I Am Legend

The lock-down, at least around here, really got going on Monday and has accelerated through the week. The weekend saw the hoarding, as public officials started acting hysterically in front of the cameras. On Monday, businesses started to wind down, sending people home if they were not needed or could work from home. The parking lot at my office was very light on Monday, but there were still people in the building. By Thursday the parking lot was just about empty of all cars.

There’s some traffic on the roads, but it like a Sunday morning, rather than a weekday or even a weekend afternoon. People are staying home, for the most part. Not happy with their work, the government is talking about a nationwide quarantine. They are talking about grounding all passenger air traffic for up to 30 days, halting stock trading on Wall Street, and imposing a shelter-in-place rule. Presumably, if one more person gets sick after that, they will begin bombing American cities.

Yesterday I realized that I had not had a face-face conversation with another human in a couple of days. I’ve spoken to people by phone and had e-mail exchanges, but I’ve not talked to anyone in person for a while. For whatever reason, I was reminded of the old Vincent Price movie The Last Man on Earth. There was an old Twilight Zone episode of a similar nature. Of course, there was the crappy Will Smith version on this theme, in which you end up rooting for the monsters to get him.

In my fortress of solitude, I started thinking about another science fiction classic, The Mote in God’s Eye. In the book, humans finally meet an alien species for the first time and discover something called the Crazy Eddie. This is a mythical character the aliens use to explain the inevitability of repeated cycles of collapse of the alien civilization and the pointlessness of trying to prevent them. Anyone who thinks they can solve the inherent defect in their society is called Crazy Eddie.

That’s the thing that does not get addressed in the tales of apocalypse like I Am Legend or the many movies that spring from it. The plague movies usually have a story line where the good guys can stop the plague or maybe come up with a miracle cure for it afterward. In the post-plague stories, after society has collapsed, the characters never think much about how they got to that place. It’s just bad luck. The collapse itself has no meaning other than as a devise to drive the plot of the story.

Maybe what we are seeing here is the inevitable end of all human society. From the perspective of time, the end point looks like a fizzling out of a dying people, but to those in it, it looks like mass insanity. Maybe this is what it looked like for those living in the late Roman Empire or even the late days of the Republic. Then, as now, the people speaking out against the gathering madness were dismissed as madmen, as everyone set about pulling the roof down on civilization.

On the other hand, one has to consider the possibility that it is not the world going mad, but you are the one going mad. It’s possible. There are a lot of people looking around and wondering why we are doing this, but maybe all of us are suffering from madness and the rest of the world is acting sober minded. It’s possible, but that would mean they have a secret way to feed people in a nationwide 30-day lock-down. Maybe turning America into a hermit kingdom is the path to the Promised Land.

For the curious, if they can get past however they are responding to the what’s happening right now, this is an amazing time. We will see things that no one could have imagined seeing just a few weeks ago. No one can know what follows a 30-day quarantine of a continent sized country. No one really knows what will follow just this one week halt to the global economy. No one knows what happens if the plague fears are wildly overblown, which seems inevitable at this point.

Regardless of what follows, we are living in a time without precedent. A century ago, we had a real plague, but the world did not stop. The stock market collapse in the 1920’s did bring a closure, but it was not for a month. The bank run that happened in 1933  resulted in a week-long bank holiday, but the rest of society kept going. The past provides some samples but nothing close to what is being contemplated. Heck, we are already into uncharted territory with the one-week lock-down.

Maybe I am the crazy one, but crazy or not, messing with big complicated things always has unanticipated results. This is an iron law of systems. Even if the response is appropriate to the danger, taking a sledge hammer to the very complex system that is American society will have consequences that no one can anticipate. Another rule of complex systems is you need to understand the iron law of systems before you are allowed to even tinker with the system. That rule has been violated.

This week I have the usual variety of items in the now standard format. Spreaker has the full show. I am up on Google Play now, so the Android commies can take me along when out disrespecting the country. I am on iTunes, which means the Apple Nazis can listen to me on their Hitler phones. The anarchists can catch me on iHeart Radio. I am now on Deezer, for our European haters and Stitcher for the weirdos. YouTube also has the full podcast. Of course, there is a download link below.

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This Week’s Show


  • 00:00: Opening
  • 02:00: Cochran & Sailer
  • 12:00: Permanent Crisis
  • 19:00: The Boomer Question
  • 25:00: The RV Community
  • 30:00: The Truth Still Counts
  • 46:00: Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect
  • 49:00: Economics
  • 56:00: Leaving A Record

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Full Show On YouTube

303 thoughts on “I Am Legend

  1. (Democrap) handled @DNC lackey Gov.@GretchenWhitmer says NO to #POTUS Trump; yippee CHEER #liberals
    Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) sent a letter last week threatening “administrative action” against doctors who prescribed two experimental drugs that could potentially help coronavirus patients:

    This callous disgusting #Whitmer administration now says HEY, IT’S TRUMPS fault!!
    …AND removed the language threatening doctors from the letter and is now BEGGING #federal government to send shipments of the drugs to bail HER and her handlers OUT,
    mEANWHILE #FoodDrugAdministration issues an *emergency authorization* for the antimalarial drugs hydroxychloroquine sulfate and chloroquine phosphate on Saturday.

    Looks like DEE troit #Barbie won’t be vice-president of these UNITED States
    TIER I Select #Bioterrorist ~


  2. you mentioned it in your podcast, but the failure of public intellectuals “to take the outside view”, something we’ve been told to do approximately 1 billion times according to my data, is a striking and costly failure to learn from past mistakes.

    if all you knew was that this was a global coronavirus pandemic and that we’d do nothing to mitigate its effects that we hadn’t done before, your distribution of possible ‘attack rates’ (likely under 20%) and ‘infection fatality rates’ (very likely under 0.3%) would be much, much lower than those projected from simple epidemiological models.

    but we have even more information than that, such as the growth rates to date across different intervention regimes and the average age of death. these matter and, at least to date, they are nothing but good news. the latter implies that the “excess mortality” – a term almost no one is bothering to use, even though that’s a standard way of measuring the severity of influenza season and pandemics — will be quite low, almost definitely lower than 5% in the U.S. this year, possibly under 2%.

    the excess mortality from the economic contraction/potential collapse we’ve triggered has yet to be seen, but it will, i bet, end up being higher than what we ended up saving by shutting it all down for 2 months.

    there really are no adults in charge. even those pretending to be adults, aren’t. it’s insane.

    great podcast, btw. the last two have been esp good.

  3. Intro was great. Was a big ” The Prisoner ” fan as a kid watching all the old reruns on PBS. Got into something of a heated debate with an old friend last night about this topic.

    He accused me of wanting to murder his 90 year old mother ! Growing up as a tough street kid he’s not prone to hysteria. Just chalked it up to the constant ranting of the 24/7 doomsayers AKA news media.

    The stress of keeping his family safe from the impending doom is starting to take its toll. Fortunately he’s still working which is more than I can say for myself.

    On an up note . Beautiful spring day yesterday .Lots of people out walking around . Even had a few smile and wave at me. I like to think of it as everyone giving the middle finger to the powers-that-be 🙂

  4. I’ve always been a penny-pinching recluse, and used to joke that if everyone started living like me, the economy would collapse into the greatest depression the world had ever seen. Now everyone’s forced to live like me, and well, yeah.

  5. Freedom.
    The Republic.
    The Constitution
    Brave words from Brave Men.

    Who are now truly dead.

    Now its over.
    Triage time.
    > 3 choices
    1. We can hold power- I mean Trump and right wing Nationalist Socialism.
    2. The neoliberal wretches can loot us into civil war and oblivion
    3. We can let the communists by whatever name take power.

    So which do you prefer?

    • I think we’ve been under American socialism for at least 20 years, maybe longer. Don’t know, wasn’t paying much attention before Lewinsky.

      The government and economy operate by crisis. It’s the only power they have left. We’re near the end.

      What comes next is collapse, reset, and starting over. Best case we get a Putin figure to hold it together for a while.

  6. ’12 Monkeys’ had apocalyptic plague and time travel. The plague was let loose on purpose by a scientist from a Lab, who just wanted to cause humanity’s destruction.

  7. Absolutely prophetic with just one miss instead of DJ should have been BJ

    Panic on the streets of London
    Panic on the streets of Birmingham
    I wonder to myself
    Could life ever be sane again?
    The leeds side-streets that you slip down
    I wonder to myself
    Hopes may rise on the grasmere
    But honey pie, you’re not safe here
    So you run down
    To the safety of the town
    But there’s panic on the streets of Carlisle
    Dublin, Dundee, Humberside
    I wonder to myself
    Burn down the disco
    Hang the blessed DJ
    Because the music that they constantly play
    It says nothing to me about my life
    Hang the blessed DJ
    Because the music they constantly play
    On the Leeds side-streets that you slip down
    The provincial towns you jog ’round
    Hang the DJ, hang the DJ, hang the DJ
    Hang the DJ, hang the DJ, hang the DJ
    Hang the DJ, hang the DJ, hang the DJ
    Hang the DJ, hang the DJ
    Hang the DJ, hang the DJ
    Hang the DJ, hang the DJ, hang the DJ
    Hang the DJ, hang the DJ
    Hang the DJ, hang the DJ
    Hang the DJ, hang the DJ, hang the DJ
    Hang the DJ, hang the DJ
    Hang the DJ, hang the DJ
    Hang the DJ, hang the DJ, hang the DJ
    Hang the DJ


    • Burn down the disco
      Hang the blessed DJ

      When at the end of seventies disco music was in its pick
      young men started to suffocate, cough and have nausea
      under heavy a burden of boredom
      That it is how punk and new wave are borne but how should we call that disease that ravaged the kingdom of that time? Disco-78

      “In the sunset of dissolution, everything is illuminated by the aura of nostalgia, even the guillotine.”

      ― Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

        • I’ve long felt that the lyrics to “Still Ill” were most suitable to modern day Britain, vis-a-vis its sundry invaders:

          I decree today that life is simply taking and not giving
          England is mine, it owes me a living
          But ask me why, and I’ll spit in your eye
          Oh, ask me why, and I’ll spit in your eye

          • Well let’s than finish with the only appropriate way

            National Front Disco

            The wind blows
            Bits of your life away
            Your friends all say
            “Where is our boy? Oh, we’ve lost our boy”
            But they should know
            Where you’ve gone
            Because again and again you’ve explained that
            You’re going to
            Oh, you’re going to
            Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
            England for the English!
            England for the English!
            David, the winds blow
            The winds blow
            All of my dreams away
            And I still say
            “Where is our boy?
            Ah, we’ve lost our boy”
            But I should know
            Why you’ve gone
            Because again and again you’ve explained
            You’ve gone to the
            National, ah
            To the National
            There’s a country; you don’t live there
            But one day you would like to
            And if you show them what you’re made of
            Oh, then you might do
            But David, we wonder
            We wonder if the thunder
            Is ever really gonna begin
            Begin, begin
            Your mom says
            “I’ve lost my boy”
            But she should know
            Why you’ve gone
            Because again and again you’ve explained
            You’ve gone to the
            To the National
            To the National Front disco
            Because you want the day to come sooner
            You want the day to come sooner
            You want the day to come sooner
            When you’ve settled the score
            Oh, the National


    • “This town (town) is coming like a ghost town
      All the clubs have been closed down
      This place (town) is coming like a ghost town
      Bands won’t play no more
      Too much fighting on the dance floor
      Do you remember the good old days before the ghost town?”


    • Because the music they constantly play
      It says nothing to me about my life.

      Words that sum up my feelings about today’s media and political class.

  8. Marooned inside when the wine boxes and Netflix streams dry up, the hot babes are going to require some beefy male tenderness. Ladies … j/k

  9. I remember seeing a post on zerohedge about a CCP leader touring the containment zone recently. The locals kept screaming that “everything is fake!” I originally thought they were talking about the recovery, maybe it was about the virus severity itself?

  10. Hah, David Thompson today links to Means TV, “the world’s first post-capitalist, cooperatively run streaming service.”

    Like a good Soviet store it offers absolutely nothing that anyone would want to watch, but plenty of what the commies certainly think is good for you.

    While you’re sheltering in place and social distancing, now you can catch up on your communist indoctrination, comrades!

  11. It seems to me that there was a moment to pull a total 15- 30 day lockdown countrywide in order to head this thing off and we missed our window. A call on February 25 for a nationwide shut down for the whole month of March might have been survivable for more small businesses with some targeted government financial assistance and actually kept our Corvid-19 cases at the level of South Korea instead of creeping up on Iran as we’re doing now.

