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February 26, 2020


Right wing fascist Republican racist triage should be interesting:


Just as with Native Americans, expect to be wiped out by republican carriers of cholera, syphilis, and Ebola.


Also look up subhuman trump’s treasonous attempts to spread panic and wreck and disrupt Obama’s government’s sane response to the Ebola outbreak in 2014.

Burn all Republican Party government to the fucking ground.

“You’re doing a heckuva job Pencie”

Makes me think of the old Bobcat Goldthwaite line about their first child's birth: “The doctor turned to me and asked, "Mr. Goldthwait, would you like to cut the cord?" And I said, "isn't there anyone a bit more fucking qualified?"

If vermin subhuman Rush Limbaugh dies of his god given cancerous natural causes, then American patriots have failed to butcher and slaughter Merica’s enemies with NRA approved savage violence.


Fuck you conservatives.

Own your fucking shit.

The most patriotic thing anti-trump conservatives can do to save America is contract the Coronavirus and luck Limbaugh’s and Trump’s faces.

But then we might have socialist healthcare.

Licking is lucky

To receive the Coronavirus vaccine and permission to vote, please sign the Trump loyalty pledge, nigger.

Problem solved!
(See the final paragraph for details.)

Trump fired fake doctor Jackson five minutes ago and hired a guy to sneak pork fat into his Beyond Impossible MAGA.

Own it, conservatives.

Do something.

Vote for Weld. Suck wind. Anything. Vote for Hillary, assholes.

But do something before the killing starts.


Doctor Faustus Limbaugh Kevorkian weighs in with a diagnosis:


And metastatic lung cancer is republican syphilis.

I'm characterizing late stage lung cancer as a medically necessary abortion to save the life of the mother country after its rape at the hands of trump republicans.

Here's a fact for stinking conservatives to stick up their butts as a suppository to fight the common cold:


Larry Kudlow does not look well.

Jonas Salk coulda been a capitalist if only he had priced the polio vaccine out of the affordability range of the nigger population:


The coronavirus drug company I've invested in had better be buying back shares instead of wasting all that shareholder cash on research and development.

If Dagney Taggart and Milton Friedman had a baby together and Mike Pence was the kid's godfather, you would have today's vermin subhuman Republican Party.

You need a hit man, hire a fucking professional killer:


I'm done now.

And now government is meddling in our very beards:
And feminazis* are let of the hook again.

*actual nazis too though, see the OK on the toothbrush

You need a hit man, hire a fucking professional killer:

In this field, as in any other, why would a competent professional voluntarily work for this administration?

I'm guessing Pence got drafted to be the coronavirus czar. And wasn't quick enough to figure out how to maneuver someone else into the crosshairs instead.

One has to wonder, just who would think putting Mike Pence forward would inspire confidence?

Not looking to inspire confidence. Looking for someone who will shift the blame -- to anywhere except Trump. For that, Pence isn't an unreasonable choice.


Predatory Hazmat Jesus on a goose-stepping pogo stick.

Let us prey.

Suffer the little children to cough in the other direction.

I never knew there was a name for every kind of beard. I never even knew there were that many kinds of beards.

As happens fairly often, John Cole speaks for me.

The thing I miss the most about the Obama years was the no-drama part.

Just get useful stuff done, please. And no, tax cuts and deregulation are not "useful stuff". They are an abdication of governance, not good governance.

Get useful stuff done.

Increasingly, "fix the damned roads" is a winning platform. Regardless of party. Regardless of demographic group (both candidate and electorate).

If I was JDT, I'd be advocating for shooting the first guy who came up with "deferred maintenance" as a budget ploy. And everybody since who has said it.

The last sentence from russell's link (lightly edited):

So get ready for prayer and holding an aspiring between your knees or whatever f**kery that idiot has lined up for us.

"North Dakota, Virginia and Missouri have the best performing, most cost-efficient state highway systems, while New Jersey, Rhode Island and Hawaii have the worst."
Annual Highway Report: Study Ranks Every State’s Highway System, Finds Road Conditions Worsening In Important Categories

i'm sure there a lot of people in the DC area who would dispute that Virginia ranking

Kudlow has joined Pence's Coronavirus task force.

