Roaming Charges: The Condition Our Condition Is In

Still from Masque of the Red Death (Dir. Roger Corman, 1964).

+ I was sick for much of February. Really sick. Fever. Sore throat. Aching joints. A persistent cough that was, as they say about the heat in Arizona, dry. In Oregon, we’re used to getting the “winter bugs.” But this was different. Nastier. Unrelenting. Plus, I’d spent most of the month in Los Angeles not in the misty, frigid Northwest. It was impossible to sleep, hard to concentrate enough to work. Once I thought I’d kicked, it roared back, even fiercer.  Was it COVID? I wonder now. It will be helpful to know for sure the, as Kenny Rogers put it, condition my condition is in. Do I now have antibodies? Can I walk around unmasked, help out at a food bank, take care of relatives, see the grandkids. Or am I, at 61, still in a high risk sector who could pick up the COVID-19 virus from the cardboard on a delivery left on the porch, wander around asymptomatic for a couple of weeks, then collapse from kidney or heart failure, as so many are doing in New York City, Chicago, Detroit, New Orleans. There ought to be a test. There probably is a test. But good luck getting it here in Oregon, where our governor promised 20,000 tests, got her hands on 10,000 and hasn’t been using those. She gave 140 ventilators to New York, to national acclaim, without knowing the true extent of the pandemic in her own state. So, I remain one of the untested, the uncounted, the unknown.

+ According to a report in Science Daily, only 6% of COVID-19 cases have been detected worldwide, meaning that the actual number of cases is already in the 10s of millions.

+ Percentage of COVID-19 cases in Oregon who are Hispanic: 18; Percentage of Oregon population made up Hispanics: 13.

+ In a report for the Portland Tribune by my old friend Nick Budnick, he quotes Charles Rynerson, interim director of Population Research Center at Portland State University on the disturbing implications of this disparity:  “Considering that Hispanics in Oregon tend to be younger than the general population, and COVID-19 tends to hit older people the hardest, “the disparity … is really even greater. You would expect there to be even fewer cases than the 13 percent state distribution.”

+  To date, 34% of deaths from coronavirus in NYC are Latino. Latinos make up about 27 percent of New York City’s population.

+ Racial breakdown of those who have died from COVID-19 in Louisiana…

+ With about 37% of California patients identified by race, here is a breakdown of infections statewide:

– Latino 30%
– Asian 14%
– Black 6%

Here is a breakdown of deaths on which the state had racial data:

– Latino 29%
– Asian 16%
– Black 3%

+ I talked to an old friend from college who lives in Brooklyn early this week. She was crying two minutes into our conversation. She held her phone out the window, “You hear that! You hear the sirens?” I did. Several screaming at once. “They don’t stop. They don’t fucking stop, Jeff.”

+ And where are all those ambulances going? According to New York City Fire Department data obtained by The Daily Beast, EMTs  have reported 2,192 “dead-on-arrival” calls over the last two weeks. On average, the department handled about 453 of those calls over the same period last year. That data also showed that the number of cardiac or respiratory arrest calls has exploded, from 20 to 30 a day at the end of March and the beginning of April in 2019, to 322 on one day in April in 2020—with more than 100 calls every day since March 28. While 30 to 50 percent of those calls ended in a death in 2019, more than 50 percent of those calls have ended in a death every day since March 22 this year, with the percentage steadily rising to 75 percent as of April 5.

+ Barge Out Your Dead….A barge could be seen arriving at Hart Island on Thursday morning with a refrigerated truck aboard containing about two dozen bodies, which were then buried in Potters Field by contract laborers. The bodies come in 25 a day, five days a week now. The island is being prepared to house as many as 4,000 bodies in some 40 refrigerated trucks. While Randall Island to the south is being used to house more refrigerated trucks to carry bodies out of Manhattan.

+ Remember when the Trumpers and the Israelis started smearing Iran after revealing satellite images of some burial pits outside the city of Qom?

+ Camus: “Actually the most striking feature of our funerals was their speed. Formalities had been whittled down, and, generally speaking, all elaborate ceremonial suppressed. The plague victim died away from his family and the customary vigil beside the dead body was forbidden, with the result that a person dying in the evening spent the night alone, and those who died in the daytime were promptly buried. Needless to say, the family was notified, but in most cases, since the deceased had lived with them, its members were in quarantine and thus immobilized.”

+ Speaking of Camus, I read last night in the Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud and the Last Trial of Harper Lee that Truman Capote claimed that he had had an affair with Camus. Then I recalled this morning Gore Vidal’s essay on the Lies of Truman Capote, which included Capote’s lie about sleeping with Camus, the lie about about seducing Andre Gide and the lie about being pursued by Vidal…!

+ I think I remember this right: Vidal said Capote’s one singular contribution to American letters was “raising lying into an art….a minor art.”

