Wednesday, March 18, 2020

The 'Pothole Solution' to work and money flow while cities are still.

Fast breaking developments and some possibly-useful insights:

1. I am working with Peter Diamandis’s team on a super-rapid "Ventilator XPrize" to produce open source designs for a DIY medical device  that almost any practical/skilled person might assemble from Home Depot parts, to help patients with trouble breathing. Those numbers might peak hundreds of thousands higher than hospitals’ ability to cope. Stay tuned for an announcement.

2. As for saving the economy, everyone is talking about pumping liquidity at a scale never before seen, as both Congress and the Fed wave their hands and invent trillions of dollars that did not exist before! Prop up banks and airlines and banks and hotels and banks and hedge funds… oh and $2000 for all Americans. And while the latter might help with the human misery index, none of this is actual economic stimulus because:

 (a) the rich don’t spend OR produce, and Supply Side has proved to be utter voodoo.
 (b) such fixes do not invent money velocity when no money is moving.

== Call it the Pothole Solution! ==

There is a kind of stimulus that could actually help. It’s the same stimulus I and others have been urging for 10+ years and Republicans have blocked, at every turn, This would seem a perfect time for investment in ... INFRASTRUCTURE, the kind of actual productive work that has the very best economic multiplier effect with well-paid jobs that ripple through the economy and that actually build stuff we’ll actually use for a century.


What? you don’t think infrastructure work can go on while the nation hunkers down to avoid germ spreading? Oh for Pete’s sake, I’m not envisioning massive bridge or dam projects. But even during a plague, plenty of jobs can be managed with a lot of “social distancing” among workers!  For example, small teams of 2 or 3 workers can get plenty done with very little human contact.

The crux: there is zero reason any city should have any remaining potholes or bad sidewalks after Covid 19, since very small teams can head out to handle such gigs while streets are relatively empty. Likewise, empty schools can be repaired and fixed up by teensy teams, spreading out in vast numbers. 

A much better use of government subsidy money than just fire-hosing cash in all directions. 


3. Blatantly, this semi-crisis -- (a disease with very high infectiousness but moderate to low death rate (so long as hospitals and ventilator supplies hold out)) - is going to leave us better prepared for the next - possibly much worse - nasty thing to hit. (Especially if we euthanize (figuratively) the treasonous and insane-stupid political party whose pathological fact-hating and lying got us into all this.)

One industry to dramatically change will be meeting-ware and systems for work-from-home, including ways to manage such workers. We are nowhere near the capabilities that were predicted for 2020, largely because managerial castes were unwilling to put in the effort. That will change. As will Augmented Reality… (in part by using my patents).

So will the movement toward local-sourcing. Expect a push for highly automated factories near major U.S. cities using cheap natural gas to transition toward self-sustainable production chains. If handled well, we'll see globalization end gracefully, with autonomous production and even food-growing in urban centers and massively reduced shipping costs. 

If it’s handled badly? Massive unemployment and then revolution. 

As for freedom, I do not expect any of these emergency measures to affect our root instincts of individual eccentricity that have been drilled into us by 70 years of TV and films.  What might do that is if the traitors regain all power and finally eviscerate the one branch of government they couldn't control under Trump - the Civil Service.

Next time, I’ll share with you some wisdom about markets and all those concocted trillions


82 comments:

Frederick said...

I'm going to have to disagree with you here, for once. Depression-era Works Project Administration jobs are good, but they'll take time to spin up. There are people — like service employees (waiters, bartenders) — who've lost their jobs. They weren't making much to start with, even with an extra Uber job, and were living paycheck to paycheck. They have no savings, no pension, no unemployment insurance. And even with rent deferrals and utility deferrals they still have expenses like food and medicine. They can use — they need — an infusion of cash to keep going. Sure, there are food banks, but can those handle the surge? Also, this is the opposite of the supply-side economics you rightly hate: it's demand-side at its most basic. If we're going to inject liquidity, let's give it to those who desperately need it to survive.

David Brin said...

Frederick who said that was the only ingredient? B ut pothole fixing is an example of many kinds of tasks that can be ramped UP in this crisis.

scidata said...

The clown-prince was right back in 2016. I certainly got tired of winning.

locumranch said...


The DIY Ventilator attempt is a futile quest, analogous to reinventing the wheel, mostly because the traditional mechanical ventilator requires the medically intensive interventions mentioned by Tim_W at end of last thread.

BiPAP or CPAP are much better options, being easily available, non-invasive, user friendly, almost as effective & relatively cheap. A commercially manufactured CPAP costs about $240 USD and a store-bought BiPAP costs about $800 USD.

Unfortunately, their wide-scale use requires an acceptance of risk deemed 'inconceivable' by delusional western sensibilities determined to punish the suboptimal medical provider, as in "I'll sue your arse and you'll never practice medicine again".

As compared to the rest of the world, US medicine has become so ruinously expensive because of a perverse US medical liability system which assumes that an imperfect outcome -- or an imperfect device -- equals negligence.

I totally support DIY medical care for this very reason.

Finally, I need to point out that pothole repair is much more complicated than throwing in some gravel:

Assuming the appropriate licenses, certifications and insurances, even the smallest'pothole repair' jobs (1) must be pre-approved by multiple agencies including municipal planning, traffic enforcement, code enforcement, law enforcement & environment safety, (2) require a government-mandated bidding process that considers the gender, race & ethnicity of the prospective applicant and (3) must conform to specific standards & codes as set forth in jurisdiction-specific regulations.


Best

Alfred Differ said...

I know how to fix a few things around the house and garden, but some one would have to show me the rest of it. Any pothole I fixed should be suspect. 😏

Park sprinklers? Sure.

duncan cairncross said...

Borders close at midnight tonight!
And I hear Australia is doing the same

Jacinda Ardern is continuing to impress me

duncan cairncross said...

Amazon tells me I have a new book to read!

And on my birthday!

Thanks Dr Brin

 Ashley said...

The previous post had a comment about NSAIDs like ibuprofen, which looks to be false information spread by well meaning, but ill informed people across the internet.

Link:
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/51929628

yana said...

All right, we have enough information to start an extrapolation. Just a start, no need to pick it apart, it's already in error with tomorrow's news.

The new virus is at a sickeningly sweet spot for its ilk, no symptoms for as long as 16 days after infection. SARS was much quicker, thus easier to catch and contain. There are other coronoa virii which circulate through humanity, but those are more serious in kids than adults. This one is reversed in demographic effect. But the one salient fact is that the antibodies one gains by surviving the other corona virii fade out of our immune systems after a year or two.

So this one is our new flu. It will recirculate every year or two. Flattening the curve is the catchword, and is certainly the right thing to do now, during our first encounter. Heed your local heath commissioner. But we should begin considering the curve as more like a sine wave.

