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

Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – April 19, 2020

by Tony Wikrent
Economics Action Group, North Carolina Democratic Party Progressive Caucus

Strategic Political Economy

Is America Going to Have a Covid-19 Apocalypse?
Ian Welsh, April 17, 2020

In the US, we have predictions of a 30 percent unemployment rate. I just saw that less than half of Los Angeles county still has a job. The bailout for regular people is $1,200. In a place like Los Angeles, that won’t even cover most people’s rent.

There’s been a vast bailout, mainly–though not exclusively–through the Fed, for the rich. Basically, as much free money at the trough as they can gorge on. But small businesses are toast. A third of households, at least, are on the verge of not just homelessness but not being able to eat….

Meanwhile, multiple states have not instituted isolation, and there are “protests,” backed by Republicans, to reopen states that have. Not isolating nationally means there are pockets of plague which are still expanding exponentially, and which can reinfect the areas which did isolate. Coming out of isolation too soon will mean that cases will explode again a month to a month and a half after self-isolation ends.

The job issues mean trouble. People who can’t afford food become violent. Food riots bring down nations.

The New Fault Lines in a Post-Globalized World
Marshall Auerback [Economy for All (Independent Media Institute), via Naked Capitalism 4-16-20]

Forget about the “new world order.” Offshoring and global supply chains are out; regional and local production is in. Market fundamentalism is passé; regulation is the norm. Public health is now more valuable than just-in-time supply systems. Stockpiling and industrial capacity suddenly make more sense, which may have future implications in the recently revived antitrust debate in the U.S.

Biodata will drive the next phase of social management and surveillance, with near-term consequences for the way countries handle immigration and customs. Health care and education will become digitally integrated the way newspapers and television were 10 years ago. Health care itself will increasingly be seen as a necessary public good, rather than a private right, until now in the U.S. predicated on age, employment or income levels.

The Plan Is to Save Capital and Let the People Die
[In These Times, via Common Dreams 1-9-20]

Those are all obvious steps to take if your goal was to protect humans. But imagine, instead, if you had an entirely different goal: protecting capital. What would you do then? Well, you would prioritize the health of corporate balance sheets, rather than human bodies. You would keep the healthcare industry, now booming, in private hands; you would stimulate consumer demand via unemployment benefits, rather than by keeping workers on existing payrolls, in order to create an enormous pool of cheap and desperate labor; you would pursue tax cuts for the investor class; you would welcome the opportunity to allow debt to pile up on individuals; and you wouldn’t be too sad about small businesses going bankrupt—they are, after all, just ceding market share to bigger, richer businesses. You would use this crisis to create a greater, not lesser, concentration of wealth. You would emerge on the other side with more, not less, inequality. The truth is, it would be easy.

Now, guess what the U.S. federal government is doing? It is allowing the unemployment rate to skyrocket, as tens of millions of workers are fired; it is allowing countless small businesses to go bankrupt, from incompetence and neglect; it has not even considered a national suspension of rent, nor a strong national policy of paid sick leave, much less a national system of free public healthcare; as millions of needy people struggle with decrepit and broken state unemployment systems and wait weeks or months for their emergency checks to come, and essential workers are forced to agitate or walk out to gain hazard pay, the administration plots a new bill featuring a capital gains tax cut and “a waiver that would clear businesses of liability from employees who contract the coronavirus on the job.”

….The true heroes of this crisis, from the perspective of those in charge, will be the private equity firms that rush in to buy up distressed businesses, and the hedge funds that pour money into cheap debt, and the investors that scoop up the homes that people will be evicted from. They are the ones that renew the blood of capital, you see. They are the ones that will rescue us. They are the ones who will shepherd our precious capital through this dangerous time, and into the promised land.

Mark Blyth and Jeffrey Sommers: Austerity – A Dangerous Idea Returns
Mark Blyth and Jeffrey Sommers [Naked Capitalism 4-13-20]

On April 7th once-proud and progressive Wisconsin delivered scenes that seemed inspired by the Book of Revelations. Milwaukee manned only 5 of the normal 182 election sites. Voters, young and old, hale and frail, lined up for blocks and for hours in a day punctuated by hailstorms. Meanwhile, [Republican leader of the Wisconsin State Assembly Robert] Vos served as election commissioner in a small town not yet hard hit by the virus, fully attired in safety glasses, protective gown, and surgical gloves. Looking more like Hannibal Lecter than an election commissioner, he declared to the press that it was “incredibly safe to go out” and vote. And then, emboldened by an election turned into a deadly farce, on April 8th Vos and Fitzgerald pressed for greater legislative powers to cut education spending during recessions. Yes, you read that correctly….

Austerity now or later, in the pandemic or afterward, is the path to economic suicide. Of course it also belies the promises that President Trump made when he carried the state, and won the presidency, in 2016. There is an irony here, which is that the President’s Republican allies are working hard to make it more difficult, if not impossible, for him to win the state in 2020 – at least in a free and fair election. But as this week’s experience makes clear, free and fair elections are not on the agenda in Wisconsin either. Austerity isn’t just bad economics; it can be imposed, and maintained, only by force, fraud, a campaign based on fear, and the active subversion of democracy in Wisconsin and in America as a whole.

Fatal Combination: Bailouts and Bank Rescues in Money-Driven Political Systems
Thomas Ferguson, Director of Research, Institute for New Economic Thinking, Professor Emeritus, University of Massachusetts, Boston; Paul Jorgensen, Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Texas-Pan American and Jie Chen, University Statistician, University of Massachusetts [Institute for New Economic Thinking, via Naked Capitalism  4-14-20]

It was, frankly, written because we are tired of hearing that it is impossible to show that Congressmen and women ever vote in favor of legislation because they receive vast streams of campaign contributions…. Our results suggest that the links between campaign contributions from the financial sector and switches to a pro-bank vote were direct and substantial: For every $100,000 that Democratic representatives received from finance, the odds they would break with their party’s majority support for the Dodd-Frank legislation increased by 13.9 percent. Democratic representatives who voted in favor of finance often received $200,000–$300,000 from that sector, which raised the odds of switching by 25–40 percent.

As was forseen by a number of USA founders such as James Madison, Vices of the Political System of the United States, April 1787, and especially John Adams (see Luke Mayville, “Fear of the Few: John Adams and the Power Elite,” Polity 47, no. 1, January 2015).

Our Post-Pandemic Future
Patrick Lawrence [Consortium News, via Naked Capitalism 4-17-20]  

In this same line, the Financial Times published an editorial last week that has to be counted remarkable for what was said as well as who was saying it. “Virus lays bare the frailty of the social contract,” the headline announced. The paper of City of London stockbrokers then laid out a program worthy of left Labourites such as the late Michael Foote or the recently defeated Jeremy Corbyn. Here is the pithiest paragraph:

“Radical reforms — reversing the prevailing policy direction of the last four decades — will need to be put on the table. Governments will have to accept a more active role in the economy. They must see public services as investments rather than liabilities, and look for ways to make labour markets less insecure. Redistribution will again be on the agenda; the privileges of the elderly and wealthy in question. Policies until recently considered eccentric, such as basic income and wealth taxes, will have to be in the mix.

