Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 27, 2020

Open Thread 2020-24

The post I worked on today didn't pan out.

Please use yesterday's thread for further discussion of the pandemic.

Other stuff can go here ...

Posted by b on March 27, 2020 at 18:16 UTC | Permalink

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What is going between Saudi Arabia and Russia? it isn't that I mind much about their oil war since gas got cheaper but I would very much like to have some update and foresight on the way it will end up ?
Do you think the military industrial complex and the imperialist in the us are behind that or is it just the Saudi Arabia prince's ego on full display? Saudi Arabia reserve currency isn't as hot as 10 years ago and Russia doesn't look like they are going to back down any time soon. Could it lead Saudi Arabia to its knee or fall even ?
I know the dollar is backed up in part by Saudi Arabia oil reserve but it doesn't seem like Saudi Arabia can pump oil for ever at such a cheap price and massive production. Beside the huge crisis of the real economy driven mostly by the unsustainable speculative financial market and offshoring (china,Mexico,Vietnam, bengladesh..) the lost in purchase power and reserve currency status of the dollar due to Saudi Arabia running out of oil might be the end of all for the us economies and a huge hit for many other connected to it.What happen if the start losing his value. I know the us military power plays a huge role in keeping the dollar afloat with sheer power but were a crash to happen will it be enough to sustain the dollar? With the coronavirus almost bringing the real economy to a halt and threatening the financial market a oil war between Saudi Arabia and Russia may not be a good sign for the US empire.
Honestly if Russia comes on top after this war its influence in the middle east region may increase and fulfilled this once Russian dream of controlling the Dardanelle strait and the east Mediterranean sea.We all know how it ended up with the first world war and the Russian revolution shortly afterward..
Your thought people ?

Posted by: lebretteurfredonnant | Mar 28 2020 5:42 utc | 101

Lozion 59

Also this.

The Pentagon has ordered military commanders to plan for an escalation of American combat resources in Iraq, The New York Times reported on Friday, citing unnamed officials claiming to be familiar with the directive.

According to the report, last week, the US Department of Defence issued a secretive directive to "prepare a campaign to destroy an Iranian-backed militia group that has threatened more attacks against American troops".
Kataib Hezbollah and "Iranian paramilitary forces - members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps" are named possible targets of planned escalation.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 28 2020 5:42 utc | 102

Boris is preparing his nation for herd immunity. He just tested positive for Covid, as reported by the WSJ.

Posted by: occupatio | Mar 28 2020 5:48 utc | 103

Near Barbarian #97

After Sanders formally confirms his endorsement of his Good Friend Joe and zealously campaigns for Biden or whomever the DNC appoints as the VP’s replacement, I hope that some disgruntled Sanders staffers/surrogates spill the beans on what happened between Gabbard and Sanders. Gabbard will likely keep her word, as she’s wont to do, and keep her and her people’s lips sealed.

I suspect, too, that Gabbard will come out of all this looking prescient and more respectable than her political peers and detractors—like she has so many times in the last four years.

After this report by Tara Reade there will be grim reaping doing the rounds.

Biden is a dead man slurring and staggering.

Bernie Sanders will be eating crow about his 'good friend Joe' and Tulsi will be spitting turds out of her mouth or politely eating them.

This will escalate beyond the control of the machinery team at the DNC.

And to top it off there is this.

Enter Cuomo from stage right.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Mar 28 2020 6:11 utc | 104

ADKC @99

That’s part of the problem: it’s hard to say she was definitively wrong (or right) because what she did is so out of character, even granting she’s a mainstream politician in the One Fraternity With Two Chapters.

With Warren, for example, it really wasn’t a shock that she stabbed Sanders in the back—again. Or with Buttigieg the climber, who claims Sanders to be the man who inspired his political career.

The Gabbard thing just didn’t and doesn’t make clear sense according to the conventional (reactionary) wisdom or practical reason.

The rewards for a supposed “betrayal” or “sellout” are far from evident, especially when compared to the ones earned by Warren, Buttigieg, and, yes, Sanders (speaking as a Bernie 2016 supporter). Putting aside appeals to 4D chess, which I treat with skepticism, the payoff in her case is merely a bare minimum of political survival. But wow, what a price to pay—for four years—for so little.

I did sense in her announcement a bit of the middle finger being throw, at least to those who slimed her relentlessly for anything she said or did. And I suspect she was sending a message to the DNC, that they’re not going to be rid of her so easily.

Still, though, if even that was what she was doing, it raises A LOT more questions than it answers.

Maybe she’s Iago incarnate. And maybe I and her other supporters are as irrelevant and misguided as practically everyone has claimed.

But it’s all still MAYBE until what actually happened is brought to light.

In any case, I’ve given left-leaning Democrats and their crackpot realism, passed off as Realpolitik, too much of a benefit of the doubt. 2016-2020 has cured me once and for all of that bad habit.

Posted by: Near Barbarian | Mar 28 2020 6:13 utc | 105

uncle tungsten @104

I can’t rightly disagree with much of what you said.

Posted by: Near Barbarian | Mar 28 2020 6:17 utc | 106

Near Barbarian @ 97

As you said, so much is out of character and the rewards of supporting Biden are dwarfed by the obvious negatives. As opposed to others, I'll wait to hear what the characters involved say and see how this plays out before coming to my own decision. Tulsi is not running for re-election and Biden seem even more critically wounded by the latest abuse charges (surprise surprise). Very very unclear what is going on.

Posted by: sad canuck | Mar 28 2020 8:18 utc | 107

adkc @95.....Hi buddy

written any good songs or poetry lately.any Nobel prize stuff?.

Posted by: mcohen | Mar 28 2020 8:30 utc | 108

Karlof1 and ADKC in the 60s

Yes, the only solution is deglobalization, starting with the MbSing of the corporate and financial oligarchs. They have been MbSing the rest of us for far too long through their "bailouts", and systematic destruction of of our nations and societies.

Any private corporation or institution that is to big to fail, is to big to be in private hands and needs to be nationalized and localized. The people through their governments (national, regional and local) should be in control of health care (including big pharma), education, energy, banking, and all other entities formerly known as public utilities. Most of these should produce products and services at cost, or even at a loss for the benefit of society.

In addition their needs to be a free transfer of technology among societies. Patent regimes need to be revised. Patents on life forms need to be banned as was the case up until 35 years ago. They should also be severely restricted in terms of time. Corporate control of university research needs to be ended, It is purely profit based for the benefit of those corporations and not for society. Any research that might threaten their profits is censored, and researchers required to sign non-disclosure agreements.

The world needs to change its approach, but the way Davos or the G-20 "leaders" would like it to change. They are really interested in more of the same, turbocharging austerity for and surveillance on the rest of us. This has to end.

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | Mar 28 2020 8:45 utc | 109

Karlof1 and ADKC in the 60s

Yes, the only solution is deglobalization, starting with the MbSing of the corporate and financial oligarchs. They have been MbSing the rest of us for far too long through their "bailouts", and systematic destruction of of our nations and societies.

Any private corporation or institution that is to big to fail, is to big to be in private hands and needs to be nationalized and localized. The people through their governments (national, regional and local) should be in control of health care (including big pharma), education, energy, banking, and all other entities formerly known as public utilities. Most of these should produce products and services at cost, or even at a loss for the benefit of society.

In addition their needs to be a free transfer of technology among societies. Patent regimes need to be revised. Patents on life forms need to be banned as was the case up until 35 years ago. They should also be severely restricted in terms of time. Corporate control of university research needs to be ended, It is purely profit based for the benefit of those corporations and not for society. Any research that might threaten their profits is censored, and researchers required to sign non-disclosure agreements.

The world needs to change its approach, but the way Davos or the G-20 "leaders" would like it to change. They are really interested in more of the same, turbocharging austerity for and surveillance on the rest of us. This has to end!

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | Mar 28 2020 8:46 utc | 110

Look at the crap the yanks are putting out now.

Alleged Maduro accomplice surrenders to U.S. agents, will help prosecution: sources
CARACAS/BOGOTA (Reuters) - U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency agents on Friday remanded in custody retired Venezuelan general Cliver Alcala, three people familiar with the matter said, after he agreed to work with prosecutors who charged him, President Nicolas Maduro and other top officials with drug trafficking.

Alcala surrendered to DEA agents in Colombia and waived his right to challenge extradition, the three people told Reuters. He was flown to White Plains, New York from the port city of Barranquilla, where he had been living.

Apart from this clown being in Columbia, the yanks are calling Venezuela officials or ex officials Maduro's accomplices. It would be nice to see the US become a sheet of glass.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 28 2020 8:56 utc | 111

@80 Tonymike

Any 5th column needs to blend in with the host population.

Posted by: TJ | Mar 28 2020 9:19 utc | 112

For all the people going on about Boris Johnson getting the coronavirus, he's supposed to have a mild case, but when you actually look at the video where he tells us about it, he actually looks quite sick, when compared with other videos from people who've got it.