    But we didn’t pull the trigger then and now we’re going to see businesses bleed to death slowly with no end in sight. My kid was working at a bowling alley. They made the call on their own to close for two weeks.
    They were prepared to handle it. Later that same day, the governor shut them and similar businesses (theaters, etc.) indefinitely. Now they don’t know if they’ll make it. We’re going to get the worst of all possible options: Draconian actions that are open- ended in time that drag down more businesses and don’t slow the spread.

    On the homefront, my wife just told me she’s had a cough since yesterday and is now running a slight temperature. Probably nothing but it’s one more damn thing I’ve got to keep an eye on. Sigh.

  12. Your mention of boomers and their parents brought this to mind. Two things got my attention as an ignorant kid in the sixties. One, the government announced it was taking sliver out of coin. Nothing to see here, they assured me most assuredly. That was my first awakening. Two, they announced Medcare. Our most venerated citizens would no longer have to worry about the end of life. Fifty billion dollars, a large sum at the time, exited senior savings accounts in one year. Maybe, likely, the boomers got to keep a large chunck of that money when the not as great as reputed generation died.
    On another topic, I asked three 20 year olds at work for approximate dates of WW11, the Civil War, and the Great Depression. 0 for 9, hilariously so. All Bernie voters. Let me off.

  13. Tent cities and living on the street are conditions that only require the building of new public housing.

    With that logic we should be fighting this pandemic just by building new hospitals. Leave the citizens alone.

    • I just read a piece today (no link sorry) that basically said the government should build immediately, the hospitals that will be needed to care for hundreds of thousands or worse critical care patients…really? Forecasts for the peak of new cases are mid-Apr to mid-June. I don’t see how the gov’t could, even with dictatorial powers, build enough hospitals fast enough IF the doomsday scenarios play out.

  14. Damn you Z Man — I shocked my zoomer kid last night when I said I agreed with the local government (for once) because of the need to give the fragile health care system time to adapt. Now I may have to walk it back.

    I suspect the cost of this will not be so high. Modern capitalism has been shockingly resilient. Whatever happens, this was a great episode — one of your best.

  15. Isn’t it infuriating to see mayors and governors order ordinary citizens off the streets and threaten them with punishment if they refuse to comply, after allowing vagrants and the mentally incompetent to squat with impunity on those same streets while claiming that they could do nothing about it?

  16. What, is San Diego now under “voluntary” quarantine- and they’ll ask you what you’re doing on the streets?

    Gods bless our Bad Madres.
    (I heard it on KOGO AM 600.)

    Aww shucks, King Cuomo the First will declare his edict on Hannity. The peasants are cheering.

    I think the gov and uni types look at this like we’re closing an agency office or class for a two week paid leave. Betcha the payroll stuff applies to them, without a doubt.

    So this sets a precedent.
    Will we Lockdown again for the next bad virus?

    • Sorry, that was the stupe again, being, well, stupe- but you’re used to it by now.

      Not San Diego. Not LA or Orange County.
      40 million is all CA.

      Gov Nuisance is in full Hunger Games Girl mode. No playdates! No mall shopping!
      Xe will bravely pronounce an edict that no one will follow, expexting xir forces to what, arrest everybody? Put us all in the jails xe just emptied?
      Z shoots, Z scores!
      State Doctor Kelli doesn’t know why Italy has such high death rates. She ponders if it’s the heavy smoking or something in the leathermaking industry?

  17. Something I have not heard discussed is what happens when inmates in prisons and county jails start coming down with this virus. Are “compassionate” judges going to just release them and other inmates claiming that it is cruel and unusual punishment to leave them in such an environment?

    • It’s happening now. Mostly in the same places where TPTB do all they can to prevent you from obtaining a firearm for self-defense.

    • They’re already letting the non- violent ones out of the local jail and immediately releasing new non- violent arrestees at booking on their own recognizance at the jails in my state’s two most populous counties.

  18. My only fear is of being let down. If this pandemic isn’t The End of The World As We Know It then I’m gonna be real dissapointed .

  19. They claim there was this great flu pandemic in 1918. It went on a couple of years I guess. Lots of folks died, even young people. There was no pharmaceuticals or vaccines then.

    They used fresh air and sunshine to treat people. They had a lot of success, but were unable to totally destroy the industrialized society that the West had built.

    People of 2020: “Hold my beer!”

  20. Women (stereotype) are women, jews (stereotype) are women, boomers (stereotype) are women.
    They say: ‘You want what I have but you can’t have it.’
    You say: ‘I don’t want it.’
    They say: ‘Yes you do!’
    Then they blow up the world, because all they wanted was to be the center of attention.

  21. This has been my exact sentiment all along. We’re spending a trillion dollars to stop an 80 year old with COPD from dying, while 20 million people hang themselves because they’re financially ruined. And what better condition would we be in if we hadn’t spent 10 trillion on Jew wars?

  22. Z: “Presumably, if one more person gets sick after that, they will begin bombing American cities.”

    That line killed me so I don’t even care.

  23. Why if I were an American, I would be fretting right now about the effect of the virus on the black employment rate.

      • But surely it’s better to choke to death, gurgling on your own fluids than run any risk of being wayciss?

    • At last! Someone reminds us of what is most important! And let’s not forget to prioritize the self-esteem of Chinese Americans above our own lives!

    • This is actually true, depending on where you live. A lot of my rentals are in heavily black urban neighborhoods. Young, bored, out-of-work, cash-strapped black men are a recipe for trouble.

        • A couple of my houses have occupants that fit the description, but they are not the primary leaseholders Still, I expect April 1 to be bad for collecting rent.

          • I’ve got three units and I’m *ahem* very picky about whom I rent to. The difficulty in my neck of the woods is finding the right people willing to live in an area where they may come into contact with the vibrancy, but are gainfully employed and trustworthy. I’ve got a couple good ones right now, but the third apartment is vacant and I’m trying to be very careful in my search. I’d rather it sit empty for 6 months than let it to someone who doesn’t fit the bill.

  24. I just don’t buy our leaders being stupid. I don’t think they are stupid, I think they are evil.
    “Never attribute that to incompetence what can adequately be explained by malevolence.” (or something like that:)
    They may be unstable and prone to acting foolish, but they are also very aware of of their goals. Even if foolishness can partially explain their behavior, it is not an accident that it always is in such a way that we lose and they win.

    It’s like the press. I don’t deny that they are stupid and lazy in addition to being malevolent, but if it were just laziness or stupidity, their mistakes or laziness would at least occasionally benefit us. Yet, somehow, all of their mistakes and dumb theories always end up being against us. They may possibly be stupid, but they are evil.

    • Some of them are genuinely stupid, though. I assume most of them are being bought or blackmailed or both.

    • I think they’re incompetents trying to larp villainy and doing a very poor job of it 🙂 Making a huge mess more than anything.

  25. Yesterday, I was feeling optimistic that the tide would turn on this hysteria soon enough. Maybe it was seeing toilet paper return to the store. I was thinking another week and serious questions regarding the necessity of all these measures would start getting asked. Today, the various D governors have shown they’re going to empty their chamber while they can, so I’m thinking it may be Easter before there is some serious push back.

    But what somewhat black pills me is we’re such a culture of short-attention spans that even if (especially if?) this blows over in fairly short order, no one will demand that the actions of the past couple weeks be scrutinized. At a minimum, I want legal guidelines put in place for people like Marshal Cuomo and Obergruppenfuherer Newsom so that if we’re faced with this again they can’t just make up the rules on the fly. Also, once we’ve got solid data about this virus, I want a thorough investigation into “did we do the right thing?” by qualified medical professionals, statisticians, actuarials, and economists. And no one involved with whispering in the ears of our elites this month, non of the press-conference darlings, can be part of those investigations. They’re not to be trusted. I don’t mean to say that they’re necessarily wrong at this moment in time, only that they can’t be allowed to judge their own performance when it’s all said and done.

    However, I’m picturing a 4th of July where everyone makes Coronavirus jokes, having already forgotten the feminine hysteria that descended on the country. They’ll be relieved to have their sportsball and cheap beer back, wholly uninterested in the precedent that was set this week.

    • Unfortunately, I think you’re being grossly optimistic as to when this ends. None of these governors is going to give up the right to dictate to businesses and people when they can go to work or leave the house for the foreseeable future. They are armed in fact with some bulls**t forecast from the UK that it will take over 18 months before we can even consider leaving our homes to let them justify a year-long lockdown. Not only that but the UK forecasts predicts these mysterious disappearances and re-appearances of the virus, so even if there are no new cases we can’t be trusted to get on with our lives. No new cases only means the virus has gone into hiding temporarily waiting to spring back to life and kill us all the minute we let our guard down.

  26. Bruce Dickinson *again* for podcast end music!

    Are you going to stick with Metal going forward? Loving it.

    • I like to mix things up from time to time. Sort of depends upon what I’m into at the moment. With this being the fiftieth anniversary of the birth of metal, I’ll be enjoying a lot of that for a while.

        • You know what? It has been sitting on my desk mocking me. The CD player on my PC is stick closed and I keep putting off repairing it. Maybe in quarantine I’ll finally fix it and give it a listen.

  27. If you are stuck at home and want to read a book that is very timely now, and probably the best treatment of the last-man-standing genre, I recommend Earth Abides by George Stewart.

    • Isn’t that book where the guy ends up dating some black woman to repopulate the Earth? He goes crazy and drives across the country to find some fat woman who called his phone and he ends up having to steal batteries from a dealership and adds the acid to the battery to get it going? He tells a story about how a minor defect in a pipe ended up causing the damn to stop working?

      I read that book. It was awful! That book is from the 50s IIRC. Even then they were pushing race-mixing!
      Or that awful book The Long Tomorrow where it is basically one giant anti-Christian screed.

      • I liked it particularly for his ideas of what would happen to the man-made and the natural worlds in the absence of humans. Dogs, for instance. Are they actually dependent on us?

        Most of it rang true to me, as well as the way the people reacted: the old wanted to remember and preserve, the eventual young wanted to get on with the only lives they had. I found it very thought-provoking, even now when I drive down a California freeway almost by myself.

  28. Dear Mr. Z-Man. I just finished with your podcast and congratulate you for outlining the current situation with clarity, balance and logic. As for not going with the crowd, you may find company with Bertrand Russell who said “Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil”.

    The ruling classes appear determined to continue with the hysteria. They want to shut down one-half the economy and expect to handle this by blowing one trillion dollars. The Wall Street Journal, the respected publication of “normies”, does not seem to have a problem with this. The ruling classes openly talk about following California and putting the population (except for letting out prisoners) under virtual house arrest.

    Perhaps the stability of the system may have only been an illusion. The agenda items taken up during the recent political debates are out of the third world. Compare our current leaders to Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, etc. Not to panic, but are we like Europe in July, 2014? Or are we headed towards Venezuela?

    Once again, thanks for your efforts.

    • Correction. WSJ editorializes today about “Rethinking the Coronavirus”. Too little to late?

      • Maiden’s best album was Piece of Mind, which was released between Number of the Beast and Powerslave, but I did like the pre-Dickinson stuff too. Funny, a close buddy from high school dragged me to a Maiden concert about ten years ago, and I was ready to shoot myself after a couple of songs. The music and scene just didn’t translate well with my 40 year old life. The 80’s were fun times as a teenager. I certainly never foresaw the coming storm.

        • Yeah, I liked Piece of Mind best. Number and Powerslave were also damn good.

          Then Metallica showed up.

    • What is this, Open Line Friday?

      All right, Z, what band(s) did you despise when you were of a certain age, that you’ve reconsidered in recent years?

      • That’s an easy one. I hated Led Zeppelin at a teenager. Granted, they were before my time. It was the music of pot heads and losers, as far as I could tell. Later in life I came to appreciate their skill. As far as what was current when I was a teenager, I really can’t think of anything. I thought opera was boring, but that’s true of all kids. That said, I always liked classical. I hated the Grateful Dead, but I don’t hate them now, mostly because they are dead and I’m grateful.

        • Here’s a joke I heard when I attended a college with a lot of Deadheads.

          What did the Deadhead say when the drugs wore off?
          “This music is terrible!”

          I disliked the Dead when I was young because I found their fans so irritating. Now, I appreciate the songs when those California boys LARPed as rootsy Appalachians.