Citing Ronald Reagan .... "if you want less of something, tax it ... and, oh yeah, feed a cold and starve a fever, or is it the other way round?", as he recommended further slashing taxes on Leon Cooperman and Bernie Sanders.

He went on to remind all of his sage prognostications regarding the economy and the markets in 2008 by imitating himself, a drug-addled nincompoop half way thru a 12-step program falling down an open manhole.

JDT's infrastructure program is to burn all bridges that lead to the Trump Republican Party.

Don't look now, conservatives, but we don't need Sanders or Warren to look just like Soviet Russia and Maoist China:


Look what you cocksuckers have done to our country.

"if you want less of something, tax it"

Great plan! Let's put a surtax on anyone contracting the coronavirus! That'll solve the problem for sure.

b.t.w., "conservatives", the way the US government handles this coming pandemic ... ?

it's on you.

you put Trump in charge.


Dr. Fauci and the entire staff of the NIH and the staff of the CDC should resign immediately and announce their resignations while wearing Trump, Pence, and Kudlow death masks.

Kill the entire health infrastructure of the US government.

Crash the fucking markets. I hope I lose 90% of my net worth.

All the more reason to no longer give a fucking shit and start the patriotic butchering of the entire Republican Party.

Goddamned fuck all of it.

Dreher goes full me and then full Sanders. See the last line in the second article.



Of course, Dreher will vote for Trump unless someone other than LGBT folks are killed by the Coronavirus.


California monitoring 8400 poor souls who may have been exposed to the virus.

You won't hear any of this from republican vermin subhuman malgovernment.

People, the calls are coming from inside the fucking house.

Scalise, the fuck, lives, to the detriment of the country, because he is on the same world-class government employee health insurance system as I have been all my adult life until I signed up for Medicare.


Just as conservatives made it illegal for federal employees to access abortion via their employee insurance coverage, even in the case of the fetus being ill-formed and a possible danger to the mother's life, I move that we take away all federal health insurance coverage for gunshot wounds incurred while being employed as a lying republican sack of dog shit by my government.

They can call the Trump CDC if they need help and have employees there hang up on them under White House orders to STFU lest stocks go down before Kudlow, FOX Business News, CNBC's Joe Kernan, and Leon Cooperman can unload their holdings.


Americans, in this case any so-called journalist who "reports" happy talk business and market news, are exquisitely full of shit in the area of missing the fucking point.


I still haven't received my first shipment of avocados from the orchards popping up on the melting South Pole either.

Let's get a move on melting those ice caps. I'm an American and I'm impatient. Gimme. Now.

You get a dozen rotting penguins which each avocado shipment.

Stepping back, with the abyss not inches away, the stock market looks very oversold.

They tell us we are experiencing "volatility" to the downside. Stocks are volatile, but they don't go down, they don't decline, they don't lose value.

When the inevitable relief rally occurs, if it does, say, on news that Larry Kudlow no sooner took up his post beside Pence but then croaked from complications due to malignant coronastupidity, they won't tell us the market is experiencing "volatility" to the upside, they will tell us simply that it zoomed, rocketed, exploded, reached the Godhead, is looking ahead with perfect accuracy (what was it looking ahead to two weeks ago, but couldn't see, before it fell several thousand points, you might ask, if you are a commie), went parabolic, defeated the naysayers, crushed the bears, squeezed the unpatriotic shorts, etc. etc.

Americans don't speak English anymore.

The discerning investor class ru(i)ns the world:


The market knows all.

The market is the final arbiter.

The market reflects every piece of known information.

The market has reached "correction territory".

It hasn't declined.

Sounds politically correct to me.

One month ago, I remarked that I was seeing something I'd never seen before ... stock analysts pounding the table to BUY, BUY, BUY a security with a price target of say, $100 a share as the security was trading at ... $115 per share.


Turns out they were both full of shit and right at the same time.

Now what?

