Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Worrying About November 3, 2020

Sigh.  So the US election is now just four days less than being four months from now, and, really, anything can happen. After all, four days less than four months ago was March 11, just before the US fully recognized  that we were in a pandemic, with everything closing, and "the economy falling off a cliff," as it is now put, but was not obvious  on 3/11 at all, even though it was only about two days away.  And the murder of George Floyd was still some time off.  So, the world can turn completely upside down before the election, and nobody should forget that what really matters is what happens in the two weeks before the election, the period of short-term memory, and that really cannot be foreseen.  I mean, those who hate Hillary a lot say it was not a big deal, but most of us realize that if James Comey had not made his big announcement about new nothing investigations of  her emails 11 days prior to the election in 2016, she almost certainly would be running for reelection right now.

So, we are in this obviously ironic position: may Dems are hoping things go badly in the next four months while many GOPs are hoping just the opposite, just so each gets the electoral outcome they want.  This is nothing new, but it does put forward ironies in an unprecedented situation with many  bad things happening and general uncertainty simply super high.  Thus we have the oddity that in Congress it is Dems who are pushing for more and more expansive fiscal stimulus, which would presumably help the economy and thus Trump's reelection chances, while it is GOPs, especially in the Senate where they are in control, who are being the most negative about such a package, especially because of its aid to states and localities, whom they view as Dem interests.  I see out of the White House that Trump himself understands this and would like to see more fiscal stimulus, if perhaps with some limits and conditions.  But, heck, things are indeed fully topsy-turvy.

So, keeping in mind that anything can happen, and I mean seriously all sorts of currently completely inconceivable things, I am going to worry about how if nothing dramatic happens, we could see gradually improving trends on several fronts that could move the November prez election back from its current state where if it were held today Biden would simply blow out Trump and the Dems would easilly take control of the Senate, back more to what was where things were before four months ago, where it looked like a close race in November, both for the White House and the Senate, with Biden's chances probably better than those of the Dems taking the Senate.

Clearly the fundamental driving force will be what happens with the pandemic.  Right now it is getting worse, at least in terms of new cases, in the US, although that has declined in the last few days from over 50,000 per day to the mid 40,000s.  I think it is highly likely we shall see another peak on that due to the gatherings for July 4, but if in fact governors react more strongly and start seriously emforcing mask wearing and all that, we might well see that peak in two weeks as the peak, with a gradual decline going on after that.  Of course there are numerous chances for it to explode again, with the opening of schools in the fall one such obvious possibiity.  But note that most of the rest of the world where they have been serious about mask wearing and social distancing have gotten their cases way down, with them so far staying down.  If the governors get tough, nothing due to Trump, we might see the hot new hotspots getting under control in a few months, especially four months.

Heck, next dooe to where I am in Virginia is Pendleton County, West Virginia.  It is currently the most pro-Trump state in the nation, and also one of the five least infeeted.  My county cite-county has nearly 1700 cases, but Pendleton has a mere 12.  But yesterday GOP WVa Gov. Jim Justice just imposed a statewide requirement to wear face masks in public.  Trump may not get it, but if the GOP govs get it, that might be sufficient to get things much more under control than they are now.

If the virus gets under control, well, then the economy can reopen again and start growing again.  I have already posted on how the US economy has done better than forecast by many.  Now most of us are forecasting a slowdown due to the reemergence of the virus and the new shutdowns.  But while many states are doing new shutdowns, some places are still in their first rounds of reopening.  Heck, here in Virginia, July 1 marked the arrival of Phase 3 of the reopenings, and VA is ahead of DC and Maryland on that. Reopenings, with accompanying heightened GDP growth are still going on.  As it is, I am not forecasting how the economy will do, but it is not at all out of the question that it might be doing not too badly come November, although I am sure unemployment will still be higher than it was four months ago. But on the stock market, heck, the NASDAQ is already at new record highs.

I am not going to speculate about the Black Lives Matter movement, but certaintly that could go in a lot of directions, and the political bottom line on it by November could be much different than it looks now.

So, bottom line is nobody should get complacent that Trump will lose, although I find those who predict that he will definitely win to just completely silly.  Everything is uncertain and up in the air.

Barkley Rosser


Anonymous said...


July 7, 2020



Cases   ( 3,096,894)
Deaths   ( 133,971)


Cases   ( 743,481)
Deaths   ( 20,653)


Cases   ( 286,349)
Deaths   ( 44,391)


Cases   ( 261,750)
Deaths   ( 31,119)


Cases   ( 198,355)
Deaths   ( 9,103)


Cases   ( 106,167)
Deaths   ( 8,711)


Cases   ( 73,344)
Deaths   ( 5,447)


Cases   ( 83,565)
Deaths   ( 4,634)

Anonymous said...

Right now it is getting worse, at least in terms of new cases, in the US, although that has declined in the last few days from over 50,000 per day to the mid 40,000s.

[ New confirmed cases are still running over 50,000 a day. There was a delay in processing cases during the holiday period, but the cases have now been allocated to those days. Another 55,000 today. This is very, very serious. ]

Anonymous said...


July 8, 2020

Scientists warn of potential wave of COVID-linked brain damage

Scientists warned on Wednesday of a potential wave of coronavirus-related brain damage as new evidence suggested COVID-19 can lead to severe neurological complications, including inflammation, psychosis and delirium.

A study * by researchers at University College London (UCL) described 43 cases of patients with COVID-19 who suffered either temporary brain dysfunction, strokes, nerve damage or other serious brain effects.

The research adds to recent studies which also found the disease can damage the brain.

