Apr 232020

Jack Delano Union Station, Chicago, Illinois 1943


Not a Black Swan but a Portent of a More Fragile Global System – Taleb (NYer)
Coronavirus Started Spreading In US Much Earlier Than Thought (CoD)
Coronavirus Study Points To Vast Number Of Cases Under Radar In China (SCMP)
How Does Coronavirus Kill? (ScienceMag)
Many Small Businesses Say Loans Won’t Get Them To Rehire (AP)
Congressional Democrats Do Little To Improve ‘Pathetic’ Coronavirus Deal (IC)
Trump Disagrees ‘Strongly’ With Georgia Reopening Shops (JTN)
HHS Secretary Alex Azar Waited For Weeks To Brief Trump (WSJ)
Azar Tapped Former Labradoodle Breeder To Lead US Pandemic Task Force (R.)
Cuomo Taps Bloomberg To Lead COVID-19 Contact “Tracing Army” (Gothamist)
Turkey PPE Supplier Doesn’t Have Enough Stock To Meet UK Order (Sky)
Coronavirus Upends Global Narcotics Trade (R.)
The Analogy Trap in Economic Policy (Eichengreen)
New York Times Revives its Role in Chinagate (Lauria)



• The US had +2,341 new deaths from coronavirus today, down from its record high yesterday, bringing the total US death toll to 47,659.

• New York had +661 new deaths, while New Jersey had +310, Massachusetts had +221, and three other states (CA, MI, CT) had over 100 new deaths. Only five states did not have a coronavirus death today.

• The US had nearly +30k new confirmed cases today, bringing the total to over 848k, with over 717k active cases.


• US total cases currently at 848,735, with death totals at 47,663.
• Globally, total cases have hit 2,637,414, with death totals at 184,204.


• US yesterday new 25,985, today now 27,948.
• IL, CT today exceed 2,000


• Spain yesterday 3,968, today 4,211. Fluctuating. No daily testing data


• 4/22/20 – Top 12 State Cases
New York: 257,216
New Jersey: 95,865
Massachusetts: 42,944
California: 35,396
Illinois: 35,108
Pennsylvania: 35,045
Michigan: 33,966
Florida: 28,309
Louisiana: 25,258
Connecticut: 22,469
Texas: 21,069
Georgia: 20,740



#Coronavirus: Global #Covid19 Deaths By Week
01/22: 17
01/29: 133
02/05: 564
02/12: 1,118
02/19: 2,122
02/26: 2,770
03/04: 3,254
03/11: 4,615
03/18: 8,733
03/25: 21,181
04/01: 46,809
04/08: 88,338
04/15: 134,177
04/22: 183,027



Cases 2,656,391 (+ 82,920 from yesterday’s 2,573,471)

Deaths 185,156 (+ 6,598 from yesterday’s 178,558)




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



From Worldometer – NOTE: among Active Cases, Serious or Critical fell to 3%. Among Closed Cases, Deaths have fallen to 20%



From SCMP:



From COVID19Info.live: Note: Turkey, Russia, UK are the biggest risers





“The state,” he told me, “should not smooth out your life, like a Lebanese mother, but should be there for intervention in negative times, like a rich Lebanese uncle.”

Not a Black Swan but a Portent of a More Fragile Global System – Taleb (NYer)

COVID19 has initiated ordinary citizens into the esoteric “mayhem” that Taleb’s writings portend. Who knows what will change for countries when the pandemic ends? What we do know, Taleb says, is what cannot remain the same. He is “too much a cosmopolitan” to want global networks undone, even if they could be. But he does want the institutional equivalent of “circuit breakers, fail-safe protocols, and backup systems,” many of which he summarizes in his fourth, and favorite, book, “Antifragile,” published in 2012. For countries, he envisions political and economic principles that amount to an analogue of his investment strategy: government officials and corporate executives accepting what may seem like too-small gains from their investment dollars, while protecting themselves from catastrophic loss.

For Taleb, an antifragile country would encourage the distribution of power among smaller, more local, experimental, and self-sufficient entities—in short, build a system that could survive random stresses, rather than break under any particular one. (His word for this beneficial distribution is “fractal.”) We should discourage the concentration of power in big corporations, “including a severe restriction of lobbying,” Taleb told me. “When one per cent of the people have fifty per cent of the income, that is a fat tail.” Companies shouldn’t be able to make money from monopoly power, “from rent-seeking”—using that power not to build something but to extract an ever-larger part of the surplus.

There should be an expansion of the powers of state and even county governments, where there is “bottom-up” control and accountability. This could incubate new businesses and foster new education methods that emphasize “action learning and apprenticeship” over purely academic certification. He thinks that “we should have a national Entrepreneurship Day.” But Taleb doesn’t believe that the government should abandon citizens buffeted by events they can’t possibly anticipate or control. (He dedicated his book “Skin in the Game,” published in 2018, to Ron Paul and Ralph Nader.) “The state,” he told me, “should not smooth out your life, like a Lebanese mother, but should be there for intervention in negative times, like a rich Lebanese uncle.”

Right now, for example, the government should, indeed, be sending out checks to unemployed and gig workers. (“You don’t bail out companies, you bail out individuals.”) He would also consider a guaranteed basic income, much as Andrew Yang, whom he admires, has advocated. Crucially, the government should be an insurer of health care, though Taleb prefers not a centrally run Medicare-for-all system but one such as Canada’s, which is controlled by the provinces. And, like responsible supply-chain managers, the federal government should create buffers against public-health disasters: “If it can spend trillions stockpiling nuclear weapons, it ought to spend tens of billions stockpiling ventilators and testing kits.”

Read more …

This was a given.

Coronavirus Started Spreading In US Much Earlier Than Thought (CoD)

Experts have released new information about just how long the coronavirus (COVID-19) might have been silently spreading in the United States. Health officials in California said the first U.S. coronavirus deaths actually occurred weeks before they previously believed. This comes as no surprise to doctors. Many doctors had patients earlier on that they now believe were COVID-19 cases. But they didn’t qualify for testing at the time because they either didn’t have a history of travel to China or the didn’t have the initially reported symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath. But now there’s concrete proof that the timeline of cases started much earlier.

The first confirmed case of the coronavirus in the U.S. came Jan. 21 in a man from Washington state who developed symptoms after returning from a trip to Wuhan, China. But the first confirmed death was thought to be more than a month later, on Feb. 29, in Kirkland, Washington. Health officials there later found two deaths on Feb. 26 were due to the virus, pushing the timeline back three days. But coroners across the country are now looking back at other deaths. The medial examiner in Santa Clara County, California, sent tissue samples collected during autopsies performed in February to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for testing.

Samples taken from patients who died at home on Feb. 6 and Feb. 17 both tested positive for the coronavirus. That pushes the fatality timeline back 20 days. Health officials believe the patients were infected in the community. Neither is known to have a travel history. Given that deaths tend to lag infections by about two weeks, the first patient could have been infected in mid-January. It’s likely the coronavirus was already spreading in the U.S. far earlier than initially reported — hidden in a bad flu season and undetected by rigid testing rules.

Read more …

So people will say: see, infection rate is much lower! Well, not if the death rate is also much higher. Which certainly in China is possible.