+ Total U.S. coronavirus tally at the end of each Friday. As Andrew Yang would say: MATH…

• Jan 17 — 0
• Jan 24 — 2
• Jan 31 — 7
• Feb 7 — 12
• Feb 14 — 15
• Feb 21 — 30
• Feb 28 — 65
• Mar 6 — 310
• Mar 13 — 2,224
• Mar 20 — 17,962
• Mar 27 — 102,636
• April 3 — 275,000
• April 10 —500,000  and counting…

+ We keep hearing from the Open Up America Chorus that COVID-19 is just like the flu, which “kills more people.” This “all-cause” mortality chart from the NY Times of deaths in NYC going back prior to 9/11 puts the lie to that argument…It also suggests that the corona death count is much higher than has been officially reported. There’s a lot of “excess” mortality.

+ Between March 15 and April 4, 16.8 million workers applied for unemployment insurance (UI), according to new Department of Labor data, which means that in the last three weeks alone, more than one-in-10 workers have applied for UI benefits….

+ The chasm between the haves and the rest of us widens each week the crisis goes on…

+ Even the New York Times is capable of the seeing the writing on the subway walls:  “Overall, the richest 0.1 percent of American households own 19.6 percent of the nation’s total wealth, up from 15.9 percent in 2005 and 7.4 percent in 1980. The richest 0.1 percent now have the same combined net worth as the bottom 85 percent.” And it’s only going to get worse..

+ In Oregon, more than one-third of the new unemployment claims are coming from people laid-off from the “leisure and hospitality” sector.

+ Q. What would say to newly unemployed Americans who fear the economy won’t just bounce back?

Trump: “Well I think the economy is going to do very well. Now that’s just my feeling. It’s a strong feeling. I’ve had good, proper feelings about a lot of things over the years.”

+ Over to you Gang of Four…

+ Trump’s daily rants are streams in search of consciousness.

+ Even so, the Democrats are being outflanked by some of the most rightwing people in Congress: For example, GOP Senator Josh Hawley (Missouri) has just proposed a Denmark-style plan where the US government pays 80% of worker wages. “Beginning immediately, the federal gov should cover 80% of wages for workers at any US biz, up to the nat’l median wage, until this emergency is over.”

+ And right on cue, Trump followed up with this: “Student loan payments have been waived for six months, and we’ll discuss it after that. May go further.”

+ Does this waiver apply only to federal student loans or private, as well? Will interest continue to accumulate? Who knows. With Trump the devil’s always in the fine print and the fine print is obscured behind an NDA. But he’s outflanking the hell out of Biden…

+ The White House got the first formal notification of the outbreak of the coronavirus in China on January 3, this was followed by 70 days of Trump and FoxNews treating it like a hoax (except when it came to their stock trades)….

+ Walter Shaub: “I do not understand the federal government collecting taxes from us, using that money to buy medical supplies from the private sector, then giving the supplies to the private sector so the private sector can rip off states that have to purchase the supplies with more tax dollars.”

+ In New York, a nurse treated patients for three days after she started displaying COVID-19 symptoms, but still couldn’t get a test from her own hospital. While down in Georgia, a nurse was denied a test after treating a patient who died.

+ The lack of COVID testing in California, which is incessantly boasting about how it has fended off the virus, is shameful. The richest state in the union has tested a LOWER percentage of its population (3,673 per 1 million) than the Covid-denialist state of Georgia (3,767). A reckoning may be coming out West…

+ Floridians with COVID-19 traveled to 48 states and all but one continent before being tested for the virus. How many of them stayed at Mar-a-Lago?

+ Q. “How can the administration discuss the possibility of reopening the country when the administration does not have an adequate nationwide testing system for this virus? Don’t you need a nationwide testing system for the virus before you reopen?”

TRUMP: “No.”

+ Most of the quarantine assumptions assume an incubation period of 14 days. But at least 12% of cases are now showing an incubation period of more than 14 days…Best laid plans.

+ It’s possible that at least 50% of actual COVID deaths are not being reported as such. Here’s some sobering data out of Chicago…

+ There are reports from hospitals across the country that the Feds are seizing masks and other COVID-19-related supplies without a word of explanation. Can someone please find out what the hell is going on?

+ Pence says that federal support for community-based coronavirus testing sites will end Friday. These sites will instead be managed by local officials. You’re on your own, now, people…

+ Timothy Snyder: “The plan seems to be to not count the dead in Republican counties and not count the vote in Democratic ones.”

+ Trump cares about the troops, except when he activated the National Guard on orders that last 30 days, which put them one day shy of the requirement allowing the military health insurance system known as TRICARE to cover them.

+ My question is: who died so Boris could live to preside over more people dying?

