Reason Roundup

COVID-19: A National Problem With Local Solutions

Also: Chelsea Manning finally freed, coronavirus appropriations, and more...

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Social solidarity saves the day? The government has found ways to fail at every step of the response to the new coronavirus outbreak, but the American people are exhibiting commendable levels of calm, careful, and community-oriented action.

Businesses, nonprofit groups, churches, community leaders, and individuals have been voluntarily canceling plans, creating workplace workarounds, soliciting ways to help their neighbors, and practicing "social distancing" in the face of vast uncertainty about the true threat level faced or whether widespread testing for the virus (let alone a vaccine) will be ready anytime soon.

The now-constant churn of coronavirus updates—another new city with cases, another school system sending kids home, another state seeking federal help by declaring an emergency—can make even those who aren't prone to panic start stocking up on canned goods and wine. Even Disney parks are shutting their gates through the end of the month.

But a lot of what we're seeing and hearing about constitutes acts of social solidarity, as Matt Pearce of the Los Angeles Times suggested yesterday.

The events put on hold, personal and business travel cancellations, employees and students sent to work and learn from home, museum and theater closings, action taken by sports leagues, and countless self quarantines… The people passing along practical tips to help neighbors who might be hit especially hard when public life slows down… Scientists from all spheres stepping in to help develop tests (and groups like the Gates Foundation to help make them more widely available)…. Even everyone stocking up on groceries and household items in order to stay home if they start coughing…

Individuals, civic groups, businesses, and loose social networks are working in the spirit of charity, personal responsibility, and helping one another.

People are attempting to mitigate their own risk, sure, but it also goes beyond that. Even in populations not likely to be seriously affected by the illness, and even with warnings that most people will be exposed eventually and a majority infected, we're seeing people pretty cheerfully do what all the health experts have been saying: to slow, if we cannot stop, the spread of the contagion in order not to overwhelm health care and emergency services.

We're also witnessing state and city governments grapple with this in ways that rely on relaxing their regular rules and letting everyone pitch in.

Unfortunately, some officials are taking advantage of the crisis to push essentially unrelated policies they've long desired. Others are operating under the idea that government can do whatever it wants in unusual times. In California, for instance, Gov. Gavin Newsom "released a sweeping executive order on Thursday that allows the state to commandeer hotels and medical facilities to treat coronavirus patients and permits government officials to hold teleconferences in private without violating open meeting laws," reports the Los Angeles Times.

And while the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has been correcting course on COVID-19 testing, we're still woefully behind.

Nothing will get back the time we've lost. But even if we can't count on officials to get things right, civil society has been lessening the impact of those follies.

This phenomenon is backed up by other research on times of disaster. A recent piece in The New York Times shows that "the Great Alaska Earthquake of 1964 surprised everyone by showing that natural disasters can bring out more kindness than selfishness"—and that this turned to be a typical social response.

"It turns out that unselfish behavior during a disaster is the rule rather than the exception," Boing Boing points out.


FREE MINDS

Chelsea Manning finally freed.


FREE MARKETS

Congressional Democrats have released a coronavirus appropriations bill that contains some sensible measures—and a whole lot of extras. As Reason's Robby Soave noted yesterday, the measure would "establish free coronavirus testing; mandate private businesses provide additional paid sick leave; expand unemployment insurance eligibility; strengthen food security initiatives for senior citizens, children, pregnant women, and food banks; increase funding for Medicaid; and bolster unemployment benefits, among other provisions," to the tune of tens of billions of dollars. It would also make the mandated sick leave program permanent.

Rep. Justin Amash (I–Mich.) weighs in:


FOLLOWUP

U.S. airstrikes in Iraq. While viruses and elections have dominated the news, battles between U.S. and Iranian-backed forces in Iraq have been quietly escalating. The Pentagon says Kataib Hezbollah-linked facilities "across Iraq" were hit by U.S. airstrikes this morning, in retaliation for the Iran-linked group's killing of two U.S. and one British military member. "The aerial bombardment took place around 1:30 a.m., according to the Iraqi military. It was unclear whether any militia members were killed," reports The Washington Post.


QUICK HITS

  • In New York City, a new pop-up exhibit tells sex workers stories through a range of different media. More information here.

  • Sex work in a time of pandemic:

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  1. …the American people are exhibiting commendable levels of calm, careful, and community-oriented action.

    Coronavirus? More like libertarianvirus.