Buy at $100 with an upside price target of $80!?

I shoulda known to run for the hills, but then I went to Mardi Gras and took my eye off the ball.

Who needs the Kremlin or Communist China when we have the liars and assholes on Wall Street.

the stock market looks very oversold.

The word you want is "overbought". Which much of the market has been for some time now. (See current, vs historical averages, P/E ratios.)

We're over-ripe. Whether you want to phrase it as over-ripe for a correction or over-ripe for a crash. Too early to tell if this is it, but we/re in territory somewhat like a supersaturated solution: all it takes is a little tweak somewhere and Boom!

Investors have overbought the stock market because they've been oversold on its value perhaps.

And there's a lot of cheap money flying around and needs to land somewhere.

there's a lot of cheap money flying around and needs to land somewhere.

Heaven forbid it get invested in something productive! Too many people think the way to make money is the stock market. As if the market wasn't, at least when it's working right, a reflection of what's happening in the real economy.

I blame the schools for not teaching better economics. Preferably in high school, when it might do some good.

By the way, it's Covid not corvid, which makes it sound like a crow or raven!

Yes, the market is "overvalued" by nearly all fundamental measures and has been for some time and yes it's cheap money sloshing around that is inflating the entire mess.

When I say oversold, I'm talking about short to medium term technical price momentum indicators that have been in force and have worked pretty well during most of the bull market and that have reached very extreme levels of pessimism, though sentiment indicators have not become as extremely negative as I like to see at a short to intermediate term bottom ... in a secular bull market.

But the market can stay oversold technically if we are entering a longer term bear market trend, and stay that way longer than we can remain solvent.

It's what I do.

I'm a Groucho Marxist capitalist. I'd lose more money, but that's all the money I had.

"In the 1950s Groucho was invited to take a tour of the New York Stock Exchange. While in the observation booth, he grabbed the public address system handset and began singing "Lydia the Tattooed Lady". Upon hearing silence coming from the trading floor, he walked into view, was given a loud cheer by the traders, and shouted, "Gentlemen, in 1929 I lost eight hundred thousand dollars on this floor, and I intend to get my money's worth!" For fifteen minutes, he sang, danced, told jokes, and all this time, the Wall Street stock ticker was running blank."

All decent career federal government employees who try to do right by the American people they serve by blowing the whistle on filth should carry loaded guns and shoot to kill in self defense Trump's Deep State malignant, corrupt, vermin republican retaliators at the slightest threatening provocation.

That's why republicans, via the NRA, gave us guns and ammo in such huge amounts.

To kill corrupt and authoritarian government from within and without.

Those commas in the Second Amendment mean more than dumbass conservatives think.

Here's a link as to why:


49.4 hidden under the virus news,the services pmi moved from growth to contraction this month. After a year of shifting economic numbers one of the two pillars of the bull market turned negative with a (huge) 4 point drop. If coronavirus now takes down consumer confidence the second pillar falls and it wont be 3000 on the s&p it will be 2400 or less.

Then the market and economy might sync up.
Or the pmi surprisingly recovers in March and we get to pretend the market multiple expansion has been right for a little while longer.

Services would tend to get hurt especially badly by the virus because, in general, you can't provide services without coming in contact with other people. No telecommuting for dentists or hairdressers or fast food servers. And thus reluctance to patronize them by everybody else who is nervous about covid-19.

If you direct all the money to the already rich, they can only invest so much. The rest they gamble. The market P/E ratios have yet to reach the nosebleed territory of 2000, but all those buybacks tend to push the ratio down, c.p.

On the fundamentals side, China is shutting down? This could be catastrophic for the world economy.

But what do I know? I predicted the end of the world on Nov. 5, 1980. I may have missed it by a couple decades, but we might, might have a good ways to go. Give it time.

the services pmi moved from growth to contraction this month.

Didn't you go to cash a while back?

russell, I did,i put some back in for the eoy really and sold that a week ago last Tuesday. Watching this for a good place to put a little more to work.

