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May 03, 2020

Comments

I've been concerned about process for a while.

Welcome to "the Left" .... abolitionists circa 1830 to the present. Try on some different biases, just for a refreshing change.

TP, bobbyp, cleek, wj etc. all remain somewhat constant in their snark and skepticism of what I might say

Apologies if I came across as snarky. I do try to hold back, but don't always succeed. However, if I'm skeptical (and I am), it's not because of who say something, but because of what has been said.

I come here to engage and to learn and widen my pitifully narrow conservative horizons.

Same reason I'm here, actually. Plus the occasional success in broadening everybody else's horizons in a more conservative direction.

Plus, he pled guilty, under oath, to lying to the FBI. Twice.

Sure. Not lost on me. And there was absolutely no pressure to do whatever it took to get a no-prison deal. No pressure at all.

The pressure (and I don't doubt for a minute he felt some) was to plead guilty to a single, lesser, charge. Rather than get tried on greater charges as well, for which he (and/or his lawyers) felt there was a significant probability of his being found guilty. Not really the same thing as being pressured to lie about doing something when you were innocent.

Why are you still an R....

A democracy needs two parties to survive. Because with just one, things go downhill to corruption and disaster. Yes, even faster (albeit not by much) than Trump has taken us there.

At the moment, the various third parties don't have anybody I think likely to grow into a viable alternative party. (And some which would be worse than the current Republicans. If you doubt it, look again at the American Independent Party. Shudder!)

Currently, the folks running the GOP, specifically at the national level, are a disgrace. But at the local level, and sometimes at the state level (see the governors of Massachusetts and Maryland), things are more hopeful. The chances of turning the party around don't look enormously good at this point. But a) better than the chances of a different alternative "party of government" and b) even smaller if everyone disgusted with the likes of McConnell et al leaves.

So that's why I'm still where I am. Doesn't mean I religiously vote for them. Never was that straight party line kind of voter, but definitely don't now.

Meanwhile,
https://news.bloomberglaw.com/health-law-and-business/trump-mulls-made-in-u-s-order-for-vital-drugs-devices

Because God forbid someone's life be saved using foreign drugs or devices. The utter stupidity of these guys' xenophobia is stunning.

part of the reason I even come here is because I KNOW I am biased. It's nice to learn how, exactly, but this particular way of "discussing" doesn't work. Or claiming an entire group of people only engage in magical thinking all of the time.

As to the former, that speaks reasonably well of you, if true. As to the latter, I believe I am the only person here who it has been claimed was engaging in magical thinking, and it was me doing the claiming.

Regarding your question about Andrew McCabe, I had forgotten many of the details, so looked some up. I see from the NYT of 2/14/20 (or do you perhaps see the NYT as fake news/hopelessly biased, as you once did when I linked something inconvenient from Huffpost?) that:

A key witness testified that Mr. McCabe had no motive to lie because he was authorized as the F.B.I.’s deputy director to speak to the news media, so he would not have had to hide any discussions with reporters. Another important witness testified he could not immediately remember how the leak unfolded. Both would have been crucial to any prosecution.

Additionally, people who are charged with lying to the F.B.I. are typically accused of committing the offense in the course of a criminal investigation, not an administrative inquiry. For example, Mr. Horowitz determined last year that a senior Justice Department official committed wrongdoing by viewing pornography on his work computers and then providing false statements to investigators, but prosecutors declined to bring charges.

Mr. McCabe’s lawyers made the case to Mr. Rosen that other former officials were not prosecuted after they were caught lying to the inspector general’s investigators.

Mr. McCabe has been a consistent foil for Mr. Trump, who repeatedly attacked Mr. McCabe’s wife, Jill, over her failed 2015 campaign for the Virginia Senate, which received hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations from a political committee run by a longtime ally of the Clintons.

So in answer to your question, a) I think under the circumstances it was reasonable for the DOJ to drop charges against McCabe, but I would not have thought it altogether unreasonable if they had not. And Barr was presumably at that time trying to appear (or maybe even be - it's just possible) independent of pressure by Trump. But that time is long past: the spoon Barr was using to dine with the devil may have been a reasonable length to begin with, but it is now very short indeed after (for example) the Stone case. Barr is now fully in bed with Trump, an enabler of a corrupt crook and liar, as indeed your "lowlife" Michael Cohen was for many years. Trump is a cesspit of manure, and Barr is in up to his neck.

As to your laudable attempt to check your own bias, lj is essentially right. Your apparent acceptance of the Trumpian obsession with Sztrok and his girlfriend (I can't remember her name), and your assumption that they/he would find it almost impossible to be impartial about Flynn despite their political views is projection. It is right to question whether political views influence the carrying out of professional duties, but they do not necessarily do so. Those upright prosecutors and agents you praised in California presumably all had their various prejudices, and yet acted professionally. And the conservative willingness to buy the demonisation of lifelong Republicans like Comey, Mueller and others, in their defence of Trump, is astonishing and frankly rather disgusting. The agents who signed the letter about Barr I am sure have many different opinions too, but they have no doubt read all the material you adduce and as you say have come to a different conclusion about the Barr DOJ. It is just one more example of principled public servants objecting to the degradation of American institutions, and even worse the acceptance or even embrace of that degradation. I am astonished that, as presumably a reasonably respectable lawyer, and an officer of the court, you seek to find excuses for this degradation.

For non-lawyers, an officer of the court:

In common law jurisdictions, the generic term officer of the court is applied to all those who, in some degree in the function of their professional or similar qualifications, have a part in the legal system. Officers of the court should not be confused with court officers, the law enforcement personnel who work in courts.

Officers of the court have legal and ethical obligations. They are tasked to participate to the best of their ability in the functioning of the judicial system as a whole, in order to forge justice out of the application of the law and the simultaneous pursuit of the legitimate interests of all parties and the general good of society.

GftNC, to answer your previous question:

Yes, "weasel words" are indeed a common expression in the States.

BUT, we also have Weasel Stomping Day.

Not particularly fond of the 'fixed this for you' framing, but

All I got is that I'm being lumped in with this Marty feud.

I should just leave GftNC's comment as the last word, I don't like piling on, but in case you really are baffled by losing good will, try going back to this comment

https://obsidianwings.blogs.com/obsidian_wings/2020/05/the-future-is-a-foreign-country.html?cid=6a00d834515c2369e20263ec1827ce200c#comment-6a00d834515c2369e20263ec1827ce200c

The offhanded dismissal of a source that has been scrupulous in reporting got up my nose. 'But it was just a throwaway line' you may exclaim. I'm certainly more than willing (and believe I have demonstrated it in the past) to let people walk back from positions, but the casual slight was either a way to put people off balance ('oh, you read that shit?') or was indicative of knowing where the criticism was coming from and trying to, what is it, impeach the witness? Which suggests that you are looking at this stuff as closely as we are and playing a chess game. If that's what you want to do, fine, but don't be shucks and golly gee when you get pushed back on it.

If you want to stake out this corner as your place, and be the guy who is concerned about FBI interviews, be my guest. If we do a Martha Stewart retrospective or want your opinions of Guiliani's (btw where did he go) assertions about the legal process, we will let you know. But don't call us, we'll call you.

