaging by the elite is why I was not totally onboard with the $1000 UBI. The plan itself is fine in conjunction with other social programs like social security, national health care, and bailouts to small businesses that don’t layoff their workers. As I see it now, a $1000 check to every American is a way for Trump to buy votes to increase his dwindling chances of winning the election. Many Americans will see a $1-2k check and a 60-day foreclosure moratorium as enough to support Trump when, in the grand scheme of things, it is miniscule in comparison to the trillion dollar bailouts being given to mega corporations.

    Educators, service workers, and health care professionals keep this country running on a daily basis and should be the ones getting major bailouts and debt forgiveness. Parents can’t even deal with trying to homeschool their own children for a day without going out of their minds, but as a society we are okay with some teachers getting paid as little as $30k a year?

    Our priorities need to change and I hope the silver lining of this tragedy is that people will start to see that a different way of life is possible. Whether it be demanding for more telecommuting during the week to spend more time with family or to reduce pollution to slow climate change, or continuing to push for single payer health care. We can’t continue with the status quo after millions will die unnecessarily from political inaction and corruption.

  16. Jace

    $2k from a Congressional package doesn’t buy my vote. It may save my home. Or the lives of people I love. I won’t feel gratitude. I just won’t have to combine my ongoing fury with a seething desperation.

  17. StewartM

    Zachary Taylor

    This is an opinion, but MY conclusion is that your statement is bunk. Hillary Clinton’s track record was an unending horror story. People noticed that.

    I would heartily agree that Clinton’s record was an ‘unending horror story’, but so is Biden’s. So why are those same white male working-class stiffs abandoning Bernie in favor of Biden, at least by the polling, despite his policies are essentially no different than her’s, save that he’s male and white like them? It sure wasn’t due to principles or policies. Stupid identity politics is a game that everyone can play, and is playing.

    And note–before this primary season, I might have agreed with you–maybe speaking from hope. Now it seems that experience contradicts hope.

  18. Marcus

    Don’t know if people have seen this. It’s about the computer simulation run with different responses in the U.S. plugged in. Basically the “best” (assuming most human lives saved = best) scenario would involve rolling lockdowns. Couple months locked down. One month not. Then virus peaks again, couple months of lockdown again, etc. Until vaccinations.

    I just quit my job as a hospitality worker at a hospital today. My wife is nursing a newborn baby, and it’s just not worth the risk. Plus there’s new reports about newborns and millennials being in the highly affected groups. Luckily, my wife and I are pretty trained in rustic living and know how to farm/gather/hunt/fish a large portion of our food, have savings, and virtually no rent, so we’ll be able to lay quite low for a while minus the occasional doctor’s visit for baby and grocery store dash.

  19. Mallam

    Yes, Stewart, now you’re getting it. This is what I’ve been saying here for years, but the left doesn’t want to hear it. However, black voters didn’t back Biden just because he was Obama’s VP, although that’s a big part of it (and it’s not symbols but trust). They backed him because of how they perceive other people are going to vote, particularly white people. They want to win. 96% of black voters over age of 65 in MS backed Biden — voters who lived under Jim Crow and know what this country is capable of. Similarly, the white voters who voted for Trump believe they’re getting what they wanted. It’s why they approve of his handling of this crisis. Perhaps his numbers slip as the bodies begin to pile up. And they will pile up. The federal response is worse than is being reported. The states are quite literally “on their own”. But there’s no guarantee they’ll leave him. It’s just as possible that they rally around him since people crave leadership. Indeed, that’s why he keeps calling it “The Chinese Virus”.

    However, it’s not all for naught! You just have to play by those rules and understand that we — the left — can still win! But it means that we have to coalition with a lot of people who have shitty politics. “The left” is about ~50% of the Democratic Party/Democratic leaning voters (massive improvement, we were only like a third of it 10 years ago). But that still means you have to deal with a general public who is more conservative than that! There isn’t a groundswell of hidden voters who want someone like Bernie. He was still capable of winning, but he couldn’t do it without a pivot of some kind. Consistently polled poorly with older voters, and that was his undoing.

    To topic at hand, it looks like Minnesota and Vermont are classifying grocery store clerks as emergency workers in order to keep paying them and provide them with free child care.

  20. StewartM


    However, black voters didn’t back Biden just because he was Obama’s VP, although that’s a big part of it (and it’s not symbols but trust). They backed him because of how they perceive other people are going to vote, particularly white people. They want to win.

    How does “winning” help you in any way if the guy you put into office betrays you? I would argue that black people were worse off after 8 years of Obama than they were before; at the very least the negative trends working against them weren’t mitigated in any meaningful way and moreover Obama himself reportedly felt constrained on speaking or acting on their behalf lest he appear to be “their black president”.

