COVID-19 Tick-Tock Redux — Gridlocked Edition

[Check the byline, thanks! /~Rayne]

On March 25 I published a post in which I counted out the anticipated time required from a surge of new COVID-19 exposures to the date when the exposed persons would likely be recovered, dead, or free of SARS-CoV-2 virus.

At that time the last big public event at which people would have gathered closely and ignored social distancing was St. Patrick’s Day on March 17. Several states issued shelter-in-place/Stay Home orders after the last of the green beer was served, among them Michigan on March 23.

See Marcy’s post for a list of other states’ lockdown orders.

Of course Trump’s malignant narcissism, megalomania, and oppositional defiant disorder kicked in several times during his near-daily coronavirus briefing cum re-election campaign rally. He has champed at restraints on business, in part because Trump organization businesses have been shut down and cut into whatever their revenue streams may be, and in part because his good-old-boy network has been prodding him about the market and their businesses’ lack of revenue.

Which in turn has been used by the right-wing and white nationalists to foment unease and dissension among the Tea Party-ish types.

Like these embarrassments to my state.

Photo: Jeff Kowalsky/AFP via Getty Images

While the DeVos family denies having any ties to the Michigan Freedom Fund and the Michigan Conservative Coalition which organized the “Operation Gridlock” protest for this Wednesday in Lansing, somebody surely funded the groups behind these racist feckwits.

And somebody organized these mouthbreathing zombies in Ohio so they would protest in Ohio’s capital city Columbus at the same time.

Photo: Joshua A. Bickel/Columbus Dispatch

And somebody organized these sheep-dip-for-brains in Kentucky as well, also protesting in Kentucky’s capital city.

Sure feels like Tea Party 2.0, just missing the tea bags.

But it’s possible there’s some other entity behind this neatly coordinated multi-state tantrum. Let’s not forget that in 2016 a foreign influence operation persuaded Floridians to hold rally-like pro-Trump events via Facebook.

Somebody knows exactly who the easily motivated Trumpists are who would jump in their car on relatively short notice. It’s just not clear yet whether this was homegrown or if there was help from abroad. Such effort could explain the number of Trump flags and other pro-Trump paraphernalia present at these protests. It would also explain the presence of the far right Proud Boys.

Whatever the case, these whiny morons protesting the lockdowns in their respective states as incursions against their freedoms have likely spread COVID-19 amongst themselves due to their lack of adequate social distancing.

That photo of the mouthbreathers in Columbus fogging up the glass is a perfect example of the aerosolized exhalation humans give off and other humans breath in when there is poor air circulation and a lack of distance between humans. It’s highly possible this photo captured the moment of exposure between individuals. I do hope some well-masked journalist asked these people their names so they could follow up with them:

— in 5 days time when infection has likely set in and earliest symptoms begin;
— in 10-14 days when mild cases will have symptoms and severe to critical cases will seek medical treatment or hospitalization; and again
— in 21-28 days when the exposed have been hospitalized, treated, begun to recover, or died leaving their loved ones behind to answer questions.

We’ll be watching the calendar for the wave of new cases which will likely start this weekend.

Calendar: days until primary and secondary exposures post-Gridlock have cleared

Thanks to these thoughtless morons demanding their freedom to buy lawn fertilizer and visit their hair colorist right the fuck now, the rest of us could be looking at lockdown extended to Memorial Day.

Yes, it will be nearly the end of May until the secondary exposures and infections die out after the primary wave of new exposures recover or fade.

It was bad enough that we will likely have a small wave of new cases because of resistance from evangelical and fundamentalist Christian churches which insisted on holding services for Easter. Those exposures would result in new cases from a primary exposure requiring recovery through the first week of May.

Freedom for the rest of us is sadly dependent on waiting out the illness and death of the persuadable and stupid.

This is an open thread.

136 replies
    • Eureka says:

      Beaver County, PA refroze their ice rink for that purpose, just in the news — it’s been inching towards GOP in recent years (now Connor Lamb’s district). Also the PA tea-maggers are doing their PR stunt Monday (20th) — not sure what other states, if any, might also be targeted then (it would be too funny to catch any roving, out-front ‘crisis actors’ diming-out the coordination behind the scenes). The PA legislature set them up when the house then senate (the latter voting on the day of your demonstrations, IIRC) to ~ whack the governor’s shutdown — fortunately by a margin where gov can veto.

      I hope your family, kids and parents, are doing well, Rayne. I thought of you the other day when one of Rupert’s rags ran a story about an NC woman getting COVID-19 from (she believed) handling delivered groceries (digging deeper into the story, it seems a bit more complicated than that).

      Oh, and on the gut-brain connection I would bet we will hear at some point about neuropod cells (capable-in-principle of shuttling virus from gut to CNS). Have seen nothing on this wrt SARS-CoV-2 (and as it would not seem central to addressing the acute crises in this illness, would not expect more on that until much later), but given the range and variety of CNS symptoms in some folks (discounting things like strokes/nv events), and the fact that not all may be secondary (e.g. to fever), I wouldn’t doubt some related movement, even if uncommon. File it under ‘more goodies’ to maybe look forward too, ~lol~.

      • Savage Librarian says:

        Yeah, I think we’ll eventually be hearing more about CNS aspects, too. If you ever have the inclination to share citations, please do. If not, that’s ok, too.

        I have a purely anecdotal experience that is of particular interest to me. But, personally, I’m relieved that I don’t have a medical appointment until a few months. I’ll share the info with the staff then and see what they say. Maybe more will be known then.