"Whether we will see an epidemic on a large scale of brain damage linked to the pandemic – perhaps similar to the encephalitis lethargica outbreak in the 1920s and 1930s after the 1918 influenza pandemic – remains to be seen," said Michael Zandi, from UCL's Institute of Neurology, who co-led the study.

COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, is largely a respiratory illness that affects the lungs, but neuroscientists and specialist brain doctors say emerging evidence of its impact on the brain is concerning.

"My worry is that we have millions of people with COVID-19 now. And if in a year's time we have 10 million recovered people, and those people have cognitive deficits... then that's going to affect their ability to work and their ability to go about activities of daily living," Adrian Owen, a neuroscientist at Western University in Canada, told Reuters in an interview.

In the UCL study, published in the journal Brain, nine patients who had brain inflammation were diagnosed with a rare condition called acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM) which is more usually seen in children and can be triggered by viral infections.

The team said it would normally see about one adult patient with ADEM per month at their specialist London clinic, but this had risen to at least one a week during the study period, something they described as "a concerning increase".

"Given that the disease has only been around for a matter of months, we might not yet know what long-term damage COVID-19 can cause," said Ross Paterson, who co-led the study. "Doctors need to be aware of possible neurological effects, as early diagnosis can improve patient outcomes."

Owen said the emerging evidence underlined the need for large, detailed studies and global data collection to assess how common such neurological and psychiatric complications were.

* https://academic.oup.com/brain/article/doi/10.1093/brain/awaa240/5868408

ilsm said...

My view: a pox on both houses. I will vote against the senator and congress woman in my NH district.

Biden, not withstanding age degenerated competence, is the choice of those that panders to post modernist calumny and detraction against the foundations of the republic.

The other party has nothing to brag about, other than they know what detraction is without going to a thesaurus.

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Trust in Huckabee? Paraphrasing, 'Trump is doing unbelievably badly in the polls.'
Mike Huckabee Says Trump Polls Badly Because People Are Scared to Admit Voting For Him

Anonymous said...


July 8, 2020

Research shows isolation of asymptomatic cases key to reduce COVID-19
"Silent" infections refer to people who either are in the presymptomatic stage or have asymptomatic infections.

WASHINGTON -- A new modeling analysis of COVID-19 transmission data attributed to "silent" infections has suggests that even isolation of all symptomatic individuals may be insufficient to suppress outbreaks.

According to the study, * published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Monday, at least one-third of asymptomatic cases would need to be detected and isolated in order to reduce the attack rate below one percent.

"Silent" infections refer to people who either are in the presymptomatic stage or have asymptomatic infections.

In the absence of population-wide restrictions, isolation of infected individuals is key to curtailing transmission. However, the effectiveness of symptom-based isolation in preventing a resurgence depends on the extent of presymptomatic and asymptomatic transmission, said the study.

Researchers from Canada and the United States evaluated the contribution of presymptomatic and asymptomatic transmission based on recent individual-level data regarding infectiousness prior to symptom onset and the asymptomatic proportion among all infections.

They found that the majority of incidences may be attributable to silent transmission from a combination of the presymptomatic stage and asymptomatic infections.

"Consequently, even if all symptomatic cases are isolated, a vast outbreak may nonetheless unfold," said the study.

The results indicate that symptom-based isolation must be supplemented by rapid contact tracing and testing that identifies asymptomatic and presymptomatic cases, in order to safely lift current restrictions and minimize the risk of resurgence, according to the study.

* https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2020/07/02/2008373117

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Trump’s 3-Point Plan to Win in 2020

The Atlantic - June 20

... the three components of the Trump endgame for 2020:

1) Attack the independence and integrity of the legal system;

2) benefit from foreign help and trust that by the time the help is proved, it will be stale news of scant interest to anybody; and

3) benefit from voting obstacles, particularly those that will impede black voting, and super-particularly those that will wedge apart the Democratic coalition on racial lines. (The Trump administration is not directly to blame for the coming mess in Kentucky—states manage elections—but it clearly relishes such situations.) ...

(While benefitting from assertions from
the likes of Mike Huckabee & Tucker Carlson.)

Anonymous said...


July 8, 2020



Cases   ( 3,100,272)
Deaths   ( 134,055)

Anonymous said...


July 8, 2020

One Million Tests a Day: How Beijing stemmed new COVID-19 outbreak
By Hu Yiwei and Gu Yingjie

Beijing, the Chinese capital, saw no new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday for the first time since a cluster of infections erupted in early June.

A 52-year-old man surnamed Tang in Beijing's Xicheng District was found to have contracted COVID-19 on June 11, ending 56 case-free days. The infection was traced back to the city's largest wholesale produce market, Xinfadi.

Two days after the first case was confirmed, Beijing launched citywide nucleic acid tests for COVID-19 on all people who had close contact with Xinfadi market since May 30.

As of Monday, at the daily coronavirus press conference, Pang Xinghuo, deputy director of the Beijing Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said the capital had conducted coronavirus nucleic acid testing on over 11 million people.

According to Zhang Qiang, deputy head of Beijing's special COVID-19 task force at a press conference on June 28, Beijing can now test up to 1.08 million people a day for COVID-19.

Quick and extensive testing has played a key role in containing the coronavirus's spread, Pang said.

In the 26 days since the fresh outbreak began, Beijing has rolled out a massive testing campaign following China's consistent rules in prevention and control – making sure all those in need have been tested, quarantined, hospitalized or treated.

At a late June press conference, Li Jinming, a researcher at the Clinical Research Center of the National Health Commission, said Beijing's prompt decision to conduct wide scale testing, starting with staff at the wholesale market and citizens living in 11 communities around it, helped quickly identify infected patients and cut the transmission chain.