          I appreciate Maiden as craftsmen but they’re too emotionally distant and musically predictable to touch my soul. I saw them in the 80s. That said, “Up the Hammers!”

          • Another common grateful dead joke. Went to a GD concert. Fell asleep. Woke up an hour and a half later and they were still playing the same song.

        • I still remember the extreme schadenfreude that filled my heart when Jerry Garcia died. It wasn’t so much him dying as watching all the sorts of people I loathed going into fits of dramatic rage and agony. I never saw anything quite as delightful until 2016 watching the Hillary-heads weeping over the Trumpening.

    • I don’t remember much Iron Maiden, but I remember their cover of Cross-Eyed Mary was the most God-awful thing I ever heard.

      • Tull is in a league of their own. I love prog generally though most folks look at me weird when I say that.

  29. The idiots who want to shut down the world to prevent hospitals being overrun are just making a new mistake to deal with the old mistakes of globalism and more importantly “efficiency,” which involved closing a bunch of hospitals. Like all of the other “just in time” efficiency improvements, they have traded resiliency for efficiency. This works fine when everything is running perfectly. But as soon as something goes wrong, the whole thing falls apart. This thinking is now pervasive in our world.

    • The question is only tangentially one of efficiency. In an era of immense technological ability, how does a hospital stock itself? This particular pandemic has only palliative care as a possible “treatment”. That care being bed, oxygen, and as last resort—mechanical ventilation. Yeah, there is a bit of antibiotics and now a possible malarial treatment, but ignore that for the moment.

      You want all that at the ready, or in warehouses? What about another pandemic? What specifically will be needed for that? What medicines with limited shelf life should be stocked? Or for that matter highly trained personnel.

      Our “efficiency” is our very size (of country) and a first world medical system with which to draw upon—backed up by the largest industrial capability and largest military. These we are currently seeing are coming into play. That is our resiliency.

      • You have a valid point, but I think there is a happy medium between diverting way too many of our resources towards unlikely but catastrophic events.
        From everything I am hearing, they are really worried that the hospitals will be overwhelmed. My city used to have quite a few hospitals that are now completely gone and have not been replaced. You have to go further to a different hospital. The hospital that serviced my neighborhood closed like 25 years ago.
        It’s not just hospitals. Entire supply chains are “just in time” with little to no inventory. Storing stuff costs money and so it is more efficient to not to store anything. Under ordinary circumstances, this works well enough. But there are always disruptions. In many situations, we are talking about chains going around the world.

        • Guess I’m luck to live in a city – San Antonio, Texas – with a not-insignificant percentage of the total hospital beds in the country. We got a whole shed load of hospitals here; military (Wilford Hall and Brook Army Medical Center) and civilian.

  30. At time, autos were built like Sherman tanks. Safer in case of an accident, but terrible gas mileage. Modern cars are lighter with improved mileage, but less safety in case of an accident. New homes have insulation, but this also leads to mold and radon buildup. A question of tradeoffs.

    • I disagree. Modern cars are much better built than older cars, particularly when it comes to safety.
      There is a method to the madness. The whole car is not built the same. The side panels and the entire interior of the car are made with thick high strength steel. The parts of the car furthest from your body are made with either plastic, aluminum or very thin mild steel The parts that are 1/2 way are made with mild steel only of moderate thickness. The purpose is to slow the rate of deceleration in a crash. The slower the “cage” (this is where you are) decelerates, the safer you are.
      Even though people are not as at good at driving as they used to be, the fatality rate is way lower. Remember, all of these 3rd worlders drive. Plus our roads are way more congested than they were before.

      • Tar, well put. We often confuse size for safety. Older cars—even those I remember as a teenager—were, looking back, horrible. My first car predated seat belts. The steering wheel was a largish, thin, round metal wheel ideally designed to knock out all your teeth in a frontal impact. Ouch.

      • This is what I’ve been told. One friend had a 2005 Suburban, totaled it and then bought another one because, he said, the more recent models were junk. Other people have complained about the quality of modern cars. I’m not car savvy, but simply believed what people told me.

        On the other had, another friend said speed limits were higher on curves nowadays because cars are better at turning.

        • In the 60s and 70s and before, the vast majority of cars went to the junkyard with well under 100k miles.
          The average age of cars on the road is at a record high.
          Modern cars have MUCH better paint and under-paint coverage that is electroplated onto the car. This really helps with premature rot. They really need to figure out something for the frame though, particularly in places like New England. The junkyards up there are loaded with beautiful looking cars that are just not safe because of frame rot.

    • you don’t know what you are talking about. yes the old cars were heavier built, but they were hitting equally heavy cars so that was no protection. New cars are designed to crumple around the passenger compartment. With modern cars, you see people walk away from accidents that literally shred the car body but leave the passenger compartment intact.

    • Not really. I suppose an argument can be made for large vs small “modern” cars at the margins, but today’s structural design and air bag technology make comparison of modern cars to older automobiles fairly meaningless.

    • Before crumpling was designed in, that engine block was coming right back into the front seat. I love the design aesthetic of older cars, and I do believe there’s an element of “planned obsolescence” to new models, but that crumple zone along with airbags and seat-belts have saved lives. (This will likely be undone by putting a massively distracting touch screen in the dashboard.)

      • I found myself sharing a front seat with one of those engines in ’78, so yeah.

        (Head on into a parked car at 110.
        Had 5 totals like that. Unhurt.)

        But cockpit seats? Blechhhh.
        Phukisdis, a baby carriage?
        Bring back bench seats.
        And free the kids.

      • Don’t know about “planned obsolescence” but my ’13 Toyota Highlander is considered to be good – with regular maintenance – for 200,000+ miles. It has under 40K miles now so I expect my wheels to fall off long before those on my car do. Course, I’m old and don’t drive just a whole lot. Driving the hell outta the wife’s Prius right now, though.

    • The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety or some such group routinely do crash tests where they take a brand new model of a car and crash it head- on into a 20- 50 year old model. The new cars win every time. It’s not even close. You can find the crash test footage on YouTube.

  31. One angle in this whole circus that I haven’t really seen discussed is the massive insurance liability of this thing.

    Boomers are HEAVILY insured and being particularly exposed to this virus surely had a lot of claims department’s mortified

    Just some back of the envelope math could put this “panic” in perspective

    $100,000,000 dollar life insurance policy (conservative)
    2 week hospital stay = at least $500,000 (very conservative)
    If deceased $500,000 mortgage payoff (if opted for)
    This is not to mention pension payoffs, Social security payouts and the like.

    Take  that number and multiply it by 1000, 10,000 or 100,000?

    If I’m right were talking certain death for the insurance companies.

    I would say cooler heads arent prevailing, more calculating ones are.

    I’d be curious to see the white house visitors/phone logs.

    • My brother is a insurance / investment guy. At least right now, the insurance actuaries don’t think a significant number of young or middle aged people in decent health are going to die from this. So they haven’t changed their underwriting standards.
      As a result – he is making an absolute killing this month on people panic-buying life insurance.

    • If someone who had the time and insight to work with these large numbers (ahem) in more detail I’d be genuinely curious how they would shake out.

      We might just be looking at a trillion dollar problem after all.

      • $1,000,000? I got $10,000. That’s enough to pay for my planting (at Ft. Sam Houston natl. cemetery down the way from my folks) and a couple of bills besides. If I live to vote in the ’24 election I’ll have outlived my Mom. If I vote in the ’28 election I’ll have equaled my Dad and if I vote in the ’32 general election I’ll have outlived both my folks and all my grandparents. I ain’t making book on ’32. Truth be told I don’t really want to see ’28. Don’t expect to be at all pleased with the way things look to be by then. Hell! In the spring of ’28 I’m gonna need to have the pacemaker replaced for the SECOND time and don’t reckon the healthcare system in place by that time will allow it.

    • Bent. $100,000,000 ??? If that’s not a mistake, you’re pulling numbers out your ass. Even if you mean $1M, you’re still making it up. A 65+ yo will be paying big bucks for such a policy—if he can get it. Similarly for a house payoff—which is the same as any life insurance, except more expensive. As you age, insurance companies push those premiums up—way up—as actuary tables indicate.

      You’d definitely need to be in the upper 10% of the population to afford such. Most Boomers are not in that segment. Nor are they heavily insured—unless heavily is just having insurance, period. They are more likely the ones dependent on SSI payments and Medicare and don’t have $500 for a car repair.

      But regardless, insurance companies have reserves for this eventuality. Yeah, the insurance companies have been burned in the past with hurricanes and what not and future rates are adjusted accordingly, but I doubt the effect of an unexpected “Boomer loss” will cause calamity if a insurance company or two does go bankrupt. Insured take a hair cut and are only partially indemnified by the Fed’s if I recall.

      Nor can I see Boomer loss as anything but positive wrt Medicare and SSI payments.

      • That was most definitely a mistake. Too many commas and zeros bouncing around in my head these days.

        I’m in no place to know what the actual numbers are. I do know that the recommendation that most of the older folks around me operate on is 10x your annual salary. Again that was all just back of the envelope.

        My experience is likely not representative of the whole. I live in are that is absolutely bursting at the seams with this upper 10% retired crowd so I may be getting a distorted view. Around here lately million dollar homes are passe and they’re building them as fast as they can.

        And don’t forget that these folks will do whatever is necessary to beat the reaper one day longer if they can. Even without the life insurance policies, the medical bills could be staggering.

        Either way I’m curious

        • Bent, nobody else thought of insurance- and our world is insured up the wazoo and every which way.

          Good call. Insurance may be the biggest industry in the world by size alone.
          This might be far bigger than a mere trillion, 1/22nd of the US economy.

  32. We’re really missing the forest from the trees on this. My company cannot get compressors anymore as or vendor has been told to make them for ventilators. Along with supply chain disruptions, customers are canceling order. We cannot get chemical masks (N95) to protect my workers at the plant.

    We’ll lose more to deaths from suicide, drugs, alcohol, loss of insurance, etc. and you are correct, the boomers are causing undo pressure upon the system.

    • Stop it with the Boomers, or show evidence that the rest of the population is against the present state of affairs. The enemy is us, in general, and duplicitous politicians in particular. If there is any relation to Boomers, it’s that they are being used as a pawn/prop in this high stakes power game—as in pictures of frail old grandmas holed up in their apartment awaiting the Grimm Reaper of death in the form of COVID-19.

  33. A question to our neighbors up North, such as John Smith or our other stalwart subjects of the Mapleleaf Commonwealth-

    What say Canada? What’s the news up yonder?

    A Yukon lad told me “of course we have nukes, and they’re all on the border, pointed at you.” Quite sensible, really. Dat’s da Canadian value.

    • In Kevin Costner’s finest work, “Waterworld”, there is a bit character on the badguy oil tanker. A weathered, frail old man.

      His only function is to sit in a small boat inside the pitch black belly of the beast and call out the depth of the remaining oil when asked.

      In the final climactic scene, as Costner brings chaos and collapse upon the ship of savage fools, he drops a flare down a shift into that cargo hold of oil.

      To which the old man in the boat, bathed by the brilliant light of the oil of a forgotten era erupting into flames, responds: “oh thank god.”

  34. Maybe I am the crazy one, but crazy or not, messing with big complicated things always has unanticipated results. This is an iron law of systems. Even if the response is appropriate to the danger, taking a sledge hammer to the very complex system that is American society will have consequences that no one can anticipate.

    I’m surprised at the amount of pushback people give when this is pointed out.

    • I asked a former friend just yesterday to list for me the government actions, if any, that he considers completely off the table when dealing with coronavirus. This is a married man, with kids, in a job of some importance, who heretofore has always been a reasonable person, even a conservative. I got told, verbatim, to go fuck myself. This is the level of “reasoning” we’re dealing with. Give the modern American “man” the tiniest bit of psychological stress, and he reverts to a toddler.

      • Information overload. People are being bombarded with notifications and google is pushing it and the press is pushing it and the TV is pushing it. It is all anyone is talking about.

        • Maybe. A week ago I was willing to give people the benefit of the doubt. Now they’re just freaking out for the sake of freaking out. It takes a lot to get me to hold a grudge, but telling me to go f*ck myself does the trick every time. And now I’ve lost a friend to this nonsense. That’s another one I owe the Media.

          • Yeah. Everyone loves to pretend that everything we do only has benefits and that there is no costs on the ledger. Well, now some of those costs are becoming more obvious, like your friend telling you to go eff yourself. That is a cost of the hysterical media.
            This thinking has become extremely widespread. Like immigration only has benefits to the GDP and no costs at all.

