1. cag says

    The time has come to get an extreme right wing loonie (or someone who acts like a RWNJ) running for President so that there is a dilution on the right just as there usually is on the sane side of the spectrum.

  2. says

    Thanks, PZ, for giving this thread new life after it timed out in the middle of the last chapter.

    Link back to a comment in the previous chapter of this thread. Excerpt:

    Michigan currently has the fourth highest number of active COVID-19 cases in the country. One would think that, given this, the federal government would be rushing to its aid to give it the supplies it needs to fight the pandemic. Well, you know, in an alternate universe where the United States hasn’t let that same state go without clean water for practically the last decade.

    And sure! While some of this lack of action may be attributed to good old-fashioned American not-giving-a-fuck, Michigan’s Governor Gretchen Whitmer believes that at least part of it is that Donald Trump is mad at her, in particular, for saying mean things about him. Because not only has the federal government told Michigan it is on its own, but vendors have said that they have been instructed to not send supplies to the state as well. Like, vendors were supposed to send them supplies, and then had to back out of it because they’d been told not to do that. […]

    Whitmer also noted that one hospital in the state got one shipment from the federal government. It consisted of one shift’s worth of medical supplies. Not a day’s worth. A shift’s worth. […]

  3. says

    Oh, FFS. “Facts were contained,” said Larry Kudlow. Nonsense!

    National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow attempted to explain the rationale behind his baseless claim earlier this month that COVID-19 was “contained” during an interview on ABC News Sunday morning.

    After telling ABC News’ Martha Raddatz that he thinks the $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill will give a “tremendous amount of resources” to get the country out of what he hopes will be weeks — not months — of an economic tragedy, Kudlow added that he can’t guarantee that this dire economic situation won’t be long term.

    Raddatz then went on to press Kudlow on his claim earlier this month of the coronavirus being contained despite experts saying it will continue to spread. […]

    “Look, I’m as good as the facts are. At the time I made that statement, the facts were contained,” Kudlow said. “The President had just put the travel restrictions on China, and a lot of people agreed with me. In fact, at the time, a lot of people thought that the flu was worse than this virus.” [Bullshit]

    Kudlow then said that “as soon as the facts changed,” the Trump administration changed its “whole posture” and its “whole strategy.”

    “And we’ve gone full bore, as I said. No package like this has ever passed Congress before,” Kudlow said, referring to the $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill. “And, look, as the President has said, we will do more if need be.” […]


    Video available at the link.

    From Aaron Rupar:

    ABC: You told CNBC a month ago that the coronavirus was “contained.” Why should people trust you?

    LARRY KUDLOW: “Look, I’m as good as the facts are. At the time I made that statement, the facts were — contained … a lot of people agreed with me.” (Experts did not agree w/ him)

    From readers comments:

    The DENIAL of TESTING by @realDonaldTrump to keep “his Numbers LOW” Will go down in history as an act of mass murder.
    Facts are the only thing this administration tries to “contain”
    The facts were available at the time he lied to Americans. They were there. We should have been working to prepare.

  4. forgotmyginkgo says

    Trump has another presser in about 10 minutes. Naturally – the only thing he’s worried about are the ratings (they’re as great as the “final episode of The Bachelor!”) – I honestly think that he believes that the blame for a piss-poor response will be laid at the feet of Democratic Governors. Remember, this is a man who has been open about never taking the blame – it is against his personal code.

    Louisiana and Ohio, however, are helmed by Republican Governors – and at least Mike DeWine (OH) has started to scream.

    With the disease counts in the south bound to have a sharp uptick (you know, once they start testing) – one can only hope that the shine will finally wear off this turd.

  5. forgotmyginkgo says

    Sorry – LA isn’t helmed by a Republican – but it is a deeply red state.

  6. says

    Yesterday Trump offered up one of his signature, pull-it-out-of-my-ass, authoritarian proposals: He wanted to quarantine the New York tri-state area. To make his bullying bluster consistent with his bonkers proposals in the past, Trump even lied about having discussed the idea with the governors of New York and New Jersey. (There’s always a lie, or several lies included.) No such discussion took place.

    This time, Trump’s fuckery got slapped down.

    Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and coronavirus task force member, said […] Trump backed away from his idea to quarantine the New York tri-state area to contain the coronavirus outbreak after “very intensive discussions” at the White House Saturday night.

    On Saturday, Trump floated the idea of quarantining New York, New Jersey and certain parts of Connecticut in an effort to contain the surge of coronavirus cases in the area. Hours later, Trump tweeted that he asked the CDC to issue a “strong” travel advisory instead of a quarantine for the three states. The CDC issued a statement shortly after Trump’s tweet urging residents in the three states against non-essential domestic travel for 14 days.

    […] Fauci said that Trump agreed that it would be better to issue a “strong advisory” because it was important not to enforce something that would “create a bigger difficulty.” […]

    “What you don’t want is people traveling from that area to other areas of the country and inadvertently and innocently infecting other individuals,” Fauci said. “We felt the better way to do this would be an advisory as opposed to a very strict quarantine. And the President agreed, and that’s why he made that determination last night.”

    Later in the interview, Fauci shared a grim outlook when asked about how many cases he believes the U.S. will reach.

    “I mean, looking at what we’re seeing now, I would say between 100,000 and 200,000 cases. But I don’t want to be held to that, because it’s — excuse me — deaths,” Fauci said. “I mean, we’re going to have millions of cases. But I just don’t think that we really need to make a projection, when it’s such a moving target, that you can so easily be wrong and mislead people.”


    More commentary:

    […] After telling reporters at the White House on Saturday about how “some people would like to see New York quarantined because it’s a hot spot,” Trump added that he was considering quarantining New York, New Jersey and certain parts of Connecticut, which would involve travel restrictions. […]

    Trump’s quarantine idea reversal came after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) told CNN Saturday evening that the idea of quarantining his state would be a “federal declaration of war.”

    “It would be chaos and mayhem,” Cuomo said. “It’s totally opposite everything he’s been saying. I don’t think it is plausible. I don’t think it is legal.”


  7. says

    Follow-up, of sorts, to comment 7.

    Meanwhile Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, tweeted this on March 27:

    Hydroxychloroquine has been shown to have a 100% effective rate treating COVID-19

    Yet Democrat Gretchen Whitmer is threatening doctors who prescribe it

    If Trump is for something—Democrats are against it

    They’re okay with people dying if it means opposing Trump.

    That tweet was so full of lies, bullshit, and dangerous advice that Twitter deleted it for violating their terms.

  8. says

    Follow-up to comment 7.

    More commentary:

    […] When asked by Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace about why Trump decided against his tri-state quarantine idea in the end, Mnuchin [Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin] said that although the President “very seriously” considered it, he backed away after the White House coronavirus task force met with Vice President Mike Pence.

    “It was the unanimous decision — the recommendation — of the task force to go forward with the advisory,” Mnuchin said. “The vice president, myself, [incoming chief of staff] Mark Meadows and others met with the President yesterday afternoon and he decided to go forward with the recommendation.”

    […] Mnuchin said. “He spoke to the task force, he spoke to the governors and he was comfortable that people would take this advisory very seriously and would not travel.” […]


    Translation: Even Trump’s lickspittles recognized the quarantine as a truly terrible and ineffective idea, so they ganged up on him to talk him out of it.

  9. says

    The active contempt with which Hair Furor treated urgent warnings of the coming COVID-19 pandemic continues to be revealed. At every point along the timeline, we see that Trump’s response (or lack of appropriate responses) was worse than we imagined.

    […] The Washington Post now reports that on Feb. 5, back when there were few confirmed U.S. coronavirus cases but it was already clear that the pandemic was spreading worldwide, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar asked the administration for $2 billion in emergency funding for the exact supplies now in shortage, including protective masks. Trump refused, cutting the request to $500 million in the eventual budget request.

    But it’s the reason Azar’s request wasn’t taken seriously that’s the most damning.

    According to the Post, the Feb. 5 request devolved into “a shouting match” between Azar and an unnamed Official of Management and Budget official who was angry at Azar in the belief Azar had already “improperly lobbied” Congress for that emergency money. How to best protect Americans from a coming pandemic was, at least for that moment, once again secondary to the Team Trump insistence that officials not undercut Trump’s own message of denial and skepticism; Azar asking for massive new funding to prepare for the pandemic would have conflicted mightily with Trump’s insistence that officials downplay the threat.

    That’s not the only bit of news from the Post; the rest of their story describes the state of the emergency response efforts since, and the deep disparities between what different states are getting, from the national stockpile. The Post reports that Massachusetts has received only 17% of requested supplies, Maine about 5%, and Colorado only enough for “one full day.”

    Florida, headed by reliable Trump sycophant Ron DeSantis and represented by new toadying senator Rick Scott and which still refuses to institute statewide social distancing measures, received all supplies requested—and two subsequent requests as well.

    The overall impact of the Trump team’s incompetence has been catastrophic. A lack of testing allowed the virus to spread unchecked while Trump dismissed expert warnings to prepare. A lack of interest in, evidently, any preparedness efforts, coupled with now-standard Team Trump denials and incompetence, has now contributed to nationwide shortages of vital supplies. Trump’s continued suggestion that social distancing measures will soon be lifted undermines expert warnings for Americans to practice that distancing; Team Trump’s promotion of would-be miracle cures for the virus has already killed at least one American seeking to follow their incompetent advice.


  10. says

    Over 2,300 Americans have died in the COVID-19 pandemic so far.

    And what is on Trump’s mind? His TV ratings:

    Because the “Ratings” of my News Conferences etc. are so high, “Bachelor finale, Monday Night Football type numbers” according to the @nytimes, the Lamestream Media is going CRAZY. “Trump is reaching too many people, we must stop him.” said one lunatic. See you at 5:00 P.M.!

    President Trump is a ratings hit. Since reviving the daily White House briefing Mr. Trump and his coronavirus updates have attracted an average audience of 8.5 million on cable news, roughly the viewership of the season finale of ‘The Bachelor.’ Numbers are continuing to rise…

    I thought about this as I watched the start of his press conference today. Trump began with the usual effusive praise for himself.

    As has been said before, the first part of all of these press briefings is a substitute for the Dear Leader rallies that Trump can no longer hold. He is campaigning. He is continuing to flood the zone with misinformation, lies, and misleading takes on a very serious situation.

  11. says

    California governor: 170 ventilators sent from Trump administration were ‘not working’

    California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said Saturday that 170 ventilators shipped by the federal government to help his state respond to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus were “not working” when they arrived.

    Newsom made the remarks during a press conference in which he noted that the number of coronavirus patients in intensive care units had doubled since Friday, according to the Los Angeles Times.

    Newsom said that the stockpile of ventilators had been sent to Los Angeles County by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). He noted that a company called Bloom Energy was fixing the equipment.

    “Rather than lamenting about it, rather than complaining about it, rather than pointing fingers, rather than generating headlines in order to generate more stress and anxiety, we got a car and a truck,” Newsom said after touring Bloom Energy’s ventilator refurbishing site in Sunnyvale, Calif.

    “We had those 170 brought here to this facility at 8 a.m. this morning, and they are quite literally working on those ventilators right now.” […]


  12. says

    Russia claims it has covid-19 under control. The facade is cracking.

    <a href=”>Washington Post link

    With most of Europe and the United States shutting down to slow the coronavirus pandemic’s advance, it was surprising in recent weeks to hear that Russia had apparently dodged covid-19 almost entirely. Maps of the outbreak drew a suspiciously tidy ring around the largest nation on Earth, as if Russian dictator Vladimir Putin had simply banned the virus like he has free speech and opposition candidates.

    […] Russia’s risk factors include a health-care system that is creaky at best outside of the affluent city centers; countless international travelers; a large migrant labor force; and a 2,600-mile border with China, where the virus originated. While covid-19 was filling European hospitals, Russia was still filling soccer stadiums with fans and, in one case, the opening ceremony of a chess event in a theater with more than a thousand people.

    Yet the official Kremlin line, parroted to varying degrees by every Russian news outlet, was that rapid testing and travel restrictions had turned the country into a citadel. Reports on Russia’s success were also spread by the international media with only marginally greater skepticism […]

    The Kremlin could fudge the coronavirus numbers, tout its response on state-run media and censor social media posts exposing a mounting crisis, but ultimately — just as China discovered — the government could not spin a relentless virus.

    In the past few days, the Russian facade has begun to crack. Reports of overloaded hospitals are emerging, Moscow’s mayor said the official numbers were wrong, and Putin made one of his ritual photo-ops at a hospital in full protective gear, finally acknowledging the crisis. If the Trump administration’s example is anything to go by, months of ignoring and distorting reality will almost certainly make the consequences in Russia far worse.

    It is remarkable that anyone ever took Russia’s coronavirus numbers at face value. Like most dictatorships, Putin’s regime lies constantly, even when it doesn’t have to. Authoritarian regimes are obsessed with information control, especially when there is news that could make them look weak. No appearance of vulnerability can be permitted, otherwise the people might start getting dangerous ideas. […]

    More at the link, including this:

    […] The artificially low coronavirus numbers kept Russia off most flight ban and mandatory quarantine lists as the pandemic spread, with hundreds of flights going in and out of the country. […]

  13. says

    @8 Lynna, OM
    Please tell me there’s a screen grab of that out there somewhere.
    Even for the Trump cartel that’s unbelievably irresponsible. FFS the lies are literally killing people now. This has to stop.

  14. says

    On the non-coronavirus front: ABC reports that although Biden now polls as the frontrunning Democrat, he has the lowest enthusiasm among his supporters (25% versus 57% for Trump supporters) recorded since they began tracking the statistic, …and no candidate who had enthusiasm measured that low has won.

    Please, folks, Biden has not actually got the nomination yet. He doesn’t have the necessary delegate count. Can he please lose the rest of the primaries, so we have a chance at a sane government?

  15. says

    Ray @14, here is one link:

    It looks like Rudy Giuliani was retweeting something from Charlie Kirk. PZ is correct. I should have noted that earlier.

    Here are other examples of a Charlie Kirk’s tweets, (it figures that Giuliani follows this guy and retweets him — both bonkers:

    Since the beginning of the China Virus outbreak—the Trump administration has completed 40 miles of Wall

    If Joe Biden were in charge he would be tearing down 40 miles of wall

    Border security is health security

    I’m glad we have a president who takes that seriously
    Any government—state or local who uses this foreign virus as an excuse to violate our rights should face serious legal consequences

    If Americans can’t gather in ecclesia—SOCIALLY DISTANCED—for Easter, lawsuits should follow!

  16. says

    During his press conference today,Trump announced that he is extending the Coronavirus Task Force’s guidelines for social distancing in place through the end of April. That’s a significant shift from less than a week ago, when he said he hoped the country could be “opened up” by Easter Sunday, on April 12.

    “Nothing would be worse than declaring victory before the war is won,” Trump said in his remarks on Sunday. “That would be the greatest loss of all.”

    Trump does not want to be a “war time president” that loses the war.

    […] with those guidelines set to expire on Tuesday, Trump faced pressure from health experts to extend them or risk seeing a heightened death toll.

    [Trump] predicted that the U.S. would likely hit its peak death rate from the virus in two weeks — around when he had once hoped to begin reopening the country. He went on to suggest the country would be “well on our way to recovery” by June 1. […]

    Trump’s abrupt shift comes as confirmed cases and deaths from the virus have been climbing rapidly in recent days. The U.S. has far surpassed Italy and China to record the highest number of cases of any country in the world, with more than 137,000 confirmed infections as of Sunday evening. More than 2,400 Americans have died from the virus. […]

    Trump rejected [today] that publicly setting the Easter timeline was a mistake, calling it “aspirational.”

    “No, that was aspirational,” he said. “We had an aspiration of Easter, but when you hear these kinds of numbers and you hear the potential travesty, we don’t want to do anything where — we don’t want to have a spike up.”

    Trump later expressed grievances about the adverse impact on the economy but asserted that a total of 2.2 million people would have died in the United States if his administration hadn’t taken the action that it had. […]

    Trump also said that he would call on Congress to come back to session if states did not quickly supply workers who lost their jobs with unemployment checks so they can resolve the issue. He raised concerns that state unemployment offices might not be able to quickly process claims jacked up by the stimulus measure.

    Trump’s Easter Sunday goal, which he mentioned during a Fox News town hall on March 24, appeared increasingly unrealistic over the past several days as the number of U.S. cases escalated. […]

    “I certainly want to get it open as soon as possible. I don’t want it to be long, but we also want it to open safe. Otherwise, what did we do?”

    The administration is working to ramp up testing in an effort to potentially ease restrictions on certain parts of the country sooner than others.

    Trump said in a letter to governors last week that his administration was collecting data to classify certain counties as low risk, medium risk or high risk for the coronavirus, which would allow the federal government to issue tailored guidelines on what kinds of social distancing measures are needed. […]

    Sunday’s announcement makes clear that even with advances in testing and contact tracing the administration will not begin to relax the guidelines for at least another month. Trump said he considered leaving the door open to loosening restrictions in certain areas, but that his own health officials indicated it was not practical.

    “They said, ‘we don’t like that idea,’” Trump said of Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx, the two most prominent health experts on the coronavirus task force. “And we could do it, but I don’t think it would be good.”

    Trump has previously identified the farm belt — Iowa, Nebraska and Idaho in particular — as states with relatively low numbers of infections that he believes could go back to work relatively soon.


  17. says

    In the previous chapter of this thread, we discussed the fact that Liberty University, an evangelical Christian institution, had decided to reopen after Spring Break, and to invite students to return to campus.

    Jerry Falwell Jr made the decision to re-open Liberty University doors to students amid a worsening pandemic. Unfortunately, but not unpredictably, some of the students are falling ill. Much of the rhetoric from Falwell about his decision to reopen the University involves playing the victim where those concerned about the wisdom of continuing this year’s classes at the campus are simply dismissed as anti-conservative and not genuinely concerned about public health.

    […] Liberty University has a 2 billion dollar endowment. And the nastiness over refunds [to students] seems to indicate (to me) that money was at the root of reopening.

    […] Mr. Falwell initially said only international students or those with nowhere else to go would remain. Then he welcomed back a much larger group of about 1,900 students to campus housing last week, in addition to faculty members and staff. Others returned to off-campus rentals in Lynchburg.

    Students who remained at home had to return last week to clean out their rooms, a requirement that was later relaxed. Faculty members were at first ordered back to campus, even though they would be teaching online. Then some were allowed to work from home. Mr. Falwell also waffled on whether the school would issue refunds to students who did not return for the semester, before announcing on Friday that most would receive a $1,000 credit for next year’s bills.

    Mr. Falwell and his administration have worked to tamp down dissent. After a Liberty undergraduate, Calum Best, wrote on his personal Facebook page that students should receive refunds, he said Liberty’s spokesman, Scott Lamb, called his cellphone to berate him. Asked about the call, Mr. Lamb said he was simply objecting to an error in the post, and Mr. Best was “spinning.”

    After Marybeth Davis Baggett, a professor, wrote an open letterasking the university’s board of trustees to close the campus, Mr. Falwell mocked her on Twitter as “the ‘Baggett’ lady.”

    Jeff Brittain, a Liberty parent, wrote on Twitter: “I’m as right wing as they get, bud. But as a parent of three of your students, I think this is crazy, irresponsible and seems like a money grab.” Mr. Falwell replied, calling him a “dummy.”

  18. says

    Trump spreads lies, attacks healthcare workers in unhinged pandemic press briefing

    […] Trump’s daily pandemic campaign rallies have been the sources of countless lies and bizarre asides, but today’s effort, moved to the Rose Garden in belated effort to more closely adhere to social distancing guidelines, is unhinged.

    In stream of consciousness ramblings, Trump publicly suggested the continued shortage of masks in the nation’s hospitals might be because healthcare workers are making off with them “out the back door”; accused, without evidence, hospitals of “hoarding” ventilators; repeated the lie that the U.S. military was out of ammunition, before he arrived; etc. He is lying about all of it, straight-up.

    The man remains unfit, incompetent, and a direct danger to the public. […]

    From Aaron Rupar:

    “How do you go from 10 to 20 to 30,000, to 300,000 — even though this is different. Something is going on. And you ought to look into it as reporters. Where are the masks going?” — Trump suggests that there is some sort of New York nurse conspiracy to steal masks.
    “There is something going on. I don’t know if it is hoarding. It is maybe worse than hoarding” — Trump again suggests that de Blasio, Cuomo and New York nurses are somehow conspiring to make unreasonable demands on the federal government for masks and ventilators.
    In an effort to shift blame to Obama, Trump claims the federal shortage of medical gear he inherited is like his made up story about how the military was out of ammunition before he took office.

  19. says

    From Daniel Dale:

    Trump says that if he’d heeded advice to just “ride” the virus and not do anything — “Just ride it. Ride it like a cowboy. Ride that sucker right through” — there could’ve been 2.2 million deaths.

    Trump says Fauci and Birx have become “big stars.”

    Trump after another series of false claims: “We’re getting the word out. We’re getting the accurate word out.”

    Trump just now: *I* don’t call unappreciative governors, but Pence does, and I don’t tell Pence not to.

    Trump Friday: “I say, ‘Mike, don’t call the governor of Washington. You’re wasting your time with him. Don’t call the woman in Michigan.'”

    Trump is now falsely denying that he said his comments about not calling governors who don’t treat you right, then he says, “I don’t call. But Mike Pence calls. And the head of FEMA calls.” He then says he’s never told Pence not to, though he’s said he HAS said that to Pence.

    Trump says it’s common sense that prolonged closures and economic damage cause depression and other problems, such as “drugs used like people have never used them before.” […]

    Trump asked about Florida getting all of its requested supplies: “Florida has been taken care of, and Michigan has been taken care of.” Pressed on why Florida has succeeded more than some other states, he says, “They’re very aggressive in trying to get things.” […]

    Trump now says himself that we had “no ammunition.” That was never true.

    Trump says GM is “doing a fantastic job” and we don’t need to worry about them anymore. […]

    .@yamiche accurately recites Trump’s claim on Hannity that he doesn’t believe New York needs all the ventilators Cuomo said they did. Trump, who regularly attacks her, falsely says he didn’t, harangues her for being negative, inaccurate, and…”threatening”?

    In other words, Trump accused a reporter of being “threatening” for calmly asking a question based on something he said.

    Trump seems to be calling ventilators “generators,” repeatedly.

    Asked why he publicly threatened a quarantine for the NY NJ CT yesterday, Trump says he didn’t do that, he just said he was going to look at it. “I didn’t threaten it. I don’t go around threatening.” He questions the Bloomberg reporter’s integrity.

    Trump, reframing the crisis, says he’s now seen a study that shows 2.2 million people could’ve died if they did nothing, so “if we can hold that down to 100,000…maybe even less,” it’d show they did a “good job.”

    Trump has come a long way from the 15-cases-but-we’re-going-down-to-zero. He’s now saying that keeping this to 100,000 US deaths would be evidence that he has been successful.

    Trump repeats his Sir story about how a general told him “sir,” we have no ammunition. (There were reported shortages of certain types of munitions because of the intense anti-ISIS campaign, but the US never had no ammunition.) […]

    Trump continuing to be vague and evidenceless on New York and masks: “There’s something going on. I don’t think it’s hoarding,” he says, but it’s “worse than hoarding.” He’s saying that he has heard some bad stories from a source he doesn’t name.

    Trump claims that after this is over, the US will have learned so much that “something like this can never hurt us to the extent it has, and the world, again.”

    Trump claims: “We can expect that be June 1, we will be well on our way to recovery…a lot of great things will be happening.” […]

    Trump says the virus has hit 151 countries. He said somebody, who he doesn’t name, told him that “they didn’t know that we had that many countries.”

    Trump: “There’s a question as to hoarding of ventilators.” He claims some hospital chains are refusing to surrender them because they think there might be a problem “a week down the road,” which he says they can’t do.

    Trump suggests, providing no evidence, that there is something nefarious going on with New York’s use of a large number of masks: “Something’s going on, and you oughtta look into it. Where are the masks going? Are they going out the back door?” […]

    More at the link.

  20. says

    Other coronavirus news:

    Earlier in the day Anthony S. Fauci said the United States could record 100,000 to 200,000 deaths and millions of infections, according to current but rapidly evolving projections. And Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House task force, offered a grim assessment: “No state, no metro area, will be spared.”

    Louisiana’s governor warned that his state’s health system is at risk of being overwhelmed with patients in a matter of days. New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) said he believes his state’s death toll would eventually reach the “thousands.”

    In New York City, workers spent the weekend constructing an emergency field hospital in Central Park.

    Italy reported a slight decline in deaths on Sunday, with 756 dead in the past 24 hours, raising the country’s total to 10,799. War-ravaged Syria reported its first death. There are more than 33,000 covid-related fatalities worldwide.

    Nigeria’s capital city, Abuja, and its commercial center, Lagos, are shutting down for two weeks in an effort to contain the coronavirus.

    Washington Post link

    The governor of the state of Kansas just issued a “stay at home” order.

  21. says

    Trump says the virus has hit 151 countries. He said somebody, who he doesn’t name, told him that “they didn’t know that we had that many countries.”

    Is he citing himself, from a while back? I seem to remember that line.

  22. daved says

    Given that Russian prisons are one of the major breeding grounds for multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis, the idea that the Russians managed to contain COVID-19 from the git-go is patently ridiculous. No doubt their numbers are as bogus as Iran’s, and both countries are going to be seeing massive numbers of cases (and deaths). This is both tragic and unsurprising. Now Trump will be able to point to both countries and announce that they’re doing even worse than we are (under his bungling leadership).

  23. Akira MacKenzie says

    @ 26

    Ah… Let’s see how the “Vote Blue
    no Matter What” crowd, especially the ones here on Pharyngula, betrays the MeTo
    Movement and women because only Rapist Joe can defeat Rapist Trump.

    Let’s see you get out of this one.

  24. logicalcat says


    He’s already won. In order to pull off a Sanders victory now would be a miracle considering how behind he is. Progressives need a hard look on ourselves in how to move forward, because Sanders aint gonna cut it. At least not in his current form. He doesn’t know how to campaign well and surrounds himself with people who have stupid campaign ideas. His strategy was actually to appeal to the bare minimum of his base, refusing to build a coalition, burning bridges along the way, and straight up refuse to talk to the very people he needs votes from. The establishment won because they have a plethora of candidates to choose from and when those didn’t work the other candidates could rally behind the popular one. After Sanders burned that bridge with Warren, all he had was himself. And its clear that himself is not going to cut it. Especially when you dont do what you need to do to win.

  25. logicalcat says


    Vote blue no matter who wouldn’t matter if us progressives actually gave a shit about the process and voted our guy in. This is on us. Never forget. Most of us are more concerned with appearing antiestablishmentarian than actually changing things. Bernie Sanders had stupid ideas for campaigning. Listened to the wrong people, and make dumb ass mistakes. Do not forget that. We are too busy pointing our fucking fingers at the “establishment” to see how dumb we are when it comes to managing things. This is why I stopped interacting with progressives despite still voting as one.

    When Biden eventually loses to Trump, I have zero doubt the “progressives” will gloat on how Biden was a bad idea all the while blind to their own hypocrisy that Sanders, maybe, was not a great idea either.

  26. logicalcat says

    And a third thing, I suppose it never occurred to you, that vote blue no matter who, also applied to them? If Sanders won, it was vote blue no matter who as well. That’s the point.

  27. says

    What happened is that the dem Establishment threw the election willfully by consolidating behind an unelectable candidate credibly accused of at least one rape, because it was afraid of losing their trough.

    Warren burned that bridge, not the other way about. Her campaign, and much of her fan base are a testament to white, especially white female, fragility, as they clustered around a walking racefail who surrounded herself with the some of the worst idiots in the whole party.

  28. says

    @32 Captain Jeep-Eep

    Just out of curiosity when was Biden accused of rape? I’m assuming that’s who you’re talking about. Sexual assault I can believe but I haven’t heard anything along the lines of rape. As the victim of both I know there is a difference. Especially when the law is involved.

    Keep in mind, I am 100% certain DJT has raped multiple women (some of them under age) and assaulted almost as many women as Weinstain. (misspelling deliberate). And if Biden did rape someone, I want to know about it. So where’s your proof?

  29. Akira MacKenzie says

    @ logicalcat

    Yeah, yeah, I am just a hypnotized Bernie Bro voting for one man rather than an socio-political ideology that humanity desperately needs to establish before capitalism kills us all. Whatever.

    You have fun voting for a rapist, you misogynistic hypocrite. Just don’t let me catch you marching around wearing any pussy hats.

  30. Akira MacKenzie says

    Ray Ceeya @ 33

    Oh! Now we’re going to quibble over the difference between “sexual assault” or “rape?” What’s next? Are you going to question the sanity or political motivations of Biden’s accuser just like the Right did to Ms. Hill or Ms. Ford?

  31. consciousness razor says

    Just out of curiosity when was Biden accused of rape? I’m assuming that’s who you’re talking about. Sexual assault I can believe but I haven’t heard anything along the lines of rape. As the victim of both I know there is a difference. Especially when the law is involved.

    The Vox link in #26 describes it as “pushing her against a wall and penetrating her with his fingers.”

    As for your phrase “especially when the law is involved,” voters don’t have to worry only about what the law says. Many politicians have ended campaigns and resigned from office for much less.

    Keep in mind, I am 100% certain DJT has raped multiple women (some of them under age) and assaulted almost as many women as Weinstain. (misspelling deliberate).

    What is supposed to be the purpose of keeping Trump in mind? Trump has not been and will not be on any ballots for the Democratic primaries. If you were considering whether to vote for Trump in your state’s primary, you will need to get a Republican ballot for that.

    Also, since you brought up Weinstein, consider that Anita Dunn is one of Biden’s top advisor’s in his campaign. She consulted for Weinstein pro bono after the allegations about him came out. It would be one thing to say he has a right to a defense like anyone else, but it’s a totally different thing to treat that wealthy asshole like a fucking charity case. It’s not so surprising when I think about it. That’s disaster capitalism at its core: those in power always get treated like a charity case by the others in power.

    And if Biden did rape someone, I want to know about it. So where’s your proof?

    Do you really though? There’s that Vox article, the intercept article, the Halper interview, the Rising interview, and so forth. If you wanted to know about it, you could know about it. You wouldn’t need to ask an obscure commenter on a blog to do yet more work to make you see what’s already out there to see.

  32. says


    “Vote Blue No Matter Who” is irrelevant. The Democratic Party cannot win the election through Democratic turnout. They can only win by convincing Independents to vote Democratic. Among Independents who lean Democratic, Sanders polls extremely well, Biden polls so badly that some of them say they will vote for Trump instead. Party loyalty won’t help Biden win in the general.

    From another perspective: old people overwhelmingly favor Trump. They favor him not just over Sanders but over Biden as well, and the older a demographic is, the more it favors Trump. The only way Democrats can win is by getting young people to vote. Sanders is vastly more popular than Biden with young people, to the point where he has been beating Biden by 50+ points among young voters in the state primaries. By nominating Biden, the party is giving itself an enormous handicap in the general — getting young people to turn out is difficult, but getting them to turn out for a candidate they don’t like is nigh-impossible.

    Far from being “more electable”, Biden is going to lose. All the statistical signs are against him, barring perhaps coronavirus suddenly becoming much more deadly and killing everybody over the age of 60.

    (It’s also worth noting that the very people who constantly parrot “Blue No Matter Who” are the DNC types. In 2008, they’re the ones who voted for McCain in the general because Obama beat Hillary Clinton at roughly twice the rate that anybody claims “Bernie Bros” voted for Trump in 2016. “Blue No Matter Who” is just another attempt to con people into supporting the latest ѕhіt sandwich of a candidate, a man who has — at one point or another in his career — worked against every principle most Democrats claim to think is important, and who is constantly lying about his past (remember when he was arrested trying to see Mandela? No? You’re not alone, because it didn’t happen, any more than Biden marching for Civil Rights) and about policy (he says we can’t afford Medicare for All, but is apparently just fine with throwing $30 trillion at the stock market to prop up the 1%). Even without a rape accusation, the man is the kind of scum you find on the bottom of your shoes after walking through a dark and smelly alleyway.

  33. KG says

    Akira McKenzie@28, 34,
    It’s quite clear you are much more invested in showing that you are right than in anything to do with the welfare of others or the protection of the environment: “Let’s see you get out of this one.”, “You have fun voting for a rapist, you misogynistic hypocrite. Just don’t let me catch you marching around wearing any pussy hats.”

    The Vicar@37

    The only way Democrats can win is by getting young people to vote. Sanders is vastly more popular than Biden with young people, to the point where he has been beating Biden by 50+ points among young voters in the state primaries.

    And yet, he has failed to persuade them to come out and vote for him in sufficient numbers to hold his early lead. What reason is there to think he could do so in the general?

    By nominating Biden, the party is giving itself an enormous handicap in the general

    Who do you mean by “the party”? This is a question I have posed repeatedly, and unless I’ve somehow missed it, you never answer. Biden is well on the way to winning the nomination on the first ballot because more people are voting for him than for Sanders.

  34. says

    The Chotiner interview with Richard Epstein linked @ #27 above is jawdropping. Epstein has no idea what he’s talking about. Just none whatsoever. It’s incredible.

  35. says

    @KG Because the voting is held in a way that it’s often a choice between voting and keeping your damn job, boomer.

    And the dem primary system has only created a winning candidate twice in my lifespan, and only one won on his own merit, the other just won because someone split the rightwing vote. So this isn’t the own you think it is.

  36. lotharloo says

    From the link posted by ksiondag:

    Reports of “creepy” behavior by Biden, like standing too close to women for photo opportunities, have circulated for years, treated by some as little more than a joke. But those reports received more serious attention after Lucy Flores, a former candidate for lieutenant governor of Nevada, wrote in a March 2019 essay at The Cut that Biden had kissed her on the back of the head at a campaign event in 2014.

    “I couldn’t move and I couldn’t say anything,” Flores wrote. “I wanted nothing more than to get Biden away from me.”

    After that, other women spoke out to report similar experiences. Amy Lappos, for example, said that at a 2009 fundraiser, Biden touched her face and rubbed noses with her.

    Reade says that in 1993, when she was in her 20s and working for Biden, another staffer asked her to bring him a gym bag at the US Capitol. When she did, she says, he pushed her up against a wall in a secluded area, began kissing her, and reached under her skirt to penetrate her with his fingers. After she pulled away, she says he responded with something along the lines of, “Come on, man, I heard you liked me.” Reade said Biden also said something that sticks with her today: “You’re nothing to me.”

  37. lotharloo says

    You don’t owe Democrats or this fucker Biden your vote. It’s fine if you decide to suck it and vote for him and it’s also find if you decide not to and stay home. It’s your vote, it’s your right and anyone who tells you otherwise can just fuck off.

  38. KG says

    Captain Jeep-Eep@42,

    When you resort to stupid ageist stereotyping, it just demonstrates that you know as well as I do that your claims are crap. Go on, numpty, provide some actual evidence that the difficulties in voting (which I don’t deny are real) account for Sanders’ failure to get enough young people to vote for him to stay ahead. I really wish it wasn’t so, his early victories made me hopeful he would gain the nomination, but pretending he would have done so if it weren’t for problems in getting to the polls is just pathetic, given the margins by which Biden is winning many states.

  39. KG says

    Captain Jeep-Eep@42,

    As for your second paragraph, what the fuck are you on about? What do you think I think is an “own” of who?

  40. says

    Boomer is a mindset, and you have it in spades.

    I’m saying that for my gen, especially the fucking people most likely to vote for Bernie, we won’t keep our damn job if we stay away like that, dipshit. My gen won’t, and shouldn’t vote for the delaware dem that sentenced us to debit servitude for an education.

    And the fact that Bernie, the guy who polls bests period against Trump not getting past the dem primary system has more to do with the media and the fact that the Dem primary system is objectively broken and poor at choosing electable candidates.

  41. says

    G liveblog:

    Sweeping new powers to fight the coronavirus outbreak with an open-ended mandate have been secured by Hungary’s Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, after parliament passed a law submitted by his government with a strong majority of the ruling Fidesz party.

    Orban, who has gradually increased his power during a decade in power, had asked for an extension of a state of emergency that would give his nationalist government the right to pass decrees to handle the coronavirus crisis.

    The legislation has triggered criticism by the Hungarian opposition, human rights groups and the Council of Europe, Europe’s main rights forum, as it contains no clear timeframe….

  42. says

    Reuters – “Brazil’s Bolsonaro questions coronavirus deaths, says ‘sorry, some will die'”:

    Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro on Friday cast doubt on Sao Paulo’s death toll from the coronavirus outbreak and accused the state governor of manipulating the numbers for political ends, without giving evidence for his claims.

    Bolsonaro’s accusations were the latest broadside in an ugly battle with Brazil’s governors, who have chafed at the president’s view that protecting the economy takes priority over social distancing measures to combat the spread of the highly contagious virus.

    Following the advice of public health experts, the vast majority of the country’s 26 governors have banned non-essential commercial activities and public services to contain the outbreak in their states.

    “I’m sorry, some people will die, they will die, that’s life,” Bolsonaro said in a television interview on Friday night. “You can’t stop a car factory because of traffic deaths.”

    Bolsonaro said that in the state of Sao Paulo, Brazil’s economic powerhouse, the death toll seemed “too large.” Sao Paulo has the most cases and deaths so far of coronavirus in Brazil, at 1,223 cases and 68 deaths.

    “We need to look at what is happening there, this cannot be a numbers game to favor political interests,” Bolsonaro said.

    Earlier on Friday, Sao Paulo Governor Joao Doria, a former Bolsonaro ally who many expect to be a rival in the 2022 presidential election, accused Bolsonaro of promoting “disinformation” by launching a TV ad campaign criticizing the restrictions, featuring the slogan “#BrazilCannotStop.”

    The slogan is similar to a campaign in Milan before deaths in Italy soared.

    Bolsonaro’s popularity has slipped during the crisis, and many people across Brazil bang pots and pans in their windows nightly in protest at his handling of it.

    In counterprotests on Friday, Bolsonaro supporters drove honking caravans through major cities to oppose the lockdowns, sharing social media videos with the #BrazilCannotStop hashtag.

    The TV advertisement, shared on social media by Bolsonaro allies including his son, Senator Flavio Bolsonaro, was commissioned by the president’s office at a cost of 4.9 million reais ($1 million) without consulting the Health Ministry, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

    “For the neighborhood salesmen, for the shop owners in city centers, for domestic employees, for millions of Brazilians, Brazil cannot stop,” said the ad, which shows scenes of crowded classrooms and street markets.

    The slogan is similar to #MilanWillNotStop, which became popular in northern Italy in February. Italy went on to become a global epicenter of the outbreak, with more deaths than China.

    The mayor of Milan, Beppe Sala, has said he regrets sharing the hashtag.