+ Boris Johnson: “I shook hands with everybody.”

+ Trump says Boris Johnson will pull through because he’s “tough.” If he pulls through, it will be because he’s getting the best medical care in Britain, probably at the expense of some poorer person who is in a more fraught condition as a result of the unconscionable decisions made by BoJo’s government.

+ It is now predicted that the UK will account for 40% of all COVID deaths in Europe, with a peak of nearly 3,000 deaths a day expected. The analysts assert that discussions over “herd immunity” led to a delay in the UK introducing physical distancing measures…

+ We hear over and over again that Trump is the most dangerous president in history, therefore anyone, even an incoherent old codger and segregationist hiding out in his basement, has to be better than the Evil One. But surely if there’s one ironclad rule of American politics it’s that the current US president is always the most dangerous president in history, with shiny new instruments of mass death at their disposal. The history of our Republic demonstrates that presidents only get more dangerous, not less…

+ Alexis Isabel pretty much sums up our current political predicament…

+ Coming Soon in Odorama: Scratch and Sniff: the Joe Biden Story. (When select theaters reopen.)

+ Did Sanders consult the Sandernistas on his surrender to the babbling racist neoliberal in the basement? Or did he make the call on his own, as he did during the 2016 convention, blindsiding his most devoted troops once more…

+ There’s always been some inexplicable mutual affection between Bernie and Biden that I’ve never really understood. It sure wasn’t there with Hillary, who he chastised and scolded to the convention. Perhaps they bonded through their obscene votes for the Clinton Crime Bill. That kind of transgression tends to bring even the most unlikely co-conspirators together…

+ Sanders on Biden: “He’s not going to adopt my platform. I got that, alright? But if he can move in that direction, I think people will say you know what, this is a guy I think who we should support and would support.”

You say you want a Revolution©, well ya know
That isn’t what I really meant
You say you want to end student debt
Put that $18 contribution toward your rent
You say you want free health care
Ain’t gonna to happen any more
But if you go carrying pix of Creepy Joe
We can do it over again in 2024

+ Sanders confirmed to Chris Hayes on MSDNC, what many of us suspected, that it was Obama who played the role negotiator, smooth-talking Sanders into disarming, walking away from his movement with his hands above his head and coming back in from the cold…

+ So what were terms of Sanders’ surrender? Did he exchange his donor list for Obama’s kill list?

+ That’s Obama for you, stuck neck-deep in the bullshit he left behind, wishing he was on a billionaire’s yacht off the Grenadines, as a plague ravages the black and brown communities of the US and millions of others discover their “ObamaCare” coverage is worthless when you really need it…

+ Is Obama Bernie’s Corn Pop?

+ Yet, surely the reason for Sanders to stay in the race until the virtual DNC convention was the same reason he was in the race to begin with: not to win (in this party) but to force the Dems to confront their rigid opposition to M4A as their own voters go bankrupt and fall dead around them.

+ The Vichy Party of the USA (Democrats) is spicing up the Vichyssoise this week with a few sprinkles of hung-out-to-dried Sandernista seasoning …

+ These people really are DEPLORABLE. Less than an hour after Bernie Sanders said he was ending his campaign, dozens of staffers who worked for Clinton 4 years ago received a link to a Zoom video call scheduled for 4 p.m: “Invitation: Bye, bye Bernard (HFA celebration toast)”…

+ Somebody speculated that Sanders was in the running to become Biden’s VP candidate, which, of course, given Biden’s pledge to name a female running mate, would require Bernie to transition to Bernadette…thus introducing the Four Tops to a new generation of Motown-deprived listeners…


+ When the Zapatistas finally nudged the Sup aside, it was the women who became the driving force of the movement (and perhaps always were). Who will lead the Sandernistas now that Sanders has twice led the Revolution© back into the arms of the neoliberal party it was trying to overturn? Not AOC, surely, who made her pact with centrists in the DNC a couple of weeks before Bernie’s ultimate capitulation…

+ The Revolution© is yours for the taking, Britney. Seize the day!

+ Leave it to Jacobin magazine to play the “hope card”  after Sanders got smoked by a weaker, underfunded opponent not even his own supporters are enthused about. If there’s “hope” it’s not with the Democrats, who responded to HRC’s loss by nominating someone to her right, a rapist who “pals around” with segregationists….

+ Bernie, I had a sheepdog for 12 years. I know sheepdogs. Sheepdogs have been friends of mine. They run all day and all night. Senator, you’re no sheepdog…

+ Elliot Sperber: “Looking forward to Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren joining forces to elect the guy who’ll veto Medicare for all.”

+ Here’s Trump trolling Obama, Biden & the Dems: “It amazes me that President Obama hasn’t supported Sleepy Joe. It just hasn’t happened. When’s it going to happen? When is it going to happen? Why is it — he knows something that you don’t know. I think I know but you don’t know.”