I'd like to think that we tolerate a lot here (maybe too much), and where you set out your jenga pile is your decision. But if people like me bump into it from time to time, spare me the pearl clutching. As Janie said, we don't have to argue like you and arguing like a lawyer is not the only way it is done. You can stipulate all you want while Flynn may be guilty, that interview was just so gosh darn unfair, that stipulation gets granted only to the extent that you grant other people's stipulations. Which is how you earn my good will.

lj, the link doesn't work, and I can't seem to make linking to a comment work even if I play around outside the comments. Did you mean this one, which is on the second page of this same thread?

Sorry, but rule of law is now a joke.

If one reads TPM as the truth, then yes. I'm not going to assume you haven't read the motion and the recently released evidence (and the evidence released in the past). And I have not read it all. But what I have read leads me to the opposite conclusion and the opposite of what Comey and Nadler and Schiff are spouting now. The rule of law was bent to take down a political rival, plain and simple. Do the ends of taking down a duly-elected president justify the means simply because that president is Trump? YMMV.

Posted by: bc | May 08, 2020 at 11:06 AM

Ex-DOJ employees are entitled to their opinions, be they political or based on actually reading the facts.

Much of what I have ready is contradictory and seems based not on actual facts, but supposition.

And one of them was Strzok! I admit to being surprised that Strzok would state that given his bias.

Texts between Page and Strzok (the biased lovers)

Sample passages from the person ordering the rest of us (specifically me) to stick to the facts, and objecting when I snark about how s/he writes as if s/he is the only unbiased observer in the universe.

When bc asserts that someone is biased, that’s a fact, because we all know that bc lives up to his/her own standards of argument.

Heh.

Yes, that one. Thanks and I'll have to remember that linking to comments doesn't seem to work. Looking at bc's comments in this thread with that as the context, it sure seems like he's more interested in trying to prove that we, unlike him, are sheeple who think the ends justifies the means. And to engage in a little whataboutism that I usually complain about, he wants to argue that our rule of law is NOT a joke, he can start with this.

https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/political-commentary/ahmaud-arbery-georgia-killing-video-emmett-till-lynching-995458/

Where people put their attention tells a lot more than what they talk about...

Graphs updated....

The stupidest thing Flynn ever did was associating himself with Trump.

He was a reasonably well thought of guy before that. Probably not executive material, but a good record as an intelligence officer. Who knows, he might even have parlayed all of that into an honest-ish dollar as a security consultant and all-around talking head.

Less worthy folks have done as much.

Maybe he felt, not without merit, that he was pushed out of the DIA in 2014. Maybe the whole Trump bandwagon thing was his idea of payback.

Unfortunately for him, everything Trump touches is degraded. Everyone who enters his circle is degraded. The Trump orbit is a freaking dead zone. However this all lands, Flynn will have an asterisk next to his name for the rest of his life. Like most of the other folks who thought Trump was their meal ticket.

Can't say he hasn't earned it. Honorable people don't stand in front of a crowd yelling "Lock her up!".

I don't wish jail for him, but if that's how it plays out, it will be hard for me to see it as unjust. It's only what he wished for for others. Not only wished for, but sought, advocated, embraced.

Karma actually is kind of a bitch.

Last comment and I'll go back to lurking. It's hard to read people accurately over text. A few things:

I wasn't being dismissive of the TPM article at all. That wasn't my intent and it was NOT a throw away line. In fact, for the most part (IMHO) the article was just reporting the facts. And shoot, it even attached the motion to dismiss (and hence my urging to read the motion or better yet the exhibits). There were a few assertions, however, that were stated as fact that I think are open to more interpretation. Hence I simply said "If one reads TPM as the truth." I meant that literally, as in "if you accept what TPM states as the truth," then yes, certain of the points being made by others are supported.

I'm not telling anyone what to think. Like that would work here!

Nobody has to argue "like a lawyer" or accept my method of argument (whatever that might be). Again, I repeatedly stated people should just read the exhibits.

I don't think of anyone here as sheeple, either individually or collectively.

GFTNC, I appreciate the reasonable, thoughtful comment at 6:42.

I don't really know what you mean, lj, about staking out "this corner." This issue? Some sort of conservative "flavor?" I don't think I'm staking out anything. I certainly don't intend to.

And I have talked every day with my college daughter at home due to COVID about Ahmaud Arbery. Deeply, deeply disturbing and I had a visceral reaction to the video. It has rocked her to the core too.

And, wrs at 9:16. To hopefully not sully russell's excellent discussion on the subject by using it as metaphor, more often than you might think, I find each of you in the pocket. I tend to only pipe up when I think you are rushing or dragging a bit and simply can't keep a beat to save your life. On those occasions, I feel like my director that used to carry around a big drum stick and whack a music stand when we were decidedly off. You can't play with time if you can't feel the pulse. Luckily he did that only rarely and he was such a musical man it was out of character. So maybe there's that in what I sometimes say.

But most of the time, I like the music, both cultural and political. And that includes all the principals and all those that comment here.

And with that, I'll stick to listening to the music for a while.

*russell: I played trombone in a big band in college. I almost piped up when you had that discussion about being in the pocket. My own personal definition: when I couldn't help smiling. That didn't work well with my embouchure, btw, but you know what I mean. I learned to smile inside.

My own personal definition: when I couldn't help smiling

Haha!

Works for me.

bc, I appreciate you asking for some clarification. I view this place as a local bar. People come and talk about different things. So when I say 'stake out this corner', I imagine going down to the neighborhood place and maybe saying gee, I'm curious about left handed wrench sets and whoever says oh, you need to talk to Sam, he does a lot with those things.

It's also why I get really pissed when people come in and talk about this as an echo chamber or shit like that. As you may have noticed. I don't think it is that hard, but maybe it is.

It would be nice if you were the guy who, when a question about prosecutorial procedure came up, we could say, ah, bc over there knows the ins and outs, bc, what do you think? Though, as GftNC observed, if the folks you knew were so professional, how can you claim that everything went off the rails so quickly? And if you say it's because of Strozl's girlfriend, well, you might see why some of us are skeptical.

I respect your desire to go back to lurking, but I'd just observe that one of the problems with lawyerly argumentation is choosing to argue against the weakest arguments and leaving the other one aside, hopefully to get forgotten or lost. Since we can't use comment links, I requote Tony P.

bc: Uh, read the motion to dismiss and the exhibits?

For us non-lawyers, bc might consider providing a bit more meat on that bone. As a non-lawyer, I have to assume that a perp's lawyers will present the most favorable arguments and evidence possible without blatantly lying to the court. I also have to assume that, in an (actually) adversarial system, there would be counterarguments and other evidence presented to the judge -- and to interested laymen with time on their hands.

Identifying the documents, the links, sourcing it is one of the bones I tend to worry and I like to see exactly where people are getting their arguments. I look back thru this, and the number of explanatory links you provide is zero. I understand that this can be deployed like jiu-jitsu, flooding the questioner with links and links and then complaining that they didn't notice the codicil on section 34, sub section 14 and since they hadn't read everything, they aren't worth debating. But I'd like to think that you have a tough, but fair audience and if you pointed to particular things and linked to them, we would consider them. But if you are going to go on about 'the biased couple' or elide the differences between dropping McCabe' prosecution and Flynn's, and not explain why, well, as Russell said, karma is a bitch.