Coronavirus Study Points To Vast Number Of Cases Under Radar In China (SCMP)

China’s official tally of coronavirus cases could have quadrupled in mid-February if one broader system for classifying confirmed patients had been used from the outset of the pandemic, according to researchers at the University of Hong Kong. In a study published in the medical journal The Lancet on Tuesday, the researchers said China might have had 232,000 confirmed cases – rather than the official total of about 55,000 – by February 20 if a revised definition adopted earlier in the month had been applied throughout. “We estimated that there were at least 232,000 infections in the first epidemic wave of Covid-19 in mainland China,” they said, referring to the disease caused by the coronavirus.

“The true number of infections could still be higher than that currently estimated considering the possibility of under-detection of some infections, particularly those that were mild and asymptomatic, even under the broadest case definitions.” The researchers – led by Peng Wu from the University of Hong Kong’s school of public health – looked at the various classification systems used by the government after the epidemic erupted in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in late December. China has published seven editions of diagnosis and treatment guidelines, changing the classification system as understanding of the disease developed. The Hong Kong team found that different definitions made a big difference to the number of cases.

“We estimated that when the case definitions were changed from version 1 to 2, version 2 to 4, and version 4 to 5, the proportion of infections being identified as Covid-19 cases was increased by 7.1 times from version 1 to 2, 2.8 times from version 2 to 4, and 4.2 times from version 4 to 5,” the paper, co-authored by Peng’s HKU colleagues epidemiologist Benjamin Cowling and medical faculty dean Gabriel Leung, said.

Read more …

Thorough report on how and why. But even then a lack of understanding of what the virus is, remains.

How Does Coronavirus Kill? (ScienceMag)

When an infected person expels virus-laden droplets and someone else inhales them, the novel coronavirus, called SARS-CoV-2, enters the nose and throat. It finds a welcome home in the lining of the nose, according to a preprint from scientists at the Wellcome Sanger Institute and elsewhere. They found that cells there are rich in a cell-surface receptor called angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). Throughout the body, the presence of ACE2, which normally helps regulate blood pressure, marks tissues vulnerable to infection, because the virus requires that receptor to enter a cell. Once inside, the virus hijacks the cell’s machinery, making myriad copies of itself and invading new cells.

As the virus multiplies, an infected person may shed copious amounts of it, especially during the first week or so. Symptoms may be absent at this point. Or the virus’ new victim may develop a fever, dry cough, sore throat, loss of smell and taste, or head and body aches. If the immune system doesn’t beat back SARS-CoV-2 during this initial phase, the virus then marches down the windpipe to attack the lungs, where it can turn deadly. The thinner, distant branches of the lung’s respiratory tree end in tiny air sacs called alveoli, each lined by a single layer of cells that are also rich in ACE2 receptors.

Normally, oxygen crosses the alveoli into the capillaries, tiny blood vessels that lie beside the air sacs; the oxygen is then carried to the rest of the body. But as the immune system wars with the invader, the battle itself disrupts this healthy oxygen transfer. Front-line white blood cells release inflammatory molecules called chemokines, which in turn summon more immune cells that target and kill virus-infected cells, leaving a stew of fluid and dead cells—pus—behind. This is the underlying pathology of pneumonia, with its corresponding symptoms: coughing; fever; and rapid, shallow respiration. Some COVID-19 patients recover, sometimes with no more support than oxygen breathed in through nasal prongs.

But others deteriorate, often quite suddenly, developing a condition called acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Oxygen levels in their blood plummet and they struggle ever harder to breathe. On x-rays and computed tomography scans, their lungs are riddled with white opacities where black space—air—should be. Commonly, these patients end up on ventilators. Many die. Autopsies show their alveoli became stuffed with fluid, white blood cells, mucus, and the detritus of destroyed lung cells.

Read more …

All the big money’s already been handed out.

Many Small Businesses Say Loans Won’t Get Them To Rehire (AP)

Some small businesses that obtained a highly-coveted government loan say they won’t be able to use it to bring all their laid-off workers back, even though that is what the program was designed to do. The Paycheck Protection Program promises a business owner loan forgiveness if they retain or rehire all the workers they had in late February. But owners say the equation isn’t so simple, in part because of current economic conditions and partly due to the terms of the loans. As a result, the lending may not reduce unemployment as much as the Trump administration and Congress hope. The government’s $2 trillion relief package included $349 billion for the small business loan program, which was besieged with applications and ran out of money Thursday.

Congress and the White House reached a deal Tuesday that would provide another $310 billion. To get the loans forgiven, companies need to spend 75% on payroll within eight weeks of receiving the money. The other 25% can be spent on rent, utilities, and mortgage payments. Otherwise, the loan has generous terms: Only a 1% interest rate and six months before any principal is due. Many of the small companies that were able to obtain a loan are having second thoughts about rehiring all their workers and a few plan to return the money. Others will use what they can on rent and utilities, and will use some to rehire a portion of their laid-off staff. But most are unsure they will be able to reopen eight weeks from now.

They see little point in rehiring all their workers, paying them to do little or nothing, and then potentially laying them off again if business remains weak two months from now. “You’re turning the business into a pass through for the federal government,” said Joe Walsh, who owns Clean Green Maine, a cleaning service in Portland, Maine with 35 employees. “You’re doing very little to actually help the business.” [..] Also, the generous unemployment aid that was also included in the government’s relief package has made it more difficult to rehire. Many workers are making more with unemployment checks, which now include a $600 weekly benefit from the federal government.

Walsh, who received a $280,000 loan from the SBA, said that he is reluctant to push his employees to return to work because, under unemployment benefit rules, they could lose their weekly checks if they turn down potential jobs. “That’s just putting me as the employer in a really difficult position,” Walsh said. He pays at least $17 an hour, with benefits, but his former employees are getting the equivalent of roughly $25 an hour from unemployment.

Read more …

They all have the same campaign contributors. And they’re not small businesses.

Congressional Democrats Do Little To Improve ‘Pathetic’ Coronavirus Deal (IC)

PROGRESSIVE GROUPS are outraged with the nearly $500 billion interim coronavirus rescue package the Senate passed on Tuesday, urging House Democrats to oppose the “pathetic” deal they say doesn’t come close to providing the relief vulnerable people need while giving away all Democratic leverage for future legislation. The “Phase 3.5” bill, which is expected to sail through the House this week, left out almost everything Democratic leaders were advocating for. There’s no additional funding for state and local governments, no expanded food stamp benefits, no hazard pay for front-line workers, nor money for the U.S. Postal Service, which had all been basic Democratic priorities.

The lack of progressive opposition in Congress has been especially noteworthy, after members of the progressive caucus promised to help make future legislation more comprehensive following the hastily passed Phase 3 bill. While some progressive advocates argue that Democrats didn’t have much leverage on the package to begin with, others note that Democrats control the House and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi could have led the party to pass its own bill. “Just as importantly as the inadequate policy provisions, this bill gives away all Democratic leverage,” Ezra Levin, co-executive director of Indivisible, said in an emailed statement.

“We fought so hard to win back the House in 2018 — to make sure that we had a voice in negotiations like this. So far we’ve heard silence from the House. This bill may be our last chance to get the things we need. [Republican Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell has already said he doesn’t want to push through another bill, and if he does, it won’t be for weeks.” [..] The interim package, which would replenish funds for an emergency small business lending program, also includes an additional $75 billion for hospitals and $25 billion for coronavirus testing — two necessities that have been framed as GOP concessions. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said the legislation is everything they were expecting. “When you look at the package that is going to be passed, it’s almost exactly like the one we asked for two weeks ago, or 12 days ago,” he told reporters on Tuesday.