The all-clear will eventually sound, either by proclamation, vaccine, or disregard. Once the curve of the first wave is flattened, there will be millions of survivors around the world. Expect a gradual loosening of social contraction. Either political leaders will come under economic pressure, or a yearly vaccine lets Pos's and Neg's mix freely, or the millions of Pos young will simply start to ignore the rules. The young are restless, you know.

It's the middle one which is unlikely, a vaccine developed before social contraction is relaxed. This makes it likely that the virus will spread to nearly everyone during this first wave, but thankfully the wave will be elongated to a degree matching our rise in medical capacity. Obey your local health commissioner. But there are other consequences too.

Universal health care looks inevitable now. As medical capacity ramps up, the major investor will be government. As claim values soar, gov't has two choices: bail out insurance companies or just do health care cheaper without the middleman. Since we already bought most of the equipment, the decision is easier. Instead of a public option, the debate will be about what a private option looks like.

Demographics will change. Shouldn't need to explain, wouldn't want to, but it means a political tilt lightening conservatism's mass on the balance. The wealth of boomers has been trickling down for 15 years, but soon comes a lump sum. Folks 14 to 40 will come out the other side of this with exuberance. Expect a flowering of various arts, and a bright tinge of hedonism on every petal.

Larry Hart said...

yana:

Demographics will change. Shouldn't need to explain, wouldn't want to, but it means a political tilt lightening conservatism's mass on the balance. The wealth of boomers has been trickling down for 15 years, but soon comes a lump sum. Folks 14 to 40 will come out the other side of this with exuberance. Expect a flowering of various arts, and a bright tinge of hedonism on every petal.


Exactly the outcome envisioned in Watchmen. The difference being a viral disease substitutes in place of the telepathic alien.

(With the depressing caveat that the Right has been maneuvering for years if not decades to insure their stranglehold on power despite demographic shifts. I'd invest in guillotine futures)

locumranch said...


I agree with Yana on all points:

The all-clear will eventually sound, yet big government will maintain vigilance. Travel bans will remain in effect, as well as any & all emergency measures. Universal health care will become mandatory.

Armed with thermal scanners, the Health Police will be everywhere as they 'stop & frisk', demand papers & meter out immediate justice. Zero Tolerance will be their mantra.

Flatulence equals a fine; teenage skin eruptions equal a misdemeanor; sneezing is a felony; a hug equals sexual assault; and a coughing spell merits summary execution.

With its invisible microscopic enemies, this Health Emergency will never end. We will obey the government for our own good. Freedom, along with each & every constitutional protection, will become a dim memory, a relic of a more primitive age.

Safety is Job One.


Best

A.F. Rey said...

Locum, re: your last post, Groucho said it best.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BB6V5Zbj7DI

David Brin said...

Happy Birthday Duncan! And I hope my comedy gives you at least a couple of smiles.

“Expect a flowering of various arts, and a bright tinge of hedonism on every petal.”

My “neohippies” in The Postman?

===
“Flatulence equals a fine; teenage skin eruptions equal a misdemeanor; sneezing is a felony; a hug equals sexual assault; and a coughing spell merits summary execution.”

The operative thing is not whether we’ll live our future lives under scrutiny, but who scrutinizes and whether powers are subject to sousveillance. The very same degree of precautionary transparency might be applied LATERALLY and largely unconsciously by tech-empowered citizens themselves, whose AR glasses include thermal tools and vast databases working in background. The state might have very little role in such a virtually crime-free world.

Two fallouts:

1. That could still be an oppressive future, if it’s like Chinese social credit aiming to enforce homogeneity laterally. I elsewhere discuss what’s needed to prevent that - a VALUE SYSTEM.

2. But locum actually WANTS the future he described. a top-down pyramid of hierarchy and privilege. It’s what his masters tell him to want.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Pothole solution is brilliant. We have a maintenance deficit of about $15 trillion dollars from years of neglect.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

But locum actually WANTS the future he described. a top-down pyramid of hierarchy and privilege. It’s what his masters tell him to want.


It seems more accurate to me to say that loc's position is that we already live in such a world. And that nanny-state, feminist, urban liberals are the ones at the top of that pyramid.

Since so many of his tirades remind me of Dave Sim, it's probably not far off to infer that he's jumping on the bandwagon as a way of demonstrating that the wheels have fallen off.

Keith Halperin said...

@Everybody:
I've read/heard that the countries currently most successful in controlling the spread of COVID-!9 are (in no particular order) PRC, ROC, Singapore, South Korea, and Japan.
Are there any Western countries doing a good job? If so, which ones?

Thanks,
KH

Lloyd Flack said...

I think Germany is doing a good job. Like the countries that you mentioned it has a very aggressive testing program with rapid follow up and testing of contacts.

David Brin said...

The US may wind up APPEARING to do well because of wide open spaces.

Keith Halperin said...

@Lloyd: Thank you. Have you heard anything about how Switzerland, Austria, and/or the Scandinavian Countries are doing? Re:aggressive testing: it was discussed on the Charlie Stross blog (if I got it correctly) that testing everyone daily for about 2 months would be a possible alternative to national SIP. For the US, this would require ~20G tests, which at the estimated costs of less than $1 apiece (from the U.K.-based Mologic Ltd., in collaboration with Senegalese research foundation Institut Pasteur Du Dakar, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-03-16/ten-minute-coronavirus-test-could-be-game-changer-for-africa) is certainly economically feasible (even in normal times).

@Dr: Brin. Thanks, too. From what I'm hearing, the U.S. seems a bit more like the "dumpster-fire pirate death ship". I very much hope what I'm hearing is wrong....

Stay Well, All

Larry Hart said...

Ok, now that there's talk in the mainstream media about Trump possibly postponing or canceling the November elections...

It's too cute for words to insist that the sitting president is empowered to forego elections and therefore remain in office indefinitely. Constitutionally, there is no mechanism for changing a federal election at all, but we all know Article II says Trump can do whatever he wants, so it is conceivable he could order the election cancelled and that the Senate and the courts would back him up.

But nevertheless, his term ends at noon (EST) on January 20, 2021. If there's no election, then there's no president. Trump has no more claim on the office after that than Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, or Joe Biden have. So do we have the War of Five Kings? Whoever the military or the "tough people" back is president?

Here's a thought. If Trump thinks it is not feasible to hold an election in November, he is perfectly able to forfeit the election to his opponent.

I suppose in the direst of circumstances, the Electoral College can still vote in December, the states designating their electors in God knows what manner. The popular election is not mandated Constitutionally, after all.

Tim Wolter said...

Japan has some good numbers. Unlike some other countries out there they are probably honest ones too. Helps to be a fairly germophobic culture to start with.

TW

Zepp Jamieson said...

I can't vouch for this information, but on the face of it, it seems plausible enough:
Since this is a respiratory disease, there's a lot of concern about the great need for ventilators. One element that may reduce the demand for such is that a CPAP or BiPAP machine, referably with a heated water reservoir, may reduce lung inflammation and keep mucus soft and moist, reducing the severity of respiratory symptoms, which are the leading cause of death and severe to critical illness. (CPAPs can be found for about $300). It won't protect you from getting sick, but it might improve your odds of not becoming critically sick.