My only current "investing" is moving money in an already-funded pre-tax retirement account back and forth, when I deem it warranted, between a money market fund and three index funds (large, mid, and small cap). I can't afford to put more money into it now. I moved the last of the money I had left in the stock funds to the money market back in November. The Dow went up another 2000 points thereafter to its most recent high. But I'm okay with that, especially now.

I've been tempted to pull the trigger and move some money back into the index funds, which I would continue to do incrementally on the way down should the fall continue.

The account is one I opened back when I had no kids and my wife was still working full time, and I opened it right after 9/11, pumping as much into it as was allowed by law, given what was clearly an overreaction to the attacks.

I have a morbid investment strategy.

I have a morbid investment strategy.

Yes. It's also known as 'buy low. sell high.' :)

hsh, if I put any money at risk at this point I will just buy the s&p if it gets 20% down. It wont beat the high flyers but it's likely to recover the 20% in 18 to 36 months.

The if is important in that sentence.

"Don't gamble; take all your savings and buy some good stock and hold it till it goes up, then sell it. If it don't go up, don't buy it."

Roy Rogers, I think. Heh.

"The definition of a gold mine is a hole in the ground with a liar standing next to it."

Shania Twain.

"Rise early. Work late. Strike oil."
J Paul Getty

Free market conservatives call for the gummint to intervene and manipulate the stock market to save it.


I'll go further. Mnuchin at Treasury and Kudlow know who to call and what levers to pull in the worldwide futures market to put taxpayer money to its illegal work of saving their fucking bacon.

Alan Dagny Greenspan was appointed Federal Reserve Chairman in 1987. Two months later came the 1987 stock market crash (they all happen during Republican mal-administrations) and I watched every down tick with morbid fascination.

There was a moment when the market turned up violently and for no discernible reason.

I call bullshit. Reagan bullshit.

You can always count on commie republicans to use the full powers of the hated government to juke their investment bacon.

Recall the unanimous criticism (Kudlow, you fuck, I'm looking you) from so-called lying cheating conservatives from the get go of the Fed's Obama-era quantitative easing programs.

Now look at what they are doing in the cause of sucking the dick of a single fascist thug.

I'll take an honest Commie Sanders who fucks everything up over the lying filth in the conservative movement who are wrong dishonestly about every fucking thing under the sun with disastrous results.

The conservative movement thought up economic globalism after the fall of the Soviet Union, rubbing their hands together at the thought of destroying American labor standards and income and the unions, and the safety net and deregulating trade and maybe making a little money on the side selling opioids to the disposessed and abandoned

Now the same smart conservative guys have changed their minds and are causing an entire realignment of global supply chains, massive expensive change (how conservative is that?) and we are once again expected to go along with it, quietly, like a fucking triangulating Clinton.

Me, I see the upsides and downsides of both trends. The good and the bad.

But with conservatives, you buy it all as God's Randian truth or they will demonize you as unAmerican.

There's no dealing with pigfuckery accept via violence.

Fuck them.


Think about this.

Kudlow has advised being fully invested in equities at all times as a matter of an alcoholic's and drug addict's desperate faith in the power of God and tax cuts.

When you are fully invested, you have no ready cash to ADD to your positions. In fact, your principle is fully invested and has lost value.


Americans lost half the value in the their 401ks and their homes following this piece of dog shit's advice in 2008-09.

He's a fluffer. A shill. A carnival barker putting up signs for the Egress and he makes for the exits.

He keeps you erect and looking the other way with his mealy mouth to cover his ass.

He thinks you can cut taxes on a virus' DNA and incentivize it to stop spreading.

Damn John Jay. Execute John Jay.

Trade like Marty does, but Marty's not a true blue all-in faithful American.

He hedges his bets.

12 years ago the DJIA was at about 7,000. Thanks, Phil Gramm!

In January 2017 it was something like 20,000. Thanks Janet Yellen! Or, if it doesn't make your head explode, thanks Obama!

Today it's down a couple of points from a high almost 30,000. I'd say thanks Trump but it'd leave a stain on my soul. Thanks, American consumers, for continuing to buy stuff, I guess.