      • Wm. Boyce says:

        Hell, we even had a small motorcade (six vehicles) parading around town, honking their horns and bullhorning bullshit, here in a small city near San Francisco! Smell coordination?

      • harpie says:

        His pinned tweet disputes that intersections were blocked to the hospital….calls it “fake news”.

        • Rayne says:

          There are overhead photos including drone cam shots which show Sparrow Hospital entrances blocked in. Detmer can kiss my ass. I hope he’s got a Democratic Party opponent savvy enough to use these lies and this protest against him.

          EDIT: Ah, MI-08 is Rep. Elissa Slotkin’s district — and I have family in that district. Bring it, Detmer. It’s personal.

    • harpie says:

      Oh, look!
      A Melisa Ackinson of Marysville, Ohio was at the WHITE HOUSE in 2017:
      President Trump Meets With Families Adversely Affected by Obamacare
      July 24, 2017

      On Monday, President Donald J. Trump welcomed four families adversely affected by Obamacare to the White House for a listening session. These victims of Obamacare shared stories of skyrocketing premiums, denied access, restrictions, and low reimbursement rates due to Obamacare’s failing infrastructure.

      Among the group visiting the White House was the Ackison family from Marysville, Ohio. Melissa Ackinson was denied coverage
      [blah blah blah]

      • Rayne says:

        What a moron. Instead of working to fix the gaps she wants to run for office as part of the party which wants to deny everybody coverage.

        Not sending your best, Marysville.

        • Pajaro says:

          It seems that the coordinated attack discussed here is also using 2nd amendment to rally pro-trump base, including perhaps violence. With all the public misconceptions (fed by NRA) of what it actually says and the court’s interpretation of it, there is going to be some dangerous results from some of the faithful. Language like “Liberate” is incitement speech in the current climate.

        • harpie says:

          A group that calls themselves the Michigan Militia was involved in the Lansing “protest” [I keep wanting to call it insurrection]. They flew confedrate [slave-holder rebellion] flags with a fire arm at the center.

          There’s a photo at the article linked in this tweet:

          10:28 AM · Apr 16, 2020

          Protest 4/15 against Whitmer’s stay-at-home orders: “The event was organized by the MI Conservative Coalition and DeVos-funded MI Freedom Fund… Others: the MI Militia, many carrying guns, and Proud Boys, a white supremacy group.” [link]

      • Eureka says:

        The “liberation” language is acutely repugnant given the ongoing 75th anniversaries of the actual liberations of WWII.

        And Miller et al. well-know this.

      • harpie says:

        Marcy points to this headline change in the NYT:
        4:06 PM · Apr 17, 2020

        NYT soft-pedaling what the President is doing again. [link]

        links to:
        […] nyt_diff/status/1251217915782803459
        2:36 PM · Apr 17, 2020

        Change in Headline
        [As Governors Look to Reopen, Trump Foments Encourages Anti-Restriction Protests]

        But then, they changed it back again!:
        4:16 PM · Apr 17, 2020

        Change in Headline
        [As Governors Look to Reopen, Trump Encourages Foments Anti-Restriction Protests Protests, Alarming Governors.]

  1. bloopie2 says:

    My daughter the doctor has put it very well: Unless we develop effective widespread testing for both infection and immunity, as well as aggressive contact tracing (so we can isolate only the sick people instead of isolating everyone), cases will increase whenever restrictions are pared back.

    Even if 3,000,000 US residents have been infected to date (five times the CDC number), that’s still only one per cent of the population. At what point in time do these folks plan to get infected so that they can potentially kill other people?

    • BobCon says:

      This basic logic isn’t hard, but I think the press is doing a really bad job conveying it.

      I get why Trump and a lot of the GOP isn’t clued in, but I am bothered that a lot of smarter people who aren’t ideologically captured don’t get that there are hundreds of millions of Americans who are at risk of infection. They can’t differentiate between this and an E Coli outbreak.

  2. Andy says:

    Unfortunately they have the potential to infect others but anyone out there who becomes sick should have to deal with it on their own. No hospital should have to take them in and waste resources on someone too stupid to take care of themselves.

  3. M. Smith says:

    ‘these embarrassments to my state’, ‘racist feckwit’, ‘mouthbreathing zombies’, ‘sheep-dip-for-brains’,’whiny morons’, ‘the mouthbreathers’, ‘thoughtless morons demanding their freedom to buy lawn fertilizer and visit their hair colorist right the fuck now’, ‘the persuadable and stupid’. Damn, that was a good read. Thanks Rayne.

  4. FLwolverine says:

    Did any of these protestors say they wanted the state to reopen so they could go back to work? Or did they just want others to go back to work to serve them?

    • Rayne says:

      When one wants to buy lawn fertilizer and seed, wants to get their hair colored, one is definitely asking for retail and service workers to be there to address their needs.

      Wondering how many retail and service people could afford the time and effort to attend a rally?

      • FLwolverine says:

        In March, when businesses here in Sarasota started closing, one of the salons sent out an email announcement, saying they hoped to reopen in a few weeks. I replied thanking them for their good service in the past and hoping that they would all stay safe and healthy. The woman who replied (by email) thanked me for the good wishes and said they had lots of negative and unpleasant feedback from other customers. They will probably get more abuse when they reopen and don’t have enough appointments available to take care of everyone immediately (!)

        • Rayne says:

          What a shame. People who use salons the most often have the least notion of the risks salon workers take every day, from repetitive motion injuries to chronic chemical exposure. Time off is rare for workers trying to establish a clientele. Now add clients breathing viral loads at them all day long…~shudder~

      • P J Evans says:

        I don’t know how the Michigan order is set up, but here in CA, it’s possible to buy lawn fertilizer at Walmart, Lowe’s, and Home Depot.