    “Many have referred to that video with a hashtag #MilanWillNotStop. It was a video which went viral on the internet. Everyone was sharing it, I also shared it, rightly or wrongly, probably wrongly,” Sala said in a television interview.

    A Health Ministry official told reporters the ministry would not comment on Bolsonaro and that guidelines recommending social distancing remained the same.

  43. blf says

    Follow-up to SC@54, Also in Brazil, Bolsonaro threatens to sack health minister over coronavirus criticism:

    Brazilian president [sic] warns Luiz Henrique Mandetta not to speak out against him in public

    Jair Bolsonaro has reportedly told his health minister he will sack him if he dares criticise his handling of the coronavirus crisis.

    According to a report in the Estado de São Paulo newspaper, the Brazilian president’s [sic] warning came during a top-level meeting on Saturday […].

    The health minister, Luiz Henrique Mandetta, reportedly informed Brazil’s far-right leader he would have no choice but to publicly criticise him if he insisted on going out in public despite warnings to stay indoors.

    “Bolsonaro replied that, if he did so, he would fire him,” the conservative newspaper reported, citing anonymous sources.


  44. wzrd1 says

    On slightly better news, the USNS Comfort is scheduled to arrive in NYC today.

    “The Comfort will arrive in New York on March 30, and will begin treating patients the next day. It will handle trauma cases and other emergencies, allowing civilian hospitals to devote more resources to COVID-19 patients.”

    But, one can observe that there is no mention of ventilators. California got some, every one that was received from the federal government was broken. Locally, the units were transported to a repair center that was rapidly examined, contracted and had emergency service of the broken lifesaving machines rapidly brought into an operational condition.

    Other odd news, a howto on how to connect four patients to one ventilator. Infection risk was dismissed, as all would have COVID-19 infection and how the volume would match to four patients wasn’t really mentioned.

    Current count from Johns Hopkins:
    741,030 infected, 35,097 dead, 156,652 recovered.
    143,532 infected, 2,572 dead, 4,865 recovered. Totally contained and locked up – on Bizarroworld.
    Unless I miss my educated guess, Louisiana, Florida and Texas (if they ever get an honest case count there) will blow past California and join the big people’s shit supper table, likely within the next 30 – 36 hours, given the rate of increase and I’d not be surprised to see it get there in under 24 hours like the last time I predicted that number.

  45. Akira MacKenzie says

    @ KG and logicalcat:

    Oh no! You don’t get to pull that guilt-trip shit on me! You don’t spend decades lecturing us about the systemic oppression of women, the pay gap, sexual assault from Republicans and the rich, and other feminist issues, AND THEN EXPECT ME TO VOTE FOR SOMEONE WHO SEXUALLY ASSAULTS A WOMAN BECAUSE HE’S ON “OUR TEAM!”

    You know, the Right is right about one thing: The Left are a bunch of hypocrites in that you spin grand utopian theories of peace, equality, and plenty, but in practice, you’re more than willing to throw one disenfranchised group to the wolves just to keep playing your already stalemated game of political chess. To save the world from the Pussy Grabber, we’re going to have to elect another pussy grabber, just one who claims to be slightly better on snail darters and food stamps? In that case, your alleged morality means NOTHING to you. Your own high minded principles mean NOTHING to you.

    Fuck that, and fuck you both, hypocrites.

  46. blf says

    A few snippets from Churchgoers all over world ignore physical distancing advice:

    Services from Moscow to Rio go ahead as clerics disregard coronavirus risk


    Dozens of parishioners, many of them elderly, crowded into Kazan Cathedral in St Petersburg to receive communion. Earlier this month, the cathedral came under fire for continuing to exhibit a relic of John the Baptist despite fears that visitors kissing the exhibit could hasten the spread of coronavirus.

    In virus-hit Louisiana, hundreds of worshippers attended services on Sunday, flouting a ban on large gatherings. An estimated 500 people of all ages filed inside the Life Tabernacle church in Central, a city of nearly 29,000 outside Baton Rouge.


    Last Sunday, the day after Romania had been put into a strict lockdown, footage emerged from the city of Cluj of priests using a shared spoon. In Georgia, while the church has told worshippers not to spend long periods of time in churches and not to come if ill, it has rejected calls to abandon the reusing of spoons, claiming that as communion is a holy ceremony it is not possible to get ill during it.

    The Greek orthodox cult took a similar position several weeks ago, but finally caved in and have a slightly more sensible approach. An admittedly quick search suggests there are still some absurdities. The Grauniad article being excerpted does not seem to mention this cult.

    In Brazil, the president [sic], Jair Bolsonaro […] included churches in a list of “public services and essential activities” essential for the “survival, health and safety” of the population […].

    Two days after Bolsonaro’s pronouncement, a judge in Rio de Janeiro state suspended his decree. Cathedrals in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro are now closed. […]

  47. says

    Reuters – “Special Report: Five days of worship that set a virus time bomb in France”:

    From the stage of an evangelical superchurch, the leader of the gospel choir kicked off an evening of prayer and preaching: “We’re going to celebrate the Lord! Are you feeling the joy tonight?”

    “Yes!” shouted the hundreds gathered at the Christian Open Door church on Feb. 18. Some of them had traveled thousands of miles to take part in the week-long gathering in Mulhouse, a city of 100,000 on France’s borders with Germany and Switzerland.

    For many members of this globe-spanning flock, the annual celebration is the high point of the church calendar.

    This time, someone in the congregation was carrying the coronavirus.

    The prayer meeting kicked off the biggest cluster of COVID-19 in France – one of northern Europe’s hardest-hit countries – to date, local government said. Around 2,500 confirmed cases have been linked to it. Worshippers at the church have unwittingly taken the disease caused by the virus home to the West African state of Burkina Faso, to the Mediterranean island of Corsica, to Guyana in Latin America, to Switzerland, to a French nuclear power plant, and into the workshops of one of Europe’s biggest automakers.

    Weeks later, Germany partially closed its border with France, suspending a free-movement pact that has been in place for the past 25 years. The church cluster was a key factor, two people familiar with the German decision told Reuters. Church officials told Reuters that 17 members of the congregation have since died of complications linked to the disease.

    Other religious gatherings have been linked to the spread of the virus: A large church in South Korea has triggered more than 5,000 cases there. This story, told to Reuters by members of the Christian Open Door congregation and officials involved in coping with the outbreak, is testament to the speed and ferocity of the coronavirus infection. As public health administrators were still gearing up for coronavirus, the disease was operating to its own, remorseless timetable – one that has quickly outpaced anything they could put in place….

  48. blf says

    I see a number of people — some of whom should know better — are engaging in an insultatron and also troll-baiting. This is unfortunate, since it, in my opinion, ruins the usefulness of this long-running series of threads. As I have no intent to read such spewing, nor any desire to risk the possibility of either being drawn into the barfing or to be construed as supporting the thread’s hijacking, I will not be contributing to this series of threads for the foreseeable future.

  49. says


    Between what Biden did at the border, to my generation, and to women, from this outsider’s perspective, the only option is to simply flip the table and not vote, because if we let the dems feed the world the Animal Farm Ending, we’ve already all lost as it is.

  50. KG says

    Boomer is a mindset, and you have it in spades. Captain Jeep-Eep@50

    Oh, right. So it means: “One who prefers not to tell themselves comforting lies”. In that case, I’m proud to be a boomer, and I know plenty of boomers in their 20s.

    I’m saying that for my gen, especially the fucking people most likely to vote for Bernie, we won’t keep our damn job if we stay away like that, dipshit.

    So you don’t have any actual evidence for your claim that this accounts for Sanders’ failure to get enough young people out to vote for him. I thought not.

    And the fact that Bernie, the guy who polls bests period against Trump not getting past the dem primary system has more to do with the media and the fact that the Dem primary system is objectively broken and poor at choosing electable candidates.

    And nothing to do with the fact that more people are voting for Biden. I see, I see.

  51. says

    I already told you, shitbag.

    And Biden is largely coming from the suburbs, folks that will go trump. I know the people who are in my age group, and I know election folks. Some towns had only one fucking machine, and it takes either money or just a fucktonne of time to que up like that. My gen has to work to fucking live, fuckstain.

    Again, who comes out to vote in the dem primary is poorly representative of the electorate as a whole. This is not rocket science, this is empirically obvious from the last 30 years.

  52. says

    And you’re crowing about the victory of a rapist.

    “The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”

  53. KG says

    You don’t get to pull that guilt-trip shit on me! – Akira McKenzie@57

    I suggest you reread your #28 and #34, as well as #57, then take a glance in the mirror.


    I haven’t told you or anyone else to vote for Biden, even hypothetically, since this rape accusation came out. As a non-American, I won’t be faced with the dilemma of whether to do so or not if the choice is between him and Trump. In this thread, I have only been concerned to get the Self-Righteous Brothers to face up to the reality that Sanders is not winning because too few people are voting for him, and that this can’t be shrugged off as wholly or mainly due to the Democratic Party establishment.

  54. says

    The dems are literally penalizing states trying to quarantine right now, and did everything to stampede their own boomers out, and did a co-ordinated dropout maneuver.

    This is perfectly on them, as is what is to come.

  55. KG says

    And you’re crowing about the victory of a rapist. – Captain Jeep-Eep@64

    A barefaced lie, of course. If you dispute this, point to anywhere I have shown the slightest sign of wanting Biden to win the nomination, rather than of facing up to the reality that he almost certainly will.

    Many of the states that Biden has won, allow for early andor absentee voting. So I find it difficult to take seriously your cliam that huge numbers of young people were keen to vote for Sanders but just couldn’t manage it without risking their jobs. If you have evidence to the contrary, I’m ready to hear it. But I’m pretty sure you don’t, or you would have presented it already.

  56. KG says

    Again, who comes out to vote in the dem primary is poorly representative of the electorate as a whole. This is not rocket science, this is empirically obvious from the last 30 years. – Captain Jeep-Eep@65

    I don’t doubt you’re right, if only because most of them are presumably habitual Democratic voters (I know some primaries are open, but I doubt that means the proportion of Democratic voters is the same as in the electorate as a whole). But to refute my point, you need evidence that this is because most of those who could vote but don’t (a) would have voted for Sanders if they had voted and (b) didn’t vote because they would have risked losing their jobs if they had. So far, you haven’t even tried, being more interested in flinging insults and outright lies.

  57. says

    Biden should drop out, and the Democrats have an open convention.
    And unless they vote I’ve got to wonder if young white people are as concerned or as liberal as some claim.

  58. KG says


    He should never have dropped in! But I fear he’ll only drop out if a slew of similar accusations emerge. As we’ve seen in past cases, that frequently happens. Of course, he could also die of Covid-19. As could Sanders. Or Trump. Or indeed, all three. One way or another, this is above all the coronavirus election, which makes it highly unpredictable.

  59. Pierce R. Butler says

    Could y’all flame warriors cool it, or at least present some solid analyses as to why Sanders failed/is failing?

  60. says

    From text quoted by SC @ 59:

    The prayer meeting kicked off the biggest cluster of COVID-19 in France – one of northern Europe’s hardest-hit countries – to date, local government said. Around 2,500 confirmed cases have been linked to it.

    Holy crap! That’s a lot of cases of infection. Horrifying.

    17 members of the congregation have since died of complications linked to the disease.

    That’s seriously bad news.

    blf @60:

    I see a number of people — some of whom should know better — are engaging in an insultatron and also troll-baiting. This is unfortunate, since it, in my opinion, ruins the usefulness of this long-running series of threads. As I have no intent to read such spewing, nor any desire to risk the possibility of either being drawn into the barfing or to be construed as supporting the thread’s hijacking, I will not be contributing to this series of threads for the foreseeable future.

    I agree, with one exception. I would prefer that you continue to contribute. I value your comments. For now, please just ignore (as best you can) the insults flying back and forth, and the troll-baiting.


  61. says

    Some of the comments to which blf objected in comment 60 mimic or unwittingly repeat Russian efforts to depress the vote in the USA. (See comment 61 for an example.) Encouraging people not to vote improves Trump’s chances of winning. This tactic was also used in 2016. Don’t fall for it. Don’t perpetuate it.

  62. says

    blf @ #60, Counterpoint: The more you ignore them and comment here, the sooner this thread will drop off the sidebar and the Captain Jeep-Eeps and the like will forget about it and go back to fucking up the other political threads.


  63. KG says

    Could y’all flame warriors cool it, or at least present some solid analyses as to why Sanders failed/is failing? – Pierce R. Butler@73

    i’m afraid the most likely explanation is that there simply isn’t the deep and widespread hunger for progressive policies that Sanders needed in the American electorate. If there was, none of the real obstacles to voting, or machinations of the DNC, would have been sufficient to stop him. As to why there isn’t that hunger, given the desperate need to reverse the vast concentrations of wealth and power and headlong plunge toward envionmental catastrophe of the past few decades – that’s a deep question of political sociology. To what extent it’s “I’m alright, Jack” – despite his best efforts, Trump has not yet caused an economic crash – to what extent it’s “I’m so fucking busy keeping my head above water I haven’t time to think about anything else”, and to what extent it’s down to the domination of public and media space by the very rich, big business, and their lackeys, I can’t say, although I think all are significant factors.

  64. says

    A discussion of how members of team Trump routinely praise the Dear Leader:

    At an event in Virginia over the weekend, Donald Trump and Defense Secretary Mark Esper were on hand for the departure of the USNS Comfort, a massive floating hospital. Before the president spoke, however, the Pentagon chief was careful to thank his boss for his “bold leadership,” which Esper said is “uniting the American people.”

    It amazes me that members of team Trump can perform like that without laughing or smirking. And there is so much repetition of stock phrases.

    The unfortunate flattery wasn’t altogether surprising. As the crisis has taken shape, every leading official in the administration has gone to awkward lengths to pepper their remarks with over-the-top gratitude for the president who’s in constant search for praise.

    As the New York Times reported the other day, Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House’s coronavirus response coordinator, is going along with the script.

    Dr. Birx, who has built a well of bipartisan admiration in her years as a health official, has more recently accommodated herself to the political winds with the kind of presidential flattery that Mr. Trump demands from aides. “He has been so attentive to the details and the data, and his ability to analyze and integrate data has been a real benefit during these discussions about medical issues,” she gushed in an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network on Wednesday.

    Dr. Birx’s unfortunate lapse into praise-Hair-Furor mode was already mentioned in the previous chapter of this thread, but I thought it deserved to be highlighted again.

    As part of the same interview with TV preacher Pat Robertson’s network, Birx added that the president “understands the importance of the granularity.”

    Like fucking hell.

    Part of me is sympathetic. Birx and her team are no doubt eager to do important work in a time of a deadly crisis. They’re also eager to maintain a degree of influence with the president — who, after all, will be responsible for making most of the key decisions in the fight to address the coronavirus pandemic.

    It’s likely that Birx expected Trump to see the interview, which led her to peddle implausible praise about his capacity for expert data analysis, all as part of an effort to stay in his good graces so she could help steer him in responsible directions.


    I think Birx was trying to use public praise to push Trump into actually paying attention to the data. The only time I’ve seen that work is when the whole gang comes down on Trump hard, (see comment 9), and even then it doesn’t always work. In this case, the whole gang was also following up on a phone call from Lindsey Graham in which Graham told Trump that people would hold him responsible for coronavirus deaths.

  65. consciousness razor says

    Go on, numpty, provide some actual evidence that the difficulties in voting (which I don’t deny are real) account for Sanders’ failure to get enough young people to vote for him to stay ahead.

    Since you don’t deny their reality, you’re denying their ability to account for it. Why don’t they account for it? Do you think that the math just doesn’t add up somehow? Here’s a chart from the US census bureau, election years 1980-2016

    Biden only has a lead for the age groups represented by the top two lines (ages 45-64 and 65+), which as the chart shows have turnout in the 65-75% range. They are an especially large cohort, as the term “baby boom” itself indicates. Primaries/caucuses consistently get lower turnout than general elections, but you’ll see similar results in the exit poll data over the years.

    It’s easy to understand why people vote more when they are retirement age (65+). Those in the 45-64 range also tend to be in a situation that’s more conducive to voting. There are a variety of reasons for it: because over the years they had moved into management positions, they have more established relationships with management, they are better able to afford a few hours less work to spend on voting, they’ll be paid for that time anyway so don’t need to sacrifice any pay, they won’t lose their jobs for it, and so forth.

    It’s also worth noting that inequality in the US has been steadily increasing over the past several decades, which if anything magnifies these effects. Younger citizens now have a smaller share of the wealth than younger citizens then (image from Washington Post).

    As long as not everyone can take time off work to vote as easily as everyone else, what we have is effectively a poll tax, despite the fact that this is prohibited by the 24th amendment.

  66. says

    Update to #s 51, 75, and previous:


    Hungarian Parliament passes bill that gives PM Orbán unlimited power & proclaims:

    – State of emergency w/o time limit
    – Rule by decree
    – Parliament suspended
    – No elections
    – Spreading fake news + rumors: up to 5 yrs in prison
    – Leaving quarantine: up to 8 yrs in prison


    former Italian prime minister calls for Hungary to reverse its dictatorship law or else be expelled from the EU

    Tweet from Matteo Renzi at the link.

  67. says

    KG @78, see the Twitter thread to which SC linked in comment 62 for confirmation that many people are actually in the ““I’m so fucking busy keeping my head above water I haven’t time to think about anything else”, as you said. That was true before the coronavirus pandemic, and its even more true now.

    Here’s an excerpt, (though one really needs to read the whole thread to get the import):

    […] 11. After some gentle pressure, Paula admitted to me she’s now down to one meal a day because she wants to save food/money for her kids and her parents. She told me it was a “big meal,” but I know she was just trying to make me feel better.

    Paula has done everything right in her life by every definition…she’s worked hard, she’s paid taxes, and she’s been kind to others. […]

  68. says

    consciousness razor @80, I wonder if the coronavirus pandemic will actually change that situation to some degree at least. Democrats in Congress are pushing for vote-by-mail, extensions of early voting periods, and other changes that will allow all people to vote without standing in line.

    I expect to see big changes in how Americans vote by this November’s election.

  69. says

    Trump openly admitting if we made voting easier in America, Republicans wouldn’t win elections

    Trump: ‘The things they had in there were crazy. They had levels of voting, that if you ever agreed to it you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again’.”

    Video atl. Even in the image of him Fox is using he looks like a sleazy conman.

  70. says

    Campaign tidbits:

    * Though Donald Trump’s approval rating has inched higher in recent weeks, the latest national Fox News poll found Joe Biden with a nine-point lead over Donald Trump, 49% to 40%. In the most competitive counties, the poll found the former vice president with an even larger advantage. […]

    * On a related note, Politico reported over the weekend that Biden’s campaign team is “mounting an aggressive behind-the-scenes effort to address the biggest weakness of his candidacy: A lack of enthusiasm among the liberal base, particularly young voters.” [Yep. They’d better be worried about that.]

    * NBC News reported over the weekend on the coronavirus pandemic making voter registration far more difficult, “prompting concerns that many young Americans and other nonvoters might miss their chance to get onto the rolls before November.” [I hope Stacey Abrams and her team are paying close attention to that.]

    * New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced Saturday that his state’s primary elections have been pushed back from April 28 to June 23.

    * West Virginia is moving forward with plans to send applications for absentee voting to each of the state’s registered voters. [Good plan.]

    * And in New Hampshire, Republican Senate hopeful Donald Bolduc vowed not to fundraise off the coronavirus crisis. According to a HuffPost report, the same day he made the promise, Bolduc sent a message to supporters blasting Democrats on coronavirus relief legislation, and the email included a link to donate to his campaign.


  71. says

    Well, this is a typical and an expected move from Trump: As the number of fatalities climbs, Trump moves the goalposts

    “On Feb. 26, Trump said the number of coronavirus cases would be “going to be down to close to zero” within days. A lot has happened over the last 33 days.”

    Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House Coronavirus Task Force coordinator, reportedly briefed Donald Trump yesterday on competing pandemic models, including a worst-case scenario: if the United States did nothing to try to curtail the spread of the coronavirus, up to 2.2 million fatalities could be expected.

    A Washington Post report noted, “The prospect of 2 million deaths seemed to stick with Trump because he repeated the statistic 16 times at Sunday’s news conference.”

    It’s worth pausing to ask why it took the president so long to acknowledge the figure. After all, numbers like these are not altogether new — and many were pointing to related tallies last week when Trump talked publicly about abandoning mitigation efforts by Easter.

    But this also appears to have led Trump to move the goalposts to a new location.

    The NIH’s Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN yesterday that he believes the coronavirus could kill 100,000 to 200,000 Americans. Birx used a similar figure this morning with NBC News, pointing to the possibility of up to 200,000 U.S. deaths, even “if we do things almost perfectly.”

    It’s against this backdrop that the president seemed to set a new standard for success yesterday.

    “And so, if we can hold that down, as we’re saying, to 100,000 — that’s a horrible number — maybe even less, but to 100,000; so we have between 100- and 200,000 — we all, together, have done a very good job.” [Yep, goalpost moved!]

    On Feb. 26, Trump told the public, “[W]hen you have 15 people, and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero, that’s a pretty good job we’ve done.”

    A lot has happened over the last 33 days.

  72. says

    Follow-up to comment 20.

    After nearly 2,000 students flooded back to Liberty University fresh off of spring break, the school’s president Jerry Falwell is mounting a one-man stand against the governor, local officials and The New York Times.

    The doctor who runs Liberty University’s student health service, Dr. Thomas Eppes, told the New York Times that already at least 12 students were displaying symptoms of the virus. The paper reported that three of them were sent to a local hospital for testing, while another eight were urged to self-isolate.

    Falwell, a staunch ally of […] Trump, has dismissed the coronavirus pandemic and accused the media of trying to “fan it up” to destroy the economy, and thus injure Trump’s presidency.

    Falwell bashed the Times’ reporting as “false” and “misleading” in a statement, saying that Eppes denied ever providing such information, and that the school isn’t aware of any on-campus students displaying symptoms, much less being tested. [Bullshit]

    […] Sounding much like the President he so ardently supports, Falwell said that “such media conduct contributes to the public’s record low approval ratings for news media and earns the label ‘fake news.’”

    […] Falwell also continued his crusade against government officials, both state and local, some of whom have denounced his decision as “reckless.”

    He claims that Gov. Ralph Northam (D), along with Lynchburg Mayor Treney Tweedy and City Manager Bonnie Svrcek “thanked” him for alerting them to his post-spring break plan.

    “Both the City and the Governor’s office thanked Liberty for this announcement but later each reversed course and sought to criticize it after reading erroneous news stories and opinion articles,” he said.

    Tweedy said last week that she was not aware of Falwell’s “reckless” decision to welcome students back to the dorms, only that he was moving most classes online. Northam’s office told TPM that he was “concerned” after hearing reports of Falwell’s decision, and that staffers contacted Liberty’s president directly.

    As of Monday morning, Virginia has 1,020 cases of the virus — over three times the number the state’s public health department reported six days ago.

    TPM link

    Liberty University is an evangelical Christian institution.

  73. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    You know, the irony here is that those engaging in the flame war are actually very much on the same side. All of us would like to see a government more attentive to the needs of those currently being crushed.
    Joe Biden was not the first choice of any of us. And I think all of us would rather see Sanders than Joe, whether or not Sanders was our first pick.

    I do not know what to make of the most recent allegations against Biden. I am certainly open to listening to them. They are disturbing. However, we have already seen many instances where similar allegations have been made in this campaign that turned out to be baseless. At the very least, I want to make sure that Jacob Wohl and his ilk are in no way associated.

    If I believe the allegations, would it keep me from voting for the Dem nominee, no matter who it is? Probably not, because I know with 100% certainty that the only viable alternative–Darth Cheeto–is worse. Ferchrissake, he now has us debating whether 200000 deaths represents a success!

    I don’t have to like my leaders. I do have to pick the ones that damage the republic the least. As Bill Clinton said, “Only in America could they expect the man who shinnies to the top of the greasiest pole in the country to emerge with clean hands.”

  74. consciousness razor says


    Democrats in Congress are pushing for vote-by-mail, extensions of early voting periods, and other changes that will allow all people to vote without standing in line.

    That’s possible, and that would be a good thing for Democrats in general (since they do better when turnout is higher).

    Since KG has been convinced by past data for the primaries/caucuses we’ve already held, when these changes obviously haven’t happened yet, I take it that you’re also implying such results don’t paint an accurate picture of the general election. (They never do, but this is another factor to consider beyond the normal ones.)

    There’s also the fact that Biden has had sizable leads in many states which will almost certainly not swing “blue” in November. So if the Dems who voted for him in the primaries aren’t likely to support Sanders as opposed to Trump — already a dubious claim, because they so consistently turn out and they’re often the loudest proponents of “blue no matter who” — they’re unlikely to help Biden in the general election even if he is the nominee. They are still just plain swamped by the Republican voters in those states (who of course aren’t involved in the Dem primaries).

  75. Pierce R. Butler says

    KG @ # 78: … there simply isn’t the deep and widespread hunger for progressive policies that Sanders needed in the American electorate.

    That’s certainly a big part of the problem – and a big part of that comes from sustained media policies of denigration and distraction. Voter suppression also plays a major role, particularly in the people-of-color electorates (which white Democrats generally continue to ignore).

    That said, we still have a serious gap between talk and action in the under-40 demographic, which (mostly) simply sat on its hands. Here in Florida, co-epicenter with Georgia of US vote suppression, we still had a weeks-long array of early/absentee voting possibilities (I know because I helped publicize them) such that even the working-three-jobs or stoned-slacker cohorts, with even a modicum of sincere effort, could have managed to fill in the Bernie bubble on the ballot.

    Apparently turnout in that sector did go up, but not by much, definitely not by enough; Trump Chump turnout came on strong as ever. I have yet to see adequate explanations of why, just repetitions of accusations and excuse-making (see above in this thread).

    Note that all I ask here is a post-mortem (even while the Sanders campaign is still breathing, though pretty much hopeless unless Biden stops breathing). I wish I could beg for a viable way forward, but I might as well ask for a miracle from the mighty paws of Ceiling Cat.

  76. says

    Another, possible, small silver lining:

    Citing “unprecedented threats” to their safety due to the coronavirus crisis, U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee on Saturday urged the Trump administration to “make continuous efforts” to release thousands of unaccompanied migrant children from Office of Refugee Resettlement facilities. The New York Times reported that “In her ruling on Saturday, the judge declined to order an immediate release of all the detained children, given current travel restrictions and the need to ensure that children are released to suitable sponsors, most often family members.”

    “She said, however, that both of the agencies operating migrant children detention facilities must by April 6 provide an accounting of their efforts to release those in custody.” Peter Schey, an attorney in ongoing litigation against the Trump administration, told The Times that “Her order will undoubtedly speed up releases.” And these are releases that need to come as soon as safely possible—last week the administration confirmed that at least three kids in U.S. custody have so far tested positive for coronavirus, with results pending for at least another 15 children. […]


  77. KG says

    consciousness razor@80,

    Thanks for that chart. I’m not denying – never have, as you can confirm for yourself – that differential turnout across age-groups accounts for Biden being ahead. What I’m denying is that young people having to choose between voting and their job accounts for it, which is Captain Jeep-Eep’s claim. As I noted, many of the states Biden is winning allow early andor absentee voting, which makes it much less plausible that young people just can’t vote without losing their jobs. The age differential applies in the UK too, where polls are generally open from 7a.m. to 10p.m. and a postal vote is available to anyone who asks for one. The same seems to be true for many EU countries, although to varying extents (I can’t find a useful summary across multiple countries, but
    is one covering the UK, France and Germany). Young people may be more likely to go on demonstrations or sign petitions or take direct action, but the proportions doing so at any age are much lower. So it looks as though a much more general explanation is required.

  78. says

    “This Feels Like a Death Sentence”: Rikers Jail Inmates Speak Out As Coronavirus Cases Spread

    Busted sewer pipes, crowded dorms, and no hand sanitizer—the “anxiety level is extreme.”

    Inside a maximum-security building at the Rikers Island jail complex, Haleen, a 28-year-old man incarcerated on a parole violation, wishes he had an inhaler. At one point this week, the coronavirus was spreading through the New York City jail more than 85 times faster than the average rate of infection in the United States, according to one estimate. Haleen has asthma, which makes him especially vulnerable if he gets sick. Another guy in his unit was taken to isolation after running a high fever. “I’m praying I don’t catch it,” Haleen told me in a phone call Wednesday from the rec room, where about 20 men were watching television.

    “You have officers walking around with masks—one came in today with a shower cap and a face shield and gloves, everything short of a hazmat suit,” Donald, another incarcerated man at Rikers, told me. (Attorneys for both men requested that I not publish their last names.) “And you know, we’re here with nothing.”

    For weeks, the coronavirus spared US prisons and jails even as it spread through nearby cities. But that has quickly changed, and Rikers Island is at the epicenter. A week ago, on March 20, corrections officials said just one inmate at Rikers had tested positive for COVID-19; as of March 27, at least 103 inmates at New York City jails had the disease, most of them at Rikers. Public health experts are rightly concerned: People in jail are more likely to have other preexisting health conditions, putting them at higher risk for mortality from the virus. And outbreaks inside the complex will likely boomerang into the broader community, which, in New York City’s case, is already reeling from infections.

    Making matters worse, inmates report a shortage of the cleaning supplies and even soap necessary to stem the spread of the virus, as many sleep in crowded, dorm-style housing units and share bathrooms, according to interviews with several people incarcerated at Rikers and their attorneys, as well as lawsuits filed by public defenders. Conditions appear to be rapidly deteriorating as jail officials impose lockdowns, delay meal schedules, and reduce access to mental health care while scrambling to deal with the pandemic. […]

    More at the link.

  79. KG says

    Voter suppression also plays a major role, particularly in the people-of-color electorates (which white Democrats generally continue to ignore). – Peirce R. Butler@92

    Of course voter suppression is important (and outrageous), but as far as the current Democratic primaries are concerned, while Sanders is doing well among Hispanics, Biden is getting a majority of black voters.

  80. says

    Interesting changes in AOC’s approach to leadership:

    […] Over the past few weeks, Ocasio-Cortez has also chided Sanders supporters for online harassment and delivered soft critiques of Sanders and some of his allies for being too “conflict-based.” The moves have drawn surprise praise from some moderate and veteran Democrats.

    “The Democratic Party is the party of coalitions, not a cult,” said James Carville, a top strategist for Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign and vocal critic of Sanders during the primary. “I’ve observed her. I think she’s really talented, that she’s really smart. Maybe she is — I don’t speak for her — coming to the conclusion that she wants to be part of the coalition.”

    Neera Tanden, president of the liberal think tank Center for American Progress and a longtime Hillary Clinton aide, called Ocasio-Cortez’s shift “a sign of leadership.”

    “There are some people on the left who thought that their views represented a strong majority, and the primary process has shown that voters diverged, that Sanders is winning a minority and smaller minority than he had four years ago,” Tanden said.

    Instead of supporting Justice Democrats’ full slate of incumbent challengers, Ocasio-Cortez launched her own PAC earlier this year that’s been more focused on electing progressives in Republican-held or open seats. […]


    More at the link.

  81. KG says

    Since KG has been convinced by past data for the primaries/caucuses we’ve already held – consciousness razor@91

    What exactly is it you think I’m convince of? It’s not that Biden would be more likely to beat Trump than Sanders would. As far as that’s concerned, I don’t know – and nor does anyone else. I did question The Vicar’s certainty that Sanders would do better, as it was in part based on the idea that he would get young voters to turn out , which he has not been able to do sufficiently to win most of the primaries.

  82. says


    An official from the Formula One team Red Bull pitched a training camp with the goal of exposing drivers to the coronavirus so they could build immunity and later races this year could go on as scheduled.

    Motorsport adviser Helmut Marko said his idea for drivers to be infected to build immunity and recover before scheduled races was denied by the team, Austrian public broadcaster ORF reported Sunday, according to The Associated Press.

    “We have four Formula One drivers, we have eight or 10 juniors and the idea was to hold a camp where we could bridge this rather dead time mentally and physically,” Marko told ORF.

    It is unclear if he was referring to Red Bull’s two drivers and two reserves, or two drivers from the sister team Alpha Tauri.

    “And then it would be ideal, because these are all young, strong men in really good health, if the infection comes then,” he continued. “Then they would be equipped, if it starts up again, for a really hard world championship.”

    He told the broadcaster that his proposal “was not accepted positively” within Red Bull and was put aside.

    Asked about his own risk to the virus, the 76-year-old acknowledged he is in the at-risk age range, but said, “I’m not frightened. I respect it.” […]


  83. says

    Follow-up to comments 20 and 89.

    From Wonkette:

    Over the past few weeks, pretty much every institution of higher learning in America started to realize dorms and college campuses are really effective incubators for worldwide plagues, and canceled their classes at least until the end of the year. Meanwhile, Jerry Falwell Jr.’s Liberty University, which is … not an institution of higher learning, not really … decided it would be fine to let kids come back to campus, and require professors to do so. […]

    You’ll never guess what happened next, it is the twist you never saw coming. The doctor who runs the health department at Liberty, Thomas Eppes, told Falwell that they couldn’t control coronavirus, but didn’t say not to bring the little Bible-spouting disease vectors back. “I just am not going to be so presumptuous as to say, ‘This is what you should do and this is what you shouldn’t do,'” Eppes told the New York Times.

    And because Jerry Falwell Jr. is not a smart man, he was unable to come to the obvious and correct decision on his own. And then the murders began, etc.

    As of Friday, Dr. Eppes said, nearly a dozen Liberty students were sick with symptoms that suggested Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus. Three were referred to local hospital centers for testing. An additional eight were told to self-isolate.

    As of 8 p.m. on March 29, of those three students tested, one was positive, one was negative and one student’s results are still pending, according to Dr. Eppes, who added that the student who tested positive for Covid-19 lives off campus.

    Well that is a shock, we for one are shocked. As we know with the bunglefucked American response to coronavirus, the real numbers are likely much higher, because the real numbers are much higher everywhere, because our testing record is, again, bunglefucked.

    Don’t worry, Falwell is doing something about it too late after the fact, and says Bible-spouting disease vectors who come back to Liberty have to self-quarantine for two weeks.

    Of the 1,900 students who initially returned last week to campus, Mr. Falwell said more than 800 had left. But he said he had “no idea” how many students had returned to off-campus housing.

    “If I were them, I’d be more nervous,” he added, because they live in more crowded conditions.

    Yeah, if we were literally anybody in Lynchburg, Virginia, or the surrounding areas, we’d be nervous about Liberty being close to us, in general, and even more so now that it’s a breeding ground for the plague. The city of Lynchburg, for the record, is pissed.

    And apparently so are some people on campus:

    “I’m not allowed to talk to you because I’m an employee here,” one student on campus wrote in an email. But, he pleaded, “we need help to go home.”

    And Falwell is reacting like a grown-up man-child in love with an authoritarian shitheel conman president, because that is who Falwell is:

    After a Liberty undergraduate, Calum Best, wrote on his personal Facebook page that students should receive refunds, he said Liberty’s spokesman, Scott Lamb, called his cellphone to berate him. […]

    After Marybeth Davis Baggett, a professor, wrote an open letter asking the university’s board of trustees to close the campus, Mr. Falwell mocked her on Twitter as “the ‘Baggett’ lady.”

    Jeff Brittain, a Liberty parent, wrote on Twitter: “I’m as right wing as they get, bud. But as a parent of three of your students, I think this is crazy, irresponsible and seems like a money grab.” Mr. Falwell replied, calling him a “dummy.” […]


  84. says

    The recently passed economic rescue bill does include some Republican priorities that are definitely of questionable benefit for most Americans:

    […] Here are some of the provisions Republicans made sure were in the bill. This is not a comprehensive list, just a sampling:

    A windfall for real estate investors allowing them “to use losses generated by real estate to minimize their taxes on profits from things like investments in the stock market. The estimated cost of the change over 10 years is $170 billion,” according to the New York Times. [a windfall for Trump?]

    $17 billion in loans for “businesses critical to maintaining national security,” a provision seemingly targeted solely at Boeing.

    $25 billion in grants and $25 billion in loans for the airline industry.

    A series of regulatory changes sought by the banking industry.

    A tweak to the tax code, retroactive to 2018, allowing certain retailers to more quickly write off expenses they incurred upgrading their properties.

    A series of other tax changes that in many cases take concessions business made in exchange for lower tax rates in Trump’s 2017 tax cut and eliminate them for a period of years. As one budget expert said to me, “corporations and pass-through owners are having their cake from [the 2017 tax cut] and eating it too.”

    A gift to for-profit colleges: They’ll be able to keep loan money for students who drop out due to the coronavirus. [WTF? Betsy DeVos must be so happy, as are her donors.]

    Help for manufacturers of “innovative” sunscreen technology.

    A six-month extension of funding for abstinence-only education. [OMFG]

    An expansion of the services that health savings accounts, which mostly benefit wealthier people, can pay for.

    A provision allowing many hotel chains to access the $350 billion in loans intended for small businesses if their individual hotels employ fewer than 500 workers each. Unlike the loans in the fund intended for large businesses, many of these loans will not have to be repaid if the money is used mostly to keep workers on the payroll. This could allow large firms with the ability to successfully navigate the program to scoop up a significant portion of this fund, potentially pushing aside actual small businesses. […]

    Washington Post link

    More at the link.

  85. says

    Republican state and local officials realize the truth: Trump is hampering fight against coronavirus

    As the first reports of a deadly and horrendously infective respiratory virus ravaging China emerged in January, some state and local emergency coordinators around the country galvanized. And some listened to Donald Trump and—tragically—believed him. […]

    frustration and confusion caused by the mixed messages from federal government […] how dangerous Trump’s unfettered access to the airwaves is to public health and safety.

    In Texas, Kyle Coleman—an emergency management coordinator in Bexar County, which is home to San Antonio—began to inventory the county’s personal protective gear in early January despite what he was hearing from Trump: that “we have it totally under control.” Coleman told the Post: “You would read one story one day, and then you get another story the next day, and it wasn’t the same message coming out. […] But it kind of looked like it was bad, so we started ordering supplies.” He thought they had enough. They didn’t.

    And then on Feb. 29, while Trump was telling the nation there was “no reason to panic at all,” the CDC mistakenly released an infected woman who had been evacuated from Wuhan out of quarantine from the Texas Center for Infectious Disease. She “had been dropped off at a Holiday Inn near the San Antonio airport and headed to a mall where she shopped at Dillard’s, Talbots and Swarovski and ate in the food court.”

    As soon as Coleman found out, he called his boss, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, who immediately contacted the CDC for a statement, for guidance, for anything. “They were like quiet little mouses [sic],” Wolff said. “They were all scared to talk because I think they felt they were going to get in trouble with the president of the United States because he was saying there was not a problem.” That’s the story of this entire pandemic, all over the country.

