Apr 212020

Ben Shahn “Scene in Jackson Square, New Orleans” 1935


Coronavirus’s Ability To Mutate Has Been Vastly Underestimated (SCMP)
WHO Warns That Few Have Developed Antibodies To COVID19 (G.)
LA Infections 40 Times Greater Than Known Cases In Antibody Tests (R.)
Getting A Handle On Asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 Infection (Scripps)
Coronavirus Attacks Blood Vessel Linings All Over The Body (SCMP)
Through No Fault of Their Own (Ben Hunt)
US Economic Shutdown Too Tight For ‘Optimal’ Outcome: Minneapolis Fed (R.)
Oil’s Big Crash Is More Rational Than It Looks (R.)
US Energy Industry Steps Up Lobbying For Fed’s Emergency Aid (R.)
Mortgage Payments Paused Or Reduced For 3 Million US Households (R.)
US Treasury Releases $2.9 Billion In Airline Support (R.)
Banks Warn New Small-Business Funding Could Evaporate In 2 Days (Pol.)
NHS Staff Not Allowed To Tweet About ‘Political Issues’ – Like PPE (Ind.)
New Zealanders Donate $230,000 To Help Zoo Feed Animals (G.)
The Placeholder (Kunstler)



With test results all over the place, we need to recognize that having all the world’s top minds on viruses focused on the same issue, does not guarantee a thing. Other than confusion.

• US records 1,433 #coronavirus deaths in past 24 hours:.


Cases 2,498,480 (+ 79,296 from yesterday’s 2,419,184)

Deaths 171,333 (+ 5,559 from yesterday’s 165,774)




From Worldometer yesterday evening -before their day’s close-



From Worldometer – NOTE: among Active Cases, Serious or Critical fell to 3%



From SCMP:



From COVID19Info.live: Note: Turkey is coming on very strong.





Virustime and human time are different things.

Coronavirus’s Ability To Mutate Has Been Vastly Underestimated (SCMP)

A new study by one of China’s top scientists has found the ability of the new coronavirus to mutate has been vastly underestimated and different strains may account for different impacts of the disease in various parts of the world. Professor Li Lanjuan and her colleagues from Zhejiang University found within a small pool of patients many mutations not previously reported. These mutations included changes so rare that scientists had never considered they might occur. They also confirmed for the first time with laboratory evidence that certain mutations could create strains deadlier than others. “Sars-CoV-2 has acquired mutations capable of substantially changing its pathogenicity,” Li and her collaborators wrote in a non-peer reviewed paper released on preprint service medRxiv.org on Sunday.

Li’s study provided the first hard evidence that mutation could affect how severely the virus caused disease or damage in its host. Li took an unusual approach to investigate the virus mutation. She analysed the viral strains isolated from 11 randomly chosen Covid-19 patients from Hangzhou in the eastern province of Zhejiang, and then tested how efficiently they could infect and kill cells. The deadliest mutations in the Zhejiang patients had also been found in most patients across Europe, while the milder strains were the predominant varieties found in parts of the United States, such as Washington state, according to their paper. A separate study had found that New York strains had been imported from Europe. The death rate in New York was similar to that in many European countries, if not worse.

But the weaker mutation did not mean a lower risk for everybody, according to Li’s study. In Zhejiang, two patients in their 30s and 50s who contracted the weaker strain became severely ill. Although both survived in the end, the elder patient needed treatment in an intensive care unit. This finding could shed light on differences in regional mortality. The pandemic’s infection and death rates vary from one country to another, and many explanations have been proposed. Genetic scientists had noticed that the dominant strains in different geographic regions were inherently different. Some researchers suspected the varying mortality rates could, in part, be caused by mutations but they had no direct proof.

The issue was further complicated because survival rates depended on many factors, such as age, underlying health conditions or even blood type. In hospitals, Covid-19 has been treated as one disease and patients have received the same treatment regardless of the strain they have. Li and her colleagues suggested that defining mutations in a region might determine actions to fight the virus. “Drug and vaccine development, while urgent, need to take the impact of these accumulating mutations … into account to avoid potential pitfalls,” they said.

Read more …

Confusion reigns supreme.

WHO Warns That Few Have Developed Antibodies To COVID19 (G.)

Only a tiny proportion of the global population – maybe as few as 2% or 3% – appear to have antibodies in the blood showing they have been infected with Covid-19, according to the World Health Organization, a finding that bodes ill for hopes that herd immunity will ease the exit from lockdown. “Easing restrictions is not the end of the epidemic in any country,” said WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at a media briefing in Geneva on Monday. “So-called lockdowns can help to take the heat out of a country’s epidemic.” But serological testing to find out how large a proportion of the population have had the infection and developed antibodies to it – which it is hoped will mean they have some level of immunity – suggests that the numbers are low.

“Early data suggests that a relatively small percentage of the populations may have been infected,” Tedros said. “Not more than 2%-3%.” Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, an American infectious diseases expert who is the WHO’s technical lead on Covid-19, said they had thought the number of people infected would be higher, but she stressed it was still too early to be sure. “Initially, we see a lower proportion of people with antibodies than we were expecting,” she said. “A lower number of people are infected.” On Friday, a study carried out in Santa Clara, California by Stanford University and released as a “pre-print” without peer review, found that 50 to 85 times more people had been infected with the virus than official figures showed.

