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

The Sheer Awe-inspiring American Clusterfuck

This is not exaggeration for effect.

I am awed by the American handling of Coronavirus. Truly awed. I’ve been writing about the slow-motion American collapse for ages. Heck, last year I wrote an article about how the US is a failing state:

The US is a gold-flecked garbage heap slowly rolling towards the ocean. On fire.


So, right now we have five states in the US that never bothered to self-isolate.

We have the Governor of Georgia announcing he will allow gyms, barbers, and fitness clubs, among others, to reopen on the 24th.

We have the Governor of Florida reopening Florida’s beaches. Good thing Florida doesn’t have a lot of old people!

There are astroturf protests asking for an end to isolation. “Let us die, let us die, let us DIE!” (Also, let us kill others.)

Virtually all the relief money has flowed to the top, not the bottom. Landlords and tenants are in crisis. Unemployment is going over 30 percent and in many places higher. A vast swathe of US small business will be destroyed, and they are unlikely to recover in a generation. Firms which borrowed money to do stock buy backs, or to give money to their private equity purchasers are slopping at the trough, but many of the actual businesses on the ground (like Neiman Marcus) will go under.

PPE can’t be found for hospital or logistics workers. Important pieces of the logistics hub, like meat packing plants, are shutting down. Warehouse workers are protesting, truckers are scared, etc.

The US is unable to make or procure an adequate number of masks or prioritize who gets them (though, really, everyone should be). The ventilators made by GM are inadequate, because Trump wanted to keep the price down.

Hospitals not only don’t have enough PPE, they’re going bankrupt because they haven’t been given enough money.

And so on.

Failing state. Cannot actually do really basic things. New Zealand did everything right, the US has done almost nothing right, and when it has, it is undone by some drooling, incompetent, ideological stooge or corrupt businessman or politician: “Get them back to work! I’m losing money!”

Here’s one simple issue: New York and other states are turning the corner. Stats are difficult, but it can be seen in the reduction of new cases in the hospitals. It will take some time to really get the curve down, but it’s being done.

Meanwhile, there are still accelerating pockets of infection in states that never shut down and other states are re-opening too soon.

How do you handle this? Well, what I would do if I were governor is get together with other governors who aren’t completely evil and corrupt and close the borders between states. Shipped goods from lunatic states gets put in depots on the border and is picked up by local shippers, everyone from a state which hasn’t isolated correctly doesn’t get in unless they go into quarantine.

To do this, the Governors will likely have to call up the National Guard. The US will be divided into groups of states which have shut off almost all travel between themselves.

All assuming Trump doesn’t get in the way and make it impossible, in which case, reinfection! More isolation, etc.

A complete clusterfuck.

Iceland, which has handled this pandemic in exemplary fashion, has noted that they have done what they were taught to do by Americans. Americans can no longer do these things. Jane Jacobs, in her book “Dark Age Ahead,” said that the key sign of the oncoming Dark Age was old knowledge being lost; that things which we could once do, we no longer could. She actually used the CDC as an example, and that was decades ago.

This is genuinely awe-inspiring to watch. I am truly amazed. I imagine it’s like watching the late Roman Empire, muttering to oneself, “We were never as great as they say, but we we could get things done.”

But the American elite reaction to anything these days is to see it as a looting opportunity. Pump up the stock market, let the peons starve and run out of rent money, shovel money to the rich, and buy up distressed assets. That’s what both DC Republicans and Democrats are doing and okay with. Yes, yes, Democrats are okay with it. They could actually play hardball and have not, and instead have capitulated after token protests.

There are clusters of competence, of course, but they are overwhelmed by incompetence, corruption, and callous disregard for anyone who doesn’t make at least seven figures a year. The elites are inbred, out of touch with actual production and only capable of playing political games. They get money by manipulating politics, not by genuine production.

The masses are little better. If New York Governor Cuomo had put New York on isolation even two weeks earlier, he could have saved thousands of lives. He has been behind the ball on everything all the way down the line. Of course, his approval numbers are soaring. (He’s an inbred incompetent, but less incompetent than Trump, so I guess he’s graded on a scale.)

It’s impossible to keep up with this, but the bottom line is that the US is broken. You’ve off-shored too much production capacity, your elites are incompetent, out of touch, corrupt, and trained to make their money by hurting other people. Your population refuses to vote for anyone who does the right thing, and instead keeps choosing (with the aid of the media, yes) people who are evil and so impaired that a sensible person would be aghast at the thought of even hiring them to walk their dog or babysit their kids. (Tell me that you would tolerate either Biden or Trump doing either job. But those are the people you want to be the most important person in the country.)

All empires and great nations end. With almost no exceptions, they rot from the inside, and any outside push is secondary–such as from threats they could easily have defeated in their prime (as Rome was able to keep the Germans on the other side of the Rhine for centuries).

America is a failing state. It can’t even handle problems for which the solution is well-defined. It can’t resist turning every crisis into an opportunity to make its elites richer. Its population prefers incompetent and depraved leaders who have spent their entire lives demonstrating contempt for the people who vote for them.

Failing state.

But awe inspiring to watch. Surreal. Amazing.

edit (April 23, 2020): Replaced “New Zealand” with Iceland for the quote about who they learned from. Both countries have handled Covid far better than the US to date.

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April 21st US Covid Data


April 22nd US Covid Data


  1. Mark Pontin

    What’s the Hemingway line about how you go bankrupt?

    Very slowly, then all at once.

    What can’t go on, ultimately won’t go on. I’ve kept on posting this. But D. Orlov again —

    “By the mid-1990s I started to see Soviet/American Superpowerdom as a sort of disease that strives for world dominance but in effect eviscerates its host country, eventually leaving behind an empty shell: an impoverished population, an economy in ruins, a legacy of social problems, and a tremendous burden of debt. The symmetries between the two global superpowers were then already too numerous to mention, and they have been growing more obvious ever since.”

    But always look on the bright side of life —

    “The superpower symmetries may be of interest to policy wonks and history buffs and various skeptics, but they tell us nothing that would be useful in our daily lives. It is the asymmetries, the differences between the two superpowers, that I believe to be most instructive. When the Soviet system went away, many people lost their jobs, everyone lost their savings, wages and pensions were held back for months, their value was wiped out by hyperinflation, there shortages of food, gasoline, medicine, consumer goods, there was a large increase in crime and violence, and yet Russian society did not collapse. Somehow, the Russians found ways to muddle through …”

    And just as there was a Russian Federation on the far side of the collapse of the U.S.S.R., there will be some set of social structures occupying the North American continent below Canada. It may very well be called the U.S.A. Then again, it may not ….

  2. Mark Pontin

    Ian wrote: “…America will be divided into groups of states which have shut off almost all travel between themselves.”

    Yup. It’s a possible scenario.

    “All assuming Trump doesn’t get in the way and make it impossible, in which case, reinfection!”

    How can Trump get in the way, ultimately? With his supreme incompetence and bullshit, he’s pissed off every branch of the U.S. armed forces. That latest incident with the USS Roosevelt and Captain Crozier has — for those of us for prone to see history rhyming, if not repeating itself — echoes of the mutiny on the Imperial Russian Navy’s battleship Potemkin in

  3. Mark Pontin

    … 1905.

  4. jessica

    The weapon Trump/the Fed gov has against states is the money spigot. The states don’t have the big money. Sure a state like California, built vast surpluses from it’s taxed GDP, maybe like no other, but even in that case, it’s still not Fed gov type money. They will let the states go bankrupt.

  5. Tom

    Oil is now -38$ a barrel…

    In other words, oil companies will pay you to take it off their hands as they can’t sell it and have no more space to store it…

    Folks, this is it.

    On the plus side, we turned the corner here in my area. Cases are dropping and masks are everywhere on people now.

    Still the economic disaster is just starting to kick in.

  6. Mark Pontin

    Pfft. If Trump makes that play, that may just work to accelerate the centrifugal process —

    “…in1933, the massive declines in employment and output, along with the collapse of the banking and financial systems, created a widespread perception that the economy was experiencing shortages of money, provoking numerous issues of local currencies, or “scrip.” Given the large number and brief duration of many issues, there is no reliable estimate of their overall overall volume, though contemporary estimate placed it at nearly one billiondollars.’ It is clear, however, that some sort of scrip was issued by several hundred municipalities, business associations, companies, banking organizations,barter and self-help cooperatives, and production units of the unemployed.”

    California is also food independent, though climate change may mean water issues in the Central Valley down the line.

  7. Mark Pontin

    Scroll all the way down and ponder —

    This was — and for a little while still is — avoidable. It won’t be avoided, though.

  8. krake

    Trump can get in the way by prioritizing the Old Confederacy, for relief and funds. By “opening back up’, those states are already signaling to supply chains and distributors that their goods will have a captive market, which will tend to exacerbate shortages in the coastal and Great Lakes states that remain vigilant (‘closed’). The pressure to ‘re-open’ will only increase as more and more staple goods and federal dollar flow South, into the mouths and coffers of the very people making everything worse.

  9. Stirling S Newberry

    “At least 26,000 more people have died during the coronavirus pandemic over the last month than official counts report, a review of mortality data in 11 countries shows — providing a clearer, if still incomplete, picture of the toll of the crisis.”

    “In the last month, far more people died in those countries than in previous years, The New York Times found. The totals include deaths directly caused by Covid-19, as well as those stemming from other illnesses that could not be treated as hospitals became overwhelmed and people could not get medical care.”

    Think global.

  10. Stirling S Newberry

    “Oil is now -38$ a barrel…”

    This, currently, is a one-off. But it has happened before with other kinds of fossil fuel on an irregular basis. It is a sign that that fossil fuel economy is dying, and the parties who worship it are coming to an end. The fossil fuel economy is, to a large extent, cost negative when one counts for heat dispersion. We are borrowing money from the future shifting the profits forward,

  11. Stirling S Newberry

    “The U.S. budget deficit may quadruple this year to almost $4 trillion. Projections from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) say that by 2023 U.S. debt held by the public will surpass records set in the post-World War II years.”

    “And these projections only include spending enacted so far—in a three-month-old crisis that has seen emergency Congressional appropriations top $2.3 trillion. Additional spending is almost certain as the coronavirus pandemic destroys millions of jobs and thousands of businesses while slashing tax revenues for local and state governments.”