I'm crossing my fingers for him being the first head of government fatality. Although he looks like a buffoon, he has a very nasty, vindictive, personality. He conspired with a friend to have a journalist beaten up.

Posted by: Laguerre | Mar 28 2020 9:48 utc | 113

Peter AU1 #110

It would be nice to see the US become a sheet of glass.

Well there are some mighty good and peaceloving people there and while I share your rage at the machine, the people who strive for change don't need glazing to add to their despair and efforts.

What is now going on by Trump and his deep state thugs is the desperation and vicious striking out at their objects of hatred. They perhaps can smell the disaster that is about to engulf them, the backlash from the survivors as they don't even get to have a decent funeral for the hundreds of thousands of corpses that will soon need to be incinerated by the US Army or its National Guard.

The USA deep state and its tools and fools are ideologically rigid and morally bankrupt. They have no workable response to the exploding COVID-19 and they know it. They need a national public medical response and that is anathema. They are possessed by the oligarchs in the machine control room who will never let them go and who have just grasped their biggest heist ever.

They can smell their own miserable deserved doom and so they will commit extreme crimes to get their enemies ASAP. Prepare for the debacle of our times.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Mar 28 2020 9:57 utc | 114

Near Barbarian #105

it’s hard to say she was definitively wrong (or right) because what she did is so out of character, even granting she’s a mainstream politician

Thanks for that long analysis. I call her decision wrong because it abuses her hundreds of thousands of followers who believed in her message of ending regime change wars. I have walked in her path all my life and led many thousands of people in public elected office and would never betray them and their political investment as the goal is bigger than the self.

I believe she did not have to make her endorsement for the war monger. She should have made her philosophy and promise real and tangible by refusing to back the dotard, war mongering, carpetbagging fraud that is Biden.

Her donors and followers and their integrity would have been reinforced a thousand times.

But she shit on them and gutted their emotional and intellectual and aspirational trust in her. Sabotage.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Mar 28 2020 10:14 utc | 115

uncle tungsten @ 113

The good thing about the US is that they are armed to the teeth.

How long is it going to be before a somewhat unstable & very hungry gun owner decides to go hunting in The Hamptons or
the Hollywood Hills?

Posted by: ted01 | Mar 28 2020 10:15 utc | 116

ted01 #115

I am sure that the armed citizenry will take the odd pot shot. But read Howard Zinn and see what the USA National Guard does to rebellious citizens - machine guns at close quarters.

Nowadays they have small drones with Utzis mounted on them to pursue by face recognition those they seek to kill.

Better get some drone disablers fast and few Trump face masks.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Mar 28 2020 10:29 utc | 117

"On Sunday, March 22, Russia’s Defence Ministry sent more than fifteen Ilyushin heavy transport planes to Rome with medical aid to Italy, setting up a special medical headquarters at Bergamo, in the Lombady region of northern Italy. This is the largest Russian aid operation in Europe since World War II.

To avoid US intervention to stop it, the air convoy flew across Turkish and Greek airspace, avoiding Ukraine and Poland. As military secrets go, the operational plan devised by Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and his Italian counterpart, Lorenzo Guerini, was a near-perfect success."

Read on at John Helmer's excellent site...

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Mar 28 2020 10:34 utc | 118

uncle tungsten 113

A good deal of the population vote for the duopoly and will continue to do so.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 28 2020 10:38 utc | 119

Bellingcat exposed screwing the pooch.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Mar 28 2020 10:56 utc | 120

I said this before on March 1 here:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ //
Coronavirus - Its Time To Press Your Government To React Faster

If you and I get together and plot to rob a bank, and 'they' find out, we go straight to jail for 'conspiracy crimes'. But the powerful eleets are always cautioning us that we must NEVER imagine that 'they' (the powerful eleets) would do anything to violate our 'rights'.

The little people may have 'conspiracy theories' about the eleets. But the eleets are constantly on the lookout for 'conspiracy crimes' perpetrated by the peasants.

So now, going forward, we are sure to hear a lot of cautions from the mass media (TV, academe, and so on) about 'conspiracy theories', which of course are MUCH more sinister that the virus itself. That bullmanure is already being being laid on. Surely those nice, genteel eleets would never do anything to harm us. Would they?
// ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

What we have here is one hell of a fine crop of green Conspiracy shoots coming right up at us!

There is the insane Joe Biden Conspiracy:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ //
Tucker Carlson: Biden insiders say he won’t make it to Election Day

"Two competing imperatives: We've got to win, but we've got a guy who can't win. Therefore, they're going to replace him," Carlson continued. "He's not going to make it, and the people around him know that. Trust me, I know them. And I know they know it, because they've said it to me."

Carlson went on to estimate that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is "most likely" to replace Biden for the Democratic nomination.
// ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Then as I said in the previous Virus thread (the Virus cannot be quarantined out from this thread):
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ //
Paul Craig Roberts -- Coronavirus Profiteers Are Worse Than War Profiteers -- 3/27/20

"France is being intentionally destroyed. Are pharmaceutical companies mass murderers?

Is the same thing happening in the United States?"
// ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If you have the slightest Conspiratorial mind, how the hell can you ignore THIS???


Posted by: blues | Mar 28 2020 10:56 utc | 121

Peter AU1 #118

Thank you, that is the sad truth of it all. However on the bright side there will be less of them soon.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Mar 28 2020 10:59 utc | 122

blues #120

Ranked choice voting is a good thing if done right. In the USA they will be CERTAIN to do it wrong as both parties of the right will want to be able to rig the outcome. So don't harangue the rest of the world with that particular problem in the same way the USA harangues and sanctions the rest of the world.

In the corrupt election machinery of the USA, any ballot system is certain to be rigged. Sad.

Tucker Carlson is right but so is blind Freddy, Biden is dead meat and the jackals can smell him.

I give him no more than ten days and either way I will shout the bar a case of Patron Tequila and we can celebrate the demise of a true blood scumbag carpetbagger.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Mar 28 2020 11:09 utc | 123

uncle tungsten @116

The Ludlow Massacre - very interesting. It's good to learn at least one new thing a day.

The Rockefellers are still with us & the 'State Militia of Colorado' becomes the Colorado National Guard.
All primed for a repeat performance.

From the History of the CONG (Official DOD website)

"After Colorado became a state in 1876, the Colorado State Militia was activated dozens of times for the protection of public rights, safety, and property during the miner strikes between 1889 and 1922."

What a fine altruistic organization.

Posted by: ted01 | Mar 28 2020 11:16 utc | 124

=/ Ranked choice voting is a good thing if done right. In the USA they will be CERTAIN to do it wrong as both parties of the right will want to be able to rig the outcome. So don't harangue the rest of the world with that particular problem in the same way the USA harangues and sanctions the rest of the world.

In the corrupt election machinery of the USA, any ballot system is certain to be rigged. Sad. /=

Too bad that really brilliant people totally fail to catch this giant fraud.

Ranked choice voting is totally fraudulent for the same reason that computer voting is fraudulent. THE ELECTION MANAGERS ARE PERMITTED TO 'EDIT' THE BALLOTS!!! What could be more insecure than that???

You think they won't cheat to gain power? I have a real nice bridge to sell you.

Posted by: blues | Mar 28 2020 11:23 utc | 125

bevin @ 58

thanks for those links.

Struggle is unavoidable. The question is who will organise it and how


Posted by: john | Mar 28 2020 12:01 utc | 126

#32 - You would expect someone suffering from the Black Death of 2020 to hand over office to a deputy, not self-isolate but remain in charge. Basically he is acting like this is essentially just a higher-intensity bout of common cold, which perhaps it is.
In the past week or so there have been sporadic indications of an attempt to walk back somewhat from the apocalyptic stuff. This is one of them.

Posted by: Waldorf | Mar 28 2020 12:32 utc | 127

to ADKC Saint Joan wasn't so pure herself. She made that Gracias a la Vida album without giving any credit to
Violetta Parra, the author of that and many other songs.

Posted by: Miss Lacy | Mar 28 2020 13:13 utc | 128

I'm going to write this here and maybe then copy it to the Coronavirus thread, cause it's political and it's existential in nature.

This pandemic is demonstrating that few if any countries (societies), even the ones with a socialist healthcare system are placing the (financial/moral) emphasis that should be placed on healthcare. In a way, I hope this pandemic is a beating, a shellacking, because, we are living in the most shallow, materialistic, greed-driven, indecent time ever in the history of mankind.

Everyone, except people really suffering, really sick and poor have been living like there's no tomorrow and they're invincible and especially in the U.S. and Europe, and some areas of the MidEast; Israel worst of all. The rampant selfish delusion and apathy is unsustainable.

If people don't use this moment as a guide to prioritize what really matters: putting important resources into healthcare, moving away from fossil fuels and caring for the future of the planet and the lesser of its people, then this will be the watershed moment when the western world could and should have changed its ways and didn't and the imminent, real countdown to extinction begins.