      • Taleb is in full panic mode. He has gone off the deep end with his insane Precautionary Principle.

        • Sure thing, I agree, and William M Briggs’s takedown of NN Taleb’s precautionary principle mistakes still holds true.

          Nevertheless, there’s still validity to some of the stuff Taleb has written about the dangers of messing with complex systems, even if he is flaking out at the moment and continuing to be an obnoxious goon.

          • On the basis of “suspected risk of causing severe harm to the public domain” how could any action – or INaction – with regard to covid-19 be justified. To this observer Taleb’s PP would force a total paralysis of any policy making process since any action could be subject to a “suspected risk of causing severe harm to the public domain”. Any thing a leader/ruler does has at least the potential to cause some harm. How would one go about defining “severe” in such a context?

            I’m all for exercising “an abundance of caution” but soon or late a leader/ruler must take some action even if it is to do nothing at all! Oh, and I downloaded and read (at least the abstract) of the paper by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Rupert Read, Raphael Douady, Joseph Norman and Yaneer Bar-Yam applying the PP to the production of genetically modified organisms. Since no action can be absolutely proven to be of “scientific near-certainty” essentially outlaws any/all GMOs.In the broader sense the PP would have to produce near total paralysis for decision makers. Hell! Taleb’s own PP principle would appear to exclude its own publication since the authors – by their own espoused principle – would be required to prove to a “scientific near-certainty” that the PP itself would not cause “severe harm” by its being published. Taleb et al should have been hoisted upon their own petard long ago!

    • I probably have mentioned it before, but John Gall’s Systemantics (aka The Systems Bible) does a great job distilling the problems with systems (and also the irrational belief in them).

  35. Trump and the CDC are going to wreck the country economically and financially with the measures they implemented.

    Then factor in the Chinese screwing with us in terms of supplying us with medication and other medical supplies and worse their factories have not ginned up yet. We are not receiving consumer, indusrial goods from them or components that our factories need.

    Hospitals are already having to ration antibiotics and even that Malaria drug is being rationed. India who is one of he suppliers of that drug will no longer export it and that leaves China and they are getting outright hostile towards us.

    We are going to pay a horrible price for sucking up to the Chicoms.

  36. TPTB are willing to engage in pointless wars as long as it doesn’t effect them. But when it comes to nuke armed China and Russia they are very cautious. I expect once they see an economic depression likely to have them replaced, they will reverse on the economy.

  37. Z, Cochran has an answer to Ioannidis today that’s relevant to our exchange in a previous thread. https://westhunt.wordpress.com/2020/03/20/john-ioannidis/ “6000 out of 8000 faroese got the measles, the kind of result you expect from a simple model. 75%….The Spanish flu had an R0 around 2.0 . There had been an antigenically related flu around 1890, so older adults were less vulnerable. The percentage infected ranged up to 50%”

    • Cochran is sputtering and angry and not open to reasonable debate.
      In the comments section, and Sailer briefly pipes in, Cochran excoriates the other professor for daring to question the worst case scenario. You either agree with Cochran and Sailer or you are in deep denial, according to both of them.
      Either way, in 2 weeks or so we will see if we become Italy or China. I fully expect thousands of new cases, and a death toll similar to a bad flu season, on the order of 100,000 people or so, but the continuing question is whether that number is worth blowing up our economy over.
      Even the worst case scenario will see this peak and dissipate in 8 weeks or so, and when the dust settles, some serious debts will need to be settled.

      • Yeah, Cochran is getting to be full “grumpy old man” mode these days. He is expending all his esteem points. Soon, his smallish comment section will be nothing more than a “yes men” cheering section.

        • Midwestern man syndrome. Something about the spergy guys from that part of the country. At some point, they become insufferably thin skinned. Karl Denninger went bonkers like that and drove off his audience.

        • He’s mostly right about Coronavirus, but Cochran is pushing 70 and had heart surgery not too long ago, so he’s in the high risk column and rightly worried. Combine that with his normal autism he’s impossible to reach.

          • I’ll be 69 in ~ 4 months. I have a pacemaker, 2 stents in my coronary arteries, type 2 diabetes and was once (9 years ago) diagnosed with auto-immune hepatitis (incurable and invariably fatal) and I still deliver food to whomever orders it. I don’t carry 30lb (or larger) cases of bottled water to the 2nd floor and I try not to physically interact with those to whom I deliver. But I fekking refuse to let fear rule me. As Frank Herbert put it

            Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.

            I will control my fear. I will not let fear control me.

            In my time I’velt death’s chill breath down my neck many times. In 1970, in the space of 4 days, I was in the crash of a small plane and then just over two miles from the touchdown point of the 5th worst tornado on record (Lubbock, Tx). Six weeks later I had a blowout on the freeway in a light rain during the height of rush hour and stopped 4 feet short of dropping 40 ft into a concrete lined storm drain. I have been aboard a C-141 over the Pacific on final approach when the right OUTBOARD thrust reverser deployed IN FLIGHT. I have read that one gallon of gasoline can produce an explosion equivalent to 3 sticks of dynamite. Iwas on a C-141 filled with pickup trucks where a fuel line came loose and dumped 16 gallons of raw gasoline into the belly of the aircraft.By my counts that would potentially yield an explosion equivalent to 48 sticks of dynamite! Meaning there would have been nothing left of the plane or its passengers/aircrew. AND I’M STILL HERE!!! If it’s my time then I’ll go no matter WHAT I’m doing and if it’s not . . . What does not kill me leaves me alive!

            I refuse to bow to fear or the machinations of progressives or their minions in the Lame Stream Media!

  38. I have to start by saying that this outbreak is the most interesting thing, to me, that I’ve lived through since the buildup to the Moon landing, which happened when I was 15. Just for the record, I’d rather be bored.

    I’m an internist. Think pediatrician for adults, a generalist. Normally I work in Arizona, but the company for which I am medical director is also in California. This situation has me working in California the past three weeks.

    Yesterday I dropped a stat on you: the US had 500 new cases a day last weekend. It’s around 3000 a day now. We are going up the steep part of the roller coaster with Italy and Spain a bit ahead of us on the same track. China has already crested the hill while South Korea and Japan took the kiddie ride, barely getting off the ground.

    This is real. All of my natural skepticism and distrust of news sources and political leaders has been beaten to death by the facts.

    We don’t allow people in our waiting rooms. You wait in your car. One at a time. Escorted in and out. Employees being paid extra to kit up. I had my first case three days ago in a farming town you’ve probably never heard of, a 63-year who delivers packages. Got his test results yesterday.

    This takes me back. I happened to see the first case of HIV in the military when I was a medical resident in early 1982, before that disease had an agreed-upon name. Well, it was called GRID for Gay-Related Immune Deficiency. Try slipping that one past the language guardians nowadays. Anyway, I remember going to the pulmonary fellow and saying I think I’ve got a gay pneumonia in my clinic. Normally, the consultant sits there while you present the case, then grills you like an old-school DA. This time he stood up and said, “Where?”, and we ran down the hall in excitement.

    Yes, I confess: lots of doctors love this stuff. At least, you hope they do.

    Matter of fact, there are a whole bunch of young smart folks in grad school, med school and residency right now whose career paths will be determined by this. They will be fired up. You think you’re pissed? They plan to do something about it that will actually, over time, work. When Legionnaire’s disease hit in 1976 most people had never heard of epidemiologists (innocent times). It was a cool puzzle and led to the saving of lives. People wanted to be medical detectives. When AIDS came along five years later, there were battalions of them ready to stretch their new muscles.

    This bodes well for the next one after this, for what that’s worth today.

    We actually got on top of AIDS pretty fast for it behaving in ways that no other pathogen did: it specifically attacked the cells that target invaders. Shoot the soldiers and the city will fall. Bullets not bombs.

    Take a tip from me and don’t buy any crap labeled ‘Gays fought for AIDS treatment and Reagan ignored them’. I lived in San Francisco at the time. They raised unholy hell over the closing of the bathhouses, even after it was a truth universally acknowledged that the first symptom of AIDS was usually a recurrent pounding in the rectum.

    Not just a LARPer-MD, I have real-life pestilence experience, the one who rides the Pale Horse: front-line diagnosed a case of bubonic plague, also in the Army, in 1988. That was a snap: antibiotics, couple days in hospital, off you go. No quarantine, no panic. *

    But this Kung Flu fighting – to find parallels to this we have to go back to the Black Death. I say this because I think it is going to reorder society economically and in terms of class/government relations.

    Look at all of the emergency powers which suddenly the dog catcher has. People thought Buttigieg had delusions of grandeur as a small-town mayor wanting to go live in the big house. Now small-town mayors are telling people what they can’t do and where they can’t go.

    How many stories have you heard/read lately that started, “An emergency provision of the law allows…”? Are our laws riddled with these things? Or are they making it up as they go along?

    How many revolutions have you heard/read about that started with, “Necessary measures were taken for the public good…”?

    The Dems are using this an as excuse to do everything they’ve always wanted for those at the bottom, like letting them out of jail and stopping evictions of deadbeats. The GOPers are going to protect all their C-suite buddies with bailouts. Who’s going to pay these trillion dollars that are suddenly ‘available’?

    One guess: it starts with you and rhymes with me.

    Look also at the way the majority of people are whole-heartedly on board and/or scared. Watch the behavior of people in stores. Ask yourself, how much would it take to gin up some ‘let’s kill those who caused this’? Nature seems to be closer to the surface.

    Our gadgets didn’t change our relationship with nature. We’re not in charge. Truth hurts people, and then those people hurt other people – often those who told them the truth.

    Politicians now are at the center of attention, everyone hanging onto their every word and action. Think they want to go back to being public servants? Pelosi’s probably having orgasms again. (Apologies if I ruined your coffee break.)

    The government is feeding on the attention, scrambling to out-gibs all previous disasters. Nobody ever lost an election for ruining the future. I’m not talking about Trump-the-government, nor the congress-the-government, but the WHOLE government, including the localest of functionaries. They are drawing up further restrictions on you right now in a million offices, waiting to spring them. The requirements are growing exponentially, you know, just to keep up with the threat. The things they impose augment their own power and funding streams, and isn’t that an amazing coincidence?

    Here’s another aspect: just as these emergency powers are popping up like zits, so work-arounds and the relaxing of regulations is going on like a house afire. I advise a non-profit that does methadone dosing for a wide area. They just got approval – in one day, from the State of California! – to do mobile dosing, so patients don’t congregate in one place. This violates all manner of regulations, state and federal, but the California people said they’d get it by the feds PDQ as it was an ‘innovative idea’.

    We all know there can’t possibly be any downsides to innovative ideas. But the bigger issue is officials running roughshod over laws and regulations, both implementing and discarding, because they see the need to. If you ever see the need to do such a thing, you end up in cuffs.

    This is an invisible enemy, an infection. This could be a dress rehearsal for fighting other invisible enemies, like global warming, and other infections, like white racism. Power to the people!

    Obama told us that government is what we do together. Here it is in action, making us do something together, whether you like it or not.

    But this genie ain’t going back in the bottle. People are going to be dying in increasing numbers for a while – month or two is my stab at it. Two weeks ago I said out loud, People are really worried about the flu this year. I’ve eaten those words, with bitter herbs. I’ll eat them again for you now, in this forum, like a ruminant. My red-pill fueled prediction is that by the end of May most of us will be within two degrees of separation from a victim, not merely a patient, many within one. But after Wuhan-chan dries up and blows away, Leviathan is here to stay, as drunk as the Whore of Babylon on the blood of the prophets.

    I hope none of us falls to it. We have a dispersed community and will need every member on the other side.

    Gotta go wash my hands. Me and Pontius Xi.

    . * Plague occurs at the two-to-twenty cases/year rate in this country with less than one death per annum on average.

    • Doc, please keep us in the loop r.e. your experiences and observations. It’s so hard to get any first hand information from someone who is on the front lines of this thing, and who is more interested in observations rather than emotions.

      BTW I have met Doc in real life, and he has a passion for life and for his work. A true happy warrior.

    • You seem black-pilled about it. If you could clarify, what have you seen that leads you to believe this is going to get out of hand? Two degrees of separation, “many within one”, implies an astounding death toll, one that hasn’t been documented in an entire country yet. Why here?

      • Doctors are the ones leading this panic. Have you ever spoken to the typical doctor? They got to where they are by memorizing lots of information and regurgitating it.