    And besides, the belief that Biden is more electable is highly contestable. If a Dem centrist was what you preferred, there were a number of younger candidates early on who would probably be more electable–they certainly wouldn’t have Biden’s baggage–but no, black voters choose Biden from the start and only wavered a bit when it looked like indeed he might not win.

    To me, blacks voting for Biden makes as much sense as Appalachian whites voting for Trump. It’s all about symbols and identity. If you asked each of them about specific policies they favor, you’d probably find out that there a YUGE amount of cognitive dissonance at work.

  21. KT Chong

    Of course, now Democrats — Nancy Pelosi in the House and Chuck Schumer in the Senate — refuse to consider sending out cash payments to rescue the American people.

    Refusal by Pelosi to Consider Universal Cash Payments in Response to Coronavirus Pandemic ‘Maddening,’ Say Progressives:

    The Hill’s Krystal and Saagar BLAST Pelosi for holding up cash to workers:

    Democratic leader Schumer criticizes Trump’s call for $1,000 checks :

    So, Republicans are now outflanking Democrats FROM THE LEFT. What exactly do Democrats stand for at this point? Democrats are truly becoming more and more disgusting, irrelavant and repulsive.

    Establishment Democrats show their true color. It is really the time for DEMEXIT. Voting for Trump over Creepy Senile Joe in November won’t be enough. It is time to take away the Democrat majority in the House and further diminish Democrat seats in the Senate.

  22. anon

    Marcus – You made the right decision. Unless I’m being compensated accordingly (like a surgeon making six figures), I would not want to work at a hospital right now. Anyone who can afford to quit their hospital job should. It’s not worth putting yourself and your family at risk. Taking some time off to be with your baby, farm, hunt, and fish sounds really nice. I wish I had a house in the countryside right now.

  23. Buzzard

    Most of the time, a disaster of this scale would finish Trump, especially now that even Fox is acknowledging the extent of the problem (if not the president’s role in exacerbating it). This isn’t some abstract beltway-insider”scandal” or some foreign kerfluffle; this is going to have a real impact on real Americans, many of them Trump’s voter base.

    But the Democrats are doing Trump a solid in nominating the weakest, least effective possible challenger to him. One can rail on the party establishment for coalescing around such a lame figure (which they did), but ultimately, the responsibility lies upon the primary voters (of all colors) who gobbled up the narrative that Biden was somehow the “electable” one.

    Trump won’t need to cancel the election.

  24. Buzzard

    Oh, paging Mike Bloomberg here. He spent billions on his own presidential campaign because he was allegedly deeply concerned about the direction of the country under Trump, and only he could reverse it.

    Well, here’s a situation in which his money could actually do some good. Will he step up?

  25. Z

    Tulsi suspended her campaign and is endorsing Biden like a good democrat.

    Very disappointed. What the hell does she owe the democratic party?

    I don’t care if the devil is running against Biden, I will not vote for Sloppy Joe.


  26. someofparts

    The votes in the primary were hacked –

    So that means the things you are concluding about voters are based on false data.

    If you look at what the votes actually were, Bernie won.

    Don’t be manipulated into despairing over those deplorable voters. The voters of the party just elected Bernie Sanders. The voters are fine.

    The problem is that our party has been hijacked by neoliberal crime families. We elected Bernie and they brazenly changed the votes and anointed Biden instead.

    The press are wholly-owned tools of the crime families. They are an active, intentional danger to the public. Find other sources.

    Biden has proved himself the greater evil, representing the neoliberal crime families as he does. It will be interesting to watch him campaign by pretending to be the lesser one.

  27. Willy

    Trump is nothing like Jesus. Obama is nothing like MLK. E. Warren is nothing like E. Warren.

    I knew a working man 20-something who I’d call reasonably competently typical. His father was a replaced store manager currently working as a handyman. The 20-something was a trained auto mechanic now doing maintenance work for property managers, making $20/hr. But since it’s 24/7 and he takes as many hours as possible, he thinks he’s doing well.

    He said that Trump was too radical one way and Bernie was too radical the other way and that Biden was just right. “Status quo” was his description, he was going to vote status quo. He never mentioned anything about policies past, present, or predictable impacting his families economic prospects. He seemed to believe that changing “status quo” would yield unpredictably undesirable results.

  28. @Buzzard

    Have no fear, Bloomberg is here!

    “Bloomberg Announces COVID Donation but It’s Less Than 10% What He Spent on Failed Election”

  29. Stirling S Newberry

    1. The issues are not going away. The oyl biddniss is walking dead.
    2. Idiot chief executives are not going to solve them.
    3. Normal people get caught up in leveraging. Don’t do it.
    4. Buy stock and vote left, “as far left as you can.”

  30. someofparts

    I want to share something that Amber Frost on Chapo pointed out.

    Think about how good it feels that Bernie won. Imagine how good it would feel right now if that truth were the dominant public narrative. Think of the trust, the optimism, the humor that would be starting to cautiously emerge.