    In the day, we’d have gotten a bomb for the debt.

  12. bruce wilder

    Your population refuses to vote for anyone who do the right thing, but keeps choosing (with the aid of the media, yes) people who are evil . . .

    In case you did not notice, with this primary season, the U.S. stopped having fair elections altogether. There was some manipulation too clever by half ( “there’s an app for that!” in Iowa) but after that, there was no pretense. For purely ceremonial reasons, we might have “vote-by-mail” (except the Postal Service collapses in June) followed no doubt by count-by-mail. There were states where most polling stations shut down or were deserted and Biden never campaigned and recorded “turnout” officially rose.

    Electoral democracy was built into the political culture . . . but it began to disappear after 1976 or so. The Archdruid, whom some of the other commenters despise, was remarkably good on the details of how this was happening: the disappearance of public meetings and Roberts Rules of Order was one of his observations; that Occupy was led by people who could not organize a political meeting, he noted, was a tell-tale sign of decadence. Local democracy was killed partially by early idpol: campaigns to end local control of schools as a matter of racial justice: busing! Followed eventually by the consumer choice of charters. You can trace the “lesser evil” tick-tock of Presidential neoliberalism, but at the local level the foundations were crumbling. Long before he was celebrated by MSNBC, Andrew Cuomo was destroying the NYC subway and there was scarcely any protest; the city cannot function without it and it crumbled in plain sight and no one seemed to care much or to fix responsibility on the malevolent governor.

  13. Just as I thought Bruce and I had mentally synchronized… 🙂

    “Local democracy was killed partially by early idpol: campaigns to end local control of schools as a matter of racial justice: busing! Followed eventually by the consumer choice of charters.”

    Charters came into being to reverse desegregation efforts. Considering that “idpol” is a Bad Thing here,was desegregation then a mistake? Because there is no way to do it other than to remove control from local racist councils.


    I love this title. Perfect. It couldn’t be more fitting. America truly is an Idiocracy in every conceivable way.

    One of the braindead, dimwitted is a compliment, “protesters” told the healthcare worker in medical scrubs to go to communist China. She was an obese blond Trump supporter who has an affinity for Russians and Vlad Putin. The irony is, she doesn’t realize Putin and Russians are communists too, meaning, using the communist label really no longer has the stigmatizing relevance it had during the cold war so she’s a braindead idiot to use the slur that’s not even a slur any longer especially when you factor in the contradiction of her support of Putin who was a communist versus her hatred of the Chinese who were communists. The Chinese communists are different — they have yellow skin. The Russians look like her, don’t you know.

    America is hellbent on maximizing deaths from this pandemic and ensuring that it’s here to stay. It’s quite plausible there will never be herd immunity from this which is an abominable strategy fyi and it becomes like the common cold or influenza except more deadly and definitely a death sentence ultimately for every senior over 70 (think Logan’s Run) but it doesn’t stop there — it can take anyone at any time and we’ll never know enough about it to know why that is. It inflicts all manner of disease on its targets. A young girl, five years old who’s parents are healthcare workers, contracted it and it gave her meningitis and she died.

    It is clear now that America and its purposeful, not incompetent, non-response to the NOVEL virus is an egregious disease vector and thus a danger to the world. America is metaphorically, and actually practically literally, a nuclear attack that is airborne and incoming to the remainder of the inhabitants of this planet. World leaders should be calling for Donald Trump’s head and the heads of his administration and all those who influence him. As well, the governors of the states who are opening their economies back up and ending the quasi quarantine policies that were in place and I say quasi because it was always half-assed and only partially effective.

    Donald Trump is now the leading cause of death in America, not cancer or heart disease, and because America and its status in the world heretofore and its interconnectivity is now a massive vector for COVID-19, Donald Trump is set to be the leading cause of death in the world.

    How long does the world remain silent and not call for his head? How many deaths will it take to get to the center of Donald’s tootsie roll tootsie pop?


    On the plus side, we turned the corner here in my area. Cases are dropping and masks are everywhere on people now.

    You assume there is only one corner when in fact it’s a circle that continues to feed back on itself in perpetuity. It’s not linear.

    This NOVEL virus is a metaphorical earthquake and America is Haiti in its resiliency to it. It is going to devastate America and as such, it will devastate the world. America is a massive COVID-19 vector that will repeatedly reinfect the world many times over. Countries will have to treat America and its citizens like death itself if they want to survive the ravages of this, or they will have to figure a way to defeat Donald Trump and Wall Street and the technocrats who protect them.

    America has become death, the destroyer of worlds.

  16. bruce wilder

    @ Mandos

    Idpol has a rhetorical engine that drowns out thought. Busing as policy was short-lived. Currently, claims of racial segregation in public schools are often as brain-dead idiotic In their innumeracy as well as remarkably unconcerned about severe racial disparities in educational achievement.

    In real life, ulterior motives are often more important than official intention.

    I am pretty such the current charter school movement, whatever the precedents in trying to create segregated academies, is about making money and further destroying and discrediting public education.

  17. Astrid

    @Bruce:. JMG thinks this pandemic is no biggie and everything is going back on track by Q3. He also continues to think Donald Trump is just fine and has banned any comments mentioning COVID19, even though it’s almost certainly going to cause greater social dislocation than 2008 and possibly 1929. He also had no problem criticizing things, like popular culture, that he had zero personal exposure to. He may have had some useful insights back in the day, but now he wouldn’t even talk about the fact that oil has gone negative price, quite a great considering his roots.

    Sounds like you’re right along side him, with your proud ostrich head up your ass.

  18. Ché Pasa

    Rome persisted long beyond its ostensible “fall.” Aspects of its glory days persist to this day. So I wouldn’t be too quick to count the USA out, despite the obvious and severe failings in dealing with innumerable crises, the Outbreak being only the latest and most crippling.

    Yes, everything is being done wrong in this crisis if the goal is to protect, preserve and defend the people of the United States and their “way of life.” But what if that’s not the goal? As I see it, that hasn’t been the goal in the US or the UK; rather, the point is to exacerbate the problems, intensify the crisis, cull the ‘useless’, and enhance the wealth and power of a tiny and shrinking minority of bewildered and incompetent would be aristocrats. They’re winning despite their stupidity.

    The People have yet to respond forcefully, but that will come.

    In the meantime, this crisis, like the other shocks we’ve been through since the start of this century, serves to shift the governing paradigm onto a far more authoritarian, cruel, and destructive level from which the next crisis will be addressed. The process can go on indefinitely. Signs are it will.

  19. Astrid

    Funny how appears and Aqua Lung is gone for now, but it’s big puddles of mental diarrea either ways.

    Did’t you have a family that you’re supposed to take care of and was leaving this site forever so the rest can rot in peace? Or are you a career politician and thus nobody should take anything you say seriously?

  20. Krystyn Podgajski

    This writing by Zhuang Tzu is always with me, and sustains me in this crisis:

    “I have heard of letting the world be, and exercising forbearance; I have not heard of governing the world. Letting be is from the fear that men, (when interfered with), will carry their nature beyond its normal condition; exercising forbearance is from the fear that men, (when not so dealt with), will alter the characteristics of their nature. When all men do not carry their nature beyond its normal condition, nor alter its characteristics, the good government of the world is secured.”

    You see, by “governing the world”, inventing all this tech-know-logy and agriculture, we have carried ourselves beyond our normal nature, and now we are stuck with it in an endless chase to prop it up.

    This crisis started 10,000 years ago when we became reliant on farms and those sociopaths took over.

    So now I just watch and wait for the return to balance.

  21. highrpm

    if anything, a few more folks know more about how to improve the health of their immune systems and may begin owning more responsibility for their bodies’ functioning than before the panicdemic. worth swinging a few more wrecking balls against the sides of an already failed nation-state for? well, yah. any political partiers who’d foist an alzheimer’ed-rapist-non-progressive-play-by-the-corporatocratic-rules on their devotees and then further try to guilt those who are less enthusiastic by saying that they’re being irresponsible in not voting for this decrepito, ain’t worth saving anyhoo.

  22. Trent

    I find it funny that everything we’ve been talking about since 2008 is coming to pass, but its all due to a virus. Nobody is talking about why the system we live in couldn’t handle a shutdown, everybody is hoping that things will go back to the way they were but as this goes on that seems more and more improbable. Based on my understanding of the 2008 crisis, many businesses that opened from 2008 until today never should have, money should have been much more scarce but wasn’t and interest rates should have been much higher. I think all of that will now come to pass, but it will be the viruses fault. I’ve seen lately some people advocating we sue china for 20 trillion, probably in hopes to gin up a war. Nobody is talking about neoliberalism and sueing it for 20 trillion dollars. I guess we learned from the war on terror its hard to hold a philosophy accountable.

  23. Stirling S Newberry

    This is a process that has been going one since ’79 Q3. Now in Republican states, they are willing to die for it.

  24. Willy

    Hannibal roamed Italy for 15 years and still couldn’t break the Roman will. That best army in the world never entered Rome. Yet some centuries later, the Visigoths pretty much walked straight into Rome and sacked it, virtually unobstructed.

    Something must have been very different with those later Romans.

  25. anon

    We have inhumane people running the show from the national level all the way down to the city and county level. The peasants’ direct leaders who are making in the low six figures are also incompetent. Of course, many of our nation’s leaders started as corrupt and ambitious city leaders, biding their time until they could be appointed to a higher position of power to line their pockets and destroy even more lives.

    I have been working from home, but my governor is one of those who is toying with the idea of opening up the state by May 1st. The head of my organization plans to start sending essential workers back to the office as early as next week.

    My direct boss is a bit wiser and thinks the earliest we should go back is July, but does not have the authority to shut down the head honcho who has always had a reputation of being anti-union. He wanted us all to keep working until we got word from the governor, but I already started working from home before he shut things down with my supervisor’s permission. Point is, the reason why some of us are alive is only because we were lucky to have more competent and humane people at the lower levels making the right decisions than the CEO, president, figurehead, or whoever at our company making the most money.

    Politics is a popularity contest that is won through nepotism, money, or marrying/sleeping with the right person. It is almost never about giving the right people with good ideas too much power to help the rest of us.