    1. I mean my local grocery stores apparently have lines all the way down the aisles to the back wall. Which since all I need is chicken leg quarters and garlic, I guess I’ll wait.

    2. My niece is an ER surgical nurse, last night they had to treat a stab wound from where a couple of guys were fighting over the last case of bottled water at a store. Your idea of calm, careful and community-based action might be slightly different than mine.

      1. Prices for these items should skyrocket soon.

      2. Well, it’s relative, man. How many non-virus related stabbings does she deal with a night? I’m guessing the answer isn’t zero.

  2. The now-constant churn of coronavirus updates…

    Unless you’re relying on Reason Roundup for updates. Then it’s whenever-we-get-around-to-it updates. Am I right, people?

    1. Harumph!

    1. All you have to know about Bernie’s dream of turning the US into Sweden is that Sweden is already Sweden and yet Bernie Sanders won’t go live there and leave the rest of us the hell alone.

      1. Funny thing about nations with Socialized medicine. They wont accept immigrants to be citizens who have major health problems.

        I knew someone who wanted to leave the USA and become a Canadian. He had a heart condition so they denied his citizenship.

  3. A federal judge has ordered the release of Chelsea Manning: “the court finds Ms. Manning’s appearance before the Grand Jury is no longer needed, in light of which her detention no longer serves any coercive purpose.”

    This incentivizes self-harm for political prisoners.

    1. Hello.

    2. They should have stapled Bradley’s dick back on and kicked him in the ass on the way out.

      1. They should have gave him a BIG hand (Arrested Development).

      2. hobbyhure graz is the best place for spending time in this kind of situation

    3. I’m curious why Manning no longer is needed for the Grand Jury though.

      1. Grand jury was dismissed.

        1. Pretty good reason, then.

    4. No longer needed 2 days after a suicide attempt.

      By the way, who won the Bradley Manning suicide attempt pool?

  4. Congressional Democrats have released a coronavirus appropriations bill that contains some sensible measures—and a whole lot of extras.

    Shouldn’t the House be self-quarantining?

    1. If by self-quarantining you mean involuntarily committed, yes.

  5. In show that they are more volatile than a panicked market….

    Weeks after claiming pence ran around indiana stabbing gay people with HIV needles and denying science, liberals are bow thankful for Pence leading the covid effort.

    https://twitchy.com/brettt-3136/2020/03/12/a-tearful-alyssa-milano-thanks-god-for-joe-bidens-leadership-during-the-covid-19-crisis/

  6. Soooo…… The virus will:

    A. Highlight that the extremist position on open borders is wrong.
    B. Wean companies on dependency on China.
    C. Take down the Iranian government Obama loved so much.
    D. Lead the media to throw away its last remaining shred of credibility, if it had one, with overblown panic.
    E. Give us an endless backlog of left wing “I hope the elderly die because they are in the way politically” tweets from our compassionate overlords for the upcoming election.

    Did I miss anything?

    1. Upcoming election? What upcoming election?
      They will be “postponed” due to the state of emergency.
      (Except Republicans will be allowed to vote in blue states. They are more responsible.)

    2. Editors are lining up their ‘Trump made COVID-19 worse’ headlines too.

      1. Lining up? Have you not seen MSNBC the last 2 weeks?

        1. Or “Reason”

    3. “Highlight that the extremist position on open borders is wrong.”

      Nope!

      I’m more committed than ever to unlimited, unrestricted immigration. I’m sure Shikha Dalmia’s next column will explain how the US should welcome anyone from Italy or Iran or any other country hit especially hard by the #TrumpVirus.

      #ImmigrationAboveAll

      1. Foreigners already have Covid. If they have survived they are immune. Importing them would cause better herd immunity in the US.

        DONE.

        1. You don’t get immunity by having it.

          1. Do we know that? Most viruses, infection and cure confers immunity, for at least a little while.

            Admittedly, I’ve been concerned about reports that this bug exhibits dengue like behavior, where infection increases the problems from a subsequent infection, due to antibody-enhanced binding.

    4. F. The same people who for the last week have been openly rooting for death and devastation because they think they can ruin Trump’s re-election campaign, will this summer after the whole thing blows up in their faces be complaining about Trump and Republicans politicizing a pandemic.

      1. Jesus, John, you could at least put a spoiler alert on that sort of thing for people who haven’t figured out the storyline yet!