If you don't need the money, like, today or maybe this year, it's probably not time to freak out. Just saying.

All of that said, it is funny how quickly people are really, really, really happy to have the feds intervene when their own personal money is on the table.

I wonder if Kudlow was all in on Trump University, too....

"If you don't need the money, like, today or maybe this year, it's probably not time to freak out. Just saying."

True dat.

But if you retired or died in 1931 or 2001, or 2009, not true dat.

Today it's down a couple of points from a high almost 30,000.

A couple, meaning almost 5000.

If you don't need the money, like, today or maybe this year, it's probably not time to freak out. Just saying.

But if you do, it probably is. Not that freaking out is a bad thing.

One little tell that the market is temporarily bottoming (not a prediction, but since we're talking the stock market) ... Allied Healthcare Products, small manufacturer of face masks:


This little disaster of a stock is always the last domino to rally during virus outbreaks, Ebola, SARS and now.

It was $2 the other day. It hit near $40 a little over an hour ago.

At the moment, it's down 50% from there, near $20/share.

The bucket shops and iffy "investment" self-proclaimed "experts" got all of their clients into it, and now are front-running their own clients by selling on the news, because "buyer beware", which should be changed to "kill the seller", but that would be financial regulation, so no dice.

When this passes, and here's hoping (NOT) Trump cures the faithful of all disease, or at least claims it, the stock will settle back at $2 until the next house-a-fire.

Another tell to watch is the Volatility Index (VIX) which spikes during "volatility on the downside", as they call it to avoid the word "selling" (only Wall Street is allowed to do the selling, we do the buying), but for some reason falls during "volatility on the upside", which is NOT what they call that.

They call that Galt's Gulch.

The Index is still elevated (from around 15 a week ago to @45 at the moment, off its highs, but if it closes at a low for day, or better, lower than yesterday's high, than we might get a snap-back rally.

Not a prediction. Better to just wire me your money than act on my musings.

Let me know if you want the wire number.

Investment "journalism" (like the word "conservative" get a new word) is a waste land of hype, juking, and baseless panglossian opinionating, no reporting visible), so I love to play with headlines as a word game, like this:


It's also true that Beyond Meat won't stop the Coronavirus from entering America.

Just tell me the news, and the price of the stock.

Leave the fluffing to the highly paid professional fluffers on Wall Street.

But if you retired or died in 1931 or 2001, or 2009, not true dat.

No argument from me there.

A couple, meaning almost 5000.

yikes. hadn't looked since yesterday. my guess is that it's likely to go down some more before it goes up. people freak out when they don't know what's going to happen. oddly enough, people who work in financial markets appear to be among the more freakout-prone.

But if you do, it probably is.

yes, agreed.

look, I'm 3 years away, almost to the day, from full retirement. for good or ill, I'm basically relying on 401k money to live on when that time comes. it's not at all unlikely that i will not make back what I've lost in the last few days in that 3 year time frame.

maybe I will, maybe I won't.

nonetheless, there's isn't much to gain by freaking out about it. I'm not trying to minimize anything, just trying to be realistic.

Everything trump touches turns to hateful violence:


End him now, conservatives, or your country will look like Syria on a bad day.

A lady from a suburb of Seattle has died of the virus. That said, and not to diminish her life, the virus apparently doesn't kill very many of the people who catch it. in fact a significant number of people who catch get no symptoms at all. I read an article aobut this yesterday and sorry no link but the jist was this: since the virus doesn't kill very many people and makes most of its targets only midly sick, it will spread no matter what. So we will all get used to it. the fall will be cold, flu and corvid virus season. It will kill old peole, children and the medically fragile. So we will all get used to it just like we have gotten used to so many other bad things.

the virus apparently doesn't kill very many of the people who catch it.