    That joy is what the monsters have stolen from us. It is the truth of who we are and we should be enjoying that fact right now. If we can’t enjoy it yet, we should at least make sure not to forget it, not to forget who we really are.

    The crime families are winning today, but Gaia has thrown the mother of all wild cards on the table with this pandemic so, you know, self-isolate for now and pass the popcorn.

  31. sglover

    @ “anon”

    Unless I’m being compensated accordingly (like a surgeon making six figures), I would not want to work at a hospital right now. Anyone who can afford to quit their hospital job should. It’s not worth putting yourself and your family at risk.

    Why don’t you shut the hell up?

  32. I didn’t think a governor could do this, and I may have this wrong, but apparently Cuomo is mandating 90 mortgage relief and waiving fees for overdrafts, atms and credit cards

    see 14:51 @

    OTOH, he’s still resisting shelter in place. From what I heard him say yesterday, his reasoning is kind of stupid. Viz., he wouldn’t have obeyed when he was a kid, and projects this onto other New Yorkers. In a maximally population dense place like NYC, I would expect shelter in place to be more important than anywhere else in the country.

  33. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    Gabbard Gabbard Hey quit? And endorsed Grampa Joe?

    Day-yum, behind the Russian censorship, Corona-chan must be using Mommie Dearest Russia as a punching bag, if Sith Tsar Vlad can’t afford to keep subsidizing his foreign asset politicians.

  34. I find it curious the virus doesn’t seem to be showing up in Russia. Or that O blood-types are seemingly more resistant to the virus. Or that it may be the mating of two strains of viri, both of whom under study in labs not just in China but here in the US as well as Russia and Israel. That Mara Largo, the Trump Party Plaza, for all its glitter nothing more than a sleezy-ass restaurant/hotel with illegals out back, was one of the introductory vectors.

    Let’s not get distracted by the bimbo without underwear, the virus has quite literally been introduced into the upper echelons of pretty much every western government. Who gains from this?

    Nuttyyahoo is using this to lock down all of occupied Palestine, though those restrictions are not in place in Gaza, or the West Bank, with Our Very Own Very Stable Jenious Tea Pot Dictator ham-handedly trying to do the same. Like the Russians, it doesn’t seem to be affecting the Semites (Iranians, Persians, are not semite) and interestingly enough one of the aforementioned strains of viri under study is MERS, the middle eastern strain of SARS, which is what the covid19 virus has been reclassified as: a SARS2.

    The  Trump Virus. Could be the Putin Virus. Chinese, Kung Flu? Now, I don’t think so. The good news there of course not only two days no reported new indigenous infections but shutting everything down for a spell cleaned up the air enough that it probably saved more lives than it took. This ChinaVirus Kung Flu bullshit is just that: racist ass bullshit gaslighting by a bunch of stupid-ass drumpf ucks that couldn’t pull their heads out of their asses if they had to.

    Abstract: Someone is trying kill (some of) us.

  35. anon

    Odd that Gabbard stayed in the race for this long only to drop out before Bernie to endorse Biden??? As with Warren, I have to wonder what her game plan is and why in the hell she ran and stayed in for so long only to endorse someone who stands for all the things she is against. Very disappointing.

  36. anon

    sglover – No, I won’t shut the hell up. If you don’t like what I say you can easily not read my comments. Housekeeping and other hourly hospital staff making under $30/hour right now are not being adequately compensated for the hazards they have to deal with. I feel sorry for them and the only reason why people put themselves in that situation is because they can’t afford not to in order to pay the bills.

  37. Mojave Wolf

    Ha ha! I got my CDLA in January and am now one of those essential people. Yay to be important. If only we were paid like we ate essential. Alas, our business is affected too and am now in my 3rd hour of waiting for an empty trailer this morning. I am 4th of about ten people in line, and that’s with fewer people working and a not large company.

    Is weird on the roads outside the major cities, we almost outnumber the cars now. City traffic is way down too in most places.

    We are handling this crisis beyond stupidly. Why not look at South Korea and Singapore and imitate what works? No, we have to do everything in the dumbest, most destructive way possible because the leadership of both parties are incompetent or evil or both and the media are full of pathetic lackies and fools.

    Saw that Tulsi is dropping out, which is disappointing, but worse, endorsing Biden, who is everything she hated and has fought against (even destroyed her career fighting against)(were he less mentally deficient, he almost certainly would have been in on the “how to make an example of this person for defying us” talks). Am as bitterly disappointed as when Bernie gave up with barely a hint of fight, and moreso in some ways, because Tulsi, until now, had been a true fighter.

    I really don’t want to have to vote for Trump. Have already decided to vote against the Dem party across the board, because their entire leadership and anyone in their image has to be replaced across the board for there to be any hope in the future. The Republicans suck too, but they are at least more up front about what they stand for, and from what my wife tells me are actually being more populist in their response to current problems than idiot “give them tax credits and let’s take a lot of extra time to do the means testing which will still leave some needy people out” Pelosi and the rest of the Dem establishment. The Greens are so messed up I not sure they even send the right message with a protest vote.