      2. Yeah, Im still waiting for unreason to describe any Democrat who is using this strategy to get rid of Trump as the Anti-American that they are.

        These people want all Americans to suffer hysteria consequences just to get rid of Trump. Socialism 101

    5. Item E is already being seen, but from the baby fascist trolls who are tolerated around here:

      Shitlord of the Woodchippers
      March.12.2020 at 11:18 pm

      It’s just a shame that the virus doesn’t biologically target progressives. I’m not sure how that would work, but anything that thins their herd is good for America.

      Or this little exchange:

      NJ2AZ
      March.12.2020 at 6:26 pm

      at this point it might be less bad to just let the virus run amok, off who it offs, and then lets get back to business as usual.

      Jerryskids
      March.12.2020 at 7:00 pm

      I’m thinking the same thing. What’s the harm in coronavirus? Oh, it’s going to totally fuck up our society. How are we going to deal with it? Well, first thing, we totally fuck up our society, see………..

      It’s like the Green New Deal – global warming is going to destroy civilization as we know it so we need to destroy civilization as we know it in order to keep that from happening. Or deciding to commit suicide so you don’t have to worry about getting cancer. At some point, you have to at least raise the question of whether the cure might not be worse than the disease.

      NJ2AZ
      March.12.2020 at 7:30 pm

      let the virus run its course. brief economic disruption, followed by a recovery unburdened by the now deceased old and infirm.
      or
      completely fuck up the economy, then have to dig yourself out with the still crushing weight of all those old and infirm you spared.

      aren’t the progs always crying about the ‘greater good’?

      JesseAz
      March.12.2020 at 9:01 pm

      The death of people largely out of the productive work force wont have that much of an impact.

      NJ2AZ
      March.12.2020 at 9:03 pm

      i think we’re saying the same thing?

      let the virus get em.

      https://reason.com/2020/03/12/to-fight-coronavirus-trump-wants-a-trillion-dollar-stimulus-that-could-make-the-crisis-worse/#comment-8165022

      1. Are facts like the one I posited making you cry?

        1. First, “The death of people largely out of the productive work force wont have that much of an impact.”

          …Is not a fact, unless you are unaware of things called second and third order effects.

          Second, I’m not crying about anything. I’m pointing out that someone looking for a lack of compassion “from the left” needn’t look that far.

          1. Tell me what age brackets marketers target. I’ll wait.

            1. People are just consumers? No one outside of the work force takes care of children, sick or elderly relatives? No one outside of the work force owns real estate or other assets?

              I’ll wait.

  7. The aerial bombardment took place around 1:30 a.m., according to the Iraqi military. It was unclear whether any militia members were killed…

    WHAT DOES ANY OF THIS HAVE TO DO WITH THE CORONAVIRUS?

    1. It seems that the heat of an explosion may kill the virus as well as terrorists. So look out Seattle.

      1. Lord Bezo’s death ray and drone fleet protects us.

  8. Biden cant stop plagiarizing. Claims Trumps pandemic efforts a mess. Promises to do what trump is already doing.

    https://pjmedia.com/trending/joe-biden-blasts-trumps-coronavirus-response-then-plagiarizes-trumps-plan/

    1. Did you see the tweet from Jennifer Rubin–supposedly a conservative–saying that everybody who heard Joe Biden’s speech is wishing he were president right now? Ye gods.

      I know much of this country’s population consists of adult-size babies who are devotees of Führerprinzip but geez…Biden is the guy they want as Fuhrer?

      1. I wish I could say Rubin is the dumbest person on Cable news, but she has a crap ton of competition.

        Acosta’s breaking story this morning about Trump not wanting to catch Covid19 was hard hitting stuff.

      2. When was Jennifer Rubin ever a conservative?

  9. Linking China to Covid19 is racist. Here is a montage of liberal media being racist.

    https://pjmedia.com/trending/watch-35-times-the-media-said-wuhan-coronavirus-or-chinese-coronavirus/

    1. And you have Tom Cotton saying it came from a weapons lab in Wuhan. Fucking idiots on both sides.

  10. Is it “voluntary” when a group cancels an event after state governments impose size limits on group gatherings?

    1. It’s unclear whether state governments have the authority to do that, and if so, if they actually would take enforcement action, so, yes, these orders are depending on voluntary cooperation.

      1. It depends on restraints from the U.S. and respective state constitutions.

  11. Donald Trump and Mike Pence have not been tested for the coronavirus…

    Pelosi is measuring for drapes.