+ So which Rice is Biden more likely to pick for Veep, Susan or Condoleezza?

+ Ideologically, they’re pretty much of a toss up, but Condi does have an oil tanker named after her and she can play the piano in the background during those awkward moments when Biden suffers little bouts of aphasia while delivering his convention acceptance speech from his basement…

+ Others are predicting that Biden will pick the person Trump refers to as “that woman,” Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. She’s young, she’s female, she’s more articulate than Biden and she’s so corporate-friendly she have might been manufactured by a 3-D printer at the DLC: her dad ran Blue Cross/Blue Shield and her first call after winning the primary was to the GOP Lt. Gov. asking him for a list of his max donors….

+ How pathetic is Biden to have just secured the nomination, only to see that his own party prefers someone else (Andrew Cuomo), someone who, until a mere two weeks ago, was almost universally hated by every one who’d ever met him?

+ You wanted virus suppression and got voter suppression (and a new virus vector) instead…

+ When politicians say piously that thousands have died for the right to vote, I didn’t realize they were talking about the people forced to go to the polls today in Wisconsin…

+ I can see standing in line all day, as you risk contracting a lung-devouring virus, to vote to end cash bail, legalize marijuana, outlaw the death penalty, raise the minimum wage…but to vote for Joe Biden? In a primary?

+ You go to the polls in Wisconsin and then have to wait 10 days to see the results…to see if you tested positive for Coronavirus.

+ Dennis Perrin on John Lewis’ endorsement of Biden: “How long are you considered a Civil Rights Giant when you spend your later years endorsing racists and segregationists?”

+ John Lewis’ “iconography” gets more tarnished with each election, although his centrist impulses where there from the beginning, revealed in his feud with Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture) over the leadership of SNCC…

+ Stupidity is really all they have to offer and, unlike with ventilators or masks or tests, they’ve got an endless supply for your consumption…

+ Biden: Do it for Corn Pop!

+ Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly told the crew of the USS Theodore Roosevelt that their former commander Capt. Brett Crozier — who warned of dangerous conditions on the ship — was either “too naive or too stupid” to be in command…He was greeted by boos and profanities from the crew, which now includes more than 400 members who have tested positive COVID.

+ Trump on Navy Capt. Brett Crozier,  fired for pleading for more help for his carrier: “He wrote a letter. The letter was a 5-page letter from a captain… I don’t think that’s appropriate. I thought it looked terrible. … I thought it was terrible what he did. This isn’t a class in literature.”

+ A case study in the internalization of fascism: Acting Secretary of the Navy Modly called the Washington Post’s David Ignatius (the spy whisperer) at 1 am to explain why he fired Capt. Crozier, saying he wanted to act before Trump did, knowing that his predecessor was fired for getting “crossways with the president. I didn’t want that to happen again.”

+ Modly should have been made to walk the plank, but he meekly slithered away, with Trump saying, “I didn’t know the guy.”

+ Now doctors and nurses are going to get “Croziered”: HCA, the largest healthcare system in the US, told doctors and nurses it will fire them for speaking publicly about coronavirus, according to a leaked email.

+ Trump really, really loves the death penalty...Why, he’s the Crucifixion Santa. Ho, ho, ho!

+ What do you think he got Melania for a Good Friday present? Gold-plated Crown of Thorns? A new set of platinum nails?

+ The “China Virus” and the “Kung Flu,” seemed like desperate, juvenile bids to deflect from the transparent failures of the American government (Dem & GOP). But we all should have learned by now to never underestimate the racism of the American electorate…

+ 77% blame China for coronavirus including more than two-thirds (67%) of Democrats

+ 71% say American companies should pull back manufacturing in China

+ 69% support Trump’s tougher trade policies with China

+ 54% say China should pay reparations

+ But it turns out that the strain of the virus that is now chewing its way through New York originated in Europe, not China.

+ In the early weeks, Singapore seemed to have a handle on COVID-19. Things have changed…

+ If you thought the Willie Horton ad was the most racist political commercial you’d ever seen, check out what Paul Broun is running on Georgia TV stations in an attempt to scare his way back into congress…

+ America’s worst (living) economist, Arthur “The Curve” Laffer, is being considered by Trump as new Plague Economy Tsar…Laffer’s solution has always been to pour acid on a burn patient and let the banks abscond with the death benefits…

+ The Pentagon has been ordered to stop reporting the number of COVID-19 cases in the military. But the first public map of the outbreaks on military bases show it everywhere and spreading. How soon before we see an outbreak of fragging again?

+ With crew on four aircraft carriers testing positive for COVID-19, the Navy is fast  becoming a biological weapon….