        • Rayne says:

          There’s no excuses for this bullshit, PJ. They’re being whiny spoiled brats. No goddamned good reason why Mrs. 3-Inches-of-White-Roots can’t order a package of Clairol Nice n’Easy 4/120 Natural Dark Brown hair color for pickup curbside at the closest Meijer grocery store and then ask whoever was driving the car to apply it for her. She figured out how to get online to learn about the protest, she can get online to place an order. Just pure spite and laziness.

        • P J Evans says:

          AFAICT they didn’t do the “shut down part of the store” bit here. Hair coloring is available in the aisle with the other cosmetics.

        • Vicks says:

          I helped my gal figure out a way to package and sell touch up kits for her clients.
          $30 a pop includes drop off of your special recipe and a video chat if you need walking through the process.
          True story, she ran out of what she needed for me and can’t get back into the space she rents.
          I just picked up a can of L’Oréal Magic Root Cover Up yesterday. I will let you know how it goes

        • Rayne says:

          I did my own four weeks ago. Cut my hair using a YouTube video as a guide and then applied my usual Revlon Colorsilk. I’ve saved a small fortune only doing color when my oldest visits — that’s been my practice since she started college nearly eight years ago. Rough calculation, probably saved in excess of $8K. If I have a special event I’ll spring for the full salon deal but not 10 times a year any more.

          I find doing my roots first and then running the color through the ends for the last 5-10 minutes works better than trying to use root touch ups, but then I am probably a lot more grey (read: white haired) than you are.

          Try coaching your gal into setting up a Patreon account and doing a video once every couple weeks to coach clients on self-maintenance. This particular lockdown may end in weeks but we will be in and out of lockdowns for at least a year until there’s a vaccine and/or an effective drug therapy. Help her manage her own expectations and that of her clients — they’ll trust her more for the effort and stay with her.

        • vvv says:

          As nuts as they are, I’d really have second thoughts about allowing them access to fertilizer for other reasons …

          EDIT: And I just saw further reference below.

  5. orionATL says:

    to borrow a phrase,

    “the gathering storm” :

    ”… The pattern of rightwing not-for-profits promoting public protests while still more radical groups use lockdown resistance as a platform for extreme rightwing causes looks set to continue in events advertised in other states over coming days…. ”

    i have no doubt that these activities are being co-ordinated at the national level. they could easily be covertly associated with the trump campaign or with some of trump’s wealthy supporters.

    the danger of this behavior is that it, very likely deliberately, sets a pattern for destructive protests later, when millions of desperate, out-of-work, out-of-a-home americans look for some way to express their rage at what they are having to endure.

    as for michigan’s betty boop, our secretary of education:

    “… On Wednesday in Lansing, Michigan, a protest put together by two Republican-connected not-for-profits was explicitly devised to cause gridlock in the city, and for a time blocked the entrance to a local hospital.

    It was organized by the Michigan Conservative Coalition, which Michigan state corporate filings show has also operated under the name of Michigan Trump Republicans. It was also heavily promoted by the Michigan Freedom Fund, a group linked to Trump cabinet member Betsy DeVos…”

        • orionATL says:

          jeez. i would never have figured this out. i was thinking something religous after easter sunday. but then most of these folks aren’t religious nuts; they’re just nuts……

          actually, they’re just a bunch of guys, lots middle-aged and up, acting out their fantasies (which doesn’t make them any less dangerous).

        • Rayne says:

          April 19 is Easter this year for the Eastern Orthodox Christian churches as they still use the Julian calendar for their religious holidays which are linked to specific lunar events.

        • harpie says:

          Well, non-orthodox Easter is always the first Sunday after the first full moon after the first day of spring.

        • ducktree says:

          I’ve always understood the EO difference as having more to do with the occurrence of Passover. Or are we getting to the same point by a different path?

          https: //

        • P J Evans says:

          IIRC, The RCs changed the way they figured the date of Easter – it used to be the same as the Orthodox churches, the Sunday after Passover; the difference is mostly because Julian is (currently) 13 days different from Gregorian.

        • vvv says:

          Yeah, this Sunday is Orthodox Easter, the date known to me because we shan’t be having our annual lambchops feast at the local white-tablecloth Greek joint, held each year to celebrate the holiday in honor of my deceased father, who was a Greek,and Orthodox. You just can’t cook ’em the same at home.

      • Savage Librarian says:

        April 19 is worrisome for an assortment of associations (some already mentioned.) As I have shared previously, this was a significant date relative to my problematic encounter with a white supremacist group and the City’s ham handed and abusive handling of the entire episode. And, interestingly, when I finally had my day in court, a judge initially assigned to the OKC case presided. I could tell you some chilling stories that would bring some points home, but I really don’t want to activate the imaginations of some unstable people.

        Since Marcy just pointed out Caputo (think Rasputin, Millian, Mikhail Morgulis, Sergey Kislyak, etc.) and Rayne just reminded us of the 2016 campaigning similarities, I would also add these reminders:

        Orthodox Easter is Sunday, 4/19/20

        Not long ago (but why does it seem so long ago?!), there was this article:

        “What’s so scary about the inclusion of ‘God’ in the Russian constitution?” – Katherine Kelaidus, March 6, 2020 – Raw Story
        “Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, and a man considered by most to be an ally of Putin, called for “God” to be mentioned in the new preamble. On the surface, this isn’t a particularly alarming request……Arguably, such references in fact enforce these values, by offering the seal of divine imprimatur to the legal foundations of the nation. In the case of Russia, however, this is a suggestion that takes on a much more sinister tone.”
        “If Russia ceases to be simply an authoritarian state and becomes increasingly theocratic in its authoritarianism there could be greater trouble ahead for us all.”