    1. Will they match the carpet?

      1. You live with this comment.

    2. At her age she should be measuring for crepe, black of course.

    3. I wonder what would happen should they both come down with it. Would Pence resign to allow a healthy person to appointed VP, or try to ride it out and risk them both dying? I guess it wouldn’t be a huge risk as they both have access to some of the best healthcare in the world and I assume don’t have any significant underlying issues for the disease to exacerbate

      1. Pence is only 60. His is in a higher risk group but barely. The chances of him dying of it are pretty small.

        1. Apparently, Bolsonaro has tested positive and Trump is shook his hand, during a dinner last week.

          1. Can you imagine what jackasses the media and the Democrats would make of themselves if Trump did catch it?

      2. I wonder what would happen should they both come down with it.

        Nothing.

        It’s a cold.

        Look at the fucking symptoms.

        Fever, achy, tired, congestion, cough.

        They’ll hydrate and take it easier. Like when you feel sick but still have to go in.

      3. They’ve probably had the vaccine already.

  12. So, are we still blaming the orange man for everything, or praising American people for being self-sufficient and resilient?

    1. Lawrence O’Donnell shows how everything Trump has done, is doing, and will do is not only wrong, but purposefully makes everything worse

    2. Both are entirely positive takes on this.

    1. Don’t worry i’m sure they will blame its fast spread on climate change which they have been predicting even though the two are not relatable.

  13. Anybody else waiting for the Boehm article to rationalize why america should continue to act on our free market beliefs even though China is now cutting off production lines for medical goods? Are the bumper sticker economists that have pervaded this site the last 2 years finally ready to talk about reality of markets instead of idealistic phrasing from bumper stickers? China is not a free market actor. We cant pretend they are through idealistic naivete.

    https://www.foxnews.com/world/chinese-deny-americans-coronavirus-drugs

    1. Triggered Libertarian: “Oh, good job JesseAZ! You Trumpian dick sucker! Because China is a statist hellhole, we have to become one as well? EXPLAIN THAT!”

      1. Triggered freshman year, week 2, Libertarian*

        1. Look Jesse, if Americans die because the Chinese cut off the supply of antibiotics, it is because the market decreed that they die and any attempt to change that and save them is immoral and statist. You are morally obligated to suffer and even die for “meh principles”.

          1. John, don’t let the non-Libertarians who work at unreason cloud what Libertarians are okay with.

            Libertarians are okay with tiny and limited government providing for the common defense, like storing antibiotics.

    2. Every time I bring up income and payroll taxes as opposed to bitching about tariffs, the dogmatists assure me that Reason is also against those but the “news” is tariffs.
      So the “news” is now payroll taxes and… Reason comes out vehemently in support of them and opposed to cutting

      1. Um … um …. well …. FUCK YOU, YOU TRUMPIAN DICK SUCKER!

      2. Look, you don’t get it. Tariffs are taxes even when there is no inflationary signal saying they are. But Payroll taxes are not taxes. I can’t make this more simple.

    3. You called it!


      JesseAz
      January.24.2009 at 9:08 am

      One thing I think most people are overlooking about Obama becoming President is that he’s probably not going to do anything about our trade problem with China and it’s really a national security concern how dependent we’ve become on them for a lot of critical necessities. Imagine we have an epidemic or something in ten years or so where we need a lot of medical supplies in a big hurry but they all come from China? Is Obama thinking ahead and making sure there are enough American companies to meet our domestic needs or is he just going to leave it up to the magical “free market” to make sure our needs are met? A lot of people are saying Obama’s a socialist who thinks government does a better job of centrally-planning the economy than just leaving things up to chance, I sure hope they’re right.

      1. Wow. How did you find that? Jesse called it for sure. Bravo. Once again, the comenters on this site prove themselves to be smarter and more interesting than any of the staff.

        1. I read that as now identifying Jesse as responsible for the outbreak…
          BURN THE WITCH!

          (Great find, jerrys)

          1. Yeah, was a good find. I didn’t even realize I was on this site in 2009. Kept bouncing between here, federalist, and a few other places.

      2. I’m scared…

  14. NY state politicians tried to strip the LP of its hard won “official” status – making it harder for us to get candidates on the ballot. A judge just stopped them.

    Government to the rescue, LP. How embarrassing.

    1. With New York on board, nothing can stop the LP presidential candidate from getting to the White House!

      At least once they start allowing tours again.