Read more …

It takes 2 weeks for new infections to occur. By then, most of the US will have reopened.

Trump Disagrees ‘Strongly’ With Georgia Reopening Shops (JTN)

President Trump said he disagreed with Georgia’s decision to allow some shops to re-open as early as Friday after shuttering due to the coronavirus pandemic. “I told the governor of Georgia, Brian Kemp, that I disagree strongly with his decision to open certain facilities which are in violation of the Phase 1 guidelines for the incredible people of Georgia,” Trump said Wednesday during a press conference of the White House Coronavirus Task Force. “But at the same time, he must do what he thinks is right. I want him to do what he thinks is right. But I disagree with him on what he’s doing.” Trump said he wanted to give governors discretion, although he would step in if he sees something “totally egregious, totally out of line.”

Trump’s administration last week released a 3-phase set of guidelines to re-open following the worst of the pandemic. Trump said that these Georgia shops shouldn’t be re-opening during the federal phase 1 guidelines and should instead wait for phase 2. “We’re going to have phase 2 very soon,” Trump said. “It’s just too soon. I think it’s too soon. And I love the people. I love those people that use all of those things, the spas, and the beauty parlors, barber shops, tattoo parlors. I love ’em. But they can wait a little bit longer, just a little bit. Not much. Because safety has to predominate. We have to have that. So I told the governor very simply that I disagree with his decision, but he has to do what he thinks is right.”

[..] 46% of registered U.S. voters want decisions about re-opening the country after the coronavirus to be made by state and local officials. Only 15% think it should be a federal decision, according to the Just the News Daily Poll with Scott Rasmussen. Trump praised Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.) for his re-opening strategy. “Some of the governors have done a fantastic job working with us,” Trump said.

Read more …

Sidelined a little too late perhaps?

HHS Secretary Alex Azar Waited For Weeks To Brief Trump (WSJ)

On Jan. 29, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told President Trump the coronavirus epidemic was under control. The U.S. government had never mounted a better interagency response to a crisis, Mr. Azar told the president in a meeting held eight days after the U.S. announced its first case, according to administration officials. At the time, the administration’s focus was on containing the virus. When other officials asked about diagnostic testing, Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, began to answer. Mr. Azar cut him off, telling the president it was “the fastest we’ve ever created a test,” the officials recalled, and that more than one million tests would be available within weeks.

That didn’t happen. The CDC began shipping tests the following week, only to discover a flaw that forced it to recall the test from state public-health laboratories. When White House advisers later in February criticized Mr. Azar for the delays caused by the recall, he lashed out at Dr. Redfield, accusing the CDC director of misleading him on the timing of a fix. “Did you lie to me?” one of the officials recalled him yelling. Six weeks after that Jan. 29 meeting, the federal government declared a national emergency and issued guidelines that effectively closed down the country. Mr. Azar, who had been at the center of the decision-making from the outset, was eventually sidelined.

Many factors muddled the administration’s early response to the coronavirus as officials debated the severity of the threat, including comments from Mr. Trump that minimized the risk. But interviews with more than two dozen administration officials and others involved in the government’s coronavirus effort show that Mr. Azar waited for weeks to brief the president on the threat, oversold his agency’s progress in the early days and didn’t coordinate effectively across the health-care divisions under his purview.

[..] White House officials say there is no plan to replace Mr. Azar during a pandemic. Still, the president last week installed a former campaign aide, Michael Caputo, to serve as assistant secretary for public affairs at HHS. The White House also appointed policy adviser Emily Newman as a liaison to HHS who will oversee the agency’s political hires. Mr. Azar has largely been sidelined over the past several weeks from discussions with the president and with the White House task force, administration officials said. He hasn’t attended the daily briefing since April 3.

Read more …

The headline is just too good.

Azar Tapped Former Labradoodle Breeder To Lead US Pandemic Task Force (R.)

On January 21, the day the first U.S. case of coronavirus was reported, the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services appeared on Fox News to report the latest on the disease as it ravaged China. Alex Azar, a 52-year-old lawyer and former drug industry executive, assured Americans the U.S. government was prepared. “We developed a diagnostic test at the CDC, so we can confirm if somebody has this,” Azar said. “We will be spreading that diagnostic around the country so that we are able to do rapid testing on site.” While coronavirus in Wuhan, China, was “potentially serious,” Azar assured viewers in America, it “was one for which we have a playbook.”

Azar’s initial comments misfired on two fronts. Like many U.S. officials, from President Donald Trump on down, he underestimated the pandemic’s severity. He also overestimated his agency’s preparedness. As is now widely known, two agencies Azar oversaw as HHS secretary, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration, wouldn’t come up with viable tests for five and half weeks, even as other countries and the World Health Organization had already prepared their own. Shortly after his televised comments, Azar tapped a trusted aide with minimal public health experience to lead the agency’s day-to-day response to COVID-19.

The aide, Brian Harrison, had joined the department after running a dog-breeding business for six years. Five sources say some officials in the White House derisively called him “the dog breeder.” Azar’s optimistic public pronouncement and choice of an inexperienced manager are emblematic of his agency’s oft-troubled response to the crisis. His HHS is a behemoth department, overseeing almost every federal public health agency in the country, with a $1.3 trillion budget that exceeds the GDP of most countries. [..[ Azar and his top deputies oversaw health agencies that were slow to alert the public to the magnitude of the crisis, to produce a test to tell patients if they were sick, and to provide protective masks to hospitals even as physicians pleaded for them.

The first test created by the CDC, meant to be used by other labs, was plagued by a glitch that rendered it useless and wasn’t fixed for weeks. It wasn’t until March that tests by other labs went into production. The lack of tests “limited hospitals’ ability to monitor the health of patients and staff,” the HHS Inspector General said in a report this month. The equipment shortage “put staff and patients at risk.” A promised virus surveillance program failed to take root, despite assurances Azar gave to Congress. Rather than share information, three current and three former government officials told Reuters, Azar and top staff sidelined key agencies that could have played a higher-profile role in addressing the pandemic. “It was a mess,” said a White House official who worked with HHS.

Read more …

Little Mike mighty actually pull it off. But he doesn’t care too much about privacy.

Cuomo Taps Bloomberg To Lead COVID-19 Contact “Tracing Army” (Gothamist)

Michael Bloomberg has been charged with amassing and leading a “tracing army” to track the spread of COVID-19 in the Tri-State area, according to Governor Andrew Cuomo. The goal will be to aggressively test and isolate contacts of all those who tested positive for the virus — a major undertaking that experts say is necessary before officials can consider relaxing social distancing measures. After previewing this push in recent weeks, Cuomo revealed during a press conference on Wednesday that Bloomberg will “coordinate the entire effort,” including developing the program and designing the training for thousands of newly-hired tracers.