        And don’t forget:

        Hitler’s birthday was April 20, 1889

        April 19, 1936 – German Military – In the biggest show of military strength since World War I Germany pays homage to Hitler with a show of 300 tanks.

  6. Pajaro says:

    Was just at the Senior shopping hour at local grocery store. There was a guy (no PPE) walking through the isles whistling, constantly, low notes that need more ‘blow’ and larger orifice. Talk about walking atomizer! Thinking more on this I should have flattened him as a danger to all. That’s the feeling at least.

  7. OldTulsaDude says:

    I would think the evangelicals would put out a memo to check the batteries in wands after a pastor who had proclaimed that God is bigger than the virus died on Easter from the virus.

  8. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I was just wondering how far those fatboys with guns in the picture could run through the woods, with the odd pack of liberals behind them. Something tells me they would no longer pass their annual Marine fitness test. The crunches and pull-ups look like they would be particularly hard. The fireman’s carry would be right out.

      • Terrence R Ferrante says:

        “It takes brutal men of honor to avenge the thugs that beset us.” (Kurasawa).
        Signed…intelligent, responsible, but aggressive, Liberal. More than willing & ABLE to chase aforementioned slugs thru Michigan woods. Can pass Marine physical at drop of hat. Willing to resort to violence when fellow man is threatened.
        [Bless you, OrionATL! (and Blayne!)]

    • ducktree says:

      And who’ll be toting their babas-wawa? A person will develop an insatiable thirst fleeing through the flora and dodging the fauna… Rowr!

  9. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Donald Trump – more probably, Stephen Miller, former camp guard incarnate that he is – talks in terms of “liberating” American states. Their choice of language conveys their “feeling” that states are in lockdown not because it is an effective, lifesaving response to a deadly global contagion. They are in lockdown owing to illegitimate government action, indeed, to foreign (Democrat Party) military occupation.

    Horse manure, as usual. But it will play well with the resentful. And no one is more resentful than Donald Trump. He, of course, would never have infringed Americans’ liberty over a tiny bug he can’t see, smell, taste, wrestle with, intimidate, sue, bribe, or call names. He would never prohibit ‘murrikens from congregating in His name over guns, boats, booze, and babes. That’s mostly because it’s always about Him. It’s also because he still doesn’t grasp what the problem is. Is it November yet?

    • Tom says:

      “… or call names.” Actually, the President has called the coronavirus names, often describing it as “The Invisible Enemy” during his press briefings. He’s also called it a “Monster” as well as “The Evil Beast”. I think these are Trump’s attempts to personalize the virus so that the public will be inclined to see any public health measures taken against it by his administration as an epic battle between good and evil, with Trump casting himself in the role of a sort of pre-Jenny Craig incarnation of Gandalf the Grey, though Gandalf the Groper might suit him better. I can see Trump imagining that his comb-over has elongated and morphed into a flowing orange beard while he pelts the coronavirus with Chicken Mcnuggets grabbed from his oversize MAGA cap. “You shall not pass!”

      • vvv says:

        In that you mentioned the coif, it struck me in the 3 minutes I could stand to watch this evening’s rally that he had a distinct bit of scalp visible dead top center, almost reverse-Mohawk style. Now, we know better than to assume it is a failure of his stylist because of social distancing, and yet, his bald spot seemed to be crying out for liberation.

  10. OldTulsaDude says:

    ABC news is reporting a community study done in Santa Clara County in California is showing a 4% infection rate, much higher than previously shown.

  11. Max404 says:

    From Jamelle Bouie in the NYTimes today:

    There’s no guarantee that Americans will respond to the pandemic and economic collapse with support for more and greater assistance from the federal government. But the possibility is there and it will become more apparent the longer this continues. If the rolling depressions of the late 19th century disrupted the social order enough to open the space for political radicalism — from the agrarian uprising of the Farmers’ Alliance to the militant agitation of the industrial labor movement — then the one-two punch of the Great Recession and the Pandemic Depression might do the same for us.

    In which case, it makes all the sense in the world for Trump, the Republican Party and the conservative movement to push for the end of the lockdown, public health be damned. After years of single-minded devotion, the conservative movement is achingly close to dismantling the New Deal political order and turning the clock back to when capital could act without limits or restraints.

    But in trying to destroy the administrative state — in trying to make government small enough to “drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub” — conservatives left the country vulnerable to a deadly disease that has undermined that project and galvanized its opponents.

    And all of this is happening as one of the most progressive generations in history begins to take its place in our politics, its views informed by two decades of war and economic crisis.

    Yes, nothing is set in stone and, yes, events still have to unfold. But at this moment in American life, it feels as if one movement, a reactionary one, is beginning to unravel and another, very different in its outlook, is beginning to take shape.

    Can an energized Democratic Party in the context of a demoralized Fox Party pull off another Progressive Age ?

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Bouie is always a good read. Yep, the Goopers are achingly close to dismantling FDR and LBJ’s achievements, and casting in stone the Reaganesque state, which works only for the 1%. Timely, effective government intervention to minimize a global contagion and to relieve the suffering caused by it would severely undermine the neoliberal project.

      Sustained cash grants to individual people; limits imposed on grasping banks and other predatory business practices; mandatory health-related standards for the workplace; higher taxes on the wealthy; demonstrating that deficits don’t matter (for the reasons neoliberals claim); the almost miraculous improvements in environmental conditions caused by changes in human behavior; the necessity of publicly-financed health care; a multitude of examples showing the effectiveness of community and governmental action.