      1. Snort.

  15. In New York City, a new pop-up exhibit tells sex workers stories through a range of different media.

    Aiding and abetting traffickers! (Also, “pop-up” indeed!)

  16. Sen. Ben Sasse (R–Nebraska) wants Congress to investigate Pornhub.

    Another “libertarian-leaner” Reason cover boy goes down in flames.

    1. And, naturally, the investigation will involve detailed, systematic perusals of the website in an attempt to detect actionable irregularities.

      “We have Gatorade, wet wipes, and comfortable chairs for anyone willing to step up and do the dirty work, boys. WHO’S WITH ME??!”

      1. Sasse will lock himself in his office for a week to conduct in depth research on the matter.

        1. A porn investigation is just a quarantine by another name.

    2. Nothing about Ben Sasse or Nebraska strikes me as libertarian. They’re still wetting the bed because a certain plant is legal in Colorado.

  17. I wrote about how coronavirus has decimated the sex industry in Seattle and how workers are coping.

    All in all, a ten percent hit isn’t too bad.

    1. I wish more people used “decimate” in the original sense of the word

      1. But you’d only be able to use it correctly when you’re talking about Legionnaires Disease.

        1. Exponentially nice.

  18. Currently experts expect over 1 million deaths in the U.S. since the virus was not contained & we cannot even test for it.

    What a stupid prediction. What fields are these morons experts in?

    1. Media frenzy?

    2. Window licking?

    3. Bioethicists?

  19. It is nice that we have reframed irrational panic as social solidarity. what’s the term for buying 6 months of toilet paper?

    1. I was in my local supermarket yesterday (buying beer and eggs) and there did not appear to be any panic. People were even laughing, and joking. And then, seemingly out of nowhere, a paranoid little woman barreled through the “Cleaning Supplies” aisle with about fifteen rolls of toilet paper cradled in her arms, dropping rolls as she hurried toward the cashier. She was as frantic as it gets. She was also in her pajamas, and had a small baby strapped to her back. Except the baby was a fucking dog, not a child.

      I’m not sure exactly who it is that’s panicking, other than single, mentally ill cat ladies … and the idiots on Twitter. Things seem to be fine.

    2. TP demand is likely a pretty static thing. Doesn’t take a lot of people to wipe out a store’s stock.

      1. It takes a lot of wiping to wipe it out though.

      2. at the store this week the cashier told me one lady was buying tp to ship to her son in Canada. I guess they are real busy up there.

        Costco has had to put limits on tp and water even though most people get their water from a public source. this isn’t an earthquake where there can be water interruptions

  20. Sen. Ben Sasse (R–Nebraska) wants Congress to investigate Pornhub.

    Hands-on investigation.

    1. Hands-on? If you’re using both hands, how do you operate the left-click button on the mouse? Asking for a friend.

      1. You use one of those foot-operated pointing devices. Definitely a plus in the efficiency department.

        They’re the devil to clean though.

    2. For kiddie porn. If reports are accurate the site had applied their ‘certified’ mark (supposed to indicate that the vids were not kiddie porn) to videos of an actual minor being sexually abused.

  21. Senator Chris Murphy perfectly summarizes Drumpf’s disastrous response to the #TrumpVirus.

    Why have an executive branch if it isn’t willing lead at a time like this? All of these decisions to cancel events, close schools or postpone opening days have been made by state, local and private sector leaders. Why is everyone else leading, except for our President?

    A competent President would have shut down all public schools nationwide. But with no leadership from the top, what we’re seeing is precisely the opposite of how our country is supposed to work.

    1. Wait… I thought they didnt want Trump acting as a King… now they are mad he isnt?

      1. Seems like projection and shock that Trump wouldn’t use the same power grabs they would.

      2. Look, this isn’t difficult.

        The President should decide whether your local high school closes entirely, or just suspends after-school activities.

        The President should absolutely not implement travel bans from other countries.

        Clear?

        1. I laughed.

    2. A good start would be to quarantine congress…………………………………………………………………………In Guantanamo.

      1. A good start would be to quarantine them in Wuhan, China.

        1. A better start would be to quarantine the lot in several rockets. Pointed at the sun.

          Live volcanoes could serve in case of rocket shortage.

  22. Westworld is shit TV.

    1. Fits in well with shit libertarianism.

    2. Haven’t seen it, but the season 3 preview they released like a year ago with Dark Side Of The Moon in the background looked pretty cool.