What lj said. bc, I asked about specific sources (expecting/hoping for links) because I really was interested to see for myself. In more detail than you could reasonably include in a blog post. I'd still be interested in seeing them.

No, this place isn't an echo chamber, it's just *highly* curated.

If you can tolerate the opinion of one more lawyer cum lurker, what happened to Flynn is in my opinion an all too common example of prosecutorial abuse that has gone unchecked by the courts and obviously the DOJ. I don't give two figs about Flynn (though in a reverse "apple doesn't fall far from the tree" analysis, I probably would never have a high opinion of him), but I'd be fine with a get out of jail free card if it meant some far reaching change in law/procedure/policy that would curb these perjury based prosecutions (what happened here was not a "perjury trap" as I understand the term, but close enough).

Full disclosure: I don't practice criminal defense, but some of my clients ended up as guests of the federal government under the category of "white collar criminal" based on innocent misrepresentations in federal loan applications. Apply reverse spin accordingly.

Pollo, 'curate' implies selected and presented. I can understand if you would say self-selected, after all, I and others are going to talk what we want to talk about, though I have posted open requests for readers to write something up and written people off list to post things. I've also asked people to go into more detail about their experiences.

As for 'highly', again, I don't post everything that pops into my head and I don't feel like the others do, but it seems you are either misusing curate or misunderstanding how things work.

I was only making a friendly joke aimed more at curating participants as opposed to content.

I wouldn't get hung up on it. ObWi is gonna ObWi and that's fine.

I'll go back to my closet under the stairs.

Hey, we're not "curated".

"Small batch", yeah, that I could see.
"Free Range" also, too.

Free range, me likee.

I’m pickled. Does that count?

I stayed out of it, because defending a scum like Flynn isn’t a hill I want to die on, but I agree with bc and Pollo. It strikes me as odd that the government settled for this, um, trumped up charge. They must have thought they were going to get something useful out of it.

It is also amusing that what Flynn asked from the Russians was that they not react to our sanctions. That was a good thing. He also asked the Russians to side with Israel in a UN vote condemning settlements, but they refused. If anyone took the ridiculous Logan act seriously, that seems like what you would focus on. If Trump is overly influenced by foreign governments, it would be those of Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Speaking of which—

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/16/us/arms-deals-raytheon-yemen.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

Way too nice to the Obama Administration. The poor dears just kind of stumbled into supporting war crimes and lying about it. Ben Rhodes didn’t say a word about it in his much praised stupid book. I am guessing he hoped the issue would go away but then Khashoggi was murdered. Samantha Power glossed over it too. But as one would expect, Trump is worse, because money is the only thing he cares about other than himself.

Two excellent editorials on Flynn:

Paul Waldman

John Gleeson, David O'Neil and Marshall Miller (more impressive legal chops than I have, for sure)

People who are taking the Justice Department's story of Flynn's alleged set-up at face value are incredibly hopeful to find some integrity there (being charitable). This is what we face for 2020: government prevarication to aid Trump's hold on power. And we see in some of these comments how it works.

but I agree with bc and Pollo

Quelle surprise.

bc,
FWIW, i appreciate your POV here. i find it interesting (if sometimes baffling).


if there were no actual conservative voices here, we lefties would have to fight with each other. and that's not any fun.

Shut up, cleek. You’re always wrong!

if there were no actual conservative voices here, we lefties would have to fight with each other. and that's not any fun.

FWIW, and as I have often said before, I agree with this.

i know. i know.

hey look, more Tara Reade!

i remain unconvinced

Leftist infighting is a blood sport going all the way back to the French Revolution. Like our counterparts on the right, there are traditions that shall be maintained.

As to the possible government transgressions to snare Flynn, we of the leftier persuasion see this as a feature, not a bug. I am well aware of some counterexamples trotted out from time to time (cf. Waco), but on the whole, the use of the sovereign power of the US government has traditionally come down in favor of reaction. Links provided upon request. :)

bc,
FWIW, i appreciate your POV here.

Likewise.

It's always tough having the minority POV in any community. Always glad to see you, whenever you are inclined to jump in.

Donald: ... the government settled for this, um, trumped up charge.

I know "the government" is a term of art here. But terms of art can be confusing to laymen, so:

He, Trump selected his enthusiastic early backer, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, to run His Justice Department.

Jeff failed to meet He, Trump's Roy Cohn standard by recusing himself from Trump-Russia matters owing to his own shady contacts during the campaign.

He, Trump's appointee for Deputy AG, Rod Rosenstein, appointed lifelong Republican Robert Mueller as Special Counsel.

Bob Mueller took over some of the already-existing investigations into "Trump-Russia".

Mueller's team interviewed Flynn, who He, Trump had used as an attack dog ("Lock her up!") in the campaign, then picked to run the NSC, then fired for "lying to the Vice President".

Flynn admitted to having lied to the FBI, and Mueller "trumped up" a charge to which Flynn pleaded guilty in court. Mueller's prosecutors recommended a very lenient penalty at Flynn's sentencing hearing.

Judge Emmet Sullivan, looking at a record we mere citizens were not allowed full access to, warned Flynn that his sentence might not be quite as wrist-slappy as the sweetheart deal Mueller's team was offering. Flynn decided to agree to a postponement and further cooperation with Mueller.

Then He, Trump picked William Barr, pardoner of the Iran-Contra perps in his first go-round as AG, to take over from the interim non-entity Matthew Whitaker, and Flynn changed lawyers. Then it was practically now and history stopped.

Which, if any, of this cast of characters do we mean by "The Government"?

--TP

guests of the federal government under the category of "white collar criminal" based on innocent misrepresentations in federal loan applications.

I quite agree that the system can be, and on occasion is being, abused. But it seems like quite a stretch to equate what Flynn did with an "innocent misrepresentations in federal loan applications". But perhaps I am not sufficiently familiar with the process used by most people filling out said applications.

Excellent exposition and question, TonyP!

.....based on innocent misrepresentations in federal loan applications.

Ignorance of the law is no excuse. Really, I read that somewhere. Maybe you find that hard to believe, but in all innocence, I swear I did. Really.

It strikes me as odd that the government settled for this, um, trumped up charge.

my impression in general is that prosecutors go with a charge that they can make stick, and that will be the least PITA to proceed with, and on top of that the charge they go with may be the product of negotiation with the party being charged.

They must have thought they were going to get something useful out of it.

Seems like they got a confession out of it.

It is also amusing that what Flynn asked from the Russians was that they not react to our sanctions. That was a good thing.

Don't disagree.

He also asked the Russians to side with Israel in a UN vote condemning settlements, but they refused. If anyone took the ridiculous Logan act seriously, that seems like what you would focus on.

Don't disagree.

Basically, I don't really care if Flynn goes to jail or not, as long he stays the hell out of government. And dropping the charges against him is as political a stunt as anything else that's happened in the last 4 years, and more so than most.