  26. BlizzardOfOzzz

    Not quite sure what the big deal is — our deaths per capita are middle of the pack. As far as not shutting down, didn’t Sweden do just that? They seem to have come out pretty well, actually maybe better if they’ve got herd immunity now and others don’t.

    No doubt the shitlib media are screaming about this nonstop, but when weren’t they? It’s just “get Drumph”, part six million.

  27. Willy

    I once worked at a small startup. The prevailing culture was one of building something great together. The good bottom line value workers were clearly and obviously rewarded. I’m thinking that everybodies best went into that place.

    I left for a time. During that time that place was sold to an investment firm, then bought out repeatedly by ever larger firms until it was just a small division inside a large multinational. That’s when I returned. I was the same, yet everybody was so different. Everything was now about who you knew. The leadership and the prevailing culture had become pretty greedy, corrupt, and stupid.

    Had the Visigoths invaded that place (or some corporate version of them) it probably would’ve been this pathetic scene with everybody huddled into the corner with the stronger ones pushing the weaker ones forward. Yet I’m certain that had the Visigoths invaded the earlier version of that once proud company, they might’ve been quite sorry they’d even tried.

  28. Willy

    BOO, the World’s Greatest Nation comprises 4% of the worlds population. It now has 1/3 of the reported coronavirus cases, with that share ever increasing.

  29. Ten Bears

    Inbreeding, Willy, inbreeding.

    History only repeats to those paying attention.

  30. Jay

    Ever been to North Dakota? I was born there. Some states have plenty of isolation no matter what the Governor says.

  31. Z

    The corruption of the Federal Reserve (Thanks, Uncle Alan!) has been the biggest factor in the U.S.’s decline. The Fed has subverted the synergy between the productive economy and its funding mechanisms to the point that the financial markets are consuming the U.S. economy and its working class. The Fed should never have been given that level of unaccountable power, but of course our rulers keep it that way since it conceals the fact that they are the ones behind the magic curtain of the Fed that keep orientating its money creation in their direction per their financial benefit.

    Without the Fed backstopping the markets our rulers would be a lot more interested in getting the economy orientated so that it also serves the working class so that we can buy things in the productive economy since that would then also serve their interests. But instead the economy has been basically corrupted into a societal suicide machine which the Fed keeps running with its infinite fuel and our rulers keep steered in their insane and infinite greed straight into the unforgiving finiteness of reality.


  32. KT Chong

    Have to say, Trump’s attack ad absolutely DEVASTATES, this one is an attack on Nancy Pelosi:

  33. Z

    One of the Trump’s best traits is the viciousness of his attacks on the democratic party.


  34. Anon

    I am an American and I agree with everything you have said. We are in an electronic trance, and in thrall to ghouls. What else is there to say?

  35. KT Chong

    I have a feeling that Democrats will also lose the House in November… and then the Supreme Court when Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies or retires during Trump’s second term. She is like… 87. She is not going to serve until 90.

    All the Democrats can do right now is the yell and scream, “Vote for Dementia Joe to save Roe vs. Wade!” Can I say I absolutely do not give a damn about Roe v. Wade, abortion right, or even women’s rights in general? Because fuck gender politics. Fuck identity politics. Fuck wokeness. They are the whole problem with the Democratic Party, just BS to distract from real issues.

  36. KT Chong

    And fuck feminism. Fuck the #MeToo hyposcrisy.

  37. BlizzardOfOzzz

    Willy, what’s the point of comparing “confirmed cases” between countries when no one knows the true infection rate, and besides (last I heard) tests still have false positives and false negatives.

    Deaths are probably the best metric, although again, it depends how you measure it. Which countries have the proverbial guy with the gunshot wound through the head who died of the coronavirus. Here’s a chart of available data:

    US isn’t doing great, but Canada isn’t much better. Some of your precious commie utopias in Europe are doing worse.

  38. CH

    And I notice that the headline story in The Atlantic by George Packer (author of The Unwinding) is: entitled “America is Failed State.”

    “The crisis demanded a response that was swift, rational, and collective. The United States reacted instead like Pakistan or Belarus—like a country with shoddy infrastructure and a dysfunctional government whose leaders were too corrupt or stupid to head off mass suffering. The administration squandered two irretrievable months to prepare. From the president came willful blindness, scapegoating, boasts, and lies. From his mouthpieces, conspiracy theories and miracle cures. A few senators and corporate executives acted quickly—not to prevent the coming disaster, but to profit from it. When a government doctor tried to warn the public of the danger, the White House took the mic and politicized the message.”

    “Every morning in the endless month of March, Americans woke up to find themselves citizens of a failed state. With no national plan—no coherent instructions at all—families, schools, and offices were left to decide on their own whether to shut down and take shelter. When test kits, masks, gowns, and ventilators were found to be in desperately short supply, governors pleaded for them from the White House, which stalled, then called on private enterprise, which couldn’t deliver. States and cities were forced into bidding wars that left them prey to price gouging and corporate profiteering. Civilians took out their sewing machines to try to keep ill-equipped hospital workers healthy and their patients alive. Russia, Taiwan, and the United Nations sent humanitarian aid to the world’s richest power—a beggar nation in utter chaos.”

    The sad thing is that those of us who know it can do little about it but watch. Will other countries take us in (especially if we’re not rich or don’t have rare skills?)

  39. NR

    Hey Blizzard, I remember about a month ago you were here spouting the “it’s not even as bad as the flu!” nonsense that was making the rounds in right-wing circles at the time. Good to see you’re back with their latest talking points, without any thought at all given to how they contradict what you were saying before!

  40. jrkrideau

    @ Willy April 21, 2020

    Something must have been very different with those later Romans.

    Oligarchic capitalism(i.e. the 1%)

  41. Mark Pontin

    ‘Something must have been very different with those later Romans.’

    I believe the Roman ethos was an impressive and terrible thing in their prime. Every Roman man, woman, and child was given to understand that a Roman chose death before surrender and slavery, and any person who failed to make that choice was no Roman and by nature a slave.

  42. Mark Pontin

    Blizzardofozz wrote: “Deaths are probably the best metric, although again, it depends how you measure it …. US isn’t doing great, but Canada isn’t much better. Some of your precious commie utopias in Europe are doing worse.”

    Whoosh. It’s all gone right over your little, pointed head, hasn’t it?

    It’s not the deaths from the virus itself. (Though you’re fooling yourself there, too) The world is getting off light with COV19, compared to other potential pandemic threats out there.

    It’s the entirely unnecessary ancillary social damage. The sheer, unmitigated, criminal, incompetence. That’s what’s exceptional about the U.S.

  43. Mark Pontin

    As for the idpol, I’ve always taken that to be the de facto institutionalization of robber baron Jay Gould’s comment that he could pay one half of the working class to kill the other half.

  44. BlizzardOfOzzz

    NR, I don’t know what to tell you. The numbers are very flu-like – are they not? Admittedly the high death count in the hotspots like NYC and northern Italy seem very strange. But the virus does not kill young children, which even just the regular flu does. And again, Sweden with no lockdown is doing about as good as anywhere, with flu-like fatality rates.

    If you read the fake media headlines and take them as gospel, then I get why you’d think it really is the black plague. It’s easy to be a good goyim and just believe whatever the media says. If you assume they’re lying most of the time then it’s harder to figure out what is going on.

  45. GlassHammer


    It does kill young children, the first death of a child in the states was in Illinois.
    The few studies we have out of China show about 6% of the kids that catch it become critically ill and require hospitalization.

  46. NR

    Blizzard – The only reason the numbers are even *close* to flu-like is because we’ve taken drastic measures to limit the spread of the virus.

    And as for Sweden, no, they’re not doing “about as good as anywhere else:”

    Sweden has *ten times* as many COVID deaths as their Nordic neighbors, and their deaths per capita rate is even higher than the United States. They are not a model for anyone else to follow.

  47. Ten Bears

    Yo oooze, you still on that crisis actors kick, insisting those dead kids aren’t dead?

    You know your butt-buddy Alex is getting sued right into to prison for that.

    Way things are right now I’m betting it gets lynched before it gets there.

    Yes, it.

  48. Stormcrow


    Hannibal roamed Italy for 15 years and still couldn’t break the Roman will. That best army in the world never entered Rome. Yet some centuries later, the Visigoths pretty much walked straight into Rome and sacked it, virtually unobstructed.

    Something must have been very different with those later Romans

    Yeah, there was.

    The cumulative effect of two massive exogenous shocks.

    The first one was the indirect result of the Sassanid takeover of Persia. The new dynasty was openly expansionist, and, even worse, their army was built around heavy cavalry. The Romans absolutely could not afford to cut corners in the part of the Near East they held. If they had, they’d have been overrun and they knew it.

    But the Severian dynasty in Rome picked that particular time to implode, with the usual interdynastic civil wars as the inevitable consequence. So the contending parties filched troops away from the Rhine-Danube frontier instead. But since the frontier in the Near East had absolutely no give in it whatsoever, there was far less margin for error than there’d been during the previous set of interdynastic civil wars.

    So the Near East held, more or less, but the Rhine-Danube frontier broke wide open. The next 50 years almost sank the Empire. Diocletian (and several of the emperors who’d preceded him) managed to stabilize the regime, but the reserve of functioning legions they’d had in 220 AD was gone forever.

    It was the next crisis that wrecked them. A measure of how narrow their margin had become was the effect of the Adrianople disaster in AD 378. They lost far fewer troops at Adrianople then they’d lost at Cannae, Arausio, or several other notable disasters. But this time, they couldn’t recover. They’d lost too many formations during the chaos between AD 235 and AD 285. Not just the troops, but the training cadre as well. Just like what happened to Spain after Rocroi, almost 1400 years later.

    And they no time left. They faced a crisis on the Rhine Danube frontier like nothing they’d encountered before. The Hunnish Empire was expanding westward, and driving a shock wave of displaced Germanic tribes in front of them like a piston. After the losses at Adrianople, the Empire wasn’t able to cope.

    Look up Peter Heather. He’s a specialist on the Successor States, and his history of the Collapse is worth reading.

  49. As I said on another thread, the per capita death rate is not a good number to use for country comparisons, because it makes country size (and without adjustment, the length of presence of the virus) the main policy variable in pandemic “performance.”