Sociotard said...

I just got through my own round of dry cough, fever, and fatigue (probably just a banal cold). I only just now found time to address something egregious from Dr. Brin's last post:

Blue states have mostly done what governments should do, in good times, socked away rainy-day funds. Watch, oh you supposed "deficit hawks" (actually stunning hypocrites), as for the upteenth time Democrats prove to be the fiscally responsible ones.

Uh, citation please? because I ran the numbers myself, and the red states are in a much better position to take on more debt if they need to.

STEP 1: GROUP 'EM
to avoid outliers, lets actually lump up states into equal populations. Otherwise, with so many little red states, the numbers are skewed. So lets lump them into five equally populous groups, sorted by liberalism (measured by popular vote in congressional and presidential contests for the last 8 years)

Dark Red
ID, AR, LA, WV, ND, NE, KS, KY, AL, SD, TN, MS, AK, MO, TX*0.4873

Red
TX 0.5127, MT, IN, SC, GA, AZ, OH, FL 0.3845

Purple
FL*0.6155, NC, IA, PA, NV, WI, CO, MI, NH*0.9909

Blue
NH*0.0091, VA, MN, NM, ME, OR, NJ, WA, IL, CT, DE, RI, CA*0.229

Dark Blue
CA*0.771, MD, NY, VT, HI, MA, DC

yes, some states had to be split up. That means their stats get split too. (so the Dark Blue states get 77.1% of California's debt and California's GDP)

STEP 2: GET DATA
I used:
https://www.usgovernmentspending.com/compare_state_debt

STEP 3: PROCESS

Blogger hates tables, so I'll reformat:

Deep Blue
985.8 billions in debt
5,641.2 billions in GDP
17.5% debt as percentage of GDP

Blue
758.2 billions in debt
4,818.3 billions in GDP
15.7% debt as percentage of GDP

Purple
510.9 billions in debt
3,970.4 billions in GDP
12.9% debt as percentage of GDP

Red
507.6 billions in debt
3,878.4 billions in GDP
13.1% debt as percentage of GDP

Deep Red
555.5 billions in debt
3,801.3 billions in GDP
14.6% debt as percentage of GDP

So the Red states are in a better position to take on more debt if they need to.

What were you basing your claim on.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Ashley: My information on NSAIDs and Ibuprofin were directly from the World Health Organisation. I realize they aren't infallible, but I do regard them as a trustworthy source.

Zepp Jamieson said...

California's on lockdown, but it's not as draconian as it sounds. You can still run necessary errands, go outside, etc. You won't get shot for walking your dog, even if you don't pick up after the mutt.

I wondered what became of my post about Cpap machines, and discovered it very nearly duplicated a post locumranch had in the same thread. So an understandable edit, that.

At least four Senators, all Republican, are implicated in the rapidly-mushrooming stock dumping scandal. While they didn't have information to information of the various companies involved not available to other traders or the public (which would be insider trading, a felony) they did deliberately mislead the public and by extention the market as to the severity of the oncoming crisis. They should resign.

David Brin said...

Here’s a video of my friend’s makeshift ventilator!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=036UAwQ6PZw&authuser=0


Sociotard are you freaking kidding me? What empowers ability to take on new debt is not just the amount of current debt, but your ability to pay.

Try subtracting ASSETS! Like CA’s massive rainy day fund which is kept separate from its debt load but helps CA get favorable rates.

Try then DIVIDING BY POPULATION. And multiplying by average citizen wealth.

===

David Brin said...


I’ll be donating blood saturday. My 96th pint. Hoping I stay uninfected enough to reach 100!

gregory byshenk said...

I haven't been following everything closely (due to some work-related things), but from what I can see from here (Leiden, NL), much of Europe is handling things reasonably well.

Italy was hit hard without adequate preparation, but pretty much everywhere else there are reasonable plans in place (varying depending on location).

Here in the Netherlands we are not on 'lockdown', but bars and restaurants are closed, pretty much all public events are cancelled or postponed, and everyone who can work from home has been told to do so. (For my employer, the offices are closed, other than to essential personnel, and 'essential' is determined by management, not personal opinion.)

One of the problems with an aggressive testing and isolation scenario (as was pointed out by the head of the Health Service here), is that it doesn't really solve the problem. If Covid-19 is out in the world, then as soon as you stop your "lockdown", you are in the same position as you were before. The Dutch plan (and a number of others) is based on 'flattening the curve'. That is, we know people will be getting sick, but we need to ensure that there is treatment available for those who are sick, and there are no deaths due to insufficient hospital beds.

Note that this is different than (what seems to be?) the UK plan, which is just let everyone get sick. It may be true that such is the quickest option - but that option will almost certainly lead to many more unnecessary deaths as the health care system is overwhelmed.

Smurphs said...

RE: Stock Dumping

Sorry, guys. Much ado about nothing. No insider trading needed.

I dumped some stock last month. We'll see how that works long term, we don't know yet. Remember, I also have to time the market rise as well for it to do much good.

I dumped stock in 2008. Worked out really well for me, but I'll be the first to admit I am no trading genius. I made my bets and it worked, that time.

I just had to pay attention and use some foresight. And get lucky.

Now, if, of example, we find people buying Airline stock before the bailout packages are published, that would be a different story.

Larry Hart said...

The fact that our leaders cannot be trusted even in a crisis like this is a big part of the problem.

https://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2020/Pres/Maps/Mar20.html#item-1

Should you have any doubts that the modern-day Republican Party, particularly when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is making the calls, has absolutely no interest in bipartisanship, this situation should put those doubts to rest. Back in the 1980s, when the staunchly liberal Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill and the staunchly conservative president Ronald Reagan needed to get something done, they would each make their speeches, and then they would get together and figure out a compromise that both sides could live with. This is also what happened with COVID-19 relief bill v2.0; with the Senate out of town for the week, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) & Co. got together with the Trump administration (represented by Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin), and came up with something both sides could live with. By contrast, the bill unveiled by McConnell on Thursday was crafted with zero input from Democrats. If the Majority Leader can't play nice with the other side under these circumstances, then he can't play nice ever. Asked about his total disregard for bipartisan cooperation, McConnell shrugged and said, "Trust me, this is the quickest way to get it done."

To be blunt, we do not trust him. And predictably, his proposal has already become a political football, with Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) describing it as a "non-starter." ...


https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/19/opinion/trump-coronavirus.html

...
Finally, about Trump: Over the past few days state TV, I mean Fox News, and right-wing pundits have abruptly pivoted from dismissing Covid-19 as a liberal hoax to demanding an end to all criticism of the president in a time of national emergency. This should come as no surprise.

But this is where the history of the Trump pandemic — all those wasted weeks when we did nothing because Donald Trump didn’t want to hear anything that might hurt him politically — becomes relevant. It shows that even when American lives are at risk, this administration’s policy is all about Trump, about what he thinks will make him look good, never mind the national interest.