    In Oklahoma City, Republican Mayor David Holt didn’t really get it until early March, when the NBA cancelled a game between the Thunder and the Utah Jazz because of the positive test of one of the Jazz players. Until then, Hold told the Post, the whole thing was “distant on many levels.”

    On a March 13 conference call of mayors, he said Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan “sounded like the main character in a Stephen King novel. […] She had hundreds of cases, she had dozens of deaths.” Then he got it. “Any struggles that we’re having, whether it be testing or other issues, or even just convincing our public of the seriousness of the matter, there are some roots back to the time period in January and February when not all national leadership was expressing how serious this was,” Holt said.

    That’s still the problem—with the public if not with the state and local leaders who are now having the pandemic hit home. […]

    What’s in the best interests of everyone is shutting Trump the fuck up.

  86. consciousness razor says

    What I’m denying is that young people having to choose between voting and their job accounts for it, which is Captain Jeep-Eep’s claim.

    I understand that you think a more plausible explanation comes from your vague impression that “there simply isn’t the deep and widespread hunger for progressive policies,” even though numerous polls show many people, even those who didn’t vote for Sanders in their state’s primary, support those policies.

    I don’t think it needs to be accounted for only on that basis anyway. For instance, as we’ve discussed elsewhere, there’s also the fact that countless establishment politicians, media personalities, etc., have continually pushed narratives that Sanders doesn’t have some obscure quality of “electability” which other centrist/conservative Dem candidates purportedly have. Along with that, you see very little honest and critical examination of Biden’s record, almost no attempt to clarify what his substantive policies are (if indeed he has any), and so forth. This is especially dominant in the traditional media older people typically consume, like newspapers and cable TV, but not so much the internet where information sources are more diverse because it is more democratized.

    Anyway, this style of propaganda also influences many voters, but you still talk as if it’s just a matter of them lacking the requisite “hunger” for specific policies. Instead, it seems to be the case that many don’t exactly know what they’re buying into, when they cast a vote for Biden. What you see are incredibly absurd results like more people “trusting” Biden on issues like social security.

    That kind of blatant incongruity with the facts is analogous to the recently-reported majority who approve of the way Trump has dealt with the coronavirus. You can’t explain it by appealing to an idea that a majority don’t really have such a deep and abiding interest in surviving this pandemic and its economic fallout. What’s happening instead is that many are profoundly confused (or have been mislead in various ways) about what is actually happening in the real world.

    As I noted, many of the states Biden is winning allow early andor absentee voting, which makes it much less plausible that young people just can’t vote without losing their jobs.

    But it’s just a fact that many would lose their jobs (or some of their pay, etc.) if they chose to vote in person on election days, like a large number of other people have the luxury of doing with no trouble at all. That isn’t the thing which is implausible, even according to your own previous comments.

    You’ve also shifted here to a notion that they “just can’t vote,” but that sort of all-or-nothing distinction isn’t necessary to explain a discrepancy in voter turnout. It only needs to be more difficult to vote in whatever way a person wants to vote, plans to vote, etc.; it doesn’t need to be outright impossible to do it in some other way.

  87. xdrta says

    @ #105
    Anyone who chooses to vote in person rather than by mail is beyond help. At any time.

  88. consciousness razor says

    I have no idea what you’re trying to say with that. People who enthusiastically vote for conservatives in any party might be “beyond help.” People who believe Biden isn’t an outrageous liar might be “beyond help.” But what’s the point? Every person has a right to vote.

  89. KG says

    consciousness razor@106.

    You’ve also shifted here to a notion that they “just can’t vote,”

    I haven’t “shifted”; that is what Captain Jeep-Eep claimed, and that is what I have been saying is an implausible explanation for Sanders’ failure to win primaries.

    I understand that you think a more plausible explanation comes from your vague impression that “there simply isn’t the deep and widespread hunger for progressive policies,” even though numerous polls show many people, even those who didn’t vote for Sanders in their state’s primary, support those policies.

    I’ve shown why Jeep-Eep’s claim is implausible, and if there was a “deep and widespread hunger” for progressive policies, more of them would have taken the trouble to find out that Sanders is for those policies while Biden is against them, and voted – and campaigned accordingly. Polls indicate a widespread willingness to express a preference for such policies, but if you can’t be arsed to discover who supports them and who doesn’t, yuo don’t reallly want them all that much. It’s not exactly fucking difficult to find out what Sanders’ and Biden’s policies are, FFS.

    You can’t explain it by appealing to an idea that a majority don’t really have such a deep and abiding interest in surviving this pandemic and its economic fallout.

    No, but I can explain it by a very widespread tendency to hope the people in charge know what they are doing when a crisis suddenly erupts – seen in just about every country right now. As far as I can tell, Brazil is the only country where the leadership has failed to receive a boost in public support, irrespective of how well they’ve done. People’s immediate reaction to a sudden crisis is very different from not being arsed to find out which candidates support what when that information has been readily available online for years.

    But it’s just a fact that many would lose their jobs (or some of their pay, etc.) if they chose to vote in person on election days, like a large number of other people have the luxury of doing with no trouble at all.

    Which is only a good explanation for them not voting when they had no choice other than to do it on election day.

  90. says

    Update to the earlier thread – Guardian – “UK discussed joint EU plan to buy Covid-19 medical supplies, say officials”:

    British officials took part in four meetings where EU projects to bulk-buy medical kit were discussed – the earliest in January, according to official minutes that heap doubt on government claims of missing an email.

    Last week Downing Street claimed that it failed to take part in an EU scheme to source life-saving ventilators and other kit to treat coronavirus because it accidentally missed the deadline.

    No 10 initially said it did not take part because the UK was no longer a member of the EU and was “making our own efforts”. After critics accused Boris Johnson of putting “Brexit over breathing”, Downing Street clarified that missing out was an error and it would consider participating in future. It is understood the UK claimed not to have received an email from the EU asking it to participate.

    EU minutes seen by the Guardian show that a British official joined eight out of 12 EU health security committee meetings dedicated to the Covid-19 outbreak since the group was set up earlier this year, shortly before China’s Hubei province was put into lockdown.

    At least four of those meetings discussed EU procurement schemes on: 31 January, 4 February, 2 March and 13 March.

    Nearly all EU countries, 25 out of 27, are taking part in the project for shared purchase of ventilators, while the same number are joining forces to buy protective kit for medical staff, such as masks and overalls. Separately, 19 are teaming up to buy laboratory equipment needed for tests.

    Under then prime minister David Cameron, the government signed the EU’s joint procurement agreement in 2014, which was drawn up after some member states experienced shortages of medical kit during the H1N1 pandemic. The terms of the Brexit transition deal means the government has the right to take part in EU joint procurement until 31 December 2020.

    The logic behind joint procurement is to reduce red tape, get better prices through wholesale purchase and take advantage of medical purchasing skills that may be weaker in some countries, especially smaller ones.

    Liese urged the UK government to continue working with the rest of Europe on the search for better treatments and a vaccine against Covid-19. “When the scientists from Berlin, Rome, Paris, Oxford and Cambridge work together [on treatments] we are faster and better than if we would work separately. The same applies to vaccines. European cooperation is crucial.”

    The European commission said on Friday the UK “is most welcome to join any future procurement launch”.

  91. says

    BREAKING: Hillsborough Sheriff Chad Chronister just announced he has obtained an arrest warrant for Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne in this case and that the pastor is expect to turn himself in for violating the county order. Background @TB_Times here:…

    This story has been updated with the news of the arrest warrant issued for The River at Tampa Bay Church’s senior pastor and co-founder, Rodney Howard-Browne, for violating the county’s safer-at-home order by holding two services at the church on Sunday.

    UPDATE: Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne has been arrested in Hernando County. Records show he was booked at 2:20 pm and released about 40 minutes later after posting $500 bail. Updated story:…”

  92. consciousness razor says

    Polls indicate a widespread willingness to express a preference for such policies, but if you can’t be arsed to discover who supports them and who doesn’t, yuo don’t reallly want them all that much. It’s not exactly fucking difficult to find out what Sanders’ and Biden’s policies are, FFS.

    It evidently is, for people who have some expectation that a huge array of mainstream journalists convey anything close to a fair/accurate representation of their platforms, which they obviously do not. Although they’re very different, those differences are minimized and muddled, and the overriding concern at practically every turn is that they are both somehow distinct from Trump.

    Which is only a good explanation for them not voting when they had no choice other than to do it on election day.

    Alright, then it’s not a “good explanation” if, say, you had planned to vote in person and had figured that would happen, and then your boss tells you that day that you can’t leave to go do it. (Maybe because too many others, in a higher status position, had decided to take the day off.) They just should’ve known better, am I right? It’s just not good enough, to satisfy a demand that workers do everything they possibly could have to avoid that type of outcome. Because that’s apparently the standard we ought to accept.

    Also, if you do show up at the polling place, to discover that there are extremely long lines which mean it will take you much more time than anticipated, and your boss tells you that you have to be there to clock in at work no matter what, then this sort of explanation is also not good enough. Of course it’s not.

    Why not? Because some days or weeks before all of that actually happened, they could have voted in some other way. Does that make any sense to you at all, or did you not even stop to think about this shit before you offered your opinion?

  93. Pierce R. Butler says

    xdrta @ # 106: Anyone who chooses to vote in person rather than by mail is beyond help.

    Ya think? Dig into the details of voter suppression shenanigans and you’ll find that a lot of absentee/early ballots somehow fall through the cracks – and not just here in Florida.

  94. says

    Here’s a link to the new (March 31) Guardian coronavirus liveblog.

    From the Guardian – “New coronavirus study reveals increased risks from middle age”:

    The first comprehensive study of Covid-19 deaths and hospitalisations in mainland China has revealed in stark detail the increase in risk for coronavirus patients once they reach middle age.

    The analysis found that while the overall death rate for confirmed cases was 1.38%, the rate rose sharply with age – from 0.0016% in the under 10s, to 7.8% in 80s and over.

    The study showed only 0.04% of 10 to 19-year-olds required hospital care compared with more than 18% of those in their 80s and above.

    Dramatic rises were seen among middle-aged groups too, with 4% of people in their 40s needing hospital treatment and more than 8% of patients in their 50s.

    The estimates, reported in Lancet Infectious Diseases, are based on an analysis of 70,117 laboratory-confirmed and clinically-diagnosed cases in mainland China, combined with 689 positive cases among people evacuated from Wuhan on repatriation flights.

    “Our estimates can be applied to any country to inform decisions around the best containment policies for Covid-19,” said Professor Azra Ghani, a co-author of the study.

    “Our analysis very clearly shows that at aged 50 and over, hospitalisation is much more likely than in those under 50, and a greater proportion of cases are likely to be fatal.”

    Without sufficient testing to reveal how widespread the virus is, the group’s estimates vary substantially from 7 million to 43 million infected people across the 11 countries analysed as of 28 March. In the UK the infection rate is estimated at 2.7%.

    The warning came as researchers in the US shed light on a crucial biological mechanism that has helped the coronavirus spread rapidly among humans around the world.

    A detailed analysis of the virus’s structure revealed that its club-like “spikes” enable it to latch on to human cells about four times more strongly than the related Sars coronavirus which killed hundreds of people in a 2002 pandemic. This means that coronavirus particles that are inhaled through the nose or mouth have a high chance of attaching to cells in the upper respiratory tract, and that relatively few are needed to establish an infection.

    A 3D map of the virus’s binding protein will now be used by scientists to hunt for drugs that can neutralise the virus before an infection takes hold. “If a new antibody drug can bind to those sites on the virus more strongly and frequently than the receptor, it will block the virus out of cells, making it a potentially effective treatment for viral infections,” said Fang Li, who led the study at the University of Minnesota. The work is published in Nature.

  95. Kagehi says

    @61 Captain Jeep-Eep
    “the only option is to simply flip the table and not vote”

    OK, this thread is too, too, too long, and filled with a lot of posts about failure, hypocrisy, and worse. But.. I decided to comment on this one, because, seriously.. This takes stupid and turns it up to 50. You do know there is a “write in” option, right? Yeah, sure, it might “seem” worthless, but freaking heck, if you can’t stomach voting for the lesser of two evils then at least have the f-ing guts to send a message by writing in the name of the person you wanted to vote for, but they wouldn’t let you. It might be, over all, useless, but at least it sends a damned message, where refusing to vote at all just says, “I don’t give a fuck, so do what ever the hell you want.”

    FIGHT FOR SOMETHING. Even if you know you can’t win, even if the enemy outnumbers you, even if, in the end, your name won’t even be remembered, by Zod, actually fight back!!! Because, if you don’t, you are no different than someone who fails to speak up in witness to a crime, or refuses to defend someone while watching them be harassed instead, or a thousand other things that, presumably, even you would deem to be despicable and cowardly acts, which make the person doing them part of the problem, instead of the solution. So, stop being part of the damn problem.

  96. Kagehi says

    I would argue its more than a “bit” better. This kind of “don’t bother to vote” thing kind of reminds me of the real world version of the trolley experiment, which they managed to find a way to do ethically, using video of the supposed “victims” you had to pick between. Among all the various outcomes there was one guy whose, “choice” was to, literally, do absolutely nothing. Having been told the system wasn’t ready, it was being tested, it wasn’t perfect, and knowing that he was the only person in the booth, which was supposedly monitoring the whole new “safety system”, and had the controls needed to redirect the train, he didn’t a) go for help, or b) make a choice. He instead, “Simply assumed it would all work out, and someone else would take care of it.”

    This is what bugs me about the attitude. Literally, no one else will take care of it. Nothing happens when the people who have a problem refuse to do something about it. Well, not nothing actually. In point of fact, it almost always gets worse. And, in this case we have two problems – a GOP which literally treats individual states like they are baronies, and should be punished whole sale, for the actions of their leaders, and the DNC, who seem to think that winning is more important than principles, as though, somehow, they can regain their honor, morality, and ethics, after enough of them win, which utterly failing to comprehend that by throwing their principles out, just to win, they have already lost those things, and probably have no right to beg anyone to trust them after, or try to regain them. But, this definitely will never happen if, like the GOP, there is never any consequence, of any kind, for doing so, even if its “merely” to make a statement.

    To me, its the difference between, “walking away from the table”, and, “flipping them the bird”. I mean, if we walk away, its not even our table, so we can hardly take the ball, as the saying goes. But we sure as heck can, as you say, “flip the table”, and them off in the process. That, to me, is more than a “bit” better.

    Mind you, even better would be, if not for the lack of anyone to really pull it off, starting a whole new party, and actually giving both a run for their money (instead of the usual way it works, which is becoming so bloody focused on a tiny slice of issues that one can’t, or won’t, effectively address anything outside of them, as usually happens). But, this seem.. sadly, implausible.

  97. xdrta says

    @ Pierce R. Butler #119

    Sounds like bullshit. We’ve had only vote by mail in Oregon for 25 years and nobody’s “falling through the cracks.” Got rid of voting booths and are far better for it.

  98. birgerjohansson says

    Question by TV journalist: “Do you think there is blood on the president’s hands?”
    Idiot Joe Biden: ” I think that’s a little too harsh”
    His only qualification is that he is not Bernie Sanders. Good luck getting voters enhusiastic enough to go voting for him in November. The MAGA hats will vote enthusiastically, even if their grandparents have just died and Trump will be re-elected. the establishment Democrats will sooner lose to trump than win with Sanders.

  99. logicalcat says

    Or we can do what the right wingers do and ensure that our politics becomes the new establishment periodically by voting in the individual primaries and local elections and making sure we all vote in the general showing the current establishment that they need to bend to our wills politically or suffer career suicide through the primaries just like they did with the tea party, alt right, and evangelicals.

    Seriously, how many times I have to say this, progresivism involves progression. Everybody wants the revolution now, ahora. They don’t want to do the work. When right wingers see a candidate they don’t whinge “aww this republican is the lesser of two evils”. No. What they see is “hey, this guy is slightly more right wing than the last guy, great. All according to plan.”** Fast forward several decades and they have an actual fascist as their president.

    Meanwhile leftists are like “lesser of two evils waaaa, I’m not voting” and I’m sitting here like “You know the reason why they are centrist is because they have to somewhat appeal to right leaning or middle of the road in order to stay politically competitive strictly because you don’t vote, right? Its why neoliberalism was invented in the first place you know that right?” and they be like “No Im not voting for them because they are not leftist enough” and im sitting here like “You didn’t vote for them to begin with, that’s why they like this”. And we go in circles.

    The establishment is the way it is because leftists are incompetent. Period.

    At the end of the day Biden was a member of an administration that got protections in place for women, minorities, and lgbtq federal workers (most of which were striped away by Trump), gave millions of people healthcare undoubtedly saving their lives, passed gay marriage and repealed don’t ask don’t tell. I have zero doubt Biden be on similar level and reasoned into at least adopting one of the big things we want, but because Joe wasn’t the most left wing motherfucker to ever win the primary its “lesser of two evils”. What did all that lesser of two evils talk get us? Oh that’s right, nearly 5 thousand people fucking dead and rising. Unless anyone here wants to tell me with a straight face that Hillary would have been worse during this pandemic.

    Like I said earlier, us progressives have to have a good hard look at ourselves. I think most of us lack self reflection. Sanders campaign strategies were terrible and he lost. Now what? Now we hold Biden’s feet to the fire. We make it clear that we want something in exchange for our votes. And we accomplish that by actually voting. They already think we wont (we didn’t for Sanders). But if we show out in numbers, its a show of force. Its what the Tea party did. They showed out in numbers and got what they want. No reason why we cant ourselves. We also need to give a hard look on how we campaign. Sanders surrounded himself with people who had stupid ideas. Sanders might be over for president, but he can bring on a successor who campaigns better. Maybe not even one, but several hopefuls so we don’t rest our eggs in one basket. Theres much more we could do. Especially local elections.

    I would never get tired of this article:

    If Deng Xiaoping could reform the communist party, with a nation that’s a one party system (that’s one, uno) and with that one party murdering, imprisoning, and assaulting millions of reformers, well then we have no fucking excuse. No excuse except our own incompetence, and our own lack of will, our lack of honesty in not wanting to change a damn thing.

    **They don’t really have a plan. They just do what they are supposed to do. Which is fucking vote. If they whinge, they whinge while voting.

  100. logicalcat says

    From now on anytime someone whinges about “the establishment” Im just going to link that article cuz im tired of typing shit.

  101. birgerjohansson says

    “Trump says Republicans would ‘never’ be elected again if it was easier to vote”
    Stupid Donald. You are not supposed to say it out loud.
    “I don’t want everybody to vote,” Paul Weyrich, an influential conservative activist, said in 1980. “As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.”

  102. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Look, I know I’m gonna get burned by the flamethrower brigade, but I really don’t care.
    Politics is the long game. It’s not a matter of just showing up on election day, voting for your perfect candidate and retiring to a life of contemplating the good society. It isn’t even just a matter of showing up at the primary to vote for your preferred candidate.

    It is showing up at boring party meetings. It is putting together email campaigns. It is persuading your fellow party members that your way is actually better. It is changing the rules so that not only does your candidate get the benefit, but voters like you–and preferably all voters–have their voice heard.

    But most of all, it is becoming a reliable, identifiable voting block that shows up at the polls for every primary and every election and every caucus and party meeting. It is about forming alliances and maybe working with folks you don’t fully support, agree with or trust. It is about breaking those alliances when they start to hold you back.

    Back in the ’70s, nobody cared about the votes of fundie nutjobs. Politicians didn’t talk about their faith. Jimmy Carter started the change–and initially, Ronald Reagan and Bush I rejected the fundies. They didn’t know how to talk to them and were uncomfortable in their presence. Only occasionally would they throw a bone to the fundies–that’s how abortion became such a flash point. It was a way Rethugs could pander to the fundies without compromising on their main agenda of making rich people richer.
    But the fundies showed up, despite occasional grumbling that their agenda wasn’t taken seriously, or that mainstream Rethugs only paid them lip service. They showed up through the ’80s, the ’90s, finally got one of their own elected with Dubya. And now with Darth Cheeto, they know they fucking own the President, even though he is anything but Xtian. And of course, this shows the downside. They are now tied to a vile, reprehensible excuse for a human being who is antithetical to their nominal values.

    The lefties have a choice: Power or purity. In politics, you cannot have both.

  103. birgerjohansson says

    Wisconsin (or was it Wyoming? ) will have a primary election April 7th, and Alaska April 10th.
    If you live in one of those states, maybe you have time to help out with the campaign (even if it is mostly by social media now).

  104. lotharloo says


    I do not know what to make of the most recent allegations against Biden. I am certainly open to listening to them. They are disturbing. However, we have already seen many instances where similar allegations have been made in this campaign that turned out to be baseless. At the very least, I want to make sure that Jacob Wohl and his ilk are in no way associated.

    They are not less credible than the accusations against Cavanaugh. If it helps you:

    Since then, Grim has contacted Reade’s friend and brother, both of whom say she told them about the alleged sexual assault by Biden in 1993.

    I think it’s very credible man. I think Democrats have to investigate and it’s frustrating that it’s being ignored. Biden has had so many shitty interactions with women I am pretty more will come up during the general election. If you think that Trump/rightwingers will not bring up these things because Trump himself has similar shitty behavrior with women, you are wrong. Trump’s voters don’t care about how he treats women, they already know about the pussy-grabbing, and voters of the “family values party” don’t care about him having sex with pornstars while married, or having accused by 20+ women of sexual harassment. But Biden’s voters care. So even if you purely go by trying to find the best winning strategy, this needs to be investigated.

    If I believe the allegations, would it keep me from voting for the Dem nominee, no matter who it is? Probably not, because I know with 100% certainty that the only viable alternative–Darth Cheeto–is worse. Ferchrissake, he now has us debating whether 200000 deaths represents a success!

    That’s fine, but then you can’t turn around, assume the moral high ground and attack those who didn’t vote for Biden of helping Trump.

  105. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Actually, I do not consider the allegations to be of the same severity as those against Kavanaugh. Kavanaugh had multiple accusers telling similar stories. The accusations against Biden are by a single individual who has not told a consistent story over time. They come as Biden is consolidating his hold on the nomination. They are of a different character than those by other women who have complained about Biden’s sense of personal boundaries, but never about any sort of groping.

    Lotharloo: “That’s fine, but then you can’t turn around, assume the moral high ground and attack those who didn’t vote for Biden of helping Trump.”

    No, but I will be more than happy to tell everyone who doesn’t do everything they can to get DJT out of office so we have an opportunity to vote in 2024 to fuck right off.
    If you are wondering what you would have done in 1935 to resist the Nazis, then look at what you are doing now.

  106. consciousness razor says

    And of course, this shows the downside. They are now tied to a vile, reprehensible excuse for a human being who is antithetical to their nominal values.

    The antithesis of vile and reprehensible is vile and reprehensible. Maybe translate that from doublespeak and try again.

    Maybe once or twice, just for a change of pace, we should consider not vile and reprehensible, at least those of us who aren’t fascists, theocrats, etc. I bet some people out there might actually like it.

  107. says

    @Ray In Dilbert Space

    We don’t have time for a long game, the fascists are gaining momentum and the world is on fire. Either things change fast, or we die horribly.

    The repub takeover strategy only worked because the repub system works differently then the dems.

    And more to the point, your lesser evil got us fucking Trump in the end, as it was too little, too late. Too many folks lost their homes, and too many folks were deported and caged, under policies Biden favored I might add. Incrementalism doesn’t work, and no one has any biz trying to sell folks that trash after it got us Trump.

  108. says

    Folks are dying and you expect them to put up with incremental garbage? Talk about privileged, and it’s a recipe for further losses in turnout, because folks aren’t gonna bother with folks who don’t help them.

  109. consciousness razor says

    Actually, I do not consider the allegations to be of the same severity as those against Kavanaugh. [1] Kavanaugh had multiple accusers telling similar stories. [2] The accusations against Biden are by a single individual who has not told a consistent story over time. [3] They come as Biden is consolidating his hold on the nomination. [4] They are of a different character than those by other women who have complained about Biden’s sense of personal boundaries, but never about any sort of groping.

    [1] That has nothing to do with the “severity” of her allegations. It’s repugnant to believe you need more than one, and as you mention three whole sentences later, there is more than one person accusing Biden of inappropriate conduct.
    [2] What’s inconsistent?
    [3] They came last year and were ignored by Biden loyalists, and it doesn’t matter when they come. The allegations about Kavanaugh also came when he was preparing to take a SC seat.
    [4] It doesn’t matter if he treated other women differently (but still badly). Also, it’s not “groping.”

    No, but I will be more than happy to tell everyone who doesn’t do everything they can to get DJT out of office so we have an opportunity to vote in 2024 to fuck right off.

    But that’s just your form of “purity.” All you’ve got to hang it on is that he doesn’t have a (D) next to his name.

  110. says

    The dems have reached their final fucking nadir, vote for the rapist because he doesn’t signal trump.

    I don’t care whether you leave it blank or write in Bernie or Vermin Supreme, but letting the dems feed you this garbage and putting up with it just lets them do it again. There has to be a limit.

  111. says

    G liveblog (linked @ #120 above):

    A doctor who gave Vladimir Putin a guided tour of Russia’s main hospital treating coronavirus patients last week has tested positive for the disease, Andrew Roth reports from Moscow.

    Denis Protsenko, the chief doctor for the Kommunarka hospital in Moscow, tested positive for the disease on Tuesday, Russian state television reported.

    Putin met with Protsenko last Wednesday during an unexpected visit to the hospital, where he toured the medical facility and spoke with staff and patients.

    During the visit, Protsenko was pictured shaking hands with Putin, riding in an elevator with him, and also standing close to him as the two men rode down an escalator along with advisors. Neither man was wearing a mask during the meeting.

    It isn’t clear if Protsenko had already contracted the disease when he met with Putin. The Kremlin has said that those who meet with Putin are screened for the disease in advance. A spokesman for Putin on Tuesday did not immediately respond to questions about whether or not he had been tested recently for the disease.

    The Russian president was shown holding a video-conference with regional heads on Monday. It was his first public appearance in four days, as mayors and other government figures have taken the lead in authorising severe measures in order to limit the spread of coronavirus. In Monday’s appearance, he did not exhibit any obvious symptoms of sickness.

    When Putin visited the hospital last week, Russia had less than 500 confirmed cases of the disease. As of Tuesday, officials have identified more than 2,300 cases of the disease in Russia, with 500 new cases in just the last day.

    Authorities have declared self-isolation regimes in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

    Protsenko was said to be in stable condition on Tuesday.

    They link to this tweet with an image of Putin and Protsenko shaking hands last week.

  112. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    CR, So then you also believe that Hillary Clinton is a cannibal? And that Liz Warren had a secret boy-toy sex slave? And John Kerry was a coward in Viet Nam. It is unfortunate that we do not live in a time when there are no false accusations, but this is not that time.

    I said I am willing to listen to the evidence. I would find the accuser more credible if:
    1) Her account had remained consistent throughout.
    2) Her account were consistent with those of other women (predators rarely predate on just one woman)
    3) She were not a Putin apologist.

  113. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    CR: “All you’ve got to hang it on is that he doesn’t have a (D) next to his name.”
    If you really believe that, you are simply too stupid to waste my time on.

  114. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Captain Jeep Eep: “We don’t have time for a long game, the fascists are gaining momentum and the world is on fire.”

    Fine, go ahead and change them. We’ll wait.”

  115. says

    I’ve never seen anything like this.

    Captain of Theodore Roosevelt pens a four-page letter pleading for resources, says the situation is rapidly spinning out of control as nearly 200 sailors test positive:…

    [SF Chronicle link atl.]”

    “Removing the majority of personnel from a deployed U.S. nuclear aircraft carrier and isolating them for two weeks [in Guam – SC] may seem like an extraordinary measure…. This is a necessary risk,” Crozier wrote. “Keeping over 4,000 young men and women on board the TR is an unnecessary risk and breaks faith with those Sailors entrusted to our care.”

  116. says

    Fucking hellfire, you establishment dems really tell on yourselves. It’s not enough to nominate someone who will alienate the below 50 and hispanic votes, but you have to fucking start throwing any progress on MeToo down the drain just so you can have a pres with a D next to his name? You people are disgusting.

  117. consciousness razor says

    CR, So then you also believe that Hillary Clinton is a cannibal? And that Liz Warren had a secret boy-toy sex slave? And John Kerry was a coward in Viet Nam.

    What the fuck are you on about? The first public reporting came from Ryan Grim at the Intercept, also the first to report on Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford. You pretended like it was “Jacob Wohl and his ilk” before, because you are completely full of shit. Now your suspicion is that it’s a whole bunch of other crap which it obviously isn’t.

    I said I am willing to listen to the evidence.

    Lies and sophistry. You’re not responding to a single thing I said in #142.
    (1) You still haven’t said what’s inconsistent. Where is there a “P and not-P” that you can’t believe?
    (2) You think “he was nice to women (except when he wasn’t)” is a serious argument, just like the assholes defending Kavanaugh.
    (3) You think it’s less credible that supposed “Putin apologists” are raped, harassed, or sexually abused. This one happens to be a lifelong Democrat who worked for Biden, but even if you want to call her that (because you can never get enough of name-calling), this makes no fucking sense.

  118. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    For full disclosure:
    My first choice in the primary was Warren. 2nd choice Harris. 3rd choice, Julain Castro. 4th choice, Sanders.

    If the primary still has the option of Sanders vs. Biden, I’ll vote for Sanders. Biden was just above Tulsi. However, I will vote for Biden if he is the only option who has a chance of defeating Darth Cheeto, because 1) Darth is an idiot, 2) Darth is bad for my country, 3) Darth is bad for democracy, 4) I know with 100% certainty that Darth is a contemptible excuse for a human–hell, I’ve heard it in his own voice.

    I also know that Biden at 77 will be a 1-term President–if he even makes it through his first term, so we’ll have another chance at a better outcome in 2024. I do not know that with DJT.

  119. consciousness razor says

    If you really believe that, you are simply too stupid to waste my time on.

    Then if it’s more than that, tell me what you do believe is non-negotiable. I’ll wait.

  120. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    CR, Sorry, I don’t respond to straw men. If you care to discuss things honestly, feel free. That would be a new experience for you. You don’t have the skill to argue against reality.

  121. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Captain Jeep-Eep, What are you trying to do? What is your plan to get there? Is it feasible? All I see is you venting are everybody including your allies, and just making endless noise without a clear purpose.

  122. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    CR: “Then if it’s more than that, tell me what you do believe is non-negotiable. I’ll wait.”
    What does that even fucking mean?

  123. johnson catman says

    I don’t like Joe Biden but the damage that The Orange Toddler-Tyrant and Moscow Mitch have done to the courts (especially SCOTUS), it is imperative to get republicans out of power.

  124. says

    So, here’s a stray thought: What if Democrats just gave up on the white house? Let Trump be re-elected and instead focus all force on capturing the Senate. Then, impeach him instantly. Don’t play nice. You have the votes? Convict and be done with it.

    That way, it’s neither Trump nor Biden and with a Democratic majority in both houses, would Pence be able to do much? Hell, he’s even open for impeachment himself. Who would be next, then? Nancy Pelosi?

  125. Pierce R. Butler says

    xdrta @ # 126: Sounds like bullshit. We’ve had only vote by mail in Oregon for 25 years and nobody’s “falling through the cracks.”

    Sounds like Oregon doesn’t have a dominant political party trying to suppress votes however possible. Congratulations!

  126. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    1) It takes a 2/3 majority to convict and remove from office. There is zero probability of that happening in this election.
    2) We have a better chance of taking the White House than the Senate.
    3) Why not both? If we can get a strong push to the left in both houses, the chances of progressive legislation are much better regardless of who is in the White House.

  127. consciousness razor says

    What does that even fucking mean?

    You obviously want “not Trump.” That much is clear, and we don’t really need to hear it a thousand times in a thousand of your comments, because it’s easy enough for a kindergartener to understand the first time. However, for better or worse, they don’t vote.

    So is there anything else that matters to you — anything about a potential candidate’s record, their current platform, their ability to even formulate a coherent thought, or whatever it may be? Does anything whatsoever have any real meaning to you, in your pathetic attempt to merely get Trump out of office, besides the fact that the person who would replace him is “not Trump”?

    Be as specific as you can. If, for instance, Michael Bloomberg would have been crossing the line, or Mitt Romney let’s say, or whatever the case may be, then what I want to know is where that line is being drawn. We could eventually get to asking why you put it there of all places, why anybody else should have the same standards, etc., but for now it’s just a question about where it actually is.

  128. xdrta says

    @ 161
    Sounds like you imagine it’s easier to suppress vote by mail than in-person voting. You’re wrong.

  129. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Had a detailed reply outlining my priorities, but the censors at it.

    TL’DR I am looking to make things better, or if making them better, to not make them worse so that making them better is an option for the future.

    Issues important to me: economic inequality; climate change; data-driven policy; redressing issues that hurt women and minorities; humane and realistic immigration policy.

    Question: Would you have voted for LBJ against Barry Goldwater in ’64?

  130. says

    G liveblog:

    The coronavirus has claimed more than 3,000 American lives, with yesterday becoming the deadliest day of the pandemic for the US yet.

    Those figures mean the coronavirus death toll has now surpassed that of the September 11 attacks, which claimed the lives of nearly 3,000 Americans.

    Nearly half of the coronavirus deaths have occurred in New York, although the state’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, has warned other states may soon see a similar rate of Covid-19 cases and deaths.

  131. says

    Captain Jeep-Eep is working hard to suppress the vote. The idea is to convince people to simply not vote, or, failing that, to throw away their vote on a write-in candidate.

    Everything else Captain Jeep-Eep has posted is secondary to that main goal.

    Reject that.

  132. says

    When Trump touts unproven drugs, it’s more than just annoying

    Some health officials are reportedly “being pulled away from other potential projects to address the president’s hunch.”

    At yesterday’s White House press briefing, both Donald Trump and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar referenced two medications as “potential COVID-19 treatments.” For the administration, this wasn’t especially unusual: the president and his team have been talking up some anti-malaria drugs — chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine — quite a bit as the coronavirus crisis has intensified.

    The underlying problem, however, remains the same. As a CNN report explained, Trump’s “over-the-top optimism” is not yet bolstered by the scientific research, “which is extremely limited and anecdotal at this early stage.”

    On the surface, there are a variety of problems with the White House promoting unproven medications. It generates unnecessary confusion; it causes a run on drugs that many patients rely on; it can lead some to take dangerous risks through self-medicating, etc.

    But late last week, Politico had a related report on this, noting another relevant angle: some health officials are “being pulled away from other potential projects to address the president’s hunch.”

    The White House directed health officials to set up a project to track if the antimalarial drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine show promise — a days-long effort that distracted from urgent tasks like trials of other medicines thought to have more potential against the virus. Food and Drug Administration officials also reversed a nearly six-year ban on a troubled Indian manufacturer in a bid to secure the drugs, and top advisers to Trump have encouraged other agencies to locate as much of the product as possible. The White House is also pressuring Medicare officials to pay for unproven treatments being given to desperate patients during a pandemic.

    Politico talked to one relevant HHS official who said, “There’s a ton of people involved in front-line response in the government … who are getting pulled into meetings to discuss this when the data doesn’t support it.”

    A second HHS official lamented the “time and energy being soaked up by a potential wild-goose chase.” The person added, “We have no idea if this works, and the evidence suggests it doesn’t.”

    It was 11 days ago when Trump told reporters, in reference to the medicine, “Look, it may work and it may not work…. I feel good about it. That’s all it is. Just a feeling. You know, I’m a smart guy. I feel good about it.”


    Trump is definitely not a “smart guy.” He is a willfully ignorant guy.

  133. Pierce R. Butler says

    xdrta @ # 164: Sounds like you imagine it’s easier to suppress vote by mail than in-person voting.

    Sounds like you haven’t kept up with voter suppression tactics.

    Why not try to discuss things that you know something about?

  134. says

    Willfully-ignorant Trump berates and belittles women, (the latest in a long line of similar incidents):

    At a White House press briefing on Sunday, PBS’s Yamiche Alcindor asked Donald Trump about his recent comments regarding state needs during the coronavirus crisis. The president falsely denied saying what he’d clearly said, before admonishing the journalist for bothering him.

    “Why don’t you act in a little more positive?” he asked the reporter. Trump added, “Look, let me tell you something: Be nice. Don’t be threatening. Don’t be threatening. Be nice.”

    Yesterday, the president was again annoyed with Alcindor, who asked about glaring U.S. shortcomings on virus testing, especially as compared to South Korea. “I know South Korea better than anybody,” Trump said before quizzing the reporter. “Do you know how many people are in Seoul? Do you know how big the city of Seoul is?”

    When the NewsHour correspondent tried to shift the focus back to her original line of inquiry, the president answered his own question. “Thirty-eight million people,” he said. “That’s bigger than anything we have. Thirty-eight million people all tightly wound together.”

    The population of the South Korean capital is nearly 10 million. The president who claims to know South Korea “better than anybody” wasn’t close.

    The exchanges weren’t flattering for Trump, but there was a familiarity to the circumstances: the president was seen clashing with a woman who questioned him. As the New York Times reported, it’s a dynamic that comes up quite a bit.

    As he confronts a pandemic, President Trump’s attention has also been directed at a more familiar foe: those he feels are challenging him, and particularly women.

    Late last week, for example, the president lashed out at two Democratic governors — Washington’s Jay Inslee and Michigan’s Gretchen Whitmer — but he only emphasized gender when talking about the latter. In a Fox News interview, he described the Michigan Democrat last week as “a woman governor,” before adding at a press briefing that he’s told Vice President Mike Pence, “Don’t call the woman in Michigan.”

    The comments came around the same time as Trump’s derisive comments toward General Motors CEO Mary Barra, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Yamiche Alcindor.

    As far as the White House is concerned, Trump slams everyone who bothers him, without regard for gender. But as the Times’ report added, the president’s Democratic critics point to his “pattern of singling out women,” and his recent rhetoric seems to bolster the point.


    More examples of Trump belittling women can be found here.

  135. consciousness razor says

    Issues important to me: economic inequality; climate change; data-driven policy; redressing issues that hurt women and minorities; humane and realistic immigration policy.

    You say “important,” but that’s not implying these are genuine standards for you. If a candidate comes along who trashes all of it and that person is not Trump, then what? You told that whole story about fundies and how political power supposedly works; it sounds like you would just go along for the ride anyway, which sounds like powerlessness to me.

    Even if you’d vote for such a candidate (information that can remain private for all I care), would you spend tons of time and effort pushing for them, trying to sell them off as better than they really are, trying to dismiss every criticism about them which will surely come up in the general election, trying to dismiss every concern that they don’t seem likely to win against Trump, etc.? Would it inspire you to tell people to fuck off, if they don’t all do “everything they can” to adhere to what you believe is the best strategy?