Right. About 2% fatality rate. Which is higher than the usual flu (0.1%), but lower than SARS (10%). The question, of course, has to do with ease of transmission. And then there is the detail that our organizations for dealing with it have been gutted -- which seems unlikely to help with containment.

wonkie, I don't think you are wrong, but some other factors to consider
-it seems to be much more virulent with people who smoke which may mean people with asthma or other conditions are at a higher risk, which would then include children (I feel like one reason the virus has been so bad in South Korea is because of the persistent air pollution problems there.)
-it may be asymptomatic in many, which would then put places where older people congregate problematic
-high virus loads seem to be a problem, which endangers front line health professionals
-the virus is appearing awfully late in the flu season, so it may not disappear with warmer weather
-even if none of these things are true, they could be true if the virus is given an opportunity to mutate, and an international pandemic would increase the possibility of mutation

It may very well be that we will have to just get used to it, but given that the US health care system is set up to seemingly encourage the spread of the virus, it could require really intense measures in places where geriatric patients gather. Imagine if clean room like conditions would be needed for every nursing home in the US. Imagine that taking place in a system where everyone is one medical emergency away from bankruptcy.

I don't think this should generate a freak-out, but it would be nice if people realize that the building blocks of something like this (cheap air travel, rising middle class in China, refusal to fix the US medical system, an hourly based service economy, supply chains that depend on just in time delivery for almost everything, dependence of the economy on all of this rather than on local industry, as well as the reduction of government mechanisms to deal with these problems) have basically made this inevitable. If this one doesn't fit the bill, Mother Nature is whipping up something that will fit. It does feel karmic.

ESPECIALLY karmic if corvid-19's predilection to kill old smokers takes out significant fraction of Trump rally attendees

...who don't believe all that "fake news" about the dangers of smoking, or corvid-19, or yadda yadda derp.

At 0.1% fatality rate, garden variety flu kills about 60k people, per year, in the US. and that's with a vaccine in place, which won't exist for covid for another year.

people shouldn't freak out, but we should also take it seriously.

I didn't mean get used to it dismissively. After all I am old and will soon be in the medically fragile part of ly life. I meant get used it to in a more resigned to shit way. It will cycle off the news, a vaccine will be found lots of people will die and it wil be comethe new normal. it wont be a new black death. It wil be like ita and ebola and AIDS--scare the shit out of people but cycle off thenews eventually while we all get scared of something else. The tragedies will be accepted. Republicans are only upset because it makes them look bad right now. Most people will remain unaware of al the things the Obama admin did to try to prevent this and will be unaware of how trump dismantled all those things. NO political price will be paid for his bad behavor just as Obama didn't get credit for what he did right. Meanwhile another blow to our collective quality of life that we get used to.

Biden notches first primary win since 1988. A harbinger or a high water mark?

Time for a Super Tuesday thread.

Will do

...who don't believe all that "fake news" about the dangers of smoking, or corvid-19, or yadda yadda derp.

Including all that nonsense about the usefulness of vaccinations. (Once one becomes available.) Evolution in action.

I hope wonkie is right in being so sanguine, but I have my doubts.
No one really knows the mortality rate of this thing, as we don’t have good enough data yet.
What seems undeniable, though, is that if it gets out of control then that rate can go up significantly as health services get overwhelmed. A significant number who get serious lung damage can survive with intensive care, but will die without it.

There is a slim chance in the early stages of an outbreak to get on top of it with mass testing and isolation measures, but the Us appears to have missed that chance - you are testing at about 1% of the rate of the UK.

Re US vs. UK on testing, a similar situation with Japan vs. Korea


The facebook group it is from may be of interest if one wants to follow what is happening in South Korea

I was going to comment on the rate of testing, too.
I was quite surprised at the slow response in Japan, but at least (in contrast to the US), they have admitted this and are making strenuous efforts:

The incompetence of the US effort is dismaying.

Possibly because I'm pretty skeptical about Abe, (and I'm a bit skeptical about the Japan Times, it's moved closer and closer to the government's line on a lot of things cf https://jp.reuters.com/article/us-japan-politics-newsroom-insight/fear-and-favor-chill-newsroom-at-storied-japanese-paper-idUSKCN1PI36V ) I felt that the news conference seemed more about shifting blame than taking important steps. In the article, note the defense of Abe's request for school closing and eliding the fact that the press conference was more of a CYA affair than part of a thought out strategy. This article highlights the issues with Abe's earlier call.