Don't follow the flash in the pan; the polish, the never-attainable image of perfection. This is why I am with the rudimentary Sanders whose priorities are well placed if not yet perfect, and who imperfectly delivers the right message without the frills. Don't push him to have to cow to the Establishment with your stupid purity test!

We must make healthcare, climate change and the plight of the vulnerable who struggle to survive in the midst of so much greed, materialism and hubris, the burning priorities, right now! Times up.

Or we are doomed from this moment with this moral decay. Trump and Biden will take us to successive disasters and we will not be equipped to handle what's coming physically, economically and spiritually.

This is the moment when we decide what really matters as a species: our true purpose and humanity or imminent self-destruction through depraved excess and apathy.

Sanders is the imperfect but essential vehicle of this critical message. Either you are for destruction for whatever bias or stupidity drives you or you are for what is RIGHT. There is no other path at this point and to imagine there is, to cynically profess there is with destruction staring us down, borders on wilfully CRIMINAL and selfishly PSYCHOTIC. Such is the degree of negligent behaviour and irresponsibility at this time. And don't make high and mighty hesitation a pseudo-intellectual exercise in complicity!

No, it's not hyperbole on my part! Look around you, lazy morons with mule blinders on!

Posted by: Circe | Mar 28 2020 13:41 utc | 129

Circe @128: ... it's not hyperbole on my part!

No, it's misdirection.

The real political issue for Bernie supporters right now is this: will he fight to continue the debates? Or will he roll-over like a good-boy?


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 28 2020 14:09 utc | 130

Please,B, tell us with some indication whether it's true or not that the US of A are putting indecent pressures on countries all over.. to reject the Cuban doctors and medics bound to mitigate this virus crisis.
Because the worldwide watched scene of the 250+ cuban white jackets, vastly applauded by the Italians in the Milano airport was
way too much for the empire...
I figure the proportions of this demoralizing moral defeat and this planet wide communicational defeat for them can hardly be exaggerated.

Posted by: augusto | Mar 28 2020 14:25 utc | 131

@26 vk Bezos is on a Pentagon intelligence board. He also owns WaPo which (along with NYT) is the CIA's main propaganda outlet.

Posted by: Noah Way | Mar 28 2020 14:49 utc | 133

Chris Hedges goes to School with the Elites... Might explain (a little) what we are dealing with...

Chris Hedges Fearlessly Tells His Own ‘Forbidden’ Stories -- "Where were you sent to school?..." (2016)

Posted by: Jayne | Mar 28 2020 14:51 utc | 134

During supper, I watched the local news dominated by the Trump press conference. Then came the nightly news a healthy bit of alarmism tinged with some touching feel-good acts and a play on patriotism. (ABC + NBC) After that, the local ABC affiliate went to their coronavirus Q&A which they now do every night. I wanted some local news so I went to the NBC affiliate.
There was a story about trying to get Americans returned to this country. One guy is in Kenya helping out there when this hit. So the video has scenes of the guy playing with Kenyan children but then there's a pickup truck full of guys in hazmat gear AND white hard hats with the Syrian Civil Defense/White Helmet logo.
The video continued with a State Department spokeswoman saying stuff.

White Helmets trying to stay relevant in the one last area dominated by the terrorist group HTS by wearing hazmat suits and spraying disinfectant around.
State Department/NBC sneaking in video of them amid a story about Americans outside the US trying to return.
(but par for the course)

A search turned up two propaganda sites and a rebuttal by Vanessa Beeley (a voice of common sense).

Posted by: Curtis | Mar 28 2020 14:59 utc | 135

PeterAU1 Uncle tungsten
I've started reading Attention Deficit Democracy recently. Written in 2005, it is dated but it makes great points about misinformed/uninformed Americans voting for people who lie to them.

Posted by: Curtis | Mar 28 2020 15:07 utc | 136

Miss Lacy @128

My only real point about Joan Baez is that (unlike Bob Dylan) she was really involved in the anti-Viet Nam war movement and that her excellent song, Diamonds and Rust, is very revealing about the shallowness of Bob Dylan.

I can find nothing about the theft of royalties from Violet Parra's estate but....

Regarding the album "Gracias a la vida"; Baez originally claimed arrangement for traditional songs (which is ok) but also claimed arrangement for those songs where the composer had died but copyright had not expired (which is not okay) - but not where the composer was living.

The covers of these songs performed by Baez were not really significant enough to be called an arrangement. You can only claim arrangement if the existing copyright holder agrees (and it is just not plausible that an existing copyright holder would concede this; they never do) or the song is out of copyright (70 years after author's death).

So, the only possible conclusion is that Baez did attempt the theft of royalties from songs on the album "Gracias a la vida" and this included works by Violetta Parra (d. 1967), Vicor Jarra (d. 1973) and Rolanda Alarcon (d. 1973). Given that the album was sold as a "message of hope to the Chileans suffering under Augusto Pinochet" than it seems very cynical of Baez.

You appear to be right, thanks for your post!

Posted by: ADKC | Mar 28 2020 15:34 utc | 137

" ...gulp!"
At risk of being mistaken for a sociologist, allow me to suggest that one of the unusual aspects of this crisis is that it is hitting-in our western societies- the small businessmen hardest.
Restaurants and shops, all based on business models established in the past, all capitalised largely by personal debt, many of them encumbered by franchise commitments, are failing everywhere. There is no cash flow and they depend on constant cash flow.

The sociology is here: the small business class draws heavily on the most energetic and adventurous members of the working class- indeed many old radicals, disillusioned by the conservatism of their peers, are to be found, ruthlessly, engaging in the primitive accumulation of capitals- wagering the family home and anything else which will pass- and almost anything will among moneylenders- as colateral.
A lot of these people are going broke. It might be that they will translate their anger and disillusion with the capitalist system into opposition.
One of the perverse consequences of a Depression is to make those whose jobs are saved more comfortable- in particular government jobs become very desirable: prices are falling, cash is at a premium, those with security become an elite. And everywhere there are bargains to be had...
Long touted, by the neo-liberal ideologues as the real heroes in the constant dog eat dog struggle, the small businessman is often the most reliable ally of the rich, whose position he envies and whose power intimidates him. Fascists are often recruited from his ranks. But his loyalty to the system will last only as long as he feels that the system is open to his advance, his future success, his ability to 'found' a dynasty by passing capital down to his descendants. And all this is suddenly doubtful. The system is working not for but against him.

Posted by: bevin | Mar 28 2020 15:35 utc | 138

@ TJ 111
Yes, it is an old trick that they have been doing for centuries. Appear to assimilate and then destroy the host from the inside.

@95 mcohen
The chosenites only support their own and zimmerman's action are pretty common.

Posted by: Tonymike | Mar 28 2020 15:36 utc | 139

errata to @137

Vicor Jarra s/b Victor Jara

Posted by: ADKC | Mar 28 2020 15:37 utc | 140

bevin @ 138

well, there's no doubt that this deliberate or not culling of the workforce will lead to more divisiveness, I mean, 50% unemployment will present the elite with a formidable antagonist, but can they get organized before they get hungry?

Posted by: john | Mar 28 2020 16:24 utc | 141

Tonymike @80:

Not Zimmermann (German) but Zimmerman (Yiddish, or possibly American orthographic incompetence).

Posted by: corvo | Mar 28 2020 16:57 utc | 142

mcohen @108:

"written any good songs or poetry lately.any Nobel prize stuff?."

"Bob Dylan" hasn't either, so what's your point?

Posted by: corvo | Mar 28 2020 17:04 utc | 143

@lebretteurfredonnant #101
There is a lot of noise in this area.
What seems most credible: MBS is worried that Trump may not win re-election in November 2020 due to coronavirus. At this point, Trump is pretty much the only major public supporter MBS has, due to Khashoggi.
The day before the OPEC+ meeting at which Russia declined to join in another proposed production cut, MBS had his 2 closest rivals arrested.
As for the oil gush war which MBS initiated: I've built a simple model looking at the sovereign wealth funds for both Russia and Saudi Arabia, as well as projections based on public statements by both Putin and Saudi Arabia concerning the impact of oil prices on their nation's respective budgets.
Basically, if oil stays above $30/barrel, Saudi Arabia will run out of money before Russia. At $20-25, Russia will run out first (barely).
Net net, both nations' budgets (and the rest of OPEC, don't forget) are a disaster zone at present oil prices.
However, the reason Russia declined to cut production was because of the US oil fracking industry: Russia feels that it cutting oil is literally subsidizing the US oil frackers, and the internal Russian oil companies/oligarchs don't like that at all.
Note also that Saudi Arabia tried to take down the US oil frackers in 2014 - oil dropped into the 30s then - but this effort failed because China's economy was doing well and everyone expected oil demand to continue to grow.
However, this time around it may be different. China's oil demand dropped 20% during its lockdown. Lockdowns in Western nations will drop oil consumption even more, and the US oil (and natural gas) fracking industry was already having severe problem finding new financing for their ongoing negative cash flows.
Of course, the latest Trump coronavirus stimulus package is likely to steer at least some money towards the frackers; that plus Trump announcing the purchase of oil to fill the US Strategic Petroleum reserve didn't hurt either.
So the MBS oil gush war is part of the effort to build credibility in his push to finally get literally seated on the Saudi throne.
Net net, Russia and Saudi Arabia are scheduled to talk again in June.
At $20-$25 a barrel, it would take about 1.5-2 years to deplete the respective sovereign wealth funds.