Behind the FT’s editorial surprise lay another. The budget Prime Minister Boris Johnson made public in February turned British politics upside down. Here was a true-blue Tory committed to equalizing the UK’s economic geography — “leveling up” is Johnson’s phrase — to the benefit of disadvantaged regions that once were Britain’s industrial backbone. A high-speed rail line to the rust-belt North, worker-training programs, big new spending on the N.H.S. — Johnson’s plans amount to a kind of Tory populism, all-out Keynesianism from the party of big business.

It is tempting to read into these developments in the money center across the pond a harbinger of a fundamental shift — an imminent abandonment at last of the ruinous neoliberal economic model.

The Financial Times of London, since its founding in 1888, was historically the mouthpeice of the oligarchs of the City of London and a key promoter of the “neoliberal economic model.” Especially since Pearson PLC — run by British intelligence — bought it in 1957. Now the FT is pronouncing the neoliberal economic model “ruinous“!?! Why the shift? Well, the FT was sold to Nikkei in 2015, which probably began the process of shedding ideology in favor of reality. I wonder if Biden and the Democratic Party establishment will be able to catch up. 

Economic Armageddon

Bailout: “Paycheck Protection Program out of money: Thousands of small businesses shut out”
[CBS News, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 4-15-20]

“The U.S. Small Business Administration said Thursday morning the Paycheck Protection Program wouldn’t be accepting any more applications for the $349 billion program. The agency reported approving more than 1.6 million Paycheck Protection Program loan applications totaling more than $339 billion from over 4,900 lending institutions.”

[Twitter, via Naked Capitalism 4-14-20]

Here’s Rep. Neal, the top Democrat on the House tax-writing committee, shamelessly describing how he “immediately sought out advice from Bob Rubin” on structuring the coronavirus bailout  Hank Paulson Steve Rattner, Jack Lew — all key figures in the 2009 bailout that favored the malefactors of great wealth on Wall Street over mom, pop, you, and me, on Main Street. Neal lists all these, and more, starting at 5:15. Warning: the rest of it will also make you gag. 
[Eschaton, via Naked Capitalism 4-12-20]

The numbers aren’t precisely comparable, but there have been 16 million new jobless claims in the past 3 weeks [plus another 5.2 million workers filed claims last week] and the total net job losses during The Great Recession were… 8.7 million. If we’re gonna just take a little break and then go back to our old lives, how come it took 6 years to get back to the beginning during the Great Recession? It is true that, contrary to the myths made by the people who did it, the policy response was sadistic and disastrous. Solving the Great Recession should have been easy (if not painless), but some people needed to suffer for the sins of bankers, and so they did. It was actually an easy problem and they failed spectacularly.

This is a hard problem. A much harder problem. And I do not think the people currently in charge are likely to be either smarter or more well-intentioned.

A few weeks away from blaming unemployment on the unemployed. It’ll start on Fox and in the WSJ but spread everywhere.

Here is the percent, by industry, saying their business will still exist if the crisis lasts 6 months, from new NBER survey
[Twitter, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 4-14-20]


[Bill Mitchell, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 4-15-20]

“In terms of total numbers of jobs lost: (a) 12 per cent (341 thousand) have been in above-median pay occupations. (b) 88 per cent (2,507 thousand) in below-median pay occupations. (c) 32.8 per cent of the total (933 thousand) have been in low-pay occupations (in the GFC downturn only 1.3 per cent of the jobs lost were low-paid).”

Smithfield shutting U.S. pork plant indefinitely, warns of meat shortages during pandemic

[Reuters, via Naked Capitalism 4-13-20]

Coronavirus Has Broken America’s Food Supply

[American Prospect, via Naked Capitalism 4-14-20] “Fresh produce goes to waste as coronavirus wrecks supply chains”

[The Hill, via Naked Capitalism  Water Cooler 4-15-20]

“The Produce Marketing Association, an industry trade group, estimates that about $5 billion of fresh fruits and vegetables have already been wasted. ‘I think what it demonstrates is that the food supply chain that we have set up now, it’s not set up to pivot … quickly to address this kind of shock to the system,’ Brian Ronholm, director of food policy at Consumer Reports, told The Hill. Produce Marketing Association CEO Cathy Burns said the wasted fruits and vegetables were planted months ago and that farmers are already starting to plan for the next harvest…”

“Wheat Giants Are Starting to Hoard Supply”

[Bloomberg, via Naked Capitalism  Water Cooler 4-15-20]

“The wheat market is starting to get shaken up by the coronavirus pandemic. Panic buying of food might have largely eased at grocery stores, but governments are beginning to get more serious about securing supplies of key staples like grains. From export restrictions to plans to hoard more, there are signs that typical trade routes are being affected as this season nears an end. Shipment limits across the key Black Sea region are already having knock-on effects, with cargoes being held up and offers dwindling in the latest tender by Egypt, the biggest buyer.”

Progressive policies into the breach

[Student Loan Justice Org, via Angry Bear 4-10-20]

A couple trillion dollars in instant stimulus, without a single dollar from taxpayers being spent. Student Loan debt to which there is no bankruptcy relief;

The student loan is needs your help by your signing the “President Trump: Cancel Student Loans NOW“ petition. Please join student loan and the 211,000 (up from 161,000) signers of the petition calling for President Trump to prioritize canceling student loan debt. Doing such would cause many citizens burdened with debt to be more productive promoting economic growth.

Stiglitz Calls for ‘Super Chapter 11′ to Avoid Systemic Collapse

[Bloomberg, via Naked Capitalism 4-13-20]
To Fight the COVID Pandemic, Policymakers Must Move Fast and Break Taboos
Sony Kapoor, Managing Director, RE-DEFINE, and Willem Buiter, Special Economic Adviser of Citigroup and CEPR Research Fellow [VoxEU, via Naked Capitalism April 13, 2020]

….the COVID-19 response to be funded not by borrowing, but through the creation of new money, particularly by OECD country central banks, which include the US Federal reserve, the Bank of Japan and the ECB.

[Mint Press, via Naked Capitalism 4-14-20]. It should be more widely known that manufacturing drugs routinely is even more profitable than printing cash.

[CNN, via Naked Capitalism 4-16-20]
Pramila Jayapal’s ambitious plan to get every worker their paycheck during coronavirus, explained
[Vox, via Naked Capitalism 4-12-20]Ilhan Omar unveils bill to cancel rent and mortgage payments amid pandemic
[Guardian, via Naked Capitalism 4-18-20]Canada passes law that will pay businesses to keep employees on staff
[CNN, via Naked Capitalism 4-12-20]A Payments Holiday is More Realistic Than You Think
[, April 15, 2020]

First, while it’s true that a payment holiday simply pushes the “balancing inflows and outflows” problem up the payments chain, that does actually help. Those who are higher up in payment chains have larger net-worths (including financial net-worths) and are better able to finance themselves while incurring losses. Landlords can make payments more easily than unemployed households can. Landlords, in fact, should lose equity during a crisis. Indeed, the only real justification for landlord net incomes and capital gains is as payment for the possibility that they may get wiped out by extreme, unforeseeable events. At the very least, if we come to the conclusion that we are going to protect bigger players from losses than we need to rethink their capacity to extract rental, interest and other payments from ordinary households and small businesses….