Beijing carried out the operation in four phases, weighing the urgency of testing by key groups, starting with workers at Xinfadi market.

Guo Yanhong, the inspector general of the Medical Administration Bureau at the National Health Commission (NHC), also stressed the necessity of expanding the scope of detection to people who work for, stay in or have visited hospitals to protect the most susceptible population.

To boost its testing capacity, Beijing has increased the number of approved centers by almost 90 percent since early June by authorizing more existing medical facilities to conduct tests, building new laboratories and arranging tests within communities with the assistance of hospitals and medical staff dispatched from other provinces....

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Tammy Duckworth Confronts Nativist Smears From Tucker Carlson

NY Times - July 8

Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, a Thai-American Democrat who lost both of her legs fighting in the Iraq war and is now a potential vice-presidential nominee, was targeted with nativist smears for the second night in a row on Tuesday by Fox News’s Tucker Carlson.

Mr. Carlson, whose broadsides have been amplified on Twitter by President Trump, has attacked Ms. Duckworth in his monologue for suggesting during a Sunday interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” that it was worth discussing the value of removing monuments of George Washington, the nation’s slave-owning first president.

On Tuesday night Mr. Carlson labeled both Ms. Duckworth, who was born in Thailand to a Thai mother of Chinese descent and a white American veteran father, and the Somali-born Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, “vandals” who hate the United States because they have called attention to its historical racism and inequities. ...

Anonymous said...


July 8, 2020

Chinese mainland reports 7 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths

The Chinese mainland on Tuesday recorded 7 new COVID-19 cases from overseas, but no new domestic cases or deaths.

The total number of confirmed cases on the Chinese mainland stands at 83,572, and the cumulative death toll at 4,634, with 117 asymptomatic patients under medical observation.

Chinese mainland new locally transmitted cases


Chinese mainland new imported cases


Chinese mainland new asymptomatic cases


Fred C. Dobbs said...

Biden defends Duckworth after Carlson criticism

NBC News - July 8

Speaking at a virtual fundraiser that Duckworth also attended, Biden said that the comments were "disgusting, sickening" and demonstrated the "depravity of what’s going on in the White House right now."

"While in fact (Trump is) coddling Putin — Putin carries him around like a puppy in one of those little puppy cages. While that's going on he attacks, he attacks the senator from Illinois who is a literal hero, combat veteran, lost both legs fighting for her country, and he says she’s not a patriot. Folks we cannot let this stand," Biden said.

The attacks against Duckworth began on Sunday after the Democratic lawmaker from Illinois was asked in an interview on CNN whether statues of George Washington should be removed because he owned slaves. Duckworth said she thought there should be a "national dialogue" on the issue. ...

Anonymous said...


July 8, 2020

Supreme Court Lets Employers Opt Out of Birth Control Coverage
The justices upheld regulations from the Trump administration that allowed employers with religious objections to decline to provide contraception coverage.
By Adam Liptak

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld a Trump administration regulation that lets employers with religious or moral objections limit women’s access to birth control coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

As a consequence of the ruling, about 70,000 to 126,000 women could lose contraceptive coverage from their employers, according to government estimates.

The vote was 7 to 2, with Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissenting....

Anonymous said...


November, 2019

People Without Health Insurance Coverage, 2007-2018

(Thousands without insurance for entire year)

2007 ( 44,088)
2008 ( 44,780)
2009 ( 48,985) Obama

2010 ( 49,951) (Affordable Care Act)
2011 ( 48,613)
2012 ( 47,951)
2013 ( 41,795)
2014 ( 32,968)

2015 ( 28,966)
2016 ( 28,052)
2017 ( 25,600) Trump
2018 ( 27,462)

(Percent without insurance for entire year)

2007 ( 14.7)
2008 ( 14.9)
2009 ( 16.1) Obama

2010 ( 16.3) (Affordable Care Act)
2011 ( 15.7)
2012 ( 15.4)
2013 ( 13.3)
2014 ( 10.4)

2015 ( 9.1)
2016 ( 8.8)
2017 ( 7.9) Trump
2018 ( 8.5)

Anonymous said...

A problem that has evidently not been emphasized but that the spread of the coronavirus infections in the United States makes clear to me is that beyond our political leadership problems we have a seriously deficient healthcare system. I find the same for the British healthcare system.

July 8, 2020



Cases   ( 3,115,354)
Deaths   ( 134,143)


Cases   ( 286,979)
Deaths   ( 44,517)

Notice the remarkable 15.5% deaths to cases ratio for the UK.

Anonymous said...


July 8, 2020

The C.D.C. announces it will issue new guidelines for reopening schools, hours after Trump assailed its recommendations.

[ American democracy. ]

Anonymous said...


July 8, 2020

The C.D.C. announces it will issue new guidelines for reopening schools, hours after Trump assailed its recommendations.

[ A remarkably revealing commentary on the nature of American democracy. ]

Anonymous said...

July 8, 2020



Cases   ( 3,128,080)
Deaths   ( 134,420)

ilsm said...

Next almost 4 months is going to be interesting.

If Trump is bad, what about Biden? Biden and Duckworth are painting with the post modern cancel brush.

Duckworth deserves what she gets. Duckworth said she "thought there should be a "national dialogue" on the issue." Pressure under fire?

About whether George Washington should suffer detraction by the rudderless woke/post modern 'movement'!

Biden deserves what he gets defending "dialog" concerning detraction of George Washington using the long calumny that is the Putin meme!

'Biden's country' will have rioters doing what they want, the Trump ad is effective!