    Before you answer, remember: this person doesn’t stand for the things you said are important, and it also happens to be the case that they are not Trump. They are a garbage candidate with shit politics, in at least enough ways that it makes you feel physically ill to think of voting for them.

    It sounds like you might vote for them in the end, if you absolutely had no other choice at that time, but how sick are you going to make yourself before that? Or if I’m being much less charitable, that stuff doesn’t matter to you, just sheer power and nothing else, so you may not feel anything in particular about it.

  136. stroppy says

    Voting blue. In the Great Scheme of the Great Universe of Mystical Individualism, you vote for the candidate not the party. But we are social animals and parties go bad, and they prop up fascist popinjays like Trump.

    Trump, Biden. These are your choices. Is Biden great? No. Will Biden drive Trump up a wall? Yes. Want more? Great! Get your head on right and go for it! Because right now, I’m hearing a lot of pointless squealing that for some reason is not coming from Trump.

    See yet another Biden ad that is making Trump fume.

  137. says

    Trump’s latest mind-boggling statement related to the coronavirus pandemic in the USA: “I haven’t heard about testing being a problem.”

    The White House hosted a conference call with governors yesterday, giving Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) an opportunity to explain that his state doesn’t have enough coronavirus tests to properly address the crisis. The governor made clear that he needed immediate assistance from the federal government.

    The president was incredulous. “I haven’t heard about testing in weeks,” Trump said. “We’ve tested more now than any nation in the world. We’ve got these great tests…. I haven’t heard about testing being a problem.”

    OMFG. Someone tell Trump about the problems with testing. If the governors can’t get this set of facts through Trump’s fact-rejecting force field, send in the doctors, (and maybe even Lindsey Graham), to shout the facts at Trump every hour on the hour until he gets it.

    Of course, if the president hasn’t heard about testing being a problem, he must not be listening. The New York Times reported:

    Many people who have symptoms of the virus are still finding it difficult to be tested, and many who have been tested are waiting more than a week to get results…. Although testing has picked up since a series of setbacks left the United States behind, governors have continued to warn in recent days that their response is still hampered by shortages, including of basic supplies like swabs. Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington, a Democrat, told CNN on Sunday that “we have a desperate need for the testing kits.” And Gov. Ralph Northam of Virginia, also a Democrat, warned last week that there was a shortage of testing materials in his state.

    Jay Inslee told the Times yesterday, “It would be shocking to me that if anyone who has had access to any newspaper, radio, social networks or any other communication would not be knowledgeable about the need for test kits. I can be assured that the White House knows very well about this desperate need for test kits.”

    All of which raises the question of why in the world the president is so confused about this basic, critical detail. […]

    As for Trump’s contention that the United States has “tested more now than any nation in the world,” [he] still doesn’t seem to fully appreciate the nature of population-based comparisons: as of late last week, South Korea, which reported its first coronavirus test the same day as the United States’ first, has tested 40 times more people than we have, on a per-capita basis.

    Trump added yesterday that U.S. testing is “very much on par” with South Korea testing. I wish that were true. It’s not.

    The sooner the president understands this, and tries to do something about it, the better


  138. says

    Oh, FFS. Mitch McConnell is now blaming the impeachment trial for team Trump’s slow response to the coronavirus crisis.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) defended […] Trump’s sluggish response to the COVID-19 pandemic by passing the buck to Democrats’ impeachment efforts.

    During an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt [today], McConnell accused Democrats of trying to turn Trump’s bungled handling of the coronavirus outbreak into a “political liability” for Trump.

    The GOP leader said that Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) was the first to sound the alarm over COVID-19.

    “And it came up while we were tied down on the impeachment trial,” McConnell said. “And I think it diverted the attention of the government, because everything every day was all about impeachment.”

    Though the first COVID-19 case in the U.S. emerged on January 21, the Trump administration did not ask for emergency funding from Congress until February 24. Trump proceeded to downplay the virus for weeks until he was pressured into finally declaring a state of emergency on March 13.

    The GOP-controlled Senate had acquitted President Donald Trump all way back on February 5.


    The timeline of events does not support McConnell’s assertion. In addition, the Trump administration should have been able to deal with more than one issue at a time.

    From the readers comments section:

    Impeachment wasn’t what fired the Global Response team. Impeachment didn’t fire our pandemic folks located in China.
    If they can’t think about more than one thing at a time then you really should not have those jobs. Because there will always be another emergency and you will need to handle it. This excuse just makes them sound more incompetent.
    Any excuse will do…even the dumbest of all excuses when it comes to tRump’s lackey’s.
    Well Mitchypoo do you want to comment on how busy your fellow Republicans were after they got the private briefing on COVID-19? I mean making all those calls to their financial advisers so they could keep from getting killed in the crashing stock market must have been an all consuming task.
    What was Trump actually busy with? Rage tweeting about the impeachment on his john, followed by loyalty purges, and then, when the problem started coming into view, attacking the mounting concern over COVID as a Democratic hoax. Oh, and shipping tons of medical equipment…to China. [Yes, Trump did ship 17.8 tons of medical equipment to China. That’s a CNN link.]

    From CNN:

    […] the Trump administration announced that it was transporting to China nearly 17.8 tons (more than 35,000 pounds) of “masks, gowns, gauze, respirators, and other vital materials.” […]

    See link above.

  139. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    CR: “…it sounds like you would just go along for the ride anyway, which sounds like powerlessness to me.”

    Dude, we are along for the ride regardless. The only choice we get is who is driving, and that is a very limited choice. Let’s see if we can state this as a logic problem: Three outcomes: A, B or C. The probability of C occurring is 0. Which do you choose? Me, I’m going to choose the between A and B, depending on which is the less damaging. I am not going to throw a tantrum and choose C, because C isn’t going to happen even if I do throw a tantrum.

    What is your proposal. Choose C, and kick and pout? Do you really think anyone cares if you choose C? The Trumpistas sure don’t. They’ll be ecstatic. I will be sorry to see you pass up on an opportunity to keep things from getting worse, but I guarantee you, you’ll suffer for it a whole lot more than I will.

    I don’t get the chance to choose what happens. I get the chance to push things in the direction I want them to go–direction, not outcome.

  140. says

    More signs of incompetence on the part of team Trump:

    […] Trump’s administration sent only surgical masks to Illinois instead of the specialized N95 masks Gov. Illinois J.B. Pritzker (D) had requested to protect hospital workers from COVID-19, according to the governor.

    “I can say with certainty that what they sent were not the N95 masks that were promised, but were surgical masks, which were not what we asked for,” Pritzker told reporters on Monday during a daily press conference. “In our first request to the federal government, we asked for 1.2 million N95 masks.”

    He added that Illinois only got a “fraction” of what it asked for “weeks and weeks.

    Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the loose-fitting surgical masks do little to protect users from the airborne coronavirus, whereas the tight-fitting N95 reduces risk of exposure by filtering out 95% of particles in the air.


  141. says

    a_ray @179, I agree.

    In other commentary, related to 180, here are some readers comments:

    Well, I guess they really aren’t shipping clerks. [A reference to Trump saying previously that the federal government is not a “shipping clerk.”]
    Trump admin: “Hey, Illinois: You’re a blue state with a plain speaking Democratic governor – stop your bitching and be grateful you got anything. Oh, and go ahead and use these surgical masks with your coronavirus patients from Chicago!”
    Forget about masks, there is clearly a shortage of gags at the WH.
    Some people are so picky. They just have to insist on what medical experts recommend instead of being grateful for the largess granted by the Administration with the highest ratings for “Presidential” Press Briefings.


  142. says

    From Mark Sumner:

    The United States is in a very bad place in the novel coronavirus pandemic. With more cases than any other nation on the planet, health care systems under strain in cities across the nation, and a rising case fatality rate to accompany that growth, the outlook is nothing less than dire. As Dr. Anthony Fauci has warned, the U.S. could be looking at between 100,000 and 200,000 deaths related to COVID-19 before the primary pandemic is past. And there are reasons to believe those numbers may be optimistic.

    No matter that Donald Trump says, that does not mean he did a “good job.” It means that, with months of warning and near-infinite resources, he did a worse job than every other government on the entire planet […]

    Donald Trump may not have actually received a memo entitled “Coronavirus determined to strike in the United States,” but he certainly received its equivalent a hundred times over. From the first revelations by the World Health Organization, it was clear that SARS-CoV-2 represented a genuine threat to the entire world. It was so clear by mid-January that, following a briefing on Jan. 16, Republican senators ditched millions of dollars in stocks in anticipation of the crash ahead. […]

    Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, made public appearances all through January warning that there were dozens of “suspect cases” within the United States, some of them coming from people who presented themselves to health care providers with symptoms, indicating that community spread might already be underway.

    In numerous briefings over the following weeks, Messonnier made it clear that the virus was likely to “gain a foothold” in the United States, the idea that the virus could be stopped by suspending flights to China was wishful thinking, and that the nation needed to prepare measures to slow the spread of the virus. At the same time, the World Health Organization rapidly increased warnings about the novel coronavirus, reaching their maximum level of threat announcement by Jan. 30.

    It was also on that day that Donald Trump actually placed travel restrictions on China—11 days after the first known case from someone returning from the affected region, and a full week after the airlines had already moved to suspend service. That’s the action he’s still bragging about, even as Rome burns.

    […] Harvard epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch warned, “I think it is likely we’ll see a global pandemic. If a pandemic happens, 40% to 70% of people world-wide are likely to be infected in the coming year.”

    Throughout February, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted weekly scenarios that indicated that “between 160 million and 214 million people in the United States could be infected” and an estimate of 480,000 deaths was viewed as “conservative” unless swift action was taken.

    But Trump failed to act […] Instead, he continued to downplay the threat of the virus, to declare that closing the “borders” with China solved the issue, and to tell his rally crowds that the virus was a Democratic “hoax.” […]

    Every single thing that has happened—from the need to enact suppression measures early to prevent an explosion of cases, to the shortage of protective gear for health care workers, to the need for additional ventilators and ICU facilities, to the lack of coordinated federal testing—all of it was laid out by Trump’s own people, for weeks, at a time when action would have genuinely helped.

    It wasn’t just that Trump ignored the results of a simulation conducted with his transition team, or that he dismissed the pandemic response team within the National Security Council, or that he scrapped the DHS early warning system for pandemics, or that he brushed off results of tests that happened as recently as last fall. He openly ignored the warnings of his own staff, being made repeatedly, at a level that was terrifyingly clear.

    Already the United States is seeing the outcome of Trump’s beyond criminal incompetence, overt defiance of facts, and continued denial of responsibility. Those results are in the form of refrigerated trucks filling up with bodies. […]

    A pandemic may have been inevitable, as experts were predicting—and Trump was denying—months ago. But the level of damage being done to the United States at every level, including lives, was not. Trump hasn’t done a “very good” job. He has done the worst job in the world. And he has absolutely no excuse.


    Also, note that “the White House Coronavirus Task Force includes economic policy adviser Larry “Air Tight” Kudlow, and Treasury Secretary Steven “No Lasting Effect” Mnuchin,” but not Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

  143. says

    CNN anchor Chris Cuomo has tested positive for coronavirus. He continues to anchor his nightly show from his basement.

    “I just hope I didn’t give it to the kids and Cristina. That would make me feel worse than this illness!” Cuomo posted on Twitter. “I am quarantined in my basement (which actually makes the rest of the family seem pleased!) I will do my shows from here. We will all beat this by being smart and tough and united!”

    “He is young, in good shape, strong — not as strong as he thinks, but he will be fine,” Gov. Cuomo [his brother] said. “But there is a lesson in this. He is an essential worker, member of the press. He has been out there. If you go out there, the chance that you get infected is very high.”

  144. says

    From Mike Francesa, New York sports talk radio:

    We’re watching one thing happen in our city on the 11 o’clock news every night. We’re watching people die, and now we know people who died. And we’re not seeing one or two people die now in our neighborhood. We’re seeing them die by the tens and twenties by the day. […]

    So don’t give me the MyPillow guy doing a song-and-dance up here on a Monday afternoon when people are dying in Queens. Get the stuff made, get the stuff where it needs to go, and get the boots on the ground! Treat this like the crisis it is! […]

    How can you have a scoreboard that says 2,000 people have died and tell us, “It’s OK if another 198,000 die, that’s a good job.” How is that a good job in our country? It’s a good job if nobody else dies! Not if another 198,000 people die! So now 200,000 people are disposable?

    Trump had said earlier:

    If we can hold that down, as we’re saying to 100,000 [deaths], it’s a horrible number, maybe even less, but to 100,000, so we have between 100,000 and 200,000, we all together have done a very good job.

    In 2016, Francesa was Trump supporter.

  145. says

    Trump Stops ‘Chinese Virus’ Talk After Deep Ego Massage From Xi Jinping

    From Wonkette:

    We didn’t notice because we finally stopped watching Donald Trump’s daily coronavirus rallies, but the Dear Leader has apparently stopped talking about COVID-19 as the “Chinese Virus” in recent days, and other parts of the administration have gone back to calling the disease by its real name too. According to a report today from the Daily Beast, that change has nothing to do with any desire for medical accuracy, nor with any concern about threats to Asian-Americans from Trumpers […] Trump had a phone call last week with Chinese President Xi Jinping, who deployed “one of the most effective diplomatic maneuvers of the current American era: aggressive flattery.”

    Gosh, there’s an astonishing development nobody could have seen coming.

    In a phone call to discuss the international health crisis last week, Xi stressed to Trump how decisive, strong, and successful he feels his U.S. counterpart’s public-health and economic responses have been, two U.S. officials with knowledge of the matter said.

    […] The payoff seems to have been immediate, because Trump loves to be loved […] Especially if that love comes from an authoritarian strongman of the sort Trump wishes he could be. […]

    In the past few days, Trump has also told multiple officials that Xi has assured him that the Chinese government wouldn’t lie about the numbers of reported cases of coronavirus currently coming out of the epicenter of the outbreak […]

    Incidentally, the Wall Street Journal reports today that Chinese authorities decided not to include over 1,500 people who were infected with coronavirus in their latest tally of cases, because they weren’t having symptoms. […]
    China has been lobbying hard not only against the Trump administration’s use of “Chinese virus” or “Wuhan virus,” but has gone so far as to insist, through top disease experts, that there’s not even any evidence the virus originated in Wuhan. […]

    Trump’s newfound regard for the great job China’s doing seems to have been magically picked up on by others in his administration, too. Remember how Mike Pompeo blew up a G-7 meeting last week because no other country wanted to say “Wuhan virus”? Apparently, the State Department has changed its tune since Xi talked to Trump:

    According to two senior Trump administration officials, the State Department has also toned down the tough talk on Beijing for not revealing its coronavirus case numbers sooner.

    In recent cables, it appears the department is also no longer calling the virus the “Wuhan virus” and is instead referring to it as “COVID19” or simply “COVID.” As one senior Trump official told The Daily Beast: “There’s an understanding that the department—and the administration as a whole—is going to back away from that terminology.”

    Oh man, we’re going to have to tear down all the “DEATH TO EAST-ASIA-VIRUS” banners and replace them with ones reading “WE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN AT WAR WITH ITALY-VIRUS.”

  146. says

    From Jason Cambell:

    Diamond & Silk are speculating coronavirus deaths are being inflated to make Trump look bad

    Video at the link. The video should come with a warning. That much stupidity could damage your brain.

    Math is hard.

    From viewers comments:

    I’ve been very patiently explaining pandemic stats and the basic concept of exponential growth rates in one MAGA-heavy forum I belong to… and get the equivalent of blank stares in return. Or hostility.

    In the Trump cult, it is taboo to even think something bad about him.
    They don’t know how exponential increases work. Very sad, embarrassing, and scary.
    That so many people in this country, regardless of their education level, struggle to grasp exponential growth is one of the key reasons we’re in this dumpster fire.

  147. says

    Kellyanne Conway’s ugly deceptions preview the Big Lie to come.

    Washington Post link

    The Big Lie that […] Trump’s campaign will employ to rescue his reelection chances amid his catastrophic mishandling of the biggest U.S. public health emergency in modern times is edging into view.

    Fittingly, it is being telegraphed by the author of the perfect catchphrase of the Trump era — “alternative facts.”

    White House spinner Kellyanne Conway has offered a new defense of Trump that telegraphs the coming strategy. It doesn’t rest simply on the idea that Trump’s handling of coronavirus has been a decisive success, but also on the crucial idea that this crisis could not have been anticipated.

    This new defense of Trump comes amid a truly seismic event: a massive capitulation to reality, in which Trump acknowledged that coronavirus deaths could be far higher than anyone can bear, leading him to extend strict social-distancing guidelines until at least the end of April.

    The extraordinary emerging accounts of this abrupt reversal all tell a similar story. Horrifying TV imagery (mounting corpses in Queens) and attention-grabbing statistics (advisers told him a best-case scenario involves 100,000 to 200,000 U.S. deaths) finally penetrated for Trump.

    This combined with hard-nosed politics to force Trump to abandon his reelection-driven desire to reopen the economy quickly. His political team is mindful of polls showing broad public support for keeping the economy on hold until the coronavirus is tackled, and it fears that a resurgent spike in deaths this fall could be worse for him than an immediate economic collapse.

    […] Conway put forth her defense of Trump, as reported by The Post:

    Trump “is presiding over the country’s response to an unanticipated, unprecedented pandemic of global proportions, and he is getting credit for his handling of the pandemic … In due time, he will preside over the great American comeback, which is more likely to be in the summer or fall, depending on the effectiveness of mitigation and relief efforts and the uncertain path of the virus itself.”

    All the ingredients of the coming Big Lie campaign are there. The pandemic was not just an unprecedented challenge; it was one that no one could have anticipated. Trump has risen to the occasion in spite of the fact that everyone was caught off guard. […]

    “I haven’t heard about testing in weeks,” Trump claimed, as a leaked audiotape of the call revealed. “I haven’t heard about testing being a problem.”

    This is a ludicrous lie: Governors have been frantically demanding new testing equipment for some time. Investigative reporting has documented an extraordinary string of failures on the Trump administration’s part leading to current shortages. Those in turn spawned a “lost month” that helped allow the coronavirus to rampage out of control, with untold horrors ahead.

    But what this shows, again, is that Trump’s acceptance of reality (when it comes to mounting deaths) only goes so far: He will continue to employ his magical reality-bending powers to mask his own previous failures to whatever degree he can.

    That project rests heavily on the idea, as Conway put it, that this crisis was “unanticipated.” But that’s verifiable nonsense.

    “It was only unexpected to people who chose not to pay attention — meaning Trump and a White House that has consistently downplayed and marginalized preparedness and readiness for exactly this scenario,” Jeremy Konyndyk, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development, told me. […]

    More at the link.

  148. says


    […] with polls showing New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) enjoying a significant boost in support among his constituents — his statewide approval rating is up to 78% — Donald Trump suggested yesterday that he wants some credit for the governor’s standing. “[O]ne of the reasons why he’s successful is we’ve helped make him successful,” the president said yesterday in reference to Cuomo.

  149. says

    G liveblog:

    France’s health authorities announced an increase of 499 deaths of patients with the coronavirus in the country’s hospitals on Tuesday, the biggest jump in deaths since the start of the pandemic, Kim Willsher reports from Paris.

    Here is the full update on coronavirus cases in France from Jérôme Salomon, head of the French health authority, as the French lockdown entered its third week.

    Number of deaths in hospitals 3,523 (+ 499 )
    Number of cases 52,128 (+ 7,578 )
    Number of people in hospital 22,757 (+1,749)
    Number of people in intensive care 5,565 (+ 478)

    Patients continued to be evacuated from hospitals in the Grand-Est region where hospitals are said to be “saturated” with Covid-19 patients, with several patients were airlifted by helicopter to Germany on Tuesday.

    The Grand-Est is the second worst coronavirus crisis area after the Ile-de-France, which is the Paris region. There are reported to be 2,000 people needing intensive care in the Ile-de-France, a region that has around 1,200 intensive care beds.

    French president Emmanuel Macron called for national unity and said the naysayers criticising the government and authorities were “irresponsible”.

    “When you are fighting a battle you have to be united in order to win it,” Macron said.

    Opinion poll published by Paris Match suggested that the popularity of both Macron and his prime minister Édouard Philippe have risen.

  150. says

    This Trump-enabled corporate coronavirus money grab is killing people, on the taxpayers’ dime.

    From Joan McCarter:

    In 2015, Trilogy Evo—a Pennsylvania subsidiary of the Dutch appliance and technology giant Royal Philips N.V.—took a $13.8 million contract with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to develop an inexpensive, portable, and easy-to-use ventilator to boost the Strategic National Stockpile in the event of a national pandemic. ProPublica, in one of its latest essential investigations into the Trump coronavirus debacle, has discovered that there is not a single one in the stockpile despite the fact that federal tax dollars developed the $3,280 piece of equipment. And despite the fact that HHS ordered 10,000 of them last September.

    They do have this $3,820 ventilator available, but instead of selling it, they’re selling two higher-priced versions of it commercially all over the world. That includes to middleman sellers like a small medical supply company in New York, who told ProPublica: “We sell to whoever calls. […] We have hundreds of orders to fill. I think America didn’t take this seriously at first, and now everyone’s frantic.” It has 50 Trilogy Evo ventilators it bought in early March, when it offered them for $12,495. This week they’re charging $17,154.

    That HHS contract last September—the one to add to the national stockpile—gave Philips a year before it had to provide even one of the original, inexpensive ventilators and another two years to fulfill the entire order of 10,000. Despite the current emergency, “a Philips spokesman said the company has no plan to even begin production anytime this year.” And they’re getting no pressure whatsoever from the Trump administration to do so. No, just the opposite: “Instead, Philips is negotiating with a White House team led by Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to build 43,000 more complex and expensive hospital ventilators for Americans stricken by the virus.”

    OMFG. Effing Jared Kushner again.

    There’s an army of people in their garages trying to hack ventilators out of scuba masks and CPAP machines and whatever they can scrounge at Home Depot to try to save lives, while this multinational corporation has a cheap ventilator—already paid for by the American public—that it is refusing to provide and the Trump administration refuses to make it do so.

    A Phillips spokesman in Amsterdam told ProPublica that they had every right to profit off of American taxpayer dollars by selling the high-priced version of their ventilator to whoever would buy it. Here’s what an HHS spokesperson had to say about that to ProPublica: “Keep in mind that companies are always free to develop other products based on technology developed in collaboration with the government. […]

    This approach often reduces development costs and ensures the product the government needs is available for many years.” But when testifying to Congress about it, the story from HHS was entirely different: “This game-changing device, considered a pipedream [sic] just a few years ago, is now available at affordable prices to improve stockpiling and deployment,” HHS said in a budget document. They lied.

    Because it will always be profit over people for this administration […].


  151. says

    Millions Of N95 Masks & PPE Are Leaving America Every Day To Foreign Buyers

    David DiSalvo, writing for Forbes, observed the buying and selling of N95 marks.

    The fact is, there are millions of masks and PPE already in the USA but they are being sold to foreign buyers on a daily basis.

    The problem stems from the need of American states and hospitals to show “proof of funds” even as prices are steadily rising. Other countries have cracked down on selling this gear out of country. The United States has not. Millions of masks are leaving this country every day. This is why the Federal Government needs to step in and why not doing so is endangering our doctors and nurses, our citizens and ultimately our economy and national security.

    3M is an American company making n95 masks. It seems to me that they and their brokers should be compelled by our Federal Government to sell domestically to American hospitals and states before allowing them to offer sales overseas. […]

    Please read the whole article when you can. DiSalvo is a very good compelling writer. You will be angry as hell when you’re done […]

    Excerpts from the Forbes article:

    I Spent A Day In The Coronavirus-Driven Feeding Frenzy Of N95 Mask Sellers And Buyers And This Is What I Learned


    When contacting potential buyers, Remington (the broker) needs two things to secure a deal with a seller: a letter of intent to purchase and proof of funds.

    “If you are working with a seller who has masks but you can’t quickly show proof of funds, someone else is going to buy them,” he told me.

    And I watched that happen repeatedly throughout the day. Buyers from state procurement departments and hospital systems expressed desperate need for masks, but the deals bogged down when it came to providing proof that they could commit and follow through. In the meantime, another buyer provided proof of funds and the masks were gone, sometimes within the hour.


    Remington received text updates from his network about ever-changing quantities of masks in Houston, New Jersey, Miami, Los Angeles and other U.S. cities, along with cities in Canada and the UK. I was astounded by the numbers of masks at these locations. At one point he received an update that 43 million masks were available in New Jersey, in the same time-frame that federal and state leaders were saying in press conferences that they were “scouring the globe” for masks. But the masks in New Jersey, along with many million more, didn’t go to any domestic buyer. Instead, according to the broker, they were all purchased by foreign buyers.

    “Most of the masks are leaving the country,” he told me.

    That is not the case in countries that have cracked down on exports, he added, but as of now the U.S. is allowing many types of medical supplies to leave the country even as states and hospital systems are expressing desperate need for masks and other PPE.


    Added to this, potential buyers trying to secure PPE for their medical personnel are often not empowered to make fast, high-dollar deals, no matter how desperately they’d like to close a deal and get masks to those in need. I listened to the range of emotions playing out in negotiations and it seemed to me that the domestic procurement process is simply unprepared to operate in this frenzied market. Individuals want to do the right thing, but the systems in which they operate are hamstrung by rules that weren’t created to approve enormous transactions in hours or less.

    By the end of the day, roughly 280 million masks from warehouses around the U.S. had been purchased by foreign buyers and were earmarked to leave the country, according to the broker — and that was in one day.

    Forbes link

    This is yet another failure of leadership on the part of team Trump.

  152. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Ah yes, “Who could have anticipated?”
    Now where have I heard that before? Anyone? Condoleeza?
    “I don’t think that anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center, take another one and slam it into the Pentagon, that they would try to use an airplane as a missile”

    Well, unless you’re Tom Clancy…or anyone who has read Tom Clancy. And who could have anticipated that we’d meet resistance in Iraq.

    Take it away Eric Shinseki…or William Tecumseh Sherman, for that matter.

    And if only there were some office, maybe in the NSC, which had the assignment of anticipating a pandemic…Oh,… wait.

    Remember in November, and rub their noses in it. It’s the only way they learn.

  153. says

    The Cuomo Brothers.

    (On an important point, Andrew Cuomo pointed out during today’s press briefing that Chris had wanted to bring their mother – Matilda – over to his house a couple of weeks ago, and Andrew was firmly opposed. He talked about it at the time, but didn’t name the sibling IIRC. He noted today that if she’d been over there this week after Chris had contracted it he could have spread it to her. It’s always best to consider yourself a potential vector and to avoid any unnecessary plans that put people, especially vulnerable people, potentially at risk.)

  154. goaded says

    I’ve not been here for a while, but it seems like the best place to float an idea that I haven’t seen anywhere.

    Why aren’t governments combining testing with polling maths? You can tell within a few percent what a vote will be by asking a couple of thousand people at random, why not test a random sample of people (not just sick people) across the nation, and see what the infection rate really is? With error bars.

    It’s not even complicated by the electoral college, tactical voting, or whatever, it’s “infected or not?”.

    Or, better: infected, previously infected, or never infected. (Are there tests for those?)

  155. says

    goaded @197, In the USA, it’s the same reason that most other testing is inadequate or nonexistent, because team Trump is incompetent. They can’t do anything properly. One thing team Trump does manage to do is to prevent other people from doing things properly.

    Related to that topic, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, a Republican, had a few things to say:

    […] Hogan got candid on Tuesday when asked about […] Trump’s claim that there haven’t been issues with the chaotic testing system during the COVID-19 outbreak.

    “I haven’t heard about testing being a problem,” Trump told all the nations’ governors during a conference call on Monday.

    “Yeah, that’s just not true,” Hogan said the next day during an interview with NPR’s “Inside Edition” host Rachel Martin. “I mean, I know that they’ve taken some steps to create new tests, but they’re not actually produced and distributed out to the states.”

    “So it’s an aspirational thing and they’ve got some new things in the works, but they’re not actually out on the streets and no state has enough testing,” he added.

    The governor told NPR that he and his colleagues were following the advice of the medical experts on the White House coronavirus task force, such as doctors Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx.

    Fellow Republican Gov. Charlie Baker of Massachusetts had a similarly frank reaction last week to Trump’s rosy vision of the coronavirus outbreak.

    “Yeah, no,” Baker said when a reporter asked if his state would be ready to lift social distancing measures by Easter, as Trump had hoped.

  156. says

    Follow-up to comment 199.

    From readers comments:

    I’ve got a friend who is running testing at a large university in a southern state. He said they ran out of reagent for testing days ago and can’t even test.

    The Trump admin and southern states (FL, GA, TN, TX, MS, AL, SC) don’t want to be testing b/c it’s going to show how f*cked those states are. I predict FL is going to spike hugely in the coming week to 14 days (and I’m not the only one).

    Unfortunately, the Catch 22 here is that b/c they are hiding it, they are making it harder to stop once everyone catches on to their failures. And then those states are going to screw the rest of us who are doing the right thing now. We’ll all be in this longer.

    They just can’t bring themselves to do the right thing up front. It’s lie, avoid, blame, lie, avoid blame. Oh shit!

  157. says

    From New York Governor Andrew Cuomo:

    We’re all anxious, all tired, all fatigued. It’s been all bad news for a long time. Our whole lifestyle has been disrupted. Everybody wants to know one thing: when is it over? Nobody knows.

    It is not going to be soon. If our apex is 14 to 21 days, that’s our apex. You then have to come down the other side of the mountain once you hit the apex. So calibrate yourself and your expectations so you’re not disappointed every morning you get up.

  158. says

    Boston Globe editorial – “A president unfit for a pandemic”:

    “Things fall apart; the center cannot hold,” wrote W.B. Yeats in 1919. A century later, it’s clear: The epicenter cannot hold. Catastrophic decisions in the White House have doomed the world’s richest country to a season of untold suffering.

    The United States, long a beacon of scientific progress and medical innovation with its world-class research institutions and hospitals, is now the hub of a global pandemic that has infected at least 745,000 people and already claimed more than 35,000 lives worldwide. Now that the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States — more than 140,000 — has surpassed that of any other nation, Americans are consigned for the coming weeks to watching the illness fell family members and friends, and to fearing for their own fate as they watch death tolls rise.

    While the spread of the novel coronavirus has been aggressive around the world, much of the profound impact it will have here in the United States was preventable. As the American public braces itself for the worst of this crisis, it’s worth remembering that the reach of the virus here is not attributable to an act of God or a foreign invasion, but a colossal failure of leadership.

    The outbreak that began in China demanded a White House that could act swiftly and competently to protect public health, informed by science and guided by compassion and public service. It required an administration that could quickly deploy reliable tests around the nation to isolate cases and trace and contain the virus’s spread, as South Korea effectively did, as well as to manufacture and distribute scarce medical supplies around the country. It begged for a president of the United States to deliver clear, consistent, scientifically sound messages on the state of the epidemic and its solutions, to reassure the public amid their fear, and to provide steady guidance to cities and states. And it demanded a leader who would put the country’s well-being first, above near-term stock market returns and his own reelection prospects, and who would work with other nations to stem the tide of COVID-19 cases around the world.

    What we have instead is a president epically outmatched by a global pandemic. A president who in late January, when the first confirmed coronavirus case was announced in the United States, downplayed the risk and insisted all was under control. A president who, rather than aggressively test all those exposed to the virus, said he’d prefer not to bring ashore passengers on a contaminated cruise ship so as to keep national case numbers (artificially) low. A president who, consistent with his mistrust and undermining of scientific fact, has misled the public about unproven cures for COVID-19, and who baited-and-switched last week about whether the country ought to end social distancing to open up by Easter, and then, on Saturday, about whether he’d impose a quarantine on New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut….

    Timing is everything in pandemic response: It can make the difference between a contained local outbreak that endures a few weeks and an uncontrollable contagion that afflicts millions. The Trump administration has made critical errors over the past two months, choosing early on to develop its own diagnostic test, which failed, instead of adopting the World Health Organization’s test — a move that kneecapped the US coronavirus response and, by most public health experts’ estimation, will cost thousands if not hundreds of thousands of American lives. Rather than making the expected federal effort to mobilize rapidly to distribute needed gowns, masks, and ventilators to ill-equipped hospitals and to the doctors and nurses around the country who are left unprotected treating a burgeoning number of patients, the administration has instead been caught outbidding individual states (including Massachusetts) trying to purchase medical supplies. It has dragged its heels on invoking the Defense Production Act to get scarce, sorely needed ventilators and masks into production so that they can be distributed to hospitals nationwide as they hit their peaks in the cycle of the epidemic. It has left governors and mayors in the lurch, begging for help. The months the administration wasted with prevarication about the threat and its subsequent missteps will amount to exponentially more COVID-19 cases than were necessary. In other words, the president has blood on his hands.

    It’s not too much for Americans to ask of their leaders that they be competent and informed when responding to a crisis of historic proportions. Instead, they have a White House marred by corruption and incompetence, whose mixed messages roil the markets and rock their sense of security. Instead of compassion and clarity, the president, in his near-daily addresses to the nation, embodies callousness, self-concern, and a lack of compass. Dangling unverified cures and possible quarantines in front of the public like reality TV cliffhangers, he unsettles rather than reassures. The pandemic reveals that the worst features of this presidency are not merely late-night comedy fodder; they come at the cost of lives, livelihoods, and our collective psyche.

    Many pivotal decision points in this crisis are past us, but more are still to come. For our own sake, every American should be hoping for a miraculous turnaround — and that the too-little, too-late strategy of the White House task force will henceforth at least prevent contagion and economic ruin of the grandest scale. But come November, there must be a reckoning for the lives lost, and for the vast, avoidable suffering about to ensue under the president’s watch.

  159. says

    Building his damned vanity wall is still a Trump priority:

    The coronavirus pandemic has not stopped the construction of the border wall on the Arizona border, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

    Work crews for the wall have flooded Arizona, particularly in the town Ajo, filling hotels, motels, Airbnbs and mobile home camps. In the meantime, other states across the country shut down nonessential construction as they continue to grapple with the pandemic.

    The Trump administration has said the wall will stop the spread of the virus into the U.S. from Mexico, although health experts say a barrier would not limit the outbreaks already occurring in the U.S., the Times reported.

    Residents in Ajo expressed concern to the Times about the increase of workers in the area, worrying that the higher number of people makes the town more susceptible to an outbreak. Some health experts have said the density of workers could cause the virus to spread across the U.S. when the workers return to their families.

    “This administration’s priority is to get the wall done. The rest of us might as well be damned,” Ajo resident Maria Singleton told the Times, adding that she saw 22 construction trucks one day. […]

    Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) on Monday issued a stay-at-home order for the state, allowing people only to leave their residence for food, medical reasons, exercise or “essential” reasons. New York, Washington state, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania have all halted non-essential construction, but some construction in Florida, California and Missouri carries on. […]


  160. says

    Oh, no. Not this too:

    A federal appeals court on Tuesday ruled that Texas can temporarily enforce a ban on abortions as part of its coronavirus response.

    The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a temporary stay on a ruling from a lower court that had blocked Texas from enforcing the ban. State officials argue the ban is intended to conserve medical supplies for health workers on the front lines of the coronavirus response. But abortion rights advocates say states are using the pandemic as an excuse to block access.

    In a 2-1 opinion, the appeals court ruled that the order from the lower court be stayed until an appeal from Texas is considered. The two judges who ruled in favor of a stay were nominated to their posts by President Trump and former President George W. Bush. […]

    Circuit Court Judge James Dennis, a Clinton appointee, dissented, writing “a federal judge has already concluded that irreparable harm would flow from allowing the executive order to prohibit abortions during this critical time.” […]

    Several states have issued similar orders, but a divide has emerged between red and blue states about whether abortion is an essential procedure. […]


  161. Pierce R. Butler says

    xdrta @ # 175: You don’t seem to know what vote-by-mail is. It’s not absentee ballots.

    You don’t seem to understand that Oregon’s vote-by-mail system doesn’t exist in other states.

    In most places in the US, one votes in person (sometimes with a choice of location), or absentee. Or not at all.

    Have you ever heard the expression, “Check your privilege.”?

  162. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Pierce R. Butler #207. I can vote by mail here in Illinois, and they call it that, not absentee ballot. Both the Redhead and I made use of it after her stroke. You do have to apply (download form, sign, and mail to the Clerks office), but no excuse need be given as is typical with absentee ballots in some states.
    Po-ta-to, po-tat-o.

  163. goaded says

    @Lynna #204 Not mine, but:

    If the Americans keep screwing up the reponse to COVID-19, the Mexican will build the wall, and pay for it!

  164. says

    JUST NOW— Gov. Ron DeSantis says the White House task force hasn’t told him to issue a statewide stay-at-home-order: ‘The task force is not recommending this. If they do, that’s something that would carry a lot of weight with me’.”

  165. says

    “This White House briefing room slide lists as ‘goals’ 100,000 to 240,000 deaths.


    Just to put it in perspective, on the low end this approaches the number of US servicemembers killed in World War I, on the high end it doubles it.

    I have no idea if it will get this bad; but the clear intention from the White House, and the message sent to his propagandists, that even if “merely” tens of thousands of Americans die, Trump did a great job, despite mishandling and lying to the public about this for months.”

  166. consciousness razor says

    a_ray #179:
    I’ll take that non-answer as a no. You’ve got nothing.

  167. says

    UPDATE: Florida reports 1,037 new cases over 24 hours. This is the first time the state has reported more than one thousand cases over that interval. Florida does not yet have a statewide stay-at-home order.”

  168. says

    Even Katie Halper didn’t take Tara Reade’s story seriously enough.

    Part of the media’s silence about the podcast is perhaps not because of any fealty to Biden, but because of the way Halper, who also co-hosts Rolling Stone’s Useful Idiots podcast, aired the allegations—with little context, few follow-up questions, and no additional reporting. Interviewing witnesses and fact-checking dates, locations, and other relevant details while reporting a sexual assault allegation is crucial in the effort to shield victims, who are often maligned and harassed by those who would use any inconsistency in their stories to discredit their accounts. Halper does say she spoke with Reade’s brother and a friend who verified that she shared the story of assault with them, though she has not released any quotes or recordings of those interviews, nor does she seem to have contacted dozens of possible witnesses who could have corroborated Reade’s account. By overlooking these elements, Halper put Reade in a no-win situation, subjecting her to the vitriol of public opinion and ultimately making her account more difficult to verify.

  169. says

    From WIRED: “It’s Time to Face Facts, America: Masks Work”

    Official advice has been confusing, but the science isn’t hard to grok. Everyone should cover up.