Santa Clara county had 1,094 confirmed cases of Covid-19 at the time the study was carried out, but antibody tests suggest that between 48,000 and 81,000 people had been infected by early April, most of whom did not develop symptoms. But even those high figures mean that within the whole population of the county, only 3% have been infected and have antibodies to the virus. A study in the Netherlands of 7,000 blood donors also found that just 3% had antibodies. Van Kerkhove said they needed to look carefully at the way the studies were being carried out. “A number of studies we are aware of in pre-print have suggested that small proportions of the population [have antibodies],” she said. These were “in single digits, up to 14% in Germany and France”. “It is really important to understand how the studies were done.”

Read more …

Are the antibody tests valuable?

LA Infections 40 Times Greater Than Known Cases In Antibody Tests (R.)

Some 4.1% of adults tested positive for coronavirus antibodies in a study of Los Angeles County residents, health officials said on Monday, suggesting the rate of infection may be 40 times higher than the number of confirmed cases. The serology tests, conducted by University of Southern California researchers on 863 people indicate the death rate from the pandemic could be lower than previously thought but also that the respiratory illness may be being spread more widely by people who show no symptoms. “We haven’t known the true extent of COVID-19 infections in our community because we have only tested people with symptoms and the availability of tests has been limited,” Neeraj Sood, a professor of public policy at USC and lead researcher on the study.

“The estimates also suggest that we might have to recalibrate disease prediction models and rethink public health strategies,” Sood said. At least 17 additional fatalities were recorded in Los Angeles County on Monday, bringing the total to 600, with more than 12,300 positive cases, according to a Reuters tally. The county is home to roughly 8 million people. The Los Angeles County results were announced as antibody tests come under increasing scrutiny over a high number of false positives reported in the kits. A similar study conducted in Santa Clara County last week by a Stanford University researcher has been criticized over its methodology and sample size.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Sunday said health officials there would begin conducting statewide antibody testing of 3,000 people on Monday. The antibody tests, using decades-old ELISA technology, do not always pick up early-stage infections but show whether a person had the virus in the past, even if the person was asymptomatic. In comparison, the so called RT-PCR-technology swab tests used at drive-through stations and clinics across the country determine whether a person has the virus at that moment by looking for it in nose or throat secretions.

Read more …

40%? 80%? Anybody’s guess.

Getting A Handle On Asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 Infection (Scripps)

Since human-to-human transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus was first confirmed in January 2020, the early identification and testing of individuals with symptoms of COVID-19 has been the primary focus of public health measures in virtually all locales affected by the pandemic. But over the last two months [1], it has become increasingly clear that a sizable proportion of individuals infected with SARS-CoV-2 do not, in fact, have any symptoms of COVID-19. This new knowledge has significant implications for the targeting and scale of our testing efforts. For reasons that are not yet known, SARS-CoV-2 infection in certain individuals appears to cause no detectable illness.

Presumably, though, because these individuals shed enough virus particles to trigger positive results in PCR testing, they may be capable of transmitting SARS-CoV-2 to others, an uncertain number of whom will develop COVID-19. Such cryptic transmission might explain the rapid spread of SARS-CoV-2 around the globe—and the grave challenge involved in containing the virus. In the studies that we have summarized in the table, the range of infection rates is wide: from 0.76% for residents of Iceland to 36% for residents of a Boston homeless shelter. It is striking, however, that the proportion of individuals who test positive for SARS-CoV-2, but who have no symptoms of COVID-19, remains consistently high: from approximately 31% to 88%, with a mean of 56%.

Because of various limitations in the summarized studies, this likely overstates the overall population mean, which some observers have suggested is around 40%. It should be noted that the summarized studies are essentially convenience samples. They do not purport to depict anything more than the circumscribed populations from which data were collected. Large, well-designed studies with representative samples are desperately needed to accurately assess the prevalence of those who are infected with SARS-CoV-2, yet are asymptomatic for COVID-19—and to determine their impact on the pandemic.

Read more …

So, blood vessel linings and testicles.

Coronavirus Attacks Blood Vessel Linings All Over The Body (SCMP)

The coronavirus attacks the lining of blood vessels all over the body, which can ultimately lead to multiple organ failure, according to a new study published in The Lancet. “This virus does not only attack the lungs, it attacks the vessels everywhere,” said Frank Ruschitzka, an author of the paper from University Hospital Zurich. He said the researchers had found that the deadly virus caused more than pneumonia. “It enters the endothelium [layer of cells], which is the defence line of the blood vessels. So it brings your own defence down and causes problems in microcirculation,” said Ruschitzka, referring to circulation in the smallest of blood vessels. It then reduces the blood flow to different parts of the body and eventually stops blood circulation, according to Ruschitzka, chairman of the heart centre and cardiology department at the university hospital in Switzerland.

“From what we do see clinically, patients have problems in all organs – in the heart, kidney, intestine, everywhere,” he said. That also explained why smokers and people with pre-existing conditions who had a weakened endothelial function, or unhealthy blood vessels, were more vulnerable to the novel virus, he said. Those underlying conditions included hypertension, or high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and established cardiovascular disease. The study, published on Friday, found viral elements within endothelial cells, which line the inside of blood vessels, and inflammatory cells in Covid-19 patients. While the results were based on analysis of three cases, Ruschitzka said autopsies on other Covid-19 patients had also found their blood vessel linings were “full of virus” and the function of vessels was impaired in all of their organs.

Read more …

Moral hazard squared.

Through No Fault of Their Own (Ben Hunt)

“I think we all agree with you that more money for Main Street is needed. But maybe not in spite of the money to all of these companies and whatever that make up the economy, as well. More money is needed everywhere, perhaps. Why does anybody deserve to get wiped out from a crisis created like this? It’s like a natural disaster! Why does anyone deserve to be wiped out? Wouldn’t that be immoral itself?”