    3. Went to shit in the first season. So much potential buried under so much pretension.

    4. Does anyone really consider unreason staff’s opinions about anything? TV programming included.

  23. The Knight Foundation reports on rapid shifts in American perceptions of social media and digital tech companies.

    Why aren’t they building a talking car and kidnapping an amnesiac to drive it?

  24. In New York City, a new pop-up exhibit tells sex workers stories through a range of different media
    Isn’t this how Pornhub works?

  25. “Pelosi is making the same mistake as her predecessors Ryan and Boehner. Instead of allowing debate and amendment in the House, she privately negotiates with Mnuchin and then tells representatives to take it or leave it. ” -Amash

    How is this different than Amashs own idealistic puritanism? He is guilty of the same, failing to ever compromise.

  26. Peter Suderman and I talk with Libertarian.org podcasters about Westworld.

    What I wouldn’t give to be a fly on the eye for that conversation!

    Oh, wait, it was recorded.

    1. Maybe these libertarian.org guys could teach “Reason” writers about this new thing called libertarianism.

  27. We’re sacrificing so we can give nurses, doctors and hospitals a fighting chance.

    The headline of the story of the fight against single payer.

  28. NY state politicians tried to strip the LP of its hard won “official” status – making it harder for us to get candidates on the ballot. A judge just stopped them. Expect more LP candidates on NY ballots in 2020, 2021 and beyond!

    Can’t wait to see Mayor McCheese, Burger N Fries, Captain Taxes R Theft, Great Googly Moogly, and John Huntsman in the next LP race.

    1. ISWYDT: One of those characters is not a real libertarian.

  29. Here’s the news on reform of the FISA process:

    “Mr. Trump exerted last-minute influence on the process Thursday, saying he had been asked by senators to veto the House-passed bill. “Many Republican Senators want me to Veto the FISA Bill until we find out what led to, and happened with, the illegal attempted ’coup’ of the duly elected President of the United States, and others!” he wrote on Twitter.

    Mr. Lee spoke to Mr. Trump shortly before the Senate floor vote and told colleagues that the president didn’t support the House measure, according to people familiar with the matter. Asked about Mr. Lee’s comments, a White House official pointed to Mr. Trump’s tweet and declined to characterize the president’s position on the bill.”

    “Senate Fails to Approve Renewal of Domestic-Surveillance Powers”

    —-WSJ, March 12, 2020

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/mcconnell-warns-some-spying-tools-could-temporarily-lapse-11584026307?

    The reason the Democrats’ House measure isn’t the law of the land today is because Republicans in the Senate, like Mike Lee and Rand Paul, refuse to support it–and so does President Trump.

    As things stand, those Patriot Act powers will probably expire on March 15th, and if the way President Trump negotiates isn’t clear to everyone, he would rather negotiate FISA reform when the alternative is nothing than negotiate FISA reform when the politicians who support the FBI, on this, think that the alternative to stripping the FISA courts of their jurisdiction over American citizens is the House Democrats’ non-reform reform

    So let’s be objectively clear about who’s on what side here. The Democrats in the House want to keep it so that the FBI can use FISA courts to perpetrate surveillance on American citizens without any kind of meaningful scrutiny, and if it wasn’t for President Trump being on the side of the angels, the Democrats would probably get their way.

    1. What do you think you’re going to achieve with this comment? Reason will simply pivot and the next series of articles by Binion, Suderman, and Sullum will mercilessly skewer Trump for his refusal to permit unfettered domestic spying to continue.

      “How Trump’s Stubborn Refusal to Compromise on Common Sense Measures Endangers National Security”

      1. On the one hand, I feel like I’m stating the obvious. On the other hand, stating the obvious these days can be profound.

        During the protest led revolutions in the former Soviet republics, people used to go out in the street and bang on their pots and pans during the state news broadcasts to let their neighbors know that they weren’t alone in thinking that the state news agency was completely full of shit. They were telling them that the noise coming from banging their pots and pans together was more informative than the horseshit they were broadcasting on the news.

        Sometimes I feel like that’s what I’m doing by stating the obvious.

        1. Fair enough. Good point.

        2. I appreciate posts like this. It is a nice reminder that a lot people don’t buy the bull.

          1. Thirded.

  30. A challenge to all the fucktards who rant at how unprepared the government, medical establishment, and everyone else was to instantly cure the latest viral outbreak:

    Tell us what semi-catastrophic thing will next hit the US and when, and what we should do to prepare (and what resources to re-direct from current and future needs).