        If we don’t see the national guard trucking bodies out by the thousands then doctors will be yet another institution that loses the trust of the people.

        • A lot of the panic is because the general populace is “innumerate”. Big numbers are scary to them because they are unable to put them in context. When those who are numerate attempt to use such in evaluation of costs and benefits of policies, they are disparaged and called names by those who seek to exploit the situation.

          Doctors are not generally innumerate. They are smart people. However, they are of a certain ilk and taught to treat the individual to the best of their ability. They act accordingly, which shades their perspective wrt societal costs—and that is how it should be. If I’m on my back in the ER, I want my doctor thinking of pulling me through, not the department’s bandage budget.

          So when I see a doctor discussing what we should do as a societal response to “treat” this virus/disease, I am not at all hesitant to evaluate (and possibly reject) his considered medical opinion with a clear conscious.

          • Plus doctors are on the front line. They’re people too and they put themselves at risk. Whether or not this thing is as bad as they say (I’m still in the skeptic camp), I can’t blame doctors for taking it very seriously. It’s human nature.

          • Had an “interesting” exchange with my cardiologist Thursday. His fear seemed to be that the system meaning guys like him) would be overwhelmed. Any appeal to logic – i.e. by advising him that the models used by the experts to predict the future path of this pandemic could not even “predict” the path of previous coronavirus outbreaks using known good numbers – fell on deaf ears. We agreed to disagree and see how things went on the other side. Wish I’d have made a bet with him. Doctors’ money spends just as well as other folks’.

      • Italy has had deaths equal to about 1 per 20,000 population. Multiply how many people you know times how many each of them knows, on average. The square root of 20,000 is about 130. That’s the number-of-people-needed-to-know for an Italian being within 2 degrees of a victim at present. Exponents work quickly.

        • I don’t doubt that’s the case (having personal experience with a corona death) in certain areas of Italy, but in the country as a whole? You said that “most” of us would be in the same boat, which implies a nationwide effect. Is that what you’re saying? Also, what is it about Italy that leads you to believe that it’s the most likely scenario facing America and not, say, Japan or South Korea?

          • The East Asian democracies are the ones doing best. They have racial solidarity and high social trust going for them, and tend to obey authority and pull together. China is the outlier in that part of the world due to its government, which let the people simmer in the broth for a month before doing anything at all.

            More ‘chaotic’ nations, those blessed with diversity and skepticism, won’t do as well. Spring break didn’t happen like normal on the beaches of East Asia, you can be sure.

            I suspect we’ll follow the European trajectories, but will be happy to be wrong. Elated, in fact.

        • I’m still at a loss as to how my knowing of someone who’s died or knowing someone who knows someone that died, as anything to do with policy? People die, people live. People who have died are gone. People who have lived must continue to live—and that life must continue in the current society.

          Now the question is, what sort of society should that be in order to facilitate the best results for the living? Further, discussion of that future society does not necessarily require that we wait until all events have played out.

          • If you keep in mind the Doctor’s comments of a week or two ago, the potential for this thing being big and bad was a hypothetical, and he was not exactly flippant about it, but had suspicions that the fears about the actual reach and breadth of the thing might have been overblown.

            Now he is seeing real infected patients, and he is no doubt taking the responsibility, which good doctors do, of shepherding those patients back to health and vitality. Seeing patients in danger, rolling in, has to be a very sobering experience for a doctor. My guess is that what you are seeing expressed by the Doctor is the human concern which is a big part of his calling, along with a form of “setting the record straight” on his earlier comments, now that he has more evidence of how this is playing out.

            To a doctor, who must have had many difficult conversations with grieving people who have just lost loved ones, a degree or two of separation hardly makes a difference on the human side of things.

            That said, as public policy goes, it is indeed much more of a spreadsheet exercise, and arguably rightly so. My read is that the Doctor is of the same point of view as to public policy, and is seeing the bureaucracy rolling in to places where it doesn’t belong. But give the good Doctor his space, he is properly expressing the human side of his calling.

        • Italy is no longer reporting. Like China, Italy’s numbers have blanks in the “New Cases” and”New Deaths” columns at Worldmeters.info. Something smells to me.

    • Excuse me if I’m reading you wrong, but you are guessing 100 million infected, with millions critically ill or dying?
      Those percentages haven’t happened anywhere yet.
      I respect your opinion, but I’m taking it with a giant pinch of salt.
      High numbers of new cases doesn’t mean millions of dead people. The majority of those infected in multiple nations, thus far, are asymptomatic or only mildly ill.
      We have a neighbor with family in Hong Kong, and they say everything is back to normal, with only a week or so of quarantine.
      Some nations, like Singapore, Japan and Korea, avoided a massive spike, and yet we are going to follow Italy off a cliff?
      I guess we will know who was right in a week or 2.

    • Doc. Appreciate your observations. Not sure group sentiment is that the current disease is fake. I believe it’s real. Discussion to me is how best to evaluate the cost/benefit of the response. As you’ve astutely noted, there are those who wish to take advantage of the crisis, any crisis, to fundamentally change society. It may be unavoidable, but I’ve not resigned myself to such at this time.

    • Look also at the way the majority of people are whole-heartedly on board

      Maybe where you live but not necessarily where I live. As an independent contractor who delivers food I can tell you that a lot of my customers and none of the people who work at the places where I pick up orders (restaurants and a major regional grocery chain) have flat out told me that this whole covid-19 thing is mostly hype and media-generated hysteria. They’re not buying the bravo sierra for a nanosecond. That said they have no choice but to knuckle under when the government can shut them down at whim.

  39. Out and about last night and this morning, things are really quiet out there. Miramar continues to house the quarantined, with guards and barricades at the little side gate where the buses come and go, making sure no quarantined person escapes. Wouldn’t want to get on one of those charter buses after that gig. Governor Newsome here in CA announced a “not really” lockdown last night, statewide, but exceptions for everything and everyone, as long as there are reasons to be at work or have your business open. But no socializing or having any fun, plebes. The vibe really reminds me of post-9/11, but more dictated to than personally felt. They started the week by issuing code numbers to “essential workers”, in case they got pulled over by the LEOs for being out during the lockdown (give the cop the code number and you are free to go), but the “not really” lockdown isn’t going to need any of that, at least not yet. I bought a new Mac laptop for the “work at home” thing last night, and watched, as it booted up and synched with my other devices, how all my internet surfing data from all sources, and everything else, went spiraling into the new unit. It knew my credit card numbers and contact information, just by pulling it from the cloud. My fingerprint was required, too, to get things going. All in a crisp and not user-unfriendly sort of way. Papers, please, emphasis on “please” (for now). Creepy, actually.

    I get the feeling that we are entering something new, and there is no going back. The screws are being turned quickly now.

    • I get the feeling that we are entering something new, and there is no going back.

      We are well and truly into terra incognita now. We are off the known parts of the map in well into the part with the legend “Here there be dragons”.

  40. This German Dr has an interesting take on the link between the Wuhan laboratory and the initial outbreak.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_AyuhbnPOI&feature=emb_logo
    It has always looked like a classic case of mass hysteria to me and this just confirmes my prejudices. I would be interested to hear what take that crazy Arch Druid guy, John Michael Greer I think he was called, would have on plague/panic business. Does anyone know if he’s still on t’interweb at all?

    • Dr. Wodarg has a website that is mostly in German, but has some English articles. His argument, as I understand it, is that the overall rate of respiratory illnesses is approximately normal for the season, but everyone who tests positive for COVID-19 has their illness or death attributed to the coronavirus, even if influenza, syncytial and rhino viruses, or even pre-existing conditions, are present. I wonder what he makes of the situation in Italy, where the fatality rate seems rather high.

  41. I think I see the problem with Steve, Greg, and others. They are putting too much faith in institutions, that they mistakenly believe are cultivating the ‘best and brightest’ , much like the Los Alamos project or the Apolo program, and thus we must defer to such institutions for the solutions to social problems such as the virus. These scientists are supposed to have the answers,and if their models say that 300 million Americans will get sick if we don’t shut everything down, then shut it down. These institutions are not cultivating our best and brightest but are dysfunctional and have turned into social-justice havens, and thus we cannot look to them for answers orl authority. This is not the 50s and 60s anymore.

    • CDC, FDA, and the Surgeon General have already proven they are all about the ‘vibrant and diverse.’

    • The experts are using models which cannot even predict the past. If the aerospace industry used models of such “quality”, we would see aircraft of all sorts falling out of the sky on a daily basis.

  42. I do not fear the virus as much as I do the concerted effort by the television networks, and newspapers to sow doubt, and discord, and to undermine every effort that the President is making. This can lead only to chaos. They are playing with fire in a barn full of straw. Will they be happy to see riots in the streets? Martial law? A body count that dwarfs anything brought on by the covid virus? I believe they either do not care what the results of their campaign of lies and slander produce, or that they hope to see the dreadful stuff I just mentioned. In any case what the media is doing is Evil, with a capital E. Damn them to hell.

    • They are playing with fire in a barn full of straw. Will they be happy to see riots in the streets? Martial law? A body count that dwarfs anything brought on by the covid virus?

      “Yes” to all the above because it will give them more ammunition to use in their unending campaign “to undermine every effort that the President is making”. Their sole goal is regime change and they have no scruples when it comes to pursuing that goal. They desire nothing more than to remove a lawfully elected president and they will accept nothing less than Donald J Trump’s removal from office. PERIOD!

  43. It’s amazing how isolating it feels when everyone around you keeps saying “flatten the curve” like it’s a magical spell. I’ve had people tell me how nice it is to work from home since they don’t have to do anything, apparently oblivious to the fact that if there is no economic activity then they won’t have a job for long.

    A prime example of this feminine hysteria is Rod Dreher from The American Conservative. You really should consider doing a post around this man on his own as I think he perfectly encapsulates how smart people think about this virus. Which is to say, they don’t think at all, and instead work themselves up into a frenzy, demanding the government take away their scary freedom.

    He’s a Christian writer who is fine not going to church for the foreseeable future, fine with the government issuing bans on gatherings of 5 people. His descent into madness is something to behold. ESPECIALLY in light of the fact that he’s acknowledged that he got worked up in the past and supported the Iraq war.

      • Yeah, I used to be a big fan. As a Christian I agreed with the importance of building a community to sustain us through hostile times.

        But after about 8,000 global deaths this man totally lost his mind. If I was his friend I would be going to his house and making sure he isn’t painting the window panes and screaming at his children to get inside the house.

        In WW2 Rod dreher would have been killed by his own men for screaming and risking their position.

        • Z has aggressively dunked on Dreher in the past; it was funny as hell and I wouldn’t mind seeing it again.

  44. Used to get deathly ill every winter until I was 7 or 8. Almost suffocated a couple of times. Because of that I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t acutely aware of my mortality. It’s a difficult thing to come to terms with, so maybe it was a blessing in disguise to go through it at a young age.

    It’s stupid to be reckless, but panicking doesn’t help anyone. Only makes things worse. Life is contingent, and when your time’s up it’s up. There won’t be a damned thing you can do about it. Or you survive, there’s no way to know. Most of the time you find out it wasn’t as bad as you thought.

    You might as well enjoy the time you have, not worrying, being smart, keeping your head on a swivel. We’re all a lot tougher than we’ve been taught, anyway. The body is a hard thing to kill.

    • It’s stupid to be reckless, but panicking doesn’t help anyone.

      We are in the time of what I call Vanderboegh’s Dictum”. Mike Vanderboegh once rote, “When in danger or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout.” I submit to you that we are living in a world where elected rulers are following Mike’s “advice”. Well, for all the good the actions they’re taking will do they might as well be taking it. We are off the map here, folks. Terra FEKKING incognita. Nobody has a clue what happens next after TPTB shut down whole sectors of the economies of so many nations. On the map is the legend “Here there be dragons.”

  45. Sitting in my truck on break as I type this. Just saw a group of youngsters walk by throwing a football around. Kids playing outside, a rare sight these days. So at least there’s that.

    On the other hand, this could be my last day on the job thanks to our brave governor.

    Adults panic, kids make the best of it.

    • My GF casually said last night “i wonder if there will be a spike in babies born 9 months from now”.

      We had walked around the other day and it was like a spring sunday in some pre-iphone era. Couples both home, gardening, playing with kids in the yard. It was lovely but also kind of eerie because that has become so rare i suppose.

      I thought for a second then responded that there will definitely be more babies.

      Just not in this neighborhood. These birds around here are career ladies.