The multibillionaire former mayor, who does not have a public health background, has also agreed to contribute $10 million to the initiative. By comparison, he spent $1 billion on his failed presidential bid. The announcement came hours after Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled his own plans for a citywide contact tracing apparatus. The mayor was not informed by the Governor’s Office that Bloomberg, his predecessor and political rival, would be heading up the statewide effort until Wednesday morning, as de Blasio was announcing his own initiative, mayoral spokesperson Freddi Goldstein told Gothamist. While the city will still be responsible for hiring some of the field workers, Cuomo stressed that the initiative had to be regionally focused.

“You cannot trace someone within the boundaries of New York City,” he said. The state will also partner with Johns Hopkins University and the non-profit Vital Strategies to roll out the program. Some of the roughly 35,000 CUNY and SUNY students in medical fields will also be tapped for the effort, Cuomo said. The federal government has made available $1.3 billion for New York to begin contact tracing. Cuomo did not immediately have an estimate for how much it would cost. “You don’t have months to get this up and running,” he added. “You have weeks.”

Read more …

Turkey is one of the exploding countries. Is it a good ide to export their supplies?

Turkey PPE Supplier Doesn’t Have Enough Stock To Meet UK Order (Sky)

A commercial supplier in Turkey did not have enough stock to fulfil an order for 84 tonnes of protective equipment supposed to be bound for the UK, Turkish officials have said. British sources said the UK government was working with the company and the Turkish authorities to secure the shipment “as soon as possible” – though no time frame was given. It comes as a flight carrying PPE – urgently needed by front line health workers as they treat COVID-19 patients in the UK – arrived from Turkey, following days of delays. The Royal Air Force plane arrived at Brize Norton in Oxfordshire from Istanbul just after 3am.

The total consignment of 84 tonnes includes 400,000 clinical gowns, but it is not clear how much of this is on today’s flight. An initial batch of just 2,500 gowns was sent to the airport in Istanbul for quality control checks on Tuesday. Turkish officials said Britain’s attempt to buy the protective equipment from a Turkish firm ran into trouble because the supplier did not have enough stock. Turkey’s ambassador to the UK, Umit Yalcin, told Sky News: “As far as I understand there have been problems with the private supplier company. “Now Turkey is cooperating with the UK authorities to find a quick solution for the UK’s urgent needs.

Read more …

Support your local dealer.

Coronavirus Upends Global Narcotics Trade (R.)

Countries around the world have spent billions of dollars bailing out businesses affected by the coronavirus outbreak. Peru’s coca farmers, who grow the bushy plant used to make cocaine, say they want help, too. Prices for coca leaves sold to drug gangs have slumped 70% since Peru went on lockdown last month, according to Julián Pérez Mallqui, the head of a local growers’ organization. He said his members cater to Peru’s tightly regulated legal coca market, but acknowledged some growers sell on the black market. Peruvian officials say more than 90% of the country’s coca crop goes to traffickers who are now struggling to move product. With the sector in turmoil, Pérez’s group is crafting a plan to ask the government to buy up excess coca inventory.

Peru “has to design clear intervention strategies for coca,” Pérez said. “We’re screwed, just like everyone else in the world.” A spokesman for Peru’s anti-drugs agency said it may funnel more development aid to hard-hit areas. The coronavirus outbreak has upended industries across the globe. The international narcotics trade has not been spared. From the cartel badlands along the U.S.-Mexico border and verdant coca fields of the Andes, to street dealers in London and Paris, traffickers are grappling with many of the same woes as legitimate businesses, Reuters has found. On three continents, Reuters spoke with more than two dozen law enforcement officials, narcotics experts, diplomats and people involved in the illicit trade.

They described a business experiencing busted supply chains, delivery delays, disgruntled workers and millions of customers on lockdown. They also gave a window into the innovation – and opportunism – that are hallmarks of the underworld. [..] coronavirus has managed to do what authorities worldwide have not: slow the global narcotics juggernaut almost overnight and inflict a measure of pain on all who participate. In Mexico, the Sinaloa Cartel has faced many threats over the years, including the jailing of former leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. But never one like the coronavirus pandemic.

Read more …

“The task for now is income maintenance — targeting public support at the unemployed so that parents can feed their children.”

The Analogy Trap in Economic Policy (Eichengreen)

Where comparisons with past crises have value is precisely in highlighting how this crisis is different, and therefore how the policy response should vary. First, this crisis did not originate in the financial system, in contrast to 1929 and 2008. Flooding financial markets with liquidity, as central banks have done, may prevent problems on the real side of the economy from destabilising financial institutions and markets. But doing so will not mend the economy or even halt its downward spiral. Achieving this requires first containing the pandemic. Second, in contrast to these earlier episodes, major fiscal stimulus packages are not the right policy focus. Unlike in the past, we have also experienced an unprecedented supply shock.

It makes no sense to try to sustain demand at earlier levels at a time when production can’t keep up, since it is not yet safe — and won’t be safe for some time — for people to return to work. The time for demand stimulus is later. The task for now is income maintenance — targeting public support at the unemployed so that parents can feed their children. Third, this crisis will be most acute in low-income countries. These countries have weak health systems. They are being hit by weak commodity prices, falling remittances, capital flight, a shortage of trade credit and collapsing currencies all at once. They were not the focus in 1929 or 2008 because those crises centred on the global financial system, and because low-income countries had only rudimentary financial systems and were not integrated financially.

This time, low-income countries are at risk of a crisis that will dwarf anything in the advanced-country world. Addressing their plight should be priority number one on humanitarian grounds, but also because what happens there will spill back onto the rest of the world through both economic and epidemiological channels. With the IMF and World Bank meetings coming up next week, one wonders whether advanced countries will look beyond their domestic concerns. One worries that their preoccupation with the questions ‘is this downturn more serious than the Global Financial Crisis?’ and ‘could unemployment rise as high as in the Great Depression?’ will cause them to lose sight of what is about to become the most serious crisis of all.

Read more …

Yeah, before you know it you’re trapped with the NYT in your corner.

New York Times Revives its Role in Chinagate (Lauria)

During the saga of Russiagate The New York Times was the main vehicle for unnamed U.S. intelligence officials to filter uncorroborated allegations about Russia, presenting them as proven fact. Just as the Democratic Party attempted to shift the blame from its disastrous 2016 loss to Donald Trump onto Russia, the Trump administration is now trying to shift the blame from Trump’s disastrous handling of the Coronavirus crisis onto China. And The New York Times is once again the vehicle. In a front-page story on Wednesday, the Times reports as flat fact that “Chinese agents helped spread messages to millions of Americans about a fake lockdown last month, sowing virus panic in the U.S., officials said.” One of the messages said Trump would lock down the entire nation. “They will announce this as soon as they have troops in place to help prevent looters and rioters.”

But as in the Times‘ sordid history of numerous Russiagate stories, you have to read deep into the piece, in this case to paragraph seven, before you are told: “The origin of the messages remains murky. American officials declined to reveal details of the intelligence linking Chinese agents to the dissemination of the disinformation, citing the need to protect their sources and methods for monitoring Beijing’s activities.” Any reputable journalism school will teach its students that you hold off publishing until you see the evidence underlying an assertion. This is especially true when quoting anonymous sources. And it is doubly true when these sources are intelligence agents, who have a long history of deception. It is part of their job description.