My 2 cents, FWIW.

my impression in general is that prosecutors go with a charge that they can make stick, and that will be the least PITA to proceed with, and on top of that the charge they go with may be the product of negotiation with the party being charged.

Bookmark this to come back to in a discussion (if I can get my act together to draft it) of "facts," and styles and "rules" for argumentation.

bc wants everyone to stick to "facts," as if facts were as hard as cement and as incontrovertible, unchangeable, and finite as 2+2=4.

I say (briefly for the moment): it isn't so.

While there is a political aspect to dropping the charges, Flynn isnt a crook. The others who went jail are, or were, where they should be.

I think dropping the charges at this point in what could reasonably be defined as an overzealous prosecution is an acceptable step. Whatever he did, he has been appropriately chastised.

Since, when discussing the Flynn case, there may be an implication that some of us are anxious for Flynn to go to jail as if that is the issue, I just want to clarify why I care about this, and why the news that the DOJ had dropped the charges hit me like such a thunderbolt.

In recent years, and for reason, people have chucked around references to the US as becoming like a banana republic, and to the fact that Trump is behaving like an authoritarian strongman. And some lefties here have no doubt (and also for reason) taken it for granted that increasingly in America, money talks, and gets the talkers what they want. But the naked presentation, without pretence, that a corrupt POTUS has to do no more than make his displeasure apparent when his cronies are held to account so that then said cronies are exempt from all legal consequences looked to outsiders like a considerably more dramatic skid down the slippery slope. YMMV, but the Flynn affair symbolised to those of us who had not taken for granted that the DOJ was corrupt (after all, parts of the left have taken the opposite view) that now it obviously was. And when the administration of the law is openly, unapologetically corrupt and in the pockets of the rich and powerful, then descent into corrupt, lawless authoritarianism seems to have that much less of an obstacle to overcome.

GftNC: ... lawless authoritarianism seems to have that much less of an obstacle to overcome.

So does JDT's version of "justice".

Marty seems convinced that Hillary is a criminal and Michael "lock her up" Flynn isn't. I have no doubt AT ALL which of those obstacle-overcoming possibilities Marty will prefer.

--TP

then descent into corrupt, lawless authoritarianism seems to have that much less of an obstacle to overcome

Oh, and as a side (but connected) issue, the systematic disposal of any Inspectors General actually doing their jobs....

I appreciate the concern, GftNC, but I find the banana republic reference inappropriate. The wheels of government turn, as do the wheels of justice. More than one of Trumps "cronies" have gone to jail and remain there. He has been investigated and the charges found wanting by some people with every interest in getting rid of him constantly for 3.5 years.

The weakest of all the possible charges, the Ukraine bs, were all they could bring to the table.

He is a despicable human being but he has operated at least just within the law as far as I can tell.

The left WANTS him to be a corrupt, lawless authoritarian so they can use that against him. I do believe he is naturally authoritarian, he is used to being the boss. One of the challenges of electing someone with his lack of understanding of the role and limitations of the President who has been a CEO and business owner is their frustration at not being in control. He exhibits this daily. I'm sure he does want and expect people to just do what he says, but that isnt the reality in this country and it wont be.

It doesn't require a big crusade to save the country, it is just a constant irritant that he chafes against those limitations, creating conflict and chaos. But he hasnt actually broken any of them down.

He is a despicable human being but he has operated at least just within the law as far as I can tell.

Just to be clear, I assume by "He" here you mean Flynn. Because there's no way to plausibly say that about Trump.

I disagree about Flynn. But at least you can make a case there.

He has been investigated and the charges found wanting by some people with every interest in getting rid of him constantly for 3.5 years.

Marty, you rejected this very argument in the case of HRC's career as an international master criminal! But I am determined not to argue with you - let's wait (perhaps) til after November, and in the meantime stick to discussing e.g. Dylan's late burst of creativity.

Let's do avoid it,because there is a huge difference which probably wont matter after Nov.

Just who are the real Dreyfusards here?

Ignorance of the law is no excuse. Really, I read that somewhere. Maybe you find that hard to believe, but in all innocence, I swear I did. Really.

Culpae poenae par esto.

But it seems like quite a stretch to equate what Flynn did with an "innocent misrepresentations in federal loan applications".

I don't think that I made such a comparison. I was only offering context for my comments so people could give them the proper weight.

In my case, the clients had expertise in ME languages and after 9/11 they were approached about greatly ramping up their capacity by the departments of state and defense. They were told what to put on the SBA loan applications. When SBA sicced DoT on them, that didn't matter and a friendly audit turned into a lynching.

The bottom line is that I find DOJ tactics like this to be abhorrent. I could not care less about Flynn. Like all criminal defendants, he gets the benefit of Blackstone's ratio from me but that's about the extent of it. Just like I didn't care about OJ, but his acquittal resulted in some much needed reforms at the LAPD (not enough, but better than nothing).

Ignorance of the law is no excuse. Really, I read that somewhere. Maybe you find that hard to believe, but in all innocence, I swear I did. Really.

Luckily, I have my handy pocket reference to the 300,000 federal laws I could be in breach of...

Let's do avoid it,because there is a huge difference which probably wont matter after Nov.

Well, if you say so.

The left WANTS him to be a corrupt, lawless authoritarian so they can use that against him.

You're entitled to your point of view, and you are welcome to state your point of view.

Give up the mind reading, you're not good at it, and it's annoying when you pretend to speak for other people.

Thanks.

But he hasnt actually broken any of them down.

he's made open bribery from the WH an acceptable practice.

just kidding. it won't be acceptable at all, as soon as some Dem tries it.

quick quiz.

guess the party of this state representative!

While trying to defend his comments comparing the Alaska State Capitol coronavirus guidelines to Nazi concentration camps, a ... state legislator claimed to a reporter that Adolf Hitler was not a “white supremacist” but someone who was “fearful of the Jewish nation.”

Rep. Ben Carpenter of Nikiski made the remarks to an Anchorage Daily News reporter following a contentious email exchange with fellow lawmakers reported by the newspaper. When the Capitol in Juneau opens Monday, members must undergo a health screening, and those who pass will be given a sticker to wear. Carpenter, who disagrees with the measure, replied to all 40 members of the House of Representatives, according to local media.

“How about an arm band that won’t fall off like a sticker will?” Carpenter wrote. “If my sticker falls off, do I get a new one or do I get public shaming too? Are the stickers available as a yellow Star of David?”

go on, guess.

Hold on to your hats. It's coming.

So bobbyp, in light of the deeply pessimistic contents of your last two links, what are you doing to get ready? If your last name was Clinton or Obama, or even let's say Pelosi, what would you be doing to get ready?

Trump is following the Bannon strategy. Flood the zone with shit. The full quote:


'The Democrats don't matter. The real opposition is the media. And the way to deal with them is to flood the zone with shit.'"

It's not coming, it's been here, for the last 4+ years. Every day, we swim in a flood of shit. Instrumental shit, designed and delivered to keep us talking about stupid nonsensical irrelevancies.

If I were Clinton or Obama or Pelosi, my suggestion would be to say "That's a crock of shit" and then start talking about something relevant to the health of that nation.

If I were Biden, I'd do the same.