    […] photos of Americans during the 1918 influenza pandemic, one feature stands out above all else: masks. Fabric, usually white gauze, covers nearly every face. Across the country, public health experts recommended universal mask wearing, and some cities ordered residents to wear them under penalty of fine or imprisonment. The Red Cross made thousands of cloth masks and distributed them for free. Newspapers published instructions for sewing masks at home. “Make any kind of a mask … and use it immediately and at all times,” the Boston commissioner of health pleaded. “Even a handkerchief held in place over the face is better than nothing.”

    After the 1918 pandemic, the prophylactic use of masks among the general public largely fell out of favor in America and much of the West. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has almost never advised healthy people to wear masks in public to prevent influenza or other respiratory diseases. In the past few months, with medical supplies dangerously diminished, the CDC, US surgeon general Jerome Adams, and the World Health Organization have urged people not to buy masks, paradoxically claiming that masks are both essential for the safety of health care workers and incapable of protecting the public from Covid-19. (WIRED’s editorial staff, like the CDC, suggests that healthy people not wear masks.)

    Recently, some experts have disputed this contradictory advice. They propose that widespread use of masks is one of the many reasons why China, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan have controlled outbreaks of coronavirus much more effectively than the US and Europe. “Of course masks work,” sociologist Zeynep Tufekci wrote in a New York Times editorial. “Their use has always been advised as part of the standard response to being around infected people.” Public health expert Shan Soe-Lin and epidemiologist Robert Hecht made a similar argument in the Boston Globe: “We need to change our perception that masks are only for sick people and that it’s weird or shameful to wear one … If more people donned masks it would become a social norm as well as a public health good.” Last week, George Gao, director-general of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said that America and Europe are making a “big mistake” by not telling the public to wear masks during the ongoing pandemic.

    It is unequivocally true that masks must be prioritized for health care workers in any country suffering from a shortage of personal protective equipment. But the conflicting claims and guidelines regarding their use raise three questions of the utmost urgency: Do masks work? Should everyone wear them? And if there aren’t enough medical-grade masks for the general public, is it possible to make a viable substitute at home? Decades of scientific research, lessons from past pandemics, and common sense suggest the answer to all of these questions is yes.

    The two most widely used types of masks are N95 respirators and surgical masks. N95s are typically round or duck-billed and, when properly fitted, form a tight seal around the nose and mouth. Stiff and snug, they can be uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time. Surgical masks, also called procedural masks when worn outside the operating room, are usually soft, pleated rectangles secured to the face with strings or ear loops and pulled under the chin. Although they are more comfortable than N95s, they are also looser, allowing more air to leak through the sides. Both surgical masks and N95s contain an inner mesh of tiny plastic fibers that functions as a filter. And both masks are disposable by design, typically discarded whenever they become too wet, dirty, or damaged.

    Masks reduce the spread of infectious disease by catching microbes expelled by the wearer and protecting the wearer from microbes in their environment. When we cough, sneeze, talk, or simply breathe we emit a plume of air and droplets, which are largely composed of saliva, mucus, salts, and—if we are infected—potentially dangerous microbes. […]

    Respirators were originally designed to protect miners, firefighters, and soldiers from dust, smoke, toxins, and other harmful particles in the air. N95s are so-named because they filter out 95 percent of particles with a diameter of 0.3 microns, which are the most difficult particles to trap. Think of the filter in a mask not as a sieve but as a thicket—a dense tangle of minuscule filaments. To make it through, particles must flow seamlessly with air currents, weaving around every obstruction. Large particles are too heavy to pivot quickly, so they crash. Extremely tiny particles are buffeted by individual air molecules, bouncing about like pinballs and colliding with filaments. Particles 0.3 microns wide are just the right size to ride a stream of air through a filter’s fibrous maze, but it is still possible to thwart them with enough twists and turns. […]

    Although surgical masks are not tightly sealed like N95s, the filters they contain are still a major impediment to microbes. The CDC and other health agencies often say that surgical masks catch only spurts of bodily fluids and very large respiratory droplets, and that they cannot filter tiny infectious particles. But this is simply not true.

    For a 2009 study of influenza transmission, nine infected volunteers coughed five times onto a Petri dish while wearing a surgical mask, an N95 respirator, or no covering. Nearly every time someone coughed without a mask, influenza virus showed up on the dish, but no virus was found when the volunteers wore either type of mask. Similarly, in a study still under review, 246 participants with symptoms of respiratory infection breathed into a droplet-collecting device called the Gesundheit-II for 30 minutes. When volunteers were bare-mouthed, coronavirus was detected in 30 to 40 percent of their sampled droplets; when they wore a surgical mask, no coronavirus was detected. […]

    Scientists have also tested whether masks reduce infection in randomized controlled trials. Results from these studies are inconsistent: Many fail to find definitive support for mask wearing, but a few are somewhat encouraging. Neither hand sanitizer nor face masks alone produced a statistically significant effect on rates of influenza-like illness among 1,437 college students in Michigan; together, however, they reduced the rate by 35 to 51 percent. Similarly, surgical masks appeared to reduce the spread of flu within 84 households in Berlin when they were used within 36 hours of symptoms.

    Because so many trials find only a marginal benefit or none at all, some health agencies have decided against recommending masks to the general public. But the inconsistency of randomized trials does not negate the robust physical evidence that masks block respiratory droplets and microbes. Rather, these trials underscore that the efficacy of a mask depends on how it is used. In a study of 143 households in Sydney, people who diligently wore surgical masks as instructed reduced their daily risk of respiratory infection by an estimated 60 to 80 percent, but fewer than half the participants kept up the demanding routine.

    In fact, this very issue has been cited (and even exaggerated) by health authorities in order to dissuade the public from using masks. “Folks who don’t know how to wear them properly tend to touch their faces a lot and actually can increase the spread of coronavirus,” Jerome Adams told Fox & Friends at the beginning of March. […] If it’s possible to educate the public about better hand hygiene, why not teach them how to wear masks, too?

    Meanwhile, several studies have tested the performance of masks improvised from household materials. A 2008 paper found that masks made from kitchen towels were about half as protective as surgical masks. For a study published in 2013, scientists compared the filtration efficiency of surgical masks to linen, silk, a scarf, a kitchen towel, a pillowcase, a vacuum cleaner bag, and masks that volunteers made from 100 percent-cotton T-shirts. The surgical mask performed best, followed by the vacuum cleaner bag and kitchen towel, but the latter were too thick and stiff to be worn for long periods of time. The T-shirt masks were comfortable, though, and one-third as effective as the surgical masks. “Our findings suggest that a homemade mask should only be considered as a last resort,” the authors wrote, “but it would be better than no protection.” A 2010 study reached a nearly identical conclusion.

    The collective evidence makes a strong case for universal mask wearing during a pandemic. Masks are not a substitute for other interventions; they must always be used in combination with social distancing and hand hygiene. […] “Masks work in both directions,” virologist Julian Tang explained. “If everybody wears a mask, it’s double protection. Even if a mask is not 100 percent sealed, it is still a significant reduction in risk of transmission.”

    “Originally, I agreed that only sick people should wear masks,” said Linsey Marr, an environmental engineer who studies disease transmission. “After observing this pandemic, I now think that if we had an infinite supply of masks, everyone should be wearing them when they go out in public.” Benjamin Cowling, an infectious disease epidemiologist, agreed: “If there were a plentiful supply of cheap face masks, I believe there would be a recommendation for mass masking. We need to consider the use of masks going forward as supplies permit and develop evidence-based guidelines for homemade versions.” […]

    Homemade cloth masks should be frequently boiled or washed. […]

    A 2011 review of high-quality studies found that among all physical interventions used against respiratory viruses—including handwashing, gloves, and social distancing—masks performed best, although a combination of strategies was still optimal.


    More at the link.

  170. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    CR, I’ve got nothing you’d understand anyway. I’ll accept that. You’ve shown there’s no upside to engaging with you in any case.

  171. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Got an emergency message on my dumb flip phone, where the state of IL was looking for licensed medical workers to help out during the crisis. The situation is dire.

  172. says

    Here’s a link to the new (April 1) Guardian coronavirus liveblog.

    They have a link to more about #200 above – “Llandudno marauders: the herd of goats running riot through a Welsh town”:

    And how exactly did the Llandudno goats run riot? Locked horns on the beach, head-butted shop windows? A bit of ram-raiding? They ate a few hedges in the Trinity Square area of town. They trespassed in several front gardens and ran across a road without looking properly. A man named Andrew Stuart spotted them from the window of the pub he lives in. They weren’t keeping the required two metres apart, he observed….

  173. says

    Who could ever imagine that constantly attacking the party your candidate is running to lead, accusing them of every nefarious scheme, trashing the other candidates in that party, repeating Kremlin and Trumpist propaganda, berating people who support other candidates, telling them that if they don’t support your candidate come what may they’re not real progressives and probably secretly rightwing, accusing those who don’t want to burn it all down of being tools of the establishment, condescendingly criticizing black and older voters, failing to build bridges or coalitions, and blaming everyone else and rejecting any introspection wouldn’t be the most successful strategy?

    AOC, March 4 (which feels like decades ago):

    Effective organizers are welcomers, natural educators, and positive in their interactions.

    They make new people feel like theirs is a movement they want to be part of.

    Effective organizers treat the internet as an organizing space (although not the *only* organizing space!).

    It is important to fight for the issues, advance your argument, and grow the cause.

    To do so, the questions that organizers or anyone seeking to advance a cause or campaign should always ask themselves are: who else can we include, and how can we listen and include them?

  174. says

    And now the dems, by internal maneuver and stampeding folks to the polls in a epidemic have probably nominated a fucking rapist who will get turned inside out by trump, but pseudo-anarchists like you get to feel you Owned The Berniebros, right until Trump wins.

    And there’s nothing secret about the dems being right wing, wanker.

  175. says

    It’s gonna be hilarious, in the most dark and disgusting way feasible, seeing how many of the BlueNoMatterWho shits show their true colours when immigrants rights groups and Latinx folks start protesting the dems’ senile rapist on the campaign trail.

  176. says

    Ah, how successfully Putin has made the liberals dance on his strings, that they’d stampede behind a rapist.

    You deserve November, but the rest of us don’t.

  177. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Still not shut the fuck up putin’s puppet? YAWN boring….

  178. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Sorry Putin’s puppet, you haven’t defined your problem. Try being coherent for a change.

  179. says

    Because yeah, you’re just demonstrating that no matter what garbage you’re fed, you’ll pull the crank and then squawk at anyone who says its trash.

    Fuck this, fuck coalitionism with folks who the instant the rapist is their own, they turn into fucking Kavaug supporters. You deserve each other.

  180. consciousness razor says

    Ryan Cooper:

    it is nice to see out in the open what the establishment requires for a career in Dem politics

    Katherine Krueger:

    amazing that all these dem establishment people – who represent a wing of politics being roundly rejected by young people at the polls – are out here saying “you’re never gonna work in this town again” type shit. who with a soul would want to???

    And the follow-up: “go back to tweeting about how Joe Biden’s accuser shouldn’t be listened to you absolute ghouls”
    Medhi Hasan:

    Bernie’s press secretary suggesting to a sitting US senator that cancer treatment, and not just COVID-19 treatment, should be free has generated far more outrage from liberals on Twitter than the fact that Biden’s senior adviser offered free PR & legal advice to Harvey Weinstein.

  181. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Still no problem defined by the incoherent Putins puppet or Trumpist. Pitiful example of uncontrolled rage.

  182. says

    The dem establishment has shown that there is no coalition with them, and that you are just fucking votes and paypigs for them. No more garbage, no more turning out for trash. It is a strategy that has failed on both moral and practical grounds. My generation in the states was ruined by Biden. Fuck voting for him, fuck those would would eat shit and smile doing it.

  183. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Time for bed to dream about the hair furor being defeated in the fall…

  184. Porivil Sorrens says

    Like they say, scratch a liberal and a fascist bleeds. We’re already seeing swathes of bourgeois feminists who built their online careers on #MeToo going out of their way to defend a geriatric rapist by sheer virtue of his party affiliation. I have no doubt at all in my mind that there’s going to be a tidal wave of libs venting their rage at uppity minorities that don’t like dementia-ridden zombie they decided to nominate.

  185. says

    Folks who vote for rapists, and smug at folks with no tolerance for this level of garbage are not allies. They are not allies of trans people, and they are not allies of my gen, who Biden was one of the chief architects of American Millennial poverty. Allowing the dems to go full animal farm is not alliance, and it is not helpful. Even if Biden got it, we’d just get something worst in 4 years.

  186. says

    So, apparently, yesterday Biden issued another statement saying that despite millions losing their jobs in the middle of a pandemic, he still wants health insurance to be linked to employment.

    Lynna and Nerd of Redhead, you are monsters, supporting a human-shaped sack of shit for president.

  187. says

    I mean…Captain Jeep-Eep is a monotonous troll, but I’m also not convinced that they’re USian.

    The Vicar:

    Lynna and Nerd of Redhead, you are monsters, supporting a human-shaped sack of shit for president.

    Good grief. Shoo, all of you.

  188. Rowan vet-tech says

    If my choices boil down to ‘shit with whipworms, giardia, coccidia and dysentery’ and ‘shit with giardia’, and I literally had no other options, I’d end up choosing ‘shit with giardia’. It’s still shit, but it’s a slightly less bad shit and less bad is an improvement.
    This fall, if Biden wins the nomination, either he or Trump will be elected. There is no other potential under the system we currently live under and outside of full on war that is not going to change in the next 8 months. So. My options are the orange dictator or a fucking awful asshole. And frankly, and this point, fucking awful asshole is refreshing compared to the tangerine tyrant.

  189. says

    @Captain Jeep-Eep
    What do you suggest we do?

    I’m going to vote for Biden while shaming him and the culture that made him a nominee. Not as a sexual assaulter because I really do want an investigation, but as a sexual harasser, a boundary crosser, a friend of bigotry, basically a lightweight version of Trump.

    Otherwise you seem to be a dog pissing on fences. Your disparaging characterizations don’t lead to anything a person could use to see if you are correct. Which sucks because there’s so many good reasons to hate my country.

  190. lotharloo says

    What I am hearing is that we need to vote out the pussy-grabbing monster with an R and replace him with a pussy-grabbing slightly less evil version with a D and condemn anyone who doesn’t do it as a Russian agent!

  191. Saad says

    lotharloo, #254

    What I am hearing is that we need to vote out the pussy-grabbing monster with an R and replace him with a pussy-grabbing slightly less evil version with a D and condemn anyone who doesn’t do it as a Russian agent!

    Since those are going to be the only two options, you have just given the reason why people should vote for Biden.

  192. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    My goal in the 2020 election is to make Trump a one term president. I will vote in the election, just as I have in every election since 1972. My vote is against Trump. Now, if anybody can show how anybody other than the democratic nominee, whoever they may be, has a legitimate chance of defeating Trump, bring it on. There is no other option, and you know that.

    It appears the people voting in the democratic primaries prefer Biden. I’m not happy with that. I voted for Sanders in the IL primary. If Biden is the nominee, and I have zero ability past my primary vote to effect that, so be it. There is no alternative to remove Trump other than voting for Biden. Those trying to stop me from voting for whatever reason are playing from Putin’s playbook, which is designed to keep his puppet Trump in office. I will vote and hold my nose while doing so.

  193. says

    From the G liveblog (linked @ #226 above):

    A bleak report from Reuters in Delhi, India’s capital, on the desperate plight of the homeless amid the coronavirus pandemic. “Some of us will die, some of us will live to suffer,” warns one local.

    In a densely packed neighbourhood of Delhi, hundreds of homeless people queued up this week as volunteers doled out rice and peas from a vat in the back of a van.

    Only a handful of the people in the crowd wore masks. There were no hand sanitizers or wash basins in sight and no social distancing.

    “I need the food,” said a man in the queue, Shiv Kumar. “If I stand apart, someone else might come in between.”

    Volunteers say such scenes are playing out daily across India, as labourers and waste pickers – most of them homeless or too poor to afford a meal – are among the hardest hit by prime minister Narendra Modi’s three-week nationwide lockdown to stem the spread of coronavirus.

    Most of the estimated 4 million-plus homeless people in India have had no way of earning a living since the lockdown began on 25 March. With streets deserted, even begging is not an option.

    Many wander aimlessly, some find refuge at homeless shelters where ranks of people sleep beside each other. While the plight of India’s migrant workers has garnered headlines, with thousands forced to walk miles to reach home since the lockdown began, many aid workers say the millions of homeless in India face a bigger risk.

    Officials say the shutdown is necessary to stem the spread of the coronavirus. India has reported more than 1,500 cases and 38 deaths from the outbreak.

    But rights groups have criticised the government over what they say has been inadequate planning ahead of the lockdown.

    “You cannot impose such drastic measures on a population the size of India all of a sudden,” said Shivani Chaudhry, executive director of Housing and Land Rights Network, a non-profit group that works with the homeless. “In shelters, we face serious challenges such as the lack of adequate space and sanitation,” she said. “If one person in a shelter gets infected, it’s going to be very hard to control its spread.”

    “Some of us will die, some of us will live to suffer,” said Zakir Hussain, a 45-year-old labourer, standing near a homeless shelter in Delhi. “We are poor. We’ve been left here to die. Our lives are of no value to anyone.”

  194. says

    The Atlantic – “Private Labs Are Fueling a New Coronavirus Testing Crisis”:

    On the surface, the American COVID-19 testing regime has finally hit its stride. Over the past five days, the states have reported a daily average of 104,000 people tested, according to data assembled by the COVID Tracking Project, a volunteer collaboration incubated at The Atlantic. Today, the U.S. reported that 1 million people have been tested for the coronavirus—a milestone that the White House once promised it would hit the first week of March.

    But things are not going as smoothly as the top-line numbers might suggest. Our reporting has unearthed a new coronavirus-testing crisis. Its main cause is not the federal government, nor state public-health labs, but the private companies that now dominate the country’s testing capacity. Testing backlogs have ballooned, slowing efficient patient care and delivering a heavily lagged view of the outbreak to decision makers.

    Though the problem is national in scope, California is its known epicenter. Over the past week, the most populous state in the union—where the country’s first case of community transmission was identified, in late February—has managed to complete an average of only 2,136 tests each day, far fewer than other similarly populous states, according to our tracking data. Yet California also reports that more than 57,400 people have pending test results. Tens of thousands of Californians have been swabbed for the virus, but their samples have not yet been examined in a lab.

    …California has completed fewer tests per capita than the country’s next five-largest states—and fewer tests per capita than any of the 34 states that regularly report their full testing data. New York has tested 13 times more people, on a per capita basis.

    The overreporting error, the lackluster testing rate, and that persistently huge number of pending tests suggest something is rotten in the Golden State’s testing regime. Even more troubling, they raise the possibility that all across the country, huge numbers of results are stuck in purgatory.

    Within the clinical-testing world, it is an open secret that Quest Diagnostics—one of the industry’s two big players, along with Labcorp—has struggled to scale up its operations in California. And yet, Quest has continued to accept specimens from across the country, leading to a huge backlog of tests at the company’s facility in San Juan Capistrano.

    This failure accounts for at least some of the tens of thousands of pending tests reflected in the state’s reported numbers. According to experts, it isn’t Quest’s fault that the company has so far been unable to meet the technical challenge of testing thousands of people every day. Setting up such “high throughput” operations is difficult. But Quest failed to come to terms with its ongoing problems, and it continued to accept specimens—and generate revenue—when other laboratories could have done some of the tests faster.

    Testing isn’t important only because it helps track the pandemic. For hospitals, coronavirus tests are a crucial tool in managing scarce resources. If a patient comes in with COVID-19-like symptoms, doctors and nurses must act as if the patient has the virus. They must don personal protective equipment, or PPE, every time they interact with the patient until he or she tests negative for the coronavirus. Because the majority of tests still come back negative in most places, hospitals wind up burning through their supply of PPE while taking care of patients who do not actually have the coronavirus. There is a national shortage of PPE, and some places in California, including Los Angeles County, have already used up their emergency supply.

    “It may be that Quest has mountains and mountains of specimens that they can’t get to,” said a clinical-laboratory director who requested anonymity for fear of damaging their relationship with Quest. “If so, they should tell someone.”

    And though we know about the backlog in California, the problem may—and probably does—extend beyond the state, and for that matter beyond Quest too, based on our conversations with laboratory-testing experts, public statements by governors, and the accounts of patients and physicians.

    Unlike the country’s first testing crisis, which was defined by a needless struggle between federal agencies and a pattern of blundering from the White House, fault for the new testing problem resides largely in the private sector.

    But the Trump administration did play a role in the present crisis….

    One month ago today, the CDC still claimed that only 15 Americans were sick with the coronavirus. Community transmission of the virus seemed like a fluke, limited to the West Coast or perhaps just Northern California.

    It’s now clear that this was an illusion: The virus was already everywhere. Even rudimentary models suggest that roughly 10,000 Americans may have been infected by March 1. Looking back with barely any hindsight at all, February already seems like a lost month, a different era in American history. In the past several weeks, much of the country has moved swiftly to confront the coronavirus, which has today infected at least 184,000 Americans and killed more than 3,746. A month from now, the backlog in California may seem just as naive as the CDC’s minuscule count from February seems to us today. California is the flare alerting the nation to systemic problems in our testing regime. Will we heed it?

  195. says

    CNN – “Trump administration won’t reopen Obamacare enrollment for uninsured as coronavirus spreads”:

    The Trump administration has decided not to reopen enrollment in the Affordable Care Act’s federal exchanges amid the rising coronavirus pandemic, a senior administration official said Tuesday evening.

    Pressure had been building on the White House to launch a special enrollment period to allow the uninsured to purchase Obamacare policies. The decision came the same day that President Donald Trump warned of a painful two-week stretch ahead as infections continue to spread.

    Democratic lawmakers asked administration officials to temporarily reopen the exchanges several weeks ago. Also, two leading health insurance industry groups wrote congressional leaders in mid-March asking for such a move.

    Eleven states that run their own Obamacare exchanges, along with the District of Columbia, have launched temporary special enrollment periods so their uninsured residents can obtain coverage outside the usual time frame.

    Open enrollment typically runs from Nov. 1 to Dec. 15 in the 38 states that use the federal exchange,

    Nearly 28 million non-elderly Americans were uninsured in 2018, according to the most recent Census Bureau data available. The lack of coverage has been a key weak point in the nation’s fight to stem the outbreak. Americans who are uninsured may hesitate to get checked if they feel ill, which could lead to their infecting others, experts say.

    More than 188,000 people had tested positive in the US and roughly 3,900 had died as of Tuesday evening, according to Johns Hopkins University. Thousands more have gone to emergency rooms or been hospitalized, potentially racking up hundreds or thousands of dollars in medical bills.

    The newly unemployed who lose their employer-based coverage are allowed to sign up for Obamacare policies within 60 days of becoming uninsured.

  196. says

    Tal Schneider reports that negotiations between Gantz & Likud have broken down over the indicted Netanyahu’s insistence that he get veto power over the next Justice Minister, Attorney General, National Prosecutor, and possibly the next police commissioner. Please look shocked.”

  197. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Lynna, I don’t know about Putin’s puppets, but Russian assets, definitely.

    It is a mistake–or at the very least on obfuscation–to concentrate entirely on the top of the ticket. A good showing in down ballot races–delivering the House and Senate to the Democratic wing of the Democratic party–could perhaps even move Biden to the left in his agenda. LBJ was certainly no flaming liberal or civil rights hero, and yet arguably, he did more on both fronts than any President since Roosevelt.

    Ignore the imbeciles from either fringe. Vote progressive when possible, but vote blue no matter what. The republic is literally at stake.

  198. says

    Guardian – “Coronavirus: Italy stops singing as fear and social unrest mount”:

    A few days into Italy’s lockdown, people across the country sang and played music from their balconies as they came together to say “Everything will be alright” (Andrà tutto bene). Three weeks on, the singing has stopped and social unrest is mounting as a significant part of the population, especially in the poorer south, realise that everything is not all right.

    “They are no longer singing or dancing on the balconies,” said Salvatore Melluso, a priest at Caritas Diocesana di Napoli, a church-run charity in Naples. “Now people are more afraid – not so much of the virus, but of poverty. Many are out of work and hungry. There are now long queues at food banks.”

    There have been far fewer coronavirus deaths in Italy’s south compared with the worst-affected northern regions, but the pandemic is having a serious impact on livelihoods.

    Tensions are building across the poorest southern regions of Campania, Calabria, Sicily and Puglia as people run out of food and money. There have been reports of small shop owners being pressured to give food for free, while police are patrolling supermarkets in some areas to stop thefts. The self-employed or those working on contracts that do not guarantee social benefits have lost salaries, and many small businesses may never reopen.

    The ramifications of the lockdown, which is poised to be extended until at least Easter, are also affecting the estimated 3.3 million people in Italy who were working off the books, of whom more than 1 million live across Campania, Sicily, Puglia and Calabria, according to the most recent figures from CGIA Mestre, a Venice-based small business association.

    Amid the brewing social unrest, the prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, said €4.3bn (£3.8bn) from a solidarity fund would immediately be advanced to all municipalities and an additional €400m would go to mayors for conversion into food stamps. But mayors have protested that the funds, especially the €400m for food vouchers, are insufficient.

    “It is absolutely not enough,” said Salvo Pogliese, the mayor of Catania. “We were expecting more and I hope the government will find a way. The situation is extremely delicate as a significant part of the population has zero income. Those who before lived with dignity, now find themselves in difficulty.”

    One of the issues is that the €4.3bn was due to be given to mayors in May, and much of the funding had already been designated to be spent in other areas.

    “If the government expects this money to be used to feed people, then municipalities won’t have money for other things,” said Orsina. “And the new tranche of €400m, if you divide it up between all municipalities, is peanuts. The problem has been offloaded to mayors – Italians will now go asking them for money that they can’t give. Expectations have been created that can’t be satisfied.”

    There are also signs that criminal organisations are exploiting the situation. Investigations are under way into the activities of a Facebook group called “National Revolution” that has been inciting people to loot supermarkets.

    Officials also worry that the mafia will take advantage of the rising poverty, swooping in to recruit people to its organisation. “Criminal organisations have plenty of money and people could end up working for them, and once that starts, they won’t go back,” said Orsina.

    Meanwhile, taxes for small businesses have merely been suspended, not abolished, meaning owners will still have to find money for contributions at a later stage, despite losing income during the lockdown. And those who can tap into financial support are coming up against stifling bureaucracy….

  199. says

    Daniel Dale at CNN – “Fact-checking Trump’s attempt to erase his previous coronavirus response”:

    President Donald Trump tried Tuesday to cast himself as the wise leader who rejected the advice of a “group” of people who had portrayed the coronavirus as a mere flu and had argued that life should go on as normal.

    He did not mention that he had been the most powerful member of that group.

    Trump’s marathon coronavirus press conference included the usual barrage of specific false claims. But it was more notable for the dishonesty of the broad story he was telling — an audacious attempt to erase the memory of his relentless efforts to suggest the coronavirus was not a crisis.

    Trump spoke frankly on Tuesday about projections that suggest 100,000 to 240,000 Americans could die from the virus even if people follow federal guidelines meant to slow its spread. But he also made a claim that he prevented a much higher death toll, as high as 2.2 million, by taking the virus much more seriously than some other intelligent people.

    “Think of what would have happened if we didn’t do anything. I mean, I’ve had many friends — businesspeople — people with great, actually, common sense, they said, ‘Why don’t we ride it out?’ A lot of people have said — a lot of people have thought about it. ‘Ride it out. Don’t do anything, just ride it out and think of it as the flu.’ But it’s not the flu. It’s vicious,” he said.

    Trump himself repeatedly told Americans in January and February to think of the coronavirus as the flu.

    At the coronavirus briefing on February 26, for example, Trump said all of the following: “This is a flu. This is like a flu”; “Now, you treat this like a flu”; “It’s a little like the regular flu that we have flu shots for. And we’ll essentially have a flu shot for this in a fairly quick manner.”

    Just four days ago, on March 27, he said that you can call the coronavirus “a flu,” or a virus or a germ.

    Trump never used the phrase “ride it out” in downplaying the coronavirus — but he had expressed precisely the same sentiment. As recently as the second week of March, Trump was an advocate of facing the virus without taking drastic measures to address it.

    “So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on. At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus, with 22 deaths,” he tweeted on March 9. “Think about that!” CNN’s tally on March 9 was 565 confirmed cases.

    Asked Tuesday about the period when he was downplaying the coronavirus, Trump said that, during that time, “people didn’t know that much about it, even the experts.”

    Though there is still more to learn about the virus, Trump’s minimization efforts continued into late February and early March — when it was abundantly clear to experts inside and outside the government, and millions of laypeople, that the virus was much worse than the flu and that the US was likely to face a severe problem.

    Trump also accused New York on Tuesday of getting off to a “very late start” in fighting the virus — implicitly contrasting New York’s leaders with himself. While leaders of both New York City and the state can be criticized for not acting sooner on the coronavirus, Trump himself did not even do the rhetorical minimum in January and February by urging political leaders or individual Americans to treat the virus as a major threat — much less by urging them to take real action. And, critically, his administration was slow to take early action that experts say could have made a real difference in containing the virus before it spread nationally, such as deploying a large quantity of test kits.

    Here are a few fact checks of claims that Trump made during Tuesday’s briefing:…

  200. says

    Guardian (support the Guardian if you can) – “Bolsonaro ignored by state governors amid anger at handling of Covid-19 crisis”:

    Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro is facing a growing backlash over his handling of the coronavirus crisis, with the state governors responsible for more than 200 million of the country’s 210 million people refusing to follow his commands over the pandemic.

    Bolsonaro has repeatedly played down the dangers of Covid-19 and last week urged Brazilians to get back to work – in defiance of advice from the World Health Organization and his own health ministry.

    But his exhortations have been largely ignored by politicians and the general public.

    Just three of Brazil’s 27 states, home to 5.7 million people, have relaxed social isolation measures as coronavirus cases continue to rise – Brazil has 5,717 confirmed cases and 201 deaths. A study showed almost 60% of Brazilians are staying at home.

    João Doria, the governor of Brazil’s most populous and economically important state, São Paulo, has maintained a strict quarantine and this week openly defied Bolsonaro, telling its 44 million citizens: “Do not follow the guidance of the president.”

    Wilson Witzel, Rio de Janeiro state’s rightwing governor, has also refused to back away from strict social isolation measures.

    “So far I’ve been asking, now I am giving an order: don’t leave your home,” Witzel told his state’s 17 million residents on Monday as he extended Rio’s shut down for another fortnight.

    Witzel, a one-time Bolsonaro ally, went on to suggest the president’s behaviour could land him a trial at the International Criminal Court in the Hague.

    Only the rightwing governors of the Amazon states of Rondônia and Roraima, both Bolsonaro allies, have followed the president’s lead by relaxing restrictions on shops and businesses….

    Ciro Gomes, a prominent leftwing politician from north-eastern Brazil, told the Guardian that in order to save thousands of lives, the country now needed – and was starting to witness – “an extensive campaign of civil disobedience initiated by governors, mayors, the overwhelming majority of religious leaders and the media”.

    Gomes admitted the loss of many lives was now inevitable – but such a mutiny against Bolsonaro could help lessen the scale of the tragedy and represented “an act of protection for the Brazilian people”.

    But as well as facing a rebellion from regional chiefs, Bolsonaro now also appears increasingly isolated from his own cabinet.

    At a press conference with other ministers on Monday, Bolsonaro’s health minister Luiz Mandetta called on people to follow state governments and maintain the “the maximum degree of social isolation” – a day after the president mingled with people on the streets of Brasília and said he was considering a decree to let them go back to work.

    On Tuesday the Folha de São Paulo newspaper reported that justice minister Sérgio Moro, finance minister Paulo Guedes, Mandetta and military officers in the government had formed a block opposing the president’s stance.

    “Bolsonaro has put himself into self-isolation,” said José Álvaro Moisés, a professor of political science at the University of São Paulo.

  201. says

    Adam Schiff:

    After Pearl Harbor and 9/11, we looked at what went wrong to learn from our mistakes.

    Once we’ve recovered, we need a nonpartisan commission to review our response and how we can better prepare for the next pandemic.

    I’m working on a bill to do that.

  202. says

    A guide to making your own face mask.

    You will need:

    Needle and thread (and a sewing machine, if you have one)
    Pins or clips to hold fabrics in place (safety pins and paper clips will also work in a pinch)

    At least 20 by 20 inches of 100 percent cotton fabric, such as a flat tea towel

    4 strips of cotton fabric for ties, about 18” long and ⅛” wide
    4 flat, clean shoelaces
    Two flat (1/4”) sewing elastics that are 7” long each

    Instructions at the link.

  203. says

    I’m going to vote for Biden

    Then all your condemnations mean nothing. Biden was a major architect of my generations ruin, and he is an utter monster on more ways then can be counted. Your vote and hours matter, your wanking about how hard it hurts do not.

    Voting for the slightly less evil pussy-grabber is ultimately, a victory for Trumpism, because it means that women’s boundaries in the face of bad behavior mean ultimately nothing to Americans, or any of the transgressions against other minority groups before team politics. No matter who wins in November, if Biden gets it, you’ve already lost – as it will confirm that dem politics are ultimately aesthetic, and their desire to support minorities is merely as a cudgel against the right, and you will turn on minorities as soon as they challenge whatever creature the dem establishment creates.

    And that’s before whatever horror the repubs unleash in November 2024 that shreds a enervated and destroyed dem coalition.

  204. says

    a_ray, @265, I agree.

    SC @263, Devin Nunes is a danger to himself and others.

    In related news, all of team Trump seems to be intent on endangering others. Team Trump fumbled badly when the Pentagon offered to help with the coronavirus crisis.

    “The Pentagon offered to send ventilators to civilian hospitals. The Trump administration reportedly failed to follow through.”

    The U.S. Department of Defense is the largest organization on the planet, with an extraordinary capacity to address any number of challenges. […]

    With this in mind, CNN reported yesterday that the Defense Department offered two weeks ago to make available thousands of ventilators — a critical health-care resource during the coronavirus pandemic — but the Trump administration failed to follow through.

    Despite having committed to transferring 2,000 ventilators in military stocks to the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Health and Human Services to fight the coronavirus outbreak, the Pentagon has not shipped any of them because the agencies have not asked for them or provided a shipping location, the Pentagon’s top logistics official said Tuesday.

    The Pentagon needed to be told where to send the ventilators. The Department of Health and Human Services, at least as of Monday night, hadn’t given any such directions.

    That’s Trump’s Department of Health and Human Services, headed by Azar.

    An HHS official responded that the Pentagon’s ventilators “require special training,” which may be true, though given the desperate need for the equipment, it seems likely medical personnel would be highly motivated to get up to speed quickly.

    CNN added that the Defense Department also made available its testing labs — also for the civilian population — though it “remains unclear” whether the administration has followed through on the offer. Air Force Brig. Gen. (Dr.) Paul Friedrichs conceded at a press briefing this week, “We are not maxing our capacity in our labs around the world.” […]


  205. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Still no alternative from from Eep-jeep. Therefore, ignored.

  206. says

    Follow-up to comment 272.

    About those ventilators the Pentagon has, and that the Pentagon offered to ship to hospitals that need them: Louisiana needs them.

    On the same day that Louisiana’s governor was announcing the state had seen its highest spike in COVID-19 deaths yet, the state’s former secretary of health was on the phone with her U.S. senator trying to obtain more ventilators.

    Louisiana needs 12,000 ventilators, according to the former health chief, Dr. Rebekah Gee, who now leads Louisiana State University’s sprawling health care system. She and Sen. Bill Cassidy (R) were brainstorming over the phone and in texts Tuesday about how they could get their hands on even just a few dozen of the machines.

    “I said to him, ‘Look, I’ll spend a day finding two’ [two ventilators] — that’s two lives we can save — but that’s just absurd that that’s where we are,” Gee told TPM Tuesday afternoon.

    […] Louisiana could reach its ventilator capacity as soon as April 4, Edwards said. Of the 14,000 ventilators the state ordered from private and public sources, it’s received just 292 from private vendors, while a shipment of 150 from the national stockpile, which President Trump approved this week, is on its way.

    Gee told TPM that the federal government needed to take more of a role in directing the distribution of supplies like ventilators, as a “feeding frenzy” and “free-for-all” has broken out among the states.

    […] Louisiana is one of the poorest states in the country, with four out of 10 of its residents at under 200 percent of the poverty rate.

    “It’s a low income state that has tremendous challenges in terms of the burden of chronic disease, obesity, smoking, hypertension, diabetes and so on,” Gee said.

    One of her biggest achievements as the state’s health secretary, a role she left for LSU just this January, was implementing Louisiana’s 2017 Medicaid expansion. The rollout was deemed a smashing success in the face of a GOP legislature that refused to fund the launch of the program.

    While there have been many indicators that the expansion has already improved health care access in the state, “that doesn’t fix chronic disease in a short period of time,” she said.

    “We know that this virus disproportionately kills people who have chronic disease and who are older,” she said. […]

    The state is preparing for the outbreak to get worse before it gets better. In an echo of 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, the New Orleans convention center is being transformed into a recovery center. Hospitals might be out of beds, according to the governor, by April 7.

  207. says

    @Captain Jeep-Eep
    I’m really not sure what you’re suggesting as an alternative? If you have a magic wand that can turn American politics into something less corrupt, then by all means wave it. However, assuming you don’t, then what do we do? Sit in the corner and pride ourselves on our clean hands, while Trump puts the final nail in the coffin?

    Honestly, what’s your alternative? Do you have a plan that can reform the American electoral system in the next six months? Or to coup the Democratic convention and nominate Sanders instead? Can you get a viable third party organized in time for the election? If not, then what are you talking about?

    It seems to me that any plan that has the slightest chance of working will have to include buying some more time and the only realistic way of doing that right now is Biden*. Four more years of Trump and I’m not sure voting will even matter anymore. So, vote for not-Trump and then spend the next four years working on the actual plan. If your plan doesn’t work after four years of Biden, it’ll never work after four years of Trump, anyway.

    *President-wise, anyway. That was my point with the earlier suggestion to focus on the Senate. If Democrats can swing the Senate and keep the House, then they can seriously curtail Trump by holding up nominations, launching investigations, handing out subpoenas, etc. (even though I forgot you need a supermajority for impeachment. Thanks a_ray_in_dilbert_space).

  208. says

    From Mark Sumner:

    When it comes to the level of justifiable fear and equally justifiable concerns that people are simply not getting the truth, the coronavirus pandemic surely rivals any event this side of World War II. It certainly doesn’t help that some of the most harmful rumors—such as the idea that nurses are stealing personal protective gear, or that states are sitting on unnecessary stores of ventilators—are coming straight out of daily self-praise events hosted by Donald Trump.