    (There aren’t any really good between-country measures, but the best is absolute death starting from known introduction of the pathogen. Sweden is firmly middle of the pack there still in global terms. However, it is possible and even likely that they could, over this time period, have done even better by doing a Danish lockdown. The question is when and how Denmark (and Germany, and France, …) can open back up again, and whether the “Hammer and the Dance” theory going around is actually going to work or a vaccine will be invented, etc…)

  50. BlizzardOfOzzz

    NR, well it is your assumption that the drastic measures have helped, but of course there’s no evidence for that. Almost half of the deaths in the entire country are in NYC, and they didn’t shut down their subway system or their parks. It’s not a quarantine we have, it’s quarantine-theater.

    Sweden has high deaths relative to other countries, yes (although not even as bad as some other countries like the UK that did do the lockdown). But the question is, if they have herd immunity, will their incremental deaths go to zero soon, while other countries have their dreaded second wave of infections?

  51. Ian Welsh

    Lovely summary Stormcrow. Rome was degenerating in other ways. They lost the ability to do technical things they could do in the past and Diocletian saved Rome with methods that turned it into a proto-Feudal state.

    In terms of recruiting/military knowledge things had changed as well. In the time of Scipio/Hannibal Rome could raise 10+ legions within a day’s walk from Rome (I forget the exact number, but it was massive. Then they had the allies.) The military base became less resilient after that for a number of reasons (slave run latifundae being a huge part of it.) There’s a long history between the middle Republic and even Diocletian, of course, and changes in the type of military etc… so I’m vastly oversimplifying.

    But their was social rot, and it had been occurring even before Diocletian.

    (Of course, I’ve always been more interested in the Republic so I know much more about that history than the Imperial side.)

  52. NR

    “NR, well it is your assumption that the drastic measures have helped, but of course there’s no evidence for that.”

    The evidence is *science.* We know how viruses spread. Social distancing and isolation means fewer people exposed to sick people, which means fewer people getting infected and in turn infecting others, which means fewer sick people over all.

    Really, if you don’t even understand how the basic science of viruses works, you really should just stop talking and wasting everybody else’s time.

  53. Charlie

    I think we might be looking at the beginning of the ultimate breakup of the US, but yes, it will be an extreme clusterfuck.

  54. BlizzardOfOzzz

    Sweden has 1765 deaths from the Chinese bat flu, which is a death rate of .018%. According to what I could find the normal flu death rate there is .016%. Corona viruses are part of what gets counted as “flu deaths” every year, so you would have to look at total flu deaths at the end to get an accurate comparison, but basically so far it’s looking like a worse-than-average flu season. This is your apocalypse scenario, which you were willing to destroy your economy and suspend basic rights to avoid. Sure looks like a hoax to me.

  55. Arthur

    Conspiracies and hoaxes do exist, of course. But one always has to ask the question: Who benefits? Blizzard, who benefits from a Covid conspiracy/hoax?

  56. Willy

    Stormcrow, as Ian said, the causes were many and everything within cultures is interrelated.

    Rome had a slave-n-loot based economy which couldn’t be continuously maintained at the same level as in earlier days. Carthage itself provided many slaves, loot and some land, offsetting the overall cost of that last Punic war. Just the act of unsalting Carthage and redeveloping it back into a functioning Roman port provided a fair amount of added economy. Later, Judea provided enough loot for Rome to build a very nice Coliseum. And then the building of nice things slowed down. Any other reasons for that?

    Did anybody weigh the cost-benefits of conquering the Sassanids to replenish the slaves and loot? Of course the Huns not so much. But pissing off the Visigoths wasn’t a very politically competent move, not a good indicator of Roman elite proficiency. Some say that in the 2+ centuries between Marcus Aurelius and Honorius, that Diocletian and Constantine were pretty much it for much competence. If true, why was that so?

  57. Willy

    Masks, training, testing and most importantly, enforcing. Gotta be a little statist to get back some economy. Just letting things run freedom-wild? Maybe we should try that out first on one of the more conservative states.

  58. highrpm

    “Really, if you don’t even understand how the basic science of viruses works, you really should just stop talking and wasting everybody else’s time.”

    it’s not the virus that kills. it’s the body’s response to it. the health of the immune system.

  59. Hugh

    “This is the way the world ends
    This is the way the world ends
    This is the way the world ends
    Not with a bang but a whimper.”

    –TS Eliot

    But, but MAGA, right? MAGA now. MAGA forever. MAGA for whimper.

  60. Bruce:

    Currently, claims of racial segregation in public schools are often as brain-dead idiotic In their innumeracy as well as remarkably unconcerned about severe racial disparities in educational achievement.

    This statement intrigues me as I don’t quite understand what it is trying to say, and it states as a contradiction what I take naturally to go together.

    The concern over racial segregation in public schools is precisely about racial disparities in educational achievement. Racial segregation in education follows racial segregation in geography, with lack of resources to black education having a compound multi-generational effect. Ending segregation, both in schools and elsewhere, is precisely about helping to close that gap. How is that “remarkably unconcerned about severe racial disparities in educational achievement”?


    It may not even be a matter of the health of the immune system, or not in all cases. It could be your biome. They’re researching this as we speak. Certain biome configurations may be more susceptible to it than others and your biome is a product of nature and nurture. Your biome may not be unhealthy, but it may be a conducive environment for the virus to propagate.

    Like I said, this is a virus like no other. They really mean it when they say NOVEL. It’s multifaceted.

  62. BlizzardOfOzzz

    Willy, ha ha yes, this is sure to thin out the ranks of those science-denying Drumphtards out in flyover country. Let’s see … total USA deaths 45K. Deaths in NYC, 15K (one third of the total if you’re counting). Say, did NYC shut down their subway yet? No? Quick, scold the 5 Fox news watching conservatard states that didn’t lock down (total deaths between them 179 — shhhh).


    It’s too bad when Rome was collapsing it didn’t have a Rome to point to as precedent like we do as though that’s how all “empires” collapse. I would think collapsing would somewhat, or closely even, parallel the increasing pace of everything else to include computing power and information expansion.

  64. Willy

    BOO said it right here. Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota have less coronavirus because they watch Fox News. Population density has nothing to do with anything. Could this be a New York Times hoax? Fox News at 11.

  65. NR

    Confirmed COVID cases in the U.S., by day:

    February 20: 15
    March 20: 18,747
    April 20: 776,093

    But according to Blizzard, there’s no such thing as exponential growth.

  66. BlizzardOfOzzz

    Willy – my gosh, all this talk about Florida’s beaches and sparsely-populated states not locking down, and Bad Orange Man’s criminal incompetence … and now you’re telling me that *population density* is the critical variable in the spread of the bat flu? It reminds me of that meme:

    A: Lock the flyover goyim in their houses, cancel their employment and reduce them to wards of the state, outlaw their churches, suspend their right to free assembly, close their childrens’ playgrounds.
    B: Gosh, are you sure that will slow the spread of the coronavirus?
    A: Coronavirus?

  67. Stormcrow


    Did anybody weigh the cost-benefits of conquering the Sassanids to replenish the slaves and loot?

    Julian the Apostate gave it a try. He failed, badly enough to get both himself as well as his army killed.

    But another entire millenium of warfare, finally decided only when the Ottoman Empire reduced a militarily insignificant remnant in 1453, argues that the strategic equilibrium between Rome and Persia was far too stable to make serious attempts at conquest by either side a very good idea. All that was, was a black hole that swallowed humans and wealth and produced nothing but deserts and boneyards.

    Of course the Huns not so much.

    But the odd thing about the rise of the Hunnish Empire is that right up until the early 5th century, Rome wasn’t clashing with the Huns directly. It was being inundated by groups that the Huns refugeed out.

    In fact, Flavius Aetius made quite a good thing of the Huns. Rome had gold that Attila needed to keep his underchiefs sweet. The Huns had very skilled light cavalry that Rome could use to address it’s permanent shortage of native military manpower after Adrianople. This arrangement continued to benefit both parties, right up to the point where the expanding frontiers of the Hunnish Empire met those of a contracting Roman state directly. That, of course, was when the arrangement broke down. Along with Flavius Aetius’ military career and his life. But even then, the Huns proved unable to overpower the reduced Roman military. They suffered a reverse at Catalaunian Fields and then looted for a bit. But when Attila died unexpectedly of a cerebral hemorrhage, the Hunnish Empire disintegrated far faster and more completely than the Western Roman Empire did. By 469, there was nothing whatsoever left of it but refugees, seeking asylum in the Eastern Roman Empire!

    But pissing off the Visigoths wasn’t a very politically competent move, not a good indicator of Roman elite proficiency.

    From Heather’s account, Valens considered them to be, potentially, a good thing. They showed up hats in hand. And resettling peaceable immigrants from across the Rhine-Danube frontier was a trick the Romans had practiced successfully for at least a century. Look up Aurelian.

    But he didn’t have enough reserves in hand, per Roman SOP, to keep the toothpaste in the tube should arrangements go sour. Which they did. There’s some reason to suspect that the local Roman in charge, Lupicinus, got either greedy or stupid or both. Then, when things went sideways, Valens got wrongfooted.

    But I wouldn’t say that Diocletian and Constantine were the only glimmers of competence between Marcus Aurelius and Honorius. The problem with being a Roman emperor between 235 AD and 285 AD is that if the plague didn’t kill you (AD 251), your own troops probably would. So people who saw the problems on their plate clearly and tried to deal with them usually weren’t around long enough to make a difference, by themselves. Gallienus, for example, was stabbed to death by one of his officers while beseiging a usurper he’d already defeated in the field. And Aurelian, who was arguably the most brilliant field commander the Empire had since Trajan, was – you guessed it – murdered by a cabal made up of his own officers.

    The Army was a major part of the problem with the post-Antonine Empire. And the roots of that went all the way back to the early Empire, under Augustus. They expected “donatives”. And the sums kept going up. By the time Septimus Severus was running things, he had to rule, as he put it, “mano ad ferram” (hand on his sword). Because if he turned his back on the army for too long, a number of somebodies amongst the senior officers would get greedy, and then he’d have a military insurrection to squash. That particular emperor, BTW, seems to have been one of the more competent ones. The emperors who managed to shut down a series of interdynastic wars tended to be.