Posted by: c1ue | Mar 28 2020 17:17 utc | 145

@ 88 mcohen... i agree! tell that to capitalism and the folks who continue to believe the economy is the most important thing... it isn't...

@ 95, adkc / jackrabbit and @ 143 corvo...

it is interesting how some want to trash dylan for a bunch of stupid and cheap reasons.. if you don't like the art - fine... but why trash art?? just get into what you like and ignore what doesn't interest you... The Great Baez-Dylan Love Affair your post @ 95 is really dishonest adkc... i am surprised by it as generally you make good posts politically.. if you don't like dylan - that's fine... by trying to trash him is really cheap... my bet is you've never read any of his lyrics and wouldn't know a poet if you ever came across one.. listen you put a lot of effort into trashing dylan and my guess is you are just fucking ignorant... oh well... like i say - if you don't like someone's art - fine... just fucking move on.. no need to trash it.. same deal to corvo with the cheap one liners....

i want to make it clear.. i am an artist.. i play music and i love a lot of different music.. i have read many books on the lives of musicians - woodie guthrie, bob dylan chronicles, and a few others in this area, but mostly jazz as that is what i am into... i don't expect people to like everything, but my question to adkc and corvo in particular - why trash an artist?? what do you or the world get from that?? i don't get it..

Posted by: james | Mar 28 2020 19:10 utc | 146

The most important statistic at the moment, but we'll never get it because doctors hide behind professional secrecy, would be to know how many of the people admitted to hospitals in France belong to the population that has been obliged to keep working in the last 2 weeks.

Posted by: Mina | Mar 28 2020 19:44 utc | 147


Hi james. I knew when I shared that song that it would draw stupid comments about Dylan and also about Kennedy, because I saw it all over at YouTube already. People in their zeal to set the record straight leap to attack the persons, regardless of anything good they might have done. No one has found time to trash Kennedy yet apparently.

But no one talks about the art object itself and its meaning, except you, and thanks for bringing the IQ level back up to where it should be to deal with the meaning of this poem.

It's a song about a murder that could be talked about forever in terms of what it did to the US psyche. And it's particularly about the unmistakable public manner in which it was done, a public execution to show the utmost disdain for everything pertaining to the US civic nation, both its people and its institutions, and certainly the Kennedy family and its threat to the existing orders of corruption, imperialism, crime and sheer menace of the day.

The subject itself is still an open wound, and will be until all that generation is gone, I suppose.

Posted by: Grieved | Mar 28 2020 19:58 utc | 148

@ 148 grieved... thanks again for drawing my attention to it.. it's like a going out song of a generation that was hugely influential in my own life.. although i am not an american - dylan is an amazing artist, able to evoke all that he does in a song! i recall a long time ago reading his lyrics in a songbook and realizing what a brilliant poet and visionary he is.. if you read his personal autobiography - chronicles - you will come away really appreciating dylan for the frail human he is.. it really isn't about the person, but about the art... but as you say - this event - the murder of kennedy - is a significant event in a generation and captured by dylan in this song which is like one of those russian nesting dolls that can be opened and continue to reveal more depending on a persons curiousity..

thanks again grieved.. we need more love and humour and less hostility and anger in the world... it is the one or the other that drive our lives and usually a bit of both... i wish you the former more then the later! that is what you typically exhibit here at moa.. thank you..

Posted by: james | Mar 28 2020 20:26 utc | 149

Grieved: your comments are usually very wise, but Bob Dylan?? Read comment 95 from ADKC.

Posted by: Jim | Mar 28 2020 20:27 utc | 150

James @146

Everything I said about Dylan is true - you can't counter those points so you just accuse me of being dishonest and using foul language?

Artists are very selfish. Dylan is particularly so. He used other people including musicians, sucked what he wanted from them and then discarded them. Dylan used the protest movement simply to further his own career and then dropped it when it suited him and in doing so he refused to oppose the Viet Nam war. Dylan betrayed the artform and he betrayed the protest movement - everything was just about personal gain and advantage. But, this is a political blog and, on this blog, Dylan should be judged in political terms, and in this, he is severely lacking.

I am not thrashing art, I am pointing out the truth of Dylan's shallowness and opportunism. Like most of Dylan's fans, you just won't open your eyes and see.

Artists don't get free rides just because they are artists.

Posted by: ADKC | Mar 28 2020 20:51 utc | 151

@ 151 adkc... when you talk about art, it is no longer about ''hard facts''... i am sorry adkc, but your post was bullshit and it still is bullshit.. if you don't like the artist - like i say - fine... but there is no need to trash the man or the art... that is what you are doing... you don't have to listen to him and you don't have to buy anything of his... no free rides are asked for.. what you are doing is cheap and reflects poorly on you.. it is more about you then dylan and unfortunately you seem unable to see this..

Posted by: james | Mar 28 2020 21:05 utc | 152

@149 james

Yes. As a genre of music, it's most rightly called a "dirge" I think. I'm listening to it again now, and it's massively evocative. It's deeply funereal, processional, a lament for the dead.

As is clear, I care much more about the message than the messenger. Sorry that you're dealing with people who don't see that distinction. The message is one of the most powerful things I've ever heard, and the execution of it seems to me sublime, fey, impossibly ethereal for such a growling, broken voice, and all told otherworldly in its purity.

The song is pure grief, a hopeless wail of despair, for the man taken yes, but mostly for the manner of the taking, and the nation thrown into decay from the very manner of that act, a decay we see and discuss here every day.

Posted by: Grieved | Mar 28 2020 21:28 utc | 153

Some minutes ago I was talking by phone to my sister, she is a practicing pediatrician in a hospital in Germany, more precisely in the area around Düsseldorf. I was quite horrified to hear, that they where running out of body bags (and other safety gear like masks etc.). The general mass-media reporting about the situation in Germany seems to be quite biased.

Posted by: maningi | Mar 28 2020 21:31 utc | 154

@ c1ue

To nitpick:

>> MBS is worried that Trump may not win re-election in
>> November 2020 due to coronavirus. At this point, Trump is
>> pretty much the only major public supporter MBS has

What has Biden or any of his ilk done to make you think they will behave differently as figureheads with respect to foreign assets?

Posted by: oglalla | Mar 28 2020 21:37 utc | 155

Circe #129

Well said, thank you and I sincerely hope Bernie forges on and wins. However the DNC can only see as far as its next pay cheque and Bernie has a tendency of a shrinking violet when it comes to public confrontation. Behind the scenes he must be a mighty effective persuader. But the DNC are the deep state attack dog.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Mar 28 2020 21:37 utc | 156

maningi 154

Germany is keeping the official coronavirus tally low so that is interesting to hear.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 28 2020 21:46 utc | 157

Curtis #136

Thank you I will check that out.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Mar 28 2020 21:47 utc | 158

@154 maningi

I am sad to hear that. Unfortunately I am not surprised, the German government is very good at covering up things, whether it's Nazis running industry, Thalidomide or the crimes of "immigrants" AKA deliberately imported Takfiri terrorists or the current situation.

Posted by: TJ | Mar 28 2020 21:54 utc | 159

Not every musician is a Roger Waters, John Lennon or Charles Mingus; most are like my sister and Dylan. If we're to believe the thrust of the movie, it took AIDS for Freddie Mercury to get his head out of his ass. The liner notes inside many CDs relate all sorts of ego-based friction within musical groups. Then we can look at the haughtiness of Divas and their male counterparts.

I wonder just how far "awhile back" it was that Dylan first recorded it, and just how much of himself is he lamenting in his lyrics. He's 78 and probably feels his train's a comin'.

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 28 2020 21:56 utc | 160

@160 karlof1

I think I still have a Pork Pie hat somewhere, it's the one I'll eat if I'm ever very very wrong, with a nice home made chutney of course.

Posted by: TJ | Mar 28 2020 22:02 utc | 161

ADKC @ 151
You miss the point by about 3 light years.
Dylan is one of those rare artists who was - and is - able to voice the thoughts of a generation. I compare him to Kipling in this respect. Your beef is that he didn’t pay his bar bills? I won’t say more than that because your posts are normally fairly sane.

Posted by: Montreal | Mar 28 2020 22:14 utc | 162

I have seen a number of interviews with Joan Baez over the years, and in several she spoke in admiring tone and language about Dylan.

Anyone who thinks Dylan did not oppose war should go to Youtube and listen to "With God on Our Side."