    Yes, Trump is the source of a lot of the most harmful rumors.

    But there are some persistent questions that keep coming up which need to be addressed, both because there is something to these rumors, and because they shape important aspects of how people see and respond to the crisis. Among these are rumors about the “real” numbers in China.

    When it comes to China, every number coming out of the government there comes laden with the question … are they lying? And the answer is: almost certainly. After all, this is a repressive, single-party regime where all the incentives are to make things seem rosy. […]

    But the idea that the numbers coming out of China were enormously off, especially on the number of cases, is unlikely. For several reasons. First, the numbers that China reported were not good. Neither were the measures they used to get there. This is the age of the cell phone, even in China—especially in China—and the Internet was rife with videos of Chinese families being hauled from their homes and forced into quarantine facilities. […]

    But the best reason for believing that the numbers that came out of China were basically correct on the number of cases was simply that those numbers look very much like the numbers outside of China. […]

    Also, the numbers coming out of China was not a single value laid down from Beijing, but hundreds of daily reports from cities and regions large and small. Most of these reports were available to anyone tapping into local and regional health officials and a quick pass through Google translate was enough to show that the numbers were detailed and believable. […]

    The inexorable march of exponential curves has become scarily visible to everyone as the United States has gone from 100 cases to over 180,000 in almost exactly a month. […]

    And now … deaths. The even more persistent rumor concerning China is that the number of deaths, and particularly the number of deaths in Hubei Province, have been under-reported by a factor of, well, several. This is completely possible. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that China is lying.

    In fact, there’s one very good reason to believe many more people have died due to the outbreak in Hubei, […] The reason is something that affects not just China, but every country, and has been repeatedly demonstrated in Italy—and is even now being seen in New York City. As hospital beds fill up with COVID-19 patients, those patients go into competition with those who arrive at the hospital with other life-threatening conditions. Deaths from COVID-19 may be slanted toward the elderly, but caseloads do not appear to be. Younger patients catch COVID-19 just fine.

    This is not true of heart disease, or strokes, or any number of conditions that preferentially affect the elderly. So medical personnel all over the planet are coming down to the same brutal calculus: An otherwise healthy young patient stricken with COVID-19 isn’t just competing for attention with older COVID patients who may have additional underlying conditions, that patient is also competing with heart attack patients, with car accident patients, with stroke patients … and so on.

    […] standard of care plummets for everyone whether or not they have COVID. […]

    Is it possible that China also under-reported the sheer number of deaths directly resulting from COVID-19? Sure it is. […]

    But the danger in all this comes when “China lied” is translated into either “COVID-19 is much more dangerous” or “COVID-19 is much less dangerous” than we’ve been told. That does not appear to be the case. The overall case fatality rate in China works out to almost exactly 4%. That fits squarely in the middle of nations like South Korea where the outbreak never strained a strong national healthcare system (1.6%) and nations like Italy where a system running with little excess capacity has been absolutely flattened by the flood of cases (11.7%). […]

    But none of this really affects how we should be handling COVID-19 or what we should expect. In the overall pandemic, what happened in China is already becoming just a foothill that was out in front of a terrifying mountain.


  209. says


    Trump created a roadblock to Social Security beneficiaries, and to veterans to prevent them receiving the $1,200 payment that was in the last economic recovery bill passed by Congress. What!? Why would Hair Furor do that?

    [Trump’s] administration is creating barriers to Social Security beneficiaries, disabled people who have Supplemental Security Income, and veterans with pensions trying to get their $1,200 payments under the CARES Act, the coronavirus stimulus bill passed last week.

    That bill shouldn’t be called a “stimulus” bill. It’s more of an economic survival bill.

    These people don’t normally file returns, they don’t have income that requires it. But under IRS guidelines just released, they announced that these people will have to file to get the payments. “This is outrageous,” Nancy Altman, President of Social Security Works said in an emailed statement. “The $1200 payments could easily be added automatically to the benefits these people already receive every month. The CARES Act specifically gives the Treasury Department the authority to do so.”

    […] “At best, the payments will be delayed—even though the federal government pays these people benefits right now, each and every month,” Altman says. Treasury is already authorized in the bill just to send the payment along with regular monthly benefits. It would be that simple. This is also a group of people for whom filing taxes online could be extremely difficult if not impossible. It is so unnecessary and harmful.

    Which is exactly how Trump wants it to be. Congress needs to step in and stand up to Trump and Treasury and convince Secretary Mnuchin to step back and change the policy.


  210. says

    “People Were Sobbing, People Were Begging for Us to See Them Anyway”

    Texas’ abortion ban Is cruel. It’s also a political maneuver in the middle of a health crisis.


    “It’s absolutely cruel to say to somebody, ‘You have to continue your pregnancy against your will when there’s a pandemic,’” Hagstrom Miller said. “Those patients are just heartbroken.”

    Much more at the link. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton called the abortion ban a “victory.”

  211. says

    Oh, FFS.

    Pastors of churches in Texas have demanded a “religious liberty” exemption to coronavirus stay-at-home orders.

    Last week, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, who oversees the area of Texas that includes Houston, issued an order requiring “all individuals currently living within Harris County … to stay at their place of residence except for Essential Activities” (in Texas, the title “county judge” refers to the chief executive of a county government).

    […] Hidalgo’s order closes most businesses within the county and shuts down most places where people gather in large groups. Although it allows faith leaders to “minister and counsel in individual settings, so long as social distance protocols are followed,” it requires worship services to “be provided by video and teleconference.”

    That restriction on in-person worship services has sparked a lawsuit, filed by three Texas pastors and Steven Hotze, a medical doctor and anti-LGBT Republican activist whose political action committee was labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. These four men ask the Texas Supreme Court to strike down Hidalgo’s order, claiming, among other things, that it violates the “religious liberty” of pastors who wish to gather their parishioners together during a pandemic.

    […] Under existing precedents, the petitioner’s arguments in Hotze are not strong. […]

    The Hotze petitions also essentially ask the Texas Supreme Court to place the temporary interests of a few pastors before the county’s interest in combating a deadly disease. The US Supreme Court has long held that the government may take targeted action to protect especially compelling interests — even when doing so implicates constitutional rights.

    […] the Texas Supreme Court is notoriously conservative — all nine of its members are Republicans — so there is, at least, some chance that the Hotze petition succeeds.

    […] Hotze places the public health of an entire community against the interests of a handful of pastors (and, potentially, parishioners) with an idiosyncratic view of the pandemic. […]


  212. consciousness razor says

    If you have a magic wand that can turn American politics into something less corrupt, then by all means wave it. However, assuming you don’t, then what do we do? Sit in the corner and pride ourselves on our clean hands, while Trump puts the final nail in the coffin?

    What people write here doesn’t depend on any of that. The general election is months away, and we don’t have a nominee for it yet. For all we know, Biden could drop out for a variety of reasons (health, scandals, etc.), the remaining primaries and the convention won’t go according to plan, and we may end up with a different awful candidate like Bloomberg. Is anyone here preparing to lick his boots too? Or do you think that we have much better reasons to focus on our own actions in the present moment? What we have are people, here and now, doing what they do, and we can certainly do something about that. If you really do want something else out of this mess, then you should act like it. Actions speak louder than words, but evidently just the word part is a struggle for many. In any case, all of that is up to you, not anyone else, and there’s no need for magic wands.

  213. says

    From Wonkette:

    As we’ve known from the very beginning, the Trump administration is just making up its coronavirus response as it goes along […] That would be a huge problem even if Donald Trump didn’t ricochet between denying there’s a problem at all and his occasional moments of acting like he knows it’s serious.

    The latest evidence that everything about the pandemic response is on an ad hoc basis comes in the form of a Politico report on the COVID-19 task force’s decision to freeze shipments of coronavirus aid to other countries, now that the administration is slowly realizing there’s a huge shortage of medical supplies in the USA. […] An administration official called officials in Thailand last week to find out if that country could help send protective gear for medical workers in the US .[…]

    The official asked the Thais for help—only to be informed by the puzzled voices on the other side of the line that a U.S. shipment of the same supplies, the second of two so far, was already on its way to Bangkok.

    […] And because the US still hasn’t figured out what a “national response” to the outbreak means, there weren’t any orders to ramp up production of personal protective equipment (PPE) like masks, gowns, goggles, and face shields months ago, at the beginning of the outbreak. Surprisingly, the magic of the market hasn’t made PPE abundant everywhere it’s needed. And so while US hospitals are running short and medical staffs’ lives are endangered, we’re being treated to reminders that desperately needed supplies were being shipped overseas without any consideration of the domestic need.

    We want to be completely clear about this: We aren’t saying the US should bogart all its medical supplies for domestic needs and let the rest of the world go to hell — especially since the virus needs to be stopped worldwide to keep the US safe. We’re saying it shouldn’t have taken until the end of March for the people in charge to even start thinking about how to balance the domestic need with what’s being sent in aid. If production of masks and other PPE had been expanded two months ago, we wouldn’t even be looking at an either/or situation. […]

    For now, Politico reports, the coronavirus task force is holding up shipments of PPE overseas, to see if any should be redirected to US hospitals, and has also ordered The US Agency for International Development (USAID) to check its existing stockpiles of medical equipment in other countries to see what can be sent back to the US. […]

    Today, the United States government is announcing it is prepared to spend up to $100 million in existing funds to assist China and other impacted countries, both directly and through multilateral organizations, to contain and combat the novel coronavirus. This commitment – along with the hundreds of millions generously donated by the American private sector – demonstrates strong U.S. leadership in response to the outbreak.

    The last paragraph above is an excerpt from a State Department statement issued in early February.

    That was a little while before Pompeo insisted everyone had to say “Wuhan coronavirus” to make the disease go away. More recently, that shipment has been criticized as an example of just how badly the administration has handled the outbreak, as in this Monday tweet by Maxine Waters:

    Trump, you incompetent idiot! You sent 18 tons of PPE to China early but ignored warnings & called COVID19 concerns a hoax. You’ve endangered doctors, nurses, aids, orderlies, & janitors – all risking their lives to save ours. Pray 4 forgiveness for the harm that you’re causing!

    You’ll be delighted to know, however, that the State Department has a ready answer: that stuff was all donated by private donors, not the US’s own Strategic National Stockpile, so NO PROBLEM. One anonymous administration official explained to Politico that way back in ancient history — early February — nobody in the world knew there might be any larger problem with coronavirus here:

    That was kind of a different era, when there was not much of an appreciation of this hitting the United States.

    How true this is! After all, when Trump was asked about it at the Davos conference on January 22, the day after the first case of COVID-19 was diagnosed in the US, he explained there simply would not be a pandemic:

    No. Not at all. And — we’re — we have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It’s — going to be just fine.

    […] In any case, the administration wants you to know that now that the task force has been thinking about this for a week or so, and everything’s good.

    […] So now we’ll be very careful to balance the needs of US medical workers against what those foreigns are asking for, and apart from still not having any overall strategy to allocate scarce supplies, everything should be fine, at least for the highest bidders.

  214. says

    Oh, FFS.

    From Wonkette:

    The Hobby Lobby is defying stay-at-home orders because presumably God wants people to die for arts and crafts supplies. How else are Americans going to make party favors for all the parties they can’t have? The oh-so-Christian retailer is “quietly reopening” stores across the country, including in Kansas, Ohio and Wisconsin, whose governors have ordered residents to shelter-in-place. These orders close all businesses except for those that provide “essential services.” Hobby Lobby does not provide “essential services.”

    Despite literally having the word “hobby” in its name, Hobby Lobby has tried to rebrand itself as an “essential” business. A hastily made sign on the window of one store claimed it’s now operating as an essential business because it sells “PPE masks, educational supplies, office supplies, and various components for at-home small businesses.” That’s absurd. […]

    Hobby Lobby is not an actual grocery, pharmacy, or hardware store. There’s no gray area here, and billionaire owner David Green is choosing to endanger his employees, and the communities they live and work in, in service of his bank balance. How evangelical! […]


    Much more at the link.

  215. says

    It’s about damned time.Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has finally announces a stay-at-home order.

    […] DeSantis announced a 30-day stay-at-home order for the state Wednesday that tells nearly 21 million residents to stay indoors unless they are pursuing “essential services or activities.”

    Washington Post link

  216. says

    A White House report blows up Trump’s latest coronavirus defense.

    […] Trump has adopted a new line of spin to explain away his catastrophic handling of the worst U.S. public health emergency in modern times: If we had listened to those misguided people who wanted to treat the new coronavirus as the seasonal flu, we’d be in much worse shape right now.

    Thank goodness for Trump, who is sagely telling us the coronavirus is not like the flu at all.
    Of course, one of the people who wanted us to treat the coronavirus as the flu early on was Donald Trump. He repeatedly compared it to the flu as a way of downplaying it.

    That Trump would try this new spin is absurd enough on its own. But a newly surfaced report from inside Trump’s own White House makes this line even more preposterous and untenable.

    The report was produced in 2019 by the White House Council of Economic Advisers. […]

    But for our purposes here, what matters is that the report also explicitly warned against treating a pandemic as a seasonal flu — and demonstrated how such a mind-set could hamper our appreciation of the damage pandemics can do.

    That’s very inconvenient for Trump, given his latest spin. At his press briefing on Tuesday, Trump claimed that “many” people argued early on that the correct response to coronavirus was to “ride it out and think of it as the flu.”

    “Think what would have happened,” Trump said, adding: “It’s not the flu. It’s vicious.”

    But as CNN documents, Trump did this himself — repeatedly. In late February, Trump claimed the coronavirus is “a little like the regular flu,” and that “we’ll essentially have a flu shot for this in a fairly quick manner.”

    And in early March, Trump said thousands die annually from the flu, but that “nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on,” while claiming coronavirus has proven far less fatal — in effect telling us to ride it out.

    This is where the newly discovered report from White House economists comes in.

    The report’s focus is on influenza pandemics. These can wreak enormous economic damage, the report argues, so the federal government should work with the private sector to develop vaccine responses to them. That’s because ordinary market incentives don’t encourage such innovation, as such vaccines only sell in times of pandemic risk.

    Crucially, the report also explains at length the differences between such pandemics and the seasonal flu […]

    […] the report does underscore the folly of early comparisons between coronavirus and seasonal flu. It’s the differences between pandemics and the seasonal flu that render the former such a threat. To conflate them is to actively downgrade that threat.

    […] As we now are learning, our health system is not remotely prepared for it. And Trump’s regular downplaying of the threat over weeks and weeks is a key culprit. It helped fuel a massive failure to ramp up testing, allowing the coronavirus to rampage, and a failure to deploy federal power to secure needed lifesaving equipment in time for cases to swamp hospitals. […]

    Washington Post link

    More at the link.

  217. says

    Campaign tidbits:

    * As NBC News explained this morning, Wisconsin may have already ordered residents to stay at home, but it’s nevertheless “still planning to proceed with an election Tuesday amid the coronavirus crisis.” Eleven states were originally scheduled to hold elections in April; Wisconsin is the only one not to delay its contests, which will include a Democratic presidential primary.

    * [Biden] told MSNBC’s Brian Williams it’s “hard to envision” the Democratic National Convention proceeding on schedule without significant changes. For now, the event is supposed to begin on July 13 in Milwaukee.

    * Senate Majority PAC, which is working on flipping the Senate to Democratic control, is reserving $69.2 million in television airtime for the late summer and early fall. Just as importantly, we know which five states the super PAC is targeting: Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Maine, and North Carolina.

  218. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Yeah, I’ve studied the history of revolutions enough that I am not a fan. They rarely wind up making things better for anyone but the new ruling class. People look at the American Revolution and get the wrong idea–not many leaders are willing to relinquish power not once but 3 times (as was George Washington). South Africa may have gotten lucky as well, but it is too early to tell. Ghana also seems to have worked (Flight Lt. Jerry Rawlings also stepped down 3 times).
    More often, things wind up like Egypt, or Libya, or worse, the French Revolution or the Cambodian genocide. Revolutions tend to favor leaders like Mao or Stalin, who thrive on chaos. Chaos is never good for the poor.
    When people say we need revolution to me, the conversation is usually over. I’ve no desire to talk to the ignorant.

  219. says

    Here’s an account of one country, Germany, responding to the coronavirus pandemic correctly:

    Late last year — long before most people had heard of the new coronavirus now sweeping the globe — scientists in Germany sprang into action to develop a test for the virus that was causing an unusual respiratory disease in central China.

    They had one by mid-January — and labs around the country were ready to start using it just weeks later, around the same time that Europe’s most populous country registered its first case.

    “It was clear that if the epidemic swept over here from China, then we had to start testing,” said Hendrik Borucki, a spokesman for Bioscientia Healthcare, which operates 19 labs in Germany.

    That quick work stands in stark contrast to delays and missteps in other countries. Coupled with Germany’s large number of intensive care beds and its early social distancing measures, it could explain one of the most interesting puzzles of the COVID-19 pandemic: Why are people with the virus in Germany currently dying at much lower rates than in neighboring countries?

    The numbers are remarkable: As confirmed cases in Germany passed 71,000, the death toll Wednesday was 775, according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University. In contrast, Italy has reported almost 106,000 infections and more than 12,400 deaths, while Spain has more than 102,000 cases with over 9,000 deaths. […]

    There may be many factors at play, but experts said early on that fast and widespread testing gave Germany an edge.

    “The reason why we in Germany have so few deaths at the moment compared to the number of infected can be largely explained by the fact that we are doing an extremely large number of lab diagnoses,” said virologist Dr. Christian Drosten […]

    He estimated that Germany is now capable of conducting up to 500,000 tests a week.

    Spain, meanwhile, tests between 105,000 and 140,000 people each week, about 20% to 30% what Germany is capable of. […]

    Early access to the test from Drosten’s team is only part of the reason for Germany’s head start. Before the country even registered its first case, authorities agreed the tests would be covered by its universal insurance system, and be available to everyone with symptoms and either recent travel to virus hotspots or close contact with a confirmed case.

    Still, Germany may not be as much of an anomaly as it seems. The fact that Spain and Italy — which have seen much more intense outbreaks — are doing fewer tests indicates they are missing many mild or asymptomatic cases. That makes their fatality rates look worse than they are. But Germany, too, is likely missing cases, and experts say that all figures worldwide undercount the extent of the pandemic.

    Limited testing also means the true spread of the virus is hidden in those countries — further fueling the outbreak. […]

    Italy had 8.6 intensive care unit beds per 100,000 people before the outbreak, according to the Organization for Cooperation and Economic Development. By comparison, Germany’s most recent available figure is 33.9 per 100,000, or about 28,000 in total, a number the government wants to double. […]

    In the rare position of having beds to spare, German hospitals have taken in dozens of patients from Italy and France. While that will allow German doctors and nurses to learn how to treat severely ill COVID-19 patients, it also reflects a remarkable confidence in the country’s ability to manage its outbreak at a time when many others are shutting their borders.

    […] strong measures imposed almost three weeks ago, including closing schools and restaurants, and later barring more than two people from gathering outside, seem to have slowed the rate of new infections. […] many countries took similar steps too late.

    […] According to the, albeit imperfect, data available, Italy imposed its lockdown four days after hitting that threshold but Germany’s came a week before that level was reached. […]
    Chancellor Angela Merkel — who is herself in isolation after her doctor tested positive — has resisted calls to loosen the lockdown. […]


  220. says

    Guardian – “Will the coronavirus kill the oil industry and help save the climate?”:

    The plunging demand for oil wrought by the coronavirus pandemic combined with a savage price war has left the fossil fuel industry broken and in survival mode, according to analysts. It faces the gravest challenge in its 100-year history, they say, one that will permanently alter the industry. With some calling the scene a “hellscape”, the least lurid description is “unprecedented”.

    A key question is whether this will permanently alter the course of the climate crisis. Many experts think it might well do so, pulling forward the date at which demand for oil and gas peaks, never to recover, and allowing the atmosphere to gradually heal.

    The boldest say peak fossil fuel demand may have been dragged into the here and now, and that 2019 will go down in history as the peak year for carbon emissions. But some take an opposing view: the fossil fuel industry will bounce back as it always has, and bargain basement oil prices will slow the much-needed transition to green energy.

    Who is right depends on a heady mix of geopolitics, profit, investor sentiment, government bailouts and net zero emissions targets, campaigner pressures and, not least, consumer behaviour – is virtual working, for instance, the new normal?…

    Much more at the link.

  221. says

    This guy: “Important: In his executive order, Governor @RonDeSantisFL has added the following to the ‘essential activities’ list:

    ‘Attending religious services conducted in churches, synagogues, & houses of worship’.

    We know that religious services have helped to spread the coronavirus.”

  222. says

    SC, oh, FFS. Ron DeSantis just shot himself in the foot, while also putting his constituents in danger. Florida is going to be a disaster zone.

    On another subject: I filled out my census form online today. It’s easy to do, and takes very little time. Make sure to fill out your forms online so that no human being has to come to your residence to count you later.

  223. says

    From Joan McCarter:

    There can be no question that […] Trump simply doesn’t care how many people die in this coronavirus pandemic. There’s no other explanation for why he chose to counter the advice of health officials and keep the Affordable Care Act marketplace closed. Politico reports that insurers—who had endorsed a special enrollment period and been in talks with administration officials at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)—expected Trump to announce open enrollments last Friday based on those conversations. He didn’t. Politico reports that it is not “immediately clear why the Trump administration decided against the special enrollment period.” But here’s a hint: “CMS deferred comment to the White House.”

    That can’t mean anything other than it was Trump’s decision. Trump did say last week that he’s still fully behind the Republican lawsuit before the Supreme Court that could completely upend Obamacare and with it much of the health care system. Nothing about this pandemic has made him change his number one goal: “win” his grudge match against President Barack Obama by erasing his most significant achievement. The White House didn’t comment, other than to say the administration is “exploring other options.” Spoiler alert: It’s not.

    Twelve states, including the District of Columbia, which run their own marketplaces for individual insurance under the law, have created special enrollment periods to get their uninsured people covered to help them through this epidemic. They’re encouraging the uninsured and the underinsured who fell for Trumpcare junk plans to get new, fully ACA-compliant insurance. The Trump administration weakened the ACA by making those junk plans, often sold by insurance brokers alongside real health insurance, more widely available and lasting for a longer term.

    There are options for newly unemployed workers under Medicaid and SCHIP, and for higher-wage unemployed continued coverage on their employer-based plan with COBRA. […]

    The second bill passed by Congress at least secures free testing for coronavirus, but the Democratic House couldn’t get the Republican Senate to agree to free treatment for people who are uninsured. They’re going to have to do that now. Period.


  224. says

    @consciousness razor #287

    What people write here doesn’t depend on any of that.

    Good. Then we can ignore any plan that relies on magic wands and instead focus on the real world. That was rather my point, after all.

    What we have are people, here and now, doing what they do, and we can certainly do something about that. If you really do want something else out of this mess, then you should act like it.

    I agree completely. What do you suggest?
    Simply not voting for Biden isn’t going to change a damn thing. It could be part of a larger strategy, but so far I haven’t heard any reasonable suggestion on how that’s going to work. That’s what I’m asking.

  225. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    SC#302, on the ethnic origin question I answered “white unknown”, which appeared to be accepted. One side of the family has been in the US for 250+ years, the other 150+ years, based on known paternal lines. Frankly, if “mutt” had been available I would have used that.

  226. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says


    Simply not voting for Biden isn’t going to change a damn thing. It could be part of a larger strategy, but so far I haven’t heard any reasonable suggestion on how that’s going to work. That’s what I’m asking.

    Exactly what I’m asking too.

  227. Czech American says

    SC @ #302

    I’m very suspicious of this given the current administration. The NPR story focuses on white people, but asking for additional information from black people seems more insidious.

  228. says

    Another “it’s about damned time”: Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf “placed his entire state under a stay-at-home order on Wednesday in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The move, which now includes all 67 counties, comes as state health officials reported its largest single-day increase of more than 960 new cases, bringing Pennsylvania’s total to 5,805. At least 74 people have died.”

    On another subjection, corruption in the ranks of elected politicians: New scrutiny of Sen. Kelly Loeffler’s (R-Ga.) and her husband’s investment strategy: “[The couple] sold shares in retail stores such as Lululemon and T.J. Maxx and invested in a company that makes COVID-19 protective garments. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution got the first look at these reports, covering mid-February through mid-March and shedding new light on Loeffler’s financial transactions during the pandemic.”

  229. says

    Trump still insisting governors kiss his ass to get depleting, critical supplies

    Welcome to the COVID-19 Games, where the tributes are governors fighting for the scraps of critical protective gear still available, and where success still depends on kissing Trump’s ass.

    Last week Trump was playing quid pro quo with Americans lives, telling governors “it’s a two-way street. They have to treat us well.” The result of not doing so is not getting help. Take New York, which requested 30,000 ventilators and got 4,400. And is being outbid by FEMA on the private market, where the state has been trying to procure more. “What sense does this make?” Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters Tuesday. “The federal government, FEMA, should have been the purchasing agent. Buy everything, and then allocate it by need to the states.” Wisconsin’s Democratic Gov. Tony Evers asked for 190,000 nonsurgical masks from FEMA last week, and has struggled to find ventilators. He has no idea where the masks are.

    On the other hand, Oklahoma asked for 16,000 face shields and got 120,000. It had received about 84,000 N95 masks by the end of last week, “more than twice its original request.” Then there’s Florida, which is expecting its third shipment from the feds. It got 100% of what Trump’s good buddy Gov. Ron DeSantis asked for in the first two shipments. Kentucky has gotten more than it requested. Illinois, Massachusetts, and Maine have only gotten part of what they’ve requested. (There you go, Sen. Susan Collins, more lessons learned for you.)

    In reference to the last paragraph above. There’s a pattern there. Red states and Republican governors get what they request.

    It’s not just Trump’s political future he’s thinking about. Sure, he needs Florida in 2020, but he also needs Michigan, where he’s treated Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer abysmally. It’s about who is playing the “dear leader” game to his satisfaction. […]

    Not that it’s all Trump’s Stalin complex. There’s also just sheer incompetence. Yes, Trump’s ego makes trying to appease him within the administration more chaotic, but the people he’s got working under him are just as incompetent as he is, unable to lead their gutted departments

    For example, “Pennsylvania received some shipments without packing lists, leaving officials there unsure about what they had been given.” California got 170 broken ventilators from the national stockpile, requiring them to have to track down someone who could repair them and losing days of use of them in the process. Alabama got 28 cases of face masks that had dry rot, which is apparently a thing that can happen to face masks and which should not have happened because someone in the damned government should have been making sure that everything in the damned national emergency stockpile was still usable.

  230. says

    @Captain Jeep-Eep
    That’s all you’re going to respond to? A potential vote for Biden? I’ll be more detailed, Biden is a last resort. And those are the things I’m going to do if he is the nominee. It’s pragmatic and not set in stone.

    I don’t mind the negative feelings. But feelings are only as useful as what you do with them. Give us something useful that we can use in arguments and shaming of our own.

    What specifically did Biden do?

    Are you literally telling us not to vote for Biden? If not what do you want? It helps us and it’s more useful than disparagement that can’t be researched.

    Voting for the slightly less evil pussy-grabber is ultimately, a victory for Trumpism, because it means that women’s boundaries in the face of bad behavior mean ultimately nothing to Americans, or any of the transgressions against other minority groups before team politics.

    You can’t it means nothing if I’m going to be explicitly shaming him for what can be demonstrated. There still has to be an investigation. I play interference with sexism and misogyny. Maybe that’s not specifically what you want here (whatever that is, I want to know what it is), but it’s not nothing.

    No matter who wins in November, if Biden gets it, you’ve already lost – as it will confirm that dem politics are ultimately aesthetic, and their desire to support minorities is merely as a cudgel against the right, and you will turn on minorities as soon as they challenge whatever creature the dem establishment creates.

    By overtly and explicitly shaming Biden and the Dems I’m giving other messages. I can add new messages if you can put some of that anger to a different use.

    Let 2024 be 2024 for now.

  231. says

    At today’s coronavirus briefing, Trump began by announcing (and playing up big time) a counternarcotics operation that involves the military.

    I wonder if Trump was just looking for an excuse to appear onstage during prime TV time? He must know that we need Fauci and Birx to update us on the coronavirus, not Trump.

    Trump administration officials announced Wednesday that the U.S. military would send naval ships and aircraft to the Caribbean as part of an enhanced counternarcotics operation.

    […] Trump and other top officials discussed the operation at the top of a White House coronavirus briefing Wednesday evening. Trump said it was important not to let drug cartels “exploit the pandemic to threaten American lives.”

    Defense Secretary Mark Esper said that the Pentagon would deploy additional ships, aircraft and security forces to the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility as part of the operation.

    “At a time when the nation and the Department of Defense are focused on protecting the American people from the spread from the coronavirus, we also remain vigilant to the many other threats the country faces,” Esper told reporters.

    “Today, at the president’s direction, the Department of Defense in close cooperation with our interagency partners, began enhanced counternarcotics operations in the Eastern Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea,” he continued.

    The announcement came at the top of a regular White House briefing dedicated to the response to the coronavirus pandemic, and provided some counterprogramming to the administration’s usual announcements about efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19 throughout the United States.

    The defense secretary described the operation as part of the administration’s “whole of government approach to combatting the flow of illicit drugs into the United States and protecting the American people from their scourge.”

    Later, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley seemed to expand on Trump’s earlier remarks, suggesting that the U.S. military obtained intelligence suggesting that Mexican drug carters were trying to exploit the domestic focus on the spread of the coronavirus.

    “We came upon some intelligence some time ago that the drug cartels as a result of COIVD-19 were going to try to take advantage of the situation and try to infiltrate additional drugs into our country,” Milley said, without providing further detail. “We’re at war with COVID-19, we’re at war with terrorists, and we’re at war with drug cartels as well.” […]


    Yeah, maybe not. That last paragraph above sounds like the description of a planned distraction from the Trump administration’s failures to properly address the coronavirus pandemic.

  232. says

    Another “about damned time” coronavirus response:

    Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) said Wednesday he will be issuing a shelter-in-place order in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

    Kemp said he will sign the order Thursday and it will go into effect Friday, running through April 13. [Wait. That’s not long enough.]

    Kemp also announced all k-12 public schools will be closed throughout the rest of the school year.

    “I want to encourage my fellow Georgians to hang in there, I know you are tired of this. I know you want to return to business as usual, but we must first overcome the obstacles we have in our path,” Kemp said at his briefing.

    Kemp reported 4,638 cases and 139 deaths statewide.

    Georgia joined dozens of states across the country that have issued shelter-in-place orders in response to the coronavirus outbreak.


  233. says

    SC @313, Kushner is a detriment to any rational approach to the coronavirus pandemic.

    Speaking of ICU beds:

    California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) says that his state has seen hospitalizations surge as a result of coronavirus.

    At a press briefing Wednesday, Newsom said that the number of coronavirus cases in ICU had jumped to 774, four times what it was a week ago. The total number of those who have been hospitalized in the state sits at more than 1,800, three times higher than last week.

    “It gives you a sense of the nature of the spread and the nature of the attack of this virus and the nature of our focus as it relates to preparing for this surge,” Newsom said Wednesday, according to the Mercury News.

    “Those numbers represent our most urgent need in terms of keeping people alive and keeping people healthy and safe in the state of California,” the governor added . “It is incumbent that we prepare for a surge in the number of hospitalizations and the number of ICU patients.”

    The state has registered more than 8,000 cases of the disease, a high number but still behind hotspots in the U.S. such as Washington or New York. Newsom has warned publicly that he expects the state’s number of confirmed cases to rise.

    “Over the next few weeks we expect these numbers to increase,” he posted Tuesday on Twitter. “This disease can impact anyone. Stay home. Take this seriously.”


  234. says

    The Nation – “Exclusive: The Military Knew Years Ago That a Coronavirus Was Coming”:

    Despite President Trump’s repeated assertions that the Covid-19 epidemic was “unforeseen” and “came out of nowhere,” the Pentagon was well aware of not just the threat of a novel influenza, but even anticipated the consequent scarcity of ventilators, face masks, and hospital beds, according to a 2017 Pentagon plan obtained by The Nation.

    “The most likely and significant threat is a novel respiratory disease, particularly a novel influenza disease,” the military plan states. Covid-19 is a respiratory disease caused by the novel (meaning new to humans) coronavirus. The document specifically references coronavirus on several occasions, in one instant saying, “Coronavirus infections [are] common around the world.”

    The plan represents an update to an earlier Department of Defense pandemic influenza response plan, noting that it “incorporates insights from several recent outbreaks including…2012 Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus.”

    Titled “USNORTHCOM Branch Plan 3560: Pandemic Influenza and Infectious Disease Response,” the draft plan is marked for official use only and dated January 6, 2017. The plan was provided to The Nation by a Pentagon official who requested anonymity to avoid professional reprisal.

    Denis Kaufman, who served as head of the Infectious Diseases and Countermeasures Division at the Defense Intelligence Agency from 2014 to 2017, stressed that US intelligence had been well-aware of the dangers of coronaviruses for years. (Kaufman retired from his decades-long career in the military in December of 2017.)

    “The Intelligence Community has warned about the threat from highly pathogenic influenza viruses for two decades at least. They have warned about coronaviruses for at least five years,” Kaufman explained in an interview.

    “There have been recent pronouncements that the coronavirus pandemic represents an intelligence failure…. it’s letting people who ignored intelligence warnings off the hook.”

    In addition to anticipating the coronavirus pandemic, the military plan predicted with uncanny accuracy many of the medical supply shortages that it now appears will soon cause untold deaths.

    The plan states: “Competition for, and scarcity of resources will include…non-pharmaceutical MCM [Medical Countermeasures] (e.g., ventilators, devices, personal protective equipment such as face masks and gloves), medical equipment, and logistical support. This will have a significant impact on the availability of the global workforce.”

    The 103-page response plan provides an overview of what might cause a pandemic, likely complications, and how the military might respond. The plan outlines conditions under which an infectious disease can become a pandemic, several of which were at play with Covid-19: crowded workplaces, proximity to international airports, unsanitary living conditions. It also contains references to classified annexes that go into further detail. (The Nation is not in possession of these annexes.)

    “Even the most industrialized countries will have insufficient hospital beds, specialized equipment such as mechanical ventilators, and pharmaceuticals readily available to adequately treat their populations during clinically severe pandemic,” the report goes on….

    Report atl.

  235. says

    Trump adviser working with WH officials on messaging for pandemic said Trump ‘took a gamble’ that warmer weather would cause Coronavirus to dissipate, siding with aides pushing back on dire warnings coming from doctors. ‘He took a gamble and got it wrong’, adviser said.”

    Yeah, go with that.

    (Also, remember Comey’s account of when he briefed Trump in January 2017 on the Kremlin’s sabotage of the 2016 election and Trump and his hangers-on immediately started talking about how to spin it while the FBI director was still in the room?)

  236. says

    David Fahrenthold: “NEW: In the middle of a pandemic, this week the Secret Service signed a $45,000 “emergency order” to rent golf carts in Sterling, Va. — home of @realdonaldtrump’s Virginia golf club.
    In the past, such rentals have preceded presidential golf trips.”

    WaPo link atl.

  237. logicalcat says

    @Captain Jeep Ep

    You know all this talk about minority this and minority that, but what do minorities and women actually want? They want Biden. They voted for Biden. Not Sanders. Biden.

    Maybe the left can convince us* to actually support them instead of condescendingly talk for us. Because in case you weren’t aware, the administration Biden worked for gave a lot of us healthcare. Sander’s meanwhile gave us a big giant maybe.

    And just to nip this in the bud no we don’t care that he marched with MLK, and no you cannot say we are voting against our own interest when the choices are between the man who was second to the president we actually liked and gave us welfare and healthcare, versus the guy talking lofty ideals of a time when minorities and women were ignored (The New Deal, in case you forgot, didn’t include us).

    All I ever hear from leftists are excuses. WE. FUCKED. UP. We didn’t run a good campaign (twice). Getting mad that Biden is the nominee and throwing a “lesser of two evils” tantrum doesn’t help anything other than your ego. Especially when the last “lesser of two evil” was a man who was a minority won the presidency as one, and gave millions healthcare, and gave gay people the right to marry, and the right to serve without being in the closet, and other things that are undoubtedly progressive. Not to mention the greater evil won and is mishandling a nation wide crisis which the lesser evil (Hillary) wouldn’t have likely boggled. You look silly. Silly, silly, silly.

    *and by “us” I’m talking about minorities as a whole. I don’t speak for women or black people, but he could have had more Hispanic voters if we came down to Florida and addressed our concerns other than sending Cynthia Nixon. Why did he think we’d give a shit about Cynthia Nixon? And he did better among Latinos this time around at least there’s that, but I’m sure its safe to assume his lackluster performance among the rest of the minorities are also due to stupid decisions like this.

  238. logicalcat says

    Funny how Ive never seen you revolutionistas lesser of two evil spouting fools ever address the fact that the Right consistently renews their party with more anti-establishmentarian (in their eyes) every cycle despite my repeating myself. John Boehner wanted to use the votes of Tea Party. To use them and their own votes for the Right wing establishment political gain. Did the tea party throw a tantrum, not vote, and cry about “we are nothing but just votes for them waaaahh!”?

    Nope. They got involved, took over the party. Any politician who didn’t conform to their views was primaried out, and Boehnor retired early because it was not his party anymore. Same thing happened with evangelicals during Reagan and probably the alt right after Trump. They use their votes, as power.

    You want to give up that power? Y’all motherfuckers are posers.

    The democratic establishment already do not believe you guys even vote at all. You want to help them along with that?

  239. Porivil Sorrens says

    I couldn’t really care less what a bunch of bloodless bourgeois ghouls think. I remain unconvinced that electorialism will solve any societal problem on a fundamental level.

    Bernie was the bare minimum a candidate has to offer to make me care about bourgeois politics, and all his failure to get nominated shows me is that more drastic methods will be necessary to cause any actual reform.

    If the DNC wants to keep running center-right rapists and war criminals in their little slap fight with the RNC over which party gets to kill innocents overseas and oppress poor people, they’re welcome to, but I’m not going to validate it with my participation.

    I care a lot more about direct action and parallel power structures than I do about whether the fascist that leads our country will have a red or a blue armband for the next four years.

  240. mvdwege says

    The last time revolutionaries thought it was a good idea to not support social democrats through parliamentary means in times of rising fascism, they ended up in concentration camps.

    It is not good to see that the ghost of Ernst Thälmann lives on in the likes of Captain Jeep-Eep and Porivil Sorrens. But us non-Commie lefties, from Social Democrats to Anarchists remember the rhetoric from those revolutionary theorists well, and we’ll have none of it. You are no true fighters for justice, you are fascist enablers.

    So why don’t you just shut the fuck up and go read a history book?