  68. krake

    It’s easy to mock and direct ire at someone who isn’t protected by wealth, private security and supply chains, or the abuse of law; someone who doesn’t make policy, who has no discernible power over systems; whose only offense seems to be a willingness to express counter-consensus opinions, and errors, pseudonymously.

    It’s facile.

    It’s totemism.

    It’s a briefly satisfying scape-goating, with diminishing returns. It’s a way to signal frustration, because mostly we’re all powerless, maybe even from an unwillingness to do what needs to be done.

    The actual perpetrators – capitalists, their gatekeepers, lackeys and stooges – all live at and operate from real addresses, within real networks of control.

    The actual enemied can be opposed directly without any need to waste energy, organization and ammo taking shots at people with bad opinions but no damned responsibility, control or power.

  69. bruce wilder

    @ Mandos

    We see the world differently. What I see as incoherent foppery or hypocrisy, you take to be sincere and earnest. Here is a New York Times editorial worrying over race and public education in the city.
    It is not by any stretch of imagination the worst of its kind, but it displays a remarkable inability to reason and it is focused on remedying disparity rather than deficiency, which is typical of how idpol on the left has evolved. Basic terms fundamental to the topic are undefined and conceptual distinctions sideswiped in a dance around the problems of education.

    I am skeptical of the accuracy and usefulness of educational achievement testing, at least as far as measuring school performance is concerned, but decades of testing has consistently shown very large gaps between average black student performance in grade school and high school and the performance, on average, of white or Asian-American students. That testing reveals a real and persistent problem. I do not think the problem comes down to too few blacks are selected for highly selective enrichment programs. But, that is the idpol view: they do not concern themselves with poverty or its relief, they concern themselves with racial proportionality among the rich. And, they can be quite flippant about local community, these globalizers.

  70. I do not think the problem comes down to too few blacks are selected for highly selective enrichment programs.

    I also certainly “do not think the problem comes down to too few blacks selected for highly selected enrichment programs.” I think the problem comes down to the fact that black schools are under-resourced due to school zoning, property values, and tax policy, all legacies of a long history — as I said. What do you think the problem comes down to, then?

  71. Benjamin

    The Romans would have had at least some knowledge of the Late Bronze Age Collapse (1177 BC), which is also a much better model for today’s decline than Rome. It involved thoroughly intertwined transnational economies collapsing domino-style as the entire network was disrupted by repeated shocks.


    It’s a hoax…by whom? And for what purpose? Because from where I’m standing it looks entirely like a bunch of dysfunctional and arrogant states have basically completely bungled their response to what was a significant but eminently manageable threat through sheer ineptness. I’m really struggling to see what evil grand plan would involve intentionally destroying your economy while throwing vast amounts of fertilizer on desperation and revolution.

  72. Mojave Wolf

    Thrice now have accidentally closed window and deleted my comment.

    Not in the preceding ones: thumbs up for Krake there.

    Highlights of the lost ones, impatiently shortened:

    I should have put my “April 20” here.

    Ian is correct. Our bipartisan leadership (and the biz interests giving them suggestions) is evil and incompetent. And certainly right that no one in their right mind would let Trump or Biden walk their dogs, or babysit any kid who actually needed a sitter.

    Am reminded of a joking comment by me that Nihil thought worth consideration, and having considered it, yes. Randomly choosing our president by blind draw would be an improvement. Couldn’t hurt, would probably help. Possibly half the Senate as well?

    Am still unsure about the lockdown solution, tho See comment in other thread for details, but essentially, masks and gloves yay, but helping the already rich consolidate their power, destroying small biz and making nearly everyone wards of the state and the rich, dependent on their largesse, is a cure that may be worse than the disease, unless this is way scarier than they are letting on, which it might be.

    I yet again agree with something Mandos said, rare enough to be worth a comment, about all the variables to account for the iffiness of comparing reported numbers between different countries.

    In the spirit of old times’ sake, I shall accuse him of deliberate disengeneousness in conflating the civil Rights movement with the modern IDpol chicanery to which Bruce refers (I am certain, and I can reasonably sure Mandos is certain, that Bruce opposed actual discrimination and bigotry, whatever their differences on local vs federal control of schools; fwiw I think federal control was needed in the past and the present is making me glad we don’t have kids, proving Mr Anderson’s point that no system can work with sufficiently bad people in charge).

    The civil Rights movement was about actual justice and equality and building a world where we all saw each other as fellow humans, bigotry was eliminated and ethnic and other such differences ceased to matter in how we treated each other, MLK himself wanted to bring workers of all races together in common cause, the timing of which project just happened to be when he was assassinated.

    Modern IDpol seeks to maximize how much we pay attention to those differences, for the express purpose of manipulating different groups against each other. At best, AT BEST, even when its practitioners aren’t meaning to do anything awful, it’s a bunch of people patting themselves on the back for knowing the right in group code andaking themselves feel better by finding other people to out down for being different. Sort of the opposite of what the civil rights era was about.

    (And it sounds like I am saying all these people are awful, which isn’t what I mean to say at all, just that some of them are and most are normal people going along with their tribe, but limited time to nuance my language here. A lot of them really believe they are accomplishing something worthwhile and fighting the good fight, which makes me all sad when I think on it).

    To end on a happier note, the lockdowns seem to be great for the environment. 🙂

  73. Mojave Wolf

    “for the express purpose of manipulating different groups against each other” was supposed to be followed by “so we don’t go full Frank Castle on the scumbags at the top”.

    And several things were changed by autocorrect. Hope meaning still clear. Apologies if not.


    The Romans would have had at least some knowledge of the Late Bronze Age Collapse (1177 BC),…..

    I’m not so sure about that. In fact, I highly doubt it.

    Not in the modern sense; the idea of systematically looking around for the unknown wasn’t really on their radar.

    They were certainly interested in the past in a general sort of way—the famous image of emperor Trajan, wandering alone through the ruins of Babylon, comes to mind—but they didn’t have the notion of a sustained, deliberate effort to reconstruct the past from its physical remains.

  75. Zachary Smith

    COVID-19 ‘Liberate’ Groups Are the Same Ones Pushing Climate Denial

    Here is the beginning of the piece:

    The response among many American public officials and the public at large to the COVID-19 pandemic has, in many ways, paralleled the response to the climate crisis.

    First came a denial that it was a problem at all, then a denial of its depth and gravity. Later came an acceptance of the problem but the stance that responding is too economically costly. And as with the climate crisis, this is no accident. The well-funded machinery that sowed doubt about climate is now sowing seeds of doubt over the economic and public health response to COVID-19.

    DeSmog previously reported that many conservative groups and individuals who for years downplayed the gravity of the climate crisis did the same as the coronavirus outbreak worsened around the world and eventually made its way into the United States.

    Now, weeks into that public health crisis — and with more than three-quarters of a million cases and over 41,000 deaths in the U.S. — groups nationwide are clamoring for an early end to stay-at-home orders and a reopening of state economies. Many of those same groups, a DeSmog investigation shows, are also part of what sociologist Robert Brulle has called the climate change countermovement and what U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) has coined the “web of denial.”

    Like the eruption of Tea Party protests in 2009, many of the protests have the outward appearance of spontaneity, yet are tied through common funding streams and networks.

  76. Zachary Smith

    When I saw two different blogs writing about how Trump’s encouragement of the “Liberators” was a deliberate strategy, I had to drop the notion it was just his usual stupidity.

    This is as cynical as it gets. But Trump is increasingly desperate about his re-election prospects and he doesn’t have limits. So, this could get really ugly.

    Next was something I hadn’t heard – that Trump is trying to convince the gun nuts that their Second Amendment Rights are somehow being threatened. This is a weird bunch – on one level they’re extremely bright, but on another they’re dumber than dirt.

    Former FBI assistant director Frank Figliuzzi remarked on MSNBC on Monday that the nation has entered an extremely dangerous phase, primarily because Trump appears to be deliberately encouraging this behavior. “The president has linked this stay-at-home issue to the Second Amendment,” he said. “Remember that tweet? ‘LIBERATE VIRGINIA, and save your great 2nd Amendment. It is under siege!’ That’s going to motivate the crazies amongst us to do some very ugly things. And law enforcement’s gotta hunker down for that.”
    To have an American president to encourage people to violate the law, I can’t remember any time in my time in America we have seen such a thing.

    Would Trump turn the US into an upscale version of Ukraine – a place where billionaires use local Nazis to control that nation? I suspect he would – so long as he was personally directing the heavily armed goons. Anything to stay in the White House.

  77. Stirling S Newberry

    Ultimate Deaths by Country:

    World 262095

    USA 79882
    Italy 30033
    Spain 26301
    France 25699
    UK. 22905
    Belgium 6224
    Iran 7494
    Germany 4682
    China 5414
    Netherlands 3541
    Brazil 6179
    Turkey 3004
    Canada 2415
    Sweden 1837
    Switzerland 1157
    Mexico 1747
    Portugal 1033
    Ireland 1418
    India 899
    Indonesia 953
    Ecuador 827
    Romania 661
    Austria 1002
    Peru 2877
    Russia 712
    Philippines 808
    Poland 455
    Algeria 501
    Denmark 774
    Japan 381
    Egypt 461
    Dominican Republic 346
    S. Korea 292
    Hungary 565
    Pakistan 454
    Czechia 353
    Colombia 646
    Israel 533
    Norway 440
    Ukraine 258
    Argentina 432
    Chile 278
    Morocco 363
    Panama 234
    Finland 419
    Serbia 206
    Greece 269
    Bangladesh 603
    Saudi Arabia 194
    Malaysia 104
    Iraq 221
    Luxembourg 130
    Slovenia 168
    Australia 173
    Moldova 175
    South Africa 359
    Belarus 102
    North Macedonia 93
    Bosnia and Herzegovina 80
    Thailand 100
    Croatia 359
    UAE 67
    Honduras 83
    Bulgaria 110
    Estonia 82
    Cameroon 58
    San Marino 88
    Lithuania 77
    Cuba 72
    Tunisia 48
    Burkina Faso 56
    Andorra 63
    Bolivia 81
    Afghanistan 37
    Albania 53
    Nigeria 39
    DRC 62
    Armenia 34
    Channel Islands 48
    Lebanon 49
    Azerbaijan 45
    Niger 93
    Kazakhstan 34
    New Zealand 60
    Slovakia 24
    Kenya 23
    Mali 17
    Martinique 43
    Ivory Coast 15
    Diamond Princess 18
    Sudan 45
    Cyprus 22
    Uruguay 15

    We should not that China, among others, is hiding deaths.