“Mr. Clarida also dismissed a question about whether the central bank had created a “moral hazard” that encouraged risky investor behavior when the Fed moved quickly to backstop swaths of credit markets. “This is entirely an exogenous event,” said Mr. Clarida, noting how the virus—not private-sector behavior—had forced widespread business closures and revenue losses.”

I, for one, am delighted to learn of the “Through No Fault of Their Own” exemption to stock market risk. What a relief to learn that there’s no need for the plebes to hog all of the money, that so long as investment losses are from an “exogenous event” as opposed to “private sector behavior” – whatever the hell that means – the Fed will provide unlimited amounts of money – their words, not mine – to make the rich investors whole. Could this possibly be a bad idea … some form of moral hazard … for the federal government to insure the rich investors against capital market losses by buying TRILLIONS of dollars in financial assets and providing TRILLIONS of dollars in interest-free loans liquidity facilities? You know, provided that these losses weren’t their fault. LOL.

These are exactly the same people who paid off Goldman Sachs 100 cents on the dollar with their AIG losses in 2009. You think they give a flying fuck what you think about moral hazard or precedent or optics or fairness or decency? You think these oligarchs and their CNBC/fintwit Renfields care about ANYTHING other than getting their MONEY back? Why, it would be immoral NOT to pay off the rich investors on their market losses. I mean, sure, let’s hope that Congress gets its act together and throws a bone to the poors, but c’mon, man. First things first. Besides, you wanna know the REAL moral hazard here? Wanna know what sort of immoral behavior your sociopath “leaders” are worried about encouraging?

“Claiming the relief package will encourage people to stay out of the workforce, Graham told reporters that the bill “pays you more not to work than if you were working,” noting that it would provide the equivalent of $24.07 an hour in South Carolina versus the state minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. “If the federal government accidentally incentivizes layoffs, we risk life-threatening shortages in sectors where doctors, nurses, and pharmacists are trying to care for the sick, and where growers and grocers, truckers and cooks are trying to get food to families’ tables.”‘

I am not making this up. It’s the old Welfare Queen argument, all dolled-up for the age of COVID-19. Can’t make unemployment too attractive, you know … all those good-for-nothing poors will laze at home eating bonbons and sucking on the gummint teat instead of getting off their ass and doing an honest day’s work.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the Big 4 airlines will be accessing tens of billions of dollars in cash grants and easy 10-year loans, all explicitly designed to support entrenched management and equity shareholders. But hey, fret not, concerned citizen! Management will be prevented from making more stock buybacks until Sept. 30, 2021. That’s a whole eighteen months of no stock buybacks, so don’t tell me that Wall Street doesn’t understand shared sacrifice. And yikes! Management will also have to get by on their current salaries for the next three years, as hard as it may be to imagine the privation and human misery that will entail.

Read more …

The middle ground between a job and a life as expressed in “..setting the “value of a statistical life” at $11.5 million..”

US Economic Shutdown Too Tight For ‘Optimal’ Outcome: Minneapolis Fed (R.)

Current U.S. economic restrictions may be twice as tough as needed to balance the risks of the coronavirus pandemic against the economic needs of workers, according to research here released on Monday by the Minneapolis Federal Reserve. Titled “Health versus Wealth,” the paper was explicit in its topic and its methodology, setting the “value of a statistical life” at $11.5 million, in line with other federal agencies like the Department of Transportation. It used that figure to analyze the trade-offs between keeping more workers idled and easing social distancing. The current restrictions, the research concluded, are shifting benefits from younger workers, who would be better off with looser rules, to older individuals for whom protection from the coronavirus is more vital.

A middle ground, with more modest restrictions left in place until the end of July, produces the “optimal” outcome, it said. “The shutdown in place is around twice as extensive as it should be,” wrote the research team, which included Minneapolis Fed monetary adviser Jonathan Heathcote and Kansas City Fed senior economist Andrew Glover. The team noted that ending the shutdown at Easter, as President Donald Trump initially hoped to do, “would have implied an additional 172,000 deaths,” more than four times the 40,000 who have died so far.As it stands, the group estimates that 418,000 people in the United States would die over the next 18 months or so if economic restrictions are largely lifted by July 1. The Trump administration has relied on estimates of around 60,000 deaths through early August.

Read more …

Oil’s Big Crash Is More Rational Than It Looks (R.)

Oil prices have gone through the floor, literally. The price of a barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude oil went negative for the first time in history on Monday as traders panicked that storage for black gold coming from the vast U.S. fields had filled to the brim. Normally, that sort of crash in one-month U.S. crude futures would be indicative of something funny going on in the market rather than something deeply disturbing. In this case, both things can be true. The immediate cause of the mayhem was the normally innocuous news that the so-called “front-month” contract for May is expiring on Tuesday. Usually, investors who want to continue to invest in oil would simply sell their soon-to-expire paper to buyers that want it right now, and then buy the June contract, with a minimal price difference between the two.

Yet with the June contract still trading at $20 a barrel, that spread is now at an unprecedented level. Plummeting demand and a lack of restraint from U.S. drillers mean that at the current rate, storage capacity in Oklahoma will be full in a few weeks, traders told Reuters. Buyers are so wary of taking delivery of crude amid what they see as a global oil glut and a storage crunch that they will only do so at murderously low prices. The optimist’s view, if such a thing is possible, is that other oil benchmarks are less bombed out, and dislocations like this could also suggest short-term investors are struggling with their trades. The similar contract for Brent crude, which reflects oil prices in Europe, fell “only” 9% to $25 a barrel on Monday.