If I were just me, I'd do the same.

It's a crock of shit. Let's talk about something else.

No disrespect to bobbyp, I'm just tired of playing this stupid game on Trump's terms. Fuck him and the horse he rode in on.

As an aside, I'll just say that the freaking nihilism of today's (R) party is breathtaking.

If you want any respect from me, you're gonna have to walk the hell away from the (R) party. They've sold their damned souls to the devil.

I'm happy to talk with conservatives about conservative ideas. I have no interest in talking about (R) governance, because it's non-existent. If you want to point to guys like Baker in MA, or whatever other (R) governor hasn't utterly lost his or her mind, I'll say that's of interest but is so anomalous as to be noise. A freaking rounding error.

Charlie Baker couldn't win a primary west of the Hudson. Probably west of the Connecticut.

The (R)'s sold their souls with Nixon's southern strategy, and it's been downhill ever since.

Not my problem, except they're intent on taking the whole country down with them.

I used to think that it was the responsibility of conservatives with integrity to turn their party around. I don't think that's on offer anymore, it's gone too far for too long.

Walk the hell away. If you feel like you need to keep that (R) in your permanent record, no worries. Whatever, it's just a label. We can all relate to nostalgia for better times.

Walk the hell away from these guys.

If you want to talk about policy, great. If you want to talk about today's (R) party, I'm out. Feel free, I'm sure someone else will talk to you. But I'm out.

This shit is beyond the pale.

Janie,
At the age of 71, there's not a lot I can effectively do to "get ready" for much of anything :) Pretty much all I can do is to shout my case, contribute to my causes, show up when called, cross my fingers, and hope.

One would rationally think that Trump's incompetence in the face of a raging pandemic would bring the American people to its senses. Sadly, the polarization that has taken over our politics has only deepened. To make matters worse, after this, the nightmare of global climate change still looms over the entire planet.

It's almost like we are back in the 1850's approaching the abyss. Going all John Brown seems rather pointless right now. So what did good people do then? They did what they could.

As to our Dem leaders...they need to lead us and win this election and also take the Senate. Barring that, they need be willing to "go to the mattresses" as it were and be prepared for total obstruction against the political nihilism that is today's Republican Party.

That's my take.

Thank you for asking. Stay safe.

russell -- well, we'll see whether Clickbait goes beyond getting his enablers out of jail and starts actually trying to put his enemies in jail, instead of just shouting about it.

But I'm also thinking of things like this, in my own little backwater state of Maine:

Today, our idiot former governor joined protestors at the State House. He says he's going to run against Mills next time. (Heaven forfend.) The protest wasn't small.

The restaurant owner who has defied the state and stayed open despite having his licenses yanked, and now despite a court order, says he'll go to jail sooner than close.

A few days ago I linked to the pastor who's having services outside, but still in defiance of the emergency orders and a loss in Federal court.

This shit is going on all over the country.

So my question to bobbyp isn't just about Clickbait doing a Bannon, it's also about what's going to happen if he continues that game to the point where these boneheads finally start shooting.

From one angle, his performance in the face of the pandemic has been so execrable that it's easy to indulge in the wishful thinking that says it will sink him deeper than a lead anchor.

From another angle, it looks like an unexpected gift, perfect excuse to finish the job he's started. With states "opening" again, with lots of people defying the partial closures that remain in place, the virus is going to be a very bad problem over the summer. Clickbait has done a lot to chip away at institutional structures at the Federal level; what happens when state and local governments start to falter because of the health crisis?

I dunno. It looks like Biden, Obama, et al. are doing more or less what you suggested. (Great minds think alike!) But if I were any of them, I think I'd also be making some backup plans.

Not that I'd talk about any of it in public, mind you.

*****

While I was trying to write this, russell wrote again and bobbyp too (thank you both!). I have been worried about Hillary's safety since the last election, and now I'm worried about all of them. But I guess I have to trust to the Secret Service on that score, and to all those people being much more savvy than I am about almost everything.

bobbyp -- my own "plans" are much like yours. I remember once writing on this blog, in response to some gay rights discussion or other where one of those old commenters (Jay Jerome, I believe, and I hope I don't rouse him from the dead by mentioning his name) was being very nasty. I said I had my path drawn through the woods to Canada.....which of course was more or less metaphorical. But I still do wonder sometimes.

Stay safe back atcha.

Oh, and besides thinking that all this "opening" is going to make the virus surge even worse than before, I think some states are going to lie about it. Too many people already believe a bunch of lies about it. So it's not like flooding the airwaves with nonsense is cost-free.

One would rationally think that Trump's incompetence in the face of a raging pandemic would bring the American people to its senses.

Nope.

They'll shoot you in the head for telling them they need to wear a mask.

Went to the dump today, it's kind of a weekly ritual. Do some pruning, mow the lawn, break down the cardboard boxes from whatever UPS or FedEx delivered this week. Go to the dump, stop at the community store on the way out to swap an empty propane tank for a new one.

Probably 1 out of 3 people at the dump, no mask. I have no freaking idea why not.

Some of these folks were actually wearing mask-like stuff - bandanas or similar, or even an actual mask - they just couldn't be bothered to use it to cover their faces. Bandana around the neck, or even a mask dangling from the ears, just not covering their face.

People's Republic of MA.

It's not about "coming to your senses", it's about giving a shit. People can't be bothered. Not until it bites them in their own personal ass.

They consider that to be freedom.

Once I get to this in the thread I stop reading.

Why bother.

"If you want any respect from me, you're gonna have to walk the hell away from the (R) party. They've sold their damned souls to the devil."

I can assure you I havent sold my soul to anyone.

Fuck him and the horse he rode in on.

russell, for shame! That horse has to qualify as a rescue animal.

Everyone and everything around Trump gets degraded. But the people made a choice; a horse wouldn't have that option. And it would get degraded anyway.

Marty, I'm sure you didn't sell it, I just think you gave it away.

One more hint: Things aren't always about you.

Some of these folks were actually wearing mask-like stuff - bandanas or similar, or even an actual mask - they just couldn't be bothered to use it to cover their faces. Bandana around the neck, or even a mask dangling from the ears, just not covering their face.

Trying to picture this, and explain it, because I also went out today with a mask available, but not always on.

I had to meet some people for about 3 minutes (outside), and wore my mask, but then stepped back several feet and lowered it, because no one can understand me if I speak through a mask, and I had to explain some things (in as short a time as possible before the meeting ended).

Were you seeing people outdoors with masks dangling? That's kind of what I do - I have the mask when I know I'm going to be close to people, but don't wear it constantly. It got to 90 degrees today in C'ville. I wear a mask when I'm going to be interacting with someone, unless I can step far enough away (outside) that a mask seems unnecessary. Indoors, I always wear a mask. Outdoors, having a mask dangling seems okay to me, if people wear it when they get close.

If that's not appropriate, let me know, because I might be doing it wrong.

Editing my previous comment to say that indoors, not in my home, I always wear a mask.

After giving them everything, thus enabling them to tilt the playing field even more in their favor, all they can now think of is getting out.

It's the kind of thinking you'd expect to encounter in 1791 Versailles or 1916 St. Petersburg.

It is a portender of social calamity.