Reporters should by now be wary and demand proof after they had allowed intelligence officials to misuse them in misleading the public about the reasons to invade Iraq, and indeed about the later proven lies about collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. The Times story on Wednesday rather shamelessly revives and links China’s alleged misdeeds to Russiagate. “American officials said China, borrowing from Russia’s strategies, has been trying to widen political divisions in the United States. As public dissent simmers over lockdown policies in several states, officials worry it will be easy for China and Russia to amplify the partisan disagreements.”

Read more …


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Home Forums Debt Rattle April 23 2020

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    Jack Delano Union Station, Chicago, Illinois 1943   • Not a Black Swan but a Portent of a More Fragile Global System – Taleb (NYer) • Coronavirus
    [See the full post at: Debt Rattle April 23 2020]

    V. Arnold

    Jack Delano Union Station, Chicago, Illinois 1943

    Very nice; IMO well composed…
    Moody photograph; smokey; late afternoon? What time of day?

    V. Arnold

    Well, here’s mine… 🙂


    Thanks again for the hard work, Raul.

    D Benton Smith

    Frankly, I just don’t know why people are making such a fuss about running out of money. Looks like in a few more months there won’t be anything to buy with it anyhow.

    Dr. D



    Just like gun violence, subtracting unnatural metro areas from the 3.5M sq. miles of the rest of the 3,000 counties and you’d have no outbreak and no crisis. But this is 100% of the time, if a leaf blows in Brooklyn, 3,000 other counties have to take it in the rear. So, basically, The Hunger Games, with Caesar Flickerman showing us his ice cream collection while we are beaten and starve. Why point it out? No different from every other day. No one cares. 30,000 people could die for decades and it (was) considered a net positive, richly deserved. But clearly, clearly WE need to sacrifice to keep Caesar Flickerman and Effie Trinket safe in their $20,000 suits. Especially when you live where there’s 19 people per square mile. Gotta lock down! Keep that distancing! Dudebro, you have NO IDEA what distancing is til you’re so far away even the cell towers don’t work. You can’t walk to the next house even if you wanted to.


    But don’t worry! We’ll fight Coronavirus to the last Flyoverman! Remember, each NYer is provably worth 1,000 Americans! For every New Yorker who dies, 1,466 Americans lose their job! (22M / 15K) D—n them! We’ll keep unemploying flyover people and bailing out globe-flying billionaires until this madness stops!

    “The state,” he told me, “should not smooth out your life, like a Lebanese mother, but should be there for intervention in negative times, like a rich Lebanese uncle.”

    That’s hilarious Taleb, when has that ever happened? They’re more like an abusive uncle who will rape you if you fall asleep. If it’s “Antifragile” with firebreaks, then don’t apply Brooklyn’s solution to the 47 states who are smaller than NY Metro. Hey, doesn’t that INCREASE the fat tail of 1% owning 50% of the pie? And their total, catastrophic, unending lack of “Skin in the Game” by idiot sons of idiot sons?

    “infection rate is much lower! Well, not if the death rate is also much higher.”

    Still have no numerator AND no denominator. And no other stable facts either. 5 months on. Explain? To me that means there is NO science happening, only politics. And if that’s true, then what’s happening?

    “Many Small Businesses Say Loans Won’t Get Them to Rehire (AP)”

    That’s obvious. There hasn’t been a bailout in my lifetime that didn’t screw the recipient. Look at HAMP. This is beyond how money and rules to Amazon have ruined local business more than usual this month.

    Congressional Democrats Do Little To Improve ‘Pathetic’ Coronavirus Deal (IC)”

    Dore is all over this. First bankrupt the small, then hand 95% of the trillions to the super-wealthy to buy the small out for pennies. Same as 1934. They do have a good point that, if this bailout was badly written, why would we rubber-stamp Part II? I say since the government hasn’t helped small business in 100 years, and 100% of the time end up hurting them instead, accidentally or on purpose, why would we have the government do anything except enforce the law on Amazon, Fargo, Wal-Mart, and Boeing? The small would do just great if you arrested a felon every 20 years or so.

    “Trump Disagrees ‘Strongly’ With Georgia Reopening Shops (JTN)”

    That is pretty weird.

    “Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told President Trump the coronavirus epidemic was under control.”

    You’re fired. Along with the CDC and WHO. Oh wait, ANOTHER set of tests are contaminated, that were replacing the THIRD set of tests…that were also contaminated. Funny ol’ world how 100% of tests 100% of the time are accidentally bad. It’s almost like it’s on purpose. Nah. I’m a coincidence theorist and that is not suspicious at all. Meanwhile, small on the ground hospital tests were working in a week.

    Nobody’s buying and nobody’s selling [cocaine]”

    They’re cutting off the black money to the Derp State.

    “Achieving this requires first containing the pandemic.”

    Again, no it doesn’t. YOU closed the economy. YOU caused the problem. We have barely a blip above normal deaths. So you CAN just ignore it and open the economy too. I don’t know if that is smart or dumb, but YOU are the only actor here, not the “economy.” …And by “economy” I mean government, since it was strictly government who FORCED the economy to fail. So think about that while you’re calculating supply, demand, pointy-head stuff. “low-income countries are at risk of a crisis that will dwarf anything.” So millions in low-income countries will die, you say? Way, way more than the virus would have? YOU did this. And therefore YOU can un-do this. But you won’t, you claim it’s an asteroid strike. I say we put you in a trebuchet and launch you into aforementioned “low-income countries” so you can clap you in ankle irons, hand you a shovel and you can help undo your own damage to them.

    New York Times Revives its Role in Chinagate (Lauria)”

    Well, the NYT isn’t news, so… I don’t know who would listen to them. Elvis and Batboy? People who like to lose their 401ks on their exclusive election polls?

    Over 20 million people are jobless bc of this virus and our government is doing almost nothing to help them”

    This ses it all. 20 million people are jobless because of the GOVERNMENT. The government by definition is NOT helping them. They’re the ones who attacked and destroyed them. As per 100 years. And you want more of this? More power when Orange Hitler is in charge of the handouts? What will it take for them to stop worshiping government, dictators, and experts? Nothing apparently. They will come up, explain how they will die, pull out the gun, ask if it’s okay, put it to their head, and shoot them. The government then turns to the next guy who saw it, ask him if he’s still in favor, he says yes, and the government shoots THAT guy voluntarily. On and on down the line forever. i.e. NOTHING can EVER wake them up. There is no POSSIBLE action that can lead to discredit and the re-claiming of your power and withdraw your consent from psychopaths. Why? Because then you couldn’t be a victim, take self-immolating orders, and live in eternal fear from birth to death. You’d have the far scarier problem of freedom and deciding for yourself. Never! Just shoot me. “Don’t give me Liberty, give me death!”

    D Benton Smith

    Dr. D

    Damn, that it is one fine and eloquent rant.


    3 monkeys

    We are all rifraf using the food bank donations of the gov.

    The TV is being censored due to its troubling, traumatic content for snow flakes.
    The TV is showing how to cut your hair.
    The TV is showing nothing that is really bad.
    The TV is showing how to exercise at how.
    The TV shows planes that are parked and not working.

    The TV is not reporting from the poorest countries.
    ie. Haiti?

    D Benton Smith

    This old world seems to be having an existentialism crisis. Sure hope it’s the mid-life sort of crisis, and not the, you know, ‘bucket list’ kind.