    1. What should we do? Elect a Democrat. Duh.

    2. I agree. Someone was on here last week complaining that markets don’t stockpile useless particle masks and test kits. That’s why we need the government to stockpile all that useless stuff–until it’s necessary!

      I keep hearing that people use economic shocks, like this epidemic, to argue for things they’d want even if there weren’t an epidemic, and I wish it were that simple. The idea that society should be reorganized so as to prepare for the last shock to hit us is absurd.

      Practically every bad economic policy we have is a reaction to something that happened in the past and created more and greater problems than it was meant to address–with those in the aftermath of the Great Depression being excellent examples.

      Of course we should have spent a trillion dollars protecting the Oregon coast from tidal waves!? Actually, that won’t make any more sense after the Great Oregon Tsunami of 2025 than it does today.

      “The historian’s fallacy is an informal fallacy that occurs when one assumes that decision makers of the past viewed events from the same perspective and having the same information as those subsequently analyzing the decision.”

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historian%27s_fallacy

      It’s that basic.

      The future will remain as uncertain after the coronavirus as it was before, and people who think the government should squander our hard earned tax dollars on useless things we’re too stupid to buy these useless things for ourselves when we don’t need them will be just as wrong after the coronavirus as they were before the coronavirus, too.

      1. The idea that society should be reorganized so as to prepare for the last shock to hit us is absurd.

        DON’T YOU DARE CRITICIZE THE TSA, THEY ARE BRAVE AND NOBLE WARRIORS KEEPING US SAFE, GODDAMMIT!

    3. perpetual 90% income tax rate oughta cover everything.

    4. exactly. as a prime example there are two million face mask in storage in California but they all are past their due date. why a mask needs that i don’t know. So how does one prepare when things are not allowed to be used when needed.. Newsom is trying to get an exception on the mask but there is paper work that must be followed.

    5. I think “instantly” is especially pertinent. I don’t understand why anyone expects a new disease to be instantly cured. Unless they really do believe Big Government can do anything, if only the Right People are in charge.

      1. They do, obviously – it’s why you see some of the same people who complain about the government screwing things up insisting we need more government to fix the things the government screwed up. And the government is only too happy to comply by creating new agencies and new offices to oversee the overseers who were supposed to be making sure the screw-up didn’t happen in the first place. Government is the only place where failure gets rewarded with a bigger budget.

  31. Correct me if I’m wrong. but did Reason just predict there would be 1 million deaths on the US from coronavirus by uncritically reposting a hysterical, highly biased tweet from a former Obama administration official?

    Is there any evidence anywhere to date that the US will even experience 1 million cases of coronavirus infection, let alone 1 million deaths?

    I’m bookmarking and screen-shotting this page so that in the future I will be able to repost it regularly to remind people here just how Trump Derangement Syndrome turned otherwise rational people into shitty human beings.

    1. Joe’s dementia right now is more contagious than covid19.

    2. The lipstick lesbian Elizabeth Nolan Brown is just another left wing shitbag in the media desperately trying to manufacture mass hysteria, just like the rest of her fellow left wing shitbags.

      Here’s how much the confirmed coronavirus death toll in the U.S. has increased in the last 24 hours: 1. That’s right, 1. From 40 to 41.

      It’s like the idiot lowlife scum in the media still hasn’t figured out yet how easy it is for us to get this information thanks to the internet.

    3. I didn’t see the report in question, but that doesn’t sound unreasonable–depending on whether the virus sweeps through the entire population.

      “As of mid-March 2010, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that about 59 million Americans contracted the H1N1 virus, 265,000 were hospitalized as a result, and 12,000 died.[117] [118]”

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009_flu_pandemic_in_the_United_States

      If the mortality rate is 1% and 330 million Americans are eventually exposed, then it will kill 3.3 million Americans.

      If 60 million are exposed, expect 600,000 Americans to die.

      Regardless, most of the precautions we’re seeing taken, certainly those that are impacting the economy the most, are the result of individuals making qualitative choices for themselves about the risks they’re willing to take. President Trump deciding that Europeans from northern Italy trying to escape a heavily infected area by way of a flight to the United States isn’t the big one. It’s people deciding not to fly in an airplane, go on a cruise, attend a WWE wrestling match, or go to Disneyland. It’s schools and universities closing down. They aren’t doing that because the government is making them. They’re doing it because individuals all over the country are making qualitative choices about the risks they’re willing to take. And people should be free to make those choices.