In other bad news for the woke Alexander Vidman is retiring instead of going to Leavenworth!

Democrats hoping for more Covid 19 tragedy!

Anonymous said...

July 8, 2020



Cases   ( 3,137,790)
Deaths   ( 134,569)

Anonymous said...


July 8, 2020



Cases   ( 3,142,537)
Deaths   ( 134,664)


Cases   ( 769,052)
Deaths   ( 21,144)


Cases   ( 286,979)
Deaths   ( 44,517)


Cases   ( 268,008)
Deaths   ( 32,014)


Cases   ( 198,705)
Deaths   ( 9,111)


Cases   ( 106,367)
Deaths   ( 8,733)


Cases   ( 73,858)
Deaths   ( 5,482)


Cases   ( 83,572)
Deaths   ( 4,634)

Anonymous said...

July 8, 2020



Cases   ( 3,156,533)
Deaths   ( 134,829)

Anonymous said...

July 8, 2020



Cases   ( 3,158,373)
Deaths   ( 134,840)

Anonymous said...


Dean Baker @DeanBaker13

Defund the f**king CDC. If they are just going to write guidelines to please Donald Trump, let's save money and get rid of the middle man:


The C.D.C. announces it will issue new guidelines for reopening schools, hours after Trump assailed its recommendations.

2:12 PM · Jul 8, 2020

Fred C. Dobbs said...

CDC director says agency won't revise school reopening guidelines despite WH push

Trump’s taxes may be released to grand jury, supreme court rules

Fred C. Dobbs said...

The Guardian - July 9

Chief justice John Roberts wrote the 7-2 opinion that the president is not categorically immune from grand jury requests. Both supreme court justices nominated by Trump, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, sided with the majority.

“Two hundred years ago, a great jurist of our Court established that no citizen, not even the President, is categorically above the common duty to produce evidence when called upon in a criminal proceeding,” Roberts wrote in the decision.

“We reaffirm that principle today and hold that the President is neither absolutely immune from state criminal subpoenas seeking his private papers nor entitled to a heightened standard of need.”

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Supreme Court rules Manhattan DA can obtain Trump’s tax returns

via @BostonGlobe - July 9

...but won’t allow Congress to see records for now

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Thursday kept a hold on President Donald Trump’s financial records that Congress has been seeking for more than a year. The ruling returns the case to lower courts, with no clear prospect for when the case might ultimately be resolved.

The 7-2 outcome is at least a short-term victory for Trump, who has strenuously sought to keep his financial records private.

The decision came after the court upheld a prosecutor’s demand for Trump’s tax returns as part of a criminal investigation that includes hush-money payments to women who claim they had affairs with Trump.

The court ruled 7-2 in a case in which it heard arguments by telephone in May because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The records are held by Trump’s longtime accounting firm, Mazars USA, which has said it would comply with a court order.

It probably will be at least several weeks before the court issues a formal judgment that would trigger the turnover of the records.

The court rejected arguments by Trump’s lawyers and the Justice Department that the president is immune from investigation while he holds office or that a prosecutor must show a greater need than normal to obtain the records.

Trump’s two high court appointees, Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, joined the majority.

President Trump immediately sent a series of tweets reacting to the decision...

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Supreme Court decision on Manhattan DA’s request to see President Trump’s taxes

Supreme Court decision on Congress’ request for Trump’s records

via @BostonGlobe

Fred C. Dobbs said...

(A busy day at the Supreme Court.)

Supreme Court Grants Prosecutors Access to Trump’s Financial Records

But Decision in Congress Case Means Records May Remain Secret for Now

President Trump can for now block the release of his financial records to Congress, but prosecutors in New York may see them, the Supreme Court ruled.
The decision is a defeat for Mr. Trump, but the records are likely to be shielded from public scrutiny until after the election.

President Trump had asked the court to block three sets of subpoenas that sought information from his accountants or bankers.

Supreme Court Rules Trump Cannot Block Release of Financial Records

Two rulings clear the way for prosecutors in New York to see President Trump’s financial records, but the justices stopped Congress for now.

(And in another ruling...)

Supreme Court Rules Nearly Half of Oklahoma Is Indian Reservation

The 5-4 decision could reshape criminal justice in eastern Oklahoma by preventing state authorities from prosecuting Native Americans...

Anonymous said...

Donald Trump is a terrible president, but when Paul Krugman accuses Trump of "treason" * what could Krugman be referring to?


The term frightens me. Please explain.

Anonymous said...

"CDC director says agency won't revise school reopening guidelines despite WH push"

This headline is misleading (false), since the CDC did indeed revise school reopening guidelines after the push to do so from the president.

Anonymous said...


July 9, 2020



Cases   ( 3,202,407)
Deaths   ( 135,519)


Cases   ( 794,855)
Deaths   ( 21,623)


Cases   ( 287,621)
Deaths   ( 44,602)


Cases   ( 275,003)
Deaths   ( 32,796)


Cases   ( 199,162)
Deaths   ( 9,125)


Cases   ( 106,742)
Deaths   ( 8,746)


Cases   ( 74,333)
Deaths   ( 5,500)


Cases   ( 83,581)
Deaths   ( 4,634)

Anonymous said...

July 9, 2020



Cases ( 3,202,407)
Deaths ( 135,519)

[ This strikes me as a disastrous failure in public health, but with all the political blaming that does not come across. ]

ilsm said...


All we get is sound bites from Fauci and Brix.... CDC guidance is guidance, how it is used beyond has less been than beneficial in a broader aspect.