    Hopefully we shall see some sort of realignment soon where SOME viable party actually cared about working people and saving the planet, is reasonably honest about things, and is at least sorta competent. Otherwise, might as well sing along with Everclear’s “Santa Monica”, and “swim out past the breakers / and watch the world die.”

    (Or go to you tube and watch the “Don’t Fear The Reaper” opening to The Stand; anyone else keep having that pop up as recommended every single day lately?)

  38. Mojave Wolf

    I initially thought it went without saying, but just in case it should said, excellent post, Ian. If only our fearless leaders had anything resembling your priorities, and/or were competent.

  39. Willy

    I noticed that Tulsi was being given far more air time on Fox. In fact, worker-anything in general is being given more air time on Fox.

    I gave up on MSNBC when it became the Ruin Trump Channel. Maddow used to give progressives some air but after Trump it turned all Russia. I’m finally cutting the cord. Cable TV used to cost half my heating bill and now it’s double. Why pay for commercials, lies and propaganda from dying news networks?

    If Tulsi, Liz and Bernie are hoping that Biden can be persuaded to do the working class more favors than Trump, good luck. I sure hope I’m wrong.

  40. Mojave Wolf

    @Willy — I only watch Fox if someone links to a YouTube or something shows up in my recommends on same, but yeah, seems like Tucker Carlson is the only MSM personality who ever says anything worthwhile. Who knows how much of it he means but any horse in a storm & all that.


    The world is collapsing and the grade schoolers are gossiping about their favorite talking heads. That’s America for you.

    They’re all crap and it’s all propaganda.


    Ha ha! I got my CDLA in January and am now one of those essential people.

    It’s an essential job for sure, but with COVFEFE-19’s impact on growth as the Growth Buster, you now have many truck drivers who will be chasing fewer jobs due to the permanent downturn and upcoming depression. Being a trucker was already not what it once was. It was, prior to COVFEFE-19, increasingly difficult to make a middle class living being a truck driver when once upon a time you could.


    And speaking, or I should say typing, about talking heads, why are these f*cks still broadcasting when the likes of Colbert and Kimmel are forced to be on hiatus? Presumably the late night talk show hosts are on sabbatical due to social distancing concerns. Shouldn’t the same hold true for the news crews at all the respective cable news networks as well as the traditional big three news networks? What they’re delivering isn’t any more essential than the late night talk show hosts. In fact, an argument can be made it’s more deleterious than what the late night talk show hosts provide because it’s misinformational propaganda versus levity delivered by the late night talk show hosts. Levity lightens the spirit. It helps take the load off, at least temporarily so we can catch a few psychical breaths. In fact, the late night talk show hosts are more news than the news because the levity is mostly satire and satire is deadly serious and poignant. Satire lays bare the lies. The nightly news spreads the lies further and legitimates them.

  44. diffferent clue


    I work in a hospital ( beHIND, not ON the Front Lines . . . but still) for $46,000 a year, plus benefits and time-and-a-half for overtime. One of those benefits is health care coverage which so far for me has been good enough as to actually mean health care. If we all had CanadaCare in this country I could think about your advice. (I would probably still decline it because I would still need money for the things that only money can buy.) But I could think about it.

    But we don\’t have CanadaCare. So if I quit my job I quit my health care. If I then get a million-dollar sickness I probably won\’t get a million-dollar treatment regimen. I probably won\’t get any treatment at all. So you theoretical advice has no reality-based usefulness for me.

  45. different clue

    Again I hope that free-lance self-propelled Sanders and also Gabbard supporters can get both of those names onto all the state ballots for whenever the election may be held.

    The last few Catfood Democrat Presidents have tried to cut or destroy Social Security. I am reaching the age of Social Security. I am dismayed to find the Catfood Democrats being among my most dangerous enemies.

    It was said that ” only Nixon could go to China” and that ” only a Democrat can destroy Social Security.” I suspect one of Trump’s slogans and warnings going forward will be . . .
    Don’t let Biden “go to China” on your Social Security!”

  46. Mojave Wolf

    @450 — to your second comment, this is true. Certainly, I was … misled … about what sort of miles I could expect even before this week’s downtown.

    To your first, the last sentence I would certainly agree with, shifts in the propaganda winds at least might be indicative of something and worth noting.

    Otherwise, yeah, during my downtime of uncertain duration (could end any moment) I could be research the latest in String Theory or try to meditate my way into one of those lodges we kept seeing in Twin Peaks, but sometimes one simply wishes to engage in friendly chatter.

    Never forget– fun is worthwhile in it’s own right, and if the world is going straight to hell and precious little we can do about it, might as well enjoy oneself when and as much as possible.