Marty, I'm sure you didn't sell it, I just think you gave it away.

Tax cuts, deregulation, judges.

Enjoy it.

Were you seeing people outdoors with masks dangling?

Yes

Were you seeing people outdoors with masks dangling?

To expand:

Yes. Some far apart, some not.

all they can now think of is getting out.

Sayonara

Yes. Some far apart, some not.

I feel that we should agree on on a protocol for mask practices, and on acceptable behavior in general, because this is going to last for a long time. The safest thing to do is to stay at home. That can't last for much longer.

Let me describe my day:

I had to meet some people for a work project for 3 minutes outside today. I greeted them with a mask on, but told them that I had to step back at a greater distance, so that I could lower my mask because I had to give them some information, and they would need to be able to understand me. I did that. This happened outside. Meeting adjourned afterwards.

Later on: This was the first really hot day I went out in public. Because I had a zoom cocktail party, and there was something to celebrate, I picked up some hors d'oeuvres from a local restaurant (which was providing grab and go. Although our governor has allowed restaurants to serve outdoors, with social distancing as of yesterday, this restaurant and many other establishments are not doing that yet, which is fine - I wanted to grab and go.)

So I waited in my car until I was texted, then got out of my car senza mask because it was clear that I could be 15 feet away to tell the restaurant staff person that I was me. She put the stuff on a table, and I waved, said thank you, waited until she was far enough away, and grabbed my food. I delivered it to my friends' front doors. No mask.

This weekend would have been graduation weekend at UVA, but that was cancelled. However, my delivery journey took me into student housing neighborhoods where I saw subdued (but more than 10 people) celebrations happening. I saw two people on the sidewalk, without masks, one of whom was donning a mortar board, run to each other for a great big hug. I was driving, so not sure what the nature of the celebrations really were about.

On my zoom call, one of the participants reported that he went on a hike and a group of [Asian - just so we were all clear - he assumed Chinese] people, about 20 of them, approached him, where none were wearing masks. [Just so everyone knows, I am fully aware that most people who actually come from China wear masks as a matter of course when they're sick, so I was really uncomfortable with this depiction of events, and said so. Still frazzled.]

So this is my thing: I will wear a mask at a store, or other indoor environment that is not my home. I am not going to wear a mask outside unless I'm likely to be less than 6 feet away from someone. I'll have a mask dangling in case that comes about. I'll be angry at people who resist social distancing as a matter of politics.

I think people aren't really sure of the rules. I'm not saying this to be snide - Virginia is opening up (in a very conservative and reasonable way, IMO), and other states will do the same. We all need to figure out a way to behave. Also, let's dispense with the racial whatever. And not sure, if I'm out on a hike, what to think of people I encounter who don't have masks. It's really hot in Virginia, and it's less likely (I think?) that Covid is spread outdoors.

Just want to clarify that the racial description by my fellow zoom party-goer was really disconcerting. I don't even know what to say.

sapient - I have noticed, when I'm walking/hiking, that the mask can warm air enough to make breathing deeply more difficult. So I wouldn't wear a mask if engaged in vigorous physical activity - and therefore, would only engage in such activity if no one else is nearby.

On my hikes, I did, and saw many other people do, the same thing you mentioned: pull the mask off/down, and put it back on in a hurry if someone else comes near them.

On my hikes, I did, and saw many other people do, the same thing you mentioned: pull the mask off/down, and put it back on in a hurry if someone else comes near them.

Thanks. I hope this is enough!

Mask etiquette is going to be tough, not only because you have people who think it is an affront to their individuality (and often, sadly, their masculinity), but because there has not been time to have the etiquette socially evolve. I'm as baffled as anyone as to why Japan is doing so much better despite their really lackadasical approach.

But the mask advantage for Japan is pretty pronounced, in part because it has a long history.
https://www.japanesestudies.org.uk/ejcjs/vol14/iss2/horii.html

This is why simple invocations about West=individuality East=groupthink are so misleading.

So, in response to sapient, it's good to talk about what sort of rules to decide on, but it has to be integrated and tried out over the long haul to see what is practical and what is not.

btw, there are three ways to avoid glasses fogging up when you wear a mask. First is to wash your classes with soapy water and let them airdry rather than rinsing them off, this cuts down on the condensation. Alternatively, you can fold a tissue over the top of the mask, which absorbs the moisture. The third way is to wear the mask so that the upper edge is partly behind the bottom of the glasses. The first one is best, but I have a coating on my lenses, so I'm worried that doing that will degrade them. The other two alternatives, I find uncomfortable, so I usually just deal with foggy glasses.

The material in most masks stops viruses about as well as chain-link fences stop mosquitos. Mostly, a mask protects other people from the wearer. Of course, there's mutual protection if everyone is wearing one.

Outside, if there's a breeze and two people stand a few feet cross breeze from each other, there's about zero possibility of transmitting the virus from one to the other.

The material in most masks stops viruses about as well as chain-link fences stop mosquitos.

It's interesting that folks fixate on the virus stopping power of the mask. If it does work, it is because it prevents the aerosolization that carries the virus. I don't know if it works, but the incidences of spread at choir groups
https://edition.cnn.com/2020/05/13/us/coronavirus-washington-choir-outbreak-trnd/index.html

Japanese who teach various traditional arts to foreigners often comment on how foreigners have to ask questions about everything while Japanese just seem to get on with it. This leads to an unfortunate confusion of form and function, but in this case, it paid off.

The main reason given over here for not constantly taking the mask on and off (or adjusting it every few seconds) is that this usually means touching your face. One radical view is that the main purpose of the simple masks (i.e. those not certified to keep the virus particles from coming in) is to keep people from uncounsciously touching their face. So, this would mean that the mask is to keep your possibly virus-carrying hands apart from the main entry ways of the virus into your body.
Fortunately it's still cool enough around here not to sweat too much under the masks but I dread the coming summer. It will also be my first summer with a CPAP machine and I do not know, whether I'll be able to cope (the first tests were last summer and I had to take off the nose piece mid-night because subjectively it was filling with water).

From what I understand, good mask protocol:

* if you're indoors in a public space, wear a mask
* if you're outdoors in a public space and you're within about 10 feet of other people, wear a mask.

And yes, the rules generally say six feet, not ten. That assumes nobody coughs or sneezes, nobody is breathing heavily due to physical exertion, nobody is talking loudly or singing or having a belly laugh.

Wearing masks can be uncomfortable, can make it hard for some people to breathe, can make it hard to understand what people are saying.

The virus sucks. Everything single thing about the virus is, at a minimum, inconvenient.

We'll all get to the other side of this, eventually. In the meantime, please wear a mask.

Mostly, a mask protects other people from the wearer.

Yes, a simple cloth mask does more to protect other folks from the wearer than the other way around.

Which is a very good reason to wear one.

Our experience has been that a well-fitting metal bridge across the nose does a lot to help with fogging. Of the things we had around the house, a length of 18-gauge solid copper wire seems to do the best job. It's flexible enough that you can press down on it gently to fit it (each time you put the mask on if necessary) but stiff enough to hold that shape. Any air that's going to leak seems to leak from other places when the bridge is fitted.