    In either case, I trust that you will keep on doing the best you can with what you’ve got. I sure intend to. That’s all any of us can do, right ? All 7.5 billion of us, just doin’ the best we can with whatever we got at the time. Trouble is, every single one of us billions has got a slightly different opinion about what constitutes “best”. Is that best for me or best for thee? Whatever, and no matter. We are still going to do it.

    A very strong argument could be made for the statement that the world we now inhabit (precisely as it truly is right this minute) is merely the sum total of a very long history of everybody doing the best they could with what they had. Talk about democracy! That’s PURE democracy. Every single living thing on the rock. Free to wade in and get our hands bloody any bloody time we want.

    The intricately intertwined crises we are currently experiencing ( take your pick) are simply the underlying problem made manifest.

    We have been lying to each other (for justifiable personal advantage) just a wee bit too much, and this is what we got. ( I do hope you’re not blaming this mess on some other species or spook) We must tip the balance just a smidgen back the other way now.

    Now is the time to talk, people. Now is the time to BARGAIN. Now is a time for putting as much out there on the table as humanly possible, so that we can be as aware as humanly possible, of what actually IS and what the hell is going on around us.

    It’s a gambling contest, and your own awareness is the only chip you’ve got.


    Oil/nose/moisture/virus: my weird HHT that makes me so vulnerable to chronic, spontaneous, and too often severe nosebleeds, is most consistently allayed by humidity. This is why we abandoned a home in Spokane for a crappy neo-Stalinist prisoner cell apartment in the Portland metro’s myriad prison quarters aka ‘affordable housing/apartment complex’.

    I squirt saline spray up my nose like rock stars do cocaine: frequently and in large amounts.

    But also, and in some ways maybe even more importantly, I put virgin coconut oil up there like a porn star uses lube. This helps seal the moisture in and promotes the formation of a dense kind of meta-mucus that helps keep in place the scabs inside my nose, in some places all that keeps it from bleeding from hopelessly vulnerable telangiectasias:


    Why should you care? A few reasons:

    I almost never get head colds. COVID-19 almost always enters the body through the sinus regions (this includes virus rubbed into the eyes).

    An interesting relevant fact: one reason that flu season is a colder-months syndrome is because that’s when everyone is indoors breathing artificially dry air circulated by duct systems. The drier the sinus tissue, the easier it is for a virus to land atop an unprotected cell and have its spiky wicked way with it.

    Another relevant fact: airliners have notoriously dry air circulating the pathogens of an (often cosmopolitan) population the size of a small jungle tribe. William Gibson, author, hates doing his global book promo tours despite a love of travel itself because he invariably gets a sinus infection from hell because of the dry air in passenger, uh, air craft.

    Another relevant fact: my understanding is that the kinds of pathogens that love salt-water tissues do not like lipids. Lipids form a layer too dense for most microbes to swim through as it suffocates them. This is why covering just-cooked meat with fat is an old-fashioned preservative method.

    Not to mention that saline spray moistens the tissues which makes it easier for them to move anti-bodies and such to the infection site while creating that much more moisture barrier between the virus and its would-be host cell victims.
    I rarely get head colds even when my wife’s snot is draining constantly and she sneezes aerosol contagions right into my face. (If a bug gets into my bad-habits-weakened lungs, lord help me. But I almost never get head colds.)

    I’m ‘pretty sure’ my wife and I have contracted the virus. She got sick in a way that fits the bill, is now better, but I still badger her into slamming large doses of helpful vitamins, chugalugging Airborne, electrolyte solutions, fresh fruit and veggies galore, indulging a bit of modest exercise including what the young kids call “sex”, and thinking happy thoughts while neither avoiding nor obsessing on virus-news. I do this because the thing seems fond of relapses.

    Me, I felt myself fighting something but am highly resistant, I believe, because I have been revving my 64-year old health at high Ferrari cycles. (Now that I have iron again, I am otherwise an uncommonly vigorous Old Dude.) Last night, I felt for fifteen minutes at day’s end the tell-tale symptoms of an encroaching head cold. It feels like no other sinusoidal inflammation, and brother, am I ever a connoisseur of sinusoidal inflammations since HHT gives me chronic de facto sinusitis even without microbial pathogenic ‘help’. I was already feeling low and blue for most of the day: the Ferrari’s timing was off and RPMs were dropping fast.

    I chugalugged some Airborne (the effervescent kind which has that hefty placebo kick from the seltzer water effect*), sucked a Zicam lozenge, had yet another of my many daily cups of this or that cold-relevant herbal teas (Gypsy Cold Care/Breathe Easy/Throat Coat/peppermint/jasmine green tea), made it known to my wife that I needed serious baby-ing, and the head cold vanished within another fifteen minutes.

    My Ferrari is running strong again this morning.


    Also, if you can buy legal weed, buy some edibles and stay high more often than not. Low doses probably will do. Why? Well, reduced stress and elevated endorphins are good, and the plethora of literature on cannabis indicates that it elevates immune system health, whether just by the elevated endorphins/reduced stress aspect or by more direct means.

    If you’re stuck with black market weed: buy a bunch of lower grade herb, boil it down, add some olive oil, boil off the water, keep the olive oil. You now have edible cannabis. It doesn’t taste nearly as bad as cod liver oil does. Orange oil helps. Also, take it with food, Weed needs food to properly metabolize: better, smoother, longer high, better therapeutic effects, more economical via efficiency.

    I mentioned exercise. Yes. But nothing severe. Nothing that causes lows, however brief, in your body’s core health.

    *my own invention, thank you
    I hope this information is helpful.
    Since I can’t read TAE comments anymore without being seized by the mood swing of a methed-up baboon discovering its first baseball bat, I would appreciate it if folks sent useful comments to either my email:


    or place them in the comments section of my poor benighted lonely hermit blog if you prefer more privacy:

    Nine Billion Names and Counting

    P.S. Awesome post, DBSMith.


    D Benton Smith

    boscohorowitz ( the Bos[s] )

    May your antibodies prosper.

    D Benton Smith

    boscohorowitz (the Boss)

    At your invitation I popped over to your excellent blog at Nine Billion Names and Counting , and read with admiration and interest your post : “How A Lone Wolf Prays To God” .

    It’s a wonderful prayer, and deserves earnest praise, BUT it was actually the motto in your home page header that just can’t be resisted.

    “coppula eam, se non posit jocularum” (translation: “Fuck ’em if they can’t take a joke.”)

    And that’s precisely why the Universe delights in screwing us over. We can’t take the same practical joke that we love to dish out.

    Look at the world and laugh. Look at the world and cry. Look at the world and laugh and cry at the same time. Anyone examining reality who is not laughing and crying at once, with complete sincerity, just doesn’t understand what they’re looking at.

    So yeah, fuck ’em (us, of course) if they (we, of course) can’t see the humor in this situation.

    John Day


    I can’t seem to get snippets and links from my blog to post today. It’s “Natural Intelligence” as opposed to AI. AI seems to be controlled and programmed by the sociopaths. whose purpose is to kill extra humans when supplies get low. We might not want AI to wake up as the apex-predator-of-our-apex-predators.
    Defenses and strategies are suggested, along with views from inside the battlefield.


    I did see an article [I can’t find it again] suggesting Democrats are celebrating that a small study concluded that hydroxychloroquine was ineffective against the virus.

    The joy comes from the idea that a cheap drug [plus zinc] could cure the diseases – purely because Trump said it could help!