…These creditors have been taking on uncertainties in exchange for income and we should have them play their proper role and get wiped out during a crisis. In some ways managing this process would be more complex, but it would also be extremely rewarding. A payments holiday also ensures that everyone gets the help they need, while people can fall through the cracks in our current suite of programs. Overall, a payments holiday for households and small businesses has many administrative advantages, is easily managed given our current suite of interventions (especially by the Federal Reserve) and is far more equitable than trying to keep pre-Coronavirus social relations going as is. Never let a crisis go to waste.

The Pandemic

[COVID-19 Student Response, Harvard University School of Medicine, via Naked Capitalism 4-10-20]Handbook of COVID-19 Prevention and Treatment 
[ALNAP, via The Bog Picture 4-12-20]

The First Affiliated Hospital, Zhejiang University School of Medicine has treated 104 patients with confirmed COVID-19 in the past 50 days, and their experts wrote real treatment experience night and day, and quickly published this Handbook of COVID-19 Prevention and Treatment, expecting to share their invaluable practical advice and references with medical staff around the world. This handbook compared and analyzed the experience of other experts in China, and provides good reference to key departments such as hospital infection management, nursing, and outpatient clinics. This handbook provides comprehensive guidelines and best practices by China’s top experts for coping with COVID-19.

[Association of State and Territorial Health Officials Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, Apr. 10, 2020]

…In order to trace all contacts, safely isolate the sick, and quarantine those exposed, we estimate that our public health workforce needs to add approximately 100,000 (paid or volunteer) contact tracers to assist with this large-scale effort. This workforce could be strategically deployed to areas of greatest need and managed through state and local public health agencies that are on the front lines of COVID-19 response. To do this, we also estimate that Congress will need to appropriate approximately $3.6 billion in emergency funding to state and territorial health departments….

Based on the average pay for a community health worker of $17 an hour, the potential overall need for funding for a cadre of 100,000 contact investigators, absent a huge number of unpaid volunteers, would amount to approximately $3.6 billion. This is assuming that all 100,000 workers work full time for 1 year.

[National Association of County and City Health Officials, April 16, 2020]

  • At least $3.7 billion in emergency supplemental funding to local, state, territorial, tribal, and federal public health agencies to support a force of at least 100,000 contact tracers.
  •  $200 million to enact and implement a loan repayment program for public health professionals who agree to serve two years in a local, state, or tribal health department, which could support over 6,000 new hires.
  • $4.5 billion in additional annual mandatory funding for local, state, tribal, and territorial core public health infrastructure, in addition to existing annual discretionary appropriations.

These numbers are too low. And, this should NOT come in the form of loans from the Federal Reserve. This should be federal funds, paid directly to state, county, city, township health departments. There are over 500,000 elected officials at the state and local level in USA. Dangle the prospect of $1 trillion or so in federal funds before, and unleash them on Congress. You get an instant counterweight to the corporations and one percent who have used the rescue stimulus packages so far to loot the Treasury again. 

Groups like DSA and Our Revolution are wondering what to do now that Sanders is out? Organize your county commissioners, your mayor, and your town council members to set up programs like Orange County, North Carolina did (see here, and here) but with hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding, instead of $200,000 or $300,000! THEN we can save local bushiness and make sure there are jobs when this mess is finally cleaned up. 

Excellent self-video of how South Korea is effectively bending the curve
[Facebook, via Naked Capitalism 4-10-20]

William A. Haseltine, April 8, 2020 [Forbes]

How much should COVID-19 tests cost? Fortunately, we have a measure from a universal screening program recently completed in Egypt that can give us a reasonable estimate. Through the 100 Million Healthy Lives program, from October 2018 onward, either genome or serology tests were performed on the majority of Egyptians 12 and over: a total of 65 million people.

Although the main goal was to reduce rates of hepatitis C infection—Egypt had the highest in the world at the time—testing was also conducted for diseases like diabetes, hypertension, and obesity. Results were logged using handheld tablets that also recorded age, sex, and geographical data. In no small part due to this program, Egypt may become the first country to eliminate hepatitis C. The antibody test, a rapid diagnostic developed by Abbott Laboratories that requires a simple, single finger prick, takes five minutes to complete and cost Egyptians a mere 50¢. Genome tests developed by Roche, which were administered to nearly four million, cost no more than $5 each. That’s a sharp contrast to what people are charging today to test COVID-19—in some cases $10 to $20 for a serology test, and more than $100 for a genome test… The three month hepatitis C treatment offered to Egyptians who tested positive was only $45. Compare that number to the $85,000 Americans must pay for the same care regimen, and the danger of leaving COVID-19 testing and medication prices unregulated becomes all the clearer.

[Pro Publica, via Naked Capitalism 4-13-20]

Running medical systems in under-resourced environments is completely different. In some sense it would be better to have the health minister for Rwanda, Agnes Binagwaho, come show us what to do, because they were very intentional about capacity. I was never allowed to walk into a room and examine a patient unless I had gloves on. If we didn’t have gloves that day, we didn’t have a clinic. They completely understood that the real risk was to get your providers sick, because they’re actually the system. The machines and drugs and everything we do, they enable all of those things to work. As soon as you take out your providers, then you end up in a death spiral. You and your mortality jumps from 1% to 10%.

If you’ve got 200 ventilators, but you only have enough personal protective equipment to keep enough providers well to take care of 100 ventilators, then that’s your capacity. If you exceed it, you end up with these horrific rates of sickness. And then you end up with morale problems, and the system works less efficiently because those teams are now broken up. The rule No. 1 in a resource-constrained system is keep your providers healthy.

Health care workers are 10%-20% of US coronavirus cases
[AP, via Naked Capitalism 4-15-20]

[Twitter, via Naked Capitalism 4-16-20]

“Making your own face mask? Some fabrics work better than others, study finds”

[NBC, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 4-13-20]

“The best masks were constructed of two layers of heavyweight ‘quilters cotton’ with a thread count of at least 180, and had thicker and tighter weave. Lesser quality fabrics also worked well, as long as they had an internal layer of flannel. ‘You do want to use a woven fabric, like batik,’ Segal said, ‘but you don’t want to use a knit fabric, because the holes between the knit stitches are bigger.’ In other words, if the fabric allows for a substantial amount of light to shine through, it’s probably going to allow tiny viral particles through, as well.”

Scientific Experts Release Proposals for Loosening the Lockdown

[Der Spiegel, via Naked Capitalism 4-15-20]
Dr. David Healy [via Naked Capitalism 4-18-20]

The regulators don’t get to see the data either.  No-one does. How do I know this – because I’m one of the few people who has seen clinical trial data.  If you’re an expert witness in a legal action against a pharmaceutical company – in the US – you see things no-one else gets to see.

In some cases, the data has been entirely made up – the patients don’t exist.  One of the handy things about non-existent patients is they never die or have side effects on treatment.  The other thing you see is that the problems you report to doctors that companies totally deny could be happening are there in their data that no-one sees.