I see no evidence that CDC has listened to American Academy of Pediatricians on opening schools. I see no evidence CDC can do a risk/reward analysis on opening schools any more than they should have implied the economy be shuttered in March.

There is a lot of evidence to weigh on schools opening:


None of the experience insists US keep kids out of school. It is becoming a political football!

Dirty tricks.

On Trump, he has been pursued by the democrat establishment (courts, DoJ and congress) and sycophants since 8 Nov '16 when it was discovered voters in a few states had the gumption to deny Sen Clinton her presumptive 'turn' as president!

The US Atty NY district is motivated by the basest of political emotions.

Krugman "woke" creds rise by accusing Trump of 'treason'.... that is at the least "calumny", if not a sin against the 8th Commandment; calumny a badge of being "woke". Woke makes for dispensation of all sin against the 'unwoke', sort of like the Koran treats infidels.

Many won't be safe in Biden's woke America.

Anonymous said...

Paul Krugman accuses Trump of "treason" * what specifically could Krugman be referring to?

* https://twitter.com/paulkrugman/status/1281238905585569798

The term frightens me. Such an accusation is very, very serious.

Please do explain.

Anonymous said...

As for the CDC; so far as I can tell the CDC has made a slew of serious mistakes on the matter of the coronavirus. A critical mistake was on testing. So I am only trying to understand how the guidelines on school opening came to be and to be reformed.

I am interested in understanding.

Anonymous said...


July 8, 2020

Does Cuomo Share Blame for 6,200 Virus Deaths in N.Y. Nursing Homes?
A state directive sent thousands of Covid-19 patients into nursing homes, but the Cuomo administration has given other reasons for the virus’s spread.
By Luis Ferré-Sadurní and Amy Julia Harris

The death toll inside New York’s nursing homes is perhaps one of the most tragic facets of the coronavirus pandemic: More than 6,400 residents have died in the state’s nursing homes and long-term care facilities, representing more than one-tenth of the reported deaths in such facilities across the country.

What went wrong? The effort to answer that question has become politically charged, with Republican lawmakers using the deaths to try to undermine Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a third-term Democrat, who has largely been praised for helping New York State to rein in the outbreak.

At issue is a directive that Mr. Cuomo’s administration delivered in late March, effectively ordering nursing homes to accept coronavirus patients from hospitals….

Anonymous said...


May 13, 2020

Buried in N.Y. Budget: Legal Shield for Nursing Homes Rife With Virus
In New York, 5,300 nursing home residents have died of Covid-19. The nursing home lobby pressed for a provision that makes it hard for their families to sue.
By Amy Julia Harris, Kim Barker and Jesse McKinley

In the chaotic days of late March, as it became clear that New York was facing a catastrophic outbreak of the coronavirus, aides to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo quietly inserted a provision on Page 347 of New York’s final, voluminous budget bill.

Many lawmakers were unaware of the language when they approved the budget a few days later. But it provided unusual legal protections for an influential industry that has been devastated by the crisis: nursing home operators.

The measure, lobbied for by industry representatives, shielded nursing homes from many lawsuits over their failure to protect residents from death or sickness caused by the coronavirus.

Now, weeks later, more than 5,300 residents of nursing homes in New York are believed to have died from the outbreak, and their relatives are finding that because of the provision, they may not be able to pursue legal action against the homes’ operators over allegations of neglect….

Anonymous said...

I am obviously not smart enough to understand what happened in New York and a number of other states as well as in Britain; I sort of got the idea that government officials ordered hospital patients with coronavirus infections to be placed in nursing homes with the most vulnerable population, and as coronavirus patients were placed in nursing homes the owners of the homes were given legal immunity. So the right to proper healthcare essentially came to anyone other than the older, and this especially in several self-styled liberal environments.

I obviously fail to understand, though.

Anonymous said...

July 9, 2020



Cases   ( 3,209,832)
Deaths   ( 135,598)

[ Again, a disastrous failure of the American pubic health system. ]

Anonymous said...


July 9, 2020

The Deadly Delusions of Mad King Donald
He won’t give up on a failing pandemic strategy.
By Paul Krugman

I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling more and more as if we’re all trapped on the Titanic — except that this time around the captain is a madman who insists on steering straight for the iceberg. And his crew is too cowardly to contradict him, let alone mutiny to save the passengers....

Anonymous said...

July 9, 2020



Cases   ( 3,218,849)
Deaths   ( 135,720)

Frank (JMU alum) said...

Professor Rosser,

America's two party system is something I've been thinking about a lot for the past several years. Naturally we're not immune to factionalism, quite the opposite as Madison pointed out in Federalist #10, but I've always wondered whether the US should implement varieties of either single transferable vote/ranked choice voting/another kind of proportional representation as some municipalities and states have done, but for national elections like for Congress and party primaries. Political factionalism and single-issue politics may increased, but overall polarization and its negative consequences may go down. Maybe someone over in the PoliSci dept in Miller has the answer.


Anonymous said...

Dale Carnegie wrote a book called 95% of the things we worry about dont happen - how to stop worrying and start living. I still share your concerns though and hope we can move on from this long national nightmare.

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Some in Portsmouth NH fear Trump rally will bring the ‘Superspreader in Chief’

via @BostonGlobe - July 10

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. — Lucy Bloomfield was engaging in a particular kind of panic shopping on Thursday afternoon, preparing not for a natural disaster or an illness but instead for President Trump’s campaign rally here on Saturday. She planned to stay far from it, hunkered down at home with everything she might need to weather the weekend.

“I’ve been referring to it as ‘The Super-Spreader in Chief’ is coming,” Bloomfield, 57, said in the parking lot of the Market Basket, as she loaded groceries into her truck.