    McPherson asserts that in a few short weeks we will see a spike of 1 degree celsius in global average temperature which, when added to the 1.3 degrees increase we’re already experiencing, throws the planet into uninhabitable so, yes, China’s decrease in pollution may be saving lives but it’s a short-term trade-off for massive loss of life in the coming months that will make the current saved lives pale in comparison.

    China, despite its propaganda to the contrary, is far from out of the woods. As it ramps back up and life returns to “normal” in China, the Wet Market Virus will ramp back up again too and China will be back at square one as will all nations that attempt to return to “normal” until a vaccine is discovered.

    That’s another thing. We assume a successful vaccine will be discovered in the short term, many are saying a year, but that is no guarantee and you know what they say, haste makes waste. Imagine compelling the world’s population to mandatorily be vaccinated and the vaccine ends up killing tens if not hundreds of millions because it was rushed? Don’t scoff. It’s plausible.

    Civilization has worked itself into a corner. There are no good options. We’re all out of options. The time to ante up has come. There’s no road left to kick the can down.


    Americans are the most selfish people on the planet by far. Florida will not enforce social distancing and as a result, its beaches and bars are packed with commingling spring breakers who have boasted they don’t care if they die from COVFEFE-19.

  49. nihil obstet

    In all the discussion of voting and party alignments, we’re missing the elephant herd in the room. How is it vaguely acceptable that two private organizations control access to the ballot? The Democratic and Republican parties should have no more privilege to place candidates on the ballot than the local gardening club has. That they do is unfortunate for the environment. More to the point of this post, it’s also incompatible with self-government.

    I don’t think we should argue about the candidates that the rich people pretend to let us vote for by accepting the idiocy of the system while excoriating non-rich people who don’t play the idiocy to our liking.

  50. Jerry Brown

    Thank you people like different clue who continue to work in hospitals and doctors offices and clinics. What would we do without people like that? We would be screwed. Thanks.

  51. different clue

    @nihil obstet,

    What is the actual law actually say about petition-drive groups seeking to put a name-for-president on the ballot? Is it permitted? What are the mechanics?

    If it is legally permitted in theory, then hopefully Sanderists and Gabbardists will find a way to make it legally achievable in fact. If the Sanders and the Gabbard name could be put by independent petition-driving activists onto all 50 state ballots, they could draw enough votes away from Biden or Clinton or whatever Shitobamacrat the Catfood Democrats broker their convention to nominate . . . so as to cause that Catfood Candidate to lose all 50 states.

    That could be viewed as a first step in exterminating the Clintobiden Shitobama Catfood Democrats from existence and wiping them from off the face of the earth. One the space they had occupied is thoroughly de-clintaminated, then a genuine legitimate real political party might be growable on that space.

  52. different clue

    In fact, now that I think about it, squads of Republican ratfuckers could also work to get the Sanders name and the Gabbard name onto all 50 ballots. They would be doing it for their own ratfucking motives, just like the Catfood Clintonites and their MSDNC ratfucked the Republican Primary process to get Trump nominated for their own Catfood Clintonite benefit.

  53. StewartM

    Mojave Wolf

    I will vote Green for President. I will vote Democrats for Congress (an exercise in futility, given my location). I will then hope that Congressional Dems mitigate the evils of Trump (somewhat, at least) while preventing a situation where Dems—including our self-labeled “Bold Progressives”–cave to the evils a President Biden would try, just like they did with Obama. When there’s nobody good, the best you can hope is beastie gegen beastie.

    But given the timeline of our trajectory, that means that the bad will hit a little later, not a little sooner.

  54. nihil obstet

    @different clue

    The states run the elections (except for rulings of unconstitutionality from the Supremes, and of course the 2000 judicial coup). Each state has different requirements. Yes, you can get other parties on the ballots, but it’s sort of like Anatole France’s view of the law: “The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.” Apparently even-handed laws pretty much keep everyone else off the ballot. All the subsidiary supports, like debates and public campaign financing, are similarly restricted in practice.

    Supporters of the status quo love to lecture the rest of us to develop a third party or take over one of the current ones, but it’s like telling the poor to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. Theoretically, it can be done. Practically, that’s not how people work.

    To get democracy, we have to open the electoral system.

  55. Z

    Well put, SomeofParts and Mojave Wolf, among others.

    Yep, it’s frustrating, and a bit depressing. I had hoped that Tulsi would have ran third party. She certainly owes the democratic party nothing and I hate to see her falling in line with them. Now the movement is left with nothing to lead it in 2020 and maybe nothing left to do but direct its energy towards organizing workers’ unions, possibly through DSA, an organization which is not very well organized IMO and also dedicated to the labor alienating tenet of open borders. Hard to see that going very well.

    -Tomorrow we find out who funded Lyin’ Liz’s SuperTuesdayPac.