What this means is that as Congress allocates money to reduce the economic pain from Covid-19, it shouldn’t give Trump any discretion over how the money is spent. For example, while it may be necessary to provide funds for some business bailouts, Congress must specify the rules for who gets those funds and under what conditions. Otherwise you know what will happen: Trump will abuse any discretion to reward his friends and punish his enemies. That’s just who he is.

Dealing with the coronavirus would be hard in the best of circumstances. It will be especially hard when we know that we can’t trust either the judgment or the motives of the man who should be leading the response. But you go into a pandemic with the president you have, not the president you wish you had.

Larry Hart said...

What we already know...

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/20/opinion/trump-republicans-coronavirus.html

...
It’s tempting to say that now is not the time for partisan recrimination. But this is the second consecutive Republican administration to lead the United States to disaster. The difference is that it took George W. Bush most of his two terms to bring the country to the brink of economic collapse — Trump has done it in less than four years. He’s even hit some of the same milestones; Bush let Hurricane Katrina drown New Orleans, Trump let Hurricane Maria destroy Puerto Rico.

In other words, now absolutely is the time for recriminations, because it’s the only way we might avoid another such administration in a country where control of government moves like a pendulum.

The public needs to know that the Republican Party is culpable for the present crisis, just as it was culpable for the Great Recession, even if it did not originate either. It needs to know that in the face of a deadly pandemic, some Republican lawmakers appear to have looked to profit rather than to prepare. It needs to understand that the deadly incompetence of Republican governance is a feature, not a bug.
...

Larry Hart said...

@Dr Brin (and other Californians),

If California is on lockdown, can you actually donate blood on Saturday?

More to the point, for an outsider wondering what a lockdown might look like here, what exactly are you allowed and forbidden to do? I'm hearing hysterical things like "You can't go out to walk your dog," or conversely, "It's ridiculous that you can go out to walk your dog." Given the fact that certain businesses, (grocery stores, pharmacies, maybe gas stations ) must remain open, and therefore, that employees of those places must be allowed to go to their jobs, just what does a "complete shut down" look like?

Inquiring minds really do want to know, and not from sources whose main concern is public relations.

Anonymous said...

Are there any Western countries doing a good job? If so, which ones?

Iceland has what looks like a very rigorous testing program, following a fast response by the government.

sociotard said...

I accounted for population. And I gave it in terms of a percentage of GDP, which is better than average citizen wealth.

Why would they stock up on assets instead of just paying off debt?

 Ashley said...

gregory byshenk said... "Note that this is different than (what seems to be?) the UK plan, which is just let everyone get sick. It may be true that such is the quickest option - but that option will almost certainly lead to many more unnecessary deaths as the health care system is overwhelmed."

Bollocks. That's not what is happening here. We're doing the whole social isolation thing, with businesses closed etc.

locumranch said...


It's cute that David is still trying to spread optimism & good feels like a bloodbourne illness with a storyline that remains eerily reminiscent of "What's so bad about feeling good?", a 1968 comedic farce starring George Peppard.

https://rarefilmm.com/2019/02/whats-so-bad-about-feeling-good-1968/

And, speaking of 'Giving Plagues', I am taking odds as to whether or not the Sanctuary States like California & New York will receive even a dimes-worth of that YUGE Congressional Federal Stimulus Package being passed right now, in view of the recent federal court ruling that allows the Trump Administration to deny federal aid to the so-called Sanctuary States.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/26/nyregion/sanctuary-cities-funding.html

It would be hilarious, would it not, if sanctuary cities everywhere were entirely devastated by the financial consequences of the coronavirus as punishment for their overt secessionist sanctuary state heresy?

All of that filthy stimulus money could rain down upon the Trump-supporting Red States, making them wealthy beyond their wildest dreams, in a positive sum 'win-win' scenario that guarantees President Trump's reelection in 2020 and sentences those uppity bicoastal progressives to a generation of crushing poverty.


Best

David Brin said...

LH we’re are not physically locked down. There are no cops patrolling the streets and shouting “get back inside!” I intend to go to my PO Box today and then Target. Maybe even Home Depot.

The blood drives are exempt, though suffering modifications. In fact, it’s urgent.

There are reasons why companies and governments will build up rainy day funds WHILE having debt. Debt payoff is not always the right thing. At low rates you use the stockpile as collateral.

“It would be hilarious, would it not, if sanctuary cities everywhere were entirely devastated by the financial consequences of the coronavirus as punishment for their overt secessionist sanctuary state heresy?”

What a deeply sick and treasonous and criminal mind. We’ve discussed before how you’ll do when California, which feeds the nation and is the world’s 6th economy, takes OR, WA and Hawaii and likely Alaska with us. Fool.

“All of that filthy stimulus money could rain down upon the Trump-supporting Red States…” Now you’re just masturbating. Enjoy.

Tim Wolter said...

Gregory

Update on the situation in NL much appreciated. In theory I was expecting to be in den Hague, right down the street from you, later next month. As things stand.....not looking good. But of course we need to play chicken a bit regards how long to wait on cancelling/rescheduling flights. Oh, and Ashley, then it was off to the UK for a few weeks. Also not looking promising.

I'm no mood to growl about politics in the face of a crisis. I realize that others feel differently on this point and that it's a free country.

But I do wonder exactly what information was presented to the President that prompted what all concerned have to agree are broad sweeping measures. It must have been pretty grim stuff to cause him to blow up the strong economy that would almost certainly have carried him into a second term.

First cases in my community yesterday. No doubt more on the way.

T. Wolter


Larry Hart said...

@Dr Brin,

loc is just a walking advertisement for tumbrels and guillotines.

David Brin said...

"guillotines"? Nah, just pity. And safe distancing.

Speaking of delusion. As GOP senators cash out with brazen insider trading and Trump fires the professionals left in counter-espionage and counter-terror, Tim keeps absolutely refusing to consider anything a red line.

Tim Wolter said...

David

I'm not going to get sucked into politics today. But you are being unfair here. The question of red lines was posed to me two weeks or so back. I answered. You ignored said answer.

That's fine, but put the onus where it belongs, Sir.

If what you really mean is that you and I have red lines so different as to be mutually unrecognizable then say so. That would be fair.

TW

Jon S. said...

Sociotard, I have zero debt currently. However, I am unable to secure loans, because I'm also disabled and have very little ability to pay those loans back, something creditors take into account for individuals just as they do for governments.

MS may have less debt load, but given the state's existing economy, they're also stretched pretty much to their limit covering current expenses and debt, and would be unlikely to be able to secure further debt. CA, on the other hand, demonstrates the ability to service much more debt than they currently hold, and could likely get loans as needed. Creditors don't really care that much about how much you owe currently - they care about how good you are at paying those debts.

Cari Burstein said...