Posted by: AntiSpin | Mar 28 2020 22:27 utc | 163

I haven't seen this trumpeted here yet: "Russia Creates Anti-Covid-19 Drug":

"On 26 March, Russian President Vladimir Putin shared his views on what Russia needs to do to contain the virus.

"'My colleague expects we will defeat the coronavirus in two or three months. This is a fine forecast, since in many countries people say the war will be going on for a very long period of time ... We will certainly get over this situation, and I hope even earlier than you have said [two or three months]', Putin said at a meeting with Russian business persons on 26 March."

What a huge OUCH! for the Outlaw US Empire. Note that most every Neoliberal hexed nation is debt-ridden and driven into crisis by COVID-19--not primarily because of the virus, but because of what Neoliberalism has done to those nations.

TJ @160--

Mingus is one of the unknown greats. Funny how he's recognized by musicians across genres. Jeff Beck's Goodbye Pork Pie Hat is one of my favs.

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 28 2020 22:41 utc | 164

According to Stanford Professor John Ioannidis, the new coronavirus may be no more dangerous than some of the common coronaviruses, even in older people. Ioannidis argues that there is no reliable medical data backing the measures currently decided upon.

Former Israeli Health Minister, Professor Yoram Lass, says that the new coronavirus is „less dangerous than the flu“ and lockdown measures „will kill more people than the virus“. He adds that „the numbers do not match the panic“ and „psychology is prevailing over science“. He also notes that „Italy is known for its enormous morbidity in respiratory problems, more than three times any other European country.“

The President of the World Doctors Federation, Frank Ulrich Montgomery, argues that lockdown measures as in Italy are „unreasonable“ and „counterproductive“ and should be reversed.

Switzerland: Despite media panic, excess mortality still at or near zero: the latest testpositive „victims“ were a 96yo in palliative care and a 97yo with pre-existing conditions.

The UK has removed Covid19 from the official list of High Consquence Infectious Diseases (HCID), stating that mortality rates are „low overall“.

The director of the German National Health Institute (RKI) admitted that they count all test-positive deaths, irrespective of the actual cause of death, as „coronavirus deaths“. The average age of the deceased is 82 years, most with serious preconditions. As in most other countries, excess mortality due Covid19 is likely to be near zero in Germany.

Beds in Swiss intensive care units reserved for Covid19 patients are still „mostly empty“.

German Professor Karin Moelling, former Chair of Medical Virology at the University of Zurich, stated in an interview that Covid19 is „no killer virus“ and that „panic must end“.

German immunologist and toxicologist, Professor Stefan Hockertz, explains in a radio interview that Covid19 is no more dangerous than influenza (the flu), but that it is simply observed much more closely. More dangerous than the virus is the fear and panic created by the media and the „authoritarian reaction“ of many governments. Professor Hockertz also notes that most so-called „corona deaths“ have in fact died of other causes while also testing positive for coronaviruses. Hockertz believes that up to ten times more people than reported already had Covid19 but noticed nothing or very little.

German virologist Hendrik Streeck argues that Covid19 is unlikely to increase total mortality in Germany, which normally is around 2500 people per day. Streeck mentions the case of a 78-year-old man with preconditions who died of heart failure, subsequently tested positive for Covid19 and thus was included in the statistics of Covid19 deaths.

The site from which I got this has links to document it & material from other countries, too.

Posted by: Penelope | Mar 28 2020 22:48 utc | 165

Don't know if this was done, but here's the link to Pepe Escobar's review of Dylan's release.

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 28 2020 22:57 utc | 166

Penelope @165--

The observations you provide buttress my idea that the crisis began when China yelled Wolf, told the WHO and got its neighbors to clamp down hard and thus cease the vital economic activity generated from that region of the world. I disagree with those you cite, while I applaud China for its actions. IMO, they were correct, well timed and absolutely necessary, medically, geopolitically and geoeconomically.

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 28 2020 23:04 utc | 167

@164 karlof1

I was lucky in catching Jeff Beck at Ronnie Scott's many moons ago. Whether we are riffing off chords or history, it's really not that different in the end.

Posted by: TJ | Mar 28 2020 23:14 utc | 168

karlof1 "China yelled Wolf....well timed and absolutely necessary, medically..."

Crying wolf is normally associated with a deliberate false alarm though judging by your comment you view the danger of coronavirus as real.
If the danger of coronavirus is real, I wouldn't tie China raising the alarm with a geopolitical move. Giving out aid to other countries however is very much soft power.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 28 2020 23:23 utc | 169

james @152

Like many Dylan fans, you are totally unobjective.

I notice that you fail to address any of my points and just resort to ad-hominem attacks. And you make totally unwarranted assumptions about me and my relationship to Dylan's music; I probably saw Dylan perform before you were born.

You cannot face up to the fundamental betrayal inherent in Dylan's rise to fame (using and then abandoning the protest movement, including the people who generously helped Dylan) and how that betrayal was a personal tragedy for Dylan as well (because it left an indelible mark on Dylan's own psyche). It's now far too late for Dylan to make amends to the people (including musicians) that he cheated. Dylan tried to make out he was something special but, when it comes down to it, he was just as cynical and hypocritical as any other popstar.

There is a fundamental detachment in everything that Dylan does; he has been damaged because he was an immature, spoilt brat who was indulged and never developed into a fully rounded person. It was all too easy, he was given too much, he was never held to account for the way he treated people. And a lot of the blame for that goes to the unquestioning sycophantism of his fans.

Montreal @162

No, my beef is with Dylan fans.

AntiSpin @163

Baez can have those feelings about Dylan and still point out that he is shallow and a user as she did in her song "Diamonds & Rust" or is that only Dylan's lyrics are of worthy of analysis?

I've never met anyone who wasn't opposed to war - the point is it that Dylan specifically did not take part in any way with the anti-Viet Nam war movement.

karlof1 @166

The assassination happened at the start of Dylan's career. Now at the end of his career, he chooses to release a fairly non-controversial song about the assassination when it only serves as a distraction from more important issues.

The legend of JFK holds that if he had lived there would have been no Viet Nam war and this is a widely held belief - but, at the time, what did Dylan, "one of those rare artists who was - and is - able to voice the thoughts of a generation", do? He turned his back on the issue and abandoned that generation and/or helped lead it towards indulging in the "self" and the abandonment of "change".


None of you praising Dylan and forgiving his behaviour and betrayals have any right to accuse anyone else (politicians or otherwise) of selling out.

Posted by: ADKC | Mar 28 2020 23:45 utc | 170

Peter AU 1 @169--

Yes, I realize Peter cried wolf too many times such that he was ignored when his alarm wasn't false. In my hypothesis, I turned the tale on its head because China had data to show the WHO and its neighbors that its alarm was genuine. I also stated that it didn't matter whether the event was natural or deliberate; what was important was the alarm itself which sent into motion the closing down of East Asia's economy where the vast majority of supply sources and chains are located. Recall the Outlaw US Empire and EU's initial reaction--It's all a huge nothing burger, certainly nothing to shut your economy down over. Recall the speculation at MoA at the time: Bioweapon attack on China. TrumpCo and vassals were quite happy at that moment before they realized what China shutting down would actually mean for their on the edge of crisis Financial system. They tried to play it all down while the NYSE continued to rocket upward fueled by yet more Fed QE. The questions during February were, Did China believe it was attacked, and Does it really matter if it was an attack since that's so hard to prove.

As was stated in one of the Global Times editorials I recently linked, China's reaction was based on its previous experiences with several viral outbreaks. China saw the link between the Army Games and the epicenter of the outbreak, and simply made an assumption. By the end of December, a decision was made to shutdown/lockdown, the cure wouldn't be nearly as bad as what the virus could do if allowed to just run wild as BoJo wanted it to do. I don't think there was any consideration given to the fact that the shutdown would affect the global economy, although there was certainly discussion about what to do at home. To be certain, there was discussion with Russia, likely back in December, then it was shared with the Koreas at the same time as WHO.

You and I both well know the very evil nature of the Outlaw US Empire and the lengths it will go to accomplish a policy goal. China has first hand experience with that evil. IMO, they assumed the event wasn't natural based on that experience. The severity of the shutdown was in response to the evil as China knew it would cause a crisis of the sort we're seeing. TrumpCo's reaction, especially Pompeo's violent reaction to China's blowback, leads me to believe that the event was planned but clearly didn't pan-out the way it was anticipated. And as we all know, the only way my hypothesis will be proven correct or invalidated is through direct questioning of TrumpCo and Chinese officials. As I initially wrote, it no longer matters where it began, but it does matter that it affected China and East Asia first as their shutdown kept the rest of the world from stocking up on needed supplies. I hope we both survive this crisis and will be able to look back on it a year from now, assess it, and make some final determination on the sort of event that sparked it all.