“Drug Evaluation during the Covid-19 Pandemic”

[New England Journal of Medicine, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 4-15-20]

“After Trump’s initial assertions, the FDA — still facing criticism that its delays in approving testing kits for the virus hindered prevention efforts — issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) on March 28 that allowed for use of [chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine] to treat patients with Covid-19. … These developments represent fundamental threats to the U.S. drug-evaluation process. Advocating that the FDA should quickly approve drugs without randomized trial data runs counter to the idea of evidence-based medicine and risks further undermining the public’s understanding of and faith in the drug-review process, which requires “substantial evidence” of safety and efficacy based on adequate and well-controlled trials before a drug can be marketed. Though this unprecedented emergency provides a compelling reason for the FDA to act as efficiently as possible, the agency and the medical community can still maintain the highest scientific standards while acting expeditiously. The new EUA represents only the second time the FDA has ever used emergency authority to permit use of a medication for an unapproved indication…. Hydroxychloroquine is already marketed for other conditions, so physicians were allowed to prescribe it off-label to patients with Covid-19 even before the EUA or CDC dose recommendations were issued. In addition, for investigational drugs that are not yet marketed, providers can request “expanded access” for severely ill patients who lack alternative treatment options and are not eligible for clinical trials — permission the FDA nearly always grants. This option has already been used for remdesivir, an investigational antiviral drug whose manufacturer has provided it to more than a thousand patients with Covid-19 outside clinical trials. Even before the pandemic, many conservative and libertarian politicians and advocacy groups supported expanding patients’ ‘right to try’ unapproved experimental drugs. This position has intensified a commonly held but spurious belief that slow processes and overly onerous requirements by the FDA prevent patients from accessing many clinically useful drugs. In fact, the FDA presides over one of the fastest drug approval processes in the world, with a majority of drugs gaining approval in the United States before they are approved in Europe or Canada.”

Climate and environmental crises

“Droughts exposed California’s thirst for groundwater. Now, the state hopes to refill its aquifers” [Science, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 4-16-20]

“Now, California has launched a landmark effort to save its groundwater. In 2014, deep in drought, the state passed a law to protect its aquifers; since then, local water managers have developed sustainability plans for those deemed the most imperiled. The plans for some particularly hard hit regions, just released for public comment, call for ending the groundwater deficit mainly by allowing precipitation to refill aquifers, but also by curtailing demand. The state is funding scientists to gather better data on the crisis; researchers estimate that in the Central Valley, half of the aquifers are dangerously depleted, but they don’t know the extent of the damage. Meanwhile, geologists are working to identify the best places to replenish aquifers by flooding farm fields, including some with especially permeable geology. Groundwater science is taking on a new urgency as California and other regions around the world face growing threats from drought—and are increasingly drilling wells to make up for missing rain and snow. Globally, aquifers are “highly stressed” in 17 countries that hold one-quarter of the world’s population, according to the World Resources Institute. Water and food supplies for billions of people are under threat. California is a case study in the challenges of protecting those resources.”

[Business Insider, via Naked Capitalism 4-16-20]

Here are 20 of the most notable names on the list:

  • Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase
  • David Solomon, CEO of Goldman Sachs
  • Stephen Schwarzman, CEO of Blackstone
  • James Quincey, CEO of Coca-Cola
  • Chris Kempczinski, CEO of McDonald’s
  • Mike Roman, CEO of 3M
  • Daniel O’Day, CEO of Gilead Sciences
  • Sheldon Adelson, CEO of Las Vegas Sands
  • Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla
  • Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon
  • Tim Cook, CEO of Apple
  • Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook
  • John Malone, CEO of Liberty Media
  • Adam Silver, NBA commissioner
  • Roger Goodell, NFL commissioner
  • Vince McMahon, CEO of WWE
  • Bob Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots
  • Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks
  • Condoleezza Rice, former secretary of state
  • Steve Forbes, editor-in-chief of Forbes magazine

Why Are Rich Americans Getting $1.7 Million Stimulus Checks? 

[Forbes, via Naked Capitalism 4-15-20]
[Pro Publica, via Naked Capitalism 4-12-20]DOJ lets companies skip paying penalties during pandemic
The Hill, via Naked Capitalism 4-17-20] Stoller: “We wouldn’t want convicted fraudsters to have a liquidity crisis.”

Payday Launches COVID-19 Strike Wave Tracking Map
Mike Elk [via Naked Capitalism 4-7-20]“Red Light Camera Company Says It’s Dying Of Coronavirus
[Tech Dirt, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 4-12-20]

“‘Redflex, an Australian company that operates “traffic safety programs” in roughly 100 US and Canadian cities, warned that less traffic and suspended construction amid the pandemic will be a stress on its balance sheet.’… Yeah, that’s a real shame. It’s too bad a company that engaged in bribery to grab market share won’t be able to weather this unexpected downturn in questionably-obtained income. There are several competitors in the crowded “worst traffic cam ever” field, but Redflex did everything it could to stay ahead of the pack. This behavior resulted in other unexpected downturns, like refunding millions of dollars of tickets in multiple locations due to the tech’s inability to do the little things… like accurately judge vehicle speed…. Let’s hope there are no more installations ever, even if drivers return to the roads to undo the environmental damage reduction they inadvertently contributed to by staying home. Redflex is a terrible company with terrible ethics and terrible products.”


Grover Norquist’s Dismantled State Struggles to Respond

The governors of Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Indiana and Kentucky are officially signing on to a multistate pact to coordinate strategies for reopening their economies.
[Crains Chicago Business, via Twitter, via Naked Capitalism 4-17-20]
Also California, Oregon, and Washington; and Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. The Union is being torn apart again by Confederate economics, which leads inexorably to incompetent national economic management, as former Nixon staffer Kevin Phillips pointed out 15 years ago in his book American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century.

The Lancet publishes blistering editorial criticizing Trump’s COVID-19 response
[The Lancet, via DailyKos 4-17-2020]

 A new impasse is forming around the Trump administration’s eagerness to boost the economy by lifting restrictions, just as mitigation efforts by the states are yielding results. The degree to which the USA stalled in taking aggressive action to curtail the spread of COVID-19 is directly the product of an administration marked by consistently poor timing, intent on making decisions in favour of economic interests instead of those that are guided by science and to protect health. The rush to reopen the country puts dollars over deaths.

[Pew, via Naked Capitalism 4-14-20]

It looks increasingly likely the South will endure more death and economic loss from COVID-19 than any other region in the country — and not just because Southern governors were slow to shut down businesses and order people to stay at home.
Southern poverty rates are high, social welfare programs spotty and health care infrastructure threadbare. Last year, 120 rural U.S. hospitals closed their doors; 75 of them were in the South. And emerging data from some cities and states shows that black people — more than half of whom live in the South — are contracting and dying from the virus at a disproportionately high rate.

Because of poverty and limited access to health care, African Americans more often have underlying health conditions — such as diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, obesity and asthma — that increase the risk of death from COVID-19. In addition, African Americans more often work in essential frontline jobs that make social distancing impossible.