Recent cuts led by Saudi Arabia and Russia in theory offer a coordinated reduction that will remove 10 million barrels of oil from the market daily in May and June. Critically, though, these cuts don’t start until next month. A large chunk of the promised cuts may not even materialise, and pressure on Texas regulators to limit production hasn’t transpired, suggesting there’s no regional relief in sight either. The basic problem remains that the hit to daily global oil demand from Covid-19 could be as high as 30 million barrels. If so, storage will be busted through, and prices will need to fall low enough for the market to balance. While Monday’s epic crash may represent an overshoot, it is based in reality.

Read more …

Let’s bailout shale.

US Energy Industry Steps Up Lobbying For Fed’s Emergency Aid (R.)

The U.S. energy industry has asked the Federal Reserve to change the terms of a $600 billion lending facility so that oil and gas companies can use the funds to repay their ballooning debts, according to a letter seen by Reuters. The effort comes at a time of intensifying pain for the sector as U.S. crude oil futures traded in negative territory on Monday for the first time in history on worries of massive oversupply. So far, the energy industry has largely missed out on federal support to businesses hurt by the novel coronavirus economic disruption, but it is hoping it can benefit from the Fed’s Main Street Lending Program due to launch in coming weeks. The Fed has been deluged with roughly 2,000 letters seeking changes to the rules of the program, under which the Fed will purchase 95% of eligible bank loans to small- and medium-sized businesses.

The terms of that and other federal assistance schemes are under growing scrutiny amid worries that insufficient conditions are being placed on borrowers and banks may dish out funds to companies without the greatest need for the cash. The Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) asked the Fed to reconsider a provision that bars eligible borrowers from using the cash to repay other loan balances and requires borrowers to promise to repay the Fed before other debt of equal or lower priority, according to an April 15 letter seen by Reuters. “Oil and natural gas producers are not looking for a government handout; they are seeking a bridge to help survive this economic disruption,” the IPAA, which represents thousands of independent oil and natural gas producers, wrote in the letter, which has not been previously reported.

Read more …

How about renters though?

Mortgage Payments Paused Or Reduced For 3 Million US Households (R.)

Some 3 million U.S. households have won at least a measure of relief on mortgage payments as efforts to squelch the coronavirus pandemic throw millions out of work and stretch household balance sheets, a survey from the Mortgage Bankers Association showed on Monday. About 5.95% of mortgage loans were in forbearance during the survey week of April 6-12, up from 3.74% a week earlier and from just 0.25% the week of March 2, the industry lobbying group said on Monday. That increase helps builds the case for a rescue for the mortgage services industry, suggested Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s senior vice president and chief economist.

“To ensure market stability during these challenging times for consumers and the entire industry, servicers need access to interim financing so that they can continue to play this critical role,” Fratantoni said. Congress did not include any such relief in its recent $2.3 trillion stimulus package, though some top Democrats have called for it and Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan has said he is open-minded about potentially coming to the sector’s aid. The survey covered 38.3 million loans serviced by independent mortgage companies and banks, representing about 77% of the first mortgage-servicing industry.

Read more …

Cheap air travel is a huge bubble, so yeah, bailout.

US Treasury Releases $2.9 Billion In Airline Support (R.)

The U.S. Treasury Department said on Monday it had disbursed $2.9 billion in initial payroll assistance to 54 smaller passenger carrier and two major passenger airlines, while it finalized grant agreements with six major airlines. The Treasury is initially giving major airlines 50% of funds awarded and releasing the rest in a series of payments. In total, Treasury is awarding U.S. passenger airlines $25 billion in funds earmarked for payroll costs. Major airlines must repay 30% of the funds in low-interest loans and grant Treasury warrants equal to 10% of the loan amount, while airlines receiving $100 million or less do not need to repay any funds or issue warrants to the government.

Treasury said on Monday it had finalized grant agreements with Allegiant Air, American Airlines Group Inc, Delta Air Lines Inc, Southwest Airlines Co, Spirit Airlines Inc, and United Airlines Holdings Inc. Air carriers have been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic and seen U.S. travel demand fall by 95%. Southwest said it would receive half of the $3.2 billion payroll award immediately and the remainder in installments during May, June and July. Separately, Treasury said Alaska Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways Corp and SkyWest Airlines had also indicated that they planned to participate. The 12 major airlines represent nearly 95% of U.S. airline capacity.

Read more …

The entire US economic system is ideal for smothering small business.

Banks Warn New Small-Business Funding Could Evaporate In 2 Days (Pol.)

Lawmakers are nearing a deal to restart an emergency small-business loan program that exhausted its funding last week — but it may buy only a few days before the program screeches to a halt once again. Lenders are warning their customers they might not be able to secure loans even if Congress provides an additional $300 billion as soon as this week. Banking industry representatives say the program has a burn rate of $50 billion per day and needs closer to $1 trillion to meet demand, with hundreds of thousands of applications pending. “This is going to go within, at most, 72 hours,” said Consumer Bankers Association President Richard Hunt, who represents large banks. “But the odds are more like 48 hours.”

The legislation also likely won’t tackle controversial elements of the program’s structure, chiefly an exemption that allowed large companies such as Shake Shack and Ruth’s Hospitality Group to obtain tens of millions of dollars in loans, as well as rules that encouraged banks to favor their existing customers. The hurried rescue effort had only just begun to operate as intended when funding lapsed Thursday, after banks at first muddled through with a lack of guidance from the Trump administration and an overloaded Small Business Administration system needed to approve loans. Lenders handed out nearly 1.7 million loans from April 3 until the initial allocation of $350 billion for the program was exhausted.