    -Obama has been given too much credit for the Biden Putsch Operation IMO, and all that entailed. I think that poster here RBK, or maybe RDK was their name, had it right: it was Rahm who did the dirty work. Obama just made the phone calls to the candidates. All signs point to the Sonny Corleone of the Jewish mafia* moving the parts.

    *Pointing out that there is a Jewish mafia, whose power center is Wall Street and beating heart is the Federal Reserve and whose loyalties weigh heavier towards their religious birth land than the U.S., doesn’t mean you’re a fan of the Holocaust just like pointing out that there is an Italian mafia doesn’t condemn each and every Italian for f*ck’s sake.

    -Maybe the least violent way for our rulers to be administered a healthy dose of fear will be when one of their one percent die due to the coronavirus and they see the public’s reaction to it.


  56. Hugh

    nihil, I had a conversation with a relative. At a certain point, he said he had real problems with Sanders even being allowed on the ballot to run as a Democrat since he had never really been one. I said as you do that the two parties are private organizations and I had a problem with the rest of us paying for their primaries, especially as I am an independent and can’t even vote in them because I live in a closed primary state. We changed the subject before I could ask him how Sanders the only New Dealer in the race wasn’t a “Democrat” while people like Joe Manchin who could pass as a conservative Republican is.

  57. Z

    Nihil Obstet,

    -True, the power of the two-party political duopoly is much greater than the pawns to an extent that it is practically insurmountable.

    The most ominous part about what happened to the Sanders’ movement and how it was done is now there is a growing belief that working class representation can not be achieved politically.

    -What our rulers hate most about Trump? They don’t trust him. They haven’t groomed him through their political system.


  58. Mark Pontin

    For some perspective on that $1 trillion the Trump administration and Washington are arguing about giving us common people so as to keep things from exploding at the end of the month ….

    (Pelosi wants to means-test the money and Schumer proposes to issue it as low-interest loans, so the Democratic establishment in its ineffable stupidity and venality has effectively placed itself to the right of the the Republicans in terms of its policy positions here.)

    … let us recall that the Fed created $26 trillion in the wake of the GFC to bail out Wall Street and international finance. $26 trillion!

    In other words, assuming eighteen months till a vaccine, if the Fed were to give $1 trillion a month every month to the American people till then, that would still be only three-quarters as much as Washington happily gave the banks after 2008.

  59. Buzzard

    The Fox party line now seems to be that the bed and equipment shortages are due to “government regulation”. Is there a non-Murdoch study that explores this development ?


    For example, once and if my comment is released from moderation, Burr and Loeffler need to be executed. This is not hyperbole. It’s not an overreaction. It’s not extreme. Examples need to be set. This is what happens when you game this pandemic. Execution. On television for the world to see just how serious we are about this crisis and its implications and ramifications. Every member of the Tar Heel Circle needs to be executed and their first, second and third homes burned to the ground. Or, you can discuss Tulsi and Bernie and Warren as though any of that is any longer relevant as New York announces 24k new cases today in just the last 24 hours.



    Keep your eye on the stock market today to see if they are gaming it. They shut the trading floor down under the auspices of social distancing and are relying on the algos but the algos can be gamed to maintain value that is no longer there to prevent a revolt. The market is up today for the second day in a row right out of the gate. That’s not possible unless it’s being gamed or gamed more than it’s already gamed. My estimate for this Friday was 17,800 without it being gamed but the circuit breaker being continually deployed. We are headed for a full-blown depression the likes of The Great Depression or worse so there is no way people aren’t trying to get their money out of the stock market. The corruption is so entrenched and so endemic it’s the only response possible at this point. Just as stupid is as stupid does, corruption is as corruption does. Unless we start killing the rich, nothing is going to change. They’re gaming everything. They and their enablers are mass murdering psychopaths.

  62. Good call Mark, boils it right down to ones and zeros, balls on a brass monkey. *

    People just need to calm down, don’t feed the hysteria, don’t get that dog chasing its tail. A pause, staying home for a few days at minimum to see how this is going to play out, perhaps step away from the keyboard, read a book, actually think about something isn’t going to hurt anyone.

    Might improve the air quality.

    * bet they want to tax it as income next year?

  63. nihil obstet

    Hugh, the “Sanders isn’t a Democrat” is one of the rote talking points the Democratic Party establishment is using as part of their “throw everything true or not, relevant or not, tribal or not”, against Sanders. Many of the same people who object to Sanders not being a Democrat were enthusiastic about Bloomberg and have no problems whatsoever with Biden saying he’ll get a Republican as vice president. Actually, if Biden does get the nomination, our clueless Dems will probably nominate a Republican woman, thinking it’s daring, bold, unexpected, exciting, inclusive. And so has PR replaced policy.

  64. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    I see that Officer 450 is still calling for murder.