      They are all on birth control. But a couple of zip codes over, hell yeah. More Democrat voting buns in the oven. The future is…

      Hope your job situation works out Painter.

  46. “Maybe I am the crazy one, but crazy or not, messing with big complicated things always has unanticipated results.”

    No, you are not crazy it is just that you can see what is coming. You are really “woke” in the real way and not like those idiots on the left.

    The California governor put the whole state on house arrest today — for their own good of course — and even Stalin never tried to go that far. And so far, it looks like no one is going to try to give him what he really deserves.

    I am a child of the early 50s and read the books discussed above, and I could never have imagined that a variation of the common cold would be the tool that the evil ones used to kill us all. They will be saying they love us and it is all for our own good until there are dead in the streets and cannibalism in the cities.

    I think we are in for a lot more trouble than anyone here has yet imagined. (and I pray to God that I am wrong)

    Damn, damn, damn.

  47. ok. So maybe we are on the same page here. I’m all for caution – working from home for office types, the grocery store sanitizing the shopping carts continuously, limiting crowds, that sort of thing. The shelter in-place orders in California and elsewhere are batshit crazy and it really does seem that some nutters plan to tank the entire economy all at once.

    Of course, there is a plan to streamline the H1-B visas, because of course.

    • “Of course, there is a plan to streamline the H1-B visas, because of course.”

      Let me guess. Our informative and gravely unfortunate StreetsAndSan met one of those potential H1Bs on his way to a sanctuary city.

      Probably waved on thru by ICE at landing, since he had a (somebody else’s) kid.

  48. When things come roaring back…..
    The service sector which employs a significant percentage of the workforce will simply jump back into the thick of things? Fat chance.

    Most of these people are forced to live paycheck to paycheck. They are the canaries in the coal mine. It will have a ripple effect throughout the economy. Unemployment and YangBucks may paper over things for a short period but how about the long term?

    Manufacturing may come running back home but there will be a serious time lag between the contraction in the service economy and the rebuilding of the manufacturing base ( If that even happens. There will be a lot of push back from the usual quarter to not do this).

    So the people who mishandled the WuFlu are now expected to competently handle widespread serious economic problems which will breed even more serious social problems?

    When the government starts handing out money to individuals and businesses it will of course be riddled with all sorts of progressive agenda covenants.

    These problems weren’t orchestrated they were the result of dueling incompetencies. But the response to this will be well orchestrated. They will attempt to use this in a vein similar to how Reconstruction was used after the Civil War. They won’t be as clubfooted about it, but that will be their guiding principle.

      • Georgia, they don’t, but *we* do.

        Thanks to the Zman for taking a lead.
        I would not have realized we’re facing a an unprecedented ‘nationwide 30-day lock-down’, but for the Z-blog.
        Now I and we can prepare as best we can.

        I think the Woke might see this as their defining WWll moment, as they imagine telling the grandxids of their heroically inspiring March For Unity, showing backwards haters what Our Diversity can achieve. All the oppressed world are global citizens and Americans, equal in the eyes of Gaia and Corona-chan. Except the haters, Nazis, and Trump voters, of course.

    • I’ve seen recent numbers saying that 71% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. If this goes on more than a few weeks there will be a lot of angry, desperate people out there looking to take from those who were smart enough to set something aside for a rainy day. Prep accordingly.

      • There are already news reports of looting in California, London and Paris. This is after only a few day.

        • LA, Paris, London? Well, knock me down with a feather. What with their massive non-native populations and the fact that they’re filled to the rim with vibrancy, they ought to be the safest places in the world.

          • Yes, it’s my impression that Californians begin everyday with the “looting forecast” – Today we will see some light pilfering in the inland valleys, possibly spreading to the coastal hills by afternoon. Widespread dumpster fires and petty larceny expected North of Long Beach…

        • Not San Francisco? What? Are the soup kitchens still running? I’d think SF would be one of the first places to see such civil disorder break out.

      • So many reasons for weapons and ammo purchases now. No arrests unless you actually murder someone, plus let all the dindus go because they might get the sniffles. And while all these people are out of work and out of business, the landlords (how do I combine parentheses and some sign for Han/Indian?) are warning people to pay up or be evicted. Plus money is germs so go all digital, plus . . . crap, it’s endless. Whether manufactured or not letting a crisis go to waste, they’re going all in. 2032 got here a bit early, folks.

    • Yeah the pimp hand of the gov’t. Takes the money you earned from whorin’ with one hand, bitch-slaps you with the other, then when the tears well-up he knows its time to hand you back 40% of your money because he really does care. Now get back to work bitch.

      The convenience of manufacturing’s slow return, which will happen at least in enough areas for pressers, is that to the owners it really doesn’t matter at this point whether the sweatshop is in Vietnam or North Carolina because there are already plenty of Vietnamese in NC to work for sweatshop wages.

      Globalism really needn’t be pushed after this downturn. The virus infection curve is not what is being flattened.

    • Yves, how true. Stat’s for last year were indicating a real growth in wages of 3%. After this fiasco, wages will be back down to prehistoric levels and the dirt people will be once again happy to even have a job.

      The game is rigged—you can’t win—you can’t break even—hell, you can’t even quit the game.

    • There is going to be immediate economic activity (including new hiring) at the start of the in-migration of manufacturing. Once the physical plant is back and running, economic activity will ramp up steadily for decades. Wait until china is hit with lawsuits for all this shit…

  49. In addition to the other pieces of literature mentioned, now would be a good time to read H.P. Lovecraft’s “At the Mountains of Madness,” the story of a once-great alien civilization that declines and collapses under its own weakness.

    Lovecraft was an admirer of Oswald Spengler and the story, written in the 30’s, is an obvious metaphor for where HPL thought we were headed. It’s tough to say he wasn’t correct.

    The Elder Things were so great even Cthulhu wouldn’t mess with them, but then they gave equal rights to a Stone-age race….

  50. (From my perspective) I think you have done very well to keep your head at this time, and this is very rare: you give some examples of several people who I thought were sound, but have spectacularly failed this challenge.

    Indeed it seems to you me that you started-off down the wrong track with this business, but (and this is unusual) backed-away from where you were going, recovered; and have start making valuable analyses over the past days.

    One thing I think you need to consider is that crashing the world economy may be deliberate – indeed I believe it is deliberate. Everything you said about the ‘costs’ of shutdown, I regard as the *reason* for the shutdown.

    This shutdown has been on the agenda of the Global Establishment for a couple of years, with the excuse of the (fake) Climate Eemergency (all that sustainable economy, zero carbon stuff); but now it has actually been achieved with a different (fake) excuse.

    All those very bad things you predict will be a planned consequence, rather than an accidental consequence, of heavy handed meddling with matters of complexity. And this means that – far from reacting to the harm by honestly trying to reduce it – the response will (deniably, covertly) make matters worse.

    We’ll soon know one way or the other; so long as the possibility of a deliberately evil Establishment is recognised as a real possibility.

    • Bingo. Green New Deal! You’re all going to die in 12 years! Ha! Pull the other one.
      Would you believe, a vanishingly small number of you Are going to have a mild cold… right now! Really? Holy cow, global tyranny is simply a must-do. Go for it!

      Brilliant, really. Why do psychopaths have to be so intelligent?

    • I agree with you but for a different reason. I would not be surprised if the virus was used – used, not created – to crash & reset the economy to something more rational & sustainable. I know that Z readers tend to think the worst of our ruling class and they are usually correct, but top economists (the ones not always in media) tend to be a level-headed bunch, and I suspect they were worried about the trajectory of the national & world economy for the past few years. It’s all built on debt, credit, and micro-trades. You don’t have to be very insightful to realize this is not sustainable.

      But nobody wants to call for or be responsible for crashing the economy on purpose, so ’round about February, top economists met and said, “this is our chance”. I don’t think they were being mendacious. When people say the world will be very different after this, maybe it’s for the good. A grounded market. Border controls. Far less reliance on Chinese manufacturing.

      I could be terribly naive or silly here, but I like to be an optimist once in a while.

      • Marko, I’m interested in your idea of a “beneficial” crash, but I don’t believe in the beneficence of others, and economists are low on my list—as I too believe it when they, themselves, call it the dismal science.

        Perhaps you’d elaborate with a hypothetical scenario or two in which the future outcome of this world crash evolves into a more sustainable economic order? Then perhaps I’d have a better understanding of what you are saying.

      • A quick, furious financial crash, generated by a true crisis (war, pestilence, you name it) is a perfect way to reset the financial system. The only other way to reset the markets is to have a devastating financial collapse, and in that case all the world’s eyes are on the financial players, and governments and God knows who gets involved, probably making things worse. With a true crisis, you have a cover and can solve systemic issues without too many eyes judging you. An optimist would see this as a way for Serious Market Men to go in and sweep out all the insane market bloat. A pessimist would see this as Evil Market Men using the opportunity to pursue their evil interests without much interference.

        A “beneficial” crash would be one where the markets take a furious dive, but governments worldwide are more than eager to help keep the populace happy and the economy afloat, especially when the crash is precipitated by a foreign menace, the Chinese. (The people will more happily rally around that, rather than something akin to 2007-09, which was totally the fault of greedy Americans.) My hope is that this crisis tells people, including Financial Men, that native industry is essential, borders are essential, stupid Washington drama is stupid, and China not Russia is the real threat.

        Goldman Sachs, whether you like them or not, said that this was a good time for a reset. It’s at the bottom of the bullet points here:


    • Question, Bruce Charlton, if I may. Now I’m not disputing your premise. I’d just like you to walk me through how the elites you posit are behind the shutdown stand to profit by/from the resultant collapse. Illumine me. I truly wish to know. No irony/sarcasm intended. I have no problem believing someone would initiate a global collapse if it would profit them, I just cannot see how anyone would profit from such an event. I say this especially since the collapse could easily exceed anticipated bounds and end up bring the initiators down too. I do not believe that even someone with the resources of a Soros or a Bloomberg has the resources to ride out TEOTWAWKI.

    • One of the comments was

      Seriously, even the president himself called the virus: Chinese virus. What do you expect from people who support him?

      This was my reply

      He called it the “Chinese virus” because that’s where it originated! Facts are not “racist” neither is calling something what it – IN POINT OF FACT – is. Get over it snowflakes. There are cities in the U.S.where roving gangs attack and try to cold cock older WHITE men and nobody raises an eyebrow. Get a life, children. Shit happens.

  51. I get around to visiting about a hundred and fifty different businesses in a week, every week. I can tell you that none of the manufacturing is shutting down and almost no one is panicking at all. The few that are panicking, however, are in a complete mental meltdown.

    Most useless office jobs are closed however. But they are not productive jobs. The employees who would hold baking contests at their “job” are all at home.

    Amazon has no more of their own delivery drivers they have all been laid off. Despite what news stories you read they are gone. A lot of the third parties that sell through Amazon depend on a constant inflow of crap from China and those warehouses are all empty.

    Grocery stores still have plenty of stuff in the back and shipments of food continue. The panicked and the people panicking from the panickers are just hoarding.

    I like to hope that we’ll see mass unemployment of the unproductive and a shift back to manufacturing. Interesting times

    • My husband’s office has about 50 of the perhaps 70 people left working in their large, multi-story office building. I seriously doubt any significant work is not getting done by the absence of those hundreds of ‘working women’ and the men who serve under them.

  52. Governor Tom Wolfe of PA shut down ‘non-life-sustaining’ business last night, which apparently also means Coal Mines must shut down… Coal plants stockpile anywhere between 30 to 90 days of burn. But shutting down the mines means reduced restocking at the plants. But it’s “non-life-sustaining”. Steel mills are still open though.. I guess nobody thought of the coke facilities for the blast furnaces?

    These people are insane. I am so pissed of right now. I am supposed to start a new job on March 30. Still planning to start via telecommute, but I am freaking worried now.

    • They act like they’re terrified of death, but then make decisions like they’ll live forever, yes insane!

      I heard from my boss this morning that any business that is a “critical supplier” (and a supplier to the critical supplier) will need to stay open. This includes energy (oil, gas, but I would presume coal too), medical, defense, food – the list goes on but we both puzzled what the point was. The further down the supply chain you go, the more likely places will have to stay open since those companies are at the base of the supply pyramid.

      Maybe banks will shut down? That will go well. I feel like the backseat passenger in Thelma and Louise’s car.

      • Internet, banking and credit outages, that’s what I fear. The Big One.