Now, with controversy swirling around big companies taking advantage of the first rounds of loans, small businesses may be in for another shock with funding set to run dry again shortly after it’s made available to the program, which was set up to avert massive layoffs amid the coronavirus pandemic. The loans have proved enticing to businesses because they can be forgiven if borrowers maintain their payroll.

Read more …

The level of craziness is not always easy to comprehend.

NHS Staff Not Allowed To Tweet About ‘Political Issues’ – Like PPE (Ind.)

An NHS trust has been accused of “gagging” its staff by asking them not to tweet about “political issues” such as “PPE, testing and exit strategies”. Workers at the Norfolk and Suffolk mental health trust were issued guidance on “Covid-19 suggested subjects for tweets” as part of a staff newsletter. Acceptable tweets included praising staff for their hard work, volunteering to move departments, working over the weekend and keeping people safe. The Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust faced backlash over their definition of a “political issue” after an extract from the newsletter was posted to Twitter by the Campaign to Save Mental Health Services in Norfolk and Suffolk. A spokesperson for The Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust told us:

“In response to requests for guidance from our staff who are new to social media we produced guidelines to help support them. Our staff are keen to reassure the public and celebrate the work of their colleagues during the Covid-19 pandemic and these suggestions were intended to support them to do that. We actively encourage our staff to use social media within the remit of our social media policy. It was never the intention to deter staff from giving their own views on these issues.” According to government figures, 27 NHS staff members have died nationwide while fighting Covid-19. Why some NHS workers have not had proper access to personal protective equipment (PPE) and testing have been some of the key questions levelled at the government over its handling of the coronavirus crisis. The least we can expect NHS frontline staff to do is talk about it.

Read more …

This must be a glbal issue. If you live near a zoo, check them out.

New Zealanders Donate $230,000 To Help Zoo Feed Animals (G.)

New Zealanders have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to feed hungry zoo animals in the midst of lockdown as the prime minister announced coronavirus lockdown restrictions would continue for at least three more weeks. Orana Wildlife Park on the outskirts of Christchurch is home to 400 wild and domestic animals, including chimps, meerkats, rhinos and giraffes. The zoo has been shut to the public during the lockdown, with keepers, deemed essential workers, working split shifts to stay safe. Unable to earn any income from visitors, which usually accounts for 95% of its revenue, the zoo is now struggling to pay its weekly NZ$70,000 (US$42,000) food bills, and has appealed to the general public for help. The gorillas alone eat NZ$800 (US$485) worth of vegetables every week.

In just four days more than 4,000 Kiwis have donated more than NZ$230,000. The wildlife park is the country’s only open-range zoo and is home to over 70 species of endangered animals from New Zealand and around the world. According to the givealittle appeal, the government’s wage subsidy only covers 40% of the park’s operating costs. “These costs are impossible to put on hold and include enormous food bills, huge electricity bills to keep our animals warm in the cooler weather and essential veterinary costs,” the appeal reads. “Our important New Zealand native conservation work continues, such as Kiwi chicks have recently hatched and must have access to heated brooder units in these crucial early stages.”

Read more …

“..those capers were just old-fashioned scams. Joe Biden for President is Emperor’s-New-Clothes caliber deceit..”

Check out the Trump campaign video. At least make him work for it please.

The Placeholder (Kunstler)

Everybody knows he’s dimmer than a night-lite, and everybody’s pretending it’s okay. There’s no analog in history for any faction putting up such an empty vessel for high office. Granted, the Democratic Party has trafficked in unreality for years, from Crossfire Hurricane through UkraineGate – with side-trips like trannies in women’s sports – but those capers were just old-fashioned scams. Joe Biden for President is Emperor’s-New-Clothes caliber deceit, requiring a rank-and-file so marinated in falsehood they couldn’t tell you the difference between a red light and a green light. So, you have to ask: what is their game? In the weeks that led up to the blossoming of Covid 19, the game was apparently to bump off Bernie Sanders to satisfy the party’s corporate sponsors, who were not so eager to back someone that promised to confiscate their wealth.

Ironically, Covid 19 only fortified Bernie’s case that the nation’s obscenely crooked health care system demands drastic reform. Now, you could easily construct a scenario in which ol’ Bernie would have glided to victory in November on the basis of that, combined with unemployment figures that make the Great Depression look like a job fair. Picking Joe Biden as the instrument to block Bernie seemed especially dumb just weeks after the Democrats’ impeachment gambit blew up in their faces by shining a fiercely revealing light on Joe and Hunter’s adventures in international grift. One can easily discern Mr. Biden’s motive for remaining in the race after that because sheltering in candidacy seemed to inoculate him from any criminal investigation. But, did the whole party want to go all-in on that?

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Home Forums Debt Rattle April 21 2020

Viewing 25 posts - 1 through 25 (of 25 total)
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    Ben Shahn “Scene in Jackson Square, New Orleans” 1935   • Coronavirus’s Ability To Mutate Has Been Vastly Underestimated (SCMP) • WHO Warns That
    [See the full post at: Debt Rattle April 21 2020]


    Ijargi – one more time: thanks for what you do to make TAE available to us.
    I even followed through on my threat and donated.. lol.

    V. Arnold

    Ben Shahn “Scene in Jackson Square, New Orleans” 1935

    There is something going on in that picture…just not sure what…
    Apparently on the move…
    He looks rather dapper; she carries the luggage???