    “The first guy who suggests violence is always the undercover cop”.

    Take his advice, and you’ll find yourself in jail, or prematurely dead,faster than you can say “Che Guevara sucks cocks in Hell”.

  65. KT Chong

    Enough about Bernie Sanders. Now, I am actually very disappointed with him, especially with how he has dealt with UBI and the coronavirus crisis.

    When Andrew Yang dropped out, he made it clear that he would only endorse another candidate who supports UBI, (i.e., Universal Basic Income.) Bernie did NOT believe in UBI, and he refuse to support UBI. Bernie’s solution to the coming Robocalypse is job guarantee:

    So, Bernie and Yang could not agree on UBI vs. job guarantee. Bernie had refused to support UBI. Yang talked to both Bernie and Biden. Bernie repeatedly refused to support or even consider UBI; on the other hand, Biden told Yang that, as the President of the United states, he would consider UBI. Which was why Yang ended up endorsing Biden over Bernie.

    Then the coronavirus hit the US. Mitt Romney, a Republican, called for temporary $1,000 UBI for all American adults. Then more and more other Republicans — including Trump — started to voice support the idea of $1,000 to every American adult during the crisis. Republicans are outflanking Democrats — including Bernie — from the left. What we are witnessing right now could be the precursor to the final implementation of the UBI in America.

    If Bernie had supported Yang’s UBI, he would have picked up Yang’s endorsement to bolster his faltering presidential campaign, and Bernie would have been able to tout that he was one of the earliest supporter of UBI. Instead, Bernie has become a late follower, not a leader, on the issue of UBI.

    What has made me even more disappointed in Bernie: when Republicans and Democrats alike started to voice support for $1,000 UBI during the coronavirus crisis, what has Bernie done? Bernie called for $2,000 for every American. Other people called for $1,000, so Bernie doubled the amount. Yes, he tried to “one up” Republicans by pretending to support UBI, which he had oppposed and never supported up until the idea started to gain widespread support. Frankly, that just made Bernie look very cycnical and opportunistic.

    What has made Bernie even worse: now that many people are laid off and unable to work, now that people have to budget spendings for the next two, three, months or possibly longer, Bernie is still asking people to make donations to his failing campaign. Are you f-cking shitting me? Now I just want Bernie to go away, for good.

  66. Mark Pontin

    Re. the “Sanders isn’t a democrat’ line, anyone elected to office as a Democrat has to sign a contract with the DNC whereby they promise to spend 4-5 hours a day listening to whatever lobbyists the DNC chooses to send to talk to them.

    This is detailed in a book, THE PAYOFF: WHY WALL STREET ALWAYS GETS ITS WAY, published in 2012 by a lawyer named Jeff Connaughton who worked for Senator Ted Kauffman in a failed attempt to do something to stop Wall Street getting off the hook and making away with the spoils in the wake of the GFC.

    The DNC is a criminal conspiracy, in effect — openly and legally so, to be sure, as America is so endemically corrupt.

    Thus, it’s to Sanders’s credit that he’s managed to not be drawn into that criminal conspiracy all these years.

    (As for what AOC does, I dunno. But presumably that’s part of Pelosi and company’s beef with her, since AOC is now running a counter-fund to support candidates like herself to primary establishment Dems.

  67. Mark Pontin

    As for the stock market today, this is so far just a repeat of the post-GFC playbook.

    They did this for six months after the 2008 crash, too, when high-frequency trading algos moving quickly in and out of positions without money actually changing hands constituted 95 percent of all trading activity, creating a Potemkin village-style illusion of a functional market.

    This was without reference to whatever other measures the Plunge Protection Team undertook and was done with full collaboration between institutions like Goldman-Sachs and the Obama administration.

  68. different clue

    @ Mark Pontin,

    The Democrats of today are not my Father’s Democrats. Certainly not my Grandfather’s Democrats.

    They are not placing themselves to ” the right” of Donald Trump because of “ineffable stupidity”. They are placing themselves to ” the right” of Donald Trump because that really is who they are and what they stand for.

    We can’t have nice things until the Clintocratic Party has been exterminated from existence and wiped off the face of the earth.

  69. Ché Pasa

    After today’s absurd dog and pony show at the White House press room, don’t be surprised if sometime around June or July, the military takes over the pandemic response, and ultimately the government as a whole. The elements for such a take-over have long been in place, and watching the catastrophic response to the Outbreak by elected leaders and their business partners convinces me that this situation is spiraling into complete chaos. What to do?

    And who will do it?

    There’s a Pentagon briefing going on right now. The officers say there 45 cases of COVID-19 in the military right now, and they have the ability to control it. Well, if they do and they’re successful, their response will by default become the standard. They also have laboratories, equipment and personnel to develop and test vaccines, medications and so forth.