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 29 2020 0:23 utc | 171

ADKC @170--

It wasn't my intent to debate the merits of Dylan or his song, which it seems was sitting on a shelf gathering dust and not deemed too important. Hard to determine if its release now is meant as a distraction, opportunism, or something else. I've yet to listen or read the entire lyrical score; all I know of its political nature is from Escobar's writing, and I value his insight. I took the opportunity to share links to J. Flecther Prouty's The Guns of Dallas and The Secret Team at Pepe's Facebook. I was 8 when JFK was murdered; what I think about it and the aftermath would be the length of a short book. I don't view JFK as some kind of savior crushed before he could act more widely. IMO, the more important lesson is what the Oligarchy will do to further itself and the need for it to be stopped once and for all time.

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 29 2020 0:38 utc | 172

@ 153 grieved... yes.. a dirge is what it is and as you say -"it's massively evocative. It's deeply funereal, processional, a lament for the dead." he mentions st. james infirmary in the lyrics too - another most famous dirge played historically in new orleans and eventually around the world via artists like dr. john, wynton marsalis and etc. etc.. thanks for pointing out it is the message, not the messenger..

@ 170 adkc... i don't consider myself a dylan fan, but i believe i know good art when i see it... you keep on reiterating how i haven't addressed your '''points'''.. jesus... i find it impossible to talk with someone who can't make a distinction between the art and the person making it while simultaneously wanting to stay focused on trashing the person making it.. i'm not up to the task adkc... you can hold onto your thoughts about dylan and i will continue to appreciate the beauty in his work for what it is.. 2 different paths - each leading in a very different direction and neither one of them having much in common with the other..

Posted by: james | Mar 29 2020 1:51 utc | 173

james @146: why trash art??

james @152: there is no need to trash the man or the art...

Obama and Trump are artists too. Con artists. They are backed by propaganda art (think how we look at Soviet-era propaganda).

We "trash" these people and this art because making people aware of how they are misled serves a higher purpose.

Like ADKC, I see Dylan's new song as a vapid attention-grabber. As such, it's more about Dylan than JFK. Dylan's name-dropping in the song is shameless aping of a generation - for what?

If you love Dylan and/or love this song, please explain to use yokels what the fuss is all about.

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I also see a deliberate attempt, in wide-ranging media, to blunt any moral judgment of Israel by making it clear that USA history is fraught: from slavery to JFK to undocumented immigrants (virtually "guest workers") to anti-semetism (where Jewish false-flag attacks are counted in the statistics!). So Dylan's timing for releasing this song is very interesting because Israeli hardliners are urging Netanyahu to seize the West Bank. Trump has already opened that door with his dead-on-arrival "Deal of the Century" and the world is now seized by Covid-19 pandemic fears.

I can't say that Dylan is part of this (that would be a 'conspiracy theory') but Dylan has always been a rather amorphous character. And what better time to remind Americans that they are powerless and should tend to their own garden?


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 29 2020 2:01 utc | 174

jackrabbit... i view politicians in a different light then artists... funny play on words on your part though - con artist... like a lot of art, beauty is in the eye of the beholder... i just don't see the need to trash the artist, but feel free to trash whoever you like... again - it is a different path... if that is what you delight in, so be it... hopefully you find some time to enjoy life and music too.. far be it for me to educate others on anything music or otherwise.. everyone here seems quite capable of thinking for themselves..

Posted by: james | Mar 29 2020 2:09 utc | 175

james @175

I cited Soviet-era art. With the passage of time, we can appreciate the bright colors and bold message as a form of 'art'. But we also recognize that that art had a dark purpose.

IMO we need to separate the artist and the art to some degree. We can do that with music but it's not very easy with performance art - which is the art form of a 'con artist'.

It's unclear to me what Dylan is doing in this song - which he says has been on the shelf for some period of time. Why release it now? Is he closing an era or opening a can of worms? Is he serving a propaganda narrative (as I suggested may be the case)? Or is he highlighting propaganda/control?

Or is it a dirge as Grieve suggests? IMO it is not a dirge for Kennedy. There are too many non-Kennedy references. A dirge for democracy? For a generation that failed future generations? I'm not convinced that Dylan has any such thoughts. And if he did, then once again ... why now? Perhaps Dylan is simply suffering from TDS? Perhaps he's feeling vulnerable because of the virus and wants one last bite at the 1960's apple?

In his own mystically vapid way, Dylan puts something out that we are supposed to interpret like tea leaves. Or ignore. Which is exactly what most will do.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 29 2020 2:43 utc | 176

karlof1 @167
Current test-positive death figures in Italy are still less than 50% of normal daily overall mortality in Italy, which is around 1800 deaths per day. Thus it is possible, perhaps even likely, that a large part of normal daily mortality now simply counts as „Covid19“ deaths (as they test positive). This is the point stressed by the President of the Italian Civil Protection Service.

According to Italian Professor Walter Ricciardi, „only 12% of death certificates have shown a direct causality from coronavirus“, whereas in public reports „all the people who die in hospitals with the coronavirus are deemed to be dying of the coronavirus“. This means that Italian death figures reported by the media have to be reduced by at least a factor of 8 to obtain actual deaths caused by the virus. Thus one ends up with at most a few dozen deaths per day, compared to an overall daily mortality of 1800 deaths and up to 20,000 flu deaths per year.

The mortality profile remains puzzling from a virological point of view because, in contrast to influenza viruses, children are spared and men are affected about twice as often as women. On the other hand, this profile corresponds to natural mortality, which is close to zero for children and almost twice as high for 75-year-old men as for women of the same age.

A new epidemiological study (preprint) concludes that the fatality of Covid19 even in the Chinese city of Wuhan was only 0.04% to 0.12% and thus rather lower than that of seasonal flu, which has a mortality rate of about 0.1%. As a reason for the overestimated fatality of Covid19, the researchers suspect that initially only a small number of cases were recorded in Wuhan, as the disease was probably asymptomatic or mild in many people.

It's difficult to contest the death certificates in Italy.

Posted by: Penelope | Mar 29 2020 2:58 utc | 177

Dylan had an opportunity to talk about politics and the "Murder most foul" of JFK when he gave his speech for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2017. But his speech steered clear of all of that.

In fact, he refused to show up for the award and delivered a rambling speech about his literary influences that appears to have been pulled from Cliff Notes and Spark Notes. As described in Slate Magazine: The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan.

Did the singer-songwriter take portions of his Nobel lecture from Spark Notes?

Across the 78 sentences in the lecture that Dylan spends describing Moby-Dick, even a cursory inspection reveals that more than a dozen of them appear to closely resemble lines from the SparkNotes site. And most of the key shared phrases in these passages (such as “Ahab’s lust for vengeance” in the above lines) do not appear in the novel Moby-Dick at all.

. . .

Dylan remains so reliant on appropriation that tracing his sourcing has become a cottage industry. For more than a decade, writer Scott Warmuth, an admiring Ahab in pursuit, has tracked Dylan lyrics and writings to an astonishing range of texts, from multiple sentences copied out of a New Orleans travel brochure to lifted phrases and imagery from former Black Flag front man Henry Rollins. Warmuth dove into Dylan’s Nobel lecture last week, too, and found that the phrase “faith in a meaningful world” from the Cliffs Notes description of All Quiet on the Western Front also shows up in Dylan’s talk (but not in the book).

Even many of the paintings Dylan produces as an artist are reproductions of well-known images, such as a photo from Henri Cartier-Bresson. For Dylan, recapitulation has replaced invention.

But for me, what may be the biggest problem with Dylan's speech is his description of seeing Buddy Holly perform just before he died. Is this story believable? Can we believe that he was actually there when Dylan so freely "borrows" from others for his own interest (apparently including Cliff Notes and Spark Notes to secure over $900,000 in Nobel Prize money)?

The description of Dylan's attendence at the Buddy Holly concert is over-the-top and smells like bullshit. It seems designed to enhance Dylan's own importance and the mystical aura that Dylan fans adore (emphasis is mine):

He was powerful and electrifying and had a commanding presence. I was only six feet away. He was mesmerizing. I watched his face, his hands, the way he tapped his foot, his big black glasses, the eyes behind the glasses, the way he held his guitar, the way he stood, his neat suit. Everything about him. He looked older than twenty-two. Something about him seemed permanent, and he filled me with conviction. Then, out of the blue, the most uncanny thing happened. He looked me right straight dead in the eye, and he transmitted something. Something I didn’t know what. And it gave me the chills.

I think it was a day or two after that that his plane went down.

Dylan once lied about playing with Buddy Holly to Robert Shelton, who is credited with discovering Dylan and wrote a Dylan biography ("No Direction Home"), saying:

Buddy Holly was a poet. Way ahead of his time … Read his story. I played with Buddy Holly in North Dakota, South Dakota, ballrooms, youth dances . .

Perhaps Dylan invented an appearance at Holly's last concert to cover for this lie?