    Sean Hannity reads Mike Pence a letter from unidentified doctor detailing a drug “regimen” the doctor claims prevents coronavirus deaths

    Hannity: “Hydroxychloroquine, 200 milligrams twice a day, five days. Azithromycin, 500 milligrams once a day, five days. Zinc sulfate, 220 milligrams once a day for five days … His results, we have had zero deaths”

    NB. This does not say whether treatment should start only when serious symptoms appear

    D Benton Smith


    Opponents to the use of Hydroxychloroquine in the treatment of Covid 19 should retain the incontestable right to refuse such treatment if and when it is offered to them in hospital.

    I’m trying real hard right now not to come across as a psychopath, but in regard to the VOCIFEROUS opponents to Hydroxychloroquine treatment I strongly encourage them to exercise that right.


    On democracy Now, Juan Gonzales’s 92 year old mother had the virus in NJ. The dr told Juan that they routinely use hyroxyclooquine, Juam told the dr not to use it, she did recover.


    Follow the money
    1. The joy comes from the idea that a cheap drug [plus zinc] could cure the diseases –
    2. purely because Trump said it could help
    3. In the USA, Its not free. The seller is getting paid by someone. No money, no test. No treatment/
    4. Other countries had a system in place to pay the seller. (Ontario could not pay until the fed said they would cover the costs.
    5. Canada just announced that It found a $1.1 billion for a cure etc for covid-19
    6. I did not hear that there was any money for Hydroxychloroquine treatment studies


    Per an ongoing and oh-so-not-at-all-fun sociology experiment I’m conducting in the back of my head, I went to visit TAE’s comments one.last.time. cuz I just had to know. Pulling my hands slowly back from my eyes, I see that sure enough, even a bnright chap like DBSmith apparently can’t get a hint even when delivered with a broadside bludgeon like:

    “Since I can’t read TAE comments anymore without being seized by the mood swing of a methed-up baboon discovering its first baseball bat, I would appreciate it if folks sent useful comments to either my email: pastmastergeneral@gmail.com or place them in the comments section of my poor benighted lonely hermit blog if you prefer more privacy: Nine Billion Names and Counting”

    Sure enough, even a mind as wise and sharp as DBS’s can’t interpret simple ad hoc information if it isn’t formatted in whatever Social Officialeze (for example, “internet etiquette”) currently prevails. One caveat: I did specify “useful comments” and it must be admitted that posting remarks to a person at an eddress said person asked them not to, is not exactly what ye’d call a useful comment. THAT said, I’ll counter-counter-point that one simply could have NOT addressed those comments to me or in the person-to-person voice, and we could all have gone home with a bucket of ice cream and a new box of shotgun shells.

    It reminds me of how I felt when I learned that the brilliant and majestically erudite Nicole Foss thought it worth energy to focus on removing Trump from office even when she knows he isn’t the cause of our problems and that the prospects are s-l-i-l at best of getting a supposedly Lesser Evil whose evil is sufficiently lesser (I’m reminded here of her lesser/greater fool analogy) to make a difference.

    We are so screwed.

    ‘We’ of course doesn’t mean everyone, but neither is any man an island. This sudden brush with real reality outside our conventions of How Things Work/How Things Should Work (most of us can scarcely distiniguish the two) is the lowering tide that sinks all boats. Some will be screwed more than others. For some, it will even be a gain. But fwiw, I say the odds are against folks with college degrees. 15-21 years of almost non-stop institutional indoctrination seem able to warp even the finest of minds. I’m SO glad I dropped out in freshman year.

    Stop Makin Me Nervous, I’m Holding a Baseball Bat

    Raul, I love you, man (says bosco, eyeing Raul’s stash of Bland X Lite Beer), and I honestly don’t know how you deal with it.

    Live long and prosper, y’all, etc.


    Chloroquines have been used since the 1950s for malaria, less so lately because the family of Plasmodium parasites that cause it seemed to have developed immunity against it. Now, I don’t go back that far, but I would think that if they had been a threat to the patients they were supposed to cure over 70-odd years, someone would have said something. To my knowledge, that never happened, but after 2 months of recent daily chloroquine news, we would have heard. Or so one thinks. No better way to get rid of it than scary stories about people dying. Even back then new drugs would have required testing programs, not as strict as today perhaps, but since the snake oil days people had become wary.

    So why are people allegedly dying of it now?


    Bosco, I deal with it by not reading comments. Or only rarely. How many times have you said farewell now?

    D Benton Smith


    Drug vendors are hawking their own wares and panning the competition ? I’m shocked. Shocked I tell you!


    I should have mentioned in my last post. A freind had a family member in the Boston area was in bad shape, was given chloroquine and had a framatic recovery.
    My 18 yo nefew in Brooklyn got it, had waves of different symptoms then both his parents got it, dad had very light symptoms.


    Framatic recovery should have been dramatic

    D Benton Smith

    The Boss (aka boscohorowitz )
    et al

    I am chastised, but in defense of my oblivious disregard of manners I need to say that I did ALSO place my comments on your blog ( as well as this one ). Here was my reasoning ( or call it an excuse ) : my words were not intended SOLELY for your eyes only. I wanted the other minds here to see what I had to say on matters that were first raised here. It was a bit complicated. I erred. I will do better.

    However, and to be closer (at least) to honestly expressing my full opinion, I am forced to counter-complain that you DID slip back to TAE to look for what might be evidence for your ‘back of the noggin’ sociology experiment. You have to admit that (in addition to being apoplexy-inducingly-aggravating) the stuff you read at TAE is frequently very INTERESTING.

    As Bob Dylan alluded in Desolation Row, if you don’t want the boys to notice then you shouldn’t walk into this kind of dive.

    You are hands down the sharpest tack in the sandbox, so I welcome your input always . . . even when it’s to read me the riot act. To be perfectly blunt, we need you.


    On drug supplies hurting.

    I think Dr. D nailed it. To cut off funding to the deep state.

    Part of the “open borders” deep state are Democrats and some Republicans too. They depend greatly on the drug cartels for funding.

    That is why they champion “open borders”. It is not for the good of the American people. It is for their own good. Thus no money for building a border wall.


    Speaking of oil (drugs).

    1. I suspect there is some kind of deal between ALMO and Trump regarding the Mexican 300,000 barrels oil cut that the US is doing for Mexico.

    Mexico had a problem. They had successfully hedge their oil prices at higher levels so naturally they didn’t want to cut oil production. So they made a deal and the US will cut oil production for Mexico!

    Obviously there are some strings attached! How about helping the US put the squeeze on drug supplies! The Mexican/US border remains closed! Notice the sudden large navy presence in the Caribbean and off of Mexico’s Pacific coast!

    Trump is squeezing the deep state where it really hurts!

    2. It looks like the Saudis are very serious about oil prices this time.

    They are purposely flooding the world with cheap oil!

    Just too make doubly sure the cure for low oil prices is low oil prices, they are busy filling up all of the world’s oil storage facilities!

    How are they doing that, you say?

    They have reserved storage space in all of the world’s unfilled oil storage spaces! The US, Europe, and Asia! Plus every available oil tanker in the world! In a few short weeks there will be no available oil storage space to be had anywhere!

    Yes, I do think the Saudis are deadly serious about oil this time!