  78. Zachary Smith

    If you were wondering why Fox News hosts have suddenly stopped pimping Trump’s fabulous miracle cure I would guess it’s because the lawyers told them the network was already facing massive lawsuits over their irresponsible promotion of the drug:

    That’s from the Digby blog, but it got me interested enough to put in a search for fox news pimping Hydroxychloroquine.

    Lo and Behold:

    I’ve never heard a good thing said about Michael Savage, and assumed he was a generic mental midget with a “high-school-dropout” education. Well!

    “He has a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, in nutritional ethnomedicine, a field that examines how various cultures and ethnicities use natural products for health purposes. As part of his training, he studied epidemiology,” Peters notes.

    What an oddity – a rightwingnut who actually knows what he is talking about – in at least one area.

    I wonder how Doctor Rush “druggie” Limpaugh and Medical Professional Sean Hannity have replied to this. I doubt if the former person is capable of zipping his lip unless he’s looking at the losing end of a 7-figure lawsuit.

  79. bruce wilder

    @Mandos What do you think the problem comes down to, then?

    I think there is a problem with privileged, pseudo-liberals occupying the political space of the left and using that space, that role to represent not the interests of the poor and working classes, or of the cause of justice and the general welfare, but to argue instead the case for privilege.

    “Race” as explanator and all-purpose original sin has assumed a special point of leverage in the politics of left neoliberalism. To argue the cause of racial equity is a signal of “leftish” virtue, even if your concept of racial equity is only a proportional share in the privilege of the few or neglect of the rest, as “individual choices” may decree.

    You, Mandos, claim to be incredulous that I would question the intentions of those campaigning against racial segregation decades after de jure segregation ended in a genuinely heroic political campaign. I gave you as an example text a NYT editorial that opened with the claim, “New York’s public schools are among the most racially segregated in the country.” but no explanation of the factual basis for that dubious claim. This isn’t atypical for the NYT, which has sponsored the 1619 project of historical revisionism in support of this strange but potent ideology.

    Lest this side-discussion slide off into the irrelevance of off-topic personal ill-feeling as Mandos exchanges are prone to do, let me bring it back to how the degeneracy of American politics produced the present awe-inspiring American clusterfuck. The U.S. was ripe for a revolution of sorts in 2006-8. The coincident failures of several ill-advised policy directions resulted in scandal and catastrophe: failed wars, Katrina, global financial crisis and a radical change in fortunes for the political Parties. The country was ready for change, for reform. Instead, . . . and now here we are. And, no one sane can even pretend elections matter; that safety valve is shutoff and we are given the choice of demented and dementia, with every assurance that no one will bother counting the actual vote. And Zachary Smith is getting hysterical about something tribally pleasing he heard on MSNBC. Interesting times for some value of interesting.

  80. Zachary Smith

    Zachary Smith is getting hysterical about something tribally pleasing he heard on MSNBC. Interesting times for some value of interesting.

    ‘Zachary Smith’ does not have a television in his house, and most definitely doesn’t watch MSNBC (or anything else) unless somebody provides a promising youtube link.

    As for the hysteria, that part is not entirely wrong. Being governed by murderous morons can do that to a person.

  81. Mark Pontin

    Mojave Wolf wrote: “Randomly choosing our president by blind draw would be an improvement.”

    Indeed. This was how global society elects the World President In Philip K. Dick’s first novel, SOLAR LOTTERY aka WORLD OF CHANCE (1955) — though they call him the QuizMaster.

    The rest of the novel’s social arrangement is kind of prescien, toot — the next step beyond having a reality show president. I think the U.S. should go for it.

    “Society is entertained by a televised selection process in which an assassin is also (allegedly) chosen at random. By countering and putting down threats to his life, using telepathic bodyguards, the leader gains the respect of the people. If he loses his life, a new Quizmaster, as well as another assassin, are again randomly selected. Quizmasters have held office for timespans ranging from a few minutes to several years. The average life expectancy is therefore on the order of a couple of weeks.”

    Needless to say, in the denouement we learn it’s all rigged – a con by the novel’s TPTB, who then get conned themselves.

  82. Mark Pontin

    Around this point in any discussion of Idpol, it’s pretty much pro forma for someone to bring up Adolph Reed’s critique of it. And why not, since it’s very much on the point —

    Adolph Reed Jr.: Identity Politics Is Neoliberalism

    ‘Identity politics is not an alternative to class politics; it is a class politics, the politics of the left-wing of neoliberalism. It is the expression and active agency of a political order and moral economy in which capitalist market forces are treated as unassailable nature.

    ‘An integral element of that moral economy is displacement of the critique of the invidious outcomes produced by capitalist class power onto equally naturalized categories of ascriptive identity that sort us into groups supposedly defined by what we essentially are rather than what we do ….within that moral economy a society in which 1% of the population controlled 90% of the resources could be just, provided that roughly 12% of the 1% were black, 12% were Latino, 50% were women, and whatever the appropriate proportions were LGBT people.

    ‘It would be tough to imagine a normative ideal that expresses more unambiguously the social position of people who consider themselves candidates for inclusion in, or at least significant staff positions in service to, the ruling class.’

    ‘The limits of anti-racism’ by Adolph Reed Jr.

  83. Z

    People are so amazed by the Saudis driving the price of oil down. How stupid, they say. It’s so blatantly against their own interests.

    Well, maybe it isn’t. If the Fed’s shoveling money their way somehow … and they have all sorts of ways to do it now with the Fed’s and the U.S. government’s ties into the financial markets … so that they’re getting fully compensated (read: subsidized) for the oil decline by the U.S’s money-printing factory that manufactures bucks with mere key strokes, then who would the biggest losers be? Russia, Venezuela, and Iran would be some of the largest, if not the three largest. All U.S. enemies. The winners? The U.S., Israel, and the Saudis.

    It certainly wouldn’t be out of our rulers’ character to kick these countries while they’re down, when they’re struggling with social system stresses from the virus. They’re already doing that by finding ways to withhold international aid from Iran and Venezuela, an act of passive aggression.

    Destabilize Iran and Venezuela. Weaken Russia. Use the Fed as a geopolitical weapon while the U.S. dollar still got the leverage of being the king fiat currency and the international financial world’s still so tied to it that they can’t disentangle themselves quick enough to stop its power.

    A crisis is a terrible thing to waste …


  84. Z

    We’ll probably never know obviously, but I’ve suspected for years now that the Fed has been supporting the fracking market by buying up their debt somehow to keep them viable and pumping out oil which in effect economically weakens some of our biggest enemies. The fracking fundamentals have been pointed off a cliff for over 5 years now, but still somehow those companies stay solvent when there doesn’t seem to be any hope that they’re ever going to be profitable. And if you’re a player in a market with a lot of shorts in it and you got unlimited capital you can make that casino active enough to attract other players. It’s not like the big boys on Wall Street wouldn’t know what’s going on. If they aren’t directly informed of the play in some way they can read the Fed’s market footprints by now.


  85. Mojave Wolf

    A thank you to Stirling for both the numbers and the qualifier about their reliability.

    Gods yes to what Bruce said about a very warped form of ID pol being the sadly successful weapon of choice (not the only one, but the most consistently effective one, IMO) the ruling class uses to … Or, actually, which the ruling class has suborned the left into using on its behalf to keep potential troublemakers divided into factions that spend most of their time sniping at each other instead of focusing on the real problems and trying to find ways to bring down the oligarchs.

    Not that any such bringing down is likely to happen at this point, barring the Covid-19 turning into The Red Death or somesuch.

  86. Mojave Wolf

    Mark — thanks for the rec, I shall look this up (and Robert Stone) when get a chance And for bringing that great Adolph Reed quote into the discussion.

    Z — I have no idea if that’s true, but I wouldn’t put it past us or the Saudis.

  87. Great post, Ian. I especially enjoy your description of the electorate. The population itself here in America is as evil and corrupt and stupid as the elite that preys on them.

  88. Chuck Mire

    Coronavirus Pandemic (full film) | PBS FRONTLINE (53:14)

    An investigation into the U.S. response to COVID-19, from Washington State to Washington, D.C.

    Two Washingtons – A tale of competence in Washington State vs. the SNAFU and FUBAR “tail”, Trump, in Washington, D.C.

    To help sharpen your bullshit detectors, watch this film. Everything is documented with videos and interviews from both Washingtons.

    The sycophants of the “tail” are already spinning propaganda to make the “tail” out as the hero – definitely fake news.

  89. Mark Pontin

    Z wrote: “We’ll probably never know … The fracking fundamentals have been pointed off a cliff for over 5 years now, but still somehow those companies stay solvent when there doesn’t seem to be any hope that they’re ever going to be profitable.”

    Sure we’ll know. This goes back to Dick Cheney, who was absolutely explicit and on record about how under Bush II it would henceforth be U.S. policy to be energy-independent again via fracking and other then-unconventional means of extracting oil and natural gas from underground sites inside North America.

    Look around the Internet. Cheney made speeches about it.

  90. Hugh

    Random thoughts:

    Donald Trump has a personality disorder. What this means is that he does not have a disease. He is his disease. Donald Trump does not “get”anything ever. He does not have plans or strategies. His disease does. Or to put it another way, he can not be judged by normal criteria, as if he were normal, because he is abnormal all the time. If you want to understand Trump, you need to look at him through this lens all the time and in all cases.

    Re elections, and as we just saw again in the Obama coup against Sanders, always timely to cite Emma Goldman’s “If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal.”