Possibly worth noting that the N95 masks with a valve to make it easy to exhale greatly reduce the "protect other people from you" effect. The air (and aerosols) are not being filtered when they go through the valve instead of the mask material.

Air will leak around any mask that doesn't have a rubber seal all around the periphery. No matter what the filter material may be, it has to present some resistance to air flow. Any gap(s) around the edge(s) big enough to fit a soda straw through can be an easier flow path. That goes for inhaling as well as exhaling.

AFAIK, we're not worried about free-floating virus particles, but virus particles hitching a ride on moisture droplets -- like the ones that fog our glasses. To elaborate on CharlesWT's analogy where the filter fabric is a chain link fence and the viruses are mosquitoes, what we're trying to stop is snowballs that the mosquitoes are attached to. But I could be totally wrong about that.

Unless the viruses degrade when airborne as isolated particles, they can't just disappear. And I doubt they settle out of the air like snowflakes, or even dead mosquitoes. To virus-size objects, air is water and water is glue. Filter fabric is basically something for the glue to stick to.

FWIW, the cleanrooms I have known in the semiconductor, disk drive, and medical device worlds, all had downward, laminar airflow to drive airborne particles down to the floor as quickly as possible, and the floors were porous. It would be hard to ventilate supermarkets that way, of course.

Michael, I didn't know about N95 mask valves. Thanks!

--TP

Sharing the difficulties of not really recovering.

For the "I ain't gonna wear a mask, don't tread on me" crowd, the virus doesn't give a damn about your liberty. You'll be lucky, once you're done passing it around to each other (if only it were only to each other), if you don't lose your liberty in a different way for weeks, months, or years as you "recover."

Oh wait, I forgot, all those people in the article are just paid actors, lying to get their names in the paper.

I commented on the no-politics covid thread, but got too close to politics, so I'll finish my thought here.

I'm willing to live in partial isolation for a while longer. I'm an old person, so it's really easy for me. At some point, I want to know what the goal post is, and it can't be "a vaccine" because we don't know if that's possible.

We need to decide what the endgame looks like, otherwise people aren't going to stay the course. And, yes, for now it's easy to wear your mask when inside, or when you think you're going to be closer than 6 (or a few more) feet away from people outdoors. Everybody can be doing that for the coming weeks or maybe months. Years? Not sure about that.

sapient, this is not to attack you, but the language of 'deciding' an endgame is problematic to me. We have to 'develop' an endgame. One of the things about this pandemic is that we have lurched from idea to idea. Part of it is leadership of course, but part of it is a desire for quick fixes and panaceas. This is not to denigrate people working on these things, but I see that 'deciding' as being part of the problem.

The whole mask thing is, at least to me, indicative of this. There was a whole wave of people laughing off masks as meaningless (look at CharlesWT's comment for an example). Because that rhetoric, if it's not effective to protect me, why should I emasculate myself, things may be a lot worse than they might have been. I'm not really sure how to get from there to a point where we are thinking about others. The NYTimes Science writer David McNeill was interviewed by Christine Amanpour and he made what I thought was a telling point that I'll probably screw up in the retelling, but it was that the health system in the US is very good for treating the individual but it does very poorly in treating 'us'.

So on the smaller point, I don't know why people can't keep wearing masks for the next year or getting it to a point where it is like underwear. Sure, it is uncomfortable, but we wear a lot of uncomfortable things.

Not trying to pick a fight and I've got three classes today, so not sure how much I can respond, but just wanted to toss that out before I go to school. Stay safe.

We have to 'develop' an endgame.

I'll agree with that.

So on the smaller point, I don't know why people can't keep wearing masks for the next year or getting it to a point where it is like underwear. Sure, it is uncomfortable, but we wear a lot of uncomfortable things.

Maybe. But it needs to be towards something. I think of myself in periods of my life when I wanted to have non-socially distant relationships with people. I wanted to look nice, and smile at people, and have a physical presence. It's unrealistic to expect people to stop having physical contact, or whispering, or do other things that people do. Constant masks are fine for awhile, but, yes, we have to develop an endgame.

There isn't a place in the world that isn't struggling with this. Close proximity with others is a human need. I'm fine with putting a stop to it for awhile, but not for some never-ending Friedman unit.

Northam, the Virginia governor, has set some reasonable guidelines for a conservative first step. People in my social circle are embracing that in a cautious way, maybe not immediately going to the hair dresser. Maybe having a socially distant party in their large backyard. Maybe having a drink on the terrace at an outdoor restaurant space.

If there's no vaccine, we need to realize that we're all going to get sick, but we have to do it slowly and with the hope that hospitals will have room for us, if necessary, and will be learning what to do with us in worst cases. I think that's better than changing our entire culture forever. But I'm totally interested whether other people think otherwise. (We, here, tend towards introversion. If we needed a lot of direct human contact, we would have been out in some bar or Elk's Club or whatever. I believe that we're temperamentally more suited to this world. generally speaking.)

look at CharlesWT's comment for an example

Masks are certainly better than nothing. What I object to is people who put their magic mask on and then crowd me in public places. Wear a mask. But behave as though it doesn't make a difference.

At some point, I want to know what the goal post is, and it can't be "a vaccine" because we don't know if that's possible.

We need to decide what the endgame looks like

I think we all want to know what the goal post is, and what the endgame looks like. And, nobody knows what the goal post is, or what the endgame looks like.

The virus is... a virus. It's not biddable. Our decisions are not binding on it.

Our choices are going to be based on some kind of calculus involving how dangerous the virus is, how communicable it is, what the vectors of transmission are, what costs we are willing to pay, and in what form.

We don't really know how dangerous the virus is at this point. Only old people die, except some young people have strokes and drop dead in an instant. It brings on pneumonia and the best treatment is intubation, except it's nothing like pneumonia and intubation is a really bad idea. Kids never get it and can't transmit it, except some kids have died from it. If you survive it, you're immune, except maybe you aren't. If the respiratory thing doesn't kill you you'll be OK, unless you have life-long damage to other organs or bodily symptoms.

That seems to be the state of the art of our understanding of COVID at the moment. That's mine, at least. But I'm not an expert.

Our understanding of how communicable it is ranges from an R0 of about 2.5, up to somewhere north of 5. Which is a very, very, very broad range. Our understanding of the vectors of transmission seem pretty good, though. As far as we know.

There is virtually no consensus about what cost we are willing to pay, or in what form.

It seems like COVID has been with us forever, but it's actually only been a few months. We just don't know a lot. Over time, we'll know more, and our decisions will be better informed.

Posted this on the other thread. It may be of interest in terms of understanding what a path forward might look like.

In the United States, our ability to address COVID is hampered by a profound distrust of government and expert knowledge, and a deep belief that we all are entitled, by right, to do what we want.

The distrust in expert knowledge is problematic because expertise - genuine honest-to-got specialist domain knowledge - is needed to understand what will and will not be an effective response.

Distrust in government and the general sense that nobody is the boss of us is problematic because consistent compliance with public health protocols are probably going to be necessary to make headway.

Absent those things, we're going to bounce back and forth between lockdown restrictions that restrict the actions of healthy people along with not-healthy people, and relaxation of those restrictions, with the tempo of that oscillation being driven by... people getting sick and dying.