    On the other hand, the situation in New York, California, Washington and Florida — and soon other states — is worsening day by day, hour by hour, and no relief is at hand. “Shelter in place” can slow but not stop the spread, a spread which has long been out of control. There is nowhere near sufficient medical care facilities, equipment, or personnel to deal with what’s coming. People are beyond on edge, and hardly anyone in the civilian government seems to have a clue.

    Like voters, they keep pushing the same buttons but they don’t work.

    I’m sure many are scared and frustrated enough to welcome their new military overlords.

    There is plenty of precedent.

  70. nihil obstet

    Military takeover? By a military which hasn’t won a major war in 75 years? Have you noticed what preening incompetence the generals and admirals are?


    Winning was never the objective, nihil. Permanent war was and is. Controlled order and controlled chaos — whichever is more appropriate for the circumstances.

  72. Ché Pasa

    Uncontrolled chaos is unsustainable. That’s where we are and where we’re headed into the summer with the current “leadership”. The military is basically saying, “Look, we can handle this.” The show business personality president says the same thing but can’t perform. Does it mean the military would necessarily be better? Of course not. But it would be more organized, more coherent, and in the end more believable. That’s why, if there is a military take over (and they’re already pre-setting their props) a lot of people will welcome and cheer them — whether or not they are Trump fans.

    We’re living in a paradigm shift. The military has taken over in times of calamity before. If the numbers keep growing the way they have been, calamity is only the half of it.

  73. StewartM

    Nihil Obstet

    To get democracy, we have to open the electoral system.

    This is why I’ve always wanted to ditch the way the way the House is currently represented (winner-take-all in gerrymanderable districts) to either a state- or even national-base proportional representation system, say with something like a 5 % or 10 % qualifying cutoff, so that third parties could get a foot in the door. It would make the House of Representative much more “representative” and plus there’d likely be at least someone on the ballot you’d be happy with supporting every cycle. It would also effectively kill gerrymandering.

    Me, in my state/congressional district, it’s always the choice between two gawd-awfuls.

  74. nihil obstet

    In an improved electoral system, do we keep a nationally elected president or go the parliamentary route? I’ve watched several European TV series where politics was an issue, and liked the need to form alliances. Season 3 of the Danish series Borgen was about starting a new party, and I found it fascinating. However, back in the real world, the parliamentary system didn’t stop Britain from electoral results as bad as ours.

    I’m not sure about the state- or national-proportion election. There’s a lot to be said for a small enough electoral district that the ordinary citizen can approach the representative. I’m fond of the notion of mandatory constituent hours in the district for representatives. I’m pretty fond of the notion of going to a unicameral legislature. The fact that the only real model the writers of the constitution had was monarch, house of lords, and house of commons does not make above-it-all executive, senate, and house a good idea for the 21st century.

    I haven’t spent time on electoral design for today’s democracy, but it is something we should work on at least philosophically.

  75. Mark Pontin

    Different Clue wrote: ‘ The Democrats of today are not my Father’s Democrats.’

    No argument here. I cannot think of anything positive they’ve done for the general populace since Lyndon Johnson’s Civil Right Act more than a half-century ago

    But: ‘They are not placing themselves to ” the right” of Donald Trump because of “ineffable stupidity” … (but) because that really is who they are’

    Look. Yes, it is who they are and they hate any politics and policies to the left of Bill Clinton’s.
    No, they _are_ ‘ineffably stupid, because ‘means-testing’ and ‘low-interest loans’ are Marie Antoinette-level stupidity and obtuseness in the face of the reality that’s hitting us.

  76. Hugh

    To repeat what we all know, the response to the coronavirus has been totally botched from the get go and continues to be. There needs to be a coherent, thought out, national response to treatment and containment of the coronavirus and its economic shocks.

    There is no national leadership, none. A real national crisis such as this one exposes that there isn’t and won’t be any leadership from Trump or any of the cronies and sycophants who surround him. None, not one. It’s piecemeal everywhere, dumped on states, on local hospitals, on us. Medical and economic consequences, both. And it is going to cost a lot of lives, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, possibly millions. And the blame for that rests squarely on Trump, his circle of grifters, the Congress, the Establishment, our political and managerial classes in general.

  77. Benjamin

    @Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    Be fun to see how you Russiagate conspiracy theorists spin this one. After months of saying how Gabbard (currently serving veteran and also, to you, traitor) was a Russian asset who would run third party, she’s…endorsing the establishment Democratic candidate.

    That Vlad sure is wily! Why, we might as well all just kill ourselves now, for what possible hope do we have of defeating such a 75th dimensional genius as he?

  78. someofparts

    Here are some lessons from the virus

    It’s like a perfect microcosm of our problem. We are being colonized by the sociopaths in our own communities.

  79. Ian Welsh

    Deleted some comments. No ad-homs. People are stressed right now, but y’all don’t want me to put this on moderation, because even when I’m home I’m not going to check for long periods of time.

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