USS Theodore Roosevelt
USS Ronald Reagan
USS Nimitz
USS Carl Vinson

+ Next Trump Pardon? The convicted former drug company CEO Martin Shkreli, known as “Pharma Bro,” wants to get out of prison so he can help research a treatment for the coronavirus, Shkreli’s lawyer pleaded on Tuesday…

+ Enterprises that shouldn’t survive Covid-19

1. Private health insurance
2. Private-equity-owned health care services & hospitals
3. Factory farms
4. Pay-day loans
5. Cruise lines
6. Private prisons
7. Drug companies
8. Spring break
9. Republican Party
10. Democratic Party

+ Remember when Mitchell and his cohort histrionically squealed that offering people government health care was the equivalent of sending them before death panels? Now he’s the troubadour of euthanasia by government neglect…

+ SEAN HANNITY (HOST): I want life back to normal, can you fix that in a simple way?

BILL O’REILLY: Oh man I wish I could, you know?

HANNITY: Oh, me too.

O’REILLY: But we’re making little steps. Bernie Sanders, you know, he’s — he’s gone, that’s really good for everybody. The projections that you just mentioned are down to 60,000, I don’t think it will be that high. 13,000 dead now in the USA. Many people who are dying, both here and around the world, were on their last legs anyway, and I don’t want to sound callous about that.

HANNITY: You’re gonna get — hold on, you’re going to get hammered for that.

O’REILLY: Well, I don’t care. I mean, a simple man tells the truth.

+ Simple man or simpleton?

+ Molly Jong-Fast: “No one ever thinks they’ll be in the part of the herd that gets culled.”

+ The outbreak will never be as bad as it could have been until that moment when you awaken briefly to feel them intubating your own throat.

+ By refusing to test Arabs, Israeli is embarking on its own version of the Tuskegee “Experiment”, as applied to an entire population…

+ Just another closet case, outed by God…Israeli health minister, Yaakov Litzman, who had previously blamed homosexuals for spreading the COVID-19 virus, has now tested positive for COVID.

+ Every single state would have 700 additional ventilators, 6,000 more ICU beds, 3,000 additional nurses and 1,500 additional doctors, if we simply stopped funding nuclear weapons and instead spent the money on pandemic relief…

+ Trump won’t wear a mask, but will take his magic elixir: “I’ll say it again: what do you have to lose? Take it. I really think they should take it. But it’s their choice and it’s their doctor’s choice, or the doctors in the hospital. But hydroxychloroquine. Try it, if you like.”

+ Altered skin tone, hallucinations, psychotic behavior, all side-effects of chloroquine. So Trump’s been taking this stuff for decades, right?

“Chloroquine had an array of side effects including anemia and damage to the retina and liver. It turned the skin yellow, so reliably that some American spies infiltrating Japanese-controlled China took quinacrine to make their Caucasian skin appear more like that of Asians. More importantly for our purposes, it caused mood changes and hallucinations, and 0.1-1.5 percent of persons taking it had psychotic reactions which could last several weeks (likely not a desirable quality in the practice of spy-craft)….”

+ Before a now discredited story on hydroxychloroquine was even published, a lawyer, who falsely claimed an affiliation with Stanford University, showed up on Fox News’s Tucker Carlson Tonight to declare the results: a “100% cure rate against coronavirus.”

+ A new study suggests that combining Metformin, a drug taken by many diabetics, with hydroxychloroquine – the drug that Trump’s been hyping for days, against the advice of Dr. Fauci and others – could be fatal.

+ Pizzagate Alert! Trump donor Joseph Pizza, whose wife Lauren was serenaded by Trump at Mar-a-Lago, runs a pharmaceutical company that sells hydroxychloroquine sulfate, the primary active ingredient of Plaquenil…

+ As reported earlier in the week by the New York Times, Trump also has a financial interest, through a mutual fund, in Sanofi, a top manufacturer of the drug.

+ Looks like Kim is going to have to write Don another love letter to set him straight about a few things, including unapproved medicines and miracle cures

+ The contradictions of capitalism in one screenshot. Over to you, Britney…

+ I hope you’ll considering kicking in a few bucks to help the TDU fight win COVID19 health and safety protections for UPS workers.  Here’s the GoFundMe page for this vital campaign.

+ Scenes from Idaho-ho-ho…

+ Lawmaker calls for defiance of mandates
+  Easter services may have 1,000 people
+ Ammon Bundy proclaims: “I want the virus,” holds meetings, vows to defend those who rebel
+ Angry doctor: They have “relinquished their claim to a ventilator”

+ Yet another pastor who denounced the Coronavirus ‘hysteria’ has died. This one after attending Mardi Gras.

+ Last year, Anthony Fauci told the Intercept’s Nick Turse that wild conspiracy theories about Ebola in Democratic Republic of the Congo were fueling violence against healthcare workers. Today, wild conspiracy theories about COVID-19 in the US have fueled death threats against Fauci.