  241. Porivil Sorrens says

    Nah, I don’t think that I will. Die mad about it. I’ll continue working on the kind of organization that actually matters, and you can enjoy your little electoral tea party.

    Maybe in three more centuries you might elect someone who will massacre slightly fewer foreign people, and only put some immigrants in concentration camps!

    By the by, blaming one of the first major groups persecuted in the Holocaust for what happened is actually just fucking disgusting, so I’m just going to block you and move on.

  242. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Ah, the radical rhetoric that I often heard fifty years ago when I was an undergraduate during the radicalization of campuses during the Viet Nam war. The radicals failed to get converts then, and will fail now, for the same reasons. The main reason being that the radicals expected to tell the people what they should want and how they should get it. They preached their ideology to people, and failed to understand why they weren’t being listened to and agreed with. They failed to shut the fuck up and listen to what the people really wanted. Hence they failed.
    I don’t want any dictatorship of the proletariat. They aren’t much different that any other dictatorship, with people in power making decisions for life, with the leaders being “more equal” than others. I want a voice in selecting my leaders so they can be changed. That’s called elections.

  243. says

    Again, I’m not categorically against the notion of a revolution, but let’s get real: WE NEED A PLAN.

    Let’s not pretend we’re the only ones who want to change things. The fascists will not be sitting on their hands, when the revolution comes. They’ll be out there trying to make the most of it. If we don’t have a plan for what comes after the revolution (including political coalitions, practical organization, physical resources, and popular legitimacy), then someone else will be more than happy to make use of the power vacuum.

  244. says

    Here’s a link to the April 2 Guardian coronavirus liveblog.

    From there:

    These pictures from Sao Paulo, Brazil, show how the country is being forced to prepare for a surge in deaths as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak, after the Brazilian president had dismissed the danger of the virus.

    The Vila Formosa cemetery, the largest in Latin America, has had a 30% increase in the number of burials, its management told the Associated Press. More than 1.5million people are already buried at the cemetery, which covers an area of 780,000 square metres.

    A total of 2,921 patients have died in hospital after testing positive for the coronavirus in the UK as of 5pm on Wednesday, the Department of Health and Social Care has said, up by 569 from 2,352 the day before.

    As of 9am on Thursday, a total of 163,194 people have been tested of which 33,718 tested positive.

    Meanwhile, Boris Johnson, the prime minister, still has mild Covid-19 symptoms, meaning he may not be able to leave self-isolation as intended on Friday.

    The prime minister’s official spokesman said Johnson was still symptomatic, six days after he was diagnosed with the illness.

    If he still has a temperature on Friday, he will not be able to leave self-isolation as planned.

  245. Porivil Sorrens says

    You have no idea what a dictatorship of the proletariat is if you think it refers to having a fixed party in leadership. It’s just 1800’s parlance for “government control by the working class” which could describe anything from decentralized workers councils to direct democratic assemblies. The Paris commune is literally one of the listed examples of such a government.

    This is basic college political science stuff, sorry to burst your bubble. Even if you’re too set in your ways to actually read the documents in question, a simple Wikipedia search could have told you this

    The term “dictatorship” indicates the retention of the state apparatus, but differs from individual dictatorship, the rule of one man.

    This form of popular government, featuring revocable election of councilors and maximal public participation in governance, resembles contemporary direct democracy.

    Like, sorry, you are incorrect on basic foundational terminology that any sociology undergrad could explain to you, irrespective of their political leaning.

    The things you’re describing are literally one of the major functions of “direct action and building dual power structures” I described upthread.

  246. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    @329, Sorry, there is a disconnect between you would like it to mean, and how it has been applied in real life as shown everywhere. Can you even show one example where the theory actually worked?
    Remember this too. In your imaginary and delusional revolution, who would really win and how? My money would be on the christofascists since since they have the guns, not you and your fellow preachers of radical arrogance and ignorance.

  247. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Here’s the thing to remember about all the arm chair revolutionaries and Bernie Bros threatening to vote for Darth Cheeto or not vote. Their votes don’t matter. Either they live in a blue bubble like CA or MA or NY that is going to go blue no matter what, or they are rebelling against a lousy life in a Red State, which is going to vote for Darth Cheeto no matter what. The only place this could matter is in the purple states, where the election will be decided–OH, NC, WI, MI, PA, VA, CO…

    So, let them retire to their parents’ basements to plot their revolution (not much chance they’ll ever pull it off), and the rest of us can work to try and make the country a bit more humane and their lives a little less miserable and pathetic.

  248. says

    NPR – “Ellis Marsalis, Patriarch Of New Orleans’ Most Famous Musical Family, Has Died”:

    Ellis Marsalis, jazz pianist, educator, and patriarch of the Marsalis family, has died at the age of 85. His death was announced in tweets from New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell and Jazz at Lincoln Center, where his son Wynton is managing and artistic director.

    He reportedly went into the hospital over the weekend with symptoms of pneumonia. The New York Times reports that his son Branford says the cause of death was complications from COVID-19.

    Ellis Louis Marsalis Jr. was born on Nov. 14, 1934. He graduated from Dillard University in New Orleans with a B.A. in music education, and that was the field to which he devoted himself. Despite playing with such notable jazz musicians as Cannonball and Nat Adderley, he was most proud of his work as an educator. His music students included Terence Blanchard, Donald Harrison, Harry Connick Jr. and four of his sons: Wynton, Branford, Delfeayo and Jason Marsalis.

    Marsalis went on to become Commonwealth Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond before returning to his hometown to teach at the University of New Orleans. Yet he still managed to record more than 15 albums of his own, in addition to collaborations with his sons.

    And on top of all that, he played a weekly gig at a small New Orleans club, Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro, for three decades before retiring just this year.

    (For some reason his wife of 58 years, Dolores, who died in 2017, isn’t mentioned.)

  249. says

    @Porivil Sorrens
    And why will that not work, if Biden is president? Is there some reason why Trump needs to be in the White House in order for you to do that? If not, what are we talking about?

  250. microraptor says

    Engineer Arrested For Derailing Train Near USNS Mercy, Claimed Ship Part Of ‘Government Takeover’
    LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – A train engineer at the Port of Los Angeles was arrested Wednesday for allegedly derailing a locomotive at full speed near the USNS Mercy hospital ship being used to ease hospital beds during the coronavirus pandemic.

    Eduardo Moreno, 44, of San Pedro, was charged in a criminal complaint with one federal count of train wrecking, which carries a potential sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

    The complaint filed in Los Angeles federal court states Moreno admitted to authorities in two separate interviews that he intentionally derailed and crashed the PHL train near the Mercy on Tuesday afternoon.

    Prosecutors say Moreno was arrested sometime later and turned over to FBI agents early Wednesday morning.

    According to the complaint, Moreno ran the train off the tracks before crashing through a series of barriers, ultimately coming to rest more than 250 yards from the Mercy.

    And here we have an example of actual right-wing terrorism being carried out to prevent or inhibit our ability to help people during a pandemic.

  251. Porivil Sorrens says

    It’s not a matter of “what I want it to mean” it’s a matter of the phrase having a fixed definition that doesn’t describe the situation you’re describing.
    It’d be like if I pointed at the DPRK and went “Well, they call themselves democratic, so clearly democracy is just when you have an autocratic monarchy”. Surely you can understand that by definition, a society with an autocratic leader isn’t a democracy, even if it calls itself one, yes?
    In the same way, a dictatorship of the proletariat isn’t a society with an autocratic leader by definition, even if it claims to be one.

    It is an option irrespective of whoever is in charge. Those strategies have worked in societies far worse than America under Trump, and I’m not going to waste my time supporting a geriatric rapist just because he wants to kill slightly less people than the geriatric rapist he’s running against.

  252. says

    Some good news:

    The Trump administration backtracked Wednesday evening on new rules for getting stimulus checks, saying Social Security recipients won’t have to file a tax return to receive a payment. The move is a response to pressure from elderly Americans and senators to rescind guidance issued Monday that said seniors needed to file a return to get the checks of up to $1,200, even if they weren’t ordinarily required to file taxes.



    By some estimates, we’re talking about 15 million seniors who will now get direct payments. Since the point is to get money into Americans’ hands quickly, Treasury’s reversal on this is welcome news.

    Summary of the Paycheck Protection Program:

    If you are a company, nonprofit, veterans organization, or tribal concern with 500 or fewer employees — or else, a self-employed individual or independent contractor — the government will provide you with a loan equivalent to eight weeks of your prior average payroll (or, for the self-employed, earnings), plus an additional 25 percent of that sum (unless that grand total adds up to more than $10 million, which is the cap for any individual firm). You do not need to make any payments on that loan for six months. And if you maintain your workforce, then the government will entirely forgive the portion of the loan spent on payroll, benefits, utilities, rent, mortgage payments, or other debts. In other words, it will forgive more or less all of it.


  253. says

    SC @332, that’s horrifying. The fact-rejecting force field of Governor Kemp must be really strong.

    Trump is, of course, even more to blame for establishing a fact-rejection culture. He told Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to stop complaining.

    […] During an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Schumer described how New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio have been “calling all over the place” for crucial supplies to help health care workers in their state mitigate the devastating COVID-19 outbreak.

    “And that’s because the system that the administration has put in place is horrible,” the Democratic senator said.

    Schumer called on Trump to appoint an apolitical “military man” to be the czar of distribution of medical materials under the Defense Production Act.

    “The military knows how to get lots of materials in lots of different places quickly,” he said.

    Shortly after the interview, Trump bashed Schumer and attempted to shift the blame onto him.

    “You should have pushed harder,” Trump tweeted. “Stop complaining & find out where all of these supplies are going.”

    TPM link

    Video is available at the link.

  254. says

    From the readers comments associated with the article featured in comment 342:

    He’s given us a new name for the Portable Morgues [refrigerated truck trailers]: Trump Trailers.
    Unless and until we can get billions of N95 masks (or equivalent) for everyone to wear, and testing virtually at will, then this crisis will not end. This is fundamental, and all bets are off until this happens.

    Maybe Trump said this to Schumer, “You should have pushed harder. Stop complaining & find out where all of these supplies are going,” because Trump really wants to know. He doesn’t know. His team doesn’t know.

  255. says

    @Porivil Sorrens

    I’m not going to waste my time supporting a geriatric rapist just because he wants to kill slightly less people than the geriatric rapist he’s running against.

    How many lives will be saved by whatever you do on election day instead of voting?

  256. Porivil Sorrens says

    Directly? Not enough to matter, which is funnily enough the same amount that will be saved if I vote.

    The difference between “I’m going to kill 50 people” and “I’m going to kill 50 people but be less mean on Twitter” isn’t enough to make me vote for a dementia-ridden segregationist, sorry.

  257. says

    G liveblog:

    Italy on Thursday registered 760 more deaths from coronavirus, bringing the total to 13,915, Angela Giuffrida reports from Rome.

    The growth rate in new infections was slower compared to Wednesday, with 2,477 more cases registered, a day-to-day rise of 3%, compared to highs of 15% during the early phase of the emergency.

    The infection rate has also slowed again in Lombardy, the worst-affected region, with 1,292 new cases registered on Thursday compared to 1,565 on Wednesday.

    The Italian government on Wednesday extended the country’s lockdown until 13 April.

    “When the [scientific] data consolidate, we will begin to programme a gradual loosening of the restrictions,” the prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, told the population. “I can’t tell you when that will be.”

  258. says

    Mitch McConnell is advising Nancy Pelosi to stand down, claiming that she was responsible for distracting Trump when he should have been dealing with the Coronavirus pandemic. That idea, that bogus “logic,” is bonkers. See comment 178.

    Though the first COVID-19 case in the U.S. emerged on January 21, the Trump administration did not ask for emergency funding from Congress until February 24. Trump proceeded to downplay the virus for weeks until he was pressured into finally declaring a state of emergency on March 13. The GOP-controlled Senate had acquitted President Donald Trump all way back on February 5.

    Nancy Pelosi is not standing down.

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Thursday the formation of a new bipartisan House select committee that will oversee the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

    Pelosi told reporters during a conference call Thursday that the committee will be chaired by House Majority Whip James Clyburn. She added that the bipartisan committee will “ensure” that the $2 trillion coronavirus disaster relief package will be “spent carefully and effectively.”

    […] Pelosi said that the committee’s purpose is to “root out waste, fraud and abuse” and “protect against price-gouging, profiteering and political favoritism.”

    Pelosi also confirmed that the committee would have subpoena power and that she hopes for cooperation.

    “This is not an investigation of the administration,” Pelosi said. “There’s things that are so new and we want to make sure that there’s not exploiters out there.” […]


    Some of those “exploiters” might be Trump, Kushner, Mnuchin, etc. From a Wall Street Journal headline: ” Trump to Meet With Oil CEOs About Helping Industry.”

    From the readers comments:

    The House Dems should just save time and start the investigations of Trump/Kushner self-dealing and kick-backs now.

    On another subject, this is from Andrew Cuomo’s press briefing today:

    I don’t think the federal govt is in a position to provide ventilators to the extent the nation may need them. I don’t think it’s a question that the federal govt has ventilators that they are not distributing … our attitude here is that we are on our own.

  259. says

    Dr. Fauci Gets Assigned Security Detail Due To Threats After Contradicting Trump On Outbreak

    Dr. Anthony Fauci, a prominent health expert on the White House Coronavirus Task Force whose urgent messaging on the COVID-19 outbreak has been at odds with that of President Donald Trump, has been receiving threats.

    According to the Washington Post and the Hill, the doctor was recently assigned extra security detail due to the threats.

    Tesia Williams, a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, told TPM in an emailed statement that the office “assesses and recommends the appropriate level of protection.” […]

    Fauci’s warnings against not taking the coronavirus seriously had been in noticeable conflict with Trump’s minimization of the pandemic in effort to rescue the plummeting stock market. One example was when Fauci batted down Trump’s dismissal of the medical supply shortage, telling a reporter that “it is happening” despite the President’s claims otherwise.

    […] Trump’s supporters in the right-wing media have been attacking the doctor and attempting to discredit him. […]

    During the task force’s daily briefing on Wednesday, the President claimed Fauci “doesn’t need security.”

    “Everybody loves him,” Trump told reporters.

    As usual, Trump is delusional.

    Follow-up to comment 347:

    On the plus side (so to speak): less than 48 hours after Moscow Mitch floated the “impeachment! So it’s the Demon-rats’ fault!” trial balloon, the Genocider-in-Chief denied that impeachment had any impact on his perfect response. He didn’t give himself a 12 out of 10 (in that particular statement), but you know he wanted to.

  260. says

    From Joan McCarter:

    Seems Blunderkind Jared Kushner was given permission by daddy-in-law Trump to lead him by the nose on decision-making in the coronavirus pandemic, including about whether New York needs the assistance its officials have been clamoring for. “I have all this data about ICU capacity. I’m doing my own projections, and I’ve gotten a lot smarter about this. New York doesn’t need all the ventilators,” Kushner reportedly told Trump, according to a person present who spoke with Vanity Fair. New York isn’t getting all those ventilators. So New York health care workers are having to decide when they have to let people die because there aren’t enough ventilators to go around.

    Already, there are refrigerated trucks in hospital parking lots serving as makeshift morgues. Already, nurses and doctors don’t have the protective gear they need and are getting sick, being forced out of work. Already, everything but the most urgent noncoronavirus-related surgeries have been cancelled. Already, with more than 1,000 dead in New York City and something like 11,000 hospitalized, hospital administrators are having to make the call: Coronavirus patients who stop breathing or whose hearts stop will not be resuscitated.

    That’s despite the fact that White House coronavirus coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx dismissed this worst-case eventuality, saying, “there is no situation in the United States right now that warrants that kind of discussion.” Tell it to the ethicists and hospital administrators and nurses and doctors who have already been making those decisions. […]

    The protocol for health care workers suspected of exposure has changed from 14 days of self-isolation a few weeks ago to seven days, and now just 72 hours—even with a positive coronavirus test, as long as no fever or other symptoms are present. There isn’t space in many hospitals to have separate wards for COVID-19 patients because there are just too many of them, nurses tell the Post.

    On top of all of that, of all this horror, they can’t get the gowns and masks and shields and gloves they have to have to keep everyone safe. In the United States. But Jared fucking Kushner says they’re doing just fine.


  261. says

    That’s how the ultra-rich roll: “Whiting Petroleum hands out $14.6 million cash to top executives days before filing for bankruptcy.”

    Whiting Petroleum knows exactly how to handle this economic downturn due to the outbreak of COVID-19: file for bankruptcy. More importantly, Whiting’s board made sure that they approved $14.6 million in cash bonuses for the top executives a few days before filing for bankruptcy. According to Bloomberg, the shale oil producer handed out $6.4 million in cash to be “paid immediately” to Chief Executive Officer Brad Holly on March 26. On April 1, Whiting filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protections.

    These moves to compensate the top executives at the company are pretty standard moves by big business to make sure everyone involved at the top receives the most money available before the bankruptcy judges and workers’ claims begin to eat away at what is left of their business.

    […] The only rule is to not to get caught in the burning building of your now former company.

    Whiting was in the news a few years ago after the largest oil workers strike in decades that began over the company’s terrible safety standards became intolerable to their labor force.


  262. says

    “At the current burn rate, we have about six days of ventilators in our stockpile,” Cuomo said at a press briefing.

    Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has also warned his state could run out of ventilators as soon as this week, even with a shipment of 150 more from the federal government.

    “The 150 will only get us a day or so, maybe two, before we exceed that capacity. Even with the 150 it’s going to be around April 4 or 5,” Edwards said.

  263. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Porovil Sorrens, Marxists like you are the reason that Marx claimed late in life that he was not a Marxist.

  264. says

    Re: revolution
    I’m not against it. I just don’t see anyone worth listening to yet.

    I can’t decide when to fight, I’ve got tons of privilige and I’m in a decent condition. I’ve learned a few things about some political approaches but I’m still just trying to be helpful to people who are the primary focus of abusers and bigots. More relevant perspectives than mine should decide if and when the fighting starts. Then it’s how I can best help with all this privilege and aggression. And maybe then I’m still best playing interference with bigotry since being in the percieved in-group is an advantage.

    Untill then the lesser evil is still less social damage, and I’m determined that this country get used to more in-group criticism. I want a population that learns to deal with critisizing one another, ones own group, and the nation itself. If we had good systems people couldn’t weaponize accusations of any kind.

  265. says

    From Wonkette:

    Give Donald Trump a trophy, because he was serious about coronavirus for about nine seconds earlier this week, which as far as we can tell is a personal record. Don’t worry, he’s back to his old fundamentally unserious and criminally stupid racist self.

    Trump did one of his coronavirus lie-pressers yesterday, […] The networks are increasingly not carrying them, at least not in full, because they are full of lies and public health risks. It’s especially pointless after Trump said the quiet part loud a few days back and bragged about the ratings for the pressers. Fuck that.

    Aaron Rupar over at Vox is still live-tweeting them, though, so we can see the important information we missed. Like for instance, that Trump is not only number one at global pandemic counts, he is also number one at Facebook, at least according to him: “Did you know I was number one on Facebook? I mean I just found out I’m number one on Facebook, I thought that was very … nice!”

    He is not number one on Facebook. Trump has 26 million fans on Facebook, Barack Obama has 55 million. So even while Trump is bragging and fucking off about coronavirus again, he is lying.

    After fielding a question about how undocumented immigrants are going to survive, since they’re affected by the coronavirus crisis too, and they’re not getting any help from the Trump adminsitration, Trump said well, that’s sad, what a sad question, but fuck ’em. Then he explained what’s going to happen after the crisis is over, to “economy”: “We’re gonna have a boom economy. I think it’s gonna go up rather quickly. Maybe very quickly. And maybe slowly.” […]

    Oh, you guys! Mike Pence was there! Pence said people who don’t have health insurance won’t have to worry about getting sick with COVID-19, because “what we’re seeing health insurance companies do, today, John, is really inspiring.” Aren’t you inspired now, by the health insurance companies?

    After Pence was done talking, Trump complimented him for not answering the journalist’s question about uninsured people with COVID-19.

    And then Trump blamed Barack Obama, who stopped being president at noon on January 20, 2017, for the Trump administration’s fuckups with rolling out coronavirus testing, which happened in the year of our Lord 2020.

    […] A reporter asks Trump about surging domestic violence, and Trump is like “HEYYYYYYYY, DID SOMEBODY SAY MEXICAN VIOLENCE?” [Video at the link.]

    […] Here is the part where Trump talked about CARAVANS AT THE BORDER AIYYYYYEEEEEEEEEEEE!11!11! CARAVANS AT THE BORDER!111!1!1!! [Video at the link.]

    […] Aren’t you feeling better about Trump’s handling of the coronavirus situation, now that Trump has distracted you with Mexicans? We sure are.

    Oh, this part is about coronavirus! Trump says other countries don’t even know about social distancing. [Photo of Trump standing very close to William Barr and Esper.]

    […] As the presser ended, Trump said he just had a perfect call with Brazilian leader Jair Bolsonaro, and that Bolsonaro was just doing an incredible job with coronavirus. Aaron Rupar notes that Bolsonaro, like Trump, is fucking this up so badly that governors in Brazil are paying zero attention to anything he says and does at this point. […]


  266. Porivil Sorrens says

    That actually isn’t, by the by , that quote was a wry response to a disagreement he had with French communists who referred to themselves as Marxists despite disagreeing with several parts of his theory.

    Funnily enough, I’m not a Marxist either, but thanks for trying.

  267. says

    Updated projections:

    […] In other words, the data from Monday have been shifted upward significantly — particularly the worst-case scenario represented by the upper-bound of the uncertainty area displayed on the graph. The graph presented from the White House on Monday stopped at about 3,500 deaths a day. The new estimate projects a possible worst-case peak of 4,400 deaths on April 21. […]

    That’s 4,400 deaths in one day.

    […] One bit of data added to the IHME models was the actual number of deaths over the past few days. The graph presented on Monday, for example, included an estimate that there would be about 850 deaths on April 1. Data from Johns Hopkins University indicates that the number was closer to 890 — though even that figure includes some uncertainty. The model released on Wednesday night estimated there would be 899 deaths on April 1. […]

    Trump had speculated that life would be returning to some semblance of normal by June 1. By then, the IHME data suggest, about 91,000 people will have died of covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. If the model continues to be revised upward, the figure could approach 170,000 — just from the first three months of deaths. […]

    New York, currently the main flash point of the outbreak in the United States, is expected to peak at 855 deaths on April 10. Alabama is projected to peak a bit later, with 303 deaths on April 19. (Its governor was right: Alabama is no California, where the model projects a peak of 119 deaths on April 28.) […]

    Washington Post link

  268. says

    BREAKING: House Overisght Committee reports that FEMA officials told them this week that only 9,500 ventilators are in the national stockpile and only 3,200 more will be there by April 13.

    Bulk of 100K ventilators promised by Trump won’t be there until June.

    More from Oversight: Specifics requests by states for equpiment are being unmet in a big way, per documents provided by FEMA….”

    WV, PA, and DC numbers atl.

  269. says

    On a worldwide basis, the Coronavirus death toll has exceeded 50,000; and the number of confirmed cases is closing in on the 1 million mark.

  270. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Porivil Sorrens: “Funnily enough, I’m not a Marxist either…”

    I’m sure Marx would have found that a great comfort. I’m just glad you’re not on my side.

  271. Porivil Sorrens says

    I’m sure he would have too. Probably a good thing to not be liked by him, too, given that Marx was a colossal antisemite.

    Regardless, rest assured, the feeling is mutual. Glad we could finally agree on something.

  272. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Porivil, I am just curious–have you ever studied the history of revolutions? Other than the American Revolution–which was unique for oh, so many reasons, do you know of any that has actually improved the lot of the poor in the short and the long term? Or do you just like guillotines?

  273. says

    @Porivil Sorrens
    Please note the part I quoted from you earlier:

    I’m not going to waste my time supporting a geriatric rapist just because he wants to kill slightly less people than the geriatric rapist he’s running against.

    According to you, one candidate will lead to fewer deaths than the other, but you still can’t be bothered to vote. That was the point I was making and that you then resolutely ignored.

    You’ve also agreed that there’s nothing you could do with that time that would otherwise save lives, so what the fuck is your problem? You’re deliberately taking a course of action that, according to YOU, will lead to more deaths, apparently because you think saving lives is a “waste of time.”

    I’m not sure what kind of utopia you’re aiming for, but it doesn’t sound like anything I want to be part of.

  274. Porivil Sorrens says

    Indeed I have. A significant amount of the successful ones resulted in massive gains for the group in rebellion question, before being coopted by an outside group. I consider that, risk and all, much better than the prospect of continued existence under capitalism.

    I think there is a greater value in challenging the legitimacy of bourgeois electorialism then there is supporting one mass murdering ghoul over another.

  275. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Porivil: “…before being coopted by an outside group.”

    That’s just the thing. Look at the case of Egypt–a country that ought to be hungry for democracy if any was. It turned out the the Brotherhood was the most organized party, won the elections, and so the populace turned back to the military, squandering a once in a generation chance.

    It happened in France. It happened in Mexico and many of the S. American countries. It was this that caused Bolivar to say, “America is ungovernable. He who tries plows the seas.”
    The revolutions of 1848 didn’t make it even that far before they were sold out and the ancien regimes came back hard!
    China’s revolution was a disaster. I’d say that the jury is still out on S. Africa and India, but that is because I am an optimist.

    Did you look at Jerry Rawlings in Ghana?

  276. says

    @Porivil Sorrens
    How does staying home on election day challenge anything at all? 40+% of Americans have been doing that for decades and yet here we are. Why do you think it’ll suddenly be different?

  277. Porivil Sorrens says

    Hence why I stipulated that I consider the successful ones sufficient reason to prefer revolution to life under capitalism. Listing off unsuccessful ones is literally irrelevant to me, because as mentioned I wholly accept the risk.

    All you’re really demonstrating the importance of planning a revolution and suppressing counter-revolutionaries, which is something covered within the aforementioned “developing parallel power structures” I mentioned earlier.

    The fact that some previous revolutions had less than ideal outcomes is not a justification to stop trying and be happy under a system that slaughters millions in exchange for minor economic profit.

    Also I’d consider uplifting veritable serfdoms into modern societies within a lifetime and killing the landlords en masse were definitely laudable results from many of those revolutions that should be emulated.

  278. Porivil Sorrens says

    Because things can change over time. The critical mass of delegitimization hasn’t been reached yet, as it’s an ongoing process and not a binary switch.

    More and more people are being disillusioned with bourgeois electorialism every cycle, and I consider spreading that disillusionment much more worthwhile than supporting the fascist with a blue armband over the fascist with a red one.

  279. says

    @Porivil Sorrens

    The critical mass of delegitimization hasn’t been reached yet, as it’s an ongoing process and not a binary switch.

    And for that to happen, we need a second term of Trump? If not, why not vote Biden and limit the damage?

    It sounds to me like you’re advocating the strategy of letting the fascists have all the power, letting them fuck everything up completely, and then trying to use that to convince people to turn against them. Is that what you’re saying?

  280. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    As Mao said, “A Revolution is not a tea party.”

    You don’t plan it. It happens. And you may ride it for a while–like Robespierre telling his fellow directorate members, “There goes the mob. I am their leader. I must get in front of them.” Ultimately, however, it’s chaos, and the only people who benefit are sociopaths like Mao or Stalin who thrive on chaos.

    The most successful revolutions are the ones where the leaders have the sense to stop the process and control it before it gets out of control. It’s not a coincidence that most revolutionaries are middle class rather than poor.

  281. says

    LykeX @ #338:

    @Porivil Sorrens
    And why will that not work, if Biden is president? Is there some reason why Trump needs to be in the White House in order for you to do that? If not, what are we talking about?

    This whole business of claiming to combine a presidential campaign and a revolution is so weird. Sanders isn’t a revolutionary. He’s a career politician. He’s been in congress since 1991, FFS. It’s frankly bizarre to see people who claim to be direct-action radicals so obsessed with the outcome of a Democratic presidential primary between a sitting Senator and a former Vice President. Vote, don’t vote – you’re a handful of impervious internet assholes, and some of you don’t even appear to be USians. But for fuck’s sake stop spewing your bile all over Twitter and blogs. That’s not revolutionary. It’s not outreach. It’s not effective. You’ve actually become more annoying than the libertarians in 2008, which is quite an accomplishment.

    Porivil Sorrens:

    Bernie was the bare minimum a candidate has to offer to make me care about bourgeois politics, and all his failure to get nominated shows me is that more drastic methods will be necessary to cause any actual reform.

    Then get at ‘em, and stop barging into our bourgeois discussions of the Democratic presidential primary with your useless patter and Trumpist propaganda.

  282. Porivil Sorrens says


    If not, why not vote Biden and limit the damage?

    Partly bcause I refuse to support geriatric rapists, partly because do not believe that Biden is actually a lesser evil in any meaningful way, and partly because I don’t want to legitimize the bourgeois electoral system by participating

    It sounds to me like you’re advocating the strategy of letting the fascists have all the power, letting them fuck everything up completely, and then trying to use that to convince people to turn against them. Is that what you’re saying?

    No, that would require me to believe that there is a non-fascist option. Mass murdering Innocents overseas while oppressing the working class and putting migrants in concentration camps is fascism, and neither front-runner is offering a reprieve from that.

  283. Porivil Sorrens says


    Then get at ‘em, and stop barging into our bourgeois discussions of the Democratic presidential primary

    Nah, I’m going to continue posting here as long as I am capable. Deal with it.

  284. Porivil Sorrens says

    I don’t really care what Mao said, as I’m not a Maoist.

    Further, I’m not aiming for a revolution or an end result with leaders in any meaningful sense. Hence the “stateless” part of the “stateless, classless society” end goal.

  285. Dave, ex-Kwisatz Haderach says

    I’d like to request that someone take away Porivil’s capability to continue derailing this thread.

  286. says

    Nah, I’m going to continue posting here as long as I am capable. Deal with it.

    Then I’ll proceed to ignore you and the other ranters and suggest others do the same.

  287. says

    RE: #378
    For the record, I’m not American. I don’t get to vote in your elections. I just get to suffer the consequences. Perhaps that’s why I’m a little ticked off when people decide not to exercise what little power they do have.

  288. Porivil Sorrens says

    Last I heard, talking about politics in the politics thread is on topic. I’ll stop if/when PZ says and not a second before.

  289. Porivil Sorrens says

    Feel free, nobody’s forcing you to read the posts. There are several tampermonkey scripts to hide posts.

    I do not think getting to vote between a red fascist and a blue fascist is an exercise in power.

  290. says

    PSA: From the OP – “Lynna is your curator.”

    LykeX @ #385, I wasn’t talking about you, but about Captain Jeep-Eep, who appears to be a Canadian posing as a USian.

  291. mvdwege says

    Shorter Porivil Sorrens: “Social fascism!”. That’s what their ranting against “bourgeois electoralism” comes down to. And we’ve seen what that tactic does.

  292. says

    Great piece by Kai Kupferschmidt in Science – “These drugs don’t target the coronavirus—they target us”:

    In another example of the blinding speed at which science is moving during the pandemic era, researchers at Aarhus University in Denmark will start a clinical trial of a drug named camostat mesylate tomorrow—barely 1 month after a Cell paper showed the compound can prevent the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, from entering human cells.

    “If we are to have an impact on the rising epidemic, then we have to act right now,” says Ole Søgaard, the infectious disease physician leading the study.

    One reason the Danish researchers can act so fast is that camostat mesylate is already licensed in Japan and South Korea to treat pancreatitis, a potentially fatal inflammation of the pancreas. Enough safety data were available to convince an ethical panel to greenlight the trial.

    The trial also illustrates a new approach to combatting the virus. Thousands of researchers around the world are investigating existing drugs as potential therapies for COVID-19, most of them looking at antivirals, such as remdesivir, developed to treat Ebola, or Kaletra, a combination drug against HIV. But Nevan Krogan, a molecular biologist at the University of California, San Francisco, sees another opportunity: “The virus can’t live by itself, right? It needs our genes and proteins in order to live and to replicate.” Camostat mesylate is one of several candidate drugs that block those interactions. They don’t target the virus, but us, the host.

    To identify these drugs, scientists study the complicated molecular dance that happens between a virus and its host cells. For instance, from past work, researchers know in detail how other coronaviruses—those that cause severe acute respiratory syndrome and Middle East respiratory syndrome—infect a cell. First, a protein on the viral surface called the spike attaches to a receptor on the human cell called ACE2. Then, another human protein, TMPRSS2, cleaves the spike protein, allowing the virus to fuse with the cell and start to replicate inside it.

    Camostat mesylate blocks TMPRSS2; in the Cell paper, molecular biologist Stefan Pöhlmann of the German Primate Center and other researchers showed the drug kept SARS-CoV-2 from infecting lung cells in the lab. TMPRSS2’s normal role in the human body is unclear, Pöhlmann says. Knocking out the gene in mice seems to leave them unaffected.

    Patients in the Danish trial will be given two 100-milligram pills of the drug or a placebo three times a day for 5 days, the maximum dose given to patients with pancreatitis in Japan, and their symptoms will be monitored. Whether the drug will reach the lung cells that the virus targets is a big question. “We can only hope that is the case,” Pöhlmann says.

    The Danish researchers are planning to include 180 patients, with a first analysis planned after 108 have completed the study, including a 1-month follow-up. The team could know whether the drug is effective within 3 months, says Mads Kjølby, a researcher at Aarhus University who is also involved in the trial.

    Krogan’s lab is looking for other human proteins that the virus exploits. To find these proteins—potential drug targets—his lab does a kind of molecular fishing. The researchers attach a molecular handle to proteins from the virus. Then they put these proteins into human cells, using them as lures to pull out any human proteins they stick to, and retrieve them with the handle.

    Krogan’s lab started work on 24 January, 2 weeks after the first SARS-CoV-2 genetic sequence became available. A few days later, when it became clear the virus was already spreading in California, Krogan realized time was running out. “I went into the lab and I told everybody to stop what they were doing and work around the clock on this,” he says. The lab produced the last bits of data a few hours before his university shut down on 18 March. “It was a huge race against time.”

    In a preprint first posted on bioRxiv on 22 March, Krogan and a team of dozens of international collaborators presented their results: 332 human proteins that SARS-CoV-2 appears to target. “The virus gets its fingers in most of the major biological processes,” Krogan says, including DNA replication, vesicle trafficking, and the cytoskeleton.

    Scouring the literature and asking scientists around the world, the team also identified 69 drugs that act on 66 of these proteins. They include camostat mesylate and a closely related compound called nafamostat that also acts on TMPRSS2 but is given intravenously. Another one is chloroquine (and its sister compound hydroxychloroquine), a drug that has garnered a lot of attention but whose effectiveness against COVID-19 is as yet unproved. Chloroquine reduces the acidity in endosomes, compartments that cells use to ingest material from the outside and that coronaviruses can use instead of the ACE2 receptor to enter a cell.

    Now, just over 1 week after Krogan’s team assembled its list, scientists are starting to test all of the drugs in cell culture,…

    Young cautions that host-directed drugs are more likely to do harm than therapies that target the virus directly. “Because you’re hitting a host target, hitting a host function, there’s an increased safety risk.” Krogan hopes focusing on drugs already approved for other diseases, such as camostat mesylate, will largely bypass that problem.

    On the other hand, the virus may be less likely to develop resistance to these therapies, because the targeted proteins are encoded in the human genome and not that of the virus. (Resistance is a major problem with antivirals for HIV, influenza, and other diseases.) If researchers manage to target a human protein that’s central in coronavirus infections in general, it could even lead to a broader therapeutic, Krogan says. “Then you would also have a treatment for COVID-22 or COVID-24 or whatever virus comes.”

    If any leads look promising in the lab, they could soon enter clinical trials as well. Of the 69 drugs, 27 are already approved, 14 are in clinical trials, and 28 are in preclinical tests. Most of the newly identified drugs will probably hinder the virus, says Stanley Perlman, a coronavirus researcher at the University of Iowa. “That may be useful. But similar to remdesivir, they probably have to be used early during the infection, or they won’t help much,” he says.

    Perlman says combining such drugs with another type of host-directed treatment that dampens the immune system may be the way to go. That approach may sound paradoxical, but the immune system itself may cause much of the damage to the lungs of COVID-19 patients as it fights the infection, says Susanne Herold, an expert on pulmonary infections at the University of Giessen in Germany….

    Researchers are looking at several compounds to lessen the immune response…. The danger is that dampening the immune system could make patients susceptible for other infections, Herold notes—for instance bacterial infections of the lung.

    Regardless of how many of these approaches will bear fruit, the spirit of collaboration and the speed of discovery have been a positive signal in dark times, says Krogan. “We [downloaded] the sequence on January 24, and two months later we are testing drugs in Paris,” he says. “It’s just surreal.”

  293. says

    Update to #300 above – G liveblog:

    The US navy has relieved the commander of the aircraft carrier, Theodore Roosevelt, after he wrote a scathing letter asking for stronger measures to control an outbreak onboard that ended up being leaked to the public.

  294. Akira MacKenzie says

    After a few days of fuming punctuated by the breaking various household items to ease the tension, I’ll say this much: Whatever Biden’s extremely long list of faults I’ll admit that having him as president instead of Trump would make things slightly easier for Leftists. Sure, he won’t won’t advance our causes by his own volition, but if we make enough noise and make the political climate uncomfortable for him, maybe we can force his hand. Start a general strike under Biden, and he might be willing to come to the table to at least avoid looking like a total corporate stooge. At least that gets our foot into the door, Start it under an emboldened Trump, not only will he not listen to you, he’ll send in militarized police to kill us in droves while Fox News televises the shootings with a laugh track and goofy music to entertain the rednecks.

    That said, this doesn’t work unless we get to turn on Biden if he fucks us over. I thought whole idea behind this democracy thing is that we get to hold our leader’s feet to the fire and make them pay the consequences in the election for political betrayal. That doesn’t work if we’re expected to vote for someone who screws us because “THE REPUBLICANS WOULD BE WORSE!”

    if Biden ends up as candidate, can we have that in exchange for our vote? If the Left is insufficiently served by Biden and the Democrats, can we withhold our vote without being guilt-tripped and scapegoated, or in 2024 will you demand it again no matter how much a hypothetical Biden Administration hypothetically fucks over the Left?

  295. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    if Biden ends up as candidate, can we have that in exchange for our vote? If the Left is insufficiently served by Biden and the Democrats, can we withhold our vote without being guilt-tripped and scapegoated, or in 2024 will you demand it again no matter how much a hypothetical Biden Administration hypothetically fucks over the Left?

    Keep in mind mind how much the left would be fucked over by four more years of Trump. Keep that front and center.

  296. John Morales says

    Not voting is not voting, whether that’s due to principled opting out or pure indifference. Same result.