      Like the newly pristine air over Los Angeles, those would allow people to see that neoliberal priorities are choices – and that they can and should make others. It would be taking an ax to the Neoliberal Tree.

    • Bruce Olsen says:

      The thing that really worries neoliberals is that the secret of Modern Monetary Theory will be out, namely, that (as Cheney put it) deficits don’t count. It’s a 100% certainty that Cheney knew then precisely how US money is created by the Fed/Treasury (which is all MMT is really about—besides making the point that tax dollars are never needed to pay for anything).

      MMT does not specify any policy choices. Cheney wanted it to spend on, oh, wars, but having the ability to spend more money has also been used by Sanders’ advisor Stephanie Kelton (in 2016 and 2020) to argue in favor of a Jobs Guarantee.

      And neoliberals know that if someone can get a life- and dignity-sustaining job (or even universal basic income) as a fallback to a shitty private sector job (which doesn’t, say, include healthcare or even actual bathroom breaks) wages would have to skyrocket to compensate; big companies would lose workers in droves. Even filling the holes in our crazy quilt safety net scares hell out of the 1%, by eliminating most of the leverage they have over the 99%. That’s why BlackRock’s Larry Fink termed MMT “garbage” about a year ago.

      Although out of control politicians could possibly stoke inflation if they were especially profligate, the danger of inflation is zero now, and it’ll be a long time before any inflationary pressure builds up.

      • orionATL says:

        “… The thing that really worries neoliberals is that the secret of Modern Monetary Theory will be out, namely, that (as Cheney put it) deficits don’t count. It’s a 100% certainty that Cheney knew then precisely how US money is created by the Fed/Treasury (which is all MMT is really about—besides making the point that tax dollars are never needed to pay for anything)… ”

        tossing political pejoratives around isn’t much of an argument.

        1. there is no “secret” about mmt to be out. this contribution to the debate on fiscal vs monetary policy has been around for a while. its basics (called “functional finance” ) were developed by economist abba lerner who died nearly 40 years ago.

        2. mmt is the source of a lot of interesting debate between economist most of whom are usually classified as “leftists”. of course, anybody can participate (“is this a private fight, or can anybdy join? – oh, anybody” 🙂).

        a guaranteed minimum income does not need mmt to suceed; it is a good idea on its own.

        • Bruce Olsen says:

          Absolutely correct: MMT repackaged Lerner/functional finance–and don’t forget chartalism, or even Alfred Mitchell-Innes. How is that relevant in today’s political context? Fine didn’t claim Lerner was garbage.

          And MMT most certainly is a secret among the mass of voters. How many have you met who believe taxes are a prerequisite to spending, or that the government is like a household? Those tropes need to be dealt with somehow.

          Neoclassical economics works just fine for neoliberals. That’s why MMT is portrayed as a leftist project. NLs privately make use of MMT as they publicly discredit it.

          I see UBI as supporting the disabled and JG as replacing UI. I want people to work to improve the commons, and gain the psychological benefits of work whenever possible.

        • orionATL says:

          bruce olsen-

          this is not thoughtful commentary. it’s just an angry screed.

          in your first comment you rattle on about some group you don’t like whom you term “neoliberals”, a common political put down these days – referencing the new economic kid on the block called “mmt” as your savior. you seem oblivious that economists have understood for years that sovereign governments can spend all they wish up to a point. that is precisely why certain eu partners retained their currency.

          second comment – you begin by rattling on about the history of mmt, but merely replicating my comment in your own way.

          your comment about neoclassical economics serms silly. it started in the 1920’s anpd ended with milton friedman and his wife. their work is appreciated but it died some decades past. that is the fate of all economic theories.

          why don’t don’t you contribute something thougtful? or at least humourous?

        • orionATL says:

          bruce olsen –


          you’re offended that i challenged your politicized ecomomic malarky? then clearly i’ve done a workman like job of “insulting”
          with useful criticism.

          why don’t you begin anew by learning what mmt can do and what it can’t do. you might start by considering the era of never-before-experienced levels of corporate and public debt we are entering now and, with a withered economy, are likely to remain in for some time.

          as for your 4-18 7:20pm comment, you suddenly wandered quite far off the economic path you’d been padding along on, in doing so, moving from articulate to inarticulate as you exited.

      • harpie says:


        The economic decline is triggering a backlash among conservatives against social distancing measures.

        I disagree with this assumption.
        I think they are using that as an excuse…kind of like “state’s rights” was used to excuse the slave holders’ insurrection.

        • Tom says:

          If the 14th century suffered through The Black Death, we will be justified in branding the current pandemic as The Orange Death.

        • Rayne says:

          This. Only need look at what they are doing to women’s reproductive rights and LGBTQ+ rights to know the pandemic is seen as a tool by them, not a trigger.

        • P J Evans says:

          The Michigan protesters were mostly “militia”, it appeared from their signs and gear. (No one made them wear masks or stand 6 feet way from each other, yesterday, so their whining about the lockdown was pretty weak as a reason.)

        • Tom says:

          For all their intimidating display of weaponry and false bravado, these tallowy losers wouldn’t have been able to stick it out at Valley Forge during the winter of 1777-’78 if they lack the grit to stay at home for a month or so to save their own lives and those of their fellow citizens.