+ Stephanie Grisham, who didn’t hold a single press briefing, is out as Trump’s press secretary replaced by Kayleigh McEnany, who said this on Feb. 25: “We will not see diseases like the coronavirus come here.”

+ Coronavirus cases in Florida are growing faster than in New York, Louisiana, New Jersey, Georgia and Michigan. Florida is on pace for 30,000 cases in a week if the rate doesn’t slow…

+ We’re gonna party like it’s COVID-1999….Alton, Illinois mayor sends police to raid COVID parties, who discover the mayor’s own wife attending one of them…

+ Congress, which remains on its mysterious recess, unwilling even to give itself the authority to conduct hearings and votes remotely, is proving day-by-day it is not an essential service.

+ COVID-19 strikes are breaking out across the country. You can follow them here on this Strike Wave map prepared by Payday Report.

+ Some hospitals are so desperate for protective masks that they are scrounging them from auto body shops and nail salons, according to a report by the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services. At east one hospital is making its own hand sanitizer by mixing gel used for ultrasounds with alcohol from a nearby distillery.

+ When confronted with the report, Trump called it “another fake dossier” and attacked the IG as a Trump-hating, Obama appointee. “It’s just wrong. Did I hear the word ‘inspector general,’ really? It’s wrong. Well where did he come from, the inspector general? What’s his name? So give me the name of the inspector general. Could politics be entered into that?”

+ Christi Grimm, the principal deputy inspector general whose name is on the report, is a career official who entered her current role in January but has been with HHS since 1999. She has served under both Republican and Democratic administrations.

+ Epidemiologist Dany Aqato on COVID-19 in Gaza/Palestine: ” It will be a disaster. We’re talking about two million people living under a blockade enclosed in a total geographic area of 365 square kilometers (226 square miles) with high population density.”

+ Anthony Swain, an inmate in one of Miami’s horrid jails: “I am trying my best to take care of myself in the midst of this pandemic, no different from you, no different from any other human being. But it’s impossible to do that at this jail. Corrections treats us like we are the scum of the earth, like we don’t deserve protection. The cell is filthy and we have no access to hygiene products. Today [on April 3rd] I had to make a mask out of my yellow sock and an elastic string from my catheter bag. We are crowded together with no space between us. We inmates are scared.”

+ The situation at Alameda County’s Santa Rita jail: there was 1 positive COVID-19 test on 4/4, 3 more on Tuesday, by Weds there were 11. “We can expect with the that trajectory that there’s going to be a massive coronavirus] outbreak in Santa Rita Jail,” attorney Yolanda Huang.

+ Illinois banned the death penalty, but Chicago has found a way to institute capital punishment by other means, for people who are simply too poor to afford bail: 350 cases of COVID-19 in the Cook County jail. Where’s BB King when you need him?

+ Michael Tyson, who died of coronavirus on Sunday, was jailed on Rikers Island for an alleged technical violation of parole. Meaning he did not commit a crime, but missed a meeting or violated curfew or tested positive for marijuana.

+ Another win for the American Death Cult: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has voted 2-1 to lift the preliminary injunction against the federal executions. The decision is 88 pages with a per curiam judgment (without majority reasoning) and three individual opinions.

+ Andrea Pitzer: “A thing I learned researching concentration camp history was how often governments doing deliberate harm to citizens & residents became a regular part of society, while everyone else slept & woke & felt afraid & went about their lives hoping nothing bad would happen to them.”

+ Scotland is releasing people early who are near the end of a prison sentence and this article notes the public supports the effort. I’m sure our own “Scots-Irish” country would feel the same way…It’s the politicians and the prison-industrial complex they’ve constructed and profit from stand in the way.

+ Same old story in Indian Country: the Trump administration has ruled that tribal casino workers (who have long Trump’s competitors) are ineligible for payroll help during the COVID-19 crisis.

+ The Navajo Nation now has more COVID cases than half a dozen states and more than thousands of counties nationwide.

+ Make America Turtle Island Again!

+ U.S. has “expelled” nearly 10,000 migrants (bypassing normal immigration process) since March 21 under CDC public health order…

+ The Oregon Food Bank says it could start running short on supplies as soon as two weeks from now. “I’m seeing a humanitarian crisis,” says Scott Kerman, executive director of Blanchet House, which serves meals to homeless people in the Old Town District. “I don’t believe I’m using that term with any sense of hyperbole.”

+ Women overall are 16 points more likely than men to say coronavirus-related worry or stress has negatively impacted their mental health…

+ As of Thursday evening, 9 London bus drivers have died of COVID-19, making London bus drivers 4.5 times more likely to die of COVID-19 than the general population.