        Like the Lockdown, I can’t imagine it, though.

        Update: headed to a shop for a minor repair. The entrance door will be locked, I was told, but they want me to call outside the door instead and they take payment over the phone.

      • Banks are open. Too life-sustaining apparently. My company supplies to medical manufacturers. We’re closed. M&M Mars is still at least partially open, I hear. Again, must be too life-sustaining.

        Probably just another Dem party shakedown imo. Pay to work.

    • Fingers crossed for ya Badthink. Perhaps the trickle down of the payroll “loan” package coming out of the swamp will keep your job safe.

  53. Nice audio clip from The Prisoner to start the podcast. I got caught up with that maybe ten years ago with crappy youtube quality episodes. Better ones available now. McGoohan went on to play the king in Braveheart.

  54. I love The Mote in Gods Eye! Matter of fact my parents had a copy of Larry Nivens Ringworld on their bookshelf and it was what got me interested in science fiction.

      • I was pretty young when I spotted Ringworld on my parents bookshelf but the really cool book art caught my eye. I’ve loved Nivens and Pournells writing ever since.

      • Holy smokes! That’s awesome. I loved Pournelle’s blog. Also loved his “Falkenberg /Codominium” series he co wrote wit SM Stirling. That man had no starry eyed vision about the nature of man. Very sorry to hear he passed.

        Way cool that he read your blog.

      • Gotcha beat! In ’86 I had TEN WHOLE MINUTES ALONE with Larry Niven! He was an absolute sweetheart. I told him how I was working on a technology to retrofit – cheaply – any CRT monitor to do the touch screen functions he wrote about in “Integral Trees”. He was astonished. For years afterward whenever I read anything of his I could hear his voice telling the story.

  55. Be very, very careful, people….your rulers in current government, pennsylvania and federal, who won the most recent popularity contest…err..election……are getting incredibly more powerful and arrogant using this “crisis” to grab more power for themselves…we’re GIVING AWAY the farm…our governor has GRANTED himself the absolute non-legal power to SHUT DOWN BUSINESSES….if this were the 1950’s there would be revolution in the streets…..it is truely a sad state of affairs…..if 30% of us died from this virus while going to work and school,etc. , I would think as a society we’d come out of it stronger……we will never recover from this government power grab…seems they convinced us they’re doing it for our own good….thinking they will take away meat next…maybe we’all need to talk and listen
    P.S. I’m just VERY concerned

    • Massive money grab. Cookie jar is busted open and the kids are in a frenzy on the kitchen floor.

      Free shit is all Trump has left. For years it has been “best economy ever, stock market all time high, unemployment lowest ever, jobs jobs beautiful factories…” and “gina gina gina”.

      Then within three weeks time its “we are all gonna die” unless all of the above is wrecked errr re-priced.

      Don’t worry though we learned from last time that unless you want a bunch of dirty street-shitting commies camping on wall street you need to throw some bones to main street.

      Watching the the trade war turn into a bio war is sickening. But not as sick as watching our leaders virtue signaling over each other into a frenzy of government overreach followed closely by waves of helicopter money.

      Just don’t look under the hood of all these gubmint cash cow vehicles coming off the line. Especially the fed repo balance sheet magic money makers.

      It should be clear to everyone at this point that this nation is nothing more than the various trading markets and the associated economic indices.

      Just got off a call with a client. He has three of his deal guys working full time on his application for the gubmint payroll protection “loan” which by loan I mean 100% forgivable as long as he doesn’t lay people off.

      He was too busy to work on it because he has two engagement pitches today. He went from pissed last night to giddy this AM. And now he doesn’t need to hire me so lol!

      The “gov’t” has decided to carry the largest expense of “small” businesses for four months – and get nothing in return. (Except slowing the burn of “lowest unemployment ever”).

      Once again, all of us debt-free, ultra low leverage, self-employed, prudent savors, low consumption, and self-sufficient citizens of the economy will be made fools for not playing the game right. No cookies for you!

      The econ stuff is too complex for my taste. But the social implications of burning the last threads of goodwill and incentives toward any kind of productive and ethical enterprise are going to go thru a stress test that may just prove fatal for the American experiment.

      And I am disappointed in myself for the anger, envy, and resentment that wells up every time I realize that all of my choices over the last decade have moved me out of reach of the cookie jar and yet not within reach of the wealth and independence to be insulated from these “downturns”.

      I hate that I am left with “gimmie my free shit too” as one of the few things that unites me with my fellow consumer-citizens. Like the will smith Last Man film, its getting hard to not root for the virus. At least something would turn out to be real in all of this.

      • Wall Street was ideally a place for the little guy to participate in the grow-grow-grow of the economy and corporate enterprise. It was also a way to stick it to Goldman’s “muppets” (the little guys) through trading and packaged products, and it is now dominated by the big business and corporate executive “skims”. The old-school Wall Street and the little guy investing is the Potemkin Lower Manhattan facade.

      • 100 upcommies, Screwtape.
        Everything we were told about Adam Smith was a headfake. It had the competition- us- chasing our own tails while the informed got connections.

        Plus! We built all the cool stuff they use.
        I feel so, so violated. He didn’t even call back.

    • if this were the 1950’s there would be revolution in the streets

      {snif} Doncha just love the smell of frog soup?

  56. If Trump is going to play Wartime President now, then let Senator Richard Burr be tried and hung as war profiteer.

    One death may or may not be a tragedy, but it can be attention-getter.

    • “. . . let Senator Richard Burr be tried and hung as war profiteer.”

      We could all use some cheering up.

    • Sold all his stonks after a secret meeting about the coronachan? Yeah, that’s a pretty bad look. This whole thing is pretty damn crazy. I’m actually pretty optimistic about it. If nothing else, crisis’ and panic open the door for dramatic shifts in the status quo. There is nothing I fear more than things continuing as they have been. We have been speeding down a road to ruin for far too long.

      • This is another situation where Trump would have no problem mustering a guillotine mob to seal the fate of the corrupt. He won’t, but the way we’re going it might come to that.

        • A good strategy for Trump will be to “run against congress” in the Fall. Worked for Truman.

      • Oh, something will happen, certainly to Burr and Loeffler who are Republicans. The Democrats are in a frothy-mouthed frenzy to get a Senate majority before Justice Ginsberg passes away. Republicans keep trying to show their virtue by committing political seppuku and this time they might get the job done.

        • Burr is retiring. Collins will bash Loeffler to death with this in the GA Senate election.

        • Thought experiment. If YOU had secret information about a possible economic cataclysm, would you too sell your investments? Would you tell your friends, your kids, your dad?

          • If YOU had secret information about a possible economic cataclysm, would you too sell your investments? Would you tell your friends, your kids, your dad?

            Damned straight! I DO think I’d try harder to keep it quiet, though. Just in case.

      • Possibly with the current meltdown perhaps this is another load of bricks onto the overloaded mule that is white America? We might be nearing the straw that finally breaks the system?

        • I’m beginning to suspect that Atlas won’t get an opportunity to shrug. I figure he’ll bleed out from a thousand cuts first.

      • You really think that Burr isn’t going to resign? That this just happened, now? Burr was causing real problems for Trump a few months back, talking shit big time. Now he is a dead man walking. Just ask Jeff Flake…

        • He chairs the intel committee. No elected official will dare speak out against him. That and all of them do this stuff. Trading on insider information is how they managed to become millionaires of six figure salaries.

      • Scott Brown introduced the “Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act” back in 2011. After he lost to Warren, the law was quickly “amended” to make the dealings of the Swamp more opaque than ever.

        • Yep. He wound up with no friends in the party as a result. That’s why Burr can tell Tucker to go bleep himself.

    • I think that “Hanging is too good for him” as my grandmother used to say.
      I quite like the public spectacle associated with M. Guillotine’s device, complete with tumbril. Somewhere on the National Mall would seem appropriate.

      Of course, we’d want to bring it up to date and the modern day equivilent would seem to be a woodchipper.

      • The problem is, once you go there, it gets used on everyone, in turn. c.f. French Revolution. Though most everyone it gets used on lives in Capitol City, so there is that…

        • The problem is, once you go there, it gets used on everyone, in turn. c.f. French Revolution.

          Somewhere I read that Robespierre was a huge of Madame le Guillotine – until it was his turn to become intimate with her.

          bilejones, one must exercise extreme caution when choosing a petard seeing as how one is always liable to find himself hoisted upon it,

      • No woodchippers. Good lord, man.

        Now Madame Guillotine, though, if French damsels in lace decollage, bell hoops, and silk became a thing as well…

        La Belle Epoque Novo. The Revival.
        A celebration of life after the grim Lockdown!

    • The below Media-ite story says they sold “shortly after receiving classified into about the ill effects of then looming coronavirus pandemic.”

      Translation: After receiving a briefing about how the government was about to shutdown the economy with the inevitable crash of the stock market.

      This was not “shrewd investing.” This was blatant criminality. But as Z Man says, nothing will happen. I would be fun run against one of these critters and just bombard them with their perfidy. Sadly, they would be reelected anyway, but it would still be fun…

      These people — both parties — hate you.


    • let Senator Richard Burr be tried and hung as war profiteer.

      If only t’were possible.

  57. Alright, now I want to go reread some Niven / Pournelle. Of course my f&*#^ library is closed for the duration.

  58. I wrote a long time ago that the key to a good bio weapon is that it kills enough of your enemy to cripple him, but no so many that it boomerangs on you and wipes out all your people too. This was back during the anthrax / dirty bomb era in the early 2000’s. China is almost certainly under-reporting cases and deaths. More Chinese die before lunch on a Tuesday than in their reported CV19 death toll.

    China also knows that the West has a different attitude towards this stuff. So, they game it out, and either release it themselves or just conceal it until it can be seeded outside the country. Our first true bio war.

    When we get through all this, and we will, China will be paying a very high price for what it has done.

    • You have to wonder if some neo-con nuts have another plan in place just like 9-11. Remember The Project for a New American Century?

      • You’re right. These irresponsible and belligerent actions by the Chinese make it blindingly obvious what we must do — We must begin carpet bombing Papua New Guinea immediately!

    • The Soviets had a very advanced biological warfare program. No doubt the Chinese picked the brains of former Russian bioweapons people to start their program.

      I think it is possible the Chinese did this on purpose, but I suspect it was a blunder. Still, even if they did and publicly admitted to it, our rulers will do nothing, because that would racist.

      • Check the link I posted above. Explains the details of what the Chinese have planned.

      • I think it’s far more likely to be a US rather than Chinese concoction. The US had no compunctions about using Anthrax in order to get the Patriot Act passed.

        • Likely formulated in Fort Dietrich, our former bioweapons lab, and taken by a Chinese scientist working in our lab, back to Wuhan, years ago. That’s how the Chinese make the claim that it is a “U.S.” thing. It is, they stole it fair and square, like everything else they wanted.

          The AIDS-like receptor hooks suggest someone installed those into the virus at some point (I actually know nothing, would be interested to hear what knowledgeable people think about that one), and that Asians appear more succeptible, because they have more receptors, could be either because all of that was unknown up to now, or that the virus was modified to target Asians. Like pulling away layers of an onion, this thing is.

        • The Han would have no problems using chemical weapons either. Occam’s Razor says a Chinaman dropped a petri dish in their own lab. We’re probably never going to have good, verifiable information that answers this question.

          In an era of fake news, false flaggotry, meta-narrative and information overload, is Occam’s Razor even a good hueristic anymore, or is it now just the easiest trap to fall into?

          Was it ever a good hueristic, or is it a shibboleth from Conan Doyle and others?

          • The classic Razor is about finding the explanation for the known facts that requires the fewest “entities”. So you see a shop window break and hear a loud bang a second or so later. It’s reasonable to think that someone fired a rifle at something near you, or maybe AT you and hit the window. It’s also possible though that the bang was just a car up the road backfiring and there was actually someone in the shop firing out through the window using a suppressor so you didn’t hear the shot. In either case it’s a good idea to take cover. Both explanations are actually quite plausible but the second one needs an unseen car to make the delayed bang and a suppressor to silence the real one.

            The problem of the Media Age is right at the start though – the known facts. What are they exactly? The fog of fake news and propaganda means that the set of facts everyone can agree upon tends to be rather small and disconnected. This allows for a large number of equally rather preposterous theories to explain them. It’s like playing a game where there’s a deck of cards with random sentence fragments on them and you draw 3 or 4 and try to write a story around that.