      • harpie says:

        From Media Matters:

        A right-wing coalition is mobilizing to demand that officials defy the warnings of public health officials and reopen the economy, The Washington Post reported Tuesday. That effort is reportedly being led by the heads of major conservative organizations that helped organize the anti-Obama tea party protests in 2009 [link], as well as Stephen Moore, a former Fox contributor with ties to the White House. Moore gave a preview of what the group intends to do, telling the Post, “in the next two weeks, you’ll see protests in the streets of conservatives; you’ll see a big pushback against the lockdown in some states.” […]

        This is the link:
        Tea Party Movement: Who’s In Charge?
        APRIL 13, 2009

        Here is the organizational landscape of the April 15 tea party movement, in a nutshell: three national-level conservative groups, all with slightly different agendas, are guiding it. All are quick to tell you that the movement is a bottom-up affair and that its grassroots cred is real. […]

        • P J Evans says:

          “national-level groups” are not something that I would describe as ‘”grass roots”.

      • orionATL says:

        jeez, “liberate” three states whose citizens voted freely and elected governing officials of their choice? ingraham’s words are the very definition of “sedition”. i thought we’d left that language behind 170 years ago.

  12. gmoke says:

    ” It’s just not clear yet whether this was homegrown or if there was help from abroad.”

    It’s almost always both. Plus whatever usual and unusual idiots want to get into the act.

    • Savage Librarian says:

      Yeah, that sounds about right to me. Ignorance and arrogance (yes, pride, that deadliest of sins.) A terrible combination.

  13. Cat Silver says:

    It’s still not sunny here in sunny old Scotland but we’re trundling along. Nicola Sturgeon sent an email out yesterday saying we’ve slowed the spread of the virus, and in the coming days they’ll be looking at various options for ending lockdown. Of course, that will involve coordinating with Westminster and very good luck with that, but Nicola has indicated that she’s willing to make her own arrangements if necessary.

    My family are all well and I feel so incredibly fortunate. I continue to send you all my best wishes.

    Stats for Scotland as of 10pm on the 17th of April 2020. Out of a total of 36,637 tests, 7,409 were positive and 837 people have died. There are currently 189 patients in intensive care.

  14. PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

    Minnesota too, we have produced some real sociopathic state reps and congresscritters but it was disheartening to see this AstroTurf operation in the land of 10,000 medical device companies.

    Speaking of which, there is a nasty undercurrent of white nationalism and vaccine denialism even at some of the upper levels of at least a few of these companies, which surprised the hell out of me. Some typically white older men who work in the belly of beast were likely at this “protest”.

  15. pdaly says:

    The Columbus, Ohio protestors pressed against the glass doors of the Statehouse Atrium remind me of the scene of virus-infected zombies from The Walking Dead, clamoring to get through the department store glass doors. Out and about, these zombies are determined to feed on healthy living human beings sheltering inside.

    • Rayne says:

      I can’t find the meme this fits — saw it earlier today and didn’t save it. Was a photo of the gun-slinging morons on the Michigan capitol building steps, with text that read, TRUMP UNIVERSITY – MAGA SPRING BREAK 2020.


      • Geoguy says:

        I saw the photo of the gun toting yahoos with Charlie Pierce’s article in Esquire Magazine: “The Protests in Michigan Have Signaled the Nonsense Is Coming” dated 4/15/20, photo by Jeff Kowalsky / Getty Images. Couldn’t find a reference to MAGA SPRING BREAK 2020.

  16. greengiant says:

    File under “when the only tool in your tool box is a hammer”. GOP sends out the proud boys to fight a pandemic.

  17. e.a.f. says:

    It didn’t make sense that people would go out and demonstrate in the middle of a pandemic. They either don’t believe they will die or they are fighting for the right to die. But then if you’re not very sick why try to make your self ill so you qualify for an exit. These people simply don’t seem like the brightest or the best the US has to offer.

    On the upside if they all die funeral homes will make money and there will be fewer Republicans voting. On the other hand they may infect their children and others who have no interest in dying.

    As to who or what organized it. Perhaps over seas interests and white nationalists

    Some may also have been sucked into this because they are desperate for money. Had there been financial assistance to the degree there has been in some EU countries and Canada people might not be so desperate. Canada has done a decent job of providing financial assistance to people and small business. The deficit has climbed but most politicians understand people need money to feed themselves and families and pay at least some of their bills

    Right now those protesters look like idiots and at this rate the virus will not be contained. That may help trump and Russia

  18. harpie says:

    Can an Oral Polio Vaccine Help Stop the Coronavirus?
    Dr. Robert Gallo, who helped identify HIV in the 1980’s, is leading an initiative to use the oral polio vaccine for short-term coronavirus treatment. He believes it could provide a couple of months of immunity, buying time for anyone infected to develop the antibodies to fight it. It still awaits FDA approval, but Dr. Gallo believes there is cause for hope — as he explains to Walter Isaacson.
    04.13.2020 [Amanpour/ Isaacson/Gallo] [VIDEO] [TRANSCRIPT]

    • harpie says:

      […] GALLO: Right. Well, first of all, the idea was engendered from discussions with Konstantin Chumakov. He is the associate director for vaccines development at the FDA. Chumakov’s parents were Russian virologists and made, I think, a startling observation long ago, in the 1970s. They observed that the oral polio vaccine not only was tremendously protective against polio but interestingly enough, it protected against other things like polio as an RNA virus. Its genetics in the form of RNA. Many are, HIV. […]

  19. harpie says:

    THE VULTURES [The infinite series]

    7:14 PM · Apr 15, 2020

    Steve Mnuchin thinks Americans can live on $1,200 for 10 weeks. [VIDEO]

    [Mnuchin: These checks in the mail or direct deposit, it’s really bridged liquidity for people as they go through these difficult times.
    Well I think the entire package provides economic relief overall for about ten weeks.]

    It’s REALLY bridged liquidity, don’t you know, Dahling!