    3. So oil countries like Iran (infrastructure issues), Venezuela (heavy oil, infrastructure issues), Nigeria (crime, corruption), Canada (tar sands), US (shale), Russia (arctic) will soon be shutting oil expensive production down even if they don’t want too!

    Some shutdowns can not be reversed once shutdown as the damage is permanent! Canada’s tar sands and Russia’s arctic oil wells are examples of this.

    The political reign of many countries’ goverments may get toppled as a result of running out of money! Venezuela and Iran come to mind!

    Another reason why I think the Saudis are deadly serious! They have a little war going on with Iran that isn’t going so well on the ground!

    They are likely out to kill two birds with one barrel of oil!


    Regarding the recent UVA hydroxychloroquine study trumpeted by mainstream sources, claiming that the patient group given hydroxychloroquine had more fatalities… Chris Martensen dives into the source paper and completely demolishes the conclusions. Turns out the paper was based on chart reviews after the fact, and there was no accounting for many factors (simply because it was a chart review paper, not a well designed and executed double blind study). The biggest confounding factor is that there was no accounting for how sick different patients were when they were put on hydroxychloroquine; the paper acknowledges that it was the sicker patients further along the disease progression that were given the drug as a sort of a “Hail Mary” play to stave off a bad outcome, but that’s not the way to effectively treat with the drug. To put it in plain English, very compromised patients were given the drug late in the game, and it was too late to do any good for a large percentage of them; these were compared against the untreated population where some died, but most didn’t. That is not an apples to apples comparison at all. The paper claims that they accounted for this in the calculations, but they give no details; to me that is the same as “we made shit up to discredit Trump.”

    Like any antiviral, the earlier it is administered, the better the outcome. Also, I believe that there was apparently no mention of whether zinc was included in the treatment; pretty much all of the anecdotal evidence I’ve heard says that zinc is a crucial component: the hydroxychloroquine is the ionophore that ensures the zinc passes easily through cell membranes to defeat the virus replication.

    Coronavirus: Debunking The Hydroxychloroquine ‘Controversy’

    John Day

    Yep, that’s my analysis. They just looked at how people did, and whether they lived or died, and whether they got any medicine, and if so, what?
    One notable thing about that study does involve the timing of treatment, maybe inadvertently, and it is what patients went on to need ventilator support, who had been on what treatment. As I recall off the top of my head 14% on nothing bought the vent. 13% on hydroxychloroquine bought the vent, and something like 7-8% on hydroxychloroquine + azithromycin bought the vent. That at least has some aspect of timing of treatment and an outcome.
    What we do not know at all is when in the sharp learning curve of February and March these cases occurred, how far along they were when diagnosed, what individualized decisions each treating physician made for each VA patient. VA patients are well known for being sick at baseline, lotta’ unapproved off-road mileage, and so on.
    It’s not a study, as we are accustomed to thinking of studies. It was not prospective at all, and certainly not randomized.
    The obvious conclusion is that Trump Sucks and he’s killing veterans.
    “Back to you, Robin”

    John Day

    Here is what Hannity was on about:
    Dr. Zelenko’s approach is to provide treatment to patients before their situation get worse so they don’t have to be admitted into the hospital. His approach has been so effective to the point that he has treated 900 coronavirus patients with 99.99% rate. His approach is to provide treatment to people so that they don’t have to be put on ventilators. His out-patient treatment regimen, which costs only $12, is as follows:
    1. Hydroxychloroquine 200mg twice a day for 5 days
    2. Azithromycin 500mg once a day for 5 days
    3. Zinc sulfate 220mg once a day for 5 days

    John Day

    Hi Boscohorowitz, aka “Robin Morrison”.
    I know you are not reading this…

    V. Arnold

    You are hands down the sharpest tack in the sandbox, so I welcome your input always . . . even when it’s to read me the riot act. To be perfectly blunt, we need you.

    Kindly speak for yourself; not the “we” here at TAE.

    D Benton Smith

    V. Arnold

    Unnecessary Roughness. Penalty : public correction.

    Speaking for myself is all that I did. I have a high regard for Boscohorowitz and so I said it.

    You on the other hand, just took a totally unprovoked cheap shot at me because of some kinda beef you have with him. What, you don’t have enough people who dislike you already that you gotta drum some up by picking fights with strangers?

    My advice for you is to stay away from tough bars and IQ tests.


    The local news tonight talked about pets getting “coronavirus”. They’re treading on thin ice here- on so many levels. Bullies thrive on the anxiety of others.
    Remdesivir didn’t just do poorly with cars-cov-2, it didn’t work on viruses, period. hunh.

    V. Arnold

    A simple request returns ad hom attacks…
    Very telling…

    D Benton Smith

    V. Arnold

    Yours was not a simple request, it was hostile. Now obviously the hostility was aimed primarily at boscohorowitz rather than me, but you didn’t mind using MY communication and MY complement as your weapon. I resent having my good intentions being hi-jacked like that. You got a problem with someone, you tell it to them. Don’t use me as your foil. As was the jab about ad hom attacks and the presumptuous innuendo of saying “Very telling “, well that’s just more of the same isn’t it. You are boring and rather stupid and aggressive, all for no good reason. Well, no, actually. I suppose there is a good reason for the stupid.

    Tell ya what. Let’s just agree to dislike each other. I have no problem at all just forgetting you even exist. From now on I won’t talk to you or about you, and I expect the same from you.

    You are of course entitled to take one more shot at me to save face or whatever. Give it your best shot and then let it go. I’m not going to reply.


    Up here in Toronto, I went for a short walk to the mailbox and back.

    It was bloody cold! Had on my winter jacket, hood up! Gloves on!

    I am still mad that the Dutch stole my warm spring weather!

    My son brought home two 3M N95 masks! Hurray!

    My brother has tried mailing 2 N95 masks from Detroit but they haven’t arrived yet. It wouldn’t surprise me if Canada Customs detains them like forever.


    John Day:

    A few days ago I read about three women coming up with a simple smell test for people who might have the coronavirus but show little or no symptoms.

    First, you take a sniff of vinegar! If you can smell the vinegar you still have some sense of smell! If not, your smell buds are truly and badly fried!

    Second, you take a sniff of peanut butter! If you can not smell the peanut butter then your smell buds are in the process of being or have already been fried by the coronavirus!


    Interesting to learn Raul keeps his sanity by rarely reading the TAE’s comments!

    I see Canada has solodly now replaced the Netherlands in the coronavirus ratings. Next stop Belgium!

    D Benton Smith


    The physician who created the first quinine pill treatment for malaria (John Sappington) was from a little town called Arrow Rock, Missouri, not far from here. Back in that day (1832) most doctors still used leeches (yeah, blood sucking leeches) to treat malaria which was rampant due to Missouri’s many rivers, swamps, soggy bottomland and mosquitoes. Anyway, Sappington and his quinine pill were much maligned because his treatment competed so successfully against theirs. In the end Sappington and the pill prevailed, maybe because more of his patients survived and were thereby more likely to pay their doctor bill.


    Speaking of rankings, former #2 Korea is now dropping like a rock. We should fall to #33 today. Only 6 new cases today, but most everyone is still cautious and wearing a mask.

    My guess is that Brazil will ultimately take the top spot. If they keep testing. They have a lot of catching up to do, but with Bolsonaro in charge, it should only be a matter of time.

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