  297. johnson catman says

    re Dave, ex-Kwisatz Haderach @382: Hear! Hear! I used to come to this blog to get relevant information. So many of the posts have devolved into trollish behavior, and it is frustrating to the point that I may quit even visiting. The bullshit bickering has made the thread almost unbearable. I have begun skipping over the argumentative posts altogether. PLEASE Lynna, take back control of this blog!

  298. Akira MacKenzie says

    @ 397

    And there we have the en passé that should be the deal-breaker. If all the centrist Dems have to do is hold the looming threat of a Republican victory over the nation’s head, what incentive do they have to change things for the better?

    ”Sorry, but nationalized health care/ student debt forgiveness/ a living wage is just too radical for our billionaire donors… Opps, I mean… the average Democratic voter to support. SO SHUT UP AND VOTE AS YOU’RE TOLD PEONS, OR ITS ALL YOUR FAULT IF A REPUBLICAN WINS!!!”

    Yeah, hard fucking pass.

  299. Akira MacKenzie says

    Republican or Centrist Dem, I’m still fucked either way. The only real difference is that the Republican will be honest Is to why they’re fucking me over while all I ever hear out of the Dems are excuses.

  300. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Republican or Centrist Dem, I’m still fucked either way. The only real difference is that the Republican will be honest Is to why they’re fucking me over while all I ever hear out of the Dems are excuses.

    If you think that Polosi and Schumer would allow that to happen you are truly delusional. Think car emission standards, environmental pollution standards, protection of the environment, medicare, and social security. McConnell has said that all that on his hit list. Look at facts and past behavior of the parties. Then vote for Trump if you are ignoring the facts.
    Don’t expect a miracle, in the sense of major changes. Just expect things to not get dramatically worse, with somethings reversed for the better.

  301. says

    Re #394 – “NEW: @RepSpeier, who chairs the House Armed Services Cmte Military Personnel panel, calls the firing a ‘heinous act of whistleblower retaliation’ that will be investigated ‘immediately’.”

  302. says

    SC @371, oh my, does Trump’s company have a cash flow problem? Not sad about that, but I am worried that a financial crunch will make a desperate Trump do more stupid stuff.

  303. says

    This is wild. The Navy isn’t accepting people with Covid19 onto the ship, and ‘is also refusing to treat a host of other conditions. Guidelines disseminated to hospitals included a list of 49 medical conditions that would exclude a patient from admittance’.”

    NYT link atl.

  304. says

    johnson @399,

    PLEASE Lynna, take back control of this blog!

    In my opinion, if we stop responding to the disruptors, they will slowly back off.

    Nevertheless, I will mention this to PZ. I don’t actually “control” the thread, PZ is the only real authority. I have only a small amount of influence.

    Readers who are currently putting up with the disruptions have my sympathy, and my thanks. Some commenters have tried to turn even the off-the-rails discussions into something useful. I’m not sure that can be done, but good on them for trying. I learned a few things.

    I will continue to post relevant political news, as I see that SC and others have been doing.

  305. says

    SC @412, no Jared Kushner, the national stockpile is not yours. That was some strange phrasing he used.

    SC @410, I have to think that Trump and Alex Azar, (current Secretary of Health and Human Services), cooked up that restrictive protocol. Also, I’m reminded of something weird that Mark Esper, current Secretary of Defense, said about the ship: something about it being a valuable asset that had to be protected. Still, I’m surprised that team Trump seems to have fucked this up so badly. Rachel Maddow mentioned this evening how few patients were currently being served aboard the Comfort.

  306. says


    * FEMA: “Federal Emergency Management Agency officials told members of Congress earlier this week that the projected demand for ventilators required for coronavirus-stricken patients ‘outstrips the capacity’ of the Strategic National Stockpile, the House Oversight Committee said Thursday.” […]

    * Really? “Health experts say they now believe nearly one in three patients who are infected are nevertheless getting a negative test result. They caution that only limited data is available, and their estimates are based on their own experience in the absence of hard science.” [I heard one explanation that included non-standard, or variance in conducting the kind of test that requires a nasal swab to be inserted a long ways up one nostril.]

    * Ventilators: “President Trump has repeatedly assured Americans that the federal government is holding 10,000 ventilators in reserve to ship to the hardest-hit hospitals around the nation…. But what federal officials have neglected to mention is that an additional 2,109 lifesaving devices are unavailable after the contract to maintain the government’s stockpile lapsed late last summer, and a contracting dispute meant that a new firm did not begin its work until late January.” […]

    * Looks like a pretty stable market: “About 11.4 million consumers signed up for health coverage on the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges in the 50 states and Washington, D.C., this year, according to data released Wednesday by the Trump administration, marking the third straight year sign-ups have remained steady.” […]

    * Keep expectations low: “Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC on Wednesday he is talking with Congress about a potential infrastructure bill that would help boost the coronavirus-battered economy.”

    * Noted without comment: “The White House Correspondents’ Association said on Wednesday it was booting a media outlet from its rotation of news organizations that get seats in the White House briefing room after one of its reporters twice defied social-distancing policies amid the coronavirus pandemic…. The statement did not name the outlet it was kicking out of the rotation, but only Chanel Rion, a correspondent for the fringe conservative cable channel One America News Network, was seen standing in the back of the room when the president called on her to ask a question.”


  307. says

    New York & other locales getting gouged big time for medical equipment

    With the coronavirus outbreak creating an unprecedented demand for medical supplies and equipment, New York state has paid 20 cents for gloves that normally cost less than a nickel and as much as $7.50 each for masks, about 15 times the usual price. It’s paid up to $2,795 for infusion pumps, more than twice the regular rate. And $248,841 for a portable X-ray machine that typically sells for $30,000 to $80,000. […]

    With little guidance from the Trump administration, competition among states, cities, hospitals and federal agencies is contributing to the staggering bill for fighting the pandemic, which New York has estimated will cost it $15 billion in spending and lost revenue. The bidding wars are also raising concerns that facilities with shallow pockets, like rural health clinics, won’t be able to obtain vital supplies.

    As the epicenter of the pandemic, with about 40% of the nation’s coronavirus cases, New York state is especially desperate for medical equipment, no matter what the tab. “We know that New York and other states are in the market at the same time, along with the rest of the world, bidding on these same items, which is clearly driving the fluctuation in costs,” budget office spokesman Freeman Klopott said in an email.

    The Office of General Services, New York’s main procurement agency, declined to say which sellers were inflating prices for essential medical gear. “At this moment in time the New York State team is focused on procuring goods and services based on current market conditions,” OGS spokeswoman Heather Groll wrote in an email. “There will be time to look back and pull together info on all this, that time will be when the pandemic is over.”

    New York isn’t the only government paying whatever it takes — and keeping quiet about who’s overcharging.

  308. says

    From Josh Marshall:

    […] The US has established an airbridge of flights from abroad to bring in supplies of masks, gowns, all the supplies we’re hearing are in short supply. But in answer to a question from Weijia Jiang of CBS News, the Admiral in charge of this effort explained that those supplies mainly are not going to FEMA or the states. They’re going to private sector distributors. And that seems to be one of the big reasons why states are having to fight amongst themselves over them, bidding up the price along the way. […]

    Now, I want to be clear that there is some logic to this, at least as far as distribution. It sounds like these are the half dozen or so suppliers who manage medical products to hospitals and institutions in normal times. So they have specific knowledge of the different facilities. They have warehouses in different regions, vehicles to move from airports to warehouses down to individual hospitals and assisted living facilities. That’s a physical capacity and distribution system that isn’t necessarily going to be easy for the military or FEMA to duplicate on the fly. So there is some logic to this from a distribution point of view. Possibly.

    But this doesn’t sound like it’s just distribution. The Admiral seems pretty clear that this is being distributed as private sector transactions. As then Admiral put it: “That’s normally how things work, right? I’m not here to disrupt a [commercial] supply chain.”

    […] article from a couple days ago which describes a GOP fundraiser and political operative who abruptly shuttered his business and announced he was opening a new firm (Blue Flame) which is in the COVID medical supply business. “Over the last 14 days I have built another business outside politics and will be focusing my full attention there,” he told colleagues in an email.

    There’s no evidence the fundraiser/operative Mike Gula is in the mix with these airbridge flights. But it at least hints at the kind of corruption and profiteering that is possible in such a crisis.

    Supplying these private sector distributors seems quite problematic for at least a couple reasons, to put it mildly.

    First is that there’s no clear mechanism to allocate these supplies on the basis of need based on a coherent national plan or framework. Secondly, it opens the door to massive profiteering. Even if companies aren’t technically gouging, that’s what bidding is. And you really can’t call this a legitimate private sector market if every state is having to bid with private companies to secure medical supplies during a historic national health emergency. The private sector rationale is also undermined if the US military has taken over a significant part of the fulfillment process.

    Perhaps this is operating differently than it sounds from this exchange. Maybe the federal government is dictating distribution or constraining prices. But there’s no clear suggestion that is happening. Quite the contrary. It does not sound good.

  309. says

    Oh, FFS.

    Ammon Bundy Pledges ‘Physical Defense’ For Those Who Defy Idaho’s COVID-19 Order

    Anti-government extremist Ammon Bundy led a meeting last week where he agitated for Idahoans to physically defy the state’s stay-at-home order, which is meant to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. [OMFG]

    Bundy is perhaps best known for leading the armed, 10-day occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon in 2016. But these days he’s threatening to rise up against the public health measures to ward off COVID-19. […]

    “The right to travel is not theirs to take,” Bundy announced to the crowd. “The right to assemble is not theirs to take. The right to worship how and when and where we want is not theirs to take.”

    If a business owner decides to keep their business open in violation of the state order, Bundy said, he would organize a group to “surround them and protect them.”

    In addition to legal and political advocacy, he said, “we will also, if necessary, provide a physical defense for you so that you can continue in your rights.”

    At the end of the meeting, he had attendees sign their names to an agreement to “unite each other” in the common defense pledge. The Associated Press reported Bundy’s remarks Wednesday. […]

    Bundy told the AP that he wasn’t opposed to social distancing in itself, but that he objected to the state forcing him to do so.

    “If it was a guideline, I would applaud it,” he said. “It’s not, it’s an order.”

    Political action to oppose the governor’s step was necessary, Bundy said at the meeting,

    But, he said, “when I say ‘political,’ it’s not calling up my legislators and saying, ‘I don’t like this, I think you should vote this way.’”

    “It is all of us going to the governor’s house, right? Literally, and saying ‘You will not do this.” We’re going to his house. We’re going to this director of Health and Welfare’s house. Okay?”

    The room applauded. […]

    Bundy is active on Facebook. He holds some “meetings” there also. Facebook should shut him down. He is putting more people in danger of infection.

  310. KG says

    Ignoring the Trumpist disruptors, although still open to reasoned argument about why Sanders is losing

    Yesterday, the Johnson-Cummings regime for the first time got general UK MSM criticism of its mishandling of the Covid-19 pandemic. Usually reliable Tory papers such as the Telegraoph, Mail, Times and Express laid into it. This is unlikely to last, but possibly the proprieters and editors of these papers have noticed that they themselves might die of the disease.

  311. Akira MacKenzie says

    Seeing that SC and Lynna want to get this thread back on track, I’ll agree to table shouting match for another day and another forum.

  312. Akira MacKenzie says

    Edit: …table this shouting match…

    (Jeeze! It’s like my mind knows what I want to type, but my hands skip the damn words.)

  313. says

    Coda Story/La Stampa – “The influence operation behind Russia’s coronavirus aid to Italy”:

    As the Western world struggles with the coronavirus pandemic, Russia is carrying out an influence operation in Italy unimaginable under normal circumstances.

    Ten days after President Vladimir Putin sent military personnel and aid to the coronavirus-stricken nation, experts as well as diplomatic, military and government sources in Rome and the European Union’s Brussels headquarters warn that the Kremlin is using the crisis to undermine NATO and the EU.

    Since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, Moscow, like Beijing, has seized soft-power opportunities by dispatching aid to hard-hit nations, while broadcasting propaganda on state and social media.

    On Tuesday, Russia sent a cargo plane filled with masks and medical equipment to the U.S., after President Donald Trump accepted an offer of humanitarian aid from Putin to fight the coronavirus outbreak.

    Trump praised the assistance as “very nice.”

    But the military optics of Moscow’s aid mission to Italy, dubbed From Russia with Love, make the operation qualitatively different from other aid operations like the planes full of doctors or supplies that China has sent around the world.

    “This is a half-propaganda, half-intelligence operation,” said Sergio Germani, director of the Gino Germani Institute for Social Sciences and Strategic Studies, a Rome-based think tank.

    Germani, who researches Russia’s role in Italy, says Moscow is using the Covid-19 outbreak “to strengthen anti-EU feelings and to reinforce the impression that the EU is crumbling, to make propaganda gains and gather intelligence at the heart of NATO.”

    After a telephone call between Putin and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte late last month, during which he accepted Russia’s offer of humanitarian aid, Russian media went into overdrive, applauding Moscow for stepping in “where Europe and NATO failed,” accompanied by footage of a military convoy carrying 122 personnel and decontamination equipment to Bergamo, the center of Italy’s epidemic.

    In response to a La Stampa article on March 24 reporting that 80% of Russian supplies are of little use to Italy, the Kremlin published a list of equipment delivered to Italy: 600 ventilators and 326,000 masks, as well as military decontamination equipment.

    However, two sources inside the Italian military have now backed the assertion that most of the aid is superfluous to the country. Italy is reputed to have some of the best nuclear, biological and chemical capabilities within NATO.

    “If NBC [nuclear, biological and chemical] assets were needed in Bergamo, why were they not used already a month ago? And then, why not use the Italian ones? Our army has perhaps the best NBC troops in NATO,” said Italy’s former defense spokesman Andrea Armaro.

    Russia now has its NBC officers stationed in Bergamo, the epicenter of Italy’s outbreak with more than 8,800 coronavirus cases. Italy has lost more people to Covid-19 than any other country –13,155 deaths as of Thursday, about a fourth of the global total.

    “The gains for Russia are clear. What’s not clear is how the Italian government allowed this to happen,” said Germani, the think tank director.

    The answer to this question is likely to lie in a combination of Rome’s general stance towards Moscow, Russia’s successful cultivation of populist factions in Italy’s government, and a chaotic crisis management effort.

    “It is very troubling that a Russian general who was lying about Douma, as far as the British government and the [Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons] are concerned, is now charging around Italy,” said Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, former commanding officer of NATO’s Rapid Reaction CBRN Battalion.

    “This would be unimaginable in any other situation, to have this many highly trained Russian troops in a NATO country,” he added. “It is true that these types of troops do have capacity for decontamination, but Italians have this capability as well, and it’s more modern. The Italians are at the forefront of chemical and biological weapon defence in NATO, and they hardly need any advice from the Russians.”

    Chemical weapons experts like De Bretton-Gordon say Russians could be using Italy as an opportunity to test new equipment and to gather intelligence about both the virus and a NATO member state. Western military and chemical weapons experts contacted by Coda Story and La Stampa said that there is a significant overlap between the Radiological Chemical and Biological Weapons Defense unit of the Russian military and the GRU, its intelligence agency.

    “Undoubtedly, there are GRU operatives on the ground in Italy right now. Any intelligence service would take advantage of this situation, and especially the Russians. They will want to be finding out as much as possible about the Italian forces. They will be setting up intelligence networks, there will be an enormous amount of activity going on right now,” said De Bretton-Gordon.

    “The significance of what’s happening with the Russians in Bergamo is being lost in the panic and noise that this crisis has created,” said a senior European diplomat, who asked not to be identified.

    Russian media, in the meantime, is amplifying the genuine gratitude many Italians feel. One video that has been especially prevalent on Russian television shows an Italian man taking down an EU flag and replacing it with a Russian tricolor. He then holds up a sign saying, “Thank you Putin. Thank you, Russia.”
    “Coronavirus has caused a total collapse of the very idea of Europe,” says Dmitry Kisilev, the Kremlin’s chief spin doctor and presenter of the flagship weekend magazine show on state TV….

    One of the reporters on the story tweeted: “Extraordinary: Russian MOD just put out a threatening statement against @LaStampa journalist @jacopo_iacoboni. Jacopo and I just worked together on the story below. He pissed Russian officials off so much that MOD now tells him ‘Who digs the grave, crashes into it’.”

    Meanwhile, in the Guardian liveblog:

    The Russian prime minister, Mikhail Mishustin, on Friday said the coronavirus situation in Russia could yet develop into a worst-case scenario, and that the epidemic has not peaked there yet.

    “It is clear that the peak of infections has not yet passed, and we can’t rule out the situation developing into the most difficult scenario,” said Mishustin.

  314. says

    Carole Cadwalladr on FT report on Mark Sedwill:

    Number 10 sticks the boot into the cabinet secretary rather than take responsibility & ‘insiders’ run interference in the FT

    Luckily for Number 10, the FT buys it. Or at least writes it all down before suggesting in one line at the end, that perhaps -perhaps! – some may find fault with Boris Johnson. First though, blame the NHS

    Here it is. The single line in the piece that suggests this has anything to do with PM. Sorry, ‘risks’ being associated with PM…

    The line is: “Ultimately, Mr. Johnson risks becoming the target for blame.” The Prime Minister. Risks becoming the target for blame. Ultimately.

  315. says

    G liveblog:

    Russian police have detained a doctors’ rights activist who has been highly critical of the Kremlin’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak.

    Anastasia Vasiliyeva, the head of the opposition-leaning Alliance of Doctors union, was detained with other activists last night while attempting to deliver medical equipment in Russia’s Novgorod region.

    Video of the incident showed Vasiliyeva being dragged into a local police station by police officers and other men in medical masks. In a post, the organisation said that Vasiliyeva lost consciousness during the arrest, possibly because she was choked.

    She is still in custody as of Friday afternoon and has reportedly received citations for violating mandatory quarantine measures and for resisting police orders.

    Vasiliyeva and the Alliance of Doctors have been highly critical of the government’s preparations for the coronavirus outbreak, accusing the government of faking official statistics about the number of coronavirus cases in Russia and blasting the government for failing to equip hospitals with needed medical supplies.

    The group had also criticised the government’s airlift of medical equipment and ventilators to the United States.

    “Well, great,” the group wrote. “We raise money all over the country to buy medical protective equipment, and our government sells PPE to the USA. It’s a mockery.”

  316. stroppy says

    @ 410, 411

    Not clear on the details, I think the idea was to free up beds so that the mainland could take on more C19 patients. I’d like to think that they’re maximizing efficiency according to their areas of expertise. But given the givens…

  317. says

    Josh Marshall, quoted in Lynna’s #417 above:

    The Admiral seems pretty clear that this is being distributed as private sector transactions. As then Admiral put it: “That’s normally how things work, right? I’m not here to disrupt a [commercial] supply chain.”

    !!! This is worse than useless.

    David Begnaud:

    After hearing the White House say critical supplies are going to commercial distributors who are then selling them to the states which are begging for help, I called @ltgrusselhonore who commanded federal troops after Hurricane Katrina to get his reaction. Watch this:…

    9-minute video at the link.

  318. says

    Update to #394 above – “Wrongfully relieved of command but did right by the sailors. #navy”

    Video of Captain Crozier leaving the Theodore Roosevelt after being relieved of command atl. Sailors cheering and chanting his name. (I wish they were social distancing.)

    More at Stars and Stripes – “‘Captain Crozier! Captain Crozier!’: Videos show sailors sending off ousted USS Roosevelt commander with cheers”:

    A cheering and applauding crowd of sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt wished farewell to their captain, whom the Navy relieved of command after he raised concerns about the spreading coronavirus on his ship in a letter that was leaked to the media.

    Hundreds were pictured in the gathering in the ship’s hangar deck and many chanted Capt. Brett Crozier’s name in multiple videos posted to social media.

    In the hours since Crozier’s dismissal was announced, the backlash online has been swift, with more than 67,000 people signing a petition calling for his reinstatement.

    On the Reddit social media site, memes began to pop up in the Navy channel expressing support for the captain and distrust of higher-level officials.

  319. says

    Follow-up to SC @430.

    Quoting Ltg. Russel L. Honore:

    The “air bridge,” which is a throwback to saving the people of Berlin, but now the air bridge is bringing stuff and giving it to companies to sell to states and to hospitals. I never heard that supply chain before in my life. It looks like they have put the literal wolf inside the hen house.

    We would not let contractors into my headquarters […]

  320. says

    Axios – “CNN: Fauci advises all states issue stay-at-home orders”:

    Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci recommended on Thursday that all states across the U.S. implement stay-at-home orders, at a CNN town hall.

    What he’s saying: “I don’t understand why that’s not happening,” Fauci said, per CNN, of a nationwide stay-at-home order. “As you said, the tension between federally mandated versus states rights to do what they want is something I don’t want to get into. But if you look at what is going on in this country, I do not understand why we are not doing that. We really should be.”

  321. says

    Akira @422 and 423, thanks!

    On another subject: oversight plans for the $2.2 trillion that Congress approved in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act has Trump complaining:

    Endless partisan investigations — here we go again — have already done extraordinary damage to our country in recent years. You see what happens. It’s a witch hunt after witch hunt after witch hunt. And in the end, the people doing the witch hunt have been losing and they been losing by a lot. And it’s not any time for witch hunt, it’s time to get this enemy defeated. Conducting these partisan investigations in the middle of a pandemic is really big waste of vital resources, time, attention, and we want to fight for American lives, not waste time and build of my poll numbers, because that’s all they’re doing because everyone knows it’s ridiculous.

    Wrong, Hair Furor. Very wrong.

    Trump thinks he has the authority to limit what the inspector general shares with Congress. He does not. Trump thinks, “I’ll be the oversight,” which is laughable. Trump equates the work of the new House select committee that will, among other things, oversee the dispersement of funds associated with the CARES Act with a “partisan investigation.” That’s not what this bipartisan panel does/is.

    Steve Benen commented:

    […] There’s quite a bit wrong with this, but let’s not miss the forest for the trees: the president wants to spend $2.2 trillion, and he’d prefer it if Congress didn’t ask a lot of questions. Indeed, Trump’s comments yesterday reinforce the impression that he sees oversight as an inherently annoying burden he shouldn’t have to deal with.

    Meanwhile, around the time that the president was condemning “endless partisan investigations” and political “witch hunts” that detract from the pandemic response, Politico reported, “A key Senate committee is vowing to press forward with its investigation targeting former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter, despite logistical challenges posed by the global coronavirus pandemic.”

    The committee in question is the Senate Homeland Security Committee, chaired by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), who recently shared an unusual perspective about the coronavirus crisis


    Senator ron Johnson’s unsettling perspective:

    People are going to have to work. People do need to recognize the fact that this is not Ebola. This is not MERS. It’s not quite the seasonal flu. But we have to keep things in perspective and we got to keep our economy.

    One thing the press has not covered at all is the people who have really recovered,” said Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, a Republican ally of Mr. Trump’s. “Right now all people are hearing about are the deaths. I’m sure the deaths are horrific, but the flip side of this is the vast majority of people who get coronavirus do survive.

    I’m not denying what a nasty disease COVID-19 can be, and how it’s obviously devastating to somewhere between 1 and 3.4 percent of the population. But that means 97 to 99 percent will get through this and develop immunities and will be able to move beyond this. But we don’t shut down our economy because tens of thousands of people die on the highways. It’s a risk we accept so we can move about. We don’t shut down our economies because tens of thousands of people die from the common flu.

    Getting coronavirus is not a death sentence except for maybe no more than 3.4 percent of our population (and) I think probably far less.

  322. says

    BREAKING: Trump will nominate Justin Walker to the DC Circuit. He was just confirmed to the district court in October.

    Walker was rated Not Qualified. He had never tried a case. He’s intensely opposed to the ACA. Another anti-health care nominee during a pandemic. It’s SHAMEFUL.”

  323. says

    Follow-up to SC’s comment 438.

    to recap, according to the Trump administration, we have, don’t have, and “essentially” have a national stay-at-home order. This was the message presented to the public over the course of about 24 hours.

    Yesterday afternoon, the president muddled the picture a little more. In response to a question about Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R), Trump told reporters, “He’s a good governor and he has to make his own decision about that. I let the states — I think we’re about 85% positive on that. If you look, I think it’s about 85% of the states have gotten the stay-at-home.”

    Muddled much?

  324. says

    Stephanie Ruhle confronted Marco Rubio. Rubio is a Senator from Florida.

    […] Ruhle read aloud the first half of the tweet, in which Rubio claimed that “some in our media can’t contain their glee and delight in reporting that the U.S. has more #CoronaVirus cases than #China” and that they were engaging in “grotesque” and “bad” journalism.

    “I need to ask you this because I’m a journalist,” the anchor said. “We’re not just some personalities. You called out journalism. And I need to understand why on Earth you did this.”

    Rubio defended the tweet, claiming that there were “some journalists that were doing exactly what I said.”

    Ruhle pointed out that despite the GOP senator’s argument that the time needed to deal with the coronavirus shouldn’t be wasted on pointing fingers, “that’s exactly what you did in that tweet.”

    TPM link

    Video is available at the link.

    From the readers comments:

    Put up or shut up, Marco.

    Post a clip on your Twitter feed of these journalists expressing “glee and delight” at the number of U.S. coronavirus cases. Guess what…you can’t, because it never happened […]

    I fail to understand why the MSM doesn’t just challenge these GOP idiots to provide a shred of evidence for their outrageous claims.
    This speaks volumes about Rubio’s character.
    Frankly he is grotesquely lacking in that regard.

    He has the opportunity to expend his energy in constructive ways but makes the choice to exacerbate divisions and amplify hatred.
    He is learning from Mango Mussolini.
    Stephanie didn’t ask him who it was that couldn’t contain their glee. She should have pressed him on it until he came up with a name to back up his assertion. She didn’t.
    Excuse me – we (the public health community) would like to point out that you are standing on the train tracks and the train is bearing down on you. We strongly recommend that you step off the tracks as soon as possible. The fact that the media reports that we’re are screaming this at the tops of our voices does not mean that anyone is rooting for the train, you effing moron.

  325. says

    Vice – “Leaked Amazon Memo Details Plan to Smear Fired Warehouse Organizer: ‘He’s Not Smart or Articulate’”:

    Leaked notes from an internal meeting of Amazon leadership obtained by VICE News reveal company executives discussed a plan to smear fired warehouse employee Christian Smalls, calling him “not smart or articulate” as part of a PR strategy to make him “the face of the entire union/organizing movement.”

    “He’s not smart, or articulate, and to the extent the press wants to focus on us versus him, we will be in a much stronger PR position than simply explaining for the umpteenth time how we’re trying to protect workers,” wrote Amazon General Counsel David Zapolsky in notes from the meeting forwarded widely in the company.

    The discussion took place at a daily meeting, which included CEO Jeff Bezos, to update each other on the coronavirus situation. Amazon SVP of Global Corporate Affairs Jay Carney described the purpose to CNN on Sunday: “We go over the update on what’s happening around the world with our employees and with our customers and our businesses. We also spend a significant amount of time just brainstorming about what else we can do” about COVID-19.

    Amazon fired the warehouse worker Smalls on Monday, after he led a walkout of a number of employees at a Staten Island distribution warehouse. Amazon says he was fired for violating a company-imposed 14-day quarantine after he came into contact with an employee who tested positive for the coronavirus.

    Smalls says the employee who tested positive came into contact with many other workers for longer periods of time before her test came back. He claims he was singled out after pleading with management to sanitize the warehouse and be more transparent about the number of workers who were sick.

    Zapolsky’s notes from the meeting detail Amazon’s plan to deal with a wave of bad press and calls for investigations from elected officials following the firing of Smalls. They also show top Amazon brass wanted to make Smalls the focus of its narrative when questioned about worker safety.

    “We should spend the first part of our response strongly laying out the case for why the organizer’s conduct was immoral, unacceptable, and arguably illegal, in detail, and only then follow with our usual talking points about worker safety,” Zapolsky wrote. “Make him the most interesting part of the story, and if possible make him the face of the entire union/organizing movement.”

    They discussed encouraging Amazon executives to use Smalls to discredit the wider labor movement at Amazon. Employees at the warehouse, known as JFK8, launched an effort to unionize in 2018.

    In his notes, Zapolsky wrote that there was “general agreement” on this point among the other attendees of the meeting. (Zapolsky’s notes also mention SVP of worldwide operations and customer service Dave Clark and SVP of human resources Beth Galetti.)

    In a statement to VICE News, Zapolsky said his “comments were personal and emotional.”

    Amazon also weighed ways to generate a PR win from their mask stockpile with “different and bold” ways of giving away surplus masks to hospitals and independent grocers. “If we can get masks in quantity it’s a fantastic gift if we donate strategically,” Zapolsky wrote.

    “Another idea for giving masks away — give 1,000 masks to every police station in the country,” Zapolsky wrote, adding this “reminds folks it’s not just medical workers who need these.” …

    More atl.

  326. says

    Update to #426 – “After Jared Kushner’s comment about how the Strategic National Stockpile is not supposed to be for states, lots of people pointed to the fact that its own website says it is.

    The language on the website has now been changed.

    My screenshot from last night vs. one from today:…”

    I saw this coming. They are truly despicable.

  327. says

    Excerpts from the link SC posted in comment 400:

    TRUMP: “I will always protect your Social Security, your Medicare, and your Medicaid. We are protecting your Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.” (REALITY: Trump’s most recent budget proposal includes steep reductions to those programs.)

    Trump announces that he’s just signed the Defense Production Act “against” 3M for the production of face masks.

    “Hopefully they will be able to do what they are supposed to do,” he adds.

    “It”s a witch hunt after witch hunt after witch hunt” — Trump is now using the coronavirus briefing to whine about oversight of his administration

    Trump announces that he took another coronavirus test and the results were once again negative

    Here’s Jared Kushner going for the world record of most meaningless corporate buzzwords used in a single one-minute video clip

    Rear Adm. John Polowczyk on scarcity of personal protective gear for health care workers: “If you are in a hospital and not seeing PPE, I would look up to the state level first.”

    Trump says that he considered prohibiting an American company from sending “important outfits” to Italy, but decided against it

    “The states should have building their stockpiles … we’re a backup. We’re not an ordering clerk.” — Trump

    REPORTER: Can you assure Americans tonight that you will be open for an Obamacare marketplace for coverage in this time?

    TRUMP: “We are doing better than that. We are going to get a cash payment to the people.”

    “Long before this pandemic arrived, they should have been on the open market just buying” — Trump tries to shift blame for medical gear shortages to the states

    Trump on accepting planeload of medical gear from Russia: “They have excess medical equipment things. And I’ll take it … it was a large plane of very high-quality medical supplies.” (Other counties have reportedly received low-quality medical supplies from Russia.)

    Trump makes sure to take a question from OAN staffer Chanel Rion even though she was banished from the White House Correspondents’ Association for attending briefings she wasn’t supposed to be at

    “Some governors you speak to or senators, and they don’t know what’s in their state” — Jared Kushner says he knows better than state governors and US senators about how many ventilators are in their states

    “To my face they’re very nice … I watch very closely” — Trump claims that some Democratic governors praise him and thank him for his efforts in private only to blast him on TV

    Trump says he’s looking into options to prevent states and localities from releasing prisoners from jails and prisons amid the coronavirus pandemic

  328. says

    Follow-up to the last part of comment 439.

    From Adam Parkhomenko:

    Ron Johnson is having quite a week. Monday he told us people are just gonna die so suck it up and now he’s still chasing this Hunter Biden shit. Johnson seems more loyal to Russia and the virus than America and Americans.

    Senator Ron Johnson is a trumpian lickspittle.

  329. says

    Follow-up to SC @447.

    Trump said, “I’ve been very generous on ventilators.”

    Fact check: The ventilators do not belong to him. He seems to think distributing them is an act of generosity—it’s literally his job.

  330. says

    Follow-up to SC @447.

    After Blunderkind Jared Kushner made all sorts of embarrassing headlines for his daddy-in-law’s shop by asserting that the Strategic National Stockpile of medical supplies “is supposed to be our stockpile, not supposed to be state stockpiles,” the Department of Health and Human Services decided they had to comply with the new world order.

    So they changed the language on the website for the Strategic National Stockpile. It used to say that it stores and supplies “life-saving pharmaceuticals and medical supplies for use in a public health emergency severe enough to cause local supplies to run out. […] When state, local, tribal, and territorial responders request federal assistance to support their response efforts, the stockpile ensures that the right medicines and supplies get to those who need them most during an emergency.”

    It now says its “role is to supplement state and local supplies during public health emergencies and that “states have products stockpiled, as well.” Now it says that “the stockpile can be used as a short-term stopgap buffer when the immediate supply of adequate amounts of these materials may not be immediately available.”

    Too bad the Trump administration still hasn’t learned that the internet is forever, as are screenshots.


  331. says

    Elizabeth Warren Has Three Big Tips for Monitoring Trump’s $500 Billion Coronavirus Slush Fund

    […] She frets Donald Trump and his administration will use this money to “reward their political friends and punish their political enemies.” And she points out, “I spent a lot of time in the negotiations [over the bill]…to try to get at least some curbs on how the money is spent and some oversight. I just got to tell you, we improved it. We got a little bit more oversight than the original version of the bill. But not nearly enough. And Republicans basically said this is going to be the price of getting money to our medical providers, getting money to people who are unemployed, getting money to small business: ‘You guys are going to have to go along…with this slush fund for giant corporations.’”

    The oversight provisions in the measure do include a special inspector general for pandemic recovery, who will track all loans and expenditures made from the $500 billion fund, and a congressional oversight commission, similar to the one Warren ran years ago, which will monitor this spending and evaluate its impact. […]

    Trump has already declared he has the right to block the new special IG from sharing information with Congress and the public. And the CARES Act contains no provisions that allow any outside review of expenditures or loans before Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin okays them. Whatever he (or Trump) decides, goes.

    In this environment—with a president hostile to transparency and accountability—what can be done to cast sunlight onto Mnuchin handing out $500 billion in taxpayer dollars to big companies?

    “Here are the top things,” Warren says. First, she notes, “be consistent in talking about this every single day. We can’t let this just drop off the radar screen. Remind people the slush fund exists.” Her second tip is “dig into individual pieces.” She reports, “I’m doing this with my Senate staff. We’ve already set up a team to go after it every single day…to tease out what information we can.” And her third tip is to shout about any bad examples that turn up: “When particularly bad stories arise, we have to be willing to elevate them. Point out this is taxpayer money, money that could have been used for personal protective equipment or health care professionals…money that could have been used to help small business…to help people who are unemployed.”

    Doing all this, Warren asserts, is “the best way to influence how the money gets spent.” She and other senators tried to insert a provision into the bill that would require Mnuchin to provide information about each handout from this fund in advance. But Republicans and the White House opposed that. “And you better believe the Trump administration is not going to give us that information going forward,” Warren says. The law requires only that information about expenditures from this immense fund be provided to Congress within seven days and made public within two weeks. And there is virtually no way to undo a misguided, inefficient, or corrupt use of these funds. “The curbs are so minor and there’s so much discretion that’s been lodged with Donald Trump’s own secretary of the Treasury, who is big fundraiser for Donald Trump,” Warren remarks. “And that’s going to be a real problem.”

    With no clawbacks allowed, Warren says, the only recourse is “you jump on every piece of information that comes out because that influences the next decision that gets made.” The only restraint is “public opinion. […]

    Warren’s tips essentially boil down to this: pay attention, pay attention, pay attention “We’re going to have to do a kind of crowdsourcing oversight,” she says. Noting that the $500 billion could be used by its corporate recipients to leverage up to $4 trillion in financing, she adds: “It’s so much money at stake. This really affects our economy. If these companies are not able to pay it back or not able to pay it back for a very long time, that’s money we could’ve spent elsewhere.” If the money is not used appropriately and well, she insists, that will “undermine the very foundation of our democracy.” […]

  332. says

    Ah, yes, we could see this coming. This is very bad news indeed. Trump really, really wants to make it hard for people to vote in the upcoming election.:

    Trump’s political operation is launching a multimillion-dollar legal campaign aimed at blocking Democrats from drastically changing voting rules in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

    […] the reelection campaign and the Republican National Committee have helped to oversee maneuvering in a handful of battleground states […]

    The Trump campaign and RNC are actively engaged in litigation in Wisconsin, where the parties are at loggerheads over an array of issues including voter identification, and in New Mexico, where the battle involves vote-by-mail. The skirmishing has also spread across key states like Pennsylvania and Georgia, where the well-organized Trump apparatus has fought over changes that could sway the outcome of the election.

    The enterprise includes more than two dozen GOP officials, including lawyers dedicated entirely to litigation […]

    Democrats — who typically benefit from high turnout elections because their voters cast ballots less reliably — are plowing ahead with initiatives to make it easier to vote. […] Joe Biden described a range of possible changes, such as using drive-through voting stations.

    “This is about making sure that we’re able to conduct our democracy while we’re dealing with a pandemic. We can do both,” Biden said. “There’s a lot of ways to do it, but we should be talking about it now.” […]

    Trump has long been fixated on voter fraud. He has repeatedly claimed without evidence that he lost New Hampshire in 2016 because out-of-staters cast ballots, and after the election the president set up a since-disbanded voter fraud commission. Following the disastrous 2018 midterms, Trump said that after voting, some people “go to their car, put on a different hat, put on a different shirt, come in and vote again.”

    During an appearance on Fox News this week, Trump pushed back against an effort by House Democrats to secure billions of dollars for election assistance in the coronavirus relief package. The bill Trump ultimately signed included $400 million, a fraction of what Democrats had been seeking.

    “The things they had in there were crazy. They had things, levels of voting that if you’d ever agreed to it, you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again,” Trump said. […]

    In Georgia, some officials are recommending sending everyone a ballot, also a no-go for Trump’s team. The president’s advisers instead advocated mailing people applications they would need to fill out and return in order to receive a ballot. […]

    Republicans see an advantage in the change in Georgia. They say they will be able to use their financial advantage over Democrats to reach their Georgia supporters to ensure they’re returning ballot request forms.

    The Democratic offensive is being led by Marc Elias, a veteran election attorney who is currently involved in litigation in more than a dozen states. He has advocated a handful of changes in the wake of the outbreak, including providing pre-paid postage for mail-in ballots and extending the postmark deadline to Election Day

    […] The pandemic is expected to increase the amount of funding the Republican Party devotes to lawsuits. The cash-flush Trump machine announced in February it was directing $10 million toward legal battles, but people involved in the effort say that figure is now likely to climb much higher.

    In some instances, the RNC is providing financing for state parties to help with lawsuits. […]


  333. says

    New York’s coronavirus death toll surpasses that of 9/11

    […] The terrorists killed about 2,700 people in New York state. The coronavirus has so far killed 2,935 state residents — moms, dads, grandparents, brothers and sisters, a grim toll that’s straining the state’s morgues and funeral homes. […]