As the president’s rally looms, some residents, store owners, and elected officials fretted about the coronavirus pandemic and the divisiveness of the expected crowd, while a growing chorus of health care professionals and others asked Governor Chris Sununu to require masks at the event.

“We’ve been doing so well on so many levels here in New Hampshire,” Bloomfield said, adding that she lives near Trump supporters and gets along well with them. “I’m concerned . . . that he’s going to bring out that divisiveness, bring out more of those people that are not willing to have conversations.”

She worried that Trump supporters from out of town would bring the virus with them, causing cases in New Hampshire to rise. At the same time, she fears the president will sow discord among neighbors at the worst possible time.

Even Trump fans planning to attend the rally said they hope other participants will follow public health advice.

“I’m hoping people will do the right thing,” said Steve Malm, 66, a Hampton resident who plans to arrive at the Trump event early. “They’re pushing [masks] more this time.”

Malm’s wife had just purchased a Trump 2020 mask, which she plans to wear Saturday, and they were both excited about attending. Going to a rally in person is different from watching the president on TV, Malm said. ...

As New Hampshire Trump rally approaches, calls for mask mandate grow louder

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...

Unkown JMU person,

I do not kow what they would say in Miller hall, but two party systems have a certain stability that systems with more serious parties sometimes lack, for better or worse.

I think having ranked voting might be some improvement. This is now happening in some parts of the US, mostly in local elections.

The much bigger, constitutional, change would be to go to a parliamentary system. There one often sees multi-party systems, some not all that unstable, although this varies widely across the world. One get coalition governments, which in some nations work pretty well, but on others not so well, with the latter happening generally when there is deep polarization. Israel and Belgium may have been some recent examples that went for an extended period with caretaker governments because of the inability to form a governing coalition in the parliament. But parliamentary systems are much more widespread around the world than what we have in the US.

Fred C. Dobbs said...

There is some talk about doing Ranked Choice Voting in
Massachusetts. It will be a ballot question in November.

I gave it some thought. It seems to tend toward unintended
consequences & unpredictable results. In a blue state like
ours, the GOP seems to favor it. That's enough to vote no.

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Mueller defends Russia probe, says Stone remains a felon

via @BostonGlobe - July 11

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former special counsel Robert Mueller sharply defended his investigation into ties between Russia and Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, writing in a newspaper opinion piece Saturday that the probe was of “paramount importance” and asserting that a Trump ally, Roger Stone, “remains a convicted felon, and rightly so” despite the president’s decision to commute his prison sentence.

The op-ed in The Washington Post marked Mueller’s first public statement on his investigation since his congressional appearance last July. It represented his firmest defense of the two-year probe whose results have come under attack and even been partially undone by the Trump administration, including the president’s extraordinary move Friday evening to grant clemency to Stone just days before he was due to report to prison.

Mueller said that though he had intended for his 448-page report on the investigation to speak for itself, he felt compelled to “respond both to broad claims that our investigation was illegitimate and our motives were improper, and to specific claims that Roger Stone was a victim of our office.

“The Russia investigation was of paramount importance. Stone was prosecuted and convicted because he committed federal crimes. He remains a convicted felon, and rightly so," Mueller wrote. ...

The mere publication of the op-ed was striking in itself for a former FBI director who was tight-lipped during the investigation, refusing to respond to attacks by the president or his allies or to even make public appearances explaining or justifying his work. ...

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Rep Ocasio-Cortez Pushes NY guvnah Cuomo to Back Billionaires’ Tax

NY Times - July 16

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has joined a new campaign to push Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to tax billionaires who live in New York State and use the money to assist people hurt by the pandemic-fueled economic crisis.

Similar measures targeting the wealthy have stalled in Albany, opposed by Republicans who long controlled the State Senate or by Mr. Cuomo, a third-term Democrat who has made his tax-cutting ways a central platform of his decade-long tenure.

But the environment has changed: Democrats gained control of both houses of the Legislature in a “blue wave” election in 2018, and the effects of the coronavirus-forced shutdown have created a $13 billion state budget shortfall.

Jessica Ramos, a state senator from Queens who was among the progressive Democrats who won office in 2018, sponsored the bill that would tax the unrealized capital gains of the state’s 119 billionaires. The money raised would be redirected to workers not eligible for unemployment insurance or the federal stimulus.

The proposed legislation is one of at least three tax-the-rich bills, including one that would impose an ultra-millionaires’ tax, that will greet the State Legislature when it returns for a rare July session on Monday.

But even with Democrats in control in Albany, the measures are still sure to encounter opposition from Republicans and many business leaders.

Mr. Cuomo has argued that taxes that target high earners could drive them out of the state and further damage the tax base — a concern that the governor’s budget director, Robert Mujica, underscored in an interview on Wednesday. ...

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Oh, Happy Day!

President Biden’s First Day

NY Times - David Brooks - July 16

The first thing you’ll notice is the quiet. If Joe Biden wins this thing, there will be no disgraceful presidential tweets and no furious cable segments reacting to them on Inauguration Day.

Donald Trump himself may fume, but hated and alone. The opportunists who make up his administration will abandon him. Republicans will pretend they never heard his name. Republican politicians are not going to hang around a guy they privately hate and who publicly destroyed their majority.

But there will be a larger quiet, too. For two decades American politics has centered on a bitter culture war between the white working-class heartland and university-bred coastal elites.

Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were all emblems of this university class, and it was easy for the Republican media wing to gin up resentment against them. In 2016, Trump beat Clinton among the white working class by a crushing 28 points.