Every protocol I'm aware of that enables a return to, not the status quo ante necessarily, but a stable and sustainable "new normal", involves testing at levels much greater than what we have at present, contact tracing to let public health actors understand who is realistically at risk, and then quarantine for folks who are at risk.

If you can identify and isolate people who are at risk, people who are not at risk can carry on relatively freely, without undue risk of illness and loss of life.

If you can't do those two things, your choices are the kind of universal lockdown protocols we have now, or increased rates of illness and death.

Basically three choices, we get to pick which we prefer. Or, just default to whatever happens, happens.

I think we all want to know what the goal post is, and what the endgame looks like. And, nobody knows what the goal post is, or what the endgame looks like.

The virus is... a virus. It's not biddable. Our decisions are not binding on it.

I agree with a lot of what you said in your 9:29, but we do decide what risks we will take, just as we decide that with other hazards. I want to emphasize that I'm not a person who is in favor of going to a public space without a mask and touching strangers.

We need to make it possible [at least for awhile, and we need to figure out what that is] for anyone who is afraid to go to work to be able to stay home and not become homeless and/or starve. I'm way more worried about that than about seeing someone with a mask dangling who should instead have it on.

At some point, I want to know what the goal post is, and it can't be "a vaccine" because we don't know if that's possible.

We need to decide what the endgame looks like.

I'd say the endgame is known already. But unacknowledged.

Unless a vaccine turns up, and it may well not:

  • Eventually, pretty much everybody gets the virus.
  • If we've "flattened the curve" enough, those who get hit hardest find medical facilities available to treat them. Treatment being nothing more than support while their bodies fight thru it. Or not -- people still die.
  • If we haven't, lots more people die for lack of capacity in our health care system.
The critical point: the end comes when we've all gotten sick and recovered. Whatever steps you are taking now have one, and only one, goal: to put off getting sick until there are medical facilities available if you need them.

What I object to is people who put their magic mask on and then crowd me in public places.

So explaining that a mask is like a chain link fence that does nothing to stop viruses accomplishes what? Like a lot of those Reason articles you quote,I feel like there is an 'I'm smarter than everyone else' vibe. Maybe you are, but unfortunately, dumb people with the virus can still get you sick, no matter how smart you are.

Responding to wj, from the other thread, because my comment there was veering into politics, and I cut some of it out, and am pasting it here.

Our parents did lay an educational foundation for us. It wasn't perfect, but our universities have been the envy of the world. Although our public school systems are mixed, our parents' generation gave them potential. To the extent that they've failed, we've been the culprits. Not to say that our parents were perfect: they weren't savvy to the environment, for sure. And education isn't everything: there are a lot of well-educated, wealthy, privileged people who are ruining the world right now. It's easy to point fingers at the crowds of people who are gullible and clueless, but there's money behind that, and the people who have sponsored the hate movement know what they're doing, and have ticked off all the boxes.

I don't want to give up hope (although I've fallen into despair at times, as everyone here has witnessed). In the past, events have turned on a dime, and we need to make that happen now, at the same time building a foundation to do better in the long run. Not sure how to lead the unwilling horse to drink though.

The critical point: the end comes when we've all gotten sick and recovered.

The problem with this is we do not, in fact, KNOW this.

There's the rub.

Our parents did lay an educational foundation for us. It wasn't perfect, but our universities have been the envy of the world.

Indeed they have been. And are. But while they are awesome at teaching things (and researching to find out new stuff), they do less well at imparting why those things are important. Perhaps because, to those involved, it seemed self-evident -- but clearly it wasn't.

And perhaps more critically, the time to teach why science is important and why international institutions are needed isn't university. It's more like grammar school, high school at the latest. Because we need to have the whole population understand if we are to avoid (next time) losing critical memories of the polity entire.

The problem with this is we do not, in fact, KNOW this.

That's the only end point I can see. But I'm quite willing to consider alternative suggestions. What possible end point would you propose? And what assumptions are required for it?

we do decide what risks we will take, just as we decide that with other hazards.

Yes, I understand. I guess my point is that we don't know enough about the virus at this point to make well-informed choices about the risks. It's therefore hard to predict what goalposts and endpoints look like.

That's the only end point I can see.

Based on my newly acquired status of armchair epidemiologist, I think it's possible to imagine an end point where every single person isn't required to get COVID. Kindly note the caveats.

As I understand it, once we reach the magical land of herd immunity, the virus will more or less fizzle out. Or, at least become manageable without extraordinary measures.

Again, as I understand it, herd immunity is defined as a certain percentage of the population being immune, either through vaccination or having survived the virus or simply some as-yet-undiscovered natural immunity in some parts of the population. And, that percentage is a function of the R0 value.

Maths here.

If COVID's R0 is around 2.5, herd immunity should be around 60% of the population.

If COVID's R0 is something like 5, herd immunity will be somewhere around 80%.

Among other things, we need to discover an accurate estimate of COVID's R0.

The economy in Europe may get hit less hard than in the US but some double plus ungood political tendencies got quite some boost. Those trying to undermine the European project have a field day and even actions that are at a closer look actually pro-Europe and pro-democracy (the decision by the German high court to declare the European high court's decision on Euro (corona) bonds in violation of the constitution because it violates the system of checks and balances in their view) are used by other actors as a validation of their own anti-democratic and anti-European policies (Poland and Hungary to name the two most prominent cases).
In Germany the trust in our government has significantly increased since the beginning of the crisis and that despite increasing weariness of the imposed restrictions. We may hate them but apart from a vocal minority we still have the impression that they are useful and that the government is acting in good faith and with basic competence.
Looking from afar to the US my prediction is that this crisis will have effects similar to the big financial crisis under the lesser Bush: mega corporations will massively profit and increase in size by gobbling up bankrupt rivals, and they have the unconditional support from one party and far too much still from the other. That will not change even if there is a landslide in November (which I do not believe).
One would wish that the display of callousness* and incompetence would doom GOPism for generations to come but it will most likely not (or even do the opposite).
I see this whole crisis as a major setback with the medical part maybe not even the largest.

*and outright malice in many cases

The economy in Europe may get hit less hard than in the US

Along the lines of losing one limb rather than two ?

Is there a reason why we should expect herd immunity to stop Covid-19 any more than it stops flu or the common cold?

Herd immunity works fine on flu virus, particularly when people get that immunity via vaccination.

Too, too, many cold viruses to get immunity to all (or most), and not clear that the immunity lasts for more than a year or two.

Worst? Dengue-like: several major variants, and having 'immunity' to one variant (catch+recover or vaccination) makes your response to another variant MUCH worse. (That might include a bad reaction for 'immune from variant A, so vaccine for variant B kills you'; that's where my super-shallow knowledge of the subject hits bottom)

Silver linings: humanity is going to learn MUCH more about viruses. Painfully.

“You watch, they’ll milk it every single day between now and November 3," the younger Trump said. "And guess what, after November 3, coronavirus will magically, all of a sudden, go away and disappear and everybody will be able to reopen.”

Eric Trump, sounding just like his father.

apologists, to your stations!

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