    One of the favorite locutions of our neoliberal powers that be is equality of opportunity, creating more opportunity, etc. It is a con. First, it is facially false. Most of us are never going to have the “opportunities” that our rich and elites were born into. Second and more importantly, what we should be talking about is equality of result. This feeds into the idpol debate because it is based on a similar kind of misdirection. For me, a citizen is a citizen is a citizen. No citizen should live in poverty. All should have the basic building blocks for a decent and meaningful life. That’s the equality of result I’m talking about. Idpol seeks to splinter this unitary view of the citizen. It sets us against each other without addressing the underlying causes of inequality: poverty, lack of stable home environments, lack of good jobs, lack of leisure time, lack of healthcare. You can not have equal education if you do not have these other things.

    The Romans had the Greeks both to learn from and react to.


    krake, you’re wrong. Wrong as wrong can be. The rabble will always be the rabble so long as they set aside any & all opportunity to think critically and for themselves independent of the influencers with a constant persistent vigilance in consistently challenging their nurtured biases in order to maintain some semblance of objectivity. So, I will continue to berate and denigrate the scum engaging in their absurd and largely disingenuously-motivated protests in the name of liberty.

    The guys carrying the guns? The time is not right yet. It’s close, but the zeitgeist is still manifesting. Those guys, that profile, well, let’s just say I have fomented their punishment in my imagination many times over and it’s just a matter of when the immoral law that protects their insanity no longer applies and can no longer protect them. It is at that point that they quite literally get nailed to crosses with their bowels hanging out for the birds of prey to feast upon. That’s a righteous, and I’d say perfect, punishment for false warriors. They must die with extreme prejudice for all the world to see.

    The scum we see protesting and all those who share their sentiment could never, and I mean never, get behind and support a truly moral and righteous cause and movement. They are not made of that stuff. Instead, they’re made of sh*t and the world is a better place without them. As well, the world is a better place without Jim Kunstler and the audience he hosts at his putrid blog. It will be none too soon when the virus makes its way to slaying every single last one of his noxious commentariat, Kunstler included. In fact, every male who has voted for and supported Donald Trump and has enabled his ascension, so this includes Biden and Obama and many male Democrats, should be purged from this existence and hopefully the virus, in Mao-like fashion, does that so that the world can move on and evolve sans their destructive influence in helping to maintain the status quo.

    How’s that for a REAL #MeToo movement? Without these noxious males, the women behind them will die on the severed vine and within a generation be no more.

  92. GlassHammer

    “The rabble will always be the rabble so long as they set aside any & all opportunity to think critically and for themselves independent of the influencers with a constant persistent vigilance in consistently challenging their nurtured biases in order to maintain some semblance of objectivity.”-

    ^Groups don’t do that, they operate off culture, ideologies, religions, honor codes, and the like. Being in the group requires diminishment of that “for themselves” aspect. I guarantee you that each of the groups you deplore is chock full of members who believe they are acting under their own free will at all times but we know that’s not true because that isn’t how ideologies work and it isn’t how groups work.

  93. nihil obstet

    The Romans could see in real time the dissolution of the thousands of years long Egyptian Empire. In fact, they directed the final dissolution.


    Every “empire” is blind to its weaknesses and failings. Rome was no different in this respect and actually as good an example as any. Sure, Rome could see the Egyptian empire collapsing in real time and had a hand in it, but Rome, in its collective entirety despite a few contrarian prophets of doom, because of intractable hubris, could not apply the lesson, if it even discerned any lesson, to itself. No, see, Rome believed it was unconquerable. It believed itself invincible and all powerful. Rome believed Rome would always be and in this sense, it was blind. That intractable unflagging hubris enabled its meteoric rise to the leading power in the leading power of civilization at the time but it also served to be its ultimate demise.

  95. Z

    Mark Pontin,

    Look around the Internet.

    I’ll have to try that.

    Thanks for the tip.


  96. GrimJim

    Wow, first time I’ve checked Kunstler’s blog in years.

    I guess at some point he decided if you can’t beat the cornpone Nazis, you join them?

    He was always loopy, but what a reversal.

    Sadder even than the fall of the Archdruid.

    I guess senescence always wins out in the end; ironic, Kunstler’s mockery of Biden and embrace of Trump.

    But then one man’s brain-addled lunatic is another man’s Messiah…

  97. Willy

    BOO, so I just did a ten minute news search for what’s happening in the largest cities inside of our heroic “Freedom Five” states.

    Des Moines. Iowa livestock producers face tumbling prices after hundreds of meatpacking workers have tested positive for COVID-19. The governor launched a coronavirus testing program.

    Omaha/Lincoln. Similar to Iowa, the governor is increasing testing and there are meatpacking plant concerns. Omaha’s mayor closed the parks. No shelter in place mandates yet, “but things can change”.

    In Little Rock the governor is encouraging social distancing, but has mandated nothing yet. The mayor is limiting social gatherings, closing community centers and indoor exhibits and implemented a curfew.

    The Sioux Falls mayor was pushing for stay at home mandates, but now feels their hospitals can handle a projected case surge.

    Fargos mayor has already issued a stay at home directive.

    Freedom hating Communists!

    Maybe It’d just be easier on everybody to find other ways to limit disease transmission so people can get back to work?

    BAH! I say the same “scientists” who brought us global warming are doing it again with this coronavirus hoax. They use nerve and sense gases to induce hallucinations. The people think they’re seeing warming and viruses and call these bozos, who conveniently show up to “get rid of the problem” with a fake electronic light show.

  98. Willy

    Stormcrow, you seem to be implying that the fall of Rome was inevitable because of multiple forces beyond its control.

    How does this relate to The Sheer Awe Inspiring American Clusterfuck?

  99. DMC

    The Saudis and Russians crashed oil prices to destroy the US fracking industry. They’ll destroy the Cananadian tar sands industry on the way, but that’s just icing on the cake. They got prices to the $20 a barrel range and the world wide economic collapese did the rest. Their intention was to increase market share in the long term. We’ll have to wait and see how this turns out for them. This may be just what the world needed to transition off hydro-carbon based energy.

  100. Mark Pontin

    Apropos of the theme of Ian’s OP, the failure of the federal U.S. and the consequent centrifugal sociopolitical potentials, this from the ATLANTIC today.

    I’ve been critical of Gavin Newsom in the past and media likes to tell stories with good guys and bad guys that may veer wildly away from the actual facts. Nevertheless —

    ‘Gavin Newsom’s Nation-State’

    ‘ …he Newsom) was planning a multistate response to the crisis with his fellow Democratic governors in Oregon and Washington State. “Look, we’re the fifth largest economy in the world, 40 million strong, we’re as diverse a state as exists in this country, [with] 20-some percent of the state foreign-born.” In other words, California amounts to a kind of country unto itself, and is just responding accordingly….

    ‘…Newsom’s moves—and those of other blue-state governors who have taken the lead in confronting the crisis in the face of the Trump administration’s failures—are the sort of decisive action that Americans might have more readily expected from the federal government ….’

    ‘Overall, California appears to have succeeded in sharply limiting the spread of the virus, though the state remains substantially under-tested, so the statistics may not be as encouraging as they seem. As of yesterday, 31,675 cases had been confirmed statewide, and 1,178 deaths—compared with 247,512 cases and 14,347 deaths in New York State.

    ‘Newsom’s acting so unilaterally, in opposition to Washington, does hold some risks. California taxpayers remit about 15 percent of individual contributions to the U.S. Treasury, yet California is, in the end, only a state, responsible to and dependent on federal laws and largesse like any other. It can buy equipment, and influence world markets, but it can’t set national trade or economic policy.’

  101. Mark Pontin

    DMC wrote: ‘The Saudis and Russians crashed oil prices to destroy the US fracking industry.’

    Seems like it.

    Early days to be reaching conclusions. Still, U.S. foreign policy since the early Cold War has been to control the access to oil of the rest of the world’s nations — that’s part, forex, of the U.S. deep state’s decades-long, seemingly irrational obsession with Tehran, which under the shah was under Washington’s control — so this arguably may be a blow to that policy.

  102. Z


    The Saudis and Russians crashed oil prices to destroy the US fracking industry.

    We’ve been hearing similar takes for over 5 years, but still the U.S. fracking industry somehow keeps finding funding and keep extracting oil at a loss.

    If the Fed, with their unlimited U.S. dollar creation capabilities, supports the U.S. fracking industry then there is nothing to stop the industry from fracking no matter if it makes zero practical economic sense or not. The Fed can paper over it. Mere key strokes on their money creating computers for oil is a pretty good deal you have to admit. Plus it hurts the countries our rulers hate the most: Russia, Iran, and Venezuela. Modern monetary geopolitical warfare.

    Trump is also recently on record as saying that the government will support the oil industry.


  103. Mojave Wolf

    For what it’s worth, I cannot get upset but rather cheer any blows to the tracking and tar sands industries, which ideally would not exist in the first place.

  104. Mojave Wolf

    Fracking not tracking. Gotta watch that autocorrect.

  105. Z

    Our rulers have been trying to systematically cull the human herd for years now through austerity, SS and medicare cuts and such. Now they got a killing machine loose and they’re trying to steer it to manage a controlled culling of the working class and particularly older folks who no longer contribute any energy towards turning the wheels on the economy and only take from it in those regards.

    Too fast a culling could cause problems, particularly by killing off medical workers, who I’d imagine they value higher than most of the working class. Another concern would be social problems that erupt into protests, strikes, or looting that could trickle up to them.

    So they toss us $1200 and wait.

    It may seem cynical to some to think that way, but ask yourself this: if they intended to do just that, would they act any differently than they have?

    What have they done? Come to the immediate rescue of capital, which is the source of their power over us, with trillions of dollars. And what have they done for the working class? Merely measures that slow the rate of our class’s economic destruction by increasing unemployment benefits and tossing us $1200. They have only foamed the runway to the economic cliff most of us are headed for.

    As far as I know, they haven’t even made it so that we’re fully medically covered if we catch it. They seem quite content, actually encouraging, that we take our chances at home that we’ll survive it rather than go to the hospital to get treatment and hence risk being hit by a potential bankruptcy causing medical bill. It decreases hospital capacity, places less exposure on medical workers, and allows our rulers to keep those try-to-shake-if-off-at-home deaths off the official coronavirus death count. What’s not to like from their sociopathic standpoint?


  106. Z

    Mojave Wolf,

    For what it’s worth, I cannot get upset but rather cheer any blows to the fracking and tar sands industries, which ideally would not exist in the first place.