    • harpie says:

      THE VULTURES [The infinite series]


      Ivanka Trump, Disregarding Federal Guidelines, Travels to N.J. for Passover
      Ms. Trump herself has not followed the federal guidelines advising against discretionary travel, leaving Washington for another one of her family’s homes.
      April 15, 2020

      […] Ms. Trump has told people that the [BEDMINSTER] club is currently shut down, making it more socially distant than her mansion in the Kalorama neighborhood of Washington, where she had been spotted running on occasion in Rock Creek Park. […]

    • harpie says:

      THE VULTURES [The infinite series]


      GOP megadonor Robert Mercer made his first six-figure donation to Trump’s reelection, new filing shows
      April 16, 2020 at 2:22 a.m.

      […] Mercer, who was one of Trump’s most influential financiers in 2016, gave $355,200 in February to Trump Victory, a committee that raises money for the president’s 2020 reelection and the Republican National Committee, according to federal filings made public Wednesday.

      Mercer gave sporadically to congressional and Senate candidates and political groups in the 2018 campaign, but had not donated to Trump’s reelection effort amid a falling-out with former Trump adviser Stephen K. Bannon and controversy over Cambridge Analytica, a Mercer-funded data-science firm hired by Trump’s 2016 campaign. […]

    • harpie says:

      The TRUMP ADMINISTRATION and the CORONA GRIFT [another infinite series]

      2:17 PM · Apr 15, 2020

      TRUMP’S TASK FORCE on re-opening the economy includes MICKY ARISON, chair of @CarnivalCruise, which is incorporated offshore. CARNIVAL notes on its SEC filings that “substantially all of [its] income is exempt from US federal income & branch profit taxes”

      ALSO this:
      9:53 AM · Apr 16, 2020

      Carnival Executives Knew They Had a Virus Problem, But Kept the Party Going
      At least 1,500 people on the company’s cruise ships have been diagnosed with Covid-19, dozens have died, and the lawsuits are just getting started. [Bloomberg]

  20. harpie says:

    Various voices on “reopening”:

    1] TRUMP
    7:05 PM · Apr 16, 2020

    Trump on what happens if there are new hot spots says health officials will be able to “whack it…”

    2] FAUCI
    6:47 PM · Apr 16, 2020

    Fauci: “There may be some setbacks” with reopening;
    “we may have to pull back a little” at some point.

    11:20 AM · Apr 16, 2020

    We’re now at about reproduction factor 1, so one person is infecting another one. […]

    If we get to the point where everybody infects 1.1 people, then by October we will reach the capacity of our health system with the assumed number of intensive care beds.

    If we get to 1.2 people, so everyone is infecting 20 percent more. Out of five people, one infects two and the rest one, than we will reach the limit of our health care system in July.

    And if it’s up to 1.3 people, then in June we will reach the limits of our health system.

    So that’s where you can see how little the margin is. […]
    really a situation where caution is the order of the day and not overconfidence. [VIDEO]

  21. harpie says:

    2016-The Year: ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE
    [Brexit Edition]

    3:47 PM · Apr 16, 2020

    BREAKING: Far-right Netherlands politician Baudet — who initiated the 2016 Dutch referendum against EU-Ukraine association agreement — admits in apps that he got paid by a Russian propagandist who “works for Putin”. [link, screenshot]

    6:00 PM · Apr 16, 2020

    Interesting to note that Vladimir Kornilov, the Russian propagandist who works for Putin and allegedly paid a far right Dutch politician over Ukraine, was a ‘Bad Boy of Brexit’ and big fan of Arron Banks and Nigel Farage [screenshots]

    • viget says:

      Interesting. Wonder if he was a CI for Dutch Intelligence. AIVD was up on GRU and Cozy Bear both in their disinfo and hacking campaigns, and because of this the Netherlands were successfully able to fend off a right wing populist election challenge.

  22. harpie says:

    12:54 PM · Apr 17, 2020

    Illinois man whose house FBI raided made attack threats online [link]
    White supremacist, sovereign citizen, Oath Keeper, wife beater. […]

    One of his close buddies on Facebook is seemingly unaware that Randy has been arrested and is trying to get him to protest the coronavirus lockdown at the Illinois state capitol. [May 1, 2020] […]

  23. viget says:

    Everyone needs to see today’s “expose” in WaPo regarding the story about CDC’s development of the first RT-PCR tests for COVID-19. Very interesting. It was largely congruent with what Science magazine’s reporting was uncovering real time, but with more details.

    Unfortunately I think the sources are still gaslighting the reporters. I have some suspicions about this story that I need to still track down.


    • errant aesthete says:

      Two other articles worthy of everyone’s time:

      This today from the WaPo:
      HEADLINE: Contamination at CDC lab delayed rollout of coronavirus tests

      And this from ‘Forensic News’ (March 10, 2020):
      HEADLINE: Trump’s Botched Coronavirus Response has been 3 Years in the Making

      • errant aesthete says:


        I may have repeated the article you cited from the WaPo.

        As for the second article I included from Forensic News, it is far more detailed although I cannot attest to its accuracy or reputation since it’s relatively new and appears independent and unfunded.

        Just found this on New York Magazine from last month

        HEADLINE: CDC Coronavirus Test Lab May Have Been Contaminated: Report

        And this from Axios which provided the source for New York Mag
        HEADLINE: Scoop: Lab for coronavirus test kits may have been contaminated.

        • viget says:

          Interesting articles. I had seen the Axios one before. Wapo’s is way more detailed, though.