But Biden is not an emblem of this coastal elite. His sensibility was nurtured by his working-class family during the postwar industrial boom of the 1950s and 1960s. He graduated from the University of Delaware in 1965 and missed the late 1960s culture war that divided a generation.

It’s very hard for conservatives to demonize Biden because he comes from the sort of background that Trumpian conservatives celebrate. He elides all the culture war divides. He doesn’t act superior to the “deplorables,” because his family taught him to despise status games of all sorts.

It will become immediately clear that in a Biden era politics will shrink back down to normal size. It will be about government programs, not epic wars about why my sort of people are morally superior to your sort of people. In the Trump era a lot of people who don’t care about government got manic about politics.

It will also become immediately clear that in a highly ideological age, America will be led by a man who is not ideological.

This week a few of us columnist types spoke with Biden about his economic plans. His most telling sentence was, “I’ve kind of tried to shed the labels and focus on the nuts and bolts of this.”

I asked him to describe the big forces that have flattened working-class wages over the past decades. Other people would have spun grand theories about broken capitalism or the rise of the corporate oligarchy. But Biden pointed to two institutional failures — the way Republicans have decentralized power and broken Washington and the way Wall Street forces business leaders to focus obsessively on the short term.

Biden’s worldview seems to come mainly from lived experience, not a manifesto somewhere. He has lived experience of a time when there were good manufacturing jobs, when unions protected workers, when the less affluent had a ladder to climb.

His economic agenda, promoted under the slogan “Build Back Better,” is about that, not some vast effort to remake capitalism or build a Nordic-style welfare system. The agenda is more New Deal than New Left.

In the two speeches he has delivered so far there are constant references to our manufacturing base — infrastructure, steelworkers, engineers, ironworkers, welders, 500,000 charging stations for electric cars. “When I think of climate change, the word I think of is jobs,” he declared. ...

Fred C. Dobbs said...

NYT - David Brooks: ... The agenda pushes enormous resources toward two groups: first, African-Americans, who have been pummeled by deindustrialization for decades; and second, white working-class Trump voters. This looks like an attempt to rebuild the New Deal coalition and win back the white working class who should be a core of the Democratic base. Biden’s populist “Buy American” messaging is just icing on that cake.

Can he pull off this manufacturing revival and this political realignment?

I’ll be curious to see if it’s possible to create millions of manufacturing jobs — or if technology means there’s only a need for relatively few workers. I’ll be curious to see if he can tamp down the Democratic media and activist wings, with their penchant for wildly unpopular moral gestures like “defund the police” and “decriminalize the border.”

I wonder if the economic crisis will obviate all this. With mass unemployment the need will be to get money out the door immediately on Day 1. Launching infrastructure projects and clean energy industries takes a lot of time.

But I do know that if he can win a chunk of the white working class (44 percent of the electorate, according to Ruy Teixeira), he will realign American politics. I also know that from that first day the Biden agenda will put the surviving Republicans in Congress in an awful bind. Do they cooperate and work with Biden’s infrastructure and manufacturing plans? If they oppose him they give him a clear shot to win their voters while also inviting him to end the filibuster.

Everybody says Biden is a moderate, and in intellectual and temperamental terms that is true. But he has found a way to craft an agenda that could reshape the American economy and the landscape of American politics in fundamental ways.

Joe Biden may turn out to be what radical centrism looks like.

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Two Republican Senators Post Photos of Elijah Cummings in John Lewis Tributes

NY Times - July 18

Like thousands of other Americans, Senators Marco Rubio and Dan Sullivan took to social media on Saturday to mourn the death of Representative John Lewis, a venerated figure of the civil rights movement.

“It was an honor to know & be blessed with the opportunity to serve in Congress with John Lewis a genuine & historic American hero,” Mr. Rubio said in a tweet on Saturday afternoon. “May the Lord grant him eternal peace.”

Except the photo Mr. Rubio posted was not of Mr. Lewis, but of another congressman: Representative Elijah E. Cummings, who died in October. Mr. Rubio also used the photo of himself with Mr. Cummings as his Twitter profile picture for a brief time.

Mr. Sullivan, Republican of Alaska, also memorialized Mr. Lewis with a photo of Mr. Cummings. In the picture he posted to his Facebook account, Mr. Sullivan is standing beside Mr. Cummings in front of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington.

“Congressman Lewis’ courage and principled leadership helped guide America through one of the most challenging periods in its history, calling our country to live up to its ideals with justice and equality for all people regardless of color and creed,” Mr. Sullivan wrote.

In a follow-up tweet, Mr. Rubio, Republican of Florida, acknowledged having used an incorrect photo.

“John Lewis was a genuine American hero,” he added. “I was honored to appear together in Miami 3 years ago at an event captured in video below. May God grant him eternal rest.”

For his part, Mr. Sullivan later removed the photo of Mr. Cummings from his Facebook post, as well as a reference to the museum.

According to Nick Iacovella, a spokesman for Mr. Rubio, the mix-up with the photo of Mr. Rubio and Mr. Cummings happened because of a mislabeled photo. The original photo, taken in February 2014 by the Philadelphia Inquirer photojournalist Lauren Schneiderman, was removed from Ms. Schneiderman’s personal website.

Screenshots show that caption information indeed identified Mr. Cummings as Mr. Lewis.

“Senator Sullivan’s staff made a mistake trying to honor an American legend,” Mike Anderson, a spokesman for Mr. Sullivan, said in an email on Saturday.

Twitter was quick to criticize Mr. Rubio for confusing the congressmen.

Mr. Lewis died at 80 Friday. He announced in December that he had Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. One of the original 13 Freedom Riders, he was a powerful force in the U.S. civil rights movement, helping organize the March on Washington and other demonstrations.