COVID-19 exposes the precarious state of rural health care in the South
[Facing South, via Naked Capitalism 4-12-20]

‘I’m in Limbo Here’: Texans Are Met with an Overwhelmed and Antiquated State Unemployment System

[Texas Observer, via Naked Capitalism 4-12-20]

Far-right US politicians label lockdowns anti-constitutional
Associated Press, via Naked Capitalism 4-16-20]“Ohio Senate candidate attacks DeWine’s ‘tyranny’ in coronavirus response” 
[Columbus Dispatch, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 4-16-20]

“Republican Melissa Ackison was among about 100 protesters outside the Statehouse during DeWine’s appearance inside on Monday…. “‘The original model, along with the president’s condemnation of the World Health Organization’s handling this pandemic inappropriately, is all that the public needs to know,” she said. ‘We have children to feed, businesses to run, employees to pay, and Ohio must end this shutdown now. Those with high-risk categories and compromised immune systems can shelter safely at home while the rest of us can exercise our constitutional liberties to work and take care of our businesses and children.’”

Lambert Strether: A little odd that Marginal Revolution confuses a Republican candidate with some sort of organic movement (the “bourgeois riot” in Florida 2000 doesn’t count). But how could I have forgotten the Second-and-a-Half Amendment: “My profits being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of a business to infect others, shall not be infringed.”

Inside America’s 2-Decade Failure to Prepare for Coronavirus
[Politico, via Naked Capitalism 4-13-20]

The coronavirus crisis has sounded the death knell for liberal globalisation
[New Statesman, via Naked Capitalism 4-13-20]

“No, Italy Is Not the Case Against Medicare for All” 
[The Nation, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 4-14-20]

“When Covid-19 reached Italian shores, it found a country in the midst of a private-sector transformation that has been turning the country’s single-payer health care system into an Italian version of Biden’s beloved “public option”—and putting millions of people at risk in the process. The callous slashing of public funding undertaken by all Italian administrations since the 1990s and the parallel proliferation of private clinics have left the country with fewer health care personnel and hospital beds, and longer wait times. These cuts, along with similar attacks on public expenditure in education, pensions, and social security, have been coupled with a dramatic restructuring of labor relations that has left a significant portion of the Italian workforce struggling with increasingly precarious forms of employment on one hand, and the threat of unemployment on the other. What does this mean in a time of pandemic? Stripped of paid leave and unemployment benefits and unable to afford missing a day of work, people have been going to work sick. Sound familiar?” • Important. Also, Biden was lying about Italy in the debate. Naturally.

Disrupting mainstream politics

Mass Politics, Not Movementism, Is the Future of the Left
[Jacobin, via Naked Capitalism 4-13-20]The Duty and Responsibility of Left-wing Leaders
Ian Welsh, April 14, 2020

Corbyn is a truly good man, but like a lot of people of his generation, he has an addiction to being nice, confusing it with being good. Being nice to bad actors, to MPs who support cutting the NHS and social welfare and bailing out bankers, isn’t good, it’s evil. They need to be removed from power…. Sanders is also addicted to niceness. He refused to attack Biden on Biden’s terrible record, a record which is at odds with everything that Sanders claims to believe in, supposedly because Biden was his good friend.

This is dereliction of duty. If he had done it because he believed it was the best strategy, fine. It might or might not be. But to put his friendship with Biden against the welfare and even the lives of millions of Americans is a sickening betrayal of principle and of his followers.

And people wonder why we want to destroy the political establishment so bad.
[Twitter, via Naked Capitalism 4-12-20]
Lee Roll of paper Carter @carterforva

You see that “Under 45” bar? Yeah.  Our entire adult lives have been defied by financial crises (plural) that keep hitting us hardest and putting our money in the pockets of billionaires. And people wonder why we want to destroy the political establishment so bad.

What People Power Looks Like in a Pandemic Democracy

Corey Robin [New York Review of Books, via Naked Capitalism 4-14-20]

More recently, we’ve seen a version of this cold war argument mounted against populism, in which commentators see in the gathering of large numbers of people a kind of virus threatening liberal democracy itself. It’s not simply the racism or misogyny of Trump’s rallies that makes writers worry; it’s the style of the rallies themselves, which are often compared to rallies on the left, where no such opinions are to be found. “The fervor of Sanders supporters… at his largest events,” The Washington Post reported recently, “are reminiscent of the mega-rallies Trump held four years ago and has continued to stage as he seeks a second term.” What’s worrisome, in other words, is a mass politics in which elites are denounced, opponents are demonized, institutions are challenged, certain forms of pluralism are questioned, and the rabble is roused—the kind of politics and rhetoric that have often marked movements and leaders of the left, such as Lincoln and abolition, that are now thought to be unimpeachable….

Isolation, it has been pointed out, is a luxury many men and women in the United States cannot now afford and will probably never enjoy. For many in the working class, and some in the professional classes, there is no withdrawal from public spaces to a place of greater safety at home. These men and women are picking lettuce, boxing groceries, delivering packages, driving buses and trains, riding buses and trains, filling prescriptions, operating registers, caring for the elderly, taking care of the sick, burying the dead. Though these disparities understandably arouse a sense of deep unease, and guilt among those who are their beneficiary, there is a dimension to this inequity that has gone overlooked. The state designates these men and women to be “essential workers,” and while that designation has earned those workers little more than a patronizing thanks for their “selflessness” from President Obama, Mayor Bloomberg, and other worthies, the designation is nonetheless a recognition of their potential power right now. Power that some have begun to wield.

Since the pandemic began, there have been a number of stories of workers organizing walk-outs, sick-outs, and pickets in which protesters remain in their cars and honk their horns, eventually bringing out the police. In some instances, these actions have been effective. In New York City, as Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo refused to close the schools, teachers, often acting in advance of their union, threatened to call in sick en masse.

“Suit claims Mecklenburg voting machines could leave voters vulnerable to COVID-19”

[Charlotte Observer, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 4-17-20]

“North Carolina’s NAACP has filed suit against election boards in Mecklenburg County and elsewhere, charging in part that new, touch screen voting machines risk exposing voters to COVID-19. The suit also says the ExpressVotemachines are ‘insecure, unreliable, and unverifiable’ and threaten ‘the integrity of North Carolina’s elections.’ … The lawsuit also points to what it says is the particular risk the machines pose during the current health crisis. ‘Using the ExpressVote is particularly perilous during the COVID-19 pandemic,’ it says. “COVID-19 can be spread to many North Carolinians through contact with the touchscreen computer or other parts of the ExpressVote … using the (machine) will exacerbate the public health crisis and cause longer lines where more voters will be exposed to one another.’ Mecklenburg Elections Director Michael Dickerson said his office is working with the state to ensure that voting is safe. ‘There are ways to clean the equipment and, if you are using a disposable stylus, you can eliminate the human touch of the panels,’ he said. ‘Also, it is not only the voting panels but the check-in stations, poll book tables, entry and exit doors are all concerns that we will have to deal with.”

“How to Vote by Mail in All 50 States” 

[Vice, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 4-14-20]
AOC in New York Times interview:
[New York Times, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 4-15-20]

They floated this olive branch to the progressive left of lowering the Medicare age to 60. And it’s almost insulting. I think Hillary was looking at policies that lowered it to 50. So we’re talking about a “progressive concession” that is 10 years worse than what the nominee had in 2016.