We've been on shelter in place for a few days now in my county in CA, so when this new order went up for the state I'm fairly sure it didn't change my situation. The local order though specifically called out exceptions for recreation/exercise as long as social distancing policies were followed with people you don't live with (i.e. walking your dog, going on a jog). I didn't see specific mention of this on the statewide order, but it was somewhat sparse on details aside from the list of essential business categories.

I would expect they still want people to feel able to go outside on walks and such, and I doubt they are going to be enforcing anything other than problematic stuff like large crowds at beaches/parks (if open). I'm seeing more people than usual out walking dogs, biking, playing games in the cul-de-sac I live on, etc. This is probably a necessary valve of sanity without adding undue risk, especially for people who live in more cramped circumstances (which you see a lot of in the apartments in this area given how ridiculous the rents are). The statewide order is probably going to be mostly useful in forcing businesses to shut down that were operating dangerously under the circumstances, and maybe breaking up larger gatherings ignoring the existing guidance.

Zepp Jamieson said...

We've been watching season two of "Kingdom", the Korean zombie/pandemic series on Netflix, and we've been calling it, tongue-in-cheek, "Koreans having a worse time of it than we are." (Yes, it is an amazing series, well worth watching).
But it got me to wondering: was are conditions in North Korea? South Korea seems to be doing rigorous testing and containment, and seem to be flattening their curve. But NK isn't even admitting the pandemic exists, let alone in their country. Kim Jong-Un is even more inept and dishonest than Trump, and their medical system considerably worse. It must be horrible there.
Meanwhile, Republican who is so stupid and bigoted it's actually kinda funny award goes to some clown in Kansas, a GOP official named Rodriquez, who yesterday said that the reason Kansas doesn't have many cases of the virus is because they don't have many Chinese people there.
Um, no, it's because you don't have many people there. The good news is corn and wheat aren't vectors. The bad news is that morons are.
And Rachel Maddow has been showing deviation maps furnished by the body thermometer outfit that sends temps and locals to a central database. It suggest strongly that Florida is likely to be the world's next northern Italy.

Larry Hart said...

Tim Wolter:

But I do wonder exactly what information was presented to the President that prompted what all concerned have to agree are broad sweeping measures. It must have been pretty grim stuff to cause him to blow up the strong economy that would almost certainly have carried him into a second term.


I'm not sure what you're considering Trump "blowing up" the economy. Aren't all of the broad, sweeping measures being considered as a reaction to an economy that has already blown itself up--from broken supply chains, lack of available workers, and lack of customers?

gregory byshenk said...

Ashley said...
gregory byshenk said... "Note that this is different than (what seems to be?) the UK plan, which is just let everyone get sick. It may be true that such is the quickest option - but that option will almost certainly lead to many more unnecessary deaths as the health care system is overwhelmed."

Bollocks. That's not what is happening here. We're doing the whole social isolation thing, with businesses closed etc.

My apologies. That was what I read about the UK most recently, under the 'managed spread' idea. Looking at the more recent news, the government has changed their plans to something more sensible.

And there is enough silliness to go around, certainly. The various states (including within the EU) closing borders is extremely stupid, in my opinion. Not only is it pointless (since the virus is already present and not something that one can keep out) but it also will quickly start interfering with trade and supply chains (for example the kilometer-long queues reported at the German-Polish border).

Larry Hart said...

Ok, I'm in Illinois, and we're hearing that the governor is about to announce a shelter-in-place directive for the entire state. So far, what they're describing isn't draconian--no tanks in the street with storm troopers arresting anyone. We can do "essential" things like grocery shop and repair furnaces and such, which means that a certain number of people still have to get out to places of business. But it's a strong encouragement to stay away from gathering in offices when one is able to work remotely, which I am.

I am currently employed in IT in an industry (health care) which is not going to be shut down. Many people are not so fortunate. If you work at a theater chain or a shopping mall or drive a cab, I can only imagine what many are going through at the moment.

A useful bailout package would be aimed at subsidizing employers to keep workers on the payroll even if no work is being done, so that when the crisis presumably passes, those people have jobs to return to and those companies don't have to find new hires from scratch. And also, in this country, so those people aren't suddenly without health coverage. I despair a bit that I hear nothing of that sort from any elected officials, even the Democrats.

David Brin said...

In the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, German authorities are recommending stocking up on sausage and cheese. This is known as the -- wait for it --

wurst käse scenario.

Blame author Bill deSmedt for sharing that one

David Brin said...

Tim your “red lines” were vague and easily movable and almost-perfectly tuned to never put you in a forced choice whether to STOP making shrugs and excuses for these monsters.

How about this one… if the firing and replacement by partisan shills of counter-intelligence and counter terror and defense officials continue from this horrifically treasonous level ONE step further? Even one. That should be a red line for you, if you have a patriotic bone left in your body, sir.

OTOH Dr. Tacitus, I’d like to know what you think of my pal Steve’s DIY respiration assistance machine: video prototype: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=036UAwQ6PZw&authuser=0

And I still feel states and cities should send out small teams of guys to fill potholes. Two guys at the yard filling asphault trailers and fifty teams of two guys each, staying apart from each other and heading out to empty streets and schools to fix stuff. Almost zero risk and a LOT of paychecks.

Tim Wolter said...

The machine in question is not a ventilator it is more or less a bipap. I don't think these are in particularly short supply. A mechanical ventilator is what you'd be using in the ICU for really sick people and has the many associated support needs I mentioned at the end of the last thread.

I could build an actual ventilator, and probably cheaper than that. But I can't conjure up an anesthetist, an RT, a bunch of sedation and paralyzing drugs, ongoing nutritional support while on the vent etc.

So....fun but not that impressive immo.

Your first paragraph appears to confirm that we have divergent views that are perhaps so far out of each other's focus as to be difficult to appreciate. We can discuss this another day when it would be more appropriate.

TW

Sociotard said...

Try subtracting ASSETS! Like CA’s massive rainy day fund which is kept separate from its debt load but helps CA get favorable rates.

Try then DIVIDING BY POPULATION. And multiplying by average citizen wealth.


I had to poke around for Assets by state. Again, I am using equally populous blocks of states, so I don't need to divide by population.

https://www.truthinaccounting.org/library/doclib/FSOS-booklet-2019.pdf

Again, summing up all assets and so forth, using their categories:

Deep Red
Reported Assets: 572.7 Billion
Less: Capital Assets: -263.8 Billion
Restricted by Law or Contract: -149.9 Billion
Assets Available to Pay Bills: 159 Billion
Less: Bills: -205 Billion
Money available to pay bills: -46 Billion

Red
Reported Assets: 673 Billion
Less: Capital Assets: -271 Billion
Restricted by Law or Contract: -207.2 Billion
Assets Available to Pay Bills: 194.8 Billion
Less: Bills: -307.5 Billion
Money available to pay bills: -112.7 Billion

Purple
Reported Assets: 652.4 Billion
Less: Capital Assets: -310.2 Billion
Restricted by Law or Contract: -137.5 Billion
Assets Available to Pay Bills: 204.7 Billion
Less: Bills: -357.6 Billion
Money available to pay bills: -152.9 Billion

Blue
Reported Assets: 739.6 Billion
Less: Capital Assets: -330.9 Billion
Restricted by Law or Contract: -158.4 Billion
Assets Available to Pay Bills: 250.3 Billion
Less: Bills: -799.7 Billion
Money available to pay bills: -549.4 Billion

Deep Blue
Reported Assets: 986 Billion
Less: Capital Assets: -518 Billion
Restricted by Law or Contract: -134.4 Billion
Assets Available to Pay Bills: 333.6 Billion
Less: Bills: -958.9 Billion
Money available to pay bills: -625.3 Billion


Blue States have more assets. They also have WAAAY more obligations. The Red states are in a better financial position, overall

Acacia H. said...