    I’ve got to stop quarantine drinking… I thought these were baby dinosaurs…

    That is hilarious.


    VA, the photo reminds me of Forrest Gump more than anything

    V. Arnold

    VA, the photo reminds me of Forrest Gump more than anything

    I’ll have to think on that…

    Dr. D

    Is that a Victrola she’s carrying? Explains the shoes.

    In today’s non-science, “Professor Johan Giesecke, one of the world’s most senior epidemiologists says:

    “The flattening of the curve is due to the most vulnerable dying first as much as the lockdown.
    The results will eventually be similar for all countries.
    Covid-19 is a “mild disease” and similar to the flu, and it was the novelty of the disease that scared people.
    The actual fatality rate of Covid-19 is the region of 0.1%.
    At least 50% of the population of both the UK and Sweden will be shown to have already had the disease when mass antibody testing becomes available.”

    But I don’t believe science, I believe science. I listen to scientists not scientists. I listen to official government organizations, not official organizations. Got it? It’s settled.

    And I also look forward to looking back at year-end death rates for various countries.

    Recalling that TAE is an economic Peak Oil blog and not a medical blog, oil prices are negative. Several trading houses were destroyed. It takes 30 days for the derivatives to be called on and default.
    Perhaps more importantly, Iran, Venezuela, and possibly Saudi Arabia will be injured, perhaps fatally. Russia will be weakened and have to withdraw. That is a most convenient power shift for Silk Road/BRIC nations.

    This does say what the Devil’s Advocate has argued: we’re nowhere near Peak Oil because, like food, we use half our oil for unimportant, even idiotic things. Cut back senseless debt-origination. Cut back senseless consumerism. Cut back to the essential/wear it out/go without. Stop senseless driving when you can telecommute or to Jimmy’s soccer practice.

    And we’ll have 50% more consumer petroleum and a SURPLUS. All now true. Problem fixed in 30 days.
    With that, skies are blue, pollution is down, roads are clear and don’t need expanding.

    Telecommuting will persist. We will reduce globe-circling manufacturing. We will re-localize. Power is being dispersed back to the states. Local jobs are increasing. Everyone is disappointed and fighting it. Fighting for the return to pollution, consumerism and an extractive, neo-feudal status quo.

    It’s all bad. We’re all gonna die. Déjà vu, every day.

    WHO Warns that Few Have Developed Antibodies to COVID19 (G.)”

    You mean the WHO that’s been totally wrong and is even now anti-scientific in terms of wearing masks, and asking China whether they caused the disease or not? The gal at the Wuhan lab says they didn’t, and that’s good enough for Tedros! Why ask more? Why ask known, discredited liars anything? You’re their drunk-father codependent. Cut them off, plow them into the ground and move on.

    To their point: so we know this with inaccurate testing, how exactly?

    Further, in another of an amazing series of coincidences, the CDC also contaminated all their NEW tests. (NYT). What is that, 4th time in a row? U.K. too? Weirdest thing, everywhere you look, the tests always seem to go to wild false positives. And the CDC is as bad as the WHO, screwed up everything they touched, so why are we funding this private partnership again? They’re the ones who said we were going to die of swine, H1N1, and ebola only last year. Stop being an abused child victim and transfer all their funding to the Army Hospital or something. If there’s never consequences, why would anyone do their job? Proof. Positive. Right Wells Fargo? SEC, CFTC, Fed regulators?

    Coronavirus Attacks Blood Vessel Linings All Over the Body (SCMP)”

    Explains why Vitamin C is so helpful.

    “I think we all agree with you that more money for Main Street is needed.”

    Why? We will then add too much money and no new goods. What does that sound like? Inflation, that will raise prices, hurt the small/weak, and strengthen the Insiders, like everywhere in history? How about the debts aren’t paid, default, and Morgan Stanley is bankrupted in minutes? Then they buy the debt in distress, and write it down to 10c. The debt load on Main Street plummets, the insiders are destroyed, and inflation does NOT go up, prices instead go DOWN, NOT starving the poorest workers to death? Nah, that’d be Capitalism, we don’t do that.

    The article serves up the proper dose of the REAL Welfare Queens: Sachs, Amazon, Citi, GE, Boeing… Multi-trillions more than all people’s bailouts combined. And just like them, those corporations never work again, but sit on the dole, whining. Want your money for Medicare-for-All? There it is.

    …setting the “value of a statistical life” at $11.5 million..”

    The problem is, they think they can know. They can’t. One life will be Jeffery Dahmer, or his fellow cannibal Jamie Dimon, and the next life is Pasteur or Edison. They can’t tell a plus from a minus, but claim they can to two decimal places. That’s the definition of a fool.

    US Energy Industry Steps Up Lobbying For Fed’s Emergency Aid (R.)”

    Again, why would we bail them out? The go bankrupt, their bulldozers are sold to the next guy. Their bailout is just a passthru bailout to Morgan. Like AIG. The Welfare Queens.

    “US Treasury Releases $2.9 Billion In Airline Support (R.)”

    Same. They can sell “Total Bastard Airlines” or as they’re better known, “Delta” in bankruptcy to some SouthWest or JetBlue that doesn’t fold you under a seat and step on you for amusement. Then we have better airlines and no debt. But wait! Then Morgan and Sachs wouldn’t get a passthru bailout, and the people wouldn’t get —–ed. Can’t have that. My pals need to never take the consequences of their actions and bad decisions. To Suspend #Logos in #AntiLogos, AntiPhysics, AntiReality. Which is the whole POINT of having power. If you were doing GOOD stuff, it would reward itself naturally and you wouldn’t need power to avoid your just desserts.