Joe Biden needs to do a lot more if he wants to win over Sanders voters
Nathan Robinson [The Guardian, via DownWith Tyranny! 4-16-20]

“Joe Biden Is the Democratic Nominee. Progressives Are Worried About His Cabinet”

[Mother Jones, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 4-16-20]

….The distaste many on the left have for the former vice president’s candidacy stems from his ties to the banking industry and centrist economists, among other things.

….The Roosevelt Institute, a liberal think tank, had built a bench of 150 candidates for critical economic policy jobs under Clinton…. But progressives were heartened by some of her choices, such as inequality expert Heather Boushey, the chief economist at the left-leaning Washington Center for Equitable Growth….

The Revolving Door Project, a progressive watchdog group that tracks corporate influence, dug into potential appointees it found undesirable based on their connections to business interests….

[Chris Lu, Obama’s deputy secretary of labor] has been in touch with a number of the progressive groups seeking advice on how to have a say in Biden’s appointees. He’s encouraged them to think about positions that touch a lot of decisions, such as those in the Office of Management and Budget and the National Economic Council. He also says they should consider whom they might want named to lower-level positions beyond the Cabinet. “Everyone sort of thinks about the Cabinet—and the Cabinet is important,” Lu says, “but who runs NOAA, for instance, can send an important signal about climate change priorities, and if you want something done on workers’ rights, you need someone at OSHA who gets it.”

….The Revolving Door, led by Jeff Hauser, is working with allied groups to identify people they’d prefer that Biden not appoint to his administration. Among those on Revolving Door’s no-fly list: Larry Fink, chair and CEO of the financial services behemoth BlackRock, who Biden donors floated as a Treasury pick at a recent fundraiser; Erskine Bowles, a former Bill Clinton chief of staff who co-chaired an Obama administration task force that called for cuts in benefits for the elderly, veterans, and government workers; and Jeffrey Zients, Obama’s final director of the National Economic Council who now serves as president of the Cranemere Group, a London-based private equity firm. He’s a bundler for the Biden campaign and, during his White House tenure, Zients had been a proponent of austerity. “I fear he might be this generation’s Robert Rubin,” Hauser says, referring to the finance-friendly Clinton administration Treasury secretary.

“Wall Street Titans Finance Democratic Primary Challenger To Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez”
[The Intercept, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 4-16-20]

“WALL STREET TITANS are financing a direct challenge to firebrand progressive lawmaker Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the New York primary on June 23. Disclosures show that over four dozen finance industry professionals, including several prominent private equity executives and investment bankers, made early donations to Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, a former CNBC contributor who is challenging Ocasio-Cortez. Caruso-Cabrera was a registered Republican until a few years ago and authored a 2010 book advocating for several conservative positions, including an end to Medicare and Social Security, which she called ‘pyramid schemes.’ The donors include Glenn Hutchins, the billionaire co-founder of Silver Lake Partners; James Passin of Firebird Capital; Bruce Schnitzer of Wand Partners; Jeffrey Rosen of Lazard; and Bradley Seaman, managing partner of Parallel49 Equity. The chief executives of Goldman Sachs, PNC Bank, and Virtu Financial, are also among the Caruso-Cabera donors.”

Procedural politics: What just happened with the coronavirus bill?
Don Wolfensberger (fellow at the Woodrow Wilson center and Bipartisan Policy Center, former staff director of the House Rules Committee, and author of Changing Cultures in Congress: From Fair Play to Power Plays.) [The Hill, March 30, 2020]

To begin, the Senate acted first on the stimulus package, notwithstanding the constitutional mandate and House precedents that require revenue and appropriations bills to originate in the House. That requirement was circumvented by the Senate taking up a minor 16-page House-passed tax bill and substituting the bill’s language in its entirely with the 800-plus-page emergency spending measure.

“Breaking the Grip of White Grievance”

[The New Republic, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 4-16-20] .

“With Biden’s success in the primaries, lines are drawn. The presidential election will likely pit the Democratic herald of a younger, more tolerant, multiracial America against a Republican tribune of white fear and grievance.”

The only reason I lifted this is because of Lambert Strether’s laser-sharp comment afterwards: “Or would, if the Democrat Establishment hadn’t thrown Latins and youth (by which is meant under 50 (!)), under the bus on policy. Just a thought, but if the Liberal Democrats had greeted the decline of life expectancy in the heartland with anything other than malign neglect, they might have an easier time on the “grievance” front.” The idea that Biden is a herald of a younger, more tolerant, multiracial America would be laughable if it were not for the fact that it I think probably does represent the thinking, in total contemptuous disregard for reality, of most people actively working to get Biden elected, which means that Trump will sail back into office. 

Stacy Abrams favorite book is…. Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged
[Twitter, via Naked Capitalism 4-18-20]
Abrams is on most lists of probable picks to be Biden’s vice presidential candidate. Ayn Rand?!? Just shoot me now. NO, you do not get to pretend you’re progressive if your favorite author is Russian neo-oligarch libertarian extremest Ayn Rand. 


April 19th US Covid Update


The Mass Delusion of Self-Actualization


  1. Willy

    I mentioned before Rome’s chicken emperor, Honorius. Why bother defending Rome when the personal villa in Ravenna is so much safer?

  2. StewartM

    Leading names on Trump’s economic advisory list:

    Here are 20 of the most notable names on the list:

    Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase

    David Solomon, CEO of Goldman Sachs

    Stephen Schwarzman, CEO of Blackstone

    James Quincey, CEO of Coca-Cola

    Chris Kempczinski, CEO of McDonald’s

    Mike Roman, CEO of 3M

    Daniel O’Day, CEO of Gilead Sciences

    Sheldon Adelson, CEO of Las Vegas Sands

    Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla

    Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon

    Tim Cook, CEO of Apple

    Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook

    John Malone, CEO of Liberty Media

    Adam Silver, NBA commissioner

    Roger Goodell, NFL commissioner

    Vince McMahon, CEO of WWE

    Bob Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots

    Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks

    Condoleezza Rice, former secretary of state

    Steve Forbes, editor-in-chief of Forbes magazine

    Damn, the Prez who was going to ‘make America great again’ has only one notable manufacturer of *actual useful things* on his list of advisors? Maybe he should hear from someone whose company runs manufacturing or services 24/7 and can’t afford to have their workforces gutted by CoVID-19 outbreaks?

  3. Zachary Smith

    I’m glad the “Is America Going to Have a Covid-19 Apocalypse? is referenced again, for my own link belongs with that post.

    + A nation so unequal that three absurdly rich people (Bezos, Buffett, and Gates) possessed as much net worth between them as the bottom half of the country and that the top tenth of the upper 1% has more wealth than the bottom 90%?

    Donald the Danger Clown has been doubling down on authoritarian rule under the cover of the COVID-19 crisis that he helped fan across the land. I went through a number of ways in which his far-right administration has been doing this in my last Weekend Counterpunch essay: an attack on habeas corpus; the denial of public oversight over his giant corporate COVID slush fund; an attack on union rights; an escalated purging of insufficiently loyal administration officials; the holding of regular COVID press-briefings that amount to long authoritarian harangues; an insane suspension of remaining environmental regulations, for example.