+ Meanwhile, in NYC a staggering 41 transit workers have already died from COVID-19, and many, many more remain in serious condition.

+ Lindsey Graham is pushing for a global ban on “wet markets.” As disgusting as “wet markets” are, the Covid-19 virus likely spilled over to humans at one of the industrial pig “farms” in Hubei province, not the Wuhan market. Lindsey Graham and co. could start by shutting down the factory farms in the Carolinas…

+ Low and middle income countries, many of them in the Global South, are scheduled to pay over $1 trillion in external debt service this year. Cancelling these debts payments would allow them to redirect funds to crucial public health measures during the COVID-19 pandemic. Don’t count on it happening…

+ Yanis Varoufakis: “Italy et al buckled. They accepted ESM loans that will lead to stringent austerity next year, pitiful EIB business loans, a pseudo-federal unemployment re-insurance scheme, plus a few crumbs of philanthropy. In return they committed to permanent depression.”

+ No bread? Let them eat crackers, says Silveria Jacobs Prime Minister of Sint Maarten.

+ If you want to follow the course of the virus, and its political, economic consequences for the people of India, there’s no better resources than the reporting being done by the good folks at PARI, where the view is ground up, from the fields, the villages and the workplace. Here’s a link to their searing coverage.

+ COVID-19 is expected to kill between 11,000 and 22,000 people in the coming months in Canada, but a new report from the Canadian Health Ministry argues that with poor containment measures, it could kill more than 300,000…

+ Dr. Trump: “Zinc. They say zinc. You should add zinc. Now this all has to be recommended by doctors. But they say zinc. I want to throw that out there.”

+ Trump’s ego is so fragile, so in need of constant stroking, that even his own ceaseless self-glorification doesn’t satisfy him. But then has he ever really satisfied anyone? Over to you, Stormy Daniels…

+ I have a recurrent dream about a Trump presser where the only two reporters in the room are Hunter Thompson and Lester Bangs, both hyped on some speed-cocktail the good Doc cooked up in the barn back in Woody Creek, eagerly awaiting the first insult from Trump, whereupon they rush the podium and reenact the last scene in the Bacchae. Has anyone else had this dream?

+ There have been more than 80 confirmed COVID cases at a Smithfield meatpacking plant in Sioux Falls. People are working almost shoulder to shoulder inside these slaughterhouses. Many of these plants are going to be COVID disaster zones…Close the factory farms, shutter the slaughterhouses!

+ These places have been death houses since the days of Upton Sinclair. I went undercover inside an IBP plant years ago. It was the most horrifying place I’ve ever been, outside of the Nevada Test Site and Hanford.

+ 96%: amount airline travel has dropped amid coronavirus pandemic…

+ Q. Are you arguing to let airlines fail, for example?

Chamath Palihapitiya: Yes.

+ We know that there are a few CounterPunch sewing circles out there making masks and donating them to friends, grocery workers, delivery workers, hospital, homeless shelters and others. Priti Gualati Cox, who many of you will recognize for her writings on CounterPunch, has come up with a pattern for a fabric face mask that has step-by-step photo-instructions on how to make a hand-stitched mask and is designed for those who don’t have sewing machines at home. Here’s a link to the pattern.

+ The Hippie Pope: “We did not respond to the partial catastrophes. Who now speaks of the fires in Australia, or remembers that 18 months ago a boat could cross the North Pole because the glaciers had all melted? Who speaks now of the floods? I don’t know if these are the revenge of nature, but they are certainly nature’s responses.”

+ In the past century, species have been wiped out at a pace 100 times greater than the natural rate of extinction. As many as one million species are at risk of going extinct in the coming decades because of climate change and shrinking biodiversity.

+ Just what we need for COVID-ravaged lungs in the PNW this summer: big wildfires burning from July until the November rains put them out, just in time for the expected winter resurgence of COVID-19…

+ Meanwhile, the Midwest is bracing for spring flooding that could put many out of their homes or in need of aid. But as agencies divert manpower and resources to the COVID-19 pandemic, many worry that few resources in these strapped state will be left for the displaced.

+ It’s now estimated that even the smallest increase in air pollution could spike Covid-19 death rates by 15%.

+ Coal companies are furiously lobbying to use COVID as an excuse to stop payments into the Black Lung Fund, that provides essential medical care for more than 25,000 sick miners. “The burden should be on the coal operators. They come in our state, they mine our coal, they fill their pockets up, they declare bankruptcy. They leave with all the cash, and there’s no money to pay the miners,” David Bounds, 72, retired coal operator with black lung disease so severe he can’t climb three steps without gasping for breath.