Thank you for the touch of humor, Dr. Brin, from someone who just took a sick day off because she's not feeling that great. (Light-headedness and fatigue mostly.)

If I were to take a guess as to what is going to come? We have Hurricane Season coming. It's probably going to be one with several storms that hit the southern states which will completely disrupt efforts to quarantine this virus. It will subside initially and then it will spring up and infect a huge portion of the South including Texas, Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, and the Gulf States. Thousands will die from a combination of storms and illness.

Amidst the increased deaths and other social problems you will see people continue to pull together despite what the cynics like Locu claim will happen. There will be assholes who try to be all Survivalist on everyone but most of society will come together as neighbors and friends, even to those who are seriously ill.

In the end, the U.S. won't have the Worst Case Scenario but still likely will see over one million dead as a result of COVID-19, and possibly as many as two million dead. Many of those who die will be in Southern States and Texas due to the disruption caused by hurricanes and tropical storms. There will be fallout in the economy which will go into a significant recession to outright depression. And even the most diehard Republican voter will remember who tried to fuck them over. And it wasn't the Democrats.

Acacia

Acacia H. said...

And now on a scientific note? Holographic keypads are now being used in China to prevent spread of COVID-19. It looks more like it's using curved mirrors and lights but it still registers "button presses" and allows people to access these buttons without touching them and thus avoiding potentially contaminated surfaces.

Human ingenuity will find a way. :)

Acacia H.

TCB said...

Scuttlebutt is that the airports in New Zealand are chockablock with private jets right now.

In related news, I feel like a duck should come down and give me $100 for using scuttlebutt and chockablock in the same sentence.

David Brin said...

Tim, 'let's just walk away and agree to disagree' is not a valid approach when your nation is teertering.

I ask you to offer ONE potential explanation for the aggressive purge of civil service officers responsible for detecting and countering terrorism, espionage, sabotage and foreign meddling.

I'd love to hear a plausible theory - other than outright treason - while the latter is absolutely supported by every other phenomenon in this administration... including the words of Vladimir Putin himself. So at risk of rudeness that is utterly justified as one man who loves America to another...

... what red line in NEXT week's news would tip you over to standing up, as our parents did in similar straits?

In fact, I asked this weeks ago, SPECIFICALLY naming the War on Fact Professions and asking how far it must go, before you'll admit it is an existential threat? You armwaved the question away. And now we have professionals in infectious disease AND in counter-espionage dropping like flies.

Again I ask: what will it take?

David Brin said...

TCB please track down this Scuttlebutt!

Zepp Jamieson said...

"wurst käse scenario."

Right. When the revolution comes, you'll be first up against the wall.

Keith Halperin said...

@ Everyone:
https://www.statnews.com/2020/03/20/understanding-what-works-how-some-countries-are-beating-back-the-coronavirus/

Stay Well,
Keith

Anonymous said...

Re: New Zealand and private jets:

https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12316696
https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12316690

Nearly a week old now. Not entirely unexpected.

David Brin said...

An appraisal of non-pharmaceutical methods to treat COVID
https://www.imperial.ac.uk/media/imperial-college/medicine/sph/ide/gida-fellowships/Imperial-College-COVID19-NPI-modelling-16-03-2020.pdf

locumranch said...


We’ve discussed before how you’ll do when California, which feeds the nation and is the world’s 6th economy, takes OR, WA and Hawaii and likely Alaska with us[DB].

In black & white, our fine host offers up a typical Blue State ultimatum -- he threatens to end the game if we fail to play by his rules -- proving once again that nothing succeeds like secession.

Welcome to the New Confederacy, Amigo!!

It makes me wonder if the CORONAVIRUS HYSTERIA -- created by the main stream media --is part of a cold-blooded progressive conspiracy to blow-up the US economy in order to defeat Trump, destroy the private US healthcare system and ram Socialism down the throat of a credulous & increasingly desperate US polity.

Your first paragraph appears to confirm that we have divergent views that are perhaps so far out of each other's focus as to be difficult to appreciate. We can discuss this another day when it would be more appropriate[TW].

Along the lines of a self-fulfilling prophecy, I wonder if our host's belief in an 'existential threat' might be -- in & of itself -- the primary existential threat that we face, mostly because negotiation is often thought impossible in the face of an existential threat.

Hence the progressive cohort's extreme unwillingness to even consider negotiation with a political right that they now refer to as 'Evil Incarnate', and the progressive cohort's increasing & unproductive reliance on ultimatum-based brinkmanship.

And, since we have already heard & accepted this type of progressive ultimatum so often -- especially from the snobbish Coastal Elite -- we all wonder why those damn snobs haven't left yet.
,

Best

Larry Hart said...

From one of those New Zeland links above:

New Zealand has so far escaped the community transmission which triggered skyrocketing numbers of sick in other countries, such as Italy and Iran.


Well, letting in foreigners from one of the countries where the virus is spreading might not be a great way to keep their record intact. Just sayin'

Tim Wolter said...

David

I know you feel circumstances justify rudeness. I do not concur.
You are the guy in the bar yelling "Hey, don't walk away! I ain't done with you yet!"
The kind thing to do is realize he's not a bad guy, he's just had a few too many shots of Ol' Indignation and should go home and sleep it off.

Or not. It's your show and you can be as argumentative as you wish. I have opined in the past that it makes you an ineffectual advocate for principles that we in fact both respect, but you can do as you please.

I have offered to discuss politics, including the issue you raise, in the near future if you'd like.

Alas, I have gotten quite good at anticipating your responses to my offerings. There's some hand wavin' goin' on there at times too.

In my opinion.

TW

TCB said...

When I said scuttlebutt, I had nothing but some anonymous comments by people who claimed to live near airports there. Yep, one of the linked articles from above: Coronavirus: New Zealand a safe haven for super wealthy arriving in private jets

The real reporting behind the rumors is less impressive than the anonymous comments I had seen. "Billionaires looking for a bolthole safe from the spread of coronavirus have been eyeing up New Zealand. An official said there had been a "small upswing" in private jets arriving in Queenstown. In Auckland, long-time real estate agent to the wealthy, Graham Wall, was helping two billionaires.... From March 7 until yesterday nine private aircraft landed in New Zealand, two - from Hawaii and Perth - at Queenstown Airport, according to the New Zealand Customs Service."