Dylan, who was a huge fan of Holly (there's no reason to doubt that) has claimed to have been only a few feet from the stage at Holly's last concert once told Link Wray: “I was sitting in the front row when you and Buddy Holly were at Duluth…”. But Link Wray probably didn't play at that show:

Interesting post on Buddy & Bob. One thing I would question is whether Link Wray was at the show in Duluth. The backing band on that tour was Tommy Allsup (guitar); Waylon Jennings (bass); and Carl Bunch (drums). There were also a couple of horn players. The band backed up all five acts on the bill (Buddy, Ritchie Valens, the Big Bopper, Dion & the Belmonts, and Frankie Sardo). “The Day The Music Died: The Last Tour of Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens) by Larry Lehmer is probably the definitive book on the tour and makes no mention of Link. I wonder if Bob mistook Tommy Allsup for Link.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 29 2020 4:42 utc | 178

The conversation has to move beyond the immediate response to the virus - questions of social distancing etc - important as that is - to how to prevent the 21st Century "Greater Depression" that this pandemic's hit to both global economic demand and supply sides is causing.

If we remain in a financialised crony capitalist system of mega-mountains of debt siphoned off by a kleptocratic Wall Street and European banking class - then an impoverished Hunger Games feudalism is our collective future within a year or two.

There has to be a nationalisation of the banking system and a bailout of debts until the virus is gone.

"No bankruptcies, no foreclosure, no evictions"s, must be the mantra!

This is not a typical financial crisis. This is unprecedented.

Emeritus Professor of Economics from Uni of Missouri, in Kansas - Michael Hudson - suggest a 'debt jubilee' is the likely only way out.

Hudson worked for Wall Street banks early in his career and is perhaps the most articulate critic of the kleptocratic system that dominates the Western World, particularly the USA. He advised Iceland in the 2008/9 Global Financial Crisis which was the most bankrupt country in the world at that time - as its banks had speculated heavily in derivatives based on subprime mortgages. It was said Iceland would be in serious debt for the rest of the 21st Century and living standards would plummet. But with Hudson's advice, Iceland nationalised the banks, jailed over 20 senior bankers for illegal speculation and wrote off the debt and emerged economically stronger than any other European nation in the past decade.

See also these links:

And if you're an Aussie - consider signing this petition:

Posted by: PJB | Mar 29 2020 5:07 utc | 179

@179 PJB

WHO CARES! People are DYING. We need a f*cking depression again! Too many people are selfishly living beyond their means on CREDIT! Enough with the endless material party! And you had to f*ck up this open thread with your endless links over financial panic??? At least use the html tags, next time.


The message in this phenomenon.

Health workers
Social distance
Less Exterior Noise
Economic meltdown
Unemployment relief
No traffic
Less contamination
Less control
Collective suspension
The unknown
Can't breathe
in every corner

The tsunami in the Indian Ocean was surreal in its scope of devastation. So was the earthquake in Haiti.

But wars have been the worst.

If only we could be humbled into awareness for good.

There's so much ignorance and cruelty in this world.

So all this shit will go on and on until there's nothing left.

Posted by: Circe | Mar 29 2020 5:27 utc | 181

The ructions about dylan remind me of a bloke who hung around here & the Whiskey Bar pretty much since the inception of the WB, I dunno if many remember Chris aka Remembering Giap, but r'giap was a poet & a big supporter of 'bob dylan'.
We had some fairly fierce debates over dylans talent, which I consider to be marginal, his parasitical relationship with Woody Guthrie I reckon was contemptible, even worse was the way dylan purloined the mantle Woody was trying to pass on to his own son Arlo.

More artisanal than artistic, I reckoned Dylan was great at what such types would now call 'capturing the zeitgeist' which is to say there was a time when Dylan knew certain topics would appeal to young people more than other topics, but IMO that ain't art it is prescience similar to that of a capable advertising copywriter, whereas Chris/Giap swore that dylan's words were 'poetry'. Yet I didn't find them so as I always found dylan's imagery to be cliched, a bit like most 'memes' one finds on the net right now, obvious cheap shots which only land because they are so obvious, the power is missing because they require little thought by humans accessing them.
Which is why an actual poet, such as Chris can spend years searching for the best way to express an emotion, an action, or a scene. Make the wording too accessible and like a politician's speech, humans will get the gist but miss any nuance - lingering flavour just a fast cheap taste leaving awareness of the emotion, action, or scene
but no supporting piquancy, just a raw taste sweet, sour, savoury, bitter or salty. Empty IOW.

AS for JFK yawn!. I have no desire to re debate the bleeding obvious, those who choose to believe that some massive conspiracy surrounded a poor little rich boy who always did what the PTB desired - the original neolib who talked the talk but never walked the walk, will continue to do so, no matter how much evidence to the contrary is on offer.

But I do want to say "So fucking what!" both dylan and kennedy are well past their best before dates and of interest to a small minority, for everyone else the jfk story is a bit like a dylan song, people know the basics but remain unmoved, because what ever happened it happened way outside their experience, and there is no real desire to uncover anything more.
All sorts of actions, emotions, good and bad are happening right now, ones that are much more relevant to contemporary human experience, they must be the codes invoked to motivate fellow humans, considering barely remembered, always rather vague totems is pointless IMO.

Posted by: A User | Mar 29 2020 7:48 utc | 182

182 user

He did win a Nobel prize but rumour has it,it was for "nasal twang".something they smoke up in the highlands.with the fishes and owls.I certainly did not like Dylan in my 20's,listened mostly to grand funk and deep purple.I like his poetic storytelling of the times though his music is dreary.I wrote a poem about soldiers home from the war.I could imagine Bob Dylan in the band with all the others he mentioned in his song

Well In form
Did clap and salute
With hand and foot
A relation in uni form

The passing parade
Lead by a band that played
Music that danced and swayed
I watched in the shade

Soldiers home from the war
As they passed me by
Under a blue sky
Like waves rolling onto the shore.

Posted by: mcohen | Mar 29 2020 10:40 utc | 183

An Astronaut's Guide to Self Isolation - Chris Hadfield

Posted by: TJ | Mar 29 2020 11:26 utc | 184

@oglalla #155
Among other things:
1) Will Biden want to be seen keeping up a Trump policy?
2) MBS' rivals, one of them is the CIA's preferred man (Najef). The Democrats have made the CIA/intel community their public heroes.
3) Khashoggi. The Democrats also raised a hullaballoo over Khashoggi's killing. It would look more than a little odd if they cozied up to the guy who ordered it.
Granted, consistency is not a requirement for any politician - but the CIA/Democrat connect is very real.
Nor is "helping democracy" replace MBS in any way inconsistent with US strategic goals in Saudi Arabia: so long as the primary US prerogatives are kept - which clearly neither Trump nor Biden are likely to shift - the specific guy in place doesn't matter.
That would be the argument you're putting forward - and it has validity.
Personally, I don't see MBS being very happy with a pro-CIA Democrat, Biden, as US President vs. Trump - who has been very vocal and faithful in supporting MBS. YMMV

Posted by: c1ue | Mar 29 2020 17:53 utc | 185

@ 182 a user... you are well past your due date as well, but we still can listen to you and get something from it from time to time!! as i said previously.. beauty is in the eye of the beholder... no need to trash art like an isis member because it doesn't jive with your particular religion... symbols have meaning for some and are completely un noticed by others.. it is just the way it is! someone sees something and someone else sees nothing.. it is just the way life is... cheers james...

Posted by: james | Mar 29 2020 21:23 utc | 186

@james #186

It was long ago.

I was listening to Wolfman Jack on my crystal radio ... "XERF, Coahuila, Mexico, babies!!". The poetry in Dylan's song about JFK is elegiac. Elegy is a poetic form. And the song goes beyond mourning for one person, hence all the cultural references to artists who have long since passed. Most younger folks will have no idea who all those people were. The political assassinations of the 60s sent reverberations down through the decades. Yes, we are a long time past that pain; but for some people the memory is still burned into the heart.

It hurts to have one's illusions broken, especially in the youthful days, when one is still green and vulnerable. Bob Dylan's music contained a power that broke through our defenses, and turned us toward a different journey. The poet Allen Ginsberg told the story of how he openly wept on a flight from Europe to the US,--when for the first time he heard Dylan's "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue". The occasion of his tears was when he knew the torch had been passed to a new generation of artists.

Posted by: Copeland | Mar 29 2020 22:22 utc | 187

@ copeland... thanks copeland.. i saw your post earlier and listened and looked into the history on that.. thanks for saying all you have here.. i see it much the same - this goes beyond one mans voice, or one event.. it is something much deeper then that... i am appreciative that others can see what i believe i see in what dylan has done here.. for those who can't - maybe it just isn't for them to see and that is the way it is.. i was born in the mid 50's... i think my first real attraction to dylan was with the nashville skyline album he did with johnny cash... i thought that was a beautiful record... of course i had listened to a lot of jimi hendrix and knew the song 'all across the watchtower' was a dylan song, but i had never really listened to dylan prior to nashville skyline... as a musician who has spent a life in music, it is impossible not to find oneself being exposed to dylan! a few years ago i read the autobio of his chronicles which i highly recommend...its from 2004... bottom line - dylan is a human with weaknesses and frailty like all the rest of us.. i am not thinking i have to defend anything about the man.. i am focused on the art and like i said to a user - people who want to trash art remind me of isis! cheers james..