    Me too.


  107. Mark Pontin

    Just woofing at this stage, but potential to climb the escalation ladder —

    ‘U.S. attorney general won’t rule out legal action over state coronavirus measures’

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Attorney General William Barr waded further into a debate over governors’ stay-at-home orders meant to slow the spread of the new coronavirus, saying he would not rule out legal action against states if he thought their actions infringed civil liberties.

    “We’re looking carefully at a number of these rules that are being put into place. And if we think one goes too far, we initially try to jawbone the governors into rolling them back or adjusting them,” Barr said … on Tuesday….

    “And if they’re not and people bring lawsuits, we file statements of interest and side with the plaintiffs … As lawsuits develop, as specific cases emerge in the states, we’ll take a look at them.”

    His comments come after the Justice Department recently sided with a Mississippi church that sued the city of Greenville over state shut-down orders on the grounds it was imposing on religious freedoms….

  108. Mark Pontin

    And apropos an issue I raised earlier, of states in the U.S. issuing local currencies or scrip :-

    California has in fact done this before and in very recent memory, in 2009. Nobody in California government will have forgotten this —

    ‘Here come the California IOUs. Unable to meet its bills for the second time this year, the state started printing IOUs on Thursday. Some 28,750 IOUs worth $53.3 million will be issued initially, mainly for personal income tax refunds.

    ‘The IOUs helps the state controller stave off a deficit of nearly $3 billion for July. The state plans to send the IOUs to certain county agencies, small businesses and taxpayers owed billions of dollars ….

    ‘The damage, however, is already being done. The IOUs will cost the state millions in interest and could hurt its bond rating ….’

    No damage was done. In fact, California has a large surplus today, though that won’t last.

    So the pieces are in place.

  109. Benjamin

    Why do you think archeology was the only way Romans could have known about events that were much closer in time for them than they are for us? For Mesopotamia people were still using cuneiform well into the Roman period, so the contents of tablets wouldn’t have been inaccessible to them, and the Egyptians would certainly have had knowledge of their own history, which they could also still read. And that’s not even counting oral history and just general awareness of major past events.

  110. Eric Anderson

    While Greer is dropping the ball …
    Kunstler is hitting it out of the park, like Ian.
    Note that reference to idpol at the end? Nailed it.
    He’s in his element. I’d imagine sitting comfortably at his upstate NY self-sufficient home giggling his tail off with “I told you so” running on loop 24/7 through his head.

  111. This is, of course, beyond Democrats and Republicans. Fauci has held his positions through Democratic and Republican control. Fauci should have seen jail time. Maybe he should still be in jail. But there he is, a leader of a national pandemic response.

    There’s a recent retrospective study of veterans, some of whom got hydroxychloroquine, some HCQ + azithromycin, and some that got neither of these. The death rate amongst hydroxychloroquine treated vets was a whopping 28%. I remarked in the previous post that

    “OTOH, they claim “We did, however adjust for a large number of Covid19-relevant confounders including comorbidities, medications, clinical and laboratory abnormalities”, so I wouldn’t dismiss this study, right off the bat, as totally misleading garbage. I.e., no socially redeeming value, at all. It may well be that giving hydroxychloroquine very late in the disease process (i.e., just the opposite end of the stick that Raoult and Zelenko did), in a ‘reasonable dosage’*, is worse than not using HQ, at all.”

    However, Didier Raoult has now commented upon the veteran study, and noted that “lymphopenia is twice as common in the HCQ groups (25% in the HCQ, 31% in the HCQ+AZ group versus 14% in the no HCQ group, p =.02) and there is an absolute correlation between lymphopenia (<0.5G/L) and fatality rate, which is well known (Tan, 2020) "

    See also: BUSTED: Media Uses VA 'Study' to Launch Easily Debunked Attack On Hydroxycholoroquine by Patrick Howley. Goes into Gilead connection, etc.

    If we do a thought experiment and fantasize that we can wave a magic wand, and all elected officials would morph into Ralph Naders, it should be obvious that, initially, with the likes of Fauci, in power, instead of in jail, our pandemic response would still be dysfunctional. We would have to drain the swamps of the various bureaucracies, the media, etc.

  112. Ché Pasa

    Yes, it’s hard to imagine that our rulers would do much differently if they weren’t trying to dispose of a significant portion of the underclass.

    It appears that 30% or more of workers will not and cannot receive the minimal payments congress passed, nor will as many as half the small businesses in this country receive the tide-over funding they were promised.

    Sadly, the only ones protesting forcefully are the gun-nuts and climate change deniers, Trumpists and the like and they’re protesting in their dozens and hundreds because they want to spread the virus more. Bless their hearts.

    The US will look very different on the other side of this. Probably not the apocalyptic collapse so many seem to yearn for, but a much leaner (shall we say) US than we knew previously.

  113. Mark Pontin

    Ché Pasa: “Probably not the apocalyptic collapse … but a much leaner (shall we say) US than we knew previously.”

    Yes, that would be my guess

  114. Hugh

    It isn’t talked about much but chloroquine is the go to drug for the casting out of demons. If you haven’t heard about it, that’s because the demons don’t want this getting out.

    On another subject, what does self-sufficient mean? Who built the roads that go to these people’s houses? The internet they use? What happens if this self-sufficient someone breaks a leg? His/her kid gets appendicitis? There’s a fire in the house? Or a fire in the forest? Just not seeing it.

  115. Eric Anderson

    I’m thinking you’re talking about JHK, and I’m thinking you’re engaging in semantics. Should things go seriously sideways I’d much rather be in the position he has set himself up in than 99% of the population of this country.
    I could be wrong, and if I am, pardon me.
    That said, JHK practices what he preaches. I read him widely pursuing my Bioregional Planning & Community Design M.S.. He’s the reason that degree even exists — an urban planning visionary. I’d recommend “The Long Emergency” and its latter companion “Living in the Long Emergency.”

  116. DMC

    Market share seemed the only working theory that more than one source agreed on. Guessing what MbS REAL motivations are, is a job for someone well above my pay-grade. I’m sure this will clarify(as much as these things ever do) with time.

  117. Zachary Smith

    Look up Peter Heather. He’s a specialist on the Successor States, and his history of the Collapse is worth reading.

    This looks promising, especially since the guy is clearly a professional. The reviews say it’s heavy duty reading, but I can handle that if the author is good. Odd thing, those reviews were much higher for the 2005 1st edition, so that’s the one I’m buying instead of the 2010.

  118. Tom Bradford

    Ian writes: \”New Zealand, which has handled this pandemic in exemplary fashion, has noted that they have done what they were taught to do by Americans.\”

    I\’d be interested to learn who noted this, as I haven\’t heard it said here.

    In fact NZ took its lead from the US and the UK and was slow to respond. Yes we reacted hard when Italy revealed the truth of what was happening but I suspect a big incentive for that was that we were woefully short of ICUs, PPE and ventilators etc.

    I don\’t agree that \”The masses are little better.\” The failings in the US are of leadership. Given the right leadership \’the Masses\’ in the US would have risen to the occasion as well as any peoples on earth, as my own experience of Americans as individuals are that they are wonderful, generous and kind. But without leadership you\’re on your own and society disintegrates.

  119. Ian Welsh – for New Zeland handling it well.

    My bad on New Zealand making that specific quote, turns out it was iceland.


    Hugh, self-sufficient means Kunstler makes his own pandemic masks and kippahs out of the hemp he grows. Since he’s bald, he doesn’t have to worry about cutting his own hair. So long as he has an internet connection he can continue to be a messiah for the cornpone. He’s a Cornpone Cowboy, afterall. Play the song Rhinestone Cowboy in your head but replace Rhinestone with Cornpone. That’s GrimJim.

    Fyi, he covered his current audience early in his “journalistic” career and apparently went native and fell in love with them and now provides a venue for their filth to spread far and wide. It’s that audience that sustains him, not his abode.

    How callous and insensitive he must be to be “laughing his tail off” as the death toll exceeds 100,000 and soon enough millions when he is in large part as much responsible for it in his tacit support of, and approval of, Trump as any of the Dems who need Trump in order to make themselves appear less odious, corrupt and feckless.

  121. Eric Anderson
    You find God all the sudden?
    How many threads do you think I’ll have to go back to find you calling for the eradication of the entire human race?
    People who live in glass houses might hesitate to throw stones.

  122. Hugh

    I don’t think “self-sufficient means what you think it means.

    Meanwhile Trump was suggesting yesterday that putting really powerful light inside the body and injecting disinfectants would kill the virus. He then went on to call a reporter a fake and a faker for saying things like this might not be a good idea.

  123. Eric Anderson

    Come on, Hugh. You really going to double down?
    From Oxford:
    “needing no outside help in satisfying one’s basic needs, especially with regard to the production of food.”
    From Cambridge:
    “able to provide everything you need, especially food, for yourself without the help of other people”

    There is this thing call “English usage,” of which, my use of self-sufficient is entirely within bounds. You, on the other hand, are clearly engaging in semantics.

    It’s not that I don’t get your point. In fact, I agree with your point — “one alone is none.”
    But, seriously. You’re going to pick that nit?

    You must be as bored as I am, because I probably wouldn’t even be replying right now were I not.


    You must be as bored as I am, because I probably wouldn’t even be replying right now were I not.

    Bored and laughing your tail off. I guess it beats Light & Lysol as a cure for the virus.

    I’m not bored and I’m not laughing, or at least not laughing at the virus and its tragic effects. Also, I’m not quite sure how those who are admittedly self-sufficient can be bored. I would think being self-sufficient means a lot of hard work with little idle time. I’m hardly self-sufficient but I am also not bored. I have a project list a mile long and I’ve been diligently working it day and evening. I read a little and post a little in between. But not you and Kunstler, nosireebob, you guys are so bored you have to laugh at the bodies stacking up like cord wood.

    Che is right, irony abounds — in every nook & cranny.

  125. Hugh

    I don’t have much time or use for the libertarian mythology of the individual über alles.

  126. Eric Anderson

    Hugh & 450:

    Thank you. I accept your tacit admissions that I was right by attempting to change the subject.
    Glad both your arguments are punching those straw men and not me. Were they actually directed at anything I argued they might hurt.

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