+ The coal company came with the world’s largest shovel
And they tortured the timber and stripped all the land
Well, they dug for their coal till the land was forsaken
Then they wrote it all down as the progress of man. — John Prine

+ The shale oil industry, which has ravaged so much of the Interior and Rocky Mountain West over the last 20 years, is now in a state of complete collapse, as busted as it has ever been. Now banks are preparing to seize the assets of these ruined companies with the idea of entering the oil & gas business themselves, which, hopefully, will take them down as well. Good riddance. Don’t come back…

+ Eduardo Galeano: “The worst violators of nature and human rights never go to jail. They hold the keys.”

+ Climate change is threatening Columbia spotted frogs in Utah. Spread of the deadly chytrid fungus has been linked to global warming, and then there’s hotter days and more intense episodes of drought.

+ Oregon’s forests are closed to hiking, but wide open for eco-butchery…

+ Kafka: “The Messiah will only come when he is no longer necessary. He will only come after his arrival. He will come, not on the last day, but on the very last day.”

+ It was a blow to learn that the great right fielder for the Detroit Tigers, Al Kaline, had. One of my first gloves was an “Al Kaline” model, which I managed to get him to autograph at the old Victory Field in Indianapolis (now destroyed but still to be seen in John Sayles’ Eight Men Out), when the Tigers played an exhibition game there against the White Sox in 1967. Kaline always seemed a likeable curiosity to me, a relic from another era of baseball transposed into the new age of Aaron, Clemente, Robertson, Banks, and Gibson.

+ In one day, four people in Portland were cited for driving 100 or more miles per hour “over the posted speed limit.”

+ I’m sure there must be some evil motherfuckers dying of this stinking virus but all I can see is the daily toll that’s being taken from the best among us: teachers, transit workers, nurses, grocery workers, doctors, warehouse workers, EMTs, musicians…

+ New Orleans suffered a crushing blow this week with the death of Ronald Lewis from COVID-19, who not only survived Katrina but kept the culture of the Lower Ninth Ward alive with his House of Dance and Feathers Museum down on Tupelo Street.

+ Some deaths ignite the latent rage of the our times. John Prine’s does for me. If I saw Prine play 10 times, I saw him play 20, always sharp, funny, timeless yet right on top of and usually skewering our cultural and political moment…There’s a great void in the counterforce.

+ JazzTimes has compiled a list of musicians felled by COVID…

+ This Constitutional Moment brought to you by Diebold, “We cast, count and recalibrate the votes, so you don’t have to…”

President Trump: “I think mail-in voting is horrible, it’s corrupt.”

Reporter: “You voted by mail in Florida’s election last month, didn’t you?”

Trump: “Sure. I can vote by mail”

Reporter: “How do you reconcile with that?”

Trump: “Because I’m allowed to.”

+ “Cuomosexual” is a term that needs to be put in the tumbril and sped to the nearest guillotine before the infection spreads…

+ 30 years ago this week, broadcast television changed “forever” when Twin Peaks aired. Then two years later reverted to an even duller version of what it had been before…

Log lady (Catherine Coulson), Twin Peaks.

+ Apparently, there’s a Law & Order marathon going on (isn’t there always?) and last night they showed an episode (Vaya Con Dios) from 2000, where Jerry Orbach is rummaging through a murder victim’s PO box & starts reading the mail, “The Nation, Covert Action Quarterly, CounterPunch.” The episode involved the murder of a Chilean dissident. One of the producers was a CP subscriber & called that morning to let us know we’d be featured. I relayed the news to Cockburn, who couldn’t watch it because he, typically, hadn’t paid his cable bill in six months. We got more new subscribers from that episode than we did from any direct mailing …

I saw so much I broke my mind…

Booked Up
What I’m reading this week…

Toward Forever: Radical Reflections on History and Art
Tony McKenna

Good Boy: My Life in Seven Dogs
Jennifer Finney Boylan

The Way Home: Tales From a Life Without Technology
Mark Boyle

Sound Grammar
What I’m listening to this week…

It is What It is

While Looking Up
Jimmy Greene
(Mack Avenue)

Dayna Stephens

Apocalypse From Now On

“Apocalypse is now a long-running serial: not ‘Apocalypse Now’ but ‘Apocalypse From Now On.’ Apocalypse has become an event that is happening and not happening. It may be that some of the most feared events, like those involving the irreparable ruin of the environment, have already happened. But we don’t know it yet, because the standards have changed. Or because we do not have the right indices for measuring the catastrophe. Or simply because this is a catastrophe in slow motion. Or feels as if it is in slow motion, because we know about it, can anticipate it; and now have to wait for it to happen, to catch up with what we think we know.” (Susan Sontag, Illness as Metaphor and AIDS and Its Metaphors)

Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch. His most recent book is An Orgy of Thieves: Neoliberalism and Its Discontents (with Alexander Cockburn). He can be reached at: or on Twitter @JeffreyStClair3