Posted by: james | Mar 30 2020 2:43 utc | 188

A User #182

Rodriguez was a better songwriter and perfomer than Dylan by a long shot. Wrong side of the tracks though. No pun intended.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Mar 30 2020 7:44 utc | 189

I really liked Dylan until he switched to Lay Lady Lay type songs. My cousin is a huge fan and I once sent him Baez's critique of Dylan calling him a plagiarizer.
My cousin's response was -- "Dylan is my most favourite plagiarizer of all time".

Posted by: arby | Mar 30 2020 15:23 utc | 190

james @188

You say that you aren't a Dylan fan, but it seems that you are! You want to ignore criticisms of the man while praising his art.

You're defense of Dylan via his art is akin to those who want to "look beyond" Bernie's sheepdogging that leads to a dead end and focus on his 'message'.

The medium is the message. And the 'message' of the sheepdog is "f*ck you!" Enjoy the siren song - as long as you don't actually do anything that will upset the established order.

People trusted Priests too. The believed Priests over their own children. Over their own common sense. They were "men of God" who preached the good word (the "opiate of the masses"!). They played on the notion that they were above reproach. That they would NEVER do anything to cause harm. Except that they did. Repeatedly.

I'll bet the smallpox-infected blankets left for the American Indians had some nice 'artistic' designs. How sad that we focus on Indian deaths instead of the generous cultural enrichment and ethical concern for cold Indians./sarc

News flash: The devil will not show up with a pitchfork. He'll show up with a teleprompter. Or a bible. Or a warm blanket. Or a guitar.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 30 2020 16:18 utc | 191

@ jackrabbit.. well, i do admire dylan, but i don't think i qualify as a fan.. i admire a lot of artists!! the way i see it people who trash art are a lot like ISIS! do i need to know the personal details of you in order to appreciate your commentary? no.. if someone came to moa and said you were a plagiariser, a whatever - i don't need to know! it isn't going to change how i view your words... what if we find out picasso is a creep or worse? does it mean i can no longer appreciate the work?? i see the work as separate from the person and i don't feel i need to know the personal details of artist to be able to appreciate there art.. so in this regard maybe we are different..

now, maybe i hold politicians to a different standard! con artists is what you referred to some of them as.. the word con changes it!

Posted by: james | Mar 30 2020 16:37 utc | 192

A User@182
Yes I remember Remembering Giap, an ornament to the bar indeed. I also recall a guy called Debsisdead.
You are right about Dylan and JFK. The current song is an embarrasment. Its been all downhill since Positively Fourth street.

Posted by: bevin | Mar 30 2020 16:44 utc | 193

@ bevin.. a user is debsisdead...

Posted by: james | Mar 30 2020 16:47 utc | 194

james @192

You're dancing around the point that you can't always have a full separation between art and artist.

Child pornographers, for example, have tried to take advantage of such a separation. And con artists are essentially a type of performance artist - but we few admire their art (except other con artists).

We expect artists to have a certain integrity. Dylan doesn't just lack this integrity, he mocks it in his Nobel Prize speech. Can you at least acknowledge that much?


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 30 2020 16:54 utc | 195

Copeland @187, james @188

Dylan's JFK song isn't an elegy. It's a mock elegy. It doesn't lament the dead as much as it mocks the living.

I covered this @176:

... is it a dirge as Grieve suggests? IMO it is not a dirge for Kennedy. There are too many non-Kennedy references. A dirge for democracy? For a generation that failed future generations? I'm not convinced that Dylan has any such thoughts.

Dylan's sarcasm is at least as important as his mournful tone. How can you miss/dismiss that? Fundamentally, a sarcastic statement about POWER, the limits of democracy, and a mockery of the America people (via the cultural references).

To what purpose? The answer may be related to the question of WHY NOW?

@174 I suggested the underlying message might be something like this:

... to blunt any moral judgment of Israel by making it clear that USA history is fraught ... because Israeli hardliners are urging Netanyahu to seize the West Bank. Trump has already opened that door with his dead-on-arrival "Deal of the Century" and the world is now seized by Covid-19 pandemic fears.

... what better time to remind Americans that they are powerless and should tend to their own garden?

In the new Week in Review / Open Thread, Jim writes:
In 1981, when Israeli jets were bombing the city of Beirut & their army was invading south Lebanon, Israel attracted international criticism for the first time. The response by Bob Dylan was a song defending the country doing the bombing & invading! And it's ironic that Dylan's latest song is about the murder of John and Robert Kennedy, since new research by a French journalist, Laurent Guyenot, makes a very compelling case that the Kennedy's were killed by Israel's secret service!


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 30 2020 17:49 utc | 196

@ 195 jackrabbit.. i just read the nobel speech you reference -Bob Dylan's Entire Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech.. maybe i am dense, but aside from not following dylan that closely and as i was saying - i am not technically what i would refer to as a 'fan', i just read it and i am not seeing the mockery in it either..

listen... we can go into the politics of anything - music, artists and etc. included.. this seems to be the basis for some here to pan dylan for being a sell out and a cheap fake revolutionary type... that might be true! regardless of that, i still see the art as something separate... maybe i am not conveying myself well enough.. i will give you that!!

regarding jims comment, it now becomes who you vote for and how you vote... fine.. i don't know that what jim hypothesizes on dylan is true or accurate either.. it might be.. has dylan ever been challenged to ansewr? or is there some specific statement he made about this? regardless, now it seems dylan because he is jewish - is a huge factor in whether his art has any cred or not.. i don't think ones cultural background has that much bearing on the art.. if i listen to kurt rosenwinkel, ari hoenig, avashai cohen and etc etc - a wide variety of jazz artists that happen to be jewish... do i need to know how they vote and view everything politically in order to enjoy their music?? or once i find out how they have voted or expressed their ideological outlook, that will be what i use to decide whether to like their music or not?? i really think some folks are missing what i am trying to say.. i don't know how else to say it...

if you don't like dylans music as i have said.. that's fine!!! move on!!! i really like this song he has done... so obviously i am not the right music critic for you all~!

Posted by: james | Mar 30 2020 19:12 utc | 197


I wrote about Dylan's Nobel acceptance speech @178.

Did you miss that?

Dylan is likely to have lifted a substantial part of the speech from Cliff Notes and Spark Notes. That makes his claim to have been influenced by his school-age readings a lie.

Dylan also appears to exaggerate his connection to Buddy Holly.

This is playing with us and mocking us.

I would think an artist might be bothered by something like that.

I'm not saying he didn't do some important art - especially 1961-66. But his personal failings are many and can not be fully divorced from his art. And his lack of anything of any importance to say for thirty years makes "Murder Most Foul" very suspicious.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 30 2020 19:38 utc | 198

Some may recall that Wally expressed the opinion early on that "agent Sam" opened the mayonnaise jar outside the Wuhan BSL4 shop...

The theis may have seemed risible to some. If so, no doubt they'll find further amusement with the thesis mooted with some plausible basis by Romanoff @ globalresearch dot ca under rubric> "COVID-19: Two Major ‘Waves’ of Global Infection, Towards Global Contamination?"

"...If you can get people focused on asking the wrong question, you don’t care about the answers. The wrong question is whether the original virus came from a bat or a pangolin or a banana, but that’s irrelevant. It wasn’t a bat or a banana that infected the people in Wuhan, but a live person – or a person carrying a live virus in a pail. The right questions to ask relate to the identity of that person and the source of the contents of that pail, and those answers seem to lead us to the USA. Certainly, they are not to be found in China..."

Ok, I said "mayonnaise jar", not "pail"

Posted by: Walter | Mar 30 2020 19:46 utc | 199

jackrabbit.. i am sorry.. i did see that post the other day, but didn't really know much about it or find a need to respond.. it was only when you asked in the post today that i went and read it.. i will have to read it again, as i don't recall the reference to buddy holly.. i saw shakespeares name mentioned a few times though... i just looked again and see no reference to buddy holly... dylan was part of the travelling wilburys which included roy orbison... i think it was roy who missed the plane that buddy was on.. when reading the tom petty book - conversations with petty by paul zollo - petty talks about his involvement with dylan.. it seems to me all of the guys in the band were mutually respectful and appreciative of each others work as artists...

i hear what you are saying.. i have been ripped off a number of times by people i worked with.. i would typically find out later that the gig paid x amount of money and i was paid chump change given the fact i was just the drummer in the band.. it reflected poorly on these artist leaders that i worked with and generally i didn't want to work with them again... however, again - i like to think that the frailty of people - usually hidden - is something that i can understand and appreciate and not let it over ride my viewpoint on their artisti merits... does that make sense to you? thanks..

Posted by: james | Mar 30 2020 19:49 utc | 200

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