Mr. Cummings, Democrat of Maryland, died in Oct. 17 at 68 in Baltimore. At the time of his death, he was serving his 13th term in the House of Representatives. ...

Fred C. Dobbs said...

John Lewis posts April Fools' Day announcement that he'll grow beard to stop being confused with Elijah Cummings

The Hill - April 1, 2019

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Today President Trump is expected to hold his first coronavirus news briefing since April

when he suggested injecting disinfectant. Here’s what to expect...

via @BostonGlobe - July 21

After holding news briefings daily at 5 p.m. for weeks, President Trump abruptly ended them in April after being roundly criticized for suggesting the federal government should do research into whether Americans should use disinfectant “by injection inside” or ultraviolet light “inside the body” as a way to fight coronavirus.

Now the news briefings are scheduled to come back at 5 p.m. on Tuesday.

Why are they starting up again?

The change in plans comes as a time when President Trump has fallen badly behind Democrat Joe Biden in the presidential race. There are only about 100 days until Election Day. And the polling is clear why Trump is losing: Americans don’t have confidence in his ability to handle the COVID-19 crisis around the country.

For example, a Fox News national poll found likely voters said they trusted Biden to handle the coronavirus outbreak better than Trump by 17 points.

Further context: the news conference comes when the case counts are now the highest ever and nearly 140,000 Americans are estimated to have died from the disease. Some high-profile Republicans, like Texas Governor Greg Abbott have simply moved on from Trump on the issue.

What will be different?

The White House has signaled that there will be two major changes. First, they will only feature Trump and not other government officials like Dr. Anthony Fauci. Second, while the ones in the past would go on for hours, these are expected to be much shorter.

What will be the same?

These briefings are expected to be almost entirely about the coronavirus. The White House hopes to project that Trump is on the case and providing real information to Americans. However, a White House spokeswoman told the Washington Post that Trump might use the platform to discuss “other pertinent issues.” ...

Fred C. Dobbs said...

(Vaguely related?)

Trump to bring back coronavirus briefings in attempt to revive reelection campaign

AP via @BostonGlobe

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is set to once again take center stage in the government's coronavirus response after a White House debate over how best to deploy its greatest and most volatile asset — him — played out in public as his poll numbers falter.

One week after a campaign shake-up, the plan is for Trump to again become a regular public presence at the podium starting Tuesday as confirmed coronavirus cases spike nationwide.

Trump advisers have stressed the urgency of the president adopting a more disciplined public agenda in an effort to turn around his lagging poll numbers against Democratic rival Joe Biden.

“I think it’s a great way to get information out to the public,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office on Monday, saying he hopes to discuss progress on vaccines and therapeutics. His once-daily turns behind the White House briefing room podium largely ended in late April after the president’s off-the-cuff suggestion that injecting toxic disinfectant could help treat the coronavirus.

In another sign of recalibration, Trump belatedly tweeted a photo of himself in a face mask Monday, calling it an act of patriotism, after months of resistance to being publicly seen in the coverings — deemed vital to slowing the spread of the virus — as a sign of weakness.

White House aides said the format, venue and frequency of the president's forthcoming appearances haven't been finalized. And it wasn't clear whether he would field questions or share the stage with others, including Vice President Mike Pence and Drs. Deborah Birx or Anthony Fauci.

But it all pointed to an apparent course-reversal. Trump for months had heeded aides who pushed for him to all but ignore the virus and instead focus on the economy and more politically advantageous terrain.

Trump will use the briefings "to speak directly to the American people about the federal government’s coronavirus response and other pertinent issues,” said White House deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews. ...

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Trump says the virus will probably ‘get worse before it gets better.’

President Trump abruptly departed on Tuesday from his rosy projections about the coronavirus, warning Americans from the White House briefing lectern that the illness would get worse before widespread recovery.

“It will probably, unfortunately, get worse before it gets better,” Mr. Trump said. “Something I don’t like saying about things, but that’s the way it is.”

In his first virus-focused news conference in weeks, Mr. Trump appeared before reporters to defend his track record, which has been widely criticized for his tendency to downplay the severity of the pandemic. Appearing without Vice President Mike Pence, Dr. Deborah Birx or Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, key members of his White House coronavirus task force, Mr. Trump also implored citizens — especially young people — to wear masks.
“Get a mask,” said Mr. Trump, who has been reluctant to wear them in public himself. “Whether you like the mask or not, they have an impact. They will have an effect and we need everything we can get.”

Mr. Trump’s comment urging Americans to wear masks was a stunning departure from his past comments on wearing them. In recent weeks, he has disparaged masks as unsanitary and suggested that people who wore them were making a political statement against him. ...

Coronavirus pandemic is likely to get worse, Trump says

AP via @BostonGlobe

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump sought to paint a rosier picture of the coronavirus for the nation Tuesday but conceded the pandemic is likely to get worse for a time as he revived his daily briefings with an eye to halting a campaign-season erosion of support as new cases spike across the country.

The early evening show at the White House came as the next stage of the federal government’s response to the pandemic was being crafted on Capitol Hill. Lawmakers and White House officials were opening negotiations on a trillion-dollar-or-more “phase four” rescue package.

“It will probably unfortunately get worse before it gets better,” Trump said from the White House, but he also touted a reduction in deaths and progress on vaccines and treatments for COVID-19, which Trump referred to repeatedly as a the “China virus.” He also continued his belated encouragement of Americans to wear masks when social distancing is not possible, saying, “Whether you like the mask or not, they have an impact.” ...