    “The entire US economic system is ideal for smothering small business.”

    Yes, it’s Socialism for the Wealthy and Capitalism for the poor. Just like our legal system. But Socialism is always like that. Notice Party members have a real hard time being arrested regardless of what happens, and they never go broke. So if you believe in fairness, one rule for all, and no despots, the choice is simple. Aaaaaaaand despite 150 years of failing, they always choose wrong again.

    NHS Staff Not Allowed to Tweet About ‘Political Issues’ – Like PPE (Ind.)”

    They don’t have a Bill of Rights. But since such Rights are innate and inalienable, they’re just not standing up for them. Why? To protect corrupt power, and prevent people receiving the consequences of their actions — there’s never any other reason. Here we find that the citizens can get all the masks they want right now, or so it seems, while hospitals claim to have none. Explain? Because I’m guessing the hospital admins are hiding them in the basement fearing a NYC-type crisis, and not letting the nurses use them day to day at their constant peril. While the Admins sit in office safety. So…whose fault then? If it were public, questions would be asked. Expect we’ll get through this and the basements will be chok-full, with no masks on faces.

    Is that good or bad planning? I can’t say, I understand their situation, but at least we could be honest about it.

    New Zealanders Donate $230,000 To Help Zoo Feed Animals (G.)”

    So glad to hear it. I always wish they would donate to their habitat and repatriation instead.

    I don’t even know what’s happening with Biden. Of COURSE they were going to swap him out, and why I don’t know as they could have pushed Puppet Pete at least, but are you waiting for Joe to wet his drawers on camera? This is bad. It makes them the laughingstock, and quadruples-down on the AntiBernie appearance. Even if they got a stellar candidate – and why not earlier and honestly? – it stinks to heaven and may not help now. The other conclusion is they’re going to spring a candidate that has no experience and no possible cause to be there, like Michele or Oprah. SMH.

    Don’t worry, when Trump gets elected because they presented no candidate at all, it’ll be RussiaRussiaRussia.

    Incredible. Makes it seem like the party is as decrepit as Joe.



    Dr. D
    V. Arnold


    Aha, I get it… 🙂



    The Oil Drum
    The Last Post
    Posted by Euan Mearns on September 22, 2013 – 9:34am
    It is this emergent property of smart people sharing knowledge on a critical topic to humanity’s future that will be missed.

    Missed? Oil surplus? Oil selling at less than zero?


    Why You Think You’re Right Even When You’re Wrong

    Not only is she an uncommonly attractive babe in the culturally approved willowy limbs with abundant butt’n’boobs, she is also uncommlny articulate in her very well-prepared and nicely balanced presentation.

    Youtube showed it to me this morning cuz gooble’s algorithms know me better than  I do myself. Think of google algorithms as The Scout; think of the ads/entertainments/diversions/presentations as The Soldier.


    “the culturally approved willowy limbs with abundant butt’n’boobs” manner…

    Dr. D

    Everyone is piling on today.

    “One the members of the press asked the obvious: Given that we now have studies showing prevalence of Covid-19 fifty times the reported case rate this means the fatality rate is much lower than reported, and in fact similar to the seasonal flu, isn’t it? ...

    Anyone notice that [Birx] didn’t answer the question”?? –Denninger


    “Different countries have imposed different measures. Some are requiring people to have written passes to set foot outside; others do not. Some have forced a complete economic shutdown; others haven’t. Some test lots of healthy people for coronavirus; others only test suspected cases and a few conduct tests as part of a post-mortem, if at all. How does this seem to be affecting the number of COVID-19 deaths? Well, not at all, actually! It seems to be making about as much difference as would frowning and wagging your finger at a petri dish. The coronavirus is spreading just as it would, and most people who are exposed to it do not even know that they have been exposed to anything out of the ordinary.

    Even if we dramatically increase our current estimate of 170000 ultimate COVID-19 deaths to half a million and assume that the coronavirus spreads to every corner of the Earth, this would give us a lethality of 0.07%. This is very much in line with the death toll from the 2009 H1N1 pandemic. Note, however, that the 2009 pandemic did not cause financial and economic collapse.”

    Do sane, responsible people shut down the economy and bankrupt themselves for the sake of a virus not unlike the dozens of others in circulation which cause people to cough and sneeze, and sometimes (very rarely) die? No, they do not. Thus, we are forced to formulate other hypotheses. One such hypothesis is that global finance collapsed some time ago,” -Orlov

    Timer Martin Armstrong, on killing more people, not less:

    Sex Workers, Homeless & Suicides on the Rise Thanks to COVID-19

    AOC Demonstrates Just How Ignorant She is About Economics As the World Turns to Protests

    But “Opinions are Treason!” Facebook is outlawing protests at the request of the States. Which is needless to say, illegal (govt cannot restrict speech) and also biased, as they promoted rent and medical protests all month.

    Hey, would that be election tampering? No one’s hiding it. If Orlov’s math is correct (he’s an engineer) we’ll find out shortly. Which is why they’re opening up with no (admitted) tests. Because they all know this and always have.

    We’re coming up 119 Million deaths short again.


    “There is an 80-year pattern to the weave of history. The pattern is this:
    a) a devastating economic crash, followed by a
    b) populist revolution, followed by a
    c) BigAssWar (BAW) in which
    d) bankers obtain a politicoeconomic strangehold by “loaning” “money” to fund the war.

    from something I wrote in March 2016 for Facebook consumption.