So, nah. Not that much of a stampede to NZ. Mind you, this tells us nothing about other boltholes in places like Hawaii and South America.

Larry Hart said...

locumranch:

In black & white, our fine host offers up a typical Blue State ultimatum -- he threatens to end the game if we fail to play by his rules -- proving once again that nothing succeeds like secession.


You were the one to raise the threat of subjecting states like his to abject poverty if those states don't play by your rules. Our host responded by making clear that you need California more than it needs you, that you'd miss it more than it would miss you when you've driven it away, and "You wouldn't like us when we're angry."

Is there anything he said that is not factually correct? Or does it just violate your version of political correctness, snowflake?


It makes me wonder if the CORONAVIRUS HYSTERIA -- created by the main stream media --i...


Thus proving that you are parotting FOX News.

Do you really think that frickin' Disney World has shuttered its doors in order to help perpetrate a liberal hoax? Or the NBA cutting its season short? March Madness called off? All of these unprecedented actions taken by corporations in order to help "the main stream media" defeat a president who has benefited all of their bottom lines?

David Brin said...

Fine Tim. Alas, what I don't hear from you is the context. This drunk bufoon at the bar is trying to persuade you not to head over to the brothel run by Nazi spies, while carrying your briefcase full of Overlord plans.

You think I exaggerate with that metaphor, but I am not. Even a little.

Here's a list of names: Joseph Maguire, John Brennan (interim), Michael Leiter, Matthew G. Olsen, Nicholas Rasmussen, Andrew Liepman (acting and deputy) and Geoffrey O’Connell (principal deputy) are former directors of the National Counterterrorism Center. Michael V. Hayden is former director of the CIA and former principal deputy director of national intelligence. James Clapper was director of national intelligence. All were driven off by a cabal whose motives are inexplicable, other than treason.

All of them signed this op-ed: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/former-intelligence-chiefs-trumps-removals-of-experts-are-deeply-destructive-to-our-nations-safety/2020/03/20/b16e7e06-6ac3-11ea-abef-020f086a3fab_story.html

And these aren't but 5% of the mature, brilliant defenders who have been purged. The list is very long. I would ask anyone - not just you - to explain how many more must be purged - not just from intel or the military, but science agencies, journalists, intellectuals, teachers, economists, pandemic experts - before a red-line has been crossed that will cause even a RASR to lift his head out of the ostrich hole of denial.

The one justification spread in far-right Nuremberg rallies? That ALL of these skilled and sage defenders are members of a "deep state" plot against the republic. The same folks - nearly all military veterans and lifelong Republicans - who saved us from Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Brezhnev and bin Laden are now part of a nebulous, never defined scheme with never defined goals. And the accusers never demand or hold hearings about such a plot! Issue subpoenas for testimony. Offer whistleblower prizes. (As they tried for decades, seeking anything... even one thing... to prove against the Clintons.)

Occam's Razor suggests that we ponder the blatantly obvious, first. That the party who benefited to the tune of trillions from intimacy with Moscow mafias and Saudi salafist fanatics might now be suborned, marching lockstep to the tune of a lunatic Siberian Candidate.

Zepp Jamieson said...

A good Netflix distraction: a review of Arrival.
magine, if you will, a place beyond space and time, a place where it is just you and your Netflix, alone in a darkened room while Covid-19 growls and lurches down the empty streets outside, and you’re bored off your tits.
So you scroll down the endless selection screen, looking for, well, something. There’s never anything on, grumble, mutter.
Finally, you see a movie that looks like it could possibly have potential. It says “SyFy” next to it, so you know there’s a good chance that ten minutes in, the mad scientist is going to say something like, “General, it seems impossible, but that ray turned all the neutrinos in the universe positive!” Yes, that certainly would be a plot complication, but you wouldn’t have 82 minutes plus 78 minutes in ads to explore that complication. Universe go boom, all fall down. Very sad. And since you graduated from elementary school, you would turn the damn thing off and spend the next three hours playing mah jong.
So I started watching this movie I had never heard of with somewhat low expectations.
It’s a first contact movie, which usually means happy ‘splody fun times, and maybe the White House will get blown up again.
By about 15 minutes in, we’ve met the main protagonist, a lady linguist role formerly occupied by Jodie Foster. We’ve met the squirrelly but intrigued scientist, played in the past by Jeff Goldblum. The stuffy stern American general was played by...Forest Whitaker? Hold up. “King of Scotland” Whitaker? Interesting casting choice!
And it turns out, a brilliant one. As were Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner for the first two roles mentioned.
The science is solid, the dialogue intelligent, and the aliens aren’t out to destroy the planet or To Serve Man. They’re as curious about us as we are about them, and their hologrammic language is as brilliant a depiction of alien communication as I’ve ever seen.
Netflix does come up with some good SF movies, and this was one of their better ones. SyFy has, shall we say, a more mixed reputation, and I realized that this didn’t come from their in-house production company that specializes in deliberately campy genre flicks. No scenes of Wayne Pygram handing a fossilized tooth to a bumbling lab assistant and telling him, “Now remember, this must remain completely dry. If it gets wet, it will turn into a living tyrannosaurus Rex, because all the neutrinos are positive. Now drive my convertible 330 miles through this hurricane to my lab, and for god’s sake, don’t let it get wet!”
So I looked Arrival up. Made in 2016. Won a Hugo, and a Ray Bradbury. Eight nominations for Oscars, won one. Having seen it, I wasn’t surprised. Damn good movie.
I don’t know how that one got under my radar. I love good SF movies, and until lately they were rather hard to come by. Star Wars and comic book heroes don’t count, and Star Trek is a genre all off to itself.
Well, ok, so I’m late to the party. But yeah, this is a fine movie, and well worth watching as you listen to your neighbor coughing.
Now on Netflix.

Alfred Differ said...

You guys are trying too hard when it comes to rating US States doing the right thing. The bond markets have already done so and taken into account pretty much everything they think could matter. From that, they produce a credit rating for the state's bonds.

S&P Global

AAA = 15 ... DL, FL, GA, IN, IA, MD, MO, NE, NC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VI, WY
AA+ = 14 ... AK, HI, ID, MA, MN, NM, NY, ND, OH, OK, OR, SC, VT, WA
AA = 12 ... AL, AZ, AR, CO, LA, ME, MS, MT, NV, NH, RI, WI
AA- = 6 ... CA, CT, KS, MI, PA, WV
A+ = 1 ... KY
A- = 1 ... NJ
BBB = 1 ....You guessed it... IL

What doesn't get counted is just how much the markets are willing to tolerate in bond debt. They small pop states like WY might look good BECAUSE they don't take on a lot of debt. Or can't.

It wasn't that long ago when CA was in the junk rating. Part of why we are still down where we are is our tendency to place bond initiatives on the ballot and vote them in. Yes... we are a large economy, but our voters aren't inspiring lenders to think we have stellar credit.