If he had announced the school closures in a more formal way, emphasizing it as as a way of sharing the burden and a necessary step in fighting the virus, that would be been a bit more admirable, but it seemed like he targeted schools because he didn't have any idea of the disruption it would cause for working families and the press conference was at the request of the opposition party Komeito rather than something from the Prime Minister.

It's also the case that it is a 'request' and some places are not going to do it, so it seems to me more like a gesture rather than an actual act to deal with the virus.

Though take this with a grain of salt, I have a bit of an Abe derangement syndrome.

I’m no great fan of Abe, either.
But even rhetorically, he’s in a different universe than Trump. And Japan does seem to be reacting:

In the context of the contrast you drew between Japan and Korea in you very interesting thread header, that is something.

Thanks Nigel, and sorry for the Abe/Japansplaining. I'll put a bit more below for other folks, apologies to anyone who already knows the info in advance.

Here in Japan, things are starting to happen, I think, but I live outside the big urban centers, and I've been asked to do a 2 week self quarantine by my uni cause I flew thru Taegu, so I can't say what things are like 'outside'. My daughter's high school has been closed until further notice, and there has been a run on masks (and toliet paper, something that seems to be built into the Japanese psyche) Unlike Korea, I'm not getting emergency notifications on my phone, and they don't seem to be fumigating public places or cleaning public transport like Korea.

However, baseball games and other sporting events (including the Spring Sumo basho!) will have no audience. Disneyland and Disney Sea have closed down until 15 Mar, which I guess is as serious as it gets.

And the Japanese government is on a tightrope, I don't think they can go all in because it may raise doubts about the Olympics, but they have to do something. My feeling is that Abe is betting that the virus will weaken during the summer and so doesn't want a full testing regime, which could scare people about the viability of the Olympics and if the virus doesn't weaken, not having that information will obscure Japan's role as a gateway for it. It's totally cynical, but taking a lead would require a certain amount of taking responsibility, never a Japanese forte. It's a bit of a Descartian bargain, if it's not bad, he comes out looking good, if everything goes to hell, he won't be blamed, even though knowing the numbers in Japan could make efforts around the world much more focussed.

Anyway, for some Abesplaining, as some of you may know, Abe's maternal grandfather was Nobusuke Kishi, who was a war criminal but was released as part of the so called Reverse Course. This WSJ article gives a lot of background, so it's easy to see where he gets his nationalist streak. There is also his great uncle, Eisaku Sato, who was the longest serving prime minister until that record was beaten by Abe, and Sato was primer minster during Japanese 1964 Olympics bid. The article also doesn't discuss the Olympics, but this FT article does. So, while the scenario I sketched above of making a bet about the virus may seem an overly cynical reading, for Abe, the value that he assigns to the Olympics is probably so high that this seems like a no-brainer.

It's a bit of a Descartian bargain, if it's not bad, he comes out looking good, if everything goes to hell, he won't be blamed

That may be true in one sense. But I wonder if he has given any thought to the impact on him if he doesn't act, the Olympics goes forward, and then becomes a major vector for spreading the virus. Especially if some prominent athletes get taken down.

"Looking bad" barely begins to cover the (permanent!) impact on his personal reputation if that happens. Not to mention on Japan's reputation -- how long will it be before tourism recovers?

No problem at all, lj - your perspective is undoubtedly more informed than mine.

I hadn’t formulated the Olympic cynicism in that way, but what you say makes a persuasive case.

But I wonder if he has given any thought to the impact on him if he doesn't act, the Olympics goes forward, and then becomes a major vector for spreading the virus. Especially if some prominent athletes get taken down.

Well, given the factors that increase the danger (age, damaged lungs, poor health) are probably not going to effect elite athletes, it's probably not a big gamble. As for the audience/spectators, that's would be a lot easier to spin and again, he's betting that by July, coronavirus will just seem like a bad dream.

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