    Something in this classic pattern has changed this time around. Anyone care to offer opinions on this? I will be silent on the matter except to note here that b), c), & d) appear both reversed and c) appears to have morphed beyond mere Ye Olde Bloody Big Ass War.


    Here’s a fun idea.

    ALL billionaires loses ALL their wealth over the value of one billion dollars! The money gained is fed back to the bottom 50% of the population.

    Not exactly a hardship on these people.


    Jubilee for the rich who owe money to other rich people

    Trump Proposes Executive Order To Fund Oil, Gas Companies… Which Will Depress Oil Prices More


    from January 2019 report by Simon Michaux Geologian tutkimuskeskus | Geologiska forskningscentralen | Geological Survey of Finland
    Espoo  Kokkola  Kuopio  Loppi  Outokumpu  Rovaniemi
    http://www.gtk.fi  Puh/Tel +358 29 503 0000  Y-tunnus / FO-nummer / Business ID: 0244680-7:

    “Today approximately 90% of the supply chain of all industrially manufactured products depend on the availability of oil derived products, or oil derived services. As the source material for various types of fuels, oil is a basic prerequisite for the transportation of large quantities of goods over long distances. Oil, alongside information technology, container ships, trucks and aircraft form the backbone of globalization and our current industrial ecosystem.

    “Approximately 70% of our daily oil supply comes from oil fields discovered prior to 1970. Most of global oil supply still comes from 10 to 20 huge oil fields. In 2006, 10 oil fields accounted for 29.9% of the global proved reserves. Since 2006, comparatively very small oil fields have been discovered. 74% of the current global oil reserves is geographically concentrated in what is termed the Strategic Ellipse, which is the Middle East and Central Asia. Peak oil discovery was in 1962, since then rates of resource discovery has been declining persistently. New discoveries are limited: the exploration success rate in 2017 was a record low of 5%, and the average discovery size was 24mbbls. A projected range for average decline rate on post-peak production is 5-7%, equivalent to around 3-4.5mb/d of lost production every year.

    “Currently the market is oversupplied. When the market returns to demand taking up all global supply, effective spare capacity could only shrink by just 1% of global supply/demand of 96mb/d, leaving the market very susceptible to disruptions. Oil demand is still growing by ~1mbd every year, and no central scenarios that have been recently assessed see oil demand peaking before 2040”


    Otto von Bismark, senile and feeble as is Old Joe Biden now, gave Hitler his official seal of approval in a way and time critical to Hitler’s rise to power.

    Question: to whom will Joe give his official seal of approval? assuming he drops out after humping the podium on national tv?


    You are encouraging a girly cat fight.

    Maxwell Quest

    “With test results all over the place, we need to recognize that having all the world’s top minds on viruses focused on the same issue, does not guarantee a thing. Other than confusion.”

    “On Friday, a study carried out in Santa Clara, California by Stanford University and released as a “pre-print” without peer review, found that 50 to 85 times more people had been infected with the virus than official figures showed.”

    I remember way back when I first got into microelectronics, and after two years of hard work our first microchip silicon wafers came out of manufacturing. This was back in the Dark Ages when every large company wanted to have their own Microelectronics Division. We all stood around the huge test machine as the first silicon wafer was loaded onto the test chuck. The probes of the test machine were set down onto the first die of the wafer and the test engineer hit the test button. A few seconds later we all whooped and hollered with joy as the green light flashed, indicating that the new microchip had successfully passed a full series of tests.

    The test engineer moved the probes to the next circuit on the wafer, again we all cheered as another green light showed that the adjacent microchip was 100% functional. After this scene was repeated several times in succession, the lead test engineer became suspicious. “Hold on a second”, he said, “lift the test probes from the wafer and hit the Test button again.” With nothing but air under the test probes the test button was pushed. A few seconds later the test machine’s green light flashed success once again, but this time to the groans of all assembled. It seems the test program was faulty, and always produced a positive result a few seconds after the test button was pushed.

    The moral of the story is that the results of any test are only as good as its measurement tools. In the case of the above study by Stanford University, which tries to prove that “50 to 85 times more people had been infected with the virus than official figures” show, Chris Martenson does an excellent job of debunking in yesterday’s podcast.

    As yet, I am not convinced that the COVID-19 virus has already passed through the greater part of an asymptomatic population. Why? Because too many people, especially in finance, want it to be so. They all want desperately for profits to return to their pre-pandemic highs, and will grab onto (or fund) any experimental study that appears to show that the worst is already behind us.

    D Benton Smith

    The attitude and intentions of the world’s greater population can be expressed in one simple and easy to understand sentence, which declares one irrefutable fact and directly orders what they insist be done about it. That the order will be enforced under penalty of death is implicit.

    Our rulers will either believe the fact and obey the order, or they will perish.

    Here’s the sentence :

    “This situation has gotten serious, so no more tricky bullshit.”


    “You are encouraging a girly cat fight.”

    Good thing I’m not a girly cat. I could get hurt.


    Pump it up, pump it down
    The USA is trillions of dollars bankrupt.
    The USA , Trump, is going to use the printing press to buy oil and put it in strategic oil reserve.
    I don’t see anything wrong. Do you?

    Doc Robinson

    I appreciated Martenson’s critique of the Stanford study. Seems like there’s too much attempted persuasion out there, in various forms, without the backing of actual facts and knowledge.


    What If Trump Were a Genius?

    …and other odd notions.

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