AVR said...

New Zealand has now got two identified cases of community transmission of Covid-19. Just two known, but there's sure to be more to have caused those and more still in future - it's a sneaky virus, you can't usefully run to the ends of the Earth to escape it.

TCB said...

Are we SURE we don't want Sanders as the Democratic nominee> Because Biden is AWOL on COVID-19... Pelosi too... leaving the Republicans to look like they're governing...

"Unfortunately, the most practical plans ― like those from Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Mitt Romney (R-Utah) for the government to just send every household thousands of dollars a month in straight cash ― aren’t getting much traction. The gears of government are moving too slow, and the debate over what to do seems largely confined to Senate Republicans as Josh Hawley (Mo.), Tom Cotton (Ark.) and Romney harangue their colleagues not to limit federal aid to the poor."

"And where is Biden? What, exactly, would Pelosi want to see happen?"

Meanwile, Sanders is over here bending over backwards to actually lead.

And he's scheduled this tonight: Bernie 2020: Where do we go from here? Teach-In on Coronavirus and the Social Safety Net

TCB said...

Food Safety and Coronavirus: A Comprehensive Guide

VERY comprehensive. One takeaway: take-out food is pretty safe. Another: it's not easy to get COVID from eating anything. Nobody is known to have got it that way. Just use common sense.

Thin Spirit said...

To deal with such a geopolitical encirclement, European states are adopting increasingly separate policies. Never short of big ideas, President Macron of France is leading the charge to open the doors to Putin and “normalize relations.” More business-like, Germany is trying to have it both ways, keeping energy deals with Moscow alive while not wanting to follow the openly pro-Russian approach of the French. Italy, the country most immediately affected by Russia’s foray into Libya, from which most of its migrants arrive, is deeply unhappy with the other two European powers, and with France in particular because Paris together with Moscow supports the opposing side in the Libyan war while Italy and Turkey are behind the U.N.-approved government. In the end, however, Italy, more interested in stopping the flow of migrants than in competing for natural resources in Libya, is likely to support a soft approach toward Russia. The Central European EU and NATO members are at best perplexed and at worst deeply worried by their Western allies’ friendly overtures toward Russia. And this is just one aspect, centered on Russia, of the various intra-European rifts.

https://www.nationalreview.com/magazine/2020/04/06/vladimir-putins-encirclement-of-europe/

PS Seems dangerous. Especially while we under spell of Ignoramus in Chief.

Jon S. said...

"Do you really think that frickin' Disney World has shuttered its doors in order to help perpetrate a liberal hoax? Or the NBA cutting its season short? March Madness called off? All of these unprecedented actions taken by corporations in order to help "the main stream media" defeat a president who has benefited all of their bottom lines?"

It was during the past week that several Wynn casinos, including the MGM Grand, closed down in Vegas. Heard from a former LVPD officer that their bomb squad needed some unusual procedures in case of IEDs in casinos, because it cost too much to close those buildings for a minute. And now they're closed for weeks.

But yeah, media hysteria, liberal hoax, whatever helps you sleep at night, loco ol' buddy. Just stay at home after you wake up.

Larry Hart said...

@Zepp Jamieson,

My wife and I saw Arrival in theaters. It's more her preferred version of sci-fi than mine (which leans more toward "Foundation"), but even so, I thought it was very well done at the time.

Larry Hart said...

AVR:

New Zealand has now got two identified cases of community transmission of Covid-19. Just two known, but there's sure to be more to have caused those and more still in future - it's a sneaky virus, you can't usefully run to the ends of the Earth to escape it.


The billionaires probably brought it with them.

Keith Halperin said...

@ Everybody: COVID-19 Numbers and Stats (Hopefully trustworthy...)
https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740

Stay Well,

Keith

locumranch said...


The key word is LIABILITY:

Once the US, EU or any nation declares a National Emergency and directs the immediate closure of entertainment venues, restaurants, public gathering places & whatever, then the businesses that choose to defy that order become both liable and uninsurable wherein a lack of insurance constitutes an immediate violation their business license.

This is also the primary reason why NO licensed physician or hospital will ever authorise the use of any homemade medical device (and/or mechanical ventilator) without a specific legal exemption. It's even considered criminal to own or operate a store-bought commercial coffee maker on hospital property without an extensive preauthorisation process.

Both Larry_H's objections to the selective impoverishment of blue states AND David's accusations about secretive Nazi conspiracies involving high-ranked elected officials are inadvertently hilarious, mostly because near identical accusations about the selective impoverishment of red states AND secretive progressive Communist cabals permeating US government have also been made by conservative conspiracy kooks, and if one narrative is justifiable then so is any other.

Propaganda is a dangerous game which tends to backfire on its user, as it did during McCarthyism for conservatives and as it will for progressives during their current attempt to villainise the so-called deplorable majority demographic.

David believes that this conservative 'deplorable' demographic represents an existential threat to everything he holds dear yet, for every progressive like David, there are dozen conservatives who similarly believe that his progressive worldview is THE existential threat to everything they hold dear.

And, like David, those conservatives will not negotiate with a designated existential threat but, like David, they will take up arms against them.


Best

David Brin said...

Locum would make a solid point about how each side is making equivalent accusations... if his point weren't insane.

The right's such accusations are bullshit agitprop supported by no facts and their targets are the fact professions that made America the most free, rich and wonderful place in all of history.

Liberals' accusations of Nazi-commie-Mafia cabalas are based on facts we see daily in massive spews of defecation and treason...

And not one insipid rightist I have challenged to money wagers over that has ever stepped up to escrow real stakes. Because they know it's true.

So yes. We are right. You are insane treasonous and wrong. Well, well. Sometimes that happens, goombbah.

David Brin said...

onward

onward

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

Locum would make a solid point about how each side is making equivalent accusations... if his point weren't insane.


I'm glad you said it, as you saved me the trouble, plus your opinion carries more weight on your own blog.


The right's such accusations are bullshit agitprop supported by no facts and their targets are the fact professions that made America the most free, rich and wonderful place in all of history.

Liberals' accusations of Nazi-commie-Mafia cabalas are based on facts we see daily in massive spews of defecation and treason...


Exactly true. This is a case where right-wingers argue (often successfully) that there is no objective reality--there is only "what liberals say" and "what conservatives say", and both have an equal right to whatever assertions they wish to make. The right then benefits from the fact that their actions are so egregious, treasonous, and evil that somehow the act of mentioning what they do is treated as more of a protocol violation than the acts themselves. Snowflakes every one of them.


So yes. We are right. You are insane treasonous and wrong. Well, well. Sometimes that happens, goombbah.


Can't argue with reality. Well, some of us can't.

David Brin said...

okay...

but onward

onward

john fremont said...

@Jon S

Casinos owned by Steve Wynn, a finance chairman of the Republican party. Steve Wynn and Shelden Adelsen, they're in on it!