    This is no time to have a Clown in charge of the US government. Unfortunately, the Democrats are working very hard to ensure he remains in the White House. Or if he must depart, somebody at least as bad will replace him.

  4. nihil obstet

    My god, these links boil down to Chronicles of Corruption. Every time I think I understand how destructive the American ruling class is, I learn that I’ve been naive. I guess one of the functions of the Sanders campaign was to remind me that it’s possible to work towards a better society.

  5. edmondo

    Good grief! The Massa done gave you $1200 just last month. How much do you people need for your shitty lifestyles anyway?

  6. Z

    Our rulers have a firm belief in their herd immunity, that they are immune from being trampled by the working class violence that’s bound to ensue from the mass economic insecurity and stress in the U.S.. They’re banking on the comforting notion that the victims of the violence will be chosen for their proximity and weakness rather than actual responsibility. That’s been the winning side of the bet so far.

    We’ll see how long that $1200 will last them. Maybe if they start breaking bank windows or something we’ll toss them a few hundred more and give them the ‘tough decisions and deficit’ business. Have our media sing it to them in choral harmony for months on end.


    The Neo-Liberal Times, The Grey Whore herself, has been doing a fine job recently of promoting its brand of means tested empathy and trying to provoke the working class into competing for crumbs. They front paged an article earlier in the week that highlighted that people of color are being hurt the worst. A few days later they ran a front-page article about how women are getting the raw deal because they are more likely to be in jobs that exposes them to the coronavirus due to the percentages of them that work in healthcare or other work with the public. Both of these are true, but the larger issue, of course, is that the working class as a whole has been under an escalating economic attack from our rulers for fifty years. People of color and women are also more likely to be in the working class.

    Today the Neo-Liberal Times, our rulers’ paper of propaganda, gave the deficit scolds front-page space to prepare us for the upcoming “tough budget decisions” that will NEED to be made.


    It’s as tight as a drum out there, that’s my sense living in an overcrowded mid-size U.S. city.

    We’ll see …


  7. Z

    As far as Bernie is concerned, it disgusts me that he is parakeeting the DNC nonsense that “not voting for Biden is irresponsible”. It’s nauseating. He also has disappointed me in a lot of other ways.

    But what I keep coming back to overall about Sanders is that the man expended an incredible amount of energy building a positive working class movement. He endured a lot of attacks and stress, our entire ruling class fought him, and he had a mild heart attack at the age of 77 and he didn’t give up. That’s what I will remember Bernie for.

    So sure, he didn’t win the nomination and in the psychologically brutal U.S. culture of you-either-win-or-be-laughed-at … what you fought for is irrelevant … he’s a loser.

    But to those who call him a sheepdog though, and some even go as far as insinuating that he is basically an agent of the democratic party who purposely herded up the left flank of the electorate for them, do you truly believe that our rulers are happy that Bernie Sanders entered the 2016 and 2020 democratic party presidential primaries? And do you believe that a U..S. working class movement would have been built to this strength without him?

    My belief is no.


  8. capelin

    “But to those who call him a sheepdog though, and some even go as far as insinuating that he is basically an agent of the democratic party who purposely herded up the left flank of the electorate for them, do you truly believe that our rulers are happy that Bernie Sanders entered the 2016 and 2020 democratic party presidential primaries? And do you believe that a U..S. working class movement would have been built to this strength without him?

    My belief is no.


    i think the rulers are very happy.

    the more pertinent question is,

    “what would the energy have built if it hadn’t been – twice – channeled and then tail-spun?”

  9. S Brennan


    This is pathetic:

    “what I keep coming back to overall about Sanders is that the man expended an incredible amount of energy building a positive working class movement”

  10. I am going to ignore the Bernie Bashing Boonedoggle, Z, air effort and finance wasted, dead horse thoroughly flogged, because this is one of those rare occasions where I can only disagree with your first post on one point: Marie Antoinette, and her cohort, had no idea what was coming.

    A few may have made preparations, a few indeed may be taking your gamble, but of those of the point oh-one percent I have the misfortune to be acquainted with most are as lost in la-la land as the hillbilly heroin sniffers. It may not be a ‘couch’ the backseat out of a nineteen sixty-nine Chevy Suburban they’re sprawled drooling Pavlovianly across, but they are none-the-less just as drunk on the Ambien, Prozac, Viagra and bimbo bottle-blonde crotch-shots on Fox Kool-Aid.

    And a clear and present danger to my grandchildrens’ futures.

  11. Eric Anderson

    nihil obstet:
    > “these links boil down to Chronicles of Corruption”

    Stoller is taking some flack on twitter right now, as he occasionally does for some of his opinions. But the link below is a must read in regard to what is really driving the elite’s complete madness right now.

    My comment after reading it sums it up as succinctly as possible:
    “So, 2008, on steroids, during the plague. Good lord.”

  12. Z


    “what would the energy have built if it hadn’t been – twice – channeled and then tail-spun?”

    From where and into what? There wasn’t much cohesiveness to any of it, accept maybe DSA but it’s awful hard to build a working class movement through an organization that is pro open borders.

    You could speculate that an Occupy Wall Street movement might have perked up again. It’s possible, we can’t run it back and see.

    But Bernie was the only viable vehicle to pursue working class interests politically. You could say that it was a waste of energy to pursue politically or that he shouldn’t have done it through the democratic party. Shoot, it’s been affirmed it can’t be pursued through the democratic party. But there was reason to believe it could have been. Trump won. AOC came out of nowhere to beat an entrenched House member. It was a weak field.

    I have no regrets pursuing working class interests politically. I do wish that it had been through a third party movement. I’ve been wanting that since forever ago. Now it’s been proven that it can’t come through the democratic party, and perhaps politically at all.


  13. Z


    Aw, you trying to hurt my feelings?


  14. Z


    i think the rulers are very happy.

    If they’re so happy, why the hell have they’ve spent so much time and energy during the past three years trying to run Donald T out of DC?


  15. capelin

    wherever the energy might have gone, perhaps it wouldn’t have ended up – twice – being urged by it’s great hope to endorse… well you know who.

  16. Z

    I respect Bernie and what he has done, but I’m not going to vote for Biden, or whomever the democrats replace him with, just because Bernie tells me I should. That’s for certain.


  17. capelin

    There was a lot of discontent building up under Bush2, the mal-governance was becoming clear.

    What would that energy have built by now, if it hadn’t fallen for Mr Hopey-Droney?

    The important thing is to repress viable, un-bought political power.