        • Bile, our rulers have have been coordinating with Communist China for a generation, yet suddenly they’ll rush to the defense of the citizenry they love so much.

      • There’s been a lot of speculation about how the lab in Wuhan might have led to the release of the virus in the nearby seafood market, and here’s what I’ve come up with.

        There’s been reports that the closest relative for the Wuhan virus was found from a bat in a cave in Yunnan, a thousand miles from Wuhan. We know the Chinese were canvassing the country to try and find new strains of the virus that were out there. So, how did they do this? They probably paid contractors to catch bats from all over the country so they could bring them to the Wuhan lab for research.

        One such bat-catcher, trying to make even more money, caught more bats than the Wuhan lab needed. He then sold the excess bats to the nearest market. And we know the rest of the story.

      • First time comment, thanks for all you do Z , keep it up. Your site is an Island of sanity in a sea of chaos…

    • ” the key to a good bio weapon is that it kills enough of your enemy to cripple him, ”
      A lesson the the VietCong learned very early on in their taste of US aggression is that it is far more debilitating both morally and in terms of resources to badly injure rather than kill.
      I wonder what long term effects will result from the current panic inducer.

  59. The dilemma in A Mote in God’s Eye for the alien race was their mass reproduction inevitably brought about social and economic collapse of their planet, hence why they wanted the stellar transport technology to travel to new planets. Of course, the Humans wanted to stop them, as their rapid spread would soon lead to war and conflict with other peoples.

    The dilemma of humanity will be how to keep prosperous countries to have the will to maintain their civilization and reproduce after comfort is achieved.

    • Maybe it is just me but I always thought the Moties were like the Chinese.
      Intelligent in a way that is useful to them and their reverse engineering skills.

    • The trick is to make modernity family friendly to the working class something which hasn’t been done. Tucker Carksin repeatedly points this out.

      Out ruling and monied classes do not want a prosperous working and middle-class because it means less money in their pocket. This is why we have so much off-shorting of jobs and industry to what amounts to countries who practice slave labor.

      The upper classes have always had a tendency to rot and die out do to bad mating choices that often breed out vitality and intelligence.

    • The secret Chet, is to have a reason. When you’re uncomfortable, you have a reason. To get comfortable. When you’re comfortable, you must invent a new reason.

    • If China’s goal is to use COVID19 as a strategy for gaining market share, it may well be the most retarded strategy in the history of Marxism. They have managed to piss off the entire freaking world. Then, just to cement this, they lied repeatedly about CV19’s existence, destroyed data, and then threatened the United States that they would withhold critical medicines if we did anything to retaliate.

      That’s ____ing stupid.

      In the U.S., it is a foregone conclusion that all essential medicines/manufacturing is coming back to US soil. Not if, but when. The American Public couldn’t give two shits about calling this the Chinese Virus, and the stigma attached to “Made in China” is going to make things difficult for importers. Add to that, in recent months the US has been arresting more Chinese nationals for industrial espionage on US soil, and Chinese illegals are a big problem not just the people coming up from the south.

      There is going to be a wide and surprisingly bipartisan agreement that although we may all hate each other, that China is a loose cannon which is going to get us all killed.

      Cut them off, cut off their economy, raise tariffs 200%, f-em.

      • I hope you’re right hokkoda. But. Your argument depends on our, the worlds, good governance. That leaders feel some national loyalty, may I even say patriotism? That they even care about their people. My fear is that they care more dearly about profits and continued membership in that global rich man’s club. After this is all over, companies will move back into China, because it is more profitable.

        • The GOP won three House races in PA this week. All were contested, one was a district Clinton carried by 10 points.

          And we now have not one but two GOP NeverTrumpers (Burr, Loeffler, etc) cashing out stocks in what looks like an obvious insider-trading deal.

          I believe there is a reckoning coming.

      • hokkoda:
        Maybe you have just pointed out the Silver Lining in this entire thing.

        I was optimistic, reading your comment! Maybe that will be the one thing the bipartisan dummies can agree on. Only time will tell.

      • I hope you’re right. Then again I’ve been waiting a long time for this sort of moment when the adults finally get home and kick out the drunken teenagers who’ve been trashing the house and driving donuts on the lawn.

        Maybe this is the catalyst for the overall change that needs to happen in a lot of ways. If Western nations are going to survive this century as anything other than outposts of the third world that happen to be above the 30th parallel they are going to need to adopt this tough-minded attitude towards the third world’s temptations and entanglements. For those resources that can’t be sourced from our cultural peer nations such as rare earth elements we need to use our advantages of technology and innovation and develop alternatives in space or substitutes here on earth. Needless to say some “resources” like physical or intellectual labor for pennies on the dollar are just going to need to go bye-bye and we can hand out tiny violins to play sad music for all the butt-hurt libertardians who will need to cut their own grass and write their own Python scripts.

        Trump needs to use this to develop a new Marshall Plan for disentangling Western nations from the chaos of the third world and that includes the Middle East. Strategic resources and goods need to be identified and listed (why the fck were companies even ALLOWED to make crucial medicines and medical equipment in what is clearly an enemy nation!!!). Actual reserves of these items need to be amassed with tested plans for rapid mobilization in crisis. There’s a long tradition of strategic reserves of these kinds of things, why the Canadians even have an official hoard of maple syrup!

        Trade agreements and tax structures need to be made to wall out the third world and wall-in friendly, culturally Western nations. This kind of thing can be done and has been done, notably to deal with the spread of communism during the Cold War. If Trump starts this ball rolling he can become a new Eisenhower figure and potentially even be viewed as the Man Who Saved the West. Cue triumphant music and riding off into the sunset scene…

      • Biologically, a host is an organism that harbours a parasitic, a mutualistic, or a commensalist guest (symbiont), the guest typically being provided with nourishment and shelter.
        liberals, socialists, blacks, muslim, virus share common traits.

    • Reads like any number of papers from pay-for think tanks advising others as to wise things to think and say at cocktails parties. China will take no leadership role from first world countries, nor will they make hay while the 1st world factories are closed. You see, trade is a two-way street—you can’t sell to someone who’s broke.

      China is in real trouble. They broke the back (temporarily) of their most important trading partners. And there is every reason to believe their partners will not come back to trade as aggressively as they did before the virus/pandemic. If China wants to lead the third world, have at it. Russia did that to any country that said it wanted to go commie for half a century. All it did was bankrupt Russia in the end and produce no allies.

    • Stunning. Excellent, Horst, bloody excellent.
      I and others who called Chinese shipping a Cargo Cult are thoroughly refuted.

      Now THAT is strategic Disruption planning by hard-eyed adults, men trained by the iron mentors who survived the Cultural Revolution.

      “Reparations”? What, like those paid by Germany for decades? Part of the cost, the ticket price of entrance to the Davos party.
      Certainly less than Mideast war and occupation.
      (Or the British Raj it was patterned on.)

      What does NuMerica have to offer?
      We’ll bomb you unless you take those World Bank loans? Five Eyes? Gay marriage? Female Defense Ministers? Halal Burger King?

  60. I watched the old “Last Man on Earth” the other night, and even though Heston scoffed at it when watching to prep for “Omega Man” and Richard Matheson had his name removed from the credits, it still maintains its weird elegiac power. Not really scary, but poignant. But I think “Dawn of the Dead” is much more apt for right now, what with the mad consumerism accompanying the End of Times: American cities will be left smoking ruins, the global elite will have retreated to their underground bunkers at Raven Rock Mountain Complex, and worse of all, Amazon will suspend one-day shipping.

    • As I’ve been saying all along, it’s only a matter of time before the negroes find out that the fence is no longer electrified. Like the dinosaur scene in Jurassic Park.

      • that will be a scary day indeed.
        thus, whites (and friends) should cling to the 2a more than ever these days.

      • Careful with the racist characterizations, there friend. In my work of delivering food I’ve come across more than a couple of black people who are just as upset about the hype and hysteria surrounding covid-19 as anybody here. Yes, I agree that the rank and file person of African descent probably has no clue where to begin to look for a clue to what’s going on but then how many whites are truly clued in? Sometimes I rail at “females and mud people” but there really are good and decent and intelligent people of all colors. It just seems that the inhabitants of the section 8 (government) housing to which I so frequently deliver fast food are disproportionately of African descent. Around here “kneegrows” make up only about 15% of the population but are the majority in section 8 housing. At least around her there can never truly be a kneegrow uprising. Not enough of ’em. Not all that many whites, either – only about 20%. No worry about browns rising up since they rule the roost anyhow.

        I’m just happy TPTB are letting grocery stores and restaurants doing carry-out/drive-thru stay in business. That lets me stay in business while my school bus-driver wife sits at home. The company I deliver for has made one change. We are no longer delivering alcohol or tobacco. Personally I have no scruples against delivering either booze or cancer sticks. I’m just glad my chain of command is trying to limit OUR exposure. Alcohol and tobacco products require us to record birth date data at the time of delivery. At least this way we can simply leave the order at the door without having to physically interact with customers.

  61. It’s believed I contracted some flavor of covid 19 at the cusp of February. I’m Z’s age, male and a frequent flyer who lives in Chicago proper along the lakefront. We were descending from LAX to ORD and the Chinese national, I saw his passport, who otherwise sat like a rock, motionless with a kid on his lap suddenly jerked his head in my direction, yanked his facemask and coughed what seemed like a gallon of hot mucous on my head and shoulders.

    One shot, nearly one kill. I couldn’t clean myself properly until I reached home. Three days later I could not rise above my pillow and coughed up loads of white foam. Self-quarantined, including from my wife, for six weeks, I would later pray to God and I’m not particularly religious (former Episcopalian) and cough up handfuls of bloody foam. Not bright cherry-red foam, instead brick-colored and deep purple milkshakes, each cough incredibly painful. As for my overall feeling, what didn’t ache hurt badly enough that I would not have minded being euthanized, no joke.

    I have nearly lost my small business but am getting my head back into the game, finally. My mental acuity has improved, I tested myself each day while ill with terrible results, but remain substandard. My wife contracted the bug, suffered modest effects yet still coughs and feels bad although less so than a few weeks ago. Age-wise, I am at peak productivity in my STEM field and employ skilled and unskilled folks. I concur largely with Z’s various positions regarding this event, however, at the same time my emotions occasionally get the better of me and I want to scream “suck my cock a-holes” at ‘muricans who do not take covid 19 seriously. I can imagine death by pneumonia and its associated unpleasantness, trust me, almost nobody deserves that fate. Good luck, and I thank God for The Z Man and you all.

    • If the worst happens and you are sick with the flu for a couple weeks, consider yourself lucky. I’d rather endure that than be mangled in a car wreck.

    • Hope you and yours stay safe. Did anyone give you information regarding your immunity/chances for re-infection?

      • No. The medical staff at N’western, which includes lotsa vibrants, had no idea WTF they were dealing with. My case was pre-test. Best I garner, there are at least 5 strains of covids 19, each with nuanced characteristics. There was scant latency my instance for example. I wear vinyl or nitrile gloves when shopping etc. I resumed walking thrice weekly with a business partner and friend through the lakefront parks without any special gear or practices, just attempting to avoid the dogsh_t from the pets of Lincoln Park Trixies and Chads, to the extent Millennials are not all Trixies. Right now I am strategizing with my friend how to get his 93 yo mom released from her “temporary” eldercare facility where they have her locked down for rehab (broken hip). I anticipate re-infection but hope the second presentation is modest as with my wife. I don’t know I could survive another manifestation like my initial presentation, I am still not 100% and I am no wuss. Whatever bug i experienced, it effed me up like nothing I had ever experienced before. It hurt like hell; yet, for the wife, it’s mostly been a persistent rather dry cough.

    • Streets, thanks to you, I was able to tell a good friend what symptoms to expect, and that I heard it from someone who is recovering.

      He’s a friend at work, and everybody loves this guy. You are very, very much appreciated.

    • if i didn’t know better i would think the Chinese national coughed on you on purpose.

      • Why on earth do suppose that you “know better”? What evidence do you have that the man did NOT, in fact cough on StreetsAndSan on purpose?

        [A] Chinese national, … who otherwise sat like a rock, motionless with a kid on his lap suddenly jerked his head in [StreetsAndSan’s] direction, yanked his facemask and coughed what seemed like a gallon of hot mucous on [StreetsAndSan’s] head and shoulders.

        Sounds pretty fekking on purpose to me!

        • We are not allowed to think it was on purpose or that the Chin’s activated it on purpose.

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