          The key point is that those who designed the test did a great job. The key designer is a senior scientist at CDC who worked on the Ebola and H1N1 tests. The design was not flawed despite what the “experts” quoted in the articles seem to intimate. I should also point out that Lindstrom, the scientist who designed the test, reports to Nancy Messonier ultimately, and we know she has been cut out of the briefing loop…

          The issue was with manufacturing. The FDA is currently investigating this. Somehow, primer set 3 was contaminated with viral RNA, such that when the reaction was run with sterile water instead of sample (negative control), state labs were still picking up signal, when they shouldn’t have. Unfortunately, due to the way the FDA approved the tests that invalidated the results even if the other two sets were positive and worked correctly.

          Here’s another WaPo article from earlier this month that I missed. It clearly shows that Lindstrom and his team were on this very early, and were prepared. The manufacturing was to blame. Wonder if there’s been a lot of turnover there or lax op security…


        • bmaz says:

          Heh, there is almost nothing that the WaPo won’t be more detailed on than Axios. Axios breaks a good number of things, but never have the depth of the Post or Times.

        • orionATL says:

          viget and errant aesthete –

          just to add an encalsulating term to the unfolding trump-initiated covid-19 management disaster – our president’s inexperienced unstable management style – trump began churning major govt leaders within months of taking office and has never stopped.

          fbi director, secretary of state, sec of defense, national security adviser, attorney general, chief-of-staff, sec of hhs … who have i missed? this instability is seriously disruptive to the effective functioning of any large organation.

          now to the point at hand, the cdc has had two directors in only 3 trump-years. the fda has had five, that’s FIVE, directors in 3 trump-years. the umbrella organization for these two major health and wellbeing organizations, hhs, (the dept of health and human services), has had two directors in 3 years. in this major national crisis, the current head of hhs, alex azar, is reported to be on prez’s bad side.

          i’m willing to say that not only these critical government departments, but many others, are unstable at the moment, underfunctioning, and highly vulnerable to many kinds of shocks, external as well as internal, including the severe economic shock we are just now falling into. from his perspective, you’d have to give vlad credit for an outstanding choice for an american president.

          and we are saddled with a president much of the world and the nation holds in contempt.

    • harpie says:

      I would like to know:
      1] WHO made the decision to include that
      problematic and UNNECESSARY third segment of the test, and WHY, and

      2] WHY the CDC waited SO LONG to eliminate that
      problematic and UNNECESSARY third segment of the test.

      • harpie says:

        From the WaPo link:

        […] The test kits featured two components that focused on separate regions of the virus’s genome, a standard approach. However, the CDC also outfitted the kits with a third component, a pan-coronavirus segment. That addition sought to identify a wider family of coronaviruses, of which covid-19 is the most recent strain to be observed in humans. Tests that were being developed abroad under sponsorship from the World Health Organization did not include this extra feature.

        With the additional test component, the CDC’s scientists may have hoped to bolster the kits’ reliability in distinguishing covid-19 from other coronavirus strains.

        One of them, severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, originated in China in 2003 and killed 774 people worldwide, though none in the United States. SARS jumped from an animal species to humans, as was the case with the novel coronavirus. The CDC test component also sought to detect coronaviruses that are carried by bats.

        The CDC’s extra test component wasnot essential to detecting the novel coronavirus and it complicated the test when speed was critical, many experts said. […]

        • viget says:

          I dispute this part of the reporting and believe that WaPo is being gaslighted by their current sources here to try to shift the blame to the designers of the test. There may have been a good reason for this third primer set.

        • orionATL says:

          this is an important general point. people like wapo reporters (or me, re virology) who do not know a highly technical area extremely well would not necessarily understand why something was or was not done, and could be led to wrong conclusions even (or especially) if they talked with other experts. just look at the differences of opinion subject matter knowledgeable reporters can get when interviewing several experts on any scientific discovery or undertaking (dr. s. pat, who was not involved in the study, said “it is possible two teeth and a shinbone proves humanoid munchins evolved on that island, but after 20 years of such work, i am confident the data so far are ambiguous.” 🙃).

          the key point about our collossal testing failure is not the matter of one test, the key point is that an apb was not sent early on to every reasonable gov’t or private organization in the u.s. (and abroad) for potentially applicable tests from which to rapidly select some to test and use. the failure to test widely and early is a management failure – a presidential team management failure. incredibly, it is still an ongoing failure nearly 4 months after the dept of defense recognized, in early january, the danger of the new virus and began to organize its response.

        • harpie says:

          There may have been a good reason for this third primer set.

          That may be true, but now the story is about something other than that.

          And to me, that sounds like a deflection, accomplished.

        • P J Evans says:

          It would have been faster and easier to have bought, or gotten a license for, the WHO test. But Trmp thinks of spending government money as if it comes out of his personal accounts and won’t do it.

        • Rayne says:

          I’ve read and re-read that WaPo piece and it reeks of blamecasting. If the White House sources were in the right they’d have been named but no, they remained anonymous.

        • harpie says:

          For reasons that have remained unexplained publicly, the CDC scientists chose complexity over simplicity in the test’s design. […]

          That addition sought to identify a wider family of coronaviruses, of which covid-19 is the most recent strain to be observed in humans.

          WHY was complexity chosen??? And for WHOM would this “choice” be advantageous in the situation we found ourselves in at the time?

  24. Jenny says:

    In Pursuit of PPE

    Maryn McKenna on Twitter: 11:51 AM · Apr 18, 2020
    The chief executive of a MA hospital, outbid for PPE by the feds multiple times, cut a deal, paid extra, hired the trucks — and then was interrogated by the FBI and had to get his Congressperson to intervene to keep DHS from heisting the shipment.

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