      If the choices they’re making are the result of scaremongering, I’m not sure how to tell the difference between people who are irrationally scared, in this case, and people who would rather not take a risk for their own qualitative reasons.

      1. I should add, too, that the invisible hand doesn’t take a vacation when people get scared. What people do as market participants when they’re scared may be just as rational as what they’d do when they aren’t. Those price signals are still sending useful information.

        The price of a gallon of drinking water goes up when people are scared–because it should. The value of water goes up under those circumstances regardless of whether it’s going up because people are scared. The ability of markets to endow their participants with knowledge they don’t possess and rationality they don’t have is probably more important when people are scared than it is under other circumstances.

        1. there are people who are scared by the media /political overreactions but there are plenty of people who are taking a precautionary approach by not going to crowded places and doing a modest stocking of a home pantry. Prime example i live in Northern California where the power can go out for a week so I’ve always had a full pantry. over the last month I added a little more to extend that time to two weeks. is it fear no but prepared the boy scout motto. I could us more TP though ;). The other precautionary effort is to try to convince my 80+ year old parents from going out more than needed maybe not go to church. that is precautionary not fear. but we have seen and heard of fearful people.

          1. Yeah, prudent behavior is rational even if it’s driven by rational fear, and the only thing to be afraid of isn’t the virus. It’s also market timing.

            I was looking at the half empty meat section in the grocery yesterday, and this guy came out with a few boxes like he was about to restock it. I must have looked at him like I was hoping he had whatever I was looking for, and he says, “Can i help you”?

            Turns out all he had was like, tripe and tongue and stuff people don’t usually want, but he was putting it all out there because he said they were out of everything that wasn’t on the shelf–and he said the warehouse that delivers to them was out of everything, too.

            Okay. So, I guess I’ll grab the chicken thighs you have out here then!

            Buying for emergency situations before the rest of the crowd that suddenly materializes may seem like fear induced paranoia–but just because someone’s paranoid doesn’t mean they can’t get stuck in the middle of an epidemic without a generator or enough bottled water. So where does the paranoia begin and the prudence begin?

    4. ” Trump Derangement Syndrome turned otherwise rational people into shitty human beings.”

      I tend to think that Trump hasn’t changed anybody, more like he revealed everybody.

    5. Reason didn’t say it! This other guy did, they are just reporting it!

      Well I guess technically this other guy didn’t say it either, he’s just reporting what “experts” have said.

      So yeah, some guy said that some other guys said there would be 1,000,000 deaths. Very powerful stuff.

  32. Norm Macdonald tweets

    It’s morally wrong for me to do stand-up and cause strangers to possibly become sick. And now, with this virus, it seems even more wrong. I’m postponing my next two gigs, but am hopeful a vaccine comes that protects us all from Tom Hanks Disease (THD).

    1. beautiful.

  33. If I am one of the streaming services, I am kicking myself right now because I didn’t do an Andromeda Strain reboot miniseries in the last year. The downloads of such a thing this weekend would be epic.

    1. I think Netflix did

  34. http://babylonbee.com/news/nations-nerds-wake-up-in-utopia-where-everyone-stays-inside-sports-canceled-social-interaction-forbidden

    Nation’s Nerds Wake Up In Utopia Where Everyone Stays Inside, Sports Are Canceled, Social Interaction Forbidden

    Looks like the Libertarian Moment has finally arrived.

    1. my fantasy hockey playoffs are ruined, and what happens if I draft a baseball player who dies? yahoo’s not going to let me drop him until September

    2. Some of these headlines are pure gold: “Parents Worried They’ll Have To Raise Their Own Children As Government Schools Shut Down”

      https://babylonbee.com/news/parents-worried-theyll-have-to-raise-their-own-children-as-government-schools-shut-down

  35. This is community leadership. One of the fanciest, most expensive restaurants in Seattle is changing it’s model: Instead of sit-down fine dining it’ll transition to a drive-thru burger joint to keep their staff employed and adjust to meet community needs. #WeGotThisSeattle https://t.co/uqNqToY6f3

    Hey, they didn’t get a zoning variance! Are their restaurant workers also licensed for drive thru work?

    1. the so much frowned upon drive thru will now be the in thing. all though I would expect the delivery services should be a growth market now.

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