  18. capelin


    Also for certain: You don’t _have anyone else to vote for at this late stage…

  19. Stirling S Newberry

    I will do a curve fit on the next pass

    First Pass

    World 246173
    USA 73199
    Italy 29072
    Spain 25496
    France 24547
    UK 21243
    Belgium 6885
    Iran 6121
    Germany 7122
    China 4683
    Netherlands 5120
    Brazil 3165
    Turkey 5632
    Canada 2668
    Sweden 2154
    Switzerland 1820
    Portugal 1658
    Mexico 933
    Ireland 1338
    Indonesia 847
    India 1269
    Ecuador 870
    Austria 641
    Romania 771
    Philippines 698
    Russia 2568
    Peru 820
    Algeria 435
    Poland 759
    Denmark 505
    Egypt 347
    Japan 706
    S. Korea 352
    Dominican Republic 430
    Hungary 274
    Czechia 452
    Colombia 324
    Pakistan 489
    Israel 653
    Norway 510
    Ukraine 411
    Morocco 260
    Argentina 238
    Chile 413
    Panama 334
    Serbia 394
    Greece 205
    Saudi Arabia 490
    Finland 193
    Bangladesh 205
    Malaysia 194
    Iraq 104
    Slovenia 127
    Luxembourg 215
    Australia 185
    Moldova 164
    South Africa 164
    North Macedonia 99
    Bosnia and Herzegovina 92
    Belarus 258
    Thailand 84
    Croatia 102
    Honduras 66
    Bulgaria 78
    Cameroon 75
    UAE 313
    Estonia 106
    San Marino 57
    Tunisia 77
    Lithuania 89
    Andorra 58
    Burkina Faso 46
    Cuba 71
    Afghanistan 74
    Bolivia 58
    Albania 37
    DRC 38
    Armenia 58
    Lebanon 48
    Nigeria 42
    Channel Islands 40
    Niger 45
    Kazakhstan 85
    Azerbaijan 52
    Kenya 23
    Mali 22
    Diamond Princess 15
    New Zealand 34
    Slovakia 58
    Cyprus 45
    Martinique 15
    Sudan 15
    Singapore 372
    Uruguay 21
    Sint Maarten 12
    Iceland 32
    Ghana 55
    Ivory Coast 37
    Mauritius 14
    Venezuela 15
    Bahamas 11
    Qatar 254
    Paraguay 15
    Guadeloupe 11
    Trinidad and Tobago 12
    Liberia 11
    Kuwait 87
    Bahrain 62
    Oman 65
    Kyrgyzstan 25
    Jordan 13
    Sri Lanka 16
    Guatemala 20
    El Salvador 15
    Tanzania 14
    Somalia 14
    Guyana 9
    Taiwan 16
    Isle of Man 10
    Congo 12
    Uzbekistan 71
    Latvia 37
    Costa Rica 32
    Guinea 29
    Montenegro 17
    Jamaica 13
    Myanmar 9
    Bermuda 7
    Togo 6
    Barbados 7
    Hong Kong 25
    Georgia 18
    Senegal 11
    Mayotte 11
    Palestine 21
    Malta 18
    Ethiopia 7
    Monaco 6
    Zambia 4
    Haiti 5
    Syria 4
    Zimbabwe 4
    Antigua and Barbuda 3
    Djibouti 39
    Aruba 4
    Saint Martin 2
    Angola 2
    Belize 2
    Malawi 2
    Nicaragua 2
    MS Zaandam 2
    Brunei 2
    Gabon 6
    Liechtenstein 2
    Cabo Verde 3
    Cayman Islands 3
    Libya 2
    Benin 1
    Eswatini 1
    Botswana 1
    Curaçao 1
    Turks and Caicos 1
    Gambia 1
    Suriname 1
    Mauritania 1
    British Virgin Islands 1
    Burundi 1
    Réunion 8
    Vietnam 3
    Faeroe Islands 0
    Rwanda 3
    Gibraltar 0
    Cambodia 0
    Madagascar 4
    French Guiana 1
    Equatorial Guinea 3
    French Polynesia 2
    Uganda 1
    Maldives 1
    Guinea-Bissau 2
    Macao 1
    Eritrea 1
    Mozambique 1
    Sierra Leone 1
    Chad 1
    Mongolia 1
    Nepal 1
    Timor-Leste 1

  20. There were a few notable exceptions among lefty and left-leaning alternative news types, to the Russiagate garbage that was embraced/spewed by neoliberal left wing media, for years: Aaron Mate, Glen Greenwald, Jimmy Dore, Matt Taibbi (I think), and one ore two, others. It was also embraced by so-called alternative left wing media (most of which are compromised to hide Deep State shenanigans, I believe. The funding flows of many of them were exposed by, years ago, which you can probably still find in the wayback machine.)

    Where are they now, on Fauci? The Fauci who pooh-poohed hydroxychloroquine, even though a plurality of over 6,000 doctors, in the serma poll, pointed to hydroxychloroquine as “most effective” treatement for covid-19?

    George Webb (who I don’t consider left or left-leaning) has definitely NOT embraced the Russiagate garbage, but has rather been quite busy exposing Deep State/Deep International Criminal Network connections to it. In a very recent installment on his Youtube channel, “Not Fauci’s First NIAID Rodeo, Riding Off with NIH Billions”, he held up a book called “Good Intentions” by Bruce Nussbaum, a “long time Capitol HIll Reporter. Wrote for Newsweek”. Sub-title: “How Big Business and the Medical Establishment Are Corrupting the Fight Against AIDS”

    The book claims that Fauci didn’t even test drugs that were much more promising than AZT (against AIDS), including ALS721. The books starts out with a scene where Fauci is meeting with extremely angry AIDS-connected survivors, and they are pressing him on promising drug alternatives. Fauci LIES, and tells them that they (NIH + NIAID) couldn’t successfully replicate any studies, when, in fact, NONE HAD BEEN DONE on the alternatives.

    He is LYING BY OMISSION, which is the same thing he has done with hydroxychloroquine, when he dismisses accumulating evidence as (merely) anecdotal. What he should have done is educated the public on different meanings of the phrase “anecdotal evidence”, and then addressed the fundamental question of whether the evidence for it’s efficaciousness is strong enough to consider it instructive, in the middle of a pandemic. And not just in his opinion, but in the opinion of front line doctors who are using hydroxychloroquine.

    Macron met with Raoult for over 3 hours, recently, going into this subject, and that’s the sort of thing that Trump should do, publicly, at one of his briefings, instead of telling us all what a wonderful job he’s doing.

  21. It’s, not Here is a version that has the goods:

  22. If you want to snag the last remaining hard copy of Nussbaum’s “Good Intentions”, available on, it’ll only run you $894.00.

    If this is not in your budget, the following has a link to a free .pdf version.

  23. Joan

    @Z: “I respect Bernie and what he has done, but I’m not going to vote for Biden, or whomever the democrats replace him with, just because Bernie tells me I should. That’s for certain.”

    I agree with you here. I’d rather Bernie save his breath campaigning for Biden and instead focus on the issues. I’m not sure he’s actually going to convince a Millennial or Zoomer to vote for Biden.

  24. Zachary Smith

    The UK is in bad shape too, mostly on account of the ‘leadership’ of another World Class Clown.

    Coronavirus: 38 days when Britain sleepwalked into disaster

  25. Z


    I agree with you 100% about Obama.

    Once in office he abdicated all responsibility to the people who voted him in and instead turned over the keys to his biggest sponsors and basically transitioned into their PR Man.

    He had already got what he wanted: the celebrity hood of becoming the first black president.


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